|Occupy: History Repeats as Reality Show||"Liberal History" from Osawatomie Bam|
by Christopher Chantrill
December 27, 2011 at 12:05 am
YOU HAVE to wonder what kind of cheese the Wall Street Journal used to bait the mousetrap for Andy Stern, late head of the Service Employees International Union and friend of Obama.
We need to abandon our fundamentalist capitalist ways, wrote the learned Andrew on the Journals op-ed page, and copy the Chinese and their Five Year Plans.
The conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model--so successful in the 20th century--is being thrown onto the trash heap of history in the 21st century. In an era when countries need to become economic teams, Team USAs results--a jobless decade, 30 years of flat median wages, a trade deficit, a shrinking middle class and phenomenal gains in wealth but only for the top 1%--are pathetic.
You mean free-market fundamentalist model has brought us from $3 per day to $100 per day over the last two centuries? All played out?
Fortunately, the Journals edit page team was able to restrain their guffaws long enough to slide out an analysis of Chinas coming hard landing a couple of days later.
There is no easy way to avoid the bust that is coming. The silver lining is that Chinas increasingly state-led growth model will be discredited, and a debate will begin on restarting the reforms that stalled in the mid-2000s. A financial sector that allocates credit based on politics rather than price signals led China into this mess.
This would all be enormous fun, if it werent so serious. The whole idea that politicians, the guys that know how to buy the voters, or professors, or planners, or union leaders, or an educated elite can run the economy ought, to use Andy Sterns handy metaphor, to have been thrown onto the trash heap of history decades ago. The science was settled, way back in the 1920s.
Oh, never mind the science. Lets review the history and the cost in tens of millions of human lives.
It should have been pretty obvious after the Bolsheviks abandoned their war communism in the early 1920s that a state-dominated economy was a bad idea. But Stalin decided to repeat the experiment with his Five Year Plans that deliberately starved the Ukraine to pay for industrialization. But he did build a lot of tanks in World War II. Pity the Five Year Plans didnt figure out that those tanks would need radios for communication and trucks for support. The planless US had to provide that.
Then there were the 30 million dead from starvation from Maos Great Leap Forward in China, and the 50 wasted years of Indias Fabian-Society-inspired license Raj.
And now the whole world is trembling at the brink of a European meltdown. Why? Because the Euro-elite decided years ago that they couldnt trust ordinary Europeans to run their lives; they had to be supervised by their betters. Otherwise the Europeans would descend into nationalist hell. Now, of course, the Europeans are at each others throats like street fighters, because their undemocratic elite has led them to disaster and stabbed them in the back. Gee, thats so 1920s déjà vu.
Here is the key mistake our masters have made. They insist on believing that the economy must be run like a war. For Marx, its all about exploitation, so government must make war on the capitalists. For the Progressives, the problem is the Darwinian mayhem of robber barons, so rational administrators must wage war on chaos. For philosopher William James, the end of war means that we must conduct domestic politics as The Moral Equivalent of War. And of course, for union leader Andy Stern, the only way for workers to get a break is by intimidating everyone in sight, from employers, to scabs, and even their fellow workers.
How come these numpties keep coming up with the wrong answer? Jonah Goldberg knows; he wrote the book on it. It is because, like H.G. Wells, advocate of liberal fascism, they are all authoritarians. As Nicholas Wade writes, Men like power, and will seize it if they can.
These educated elitists just dont get it. The secret of modern prosperity is the limitation of authority. It is is founded on the invisible hand of people freed from the intimidation of the Andy Starks union thugs, the reckless unfunded mandates of the welfare state, the corrupt science of the climate scientists, the numbing stupidity of the Plan, the wasteful subsidies of crony capitalism. Limited government, separation of powers, the bonfire of the government-sponsored enterprises: what is so hard about that?
Andy Stark is a kind of poster boy for authoritarians, for Andy wrote the book on intimidating employers: the SEIUs intimidation manual. And what is government but union thuggery played by the big boys with a printing press at their command?
Stephen Pinker says that The Better Angels of Our Nature have caused violence to decline. Fuggetaboutit, says Andy Stark, lets bring back intimidation and authoritarianism, Chinese-style, and drive the American idea into the ditch.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
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
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
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity
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
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State