Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tying Trump, Berlusconi, UKIP, Le Pen Together

On the view of Reihan Salam of National Review, Donald Trump is just one of a number of protest candidates and parties that have been emerging in recent years in western democracies (H/T PowerLine). Here's the money quote in "Why Donald Trump Isn't Going Away" in Slate.
Britain’s Labour Party has been devastated by the rise not only of the leftist Scottish National Party, but also by UKIP, a movement of the right that has been growing at Labour’s expense by campaigning against mass immigration, and by largely abandoning what had been its more libertarian line on the welfare state.
Or this:
The Danish People’s Party went from the far-right fringe to become Denmark’s second-largest party by combining anti-immigration sentiment with a commitment to protecting social programs that serve native Danes. 
See what is going on here? The electorates of the western democracies were promised cradle-to-grave social benefits forever. That's what they thought was the deal. But really, the educated Ruling Class had other ideas, because no ruling class wants to just sit there a manage Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid for the rest of time. So we had to have green energy; we had to have gay marriage; we had to have immigration; we had to have sanctuary cities.

The electorate of the western democracies look at all this and they see the shaking of the foundations.

Now the right thing for the electorate to do would be to say: take your social benefits and shove it. Take your immigration and shove it. Take your everything else and shove it. We are a free people, you and I.

But they can't. They can't give up on the benefits. And why should they? They've paid those swingeing taxes on labor all their working lives. Why should they give it all up when they paid their dues?

The Trumps and the Berlcusconis and the Farages and the Le Pens are all saying that you can keep your benefits and dump immigration and dump political correctness too.

But they are lying. The problem is not immigration. It is not even political correctness. The problem is the benefit state. Unless you reform that and contract the size of the state then you haven't started to solve anything.

The telling point is Britain's UKIP and its drift towards "largely abandoning what had been its more libertarian line on the welfare state." UKIP understands that it doesn't get to compete as a major party unless it promises to keep the benefit checks coming.

Back in 2010 our liberal friends were wont to sneer at the Tea Party. The Tea Partiers were talking a big line about limited government and the Constitution, they said, but it was still "hands off my benefits." They were right to sneer. Reform of the current mess begins and ends with the shrinking of the benefit state.

Instead we have Hillary Clinton promising to solve the problem of student debt by increasing government spending and regulation on higher education to make higher education more "affordable."

The Trump phenomenon shows that people are all exercised that "something is wrong." But the people are still a country mile away from doing anything about it.

The market economy is a system -- and it is a brutal system -- whereby you must adjust yourself to the market every day if you want to prosper. There is no free lunch and no place to hide, but the market economy delivers prosperity and a rough sort of justice for those that submit to its hegemony.

The government is a system -- and it is a brutal system -- whereby you capture political power and promise yourself and your supporters perpetual pensions that continue forever without regard to the economic facts on the ground. Free lunches all round, and don't worry about the future! It ends like Greece and Argentina, or even Venezuela.

Every day each of us makes the choice, whether to serve our fellow humans and hope for a reward, or vote for a politician that offers free stuff. Most of us, most of the time, choose the latter.

We all will, of course, get exactly what we deserve.

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