Home 2018 Elections “Everybody Colludes?” Hey Dave Brat, Go Piss on Your Epistemology.

“Everybody Colludes?” Hey Dave Brat, Go Piss on Your Epistemology.

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by Bud Cothern, Ed.D.

In an interview about the revelation that Trump campaign members met with several Russians in June of 2016 under the promise of providing trash on Hillary Clinton, Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA 07) stated, “Everybody colludes.” Hey Dave, go piss on your epistemology.

If you listen to Dave Brat long enough, you will hear him interject into the conversation that he is an economist or that he went to seminary or that he taught ethics. I would submit to you that Dave Brat is grounded in none of those schools, disciplines or principles.

Dave Brat’s theories and opinions, I submit, are as wacky and convoluted as those of L. Ron Hubbard, the inventor of Scientology.  The Georgetown University economist Harry Holzer commented on Brat’s economic hypotheses: “A good journal is not going to publish the kind of statistical work he did because it is so low in quality.” Brat believes that the role of Protestantism is the strongest factor in economic growth of a country. He leans heavily on Max Weber, a nineteenth century philosopher/economist who believed the same thing, except Weber thought that religious context was eventually drained away from capitalism. Not so Brat, who believes religion, particularly Christianity, is still the strongest factor in promoting capitalism.

Holzer goes on to say:

“[Brat’s] statistical models are very simple-minded … In these small-sample regressions, how do we know that religion or the other variables are really ‘exogenous’ and not just correlated with other characteristics of countries that are doing well? If Christianity is so crucial, what explains the explosion of growth in China, India and other Asian countries (did they experience an explosion of Christianity that I missed)?”

So how does Brat dispute this? By going after his own field of study at the epistemological level. Essentially, Brat argues that economics is not a science at all and that mainstream economics is grounded in moral assumptions that are unexamined.  In other words, according to Brat, the “science” of economics — his own profession! – is a sham.  Hey Dave, go piss on your epistemology.

Not surprisingly, just like Paul Ryan and other far-right politicians, Brat also embraces Ayn Rand, the kooky atheist and literary champion of unfettered capitalism in the 1960’s. Rand was not an economist or even a philosopher, but her literary devotees include Milton Friedman, the monetary economist who promoted the “shareholder value” theory of corporate America. Friedman proposed that employees and customers have no stake in a corporation since all the money belonged to shareholders. The only job of the executive, in Friedman’s view, is to maximize profits for the company’s investors. In other words, Friedman favored moneymaking and greed at all costs to employees and customers. Friedman was also one of the early proponents of school vouchers as an economic principle.  Now we know where devotees like Brat and DeVos are grounded.  Hey Dave, go piss on your epistemology.

Brat’s philosophical and ethical connection to Ayn Rand is probably more grounded in pragmatism than in belief. Ayn Rand was an atheist, unlike Brat, who went to seminary. Rand believed the source of man’s rights are derived from observed facts, which is why she called herself an “Objectivist.” For Brat, in contrast, man’s rights are derived from God.  Another contrast: Rand was a huge advocate of open immigration, unlike Brat, who made cracking down on undocumented immigration a central campaign issue against Cantor. But both hate government, that’s one thing they most certainly have in common. (Ironically, Rand died of cancer and was dependent on Medicare and Social Security in her final days.) I guess for Brat, like Rand, money makes all things palatable. Enter Rand enthusiast, millionaire, John Allison, IV.

Allison, head of the large regional bank, BB&T, was such a disciple of Rand that he gave out copies of her work, Atlas Shrugged, to his executives and everyone he met.  Leaving BB&T after the financial collapse of 2008, Allison became head of the Cato Institute (engineered by the Koch brothers) in 2012. True to his economic philosophy of unfettered capitalism, (wait for the irony) Allison took TARP bailout funds just before his departure!

Dave Brat received a $500,000 fellowship from Allison “to spread the word of Ayn Rand to impressionable college students.” So much for his teaching of ethics. Moreover, Brat’s political career has been enabled by far-right talk radio host Mark Levin, himself aided by the Koch brothers to the tune of $750,000 to promote him and other libertarian-leaning conservatives. Hey Dave, go piss on your epistemology.

Although Brat has pretended to run against the influence of big corporate money in politics, he has accepted huge donations from corporations and PACs like Altria, Deloitte, AKSM (medical), the Koch brothers, the DeVos family and many others. “I am running against Cantor because he does not represent the citizens of the 7th District, but rather large corporations seeking insider deals, crony bailouts and a constant supply of low-wage workers,” he wrote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch days before the primary.  Hey Dave, go piss on your epistemology.

In sum, I say to Dave Brat: You are not a scholar or even believe in the validity of your own field of study. Quit saying you’re an economist. Quit talking about the value of Western religion. Your callous pursuit of unfettered capitalism to the detriment of less fortunate members of the society and your unwelcoming of strangers make you unfit to even bring up your knowledge of anything taught in the seminary. Stop telling us about that; we know it was an empty education. You taught ethics? Pity the fools! You are just a shill for big money interests and a morally corrupt President. You don’t care about people losing healthcare, destroying public education or separating families who have lived here most of their lives. You sir, have no compassion; you are simply there for the highest bidder. In your own words, “Everybody colludes.” Really? Hey Dave, go piss on your epistemology.

  • Susan Lascolette

    Mr. Cothern, I have to strongly oppose your comments. This article takes facts and twists them around to oppose Congressman Brat.

    Just one example: He did not personally receive $500,000 from Allison. “Randolph-Macon College’s website states that the school received a $500,000 grant, spanning the years 2010 to 2020, for “the study of the Moral Foundations of Capitalism and the establishment of an ongoing Ethics Program committed to education on the Moral Foundations of Capitalism.” http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/dave-brat-bbt-moral-foundations-of-capitalism. This grant was not used to hire Dave Brat – he joined the faculty in 1996. He, of course, left the College in 2014 when he was elected to Congress.

    To me, the only measure of anyone we elect is this – do they actually vote in accordance with the promises they made during the campaign?

    On that measure, Dave Brat gets an A+. The Heritage Foundation ranks him as the 6th most conservative member of Congress. That puts him in the top 1% of 535 members. What a concept – someone doing what they said they would do.

    If you don’t agree with free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense, then you are never going to agree with Congressman Brat.

    I don’t understand where all of this hate comes from.

    • Terri Dougherty

      As long as he continues to babble this “collusion is the American way” nonsense, he deserves pushback. Did he, or did he not, just admit to engaging in unethical behavior as no big deal? I am apalled at how willing he is to bend over and swallow the party line, and I am disgusted by the enthusiasm with which he regurgitates their talking points. For the record, I see nothing moral, biblical, or even ethical in the voodoo economics he espouses. And favorable ratings from the Heretic Foundation certainly don’t change my outlook. Please do not pretend that you or he have ownership of Traditional American Values, or any of the other code words you spout. We who disagree with him are Americans, we are Patriots, we are constituents, and we are Voters. We will not be silenced or intimidated, and we are tired of being talked AT instead of talked TO. See you next November

  • AnninVA26

    Wow, just wow. Capitalism has created something that has made the US the most successful country in the history of mankind – a middle class. In no other government system is this miracle possible. Fueled by Judeo Christian values, our Constitution ensures that our rights come from God, not our government. People come here to fulfill their dreams and – yes – make profit. That profit creates jobs and enables economic growth. Just “Simple-minded principles” promoted by Congressman Brat???? – hardly…..we in the 7th District are the luckiest people in the state. Our elected representative reflects OUR values. What a novel, and sadly unique, concept.

    This article is more proof that you can find whatever you want to believe printed somewhere.

    • Trevor

      “Fueled by Judeo Christian values, our Constitution ensures that our rights come from God…”

      This is untrue, and actually goes against what the Constitution does; which is ensure that our government ensures our rights. If Christianity did that, we’d still have slavery, women would be subservient to men (unable to vote), and we’d allow/encourage corporeal punishment of children.

      You’re gonna need to show your work on that claim.

      You say that Congressman Brat represents your values. So your values include removing easy access to on-going health care to 22+ million Americans, spending more money on our military, less money on helping to feed the poor (reducing food stamps), less money on educating people, and more money for religious institutions? Those are some messed up values.

  • SammysDad

    This guy exposes the reality of how years of indoctrination against just about everything American has affected his mind. I doubt this guy has ever met and discussed any issue with Mr. Brat. If he has, I doubt he ever listened. He speaks as if he is the only one in the room, typical of a flaming liberal with no desire to hear the truth. What’s even more annoying to this guy is the fact that Dave Brat is one of the most dedicated, principled, and knowledgeable people in Congress, and America would do well to have more like him rather than voting for a party that pimps people like Cothern to bash representatives who put WE THE PEOPLE ahead of themselves.

    • Here are a few takes on Dave Brat from a right-wing blog.

      https://bearingdrift.com/2017/03/27/brat-thinks-we-are-stupid/
      https://bearingdrift.com/2017/05/02/one-job-dave/
      https://bearingdrift.com/2016/03/17/do-nothing-dave-brat-does-nothing-again/
      https://bearingdrift.com/2015/12/07/dave-brat-would-have-a-pretty-hate-machine/

      “Let’s be honest here: Brat has pissed off or booted just about everyone who helped get him where he is. As a congressman, Brat has been a cataclysmic failure, passing no legislation of note while expending a great deal of energy burnishing his “national” street credentials — the very thing he claimed as the reason he ran against Cantor.”

      Also see:

      https://thejeffersoniad.com/blog/2017/05/02/from-brat-to-worse-dumpster-fire-dave-gets-caught-in-his-own-misinformation/

    • Lee Ann Newman

      I can’t speak for whether Dr. Cothern has tried to meet with Mr. Brat, but I know several people who have tried, including non-partisan groups and have been turned down only to have to meet with staffers, who pretend to write on their legal pads (no ink touched the paper, although the pen was moving) and have to overhear Mr. Brat growling and shouting at his other staffers in his office. Not to mention all the times he declines to meet with anyone he remotely thinks will not agree with him. Maybe he is acccessible to the Koch brothers and other donors but not to a whole lot of other constituents from his district.

      • SammysDad

        I know Mr. Brat and he welcomes everyone to ask a question.You should try sometime and not be influenced by others. I do not know where you get your false information, but you should try to verify the facts you are spreading here. The fact that he has voted exactly the way he said he would when campaigning, honestly, with integrity and commonsense is the reason you have people bashing him. Honesty and truth are just not acceptable to those on the left. We saw that for 8 years with another administration. Stop drinking Kool-Aid and try to find out whether the information you are getting is true. There is a lot of people who hate Brat for his straight forward, honest opinions. If you fall into that category because you refuse to seek the truth, then keep writing trash. Those of us who know this man will continue to support him and our country.

        • SammysDad

          Lee Ann: You can ask your questions at https://brat.house.gov/

          • Trevor

            I’ve been at his townhalls. He doesn’t actually answer questions, he swerves away from them and goes straight to his standard talking points, even when it doesn’t make sense.

            If he’d actually consider, and answer questions, perhaps people wouldn’t find him such a mealy-mouthed hypocrite….but here we are, and he’s done it to himself.

            Remind me again which administration is under active investigation, and which one ran 8 years of scandal free? Which one is violating the Constitution (look up the Emoluents Clause please), and which one didn’t? You’re right about one thing, please stop drinking the Kool-Aid and find out whether the information that you’re getting is true. Sadly, you’re swallowing lies and thinking that it’s truth. I’m sorry for the lack of critical thinking that has given rise to that.

          • SammysDad

            I was going to read your post, but when you when you can say without conviction that Obama’s 8 years were “scandal free” I knew you were a flat out mindless liberal with no ability to converse rationally.

          • Trevor

            Sure, I guess I could’ve said, I was going to respond to your screed, but when I read that you said, that “Honesty and truth are just not acceptable to those on the left.” I knew that you were a brainless conservative with no ability to hold a civil discourse based on objective facts.

            But of course, you can’t back up your claims, and instead default to attacking someone who disagrees with you, a very common problem that the right has, due to the fact free nature of most of their “arguments”. I’m sorry that you choose to live that way.

          • SammysDad

            I can back up my claims, but I can’t see you backing up the fact they you believe there were no scandals in Obama’s administration. Really, admit it, you were wrong to say so. Everyone else reading this forum must have had a good laugh at that one. I, too, have been at Brat’s town halls where liberals were yelling, some screaming, interrupting his answers, and holding signs, “disagree” even before he opened his mouth. If you were there and tell me that his answers were not succinct and to the point and well explained, then you were purposely not listening or cherry picking words and phrases to admonish.

          • Trevor

            Yes, please back up your claims. So far all you’ve said is you can, and that there were scandals…and of course you offer no proof except for “Believe me.” The last person to say that over and over is the most dishonest person to ever sit in the office of President of the United States.

            I see, so what you’re saying is that it’s my fault that Brat lies, distorts the truth, and doesn’t actually answer the questions…check.

            Brat says that Christianity, coupled with capitalism, is what has driven economic growth. He does not back this up with any sort of facts or research.

            He claims to be a Christian (constantly), yet he’s voted to remove health care from 22+ million people, drastically cut food stamps, and in general act in many ways unlike an actual Christian.

            I’m sorry that you’re blindly accepting his lies, and believe him to be an honest man. That’s a tough spot to be in when someone who can critically think and expose the hypocrisy comes along. I’m sorry for you, and await your proof (from reputable sources, InfoWars, Redstate and WND don’t count).

          • The Obama “scandal” was….???

        • Lee Ann Newman

          I get my so called false information from my husband who was present at the meeting and never exaggerates. There were constituents from both parties present. They too talked about the incident and how appalling it was. That day they visited several legislators from both parties but the visit at Brat’s office stood out. This also wasn’t the first time these constituents had been treated disrespectfully in his office without provocation. They were not there to protest, just to advocate for non-profit housing. They made an appointment and DB canceled on them, stayed in his office and pawned them off on a disrespectful 20 something staffer. Feel free to think of this as untruthful but the fact is you were not there but the housing group was. There were several witnesses without any sort of axe to grind with him. One guy even took a photo of the staffer pretending to write. His intention was to file a complaint with DB. The fact that they left his office wondering what on earth had happened is understandable. If this had happened in anyone else’s office my opinion would be the same. Hearing this just reinforced my opinion of his lack of courtesy and professionalism. I think the person who drank the Koolaid was you.

  • Jim

    Like most screeds against Objectivism, this one is grounded in half truths at best. As just one example: It’s true that John Allison’s bank, BB&T, received TARP funds. But it’s also the case that the bank didn’t want the bailout, that Allison publicly opposed the program, and that he was eventually forced to accept the funds. Read his books, read the record. Pretty disgraceful excuse for an article.

  • Mark

    Mr Cothern,
    The tone of your post comes across as hate and discuss for anyone that doesn’t agree with YOUR ideals and philosophy and your worldview. You are basically saying that anyone that doesn’t agree with you has no right to have an opinion and should shut up and go away. That is not how it works here in America, but there are other countries in the world where it does work that way. Since you seem to like their values, where no one can have their own views that are different than those in power, how about going and living in one of those countries? I believe you will “feel” more at home there.

    Your misrepresentation of the facts is a common theme among those on the progressive left. Did Randolph Macon get a grant to do a study? Yes. But the way you portray it, it was Dave Brat that received the grant. So in all your years in the public school system in Goochland, did Goochland ever receive any grant money? I bet they did, so now in like manner, we can say that you personally receive that grant money and benefited from it. Just like you have falsely claim that Dave Brat did. Which way is it going to be Mr. Cothern, did you personally receive grant money, as you claim Dave Brat did, during your time in the Goochland Public Schools? Or will you admit that it was Randolph Macon College that receive a grant while Dave Brat was teaching there. You can’t have it both ways.

    You also mention people and organization that use their money and influence to have an effect in policy and politics in America. For every individual and group that does that and is on the right side of the political isle, there are individuals and groups that does that on the left side of the isle too. But some how you and many others, either don’t know that, or if you do know that, don’t ever mention that in public. In case you don’t really know, here in America, we live in a free society, where we as individuals can give money and people can form groups and try to use their money and influence to have an affect. If you want to claim that some how that is not how it should be, please tell that to George Soros, Bill Gates and the Serra Club and all the other large and small organization that support the views and policy of those on the left side of the political isle. That they can’t do that anymore, because you said so. Fair is fair.

    Also, do you think that all those elected officials that are Democrats don’t need money to run for office? How do they get their money? Don’t they too, have large corporations and organizations that give them money? Of have you not bother to look into that? Just this past weekend your beloved Senator Tim Kaine had a $1000 per person, here comes a dirty word in your world, fundraiser. Where was it, do you even know? It was in Boston of all places. We would not want all those with all the money to have to travel to Virginia in order to give money to you beloved? Does it bother you that Senator Kaine is receiving money from donors that do not live in Virginia?
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/07/17/tim-kaine-back-boston-for-fundraiser/JIA1pIBtX1pPYo7fm2Zz9O/story.html

    So if you think that Dave Brat can somehow run a campaign on no funds, please go and tell that to those on your side of the political isle that they have to do the same. But that never seem to be the case, is that called a double standard, I think it is? Those on the left side of the isle seems to not have any problem with double standards on any issue. Why is that? Is there one set of rules for those that agree with you and a different set of rules for those that don’t agree with you?

    About that fake number of 23 million that will loose their health insurance, that is just wrong. Included in that number, are people that if they are not force to purchase health insurance by the government, will choose of their own free will, not to purchase health insurance. That is a big difference from being force out of their health insurance or not allowed to purchase health insurance on their own. So how about not repeating that false claim anymore.

    In your post, it also come across as very condescending toward those that don’t agree with you. That doesn’t make you always correct and it doesn’t mean that others can not have a different opinion form yours. That is how free speech and Freedom works here in a America, everyone can think for themselves and are responsible for their own actions. We try to convince others that our ideas are better and then come to some sort of consensus and agreement on how that is going to work out in the laws and polices of our nation, through our elected officials. I suggest that you try to listen to others that you might not agree with and work together for solutions.

    Why do you hate anyone that disagrees with you? And if you say you don’t hate anyone that disagree with you, I suggest that you reread what you have written in your post, because that is sure how it comes across. Where is all the open mindedness and tolerance for others, that those on the left always seem to be talking about? Or again, does that only apply to those that agree with you?

    I hope that you will take some time to think about what you have written and the tone of it and why you said it the way that you have and consider what others that you don’t agree with would have to say on an issue.

  • “Broken Capitalism: This Is How We Fix It” (the book) was written to resolve the issues that are causing Earth’s economy and ecosystems to collapse today. Over 50% of the global population today (yes, check latest polls) believe capitalism is severely broken and they are rejecting it completely, which is a tragedy in itself. Brat’s assertions are not supported by credible facts, but there certainly is a socioeconomic war underway today: Neoliberal Capitalism vs. the Middle Class in every country on Earth today.

    Many books and articles have been written about these problems, but very few present politically viable solutions. The book presents realistic solutions. Thank you for writing this thoughtful article.