It Ain't Gonna Be "Neat and Tidy"

The problem with government education, according to James Tooley in Reclaiming Education, is its addiction to "neat—and—tidy" solutions.

The government experts and bureaucrats, not to mention the voters, all want things neatly tied down with comprehensive, mandatory national policies and procedures.  Only the world doesn't work that way.

The same goes for the War on Terror, as President Bush and the Republicans now understand.  We thought that with a couple of years of effort by the State and Defense Departments we could bring a "neat—and—tidy" democracy to Iraq.

Last week the voters told the Republicans that their "neat—and—tidy"
foreign policy wasn't working.  So they sent Republican—in—Name—Only Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island down from the United States Senate and elected a bunch of Democrats who ran as Republicans—In—All—But—Name, folks like Brad Ellsworth who said, according to Terence P. Jeffrey, that he offered voters

"A lifetime of Hoosier values, a southwest Indiana native, Brad Ellsworth knows faith and family comes first... Opposes abortion, and supports traditional marriage... a hunter who supports the Second Amendment, who will fight to protect our kids from violence and filth on TV and the Internet."

What a brilliant stroke the Democrats achieved. They have been telling us for a generation that traditional family, religion, and abortion are nothing but bigotry, racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.

Now they want in on the family—values action.

Despite the glee of the Kossaks, you can't help feeling that there is a disconnect here that is going to come back and give someone a nasty shock.

But whatever we do, let's not blame the voters.

The fact is that after a long night of love with the voters in which Republicans had rescued the US economy, won the Cold War, reversed the crime wave in the cities, cut the welfare rolls in half, stopped a nasty economic meltdown in its tracks, and boldly confronted a new world threat, in the cold light of dawn Republicans can't get it up any more.

You don't like the look of that Democrat skulking out in the parking lot?  No, but listen to him talk about his Hoosier values.

You say that Republicans still need the time to convert the failed government schools into healthy for—profit education.  We still need to convert the slum of government welfare into thriving mutual—aid associations.  We need to wind down Social Security and replace it a genuine savings program in which the savings of the elderly create jobs for the young rather than the current system in which the elderly extract pensions by force from the young with their votes.

And only Republicans are serious about fighting the War on Terror.

But Republicans are tired, and the voters are restless. For one thing, as
Peggy Noonan writes, it is time for the other guys to have a try.

"We are in a 30—year war. It is no good for it to be led by, identified with, one party. It is no good for half the nation to feel estranged from its government's decisions. It's no good for us to be broken up more than a nation normally would be."

She's right.  It is no good for the Republicans to try and reform the welfare state with pure political power in the teeth of truculent opposition from the Democrats.  Ultimately, we must persuade the Democrats that the old order cannot go on, that the common school model of 1840, the Social Security model of 1935, and the War on Poverty model of 1965 are tearing the social fabric of the nation apart.  And we must help them see that it is the very "little people" they claim to represent who are most damaged by the "neat—and—tidy"
model favored by the education bureaucrats, the superannuation experts, and the social—services managers.

Oh?  You say that Peggy was talking about the War on Terror?

Anyway, the Democrats aren't ever likely to submit to persuasion from Republicans.  They know that they are more educated, more sophisticated than Republicans.  They aren't going to give up on the welfare state until things get a lot worse.

Eventually they will realize that the two 30 year wars, the war on terror and the struggle to reform of the welfare state are not two struggles but one.  That's the meaning of Mark Steyn's America Alone.

Reform Islam, Steyn advises. To do that we'll have to heal the welfare
state: its rotted families, its moral squalor, and its collapsing demographics.

A good start would be To Empower People, as recommended by Peter L.
Berger, Richard John Neuhaus, and Michael Novak.  The idea is to encourage ordinary people build their lives around messy "mediating structures" such as family, church, and voluntary associations and make them serve as shelters from the power of the neat—and—tidy "megastructures" of big government and big business.

But no 30 year struggle is going to be "neat and tidy."

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker, and blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com. His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.

The problem with government education, according to James Tooley in Reclaiming Education, is its addiction to "neat—and—tidy" solutions.

The government experts and bureaucrats, not to mention the voters, all want things neatly tied down with comprehensive, mandatory national policies and procedures.  Only the world doesn't work that way.

The same goes for the War on Terror, as President Bush and the Republicans now understand.  We thought that with a couple of years of effort by the State and Defense Departments we could bring a "neat—and—tidy" democracy to Iraq.

Last week the voters told the Republicans that their "neat—and—tidy"
foreign policy wasn't working.  So they sent Republican—in—Name—Only Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island down from the United States Senate and elected a bunch of Democrats who ran as Republicans—In—All—But—Name, folks like Brad Ellsworth who said, according to Terence P. Jeffrey, that he offered voters

"A lifetime of Hoosier values, a southwest Indiana native, Brad Ellsworth knows faith and family comes first... Opposes abortion, and supports traditional marriage... a hunter who supports the Second Amendment, who will fight to protect our kids from violence and filth on TV and the Internet."

What a brilliant stroke the Democrats achieved. They have been telling us for a generation that traditional family, religion, and abortion are nothing but bigotry, racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.

Now they want in on the family—values action.

Despite the glee of the Kossaks, you can't help feeling that there is a disconnect here that is going to come back and give someone a nasty shock.

But whatever we do, let's not blame the voters.

The fact is that after a long night of love with the voters in which Republicans had rescued the US economy, won the Cold War, reversed the crime wave in the cities, cut the welfare rolls in half, stopped a nasty economic meltdown in its tracks, and boldly confronted a new world threat, in the cold light of dawn Republicans can't get it up any more.

You don't like the look of that Democrat skulking out in the parking lot?  No, but listen to him talk about his Hoosier values.

You say that Republicans still need the time to convert the failed government schools into healthy for—profit education.  We still need to convert the slum of government welfare into thriving mutual—aid associations.  We need to wind down Social Security and replace it a genuine savings program in which the savings of the elderly create jobs for the young rather than the current system in which the elderly extract pensions by force from the young with their votes.

And only Republicans are serious about fighting the War on Terror.

But Republicans are tired, and the voters are restless. For one thing, as
Peggy Noonan writes, it is time for the other guys to have a try.

"We are in a 30—year war. It is no good for it to be led by, identified with, one party. It is no good for half the nation to feel estranged from its government's decisions. It's no good for us to be broken up more than a nation normally would be."

She's right.  It is no good for the Republicans to try and reform the welfare state with pure political power in the teeth of truculent opposition from the Democrats.  Ultimately, we must persuade the Democrats that the old order cannot go on, that the common school model of 1840, the Social Security model of 1935, and the War on Poverty model of 1965 are tearing the social fabric of the nation apart.  And we must help them see that it is the very "little people" they claim to represent who are most damaged by the "neat—and—tidy"
model favored by the education bureaucrats, the superannuation experts, and the social—services managers.

Oh?  You say that Peggy was talking about the War on Terror?

Anyway, the Democrats aren't ever likely to submit to persuasion from Republicans.  They know that they are more educated, more sophisticated than Republicans.  They aren't going to give up on the welfare state until things get a lot worse.

Eventually they will realize that the two 30 year wars, the war on terror and the struggle to reform of the welfare state are not two struggles but one.  That's the meaning of Mark Steyn's America Alone.

Reform Islam, Steyn advises. To do that we'll have to heal the welfare
state: its rotted families, its moral squalor, and its collapsing demographics.

A good start would be To Empower People, as recommended by Peter L.
Berger, Richard John Neuhaus, and Michael Novak.  The idea is to encourage ordinary people build their lives around messy "mediating structures" such as family, church, and voluntary associations and make them serve as shelters from the power of the neat—and—tidy "megastructures" of big government and big business.

But no 30 year struggle is going to be "neat and tidy."

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker, and blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com. His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.