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America, You've Been Had Conservatism's Holy Grail

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At the Turn of the Cycle

by Christopher Chantrill
May 08, 2008 at 11:11 am

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FOR THOSE of you worried about the start of solar Cycle 24, good news. A small sunspot recently appeared in the sun’s southern hemisphere. So it looks like the next sunspot cycle has well and truly started.

Meanwhile scientist Don J Easterbrook reports that the northern Pacific Decadal Oscillation has flipped, threatening 30 years of colder weather, and the American Thinker’s Marc Sheppard wonders what happens as the global warming community admits that there are factors other than anthropogenic warming that affect the planet’s climate.

Then there’s the political cycle. In Britain, the Conservative Party has staged a stunning victory in the May 1 local elections, gaining over 250 local councillors and electing Boris Johnson, a conservative journalist and Member of Parliament, as Mayor of London. The voters that fainted in adoration of Tony Blair in 1997 have flipped, and are now saying “push off” to the Labour Party that has failed to improve education and crime prevention.

The first thing that Mayor Boris Johnson is going to do, according to Melissa Kite and Patrick Hennessy, is beef up policing in London’s crime-ridden transit with the “broken windows” policy that’s been so successful in the US. Says Johnson:

"There is a vital necessity to drive out so-called minor crime and disorder as a way of driving out more serious crime."

The lightweight Boris Johnson sounds like a man with a plan, so pundits are reduced to grumbling that Conservative Party leader David Cameron has not yet produced a plan to win the next election for Parliament. This is odd, because recently the Conservative Party has been rolling out proposed reforms almost weekly. Conservatives want to limit welfare just like in the US, to review all 2.5 million cases of occupational disability (amounting to 15 percent of the workforce), and to introduce school choice, Swedish style. Who knows? The voters may eventually break through the BBC’s wall of silence and find out what the Conservatives are proposing.

Back in the United States it looks as though the Reagan/Bush cycle is ending, But Democrats seem to be eager to distract angry voters from an understandable intention to say “push off” to a tired Republican Party and start a new liberal cycle.

At this remarkably favorable moment for Democrats, when Republicans have lost the confidence of the voters with rising food prices, sky-high gas prices, and mortgage meltdowns, they have nothing to offer the voters except same-old same-old. As Senators Obama and Clinton differ strongly on whether to fiddle with the gas tax, they both agree on a retreat in the war on Islamic extremism; they are proposing more one-size-fits-all health care, more subsidies for the real-estate sector, no change on their harmful environmental and energy policies, and they are proposing marginal tax increases on the most productive Americans.

After the 2006 mid-term elections the question was: had Democrats learned something from the Reagan/Bush era? Had they figured out a way to deliver the goods to their tax-feeding client state in a way that had learned something from the efficiencies of the low tax-rate, entrepreneurial economy of the last 30 years? The answer became clear within months, as the Pelosi/Reid Congress demonstrated in dozens of ways just how un-serious the Democrats had become.

Like the Bourbons after the French Revolution, it became obvious that Democrats had learned nothing and forgotten nothing, Their successive efforts to de-fund the troops in Iraq and their full-court press for a program to increase health care subsidies for the children of leisured middle-class liberals showed that Democrats had nothing to offer the American people beyond hyper-partisan politics as usual.

Political cycles are like climate cycles. Everyone is out there analyzing and predicting. Is that cute little Cycle 24 sunspot the beginning of a strong sunspot cycle typical over the last half century or the beginning of a sunspot minimum?

There’s nothing you can do about sunspot cycles except make predictions. But political cycles are different. When the political cycle flips in your favor you get a chance to make a real difference. You need good leaders and good ideas that will make a difference in peoples’ lives.

In Britain, David Cameron’s Conservatives seem well positioned at the end of the New Labour cycle to deliver real change to voters fed up with eleven years of New Labour spin and “eye-catching initiatives.”

In the United States, the Democrats are not so well led, and they have not done the serious thinking that’s needed to change the political odds in their favor.

Perhaps John McCain’s campaign can exploit this opportunity, cheat the gods of the political cycle, and lead Republicans to victory in the months ahead.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they 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


Mutual Aid

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


Education

“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


Living Under Law

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


German Philosophy

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 inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

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


Chappies

“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.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Democratic Capitalism

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


Action

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


Churches

[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


Conversion

“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


Living Law

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


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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