SOLO-International Op-Ed: Memo to President Bush — Let the Corpse of Socialism Lie Down!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Mon, 2008-09-22 03:41

SOLO-International Op-Ed: Memo to President Bush — Let the Corpse of Socialism Lie Down!

Lindsay Perigo

September 22, 2008

"The business of America," said President Calvin Coolidge, "is business."

He might have added that the business of American government, consistent with securing the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is to let business get on with America's business. But President Coolidge was renowned for not uttering more than one sentence, if that, at a time. It was of him that Dorothy Parker famously asked, when told he had died, "How can they tell?"

By the time he said the foregoing, government was most emphatically not minding its own business, and meddling shamelessly in everyone else's. It even prohibited its citizens from drinking alcoholic beverages. It meddled in business as such via the Federal Reserve, set up in 1913 in a de facto nationalisation of the banking system. Ostensibly independent of government, the Fed's informal mandate was well enough understood — to keep politicians popular by facilitating an endless boom with artificially easy credit. The normal market correctives that would have disciplined wayward investors were not allowed to apply — 'A' could be 'non-A' if the Fed decreed. Long before Alan Greenspan gave us the expression, "irrational exuberance" ruled.

To the inevitable Great Crash of 1929, the administration of Republican President Herbert Hoover and Congress responded by meddling even more and exacerbating everyone's pain in the process. They enacted the biggest tax hike in American history to date, with top earners pinged more than 70%; they raised taxes on corporations; they raised tariffs; they booted out Mexicans; they set up the Reconstructive Finance Corporation (RFC) to provide government-guaranteed loans (sound familiar?) to banks, railroads and farmers. Any notion that business was no business of government went well and truly out the window, although it had a seemingly unlikely champion at the time: Democratic presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt lambasted Hoover for thinking “we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible," and for leading "the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all of history." Roosevelt's running-mate, John Nance Garner, accused the Republicans of "leading the country down the path of socialism."

On assuming power, of course, the Roosevelt Administration not only continued down the exact same path but pushed the accelerator to the floor, expanding the role of the RFC and implementing a number of statist measures that collectively made up the "New Deal."

Fast-forward to 2008. Republican President Bush announces the government will be bailing out failed financial institutions with 700 billion dollars it doesn't have. (In fact, it doesn't have a lot more than 700 billion dollars. 'A' can still be 'non-A' by government fiat, apparently, and in the infamous words of New Zealand statist Sir Robert Muldoon, "Most people wouldn't recognise a deficit if they fell over one.") In America's free enterprise system, the President declares, government intervenes only when "necessary," and in this instance intervention is "essential." Mr. Bush doesn't tell us what constitutes "necessary," but true free enterprisers would remind him that intervention is both necessary and essential only in the face of force or fraud. Then, and only then — and neither obtains in this instance! No one held a gun to the heads of stupid lenders and stupid borrowers and made them proceed with stupid loans. The nearest thing to that, actually, was government itself, from the bully pulpit, prattling on about "affordable housing" and urging untenable mortgages upon lenders.

Free marketeers have been quick to trace the proximate origin of the recent disconnect between the markets and reality to Democrat Jimmy Carter's Community Redevelopment Act, subsequently placed "on steroids," as one writer puts it, by the Clinton Administration. In truth, however, the fault doesn't lie just with one act by any particular administration, Republican or Democrat. For nearly a century now, politicians of both parties have encouraged the profoundly un-American view among voters that they, the politicians, are best qualified to make them, the voters, happy and prosperous — and that it's the politicians' exclusive prerogative to do so. They have twisted the individual's inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness to mean government-guaranteed affluence, with all the breaches of liberty such a socialist concept implies. They have turned elections, in H. L. Mencken's words, into "advance auction[s] of stolen goods." Voters, susceptible to bribes, have encouraged them in this delinquency. No politician can now afford to prick the bubble of good-times-without-the-goods; rather, he has to promise to keep inflating and reflating it.

President Bush says he wants to "address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets." First, he must learn that markets are by their nature always more or less "unstable" — that's part of the fun and glory, the vibrancy and dynamism, of freedom. But if by "instability" he alludes to the kind of tectonic cataclysm that currently threatens, he must acknowledge that government is the immediate cause, and philosophical/ethical corruption is the root cause. Voters must learn anew what "inalienable rights ... to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" really means. They must stop expecting government to nanny them with Other People's Money, and government must stop trying to oblige them. Government bribery financed by theft must be illegitimized and outlawed, by constitutional amendment if necessary. Politicians and voters alike must let the corpse of socialism lie down.

In the short term, a painful reminder that 'A' is 'A' after all — the lesson the President is trying to spare us — might be precisely the spur-to-enlightenment that is needed ... and deserved.

Lindsay Perigo +64 21 255 8715


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Good piece Linz, as usual.

Mark Hubbard's picture

Good piece Linz, as usual. After one month banging away on various Sheeples blogs of all ilks I have come to the realisation - again, slow learner - not only that 'they' will never get it until they're all locked in their homes under a curfew, but that the process of arguing freedom on their blogs, and against them, is anti-life - it pisses me off, wears me down, gets me so frustrated, it's just not worth it. At the very least I need a breather.


There is this obscene haste they all have to be serfs of the Nanny State: on a fundamental level I don't get it. You'll even have threads in which various individuals will be bemoaning the West's anti-cannabis laws, how cruel these are, how nonsensical and intrusive, then on another thread those same people will be arguing for higher taxation, let's punish those blood sucking minions of Satan, the bankers, (not understanding it was 'they' who took on the mortgages they couldn't pay, hood winked by the State's distorted price of credit), and then lets all redistribute the wealth of those who rightfully earned it, never thinking for a minute it is was being used to create the very class of poor they believe themselves helping, and ensuring, by killing their minds and spirits, they never see anything but the gutter. I'd love these sheeple to do my job day in and day out, battling an intractable, mean spirited, ruthless IRD - they need to know the price against their lives and sanity when their time comes, and the blank, cold mind of the bureaucrat who controls them. And will run them into the ground, for no other reason than that he can.


Anyway, two weeks left to our own election, and I'm announcing my retirement from every political thread outside of SOLO, our haven of philosophy and reason.  At least for a while.

Some light-hearted relief...

Marcus's picture in the UK is this advertisement for Barclay-Card. I like to think of it as a feel-good pro-capitalism piece Smiling

Enjoyed your editorial Linz.

JulianD's picture

Enjoyed your editorial Linz. Here is my letter to the NZ Herald which was published this week.

Dear Sir,
A Herald editorial referred to the US government’s bailout of the financial system as “rewarding the guilty” and then noted that "when markets fail, government is the only solution.” The only truly guilty party is the party to which you are now turning for “solutions”.

Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, there has been a significant debasement in the value of the US dollar due to the unrestrained increase in the money supply by the Federal Reserve, (that is, it has been printing money). Since 2001, this has manifested itself in a housing bubble, the recent bursting of which is a healthy recognition by the market that the real value of these assets is much lower.

The seeds of the current crisis were, therefore, laid many decades earlier with government intervention in the market. It is the Fed that is guilty and it should not be rewarded with additional powers to intervene, actions that will lead to the further destruction of economic wealth.

Julian Darby, Epsom

see and the funny thing is

dave.dolan's picture

Sandi, I always thought things like that go without saying. I can't believe that it's not that way!  So many people with their hands out thinking they can escape or get away with it. Peikoff was right!

Excellent clip Marcus

Sandi's picture

In a free society, businesses are able to succeed based upon their own merits and fail based upon their incompetence.

"If businesses can't make it, then they

need to fail"

"Who is John Galt?"

Glenn Beck explains how Obama helped to fuck the USA!

Marcus's picture

Submitted to Real Clear

Lance's picture

Submitted to Real Clear Politics go there now to vote for the article. Unfortunately you can't link directly to the SOLO submission, only the "reader's articles" page, so you may need to search for it.

10 votes gets the SOLO submission bumped to the front page and drives traffic back to here.

You need to register to vote, if you haven't already done so you can register here.

Marvelous piece

Ptgymatic's picture

I hope it gets attended to.

= Mindy

Economic Shell Game

Marcus's picture

Be afraid, be very afraid...

Great Linz

HWH's picture

I have been cursing for the whole bloody day due to this socialist rot you speak of. 

I recently landed a container of Ice Makers and Dirt Bikes imported from China...and have for the last 3 months steadily been digging my way through the layers of bureaucratic bullshit compliance issues arbitrarily forced upon traders by assorted demagogues.

The brake pads have to be exaimined for asbestos, the bikes have to be registered and approved, the ice makers have to undergo extensive safety tests etc etc, and obviously each of these extortions comes at a huge price tag and with the friendly coercion of a huge gun held to your head.

Just when I thought I could start seeing the light, out pops customs this morning with a new requirement to get an import permit for HFC's or Ozone depleting hydrafluorocarbons..a relic from the long forgotten ozone layer scam....and at a modest sum of between $3k and $15k.

Rather than acting as a protector of the freedoms that I require in order to advance my life...they are my worst enemy...ready to steal my rights via the mechanism of populist democracy and collectivism at every turn.

I wish Ragnar was around...I would have joined his band of pirates in a flash.


I admit that reason is a small and feeble flame, a flickering torch by stumblers carried in the starless night, -- blown and flared by passion's storm, -- and yet, it is the only light. Extinguish that, and nought remains.- - Robert Green Ingersoll

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