Civics, Koch Brothers style

In the Soviet Union and Maoist China, the workplace was used for political indoctrination; ideological unreliability had career consequences. Glad that couldn’t happen here.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

15 thoughts on “Civics, Koch Brothers style”

  1. Oh what to do, what to do? My workplace says vote Romney or my job’s in jeopardy. My fundie parents say it’s immoral to vote for any party that condones abortion. My mentors at the RBC have argued that it is “a moral fault” to vote for anybody but Obama.

    Seems everyone wants to play this game.

    1. You seem to fail to grasp the difference between “I would like you to vote for X” and “If you don’t vote for X, I might just destroy your livelihood”.

      I feel badly for you, because the Christmas Shopping Season is almost upon us, and everywhere you do you’ll be beset by solicitors with bells and cauldrons representing the Salvation Army, who by the logic you employ are completely indistinguishable from vicious armed muggers.

      1. Okay…

        Like the rooster says: “It’s a joke, son”.

        Just observing that a lot of people seem to be pulling out all the stops, ever-reaching with all the influence they might possess, to threaten everything from public shaming to job loss to eternal damnation in order to send the message: “I would like you to vote for X”. I was trying to be a little sardonic about it.

        Lyrics to a song come to mind:

        We’ve got nothing to fear…but fear itself?
        Not pain, not failure, not fatal tragedy?
        Not the faulty units in this mad machinery?
        Not the broken contacts in emotional chemistry?

        With an iron fist in a velvet glove
        We are sheltered under the gun
        In the glory game on the power train
        Thy kingdom’s will be done

        And the things that we fear are a weapon to be held against us…

        And what would an election be without this reminder?

        You say yer life’s a bum deal
        ‘N yer up against the wall…
        Well, people, you ain’t even got no
        Deal at all
        ‘Cause what they do
        In Washington
        They just takes care
        of NUMBER ONE
        An’ NUMBER ONE ain’t YOU
        You ain’t even NUMBER TWO

  2. I’m thankful that at least academic search committees are insulated from the caprice, illogic, and hateful tribalism of politics.

    BTW, it had been the conventional wisdom of the media and other Very Serious People that the “Big Money” unleashed by Citizens United alienated voters and thus fostered a sense of popular impotence and ultimately apathy. But, as an empirical matter, it seems that a more-vibrant-than-usual campaign has occurred in this first presidential election cycle after Citizens.

    So I’m sure that the hard-headed, clear-eyed policy analysts at RBC all agree that CU is good policy even if they are morally opposed to the unfettered campaign speech unleashed by the decision.

    1. It does seem to be a bit more vibrant. But I’m not sure how much it has to do with CU. For instance, the recession has caused a lot of social upheaval, and the mainstream of the Republican party has swung further right, causing more polarity and friction between conservatism and liberalism broadly. The passage of the ACA, nothing really further left than where mainstream liberalism has been, also galvanized the right, helping to elevate the voice of its base more broadly.

      1. So Che Guevara was right after all? Now I understand it: the republican party and the soi-disant conservatives on the Supreme Court are so devoted to a radical anti-corporatist populism that they’re willing to do whatever it takes in the way of showcasing the moral, political and intellectual bankruptcy of rule by monied elites. And when the people finally rise up against their immiseration, the anti=plutocratic sleeper agents will be glad to go to the wall as secret martyrs.

    2. One has to wonder if this is economically efficient as well. We’re getting crappier politicians for a lot more money.

      1. You have violated the first rule of “gliberalism”: The electorate is infallible and the Vox Populii sings in the dulcet tones of angels.

        Tl;dr: Your benefit-cost analysis is no good here, Tim.

    3. “…a more-vibrant-than-usual campaign…”

      You seem to confuse “vibrant” with “informative”.

  3. Today’s front page of The Cincinnati Enquirer had a similar article, “Memo from the boss: Vote for Romney.” Companies listed as applying pressure to their employees were Cintas, a local uniform and document management company, and two Florida companies, Westgate Resorts and ASG Software Solutions.

    On the inside page, towards the end of the article was this: “The Enquirer was unable to find examples of bosses suggesting support for Obama.”

    So much for everyone playing this game.

  4. Does anyone remember, only a few years back, the vitriolic complaints about card-check for unions as a horrible perversion of workplace democracy, because of all those evil goons who would use force to rebut employers’ reasoned arguments in favor of individualized labor relations?

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