The miracle of iCapitalism
By Michelle Malkin
Here is your high-resolution teachable moment of the week: anti-capitalist, anti-corporate extremists of "Occupy Wall Street" mourning Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs without a trace of irony. While the Kamp Alinsky Kids ditch school to moan about their massive student debt, parade around in zombie costumes and whine about evil corporations over poached Wi-Fi connections, it's the doers and producers and wealth creators like Jobs who change the world.
They are the gifted 1 percent whom the "99 percenters" mob seeks to demonize, marginalize and tax out of existence.
Inherent in the American success story of the iMac/iPhone/iPad is a powerful lesson about the fundamentals of capitalism. The "Occupiers" chant "people over profit." They call for "caring" over "corporations." But the pursuit of profits empowers people beyond the bounds of imagination.
I blog on an iMac. When I travel, I bring my MacBook Pro. I Tweet news links from my iPhone. My kids are learning Photoshop and GarageBand on our Macs; they use metronome, dictation, video and camera apps daily. I use the technology for business, pleasure, social networking, raising awareness of the missing, finding recipes and even tuning a ukulele.
None of the countless people involved in conceiving these products and bringing them to market "care" about me. They pursued their own self-interests. Through the spontaneous order of capitalism, they enriched themselves -- and the world.
One of my favorite economics essays from which I've drawn bottomless inspiration is Leonard Read's "I, Pencil." He turned a mundane writing instrument into an elementary study of free-market capitalism. What goes for the pencil goes for any of the products Jobs introduced.
"I have a profound lesson to teach," Read wrote in the voice of a metaphorical lead pencil. "I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because -- well, because I am seemingly so simple. Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me."
Read traces the family tree of the pencil from the Oregon loggers who harvest its cedar wood, to the California millworkers who cut the wood into thin slats, to Mississippi refinery workers, to the Dutch East Indies farmers who produce an oil used to make erasers. All of these people, and many more at the periphery of the process, have special knowledge about their life's work in their separate corners of the earth. But none by himself has the singular knowledge or ability to give birth to a pencil. Few will ever come in contact with the others who make the production of that pencil possible.
It's not because they "care about each other" that they cooperate to deliver any one good. It's the result of self-interest, multiplied millions of times over.
Read illuminates: "There is a fact still more astounding: The absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work." This spontaneous "configuration of human energies" is repeated endlessly in our daily lives. Think of the countless and diverse people involved in producing a Slinky, jump rope or baseball, a diaper, refrigerator or Boeing 747. And, of course, an iMac, iPhone or iPad.
Appreciating this voluntary configuration of human energies, Read argued, is key to possessing "an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith." Indeed. Without that faith, we are susceptible to the force of class-warfare mobs and the arrogance of command-and-control bureaucrats in Washington who believe the role of private American entrepreneurs, producers and wealth generators is to "grow the economy" and who "think at some point you have made enough money."
The progressives who want to bring down "Wall Street" will snipe that Jobs was one of "theirs," not "ours."
He belonged to no one. He was transcendently committed to excellence and beauty and innovation. And yes, he made gobs of money pursuing it all while benefiting hundreds of millions of people around the world whom he never met, but who shed a deep river of tears upon learning of his death this week.
From "I, Pencil" to iPhone, such is the profound, everlasting miracle of iCapitalism -- a triumph of individualism over collectivism, freedom over force and markets over master planning. To borrow an old Apple slogan: It just works.
Among those who have been disappointed by President Barack Obama, none is likely to end up so painfully disappointed as those who saw his election as being, in itself and in its consequences, a movement toward a "post-racial society."
Like so many other expectations that so many people projected onto this little-known man who suddenly burst onto the political scene, the expectation of movement toward a post-racial society had no speck of hard evidence behind it -- and all too many ignored indications of the very opposite, including his two decades of association with the egregious Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
Those people of good will who want to replace the racism of the past with a post-racial society have too often overlooked the fact that there are others who instead want to put racism under new management, to have reverse discrimination as racial payback for past injustices.
Attorney General Eric Holder became a key figure epitomizing the view that government's role in racial matters was not to be an impartial dispenser of equal justice for all, but to be a racial partisan and an organ of racial payback. He has been too politically savvy to say that in so many words, but his actions have spoken far louder than any words.
The case that first gave the general public a glimpse of Attorney General Holder's views and values was one in which young black thugs outside a voting site in Philadelphia were televised intimidating white voters. When this episode was broadcast, it produced public outrage.
Although the Department of Justice's prosecution of these thugs began in the last days of the Bush administration, and the defendants had offered no legal defense, the case was dropped by the Justice Department after Eric Holder took over. One of the lawyers who were prosecuting that case resigned in protest.
That lawyer -- J. Christian Adams -- has now written a book, titled "Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department." It is a thought-provoking book and a shocking book in what it reveals about the inner workings of the Department of Justice's civil rights division.
Bad as the Justice Department's decision was to drop that particular case, which it had already won in court, this book makes painfully clear that this was just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Despite the efforts of some in the media and in politics to depict the voter intimidation in Philadelphia as just an isolated incident involving a few thugs at one voting place, former U.S. Attorney Adams shows that these thugs were in fact part of a nationwide organization doing similar things elsewhere.
Moreover, the civil rights division of the Justice Department has turned the same blind eye to similar voter intimidation and corruption of the voting process by other people and other organizations in other cities and states -- so long as those being victimized were white and the victimizers were black.
This is all spelled out in detail, naming names and naming places, not only among those in the country at large, but also among those officials of the Justice Department who turned its role of protecting the civil rights of all Americans into a policy of racial partisanship and racial payback.
The widespread, organized and systematic corruption of the voting process revealed by the author of "Injustice" is on a scale that can swing not only local but national elections, including the 2012 elections. The Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder has not only turned a blind eye to blatant evidence of voter fraud, it has actively suppressed those U.S. Attorneys in its own ranks who have tried to stop that fraud.
Even in counties where the number of votes cast exceeds the number of people legally entitled to vote, Eric Holder's Justice Department sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil -- if the end result is the election of black Democrats. It has become the mirror image of the old Jim Crow South.
This is an enormously eye-opening book which makes painfully clear that, where racial issues are concerned, the Department of Justice has become the Department of Payback. A post-racial society is the last thing that Holder and Obama are pursuing.
Obama Is Occupying America
Rational people realize that President Obama's policies have been an abysmal failure, which is why his only hope for re-election is to try to sow confusion among the voters, such as those populating "Occupy Wall Street."
People often say the success of democracy depends on an informed electorate. Given his record, that's the last strategy Obama can afford to embrace. Short of a fortuitous economic miracle falling into his lap, his only hope for re-election is that enough voters are misinformed.
From day one, Obama has been savaging George W. Bush for bequeathing him "the worst economy since the Great Depression." But he hasn't scapegoated Bush alone. He also impugned "fat cat bankers" on Wall Street and other evil corporations for "creating the mess" and for being its primary beneficiaries while everyone else was hurting. Conveniently, he didn't point his accusing finger at the real culprit, the liberal affordable housing policy that he supported.
He leveraged his vague slander against Wall Street to bolster his case against free markets and "crony capitalism" and to lubricate the public for his statist remedies across the board.
His goal was to fundamentally change America -- almost overnight -- with an accelerated push toward socialism, all while insisting he was a "fierce advocate of the free market" and committed to the American ideal. He just loved capitalism, but it couldn't possibly work when all the powerful and moneyed interests were loading the dice.
The scope of Obama's undertaking has been breathtaking, as has been his level of deceit in promoting and implementing it. Borrowing from both the Saul Alinsky and Cloward-Piven models, he excused the real culprits and demonized false ones to saddle the nation with historically reckless spending programs.
He didn't just give us his stimulus bill on the heels of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which he decried despite having his fingerprints all over it. He loaded his omnibus spending bill with earmarks after promising he'd radically reduce them, took over auto companies, crammed through socialized medicine and pushed through a staggeringly problematic financial reform bill that further empowered the government to engage in the same types of tyranny that led to all this. Though he failed to pass his cap-and-trade measure, his Environmental Protection Agency has engaged in a systematic pattern of circumventing Congress to impose further smothering regulations on American businesses.
Despite his profound incompetence on many levels, Obama has been an adept propagandist who has blamed capitalism for problems caused and magnified by socialist remedies to justify further socialist solutions. He's now doing the same thing all over again as his new socialist solutions are failing.
Obama not only eschews responsibility for his primary role in the nation's economic and debt catastrophes but also is using class warfare to foment unrest in his malcontent leftist base and marshaling union thug muscle to attach a veneer of authenticity to Occupy Wall Street, a largely AstroTurf-like phenomenon. Indeed, Obama practically expressed common cause with the protesters at his recent presser and certainly did nothing to calm their ostensible fears.
To appreciate the surreal nature of Occupy Wall Street, you have to watch a few video interviews of some of the protesters and review a laundry list of their complaints. These misguided people are like probation violators castigating their probation officers for catering to their pleas for leniency.
They are taking up all the popular causes of liberalism as they protest against problems spawned by those very causes. They shake their fists at Wall Street, banks, corporations and the wealthy "1 percent," which had little to do with our national nightmare. But they give a complete pass to government and even demand that it be given more power to further destroy what still does work in America.
Nothing illustrates their collective cluelessness more than their fulminating against the national debt while demanding a redoubling of the policies and programs that caused it and will make it immeasurably worse.
Obama is laughing all the way to the evil bank, hoping he can continue to capitalize on this very type of chaos and class envy to eke out re-election in 2012. Obama's protesters are occupying Wall Street while he is occupying America.
Occupy Wall Street is a Misinformed Fraud
Am I pissed off about executives of banks walking away with golden parachutes and huge bonuses after running banks into the ground? You bet. But I am smart enough to realize that the Federal Government gave them the ammo to kill their companies via Fannie and Freddie, and then saved them with TALF and TARP. You might also remember that government forced companies like Bank of America ($BAC) to merge with Merrill Lynch ($ML), and that going back to 1998, it was President Clinton and Treasury Secretary Rubin that pushed hard for ending Glass-Steagall.
So yeah, I wouldn’t have bailed out the banks. I doubt many Tea Partiers would have. We aren’t happy about the outcome either. We don’t like Dodd-Frank and think it should be repealed. But it doesn’t mean we should nationalize and socialize the entire banking system. That would cause a worse train wreck than we already have.
The OWS crowd is really ticked off about education and student debt. So am I. Why the heck do we have so many subsidies for education? It simply drives up the cost. Education is one gigantic bloated bureaucracy. However, the OWS answer is “free education and forgiveness of student loans.” Well, screw that.
Why not offer competition in education? By the way, no one put a gun to your head an told you to borrow massive sums of money for school. You could have worked your way through, went to a community college the first two years and then a four year school. Did it occur to any of you to check out how much money a typical sociology graduate degreed person made before you ponied up more than 100K to get that sociology masters? Economics work. Used correctly, they help you make good decisions. Used poorly, you do stupid things.
Which politicians are using bigotry and hate? It’s not the right that is consistently playing the race card. Right now it’s the man in the oval office. He plays it as much as he can. I don’t hear cries of racism coming from the right. Were the OWS people in Atlanta racists for not letting a former civil rights activist turned Congressman speak? Just asking.
You guys embrace Obamacare. Yet, you don’t look at how other countries have fared with socialized medicine. Canada is starting to scrap it. England is considering it too. Entitlements eat up our budget. Why not more transparency and a free market targeted to individuals in health care?
OWS wants organic produce. They want green farming. No one takes better care of their land than the guy who owns it. We also can’t feed the world using organic means. OWS would rather see children starving than people eating. There is plenty of organic produce out there. All you have to do is buy it. Why take away freedom from people that don’t want to pay for it?
On energy policy you want green energy. Don’t we all. Problem is, the stuff doesn’t work and its too expensive. The greenest, most powerful energy source out there is nuclear and I don’t see you guys campaigning for more nuclear plants. Have you seen the damage to wildlife that wind energy has created? Energy is about economics. Increase the supply of energy and all prices will come down. But, from your statements I don’t think anyone from OWS spent a lot of time in a free market economics lecture. Google this, TINFL. Understand it. Live it.
You OWS people seem to be upset at corporations that pay no tax. Me too! But, you want to tax them more. I got news for you. Corporations never pay taxes. They are simply tax aggregators. They pass the cost to their consumers. We would be better off charging companies 0% in corporate taxes and incenting them to create jobs here in the US. Then you guys could go to work, pay off your student loans and stay out of the parks so everyone could go and enjoy them.
Most of the problems in the US stem from bad public policy and big government. Governments are awfully hard to put out of business. But it’s easy to put companies out of business. Don’t buy their product. Don’t use their services. Elect Tea Party people, they’ll shrink the size of government and give you more freedom.
We can disband all the companies if you want. We can blow up Wall Street and the capital markets. We can round up all the capitalists and send them to a camp. But, sooner rather than later the totalitarian paradise you envision will be ripped apart by economics. Black markets will tear at the fabric of your structured society. Markets eliminate transaction costs, increase transparency and make things cheaper!
Why? Because earning a profit and building economies of scale and scope are part of the human condition. Mankind has done it since the beginning of time. Our lives are easier, better and our standard of living is raised. All we really need is to get big government out of the way. The sooner you embrace that the better off you will be.
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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)