Posts tagged ‘David Boaz’

Boy Is This Election Is Going to Suck

It is nothing new for politicians and the powerful to despise commerce and "traders."  In Medieval society, and continuing in Europe right up into the 19th century, the ruling elite scorned careers that involved actual productive effort.  If you were actually producing something, rather than indolently feeding yourself off the work of the masses, you were not a "gentleman."

It appears that this attitude is coming back in vogue, most notably from the presidential candidates of both parties.  From David Boaz in the WSJ:

Sen. Obama told the students that "our individual
salvation depends on collective salvation." He disparaged students who
want to "take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after
the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our
money culture says you should buy."

The people Mr. Obama is sneering at are the ones who
built America "“ the traders and entrepreneurs and manufacturers who
gave us railroads and airplanes, housing and appliances, steam engines,
electricity, telephones, computers and Starbucks. Ignored here is the
work most Americans do, the work that gives us food, clothing, shelter
and increasing comfort. It's an attitude you would expect from a
Democrat.

Or this year's Republican nominee. John McCain also
denounces "self-indulgence" and insists that Americans serve "a
national purpose that is greater than our individual interests." During
a Republican debate at the Reagan Library on May 3, 2007, Sen. McCain
derided Mitt Romney's leadership ability, saying, "I led . . . out of
patriotism, not for profit." Challenged on his statement, Mr. McCain
elaborated that Mr. Romney "managed companies, and he bought, and he
sold, and sometimes people lost their jobs. That's the nature of that
business." He could have been channeling Barack Obama.

Mr. Boaz mentions the hypocrisy of Obama having a million dollar house and being famous for his beautiful suits, and then telling graduates not to aspire for the same things.  But a bigger hypocrisy, or perhaps contradiction, is the fact that the candidates must know that the world won't function if everyone were to take their advice.  While bashing the productive, each relies on the productive to fund his plans.  While urging everyone to be parasites, they must know that some must ignore their advice to become the productive hosts on which the parasites feed.

But hypocrisy is not the biggest issue. The real issue
is that Messrs. Obama and McCain are telling us Americans that our
normal lives are not good enough, that pursuing our own happiness is
"self-indulgence," that building a business is "chasing after our money
culture," that working to provide a better life for our families is a
"narrow concern."

They're wrong. Every human life counts. Your life
counts. You have a right to live it as you choose, to follow your
bliss. You have a right to seek satisfaction in accomplishment. And if
you chase after the almighty dollar, you just might find that you are
led, as if by an invisible hand, to do things that improve the lives of
others.

AMEN

Update on Kwanzaa

A few posts ago I wrote my annual rant against Kwanzaa as a seven step program to socialism.  I concluded that if blacks in America wanted to stay poor and under the power of others, they could take no better step than to pursue the seven values in Kwanzaa. 

In a stunning gap in my reading, I have never read PJ O'Rourke's "Eat the Rich."  However, David Boaz reports this interesting snippet from the book:

In Tanzania he gapes at the magnificent natural beauty and the
appalling human poverty. Why is Tanzania so poor? he asks people, and
he gets a variety of answers. One answer, he notes, is that Tanzania is
actually not poor by the standards of human history; it has a life
expectancy about that of the United States in 1920, which is a lot
better than humans in 1720, or 1220, or 20. But, he finally concludes,
the real answer is the collective "ujamaa" policies pursued by the sainted post-colonial leader Julius Nyerere. The answer is "ujaama"”they planned it. They planned it, and we paid for it. Rich countries underwrote Tanzanian economic idiocy."

For those not familiar with Kwanzaa, Ujamaa is one of the seven principals celebrated in Kwanzaa.

Roosevelt and Mussolini

I have elaborated a number of times on the parallels between the National Recovery Act and Mussolini-style fascism, as well as the frank admiration Roosevelt had for what Mussolini was doing in Italy.

David Boaz goes into much more detail

Roosevelt himself called Mussolini "admirable" and professed that he
was "deeply impressed by what he has accomplished." The admiration was
mutual. In a laudatory review of Roosevelt's 1933 book Looking Forward,
Mussolini wrote, "Reminiscent of Fascism is the principle that the
state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices."¦Without
question, the mood accompanying this sea change resembles that of
Fascism." The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter,
repeatedly praised "Roosevelt's adoption of National Socialist strains
of thought in his economic and social policies" and "the development
toward an authoritarian state" based on the "demand that collective
good be put before individual self-interest."

I'll Accept This Description

David Boaz:

Maybe libertarians should try to describe their philosophy by saying
"libertarians believe in the free speech that liberals used to believe
in, and the economic freedom that conservatives used to believe in."

I hope this is True

It would be nice to think that we are this numerous:

These federal intrusions are especially scorned by
independent voters in the Western states where Republicans have been
losing ground, like Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and Montana. Western
Democrats have been siphoning off libertarian voters by moderating
their liberal views on issues like gun control, but Republicans have
been driving libertarians away with their wars on vice and their
jeremiads against gay marriage (and their attempt to regulate that from
Washington, too).

Libertarian voters tend to get ignored by political strategists
because they're not easy to categorize or organize. They don't
congregate in churches or union halls; they don't unite to push
political agendas. Many don't even call themselves libertarians,
although they qualify because of their social liberalism and economic
conservatism: they want the government out of their bedrooms as well as
their wallets.

They distrust moral busybodies of both parties, and they may well be
the most important bloc of swing voters this election, as David Boaz
and David Kirby conclude in a new study for the Cato Institute.
Analyzing a variety of voter surveys, they estimate that libertarians
make up about 15 percent of voters "” a bloc roughly comparable in size
to liberals and to conservative Christians, and far bigger than blocs
like Nascar dads or soccer moms.

I am not sure I believe it - many of the people who claim to be small government turn into statist technocrats when the right issue comes up.

I will say that the Internet and blogging in particular has really brought many libertarians to the surface.  I wrote about the phenomena of libertarians and blogging here.

The Statist Trap

David Boaz of Cato makes this comment in the context of an article on suppressing speech in modern South Africa:

In the last days of apartheid, some libertarians pointed out to South
Africa's rulers that if they left a government broadcasting operation
in place, they would one day regret the way a different government
would use it. Looks like that day has come.

This is a point I make time and time again.  When statists push their policies, it is always with the assumption that they themselves will be in control of the government machinery they create.  In contrast, the miracle of the US Constitution was that the government was constituted with the assumption that rogues and scoundrels would take control, and the founders put protections in place to limit the damage these scoundrels could do to our individual liberties.

As I said previously
:

I am reminded of all this because the technocrats that built our
regulatory state are starting to see the danger of what they created.
A public school system was great as long as it was teaching the right
things and its indoctrinational excesses were in a leftish direction.
Now, however, we can see the panic.  The left is freaked that some red
state school districts may start teaching creationism or intelligent
design.  And you can hear the lament - how did we let Bush and these
conservative idiots take control of the beautiful machine we built?  My
answer is that you shouldn't have built the machine in the first place
- it always falls into the wrong hands.  Maybe its time for me to again invite the left to reconsider school choice.

Today, via Instapundit, comes this story about the GAO audit of the decision by the FDA to not allow the plan B morning after pill to be sold over the counter.
And, knock me over with a feather, it appears that the decision was
political, based on a conservative administration's opposition to
abortion.  And again the technocrats on the left are freaked.  Well,
what did you expect?  You applauded the Clinton FDA's politically
motivated ban on breast implants as a sop to NOW and the trial
lawyers.  In
establishing the FDA, it was you on the left that established the
principal, contradictory to the left's own stand on abortion, that the
government does indeed trump the individual on decision making for
their own body
  (other thoughts here).
Again we hear the lament that the game was great until these
conservative yahoos took over.  No, it wasn't.  It was unjust to scheme
to control other people's lives, and just plain stupid to expect that
the machinery of control you created would never fall into your
political enemy's hands.

As I concluded before, even Star Trek figured out this whole technocrat losing control of the fascist state thing 40 years ago.

George W. Bush: Champion of the Left

I've made this point myself, but David Boaz says it great:

So here's your challenge, lefty bloggers: If you don't like the
tree-chopping, Falwell-loving, cowboy president - if you want his
presidency fatally wounded for the next three years - then start
praising him. One good Paul Krugman column taking off from that USA Today story on the surge in entitlements recipients under Bush, one Daily Kos
lead on how Clinton flopped on national health care but Bush twisted
every arm in the GOP to get a multi-trillion-dollar prescription drug
benefit for the elderly, one cover story in the Nation on how Bush has
acknowledged federal responsibility for everything from floods in New
Orleans to troubled teenagers, and maybe, just maybe, National Review
and the Powerline blog and
Fox News would come to their senses. Bush is a Rockefeller Republican
in cowboy boots, and it's time conservatives stopped looking at the
boots instead of the policies.