Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Shame of the Liberals

In my American Thinker piece, "The Consequences of Liberalism" I championed the individualism of the conservatives against the tribalism of liberalism.

I presented individualism as the new collectivism of the city, inaugurated by the Axial Age.  The point of individualism was not to free the individual from his ties to society, to encourage uncontrolled rugged individuals.  It was to make each person responsible individually to society and to God for his behavior.

The point of individualism is that it provides a means of socialization and fraternal ties in the city to replace the old system of clan loyalty and blood brotherhood.

Obviously, in the new city culture, the old ties of blood and kin are problematic.  Max Weber argues that the relative decline of India and China during the great world conquests of the West in the last 500 years issued from their failure to ditch caste and clan loyalties in favor of the new individualist social ethos of the western city.

Suppose you are a ruling elite.  Having read your histories and your philosophies and your theologies you would appreciate that the secret to a healthy wealthy society in the modern age was now to help people, as they move to the city, to transcend the old ties of blood and develop the new ties of individual responsibility, the ethos of the "responsible self."

If you were a wise and compassionate ruling class you would realize that the people coming to the city -- and they are coming to the city in China at the rate of over 10 million a year -- needed to hang on to their old blood and clan ties, but that they needed help, a "nudge" in fashionable argot, to transition to the new individualist "responsible ego" rather than hide in the collective mass or blame scapegoats for their problems.

This is what our liberal friends have failed to do.  First they bid for the support of the working class by appealing to class tribalism.  Now they have extended that, with their "identity politics," to race tribalism and gender tribalism.

There is only one word for this failure of nerve and failure of responsibility.  It is shameful.

Here we have a Reuters report of the great and the good gathering for a TED conference in Scotland.  There was George Papandreou of Greece.
He admitted that hardship had been imposed on people who were “in the main, not to blame for the crisis” and accused the European establishment of uncritically, and at great cost, clinging to “the orthodoxy of austerity.”

Small Greece, he argued, had been made the scapegoat for a larger political and economic failure.
Then "Didier Sornette, a professor of risk at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, took the world’s financiers to task for being so bad at anticipating asset bubbles."  Followed by a foundation director taking the ratings agencies to the woodshed.

Then there was the economics professor who argued that far from thinking of the "state sector as a Kafkaesque world of inefficiency, bureaucracy and frustration", we should remember its contribution to the Internet and the iPhone.

Then Chrystia Freeland, the Reuters reporter, talked about her "chief obsession, soaring global income inequality" and finishes up with a Russian speaker on neo-liberalism in retreat.

But of course all this is rubbish, a superficial review of the symptoms of the problem, a picture of the ruling elite thrashing around in abject failure.

The mess of the last decade is the consequence of the ruling class failing to lead and instead using its power instead to entice voters into surrendering their birthright for a mess of pottage.  And the tactics it has used, over and over again, are the tactics of tribalism.  Don't trust those bankers.  Don't trust those conservatives.  Don't trust the corporations.  Trust government to deliver pensions.  Trust government to relieve the poor.  Trust government to lean on the credit markets to get you a mortgage.

But, of course, government promises things it just cannot deliver, starting with the problem that it cannot, because nobody can, predict when and how people will be able to retire and stop working in 30 years from now.

The result has been endless disaster, starting with the German inflations of the 1920s.  Government had promised all kinds of benefits before WWI, and after the war they couldn't be met.  So the government inflated and destroyed the savings of the middle class.  Way to go, Klaus.

Then we had the central bank follies of the 1920s followed by the Great Depression.  Then after WWII we had financial repression as nations got out from the burden of WWII war debt.  Another euthanasia of the rentiers.  Then we got the Great Society, a huge increase in entitlement spending followed by the inflation of the 1970s.

While getting out of the inflation mess, we ended up bankrupting the political darlings of the Savings and Loans, at a cost of about $150 billion.  Then the government started a huge boom in housing with its government sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie and Freddie.  When they came down 2008 they nearly wrecked the global economy and required the printing presses to be sent into orbit to clean up the credit mess.  Yes, the bankers were bad, but they were just putting lipstick on the GSE pigs.

So what we are seeing is the ruling class continually trying to pitch out of a jam.  But they were the guys that got into the jam by promising things that they couldn't deliver on, that nobody could deliver on.  They were the guys offering free stuff, and who can resist free stuff.

That is the shame of the liberals.  They came offering gifts to the working stiff, and the working stiffs believed them.  When things got sticky they resorted to crude race cards and class warfare, the tricks of the tribal leader, to rally their base and keep the votes coming in.

Well, now the lies and the deceits are rebounding on the liberals.  Their vaunted Keynesian economics has delivered 1-2 percent growth.  Their comprehensive and mandatory health care plan is looking more and more like a train wreck.  Their schools are failing, and their college graduates, the ones that voted so enthusiastically for Barack Obama, are being sold into a revival of the old injustice of debt slavery, the ancient trick of the ruling class to keep the peasants down.

Yeah.  "I owe my soul to the company store" ain't got nothing on the student debt lark.

Liberals have had a great advantage over the recent decades of being able to say anything and have the mainstream media just go along.  But is it really an advantage?  It tempts them into saying things that just aren't true.  Eventually, that stuff catches up with you, as we are finding out right now.

Imagine if the media had held Barack Obama to a higher standard than the one they set for wascally Wepublicans.  Then Obama wouldn't have tried his intimidation tactics and the folks at the IRS wouldn't have thought it was their job to go after tea party groups.

And we wouldn't be looking at the Obamapaloosa scandals.  And we wouldn't be looking at a likely eruption in the 2014 elections.

Personal Note for Ruth Bader Ginsburg:  It I were you I would resign my seat on the Supreme Court next month to make sure that President Obama could get a nice liberal through the Senate before the 2014 campaign and the 2014 election.  Just a thought.

No comments:

Post a Comment