Barry Brownstein reveals a little known Friedrich fact: Hayek Helps Us Understand Why People Are Losing Their Minds
Recently, I saw a decal on a car window with the iconic Smoky the Bear image and the caption: “Only you can prevent communism.”
In humor, there is also truth. Prevent communism, how? The person with the decal, a close friend of my daughter’s, saw her role in preventing communism as continuing to educate herself on why it is an existential threat to humanity. Yet, she is dismayed at how many of her peers have adopted collectivist positions and are unwilling to consider alternatives.
Like her, I know many well-intentioned people who have adopted positions antithetical to liberty and yet are as concerned about human flourishing as you and me. They are not ideologues committed to overthrowing Western civilization, but their adopted mindsets are leading us down a dangerous path.
If it seems that your well-intentioned friends have lost their minds, they have, and you might be in danger of losing yours too.
F. A. Hayek’s The Fatal Conceit helps us understand why. Hayek explained we have confused cause and effect. Reason is not the cause of civilization; reason is a product of civilization.
Note that when Brownstein speaks of "losing one's mind", he's not using it as a euphemism for "going crazy". He's talking about losing your rationality and giving up to the demands of the collective.
Also of note:
For an example of that regrettable phenomenon… Andy Kessler warns us: The Climate-Change ‘Emergency’ Is Coming for You. Sounds bad. And his subhed is worse: "We’ve not fully arrived at crazytown. But the urge to curtail individual freedom is visible in countless blueprints for a controlled future."
Two years ago during Covid lockdowns, I wrote about climate control freaks, facetiously anticipating a future headline: “Bad CO2 Day, Lockdowns Enforced.” A joke that would never happen, right? Well . . .
Last month President Biden was asked on the Weather Channel if he was ready to declare a national climate emergency and responded, “We’ve already done that.” Asked again if he declared a climate emergency, he said, “Practically speaking, yes.” There is no official emergency, but the president certainly thinks we need one.
The fawning press gave him a break—he didn’t really mean that, did he? But the notion of a national emergency today isn’t farfetched. The United Nations website blares: “What you need to know about the Climate Emergency.” The European Parliament has declared one. So have hundreds of jurisdictions in at least 39 countries, including the U.K., Canada, Japan and Bangladesh. Climate-activist teenager Greta Thunberg gave away the game in 2019 when she said, “I want you to panic,” and, “I want you to act as if you would in a crisis.” Emergencies are an excuse to do whatever you want.
And the point of inducing panic? To get you to "lose your mind."
It's not just the Stupid Party anymore. As Kevin D. Williamson explains, it's also rapidly becoming The No-Values Party.
If the Republicans on the Milwaukee debate stage seemed incoherent to you, it is because the Republicans on the Milwaukee debate stage were incoherent. Incoherence is one of the many unhappy side effects a party experiences when it abandons its values.
Take national security. For more than a half a century, the Republicans were the party associated with a more robust—and more serious—program for national security. Now, they are and they aren’t, and they mostly aren’t. Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor and miraculously disappearing Trump challenger, has complained that the Biden administration is too eager to help Ukraine and our European allies repel the Russian invasion that launched the most significant war in Europe since World War II. We have critical defense interests, DeSantis told Tucker Carlson in March, and “becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.” He protests that the U.S. government is offering Kyiv a “blank check.”
DeSantis has reconnected with an ancient stream of Republican isolationism that flares up from time to time, as in Bob Dole’s infamous denunciation of “Democrat wars” in his 1976 vice presidential debate with Walter Mondale. The weird thing is, DeSantis also vowed to invade Mexico on his first day—literally: “I will do it on Day 1,” he pledged at the debate in response to a question about the drug cartels operating in the country. A few bucks to push back Moscow is a bridge too far, but an illegal and unprovoked invasion of our peaceable neighbor to the south is, somehow, obviously the right thing to do.
KDW's article has a little padlock on it, which I think means you should subscribe if you want to read more. And you should.
Another reason commuter rail to New Hampshire is a stupid idea. One we missed last Friday when discussing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joyce Craig's pledge to drop big bucks on extending Boston-centric MBTA commuter rail up to Nashua and Manchester.
First, Google "Boston office vacancy rate". You'll see a lot of results, and they are uniformly gloomy.
From January: Could Boston face an ‘urban doom loop’?
Also from January: Boston commercial vacancies at their highest in over a decade.
And it appears they are giving up hope for a miraculous comeback. From last month: Boston has launched a pilot program to convert unused office space into housing. Yes, in true Massachusetts fashion, they have a corporate welfare "program" of offering tax abatements to developers who will "convert" according to whatever the planners demand.
Because they're great at deciding that.
But the relevance to NH commuter rail is obvious: you're designing an inflexible, expensive system to take people to a place fewer and fewer people want to commute to.
Note that the MBTA and its apologists try to put a smiley face on this. Here (from June) you'll read that MBTA commuter rail has reached (finally) "80 percent of pre-pandemic levels".
But another way to say that is: down, 20%, probably forever. Have the hucksters pushing for a New Hampshire extension taken that into account for their rosy scenario? Wanna bet?