Saturday, April 17, 2010


For many very good reasons Objectivists and others became very active and vocal on the issue of health care. Destroying our health care industry, in this case by attacking the health care insurance industry, gives the government more power in fundamental ways and undercuts our ability to enjoy our lives, or actually stay alive. ObamaCare needed to be stopped. It needs to be reversed.
In very much the same ways, Obama’s attack on our economy will have the same effect. With an economy hindered, we will have less time and strength to fight for our freedoms, we will have more people dependent upon the government and thus reluctant to stand up to him. We will have more lawlessness. We will have a bigger fight to wage.
Central to a modern economy is the financial industry. We have seen how important a sick financial industry is and what the results can do to not just the U.S. economy, but to the world economy. At this time, Obama’s main target is the banks. He is threatening to hamstring them, shrink them and limit their size, and place even more controls on them than any sector of our economy has seen. He is encouraging the international community to do the same.

In a recent radio speech, Obama said, "Every day we don't act, the same system that led to bailouts remains in place, with the exact same loopholes and the exact same liabilities. And if we don't change what led to the crisis, we'll doom ourselves to repeat it. Opposing reform will leave taxpayers on the hook if a crisis like this ever happens again."

All of that is true, but it isn’t the loopholes and liabilities in the banks that create the problem, but the government. This story needs to be told and distributed. We need the Tea Party people to know this, we need the population to know this.

I see two parts to our problem. One, many people see the health care fight as a universal one in which everyone has a stake. They do not see the same for the attack on the bankers. This is a case where Obama is using the standard tactic of divide and conquer. Not only that, but many people who support the resistance to ObamaCare view the bankers as villains, or view regulation of banks to be a minor, separate issue that will have little effect on themselves. It is an ignorance of economics and of how business functions.

Second, Objectivists have no better understanding of economics and the importance of finance. Generally, our understanding of economics is little better than that of the man in the street, and for basically the same reasons. Further, most have not seen a reason for looking into economics. We understand the importance of knowing something about capitalism as a political system. We also understand the importance of business creativity, production, and markets. But we know little about how it all works and how the various parts will effect our daily life. We are thus vulnerable.

Expanded bank regulation, especially the attempt to shrink the banks needs to be opposed with significant effort. We need to make clear that our ability to have freedom and prosperity depends upon strong, market-driven banks. That government interference in banking is detrimental to everything we hold dear. We cannot let Obama have a unopposed path to destroying the economy.

What to do? The same things we have done already for healthcare. Plus, learn. Ask questions.

In a recent PJTV program discussing the mid-April Tea Parties, Dr. Yaron Brook said that this is the time to stand and work for freedom. This point in time is the best opportunity that he has seen. He also said that it might be our last chance, that is, if we fail now, it will be more difficult and perhaps impossible in the future. He means that in the future we will be too busy trying to stay alive and the forces opposing us would be armed and unwilling to let us speak. One vital key to our economic health and political freedom is the financial industry. We must try to save it.


  1. I applaud your analysis. You have identified one of the "nerves" in our economy and society, and your call for action is appropriate.

    I think also there are additional factors. First, At least one activist needs to be a full-time specialist. Specialization is needed to acquire the sort of knowledge that an advocate must have to discuss applications of philosophical ideas as well as the philosophical ideas themselves. One example of such specialization is in-line activism.

    Dr. Paul Hsieh's work illustrates the point. Specialization involves accumulating (1) detailed knowledge of the subject matter, and (2) skill in discussing and debating the subject with various audiences. It isn't, as you know, enough to grasp the philosophical principles; one must also understand the technical details involved in applying the principles and how best to deliver the information to audiences.

    Second, someone -- possibly the specialist -- needs to be a leader. Most people in a movement are followers. A leader can be like a "seed crystal" dropped into a chemical solution that is almost saturated. Crystallization, which here means action, results.

    Diana Hsieh's work illustrates this point. A leader provides structure and the followers use that structure as a platform for their individual actions.

  2. Vert excellent points, Burgess. I do think that even "followers" need to have a better understanding of our economy than I find out there, but your points that a leader in each particular fight needs to be a specialist is important.

    We are still too small a movement to take on every battle. We need to pick our spots. I think that BO's attack on the banks should be one.

    Thank you, again, Burgess, for contributing your thoughts.

  3. I agree that people now need to know the truth about how important economics is and the real truth on the financial meltdown. That is why at a Tax Day tea party I handed out 50 copies of Misrepresenting "How We Arrived at This Moment" an article by Alex Epstein which appeared in the Financial Post, Canada in April of 09. I do a lot of that at Tea Parties.

    Nice blog. I'll be adding you to my blogroll at my personal blog Mike's Eyes (spotted by)later this month hopefully.