Arnold Kling seems to be under the impression that the Obama administration, riddled as it is with Goldman Sachs alumni, is “anti-capitalist”, and that isn’t even the dumbest thing in this post.
Some people seem amazed that arguments this bad get put on billboards by “respectible” thinktanks:
Can they be serious? Can they possibly think that this will persuade anyone to doubt the overwhelming evidence about climate change, because a few people who are not only criminals, but mentally ill, believe it’s real? Can you imagine anyone with a shred of self-respect for his or her intelligence, even arch conservative climate change deniers, buying the case that climate change can’t be real because Charles Manson and the Unabomber think it is!?
I find this somewhat delightful, in that it is such a blatant and probably successful attempt to appeal to the subrational lizard-brain emotional mental circuitry, with no danger that it can be confused with anything remotely sensible. So yes, they are serious, they are unapologetically trying to bypass reason. It is not meant to “persuade” anybody of anything, simply to strengthen some Pavlovian associuation pathways in the brains of susceptible dimwits driving by. And of course it is also a successful attempt to get publicitiy, of which there is no such thing as bad.
Back in my youth I noticed that somehow May Day, the international day of labor solidarity, had been replaced by something called “Law Day”. I distinctly remember that even a callow high-school student such as myself could see that this was a crude and blatant attempt at propaganda, the government trying to forcibly alter the meaning of something that didn’t belong to it. In a similar vein, the wingers at Volokh have proposed to turn it into “Victims of Communism Day”.
This effort is a bit more subtle and convincing. God knows that there are a lot of victims of communist regimes and they deserve some memorials. However, a minute’s worth of thought reveals the underlying motive for attempting to tie together Stalin’s mass killings with perfectly legitimate struggles of labor for an eight-hour day, right to strike, worker safety…so this seems just as crude and hamfisted as the earlier effort.