Thursday, February 11, 2016

Take Your Pick: Nationalist, Socialist, or Both

In the sore losers department, National Review is running pieces today, here and here, mourning the sad state of America today, how our prosperity and our freedom have been lost to a powerful and unaccountable government by administrative hegemony. Charles Murray, as usual was way in front on this, with his quiet manifesto of revolution, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.

Mona Charen puts it best, in the aftermath of the New Hampshire primary, tagging the results as "victories of an inane socialist demagogue and a foul-mouthed nationalist demagogue." Gee, why don't we combine the two?

Look, there's no mystery about the anger. America is not working very well for ordinary Americans; they feel trapped. The sensible response of a trapped rat is to lash out. So Bernie Sanders encourages his Millennial Kids to lash out at Wall Street bankers and make them pay for free college and free health care. Donald Trump encourages his white working class supporters to lash out at the China that has stolen their good jobs at good wages.
Sanders blames greedy billionaires for the problems of the middle class and the poor; Trump blames treacherous immigrants, crafty foreigners and incompetent leadership in Washington. Some people seemed surprised that there was overlap between Sanders and Trump supporters, but it makes perfect sense.
 Well, the richest men in America are people that have brought us Microsoft and Apple and Google and Amazon. And what have they done to deserve such riches? They have merely made it possible for anyone in the world to buy a smartphone for $99 that is cheaper and more powerful by orders of magnitude that anything dreamed of in the vacuum-powered 1950s. That is how you make the really big money these days. Or, like Carlos Slim, you can do it the crony capitalist way by charging Mexicans an arm and a leg to phone home to Mexico. Why don't we make him pay for the wall?

The great truth of social animals is that War is not the Answer. Except for pirates and plunderers. The problem is to decide who is a pirate and a plunderer. The whole point of socialism from Marx to Bernie is to blame the capitalists for their riches on the pardonable assumption that they are no better than the feudal nobles of old. The whole point of nationalism is that foreigners are dangerous so we should put them down before they put us down.

And they were right, up until about 200-300 years ago. Feudal nobles were predatory scum, wasting the product of their peasants on their prideful power games. The national land was life, and the land of the neighboring tribe could be put to use feeding our people.

But in the unbelievable increase in prosperity of the last two centuries all this has been turned upside down. The way to make real money is not to exploit the peasants or the workers, but to come up with something new, like coal, oil, nuclear power instead of wood and windmills, textile manufacturing instead of hand-work, rail transportation, electricity, personal transportation, information and communications. And the way to prosper is to trust anyone that demonstrates trustworthiness.

Well, that doesn't seem to stir the hearts and minds of Americans in 2016. What we seem to want is scapegoats and... yes, what comes next after the sacrifice of the scapegoats?

Back to National Review and Charles Murray and their jeremiad against the unjust administrative state. The question is: who will bell the cat? Who will dare to start to wind down the vast wasteful looting of today's big government programs? Who will dare to dismantle the vast injustice of the administrative state? Who will dare to do that when the Millennial Kids are baying for free stuff, and the white working class is baying for the lost Eden of good jobs at good wages.

History teaches us that the only way we get to demolish the privileges and the plunder of today's regime is when Attila the Hun shows up and sweeps everything away.

The problem is that Attila is no respecter of persons. He sweeps away the good with the bad, and leaves misery and famine in his wake.

If only there were a better way.

1 comment:

  1. Just a note on your comments about the tech giants. These guys are billionaires. They could pay American citizens a real good wage and still sell an affordable product. Having said that, the answer is not redistribution of wealth. That being said, we still believe sovereignty and a strong middle class don't we? We cannot stay on this path of cheap foreign labor, and the transfer of American wealth around the globe. Free enterprise is still the best way, but crony capitalism and selling the nation out on the altar of global corporatism is proving disastrous for the average American.