By Ken Connor
Thanks to a renewed interest in the works of Ayn Rand and high-profile figures like John Stossel, Glenn Beck, and Rand Paul, libertarianism is enjoying a moment in the political sun. And just like America’s two major parties, libertarians can often be blind to faulty logic and flaws within their own ideology. Timothy P. Carney recently wrote a piece for The Atlantic discussing this very problem:
“Voters despise government officials who get in bed with corporations. But what about corporations who cozy up to government? Are companies who use cronyism to grow their profit acting unethically?
The question makes some free-marketeers uneasy. After all, we not only tolerate the fierce pursuit of profit, but also we defend it against taxes and heavy-handed regulation. Milton Friedman famously said, ‘The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.’
But in the age of crony capitalism, libertarians must declare that some means of pursuing profit are immoral and call on executives to reject them. This would create a positive case for capitalism – arguing that the pursuit of profit, in the context of fair and open competition, helps the whole society. The new corporate social responsibility, redefined for libertarians, must stand athwart crony corporatism yelling ‘stop.’”
Lest his readers underestimate the influence and scope of crony capitalism, Carney provides a thumbnail sketch of the practice in action over the last decade. Seeing our government’s extensive network of corporate welfare laid out in black and white is sobering, to say the least:
“The 2005 and 2007 energy bills required drivers to buy ethanol, created a government loan-guarantee program for private sector green-energy projects, and effectively outlawed the traditional incandescent light bulb. . . . Then, 2008 saw an avalanche of corporate bailouts: Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Then the TARP bailed out all of Wall Street, and later General Motors and Chrysler.
Obama came to power in 2009 and signed an $800 billion stimulus bill supported by the Chamber of Commerce and loaded with goodies for the likes of Google and Solyndra. Obama pushed cap-and-trade with the support of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a corporate coalition led by GE, which had set up a business to create and trade greenhouse-gas credits.
In June 2009, Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a regulatory measure that Philip Morris supported and reportedly helped write. . . . The drug lobby wrote significant parts of Obamacare, and the hospital lobby liked the bill enough to file an amicus curiae brief with the Court defending the law from its challenge by states and the small business lobby.
Boeing and the Chamber of Commerce launched a full-court lobbying push in 2011 to save and expand the Export-Import Bank, the government agency Obama loves using to subsidize U.S. Exports – including lots of Boeing jets. In a lesser-known case of regulatory profiteering, Obama hired H&R Block’s CEO to a top position at the IRS, where he crafted new regulations on tax preparers – rules which H&R Block supported and small tax preparers sued to overturn.”
Regardless of where your political sympathies lie, it’s undeniable that there is an unhealthy and unholy alliance between well-heeled special interests and politicians and policymakers. It’s all well and good to embrace Ms. Rand’s philosophy of self-seeking individualism in theory, but when this mentality insinuates itself into the markets unchecked by moral and ethical principles, the results are antithetical to freedom and fairness.
Basically, the special interests invest in political campaigns as a cost of doing business, and they expect a handsome return on their investments. As Mr. Carney explains, that usually comes in the form of pet legislation, subsidies, tax breaks, limitations on liability, preferential treatment . . . the list goes on and on. Of course, politicians are only too happy to accommodate these special interests in exchange for political contributions that help cement and perpetuate their power. As a result, the free market is stymied; it can’t do what it’s designed by nature to do, which is to sift good companies from bad ones, reward efficiency and innovation, and empower consumers with authentic choice in the marketplace. In effect, crony capitalism is a form of central planning, something that libertarians and conservatives historically eschew. The lack of accountability of the cronies is particularly damaging. Defenders of free-market capitalism generally maintain that accountability and responsibility must run hand in hand in order for markets to operate effectively. If wrongdoers are not held accountable, their wrongdoing will multiply and the whole system will be corrupted. Unfortunately, many free-market apologists in the political arena are only too ready to offer a double standard to their corporate benefactors. Consequently, we wind up with the excesses that characterized firms like AIG, Fannie Mae, and Enron; we end up with lives lost due to malfeasance at the hands of mining companies and peanut companies, from drugs that cause injury and death and products that explode or fail and cause harm. We have an epidemic of malpractice and abuse and neglect in nursing homes because wrongdoers aren’t held fully accountable. All of this is a direct result of corporations taking shortcuts and playing Russian roulette with consumer safety because they know they will be shielded from accountability if something goes wrong. As Madison said, “If men were angels, government wouldn’t be necessary.” Well, they aren’t, and we do. The world “regulation” is an anathema to free-market apologists, but it shouldn’t be. Proper government regulation and consumer protections are essential to ensure an ethical marketplace. The fewer regulations we have, the more consumer protection mechanisms we need, and vice versa. This is precisely the purpose of America’s civil justice system. It is wrong for corporations to lobby for fewer regulations while simultaneously perverting policy so that they are insulated from accountability in the civil justice arena when they err. When this is allowed to happen, corporate America runs amok and consumers are harmed. Mr. Carney is correct when he says that the case for capitalism must rest on the willingness of free-marketeers to demand ethical conduct from corporations and politicians alike. Our current economic and political problems aren’t just the fault of President Obama, or Nancy Pelosi or any other big government bogey. The sooner libertarians and conservatives alike recognize this, the sooner we can get our economy and our government back on the right track, and given the enormity of the challenges facing us over the next several decades, this can’t happen soon enough.
CJS Forum: Jack Beavers explains the EPA’s ethanol-octane bait-and-switch: The Off-Track EPA.
CJS Blog: Zachary Gappa writes about Live Action’s abortion sting in New York, the renewed push for Safe Haven laws for newborn babies, America’s alarming suicide trend and more: Check out the CJS Blog.
The Center for a Just Society is on Twitter. Go to http://twitter.com/AJustSociety to follow our daily updates.Ken Connor is an attorney and co-author of “Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty” He is also Chairman of the Center for a Just Society. For more articles and resources from Mr. Connor and the Center for a Just Society, go to www.centerforajustsociety.org
Your laws ignore our deepest needs, Your words are empty air. You’ve stripped away our heritage, You’ve outlawed simple prayer. Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die. You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question “Why?” You regulate restrictive laws, Through legislative creed. And yet you fail to understand, That God is what we need!
“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, soul, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs – politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. “Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts. Political posturing and restrictive legislation are not the answers. The young people of our nation hold the key. There is a spiritual awakening taking place that will not be squelched! We do not need more religion. We do not need more gaudy television evangelists spewing out verbal religious garbage. We do not need more million dollar church buildings built while people with basic needs are being ignored. We do need a change of heart and a humble acknowledgment that this nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God!
Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado
Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe V. Wade’s SCOTUS decision to decriminalize abortion. We have murdered 55,772,015+. Source
Genesis 4:9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
Whenever there is a murder of innocent life the Lord knows because its blood cries out to Him. We, as a nation, are about to be judged for the sin of murdering the most innocent of God’s created lives. We have enemies within our borders under the guise of multiculturalism and amnesty and open borders, tools ready for use at God’s discretion for our destruction. We have a death culture amid a godless society. Life is not at all precious to our POTUS. As the father, so goes the child. Unless we, as a nation, repent of this atrocity we shall not see God’s promise of judgement relented.
The wrath of God is measured in proportion to the sin that provokes it. The wrath of God is a demonstration of his holiness, his sinlessness, his intense hatred for all things evil. We, too, should hate sin as God hates sin. As it is a stench in his nostrils so should it be in ours. As it breaks his heart and stirs his anger so should it also break our hearts and stir our anger.
In this post-modern age it’s just not cool to speak of God’s wrath. It is the one attribute of God that we seem to be ashamed of. We cover our lips and whisper of his wrath as if it is a character flaw. We act like the children of a father with a gambling problem or a father who spends his weekends tipping the bottle and ignoring his family. The truth is that the wrath of God affirms his holiness. He would not be holy if he was incapable of love, nor would he be holy if he failed to demonstrate his hatred for all that is sinful and unholy.
Here’s the thing. Abortion was always legal in our country since its beginning in the case of rape, incest and the mother’s compromised health and well-being. The legalizing of abortion was due to making it a birth control option and that is all it was. There never were back alley abortions except for the cases of a shameful or unwanted pregnancy. But how could the SCOTUS and the American people be duped, er, convinced of the necessity for “legalized” abortions unless they were told of dirty back alley abortions that, at times, killed the mother? And then they brought in statistics that were magically produced out of someone’s inspiration! Consider this: abortion was illegal as a birth control method so those who practiced or helped aid a woman in her choice to abort would be a murderer including that woman. How many would readily help with creating such statistics knowing it could mean life in prison or the death penalty by their own admittance? America was duped in 1973 and nearly 56,000,000 unborn lives have paid the price for our hedonism.
Here are some Abortion Facts to consider today. It is a life being aborted (stopped). As a civilized nation its time we abort the atrocity of abortion. If we don’t, we will reap a horrible and overwhelming harvest from the shed blood we’ve sown into our nation’s ground. God will not be mocked. Payday is someday…
This Day in History (I am suspicious of this history because I have never heard this “history”before! My pre-1973 law book says otherwise as far as the legality of abortions before this day 40 years ago)
Last night I was reading this old novel based on the true life of Mary Todd Lincoln and her U.S. President-husband Abe called Love is Eterrnal, by Irving Stone written in 1954, and came upon an author inserted funny incident pulled by then lawyer Abe which struck me as something we could say is true even today. On page 47 we read that Mary Todd and her sister, Frances, while out shopping happened upon a crowd drawing political debate in the Springfield town square…
Up on the stand was Colonel Dick Taylor, a bombastic orator who was berating the Whigs for being aristocrats and reactionaries, interested only in the piling up of wealth and the conserving of their privileges while he and his fellow Democrats were poor and simple folk interested solely in the welfare of the people.
During the last sentence of the speech a man edged slowly onto the back of the platform, slipped to the side of Colonel Taylor and then, with the completion of the colonel’s peroration, caught the edge of the speaker’s vest and pulled it open, exposing to the audience an expensive silk ruffled shirt, a gold watch chain with seals and several other gaudy jewels…
…”Freinds, I am humble Abraham Lincoln. While Colonel Taylor was making these charges against the Whigs over the country, riding in fine carriages, wearing ruffled shirts, kid gloves, massive gold watch chains and flourishing a heavy gold-headed cane, I was a poor boy, hired on a flatboat at eight dollars a month, and had only one pair of breeches to my back and they were buckskin. Now, if you know the nature of buckskin when wet and dried by the sun, it will shrink; and my breeches kept shrinking until they left several inches of my legs bare between the tops of my socks and the lower part of my breeches; whilst I was growing taller they were becoming shorter, and so much tighter that they left a blue streak around my legs that can be seen to this day. If you call this aristocracy I plead guilty to the charge.”
Since before the Republican Party took root, the Democrats have been hypocritically foisting their own guilty pleasures upon the opposing party as if it would be a pre-emptive strike to blind the voting masses from knowing the truth of who really is after their own selfish interests. Same ol’, same ol’…
Please keep in mind that Unedited Politics (in my sidebar) has clips from the debate to view.
Politics Of Racial Division: Hillary And Obama Ignoring Genocide Against Whites
Hillary Clinton, the liberal darling of the left — lately touted as the replacement for our “gaffe-prone” vice president, Joe Biden — has certainly proven herself to be a team player on Obama’s and the Democrats’ policy of division and opportunism in all things racial. She has just completed a trip to South Africa, where she discussed numerous issues with Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African minister of international relations and cooperation. The two politicians issued a joint statement for strategic dialog.
Here is a partial list of the strategic initiatives they agreed to:
- the signing of a US$2 billion declaration of intent between the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. and South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation to provide credit guarantees to stimulate development of South Africa’s renewable energy sector;
- the launch of the US$500,000 Opportunity grants program, which will help disadvantaged South African students cover testing and application expenses, and international travel for study in the United States;
- A collaboration between USAID, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Competition Commission of South Africa, to provide capacity building assistance to competition agencies in the Southern Africa region;USAID grants to assist with water resource management in the Limpopo and Orange-Senqu trans-boundary river
You get the idea about what this statement and trip were all about: building ties in a troubled world by reaching out to our global neighbors. What was conspicuously absent was any statement from Hillary or Obama on the atrocities being committed against the Afrikaners in the region. Genocide Watch, an international alliance to end genocide, chronicles the crimes against the Boers by a member organization of the ANC (South Africa’s ruling party in power), and officials of the South African government are prompting Genocide Watch to place South Africa alternately between stage 5 (“polarization”) and stage 6 (“preparation”) of their genocide scale.
And the following video shows Nelson Mandela singing for the extermination of whites. This has been going on for some time and yet, our POTUS does and says nothing.
More from The Center of Western Journalism:
Since 1994, the Boers have been subject to random killings, rapes, and property crimes by members of the Youth League of the ANC and others. Here is an excerpt from their statement by Genocide Watch:
Over 3000 white farmers have been murdered since 1994. The South African police have not made investigation and prosecution of these farm murders a priority, dismissing them as crimes by common criminals. The government has disbanded the commando units of white farmers that once protected their farms, and has passed laws to confiscate the farmers’ weapons. Disarmament of a targeted group is one of the surest early warning signs of future genocidal killings.
A recent outbreak of violent farm invasions has led to casualties among white South Africans. The farm invasions are direct results of calls by Julius Malema and his Deputy, Ronald Lamola for whites to give up their land without compensation, or face violence by angry black youths “flooding their farms.”
My personal favorite discussion point between Hillary and South Africa is the two-billion-dollar credit guarantees for renewable energy. Good to know her priorities are straight in elevating a decidedly leftist green international agenda above egregious human rights violations.
Read more here
(…and I won’t ask where the UN is on this…I hear crickets…)
Obama rewrites history. And we have another rewriter of history, Rep. Ellison, in Congress. If they can’t get this right…hmmm…
Here you go if you want to hear American History according to Islam