Quick Roundup 312

Friday, March 14, 2008

More on Spitzer

Myrhaf links to some further commentary on Eliot Spitzer's self-destruction and, along the way, comments on what Client #9's resorting to prostitution says about his outlook on existence:

Eliot Spitzer's public career was at war with reality because his ideals -- altruism, statism and collectivism -- are also at war with reality. They are an affront to justice, a massive con game in which the rights of the strong and able are violated in the name of the weak and disable.

The welfare state breeds creeps like Spitzer and Bill Clinton, who seek affirmation in the bedroom that they are above reality, that the rules don't apply to them, that they can get away with whatever they want. [bold added]
There are many aspects of this scandal that strike me as "teachable moments", as Jim May once put it, and this goes beyond just the fact that Spitzer is a consistent practitioner of the morality of altruism. He was so consistent, in fact, that he was, as Galileo Blogs pointed out yesterday, so petty and short-range in his thinking as to be barely more than a criminal.

If one says nothing else about Spitzer, it should be that was most definitely not a good man. Joseph Kellard does just that in a letter to the editor:
The problem with Spitzer's downfall is that [it] happened over a sex scandal and not for the dictatorial behavior he exhibited toward his real or perceived enemies, such as innocent businessmen like John Whitehead.
Here's a small taste of the kind of attitude we're up against from The Houston Chronicle's own capitalism-hating business columnist, Loren Steffy:
Spitzer's goal wasn't to win convictions -- it was to change behavior. At that, he proved adroit. [This is praise for trial by media backed by government threats, something that is underhanded and undermines rule of law. --ed]

He's not the only attorney general to use the tactic. In fact, a long line of AGs in New York and elsewhere have employed similar strategies in consumer protection.

But if he was effective at forcing changes in corporate behavior, he was far less adept at changing his own.

As governor, and as the state's former top cop, he has, in all likelihood, been caught in alleged illegal activity. So it's not just about sex, it's about breaking the laws that he was sworn to uphold.

Spitzer and those he prosecuted are linked by a common denominator in their undoing, a bond of conceit and hypocrisy. [bold added]
That last line takes the cake in the "obscene moral equivocation" department, but should be no surprise coming from someone who opens his column about such a sleazeball with the following gem of psychological projection: "When a white knight falls in the mud, we all seem to laugh a little louder."

If Eliot Spitzer is an evil man, commentators like Loren Steffy are worse because their moral praise gives his lot ample room to operate.

Get up to Speed on the Subprime Meltdown

Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute has recently written two must-read pieces on the subprime meltdown. In the first, he considers the real nature of government offers of "assistance" to the banking sector:
If an ordinary citizen proposed to the mortgage industry that it bail out borrowers through a widespread rate freeze and call it a "private sector effort," the proposal would be dismissed as a joke. But when the government proposes such an initiative to private industry, all participants know that it can do great damage to them if they refuse--and can grant them huge favors if they comply. Today's HOPE NOW and Project Lifeline participants, for instance, can be harmed by the passage of "anti-predatory-lending" laws, which would expose them to huge lawsuits by borrowers who claim to have been in the dark about the contracts they signed. These participants can also be helped with unearned handouts--with cheap Fed money, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac taking risky mortgages off their hands, and with a bailout in the future if, say, they face bankruptcy because of sloppy lending practices. [bold added]
The sum of his two articles shows that this situation is analogous to some thug making you sample crack cocaine at gunpoint. He makes the crack analogy in his second article.
[A]s a Fortune cover crudely put it: "What were they smoking?"

A major part of the answer is: government bailout crack.
Read the whole thing to see how the promise of a bailout destroys long-range planning on the part of those whose job it is to do just that.

Government force intruding into the economy gets us coming and going, by making us afraid to do what we know is right, and eager to do what we know is wrong.

Israel on its Own

Several others have pointed to this already, but Scott Powell's take on the foreign policy implications of the upcoming presidential election cannot be advertised too much.

Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain

I have recently learned of a new organization in Britain whose time has definitely come, and its leader is on the ball. She shows a firm grasp of the danger and motivation of the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent advocacy of sharia.
[Maryam Namazie, head of the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain] must have been shocked, I suggest, when the Archbishop of Canterbury said the introduction of some Sharia in Britain was unavoidable. No, she says; she wasn't even surprised. "It was quite apt, although he didn't expect the reaction he got. It was an attack on secularism really. It is, in a sense, to his benefit if there are Muslim schools and Sharia. It makes it less likely that anyone will oppose Christian schools and the privileged place of religion in society."

She is adamant, though, that no form of Sharia should be allowed here. "It is fundamentally discriminatory and misogynist," she says and is dismissive of the idea that people would be able to choose between Sharia and civil jurisdiction. Women could be railroaded into a Sharia court, she says. "This would hit people who need the protection of British law more than anyone else." [bold added]
The Christian religion offers no protection against the left or against Islamism. The sooner advocates of freedom understand this, the better.

-- CAV

Updates

Today
: Corrected a typo.
3-12-08: Minor edits.

4 comments:

Dismuke said...

I have a sad feeling that we haven't seen the last of Spitzer. He already said in his resignation that he will continue to work for the "common good" (or whatever specific term he used for it) outside of politics. The man's pretense at self-esteem will not allow him to remain out of the spotlight for too very long.

How can he come back after this? Well, his hard core constituency loves people who are failures - people who fail make them feel like they are not so bad themselves. For a person to admit that he is "flawed" and that he is "sorry" and that "nobody's perfect" and that to suggest otherwise means one is a square, old-fashioned, moralistic, oppressive fuddy-duddy - will Spitzer's crowd eats that kind of stuff up and it will only enhance his stature in their eyes.

Right now, Spitzer is not able to pull that kind of public approach off. His pseudo self-esteem is based on his delusion that he is some sort of almighty superman. Reality has now slapped him in the face hard enough to make it impossible for even Spitzer to ignore. Somehow, I seriously doubt the man is capable of taking a hard look at that reality and learning the lessons it has to teach. After he hits bottom, it will be psychologically necessary for him to weave up a new pseudo self-esteem that is able to incorporate and explain away what is happening to him now. Ultimately, that will involve some form of regarding his failure as proof of his superiority and virtue.

Once he has thoroughly integrated his new pseudo self-esteem, he will probably write a book going on about what a rotten person he was and how noble and virtuous he now is for admitting it. He will go on the Oprah show and cry and maybe Oprah will even have a suggestion of a tear in her eye as well - which means that anyone who isn't mean ought to forgive him.

He will then emerge as sort of a sanctimonious Algore/Ralph Nadar type who will crusade against the competent and successful. My guess is he will not be able to return to politics - not because he would be unelectable in this day and age but because his rival power-lusters who want the office for themselves would still be able to use his past as effective political ammunition. As he goes around ranting against individual rights and capitalism, we will be told that he has "moral credibility" because he has "suffered" and that he has first hand knowledge about what rotten selfish bastards the people he crusades against are because he was once a rotten selfish bastard himself. His admission of past failings will be held up as proof of his present moral virtue - which of course is consistent with and will help feed his brand new pseudo-self esteem. And even if large numbers of people don't buy it, we will be told that large numbers of people buy it by a sympathetic Leftist media which will bring bring into being certain effects of large numbers of people buying it - and, of course, further fuel his new pseudo self-esteem and make him more sanctimonious than ever.

Gus Van Horn said...

Yuck!

That said, I think you're spot-on.

Perhaps you should add a title: "The Prophet Dismuke" does have a certain ring to it....

Jim May said...

I read Dismuke's prediction while thinking not of a sympathetic Leftist media, but of sympathetic conservative Christians with their forgiveness fetish.

Ted Haggard, call your office!

Gus Van Horn said...

And you would be reading it correctly!