One of the most disturbing things about Barack Obama’s reign of lawless executive power is that it has people fantasizing about outright totalitarian dictatorship, and not in a faculty-lounge-B.S. kind of way. We’ve always had to put up with the likes of Thomas Friedman at the New York Times rhapsodizing about the joys of Chinese authoritarianism – provided a duly accredited Democrat gets to be America’s temporary dictator, of course – but now we’ve got Jesse Myerson at Rolling Stone daydreaming about hard-core communism as the solution to America’s ills.
He’s not fooling around, either. He wants the government to guarantee a job and income for every single person, and seize all private property to overthrow capitalism, although he would generously allow the Glorious Peoples’ Republic of America to rent the land back to private individuals… as long as everyone is clear that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the ultimate landlord:
Ever noticed how much landlords blow? They don’t really do anything to earn their money. They just claim ownership of buildings and charge people who actually work for a living the majority of our incomes for the privilege of staying in boxes that these owners often didn’t build and rarely if ever improve. In a few years, my landlord will probably sell my building to another landlord and make off with the appreciated value of the land s/he also claims to own – which won’t even get taxed, as long as s/he ploughs it right back into more real estate.
Think about how stupid that is. The value of the land has nothing to do with my idle, remote landlord; it reflects the nearby parks and subways and shops, which I have access to thanks to the community and the public. So why don’t the community and the public derive the value and put it toward uses that benefit everyone? Because capitalism, is why.
And the wise and loving State will fix all of that because it really cares about the people, man. Politicians are completely devoid of greed or ambition, and their brilliant plans always work perfectly. Just ask the doctor who spent two hours on hold with the ObamaCare commissars on Friday waiting for approval to perform surgery.
Much of this idiocy is based on a religious faith in the absolute moral and intellectual superiority of the Ruling Class. They are the avatars of the people, the executors of the general will. What is owned by the government belongs to “the public,” and is used for their common good by selfless and brilliant central planners who went to all the right schools. Capitalism, on the other hand, is portrayed as the unending theft of The People’s time and resources by a procession of robber barons.
I guess it’s possible for deeply stupid people to keep believing this swill as long as they completely ignore what actually happens when property and control over individual lives is handed over to the Ruling Class elite, which is given enough deadly force to make the reforms Myerson calls for. (He seems blissfully unaware of how many people the government would have to shoot, in order to steal all the private property in America for the good of the people it didn’t perforate, or force everyone into indentured servitude for their mandatory employment and income.) I never miss an opportunity to invite those obsessed with “income inequality” to visit a communist country and check out the difference between how the apparatchiks of the regime live, versus the common standard of living. Now that’s what I call income inequality! And if you try to escape from it, you’ll be jailed or killed.
Over at Politico, Michael Auslin wonders if “American needs a king.” He’s actually talking about a ceremonial royal figurehead separate from the functional head of government, basically living Obama’s life of celebrity luxury without the dictatorial executive power our beloved super-President has been using to wreck the country. Instead of an Empty Chair, Obama could be the Empty Throne. I can’t tell from the article if he thinks this would be a term-limited elected position, or a lifetime hereditary appointment.
But Auslin’s musings about the need for some kind of unified “national consensus” government put us right back on the road to smiley-face totalitarianism, where the government controls everything for the good of the people, and we do away with “gridlock” by boiling representative government down to one nationally-elected benevolent dictator with a rubber-stamp legislature:
As the only nationally elected official, the president has become a symbol of the country. Such symbols, whether in a democracy, monarchy, or authoritarian state, must serve a purpose above politics, both at home and abroad. Yet that is impossible for a U.S. president who is head of his own government, putative head of his political party and invariably a competitive, partisan politician. For example of just how awkward this can be, hours after a mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington last September, President Obama unleashed a blisteringly critical speech on the budget, accusing the Tea Party faction in Congress of promising “economic chaos” and questioning whether Republicans were “willing to hurt people just to score political points.”
Maybe what Auslin is driving at is the need for an entirely symbolic figure who could divert and ground those passions for trans-partisan national unity, leaving the messy business of the representative Republic to grind along with fewer calls for totalitarian submission to a benevolent authoritarian regime. But in practice, people would expect the King of America to actually have power and get stuff done. We already hear frequent charges from Democrats that Republican resistance to Obama’s agenda is either tantamount to, or literally, treason. The King of America would never settle for a purely ceremonial role; he’d “suggest” certain policies, and his ardent followers would insist on obedience… with increasingly violent frustration if resistance continued.
We should be running away from this “nationally elected symbol of the country” stuff, and remembering that the chief executive has a sharply limited role in a carefully balanced, separated government. There are very few things on which the citizens of a vast and prosperous nation should express a “unified” opinion, backed up by the coercive force necessary to make dissenters submit.