Saturday, June 06, 2009

The American Catastrophe part 3: Obama's rush to national socialism

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Great Falls Montana, racing to get something posted before they close and my fast internet connection turns into a pumpkin.

Our catastrophe continues.

I used to wonder what it might have felt like for someone like Ludwig von Mises to have witnessed the rise of the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s, or for someone like Ayn Rand to have seen the Soviets solidify their hold on power in Russia. I'm now getting a taste of it. Barack Obama and his administration are staging a kind of revolution, a putsch, that promises to eliminate what's left of individual liberty in America. Obama and company are racing us down the road to serfdom.

This viewpoint might not be politically correct, and the mainstream media treats it as entirely over the top, but then there's really no serious discussion either in politically correct company or the mainstream media of the direction and implications of Obama's policies. And the Obama policies are clearly socialist, and are concentrating enormous power in the hands of government officials. Consider just a few points:

• Treasury now holds essentially unchecked power to intervene in capital markets as it sees fit. Geithner himself argues that this mandate is perpetual, essentially permanent.

• The Federal government has taken controlling positions in the insurance, banking, and automotive industries. Obama promises that by the end of this year it will also essentially have taken over the health care industry. The government is also intervening heavily in energy, through regulation and subsidy.

• Despite claims from Obama and co. that they are unwilling owners of the economy, there’s substantial reason to think they've intentionally exacerbated the economic crisis in order to justify these nationalizations.

• Despite claims from Obama and co. that they hope the nationalizations will be short-lived, they've acted to block banks from paying back bailout funds, and they have no plan at all for ending the nationalizations.

• Despite claims from Obama and co. that they have no intention of actively managing nationalized firms, they are doing so, e.g. in the auto industry.

• The net effect of these developments is that the Federal government is seizing what Lenin identified as, and Obama calls (in his budget proposal) the "commanding heights of the economy," and is giving indications of establishing what is effectively a form of central planning (one more akin to that of the Third Reich than that of the USSR).

• The Federal government is also likely to "bail out" otherwise bankrupt states, such as California. If so, once the Federal government has "nationalized" state governments, there'll be no vestiges left of federalism. We'll have an unchecked central government that controls the economy.

• If the EPA does indeed receive power to regulate carbon dioxide, there's no aspect of life that won’t be subject to executive branch regulation. The 60 day comment clock is ticking on this one, and there's great danger it will come to pass.

• Obama is maintaining and expanding the Bush policies on domestic spying.

• Obama’s Secretary of Transportation spoke in favor of mandating a GPS unit on every vehicle in America for purposes of tracking and taxing miles driven. He was subsequently ordered to shut up on this, and now simply talks about his role in modifying citizens' behavior.

• And, and, and...the list goes on.

• Couple all of this with Obama's accelerated fiscal and monetary irresponsibility, madness that makes Bush’s policy look almost responsible. (Note that most of the above was begun by George W. Bush; Barack Obama is Bush on steroids. It's bizarre how his cult of personality has blinded his supporters to this.)

It’s dreadful. Every bit of this is about central planning and allowing bureaucrats to impose their wills over the individual citizen. None of this is compatible with individual rights, nor with the rule of law. It's very dangerous, and unchecked, potentially the most serious threat to civilization that has occurred in my lifetime.

None of it is very surprising; I've feared this long before I ever heard of Barack Obama. Once George W. Bush began on the course of continued deficits, easy money, and unchecked power for domestic spying and the like, the pieces were in place for dictatorship. Now we have a popular, charismatic leader who is only too happy to grab Bush's institutional legacy and solidify it. But then what would you expect?

I’m going to expand on these issues in subsequent posts. I'm working on some comments on Obama's very strange address to the Muslim world, as well as some economic analysis. This is serious trouble. We’d better use free speech while we still have it, and UC intends to do so.

Fabulous summary Charles! I had several people practically mocking me when I suggested these things would happen. You summary shows just how deep in we are right now.
There are all sorts of things that I didn't mention, of course, e.g. H.R. 1338 "Paycheck Fairness Act," which penalizes gender wage differentials, andaccording to the ACLU "would require employers to demonstrate that disparities in pay between men and women working the same job result from factors other than gender." (I've read it and it has too many references to other laws for me to be sure what it says. Typical that someone with a Ph.D. can't even tell what a law prohibits/mandates. How are we supposed to respect, or even comply with, this nonsense?)

The Feds are rushing to manage to economy, while retianing the trappings of private property. That's why "national socialism" is the appropriate term.

Thanks for your comment.
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