Streetwise Professor

October 26, 2011

Emerson Weeps

Filed under: Economics,Financial crisis,Financial Crisis II,Politics — The Professor @ 10:49 am

Obama made another unilateral move, this time on student loans.  Here’s the uhm, highlight of the article:

Obama is going to take steps that bypass Congress “every week going forward,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told reporters yesterday in Washington.

I’m waiting for the NYT editorial raging against the Imperial Presidency.  Any minute now.

All this debt forgiveness somehow brings Shay’s Rebellion to mind.  Or the Populist and Granger ferment of the late-19th century.  It is inherently divisive, because every dollar that the debtor gets is a dollar the creditor–or the taxpayer–has to pony up.

Obama also warned that if he loses in 2012, the government won’t help you: “You’ll be on your own”:

At a million-dollar San Francisco fundraiser today, President Obama warned his recession-battered supporters that if he loses the 2012 election it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America.

“The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008, then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, ‘you are on your own,’” Obama told a crowd of 200 donors over lunch at the W Hotel.

“If you get sick, you’re on your own. If you can’t afford college, you’re on your own. If you don’t like that some corporation is polluting your air or the air that your child breathes, then you’re on your own,” he said. “That’s not the America I believe in. It’s not the America you believe in.”

Count me out of that “you”, pal.  No, the America I believe in produced Ralph Waldo Emerson.  You know, the author of “Self-Reliance.”  Somehow I think nanny-in-chief BHO is not a big RWE fan.

Inspired by the “self-reliance” reference in the story quoted above, I found Emerson’s essay on line, and began to read it.  (It’s been a while since I have read it.)  I stopped short at the first line of the second paragraph:

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance

That is obviously an anachronistic statement, and a comment on how education has devolved.  Listen to the sociology majors in OWS and you’ll understand that many have received an education, such as it is, that celebrates–worships, fetishizes–envy.

The polarization between the Emersonian America, and the anti-Emersonian America epitomized by Obama is becoming more extreme by the day.  It is, to use the title of a Sowell book, the conflict of visions that will define 2012 and the years that follow.  The visions are so fundamentally different that the prospects for compromise are nil.  Meaning that the next 12 plus months are going to be like nothing seen in this country for a long time indeed.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. All I can say is, “Hear! Hear!”

    Comment by Highgamma — October 26, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

  2. But ponying up money for banks, the MIC, and bombing brown people is just fine and dandy.

    // the conservative “mind”

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — October 26, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  3. No -no one said ponying up money for banks is fine. Indeed the ponying up money for banks is the other side of the coin of the dependency ridden society. OWS and soem of WS are two sides of the same coin. And as someone who kenw a lot of people who died in the Towers – if we do not kill our enemies they will kill us.

    Comment by Sotos — October 26, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

  4. Corporatism is as corporatism does.

    Via Ron Paul.

    Comment by Mr. X — October 27, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

  5. Viva Ron Paul.

    Comment by Mr. X — October 27, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress