Wednesday, February 24, 2016

An examination of fundamentals.

From an interview[1] of Ralph Raico conducted by someone at the Mises Institute:
Liberal class analysis holds that history is indeed a struggle between two classes.

But these classes aren’t the “bourgeoisie” and the “proletariat,” as Marxism holds is the case in modern times. Rather, one group is composed of the beneficiaries of state action, the other of its victims. State subsidies and prohibitions, state-granted contracts and monopolies, tariffs, central banking and the manipulation of the currency, imperialism, above all preparing for and waging war — historically, the state’s preeminent business — these serve the interest of a favored few and are detrimental to the interests of everyone else.

Mass democracy, as its nineteenth century liberal opponents foretold, inevitably devolves into a contest of contending forces, motivated by corrupt self-interest, either directly financial or ideological.
I recommend the full interview with Mr. Raico to you. The most telling point he makes is that the (classical) liberals made a mistake in allying with Bismarck in Germany, who proceeded to embrace protectionism and created the welfare state. Liberals' basic error was
. . . their lack of understanding that in modern times the one great enemy of liberty and general prosperity is the centralized bureaucratic state — what the English liberal Thomas Macaulay already in 1830 characterized as “the all-devouring state.”
That is precisely the error that all the liberals I have ever known or read about have made in the U.S.

The U.S. Constitution was deliberately constructed to prevent the federal government from becoming what it has become. But countless judges, politicians, bureaucrats, and lawyers at all levels of the American government betrayed their oath to support and defend the Constitution because it was, in their considered judgment, expedient to do so. Liberals were thrilled at every step and clapped like seals. They have never mentioned or shown the least interest in their God-given liberties, let alone the Constitution, unless they encounter minor officials like cops who write them a ticket for speeding. Then, to quote one, they are "bastards." Apart from such rare expressions of anger, they are content to accept far greater assaults on their freedoms and their property. For "the greater good" or "progressive ends," which they think they can forever define.

And now we have a president with a phone and a pen who had the unmitigated gall to call for the fundamental transformation of American and who thinks he, and he alone, can decide on changes to the ethnic, racial, and religious composition of a nation of over 300,000,000 people. And involve us in a ruinously expensive military adventure in Syria that has caused over a quarter of a million civilian deaths.

One man!

We also have a Supreme Court that can by a majority of its members manufacture rights and duties simply by the exercise of their creative imaginations. Constitution optional. Done and done.

The notion that politicians and officials are bound by the chains of the Constitution has long ago gone over the rail. The president of old was limited to protecting the nation against invasion and deciding what color to paint the buoys in Chesapeake Bay. Now we have freaks like Obama and Clinton and clueless people like Bush '41 and '43 deciding what can be taught to our children and who should govern Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan. Really? They're that wonderful?

I am delighted by the successes of Donald Trump. Even when the Constitution is pushed aside by the whole nation, it is still possible to choose between good and bad policies. Trump is soaring because he is saying, where (1) immigrants who despise the West (or whose religion is pure savagery and superstition) and (2) foreign trade are concerned, that American doesn't have to be everybody's bitch.

I don't see, yet, that Mr. Trump is attuned to the problems of the all-powerful, unconstitutional central state. Some earlier positions suggest the opposite is the case. Still, he's entitled to make his own assessment now of what is vitally important and what are problems 80 years in the making that no one else has been able to solve -- and which few of his fellow citizens even consider to be problems.

Immigration and trade are existential threats with which we must deal immediately and Trump is clearly intent on doing that. For now, that is enough for me to be very happy about his primary triumphs.

There is, however, a lot more housecleaning to be done even after he achieves his goals. That's been in order for the last 84 years and the "conservative" keepers of the flame have accomplished exactly nothing in the intervening years as our liberties have flown out the window and federal power has grown and metastasize like something out of a science fiction movie. Judges slobber over laughable pronouncements of the Supreme Court (emanations and non-tax taxes). Bar associations are silent and useless as the attacks on free speech by pathetic, ignorant students, thugs and liars multiply and weak university administrators and prosecutors disgrace themselves.

The charges of weakness and indifference -- to the national catastrophe that our abandonment of the Constitution is -- can be leveled at many, many people.

[1] "Democracy Has Been Weaponized. A Conversation With Historian Ralph Raico." The Austrian, January-February, 2016.

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