Category Archives: Political Economy

Trashing Populism: Dim-Bulb Academic Vs. Deplorables

IMMIGRATION, Multiculturalism, Nationhood, Political Economy, Political Philosophy, Populism

The NEW COLUMN, “Trashing Populism: Dim-Bulb Academic Vs. Deplorables,” exposes populism-bashing elites like Kevin D. Williamson, formerly of National Review, who said this about about Deplorables: “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die”:

An excerpt:

To say that academic elites don’t like ordinary folks is to state the obvious.

To them, Lanford, Illinois—the fictional, archetypal, working-class town, made famous by Roseanne and Dan Conner—is not to be listened to, but tamed.

A well-functioning democracy depends on it.

Taming Fishtown—Charles Murray’s version of Landford—is the thread that seems to run through  a new book, “The People vs. Democracy,” by one Yascha Mounk.

You guessed it. Mr. Mounk is not an American from the prairies; he’s a German academic, ensconced at Harvard, and sitting in judgment of American and European populism.

If only he were capable of advancing a decent argument.

“The number of countries that can plausibly be described as democracies is shrinking,” laments Mounk (“Populism and the Elites,” The Economist, March 17, 2018):

“Strongmen are in power in several countries that once looked as if they were democratizing … The United States—the engine room of democratization for most of the post-war period—has a president who taunted his opponent with chants of ‘lock her up’ and refused to say if he would accept the result of the election if it went against him.”

Elites ensconced in the academy are likely selected into these mummified institutions for a certain kind of ignorance about political theory or philosophy.

Plainly put, a chant, “lock her up,” is speech, nothing more. This Trump-rally chant might be impolite and impolitic, but on the facts, it’s not evidence of a “strongman.”

Notice how, deconstructed, nearly every utterance emitted by the technocratic and academic elites turns out to be empty assertion?

Even the subtitle of the book under discussion is sloppy political theory: “Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It” implies that democracy is the be-all and end-all of liberty. Quite the opposite.

America’s Constitution-makers did everything in their power (except, sadly, heed the Anti-Federalists) to thwart a dispensation wherein everything is up for grabs by government, in the name of the people. …

… READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN IS “Trashing Populism: Dim-Bulb Academic Vs. Deplorables.” It’s available also on WND.com, Constitution.com, the Unz Review, and others.

1 Reason The State Department Turned On #RexTillerson: He Tried Trimming Budgets & Getting Rid Of Deadwood

Business, Economy, Federal Reserve Bank, Free Markets, Government, Political Economy, Taxation, The State

The Economist notes that Rex Tillerson was a poor secretary of state—but not for the reasons I would advance.

One reason for their opinion is that, “Disastrously for morale, he declined to defend his own department when the White House proposed cutting its budget by 25% or more … Mr Tillerson squandered goodwill with a corporate restructuring that felt to many staff like an invitation to resign. At one point, outside consultants sent round a questionnaire asking: “To optimally support the future mission of the Department, what one or two things should your work unit totally stop doing or providing?” (“Trump Unbound: In foreign affairs, America just moved closer to one-man rule,” March 17, 2018.)

TILLESRSON TRIED TO CUT GOVERNMENT! Defending your employees, The Economist here equates with increasing or maintaining the budget for the department, it diplomats, envoys and other career and or deadwood staff.

State institutions are self-reinforcing and not amenable to reform; they grow through failure.

So while it would be nice if state institutions were able to reform, because of the structure of incentives, the state cannot be corrected. The incentive structure underlying state institutions is antithetical to reform.

To correct processes that may be killing people—affirmative action, when the subject of special privileges isn’t qualified—you have to cut budgets in the billions. This likely will never happen, in state institutions, because they don’t abide by the profit motive. So to express belief in this is to express belief in the possibility of the state fixing itself.

The libertarian grasps that the state grows through inefficiency. The more it bungles—the greater its budget will be. Economically, the state’s incentives are inverted.  A private company, on the other hand, grows through economic and performative efficiencies; by singles the customer. The state is the opposite. As a monopoly, it need please nobody. For example, the education system is a giant failure.  Will it be scrapped? Of course not. The system will reward itself with MORE, not less, funds to fix the problem.

This is a structural fact of the state.

Why can the state grow and prosper through inefficiency? Because it has access to the funds of an indentured third party, taxpayers, and has the promiscuous use of the printing press.

A private institution can come back from the abyss, because, economically, it will go bust if it doesn’t start pleasing customers. However, if, like the Florida bridge collapse, a private enterprise is working in tandem with the state, then taxpayers bail it out.

Profit is privatized, loss is socialized.

Most people no longer read or understand the economics of the state. Ten years ago, I had readers who had at least read Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.

 

American ‘Experts’ Call You Crazy If You Mention Our ‘Deep State.’ But Russia, Says US ‘Expert,’ Certainly Has One.

Left-Liberalism, Neoconservatism, Political Economy, Propaganda, Russia, The State

To be accepted into polite company, we Americans are instructed to denounce the very concept of a Deep State (the unelected, extra-constitutional, entrenched, state apparatus).

Oddly, I first heard this eloquent, apt term  from Bill Moyers, considered an august force on the Left.

But now, leftists in the era of Trump, joined by neocons and cuckservatives insist that the concept is all the product of Deplorable minds gripped by conspiracy.

Except when it comes to Russia. The American state apparatus they consider virtuous, but Russia certainly has a Deep State.

The Russian Deep State one American “expert” calls: “the natural state.”

Yes, the same kind of American experts who denounce Deep State when applied to the US government, have a term for the Russian Deep State: “the natural state.

Douglass North, an American political economist, alludes to what sounds like Deep State reality, only it pertains to Russia.

[Putin] presides over the sort of power structure that Douglass North, an American political economist, has called the “natural state”. In this, rents are created by limiting access to economic and political resources, and the limits are enforced by “specialists in violence”. In Russia these are the siloviki of the assorted security and police forces, serving the system as they did in Soviet times. …

Our government goons may not kill us in the name of compliance, but they certainly marginalize us.

MORE: “Gorbachev’s grandchildren: A new generation is rising in Russia: Vladimir Putin’s election victory does not mean that there is no hope.

Didn’t Zimbabwe Just Oust A Tyrant? Yes, But There Are Plenty More Where Mugabe Came From

Africa, Economy, History, Political Economy, Racism, Welfare

Good luck in taking the tyrant out of Africa’s Strongmen. The reality is that, “in Africa, you oust a tyrant, not tyranny”.

Rhodesia was once the breadbasket of Africa. Who was the Prince among Men responsible for the good times in Rhodesia? We are never told. The phantom was Ian Smith, prime minister of Rhodesia, RIP.

Now that the wicked whites have been replaced and robbed,

“About 90% of working-age people lack formal jobs. The legions reduced to hawking on the streets of Harare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, are preyed on by Zanu-PF thugs demanding pay-offs. Electricity and water are intermittent, even in hospitals. ATMs are empty. State workers’ wages are paid months late. In a residual population of 13m, 3m survive on food handouts from America and Britain. Perhaps 3m Zimbabweans have fled abroad.”

To guarantee the “right” outcome in the upcoming election,

3,000 soldiers have already been sent to the countryside in civilian garb to campaign and bully. Villagers fear that rural chiefs and headmen will withhold food aid if they suspect them of voting the wrong way. Zanu-PF’s national political commissar menacingly told a rural gathering that people should remember 2008, when thousands of MDC activists in the countryside were set upon by Zanu-PF militias and hundreds were murdered. Many analysts think that Zanu-PF’s rural voting bloc should ensure victory for Mr Mnangagwa, even without resorting to violence. “Just the memory of 2008 is enough,” says a former MDC campaigner.

MORE at The Economist: “Zimbabwe’s new president says he is a democrat. Is he?”

“THE land resettlement was a huge success in terms of our people, 367,000 of our people, back in possession of the land,”Says President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the expropriation of most of Zimbabwe’s white-owned farmland since 2000—a move that wrecked the economy and pushed millions into poverty. Was it fair that bigwigs of his ruling Zanu-PF party took several farms each? “No, no, it is one farm, one person,” he says. “I have 404 hectares and I paid for the equipment myself.

… his economic vision is hardly liberal. He extols a “command” model where agriculture is guided by government. He blames the economy’s collapse on sanctions, even though these were targeted on leading figures such as himself. He testily rejects a suggestion that they were far lighter than those levelled against the white-supremacist regime of Ian Smith before Mr Mugabe took over in 1980. “You are plain ignorant,” he tells The Economist.”

A good man:


Another good man deceased: