THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 505, February 8, 2009
"I am not kidding."
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Back in the 1790's Alexander Hamilton had a vision. He dreamed of a powerful America ruled by an aristocracy of successful merchants and bankers through a strong central government. Born a bastard he wished to work his way into the aristocracy. He was opposed by Thomas Jefferson who was born an aristocrat and knew what a bunch of bastards his fellow aristocrats could be.
It is not an original thought to claim that in spite of Jefferson's victory in the 1800 election over time Hamilton's followers have gained ascendancy. The Federal Government makes and enforces laws and policies that guarantee the profits of American corporations while permitting just enough competition to keep them from becoming moribund. In return the corporations make sure the Federal Government has access to the resources it needs to maintain its power. Assuming they didn't start there, persons gaining political power find they have acquired entre to high society, access for themselves and family to social contacts and educational and business opportunity. In consequence over time they identify with the aristocracy, and the fact that they have often honestly earned the life of privilege reinforces this attitude. Starting from the premise that what is good for the nation is good for the upper class they reverse things and begin to believe that what is good for the aristocracy is good for the nation.
It was this attitude that led to the government not simply permitting but actively encouraging the truly foolish decisions leading to the current debacle among the world's financiers and financial institutions. In the US this has led to an ever expanding bail out plan. American banks will now lend the US Government the money it needs to lend them to remain solvent. Do not say this debt will go to foreign banks because many of them were dragged down with our guys in the current debacle. The banks will repay the government which will use this money to repay the banks who will use it to repay the government. Occasionally the government will collect tax from the banks to be used to pay previous debt, the interest on which will be taxed to..., well you get the idea. And eventually we realize the same bunch of third cousins running the banks are the lads and lassies running the Big G.
Meanwhile economic power is concentrated in the hands of the same aristocrats who created the mess. People will complain that the banking system has been socialized, and fail to recognize that the "socialist" managers are the same "capitalists" who crashed the system in the first place. The small bankers who invested and loaned money more responsibly will have no choice but to deal with this giant on its own terms by its own rules.
So can liberty survive in this mix? The question is can we survive this lash up without making a deliberate effort to protect our freedom? And I don't mean as free men, I mean as the critters whose genes are carried in forty-six chromosomes. Will a collapsing economy and loss of liberty trigger a failure to develop new ideas and technologies needed to maintain our current population leading to starvation, and racist competition for resources ending in sterility due to excessive inbreeding? Or will we find a to way to stay free and develop the ideas we need to survive? One of the reasons I believe in liberty so much (as am emotionally committed to it) is that by the evidence so far available to me it represents the best way to conserve the genes and memes need to assure the survival of the human race. This current challenge to freedom must be dealt with intelligently, or even those of our friends and families who view freedom as a luxury and not a necessity will find the survival of the lineages in danger.