DeLorenzo on why MSM biased towards paycheck vampires

January 30, 2008

Thomas DiLorenzo describes a crucial aspect of Orange Line media/government social networks:

Economists William Meckling and Michael Jenson, formerly of the University of Rochester, offered an explanation for the extreme statist bias of the media some thirty years ago, and I think it applies to the MSM’s current blackout policy. If you are a national news reporter, you must always keep in mind that news must be new. You must cultivate numerous “inside sources” of news, and in today’s world those sources are overwhelmingly in govenment. If you report on defense issues, your main sources are Defense Department bureaucrats or political appointees. If you are an environmental reporter, your sources are EPA bureaucrats and political appointees. If you are a crime reporter, you rely on the FBI bureaucracy, etc., etc.

More here.


How to route around federally filtered news and history?

January 22, 2008

This blog has started to document the extreme statist bias that occurs in our news and other political information sources, including even much of the libertarian blogosphere, by the effects, direct and indirect, of tax money, the motivation to lobby to obtain some of that tax money, and effects on surrounding culture, including even people who believe themselves to be “libertarians” but associate primarily with paycheck vampires and each other. The United States federal version of this paycheck vampire culture I call the Orange Line culture after a D.C.-area subway system near which most of the area’s media, governmental, and academic institutions are located (see the anti-blogroll at right for a partial list).

Ron Paul’s campaign routed around the D.C. establishment in two ways: (1) the Internet, and (2) Hollywood and New York City entertainment shows. It’s no coincidence that Paul was on Bill Maher, John Stewart, Jay Leno, and similar entertainment shows far more than on election news coverage by D.C.-centric reporters. The threat the Internet poses to traditional media has been much noticed, but less noticed has been the growing rift between Hollywood and D.C. and the willingness of Hollywood to facilitate the process of “routing around” Orange Line culture.

Mencius Moldbug among others has documented how such biases amount to information warfare against taxpayers. These federal attacks against the interests of property and freedom, which threaten the statist’s tax revenues and political power, have dominated mass media for at least a century. He proposes “Revipedia” as an “information warfare” project to counter the information warfare that is perpetrated, as Orwell described, in both political news and history against traditionalists and libertarians by paycheck vampire culture.

Mencius’ main good idea is to bias the research towards old and very new sources (via the bias of online sources towards pre-1922 and post-1995), which eliminates the intermediate ultra-statist 20th century but includes the relatively libertarian 18th and 19th centuries and the libertarian early years of the Internet. This introduces a bias that partically balances out the profound Orange Line bias still found in most media, including the blogosphere.

But MM goes on to propose administrators to filter content — supposedly chosen to share our “reactionary” values. This is a very bad idea, not out of some atavistic blind faith in democracy, but out of information warfare considerations. Administrators are dangerous because they can be targeted for smearing and corruption by the Orange Line. They are central points of failure that can be blackmailed. The extra power of administrators also discourages non-administrators from participating. I certainly would not participate unless I had equal editing privileges, and I’d encourage any other reactionary to act likewise.

Besides the crude temporal filter, we should use a crude geographical one. Our task is to eliminate the vast bias that has been and continues to be introduced into political thought and history by the narrow beltway culture. OrangeFreePedia might use, formally or informally, automatically or mentally, geolocation to exclude any contributions from the Washington, DC area, government universities, and government labs. My “Orange Line” anti-blog is a first stab at a mental filter that the reader can use.

My anti-blogroll

January 21, 2008

You may have noticed the new “Orange Line” blogroll. In fact, it is an anti-blogroll. It shows a number of institutions and blogs that can be found near the Orange Line metro subway west of the Capitol Building. Check out the “links”. The point is to _not_ link to the Orange Line bloggers — they link to each other plenty already — but rather to show that what at first sight may appear to be a geographically diverse blogosphere is no such thing. Authorship of all the leading “libertarian” blogs listed in my anti-blogroll are located within an area less than a millionth of our planet’s real estate.

These Orange Line bloggers link very disproportionately to other Orange Line bloggers. This kind of behavior is strong evidence that my readers can observe of the very narrow Orange Line monculture that I have also witnessed firsthand. That they debate various issues, such as the war, is as irrelevant as the fact that the medieval Catholic Church had lively debate on various issues (e.g. on earth- vs. sun-centrism long before Copernicus and Galileo). It’s well understood in the Orange Line monoculture that some positions are to be considered as “devil’s advocate” positions. And on some issues like the war on which the rest of D.C. itself disagrees, there is genuine division. But when push came to shove, as on New Hampshire primary day, the Orange Line are very dogmatic and very reflexive. They act according to the same habits and instincts — ultra-statist, ultra-PC, and anti-liberty — as those shared commonly among those who live, mostly off your paycheck and mine, in the Washington, DC metro area.

Raimondo on the anti-Paul smear campaign

January 18, 2008

Justin Raimondo, Why the Beltway Libertarians Are Trying to Smear Ron Paul, is a good defense of the Paul newsletters and contains more good information on the nature of the smear campaign.

The hysteria that is energizing the campaign to smear Ron Paul and his supporters as “racist” is reaching a crescendo of viciousness, as the Beltway “libertarian” crowd revs up its motors for a righteous purge…Reason, of course, in it’s new incarnation as the official organ of the libertarian movement’s aging hipsters and would-be “cool kids,” vehemently opposes reaching out to middle and working class Americans: that is far too “square” for the black-leather-jacket-wearing Nick Gillespie, formerly associated with something called Suck magazine, and Matt Welch, who was an unknown quantity before getting the job at Reason…The decidedly “square” Dr. Paul—a ten-term Republican congressman from Texas, no less, and a pro-life country doctor of decidedly conservative social views—was and is anathema to Team Suck…

… [Radley] Balko laments that

“Unfortunately, the quotes pulled from these newsletters will for many only confirm those worst stereotypes of what he represents. The good ideas Paul represents then get sullied by association. The Ann Althouses of the world, for example, are now only more certain that opponents of federal anti-discrimination laws should have to prove that they aren’t racist before being taken seriously.”

It’s all about impressing Ms. Althouse, the notoriously dyspeptic and cranky lawyer-blogger-know-it-all…


Why the Orange Line fears libertarians

January 16, 2008

How does the Ron Paul candidacy threaten the journalists, think tankers, and academics who live and work along the Orange Line in Washington, D.C.? The answer is straightforward analysis of economic incentives, with some common cultural patterns thrown in.

Familiarize yourself with the main economic plank of Paul’s platform: eliminating the income tax with no replacement. If it succeeded, most of the friends, fellow partiers, sources, and sex partners of the Orange Line journalists and think tankers would be out of work. Even partial success (for example influencing other candidates into advocating deeper tax cuts to win Paul supporters, or motivating more Congressional candidates to run on an anti-tax and anti-war platform and thus creating a libertarian base in Congress) would harm economic interests in their social circles. Furthermore, there would be far fewer spoils for the lobbyists to lobby over, and fewer important articles for the journalists to write about D.C. politics, so they’d suffer personally as well as socially.

There are also “economic preferences” in politics not reflected in money — desires for power, desires to “change the world”, etc. (These two motivations are easily interchangeable near the Orange Line). D.C. attracts people from all over the country with strong preferences along these lines. These, too, would be hurt by a growing success of anti-tax libertarianism. To the extent Ron Paul succeeded, they would be less able to shut down the madrassas and save Muslim women from the dastardly Muslim male. They’d have less control over oil. They couldn’t provide all Americans with health insurance. And (keeping in mind this is only one of many motivations) they couldn’t provide as much protection for Israel. Generally speaking, practically everybody who came D.C. did so to get the federal government to solve various problems they are passionate about. They feel very strongly about these: much more strongly on average than people who do not live near the Orange Line. Success by Ron Paul or his acolytes would start stripping away from them the power they believe they need to solve these problems.

Remember, Paul ranks right up there with McCain, Huckabee and Romney for the 18-29 year old vote. Paul has come very close to winning a plurality of that vote in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan, ranking far ahead of Thompson and Giuliani for the young vote in all three. Paul ranks ahead of _all_ the other Republican candidates in Internet searches and search results. Contrary to myth this represents not “spam” but just the high concentration of Paul supporters on the Internet, comparable to the high concentration of Democrats in the mainstream media (MSM). Both the Internet and MSM are unrepresentative slices of American political opinion.

But the Internet is growing at the expense of the MSM and Paul represents a large chunk of the future of Republican politics. The MSM, including its political bureaus along the Orange Line, finds the Internet threatening. Orange Line bureaucrats think of “radical” libertarians (i.e. those who would eliminate the income tax with no replacement) as maniacs out to destroy their jobs. Ron Paul brings these two fears together.

Moving beyond economic incentives and to human cultural patterns, the Orange Line crowd are a tribe, a monoculture defending itself from an alien tribe that is hostile to them, namely libertarians who don’t like how the federal tribe makes it’s living (via skimming off their paychecks). It’s tribal warfare.

All in all, it would be extremely surprising if the Orange Line did _not_ try to attack Paul. The only surprising thing for me has been to observe how much Orange Line “libertarians” are culturally aligned with the Orange Line rather than with anti-government libertarians.

This analysis has been a straightforward matter of economic incentives with some common human cultural patterns thrown into the mix. This economic analysis gets obscured because, on the one hand, those not privy to the workings of D.C. can only describe it metaphorically in terms of conspiracy theories. The Orange Liners laugh them off the stage. But the economic analyses in their rough form sound a bit like the conspiracy theories, so they too are shouted down by the bullhorns of the Oranger Liners and those who parrot their authoritative opinions. They are laughed off as “conspiracy theory” before the analysis can even start to begin. Most of the MSM when it comes to political issues, and even much of the “alternative media” like Reason Magazine and the Orange Line bloggers, are part of the Orange Line culture. Using these Orange Line bullhorns to make fun of or smear independent thought and independent sources of political power is one of the main levers of federal power.

The Orange Line: anatomy of a smear campaign

January 15, 2008

Here is an anatomy of the spread of the smear campaign against Ron Paul just prior to and on the crucial “king-making” New Hampshire primary day, January 8th (all times are EDT; the polls closed at 8 pm EDT):

January 7th, 7:33 pm — Matt Welch (Reason Magazine) discusses the plan to smear Ron Paul on New Hampshire primary day. In a later edit, Welch strikes out the actual TNR/Reason plan (to post the piece at midnight, the exact time the New Hampshire polls opened, and not post the actual newsletters until the afternoon of the primary) and substitutes “tommorrow afternoon”. But he failed to strike out Reason’s part in the plan: “More to come from here after the gong strikes midnight.”

January 8th, 12:01 AMJamie Kirchick’s anti-Paul hit piece, many weeks in preparation at the request of his boss Marty Peretz at The New Republic, and featuring featuring many out-of-context quotes from Paul’s old newsletter (which have long been public knowledge and which Paul long ago denied writing) and descriptions of Paul and his associates as “bigoted”, “racist”, “homophobic”, and “anti-Semitic”, etc. is posted at The New Republic.

11:03 AM — Daniel Koffler (Pajamas Media, formerly at Reason)
“A damning New Republic expose on Ron Paul shows the “libertarian” Republican candidate to be a racist, a homophobe and an anti-Semite. Will his diehard supporters continue to defend a man who called Martin Luther King a gay pedophile? Daniel Koffler, a former Paul sympathizer, has a compendium of the Texas congressman’s creepiest hits, pulled straight from his decades-old newsletter.”

3:30 pm — Andrew Sullivan (The Atlantic, formerly editor of The New Republic) — “They are a repellent series of tracts, full of truly appalling bigotry.”

3:46 pm — David Wiegel (Reason) Wiegel praises Kirchick’s piece as “explosive” and after a brief converstation with a harried Paul, grossly mischaracterizes Ron Paul’s position as “Paul’s position is basically that he wrote the newsletters he stands by and someone else wrote the stuff he has disowned.”

3:48 pm — Nick Gillespie (Reason) “I’ve got to say that The New Republic article detailing tons of racist and homophobic comments from Paul newsletters is really stunning. As former reason intern Dan Koffler documents here, there is no shortage of truly odious material that is simply jaw-dropping.”

4:43 pm — David Bernstein (Volokh Conspiracy/George Mason University) “’s disturbing in and of itself that the kind of people who write such things would want to associate themselves with Paul’s name, and the kind of people who enjoy reading such things would subscribe to these newsletters because they admire Paul.” Here’s David’s web page at GMU.

(before 5 pm) — Arnold Kling (Econglog/George Mason University) — Repeats the worst quotes out of context and without explanation.

5:17 pm — Dale Carpenter (Volokh Conspiracy/University of Minnesota) — “A damning indictment of Ron Paul.”

Oddly enough, all these people with the exception of the tardiest, Dale Carpenter, live or work near the Orange Line subway (Metro) west of the capitol building in Washington, D.C. On the Orange Line, with occasional short side trips on some other lines, you can get to The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, Reason Magazine, George Mason University, The Federal Triangle, Cato Institute, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle (Red Line), and a number of other homes and work sites of beltway media, politicians, bureaucrats, and “libertarians.” I don’t know how many of these people actually ride the D.C. Metro, but for fun and convenience let’s call this group of smear artists the “Orange Line Mafia”. This group of media pundits and bloggers has developed a large following among actual libertarians because they are an integral part of D.C. social circles and darlings of the mainstream media, who often “link” to the blogs of these “libertarians” from their various media formats. Libertarians who watch or read MSM thus often first discover “libertarianism” on the net in the writings of The Atlantic, Reason, Cato, Volokh Conspiracy, and other Orange Line Mafia outlets, and think that they are representative of people who actually value liberty.

If a person cared about liberty, why would they be eager to mindlessly repeat smears about the most popular libertarian candidate in decades on the very day of the most crucial “king-making” primary in the United States? Yet that is exactly what a number of popular “libertarian” bloggers did that day. The Ron Paul Newsletters are voluminous and even a small fraction of them could not possibly be read in the very few hours that passed between the posting of the actual newsletters (the afternoon of the 8th) and the smear campaigners’ posts (also the afternoon of the 8th). All of these “hit and run” blog posts, except Kirchick’s original, must then be based on Kirchik’s piece rather than on actual reading and analysis of the newsletters. Clearly the purpose of these posts was not to initiate a thoughtful discussion of the newsletters, it was to spin libertarian voters on the most crucial election day short of the November general elections.

Read here for more analysis of why beltway “libertarians” engage in anti-libertarian activism.

N.B. I’ve tested all these links; they point to the referenced smear propagations as of the time I posted. If any later go missing, try looking for them in the Internet archive and let me know in the comments, thanks.

Steve Sailer on the anti-Ron Paul smear campaign

January 15, 2008

Steve Sailer has some good information on the anti-Ron Paul smear campaign. Tidbits:

Martin Peretz, veteran editor-in-chief of the neoliberal New Republic magazine, has cultivated a long line of youthful protégés stretching back through Andrew Sullivan all the way to the 17-year-old Al Gore. Peretz’s latest bright young man, James Kirchick, his new assistant and winner of the 2006 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Excellence in Student Journalism award, published last week in TNR a furious 4000 word article bitterly denouncing Congressman Ron Paul as an “Angry White Man.”

After laborious research in the dusty archives of two Midwestern university libraries, Kirchick proves that some old newsletters once sent out by the GOP Presidential candidate…well, I’m not quite sure exactly what Kirchick proves, other than that Dr. Paul’s newsletters weren’t as boring as the MainStream Media.

More here. Kirchik is a regular at beltway “libertarian” parties and discussed his plans for the hit piece with a number of beltway “libertarians” days ahead of its scheduled release timed precisely for the January 8, 2008 New Hampshire primary. This primary has traditionally beeen considered the most important “king-making” primary in the United States. Sullivan, now at The Atlantic, eagerly joined beltway “libertarians” in loudly denouncing Paul well before the polls closed that day.

Here is a short bio of Jamie Kirchik.

Political correctness is fear of liberty

January 15, 2008

Political correctness is a very strong signal of statism. In the mind of a statist, something is either required or banned. Either homosexual behavior is banned or it is required that everybody respect homosexual behavior. Either races are discriminated against by law or it is required that everybody treat races as equal in their own decisions. Statism, exemplified by its ideology of political correctness, recognizes no middle ground where all preferences and tastes can be respected by law. In the world of the statist, racial equality under law cannot occur without expunging private racial discrimination by screaming taboo and force of law, nor can homosexuals “be equal” unless everybody is forced to recognize homosexual marriages.

In a world of liberty homosexual freedom and “homophobia” would coexist. Racial equality under law and racial discrimination in personal decisions by those who prefer such discrimination would coexist. Neither side would need to feel politically threatened by the other. All persons could satisfy their preferences, whether “vices” or “bigotry” or otherwise, as long as they are not initiating force. But this is not the wolrd the “cosmopolitan libertarians” want. They demand not just eradicating legal restrictions on their own vices — an opinion on which all libertarian agree — they demand that we in the suburbs and the rural areas and anybody else who does not share their tastes recognize what many of us choose to believe are vices, for example homosexual “marriages”, adultery, and use of addictive drugs, as virtues. If we do not, they will lash out at us with the most viscious kind of hate as if we were trying to ban their vices. This is “very small tent” libertarianism since, as Ron Paul is demonstrating, the vast majority of libertarians are of the rural and suburban type, not of the urban “cosmopolitan” type.

By eagerly participating in the politically correct smear campaign against Ron Paul on the very day of the traditionally most crucial primary, New Hampshire, many in the beltway “libertarian” / “cosmopolitan libertarian” crowd have revealed their true anti-libertarian, pro-government colors. Some of these are just what Tom Paine called “sunshine patriots and summer soldiers”, Benedict Arnolds who switch sides at the first signs of trouble. But most have just lived around D.C. so long that they have become statists in their hearts. By getting so worked up about about somebody else’s personal preferences and opinions about race and homosexuality — which they choose to view as vices, as is their right — during the middle of the election campaign, they have demonstrated a preposterously strong streak of political correctness and thereby revealed a strong statist instinct.

Only a statist believes that the middle of an election campaign, much less the very day of the traditionally most important primary, is the best time to publically air the possible personal vices of libertarian candidates, in order to distract attention away from that candidate’s political views and smear him. Indeed, this has always been the statist’s favorite tactic for smearing anti-government types in older organizations like the John Birch Society. Now everybody with no personal memory of the matter accepts the “bigotry” of the JBS as historical gospel — the legacy of liberal and National Review-type MSM statists who then controlled the memetic agenda. The beltway “libertarian” smear campaign against Ron Paul is repeating almost exactly the tactics that statists like Bill Buckley pulled against the small-government JBS and the anti-interventionist Taft wing of the Republican party a generation ago.

In the statist world of the “cosmopolitan libertarians,” only cosmopolitans get to satisfy their preferences and tastes (or as some others choose and should be free to choose to view them, vices) in the marketplace. Statists in their guts, the “cosmopolitan libertarians” view any differences in values as political threats. Suburban and rural preferences and tastes, whether vices (like racism and homophobia) or otherwise must therefore be shouted down and banned, and even the most ardent libertarian like Ron Paul for whom it is suggested might hold any such values they view as a political threat. That is why so much effort has been put in by, not just the straightforward enemies of liberty in the pro-war crowd, but even by some anti-war DC “cosmopolitan libertarians”, to sabotage Ron Paul’s campaign.

January 8, 2008

January 15, 2008

How can one not think of conspiracy theories having just observed an improbably simultaneous media attack on Ron Paul the day of the New Hampshire primary? A remarkably successful attack that made him plunge from 14% in the polls to an 8% actual vote? After weeks where we heard little about Paul from the mass media and beltway “libertarian” bloggers? TNR from the left, Fox News and talk radio from the right, and piling on from beltway “libertarians” who made a point of loudly repeating the TNR smears and dumping Ron Paul on the day of the primary. Your eyes and ears did not deceive you, all this happened. It is not the result of a criminal conspiracy, but if one uses “conspiracy” as a metaphor for social networks and economic incentives, there is a strong sense in which conspiracy theories accurately, if metaphorically, explain what happened.

The reality behind the conspiratorial metaphor is the social networking between denizens of the Beltway, who sport a wide variety of political labels but are, relative to the rest of the country, a monoculture. I lived there. I went to these parties. These denizens range from the journalists who report the mass media news to various think tank and university scholars at the Cato Institute, George Mason University, and so on. They study Ayn Rand, then marry Andrea Mitchell and testify against tax cuts. Vast amounts of federal money, that stuff that is taken out of your paycheck with such automatic ease, flow into the Beltway area. Directly and indirectly, almost every person who lives in or near the Beltway depends on the very income tax that Ron Paul declared he would abolish — with no replacement!

Many of these paycheck vampires call themselves “libertarians” and inspire us with their libertarian rhetoric to support them with our attention, our blog hits, and our tuition money as well as the tax money that already funds them or their friends. But at the first sign of political incorrectness, all these below-the-Beltway “libertarians” have dumped Ron Paul like yesterday’s garbage. Now they can rest easy that they will still be invited to the parties thrown by their lobbyist and government employee and contractor friends, who for a second or two got worried by all those Google searches that Ron Paul might have some influence, resulting in some of them losing their jobs (end the income tax with no replacement?! The guy is obvioiusly a kook, and we don’t invite the supporters of kooks to our parties!). Now everybody around the Beltway can go back to partying at the taxpayer’s expense. All the money will keep flowing in, hooray!

The lesson millions of young libertarians have now learned from our mass media and our beltway “libertarians”? Libertarian electioneering is futile. Voting is futile. Democracy is futile. It’s hip to be “libertarian.” But anybody who actually wants liberty is a kook, as can be proven by their association with kooks. Beltway wonks posing as “libertarians” are happy to write things to inflame your hopes for liberty that they don’t really mean. Then they make sure that we elect the politicians their friends want — the ones that will enslave your future to pay for full social security for Baby Boomers. The ones that will send you off to foreign lands to kill and die. Not only the journalists who hang out with the government bureaucrats and lobbyists, and not only the politicians who talk sweet while they drain your paycheck and kill your fellow human beings, but even the beltway “libertarians” are happy to let a whole new generation of libertarians go down the tubes in order to keep their Beltway friends happy.