Saturday, November 29, 2008

Experts and the Silence on Rights

Many commentators on 'the right' complain that so-called liberals, especially several on the Supreme Court, have been guilty of printing press rights. That is, they invent rights that never existed. But a more serious problem in contemporary times may be that Leftists simply ignore the issue entirely.

Look at the viros. They don't often these days argue that animals have rights. Nor do they argue that those rights are just as important as humans'. Instead, they just ignore the issue entirely. They simply assert: "Here's something valuable that we want to protect. Therefore, the government should protect it."

That their value assertion is totally arbitrary and subjective is one thing. That would be bad enough. But the non-sequitur that anything valuable should be protected by government intervention is downright dangerous and it's the most common argument made today.

Think of all the trouble this saves them.

No need to engage in abstruse and endless debates about the nature of rights. Just slide in the idea on the sly that the purpose of government is to protect. Who could object to that? Just make sure to stay away from answering "to protect what?"

No need to study the history of the Constitution or capitalism, nor how they have contributed to creating a country of plenty. Focus instead on how much has not been accomplished that most everyone agrees would be nice to have.

Ignorance is a great tool for such people. How many, after all, can afford the time (even if they had the inclination) to become an expert in law, science, and economics? Instead, just let the 'experts' tackle all the problems. Be sure to have those experts — since, it's argued, experts in the private sphere are 'tainted' by self-interest — be in government.

That hand off of power to a cadre of so-called experts has been tried in America before. Progressives from just after the turn of the 20th century through the end of the Roosevelt administration (with a respite during the Coolidge years 1923-1929) argued for government by the elite. Naturally, their view of 'elite' was a mixed bag of statist ideology and actual expertise.

We're seeing a similar phenomenon today as Paulson-Bernanke continue to wreck the economy and Obama selects his Cabinet and advisers. The results will be similar. All ignore the issue of rights. Observe that in all the bailout mania taking place everyone talks about whether it will work, not whether the Feds have the right to try in the first place. Like FDR to Bush's Hoover, Obama will try the same New Deal policies, this time on steroids. Those policies will fail and no one will ask whose rights were violated, only whether the experts got it right or wrong.

Down that road lies the tyranny of technocrats and unelected regulators in executive agencies with Congress aiding and abetting the crimes at every step. We're already far down that road and despite all the warning signs of an impending train wreck, there is no stop light in sight.

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