At CATO, knowing how to diagram–or read–a sentence is an impediment

Via djw at LG&M and Echidne, the original sentence:

Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.

The it’s-not-the-stupidity-it’s-the-coverup “explanation” from the editor:

[Thiel] writes only that women have tended to favor policies and candidates he opposes, and which he thinks are bad for the country. This seems — to my mind at least — regrettable, but also generally true.

We can leave the question of whether Jason Kuznicki actually uses his mind as an open one. For now, I just plan to assume he never wants any woman with half a brain to work at CATO. He continues:

Thiel might have chosen his words more carefully, but it’s still quite a logical leap from what he actually wrote to demanding the end of women’s suffrage. Of course women should be able to vote. It’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise. We libertarians just need to do a better job of convincing them that voting in favor of individual liberty and free markets are the best choices they can make. [emphasis mine]

All right, let’s assume—contra the evidence—that Thiel is not demanding an end to women’s suffrage. Since he has equated giving women the vote with the death of the “notion of ‘capitalist democracy,'” we are left with three choices

  1. Take Thiel at his word that giving women the vote destroyed the glorious CATOist “capitalist democracy,”
  2. Take Kuznicki at his word that women are just too dumb to understand the glories of “individual liberty” and “free markets,” but that Institutes like CATO are around to help them overcome their inferiority in that respect, or
  3. Conclude that Kuznicki believes that people who read CATO Unbound are illiterate, or at least stupid enough to believe that Thiel’s decision to make an attack on women’s suffrage part of the subject of his sentence referred to a subordinate clause, not the predicate.

I used to expect better from CATO. It’s sad to see them resort to “Who are you going to believe, me or the text I published?”

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