Meet the New Boss

I am reading a fabulous book called "The Rise and Fall of Society" by Frank Chodorov.  It was apparently first published in 1959 and has been republished recently by the .  Here is an early bit I particularly liked:

One indication of how far the integration [between state and society] has gone is the disappearance of any discussion of the State qua State -- a discussion that engaged the best minds of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  The inadequacies of a particular regime, or its personnel, are under constant attack, but there is no faultfinding with the institution itself.  The State is all right, by common agreement, and it would work perfectly well if the "right" people were at its helm.

His next line is clearly aimed at his conservative contemporaries

It does not occur to most critics of the New Deal that all its deficiencies are inherent in any State, under anybody's guidance, or that when the political establishment garners enough power a demagogue will sprout.

I offered up similar observations here, though aimed at the left, who at the time were the minority opposition party:

I am reminded of all this because the technocrats that built our
regulatory state are starting to see the danger of what they created.
A public school system was great as long as it was teaching the right
things and its indoctrinational excesses were in a leftish direction.
Now, however, we can see the panic.  The left is freaked that some red
state school districts may start teaching creationism or intelligent
design.  And you can hear the lament - how did we let Bush and these
conservative idiots take control of the beautiful machine we built?  My
answer is that you shouldn't have built the machine in the first place
- it always falls into the wrong hands.  Maybe its time for me to again invite the left to reconsider school choice.

Today, via Instapundit, comes this story about the GAO audit of the decision by the FDA to not allow the plan B morning after pill to be sold over the counter.
And, knock me over with a feather, it appears that the decision was
political, based on a conservative administration's opposition to
abortion.  And again the technocrats on the left are freaked.  Well,
what did you expect?  You applauded the Clinton FDA's politically
motivated ban on breast implants as a sop to NOW and the trial
lawyers.  In
establishing the FDA, it was you on the left that established the
principal, contradictory to the left's own stand on abortion, that the
government does indeed trump the individual on decision making for
their own body
  (other thoughts here).
Again we hear the lament that the game was great until these
conservative yahoos took over.  No, it wasn't.  It was unjust to scheme
to control other people's lives, and just plain stupid to expect that
the machinery of control you created would never fall into your
political enemy's hands.


  1. Rob:

    I've always liked to point out our institutions as a scapegoat for demagoguery.
    For example, there is a crowd of people who want to force everyone to wear motorcycle helmets.

    There are two main arguments:
    1. "We" are trying to protect you from you.
    2. "We" are trying to protect "society" from paying for your mistakes.

    In argument 1, the assumption is made that "We" (gov't) know what's best for you.
    Once you challenge the institution's control over your own person, the debate moves toward argument two.

    Argument 2, has a little more subetly. The assumption made is that taxpayers
    are being hurt by other people's actions. Once again, you must challenge the institution.
    Is the problem really that taxpayers have to foot a medical bill or increased healthcare costs...
    or is it really the institution which says that everyone else should pay for one person's risk taking.

    In both arguments, you have assumption that the institution is correct followed by a plea based on emotions.

  2. Knox:

    I believe that they completely understand and agree with your analysis and love the outcome. Because Now they get to argue that now that we've set up all the bureacracy and rules and institutions, the voters MUST vote for the party that set it up, otherwise the wrong bunch of yahoos will be in control. Now they get to fire up their base to control the system.

  3. Francis W. Porretto:

    Chodorov is an old favorite of mine, a lion of liberty after the fashion of Meyer and Nock. Make sure you get his Fugitive Essays, which comprises the best of his shorter works.