|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 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