New Socialist Man, Chicago Style

My wife and I were tooling around Bolingbrook, IL looking for a place for her new medical practice (to open shortly after a space is leased, more about that later) when we saw him. He was a government worker, pulling down christmas tree lights that had been put up on the corner of I-55 & IL-53 and with us stuck at a red light, he was our temporary entertainment.

Yank those lights! Rip that branch! One string that was serpentined across the front came down. A second string proved more challenging for our public servant as it was actually wrapped around the tree. After a brutal tug shook the entire tree, confirming that he would have to circle around the tree to take it off, he proved his membership in the vast collective of New Socialist Man. Rather than walk around the tree, he cut the wires.

My wife and I looked at each other in shared disgust. We didn’t have to say it. Our mutual look said it all. We talked about it anyway.

Any East European admiration for efficient US government is entirely misplaced. It really is true that there is zero difference among government workers across the world. They’re all New Socialist Men, at least on the job. Waste is their watchword, sloth is their middle name, and carelessness with other people’s money is their reality.

Libertarian Humanitarianism

I’m violating something of a rule of mine to post here as this isn’t a Chicago issue but a few posts on the blog regarding the recent tsunami drive me to put my own two cents in here.

First, I believe that in a perfect world, government action in areas struck by natural disaster should be limited to applying violence to criminals in areas where the rule of law is entirely absent or has significantly broken down. If you’re stealing rice or other disaster aid to make a buck and letting others die, I’m all in favor of having the US marines (or whoever is handy) put a bullet in you.

Governments do violence very well and that, ultimately is their proper job. They do it so well that an entire class of thieves has arisen who insinuate themselves in these organizations and their creatures (such as the UN) to steal while being protected by sufficient force and the custom of sovereignty that they can do so with impunity.

Still living in that ideal world, it would be best if private groups did the actual job of providing aid to bypass those government thieves. Private aid groups, at their best, are the most efficient providers of humanitarian assistance. Where failures occur, private groups are punished without much fuss as their donors simply turn elsewhere.

Moving to the real world, we would have needed to radically remake things decades ago for private aid to rule the roost in ameliorating the recent tsunami catastrophe. Since we haven’t, we go with what we’ve got and do the best we can as human beings, doctrine be damned.

Still, we do see some short term adjustments like the US’ coordinating council move to ensure that the UN’s pack of thieves don’t shift from Iraq’s oil for food to the Indian Ocean disaster relief effort. This is as it should be. Those who wish to actually influence disaster relief efforts for next time and tilt them toward fewer thieves feeding on aid and minimizing wasted overhead have two areas to concentrate on:

1. Promoting private aid starts by first counting it in the “aid totals” used as scorecards. By only counting government to government aid, private contributions are given 2nd class status. The hierarchy needs to be reversed.
2. Demanding criminal accountability for government thieves who take commissions to let aid get through, who steal out of aid warehouses, etc. Hunt down the thieves and put them in the dock. It’s not like the big scale thefts are much of a secret.

Disaster recovery is never going to run entirely smoothly. It’s always going to have some breaks in the system. The Chicago School has always had a great deal of practicality to it. We should always make it clear that critiques are for preparation for next time, that efficiency arguments are there to save lives, and that the wolves in sheep’s clothing should never have a free shot at our wallets, no matter what the circumstances.

And now, Chicago Moonbats

You might want to steer clear of federal plaza today (11/3). The less restrained portion of the Kerry coalition will be protesting the Iraq war at 5 pm. This is part of a 30 city protest tour today. Chicago festivities will continue with a two day protest against bankers, Thursday and Friday. Hopefully the violence will be kept to a minimum.

The Libertarian Gap

(crossposted on Flit(TM))

The Gap, or more formally the Non-Integrating Gap, is a concept at the core of Dr. Barnett’s The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century. But what is the Gap? This question comes to me every time I read a libertarian critic of the concept.

Gap countries are, by definition disconnected from the global rulesets that manage the Core, those states where a disturbingly large proportion of the world wants to get into. I say disturbingly because, all things being equal, there is really no reason for people socially acculturated and biologically specialized to warm climes to make their way in large numbers to nordic nations, but they do. Something pretty special must be attracting them while simultaneously repelling them from their ancient homelands. That something is clear after a bit of investigation, huge waves of horrifying violence interspersed with a daily brutality of individual denigration and lack of the normal rights to live out their lives in control of their own destiny.

Read more

An Entrepreneurial Adventure

The Mrs. finally bit the bullet today and let her boss know that she will be opening up her own medical practice. This is a Chicago story because we’re swimming against the tide, moving from NW Indiana to Illinois while the big story is the tide of doctors going the other direction. So is it possible for a doctor to open up a brand new (no existing patients) practice in a state in a malpractice insurance crisis? We’re going to find out and I’ll be chronicling the story here and in my individual blog Flit(TM).