In short, it's become clear that Obama represents the concerns of Goldman Sachs at least as emphatically as George Bush did; and at some level he's more dangerous because he enjoys the camouflage of the Democratic Party.
That travesty aside: Ultimately, I'm trying to decide if I'm a Platonist.
Is it true that someone must be the boss? Must society design itself around that principle?
If it is true—and needless to say that's the current position of both Democrats and Republicans—then I suppose I prefer the tyranny of the welfare state to the tyranny of Goldman Sachs. At least the welfare state serves more than 1% of the population. I'll take the elitist Barack Obama and his ethics of compassion to the elitist Ayn Rand and her virtue of selfishness.
All of this is another way of asking: Can no one rule?
The call for small government pre-supposes that if we limit government's power, liberty fills the void. Plato says otherwise: Goldman Sachs will fill the void, or some other multinational corporation, or—prout Ayn Rand—John Galt, triumphant.
I do know that a fundamental problem with the ethics of compassion—perhaps its fatal flaw—is that people resent help. They'll take it, but they won't appreciate it, ever. To their credit.
Anyway, here are a couple of things worth reading, both of which can be held responsible, to some degree, for my current bewilderment:
- "Why I Am Not a Conservative," by the hero of the tea partiers—and more famously the author of The Road to Serfdom—Friedrich von Hayek.
- "The Euthanasia of Industry," by Michael Hudson, the author of Super-Imperialism and "The New Road to Serfdom: An Illustrated Guide to the Coming Real Estate Collapse," an article published in Harper's in 2006 that correctly predicted the 2008 recession.