Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Spotlight on Our Federal Mandarins!

President Obama rewarded SEIU's Mandarin* Andy Stern with a seat on the Federal Commission to Defeat the Deficit, which is like giving a drunk stewardship of the beer lockers at Sox Park.

Al Gore has made a Second Act of His American Life by sweeping in all Carbon Credit Chips onto his All In Move to Create the Federal Climate Mandarin.

Scholar and Demographer Joel Kotkin, one of my favorite reads each week, kicks the move to Mandarin Government that has parked such powerful American resistance - Tea Party Memberships and etc.

Kotkin, in Forbes, points to the slide to Mandarinism and the Jeffersonian reaction by us helots.

There also seems to be a conscious design to recreate the country as a European-style super-state. Forged by an understandable urge to minimize chaos after a century of conflict, the super-state generally favors risk management through centralization of authority. This has traditionally been accomplished by ceding regulatory powers to national capitals, though lately more and more powers have been ceded to the European Union.

Initially the administration had hopes of imposing similar controls through acts of Congress. However, with the shifting political mood, this seems less and less possible. With its latest action the administration sends the message that it will now impose the desired results through the bureaucracy. Under the proposal, private firms that do not raise wages will be bullied into doing so through the manipulation of federal contract awards. . . .This new order would transform the very nature of American capitalism. Now the economic winners will not be those working for the most agile or profitable companies, but those who gain the blessings of the federal overlords. In some senses this extends the corrupt, largely failed political economy of Chicago politics to a bastard American form of French dirigisme.

Climate change provides another critical and necessary rationale for the expansive federal role. With the "cap and trade" system all but dead, the administration now wants to regulate energy and land use through the gentle graces of a largely unaccountable EPA apparat. As a result, we may see energy use, land use and transportation--as is increasingly the case in California--controlled by the whims of the unelected bureaucracy.

Such command and control approaches have their advantages in making people do what the mandarins demand. This is one reason there are so many admirers of Chinese autocracy now. In that regime, unlike our messy democracy, you can be forced to be green in precisely the way they tell you. There are always firing squads for those who go off the program.

Of course, even the most passionate centralists don't advocate adopting the Chinese model. But the notion of an enlightened super-state has long appealed to those disgusted with American-style muddling through. In some ways, the current fashion recalls Americans' attraction for the Soviet Union or even fascist Italy during the troubled 1930s.

Click my post title for more from this great original thinker.

*A mandarin was a bureaucrat in imperial China, and also in the monarchist days of Vietnam where the system of Imperial examinations and scholar-bureaucrats was adopted under Chinese influence. What did the Soviets call them?

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