IF you are any kind of conservative or libertarian you probably want to end deficit spending. You'd like to end the pay-as-you-go entitlement programs that politicians voted for a generation ago and that we have to pay for. And you'd like to end the Federal Reserve Board's policy of stimulating the economy with cheap money to create jobs.
I'm all in favor of balancing the budget -- but not by increasing taxes. I'm in favor of putting the obligations of the entitlement programs front and center -- but not if it means increasing payroll taxes on the American worker.
And I froth and the mouth about the Keynesian consensus that the Fed can and should goose the economy to stimulate employment. But I look at the Fed as a relief pitcher that the government calls in when it's got the economy in a jam with all the bases loaded. There is no substitute under the present political economy for a central bank as the lender of last resort to lend money during a liquidity crisis.
The real problem is that we get liquidity crises like the Crash of 2008 because of big government. So long as government is goosing the housing market with loans to sub-prime borrowers we are going to need the Fed to come and clean up the mess while continuing to pay a trillion a year in pensions and a trillion a year in health care. And so long as we have wars we are going to need the Fed to help the government finance the war.
So long as the American people believe in programs like Social Security and Medicare in which rich older Americans stand under a geyser of benefits paid for mostly by younger, poorer Americans then it doesn't matter what we do about balancing the budget or facing up to the real future costs of the programs. And we will need the Fed to come in and clean up the mess with a blast of inflation every ten years or so.
And frankly, I don't see that changing in my lifetime or the lifetime of my children. The basic reality of all politics, from a guerrilla insurgency to a continental empire, is that the government buys support by offering loot to its supporters. In the United States government offers pensions for people and subsidies to special interests. And anyone that raises an objection is anathematized as someone that wants to hurt "seniors" or the "poor" or the "traditionally marginalized" or "working families." If you ask a senior about Medicare or Social Security they will remind you that they already paid for their benefits.
We are not going to change big government by treating the symptoms. We have to treat the disease, and the disease is the idea that the welfare and security of the American people are founded upon a government safety net. Until that idea fails and is replaced by another idea then we are stuck with the current system.
It's pretty obvious how we would get to a place where things change. First the American people would have to believe that the current system had failed. They will only do that when enough Americans personally suffer horribly from the failures of the current system.
When a sizable minority of Americans get really riled up because they have been unjustly treated by the current system then they will be ready to become foot-soldiers in a movement to change things.
But frankly, the American people are probably more likely to support a system of total government control of everything than to vote for a system that dismantles the current system and returns America to freedom and limited government.
HUMANS are social animals; we work together for the sake of society. But humans are not just social, we are also selfish. And we like free stuff, from grocery coupons to government subsidies and handouts. We are willing to work for our daily bread, but we wouldn't pass up an opportunity to get it for free. Every human society has to deal with this human characteristic. When other people sign...
I'LL be going to dinner with some liberal friends tonight. And every time I do that I think of the things I'd like to ask them, but am too polite to do. Can liberals really stand by in silence as the President of the United States arbitrarily writes the law, on Obamacare, on immigration, without benefit of Congress? Would not liberals be tearing up the carpet if a Republican president were ...
YOU'VE probably heard vaguely about the Rotherham 1400 in England. How "Asian" (read immigrant Pakistani) men ran a rape operation that preyed on underage girls for years right under the noses of city officials who did nothing for fear of being labeled racists. Here's the BBC report. This flap has occurred in the wake of a report that identified the coverups going back into the 1990s. And why ...
BACK WHEN AL Gore was running for president in 2000 he had a line about “fighting for the people against the powerful.” It’s the standard line of the activist. No doubt it’s what the marginalized and dependent classes are looking for in a president.
But if you are a responsible individual like me you find that sort of thing insulting. People of the Responsible Self don’t want some community organizer drilling them in a street protest; we just want a government that defends us from enemies foreign and ...
Everyone remembers a formidable aunt who could cool the jets of the rambunctious neighborhood boys with a glance. ...
THE SUPRISE OF REDNECKS debouching from the Appalachians into the Atlantic plain and the explosion of Pentecostalism in the inner cities has unnerved those who had convinced themselves that religion was a thing of the past, now that God was dead.... more
Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education
Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system
James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor
James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls
E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century
F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law
Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract
John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present
James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.
David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century
David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state
Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again
David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China
Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation
Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state
David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world
Work to restore the Road to the Middle Class. Heres how. Ground it in faith. Grade it with education. Protect it with mutual aid. Defend it with the law. more>>
The Road to the Middle Class is a journey from a world of power to a world of trust and love. In religion, it is a journey from power gods that respond to sacrifice and augury to the God who makes a covenant with mankind. In education, it is a journey from the world of the spoken word to the world of the written word. In community, it is the journey from dependence on blood kin and upon clientage under a great lord to the mutual aid and the rules of the self-governing fraternal association. In law it is the journey from the violence of force and feud to the kingŽs peace, the law of contract, and private property.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
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