|Carry On Borking, Say Libs||The Great Recession is now the Great Restructuring|
by Christopher Chantrill
November 19, 2011 at 7:30 am
BRITISH conservative Charles Moore visited the Occupy chaps at St. Paul's Cathedral in London and came away a bit bemused.
The protesters seem to imagine that, without their tented witness to the wickedness of the rich, no one would have noticed that capitalism is in its biggest crisis since the early 1930s. Abolish wealth, cried one of their posters. Don't the angry campers realise that the West's bankers and politicians are managing it nicely without needing any extra help?
Good point, Charlie. There's nobody to equal a politician or a bailed-out banker when it comes to managing the destruction of wealth. Let's just hope they don't abolish the wealth that produces iPhones and the artificial fibers used in modern outdoor tenting.
But I take exception to the notion that capitalism is in its biggest crisis since the early 1930s. Really, I thought that conservatives, at least, understood that capitalism's notorious crises almost always issue from a crisis of government.
Don't like the failed banks of the Crash of 2008? You can't understand them without the government-sponsored mortgages made to bad credit risks. Don't like the failing euro-banks of 2011? You can't understand them unless you remember that the banks are required to eat government debt for breakfast. Didn't like the Great Depression? You can't understand it without understanding government's insistence on calling all the big plays from the Fed's failure to act as lender of last resort to the Smoot Hawley tariff increases to wage-price controls in the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933.
If you want to understand the current economic crisis, try this. Every politician, from the Obamis to the subsidy whores to the amateur Occupy naifs is trying to game the capitalist system--to get it to shovel loot into the laps of his supporters.
The chaps at St. Paul's have a banner that reads Capitalism is Crisis. No doubt they imagine that the banner speaks truth to power in a startling and original way never before achieved. If they had spent a year or two in the real world instead of a lifetime at the local liberal seminary learning how many community organizers can dance on the head of a pin, they would know that capitalism is the answer to crisis. Capitalism answered the crisis of $3 per day survival with today's $100 per day prosperity.
Capitalism is the system of bringing dreamers down to earth. The capitalist asks the practical question: Will it pay? Back in the 19th century lefties like William Morris thought that this capitalist interrogatory proved the low and mean mentality of the average practical man. But now that we have experienced a century or so of the impractical dreams of lefties and their bloody systems of enforcing heaven on earth, the average person longs for a practical man. Back in the day, Diogenes searched the Greek world looking for an honest man. Really? How about a sensible, practical man that can invent horizontal drilling and fracking?
When Peter Schiff went down to Obamaville to dialog with the Occupiers, his interlocutor was dumbfounded that anyone could find the EPA, the FDA or the board of education a problem. But think about it. A society that cares about the environment, safe drugs, or education will find a way to make it happen--with or without government bureaucracy. It is the moral impulse that matters, not the government program. The Occupier's faith in government programs is a fetish.
The Occupier 1% should worry about the impression their 99% is making. In the good old days the community organizers were careful to keep their rank and file chanting slogans and away from the media. But the internet age has obsoleted great chunks of left-wing tactics; now anyone can go down to the Camp of the left and get rank-and-file wisdom on a smartphone. Perhaps the curriculum commissars at the Midwest Academy should take note that it's time to update Community Organizing 101. Keep those young skulls full of mush away from the Flip ultraHD.
The Occupiers' great gift to America is the chance to push back on their message, and Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) speech on Saving the American Idea at the Heritage Foundation on October 26, 2011 does just that.
The American Idea is not tried in times of prosperity. Instead it is tested when times are tough: when the pie is shrinking, when businesses are closing, and when workers are losing their jobs... That's when the temptation to exploit fear and envy returns – when many in Washington use the politics of division to evade responsibility for their failures and advance their own narrow political interests.
When the times are tough, the tough leaders get going to remind us that a crisis of capitalism is really a crisis of bad government and bad politicians.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[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.
[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
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[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
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
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
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
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel