Saturday, July 16, 2011

Think Outside the Fox

There are philosophical and leadership crises in America today.  The effects are whispered around the world: China now outstrips America economically and with respect to innovation; America is in decline. The causes are a decayed political system and a media that nourishes it.  Both need to be replaced.

Could Henry Knox be Secretary of Defense today?
Neither Hamilton nor Jefferson, Washington's Secretaries of Treasury and State, could remain in office today.  Both had sexual affairs while in Washington's cabinet.  Henry Knox, Washington's War Secretary, would not get the appointment today because of his corpulent visage.  Better to give the post to a banal bureaucrat like Leon Panetta than to a man like Knox who dragged 50 cannon across the Berkshires to defend Dorchester Heights.  Television has contributed to American decline along with special interests' extraction of advantages via the two party system.  The brainwashing necessary to diminish the American spirit comes from America's education system and the media. The American public has elected to allow totalitarian government to replace freedom, competition and self reliance.

Hamilton and Jefferson were the two best cabinet officials in the nation's history, and they predated mass market news.  Markets began to expand in the mid nineteenth century with the advent of the railroad.  As they expanded, the quality of the American government declined. The turning points were the Progressive era, the expansion of the eduction system, and the advent of "objective journalism." Walter Lippmann despaired of the possibility of an intelligent public opinion, and John Dewey responded with the claim that the media would draw cartoons for a public incapable of rational understanding. Hamilton never had such contempt for the American public as did Dewey.  

Now, with instant communication and endless information about government officials' personal lives, the American philosophy has declined to the stupidity witnessed in 2008-11, when between $12.4 and $36 trillion in subsidies have been handed to the financial industry, supposedly to save "the economy."  Not even the quacks advocating this policy on television claimed that this would help the real hourly wage.  Rather, they defined "the economy," as banks' profitability.  What is the meaning of the word "economy" as used on television?  What "economy" besides the stock market and the profitability of banks is left after such subsidization?  The American people have elected to become Wall Street's serfs under the absurd claim that their immiseration and economic subjugation are necessary to make them economically secure.

Radio and television's large audience sizes and their announcers' distance from their receivers give them credibility. Television and radio lack morality, intellect, accuracy, truthfulness, or competence--they merely offer the security that a  large number of people, quite possibly the very same  fools repeatedly duped in recent speculative bubbles, think just like the announcer. On television, the announcer must meet a standard of physical appearance, nothing more. There is no standard for radio save, perhaps, quick wits.  The choice of material, the positions, or the quality of analysis need only satisfy the station's owners' and managers' interests. 

Television trumpeted the crippling bailouts and subsidies using superstitious claims about the "economy's" being dependent on the subsidization of speculators. Jefferson turned in his grave.  The reasoning was dumb enough that a portion of the public recoiled, forming a Tea Party.  But the Tea Party runs in circles as Fox deflects and manipulates it, trumpeting Trojan Horse candidates like Michele Bachmann. 

I favor an alliance between social conservatives and economic libertarians. However, the history of that alliance has been humiliating to those who believe in less government.  There is NO EVIDENCE that Michele Bachmann is anything more than an economic royalist--a Rockefeller Republican. Economic liberals ought not to support her.

There are two issues that serve as  litmus tests with respect to a candidate's favoring small government: monetary policy and the bailout. Bachmann seems to pass the latter, which is fine but unconvincing because it is three years late and $12.4 trillion short.  With respect to constraints on the Fed and monetary policy, Bachmann remains silent.

With the sole exceptions of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, the alternative Republican candidates, starting with Mitt Romney, are in favor of big government. That the Republicans favor such candidates, whose ideas guarantee continued American decline, is a result of their choice to mentally subjugate themselves to Fox.

It is time that the Tea Party thought outside GE's MS-NBC, outside Sumner Redstone's CBS, outside Warren Buffett's Washington Post.  Open a copy of Ludwig von Mises's Human Action or Murray N. Rothbard's Mystery of Banking and  think outside the Fox.

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