Top Bottom Middle Smart
March 27, 2010 1 Comment
- Seth Roberts on top and bottom versus middle.
I predict that someday someone in the American government (top) will realize that a way to greatly improve health care is to empower patients (bottom) against doctors (middle).
To avoid confusion, let me point out that in this terminology the middle class are the ‘bottom’. The problem we face right now is that our government sides with the ‘middle’ (doctors, bureaucrats) against the ‘bottom’.
To be fair, most leftists probably think they are siding with the ‘bottom’ when they support things like government-regulated health care. But it’s also fair to point out that the fact that the end result is to empower and enrich leftists on the ‘top’ is not mere coincidence. You will notice that there are no leftist ideas that crucially involve disempowering powerful leftists in government and bureaucracy and devolving power to regular people.
- Old (~2 weeks is old in blogging terms) but still great, the generic movie trailer via Jim Emerson:
- Geekiest thing I’ve seen in a while, these are the voyages of the microscopic Enterprise.
- You need to read this post from (again) Seth Roberts. If I’m reading correctly, he (a blogger) basically cured a 5 year old girl of coughing fits that were ruining her childhood. By blogging.
- Russ Roberts has the most optimistic or at least, least pessimistic take on the health care bill that I find credible. It starts by pointing out (if not in so many words) that the setup we currently have is basically already socialized:
It is a nominally “private” system but the hand of government is the dog, not even the tail that wags the dog. Given the role of medicare reimbursment, and the tax-advantaging of generous private plans, there is very little room left for the invisible hand. The simple way to say it is that too little health care is currently paid for out of pocket. The patient is not the customer.
- David Mamet tells his TV-show writers how to write drama, in a memo. As I started reading the memo, it struck me that Mamet sounded just like my boss (a small, windy blowhard trying too hard to ‘talk tough’). By the end (“LOVE, DAVE MAMET”) he had won me over though. Even though it’s not at all obvious that Mamet follows his own advice.
- M. Simon cites an example of science being a crime: innocent people went to jail on the say-so of ‘science’. At root here seems to be a belief that nothing said by ‘scientists’ can possibly be wrong or questioned, indeed that people who are ‘scientists’ are not subject to the same biases and errors as other humans. Parallels to certain other topics in current debate are obvious.
- Arnold Kling is going a little nuts lately, and I kinda like it. Where do you land on the (skilled, unskilled) x (not college educated, college educated) spectrum? Kling’s new theory is that the current ruling class is dominated by the (unskilled, college educated).
My theory is that the ruling class gets its strongest support from people in the lower-right quadrant. They identify strongly with the ruling class. Placing an artificially high value on educational credentials is in the interest of the ruling class and everyone else in the lower-right quadrant. If it were not for the protection provided by credentialism and government employment, my guess is that many of those in the lower-right quadrant would have incomes no higher than those of people who are not college educated.
To try to retain support among the highly-educated who are skilled, the ruling class tries to blur the distinction between the upper-right quadrant and the lower-right quadrant.
This is actually not far off from the first Seth Roberts link above (‘top and bottom versus middle’), because Kling’s critique is precisely the same as Roberts’s: that the ‘top’ (governnment/ruling clas’s) is on the side of the ‘middle’ (unskilled wealth extractors/credential inflators) versus the ‘bottom’ (skilled/non-rent-seeking middle class).
Not to toot my own horn here but as far as I can see this is all basically the same as my Smart People theory. Kling, Roberts and I all share, if little else, a distaste for the ‘Smart People’ and their claims to power. I guess it’s no wonder that they are probably 1-2 on my list of favorite bloggers (not counting myself).