Skip to main content

Schiff, the Libertarian


The last collection of Bill Buckley’s columns, “Happy Days Were Here Again” (note the past tense), is subtitled “Reflections of a Libertarian Journalist.”

The book is about pretty much everything that interested Buckley, which is to say – it’s about everything.

But the subtitle is telling: “a libertarian journalist?”

Who knew?

Libertarianism has gotten a bad rap because it has been purposely, maliciously misunderstood, usually by pettifogging statists, the sort of people who believe that that the bread one earns by the sweat of one’s brow would be ever so much more tasty and nutritious if it fell to humankind like manna from heaven; or, better still, if it were first collected by demagogues in Washington DC and then parceled out to us, with a sizable bite taken by altruistic congresspersons, presidents and supreme court justices.

The libertarian is the guy who thinks most of the bread should remain with the brow that sweats, which is not to say that the poor should be fed from crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table. The poor, the libertarian believes, should be given a seat at the free market table. He is also the guy who, Buckley-like, believes that no business is too big to fail.

“I desire, perversely,” Buckley said in 1981 in a commencement address at the Cornell University Graduate School of Business, “to sing a song of praise to failure; as well as, of course, to success; and to urge that we reappraise the dialectical voltage generated by these two polarities… Public policy must tolerate, indeed anticipate, economic failure (emphasis original).”

Buckley’s notion is that the dialectical paring – success/failure – is not a mutually exclusive one: To the extent that societies make failure impossible, they make success impossible. To put it in other words: Abolish failure and you abolish risk taking; abolish risk taking and you abolish forward motion; abolish forward motion and you abolish progressive civilization, with all its attendant ills, including rich folk huddled together on Connecticut’s Gold Coast.

These perceptions often drive liberals batty because they are unwilling to surrender what has been for them a successful political narrative, part of which is that rich people are all Shylocks eager for their pound of flesh and that wealth creation is a zero sum game: When the rich lose, the poor win.

Peter Schiff is a libertarian economist who attained a measure of glory three years ago by forecasting the economic crises now upon us. Donors to his possible senatorial campaign think he might be able to start a mini-revolution in what has been called hyperbolically the greatest deliberative body on earth after he unhorses U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, who is not a libertarian, which is why Schiff’s donors recently ponied up the goodly sum of $ 880,777 in a money bomb.

He’s also a great tease.

Though Schiff has stuck his toe diffidently in the political waters, he has not yet taken the plunge into a pool now becoming, for Republicans vying for a senatorial seat, crowded. Dodd, an old political war horse, faces Rob Simmons, a moderate Republican veteran of the U.S. House, Sam Caligiuri, a state senator who has billed himself, somewhat like Schiff, as an agent of change in an epoch that appears to be in an anti-incumbent mood. And there is even a woman gladiator, World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, banging her shield and anxious to enter the fray.

Dodd, with a mild caveat, has been given a clean bill of health on U.S. Senate ethics rules violations by some senators who, poll show, are less trustworthy than clunker car salesmen. Though Dodd has been “exonerated” by his pals on the senate ethics committee, most of whom couldn’t find Al Capone if he were hiding under their beds, he has miles to go before he sleeps – and the woods are dark and deep.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Blumenthal Burisma Connection

Steve Hilton, a Fox News commentator who over the weekend had connected some Burisma corruption dots, had this to say about Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s association with the tangled knot of corruption in Ukraine: “We cross-referenced the Senate co-sponsors of Ed Markey's Ukraine gas bill with the list of Democrats whom Burisma lobbyist, David Leiter, routinely gave money to and found another one -- one of the most sanctimonious of them all, actually -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal."

Dave Walker, Turning Around The Misery Index

Dave Walker, who is running for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican Party ticket, is recognized by most credible political observers as perhaps the most over qualified candidate for Lieutenant Governor in state history.
He is a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame and for ten years was the Comptroller General of the United States. When Mr. Walker talks about budgets, financing and pension viability, people listen.
Mr. Walker is also attuned to fine nuances in political campaigning. He is not running for governor, he says, because he had moved to Connecticut only four years ago and wishes to respect the political pecking order. Very few people in the state think that, were he governor, Mr. Walker would know less about the finance side of government than his budget chief.

Murphy Stumbles

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has been roughly cuffed by some news outlets, but not by Vox, which published on April 16 a worshipful article on Connecticut’s Junior Senator, “The Senator of State: How Connecticut’s Chris Murphy, a rising Democratic star, would run the world.”
On April 15, The Federalist mentioned Murphy in an article entitled “Sen. Chris Murphy: China And The World Health Organization Did Nothing Wrong. The lede was a blow to Murphy’s solar plexus: “Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy exonerated China of any wrongdoing over the global pandemic stemming from the novel Wuhan coronavirus on Tuesday.
“’The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, is not because of anything the WHO [World Health Organization] did,’ said Murphy during a prime-time interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.”