Cliff Asness' Cliff Notes To Progressive America
Cliff Asness, head of the quant hedge fund AQR, has been known to be a vocal opponent of various failed governmental policies in the past few years. Today, he has shared his "dictionary" (of "humorous" persuasion as he himself notes, with definitions "written sarcastically as a faux left-winger, some just conservative/libertarian interpretations of what the left really means.") of the key terms dominant in Progressive America right now. In a world in which other people's money has pretty much run out, and ahead of a rather historic Supreme Court ruling tomorrow, we believe some of these are quite relevant.
Some Useful Definitions to Understand Our Modern Progressive World
Failed Policies of the Past
Definition: Limited government, free markets, personal responsibility, liberty.
We Are All In This Together
Definition: For the love of God who do we tax back to the stone-age to get out of this!?
Definition: Essentially a darling concept of the progressive left of the first half of the 20th century (along with eugenics its even more vile cousin). It now is defined as "any attempt by conservatives and libertarians to rein in the unsustainable spending of out of control government."
Definition: A word used to motivate making sure outcomes do not match abilities or effort. Note, pre-1970 it meant roughly the opposite.
Definition: Redistribution based on group affiliation, regardless of anything the actual individuals in question did, or even their specific ancestors did, but instead based on the actions of other individuals in the past who just kind of looked vaguely like those in the relevant groups being discussed now, both victim and oppressor. Also applies to redistribution of any kind, whether based on actual unfairness, or on simply outcomes liberals do not like.
Alternative definition: Unspecific. Just a meaningless phrase that screams “I am liberal and this phrase sounds liberal and nice with just a hint of revolutionary sexiness.”
Antonym: Justice (which, even if it must be applied broadly to address real group-wide wrongs, is always and everywhere an individual notion)
The Phrase “Deny Access to…”
Used in a sentence: “It is unfair to deny access to healthcare to 26 year olds living off their parents.”
Definition: When a person isn’t given something they want for free, and they have not found a way to steal it yet, they have been “denied access” to it. In general it is the “1%” that “denies access.” See “1%” below.
Definition: Something provided by other men and women’s labor that some claim as their right, sometimes claiming to have paid for it during their lifetime, when all forms of modern mathematics and accounting reject that notion.
Used in a sentence: “I have a right to healthcare.”
Definition: A more extreme form of “entitlement” defined above. Note that modern usage throws out the long tradition of natural rights only of a negative nature, that is, the right not to have something done to you, for rights of a positive nature, that is, the right to certain goods and services, like health care, Apple products, and soy milk. Since, no matter how important these items are, these modern positive rights must still be produced and taken from others, essentially the word “rights” now often stands for a system of slavery and theft.
Definition: A place liberals used to ridicule as Mayberry but now pretend to love.
Definition: People who support me.
Definition: People who support you.
Definition: Something a politicians calls someone with 3x more money than the median voter who supported the politician in question.
Alternative Definition: Someone the same exact politician hits up for cash.
Definition: Those who pay more than 1/3 the total federal income tax and are never thanked for it. More generally, they are responsible for all evil in the world today (unless they work in Hollywood or hi-tech in which case they are “honorary 99%-ers” regardless of income, tax rate, and lifestyle).
Definition: A focus-group tested better word than “the poor” for progressives to use to advance their statist schemes. Some speeches by progressives now consist of just saying it over and over again in different hypnotic musical tones.
Definition: What occurs when a free and productive economy includes people with different abilities, work habits, and, of course, luck. Also, one of the main reasons anyone actually works at anything.
A Fair Tax System
Definition: One in which the “rich” (i.e., those making more than the speaker of these words, or those voting for the speaker) pay 50% more than they currently pay, and the speaker and his constituents get to pay 50% less than they currently pay. These figures remain unchanged despite any starting tax rates. If this change pushes the “rich” to over 100% or the non-rich to below 0% more the fairer.
Definition: The person living the ideal progressive life where no responsibility is taken, no risk is taken, the government perks are endless, you never see who pays for it, and the tyrannical hand of big-brother never makes it into the cartoon narrative.
Synonym: Sheep Antonym: Men
Definition: The ultimate evil Supreme Court decision (narrowly defeating Dred Scott) which expanded free speech, thus allowing those with money to, uh, speak freely.
Definition: A delicious breakfast treat that goes well with English Breakfast tea and clotted crème. Conservatives prefer theirs in the traditional 9 pack, liberals enjoy up to 15.
Definition: An “Elizabeth Warren” is any brilliant scholar who both thinks we can fix the U.S. financial system simply by adding another giant bureaucracy with near unlimited power, and who can, by dancing vigorously in a circle, make it rain. Both equally as likely.
The IMF and/or the World Bank
Definition: Nobody knows. See SMERSH and CHAOS for similar definitions.
The European Financial Crisis
Definition: A complex multi-year dance whose sole purpose is to see how much money can be shaken out of the German middle-class.
Universal Health Care
Definition: The system formerly known as single payer.
Single payer Health Care
Definition: The system formerly known as socialized medicine.
Definition: Something Democrats claim they don’t want, as they simply want Universal Health Care.
Nobel Peace Prize
Definition: A prize awarded to the left’s favorite person that year.
Antonym: Any prize having anything to do with actual Peace, or frankly accomplishment of any kind.
Definition: Taking money from current and future Americans to undertake projects that didn’t make sense before, don’t make sense now, will net cost jobs as the stimulus must be paid for privately, but since the job losses will be hidden, and the direct hires put on the evening news, might let those in charge keep their cushy jobs a bit longer.
World War II
Definition: Mainly important as proof that Keynesian stimulus works (side note: also led to defeat of Nazis and Imperial Japan). Since it is the only such “proof” ever, and we all have nuclear weapons now, different options are being considered for future stimuli. Actually, since World War II ending did not crash the economy as Keynesians predicted at the time, frankly we’re rethinking the whole thing.
Cash for Clunkers
Definition: What we came up to replace World War II as stimulus. Many perfectly good cars destroyed, no Nazis defeated.
Definition: The act of printing pieces of paper to purchase other pieces of paper and thinking it matters at all for anything. See “dogs chasing cars” for related examples.
Definition: Spending much more than ever before but slightly less than you had once thought you might spend which itself was a completely insane amount to spend.
Definition: A “Paul Ryan” is a Hollywood monster which kills and devours old people simply by showing them a preliminary reasonable plan to grow spending slower than we currently are, while keeping any obligations already made to the elderly.
Definition: An agreement to raise taxes now while tacitly agreeing to waive the corresponding spending cuts later. Usually done in at least a 10:1 ratio as waiving 10x the future cuts is a particularly effective amount of waiving.
Definition: To make something (e.g., government) bigger, more intrusive, less efficient, and more dictatorial.
Definition: We found one old sap from the other party dying for one last shot at relevance who will add his name to our highly partisan effort.
Definition: A verb, to “Dodd-Frank” something is to use the perpetrators of a major crime to fix things for next time. Like taking ex-computer hackers and putting them in charge of your security (this example is not perfect as this might actually work). Used in a sentence: “We really Dodd-Franked that financial reform.”
See also “Searching for the real killers.”
Right Wing Extremist
Definition: Someone objecting in any way to left wing extremism.
Definition: A word that when applied to yourself conveys an instant halo of goodness that does not have to be justified with actions, logic, or even the slightest examination of what the policies you support have wrought. Works particularly well for rich hypocrites (Wall Street) and rich morons (Hollywood).
Definition: A rebranding of “liberal” post-Dukakis, going back to an older word, that means essentially the same thing, but contains the very positive word “progress” within it, and the always welcome “ive” ending.
Definition: A philosophy held by annoying bastards who happen to be right about nearly everything. Fortunately, due to the frustration that comes with being right about nearly everything, in a world wrong about those same things, there are only 19 of them, and we’re going to find the bastards soon.
The Party of No
Definition: Legislators who are rightly demonized by the press and progressives for being elected to bring down the size of government and then actually trying to do so. Sons of bitches.
Synonyms: Obstructionists, Do-nothing Congress
The Buck Stops There
Definition: Something Barack Obama says about George W. Bush.
Definition: A process where the USA makes amends to the rest of the world for being more successful than them, footing many of their bills, and shedding our blood to keep them safer and freer.
Definition: Something progressives get misty over when Henry Fonda is being denied it on the silver screen and when in power they deliver at the end of an explosive drone after Judge David Axelrod pronounces the target guilty.
Definition: A non-linear chaotic system that is a near-perfect example of something that is very very difficult, even using modern methods, to explain or forecast. This in no way takes away from the possible reasonableness of man-made climate change described below. Though, one might note, we get frustrated by weathermen as they can’t forecast the climate today.
Definition: What we now call “climate change”. Global warming was phased out as it also leads to things being too cold, and sometimes being just right. Mama Bear has been replaced with a highly volatile mix of all three bears.
Definition: The fact that over time the climate, uh, changes.
Man-Made Climate Change
Definition: The entirely reasonable idea that seven billion industrialized humans may be affecting the climate.
Krypton Seven Seconds Before Kal-El Was Launched Into Space
Definition: The stage liberals are certain the Earth is at.
Definition: Both a character once played by Marlon Brando and coincidentally the fictional character Al Gore pictures himself as. Nobody listened to Jor-El and look what happened! A fascinating additional coincidence is that when Brando was alive, Marlon and Al alone actually omitted ¼ of the USA’s greenhouse gases.
Definition: The amount progressives will spend to combat man-made climate change without any assessment of the costs and benefits of these actions.
The Green Agenda
Definition: The additional use of man-made climate change, even if it’s fully true and it makes economic sense to sacrifice to fight it, to have government and its anointed priests take over much more of our lives. Any questioning of it is absolute proof of evil. Children must be indoctrinated in it in grade school before reading or writing or arithmetic. They must then be sent to spy on and lecture their parents.
Resistance is futile.
Ronald Reagan Definition: Right wing extremist President who kicked people off welfare which progressives said would be a holocaust, radically broadened free trade which progressives say has since killed American manufacturing, and whose administration perpetuated the horrible banking deregulation progressives say brought on the financial crisis.
Definition: The guy who actually did those things right above (though Reagan did some other cool
things). Oddly today’s Democrats insist that it’s Republicans who’ve changed and gotten “way more extreme” since the 1990s.
Trickle Down Economics
Definition: A brilliant marketing phrase for denigrating the truth: that a freer economy helps everyone. Not to be confused with “trickle up poverty” a perfect definition of socialism.
Definition: An excellent form of government where if you can cobble together 51% of the people, by promising them other people’s stuff, or scaring them that you’ll take away their stuff, you can rule as a dictator. It is decidedly not the form of government originally chosen by the United States of America, which is a constitutional republic with limited government. Thankfully we’ve mostly done away with that nonsense.
Definition: A word that is a hate crime if used about an American politician who wants us to be more like Europe. Or, alternatively, a word used by many European politicians to define themselves.