The One’s Direction of the Mob

Peter Schwartz tallies some recent indicators of political mood:

The essence of mob rule is arbitrary and unchecked force, in disregard of all rights. If so, then when the government spends our money with virtually no limits — then trillions of dollars are gleefully disbursed through unrestrained horse-trading and arm-twisting among members of Congress — when trillions more are poured down the rat holes of failing companies at the uncontrolled discretion of bureaucrats — when government “czars” can select a company’s CEO and dictate its product line — then what we have is government by mob rule. That is, we have government with arbitrary, unchecked power to do as it wishes — which means: government unconstrained by the principle of individual freedom.

As he goes on to explain, freedom is unjustifiably being made a scapegoat:

Like any mob, Washington desires a scapegoat. It blames capitalism for the mortgage and credit crisis, in order to divert attention from the real culprit, government intervention. Every housing-related measure taken by Washington has made the standards for homeownership looser than they would be in a free market. Government has stepped in to override private companies’ aversion to undue risk. Regulators criticized banks for turning down too many mortgage applications. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were created to encourage the issuance of mortgages that would not be prudent in a free market. The FDIC anesthetizes depositors against risks taken with their funds. And the entire Federal Reserve exists to pump paper money into the economy, and to keep interest rates artificially low — often below the rate of inflation — so that more lending occurs. Yet when this house of cards collapsed, it is capitalism that was denounced and more government power that was demanded.

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Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
13 years ago

I’m confused. In this post you object to rule by the “mob” (which appears to be the democratically elected representatives of the people) and you object to “government unconstrained by the principle of individual freedom.” I get that. We need, as James Madison told us, some protection against the “tyranny of the majority”.
Now, it seems to me that what constrains government is the Constitution, and that constitution is best enforced against mob rule by an independent judiciary, free from political pressure (like the need for re-election)
However, you also denounce an independent judiciary as the “dictator branch” and a ” judiciary supported by an aristocracy of bureaucrats”.
So, what do you want…majority rule or protection of rights free from majority influence?
So, I’m confused. I’m happy to be edified on this but, for the moment, I’m tempted to think that your support for majority rule depends on whether the majority supports your substantive views. I hope that’s not the case, as I’m sure you would not be so unprincipled.

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