Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Liberalism Starts Shutting Down

Back in the old days liberalism was a plaything of the educated youth.  Angry young men like Karl Marx saw the suffering of the hungry 1840s in Germany and declared that there had to be a better way that didn't put such a heavy burden on the workers. The Pre-Raphaelites and the Fabians sneered at the atomism of individualism and its reduction of every value to the materialistic "will it pay?"  These young men and women looked at the world and found it to be unjust.

Youth is always good at coming up with sweeping, idealistic theories, temples of reason, to show the way to the glorious future of peace and justice.

There's just one little problem.  That government is force.  Government is always an army looking for a war to fight.  In the 19th century you can argue that government had a mandate to fight against the cruel working conditions in the mines and the factories.

In those days, without a doubt, the rich were fat and idle, and the poor were thin and overworked.

But now?

Now we have Obamacare just rolling out, and, surprise surprise, the insurance exchange websites don't work.  And women are greeting their husbands in tears because their health insurance premiums have gone up.  That's because, necessarily, Obamacare is a war.  It's a war on... well what, exactly?

Government tends to get into two kinds of war.  There are wars for justice, noble efforts to blow away the accretions and cruelties of the ancien regime.  And then there are wars of loot and plunder, evil efforts to descend on ordinary people and hated minorities and strip them of their wealth and assets.

The government army always marches under the flag of justice but is often really engaged upon a orgy of plunder.

That's how to understand modern liberalism in general and Obamacare in particular.  The whole point is to distribute loot among the Democratic voting base.  That how you explain the waivers.

That's even how you explain the government shutdown.  The Dems need to frighten their supporters every now and again to make them realize how much they need their tribal leaders.

Hey you guys!  Without us you would be nothing!  Richard Fernandez thinks that the Democratic position in the shutdown saga is weaker than the Dems are letting on.
 Like any Ponzi scheme they need money to keep the pensions, the promises, the whole system of rewards going. Like a Ponzi setup, an ever-enlarging Big Government has only two modes: a brilliant tomorrow or total failure.
The Dems don't have any room to negotiate, for "a step back in the ever forward drive for bigger government means not smaller government but the cliff."  Why, if the Dems concede something to the Republicans this time then the GOP will be back for more concessions next time.  Where will it end?

So the grand visions of the 19th century have collapsed into the grubbing  attempts to borrow money to keep "the whole system of rewards going," to keep the troops from deserting.

It has been ever thus.  The king starts out on a magnificent campaign to conquer vast new lands, but eventually starts to run out of money.  For a while he can keep the army together by looting the countryside and by exhortations.  But eventually, without more money, the army melts away and the glorious campaign comes to nothing.

That's the advantage of capitalism for government.  When you have a thriving economy the government can tax and borrow to fund unimaginable wars, foreign and domestic.  But you want to be careful not to gum up the works with stupid regulation and wasteful subsidies.  Because then you might kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.  And you might frighten away the widows and orphans that you need to keep buying the government's bonds.

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