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Harvard Faculty to Larry Summers: You're Outta Here! Dueling Marriage Quizzes

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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.


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What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican


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


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008


Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Sacrifice

[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


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


Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


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


Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Pentecostalism

Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill