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Iraq Election: A Teachable Moment? Getting Past Freud

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Driving Miss Hillary

by Christopher Chantrill
February 01, 2005 at 3:57 pm


MANY conservatives are happily writing off the Democrats as dinosaurs doomed to political extinction.  Democrats just don’t get it on God, on patriotism, and on abortion.  But let us not get carried away.   Let us not forget about Hillary Clinton.

Only moments after the inauguration of Bush’s second term the junior senator from New York is busy neutralizing Republican issues, talking about God and “common ground” on abortion.  Pretty soon, the mainstream media will lovingly report her as a born-again centrist.  They will do their best to make Republicans look like dinosaurs, scaly and mean-spirited next to the inclusive Senator Clinton.

A Hillary Clinton presidency may seem like a nightmare, but it needn’t be.  It could be the best thing that ever happened if Republicans take the trouble to prepare the ground for her.  Just as the Republican Dwight Eisenhower found himself consolidating the New Deal with a Democratic Congress, a President Clinton could find herself consolidating the ownership society of President Bush.

The current Democratic Party stands for two things.  It stands for diplomacy abroad and for defending the welfare state at home.  In foreign policy it supports well-born foreign policy establishmentarians and their diplomatic sinecures at international meetings and various peace processes, and defends their right to never actually risk their lives or their sacred honor.  At home the Democrats are committed to defending their welfare state sinecures, in government schools and government-funded universities, in government social services, government enterprises, and government regulatory agencies.  So much for the cadre Democrats.  But they are also committed to continuing the pensions they have won for rank and file Democrats over the last half-century.  Indeed they must.  Their sinecures have always depended on bringing home the bacon for the “little people.”

The current Republican Party also stands for two things.  It stands for democracy abroad and self-government at home.  In foreign policy it is mixing it up, taking risks to complete the great middle-class world conquest of the last half millennium, making the world safe for capitalist commerce.  At home it stands for the rule of law and self-government, the slow dismantling of the elite-run welfare state and its replacement with an ownership society. 

In the new Republican America an empowered people will run their own lives through their families, their churches, and a dense underbrush of voluntary associations, the way Americans used to live before the Progressives came along a century ago with a plan to rationalize and politicize everything.  It also means balancing the power relationships in society, as Michael Novak has proposed in The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, by extending the separation of powers that limits power within government to a greater separation of powers between the political sector, the economic sector, and the moral-cultural sector that limits the concentration of power not just in government but in society itself. 

The next four years will be critical.  Republicans must advance the ball downfield so that Americans can once again experience the satisfactions of life without liberal control. We must enact a real start to privatized pensions, a measurable advance in school choice, and an irreversible transition to consumer-driven health care.  Then President Clinton can run as a me-too Republican, boldly demanding that America move towards an ownership society, only not so fast.

As we drive down field in the next four years, we can be encouraged by the slow drip of information from Europe on the decline of the welfare state. 

In the Czech Republic, Pavel Kohout reports that a recent Czech government National Report on Family admits that pay-as-you-go pension schemes have a definite downward impact on birthrate.  Parents no longer regard their children as economic investments, but as pets.  In the pet market, unfortunately, children must compete with dogs, and in Europe lately the dogs have been winning. 

Then there is the contribution of ill-functioning labor markets.  “In countries such as France, Spain, Finland, Greece or Italy, 20 to 30 percent of young people are unemployed,” writes Kohout.

Here at home the high taxation needed to fund the welfare state forces more people into the work force, producing “a generation of children carrying a key around their necks, city gangs, and aggressive brats brought up by after-school child-care centers,” according to the son of a Pittsburgh steelworker writing to The Wall Street Journal.

Conservatives in recent years have been optimistic and forward-looking.  That has been good for America.  But our European allies seem determined to test to destruction the idea that a fully implemented welfare state with its “high amount of taxation combined with ill-functioning labor and housing markets is a truly genocidal mix.” 

Don’t worry, Euros.  The Yanks will be over, over there to pick up the pieces, as usual. 

But here in the U.S. Republicans need to advance our agenda beyond the point of no return before the New Clinton gets her turn at the wheel—just to be on the safe side.

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


“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


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


“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


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


[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


“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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