American Elephants


For Your Notebook of Quotations by The Elephant's Child

 

“This willingness to accept present discomfort and risk for the hope of future riches that so characterized these immigrants, and the millions who would follow over the next two centuries, has had a profound, if immeasurable effect on the history of the American economy. Just as those who saw no conflict between worshiping God and seeking earthly success in the seventeenth century, those who sought economic independence in the eighteenth had a profound impact on the emerging American culture.”
……………………………………………………………………An Empire of Wealth
……………………………………………………………………John Steele Gordon

“None of this should surprise anyone. Contrary to what they tell you (and tell you, and tell you) Progressives don’t have principles. Rather they have faddish opinions that are highly unstable and often contradictory.”
……………………………………………………………………Kathryn Shaidle
……………………………………………………………………Taki’s Magazine

“I have struggled for years to explain that politicians who cant about fairness don’t mean equal treatment or justice, or indeed, any practical outcome whatsoever, What they really mean is that they’re nice people and they’re prepared to prove how nice they are with your money.”
…………………………………………………………………….Daniel Hannan
…………………………………………………………………….MEP for East Anglia

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before, and it does not work….We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started…and an enormous debt to boot.”
……………………………………………………………………..Henry Morgenthau Jr.
……………………………………………………………………..FDR’s Treasury Secretary
……………………………………………………………………..Architect of the New Deal

The Liberal project makes no sense. Liberals cannot articulate basic principles such as conservatives do. Conservatives talk about the rights enumerated in the Declaration and argue about freedom and liberty. Liberals, even when requested to come up with principle—cannot. The lesson is simple. Their principles are all negatives: things that are not fair: slavery—race—women as chattel, who could not vote.
……………………………………………………………………..Never Enough
……………………………………………………………………..William Voegeli

You do have a notebook of quotations, don’t you?



Is the American Dream to Make Life “Fair?” by The Elephant's Child

The State of the Union speech tomorrow night will be in some ways a recap of the President’s speech in Osawatomie, Kansas — populist, progressive and increasingly revelatory of what lies at the core of the progressive movement.

Obama importantly said during his campaign that he proposed to “fundamentally transform America.” Silly us. We thought he was going to Washington DC to be more bipartisan, to cure the divisions in America, to stop the quarrels and arguments and get things done, but that wasn’t what he had in mind at all.

America was founded on the principle of individual liberty and unalienable rights of  to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Our very wise founders believed that there was not much else a government could guarantee to one person without trampling on the rights of another.

That promise of individual liberty gave us the greatest burst of freedom and opportunity, innovation, wealth creation, creativity and success that the world has ever known, and the envy of the world. If the first promoters suggested that the streets of America were paved with gold and the woods teemed with game, it turned out that the streets were instead paved with opportunity, a more valuable commodity.

But of course the perpetually discontented noticed that not everyone prospered, that life was not equally fair to everyone. They were quite sure that a little more regulation would fix that, and they wanted government to create a better society. They believed that the founders were wrong about the need for limited government, because what was needed were some wise laws to make things more fair. Government could eliminate inequalities of wealth and property with a little economic regulation. What was needed was not equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome.  America should be Fair.

It turned out that the founders were right. There is not much else government can guarantee to one person without abridging the rights of someone else. Every time the bureaucrats made another regulation, it made things unequal for someone else. So they had to make new laws to make things more equal, but they weren’t very good at devising equality-type regulations, and things had to be fixed again and again.

The fixers don’t give up easily. It turns out that a progressive America requires a vast expansion of the state and an even more vast expansion of control, regulation, mandates and rules to make America more fair — but whose “fair?” Turns out that my idea of “fair” is not the same as your idea of “fair” and Obama’s idea of “fair” is something else entirely.

Somewhere in each Progressive, there’s a little tyrant lurking in the shadows.

Irving Kristol once said this, and I think he got it right:

In every society the overwhelming majority of people live lives of considerable frustration and if society is to endure, it needs to rely on a goodly measure of stoical resignation.

In other words, you not only  can’t fix everything, you can’t fix very much. People will still make bad choices, good people will be fired, bad people will sometimes triumph, terribly unfair things will happen.  Like your mother or grandmother said “Life isn’t fair.” The business of government is to protect property rights, try to eliminate artificial barriers to opportunity, and to uphold the rule of law.

Why would anyone think that they can make the rules that will make life “fair” for 330 million striving, hard-working, free people, each with their own ideas and dreams? Takes quite a bit of arrogance to assume that you are that smart.

If you think that life is unfair, wait until you have a vast bureaucracy earnestly working to correct that natural condition.  Oh wait…

 




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