|The Rational Argumentator
A Journal for Western Man
|Panacea: How a Single Executive Decision Can Win Conservatives Victories on Three Fronts
G. Stolyarov II
This article appeared on Enter Stage Right internet magazine on August 18, 2002.
The year is 1998, and every news channel continues to relentlessly pour out vivid and attention-grasping details concerning the presidential scandal. Mr. Clinton, of whom I am no admirer, faces near-imminent impeachment charges and no hope of confronting the flow of accusations through a frontal assault. Suddenly, two months following the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the television screens flash with reports of a U.S. missile assault on supposedly terrorist facilities related to al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Sudan. This breaking news throws the impeachment scandal onto the pages of yesterday and for a brief span of a day focuses national attention almost entirely on the "retaliation against external threats".
The attacks are revealed to be a dismal failure, the missiles in Sudan striking an innocuous aspirin factory and the Afghan assault only marginally damaging a minor training camp. Had Clinton been sufficiently cunning to realize the potent tool he had unleashed to save his hide, he would have pressed the campaign and enlarged it into a large-scale operation to weed out global threats. Perhaps Osama bin Laden may have been apprehended, punished, and September 11, 2001, would never have seen such a catastrophe. Nevertheless, immediate consequences withstanding, the core idea behind the distraction approach was a correct path that could have been exploited to preserve a presidential reputation.
The year is 2002, and President George W. Bush faces a menace to his administration which is not as immediate as the impeachment of President Clinton, but is nevertheless a formidable avenue for Democrats to regain sovereignty with the popular electorate. In late June news channels buzzed with rumors of escalating the War on Terror to its rightful next stage, the neutralization of the adversary that is Saddam Hussein. Iraq under its dictator overtly sends monetary grants to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, has spoken out in favor of the Taliban and the September 11th hijackers, and may be clandestinely developing weapons of mass destruction since its defeat during the Gulf War (for even United Nations weapons inspectors had conducted only semi-efficient investigations as a result of excessive compliance with Iraqi restrictions prior to their total expulsion four years ago).
It, an entire nation prepared to intervene on the terrorists' behalf at any convenient time, poses the most substantial threat to American stability at present, but the administration never seems to execute the final order to initiate military action despite the media's recent signals that such may be of close proximity. The result? Any mention of Iraq has in the past several weeks subsided or fallen on deaf ears following another domestic wave of panic originating from the divulgence of WorldCom accounting practices and the subsequent bankruptcy.
President Bush's job approval ratings had remained at an amazing height, in the high seventies, during the heated stages of the War on Terror, not waning significantly due to successful developments including the liberation of Afghanistan, the institution of Homeland Security, the detainment of terrorists such as Richard Reid, Zacharias Moussaoui, and Jose Padilla. Recently a FOX poll places the ratings at sixty-nine percent, a near ten-point slip from late-June figures. This is the situation amid an irrational economic scare causing market decline and fueled by the WorldCom financial troubles.
Such was precisely the scenario Democrats leaped to exploit, an opportunity to impose regulation upon the business world that would at this time be welcomed with open arms by the impulsively cowering majority which, due to over-generalizing stereotypes, has unleashed a malicious attitudinal backlash against not merely the violators but the business world in general, the rhetoric about "the evils of corporate greed" and "the necessity to eliminate corporate domination" permeating broadcasts and press releases, adding fuel to the leftists' fire. Accounting fraud is not a commendable action, but the status quo proves that men who commit it become exposed and penalized without need for additional rigidity in the economy. The particular company loses investor and consumer confidence and collapses, or certain officials responsible for the misconduct become alienated from the enterprise.
In a true free-market laissez-faire capitalist system a deception-based approach is undertaken only by those already incompetent in the realm of business, for the able and productive have no need to cover up their financial state; they are already soaring and reaping profits due to their ability and the integrity which reinforces their honest labors. The poor performers who from cowardice attempt to fabricate an undeserved image of themselves deserve failure and obtain it. Such secrets as theirs cannot be kept in the dark, and have not been in the case of Enron, Arthur Andersen, and WorldCom. Prior to the imposition of suffocating liabilities and further limitations their misconduct was brought into the open. They and the guilty parties within them had all suffered, losing their companies and their fortunes. But this is not the aim of the leftists. The latter seek to, through the amplification of bureaucracy and regulation within the corporate sector punish not the vile and treacherous, who have already received what was due to them, but rather the innocent, successful, and prosperous.
Philosopher Ayn Rand had rightfully stated that any limitation on the activities of entrepreneurs is a limitation on the capabilities of all rational minds. Any coercion aimed as a preventive measure against those who have not yet committed a crime is possible only because the measures are not financially profitable and have not been implemented by logical, clear-thinking businessmen of their own accord. Therefore, these additional shackles in which Congress is presently deliberating to bind businessmen are inherently aimed at undermining the welfare of their enterprises and robbing them of means which could have been diverted toward a more substantial output or the amplification of their profit, both of which, when any man deals with them, present the latter with the opportunity to benefit from their goods and use them for his own interests.
The economy will not recover as a result of drugging the jittery masses with regulation; it will continue to decline. Moreover, the existence of increased restrictions imply an increased chance that another company, be it genuinely at fault or not, will become tangled in a web of bureaucracy and thus become more likely to undergo financial failure and cause another economic scandal to erupt, resulting in more regulation, which will in turn spark greater scandals. This scheme follows the pattern of a so-called positive loop, a chain reaction in which event A leads to event B which in turn leads to greater quantities of event A and so forth. But President Bush is of now unable to wriggle out of this trap by frontal assault, for he would have to confront the deception that this is seemingly aimed only at questionable accounting practices. The genuine aim of the new "reforms" is voiced frequently in the rhetoric of their advocates, "the elimination of corporate greed", the desire to destroy that profit-seeking which is an essential aspect to a nation such as the United States, founded on individual liberties and the right of men to pursuit of life and happiness.
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