|"Liberal History" from Osawatomie Bam||Obama's Sterilized Society|
by Christopher Chantrill
December 27, 2011 at 12:13 am
IF YOU WANT to understand the deep political philosophy underneath the Obama administrations random-walk economic policy, it is this. Freeloading.
When you really try to cudgel your brain in a good-faith effort to understand liberals, and try to understand the talk about inequality and exploitation, thats the answer. Springtime for freeloaders. Summer, autumn, winter, all year round for freeloaders. Its the new thing for getting ahead in the predator class.
What, after all, is the NRLB-union gang tackle on Boeing, the idea that opening a union-free plant in South Carolina is an unfair labor practice? How come, all of a sudden after Boeing agrees to build the Boeing 737-MAX in union-rich Renton, Washington, everything is suddenly copacetic? Its pretty obvious. Keep those union jobs in Washington State or else.
What about the raid on Gibson Guitar? What about the half billion dollar sinkhole called Solyndra? What about the forests of wind turbines, each a cosy subsidy nest for some well-fledged crony capitalist? Freeloaders all, and they all vote for Democrats.
You wouldnt want people to go running around doing things without permission. They might figure out that they dont need to pay a powerful patron to play in Washington. They might decide to earn and honest living and forget all about rent-seeking and freeloading.
Ive been reading the excellent new Steven Pinker title, The Better Angels of Our Nature. Its all about the decline of violence in humans over the millennia. Back in the good old days of hunter-gatherers, violence was epidemic. Youd send the young men for a dawn raid on the neighboring village and theyd kill everyone. Of course they would, because any survivors could start a war of vengeance. Anyway, when land was wealth, the chaps in the other village were competing for a fixed resource: better get rid of them now. Life was a zero-sum game, and that left predation as the only way people could add to their wealth. Violence, according to Pinker, is always strategic. People only choose violence when the expected benefits outweigh the expected costs. Some deniers still think that way.
But the science is in on this.
Modern capitalism is different. Capitalism is a positive-sum game, because specialization and commerce allow people to trade surpluses, and everyone benefits. Businessmen also learn to be nice to people because otherwise a competitor can woo their customers away. Why would you want to make war on your customers and destroy that long-term relationship that benefits you both?
So violence comes down, from a violent death rate of maybe 500 deaths per 100,000 population per year for hunter-gatherers down to the 10 deaths per 100,000 in north-western Europe in 1600, and the 1 to 5 deaths per 100,000 per year of the developed nations today. Everything is fine now, right?
Not quite. These days, with states controlling violence, there is a new strategic temptation. You dont need to launch a dawn raid on the neighboring village or nation any more. Not when you can use government to bully or guilt-trip your neighbor into letting you freeload.
Government is force; politics is talking about force. People only choose force when the expected benefits outweigh the expected costs. Get control of the government and you can launch a career of strategic violence, only these days, with humans so pacified, you dont actually have to show the people your guns and your instruments of torture. You just call people racist or mean-spirited. Then while they are still embarrassed and red-faced, you pass a law to pick their pockets. Freeloading: its what President Obama and his Chicago crowd are all about.
To believe in freeloading you need to be a bitter clinger hanging onto a pre-modern world view that experiences a zero-sum world of inequality and exploitation where the only way to get ahead is to put the other guy behind.
Whether it is bullying people to buy mercury-filled lightbulbs, or bullying Boeing to sign up for more union labor, or bullying people into government health care, or forcing the American people to pay good money to crony solar and wind capitalists, or jacking up the price of energy to save the planet, or bullying millionaires and billionaires into coughing up more taxes, its the new dance at the predators ball.
Lets have a national conversation. Lets talk about big government; lets talk about freeloaders; lets talk about crony capitalists. Lets divide the nation. Lets separate the makers from the takers, the freeloaders from the workers, the exploiters from the exploited, the retire-at-55 chaps from the work-till-you-die Walmart greeters, the employment-at-will folks from the lifetime-tenure folks, the rent-seekers from the wealth-creators, the road warriors from the class warriors.
The wonderful thing about President Obama is that he has concentrated our minds on all this. Thanks, Barack. For the first time in my life I am really proud of liberals.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America