Friday, March 6, 2009

Crisis is the health of the state

By Donald Sensing

Especially of the US government since 2001, and most intensively since January 20 of this year. But the cards are now fully exposed on the table. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,

... told young Europeans at the European Parliament that global economic turmoil provided a fresh opening. "Never waste a good crisis ... Don't waste it when it can have a very positive impact on climate change and energy security," she said.
"Never waste a good crisis" when you can leverage it to expand the power of government, that is, of yourself personally. But she continued:
"Certainly the United States has been negligent in living up to its responsibilities," said Clinton, on her first visit to Europe as secretary of state.

"This is a propitious time ... we can actually begin to demonstrate our willingness to confront this."
And never pass up a chance to apologize for your country when you're overseas.

Roger Kimball observes:
Who, I wonder, was the political genius who saw the advantages of exploiting people’s sentimental gullibility about the environment for partisan profit? We’ve long known that environmentalism, as the philosopher Harvey Mansfield put it, is “school prayer for liberals.” But I wonder whether even Professor Mansfield could have foreseen what a tool pseudo-environmentalism would be for the radical wing of the Democratic party? The inestimable value of a green, that is, a pink, philosophy is that you can never be green enough. And in pursuit of zero-carbon-emissions purity a government can impose crippling sanctions in order to force compliance. And don’t say Obama didn’t warn you: as I and many others pointed outduring the campaign, he promised that, if elected, he would do all he could to “bankrupt” the coal industry.
I've almost grown tired of saying that environmentalism is the true religion of the Left. It is the banner picked up by socialists who finally realized that socialism, by that name, wouldn't sell in this country. But here it is again:
Freeman Dyson wrote that, "Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion." I demur. Environmentalism has not replaced socialism at all. Instead, the old-line socialists, faced with decades of the failure of political socialism, have jumped on the environmentalist bandwagon to keep socialism alive. Environmentalism has become a much better vehicle to achieve a rigid regulation of people's lives than political socialism ever was. After all, the fate of the entire planet is at stake! Environmentalism has already led some British members of Parliament to propose that the government regulate almost every aspect of buying and selling by private individuals. If this is not socialism, it is a distinction without a difference.

So there you are. At bottom, modern environmentalism has discarded scientific rigor to embrace something not much different than Leninism, the desire to control the major components of the way individuals live. From there it is a short step for environmentalism to Leninism's successor: Stalinism, the desire to control every aspect of the way we live. That's our future, minus the gulags. We hope.

This seems an apt time to quote the old liberals' bumper sticker: "If you're not outraged, you are not paying attention."
We are now living in a permanent state of emergency, according to our Washington overlords. They are not going to waste this crisis, and rest assured there will be many more to come that they won't waste, either. And the only solution we'll be offered will one that regulates our lives at an ever-increasing rate, growing the power of government at our monetary and political expense.

Once again: I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.


David said...

"I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free"...I share this concern, Don. Although I'm slightly comforted by the fact we've been in very scary places before--in the late 1930s, many would have said that our only choice was between Fascism and Communism--and come out of it okay.

I do believe that our current "progressives" are different from old-line socialists, and not in a good way. The old-line socialists represented a warped offshoot of the Enlightenment: they did at least believe in progress, economic growth, and human universalism. Modern "progressivism" is to a substantial extent a counter-Enlightenment reaction.

james said...

Since carefully crafted laws can advantage your company or disable an industry, it is vital for businesses to focus at least as much attention on Washington as on Madison Avenue. Inevitably that the powerful begin to feel entitled to attention.

We already have good words to describe the players in this drama.

We have powerful people who control other people's livelihoods. They are not always obliged to pay taxes, they accept a wide variety of perks, and they have a great sense of entitlement. When challenged for infractions like the rest of us, their cry is “Do you know who I am?” They include legislators and administrators and judges and bureaucrats and media executives and CEOs of connected firms.
They are nobles.

We also have an army of people jockeying for access and favors. These include lobbyists, reporters and other sycophants. They flatter and wheedle and conceal the deals and have no interest in anything but their personal or group advantage.
They are courtiers.

So far the court does not have a king.