Friday, March 06, 2009

The Morning of their Discontent

There seems to be a growing chorus of Centrists who voted for Obama who are disturbed by what, in their eyes, is "Obama's turn to the Left". These are the same people who dismissed his past associations with radical leftist people and organizations through the campaign.

Sal, Dennis Miller's sidekick who voted for Obama said earlier this week on the radio "I didn't see this coming." Jim Cramer of the famous CNBC meltdown last fall -- same thing. Today, Stuart Taylor in the National Journal sounds the same alarm.

While reading that article, I ran across a quote I hadn't heard ... from Maggie Thatcher. I sought out a more complete version of the quote to get better context, and I found one at Red State, which linked a recent Peter Wehner article.

On March 3, 1980, Thatcher (now Prime Minister) delivered an address whose main burden was placed on the role of the state and the right of the individual to freedom from state interference. “The first principle of this government… is to revive a sense of individual responsibility,” she said. She went on to say, “What we need is a strong state determined to maintain in good repair the frame which surrounds society. But the frame should not be so heavy or so elaborate as to dominate the whole picture. Ordinary men and women who are neither poor nor suffering should not look to the state as a universal provider.” And she then listed the layers of illusion that “has smothered our moral sense”:

The illusion that government can be a universal provider, and yet society still stay free and prosperous. The illusion that government can print money, and yet the nation still have sound money. The illusion that every loss can be covered by a subsidy. The illusion that we can break the link between reward and effort, and still get the reward.
It is apparent that Obama and Congressional Democrats buy into this illusion.

We were watching a show on the 1960's last night I think on the History Channel, and they were talking about Haight Ashbury and the "Diggers" (after the 17th century agrarian communists). The diggers were going to show us all a new vision of society where everything could be free. They gave away clothing, food, and housing. Of course, the only way a society can actually exist is as a parsite off of a productive society where people make things and the people who buy them take care of them ... which didn't happen in the Haight-Ashbury Diggers. Someone has to make the shirts. Someone has to grow the food and someone has to preserve it. Someone has to build the housing. And I suspect the Diggers and especially the hippie community they "served" were heavily subsidized by their "square" parents. It seems when there is no ownership, there is no incentive to take care of anything. And it's not surprising that the whole thing fell apart. Unsustainable.

I'm going to finish up with another Thatcher quote from the London Times article Wehner was quoting:

Collectivists may flatter themselves that wise men at the centre … can make better decisions, and waste fewer resources than a myriad of individual decision-makers and independent organizations all over the country. Events in Britain have shown that, wise or not, those at the centre lack the knowledge, foresight and imagination required. They are overworked and overwhelmed… How shaken and disabused are many of these intellectuals today. And rightly so, for we are now facing the crisis of Socialism: economic failure, social and political tensions; a decline in freedom of choice in education, health, economic activity.

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