Thursday, February 14, 2008

About as white as a black man can be

kw: opinion, politics, elections

Churchill said, "Even a fool is right once in a while". I don't like almost anything Bill Clinton has to say, but when he said the other day that he'd waited his whole life to vote for a woman for President, and for an African-American for President, it echoed my own feelings. His next words, that he'd be voting for the woman this time, reflect a sentiment opposite to mine. I'd love to vote for a female candidate, but absolutely not this woman. Senator Clinton is the wrong woman for the job.

I wouldn't take much for Senator Obama to move to the right of Senator McCain. Were he to do so, he'd have my vote. Not because he's black (what, 25%, 15%? I am almost that black!), but because he's the most creative candidate on the stump, by far. Trouble is, he doesn't have a moderate bone in his body, so far as I can tell. Maybe after the Nomination we'll find out better, when he has to oppose not a Clinton but a McCain or a Huckabee (yes, he still could pull it off).

I am a Republican by registration; sadly, I find it necessary to also state that I am a conservative by inclination. Such a statement is no longer redundant. Further, considering the original meaning of the word, I am also a liberal, just the way Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington were liberals: they were in favor of people being free, being liberated. Real liberalism helps people better themselves but doesn't replace them. Such liberalism is perfectly in accord with historical conservatism: keep the good stuff and mind your own business.

The modern use of the term "Liberal" (capital L is typically clearly pronounced, particularly by "conservative" commentators), is just the opposite. We don't have a term for the monstrosity that is modern limousine liberalism: the protect-everyone-from-everything-at-all-costs(especially to the taxpayer), we'll-do-your-thinking-for-you, you-deserve-total-care, be-nice-to-everyone(esp. terrorists)-and-they'll-be-nice-to-you, cradle-to-the-grave attitude that I'll dub "Nannyism".

At least a decade ago I read Alan Stuart Blinder's wise Hard Heads Soft Hearts: Tough Minded Economics (click here for more). "Hard heads" refers to conservatism, "soft hearts" to liberalism, as we understood them at the time. He showed that Congressional politics typically produces "solutions" that are hard hearted and soft headed. Just for one example, "welfare" programs have a noble ideal, but their actual implementation destroys persons and families and actually makes it very much harder for a person to return to "taxpayer" status than if nothing whatever were done! The present exceedingly miserable state of most African national cultures is a result of misguided nobility on the part of 19th Century missionaries. Look to 1980s Africa to discern the future of Nannyism.

Oddly enough, many members of both major parties are Nannyist, in different ways. Left-wing Nannyism we call Socialism, and right-wing Nannyism becomes Fascism. Both destroy everything that holds a healthy society together.

As a solution, I propose MYOBism, where MYOB means "Mind Your Own Business". We need a strong stance internationally to ensure we have the chance to mind OUR business appropriately, so I lean to the right when facing outward. We need clear-eyed policies to help those who need it most without preventing them from rising above that needy level, and without penalizing those who are in a position to support such programs. The Laffer Curve, much loved by Ronald Reagan, has been shown to work. The "Clinton economy" was really a result of Reagan's and Gingrich's policies at work, in spite of Clinton's best efforts to derail them. Ironically, these policies, derided by Democrats at the time, were also held at arms' length by Republicans, who found them too "liberal". They were! They are! Reducing onerous tax burdens is a historically Liberal stand. I lean to the left domestically.

But I am anti-Nannyist. Today's Nannyists would kill the goose that's laying golden eggs, even though that poor goose is struggling right now. Both Senators Clinton and Obama are sharpening their carving knives.

Who isn't? Senator McCain isn't totally in favor of a living goose, but he's quite a bit more likely to let it live, and for that reason, I'll vote for him. Uncertain survival is better than certain demise.

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