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Friday, December 12, 2008

"Shocked. Shocked!"

I posted this over at the SFEblog today.  I'm reminded of the great scene in Casablanca where the corrupt and gambling addicted officer, after hiding his winnings when his superior comes in, says he is, "Shocked. Shocked!" to hear that there could be gambling in the establishment.

A lot of people are surprised by recent political developments. Whether the open sale of a Senate seat or the open socialization of financial and automobile companies, it seems there is a lot to be in shock over.  The shock leads to anger; anger at the political process and politicians and who-knows-what.

I don't think we should be shocked.  There is nothing shocking or unusual about politicians acting in their self-interest instead of that of their constituents.  That is all they have ever done.

We shouldn't be shocked by massive socialization.  That is what we have asked for.  We demand to be promised a world without risk and without failure; interest rates that constantly fall and house and stock prices that constantly rise - as well as wages, but not CEO wages or profits.  These are mutually incompatible goals.  They are impossible to achieve.  Yet we demand that our politicians promise them and "do something" about them.  We might as well ask that they make it rain more and less at the same time.  Not only are they incapable of doing it, even if they could the goals are not realizable at the same time.

What we see happening right now is, in a way, business as usual. That does not mean we shouldn't have righteous indignation over violations of liberty and logic.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to stop it.  I mean simply that surprise and paralyzing anger are bizarre and unproductive responses.  It's analogous to eating dozens of cheeseburgers every day for years while growing steadily heavier and one day looking at the scale and acting shocked at your own weight and looking for someone to blame.  What did you expect?  Is this honestly the first time you've noticed it?

Stop acting like some injustice suddenly and surprisingly befell you.  That only engenders a sense of helplessness.  We created this monster and we can kill it.

Killing it requires a belief among us that government is the problem and that there is NOTHING they can do to make things any better except get the hell out of the way.  We have to stop being babies and expecting things from government they cannot do, or even expecting decent behavior.  As long as we're asking them to do bad things, we can't expect good people to do bad things goodly.

Don't get mad.  Don't be surprised.  Realize the mess we're in and that we are the only ones who can get us out.  Resolve to stop expecting government to fix it and start asking them to shut up and leave us alone.  No matter what it sometimes feels like, we are in the end their master.  Let's start acting like it.

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on December 12, 2008 | Permalink


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Excellent comments and spot on, Isaac.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-12-12 11:58:50 AM

Great Article Isaac.

"What we see happening right now is, in a way, business as usual. That does not mean we shouldn't have righteous indignation over violations of liberty and logic. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to stop it."

Further to this idea, I read an article in today's Sun that I found also on line at Newsvine.
Paul Haven (Assoc Press) has written an article about the demonstrations in Greece spreading to the rest of Europe. He describes the protestors as being "Anti-Globalization". I like that.
Other pundits have described the protestors as
"Anarhist's" in an effort (of course) to defame them.

I think the young people have been forced to see the world for what it has become without a life time of "conditioning" to keep them complacent.
Here's the address that will get you to the article.


Posted by: JC | 2008-12-12 12:22:43 PM

Perfect analysis.

Sadly, it will take a lot more grief to get Canadians up on their hind legs.

Posted by: John V | 2008-12-12 4:26:50 PM

Great post Isaac.

Posted by: Duder | 2008-12-12 6:09:26 PM

Very good post Isaac. The problem with"we are in the end their master. Let's start acting like it" is that to change anything at all, we would need some semblance of unity. Between the greenies, the left , middle , right and far right there is only a wild free for all that political parties take full advantage of. Once in power they all look to doing what's right for them and not their constituants, while giving lip service as required.Ideals are quickly watered down because there is no unity and all other parties must be placated to some degree. We have just witnessed a perfect examle of that with Harper.

Posted by: peterj | 2008-12-14 1:14:01 PM

That's right peterj, a united minority ruling a divided majority.
With things like multiculturlism, separation issues, HRC's, left vs. right, language, and a myriad of other tactis that keep us all at odds with each other, combined with the sparse population and vast distances....we'll never unite.
The people that encourage and promote all these division issues know exactly the cause they're having and they use it to stay in power.

So maybe the only solution really is to separate.
A population more or less in agreement on how they want to live might be a lot better off with a smaller area to manage politically speaking.
Big central government isn't working for anyone but big central government.

Posted by: JC` | 2008-12-14 1:52:35 PM

That might give a majority but only if we seperate into about 10 countries from Manitoba west. The different factions would still be in place with the same divisions. Also , with no Eastern central government we would have no one left to curse and would turn inward.Think of the void left by a fool like Mcguinty.Even Stelmack(?) would have a hard time filling those shoes. Not sure we could stand the loss of all that entertainment. I mean really...could we live without the CBC, the HRC, the long gun laws, the Yukon and nunavit(about 90%) government jobs and so many other programs we have learned to love and cherish. I for one am not sure I could make it without that politically correct favorite,Little Mosque on the prairie to entertain me. Worst of all...no french rammed down my throat (wiping a tear). I have full faith that the love will keep us together. Merry Christmas. (Not happy holidays)

Posted by: peterj | 2008-12-14 3:51:54 PM

Merry Christmas. (Not happy holidays)

Posted by: peterj | 14-Dec-08 3:51:54 PM

I'm with you. Too funny.
I think we can do without ALL of that and more...
Merry Christmas to you too.

Posted by: JC | 2008-12-14 3:57:59 PM

I think we can "be their masters" in many ways without perfect unity, or even much of it. We need unity on one thing only: that our disagreements are better handled privately and without government.

We can disagree about nearly everything, but if we can help create a culture that believes the marketplace (of goods as well as ideas) is best at sorting differences, we can master the tyranny of the state.

That requires unity, but unity only on one basic tenet. I think that's in some ways easier and in some ways harder than trying to
unify" in the traditional political sense around very specific issues or around an entire platform.

Here at the WS there is probably wide disagreement about what kids should be taught in school, what kind of family and social arrangements should be encouraged, the value of religion, etc. etc. But if we can all agree that less government involvement in education, family life, religion, etc. would be better, we are then free to debate, discuss and live out our differences as we wish (so long as we're not stealing, punching or violating a contract:-)

All this to say, yes, we need unity, but at the same time we shouldn't see the task as so daunting that we must convince every person of every single thing we beleive. I don't think different geo-political arrangements are necessarily needed or the answer either (though I'm always in favor of more competition and the freedom to leave your government).

Posted by: Isaac | 2008-12-15 7:24:42 AM

"But if we can all agree that less government ".

Agreed, but there again we are butting heads with the parties that favor a central government and a lot of it. That would be the greens, Ndp and Liberals. Like minded folks have voted for Harper and less government. Was a good effort. Without a majority he will slide right into the middle or even further left just to survive. I see the above mentioned task very daunting. If he steers the ship well, perhaps..next time.

Posted by: peterj | 2008-12-15 6:50:43 PM

C'mon PJ: Harper has grown the gov't 14%. No major party on the political spectrum wants small gov't. They are all the same.

Posted by: Duder | 2008-12-15 6:57:53 PM

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