Thursday, September 17, 2009
Obama is one of a long line of Fascists
One way to avoid dealing with the substance of an argument is to simply caricature your opposition by focusing on its extreme elements. This is intellectually dishonest. As far as I am concerned, it is not necessary to highlight the true crazies of the left -- Moveon.org, Code Pink, environmental terrorists, PETA, etc. -- because the mainstream is already so nuts. It's a full time job just dealing with the New York Times, CNN, Keith Olbermann, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Van Jones, ACORN, etc.
I've read any number of mainstream analyses of the tea party movement, and not one of them dispassionately discusses the substance of the arguments, i.e., out of control government spending, socialized medicine, legislation to forbid the climate from changing, etc.
To be honest, this post is just an excuse for me to review and assimilate Hayek's Road to Serfdom, which I finished yesterday. Although originally published in 1944, it is as timely as ever, given the events of the day. I had already read some of Hayek's other books, not to mention a couple of recent biographies, but this is considered his most accessible work. There was nothing in it that was new for me, but it certainly reinforces the fact that there isn't anything the least bit controversial about linking Obama and fascism. Indeed, Obama is simply acting from a script that was written (and discredited) long ago. It's timeless, really.
Again, at the time it was published, Hayek was trying to make the then-controversial point that communism and fascism were not opposites, but two consequences of the same underlying assumptions. These assumptions are profoundly illiberal, which is why, if you want to reduce it to a linear map, both socialism and fascism are on the left, while classical liberalism is on the right. But this is not really a useful distinction. I much prefer the four-quadrant graph I discussed yesterday, which distinguishes collectivism from individualism and the worldly from the spiritual.
A classical liberal of the American type believes first and foremost in liberty. But not the unconstrained horizontal liberty of the radical secularist. Rather, it can only be understood in a spiritual context, which is why the Founders wanted a secular state but a religious society infused with Judeo-Christian principles and values. None of them imagined that democracy would work in the absence of a virtuous population (although I am quite sure that our trolls can find the stray comment by a Jefferson or Paine justiying their own hatred of God).
It is important to point out that while critics of the tea party movement will cherry-pick some of the signs to focus on, they object just as much to the intellectual substance. The signs just give them a convenient way to avoid debate.
Thus, when The Road to Serfdom was published in the 1940s, it was greeted by the liberal ignorantsia exactly as if Hayek were holding up a sign of Roosevelt with a Hitler moustache. He was dismissed not just as wrong, but sinister (again, without ever engaging the substance of his ideas). This is because virtually all intellectuals at the time were unquestioned socialists. Of course, they accused Hayek of being "reactionary," which was transparent projection, just as today.
As I've said before many times, I don't necessarily blame someone for being a socialist in the 1930s or 1940s, before economics was the science it is today. Socialism has an intrinsic appeal, especially to intellectuals who believe that irreducibly complex problems are susceptible to easy solutions if we just apply enough brain power. This is one of the reasons the left is so enamored of Obama. For whatever reason, they all think he's "brilliant," so that he can "solve our problems." The same things were said of Clinton. But as Milton Friedman famously remarked, no one has all the knowledge necessary to produce even a single pencil, let alone "control healthcare."
Nevertheless, one of the reasons Hayek doesn't appeal to the left wing ignorantsia is that he renders them not just superfluous, but demonstrates how dangerous they are -- not necessarily because of any bad intentions on their part. To the contrary. It is nearly always with the best of intentions. It is just that they are attempting to control reality before having understood it. The grandiose visions of the left are just fairy tales by another name.
But what is worse, they cannot understand the realities they presume to control, not in fact, nor in principle. Can't be done. A free market economy, for example, consists of millions of people making billions of spontaneous decision based upon a practically infinite amount of knowledge, information, and wisdom dispersed throughout the system. Furthermore, it is non-linear, so that if you tinker with one variable, it will have unforeseen -- and unforeseeable -- consequences that will reverberate throughout the system...
But the left is always blind to the consequences of their policies. And because they are rooted in emotion, not thought, they will simply vilify you if you disagree with them, as they did with Hayek.
The other day, Tom Friedman removed the mask and argued that China was a good country for the United States to emulate, because only with an authoritarian state would it be possible to impose Friedman World on the rest of us. In this regard, Hayek wrote that, once one concludes that central planning is necessary, this leads to "the demand that the government, or some single individual, should be given power to act on their own.... It becomes more and more the accepted belief that... the responsible director of affairs must be freed from the fetters of democratic procedure" (emphasis mine).
Not only has every liberal commentator (including the President) taken Sarah Palin's "death panels" comment out of context, but they refuse even to acknowledge that the responsible director of medical affairs must be freed from the fetters of democratic procedure in deciding how medical resources will be allocated. How is this belief controversial?
In his introduction to the book, Caldwell notes that Hayek's ideas are not just a kind of "lightning rod," but a Rorschach test that reveals "as much about the reader's prior commitments as it does about Hayek's ideas." Both the ideas and the reaction to them are timeless, man being what he is. After all, slavery and serfdom are the rule in human history, not the exception. Therefore, it is not as if these were simply accidental developments in human history. To the contrary, the culture of liberty is clearly the exception.
But the leftist believes to his core that liberty is possible in a culture of servitude. Apparently, he never pauses to think that for a third or half the year he is in bondage to the state. In my case, there is federal tax, state tax, property tax, payroll tax, sales tax, gas tax, beer tax, and more, not to mention various licenses and fees. And the government is still bankrupt!
Does the leftist really not put two and two together and understand that for the government, it always equals five? Does he really believe that there is no justification for anger at the size and scope of government? Does he really believe that it is somehow "liberal" to want to work even more for an even larger state? Does he really not acknowledge his bottomless greed and sense of entitlement for the fruits of our labors?
Our "Intolerance Festival"
It's very easy to be outraged by the way our "objective" media greeted the massive Sept. 12 rally against Big Government in Washington and across the country. They treated it as a menacing surge of white anger, meanness, and racism. But all the media bias against this rally clearly illustrates one nagging truth for media liberals: They really don't think conservatives should be allowed to protest. It's somehow like a copyright violation.
On Monday night's "Countdown," MSNBC's David Shuster found the protest united "in apparent hatred of the current president, Barack Obama." It was undemocratic, a sign of people not accepting election results, and Shuster even suggested Sen. Jim DeMint's speech at the rally signaled he favored a "military coup." The unglued anchorman also dismissed the crowd as "white, whiter and whitest," all attending an "intolerance festival."
Now, remember David Shuster in 2003, when all kinds of unsavory radical-left elements were opposing President Bush's aim to liberate Iraq. ("Bush lied, thousands died." Remember that?) The leader of the opposition was Ramsey Clark, America's nutty left-wing lawyer for a collection of disreputable dictators, and the man who would in time represent Saddam Hussein in court. But the protesters weren't nasty, even as they railed against Bush and greedy, imperialist, blood-for-oil America. They were ... a superpower.
On "Hardball," Shuster thumped the bongos for dissent: "The size of the demonstrators, at least here, at least in Europe, seems to underscore, Chris, that there are now perhaps two world superpowers. There's the United States and then there are those millions of people who took to the streets opposing U.S. policy."
Over on ABC, anchorman Bill Weir, the man who became a national laughingstock for crowing on Inauguration Day that "even the seagulls must have been awed" by Barack Obama's crowd, could find only a mob "descending" on Washington like the flying monkeys of the Wicked Witch of the West: "This morning, outrage. Protesters descend on Washington to rally against the president's health care plan. As civility gives way to shouting, what's fueling all this anger?"
But on that same ABC network, back in 2003, the attitude was different. Anchor Chris Cuomo told viewers that throughout history, protesters have been a leading national indicator of wisdom: "While protesters like today are a statistical minority, in American history, protests like this have been prescient indicators of the national mood. So the government may do well to listen to what's said today." ....
March on 9/12 shows the right on the rise: "Judging by the massive crowd on Saturday that descended on Washington for the 9/12 March, you’d have to be deaf not to recognize that small-government conservatism remains a vital part of the national conversation. If you’ve been fed a steady media diet of MSNBC over the last few months, though, you could be excused for fearing a Pennsylvania Avenue takeover by a rabble of pitchfork-wielding cranks and extras from ‘Deliverance.’ But the crowd — ‘in excess of 75,000 people,’ according to a D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman — was made up of orderly, pleasant, middle-class Americans from all across the country.”
House GOP moves to cut ALL Federal funding to ACORN: "Today House Republicans will introduce a bill that would end all federal funding to ACORN and its affiliates. Republicans are also sending a letter to President Obama on the same subject. The action comes after the release, on the website BigGovernment, of three undercover videos showing ACORN employees in Baltimore, Washington DC, and New York City offering advice on how to evade taxes, cover up prostitution activity, and abet the use of minors in prostitution. In the wake of those disclosures, the U.S. Census cut its ties with ACORN, and yesterday the Senate voted 83-7 to cut off housing funds for the organization."
ACORN again: "There have been some amazingly outrageous things that have come to light as a result of Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe's undercover investigation of various ACORN offices. But the explosive new video Glenn Beck will run tonight on his 5pm Fox show just might be the most shocking. In the video, ACORN staffer "Theresa" confesses to having dabbled in the prostitution industry herself in the past. In addition, she confesses a pattern of past abuse led her to shoot and kill her own husband. PS: Hey "mainstream" media --do you think you could actually cover this story now?"
Jimmah does it again: "Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst to President Barack Obama during a speech to Congress last week was an act "based on racism" and rooted in fears of a black president. "I think it's based on racism," Carter said at a town hall held at his presidential center in Atlanta. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president." [Projection at work: Carter is himself an antisemite]
Smash the labor monopolies!: "When President Obama addresses the AFL-CIO on Sept. 15, he is expected to reiterate his support for the so-called Employee Free Choice Act. Congress is sharply divided over the proposed law, which would change the voting and arbitration procedures by which federal law forces companies to deal with labor unions. Because the changes favor Big Labor, pro-union Democrats have been locked in a prolonged partisan squabble with their Republican opponents, and legislative compromise seems likely. But that’s really beside the point. Instead of quibbling over the methods by which unions can be forced upon unwilling employers and employees, Congress should be debating how to make the labor market truly free--free from government coercion. For more than 70 years, Congress has maintained a statutory scheme that fastens coercive labor monopolies on individual companies. Starting with the Wagner Act in 1935, any union that wins a simple majority of employee votes becomes, by force of law, the exclusive bargaining agent for every single employee in that workplace. Such a victory slams the door shut on individuals who want to deal directly with the company"
We the rats, we the children: "We aren’t rats. Nor are we children. But Congress and the Obama Administration seem to think so. From Cash-for-Clunkers to the idea that all Americans should be forced to buy health insurance, our leaders are moving away from stewardship of the Constitution to a rewards-and-punishments government. ‘Stimulus and response’ meets ‘hope and change.’ It’s for your own good. But the idea that they can subsidize and tax their way to utopia has its roots in a discredited theory from early 20th Century — the psychology of B.F. Skinner.”
Michael Moore not happy with Democrats either: "Michael Moore was on hand last night at the premier of his latest film, "Capitalism: A Love Story... Mr. Moore is a kind of political weather vane on the left, so interesting is his latest choice of political villains. He gives Barack Obama a free pass for supporting corporate bailouts, but he rakes Bob Rubin, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner ("a failure at everything he has done in life") over the coals. The crowd at Byham Theater, including incoming AFL-CIO boss Rich Trumka, hissed at the mention of each member of this Democratic economic policy troika. Another Moore target is Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, already in deep trouble in his re-election fight next year. Mr. Moore tracks down the Countrywide official who handled sweetheart mortgages for "FOAs" -- friends of Countrywide boss Angelo Mozilo -- including over $1 million for Sen. Dodd. "I guess the point of capitalism," Mr. Moore says in the film, "is it allows you to get away with anything." I guess the point of a Michael Moore movie is that his tendentious logic allows him to make a good living."
UK: Benefits plan to “make work pay”: "Plans to get 600,000 people off welfare and into work are being proposed by an independent think tank set up by former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith. The Centre for Social Justice proposes scrapping a system which it says makes it difficult for people to earn more at work than they get in benefits. It says spending more than £3.7bn to subsidise those on low wages in the UK would make work pay for more people. But experts warn that politicians will be cautious about the high cost. All parties are looking to cut welfare bills and reduce the long-term jobless.”
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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)
Posted by JR at 12:34 AM