Recommendations for your Weekend Reading

This weekend has the best-ever of the FM site’s “weekend reading” lists, posted today and tomorrow.  Enjoy!  These are all interesting and provocative articles.  Comments are welcomed!

Contents

  1. The Big Bailout: America as a Full-Spectrum Kleptocracy“, William N. Grigg, posted at Pro Libertate, 30 July 2008
  2. Servile Nation“, William N. Grigg, posted at Pro Libertate, 30 July 2008 — Nice adjunct to “de Tocqueville warns us not to become weak and servile“.
  3. The Immigration Debate“, Rebecca Bynum, The New English Review, August 2008 — Review of The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal by Mark Krikorian

Excerpts

1.  The Big Bailout: America as a Full-Spectrum Kleptocracy“, William N. Grigg, posted at Pro Libertate, 30 July 2008 — Excerpt:

With the Senate’s passage of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout last Saturday (July 26), the United States of America has now become the world’s first full-service kleptocracy, a form of government described earlier in this space as a government of, by, and for the robbers.

… Let us disambiguate the key issue right now. This is a measure to nationalize Fannie and Freddie, plundering the population at large — through direct taxation, the more insidious tax called inflation, or both — to bail out two fascist entities that have been used to enrich the politically connected super-rich through the most corrupt means imaginable.

… The figure sent out to pollute headlines and palliate a nervous public last week was that fixing Fannie and Freddie will cost “at least” $25 billion. That’s a bit like saying there are “at least” 25 gallons of water in Lake Michigan.  

The Congressional Budget Office, in an artful display of tactical equivocation, said that the bailout could cost anything from $100 billion down to “nothing.” That latter estimate would be dismissed as magic thinking were it not a transparent and cynical effort to propagate such delusion among that part of the public paying attention to the ongoing economic collapse.

… The Fannie/Freddie bailout is another example of the familiar equation behind corporatism (or, to use the more loaded synonym, fascism): The risks are subsidized, the losses are socialized, and the profits are privatized.

2.  Servile Nation“, William N. Grigg, posted at Pro Libertate, 30 July 2008 — Excerpt:

Service is a pervasive blessing of a free-market society — or even a society as cankered with collectivism as ours has become.  Every second of each day, countless acts of service are being rendered. … Those services are offered in voluntary exchange for money (well, the government-issued simulacrum of the same) on terms that are mutually beneficial to the buyer and seller.

Altruistic service likewise abounds in the United States. It takes place in families, religious communities, private clubs and fraternal organizations, and in the form of spontaneous individual acts of conscience.

To an advocate of “National Service,” however, none of these activities are innately worthwhile. They haven’t been mandated or certified by the State. Thus they are missing the magic ingredient that supposedly makes government “service” morally superior to the private variety: Coercion.

From that perspective, the janitor who cleans up a shopping mall in exchange for a paycheck is to be disdained as someone seeking his own economic benefit, while an AmeriCorps “volunteer” who cleans up a public park in exchange for money extorted from taxpayers at gunpoint is to be celebrated as the embodiment of the Common Good. Yes, they both perform the same function, but only the labor of the latter has been consecrated through the exercise of government coercion.

Contemporary advocates of National Service, whether they admit it or not, seek to install coercion — not commerce or contract — as the organizing principle of the economy. They likewise seek to indoctrinate young Americans in the idea that human needs are best met through social regimentation administered by a supervisory elite. And behind the conceit expressed in the common refrain that National Service teaches a person to serve something “larger than himself” looms the murderous assumption that the individual exists to serve the pleasure of the State.

All of this explains why modern collectivists, from the Jacobins to the Bolsheviks to their disavowed but unmistakable kindred, the Fascists and National Socialists, have madecompulsory universal”service” a central pillar of their totalitarian platforms.

… Bernard Baruch, chairman of Wilson’s War Industries Board (and the son of a German who fled that country to avoid conscription) unflinchingly espoused the concept of state ownership of its subjects in an August 7, 1918 newspaper editorial:  “Every man’s life is at the call of the nation and so must be every man’s property. We are living today in a highly organized state of socialism. The state is all; the individual is of importance only as he contributes to the welfare of the state. His property is his only as the state does not need it. He must hold his life and possessions at the call of the state.”

{continues though the history of “service” progams, and discusses the current proposals}

3.  The Immigration Debate“, Rebecca Bynum, The New English Review, August 2008 — Review of The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegalby Mark Krikorian.  Excerpt:

Agribusiness and some of the service and construction industries that employ the majority of these people, bear virtually no responsibility for them beyond that day’s starvation-level wages, usually paid in cash. These workers receive no benefits, no security, and no help in times of need from their employers whatsoever. At this point, it must be acknowledged that even in the antebellum South, slave owners had a stake in the health and well-being of their slaves and recognized a responsibility to care for them in sickness and old age. Modern business interests accept little or no responsibility for the mass of their often illegal, under-the-table employees. Human beings are being treated like mass disposable commodities and the amazing thing is, those who oppose this unconscionable exploitation are often called labeled racists and xenophobes.

However, we are generally compassionate as a society, and cannot allow people to suffer such cruelty, but because Congress and the President refuse of hold big business to account, the responsibility for a living wage, health care, education and so forth, falls to the taxpayer who picks up the slack in terms of welfare and other benefits. This is not the fault of the immigrants, since they cannot live in America on the wages being offered, they have no choice but to turn to public assistance and they do so in overwhelming numbers,

… The main thrust of his argument is not that the immigrants to America have changed (though they have, coming mainly from Mexico and Asia now, rather than from Great Britain and Europe), but Krikorian leaves that aside and argues that it is America itself that has changed most radically since the last great wave of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At that time, Krikorian argues, America was essentially still mainly rural, a largely agricultural country taking immigrants from other similar countries.

… The main thrust of Krikorian’s argument however, rests on the differences in America then and now and he argues quite persuasively that while America was in its adolescence and filled with self-confidence, mass immigration was a good thing promoting industrialization and modernization, but now that America is a mature nation, there are numerous forces (post-modernism, multiculturalism, political correctness) which work to dissolve the bonds of nationhood and this has begun the dispersion of our culture, which, unless it can be stopped, will not end until both our nation and our culture lie in fragments. Mass immigration at this stage of our history simply accelerates the process of societal disintegration.

… Americans concerned about quality of life issues, especially preserving the environment and our historical heritage while limiting urban sprawl, must also eventually come to terms with the immigration issue, although the most impassioned environmentalists seem to be avoiding it like the plague. Imagine an America if our current round of mass immigration (since 1965), hadn’t happened. It is an America with 100 million fewer people. Imagine how many fewer cars would be on the roads, how many fewer acres would have been paved over, how many less landfills would be required and how much less air and water pollution would be lowering our quality of life and changing our landscape forever.

Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

3 thoughts on “Recommendations for your Weekend Reading

  1. Grigg’s article on Fannie Mae would be more credible without the inflated prose style. There’s a huge amount of special pleading here which confuses the real insights of his argument.
    And somehow, amidst all the huffing and puffing, Grigg’s is apparently unaware that subsidizing of private enterprise is a fundamental modality of the US government — through tax laws, farm legislation, defense spending, privatization of public resources and services, unfunding of regulatory agencies and loosening of environmental protection laws. There are many more beneficiaries of public money than the Fed.

  2. Another especially troubling aspect of mass immigration from Mexico in particular is that fact that Mexico appears to be attempting, in ways not always noticed, to extend its sovereignty onto American soil through an extensive network of consulates which serve to protect Mexicans from American law while they are in America.

    This is part of the evolution away from the nation-state. Increasingly “Mexico” and “the United States” are no longer clearly defined entities but rather increasingly fuzzy abstractions that blend into one another.

  3. Yes but Grigg’s article was one of the best old fashioned rants I’ve read in years. Cracked me up. Nice to read something that was not just another of your usual dry pieces, trying to be ‘balanced’ and ‘objective’ and achieving neither. Sometimes we all need some good old outrage and invective towards the whole ponzi scheme that was set up .. and that Joe Soap is now expected to pay for its bail out. Hey you and I didn’t get any benefit from this nonsense over the last 10 years or so, maybe if I’d gotten a few millions from the party I’d be willing to pony up a few quid to help out my old buddies .. but since I didn’t I say let them rot.

    At least have the decency to fire and then arrest the top management to give the poor US punters something for all the money they (and their children and their grand children …) are going to have to pay.

    So far, here in Oz we haven’t had anything but a few minor players going to the wall, but I’ll bet that when a big boy inevitably goes under, somehow or another it will come out of MY pocket.

    Re immigration, well its just another form of economic warfare on ordinary wages when you have a low growth economy with a stable or rising population. Our previous Govt was quite open about increasing to record levels of immigration to keep down skilled wages. Our new Govt, on one of its firsts acts, increased immigration further by 10%, proudly boasting that it would start bringing in low skilled workers as well “to stop a wages” breakout and “improve growth”, despite its own forecasts predicting a rise in unemployment. At least they are being honest I suppose, it looks like US politicians are using the same play book, just lying more about it.

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