|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.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of agesthey 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
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
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
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
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
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West
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
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
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
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
[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
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
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