Saturday, May 21, 2011

First Do No Harm.

Boy was I surprised to find something truly excellent in the Huffington Post this evening. From the publisher of a somewhat odd website,, British writer Robin Koerner comes a brilliant piece titled: "'First Do No Harm': Constitutional and Conservative Liberals"

The whole piece is absolutely a "must read", but there are few passages that particularly stand out. First is:
"Over the last century, the Left have tended to harp on about the corruption of corporate and financial interests, while the Right have tended to harp on about the corruption of State interests.

Meanwhile, corporate interests have made the State corrupt by financing it, and the State has made corporations corrupt through corporatist law-making. The net effect is that the State has concentrated power, and the corporations -- and in particular banks -- have concentrated wealth. The rest of us have paid for it in liberty and wealth, respectively.

The rise of the welfare state has depended on the rise of the crony capitalism -- and vice versa, and the mechanism is not hard to understand.

Banks create money and thereby inflation under license from the government. Wealth becomes concentrated in the hands of bankers as they charge interest on the money they create. This interest has eventually to be paid by the users of that money -- workers and the middle class -- out of the wealth they gain through their labor. In other words, over time, the products of human labor accumulate as assets to those that deal only in money and make nothing good. The government's interest in this system is that it allows them to create and borrow money to fund their schemes without having to tax the people their full cost. In other words, it helps them get votes and retain power."
I've written about these issues so many times, it's thoroughly gratifying to see someone else tackling the issues in a bigger forum than I've ever had. The Huffington Post audience needs to understand this stuff.

Koerner goes on to correctly explain that the creation of money is inflation, and that the debasement of the currency is the primary driver of unjust economic inequalities. Note here that I say "unjust" deliberately, because economic inequality is also a legitimate consequence of differences in individual choice and skill.

More from the article:
"To keep the system running without riots in the street, the same government officials who license the banks to print money pass welfare laws, which keep the disenfranchised at the bottom, but off the streets.

Therefore, there is no welfarism, beloved of the old Left, without crony capitalism (which pays for it). And there is no crony capitalism, beloved of the old Right, without welfarism (which maintains the political stability that protects it).

None of this is Constitutional. And none of it is conducive to liberty or the honest pursuit of happiness."
The "left" and the "right" are culpable here, and both brands of statist work off of each other in this unintentionally (being generous) symbiotic way to erode the financial and social stability of the United States.

As bleak as this all seems, Koerner notes that there are "glimmers" of hope. At this point, his writing moves from insightful, to brilliant and essential:
"Two maxims appear to be more pertinent today than ever in American politics.

The first is, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop," known as Herbert Stein's Law.

The second is Churchill's observation that "the Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they've exhausted all other possibilities."

The last, best hope for the Last, Best Hope is that both quotes are right.

Just as the Left-Right axis has operated over time to bankrupt the nation, financially and ethically, those who are often misunderstood by the mainstream to be of the extreme left and the extreme right (but who are in truth neither) are working together, sometimes consciously and sometimes entirely by accident, to undo the bankrupt American settlement, and revitalize the country's founding promise.

For example, the man I saw on cable news waving his pocket Constitution as the anchor asked him why he thought Obama should not have gone into Libya could have been Ron Paul, but was in fact Dennis Kucinich. The man I saw proposing a cut in the military, among other things, to balance the budget could have been Dennis Kucinich, but was in fact Rand Paul. And the man who recently composed a legislative amendment with the words, ""The President does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation," should have been someone from the party of the man who said it, but was again that "extremist of the tea party" (if you listen to the mainstream media or many of the moderates from the party of the speaker of those words), Rand Paul.

Something is surely afoot when the "extremists" are advocating such extreme positions as not invading countries without declaring war, spending no more than revenues, using money that is worth something and not passing laws that allows government agents to invade the privacy of citizens without cause, and the "moderates" are advocating spending trillions more than we earn, dropping bombs on people who don't threaten us, giving money to people who destroy value, and voiding the fourth amendment without so much as a "by the way"."

As one who has been called an extremist many times before, I often find it an oddity. I commented earlier today, in fact, that Chris Wallace called Ron Paul's more libertarian positions, "controversial".

My friend Hannah correctly noted that the wording was accurate, in that his positions do cause controversy. But the real question is... Why?

Why is it controversial... Why is it "extreme" in ANY sense to argue for a reduction of the state's power to bankrupt the nation and to keep us in a perpetual state of warfare? Why would it be "extreme" in any way to argue against the kind of government and politicians who have failed at every turn to bring about a more prosperous or secure nation, and who believe that every aspect of people's lives should be subject to the fiat whims of a ruling elite?

I am far more "extreme" than either Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, but as fairly strict Constitutionalists, both of those men are far closer to advocating anything I find remotely sane than the vast majority of politicians who I've met since being in Washington, much less of those (others) running for political office... And yet, I find neither Paul (or his son) nor Kucinich to be remotely controversial or extreme in their positions.

How have we gotten to a point where a relatively principled defense of liberty and the Constitution is an "extremist" view? What sad world is this?

The final point, Mr. Koerner makes is yet another I have made for years. The political spectrum is divided into "left" and "right" extremely haphazardly, and perpetuating the false dichotomy doesn't really help.
"The Constitution is not left or right-wing, and both Left and Right are starting to see that the most egregious acts that have been performed in the interest of the governing and the financial classes have in common that they defy the Constitution, typically by violating the rights of some for the benefit of others.

"First, Do No Harm," is the Constitution in four words, and should be the rallying cry of conservative liberals everywhere.

The so-called "radicals" like Paul and Kucinich who appear through the old left-right filter to be so different, are more importantly defined by what they have in common -- a principled attempt to protect American Constitutional rights that, while radical in 1776, should not even be up for discussion today.

Of the men I've mentioned, the darling of Constitutionalists today is Ron Paul. He has so far out-raised all of the potential GOP candidates for 2012, even while many of the MSM continue to conduct their polls (among likely Republican voters) often times without even including his name. I don't know exactly what that means, but I know it means something, and I like it."
Sadly, I see the push to ignore Dr. Paul every day, and it's rather frustrating. Watching the media, mainstream and otherwise, deliberately disregard the man is obnoxious, though I take some solace in the knowledge that the medias days as gate-keepers to political candidates are seriously numbered.

That's right. A blimp!
One day, not too long from now, we will exist in a world where the internet will break down the barrier between potential candidates and the people who are electing them, and this will be an immensely good day. I witness a handful of reporters within Washington DC establishment effectively dictating who the American public is allowed to get to know, simply by deciding which candidates to report on and which to dismiss.

The truly disappointing aspect of this process is that their picks for people who are "electable" are thoroughly uninteresting asshats like Tim Pawlenty... So I'm going to make a prediction here about the 2012 election.

If the GOP puts up another establishment Republican... a neocon, corporatist, war-mongering jagweed... as they tend to do, they will lose spectacularly against a virtually identical Barack Obama.

Obama is every bit a neocon as anybody I've ever seen. He's been a huge benefactor to Wall Street, he's been a huge benefactor to the Military Industrial Complex. He's expanded wars, eroded liberties and bankrupted this country faster - by far - than even George W. Bush did.

But he's a masterful campaigner. Brilliant... Genius, even. He's personally likable, he's currently got "the youth vote" in droves, and he's an incumbent. If the Republican party runs somebody who is a watered down version of Obama, they don't stand the slightest chance. The only person I personally see with even the slightest shot is somebody like Ron Paul who has a record that can be taken seriously on corporatism, on the Fed, on foreign policy... I know a lot of Republicans disagree that he can be taken seriously on foreign policy, but I think they're all missing the obvious points on that score.

I think that if someone like Ron Paul was in an election against Obama, he would win. He beats Obama on every single campaign promise Obama has failed to live up to, and he does it with a deep understanding of economics and liberty.

At the very least, a guy like that would "do no harm".-

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