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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 80 of Tomas Larsson’s superb 2001 volume, The Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization:

hqdefaultThe collapse of totalitarian communism has augured less well for liberal democracy and the market economy than many at first supposed.  Marxism-Leninism may have failed, but it is just one of the many ideological enemies of the liberal market economy – ranging from the Romantic poets to the Roman Catholic Church and Persian ayatollahs.  And that hostility to capitalism dies hard.  Lately, talk of the Third Way is starting to wane, but the politicians ruling Europe at the beginning of the millennium still want to “create” jobs and “steer” capital.  And they often govern with the parliamentary support of expressly anti-liberal parties.

Here’s a reality about the United States that is commonly masked by misleading labels: The thrust of both major U.S. political parties is decidedly illiberal.  Of course, members and sympathizers of one of those parties call themselves “liberal.”  But the likes of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Harry Reid, and Paul Krugman are no more liberal than was Chancellor Bismarck.  They mistakenly conclude from the fact that they are not ignorant racists or bigots, and that some of their policies differ from the policies advocated by people who are called “conservative,” that they are therefore liberal.  But they are not liberal.

Ms. Clinton & Co. look to the state as the source of all order and of most goodness.  The individual, in their view, has and is entitled to no more rights other than those rights that state official choose to bestow on the individual – “rights” that can be amended or even altogether removed at the will of those same officials.  As these mistakenly called “liberals” see matters, the state, if it is not simply another name for society, is the most essential and defining feature of society.  Anyone who proposes that society get along without the active attention and detailed guidance of the state is regarded by these “liberals” as being either hopelessly unintelligent or a paid pawn of nefarious capitalists.

Modern, misnamed “liberals” – on the most generous interpretation – seem constitutionally unable to understand spontaneous order.

Of course, many modern American conservatives aren’t much different from these misnamed “liberals.”  Many modern conservatives see the state as the great source of national life and identity that must be protected by good people (that is, conservatives) from being kidnapped and polluted by bad people (that is, so-called “liberals”).

But with the exception of some conservatives in America who, I believe, really are true liberals (or who are very close to being true liberals) – people such as George Will – most conservatives in America differ very little from most so-called “liberals.”  The differences that are manifest and that seem fundamental are superficial; these differences are over the details of just how the transcendent and wonderful state should use its power and majesty rather than over how much power the state should have and how much majesty it really, when you examine its grotesque and fetid fine points, does possess.

The bottom line is that Donald Trump is not very different from what are in America miscalled “liberals.”  Trump is an economic nationalist.  Most “liberals” are economic nationalists.  Trump is utterly ignorant of economics; he believes that riches spring from state destruction of wealth and restriction of opportunity.  Most “liberals” are utterly ignorant of economics; they believe that riches spring from state destruction of wealth and restriction of opportunity.  Trump and “liberals” share a conviction that it’s their job – their duty – as “leaders” to butt aggressively into the affairs of private people.

Trumpkins and “liberals” will, of course, be aggressively at each other’s throats for the length of Trump’s residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20500.  But do not be fooled: very few fundamental differences separate Trumpkins from so-called “liberals.”