Thursday, November 8, 2012

Forget the Tactics and Messaging

Reading the postmortems on the 2012 election I see a lot of people worrying about tactics and messaging.  We didn't appeal in the right way with the right candidate with the right messages.

All true, but don't forget that the Prussians won the Franco-Prussian war despite some severe tactical mistakes.  They won because they had the better strategy; they had their larger formations in the right place.

That's why I believe we should take a deep breath and step back. The larger question is the question of the administrative welfare state.  Is it a social and political system that is: just, practical, sustainable.

The obvious answer is that the welfare state is profoundly unjust, for it merely instantiates the age old rule of the stronger over the weaker.  Welfare state politics is nothing more than the mobilizing of regime supporters with the promise of loot.

The welfare state is impractical because it does not have the bandwidth to manage society and its millions of transactions.  The administrative method can work for an army, although only just, because an army has a limited goal and it frankly admits that it uses its soldiers as cannon fodder.  In an economy and a society, we have the idea that the ends do not justify the means.  It is the means that matter and that means we cannot use the administrative method which treats everyone in its structure as a means.

Finally, the welfare state is profoundly unsustainable because, like all political systems, it cannot respond to change.  Politics is a human way of resisting change, of trying to set things up for all eternity.  That is a mirage.  A wise political system limits the power of government because it knows that it cannot anticipate every need and every accident.  We have a system for that; it is called capitalism.

In these days the world looks very dark for conservative ideas.  President Obama has cunningly characterized the utter bankruptcy of liberal ideas as President Bush's fault.  He can do that because when a Democratic president says something the mainstream media do not insert those snappish little paragraphs that begin "But critics say..."

But now the president must "do something" about the budget and about the economy.  My guess is that, whatever he does, nobody will be happy.

As Winston Churchill is reputed to have said, America always does the right thing. In the end.

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