To Hell With Godwin’s Law: As The Cynical “GOP War On Women” Strategy Officially Adopts “Big Lie” Tactics, Who Will Have The Integrity To Call It What It Is?

Sometimes recalling Der Fuhrer is necessary to give credit where credit is due.

Sorry. Sometimes recalling Der Fuhrer is necessary to give credit where credit is due.

One thing one can’t deny about the “Big Lie,” it sure works.

An H. F. Elson from Bethesda, Maryland indignantly writes the editor of the Washington Post:

“The April 10 news article “Senate Republicans block wage-equality legislation” reported that Republicans “say that the bill is unnecessary because discrimination based on gender is already illegal.” Pardon my sarcasm, but existing laws have worked really well, haven’t they? Republicans fear the bill would increase civil lawsuits, but the threat of lawsuits is the only way to get these needed changes in compensation made. When are Republicans going to stop antagonizing thinking, intelligent women?”

Let’s see…it’s hard to write such an incompetent and irresponsible letter while simultaneously being snotty about it, but H.F. was up to the challenge:

1. Discrimination based on gender IS already illegal. The law in question was Democratic showboating with a bad bill that would permit lawsuits when no evidence of intentional gender discrimination exists.

2. Yes, H.F., the existing laws have worked very well indeed. The remaining differences in pay by gender are almost entirely due to factors other than discrimination.

3. The only way to get the changes made in compensation would be for women to behave exactly like men, and adopt the same priorities and career paths. Lawsuits, on the other hand, are just a way to increase the costs of doing business, lose jobs, and give more money to trial lawyers—who are overwhelmingly male, by the way.

4. “When are Republicans going to stop antagonizing thinking, intelligent women?”  The real question is when will “thinking, intelligent women” stop accepting on faith outright misrepresentations about gender pay inequities, and do some research before adopting partisan talking points and writing snotty letters to the editor?

There are virtually no serious analysts of this topic that accept the proposition that “women get paid only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same jobs” as an accurate measure of discrimination in the workplace and gender inequity. The misleading nature of that statistic and similar ones has been thoroughly explained and vetted in scholarly documents and the news media for decades, yet whenever Democrats want to activate their “base,” which includes a disproportionate number of women, their candidates and leaders shamelessly use the same dishonest figures. Obama and Biden used this tactic during the 2012 sliming of Mitt Romney, for example, because, after all, the ends justify the means, and besides, mean old Romney kept all those poor women in binders.

I just about fell off of my chair when President Obama sank to this abysmal deceit again in his 2014 State of the Union message, when he intoned,

“Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.”

The embarrassment is that the President of the United States would lie so audaciously while addressing Congress and the nation. I condemned this at the time; Washington Post Factchecker Glenn Kessler, who only criticizes Democrats when their dishonesty is off the charts, gave the statement his worst rating and wrote,

“Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis surveyed economic literature and concluded that “research suggests that the actual gender wage gap (when female workers are compared with male workers who have similar characteristics) is much lower than the raw wage gap.” They cited one survey, prepared for the Labor Department, which concluded that when such differences are accounted for, much of the hourly wage gap dwindled, to about 5 cents on the dollar.”

Even the five cents probably overstates the role of discrimination. There is a lot of evidence suggesting that women tend to sell their services too cheaply, and fail to negotiate higher salaries and benefits that men are more likely to fight for. This is a cultural and behavioral problem, and lawsuits are not the way to address it.

When those in power repeatedly put forth a claim they know is untrue in order to defeat political adversaries, the technique is “the Big Lie,” a propaganda device championed by Adolf Hitler and his henchman, Joseph Goebbels, who allegedly wrote,*

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Der Fuhrer, of course, explicated the theory in detail in “Mein Kampf”:

“All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true in itself – that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”

Let me pause a nonce to dismiss the inevitable claim that I am breaching”Godwin’s Law,” which was devised to discourage illicit and exaggerated comparisons with Nazi Germany in political discourse. The law holds that the first one to evoke the Nazis in any political debate “loses the argument,” as such comparisons are presumptively unfair and hyperbolic. It is, however, a rebuttable presumption, and in this case, the rebuttal is:

1. The Big Lie tactic is despicable, dishonest and unfair;

2. It was defined and used in its most destructive form by Hitler and the Nazis;

3. No American politician or party that intentionally employs such a tactic should escape comparison with the tactic’s originator, for that is the best way to discourage its use in the future;

4. Repeated use of a misleading statistic, knowing that it is false and why, for electoral gain and as a way to hold on to power is the epitome of a Big Lie tactic.

5. The “77 cents” statistic is such a misleading statistic, and

6. Democrats keep using it.

In addition, the Democratic exploitation of Republican refutations of the statistic are also right out of the Nazi playbook. Use your adversary’s denial of the Big Lie to your advantage. Hence refusal to enact policy based on the Big Lie is, in the words of the President’s surrogates and others, proof that Republicans are waging “war on women.” How horrible they are!

You have to admit, though, it’s a great tactic. Look at that antagonized, thinking, intelligent H. F. Elson. She believes the Big Lie. Why? Her leaders tell her it’s true. Her party embraces it. They are the good people, or a thinking, intelligent woman wouldn’t support them. And look! The bad Republicans deny it! That proves that it’s true! She wants the lie to be true, so she chooses to believe it, and doesn’t bother to confirm the data before using it to join in attacks on Republicans.

Now, Democrats and progressives, as well as journalists (but I repeat myself) should, if they have proper reverence for truth, fairness, candor, and responsible policy-making, and I include in this women who are fair and logical in addition to being ” thinking, intelligent,” should be as offended and insulted by their leaders’ use of Mr. Hitler’s favorite tactic as I am. So why does it persist, and why are we still hearing either the Big Lie itself or its aftershocks?

At least Kessler is trying. He took on Obama’s latest versions of the BL, as when the President said this in his April 8 remarks on the subject…

“Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns…in 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong.”

Gee, that sounds just like what he said in January! And he knew it was a lie then. Next, in his April 12 radio address, the president said,

“Earlier this week was Equal Pay Day.  It marks the extra time the average woman has to work into a new year to earn what a man earned the year before.  You see, the average woman who works full-time in America earns less than a man – even when she’s in the same profession and has the same education. That’s wrong.  In 2014, it’s an embarrassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”

Kessler flagged the lie again, this time giving it half as many Pinocchios ( two, as opposed to the maximum four) as he gave virtually the same statement in January. Why fewer? Because, he says, Obama left out the blatantly misleading “77 cents.” Kessler tries, as I said, but he is instinctively a Democratic apologist and hack.  Obama DID use the fake statistic, but was just sneaky about it: Equal Pay Day only “marks the extra time the average woman has to work into a new year to earn what a man earned the year before” if you apply and misconstrue the “77 cents on the dollar” falsehood.

It’s a lie. It’s a Big Lie. Our President and his party are using a cynical, Nazi-championed tactic of pure propaganda to sow divisiveness, misinformation, anger (remember H. F.!) and hate. Do  journalists, Democrats and journalists accept that kind of deception and manipulation as responsible leadership and fair governing practice in a democracy? If not, why do they tolerate it? Or do they, like H.F., just believe what they are told?

The “Big Lie.”

Still effective, after all these years.

Warning: Any comment that dares to include the ethics non sequitur “Republicans do it too” will be taken down. But I promise to print names as I ridicule such responses unmercifully.

* UPDATE: I am persuaded by a diligent commenter that the Goebbels quote, which I found in multiple sources, is of dubious origin. Thus I have added “allegedly,” for the quote is widely attributed to him. Given that Joe was the head of Hitler’s propaganda machine, and that he shamelessly wielded the Big Lie like Mike Trout wields his bat,  the quote is, if not genuine, an accurate description of his views, based on his conduct. I won’t use it again.

____________________________

Sources: Washington Post

142 thoughts on “To Hell With Godwin’s Law: As The Cynical “GOP War On Women” Strategy Officially Adopts “Big Lie” Tactics, Who Will Have The Integrity To Call It What It Is?

  1. A journalist from the Washington Post actually pointing out the “Big Lie” tactics of the President? I am truly amazed. I thought all those guys and women went over to the Dark Side a long time ago.

    • Well, he wouldn’t call it that, but it’s true that since the exposure of the infamous “You can keep it, period” lie, Kessler has been more and more willing to flag Obama’s lies.

  2. “Even when she’s in the same profession and has the same education” is so wrong it isn’t even wrong, it’s meaningless. I have a BS in Microbiology and work as a research scientist at a food safety company. OK. Well, people who work in some of the higher profile labs are about my age, and have the same degree, and we’re all in the same profession, but I make less than them. Others are, again, in the same profession with the same education but came here from elsewhere and haven’t received as many pay bumps as me and make less than me. Let alone the other food safety company across town, which is full of people in the same profession with the same degree. I be they all make different amounts than me, too…

  3. The Big Lie is probably one of the most popular tools of politicians (and successful) since Ramses II used it to report to his people the great victory over the Hittites at Kadesh. The best spin possible for that battle is that it was a draw, but Ramses told everyone he had crushed the Hittites. While his efforts were a bit clumsy, the technique has been refined over time and seems to be most effective when actual news does not reach the ear of the common man. Hmm, sounds familiar.

    • Now that’s one I never heard. It would be fun to assemble the most audacious Big Lies throughout history in a book. A lot of dire tactics were developed in Ancient Egypt. There’s the Big Lie, and of course, the Pyramid Scheme…

      • Thank you, Jack. I just spewed beer all over my keyboard. On a serious note, I wouldn’t even guarantee Ramses II was the first “user” but I think the book is a great idea.

  4. […] the technique is “the Big Lie,” a propaganda device championed by Adolf Hitler and his henchman, Joseph Goebbels […]

    I think that this characterisation is inaccurate. For a start, Wikiquote claims that the Goebbels’ “big lie” quote is misattributed [1]. As for the quote from Mein Kampf, if you look at the text that immediately precedes the part you quoted, it seems pretty clear that, far from “championing” the technique, Hitler was trying to tar his political opponents with it.

    [1] In case you wonder why I believe what Wikiquote says about it and don’t believe what the Jewish Virtual Library says about it, it’s because I tend to work on the assumption that, however comforting it is to think otherwise, evil people usually don’t realise that they’re evil. This makes me sceptical of any famous quotation that sounds like something a guy who ties ladies to railway lines might say.

    • I think choosing Wiki over any legitimate source is always a bad idea. Surely you aren’t that naive about Hitler’s crew? These were psychopaths and sociopaths. Good and evil are meaningless concepts to such monsters.

      • Jack – I wish that were so. They were in the main Utopian Idealists, out to make a better world. One without Jews….

        There are many like them in the world today. Once you’re convinced of the Righteousness of your cause – Gott Mit Uns – God is with us – no enormity or barbarity is forbidden.

        A sociopath might have limits – though Dzugashvilii “The Man of Steel” apparently didn’t. But the Pol Pots and Toquemadas do not.

        Those who fight monsters become monsters themselves, unless they’re very, very careful. It’s so easy to abandon principle in order to accomplish a just goal…

          • Goebbels WAS crazy, though I think Julius Streicher was crazier still and Heinrich Himmler, the occultist, tops the list of crazies in that crew. What keeps utopian idealists from being psychopaths and sociopaths? I’d say that the former is simply a way of thinking and the latter two are psychological diagnoses with definite symptoms and earmarks, so not every idealist is necessarily headed down the path of wither psychopathy or sociopathy, but I think that might be missing the point you are really driving at.

            Idealists are just that, people with strong, sometimes good ideas, who don’t necessarily think through the practical applications of them because they believe their ideas are too good to fail. Examples on the left are replete, but examples on the right would be Paul Wolfowitz’ idea that knocking off a government or two in the Middle East would start a process of remaking the whole region in the West’s image and Donald Rumsfeld’s idea that the Iraqis would rally to the US so a much lighter force with no “tail” force of military police, etc. was needed. Psychopaths and sociopaths are usually much more irrational, selfish, unable to empathize, and unable to acknowledge that they went wrong, often under a mask of superficial charm in the case of sociopaths..

            Idealists can usually acknowledge when the facts are going against them. Say what you want about Rumsfeld, but he DID offer to step down when it became evident his approach was becoming counterproductive. Josef Pilsudski, Count Cavour, and Michael Collins might all be examples from history of idealists who knew when to rein the idealism in, although in all three cases it meant there was then going to be infighting with hardliners who wanted to continue the fight all the way to the unworkable. Pilsudski managed to defeat the hard-core socialists who wanted to turn Poland red, Cavour’s successors persuaded Garibaldi that prolonging out-and-out war would hurt the cause of unification, not help it, and, regrettably, Collins’ decision to accept the Irish Free State rather than risk the UK going to total war against the Irish independence movement cost him his life.

            Neither Hitler nor Stalin could ever acknowledge failure, in the former’s case even when his own generals laid the facts on the table for him in black and white. Pol Pot was the same, possibly worse, economic failure was due to workers not working hard enough, failure on the battlefield was down to poor commanders, and so on. Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” and “Cultural Revolution” were definitely worse in terms of body count. If you want to go back further in history Paraguay’s Francisco Lopez was arguably just as bad, shooting everyone who disagreed with him and trying to take on Brazil, Argentina AND Uruguay all at once, and of course Napoleon’s success went to his head and turned Europe upside down. In none of these cases could any of them acknowledge being wrong, misapplying their resources, or just plain embracing bad ideas. Genocide? Abolition of towns, money, and private property? Fighting a war on three different fronts? Does any of this sound like good ideas? Yet none of these leaders would even acknowledge the question, leave alone think of answering it. There’s your difference, I think.

            Getting back to the original point, though, all of these latter folks were completely willing to bend the truth, hide the truth, and outright lie when it suited their purpose: which at its core was getting into power, consolidating power, and staying in power. Hitler promised the German people their place in the sun and lebensraum, Stalin promised to move through a century in ten years, Mao promised to “let a thousand flowers bloom,” Pol Pot promised peace after years of conflict, Lopez promised power over all southern South America, and Napoleon promised liberty, equality and fraternity (before he crowned himself Emperor). None of them intended to keep those promises, and they cynically exploited them to their peoples’ regret. Obama isn’t there yet, but between this, the blatant lies that sold Obamacare, and now use of what might be called the “Gay-stapo” to press forward that part of the agenda and cow conservatives, this country has taken more than a step down that path. And please don’t start in with the “But Bush lied…” bullshit. Yes, the Iraq war was based in part on intelligence that turned out to be wrong. That is not justification for an administration that promised to be the most transparent ever to sell bad policies that are designed to make this nation less free with outright lies.

        • I would really like to know where you learned your history. Especially since it is so WILDLY inaccurate. And, just for informational purposes, the extermination of an entire religion, claiming it is a race, is NOT a “just goal”.

          Just out of curiosity, and this is a serious question, are you a psychiatrist or psychologist? If not, may I refer you to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual for definitions of both “sociopath” and “psychopath”. You’ll find some major differences.

          • And, just for informational purposes, the extermination of an entire religion, claiming it is a race, is NOT a “just goal”.

            They thought it was. Some in the USA still do. I disagree, and consider them to be doing great evil. But they themselves think they’re fighting the good fight.

            See http://vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=148738

            In order to counter an enemy – and make no mistake, these people at VNN are my enemies – you have to get inside their heads. See the world as they see it, as if in a distorting mirror.

            Some of them are good people. They just have really terrible ideas, leading them to insane conclusions.

            This isn’t just academic gasbagging – the commenter whose nom de guerre is “Rounder” is the suspect in the murders of three people at two Jewish organisations recently.

            • For a less stark example – http://catholicexchange.com/where-the-rubber-meets-the-road-part-two

              Now I am going to say something that may seem harsh but remember I am talking to you about objective reality – where the rubber meets the road. It is better to die than to offend God. It would have been better for you to have given your life to stay in obedience to God, than to break His law and to drag along into sin your poor spouse. At some point — along with those who denied Christ under persecution and later felt remorse, you will have to say, “It would have been better for me to have died instead.” That is hard, but really everyone of us should feel that way about every serious sin we have committed. We should prefer the death of our bodies to the death of our souls, shouldn’t we?

              Yes, someone is being commanded to forego lifesaving medical treatment, to literally die, rather than go against this person’s opinion of what is right.

          • And, just for informational purposes, the extermination of an entire religion, claiming it is a race, is NOT a “just goal”.

            Zoe didn’t say Hitler’s goal was just; she said he thought it was just. Same goes for the Taliban, people who murder abortion doctors, etc…

            “Just” causes have led people to commit atrocities as far back as we have history.

            • Zoe didn’t say Hitler’s goal was just; she said he thought it was just. Same goes for the Taliban, people who murder abortion doctors, etc…

              Exactly. That was what I meant. I’m sorry that I wasn’t clear enough so that some misunderstood. I owe them an apology.

          • Just out of curiosity, and this is a serious question, are you a psychiatrist or psychologist?

            No qualifications in either area, no.
            Though I have been called in by professors of psychology and medicine to teach 3rd year psychology students and postgrad medics specialising in psychiatry about specific issues.
            I certainly don’t consider myself to be a psychologist, and my partner is still finishing off her master’s in the subject.

            If not, may I refer you to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual for definitions of both “sociopath” and “psychopath”. You’ll find some major differences.

            Which definition do you recommend – DSM-III, DSM-IV-TR, or DSM-5? And why not the ICD-9 and ICD-10 definitions which make no distinction?

            ICD-10 F60.3 Dissocial Personality Disorder
            ICD-9 301.7 Antisocial Personality Disorder

            I’m no psych – as far as I was aware, the only difference was made in the Hare Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL:SV) 1995. It was clinically trialled in the DSM-IV,but didn’t make it into the DSM-IV-TR.

            From the DSM-5 under “Alternative DSM-5 Model for Personality Disorders”,

            ASPD with psychopathic features is described as characterized by “a lack of anxiety or fear and by a bold interpersonal style that may mask maladaptive behaviors (e.g., fraudulence).” Low levels of withdrawal and high levels of attention-seeking combined with low anxiety demonstrate “social potency” and “stress immunity” in psychopathy.

            So it seems in my untrained, unqualified and ill-informed opinion that there is some controversy here. It’s not my area of specialisation, and the texts I have on abnormal psychology are undergrad-level. This requires true expertise, specialisation not mere working knowledge..

            • Sorry it took so long to get back to you…my hard drive literally exploded.

              FYI, I asked the question solely out of curiosity, because you seemed very knowledgeable in the field. As to which DSM I prefer, frankly, none of the above. When I first started practice as a psychologist, we were still using the DSM II, and I retired shortly before the IV was introduced. I was never real happy with ANY version of the manual, but it was what we were stuck with. The major difference in the two diagnoses is simply that psychopaths are generally more given to violent actions, which unfortunately led to misdiagnosis of numerous prison inmates solely because they WERE prison inmates. I assume that some level of controversy still exists, and it was getting rather heated when I left the field. Millons sub-groups did little to reduce the controversy. In the cases of the Nazi hierarchy, I would theorize that this is what you get when you put a psychopath or psychopaths in charge of a country.

      • I think choosing Wiki over any legitimate source is always a bad idea.

        Thanks for the advice. But perhaps you could explain what constitutes a “legitimate” source? Presumably Wikiquote doesn’t, for example, whereas the Jewish Virtual Library does, and so does thinkexist.com (that’s the page that the Jewish Virtual Library cites for the Goebbels quote; it appears to be a site that accepts user submissions, like Wikiquote, but which doesn’t bother to include sources for any of its quotes, unlike Wikiquote). How about these two sites? Could you explain how I can tell whether they’re legitimate or not?

        Alternatively, could you tell me what the actual source for the Goebbels quote is? After a bit of web searching I found that people keep repeating it, but none of them seems to mention when or where or to whom he said it.

        You didn’t reply to what I wrote about the context for the Mein Kampf excerpt, by the way. I can provide a link that gives the context at a site other than Wikipedia, if you’d prefer.

        • You do realize that this is completely tangential to the post, its purpose, its point, and everything else? Do you quibble with the characterization of “The Big Lie” as a technique used by the Nazis, and Goebbels in particular? That the calumny about the Jews qualifies? That the Big Lie is a dastardly and self-implicating leadership strategy? Are you arguing that Hitler gets a bum rap? Or are you bickering about the use of “champion” as opposed to “used enthusiastically and with distinction.” Hitler’s description of the technique is accurate, whether he was endorsing it in that instance or not—again, for the purpose of the post, it was sufficient to show that he acknowledged the device, his choice of any “propaganda minister” and especially the one he chose clearly indicates that he liked the tool, and history shows that the Nazis employed it with gusto. So?

          Doing more research on this than I should, it appears that debunking the claim that Nazis made statements about the Big Lie can all be traced to one source, a guy with an unhealthy obsession with protecting the honor of Nazis. Not that he’s entirely unpersuasive…his general argument is that Adolf and Joe were too smart to announce to the world what techniques they favored, and while they used the Big Lie, what they did in public is accuse others of it. He seems to be the source of your Wikiquote conclusion as well, though he cannot identify why the Goebbels quote is in “500,000 web pages and twenty published books.” His major arguments: 1) No one ever gives a citation to the source. 2. A fair number of web citations are to “Joseph M. Goebbels,” and that wasn’t his middle initial, and Joe “wouldn’t have said that in public.” You know, just as Obama would have been nuts to write that he once ate dog.

          My good friend, who is an amateur quotation specialist, tells me that once a quote is embedded like this one, its often impossible to tell if it was really said or originated by the supposed originator. (His reserach determined that Horace Greeley never actually said “Go West, young man!”) Maybe it was a paraphrase of what JG said in private, or a closed speech to fellow thugs, or a “what My Dad Does For A Living” speech for his son’s school. Who knows. As with the famous “attributed” Andrew Jackson quote about one man with courage being a majority, it sounds like something the figure would have said, so the quote sticks.

          I don’t think a crypto-Nazi defender’s assessment of what Crazy Joe would have done is definitive at all. The man thought a film about the Titanic would further the Nazi cause, for heaven’s sake; who knows how his warped mind worked. He decided to use desperately needed troops to shoot another film spectacular when Germany was crumbling.

          OK, the quote is dubious, thanks for the clarification, good to know, and the next time I use it, I’ll use “attributed to Goebbels, but a guy who spends his time showing that scholars are unfair to Nazis has a pretty good case that he probably didn’t say it.” But really—so what?

          • You do realize that this is completely tangential to the post, its purpose, its point, and everything else?

            Yes, which is why it’s very surprising to me that you’ve chosen to respond to my flagging the unreliable and out-of-context quotes with a bunch of ad hominems rather than just correcting the error and moving on. It’s doubly surprising that you’ve done so in the comment thread for a post in which you complain about people propagating false facts for the purpose of tarnishing their political opponents.

            (Yes, I know that the term “ad hominem” is widely misused on the internet, and no, I’m not misusing it – “this professor of German propaganda says the quotation is bogus, but I’m not going to listen to a guy who’s probably a secret Nazi sympathiser” is a pretty paradigmatic example.)

            Are you arguing that Hitler gets a bum rap?

            Personally I think that the knowledge that Hitler and other high-ranking Nazis had millions of innocent people killed is sufficient for us to pass judgement on their character; I suspect that most other people do too. Perhaps you fear that they don’t? Perhaps you’re worried that people will start to think Hitler and Goebbels were a couple of swell guys if it should turn out that they didn’t brazenly announce their intentions to lie about stuff?

            Maybe it was a paraphrase of what JG said in private, or a closed speech to fellow thugs, or a “what My Dad Does For A Living” speech for his son’s school.

            Yes, it must have been something like that. It’s not as if anyone would ever make up a bogus quotation and attribute it to someone famous.

            I don’t think a crypto-Nazi defender’s assessment of what Crazy Joe would have done is definitive at all.

            Assuming you’re talking about Randall Bytwerk, what makes you think he’s a “crypto-Nazi defender”? I didn’t see anything that gave me that impression, and I don’t think that a crypto-Nazi defender would use the phrase “a person unsavory even by Nazi standards”. Unless you think that trying to correct that one particular misquotation is prima facie evidence of Nazi sympathies – much like how anyone who disagrees with the 77 cents statistic must be in favour of gender pay inequality.

            OK, the quote is dubious, thanks for the clarification, good to know, and the next time I use it, I’ll use “attributed to Goebbels, but a guy who spends his time showing that scholars are unfair to Nazis has a pretty good case that he probably didn’t say it.”

            Or you could stop using it, like how you expect other people to stop using the 77 cents thing.

            But really—so what?

            Look, I don’t know whether it’s true that women get paid only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same jobs. It would be great if I had the time to check on this – and on every other factoid that is thrown about on every other topic that interests me – by reading and evaluating the various studies that exist, but I don’t (the only reason I have time to write a long comment like this is because I’m off work sick). Consequently, when forming opinions about such things, I rely on the writings of people who give me the impression that they care sufficiently about the truth, and are sufficiently able to overcome their own cognitive biases, that I can take what they say about certain subjects on faith; that when one of them tells me that e.g. the 77 cents statistics has been soundly debunked, I can be confident that he wouldn’t say so unless he had been led to this position by unbiased examination of the facts including a fair assessment of contrary views. At the time when I first read the above post, I considered you one of those people. Now, for reasons that should be obvious, I don’t. But so what, right?

            • Not an ad hominem attack, and a cheap shot for you to say so. I don’t find the professor’s (I was not aware that he was a professor, but that cuts no ice with me) logic especially persuasive, nor his proof, in the absence of more than supposition and mind-reading, and I candidly noted that I find the obsession with proving that Goebbels is misquoted passing strange. The fact that the Prof may be a closet brown shirt doesn’t invalidate his scholarship, such as it is, but I chose to mention my suspicions—so what? Do I have your leave to describe someone who can tell me in detail every feature of every gun manufactured since the Revolution as a gun nut? Obsessed, perhaps? He is, you know, but he’s harmless, and if I need to get an answer to a gun question, he’s the one I go to. So I note that he’s a gun nut—how does that undermine his authority? Fanatics and obsessives are responsible for a lot of scholarship on matters that nobody else would deem worth working on.Or is it more truthful to hide the obvious?

              “So what?” is the appropriate response when someone launches a collateral attack on a position by attempting to erode the credibility of the opinion-writer by pointing out allegedly questionable details that have no bearing on the conclusion itself…as you just admitted. This is just a sneaky form of ad hominem attack, or really a variation f it, which I will dub “The Pie in the Face.” Unable or unwilling to address the point at issue, the pie-wielder points out a typo, a grammatical error, or an unrelated questionable authority or point, none of which in fact undermines the point at issue but only serve to degrade the status of the individual making it. Your false “Ad Hominem” claim—and it is false, by the definition on this blog—is just another part of the tactic. In other words, I’m on to you, buddy. I used a widely quoted Goebbels statement for the benefit of those readers who never heard of the guy and were unfamiliar with his conduct and character to support the pretty much unassailable position that the Nazis made heavy use of “The Big Lie,” and you use THAT to suggest that I don’t know what I’m talking about in an ethics post.

              There is no parallel between the false use of the “77 cents” figure to represent gender pay discrimination—what do you mean “you don’t know”? Everyone who has fairly discussed the issue candidly admits that its a gross average statistic that includes dozens of factors unrelated to bias. Or is it dubious because someone at Mother Jones has argued that one of the labor experts who debunked the stat was misquoted?—-and my use of the Goebbels quote, for two reasons. 1) The Nazi use of the Big Lie is a matter of record, regardless of what Goebbels admitted to in public (or not), and second, as I just wrote, the issue is far from settled by one expert/authority/obsessive’s certainty that the quote is out of character or was mysteriously credited to another Goebbels with the middle initial of “M.”. The bulk of scholarship weighs in favor of the Goebbels quote—not that this is definitive either—but all non advocacy authority concedes that the 77 cents trope is crap.

              So I’m sorry I’m not dazzled by your display of pedantry as an effort to discredit a post that your pedantry doesn’t discredit. Yes, I agree that dubious quotes should not be represented as otherwise, but a quote that doesn’t misrepresent the beliefs or character of the individual quoted is in the de minimus category, so while I (as I said) won’t use it again, my conclusion remains “so what?”

              • I’ll reply to the rest of your comment if I have time later, but there’s one rather important detail I’d like to set straight right now:

                “So what?” is the appropriate response when someone launches a collateral attack on a position by attempting to erode the credibility of the opinion-writer by pointing out allegedly questionable details that have no bearing on the conclusion itself…as you just admitted. This is just a sneaky form of ad hominem attack, or really a variation f it, which I will dub “The Pie in the Face.” Unable or unwilling to address the point at issue, the pie-wielder points out a typo, a grammatical error, or an unrelated questionable authority or point, none of which in fact undermines the point at issue but only serve to degrade the status of the individual making it.

                You’re quite correct, of course, that nothing I have written here in any way undermines the conclusion of your post. And the reason for that is…

                I agree with the conclusion of your post

                and nothing that I’ve said should have suggested to you that I didn’t. The reason I flagged the error is not because I wished to undermine your position, it’s because I assumed that you would not wish to undermine your position, and I also assumed that if you were propping up your position with fake “facts” – like the people you complain about in your post do – then you would prefer to be informed of this so that you could stop doing so. Apparently I was wrong.

                  • Interesting. Your initial response to the correction was to defend the quotation as genuine. If I had announced upfront that I agreed with the main point of your post, would that have made the correction more correct?

                    • I questioned your reliance on Wiki over a Jewish history archive. Once I checked your actual source, I concurred that you were probably right. I am comfortable stating that as a general proposition, wiki sources are less reliable than more vetted sites.

              • I don’t find the professor’s (I was not aware that he was a professor, but that cuts no ice with me)

                Strange that you managed to miss that in the course of the research you did on the guy, since it’s prominently displayed at the side of the blog post I linked to earlier, as well as at the top of the Google search results for his name. I’m genuinely curious as to what you did read about the guy that led you to label him a “crypto-Nazi defender”.

                The fact that the Prof may be a closet brown shirt doesn’t invalidate his scholarship, such as it is, but I chose to mention my suspicions—so what?

                But you didn’t just mention it. You wrote

                I don’t think a crypto-Nazi defender’s assessment of what Crazy Joe would have done is definitive at all.

                That sure sounds like you’re dismissing his opinion based on the unsavoury views you’ve imputed to him.

                The bulk of scholarship weighs in favor of the Goebbels quote

                Please present some of this alleged bulk of scholarship.

                so while I (as I said) won’t use it again

                No, you hadn’t said that before the comment I’m replying to. You had said

                the next time I use it, I’ll use “attributed to Goebbels, but a guy who spends his time showing that scholars are unfair to Nazis has a pretty good case that he probably didn’t say it.”

                • Yes, tell me that you really thought that “attributed to Goebbels, but a guy who spends his time showing that scholars are unfair to Nazis has a pretty good case that he probably didn’t say it.” was a serious statement of what I was going to write. That will certainly speak well of your powers of perception.

                  “I don’t think a crypto-Nazi defender’s assessment of what Crazy Joe would have done is definitive at all.” is true. I stand by it. It’s not definitive. But he raised sufficient doubt that I agree that the quote can only be “attributed,” and not more. And he is a crypto-Nazi defender (the crypto, just to cut off your next point, was intended to modify “Nazi defender” since that is the effect of what he is doing, if not (and it’s hard to tell) its intent. I was not saying he was a crypto-Nazi, nor saying he defended crypto-Nazis. But feel free to misconstrue what I wrote.

                  • Yes, tell me that you really thought that “attributed to Goebbels, but a guy who spends his time showing that scholars are unfair to Nazis has a pretty good case that he probably didn’t say it.” was a serious statement of what I was going to write.

                    No, of course not. The most natural reading of your obvious sarcasm – given that you spent much of the same comment attacking Prof. Bywerk’s argument and credibility, and speculating about various ways the quote could have been genuine – was that you intended to continue using it without qualification.

                    “I don’t think a crypto-Nazi defender’s assessment of what Crazy Joe would have done is definitive at all.” is true. I stand by it. It’s not definitive. But he […]

                    Quoting from Wikipedia (if you know of a more legitimate source for such things then let me know and I’ll see what they have to say about it), “[a]n indefinite article indicates that its noun is not a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener. It may be something that the speaker is mentioning for the first time, or its precise identity may be irrelevant or hypothetical, or the speaker may be making a general statement about any such thing.” Consequently, I interpreted your “I don’t think a crypto-Nazi defender’s assessment of what Crazy Joe would have done is definitive at all” to mean that you wouldn’t consider any crypto-Nazi defender’s assessment definitive, and therefore in particular you don’t consider Bywerk’s assessment definitive. If you instead intended to imply that you don’t consider Bywerk’s assessment definitive, and just felt like adding the insult to his character for good measure, the definite article would have been clearer.

                    And he is a crypto-Nazi defender (the crypto, just to cut off your next point, was intended to modify “Nazi defender” since that is the effect of what he is doing, if not (and it’s hard to tell) its intent. I was not saying he was a crypto-Nazi, nor saying he defended crypto-Nazis. But feel free to misconstrue what I wrote.

                    I construed what you wrote as meaning that Bywerk secretly defends Nazis. If that is what you wrote then I’m still waiting for an answer as to how you drew that conclusion. If it isn’t, then what?

                    • He obviously doesn’t secretly defend Nazis. He openly defends Nazis, or engages in conduct that amounts to it. Whether that’s his intent, and he does it because he wants to burnish their credibility and reputation, only he can know. But when one makse a fetish out of tracking down unflattering quotes by Goebbels and proving, or trying to, that he really never said that, there is a legitimate question to be raised about why that’s so important to you.

                    • (Jack: for some reason I can’t reply to your latest comment, so I’m replying to mine instead.)

                      He obviously doesn’t secretly defend Nazis. He openly defends Nazis, or engages in conduct that amounts to it.

                      What do you think the prefix crypto- means?

                    • Yawn…the secret is his motive (intent), not his actions.

                      OK. So what grounds do you have for believing that he has any motive beyond the obvious, common and explicitly stated desire to not let widespread nonsense in one’s field of expertise go unchallenged? In answering this, it may help to bear in mind that you completely misconstrued my motivation for entering this thread, and proceeded to attack my character based on your misunderstanding. It may also help to read this, in which Prof. Bytwerk touches on both his motivation and his actual opinion of Nazis.

                    • I am really barely interested in this. First, the quote, wherever it came from, is not “nonsense.” He hasn’t even proven that it isn’t genuine, not that he could prove a negative without a smoking gun document Second, I don’t have a damn clue what his motive is, to misquote Jack Nicholson. I think his obsession is strange; I think he protests too much; but I have no way to read his mind. You know, Ann Coulter has spent a lot of time explaining why Joe McCarthy gets some undeserved criticism, and some of her points are well-taken. Nonetheless, I wonder why she is so determined to clean up Tail-Gunner Joe’s legacy and reputation, since he was, after all, a dangerous, lying, divisive bully. Yes, the historical record should be correct, but it tends to be fans of Richard the Third who devote all their energy to finding errors about him, and someone who is so dedicated to making sure no damning quotes are attributed to Goebbels is mysterious to me. That’s all I’m prepared to say.

              • I’m jumping in:

                Yes, I agree that dubious quotes should not be represented as otherwise, but a quote that doesn’t misrepresent the beliefs or character of the individual quoted is in the de minimus category, so while I (as I said) won’t use it again, my conclusion remains “so what?”

                I think the issue is possible other misinterpretations and follow up misquotes. If a misquote comes to be believed, then another slight misquote may come to be believed, etc… Do that enough, and we end up with Thomas Jefferson being anti-separation of church and state.

                Sure, we could go back and find the chain of misquotes, but that’s more effort later, and some people won’t believe that the quote is fake. Look at David Barton’s history of repeating fake quotes and misrepresenting quotes of the U.S. founders and early politicians.

                The benefit of the fake quote over actual quotes is miniscule, so it’s not worth the possible compounded risk.

                • I agree with this completely. I just think this issue is not the best place to raise it, and Goebbels is the least sympathetic victim imaginable. Fred Shapiro, he editor of the Yale Book of Quotations has said (if I’m quoting him correctly) that when you look into it, the author of almost every famous quote is “Anonymous.”

                  • and Goebbels is the least sympathetic victim imaginable.

                    To paraphrase any number of philosophers:
                    * What you do the least of us, you do to all of us/me.
                    * If you aren’t willing to defend the rights of the horrible, then you don’t actually believe in those rights.
                    * What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

                    Otherwise, I’m generally with you, but I think quoting anonymous is much better than allowing the appeal to authority that’s often intended with fake attributions.

                    • All true—and that does supply a noble motive for those who come to the rescue of slurred creeps,one which may be neutral and legitimate. Do I believe that’s why Ann Coulter flags exaggerations about McCarthy? I really don’t.

                      Of course, I didn’t use the Goebbels quote to appeal to authority. Some authority.

                • I had, literally, only read two of his comments and one of yours. In that tiny sub-discussion, I was 100% with him and his argument. Now that I’ve read more, and put that sub-discussion in context, he’s a bit less similar than I thought.

    • “…evil people usually don’t realize that they’re evil.” Don’t kid yourself. Pedro Lopez, Richard Ramirez, Carl Panzram, Albert Fish, they all knew and said they knew what they were doing. Lopez gloried in the fact that he’d be remembered as the most prolific serial killer of all. Ramirez joked with a neighbor how interesting it would be if it turned out he was the Night Stalker. Carl Panzram openly said of a young victim “his brains were coming out of his ears when I left him, and he will never be any deader,: and “I don’t believe in man, God, nor Devil.” Albert Fish wrote the families of his victims taunting letters about how he had killed and eaten children. Lenin talked openly of Western idealists who embraced Communism as “useful idiots,” and his ramrod Dzerzhinsky, first head of the Cheka (which later evolved into the KGB) said “we are in the business of state terror.” You might want to rethink a few things.

        • No, I did not. Most people aren’t truly evil. Most people aren’t truly good either, even those who achieve great things. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, with basically good intentions but also flaws. That makes most people human, not evil. Most folks who perform wrong acts know what they are doing is wrong on some level, but they rationalize it or justify it. That’s not being evil, only committing a wrong act, and then perhaps compounding it by rationalizing it.

          Truly evil people, those who commit wrong acts knowing they are wrong and don’t even bother thinking right or wrong or who take glee or glory in those wrong acts, are few and far between, thankfully, but most of them know damn well what they are doing and even embrace it.

          • Truly evil people, those who commit wrong acts knowing they are wrong and don’t even bother thinking right or wrong or who take glee or glory in those wrong acts, are few and far between, thankfully, but most of them know damn well what they are doing and even embrace it.

            Then it seems that your disagreement with me comes down to empty semantics – by your definition a man could commit genocide and nevertheless fail to be an evil person, if he sincerely believed that he was doing the world a favour. That’s obviously not the definition of “evil people” I was using when I explained my reason for doubting the veracity of the Goebbels quote.

  5. “Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.”

    this statement is clearly self-contradictory,.

    If the whole 77 cent were true, women would make up all of the work force.

    • Really? Are you saying that there would magically be 8 times the number of women able to be software engineers? When people think the free market is magic, you get statements like this.

      • I think his point was that if companies could actually pay women 23% less than men, they would always employ women. In practise, in Canada you can employ ‘temporary foreign workers’ for less than minimum wage. The moment our government opened the door on cheaper than minimum labor, the program stopped being about fixing temporary labor shortages, and all about cost saving strategies.

        Michael’s point (and I can’t believe I’m agreeing with him) is that if the 77 cent statistic was accurate, there would be 0 female unemployment, because savvy businesses would be chomping at the bit to save on labor.

        • If a company can make $10/hour on a man and $15/hour on a woman, they would prefer to hire women, but that wouldn’t keep them from filling a spot with a man. If it did, they would lose $10/hour while hunting for a female candidate… one they might not find. We’re also speaking in generalities here. That women, in general, are underpaid does not mean that any specific woman is underpaid.

          What you are suggesting is free market magic. Good luck with that.

          • That’s what passes as a refutation with you these days?

            Anyone involved in any hiring process knows that companies do not rush to fill key money making positions. They look and look and look for the *least expensive* *most qualified* candidate, taking sometimes months to fill the role. Given the population of this nation, it wouldn’t be harder to see a statistical lean towards hiring more women over men if the statistic were accurate.

            That it does not occur, strongly implies the statistic is grossly inaccurate.

            • Depends on the field and the position. Some vacancies can sit open for years, others need to be filled ASAP. Still others create more benefit the more of them are filled. In contracting, the more hired people the better. A company would be stupid o pass on the $10/hour employee when they could also hire the $15/hour employee down the road.

              In retail, customer support, food service, teaching, and twins of other jobs, leaving a position open can mean not getting the work done and falling profits. Most jobs are low skill, gotta fill positions, not wide-ranging candidate searches.

              • So, in other words, your initial refutation is even shakier than before since there are too many factors to consider, thus weakening its concreteness as a refutation.

                The point of the matter is, with the VOLUME of potential workers, the outcomes, IF THE $.77 stat were accurate, would be noticeable. It is not.

                Regardless of the position to be filled, be it low-skill-gotta-fill, high-skill-gotta-fill, low-skill-not-urgent, high-skill-not-urgent, there would be a proportionate amount of candidates seeking the jobs. I don’t think categorizing them thusly negates the statistical outcome.

                • So, in other words, your initial refutation is even shakier than before since there are too many factors to consider, thus weakening its concreteness as a refutation.

                  Uh, what? I can’t see the logic you use to get here. How do many factors involved in the free market make my refutation any worse? The free market is still not magic.

                  The point of the matter is, with the VOLUME of potential workers, the outcomes, IF THE $.77 stat were accurate, would be noticeable. It is not.

                  I’m pretty sure there’s a very strong correlation between thinking men and women are equally capable with thinking men and women should be compensated equally well. Where are these magical all women companies going to come from? People who think men and women are equal, but think they should exploit women? That’s a pretty small demographic.

                  Jack had a good example of this. He did hire women over men as a [I can’t think of the rest of the term that means something that can be used for gain if you understand it, like moneyball. market ____?]. But then he raised their pay when he could. I suspect that this happens here and there, and is what you should expect to see.

                  • 1. Your Confusion

                    Uh, what? I can’t see the logic you use to get here. How do many factors involved in the free market make my refutation any worse? The free market is still not magic.”

                    Lemme show you, stick with it.

                    (16 April, 5:44 PM) Humble paraphrase:

                    1) If women cost 23% less than men, then women would be employed on a larger scale than men.
                    2) Women are NOT employed on a larger scale than men (commensurate with 23% less expense).
                    3) Therefore, women do not cost 23% less than men.

                    (16 April, 6:47 PM) TGT paraphrase:

                    You left out a timeliness factor, companies can’t always wait for least expensive option.

                    1) If most companies can’t wait to find the cheapest candidate, they hire more expensive options.
                    2) Most companies can’t wait to find the cheapest option.
                    3) Therefore, they hire more expensive options.

                    Also, you are describing the Free Market in terms of aggregations of voluminous statistics, which would show patterns in the long run. Good luck with that. (your daft “magic” comment)

                    (16 April, 11:56 PM) texagg04 paraphrase:

                    Actually, despite some companies rushing to fill position, most companies often do take their time in candidate selection.

                    1) IF the vast population of this nation allows for describing the Free Market in terms of aggregations of voluminous statistics which show patterns in the long run, THEN assertions based on those statistics can be validated by the patterns.
                    2) “If Women cost 23% less than men, then women would be employed on a larger scale” is an assertion based on those stastics.
                    3) The assertion can be validated/invalidated by the patterns.

                    LEADING TO:

                    1) If women cost 23% less than men, then women would be employed on a larger scale than men.
                    2) Women are NOT employed on a larger scale than men (commensurate with 23% less expense).
                    3) Therefore, women do not cost 23% less than men.

                    QED, Humble’s assertion is still valid. Your refutation was not, and actually relied on generalizing to the greater population of hiring authorities the notion that they won’t wait for the *least expensive* *most valuable* candidate. That is a hasty generalization, and the flaw in your refutation.

                    (17 April 3:24 AM) TGT exact:
                    Here you double down on your outlier that you hastily generalized. Essentially admitting it by discussing several hiring scenarios.

                    “Depends on the field and the position. Some vacancies can sit open for years, others need to be filled ASAP. Still others create more benefit the more of them are filled. In contracting, the more hired people the better. A company would be stupid o pass on the $10/hour employee when they could also hire the $15/hour employee down the road.

                    In retail, customer support, food service, teaching, and twins of other jobs, leaving a

                    position open can mean not getting the work done and falling profits. Most jobs are low

                    skill, gotta fill positions, not wide-ranging candidate searches.”

                    (17 April 12:15) texagg04 paraphrase:
                    So, you reassert the hasty generalization, and describe even further how it is a hasty generalization…“in other words, your initial refutation is even shakier than before since there are too many factors to consider.”

                    Again, still valid:
                    1) If women cost 23% less than men, then women would be employed on a larger scale than men.
                    2) Women are NOT employed on a larger scale than men (commensurate with 23% less expense).
                    3) Therefore, women do not cost 23% less than men.

                    Regardless of the position to be filled, be it low-skill-gotta-fill, high-skill-gotta-fill,

                    low-skill-not-urgent, high-skill-not-urgent, there would be a proportionate amount of

                    candidates seeking the jobs. I don’t think categorizing them thusly negates the statistical

                    outcome.

                    2. Diversion

                    “The point of the matter is, with the VOLUME of potential workers, the outcomes, IF THE $.77 stat were accurate, would be noticeable. It is not.” -texagg04

                    “I’m pretty sure there’s a very strong correlation between thinking men and women are equally capable with thinking men and women should be compensated equally well. Where are these magical all women companies going to come from? People who think men and women are equal, but think they should exploit women? That’s a pretty small demographic.” -TGT

                    What?

                    Yeah, people who see EXACTLY equal candidates believe they should be roughly equivalently compensated. Ok… how does that address my comment? Also, how does that lead to the women-only comment. We’ve been saying this entire time that the market would show a massive trend towards hiring women if they were indeed significantly less expensive. But that trend is not present. So….

                    “He did hire women over men as a [I can’t think of the rest of the term that means something that can be used for gain if you understand it, like moneyball. market ____?].”

                    Sabrmetric?

                    “But then he raised their pay when he could. I suspect that this happens here and there, and is what you should expect to see.

                    So, women in these hypothetical companies you use to refute Humble end up paying the women more equitably to the men?

                    What’s your issue with the Free Market again?

                    • 1) You are still relying on the free market being magic. The free market, as an idea, and assuming no biases, would lead to a given result, in general, over an infinite amount of time. In 30 years of supposed equality? Nope. Where resumes are still judged to be worse (by both men and women) when they have a female name? Not a chance. You seem to think the large size of the market makes it likely we’d see the gap. In reality, the size of the market suggests it would take Longer for the inefficiency to filter out. There are 32 professional baseball teams. How many years did it take for moneyball to catch on? There are hundreds of thousands of business that are not centrally connected. Expecting an inefficiency to even out in 30 years is magical thinking.

                      2) “Diversion”

                      I’m confused here. I don’t see a diversion. You think that if there was a market inefficiency where women were worth more than their cost, then there would be an obvious trend to hire women. I pointed out that the people who recognize that women are just as good as men are people who wouldn’t want to exploit women. The people who see the unethical pay levels are the same people as would not unethically take advantage of them. Or would only do so in the short term.

                      2b) Missing word.

                      I meant market inefficiency.

                      2c) Problem with free market

                      So, women in these hypothetical companies you use to refute Humble end up paying the women more equitably to the men?

                      Not: “more equitably to the men.” I suspect you meant “equitably to the men.” That I’d agree with.

                      The problem comes that these people are not the majority by any means. The problems with the free market are manifold. First, it does not tend toward egalitarianism. There needs to be equality of power and information for that to occur, and those don’t exist. In reality, if given its head, the free market leads to a feudal system. Second, even if there was equality of power and information, the free market would only be good on a grand scale. It doesn’t correct injustices that are of minor scale, and in an economy of 300 million people where millions of people enter the workforce every year, hundreds of thousands of people are minor scale. The free market, even at it’s best, does not stop individuals businesses from treating their employees, their local customers, and the earth’s resources like shit.

                    • 1) Your “free market magic” nonsense is debunked. repeating it is supposedly below your tactics. Apparently not. If, however, your assertions are correct, then the 23% income difference would be reality. It is not. Simple modus tollens. But feel free to repeat yourself again. I doubt you won’t.

                      2) Then by that explanation it isn’t a diversion, just a fanciful pretend defense. Aggregate stats TGT will show trends. Employers will seek the greatest value to cost ratio, and will seek ways to reduce costs. It’s so painfully simple, you have to play make believe, in the voluminous hiring transactions, to believe trends reflecting reality won’t be present.

                      Sad, to be this truly deluded.

                      3) (2b) The free market leads to a feudal system? Wow, your spin must be truly elaborate to make that connection. Please do me a favor and read about the feudal system (one of the most commanded economies in history, given the era it was part of) before popping off with that nonsense… even read from a source like Wikipedia… please… I beg you.

                      Your second point borders on straw-reaching and rambling.

                      Your final point forgets the free market works both ways.

                • I missed the second part:

                  Regardless of the position to be filled, be it low-skill-gotta-fill, high-skill-gotta-fill, low-skill-not-urgent, high-skill-not-urgent, there would be a proportionate amount of candidates seeking the jobs. I don’t think categorizing them thusly negates the statistical outcome.

                  Skill split is not the only split. Retail workers that are all hired at minimum wage? Whether it’s high need, or low need, the first viable candidate gets hired. There is also the issue that if you swap the gender of names on resumes, the male gendered names are considered more highly than the female gendered names by both males AND females. That unconscious bias works directly against the market force that should lead to women being hired over men.

                  Citations for the unconscious bias:
                  * Science Faculty: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/09/14/1211286109.full.pdf
                  * General Acadamia: http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/perdita/GenderBias/
                  * Judgeships: http://aler.oxfordjournals.org/content/11/1/112.abstract
                  * Orchestras: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.90.4.715

                  Entertainingly, both sexes are biased against women in most industries (the exception is traditionally stereotyped female jobs, e.g. nurses, teachers, secretaries, etc…, where there is a lesser bias against men)

        • Lets’ not get into whether women are underpaid…that’s a different issue. If men are being paid more for doing the same job, for whatever reason, including seniority, there is a valid argument that the woman is underpaid, but that doesn’t mean she is being discriminated against because of GENDER. She may be getting a lower salary because of seniority, or experience, or credentials, or because she works harder than her male counterpart, but the issue isn’t underpayment, but compensation discrimination due to gender.

          Running a small staff at a National association, I ended up hiring all women, because that was the best way to hire the best staff within my small budget. I set a salary that I could afford and sought certain skills and experience. The men with those qualifications wouldn’t take the job at those salaries. The women would. Was I engaging in gender discrimination? Who was being harmed, exactly? As soon as I could afford to pay the women more, I did.

              • Uh huh. Repeating this generality doesn’t advance the discussion.

                You do accidentally bring up a something important, though: intentionality is irrelevant to whether or not there’s a problem. Unconscious sexism is still sexism. Good intentions don’t trump bad actions.

    • This is another good point. Women sometimes take jobs away from men because they WILL work for less. Somehow, I don’t hear this same argument being used to claim illegal immigrant workers are underpaid….although they are.

  6. Jack,

    Do I really need to count the problems in your post? Let’s start with statistical cherry picking. You are cherry picking a study which cherry picked a specific sub-study. If one study was as low as 5%, I bet other studies were much higher. Claiming that it’s 5%, or likely lower, is not supported by your evidence

    I’d respond to the specific 5% study and the methodology of the general study of studies, but I’m having difficulty finding references. There are a million copies of a pdf with that information, but I can’t find the actual source material. Of the people who reference this 5% claim and this pdf, I can’t find anyone who links to or references the underlying studies. They’re just taken as rote…much like the 77% number.

    Any chance you can help me find the source information to convince me of its accuracy? That this isn’t an outlier? That the study of studies doesn’t everything right? That this isn’t misapplication of a true statistic (like teaching, where pay is often directly tied to years experience and degrees)?

    I can’t say it’s definitely not right, but it sure sounds like it’s an outerbound outlier, and my lack of being able to find the source is a huge red flag.

    • Found it. A report prepared by a conservative group for a conservative administration that has serious known errors. Barry ripped it previously:
      http://amptoons.com/blog/2010/11/26/how-the-consad-report-on-the-wage-gap-masks-sexism-instead-of-measuring-it/

      I think the key part in Barry’s post is that the consad report includes part time workers, but doesn’t control for the fact that part time workers are more often female than male. The time worked and sex variables are not disambiguated.

      Aside from Barry’s critiques, I see no explanation of how the underlying studies were chosen. Did I miss that, or was it not actually explained? Pick the right outliers and a meta-study can say anything.

      • The point of a proper comparison is to compare apples to apples. It doesn’t matter if they controlled for part time, or if they control for full time, so long as at the end of the day, they compare two people with the same amount of education and experience in the same field. Controlling for part time makes sense, because these studies rely on averages, and because part time people work odd hours, averaging them properly becomes needlessly complicated.

        The way they got the .77 cent figure is by taking the average wage of every man and every woman, regardless of education, experience or occupation and compared them. Fifteen years ago. The number isn’t current, by any standard, and it’s a dishonest figure on it’s face. You want to argue against the 5% figure? Find someone other than a pundit to quote.

        The problem with this lie is that it ALWAYS focuses one-way. You want to talk about the glass ceiling? OK. How about the glass cellar? Women tend not to take janitorial jobs or waste management jobs, even though they pay well relative to other non skilled labor jobs. If we want to talk about equality, then we really should be talking about how to get women into crap jobs too, right? You want to talk about a 23% wage gap? I want to talk about a 96% workplace fatality gap. This discussion is too complex to boil down to a single statistic.

        • The point of a proper comparison is to compare apples to apples. It doesn’t matter if they controlled for part time, or if they control for full time, so long as at the end of the day, they compare two people with the same amount of education and experience in the same field. Controlling for part time makes sense, because these studies rely on averages, and because part time people work odd hours, averaging them properly becomes needlessly complicated. I think you missed the point. The study doesn’t compare part time to part time and full time to full time. It mixes the time variable with the gender variable and says the difference is based on time, not gender.

          If we want to talk about equality, then we really should be talking about how to get women into crap jobs too, right? Are you suggesting that maid jobs aren’t crap jobs?

          I want to talk about a 96% workplace fatality gap. This discussion is too complex to boil down to a single statistic.

          The fatality gap is a valid discussion, but it has no place in the discussion of the validity of the CONSAD study.

          • Fatality Gap is a valid discussion. I know you leftists tend to get hung up on materialism only and therefore will cherry pick away any other considerations than so-called “pay inequality”. But no, if we’re discussing equality, then any effect of a job on the worker counts for consideration.

            You don’t get to toss it away.

            And you especially don’t get to pretend like Humble Talent’s comment about “Crap Jobs” wasn’t in direct reference to the “Fatality Gap”. I see you are up to your old tricks.

            • Tex,

              Applicability of the fatality gap:

              I explicitly said the fatality gap was valid to the larger argument. Its still invalid in this sub thread about the validity of the CONSAD report that yielded the 5% pay gap number. I think you misread me.

              crap jobs:

              Humble referred to waste management and janitorial jobs as crap jobs. I think maid is a direct parallel. The fatality comment seems to me to be separate from the crap job comment.

              If Humble meant as you said, then you are right that my comparison wouldn’t apply.

              Political affiliation:

              I don’t see how my general liberalness is relevant to this argument. Was that an attempted ad hominem attack?

              • Crap Jobs

                The point is the WHOLE paragraph is one thought.

                Political Affiliation

                Not an ad hominem, not designed to refute the argument. The comment lays the groundwork for understanding how you can be confused on a topic.

                • Crap Jobs

                  Neither waste management jobs nor janitorial jobs have high fatality rates. The paragraph was about the glass cellar and poor jobs. High fatality rates were part of that supposed glass cellar, but the example jobs used were just of, literally, shitty jobs. Maids are a direct parallel to those bottom end employments.

                  Political Affiliation
                  Thanks for the clarification. I tend to see “leftist” (as used in the U.S.) as a slur, generally comparable to “wing-nut,” but that might be a bias in my sources of information.

              • Sorry about the bolding mistake. I was doing it on my phone. That’s also why it’s now taken me longer to respond here. I was without computer internet, and realized I needed it to keep myself from missing things.

    • Actually, please…

      “count the problems in [his] post”.

      I find this toss off intro on the internet tired and typically unfounded. I don’t doubt you can twist a few ‘problems’ into Jack’s post, but please, don’t resort to worn out, high school, discussion intros like “I could count all the problems, but won’t (because I really can’t find anymore and am hoping you won’t call me on it after reading the following)

  7. **Obama DID use the fake statistic, but was just sneaky about it: Equal Pay Day only “marks the extra time the average woman has to work into a new year to earn what a man earned the year before” if you apply and misconstrue the “77 cents on the dollar” falsehood.**

    This is an absolutely terrific point, and it deserves amplification.

    • Maybe not as terrific as I thought (I’ve been working on amplifying the point). Obama did use the 77-cent stat, and (as far as I can tell), Kessler acknowledges it in his fact check. And that leaves the mystery as to how the number of Pinocchios can drop by two for essentially the same statement. The key deception occurs with the implication that the pay gap occurs as a result of discrimination instead of other factors. Obama certainly seems to take advantage of that deception with his “Equal Pay Day” statement.

      Kessler does make an error very nearly matching the one you suggest, Jack, at the end of his piece. He says Obama’s did a better job on the gender gap with his weekly radio address. It’s in that case where he omits explicit mention of the 77-cent figure, though it’s clearly implied by Obama’s reference to “Equal Pay Day.” Obama also strongly implied the gap exists comparing equal work. It’s hard to see why Kessler would call that an improvement.

  8. Pingback: An 'Equal Pay Day' Glennocchio Zebra Fact Check

  9. I will acknowledge that the 77 cents bumper sticker rhetoric is aggravating, but I have equal aggravation with your analysis on this issue — which I have seen time and time again. There absolutely is true wage gender-based discrimination happening, it’s just a more complicated question and nobody is looking at it correctly.

    Let’s take the practice of law at a large firm — something that I know quite a bit about. A very small percentage of partners are women — and this is true nationwide, even though law schools are churning out slightly more female graduates these days and law firms are hiring young female attorneys in droves. So why the disparity in the leadership ranks?

    First, some women absolutely decide to put their careers in the back seat and become the primary caregivers for their children. No question there. BUT, there also are a large number of women who get “mommy-tracked” whether they want to be or not. If a female attorney has a child, partners often presume that she will be unwilling to travel, do trial prep, do client development, and generally work long hours, so that attorney will not get the plum assignments. And, without working those assignments, she is not going to get the same bonus as the man who did. Wage discrimination. Then, you follow that up with the fact that an associate will never make partner unless she is working these high visibility tasks — and the difference between partner and associate can be hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single year. Wage discrimination.

    “Mommy-tracked” has become such a feared designation in law firms that many female attorneys lie about their intentions of having children and wait to make partner first. That’s risky though. Absent skipping years of school and jumping straight from law school to a firm, a person is usually 35 before he/she is even eligible for partner. Thirty-five charmingly also is the magic age for when fertility really starts to drop off, so many female partners end up unable to conceive. And for those female partners who do have children, they then have to earn back the trust of the partners they lied to — or attempt to pass off the pregnancy as unplanned. Some female attorneys take little to no maternity leave (even though just about every firm offers it) and clearly announce that they will hire a day nanny, a night nanny, a cook, and/or a housekeeper in the hopes that they will continue to receive important work.

    Other women who never want children still end up mommy-tracked because male partners often assume that they eventually will, so it is better to assign male attorneys to that anticipated 3 year long litigation — just in case. Many women leave law firms in frustration well before making partner because of being mommy-tracked and end up taking government or corporate legal positions.

    Before your commenters tear this apart, I’ll note that just about every Am Law 100 firm acknowledges that this is a serious problem and most have committees focused on educating partners (who again are mostly male) not to mommy-track female attorneys. (I served on one of them actually.) Better firms have hired a diversity counsel/partner whose sole job is mentoring associates so good talent does not leave or get overlooked. Some firms are doing this for altruistic reasons but others are doing it for fiscal ones as many of their corporate clients are demanding minimum levels of diversity (gender and race).

    What’s really frustrating about what is happening at Big Law is that many female attorneys are married to other professionals (often attorneys) but the presumption is that the woman will “naturally” want to be the primary caregiver. Conversely, other married female attorneys are, in fact, the primary breadwinners for their families, but they still have to go out of their way to convince their employers that they won’t leave just because they have decided to have a child. Certainly in my generation, BOTH parents are just as committed to to raising their children and splitting up family obligations, yet the presumption remains that the woman will be doing most of it. So the female attorneys get mommy-tracked but few male attorneys get daddy-tracked.

    So, this is the type of scenario I think of when I hear about wage discrimination. As with most social issues — the answer is: “It’s complicated.” Unfortunately, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats apparently are able or willing to discuss this intelligently. And — in any event — given the complexity of wage discrimination in the United States, I cannot fathom how legislation can help as each situation is so fact-specific.

    • A very small percentage of partners are women — and this is true nationwide, even though law schools are churning out slightly more female graduates these days and law firms are hiring young female attorneys in droves. So why the disparity in the leadership ranks?

      Because a firm that puts a recent grad in a leadership position is one that probably doesn’t have any clients left? Just a guess here.

          • It’s quite high — but that’s still not the right question. Some firms, you get fired if you don’t make partner in your 8th year. So, if someone has been mommy-tracked, they most definitely will leave by year 8 as it is easier to find a legal job while you still have one. Other firms will create “counsel” or “special counsel” roles for senior associates who don’t make partner. Also, if you are going to leave Big Law (regardless of gender), you usually do it by year 6 as corporations like attorneys who have big law experience, but not too much experience that you are set in your ways. Most attorneys get the nod (or have enough smarts to know on their own) whether or not they are on partnership track by year 5 or 6.

        • A lie, Beth. Just say it, because that’s what it is, and how it’s being used. And the bias against female law partners is bipartisan, and not a matter for national lawmaking. it’s social and structural. A great example of where ethics rather than laws are needed.

          • Yes, the 77% statistic is a lie. As is your cherry picking of the 5% statistic. This seems like an appropriate time to call hypocrisy.

            • Yes, and more importantly, why are both sides just calling each other “liar”? Why don’t we discuss real wage discrimination? It exists — and it is widespread — but it is hard to identify when it comes to white collar jobs that are not paid by the hour. So, because the discussion is complicated, it is much easier for the Democrats to just flame the debate with a made-up statistic and for the Republicans to deny that it happens or claim that any wage disparity is due to female choice. Unbelievable.

              • I’ve never heard anyone claim that the entire disparity is due to choice, but I know for a fact, as do you, that a lot of it is. And that straight up discrimination where the only difference besides salary is gender is already illegal. And I know an office where the men are paid less than women, and a theater where gays discriminated against straights. So what? What’s your magic solution, other than just passing a feel-good, badly conceived law that will launch a million dubious lawsuits?

                • Some, not a lot, has to do with choice. The solution is education in the corporate environment. Obviously each industry is different and presents its own challenges, but the bottom line is that it is hard for women to break into the C-suite in any company because executives (who are mostly men) fear that women will decide to use their uteri in a way that could harm the company. As a result, few women are given the same opportunities that the men are in order to develop the skill set needed to enter the C-suite, thus there are fewer women qualified enough to even apply for those jobs. Also, your overly broad “choice” explanation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If a woman’s career is taking a backseat because she is competent but isn’t being targeted for upward management, then she will decide to focus more on the family and allow her husband to focus on his own career. So, she either stalls out in mid-management or puts herself on a completely different career path than intended.

                  At the end of the day, as a society we want (and need) the smart people to reproduce — the smart stay-at-home moms and the smart women professionals. Once companies start seeing “parenting” as a job outside of work that both men and women participate in, the wage discrimination will start correcting itself. But right now it is still seen as a problem that only women have. And this results in rampant wage discrimination.

                  • I have a different theory, which is not relevant to ethics. I don’t think there has been a sufficiently clear and successful “female leadership model,” and to the extent there is any leadership model disproportionately favored by women, it is regarded as a weak and ineffective one–“consensus management”. I think this blocks executive progress–and trust– as much as anything else. So does the fact that men, on average, are more aggressive, and women who are as aggressive as men are deemed by men and other women, in many cases, as unattractive and divisive. More successful role models will help, but if the end result is Nancy Pelosi and Hillary in leadership roles, that’s not progress, either in perception or reality. The problems are complex, and I’m all for fixing them, but it won’t be fixed by fake statistics.

                    Here’s an example: stage directors. There are 10X as many male professional stage directors as women working, maybe more. Why is that? 1) Not as many women go into the field (because the hurdles are ridiculous, including bias) 2) a lot of women who do try it either are dictators (the male model) or too passive. And, as in trial law, a young attractive woman is seen as weak by many men, so the bias favors older, unattractive women, who are considered sexless. Go ahead, fix that with a law. And “77 cents” neither describes it, explains it, or assists in solving it. It just divides the electorate…which is the objective. Bringing us back to the Big Lie…

                    • The “consensus management model” is something that all women need to avoid. I mentor younger women against that all the time in my industry. I disagree with you though about the attractiveness quotient — at least in my experience (which does not involve theater management). The most successful women that I have seen are attractive, in fact they are very attractive — but they all act like men. I’ve constantly been told that I act like a man, and that’s probably why I have been successful in negotiating position and salary from my (always) male senior leadership. But it does irk me that I have to wear heels, a dress, and full make-up while I frequently see my male counterparts in loafers and no tie. And, as a woman in a leadership role, I don’t expect employees (male or female) to have to bargain for their positions, title, salary, etc. I recommend all of those things based on what I think they are worth — but perhaps that is the female side of my brain talking.

                      I do want our leaders to be talking about wage disparity — legislation can’t fix it any more than it already has, but it does help drive discussion and solutions. If only somebody would talk about it rationally.

                    • 1.”but they all act like men.” Yes—if they don’t look like men, they act like mne, and that’s a a VERY old model, going back to Queen Elizabeth I.
                      2. “consensus management model”—once, while looking for an executive position, I interviewed as Exec for a non-profit run by an all female board of 10, who actually said that if I was going to be considered, I had to agree to their “consensus management” approach. I said, “You are doomed if that is how you think about management, and thanks, but I don’t want to be part of the train wreck to come.” And I walked out.
                      3. I believe both parties would talk about it if a) women didn’t allow themselves to be pigeon-holed as knee-jerk Democrats, and 2) if it wasn’t framed as an “us vs them” issue with malice presumed.

                    • “It just divides the electorate…which is the objective. Bringing us back to the Big Lie…”

                      The modus operandi for pushing a century now.

            • Your first comeback foul, a false equivalency at that, ! The 5% was not my stat, and I didn’t “cherrypick it.” I gave the source and the link, and used it to point out that the 77% is inaccurate and misleading and obviously do, not to makes any special point about the 5%. And comparing my openly discussing the discrepancy in an open forum is noy on the same planet as the President of the US repeatedly using an untrue stat and calling it shameful.

              You’re supposed to be a truth teller. Why are you throwing up sand?

              • The 5% was not my stat, and I didn’t “cherrypick it.”

                Really? The 5% stat was the far extreme found in a study of studies. How is that not cherry picking? Everything else in the study of studies showed a larger wage gap. As for saying it’s not your stat, you claimed: “Even the five cents probably overstates the role of discrimination.” You are more extreme then the most extreme value you could find on the matter. Argh.

                I did not say that your lie is as bad as the President’s lie. His is worse because of his position. Ignoring position though, You both are blatant liars on this topic.

          • Yes — see what I wrote above. “And — in any event — given the complexity of wage discrimination in the United States, I cannot fathom how legislation can help as each situation is so fact-specific.”

            • And that would suggest, based on integrity, that you would be opposed to the “pass legislation or be shamed camp,” and side with Republicans, if the party labels were irrelevant. The Republican denials are in the context of “this demands legislation now!” and “you’re to blame for the problem,” both bullshit. If it doesn’t involve policy, the discussion wouldn’t take place, and you acknowledge that the problem can’t be addressed by policy: look at that progressive, caring White House gender disparity. So the “both parties are wrong” argument is a dodge to avoid admitting the fact: the issue is a cynical tactic, and that’s all it is.

              • Well, yes — this is the politics-as-usual problem which I (time and time again) have said that I loathe. Reason No. 1 that I will never enter into politics.

                  • You leave it to people like me

                    Speaking of politics, I’m off in a few hours to go tweet the nose of my Mayor (Jim Ardis of Peoria, IL).

                    I have issues with authority on my best days. Make that authority thuggish to boot, and we have a real and true problem brewing.

                    Swear words will very likely be used. Should be quite a show.

                  • I’ve mentioned it before. It’s time to try the experiment, however unwieldy it may be, to quadruple the House of Representatives. Decreasing both the Cost of election and the relative Power each elected official garners, will inevitably reduce the attraction to those interested in Power…

                    (oh, also, give the Senate back to the States).

                    (oh, also, quit making every damned political topic a National issue… Federalized government WORKS)

                  • Bingo. Every honest intelligent person I know would never dream of entering politics.

                    A good start would be getting the money out of campaigning. I don’t know of a constitutional way of making that happen though.

                    • The problem isn’t money.

                      The problem is:

                      a) representation

                      b) the level of government at which we currently insist on solving all problems

                      c) the plethora of issues we think is the governments problem to solve

                    • I don’t think it’s possible to disagree with you more about the money piece. As long as you have politicians (on both sides) having to court billionaires, corporate money, and special interests to win elections, their votes and appointments will reflect those interests.

                      Regarding representation, my solution would be to keep the numbers where they are now but to remove all districting within the states. So, if your state has 11 representatives, the 11 people with the most votes (regardless of political affiliation or location) becomes a state representative.

                    • The problem isn’t money. The problem is representation.

                      If seat X costs $100,000 to campaign for, and only candidates Y & Z are willing to compromise themselves for $100,000, then candidates A, B, C, & D who can only afford a $10,000 campaign are pretty much unheard by the voting populace. Never mind if their views are more representative of the constituencies.

                      If seat X is broken down into 10 seats, market forces still present, each seat now costs $10,000 to campaign for. Now, wealthy donor, may choose to divide his donation up, making each candidate he backs run a $10,000 campaign… but guess what, the less wealthy candidates A, B, C, & D can also ALL run campaigns are competitive and publicized.

                      Also

                      “The problem isn’t money.

                      The problem is:

                      a) representation

                      b) the level of government at which we currently insist on solving all problems

                      c) the plethora of issues we think is the governments problem to solve”

                      Solve B & C from that list, and you’ll also see your “money” issue evaporate.

                    • Also, the inherent problem with the “money buys representatives” chimera, is that in the end, votes still count.

                      If Evil Corporation Z gives $10,000,000,000,000,000,000 to candidate X, but 51% of voters think candidate Y’s ideas are better or think that Evil Corporation Z is awful, then candidate X doesn’t win.

                      So until voters start caring about certain “bought and paid for” policies, then apparently they are popular…

                      Which leads to my concerns listed above under letters B & C, about what is and isn’t government business and what should or shouldn’t be handled at the national level…

                    • Your math doesn’t necessarily play out. If I have $1 M to waste on electing my minions, and I only need to spend $100,000 to buy one seat, I am only going to spend $100,000. If it turns out that 10 minion slots are available (woo hoo — maybe I can dress them all in identical jumpsuits James Bond villain-style), whether those minions cost $10,000 each or $100,000 each, I can still buy them all. And the market/lobbying forces at work here have lots of dough to spend on this — whether or not the price goes up.

                      And the reason why money matters is that money buys ads and the uneducated voter tends to vote for who the TV tells them to vote for. Money matters.

                      And B and C don’t necessarily play into this all that much. Certainly there will always be voters who let their thoughts on specific issues (abortion, death penalty, ACA, etc.) determine their vote, but most: 1) hold their party line; or 2) go where the wind is blowing.

                    • Actually, my assessment does play out.

                      Your counter-assertion would envision a world of Evil Corporations whose pockets are bottomless. They aren’t.

                      The reason we know that the amount of money spent is pretty well close to it’s peak is simple market forces. They are willing to spend that much and their opposition is willing to spend that much. If they were willing to spend more, they would already, if it supposedly ensures “victory”.

                      Knowing that, then in my hypothetical, that splitting the seats does not mean competing donors spend more…because they don’t have more.

                      Of course money buys TV spots and ads, etc. No one said it doesn’t…not sure how mentioning that affects the discussion.

                      B&C make all the difference. If every damned topic wasn’t politicized, there would be very much less to use to “buy opinions” and “buy representation”. If every damned topic that is politicized wasn’t made a national issue (as is the trend these days), then there would be much less incentive to dump money into those issues.

                    • Again, that is simply not true. Bottomless supplies of money DO NOT exist. Where there is a lot of money, market forces still affect them.

                      1) In the case of individual donors, market forces really affect them.

                      2) In the case of activist groups, they draw their money from millions of people, in which case, I don’t see an issue with their amount of money…because millions of people IS democracy (in simple terms). But even these groups DO NOT HAVE bottomless supplies of money to buy representatives, because again (since you ignored this logic before) in the end the VOTES still count, not the money.

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