Top billing on Drudge this afternoon for CNBC's Rick Santelli's Rant for the Ages," a refreshing cup of tea for the "forgotten man." More about him below.
"Y'know, Cuba used to have mansions and a relatively decent economy. They moved from the individual to the collective. Now they're driving '54 Chevys, maybe the last great car to come out of Detroit," quipped CNBC host Rick Santelli in what News Busters is headlining a "Rant for the Ages" — a truth-to-power call for a new "Tea Party" in response to President Obama's redistributionist mortgage-bailout plan — delivered from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade this morning to the delight of traders and television viewers alike.
First a few excerpts then some thoughts on why Santelli's words resonate with the "forgotten man" who is forced to foot the bill for his betters' feel-good social-engineering schemes:
(Traders in the pit start clapping and cheering.)
Joe Kernen, in studio: They're like putty in your hands …
Santelli: No they're not, Joe. They're not like putty in our hands! This is America! (Turns around to address pit traders.) How many of you people want to pay for your neighbors' mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills? Raise their hand. (Traders boo. Santelli turns around to face CNBC camera.) President Obama, are you listening?
Trader sitting nearby goes over to Santelli's mike: How about we all stop paying our mortgage? It's a moral hazard …
Santelli: We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I'm going to start organizing.
In FDR's narrative, the forgotten man was the "little fellow … at the bottom of the economic pyramid," Lee Cary explains in "Awaiting the Awakening of the Forgotten Man" at American Thinker. But today's forgotten man is closer to 19th-century Yale professor William Graham Sumner's model of the tax-paying citizen whose productivity provides the pecuniary resources for government charity, the author explains, quoting from Sumner's 1884 essay "On the Case of a Certain Man who Is Never Thought Of":
They therefore ignore entirely the source from which they must draw all the energy which they employ in their remedies … and forgetting that a government produces nothing at all, they leave out of sight the first fact to be remembered in all social discussion — that the state cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man.
The friends of humanity start out with certain benevolent feelings towards "the poor," "the weak,'" "the laborers," and others of whom they make pets. They generalize these classes and render them impersonal, and so constitute the classes into social pets. They turn to other classes and appeal to sympathy and generosity and to all the other noble sentiments of the human heart. Action in the line proposed consists in a transfer of capital from the better off to the worse off …
"Millions of votes cast by the forgotten man helped elect Barack Obama," Cary writes:
Most of Sumner's forgotten men and women who voted for Barack Obama, who will pay the expanded interest on the nation's new debt burden, have yet to awaken. A few have. Sadly, some never will. But to many, an awakening will eventually come, after time, and considerable pain. But it will come.
Looking at the above CNBC poll of readers ready to join Rick Santelli's "Chicago Tea Party," together with a groundswell of pitchfork-bearing bloggers, we'd say the awakening may be happening sooner rather than later. Professor Sumner foresaw where utopianists always go wrong:
All schemes for patronizing "the working classes" savor of condescension. They are impertinent and out of place in this free democracy. There is not, in fact, any such state of things or any such relation as would make projects of this kind appropriate. Such projects demoralize both parties, flattering the vanity of one and undermining the self-respect of the other.
Exactly what blogger Minh-Duc, a proud American citizen and blogger who had escaped the tyranny of Communist Vietnam, wrote three years back, as we quoted in our post "It does not take into account the psychology of people":
People are never content with bare subsistence — especially if it comes in the form of hand out and charity. It degrades them and robs them of their self-esteem. It is a shameful existence. Men need pride from their own labor. Self-reliance brings personal honor and pride — a sense of ownership over one's own life. This is why the free-market economy is not only an efficient and effective system — it is also a humane and honorable one.
In related news, this happy thought just in from Professor Reynolds:
WE ARE THE CHANGE WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR: Rep. Gohmert Says Republicans Will Cancel Spendulus Bill If GOP Takes Back Congress in 2010. I can’t think of a better reason to vote Republican.
Thank you, Mr. President, for your assist in awakening the forgotten man.