The New Terrapin Gazette

Number 227

6 December, 2011


Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.


 

Is It Socialism Or Fascism — Or Something Else?

The traditional definitions are clear: under socialism, no private corporations exit; all businesses are owned by the people. Fascism leaves business in private hands, but controls every aspect of economic activity by issuing orders to everybody. Both systems prevent free markets from emerging, and both defend their authoritarian ways with populist rhetoric.

So what is the US economic/political system today?

That’s a good question with a complex answer. Obviously there are private businesses; the USA is not like Cuba, where a citizen cannot even open a small restaurant. And obviously Washington does not have the control the Nazis had under Hitler.

It is also clear that good governance requires a degree of regulation of human activity, so there are laws to protect both individuals and corporations from unethical practices. There will always be disagreement about how all-embracing and controlling regulatory agencies should be — the abuse of the commerce clause of the US federal constitution, for example, promises to be a subject of heated debate. Obamacare guarantees that.

 

Meanwhile, less known and less understood governmental activities prompted by Obama’s collectivist sentiments are easing the USA toward a peculiar mix of socialism and fascism that deserves examination. One of the most important examples of this devolution is the federal secretariat (well, “department”) of energy.

The reason: under Obama, this agency has transformed itself from a regulatory body to a venture capital investor, and it has taken on responsibilities typically held only by chief executive officers of the corporations it regulates.

Perhaps the most obvious result has been the loss of $535 million in the notorious Solyndra failure. Whose money was it? It belonged to the US taxpayers, who had no say in what happened to it. Who lost it? The Department of Energy. Where did it go, and who got it? A large portion of that money was picked up by investors in Solyndra, who used their influence to talk the Dept. of Energy into “restructuring” a huge loan so the last entity to be paid back would be the federal government, and the first would be…you guessed it: select, influential investors in Solyndra.

Now keep guessing, Pilgrims. Guess whether one of the big investors in Solyndra was and is a donor to Team Obama.

Guess whether the secretary heading the Dept. of Energy is by training, profession and experience a businessman, investor, financier, or banker. Guess whether he has spent thirty years of his working life in an unrelated field — in, say, nuclear physics. Yes, you are correct: he’s a political appointee, unqualified for his position but able to spout the jargon of investment and upper-level management. To put it unkindly, he’s an apparatchik sent in to run things.

So the agency that was supposed to regulate is now investing, controlling the lending of vast sums of money, managing a “huge portfolio” (words used by Seven Chu, the Obamite in question), and presiding over the disasters that are Solyndra and Beacon.

The federal government is in business. It controls rather than merely regulates. It mandates funding, it makes the rules, it decides policy, and it takes risks with the taxpayers’ money. It also sees to the financial interests of well-connected individuals.

If you don’t believe all this, perhaps you need to do a little research.

 

Trot out a good search engine, select a few search terms — there are many in the text above — and inform yourself.

As you begin your quest for more information, file the following contentions away for future reference: whether it’s socialism or fascism, it is always corrupt. Power concentrated in the hands of those who can seize it is inherently corrupt. When politics can control the means of production and distribution, the loser is always the overwhelming majority of the citizenry. Populist appeals are always attempts to seize power. Labels matter less when free markets are repressed, so whatever you call Obama’s political/economic creation, all that really matters is that it is not in the best interests of the nation.

Yes, we have seen it all before, and we know it comes in various sizes, shapes, and colors. It’s The Tweed Ring, it’s Teapot Dome, it’s Chicago’s infamous political Gehenna, it’s the Pendergast Machine, it’s the gangs and cartels and elites and genuine conspiracies that greedily distort the economic system and bleed the taxpayers. Sometimes it is discreet crony capitalism; sometimes it’s the sheer lust for power enabled by a lazy, unprincipled electorate. Sometimes it is the zealotry of ideologues who have been seduced by Utopian theories. In truth, it’s really just corruption, though it’s not pure and it’s never simple.

The remedy for abuse of power is the vigorous defense of Liberty. That means free men acting in free markets. It means justice that is genuinely objective, and is kept so in spite of rascals like Eric Holder. It means regulatory agencies that can not overstep their authority without being detoxified and reformed.

So…what are you going to do about it?

 

Links

Speaking of Eric Holder….he’s in trouble, thank goodness.

If you believe the USA is currently pro-Israel, you are mistaken. Foggy Bottom is ethically confused.

Science in the service of a hoax. Yes, it’s AGW again (heavy sigh). How do you know it’s bogus? Eight things will tip you off.

The future, as envisioned by an Islamist.

The contest for the GOP nominee for president degenerates to self-parody; Ron Paul sees the problem at once, and does the right thing.

A Los Angeles Times writer has delivered herself of a feature article on the decline of support for global warming countermeasures — all without even mentioning the multiple scandals hounding the fraud. For many folks, the bad science is gospel truth. Lest doubt be legitimated or an objective investigation of the facts be prompted, any reference to the mere existence of heretical objectivity is forbidden speech.

Science is amazing. It will work unimagined wonders in the future, but this is just not going to happen.

Nokia says it’s not guilty. The offense may be actionable wiretapping, and the consequences of that highly illegal act may be devastating to the tappers. If the information gleaned from mobile phones is being handed to the federal government, what are the political implications? Remember, virtually all “progressives” support Obama, and those folks loathe The Patriot Act. This newsletter awaits further developments with baited breath.


The masthead includes a quote from the works of Frederic Bastiat.

The staff of The New Terrapin Gazette expresses its sincere gratitude to the many people who have gifted the world with Arch Linux, Emacs, and Chromium.

Publisher:The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee