If one is going to go after sacred cows, one should really go after sacred cows. Most of the people in our society who get credit for "going after sacred cows" are just going after unfashionable ones. At least ones that are unfashionable in the circles they want to appeal to. We live in a world of iconodules posing as iconoclasts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Enema of the State: The Galbraith Plan to Destroy Opposition in Action

We've seen, recently, attacks on Limbaugh by the Left, which is par for the course. But also a war on news entities that are not sufficiently servile, coupled with warning to the others. We've seen a war on the Chamber of Commerce which consists in part of an effort to dismantle it, because they oppose the Administration on some issues (I.E. Cap and Trade) after supporting it on other measures (I.E. the "Stimulus"), and an attempt by the government to gag a private entity, intimidating it and others from using their free speech.

When insurance companies came out against Congressional Health Care proposals, Congress initiated a fishing expedition against them. Meanwhile, entities like ACORN are not investigated.

What is going on here was revealed in Steven M. Teles' review of "The Predator State" by James Galbraith in the March/April 2009 issue of "The American Interest". You may or may not decide to read the book itself, but even the sympathetic review is illustrative. I wasn't blogging in the Spring when this was published, so the below is adapted from an e-mail I wrote on it. I think it's even more self-evident now that the tactics recommended by Galbraith and endorsed by Teles are the ones being employed by the government now.

Before proceeding, I must note the method of Progressives on display here: Projection. It consists of three main steps. First, describe a tactic and declare its use completely outrageous and despicable. Second, claim that the opponents of Progressivism have been engaging in that tactic. Thirdly, use that claim to rationalize their own use of said tactic on a massive scale.

One of the premises of Galbraith's is that conservatives attempted to demolish Progressive opposition. The accuracy of this assertion can be seen in the fact that entities like ACORN were hounded out of existence by the Bush Administration's Justice Department, and how the Republican Congress was completely successful in pursuing a "de-fund the Left" agenda. Right.

On to the review, which I believe illuminates the overarching vision of the current Administration:

"The shift of power to allocate capital from the financial industry to government is, for Galbraith, far from unfortunate. Galbraith sees higher taxes and more debt as serving political objectives as well as economic ones. He wants to dry up the political power of the financial industry that courses through both parties because he is intensely skeptical of the capacity of financial markets to allocate capital in a way that meets the long-term needs of society. The real economic issue, Galbraith argues, is where the 'true seat of economic power' lies. The new liberal regime will be one that empowers 'scientists, engineers, some economists and public intellectuals -- who attempt to represent the common and future interest', and deposes 'banks, companies, lobbyists, and the economists they employ -- that represent only the tribal and current interest.'"
By empowering "some economists", I think we can take it as a given Galbraith does not mean members of the Mises Institute or Cato. He doesn't mean we will turn to Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams for sage advice. He means empowering members of his father's school of thought.
"...The planner rather trhan the entrepreneur will hold the position of honor in the new liberal American regime of political economy. Our system of education will be called upon to disseminate the findings of the professions, and, one suspects, to enshrine the new hierarchy of honor."
One where those who depend upon tax revenues for their existence (NGOs that receive grants from government, and the like) will be elevated, while those who pay taxes or engage in commerce will be looked down upon by the honored the way any entrenched Mandarinate or Feudal Nobility does in Ancien Regime states.

Opposition from these lessers is not tolerable in the fa>ce of their honored betters:
"...As Galbraith states bluntly, a key objective of the new liberal regime will be to use political means to produce market outcomes that strengthen its allies and weaken its enemies."
I'm not sure that "political means" so employed produce "market outcomes", but such a phrasing is simply evidence of the Orwellian manipulation of language we are being subjected to. See also "choice and competition" used as a mantra by those who want a government operated health care system.
"This may seem a breathtaking admission, but only to those who haven't been paying much attention to American politics for, say, the past two centuries."
Progressives can only speak for themselves and their own methods, but it is nice to see someone being candid about how they see government power: As a tool with which to destroy their domestic political opponents. Even more candidly:
"...The new regime [Obama's] may adopt many of the measures Galbraith recommends not because it shares his vision, but because crisis [don't want to let one go to waste] will force it to do so. Faced with a full-bore attempt by the deposed regime to reassert itself by obstructing the Administration's agenda, the new regime may find that it has no choice but to use the economic tools at its disposal to destroy its opponents root and branch."
"Cet animal est tres mechant; quand on l'attaque, il se defend"

The use of the phrase "no choice" of course is a deceit meant to keep people from thinking too much about just what is being argued for here: In effect, a one-party state, where nothing like a "loyal opposition" is tolerated. Instead, anything that dissents from the Progressive line and seeks to use the options available to it in a liberal democratic structure is to be crushed. By any means necessary.

Conservative resistance is an attack on Universalism, and must be destroyed root and branch - dissent is no longer patriotic, disagreement and efforts to resist policies one disagrees with is the project of wreckers, horders, and Kulaks, who must be ground to dust.

"[W]hen they had the Power in their hands, those Graces were strangers in their gates!" indeed...

Update: See here for a mild noting of this effort.

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