In Mob We Trust

“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance,” – H.L. Mencken

Democratic Collectivism

With the possible exceptions of love and war – or a residential real estate bubble – there’s nothing like the promise of election year populism to infect a man’s brain with notions that are absurd.  The popular delusion of voters these days is that through the ballot box they can get something for nothing.  The effect this has is that the wickedest rascals get elected to office again and again.

Ideas of independence, liberty, and freedom presently exist as mere platitudes.  People like to pretend they still believe in them…but they really don’t.  When it comes down to it, they want bailouts, safety nets, and free drugs from the government.  That’s why the restraint and discipline of a representative constitutional republic was given up long ago for the false security of democratic collectivism.

“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much,” once observed 20th century political commentator Walter Lippmann.  As the presidential Election Day approaches, it appears no one’s thinking much at all.  Here’s what we mean…

So consolidated and thoughtless have become the beliefs and minds of voters that the convictions of the people grossly overshoot the limits of what the government can possibly deliver.  Many voters look around and see economic and social problems dogging them…and they want the government to spend money to fix it.  On top of that they want a free lunch.

The convictions of the people do not want government to preserve and foster a free society.  They want the government to promise fantasies and deliver miracles.  Voters want reduced taxation and increased public spending.  They want promises of greater prosperity and entitlements for a cushy retirement.  They want to have their cake and they want to eat it too.

The Convictions of the People

These convictions of the people have become so deeply rooted that it’s ‘radical’ to question why the unemployment rate, teenage pregnancy, washing machine efficiency, or the price of the DOW, among other things, are the business of government in the first place.  Did you know the U.S. government recently spent $750,000 – of your money – on a new soccer field for Guantanamo Bay detainees?

When it comes to stupid things the government is spending money on…that’s just the beginning.  Nonetheless, that’s what the convictions of the people want.  They want the government to spend lots of money on anything and everything…especially if the money’s taken from rich people.

We don’t like it…we’re in the minority.  We are only pointing out what the evidence of the last 100 years of elections shows.  The collective voter wants the government to spend lots of money even if it brings about ruin for everyone.  Who are we to stand in the way of the convictions of the people and the genius of democratic collectivism?

Naturally, a requisite and deliberate national policy of government deficits has been adopted to temporarily deliver the better life that the convictions of the people demand.  Remember, this is what the will of the people want – it’s what they always vote for.  The evidence is everywhere…

The collective will wants money grants for schools, museums, and nature centers.  They want farm aid and railroad subsidies.  They want green energy…and they want everyone else to drive battery powered cars.

They want free food and disability checks forever.  They want money for robotic squirrels, Moroccan pottery classes, caviar consumption, Martian food tasting, and much, much more.  Most of all, they want all these things and they don’t want to pay for them…they want someone else – that’s you – to fund it all.

In Mob We Trust

A great boon for Washington was attained nearly 100 years ago.  Honest and prudent statesmen offering sound financial policies were forever rendered powerless by it.  So, too, it caused the hallowed reach along the banks of the Potomac River where politics and money mix to slip into venality.

In the year 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified giving Congress the power to collect taxes on incomes.  That same year the states also ratified the Seventeenth Amendment establishing direct election of Senators by popular vote.  Then, before the year concluded, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was passed delegating the right to issue money from Congress to the Federal Reserve.

After the events of 1913, the federal government was able to consolidate and centralize power.  Moreover, the federal government had the power to plunder the lives of its citizens on a grand scale.  That is, it had near limitless power to tax, borrow, spend, and inflate the currency.

The effects of the Sixteenth Amendment and the Federal Reserve Act are themes we commonly explore.  However, the effects of the Seventeenth Amendment are what we’ve been largely highlighting today.

In short, the Seventeenth Amendment allows the Senate to buy votes from their constituents in exchange for delivering federal money back to their districts.  This ensures the government acts to meet the collective demand for private security through public spending.  It also rewards political corruption and public graft.  This is why, scarcely 100 years later, the United States is technically broke yet it recently spent $3.4 million on turtle tunnels in Florida.  Of course, somewhere, some blockhead reasoned that building turtle tunnels provides jobs.

The government committed itself a century ago to a system of mass public spending; there’s no turning back now.  Thus, while individuals are generally appalled by the nation’s staggering debt levels the collective voter continues to demand their share of government pork.  Collectively, everyone wants something for nothing.  Collectively, everyone wants to live at the expense of everyone else.  Politicians are eager to promise the more abundant life if that’s what it takes to get elected.

You know the consequences.  Tax revenue falls short.  Deficits grow.  Debts pile up to the moon.  The Federal Reserve stretches out the charade by stretching out the dollar.  Individual liberties are traded in for Washington safety nets that are now fraying at the edges.

Legend has it that just after signing the Constitution, in reply to a woman’s inquiry as to the type of government the Founders created, Benjamin Franklin said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Well, ‘we the people’ couldn’t keep it.  Democratic collectivism is what’s left.  More precisely…

In mob we trust.


MN Gordon
for Economic Prism

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