Welcome to Liberrants, a blog dedicated to editorials, discussions, and studies of all things libertarian. Don't let the title mislead you; it's merely my attempt to be creative in describing myself as a "hopeful curmudgeon" who embraces the goal of the free, peaceful, economically vibrant society envisioned by America's founding fathers. Jump in! Contribute! Enjoy!

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Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

A critically thinking curmudgeon whose goal, in addition to creatively venting about the imperfect world in which we live, is to induce critical thinking in others. The ultimate goal is to help bring about a peaceful world in which we can all live in freedom.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A Rank and Damaging Display of Bipartisan Arrogance and Stupidity

I wanted to post this yesterday, but I’ve imposed a rule upon myself that allows me to post only once per day, so I’m delivering this as a “day old” discount. I came across it as I was skimming, but later found it also mentioned on yesterday’s edition of via Matt Barganier’s post to their blog. After reading this, the viscerally-controlled part of my brain responded that all three of these Demopublican creatures deserve a nice, brute-force kick in the huevos with a steel-toed (and preferably Chinese-made) boot. The cooler, rational side of the brain ultimately prevailed, however, leading to a sense of profound sadness.

Is this really the best face America can show the Chinese (or indeed any other nation)? Are we really so shallow, self-centered and steeped in hubris as to think that these three stooges will inspire anything but contempt from the world’s most populous nation? If so, we are deeper in fecal matter than I thought. I’m reminded here of the message my pastor delivered two Sundays ago pertaining to Acts 19: 13-16, in which some Jews in Corinth attempted to drive demons out of people without the power of the Holy Spirit behind them and wound up being pulverized by these demons. For those not into scriptural parables, my pastor likened this to an unarmed 5-foot, 2-inch 90-pound weakling walking into a saloon in the Old West and approaching a 6-foot, 9-inch 250-pound outlaw armed with a pair of revolvers to “kick him in the huevos” and call him out. The results in either case would not be pretty for the person initiating the conflict, for the simple reason that they have insufficient power to back up their threats (my wife uses what she says is an old-time ghetto expression: “Your mouth wrote a check your ass couldn’t cash!”). America is in this same situation when it comes to China.

Not only is China the most populous nation in the world, it is also the world’s fastest growing economy. America, by contrast, is steadily losing both its industrial base and information and service sectors to foreign competition and ownership at an alarming rate. China enjoys a national budget surplus, whereas America is racking up a history-making national debt that will bankrupt it within half a century (probably much sooner, but I’m being generous here). America also faces the probability of currency inflation in the very near future that will make the stagflation of the 1970s seem petty by comparison. Faced with these ominous truths and having no solutions at hand that will allow them to save face while maintaining their hold on power, America’s governing class plays the role of the worn, emaciated 90-pound weakling who imagines himself the global titan that he was in decades gone by, unaware that while he may have been Mohammed Ali the heavy-weight champion yesterday, he is Mohammed Ali the invalid today.

The Chinese, for their part, are marking time. Rather than let the visceral part of their collective psyche takeover and deliver what would be a swift, painful, and possibly crippling kick in the huevos to the world’s only remaining “superpower”, they play the roll of the patient parent waiting for a recalcitrant toddler to tantrum himself into exhaustion. They know that America is firmly in their hands (as does any cognizant American), that they hold hundreds of billions of dollars worth of American T-Bills that serve as a fiscal Sword of Damocles over America’s head, and that they enjoy military power that, while not as sophisticated (yet) as that enjoyed by America, is mighty enough in size to cause catastrophic damage if provoked into use. (As an aside, I wonder if Beijing isn’t simply as befuddled as the rest of the world and is just riding out what they think is a temporary storm. They may very well believe that Bush and company are just an anomaly and that the idea is absurd beyond the realm of human reasoning than any American presidential administration this stupid, this reckless, this corrupt, and this arrogant can really be the norm for the foreseeable future). They know that America’s economic and military resources are palpably finite and that ultimately Uncle Sam will spend himself up completely. That day of reckoning is coming sooner than America thinks. So in the meantime the Chinese will express carefully controlled indignation, anger, and shock at America’s patronizing lectures, make token gestures of protest and resistance, and go about the business of turning themselves into the world’s new economic superpower, the only kind of superpower that ultimately endures.

So what should America do with regard to China? For starters, rather than wax arrogant and belligerent, America should continue to trade with and encourage the growth of the Chinese economy, if for no other reason than to lessen the appeal to the Chinese government for heavy investments in defense spending, something that will be self-fulfilling prophecy if America keeps up the belligerent attitude. A military confrontation with China would mean suicide for America and our “leaders” know this (even if they are inclined to hasten the apocalyptic events espoused by their evangelical enablers). More realistically and to the point, America has no other choice but to continue trade with China, at least for as long as the Chinese see value in the American consumer market. Unless the capital exists within the American domestic economy to launch and sustain enterprises and infrastructure that produce consumer goods as efficiently and cheaply as does Chinese industry (and with America’s entrenched tax system and Byzantine labor laws, among other prohibitive factors, that just ain’t gonna happen) or America can find another trading partner that produces the variety of goods China does at comparably low cost (and such a partner is nowhere on the horizon), the disruption of trade with China is a non-starter.

So in closing, there is really only one message: Shut up, American politicians. Go home, and keep your filthy mitts off of China. Let them produce in peace; maybe you should spread THAT message to the folks back home. The Chinese, to their credit, aren’t ready yet for “American values”, which, if America’s current behavior is any example, are neither something to be proud of, nor a marketable export.