Pragmatically Distributed avoids tabloid sensationalism.
And not because we wouldn’t fit such a role. We would, in fact, be great in it.
If we were so inclined (we are not) we would have a Twitter account updated continuously with 140 character sensationalism, memorable hashtags, and useful advice scandalous in nature: How to avoid prison for driving a woman in a Model T across state lines for moral purposes, how to smuggle bottles of Dom Pérignon past customs on your return trip from France during Prohibition, what Bible passages according to your local Reverend justify the use of strikebreakers (hint – they are primarily, but not exclusively, in the Old Testament.)
It would make for the most scandalous horror-mongering the Union has seen since Taft was stuck in the White House bathtub. The UK’s DailyMail wouldn’t try to compete.
But we have a chosen a route different, and substantive at that.
Nevertheless, events intrude; and the intruder of the moment is this hashtag event involving the treatment of Vice President-elect Pence at the hands of the cast of “Hamilton”.
How wrong is this?
Trump’s wisdom was to run for the presidency on the most Hamiltonian platform in a century; Trump’s genius was to win by disguising Hamilton’s crypto-Royalism as Jacksonian populism.
The result of the hijacking of the Republican party by Trump has been to pull it back (unwillingly) to its glorious origins in Hamilton’s Federalist Party and Lincoln’s Golden Age GOP of 1860 to 1932; and for this his Vice President-elect was heckled by the pothead actors of “Hamilton” who have never read any books and consequently do not realize the electoral college they want abolished was a favorite project of Hamilton.
Obviously the Hamilton of “Hamilton” is nothing like the Hamilton of history. He was not, as this play would have it, an illegal immigrant druglord from Juarez; his powdered wig was not powdered with cocaine; he would not even allow Mexicans to work as janitors, let alone be enfranchised, considering his elitism was such that he barely trusted wealthy white men to vote.
But who is surprised?
By now you should expect the Left to be wrong about everything.
Pragmatically Distributed would only consider it newsworthy if the Left was correct about Hamilton, or anything.
This tabloid headline too shall pass; we do not dwell on it further.
What we will dwell on is whether the right understands Hamilton because it is the right that is supposed to sometimes get things correct. The evidence so far is meager.
As far as we can tell the grasp the Trucon right and libertarians have about the founding father of the Republican Party is only a marginal, still inadequate, improvement.
No, these Trucon Vermin were not exterminated by Otis the Index on the early morning of November 9th, 2016.
Currently they are hand wringing about Trump’s plans for infrastructure. The fault they find with these is made on libertarian, small government grounds?
Because we will defend Trump’s infrastructure agenda next week, and because the Trucons are still lost in space clinging to false libertarian and anarcho-libertarian arguments about the economic role of the Federal government, we offer this refresher definition of capitalistic, libertarian, and liberal economic systems, establish what the role of the government sector should be in each, and refute anarcho-libertarian economics in favor of capitalism:
Capitalism – In capitalism government actors establish the business rules, conditions and environment common to all private actors, individual private actors are free to make successful or unsuccessful business decisions of any kind within this system so long as they do not violate its rules.
Libertarianism – Private actors establish the business rules, conditions and environment common to all private actors, individual private actors are free to make successful or unsuccessful business decisions of any kind within this system so long as they do not violate its rules.
Liberalism – Government actors establish the business rules, conditions and environment common to all economic entities, government actors make all individual economic decisions within this system for all economic entities.
In the case of Hamiltonian Capitalism specifically (and Anglo-Saxon Capitalism generally) the Central government’s role in the private sector is to arrange a common environment of business rules that affect all private actors without favoring individual private actors.
This Federal role ends when individual private actors then decide what specific business actions to take within the established environment.
In Hamiltonian economics, the trade environment is rightly the province of Federal action because this environment is shared by all private actors: For example, it is proper for the Federal government to sign trade agreements to import raw materials used by American manufacturers because these trade deals make resources available to all manufacturers for their potential use.
Once this common trade environment is established, the Federal government ends its role and waits for individual manufacturers to decide for themselves which, if any, imported raw materials to use in their individual business processes.
Those manufacturers that fail because of their wrong decisions are allowed to be liquidated and replaced, without government interference, with more efficient firms in Schumpeter’s process of “Creative Destruction”. Those manufacturers that succeed must succeed on account of correct business actions and without direct government intervention.
Anarcho-Libertarians agree with Hamiltonian capitalists on giving freedom to private actors to make individual business decisions.
Where Anarcho-Libertarians always fails (and conservative critics of Trump’s infrastructure policy likewise fail) is the point where individual private actors fill the government’s role of setting common rules for all actors.
This arrangement is inferior to Capitalistic systems because of the existence of a deep conflict of interest between the profit motive of individual actors and the requirement for the business environment to show no favoritism to specific private actors.
Returning to our example of trade agreements, Libertarianism would fail in the task of negotiating a trade agreement if it were made by individual manufacturers instead of a national government because the single most powerful manufacturer or a conglomerate of manufacturers would collude to rig the deal to favor themselves unfairly against weaker competitors, perhaps by making a deal with the exporter to sell their resources at a higher price to smaller manufacturers, to sell exclusively to the largest manufacturers, or some other kind of collusion.
Only a central government acting as fair arbiter (to the extent fairness is humanly possible) on behalf of all manufacturers would break this relationship between profit motive and the need for common rules.