Friday, November 30, 2012

An Elitist Gets Grilled and Doesn't Like It

In the clip below, some masterful questioning by Jan Helfeld of elitist David Gergen. Gergen is not happy and at one point looks as though he is going to pounce on Helfeld.

Note well that Gergen equates opportunity with apparently having some base amount of money (which must be taken from the others by government and then doled out to the poor) to give everyone an "equal" chance.

This is why Israel Kirzner's insight about entrepreneurship being about recognizing opportunity, and not about having capital of one's own, is so important. It shuts down Gergen's argument right at the start. A poor person is not at a disadvantage when it comes to entrepreneurship. He can be just as skilled at recognizing opportunity as a person of wealth. If that's entrepreneurship, and I believe it is, then the poor are not at a disadvantage.

Only government regulations which stifle new entrants in an industry can prevent the poor and newcomers from entering a business sector.

(ht Tom Woods)


  1. Hilarious, the guy is clearly at odds in his own mind with redistribution of wealth. That's the problem with people who have simple principles like everyone should have a fair chance, their thinking is muddled and they draw consensus conclusions based on others thinking. Which leads to all the fun socialist abominations the world now enjoys. It would be fun to see many liberals, Maddow, Krugman, and others even so called conservatives explain why they think it's proper to take from some and give to others. Most either can't answer in anything other than platitudes, or have generic reasons like the the above. His taxation at such and such a percent is proof that he doesn't see taxation as theft, it is some price we must decide on as a country. How wrong headed is that, if there should be some taxation, which there should it should only for keeping govt @ the lowest possible level. This idea of what % of GDP should be taxed is a way for gov't lovers to justify their so called moral's on society. What a crock.

  2. Jan Halfeld has done quite a few of these interviews. The one where Harry Reid keeps insisting to Jan that taxes in America are voluntary is a real hoot.

  3. Lol meant "shouldn't " not should in the above comment

  4. At 1:16, when he's off-camera, Gergen mumbles something (I assume, derogatorily) about Ron Paul. I played it back about 10 times, but I can't make it out other than the "Ron Paul."

    Also notice his use of the term "justice." "Justice" is progressive code-speak for their right to take your money against your will. I noticed a sociallist friend of mine started using that word a few years ago in response to my challenges that he has difficulty dealing with.

  5. Woot woot! Awesome interview. This guy is statist through and through! Can't even answer honestly without destroying his view of the people as sheep to be sheared, or cattle to slaughtered.

  6. @ 2:40, Gergen has an interesting take on the Declaration of Independence, the ridiculous Holmes tax quote on civilization and spouts the platitude "we agreed"- what does he mean we? That "we" doesn't include anyone who is alive today! Jan is hero for doing these videos

  7. I agree with the two previous comments. Helfeld is a master of the Socratic method. I discovered him shortly after I discovered Ron Paul in 2007. His website has great excerpts of many of his interviews and they're all worth watching.

    I know little about Helfeld, but I'm almost positive he's a Ron Paul supporter. It's hilarious: most of the parasites he interviews complain about his philosophical questioning because it gets straight to the heart of the matter. For any non-libertarian with eyes and ears, Helfeld's simple yet incisive method is the start of a good education. I especially recommend the interview with Pete Stark. He gets so pissed he curses and tells Helfeld he's gonna throw him out the window. Helfeld, a master, never raises his voice and never loses his composure. He almost kills 'em with kindness. Check out

  8. Saw Gergen at a bar in CNN center complaining about his Scotch bill. Luckily the bartender stood up to the piece of shit.

  9. Notice how these elitists always try to impart lessons. So, Jan gives him a question Gergen turns it into a lecture about the Founding Fathers, where Jan is the submissive student come to receive wisdom and Gergen is the authoritative, wise professor showering him w/ intelligent ideas. And these are supposed to be uncontroversial lessons-- Jan isn't supposed to dispute the context, the implication or the truth of any of it. It's final. It's decided. The end.

  10. I've also seen several of his interviews.

    Its hilarious/sad that he asks these sort of 'grade school' level questions (this is not to put Jan down) of these people, and they get upset and can't seem to do a good job of answering.

  11. Nice. Good for the bartender. I'm surprised the old Bohemian didn't try to pass off that "justice" to the rest of the bar. If you can't afford to drink, Gergen, don't drink. CNN is probably picking it up anyway.

    Gergen: Don't you know who I am? I'm somebody on tv that nobody gives a shit about.

  12. Met Jan at objectivist conference on Staten Island back in the 1980s - There is no way for Gergen to know where he is coming from.

  13. Note Gergen's arrogant and demeaning posture and look. So intellectually superior this useless Schmuck thinks of himself . After all he went to Haaaarvard, don't you know?

  14. The mask also fell right off when Alex Jones asked Gergen about Bohemian Grove, another goofy elitist gathering. The exchange is very telling.

  15. Would like a good answer on equality of opportunity when it comes it comes to kids. It would seem right that every kid should have a basic crack at, both health and some form of basic education (read, write, maths) when it comes to having a go at putting bread on their own table as a future adult. I am with the libertarian point of view but would appreciate if someone didn't mind giving their viewpoint on this.Thanks.

  16. Hi Anon,

    I'll take a stab.

    It would be nice if everyone got to start from the same starting line in life, so to speak. Same amount of love, same amount of intelligence from parents, same amount of family wealth, same concern for their health, same opportunity to learn and grow and develop as human beings.

    The reality is that total equality is unobtainable. For one, there are certain variables that can't be equalized w/o literally being able to rebuild people-- how do you make all parents equal in their capabilities of love or intelligence? How do you give every kid the same genes so he won't be more or less sick than another? How do you guarantee IDENTICAL opportunities for learning for every child (the teachers would have to be the same, the buildings would have to be the same, etc.)? How do you equalize family wealth when every family has different jobs, roles and productive capacities?

    So, we can start by observing that the ideal of "total equality" is not obtainable due to the nature of reality. But we might think, "Well, surely we can try to approach the ideal and get as close as we can given the limits of reality!"

    Sure, let's think about that for a second.

    To give every kid the same health and education, which represent real goods and services, they must be produced by somebody. If those goods and services aren't being produced in the specific quantities, qualities and distribution patterns necessary to achieve this ideal already, through the voluntary exchange pattern known as the free market, it is necessary to compel (by legal force) various people to provide them. So, a tradeoff must be made-- partially enslave and command certain people and limit their happiness and ability to pursue their own goals, in order to provide a new generation of people (children) with a "more equal" opportunity to do the same.

    This involves an implicit value judgment-- that the hopes and aspirations and productive capabilities of new generations are more important than those of existing generations... else how would one justify placing this burden on the existing generations on behalf of the new?

    That's one side of the issue. The other is the question, "Is it right to make A bear the costs of providing for C, when B was responsible for the decision to create C, not A?"

    Is that a better social principle? To have people who are not responsible for making decisions nonetheless bear the costs of them, versus letting people freely choose which decisions they make knowing they will be the only ones to bear that cost?

    Yes, it is true the child certainly had no say in the matter, either, but again to burden person A for child C's benefit because person B who had child C is not capable or willing to do so, is to implicitly announce that the wants and needs of C are more important than A.

    I am not sure how one can objectively make that determination.