|Injustice, American Style||Obama the Great Educator|
by Christopher Chantrill
July 18, 2012 at 12:00 am
WHO CARES IF President Obama and his acolytes want to spend $100 million in TV ads to paint Mitt Romney as the scowling Moloch of Wall Street, chewing up the jobs of helpless American workers for sport? Its politics, and politics aint beanbag.
But is it wise?
Is it wise to paint the Mark of Cain on private equity? Think about what private equity does. It takes troubled corporations and tries to turn them around. Its a messy business and, the Obamis are determined to tell us, peoples lives get ruined when things go wrong. But somebody has to do it, and its probably not the management that sat around in a funk while the corporations markets and profits went south.
Also, how would the president propose to deal with failing businesses? Does he think it is a good idea to follow what Attorney General Janet Reno used to call the law of the land, i.e., bankruptcy court with judges and all, or replace it with a political bankruptcies, like the GM-Chrylser bankruptcies, that stiff the bondholders in favor of unions?
Take the news this week that the Obama administration is proposing to gut the work requirement for TANF, the welfare reform act. Maybe its legal, but is it wise?
Is it wise politically to get every last conservative riled up right before an election? The welfare reform of 1996 is something of a sacred talisman for conservatives. Its the one thing we have managed to legislate to tame the welfare state. It is just not good politics to go around breaking up other peoples icons, not if you want to get elected.
Also, is it really a good idea to resort so much on executive orders? Im not thinking of today; Im thinking of tomorrow when Republicans are back in office. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Issues that Obamis have crudely decided by executive fiat can be crudely undone by executive fiat on January 20, 2013. Is that what we want in America: government by dueling executive orders?
Lets get back to basics. Politics, to paraphrase Clausewitz, is civil war by other means. It is a technique that humans have developed to resolve their societal conflicts without the actual conflict of civil war. The whole apparatus of elections, campaigns, constitutions, legislatures, and bureaucratic due process is an immensely sophisticated attempt to comfort the Outs with the hope that the power of the Ins will be used with restraint. The idea is to persuade the Outs that, right now, they dont need to arm themselves and raise a head of rebellion. You only have to recall the horror among Democrats on the day Reagan was shot when Gen. Haig, then Secretary of State, got up in the White House and announced that he was in control or the widespread suspicion among Democrats during the 2000s that President Bush was about to tear up the Constitution to realize how touchy people are when the other guys are in power.
So when an administration starts taking short cuts, by refusing to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, by implementing a policy of non-deportation for a certain class of illegal immigrants after it couldnt pass a law through the legislature, by reversing a landmark welfare reform act by budgetary shenanigans and executive orders, by implementing through a regulatory agency, the National Labor Relations Board, a policy of favoring unions that it couldnt get through Congress, when it does all that it might as well be pouring gasoline on a smoldering fire.
The whole point of popular government is that you do things by the rules not because the rules are any good, but so that the people on the other side dont jump to conclusions. After all, if you break a rule, then you raise the obvious question in the minds of your opponents: where does this end?
Breaking rules is what tin-pot demagogues like Hugo Chávez do. But what is President Obamas campaign for reelection but straight-out demagoguery? With his tax plan he is doing the full Alinsky on the American rich. With his Bain rhetoric he is making a scapegoat out of American business. With the contraception rules for Catholic hospitals he is declaring war on pro-life America. Way to go, Mr. Community Organizer.
This weekend the Washington Post lowered the boom on the Obama administrations Mideast policy and its tactical misjudgments... outdated view and its advisers clashing over tactics and turf. Given that the gray-beards are starting to shake their heads is it really wise for the Obamis to run a campaign that channels the frenetic stage antics of Cab Calloway in Cotton Club?
Perhaps its time to start building the bleachers to view the biggest train-wreck of all time in US politics.
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
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.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
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
[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 Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, 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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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