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Friday Ephemera

Elsewhere (54)

Tim Worstall on poverty redefined

One benefit, recall, just one benefit that this family receives, is to be cut from a little under median full time wages to a little under median full time wages after tax. From £23,000 a year to £18,000 a year. This one benefit is to be cut - and recall that this benefit is received free of all taxation - to median pre-tax individual income. They’re getting more in one benefit alone than the average person going out to work in the country sees in their paycheque. After this cut. There are all sorts of ways one could describe this situation but poverty ain’t one of them. That housing benefit alone, after the cut - yes, even with family size of four - puts them in the top 17% of the world’s income distribution.

See also Guido, who asks, “Where is the social justice in paying welfare benefits to people that are higher than the majority of the tax paying working people’s take home pay?” And remember, this modest cap on housing benefit is denounced by Laurie Penny as “a Final Solution [of] the urban poor.”

Armed and Dangerous on varieties of anti-intellectualism

Even where the intelligentsia has not attached itself to totalising political ideologies, the effects of its belief in its own superiority have been consistent. Technocratic, credentialist and statist – the intelligentsia perpetually urges us to cede control of our lives to the smart people, the educated ones, the experts, the selected elite – if not the intellectuals, then the bureaucratic machines guided by intellectuals. There’s a nearly extinct political tendency called “clericalism” which held that society should be guided by priests, considered as a disinterested non-hereditary elite with better education and morality than possessed by mere laypeople. The intelligentsia’s political instincts can be best described as a sort of neo-clericalism in which education substitutes for ordination.

Some common shortcomings of our tenured intelligentsia are illustrated in this: Iowa Professor Shocked To Discover He’s In Iowa. Note how the professor’s imagined sophistication is churlish, presumptuous and parochial. It’s a pattern we’ve seen beforeMore than once.

And Bill Whittle presents a voters’ guide to Republicans (and the benevolence of the left):

According to Democrats, we Republicans are greedy because we’re in favour of low taxes and limited government. We think you should surrender as little of your freedom to the government as possible and you should be entitled to keep as much of your money as you possibly can. We think you’re entitled to the rewards of your own work. We also think you know how to spend your own money better than the government, which wants to take as much of it as possible. So, as you can clearly see, we Republicans - who don’t want your money - are greedy, and the people who do want to take all of your money, the Democrats, are benign and generous. Just ask them.

As always, feel free to add your own items of interest in the comments.