The Wire: The Sixth Season

Of course, HBO’s “The Wire” only lasted 5 seasons, but David Simon’s post romp as public intellectual to the chattering opinion classes suggests a sixth season: how a paunchy middle class white dude pimped the stories of the Baltimore city streets to a life of wealth, fame and self-appointed status as a de facto translator of black America to the progressive vanguard.

But rest assured, what Simon is saying now—government is just “us” and it’s failings are to be blamed on lack of institutional trust fueled by the evil designs of libertarianism–is not what he said on The Wire.

Granted, what he is saying now may make him the toast of the town on social media and the Washington cocktail circuit, but that jive bullshit would have never been green lighted for television, much less becoming a cult cultural phenomenon, even to the point that it’s sociological lessons are now taught for university course credit. Of course, without the fame of The Wire, no one would care to toast Simon on Twitter or in the halls of the Roosevelt Institute, and he would be just another obscure casualty of a Baltimore Sun layoff.

Then again, perhaps a 6th season of The Wire would be redundant. After all, its lesson would be the same as the first five. Institutions serve themselves and the people who work within them invariably serve the institutions. The Wire’s terminal conclusion was that life simply goes on.

This is Your Brain on Recycled Dope

From the DNC:


“Here goes Michael Steele setting policy for the GOP again. The likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham will be interested to hear that the Republican Party position is that we should walk away from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban without finishing the job. They’d also be interested to hear that the Chairman of the Republican Party thinks we have no business in Afghanistan notwithstanding the fact that we are there because we were attacked by terrorists on 9-11.

“And, the American people will be interested to hear that the leader of the Republican Party thinks recent events related to the war are ‘comical’ and that he is betting against our troops and rooting for failure in Afghanistan. It’s simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement. Michael Steele would do well to remember that we are not in Afghanistan by our own choosing, that we were attacked and that his words have consequences.”

Of course this out of the Rovian playbook. Actually, I think this a recycled RNC Press Release attacking Howard Dean back in the day. Just substitute Steele for ole Howard, Lindsey Graham and McCain for Lieberman, and Afghanistan for Iraq. Presto.

The Orwellian reality of the American State is a proto corporate fascism, ever so inevitably sliding into outright Mussolini Corporate Fascism, covered up by a political class serving up a mileu of recycled FDR vs. Recycled Reagan, with the ambitious, nihilistic politicos of both parties employing the modus operandi of the Karl Rove Ministry of Truth.

If you don’t buy the propaganda, well that’s what the Department of Homeland Security is for. From libertarian class analysis, we know the political rent-seeking of artificial rents for artificial security can greatly benefit the few while having devastating welfare effects on the many. The National Security State is an egregious form of plunder by the political class, pure and simple. And in such a case, a State is going to need a powerful internal security infrastructure to enforce the plunder. The primary function of DHS is to not only serve as a bureaucratic umbrella for enforcement of “law and security” in the United States, but to, by the very fact of it’s mere existence, explicitly and implicitly propagandize and condition the obedience to authority as a matter of National Security. Condition the sheep.

It should be clear that “Hope and Changey” is not going to free you from the tyranny of the political class. Indeed, the lessons of any “cult of personality” is that they usually don’t end well in terms of the liberty side of the ledger. In terms of America, Obama is hardly the first. We can go all the way back to George Washington himself, whose cult of personality upheld the legitimacy of the political class that had forged a “constitutional government” as means to thwart a democratic revolt around who would bear the burden of the revolutionary war debt.

Obama has served the purpose to re-legitimize the political class built around American exceptionalism that had become imperiled by Bush. The Change turned out to be the same rhetoric, same actions, same shit. And it’s becoming high comedy, continuing these long wars that incur trillions in debt and future liabilities, while the federal government now dispenses with the formality of a budget and the State governments toy with bankruptcy.

And at this point, I suppose most have had enough with the recycled FDR religion of the “Great Recession” and “The Recovery.” So, get ready for “Mourning in America,” courtesy of the ‘revived’ GOP.

America, fuck yeah, land of the Slave, home of the Sheep…

Wheezing babble…

Occasionally, the progressive blog, Hullabaloo takes time out to illuminate us with it’s particularly uninformed brand of libertarian critique. This recent addition, Wheezy Philosophizing, is no exception to the type high quality brand of critique one has come to expect from Hullabaloo. Here’s the gist of the latest argument:

Government is as fundamental to human nature as breathing is to the individual. Whining about government(the coercive nature of government) is akin to whining about being forced to breathe.

Boy, that’s some seriously profound shit. What is the poor libertarian to do to muster up a defense against that bit of flawless reasoning. Actually, some of the comments to tristero’s post did a fine job of pointing out some of the obvious flaws, to which tristero responded, “The point is libertarians add nothing of value to liberalism. All the good ideas already were ones liberals thunk of a million years ago. All the bad ones are remarkably bad.” Of course, I’ve never heard that talking point expressed before in the progressive blogosphere. That’s definitely original. However, I must add, I was amused by one of the commenter’s linking to an old comment by tristero on the blog Crooked Timber, in a post discussing “Why Not Socialism.” Quoting tristero, here’s why not:

I have no doubt we lack the technology to make socialism work. We also have some fairly good precedents that, possibly because of the lack of such a technology, socialist regimes rapidly degenerate into totalitarianism, poverty, and terror. I see nothing on the horizon that gives me the slightest confidence that a socialist-enabling technology could be invented and – equally important – would be adopted and – equally important – would be desirable.

Well, forgive me, but that sounds quite a bit like a regurgitation of the Hayek critique against Neoclassical State Socialism(the Walrasian Auctioneer). There is no technology, no mechanism to overcome the “Knowledge Problem” in replacing the market price system with a central command system. From what liberal tradition did tristero glean that bit of wisdom? Or did he think it up all by himself, apparently…

Nice Try, Krugman

Krugman dismisses libertarianism because of the foil of imperfect politicians. This coming from someone who has spent the last year crying in his column that corrupt politicians wrecked the “stimulus package.”

Libertarians are quite cognizant of corruption of politics, having, frankly originated the the field of class analysis in both classical(Laissez faire) and neoclassical economics(Public Choice). This is why radical libertarians advocate for a de-politicized social and economic system(anarchy). Otherwise, I certainly agree that contractual tort restitution can be spoiled and rendered inefficient by actions of the political class. However, it’s not like Krugman’s preferred political arrangement, “social democracy,” doesn’t suffer from the same public choice faults. Indeed, in Krugman’s ideal arrangement, everything is decided by politics, which makes the public choice problem paramount. Krugman’s solution to the problem, especially since he has turned into a political hack, seems more or less two-fold (1) politics as means of de-legitimatizing dissenting views(the effective one party State) (2) crises as a means to impose his preferred institutional paradigm(“Disaster Corporatism”).

You can label radical libertarianism as not being a serious option, but Krugman’s alternative is tyranny, that is, unless you happen to agree with Krugman.