14 April 2009

Walter Lippman On The Warfare Between The Obama Admin & Big Business

History repeats itself, again.
The reason is that there are in fact two main tendencies inside the New Deal, and . . . the President is never able finally to make his choice for the one or the other. Between the conciliatory and irreconcilable New Dealers the crucial difference is . . . that the one group is interested primarily in social reform and the other is interested primarily in the control of the economic system.

Thus the reformers wish to provide relief, to practice conservation, to establish social security, and by law to impose social standards upon business and finance. But in order to do these things, they know that there must be money available, and so . . . they would like to promote recovery, not only for its own sake, but in order to finance the reforms. When they are convinced that a certain tax is "deterrent" to enterprise and investment, they would like to modify it.

The radicals, on the other hand, are . . . primarily interested in reducing the power of corporate business men, and the heart of their program is . . . precisely those deterrent taxes and those restrictive regulations which limit private initiative. . . . they would rather not have recovery if the revival of private initiative means a resumption of private control in the management of corporate business.

Among the radical New Dealers the essence of the New Deal is the reduction of private corporate control by collective bargaining and labor legislation, on the one side, and by restrictive, competitive and deterrent government action on the other side. Thus they cling to taxes which do not come anywhere near to yielding enough revenue to balance the budget because those particular taxes paralyze the financial power of the rich and well-to-do. . . .

This is the issue between the reformers and the radicals. Both believe in spending. . . . [But] [t]he reformers regard the spending as an instrument of recovery and a means for improving the condition of the people. The radicals regard the spending as a substitute for recovery and as a means of altering the balance of social policy.

Throughout history, there have always been people who thought they were better, smarter, & more benevolent than the rest of society and as a result, ought to be running things.

We've called them different things, progressives, New Dealers, liberals, progressives again, and sometimes post-partisans.

They always adopt these new names because gradually, the old names took on a negative connotation as people saw them as they really were: self-righteous, condescending, & power-hungry.

'Leave it to us,' they say, with their positivist understanding of the world, 'and we'll solve the world's ills with our social science.'

Looking for another sign you're about to be, in the words of one friend, "shaboozled" by a liberal Nietzschean √úbermensch? Humility is not a defining feature.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.