This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at

Your Ad Here

Monday, October 20, 2008

Joe the Plumber Fnord

There was a lot of media hype surrounding "Joe the Plumber", who asked Obama a question about whether his tax policy would hurt small business owners.

The fnord is "The average person can influence the election and public discourse." By excessively hyping a carefully screened incident, this helps create the illusion that the average person can affect the outcome of the election.

Suppose Joe the Plumber had asked Obama "Is taxation theft? Is the income tax completely immoral?" In that case, Obama would have given an evasive answer about "People have a moral obligation to pay taxes." and the incident would have never been mentioned. Joe the Plumber's question was an objection to higher taxes, and not an objection to the taxation system itself. When people debate "Should taxes be higher or lower?", there's an implicit assumption that the taxation system itself is legitimate.

The opposite of "Taxes should be lower!" is not "Taxes should be higher!". A better opposite is "There should not be any income tax at all!"

Whenever the "average person" asks a high-profile politician a question, the question is screened in advance. A campaign adviser asks the questioner to declare their question ahead of time. If the "average person" deviates from the script, then their microphone is cut off and the questioner is perhaps arrested. Do you remember the incident where a Florida student got tasered at a Kerry speech? The message is "If you ask a politician an inappropriate question, then you will be the victim of violence."

Whenever politicians answer questions in public, the questions are screened ahead of time. Only incidents that present the appropriate bias are mentioned and hyped. Even if someone successfully asked a politician "Is taxation theft?", the questioner would probably be the victim of violence and the incident would be ignored.

No comments:

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at