Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Iron Beauty and the Clay Beast

I stand before you tonight in my Red Star chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up and my fair hair gently waved, the Iron Lady of the Western world. A cold war warrior, an amazon philistine, even a Peking plotter. Well, am I any of these things? (…) Yes I am an iron lady, after all it wasn't a bad thing to be an iron duke, yes if that's how they wish to interpret my defense of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life. (1976)

This is how Margaret Thatcher, then opposition leader, launched her career. She was the female personification of Britannia itself - not as it is now, but as it ought to be - free, proud, indomitable. Britannia that had always “ruled the waves” - the waves of liberty that ate away at the landmass that so often came under despotic sway. British history abounds with feminine symbolism. The Iron Lady had an air of the “virgin queen”, Elizabeth I, whose fleet defeated an empire where the sun never set. She was also inspired by the “iron duke” - Wellington, who brought to an end a utopian project to unite Europe under Napoleon's tyrannical rule. Britain’s ascendancy following the Napoleonic Wars ushered in the era of Queen Victoria - another embodiment of British glory that evoked nostalgia in Thatcher’s heart. As the British sun set by the mid-20 century, it still managed to strike a death blow against the mad prophet of National Socialism:

Over the centuries we have fought to prevent Europe from falling under the dominance of a single power. We have fought and we have died for her freedom. (…) Had it not been for that willingness to fight and to die, Europe would have been united long before now—but not in liberty, not in justice. It was British support to resistance movements throughout the last War that helped to keep alive the flame of liberty in so many countries until the day of liberation. (…) And it was from our island fortress that the liberation of Europe itself was mounted.

The Iron Lady summed up Britain’s historic mission in the following way:

Britain’s always stood for liberty. (…) Britain isn’t just another country. We’ve never been just another country. (…) It is Britain who stood when everyone else surrendered. And if Britain pulls out of that commitment, it’s as if one of the pillars of the temple has collapsed. Because we are one of the pillars of freedom.

Thatcher’s challenge was as great as those faced by Britain before - she stood up to an Evil Empire that had subdued half of the globe and aspired to dominate the other half. Attila’s hordes had resurrected from their graves and were intent on plunging the Western civilization into a sea of blood. The policy of Thatcher’s predecessors had been one of concession, appeasement and surrender - Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson was even rumored to be a KGB spy. But Thatcher, along with Reagan, realized that the Soviet colossus had feet of clay - the only thing necessary to defeat it was to withdraw Western sanction and support. Without the resources created by liberty, the monster eventually stagnated and collapsed.
But the Cold War front ran not only through the infinite plains of Eurasia but also through the heart of Britain. In Liverpool, the Trotskyite “militant tendency” took over the city council. Even more important was the struggle between Thatcher and the trade unions, which dominated the Labour Party (which still advocated public ownership of the means of production). It was a fight over whether Britain would be a planned or free economy.
In 1974, Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath called an election, asking the voters who governed Britain - Her Majesty's cabinet or militant union bureaucracy - and lost it. Thus the National Union of Mineworkers brought down the government.
By 1979, Britain was turning into something like an anarcho-syndicalist utopia, entering an era of union violence gone mad - known as the Winter of Discontent. As we shall see, the Thatcher era abounds with Shakespearean suspense and drama:

Now is the Winter of our Discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York
(Shakespeare, Richard III)


Just like Henry VII triumphed over Richard III in 1485, ending the War of the Roses, Thatcher came victorious in the 1979 election and brought to an end the quasi-civil war waged by the unions.
In 1984-1985, the National Union of Mineworkers mounted another challenge against law and order, this time under the leadership of Arthur Scargill, alias king Arthur of Red Britain. Scargill was a member of the Young Communist League from 1955 to 1962. He did not mince words:

Capitalism is an obscene system which deserves to be overthrown.

Scargill also called for taking "into common ownership everything in Britain" and "immediate nationalization of the means of production, distribution and exchange." Moreover, he explicitly advocated bringing the entire press under state control, as communists have done in every country they ruled.
Like Thatcher, King Arthur was no compromiser. He was Thatcher's complete opposite:

I do not believe compromise with the capitalist system of society will achieve anything.

King Arthur's communist Camelot was being bankrolled by the Kremlin. He also made numerous trips to the USSR and Cuba. Not only was Scargill a communist - he was the most hardcore type of a red, a Stalinist. He mourned Stalin's removal from the Mausoleum and criticized the Soviet Union's post-Stalinist leadership for squandering his "great heritage". Many members of Scargill's Socialist Labour Party were also members of the UK's Stalin Society.
Like all communists, Scargill used "democracy" (i.e. mob rule) to subvert the rule of law. Thatcher, who (like the US Founding Fathers) was committed to a "government of laws and not of men" (not democracy!), would not tolerate this:

I must tell you ... that what we have got is an attempt to substitute the rule of the mob for the rule of law, and it must not succeed. It must not succeed. There are those who are using violence and intimidation to impose their will on others who do not want it.... The rule of law must prevail over the rule of the mob.

Eventually, Thatcher prevailed. Baronness Thatcher's victory over King Arthur (much like the barons' victory over King John, which ushered in the Magna Carta) entrenched law and order in a country that had been torn by socialist anarchy. It was a clash of the diametrically opposed principles - the free market and the planned economy. The free market won.
But the victory seems to have been Pyrrhic. Since Thatcher resigned, Britain has been ruled by bland, insipid, non-committal, pragmatist non-entities like Blair, Brown and Cameron. Under Thatcher, there was a clash of fundamental principles. But now Britain is mired in a swamp of consensus, with everyone paying lip service to free markets but at the same time undermining its very foundation. In some respects, it is easier to fight a gigantic monster with clear-cut, explicit views than a host of fleas and bacteria that are not committed to any basic idea or principle.
Moreover, Thatcher bought Gorby’s devious “perestroika” business, which was nothing more than a ploy to keep the Soviet elite in power. And it is still in power in most post-Soviet states, despite the USSR’s collapse. Besides, the corpse of the communist behemoth is now being resurrected in the edicts of Brussels (the “EUSSR”), while the Soviet-led anti-nuclear socialist “peace” (my ass) movement has re-branded itself as environmentalist and anti-globalist, and third-world savages that once espoused communist struggle against “imperialism” are now advocating the same thing under another guise - the Islamic jihad against the West. History repeats itself… This time it’s a farce but it may soon turn tragic.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Reichstag Fire Prompts Calls by Left for Its Own Burn Victims Fund, Ban of the Use of Fire

The Reichstag building now consumed by flames, the communist left is on an all-out assault against the National Socialist German Worker's Party, calling for an immediate investigation to ascertain who set the fire and demands for a 20 billion Reichsmark fund to be set aside for burn victims throughout the Greater Deutschland area.

"The National Socialists are sell-outs of big business, obviously in the pockets of the powerful fire lobby," one unidentified member of the Comintern said at a post-fire rally and frankfurter cook-out. "It's the bourgeois Jewish pigs who keep keep wrecking the dreams of young communists everywhere, with their usury and funny little hats. The Nazis are also in league with Big Jew, as everyone knows."

The German Chancellor Adolph Hitler, a furious mustachioed orator whose antics remind many of Charlie Chaplin, immediately condemned the act, and issued a State of Emergency under the new Reichstag Fire Decree and Enabling Act. The acts would repeal many of the individual liberties granted under the Weimar Constitution, and would give the would-be dictator broad new powers, such as the right to seize newspapers, radio, and other means of communication in a time of "crisis."

Not to be outdone, the communists fired back with their own statement, proposing the Reichstag Abolition of Fire Decree and Disabling Acts.

These laws would be virtually identical to those of the Nazi's decree, only the party would be switched from "National Socialist German Worker's Party" to "Communist Party," in addition to putting forth a ban on the use of fire throughout Germany.  The decree also contains a formal call for a massive burn victims fund, which the communist party would personally administer.

"We are largely in agreement with the Nazis on the need to abolish individual rights, on this matter, there can be no question. But where we differ is in our sense of the plight of the proletariat, who have been harmed most by fires throughout capitalist bourgeois history. We propose an end to fire, and a brave new world of fireless existence...after we burn all the capitalist propaganda of course."

When asked what potential consequences might follow a ban on fire, the young socialist idealist responded, "The flame of genius of our prophet Marx shall keep us warm."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Legislators Poised to 'Regulate' Life Out of the Economy

Washington banking and finance bigwigs Barney Frank (of Fannie Mae-boyfriend fame and who once owned an apartment used for a gay prostitution ring) and Chris Dodd (implicated in Countrywide scandal, son of one of the only censured Senators in U.S. history) are poised to stand atop the commanding heights of the economy with powers granted by the new financial, err, "regulation" bill. And as one of those "little people," let's just say that staring up at the soggy bottoms of those Gulliverian giants of mediocrity is about enough to make me lose my free lunch.

From the WSJ's "Triumph of the Regulators":
President Obama hailed the financial bill that House-Senate negotiators finally vouchsafed at 5:40 a.m. Friday, and no wonder. The bill represents the triumph of the very regulators and Congressmen who did so much to foment the financial panic, giving them vast new discretion over every corner of American financial markets.

Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, those Fannie Mae cheerleaders, played the largest role in writing the bill. Congressman Paul Kanjorski even offered a motion to memorialize it as the Dodd-Frank Act. It's as if Tony Hayward of BP were allowed to write new rules on deep water drilling.

The Federal Reserve, which promoted the housing mania and failed utterly in its core mission of monitoring Citigroup, will now have more power to regulate more financial institutions and more ability to dictate the allocation of credit.

The Treasury, which bailed out institutions willy-nilly without consistent rules, will now lead the Financial Stability Oversight Council that will have the arbitrary power to define which financial companies pose a "systemic risk" and which can be shut down without recourse to bankruptcy. Willy-nilly will now be the law.

And the SEC, which created the credit-ratings oligopoly and missed Bernie Madoff, will get new powers to decide how easy it should be for union pension funds to get their candidates on corporate proxy ballots.

Oh, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? They aren't touched at all, even as they continue to lose billions of taxpayer dollars each quarter.

In other words, our Washington rulers have taken 2,000 or so pages to double and triple down on the old system that failed. [Continued]

A Careerist Progressive Smashes Collectivism

From Paul Rahe, author of Soft Despotism: Democracy's Drift, withering criticism of collectivism by none other than co-founder of the Harvard Socialist Club and New Republic magazine Walter Lippmann.  Lippmann is well-known in political science circles for writing some of the snarkiest and most arrogant tomes on American public opinion: The Phantom Public and Public Opinion.  From Lippmann's 1914 work Drift & Mastery (cited in Rahe's article at length):
Throughout the world, in the name of progress, men who call themselves communists, socialists, fascists, nationalists, progressives, and even liberals, are unanimous in holding that government with its instruments of coercion must by commanding the people how they shall live, direct the course of civilization and fix the shape of things to come. They believe in what Mr. Stuart Chase accurately describes as “the overhead planning and control of economic activity.” This is the dogma which all the prevailing dogmas presuppose. This is the mold in which are cast the thought and action of the epoch. No other approach to the regulation of human affairs is seriously considered, or is even conceived as possible. The recently enfranchised masses and the leaders of thought who supply their ideas are almost completely under the spell of this dogma. Only a handful here and there, groups without influence, isolated and disregarded thinkers, continue to challenge it. For the premises of authoritarian collectivism have become the working beliefs, the self-evident assumptions, the unquestioned axioms, not only of all the revolutionary regimes, but of nearly every effort which lays claim to being enlightened, humane, and progressive.

So universal is the dominion of this dogma over the minds of contemporary men that no one is taken seriously as a statesman or a theorist who does not come forward with proposals to magnify the power of public officials and to extend and multiply their intervention in human affairs. Unless he is authoritarian and collectivist, he is a mossback, a reactionary, at best an amiable eccentric swimming hopelessly against the tide. It is a strong tide. Though despotism is no novelty in human affairs, it is probably true that at no time in twenty-five hundred years has any western government claimed for itself a jurisdiction over men’s lives comparable with that which is officially attempted in totalitarian states.

But it is even more significant that in other lands where men shrink from the ruthless policy of these regimes, it is commonly assumed that the movement of events must be in the same direction. Nearly everywhere the mark of a progressive is that he relies at last upon the increased power of officials to improve the condition of men. Though the progressives prefer to move gradually and with consideration, by persuading majorities to consent, the only instrument of progress in which they have faith is the coercive agency of government. They can, it would seem, imagine no alternative, nor can they remember how much of what they cherish as progressive has come by emancipation from political dominion, by the limitation of power, by the release of personal energy from authority and collective coercion. For virtually all that now passes for progressivism in countries like England and the United States calls for increasing ascendancy of the state: always the cry is for more officials with more power over more and more of the activities of men.

Yet the assumptions of this whole movement are not so self-evident as they seem. They are, in fact, contrary to the assumptions bred in men by the whole long struggle to extricate conscience, intellect, labor, and personality from the bondage of prerogative, privilege, monopoly, authority. For more than two thousand years, since western men first began to think about the social order, the main preoccupation of political thinking has been to find a law which would be superior to arbitrary power. Men have sought it in custom, in the dictates of reason, in religious revelation, endeavoring always to set up some check upon the exercise of force. This is the meaning of the long debate about Natural Law. This is the meaning of a thousand years of struggle to bring the sovereign under a constitution, to establish for the individual and for voluntary associations of men rights which they can enforce against kings, barons, magnates, majorities, and mobs. This it eh meaning of the struggle to separate the church from the state, to emancipate conscience, learning, the arts, education, and commerce from the inquisitor, the censor, the monopolist, the policeman, and the hangman.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Libertarian Fable by Aesop

According to the story, a group of frogs lived happily and peacefully in a pond. Over time, however, they became discontented with their way of life, and thought they should have a mighty king to rule over them. They called out to the great god Zeus to send them a king.

Zeus was amused by the frogs' request, and cast a large log down into their pond, saying "Behold, your king!" At first, the frogs were terrified of the huge log, but after seeing that it did not move, they began to climb upon it. Once they realized the log would not move, they called out again to Zeus to send them a real king, one that moved.

Annoyed by the frogs, Zeus said, "Very well, here is your new king," and sent a large stork to the pond. The stork began devouring frogs. In terror, frogs called out to Zeus to save them. Zeus refused, saying the frogs now had what they'd wanted, and had to face the consequences.

Some interesting comments:

By Protestant proto-fascist Martin Luther:
German Theologian Martin Luther (1483–1546) in his 1523 "On Governmental Authority" speaks of the paucity of good rulers, attributing this lack to humanity not deserving good rulers due to its wickedness. He then alludes to this fable to illustrate how humanity (frogs) deserves the rulers (stork) it gets:
"Frogs must have their storks."

By libertarian Robert Heinlein:
Science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein referred to this story several times throughout his work. From his novel Glory Road in 1963:
"...the answer to most problems was: Don't do anything. Always King Log, never King Stork——'Live and let live.'"

Ludwig von Mises: Master-Builder of Austrian Theory

Is there a more appropriate analogy for the housing crash of 2008 than Mises' "master-builder"? From Ludwig von Mises' Human Action, Chapter VI: Interest, Credit Expansion, and The Trade Cycle:
The erroneous belief that the essential feature of the boom is overinvestment and not malinvestment is due to the habit of judging conditions merely according to what is perceptible and tangible. The observer notices only the malinvestments which are visible and fails to recognize that these establishments are malinvestments only be cause of the fact that other plants--those required for the production of the complementary factors of production and those required for the production of consumers' goods more urgently demanded by the public--are lacking. [...]

The whole entrepreneurial class is, as it were, in the position of a master-builder whose task it is to erect a building out of a limited supply of building materials. If this man overestimates the quantity of the available supply, he drafts a plan for the execution of which the means at his disposal are not sufficient. He oversizes the groundwork and the foundations and only discovers later in the progress of the construction that he lacks the material needed for the completion of the structure. It is obvious that our master-builder's fault was not overinvestment, but an inappropriate employment of the means at his disposal.
While the fundamental cause of the housing "bubble" was the manipulation of interest rates by The Fed, the proximal cause was the "cluster of errors" (to borrow Lionel Robbins' phrase) around pseudo-market activities in the mortgage market. 

The malinvestment became clear when the mortgages prices on which the derivatives were based plummeted, and despite a flurry of "stimulus," the demand stubbornly tapped out. The side effects of this were disastrous not only for investors, but for consumers, who themselves leveraged their mortgages and properties on the inflated prices to borrow and spend with realistically unhinged expectations of a correctionless future market.

The facade crumbled, as it always does, and we were returned to our foundations.  And then the Democrats came along and put in a basement - by employing debt to try to sustain the malinvested structure of the economy, which suited their political preferences.  In Keynesian America, the future looks to be a fruitless endeavor of digging for the sake of digging.

Un-Hitchen the Wagon from the Socialist Crazy Train?

American Thinker's condescendingly titled "Christopher Hitchens Evolves" brings up some interesting factoids about the iconoclastic writer (if I might ironically turn a droll turn of phrase).

Hitchens, once a Trotskyist, is a cerebral and intricate writer cut from the cloth of the "clever socialist" George Orwell, and as such has always garnered my respect, and at times, admiration.

As such, Jeff Riggenbach's "The Brilliant but Confused Radicalism of George Orwell," another short biographic sketch, makes an excellent companion piece. Ideologically, Hitchens is the prodigy that may indeed have surpassed the old master.

Keynesians Still Drunk on Waste, Power

From WSJ's "The Keynesian Dead End":

Today's G-20 meeting has been advertised as a showdown between the U.S. and Europe over more spending "stimulus," and so it is. But the larger story is the end of the neo-Keynesian economic moment, and perhaps the start of a healthier policy turn.

For going on three years, the developed world's economic policy has been dominated by the revival of the old idea that vast amounts of public spending could prevent deflation, cure a recession, and ignite a new era of government-led prosperity. It hasn't turned out that way.

Now the political and fiscal bills are coming due even as the U.S. and European economies are merely muddling along. The Europeans have had enough and want to swear off the sauce, while the Obama Administration wants to keep running a bar tab. So this would seem to be a good time to examine recent policy history and assess the results. [Continued]

Retracing "The Road to Serfdom"

From the article "Hayek's Road to Serfdom: Despotism Then and Now" from Mises:

The parallels to today's world are unsettling, to say the least. Perhaps this is why, a few weeks ago, "The Road to Serfdom" ascended to #1 in sales on Amazon.com after Glenn Beck discussed the book on his Fox News Channel program. There may not be a Hitler on the horizon, but the extent to which governments all over the world have simply ignored the lessons of the past in response to the economic crisis that they created with their own monetary policies and other interventions is mind boggling. The US government, in particular, responded to the bust portion of the Greenspan Fed's boom-and-bust cycle with the most economically destructive - but politically centralizing - policies: trillion-dollar bailouts of failing corporations that will create moral-hazard problems the likes of which have never been seen; an escalation of the money supply that dwarfs the monetary inflation of the Greenspan Fed; the Soviet-style nationalization of automobile companies, banks, and much of the healthcare industry; government regulation of executive compensation; the appointment of dozens of dictatorial "czars" with unaccountable power to regulate and regiment myriad industries; trillion-dollar-a-year deficits; an expansion of the powers of the Fed (!); and a president who believes he has the power to fire corporate executives, [and] nationalize industries [...]

Washington DC no longer recognizes any limits at all to its powers to "socially plan" all aspects of American life. This totalitarian impulse is not limited to national politics.
And:
Hayek's insights were remarkable, and remain so to this day. He understood and explained the power of ideas: European fascism could never have been adopted without a 25-year propaganda campaign against individualism (basic respect for the individual), classical liberalism, and free-market economics. He pointed out the "fatal conceit" of believing that government bureaucrats could "plan" an entire society. He explained why socialism - including its fascist variant - meant little more than "equality in restraint and servitude." "Marxism has led to Fascism and National Socialism," he wrote, "because, in all its essentials, it is Fascism and National Socialism [i.e., Nazism]." [...]

"The worst" always rise to the top of the political heap under a regime of government planning, Hayek explained, for they are the ones with the least qualms about brutalizing their fellow citizens and depriving them of their liberties. All of this can only be sustained by what Hayek called "The End of Truth," or the effects of massive government propaganda that demonizes the civil society, individualism, and the system of peaceful voluntary exchange and private property (capitalism), while glorifying all aspects of the state.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ayn Rand on the Vietnam War

This was written about the Vietnam War but the same applies to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars:

In compliance with epistemological irrationalism, it [the Vietnam War] was a war and a non-war at the same time. It was a modern monstrosity called a "no-win" war, in which the American forces were not permitted to act, but only to react: they were to "contain" the enemy, but not to beat him.

In compliance with modern politics, the [Vietnam] war was allegedly intended to save South Vietnam from communism, but the proclaimed purpose of the war was not to protect freedom or individual rights, it was not to establish capitalism or any particular social system -- it was to uphold the South Vietnamese right to "national self-determination," i.e., the right to vote themselves into any sort of system (including communism, as American propagandists kept proclaiming). [...]

Picking up the liberals' discarded old slogan of World War I days -- "the self-determination of nations" -- the American conservatives were trying to hide the American system, capitalism, under some sort of collectivist cover.

(The Lessons of Vietnam from the Voice of Reason)

Some Tips for Obama on How to Hope-and-Change People up Their Ass

A communist Qur’an: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_North_Korea#Propaganda
Also many of the North Koreans believe that Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il "created the world" and can "control the weather"

A communist sultan’s seraglio:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gippeumjo
The Gippeumjo (translated variously as "Pleasure Group," "Pleasure Groups," "Pleasure Squad," "Pleasure Brigade," "Joy Brigade," or "Joy Division") is a collection of groups of approximately 2,000 women between the ages of 13 and 40 (although most are believed to be between 18 and 25), which are maintained by the head of state of North Korea for the purpose of providing pleasure and entertainment for high-ranking Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) officials and their families, as well as occasionally also distinguished guests.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Video Compendium on Socialism and Fascism

From Pronk Palisades, a video compendium on fascism and socialism:

Thomas DiLorenzo:
The Economic Model of the Fascist State

Walter Block:
Socialism and Fascism: A Political-Economic Spectrum Analysis

Paul Edward Gottfried:
Fascism, Anti-Fascism, and the Welfare State

George Riesman:
Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism is Totalitarian

Jonah Goldberg:
Liberal Fascism (with Glenn Beck; YAF; Heritage)

Socialist Agenda Behind the Stimulus Bill

A Closer Look at the Progressive Movement

Thomas Sowell:
America on the Road to Fascism

The progressives who today masquerade as liberals may rant against fascism; yet it is their policy that paves the way for Hitlerism.” - Ludwig von Mises

What Do You Get When Nationalists and Socialists Violate the Constitution?

The political right and left has been fighting each other tooth and nail for decades over the spoils of the emerging fascist state in our midst.

Polarization along Republican and Democrat party lines has not led to a stalemate, as traditional political theory might predict.  The abandonment of Constitutional limitations intended to check all forms of collectivism with the enshrinement of individual rights has led America not to a dangerous fork in the road, but to a convergence of nationalist and socialist policies culminating in a haphazard form of fascism.

It is not the argument of this article that those on the right and left intend to create a fascist state in America.  But both sides are engaging in a dangerous game of chicken.  The left is betting that the road to socialism is to guide capitalism through the death throes of fascism (viz. government control of property), leading to the destruction of private property.  The right is betting that its corporate sponsors can harness the state to hedge against risk and plunder the American public.  If each side continues unabated in violation of the Constitution, we will all likely find ourselves licking jackboots.

The modern right is essentially nationalist, while the modern left is almost thoroughly socialist. It is the sad state of affairs that America's political spectrum now makes the most sense if thought of in terms of pre-revolutionary France.  American conservatives should be thought of as Constitutionalists who endorse liberty, and therefore should not be classified on either the right or the left of the collectivist spectrum.

Drawing on our political framework, today's Republican party can be categorized and referred to as the political right, and the Democrat party, the political left.  This is a generalization only, and is not indicative of the degree of radicalism in each party.  The Democrat party is more radical in its degree of socialism than the Republican party is in terms of its nationalism (as opposed to patriotism, which in America includes reverence for the Constitution).

Both parties can be better understood if shot through the prism of turn-of-the-century progressive politics: The Republicans cut from the cloth of Teddy Roosevelt, and the Democrats, of Woodrow Wilson.  Progressivism can be seen as America's peculiar form of proto-fascism.

For all intents and purposes, the term "right" refers mainly to the Republican party, and the "left" predominately (though not exclusively) to the Democrat party.

Today’s right is comprised of nationalists who put up staged, phony fights on behalf of liberty and the Constitution, promote a police state in the name of "security," seek to export “democracy” to third-world hell-holes where the population has no grasp of the basics of a free society, spend like half-deranged lunatics, and battle hardest to garner perquisites for their corporate sponsors.

Today’s left is filled with lotus-chewing socialist moonbats who endorse wealth redistribution and suicidal economics, build crony coalitions using divide-and-conquer politics, oppose all forms of reasonable self-defense against terrorists, vilify and attack whites and Christians, and essentially war against the social freedom they purport most to stand for.

Whether through ideological affinity or mutual lust for power, the lack of the right and left's effective opposition against each other results in a perverse form of collaboration that is a recipe for disaster: Nationalists essentially cooperating with socialists.

Each side seems to have brokered a devil’s bargain: The right has winked to the left “give us war and national defense and we will give you social and domestic issues.” The Constitution is a punchline to both parties, and the joke’s on us.

There appears to be a convergence of right and left progressivism taking place in this country, and the American people are shocked and nearly paralyzed. Until recently most of us believed we lived in the best, freest nation on earth.  Now we are staring into the sunset upon the landscape of our nation's recent history, and what appeared to be a land of milk and honey is now covered in blood and shadow.  What happened?

The American people have been subjected to an incrementally escalating psychological warfare campaign carried out by cultural Marxists for decades.  As America was being built up on the right, mostly on militaristic grounds, the progressives were ransacking the culture and the economy.

While the capitalist economy was being imperceptibly undermined through institutions like the Federal Reserve and the graduated income tax, the leftist media conditioned people's perception of economic reality, namely, by vilifying free market capitalism.  Living at the future's expense through debt and the illusory "wealth creation" scheme of the Federal Reserve afforded us the luxury of psychological denial.

Cultural Marxists undertook the campaign decades ago because the American economy defied the predictions of traditional Marxists. Instead of industrialization and the advanced capitalist economy leading to decreasing wages and a diminished standard of living for workers, American capitalism lifted more people out of poverty than in any country in the history of the world.

Socialists needed a way to defeat America as a shining example of the failure of Marxist theory to predict the improvement of the overwhelming majority of people's lives under capitalism.

The steady erosion of the economic base began with the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank, a central banking system comprised of a consortium of private banks, and the establishment of a graduated income tax. These were two planks straight out of the Communist Manifesto, instituted under the "progressive" Woodrow Wilson in 1913.

With the progressives' establishment of national tax laws and private-public institutions such as the Federal Reserve (and later Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac), the state was able to violate private property, which cordons off and harnesses self-interest for the good of the economy as a whole.

They were then able to degrade the economy from within over decades through the Fed's devaluation of the currency, which benefits Wall Street at the expense of those further along in the circulation of the money supply (money is most valuable when it is first introduced into the economy).

This scheme provided perverse incentives for the pursuit of wealth in the private sector, and led to increasing burdens on the American family through incremental dollar devaluation.

With these institutions established, the Marxists then set out to convince Americans that all the economic disruption and greed around them was the fault of monolithic "free market capitalism." It would be well to note that even the Soviet Union and Maoist China had forms of currency, that didn't make them "capitalists."

After the 1929 stock market crash, the "progressives" seized the day to condemn capitalism, in the sense that it stood as a barrier to the power of the state to "do good" for the American people.

Never mind that history damns the actions of government in both the Hoover and FDR administrations as fruitless and an obstruction to any economic resurgence along the lines of the 1920 natural recovery.

The Federal Reserve gave the game away when after the stock market crash in 1929 it contracted the money supply by raising interest rates, in direct contravention of its charter. This exacerbated the deteriorating economic conditions, made cash "king," and allowed big banks to gobble up smaller insolvent banks like guppies in a small pond.

After the banks had consolidated control, the Fed rapidly expanded credit, which led to yet another crash in 1937.

Perhaps one can do no better to sum up the economic policies of the ever Great(er) Depression than to quote FDR's Secretary of the Treasury Hans Morgenthau:

"We are spending more money than we have ever spent before, and it does not work. After eight years we have just as much unemployment as when we started, and an enormous debt to boot."

But one of the most powerful images that persists in the public mind is that of FDR "saving America" from the hardship wrought by capitalism, "the god that failed." FDR is consistently ranks among scholars in the top five presidents of all time, along with men like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Ronald Reagan gets no more than a nodding acknowledgment.

After the Great Depression, the cultural Marxists had the exemplar they needed to proceed without abandon in deriding "capitalism" as the source of all our country's woes. The hunger and poverty of the Depression years provided all the imagery the leftists needed to paint any and all opposition to state interventionism as heartless, cruel, and even moronic.

Side by side with the civil rights movement, which Republicans supported and many Democrats opposed, cultural Marxists backed the statists in their drive to build a welfare state and to undertake large national projects.

The result, over time, was increasing government interference, the disruption of markets and the perverse incentives provided by regulations and tax loopholes, escalating spending, debt, inefficiency and waste. All of this, of course, was "capitalism's" fault.

After Goldwater was demonized as a "Nazi" for advocating free markets (economists, try to figure that one out), the man who would become most hated and vilified by the leftist press would be Ronald Reagan.

Reagan was hated for the powerful manner he was able to positively articulate the greatness of America, including free market capitalism. By the time of the 1980s, however, many leftists were convinced that advocating private property and the rule of law was a plot to fortify corporations' stranglehold on the economy.

Yet both the nationalist right and the socialist left have removed the barriers that were designed to keep corporate influence in its place. The media abrogated its responsibility as watchdogs for the American people and become corporatist lapdogs who never saw a big government program they didn't like. Notice not a single mainstream media organization opposed the bailouts, as long as it was their man who was doling out the public treasury.

The press, increasingly undermined by corporations who enjoyed the privileges reaped from fascistic government programs, have become transmission belts for corporate welfare and big government advocacy. What appears to Americans as "left" in this country is often fascism disguised as "progressivism" or "soft socialism."

Now that the American people are catching on, through alternative media sources such as the Internet and "right-wing" radio (i.e. any radio host who promotes responsibility, liberty, and the rule of law) the media has to ridicule conservatives as "kooks," "lunatics," and "fringe" elements. This in a predominately center-right country that gets on an instinctive level that what the government is doing is harmful and self-defeating.

Though the left's cultural Marxist tactics are outdated and people are catching on to the fascist game going on, there is a danger that the push back may be too little, too late. Nationalists (neo-conservatives) and socialists (progressives) seem to be playing a game of musical chairs, accumulating governmental power for a present or future dictator within the bounds of each politician’s respective party, building a welfare-police state that never seems to gets rolled back. The results, well, let's just say that those aware of history have seen this all before.

Though the history books refer to them as simply “the Nazis,” the party’s full translated name is the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. Imagine something like neo-conservatives, RINOs, and progressives marching in lock-step towards recreating 1930s Germany. This is not just hyperbole, read the Nazi party platform.

The hacks in the media conducting psychological warfare on any Americans who oppose big government, with false allegations, ridicule, and stereotyping, need a history lesson if they believe for a minute that what this government is doing is consistent with "hope and change." You see, this has all been tried before, and most people know it.  The difference is that it was done by one party, and not two.

The media will continue to call conservatives crazy and racists and insist that we are ignorant, delusional, and dangerous for opposing big government led by any statist; be his name Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, or Barack Obama. But we are for liberty, we are for the Constitution, and we are not fooling around.

The past four presidents have not for stood for liberty or the Constitution.  President Bush Sr. decreed a ban on offshore oil drilling that would make any radical environmentalist proud.  President Clinton promoted the police state through support for the electronic spy project Echelon.  Bush Jr. did not just pass the Patriot Act, he created a massive new entitlement program with the prescription drug package Medicare Part D.  President Obama is not only recklessly spending America into oblivion, he has continued the Patriot Act, turned the Department of Homeland Security against the civilian population, continued the program of extraordinary rendition, and endorsed the assassination of terrorists, even if American citizens.  And he has done it all under the banner of creating "hope and change."

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights is our only guide to controlling both the political right and left.  What we have come to learn in our time is that neither document is self-enforcing. Transforming a nation founded on freedom and liberty to a predatory police state would indeed be a "change." The only hope it has inspired for the majority of us, however, is that the American people are finally waking up and are poised to put government back in its box, for our own good and that of our posterity.

Al Qaeda Affiliate Takes Over Somalia

In the port of Kismayo, a young girl accused of adultery was buried up to her neck in the field of a soccer stadium packed with spectators, and then stoned to death; her family said that she was only thirteen years old and had in fact been gang-raped. This summer, in the ancient coastal town of Merca, the Shabaab decreed that gold and silver dental fillings were un-Islamic, and dispatched patrols to yank them out of people's mouths

Absurd Enviroidiocy Goes Beyond Grotesque

Four men from a village in Peru, armed with environmentally-friendly paint, are undertaking one of the most bizarre plans to combat rising temperatures in the Andes--by painting the mountains white. The hope is that more heat will be reflected away from the icy mountain range, which has seen many of its glaciers melting away from increased warming over the last few decades. What sort of eccentric genius could secure the funds for such an ambitious plan? Well, his name Eduardo Gold, and he won a contest. (...)

In fact, the whitewashing was selected as one of the top proposals in the World Bank's "100 Ideas to Save the Planet" competition held last year, allowing Mr. Gold to secure some $200 thousand to see it realized.

The Iron Lady of the Western World

It contains no magic formula or lavish promises. It is not a recipe for an easy or a perfect life.

A bizarre beginning for an election manifesto, isn’t it? Magic formulas and lavish promises are exactly what politicians are routinely bestowing upon the masses. Bread and circuses, the communist paradise, the thousand-year Reich, the New Deal, the New Frontier, Great Society and Hope and Change - we’ve heard enough of this. But this time, the voters were offered something different:

It sets out a broad framework for the recovery of our country, based not on dogma, but on reason, on common sense, above all on the liberty of the people under the law.

The guiding principle of Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 election manifesto is common sense. The emphasis put on reason is a relic of the rational Enlightenment worldview. Unlike the left, she didn’t use Enlightenment rhetoric as a fa├žade for savage and primitive nonsense. She meant it. Unlike much of the American right, she based her ideas on reason, not on barbarous religious faith.
Common sense means a staunch commitment to reality. That means: no compromise:

If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.

Thatcher had a profound distaste for pragmatism and consensus:

To me, consensus seems to be: the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that need to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner ‘I stand for consensus’?

She knew that socialism and collectivism could only be defeated by firm allegiance to fundamental principles, not by stealth, fraud, evasion, and horse-trading:

For my part, I favour an approach to statecraft that embraces principles, as long as it is not stifled by them; and I prefer such principles to be accompanied by steel along with good intentions.

In another display of her principled stance, Thatcher commented on whether she would repeat Prime Minister Edward Heath's "U-turn" (a policy change from free-market economics to statism):

To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning.

When at a conservative party meeting an apparatchik suggested following a pragmatic middle-of-the-road policy, Thatcher triumphantly held up a copy of Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty and said: “This is what we believe!” The party cadre were taken aback.

What matters is that her free-market convictions were not based on pragmatic or utilitarian considerations, like those of 19th-century Benthamite “radicals” (Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, John Stuart Mill). Nor were they based on the moronic conservative view that “selfish” and “greedy” capitalism is inevitable because of man’s inherently fallible and wicked nature. She knew that capitalism was morally right. Moreover, it is the only moral political system. It is socialism that is morally corrupt. Thatcher did not succumb to the view, held by many, that capitalism is right in terms of economics but somewhat rotten in ethical terms. In 1977 John Hoskyns, a policy advisor to Thatcher, sent her a memo saying the following:

Voters must feel a deep moral disgust with the Labour-Trades Union alliance and its results - a “sick society” (disappointment with material results is not enough).

Thatcher’s pro-capitalist mindset was not so much a product of the Austrian School or Chicago School but of the rich British common-sense tradition that goes back centuries:

Let me give you my vision. A man's right to work as he will. To spend what he earns. To own property. To have the state as servant and not as master. These are the British inheritance.

This inheritance has been almost banished from metropolitan areas but remained in small towns like Thatcher’s Grantham in Lincolnshire. Here, in this small oasis of Merrie Englande next to an ancient Roman road that had brought civilization to local tribes, Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics, went to school, while Thatcher’s antithesis, radical proto-socialist Thomas Paine, resided here for a while. Not far from here, in the nearby Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood - the idol of socialists - used to “spread the wealth around.” Here she was raised in her common-sense father’s grocery shop, inculcated with what is misleadingly referred to as “small-town virtues” or “a philistine, petty bourgeois mindset” but is really the fundamental values of the Western civilization:

My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.

Her wholesale repudiation of collectivism is the core tenet of the Western way of life:

There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people.

Thatcher’s radical individualism and moral integrity were remarkable but there are some “buts.” Though religion was not the basis of her convictions, in contrast to some American conservatives, she did have religious convictions and sometimes erroneously connected them with capitalism. Though she was not inclined to compromise, she had to do that in some cases because politics is the “art of the possible.” Moreover, eventually her principled stance clashed with political reality, which was the reason of her downfall. Though she was an implicit advocate of egoism, she didn’t fully get rid of altruist prejudices. 

Thatcher was neither an economist nor a philosopher and therefore could not be fully consistent in her common-sense views. She did not have sufficient expertise for that. After all, it wasn’t her job. Since she was not a profound theoretical thinker, she could only make cosmetic changes to the world around her and was unable to make a major contribution to stopping our civilization’s cultural collapse.

However, she still matters. She matters because her life demonstrates that the West, despite its cultural disintegration and ongoing death throes, is still capable of producing people who stand for its initial values of reason, individualism and liberty under law - people who possess moral integrity, common sense and an indomitable spirit. Thatcher is a resurrection of what the West used to be, must be and, hopefully, will be again.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pulling the Red Threads of the 'New World Order'

Sometimes seemingly innocuous research can take a darker turn.

While researching the oil trade between the United States and the Soviet Union, I was struck by several odd policy choices made by the Nixon administration. Particularly jolting was the discovery that the presumably hawkish Nixon dismissed the notion that disrupting the Soviet Union's energy trade was a serious policy priority with important implications for American foreign relations. As Bruce Jentleson puts it in his tendentiously left-leaning book Pipeline Politics:

It is interesting to note, especially in light of later events, that in assessing these prospects for American-Soviet energy trade and cooperative ventures, the CIA and the Nixon administration in general dismissed the notion that American security interests might be threatened.

Without delving into the weeds on the nuances of the history of the Soviet oil trade, it should be noted generally that the USSR was notorious for dumping its vast oil and gas resources onto the world markets, using trade as a weapon to kneecap American companies, and more broadly, as part of a strategy of creating energy dependents, and specifically, pulling Europe into its sphere of influence. In hindsight, the Soviets laid the foundation for today's Russia to politically and economically blackmail former satellites using "pipeline politics." [It should also be noted that in the 1970s the CIA was routinely inaccurate in its assessment of Soviet threats, especially after the departure of counterintelligence wizard James "Jesus" Angleton in 1975. President Reagan was prescient enough to reverse the trend of accommodating the expansion of the Soviets' oil and gas trade by unpopularly blocking the sale of equipment and technological assistance needed for the USSR to expand its pipeline network in Western Europe. Socialist-leaning Europe was not so cognizant of the threat of future energy dependence on Russia and undermined Reagan's trade sanctions.]

The revelation that Nixon and Kissinger contorted to get out of the way of Soviet energy objectives threw into a less benign light such foreign policy positions as trading grain to the Soviet Union during the famine of 1971-1972, which freed up economic resources for the USSR to continue developing its military arsenal and nuclear weapons stockpiles; the improvement of American relations with communist China in accordance with the presumably "brilliant" strategy of detente; the unilateral disbanding of biological weapons in the United States under the guidance of Henry Kissinger; a series of arms limitations treaties, which eased pressure on the Soviet Union in the Cold War arms race; the disastrous abandoning of the gold standard, which removed limitations on the printing of the dollar, and the closing of the gold window, which led to the routing of America's gold reserves, and Kissinger's endorsement of the decision to cut-and-run in Vietnam (see "peace with honor"), leading from Nixon's threat to resume bombings against North Vietnam to the ultimately disastrous Paris Peace Accords (which earned Kissinger a share of the Nobel Peace Prize), and we get a strange picture discordant with the popular narrative that Nixon and Kissinger were "hawks" intent on opposing the influence of communism in the world.

My suspicion of these policy choices revolves around the enigmatic figure of Henry Kissinger, well-known to be a member (not on the official list, but Rashid Khalidi is!) of the internationalist Council on Foreign Relations and the associated Tri-lateral Commission (also unlisted as a member there). These "mental itches" (as I call them) were scratched by a piece written by J.R. Nyquist, who discussed Kissinger's intelligence associations and even an accusation by well-known spy outer Colonel General Goleniewski, who had been in communist Poland's intelligence services, that Kissinger was working for the Soviets. I cannot attest to the veracity of such a wild accusation, especially one made by an odd figure like Goleniewski (who also claimed to be the direct descendant of the last czar of Russia), but I am struck by Kissinger's defensive remark to the charge:

I don't know who Colonel Goleniewski is, but I think he should be given the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Such a snide off-hand remark is problematic for Kissinger, who also worked in intelligence, and who had read numerous briefings, and is likely to have been aware of a man who was outing Soviet moles left and right in Europe. If Goleniewski's charges were the only spaghetti to stick to Kissinger's wall, so to speak, then one would say that our subject had escaped hot water. But there are other curious reasons to suspect Kissinger had ulterior motives with his often duplicitous policy positions, his favoritism for shady leftist characters (see Nyquist article above) and even an NSA intercept that supposedly shows that Kissinger revealed American operative in Russia "TRIGON" to Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin (this is presumably unverifiable). At the very least, I am perplexed about this "architect of detente," and his role in pushing America towards what the KGB called "universal convergence" with the communist superstates of Russia and China. To quote prominent counterintelligence analyst Leonard McCoy, ""Am I crazy to think this about Kissinger?"

But it appears that things are even worse than I first thought. Along comes an article, published today, admittedly by the hit-and-miss World Net Daily, entitled, "Kissinger: Obama primed to create 'New World Order'." In the balanced and moderately toned article, Kissinger praises Obama for his choice of advisers and just last year, Kissinger spoke openly of the opportunity he saw for creating a 'new world order' - out of international crisis.

Kissinger's sudden re-emergence onto the public scene is oddly timed considering Obama's own bizarre form of "detente" with the socialist and terrorist-sponsoring world.

When Obama's counter-productive domestic policies, prostrate foreign policy stance, and internationalist bent is taken together with the recent pronouncement of Russian president Dmitri Medvedev endorsing a "new world order," I'm sorry, but I'm starting to get spooked. As Medvedev, the hand-groomed successor of KGB officer Vladimir Putin, put it:

What had seemed untouchable has collapsed. The bubbles [ultimately created by the Federal Reserve and fiat currency - ed.] that created the illusion of flourishing economies have burst. For Russia this situation is a challenge and an opportunity. We are living in a unique time. And we should use it to build a modern, flourishing and strong Russiawhich will be a co-founder of the new world economic order and a full participant in the collective political leadership of the post-crisis world.”

Kissinger couldn't have put it any better himself.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Obama the Radical: Exposing the Narrative of Naivete and the Insistence on Incompetence

President Barack Hussein Obama was called naive almost from the very instant he came onto the national political scene. He was called naive by his national election campaign opponents Hillary Clinton and John McCain. As president, he was called naive for his foreign policy views by various thinkers and politicians, including diplomats like former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Liz Cheney, former Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, former presidential adviser Ben Stein, Florida Senatorial candidate Marco Rubio, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, prominent commentator Charles Krauthammer, and others on issues ranging from Iran, to Israel, to Pakistan, to Russia, to terrorism, to abolishing nuclear weapons, to sanctions, to appeasing Muslims, to his Middle East policy, to Guantanamo Bay, for his approach to national security in general, and for his Cairo speech, his UN speech, his Berlin speech, and numerous other speeches. He was called naive for his domestic policy by former Clinton adviser James Carville, who slammed him for his handling of the BP oil spill, by Paul Krugman, and by countless other pundits on issues ranging from healthcare, the medical industry, on corporate power and influence, the economy, the budget deficit, bipartisanship, and for various other reasons (seeing as it was a key Republican strategy to paint Obama "naive" as such). The British newspaper The Telegraph even called Obama "the most naive president in U.S. history" and cited ten reasons why.

But who is really being naive here?

Obama was raised by radicals. Obama admits he chose his friends carefully and hung out with radicals. As a presidential candidate, he endorsed the quintessentially socialist policy of wealth redistribution. Upon being elected president, he appointed the most extreme radicals imaginable as Czars, that way they would not be accountable to the Senate for public confirmation. Obama appointed radical Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the highest court in the land. Obama shook hands and rubbed elbows with world renowned socialist dictators. Obama was cautiously endorsed by the Communist Party of the United States. Obama promised to fundamentally transform the United States, presumably from a capitalist system based on individual liberty to a more fascistic or socialist one (according to some socialist theories, fascism is the stage a capitalist society goes through during its "death throes"). As a legal scholar, he called the Constitution a flawed document. Since being elected, Obama has caused massive disruption to America's capitalist economy and foreign relations. Are we to believe he is so "naive" that he doesn't know that his patently radical agenda would conflict with America the way it was founded and how it has more or less operated for over 200 years? That his agenda would cause disruption and chaos? The narrative of naivete gives unwarranted points for good intentions to Obama based on assumptions whose proofs reside only in Obama's mind.

So why does the narrative of naivete persist?

Presumably since Obama is a black man, people are hesitant to condemn him publicly for fear of being branded a racist. Those who have played the 'racism card' against Obama's critics include politicians like former president Jimmy Carter, former president Bill Clinton, former presidential candidate Walter Mondale, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and several others of the Democrat leadership, fairly respected journalists like New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, New Yorker editor David Remnick, network news anchors Charles Gibson and Brian Williams, and less seriously, pundits like Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and ironically, Chris Matthews, as well as "entertainers" like Janeane Garofalo, Dave Matthews, and Joy Behar, among countless others. Due to the mainstream media's constant, preemptive, instantaneous (see debunked), and occasionally comical insistence that any critics of President Obama are inherently racist, including those of the broad-based conservative opposition movement known as the tea party, one can only rationally conclude that playing the race card is an intentional strategy meant to defuse criticism of the president in general. It is political correctness being used as a cudgel to silence middle America. At times, pundits have even made a direct linkage, claiming that those who call Obama a "socialist" (an ideology) are by definition racist (which is based on an ascriptive criterion). The culture is so mucked up with such rhetoric, that out of social fear, hope that the nation's first black president will be successful, or simply a lack of clear thinking, many people refuse to admit that Obama is anything but naive. Many call him brilliant, a masterful campaigner, and Machiavellian, yet he remains to some the perpetually wet-behind-the-ears politician.

The primary rival to the narrative of naivete is the insistence that Obama is "incompetent." The espousers of this point of view are about as many as those that believe Obama is naive, and the sets often overlap. Although naivete and incompetence are two separate contentions, they are both related in that their invocation are mental dodges of giving Obama credit for knowing exactly what he is doing. While the narrative of naivete contends that Obama is inexperienced, unpolished, and unacquainted with how politics works in practice, and as such a product of his ivory tower education and community organizer work experience, the insistence of incompetence holds that the chaos and disruption that Obama has caused is due to the president's inability to measure up to the demands of the office, such as reigning in the bureaucracy and showing proper decorum while abroad.

But notice that the main criticisms of Obama are unrelated to his capacity to perform his job as Americans expect it, but rather that he is demonstrably unwilling to do it, and when afforded the opportunity, he carries out the polar opposite of what Americans believe to be successful policy. Is it "incompetent" to repeatedly bow to foreign dictators? Is it "incompetent" to apologize for America over and over again? Is it "incompetent" to alienate America's staunchest allies and embrace her traditional enemies? Is it "incompetent" to appoint radicals for office at every opportunity? Is it "incompetent" to continue pushing unsuccessful economic policies, such as "stimulus" packages, environmental regulations, and tax hikes, particularly when they have failed during one's own administration? What, specifically, is "incompetent" about Obama's behavior? Even the BP oil spill does not show an inability to manage the situation, but rather an unwillingness.

The murkiness regarding the settlement of the argument of whether Obama's actions are naive or incompetent or intentionally radical lay in the fact that all alternative explanations result in disruption and chaos in America (and especially since the government is becoming increasingly centralized). But nothing about Obama's actions suggests naivete or incompetence. A repeated pattern of disruptive and destructive economic, domestic, and foreign policies suggests an ideological bent that systematically disposes an actor to choose options that are anathema to the functioning of the system in place. It may be the case that the actor believes that he is helping the country "change" to a better, more just system, or that he is targeting the institutional bases that support the current system because he believes that they are unjust, or both. In any case, the fundamental reason that his ideological base (which predictably denies that Obama is a radical, a socialist, or Marxist, as scripted by Alinsky) will support the president regardless of how destructive his policies are is that, in their own point of view, anything is better than the shame and humiliation that America endured under the unpolished neoconservative George W. Bush. And the primary reason that African-Americans will support Obama regardless of what he does is the double reason that they are staunch and unwavering Democrat supporters and they have a psychical reason for the first black president to succeed, as it supposedly accrues to their own success or failure. The collectivist notion that one can accrue infamy or glory according to the coincidence of one roughly sharing the same skin color as another human being is so ingrained and airtight in the mindset of the public, it is virtually unassailable without instant and irrational ridicule and charges of racism.

There is another permutation, and one that a few have recently picked up on: That Obama is an incompetent radical. But this is a bit like trying to untie a Gordian knot. Since it is the object of the radical to cause chaos and even "crisis," how does one know if a radical's "incompetence" is intentional or otherwise? What if "incompetence" is merely a cover for intentionally destructive policies and a lack of concerted remedial action? We get into the realm of mind-reading with such allegations, but certainly we have far more evidence that Obama is a hostile radical than we have that he agrees with capitalism and Constitutional government and simply does not know what he is doing.

In my humble opinion, much of the mental conflict in Americans' minds appears to be a related to a Christian aversion to metaphysical judgment ("judge not lest ye be judged") and the belief that it is only fair to give a person the benefit of the doubt that he is innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, the evidence that would prove people wrong about Obama, that he is neither naive nor incompetent, but rather a radical intent on transforming America, presently resides only in Obama's "soul." An equally mystical point of view prevails among some untrained minds that the result of Obama's transformative program could potentially be beneficial to Americans and their way of life, if only Obama were given a chance by his critics (this view is a product of ignorance about history, the reasons America was founded as it was, and how the rest of the world works). Others take so narrow a view on what constitutes a socialist, that not even Trotsky or Lenin, let alone Obama, could live up to their own crafted definitions. Thus Obama is an "anything but" - neither a socialist, nor a fascist, nor a communist, perhaps not even a "radical," simply an "other" - an "alien in the White House."

Some, but far too few, have been fearless and wise enough to reconcile a rational assessment of Obama's record with present reality, have concluded that the destruction that Obama and the Democrats have caused to America as we know it is too systematic to be unintentional, and predictably, they have been publicly condemned for openly stating as such. It is time for more Americans to put aside their fear of others' judgment and their mystical deliberation on whether or not Obama is naive or incompetent and realize that he is what he says he is: A radical agent of "change" intent on transforming this nation. Could the implementation of a radical agenda of equality in the freest, most prosperous, most successful nation in the history of the world result in anything other than the unrelentingly destructive mess we see all around?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rule, Britannia! Rule the Waves! Britons Never Shall Be Slaves

Britannia Rules

In the 18th century, Great Britain was the predominant global center of science and philosophy. By the mid-19th century, it was by far the most powerful and wealthiest country. Its empire was the largest-ever in history - by the 20th century it spanned about a quarter of the globe's population and territory. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain and was proceeding at a breakneck pace. The tiny island accounted for almost half of the world's industrial output, two thirds of global coal production and three quarters of the world's steel output. Britain owned half of the world's ocean-going ships and half of the world's railway mileage. About 40% of the world's trade passed through British ports. The British pound was the global currency, and the London Stock Exchange was the largest in the world.

Britannia Sucks

A century later, the picture was quite different. Wartime food rationing in the UK was not abolished until 1954, later than the rest of Western Europe - a sign of an impoverished and ailing society. Runaway inflation peaked at 27% in 1975. Unemployment got out of control. By 1976, Britain became Protestant Europe's poorest country and the second-poorest country in the European Community. It ranked 29th in terms of GDP per capita, slightly above Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The UK's GDP, once the world's largest, had now dropped not only below that of the US and France but also of the vanquished foes - Germany and Japan. Its economic growth rate lagged behind that of most other West European countries. London was no longer the world’s preeminent financial hub, with investors fleeing to New York.

Britain was now "the sick man of Europe." At that time, the UK became the first OECD country to apply for an IMF loan, relegating itself to the level of Third-World countries - a humiliating experience, to say the least, for a country that used to rule the world. "Britain is a tragedy - it has sunk to begging, borrowing, stealing," Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said then, calling the UK a "scrounger" and a "disgrace."

Trade unions, which was a euphemism for criminal gangs using state-authorized and private coercion to bully both businessmen and workers, reached the height of their power, ousting governments and getting away with almost everything. The trend peaked during the Winter of Discontent (1978-1979), when strikes all over the country paralyzed the entire economy. Public services were almost shut down, piles of rubbish and corpses lay on the streets because of public-sector strikes, and electricity shortages were omnipresent.

The British Empire collapsed overnight, with colonial savages looting the wealth invested by British citizens with impunity (that was given the benign-sounding name of "nationalization", of course). By 1982, the United Kingdom, whose naval power used to surpass that of other great powers combined, degraded to the point when the tinpot dictator of a banana republic invaded sovereign British territory and was absolutely confident he would get away with it. Great Britain turned from a superpower into a second-rate or even third-rate country.

Moreover, Britain fell victim to an enormous brain drain. The best minds were crossing the ocean to the country where scientific freedom still remained. The UK had long ago lost the position of the world's philosophic center to Germany and was now being replaced by the US as the predominant scientific hub.

The causes of Britain's unprecedented greatness in the 19th century and its unbelievable decline in the 20th are quite clear. Britain is the birthplace of modern constitutional government, Magna Carta, habeas corpus and Lockean liberalism. In the mid-19th century, Britain was the foremost champion of laissez-faire agenda (along with the US). It was the world's only country with a consistently free-trade policy (even the US then fell prey to protectionism). Property rights were more secure than ever before.

By the mid-20th century, what once was a free economy turned into its opposite. The UK kept wartime price controls and regulations well into the 1950s, becoming Western Europe's only peacetime planned economy. Most prices were set by the government and most essential resources were state-allocated. According to Ludwig von Mises, in fundamental terms such an economy was emphatically not a market economy and did not differ from Soviet socialism, despite retaining a fiction of private ownership, which was a mere facade. "In matters of economic planning we agree with Soviet Russia," Clement Attlee said in 1946, marking perhaps the lowest ebb in the UK's intellectual collapse.

In the 1940s Britain was acquiring a quasi-totalitarian flavor reflected in George Orwell's immortal magnum opus, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Though Britain was still far from such slaughterhouses as Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, they all shared such features as total state control over the economy and war hysteria. The U.K. Ministry of Information (MOI) with its absurd quest for censorship was an inspiration for Orwell's Ministry of Truth. In 1943 Orwell criticized wartime censorship in an article titled the Freedom of the Press. The height of MOI idiocy was its attempt to suppress all anti-Soviet sentiments and promote a pro-Soviet attitude in the media.

Though the planned economy was eventually abandoned in the 1950s as disaster followed disaster, by the late 1970s the British government nationalized perhaps more industries than any other West European country, turning the UK into a mixed economy where the government owned the "commanding heights" - something akin to Soviet Russia's New Economic Policy (NEP) in the 1920s and China's post-Deng Xiaoping "socialist market economy."

Unlike China and Russia, the British economy was burdened with yet another malignant tumor - the welfare state, which was growing rapidly since 1945 and was only surpassed by Scandinavia. The UK's National Health Service, established in 1948, is one of Europe's most centralized and socialized healthcare systems. In Britain, there are much fewer private hospitals than in Continental Europe (excluding Scandinavia), and the share of public funding for healthcare is among the highest (along with Scandinavian countries).

The cultural collapse was also proceeding unchecked. An image of Britain's culture at that time can be found in Anthony Burgess' Clockwork Orange, a novel featuring an anarchic society of roaming proto-hippie hooligans adopting Soviet lingo and pursuing meaningless, moronic lives. Meanwhile, the intellectual elite was getting rotten as an inflow of state subsidies and grants turned science and philosophy into a nest of charlatans and rent seekers.

Cool Britannia

In 1979 something happened that drastically changed the downward trend. By the early 2000s the UK’s GDP per capita was higher than those of France and Germany, while its total GDP exceeded that of France and some speculated that it was poised to overtake Germany’s. The UK became Europe’s fastest-growing economy and the world’s second largest services exporter. Inflation and unemployment fell drastically. Moreover, as a result of the Big Bang deregulation policy and the idiotic Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S., London again became the world’s financial capital.

By winning the Falklands War and playing a major part in the Soviet Union’s collapse, the UK reasserted its international reputation and demonstrated that it still could stand up to aggressors. Along with the U.S. president and the CPSU’s General Secretary, the prime minister of the UK was part of the great triumvirate that ran things around the world. The UK became what came to be known as “cool Britannia” (a pun on “Rule Britannia”).

So, what brought about the change?

To be continued.

The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America

The Corruption of a Free Republic

We pay taxes on property. We pay them on income. We pay them on sales. We pay them to live. We pay them when we die. Let's face it - the government owns us.

What the United States has now is not a government of, by, or for the people. The government is an interest as clearly as is any for-profit corporation. Yet a corporation must create and produce goods and services in order to be sustained. The government has no such constraints.

The government, whose production is coercion, exists for the benefit of those in power and at our expense. Its machinery is given life by capital, which represents our blood and sweat. It is driven by power and lubricated by greed.

This nature of government was not lost on those who founded this nation. Precautions were taken to forestall the government's transformation into a weapon to be wielded for the benefit of an exclusive political elite.

But a government is ultimately made up of self-interested men, who may narrowly pursue personal power at the long-term expense of the conditions that provide them such power. This is the root cause of the rise and decline of civilizations. Self-interest, when unguided by reason, is corrupted.

What is government? At its best, it is a resource that promotes the conditions that allow men to freely lead their lives - to create, to produce, to trade the fruit of their labor in kind facilitated by capital. The conditions of a free people are entirely encapsulated by the security of persons and property.

At its worst, government is a tool of men to force people to do or not do particular actions. The more particular the law, the more liable it is to be the instrument of particular interest. Over time, corrupt politicians tend to enact laws that benefit their personal interest, and to suppress behavior that threatens such interest.

The laws proliferate as the government becomes more corrupt. It has been estimated that there are now over two million laws in the United States. It is such a time, to paraphrase Ayn Rand, that it is impossible for a good man to live without being a criminal. As Frederic Bastiat observed:

Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim - when he defends himself - as a criminal.

If government is a tool of men, then which men are most fit to rule? This is the question on which the fate of a people rests. Only the elites and their dependents believe that the answer is an aristocracy. The great majority of the American people believe the answer is the people, in other words, a democracy. These are wrong answers. Self-government, or government of the individual, is the most superior form of government. But this is also the most precarious form and the most difficult to maintain, as it requires reason, morality, and self-sufficiency. Unsurprisingly, these qualities are enemies of the corrupt government.

The symbiotic relationship that perverts a society arises when the people's capacity for self-government deteriorates as politicians abuse the law to paternalistically accrue power and glory. The capacity for a system of laws to be sustained is undermined, and eventually the entire rotting edifice of the structure collapses.

Crisis provides social engineers the license to complete their reconstruction of society to their own benefit; and indeed, one finds that the authoritarian kernel of the transformative state had been embedded in the society generations before, like an acorn that grows ever-so-slowly into a mighty oak, and whose branches are clipped to form the fasces of despotic power for a tyrant.

A complete despotism is rarely, if ever, imposed against the will of a people. The sad fact of history is that authoritarian governments arise when people are prepared by the government to desire subjugation and are driven by necessity to beg for sustenance at the feet of their masters.

The hallmark of a government that is undermining the capacity of a people for self-government is the altruistic claim that the people must be saved from themselves. Such a government, through taxation and welfare, remedies victimhood by creating more victims. By siding with the failures of the society over those who succeed on their own, the government incentivizes and multiplies failure.

A great civilization filled with great men is thus overtaken by those of the mob, who have surrendered their lives to the state. Those whose lives are empty are filled up by those whose lives are overflowing until the life-blood of a society is drained. A free people is corrupted from within and then enslaved.

It may be said in Biblical terms that the devil does not destroy, he desecrates. Lucifer takes that which is beautiful and puts it in the service of evil. Just as the devil has no capacity for creation, those who seek to undermine our nation are not destroyers, they are corrupters. If shot through that prism, only the light of truth can vanquish them. And only morality, reason, and adherence to principle can sustain us.