By Richard Sale, author Clinton’s Secret Wars and Traitors
The GOP candidates are all working hard to carry a system of negative qualities to complete perfection. They labor diligently to exclude from their minds any ideas or feelings they have in common with others. Have ever in your life heard so many lame-brained inanities, so many staggering misconceptions, so many clichés, so many antique attitudes, and so many grotesque and obsolete positions offered as genuine policy? Have you ever seen such a vast of expanse of historical ignorance incessantly masquerading as knowledge? Their opinions have nothing to do with the merit of a case, but are put forward only as a promotion of the narrow agenda of their party. It’s a disgrace enough to be stupid but to take pride in being stupid and praise it to the unwary as virtue, demands a special gift, and the Republicans truly have it.
Think of their record. (They never do). But in foreign policy, for example, they are always on the wrong side of History. Never mind Palin and her inability to explain why we have two Koreas, all we have to do is remember how the GOP, through Hoover, was urging “peace with dictators” in 1929, ignoring FDR’s description Hitler “as an enemy of the human race.” Or think of today’s candidates urging that Iran be obliterated and its innocent people slaughtered, ignoring the fact that Iran's citizens are not any more evil than Israel’s. Or think of them as urging an invasion of Syria and the creation of democracy there, ignoring the fact that their party invaded Iraq under completely false pretenses and made it unstable. Or think of how they are praising the liberation of Libya, ignoring the fact that that country is a now torturing, mutilating and murdering its rivals even as those factions are busy partitioning it. In other words, just ignore the facts, and instead, embrace dogma.
But one aspect of the candidates’ gibberish of fraud is their constant refrain about the necessity of tax cuts and smaller government -- Reagan’s, “Government is the problem not a solution.” In today’s campaigns, this remains the same worn needle in the same scratchy groove. Not only is the refrain very infirm and very aged, it is false. The whole pretense of the GOP being a party of invulnerable strength going it alone and taking the line of most resistance shows the candidates’ ignorance of history that is nothing less than a disgraceful.
It is a bit repulsive in a Recession see that the new candidates are abject apologists for Capitalism. A new book by Allan Meltzer, who since 1957 has been teaching about capitalism at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said in it: “Capitalism is the only is the only system known to humanity that increases both growth and freedom.” As a result, he says, far from ending, capitalism has spread to “formerly socialist or communist enclaves such as Eastern Europe, India, and even China.”
This is what the GOP ninnies believe. They believe in the unregulated profit system. In spite of the catastrophes of 1929-31or 2008, they believe the system has suffered no major setback. To them, its principles of the free market are thoroughly sound. Period. Yes, the government reluctantly had to act here and there to prevent “abuses’ but capitalism on its own would minister more and more to human welfare. Government had only to say out of the way and let free market forces to their work.
The GOP always makes itself the heroes of its own tables but unfortunately the facts are almost always the reverse of the pretense. Big Business portrays itself as the flower of the American Character, something that epitomizes national greatness and justifies, the ruthless worship of strength. Unfortunately this is wrong. In spite of GOP arguments, centralization of Government does not result I socialism. On the contrary, the government acted to help Big Business to become what it is.
It is a commonplace that at the end of the Civil War, the rapid expansion of the country resulted in an increasing insufficiency and dependence of rural communities and families. Not only were companies and enterprises coalescing, but the government was too.
According to historians like Charles Beard and Hofstadter, as the energies of society moved more and more toward centralization, a chief economic engine of national growth in those days was the railroads. It was thanks to extravagant loans from the federal government that the consolidation of the railroad moved to completion. The West could not have been settled but for the government. For example, the protection of the U.S. Army against marauding Indians could not have been done by private companies. Without huge government loans, combined with the investment and speculative activities of Eastern capitalists and corporations, the West would have remained an empty promise for years to come.
The immense profits reaped by companies by the expansion of the West fueled more centralization. According to Beard, America entered the days of the “spoils men,” and thanks to their unbridled activities of robber barons, we saw the emergence of companies like Standard Oil and The Carnegies Steel Corporation. Overall national growth rested on the extension of American markets, but what is left out is the fact that federal government protection, “assured the unity of American markets and their strength.”
Big Business liked Big Government as long as it aided and abetted its own efforts. As business got more and more huge, so was government also growing, its increase power due not to questionable dealings, but mainly because of the Federal judiciary. And here the ironies are so thick one almost gags. Big Business was not only not an enemy of Big Government, it was its accomplice. In fact, Big Business resorted to Big Government in order to stay big. The issue centered on the ownership of property.
Until the late 19th century, each state defined its own rules of property and determined what limits there should be on its use. The passage of the Fourteen Amendment changed this. The Amendment was passed to establish and sustain the civil rights of newly emancipated slaves, but the Amendment did something more. Under the 14th amendment the final guarantor of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness in America was not Big Business, it was the federal judiciary! The judiciary emerged as final appeal of business justice. The Supreme Court wielded the power, and for the huge, ungovernable, impregnable business giants, the amendment came just in time.
Because under the authority of the states, any sort of coherent system for governing the rights of property was impossible. To the eyes of Big Business, the states were always doing things that offended the rights of property -- its regulation and operation -- and a flood of state laws challenged or undermined the rights of property nationwide. There were endless conflicts over regulation and taxation and state politicians swamped the big companies with their endless lawsuits. In spite of what you hear today’s candidates, Big Business flew to the Supreme Court like a panicked swallows to shelter
With the onset of Big Business anguish, the views of the Court on property rights dramatically changed. For example, the Supreme Court decided that while state authorities could regulate the rates of the railroad companies, they could mot fix the rates so low as to deprive the companies of their property “without due process.” The state had to allow “a reasonable profit” to the companies. Suddenly the corporation lawyers thronged the Supreme Court like the crowds at Jackson’s inauguration, calling for protection against the property interests of Big Business, soliciting the encouragement and support of the Supreme Court. Over time. After hard fought battles, the power of the states over matters of property within their borders was reduced to a faint echo of their former force. Corporations were seen as citizens, and when they conducted interstate business, they came under federal jurisdiction.
As the federal courts grew more hostile labor and labor movements, they became more conservative, issuing injunctions against the labor strikes and trying to derail any effort at corporate reform. Big Business did not complain about Big Government back then.