Wednesday, May 14, 2008

America -- The Scariest Place on Earth

So, a Mr. Frank writes in the WSJ:
"It is, in other words, a political disaster, with tax cuts, trade agreements, deregulatory measures, and enforcement decisions all finely crafted to benefit one part of society and leave the rest behind. Few of the voters who gave Ronald Reagan his landslide victories, it is fair to say, intended for this to be the outcome. They wanted their country to stand tall again, certainly; they wanted the scary regulators off their backs, maybe; but I can recall no conservative who trumpeted those long-ago elections – or any of the succeeding contests, for that matter – as a referendum on plutocracy.

So let us have one now. Instead of pleasant talk about "change" and feats of beer drinking at the corner tavern, let us hear our candidates address this greatest issue of them all: What kind of country are we to be? A land of equality? Or a bankers' utopia – where the law of the land has achieved mystical oneness with the higher law of classical economics, and devil take the bottom 80%."

This outlook baffles me. If America means anything at all, the phrase "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" must be the centerpiece of our common goal. We have fallen short of that goal -- as every work of humankind has and will -- but who argues with that as the goal?

But now, Mr. Frank yearns for equality. Which phrase do you think Mr. Jefferson had in the first rough draft of the declaration?
(a) ...all men are created equal, and equal they should end,
(b) ...all men are created equal, and the rest is up to you...
(c) ...all men are created equal, and don't you get too far off the reservation, buddy!

Hyperbole in defense of liberty is no crime.

These last 10-15 years have been a strange ride. Incredible dislocation, angst, jarring macroeconomic changes... but also amazing economic productivity, mind-boggling technological breakthroughs, and when I compare the health of the nation to that of the 1970's -- or the 1980's, for that matter -- there is no comparison.

So, Mr. Frank, you shoot for the government that sucks up 45% of GDP with 10% unemployment, a stagnating society with low birth rates and the inability to reconcile its economic abilities with its political-military responsibilities. In fact, in one of those societies, "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" is the basic organizing principle. If that's what he wants, then by all means get out there and evangelize the "French model".

The world will be a better place after we, the people, consider his request.

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