|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.
When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of agesthey seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society
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
Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures
The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since
1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and
philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West
Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its
characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then,
once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities
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
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
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
[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
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
The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital