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President Bush, Man of the Year Does Big Government Help Women?

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When's It Gonna End?

by Christopher Chantrill
January 03, 2008 at 3:37 am


IT’S all Bush’s fault, said the young man, echoing his betters at the establishment media and the angry academy.

Things were going so well in the 1990s until Bush and his neocon theocrats came along and ruined it with their global “war on terror.” When’s it gonna end?

But what can you expect from a president who gets his policy direct from God?

You can understand the frustration among our Democratic friends.. If only Bush wasn’t spending all that money on Iraq; if only he hadn’t made blunder after blunder; if only he had stuck to diplomacy and and not given the US such a bad name then we could have all those benefits and we could sit back in the calm knowledge that rational people were in power and all was right with the world.

How wrong can you be?.

It is one of the great errors of the modern age to believe that if only we could apply rational analysis to the world’s problems we could avoid all the blunders, mistakes, and conflicts that so crowd upon each other in human history.

In fact the opposite is true. Mistakes, blunders, and murderous battles are the unavoidable price of progress. Writes physicist Freeman Dyson:

You can’t possibly get a good technology going without an enormous number of failures. It’s a universal rule. If you look at bicycles, there were thousands of weird models built and tried before they found the one that really worked.

If mistakes are a necessary part of developing something as simple as a bicycle, then it is folly to expect that anything more complex could avoid the process of trial and error.

What we need is more chances for people to make mistakes. That’s the only way they’ll learn. And that particularly applies to our Democratic friends, the ones who rail at Bush: his blunders and his faith.

Despite their faith in rationalism, you can tell that the Democrats secretly know that they need to make more mistakes. That’s why, going into the Iowa caucuses, they favor for the office of president three untried candidates with no executive experience in government.

Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime running campaigns for Bill; Barack Obama is a bright young man who has never been tested; John Edwards is a tort lawyer who wants to be president. All three are presently or once were members of the United States Senate.

Given their lack of experience there is no way that we can tell whether they are up to the job of president. But we can be pretty sure that they will make some stunning mistakes.

The Republican voters are proving their reputation for dullness. Their frontrunners, Giuliani and Romney, are both seasoned executive leaders. What a concept! They might actually be ready to become president.

But I agree with the Democratic voters. It’s time that the Republicans stopped making mistakes and gave the Democrats a chance to make some instead.

And there will never be a better time for the Democrats to get in there and make some mistakes than right now. We had a dress rehearsal last year of what Democratic government would look like with the Keystone Kops Reid-Pelosi Congress. They couldn’t get a bill passed to bring the troops home; they couldn’t get a bill passed to gut the Patriot Act and hobble the government’s ability to monitor terrorist communications. They couldn’t even figure out how to give the Alternative Minimum Tax a decent burial.

Add a President Clinton or a President Obama to the Reid-Pelosi Congress and you are setting the United States up for a perfect storm.

Then it won’t just be partisan Democrats but all Americans pleading: When’s it gonna end?

It may seem defeatist to wish for a Democratic win. But it’s a fact that the only time a political party gets a strong mandate for change is when the voters are heartily fed up with the other guys.

The only way that Republicans will get a mandate to resume the advance in the war on Islamic terrorism is after the voters have seen the Democrats fail. The only way that Republicans will get a mandate to reform the corrupt welfare state is when the voters get fed up, really fed up, with schools that don’t teach and a government run health system that doesn’t deliver health care.

We need an America where Democrat partisans in the intelligence community have decided that it wouldn’t be very smart to leak the administration’s plans to the New York Times. We need a State Department that has given up for the time being on forcing the Israelis into another peace process of unilateral concessions. And we need a public sector worried, not about implementing universal pre-K or chasing the recalcitrant into compulsory health insurance, but where the money will come from to pay their final-salary pensions.

For that to happen, we need a few years of Democratic governance.

But I still can’t make up my mind between Hillary! Obama, or Edwards in the primaries. When’s it gonna end?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Responsible Self

[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.

Taking Responsibility

[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 Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, 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

What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[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

Liberal Coercion

[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

Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

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

US Life in 1842

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

Society and State

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

Faith and Politics

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

Never Trust Experts

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”

Conservatism's Holy Grail

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

Class War

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”

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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