Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Revenooers vs. the Moonshine


Is it hopelessly populist of me to say that I think we could use a lot more of this — defiant, lawbreaking moonshine-makers — and a lot fewer regulators and central economic planners?

And don’t get me wrong — I’m not knocking material prosperity when I praise this guy’s backwoods lifestyle.  On the contrary, I think his attitude does more to increase wealth than does the bean-counting of the regulators, and that’s a good thing.  In addition, though, as Brian Doherty once observed, having a population full of ornery drunks, as America did to a much greater extent two centuries ago than it does today, may be the easiest route to keeping us ungovernable and thus free.

To get back to economic prosperity for a moment, though: I often wonder how much freer we’d be today if not for the unfortunate fact that the creative types got it into their heads sometime around the early twentieth century that material wealth is at odds with, rather than conducive to, creativity and intellectual activity.

I notice that the episodic play Penny Dreadful, which ends this coming weekend, appears to borrow from the Grant Morrison comic book The Invisibles the idea that the flapper vibe of the early twentieth century is tied via time travel and a sense of imminent cultural transformation to the year 2012, which some of the mystics, hippies, and apocalyptics of our day have decided to treat as the next  epochal turning point (per ancient Mayan propechy, blah blah blah).

Mystical nonsense aside, though, economic optimism tends to encourage not just money-making but other beneficial forms of culture-making as well.  (Does anyone really think the current financial climate is as conducive to optimism and creativity as, say, the end of the Cold War or the days of the dotcom boom?)

So, if you want to put a spring in your step, poets, abolish the Fed (source of our boom-and-bust business cycles), privatize currency production, deregulate, un-tax, shut down the government leaving only a residuum of privately-enforced property law, and watch the human race and its arts flourish like never before.

That may sound as nutty as the propechies of a flapper-era spiritualist to some, but tough — my patience has run out, and I’m no longer interested in any philosophy’s gradualist half-measures leading nowhere.

1 comment:

Todd Seavey said...

Speaking of squelching creativity in the name of combating “money,” I see the shameless, rotten totalitarian bastards at the _New York Times_ have a board editorial today cheering the court decision that banned an anti-Hillary-Clinton documentary, saying videos that might influence elections should not be shown within three months of the elections (or primaries), in keeping with campaign “reform” laws.

They hope the Supreme Court will affirm the decision — yet no doubt hope newspapers will continue to retain _their_ freedom to opine about candidates, in keeping with a battered thing called the First Amendment. And hey, if you were the Times, you might want everyone else silenced, too.

Makes me want to see the anti-p.c. documentary _Indoctrinate U_ at 6pm tonight (at 2nd Ave. and 12th) that much more.

Never ceases to amaze me when free speech — the one value I’d think _all_ Americans, right or left, would share to some extent, gets so easily ignored. If we’re producing students who pride themselves on shouting down opponents’ ideas and editorialists who call for bans on editorializing, the culture has failed horribly somewhere along the line.