Behind the ‘Smoke and Mirrors’

Did you get a “stimulus check”? How about one of those thousands of new government jobs created within the last few months? Are you a member of the United Auto Workers and through your pension fund a proud owner of the Chrysler Corporation? Are you looking forward to something similar in the General Motors “restructuring”? Perhaps, like Steve Rattner, the auto industry “czar” and advisor to the Treasury Secretary Geithner, you have received special dispensation and relaxation of zoning constraints on Martha’s Vineyard to build a $15 Million house. Have you mistakenly borrowed too much on your mortgage within the last few years but thankfully are getting a special refinancing made possible by a munificent Federal government? Are you watching the President’s meeting with 16 of his industry, union and other “economic” advisors to try and figure out what is going on in your country? Is the “transparency” of the current Federal administration still not enough for you to figure out what is going on and so you have just given up? You reflect on your life. You are still pretty well off, maybe. You have an income or a good job. You have lots of assets and personal skills. You are self-assured. You have confidence in your country and yourself and other Americans to get out of this damnable recession. You may not understand all that is going on but darn it, by pulling together you’ll make it. This is America!

(T)he people about us are unaware of what is really happening to them. They gaze fascinated at one or two superficialities, such as possessions and income and rank and other outworn conceptions. As long as these are kept intact, they are quite satisfied. But in the meantime they have entered a new relation; a powerful social force has caught them up. They themselves are changed. What are ownership and income to that? Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings.(Adolf Hitler to Hermann Raucschning, as quoted in The Ominous Parallels, Leonard Peikoff, 1982.)

In “German Socialism” as in Fascist Italy the appearance of a market economy (sometimes called “capitalism”) was kept in place. And it fooled a lot of high-placed people. There were many admirers of the Fascist political-economic model in the 1930s in United States and the so-called “corporatism” was adopted in many ways under the name of “industrial policy”. For a current example of one of the fools or “dummkopfs” see the article by Scott Sperling in today’s Wall Street Journal who sees “capitalism” in the strangest places.

Smoke and mirrors employed in Federal politics seems to have the desired effect of keeping everyone in one of the following states: confusion, fear, hopefulness or dependence. The bombilation created by the constant blur of activity of President Obama, supported by the noise of media acolytes in thrall creates much of the confusion. Reality does not reconcile with what the President is promising: his wishes become your commands, until you realize it can’t be done. Then you may feel fear, because you find you don’t really understand the “how” of getting it done. But you have hope, and perhaps, trust in the great leaders assembled in Washington today. Well, if so, you are ready to make the total transition to dependence.

For Big Businessmen and Elites

The nation’s businessmen retained the responsibility to produce and suffered the losses attendant on failure. The state determined the purpose and conditions of their production, and reaped the benefits; directly or indirectly, it expropriated all profits. “The time is past,” explained the Nazi Minister of Economics, “when the notion of economic self-seeking and unrestricted use of profits made can be allowed to dominate…. The economic system must serve the nation. (The Ominous Parallels, Leonard Peikoff, 1982.)

For Non-elites

As to Hitler’s pledges to the poorer groups: the Republic’s social insurance budgets were greatly increased, and a variety of welfare funds, programs, agencies and policies were introduced or expanded, including special provisions for such items as unemployment relief, workmen’s compensation, health insurance, pensions, …. (The Ominous Parallels, Leonard Peikoff, 1982.)

United States is not completely “socialized” yet, but as Leonard Peikoff was able to communicate in his scholarly book, the trend is indeed, ominous.

Copyright 2009 Edward Podritske

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