Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Newt Gingrich Praises New Deal
Not that I care much for Ann "I ALWAYS agreed with Jerry Falwell" Coulter, but I do have to credit her with observing that when you hear a left-wing journalist gushing about a Republican politician, it is usually because said Republican has embraced socialism in some particularly ... useful ... way.
And so it is that we see this column at Slate opening with William Saletan all agog because Gingrich said, "In the Hegelian model, it's not enough to be the antithesis party." "How many other Washington big shots go around quoting Hegel?" he asks.
And yes, it is this bad. So bad, in fact, I found myself wishing that for once, a Republican would live up to the left-wing stereotype of ignorant rube. Sadly, this is precisely what Gingrich means:
Nor is [Gingrich] averse to government spending and intervention in markets. He just wants the spending and intervention to take the form of incentives. Instead of giving $1 billion to a federal agency to deal with a problem, he'd offer the money as a prize to the first company that solves it. As the conversation proceeds, Gingrich throws money at one challenge after another. Hydrogen fuel? Dangle a 10-figure prize. Nuclear waste? A 10 percent tax break to any state that accepts it. Endangered species? Annual bonuses to countries that keep them alive. Math and science education? Pay poor kids for taking the classes and earning a B average. Even FDR's colossal outlays fit Gingrich's philosophy. "The entire New Deal was based on incentives," he says. [bold added]Yeah. Just like when a thug says, "Your money or your life," you have an "incentive" to hand over your wallet. The whole concept of incentives is out the window when the government comes into play because the government, by its nature, is packing heat. (Even the harmless-sounding prizes involve property theft, and afford the government the ability to tamper with those areas of research a free market would reward on its own anyway -- by diverting productive effort to areas that science and industry have not selected as worthwhile.)
As with Cal Thomas and the conservative movement in general, Gingrich has decided to fully embrace statism, but dishonestly pull the wool over the eyes of American voters by means of capitalist rhetoric. It is no more an "incentive" to pick less from someone's pockets (even if he is so foolish as to feel that it is) than it is "privatization" to move from a socialist model of running an industry to a fascist one. The fact remains that the government violates individual rights when it interferes with a free economy no matter by what degree or whether its citizens notice.
It will make you sick, but read the whole thing to see just how low Newt Gingrich has sunk.
Sowell on Political "Solutions"
Thomas Sowell writes a column that comments on what I think is a cultural phenomenon which is simply best seen in government. He starts off his column with the following: "It is remarkable how many political 'solutions' today are dealing with problems created by previous political 'solutions.'"
Indeed it is. But this vicious circle could easily be broken if voters would only start demanding that politicians stop meddling in their affairs. There are many things at work here. A few that immediately come to mind are: a desire to get something for nothing, a desire to have others do one's thinking for him, a poor understanding of individual rights and the proper purpose of government, and a failure to hold oneself or others accountable for their actions. These all have in common a widespread failure to apply reason to one's problems (and thus the self-confidence and the demand to be free to do so that naturally come with it).
I'm thinking out loud here, but I think the last item on the above (non-exhaustive) list is both a consequence of irrational ideas and a manifestation of some psychological consequences of irrationality, which is perhaps best seen in many "battered wives", who, while they may have legitimate reasons to fear for their safety while they attempt to leave abusive spouses, are also riddled with so much self-doubt that they have a hard time even attempting to seriously entertain doing so.
And thus we see yet another reason why a cultural revolution must precede a political one. Not only must people actually understand what capitalism is and why it is both moral and practical. People must also be strong enough psychologically not to see freedom as threatening or frightening in any way.
As it is now, were one to propose proper remedies to the crises Sowell discusses -- like adopting a gold standard and free banking, or removing all restrictions on land use, or allowing water prices to rise with demand -- one would not just meet philosophical opposition. One would also scare many of his listeners.
This Season's Colors -- for Men
Having more free time is the watchword for this
Lie perfectly still, soldier, until she calls off her search and rakes that lawn herself! (HT: my younger brother)