COVID & China Have Exposed How Globalism’s Virtues Were Exaggerated All Along
During my twenty years in public office, I would regularly take batting practice on the hypocrisy of the business community.
Why, I would ask, do business interests regularly write checks to politicians who oppose job creators, while liberal special interests reject such game playing?
In private, a weak response was typically offered: We give because it gains us “access.” Phrased another way, business interests gave to anti-business politicians because they had become acclimated to the crumbs that fell if they fell from big labor’s table. I nevertheless screamed bloody murder on behalf of the entrepreneurs who refused to indulge such games — to little avail.
One unforgettable aspect of my crusade was the furious reaction of anti-business legislators to being exposed.
They hated being found out; having your cake and eating it too had been such the perfect shakedown. Who needed some troublemaker shining a flashlight in the corner?
I think back to this “Patty Hearst Syndrome” (identifying with your captors), as the mainstream media continues to report on how dues-paying progressives are viewing the coronavirus pandemic as a rare opportunity to forcibly change American culture and capitalism itself.
To their credit, those who wish to do so are front and center and plenty transparent about their rare opportunity to effect transformative change.
Take “Mr. Progressive” — George Soros — for example. His take is crystal clear: “This is the crisis of my lifetime. Even before the pandemic hit, I realized that we were in a revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary.”
Similarly, democratic socialist Bernie Sanders now doubles down on his demand for single-payer “Medicare for All” health care, while the senator formerly known as “Liberal Joe Biden” (now “Progressive Joe Biden”) sees the shutdown of the American economy as “an incredible opportunity … to fundamentally transform the country.”
How ironic would it be if the very captains of capitalism who have lined the pockets of progressive politicians all these years end up getting beaten up by those same ascendant socialists should Joe Biden win in November!
Further irony reveals itself in the business community’s long-running, successful marketing campaign on behalf of globalization as beneficial to the larger culture.
This talking point of both party establishments seeks to depict the rapid integration of “third-world economies” (such as China’s) into world markets as a significant net positive for the American consumer and America generally. Recall the common refrain of how much the typical consumer benefits from all those cheap Walmart goods manufactured in China.
Another aspect of this argument stresses how the inter-connectedness of supply chains leads to more efficiencies and a more peaceful world. After all, what country would want to threaten its acquiescent trading partners?
The weakness of this narrative, of course, is the presence of a subsidy-driven, not-so-law-abiding trading partner in the form of the People’s Republic of China. Indeed, the coronavirus catastrophe has re-educated the world about the downside of dealing with a saber-rattling regime that appears more than willing to intimidate, manipulate and utilize supply line leverage against its largest trading partner, the good ole U.S.A.
Thoughtful people should not call for a shutdown of bilateral relations with Beijing.
The world’s sole superpower must deal with its number one economic and military competitor. But America must take note of the coronavirus’ principal lessons:
1. Leftist politicians see opportunity whenever capitalism takes a hit.
2. Henceforth, those who promote the advantages of interdependency must be far more realistic when signaling the virtues of globalization with cunning and duplicitous countries that do not share our fundamental values — especially the rule of law.
If you enjoyed this column consider following Governor Ehrlich on Twitter