The Button-Down Mind Set

The current issue of GQ has an interesting question-and-answer exchange in the “Style Guy” advice column. A reader asks:

I heard somebody refer to a button-down-collar oxford shirt as “middle-management” the other day. I always thought the oxford was the great American shirt. Have I been sending the wrong message all this time?

First off, the reader sounds like he works in some kind of “American Psycho” milieu. “Middle management” is probably a fair epithet if your ambition is to be a Master of the Universe.

As for columnist Glenn O’Brien’s response, let’s take the second part first:

Some say that JFK wore button-downs with suits until Jackie crticized him for it, and then he began to get on the case of the guys on his team, like Bobby Kennedy and Paul Fay, telling them they looked too Ivy League. The button-down is the shirt equivalent of the loafer. You can wear it with a suit, but only when you’re dressing your suit down.

Fair enough. The content of this part was possibly found from, which supplies 18 of the top 20 Google results for the search query “JFK button down oxford.” But hey, that’s what we’re here for.

Now to the second part of O’Brien’s answer:

Many American men mistake the button-down-collar shirt for a dress shirt, especially when it’s white, and this misjudgment is often found in high places, from corproate suits to Congress.

You can see why I thought you guys might enjoy sinking your teeth into this one. If only more businessmen and politicos wore oxford-cloth buttondowns! Perhaps they’d start wearing natural-shouldered suits to match, and we’d all have more to choose from.

And yes, the buttondown oxford may have been a sport shirt for polo players in England 120 years ago, but we — or rather Brooks Brothers — made it an American dress shirt.


I think the button-down-dress-up thing started as a preppy affectation.

Well, I see what he’s suggesting. The shirt probably was embraced for its rumpled casualness, but why must that be an affectation? I think the entire WASPy/preppy/Ivy approach to dressing — being relatively dressed up with casual attire and relatively dressed down with formal attire — is one of its greatest virtues. Can’t that simply emanate from a set of values, one in which the shirt’s heartiness and longevity, not to mention versatility (dress it up, dress it down, wear it over a polo when a sweater would be too much) speak to WASPdom’s reverence for utility?

Besides, affectation is almost unheard of among the original arbiters of oxford-cloth buttondowns. And when they paired them with whale-embroided chinos, they were being whimsical but they were also being “correct.” There’s no such thing as WASP irony or affectation — save for the affectation of being unaffected.

Speaking of “button-down mind set,” which is the title GQ gives to the Q&A exchange, it’s high time we acknowledge Bob Newhart and his best-selling 1960 comedy album “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart.” My dad had this and I discovered it as a kid when I first started sifting through his record collection. I was too young to appreciate it, but I remember liking the driving instructor bit:

Here Newhart discusses how the album came about, and how he needed Warner Brothers, who had chosen the title, to explain it to him. They explained, of course, that it was a reference to the men of Madison Avenue who worked in fields like advertising and all wore buttondown collars. — CC

164 Comments on "The Button-Down Mind Set"

  1. It’s a sports shirt…

  2. It’s a sporty dress shirt.

  3. Perfect FInancial Sector | August 20, 2012 at 9:54 am |

    It looks good on the gf as a temp lingerie substitute. Buy more pastels for these special occasions.

  4. Craig Sevde | August 20, 2012 at 10:22 am |

    The OCBD is a daytime business dress shirt. But hey! I love the OCBD for all occasions. And I live in FL where they consider being well dressed in wearing a polo shirt. America is losing it’s style!

  5. Craig Sevde | August 20, 2012 at 10:32 am |

    You cannot fully appreciate the OCBD unless you were brought up in it.

  6. Usually people don’t appreciate what they were brought up with. It’s only much later as an adult that I realized how fortunate my upbringing was.

  7. Craig Sevde | August 20, 2012 at 10:44 am |

    I have to find a part job or something. Since I retired I go nuts reading blogs about Ivy Trad/Preppy.
    Up until today (Claudio may change it tomorrow) there is only one acceptable OCBD for the true gentleman. It’s the B2 traditional cut oxford cloth button down. Yes, colors are limited. Live with it!
    And if you ever grew up in a military academy you know what they call the “West Point tuck”. So you can look slim and trim even with a traditional cut.
    I happen to prefer the heavy starch/fold from my cleaner. Makes you looks crisp and clean when you board that airline for the NYC Princeton Club.I have to stop now… You young guys just don’t get it!

  8. NaturalShoulder | August 20, 2012 at 11:02 am |

    While Mr. O’Brien’s position that an OCBD is not a dress shirt can find support based on its sporting origin, it is certainly accepted practice to wear them as dress shirts in America. While my preferred shirt for suits is BB tennis collar, I enjoy wearing button down shirts with suits and am wearing a pin point button down with a suit as I type this message. Many men would look better if they traded in their spread collars and windsor knots for some BB OCBDs with a nice repp tie.

  9. You know, I’m in the USAF and therefore nearly all of my civilian attire is casual wear. ei. OCBD, chinos, polos, and on rare occasion 501’s. my peers constantly ask me why I’m so dressed up. I was raised to, when in public, always wear a collar. period, dot. young men in America have lost nearly all sense of style, ratty t shirt and jeans that look older than the man child wearing them, is apparently acceptable attire no matter the situation. I wear a sport coat and my friends ask me if im going to a funeral.

    a touch off topic, but will there ever be an end to wearing gym shoes (obscenely expensive ones) outside of the gym? but now, im ranting.

  10. I thought BB took a English polo OC shirt and BD-ed it.

    I have a gut feeling, that OCBD in the photo is manufactured by Gittman Brothers shirtmakers.

  11. Gentleman Mac | August 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

    I nearly exclusively wear button down collars because they look better on my neck; they stay higher than the spread collars (even when those are buttoned) and are more versatile after work when the tie might come off but the coat remains.

  12. I believe, Newhart was an accountant prior to entering the entertainment industry.

  13. Amen, Austin!

    I actually wear casual ties with my button-downs (and a jacket, of course) on my own time, like on weekends, in the evening after work, and on vacation. I have thrown on a jacket and tie just to go to the store.

    I am fortunate that I am almost never asked why I’m so dressed up, or if I’m going to a funeral. On the other hand, I think my attire is seen as an eccentricity more than anything else (*sigh*).

    Like you, I choose to maintain standards, regardless of the slobs around me.

  14. The OCBD was not intended to be a dress shirt, but many things turn out differently from what was intended.

  15. If you are U, then it’s like wearing GTH trousers with a tuxedo or a Barbour over a suit. You know it’s casual and you don’t care. If you’re not U, you were actually brought up to think that button downs are dressy and middle management is the best you can hope for. No one who is really U would ever confuse a button down shirt with a dress shirt.

  16. Ivy style is a lifestyle not just clothing. We are not defined by what we wear but by the depth of our character. We can wear a button shirt with a suit, tie, and wingtips or we can wear it with a pair of khaki’s, tie, sport coat and loafers.

  17. I prefer the non-oxford Brooks Brothers button down collared shirts. I think they’re called the “polo shirt.” They’re more acceptable by the pathetic industry’s standard.

  18. MAC, your gut serves you well. I too suspect that’s a Gitman. The narrow tie space gives it away. And that TTX label.

    New England Shirt makes a great OCBD.

  19. what Perfect Financial Sector said!

  20. I only wear button downs, except at formal occasions. And by formal, I mean white tie/black tie. As has been established, I’m a junior high school teacher, and so button downs are pretty much the least casual as I get in any kind of work environment. If I was a high-priced, New York attorney, maybe my collars would be stiff and unbuttoned, my suits made in Italy, and my shoes pointy enough to make me look like an elf. But I’m not not.

    No, the OCBD was not a dress shirt when it was created. But when it was, we had collars like that stood straight up. Or extremely thick club collars. Something like my great grandfather wore at the turn of the century:

    I wouldn’t want to teach all day in that!

  21. It’s a sport shirt – period – and Mr. O’Brien is, frankly, rarely (if ever) wrong.

    Brooks may try and sell them as dress shirts – they try and sell sorts of silly stuff to all sorts of silly folks (e.g. 70% of the shirts they sell are treated, non-iron junk) – but if you scan their dress shirt section, even today, most of the shirts are non-button down collar styles.

    “Preppy” and “Ivy”, let’s recall, have their origins in the high school and college years…that’s no accident and neither timeframe or environment is the same as the dress/formal/business world. The current “creep” of these casual styles into all sorts of strange places is a trend. It’s passing will make me very, very happy.

  22. Dickey Greenleaf | August 20, 2012 at 7:07 pm |

    A quintessential item of luxury, or the makeshifts of the dress shirt, so which one is it?…..wait for it…., it’s both, nothing say’s nonchalance like a button down collar shirt.

  23. I hope Kionon isn’t an English teacher…

  24. AEV needs to hit the history books.

    Paul Winston told me he used to wear a pink oxford with black tie. Now that’s some sprezzachutzpah!

  25. “It’s a sport shirt – period – and Mr. O’Brien is, frankly, rarely (if ever) wrong.”

    He is a f–king art critic, besides GQ is a metro-sexual fashion chasing rag, GQ wouldn’t know style if they tripped over it. Give me Esquire, prior to 1980. Man, like I need a guy, that wrote for Warhol and High Times, giving me advice about style.

    Gentlemen find your own Ivy style and taste. Learn the basics, you will make mistakes, you will not forget your mistakes. You will not forget mistakes, because they can be expensive.

  26. Johnny Reb,

    I am, actually. I admit, I don’t tend to proofread my blog comments. I had also just woken up (it’s 14 hours difference here in Japan). Believe me, if blog software would implement editing options, I would definitely use them.

    Of course, my job is not so much to teach the finer points of English grammar (unless a student specifically asks, or a particular government mandated lesson calls for it), and more to emphasise communication. If my students can manage a normal, every day conversation then I’m doing my job.

    I’m the equivalent of a French teacher or a Spanish teacher in the American school system. I teach English not as I would to American students (with a few rare exceptions, like the one student I have who grew up in Detroit, and I want to keep her on track for going to an American high school), but as a foreign language most of my students will never need to use on a daily basis.

  27. I shouldn’t have called you out for one grammatical mistake. Maybe the comment should have been more appropriately directed toward MAC…

  28. There are at least two I see, honestly. It isn’t the first time. It won’t be the last time. As I said, I tend not to proofread blog comments.


  29. Comment on my drift, not my grammar. I’m not writing English lit. essays, I’m dashing off comments on a blog. :-)

  30. MAC:

    Grammatical errors are just as offensive as flip-flops.

  31. Orgastic future | August 21, 2012 at 1:02 am |

    If you feel it….wear it…..if you don’t……then your just faking it. No such thing as the OCBD police.

  32. GQ and Glenn O’Brien are so regularly off the mark, readers can calibrate their style steps by going the opposite direction as anything suggested by the GQ staff. They do at least provide good satire material for blogs.

  33. Yankee-Y-P
    But, their grammar is to die for. 😉

  34. Tankee-Wisky-Papa, I disagree. Well partially. While the fashions GQ as a whole generally presents are usually pretty far off into left field, Mr. O’Brien in my opinion is usually spot on. granted, a lot of what he gives advise on is shady at best, its always been my opinion the he is somewhat doing the best he can with what hes being asked. or as we say at work “polishing a turd”. Mr Glenn O’Brien himself, is almost always appropriately and, while not Trad/Ivy id say modern-classicly dressed (and anyone who wears a tux half as well as he, has the license to do as they please. seriously, google.)

    oh and im with MAC. this is a blog comment section. grammar be damned.

  35. @MAC – I wrote nothing that suggested I placed any stock in GQ as a publication. My comment was specifically focused on Mr. O’Brien, who’s commentary and veracity on fashion spans decades and is widely respected.

    Your suggestion – made on an “Ivy Style” blog that you regularly read no less – that you don’t need someone like Mr. O’Brien to guide your style is beyond ironic. I’m not sure what sort of life/background you look for in your style experts, but Glenn O’Brien has spent his life working with and documenting some of the most stylish people on the planet.

    @Christian – you, sir, need to polish up on history. Paul Winston/Chipp made their mark in sportswear – madras patch cloth, 4 panel pants, embroidered motifs, raw silk blazers – so his commentary on button down collared shirts as formal/business attire doesn’t seem particularly relevant here.

  36. Quote: “Brooks may try and sell them as dress shirts – they try and sell sorts of silly stuff to all sorts of silly folks.”

    You make it sound like some sort of marketplace-driven novelty, rather than a shirt that American gentleman have worn with jackets and ties for the past 90 years.

  37. @Christian – the issue highlighted by this post, as I understand it, is the appropriateness of wearing button down oxford shirts as business/formal attire.

    Yes, high school kids and college kids have been wearing button down oxford shirts with jackets for decades – they continue to. And, even adults – myself included – sport the look in casual settings. I – like Mr. O’Brien – simply don’t believe that a button down oxford shirt is appropriate for adult, formal, business settings. My opinion has been shaped this way for a number of reasons – including, the sportwear and school yard origins of the style, the casual, limited nature of the fabric and, historically, the sizing of off the rack options (e.g S, M, L, XL).

    I don’t believe OCBDs are novelties at all – they’re simply casual wear…..just like lots of things Brooks has been selling and American gentleman have been wearing for the past 90 yrs.

  38. To those of you who let their personal tastes be dictated to by those who are usually clueless, shame on you. How many times have you been criticizedfor your attire, by those who are dressed by their wives or girlfriends?
    I wear what I like and if some one disagrees, screw them. These folks often have no understanding that the way many of us dress, is a style unto itself and follows a totallly different set of rules and taste.
    Some would have you believe that you should only wear two-button suits with pleated pants, straight collar shirts, patterned ties, and cap toe shoes. Personally, I’ll take sack suits, button downs, rep ties, and wing tips any day. I grew up this way and will die this way and welcome the criticism of those dressed by trendy women in their lives!!!

  39. @YWP – For at least the last 8 months, every picture of you on your own blog shows you wearing a non-button down collared shirt anytime you’re wearing a tie/jacket/blazer. On the other hand, there are numerous pics of you wearing a button down collar in a range of more casual pursuits.

    So, in other words, you appear to be following Mr. O’Brien’s advice and opinions on this matter perfectly. Perhaps you should read his column and contrast it againt your own vanity project before you lob blanket criticisms his way….

  40. The OCBD is the ideal shirt to wear with the sack jacket (even when paired with pants), since the roots of the sack extend at least as far as English Drape, and, indeed, as far back as the lounge, and, further back, frock suit. Brooks did not “invent” the sack suit. Which means that New Haven Ivy styling way back when–borrowed directly (Mr. press says Rosenberg was the first to copy the Brooks no. 1 sack, if memory serves) from Brooks–was mostly derivative. Nothing wrong with that, since even the 19th century Brooks was tinkering with English soft tailoring.

    The sack–unpadded, mildly shaped through the middle, straight lined, natural shouldered, and, thanks to minimal sleevehead padding, rounded off–remains, when done right, an inherently casual (sporty) piece. It’s not a dinner jacket. The “business suit” styling–padded, heavily tapered, high shouldered–is more recent. Its roots aren’t “business” at all. Rather, military.

    What seems entirely out of place (to some of us) is a spread or medium spread point collar worn with a sack. If the person isn’t trying for irony, that is. Now, we don’t want to push the nonchalance thing too far (“why not a t-shirt with a sack if it’s so bloody casual?”), but history teaches us that the sack siimply isn’t a terribly formal piece.

    With respect paid to professional “stylists” whose opinions “really matter.”

  41. @ S.E. – Yes, the American sack suit most certainly evolved from the London cut/Drape style. In fact, aside from slight tweaks, the cuts are the same. This in instructive as few, if any, images from the last 60-80 years of men wearing an Drape/blade cut – from Douglas Fairbancks in the ’30s to Redford in the Great Gatsby of the’70s to Prince Charles today – show it paired with a button down collar shirt. In fact, most pics throughout time do indeed show it paired with a spread collar. This was done as a visual pairing/compliment with the nipped waist and broad shoulders of the suit cut itself.

    The introduction of the button down collar shirt as formal business attire, paired with suits of all cuts, is a recent and almost uniquely American one. Not unlike flip flops as casual, public summer ‘shoes’, shorts that hang 6 inches below the knees, and huge, baggy shirt and pants. Like these other American trends, the movement is towards the more casual, less formal, easier, and more ‘comfortable’….which, in the case of the OCBD, makes perfect sense given it’s origins, history, and grounding. Which, brings me full circle: the button down collar is not a formal shirt – it’s casual sportswear. Do lots of American men get this “wrong” – yes, of course they do….that’s hardly justification for continuing or defending the practice.

  42. Are you seriously placing the OCBD in the same category as flip-flops? hilarious.

    Technically, I am more right than you observe becauese of the provisos included.

    The genesis of the London Drape/Blade is the 1930s. No doubt Brooks appropriate aspects of that styling in the years to follow, but the No. 1 sack predates the London Drape and, as I wrote, extends way back to lounge and frock suit eras.

    They were worn with soft collars, sir. Including rounded/club, also rooted in sport.

    Recent as the pairing may be, it’s absolutely appropriate.

    And it just plain looks better.

  43. AEV: Wear whatever you want; feel free to tell us what you prefer to wear; but stop lecturing the rest of us on what’s “appropriate.”

  44. AEV,

    If you’re going to go with old photos as proof, then your supposition sinks like the Titanic. The most famous fan and wearer of the Londonderry Drape (Scholte) was Fred Astaire, who dared to accessorize more often than not with a Brooks button-down.

    I’ll grant that the excesss of the English Drape suit–nipped waist and extended shoulders, as you correctly state–don’t exactly plead for the rumpled roll of a soft collar, button downed or otherwise. Most of Astaire’s suits could have benefited from something other than the OCBD, I think.

    But the real-deal sack jacket, reinterpreted by generations of men who prefer soft tailoring, does. It almost demands it.

    The lingering problem that won’t be addressed soon is that the vast majority of “sack suits” out there hanging on racks are not garments that have benefited from soft tailoring. That some have been designated “natural shoulder” is a sad joke. Mostly machine stitched, a substantial shoulder pad, way-too-heavy canvas, thick chest piece, a shoulder point-to-point that extends beyond the natural shoulder line, low armholes, and shaping in the middle that results in a skirt that flairs more than a sack should.

    Maybe they deserve a more formal collar because, even if they’re dartless three buttons, they’re not softly tailored sacks. Add the darts, and they look like Mid Drape jackets a la Paul Stuart…and, for that matter, Jos. a Bank. Machine made suits in factories–so much easier to make when you can add all the layers of padding and lining.

    It could be you’re right, after all.

  45. Londonderry? Make that London. God I miss typewriters.

  46. The proof is in the pudding, can I see a show of hands of the guys wearing OCDBs as dress shirts.

  47. @S.E. – the photographic evidence is split at best….there are all sorts of shots of folks like G.H.W. Bush (and junior and Jeb for that matter), Ted Kennedy, and William Buckley in sack suits with numerous collar styles….few soft….almost none of them button down.

    My general point, in reply to yours, is that to suggest that sack suits ‘demand’ a button down collar shirt seems largely exaggerated as decades of distinguished American men have worn sack suits without them. Beyond beyond that, the British suit/cut, on which the modern American sack is based, was/is almost never paired with one. And, Brooks – which, for better or worse, has come to define the modern American sack, sells and has always sold far more non-button down varieties in their “dress shirt” section than button down types….

    I honeslty don’t intend to argue with you personally – you back up your enthusiasm with detailed knowledge (which can’t always be said on here or other similar venues…)….I just simply don’t agree. I love an OCBD….as non-business/formal wear.

  48. Boy do I love Bob Newhart. I think I’ll go listen to him now…

  49. I’m curious what the other teachers wear… Educator? CL Young?

    Of course I wear OCBDs (or other types of button downs, depending on the weather) as “dress shirts” in terms of the required dress code for academic institutions. I’m not clear why (or if) AEV would object to that.

  50. Well, Glenn O’brien has determined the OCDB to be a sports shirt, so only ascots and bandannas are appropriate or maybe a studded dog collar in San Francisco.

  51. AEV
    No doubt there is photo evidence of G.H.W. and W.F.B. not wearing BDs with sack suits, but in both cases the BD was their trademarks. On the occasions I had meeting them, they always wore white BDs and charcoal sack suits. I always wondered if they were the same suits or if they owned many of the same suit.

  52. Wow. Just wow.

    Does anyone really believe that OCBDs are taboo for suits and ties? Do you realize that no one other than the people reading this fine blog even notice this stuff? Heck, even Cary Grant occasionally wore an OCBD dressed up.

    I’m particularly tired of this idea that oxford cloth is “casual.” Since when does thick have to = casual? The fabric is comfortable in all seasons, wicking in summer and warming in winter. It gets softer with age. High thread count cottons feel like silk — not a manly feeling to me. Go ask five people in your office what oxford cloth is: They won’t know. So if they don’t know and don’t care then I get to keep wearing oxford cloth. In all settings.

    Now if only I could find a decent, unlined, non-fused-collared one whose cuff fit over my watch. (Mercer is pretty pricey if you need a closet full.)

  53. This isn’t just a “Glenn O’Brien” thing. All sorts of resources debate the OCBD as business/formal wear, from Esquire (‘no OCBDs after dark’) to And, as the photographic history clearly demonstrates, decades of distinguished American (and British) men tend to shy away from OCBDs when wearing suits/formal business attire. Sure, many traditionally stylish men adopted the button down as their own….but typically in more casual settings. I myself met William Buckley on two occasions – once he was in blazer and OCBD (no tie, blazer and flannel slacks), the second time he was in a suit, after appearing on an academic panel – medium point collar, pin striped suit. There’s a reason 80+ years of U.S. Presidents/diplomats (and most CEOs) – including the Kennedy and Bush clans – aren’t wearing OCBDs in official photographs….

    @EC, I don’t think the point is to dress in a manner that the average “office” style intellect will understand or appreciate. If any of us cared what the general public thought about our clothes, we’d be wearing square toe rubber loafers, pants with six inches of pooled fabric at the hem, and shirts that are 3 sizes too big. This venue, and many others like it, exist so the nuances can be discussed…..surely you understand that or you wouldn’t be on here, reading and commenting.

  54. AEV,

    Help us understand.

    Three questions:

    What kind of cloth do you prefer for suits–summer and winter?

    What kind of cloth do you prefer for your “dress” shirts?

    Which suit style do you prefer?

    What kind of shoe do you wear to the office? Color?

    If you would, sir.

  55. Five questions, rather.

    I’ll venture a guess regarding suiting cloth.s Your definitely a high supers guy. 120s? 130s? Higher?

  56. I’d venture Nearly 10 out of 10 old Firing Line episodes feature Buckley wearing an OCBD.

  57. Once upon a time, suits were worn by many men more or less all the time. At that time, there was the understanding that what one wore at the office needed to be relatively more formal, and what one wore on one’s own time could be relatively more casual. Also, certain work settings (such as finance) were recognized as needing greater formality than others (such as academia).

    Within this context, textured fabrics, such as heavy tweeds, corduroy, and yes, Oxford cloth, were recognized as casual relative to smoother fabrics. Similarly, the button-down collar was seen as more casual than a straight collar.

    And that is what is meant by an Oxford cloth button-down shirt being “casual.”

  58. Now to let my non-Ivy credentials hang out for the world to see:

    I believe that the white Oxford cloth button-down is a shirt without a purpose (in my wardrobe, anyway). I reserve white shirts for suits (for the most important occasions only) and evening; in neither case do I find a button-down collar appropriate.


    Having said that, I love Oxford cloth button-down shirts, and have them in several colors, both solids and stripes. Great with blazers, tweed, corduroy, chinos, and even (gasp!) without a tie.

  59. @ Kionon-I wear both BD and non-BD collar shirts to work with ties ( I also wear khakis most of the time, not grey flannel pants since Im a big fellow who sweats alot)-Back To School night, I usually wear a suit with a non BD collar-generally as you’ve said, academic dress is way less formal than the boardroom or a bank, which works for me!

  60. S.E. – I prefer tropical and/or 4-season wool for all of my suits….most are custom, and the fabrics vary….I don’t think anything is above 120s….anything higher is quicker to sheen and wears out too damn fast.

    I own a couple cotton suits – even a linen and corduroy one – but I wouldn’t wear them to the office. I prefer all cotton (supima/egyptian) dress shirts. I own too many OCBDs to count, but tend to wear a spread collar with my suits/tie…in part because of my rather narrow face and non-obese frame. I prefer two button suits, solid colors, single vent, plain front pants, cuffed. I wear both loafers and lace ups to the office, depending on if I’m wearing a suit/tie or not….everything from Alden and Allen Edmonds, to Edward Green and Crockett & Jones. Brown/shell cordovan almost exclusively.

    Re: Buckley, I haven’t reviewed old Firing Lines in some time, but I do recall the last time Buckley was on Charlie Rose (talking Ayn Rand in fact) he was in a suit and a stiff, point collar collared shirt.

  61. My theory is that if you can wear it with a suit, it’s a dress shirt. Are there more formal shirts than an OCBD, yes. Just as there are different degrees of “formal” in relation to suits, but they’re still suits. You can dress anything up or down.

    From a economical point of view, the OCBD is more versatile than spread collars. This is especially important for younger gentlemen beginning to build a wardrobe.

  62. S.E. – To clarify, since you seem interested, I do indeed wear cotton/non wool suits to the office if it’s over 100 degrees (normally about 6-12 days a year here in DC) or if it’s a designated ‘business casual’ day….in those instances, I have happily paired the suit, sans tie, with an OCBD.

  63. W.F.B. probably Ayn Rand’s most ferocious critic.

  64. @MAC – Indeed. What’s amazing/sad/terrifying is that someone with WFB’s politics today would probably be deemed too liberal to be elected in a Republican primary.

  65. WFB real critique of Rand was her atheism. Most Republicans like Rand’s novels, but wouldn’t endorse her objectivist philosophy, if they are even aware of it.

    The Republican nominee Romney is left of WFB, so I don’t believe anyone needs to be amazed/sad/terrified. The party has a very big spectrum in it’s coalition. Everyone from the libertarian Kochs to social issue evangelicals and everyone in between.

  66. This election cycle has proven that Romney is whatever he needs to be to get elected. His/Ryan’s rhetoric and ideology, representative or not, is far to the right of WFB’s GOP.

  67. You are ignorant of WFB’s rhetoric and ideology.

    Let’s have an exercise in comparing campaign rhetoric with actual practice and performance of presidential candidates once elected. Let’s start with 2008.

  68. while we’re at it, let’s start with 1800 and that small govt hero Thomas Jefferson, who just a few years later bought Louisiana without any constitutional authority to do so

  69. I agree with AEV. Good Lord, the end is near.

  70. I find it astounding that anyone could think that the current crop of Republicans, at any level, are “far right.” It betrays an appalling ignorance of history, and no recognition whatsoever of how much to the left the political middle has shifted, especially in the past four years. Such a view also fails to recognize that as the left has moved ahead with its program, the “right” has followed along.

    Consider this: immediately after his election, Obama did nothing about homosexuals in the military, considering the lifting of the ban impossible. Last year, when he did lift the ban, not only did the Republicans not stop it, they didn’t even raise more than a perfunctory fuss. However, ten or twenty years ago, only the radical left wing of the Democratic Party would have supported such a move; most Democrats, and probably all Republicans, would have opposed it.

    Regardless of one’s views on homosexuality (and I’m not discussing that, only using it as an example), it is clear that today’s Republicans are far, far to the left of yesterday’s Democrats.

  71. Educator,

    Many traditionalists both commend and condemn Jefferson. He was a complex figure. Yes, he was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, amongst other achievements, but he was also a backstabber who so betrayed Washington that once the latter discovered Jefferson’s perfidy, he never spoke or wrote to him again. Partly through his vicious attacks, Jefferson cost Adams a second term as president, and Adams did not resume correspondence with Jefferson until a dozen years after Adams left office.

  72. @Henry – your comments are astonishing. Yes, if what you consider “Republican” is rather blatant and ideologically hollow discrimination against homosexuals (or of women or minorities, which preceded it), I suppose the example you posed would indeed seem radically “left”.

    You also seem to ignore the passage of time, or at least fail to assign any positive social progress to it. Lots of things that seemed unthinkable 20 years ago (or 30, 40, 50, or 60) have come to pass politically and socially – the standard for judging them through a party lens should not be the customs of times past. As our own recent history has shown, time passes, and thankfully we progress as a society. You bemoan this? You “fault” the left for it? Which era would you have us live in? The 1940s? The 1950s? 60s? Which progressive advances would you dial back? Women’s voting rights? Minority voting rights? Desegregation of schools? Which labor laws shall we repeal? Etc.

    The current GOP is, by any standard or measure, more conservative than recent generations past. Reagan, and both Bushes, raised taxes and grew the size of government to deal with realities of the day. Nixon created the EPA. Today’s Republican party signs ‘no tax increases’ pledges and chest pump about abolishing the EPA all together. Constitutional protections surrounding abortion have been trimmed back in dozens of states across the last 3-5 years. We have mainstream GOP candidates rattling off lists of entire government branches they want to abolish. The Right is discussing, openly, the notion of privatizing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and public education. State Republican leaders are passing voter ID laws with little or no proof of voter fraud and with clear evidence of disproportionate impacts on the poor and minorities (with some, in PA, making it clear that they are being enacted to “help Mitt Romney win…”.). We have a GOP VP nominee praising Ayn Rand. Mitt Romney is going to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood and funding for PBS/NPR. And so on.

    You may agree with these things, but these are extreme, far right concepts…..never before brought to bear on the national level (at least not in the last 50 years).

    @MAC – which of these things would WFB agree with? Have you read his book, “Gratitude…”? I don’t think there’s much in there you’d see Paul Ryan (or Ayn Rand) stumping for. I challenge your assumption – out of no where – that I’m ignorant of WFB’s ideology. As I alluded to before, I interned in undergrad (as a Political Science major) for a close friend of WFB’s and met him on two occasions. One interaction was fleeting. The other was an extended, private visit where our conversation spanned a great many political and social topics well into the wee hours of the night. I’ve also read nearly everything he’s written and spent over 15 years reading National Review. I believe I have more than a casual understanding of his thinking on a good number of issues.

    WFB, never mind Reagan or GHW Bush, would never get elected by today’s GOP. I’m not alone in thinking that, nor do I consider my opinion shallow or baseless. Conversely, most political science scholars disagree 100% with the notion that Pres. Obama has ruled as a liberal ‘leftist’ – quite the contrary….most seem him as a moderate pragmatist…..his second term will write the rest of that history and analysis.

  73. ‘ve been reading NR and WFB since I was 13 years of age, I’m 60 now. I’ve met and talked to him on four occasions. WFB more than anyone else defined the conservative movement. Besides, WFB never ran for office except on a flight of fancy.

    Political science scholars? You mean the ones that thought Reagan was too conservative and stupid to get elected president. Or more recently design registered voter pols with 8+ D sampling. Can I see a show of hands, anybody ever have a conservative political science professor. SPIN

    Why is the left so afraid of voter ID? Almost all states with voter ID laws have provisions for the poor and minorities. As close as this election might be why not insure it’s legitimacy.

    Pragmatist don’t lose Iraq to Iranian influence or triple down in Afghanistan, even Bush/Cheney refused to do that. How’s that pragmatic Arab spring working out? Two years ago Hillary assured us that the butcher of Syria was a reformer and Obama’s $ bundler at Vogue did an article on his fabulous wife.

    Domestically, Obama should run on that record.

  74. You dodged and avoided most of my points. I expected that, I suppose. Disdain for academics, Vogue/Hollywood dig, circular reasoning on voter I’d laws….oh yes, we’ve heard it all before.

  75. Do homosexuals wear button down collars?

  76. So what point did you address to me other than WFB? I don’t have a disdain for academics in general, only ones that call their field of study a science, when it’s not.

    In reality the Blue Model is doomed, it’s unsustainable. MATH, now that is a science. If we continue kicking the debt bomb down the road, one day we’ll look back on the current real 12% unemployment rate as the good old days.

  77. Yes they do.

  78. Wow, AEV. Preach it, brother.

  79. Maybe a good bit of it depends upon context. And culture. I was a teenager during the 80s. If ones grows up seeing men wear OCBDs and loafers to work–finance, accounts, and the like–one doesn’t give it a second thought.

    When I see a button-downed, repp-tied George Will sitting next to someone (on ABC’s This Week) who’s sporting a shaped 2b, spread collar, and one of those glow-in-the-dark solid ties, I don’t think to myself, “Gee, by comparison, George looks terribly informal.” A safe hunch is few do.

    I forget who said this, but it went something like “you can wear a button-down with a suit”–the point being to “dress it down.” Exactly.

    This is the spirit of Ivy. A dressed-down dressed-up look. Sprezza…whatever.

  80. And, for the record, I think point collars are, at best, low level management.

  81. AEV: There is NO way that I can type as much as you can.

  82. AEV,

    Thank you for proving my point for me.

    Remember, I was not addressing whether or not Obama’s decision was right; I was addressing the change in the political climate.

    Also, your assumption that “conservatives” might want to live in the past is a left-wing trope that gets no airplay on the right. I read people who write from various viewpoints, and it’s only those on the left who accuse those on the right of wanting to return to the past. The adults on the right generally acknowledge that while our ancestors did many things correctly, they don’t want to go back to those days.

    As the Italians put it, “whoever forsakes the old way for the new knows what he is losing, but not what he will find.” The horrors of the French, Russian, Chinese, and Cambodian revolutions are instructive.

  83. Henry,

    You must not have many adults on the right currently in office. I believe the technical term for many of your current standard bearers is… oh… “batshit insane.” If they don’t adequately represent the “right” then the “right” is doing a pretty bad job at this whole primary thing. You’re supposed to vote for and nominate the best representatives of your views. If your views aren’t being represented by people like Bachmann, Ryan, Palin, and such, please, PLEASE stop nominating them and stop electing them!

  84. Four years of a trillion dollars plus deficits, who’s “batshit insane”? Math!, yes math scares the shit out of the Left. Our only hope is growth and budget cuts.

    Hillary unleashed the “Birther” rhetoric, Obama pulled the race card on Hillary in 2008, who’s “batshit insane”.

    Obama wants to do for all industries what he did for GM, his words. At the present cash burn rate, GM will be bankrupt again in three years and back for another bailout, who’s “batshit insane”.

    Bill Clinton was a liberal pragmatist and competent, Obama is not. Obama is an old school pay to play machine politician, the Chicago variety.That could be excusable, if Obama was competent at anything but fundraising and running for re-election.

    The upcoming conventions will be fun. The Republicans will focus on the economy and the unsustainable present tract. They will be talking about freedom.

    The Dems will focus on scaring the shit out of old people and the poor and the “war on women”. Interestingly, Bill Clinton, an accused rapist and verified womanizer, will speak, along with every leader of the pro-federally funded abortion -contraception entitlement organisation. According to my good friend Kathileen at HHS, government funded abortion and contraception will save the government money in the long run. One wonders which Americans Kathileen believes should be getting these free abortion and contraception entitlements. Reminds me of the New Deal left that praised and funded a poor European country’s enlightened policies in the early 1930s. Personally I’m Pro-life, but abortion doesn’t matter in my life and the courts initiated the right, they aren’t going to let it disappear. But, if the Dems aren’t careful their convention is going to look like a death cult.

  85. MAC,

    I love our discussions clothes, but this is why I shouldn’t allow myself to be drawn into political debates.

    We live in completely different universes. Ivy Style must be on the part of the internet where all the universes exist at once, and you are from a universe were the GOP administrations never added to debt and where the war on women needs quotes because it doesn’t exist. You live in a universe where Sarah Palin is an effective administrator, Michele Bachmann is a moderate with well thought out views, and Barack Obama probably dropped out of school after smoking one too many doobies.

    Well, let me assure you, in my universe the GOP is just as responsible if not more so for the national debt, because of a combination of major overseas actions and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and as AEV pointed out, women face restrictions on reproductive decisions the like we haven’t seen since Roe v. Wade was made the law of the land. Barack Obama went to Harvard Law School, is one of the most competent administrators America has seen in years, and about to trounce the combination of Romneybot 2000 and “Redefining Rape” Ryan.

    So, MAC, we should probably just stick to debating the proper amount of roll in a button down collar, because we might actually be able to find some sense of agreement on that point. As for politics? We’re literally worlds apart. We have to be. It’s the only thing that explains our differences. No way we’re members of the same reality.

    …it’s like an episode of Sliders.

  86. Kionon
    I didn’t bring up politics in the first place, but I don’t get offended by disagreements or angry. You and I have both been involved in politics, we are big boys. Gentlemen can agree to disagree.

    Enjoy your third recovery summer. 😉

  87. I love the GOP’s newfound fascination and doomsday obsession with deficits. Never mind that the last GOP Vice President stated “…they don’t matter…”, the budget hole we now find ourselves in is due almost exclusively to the unfunded Bush tax cuts, two unfunded GOP wars, and an unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit – you know, real “small government” stuff, a la George W. Bush.

    Those same tax cuts and deregulation led to the recession – the supply side, trickle down theory, shocker, didn’t work this time either – and Obama had to pass stimulus to pull us back from the brink (which is what any President of any party would have had to do). So, all of this empty and ideologically dishonest chatter about “trillion dollar deficits” means nothing if you’re unable or unwilling to accurately assess where they came from. Case and point: Mitt Romney aspouses the exact same tax and regulatory policies that Bush Jr. did – the same policies that caused the problems in the first place. If it wasn’t so meaningful and danerous, it would be pure parody.

    As far as “big boy” opinions and perspectives are concerned, I can assure you that I too have “been involved” in politics….not the least of which was my time working for two presidential administrations and my decade+ spent as a registered federal lobbyist for a large for profit manufacturer. I’m afraid your opinion, MAC, is just as valuable and “grown up” as mine….

  88. Yes, gentlemen can agree to disagree…

    BUT, about that collar roll, I admit I’m not pleased with most of my options. I have Ralph, Uniqlo, Tommy, and Brooks in my closet right now, but only the Tommy comes close to a decent collar roll. I was looking a dark red candy stripe JPRESS the other day, how’s the typical roll on their OCBDs?

  89. I’d say Mercer and Sons has the best roll on their OCBDs these days….O’Connell’s also has some cool new old stock Troy Guild Shirtmakers OCBDs for sale on their site….

  90. AEV,

    Some good stuff, but I’m thinking the shipping might hurt.

  91. I never said it wasn’t.
    What deregulation of Bush are you speaking of? Banking? if so, I would research which president signed that bi-partisan legislation.

    Bush no longer owns those tax cuts, if my memory serves me well they were passed by the House and Senate and signed by Obama.

    TARP was passed to save us from the brink, not the stimulus. TARP was supposed to shore up the too big to fail banks’ balance sheets by helping drowning home owners, but instead Obama turned the program over to his Wall Street contributors and friends, they pillaged the fund and now the once too big to fail banks are 25% larger than before the crisis.

    The Stimulus was to pull us out of the recession, prime the pump, unfortunately it became a huge political slush fund.

    I’m not an apologist for Bush, he’s never been know as conservative or a small government Republican, nor was his father. But, chart government revenues after tax cuts, they sky rocket, unfortunately chart the expenditures by lawmakers that have no restraint. Chart Bush’s deficits comparing when Republicans controlled legislative action and when Dems did. Do the same for Clinton’s administrations.

    “Deficits don’t matter”, every macro econ professor told us that, “it’s money we owe ourselves”. That was true when deficits were less than 3-5% of GDP. But, guess what? Do the MATH.

    We grow out of this situation or we are doomed. The private sector does it or it won’t get done.

  92. @MAC – You’re plain wrong. A review of (OMB) data shows that tax revenues did not consistently increase after the Bush tax cuts went into effect. In FY 2001, tax revenue in dollars was $1,991.1 billion. For FY 2002 – the first budget of the Bush administration, which went into effect after President George W. Bush signed tax cuts into law in June 2001 – revenue dropped to $1,853.1 billion. Bush signed two more tax cuts into law over the next two years. In FY 2003, revenue dropped further, to $1,782.3 billion – about a 10-percent reduction from two years earlier. This drop in tax revenue occurred even as economic activity – the nation’s GDP – was continually rising, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data. Revenues then increased for four years – from $1,880.1 billion in FY 2004 to $2,568 billion in FY 2007 – before sliding to $2,524 billion in FY 2008, and then dropping further to $2,105 billion in FY 2009 as the recession exploded.

    As a percentage of gross domestic product, the amount of tax revenues as a part of the economy has also varied widely, though it is still less today than in FY2001, when it represented 19.5% of GDP. It has dipped from as low as 16.1% in FY2004, to as high as 18.5% in FY2007, before finishing out FY 2009 at 14.9% – its lowest level since 1950 (14.4%).

    As far as “deregulation” goes, while I could wax poetic about the many ways Treasury and the SEC were gutted during the Bush years, many agree that the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) of 2000 was the single biggest contributor to the housing crisis. While “signed” by Clinton, it was written and passed by a Republican controlled Congress, with Sen. Phill Gramm (R) actually blocking Senate action until language was inserted preventing the SEC from regulating swaps and the CFTC from regulating “bank products”. No kidding. So, again, it was the GOP’s obession with deregulation that actually shaped the ultimate bill. (And, as you may know, the bill was riddled with loopholes, including the somewhat notorious “Enron Loophole”, which was finally closed via the Democratic Congress in 2002, over – if you can believe it – a Bush veto). Am I pleased that Clinton signed the orignal bill? No. But from a party policy perspective, that’s not really what matters in this case.

    And, of course, Congress/Obama passed Wall Street reform legislation in 2009, which aims to repeal some of the most dangerous aspects of the CFMA. This is the same “Dodd Frank” bill Romney/Republicans in Congress have vowed to repeal.

    So, if you’re still with me, a Republican Congress crafted and passed the CFMA (even though “they”, including yourself, like to point out that Clinton signed it….in an attempt to pin the terrible piece of legislation to the Democratic party). It is widely blamed for the deregulation that led to the recession and housing crash. In 2002, a Democrat controlled Congress passed laws to close some of the loopholes – over a Republican/Bush veto. In 2008-09, a Democrat controlled Congress, supported by Obama, passed Dodd Frank (heavily watered down, again, by the GOP) in an effort to repeal large chunks of the CFMA. Romney and the GOP now want to repeal it (“unchain Wall Street”, if you will). I’m hoping the irony isn’t lost on you. The very clear pattern of dangerous, GOP financial deregulation is crystal clear to me.

  93. @MAC. I would also refute the classic GOP myth – that you alluded to above – that Bush left office with deficits at around 3.5% of GDP and that under those circumstances, “deficits don’t matter.” Again, it’s a simple falsehood. As the saying goes, facts have a well known liberal bias:

    The last quarter that debt was anywhere near 3.5% of GDP was Q1 of ’08. By Q2 of ’08 it was almost 6%, by Q4 of ’08 it was over 7%, and by the first quarter of 2009, well before any of Obama’s policies or “spending” had registered, deficits were nearly 9% of GDP (source: U.S. Commerce Dept.). So, this makes it clear that deficits as a dangerous % of GDP were a result of Bush economic policies and the recession, not Obama “spending”. (Currently, deficits are running right around 9% of GDP – terrible and dangerous, but representative of a stabilization (as opposed to a 6 point increase under Bush)….the CBO projects the % will fall to around 6% within the next 24 months.)

    So, as Treasury Secretary O’Neill was warning of a looming, debt driven crisis in 2002 (and having his proposals to police Wall Street stymied by Bush/Cheney), he was being told by Cheney that “Regan proved that deficits don’t matter” and was fired a month later. Uh huh. Less than 6 years later, all the GOP could seem to talk about was the importance of deeficits and debt. And we’re still hearing it. Principled policy ideology or dangeorus politics? Right.

  94. Don’t mess with AEV, sirs. Chap knows his stuff. I stood face to face with him over button-downs, and had my you-know-what handed to me on a plate–with a side order of I’m-your-huckleberry daring. He reads, watches Charlie Rose, and wears tailored kit. Mind yourselves.

  95. So Commodities Futures Modernization Act cause a housing bubble, who knew? Corruption of the market place for over three decades by Freddie and Fannie had no part, who knew?

    I’m trying to remember what happened in 2001 that cause the economic down turn and therefore dropped tax revenues. Also, what bubble burst before housing causing a recession as Bush took over?

    Frank- Dodd will be overturned sooner or later it’s unworkable and too complicated. There are two a reason Frank and Dodd retired, Freddie and Fannie. Want to make Dodd sound like Arthur Laffer, re-institute the theater excise taxes.

  96. Anyhoo, back to the subject of shirts.

    But, first: AEV, respectfully: I actually quit reading clothing-related sites and blogs BECAUSE of the picayune. I admit to being a clothes detail junky — loving the nuance — but I’m not sure it makes me a better person. But here I am again.

    I’m going to leave aside the collar debate (OK, not really): Glen O’Brien is quite the fashion hound, that’s for sure. I don’t know if he’s right or wrong about buttondowns. I just know what I like. (And I like those picture of Astaire with the BB BD in all manner of suits — even (gasp) double-breasted. He made it his own, and he made it work. It’s not like we are talking about some shocking display here. You’d think we were debating face tattoos or some such.

    On the fabric: Oxford is terrific. Freshly pressed. A little wrinkled at day’s or journey’s end. On the woman who picks up your shirt to have something on while she sashays around the apartment. Softer over time. A good friend.

    You know what I did just to have a few non BD collars? I had spread collars in thick oxford made up at a place called Gambert Shirts in Milburn, N.J. Wearing one now. Nicely pressed blue. I could walk in to anywhere in this shirt. And I have.

  97. @MAC – so you’re blaming 9/11 and the tech bubble for the current recession? Got it.

    Bush came to office with almost $6 trillion of anticipated surpluses. $6 trillion. The tech bubble/recession that officially began in March of 2001, was one of the mildest on record, both in terms of the size of the contraction and the duration (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).

    Yes, the CFMA did nearly entirely cause the recent housing bubble. Among other things, it degregulated and decoupled OTC derivatives (like credit default swaps), which were at the heart of the financial crisis of 2008. It’s unsexy, nuts and bolts stuff to be sure, but it’s the reality of the situation. Sure, Freddie and Fannie certainly played a role – that said, private firms – not Freddie/Fannie – dominated the loan boom of 2003-06 in terms of numbers of loans (Between 2004 and 2006, when subprime lending was exploding, Fannie and Freddie went from holding a high of 48 percent of the subprime loans to holding about 24 percent. The top 15 subprime servicers in 2008 were all private – Countrywide alone held nearly $100 billion in subprime obligations).

    And, amazingly, it was Fannie and Freddie – not private firms who issued the majority of sub prime loans – who were subject to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA, 1977). Many leading Republicans, ironically, blame the CRA for loosening standards and causing the crisis. The numbers of loans regulated by the CRA simply don’t prove this point.

    I might add – in this late stage – that I am not a registered Democrat. I have voted for Republicans for President. But the trajectory of the GOP across the last 30 years is beyond dangerous…’s downright lunacy.

  98. @EC – all well said and fair enough. I have an oxford cloth spread collar shirt or two as well…..and love them in the right/appropriate situation.

  99. Gambert uses kick-ass Oxford cloth. I do wish he’d find a blue-white Oxford. The blue feels like (isn’t, of course) a 4-ply 60s.

  100. For the money, have you looked into J. Hilburn? It’s a semi-custom, online operation that offers a range of oxford cloths/collar styles last I checked. Not the best shirts I’ve ever bought, but for the money the customization and quality is above average….

  101. Not a chance. Respectfully.

    “Style consultants”?!? Oh my. And the obvious (according to website) allegiance to Italian cloth. In all humility, chances are good most “style consultants” know as much about tailoring and cloth as “business consultants” know about starting and running a business.

    If you’re into softer, high supers (which, for me, means anything over 80s) stuff, go for it. Not for me.

  102. I will continue to wear oxford cloth buttondown collar shirts even though it misleads people into thinking I’m a Republican.

    It takes a while for me to explain to them that preferring traditional style does not mean that I’m a selfish old codger with no concern whatsoever for my fellow human beings.

  103. Kionon,

    We had a pleasant exchange on another thread. However, here you’ve stepped into that particularly unpleasant modern mode of political “exchange” which involves name-calling.

    Please, stop. Grown-ups know how to debate and disagree without being disagreeable.

    I am not defending the Republicans (a.k.a. The Stupid Party) because, as I pointed out, they are a liberal party. They’re just not as far left as the Democrats (a.k.a. The Evil Party). I do agree with you that there are few adults in elective office, regardless of political affiliation.

    As for the “war on women,” this is left–wing rhetoric designed to demonize a position they disagree with. What those on the right are opposing is the requirement that abortions, contraceptives, and sterilization MUST be covered (bet you didn’t know that under the new law, sterilization is now “free” (i.e., paid by the insurer), too). While many who oppose this provision also oppose abortion, that isn’t the point of this part of their opposition to ObamaCare/the Affordable Care Act. The point is that they think it inappropriate for the government to mandate that every private employer, insurer, and university in the country provide, at no additional cost, abortions, contraception, and sterilization to every woman who wants them. It is tyrannical of the government to interfere this deeply into private institutions.

    The fact is that no mainstream organization is speaking out against birth control (or sterilization); no one is prohibiting contraception. While pro-life forces are making it more difficult to get an abortion, it’s still legal in all 50 states, and will remain so as long as Roe v. Wade stands.

    This is not a “war on women.” It is opposition to government impositions and ballooning costs.

  104. Old Trad,

    Your baseless assault on Republicans, for the “crime” of holding political views contrary to your own, is reprehensible.

    Your approach does nothing to further the political process. Quite the contrary: it shuts it down. You smear your opponents as inhuman, and if your opponents are inhuman, then there’s nothing to discuss.

    Politics is dead. All we have now is monkeys flinging feces at each other.

  105. @S.E. – Again, fair enough….and I don’t wholly disagree. I had a former work colleague who was related to one of the owners, so I gave it a go on her behalf. Like I said, not one of my nicest shirts, but the process wasn’t half as painful as the Web site copy suggests…

  106. @ Henry –

    So, when the government mandates a baseline of health insurance coverage, based on science, demographics, and consumption patterns (which it does across all sorts of health care modalities, not just ‘women’s’ issues) they are being tyrannical and intrusive.

    But, when the government bars homosexuals from serving openly in the military, requires women to endure biologically useless, in some cases invasive, and financially wasteful prenatal screening before having an abortion, decides who can or cannot get married or avail themselves of the tax advantages and end of life priviledges as consenting couples, or, even, erects baseless barriers to the voting process, the government is acting how, exactly?

    This has nothing to do with costs. It costs “institutions”, and all of us, far more to deal with the consequences of unwanted children, raised by ill-suited of underprepared families, than all the birth control and abortions combined. This has been proven every which way dozens of times.

    This has nothing to do with “government impositions”. Our health care coverage is “imposed” upon in any number of ways, from private insurance companies denying care or capping coverage based on profit motives, to employers penalizing employees who smoke with higher premiums, to doctors/hospitals refusing to treat those on Medicare/aid, to Medicaid/the federal government requiring that states provide a baseline of care and coverage to continue to receive matching funds. I assume you’re fuming mad about those “impositions” as well? You’re ok with private insurance companies and providers ‘imposing’, but not state or federal governments?

    The Right operates in an opposite, backwards universe, where they spew ‘anti-imposition’, near-libertarian rhretoric out one side of their mouths, and then impose their own rigid, antique, Christian based-morality on others – every single chance they get – out the other side. The hypocrisy is terrific. You can’t have it both ways. If you want the government out of your life, then stay out of other people’s….and, while you’re at it, move to the woods of Siberia and take your best shot at self-sufficiency…your independent, Horatio Alger, down with societal and political structures, to hell with co-existing with others in a diverse society, fantasy is only a plane ticket away.

  107. ….and, the Right’s odd mania about sterlization is just that, a mania. As of August 1st, the Accountable Care Act simply eliminated co-pays for 8 female-focused preventative services, including: FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures (i.e. getting one’s “tubes tied”) and patient education and counseling.

    So yes, the barrier of relatively steep co-pays has been removed from these health care services (along with other cost effective treatments such as HIV-testing and annual preventative care check ups). No one is required to utilize any of them and nor is the inclusion of these services new – the only change, in most cases, is that the co-pay is now covered. This is being done, in part, to ensure women are seeking a range of preventative care….which, of course, saves private and public insurance plans gobs of money in the long run.

    Thousands of women get their tubes tied as a permanent birth control method every year. It prevents unwanted pregnancies and all of the costs associated with them. This is a personal decision women, with cousel from their doctors and partners, should be making without needless concern for the cost of a co-pay….or the unsolicited impositions of strangers with fringe religious beliefs or antiquted, irrelevant notions of family planning. Why anyone would have a problem with this is beyond comprehension.

  108. Speaking of button downs…

    …anyone tried the Black Fleece OCBD?

    How about the RRL selvedge OCBD? A friend of mine swears by it.

  109. OK, two things; OCBD with a suit does somewhat dress it down. fine for a normal day at the office, but if youre having almost any relatively important meeting, one might consider a spread or club collar (im speaking from a real-estate?remodeling-design standpoint). OCBD is my go-to shirt its what i casually wear almost everyplace i go. yes its sport/casual wear but it CAN be dressed up for buisness if need be.

    oh and S.E. both the Black Fleece and RRL selvedge OCBD are nearly perfect. i find B.B.Black Fleece to be a bit to fitted but great if im wearing a highly “tailored” suit (like, the JCrew Ludlow for example) and RRL selvedge is somewhat of my go to casual shirt. ive got probably 5 of them in the boat house.

  110. @Henry

    Government exists to serve the people, not to serve the interests of selfish Republicans. This is not a baseless attack; nor is it smearing. The fact of the matter is that the Republican party does not care about the poor, about education, or about the arts. Thanks to the Democrats, you are free to support the GOP and its “ideals”, but why not admit that you are primarily concerned with looking out for Number One?

    Now, you’ll object to my “thanks to the Democrats” statement, but why not also admit that Republicans are in favor of a one-party state?

    While you’re at it, have a nice day.

  111. Old Trad:

    Enlighten yourself~

  112. @Tabor Kid

    Opine Needles? Enlightenment?

    Think Right? Reads more like Think White.

  113. @ Old Trad, Henry, Tabor Kid:


    There are those of us who follow this blog because we’re interested in traditional style, not squabbles between Communists and Fascists.

  114. Henry,

    I did nothing of the sort. All of my comments were said with a smirk, and then humorously pointed out that this is why political discourse is difficult, especially on what is essentially a style blog.

    I mean, for God’s sake, I made a Sliders reference! How anyone can take that seriously is beyond me.

    Now, back to the collar roll. Have any suggestions?

  115. I have no idea what the Sliders reference was. In my world, a slider is a very small hamburger with grill onions, two pickles, mustard and small bun. If you like sliders and find yourself north of the river in Kansas City stop by Hayes at Antioch and Vivion. You will thank me.

  116. Sliders was a television show where the protagonists discovered a way to open wormholes to parallel universes, “where it’s the same year, and you’re the same you, but everything else is different.”

  117. Did I mention New England Shirt? Too bad their OCBD wasn’t included in the best Oxford contest The Trad organized a few years ago. Alden collar, but longer. Trust me.

  118. Re: Old Trad

    Trad has a buttondown brain. Always dismiss sweeping generalizations about (Republicans) turnips, preps or anything for that matter.

    Trad may find himself traduced or worse if he keeps it up.

  119. @Fones

    Stating indisputable facts about the Republican party and those who vote for it can hardly be characterized as making a sweeping generalization.

  120. Old Trad:

    Now is when a Democrat would pull the race card, isn’t it?

  121. @Tabor Kid:

    No need for Democrats to pull the race card. Everybody knows that in addition to being opposed to spending a penny on education and the arts, Republicans oppose every program that would help cure social/racial inequality in this fair land of ours.

  122. Panic is starting to set in, the cascade may be happening earlier than thought. Micheal Moore, ” It’s time for liberals to start practicing saying “President Romney'”

  123. Buttondown Lefty | September 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm |


    If Romney wins, it might speed up the People’s Revolution!

  124. Main Line Philly | September 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm |


    Once upon a time, we had civilized presidential candidates in this country of obese, unlettered, flipflop-wearing plebes.×3.jpg

  125. MLP
    So far the only thing this election cycle has sped up is the speed at which Dem candidates have distanced themselves from the Lightworker, smells like 2010.

  126. Main Line Philly | September 3, 2012 at 5:46 am |


    The Republican Party has distanced itself from social justice. Imagine a party that uses the word “liberal” as a slur.

  127. Nothing says “social justice” more than having a job.

  128. @MAC

    And nothing says eliminating jobs like the Republican Party.

  129. Judging from a European viewpoint, I conclude that the US are considerably lagging behind in the evolution of civilization. Oldfangled and counterproductive elements (e.g. religion, fear, concept of ‘evil’) are much alive. Yet whilst not particularly approving of this situation, I enjoy this sense of excitement that is afoot around here. Compared to my safe homeland with its exceptional quality of life, living in the US feels like a genuine challenge.

    I congratulate y’all for your capability of survival in these harsh circumstances!

  130. The Republican party has never distanced it’s self from the classical liberalism of Locke and others, that inspired the American Revolution and Founding. But, if by “liberal” you mean the practice of Folk-Marxism that sees every thing through the prism of the oppressed and oppressor, whether it be race, gender or economic class. There are probably more classifications of the imaginary “oppressed”, I can’t think of all off the top of my head, but I am sure they’ll be pointed out this week at the DNC and celebrated.

  131. If by “liberal” you meant the latter, then yes it’s a slur and rightly so.

  132. If Republicans are responsible for the present unemployment why is Europe at 11+%. Couldn’t be spending or debt as a % of GDP or monetizing them? Could it be that regardless of who has been in power, the blue model has revealed it’s self to be a false economy built on fiat currencies and lack of government restraint.

  133. You know, I would have thought the debt crisis in Europe would put a damper on the smug superiority thing, but apparently not.

  134. I’m not sure how pointing out that we share their similar problem of a debt crisis is being a “smug superiority thing”, sounds like solidarity to me. Maybe “smug superiority’ doesn’t mean what you think it means, but nice try.

  135. I was referring to Simon’s comment, MAC. :)

  136. Dan, I apologize, sorry. :-)

  137. @Dan,

    Understandable thought. Europe’s smug superiority, however, doesn’t stem from some kind of special financial situation. For that matter, the US have outperformed Europe ever since my parents were born. Instead, rather than money, the aim at a more harmonious and peaceful society is responsible for this oh-so-typical feeling of superiority. The utter facts that guns are for sale, health insurance is not for everybody, and incarceration rates are 5-8 times higher than European countries, play a role. The more recent wars on terrorism have provided a boost.

    And then, Europeans identify themselves more historically. For example my home country The Netherlands arose after an 80-year during independence war against Spain, for religious freedom as well as economic reasons. Compare that with the so-called ‘Boston massacre’ in which 5 civilians lost their lives. Is that a joke?

    Don’t get me wrong though, I think America is a blast. Not in the least the women are still traditionally feminine, and simply more is going on. I don’t necessarily mean civilization in a positive sense. I think it often is coupled by stagnant boredom and conformism, which probably drove us to America in the first place. I’m personally considering obtaining an American M.D. and settle in New England. :)

    @ AEV,

    Thank you for your most interesting views. I think the general consensus is that Obama is responsible and continues to further the deficit. Maybe he should throw some ads out there to blame the GOP!

    And don’t you think that the historic conviction that a house is the optimal investment, as well as the unconditional governmental bail-outs are mayor non-Republican causes?


    If I recall correctly, European unemployment has historically always been higher than US’ rates. Apparently it took the Grand Old Party to set this straight. 😉

  138. Very nice graph, note the footnote, “not harmonized”. Their governments are the source of the data and they don’t account for unemployment like we do. Nothing wrong with that as far as trends go, but not really comparable between counties. Always a problem of comparing stats between the USA and European counties

  139. Politics is fun, if nothing else. Check out this response to Eastwood’s empty chair routine.

  140. Simon,

    I could not agree more with regard to the American Revolution. With a few exceptions (quartering act, for example) most of the reasons behind declaring independence were pretty tenuous.

  141. Most people haven’t a clue why the Boston Massacre is significant to American history. It certainly isn’t an event that we point to today to justify the Revolution; rather, it was integral to garnering popular support from the average colonist leading up to the outbreak of war. I remember how my fifth grade textbook described it-so overly-patriotic and biased. I think most historians agree that a few unruly civilians were verbally provoking throwing rocks at a British sentry and some of his buddies came to back him up. The mob kept attacking the soldiers, and when one fired into the crowd, the others followed. The reason it’s so famous is because Revere’s engraving and sensational newspaper headlines that called the incident a “massacre” roused anti-British sentiments and foreshadowed the war. Besides, ours was one of the cleanest and most graceful revolutions in history. Compare it with the French Revolution.

  142. Sounds like Kent State. Makes me long for some hippie music, not revolution. 😉

  143. Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread (not that most (any?) of you care).


    Since when did “batshit insane” not qualify as name calling? And somehow, I didn’t see your smirk across teh Intarwebs.

    Old Trad,

    Your assertion that “the Republican party does not care about the poor, about education, or about the arts”–which you characterize as “indisputable facts”–is appalling. Your approach to political disagreement about the proper role of the government–a legitimate topic of political debate–is to dehumanize people whose values are not the same as your own (after all, only horrible, inhuman monsters don’t care about children, right?). The Nazis dehumanized Jews and other “undesireables”; the Communists dehumanized landowners and other “capitalists”; the Khmer Rouge dehumanized “intellectuals” (e.g., people who spoke French, or wore glasses). Millions died in the wake of that groundwork. All the vitriol being spewed towards Republicans and conservatives is horrifically similar to all that.

    Recently, Dan Savage said, “I wish they [i.e., the Republicans] were all f***ing dead.” Your assertion differs only in degree, not kind. If it were only you and AEV and Dan Savage making such disparaging and dangerous statements, it would be nothing. However, since such vitriolic rhetoric is disturbingly common, I fear we are approaching a new wave of Jacobin-like mass murders of the politically incorrect.

    Congratulations for being part of it.

    P.S.: You claim the Republicans want one-party rule? What are you, a stand-up comic on the side? The only would-be tyrants around here all have “D” after their names.

  144. So Henry, please tell us, how much exactly does the GOP care about the poor, education, and arts? And what are the concrete plans to advance their well-being? For the short time I’ve been here, as a visiting scholar at Columbia, I haven’t heard much GOP chatter on promoting these topics, particularly the poor and the arts.

    Please, bring this debate to a higher level, enlighten us and disclose the humanized side of your party.

  145. The US government is not supposed to “advance (the) well being ” of the “arts”.

  146. I wish I could get passionate about (or even believe) either side.

  147. Go with the man who wears the OCBD.

  148. Simon,

    First, I’m not a Republican, but I care when they are so viciously attacked.

    Second, as Joey said, it is not the government’s place to advance the arts. This is not to say that the museums in DC are somehow inappropriate. After all, creating repositories to preserve our culture and history is a proper function of the government. However, funding “the arts” is not.

    Most conservatives (etc.) would agree that welfare does more harm than good (see Great Britain for a leading example). Many would point out that communities did have private charities that took care of the poor before the government moved into the arena, and many would point out that we still have private charities that provide for the poor. They’re a darned sight more efficient than the Federal government, too. There are also far more efficient ways for the government to take care of the poor than those currently employed (too involved to get into here). So, conservatives (etc.) do care about the poor; it’s just that they have different ideas than liberals as the best way to do it. Liberals, of course, want more clients dependent upon the State, and since they are the party of dependence on the State, they are happy to bamboozle more suckers into voting for them by hooking them up to a governmental teat.

    Education is another place where the situation that existed before the government interfered was superior to the current situation. Read Milton & Rose Friedman’s “Free To Choose” for details. (Way too short summary: private institutions without government funding get better results at lower cost.)

    Conservatives (et al.) are not anti-statist; rather, we oppose the monstrous hypertrophy of the state, far beyond the bounds envisioned–and written into law–by the Founding Fathers.

  149. Worst thing about a button-down? The collar. You hear people rhapsodising about the so-called “roll”. What it basically looks like is a collar where someone accidentally sewed the buttons on too high, so you get this ugly effect of the collar arching up around the tie knot.

    Just to address this complete idiot who has commented above. No sir, don’t “look to Great Britain” as an example, except as an example of where the government realises it has to make up for what it’s economic policy creates. Look instead at great welfare like our NHS which shames the U.S.’s joke of a health system, and which is suffering now only under the sort of privatisation hell you claim makes things better. Look back at your own country and see how the religion of neo-liberal capitalist idiocy has created a situation where so many people are brought down to the level of requiring welfare support (which they likely won’t receive anyway – so off to cardboard city).

    The assertion concerning education is laughable. Until a state school system existed – or state sanctioned scholarships – there was no equality of opportunity in education. It’s still completely out of balance. The tiresome assertion that private money creates better results has been proven a failure time and time again, it has failed where adopted in other countries, but is trumpeted as a success, which it most certainly is for shareholders, investors and the managers who keep everthing in profit by being ‘discerning’.

    Forget the ‘founding fathers’. They presided over a U.S. that was a rural backwater and didn’t provide any insight into the nature of a highly complex industrial societies. Conservative brains keep struggling with this problem because they fail to see this hard fact.

  150. Roger,

    I hope I am not being presumptuous when I think your comments directed towards “this complete idiot” are directed at me.

    Starting your diatribe with name-calling is both juvenile and inappropriate. Grow up and act like a man. Debate ideas, not personalities.

    Second, you seem to be unaware of how bad the NHS is. Here’s an overview:

    You also fail to understand that government involvement in any field increases costs and decreases choice. Health care costs in the US started to rise much higher than the rate of inflation after Medicare was instituted (part of LBJ’s failed “Great” Society program).

    There are more people on welfare now because it is easier to get it than it was in the past, and because a broader range of people are eligible for it than in the past. As always, when the government subsidizes an activity, you get more of that activity.

    But here is your masterpiece:

    “The tiresome assertion that private money creates better results has been proven a failure time and time again”

    I submit that you are out of touch with reality. There are those areas, such as national defense and diplomacy, where the government should be the sole provider. However, when it comes to everything else, there is nothing that the government does better/more efficiently than “private money.” Nothing.

    And finally, the roll of a proper Brooks Brothers button down collar is a thing of beauty. How can anyone take seriously the driveling of someone who cannot see this?

  151. I’m not unaware of anything in the NHS sonny boy. I use it. I know there is a campaign to smear it in the U.S. and the current conservative-led coalition government is assisting this whilst they are busy trying to lever in privatisation. Numerous ideologically-driven policy decisions for the NHS since the early 1980s have been to undermine the service. I think as both a user and a former employee of the NHS I know a lot more about it than either you or a ‘çity’ magazine peddling a line extrapolated from rumour.

    You’re another one who fell for the scam of “choice”. There is only one bottom line and it concerns the cost of healthcare. Give me a rational explanation of how so many people in the U.S. have been unable to afford health insurance or costs when there are so many providers offering so-called “choice”. Where’s the sense it two dozen plans if only one tier of society can even afford it? That’s not choice it’s product/service repetition for purely business reasons. You’re completely naive.

    The dark truth about government subsidy is that the bulk of it goes to many middle-class families (middle-class as defined outside the U.S.) and wealthy families as payments to children, tax-relief, employment credits etc. Whenever it is cut however, it is targeted at those who gain least benefit.

    I’m afraid it is you who is out of touch; if you ever were actually ‘in touch’ in the first place. You certainly pull of a decent show of understanding how current economics really operates, but it doesn’t fool me. The U.S. is full of people who think reiterating Reaganomics makes them an expert.

    You might want to compare the second sentence you wrote to your final sentence and then ask yourself whether you ought to be taken seriously.

  152. Roger,

    You just can’t engage in debate without using insulting language. What’s wrong with you?

    If you had clicked the link I provided, you might have realized that that “smear” of the NHS was written by an English physician, Theodore Dalrymple. Perhaps you should read the article. Here are some choice facts:

    * Of the health systems of the 14 advanced countries surveyed, the NHS ranked worst for five-year survival rates in cervical, breast, and colon cancer.
    * The NHS has the worst 30-day survival rates for two types of stroke.
    * The death rates of men in the highest and lowest social classes has widened since the inception of the NHS.
    * The NHS has kept costs down by rationing care (via long waiting lists) and not investing in new equipment and hospitals.

    The author also notes the widely believed propaganda that the NHS provides excellent care at reasonable cost and is a paragon of “social justice.” (How, exactly, does “social” justice differ from actual justice? As a true believer in the NHS, perhaps you could enlighten us.)

    “Give me a rational explanation of how so many people in the U.S. have been unable to afford health insurance”

    Milton & Rose Friedman provided just such an explanation: when the government gets involved, the costs go up. (Hmm, that sounds familiar. Where did I read that before?)

    Another factor that has caused medical costs to skyrocket is that the government mandated that everyone who shows up at a hospital has to be treated, but did not provide the payment. Now, I believe that hospitals should treat emergent cases regardless of ability to pay, but forcing them to pay for the indigent, many of whom are illegal aliens, has not only raised costs (estimated at $1 billion per year in California) but has also caused hospitals to go bankrupt and close their doors (at least 84 in California, and probably more). Those costs have to be covered somehow, and that is done by passing them along to those who can, and do, pay.

    But don’t worry, Roger! The purpose of Obamacare is to destroy the medical insurance business in America and turn the US into a single-payer country. Soon, our standard of care will fall, and because neither drug companies nor medical equipment manufacturers will be able to stay in business, your standard of care will fall, too. See more here:

    I do not claim to be an expert in economics, but I certainly know something you don’t: choice creates competition, and competition creates lower costs. In contrast, both monopolies and monopsonies (like single-payer health care) cause prices to rise. Perhaps I am “completely naive,” but at least I’m not blinkered by ideological blinders, as some on this site appear to be.

    “You might want to compare the second sentence you wrote to your final sentence”

    You might want to check that final sentence yourself. I called your writing “driveling,” but that’s an attack on content. You, however, have personally insulted me. While that’s sadly typical for what passes for “debate” nowadays, it is still unacceptable and a mark of intellectual and emotional immaturity.

  153. @ The Henry & Roger Show

    What has this got to do with the must ıron vs. non-ıron oxford debate?

  154. Henry
    You are wasting you’re breath, all one needs to do is look at the British population’s teeth, Christ, the NHS has had since 1948 fix the problem. The NHS is making progress, they are now shooting for a goal 18 weeks wait to see a practitioner.

  155. MAC – Be aware that “American teeth” are sneered at in England. Having “a porcelain fender” is considered a lower class (Essex) indicator. Bizarre people, the English. Check photographs of the late Queen Mother’s teeth to see aristocratic English dental style.

  156. I’m a conservative Englishman who has lived and worked in the USA on and off for 30 years. I am very patriotic, but I really love the USA too.

    a) the nasty anti-English racism is an unpleasant feauture of several posters on this site
    b) flawed though the NHS is, I can assure you that it is held in reverence by the vast majority of the British people, regardless of their political stripe. It’s genesis was in the concept of a “Land Fit for Heroes” after the privations we suffered in the war.
    c) British, and Europeans that I know tend to be quite surprised that the USA has an apparent “devil take the hindmost” attitude towards healthcare
    d) however, whenever I have had recourse to US health professionals I have been pleased with the service, but certainly no more or less impressed with it compared to what I receive at home in Great Britain.
    e) “socialist” with a lower case “s” can be ok, and is perfectly compatible with ‘one nation tory-ism’
    f) My US girlfriends seemed perfectly happy with my teeth, as I am/was with theirs
    g) Leitmotif and MAC – hate to rise to the bait/lower myself to your level, or whatever — but what a pair of unpleasant, sneering smart-arses you seem to be.

    Over and Out.

  157. Spats
    It is related to non-iron oxford, because phemaldehyde is used to process non-iron oxford. Phemaldehyde is also used in embalming dead human bodies. Dead bodies is what the H&R discussion is about, which system provides them or doesn’t provide them more efficiently. Get it? Well, it’s just a theory right now, I’ll get back with you. 😉

  158. Over and Out
    Not sure how anything I posted can be construed as racist since the British aren’t a race. “Racist” doesn’t mean what you think it means. Possibly, you meant Anglophobe.

    I really could care less how Britain operates their NHS, but I am happy you and your lady friend are perfectly happy with each other’s teeth.

    The British and Europeans, EU, have enough of their own problems without taking precious time to concern themselves with our attitudes about healthcare. I’d probably be more concerned about the deterioration of free speech, sovereignty, and other “PC” issues.

    But, I must say the Brits still make some very excellent motorcycles, shoes and woolens. I am a fan of the Queen and Mrs. Thatcher.

    Thanks for taking the bait, cheers.

  159. MAC,

    I know that Roger is probably beyond hope. However, I don’t want any young, impressionable minds to be fooled by his demonstrably false assertions. (P.S.: You’re one of my favorite commenters, too.)


    Comments, like normal conversation, take a life of their own, and veer off into (interesting?) tangents. This side track started with Old Trad’s unjustified and indefensible attacks on Republicans/conservatives.

  160. @Henry


    Are you talking about the vile attacks launched by the Mutt of the Year?

  161. Read the thread, Spats.

  162. Funny how it carries on when you’re off doing important things…

    Again I see the “false assertions” nonsense levelled by people without the brains to fully understand what they are typing. You Henry are a prize twit. Milton and Rose Friedman are untrustworthy corporate lackeys. How can you seriously put this people forward as providing anything like a balanced assessment. So foolish.
    Dalrymple was someone I used to enjoy reading, but he’s become something of a narrow-minded fool (no guesses for why you cited him). He purports to be one of those ‘facts only’, straight-talking (retired) physicians. What he really comes across as is a little Englander with the sort of medical opinion someone like Michael Crichton used to come out with. Take it with a pinch of salt.

    That list of misinterpretations and basic lies about the NHS you provided is old news. It’s the common list provided by deluded Americans like you who carry on with the fantasy that American healthcare is not a complete failure as a nationwide provider. It’s not just the economic and affordability question either. Even with all that money American healthcare does not dominate the world in terms of research. The NHS doesn’t either, but it does in certain areas it excels, as do places like Iran and Australia. You spend so much time patting yourself on the back for something that isn’t even there. It’s excruciating to see, yet also amusing.
    When Stephen Fry broke his arm travelling the U.S> the costly U.S> doctor completely misdiagnosed and underestimated the severity of the problem. Back in the UK the free NHS doctor quickly ensured huhs arm didn’t get to the point of being lost. So much for fantastic choice.

    Cancer survival is patchy in every country. The problem with the NHS is not access, but number of cases to be dealt with. Deluded as you are it never occurs to you that in a system like the U.S. where some people don’t even get to go for a breast or colon examination or scan that the number of patients could never overwhelm the system in anything like the same way. In England people die of cancer while under treatment, let us now count up the number of people in the U.S. who die because they couldn’t even access treatment. If we can even find them.
    I think I already explained to you the central problems of the NHS, which is not the concept of shared cost, but that this model comes into conflict with the economic entity inside which it operates. The other is that it struggles to promote preventative care in a society that is poisoned by idiotic ideas about ‘the right to smoke’, drummed up by tobacco lobbies and problems encouraged by the food industry. Illnesses as a result of work and social organisation come a close second. The difference for the NHS is that it has to guarantee care and can’t just dismiss people from insurance policies or just ignore them anyway because they have no insurance or money to pay.

    The question of cost is actually that if everyone is included into affordable healthcare provision, which is always a large scale enterprise requiring protection from the whims of markets, genuine shared cost is always more cost efficient. In fact it always is for this sort of thing, the same sort of idea behind Rotary Club and Oddfellows funding. Stupid people never make the link.

    I’ll ignore the tired ‘Obamacare’ silliness. Anyone who even confuses that with anything less than a few tweaks to the existing insurance system needs psychiatric help (which will not be available via the U.S.’s notoriously poor provision for mental health services).

    Spin the basic textbook principles of choice and competition all you want, those with more insight know that reality doesn’t, and never has, matched what really goes on in capitalist markets. You see, that
    is the problem with the mass of people who think like you (and I use the word ‘think’ very loosely indeed), labouring under the foolish idea that the reality of economic activity somehow tallies with the textbook models. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous.

    Please save your breath with all that guff about ‘insults’ and how the state of debate has become less gentlemanly. I assure you, any self-respecting gentleman gives an idiot short shrift.

    I expected the usual rounds of ‘bad English teeth’. Isn’t it about time to put this myth to bed? Most English people have ‘healthy’ teeth, which is not always ‘visually perfect’ teeth, the two are not identical. Sometimes the two even coincide. I fail to see how having half the youth trussed up in braces to try and engineer visual dental perfection is anything to do with healthy teeth. It’s an obsession with visual perfection. In any case it reflects again the same issues because there are lots of people in the U.S. with horrible teeth, they have no insurance, limited insurance, or are trying to save it for ‘real healthcare problems’.
    Of course in the U.S. other subnormal misapprehensions about Europe and the UK abound, like ‘lack of personal hygiene’ and ‘no deodorant’. Why should anyone take seriously anything else uttered by people who put out this kind of nonsense?

  163. Roger
    First, no one on this side of the Atlantic gives a shit about the NHS, we have problems of our own.

    Secondly, you end by saying, “Why should anyone take seriously anything else uttered by people who put out this kind of nonsense?” Unfortunately, you start out disparaging Milton and Rose Friedman’s scholarship. You are the first I have heard ever call them “corporatists”. You might look around economic plight of the EU, America and for that matter the world, tell me how the Friedmans were wrong.

    Lastly, you need, like others here, to acquire a sense of humor. For the most part, we here at Ivy Style only care about our cousins of the Lost Empire to do Ivy style correctly, if WE could ever agree on it.

    Carry on and all that,


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