Kerry: AOC is a Ditz

Ms. Dougherty compares and contrasts the living generations.

I don’t pay much attention to AOC, but there are some, including herself from what I’ve seen, who think she’s an avatar of the age.

My brother is one. For context, he’s an avid student of the controversial book, “The Fourth Turning,” which advances the hypothesis that generational archetypes drive the rhythms of history, causing predictable cycles to emerge.

(Wikipedia has a convenient summary of the book and its critical reception.)

To my brother, AOC represents the next Hero generation that is about to emerge in response to the unraveling of our society. She may be wrong in every way, ideologically, but she is clearly smart, willing to speak her mind and has a commendable “can do spirit” — all practical qualities we’ll need in abundance during and after the crisis.

I’m not so sanguine. I’d rather just have the crisis without her or her kind.

You don’t have to subscribe to generational theory to see the signs of social collapse all around. Ms. Dougherty, indeed, points out a few.

But the more interesting question is: What should any of us of any generation be doing about it?

My strategy is to make a point of sharing the ideas and principles I have spent a lifetime developing, particularly the idea of liberty. Maybe at some future time it will find a resurrection. Maybe after everyone experiences first hand the tyranny that is to come, a few will recall that a concept of liberty once existed and was fairly well articulated. (By others more than by me, I’m sure.)

AOC, of course, is doing the same in her own way. More power to her, I suppose, except that many of her ideas, like the much promoted Green New Deal, are stunningly unproductive.

And so it goes.

12 thoughts on “Kerry: AOC is a Ditz

  1. Liberty? What a bunch of hooey. Everything that progressives have accomplished over the last seven or eight decades have ENHANCED your liberty and yet you and people like you have fought every change every step of the way. Hell, many of you are still litigating the New Deal, Social Security and Medicare.

    Those whose hair is on fire about signs of social collapse simply do not know history. As bad as things may seem they were FAR worse in every important way in earlier decades.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “Everything that progressives have accomplished over the last seven or eight decades have ENHANCED your liberty…”

      You can’t prove that by me. That is to say, I’ve lived a good part of those eight decades, and would attest that liberty has been in retreat for much of that period.

      Now, admittedly, our difference of perspective may be a matter of definitions. I do not regard liberty as a consequence of prosperity, for example, or of scientific knowledge, or of innovative moral philosophy. Instead, I regard liberty as a byproduct, or function, of specific political arrangements of a certain kind.

      The Constitution with its Bill of Rights exemplifies the sort of political arrangements I have in mind which produce liberty.

      Liberty’s decline seems all too historically inevitable to me with representatives like AOC in Congress.


      1. RE: “How has your liberty declined during your lifetime?”

        I don’t know what “your liberty” means. Perhaps you have in mind some measurement of personal freedom. For me, though, liberty is a function of governance and is only indirectly tied to personal freedom.

        Here’s a short list of things that didn’t exist when I was born:

        • The Civil Rights Act
        • LBJ’s Great Society programs
        • OSHA and the EPA
        • Substantial government regulation of the health care industry

        All these things helped shape the world I have lived and worked in. Whatever their merits, they have also been expensive so that, like everyone else, I have had to help pay for them.

        Broadly speaking, then, how much personal freedom do I have when my choices and individual finances are determined by decisions others have made?

        Let’s look at something specific. Because of government regulation of health care, a doctor visit that cost $20 when I was 16 now costs over $200. The sum of all the health insurance premiums I have paid in my life vastly exceeds the sum of all the medical services I have received.

        How much personal freedom do I have when the value of money in my society erodes so precipitously, or when I have to pay for things I don’t get?

        Like I said, such measurements are only indirectly tied to liberty as a function of governance, but they are a direct reflection of liberty’s decline. In this case, they are a consequence of the expansion of the regulatory state, which is one of the most remarkable developments I have witnessed in my lifetime.

        It is obvious, even by measures of personal freedom, that bureaucracy and regulation drive out liberty.


        1. Since there has been nothing done by government in your lifetime that has impinged on your personal freedom and MANY things which have expanded it you need to draw this phony distinction between “liberty” and “personal freedom.” Obviously, there is no real distinction. So off you go into a Never Never Land of abstraction and obtuseness. Basically, you are spinning more hooey to try to justify your original hooey.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. “…how much personal freedom do I have when my choices and individual finances are determined by decisions others have made?”

          You are married so that should give a good indicator of how group dynamics work when there are more than just you to worry about.

          You compared a doctor visit for $20 50 years ago with one that costs $200 today. . When I was 16, you could by a Cadillac for around $4-5000. It maybe lasted 3-4 years or a bit more if fastidiously taken care of. 100,000 miles was a rarity. Today that care costs upwards of $50,000, but you can expect well over 150,000 miles and it is much, much safer.

          Healthcare is much better, also. Diseases that killed are cured. Unfortunately the US is lagging in cost, delivery and outcomes compared to other industrial nations, but still better than it was.

          Yes, you probably have paid more in insurance than you spent. Same with home and auto insurance. But I look at insurance as a vault that protects my assets. A vault that can produce a lot more money than I ever put in should the need arise.

          You are liberated from breathing polluted air, drinking toxic water and working in a dangerous sweatshop. Compare that to a mid-level executive working in Mumbai. Thank OSHA and EPA.

          I could go one point by point. You are free to get off the grid and live off the land in a remote part of Idaho. But then you won’t have time to enjoy liberty as it will be eaten up by hunting, gathering and sheltering.

          Off course if that is your thing…

          Liked by 2 people

        3. RE: “you need to draw this phony distinction between ‘liberty’ and ‘personal freedom.'”

          Yes, the distinction is central to what I have to say on the topic. First Mr. Rothman, and now you, assert that liberty and personal freedom are the same thing. In your case, however, there is no effort to show that they are the same, just your assertion that they are obviously so.

          Hence, the question arises: Why, because you say it?


        4. RE: “I could go on point by point.”

          Yes you could, but to no avail, because you see no difference between liberty and personal freedom. As a result, the substance of your argument boils down to pointing out that whatever personal freedoms I think I may have lost are more than compensated by benefits you think I should value more than I do.

          In other words, your argument is that I’m just not thinking right or that my perceptions are flawed. Never mind my actual experience. I should be happy to live in a world where money flows out of my private accounts to pay for things I don’t want, don’t get, and wouldn’t buy if it were my choice.

          My point is that such a world has neither liberty nor personal freedom in it.


  2. “Will someone take AOC by the hand and walk her over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – some millennials seem to have trouble getting around without GPS – where she can take a look at the names of more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Southeast Asia?

    Then tell me how very brave and very strong she and her cohort are by comparison.”

    Killed not by a faceless enemy

    Liked by 2 people

  3. …”the much promoted Green New Deal, are stunningly unproductive.”

    And you know the ideals espoused in the GND are unproductive how? Like trade deals, we really don’t know how well they work until they are implemented and in place for a time. THe major concepts of the GND are to move away from fossil fuels, provide good quality jobs in the Green Energy sector, and attempting to reverse the damage done by the long term use of fossil fuels. No one knows if they are productive or not. For you to say so is to just say it is a bad idea because… well, you said so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “And you know the ideals espoused in the GND are unproductive how?”

      Because economically they are impossible, physically they are unnecessary, and politically they are a distraction from more useful discussions we need to have.

      And yes, my statement is an unsubstantiated assertion. Substantiating the assertion wasn’t necessary to the more general thesis of my post that while AOC inspires us to think generationally, she herself isn’t very inspiring in that context.


      1. …”she herself isn’t very inspiring in that context.”

        She may not be inspiring to YOU, but there are a lot of others in this country who do find inspiration in her goals.

        …”economically they are impossible” – So says you. The idea that ANYTHING is economically impossible would have prevented things like the moon landing. Instead of public-private partnerships to get roads built (and tolled, with the fiscal benefit going to the private half of that partnership), why not do PPP for energy solutions?

        Physically unnecessary? How so?

        Not a distraction, but part of the long term conversation to improve things in this country, and by example, show the world a better way forward.


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