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


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


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


Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


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


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


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


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


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


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


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


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill