Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A great article

Via Tygerland, this analysis of the defeat of conservatism in the US is a fucking barn-storming article by P J O'Rourke: it really is worth reading the whole thing. There are so many good bit to quote, but I particularly liked this paragraph (since it applies here too)...
Conservatives should never say to voters, "We can lower your taxes." Conservatives should say to voters, "You can raise spending. You, the electorate, can, if you choose, have an infinite number of elaborate and expensive government programs. But we, the government, will have to pay for those programs. We have three ways to pay.

"We can inflate the currency, destroying your ability to plan for the future, wrecking the nation's culture of thrift and common sense, and giving free rein to scallywags to borrow money for worthless scams and pay it back 10 cents on the dollar.

"We can raise taxes. If the taxes are levied across the board, money will be taken from everyone's pocket, the economy will stagnate, and the poorest and least advantaged will be harmed the most. If the taxes are levied only on the wealthy, money will be taken from wealthy people's pockets, hampering their capacity to make loans and investments, the economy will stagnate, and the poorest and the least advantaged will be harmed the most.

"And we can borrow, building up a massive national debt. This will cause all of the above things to happen plus it will fund Red Chinese nuclear submarines that will be popping up in San Francisco Bay to get some decent Szechwan take-out."

Yes, this would make for longer and less pithy stump speeches. But we'd be showing ourselves to be men and women of principle. It might cost us, short-term. We might get knocked down for not whoring after bioenergy votes in the Iowa caucuses. But at least we wouldn't land on our scruples. And we could get up again with dignity intact, dust ourselves off, and take another punch at the liberal bully-boys who want to snatch the citizenry's freedom and tuck that freedom, like a trophy feather, into the hatbands of their greasy political bowlers.

It's a great pity that our Conservatives are heading in precisely the same direction as the US ones (and yes, they're slightly different, etc. but not much. And, as with those that O'Rourke is talking about, the destruction of conservatism will be their responsibility).

But then, P J O'Rourke has always been rather more principled and intelligent than the vast majority of conservatives: he's pretty much a classical liberal...


David Vance said...

Good post from O'Rourke but honesty with the electorate is always a problem for politicians.

mr ecks said...

DK--read Freeborn John's piece "A Land fit for Heroes"--would be interested in your thoughts on it

julymorning said...

Not to harp on about American politics, but - while O'Rourke's piece is good, this one is both more depressing and more encouraging.

Unfortunately, though, what Paul fails to realise is that, until the US is liberated from the stranglehold of the baby boomers, who are still fighting the ideological and political wars of forty years ago, the opinions of the 'youth' are immaterial, as they are de facto if not de jure disenfranchised.

Thud said...

O'rourke is suffering from cancer at the moment...I hope he recovers as he is a much needed voice in a world of imbeciles.