My Response to Rolling Stone hit piece on Teaparty

September 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

The Referenced Article can be found here

Update: This letter was hand delivered to Matt Tiabbi on October 26th 2010 by Bobby Wilbert while he was visiting Florida investigating his article on the Foreclosure crisis.

Dear Matt,

I’m not sure if I hate you or love you. But I went to the trouble of reading your entire article and writing this response so I’d implore you to show the same courtesy to me. At first I thought that this was just a “radical left” spin, smear article. Then when you went into your historical account of “The Teaparty” I had to agree with you. I was around essentially when it got started. A man named Trevor had put up a page and a video telling folks to donate to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign on November 5th 2007 to make a one day fund raising event that the media could not ignore. Trevor was completely separate from the campaign. On November 5th (a date made famous at the time by the movie “V for Vendetta”) Ron Paul broke the single day fund raising record, though there was some speculation that Hilary had him beat. With such a success Trevor looked for the next opportunity to do a similar event and decided on December 16th 2007. It was in time to make the 4th quarter reports which would be released before the Iowa caucuses and just happened to be the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. That one day “Money Bomb”, as they were now called, shattered the records and left no question that Paul was the one day fund raising king. I think it was 6 million that was reached. From that point on the Tea Party phrase began to stick. I am good friends with the Ron Paul meetup organizer for Savannah, GA and in April 2008, if I remember correctly, he and the meetup put together a tax day tea party in Savannah. I didn’t attend but by the next year here where I live in Atlanta the sworn enemy of all Ron Paul campaigners, Sean Hannity, was headlining the Tax Day Teaparty Event. At that point I realized that the movement/group/whatever had been completely compromised and usurped. Folks that fly in my circles these days don’t even mention the Teaparty. It has become a tool of the Republican establishment by and large and your account of that is, I believe, right on the mark. This is how they operate, they cannot abide a principled movement which would challenge the two party monopoly. First they ignored the teaparty but when it refused to go away they choose to take it over, and that seems to have worked pretty well as you pointed out.

At the end of your article you point out the super-national companies are in charge anyways so “what’s the difference?” I think you are also correct in this assumption. There were some other areas where I could agree with you as well but that’s just boring isn’t it. Onward then to the disagreements! I enjoyed your section about the creation museum as it gives me opportunity to make a fun metaphor. Your claim is that people who believe in creation are about as dumb as they come and that their sort of backward ideology is hampering our nation. But they probably are not dumb. That is just their belief system and the world they are familiar with. When they are given evidence that they are in error, they backlash and begin to make absurd arguments to rationalize their own beliefs because they don’t want to not believe. It is what they know and hold dear and if you change that, well, their whole world would fall apart. Everything around them, all the evidence, says they are wrong… but they just cannot bring themselves to do it. What if I told you that you believed in a world that is just as backward as these people’s museum and that your article, and many like it, are chapters in the holy book of this religion? You’d say, I’m sure, “yeah right I could never believe in something as odious as those people, I’m an educated man, a journalist, you, Mr. Clarke, are an extreme weirdo kook.” What if I could stack evidence upon evidence of citations and quotation to prove I was right? Would you emotionally reject the ideas? The false religion I speak of is twofold. First is a belief in Keynesian economics, second is the belief that Republicans and Democrats are bitter enemies locked in a mortal struggle.

Now I am not a card carrying libertarian, in fact I mistrust that party as well, but my favorites are Thomas Jefferson, Murray Rothbard, James Madison, Frederic Bastiat and those typed folks. I ascribe to the Austrian School of Economics, mostly because they seem to be right a lot. When every economist in the USA a couple years ago was scratching their head and wondering, “what the hell just happened?” The Austrian School Economist were saying, “I told you guys this was going to happen!” Many had written books about it, most notable and mainstream is Peter Schiff’s play by play, “Crash Proof”, written in 2006. Keynesianism is what most Americans believe in and in my opinion it has been shown to be a complete failure time and again. Even though Keynes is a relatively modern figure his ideas have been around for an age. I’d recommend reading “The Law” by Bastiat, for proof, as he was fighting those ideas in the 1850’s. I just recently picked up a collection of papers by a little known American named Charles Holt Carroll, I actually found it at the Goodwill down the street. I’d never heard of it, or him, but the title seemed interesting. This particular collection of works ranges from about 1845 to 1870. Today he would be considered an Austrian Economist. In the introduction the editor, summarizing Carroll’s statements from the mid 19th century, in one paragraph laid out an exact copy of our current economic collapse. In his view, 160 years ago, it was a natural outcome to what is now called “fractional reserve banking” which is not only in common use today, it is codified, and represents the very heart, the foundation, of our current financial system. But there is no debate, no discussion, of errors of Keynesianism in the media. There are only discussions and disagreements on how to implement it and which Keynesian strategies to use this time. Left and Right, they are all Keynesians. Even Nixon has been quoted as saying “We are all Keynesians now”. I don’t like to throw labels around as they always evoke only emotional responses but Keynesianism is necessarily a socialistic economic system. What I mean by that is it stresses planned economies and heavy legislative intervention in the economy, giving rise to what we have now termed as the “mixed economy”.
That being said, since both parties ascribe to this economic model and openly hire its proponents as advisors and law makers, both parties are inherently socialistic or as I like to say collectivist. i.e. Bush bailouts, Bush pushing Greenspan to drop interest rates after 9/11 and dotcom crash. Bush expanded military spending and medicare. Obama also had bailouts, Universal Healthcare, Housing Stimulus, expansion of Military etc. A tax cut here and the removal of a regulation there does not change the overarching philosophy of the modern Right, which is Keynesianism and increased centralized control of the economy and thus, the people. It’s all the same stuff, just wrapped in different Christmas paper. I liken it to the fact that only about 3 companies make laundry detergent, but there are a 100 different brands on the self in the detergent isle. It is all the same stuff, but in the 50’s they discovered that house wives liked to switch brands just to change things up, so they put it in different boxes with different names.

The world has been told that it was lack of regulation of the financial sector which lead to the mal-investment of the US economy in the past decade. The causes, however, are much deeper and not nearly so trivial as implementing new bureaucracies. This was kindly pointed out by a humble merchant named Charles Carroll 160 years ago. Yet today nobody cares to explore the root causes, no senate committee digs beyond the emotional issue of corporate, big bank, capitalistic greed being the underlying cause of it all. It should be noted that even Ben Bernanke has said that “interest rates were too low, for too long” during the real estate boom. The fact that the Federal Reserve regulates interest rates, and even the current Fed chair states that that was a key factor, would point to the fact that too much regulation in marketplace was a major contributor. The housing bubble could never have formed in a society with interest rates that followed the markets AKA supply and demand. With a negative savings rate in the US that would mean that, domestically, savings would be rare and thus interest paid on saving should have been high. If you need to borrow money, along with scores of other who also need to borrow, but few have money then a lot of people will be after the savings of a very few people. You’ll have to offer a better return than the next guy if you want to borrow that money. Now Americans are more broke than ever and the interest rate is 0%. This makes about as much sense, when you think about it, as Adam’s pet Brontosaurus in the creation museum. We think that our financial system is well advanced and that we can, through interest rate manipulation and government intervention in the market, keep afloat and economy that produces nothing. When the world reserve status of the dollar is removed the US will have not too much to offer the world for trade when that time comes, and it will come. (Our trade deficit is well enough evidence of that). Time will show that this system is more backward than a creationist world view and people will wonder what we were thinking just as we now balk at the backward catholic church that persecuted Galileo. A social system so strong that it forced Galileo himself to sincerely recant his own, now well proven, findings while on his death bed for fear of the fate of his immortal soul.
To think that we have ‘arrived’ and are no longer capable of such great errors is typical of the human condition which is why we should recognize that it must still exist today. Though you paint in your article that to revert back to a constructionist constitution is akin to reverting back to belief in a 6000 year old Earth, I’d like to point out that the inevitable conclusion of highly concentrated power in any central authority is necessarily, whether it slowly creeps in or arrives overnight, an oligarchical authoritarian power. Which is, unquestionably, the most ancient and backwards of all human societal constructs and a far cry from one of the most revolutionary set of ideas ever codified and adopted in the history of the Earth. You might say that I am a radical, but open your eyes. It’s all around you. It really is all just noise. Left or Right in power yields only greater centralized power. Keynesianism is the state religion and if you want to stop all the noise that is keeping people from believing that the earth is indeed orbiting the sun the best thing you can do is shut up and listen.