We in America always insist on corruption as both immoral and an impediment to commercial development, but we tend to forget how exceptional this attitude is relative to both history and geography. The rule of written law over custom, family, and executive expediency is largely an idea formed — and remaining a nearly exclusive domain — of the Northern European Enlightenment, where it played no small part in the inception of the Industrial Revolution. Elsewhere, and through most of human history, corruption was and is the rule rather than the exception.
The usual justification for the use of fiat money is the power it gives to governments to smooth out and reduce occurrence of business cycles. Cycles, however, have as stubbornly remained with us since 1932, just as they have before. Stimulus spending proved ineffective in stemming most of the serious contractions, and when it did succeed — in the hands of Chairman Greenspan — in shortening one, the ultimate results was merely postponed and much magnified pain, as we are now witnessing. Continue reading
Pity is a luxury of the secure. Those who have suffered true, not un-self-inflicted danger and privation, they have no room in their hearts to feel sorrow for others.
The political taxonomy in American thought has been increasingly confused in describing where on the ideological spectrum lie the many actors, voters, policies and ideas. For instance, the division between liberal and conservative is perversely contradictory, with the “liberals” — who with such enthusiasm sent paeans to the regimes of Mao and of Stalin — are still in favor of coercion in pursuit of their goals, and the “conservatives” embracing the ideas of what originally in Britain called liberalism. To an Englishman, by contrast, the word “conservative” evokes an Oxbridge-accented upperclassman with a penchant for the High Church and riding to hounds. Continue reading
Rise and perpetuation of the redistributory socialism, else known as social democracy, as practiced in modern Europe — and much desired in certain circles in America — depends for its perpetuation on the grand bargain between the Socialists on one hand and established economic elites on the other, in which incumbents are protected from new economic and political competition arising from below in exchange for a large, and ever-rising, share of thus created economic rents.
To define the human creature as by nature communitarian is to both oversimplify and to ignore the evidence to the contrary. It would be more accurate to say that the majority, the followers, is naturally communitarian, while a minority, the leaders, are egomaniacal. Recurring efforts to marginalize this segment with such labels as “psychopath“, “sociopath”, or other presudoclinical badges are really little more than an example of sheep passing resolutions in favor of vegetarianism in wolves. They change nothing of the fact that an immensely larger than the average — or “normal” if you will — self-regard, and even hubris, is required to presume that one can and ought to command his fellow Homo sapiens.
Perhaps the most paradoxical trait of followers of divers collectivist, communitarian, and other progressive ideologies — whether they claim origins based on science, revelation or morality — is their propensity to unquestioningly follow leaders, and the greater the logic they claim as their justification, the less they seem to give thought to questions regarding precepts, imitations or empirical outcomes of their beliefs. Continue reading