Yesterday someone who calls himself Liberty4USA was digging through the archives of the Freedom Pub, where I regularly cross-post, and he left a comment on an essay I posted on 11 October of this year. The title of the essay was “Cronyism Knows No boundaries”. To my surprise, the Heartland Institute (owner of the Freedom Pub) selected my essay to feature on their Facebook page. Receiving this comment today reignited my ire with people who use the word crony to modify the word capitalism; specially when it’s used so often by some of my favorite conservative bloggers. Crony is a pejorative term that the Left has tied to the word capitalism. Its use is a leftist trap that far too many of us have fallen into unknowingly. Unfortunately for us many people who don’t know any better have come to believe that cronyism and capitalism are the same thing.
If you missed my original post, I beseech you to read it now at either the Freedom Pub or at my home site here. Then please join me in reminding all conservatives that the pejorative word crony should never be used as an adjective to modify capitalist. “Crony” and “Cronyism” are stand alone words that have nothing to do with “Capitalist” or “Capitalism”.
Let me share with you the comment I received yesterday that clearly captures the ire that I feel on this subject.
Comment by Liberty4USA
The mantra of the hard left of center groups is that capitalism does not work. Since we have a mixed economy (more so everyday) of socialism and capitalism it is easy to point to the failures and blame them on the wrong end of that mixture. Since redefining terms (which includes inventing new ones) is how the progressives have been able to wedge open the Constitution and claim that government’s contract with our citizens for self government actually means something entirely different than what it actually says they have become experts at twisting and inventing definitions. After all why are the few and defined powers listed in our Constitution now many and seemingly indefinite? Judges saw plain words and were convinced to change the meanings of those words which of course led to more of the same. The term crony capitalism would more aptly be termed “business and politicians cheating for mutual benefit,” which of course leaves the only competition as the race to see who can get their deal first.
Since the important safeguard of the states checking their senators actions disintegrated with the passage of the 17th Amendment the game was on. When someone like Obama talks of special interests as if he is immune from them, while he plays them for all they are worth, and there are so few howling from either party, one can reasonably expect that they are all playing this game that has nothing to do with real capitalism.
8 thoughts on “Cronyism Revisited”
I’ll be honest Jim I use the term crony capitalism all the time. I always believed it to be the free market system being manipulated by government regulation and big corporate interests. I need to look into a bit deeper. Thanks for the tip.
You’re not alone John. It’s a common practice that happens to be one of my pet peeves. Cronyism is when any entity buys favor from a high government official. Liberals and socialist and those that claim to be capitalist are all capable of practicing cronyism. For example, to me Obama didn’t bailout General Motors. He paid off his cronies, the UAW and nobody would accuse Obama of being a capitalist.
Would corporatism be a better term for what I described above?
I’m not sure if corporatism is the right word or not. What I do know is that people who engage in the practise of cronyism have no scruples and no moral principles.
Bah! John beat me to the use of corporatism. My point would have been similar too.
I do favor corporatism as the term of choice. It’s supposed to be private ownership with near-complete government control.
Then again, both terms may fall short because both sides are always trying to influence the other. Large corporations may cooperate with, or even propose regulation that would give them advantage over competitors. Government has a control agenda that they want in place. Therefore, they do a little dance, palms are greased, and favors are traded.
Maybe we need to create a new term?
The point that you and John are making is a good one. We probably need to coin a new term. The left has successfully glued the word crony to the word capitalist. When have we ever heard the term crony socialist or crony unionist. We know they are are common place. George Soros and the UAW are just two that come quickly to mind. Where ever there is someone willing to sell influence there will always be someone willing to buy that influence. There is little difference that I can see, in this regard, between Republicans and Democrats. And it’s not just politicians that sell influence. It can be any high government official. Until we can reduce the size and power of government and thereby reduce the amount of influence available to sell, this type of corruption will continue to burden our society. so, what do we call them? “Corruptocrats”? I need to give this more thought. It looks like you and John have gotten me started on an idea for a new post. If you guys come-up with a new term, let me know.
Thanks for the comment.
Good post, Jim and one that raises a very important point. For much too long, those on the left have tried to force Americans to look at capitalism as something bad, ie. cronyism. If they can convince the majority or even a large portion of Americans to view it in that manner, they will have half the battle won. We need to keep reminding everyone that capitalism is not the real culprit here.
You are so right. Personally, I think the successful infiltration by the left into the education system has been a powerful tool for them. Education should be just that_education_ and not indoctrination. How many of our recent high school graduates have a clue what the philosophy of capitalism is all about? If they have any opinion, it is most likely negative. They are taught that the collective rights of society is far more noble than individual rights. To me, society was created by free men to serve their needs not so men would be subservient to society.Nothing is more noble than the rights of the individual.