The Road to Serfdom

Monday, June 25, 2007

Few men desire liberty: The majority are satisfied with a just master.
Sallust

Barry Ritholz has a rant. Barry Ritholz believes that oil is "a matter of National Security". Consequently, Barry Ritholz believes it is not only the prerogative, rather the very duty, of the Federal Government to crack down on oil usage in the United States. The government must pass laws—and quickly!—which mandate all of the following:
- Subsidies for Oil and Ethanol need to be replaced with subsidies for Solar;
- CAFE standards need to be raised;
- Expedited processing for Nuclear Power plant permits should be issued.

Barry's thinking seems to be that whenever there is an emergency, it is imperative for the Federal Government to solve it immediately, by draconian measures if necessary.

It occurs to me that there are two standard mechanisms by which our liberties are gradually removed, one for each party. Either they must be removed in the name of National Security or they must be removed in the name of Doing Good (aka Helping Poor People, Ending Poverty, Stopping Global Warming, Serving Gaia, etc.). It has famously been stated that "patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels", but I would submit that it is holier-than-thou do-gooderism which is the last refuge of mountebanks.

Reading further in Barry's rant, we discover that
I own a V8 (automatic), a straight 6 (6 speed), and a 4 cylinder (5 speed) -- so I am the last person to preach we all need to shift to Vespas and biofuels. But it's pretty apparent to even a gas hog like me that we need to do something other than send billions of dollars to terrorist nations each and every single month.

Why then, Barry, don't you do it? What, praytell, restrains you?

So, let us analyze this. In order to be spared the considerable pain of having to give up his V8 and replace it with a bicycle, or to sell off one or more of his cars, Barry demands that CAFE standards be raised abstractly, so that lots of other people are forced by the (evil) car companies into having more expensive cars with higher-mileage.

Is there not something utterly peculiar here? Is there not something rotten in the State of America? Is this the rational action of an adult free man, or the whine of a would-be child who wants to be taken care of by the nanny-state? I submit that this is not the American Way. I submit that our forefathers would have died of shame before demanding laws to protect themselves against their own actions from far-away Washington. A nation which consciously chooses sheepdom should scarcely be surprised to find that it is no longer free.

I call on you, Barry, to step up and be a free man after all. Sell your car. Do it for your country. Do it for Global Warming. We'll all be glad you did.

2 comments:

Luther McLeod said...

Overdoing here. And no excuses for this guy. But if someone were to draw up a list of hypocrites my name might be close to the top. I've spouted off on a number of things in my life, but always ended on the note that even though I know what's right, I may not have the strength of character to live up to it. I think its called humility.

It is the smug, self-serving, sanctimonious certainty that inures me taking these folks seriously. Of course, even if they did act out there beliefs, I would still think them FOS. They are driven by emotions and not facts. Willing victims of do-gooderism. Sheep marching to the slaughter. Unfortunately, they may drag the rest of us along with them.

ed664 said...

Selling his cars would be passing along the problem to others, not a responsible act. The three cars should be, after removing any toxic substances, dumped into the ocean at an appropiate site, to help create artificial reefs.