Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dag's a Sowell man

In the comments to the previous post, Dag wanted to assure our readers that we are not only interested in abstract theorists, but also in writers that the average politically-engaged person can appreciate, people like Thomas Sowell. Here is one of Sowell's latest articles, an attack on the economic ideas of Barack Obama. These ideas are yet more proof that the left never stops believing it can magically transform reality to its own liking, that pretty men like Obama have the "vision of the anointed". But, as Sowell shows, the poor and the workers who are told to put their faith in the magic of the left, the same old magic the leftist elite have been preaching for more than a couple of generations now, are the ones who have the most to lose from an inability to face reality.

I am presently reading a book by the German economist, Wilhelm Roepke, A Humane Economy (1960), which shows us that informed criticism of Obama-like ideas is nothing new either (testifying to the long held power of magic over reality). Roepke writes:
The prime interest of trade-union leaders is a continuous rise in money wages because this is a tangible and patent result of their efforts; they generally have only a secondary interest in raising real wages through price reductions or in other purposes which, for the well-being and happiness of workers and employees, may well be more important than wage increases. It is quite possible for price reductions to further the true interests of trade-union members better than wage increases, but from the point of view of the trade-union leaders themselves, price reductions have the disadvantage of obscuring their own merits. We shall see presently that this is undoubtedly one of the chief sources of the permanent inflation which characterizes the Western world today.(146)
As a solution to this kind of short-sightedness, Roepke adds:
It is urgently necessary to strengthen the feeling for the imponderable nature of the community surpassing all separate interests and immediate claims and commanding the individual's loyalty, even unto death.(148)
Indeed; this is why we need to pursue the kinds of fundamental questions about our relationship to the sacred that I raised in the previous post.

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