We've been talking a lot about debt bubbles and bankers these days, so my mind naturally turned to another great bubble, the grand-daddy of them all, which right now is in its final phase. I am talking about the Great Socialism Bubble.
All bubbles begin with a plausible notion. Dozens of business startups issue wildly optimistic prospectuses. In the case of socialism, there were two major prospectuses. There was the Communist Manifesto from Marx and Engels. This advertised the brilliant vision of the revolutionary business model. Then there was the Essays in Fabian Socialism by the Fabian Society. This gave us the vision of the administrative business model, a glorious future of justice, prosperity, and happiness based on "rational, factual, socialist argument."
In due course socialism did its IPOs, the most successful ones coming in 1917 and 1949. The US had its own IPO in 1965, and the Brits had one in 1945. It looked like the future was so bright we'd have to wear shades.
But then the whole thing hit a road bump in 1989 when the US won the cold war and communism collapsed in eastern Europe in 1989. But socialism wasn't done yet. With the help of two promotional geniuses it jumped the shark.
Yes. Socialism was completely out of ideas, for the administrative state is no way to provide human society with justice, prosperity, and happiness. But with spin artists like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair and easy money, it could still put on a heck of a show.
But you can only keep up an illusion for a while, and that illusion has now been shattered. Now we have entered the empty-the-safe or bankers' bonus phase. This is the moment in the caper movie when the con-men clean out the last few wads of cash in the office safe and head out of town in their fast cars or their executive jets and leave us with the mess.
This is what Barack Obama is doing with his jam-down stimulus bill, his jam-down cap-and-trade bill, and his health reform bill. The game is up at the Bank of Socialism, but there is still some money left in the safe and the Democrats are handing it out to their faithful supporters in the pre-down hours before the G-men appear and close down the bank.
But the American people sense at last that something fishy is going on and they are holding Tea Parties, knowing instinctively that a profound change in national politics is coming. They understand that it needs a new beginning at the grass roots, and so they are beginning a new politics at the grass roots.
Why not? It's the American way.