The Associated Press reported on January 11th what was otherwise an amusing episode in the saga of the Somalian pirate infestation off the east coast of Africa.
“Five of the pirates who hijacked a Saudi supertanker drowned with their share of a $3 million ransom…the day after the bundle of cash was apparently dropped by parachute onto the deck of the ship….The drowned pirates’ boat overturned in rough seas….Abukar Haji, uncle of one of the dead pirates, blamed the naval surveillance for the accident that killed his pirate nephew Saturday.”
“’The boat the pirates were traveling in capsized because it was running at high speed because the pirates were afraid of an attack from the warships patrolling around.’”*
The late pirates needn’t have worried that any one of the American, French, German, British, Indian, or Chinese naval vessels patrolling the area would attack them. The naval coalition’s ineffectual gunboat diplomacy hasn’t made a dent in the scale of piracy in the region. The standing order forbids those vessels from firing on pirate boats unless fired upon by the pirates — and what pirate would be crazy enough to fire on a warship that could blow his dingy or speedboat to smithereens? The article reports that pirates attacked over 100 ships last year and that hundreds of sailors remain hostages. Pirates collected over $30 million in ransoms in 2008, a testament to the moral impracticality of the coalition’s multinational policy.
No government today is going to instruct its navy to reduce the pirates’ hideouts and bases of operation along Somalia’s coastline to rubble and floating debris, because no government is going to risk calls for an immediate ceasefire by the United Nations and negotiations. If it ignores such calls, and presses on with the legitimate goal of exterminating an aggressor or a gang of thugs, it would immediately be labeled the brutal aggressor or insensitive villain. Incredibly, that is exactly what has happened as a result of Israel’s retaliation against Hamas in Gaza. Hamas and the pirates are seen as the “underdogs.” But not all “underdogs” are noble; in history, many of them deserved to be extinguished.
However, to Uncle Abukar, piracy is a legitimate career choice which shouldn’t be put in jeopardy by the threat of retaliatory force, as well as to the author of the AP article, Mohamed Olad Hassan, who penned this revealing observation:
“Piracy is one of the few ways to make money in Somalia.”
Make money? Extortion is a form of theft, and coupled with armed robbery and kidnapping on the high seas, one has a description of piracy. “Making money” is a description of productive, wealth-creating work. But Uncle Abukar and Mr. Hassan exhibit the same grasp of the economics and morality of looters as that of the pirates, outgoing president George W. Bush, president-elect Barack Obama, and Congress. The extortionate, unmitigated looting of the private sector of the economy by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulsen and his ilk in Congress and the White House in the so-called “bailout” differs from the Somalian pirates’ looting only in scale. The pirates “made” $30 million. The federal government has “made” trillions and stands to “make” trillions more if Obama pushes his “stimulus” program of public works and subsidies through Congress.
The government can “make” money only by stealing it. Like the pirates, it can “make” that money only by employing physical force or the threat of it. It can steal it directly with coercive tax collection, or indirectly through inflation. In the next administration, we will experience large doses of both methods.
President-elect Obama, when he takes the oath of office on January 20th, will swear to protect the United States and uphold the Constitution. But as he made clear throughout his campaign, and has made clear in a number of television interviews and at press conferences since winning the election, he promises to do no such thing. Instead, he has promised to continue the federal government’s policy of “saving” the country by looting the productive private sector of wealth and manpower in a program that will make his hero, Franklin D. Roosevelt, look like a rank amateur. He will, with Congress’s help, add over a trillion dollars to the over trillion dollars rung up by the Bush administration. Hypothetically, this represents a mortgage on the lives of two or three unborn generations. Hypothetically, because the economy and the country will collapse long before our elective oligarchy and its bureaucratic minions present impoverished Americans with the tax bill.
The point here is deviously simple: The statist economics of Obama, his fiscal appointees, Bush, and virtually every government economist is no more advanced or “sophisticated” than that of the Somalia pirates, or of the cargo cultists of the South Pacific. Wealth exists. It came into existence somehow — somehow, because Obama and fellow politicians and bureaucrats, being career public “servants,” do not have a first-hand acquaintance with productive work. Wealth, savings, plans, futures, investments all can be magically taken from one person and given to another (redistributed), and a moral end will have been achieved. And when all the wealth, savings, plans, futures and investments have been consumed by the non-producing parasites, and all the new environmental and tax policies have made it impossible for producers to replace them, what then? Neither Obama nor his fiscal appointees can think that far in advance. What is unthinkable to them is that the government is the cause of whatever economic crisis they wish to solve. Intentions, not facts, govern their statements and actions.
What of those who have been robbed or ruined by such intentions? It is Obama’s explicit policy that they should endure their involuntary sacrifices as a matter of duty and in the name of “change.” As he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC last Sunday: “Everybody is going to have to give, everybody is going to have to have some skin in the game.”
This is gangster talk. Yet our slobbering, fawning news media accepts it and the facetious thinking behind it with wide-eyed rapture. Even when this faux-naif back-pedals on his promises, the news media glosses over it with forgiveness or ignorance. When he hedges on an issue, they grin in expectation of some wonderful surprise he has in store. Obama won’t need a Department of Disinformation or an Orwellian Ministry of Truth to propagate his economic illiteracy and deceptions. He has the worshipping news media in his pocket willing to wait on his every word.
Well, Adolf Hitler said the same thing when he nationalized Germany’s economy in much the same fashion that Bush has nationalized America‘s. Bush is to Herbert Hoover as Obama is to FDR. Hoover attempted to save “free enterprise” by regulating it, subsidizing failed industries and businesses, and erecting tariff walls to “encourage“ it. Every president since then has attempted to “fine tune” or “manage” the economy, discounting or ignoring the element of volition in men when they make choices. Some liberal and conservative pundits claim that Bush abandoned his “free market” principles when he pressured Congress to approve the “bailout” of the auto industry, oblivious to the fact that Bush professed no such principles.
Another clue to Obama’s intentions are the character of his cabinet and staff and the character of his appointees to it. To Obama, it is a “dream team”; for anyone who has wealth to confiscate or freedom to abridge, it is a nightmarish wrecking crew. The cabinet is about as far-left as was Saul Alinsky, the real life Ellsworth Toohey (the collectivist villain in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead) who propounded “community activism” and whose doctrines and methods Obama swallowed whole.
There is Larry Summers, nominated to be head of Obama’s National Economic Council, and whose redistributionist philosophy is as primitive as a Somalian pirate’s.
There is Timothy Geithner, currently head of the New York Federal Reserve, and nominated to be Secretary of the Treasury, who has confessed ignorance of why companies fail (his mantra: Don’t blame government interventionist policies, we had nothing to do with it!). It is not so ironic that he will also be boss of the Internal Revenue Service, and that at his confirmation hearings it was revealed that he failed to file tax returns for several years. He said he was “sorry,” and the Senate let him off the hook. For the average taxpayer, however, being “sorry” or having made an “honest mistake” is never good enough to the IRS. But then, Congress is now just Obama’s extended Chicago corruption “machine.”
There is Rahm Emanuel, the new chief of staff, who has all the charisma and charm of Frank Nitti, Al Capone’s “Enforcer” and who is a career power-luster (and enemy of the Second Amendment). He will be in charge of ensuring that all of Obama’s cabinet and staff stay in line, and in particular that none of them has ever owned or even touched a gun. After all, Obama wants to make sure that no one can fight or talk back, inside or outside of the White House. As the magazine America’s First Freedom reported in January:
“Time magazine noted Emanuel’s reputation as a ’profane, hyperactive attack dog.’ His tactics and style are fully consistent with the world of Chicago machine politics, from which he and Obama sprung.”
One can imagine that Emanuel will equip his office with a baseball bat.
There is Eric Holder, Obama’s choice for Attorney General, who assured listeners at a convention of the American Constitution Society last summer that Obama would win the election and that the U.S.. would then be “run by progressives” — that is, by socialists. Or, by national socialists, if you will. The American Constitution Society is a left-wing organization founded to counter the influence of The Federalist Society, and its goal is to turn the absolute principles of the Constitution into positivist mush. That is, the Constitution can be whatever the collectivist of the moment wishes it to be. Holder, according to a Front Page Magazine article of December 18, was a member of the ACS Board of Advisors. Front Page cites a New York Times article of December 11 which observed that Holder and the Obama team “will turn to ACS members to fill subcabinet positions and judgeships.”
The balance of Obama’s designated cabinet and appointees is comprised of recycled Clinton-era officeholders or new unknowns who will work with him and Congress to legislate socialized medicine, radical environmentalism, volunteerism (e.g., his promise of a $4,000 college tuition “credit” to high school and college students who perform 100 hours a year of community service), and in creating new pork barrel jobs to “repair the infrastructure.” Shades of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Obama pledged during the campaign to fight Congressional earmarks. What the news media hasn’t realized — or perhaps doesn’t want to know, because that would put a brake on the giddiness — is that his whole domestic program is one mammoth earmark.
As for Obama’s foreign policy, his choice of Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State, that says it all. Doubtless she will strive to top Condoleezza Rice’s pragmatist foreign policy.
It is in the cards that his proposed economic policies will bankrupt the nation and lead to economic havoc. That will be the signal to call for totalitarian measures to bring “discipline“ to the anarchy. One can predict with certainty that Obama’s speedboat of controls, spending and nascent fascism will capsize in the rough seas of reality, and take its occupants and their ransom money with it. And a good portion of the country.
And then perhaps enough non-docile Americans will learn the hard way and agree with Ayn Rand that a welfare state will always lead to totalitarianism, and decide to do something about it.