Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
We tend to forget that our so-called “leaders” are just flawed human beings like everybody else. They have vices, they have temptations…some even have bad intentions…
The Authoritarian Impulse
Under President Obama, rule by decree has become commonplace, with federal edicts dictating policies on everything from immigration and labor laws to climate change. No modern leader since Nixon has been so bold in trying to consolidate power. But the current president is also building on a trend: Since 1910 the federal government has doubled its share of government spending to 60 percent. Its share of GDP has now grown to the highest level since World War II.
Today climate change has become the killer app for expanding state control, for example, helping Jerry Brown find his inner Duce. But the authoritarian urge is hardly limited to climate-related issues. It can be seen on college campuses, where uniformity of belief is increasingly mandated. In Europe, the other democratic bastion, the continental bureaucracy now controls ever more of daily life on the continent. You don’t want thousands of Syrian refugees in your town, but the EU knows better. You will take them and like it, or be labeled a racist.
The Rule of the Wise-people
Historically, advocacy for the rule of “betters” has been largely a prerogative of the right. Indeed the very basis of traditional conservativism—epitomized by the Tory ideal—was that society is best run by those with the greatest stake in its success, and by those who have been educated, nurtured, and otherwise prepared to rule over others with a sense of justice and enlightenment. In this century, the idea of handing power to a properly indoctrinated cadre also found radical expression in totalitarian ideologies such as communism, fascism, and national socialism.
In contemporary North American and the EU, the ascendant controlling power comes from a new configuration of the cognitively superior, i.e., the academy, the mainstream media, and the entertainment and technology communities. This new centralist ruling class, unlike the Tories, relies not on tradition, Christianity, or social hierarchy to justify its actions, but worships instead at the altar of expertise and political correctness.
Ironically this is occurring at a time when many progressives celebrates localism in terms of food and culture. Some even embrace localism as an economic development tool, an environmental win, and a form of resistance to ever greater centralized big business control.
Yet some of the same progressives who promote localism often simultaneously favor centralized control of everything from planning and zoning to education. They may want local music, wine, or song, but all communities then must conform in how they operate, are run, and developed. Advocates of strict land-use policies claim that traditional architecture and increased densities will enable us to once again enjoy the kind of “meaningful community” that supposedly cannot be achieved in conventional suburbs.
In the process, long-standing local control is being squeezed out of existence. Ontario, California Mayor pro-tem Alan Wapner notes that powers once reserved for localities, such as zoning and planning, are being systematically usurped by regulators from Sacramento and Washington. “They are basically dictating land use,” he says. “We just don’t matter that much.”
The new progressive mindset was laid out recently in an article in The Atlantic that openly called for the creation of a “technocracy” to determine energy, economic, and land use policies . According to this article, mechanisms like the market or even technological change are simply not up to the challenge. Instead the entire world needs to be put on a “war footing” that forces compliance with the technocracy’s edicts. This includes a drive to impose energy austerity on an already fading middle class, limiting mundane pleasures like cheap air travel, cars, freeways, suburbs, and single family housing.
What causes this? I detect two factors: Phobia and strategic graft. There is a certain personality type that can’t stand the idea that someplace, at sometime, someone might know what they’re doing. By and large, these are not intellectually vigorous people. Once they find out cars have to be assembled, the conflict begins as they gradually realize the cars are not being assembled the way they think it should be done. But as long as you allow them to think cars grow on trees, there’s no conflict. That’s the phobia.
The graft is the sale of influence, by way of actual dollars or quid pro quo. We are, unhappily, living in a time in which our so called public “servants” are beginning to anticipate several steps ahead, their own transgressions of graft. You just can’t attach too big of a price tag to the decision to do things a certain way across a township, or municipality, or county. But a state? Now you’re talking. The thing of it is though, to get that done you have to lay some groundwork. You have to pass some “everybody in this vicinity does it this way” rules. The easiest way, is probably to establish a board. Once you get a board deciding things, without any available means of appeal, you can appoint people to that board and…kaching, kaching. Haven’t you noticed? When we discuss the boards that make the biggest decisions, that’s when we know the least about who’s sitting on them. Thanks to this alone, we are rapidly becoming a passive-voice, “I know what was done but I dunno who did it” society.
What people tend to forget is, there really aren’t too many credible arguments against local control. Although there are some. Localities can be held to a centralized (higher) standard, and in some situations this might — conceivably — benefit everybody, within & outside of the locality. And, coordination. But those arguments are not advanced too often as we wrangle away, year after year, with some spiffy new centralized commission of overlords that wants to lift more power away from the local level; the advocates for centralized control tend to rely much more often on bumper sticker slogans, and bogeyman stories about “If we don’t act now, the climate will slip out of control past a tipping point” or some such.
Also, efforts that involve local autonomy can, and probably will, bring these desirable aspects of centralized control themselves, the better performance and the coordination. It might take a few more steps, but it isn’t a slow process by any means. The accelerating communication due to improving technology, is on the side of helping this process. Two counties, side by side, harvest corn. One brings twice as many bushels per acre at harvest time, as the other. Two hundred years ago it would be hard to measure that, and harder still to bring about change because of that. Now? We measure just about everything. And we talk about it at the speed of light.
This mania, this drive, to have intimate aspects of everyday life directed by centrally located better-people, when you get right down to it, is a relic from the past. It’s Roman Empire stuff. That, and a psychological enfeeblement, or something that should be diagnosed that way.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.