Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two views on the long run: Keynes vs Isaiah

Some Optimistic Pessimism
There's a blogpost that's making its way around the talk-show and email list circuit, by a lady named Jen Kuznicki, called "Ann Coulter Has Lost Faith"
"I read Ann’s latest column with a heavy heart. I came away with the unmistakable feeling that she has lost faith in the philosophy and movement she has been a firebrand for until now. And I think about how it happens that a person at the age of 50 becomes the very cheerleader for the status quo that she argued against these many years...."
Kuznicki is particularly upset that Coulter is de-emphasizing all of the key Tea Party, fiscally conservative, lower taxes and limited government hot button issues, in favor of what Coulter considers to be the two most important things for the next president to accomplish:
"... two things. Repealing Obamacare, and halting illegal immigration."
Pardon my shocked look of surprise, but seriously, during a time when Mitt Romney can be considered a conservative... do you really expect actual conservative candidates and issues to come to the fore?

Sorry, but I don't, and I'm not shocked by how this campaign is shaping up. A friend, former Mo. State Senator John Loudon, called this over a year ago, that Romney would be the establishment pick to run for President in 2012.

Now it hasn't happened yet, and maybe it won't (fingers crossed), but that that is even conceivable should tell you a lot about the so-called  'conservative' world we live in.

Seriously. We are talking about Mitt Romney, after all, who willingly, as Gov., helped craft a plan that is not only wrong on every principle of the Free Market and Individual Rights, but is actively antithetical to them.

Yes he was Gov of Massachusetts, yes the people wanted him to, yes that technically justified his helping them to get to what they wanted, but my ideal, actual Conservative, candidate would be someone who, if faced with the same situation, would not only have opposed and refused such a plan, but would have tirelessly worked to explain why state run health care was wrong and inevitably ruinous to the state’s economy and to the quality of health care available to all; someone who would have responded over and over again with different plans for how to address the actual problems with health care, which lay in how the state and federal govt's are already interfering in the markets, and dragging it down just as hard as it was forcing the prices of it up. But instead, he crafted RomneyCare, a plan which he still considers to be 'Conservative'.

Well... guess what folks... there's a reason why he's not being laughed out of every GOP primary state, and that is that every Republican primary state considers Romney to be able to pass the laugh test when calling himself a conservative. And his most serious opposition is Newt "Govt can do great things!" Gingrich!


Not to be a Debbie Downer, but maybe I just have the advantage of never having expected a political solution to appear within the next few elections, and so the fact that some people fall along the wayside, the fact that candidates and pundits alike choose the expedient over the long term good,and the fact that the chaff is being sold as USDA Prime Grade "A" Wheat, is just no big surprise - I had never seriously expected anything else.

Hoped for something else, definitely. Worked for something else, yep. Expected something else? Nope.

What do you want in the long run?
My question to you is, what are you hoping to accomplish, something that'll endure and stand the test of time, or something that'll give you short term gratification?

Uber-Leftist economist Lord Keynes, when asked about what he'd do when in the long run his policies couldn't help but collapse the economic system and bring widespread ruin, famously quipped
"In the end, we're all dead"
,and you've gotta admit that he has a point there, right? I mean, if you are looking to get what you can, why worry about what happens in the end? Eat, drink and be merry at your grand kids expense, what are they gonna do, dig you up and collect?

That's one view of the long run, a very popular one at that, and it certainly puts a rosier face on the present moment, as taking the easy way out usually does. For the moment. But in the long run... you're doomed by it (actually, I think you doom and destroy yourself in the present as well, but that's something for another post).

Now, lower the fur on the ruff of your neck, pull your fangs back in, at least for the moment, and seriously consider this - in a world where Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are seriously being put forward as the top two candidates for the 'conservative' GOP nomination... what do you suppose would be the result if a real conservative were to somehow be found, win the nomination and actually be elected President?

First off, they couldn't do it without trying to downplay their conservatism, just as RomneRich is trying to downplay their proregressive beliefs. Second, if a true conservative won, and then began trying to govern as a conservative - there would be riots in the streets.

What's that you say? Obama pulled off a bait and switch? Well of course he did, Obama could pull that off because he hasn't a principled bone in his body - and he ran as an unprincipled candidate who'd lean center-right, so naturally he has no problem with governing as an unprincipled candidate who, though not as centrist as he said he was... is still being consistent in showing that he has no principles.

And that'll work for an unprincipled person who runs as an unprincipled person, you can run as a liar and behave like a bigger one once you win.

But it doesn't work the other way around. You cannot run as an unprincipled middle of the roader, and then tear off the mask and say,
"Here I am to save the day! I'm going to stand on principle!"
, that doesn't work, cannot work, never has worked, and never will work.

If you want to run as a principled candidate, you'd better be able to count on at least a majority of the electorate who believes that you are principled, and wants to elect you because of that.

Now as mad as I'm sure that makes you, let me remind you again, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are the front runners for the 'conservative' GOP nomination for President of the United States of America.

And very few people are laughing at that.

That is not a portrait of the electorate who is looking for, and demanding, principled, conservative leaders. I'm sorry, it's just not.

Thinking that we could, would or should elect principled conservative leaders to lead this electorate... is... as much as it pains me to say, nuts. If they were elected, we'd sure enjoy the party after the election... but it'd be downhill in a hurry right afterwards, and in the long run, we'd be even further from a true conservative victory and presidency than had the leftie won.

I will not sacrifice the long run to a frivolous short term 'victory'.

Personally, I prefer a more practical, realistic view of the long run - aka Principled - and so I can point, optimistically, to a very pessimistic post from years gone by, which many of you are probably already familiar with, written by a fellow named Albert Jay Nock. He published an essay in 1936, which you'll recall would have been when FDR was heading into only his 2nd term as President, called "Isaiah's Job". Given the establishment party push that is obviously behind Romney, and the physical retching which that causes for myself and the Tea Party people I associate with, this is one essay that is well worth re-reading today.
"... In the year of Uzziah's death, the Lord commissioned the prophet to go out and warn the people of the wrath to come. "Tell them what a worthless lot they are." He said, "Tell them what is wrong, and why and what is going to happen unless they have a change of heart and straighten up. Don't mince matters. Make it clear that they are positively down to their last chance. Give it to them good and strong and keep on giving it to them. I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you," He added, "that it won't do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life."
Isaiah had been very willing to take on the job — in fact, he had asked for it — but the prospect put a new face on the situation. It raised the obvious question: Why, if all that were so — if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start — was there any sense in starting it? "Ah," the Lord said, "you do not get the point...."
The Lord's point was, while the people he was having Isaiah preach to could have listened and saved themselves, it was more likely that they would not, and so the real worthwhile nature of the job the Lord was giving Isaiah, was to arm the people who did listen, not only with the knowledge that they were right, but to help them understand why they were right, and if they would hold to what they knew was right, rather than what would be politically easy, they would win out - eventually.

None of us like to hear the word 'eventually', but apparently in regards to the Lord Isaiah was speaking for, History and indeed the Universe, that's the only game in town, and since it's their game we're playing - we'd best get used to it.

I’ll of course continue to do what I can in this and various other races, as should we all - that is one of the best ways possible to spread the word and to begin the process of educating people - but this nominee isn’t the point. The congressional elections may be closer to it, but they aren’t the point either.  Personally, I’m focusing on decades down the line where the actual point is, by educating and spreading the word every chance I can get, about what the Constitution is, why it is important, and what it actually means and means to us. IMHO that is the most practical, worthwhile effort, that we can make at this point in time.


Because we will not have, cannot have, a ‘conservative’ candidate, a classical liberal of our Founders variety, who can run, win and govern as such, until we have a significant percentage of the populace who understands why it is necessary to have such a candidate, and a sizable percentage of the inattentive moderates who, on hearing the conservative platform, can nod and say ‘eh, I suppose that’s not too extreme’.

And we are a long way from that.

Yes I know the polls that say we are a majority conservative country, but if you look closer you'll find that we are a majority little 'r' republican electorate, and a sizable number of those who identify themselves as Conservative, also approve of such unconstitutional 'norms' as Social Security, Medicare, and unconstitutional regulatory agencies such as the SEC, EPA, FDA, eieio.

None of this should excuse anyone of us from doing their best to elect and/or pass the most conservative candidates and bills as we can here and now... but... these are and can only be, fleeting, stop gap efforts, they will accomplish little, in and of themselves, for the long run. As I was saying to a friend the other day, there's nothing to be gained by fooling yourself - we've got to reestablish a populace who has read and at least partially grasps the Constitution, before we'll ever have a Candidate who can hope to run on it, let alone be able to govern under it.

This shouldn't be that depressing to hear. We've got a huge advantage that Isaiah didn't have - he was just one person, we are hundreds, thousands... maybe even millions... there's plenty of reason for optimism - for the long run - especially when you realize that most of the media is geared towards ensuring that Nock’s & Isiaih’s Remnant don't discover that they are who they are and that they are not alone.

Isaiah's Job: It's not just for Isaiah anymore
Those of you who know the truth, you, each and everyone of you, are now charged with Isaiah's Job: Spread the word. And if you don't win this election or the next, well boo-hoo, but sorry, that's not the point and it never was, and if you thought it was, you wandered into the wrong game by mistake, if you want the easy job go become a proregressive leftist. It's the easiest game in town, requires little or no thought and pays off in immediate gratification, pays out obvious rewards and comes with the uber-easy satisfaction of having good intentions.

That's great and all... if you don't look at where the road of good intentions leads to - in the long run.
Remember, it is all about the long run. Whine about the problems of the moment if you must, I know I certainly will now and then, but you take those complaints seriously at your own peril.

The point is, to learn the truth, spread the word of what you know, talk to your friends and relatives about Why conservative ideas are better, and in the long run it'll be proregressivism and Keynesianism that'll be dead, and the Truth, Individual Rights and the Free Market that'll win out... but only, as a recent Isaiah, Winston Churchill, once said of us
"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."
And in the words of another Isaiah, Frederick Douglass, said in his speech "The Mission of the War,"
Then there is the danger arising from the impatience of the people on account of the prolongation of the war. I know the American people. They are an impulsive people, impatient of delay, clamorous for change, and often look for results out of all proportion to the means employed in attaining them. You and I know that the mission of this war is national regeneration. We know and consider that a nation is not born in a day. We know that large bodies move slowly—and often seem to move thus when, could we perceive their actual velocity, we should be astonished at its greatness. A great battle lost or won is easily described, understood and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it.
That is no less true today in our war of ideas, than it was during our actual Civil War back in 1863. Look to win in the long run, work for the long run, that's where the only worthwhile victory truly lies.


Van Harvey said...

I'm going to forward here a couple email responses to this thread, and since they were private email, I'll leave their identities out of it (you are free to claim yourselves if you'd like!).

EmailerNumberOne said...

The SEC? In one paragraph or less, what's wrong with the SEC?

Van Harvey said...

The Securities Exchange Commission? Seriously? In one paragraph or less... you just willy nilly want to see if you can make my brain explode? I can't sneeze in one paragraph or less....

But ok, keeping to just one part of the core issue that what any regulatory agency regulates, it constricts, manipulates, malforms and creates misinformation in place of the information it supposedly purifies and makes safe ‘for the little guy’, while in fact making the insiders more secure... how about the "accredited investor" feature, which imposes a minimum wealth requirement before someone can invest in things like hedge funds and other investments? The SEC decides that you, or I, are not capable of, or safe enough, to risk our money where we want - we're too little to fail - arbitrarily depriving the market of decisions we might have made, and forbidding us even the possibility of who knows how much wealth we might have been able to help create, if we felt we had the knowledge and ability to attempt it. It uses its power to define what is smart, what isn't, and creates a false illusion of knowledge and safety where it has in fact been greatly reduced because of its actions – the wealth the SEC and its regulations has aborted is uncountable. And the false positives it’s given might come in a close second - remember, Bernie Madoff was respected and praised by the SEC.

That is actually the very least I can say about the SEC, especially at half past my bedtime... but if you want more... you know that if nothing else, I can supply more.

EmailerNumberOne said...

My surprise at the SEC was probably more categorical: why list it with the EPA and FDA? In dollar terms, I wonder how those stack up. SEC is probably much bigger, but for some reason I think of it as small.

That reminds me... You should at least read the part in bold here

Van Harvey said...

“why list it with the EPA and FDA?”

Because the SEC is just as colossal of an active enemy to the Free Market, and to individual liberty, as either of those agencies are, perhaps even more so, but since it has such a ‘common sense’ patina of “gotta keep those rich people from screwing the little guy!”, that it is rarely ever thought of in a bad light by the little guy… and so it gets away with double the damage. And that was part of my point, the typical person who considers them to be a conservative, thinks those agencies are just fine “Oh, sure, they may screw up here and there – it’s govt right? Ha-ha! But seriously, those are good, gotta watch ‘em, but they’re good agencies to have.”, and while that sentiment is widespread out there, we are not going to have a true conservative (in the sense of the classical liberal Founding Fathers) President, Senate, House or Nation.

Ideas come first. Power follows. Money panders to them.

There was a recent case out of Texas, last year I think… it’s gonna bug me all day because I can’t recall what it was… I think Durbin did something on it on “24th State”, heck I think I did too… arghhh!... anyway, it was over another cancer drug issue that brought the FDA & SEC into a tag-team smack down of someone, fairly rich I think, just trying to survive, but was denied the opportunity. These agencies are bad enough examples of hell on earth just by themselves, but what is often missed is that they or their effects, are rarely felt in isolation of each other – one regulation by the FDA, pushes a person or business up against another regulation by the EPA, which shoves them even more up against the wall of another by the SEC, and on and on it goes as our economy is pushed through the regulatory trash compactor.

But here’s another one – the examples are legion – of regulatory tag-team hell.

And yep on the SOPA, and especially his bolded point, which makes mine, that one person may be all outraged by one demon, while perfectly content with supporting one or more others and clueless as to their own hypocrisy – until we understand what an Anti-American proposition Regulatory Law is, no truly Conservative nation or govt will be attainable.

EmailerNumberTwo said...

Well put Van the only thing I can add is do we have enough time left to educate the public in order to elect the type of people we need before the country goes broke and the system collapses?

Well, I'm betting no...

Van Harvey said...

EmailerNumberTwo said “do we have enough time left to educate the public… Well, I'm betting no...”

I hear ya. But you know, John Adams, who is one of my main go-to guys amongst the Founders, said "A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.", but if anyone should have known better than to say that, he should. Not to say that there won't be periods of misery and severe despotism following the loss, but I think the very opposite is more historically justifiable, than what Adams said.

I've been reviewing the history of Britain lately, from the fall of Rome, forward, and what is most remarkable is that freedom has been lost in that island, over and over and over again - Magna Carta alone was won and lost and regained over and over... the "Glorious Revolution" was another example from within the Founders ‘recent’ memory of Liberty coming back in spades after being lost to tyrants - and each time, eventually, it has returned more powerful and more powerfully entrenched than before (heh, which really shouldn't be all that encouraging!).

I think once liberty is known amongst a people, it can never be fully eradicated, its memory will smolder and burn within them and finally burst out upon their oppressors anew - in the long run. So again, I find myself siding with Isaiah, in the long run we will win out - but in the meantime I'd prepare for enduring a very brutal short term, while working to shore up the long-term.

freespeak said...

My God! Great comments here!
I like brains at work! :))