This Is The Core Issue
The effort to provide adequate health care for all persons in the USA is not humanitarian. It is not an act of charity. It is not an attempt to be decent.
It is a matter of solidarity.
The collectivist, anti-individualist cant that informs hard-left dogma insists that solidarity is of paramount importance because the people, the masses, are best served by government if they are of one will, one mind, one purpose and one aim. Solidarity unites the masses in a common effort to bring about equality and fairness. The greatest good can be achieved only if each member of the body politic understands that he must march with his comrades along the path to security. Only in uniformity is there true strength and the full realization of human potential.
Because idiosyncratic behavior is not conformist, the individual has no place in a society that demands solidarity. Free choices, the mutually voluntary acts of free people, are militated against. Liberty is the enemy, not the goal.
All varieties of collectivism must eventually turn to repressive measures in order to control the individual. Without the virtually omnipresent police power of the state to impose cooperation, collectivist policies cannot succeed. Recognizing this, Mao stated that all power comes from the muzzle of a firearm.
The current push to impose Obamacare on the USA is an instance of the truth that collectivist governance must resort to escalating threats of violence. As the schemes to mandate fairness expand into more aspects of the individual’s life, fines, prison sentences and the application of ultimate violence proliferate.
Free people can treat each other justly, but they can’t make life fair. To get rid of the unfairness among individuals, you have to exercise power over them. The more fairness you want, the more power you need. Thus, all dreams of fairness become dreams of tyranny in the end. (Source)
The nation is staring into the eyes of a zealot. If the public agrees to Pelosi’s outrageous scheme, politicians like her will use more punitive measures to promote their Utopian madness.
This is the second clash of fundamental values in the history of the USA. The first came when slavery was practiced in some states; that clash lasted for decades, and resulted in the bloodiest war the nation ever endured. When the individual was exalted over the tyranny of powerful interests, the slaves were freed and a prolonged struggle to live up to the principle of Liberty began. That struggle continues to this day, and its outcome is certain. The individual shall prevail.
Today’s clash of fundamental values, the second in the nation’s experience, again involves an attempt to reduce the individual to utter subservience to the allegedly benevolent will of a collective entity. Before emancipation, that entity was a geographically defined medieval elite composed of economic parasites; in today’s struggle, it is a radicalized neo- and quasi-Marxist cultural stratum that has predominance in unions, national government, journalism and regional (east and west coast) upper social levels. No two persons better symbolize the clash between this bicoastal elite and its individualist opponents than Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin.
As long as Flyover Country — which is a state of mind, not a geographical location — remains contemptuous of retreaded nineteenth century Utopian schemes, the outcome of the curent culture war is not in doubt.
The course of the struggle, however, is impossible to predict. There may be heavy losses in store for Flyover Country, and setbacks that seem conclusive.
Those reverses may mislead many observers. Sarah Palin need not ever be elected to public office again, and Pelosi, lying, corrupt scoundrel that she is, need not be removed from office in order to allow the triumph of individualist values. That is one of the unrecognized strengths of the USA’s political ethos.
More On The Sorry State Of California
The Los Angeles Times has actually published a decent critique of California’s “failed model.” This isn’t the newspaper talking, of course; it’s merely the view of some fellow whose opinions matter just enough to find their way into print on one occasion. Some notable quotes:
(There is) growing evidence that the low-benefit/low-tax package not only succeeds on its own terms but also according to the criteria used to defend its opposite.
“Its opposite” is the high-tax, high-benefit way California, under the leadership of a coalition of unions, large numbers of state employees, and ideologically intoxicated legislators, has been operating for decades.
In other words, the superior public goods that supposedly justify the high taxes just aren’t being delivered.
…state and local government expenditures for all purposes in 2005-06 were 46.8% higher in California than in Texas….
Between April 1, 2000, and June 30, 2007, an average of 3,247 more people moved out of California than into it every week….
Texas students “are, on average, one to two years of learning ahead of California students of the same age,” even though per-pupil expenditures on public school students are 12% higher in California. …Texas not only spends its citizens’ dollars more effectively than California but emphasizes priorities that are more broadly beneficial.
Now TLB would say that the voters of California blundered when they granted an incompetent and greedy elite the power to tax — and to distribute the revenues. The taxpayers are being raped by a corrupt confederacy of ideologues and pirates. Those rascals have co-opted the legislature, and should now be stripped of their parasitic privileges. That’s language too florid for the author of this piece, who nevertheless deserves credit for putting it this way:
California’s interlocking directorate of government employee unions, issue activists, careerists and campaign contributors has become increasingly aggressive and adept at using rhetoric extolling public benefits for all to deliver targeted advantages to itself. …the beneficiaries are the providers of the public services, and certain favored or connected constituencies, rather than the general population.
Well, the remainder of the opinion piece is a genuine anticlimax. The author does not deal with the business climate in California, and has nothing to say about the shameless legislature or the initiative provision in the state constitution. Instead he offers platitudes about greater efficiency in the delivery of tax-supported services, along with other vague cure-alls.
That’s terrible, because, as this incisive article makes clear, business is a vital ingredient in both the quality of life of the citizenry and in good governance. Due to the trendy hatred of capitalism that infects today’s ruling elite, prosperity is a difficult goal. Of course the state officials who see big business as an immortal cash cow don’t think of themselves as anti-capitalists. That is no comfort to their victims. Consider what Washington state has done to Boeing:
For years, politicians and labor leaders in Washington have ignored Boeing’s pleas to stay competitive. … In 2002, (Boeing CEO) Mulally told lawmakers that Washington would have to become more competitive in taxes, unemployment insurance (UI) and regulations, among other factors, in order to keep the state attractive for Boeing.
It would be difficult to overstate labor’s role in Boeing’s decision to forego expansion in Washington. In September 2008, we wrote that Boeing machinists would likely get much more than they had bargained for when they went on strike. “Given the machinists’ apparent disregard for economic realities and their totally unsustainable demands on their employer, Boeing would be wise to take its business elsewhere.” And so it is.
As the rot spreads and slows the once-mighty engines of prosperity, two simple truths need to be resuscitated. First, greed so insatiable that it drives jobs away and forces up the price of consumer goods is not capitalism. Second, legislatures in the grip of unions is not capitalism. These abominations are ethical breaches, not economic paradigms. They are the results of human weakness.
Hate capitalism if you must, but know this: capitalists designed and provided the productivity that can never be replaced by governments that redistribute decreasing wealth.
A Footnote To The Item On Federalism In Number 111 Of This Newsletter
The friction between Keynesian fiscal policy (borrow and spend when times are tough) and federalism is natural; states can’t spend money that belongs to generations yet unborn. Keynes’s concepts, while approved of by the current federal administration (and many before it), combine the principles of snake oil salesmen and three card Monte con artists. This post makes the point cogently; quotes:
The Japanese government did absolutely everything the Austrian theory suggests it should not do in order to fight recession. It engaged in every single activity that Keynesians like Paul Krugman recommended. As a result, its slump went on for a decade and a half. Keynesians continue to recommend these very policies for the United States, as if the debacle in Japan never occurred. In late 2008 financial newspapers in the US actually began to speak of a revival of Keynesian thinking (claiming, absurdly enough, that the present crisis gave the ideas of Keynes, one of the twentieth century’s collection of inexplicably respected crackpots, a new lease of life) again with no mention of Japan.
Thomas Woods, Meltdown, A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse. Page 84.
This book is full of great passages like this. I have already quoted a nice line from Mr Woods mocking the contention that the enormous expansion of government spending in WW2 helped “solve” the Great Depression. Incredibly, there were people who actually defended this absurd idea on our comment boards. It never fails to amaze me that people overlook a basic fact of economic life: we work to produce stuff that people want to consume. The kind of state domination of a country during war, with its rationing, government direction of labour, and of course, mass conscription, hardly sounds like the sort of policy that anyone interested in increased prosperity should favour.
There is one point where I disagree with Mr Woods. He says the veneration of Keynes is inexplicable. It is in fact pretty easy to understand: he had a sort of superficial plausibility, and of course his ideas were meat and drink to politicians looking for intellectual cover to expand their powers. Even so, I do kind of wonder if Keynes would be embarrassed by some of the people who claim his name as justification for their views.
What They Do To Their Children Is Horrible; What We Do To Our Children Is Beneficial
“Britain has just suspended government support for some HT nursery and primary schools which function to indoctrinate unsuspecting Muslim children into dreaming of a global caliphate.” (Source here.)
The parallels are undeniable, for the enslavement of undeveloped minds is in all its aspects a psychological phenomenon; both abuser and abused suffer from a variety of derangement. The misbehavior transcends ideologies and manias. Madness is madness, whatever its focus, and child abuse is child abuse. (Recall that the abuser always defends his crimes as beneficial to the child.) — Note that the politically correct major media are avoiding this story; its scope and implications make it profoundly heretical.
Is any religious or political indoctrination of very young children appropriate? The rational answer has to be that the little ones live in a rapidly-changing mix of fantasy and reality, and the imposition of dogma, sacred or profane, should be kept to a minimum.
Children should grow up in a supportive atmosphere that includes ethics, limits and consequences, but no doctrines. That’s possible because neither religion nor politics are the wellsprings of ethics.
Here’s a report on how your mobile phone can be used against you now, and what it will be capable of in the near future. Besides giving people cancer, these damned things could easily be used by a totalitarian government to control the citizenry. That’s no exaggeration.
A discussion of cyber-warfare here fails to answer two simple questions: first, why are all these vital targets connected by telephone lines? Second, can’t access be denied by using some means of data transmission such as microwaves or cables — media that can’t be opened by someone who simply dials a telephone number? TLB cannot understand why everything, absolutely everything, has to be linked to the internet.
A primal reappraisal of Arendt and Heidegger is under way. It amounts to nothing less than a claim that Arendt internalized the very ethos of evil. This fascinating article must not be ignored by anyone interested in the Nazi phenomenon.
Explanations and analyses of the life of Jesus of Nazareth are a dime a dozen because the synoptic gospels are such poor historical sources. Here, just for comic relief, is a claim that Jesus got high enough to consider himself mankind’s savior after being anointed with oil laced with marijuana. Can that happen? It appears that some absorption of delta-9-THC through the skin is possible, but a search of internet sources produced nothing — probably because nobody uses pot that way. Until informed otherwise, TLB believes prolonged bathing in a mix of whatever oils and marijuana can’t produce a psychotropic effect.
Speaking of Jesus, it’s been trendy to mix New Testament teachings with Marxism for quite a while, but the result, liberation theology, is a slimy concept. In case you are interested in what Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for roughly two decades, has to say about it, give thismess a few minutes. TLB is not sure it’s racist, but it certainly mocks rational standards of oratory, and so much so that it does qualify as bullshit.
From TLB’s So, What? file comes this item with the headline, “Canadians still ‘distrust’ United States: poll.” Of course they do. The USA has freedom of speech and press.
Quote: “This is gangster government at its worst.” Yes, pretty close to it, even allowing for hyperbole. Click on the link and consider very seriously doing something to halt the descent into madness.
Education. Generally speaking, it’s a disaster in the USA. Why is that? One apt response could be that “progressives” in pedagogy have rejected the insights of one of their own, leaving the field to trendy but lunatic zealots like Billy Ayers. To see what the “progressives” have overwhelmingly rejected, read this enlightening exposition. There is hope, and its strongest unrecognized component may well be that US education is not controlled by Washington DC. Federalism puts it beyond the smothering reach of Obama. States are still free to mandate curricula, thank goodness.
Is Obama qualified to set foreign policy? There’s an interesting discussion in this report; the author tries to determine whether experience as a community organizer is relevant, and what Obama actually accomplished as an organizer. That’s interesting. For TLB, however, the real question is whether Hillary or Barry is making US foreign policy. Researching that requires a willing suspension of disgust. — Related, in a way: is Obama qualified to be president? The question is answered both by Obama and by a weblogger here.
A new TV show is said to be “a barbed commentary on Obamania that will infuriate the president’s supporters and delight his detractors.” — Later: the show draws bitter, whining complaints from frustrated anti-Tea Party “progressives.”
This was a simple issue and the bureaucrats had many months to plan how to handle it, but look at the bungling and stumbling that resulted. Remember this fiasco when somebody asks you why you don’t want all medical matters turned over to the federal government. (These folksintend to remind everybody, and the politics of connectedness once again rears its very ugly head.)
Why did Hoffman lose in New York? “He projected the image of a bluenose in a world that increasingly doesn’t want to hear about these things. Hoffman’s is a selective vision of the nanny state — you can nanny about some things but not about others. I suspect America deeply dislikes nannying about anything.” Correct; read the rest here. And a weblogger speculates: “I wonder if (sic) the tea parties won’t help bring the two wings of the Republican party together: guns and lower government spending are the two things all members can agree on.” — Note to would-be holders of elective office: fiscal prudence can no longer be packaged with the prudish, futile scolding called “family values.” Your best campaign issues involve taxes, the size of government, national security, political corruption and the restoration of common sense.
At last! TLB has been waiting for this, because it might confirm or disprove this newsletter’s contention that Israel had US help in penetrating Syrian airspace undetected when it destroyed that nuclear reactor. The verdict: suspicions not confirmed, but backed by the (probably false) claim that Israeli jets blasted a radar station to bits on the way in. That would have informed the Syrians, who, it has been widely reported, had no idea at all that hostile planes were overhead, let alone bombing anything, until long after the raid was over. Likely: electronic countermeasures blinded the Syrians, who probably ascribed the blank (Russian made) radar screens to equipment failure.
This newsletter was not the first to realize that belief in anthropogenic global warming was more faith than science (Number 11, 16 May, 2008) but it was a valid concept then, and it’s just as apt now. Yea verily, the believers go forth and witness unto the heathens. Whom they take to be fools. TLB is planning a burnt sacrifice with a huge carbon footprint to commemorate the occasion….
The proposed alternative to Obamacare is described here; the letter of transmittal from the Congressional Budget Office is here; it contains more information; and finally, the full analysis done by the Congressional Budget Office is to be found here. Then there are thepractical politics of the matter.
The FBI raids a Muslim-owned and run goat processing facility, finds the place deserted (maybe), and there is a claim that a nuclear power plant is five miles away from the slaughterhouse. What was the FBI looking for, and why was it such a big raid? That’s a deep, dark secret. Yikes.
A weblogger has been tracking the coverage of the shootings at Fort Hood, comparing how the Los Angeles Times handles the story with how the internet reports it. It’s quite a contrast.
How was it the kids used to describe maladroit babble like this? Oh, yes: “Smooth move, Ex-Lax!”
ACORN again. What matters is not the raids, but the prosecutions. In that all-important area, Holder’s so-called Department of Justice is a hypocritical disgrace.
This newsletter never joined in the truce that concluded the most recent “Freedom Fries” fuss with the French. That’s because when push comes to shove, the French remain obnoxious in many ways that are impossible to forgive. Vichy, for example.
Hilarious “commercial!” It’s not the genuine article, but it’s wonderful.
The background music is utterly dispensable, but the text and the facts are not. Look at this video and ponder the nightmare that we face.
Another chapter in the Journalists vs. Liberty saga. Heavy sigh…. They don’t believe in freedom of the press; they believe in the licensing of the press.
If something this trivial can cause a shutdown of the massive hadron collider, what harm might be done by something of genuine consequence? Do these people know what they are doing? Just asking, you understand. It’s not as if any of this multi-billion dollar stuff mattered. Mattered, that is, as much as, say, research into nuclear fusion. Which would give us cheap, clean power forever. Just asking.