LESSONS LEARNED #2 “The international community prefers liberals over conservatives because it’s easier to fool a naïve idealist than a wise realist.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 25th, 2010

EVERY GENERATION HAS had naïve idealists.  Even the founding generation.  Thomas Jefferson was an intellectual.  Kind of quiet and shy, he found solace in his books.  He knew more than most of the Founding Fathers.  But he was an idealist.  He saw the world more as how it should be than how it was.

Jefferson would become the leader of the opposition party…while serving as Washington’s Secretary of State.  The main split was between Jefferson and the Secretary of the Treasurer, Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton was smart like Jefferson but wasn’t quiet or shy.  And, unlike Jefferson, he understood commerce and capital markets.

They had two different views of America.  Hamilton saw a rich manufacturing base while Jefferson saw farmers.  Jefferson thought Hamilton’s views were too British and called him a monarchist.  He didn’t trust him or his financial schemes and opposed them at every opportunity.

Hamilton admired the British Empire.  He wanted an American Empire, using the British as the model.  Jefferson hated all things British.  He also owed a fortune to British creditors, another reason to hate both Great Britain and things financial.

When trouble brewed between the British and the French, Hamilton wanted to side with the British.  Jefferson with the French.  Washington wanted to stay neutral.  And did.  But when that neutrality clearly favored the British, Jefferson was furious. 

America’s interests, though, clearly aligned with Great Britain.  America’s trade had always been with Great Britain.  As a British colony, she was there to provide raw materials to the mother country.  During the Revolutionary War, there was limited trade with France, but she didn’t throw open her markets to American goods.  Then there was the British Fleet.  It ruled the seas.  An infant nation just couldn’t take on the British Empire and restore her economy.

Jefferson was a great philosopher.  But he wasn’t a great executive.  Idealists rarely are.  He was both governor of Virginia and president of the United States.  He put neither of these accomplishments on his tomb stone.  Even he knew.  He was a thinker of great thoughts.  He wasn’t a doer of great things.  The British leaning neutrality provided peace and prosperity while much of Europe was embroiled in the Napoleonic wars.  He was wrong on this one.

IN GERMANY THERE was National Socialism.  In the Soviet Union there was communism.  In Italy there was fascism.  And in the United States there was the New Deal.  They all shifted control of business to the government.  They all rejected capitalism.  They all favored state planning.  They all favored putting the collective good above individual self-interest.  And they all had charismatic leaders.

These charismatic leaders, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Roosevelt (FDR), were elitists.  They shared a condescending contempt for those who clung onto the old, unenlightened ways.  It was an era of progressive state power.  And through their will and charisma they were building a new world order.

War would make fascism and National Socialism enemies of the United States.  But FDR still had ‘Uncle Joe’.  He had a hot and cold love affair with Stalin.  It was hot until 1939.  It turned cold when Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non aggression pact and invaded, conquered and partitioned Poland.  It turned hot again when Hitler turned on Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union.

Roosevelt refused to hear criticisms of Stalin.  He knew Stalin.  He could work with him.  He could charm him.  Just who was charming who, though, was a matter of debate.  Soviet spies where everywhere in Roosevelt’s administration.  And, when they met to discuss post war policy, against advice, Roosevelt foolishly lodged at the Soviet embassy which was bugged (he wanted to show Stalin that he trusted him).  The Soviets listened in on all private discussions of the American delegation.  Stalin played him like a piano. 

And the rest, as they say, is history.  Roosevelt gave away Eastern Europe and condemned them to the misery that was life behind the Iron Curtain.  And that was just the start of the Cold War.  Communism, as an ideology, would be responsible for more deaths than any other despot or empire the world has ever known.  And Stalin was the architect of most of that.  If not personally, his style of harsh communism known as Stalinism.  And FDR, in his naïve idealism, was there in the beginning to help him on his way.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #2 “The international community prefers liberals over conservatives because it’s easier to fool a naïve idealist than a wise realist.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 23rd, 2010

IT’S A GENERATIONAL thing.  The young see conservatives as old guys stuck in the past.  Whereas the young see themselves as progressive.  Liberal.  On the cutting edge.  The young look at their father’s generation with exasperation.  They just don’t get it.  Things change.  But their parents are so stuck in their ways that they refuse to see how wrong and misinformed they are.  It reminds me of a classic line from an America great:

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain

Of course, it wasn’t the father that learned.  It was the son. 

Kids are always rebelling against their parents.  Always have.  Always will.  Especially while in college.  And after a few classes with a radical professor, that’s it.  They know everything. 

When the hippies of the sixties became college professors everything went to hell in a handbasket.  Once a hippie always a hippie.  Sure, some have cut their hair and most probably bathe now, but they’re just as radical.  Communism has failed everywhere in the world.  Even communist China’s economic boom is due to an infusion of capitalism in their cities.  But you wouldn’t know that on our college campuses.  Not with Che Guevara’s face on T-shirts and classroom walls.  There they still believe the communist Utopian dream.  And they still eschew capitalism.

These professors once said to trust no one under 30.  Now that they’re a bunch of old farts themselves, they’re willing to admit they were wrong on that.  But in their defense, with all the drugs they took they probably never banked on living past 30.  Oh well.  The other things they hated they can still hate.  And they hate just about everyone and everything.  They hate the ‘man’, cops, the military, veterans, the middle class, a job, hygiene, the rich, morality, God, marriage, bankers, their parents, your parents, the Girl Scouts, the pledge of allegiance, our flag, the internal combustion engine, etc.  You name it and they probably hate it.  They probably even hate you.

But the students love these professors.  They rebelled and lived life.  Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll was their mantra.  And a finer mantra there never was.  To a college kid.  They don’t get morality lectures from them.  Unless you call sparking up a fat spliff with them a morality lesson.   They help make college fun.  No parents.  No rules.  No judgment.  Perhaps an occasional venereal disease but, if you’re lucky, a shot of penicillin will take care of that.  It’s all good, Dad.  Don’t worry, Mom.  If this lifestyle was bad would they give these professors tenure?

The students of these radical professors are learning through tunnel vision.  When it comes to America, they learn the bad but not the good.  When it comes to America’s enemies, they learn the good but not the bad.  And now a lot of these students are making policy. 

THE WORLD’S DICTATORS love these college radicals.  These liberals.  They think alike.  They hate the same things.  And they’re dumb as a post.  This is what the dictators love most.  They may sport those cool T-shirts with Che Guevara wearing a beret but they have no idea that it was Che who helped bring nuclear missiles to Cuba.   That it was Che who wanted to, and would have had not the Soviets stopped his insanity, launch them at America during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  But the liberals love this guy.  So how can the world’s dictators not love them, these poor, clueless bastards?

Two of the largest nations have also the distinction of committing the greatest genocide.  Both of them communist.  China killed about 80,000,000 of her own people.  The Soviet Union killed about 60,000,000 of her own.  But liberals love Chairman Mao (Zedong).  And liberals love Uncle Joe (Stalin).  Communist, socialist, collectivist – they’re all the same.  They’re not capitalists.  Capitalism is cruel and profit driven.  Communism/socialism/collectivism care about people.  Isn’t that nice?  This is what liberals believe.  That’s why liberals are anti-capitalists.  This is what draws liberals to dictators.  And dictators to liberals.  They’re both anti-capitalists.  Dictators care about the people.  Not profits.  Granted, the people that survive the genocide.

This is what the counter-culture hippies are teaching in our universities.  And the young are eating it up.  They don’t understand anything about economics but they know that capitalism is bad.  They don’t know anything about history but know all of America’s mistakes.  And when a dictator says that they care about their people they believe them.  And when they do abuse their people and then deny it, well, they believe that, too.  A tyrannical dictator couldn’t ask for anyone better to negotiate with.  They can literally get away with murder.

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LESSONS LEARNED #1 “The meaning of bipartisan depends on your point of view; on the Right it means compromise whereas on the Left it means unconditional surrender.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 18th, 2010

IN THE THIRD century, the Roman Empire had a large bureaucracy and a large army.  Both were costly to maintain.  They raised taxes and debased their silver coins (i.e., their ‘silver’ coins had less and less silver in them) to pay their costs.  They debased the coins so much that, in time, no one accepted them as legal tender.  Even the Romans.  To pay Roman taxes you needed gold.  Or you paid ‘in kind’ (if you grew wheat you gave a portion of your wheat to pay your tax obligation). 

Rome paid her soldiers and her civil servants with gold.  The emperor needed them to maintain his power.  The people, though, suffered runaway inflation with the debased coinage.  As they inflated the money supply (by debasing coins or simply making new coins out of base metals instead of precious metals), prices soared.  As did taxes.  Unable to work the land without losing money, people walked away from the land.  Then Rome passed laws that bound these people to the land.  Serfdom was born.  If you were born on the land you would die on the land.  And in between you would work the land.

They forced artisans to stay in their jobs, too.  And their sons.  Jobs became hereditary as people wouldn’t work them voluntarily.  If a father made shoes his son would make shoes.  The son had no choice.  The economic oppression was so bad that when the Western Empire finally fell, the Roman citizens looked at the Germanic tribes not as conquerors but as liberators.

GREAT BRITAIN BUILT a global empire.  She built it with sea power and overseas colonies.  She fed her domestic manufacturers with raw materials from these colonies.  She then sold her manufactured goods overseas.  On British ships.  Through British ports.  Raw materials in.  Finished goods out.  Hoard bullion. 

This is mercantilism.  Encourage exports with subsidies.  Discourage imports with tariffs.  Maintain a favorable balance of trade.  Colonies help.  They can provide the material you would otherwise have to buy.  You can then build stuff with all that raw material.  Then sell it overseas for gold and silver.  If these protectionist economic policies work you become a wealthy nation.  However, the reason why we use gold and silver for legal tender is because it is scarce.  There isn’t a lot of it around.  Hence mercantilism can be a zero-sum game; if you gain bullion someone must lose bullion.  And Great Britain wasn’t the only mercantile empire.

It is rather ironic that nations pursuing economic policies to enrich themselves plunged themselves into wars that bankrupted them.  To help pay down her debt Great Britain taxed her North American colonies.  Opposition to the taxes resulted with punishing ‘coercive/intolerable’ acts against the colonies.  These acts resulted with the declaration of American independence.   Not quite the goal of the ‘coercive/intolerable’ acts. 

France, another monarchy, was heavily in debt from war, too.  Despite this she helped finance America’s war for independence from monarchy.  In the battle for empire, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  Even if your new friend is not a friend of monarchy.  Not a wise thing to do when poverty and hunger rage through your lands.  The next thing you know is that your subjects will be talking all that liberty nonsense.  And, well, we know what happened next.  They did.  The French Revolution saw the beheading of King Louis XVI, the rise of Napoleon and plunged Europe back into war.  Painful can be the lessons of history.

GOVERNEMNT FOR THE sake of government ultimately pits the government against the governed.  Mercantilist economic policies lead to war.  And bankruptcy.  These policies brought down the Roman Empire.  They plunged France into The Terror and chaos.  They saw the first resignation of a prime minister, Lord North, after a vote of no confidence.  Great Britain would come out better than France, though.  With a change in her relationships with her remaining colonies (similar to what her former American colonies had proposed before their break), and a move from mercantilism to capitalism, the British Empire prospered and led the Industrial Revolution.  Her empire would rule the world for another hundred years, give or take.

The Roman and British Empires flourished when based on the rule of law and economic liberty.  They foundered when they did not.  Bad government begat bad fiscal and monetary policy.  Excessive government spending brought one down and forced change on the other.

The Founding Fathers built America upon the rule of law and economic liberty.  It was once the flower of capitalism.  But that flower has faded.  The amount of wealth transferred from the private to the public sector continues to grow.  We replaced specie (such as gold or silver, or paper backed by gold, silver, etc.) with fiat money (paper not backed by specie).  We continue to inflate our currency.  We are moving from capitalism back to mercantilism (subsidies for politically connected domestic industries to help them export, tariffs to restrict imports to protect politically connected domestic industries, excessive government regulation to protect politically connected domestic industries, the merging of financial markets with government to provide the money for the politically connected, etc.).  But it’s not to build an empire.  No, it’s not our military spending that’s crushing us (it’s less than 25% of the federal budget); it’s the cost of non-military spending that is.  This once great land of fierce, rugged, individualism has become a nanny state.  And, like Rome, the American government is taking care of her civil servants at the expense of her taxpayers.  An American aristocracy lives well while her citizens suffer high taxation and the consequences of inflationary spending. 

We have a lot in common with Rome.  Pity it isn’t only her grandeur.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #1 “The meaning of bipartisan depends on your point of view; on the Right it means compromise whereas on the Left it means unconditional surrender.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 17th, 2010

THE ONE THING that puzzles me about stereotypes is that when it comes to legislating, the Left (liberals) and the Right (conservatives) always break character.  The Right is a bunch of gun-toting redneck war hawks looking for a fight.  The Left is a bunch of over-sensitive girly-men that want to disband the military and ask our enemies to be nice to us.  At least, so go the stereotypes. 

But give the Left a majority in Congress and this cowardly lion finds its courage.  They stop reaching across the aisle.  They become belligerent.  Mean.  The Right tries to placate them.  They cave on principle.  Apologize for being conservative.  And they ask the Left if it’s okay for them to participate in the nation’s business.  ‘No?  Okay.  Then I’ll just vote along with you.  Just please like me.’  It’s like the proverbial joke about a man who gets married and soon after deposits his testicles in a box and gives them to his wife saying, “I guess I won’t be needing these any more” to which she replies, “damn skippy.”

Those in Congress think they’re part of an aristocratic nobility.  Though the very thought of an American aristocracy is repugnant there have always been, throughout history, people who feel that they are better than others.  And so it is in America.  It’s the old boys’ club of Congress.  It’s a unisex club now (feminists should be happy that this glass ceiling has been shattered).  Liberal Democrats and RINO Republicans make up the core membership.   In time, though, the sweet temptress of rank seduces most everyone in Congress.

The first rule of getting accepted into this club it to kiss the boots of those already in it.  And other bodily parts.  These are people who never had a real job.  They advance in life through political favor.  Haughty and condescending, the further they advance without honest work the greater their feelings of grandeur and their contempt for the middle class (who have those real jobs).  Work is beneath them.  Aristocrats don’t work.  Fools work.  It’s good to be king but life’s not so shabby in the aristocracy.  You just need to ascend to the ranks of this upper class.  And there’s no better way than through court appointment.  I mean, winning election to federal office. 

This aristocracy is a parasite that feeds off of the government.  For the parasite to flourish, though, it needs a healthy host.  It needs Big Government.  The bigger the better.  The bigger it is the more taxes it must collect.  The more tax collected the greater the wealth transferred from the private to the public sector.  The richer the public sector gets the more it can spend on the federal bureaucracy.  This swells the federal payroll.  And this is the ultimate goal.  This is why politicians can commit political suicide by voting against the wishes of their constituents.  If they lose an election there will always be a federal job waiting for them.  Somewhere.  And a federal pension.  Thus their lifestyle continues uninterrupted and they live happily ever after.  Even during times of record unemployment.

COURT LIFE IS enchanting.  It’s five-star and it’s free.  And it’s so seductive.  So corrupting.  Once let in it is hard not to give in completely.  Anything you want is there for the taking.  Using your position to enjoy some naughty behavior?   No problem.  We’ll accept your apology with a wink.  Want a cheap ‘mortgage’ on a fabulous new home?  Done.  Want to fly your friends and family to Europe?  Why, here’s an intercontinental jet.  It’s better than winning the lotto; winning the lotto doesn’t place you above the law.

They like this lifestyle.  But they don’t want to pay for it.  And they don’t like it when a new crop of uppity conservatives come into the Congress and want to change the status quo.  When they decry the lack of bipartisanship, they’re just crying like a child that can’t have his or her own way.  They don’t want compromise.  They just want to put things back like they used to be when the Right was the Left’s bitch.

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