Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Thursday, March 25, 2004
Excerpt from "The Leash of the Mob in Bill Clinton's Hand" (written December 1998)
Many will argue against this, that proportionality in the law is what matters. Clinton's actions [with M. Lewinsky] are ok because they aren't "that bad." Fine, but who determines proportionality? Hitler or Ralph Nader, Pol Pot or Jimmy Swaggert, Talking heads on CNN or the Supreme Court? No, there are only two ways to determine proportionality: Either mob rule or dictatorship and neither is desirable. Mob rule precludes any statesmanship or leadership by any single person. A dictatorship precludes the lack of popular expression.
Neither of these frameworks has proven successful throughout history, nor will either system be stable for very long. Our system is not in danger because of Bill Clinton's actions [with Monica Lewinsky]. Rather, it is in danger because of the growing use of mob rule. Mob rule is only successful when the mob is rather homogenous and s busy using its power to vent against an homogenous enemy - whether the enemy is the rich, poor, the educated, women, Jews, blacks or whomever. What is common about each of the supposed "enemies" is a negative stereotype, which is the only thing the mob can easily understand. This is a common trend throughout all systems where mob rule is imposed, and it is no different in our country today.
Mob rule is not possible, however, when there are as many mobs as "enemies." Heterogeneous mobs that vent against heterogeneous enemies are destined to collapse into anarchy or totalitarianism. This is the real threat to our system.
The vindication of Bill Clinton is not going to be the cause of our system's demise, rather it is a symptom of the demise which has been taking place for almost one hundred years. Ever since the government has chosen to involve itself in the personal matters of the population, ranging from the 16th amendment and confiscation of private property, abortion, smoking, drinking, spreading to the New Deal, the Great Society and the programs that have interrupted the natural progression of our society wiht the "ideals" of a chosen few, our system has devolved from one based on individual merit and enterprise to one based on different mob-rules.
Whichever mob convinces the government they are worthy of someone else's property is the mob that wins that round. Today, there are plenty of mobs seeking money that must be wrested from other mobs. In more traditional language, mobs are special interests. Now, we all have special interests and thus should beware the individual who claims, like Elseworth Toohey in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, that they have no special interest at all.
It is a heroic wish that mob rule would be limited to purely government expenditures alone. Indeed, because the government spends money or collects money in almost every function of daily life, it is not surprising that mob rule is spreading to how people live their daily lives.
Smoking is dissuaded because the government spends money on health care for smokers. Smoking is also encouraged in as much as the government requires tax revenues generated by the sale of cigarettes. Drugs are discouraged along with red meat, sex is discouraged in very rare instances but is mostly rewarded. Mob rule is all over and the outrage one feels when the mob turns on you is offset only by the glee you feel when your mob is able to turn on someone else.
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