George Handlery about the week that was. Bail outs, even for the cadaver class. Fleeing high taxes. Minimalizing taxes is a basic right. Respect criminals: get their consent for actions against them. Never say never unless it always pays. Crime, exposure and tolerance. The common denominator. Lip service rejecting past crimes frees from acting to fight their current version. Revelations, redeemers and repression.
1. The story is a widely circulating and, due to its relentless repetition, widely accepted. According to it, state intervention has saved capitalism from failure. Actually, even in the USA, capitalism did not exist in a pure form. Government-by-the-Clintons has interfered in the market system massively. With devastating ultimate consequences, government meddled in the process by which credits were granted and real estate prices evolved. Huge profits awaited those playing along. (Mortgages to those who could not afford them and the resulting house prices unrelated to value are meant.) Now the government is fixing wages for the employees of financial institutions. Will this interference be more beneficial than the one that originally regulated credits, mortgages and real estate prices?
2. Lest we manage to conveniently forget. Some recent bailouts with government money might have made sense. This was the case if a payback and an ultimate refund, expressing the risks taken, could be assumed to conclude the action. At the same time, the unpleasant truth for the free-lunch-crowd that all of us would like to join, must be brought up. Subventions sap the power of healthy undertakings. Being ordered to stand at the giving end milks their power – to the point at which they themselves might need to be rescued. Subventions do not only have a recipient. Besides the gainers, there is also a forgotten unwilling donor as the loser of the deal.
3. The Germans are not coming! They are already here. I have called an old school mate from the 7th grade. He complained that he couldn’t afford to move to a home with features that match the needs imposed by his age. He went on to explain that the Germans are bidding up prices in his area. The better off flee the high taxes of home for the low tax country where their language is understood. To get the entire picture, you need to know that the old boy lives just across the right side of the German border. His plight is caused by the fact that many Germans have given up on voting in a frugal government that consumes only what it has and not what it can confiscate. What blocks the switch to sanity? Organized groups have become dependent on free lunches. Everybody is against the free meal the others get. However, this is not so if stopping hand-outs implies that they will not be served for no charge either.
4. It is OK for an American to move from a high-tax state to a low-tax state. In that case, one wonders why it is “wrong” for a person to move from a high tax country to a low tax country. Furthermore, why is it proper to blacklist such states as crooked by those that overcharge their subjects for the services states perform. Several centuries ago, a principle was established. What the people judged to be a “bad state” could be dismissed. The right to leave a system that the individual considers not to act in his best interest, for one that is more efficient in serving his needs, is a personalized assertion of the right exercised in the former case
5. The worse the case, the more hilarious the reactions tend to be. Here is a good one. Peking made recommendations regarding the inspection of North Korean ships to implement the sanctions approved by the SecCouncil. The arms and trade embargo are to be executed cautiously and without the threat or the application of force. Just try to imagine this scene. A suspicious ship is sighted, A vessel instructed to determine whether the cargo is embargoed approaches it.
“We wish to check your cargo”.
“We do not want our cargo inspected”.
“Oh, sorry, in that case, you may proceed”.
Indeed, such draconic measures would scare the daylights out of any hardened criminal regime.
6. Pyongyang has announced that it will “never” give up her nuclear weapons’ policy. You might have heard that the word “never” is never to be used in any context. Why does North Korea practice the opposite without much damage? Because we make it pay. Perhaps, as far back as 1953, the Kims had reason to discover that in their case that “never” always works. It does so because they have to do with entities whose moral relativism and crisis management technique is that everything, and really everything, is negotiable at all times. Accordingly, they never say “no, never” to anyone. Given this softness, “never” is never a mistake but, as in the case of the tantrum of the kid at the checkout counter, a key to get the candy bar.
7. Observers were surprised by the results of the elections for the EU’s parliament. In numerous safe districts, the voters abandoned the Socialists they used to support. In doing so, they voted not for the right-of-center but for the radical right. Part of the explanation is simple. In some instances, a poor district is likely to be physically exposed to zones in which, as Marx put it, the “lumpen” element dominates. In case that the inhabitants can be identified by their characteristics, furthermore, if a large minority within the minority declares crime to be a part of its unalienable way of life, the victims respond by supporting radicals. Physical proximity exposes working class districts to areas where outsiders excuse crime by bringing up “culture”. In such cases, ethnic rights are twisted to imply immunity. The liberals are unaffected because they live in protected areas. Therefore, they like to tell the victims of transgressions that tolerance has a higher priority than their safety. Criminality being a cultural product, it is to be tolerantly understood as a manifestation of ethnic identity. Such mantras are quickly unmasked as a farce. After all, the preacher of generosity is not forced to live by the norms he advocates.
8. After the Cuban crisis, besides a direct telephone connection between the White House and Red Square, there were several “secret channels” connecting Washington and Moscow. This reduced the probability not of crises but of these getting out of hand in 1914 fashion. The links express a consciousness of communality between foes that was based on rational projections and on the calculable commitment to the national interest of the global rivals. Such channels, articulating the missing common denominator, do not exist between Washington and Tehran. The un-atoned attack on the US’ Embassy is a formal expression the lack common denominators.
9. Israel is becoming a test case. Here not the sincerity of retroactive outrage provoked by the past and the commitment to principles made at a time when the going was easy is meant. Standing up now for Israel’s existence is also a test of current Western resolve. To what? To defend itself regardless of the fashion devastating its political culture of the moment. A case in point is the quickly leveled charge of Israeli extremism once her government raises questions regarding the terms determining a Palestinian state. In discussing this issue, references to the radical record of Palestine’s advocates are declared to be politically incorrect.
10. Movements, whether secular or religious, tend to assume that they have access to the truth embedded in a revelation. That revelation is only accessible to their founding members. Once this happens, the limited echo from a yet un-coerced and uninterested majority convinces the redeemers that not the defects of their creed are to be blamed. The “incorrect” reaction is a sign that the dull-witted majority cannot fathom the truth. As soon as this interpretation becomes part of the movement’s spin and dogma, a new stage is reached. Now it will be alleged that the movement, especially the inner circle of the guiding enlightened, are acting to better mankind as they make their next move. It is to apply educating coercion to elevate the masses. These need tutelage until they accept what the wise consider to be their true interest. (The generalization fits numerous secular and theocratic tyrannies of the past, the present and, most regrettably, of the future.)