21 September 2008

Some Good Reading

I’ve been overwhelmed with work in the last couple of weeks, and have had little time to write.  I’ve fallen behind in my reading, too, but I did manage to keep up with some of my favorite blogs.  A few articles stood out.

First, on Titanic Deck Chairs, C. August has presented a very thoughtful essay called Palin and the Bush Doctrine in Historical Context.  Of course, the impetus for this post was the widely publicized “deer-in-the-headlights” look that Sarah Palin allegedly gave her interrogator Charles Gibson when he asked her if she agreed with the Bush Doctrine.  I certainly wouldn’t characterize her response that way - in my opinion, she fielded the question as well as or better than any other politician would - but the moment was jumped on greedily by the left-leaning media.  Snotty intellectuals’ guffaws notwithstanding, Governor Palin’s response, “In what respect, Charlie?” is a decent answer.  The whole essay is well worth reading, as C. August, who had several months ago posted on Presidential Doctrines, adds serious insight to this otherwise distasteful topic.

(Incidentally, I am by no means supporting Sarah Palin; I am hoping for the defeat of the Republican Party.  However, I would like to know how many of the Democrats who laughed heartily at the SNL skit and reveled in their sense of superiority of this “stupid Alaskan hockey mom” when she said, “I don’t know what that [the Bush Doctrine] is,” would themselves have been able to articulate a fraction of what C. August has presented.  In my personal experience, the Left’s level of thinking these days is limited to lines that can fit on a bumper sticker.)

Another gem can be found on Applying Philosophy To Life, where K.M. firmly plants the blame for last week’s financial crisis where it belongs: at the foot of the federal government, not of “capitalism.”  In a concise article called The end of Capitalism?, he writes (referring to capitalism):

Clearly such a political system does not exist today.  The US economy, commonly regarded as capitalist runs on a fiat currency, the price of credit is decided by a central banking system, investments and production are controlled by antitrust laws and regulatory authorities, prices are controlled by tariffs and subsidies, distribution is controlled by federal grants and welfare schemes.  This is not a capitalist system by any stretch of the imagination.

K.M.’s conclusion: “The collapse of the financial sector of the US economy is not a failure of capitalism but a failure of centralized control of credit.”

In Biden Plagiarizes McCain, Gus Van Horn comments on the astounding remark by Joe Biden that I heard on the radio when I was driving home from work the other day.  Biden had the gall to say that paying one’s “fair share” of taxes is the patriotic thing to do.  “What is scandalous beyond belief,” Gus Van Horn wrote, “is that none of this so much as raises a brow of the average voter.”

If ever there was a reversal of the meaning of an American patriot, Biden’s statement is it.  

I’m always a little leery of the term “patriotism” by itself because it is a morally neutral concept that calls for support of one’s country, whatever that country may represent.  But to be a patriot in America properly means to support the American ideals of rational self-interest - that is to say, each individual’s right to his life, the property he has earned, and the free pursuit of his happiness through whatever means he deems appropriate, provided he respects the rights of others to do the same.  Biden’s remark calls for the exact opposite.  It demands sacrifice for the collective instead of self-interest.

Finally, Myrhaf has (as usual) been producing excellent commentary on various political topics: the McCain/Palin rhetoric in favor of government expansion in the economy, Barack Obama’s meddling in Iraq, his “rorschach test” nature, the Democrat Party’s ominous trend toward replacing arguments with force and intimidation, etc. 

In Season of Mud, referring to the attack advertisements that both major parties run against each other, Myrhaf writes, “Neither party stands for real political values such as individual rights and liberty.  Neither side has ideals worth advertising.”:

When you have two parties dedicated to expanding government power in a country that once believed, long ago, in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then it is best to say as little as possible about your true intentions.  It is much safer to attack the other party and keep the focus on them -- attack, attack, attack.  Rush Limbaugh has made a career mocking liberals, but you’ll notice he says little positive about Republicans these days.  What is there to say?  ‘The Republicans will destroy your freedom only half as much as the Democrats’?  Not many votes in that message.

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