Elections don’t matter

October 29, 2010

I have argued before that civil servants run the government. I can now prove that I am correct.

I found a case so egregious that all doubt will be removed.

Do you think the President is in charge? Do you think Congress is in charge? If you answered yes to either you are wrong.

The case that proves that you are incorrect is the Volcker Rule. In short, the Volcker Rule is supposed to ban "proprietary trading" at banks. It was part of the Dodd-Frank Act.

You might think that Volcker – who works for the President – got to decide what the rule means. If you thought that, you are wrong:

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, seeking to influence the eponymous rule he helped create, is telling administration officials they should avoid writing narrow regulations that banks can seek to exploit or evade, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Volcker, in private conversations with administration officials, said that, in implementing the so-called Volcker Rule, regulators should adopt something akin to antimoney-laundering laws, where the federal government bans a particular behavior and then places the onus on banks to screen for red flags and comply with the rules. . . .

Still, the ultimate decision rests with a myriad of regulatory agencies, which must jointly write the rules. Regulators and policy makers are discussing how best to implement the Volcker Rule and recently solicited comment from the public.

You read that right. The President’s adviser, whom the rule is named after, is begging civil servants to actually implement "his" rule in a meaningful way.

Congress actually passed the law, so they must have had some say in what the law will do, right? Wrong, the article concludes with the following paragraph:

On Thursday, a group of 18 Democratic senators sent a letter to the oversight council encouraging regulators to adopt strict and "meaningful" definitions. "Despite having just emerged as a nation from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, powerful interests will seek to weaken the … Volcker Rule protections," the letter states.

You can view the comment from the senators (click here and check the box for public comments).

Just to make it absolutely clear, Senators and advisers to the President are begging civil servants to implement a law.

The decline and fall of the American Empire

October 29, 2010

The Rally to Restore Douche-dom, er Sanity or whatever is this weekend.

Lots of the roads around my house are going to be closed. Great.

It’ll be interesting to compare this rally to the Glenn Beck rally and the immigration rally, which have been the only big rallies since I moved back to DC. In both of those cases, buses parked at the edge of my neighborhood and dropped people off to walk to the Mall. This meant that my nice weekend in the park with my dog and my reactionary literature was ruined by hordes of people walking to the Mall. I’ll report back the festivities and do my best to avoid any hippie-punching incidents.

In the meantime, enjoy this sign of our decline.

The German question

October 29, 2010

The Economist tackles the German question. They do a lame job of it, because their The Economist. Conventional wisdom and fear of offending anyone (but Germans) rings from every word. The result is, therefore, muddled.

However, the question is fascinating. Germany is emerging from the recession as the only serious country in Europe. How will this play out?

I don’t know, but it’s worth watching.

In praise of John T. Flynn

October 29, 2010

From the Mises Institute:

In fact, that’s the second fundamental truth about journalism we have to grasp if we want to understand the importance for today’s libertarians of the liberal journalist John T. Flynn: journalists are just historians in a hurry. And just as there are revisionist historians, historians who attempt to revise our understanding of the historical record, so there are revisionist journalists, journalists who, while events are taking place, insist on an alternative understanding of those events, an understanding that flies in the face of the conventional wisdom of the time.

John T. Flynn was, if not the very first, then one of the very first few, of the revisionist journalists to write about the New Deal, focusing on both its domestic and its foreign policies. He represents, therefore, the beginning of historical revisionism where the New Deal is concerned. And if any historical event fairly cries out for revisionist treatment, it is the New Deal. The myth of the New Deal, assiduously promoted by the state and its court historians, is that it was a triumph of liberalism that, by further curbing and cushioning the supposed "excesses" of capitalism, brought the American Dream within the reach of more Americans than ever before and brought what Franklin Roosevelt called "the four freedoms" — "freedom of speech and expression"; "freedom of worship"; "freedom from want"; and "freedom from fear" — to the masses.

The truth is far otherwise.

What I took from Flynn’s writing is different than what the author of this piece took. The author of this piece is more focused on Flynn’s criticism of FDR’s collusion with big businesses. When I read Flynn I was struck by his belief that the New Deal was one big vote-buying scheme. It laid the foundation for the modern electoral strategy of the Democratic Party – make sure everyone gets transfer payments.

Flynn also wrote the first draft of the critique of the New Deal that has recently become popular – the critique that suggests the New Deal paralyzed economic activity because it was constantly changing the rules of the game.

Finally, Flynn deals with the transition from New Deal to war.

Whatever your reason for reading him, you have no reason not to read him. All his books are free at mises.org.

Mencken the reactionary

October 28, 2010

From a speech that is worth reading in its entirety, here is a quote from Mencken:

it not only failed to convert me to Marxism, but left me a bitter and incurable scoffer at democracy in all its forms

It’s nice to see Mencken noting that Marxism is just a form of democracy.

You might be experiencing inflation if . . .

October 28, 2010

Trains are being stopped because people are stealing the copper wire.

But don’t worry, the Fed has inflation under control.

Do elites like America?

October 27, 2010

Charles Murray has a piece on the New Elite, in which he says:

The members of the New Elite may love America, but, increasingly, they are not of it.

He’s been taking some fire for saying that the New Elite loves America. As it happens, I think he is correct. (Poor Charles Murray, no matter how much he tries to emphasize his real argument – the sorting of the country by intelligence – everyone always pays attention to some other point that he makes).

The New Elite are the modern incarnation of a certain type of American that has been around since the founding.

We tend to think of America the way Roissy describes it today, while discussing a Little League game in which it is forbidden to keep score:

Our country is being assaulted by a new elite of SWPLs who disrespect, even loathe, American tradition and historical precedence, and deny differences between boys and girls.

Unfortunately, America has always had a contingent of people who deny differences between boys and girls, who will stop at nothing to end "injustices," and who believe they have been divinely endowed to determine who is right and who is wrong.

Since before America was America, it was settled by people hoping to create the kingdom of heaven on earth. For these people, the creation of this kingdom has always been what America is about. Thus it’s possible for the New Elites to love America (as they understand it) and want to destroy America as we know it (i.e. as we distinctly understand it).

After all, in the defense of the New Elites, there aren’t many things more American than abolitionism (many of the abolitionists believed that marriage was an institution of slavery), utopian socialism, protestant idealism, and 60s radicalism.

Those of us that oppose this sort of thinking do ourselves no favors when we pretend that the belief system we oppose is foreign to America.