Saturday, November 15, 2008

Extreme Moderation

The next time you hear someone denounce the 'greed' of the extreme *free* market, of capitalism, try to remember that this is NOT what we have. The US economy was close but not entirely free during the early parts of the industrial revolution. Now, even the term 'mixed' economy is starting to be strained by the overwhelming pervasiveness of the American government in regulating, pressuring, tweaking, pulling, and adjusting all aspects of the economy.
At times you will hear a leader of a big business disparage laissez faire capitalism or the free market. Do not be misled into thinking that, well, if a big business man thinks the free economy is unfair or ill suited to producing a just, profitable economy for all, then surely we are justified in fiddling with it. Without exception, this will be a businessman whose interests and competitive advantage depends on PULL in Washington. The very presence of the innumerable Congressional lobbyists and the billions poured into their efforts stands as an objective testament to the fact that we have nothing close to a 'free' economy. (What do you think those lobbyists are lobbying for? And why would they continue if our representatives were beyond influence?)

Rather, what we have is sadly, a politico-economic landscape aptly foretold by Rand in the 60's -- a situation maintained by (among other things) the 'virtue' of moderation preached in our compulsory schools, and ingrained in our uninformed populace.

The safely undefined, indeterminate, mixed-economy, ‘moderate’ middle—with a ‘moderate’ amount of government favors and special privileges for the rich and a ‘moderate’ amount of government handouts for the poor—with a ‘moderate’ respect for rights and a ‘moderate’ degree of brute force—with a ‘moderate’ amount of freedom and a ‘moderate’ amount of slavery—with a ‘moderate’ degree of justice and a ‘moderate’ degree of injustice—with a ‘moderate’ amount of security and a ‘moderate’ amount of terror, and with a moderate degree of tolerance for all, except those ‘extremists’ who uphold principles, consistency, objectivity, morality, and who refuse to compromise.

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