Friday, January 13, 2017

The Left's Conceit About "Resistance"

Now that the Democrats have lost the Senate, and the House of Representatives, and the presidency, there is only one way out. Resistance. So says Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

And so says former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

And that's to say nothing of true lefties like Chapo Trap House and Jacobin.

Actually, I get it. I really do. These are people that want war. They like the feeling they get from getting all riled up about injustice and racism, and they mean to do something about it. They mean to teach America a lesson. With  peaceful protest, if appropriate. With violent resistance, if that is what it takes.

Hey, I understand. I get the same feeling when I see President-elect Trump tell CNN that they are fake news. Yeaaghh! That'll teach them.

Over the past 50 years, my political lifetime, the left has periodically reasserted the right of resistance. And conservatives have usually tried to be nice. That's because liberals have had the whip hand, with the threat that any conservative that got out of line would be named and shamed as a racist. That was in the 1960s. Then a conservative could be named and shamed as a sexist. That was in the 1970s. Now a conservative lives in terror of being named a homophobe.

So conservatives are not allowed to resist. On pain of naming and shaming. Or the kind of harassment that the University of California at Berkeley is dishing out to the Berkeley Campus Republicans that have invited MILO to speak on campus.

This is all great fun for the left so long as conservatives play along and refrain from hitting back. They can threaten and accuse and protest and attack, and nobody dares to push back. So we see various Democrats with their vile attacks on Sen. Jeff Sessions in his nomination hearings for Attorney General. Sen. Sessions does not fight back. Because racism.

But when Donald Trump pushes back and accuses CNN of fake news!  Resist!

Actually, I get the rage and frustration of blacks like Cory Booker and John Lewis. How could it be that after 50 years of civil rights laws and eight years of Obama that blacks are still sitting in the back of the bus? There must be racism under the bed.

There is a simple answer to that. It is that politics is a very blunt instrument. It can do something about gross injustice.

Well, no, not exactly. With politics you can roll back the accumulated injustices enacted into positive law by the previous ruling class. Such as Jim Crow laws. Such as laws that force blacks to sit in the back of the bus.

But what politics cannot do is create a heaven on earth where politicians and activists administer and regulate the economy and create a world where the arc of history bends towards justice.

You get to understand that if you also understand my basic definition of government:
Government is an armed minority occupying territory and taxing the inhabitants thereof to reward its supporters. What the inhabitants get in return is the hope of protection.
Notice what is missing here. There is no real indication that the armed minority will really do any good for their supporters beyond buying their support. And not the least indication that the armed minority will provide much in the way in protection for the ordinary inhabitants of the occupied territory.

What matters is not the goodies that the armed minority hands out to its supporters. What matters is that the armed minority, despite its pursuit of political power, allows a free market economy, properly supported by property and commercial law, to develop and thrive, so that people can enter into social and economic cooperation without the dulling effect of the clunking fist of political power.

But of course this is a notion that a ruling class and its supporters find almost impossible to accept. After all, their lives are devoted to politics, so politics and "our democracy" must be the answer to every question. Right, President Obama?

And the left, ever since Marx, has believed in the saving truth of political power. Is it 1850? Then the only thing to prevent the working class from being ground into dust is political power. Is in 1965? Then the only thing that can save African Americans from white supremacy is civil rights acts enforced by a huge administrative bureaucracy. Is is 2016? Then the only thing that can save gays from hate is the humiliation of Christian bakers. Is it 2017? Then the only thing to prevent reaction is to harass the Berkeley College Republicans when they invite controversialist MILO to the University of California at Berkeley.

Last night, before I went to bed, I read a few pages of Max Weber talking about the commercial economy. He started with slavery, which he showed to be rather a tricky and unreliable way of running a business. First of all, you have to pay for the slaves, and the price of slaves fluctuates. Then you have to support the wives and children. Then you usually don't get skilled labor that you can trust to get on with the job without close supervision. Much better to engage free labor, which you don't have to "buy" and whose wives and children are their own responsibility, not yours. Plus, of course, you can trust your free labor much more than slave labor.

This confirms my own opinion that the reason we have gloriously abolished slavery -- except in the liberal welfare plantation and in the fact that we tax 30-40 percent of the output of free labor -- is that slavery doesn't pay. It's much better to put the burden of life, the universe and everything on the brow of free labor than to indulge the conceit that you get better results by force and domination.

That is something that our lefty "progressives" do not understand. That is what ruling-class grandee Robert Reich does not understand with his conceit about "resistance." Once you have removed the deliberate barriers to engage in market activity -- by Jim Crow laws, by licensing laws, by a fetish of regulation and consumer protection -- then people can get on with it and show their stuff. Do they want to work to provide products and services to their fellow humans? Do they respond to the normal reverses of a working life by readjusting and retraining? Good. That's the way to wive and thrive in the modern world.

But would they rather sit around in some political grandee's political organization and wait for rewards for services rendered? Then they are going to be eternally disappointed. Because political grandees don't care about you; they only care about your vote.

Hey. This is not that hard.

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