Free Markets, Free People


Quote of the Day

Although Herbert Hoover is rarely cited when one thinks of “immortal words”, these few paragraphs from Hoover (from James T. Flynn’s “The Roosevelt Myth”, HT: the Heritage Foundation) should certainly give you pause:

In every single case before the rise of totalitarian governments there had been a period dominated by economic planners. Each of these nations had an era under starry-eyed men who believed that they could plan and force the economic life of the people. They believed that was the way to correct abuse or to meet emergencies in systems of free enterprise. They exalted the state as the solver of all economic problems.

These men thought they were liberals. But they also thought they could have economic dictatorship by bureaucracy and at the same time preserve free speech, orderly justice, and free government.

These men are not Communists or Fascists. But they mixed these ideas into free systems. It is true that Communists and Fascists were round about. They formed popular fronts and gave the applause. These men shifted the relation of government to free enterprise from that of umpire to controller.

Consider the “car czar”. Look at the Chrysler board. Imagine government run health care. Cap-and-trade. Etc.

After that bit of reality from today, read Hoover’s further observations:

Directly or indirectly they politically controlled credit, prices, production or industry, farmer and laborer. They devalued, pump-primed and deflated. They controlled private business by government competition, by regulation and by taxes. They met every failure with demands for more and more power and control … When it was too late they discovered that every time they stretched the arm of government into private enterprise, except to correct abuse, then somehow, somewhere, men’s minds became confused. At once men became fearful and hesitant. Initiative slackened, industry slowed down production.

Look around you and tell me what you see. The future? It’s to be found in Hoover’s words from 1940.

~McQ

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32 Responses to Quote of the Day

  • When you are falling off a cliff the ride down can look pretty exciting until you realize what happens when you hit bottom.  Obama supporters are those unable to understand this final point.

  • No problem .. all we have to do is utter …

    “open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words.”

  • Contemporary Italian philosopher and professor Georgio Agamben writes at length about one of the mechanisms used to extend a Democratic system into a dictatorship in his book, State of Exception ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agamben#State_of_Exception_.282005.29 ). This carefully researched work extends back to the writings of Benjamin and Schmitt and examines the employment of the technique of a permenant exception to constitutional law created by the executive.

    Agamben examines recent uses of the exception through former President Bush’s creation of nonperson states for detainees at Guantanamo Bay; President Obama has given Agamben a wealth of examples to evaluate through his short but effective exception-oriented office. A shorter but invaluable, deep work for serious understanding of how the executive branch has been used with relative ease over several hundred years to create a constitutional dictatorship.

    Available via Amazon.com:
    http://www.amazon.com/State-Exception-Giorgio-Agamben/dp/0226009254/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242658452&sr=8-1

  • This is a bit ironic, coming from the “Great Engineer”, who simply couldn’t cease fiddling with the economy–or anything else–from 1929 to 1933.

    Although, perhaps by 1940, he’d learned from his failure.

  • Of course, the current crisis was caused by deregulation, over-consumption, and deficits in budget and trade (both parties share blame for all of that).  Fears of ‘totalitarianism’ are as silly from the right responding to Obama as they were from the left responding to Bush/Cheney (and remarkably similar in how they accuse the other side of going that way).  The American Constitution is strong, the people are wiser than partisans of either side give them credit for, and just as the democratic republic weathered the depression and subsequent war, we’ll handle the current crises too.

    • Of course, the current crisis was caused by deregulation

      Of course, every time he has been asked, Erb has failed to provide even one example. Erb declares it, so it must be so.

    • Deregulation,   You mean like Sarbanes-Oxley, The Community Reinvestment Act, and Mark to Market accounting? Those deregulations?

      BTW Scott, did you know that the Europeans have MUCH MUCH more financial market regulations than we do, and their real estate markets have taken a bigger bath than ours?  Bet you didn’t know that.

      For an educator you sure have a lot of knee jerk left wing talking points without  much real knowledge to back them up.

      This market crash was caused by the same things that caused all the others, too much debt, and too many speculators and con men, causing a bubble.  These things happen from time to time, and Governments can make things marginally better by insisting on sound accounting practices and sound lending practices, but they can’t stop the ups and downs. 

      And they can make things a lot worse with the wrong kinds of regulations, like our government did.

  • Why do you post stuff like this so early in the day?  It is just now 12:45pm, and I have to go drink.

    I hope that you are proud of yourself…

    :-p

  • De-regulation of the financial sector, as well as poor global regulations (we need to have a new Bretton Woods to develop a regulatory global system) is a core cause.   This lack of global regulations was noted by eminent Political Scientist Susan Strange in one of her last articles, “The Westfailure System.”  I could post numerous analyses of the way de-regulation caused this (and you know they are out there, otherwise someone wouldn’t try to find a different opinion), but you won’t be persuaded — better to focus on the political fight.   And try as they may, Republicans can’t pretend that this didn’t happen on their watch (they can’t just blame the Democrats and pretend they somehow were blameless — blame must be bi-partisan), and that Reagan’s “answer” to the 1980 recession has turned out to be a catastrophe.  His borrow and spend policies, combined with moves towards cheap foreign goods replacing American goods — financed by current account deficits — set up a deep structural problem that guarantees that the US can no longer be the dominant economic power.   Our problems in Iraq and Afghanistan already prove that we are not that effective militarily.  The days of super power dominance are over.

    • Why are analyses arguing deregulation correct but other analyses are just political fighting? This is a serious question. I’ve read your comments about deregulation before but you’ve never explained why this preferred analysis of yours (also partisan political whether you realize it or not) is the right analysis. Is it supposed to be self-evident?

      • *snort*

        Oh, my, you are new here, aren’t you. What you see is what you get. Asking a serious question of Erb is a waste of time. He is useful only as an inspiration for some rather clever jokes and an example disproving the conventional wisdom that education is  the solution to ignorance and superstition.

        Thanks for laughs, but don’t feel bad. Many of us actually took him seriously at first.

        • I am new to Scott Erb, yes. This must explain why he doesn’t answer my questions when things he says don’t make sense to me. I remember having professors that didn’t respond well to questions that went against their ideology, and too many questions endangered your grade. I think it’s important to engage partisan professors outside the classroom where they wield no power. Maybe they will think and grow as they want their students to do. But even if they choose to  ignore, seeds of doubt are still planted.

          The biggest clue for me about Scott Erb was McQ’s Thugs in the White House post. Scott Erb called out a commenter for posting a lie about Carter and the Soviets, appealed to himself as an authority since he is a professor, and even said that as an educator he can make sure people understand reality versus BS. “For me truth trumps partisanship and ideology.” Yet, within hours, two commenters explained where the info came from and that it wasn’t made up. So I waited for the obvious next comment from, where he would refute the info and prove it false. Of course, he never did that. My conclusion can only be he didn’t know that further info existed, the first comment wasn’t a lie, and his appeal to himself as authority was empty and ridiculous. Partisanship and ideology, apparently, trumped truth. Which is why I teach my kids that educators are authority figures, but they are also human, flawed, and quite often wrong.

          • You have learned quickly, young padawan!

            I confess that I’ve often been a little confused about Erb.  At times, I think he’s just winding us all up, posting liberal talking points in a (usually) successful effort to elicit a storm of controversy.  At other times, I conclude that he really believes the drivel he writes and refuses to engage in meaningful debate because, like a true lib, his puny, addled brain can’t cope with anything that contradicts his worldview.

      • Erb only considers the left side of any question and notably cites as his bonafides only commentors from the left side of the sphere as having any relevant inputs to the debate.  Oh, and by the way – I use the term debate loosely when I mention Erb.  Debate and Erb are not compatible.

    • “De-regulation of the financial sector, as well as poor global regulations (we need to have a new Bretton Woods to develop a regulatory global system) is a core cause. ”

      Really? Considering that the banking and securities industries are the most heavily regulated in the nation?

      Get a clue!

      And save your drivel for the MTV and People Magazine crowds.

    • I could post numerous analyses of the way de-regulation caused this

      …but you won’t — even though you’ve been asked over a dozen times…

      but you won’t be persuaded

      Then why in the hell do you keep posting the exact same statements over and over again? You seriously need to consider that the psychoanalyses that have been posted about you may be correct — you really do have a problem, Scott, and I’m not being mean or snarky for once.

      • The very nature of Scott’s narcissistic psychological malady makes it darn near impossible for him to recognize and confront it.

        But I’m glad other people are noticing, and I’m quite serious about that too. His continued ridiculous comments here can only be explained as a desperate attempt for him to find self-worth by lecturing the rest of us. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. Everyone needs to understand that, so as to avoid allowing threads to degrade into hopeless, frustrating attempts to “engage” Scott’s delusional and intellectually dishonest pap.

      • <blockquote>Then why in the hell do you keep posting the exact same statements over and over again?</blockquote>

        Erb is trying to carryout the Big Lie theory of propaganda.

        Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

    • You speak like a prophet.   When did you learn to foresee the future?

    • “I could post numerous analyses…”

      LOL.

      No, you couldn’t. If you could, you would. You never do. Typical, though, of your argument-by-assertion technique.

      Reagan’s “answer” to the 1980′s recession turned out to be a disaster?
      Golly, you are funny today. It took 20+ years  to prove to be a disaster? Another amusing example of the analytic skills you have honed to a razor sharpness during your stay at the “university” you are paid by. Frankly, you are not even a good troll.

  • What Hoover identifies is merely the age-old impulse in man that leads him to believe that he can and SHOULD mind everybody else’s business.

  • Look around you and tell me what you see. The future? It’s to be found in Hoover’s words from 1940.

    Well, if it’s true now, then was it true then?  And if it was true then, and we’ve been slowly becoming a totalitarian state over the last 70 years, then most of that time one must admit, was presided over by a Republican president.

    Is there any hope for the future?  From the Republicans?

    Senator Lindsay Graham, “We are not going to build our party on libertarian ideas.”

    Lovely.

    Cheers.

    • Well yes, since he was talking about Germany and the USSR. And while he saw some of it here, he didn’t see the depth of control – at that time – that were evident in those two countries. But he apparently saw it shaping up here much like in those two places. Thankfully the war put an end to most of that, even though enough lingered to get us to this point.

      And you know better than to look to this current crop of GOP yahoos for any “hope for the future”. They are and always have been Democrat lites.

    • Any chance we’ll get to stop playing “The President is a King” game any time soon?
      I admit, it’s been the theme as long as I’ve been old enough to pay attention, but there’s this organization called Congress, and they, uh, actually draw up the laws and determine what the real budget is.
      And this other organization called the Supreme Court, that actually rules on the validity of laws which are written by the Congress.

      This means I don’t always blame the President, or give him credit, for things that happened, which he just sort of went along with.

      I’ve gotten so awfully tired of the “President did” story, when as often as not in my memory, he’s just going along with what Congress wants (and we won’t bother to discuss who’s owned Congress for about 40 years of my life, and who owned it for a number of years before the doctor whacked me on the ass….)
      He can set the tone, but he’s not the king, if you think so, you might want to check history for the US around, oh, say, 1973, it was an interesting year for Richard the 1st.

    • And if it was true then, and we’ve been slowly becoming a totalitarian state over the last 70 years,

      Try 115 years, going back to the bogus Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

  • There are not enough hours in the day to correct Erb’s errors or enough manure hauling vehicles to take away the compost atop the buried premises of Toad Balone.

    In or out of power, Republicans, Presidents or Congress, have had to carry the burden of the pre-existing socialist bureaucracies. That’s the problem with those things, they are social malignancies that are grown into the organs of America. You’ve got the largest Ponzi scheme in the history of the universe and the “free care on the grandchildren’s dime” hustle.

    That’s before you even begin to look at the cancer that are the public schools.

    Then you get Democrats and other toads coming along with the “Republicans, blah, blah” business. The Republicans are spineless, kicked-in-the-head burgermeisters who are half the time dizzy from the smell of cowshit on their boots or preoccupied with their golf swings. Unable to deal with the sick and evil thing that has wicked its way up through the years to become today’s Democratic Party.

    • Or as I like to put it your choice is clear:

      The spineless stupid party, they know what the problem is, but they can’t or won’t pour pee out of a boot.

      Or the evil party. They don’t know what they are doing, they don’t care, and they don’t have an off switch, they will just keep driving the whole train into the river.

  • My Democrat friends say it was about deregulation under Bush II, so that’s the meme the lefties are spreading.

    I would bet that the crisis was caused by a combination of things, including some deregulation and regulation, with cumulative effects that caused a systemic problem. It wasn’t caused by a single factor. Oh, and Bush wanted to do some regulation of Fannie and Freddie but the Democrats wanted to “roll the dice.”

  • Erb reminds me of a sociology  ‘professor’ I had at one of the community colleges I once attended in a universe long ago and far away.  He was young and hip  with  bell-bottomed pants, long hair, and groupies. One of his test questions was something like “What is the most important factor in academic success?”. The ‘correct’ answer (I missed this question, heh) was the physical plant of the school. Nice new schools meant higher test scores, etc.

    We also had a class discussion once on our tragic involvement in Vietnam, where we had no important national interests. Being a trouble maker, I brought up our involvement in NATO, and our fearless leader and his claque all agreed that we had critical national interests in Europe that necessitated our possible military engagement there as opposed to Southeast Asia, including the possibility of nuclear war. I then proceeded to ask what these critical interests were. No answer. I asked again. Again no answer. By this time the prof. had begun to physically flee to the other side of the classroom and tried to change the subject. I must confess that I started to get a little more insistent, raising my voice as I asked again. Finally one of the claque answered “We have investments there”. A completebut rather uncomfortable silence followed this rather interesting answer. 

    It has since become my belief that much of the liberal opposition to our involvement overseas is in fact racist; we can prepare for nuclear war to defend white Europeans but we must not shed one drop of American blood for Asians, Latinos, Africans, etc.