Demagogue: 1) a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power
Barack Obama’s election as our 44th President created a lot of panic on the right side of our national divide for many reasons, all of them valid. Worries ranged from the more practical concerns of his agenda being forced into action to the more esoteric variety, did this represent a fundamental shift in our national identity, vocalized by Al Sharpton’s celebratory declaration that America was now officially, a Socialist Nation. In that age old question, is this group incompetent or evil, the only accurate answer is yes. Part of the problem however was that the 2008 disaster went further than just electing Barack Obama. It also elected a super majority of his party to control the Senate, and at the same time, gave him the Keys to the House. For two solid years, there literally was no opposition to the Liberal wish list, and his persona had been built to the level of deity by a compliant and completely incurious lapdog media, who were themselves recorded in the act of chanting mindlessly along with Dear Leader at his convention’s coronation. They worked tirelessly to build a cult figure, and scrubbed any and all photographs to make this mere mortal seem messianic.
Barack Obama is in good company on that front, with historic figures such as Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin Dada, Lafayette Ron Hubbard, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, and David Koresh. So far, history has not had time to judge Barack Obama, but when things shake out, as they always do, make no mistake about it, he’ll be right in there with the first four names on that list in terms of destruction left in his wake. For his cult of persona you see, has been applied on a national scale, rather than on simply a more personal level consisting of a handful of dolts. The number of deaths attributed to Manson is hovering between 35 and 50 currently, Jones scored a cool 909, Marshall Applewhite got 37 others to follow him to that great beyond, and Koresh’s pyrotechnics claimed 82 lives besides his own. The first four names on the list succeeded in applying their evil on a national or multinational scale. While each of these figures may have presented themselves to history in vastly different ways, there is a sameness to all of them. Their rise, their increasing levels of lunacy once the zenith had been obtained, the increasing need to push the envelope of sanity in order to maintain control of those dolts who followed, the inevitable crash associated with being perceived through the lens provided by reality, and the consequences of reality come a knockin, always seem to leave a perplexed mass of people asking the same questions of themselves in rhetorical wonderment. How could that have happened to an intelligent and curious people?
The other day, I had read a posting on Facebook written by a child hood friend. He was discussing the idiocy of the so called strike against fast food restaurants by workers demanding an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. (Something is worthy of note here by the way. The vaunted strike so dutifully covered by the press, turned out to be nothing more than about 100 paid protesters, all earning $7.25 per hour, walking from location to location in Manhattan, while the local McDonald’s went about their business uninterrupted, serving the desires of their patrons. The entire sorry episode was nothing more than an organized effort to distract national attention from the Obamacare disaster, which is apparently worrying the pretty little heads in the Obama White House.) It was a well written post, and filled with many cogent arguments, many of which missed the mark in terms of prudent economic theory. I put up my argument, which supported his, which means I agreed for different reasons than those stated, and as you may have guessed, the usual group of liberals began whining their discontent that anyone would disagree with our President and his latest pivot to prosecute his class warfare. Something that happens by the way whenever he is facing political discomfort of any sort.
I pointed out that minimum wage began in this country as a part of the Jim Crow laws in the South, and that it was one of the principle tenets of Apartheid. Minimum wage you see, removes the only economic weapon that the poor and uneducated have which will help them introduce themselves into the labor market. I received the requisite beat down, called unfeeling, a racist, evil, and saw the use of ad hominems, and straw man arguments to refute my ideas. Then the inevitable happened. Someone brought out that old tried and true debate tactic, “Oh yeah, a majority of people agree with us, that the minimum wage is a good thing.” You might recognize that argument as this, at least I hope you do, “follow the mob, because we all know that mobs are always right.”
What is it about our DNA that severely inhibits critical thinking when a mob forms around us? After WWII, the common defense invoked by all of the Nuremberg Defendants, and rejected by a world once again restored to sanity, was that they committed their atrocities simply because they were merely following orders, or in the common vernacular, just going along with the mob. An enterprising Psychology Professor at Yale, Stanley Milgram, decided to conduct an experiment to determine if ordinary people could be convinced to kill other innocent human beings if they were merely told to do so, and what he found was so terrible, both for all of society and those who were subjects of his study, that Yale fired him the very next day. Out of his 36 test subjects, only one refused to take another human life, a Catholic Priest. 35 other people turned the dial of purported electrical voltage beyond the lethal limit, coaxed into doing so with no more than a person carrying a clip board wearing a white lab coat and glasses entering the room.
More noteworthy than the fact that these miscreants can gain power and influence however, is what happens when the inevitable conclusion occurs. That’s also a part of the sameness that I spoke to earlier. In each instance, when they seemingly have hit the zenith of their popularity and influence, it must suddenly occur to them that they are the leader of a frenzied mob, and those are increasingly hard to control. The mob started out due to something in their world that was lacking at the moment of formation or joining. The expectation of that something never goes away. They follow because they feel that whoever is leading can lead them to satisfaction, something that can never be truly fulfilled. Adoring followers can become rabid hunters at the dropping of a hat. Pretty soon, our cult leaders are faced with the unenviable task of keeping one step ahead of the mob, both in terms of crazy and cunning. Only with the continued promise of satisfaction will they survive, and patience has never been a human trait enjoyed by the majority of beings within that club.
Reality can not be held in abeyance for ever. Eventually, no matter how deeply held within the psychosis of the mob a person is embroiled, reality will set in, and the thought, “My God, what have I done?” will seep in. The craftiest cult leaders have always chosen the moment just prior to that happening as their swansong, cementing their place in history’s more visible field of vision. The cult followers, even after being led to their self destructive ends are always perplexed with outsiders not seeing the logic, if not within their actions, than with how they could have been so easily led down that path. 909 people in Jones town drank kool-aid laced with cyanide, or were children of parents who forced them to do so. They began their path looking for a higher plane of spiritual existence. The Manson family had believed that they had found the second coming of Jesus Christ, and followed when their savior told them that they should kill indiscriminately.
Given the choice between being chased from town by the same angry mob via torch and pitch fork or leading that angry mob to its own inevitable destruction, cult leaders will invariably choose the latter. The problem for Barack Obama and those who helped both build and perpetuate his mythology is this, so far as I know, there is no way that Barack the magician can place himself between your eyes and the envelope you’ll be receiving in the mail very soon that notifies you of the fact that you can’t keep your insurance that you liked, nor your doctor, nor your chosen hospital. There is no way that he’ll be able to distract you from the fact that you’ll have to defend yourself to a bureaucrat when seeking medical treatment for anything more serious than a cold, with the decision as to whether or not you deserve to live resting in the hands of someone you’ve never met, and is willing to let you know just how inferior and less worthy you truly are, when you stand either by yourself or with a loved one in front of a Death Panel. 85% of all Americans will now learn that they’ll get to pay double what they once did for health insurance, and on top of that will now face deductibles that dwarf those contained in the inferior plans that the government considered unfit. The good news of course is that men will now be covered for problems with the Uterus that they don’t have, and women will no longer have to worry about testicular cancer. We’ll find this all out, assuming that the $635 Million website is ever made functional.
What we are seeing is that Barack Obama has not been able to stay ahead of that curve. Reality has set in, and his star is falling. Last week’s bizarre foray into class warfare was nothing more than a lame attempt to whip up anger at someone else, the wealthy. That’s another item on the cult leader’s repertoire, blaming outsiders. Keeping the faithful distracted from their lack of satisfaction by blaming an outside boogie man for the world’s ills. You can’t afford the television lifestyle because the wealthy have gotten rich off of your back, and if not yours, then somebody else’s. All any cult leader needs is to get you to fall for a simple mistake in logic at the beginning, and every step down that dark path seems like it fits perfectly within the realm of common sense. In the case of the great class warrior, that mistaken premise is that wealth in this world has existed since the dawn of man, and that it is both finite and zero sum.
When we first moved out of caves, and started putting up mail boxes that we called our own, there were no such things as doctors, jet skis, or even 401k’s. Those were all created from the environs surrounding us all, by ingenious members of our species who wanted to get rich, and understood that serving the wants and needs of their fellow man was the best way to accomplish that. The wonderful thing about the free market system is this, every transaction is voluntary. When you go into a McDonald’s and wish to purchase the Big Mac for example, the choice to do so depends on one thing and one thing only. Would you rather have the sandwich to eat, or your $3.50. The person working behind the counter or on their grill line is also there voluntarily. Their choice is, would they rather be somewhere else, or are they willing to give McDonald’s an hour of their time at what ever wage McDonald’s has agreed to pay. Not one person in the equation has been forced to act as the other wants.
The reality is this, forcing a minimum wage on any society will lead to unemployment in that community that can least afford to be unemployed. The reality is that we’ll be hurting the very people we are promising to help most of all. If we ignore the market signals and act to subvert them, unintended consequences will occur. McDonald’s invested in a great deal of automation within their restaurants the last time an appreciable increase to the minimum wage went into effect. They can now run their restaurants with fewer people than they did before. If a person can not produce enough with their presence to justify the minimum wage, the job will simply cease to exist, adjustments made, and the ability to enter the workforce will be shut off for somebody who otherwise would have had an avenue.
It’s very easy to make statements about the top wage earners versus the bottom wage earners, but care should be taken to tell the whole truth. People as a whole do not stay in any specific wage strata for the entirety of their lives. This year’s bottom wage earners are very rarely next year’s bottom wage earners. The same is true for the top. People move back and forth through the various stratifications regularly. Those people who are flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s today might very well be managing a McDonald’s five years from now. So, thanks to the cult of Obama and the political left, substituting reality for some twisted fantasy, several thousand future members of management who would have been earning a decent wage and enjoying the American Dream, will instead be unemployed and living within the endless trap of subservience. As Fredric Bastiat pointed out in 1830, just because those jobs are unseen, that does not make them any less real than the ones which will be eliminated today. And just because that particular bit of economic destruction will be happening to people who are at the moment faceless, it is no less cruel.
I can not forgive the intentions of those who would inflict this evil upon our society, since the effects are or should be well known to those who advocate for its merits. It is nothing more than the same old economic weaponry aimed at a lower economic strata of our society, cleaned up and put in shiny new clothing, a pig wearing lipstick, and sold as something positive. The destruction wrought by the Obamacare law are terrible enough. By itself, this is a society killer. At doubling of the minimum wage would be just as destructive, and the fact that it is being introduced for no other reason than to distract us from the reality of Obamacare makes it that much worse. Is Barack Obama evil or stupid? The answer to that question is yes.
Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.