Only states have the power to create zero-sum political favors, disfavors, and cronies. Cronyism isn’t a brand of capitalism, but a symptom of hybrid systems; interventionist states that heavily influence socioeconomic results actively invite lobbying by those who are most affected and can most afford it (the rich and powerful). But the root problem of favoritism isn’t one of demanders who bribe, but of suppliers who extort.
In the subsequent months I read scores of articles of children in K-12 public schools being taught about America created out of stolen lands. I heard Vice President Kamala Harris deliver remarks on the day after Columbus Day, or what has come to be known as ‘Indigenous Day….’ Harris accused the United States of ushering in a ‘wave of devastation for tribal nations, perpetuating violence, stealing land, and spreading disease.'
The Ayn Rand Institute recently published a long article addressing this history of schisms—the first official comment on the issue from that wing of the Objectivist movement in many years. The article rehearses selective details of some disagreements among Objectivists in an attempt to vindicate the many bridges ARI has burned over the decades. Yet along the way, it ends up embracing the key ideas The Atlas Society has been advocating all along.
In the last ten years, and accelerating dramatically in the last three, big business consolidated and centered on tech and finance. Then it became entrenched. The laptoppers educated at woke universities ported their values into the workplace, gained managerial control, and deployed HR departments as their mechanism of control. The politics of these industries followed, and now it is the base of the Democrats.
If the pandemic policy response had taken the form of mere advice, we would not be in the midst of this social, economic, cultural, political disaster. What caused the wreckage was the application of political force that was baked into the pandemic response this time in a way that has no precedent in human history.
The failure to admit the enormous and shocking policy failures of the last two years is costing us dearly. The refusal to reverse course and re-embrace fundamentals of freedom and human rights is setting the stage for outcomes even more grim than what we have heretofore experienced.
How this began: The virus was here (the US) already for months from 2019 and life went on normally. Once the consciousness seeped in and the politicians panicked, we moved quickly from travel restrictions to lockdowns to mask mandates to domestic capacity restrictions to vaccine mandates. Somewhere along the way, we learned to classify people by profession, stigmatize the sick, then finally to demonize the noncompliant. It’s been 20 months of intensified controls, driven by political leaders from both parties, with precious little dissent from media organs.
To list the myriad examples of what constitutes “cancel culture,” one would risk becoming a statistician of gutter trivia. It would involve elevating a great deal of journalistic minutiae to the level of moral contemplation in a manner that eventually would become exhausting.
For more than a year, due mainly to liberal policies associated with Covid-phobia and lockdowns, the U.S. has experienced various types and magnitudes of labor shortages. In short, the quantity of labor demanded by would-be employers has exceeded quantities supplied by would-be employees, especially in the service sector. The phenomenon is neither accidental nor temporary. Joblessness has been both mandated (by shutdowns of “nonessential” businesses) and subsidized (with lucrative and extended “jobless benefits”), which makes it difficult for many businesses to attract and hire labor of sufficient quantity, quality, reliability, and affordability.