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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Liberal Apocalypse

Ideologies can be roughly divided into the moral and the economic. Moral ideologies seek to guide people in their individual behavior as they seek resources. Economic ideologies are concerned with collective control over how resources are gained and employed. Revolutionary movements are often linked with economic ideologies because resource redistribution is a primary motivator for political upheavals.

The left is both a revolutionary movement and an economic ideology, using the pretext of inequities to seize power in order to engage in economic redistribution. However the modern left's actual agenda goes well beyond only seizing and redistributing material goods and financial holdings. Its goal is to completely control all human interactions in every form through political, cultural, social and economic tools.

The modern left seeks to seize control of all the competitive forces at the root of all human interactions. Since competition is at the root of human status and achievement, from the economic to the social, from the political to the sexual, to capture and control the competitive forces that drive human beings-- is to control humanity. The left promises a "fairer" world in which competition is somehow also made fair. But who defines fair and just what does fair mean? As with all ideologies, it means a system that caters to the leaders of the ideology and their supporters. The ideological propaganda justifies this hijacking as the "fair" thing to do, creating the circular hypocrisy typical of those who steal in their own name.

Since human beings compete for most resources, the ability to capture and control those competitive forces is the ability to rig the game and to control all resources, not only the material ones, but nearly everything that people value in life. Since economic ideologies exist in order to compete for resources, this is the ultimate power play. It is power rendered absolute. Complete control over competition is also complete resource hegemony, which gives them hydraulic despotism, a "water empire" which grants the people who control the tap, ultimate power over all those who need what flows from the tap.

Anyone who is allowed to control competition in order to make resource redistribution "fairer" will eventually openly engage in resource redistribution, unless there is a compelling system of oversight governing his behavior. Since most such systems are either bureaucratic or become so, and since bureaucracies are undemocratic and will expand to the limits of the resources available to them, they are wholly and completely corruptible. Those who redistribute a resource are bound to become corrupted by that resource. The more valuable the resource, the more pervasive the corruption. Because corruption emanates from sources of power. Those who control power become corrupted by it. And those whose power comes from resource redistribution, are corrupted by that very resource.

Resource redistribution however does more than just take "a cut off the top". While initially it only introduces a middleman into the equation, which raises costs and drives more exchanges into the extralegal "Shadow Economy", such grander schemes as the left's are not merely designed to take their cut, but to alter the ground rules under which such exchanges may take place. They aim not merely to profit from the exchange, not only to define the nature of a permissible exchange, which all governments do to some extent, but to control every aspect of a transaction and the relative positions of those engaged in a transaction. The left's economic ideology demands complete and total control.

An economy has a light and a shadow side. The light side of an economy consists of legal transactions. The shadow side consists of illegal transactions. The more rules are imposed on a transaction, the more likely it is to move from the light to the shadow side of the economy in order to avoid those rules. A system that imposes total control over all transactions will see a dramatic expansion of the shadow side of the economy, until most transactions take place in the shadow side of the economy which transforms that country into a total den of criminality. That phenomenon took place in the USSR under Communism. It is common under Third World dictatorships. Because as free enterprise is suppressed, it flees the light for the darkness. And the Shadow Economy grows.

This has disastrous economic consequences. Because the more rules a system has, the likelier it is to have a larger government. Since larger governments require more resources, they also depend on a larger tax base. The more governments impose taxes and regulations however, the more resource transactions move from the light side and into the Shadow Economy, making it more difficult for governments to take their cut, without themselves becoming involved in the black market. As increased taxation and regulation shrinks the revenue base, governments begin squeezing the shrinking businesses and citizens even harder. This further inflates the Shadow Economy. As those governments attempt to crack down on and control the Shadow Economy, they only make it more profitable, and those profits are used to entangle and corrupt the government officials who are supposed to regulate them. As a result, free enterprise is destroyed and replaced by the black market. The light side of the economy dies and an entire country becomes a Shadow Economy.

The left has ridden this same economic bomb down into the crater many times already. It has never actually learned from those mistakes, because it is unable to concede the destructive consequences of its monopolization of power, the individual choices that will inevitably forestall any of its central planning schemes and its own corruptibility. Worst of all it is unable to realize that it is the problem. That it is the worm in the apple, not the thorn on the rose. That over and over again it destroys everything it touches, that the revolution fails, and the cycle repeats itself again.

Leftist political movements pretend to be symbiotic, but in fact they are parasitic/predatory. They transition from the parasitic (taking a cut) to the predatory (control of all resources) stage by convincing those they prey upon that they are actually symbiotic, that their oversight and regulation will benefit them. Predators and parasites both exist within a self-regulating ecosystem. If they overhunt their prey, they will experience a Dieback.

Imagine that we have a dozen wolves preying on a hundred sheep. As the number of sheep keeps dropping, the number of wolves keeps increasing. If the wolves don't control their numbers, they will overhunt the sheep. And the wolves will starve to death. Eventually the numbers of the sheep will be restored, unless the wolves wipe them out, in which case both wolves and sheep will die out. This form of resource competition on the animal level, is reflected in resource competitions among human societies as well.

In the human economic ecosystem, a government cannot outgrow the resources it feeds off. If it does, eventually there will be a Dieback, and the government will discover that it does not have enough sheep to feed off. If it continues feeding anyway, it will be destroyed and it will destroy the country it rules over. However this form of recognition requires adaptability. And there are two aspects of liberal rule that are incompatible with adaptability. Bureaucracy and ideology.

Liberals function as ideological aristocrats, exchanging natural human institutions for unnatural ideological institutions as part of their revolutionary reconstruction. Such institutions routinely devolve into bureaucracies as bureaucracy covers up for the failure of their policies, and their own corruptibility and hypocrisy under the guise of objective procedures. And bureaucrats are notoriously resistant to change.

Bureaucracies are both inefficient and endlessly greedy, consuming as many resources as possible. Think of wolves with the brains of sheep. And they cannot be removed democratically. Ideology meanwhile blinds people to the destructive consequences of their own actions, as the central article of faith for nearly every ideology is that nothing bad can come of following its ideas. Combine the two, and you have the formula for armageddon, as ideology reinforces bureaucracy, leading to the end of democracy and the beginning of tyranny.

An ideological bureaucracy is invulnerable to change, except through confrontation. And the ideological component helps fortify it against even democratic attempts at political change. Bureaucracies fulfill the organizational imperative of maximizing power while minimizing accountability by constantly expanding in order to increase the scope of their power, while decentralizing their individual accountability. The result is a giant maw consuming everything in its path, all the while piously certain of its rightness in doing so.

Even as it ushers in an economic armageddon. But the situation is even worse than that.

As I have already stated. leftist political movements within a democratic transition from the parasitic to the predatory through a false symbiosis. Mimicking symbiosis requires giving the populace something that resembles mutual benefits. However in reality, what the left does is addict the populace to entitlements. Using these entitlements as bait, the left seizes control of competitive forces within a society. These entitlements are then redistributed, creating a further appetite for more of the same.

Once in power, the left replaces authentic competition with its own rigged game. Since controlling competition means that it also controls the resources that are being competed for, it has an unlimited ability to draw on those resources for its own needs-- without itself being subject to competitive forces. This is the equivalent of a blank check drawn on the entire economy. Now since support for its rule depends on maintaining entitlements, and since it has only been corrupted by that "blank check", and since it perceives resources from an ideological rather than an objective economic perspective-- given a chance the left will squander resources at an uncontrollable and unlimited pace.

In the meantime, it has redefined the economic understanding of a society to view competition as a political, rather than economic activity. Such a society is still able to compete, but it no longer competes for achievement, but for entitlements. It can no longer work for a living, but has come to think purely in terms of cheating or entitlements. And it thinks of cheating and entitlements as legitimate, and hard work as illegitimate. Because its values of competition have been redefined, and it views the intercession of authority as the defining variable that separates legitimate competition, from illegitimate competition. And cheating is the Shadow Economy, the glue that fills in what the entitlements leave out, and is considered legitimate because "it's coming to me anyway".

A people who reach this miserable state are thoroughly ruined. They worship authority and live in misery. They cannot work, only look for shortcuts. Any economy they will have can only be built on fraud and government intervention. They are addicts. They have become addicted to entitlements. And those entitlements have thoroughly corrupted both those who distribute the resources and those who receive them. As healthy competition invigorates a society, entitlements corrupt society from the top on down.

The mechanism of addiction requires two things from the pusher. That he never sample his product and that he always find new customers. The left has had trouble with the former, because their own resource redistributions corrupts them from the start. And as to the latter, the left is constantly knocking on every global door, looking for new customers to replace the ones they have already destroyed. Like a perverse Diogenes, they go from country to country, seeking an honest economy, only so they can destroy it.

The left promises fair competition, what it really offers is the tyranny of addiction. And like all addictions, it destroys both the user and the pusher in the long run. Its economic model corrupts the competitive instinct of a society, even as it bankrupts its economy and destroys its democracy. Its false symbiosis quickly reveals as predation, and it sets into place bureaucratic structures to maintain that predation through total control. When it is done, the sun sets on a Free Economy, replacing it with a Shadow Economy. And in the place of a free people, are a nation of slaves looking for a handout or something to steal.

20 comments:

in the vanguard said...

In short, the leftists want to create a world feudal state.

Anonymous said...

knish, yes -- you really don't know how deep you are....

-- Spanky

mindRider said...

A feather in your cap once more this article. (how difficult it must it be to stay modest with all those deserved compliments).
There is one other dictatorial/bureaucratic type of society that turns it's people into slaves: a country with unlimited resources (i.e. oil) where no initiative is needed to thrive or survive as every one waits for the hand-out of the ruling class. Yet such a society can survive for as long as the resource lasts. A reverse example is Israel which started out with no resources yet with an enormous bureaucratic load imported by many of it's founders who where almost genetically inclined that such was essential for running a state. How did they make it function? Probably the very un bureaucratic un hierarchical run army of that same period where the situation on the ground demanded instant action and made red tape military decisions impossible. Furthermore Israel managed to size it's bureaucracy down and still does such with indeed parallel a visible decline of it's once large black economy to an ever whiter one. What shall happen however if the recently discovered gas- and shale-oil- fields shall bring in large revenues in the future?

Anonymous said...

Bottom line ,the left like their big daddy Lucifer attempt to usurp God.
With the same arrogance and pride they actually believe they are God.

What a predictable end is coming soon to this latest crop of losers.
It's just another repeat of the same story told a hundred ways but this time on a much grander 'global' scale.

'So the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’”
Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spoke to the congregation, saying, "Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” So they got away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little children.
And Moses said: “By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 29 If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the LORD."
Numbers 16

Edward Cline said...

A very fine essay on our current state, Daniel. Obviously, you’ve been imbibing von Mises, Hayek, Lord Acton, perhaps even Auberon Herbert, and too likely Rand. Not to mention Bastiat and a company of other distinguished heroes of the mind. Perhaps even Albert Jay Nock. Your wolves-sheep analogy helps to concretize a very abstract subject – ideologies – and your argumentation comports perfectly with it. The role of entitlements in corrupting a populace targeted by totalitarians for control was especially lucid.

When I tell people that I hope the whole damned welfare state crashes, they are shocked. What about my parents? they wail. They’re on social security, and Medicare, and Medicaid, and so on. They couldn’t survive without those programs, and besides, they paid into them, and so on. My usual reply is in the spirit of Rhett Butler; I frankly don’t give a damn. Your parents and everyone else dependent on those “entitlements” had plenty of time in their prime to contemplate the fraud and social welfare scams, and did nothing about it, said nothing about it, uttered not one word of protest. When I mention that Social Security payments are financed by deficit financing and taxing the next generation, and that the money taken from their paychecks and dividends and bonuses was spent before it was ever earned, people get a little touchy, or display a species of Alzheimer’s long before its natural onset.

Then they often just reply – unable to counter any of my statements – that they don’t care, they want what’s coming to them. I assure them they will get what’s coming to them, whether or not the system crashes. One of those things is Obamacare.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Israel functions badly, but it still functions better than the muslim world. And privatization and the tech boom have encouraged private enterprise.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is one of the most brilliant essays I've ever read on the Internet about the subject!!

I've been reading from the Ludwig von Mises Institute website (www.mises.org) for some years already, and your words are 100% tuned with the Austrian line of thought.

As I read "A people who reach this miserable state are thoroughly ruined..." my blood almost froze. That's an exact picture of the sorry state things have reached in my home country. Probably an irreversible status - doomed!!

Congratulations once more, yours is one of the best blogs all around the cyberspace!!

Yasher Koach!!

R. Halevy
Mech. Engineer
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Raymond in DC said...

mindRider writes, "What shall happen however if [Israel's] recently discovered gas- and shale-oil- fields shall bring in large revenues in the future?"

From what I'm reading, they're well aware of the "resource trap", and talk of building a sovereign wealth fund that will invest overseas. Well, better that than giving it to the sectarian interests (we know who they are) already bellying up to the trough.

It remains to be seen, however, if Israel can avoid screwing it up. We're seeing typical NIMBY refusals to contemplate building terminal installations or liquefaction facilities nearby, which means either floating platforms or siting in Cyprus. We're seeing talk of lawsuits against the Sheshinski tax schemes, which could delay drilling and investment. And disputes over gas pricing and potential cost controls.

Yes, Israel is in a better state than they were years ago, before the financial reforms of the late 1980s, the reforms under Netanyahu as PM in the late 1990s, and those he carried out when he served as Finance Minister. But the entitlement mentality hasn't died out, nor has the country avoided the worst of crony capitalism. Still, in many ways they're in better shape than the US.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Thank you R. Halevy

I don't see that gas and shale oil revenues are likely to make that big of an impact. They will create some jobs, a few more millionaires/billionaires and may hopefully provide energy independence. If Israel leverages them the way Russia has, it might even restore some of the political influence and create some barriers in the international campaign against Israel.

But that's a best case scenario. And even then it won't dramatically change Israel's economy. Israel isn't Saudi Arabia, there's too much else going on. And the smart people are still going into tech.

And yes as Raymond described, the whole road to getting there will be predictably messy. Too many hands.

vdavisson said...

Daniel, I'd like to find an essay of yours that addresses a liberal. I know someone who is a liberal and thinks she's doing good by voting for liberals, and literally hates the Tea Party (without reason, in my view). Can you recommend one of your essays that is directed toward well-meaning liberals to at least make them think about what they are doing?

Sue said...

Daniel, This essay, like so many you write, just leaves me slack-jawed. You have perfectly described and defined the slope America is rapidly descending. Absolutely a briliant piece of writing! It almost feels odd to be so impressed by your ability to describe the serpent that is delivering the fatal, irreversible bite. Never the less, it's good to know that what I see happening is able to be so well captured as you have in this essay.

Tragic, tragic. The depression I felt for our country the day Obama slithered into office, has never left...and obviously never will.

I agree with Annonymous who quoted from the Book of Numbers.

May we seek the Lord, while He may be found.

~Sue

careyrowland said...

This explanation of the consequences of Marxist-et-al ideology is surely the most concisely cogent I have ever seen. I commend you for it, Daniel.

However, the other side of the coin is this: On the "rightist" end of the human behavior spectrum is an equally fallacious and equally dangerous dynamic. It is fascism, which uses as its rationale an extreme reverence (instead of rejection)for competition. In its extreme form, competition is all shown to be the will to power. The historical manifestations of this are blatantly militaristic, and are not clothed in the sheepish rhetoric of egalitarianism and income redistribution that you so adroitly describe.Another element of the fascist (righist) program is an emphasis on order/decency instead of resource redistribution as a basis for accumulating power.

But these two ostensibly opposing ideologies are in fact kissing cousins somewhere in the cycles of destructive human politics and exploitation. That's why Hitler and Stalin could make a temporary pact, even though it was later torn apart.
So, while I appreciate your keenly profound analysis, Daniel, and agree with its assessment for the most part, I entertain no illusions--and you shouldn't either-- about the exploitative machinations of the rightwing being any less corruptive than the left.
That's why I like to maintain a centrist position, while still genuinely appreciating your insightful dissections of leftist bullshit.
Thanks

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

vdavisson, I do pitch some of my material that way, but generally war on terror stuff. I'm not sure that I have much in the way of economic articles like that. But at this point I have so many that I have trouble reaching back too far.

Sue, it can however be turned around. And it's important that we remember that.

Carey, I have few illusions in that regard.

jlevyellow said...

Sultan, combining your two interests, does this redefining of capitalism not place Israel in the position of capitalist pig? Does this not make Israel's success into an offence. Furthermore, does it not make Israel's struggle for survival into a political, rather than human questions?

Dick said...

> It is nothing more than a continuation of the top down economic model that
> has existed in every country in the world since time began with the
> exception of the western societies that embraced capitalism for short
> periods before the nanny state rose out of populist ashes.
>
>
>
> It is a continuation of the trickle down theory that every ruler has imposed
> on humanity since the beginning of time.
>
>
>
> Republicans again are trumpeting trickle down policies. That will never
> stop ordinary Americans from wanting a fairer system. By default "trickle
> down" will insure the continuation of socialism in our time.
>
>
>
> That is why I crafted Rise Up. To deliver the American Dream of financial
> independence to the poorest worker in our system. Rise Up is a bottom up
> model that insures the little guy a spot on the top. It destroys socialism.
>
>
>
> But who gives a rat's ass - let's talk about the Weiner, Mitt and Michelle> and the dearth of job creating policies of all politicians..
>
>
>
> Dick

Greg RN said...

Whoaaa Dude, the implications are blowin my mind man,(Laugh),You have struck a chord I witness on a regular basis as an RN Daniel. Young third generation entitlement mentality female shows up at the ER with a sick toddler, two more maybe 9 months apart dirty clothed and runny noses,she proceeds to say "My baby has a temp of 107", I grab a tympanic thermometer and run out to the window, the temp is 99 and the baby is not in distress. I ask the female if she has any childrens tylenol or motrin at home, she gets an attitude and says "Hell no, I can't afford it", I look up and out the window at the new Cadillac Escalade she drove up in, still running and blocking access for others, I said "For the price of a gallon of gas, you can get children's tylenol to bring down the child's temp, the child is cutting teeth". The "Cash for Clunkers" program working it's magic. Steppenwolf's "Pusherman" will now be playing in my head everytime I hear a Leftist speak, Democrat or Republican, or any other. "For a nickel or a dime, He'll sell you lots of sweet dreams", The tragedy is the left's willingness to perpetuate this crap on the simpletons of society for generations. And when the aforementioned little girl comes of age, she will be the next "Bread winner of the Crib". And now the "Obamacare" bullshit to even further the Medicare-Medicaid fraudsters and on and on it goes. In regards to the "Centrist", being neither hot nor cold will get one spewed out as well. Moral integrity applies to every aspect of human affairs. That is why a man or woman without a moral compass, is nothing more than a sophisticated cunning animal. Thanks again Daniel for another great read.

Anonymous said...

I've watched and worked to thwart the Progies almost my entire life. I've seen two named World Wars and countless skirmishes...

But I've *not* read a more concise, yet absolutely clear depiction of The Progressive Purpose!

I have only quibble, which from a practical standpoint makes *no* difference.

You imply that at all levels of the group the is a "blindness of harm", i.e., that the worm can't see it is destroying the apple.

During my 9 decades I've met many of the "luminaries" of Progressive "Thought" -- and I'll tell you this: For the most part they are fully aware and comprehend the damage and suffering the author. The feelings they express are summed in the old omlets & eggs chestnut coined during The Famines.

Well, *that* can be surmised by anyone who is beyound needing his toes to count to twenty. What most people *don't* realize is that they do this with the intent of keeping that omlet only for themselves! Other people, to these beasts, are only cardboard cutouts to be used or reshaped or burned up for the comfort and delight of the omlet chef.

Anonymous said...

on the other hand the darwinism you defines allows the 1% to game the system and and keep their foot on the necks of the lower classes...the current economic theory is keep unemployment high to bring down wages and benefits...the corporations are sitting on record amounts of cash yet we have persistent high unemployment? come to the rescue and start hiring? they are the betrayers of America...merchants have no country...Obama has a lower tax rate than his secretary? you're smooth...a great writer but your abilities can turn the head...there are two sides to the coin...we are fighting two wars existent WMD'S or are we there to enrich the buddies of the Bushes? The Haliburtons with their overcharging? A hundred dollars to wash a bag of laundry? wait three hours in a long line in desert heat for your lunch like our troops often did? Get electrocuted in showers that were cheaply designed but charged exorbitantly to build? Our energy policies contrived behind closed doors with Enron a major player? Make the soldiers on three tours? Hey! You and your ilk are the only ones that count the rest of us are scum...

Sue said...

Daniel, I have never forgotten this article. I posted a comment on June 17/11. You responded that it could be turned around. What do you think now? I was not as sanquine as you were at that time, and it seems I was correct.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

It can still be turned around. It doesn't mean that it will be.

Even if Obama had lost, that doesn't mean that the darkness would have broken. Now that he is back, it doesn't mean that the darkness is permanent.

But we are increasingly running low on time.

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