|The 100 Hours of Democratic Superstition||Reality TV Conducts a Seminar on Racism|
by Christopher Chantrill
January 14, 2007 at 11:37 am
BACK IN THE old days when people took life seriously they didnt talk about this Hundred Days or that 100 Hours lightly. And they certainly didnt gin a Hundred Days concept up before the fact.
Napoleon did not issue a press release before the Hundred Days between his escape from Elba and the Battle of Waterloo. And FDRs 100 Days was not a marketing ploy gussied up before the event. It was only later that people came to refer to the first three months of the 73rd Congress between March and June 1933 as the Hundred Days Congress.
Perhaps you can forgive the Republicans for the enthusiasm of their 100 Days in 1995. They were, after all, assuming the overall majority in Congress for the first time in 40 years. People can get carried away at such moments. And anyway, Speaker Newt Gingrich was a history professor.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, and second as farce. That was Karl Marx. Although the exact quotation is a bit different.
If we can agree that FDRs first Hundred Days was a tragedy, because it did not get the United States out of the Great Depression as promised, and that Newts Hundred Days was something of a farce, for it really ended up doing nothing about Big Government, what are we to say about the Democrats 100 Hours?
Well, it certainly doesnt rise to the level of farce which is, after all, an honorable theatrical form. How about a trivial distraction? Even the AP is wondering:
The clock is ticking for House Democrats, but it's hard to tell what time it is.
The tragedy of the Democrats (and of their cousins, New Labour in Britain) is that, if they wanted, they could take it all. If they stole the legislative program of the Republicans, fair and square, they could use the eternal support of the marginalized to really lift them out of the squalor of welfare-state dependency.
Its the sort of prospect that wakes a conservative up in the night with a cold sweat. In the dream the latest progressive Great White Hope, a mixture of the fresh Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Ted Kennedy in his prime, booms:
And for the first time in history we will bring true educational choice to every last single mother in America. For years partisan Republicans have sent their children to the wealthy private schools of their choice but stood by while underprivileged mothers were unable to keep their children out of violent, drug infested schools, the product of a selfish system that just doesnt care!
And we will bring genuine wealth to every last family in America. Our program of Social Security reform will reverse decades of mean-spirited Republican privilege. Under my bipartisan balanced budget plan every FICA dollar of every American wage earner will go into her own personal America First Social Security account. For the first time in history the underprivileged will look forward to genuine wealth in their old age. Only Democrats could do it, because only Democrats care.
But they dont. They cant. You can see that in the failure of the Third Way. It seemed, back in the heady days of the mid 1990s that Tony Blair and Bill Clinton had found a way of renewing the progressive brand. Third-way government would not need to control and run everything out of a government program. It could do better.
But it didnt work. It couldnt. The officers of the progressive cadre--the San Francisco Democrats, the Seattle liberals, and the North London luvvies--just do not understand a world beyond the plodding bureaucratic organization of the welfare state. And why would they? They were raised in government schools; they were educated in government universities or in private colleges organized around the pursuit of the almighty government research dollar. Living their lives as tax-money remittance men they care nothing of the risks and uncertainties in every business plan. Economic and cultural Newtonians, they know nothing of the quantum economic dynamics that capitalizes Google at $100 billion and General Motors at $10 billion. (Who does?)
Now that we know that the Pelosi 100 Hours was really just business-as-usual in drag we understand that the Democrats newly on offense are not poised in scoring position on the Republican 35 yard line. They are just first and ten on their own 20 yard line and perfectly content to execute plays, as Rush Limbaugh likes to say, out of a 30 year-old play-book.
But that means that the political future of this great nation is wide open, if we have the courage to grasp it.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
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