Tag: Vice

Abstraction, Power, Virtue, and Vice


Abstraction is the flip side of Division of Labor. It’s been a long time since I’ve read Adam Smith’s pin factory example, so forgive me if I’m fuzzy on the details. Suppose that the operation consists of the wire stretcher upstream of me, myself on the point grinder, and the guy down below me puts the heads on, shooing away any dancing angels. Smith teaches us that by focusing on my job, on grinding pins, that me and my two fellows will make vastly more pins than we would have separately. And indeed our experience with society bears this out; I’ve never made a pin myself but I can purchase as many as I’d like at almost no cost.

So huzzah Division of Labor, right? That’s where Abstraction comes in. To focus on grinding pins I’ve got to stop worrying about cutting the wires and placing the heads. If I’m trying to cut my own wires then I’ve lost whatever advantage I’d gained from Division of Labor and now my pin output has plummeted. So I abstract away those concerns, contenting myself with the knowledge that there will always be a stretched wire for me to reach out and grab, and that the sharpened wires will always have heads placed. Because I’ve abstracted those away to the other guy’s concern I’ve necessarily given that other guy Power over me.

Mitchell Sunderland is a freelance writer (Vice, Adult, Penthouse) known for his nuanced profiles on everyone from Stormy Daniels to Mike Tyson, Anne Coulter, Nick Jonas and more. His stories are insane, from growing up the son of one of the largest dog breeders in Florida and dealing with protestors for most of his childhood, to being banned from a gay safe space in college (he’s gay), to being the first American named to the 50 most hated people at Oxford list. He has profiled eclectic groups of people living at the Sausage Castle in Florida and the Bunny Ranch in Vegas. He and Bridget discuss why marketing something as only “representation matters” in the media can turn people off, why a lot of dog breeders don’t like Trump, how you can’t control what people think about you, and how you choose whether or not you’re a victim. It’s a wild ride.

**Warning** This episode is not for the easily offended and more explicit than usual

Quote of the Day – Meritocracy


“The SAT 50 years ago pulled a lot of smart people out of every little town in America and funneled them into a small number of elite institutions, where they married each other, had kids, and moved to an even smaller number of elite neighborhoods. We created the most effective meritocracy ever.”

“The problem with the meritocracy, is that it leeches all the empathy out of your society … The second you think that all your good fortune is a product of your virtue, you become highly judgmental, lacking empathy, totally without self-awareness, arrogant, stupid—I mean all the stuff that our ruling class is.”

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer Mike Pence for consistently articulating conservative principles in Tuesday’s vice presidential debate.  They’re unimpressed with moderator Elaine Quijano for failing to stop Tim Kaine’s incessant interruptions and tons of cross talk.  And they slam Kaine’s overall performance and question the Democrats’ strategy in the debate.

Member Post


Greed is good. So say our own EThompson and Gordon Gekko. But is this a compelling defense of capitalism? More importantly, is it accurate? Does it tell us something true about why a free society succeeds? Bernard Mandeville thought so. Mandeville thought vanity or pride unleashed would lead to a vibrant and wealthy society: private […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.