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The Irish Miracle: How Ireland Went from Economic Basket Case to Masterpiece – UPDATE 2010!

Posted by iusbvision on December 6, 2006

[See our Nov. 2010 update below – Editor]

Of all the European Union, Ireland is now the place to be. In the 1970’s emigration from Ireland was at near record levels, but since 2000 over 50% of new immigrants are returning Irish citizens and 40% of its population is under 30 years old. According to the Seidman Research Institute of Arizona State University, Ireland’s GDP growth in 2003 is 136% higher than the EU 15 average; in 1987 it was 69% of the EU 15 average. Unemployment dropped from 17% in 1987 to 4% today, during the 1990’s Ireland’s economic growth averaged 6.9% (for those who don’t know economics well, that is an amazing growth rate) and after the tech bubble busted, Ireland’s growth rate still maintained over 4.5%. Government debt shrank as well, falling from 112% of GDP to 33%. Ireland’s standard of living has also surpassed most of Europe.

So how did Ireland do it? First, a warning, if you have Marxist leanings the facts I am about to present to you are going to prove to be tremendously inconvenient and may even put you into shock. You have been warned.

In 1987 the government started to embrace major reforms. The government realized that it could no longer be the people’s employer and enacted massive cuts in spending, slashing many government programs and agencies from 3-10%. According to The Economist Magazine, Ireland cut its capital spending by 16%.

The government created two highly aggressive and somewhat politically independent agencies that are made up of people from government and the private sector; one agency whose sole purpose is to encourage business and investment to stay in Ireland and the other is a go gettem’ agency that is designed to bring foreign investment and business into Ireland. These agencies have the authority to get tasks done. When Apple Computers was struggling in the late 1990’s it had threatened almost 2000 manufacturing jobs in Ireland. The agencies cut the taxes for the struggling Apple to help it deal with the competition and to prevent it from taking the jobs elsewhere.

The agencies act as a partner to private investment, they find the locations that meet the company’s needs and do much of that opening hard work for them. Locally, the City of Mishawaka has a similar program. Ever wonder why so much business has moved to Mishawaka? When the South Bend Tribune needed a new site to put its newspaper, radio and TV into one facility, the City of South Bend was not eager to help the Tribune out. Mishawaka on the other hand just asked the Tribune how much space they needed and what kind of infrastructure they needed in place to support the business. The city did the work to find and prepare a proper location, so the Tribune and its subsidiaries are moving to Mishawaka. It is amazing what can be accomplished when an ideologically based envy and resentment of wealth and the private sector do not get in the way of good government.

A business is not an island unto itself, it needs smart and talented people to hire and Ireland heard the call. Ireland built universities in 10 enterprise zones where they wanted foreign business to settle in. The private sector works with the universities to make sure that the educational needs of the local employers are met. Ireland also offers a special tax break for those with skills that are in demand and to those with exceptional talent such as many famed musicians and actors and other artists. This policy helps to attract talent from all over the world.

Ireland knew that they had to bring in foreign companies and investment fast to get the economic ball rolling so they created a tax haven. Ireland lowered the corporate income tax rate to 10% for manufacturing companies or companies that trade services internationally and would move into a selected enterprise zone. The EU had a fit over this move (winy socialist’s that they are) saying that Ireland’s tax policy was not fair. So Ireland agreed to no longer offer the 10% tax rate to selected business and opted to lower the corporate income tax top rate to 12.5% for everyone. By comparison, according to the Tax Foundation, our corporate income tax is 39.3% and American companies pay an effective rate of 37.7%. Even leftist politician John Kerry said in the 2004 campaign that our corporate income tax is too high and that we need to lower it to attract some business back that has gone over seas.

Over 1000 international companies have moved facilities into Ireland since 1987. Names like Motorola, Dell, Wyeth, Intel, Microsoft, Citigroup, IBM and pharmaceuticals such as Bristol-Myers Squibb all have major operations in Ireland. I am old enough to remember when big pharmaceuticals such as Bayer, Alka-Seltzer, Whitehall, and Miles all had their major manufacturing and R&D right here in Northern Indiana and now they are almost all gone. Ireland has embraced an aggressive, pro-growth, pro-innovation culture that we can learn from.

The last piece of the puzzle that has made Ireland such an economic success is that it has been steadily dropping personal income tax rates over the years; dropping from a 65% top marginal rate (for the ultra wealthy) in 1985, to 56% in 1989, to 46% in 2000, to 44% as of 2001. Aside from the top marginal rates, the standard income tax rate was dropped to 32% in 1989, to 24% in 2000, to 22% in 2001 and I expect all of these tax rates to keep falling. Ireland is trying to find the optimal tax rates that both promote and encourage investment and economic growth while still bringing in growing revenues to the government (for those of you who are economics majors I think we can say that Ireland is riding the Laffer Curve).

Should we demonize Ireland as a bunch of selfish and greedy consumers who sit idly by while their government engages in tax giveaways to the rich, or should we examine Ireland’s growing standard of living, top notch education, and low unemployment and admire them for the lightning fast turnaround from an economic basket case to a prosperous example that the world could follow?

Chuck Norton
News Analyst

UPDATE – After so many years of prosperity and doing it right what happened in Ireland?

What happened to Ireland is the danger that can result from  economic prosperity that lasts for a long time, namely, the people and the politicians become complacent. As the economic good times roll the government gets awash in money and the people stop keeping the government’s feet to the fire. When people become complacent it becomes easy to say yes to knew spending, the left who is driven mad by the prosperity driven by capitalism, adopt a new narrative, “As wealthy as we are and as good as the economy is cant we help XX and cant we do XX program and YY program”? The next thing you know government is going into debt, regulations begin to stifle wealth creation, and as the cost of government rose less wealth moved to Ireland.

This is an easy trap to fall into. This is why the people must have Tea Party like vigilance when it comes to economic policy and restraining government even when times are good.  Granted much of what has hit Ireland was due to the global economic collapse that was largely the fault of government manipulation of the mortgage and securities market in the United States, but Ireland had begun to forget what economic policies made them the envy of Europe in the first place.

69 Responses to “The Irish Miracle: How Ireland Went from Economic Basket Case to Masterpiece – UPDATE 2010!”

  1. Kevin C. said

    Chuck,
    This is an interesting piece. I lived in Ireland for a year, getting some of that “top notch education” you mention at Trinity College, Dublin. I can give you some first-hand accounts of the amazing extent of the economic boom, the “Celtic Tiger,” that picked-up in the 80’s. I think your analysis is a bit too statistically-oriented, though. For example, the story on the ground shows a huge number of social problems as the result of the accelerated economic boom. Try to imagine a nation of lottery winners, ruined relationships and all, and you get a snapshot of what’s happening in Ireland. The problem, in my view, is not economic prosperity (I’m all for that), but instead going from one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the richest in only ten years. You might imagine it as if all of the progress that the United States has made in its economic history were crammed into ten years. The result is something that looks good on paper (in The Economist, for example), but the ground tells a bit of a different story.

  2. Craig Chamberlin said

    Kevin,

    What an interesting point! It is great to hear from someone who has been witness to what Chuck is covering. The social impacts of materialism is always something I enjoy discussing. I always found it intriguing that we adamantly pursue money for happiness but in the end, it turns us into something else.

    If you’d like to cover more on the effects of such an economic boom from your perspective we’d be more than happy to publish it or discuss it. This is a very relevant discussion to our nation, as we pursue wealth in an effort to achieve “The American Dream”, how many of us are falling short of happiness because we feel it comes in materialism?

    I wonder what others have to say about this subject.

  3. Kevin C. said

    Craig,
    Thanks for the kind comments. I really don’t want to endorse any general thesis about the negative social impacts of materialism, though. My point is really just particular to the test case of Ireland. I don’t think one has to have anything against capitalism to accept my point: that radical economic expansion in a short period of time led to significant social problems in Ireland. Chuck is certainly right about the story of the numbers. When I was in Ireland in 2004, ten new member states joined the EU, and all of them wanted to be “the new Ireland.” My problem is not with Ireland’s economic success, it is with how this success happened, namely, in too quick of a time period.

  4. Rachel Custer said

    Kevin,

    Some really interesting comments! I can certainly see from your illustration how these problems could come about. Some people who do win the lottery end up in huge amounts of debt because they really have no idea how to manage that big of an amount of money. The thing I’m wondering is, how could the government of Ireland have mitigated these issues, or possibly helped keep them from happening on such a grand scale? I must admit, I’m not too acquainted with the issue of Ireland, but this discussion is very interesting, and I would love to learn more about your views on Ireland, since you have experienced it firsthand. Thanks for the great post.

  5. Kevin C. said

    Rachel,
    Thanks for the note. I’m not so sure that it is the government’s job to mitigate the problems that result from drastic economic expansion. In fact, I think any government efforts to do this would be likely to fail. How can a government convince people to spend their money in a responsible way, for example? I think the difficulties here are social and cultural, and deeply embedded, so it’s hard for me to see how a government can penetrate such problems.
    I want to touch on a couple of somewhat misleading points in Chuck’s original post, too. I have to admit, I’ve never encountered a writing style quite like Chuck’s. It’s hard for me to tell how much of his column is merely rhetoric flare, and how much is meant to be taken seriously and literally. That said, I’ll adopt a fairly literal reading and Chuck can chime in if I am only criticizing intentional rhetorical flares.
    The first point is that, if you accept the points of my previous posts, Chuck’s title is a bit deceptive. It is not that “Ireland went from an economic basket case to a masterpiece.” If I were to write the column, it would have been called, “How Ireland Went from an Economic Basket Case to Just a Plain Old Basket Case.” That is, the basket case problems are social now, not economic.

    Second, even though Ireland has adopted what Chuck calls a “go gettem’ [sic]” attitude, it’s important to remember that Ireland is still a country in Europe, and as such is still much more socialized than anything we would ever see around here. Their sales tax is somewhere in the teens, much higher than our own (I wish I had the exact number, but nothing showed up on Google, either in English or German, by the way). Also, they have, of course, a national socialized health care system. Furthermore, the Universities are effectively free and state run. So, Ireland is certainly no free-market masterpiece. In fact, Ireland possesses many “Marxist leanings” that Chuck (again, perhaps only for rhetorical pomp) reacts against.
    Finally, the Mishawaka analogy doesn’t really work here, except through a very, very loose association. Again, Ireland went from one of the poorest to one of the richest countries in all of Europe in a little more than one decade. Mishawaka is going from, relatively-speaking, very rich to very, very rich. It’s really hard for me to see how they map-on at all, actually.

  6. Rachel Custer said

    Kevin,

    Very good point. I’m as sure as you are that the government would mess up if it tried to solve these problems. I’ve never been one that believes in the overall efficiency of the government. I guess then it’s more accurate to ask what anyone could have done to mitigate these social problems. Although it’s hard to change people’s social and moral attitudes. I wonder now what anyone can do to help with these problems…I again doubt the government could do this, but perhaps the church in Ireland? It’s just very sad that, when these people finally get to a point where they can have some economic stability, they are having problems dealing with their newfound wealth.

  7. Cathal Dunne said

    Hello all,
    I’m a young person living in the ‘Emerald isle’, born and bred Irishman. I do like the idea of all of us Irish people suddenly winning the lottery as an analogy for the dramatic doubling of Ireland’s wealth in barely a half generation, and I’d like to address questions about social problems in the land of the Celtic Tiger.

    We have had severe problems with our health service, which is in large part a government service. We have trebled expenditure on it to €15 billion over the past decade. However, we have not seen much improvement in frontline services and quality of our health infrastructure. Even having said that, those problems are more legacy issues, for all our wealth, we are still haunted by the our economic crises through the 80s in our health service today. These will continue to fade with continued expenditure and as the shadows of the 80s continue to wane.

    As well as that our transport infrastructure is still exceptionally challenged. We have repeated tailbacks on all our main motorways and congestion forces many to leave their house as early as a quarter to six in the morning. Again, as in the case of the health service, spending at its current rate will lead to a solution of these troubles. Our government unveiled a major €34 billion spending plan over the next ten years called ‘Transport 21’, and if it is delivered on budget we will have dealt, in a large part, with our transport problems.
    Such is the importance of transport to Ireland’s state of being that the old estate agent (realtor) adage ‘location, location, location’ risks being usurped by ‘transportation, transportation, transportation’ in Ireland’s case.

    These issues are tied to our rapid population growth, 2.5% in ’06, 2.1% in ’05 and 1.6% in ’04. Notice the trend? We were among only 3 of 15 old EU states to let the 10 new accession states access to our labour market. Because of that decision, we have now gone from 10,000 Poles in Ireland in 2002 to 200,000 Poles right now and another 100,000 other Eastern Europeans came here over the past 3 years.
    This, in a country of just 4.3 million people has had a major impact on our economy and helped boost our economy to 6.5% growth in 2006.

    In the midst of all this upheaval, we have been ranked as the best country in which to live by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2005 and Dublin, our capital was ranked as the best capital city in Europe to live in 2003 by a BBC survey.

    As well as that, we have been ranked as being among the three happiest counties in Europe survey after survey by the EU.

    So, while we have a lot of troubles on our national plate, we have the money, and the attitude to sort them out. Happy new Year all!!!

  8. Kevin C. said

    Cathal,
    Thanks for weighing in here. You should be working for Board Failte!

  9. Chuck Norton said

    Kevin C. Thanks for your reply, however you should understand that your observations are anecdotal and that I can say that you are being “deceptive” just as you have accused me of being and without much to back up what you say.

    I am glad that you have been to Ireland, however that in no way gives your statement any cloak of infallability unless you can show me that all of the authors of countless studies and articles done about how Ireland made such an incredible economic comeback have never been to Ireland either.

    Moral of the story, you can have a booming economy and you can still find lots of people who will insist that the opposite is true for a variety of political, ideological and partisan reasons.

    The simple truth is that I have gotten much positive feedback on this very article. Have you considered publishing your own version of Forbes or The Economist yourself?

  10. Rachel Custer said

    Chuck,

    Actually, I don’t think Kevin was attempting so much to “refute,” or even to disagree with your assertion that Ireland has made some great economic strides overr an extremely short period of time (economically speaking). Rather, I think he was simply adding that, while Ireland has made these strides, they have been accompanied by an increase in social problems that may have actually been caused by the great economic growth within such a short period of time. I think the metaphor of very poor people suddenly winning the lottery is a good one.

    However, I think a consensus can be reached that this economic growth is, overall, a good thing. Perhaps it is necessary, at this point, for Ireland to learn to enjoy its newfound wealth while working more on addressing its social problems.

    I think it is important that we take note of Cathal’s statements. He is, as he says, a born and bred Irishman, so his experience with Ireland’s successes as well as problems can be seen as important, in my opinion. Theory is great, as far as it goes, but the anecdotal evidence is important, in this case. It shows how the average person in Ireland experiences the newfound wealth of the country. And I find it very hopeful that Cathal feels that, while Ireland’s social problems are difficult, the people still have a positive attitude about their country’s ability to deal with those social problems.

    Most great countries don’t come to be without some kind of social problems. Some people in the U.S. were greatly enriched by the subjugation of others in slavery, for example. Social problems are not as easily solved as economic ones, because, while everyone can agree that it is nice for a country to advance economically, not everyone agrees about the best way to address social problems. I’d like to thank Cathal for his hopeful statements and commend him for his pride in his country.

    Anyway, some great discussion, guys. Keep it up!

  11. Kevin C. said

    Chuck,
    You really have to help me out here. I can’t for the life of me decipher whether you’re an actor playing a bit of a role here (like IUSB’s version of Stephen Colbert), or whether your inflamatory post is really your own personality. It reads like satire, but since I don’t know you, it’s hard for me to tell. Should I respond, or is this some sort of inside joke?

  12. Sam said

    From what I know (and I do have a connection up there), this really is Chuck Norton. It isn’t satire, unfortunately. Although I haven’t met him personally, my perception is that he has a personality disorder. This isn’t meant to be an insult, but instead more of an objective diagnosis. Keep this in mind if and when you deal with him online. No kidding.

  13. Sam said

    I’d like to expand briefly on my comment above. The IUSB staff are good people – for example Rachel Custer, who has participated in this thread. Craig Chamberlain and Jarrod Brown likewise. Yet, they have been careful not to distance themselves openly from Chuck Norton who, at least in the blog context, is the most unique individual I have ever met (online). I’m not sure why.

    Chuck is obviously passionate about the topics he researches, and knowledgeable. He tends to manifest a right-wing bent. That is all perfectly fine. What I have found to be strange, from the outset of my interactions with him (in fact, this blog was called to my attention precisely because of Chuck Norton’s bizarre persona), is that he has no idea regarding the insulting nature of literally every one of his replies. What you write in practically doesn’t matter. You might as well agree with everything he says. Nevertheless, your input will be met with an incredibly snide, dismissive, arrogant, haughty response. It never fails. He will dismiss every one of your comments and glorify his own, criticizing you in the process for not adequately researching his sources – and of course, there are always many. If you believe what Chuck Norton writes, he spends hundreds of hours on a regular basis cataloging tens of thousands of published articles supporting his position.

    Let me state this differently. You’ll never win an argument against Chuck Norton. In Chuck’s mind, he is the debate or intellectual version of The Terminator. By definition, you will never sell him a point in your mind. You would die from exhaustion from trying. All he has to do is bluntly reject each and every one of your comments, challenging you to go back and research every one of the publications he claims to have seen and get back to him, meanwhile insulting your intelligence on top of that.

  14. Kevin C. said

    That’s an interesting theory Sam. Now I’ve never met Chuck Norton, but from what I can gather from his posts, he’s actually running an elaborate satirical hoax of the Borat variety. The initial goal of the Chuck Norton character is to goad people into believing that his persona is authentic (think Borat here). Like Borat, he then tries to bait people with outrageous claims, about Kazakhstan (Borat) or Democrats (Chuck). In the end, it’s not a person with a ridiculous belief system, just brilliant satire. If anyone who has actually met Chuck can actually confirm or deny this, I’m dying to know whether he’s O’Reilly or Colbert.

  15. Sam said

    Brilliant post.

    I just hope you’re wrong, because otherwise I would feel very stupid. I’d buy Norton a beer in case you were correct. Cheers :) Sam

  16. Kevin C. said

    I wouldn’t mind spending a couple bucks to drink a beer with “the Borat of IUSB” either, Sam. Norton seems to have developed an ingenious formula for satire:
    1.Take any article (in this case, it’s Thomas Friedman’s “The End of the Rainbow”)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/29/opinion/29friedman.html?ex=1277697600&en=a3f1a208e2617871&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
    2.Rewrite it in your own words, adding statistics, and slightly changing the order of presentation.
    3. Stick in abrasive rhetoric (10 points for berating Marxism, Feminism, or Democrats).
    4. Here is the key: never admit that it’s a hoax, no matter how ridiculous you sound.
    It’s brilliant, and anyone can do it! It’s just that Norton has done it first. In my mind it goes: Borat, Colbert, Norton (though not necessarily in that order).

  17. Kevin C. said

    Someone suggested to me that my above post might constitute an accusation of plagiarism. But this suggestion totally misses the brilliance of the “Chuck Norton” hoax. Satire doesn’t qualify under the laws of plagiarism! He’s clearly thought this one out and is at least five steps ahead of all of us.

    Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about Sam’s suggestion that Chuck Norton is just a crazy guy with a personality disorder. Frankly, I find this highly implausible. I mean, for one, what kind of upstanding newspaper would hire a nutjob to write its columns?

    It’s much more plausible, with all due respect to Sam, that “Chuck Norton” is a satirical persona in the Colbert vein. In other words, what seems like total idiocy to his readers is actually clever satire. If anyone knows Norton, they should be extra friendly to him. After all, who knows whether he’ll sign a huge movie deal and make it big as the next Borat of the satire scene.

  18. Rachel Custer said

    Guys,

    Very amusing posts, although I would like to address one point that Sam brought up seriously. You stated that the Vision staff has been careful not to distance ourselves from Chuck, as if it is something we should do. I will state for the record, as I have stated before, that Chuck and I sometimes disagree both on points of politics and the most effective way to engage people in conversation. However, while I certainly have no problem making my disagreements known on the weblog, I do think it somewhat counterproductive for the staff of a publication to publicly distance themselves from any given writer.

    I’m not sure if I am saying this in the best way, but what I am trying to say can be seen in what I feel is my appropriate response to a writer whose political beliefs I disagree with. While I have no problem discussion the points of disagreement, I do have an issue with completely distancing myself from that writer, who is also a member of the Vision. I have had trouble keeping these lines defined from time to time, when the issue is one I get particularly emotional about, but I try to disagree with ideas while still supporting the person behind those ideas who is, after all, a colleague in this venture.

    I hope I’ve been clear…sometimes it’s difficult to formulate my thoughts quickly in the form that is most prevalent on this blog, the “debate” or “refutation.” I’m more of a “discusser,” I suppose. Anyway, that’s my two cents on why I personally don’t publicly distance myself from Chuck as a person…as for his ideas, see above for a post in which I feel I do distance myself a little bit. Not to mention, Chuck is a very likable person, and can be a lot of fun.

    Thanks for the comments, guys. I’m looking forward to the discussion this semester.

  19. Kevin C. said

    So is Chuck fun like Colbert or fun like a crazy guy with a personality disorder?

  20. Rachel Custer said

    Kevin,

    Fun like a genuinely nice guy who is passionate about what he believes in. Trust me, the person you see on the weblog is not the totality of Chuck…like most of us, he is a complex person who cannot be categorized – an exercise I wouldn’t expect those with liberal beliefs to want to engage in anyway ;). Just kidding…but seriously, Chuck’s a good guy.

  21. Rachel Custer said

    I, however, may be fun in the way of someone with a personality disorder. I haven’t decided yet on whether I want to truly embrace my insanity or continue to hold it off as long as I can.

  22. Kevin C. said

    Rachel,
    I’m no psychologist, but what you’re doing here is the classic response of a trauma victim. You absolve Chuck of any guilt, and then say that what he has been blamed for is actually your problem (it is you that have the personality disorder, not him, you say).
    Frankly, it needs to be said that it’s not your fault, Rachel. Chuck needs to be responsible for his own actions.

  23. Rachel Custer said

    Kevin,

    You’ve got me. I actually am a trauma victim. Last night, very late, I went to Burger King to get a whopper with no pickles, no onions, and no ketchup. They gave me a whopper with not only all of the above, but with cheese, which, to me, just doesn’t go well with mayonnaise. I didn’t find out until I was almost home, so I turned around and went back. The second time, they gave me the same exact thing, which I again didn’t realize until I was down the road (please bear in mind, it was 3:30 in the morning…I was getting angry). So I turned around to get another. The manager, upon bringing out my corrected whopper (finally), told me that, in actuality, there had been no pickles, onion, ketchup or cheese on the whopper I had brought back the second time. By the time I was actually able to eat my whopper, I had symptoms of PTSD.

    Actually, to be serious, I thought we were just having a fun, tongue-in-cheek discussion. I realize not everyone shares my sense of humor, so please just disregard the above post if you are disturbed by it. Thanks! :)

  24. Kevin C. said

    Rachel,
    Sorry about that. Your tongue-in-cheek was a bit beyond me there. It might be because you learned your tongue-in-cheek from the great satirist himself, Chuck Norton, the guy who puts the BS in IUSB. In fact, he’s got his tongue so far in his cheek, he’s probably in danger of developing some sort of mouth cancer.

  25. Sam said

    “Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about Sam’s suggestion that Chuck Norton is just a crazy guy with a personality disorder. Frankly, I find this highly implausible. I mean, for one, what kind of upstanding newspaper would hire a nutjob to write its columns?

    It’s much more plausible, with all due respect to Sam, that “Chuck Norton” is a satirical persona in the Colbert vein. In other words, what seems like total idiocy to his readers is actually clever satire. If anyone knows Norton, they should be extra friendly to him. After all, who knows whether he’ll sign a huge movie deal and make it big as the next Borat of the satire scene.”

    Hi Kevin,

    You’re giving Chuck Norton too much credit (I’ve had direct, offline discussions about Chuck Norton as well and what you see is what you get). He responds in writing by stating exactly what he thinks and has no problem with the tone of his comments. It’s not an act. I’m pretty sure that the IUSB staff leave the issue alone for at least two reasons: (1) they tend to (meaning not always, Rachel) agree with his political opinions and leanings and (2) he creates publicity (i.e., any publicity is good publicity). Custer the Discusser chimes in with the notion that despite Chuck’s being an arrogant asshole and managing to piss off everybody online, he’s actually a “nice guy” and/or “fun guy” in person. Either way, they don’t mind his uniformly dismissive and insulting replies to essentially everyone on this blog. And actually, that’s fine with me as well :) I really don’t “care” per se, I just find it amusing.

    But please, this isn’t satire. It’s the real thing. :)

    P.S. Hi Rachel!

  26. Sam said

    Actually this whole thing does have me laughing. To view Chuck’s persona in a satirical light does make it rather entertaining. For example, here’s the underlying message in virtually any Norton response, no matter what you write in:

    “I reject and destroy your thesis.”

    By the way if you manage to get Chuck’s atention, he will literally challenge you to meet him in the IUSB cafeteria (where he apparently lives much of the time) for a “debate” in front of a student audience. I am not making this up, as Dave Barry would say.

    You see, his opinion on any issue he addresses – global warming (isn’t occurring and of course, we are not part of the problem), positive economic developments (credit all to either Reagan or the Bushes), the rags-to-riches story of the Irish economy (who gives a crap if you lived there and have firsthand experience, by the way), or a host of other topics can simply be proven or refuted based on a debate with him.

    :):):)

  27. Kevin C. said

    Wait a minute, Sam. You’re telling me that the IUSB Vision isn’t just another version of The Onion, and that some of these articles are serious? I find that very implausible indeed.
    On the other hand, I find your analysis that the Vision uses Chuck Norton as a publicity stunt pretty reasonable. If your right that he isn’t using satire, then it would seem to follow that he’s the Vision’s very own bearded lady, and that they’re using him in their own little freak show. That would be pretty depressing, though.

  28. Sam said

    To counter his dismissal of your having ever lived in Ireland as being relevant to the issue he has selected for “debate”, for example, you could counter with the fact that his marine veteran status gives him no leverage whatsoever in defending our unilateral invasion of Iraq to the death (in between his spittles of toxic saliva). Now THAT might get you an invitation to the IUSB cafeteria :)

  29. Kevin C. said

    I don’t really feel any need to counter what Chuck said, given that Rachel, who apparently finds Chuck “a lot of fun” and “a complex person who cannot be categorized” (By whom? By a psychologist?), already showed that it was obvious in his four sentence response that he hadn’t even read my post (By “read,” I mean “read,” and not “scrolling while staring.”)
    Regardless, I still buy into the “satire theory” of Chuck Norton. It just makes much more sense.

  30. Sam said

    Hey – I wasn’t being serious about actually responding to him :)

  31. Kevin C. said

    You’re right. I would just end up being like some sap interviewee in a fake news interview, where Chuck, like Borat or Colbert, would ask his ridiculous questions and make his ridiculous statements, and I would end up looking stupid for participating in the farce. Hmmm… Maybe this should be a lesson for anyone who thinks of responding to the great satirist, Chuck Norton, the “eyes” of the Vision. I guess that would be “the legally blind eyes of the Vision” by your theory Sam.

  32. Sam said

    I agree that taking the time to respond to Chuck Norton thoughtfully (this has been attempted by others in the past) would be very much like suffering through a counter guest slot on Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly because, like Chuck, they seem to be serious about their views and also, they are simply mean people in general. I appreciate and admire Borat, Colbert, Stewart, etc. and personally would never flatter Norton by even jokingly placing him among their ranks. If Chuck Norton has a sense of humor, I haven’t seen it :)

  33. Sam said

    P.S. The Onion is easily, far and away, the wittiest and funniest source of satire on the internet. Below are my two favorite Bush-related pieces (published nearly six years ago):

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28784

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/38718

    Here’s a great one on Gore and/or Pennsylvania (where my family is from):

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28341

    BTW, the fact that I added citations means this post may be delayed considerably.

  34. Kevin C. said

    Wait just a second. Hannity and O’Reilly are multi-millionaire syndicated talk-show hosts. Chuck Norton, if he isn’t a clever satirist as you suggest, would be a columnist for a small newspaper at a satellite University, which (with all due respect to its talented students and faculty) is neither the best university of IU, nor the best university of SB.

  35. Rachel Custer said

    Guys,

    Why the attempt to categorize Chuck into a little box? Would it make you more comfortable with his ideas? My point was just that, while I know his statements can be off-putting to some, he does believe what he says. And he sticks up for what he believes in. That, to me, is a positive character trait whether a person is liberal or conservative, religious or not, etc. It shows strength of character and willingness to be looked at as foolish by other people for standing up for your beliefs.

    It bothers me a little bit that, when a conservative Christian stands up for his/her beliefs, the names Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, etc. are automatically invoked, seemingly as a way to categorize that person instead of thoughtfully listening and trying to understand what the person is saying. By the way, this definitely happens on the other side, too…liberals are characterized as feminist, gay, or “cut and run wusses,” for example.

    I have an issue with all of us (read: conservatives and democrats, men and women) radicalizing everything, because it leads away from frank, honest discussion where learning and understanding and respect may result, directly toward vitriolic abuse being spewed by both sides at the other, which helps nothing.

    I don’t think it is fair to compare the Vision to the Onion simply because you don’t believe the views of a writer or how he promotes those views. His opinion is his opinion, and we are trying hard to build a serious campus publication. It is an example of the radicalization I referred to above to state “Since Chuck Norton works for the Vision, and Chuck is a [insert radical conservative stereotype here], the Vision is comparable to a satirical paper and is basically a joke.

    That being said, there are many millions of people who agree with a lot of the things Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity say. Why are they necessarily “mean people”? Because they don’t believe what you believe? Why does Chuck have a “personality disorder”? Because he is passionate in defense of his beliefs?

    I am not picking on you guys. I am trying to point out a serious issue I think has come up in political and other types of conversations (from BOTH sides of the fence), which hinder our ability to learn from and understand each other. As long as we shut down as soon as somebody says something we don’t agree with, as long as we call names and categorize people into little boxes, we will never learn or grow in the way that people who are different can teach us. That is what I hope for when I am in a discussion (of course, I do it too – I’m not saying I’m perfect, only that I’m trying).

    Anyway, thanks for the continued comments, guys. Sorry this one got a little long, and again, it was not meant to be a personal condemnation, merely an observation that applies to us all.

    By the way, The Onion is hilarious. And hi, Sam! Good to see you back.

  36. Sam said

    Rachel,

    I don’t mean this to sound dismissive of what you’ve stated, because there is substance to your comments, but I do want to emphasize that our views (yours and mine) are not mutually exclusive. I’m not going after Chuck’s political views themselves, or those of Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly. What I’ve been trying to say is that Chuck Norton comes off like an asshole. He insults people not so much via the content of his replies, but by his tone. That has been the common thread underlying anything I’ve ever had to say about the guy. You keep coming back to his defense by addressing the substance of his opinion, stating his right to his own views, that they are no more radical than someone else’s, etc. Once again, Chuck Norton’s tone is pure jerk, no matter how conciliatory one acts toward him. If you disagree with me that he has acted like a total jerk in his reponses on the IUSB Vision weblog, just say so. You would be making a different point from the same old tune in that case and I would respect it.

    I’m glad to know you enjoy a lighter side of Chuck Norton. To the rest of us outsiders, he is an asshole. I don’t mind stating the same about Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. I didn’t claim that very few people agree with the substance of their comments, and that therefore they must be incorrect. I said they were assholes (translate: acting like a jerk towards other people, at least those who disagree with you.)

    Glad you like The Onion :)

  37. Sam said

    Also I understand that the IUSB Vision wants to be taken as a serious-minded newspaper. I never likened it to The Onion because I can certainly tell you want to be taken seriously. (I just like The Onion and someone brought it up :)) Chuck Norton’s arrogant, crass, insulting tone complemented by a general inability to write will never allow the IUSB Vision to be viewed in an entirely serious context, so long as his bile is passively tolerated. I’d be saying the same thing if he were hyper-partisan (one of his favorite phrases for those who disagree with him) in the liberal as opposed to conservative direction.

  38. Sam said

    Rachel writes:

    “That being said, there are many millions of people who agree with a lot of the things Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity say. Why are they necessarily mean people? Because they don’t believe what you believe? Why does Chuck have a personality disorder? Because he is passionate in defense of his beliefs?”

    I didn’t catch these specific comments the first time around, but will avoid belaboring because my previous reply had an enveloping response. Chuck Norton is “passionate”, to employ a generous euphemism, in the process of defending his beliefs. Millions of people agree with Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, and they don’t believe what I believe. The answer to your questions, however, is “no”. I don’t consider either Fox personality to be mean as a necessary consequence, and the same for Chuck Norton.

    Are you not aware of the longstanding notoriety of each of these “news correspondents” owing to the way they brow-beat, bully, talk over, ask leading questions, and shout down their guests – not necessarily because of their right-wing beliefs? Rachel, you have to be. Chuck doesn’t employ any of those particular methods of subjugation because, after all, this is an internet forum. He does, however, reply only to intellectually demean, criticize someone’s research or his or her failure to properly characterize whatever he concludes, etc. Notice that he never concedes anything – unlike you and Craig, for example. He never acknowledges a reasonable point made by anyone other then himself. Can you imagine him beginning a sentence with “Well-put”, “I’ll concede that”, “You have a point there”. “You’re right – that’s also a consideration”, etc. Never. Everything you say is wrong, and everything he says is correct. No ifs, ands, or buts. That makes him an asshole. But how would Chuck himself respond to this? Why, because he IS always correct, and because none of his dissenters EVER raises a legitimate point. In his intellectually deranged mind, he is only calling a spade a spade.

  39. Kevin C. said

    Rachel,
    I appreciate your comments. Apparently there are some good people who work at the Vision. But, if the Vision doesn’t want to read like the Onion, then they shouldn’t have hired the great satirist himself, Chuck Norton.
    1. This is not an issue of being challenged by Chuck’s beliefs. If I wanted to hear abrasive conservative rhetoric, I’d tune into AM radio. But frankly, I think this does a disservice to conservatism, since probably the best argument for Liberalism is a bad argument for Conservatism (and there are many of these on the radio). Personally, I think that both Liberalism and Conservatism are significantly in error, so I read the Wall Street Journal for a Conservative view, and would never rely on a the great satirist himself for any information.
    2. This is not about liberalism and conservatism, though. The Vision should be concerned about good writing and bad writing. I used to work in the writing center another university, and frankly, I would be appalled to see some of the great satirist’s stuff come through there. I mean, what kind of an editor lets the following sentence pass: “First, a warning, if you have Marxist leanings the facts I am about to present to you are going to prove to be tremendously inconvenient and may even put you into shock. You have been warned.” I learned to lose this crude style about the time I hit puberty. You should tell the great satirist too that it’s time to grow up. Not to mention, there are significant grammatical errors (for instance, “go gettem'”). If you guys want to start a real newspaper, you should fire the great satirist, and let him start his own version of the Onion. Either way, stop using him as the bearded lady, or else your paper will always be seen as a freak show.
    3. The bottom line is that I have a great amount of respect for many Christians, Conservatives and Liberals. This is not about ideology, and the Vision is blinding itself if they think this is the issue. If everyone who would argue against Chuck is a liberal, then our country is in big trouble. Any real conservative would take great issue with his style, not to mention most of his arguments.

  40. Sam said

    Thanks for getting back, Kevin. We have similar mindsets in terms of what is going on here – namely the communication itself more than the underlying issues. I know your comments were for Rachel and/or the other IUSB staff, but wanted to respond very briefly to a few of your observations:

    “since probably the best argument for Liberalism is a bad argument for Conservatism”

    I’m inclined to agree with this statement, somewhat sheepishly. For example, the Democrats don’t seem to offer a uniquely specific alternative to Bush’s impending proposal to send yet more troops to Iraq. In a way, the options are truly dichotomous in nature: either we increase our presence over there, with unknown consequences, or we don’t, with consequences that don’t seem to be very good, at least for Iraq.

    “The Vision should be concerned about good writing and bad writing.”

    Absolutely. However, I’m not sure they agree. I think they view the situation in terms of allowing any motivated individual to write about whetever he or she wants, and as far as I can tell, there is no editorial oversight, so to speak. I am unaware of any actual editing on the part of the IUSB staff – however it is a college weblog.

    “I learned to lose this crude style about the time I hit puberty. You should tell the great satirist too that it’s time to grow up.”

    I completely agree, though I am convinced the IUSB staff does not, and they know more about how to run a college weblog than I do for sure.

    “If you guys want to start a real newspaper, you should fire the great satirist…”

    They will probably emphasize, and perhaps rightly so, that the IUSB presumably does not hire or even pay individuals to come forth with researched topics for discussion.

    “Any real conservative would take great issue with his style, not to mention most of his arguments.”

    I agree with the essence of what you’re saying. In other words, any decent writer, liberal or conservative, might perhaps take issue with Chuck Norton’s style of introducing a new topic, let alone responding to viewers about it.

    :)

  41. Kevin C. said

    Sam,
    Thanks for the note. I’ve just got one clarification. I can see how you took my line “probably the best argument for Liberalism is a bad argument for Conservatism” the way you did. But I didn’t really mean it as something particular to liberalism. For example, I would say also that the best argument for conservatism is a bad argument for liberalism. Of course, these are both a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point that bad arguments do a disservice to the positions that they attempt to support.

    My impression is that the IUSB vision wants to succeed as a newspaper. I just think that their a bit slow to realize that the “shock and awe” style may get viewers in the short term, but it’s no way to build a strong newspaper.

  42. Sam said

    Kevin,

    I understand your point. But my first reading of it did make me think of an issue that continues to resurface in my own mind as of late, which is that the Democrats seem to have been reduced to a position – perhaps naturally, owing to their subordinate political minority position over the past six years – that all they have time to do (literally, maybe) is criticize what they consider to be a misguided and mismanaged Republican policy. I bring this up for an obvious reason, namely, the Republican counter that we (i.e. Democrats) have managed to suggest no better specific alternative to what the Bush administration wants to do. The issue has plagued me, though not in a chronically tortuous way :) It seems as though we have been relegated to spending all of our time disagreeing with the previous congressional majority, for good reasons I should add. We’re so used to spending so much time disagreeing, owing to this vehement thrust down our throats in terms of blind patriotism. We spend what little time we seem to have in terms of disagreeing with the current administration’s dogmatic push to kick ass for the sake of kick-ass payback irrespective of the recipient. So a lingering question for me is this, and I don’t know the answer: have political opposers of the Iraqi offensive truly had the chance to collect their thoughts and offer a unique alternative, other than just getting out of there?

    Sorry for the digression, which is not pertinent here. Your points remain well taken.

  43. Rachel Custer said

    Sam and Kevin,

    Some very good points, and they helped me clarify the original issue. I have mentioned before on this weblog (and I believe in the post above) that Chuck and I differ in our ideas of the best way to engage people in critical discussion. Chuck tends to view discussions as debates and thinks a lot about refutation, I think, whereas I tend to say things such as “But what if…” and “Have you thought about…” However, I must be honest that debate and refutation are not my strong suit, so I am ill-equipped to comment on proper debate strategy. However, I do understand that Chuck’s tone can be off-putting sometimes. We have discussed it with each other before, and basically, agreed to disagree. (However, I should mention here that Chuck disagreed very politely and without disagreeable tone at all.)

    I wholeheartedly agree that the writing of the Vision can always improve, and that is what we are attempting to do. It is difficult since, as Sam has mentioned, we don’t pay our staff and we are all volunteers who are also involved in the other demands on college students’ lives. While it would be great if we could edit the Vision many times over before publishing, there is often a time constraint. We have, I think, made it more a goal to be continually improving our publication.

    I also wanted to clarify my above post. I feel that politicians and political parties are poor role models for the proper way for people to engage in discussion with those who disagree with them. While I am familiar with Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly from the radio (although not TV), I am also aware that there are equally polarizing hosts from the other political party who use the same tactics. It was not my intention to defend those tactics for discussion amongst people who actually want to discuss; it is my opinion that those shows, while often entertaining, and sometimes educational, don’t go a long way toward helping one understand the position of anyone who is not the host. They’re set up that way. I should add here, though, that I do think there is a place in honest discussion for emotion and passion – we all have reasons why we believe what we do, and they are important to us.

    I personally am getting rather sick of the whole of Washington, D.C. and politicians whose real agenda is to get re-elected. All of them. However, I do understand your points about the effect brow-beating and a disrespectful tone can have on a debate, effectively polarizing the people debating and leaving little room for honest, open discussion. That is why I attempt to engage people a bit differently. (Sometimes I fail, but I try).

    I also understand the point about Chuck being the Vision’s “bearded lady,” and the effect it has on the respect some have for the publication. Again, we do accept volunteers, and we allow a forum for, as far as I know, anyone who would like to write for us. To my knowledge, we have not denied anyone that forum, even if they don’t have conservative leanings, or Christian beliefs. Therefore, I am hard-pressed to agree that Chuck should not be allowed his forum. As for the editing of his articles, I will have to defer that issue to the editors, since I am not one, but I can only state that we are attempting to do a good job and to improved with each issue.

    Thanks for your continued comments. I appreciate them.

  44. Jarrod Brigham said

    If I invited Hugo Chavez to write an article for us, we would still be called conservative.
    If I invited Fidel Castro to write an article for us, we would still be called conservative.
    If I invited Ted Kennedy to write an article for us, we would still be called conservative.
    If I invited Rosie O’Donnell to write for us, we would still be called conservative.
    If I invited all of them to write for the same issue and allowed Chuck Norton one sentence, we would still be called conservative. Anyone to the right of Che Guevarra is too conservative for our detractors.

    We have tried and tried to bring on liberal writers. It is not our fault they are too afraid.

  45. Kevin C. said

    Hmmm, Jarrod. It’s hard to see why anyone wouldn’t want to write for a newspaper that thinks that liberal writers don’t join because they are afraid, and that those who disagree with the voices of the publication will accept nothing more than someone to Che Geuvara’s left.
    Of course, your post is a giant contradiction. On the one hand you say that hiring liberal writers would be useless, but then you talk about how much you’ve “tried and tried” to hire liberal writers. You should get your story straight here.
    But that’s not really important. What you guys at the Vision seem blind to is the fact that it’s not a conservative/liberal issue. And as long as both sides of the conservative/liberal debate keep caricaturing each other, for example, by thinking that one’s detractors are only satisfied by people to the left of Geuvara, you’ll be stuck in a ridiculous debate. The real issue here is right and wrong forms of public discourse. Do you every wonder why Sean Hannity is not a columnist for the Wall Street Journal? I suggest that it’s not because of ideological differences, but because of presentation styles. Read George Will, for example, and then listen to Hannity. Will may not be that far off from Hannity ideologically, but he knows how to write and how to speak in such a way that a good conservative should write and speak. And you can be damn sure that George Will has ten times more power (I mean real power, not just people with your bumper-stickers on your car) than Sean Hannity. If the Vision took the George Will approach, for example, your paper would be much stronger.

  46. Kevin C. said

    I guess I meant to say “your bumper-stickers on THEIR car.” (I could use an editor over here myself).

  47. Kevin C. said

    By the way, Jarrod and I could both learn, it’s “Guevara,” not “Geuvara” (myself), or “Guevarra” (Jarrod).

  48. Sam said

    So Jarrod, why might liberal writers be “too afraid” to contribute to your site? Why do you state this as the reason for their reluctance to do so?

    I found your brief and dismissive post to be somewhat mystifying considering you are the editor of a college newspaper. You must be quite busy. Quite a bit of food for thought there, Jarrod. (Sorry if I called you Brown before – post #13 – I meant Brigham, of course.)

    To The Discusser – how am I supposed to disagree with anything you say. I can’t.

    For reasons aforementioned, I still think Chuck Norton comes off as a jerk irrespective of his political leanings. Rachel went so far as to concur that his tone may possibly be “off-putting”. Hmm. However, as Rachel states (I too very much appreciate this phrase), I have no problem agreeing to disagree on that.

    Cheers :)

    Sam

  49. Rachel Custer said

    Kevin,

    I understand your reservations about Jarrod’s post as a whole. Nevertheless, I do think there is a solid point and not a little frustration beneath it (my understanding, not necessarily the case, but how I understand it). The Vision has extended the invitation for writers of all points of view to write for us, and we have consistently printed both the contributions we receive directly and dissenting comments from the weblog and letters to the editor from those who disagree with printed articles.

    It is true that we have had issues where we have actually had more content from a “liberal” perspective than a “conservative” perspective, and yet, we never get one comment speaking positively about these issues, while we get tons of comments on our continued failings to present a balanced viewpoint. It can get frustrating. Exactly how much content of a “liberal” nature must we print before we are no longer too “conservative”?

    As shown above, I also grow weary of the constant “liberal vs. conservative” fight. In addition to my points above, I would like to note that the MAJORITY of our content, week after week and semester after semester, continues to be apolitical, school news or club-related news. Why do the few political pieces seem to always get singled out? I guess I’ll have to chalk that up to the seemingly natural human desire for conflict and call it a night. :)

    Thanks for the comments, Kevin.

    And Sam, you’re welcome to agree with me anytime. I’m always right, you know. :) (said with tongue firmly in cheek for those who still don’t get my fabulous sense of humor). Have a good night, guys.

  50. Kevin C. said

    Rachel,
    Again, this is not an issue about liberal vs. conservative. The people who object to your paper for being conservative, I take it, are really objecting to it for being bad public discourse (often bullying, for example). The problem is that these people have equated conservatism with bad public discourse because many prominent conservatives (Hannity, etc.) participate in bad public discourse. This would be the case on the liberal side too, except for the fact that liberal attempts at bad public discourse (eg. Air America) have been miserable failures.
    My point is that if you wrote the paper as a conservative newspaper, but in the George Will way (i.e. civily) rather than the Sean Hannity way (bullying), your (reasonable) objectors would go away (naturally, any newspaper will have some unreasonable objectors. I’m afraid this would probably mean getting rid of Chuck Norton, though. I think if you were far-sighted about this, you would see that this would be a good move for the paper in the long term, although it might lose short term “shocked and awed” readers. I’d be happy to clarify this post if it’s a bit unclear, by the way.

  51. Rachel Custer said

    Kevin,

    Actually, if people tell me they object to our paper because of it’s conservatism, I tend to believe them. Your attempt to equate both conservatism and The Vision with bad public discourse is not convincing, to me. As you have mentioned, there are as many instances of bad public discourse in liberalism as there are in conservatism. Yes, the conservatives have been more successful, but I would contend that this is because there are more people who agree with Rush Limbaugh in this country than Randi Rhodes. It is known by some as the moral majority, by others as the silent majority, but it is made evident in the fact that Air America is going down in flames while WOWO and other stations like it flourish year after year.

    I don’t really believe that Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly exist to provide public discourse; I don’t think that’s necessarily their goal. To me, they are more commentators whose programs are about their ideas of what is going on in the world, from a conservative point of view.

    I think it is unfair and disingenuous to imply that the Vision is altogether uncivil. I notice that you make no comment on my above points regarding issues where the majority of the content either disagrees with the majority of our opinions, or has no bearing on political issues at all. To be honest, I think we provide a much better forum for public discourse on campus than existed before the Vision was created. At the very least, we allow those with dissenting opinions to publish those opinions in our publication. Keep in mind, the catalyst for the creation of the Vision was that we (read: conservatives, Christians, anybody on campus who didn’t believe certain things) were not allowed to partake in the public discourse on campus at that time. I think we have done a good job of attempting to provide students with a forum to espouse whatever views they would like, even if they directly oppose ours. Not to mention, we have set up the weblog where people can say pretty much anything they want to, and often do, and it can get pretty harsh.

    I just want to reiterate that I feel, if people really felt the problem was bad public discourse, they would say that was their problem. I believe, in this case, with most people, it is a case of liberal vs. conservative.

  52. Kevin C. said

    Rachel,
    Hmmm. That’s pretty well put. While I still take issue with your central point that people disagree with your paper because of its conservatism, you’ve raised some good points, so let me clarify my view on this. No doubt people do say that they disagree with the paper because it’s conservative. But I think if you pressed them on what part of conservatism in particular they disagreed with, while they might give you a substantial policy answer (such as an objection to some writers’ support of Reaganomics, [although not Scott Gorney apparently]), I think it’s more likely that they would give you some answer such as “I don’t like that they don’t listen to anyone, and just prop-up the Bush administration,” which really has nothing to do with conservatism as a philosophy, but more to do with the way in which it’s sometimes presented. You have to be careful though, because if you ask someone and they give you a policy answer, you should see if their policy objection is based on a reason, or on the rejection of a certain attitude. For example, if they object to O’Reilly-style policies on immigration, they might be rejecting what they consider to be a crass and mean-spirited attitude toward foreigners, which would be the rejection of an attitude (a method of presentation), rather than the substance of a policy. It might turn out that you’re right, but I’d be interested to hear your results if you really pressure people on what exactly they object to. And again, the fact that they say they object to its conservatism doesn’t imply that this is what their deep objection is about. The word “conservatism” can mean a million things, so an objection to “conservatism” needs to be explored. I could say more if this is if it’s confusing.

    If I implied that the Vision as a whole is uncivil, then I was wrong. I tried to say in my last post that it’s really only one writer, though if I’ve waffled a bit on this, this is the meaning that I really intend.

    I would give you a different story on why Air America failed and Limbaugh has succeeded, though the reality if probably much more complicated, and both of our analyses are likely too simplistic. You’re probably right that more people agree with Limbaugh, than with Randi Rhodes. Of course, most people probably agree with neither of them (despite the illusion of consensus created on such shows), but that’s beside the point. My own view on this is that it has something to do with the fact that dogmatic liberalism is a contradiction of terms, whereas dogmatic conservatism can be consistent. I could talk more about this, but it’s not such an important point.

    Also, just a minor point, although they often do correlate, there’s no reason why conservative and Christian necessarily go together. You might take a look at the biography of the Catholic socialist Dorothy Day, to take just one counterexample.

  53. Rachel Custer said

    Kevin,

    Thank you for the clarification; you make some very good points and I feel like I understand better what you have been trying to say. While it’s a bit frustrating to me that people read articles by one writer and form opinions of our entire publication based on those articles alone, I understand that negative associations can be formed between ideas and the people who present them, if they are perceived to present them in a negative way.

    I appreciate the clarification on the civility of the Vision; it’s quite possible I misunderstood your statement, and if so, I apologize as well.

    I agree with you that there are probably more people who agree with neither Rush Limbaugh or Randi Rhodes; however, the polarized nature of these shows probably attracts some of the moderate people who feel themselves more aligned with one or the other. For example, a person with more moderate liberal views would be more likely to listen to Randi Rhodes, if they liked political commentary, while a more moderate conservative might listen to Rush Limbaugh, simply because they would rather listen to a conservative further to the right of them (or a liberal further to the left) than listen to the other side.

    We are also in agreement regarding the fact that all conservatives are not necessarily Christians, and all Christians are not necessarily conservative. That’s why, when I discuss conservative and/or Christian viewpoints, I try to differentiate between them. If I sometimes fail at this differentiation, please know that I do realize liberals can be Christians, and Christians can be liberal.

    Anyway, just wanted to thank you for the further comments.

  54. Chuck Norton said

    Kevin C.,

    Thank you for taking the time to reveal the true motive of your “critique”.

    I took a tad of a sharp tone with you because in several posts you tried to make it about me rather than the facts (that are quite undeniable in an honest way) that I presented.

    First you started out with words like “deceptive” etc and then when I made a post that points out the flaw in your “cloak of infallibility” argument you go even further with the attacks.

    You had an opportunity to keep the argument about the facts presented, and it didn’t take you long to reveal yourself and make it all about me…..and go after me…..and after you leave the argument and go after me you than lecture us about civility….. priceless.

    You have made it clear that you are merely an ideologue, whose “dissent” has little to do with the facts presented, but more with attacking anyone who has a different point of view who you cannot defeat in a fair argument in the arena of facts and ideas.

    Kevin, it is my best hope that you consider this post as a second chance to make it right and keep it about the facts presented – namely the topic is about the turn around in economic growth in Ireland and the topic is not about what leftists think about Chuck Norton (and their inability to defeat his argument).

  55. Kevin C. said

    Ah! The great satirist has awakened from his dogmatic slumber. But you all must understand my dilemma. If I respond to the great satirist’s questions, then I run the risk of being played like the poor interviewee, mocked and made to play the fool, in an ingenious Stephen Colbert interview. But if I don’t respond, the great satirist will likely make me the butt of his brilliant satire.

    Colbert himself could learn a little from the great satirist’s methods. The key to the great satirist’s fame follows the following principle:
    Take whatever you are most guilty of, and accuse your opponent of this.

    And so the great satirist accuses others of personal attacks, being ideologues, and “attacking anyone who has a different point of view than you.”

    But when the great satirist receives a taste of his own medicine, amazingly enough, his entire immune system breaks down. The same viruses that he has been spreading seem to be his own demise. And this is the greatest joke of them all. After all, you would think that the great satirist himself, Chuck Norton,
    would come equipped with Norton anti-virus.

  56. Chuck Norton said

    Thank you Kevin, you have made it crystal clear that you will not make a genuine argument and stay that course. Perhaps you should go over to the Daily-KOS and post with the rest of the smear merchants who wont, or for some reason cant, make a genuine argument….especially when they lose.

  57. Kevin C. said

    I love it! Who is that? Hannity? O’Reilly? You are wise, O great satirist!

  58. Kevin C. said

    By the way, if someone runs into the great satirist sometime when he’s out of character, they should tell him that, during his act, he should stop linking me to some liberal website that I found out about on google. They should inform the great satirist that I am instead only a young student, from South Bend, who has several good friends at IUSB. After all, perhaps actual facts might make the great satirist’s routine even more funny.

  59. Erkki KochKetola said

    Amazingly, Chuck is never out of character. He’s one of the best in the business.

  60. Kevin C. said

    Wow. So you mean the great satirist is like one of those method actors that stay in character even when they’re off stage?

  61. Erkki KochKetola said

    Yup.

  62. Chuck Norton said

    Erkki, I just thought I would take a moment to thank you for posting on the web log, and to remind you that you have never been able to best me in an argument, but it saddens me to see that at this point you wont even try.

    So all of you who read this web log but rarely or never post, do you think that people like Kevin C. and his friends here just don’t have what it takes between the ears to make a fair argument backed with verifiable evidence or is it that they are so mired in their hate and the urge to vent it is so bad that reason or fact doesn’t even enter into it?

    What can I say all, they wont have a genuine discussion or argument with me, so I just have to point out their tactics and provide a residue of entertainment by mocking them just a little :-)

    I also find it amusing that many of them do not include their last names. Perhaps it is because if their parents or future employers did a Google on them and found their hateful comments it would reflect badly upon them.

    As I like to remind the radical left that hate is not a family value, but than again I suppose that cowardice isn’t either.

  63. Erkki KochKetola said

    Invincible ignorance is a logical fallacy, Chuck.

  64. Kevin C. said

    By the way, I love the great satirist somehow thinks that he will be vindicated by “all of you who read this web log but rarely or never post.” Now, I don’t know anyone on this thread. No one is my friend here. Yet everyone seems to think Chuck Norton is wrong. Even other members of The Vision only give him a half-endorsement. So how the great satirist draws the conclusion that “all of you who read this web log but rarely or never post” somehow agree with him, is beyond me, and actually, it’s kind of depressing. It means that he has convinced himself of the reality of imaginary cyber-friends who will come to his rescue. For the first time, I actually feel kind of bad for the guy.

  65. […] natural resources, Only….Ireland in the last twenty years has transformed itself from economic laughingstock to high-tech hub. Can WV do the same? […]

  66. Chuck Norton said

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb_0707_48.pdf

    A great report covering the corporate tax rates of industrialized countries – you will see that Europe’s is now lower than ours. Like Ireland more and more EU countries are taking a more Reaganite position of corporate taxes and the result is that more and more companies are relocating to EU nations.

    /quote
    “Even the European Commission—a bureaucracy thseeks to harmonize corporate tax rates at high levels—recently confessed that “it is quite striking that the declinin corporate income tax rates has not resulted, so far, in marked reductions in tax revenue, [with] both the euro arand the EU-25 average actually increasing slightly form the 1995 level.” /end quote

  67. Dan said

    Yes, the problems are glaring now because there is something to compare them to that is beautiful. It is as if a young family grows up with the children going off on their own, but one becoming a drug addict depending on social services. Was it the family’s fault or the individual’s? Likewise, there will always be the “drug addicts” in an open economy. It is upon them to improve themselves. Of course, invalids need to have a safety net, but not able-bodied citizens. Get off your arse!

  68. SDDF said

    And four years later….

    Not so much.

    Guess things don’t work quite the way you want to think they do.

    [IUSB Vision Editor Responds:

    Readers, it is silly comments like this why people like SDDF do not sign their real name to their comment.

    If you read the article you can see that this program in Ireland worked for many years. Ireland is having a rough time now but in case you didn’t notice, THERE WAS A GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN YOU PINHEAD. And the reason for the meltdown was largely do to left wing government intervention in the housing and securities markets.

    If the CRA didn’t push banks into giving bad loans, of Sarbanes-Oxley didn’t warp the market with the “mark to market rule”, if Government run Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were phased out long ago, if Fannie/Freddie didn’t by as many loans as it could no matter how bad their risk was, if Fannie/Freddie didn’t bundle those bad loans into securities with an implied government guarantee, and of the Federal Reserve had not kept interest rates artificially low which made the bubble much worse, the meltdown would not have happened.

    So what are you trying to imply, that the global meltdown happened because Ireland passed a few tax cuts and created a few enterprise zones?

    The only other problem Ireland has is that they started to abandon these smart economic policies. Keep in mind also that even under good economic policy like Ireland used to make the “miracle” happen there will still be a business cycle, that cycle is important because bad businesses, bad risk, and inefficient operations need to be phased out by competition or gobbled up by better operations and this happens on the downside of the cycle.

    Remember that capitalism is a profit AND loss system. Stalin hired an economist (Kondrakiev) and asked him how to destroy a free market system and he said that the best way to do it was to use the government to prevent loss. This would encourage so much bloat and inefficiency that the government and the system would collapse.

    SDDF is a student at the University of Illinois at Champagne…

    – Editor]

  69. Ed Ruthazer said

    Really? The government forced the banks to make bad loans? Poor helpless banks!

    *****************************************************************

    IUSB Vision Editor Responds:

    The government forced banks to give high risk loans. This is very well documented and is an absolute fact. If a bank did not give enough high risk loans it would get whjat was called a “bad CRA rating” which would bring in a series of punishments from the government. It some cases the government would levy massive fines.

    April 3, 1998 of Clinton’s HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo telling how they forced banks to make high risk affirmative action loans.

    CUOMO: To take a greater risk on these mortgages, yes. To give families mortgages that they would not have given otherwise, yes.

    Q: [unintellible] … that they would not have given the loans at all?

    CUOMO: They would not have qualified but for this affirmative action on the part of the bank, yes.

    Q: Are minorities represented in that low and moderate income group?

    CUOMO: It is by income, and is it also by minorities? Yes.

    CUOMO: With the 2.1 billion, lending that amount in mortgages — which will be a higher risk, and I’m sure there will be a higher default rate on those mortgages than on the rest of the portfolio …

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