Thursday, July 21, 2011

Obamism as Peronism

The inimitable and enthusiastic bard of hard-nosed reality John Derbyshire, a polymath whose somewhat recent book "We Are Doomed" (link) I thoroughly enjoyed, has a great post today, arguing that the model for modern liberal politics is actually Peronism.  Derbyshire writes (link):
The more I look at the history of our national debt and federal spending, the more it seems to me that …. [t]he guiding spirit of fiscal management in the advanced world this past half century has in fact been Juan Perón, who ruled Argentina from 1946 to 1955….  From Paul Johnson’s Modern Times:  “As President, Perón gave a classic demonstration, in the name of socialism and nationalism, of how to wreck an economy….  He created Big Government and a welfare state in one bound….  [Eventually,] He fled on a Paraguayan gunboat. But his successors could never get back to the minimum government which had allowed Argentina to become wealthy. Too many vested interests had been created: a huge, parasitical state, over-powerful unions, a vast army of public employees. It is one of the dismal lessons of the twentieth century that, once a state is allowed to expand, it is almost impossible to contract it.”
Now of course the U.S.A. is not Argentina….  We have, though, followed the same trajectory as Perón’s Argentina, albeit more slowly and gently. He got from “the minimum government which had allowed Argentina to become wealthy” to “a huge, parasitical state” with “a vast army of public employees” in just five years; it has taken us five decades. The end result for our respective peoples will be the same.
JM Greco