And not just because of the reasons this column states:
Dear members of the moderate left,
America is suffering from rampant, run-away corporatism and crony capitalism. We are increasingly a plutocracy in which government serves the interests of elite financiers and CEOs at the expense of everyone else.
You know this and you complain loudly about it. But the problem is your fault. You caused this state of affairs. Stop it.
Unlike we libertarianish people, you people actually hold and have been holding significant political power in the US over the past 50 years. What have you done with this power? You’ve greased the corporatist machine every chance you’ve gotten. You’ve made things worse, not better. Our current problems are your fault. You need to stop.
We told you this would happen, but you wouldn’t listen. You complain, rightly, that regulatory agencies are controlled by the very corporations they are supposed to constrain. Well, yeah, we told you that would happen. When you create power—and you people love to create power—the unscrupulous seek to capture that power for their personal benefit. Time and time again, they succeed. We told you that would happen, and we gave you an accurate account of how it would happen.
You complain, perhaps rightly, that corporations are just too big. Well, yeah, we told you that would happen. When you create complicated tax codes, complicated regulatory regimes, and complicated licensing rules, these regulations naturally select for larger and larger corporations. We told you that would happen. Of course, these increasingly large corporations then capture these rules, codes, and regulations to disadvantage their competitors and exploit the rest of us. We told you that would happen.
It’s not rocket science. It’s public choice economics. You recognized, rightly, that public choice economics was a threat to your ideology. So, you didn’t listen, because you didn’t want to be wrong. Public choice predicted that the government programs you created with the goal of fixing problems would often instead exacerbate those problems. Well, the evidence is in. You were wrong and public choice theory was right. If you have any decency, it is time to admit you were wrong and change. Stop making things worse.
You spent the past fifty years empowering corporations and the most unscrupulous of the rich. You created rampant moral hazard in the financial sector. You created the system that socializes risks but privatizes profit. You created the system that creates a revolving door between Obama’s staff and Goldman Sachs. There’s a reason why Wall Street throws money at Obama. It’s because you, the moderate left, are Wall Street’s biggest supporters. Oh, I know you complain about Wall Street. But your actions speak louder than your words.
You balk: Isn’t the problem the regressive pro-market post-Reagan politics? Please, people. Let’s be serious a moment. Reagan used a bunch of pro-market, pro-liberty, anti-big government rhetoric, but the man was no libertarian, and he did little to make the country more libertarian. Reagan spent and spent, and thus ran up the debt. He doubled the number of imports with trade restrictions. He pursued militaristic foreign policy. He increased rather than decreased the size, scope, and power of government. Reagan ramped up the war on Americans civil liberties drugs. He wasn’t even a big deregulator—that was Carter. Look past rhetoric to reality. Reagan was in practice just a more militaristic version of one of you. (More militaristic? Maybe I’m giving you too much credit. While we spent Black Friday shopping, Obama spent it having his military murder innocent Afghan children.)
Point your fingers at yourself. You did this.
There is more to it than that! Democracy itself will inevitably foster corporatism and ruin free markets, under all circumstances. For lack of time, I will give but one reason why. Democracy allows people to lobby to the government for certain protections for themselves or their business. Money is speech in such a system, because the only way to buy ads or candidates who support your view is to have it. Big companies of course have more money than others, and they can lobby for greater protectionism than an individual with his or her own money could. What we have, then, is a system by which the government and its laws do not tend toward the most just and free system, but rather a system by which the state is a tool for individuals and corporations to aid themselves on getting rich or powerful at all others’ sake. Democracy can never resemble justice, because it necessarily encourages selfishness…
A few other reasons, in a few words or less, that Democracy is a bad system? Democracy increases our time preference, supersedes the rule of law, allows for unjust rates of taxation, gives reason for the government to lie to the public (and therefore control the media), encourages entire peoples to hate each other on the international scene for the purposes of the political elite, ensures that candidates for office lie and do not look beyond the election cycle, and many, many other effects that we will not find elsewhere. It also makes all of us statists, because even YOU can be president. RIGHT!?
For more on this theory (and much better ones that I didn’t take as my own), buy the book Democracy: The God that Failed. It was the best political book I have read in a few years…