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What It Is Ain’t Exactly Clear

October 11th, 2011 by Myrhaf · 12 Comments · Uncategorized

The Nazis scapegoated the Jews; the communists scapegoated the bourgeoisie; the New Left scapegoats the rich. The Occupy Wall Street noise is an attempt by the Democrats to keep the narrative on point: to keep the American people’s anger directed at the left’s favorite scapegoat, the rich, and to keep the blame away from the Democrats.

Unlike the Tea Party, which was a spontaneous reaction to the Democrats’ frightening power grabs, OWS (or the Flea Party) is a calculated movement orchestrated by the leadership on the left. An ad in Craig’s List offered people between $350-$650 a week to protest. Behind the ads is the Working Families Party, which is tied to ACORN. The money for the “Occupied Wall Street Journal” comes from George Soros, among others.

So there is something happening here. But what exactly? Here is my explanation, as informed by my understanding of Austrian economics.

The mixed economy is a combination of freedom and controls. It is freedom “regulated” by the state, but the controls are not yet dictatorship. All the economic problems in a mixed economy come from the state intervening in the free market. Statist propapaganda is aimed at hiding the state’s role in our problems, and keeping the blame on freedom. They do this by demonizing the rich.

Ludwig von Mises explained why the mixed economy leads to ever greater government control, and eventually to dictatorship. Don Lavoie (PDF) summarizes the Mises Interventionist Thesis:

Attempts to violently manipulate the outcomes of [the market] process lead to reactions that the intervener can neither specifically predict nor effectively prevent. Efforts to make the initial intervention work as designed must take the form of ever-wider and more obtrusive interventions, which are in further conflict with the workings of the market mechanism. In the end the interventionists must either extend their activities to the point where the process has been completely sabotaged or they must abandon their quest to control the market. Any “middle way” between the extremes may, of course, be advocated but would consist in a series of haphazard shocks to the system….

We are in an economic crisis created entirely by state intervention in the economy, through onerous regulations, taxes and misallocation of capital caused by the Federal Reserve. Corporate greed and corruption cannot affect an entire economy; only the government can do that. I believe we are at a pivotal moment: will we begin to repeal the intervention or intervene even more and plunge toward total state control?

Me, I’m not optimistic. The chances are our next president will be Mitt Romney, a Rockefeller Republican. He won’t repeal a damned thing. ObamaCare will be cemented into place and we will continue down the road to serfdom. We might not run to the abyss of dictatorship as fast as the Democrats want, but we’ll get there.

As Mises himself wrote,

It is indeed one of the principal drawbacks of every kind of interventionism that it is so difficult to reverse the process.

With nothing but nihilists on the left and fools on the right, there is little hope.

And that’s what’s happening here.

12 Comments so far ↓

  • L-C

    So, basically, now more than ever one must: produce and protect the results. Wealth is mobility, and mobility may be survival.

  • Inspector

    If they put up Romney, I’m tempted to not vote for him. Not even against Obama.

    As soon as he was called out at the debates on voting for the bailouts, and he waffled in response, the crowd should have booed him out of the building. That they didn’t – much less that he’s a frontrunner – speaks volumes to the depth of the ***t we’re in.

  • Myrhaf

    I can’t stand Romney, but can you imagine what Obama will do if he gets four more years?

    One of the speakers at the LA OWS called for violent revolution and expressed sympathy for the terror of the French Revolution. And the Democrats have given their support to OWS.

  • Inspector

    “I can’t stand Romney, but can you imagine what Obama will do if he gets four more years?”

    Get impeached, I could only hope. Yeah, that’s why I say “tempted.” I haven’t decided, yet.

  • Michael

    I’ve read a similar article on Mises

  • North Bridge

    A second Obama term would do incalculable damage to the nation, but it would not as such be the end of the road.

    The U.S. is profoundly split on the issue of capitalism vs. welfare state socialism. That conflict will not go away; eventually it has to be resolved somehow. And ironically I think Obama represents the best chance we could hope for for that conflict to be resolved in favor of capitalism and freedom.

    The country has been able to slide toward dictatorship because the process has been slow and the only disagreement on the political scene for the past century has been over the degree of government control. All sides have granted the fundamental premise of the Left. And with a continued succession of McCains or other welfare-statist nonentities, this process would have gone on unchecked with no one ever questioning the fundamental premise that the government owns the economy. The end of that road would have been a collapse into full-fledged dictatorship.

    But having a pure socialist in the White House — before the country was ideologically ripe for it — has suddenly brought the opposing fundamental principles into public focus in a way all the campaigning of a pro-capitalist movement could not have accomplished. It has galvanized a large, popular movement on the Right to come out explicitly in defense of capitalism, limited government, and individual rights.

    If Obama wins a second term, this process will continue. I expect he would try to institute some form of Venezuelan dictatorship if he can find a way to do it. I expect we would see orchestrated “anti-capitalist” violence and chaos continue to build. Blood in the streets, government stepping in to restore order. Nationalization of banks. Temporary restrictions on personal liberties, temporary emergency measures.

    And it is all bound to backfire, because the country is not by any measure ripe for dictatorship. It would push any sane Democrats and liberals toward the Right and isolate the totalitarian fringe on the Left.

    Some prominent commentator on the Left said a few weeks ago that the Right is out to repeal the 20th Century. It was intended as an attack, but in actual fact it was a perceptive comment. Obama may be the last, best chance the U.S. has of rolling back all the welfare state measures of the 20th Century before it is too late.

    From this perspective, the biggest threat to the U.S. right now is not Obama; it is Mitt Romney.

  • Michael Neibel

    “The Nazis scapegoated the Jews; the communists scapegoated the bourgeoisie; the New Left scapegoats the rich.”

    Rulers have for millennia used the productive members of society, the money men, as scapegoats for their rule. From the great little book “Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls: How Not to Fight Inflation” (by Robert Schuettinger and Eamonn Butler) is this passage regarding ancient Greece:
    “But Lysias was not the first and he was hardly the last politician to court popularity by promising the people lower prices in time of scarcity if only they would put an occasional merchant to the sword.”

    People have been falling for this for thousands of years and still do as witnessed by the OWS crowd. This morning someone sent me (via internet) pics of the SanFransisco OWS. One person was holding a sign which read “Capitalism means don’t ask questions” under that “Question everything” yet these people aren’t questioning anything. Sure Wall Street has done some stupid and dishonest things. But instead of asking why, they parrot the age old mantra indoctrinated in them by prog education, greed and selfishness which are actually strawmen. These protesters are unwilling or unable to ask simple questions like why did banks and mortgage companies who had been loaning money only to those with a reasonable chance to pay it back, suddenly go irrational and start lending to people they knew couldn’t pay it back? What facts of reality give rise to this sudden change in business practice? Did government intervention make it (seemingly) profitable for them to do so? (Yes) These are the questions such emotionally oriented people will never ask. It is much easier to feel hatred for a demon than to think about what is true.

  • madmax


    Thanks for the link to that report. It is one of the favorite arguments of the Left to point to the Scandinavian nations and say “see, socialism works over there because they do it right.” See this article for example:

    It argues that socialism (or really advanced welfare statism) is good for business in Norway. Leftists (and PaleoConservatives as well) love these types of articles because they think it proves that the welfare state is the ticket to prosperity.

    But the evidence is coming out that Sweden’s success is due to its favorable business climate – it has better corporate tax rates than the U.S.. Norway’s success is largely due to its oil wealth. Also, the essay you link to makes the point that the homogeneous population of Scandinavia helps as well. (Although that is changing with Muslim immigration.)

    The point as been often made that socialism will destroy any nation it touches but it is especially lethal in multi-ethnic states. Combine ethnic and racial diversity with egalitarian redistributionism and you will get a lethal tribalism; which is what we are getting here in the U.S..

    I really think that the Ayn Rand Institute should start an economic think tank and publish a host of papers like this one. We need to provide both moral and economic arguments to counter all the popular Leftist/anti-capitalist memes. The “Scandinavia proves the value of socialism” meme should be one of the first Leftist memes to be targeted for termination.

  • L-C

    Myrhaf, I read the source essay and the author makes several good points. I don’t agree with his conclusion, but there are a number of important facts that he presents. Maybe it’s time, at last, to post that entry on Sweden. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it up this weekend.

  • Inspector

    “From this perspective, the biggest threat to the U.S. right now is not Obama; it is Mitt Romney.”

    North Bridge,

    This is *precisely* my thinking on the matter, and why I made my above comment. I haven’t been in the right frame of mind until today to get it into writing, though – but I see that you have already done it. Good show.

  • Inspector

    Also, was meaning to nod back at the Buffalo Springfield thing. Here, I’ll go with this:

    “Nobody’s right, if everybody’s wrong.”

    Everybody in the mainstream, it would seem, anyway.