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The Politics of the Social Safety Net Cupcakes in Greenwich Schools

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Not Another Bipartisan Betrayal

by Christopher Chantrill
August 19, 2008 at 11:44 am


IN THE WEEK that the last of the climate-change “hockey stick” finally disappeared into Steve McIntyre’s wood-chipper, it makes complete sense that a gang of five Republican United States Senators would form a cabal with five Democratic senators to betray the Republican base on energy. It makes sense that they’d hand Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) a get-out-of-jail card on oil drilling that is short on drilling and long on alternative energy subsidies. And it makes complete sense that they would be completely shocked when Mr. Conservative, Rush Limbaugh, went ballistic on them.

Actually, Rush didn’t go ballistic. He felt, as all of us must feel, a kind of numbness. That is what usually happens when you have been betrayed: a deadening numbness.

It’s a pity that our Republican Senators don’t act more like Radames, the hero of Verdi’s Aïda. When he realizes that he’s betrayed Egypt by revealing vital military secrets to the Ethiopians he just hands himself over to the Egyptian G-men, singing, at the top of his voice, that he has dishonored himself.

In due course, the dishonored Radames submits humbly to the verdict of ancient Egyptian law: to die by asphyxiation in the Tomb of the Unknown Traitor.

What happened to good old-fashioned American honor, senators?

How could they do it?

Like Radames, I doubt if they realized what they were doing. In Radames’ case, he was too consumed with his obsession for the lovely Aïda to think clearly about public policy. This is not the first time that such a thing has happened, and it won’t be the last, as former Senator John Edwards can testify.

No, I suspect that they were just doing what any decent politician does instinctively. They were acting to save their political skins.

Whatever we stalwarts in the conservative base may think, your average senator understands that he can’t afford to get too far away from the “consensus” position on energy, environment, and global warming.

It doesn’t matter to a United States Senator that Steve McIntyre has finally got hold of the Supplementary Information in that well-known climate-change paper Wahl and Amman (2007), after a year of demanding it. It doesn’t matter that he has now analyzed the methodology that Caspar Amman used to validate the tree-ring temperature proxy series that formed the shaft of the hockey stick. And it doesn’t matter that Amman’s methodology seems to amount to the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy, where you fire a bunch of shots at the side of a barn and then decide where to draw the target.

You and I, committed members of the climate denial community, understand that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chaps are now playing on a very sticky wicket, and that their confident claims that the science is settled on global warming are going to come in for some significant revision in the months and years ahead.

But our elected solons live in a different reality. They cannot take out long-term speculative positions on climate science. They must deal in the spot market of today’s MSM “consensus” position. They can lean a little one way or another. But if they stray too far from the “conventional wisdom” they risk being made into a laughingstock by the political-activist community. They risk the obloquy that attaches to Sen. James Inhofe (D-OK).

Republican senators are worried about political risks beyond energy and global warming, of course. They are bound to be worried by the gloating of lefty Greg Anrig In the Washington Post. It’s all over for conservatives, Anrig sneered in the August 4 edition.

[Conservatives] advocated creating health savings accounts, handing out school vouchers, privatizing Social Security, shifting government functions to private contractors, and curtailing regulations on public health, safety, the environment and more. And, of course, they pushed to cut taxes...

But in practice, those ideas have all failed to deliver on the promises the conservatives made[.]

You can just look at Hurricane Katrina, Anrig writes, to see just how badly conservatives failed to deliver.

Any elected politician can see which way the wind blows on all this. The prudent thing to do is to hedge your bets.

But conservatives should take courage, even in the numbness of betrayal. Ultimately the senatorial tap-dancing and the WaPo gloating don’t matter. It is the slow, careful analysis of people like Steve McIntyre and the underlying value of conservative ideas that matter. If they are right, then they will probably prevail over the long haul. If they are wrong, then they deserve to fail and be forgotten.

As for Radames, don’t forget that when he was thrown into the sealed tomb he quickly found that he wasn’t going to die alone in there. The lovely Aïda had slipped into the tomb unobserved during his trial. No need to feel sorry for him.

As for the Faithless Five—Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), John Thune (R-SD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Bob Corker (R-TN)—I suppose we’ll forgive them. According to Arthur C. Brooks, you have to be “very liberal” to be really angry these days.

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

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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

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Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.

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F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Racial Discrimination

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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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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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