Progressivists Should First Heal Themselves

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I generally
read the editorial section of the New York Times to get a
sense of what elite "Progressivists" are thinking. (I'm
referring to the official editorial page as opposed to the
rest of the "news" sections which supposedly are not connected
to the opinion of Gail Collins and company.)

Progressivists,
as one knows, are motivated by grand visions — which they believe
should be imposed on everyone else, given that most people would
resist such elite wisdom (because, after all, they are too stupid
and too uneducated to appreciate the grandeur of the vision that
others have for them). Since governments are the only entities that
can impose this vision, it should surprise no one that the NYT
is thoroughly statist in its news and editorial approaches.

Because the
NYT is famous and calls itself the "Newspaper of Record,"
its Grand Vision (GV) is not limited to the Great Unwashed of the
United States. No, Gail Collins and company have a GV for Iraq and
Russia, although one doubts that Iraqis and Vladimir Putin really
give a damn about what the Grey Lady is telling them what to do.

I saw in today's
editorials that Iraq "finally"
has a new government
, which I guess means all sorts of possibilities
of Greatness. From what I can tell, however, this new government
might not be up to the NYT standards, or at least the high
standards that come from the City of New York (which seems to be
having some difficulty removing snow from its streets at the present
time).

Anyway, Collins
and company had these pearls of wisdom for Iraq's new government:

Iraq's factions,
with their competing priorities, are going to have to work hard
to make progress on the country's many problems. They must pass
laws ensuring an equitable division of the country's oil wealth.
They must make sweeping economic reforms, without which there
is no chance of creating jobs for the 450,000 mostly young Iraqis
entering the work force each year. They need to keep their promise
of jobs to the thousands of Sunni fighters who came in from the
cold.

I am not sure
which "sweeping economic reforms" the editors mean, given
that the "sweeping economic reforms" they advocate for
the USA usually are socialistic. Nonetheless, I'm just a bit reluctant
to say that people who cannot get snow from their own streets (at
least without
busting up cars
in the process) should be giving advice to people
living in a desert thousands of miles away.

Given that
the NYT was instrumental in leading the U.S. Armed Forces
to invade Iraq in the first place (Who can forget Judith Miller,
although we might want to forget Judith Miller?), it seems
to be the ultimate of chutzpah for Collins and company to
be giving that poor country even more advice, but Progressivists
know more than we do, and are happy to let us know.

Besides Iraq,
there is Russia to consider. Yes, Russia, the place that gave us
the NYT's favorite dictator, Josef Stalin. Russia is the
place that murdered millions while the NYT's man on the spot, Walter
Duranty, worked hand-in-glove with Stalin's people to file false
reports in the NYT, with the editors at home covering for him. (For
those falsehoods, Duranty and the NYT received a Pulitzer
Prize which still proudly is on display in the lobby of the NYT
building.)

Today, Collins
and company urge Russia to engage in the "rule
of law
." Russia, it seems, does not have fair courts and
the NYT wants those Russkies to have courts that are just
as just and fair as our own, especially our federal courts.

The collective
memory at the NYT tends to be a bit short-term, given that
some of us on the outside recall how the "Newspaper of Record"
teamed with Rudy Giuliani and his fellow federal prosecutors to
publish illegally-leaked grand jury information in order to stack
the deck against Michael Milken. You know, Milken, that guy who
did not suck up to the other investment banks on Wall Street and
who managed to secure financing for a number of important firms
whose technological development has changed our lives. A man who
does not suck up to Goldman Sachs and David Rockefeller is up to
no good, as he fails to share the Same Grand Vision which Progressivists
believe should be imposed on everyone else (except themselves).

You see, "rule
of law" only applies to the Little People. Really Important
People don't have to worry about taking part in criminal schemes
to gain false indictments and railroad people into prison (i.e.
Martha Stewart). Remember how the NYT was outraged that the
late Leona Helmsley allegedly told someone that only "little
people" pay taxes? (It seems that the Helmsleys were among
the "little people," given that they paid huge amounts
of money in taxes, but the editors of the NYT could not let
the facts get in the way of a good story, so Leona went to prison,
too.)

Progressivists
are different than you and me; rule of law does not apply to them,
as they are above the law. They have a GV for the rest of
us, be it how we will receive medical care, what we eat, what we
say, whether or not we are free to travel, how we can use the land
that we supposedly own, the kinds of fuels we use to power our vehicles
and heat our homes, and how we will be educated.

True,
the Progressivists have no plans on taking part in what is to be
imposed upon everyone else. Rule of law is good for Russia, but
it certainly did not need to apply to Durham, North Carolina, when
the NYT's favorite prosecutor, Michael Nifong, was lying
in an attempt to railroad some lacrosse players at Duke University
for bogus rape charges.

One is tempted
to tell these Progressivists to solve their own problems and to
live under the same rules they want to have imposed on everyone
else. However, we need to remember that just as human beings are
Beyond
Freedom and Dignity
(a Progressivist classic), Those Who
Would Rule Us Or Influence Those Who Would Rule Us should not be
hindered by mere rules, as they are beyond those mundane things.

Some of us
might have the temerity to tell the Physicians to Heal Themselves
first, but that is short-sighted on our part. No, we must bow to
the Great Wisdom of Collins and company as they lead us to that
Great World Beyond Midtown Manhattan. (But forget about the snow
being removed from your roads. Greatness requires some sacrifice,
you know.)

December
30, 2010

William
L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him
mail
], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland,
and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig
von Mises Institute
. He
also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit
his blog.

The
Best of William Anderson

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