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Friedrich Hayek Channels Charles Krauthammer, Part II

In Part I, Circle of Friends, I think you got an inkling of the sorts of conflict that arise in people because of our circles of friends and alliances. Some of these are legal in nature, as with the management at A&E. Any management has a duty to protect a company’s good name and its profit lines. If personal allegiances or deep-seated beliefs (about  homosexuality in this case) conflict, they have to choose, and usually take second place.

The Robertsons, on the other hand, had no such legal duty since they own their own company, their only legal bond found in their contract with A&E.

But the purpose of that article, besides gloating just a little about the ineptitude of the media, and the outing of political correctness bigotry, was to set in your minds the power of the circle of friends in creating these conflicts in every walk of life and in every income bracket.

Now we come to two very important circles, the political and the scholarly, for both are outcome determinative in the fate of modern governance in America.

I mentioned in my “why” paragraph in Part I:

Where I want to lead you is in being able to have some understanding about the one question we have been asking for over five years, and that is, “Why?”

Why did John Roberts flip? Why doesn’t Charles Krauthammer publicly call Barack Obama a liar, a criminal, and call for his impeachment? Why doesn’t Fox News say the same general things about the entire Democrat Party? Why won’t Roger Ailes let them? Why couldn’t Mitt Romney then? Why can’t he now? Why can’t GW Bush now? Why didn’t Darrell Issa stand up and throw something, anything, a pen, a potted plant, anything easily at hand, at all the men and women who have testified before his committee and knowingly and blatantly lied? And on and on.

Why can’t anyone in the right circles yell “Liar!” out loud besides Joe Wilson?

There are several reasons why. That circle of friends is one, the legal relationship is another, but there are other more subliminal answers, that asks what the motives of any choices are. And they are generally unknowable, perhaps even to the inner man, known only unto himself.

I am in no position, any more than Rush Limbaugh is, even if he were so inclined, to ask Murdoch to tell Ailes to tell Krauthammer it’s OK to call Obama a crook and a liar. Nor am I in a position to say that Dr Krauthammer would even if he could.

Three possible answers arise:

1. Is it because of those 6-and-7 figure pay checks they now enjoy? Can they put them at risk, as Phil Robertson did only recently?

2. Or is it the fear of loss of status among their peers, of whom Americans out here on the hustings refer to as the “Beltway Establishment”? This is bigger than any “mere” circle of friends. Still, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and others have risked this status recently.

Why mock them?

3. Or could it just be that torpid orthodoxy that naturally descends over men and women once they have reached the zenith of their reputations? Do they bathe in the glow of the ambiance they produce, and as Jonathan Winters once said after having checked himself into a mental institution; “I started believing  my own stuff.” i.e., that everything they say is now in “red letter edition”? Has vanity and arrogance overcome once-inquiring and feisty minds? Has the fire gone from their bellies?

I won’t pretend to answer these, for even those closest to Charles, George Will, Rush, et al, can’t know. This is for that man known only unto himself to answer.

But there are evolutionary, psychological, cultural, historical and philosophical answers to these questions, which Friedrich Hayek may have provided us, especially in his last book, The Fatal Deceit (1988).

I could have chosen several men or women in this discussion, but chose Charles, not because he is a gifted writer and commentator, or an attorney (gag us all with a spoon) but because he is a scientist, which puts him on a par with Friedrich Hayek. So, about evidence (facts) they are apples and apples, and in the end Hayek was all about empirical truths and using that hill upon which to thrust his sword in the ground and make a stand.

I’m hoping Friedrich Hayek, who died in 1992, can help guide the way, for he confronted the same dilemma I hope Charles Krauthammer now sees. Hayek was late to the game, and the game was not yet fully formed, Hayek dying before Clinton’s first year in office. He had no idea what would come afterwards. But everything he feared then is now reality.

What Friedrich Hayek did was step outside the box at age 85. So, why can’t the others now? Have Charles and the others been co-opted, or are they volunteer internees in the Beltway Establishment camp?

Dr Krauthammer

On Christmas night I broke my Fox News boycott (13 months) and watched the one-hour special Bret Baier did on Charles Krauthammer. Unlike Sean Hannity, I did know Dr Krauthammer had been in a wheelchair all these years, but I didn’t know the circumstances of his injury, or the remarkable way in which he quickly dealt with it.

Two things stood out for me, in terms of our current question; First was how Charles went from a “liberal” left-of-center opinion magazine such as The New Republic to become a Reaganite (almost 30 years ago, so mark the time), and Second, why he dealt such a hard-hitting body blow to Ted Cruz during his filibuster fewer than three months ago (almost 30 years later, so again mark the time), which enraged conservatives in fly-over country.

In the first instance, Charles explained his transition from the left to the right as a good clinical scientist should; “empirical evidence” founded on reason and logic, i.e,  the Left’s solutions wouldn’t work, and, if Krauthammer has read much of Friedrich Hayek’s empirical analyses, also knew, couldn’t work.

Then later, with a totally different use of that term, “wouldn’t work,” he issued a purely political-process definition to unapologetically justify his condemnation of Cruz’s actions, saying it was folly because it “wouldn’t work.” Worse, I caught a hint of pride that he’d been proven right.

I won’t speak much of Ted Cruz here, but I will of the phenomenon, for what Ted Cruz did was what Friedrich Hayek tried to do in the late 80’s, by stepping outside the box. To shake the tree, rattle the cage. If to stop Obamacare, we all knew what Cruz was trying to do wouldn’t work. But we also saw that Cruz was trying something else altogether, (Hayek in another context used “transcendental” to define this.), and the jury is till out whether he succeeded there or not. Why Dr Krauthammer either 1) didn’t also understand this transcendental attempt to shake the tree, or 2) saw it but just didn’t want this elevation of the “war” with the Left to occur (see three reasons, above), sits at the heart of this inquiry.

What happened over that 30-year span to the man who could assess doomed failure (leftism) so clearly by its philosophical premise and empirical failings, then by 2012 condemn out-of-hand any philosophical gesture that strayed outside ordinary political process?

Dr Krauthammer may have answered this question himself when he casually mentioned in his interview with Baier, that while at The New Republic, with no reputation, no known body of works, he could essentially “write any damned thing I pleased.” (My paraphrase), whereas today, he clearly cannot.

Friedrich Hayek’s Warning

Friedrich Hayek lived and died as the consummate Old School scholar, locked in a world of strict protocols (circles) called “academe.”

I’m an analyst, not a scholar, but I love taking things apart, and the single question we’d been asking for years, even when we were at the cemetery, is why the highest profiles of the conservative world cannot bring themselves to say aloud, and with some note of alarm, that the course America is on right now might be a doomsday path, at least according to the empirical evidence and the readings of history Hayek knew and Krauthammer should know.

I’m sure Hayek wasn’t a betting man, an oddsmaker, but on a scale of 0%-100%, Hayek’s language indicated he knew the left’s (socialism’s) purposes with great certainty, (say 90%)  even in the 1950s, and their ability to succeed politically by the end of Reagan’s administration to be at at least 30%. So it would be inconceivable to me that men such as Charles Krauthammer and George Will, after eight years of the Clinton and five years and counting of Obama, along with an intervening eight years of Bush who structurally did nothing to retard or undo this leftist thrust (if he ever really  tried), might still look upon the Left as the same quaint little bunch of squeaky microbial bugs they knew in the 70’s.

Still, to hear them speak, they don’t seem to be conveying any sense of alarm at all. Charles has called this regime “lawless” yet can’t (or won’t) connect the dots, and call them criminals. As Lady Penguin noted before the New Year, Obama’s “You can keep your insurance” lie has been named the Lie of Year, still no one in the right circles will dub Obama The Liar of the Year as well. Lying has become so pervasive from this Administration and the Democrats that every public announcement by the Administration or the Party Leadership should carry a crawl underneath “Has Been Known to Lie.”  Isn’t that Fox’s job? Isn’t it fair and balanced to label a serial liar a “liar”?

Why can’t they? Why won’t they?

Surely Charles can at least calculate the political risk in the 30% range today, as  Hayek did when Clinton was still governor in Arkansas. And shouldn’t 30% be enough to sound an iceberg warning, Charles? Get those life vests on. Something?

If he can’t, or won’t, then why?.

This is only my interpretation, but I think Hayek, with The Fatal Deceit, in 1988, at age 89, was sending a warning to future generations that by merely saying how bad things are, even proving how bad things are, as scientists are supposed to do, may not be enough against an undeterred enemy…

…for whom empirical truths mean nothing. And approved political truths mean everything.

I got the sense that Hayek only connected this last dot late in life, but in every book I’ve read of his about the left’s indifference to truth, I was asking that “why” question throughout and assumed he was as well. His arguments begged us to ask why…If these people are as you describe, and apparently growing in strength, then how can we not assume they have specific purposes in mind? They are not merely being contrarian. It was so when they were weak and in the minority in 1944, then when they were very shrill and vocal, in 1963 but growing stronger, and when they had taken over most of the Democrat Party, and all of academia, by 1988.

It will take me another 2500 words, somewhere else, to synthesize what Hayek proved, but his forty year trek to connecting that last is instructive.

In 1944 Hayek first published The Road to Serfdom in England. It was an intellectual assault on the premises of socialism, by stating that German Nazism was a child of German socialism. This caused quite a stir in England, since socialist economic thinking was in the academic majority, as it would remain throughout Europe after the war. So Hayek was in a minority, and as such could be derided in the patronizing language of the academy, which he more or less expected. He was 45 at the time. The socialists could afford to indulge him.

But later that year, The Road was also published in the US, where capitalism still ruled the academic roost, and socialism hid in the shadows under another name, “progressivism.” Here his book was wildly successful. A best seller. It was even condensed into a Reader’s Digest version, making Hayek more wealthy than he’d ever believed economics philosophers could ever be. And he was stunned at how many “ordinary people” (not of the academic class) would want to read his book. At the same time, however, Hayek was vilified mercilessly by the American Left in ways unthinkable in Europe, many of his vilest detractors (characteristic of American  leftists) boasting never to have read his book. At the time Hayek was a little bemused at this silliness.

Then, in 1963 Hayek wrote the introductory essay in Capitalism and the Historians which contained other essays by historians who had done battle with socialists into the 19th Century. What I drew from those essays was evidentiary in nature; that socialists would present false evidence to justify their arguments against capitalism and the industrial revolution, and when that evidence was proven false, would simply ignore it, then repeat it…without professional consequence.

If you recognize this as a common leftist tactic today, it is. And the source of it is the academy and its circle of protocols, for academicians to this day do not debate face to face, but rather exchange papers and arguments in erudite, and rarely-read journals. You can see why this style of “argument” favors the dissemination of falsehoods in science, for they are never really called out publicly by their peers.

As the years went on (Hayek was awarded a Nobel Prize for Economics in 1974) he and other honest philosophers and economists watched lie after lie proliferate after being publicly proved false. It was a never-ending drumbeat. I’m not sure when he first saw the political forces in the academy for what they were, but in his last book, (1988) he outlined to perfection their “anti-moral” (their words, not mine) purposes, to replace tradition and morality-based reason, logic, or any fealty to empirical truths.

With these threats in mind, at age 85, Hayek tried to organize a series of debates with prominent advocates of the socialist positions. Only no one on the Left would volunteer. For good reason, I’m sure, since in recent years such debates have been tried, with disastrous results for the Left. Al Gore refuses to defend any of his global warming positions publicly, as do atheists, who have been shown to be unable to prove things they say they know with certainty, philosophically or factually.

The Fatal Conceit was Hayek’s rendering into book form the arguments he would made in those debates. It is an as-easy-to-read-and-understand tract in reason and logic as you will ever find on the subject. I recommend you buy it, diagram or underline it, and keep on the bookshelf for ready reference.

But at some point you have to stop the talk…

…and knock the sonuvabitch’s block off.

This is what Hayek did, figuratively, in 1988, before he died. I think Hayek realized that the Left had an entirely different game in mind and that merely exchanging papers would not prevent the takeover of the American academy as has occurred since.

America’s leftist power structures are built by overlapping circles of interests, all, like the One Ring of Tolkien, subservient to the one Political ring of power. Like the Nine Rings of Men, the academy is the One Ring’s greatest asset, for it shapes all the others; the culture, the media, the economy, all science, from environment to psychology, education, even religion and morality, all in the name of an anti-morality they once proudly proclaimed.

Every human discipline and pursuit has been corrupted via the academy.

Only it has not been corrupted just for the sake of corruption, or meanness, but for a particular political purpose. While the time for that purpose to unfold is still unknown, that it is toward an authoritarian statist end is not. The people have sensed this for years in the same way animals sense a coming storm and today are wondering why our finest spokesmen have not, or will not not, warn us.

Unless men like Charles Krauthammer are of the “you can’t handle the truth” school about American citizens, I would suggest we need to see more than just calm words of process amidst these gathering storm clouds. This will not be fixed by normal process, unless by normal process you think the 75 year walk through the shadow of the valley of death the Soviet people trod to be “normal process.”

That boat has sailed, but not because I wish it, but because the Left has willed it. They are all in. And we know it, even if our spokesmen “betters” do not. But there are still good-better-best ways to accomplish this. And the better or best way is for there to be public proclamations of the Left’s guilt and crimes from the so-called “official establishment” conservatives in Congress and the pundit class.

This is what Ted Cruz has tried to do. And others. Start little fires. The Left has always had the ability to marginalize strong voices and representations to the people, simply by making them “unofficial.” This is why Krauthammer and Fox News can do things Rush Limbaugh cannot, in terms of lighting those fires. Yes, risks are involved , but Friedrich Hayek risked that by stepping outside the box in 1988, and Krauthammer, Fox News, and every member of Congress, even ex-presidents, risks the same should they do so today.

Still it needs to be done. Ted Cruz was the first. People want leaders, so they can be led. And Cruz has ponied up. They want action. And they deserve to be read into the game plan. After all, it’s their ship. And they can handle the truth, Charles, things I’ve learned out here amongst them while you’ve kept your distance from inside the Beltway.

Harry Reid will lie to a camera, a microphone, a reporter, but not to my face, because I will knock his goddam block off. My own view is that our best conservative minds are nestled inside a protective circle called the “Establishment” where they don’t have to fear being confronted with such an existential choice as knocking Reid’s block off. That circle protects them, but certain rules apply. The American people out here are the victims of that insidious arrangement, but if we are to survive as free people, that circle must be dismembered. Sorry, Charles, I can see no other way for this to play out. For the other 95% of America to make it, your circle must implode and be cast to the winds.

With all due respect to the 6-7 figure pundits who talk and talk, if you have chosen to bet your money with the wrong circle of friends, or the most risk-averse path, please just be quiet.

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