Cluelesside in Wisconsin
In order to be a rational economic actor, we must begin with the principle of self-interest, upon which all else depends. People who are not-self interested cannot be relied upon to behave in a rational or predictable manner. They do all sorts of things we would never dream of doing, everything from flying planes into buildings to driving our healthcare system into a ditch. All for you!
One wants to say to Obama: mind your own frakking business. But here is a man who has made a virtue of meddling in everyone else's business his entire adult life, and who has never simply looked after himself. But then, The devil can achieve nothing great without the careless collaboration of the virtues (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).
Isn't self-governance a big enough job for anyone? Isn't the order of the self prior to the organization of the community? Why skip that stage in favor of bossing other people around? This only results in systematic governance by the ungovernable, which is what we are seeing in Wisconsin.
These selfless protesters are not protesting in the name of their rights, but of your obligations.
My friends, if only you knew. If only you knew the extent of the human dysfunction embedded in the very concept of "public employee" (I hope it goes without saying that we are dealing in generalizations). For such people, there is no feedback from the world that says: you are a failure. Or, accurate feedback is experienced as persecution, harassment, "stress."
Please note that it is unfair to compare their wages to those in the private sector, since so many of these selfless idealists are unemployable. They cannot care for themselves, so we must. Thus, they are engaged in the type of bold adolescent rebellion that pits dependent children against their parents. You say you can earn more in the private sector? Okay, let's see you try!
My house, my rules. If you think you can find a better deal elsewhere, go for it! But for public employee unions, it is always Mom and Dad I hate you! Now can you drive me and Cheryl to the Capitol mall protest?
Von Mises' great insight was that economics -- like human beings -- is intrinsically intersubjective. Value -- i.e., prices -- is determined in the space between two free subjects who agree upon what something is worth. Nothing has intrinsic value except the valuing subjects.
Remove the valuing subjects from the equation, and there is no way to know what anything is worth. An economy degenerates into chaos when prices are not allowed to spontaneously emerge in this way. To paraphrase the rabbi, there is no relief from the confusion when none of them along the line know what any of it is worth.
Now, in a suicidal culture the self is obviously of no value. Therefore, soon enough, nothing else is of any value (except perhaps the prince at the top).
In short, such a culture quickly descends into abject nihilism, as we were discussing yesterday vis-a-vis imperial Japan. I mean, if you don't even care about yourself, what can you possibly be relied upon to care about? And as the rabbi said, If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
God help us the from selfless public servants! Barney Frank. Harry Reid. Nancy Pelosi. Jesse Jackson. Public employee unions. NPR.
In contrast, America's founding principle is the infinite worth of the individual. One wonders, therefore, if the systematic erosion of this inalienable principle by the left is making us a more "suicidal" culture?
I don't think there's any doubt about that. For a preview of coming attractions, just look at Europe, which is in the midst of demographic suicide as a consequence of its cultural, political, economic and spiritual suicide.
Ironically, just as Germany, France, and the UK are beginning to draw back from the abyss, we have a president who is hurtling us toward it. Will we awaken from the nightmare of socialism, multiculturalism, and moral relativism before it is too late? (Note that multiculturalism is another suicidal doctrine, or rather, the same doctrine applied to the collective -- self-hatred disguised as the love of others.)
Note the problem at the root of it all: all of these supposedly selfless leftists who presume to know better how to run your life, thus removing your own rational self-interest -- and therefore self -- and therefore rational calculation -- from the equation. Is it homicide or suicide? Does it matter?
Our victim culture systematically robs people of their agency and therefore dignity. Or, people are sold victimhood at the cost of their humanity.
Here again, in abrogating one's agency, one abdicates the self, except that a monstrous shadow rushes in to fill the void. This is the omnipotent and entitled narcissistic double who can only make demands upon others. It is a caricature of rational self-interest. It is Entitlement personified, or human rights devoid of the human duties that define Man.
But what is Man, in essence? As Don Colacho aphirms, the permanent possibility of initiating a causal series is what we call a person.
And what is a demon? It is none other than The permanent possibility of undermining and denying man's power to initiate a causal series in pursuit of his own rational interests.
"Think of 'public service' for what it really is, a secondary form of welfare, in which 'workers' pretend to work and the government pretends to 'pay' them — just like in the old Soviet Union! I mean, if it weren’t for government jobs, all of these 'non-essential' personnel would be lounging around on their porches, drinking beer and firing unregulated handguns into the air or at each other — or, even worse, at us — unable to deal with the vicissitudes of life and therefore deserving of our public charity. Without public service, politicians such as Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd would have been just another couple of Irish barroom horndogs; Governor Moonbeam, Jerry Brown, another Buddhist moonbat; and Robert Byrd a humble white-sheeted follower of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Public service gave these men jobs — real jobs — and meaning to their lives. And you malevolent capitalists want to take it all away" (David Kahane, HT American Digest).