>Beck: Aghast

>“My own point of view is that last week’s Fed buy-up of Treasury notes represents the fateful step into the fiscal/monetary abyss of Weimar America.”

Glenn Reynolds linked The Other McCain, yesterday. I note it here for the economic distinction that he draws, which is apart from the cultural and ethical abyss of Weimar America, which is a necessary predicate for the economic disaster. I emphasize ethics with the fact that Americans simply do not value freedom. They haven’t for a long, long time. I think it’s to the point now that very many if not most of them have no serious idea what concept is denoted by the word.

At The Liberty Papers, Stephen Gordon linked-up a comprehensive round of blogtakes on the “John Galt” impulse sweeping through the wreckage lately.

The discussion is wide-ranging and fast-moving: the norm for innertubes operations. Certainly, it must be a lot bigger than is evident in Gordon’s linkfest, and I don’t know how anyone could keep up with all of it. In nothing that I have seen so far, however, is there even an outline of moral principles necessary to explicating the case against the Amsoc now so manifestly on the march in this country. Nor do I see serious consideration of what must be done, and why.

“The most subversive political implication of ‘Atlas Shrugged’, is that individual freedom is possible only to those who are strong enough, psychologically and morally, to withdraw their sanction from any system that coercively thrives off their productive energies. In the novel, Rand examined the process by which creators tacitly collaborate in their own enslavement by granting moral legitimacy to their exploiters.”

(Chris Matthew Sciabarra, 1995, “Ayn Rand — The Russian Radical”, p. 302)

It’s curious to me that something of a line has been scratched across the ethical/political landscape at about a dollar less than two hundred fifty thousand. It’s more complicated, of course, in that we’re only talking about an increase in the rate of tax at levels above that. It’s the percentage — the angle of the chisel — that’s got some people now talking about trying to avoid it.

This is a very different thing from identifying and refuting the premises of the thing itself. It is to come to terms with with the presence of government that has brought us to the straits that we live with now. Even before the socialist push of the past couple of months, political conditions in this country were — to cop a phrase — “unsustainable”. However, one implication of the hue & cry over the proposed tax rate increase must be a question whether people talking about “going Galt” would be content to live with the slow-rolling destruction of everything government, funded up to the historical moment.

Would they have been happy enough to live with it before this?

If not, then it would appear to be time to wake up to the political potential of Sciabarra’s observation.

If so, then I would only point out that complacence did nothing to keep this thing from running off the rails so badly as it has.

Martin McPhillips grapples with shapes of coming things:

“And that’s what this merger of the movement socialist and his movement socialism with the unprecedented power of the federal bureaucracies will bring.

This industrial crusher-harvester-paver is not about protecting prosperity or ‘providing opportunity,’ and certainly has nothing to do with freedom. This thing is about itself, about establishing itself, about feeding itself, and above all about protecting itself.

It will no longer simply be government in business for itself, but rather utopian movement socialism in business for itself, and its business will be power.

It is going to be very American, and it’s going to work like the very worst of the public schools, with all the panache of the postal service, amidst the strident idioms of a child welfare bureaucracy, because childhood will need to become even more of a permanent condition.”

I’ve been trying hard to see this, but I see nothing in history availing real insight. That’s because nothing like the individualist idea in practical politics has ever been overthrown before. It has only been a brief flourish in world history, and has been under concerted attack almost since the beginning, but it really did exist here once and it brought to the human annals everything great about America: everything for which it will never be forgotten, everything that everyone will always want and will often strive in vain to recapture because they don’t understand. It was freedom.

Going the ways it’s going now, in the place where it was first put to practice in all of time, it’s very hard to see what it will really be like. It’s going to have to be a weird cross between the pervasive grays natural to every bureaucratic blanket and the kindergarten propaganda colors praying everyone to be happy, which means: politely submissive.

There’s no telling how it will play once the everyday money right in peoples’ pockets starts going to sand in real time. It’s going to be really hard to keep people smiling politely through something like that.

It’s just amazing; how fast things are going now.

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