Barack Still Wants More Buggy Whips
Cast your mind back a couple of years, sayeth the Ghost of Christmas Past, when the Magnificent O had only begun to tarnish his brand. Then our fab prez had this to say about the evils of... ATMs, per Russell Roberts at the Wall Street Journal:
"There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers," he said. "You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don't go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate."
Now commands the Ghost of Christmas Present, read this passage from a speech given by the Great O-minator earlier this week, as conveyed by those staunch defenders of liberty at the Daily Kos:
But starting in the late '70s, this social compact began to unravel. Technology made it easier for companies to do more with less, eliminating certain job occupations. A more competitive world lets companies ship jobs anywhere. And as good manufacturing jobs automated or headed offshore, workers lost their leverage, jobs paid less and offered fewer benefits.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson penned in an America free from ObamaCare: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
"Little statesmen" is a tad decorous and too charitable in today's currency. Better to say in unfettered glee: "El Presidente is a hack leftist pol who spiffed himself up and smiled his way into the White House using feel-good paeans that swept up low-info voters and jaw-dropped jaded Madison Avenue hucksters."
Back to the critical point. Our Maxim Leader has picked up the thread he laid in 2011. Technology is the enemy of the worker. Can Barack and the left succeed in making technology the enemy of the state, too? Shouldn't that include healthcare.gov?
But for ATMs, there would be more bank tellers, as we learned from Chairman O. But for computers, there'd be abacuses galore and abacus-makers... and plenty of grunts in dingy bank basements busily toting figures using pencils made in Newark from trees felled in Washington State (greenies hissy-fits notwithstanding).
Then there are trains and automobiles, which supplanted horses, buggies, and freight wagons. In the day, the horse-drawn carriage industry wasn't sustainable in the teeth of relentless -- or as our Dear Leader might say, heartless -- assaults of the iron horse and then the engine-powered buggy. Teamsters became truckers or "transitioned" to employment in services or production where demand existed, perhaps for better wages. Some "displaced workers" fell through the cracks, as the day's Luddites insisted. But "some" became "most" as the Luddites pushed to expand their franchise. How else to retard society if most of us aren't properly spooked by change?
Then the left was ambiguous. Commies once embraced technological advancement as liberating and the hallmark of glorious utopian progress. Technology, the spawn of the inventive and problem-solving, represented freedom for the masses, from drudgery and sod-busting and enslavement. From horses' kicks in the heinie and head. From washtubs and clotheslines and hand-harvesting... and disease, famine, and plagues. Liberated to pursue loftier aims, the downtrodden and exploited would vanish.
Comrade, those earlier commies, regardless inconsistencies, had it over today's commies, embodied by the Untouchable O, who, in the name of the lumpenproletariat, denigrates innovation and technological advancement. Can calling for tech controls be far behind? When will technology be stigmatized like guns?
Hypocrisy is an alternative consideration, you say? O the Celebrated spats upon technology publicly to froth up crowds of pitchfork-wielding, left-tilting losers, only to retreat to Air Force One (not Buggy One pulled by horses named "Marx and Engels," mind you) to tap out messages on his handheld to anyone in the world -- or to play spirited games of Hearts against the mini-computer in his manicured hands.
Or will His O-ness permit technology to progress provided the government and its ruling classes -- err, the working classes and "disadvantaged"-- are properly compensated through yet more massive transfers of wealth and control to our benign big government situated along the murky Potomac River?
Wouldn't it be splendid to see El Presidente live his words for a change? Imagine O's horsemen returning him from Chicago to the Palace on Pennsylvania Avenue, making dusty stops at taverns along the route (not McDonald's or other franchised fooderies, which are the results of technological progress); using pony express riders or carrier pigeons to deliver and accept messages. Imagine O voiding in a chamber pot nights in a tavern's lodge, since flush toilets are enemies of the worker -- the worker who handcrafted piss pots. Imagine the rutted and muddy roads O's buggy would bounce along over many days of hard journeying to reach the capitol city, asphalt being verboten.
Those images might tempt you to think that reversion is healthy for liberty, in that a president so engaged in the challenges of travel could not possibly make mischief as easily as in today's gaudy techno-world. Point taken, but one prefers to think that technology and liberty are not uneasy partners, but, in fact, soul mates -- hence, O's assault on technology.
You see, as the now extinct Commie Erectus believed, technology is, undeniably, the friend of the masses. It's equally friend to the free and the tyrant's scourge -- or would-be tyrant. Statists employ technology against us free people, but we employ it against them, too. Technology is a tool for greater decentralization; technology individualizes and democratizes. It makes each of us, who are fortunate to live in these times of rapid technological advance, sovereigns.
Ronald Reagan's steely resolve brought down the USSR, but Dutch was helped mightily by the rigidity of the Russkies' centralized government and command economy, which stifled the very things that made the West soar. Modernity and progress were Reagan's allies in beating Mother Russia. Technology swagged in the goal zone, too.
As conservatives, we appreciate that the world's imperfect, and never to be perfected -- by human hands. Technology isn't perfect, either, and it's a tool that can be used for good or ill. But the ledgers -- kept electronically -- show that the balance is amply weighted to the good of technology, for our lives and liberty. If not, then why in the name of the Stone Age would our progressive president be so deprecating of technology? Why? Because it poses a threat to O's side, which holds, to varying degrees, the same outlook as the old Russkies.
The prez yammers about "income inequality," using it as a ruse to beef up big government and trample freedom. His O-ness slyly declared that disparities in income can be laid at the feet of technological innovations and market capitalism. The O fibs.
Lack of greater income opportunities are more the doing of governments than free markets and free-thinking that leads to better technologies. What hampers minority children more, computers or bottom-dwelling public schools? How about higher taxes and reams of red tape that impede the enterprising? Or subsidies to businesses "Too Big to Fail," rather than allowing marketplaces to shakeout the deadheads and better business models and jobs to emerge? Or welfare that shatters families and incentives? Or big government itself, which sops up resources better invested by creators and earners?
But those are inconvenient truths to hungry statists.
Do O and his ilk prevail in making a bogyman of technology? Is the grave that the Ghost of Christmas Future points to for liberty or statism?
The future isn't automatic, any more than the past is changeable. Future shadows can be altered. But we have to act as technology's stalwarts and liberty's bold champions to succeed.