Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Invisible Hand of Liberalism

Many of us are familiar with Adam Smith's concept of the "invisible hand", which Wikipedia describes as "the self-regulating nature of the marketplace."  The more I watch the Obama Presidency in action, I am convinced that there is a "Bizarro World" version of the Invisible Hand, this time wielded by government in the pursuit of liberal socio-economic objectives.  This could wind up being a rambling and poorly thought through post, and if so, I want to apologize in advance.

Here's the gist of it.  When a conservative runs for high office, he or she generally hews to a line of public oration that stresses individual freedom, limited government, freer markets, distributed agency.  It is a pretty predictable set of ideas, and that's one of the things we conservatives like about our politicians.  The fact is though, when they are in private....when they are strategizing....when they are discussing matters of great import with like-minded politicians....they talk about exactly the same things.  There is no real difference between what they espouse in public and what they espouse in private.  What the actually DO is sometimes different, as the explosion of spending while Republicans were in power under GWB amply demonstrates.  But there is very little daylight between their public and private pronouncements.

It is not the same in with liberals.  Put very bluntly, what they say in private is not what they say in public.  I don't want to go to far with the following comparison, because directly equating Soviet style communism and modern American liberalism is ungenerous.  But there is something to be discussed here, and that is while Soviet style-communism was the system that depended on a million lies to survive, modern American liberalism depends on one, big lie; and that is, "you can have it all."

Conservatives don't say this.  Conservatives make the case that we cannot have a strong defense, universal healthcare, early childhood education, great schools, cheap university educations, subsidized job training programs, green energy investment, transportation infrastructure renewal, healthcare for the elderly and a robust old-age pension system (assuming all of these things were desirable)--at the same time we have a robust and growing economy that manages to control public debt.  Liberals on the other hands--they do suggest all of these are possible.  They tell us that all of these conditions can be attained if only the rich paid more in taxes.  But more taxes from the rich are insufficient to bring about the conditions liberals tell us are possible.  Two other conditions must be met, and these are the ones that liberals talk about in private, but cannot and will not discuss in public.

The first is that modern concepts of individual freedom must evolve; actually, the concepts aren't modern, they go back to our founding.  But how they are clung to in the modern world is incredibly inconvenient to the second condition which must exist, and that is the extension of the power of government over more areas of everyday life.  You see, in order for the benefits of more government to be shared among a greater number of people, each of those people must exchange some portion of their individual liberty for the maternal benefits which accrue from a more active and pervasive organized government (do you see why I contrast this with Smith's "invisible hand"?  This is the opposite of a "self-regulating" world--it is a world of central regulation).

But liberals cannot possibly talk about what they hope to bring about in these terms.  They cannot say "you must give over some portion of your individual freedom and agency in order to bring about these benefits.  We are advocating a less free, but more content society, one in which all of your basic human needs are addressed by government that will invariably grow more powerful, intrusive and involved.".  They can't do that.  They simply can't tell the truth about what it is they want to do.  So they lie.  They lie and tell us we can have it all if only the rich paid their fair share, if only we hacked a half-trillion out of the defense budget.  That's all--give us enough resources and we can achieve Valhalla. They never talk about the costs to freedom.

But in private, they do.  Every now and then, we get a glimpse of  what liberals really thing about the rest of us, about how we feel about freedom, government, and society.  We are accused of "clinging to our guns and bibles"--you know, those things so inconveniently protected by that most inconvenient of documents.....the Constitution.  If only we were less free--the things they could do!  The great social aims they could achieve!  Equality!  Re-distribution! "Free" contraception and abortafacients!

So the President and his team, his ideological soul-mates, his "fellow-travelers", they tell us we can have it all, while in private they know this is not true--there are great costs to what they suggest, both in fiscal terms and in terms of freedom.  But these are things that do not interest them. The goods they seek are more important than the relics of our founding. 

There is a new invisible hand at work, one competing directly with the one of which Adam Smith wrote.  This hand is slowly closing around our wrists, leading us into the great national gated community, where like in Lake Wobegon, "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."  It is a future of statism and socialism, models of which we see exploding before our very eyes in Europe, in California and in Illinois.  

We must turn these people out of the White House and expose them for the charlatans they are.


Mudge said...

Bravo! (and Zulu!)

"The Hammer" said...

Have you been reading Mark Levin or Locke, Smith and Montesquieu (oh yeah, and de Tocqueville)?

Of course liberals lie about who they are and more importantly who their are opponents are. They'd never get elected otherwise.

Anonymous said...

It is due to their ever abiding belief that the reason socialism and
communism have not been successful is solely due to poor leadership of those in charge, but where others have failed all over the world, that "THEY" are the leaders who can and will make it work in the USA. And that the lies are the means that justify the end.

gershon64 said...

And conservatives really believe in trickle down economics? Who's kidding whom?

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