The View From 1776

Deficit Spending And Federal Debt: Two Scenarios

Deficit Doves v. Budget Hawks

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/18 at 12:32 AM
  1. In Jeffrey Gordon's article 'Is War Inevitable?' I read Freud's assertion to Einstein that man is driven by two powerful instincts, one of creation and one of destruction. In other word, man has an inherent urge to create and then destroy. Freud was knowledgeable in the perversion of man.

    Even though Freud was not optimistic that man would or could ever stop making war, Einstein seemed encouraged by Freud's instinctive explanation, perhaps because Einstein focused more on man's creative aspect than on the destructive. Perhaps Einstein thought that as man got more creative in his ability to destroy himself he would eventually lose a desire for war and use reason instead. And in a sense that is what happened, with the help of none other than Einstein himself. Ironically, his discoveries allowed the creation of the atomic bomb, which would stymie future wars. Because of its destructive power it became a deterrent instead of a weapon. Nations have not gone to war with each other as they once did.

    I also thought of the economist Joseph Schumpeter, who labeled capitalism 'creative destruction'. After WW2 and with the advent of atomic weapons, capitalism ascended around the world. Man still had his instinct for destruction, but now capitalism manifested and channeled this instinct in less harmful, more productive ways: with capitalism, man's destructive instinct combined with his creative instinct shifted to a more benign but peaceful form. Einstein's optimism for mankind still triumphs over Freud's pessimism.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/18  at  07:36 AM
  2. "Man still had his instinct for destruction."

    I am no big fan of Freud but David does raise a good point concerning "Man's instinct for destruction." Of course, generalities like these are rather uselessly abstract and hard to apply to specific cases. For example, one of the major reasons for the progress of Western Civilization was the ability to control one's instincts. As a result, instinct has played a smaller and smaller role in man's affairs for millennia.

    However, the continuing deficits and mounting national debt in America does seem like some form of destruction or national suicide.

    Perhaps what distinguishes the members of the liberal Left is that they still atavistically cling to that instinct for self-destruction that fiscal conservatives and God-fearing citizens have managed to control?
    Posted by bill greene  on  06/21  at  08:57 AM
  3. bill, you sure made a weird interpretation of this. Nevertheless, you took a stab at it even though you stabbed the wrong thing.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/21  at  09:38 AM
  4. I am merely suggesting that Freud's allegation that "man" is helplessly both creative and destructive ignores both free will and the call for self-restraint by Christianity and most of the best elements in Western Civilization.

    Things are more subtle than that popular fraud Freud suggests: There are those worthy individuals who promote fiscal responsibility and productive investment and there are those others who advocate deficit spending and fiscal excess. The former restrain their destructive instincts and emphasize their creative and constructive instincts. The latter do the opposite.

    Freud's wild generalization that all men do both is typical intellectual and philosophical nonsense. Everyone is different. There are good guys and bad guys. There are Palins and then there are Obamas!

    One wants to restore America by cutting government excess and building the private economy. The other wants to save America by first bankrupting and destroying it.
    Posted by bill greene  on  06/21  at  03:55 PM
  5. Freud is talking about mankind in general and mankind's instincts, which always remain. I know it is difficult for some people to think on such a large scale.

    You mentioned Sarah Palin. She doesn't qualify to be in this argument, or any other.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/22  at  09:17 AM
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