Go Galt, young man! What follows is a guest essay by Bill Reader.
Outwitting the Inevitable
I’ve seen some rumblings in various places… most recently on the comments in Steve Green’s post “The Letter of the Law”… from conservatives who are uncomfortable with collaborating with plans aimed specifically at making the economic situation worse. There are two complaints that I see. One is that people feel it’s a betrayal of our principles. The other is that people note that Obama is destroying the economy, and the country in general, very well on his own. I’ll deal with the latter, more specific issue first, and then tie it to former objection later.
If it seems to you that Obama can destroy the country just fine by himself, well, you’re right. A collapse will eventually come whether we help it along or not, and in the most general sense, our actions ultimately lead to the same conclusion. The question we should be concerned with right now is not whether the collapse will come, but how quickly. Leaving things as they are, and supposing we continued in a business-as-usual manner and worked constantly to support the ever-weakening economy, we could squeeze maybe a couple more decades out of the current state of affairs. But understand this… we might hold up the decline, and perhaps have one or two minor victories as we do, but for that entire time, the consequences of socialization and liberalism will always be somewhere in the distant future and overruled in people’s minds by the immediate government bribes. This has two direct implications. One is that the next 20 years or so would be experientially a lot like the last four, only starting from a worse and worse point all the time. To put it another way, you can look forward to a very long period of awful culminating in a collapse. The second is that by the time the consequences arrive (in the form of the aforementioned collapse), today’s college students will be middle-aged and their kids may well form a 2nd wave of brain-washed liberals, born and raised to love Uncle Sugar (this is, admittedly, a pessimistic outlook, but so far the generation seems to be trending more after the mostly-liberal Boomers than the mostly-conservative Generation Screwed). Everyone with a grain of common sense will be an old timer, and the principles we hold dear all but totally lost. I list this social attrition first because, while it is admittedly the more unpredictable factor, it is also potentially the most important. That’s because the social stakes are much higher. Everything truly essential to the spirit of America is in her culture and people. As a thought experiment, consider this: if half of America were to disappear tomorrow, but the half that was left had a solid understanding of objective reality and human nature… the overriding ideals of conservatism… the chances of reconstruction would be very good. If they did not, it’s very easy to predict there would be serious trouble. In the same way, though it’s hard to know how society will move in 20 years, it’s a cinch that the outcome will powerfully effect America’s ability to weather the collapse. And frankly, the current long-term indicators are bleak… we shouldn’t candy-coat it.
But even if you disregard the destruction of the essentials of American culture, a longer time to the collapse has practical effects as well. The longer the Obama administration (and any administration like it) is left in control, the more the economy slips into mercantilism. Hence, the more our private sector will be worn down, the more businesses will be deliberately attacked because they donated to the “wrong” campaign, or be taken over a la GM. The more businesses will be started under the auspices of the federal government a la Soylandra, and the more that the limited number that survive will be beholden to the federal government. The longer businesses have to weather this economy, the more it eats into the money that they’re holding in reserve, and hence, the more go bankrupt in the interim or else become so weakened they must also become beholden to the government.
But now we come to brass tacks. If we can precipitate collapse sooner rather than later, these effects of attrition will be curtailed and we will have the raw materials we need to rebuild, both socially and physically. They’re counting on us helping to maintain society for a while longer so that things grind slowly to a halt, and we expend all of our most valuable resources on the way to the collapse. This is, in a sense, a poisoned pawn… it plays on our naturally rebellious tendencies as individualists and tries to tempt us into taking an obvious approach that constructs our own long-term demise. But we can take the action they have not accounted for… push events sharply the other direction and precipitate the collapse somewhere in the next few years rather than several decades from now. Hence, we go Galt/mini-Galt as circumstances allow, and stop feeding the government and the economy by refusing to create wealth. And along the same lines, we use any loophole or trick the system leaves available to bleed it even more. Max out your deductions, stopping inflow, and maximize the penalties you can inflict on government through any means available, increasing outflow.
In part, this is turning Cloward-Piven against its creators. It’s an effective way to destroy a government, it’s just that the liberals always seem to forget that they’re deeply entrenched in the government getting destroyed. However, while Cloward-Piven was designed to destroy capitalism, this strategy is designed to modify Cloward-Piven in a way that saves capitalism. Does any of this make it a betrayal of our principles? Of course not. This is a strategy, a tactic, regardless of whether it has been previously associated with a set of political beliefs. Most tactics aren’t intrinsically good or bad, because they are a tool… they can be appropriated and modified for use in the name of good or bad causes. The ultimate goal is still a world where government is limited and human freedom is maximized, but for a finite period in the interim, we must take specific, strategic actions in order to realize it. The actions in question, incidentally, are not especially contradictory with conservative ideals. We want smaller government, so taking actions to weaken the established government is a perfectly logical step for us. You might say it ultimately renders more power into the hands of Uncle Sam, but remember that the purse strings will eventually make so much hash of any political power they may accrue from instability, and our major target is the purse strings.
This strategy, as I understand it, is known on the internet as the “Let it Burn” strategy, but I prefer to think of it as the “Genie Strategy”, along the lines of the expression “be careful what you wish for”. The takeaway is that we are not trying to leave the government in control, but to overburden the federal government financially, to sufficient degree that it is incapable of maintaining control. Furthermore, we hope to do this in a short, sharp time-frame, to maintain as much of our social and physical capital for the reconstruction of America as possible. And you may hold your own opinions on the matter, but I think that given the immense and probably soon-to-be-rising interest costs, massive debt, and a dog’s breakfast of an entitlement system, we have a very good chance of victory on this front.