"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Sunday, September 2, 2012

This Election: A Battle for the Defining Political Problem of the Early 21st Century



An excellent piece from Janet Daley at The Telegraph (h/t Anne Leary at Backyard Conservative)

From Daley:

"Last week’s Republican national convention sharpened what had been until then only a vague, inchoate theme: this campaign is going to consist of the debate that all Western democratic countries should be engaging in, but which only the United States has the nerve to undertake. The question that will demand an answer lies at the heart of the economic crisis from which the West seems unable to recover. It is so profoundly threatening to the governing consensus of Britain and Europe as to be virtually unutterable here, so we shall have to rely on the robustness of the US political class to make the running.

"What is being challenged is nothing less than the most basic premise of the politics of the centre ground: that you can have free market economics and a democratic socialist welfare system at the same time. The magic formula in which the wealth produced by the market economy is redistributed by the state – from those who produce it to those whom the government believes deserve it – has gone bust. The crash of 2008 exposed a devastating truth that went much deeper than the discovery of a generation of delinquent bankers, or a transitory property bubble. It has become apparent to anyone with a grip on economic reality that free markets simply cannot produce enough wealth to support the sort of universal entitlement programmes which the populations of democratic countries have been led to expect. The fantasy may be sustained for a while by the relentless production of phoney money to fund benefits and job-creation projects, until the economy is turned into a meaningless internal recycling mechanism in the style of the old Soviet Union.

"Or else democratically elected governments can be replaced by puppet austerity regimes which are free to ignore the protests of the populace when they are deprived of their promised entitlements. You can, in other words, decide to debauch the currency which underwrites the market economy, or you can dispense with democracy. Both of these possible solutions are currently being tried in the European Union, whose leaders are reduced to talking sinister gibberish in order to evade the obvious conclusion: the myth of a democratic socialist society funded by capitalism is finished. This is the defining political problem of the early 21st century."

It has astonished me that American people can look to the economic events in Europe and, in any seriousness, suggest that we follow their lead. Although I know that the Left and academia suffer from an acute case of European envy, I have still never understood why we would possibly want to follow their example of socialist-democracies that cannot sustain themselves. This unsustainability was reasonably obvious prior to the economic crisis of recent years.

A real representative democracy must have liberty, and liberty is difficult if not impossible to maintain when the majority of the populace is bribed with ridiculous goodies (the police and fire departments, reasonable amounts of social safety nets, etc. not counting as goodies). To be dependent upon those goodies, is to be controlled by them. Votes become guaranteed when peoples livelihoods are controlled by State distributed funds. When votes are guaranteed by controls over peoples incomes, then the democracy is, in many senses, an illusion.

I have never been worried about Obama's policies working and "fundamentally transforming America" simply because his policies can never work. Democratic socialist societies cannot last, and the meager lifespans they have can only work by either outside monies (foreign markets, tourism, etc.) or with some form of patronage (the USSR supporting North Korea, Cuba, Romania, etc.). What large population, liquid money market could America export its goods to? What country could give money to support its population?

It's sort of funny that Obama talked about the GOP agenda being outdated, even as Obama doubles down on the historically proven wrong side of "the defining political problems of the 21st century."

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