Retreat From Reality: Some Obvious Observations

I am amazed (but shouldn’t be) at how far the American political system has evaded the acceptance of reality and how quickly the chickens are coming home to roost:

1. The War on Drugs. This is clearly a fool’s endeavor  now that Mexico is being destabilized and the US border towns will more and more feel the results. The war is especially counterproductive in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Afghan poppy farmers look to the Taliban for protection against Nato’s destruction of their livelihood.  (And by the way, Taliban need not equal al Qaeda if the US were a bit clever.)

2. The War on Terror.  Even CNN is acknowledging that al-Qaeda is an ideology or state of mind and that its techniques are available on the internet and even in London — and, I bet, in Brooklyn too. What hope is there of preventing any nut anywhere from doing real damage? It is very similar to the issue of the importation of illegal drugs. Close one route; they find another.

American tolerance for “terrorism” at home is almost zero. The US government will bomb temporary hideouts and these will move.  The fear will more and more conquer us. I am reminded of the brilliant article by William Graham Sumner, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain” (1899). He argued that although the US won the Spanish-American War militarily, we lost it to Spain ideologically. We acquired colonies and thereby betrayed our birthright.

Al-Qaeda may not be a match militarily but it will more and more cause us to erode our liberty and sanity. In all the talking heads yaking on TV very little is said about the underlying causes of our problem: American military and diplomatic interventionism in the affairs of the Middle East. They do not hate us because of  ”our liberty.”

3. The Bankruptcy of the Welfare State. As deficits soar to unprecedented levels and  while the old entitlements are in trouble, a major new healthcare entitlement is about to be passed. “Liberals” are pushing to their fantasy of (low) quality healthcare for all.  Stubborn unemployment will give rise to more calls for stimulus. The stimulus crowd is already getting nervous about the wind-down of spending in many areas. The government refuses to pull back or privatize Fannie and Freddie but will throw more money at it because of “the American Dream.”

If it weren’t for the fact that many innocent and good people are (and will be) suffering, I would simply look with intellectual satisfaction at the playing out of the natural and foreseeable consequences of bad policies.

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About Mario Rizzo 75 Articles

Affiliation: New York University

Dr. Mario J. Rizzo is associate professor of economics and co-director of the Austrian Economics Program at New York University. He was also a fellow in law and economics at the University of Chicago and at Yale University.

Professor Rizzo's major fields of research has been law-and economics and ethics-and economics, as well as Austrian economics. He has been the director of at least fifteen major research conferences, the proceedings of which have often been published.

Professor Rizzo received his BA from Fordham University, and his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago.

Visit: Mario Rizzo's Page

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