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President Obama and the Prisoner's Dilemma Democrats Thinking Inside the Bubble

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Liberals: The Necessary Delusion

by Christopher Chantrill
January 15, 2013 at 12:00 am

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NORMALLY, I can’t get interested in the daily liberal partisan output, but when I saw RealClearPolitics’ link to Andy Kroll of Mother Jones on “Revealed: The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics” I decided to make an exception.

Nancy Pelosi has been promising to take back the House in 2014: maybe the lefties at Mother Jones knew something I didn’t know.

The “massive new liberal plan” turned out to be a meeting of all the usual suspects to commit resources and staff to a three-point plan. The plan calls for:

1. getting big money out of politics,

2. expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, and

3. rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation.

Nothing new, in other words, just the usual liberal push to marginalize and demonize anyone and anything that isn’t liberal.

Kroll is full of the usual rubbish about “wringing our hands over the Koch brothers” and the “40-plus-year strategy by the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the world... to take over the country.”

Now I like to say that there are only five things wrong with liberal thought and politics: its cruelty, its corruption, its injustice, its waste, and its delusion. The delusion bit begins with the need for lefty-liberals like Kroll to insist that those awful Kochs and Scaifes and Exxons are trying to take over the world, so they can demonize them.

Let’s stipulate that Karl Marx had a point when he worried about capitalists replacing the landed warrior class as the overlords and oppressors of the modern era. Way back then, who could tell how the power contest of the industrial era would turn out?

But the answer eventually became clear, at the very latest when the US government broke up Standard Oil a century ago. If the capitalists were really running things, why would they let the politicians smash up their capitalist corporations?

In our own time we have the recent evidence of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. When President Obama told BP to fork out $20 billion--before any regulatory finding or legislative action, just on his say-so--BP merely asked whether to pay with their usual eftps.gov account. If you are not living a delusion that act has to tell you something.

This week we have the Boeing Dreamliner problem. Does Boeing tell the FAA and the flying public to go take a hike? They wouldn’t dare.

The left needs the idea of vast corporate power to populate its tableau of oppression. It needs oppression to justify its lust for government power. And it needs to divide employers and employees to maintain its power.

However, advanced lefties realize that the old tableau of capitalists vs. proletarians needs freshening up. So Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their Empire-Multitude-Commonwealth trilogy declare that the capitalists are now merely surplus. In the new economy of “biopolitical production” the capitalists just get in the way of the spontaneous exchanges of the multitude, the “labor of the head and heart, including forms of service work, affective labor, and cognitive labor.” Hardt and Negri call for an end of the power of both capitalists and the welfare state in favor of the spontaneity and self-governance of the multitude. But first we need a “global initiative to provide the basic means of life to all:” income, health care, and education.

Isn’t it odd that a book advertising the wonders of spontaneous order among millions of “singularities” in the multitude wouldn’t have one, not even one index entry for F.A. Hayek, who wrote the book on it.

Hardt and Negri call for revolution (of course!) to purge the “common” of its “corrupt form.” They mean “the family, the corporation, and the nation.”

One is reminded of Winston Churchill line that democracy was the worst form of government “except all the others that have been tried.”

One day in the glorious future the history of the last century will be written as the repeated and delusional attempt by people like Andy Kroll and Hardt and Negri to force on us a society stripped of the most stunning and most beneficial forms of social cooperation ever established by settled science: the nuclear family to organize generation, the limited liability corporation to organize production and service, and the nation state to create a society based on the tie of common language rather than common blood.

It’s this combination of the common in its corrupt form that got us from $1-3 to $120 per person per day in 200 years.

There will come a day when people will ask of us, as we wonder about the Romans, how could we end up so stupid, so deluded?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they 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


Mutual Aid

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


Education

“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


Living Under Law

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


German Philosophy

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 inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

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


Chappies

“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.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Democratic Capitalism

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


Action

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


Churches

[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


Conversion

“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


Living Law

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


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