Sweating the State and Liberty

That’s what National Review is doing in their new defense of Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve and their attack on Ron Paul and the anti-Fed movement, whether they know it or not. 

I wonder what William F. Buckley, Jr. would think of the happenings in the country and at the magazine he founded since his death on February 27, 2008.  Lest we forget he was one of the few on the Right who opposed the Iraq War.

In the recent NR editorial “Sweating the Fed,” the Editors defend Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve’s actions in mitigating the wreckage from the government-instigated storm we’re weathering currently.  They have this to say about Ron Paul and the pro-liberty, anti-Fed movement:

In our unbalanced situation, to press for radical restructuring at the Fed, as Paul and Frank do, is hazardous.

It is also a little dishonest: Ron Paul does not want merely to audit the Fed, but to abolish it. Paul, a puritanical libertarian whose commitment to such antediluvian projects as outlawing fractional-reserve banking and disbanding the military have made him a figure of fun, says he simply wants to have a look at the Fed’s books. But the Fed already is audited by both government and private auditors. It is not, however, audited by Congress — because it is by design independent of Congress. But apparently even the libertarians in Congress believe that there is no corner into which legislators’ many hands and long noses should not reach.

You wouldn’t know it to hear Bernanke speak lately, but the Fed’s main job is to maintain price stability. For the past many decades, that has come to mean keeping a damper on inflation, a critically important task. We have severe unemployment and jaw-dropping deficits that Democrats are laboring mightily to make worse. The dollar and the creditworthiness of the U.S. government are objects of skepticism, and a serious spike in inflation would exacerbate that.

Given these delicate circumstances, it is no time to go mucking about with the central bank. The question is not so much the particular one of Bernanke’s leadership — he has been a very able public servant in our estimate but is by no means indispensable — but rather one of the institutional continuity of the Fed and its mission. Even those who share Ron Paul’s suspicions of the independent central bank must, if they are sober, conclude that a central bank in thrall to the short-term political needs of congressmen would be a catastrophe. And an audit? Tell us: How much credibility does Congress have when it comes to questions about balancing the books?

So, what will ‘the Editors’ say when interest rates soar and the colluding Fed-Executive-Big Bank triumvirate loses its supporters due to voter backlash?

As unsettling as it is to receive this drivel from a supposedly pro-individualism institution, what’s scarier is the reason they oppose the liberty movement in this circumstance — because the reason belies why the Establishment (which National Review once opposed, then shaped, and now defends) will never support individualism: the editors of National Review doubt that the American people can be trusted with their God-given liberty.  They believe civil society has degenerated to a point that the dissolution of the Fed would lead to economic ruin and chaos. 

As free people believing in liberty, we better make sure they are wrong.

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