Monday, November 27, 2006


Gravity Is Not Mocked, In Physics Or Finance

Aka: Bonddad explains why supply side economics is evil.

The very same issue was identified as fatal to democracy a couple thousand years ago. If a demagogue persuades the public to grant him access to the public till, he can use it to buy their favor, entrench his rule, and subvert democracy.

As Plutarch notes (n),

"Pericles created allowances for public festivals, fees for jury service and other grants and gratuities. He succeeded in bribing the masses wholesale and enlisting their support against the Areopagus."

Republicans have used tax cuts in just the same way, to bribe the masses. In defending Democrats from similar charges, one must note that they have done their "bribing" in a manner consistent with the good of the state, rather than for the simple pleasure of the individual. Social Security, for example, addressed an existing problem: that the elderly lacked basic subsistence because of the power of employers to prevent workers from bargaining for pension benefits. Either one must increase the bargaining power of employees, or one must use the taxation power of the state to accomplish the goal. As Bismarck recognized in the 19th century, pensions such as Social Security represent a conservative means of reducing internal conflict and facilitating the conduct of business. The Republican "solution" has already been discredited and needs no further consideration. It was a disgrace that it received any at all.

This quote is appropriate:

We must realize that it is very hard to save a civilization when its hour has come to fall beneath the power of demagogues. For the demagogue has been the great strangler of civilization. Both Greek and Roman civilizations fell at the hands of this loathsome creature who brought from Macaulay the remark that "in every century the vilest examples of human nature have been among the demagogues." But a man is not a demagogue simply because he stands up and shouts at the crowd. There are times when this can be a hallowed office. The real demagogy of the demagogue is in his mind and is rooted in his irresponsibility towards the ideas that he handles—ideas not of his own creation, but which he has only taken over from their true creators. Demagogy is a form of intellectual degeneration.

José Ortega y Gasset, History as a System,
trans. Helene Weyl

God save us from the Republicans and their subversion of democracy.
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