November, 2010: More Rearranging of Deck Chairs

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You've probably
heard the expression, "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,"
which refers to making futile changes to a failing situation. This
November's elections will be such a case of rearranging the deck
chairs on Titanic America, because the real problem that needs to
be addressed is systemic, and serious
systemic changes
need to be made.

There will
be those who will say, "No, no, don't say that, we have a chance
to win back both the House and the Senate this November!" But
these are times that call for a dose of reality. Unfortunately,
many people involved with the Tea Party movement seem to have the
misguided notion that the Founders' structure of the federal government
is adequate, but that the people in Washington just need to be replaced.
However, the Founders' forming a federal government with centralized
power and authority and a compulsory territorial monopoly has been
shown to be an immense
Inherent in such a structure is the violation of property
and individuals' rights to life and liberty, hence America's steady
moral decay over the last century. And inherent in federalism is
the violation of state independence and sovereignty.

The elections
of 1980, 1994 and 2000 did not reverse Big Government. When Ronald
was elected president in 1980, the "conservative"
president not only didn't cut entire cabinet-level departments as
promised, he added three new cabinet-level departments. After
cutting taxes, a year later Reagan signed what was then to be America's
biggest tax
. Reagan also signed one deficit-laden budget after
another, and during Reagan's presidency, the National Debt skyrocketed
along with all the regulations and bureaucracy he promised to cut.

Following the
1994 "Republican
," the federal government continued to grow out
of control, and, after 2000, the younger President George W. Bush's
"compassionate conservatism"
— i.e. more socialist redistribution of wealth schemes — and expanding
the military industrial complex only fed Leviathan much more.

As economist
Murray Rothbard noted,

left-liberals, in power, make a Great Leap Forward toward collectivism;
then, when, in the course of the political cycle, four or eight
years later, conservatives come to power, they of course are horrified
at the very idea of repealing anything; they simply slow down
the rate of growth of statism, consolidating the previous gains
of the Left, and providing a bit of R&R for the next liberal
Great Leap Forward….

Rothbard and
economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe have written extensively on these issues.
In his book, Democracy:
The God That Failed
, Hoppe explains how democratic governments
have contributed a great deal to reversing the process of civilization.
The real achievements of democracy have been the empowering of some
people to legally extract private wealth and property from others,
and empowering the political class to use coercion and brute force
against others to achieve certain goals.

At the heart
of the problem are the temporary nature of democracy and the exploitative
nature of a system of compulsion and monopoly. Economically, according
to Hoppe,
unlike in a monarchy in which the king owns the country's territory
and has a long-term interest in its capital value, in democracies
the ruler is a "temporary caretaker," and

a temporary
and interchangeable democratic caretaker does not own the country,
but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his
advantage. He owns its current use but not its capital stock.
This does not eliminate exploitation. Instead, it makes exploitation
shortsighted (present-oriented) and uncalculated, i.e., carried
out without regard for the value of the capital stock.

Hoppe expands
those ideas:

…a private
government owner (a monarch) will want to avoid exploiting his
subjects so heavily, for instance, as to reduce his future earnings
potential to such an extent that the present value of his estate
actually falls. Instead, in order to preserve or possibly even
enhance the value of his personal property, he will systematically
restrain himself in his exploitation policies…. In distinct
contrast… public government ownership will result in continual
capital consumption. Instead of maintaining or even enhancing
the value of the government estate, as a private owner would tend
to do, a government’s temporary caretaker will quickly use up
as much of the government resources as possible….

a distinct characteristic of government, or "public sector,"
activity is lack of incentive and ability in long-range planning,
and, because "societal planning" cannot take individual
market factors into account, economic calculations are impossible.
In the public sector, political calculations are necessary.

For example,
in 1990, just after a war initiated by
against Afghanistan, and seeing how the people of a territory
did not like being invaded and thus the underdog Afghans put up
a good fight against the mighty Russians, one might think that then-U.S.
President George H. W. Bush would foresee that his invading Iraq
(a country that did not attack the U.S.) would have negative long-term
consequences for the U.S. But Bush took U.S. forces into Iraq, and
increased forces in surrounding foreign lands, at America's long-term
expense. Bush's son, the younger President George Bush followed
in his dad's footsteps.

Without regard
to America's capital value and actual long-term economic interests,
politicians have acted largely on self-interest and short-term exploitation
of the system of democratic governance.

Moreover, because
of corporate-statism, America has also experienced such short-sightedness
and parasitic consumption among America's business sector. One example
of that is the federal government's October 2008 Wall
Street Bailout
, which further discouraged long-range planning
and productivity of the nation’s most powerful financial institutions.

America is
now suffering great economic turmoil while rewarding the short-term,
immediate gratification of the Wall Street fat cats. As a major
contributor of pervading societal moral decay, the Wall Street Bailout
has been an example of activist government redistribution programs
that discourage saving, investing, long-range planning and responsibility.

Over generations
of electoral rearranging of deck chairs and further expansion of
government's size and power, America has experienced a decline in
personal responsibility and traditional values. As a consequence
of Social
, families’ responsibility for the care of their elder
members is transferred to anonymous neighbors. President Obama's
threatened government takeover of the entire medical system will
make FDR's New
Deal pale in comparison.

Thus, America's
structure of government's territorial monopoly and legislative rule
has turned society from one of natural
guarding individual rights to one of man-made
that have allowed citizens to covet others' wealth and
property, and has enabled politicians to rise to the top with proficiency
in rhetoric but no abilities in producing anything of actual value
to others.

The 2010 delusion
of correcting government's mistakes has already begun with Scott
Brown's recent election to the United States Senate. After having
voted for socialized health care and fascist insurance mandates
in Massachusetts, and opposing cutting the state income tax, Brown
was falsely promoted as a conservative Tea Party candidate. And
already the Tea Party movement itself, supposedly one promoting
independence and limited government, is being pulled into a life
of dependence on the GOP, a party glued to the false security of
dependence on centralized Big Government's monopoly of territorial
. As author James Bovard observed,

We now have
the Battered Citizen Syndrome: the more debacles, the more voters
cling to faith in their rulers…. The greater the government's
failure to protect, the greater the subsequent mass fear — and
the easier it becomes to subjugate the populace.

One way to
prevent a huge societal disaster is by decentralizing, the dismantling
of the federal government and letting the states have their independence
and sovereignty back.

The total
destruction of the United States of America will have been wrought
by the U.S. federal government. Instead of rearranging the deck
chairs on the Titanic with more electoral changes, the way to save
America will be by decentralization
and a return to the sanctity of private property rights, freedom
of association and contract, and totally unrestricted free trade
and commerce.

Lazarowitz [send him mail]
is a commentator and cartoonist at

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