Welcome Back, Kowalski
Mr. Kowalski has had more than a year of hiatus from regularly posting here at Redstate, and some of our reporters caught up with him early this week to ask him why he hasn’t been very involved here. Some of you might remember him as a Republican who now lives in Massachusetts and supported Scott Brown’s candidacy, and other of you might remember him variously for the ingrained habit of responding to one’s own posts in an online forum, to show a different perspective or another aspect of his mind that didn’t initally manifest itself.
We welcome him back to Redstate with the following exchange, an exclusive interview given between the host and the questioner, for those of you here at Redstate who can be bothered to read it.
Neutron: Hi Mr. Kowalski, it’s been a long time since you’ve visisted Redstate with a post hasn’t it?
Kowalski: Yes, well really it has but in the geologic time scale it’s only been the proverbial blink of an eye, really.
Neutron: But to people who aren’t much interested in geologic time scales, that’s still a long time isn’t it?
Kowalski: I suppose it is, and in terms of blogging, where everything is as up-to-the-minute as possible and people are slaves to that, all my fans must be out of oxygen by now. I didn’t decide consciously to kill them off, but it had to happen eventually.
Neutron: If you had fans, why wouldn’t you have supported them?
Kowalski: I don’t know whether I really did, first of all. And if I did, I didn’t ask for them, because they were just people who read what I wrote and happened to like it. Besides, there were only 2 or 3. When you write things on a political blog, particularly with your own name, you know that automatically half the people in the world are going to disagree with everything you say regardless of how you phrase it, because you’re automatically a partisan. That’s part of the reason I stopped writing.
Neutron: Were there other reasons?
Kowalski: Oh, absolutely. Business has been horrible, probably the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime and it’s not getting better quickly, either. There are so many things I could say about the business climate particularly for entrepreneurs and people trying to establish new businesses right now, but probably the most important thing I can offer as advice is this: Have No Debt, or As Close to No Debt As You Can. Perfect credit ratings help, and knowing a rich Uncle who can loan you a few hundred thou is really good if you can finagle it, because otherwise you’re in deep trouble getting capital out of a bank. Most banks are taking capital back right now and they’re going to continue to do that for a long time to come, so they can escape the clutches of the government bailout they all asked for. The money has to come from someone to prop them up, and the place it comes from is ordinary folks, through overdraft fees and then foreclosures. You pay one way or the other.
The situation for people trying to start businesses in the United States right now is pretty much summed up in the phrase: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” That’s a little Biblical, but it’s true. Ruger Firearms is a good example of it, because they have zero corporate debt. Personally, they’re my model for how an American business should be run, and the more guns the better.
Neutron: How can you say such a thing?
Kowalski: It’s really very simple. I don’t have much faith in the powers of either political party to change the way America really works, because America is a country that is spending itself out of control from Washington, DC. Almost all of the people in the Republican Party want to get elected, not so that they can curtail spending, but so they can control it. And Democrats just want to get elected to spend more money, so there’s very little difference between the two parties now. Nobody really wants to oust either party from power because so many people they know are dependent on the largesse of the government. They vote for the ones that sound less bad, and that always moves the country to the Left.
Neutron: So you think the country’s leftist trend is irreversable?
Kowalski: Demographically I don’t see anything else happening. Americans now rely on Government as their silent partner in everything, and their not-so-silent partner in almost everything else. The Government is essentially symbiotic with the population at this point, on everything from national defense to education and now to health care. That’s irreversible and moreover, a larger number of Americans than ever don’t want to see it reversed: they want the nanny, even if it means that the laws that control their lives are increasingly decided upon by people they don’t care for. It’s a paradox. It’s probably one of the fatal flaws of our system.
Neutron: But what about the bankers who caused this crisis?
Kowalski: You mean people like Rubin, Pritzker, Emanuel, and all the others?
Neutron: Well not necessarily just them, but others, too.
Kowalski: They were just people who were betting like fools because everyone else was, too. Citibank was giving mortgages to people they knew could never pay them back. They knew it, it was as plain as day, but it was all prefaced on the idiotic idea that a used house would be worth twice as much in 10 years as it was when it was sold to the poor guy who couldn’t afford it to begin with. This is the kind of crazy thinking that went on. Everyone, Republican and Democrat in the banking and mortgage industries believed in that fantasy long enough to cripple the economy of the United States. Believe me I lived in Chicago and I know the reality-distortion field.
Now, of course, the problem is much worse: the people who survived that tremendous malfeasance cannot get loans because everyone in the banking business has suddenly gotten “religion.” But none of the people responsible for the inital problem have been punished at all. None of them. This is why, if you can, it’s good to be born into a family of bankers: you’ll never have to take responsibility for anything. You can just get up in front of Congress like Robert Rubin or Alan Greenspan and claim you didn’t know what was going to happen, and everyone will believe you, because they have to.
Neutron: Do you think Barack Obama has been a disappointment?
Kowalski: Only to the more fervent members of his base, which is why his popularity is really shrinking below 50%. Everyone under the 50% threshold is Leftist who thinks Obama hasn’t been radical enough, and that’s why his popularity numbers are sinking below 50% — not because he’s been too radical, but because he hasn’t been radical enough and they’re becoming disaffected after having poured so much money and effort into getting him elected.
Neutron: You don’t say much about global warming recently, how come?
Kowalski: Well, the main reason is that I don’t have a Ph.D. and I’m not a certified fruitcake like James Lovelock, who can believe that tectonic plates and molecules of oxygen and nitrogen constitute an organism called Gaia. And then you have people like James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver who believe pretty much the same thing: that Nature is some kind of living organism that is being wounded by human beings. In reality our civilization and its power sources are very primitive, we rely on chemical combustion and burning things to make electricity far too much of the time, but on the other hand we’re not willing to really do the things necessary to free ourselves from that by investing heavily in nuclear energy, exoatmospheric solar power and thermonuclear fusion. Those are the only real answers to increasing power demand while scaling back environmental impact, but not many people want to face up to that fact, largely for political reasons. And because there is too much money involved.
What about the Tea Party movement?
I still don’t know what the Tea Party movement is or what it is about except being anti-everything that has happened in both parties. There has yet to be anything approaching a real consensus there, and maybe that’s a good thing. In American politics, third parties are inexorably fatal to one party or the other, and usually, as Dan Quayle said, they’re fatal to the party they would otherwise nominally support. That’s why I don’t support Tea Party candidates. It’s bad enough having to support Republicans.
[More to come in this interview]