Power & Market
The Chinese government has recently produced a lot of international news: the trade war with the U.S. government ; the suspicious financing on Malaysia’s former corrupted ruling party ; the suppression on Taiwan’s foreign and diplomatic space , etc. Excluding the news related to international politics, the Chinese government was also fighting against the Chinese internet users at the same time. What exactly are going on?
Let's review these entire events. During the first semi-final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Irish singer Ryan O'Shaughnessy's performance was featured two male dancers expressing a gay love story. This might not be a big deal in Western countries, but in China, the program violates the latest media censorship regulations ! Therefore, Eurovision's Chinese agent Mango TV deleted all of O'Shaughnessy's song performance . At the same time, by the new media censorship regulations, Mango TV also blurred the rainbow flag that appeared in the competition and the tattoo of another Azerbaijani contestant . Subsequently, due to the intervention from EBU , Eurovision had to retreat from the Chinese market temporarily.
In addition to this Eurovision incident, Peppa Pig , Winnie the Pooh , tattoos , and Hip-Pop are all prohibited from transmitting in media in various forms. Obviously, Chinese government has recently intensified the media censorship. In the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup, we will undoubtedly see many tattooed soccer players. As China's soccer players were also recently ordered to cover their tattoos on the match day , and due to the recent media censorship regulations, is the Chinese government ready for blurring all the tattooed players when the World Cup matches are live?
This series of Internet censorship incidents has made Chinese netizens finally intolerable. Faced with the Eurovision incident, Chinese Internet users directly criticized the media censorship regulations and Mango TV’s compromise with the government . In response to the previous incidents, on April 12, Chinese netizens drove hundreds of cars at late night, passing through the entrance of the State Administration of Press, protesting its media censorship with horn .
We are not the locusts of the Chinese government, so we do not know whether the officials have discriminated and are biased against the above contents, or whether they patriarchally think that what young people should do. In fact, what the government officials believe is not essential. What matters is that media censorship is an infringement of property rights and voluntary exchanges for information ; and what is important is that this wave of protests, dominated by young netizens, shows their increased awareness of being individualists and their sense of consumer sovereignty . These young people want to be themselves authentically, deciding what they like and what they want to do based on their own willing. They don’t like and don’t want to have a big government and a big brother telling them dictatorially: what is right for your young people.
It is not known whether the Chinese politicians have realized that 40 years after the market-oriented reform, many people who benefited from the free exchange of markets and private property rights, especially young netizens, are less likely to behave like many of the old generations who had experienced the terrible Cultural Revolution , forbearing the violations of individual freedom and the infringement of private property rights. This reality may also be a reminder to Chinese government which has deliberately intensified the cult of the political leader : the rise of individualism is making it harder for China returning to the Mao era. Only by respecting individual freedom, and further advancing market-oriented reforms will it be a policy for all to win together.
No stranger to controversy, critically acclaimed rapper Kanye West has generated a whirlwind of media attention since returning to Twitter in late April . This controversial tweet storm reached its peak when West praised African American conservative activist Candace Owens for the way she thinks .
West also stirred the pot by claiming “Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed”, questioning former President Barack Obama’s record in bringing change to a city facing ongoing street violence .
A complete about-face from his race-baiting comments in 2005 , when he stated on live TV that then President George W. Bush did “not care about black people”, West’s recent comments have opened up considerable debate on racial affairs in America.
Pop Culture’s Potential to Change Politics
As mentioned before, West does have a penchant for stirring up controversy for publicity’s sake. In fact, West has openly admitted to being a “proud non-reader”, thus calling into question West’s political beliefs or lack thereof.
It remains to be seen whether West’s comments were sincere or reflect some sort of political “awakening” on his part, but the potential power of cultural figures like Kanye West still cannot be underestimated.
Nobel laureate economist F.A. Hayek understood the power of second-hand dealers such as academics, artists, journalists, and teachers in disseminating and popularizing ideas. These second-hand dealers play a crucial role in influencing policymakers and the general public.
Thanks to growing levels of distrust with government, a large segment of the population has lost faith in the traditional political process. Consequently, these disillusioned individuals have turned to entertainers and other pop culture icons like West as sources of credibility and relatability.
Questioning the Democrat vs Republican Narrative
Like the entertainer that he is, Kanye West has taken his social media rabble rousing to the recording booth.
“That’s the problem with this damn nation/All Blacks gotta be Democrats/Man, we ain’t made it off the plantation”.
Provocative lyrics aside, there exists a nugget of truth in West’s rap verse.
It is no secret that the Democrat Party enjoys monolithic support from the African American community. Democrat presidential candidates have averaged 87 percent of the African American vote in the past 12 presidential elections.
Why Democrats have dominated with African American voters has been highly debated among political commentators , but the majority of these discussions lead to the unproductive black hole of partisan politics.
And West has fallen into this partisan trap.
The real problem ignored in these debates is the elephant in the living room that is government interventionism — something both political parties have taken a fancy to implementing in one way or other once in power.
The broken schools , dependency on welfare services , and the deterioration of the family unit that the average African American living in the inner cities must currently put up with was unheard of for a good portion of U.S. history. From 1890 to 1954 , African Americans had similar participation rates in the labor force as whites and were able to ascend the economic ladder with ease.
However, the key ingredient to the African American community’s success during that time period was limited government, a salient feature of the Gilded Age up until the New Deal era. In sum, it’s more than just switching political parties that will help African Americans prosper, but rather focusing on creating an institutional environment that facilitates economic growth.
Crush Dissent at All Costs
Unfortunately, minority leaders and pundits ignore the socialist elephant in the living room and prefer to turn to race-baiting and victim politics. As a result, constructive political discussion has remained stagnant.
When intellectuals and political personalities like Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams propose free-market alternatives to common social issues, entrenched political commentators immediately dismiss them as Uncle Toms or race traitors .
And when Kanye West dared to question certain sacred cows, he was met with the same scorn from the mainstream media.
This type of discourse embodies the authoritarian nature of modern-day liberalism: Support diversity in name but promote one-size fits all narratives when controversial political subjects emerge.
Bringing it Back to Basics
Breaking barriers and bucking conformist trends form the bedrock of hip-hop culture. In the status quo of identity politics, Kanye West’s audacious statements line up perfectly with the original spirit of hip-hop.
Starting out as an obscure movement in the South Bronx during the 1970s, hip-hop would serve as a creative outlet for disgruntled African American youth that were tired of the inner-city conditions they lived in.
By the late 1980s, hip-hop solidified itself as one of the hottest musical trends in the United States.
Rappers under the influence of social justice narratives can rant about the horrors of capitalism as much as they want, but it was this same capitalist system that made hip-hop an integral part of American popular culture.
The jury is still out on whether or not West’s media escapade will fundamentally change racial political discussions. Nevertheless, a healthy degree of skepticism is advised when breaking down these recent developments.
In today’s environment of Team R vs. Team D politics, the temptation to gravitate towards one political party or the other for solutions is still strong. For African Americans, joining the Republican Party—or any other political party for that matter—does no guarantee the path to the promised land.
The GOP’s interventionist policies merit substantial criticism, and just like their Democrat rivals, the GOP has played an integral role in perpetuating the current welfare state paradigm that disproportionately hurts minority groups.
Moral of the story:
African Americans must look beyond the traditional political process for genuine socio-economic stability.
Let’s hope that Kanye West’s recent actions don’t turn out to be another of his long line of publicity stunts. For inner-city dweller’s sake, it’s high time to start talking about free-market solutions to their problems.
Mises Institute Associated Scholar has been named the BB&T Professor of Economic Freedom within the Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University. Dr. Manish, a former Mises Research Fellow, has been a member of the Troy faculty since 2012. His research focuses on Austrian economics, macroeconomic theory and development economics, and teaches a course on Advanced Austrian Economics for the university's Masters program.
His Mises Institute work can be found here.
Dr. Manish and his wife, Dr. Malavika Nair, are regular members of the Mises University faculty.
We've long been told that Cuba's health care system is one of the greatest in the world. In spite of the fact that health usually correlates with wealth in national statistics, we're assured that Cuba's obvious poverty is offset, at least in part, by amazingly low infant mortality rates and life expectancy.
But in a new short article for the journal Health Policy and Planning, Gilbert Berdine, Vincent Geloso, and Benjamin Powell examine some of the ways that the data is being manipulated in Cuba to ensure better-looking health statistics.
For example, on the matter of infant mortality, doctors have been known to redefine dead infants as dead fetuses:
[There is] evidence that physicians likely reclassified early neonatal deaths as late fetal deaths, thus deflating the infant mortality statistics and propping up life expectancy. Cuban doctors were re-categorizing neonatal deaths as late fetal deaths in order for doctors to meet government targets for infant mortality.
Abortions of babies in utero who might die soon after birth is a tactic as well:
Physicians often perform abortions without clear consent of the mother, raising serious issues of medical ethics, when ultrasound reveals fetal abnormalities because ‘otherwise it might raise the infant mortality rate.’ ... At 72.8 abortions per 100 births, Cuba has one of the highest abortion rates in the world.
The focus on infant mortality may have led to increases in other types of mortality:
[T]hese outcomes come at cost to other population segments. The maternal mortality ratio of Cuba in 2015 was higher than in Latin American countries like Barbados, Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay ( Trends in Maternal Mortality 1990 to 2015, 2015). In terms of healthy life expectancy, Cuba ranked behind Costa Rica, Chile, Peru and Bermuda and marginally surpassed Uruguay, Puerto Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Colombia
Some factors that have led to a more fit population have nothing at all to do with health care delivery:
[C]ar ownership is heavily restricted in Cuba and as a result the country’s car ownership rate is far below the Latin American average (55.8 per 1000 persons as opposed to 267 per 1000) (Road Safety, 2016). A low rate of automobile ownership results in little traffic congestion and few auto fatalities. In Brazil, where the car ownership rate is 7.3 times above that of Cuba, road fatalities reduce male and female life expectancy at birth by 0.8 and 0.2 years
Forced exercise helps:
[Another factor includes] forcing the population to increase their reliance on more physically demanding forms of transportation (e.g. cycling and walking) (Borowy, 2013). In fact, local physicians attribute a strong role to the massive introduction of bicycles in order to explain the decrease in traffic accidents mortality
So does making the population go hungry:
During the ‘Special Period’ (the prolonged economic crisis caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union), there were ‘sustained shortages in the food-rationing system’ that led to reductions in per capita daily energy intake (Franco et al. 2007). Combined with the increase in the levels of energy expenditures due to the reliance on physically demanding forms of transportation, this led to a reduction in net nutrition...this crisis led to the halving of obesity rates and, although one has to be careful in causal terms, this likely contributed to important reductions of deaths attributed to diabetes, coronary heart diseases and strokes (there were also increases in the number of cases of neuropathy).
As Berdine, et al point out, a key factor here is the unseen opportunity cost of mandating that more and more resrouces be directed toward health care at the expense of other sectors of the economy. Cuban central planners have decided that large amounts of national income be devoted to health care so as to improve (some) national indicators on health. But, given the choice, would Cubans choose to devote so much to health care?
Many advocates for government-directed health spending like to claim that health and longevity are the most important factors. But ordinary human behavior makes it clear this is not actually true. People routinely spend money on non-essentials like non-basic automobiles, large houses, and costly vacations when they could save that money for medical emergencies. Even in countries with so-called socialized medicine often have options for private supplemental health insurance — which would expand and improve quality of care for the purchaser. And yet few elect to use this option. Clearly, living as long as possible is only one value balanced against many others.
In light of this, can we conclude the Cuban government is hitting the "correct" amount of health care spending? Since each person's value ranking differs, this is obviously impossible.
Nevertheless, the Cuban healthcare system is clearly geared toward hitting certain goals arbitrarily set by government officials. This can lead to abuse, of course, and also to unreliable data.
Congratulations to Israel Kirzner who received the Distinguished Fellow Award from the History of Economics Society at its 2018 annual meetings held in Chicago this past weekend. The Society confers the honor of “Distinguished Fellow” on “those who have contributed a lifetime of study to the history of economics.” In receiving this honor, Professor Kirzner, one of the most illustrious representatives of the modern Austrian school, joins a roster of eminent economists including Friedrich Hayek, George Stigler, Lionel Robbins, Don Patinkin, and Joseph Dorfman among others. Kirzner’s book The Economic Point of View: An Essay in the History of Economic Thought, which was based on the Ph.D. dissertation he wrote under Ludwig von Mises, remains the best history of the transformation of economics from a study of the causes of material wealth to the science of human action.
The Trump Administration recently announced that the US will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Their justification is that the council consists of human rights violators, such as Cuba, China, and Venezuela, and has demonstrated a bias against Israel.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to further expand on the decision, writing:
After more than a year of unsuccessful efforts to fix these fundamental defects, the U.S. delegation announced Tuesday our withdrawal from the council. Our country will no longer be party to this deeply flawed institution, which harms the cause of human rights more than it helps it....
In the end, our allies’ case for the U.S. to stay on the council was actually the most compelling argument to leave. They said American participation was the last shred of credibility left in the organization. But a stamp of legitimacy on the current Human Rights Council is precisely what the U.S. should not provide.
Of course the exact same logic could be used to advocate the United States from pulling out of the UN entirely.
The UN’s website outlines the five core missions for the organization. These include:
- Maintain International Peace and Security
- Protect Human Rights
- Deliver Humanitarian Aid
- Promote Sustainable Development
- Uphold International Law
Its failure to maintain international peace and security is obvious, though obviously the United States raising that objection would open America to deserved ridicule. The failure of the United Nations, however, to restrain fifteen years of US militarism points to the inherent weakness of the organization.
The disastrous human rights record of the UN also goes deeper than the criticism of the HRC. While, again, it’s not surprising for the US government being hesitant in raising particular objections, in recent years the UN has witnessed member countries resurrect widespread torture programs and help foster an active slave market in Libya.
As Lucy Wescott wrote in Newsweek, international human rights organizations have been vocal in questionining the usefulness of the UN:
The U.N. remains vulnerable after a number of governments have stopped it from preventing mass atrocities, including wars in Syria and Yemen. Syria is an example of “a systematic failure of the U.N. to fulfill its vital role in upholding rights and international law and ensuring accountability,” according to the report.
“[The U.N. is] certainly an organization that is creaking at the seams, that was designed for the 20th century,” Richard Bennett, head of Amnesty International’s U.N. office, tells Newsweek. “ There are questions about whether it’s fit for purpose in the 21st century.”
While the UN does manage to carry out some humanitarian aid missions, these too are plagued with expected problems of a vast international bureaucracy. The organization’s own estimates place the rate of fraud at 30%, but even those numbers understate the bleak reality that the biggest winners of the UN’s programs tend to be government officials who are the most to blame for international poverty.
William Easterly, co-director of New York University’s Development Research Institute, has written on how the United Nation's humanitarian model gets everything wrong:
[The UN swoops] into third-world countries and offer purely technical assistance to dictatorships like Uganda or Ethiopia on how to solve poverty.
Unfortunately, dictators’ sole motivation is to stay in power. So the development experts may get some roads built, but they are not maintained. Experts may sink boreholes for clean water, but the wells break down. Individuals do not have the political rights to protest disastrous public services, so they never improve. Meanwhile, dictators are left with cash and services to prop themselves up–while punishing their enemies.
This same top down approach underscores the failures of the UN’s “sustainable development” objective as well. Unsurprisingly, the inherent fallacies of economic central planners don’t vanish when executed by a vast international organization. Instead, we have bad economic policy, usually backed by Malthusian fearmongering, empowering globalist bureaucrats who aspire to one day be able to impose direct taxes on sovereign countries.
For those reasons and more, Trump should do what he does best and disrupt the status quo by pulling the US out of the UN and evict the organization from New York City. Then, if he wants to actually succeed where the UN has failed, he’d find a way to make his truly free trade zone happen. After all, nothing is better for peace, development or human rights as the wonders of international trade.
The hypocrisy of the EU in two images.
“EU to impose duties on U.S. imports Friday after Trump tariffs”...
From Daniel Lacalle's Twitter @dlacalle_IA
Must Free Trade Be Reciprocal? by Frédéric Bastiat
Free Trade versus "Free Trade" by Peter Klein
In a constantly changing media landscape, the value of the shock political poll continues to stand the test of time. Whether it comes in the form of man-on-street interviews, or the slightly more scientific polling firm, seeing a surprising number of Americans give their support to an outlandish position is an evergreen idea to spawn clickable blog posts and perhaps even a spot on Drudge Report. Going beyond the obvious question of why, given the state of American politics, anyone continues to find humorous outcomes from these quasi-ballots is that sometimes they actually reveal a valuable insight about the public as a whole.
My personal favorite example was the 2015 PPP poll that found that 30% of the Republican base – including 41% of Trump supporters – endorsed bombing Agrabah, the country featured in Aladdin. Considering that online trolls were a natural core group of the Trump base, it’s fair to question the sincerity of the widely mocked poll’s findings. It does, however, correlate to another trend we see in public polling on military action. The Washington Post, for example, has found that Americans are more likely to support bombing a country if they couldn’t identify it on the map:
Does it really matter whether Americans can put Ukraine on a map? Previous research would suggest yes: Information, or the absence thereof, can influence Americans’ attitudes about the kind of policies they want their government to carry out and the ability of elites to shape that agenda….
The further our respondents thought that Ukraine was from its actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene militarily.
Given that, it’s not unreasonable to think that many Republicans really don’t mind attacking some random country with a vaguely Arab name. This would explain how some politicians still manage to find public favor, in spite of always being on the wrong side of history on matters of war.
Another valid insight couched in a poll shared for humor was an IPSOS poll that found Republicans have a more favorable view North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un than Nancy Pelosi Pelosi’s office naturally used the story to attack Trump supporters, with her spokesman telling The Hill:
On a daily basis, President Trump praises this dictator and thug so it only makes sense that his party is following his lead like lemmings over a cliff.
To be fair, the poll only compared generic favorability/unfavorability measurements to various other figures polled, with Pelosi only being seen a slightly less favorable to Kim. That being said, it would be reasonable for more Republicans – or Americans broadly – to find Pelosi a greater threat to their livelihood to than Trump’s latest bromance.
After all, for all the warnings about North Korea and its nuclear arsenal, the danger of it being wielded against American citizens is about as valid as fears about Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile Pelosi, and the rest of Washington for that matter, poses a very real threat to the life, liberty, and property of Americans on every day. While earnest human rights activists would undoubtedly point to the repulsive horrors of the Kim regime, Pelosi’s support for the Iraq War and other American escapades makes it difficult to defend her on even broad utilitarian grounds.
So yes, any American would be justified in hating Nancy Pelosi or just about any other politician in Washington. At least Kim has agreed to shake the hand of peace, something Congress is entirely unwilling to even consider.
Attorney General Eric Holder arrives today in Ferguson, Missouri, in response to the unrest after a local policeman shot 18-year-old Mike Brown. Holder assured the people of Missouri: "Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent."
But Holder's own record belies his lofty promise. As the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1993 to 1997, Holder was in charge of policing the local police. When police violence spiraled out of control, he did little to protect Washington residents from rampaging lawmen.
The number of killings by Washington police doubled between 1988 and 1995, the year 16 civilians died due to police gunfire. Washington police shot and killed people at a higher rate than any other major city police department, as a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post investigation revealed in late 1998. The Post reported that "Holder said he did not detect a pattern of problematic police shootings and could not recall the specifics of cases he personally reviewed." Holder declared: "I can't honestly say I saw anything that was excessive."
There was such a dearth of oversight from Holder's office that Washington police failed to count almost a third of the people killed by their officers between 1994 and 1997. Even when police review boards ruled that shootings were unjustified or found contradictions in officers' testimony, police were not prosecuted. In one case, a police officer shot a suspect four times in the back when he was unarmed and lying on the ground. But Holder's office never bothered interviewing the shooter.
Some of the most abusive cases involved police shooting into cars - a practice which is severely discouraged because of the high risk of collateral damage. Holder told the Post: "I do kind of remember more than a few in cars. I don't know if that's typical of what you find in police shootings outside Washington" Actually, "more than 50 officers over five years had shot at unarmed drivers in cars," the Post noted, and Washington police were more than 20 times as likely to shoot at cars than were New York City police. Reports about some of the shootings were tainted by police perjury.
Shortly after Holder became U.S. attorney, a local judge slammed the Washington government for its "deliberate indifference" to police brutality complaints.
Read the full article at the USA Today
What should politically vanquished people do? Should they resist the political status quo no matter what, or accept it in the spirit of civil comity and bide their time for the next election? What if their political fortunes are waning, and they are ever less likely to prevail politically? What rights and power do seemingly permanent political minorities (e.g. libertarians) possess? At what point is open rebellion permitted in a supposed democracy, and how do we judge principled resistance as opposed to sour grapes from political losers?
Furthermore, what can political majorities rightfully do-- in spite of a minority's strident opposition-- and what policies cannot be altered regardless of majority consensus? What spoils rightfully belong to political victors, and what longstanding rules should not be upended?
These are uneasy questions in the Age of Trump, especially since western governments long ago abandoned constitutional restraints and the cliched "rule of law" in favor or administrative governance by bureaucratic managers. Democracy, at least the mass variety practiced in modern western welfare states, provides no satisfactory answers. Are those unelected managers bound by popular will, or much of anything? What restrains the state?
Ludwig von Mises, a robust social theorist in addition to his staggering work in economics, saw these issues clearly. Despite--or perhaps because-- he witnessed the ravages of actual combat in the Great War, he chose to use the language of warfare in describing the plight of political minorities:
It was liberalism that created the legal form by which the desire of the people to belong or not to belong to a certain state could gain expression, viz., the plebiscite. The state to which the inhabitants of a certain territory wish to belong is to be ascertained by means of an election. But even if all the necessary economic and political conditions (e.g., those involving the national policy in regard to education) were fulfilled in order to prevent the plebiscite from being reduced to a farce, even if it were possible simply to take a poll of the inhabitants of every community in order to determine to which state they wished to attach themselves, and to repeat such an election whenever circumstances changed, some unresolved problems would certainly still remain as possible sources of friction between the different nationalities. The situation of having to belong to a state to which one does not wish to belong is no less onerous if it is the result of an election than if one must endure it as the consequence of a military conquest... To be a member of a national minority always means that one is a second-class citizen. (italics added)
The almost unbelievable rancor surrounding the Trump administration demonstrates precisely how little even rich westerners really revere democracy when they don't like its results. Anti-Trump forces indeed consider themselves conquered, feeling suddenly like second-class citizens in a country they thought they knew (one where an inevitable "progressive" arc would of course elect Ms. Clinton). They don't accept Trump any more than they would accept the head of a hostile and occupying foreign power. But rejecting the outcome of elections is strange position for Clinton supporters, a candidate who frequently gushed about "our sacred democracy."
The same can be said for the Brexit referendum in the UK and rising anti-immigration sentiment across continental Europe-- both pilloried as sinister and ill-intentioned populism as opposed to noble expressions of "the people" exercising their democratic rights. But populism is just democracy delivered good and hard, and technocratic administrators are correctly portrayed as gross hypocrites who use the veneer of democratic support only when it bolsters what they plan to do anyway.
Democracy, far from yielding compromise and harmony, pits Americans against each other while creating a permanent bureaucratic class. All of this is understandable and predictable from a libertarian perspective. Only libertarians make the consistent case against democratic mechanisms, and consider freedom from state power as far more important than majority consensus. Freedom isn't up for a vote, as the hopeful saying goes. Liberty-- properly understood as nothing more and nothing less than freedom from the state-- is the highest political end.
But we don't live in a free world, and most people are not ideological libertarians. Most people, though far less thoughtful, are (small d) democrats like Mises himself. In the interwar years, following the collapse of European monarchies and the rise of Nazism in Germany, Mises saw democracy as nothing short of the societal mechanism for avoiding further wars and bloodshed:
Democracy is that form of political constitution which makes possible the adaptation of the government to the wishes of the governed without violent struggles. If in a democratic state the government is no longer being conducted as the majority of the population would have it, no civil war is necessary to put into office those who are willing to work to suit the majority. By means of elections and parliamentary arrangements, the change of government is executed smoothly and without friction, violence, or bloodshed.
Nearly 100 years later we might wonder if he would still write those words today, having seen the 20th and now 21st centuries unfold. In hindsight they seem unduly optimistic. We'll never know, of course. and even the most doctrinaire anarchist can admit democracy played a part in the success of America and the West.
But there have been both literal and figurative casualties along the way, and more will become apparent in the coming decades. The elite western consensus, favoring globalism, a vague "neoliberalism," and social democracy will butt up against nationalist and breakaway impulses. Whether "democracy" will be permitted when it goes against elite sentiment is very much an open question, and people are not so easily fooled that globalist projects are in any way democratic.
It's vitally important to understand that Mises saw self-determination as the highest political end, and thus strongly argued against universalism and in favor of political subdivision wherever needed and feasible. Reordering political arrangements by creating smaller units, or abandoning them altogether via secession, was Mises's answer to the question of how political minorities could be protected. Breakaway movements were the safety valve in Mises's conception of democracy:
The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars.
At some point Americans of all ideological stripes have to ask themselves a question: if one really believes 30 or 40 or 50 percent of the population is beyond redemption, utterly immoral, stupid, fascist, racist, or communist, what should be done? Should they be killed? Deported? Herded into camps? Re-educated against their will until they vote correctly? Forced into low-caste status, politically, socially, and economically? Tolerated, but punished in future elections?
Or should we listen to Mises, and elevate political separation, federalism, and localism to the highest political principles?
Top-down rule from DC isn't working, and in fact it's making people miserable and ready to think unthinkable thoughts about civil war. Pro-Trump and anti-Trump sentiment is destroying social cohesion, the real "law" in any society. And for what? Miniscule policy differences between two parties that will never lift a finger against war, state power, entitlements, or the Fed?
It takes 70 million votes to control the White House, and the (deep) administrative state may be beyond the reach of even an overwhelming political majority. No matter where you sit ideologically, the risk of becoming a marginalized political minority grows as state power grows. It is time to stop trying to capture DC and start talking about realistic breakaway or federalist solutions, even under the umbrella of an ongoing federal state. The elections of 2018 and 2020 won't settle our problems, but only make them worse. At least 50 or 60 million Americans, a group far larger than most countries, will be politically disenfranchised and ruled by a perceived hostile government no matter what candidates or parties prevail.
If breaking up seems unthinkable, so does civil war. Is it written in stone that 330 million people must live under one far-flung federal jurisdiction, no matter what, forever?