dHarriet Miers Goes To Sea - Road to the Middle Class - by Christopher Chantrill
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Harriet Miers Goes to Sea

by Christopher Chantrill
February 22, 2006 at 11:42 am

SOME MONTHS ago Peggy Noonan warned that, at this stage of an administration, the White House staff are suffering from extreme exhaustion. That’s why they produce boners like the Harriet Miers nomination and the east coast port deal. So this morning we get the report from the Associated Press that the president didn’t even know about the decision by an administration committee to allow operation of six US east coast ports by Dubai Ports, a state-owned company.

Well, at least the Bush haters are happy about that.

OK. Let’s admit that there could be a security risk if Middle East owned companies own US ports. They might permit someone to smuggle in a nuclear device in a container.

But the port deal merely shows the natural vulnerability of an open society to a sneak attack. A modern democratic capitalist economy runs on trust, a network of trust. That is what makes it different from the tribal, mistrustful world of Islam.

But the world of trust is not as vulnerable as it might seem. It is worth billions, trillions, to be included in the circle of trust. That is why people bring their money to the United States to invest.

Centuries ago, at the battle of Lepanto in 1571, the Holy League fleet defeated the Ottoman Turks. As the victors looted the galleys of the defeated Turks they were shocked to find fortunes in precious metals and jewels aboard the ships of the Ottoman admirals. These men had to keep their fortunes close by because their monies could be seized at any time by the Sultan. But in the trust economy of the west, rich merchants could already enjoy security of property from expropriation. They could keep their money in a bank.

Things have not really changed that much in the last 400 years. That is why the West is a lot more powerful than we think. And that is why, even though it is sensible to protect the trust relationships in our trading system, the folks from Dubai need us more than we need them.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


 TAGS


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill