AIER: The Stakes of Politics are Far Too High

This piece by economics professor Alexander Salter at the American Institute for Economic Research dwells on the idea that growth in federal government and expansion of federal power are at odds with maintaining liberty, thus The Stakes of Politics are Far Too High.

Despite the comedy of errors that was the Iowa Democratic Caucus, not to mention the ambiguity of New Hampshire, the national fervor grows. Bernie Sanders’ strong performance makes him the Democratic frontrunner: his odds of winning the nomination stand at 33%, with Michael Bloomberg at a surprising 27%.

Sanders’ campaign is notable because he is explicit about his radical vision for the U.S. economy. An advocate of the Green New Deal, Sanders has promised to reengineer the American economy from the top-down, at a cost of more than $10 trillion over the next decade.

On the Republican side, President Trump never leaves campaign mode. His proposed budget, released on Monday, will not balance for at least 15 years, suggesting he is more than happy to bestow gifts on the electorate without paying for them. Overall, the national debt has grown by $3 trillion since Trump took office. Now it seems trillion-dollar deficits are the new normal.  This suggests Republicans have made their peace with a government empowered to direct more and more of our lives.

In short, Democrats are close to going “all-in” on democratic socialism, or at least a hardcore form of social democracy that entails a large degree of federal dirigisme. And Republican policy (which differs greatly from Republican rhetoric) is heading towards the same.  Using new programs and new spending to secure electoral support is nothing new. But given the dire fiscal situation of the United States, as well as the ominous growth federal power, we have a very good reason to worry that the political clash that will culminate in November will end poorly for everyone, regardless of who wins the White House.

Plenty of op-eds have been written on the economics of deficits and the growth of the national debt. We know our fiscal trajectory is unsustainable. Less well known are the political consequences.  Those consequences can only be understood by first refamiliarizing ourselves with the purpose of our Constitutional system.

Why do we have a Constitution that fragments political power and divides it among many organizations? The typical answer is to prevent tyranny, which is true. But it is incomplete. Our Constitution has so many procedural safeguards in place because the Founders understood the first need of a durable government at the federal level was to lower the stakes of politics. Because it is difficult to enact sweeping changes at the national level, control over the national government is not perceived by any political faction to be an existential threat.

That is how it is supposed to work. In fact, we have deviated significantly from the politics of prudence and restraint envisioned by the Founders. Congress increasingly authorizes greater and greater spending, upon which the well-being of millions has come to depend.

The Executive increasingly governs by fiat, selectively enforcing laws and allocating significant fiscal resources of its own. In this world, the game of politics has necessarily become high-stakes: the benefits of controlling the government are enormous, and as a result, efforts to secure this control have become a matter of life or death. Bloated budgets and perpetual deficits are a sure sign we are moving towards winner-takes-all politics.

The political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, in justifying the state, wrote that rational individuals willingly cede political power to a central arbiter and enforcer so that they may escape the “war of all against all.” Unfortunately, our fiscal scenario has reignited this war.

The first axiom of sound governance is to lessen the dangers caused by differences in principles and worldviews among citizens. But when the state becomes an all-encompassing institution—when everything and anything is political—disagreements become existential threats.

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” This quote by a fictional Machiavellian monarch aptly describes our situation. Unless we commit to lowering the stakes of politics, once again embracing moderation and humility, we doom ourselves to a never-ending cycle of reciprocal political domination. This is the death of liberty under law, and of democratic self-governance itself.

Mises Institute: Why Marxism Shifted from Economics to Culture

Brian Balfour has written a short article on Mises Wire about cultural Marxism.

In his recent Reason magazine article, senior editor Brian Doherty assures readers that “cultural Marxism” is nothing but mere “paranoia” conjured up by the “conspiratorial right” to provide cover for their hate of “multiculturalism and gay rights and radical feminism.”

He openly mocks the idea that the unmistakable uptick in identity politics these last few decades has anything to do with “sinister machinations of commies striving to enslave us.”

One must be “mistaken” and “foolish,” according to Doherty, to believe that such concerted efforts to build coalitions based on racial, national and gender identities to replace the economic “class” identities of classical Marxism is anything more than “dubious conspiratorial theories.”

Doherty’s stance is especially puzzling, however, given the fact that socialist leaders have openly written about this strategy for decades…

…to put it in more familiar terms, the new socialist revolution must shift the “‘exploitation’ schtick to culture: ― women exploited by men; ― gays exploited by heterosexuals ― The old exploited by the young ― and vice-versa.”

Ron Paul had it right.

Doherty is either ignorant or naïve to spurn those who recognize today’s identity politics as a tool in the modern socialist movement. Prominent socialist theorists like Laclau and Mouffe have openly divulged this exact strategy for decades. It’s not foolish conspiracy mongering or mere “clever rhetorical deck-stacking” to accurately identify the identity politics of ‘cultural Marxism’ as the preferred strategy of modern day socialists.

2018 Liberty Academy Annual Symposium, Boise, June 20-23

2018 Liberty Symposium

 June 20th-23rd — Boise, Idaho

The overall objective of the Northwest Liberty Academy is to teach students 12-112 the moral and ethical principles of FREE ENTERPRISE and a FREE SOCIETY through interactive games, exercises, panel discussions and more…

 

 

 

 

 

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.” — John Adams

REGISTER NOW

FREE ENTERPRISE. Participants will be introduced to basic economic principles through INTERACTIVE GAMES, where participants are not just in their seats, but on their feet in activities that teach them about free trade, entrepreneurism and the consequences of political intervention.

NWLA is pleased to have FEE, Foundation for Economic Education, America’s oldest Free Market think tank as part of our annual Symposium and Regional Economic Workshops.

Business leaders, entrepreneurs and public officials will join in two panel discussions: “The Unintended Consequences of Well-intended Legislation”. Learn how governmental rules and regulations can affect our economy, our lives and our liberty.

“Propaganda & Political Correctness”: Learn how politicians, advertisements, and the media often use communication to influence public opinion. Discuss whether Political Correctness can lead to misrepresenting the intentions or meaning of a harmless statement.

CIVIC DUTY. Students are introduced to the moral imperative of standing on principles over politics, irrespective of party affiliation. The second part of the symposium includes a personal tour of all three branches where students will meet with elected officials and learn about:

  • The proper role of government in our Republic.
  • The significance of the Oath of Office to uphold our Constitution.
  • Understanding our inalienable rights to life and liberty including private property rights.
  • The duty of the citizens to remain eternally vigilant as to the activities of those who govern.

Please enjoy this video which was produced by NWLA Youth Ambassador, Ellie Carignan.

Symposium Speakers & Presenters

Mark Herr
Center for Self-governance

Jason Riddle
Program Director, Foundation for Economic Education, FEE

KrisAnne Hall
Constitutional Attorney – krisannehall.com

Dan Roberts
owner/manager, Lost River Log and Supply LLC.

Alex Baron
Founder, Charles Carroll Society blog

Connor Boyack
President, Libertas Institute; Author

Jeff Proctor
Program Manager and Senior Instructor, Charles Koch Institute

Russ Fulcher
Businessman; Former ID State Senator

John Green
Constitutional Attorney; Sound Money Advocate

Alan Hodge
Co-Founder, NWLA; Pres., White Pine Foundation, Inc.

Rep. Ron Nate
Prof. of Economics, BYU; Idaho State Rep.

Rep. Matt Shea
Attorney at Law; Washington State Rep.

Isaac Tellez
Sr. Pastor HC; Former Missionary

Jake Thompson
Founder of HEROES Academy

JoAn Wood
Former Idaho State Rep.; Business Owner

Rep. Heather Scott
Idaho State House of Reps

Lawerence Denney
Idaho Secretary of State

Ron Crane
Idaho State Treasurer

Justice Dan Eismann, Ret.
Idaho Supreme Court

Sen. Cliff Bayer
Idaho State Senate

Rep. Christy Zito
Idaho State House of Reps

Sen. Chuck Winder
Idaho State Senate

REGISTER NOW!

Continue reading “2018 Liberty Academy Annual Symposium, Boise, June 20-23”