by Justin Raimondo
September 22, 2008
In reading about the federal bailout of all those financial wheeler-dealer
outfits that are supposedly "too big to fail," the layman may be forgiven
for failing to comprehend the intricacies of the arcane financial
instruments currently backfiring on their whiz-kid inventors.
creatures as "credit default swaps" may elude the understanding of the hoi
polloi, but one thing the man in the street does know: he'll never be "too
big to fail," of that he can be sure.
He's just not the Bear-Stearns type, and Congress would never shell out a
penny before he loses his savings and his home, which – due to the
propaganda of Panglossian economics, whereby houses stopped being homes and
became investments – amount to pretty much the same thing.
of Wall Street made untold trillions out of
a policy that was doomed to fail in advance, and whose critics have long predicted would end in
precisely the manner our tale of economic woe is unfolding.
The policy of bank credit expansion, which enriches the already wealthy at
the expense of the rest of us, has a fatal allure. It induces an initial
euphoria, the false promise of permanent prosperity. This Panglossian view
is the perfect economic system for an emerging empire, especially one with
such inflated pretensions as ours. It is the economics of hubris – the same
grandiosity that let us imagine we could implant "democracy" in the arid
soil of Iraq and make the desert bloom.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. bestrode the earth like a
colossus, America's stock was rising, and the pride that goeth before a fall
imbued our leaders with the illusion that they couldn't fail. The American
empire, they thought, is too big to fail. It's the end of history – and the
rest will just be a mopping-up operation, that will be well worth the costs.
The failed policies that led to our current economic predicament – the whole
central banking and fiat currency – are precisely those policies
that benefited those who are now demanding to be bailed out. They may have
bankrupted the country, but you can be damned sure they aren't going down
with the rest of us, no sirree!
This outrageous rip-off is mirrored in the foreign policy realm, where the
very same crowd that dragged us waist-deep into the Middle Eastern quicksand
are lecturing us from every podium. The
neocons who brought us the Iraq war
are directing John McCain's campaign, hanging on to power for dear life,
shamelessly touting their alleged "success" even as the $3 trillion bill
comes in and the people ask "For what?'
These are the real dead-enders, the
ones who believe that
George W. Bush never implemented his self-proclaimed
"global democratic revolution," but they will.
The same foreign lobbyists who pushed for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by
U.S. force of arms have now turned their sights on Iran. The same newspaper
columnists and professional know-it-alls who imagined that we would have a
quick victory in Iraq – that it would be a "cakewalk," as one of the more
arrogant neocons once put it – are still dominating the official discourse
with their calls to action on this front and that.
Bill Kristol, the little
Lenin of the neocons, who made the Iraq war his vocation, was awarded a
coveted pulpit on the op-ed page of the New York Times. Other people are
demoted for advocating failed policies, but members in good standing of the
War Party are promoted. They, too, are too big to fail.
When the bill comes due, American taxpayers – and grieving parents and loved
ones of the fallen – will have to pay, while the authors of our suicidal
foreign policy get off scot-free.
The war profiteers aren't just the arms manufacturers, the Halliburtons, and
the "private" international security firms who do the empire's dirty work.
Key to the War Party are the intellectuals who gain prestige and real power
over policymaking and public opinion on the strength of their reputations as
paladins of interventionism.
In some cases, these two types are embodied in
the same people, Richard Perle being the exemplar.
In any event, what's becoming increasingly clear is that the bailout
brothers are all members of the same clan: think of them as a Mafia family,
with a strict hierarchy of authority and command, albeit an informal one. At
the top is the Don, finance capital, which controls the engine and sits at
the dashboard pressing buttons according to a pattern: first inflation, then
deflation, boom then bust, peace and then war again.
But the bailout boys
always parachute to safety before disaster envelopes the rest of us. Which
is why failure only emboldens them.
Our rulers really do believe their empire is too big to fail, but of all the
would-be lords of creation, our own ruling elite may have the shortest reign
– and the hardest fall. The engine that runs the machinery of imperialism is
breaking down at key junctures, and the whole structure is teetering and
creaking ominously, as if to presage the coming implosion.
For the truth of the matter is that the very bigness of the American Imperium, the sheer scope of its rulers' ambition, is precisely what is
fated to bring about its downfall, and a very messy and painful descent it
will surely be.
As I relate in
Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost
Legacy of the Conservative Movement, during Rose Wilder Lane's eye-opening
trip to the Soviet Union in the 1920s she met a Russian peasant who
predicted, with perfect accuracy, the fate of the commissars some 70 years
"'It's too big,' he said. 'Too big. At the top, it is too small. It will not
work. In Moscow, there are only men, and man is not God. A man has only a
man's head, and one hundred heads together do not make one great head. No.
Only God can know Russia.'"
The problem is that some men think they are gods.
In the end, however, we
will all pay the price for their hubris – the guilty as well as the innocent
– as the American empire meets the fate of its Soviet predecessor, and for
the same reason.