Both Obama and McCain agree that we need to change
Washington. But what kind of change is it? Big political change or
little change? Im in favor of big change.
First let me address the question of socialism
vs. the free market. The socialist state was brought down by its totalitarian
nature. What we have now in our country is the fusion of politics
and big money which might be called business totalitarianism.
This the worst of both worlds. It has to change.
When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989-90, the end
of history was predicted. Capitalism had won. Government had only
a limited role in the economy. Some of its functions were privatized.
Businesses, including the financial sector, were widely deregulated.
Now we can see the result of that failed policy: more than a trillion
dollars of taxpayer subsidies to bail out financial institutions.
Pure capitalism can be hell. The pendulum needs
now to swing in the other direction. Some enterprises need to be managed
Im in favor of socialized medicine, for instance.
For the cost of the Prescription Drug benefit to seniors, we could
have a new system of free service for all U.S. residents paid for
by the federal government. My proposal is presented at http://www.newindependenceparty.org/medicine.html.
There is a corrupt relationships between doctors
and pharmaceutical companies in which doctors are given financial
incentives to prescribe certain brands of drugs. Doctors increase
their incomes by prescribing unneeded drugs. This is failed medicine.
The delivery system needs to be changed.
Free market principles do not govern medicine.
Health care is a state-sanctioned monopoly. We do not have an adversarial
relationship between buyer and seller but a system where the seller
- the doctor - makes buying decisions and a third party - insurance
companies - pay for it. It is a failed economic system. Socialized
medicine, run by the government, could do better.
Now I suppose it will seem strange that someone
who heads a Property Rights organization in Minneapolis would say
these kinds of things. However, privately owned rental housing is
governed by principles of the free market. Our concerns have to do
with competition from subsidized housing, excessive regulation by
city government, and lack of protection from crime. We are not supported
by government (except in Section 8 vouchers) but treated by it as
a lower species on the food chain.
Now let me discuss another turning point: the death
of Civil Rights-style politics. This kind of politics leads to a politics
of hate. It leads to conclusions that American society - presumably,
your society as well as mine - is evil. White people are evil. Males
are evil. There is institutional racism where it does
not matter how a white person personally interacts with black people
- he is inherently racist and evil, subject to a political version
of Original Sin. His "racism" is on auto-pilot. He had better
not think the wrong way.
There is also the stigma of anti-Semitism if someone
criticizes Israel. So our foreign policy is all messed up. In this
area, too, were into demonization and hate.
Barack Obama sounded the death knell of this kind
of politics when he said that there was not a black America or white
America but a United States of America. Obama hated neither his white
mother nor his black father. His was an identity of racial inclusion.
This was a major contribution to our political culture. It marked,
I think, a political turning point.
I dont know if Minnesota is ready for this
type of politics. I sense that
most political activists are too deeply committed to the old system
gripped by fear. We still havent had a meaningful and authentic
discussion of race; and, if we had one, the newspapers wouldnt
With respect to the immigration question, there
are two camps seeking political victory. One camp says the illegal
immigrants are lawbreakers who should be rounded up and sent home.
The other says that critics of unrestricted immigration are bigots
akin to the southern segregationists who were crushed in the '60s.
Its a matter of amassing enough enough political power to roll
your opponent. That's how the old politics works. You present yourself,
real or imagined, as "David" and club "Goliath"
over the head.
I think, however, that the "bigots" have
a legitimate beef in the taxpayer-financed services that are extended
to illegal immigrants and their families while their employers benefit
from dirt-cheap labor. If employers picked up more of this cost, maybe
the idea of amnesty - an end to the threat of deportation if not full
citizenship - would become politically feasible. Maybe compromise
Right now, were facing an economic crisis.
Attention should fall upon a better matching of costs and benefits
rather than of the benefits always going to the politically strong
while unorganized taxpayers pay for them. Thats a turning point
that I would welcome. See my philosophy
Independence Party candidate for Congress
5th district of Minnesota
(Note: A version of this was posted on the Minneapolis
e-democracy forum on September 19, 2008.)