Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Test Time; Oil : Water as Politics : ????

A few weeks back, I wrote on Scott Ruppert's (also known as Basicman) great op-ed column, and also his "Whatever Happened to Truth" blog post. The link to the Basicman Blog is over on the right under "Sites I follow."

After completing my post, I realized it was a perfect chance to weave in a musical interlude, and I had missed it. So here it is now:

The whole world's gone low-brow. Thing's ain't what
they used to be.

They sure ain't, Mama. They sure ain't it's all gone.

Whatever happened to fair dealing?
And pure ethics
And nice manners?
Why is it everyone now is a pain in the ass?
Whatever happened to class?

Whatever happened to, "Please, may I?"
And, "Yes, thank you?"
And, "How charming?"
Now, every son of a bitch is a snake in the grass
Whatever happened to class?

Those who follow musical theater will recognize this is from Chicago, one of our great favorites. (It's playing again at MSMT next summer, so if you haven't seen it before, or want to see it again, you better get in line early for tickets.)

Today I happened to notice the Quote of the Day on the right side of the page is:

Politics have no relation to morals.

Niccolo Machiavelli

Spot on, many would say. Especially after watching a Senator from Louisiana sell her vote on the health care debate recently for $300 million in taxpayer money. Or hearing a Congressman from Pennsylvania say that pork coming his way may look like graft or corruption, but if it supports his people, he supports the corruption.

One wonders what sort of "leverage" Maine's two Senators will use as the health care debate proceeds; it should be interesting to watch the bidding.

Which all ties in with an Imprimus column that came my way in September.

In it, Walter Williams discusses "Future Prospects for Economic Liberty." When I read it, I circled this passage:

Some will respond that big government is what the majority of voters want, and that in a democracy the majority rules. But America’s Founders didn’t found a democracy, they founded a republic. The authors of The Federalist Papers, arguing for ratification of the Constitution, showed how pure democracy has led historically to tyranny. Instead, they set up a limited government, with checks and balances, to help ensure that the reason of the people, rather than the selfish passions of a majority, would hold sway. Unaware of the distinction between a democracy and a republic, many today believe that a majority consensus establishes morality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In other words, morality is whatever the times and the people decide it is. Just think for a moment how dangerous that concept is, and I would offer up WW II and Nazi Germany as just one example of such danger.

But this also speaks to the larger point of modern politics not being grounded in any established morality, other than the self-interests of those who govern and what it takes to keep them in power.

Williams adds:

Another common argument is that we need big government to protect the little guy from corporate giants. But a corporation can’t pick a consumer’s pocket. The consumer must voluntarily pay money for the corporation’s product. It is big government, not corporations, that have the power to take our money by force. I should also point out that private business can force us to pay them by employing government. To see this happening, just look at the automobile industry or at most corporate farmers today. If General Motors or a corporate farm is having trouble, they can ask me for help, and I may or may not choose to help. But if they ask government to help and an IRS agent shows up at my door demanding money, I have no choice but to hand it over. It is big government that the little guy needs protection against, not big business. And the only protection available is in the Constitution and the ballot box.

Sadly, we have virtually no protection left against big government; the Constitution is dismissed as so much inconvenient baggage ("negative rights"), and the permanent ruling class renders the ballot box far less effective than it should be. Incumbency is simply too easy to purchase, the Constitution be damned.

Recently I was reading a book review in The Weekly Standard entitled "Cool Gone Cold."

I found these two lines regarding "perspectival thinking" to be memorable, and relevant to this discussion:

Loosely, this means regarding reality as lying mainly in the eye of the beholder rather than being fixed, immutable, and objectively given.

The idea that reality is whatever it is perceived to be, rather than something with independent existence, is likely to be with us as long as our culture survives.

There is obviously broad support for moral relativism and its many byproducts in this day and age. And especially despised in our big government age is any notion of constraining Government with a Constitution. Why how do you expect our benevolent "public servants" to save us from ourselves if we put chains on them?

How quaint a concept, I suppose.

But ask yourself this if you don't think there is a need for absolutes within the framework of our lives. Suppose your bank, and your employer, and your investment company all decided that instead of the absolutism of the mathematics we learned as children and came to hold dear, that their math "realities" lay mainly in the eye of the beholder rather than being fixed, immutable, and objectively given.

In other words, your bank, your employer, and your investment firm would come up with results for you that bear no relationship to what you think they should be, because they could each invent their own math rules to suit their purposes.

That might sound a little hair-brained, but it's not too different than what the federal government does as it reinvents the laws of finance and economics to make the answers come out the way it wants, rather than the way "arcane absolutes" would make them come out.

And feels free to reinvent them further, whenever the need arises.

Anything for the greater good, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment