Tuesday, June 10, 2008
  Basic error

As we discuss oil prices, speculators, and regulation of trading, we're missing one basic and broad point.

Conservatives and especially Libertarians suffer from a conflation of "the President" and "the Executive branch". I heard this in its purest form in the recent Libertarian Party convention, where one nominee said he would do as little as possible when elected.

This conflation leads directly to tyranny.

The problem starts with human nature. Why do people seek jobs as bureaucrats? Because they enjoy wielding power. They are addicted to the joy of watching others march to their orders, and addicted to the even greater joy of exempting Favored Ones from the same orders.

When the President "does as little as possible", when he pays little attention to the bureaucrats, this doesn't leave more room for the States and People to exercise their natural rights, as the Conservative stupidly believes. It only leaves more room for the Executive Branch to run amok. The bureaucrat's natural addiction to power is then free to operate without limitation or punishment. Agencies will come down hard on people or companies who displease them for whatever reason, and will grant special privileges to the highest bidder.

We saw this dramatically under Bush Senior, when BATF went completely rogue, starting the Randy Weaver massacre and the Waco massacre. We're seeing it again under Bush Junior. Katrina was the perfect example. FEMA was completely rogue, taking none of the actions it was supposed to take, and preventing effective organizations from taking the proper actions to help New Orleans.

Small government is not necessarily a good thing, and a small president on top of a big government is a terrible thing.

Hillary should have hammered on this point loudly and frequently, but for some unknown reason she didn't. Under Bill, most bureaucrats were held in check, held accountable, encouraged to do their proper job in order to make the government look good. The rogue BATF officials were fired, and FEMA worked reasonably well.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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