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New Hope for Global Warming Deniers Energy and Freedom

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Beyond the Blame Game

by Christopher Chantrill
July 17, 2008 at 10:29 am

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IN POLITICS the game always goes to the politician who can stick the blame on the other guy. Sometimes, like New York Senator Charles Schumer, you can even nudge a bank into receivership. Loose lips sink ships, Senator!

When things go wrong for the Ins the Outs make hay deploring the “mistakes” of the Ins. Then the Outs get in and the game starts all over again.

Right now we are in the middle of a perfect storm of “mistakes.” There’s the mortgage meltdown, the food crisis, the gasoline price spike, the IndyMac bank failure, Obama’s flip-flops, and the granddaddy of them all, the prospect of a $5 trillion meltdown at mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Oh, and there’s Bush’s war in Iraq. Who’s to blame for all this?

The answer is that it all happened on Bush’s watch, so it’s his fault and the fault of the Republicans in Congress.

But wait! It’s not Republicans who have been delaying on reform of the mortgage giants; it’s not Republicans who have been sluicing ethanol subsidies at American farmers; it’s not Republicans who have resisted development of oil and nuclear power for thirty years. It’s the other guys!

Maybe Republicans are only to blame for the bubble of easy money in 2002-03 and the miseries of “Bush’s war.” But those are the rules. When things go wrong on your watch, you are to blame.

There’s another thing. Republicans are also to blame for global warming even though it’s been getting cooler ever since President Bush was first inaugurated in 2001 at the height of Solar Cycle 23. The respected Dr. James Hansen of NASA has properly called for an auto-da-fe of oil company executives.

There’s a lesson here. Unless you are a Democrat backed up by willing accomplices in the mainstream media, you’d better forget about winning at the blame game. Aside from the tactical advantage of the media echo-chamber, Democrats actually believe, despite all the evidence, that bold persistent political experimentation, of the kind that kept the United States in a Great Depression for ten agonizing years, really works.

Even when their experimentation goes wrong they can always find a scapegoat and perform a ritual sacrifice, because, as everyone knows, the blood of a virgin really helps to fructify the crops in a in the planting season.

It’s odd that those who pridefully insist that God has no place in the public square are so eager for sacrifice. But at least they demonstrate an admirable consistency in their world-view. If you believe that most people are helpless victims, then it makes complete sense to haul in a bunch of oil-company executives at the first sign of trouble in the oil market and blame them for everything. Then you sit back in your inquisitorial chair behind your imposing committee rostrum and hum a couple of bars of the Billie Holiday classic: “Comes OPEC (Nothing Can Be Done).” You’d be right, of course. It’s always true that it will take 8-10 years for oil exploration to make a difference, whether it’s 2008, or 2001, or 1997.

Republicans and conservatives have a different agenda. We don’t believe in helpless victims; we believe in vigorous problem-solving. We believe that when things go wrong you look for people who will set to work and do something about it, and not spend six months holding hearings about it. When a hurricane hits, you need someone like Lee Scott of Wal-Mart to tell his employees:

"A lot of you are going to have to make decisions above your level," was Scott’s message to his people. "Make the best decision that you can with the information that’s available to you at the time, and above all, do the right thing."

Imagine that! Here’s a corporation so evil that it is not safe to allow it to prey, like a man-eating tiger, on the helpless consumers of Chicago, Illinois. Next thing you know, Wal-Mart will be offering free Spanish lessons to store managers at stores serving areas with a large Hispanic population.

Some of you readers are probably already on the next page. You are saying: “That’s all very well for Wal-Mart.” They have an interest in solving problems and in delegating authority down to the lowest level. When you get things done and solve little problems before they turn into big ones, it increases profits. Politics is different. Politics is all about finding the issue that will rile up your supporters and demoralize the opposition. A politician cannot build a career on sleeping dogs and problems solved before anyone gets up in the morning.

Yet sometimes the stars are in alignment. Sometimes you can do the right thing by pushing a controversial issue, riling up your supporters and dividing the opposition.

Drill, drill, drill. Drill even if a President Obama gets all the credit two years from now. Ronald Reagan said that it’s amazing what you can get done if you don’t mind who gets the credit.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Responsible Self

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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
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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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