Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When Will Atlas Shrug?

What is the breaking point? Where will the resistance form? Heavy questions, but unavoidable in the current political climate. The productive members of society can only be pushed so far, some say. What they envision is not defiance of law or a reversal of the election. It is people’s growing disengagement from a new economic order that punishes effort and rewards envy – the creepy future that Barack Obama and the Democrats intend for us. Columnist Michelle Malkin calls that withdrawal, “going Galt.”

Malkin was the first speaker when several hundred Coloradans gathered for a free-market leadership conference in Colorado Springs on March 6-7. Her reference was to John Galt, the individualist hero of Ayn Rand’s novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” She told of seeing a placard at the Denver protest rally for Obama’s stimulus bill signing that warned: “Atlas will shrug.”

So what, you ask. So in human behavior, incentives matter. People are choosers, not automatons. Mess them over enough and they’re out of here. All history proves it. “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us,” the bitter joke among Soviet factory drones, sums up collectivism’s ultimate failure wherever tried.

Of course in the 1950s, when Rand was writing her epic about a slow-spreading spontaneous strike among Americans fed up with big government, tomorrow supposedly belonged to New Soviet Man. Reagan, Thatcher, and John Paul II, the three champions of freedom who would prove otherwise, weren’t yet heard of.

But we’re now told that 2008, with its routine recession and its celebrity election, showed freedom is untrustworthy after all. Economic makeover via legislative intervention is the fashion fad of 2009, driven by Obama and congresssional Democrats under Pelosi and Reid. Suddenly everyone’s a socialist, crows Newsweek. Suddenly the headlines mirror “Atlas Shrugged,” laments the Wall Street Journal.

The novel -- with John Galt as capitalist superman and Dagny Taggart, Ayn Rand’s alter ego, as railroad tycoon – may not be great literature. But its message of radical self-reliance has inspired millions across the decades. And as a Coloradan, I like it that the story is set right here. “We can’t lose Colorado. It’s our last hope,” says a Taggart employee at the start. A Rocky Mountain valley is the retreat from which Galt triumphs at the end.

Retreat attendees in Colorado Springs, where Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute spoke after Malkin and “Atlas Shrugged” was assigned reading, weren’t about to unplug Galt-style from daily life in protest against wind power, national health care, and charity-choking taxes. But they took seriously the disincentive effects against wealth creation and social comity in these and other collectivist proposals. We should too.

As ever more people ride in the wagon and fewer are left to pull it, there will come a breaking point. Crowding taxation onto the highest earners and debt onto our kids, as President Obama proposes, invites collapse. Ignoring the constitution at will, as statists and the spending lobby do, breeds contempt. Ruin must result. Did the USA learn nothing from the USSR’s implosion, wondered Vladimir Putin recently.

Yes, we did. Cold War victory taught us the power of ideas. The East crumbled when the West asserted the superiority of liberty, wakened by thinkers like Hayek with his expose’ of the road to serfdom and Bastiat with his ridicule of “everyone seeking to live at the expense of everyone else.”

Also influential was Rand with her capitalist commandos. Galt and Taggart’s crusade was idea-powered. With moral truth they defeated the lies of something for nothing and freedom through coercion. Not even the government office of Morale Conditioner, censoring radio, could stop their entrepreneurial comeback. Their strike against the redistributionist guilt trip was fiction. But we can shrug it off for real. The Tea Party movement is a symptom. Colorado may again play a role.



Iran-loving Jewish slime is confronted with reality -- but stays slimy

Sadly, "Judenhass" is not confined to Gentiles. There's a lot of it among Jews too

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen sparred with members of Los Angeles' Iranian Jewish community about his recent columns on Iranian Jews. JTA has the story, and the L.A. Jewish Journal has the video from the synagogue forum last Thursday night. Cohen offers his own reflections of the event in his column on Monday.

This time, after hearing from Iranian Jewish expats, he makes one concession in his rosy analysis of the status of Jews in Iran. He writes: "Just how repressive life is for Iran's Jews is impossible to know. Iran is an un-free society." He also manages to note one good thing about Israel -- because it serves to make a positive point about the government in Iran: "This is the Middle East's least undemocratic state outside Israel."

But that's as far as the good news from Cohen goes. He suggests Tehran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is "pragmatic," describes Washington's ties with Israel as a "cozy, static regional relationship" and echoes those who have blamed the "Israel lobby" for the withdrawal of Charles "Chas" Freeman's candidacy for a senior intelligence post in the Obama administration.

Though the Times itself has endorsed that last point in its coverage of the Freeman affair, JTA's Ron Kampeas laid that myth to rest in a brilliant blogpost on March 9, a day before Freeman withdrew his name from consideration for the post, and in countless blogposts since (see Capital J, JTA's politics blog, for ongoing coverage of the Freeman affair).

SOURCE (See the original for links)


BrookesNews Update

The Obama economy and the stock market: What gives with the markets? The recent rally did not reflect any improvement in the real economy, which is still contracting. Perhaps it is time that economic commentators took an interest in Bernanke's monetary shenanigans and how they might be influencing the markets not to mention their possible detrimental effect on future economic developments
Obama challenges the law of markets : Obama's economic policies are guaranteed to solve nothing while doing a great deal of harm to the US economy, even if Bernanke's monetary expansion works in the short term. Unfortunately, it is far easier to state an economic fallacy than it is to refute one. This is why refutations tend to be rather lengthy
Christian socialism: an oxymoronic doctrine: Christian socialists are just as ignorant and as bigoted as secular socialists when it comes to the market place and capitalism. To read this lot you would think the world was on the verge of destruction and that the 'exploited' masses are clothed in rags. Fortunately Obama has arrived to save the day
Booms and busts are like whiskey and gunpowder : The Fed raised interest rates and flooded the market with dollars 80 years ago, and caused the great depression. It did the same thing between 1995 and 2000, by increasing the money supply 52 percent, which caused the 'dot com' bubble to burst. The Fed's lowering interest rates eleven times to help us out of the dot com bubble, started the housing bubble. And as is par for the course the free market gets the blame for the consequences of the Fed's gross monetary mismanagement
Recession and Recovery: Six Fundamental Errors of the Current Orthodoxy : The Obama administration's ambitious plans for government action on many fronts fill vulgar Keynesians with hope that a Great Leap Forward is now beginning in which huge increases in government spending, debt, regulations and monetary expansion will transform the US economy into a Statists paradise. It ain't going to happen
Has illegal immigration and its effect on education become the "third rail of politics?" : The Democrats implicit support for illegal immigration and a corrupt media's vicious demonization of anyone who raises the issue has had catastrophic consequences for California. The idea that open borders promote growth and harmony has been exposed as a sick joke
Democrats fiddle while America burns : While the Obama administration blunders on the investment drops, unemployment rises, allies are insulted, foreign affairs goes to hell and America's enemies make hay while a corrupt media run interference for him. But the guy still gives great speeches


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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