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The “government-business partnership” has fueled the growth of the
central
state from Woodrow Wilson’s time to our own. And this corrupt coalition
could only exist at the expense of the consumer, and the integrity of
the free
enterprise system.

But that may be starting to change. According to a new survey,
today’s
business leaders are fed up with Bill Clinton, sick of the dead-end of
national politics, and determined to steer their companies toward
success without federal favors and despite the bullying of the central
regime.

This astonishing news comes from a series of interviews with 270
executives
in the best performing publicly held companies in the country, conducted
by
Technometrica Institute at the request of Investor’s Business Daily.

Already fed up with parasitism of government, CEOs and CFOs have
soured
on politics in general thanks to the relentless Clinton scandals. Four
out
of five of these executives said they would never consider running for
public office. More than half said they will decrease their financial
support for political parties and individual candidates.

That’s not to say they are indifferent to political outcomes. They
especially fear Al Gore as president. Half ranked his leadership
abilities as “poor” and many view him as tied up with special interests.
Reflecting on his insane attachment to environmental politics (i.e.,
forced impoverishment), just 17 percent called his abilities “good” or
“excellent.”

Of the executives surveyed, 68 percent disagreed with the Senate’s
acquittal of Clinton. Fully 90 percent said they would never tolerate
Clintonian
behavior in their own companies (a senior executive having an affair
with a young intern). Not only the fear of lawsuits drives this opinion,
but the belief that such behavior is unbecoming of any senior officer in
the company, especially a married one.

As for how Clinton is able to get away with it, and a hundred other
forms
of banditry, executives were agog. As one said, “My wife is Chinese. She
has
had a very difficult time understanding how this is different from
Chairman Mao. Somebody in a powerful position was allowed to do things
that the rest of the citizens are not allowed to do.”

So much for the view that free enterprise is decadent, immoral, and
reckless, while government enforces goodness, morality, and order. No
one believes that anymore. Someone should write a general treatise
called “Moral Business and Immoral Government.” It could start with the
principle that business is based on promise keeping and mutual
betterment, while the essence of government is lies and violence.

Not that the executives regretted the impeachment hearings
themselves.
Sixty percent said it was a great thing, or at least that it didn’t hurt

for the government to be tied up for a year investigating itself. The
upside to
gridlock is that it prevented Congress and the White House from pushing
bad new legislation. The less Washington does, the better it is for
business, many of these executives said.

This is the predictable extension of their overall view of the
Congress and
the White House. Two-thirds said that the quality of leadership in the
White House is “poor” right now. More than two-thirds gave both the
House and the Senate a rating of “fair” or “poor.”

This survey reflects a remarkable shift in opinion among the business

elite. Since the New Deal and the second world war especially, America’s
top
companies have marched in lock-step with the ruling regime. Too often,
business depended on government favors, and there was a revolving door
among regulatory positions, lobbying offices in Washington, and
executive positions in the companies.

Revisionist history has consistently demonstrated how the corporate
elite
has helped drive the growth of government since the turn of the century
and
before. By the 1930s, it was widely believed that a government-business
partnership was the best economic model, and such policies came to
dominate Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, and the U.S.

But in the 1990s, the economic boom has led to the rise of new
technologies
and a radical restructuring of industry. The business establishment is
not
what it used to be. The new generation did not make their profits in
wartime or through special favors from the politicians. They have made
money the honest way: by serving consumers with good products at good
prices. It is natural therefore that they would turn to private
arbitrators rather than government judges, and to workers who care about
quality rather than labor-union flunkies. They are also more willing
than their predecessors to fight federal harassment.

The new generation questioned in this survey expresses the correct
attitude
toward the center of power: disdain. Only by clearing their minds of the

clutter associated with political manipulation and power have these
executives been able to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. They look
at Washington and see not “old glory,” but a creaky old corrupt machine
that does nothing but throw obstacles in their path.

Business is still too connected to the state, particularly old-line
banking
firms and heavy industry that keeps clamoring for protection and other
favors. And there will always be power-mad politicians who seek public
office by currying favor with them. Even so, a corporate class tough
enough to tell government to take a hike may serve as a model for the
future.

Nor is business alone in its secessionist tendencies. The federal
government is increasingly an isolated island in society, alienated from
the regular lives of ordinary people and a menace to most anyone and
anything unfortunate enough to come into contact with it. In turn, the
feds see private America as a hostile force, with corporate America only
recently joining the ranks of what the media call “Clinton haters.”

There is a message here for conservatives toying with the idea of
“cultural
secession,” as suggested recently by Paul Weyrich. To secede from
official
institutions of power does not mean ceasing to make a difference in the
shape of society or the future of civilization. It means looking
squarely at the
fact that the organs of central government have represented nothing but
evil in our century, and that a new millennium of freedom will only come
to pass with their increasing weakness or — blessed thought — absence.

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