There’s nothing liberal about it

This is a follow-up to my post on the desecration of the word “liberal,” starting with excerpts from the papers of a President who served only one term. A national calamity laid him low: Like Cassandra, some people get punishment they don’t deserve.

I could have emphasized a lot of it, but I’m pretty sure you will do that in your head:

“…Bureaucracy does not tolerate the spirit of independence; it spreads the spirit of submission into our daily life and penetrates the temper of our people not with the habit of powerful resistance to wrong but with the habit of timid acceptance of irresistible might.

Bureaucracy is ever desirous of spreading its influence and its power. You cannot extend the mastery of the government over the daily working life of a people without at the same time making it the master of the people’s souls and thoughts. Every expansion of government in business means that government in order to protect itself from the political consequences of its errors and wrongs is driven irresistibly without peace to greater and greater control of the nations’ press and platform. Free speech does not live many hours after free industry and free commerce die.

It is a false liberalism that interprets itself into the Government operation of commercial business. Every step of bureaucratizing of the business of our country poisons the very roots of liberalism – that is, political equality, free speech, free assembly, free press, and equality of opportunity. It is the road not to more liberty, but to less liberty. Liberalism should be found not striving to spread bureaucracy but striving to set bounds to it. True liberalism seeks all legitimate freedom first in the confident belief that without such freedom the pursuit of all other blessings and benefits is vain. That belief is the foundation of all American progress, political as well as economic.

Liberalism is a force truly of the spirit, a force proceeding from the deep realization that economic freedom cannot be sacrificed if political freedom is to be preserved. Even if governmental conduct of business could give us more efficiency instead of less efficiency, the fundamental objection to it would remain unaltered and unabated. It would destroy political equality. It would increase rather than decrease abuse and corruption. It would stifle initiative and invention. It would undermine the development of leadership. It would cramp and cripple the mental and spiritual energies of our people. It would extinguish equality and opportunity. It would dry up the spirit of liberty and progress…

The American people from bitter experience have a rightful fear that great business units might be used to dominate our industrial life and by illegal and unethical practices destroy equality of opportunity…

One of the great problems of government is to determine to what extent the Government shall regulate and control commerce and industry and how much it shall leave it alone. No system is perfect. We have had many abuses in the private conduct of business. That every good citizen resents. It is just as important that business keep out of government as that government keep out of business.”

The President was Herbert Hoover.

He was successor to Presidents Harding and Coolidge, and continued their defense of liberalism (he didn’t have to say “classical liberalism” to be understood circa 1928) against Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt – advocates of Benito Mussolini’s approach to public policy.

The 1929 calamity was compounded immediately, as Hoover predicted, when Roosevelt’s statism deepened and prolonged the Great Depression. Worse, WWII cemented national industrial policy and government intervention in individual lives as “liberal.” American voters accepted this false definition, leading to many of our present discontents.

So. Today, rich and powerful social media companies -information barons- maneuver a willing government into undoing the 1st Amendment through ‘approved’ regulation of speech. Facebook and Twitter, et. al., seek government sanction for their private censorship.

Free enterprise capitalism is being overwhelmed by creeping corporatism: The merger of woke government with the rent-seekers. This is most obvious in the greenspace of pipeline cancellation, anti-fracking, plastic straw bans, anti-nuclear power cognitive dissonance, etc., by corporations who thrive on government subsidies.

The predations of bureaucracy are ubiquitous, but nowhere are these sanctions on liberty more obvious than in the enlistment of public health poobahs to bludgeon American citizens. Our teacher’s union owned public educational cartel is a close second, but to that we’re inured.

Freedom of conscience is targeted by the petty fascisti in academia, government, media, and the viciously tribal special-victims groups they empower. This is possible because equality of opportunity is now called racist and sexist.

Equal opportunity is replaced with demands for equality of outcome (“equity”). I seriously doubt FDR’s good intentions contemplated that outcome. Or the world that these totalitarian wannabes desire.

All because we don’t know what “liberal” means.

Farming Detroit

I was reminded by this story today, BUSTED: Democrats Snuck $1 BILLION For ‘Racial Justice’ In Farming Section Of COVID Bill …of an email I wrote to the Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources in September, 2020, about a seminar series titled Race, Food, & Land.

One suspects the CANR seminar owes something to this 2014 WKAR (MSU’s PBS station) short video on food security and sovereignty. WKAR’s presentation is very unassuming, including none of the Critical Theory espoused by, shall we say, more activist websites.

This link to the CANR seminar announcement is from the Wayback Machine, so it might load slowly. In any case, I have reproduced the relevant section at the end of this post.

The Race, Food, & Land seminar is an example of what oozes out of our Universities to become billion dollar CCP virus porkulus. Seems more in line with the Reparations demands than anything to do with the pandemic. But, never miss a chance to feign virtue for votes using other people’s money.

Anyway, here’s the letter:

RE: Race, Food, & Land Series- September 24th

The description of this seminar is confusing.

The idea that “Across the United States black farmers and black communities face major barriers related to farmland acquisition and achieving food sovereignty” may well be true, but “food sovereignty” here seems to be the idea that black people should only depend on other black people, in Michigan, so as to eat.

It occurred to me that I was misinterpreting the term “food sovereignty.” So, I looked it up. What I discovered is typified by complaints about colonialism, anti-capitalist screeds, appeals to climate change (a intersectionalist irrelevancy), and anti-GMO hysteria. Altogether, it seems to intend to promote the tragedy of the commons via a splintered collectivism.

I’m all for people making their own decisions, and being left to live with the consequences. This means, (contra ‘food sovereignty’) that eating is not a “right.” Eating without working has been proposed, even tried, but it does not seem to work out.

To be sure, colonialism was problematic. Certainly, neither the United States nor capitalism are perfect.

Still, emphasizing the past and complaining about the country and economic system that have raised more people into immense wealth relative to the days of the Raj is utopian folly.

Food sovereigntists blame both starvation and obesity on market based free trade, but I found no explanation, policy suggestion, or description of how their proposals solve this.

Food sovereignty may be well intentioned, but the implementation would prove far more oppressive than the current, hard won economic conditions we experience, while hurting the supposed present day “colonized” the most. “Food deserts” are to be converted into boycotts of non-POC farmers?

I’m unsure how the acquisition of farmland relates to the (emphasis mine) “past, present, and future projections of race relations in Detroit.” That is, I’m wondering what Detroit acreage “Black/African-American farmers in Detroit,” are unable to acquire. And how many of them have tried to purchase what I would have supposed to be non-existent for practical purposes.

I couldn’t help but think about the result for farming, and eating, in South Africa and Zimbabwe as a blacks only food sovereignty experiment your seminar may wish to examine.

Maybe a seminar on turning blocks and blocks of blighted Detroit real estate into arable land could be a topic for a future seminar series? That would at least make your current seminar relevant to its description.

As a supply chain issue, I get why local resources are important, though clearly we all also benefit greatly from global food supply. Leaving aside the fact that no Michiganders of whatever surface melanin content have local food sovereignty in the purchase of bananas or pineapples, I still can’t understand the racial focus this series advertises.

Why is it that a white man growing peaches near South Haven, or a brown man growing tomatoes in Florida, or a yellow man growing rice in California, can no longer be trusted as much as a black man growing apples near Benton Harbor to supply foodstuff to people whose color none of the trading partners know, or care, about?

Such a contention is just as racist as if I insisted that all watermelon and fried chicken eaten by blacks in Detroit be produced within 50 miles of the 8 Mile corridor. By black farmers.

——————————

Seminar description from CANR:

Race, Food, & Land Series- September 24th
September 24, 2020 6:30PM – 8:30PM

Zoom Webinar

Contact: For more information, please contact —- —— at ——-@msu.edu or 517-nnn-nnnn.

Across the United States black farmers and black communities face major barriers related to farmland acquisition and achieving food sovereignty. These issues often go unseen and need to be discussed. MSU Extension and MSU Tollgate Farm will be facilitating a three-part lecture series to highlight the past, present, and future projections of race relations in Detroit and how race has impacted land acquisition and food sovereignty. Each session will consist of a team of MSU Extension facilitators joined by panelists from across the Detroit food systems landscape to share their lived and learned experiences. Registration fees, minus the cost of stipends for the panelists, will go toward initiatives that support the needs of Black/African-American farmers in Detroit…

September 24th, Envisioning the Future of Food and Farming in Detroit:

Articulate action items that can support the work of grassroots organizations within Detroit tackling the issues of food, land, and racial equity.

Envision what needs to change, grow, or “be weeded out” to bring forth food sovereignty in Detroit.

Pimplandia

Being lectured by Democrats about how to handle judicial nominations is like an arsonist advising the Fire Department.
– Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Or like hiring a whoremaster who trafficked in minor girls at a salary of $150,000 to advise Portland on how to reform the Police Department. The HR department must have liked his resume.

Portland has already disbanded the Portland PD’s Gun Violence Reduction Team, with predictable results. And 911 calls, if answered at all, are pushing a 2 hour response time.

The mills grind slowly

“Thus, I do not see what use there is in those mills of the gods said to grind so late as to render punishment hard to be recognized, and to make wickedness fearless.”
-Plutarch

Sometimes it is hard to immediately distinguish good intentions from wicked fearlessness. Whirlwinds may be reaped either way.

I recommend this Megan McCardle article, California has difficult choices to make. Its politicians keep avoiding reality. for its summation of the fearless irrationality of California’s energy policies.

I’d suggest it’s even worse than McCardle thinks. If California power generation becomes 100% renewable the problem becomes intractable even assuming a miracle.

So, let us first assume the miracle: Elon Musk invents a method of burying all California’s electric transmission lines for a few dollars per mile – by combining Tesla’s impeccably capable self-driving software with a fleet of miniature Boring Machines powered by his SolarCity solar panels and ultra-stable batteries. Power lines are thereby quickly made safe from the danger of sparking wildfires. Only a few of the machines spontaneously combust or crash into underground gas lines. Which are, in any case, being phased out. Santa Ana blackouts are a thing of the past.

Next, assume that Governors Brown and Newsom, the California legislature, and the envirostatists pushing 100% renewable electricity generation accomplish their objective, and that 50% of that renewable power is generated by windmills, since it’s only sensible not to depend entirely on solar panels, even if Elon Musk donates the entire output of SolarCity for a decade.

We will not go so far as to assume the Santa Ana winds simply cease to blow, however. Those winds are above the windmill cut out speed and will necessitate shutting down the windmills when the Santa Ana blow.

California blackouts, when the wind doesn’t blow and when it blows too much, would become a permanent, designed in, feature of the grid.

Philosopher ‘pretenders to the throne’

This is a nice, short (7 min) introduction to Friedrich Hayek’s insights on emergent order. If you haven’t read Road to Serfdom (free downloads at the link), maybe this will nudge you to do so.

Order without intent: How spontaneous order built our world. from The IHS on Vimeo.

Allowing order without intent to flourish is how we might avoid the tyranny of good intentions.

Related, from Edward Snowden:

“The most unflattering thing is to realize just how naïve and credulous I was and how that could make me into a tool of systems that would use my skills for an act of global harm. The class of which I am a part of, the global technological community, was for the longest time apolitical. We have this history of thinking: “We’re going to make the world better.””

The idea that “making the world better” is apolitical shows Snowden is still naive and credulous. The toolmakers of the global technological community may have good intentions. They may be motivated by thoughts of the benefits they are bringing to humanity. They may also be motivated by profit and ideology.

How a better world is constituted, in any case, is an ethical and moral question beyond the ken of their meta-data, and in direct conflict with the ethical ‘principles’ demonstrated by their business models.

Who defines “better?” We have ample evidence Google/Facebook/Twitter aren’t up to the task.

“Making the world better” can be apolitical only in terms of each individual’s actions. It cannot be apolitical for giant corporations whose tools are designed to deceive users into acts of self harm: A system of fools.

Politics is the very essence of social media and the control of access to information.

Politics, noun. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
-Ambrose Bierce

And, in ways Bierce couldn’t imagine – conducting private affairs for public advantage. Affecting elections for example.

Snowdon’s NSA is simply the government instantiation of the Facebook/Google/Twitter business models. They are all dedicated to making their subjects “better.”

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”
-H. L. Mencken

Order with intent is the model practiced by authoritarians for “your own good,” public or private, from de Blasio to Google.

So, I’ll close with some relevant Friedrich Hayek quotations on good intentions, control of information, collectivist ethics, and the limits of knowledge: All of which apply to government and to the massive private enterprises whose control of information and manipulation of public opinion Hayek couldn’t imagine:

“Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions–all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practiced and uniformity of views not enforced.”

“Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another. But if we face a monopolist we are at his absolute mercy. And an authority directing the whole economic system of the country would be the most powerful monopolist conceivable…it would have complete power to decide what we are to be given and on what terms. It would not only decide what commodities and services were to be available and in what quantities; it would be able to direct their distributions between persons to any degree it liked.”

“All political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ from the rest in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest. Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant.”

“To act on behalf of a group seems to free people of many of the moral restraints which control their behaviour as individuals within the group.”

“The idea of social justice is that the state should treat different people unequally in order to make them equal.”