|Go Ahead Peaceful Protesters, Make My Day||It is Grand: Three Anti-capitalist Candidates for the USA|
by Christopher Chantrill
April 19, 2016 at 12:00 am
FOR SOME REASON April 15, Tax Day, is a peak day for my government spending site, usgovernmentspending.com. I would have thought that people would be looking at the site in the weeks before filing their tax returns.
The site has a similar experience with elections. The peak day is the day after the presidential election. You would think that concerned voters would be hungrily scouring the web for information on government waste and fraud in the weeks before the election.
It all goes to show that the voters, like the politicians and the bureaucrats, are always a day late and a dollar short. As Rush Limbaugh used to say in his Bill Clinton voice, “Heh heh, the buck never got here!”
In the Obama era, Rush’s joke is not funny any more.
The thing that bothers me in election season is that we are always arguing about the marginal issues. Here’s what I mean. Your basic facts about government spending in the US in 2016, federal, state and local look like this:
Government Pensions: $1.3 trillion
Government Healthcare: $1.5 trillion
Government Education: $1.0 trillion
National Defense: $0.8 trillion
Government Welfare: $0.5 trillion
Everything Else: $1.6 trillion
This is the first year that education will crack a trillion. Yay safe spaces!
Want to do something about the deficit? Then reform government pensions, starting with Social Security. Reform government healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid, instead of compounding the problem with Obamacare. Never mind about immigrants and China; they are just a distraction.
For liberals eager to fight inequality I have an idea. Take the middle class off the government dole, and make us do our own retirement and kick in for our kids’ education. Then liberals would have lots of lovely money to help the poor. Only it would just enrich the fatcat providers of services to the poor.
But liberals would never do that. Because of the third rail. Don’t touch grandpa’s Social Security, because he already paid his share, and don’t touch Medicare because that would push grandma off a cliff.
How could we have come to this? Easy, because of the very nature of government.
Government is an armed minority occupying some territory and taxing the inhabitants thereof to reward its regime supporters.
It doesn’t matter what government does or does not do. The only thing that matters is that the regime supporters get their checks.
In the old days the government was the king and the regime supporters his courtiers and the nobles. Everyone else was on the outside and justly suspicious of political power. But the miracle of modern government is to make everyone into a regime supporter, because everyone gets rewarded, by Social Security, by Medicare, by free education. That makes regime supporters out of the middle class. The poor get their own tranche of goodies, and they are told that the rich millionaire Democratic politicians are Fighting For Us, and so they are regime supporters too.
Want to make a revolution? Let the middle class tell the government to take its entitlements and its taxes and put them where the sun don’t shine. Then we middle-class voters will no longer be regime supporters, no longer hanging onto those government checks. Then we could truly tell the ruling class to take its government and shove it.
There is another category of person in the modern world, the regime enthusiast. I got this from lefty Brit prof Michael Mann in The Sources of Social Power. He uses the term “regime enthusiast” to explain 19th century people like Prussian bureaucrats and German university professors. Today we call them liberals and SJWs. The regime enthusiasts are corrupted not just by money, but by power.
You can see why the outlook is hopeless. There is always another politician peddling some new offer of free stuff to us and recruiting new regime enthusiasts with the offer of money, power, and the love of beautiful women. You might think that all the veins of recoverable free stuff have already been mined by political prospectors, but that is not so. Along comes old-timer Bernie, and goes for the gold with free health care and free college.
But Bernie’s free health care and free college is nothing. How about free Assisted Living? I predict that America’s baby boomer seniors will soon demand justice for seniors and free Assisted Living. It is not just cruel and unjust to subject Americans and their families to end-of-life worries about paying for palliative and memory care and wiping out their savings. It is also gender discrimination against Gen-X women to deny them the right to follow their bliss and force them to sacrifice the best years of their lives caring for their cranky mothers.
Where will it all end? At least usgovernmentspending.com will be there to report on the royal road to fiscal ruin.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[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.
[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
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[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 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
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
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
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
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel