June 15, 2010
Mr. President, You're Stuck on StupidBy Christopher Chantrill
It is true that liberalism is cruel, corrupt, wasteful, and unjust. But one should never forget its delusion. The delusion is a simple one. It is a belief that government can be made rational and efficient. This delusion leads our liberal friends into disaster after disaster.
Liberals were shocked that President Bush failed to get everyone tucked up in bed in a couple of days after Hurricane Katrina. They knew that a rational and efficient government, run by people like them who believed in government, could do better.
Now President Obama is busy proving them wrong.
Unfortunately, conservatives aren't helping. In pointing out the serious lapses in the president's leadership qualities, we conservatives are missing the point. We are encouraging liberals in their delusion. Instead, we should remind everyone that of course a bunch of corporate bureaucrats, combined with a bunch of government bureaucrats, are going to be a bit off the mark.
A bit of presidential leadership might have made a difference, we could have said, but not much. The president brings the talents and experience of twenty years in left-wing organizing to the presidency. In that school, the attitude, the gesture, is all-important. So obviously he's not going to be much help in a crisis.
But leader or no leader, it takes time to plug a hole -- especially a hole under five thousand feet of water.
The big problem for the president is that the Gulf oil spill is his fourth major presidential mistake. The first big mistake was the $787-billion stimulus package. The second was the appeasement of thug dictators, Islamist and leftist. The third mistake was ObamaCare. The fourth is the Gulf.
(The bailouts of the auto industry I count as merely a crime, an assault and battery on the principle of private property and senior creditors, the very foundation of our freedom and prosperity.)
The horrifying thing is that we Americans can't afford all these mistakes. We can't afford a president stuck on stupid.
We could afford it if the national debt weren't hitting 90 percent of GDP. We could afford it if Europe weren't in the middle of a sovereign debt crisis. We could afford it if the economy were clearly expanding strongly.
It was Adam Smith who said there is a great deal of ruin in a nation. But you have to keep the ruin within certain limits.
The reason we are in this mess is because liberals wouldn't listen. They had a wake-up call in 1980, when an amiable dunce became president and fixed the economy with lower tax rates, hard money, and an end to economic meddling. But liberals stuck their hands over their ears and insisted that supply-side economics was trickle-down economics.
Then, in 1994, liberals had another wake-up call when Republicans rocketed to control of Congress after President Clinton pushed a big tax increase and HillaryCare. This time liberals were insulted and determined not to concede their cultural and political hegemony to a bunch of right-wing Christians. They refused to consider any reform of the welfare state except in the summer of 1996, when the Republican Congress put a gun to President Clinton's head.
That's the way it is with religion. You cling to your faith, sometimes bitterly. Because in the end, that's all you have.
For President Obama and the liberals, their religion is a secular religion, and their faith is a secular faith. Their faith is a faith in politics and government to right the wrongs of the world. Despite the collapse of their faith with the fall of the Soviet Union and the embrace of capitalism in India and China, these bitter clingers still worship the idols of government programs and their own ethical superiority.
How does a religion collapse? During the Christianization of northern Europe, the monks would topple the idols of the pagan gods. See, they said, our true God is more powerful than your gods.
Is that how liberalism will come to an end? When the Keynesian idols are finally toppled? Most likely the end will catch everyone by surprise, like the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union.
Could the election of 2010 be the decisive earthquake that tumbles the temple of liberalism? Certainly the British press, taking their cue from our mainstream media, are underwhelmed by last weeks' primaries. The London Economist has a cover this week with Sarah Palin as Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, featuring Rush Limbaugh as the March Hare.
Nobody knows when liberalism will end or when its politics of patronage and its culture of compulsion will destruct.
Is that discouraging? Not at all. The only thing to do is to think and write and organize and plan for a better America.
...An America no longer stuck on stupid.