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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.


 TAGS


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


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


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


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


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


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


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


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


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


Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill