Quote of the Day

“Everywhere one looks statism is a failure. Contrast resource-rich Venezuela with Chile. Juxtapose Cuba to Colombia. Of course, compare Dark Age North Korea with the 21st-century South. Look at the UK in 1954 and 1990.

They are rioting in Europe not to embrace socialism, but in petulant fashion to find someone somehow to pay for it — as if “they” and “them” are partying in some remote Aegean island, with vaults of stashed euros.

Whether hard communism or soft socialism, statism does not work. We all know why — it goes against human nature, rewarding mediocrity and punishing merit, professing egalitarianism for the masses, while the operators of the system, whether the old Soviet apparatchiks or the new crony EU Brussels bureaucrats, satisfy their appetites like capitalists. Ultimately, it is simply like coasting on a bike uphill. The last hard peddles are simply not enough to push the bike and rider over the hill: finally the brilliant small manufacturer, the lean contractor, the enterprising farmer, the late-into-the-night engineer — they cannot carry any longer the clerk, the auditor, the regulator, the tax man, and the bureaucrat who wish not merely to piggy-back onto the biker, but to try to stop his peddling even as they demand to get over the crest.

Yet we are finishing a second year of absorbing banks, insurance companies, auto manufacturers, and the health care system, borrowing trillions to redistribute in new entitlements, with more lust for equality of ends notions like cap and trade and immigration amnesty. Any House member who went along with all this and lives outside a blue-gerrymandered district or San Francisco or Chicago cannot run on the Obama agenda.

The entire statist protocol polls well below 50%. Past leftist candidates like Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, George McGovern, or Walter Mondale could not get elected on their visions; those who did (Carter and Clinton) either imploded after a single term or triangulated and so found a way to a two-term presidency despite never getting 50% of the popular vote.

Statism versus free markets is about as easy to understand as the difference between Singapore and Greece, and yet here we go again. This weird suicidal statist impulse seems for Obama to trump almost every other consideration: he may well destroy the Democratic Party for a decade just when it was recovering; he has so terrified private enterprise that trillions of dollars in capital are simply sitting out his first two years, waiting for the end of his congressional majorities, and hence his agenda to implode.

All this goes on as Obama sees the EU running away from precisely what he wishes to implement, while at home a high-tax, high-entitlement, redistributive economy like California has managed to destroy the most richly endowed human and natural landscape — agriculture, tourism, high-tech, oil and gas, Hollywood, Napa Valley, Silicon Valley — in the nation. And yet here we continue down into the abyss.”

Victor David Hanson

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