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Bill Buckley's Conservative Family The Meltdown on Bush's Watch

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We All Make Mistakes

by Christopher Chantrill
March 14, 2008 at 4:00 am


NOW WE KNOW what Change-You-Can-Believe-In means. It’s a code-word for the loose change that Tony Resko dealt out to the young Barack Obama when the young state senator was looking for a house in a ritzy part of Chicago.

That sort of change is completely different from the chump change that you or I put up when we buy a house in some modest suburb.

Of course, the big question is whether there will be any change left in the federal till next January when Democrats expect to change America by doing more of the same: spending more money on centralized bureaucratic social programs like socialized medicine.

When the Democratic candidates talk about Change, what they really mean is that they will redeem the mistakes of the Bush Era. If you are upset about the mistakes in the endless war in Iraq, change means Getting Out Now. If you are upset about the mistakes of Good Time Alan Greenspan, who gave us the real-estate boom that gave us the mortgage meltdown, change means Bailing You Out of your underwater mortgage and pitching the Republicans out of Denny Hastert’s old seat in the House of Representatives. And we all know who to blame.

In the best corporations they work hard to avoid creating a mistake-and-blame culture. They ask: Who will own this problem? That’s because the best corporations know that if you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t learning anything, and most likely, not doing anything.

It politics, of course, blame is everything, and the best politicians are the ones most adept at avoiding blame.

But when the new president is inaugurated in January 2009 it might be a good idea to stand the politicians up along the west front of the Capitol and run down the line, saying you, Senator, own this; you Mr. (or Madam) President own that, and so on.

For there’s a good argument that the United States is heading into a perfect storm, a convergence of soaring government spending, high energy prices, collapsing house prices, soaring grain prices, and the falling dollar. The good old blame game may get the Democrats back into power, but it won’t get the ship of state off the rocks.

It’s pretty easy to escape the perfect storm. It’s been done again and again. Governments get into trouble because, in the fat years, they promise too many goodies to too many people. To get out of trouble you need to cut spending, cut subsidies, cut tax rates, and firm up the dollar. Any time you do any of this it helps the economy. That’s because all government spending, from the military, to education, to health care, to welfare is staggeringly wasteful. Each and every program, each and every subsidy represents an effort to divert resources from their most urgent use towards a less urgent use. Agricultural subsidies, education subsidies, ethanol subsidies, housing subsidies, wind and solar power subsidies, the list goes on and on.

The problem is, of course, that the people who get all this money from the government are the great political powers in the land. In our land the great powers are not necessarily Big Business, but Big Seniors, Big Education workers, Big Healthcare workers, Big Environmental activists. Of course, we should always keep an eye on the military-industrial complex; but the real $600 toilet seats disappear into the pension-industrial complex, the education-industrial complex, the social-service-industrial complex, and the global-warming-industrial complex.

The most powerful interests are the ones you are not allowed to criticize. And like the much maligned National Rifle Association they say: you can have my subsidy when you take it out of my cold, dead hands.

You can measure of the health of a nation when it’s in a jam. A government is really in trouble when it lacks the power to keep the great powers of the land under control. In China, when that happens, it’s a sign that the dynasty is ripe to be run over by the Mongols or the Manchurian Bannermen. In the Roman Empire it led to the barbarian invasions. In modern Europe, when Germany and Austria couldn’t afford their welfare states after World War I, it led to inflation and Adolf Hitler.

But this is America and we know better. Well maybe not everyone knows better. According to Roy Blunt, House Minority Whip, the Democrats in Congress think it’s time to increase spending and raise taxes.

[T]he majority leadership unveiled a budget plan for 2009 that raises taxes on everything from starting a family, to starting a family business. All to finance a reckless spending agenda that comes in a full $276 billion in excess of what the president has requested.

Well, everyone makes mistakes. But if the Democrats do another Clinton and raise taxes on the great middle class, then it will be time for Republicans once again to say: Never mind whose fault this is. We are ready to own the problem.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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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

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

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

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

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values

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.

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


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David Martin, On Secularization

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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