Monday, April 28, 2008

Toward Separate American Communities

Woodrow Wilson argued that America ought to become a community that is united by common belief. However, Wilson did not anticipate the brokerage of special interest coalitions engendered by the expansive state. Instead of a community of interests, the expansion of the welfare state resulted in heightened factionalism to a degree unforeseen by Madison and the founders of the American constitution. The factionalism is in large part economic. The Federal Reserve Bank has served as a redistributive, extractive mechanism by which wealth is taken from workers and savers and redistributed to investment bankers. This is accomplished with the full support and flourish of the New York Times and the mass media in the name of rationalization of credit markets and similar vacuous phrases. The brokerage of coalitions and privilege extends to almost all facets of state and federal government. It is related to the passage of every law. It imbues the very substance of the American system. Under New Deal Progressivism, America has not become, as Wilson envisioned, a community of shared interests, but rather a land where various minorities wage economic war on the majority.

Progressivism entailed an increase in executive power and a reduction in the power of the states. It depended upon the federal government reflecting a popular will. But today, the popular will is fractured not only by economic but also by severe political criteria. The liberalism of Roosevelt has, for many, turned out to be a failure. The states where the New Deal has been taken to its furthest extremes, such as New York, are the dying states. Yet, the mass media cling to the New Deal paradigm as any reactionary clings to his fossilized ideology.

Many Americans have renewed their faith in traditional American values and adopted a conservative position that evolves from twentieth century progressive-liberalism. The conservative position finds that the ideas of the nineteenth century had more substance than the old Progressives thought. It finds that markets are required for flexibility and progress. It also finds that new ideas cannot be adopted by government rooted in special interest privilege.

The competition between the forces of conservative progress and the forces of progressive-liberal reaction is bitter. There can be no community of interest in a society where one half of the public hates the values of the other; where progressive-liberals reject the conditions for progress, i.e., markets and the entrepreneurial creative destruction; and where progressive-liberals hold their own country as well as conservatives in contempt. Likewise, it is unfair to those progressive-liberals who would like to be subject to government control; who want the guidance of a powerful executive leader and do not care about the independence of entrepreneurship and self employment to have freedom thrust upon them. It is unfair to ask progressive-liberals who need social and political guidance to think for themselves.

The solution to this dilemma of war of all against all, of economic interest against economic interest, is separation. A separation of state powers to enhance competing models. Through competition the states can serve as laboratories of experiment for both conservative and progressive-liberal ideas. A libertarian state can be juxtaposed to one that is progressive-liberal. Differing ideologies and the mutual contempt in which the advocates of liberty and the advocates of state power hold each other need not be brought into overt conflict. Instead, let them separate. Let them experiment. Let us see which state flourishes: the state that extols private use emininent domain, central banking and government intervention; or that state that dispenses with these institutions, views them as failed and frees entrepreneurial talent from government control. Will the anarchic state or the totalitarian state flourish? It is only through experiment that the answer can be found.

The separation of power into separate states would have advantages beyond the role of experimentation. The brokerage of special interests would be diminished with more local control. Special interest pleading depends in large part on asymmetry of resources and organization costs. As political entitites diminish in scope, the asymmetries become smaller and the advantages of wealth and concentrated power diminish as well. Perhaps progressive-liberalism will perform to a better degree should it cover a smaller geographic expanse. Perhaps European states manage themselves more professionally because of their smaller scale and lesser concomitant corruption.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

eh... nice thread..