“…of thee I sing.”

Okay. Today I’m going to do something I really shouldn’t.

Today I’m going to talk about politics.

I’m going to do this the same way I do everything. I’m going to tell a couple of stories.

The first story:

This last Thursday, I did a reading and signing in Columbus. Despite the fact that I’d only scheduled it about two weeks ahead of time, about 200 people showed up. Thanks for that, by the way, it made me look good.

Whenever I do one of these, it’s really a reading interspersed with a lot of Q&A. I do this because reading off a page for an hour can be exhausting for both me and the audience. But Q&A tends to be more fun. Interactive.

So, the Q&A was going pretty well. I read some stuff, answered some questions, got some laughs.

Then someone says, “What are your thoughts about all the political stuff that’s been going on in Wisconsin? I notice you haven’t talked about it on your blog.” (I’m paraphrasing a bit here.)

The question surprised me. A big part of the reason I haven’t talked about this on my blog is that I’ve been thinking of our troubles in Wisconsin as a local issue. But this question, asked by someone two states away, made me realize that a fair number of people are watching Wisconsin today. It’s not a local issue.

(If you don’t know what’s going on here in Wisconsin, you can read about it here.)

So I said, “Well, here’s the thing. I really shouldn’t talk about politics. Professionally speaking, it’s just not smart….”

Then I talked about politics.

There’s no real excuse for it, except to say that I was operating on one hour of sleep at the time. And I have an odd compulsion that when people ask me honest questions, I feel compelled to give them honest answers.

I can’t remember exactly what I said. I remember talking about what the true purpose of government is. About what’s wrong with the country. I went on for about 3-4 minutes, and I’m pretty sure I swore more than just a little. At one point, I remember pounding on the table.

At the end of it, folks applauded.

Despite the fact that it seemed to go over well, I felt guilty about it. Like I’d done something irresponsible. It bugged me all night.

But after thinking about it all weekend, I realized a few things.

1. I like saying true things.

2. If I say true things, and it makes people angry. I think I’m okay with that.

3. We can’t be afraid to talk about politics. Talking is the only way that we can make things better in this country. And things need to get better. Our country is teetering on the verge of the howling abyss, if you haven’t noticed.

The second story:

About a month ago, I was hanging out with some friends when the conversation strayed into politics. While chatting, one of the folks sitting around the table mentioned that he’d voted for Scott Walker in the primary.

Now on most subjects, my group of friends is more than happy to live and let live. Differing opinions are welcome. “You’re Christian? Cool, I’m Taoist. Want to talk about that, or should we go play some Catan instead?”

But for someone to say they voted for Walker in the primary. That is to say, they voted for him *after* all the things he’s done this last year. That’s not like mentioning you like cool ranch Doritos instead of nacho. It’s more like like saying, “I’m actually a big fan of female genital mutilation.”

All around the table there was stunned silence.

“Seriously?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said.

And I could tell that everyone was going to fall on him like angry dogs. Not only were things going to get ugly, but they were going to get so ugly as to ruin our day, and possibly some friendships too.

So I quickly said, “I veto this conversational topic.”

My sister who was sitting next to me said, “Agreed.”

(This is a rule we have at our house. Everyone gets one conversational veto. It’s a good rule to have when a bunch of passionate people are gathered together, as it helps keep friction to a minimum.)

So the conversation moved on from there, and we all had a pleasant afternoon.

But the truth was, I was really bothered by the fact that my friend was voting for Walker. I wasn’t bothered by the fact that his vote was different from my vote. That shit happens. But this person is generous. He’s a social progressive. He believes in equal rights.

So why on earth would he be voting for Walker?

So I did my homework. I spent about 5-6 hours gathering resources and verifying facts.

All the while, I dreaded the thought of the upcoming conversation. This was one of my good friends, you see. I didn’t want to ruin our relationship.

Then I asked if he would mind talking about the upcoming election. “Could you just give me 15 minutes?” I asked. “There are a couple things I’d like to bring to your attention if you don’t already know about them.”

He agreed, and we went somewhere comfy to sit.

I said, “Do you know that…”

I said, “Do you know that…”

  • Scott Walker repealed Equal Pay Enforcement Act? (A bill that had protected employees from being discriminated against based on race, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or other factors.)
  • Scott Walker tried to push a voter registration law into effect before the recall?
    • And that Judge Richard Niess ruled against it, saying that it was unconstitutional?
  • Scott Walker tried to push through new mining legislation?
  • Scott Walker has taken steps toward privatizing deer hunting and selling off public lands, such as state parks.

I said, “Do you know that Walker has cut money to education. He’s pushed for cuts to health care programs like BadgerCare that would deprive over 60,000 people coverage? About 30,000 of those being kids from poor families?”

I looked up from my notebook, “I could go on,” I said. “There’s a lot more. I haven’t even started about the dodgy stuff they’ve been doing to mislead people. There’s a lot of corporate fuckery going on. Fake statistics and lies and such…”

Then my friend said, “I actually didn’t know all that.”

We talked for about an hour and a half. And he admitted that he hadn’t done very good research on his own. Most of his info had come from political ads. And because Walker has huge corporations donating to him, he can kinda buy all the ads he wants….

In the end, he said he wasn’t going to vote for Walker after all. And he thanked me for taking the time to have a talk with him.

*     *     *

The truth is this: the bullshit going on here in Wisconsin has been making it hard for me to sleep at night. I’m not exaggerating. I actually lie awake in bed with a tight knot in my stomach, worrying about this. My friends are losing their jobs, their health insurance. Oot is losing his chance at a good education and a healthy environment to play in.

Simply said, I am sick with worry. It’s going to wreck me if Walker stays in after everything he’s done. I’m going to be an absolute shambles for months.

I don’t know if my writing this down might help clue someone in. But it’s all I can do. I just have to post it and hope.

I’m hoping if you live in Wisconsin and you weren’t planning on voting today, this will get you up off your ass. This is important.

If you were thinking of voting for Walker, I’m hoping you might reconsider, based on some of these facts.

Lastly and most importantly, I’m hoping that I can encourage y’all to talk to each other about your political beliefs. It’s a terrifying thing to do, because emotions run high on these topics.

But the only way things will ever get better is if we all become better informed, then get involved.

*     *     *

Voting is TODAY, people. I’ve already cast my ballot.

So go. Do it. And remember, you can vote even if you’re not registered. You can vote even if you don’t have a photo ID.

Get all the details HERE, including where you go to vote.

Please, Wisconsin. Please.


This entry was posted in things I shouldn't talk about. By Pat201 Responses


  1. Swamifred
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    Pat, this stuff is obviously important to you. This isn’t a po-tay-to / po-tah-to type of petty quarrel you bring up. I’m not even from Wisconsin, and I am fretting about this recall election, simply because it’s setting a precedent. Please, speak your mind about important things. Especially since this is your blog and you can do whatever the hell you want.

    Good luck.

    • cathannah
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

      Today I checked the news. Today I was (again!) appalled. Living in NC, you’d think I would be used to being appalled (after the constitutional catastrophe of a few weeks ago). Another instance of evil gets over with the help of money, smoke, mirrors and bumfuzzlement.

  2. bookwyrmpoet
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Dang, and I thought the governor of Maine(my home state) was a bad deal, this is above and beyond the level of crap that I had seen covered on the national news, not that I watch a whole lot of it, but still. If I lived in Wisconsin I’d be out there voting against him too, hopefully enough people smartened up about this guy too.

  3. Istezada
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Well done, sir. I’m not from Wisconsin, so, admittedly, my interest is several degrees more academic, but I have to add my applause. A post about politics that is not only fervent, but respectful and coherent as well. That’s a mix that is all too rare these days.

    Well done.

  4. Constance
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for being an educated and informed voter. YOU are the kind of person democracy was created for. Someone who votes by truth and fact rather than by pretty words and shiny advertisements. Thank you, sir. I, myself, will be voting once work is over.

  5. Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    One of the things that you touch on but that I think deserves further examination is part of a larger (and distressing) cultural trend – the unspoken “Don’t talk about politics” rule. It used to be that religion was the only taboo subject in a general social situation (and, as you point out, not in all social groups) – being a fundamentally unprovable and deeply-held set of beliefs, debating it was seen as pointless and only liable to cause hurt feelings. But politics has rapidly been entering this sphere as well, despite the fact that if there’s anything that *should* be talked about and debated, it’s politics. How else will we learn what’s going on (as your friend did when you explained it to him), or hear other points of view that we may not have considered when forming our opinions? Without a full view of a particular policy and its effects on people, we can’t make a well-informed decision.

    There’s all sorts of reasons for the trend – the active promotion by the media of the “horse-race” style of political reporting, the active stimulation of our deepest fears by politicians in the name of campaigning, the fact that critical thinking and the ability to rationally discuss difficult topics aren’t exactly valued in mainstream culture. But in the end, it takes people like you, Pat, to do the hard work of overcoming this – both by doing the research, *and* by having the courage to risk a friendship by being willing to broach a difficult subject.

    So good for you, and I hope many more follow in your footsteps.

    • neil c
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

      Politics has become so uncivil (and uncomfortable to bring up) because we ascribe labels of right and wrong to different viewpoints. Issues which should be couched in terms of trade-offs and net benefits are instead painted in tones of moral imperative. Take education, for example. Money spent on public education cannot be spent somewhere else. Increasing education dollars means decreasing funding elsewhere or raising taxes. Instead of having an intelligent conversation about what trade-offs are appropriate to make, however, one group will decree that education is “right” and therefore anybody who doesn’t support more money for education is morally “wrong,” or stupid, or both. The other side may choose lower taxes as their moral mascot and similarly demonize the opposition.

      Having a political conversation isn’t just about being educated on the issues, it also requires that we be willing to adapt our viewpoints in response to new information AND be willing to accept that others have different motivations and values and therefore may ultimately feel differently than us even with the same information.

      Reading through the comments on this post I can’t help but feel that many people have missed a crucial point. Some comments commend Pat for being willing to discuss his political views in respectful and considered manner and I feel they are correct to do so. Others, however, congratulate Pat for holding a view that agrees with their own, a sentiment that only serves to shore up feelings of “rightness” and further cripple our ability to have a rational conversation.

      • s.petry
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

        We currently live in a society that is ignorant to methods of critical thinking. I believe that this dumbing down has been intentional, and I am not alone in that belief.

        People have no idea what a fallacy is, and have no idea how to defend themselves against them. The most obvious fallacy, and probably the most famous comes from GW Bush “If you are not with us, you are against us.”. People should have been outraged at such a statement, but alas we are dumbed down by corporate media that fired every investigative journalist on staff, hires commercial actors as TV News anchors, and provides the scripts to read that has nothing to do with anything real!

        You are right to be bothered Patrick, the more I have been reading in the last few years the more outraged I have become. I’m not alone, there are numerous web sites that have sprung up trying to help people begin to think.

        I’m yelling at people to wake up! The game is almost over, and it’s sure as hell not the good guys winning.

  6. katelyn
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Keep up the good work, Pat!

  7. WidowOfSirius
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Dear Pat,

    I love you. Thank you so much for this post, with everything I’ve been feeling but too scared to say to people. I may have cried a little.


  8. huoxingren
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    That’s so true! I also think we should talk about this things, always respecting what others think. I’ve always been said it’s impolite to talk about such things, but that only leads to missinformation. Thank you for this post, Pat. I don’t live in the US, but nowadays it’s the same in every country. There are many people around the world feeling that way too.

  9. Jen-cha
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I hope I get to be like you when I finish growing up. I wish I lived in Wisconsin to help you. I wish you lived in Arizona to help me drive some of that sense into the minds of people here.

    Mostly, I wish you the best. I hope people will listen to you, if not learn for themselves. You are, as ever, my hero.

  10. Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    Wow, I’m in Italy and I’ve read the reasons why Scott Walker is, according to a lot of people, a fully fledged bastard.

    Tell you what? He’d be one of the good guys over here. HA! Kid you not.

    I would totally vote for a man like Scott Walker.

    Fifteen felonies? Ah come on, guys… seriously: our politicians could kick Scott’s arse in anytime. And flawlessly. Honest.

    And that pretty much gives you an idea about how “fucked-up” we are.

    Oi, Scott! Come to Italy, mate!

  11. NikfromAus
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    Growing up, my Father and Aunt were told “There are 3 things you never talk about around the table – sex, religion and politics”. As a result, in a country where voting is compulsory, be it at local, state or national level, I was forced to make up my own mind when i turned 18. I researched the issue scrupulously, and came to the opinion that the incumbent govt. was the better option. I take no shame in admitting I took advice from Russell Crowe (Master & Commander) in choosing the lesser of two weevils.

    Meanwhile, The majority of my friends, and my generation in general voted, and in many instances campaigned for the opposition of the time, now themselves the incumbent government. They made their decisions based on advertising, catchy slogans (“Kevin 07”) and the fact that the Prime Ministerial candidate was the first major politician to be on Twitter. Unfortunately, that candidate won, his party went to hell, and our country is headed backwards, as much as our current deluded Prime Minister may like to think otherwise.

    The point being, some of us acknowledge that having a vote in the future of our country is a responsibility, and we research and come to an informed decision accordingly. But a lot of people don’t, and if people refuse to research the issue, and still sit and refuse to talk politics around the table, how are we ever going to learn? If you feel as strongly about it as you evidently do, and are able to provide the facts in a reasonable way, then I see no reason for you not to talk about politics, and I applaud the fact that you have done so in this blog.

    • Jam
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

      I voted for Prime Minister Rudd’s party in 07 and I’m glad they won. I didn’t vote for Rudd because he was on twitter, I voted because his party’s had policy that suited me as a university student from a regional and modest background; the party’s contribution to education meant I could attend university and afford to live away from home.

      This is why talking about politics is a bad idea.. I don’t think our issues are as polarised as the US but I resent the claim that I didn’t know what I was doing when I voted, my research didn’t lead me to the same decision as your research, that’s all.

      It’s a little sad to think that everyone else is miss-informed but yourself, and then to make excuses for why they were miss-informed… Now where did I put that soap-box.. I knew exactly what I was doing when I voted for Rudd’s party and furthermore in 2010 for Prime Minister Gillard’s party.

      I don’t think our country is headed backwards. I like the mining tax, the carbon tax.. I don’t particularly like Gillard, but as I’m on the left, I’m not about to vote for Minister Abbott.

      • Eedamme
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

        The carbon tax might seem like a good idea in theory, but very little of the money raised will actually go towards sustainable energy programs. Most of it will be redirected to other areas, like ‘household budgets’. It’s a case of the Government sourcing money from one area so they can siphon it into others. There is very little *talk* about this fact though, the fact that it is being called a carbon tax but is not aimed at raising money to address environmental issues.

        This is why talking about politics is a *good* idea. Reading papers, watching tv ads, and listening to news anchors is how most people form their opinions. You may choose to call them misinformed, but the reality is that people lead busy lives and don’t always have the time to find out the real and unadulterated facts for themselves. If we don’t talk to our friends about it, if we don’t hear opinions aired by members of the community who don’t have some personal or professional stake in the outcome, then how likely are we to see the blind spots and cover ups in what we’re presented by politicians and the media?

        Talking politics leads to disputes, but it also leads to questions – and we should be questioning and encouraging our friends to question. If you think people are misinformed, shouldn’t you try to inform them?

        • dann_blood
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:52 AM | Permalink

          The point of the carbon tax isn’t to redistribute income to sustainable energy programs. It’s to correct a market inefficiency, that inefficiency being a market externality. An externality is basically a cost or benefit that’s not included in the price of a product, and that cost or benefit is imposed on someone else. For example, let’s say there’s a river. Upriver there’s a plant, which ejects its waste into the river. Downriver there’s a fishing community. The cost of the waste is therefore borne by everyone downriver.

          It’s a similar thing with carbon, but with man-made climate change. Because there’s no market for carbon, and no cost imposed on producers for production of carbon waste, that becomes an externality. Everyone else in the economy bears a cost. (There are explanations for why polluters can get away with it, but i’ll pass over them for the sake of brevity.) As a result of this, carbon-intensive industries over-produce, because the cost of carbon isn’t included in their production costs (supply [marginal cost] = demand [marginal revenue], etc).

          The point of the Aus governments carbon tax is to correct this externality. (And also mind this is in purely economic terms; other less tangible costs generally aren’t included, and for the sake of economics are assumed to be implied in the cost.) The tax will transition into an ETS, therefore setting up a market for carbon, and if the permits system is done right, will eliminate the externality. There are a number of pro’s and con’s of these various systems, but again, brevity. I think the tax –> ETS system is the best for all involved, though.

          What the revenue from the tax is used on is really a non-issue. I don’t see why it should be used for any specific thing, any more than you would for any other tax. It would defeat the purpose of taxation and spending. I’d like to see a bit more spent on renewable energy investment, but at this point the gov’t is allowing the market to do what it theoretically should. That is, once the externality is corrected, markets should adjust so more investment is directed to renewable energies, and less is directed towards carbon-intensive industries. I have other issues, but again, brevity.

          And please don’t say “X is a good idea in theory”. It’s irritating, and is a non-argument.

          • cotterdan
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

            I personally think the carbon tax is a terrible idea. If your interested in an opposing take on it here is an article by Dr. Robert Murphy discussing it.

            There are actually numerous articles on the merits of a carbon tax at mises.org in their daily archives. For anybody interested on the topic just search carbon tax at that website.

          • dann_blood
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

            I don’t find that article convincing for a number of reasons. In no particular order:

            1. Assuming that lower production levels, or higher costs borne by business, resulting from a carbon tax damage the economy. It ignores that those costs still exist but are instead transferred to consumers. This results in over-production; if the costs of carbon emissions were imposed on producers, who generate the cost, then their output level would be lower.

            2. The article ignores consumer surplus. This is particularly annoying as the author mentions a weighing of the costs and benefits, then promptly ignores one half of the economic equation and bases the rest of the article on that.

            3. The misunderstanding and misrepresentation of deadweight loss.

            4. China has been making huge efforts towards a clean-energy economy. There is, for example, an inter-province ETS planned in China, and they’ve been adding alot of renewable energy infrastructure. (For example, in 2008 China added 48 GW of clean energy production to their energy infrastructure; the total amount of energy consumed in Australia was about 36 GW at the same time).

            5. This one may be unfair seeing as the article was posted in 2009, but recently, with the increasing number of ETS systems being developed world-wide, there are plans to link these systems, and discussions between the relevant governments. Private investment for renewables also eclipsed private investment on carbon-intensive energy sources in 2008.

            6. The article doesn’t provide a good reason for not introducing a carbon tax, and makes an all-other-things-being-equal assumption without providing justification. I don’t find the expectation that a global system should be nutted out before anything is done a reasonable idea, as that’s not how most major international decisions are made or implemented.

            The article doesn’t really address the efficacy of introducing a carbon tax, nor does it contain a thorough economic critique, which is disappointing.

          • cotterdan
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

            Two quick things and then I have to get to sleep.

            1. Define what you are calling consumer surplus.

            2. Depending on how much reading material you want I can link you to as thorough of an economic critique as you desire. My point in linking that article was not to convince you that you should abandon your support for a carbon tax but to offer you and any other interested party a starting place for seeing what economists who don’t favor the tax have to say. When the author stated that, “These are important questions, and most Austrian economists would want to answer the issue of ultimate property rights before even considering “costs and benefits.” Yet I want to keep this article brief, and I have important points to make even taking Krugman’s arguments on his own terms. So let’s accept the basic framework of the debate as it will unfold in the media and much of the blogosphere over the coming months.” I assumed you would realize it wasn’t supposed to be a thorough economic critique.

            Here is something with a little more meat on the bone if that is what you would like.


            Again I’m not expecting one little article or a journal entry to change your mind but if you are interested in understanding the opposing view I’ve given you a start.

          • dann_blood
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

            1. Consumer surplus is the difference between what someone would be willing to pay and what they actually pay. It’s a method of measuring utility. For example, I might be willing to pay $4 for a soda, when the actual cost is $2. Therefore my consumer surplus is $2. If I were willing to buy a second soda at $3, a third at $2, and a fourth at $1, I would buy 3 sodas and my total consumer surplus would be $3. The $3 is a gain I make by being able to buy sodas at less than the most I would be willing to pay for each respective soda. I can explain how this ties back into the carbon tax issue if you’d like, or why consumer + producer surplus are important in understanding the efficiency of market structures.

            2. Oh, I get that, and thank you the consideration and effort in finding the link, but my main problem with the article is that it doesn’t properly address the issues it attempts to. That it’s not a comprehensive critique is a sidenote.

            I can only skim over the other article atm, but from this brief look-over there’s not much that stuck out to me. Many of them would be things I would say. There are a few things, but they don’t bear a full poring over at this point.

          • cotterdan
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

            Yeah, we are just going to have to agree to disagree and let the others weigh the different arguments to come up with their own opinions.

        • Jam
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

          I enjyoyed your comments cotterdan, dann_blood, Eedamme. I hope I wasn’t rude NikfromAus.

          Just shortly on “If you think people are misinformed, shouldn’t you try to inform them?” I would say, for the sake of friendship, please don’t. It would be an incredibly difficult soliloquy for me to take note of, I don’t want to argue about little tin men and women in Canberra..I’d much rather talk about epic fantasy over many, many beers.

  12. heisindc
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I’m glad you did research. If everyone did that, our country would be very different and big ad buyers and fear groups would hold little sway.

    Sadly, both sides are at fault in this. I’m from Ohio and we had a similar law about collective bargaining and national unions spent millions, demonizing everyone that wanted to fix education, among other things.

    I had good friends who are teachers stop talking to me, instead of laying it out as you did.

    I tried to discuss it, but that’s all we can do.

    Before this thread blows up, I wanted to lay out a few points, starting with a trusted website Politifact: http://www.politifact.com/personalities/scott-walker/

    The privatizing lands and deer claim is false and based on a ten year old article.

    As for education, my biggest issue, Ohio is dropping teachers left and right, some very good ones, because of old collective bargaining laws. This is instead of teachers paying a small % more in health care. Does paying more stink? Yes, but I have been laid off twice in the past 5 years from private companies, I would gladly pay more for insurance and keep a job.

    As for WI:
    [Even with fear about education cuts] “officials don’t see fiscal calamity in their 2012-’13 budgets and say the freedom provided by Walker’s union limits will provide new or continued chances to trim back employee costs from school ledgers.”

    My heart goes out to those in WI on both sides. Being passionate about something takes a toll on you.

    • Superfly
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

      Speaking as a teacher, when all you bring home is 500$ for working a 60-hour week….paying more for something that you already pay too much for is hard to take.

  13. Valarya
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this, for making it public. Thank you for possibly pissing off some of your fan base by taking a political stance.

    Thank you for being you. :)

  14. Viola
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

    I speak for the entirety of the North East when I say we’re watching Wisconsin and crossing our fingers for you and for everyone dealing with such bullshit. I hope every voter does their homework as you did. Thank you.

  15. treehouse916
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    If Orson Scott Card can get away with endorsing Prop 8, you can get away with this. Kudos!

    • MikeThicke
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

      Should he though? If I decide that Card’s actions are so offensive to me I can’t justify buying his books, because I feel his continued popularity hurts causes I feel are fundamentally just, shouldn’t others be able to do so in good conscience to Pat? I applaud Pat making this stand, but partly because I think it’s done with the understanding that it might hurt him economically.

      • s.petry
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

        I’m sorry that people think this way, and quite honestly would argue against such logic, since the statement lacks any logic. We, yes each of us, are entitled to opinions and allowed to share our opinions with others.

        A boycott would be valid if the person stating the opinion did so for financial or career gains. For this reason, you should be petitioning new candidates on to your ballots and removing those in office currently. Think about it.

  16. ryssgarden
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    I just drove from Minneapolis to Milwaukee (well, Port Washington, north of Milwaukee) and back this weekend. The number of Walker signs outnumber Barrett signs by maybe 20:1. Not a scientific sample, I know, and mostly rural. But I couldn’t help but think that the mostly middle to low income people putting up these Walker signs, mostly farmers, very small businesses and retired folks, will see their quality of life decline even further under a Walker administration whose misdeeds have been re-affirmed if he wins, as I fear he will. They believe his lies because he says what they want to hear. He affirms their fears and misconceptions, without a care or an awareness that what he says is the complete opposite of what he does. I was born in Wisconsin, my mother is buried there, as well as all my ancestors for 4 generations. I weep at what this monster has made of my home state.

  17. celticmagic
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    Kudos to you for have the strength to confront this issue of speaking of politics, especially to friends. Coming from NC where Amendment 1 was just passed, I found so many just did not understand what they were voting for. We are taught never to discuss politics or religion, but politics is driven by misinformation (not touching religion here, lol). If we can all make the effort to talk about things that are important and to listen to others views, maybe change can be made. I failed in NC, only counties with colleges voted against the amendment 1 (sigh), but I feel that I may have influenced a few votes. Change is hard and we all have to to our parts. You have cemented my respect for you today, thanks.

  18. Marcus Cox
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    I’m in your neighboring state of Minnesota and have been occasionally reading about your states political woes since the whole collective bargaining bit from last year. Generally speaking I fall into the political middle but I have no problem saying Scott Walker is a vile politician. I wish I was able to vote the man out of office. It honestly upsets me how effective the misinformation campaigns are.

    In the past I’ve always applauded your election day blog posts that mainly tell people to do there research or don’t vote at all. I think that’s a good stance to take. But today I applaud you for having the courage to openly inform people what’s wrong and encourage them to take action. You remain to be an awesome human being.

  19. Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    I have to confess, that i had to consult Wikipedia to learn who Scott Walker is (it is hard for foreigner to track more than the federal level of U.S. politics). Like several times befor (when looking up other names), i began to cherish our local politicians. They didn’t seem so bad as they were five minutes earlier….

  20. chewbaccaisking
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    Yeah, Patrick, you really shouldn’t.

    Thanks for your Madison/Milwaukee point of view.

    I could also list a bunch of “pro-Walker” points, but “I really shouldn’t”.

    Love your books! :)

    • Chro
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

      Aww, but what about those of us to like to hear differing viewpoints?

      I would love to see a point/counterpoint with someone on the Walker side of the fence.

      Overall, though, I hate the us vs them of American politics. I wish compromise was no longer a dirty word. I don’t remember the name, but some recently-elected politician said, “My view of compromise is the other side coming over to my point of view.” When I heard that, I let out a Charlie Brown Style “ARGH!”

      • cotterdan
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

        I’ll give you the areas I disagree with Mr. Rothfuss but first let me say one thing about compromising. There is far too much compromising going on by politicians. I can’t stand a man who is willing to compromise on his principles. What I wish there was more of is people building coalitions which doesn’t require you to compromise your principles. For example, I do not agree with conservatives when they favor war and I’m not willing to compromise my principles no matter what they offer in return on this issue. But I do agree with conservatives when they push for more economic freedom and would join them in that fight by building coalitions on that issue. An example from the other side would be that I don’t agree with liberals when the push for higher taxes. I’m not willing to compromise my principles over this no matter what they offer in return. But I do agree with liberals when they fight to end wars or end the war on drugs, so I am willing to join them in this fight by building coalitions. We don’t need to compromise, we need to find the areas where we agree and join each other in those fights.

        • Superfly
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:11 AM | Permalink

          Also, there should be dragons.

          • Humilitas
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

            A lot of dragons. With frikkin’ lasers on their backs.

      • Bob78164
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

        I think you’re thinking of Richard Mourdock, who defeated Senator Richard Lugar to become the Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Indiana.

  21. itty-bittysarcasms
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    I’m a South African- and my particular model comes with all the inherent social and political awareness that is part of the packaging of anyone of my generation…

    Just have a look at our past and present politics to see what I mean.

    I think it’s admirable that you research your candidates Pat. ..And it’s definitely a luxury that more people living in First World Countries should both appreciate and make use of. In my rather beautiful country our politics do not allow us the same range of choice. Voting becomes more of a defensive manoeuvre in which to try and prevent our ruling partying having too much of an outright majority.

    No matter what may be said about politics, the choice as to whom you vote for is a responsibility and I wouldn’t want to tackle that responsibility without having as much information as possible…

    Good Luck to All of You :D

  22. Epidilius
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    You should come up to Canada for a while. Not to run away from everything, but to relax, and destress. Whether you come to the city Ottawa, or middle of nowhere Desolation Sound, my family and I always have extra rooms.

    It’s the least I could do, after all you’ve done for me.


    • MikeThicke
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

      Except that our leader is basically Scott Walker, except he loves hockey and has some more political savvy.

  23. elmobob14
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

    Discussion of politics is important, but does it have to occur everywhere?

    I think people should think about how to best create a good society to live in (i.e., think about who and what you will vote for and why). Most thoughtful people have done this, but the presence of politics in every aspect of our lives is tiring.

    Plus, it sounds from the story that everyone had a visceral reaction to the Walker supporter. Everyone gives him a pass because they know him, but what about the people we don’t know. Are all of the people that vote for Walker today bad people? Or stupid? Or duped? Can reasonable minds disagree? Many would say “yes, but not when the issues are so clear.” This is the problem. The issues are always clear to both sides.

    I find that the pervasion of politics in every aspect of our lives has only served to alienate us one from another. We each have our beliefs of how to make the best society, but heaven forbid if you are one the wrong team. One of “them.”

    I believe that people on both sides of the aisle generally act in good faith based on what they believe is in the best interests of their country/community. There are bad apples on both sides, but that does not invalidate the above statement.

    I believe that one side is heading in the wrong direction, but gosh, I don’t want to argue about it everywhere. Sometimes, I’d just like to know what’s going on with the author of a series of books that I’m reading.

    Obviously, this is important to you Pat and it’s your blog (write whatever you want), but this is my long form way of saying that I think you had a good policy regarding politics. Leave it alone.

    • s.petry
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

      To answer your first question, the answer is yes. Everyone should be involved and discussing politics since it impacts everyone, everywhere, all of the time.

      When you look at the prosperity of Rome, and the US, the most prosperous times were when more people were involved. The collapse of Rome happened after society was pushed in to the corners and “Special People” believed that only they should be influencing politics. How did that model work out for Rome? How is it working out for the US?

      Debate, assuming people remember how to debate, is a very good and healthy thing. Remember, that half of a debate is to be listening. The other half of the debate is to present your opinion. Complacency is not action, and will not resolve any challenges we currently face.

  24. Tom A
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    Good luck Pat & Wisconsin!

  25. dash2481
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    I just want you to know that you have fans on both sides of the political aisle, and most of us are really proud of you. I don’t mind at all that we don’t have the same political leanings (I consider myself an open-minded conservative, and, yes, they really do exist). I am just grateful that you take your duty as a citizen and voter so seriously. I really wish that more people will actually take the time to do a little research instead of basing their vote on what letter is next to the candidates name.

    FYI: As far as political posts go, this one was rather tame. Especially about this particular issue. Except for maybe the whole comparing voting for Scott Walker to female genital mutilation. That was a bit hyperbolic. But it definitely got your point across, so I guess it worked. Touché, Mr. Rothfuss. Touché.

    • rwscissors
      Posted September 21, 2012 at 4:08 AM | Permalink

      What dash said,

  26. Feldoth
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat – I often disagree with you on political topics (the few you’ve posted over the years), however you always manage to talk about your perspective in a way that is unoffensive and doesn’t belittle those who disagree with you. People in general need to learn that it is ok to disagree with someone else, and often the best (most instructive) conversations are those where the participants agree to disagree in the end and move on – if you just keep beating people up with an argument that they (in their view) have valid reasons to oppose/disbelieve, human nature guarantee’s they will only grow to resent it and be even less likely to question their opinion in the future.

    For this reason, I don’t mind (and even enjoy) when you talk about politics. It’s the arrogance that nearly everyone displays when discussing this type of topic that really grates on those who disagree with them, and you manage not to be arrogant.

    Now, on the other hand, Stephen King and Dean Koontz (opposite ends of the political spectrum) have both committed the worst act I can think of that a fiction author could do: They belittled their readers with utterly unnecessary (to plot, character development, etc) political statements within a novel. I very nearly threw the audiobook of “Duma Key” out my car window, and “Odd Hours” probably would have gotten the same reaction were it not done so clumsily I ended up just feeling ashamed for him. It’s not so much that they made political statements in their books (this happens just by virtue of personal bias, without thought or planning), as that it was done with such amazing arrogance and for no other purpose than to shove their opinions in the faces of their readers.

    In other words, keep doing what you’re doing, how you’re doing it. It really is troubling that we as a society can’t talk about these subjects without one side or the other getting so mad they can barely form a coherent sentence. I think it might be the best argument for a 3-party system as well: We’re too used to Us vs. Them, while if there was a third party (of any influence) one side or the other would almost always have an ally and not just an enemy (and hopefully alignments would be fluid, so people would be used to working together on one thing, and against each other on others). The saying “Every villain is a hero in his own mind” is very true even outside of fiction – the problem is none of us is capable of knowing on our own when we’ve become the villain, and we don’t like to admit we are wrong when others point it out to us. I’m sure even your governor believes he’s in the right, as very few people are truly willfully evil, it’s all just a matter of perspective.

    • Jam
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

      I totally agree. If two people don’t vote the same this doesn’t make one morally superior to the other.

      • Superfly
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

        It might. It depends on what their vote is for.

        • Jam
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

          I disagree. mm but the more I think about it: I should have omitted the abverb to make a cleaner point.

    • DrFood
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

      Well said. Thank you. If you have a recommendation for a place to read the words of right leaning thinkers who try to stick to the facts, I’d love to check it out. I tried this quite a while ago and found some people, but not a particular “go to” place for “the other side” of the story.

      • cotterdan
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

        I’m not a conservative but I can give you a couple conservatives worth checking out.

        Thomas Sowell

        Also Russell Kirk. He was the founder of the conservative movement. He’s worth checking out because it shows how bad neocons have distorted the original intent of the conservative movement. Neocons really have no business including conservative in their name. It would be more apt to call them Trotskyites.

        • sesenta y cuatro
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

          I think it’s not about being conservative or liberal.
          It is more about being a good politician or a bad politician. I think we can all agree History has given enough examples of how a politician can do good things or bad things no matter if he belonged to Griffindor, Ravenclaw or Slytherin.

          I bet Pat’s call is more about a politician who’s doing harm to Wisconsin people and not so much about elephants against donkeys.

          • cotterdan
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

            I’m neither conservative or liberal, so I would agree. I don’t really see much difference in either party. The voters might differ on a lot of issues but the politicians, both republican and democrat, do the same kind of things no matter who is in charge. The main difference between the politicians of those political parties is they tend to favor different special interest groups based on who is lining their pockets with the most money.

        • DrFood
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

          Thanks cotterdan. I’m reading essays by Thomas Sowell (four so far) and I’m looking for insights. So far I’m finding some truisms (work is good) and a fair number of straw men.

          He seems to think that poorly vetted mortgages started going to minority buyers in the 90’s because liberals were insisting upon it, not because bankers had created fabulous new financial products that sliced, diced and reformulated thousands, nay, millions of mortgages and somehow magically removed all risk. EVERYBODY was getting mortgages, including pets, children and homeless people hired by drug dealers to use the crazy home financing to launder ill-gotten cash. It must feel good to blame the banking fiasco on liberals, but that’s not going to help us avoid the next crash.

          I’ll keep reading. . .

  27. Hyrneson
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    Pat, my comment is not directly about politics. More than most, Wisconsin has reminded me of the saying about sausage & politics.
    Instead, I wanted to commend a site to your attention because of its use of story telling to teach about economics, the bedfellow and cousin of politics. I don’t like posting links on other folks websites, but at your pleasure, do a search for Econstories & their videos, particularly ‘Fight of the Century”. I think you will be entertained & amused.
    Best to you & yours.

  28. FantasticBastard
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Pat.

    If only what is happening in your state was simply a local issue. For better or worse (and this is one of those rare instances where that cliched phrase really does apply), it isn’t. This recall election is a referendum on more than just Walker the man or even Walker the governor…it really is a statement about the future of our public dialogue, and specifically about the role that money and moneyed interests will play in that.

    Even though I don’t live in Wisconsin, I am also in knots, especially today, and I will be similarly devestated (thought not at all surprised) if Walker wins. I have friends in Madison who are teachers (one of whom works in the thankless field of special ed), and their lives are already being directly affected by the policies of the Walker administration. If he stays in office, those effects will only be worse and more profound. I came up to Madison twice last February to participate in protests at the capital for this reason, and because there’s so much more at stake than even that.

    I’m not laying this out very well, but my point is this: The reason this election is this important is because Walker himself is the least of it…what’s really being decided is whether or not our country is going to finally and fully be bought and paid for by a small group of rich people who only want what is best for themselves, instead of being subject to the free will of the thousands upon thousands of people who don’t have money but should still have the the most important voice.

    It’s a heavy burden to bear, but it is yours, Wisconsin. I hope for all of our sakes that “the people” prevail over the money.

  29. GretchenAsh
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this, Pat. That whole thing about “it’s not polite to talk about politics” means that smart, reasonable people stay quiet and the extreme, crazy people are all that’s to be heard.

    We need sane voices.

    Thanks for being one.

  30. BW
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

    I’ve never been a proud fan before, and it never occurred to me to be a proud fan of a fantasy author, but you have stepped beyond Kvothe and become someone to admire for who they are as well as for their talent. It’s a good feeling, and I thank you for it.

    As for the shenanigans, the only way to fight that is through exposure. People vote against themselves all the time, over and over, because they have no idea what the real issues are. Translate the legalese into English and get the word out. Do for the state what Patrick was good enough to do for his friend. Tell everyone, and have them tell everyone else.

    God bless you Wisconsin, I’m pulling for you way over here in New Mexico.

  31. Luke
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    One issue that distubs me the most about the Wisconsin recall election is this: The move to recall Scott Walker was based solely on the bill that limited the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions. During the recall election Barrett has avoided talking about the public sector unions. He is not even the candidate supported by the unions. So the #1 reason for recalling Scott Walker isn’t even a part of the campaign of his opponent. There is a problem with that.

    The idea of recalling an elected official for legal actions taken while fulfilling his office should scare anyone. Where does it end? Did the 2010 election truly mean nothing to the people who pushed for the recall? Walker would have been up for re-election in 2014. You don’t have to force an election early.

    • Kat
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

      Please cite the source that indicates that the recall of Gov. Walker was “based solely on the bill that limited the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions.”

      The recall process of Wisconsin has been legally followed. Please feel free to contact your state legislature to advocate for removal of the recall option from the books if you find it wrong.

  32. Cnapple
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    I had to register to reply to this topic; I’m a habitual lurker here. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for talking about this. And THANK YOU for being willing to talk about such an important subject in a rational and, most importantly, a well-researched manner.

    As a neighbor in the mitten-state, I can say that today’s election is not just a matter of local concern. It joins others of recent memory (CA’s prop 8, NC’s amendment 1, a slew of anti-woman personhood laws, and discriminatory immigration policies in the south) in shaping the direction our country is headed.

    I hope things go your way over there. Though our own Snyder is small potatoes to Walker, I’m afraid they may be cut from the same cloth. Hopefully we can get our own thug out next year.

    On a lighter note, your stance on this only adds to your other perfections: writing awesome books, loving Joss & Firefly, etc. You’re now an author I’m proud to read for reasons greater than just being a fucking awesome storyteller.

  33. Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

    So, I will fully admit that I knew nothing of you until this past weekend, thanks partly to Origins. When I read this, I knew by halfway through it that I would be commenting.

    Thank you for this post. I can understand how you might have thought that the Wisconsin political thing was local to Wisconsin, but in Ohio, we also had the same problem last year. Thankfully, the insanity in the Wisconsin statehouse galvanized a large chunk of the Ohio population in order to stop Governor Kasich from pulling the same crap with us that (hopefully soon-to-be-former) Governor Walker tried to pull in Wisconsin. We watched closely when Wisconsin exploded and noticed the same craziness starting to poke its head up here.

    Sadly, not everything in Ohio can be rectified the same way as Wisconsin. We don’t have a recall procedure for our governor, and our legislature is overwhelmingly Republican.

    The subject of politics has become so polarizing in the last decade. It’s a frightening proposition to even suggest a discussion of politics anymore, simply because of that polarization. Kudos to you, sir, for having the cojones to bring it up and the strength to back it up.


    • DrFood
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

      Actually, it seems that Ohio’s chance to directly refute the union busting bill worked a whole lot better than Wisconsin’s attempt to recall the governor.


  34. Shmarshy
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    Ok firstly, i would just like to say, ” Sir Patrick Rothfuss (yea, i rate you should be knighted), i really love and admire your work! You’ve been a huge inspiration! You’re plain and simply awesome!

    Secondly i would like to say that I’m South African (not too sure how many of those you know?)

    Thirdly, the things that are happening in Wisconsin sound truly terrible! i Wish we had more awesome authors like yourself who had the guts to post about the things that matter. The things you write about are a very REAL aspect of what we deal with here in SA. And i don’t mean in just one province/ state, i mean in the entire country.
    Our PRESIDENT deals in fraudulent matters, not just his underlings and the other sub-important people.

    I truly hope that the public realises what our government really is up to and manages to get the right vote in!!

    Good luck to all
    And to Sir Rothfuss – WRITE ON!!

    PS – i apologise for any grammatical or spelling errors. My first language is Afrikaans.

  35. nightshade1219
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    You know, it’s funny, I almost didn’t read this blog because I saw “politics” and I thought “no no, mustn’t read that!” I’m glad I did. For a society that is so okay with sharing their innermost secrets online for the world to see, there is surprisingly little discourse about the things that really matter.

  36. Kisaoda
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    Y’know, it’s strage; I can admire your bravery for being vocal about your beliefs and political stances. However, placing myself in the shoes of someone with a following (aka if I ever become as talented as you in the writing business), I’m more than likely going to keep myself quiet about anything personal. I want people to see my work, not me. If they see me, they see that, yes, I am indeed human, and I do indeed have flaws. While I am not ashamed of being human, I would rather they be able to appreciate my work for what it is, and not who it’s written by.

    “Oh, that guy voted this way.” “He believes in what?!” Questions like that can lead to a jaded view of the work or piece done. Is it shallow thinking? Of course it is, but it’s also prevalent in all of us, despite what we’d like to really think of ourselves.

    I won’t say whether or not I agree with you, Pat. That’s rather irrelevant. I enjoy your work. I’m eagerly anticipating Day 3. I drool on a photo of you as I sleep. Err.. wait. You didn’t see that.

    What I will say, though, is your opinions are your own, and you’re certainly free to share them without fear of retaliation. It will probably cause some alienation amongst your fans, sadly, but that’s their choice to stop following you (though I may not think it wise to compare someone’s ideals to supporting the mutilation of female genetalia, it’s still their call to take it personally).

    Iunno. I can respect your decision as well as I can respect someone like Brandon Sanderson, who, for the most part, wants to stay way out of the political/religious limelight. Both ways have their ups and downs: one limits the thoughts and the other limits the fanbase.

    Despite any controversy that may or may not come from this, know that you still have at least one fan who will rip off an arm to sell for Book 3. You’d be an awesome person to sit down with for coffee and just talk. Your insights to some things just leave us wanting to hear more, whether or not we even agree with it.

    Good luck, Pat. And keep the words coming.

  37. cromotocciano
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    You are lucky to be able to change someone’s opinion. I my country all politicians are scammers trying to sell an image made out of lies, and noone seems to care.
    Only two major political parties. People’s logic: HE DID BAD! VOTE THE OTHER ONE!
    I’m tired of education being marked like a dog reclaims a corner.

    I dont even know if there is hope for this country any more. Can a whole country be talked into logic like you did with your friend?
    Sounds extreme but it’s true and I’m angry. And hungry.
    Man it feels good to say this even if noone cares.

  38. Tove
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    More politics! Everywere! We need to spend more time reading/ learning about politic all over the world. There horrible way of marketing before an election, with big posters, happy faces and no information is what we get when we don´t take time to do our research, if pople don´t have knowledge enough democracys isn´t even democracys.

  39. Joan
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    I just wanted to thank Pat and all my fellow commenters for being polite and considerate discussing such a difficult topic. I love this blog so much because it’s one of the few places on the internet where noone is bitching around. So, thank you.

  40. Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Permalink


    I applaud you for speaking out and getting involved. People have to take action if we’re going to make this country and world a better place for our children. That is why I have started getting involved in my local party politics and I suggest that you do so in your infinite spare time.

    The “no politics” rule has more to do with selling books (income). If I know that a writer I like has certain political views I am less likely to buy his/her books and more inclined (at least subconsciously) to dislike their writing when I do read it.

    There is nothing wrong with speaking out in support of your principals, especially when it IS so important. People will think differently of you. Some (myself included) will think more highly (and breathe a sigh of relief). Others not so much. BUT, there is a price to be paid. There is always a price. Your price might not be very high. It may even be small enough that you will not notice it. Nevertheless, the price will be paid.

    After all, its not like taking a side such as “I’m a Kings fan, while you like the Wild.” Differing sides for sports is typical, expected and tends not to engender lasting enmity. Politics is different.

    So, I applaud you and thank you for your efforts to make your state, country and world better. Not every argument has two opposite but equal sides.

    Best to you and the fam.

    Caleb, Esq.

    p.s. Please allow this to serve as a request for your next book. Yes, I’m nagging. So sue me.

  41. clockwork_peach
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    I think we should bring back Sortition… Politics shouldn’t be a profession.

  42. Cymric
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    Mr Rothfuss,

    You have given me hope. Hope that even in this current climate of divisive politics that two people can talk about politics and a person can be persuaded by a clear and concise disagreement about their current position.

    Several years ago i gave up talking to my family and friends about their politics believing that the media had effectively brainwashed them. I will start the conversation again and follow your example. Maybe we can actually change things here in Texas

  43. sumigo
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    Walker is such an honorable cat too.


    Unbelievable the lengths Charles and David Koch (if you do not know why they are, look it up) will go to keep their ‘man’ in office.

    They are the kinds of people who are really ruining err running this country.

  44. Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    I would like to make an addendum to the talk about politics thing – Research before you talk. Research does NOT include:
    Ads paid for by anyone.
    Opinions spouted by talking heads on news shows.
    Research requires finding out whether the ads are true, whether there is another side to the story the talking heads are yelling about. Research requires effort and time and attention.
    And its our responsibility as citizens. The country gets continually messed up by politicians relying on people NOT doing research.

  45. cromotocciano
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    A veces creo que este blog debería ser leído por todo el mundo. Dice las cosas claras, y bien. Primero lo de hablar sobre la muerte como la parte de la vida que es. Y ahora con hablar de politica, basicamente rompiendo los tabús que hay hoy en dia.

    Sorry for using foreing languaje, it’s too late for me to think and I don’t trust google translate that much.

    PD: Visca el Barça

    • WidowOfSirius
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

      “Sometimes I think this blog should be read by everyone in the world. You say things clearly, and well. First to speak about death as a fact of life, and now to speak about politics, basically breaking the taboos of today.”

      Hope you don’t mind, but it was a lovely sentiment I wanted everyone to see :)

      • hocoloco8
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

        Well done. You beat me to it! :-)

  46. hobbsthegreat
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    My wife and I were just talking a few days ago about how celebs need to be careful when it comes to politics. Few Americans can stand Clooney, for example, and Oprah lost half her audience when she backed Obama and thus has a failing network. Now neither one of these people are ever going to hurt money wise but there is wisdom in keeping your political beliefs to yourself when you are in the business of entertaining the masses.

    That being said. Celebs, writers, etc are usually liberal so your view does not surprise me and I applaud you for caring. I’m not going to debate your misguided viewpoint but as an independent who has voted Rep and Dem many times in my life the direction our beloved state was going was a hole so deep we would have become California. See Illinois for the most recent state heading that way.

    Entitlement societies do not work. I don’t know how much you know history but check it out if you don’t believe me. I work in the private sector and have to pay all my benefits and had to take a pay cut a few years ago that I still haven’t recovered and Union workers still have it better than me. In fact, when you come back to reality, even with the cuts public workers still have better benefits and make more than the private sector on average.

    3.6 bil in debt down to 140 mil in debt in just one year for WI. The people of Wisconsin voted him in office knowing he was going to do what he did and they will again tonight (at least I hope). When times get hard, tough decisions are needed and those usually the most unpopular.

    Good luck tonight Pat, you are entitled to your viewpoint and vote and I would never try and take it away from you no matter how much I disagree with you.

    • DrFood
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:49 PM | Permalink

      Germany has one of the strongest economies in the free world and unions are very powerful there. I’m not sure what your definition of an “entitlement society” is, but right now I’d rather live in a place where workers have a seat on the board of directors for large corporations.

      When everybody does well, everybody does well. Put another way, when the poor get richer, everybody gets richer. When the rich get richer, the rich get richer. We’ve been making the rich richer for quite some time now and it hasn’t trickled down. I’m doing better than my parents because I went to med school, but doing better than your parents is no longer as likely for your basic American citizen. I think that’s wrong, and I think we need to address income inequality. Call me crazy.

      • denna_fanboy
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

        Oh, so your parents and their generation had iPods and smartphones and color television, did they? Sounds to me like this generation has it better than any generation before.

        As for “addressing income inequality,” that’s just a polite way of saying “income redistribution”. Yeah, we all know what that means. Will anyone on the receiving end of that ever vote against it? It’s a suckers game.

        No representation without taxation! (Note: I’m joking. I think. This sounds like a horrible idea.)

    • DrFood
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

      The public worker unions agreed to every financial demand of Governor Walker and the Republicans that controlled both houses, but that wasn’t good enough. They had to be killed, they could no longer have any rights to bargain in the future. Since that budget went through, the affected unions have been decimated–membership is falling through the floor, because the unions can’t do anything for their members. (AFSCME went from about 63K to 29K members.)

      You know, you can argue about how to fix budget deficits, but what led to the recall was not financial, it was existential. If Republicans can use policy to kill unions, there will be no countervailing force to the unlimited money of corporations and billionaires. This was not about the budget.

    • dann_blood
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

      I was wondering whether you could elaborate on which parts of history we’re supposed to be looking at, and whether you’d be able to provide clear, well-sourced, empirical examples. I.e., examples where social welfare was directly the cause of economic issues, with supporting evidence.


      • cotterdan
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

        If your really interested in this topic there is wealth of material you can pour through. I’ll give a link to an article that touches very briefly on some of the problems with social welfare but I’ll also list a few books that delve deeply into these issues from every angle.


        Man, Economy, and State by Murray Rothbard
        Human Action by Ludwig Von Mises

        These two books are full economic treatises by two of the greatest economists of the 20th century. It is not necessary to read the whole book to just get answers to specific questions you have but you can flip through to the chapters of interest to you. If you search for the titles at mises.org in their literature section you can download the books for free.

        Man vs. The Welfare State by Henry Hazlitt

        This book is very much what you are looking for. It is also on mises.org for free.

      • cotterdan
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:27 AM | Permalink

        I might as well link this article too. Rent control is one of the more obvious destructive social welfare programs.


      • cotterdan
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:47 AM | Permalink

        One last link. The minimum wage is also an obviously destructive social welfare program. That actually one of the few things there is virtually a consensus on from all the major schools of economic thought.


      • dann_blood
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

        I’ll keep my response very brief, as a full response would be a bit too arduous at this point.

        1. Yes, there will necessarily be issues with social welfare programs. I don’t consider that grounds to dismiss them (or else we’d end up with nothing at all), nor as reason enough to say they don’t work.

        2. First article had some interesting points until it descended into a rant about the taxman, and went completely off-topic about Finland. I just want to note, though, that I really dislike the author’s assumption that the only purpose of getting a tertiary education is to make money, or that it should be. The idea that if something doesn’t have monetary value it doesn’t have any value at all, or should be avoided, is, I think, an incredibly destructive idea, which unnecessarily limits individual liberty.

        3. Second article, on rent control, I think more or less hits the mark. The de facto false dichotomy between rent control and markets detracted from the article though.

        4. Last article, the empirical evidence doesn’t back that up. The most recent data and evidence shows that there’s almost no negative affect of minimum wages. It’s a clear case of practice contradicting theoretical models. There’s a negative impact on teenage employment, though. But the issue is far more complex than that.

        5. I can’t comment on any of the books. I can only produce a list of my own recommendations:
        “The Affluent Society” by John Kenneth Galbraith
        Most of the publications by Ha-Joon Chang
        Joseph Stiglitz
        “The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee”, by Lewis, Widerquist and Pressman
        “Microeconomics” by Pindyck and Rubinfeld
        “The Spirit Level” by Wilkinson and Pickett
        “Growth Fetish” by Clive Hamilton

        • cotterdan
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

          First, on minimum wage, that is just incorrect. I don’t really like empirical evidence when it comes to something like this. It is impossible to have a controlled study of the effects. You would need everything else to be equal and that is never the case in economics. There are just too many variables for empirical studies on minimum wage to be conclusive. That said, it is not even the case that empirical studies do what you say they do. For example, see here

          Outside that, we are very far apart on the spectrum when it comes to economics. I’ve read plenty of Keynesianism theory over the years. I’ve studied Krugman, Stiglitz, Brad DeLong, John Maynard Keynes, etc. I’ve taken courses covering all of Keynesian theory. I was a very liberal democrat before I became a Rothbardian libertarian. I would of agreed with what you have been saying on everything 10 years ago.

          I do enjoy studying all the various economic theories, but the only one that I think is correct on the whole is Austrian economics. But I don’t want to bog down Mr. Rothfuss’s post with a big economic debate. My point in posting the links and books that I did was to respond to your call for supporting evidence for the free market position on social welfare. I wanted to make sure anybody who wanted to research the free market position, or who doubted it existed, would have plenty of material to sink their teeth into. If people are indeed interested in these topics they can search out both sides of the story and decide for themselves which theory makes sense to them.

  47. Lizzi
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this, Pat. I was having trouble motivating myself to vote in this election because, although Walker clearly has to go, I am more than a little concerned about having Tom Barrett in charge after seeing how Milwaukee has done with him as mayor (not to mention the fact that he seems to lie a lot.) But this reminded me of the importance of practicing my right to vote, not just having an informed opinion. I only wish that for once I wouldn’t have to choose between the lesser of two evils. I love this state and wish I could give it the governor it deserves.

  48. momentohumilitas
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    We need someone to guide us. Someone to fight with us in this “battle” against ignorance. Who will lead us, Pat?

    • sesenta y cuatro
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

      People look to me and say
      Is the end near, when is the final day
      What’s the future of mankind
      How do I know, I got left behind
      Everyone goes through changes
      Looking to find the truth
      Don’t look at me for answers
      Don’t ask me – I don’t know

      Ozzy Osbourne – I don’t know

      • Humilitas
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

        Holding the light for the ones that we guide from the dark of despair
        Standing on guard for the ones that we’ve sheltered
        We’ll always be ready because we will always be there

        3 Doors Down -Citizen Soldier

  49. athea
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

    Alleluia, Pat. Alleluia.

  50. denna_fanboy
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    This has been bugging me all day. I got a bit off my chest earlier, but now I realize what really bothered me.

    It was the sheer presumption and arrogance Pat displayed here.

    Being able to talk about politics in a healthy and informative manner is all well and good. I guess I’m even for that. But to think Pat has shown us some great insights today, or that he’s laid out the obvious facts… *shake*. It’s sheer arrogance.

    It appears that Pat didn’t even recognize that the other side of the debate might even have valid points. He ambushed a friend, threw “facts” at him, and convinced him he was wrong. And then bragged about it on his blog. He comes off sounding as though he’s claiming that people only supported Walker today because of all the misinformation they heard, and that if they could only do some research or have a heart-to-heart with someone who’s against him, they’d change their mind. How presumptuous.

    I get that passions are high concerning Walker. Right now he’s a nationwide conservative hero. To others he’s a monstrous villain. I’d give him six of one, half a dozen of the other. One thing is clear: he’s not fit for federal office. But to imply “People who support Walker haven’t done their research” is such arrogance.

    Pat, I expected better.

    As a consolation, since Walker did win the gubernatorial recall election, there is this: All those people who voted for him didn’t do so because of television ads. Polling data suggests that for a month the voters of Wisconsin have been decided so firmly one way or another that the candidates have been chasing less than 2% of the electorate. The divide is one of ideology, not of information. Please, rest a little bit easier knowing it’s not because the people of your state are too gullible to choose their leaders wisely, but just that they choose differently than you.

    • MikeThicke
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

      Being ideological doesn’t imply that the divide isn’t one of information. People’s ideologies can be due to being misinformed. Personally, I suspect that if people were better informed the political landscape would look immensely different than it does today. And let’s just say it: by and large conservative voters are less well informed and subscribe to more demonstrably false facts (Obama’s a muslim, he doesn’t have a birth certificate, death panels…) than liberals do.

      • cotterdan
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

        Mike, I was about to agree with you until you went down the conservative voters are less well informed than liberals path. I tend to think each group gets some things right and some things wrong. I agree with liberals when they stand for personal liberty and against war. I agree with conservatives when they stand for economic liberty. The sad part is we get neither economic or personal liberty and we get endless war no matter who is in charge. F. A. Hayek predicted this outcome back in 1944 in his great book The Road To Serfdom. It really is disturbing to read how he wrote almost exactly, step by step, how the country would get to where it is today. Too many people believe in the false dichotomy of you need to be either a democrat or republican. I, for one, do not accept that.

        • MikeThicke
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

          Nothing you said contradicted my claim that liberals tend to be better informed than conservatives. That is not to say that you can’t be a well-informed conservative, though I’ll say that Hayek’s predictions in The Road To Serfdom have hardly come true. He thought we were hot on the heels of Nazi Germany.

          For reference: http://www.salon.com/2012/02/24/the_ugly_delusions_of_the_educated_conservative/

          • cotterdan
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

            Well, I’m pretty convinced you haven’t read that book if that is what you think it says. Here is a link to a five minute cartoon quickly summarizing the books theme. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6lSR62wmSo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

            The book wasn’t saying America was fast on the heels of Nazi Germany. He wrote the book while living in England and it was a warning to the people of Europe of how a country that starts down the path of being a command economy inevitably inches further and further down the path of socialism or fascism. It also warned of the terrible consequences that would come from acceptance of these doctrines. He wrote it in hopes of convincing British citizens to not follow the same path that countries like Italy and Germany were headed down. It became a very popular book in America to the surprise of Hayek since they were not the intended audience. Still, it’s lessons are very prophetic to this country as we have embarked down the exact path that he warned about in the book, especially since 9/11. It wasn’t a warning that America was hot on the heels of Nazi Germany. It was a warning that if you give up on freedom to advance a command economy then you will start moving closer and closer to disaster. This is the same economist that also correctly predicted the Great Depression, along with Ludwig Von Mises, years in advance. This is also the same economist, along with Mises, that predicted the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union. Neither of these men were conservatives or liberals.

          • cotterdan
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

            As for your claim that conservatives, to which I am not one, are less informed than liberals, I think that is false. I believe both of those political philosophies are ill informed on many issues although not the same issues. For example, here is a link going over some of the many common fallacies that liberals tend to believe in. You’ll need to click on the links he provides on his site to go through the debate that addresses these fallacies. I didn’t want to have a bunch of links on here and have this response get held up in moderation so I just linked to where you can get to everything from one page.


    • Superfly
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

      You actually prove his point by claiming that someone who shares an informed political view is presumptuous and arrogant. How dare he?! How dare his friend change his mind?! Can it be there exist nuanced gradations between a free-thinker and a flip-flopper???

      Come on, man. The free flow of ideas is never a bad thing, even if you disagree with some or most or all of those ideas.

    • tacodave
      Posted June 12, 2012 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

      I’m with you, Denna_Fanboy.

      I have no problem with people who disagree with me on a topic. But I *do* have a problem with people who think they are so superior, so intrinsically right-thinking that they need to correct me. They need to sit me down and have a conversation with me to show me where I’m wrong.

      It’s hubris and it sucks.

      What if I did something similar? What if I decided to come over to Pat’s house and say “Pat, can you just give me 15 minutes? You can clearly see here where the Bible says being gay is wrong…”

      That would be offensive, wouldn’t it? Pat wouldn’t like it because … because I would be wrong and he would be right. And it would be arrogant of me to assume that he was ill-informed and not smart enough to make up his own mind.

      THAT’S the arrogance I saw.

      I still love Pat’s books and will continue to support them, but this kind of attitude causes more problems than it solves, IMO.

  51. lostknight
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    I applaud Pat for speaking out, but I am going to call him out here on a couple of things. He starts out with the phrase “I like saying true things” which immediately cast anyone who disagrees with his interpretation as lying. We have far to much of that hateful rhetoric in this country. If you believe in Democracy, if you believe in joint representation then you have to buy into the results of the election. A state of Pat’s peers, some better informed, some less, elected someone that Pat compared negatively to female genital mutilation. He then ends with with a phrase that he hopes this encourages Political Discourse.

    That doesn’t encourage conversation, it encourages hate, discord, and vitriol. None of which helps us politically.

  52. akayb
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

    Living just next door in MN, so very sorry that Walker was not voted out. I am extremely upset for what this indicates for the future of the country.
    Money and politics are a toxic combination for both parties. . . when they get combined, the truth gets crushed.
    I wish things could have been different for you and WI.

  53. MTrad
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

    I’m in the same boat as you, Pat. I went and voted today and am having a very hard time sitting here looking at the results coming in without thinking the networks are playing a shitty joke on me. If only more people had had someone sit down and tell them some of the cold hard facts about Walker rather than rely on the propaganda corporations from out of state have been pushing so hard.

  54. cotterdan
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    I applaud you for stepping out and talking about a sensitive topic. I really can’t stand when people say you shouldn’t talk about politics. We shouldn’t come to blows talking about politics but it is ridiculous to just sit silent hoping that people are doing the deep thinking they need to do on political philosophy. That said, we probably have very different opinions on political philosophy. I’d be right there bashing Walker for as long as you wanted to bash him but I think we would diverge on many issues after that.

    Personally, I’m a libertarian. More specifically, I’m a Rothbardian. The single biggest influence on my views of political philosophy is Murray Rothbard. I would also include Ludwig Von Mises, Hans Hermann Hoppe, Walter Block, Henry Hazlitt, and many other libertarians that also are Austrian economists. Before I continue, Austrian economics has nothing to do with Austria. It is an opposing school of economic thought to either Keynesian economics or Chicago School economics. The only reason I bring this up is because I too am very worried about the direction this country is headed down. I also believe that the only way to change the countries direction is if the people change it. But if people don’t have a good foundation backing up their beliefs it is too easy for a tyrant to come in promising a bill of goods. Throughout history people have fallen for slick talking politicians who lean on peoples fears and ignorance. So I believe it is essential for everyone to think deeply on these matters and have a well rounded education on political philosophy.

    I don’t want to give a lecture on why I believe that the Rothbardians are correct on a blog post, but if you are at all interested in hearing what any of these great philosophers and economists have to say on political philosophy I’ll list a few books you could check out. All of these are free to download at mises.org in their literature section except the book by Jacob Huebert.

    For A New Liberty by Murray Rothbard
    The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rothbard
    The Market for Liberty by Morris and Linda Tannehill
    Libertarianism Today by Jacob Huebert

    You’re a good man Mr. Rothfuss. I hope that you will have the chance and desire to check out these books if you have never read them before. Regardless, I get great enjoyment from the work you do and I’ll have great respect for you no matter what your political beliefs. Well, if you start promoting any of these nonsense wars going on I’ll probably lose respect, but I won’t if you just have a different political philosophy.

    “Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders, no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle.”
    Ludwig Von Mises

  55. Mantra
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

    So Walker still won.. wow. I’m in Australia, so this has zero impact on me personally, but it does concern me that the US is struggling with its political system. I find the spending on elections is just completely out of control.


    I haven’t verified it, but I would be stunned if our political parties spent that on our Federal elections (the equivalent to the US Presidential elections I guess).

    It appears whoever has the most money wins? That’s it. No democracy, just money? If I was living there, I’d be lying awake at night as well.

    Don’t get me wrong, Australia has greedy and unscrupulous politicians as well, it’s just harder for them to get away with it I think.

    Don’t give up though, cause this guy sounds like the epitome of everything wrong with the US.

    Also, Pat, write whatever you like dude. It’s your blog, use your fame for good and not evil… and getting hot friends in cat costumes ;)

    • denna_fanboy
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

      That’s exactly the kind of arrogance I find repugnant.

      Sure, money impacts the ability to sway some small percentage of the electorate. More importantly, it allows politicians to get their message out.

      But to suppose that after reviewing the facts that no one else could honestly reach a different interpretation from yourself is the epitome of arrogance. Your argument here is essentially that: all those people who vote differently must have been blinded by the ads and the rhetoric.

      If there’s a lesson to be had, I think it’s that we need less of this kind of thinking and more of accepting that other people have valid opinions, too. Be a bit more liberal!

      • Superfly
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

        Different does not equal valid. Just because someone believes something does not make that belief valid.

        • denna_fanboy
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:13 AM | Permalink

          You’ve given yourself just enough wiggle room so as not to have said anything at all beyond the obvious tautologies. Take a stand and say something (anything!), but don’t dribble inanities all over the blag. It’s making a mess.

          • Superfly
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

            If it was so obvious why did it need to be said? You find it repugnant and arrogant that people inform themselves and share their view of the world?? You want people to be more accepting of others opinions?? Well I’m happy to inform you that some opinions are more valid than others. The argument is not that people were duped by the ads and rhetoric — the argument is that the overwhelming majority of people don’t care enough or don’t know enough to look beyond the ads and rhetoric. My stand is that the repurcussions of what Walker is doing in Wisconsin will be felt all over the nation, and that our education system (which is already in dire trouble) will disintigrate before our eyes. We will loose a whole generation of would-be teachers because the Republicans are actively trying to dismantle public education…and they are doing so by capping teacher pay…what college graduate wants to work for $30,000/year for the rest of their life?? And, that you’re an asshat.

          • tacodave
            Posted June 12, 2012 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

            The question is this: why does Superfly think his opinion is more valid than other peoples’?


      • sumigo
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

        Ok so you are on the record as a supporter of Citizens United. Got it! You believe Corporations are people, got it!

        Great thing to defend, defend rich douche bags like the Koch brothers and their stooges (the Roberts block of the SCOTUS, Walker, Rick Scott, Allen West etc. etc.)

        By the way your posts reek of arrogance and condescension, just what one would expect from a Koch brother puppet. Well done Mr. Kettle.

        • cotterdan
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

          This is why it is so hard to have honest debates about differing philosophies. Too many people are quick to challenge someone’s motives and character rather than focus on the merits of someone’s ideas. I disagree with both conservatives and liberals on numerous issues but I don’t believe their motives are evil or that they are idiots. What I liked about Mr. Rothfuss’s post was he didn’t go down this route you have to change his friend. In fact, when he thought there was a possibility of this kind of thing happening he vetoed the conversation. When he did bring it up he asked his friend to give him a chance to explain his position without resorting to insults and baseless accusations. Even though I am fairly certain I would disagree with Rohfuss on many political issues, I do admire his willingness to participate in honest discourse with his friend and unwillingness to allow their disagreement to result in a conversation spiraling into the gutter. That is a lesson I think we all should take from him.

          • sumigo
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

            I never insulted him, I insulted the Koch brothers and their stooges. I did not make a baseless accusation, he did defend Citizens United in his above post. Furthermore he started calling things ‘arrogant and repugnant’. I merely pointed out the how hypocritical that was.

            But nice attempt, trying to stick this on me.

          • cotterdan
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

            You called the person a Koch brother puppet. Was that supposed to be a compliment? You say this person supports Citizens Untited even though the only time the group is mentioned on this entire thread is by you. You say the person believes corporations are people but I can’t find where this poster said that. Yet, even if you believe supporting the Koch brothers, Citizens United, or corporations as people is wrong, you have offered up no argument against any of these ideas. I’m not even saying you are wrong to be against them, but to just list off things as self-evidently wrong is not moving the conversation forward at all. That comment you made will only elicit the kind of responses that Mr. Rothfuss correctly wanted to avoid when he vetoed the conversation he mentioned.

            Now, that said, I don’t think Denna F’s original comment was off base. She/he said that it was arrogant to assume that whoever spends the most money wins. I don’t know if I would label that belief arrogant but I can see why that was said. If you disagree with Denna F. that’s fine but there is no reason to say he is a Koch brother puppet. Disagree with a person’s ideas, explain why you believe they are wrong, and keep it civil. Which is exactly what Mr. Rothfuss did.

          • sumigo
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

            Thank you for the lecture Mr. Libertarian. Maybe next time the other Koch brother puppet will speak for itself.

          • cotterdan
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

            Ah, yes, the wonderfulness of political discourse fully on display. Yes, I am a libertarian but I also stated that I am a Rothbardian libertarian. Anybody with any familiarity with Murray Rothbard would know immediately what I think of the Koch brothers. But since you want to label me a puppet of theirs I have to assume you have are very unfamiliar with my philosophy and opinions on these men. Since I believe you are correct to distrust the Koch’s I will link you an article that you can use to back up your feelings about them. Although I am not what you label me and find it insulting for you to call me that, I am going to ignore it and just give you a background on these awful men that you can utilize in the future. I find that finding common ground between us and helping improve our knowledge on matters of agreement is going to be more productive than just insulting each other. Anyways, enjoy this link and I hope it comes in handy anytime you run into an actual defender of the Koch brothers. They are definitely worth your scorn.

    • Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

      I believe the numbers on money and politics boils down to around 94% of the races are won by the candidate that spent the most money.

      There ARE some exceptions but they are rare and usually the result of other factors that were able to counter-balance the disparity in money spent.

      Caleb, Esq.

  56. He without a clever name
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    …I’m so sorry, Pat.

    You guys lost a battle, but it was one Hell of an inspiring fight.

    Too many people are like your friend who votes based on the political ads. We all know people who aren’t fully paying attention but are voting. I just had quite the talk with the in laws about the coming presidential election and all the filibustering ect that the Republicans have done these past four years to insure an environment of political gridlock. They didn’t know because they really aren’t paying attention.

    …and just to remind us all that the craziness is national, today EVERY Republican senator voted AGAINST the paycheck fairness act to ensure equal pay for women. One Republican Senator said it would be “unfair to small businesses”….you know, because it’s not unfair to women or anything. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/paycheck-fairness-act-senate-vote_n_1571413.html

    • denna_fanboy
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:49 PM | Permalink

      Oh, come on! Linking HuffPo articles is almost like trolling on purpose.

      That’s not what the Paycheck Fairness Act does. It has nothing to do with gender. What it does is put employers in a position where they can’t negotiate compensation on an individual basis without facing potential lawsuits concerning “discrimination”.

      Oh, right. “Women are paid less!” Because men and women go into the same fields in the same numbers, right? Right. Learn some statistics and it’ll be obvious why this is bunk.

  57. Eon
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    Hmm, I feel guilty now. I’ve always gone out of my way to avoid talking politics because of my father. He’s essentially a clean, drug-free hippie, and he spouts off politics at anyone he comes in contact with. Once when we were camping in Canada he said to a woman he had known for literally less than a minute how glad he was to be out of “Bush-Land.” I hate that almost as much as I hate the canned political arguments he makes. If anything, I’m even more liberal than my father, yet I want to oppose whatever he says about politics purely out of spite.

    And then there’s your post. It occurs to me now that perhaps there is a third choice besides silence and mindless blabber, and that saying nothing is not a better alternative to my father’s proselytizing. Someone needs to put the facts out there in a way that is clear and level-headed to counteract all the crazies on both sides of the aisle, and you’ve been that someone tonight. I’ll try and follow suit in the future. Thank you.

  58. DrFood
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

    It’s sad–it’s like we’re dogs snapping at crumbs falling from the table of the truly powerful. It’s only a zero sum game if you stay on the floor.

    Now I’m getting maudlin (and in the hospital, too! No alcohol involved, of course). I’d better try to go to sleep!

  59. Superfly
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    I’m proud and honored and inspired. Thank you, Pat. And the fact that there are those who think you should “leave it alone” is more than a little troubling. I mean, I think Mel Gibson is fucking bananas (not literally), but I still enjoy Braveheart. . . Anyway, I’m a Navy vet, worked my way through college, earned a Master’s degree in education, currently teach high school English in a public school for $38,000 a year. . .thankful for my job and love what I do, but it’s very difficult for a family of 5 to live on that. It is heartening to know that there are good people paying attention and willing to start a dialogue that is sorely needed. And, for the record, I didn’t just compare you to Mel Gibson.

    Thanks again.

    resist. unlearn. defy.

  60. BooksinHD
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:58 AM | Permalink

    All in all, I think this is a good thing for the people of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, when one spends most of their adult life in academia there’s more than a bit of cocooning that goes on, and not the kind that lets you live forever either.

    It’s a little disappointing that a political ideology which presents itself as humongously inclusive and understanding ends up with so many people who can’t even conceive of someone actually disagreeing with them on the merits of the issues, though.

    Things are rarely as advertised.

  61. cram9030
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:13 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I would like to say that I think on your own blog you should be able to say what you like and while politics are polarizing to do firmly believe it is an area that in general Americans need to educate themselves better.

    I personally have no problem talking politics and it is normally something that I broach with many people in the early stages of our relationships. This might make me come off as the pushy, overly eager type but for the most part it gives me an understanding what is important to another person and most importantly allows me to hear a view point that I had not heard before, allowing me to become a better more rounded person for at least considering their viewpoint even if I disagree. I think it is good for us to discuss our believes both political and religious because only through open dialog are we able to understand the defining factors. I know that I often speak with my room mates about political issues even though they are more liberal then I am we can have very honest and open dialog and as a result we realize that there is a lot we agree upon. I do hope that an open and honest attempt to speak and understand each other in a candid and educated way like you have approached this post will lead to a better political system.

  62. Iain T
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:39 AM | Permalink


    Second blog I’ve read today talking about this. The shenanigans in Wisconsin are known well outside the US, even over here in Blighty.

    Lucia highlighted that there’s even more skulduggery going on with automated phone calls to Barrett voters telling them they don’t need to go vote! Following the money on that one will surely see someone doing time.

    It seems to me that politics is fundamentally broken in the west – US and Europe particularly. At least the US still has a partially-working democracy unlike us subjects of the EUSSR…

  63. Faewild
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:43 AM | Permalink

    I,m from Northern Ireland and trust me. Pat is right on one particular and very important count. That people should talk more and not be afraid to stand up to unjust politics, what ever side it comes from.

  64. Faewild
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:47 AM | Permalink

    I,m from Northern Ireland and Pat is right on one very important count of talking to each other. This way we can stand up to unjust politics where ever it comes from.

  65. Holmelund
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 4:38 AM | Permalink

    What´s the point of Freedom of speech, if its taboo to speak about some of the most importent things, like Politics and Religion?

    Thank you Patrick for not conforming to the PC public opinion that you shouldnt talk about certain subjects.

  66. ced
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    This seems like a good forum to try telling a story =)

    I get to listen to a lot from both sides of the political spectrum, in a rather unique setting. I’m at a national lab full of physicists and engineers. And, as a general rule, the physicists are liberal and the engineers are conservative. I say “general rule,” but I’d guess it applies 90% of the time.

    Now these are both sets of very smart people, both trained to think critically about a lot of stuff, and yet they come to very different conclusions on our nation’s problems. You’ve got to wonder why…

    Number one, these are hard problems — that’s something I always keep in mind. If I think someone’s wrong, ok! But if I find myself thinking someone is an _idiot_ for disagreeing with me on a political issue, that means I don’t understand the issue.

    That doesn’t explain why the two groups toe the line of their respective professions though. That comes down to who they listen to (i.e., each other). And both sides are very good and very informed and very accurate when it comes to pointing out the problems of the other side.

    So that’s the other thing I keep in mind. No matter how bad I know the other guy is, that doesn’t mean that my guy is better.

    And maybe that’s what just happened in Wisconsin. In the recall it seemed like a lot of Wisconsiners agreed that Walker was really bad. But when it came time to elect somebody new, how many people do you think voted the evil they knew over the evil they didn’t?

    I mean, in half the articles I’ve seen on this election (including Pat’s blog), we don’t even get the challenger’s name. Maybe everybody in Wisconsin already knew the Milwaukee mayor, but from the outside it looked like the election was between Walker and not-Walker. Do you know how bad someone has to be to vote for an unknown alternative? Worse than the Walker that Pat just described, at least in this political climate, at least if the political subject you are most informed on is the failings of the Democratic party.

    So, please, everybody, keep talking politics, but talk about the side you want to win. Maybe that’s not what energizes you most, but it’s the only way to get converts. And when you do that, the only feelings at risk are yours, so it’s not even taboo (and the other side won’t be afraid to listen. Instead they’ll be hanging on your every word waiting to pounce with their steely knives the moment they smell weakness… price you pay for being a decent human being.)

  67. sesenta y cuatro
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    I remember Abenthy saying to Arliden not to worry about Kvothe’s possible future as a merchant… he being too curious to take that road…

    I daresay I wouldn’t worry about you taking the politicians way… your world is too rich.

    But not being a politician does not mean you cannot or you should not express your political thoughts. And I think encouraging people discuss about what’s happening in their State is a healthy way of addressing politics.

    After all, Kvothe’s not a merchant but still he loves bargaining…

    So, in the end, nothing you should regret. Even if that means selling less copies of your books… I would have loathed to know you would not dare to say what you need to say by fear of selling less.

    It’s not like a moonless night or a storm at sea.

  68. Mr. Snrub
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    Well, Pat, you’re more than welcome next door in Minnesota. We’ve got our problems, but I like to think we wouldn’t put up with all that madness we just witnessed.

  69. in_aether
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    It’s going to wreck me if Walker stays in after everything he’s done. I’m going to be an absolute shambles for months.

    That about sums up how I’m feeling today. Ughh.

  70. Ojodelgato
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Permalink


    I’m Wisconsin born and raised. I know people who worked with Walker here in Milwaukee, not many voted for him. One of my co-workers is a dyed in the wool GOP guy who couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t support Walker. I tried to make a deal with him;

    – My rough calculations show that between the loss of value on my house, the decline of my 401K and my kids college savings, I’ll probably be working until I’m in my late 70’s. I have good friends that are much worse off.
    – Show me how the teachers here in Wisconsin are responsible for 1 penny of those losses and won’t just vote for Scott Walker – I’ll campaign for him.

    He didn’t take the deal.

  71. agauntpanda
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Well, my comment got stuck in moderation, so I guess I’ll just say I agree with elmobob14, and that Mr. Rothfuss should have went with his (perhaps insincerely expressed) instinct to leave politics alone.

  72. rmcphail
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    Whenever I comment on this blog I often find myself defending Pat from people who I feel are criticizing unfairly. Generally I think that is because I while I do not know him personally, Mr. Rothfuss seems like a class act. I sound like a kiss-ass when I say that but its true. From Worldbuilders and politics down to the way he is nice and polite to Paolini even though on some level he has to want to thump him, the way Pat conducts himself is enviable. So with me, he has a certain level of credibility when posts stuff like this.

    Thoughtful, classy people often try to refrain from discussing politics to avoid being rude. The problem is then the entire conversation about politics is being dominated by thoughtless people who do not have class. It makes an already toxic political landscape more toxic.

    Talking about politics is not the problem. The problem is talking about ideology. A discussion about opposing facts and analysis is a healthy debate. A discussion about opposing beliefs and values is a fight. Unfortunately, its become nearly impossible to talk about politics without ideology dominating the conversation. for some reason, people have begun treating politics like sports. In sports, choosing a team because your father loved them or because you were born in that teams hometown is perfectly fine. Rooting for them even when they play poorly and irrationally hating their rival team is fine as well. Its encouraged. However, that is not really a good way to approach the choice of who makes the decisions that effect our everyday lives. But that is what is happening.

    The vast majority of people tend to pick their team , right or left based on a general idea that one of them is a closer match to their values, then vote for that side. I bet if you asked most conservative people, not in a poll but as individuals, if they really cared that much about gay marriage I bet a lot of them would not care. They might say something about the Bible, but if pressed would admit it does not really effect their daily lives much. Still “ban gay marriage” is their team’s position so they follow it. And its not just the right. I have a friend who is very smart and well educated. He is a liberal. He was raised left and stayed that way. I am too, but we differ on the issue of gun control. To me, it seems like a silly idea. The people whom we don’t want to have guns are the people who are going to shoot others with them. Well there is already a law against shooting other people. If someone does not care about that law they will not care about the law preventing gun ownership. An anti-gun law would keep guns out of the hands of responsible people. It does not make sense. Now if there were a way to get ALL of the guns out of the hands of everyone that would be a different discussion. An ideological one. But in this case its just a logic thing. But to my friend, he is a democrat and a liberal and good democrats and liberals favor gun control.

    In rooting for the home team, too often issues that we would all pretty much agree on are getting plowed over. You can feel how you want to feel about George W. Bush and you can have a belief about Iraq and his tax cuts but pretty much everyone would agree that awarding government contracts to companies without competitive bidding is at best poor money management and at worst smells of corruption. Thats not an ideological value people can have well informed differences of opinion on. Its a set of facts. If there are countering facts, fine. But too often issues like that get lumped in with all of the stalemated (stalemet?) ideological stuff.

    I guess my point is that if you really look at the facts Pat posted, most of them are political issues rather than ideological ones. Granted it looks like Pat is left leaning and his attitudes about other things support that assumption. But what Pat listed in the blog were facts. Felonies and evidence of misconduct. Labor statistics. Program cuts. Whether some of those facts, like the program cuts, are good or bad depend on ideology, but many of them don’t. This blog entry was a good thing. What we are MORE political discussions that do not just degenerate into ideological shouting matches. I don’t know if such discussions can de-toxify the politics in this country, but something has to at least be attempted. Thanks for trying Pat.

  73. Piccadilly
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat!
    I think the fact that you talked to your friend is the most important one in this blogentry and for this I like you now even more. I know how hard it is to comfront a friend with a topic that explosive like politicians and politics but you did it very well.

    But I have also a couple of questions (if you have the habit to answer them):
    1. What does the title mean? English isn’t my motherlanguage so I’m might missing something essential and
    2. How does this veto stuff work?

    Thank you in advance :D

    • Bob78164
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

      I’m not Pat, of course, but his title is a quote from the lyrics of [i]My Country ‘Tis of Thee[/i].

      • Piccadilly
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

        Thank you :)

  74. Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    Great post Pat. I really appreciate how you illustrate that a willingness to listen and an environment of communication can promote critical thought. I find it very disheartening when people have political opinions and yet the reasons for those opinions are either unknown or simply lack substance due to closed-mindedness. All too often people cling to ideologies without fully understanding why. I’ve pounded my fist on more than my share of tables in heated discussions about politics or religion. Please don’t let uninformed (i.e.) stupid people, get you down.
    Again, thanks Pat.

  75. Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Commiserations, Pat. I’ve been following this because I’ve been a long-time reader of the Crooked Timber blog which is about politics/economics/education. One of the main contributors, Harry Brighouse, is a prof at Madison and covered the sit-ins and walkouts over the winter. I am so sorry for all of you who have had the best interests of working people in Wisconsin at heart that Walker has been re-elected.

    It sounds like it was the money – but it also sounds like one of those instances in which again, Americans are bafflingly voting against their own best interests. Given the balanced and rational way you handled this blog entry, it would be a public service if you could consider writing a little, especially for those of us outside the US, about why so many ordinary US citizens seem intent on voting in rich people who are going to make their lives more difficult.

    I don’t want to make things worse, but you are so right to worry about Oot’s education. In the UK and US, good education is increasingly a privilege of the wealthy, not a right of the majority. It means that down the line, it gets easier and easier to dismantle the state because those who need it most have least ability to protect and defend their rights. It is a policy that denies agency within a society. It is divisive and dangerous. But there are some amazing people out there in the US developing and running public schools that are playing the system at its own game and preserving the possibility for disadvantaged kids of getting a good education and building a great future.

    Fight the good fight. Don’t give up. As John Green says, Use The Words. You have them. Use them.

    But maybe today, take the day, go hang out with your family and hold them close and do something light-hearted and fun that gives you all pleasure. It will make you feel better and stronger.


  76. Tipmoose
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    Well…Walker won. With an even higher percentage than when he was originally elected. That pretty much cements things…and with redistricting and VoterID being in place for November, the Senate is likely flipping back to Walkers column.

    I’m hoping you’re not wrecked and in shambles for very long…politics really isn’t worth it. Here’s hoping you can find some solace in Kvothe and write a more fitting end to his narrative than the one you wished for yesterday.

  77. adriaandr
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    Hey Patrick,

    Even though I’m not from the US, I have been following some of the elections due to friends in certain states. Wisconsin is one of them, and I’m very sorry to see that Walker has won this run.

    I also work in advertising and know that the bigger the budget, the bigger the result. Somewhere the world took a wrong turn, and the big bucks are being handed out to the people with the least concern for our planet and the people on it.

    In any case, I hope things turn out better than they look right now.

    From a big fan and avid reader.



  78. AlexiusF
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    I’m sorry, man. I voted yesterday too. We went out to one of the world’s rarest ecological communities as part of my field experience class earlier today, to an oak opening where we saw a pair of northern harriers, red-headed woodpeckers, bobolinks and rattlesnake master (not a bird). All rare species and getting rarer, on state-protected and maintained land Walker might soon allow to be sold off for the next big subdivision. Feeling a bit ill today, to be honest.

  79. scott walker
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Permalink


    ROMNEY 2012

    • denna_fanboy
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:55 AM | Permalink

      … way to troll!

      Seriously. How did this get past the spam filters?

  80. cruckel
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    My sympathies on the ignorance that showed in the voting today. We should have to pass a test to be allowed to vote to be sure we don’t just listen to the ads.

    • denna_fanboy
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

      Jim Crow laws, you mean?

  81. Melda
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,

    To be totally honest, I dreaded reading this blog post because I tend toward the conservative side of the political spectrum and I dread political interaction with people in general. I’m really tired of being called stupid because I generally believe that government should be smaller rather than bigger and that the individual knows best how to spend his or her money. I’m often disappointed when I read political writing by my favorite authors and public figures, because I always hope that they won’t descend into name-calling, that they’ll state their opinion reasonably and accompany it with facts and a healthy dose of “this is just my opinion.” Mostly, they don’t. Mostly they just call people stupid.

    But you’ve pleasantly surprised me in this case. So thank you for not jumping on your friend’s political views with a hatchet, even if he was ill-informed and even if you disagreed, and thank you for vetoing the conversation topic. Thank you for using facts and for initiating a reasonable, intellectual interaction with your friend. The world needs a lot more of that and a lot less name-calling.

    • Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

      I agree that people shouldn’t call you names when trying to make a political argument. The argument should be kept on the ISSUE, not the PERSON making the assertion. But, that’s the attorney in me talking.

      The question I have is about what you are referring to when you say that “government should be smaller rather than bigger”. If you mean it shouldn’t intrude into our lives by listening to our conversation, emails or making certain that our sexual practices are consistent with religious conformity I would agree.

      But, it sounds like what you mean is that government shouldn’t fix potholes, police the streets, put out fires, have paramedics treat injured/dying people, collect and pay out for medical treatment when we are old (Medicare) or too poor (Medicaid), or for our support when we are old or disabled (Social Security) or pay our insurance benefits when we are fired (Unemployment Insurance), or defend our country against foreigners (Military Forces), or put up street lights on city streets, or pave our city streets and highways, or provide public libraries and public universities and public schools in order to educate our children, or the thousands of other basic services that our government provides. What basic services do you think private companies should be making a profit from rather than all of us paying for these basic services without seeking a profit through collecting taxes!?!

      One would think that there would be a basic understanding of the horrors of poverty and the lack of public services given that you are here and a fan of Kvothe. His time in Tarbean is what you can expect with a small government which does not provide basic services.

      One of the problems is that there is a complete television network along with domination of the talk radio market that is designed as propaganda which argues that the American government to whom we owe our allegiance is a bad thing.

      Caleb, Esq.

      • cotterdan
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

        “One would think that there would be a basic understanding of the horrors of poverty and the lack of public services given that you are here and a fan of Kvothe. His time in Tarbean is what you can expect with a small government which does not provide basic services.

        One of the problems is that there is a complete television network along with domination of the talk radio market that is designed as propaganda which argues that the American government to whom we owe our allegiance is a bad thing.”

        There are many people who favor small government that despise these groups you refer to. I can’t stand most of the people on Fox, Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, Beck, etc. but I still favor small government. Hell, I wouldn’t even consider these guys to be really in favor of small government. Usually what these guys push is closer to fascism, mercantilism, and crony capitalism than actual support of limited governments and free markets. While these charlatans were cheerleading for Bush, real supporters of limited government were calling him a tyrant. I’m not even sure how these men can get a reputation of being in favor of smaller government considering their love of vastly expanding the military industrial complex and the massive increases in the size of government we’ve seen even when the republicans they support are in charge.

        Also, of course normal people don’t want to see poverty. The question is what system is most beneficial for reducing it. Obviously, people who favor an actual limited government believe that free markets and limited to no involvement from politicians is the best way to have the most prosperity and the least poverty. It is just false to assume that we would see a situation like you bring up in Tarbean if we didn’t have big government. It is fine if you disagree but please don’t question our intelligence or motives for supporting free markets and limited governments. The reason I spend the majority of my free time studying economics, economic history, and political philosophy is because I want nothing more than to live in a prosperous society with as little poverty as possible. I used to believe as you do and I was a very liberal democrat for most of my life. I thought these ideas were the best way to help the poor. After years of studying I came to believe that my previous ideas were not only wrong but counter productive to what my goals were. I wasn’t propagandized by Fox.

        If you would like to understand why a person would support real free markets and limited government I’ll give you a place to start checking that out. These books can all be found for free at mises.org in their literature section.

        The Market for Liberty by Morris and Linda Tannehill
        This is a fantastic book that deals with a lot of the things you brought up and how a free market would handle things that you feel only the government can properly address.

        Man, Economy, and State by Murray Rothbard
        This is an economic treatise that gives a value free analyses of the consequences of government intervention into the market.

        The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rohtbard
        This books gives the case for why it is unethical to support government intervention into the market.

        Now, whether you chose to read these books or accept their conclusions, I hope you can at least see that people like me aren’t some rube who fell for propaganda on Fox or talk radio. It has taken me years of reading 100’s of books, listening to countless lectures and speeches, and taking numerous courses with Ph.D economists to come to the conclusions I have come to. Maybe the person you responded to just follows what Fox says but there are millions of people who support free markets and limited government because they want nothing more than to help people and believe after years of studying that this is the way to achieve that goal.

        • Posted June 8, 2012 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

          The concept of a “free market” is a nice idea. However, it bears no semblance to reality. It is based on the incorrect assumption that individuals’ primary motivation is greed and that a free market can counteract monopolistic forces. These ideas are simple fantasy.

          The so-called “free market” ends up being manipulated very quickly by those with assets to give themselves market advantages. The only counter-balance to that is government regulation and oversight which will prevent those with money using their unequal market power to gain advantages. Failure to do that results in monopolies and cartels which group together to fix prices, bury/buy out competition. This is, by definition what is required to be absent for a “free market”.

          The concept that the individual will simply not purchase products if they know that the product have an increased propensity for causing harm simply does not work. It is offset by lower prices, advertising and the fact that individual consumers have just about zero bargaining power.

          In summary the “free market” sounds like a good idea but simply does not work.

          I have a degree in business economics (Milton Friedman branch of economics) and have been practicing law (civil litigation plaintiff and defense) for more than 20 years. I say this merely to convey that I have a clue whereof I speak.

          Caleb, Esq.

          • cotterdan
            Posted June 8, 2012 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

            I’m not challenging your intellect, I’m challenging your theory. I believe you are wrong when it comes to your understanding of free markets. It is perfectly fine if you disagree but I would like for anybody seriuosly interested in these topics to know that there is voluminous work that has been done by Ph.D economists who disagree vehemently with your assertions, and it is not propaganda from Fox news that brings them to these conclusions. For example, you bring up monopolies as an example of a free market failure that needs to be remedied by government intervention which is a very common fallacy. For anybody who would like to see why I and many others believe this to be incorrect they can check out this article

            There has been much work done on the topics of monopolies and by going to mises.org and typing monopolies into their search engine any person with interest can study this matter and determine who is correct for themselves.

            I do not expect this to sway you in your belief that the free market does not work but I do hope that others will take the time to research these matters for themselves and judge the accuracy of your statements only after they have studied both sides of the story. Considering your description of what people in favor of free markets believe I think it could be beneficial for you as well to study further into this subject. It may not change your opinion but at least it would put us in a situation where you weren’t so apt to misrepresent our philosophy.

  82. spops
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    Dear Pat (and any readers who make it this far in this post),
    First, as most others have said, THANK YOU for writing this post in such a thoughtful and intellectual way. It’s truly refreshing to have someone else stress the importance of comparing facts, and making an informed decision (whatever it may be).
    I’m Canadian. As a Canadian, I have also been upset with our political landscape (as almost EVERY country in the world has recently been). One important thing I’ve realized with a man much like Walker as our Prime Minister is; he really can’t do a ton of irreparable damage. As another famous authour once said “The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend.” Days will continue, and people will find a way to live on.
    Another thing of note, as a Canadian and a college student, we use the voter id system. The way for me to vote in my college city? Bring a piece of mail I’ve received with my name and address on it, as well as my id. It’s simple, and should solve a ton of student problems. That and, hey, if you get free healthcare (and health cards with picture ids) you can use that instead of driver’s licenses.
    Finally, I wanted to open a few people’s eyes into the industry I will be joining when I finish school… advertising.
    In Canada, political advertising is based on an equilibrium law, which loosely promises equal airtime to any major political party who wants to air. This keeps the information flowing regularly and prevents campaigns such as the 20:1’s that you frequently see in the States.
    In the US there is no such law (for us, that translates to Youtube and other internet ads, which currently have no equilibrium law in said political ads). It spreads mis-information based on wallet size, and it’s a huge problem.
    It needs to be changed. It’s a large reason why undereducated populous doesn’t know how to find the correct information when voting (and it’s the same in Canada… without internet regulations, you can’t give the proper ratios of information).
    I know most people who are open minded on subjects such a politics, religion and sex already know what I just talked about and that it seems like common sense… but way more people don’t know, or can’t find valid sources of information in the media whiteouts.
    But I’m really starting to ramble. Thank you, again, for broaching such a sensitive subject. You can bet that, even though Wisconsin lost today, I will be spreading this message of understanding and communication throughout social media.
    A grateful fan,

  83. DrizztDoUrden
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    I myself being from Wisconsin have been totaly annoyed with the political commercials on TV. Someone else in my house will have the news on in the morning and over half of the commercials are political ones, and all they do is point fingers and spout facts that aren’t even true. Scott Walker should not have won.

  84. hocoloco8
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    The more I read Pat’s blogs the more I respect and admire him as a human being (even though we might disagree on a number of topics). I wish I could be a world-famous author so I could freely interact with folks like Pat.

    Pat, if you’re ever in the Salt Lake / Provo area, say for LTUE, we would love for you to stop by. We’re right off the freeway, and we have a creek running through our complex that is irregularly inhabited by a little family of ducks. My wife is a fantastic cook and happens to be very good at Settlers of Cataan; I would be intrigued to see how she would match up against a master of the game such as yourself.

    Thanks again for how and what you write; I look forward to reading more and maybe even getting to meet you some day.

  85. dan28
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    Pat, as a military member I’ve had fairly similar reactions when I realize a coworker leans toward a liberal mindset. It’s just so odd to realize someone within your circle who shares so much else in common has a different political viewpoint. By marking politics as “taboo,” we never have the discourse to really see what differ on, and what we agree with.

    Our biggest problem now is the lack of ability to find some common ground to work from. Our political system is set up to force compromise as the only way to effectively pass meaningful legislation. However, we elect our politicians on their ideological purity and refusal to compromise. The progress we claim now is preventing the other side from doing anything, and that’s no progress at all.

    As someone mentioned, you never even brought up Walker’s opponent, Tom Barrett. He ran into the same problem Kerry had in 2004, and I believe Romney will this year. In each case, you had someone to vote against, but no one you felt strongly voting for. You need someone to believe in, and vote for. It’s like going to a restaurant and ordering by saying I don’t like this meal, or that meal.

  86. Superfly
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    “…let freedom ring?”

  87. Phaedron
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    At this point, all we Wisconsinites can do is await the indictment.

    • Kate Boots
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

      I was born in Madison but live near Chicago now. I could give you some hints on how to get rid of governors. ;) Sadly, I would rather live with our most recently indicted governor than with Scott Walker. I am so sorry.

  88. cromotocciano
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Last blog entry about boobs: 33 comments.
    This post about politics: 165 comments.


  89. jvonrader
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    I honestly don’t know why novelists hesitate from talking about politics – I get that they think it’s bad for their career to run the risk of turning fans into enemies… but if you’re liberal, I think that risk is effectively reduced to zero.

    Plenty of fantasy writers blog or tweet about politics – off the top of my head, Mark Charan Newton, Paolo Bacigalupi, N.K. Jemison, P.V. Brett.

    With a conservative, I guess the fear would make more sense. You’re in a very, very small minority within the fantasy reading and writing community… but if you’re liberal, you’ll get applause from most people and if there are any conservatives in the crowd, they won’t be surprised and are unlikely to say anything themselves because, well… they’re in the minority and they know it.

  90. swiftcut
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    Walker sees his state in trouble with no job growth. So he tries to approve a new mine which could create new jobs. Tries to make a budget which does not spend more money than it takes in. And finally tries to stop unions from bankrupting existing companies. You see attacking this man as the time to enter political discussion? Even though I like you and your writing, you are not a smart man.

  91. denna_fanboy
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    Small risk of fraud? You must think we live in a world of sunshine and daisies where magic rainbow unicorns dance all day long.

    It is so easy to get away with voter fraud that few people get caught. A recent case (this is easily googled): an Oakland man voted on behalf of his adult children with absentee ballots. Why was he caught? Because his son also voted in person. (To be fair, he wasn’t malevolent, just a bit over-zealous for a family member.)

    And I will not accept arguments about the rarity of fraud: Elections have been known to come down to a single vote. Even presidential elections are within the margin of voter fraud: 2000 was so close that it found disagreements about whether, how, and when to count “hanging chads” (Really? People who can’t fill out a ballot properly have disenfranchised themselves). So the fact is that even the few cases of voter fraud that do make the news are sufficient grounds for reform.

    Try googling the issue. This will give you a pretty clear idea of where things stand. The top three dozen hits will be articles from liberal outlets insisting that voter fraud simply doesn’t happen or is so exceedingly rare as to be a non-issue. This is a huge smoke-screen to hide the fact that they (and by “they”, I mean these liberal outlets) don’t want anyone realizing that the system is predicated upon a naive faith that people won’t lie about something as sacred as the vote.

    • DrFood
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

      Voter fraud is rare, not because the vote is sacred, but because it is a federal offense. As a fraudulent voter, you go into a polling station, tell several people falsehoods, and then cast one vote. The risks outweigh the benefits.

      “The criminal penalty for fraudulently voting when not legally qualified or for voting more than once when qualified is a fine of $300 to $500, one to two years in prison, and disenfranchisement. Anyone who votes or attempts to vote by assuming the name of another is subject to a fine of $500, one year in prison, and disenfranchisement (CGS § 9-360).”

      A study of voter fraud by the Bush administration’s Justice Department found 86 people convicted for voter fraud out of 300,000,000 votes cast. That’s 0.0000287% of votes. And most cases are like the one you cited–misunderstandings, not malevolent intent.

  92. elijedic
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    I would commend you Pat. Look, it is important for authors of any kind to speak on their worldview. It is honest. I disagree with you on Walker, but it puts your literary work into perspective. I am still a fan, and am waiting eagerly for the last book.

    I wish more authors did this.

  93. think4yerslf
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

    I am a huge HUGE fan of Mr. Rothfuss the author, and love his novels (and have even converted my wife to a fantasy fan primarily through TNOTW and AWMF). However I also, like Rothfuss, like saying true things, and it is definitely true that I take exception to alot of his admittedly political posting here. While Mr. Rothfuss is trying to sound quite fairminded here, it comes across as very condescending, his implied assumption that the only POSSIBLE reason anyone could disagree with his own political views is an ignorance of “the facts”. (Are we to infer from this that Patrick believes that ALL facts that could possibly be marshalled around the fiscal and political situation of Wisconsin lead invariably to Mr. Rothfuss’s own viewpoint? That seems quite a stretch to me.) Mr. Rothfuss seems to honestly and goodheartedly be granting his political opponents in the state of Wisconsin the benefit of the doubt that they are not either 1) stupid, or 2) of ill-intent, so that only leads 3) Ignorance. Ignorance in his view apparently is the ONLY possible reason that someone could arrive a differing or opposing viewpoint to his own. Spare us on the opposite side of this debate the condescension please. I dont question Mr. Rothfuss’ facts nor his intent, and I certainly encourage his political proselytizing and welcome his encouragement of open debate. But I think a more fair approach would be to offer at least some level of acknowledgement of the fairness of SOME points his political opponents have, you know, some ‘inconvenient truths’ for his own side. Resolving the fiscal wreck that many states, and our nation, are facing after years of unchecked borrowing and unrealistic budgeting assumptions, will not be easy, for anyone.

  94. elizabethe
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:43 PM | Permalink


    I want you to know I did not read this blog post. It’s your right, of course, to inject your political views into your public persona, but know that, for me, reading this blog post, finding out what you believe about politics (which, honestly, I don’t know), will kill a little to all of the magic of Kvothe. The worldview from which you write will suddenly become transparent, suspension of disbelief will evaporate, all sense that you write about a different world with different politics will be gone. I know that this is so because it has happened to me with every single other sci-fi fantasy author I have read, devoured and loved once they’ve decided to opine about politics in public — regardless of whether I agreed with their positions or not. poof! like magic, magic gone.

    I recognize that this is totally a failure with me. But I thought I would let you know. Do what you want. say what you want. But you will affect the way people read Kvothe. Some better, some worse, but it will affect it. Thank you for the heads up that you would be talking about politics so I could avoid finding out what you think. ciao.

  95. think4yerslf
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 12:07 AM | Permalink

    “But this person is generous. He’s a social progressive. He believes in equal rights.” And what is this statement supposed to mean? Seriously. So Mr. Rothfuss apparently believes that only people who are ‘social progressives’ are capable of being generous? That to NOT identify as a social progressive means that you automatically don’t believe in equal rights? Ahem. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and simply assume that he’s – ignorant. that is to say, he must know very very few people well that hold opposing social/culture/political views than his own.

  96. Dr Hawg Status
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 1:59 AM | Permalink

    I don’t pretend to know anything. I would like to understand…granted Walkers decisions hurt many…is it possible in order for the world to benefit, must we not first experience. Or else, who is going to change?

  97. Jason Gallanis
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 3:37 AM | Permalink

    voter fraud is so easy to stop. You must be 18 and a citizen to vote. Why cant we just use state issued DL’s or State ID cards. most everyone has one or the other and there is no need for any other type of form of identification. With that said voter fraud is such a small number I don’t even see why it is an issue.

    Please continue to speak your mind Mr. Rothfuss from what I have read you are informed and have facts that can be easily checked to be accurate.

    Now any chance of you doing a reading or book signing in Austin Texas? Also is there any hint as to when your next book will be out. I’m about finished with The Wise Man’s Fear and am already itching to read your next book.

  98. katesaint17
    Posted June 9, 2012 at 1:24 AM | Permalink


    I was born and raised in Arizona. When I tell people that, they immediately assume that I have at least three guns with me, I hate Mexicans, and I know how to ride a horse. Only one of these is true (guess which one). In the past, I too have tried to have a logical, well-informed discussion, in a university history class no less. An upper division one. In the end, I was informed that because I didn’t support the Bush administration, I was a communist. This person was serious. And clearly an idiot.

    Living in Arizona, I feel sick that people support laws that are clear infringements on peoples’ rights, simply because those downtrodden might not like canoodling with the opposite sex, or have parents from Mexico. I hate that any time I try to speak up, try to have a rational conversation, it inevitably turns to “You don’t want to build a fence? Well you hate America!” It’s enough to lose what little hope I had left.

    Until I read posts like this, written by someone I admire. Politically-charged debates are always a toss up on how they will go, but I think that if everyone keeps trying, if everyone keeps pointing out how stupid all of this bullshit is, maybe it will keep us from all toppling into the abyss.

    Thank you.

  99. Shoubidouwah
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    Sad greetings from France. Looks like the man got his way with dollar. Between this, the super PAC and the global way of politics on your side of the ocean (“the monkey”, or how to win hearts by throwing your own waste at your opponent…), the tainted love between politics and big money is more than ever out in the open. Don’t let’em ruin your rights, nor your morale! . The world’s counting on you. because if America falls behind about human rights, no matter what your politicians say, wars will be invasions, international ingerence and refusal of ONU decisions will be tyranny, and europe will speak chinese in 50 years. So yeah, try to be up to it guys. T’would be nice…

    La liberté consiste à choisir entre deux esclavages : l’égoïsme et la conscience. Celui qui choisit la conscience est l’homme libre.

  100. guessingo
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    First off I want to say that I like your books. I also like your blog and if I met you I would probably like you. You seem to have an ‘everyone likes me’ type personality.

    That being said, I consider myself a moderate. Conservatives I know insist I am a liberal and liberals insist I am conservative. I am also an atheist. I have the same criticism of your blog post that I have for most right wingers.

    first off, your sources are not legitimate. You are quoting left wing websites and the democratic party website. I don’t consider the republican party website a legitimate source either. I did some google searches around and I had alot of trouble finding legitimate newspaper backing up your claims. If you are going to argue newspapers and Wisconsin newspapers are conservative, dude seriously…

    The one about Wisconsin losing jobs was in the Christian Science Monitor, which in spite of the name is a quality newspaper. That isn’t surprising. When you cut spending and fire lots of government people , you lose jobs. The silly argument that once y0u are unemployed and desperate for work you will all of a sudden be available for private sector work is dumb. Interest rates are at all time lows. This won’t lower them.

    That being said, the rest of them? The part about several member members of Scott Walkers administration being indited, can someone point me to a Milwaukee/Wisconsin newspaper that discusses this in detail? There tends to be two sides to this. Obama’s Commerce Secretary just had a hit and run and may go to jail. I don’t see that as a knock on Obama.

    The Scott Walker defense fund… if that is actually true, I would need details from a legitimate newspaper. It is also not necessarily a reason to impeach a governor. Political opposition has started using lawsuits, etc.. as a way to bankrupt politicians they don’t like. So many have started defense funds. Opposition opens up frivolous legal claims (see Monica Lewinsky) and not all politicians are independently wealthy. Walker is not t he first one to do this. Bill Clinton had one. I am sure there are other governors who have had to open them. I need more details on this before I even care.

    About the environmentalist claim. Again, dude seriously? What does the Milwaukee newspapers say about this? There are environmentalist groups who complain about everything. Pat if you are such an environmentalist, man and get a mule or a donkey. Scrap your electric lights ,chop down trees, and dig an outhouse. our better yet, recycle your waste and using it as fertilizer in your garden. If you want to further lower your foot print, build your own urine recycling device. Man up.

    That being said, I don’t trust environmentalist groups. I want to see what the legitimate newspapers say and I want to see details. How would it ruin the environment, how bad is it? and is this all a bunch of crap? you make one point about how Wisconsin is losing jobs and this could create jobs. Do you have any numbers on how much money it would bring in and how many jobs? People who work those kinds of jobs are not the kind of people who have the luxury to spend 8 years in college (I have 2 masters degrees, so I’m not criticizing). They tend to be blue collar and either didn’t want to go to college or couldn’t afford it. Yeah I know ,the executives are scumbags. Agree with you there. I need more details.

    My main beef is the right wingers do the same thing. They will defend Scott Walker and attack the Milwaukee mayor who ran against him without an details. The right wingers will then copy and paste what they see on right wing websites.

    As far as the equal pay bill, I tried googling it, but it was all left wing sites. I could not find any newspapers that talked about this. What did it exactly do?(just cause the name is ‘equal pay’ doesn’t mean it does that. See ‘patriot act’. if i don’t want the government tracking me, I’m not a patriot). Again skeptical of this.

    I am skeptical of all the reports I see about women making less money than men do for equal work. I have not seen any of them that have a spreadsheet download that has the actual data. Then shows the methodology for defining equal work, so I can play with it in excel to see if it is valid. If I can’t see the data, I don’t trust it. Statistics don’t like, the people who quote statistics do. So let me look at the data. The numbers I have seen show that for equal work and equal hours women tend to make about the same as men do (slightly less). They should not make less. Women make less money on average because they tend to go into lower paying professions than guys do and have kids so lose out on many years of experience to watch the kids.

    About women not going into the professions that guys go into. I work in IT. There are alot of women in this profession from India. However, there are very few techies who were born in the US. The funny thing is that the American women who do go into IT work are techno-geeks like the guys. There seem to be less women interested in this. I would prefer to have more women in the office. Working with a bunch of fat guys who don’t have personalities (IT stereotypes on this are accurate) is annoying.

    BTW, here is something I have seen, but I don’t have any data to back it up. However, I am admitting that up front. Women seem to disproportionately make it into management more often than guys do in IT. Now there are more male managers, but there are alot more male IT workers. I think women tend to get to management in IT for a few reasons. First being, a high percentage of guys in IT don’t have a personality, and just want to go home and play World of Warcraft. It is easier to work with a manger who has a good personality. The woman in IT don’t seem to have this issue. 2nd off… its easier for women to manage guys than other women (ask women managers about this). Yeah I said it. I have repeatedly seen situations where the only people complaining about female managers are other women. The guys have no issue. I have repeatedly heard ‘you get along with her because your a guy’. If you ask the female managers they will tell you that managing guys is easier because women have issues with other women as authority figures over them. Seriously… ask them. I don’t know if the alpha male fools in finance are the same way or not. Might be particularly to the geeky IT culture.

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