|2016: Obama's America or Romney's|
by Christopher Chantrill
September 03, 2012 at 6:00 pm
YOU TELL ME what happened last week. Did Governor Romney and Rep. Ryan fail the test of audacity, by playing it safe, as the Wall Street Journal complained?
If they cant confidently and aggressively win the argument for tax reform and spending restraint and why they promote faster growth and more jobs, they will give Mr. Obama an opening to win an election he should lose.
Or did they make a fearless case for ending the welfare state as we know it, as Janet Daley argues?
What is being challenged is nothing less than the most basic premise of the politics of the centre ground: that you can have free market economics and a democratic socialist welfare system at the same time.
Well, what do you think? Are we dealing here with harmless little Mittens, as Mitt Romneys friends on the left like to call him? Or is he the monster of Bain that closes a couple dozen unionized steel plants every day before breakfast?
How about all of the above?
On the one hand, Mitt Romney is clearly trying to present himself as mild, inoffensive Mittens. He must be, or those attack dogs on the left would be trying out another insult.
On the other hand, as George Gilder and Fortune make clear, Bain & Company and Bain Capital achieved nothing less than creative destruction on steroids. In Wealth and Poverty George Gilder thought he had described the essence of capitalism with supply-side economics. Then he got a call from Bill Bain.
He invited me to speak to his team of Bain & Company partners, and also, if he might...no Offense...he wanted to impart some ideas of his own, some points I might have missed on supply-side economics.Weve done some research, he said, that shows the theory is much more general and powerful than even you believe.
Bain believed in the experience curve, i.e., on-the-job learning, broadly considered. He believed that you can obtain unit cost reductions of about 20 percent every time you double production.
We have discovered, Bain said, that aggressive price cuts can trigger a cascade of strategic benefits, not just expanding market share, building asset values, and increasing revenues and profits, but also gaining more knowledge of the strategic environment and provoking overreactions and blunders by rivals.
You can see what this means. Bains people believed in smashing into an industry and upsetting the apple cart by aggressively expanding production and cutting prices: creative destruction on steroids. You can see who gets hurt by this. It is old-established, cartelized corporations with inflexible cost structures, i.e., unionized employees.
No wonder liberals look at Bain and see Bane, the cartoon villain. Bain was a search-and-destroy mission targeted on everything that liberals hold dear, starting with their nostalgic 1950s dream of good union jobs at good wages. (Reality was, of course, that only a few workers in the right place at the right time got those good jobs and good wages).
Meanwhile we are stuck in stagnation as tame Fed economists argue over how many quantitative easings can fit on the head of a pin. The truth is that the liberal welfare state is toast. Janet Daley again:
The crash of 2008 exposed a devastating truth that went much deeper than the discovery of a generation of delinquent bankers, or a transitory property bubble. It has become apparent to anyone with a grip on economic reality that free markets simply cannot produce enough wealth to support the sort of universal entitlement programmes which the populations of democratic countries have been led to expect.
Moses Mittens, Prince of Bain, has a plan to lead us to the Promised Land, but he is understandably vague about the forty years in the wilderness that will start with a pretty strong dose of Bain-style creative destruction right after the parting of the Red Sea.
But why are liberals so darned angry, you ask? I learned all about that just this week from Brit anthropologist Mary Douglas and her minor classic Purity and Danger. You see, we humans push back the dangers and uncertainties of the universe by imagining order, a system that makes a unity of experience. Anything that cuts against the grain of our precious system is a seed of disorder, a pollution that threatens our existence.
Think what life is like for liberals right now. They confidently pressed all the Keynesian buttons three years ago, and nothing happened. Then anomalies and strange portents appeared: Tea Parties sprang unbidden out of the ground; angry voters refused the sacrament of Obamacare. Millions of green jobs ended up as monstrous births. Paul Ryan profaned the sacred shrine of Medicare-as-we-know-it. Now you know why liberals are finding racists everywhere they look.
Note to liberals: Lose that Mittens moniker. You chaps need something with vinegar and pepper int. I know! How about Mittler?
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[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.
But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family.
Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So dont.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy
Paul Dirac: When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated
by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that
I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion.
However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and
inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he
suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.
John Farrell, The Creation Myth
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization