The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Walter Russell Mead On Liberalism

Posted on | January 26, 2012 | 9 Comments

by Smitty

His article is long enough to merit a hard copy and several reads, but here is one of the meatier portions, emphasis mine:

There are several ugly truths that the country (and especially those states whose governments are bigger and bluer than the rest) must soon face. One concerns taxes. The debate today at the elite level is about whether the rich should pay more. Given the historic lows of marginal and capital gains tax rates, this is a debate of consequence for reasons having to do with fairness. But it distracts attention from a more fundamental political reality: Voters simply will not be taxed to cover the costs of blue government, and in most cases they will vote out of office anyone who suggests otherwise. That, at base, is what the Tea Party movement is all about. Voters with insecure job tenure and, at best, defined-contribution rather than defined-benefit pensions simply refuse to pay higher taxes so that bureaucrats can enjoy lifetime tenure and secure pensions.
Second, voters will not accept the shoddy services that blue government provides. Government must respond to growing consumer demand for more user-friendly, customer-oriented approaches. The arrogant lifetime bureaucrat at the Department of Motor Vehicles is going to have to turn into the Starbucks barista offering service, and options, with a smile.
Third, government must reconcile itself to its declining ability to manage a post-blue economy with regulatory models and instincts rooted in the past. We need to be thinking about structural changes based on properly aligned incentive architecture, not regulatory systems based on command protocols.

All three of these good points orbit the notion of information.

Taxes are so complicated as to be unworkable. Past some crossover income, one wonders if it is possible to do them correctly. Let’s get the question out there: Why must the 16th Amendment exist? If we can put a moon on the man, why cannot we devise a system whereby every state is billed by DC annually, and let the states compete for citizens to pay the taxes? Pardon my rampant capitalism, but there it is. The counterargument would be that striking the 16th Amendment and nuking the IRS merely moves the problem of funding the government. Sure, my plan makes government revenues likely crater. Bug; feature, who can say? But tax reform should be simplified, and the information about who lives where, for tax purposes, should be opaque to DC. The federal government has no business operating below the multi-state and international level.

Services should be located at the appropriate government level. In addition to emancipating our wallets, we absolutely must get the federal government out of education, retirement, housing, and individual health delivery. Government always will be a solution in search of a problem, and, like kudzu, bureaucracy needs some machete lovin’. The information age is about realizing that paying for a bureaucratic mob to shuffle from meeting to meeting, staring at PowerPoint slides all day (I’m not hinting that Dilbert is set in a building in DC, I’m telling you straight away.)

Economic management is a fine oxymoron, but what we seem to need is more economic liberty, and something other than the Federal Reserve. While Ron Paul may not be too electable, that doesn’t render his economic ideas less than 100% spot on. You can tell the potency of Paul’s truth by the studious way it is avoided in the debates. If Paul is wrong, our insane media clown posse owes us a thorough discussion of the topic and a rational examination of the various candidate ideas. Government’s appropriate role is referee, but too often it is suiting up and playing for its chosen side, as Schweitzer details.

Later in his article, formatting mine:

Finally, Americans want to believe that all four goals work together:

  • that defending their security,
  • promoting their prosperity,
  • preserving their freedom and equality and
  • fulfilling their global mission

are all part of an integrated package and worldview—and that the commonsense reasoning of the average American can understand the way the pieces fit together. They are, in other words, looking for more than a set of unrelated policies that accomplish certain discrete goals: They want those policies to proceed from an integrated and accessible vision that meshes with their understanding of traditional American values and concerns.

I hope Mead understands that rational thought, and the information that a rational mind can manage, are under daily assault from these Postmodern jackwagons.

When we have scientists and public figures trying to blow the global warming myth; the overpopulation myth; the raaaaacism myth; the truth/gender/family as social construct myths up the public backside, we face a much greater struggle than merely figuring out what shape Liberalism 5.0 is going to take. It’s a war, Mead.



9 Responses to “Walter Russell Mead On Liberalism”

  1. GAHCindy
    January 26th, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    “moon on the man”? Typing too fast, my friend? I like it. I think you should keep it. I’d like to moon the Man myself, sometimes, but I’m a lady. 😉

  2. Anonymous
    January 26th, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    Absolutely repeal both the 16th and 17th amendments, which gave more power to the central govt and less to the states:

    1. 16th amendment took fiscal power away from the sovereign states by allowing the Feds to bypass them in order to fund itself

    2. 17th amendment took legislative power away from the sovereign states by allowing Senators to answer to their Party or to their Biggest Donors – and not to the state legislatures who elected them

  3. "Mimsy Were the Borogoves"
    January 26th, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    “A customer service model of federal spending”…

    ““If we can put a moon on the man, why cannot we devise a system whereby every state is billed by DC annually, and let the states compete for citizens to pay the taxes?” Moving from a system where the federal government taxes individuals to one where …

  4. Public Intellectuals, Private Interests | Daily Pundit
    January 26th, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    […] Walter Russell Mead On Liberalism : The Other McCain I hope Mead understands that rational thought, and the information that a rational mind can manage, are under daily assault from these Postmodern jackwagons. […]

  5. Anonymous
    January 26th, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    Walter Russell “I will choke to death on my own blood before I will suggest that perhaps a conservative approach is worth a try…” Mead

  6. What Comes After Post-Modernism? Post Post-Modernism? « The Rio Norte Line
    January 26th, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    […] to two folks I like: Smitty at The Other McCain and Walter Russell Mead. 55.957870 -3.199357 Share this:FacebookEmailPrintRedditTwitterStumbleUponDiggLinkedInLike […]

  7. Adjoran
    January 26th, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

    I would just relentlessly mock you for thinking a machete has a chance against kudzu (“over there- no, look, over there – and there, and there and there and AAAAAaaaaaaaa….”), but it seems insufficient for the grandiosity of the conception, so I’ll just say, “Get the 16th Amendment repealed, and then we’ll talk, mmmkay?”

    2/3 of the House, 2/3 of the Senate, 38 state legislatures.  That’s what repeal takes. 

    We’re debating whether we could use the same reconciliation trick to repeal ObamaCare as they used to pass it because we don’t think we’ll have 60 votes to stop a filibuster.  Your plan needs 67 votes in the Senate and 290 votes in the House.

    I’ll stop bugging you now, ’cause I can see you’ve got lots of work to do.  If you need me, I’ll be in the real world – just wake up and smell the coffee.

  8. smitty
    January 26th, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

    That’s just me, tweaking the quiche. 😉

  9. smitty
    January 26th, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

    Yeah, that Mead.