Supporters of free markets are often attacked for their “Do Nothing Principle” position, which tends to deeply upset policy wonks and media talking heads alike. Obviously this is buncombe, and to the contrary it is these would-be do-somethingers who are intellectually or ideologically incapable of grasping the sweeping scope of necessary changes that free market advocates are calling for.
For example, the charge that “Hangover Theorists” are selfish moralizers who want poor and middle-class families to needlessly suffer during a recession is prima facie incorrect. The interlocutor is simply misled by my yawning enthusiasm for his policy prescriptions into thinking I have no “serious” and “realistic” plan to help society, and that I want to “do nothing.”
Do nothing you say?
To the contrary, I advocate doing a lot, including the complete abolition of the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, the US Federal Mint, the US departments relating to labor, trade, banking, securities, etc. It is those who want to merely tweak a bit here and there who are hem-hawing over making serious policy changes, and who have the gall to accuse me of advocating to “do nothing”!
Watch this political ad (below) promoting Washington State’s Initiative 1098, which seeks to dedicate $2 billion per year to fund education and healthcare for children. It’s always for the children! It’s not about soaking the rich! even though this other Yeson1098 video makes a point of demonizing the greedy rich. The slogan is “the wealthy pay more, the rest of us pay less.” Bill Gates, Sr., is presented as a grandfatherly figure sacrificing his comfort for the sake of childrens’ enjoyment while he explains the reasonableness of this new scheme to legally plunder the rich.
So….the Republicans have put out their Pledge to America. Is it any good?
Jeffrey Tucker sums it up pithily by juxtaposing short quotes from it and the Declaration of Independence:
Declaration of Independence (1776): “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”
A Pledge to America (GOP, 2010): “Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”
If this goes on, related fellow TLS blogger Daniel Coleman to me, in another 100 years it will be “Whenever a subpoint of policy within a government agenda becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to organize a committee to change those subpoints of policy and replace them with better subpoints.”
Liberty Central, the Establishment’s attempt to co-opt the Tea Party, has a poll asking us to grade the Pledge. Head on over there and tell them what you think of it. Fellow TLS blogger Jacob Huebert has a couple of good posts on LewRockwell.com about Liberty Central, the Tea Party, the Pledge, and Glenn Beck.
The Liberty Central poll only lets you grade the Pledge as a whole. Here is a quick graded breakdown of important aspects of the Pledge, with short reactions by me in parentheses:
What you say!!!1
There has been a lot wailing and gnashing of teeth recently over a joint announcement by Google and Verizon of a legislative-framework proposal they’ve been working on.
Now, I’ve seen this variously referred to as a backroom deal or pact, a secret treaty, or a set of regulations Google and Verizon are imposing on the internet. The FCC is shamefully abdicating its responsibility to regulate the internet! Nevermind that the D.C. Circuit court determined recently in the Comcast case that the FCC has no such regulatory authority over broadband internet; hence, the calls to disastrously reclassify broadband internet access in order to place it under the same regulatory rules as regular telephone service. Some are even intimating that Google and Verizon are trying to “own” the internet. Net neutrality activists are up in arms about this proposal, viciously attacking Google for selling out and reversing its longstanding defense of net neutrality, and calling for people to stage a silly boycott of Google products and services. If you don’t join the herd, you get labeled a Google-Verizon apologist or it is insinuated that you are on their payroll (see comments on the CNET articles linked below, for example).
So what should libertarians make of all this?
You’ve seen this story about a thousand times by now. Hard-hitting author pulls no punches in his/her newest book which exposes the elite for the scum they are.
That’s right: ‘ECONned’ blames economists for financial disaster! How bold, how daring!
My favorite part of this piece of ideological tripe is its title, which you have also seen about a thousand times before: ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Damaged Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism. Is anyone in America not sick of this formulation by now? “Catchphrase: How This Thing I Hate is Stupid and Did Some Things I Disapprove Of.” Granted, these authors have absolutely nothing new to say, so it behooves them to give their best effort on the cover of the book.
But seriously, authors, how about we lighten up on how seriously we take our books. Not only will no one care about them in three years, but it’s not like they are even standing out in the market anymore. In less than twenty minutes of searching on Amazon I came up with these titles:
- God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It
- Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
- The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream
- Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of “Energy Independence”
- Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda
- One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All
- Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches
- Big Lies : The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth
- The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy
- The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right
- Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich–and Cheat Everybody Else
- What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
- Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America
- Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America
- Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future
- Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free
- The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
- The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church
- The New Color Line: How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy
- Tragedy & Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy
- Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance
- Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America
- The Raw Deal: How the Bush Republicans Plan to Destroy Social Security and the Legacy of the New Deal
- Monsters to Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin
- Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation
- Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America
- Over the Cliff: How Obama’s Election Drove the American Right Insane
- Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses
. . . and I was nowhere near exhausting the supply of titles bearing this meme. I really despise this fad in publishing and writing, as should all true Americans. In fact, you can pretty much live by this rule of thumb: any book containing this kind of trope for its title is not worth reading, period.