Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jonathan Chait Evaporates Stupid Argument

Stupid barely notices.

Today in ‘Your Conservative Questions Answered Very Easily’, Mr. Chait takes up a dare (possibly a double-dog-dare) to defend "...the track record for innovation in govt led corporatist industries?"

Without much effort he does so:
Being no expert in the field, but having the working knowledge that comes from living in the actual world rather than the world of Rush Limbaugh’s imagination, I immediately cited defense, aerospace, and biotechnology. I don’t see how you can deny that the progression of military technology from dudes with muskets to tanks and cruise missiles represents innovation. Likewise, we’re definitely better at sending stuff into outer space than we were when NASA was founded in 1958.

Many others have since sprang to mind...
Then, Mr. Chaits notes:
While I’d agree that a completely state-dominated economy would probably have less innovation on the whole, it’s pretty obvious that the simplistic libertarian caricature — government can only stifle innovation — bears little resemblance to observed reality. Carroll [who originally issued the challenge], characteristically, is declaring victory anyway...

I would add two examples of my own -- one large and one almost invisible -- just to make the point.

ARPANET was a government project dreamed up by government employees and then RFQed out to the private sector to build. ARPANET is the foundational technology from whish sprang the internet, the World Wide Web, every website on Earth, every blog, every SnapChat fadeaway photo, every VoIP phone and, of course, the very platform on Mr. Carroll is to make his argument about the uselessness of Evil Gummint.

So there's that, on a global scale.

On a much more prosaic and local level, in case you didn't know it, the computer-controlled machinery that has made it possible for the modern American manufacturing sector to remain in existence and to continue employing millions of Americans has gotten so exponentially more complex and expensive over the last 20 years or so that the people who run those machines need much more training over the course of their professional lives than their parents or grandparents ever did. In fact, the task of developing and maintaining a skilled manufacturing workforce has gotten so expensive that most small-to-medium sized manufacturing companies simply could not afford to set up the necessary, state-of-the-art training facilities and staff it with its own veteran instructors.

So who stepped up to keep the traditionally very Conservative American manufacturing sector from starving to death for a lack of skilled workers?

Turned out it was that most Villainous Socialist of all Evil Gummint institutions -- the community college:
Noting that it “will continue to set the bar for exceptional metalworking training” in Illinois, the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) accredited City Colleges of Chicago’s Manufacturing Technology program at Daley College. The decision signals to manufacturing employers that Daley College graduates possess industry-standard skills in areas including Computerized Numerical Control (CNC), milling and grinding.

NIMS is the only organization in North America that develops and maintains metalworking standards written and validated by industry. Earning national accreditation indicates that NIMS standards are fully integrated into a training curriculum. The Level 1 Machining Skills accreditation, which City Colleges’ Humboldt Park Vocational Educational Center was awarded in 2011, lasts three years.

“This accreditation is more evidence that City Colleges offers cutting-edge—but affordable—industry-recognized occupational programs,” City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman said. “As the hub of our College to Careers manufacturing program, Daley College plays a central role in our efforts to close the region’s skills gap through industry partnerships so that more Chicagoans get the right skills, and good jobs.”
But in the interest of full disclosure, it would be unfair not to mention two industries where American Conservative private enterprise is an undisputed world leader.

First, our Conservatives are just plain head-and-shoulders better than anyone, anywhere at the mass production of Evil Gummint straw-men.  However many phalanxes of them shamble off the Fox News/Hate Radio factory floor every morning and however many times they are burned to ash by sundown, the next morning there are always more.  From the assassination of Vince Foster to ACORN to Benghaaazi, there are always more, and there will always be more so long as the factory remains intact.

Second, our homegrown Wingnut Industrial Complex leads the world in making followers who are absolutely impervious to reason. Years ago, stray facts used to get through their dumdassery all the time-= facts which sometimes messed with the Conservative Brain Caste's careful plans.  But thanks to the tireless work of innovators at Fox News and Hate Radio, nary a one sneaks through anymore.

As a result, America is now hostage to a political party so radical and so lobotomized that it after spending the 90s disavowing what they swore by in the 80s, the 00s completely disowning what they said in the 90s and the 10's running like Hell away from every slogan they screamed themselves stupid over in the 00s, they can -- with a completely straight face -- call themselves...

...the Party of Personal Responsibility.


Anonymous said...

But what have the Romans ever done for us?

the cheese eater said...

Left wing extremest Jeremy Scahill grunts out a great big both sides shit sandwich as he compares Barack Obama to a murderous assassin that is worse than Booosh!

If Scahill is to be believed we might as well bow down to Obama our new monarch.

wufnik said...

Here's another one--fracking, of all things.