Monday Brief

Brief

Mar. 8, 2010

The Foundation

“No man in his senses can hesitate in choosing to be free, rather than a slave.” –Alexander Hamilton

Liberty

“While American politicians and intellectuals have not reached the depths of tyrants such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler, they share a common vision. Tyrants denounce free markets and voluntary exchange. They are the chief supporters of reduced private property rights, reduced rights to profits, and they are anti-competition and pro-monopoly. They are pro-control and coercion, by the state. These Americans who run Washington, and their intellectual supporters, believe they have superior wisdom and greater intelligence than the masses. They believe they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Like any other tyrant, they have what they consider good reasons for restricting the freedom of others. A tyrant’s primary agenda calls for the elimination or attenuation of the market. Why? Markets imply voluntary exchange and tyrants do not trust that people behaving voluntarily will do what the tyrant thinks they should do. Therefore, they seek to replace the market with economic planning and regulation, which is little more than the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by the powerful elite. We Americans have forgotten founder Thomas Paine’s warning that ‘Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.’” –George Mason University economics professor Walter E. Williams

Insight

“Obviously there is no need of fighting to overcome this single tyrant, for he is automatically defeated if the country refuses consent to its own enslavement: it is not necessary to deprive him of anything, but simply to give him nothing; there is no need that the country make an effort to do anything for itself provided it does nothing against itself. It is therefore the inhabitants themselves who permit, or, rather, bring about, their own subjection, since by ceasing to submit they would put an end to their servitude. A people enslaves itself, cuts its own throat, when, having a choice between being vassals and being free men, it deserts its liberties and takes on the yoke, gives consent to its own misery, or, rather, apparently welcomes it.” –French judge, writer, political philosopher Etienne de la Boetie (1530-1563)

Re: The Left

“The abuse of federal political power to intervene in areas such as Americans' private health care could exist only in a nation that no longer holds its leaders accountable to its constitution and that has governmental leadership that regards itself as above its people and its constitution. Sadly, I was listening to an interview the other day in which President Barack Obama described the U.S. Constitution as ‘an imperfect document … a document that reflects some deep flaws … (and) an enormous blind spot.’ He also said, ‘The Framers had that same blind spot.’ In so doing, the president established a rationale and justification for disregarding the Constitution. Even worse, he placed himself above the Constitution and those ‘blind Framers,’ who just couldn’t see the big picture as he does today. After all, he’s the constitutional scholar, and the Framers were just, well, the creators of the document!” –columnist Chuck Norris

The Gipper

“The path we will chart is not an easy one. It demands much of those chosen to govern, but also from those who did the choosing. And let there be no mistake about this: We have come to a crossroad, a time of decision and the path we follow turns away from any idea that government and those who serve it are omnipotent. It is a path impossible to follow unless we have faith in the collective wisdom and genius of the people. Along this path government will lead but not rule, listen but not lecture. It is the path of a Creative Society.” –Ronald Reagan

Opinion in Brief

“What was really going on at the [health care] summit was reflected in the persistent, obviously pre-arranged, transparently false theme among the Democrats that, hey, you know, we are not really that far apart, there is really a lot of agreement. That was meant to set the Republicans up so the Democrats could say afterward that the Republicans refused to support Obamacare simply for partisan, political reasons, or because they really were in the pocket of industry, and so the Democrats are justified in ramming it through without them, through reconciliation. That was the real point and goal of the summit. That didn’t work because the Republicans were surprisingly good in articulating their reasons for opposing the legislation, and those reasons resonated strongly with the American people. By giving the Republicans such a high profile forum to express these reasons and their far more common sense alternatives, the summit backfired into yet another disastrous loss for Obamacare.” –columnist Peter Ferrara

Culture

“Much, if not most, of health care depends on what individuals do in the way they live their own lives – including eating habits, alcohol intake, exercise, narcotics and homicide. A study some years ago found that Mormons live a decade longer than other Americans. But nobody believes that Mormons' doctors are that much better than other doctors. When you don’t do a lot of things that shorten your life, you live longer. That is not rocket science. Americans tend to have higher rates of obesity, narcotics use and homicide than people in some other countries. And there is not much that doctors can do about that. If those who make international comparisons were serious, instead of clever, they would compare the things that medical science can have a great effect on – cancer survival rates, for example. Americans have some of the highest cancer survival rates in the world, and for some particular cancers, the highest. When you can get to see a doctor faster, and get treatments underway without waiting for months, while the cancer grows and spreads, you have a better chance of surviving. That, too, is not rocket science. But it is also something that you are not likely to see featured in most of the media, where people are promoting their own pet notions and agendas, instead of giving you the facts on which you can make up your own mind.” –economist Thomas Sowell

Political Futures

“America is, quite simply, a Center-Right country. Many have cited polling data showing that self-described conservatives outnumber liberals two to one. But that’s not nearly so telling as the fact that self-identified conservatives have outnumbered liberals in every year since 1968; when combined with self-proclaimed moderates, the country is enduringly 65 to 75 percent moderate-to-conservative. As president, Bill Clinton initially governed as if he’d won a more Left-leaning mandate than the voters intended. Clinton admitted in a 1995 interview with the then-columnist Ben Wattenberg that he’d gone astray philosophically. With the help of Machiavellian pollster Dick Morris, Clinton recalibrated to the center and saved his presidency. No surprise that [Obama Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel’s most politically formative years were spent as a Clinton strategist. Yet Obama has indicated that he never considered the Clinton model appropriate or appealing. He wants to be ‘transformative’ like Ronald Reagan. But such a transformation requires an electorate willing to be and capable of being transformed.” –columnist Jonah Goldberg

For the Record

“The deficit for last year was $1.4 trillion. The deficit rose as a share of the gross domestic product from 3.1 percent in 2008 to 9.9 percent in 2009, the highest deficit as a share of GDP since 1945. The projected deficit for the fiscal year that ends in September is another $1.3 trillion. So much for all that fiscal sanity blather from Team Obama in ‘08. How dishonest. … [Sen. Jim] Bunning pushed the stop button on the perpetual federal spending machine by holding up a $10 billion package to extend (yet again) unemployment benefits and keep cash flowing to the highway trust fund. Mirabile dictu, he insisted that the Congress should find the money to pay for this – for example, in unspent 'stimulus’ money – instead of just adding another multibillion-dollar layer to the deficit lasagna. Break out the smelling salts. The network nightly news crews tried to manufacture instant outrage, earning their reputation as the enablers of incessant and unrestrained deficit-building. … Bunning was right to say if the Congress can’t find any place in the federal budget to trim away a measly $10 billion, they won’t stop spending anywhere. But the media on this story aren’t really on the side of the taxpayers (and debt payers). They’re on the side of Team Obama and the debt builders. … Bunning [wasn’t] proposing job cuts – or even spending cuts. He’s using a hold and demanding that legislators of both parties put up or shut up when they declare they’re for ‘pay as you go’ budgeting.” –columnist L. Brent Bozell

Reader Comments

“Mark Alexander’s ‘Second Amendment… was a great article. The comment on the Times article is correct. It does not expand the right, it validates it. The comment on the fall of the murder rate in DC is also very good. The fact that the murder rate has dropped has nothing to do with the right to bear arms. However, is sure shows that armed citizens have a direct effect on the murder rate.” –Jericho

“Mr. Alexander’s commentary on the Second Amendment and the upcoming Supreme Court case reflects a clarity of thought and adherence to constitutional precept that goes beyond anything I’ve ever read on the subject. Our right to keep and bear arms is a principal bellwether for our freedom. Abridgment of that right is like losing the canary in a mineshaft.” –Mike

“You guys must not be hearing. President Obama has never said anything about taking our guns away. Guns only kill people. Ask any law enforcement officer and they will tell you guns should be banned. From reading this website all I hear is hate. How about doing something constructive for a change. Do you want to see our President assasinated [sic]? That’s what guns are about.” –James

Editor’s Reply: Our readers have sufficiently taken James to task for his ignorance.

“You are wrong about Obama planning to jam health care down our throats. Those people standing behind Obama in the white coats are proctologists; you’ve got the point of entry wrong.” –morefandave

The Last Word

“Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever expanding number of government jobs will be statists – sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering multiculti statists, sometimes fluffily 'compassionate’ statists, but always statists. The short history of the postwar welfare state is that you don’t need a president-for-life if you’ve got a bureaucracy-for-life: The people can elect ‘conservatives,’ as the Germans have done and the British are about to do, and the left is mostly relaxed about it because, in all but exceptional cases (Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who for tuppence-ha'penny or some such would agree to go and warm the seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects strolled in and took their rightful place. Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A big-time GOP consultant was on TV crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass ObamaCare because it’s so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November. Okay, then what? You’ll roll it back – like you’ve rolled back all those other unsustainable entitlements premised on cobwebbed actuarial tables from 80 years ago? Like you’ve undone the Department of Education and of Energy and all the other nickel ‘n’ dime novelties of even a universally reviled one-term loser like Jimmy Carter? Andrew McCarthy concluded a shrewd analysis of the political realities thus: ‘Health care is a loser for the Left only if the Right has the steel to undo it. The Left is banking on an absence of steel. Why is that a bad bet?’ Indeed.” –columnist Mark Steyn