Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Wormhole Has Opened, And We've Gone Back In Time 200 Years - An Occasional Series

Pat Buchanan makes the salient comment that,
"We bail out the New York and D.C. governments of Abe Beame and Marion Barry. We bail out a corrupt Mexico. We bail out public schools that have failed us for 40 years.

We bail out with International Monetary Fund and World Bank loans and foreign aid worthless Third World regimes.

We bail out Wall Street plutocrats and big banks.

But the most magnificent industry, the auto industry that was the pride of America and envy of the world, we surrender to predator-traders from Asia and Europe, lest we violate the tenets of some 19th-century ideological scribblers that the old Republicans considered the apogee of British stupidity."
PJB seems to be coming round to my view that elite thinking has not advanced an inch in 200 years.
Bruce Hall, an old friend of this blog who lives in Michigan and to whom this blog has not always been friendly, provides another reason why a bailout for the automanufacturers is perfectly justifiable; I hope Bruce doesn't mind if I reproduce his post in full -
"For decades, the automobile manufacturers have loaned billions of dollars out of their profits to Washington in order to produce a government that was not wasteful and would strengthen the interests of American business throughout the world.
Unfortunately, the government has failed miserably in that task, choosing to give that money to corrupt and questionable regimes, organizations, and unworkable causes while allowing the home market of American automobile manufacturers to be overrun by foreign manufacturers whose own home markets are protected against those American companies. This combination of continually requiring large loans from the American automobile manufacturers as their markets are fragmented, while simultaneously creating burdensome regulations for them, has left the American automobile manufacturers with serious deficits in operating capital.
Additionally, state governments also have required large annual loans based on the property value of these companies... whether these properties are actually making money for the companies or not. Instead of using these loans to improve the educational level of their residents and, thereby, provide a pool of knowledgeable, highly-skilled potential employees, these states have allowed these loans to be used by educational systems that barely graduate 2/3 of their students... and then more wasteful state welfare programs are required to support these dropouts... programs that require more loans from the American automobile manufacturers.
The problem was the failure of the American automobile manufacturers to set conditions on these loans. The primary condition should have been a preferred equity position in the government with priority given to any issues deemed important to those manufacturers. I'm sure the Democratic Party would have concluded that was a reasonable and fair condition.

Alas, the American automobile manufacturers did not demand this condition as part of the decades of loans to the federal and state governments. Consequently, now that these manufacturers have their own cash flow problems, they have little leverage in getting a portion of those loans repaid."
Bruce is dead right. If they supported government, why aren't the auto manufacturers entitled to government support? Why not? Is adherence to 200 year old platitudes, most of them easily debunked, more important than preserving red meat, flesh and blood jobs and skills?
I'm afraid that the answer is yes. The 200 year old platitudes of free trade, such as 'if goods don't cross borders, troops will' - history has not produced a single example of this scenario actually coming to pass - are the catechism of the secular, post-Enlightenment religion which economics has become. The sooner more people get the idea that many economists seem to consider the study of economics as having advanced from the physical plane to the metaphysical, the easier it will be to either minimise its influence, or to quash it completely.
This would not be altogether a bad idea.
In other 200 year flashback news, Somali pirates have hijacked a Saudi supertanker named 'The Sirius Star'. As unsavoury as this may seem, two centuries ago the public attitude to piracy seemed to be straightforward - shoot to kill, anywhere, anytime, no quarter asked for, no quarter given.
I quite appreciate that the hundred million bucks worth of crude sitting in its tanks is a pretty valauable commodity, but it's probably of no greater comparable value than the cargoes of the bullion ships which sailed from the New World to Spain under constant threat of pirate attack. The Spanish took active steps to prevent piracy - what are we doing? Don't sailors use cutlasses anymore? The pirates use RPG's - what is a supertanker armed with? Has the ideology of free trade permeated so deeply into planning that they actually believe nobody will attack them because they're engaged in trade?
Or can't multinational crews be trusted to be armed?
Where's the Royal Navy when you need it? Heck, in 1847 Palmerston took the United Kingdom to war over the treatment of a Gibraltarian living in Greece. You might not agree with his liberal interventionism, but after that at least nobody knew to mess with him. Where's the paper bag Miliband? Why isn't he issuing stern warnings to miscreants to leave British citizens alone or else face the consequences?
Beacuse when you believe in 'One World', you must accept as true all that world's values - even the endangerment of those who elect you.
The resurgence of piracy is symptomatic of the collapse of international order. One awaits the sallies of the Chinese Navy into the Indian Ocean with baited breath. If they start policing the world's sealanes, then that would be irrefutable evidence that the global balance of power has shifted and that the new world order nobody really wants will be upon us.
In yet more news from the early 19th Century, the Catholic Bishop of Lancaster is reported as saying that '(e)ducated Catholics have sown dissent and confusion in the Church'.
Bishop O' Donoghue states that universal education has led to "sickness in the Church and wider society". If the Church is sick one can only pray that God will hold its bishops to account. Who was minding the store when all this was going on?
Comments like these denigrate the lives and works of those who have laboured at the coalface of the Catholic education system of which the country's bishops are unjustifiably proud. Many of those who worked in it, particularly at its inception, did not do so willingly, but were forced to do so by the sense of Catholic separateness from the British body politic which the bishops have actively encouraged. Those who administered Catholic education actively collaborated in this squandering of human talent by the use of moral blackmail and clericalist pressure. If the end result of segregrated denominational education is that the hierarchy don't like people who think for themselves, then they shouldn't have expended so much historic energy in touting segregated denominational education.
And if they don't like universities, they shouldn't spend so much time trying to find friendly and paradable pet professors.
There is a very deep strain of anti-intellectualism within Catholicism, almost as deep as that within the Labour Party; and the comments of Bishop O' Donoghue are one of its finest flowerings.


Blogger Berenike said...

He did not say all educated Catholic wreck the Church, nor that non-educatd Catholics do not. He does not say Catholics should avoid secondary or tertiary education. Au contraire.

But from what I have seen, he is right. And it's easy to see why.

A reader, in her ninth year of tertiary education.

18 November, 2008 15:31  
Blogger Martin said...

Sorry, he's wrong.

Criticising 'relativism' is perfectly fine - how well acquainted were the bishops with what was being taught on university courses? If they did not know that Catholics were learning relativism, and Catholics become relativist as a result of studying relativism, then it's either their fault for failing to acquaint themselves with what their flock are studying and warning them of its dangers, or its their fault for failing to ensure the flock has been adequately evangelised themsleves to guard themsleves against its dangers.

If this attack is directed against Thompson and Blair, then he should direct it against Thompson and Blair - nobody else.

18 November, 2008 20:47  
Blogger James Higham said...

PJB seems to be coming round to my view that elite thinking has not advanced an inch in 200 years.

Not only PJB. Right on, Martin, right on.

19 November, 2008 21:45  
Blogger Martin said...

Thanks, James.

20 November, 2008 05:59  

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