|Injustice, American Style||Obama the Great Educator|
by Christopher Chantrill
July 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm
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.
[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.
[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
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
[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
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
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
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
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
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
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
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