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Friday, October 03, 2008

10 Reasons to be Dismayed About Democrats: #8 Envy. I cannot remember the last time I heard a Democrat say something about economics that didn't involve an overt attempt to make us envious of rich people, even angry at them. Absolutely, if wealth was acquired dishonestly, tell us about the wicked Wall Street CEOs and their golden parachutes. But if not, I DON'T CARE. My first thought is, "Good for them; Isn't America great?" Now, what one does with one's wealth is a spritual matter, one that I will be constrained to offer my biblically-informed advice on when the time comes. But what a blessing it is to have the challenge of thinking spiritually (and globally) about how to be rich. The balances between investing in people (via the state) and destroying their freedom or initiative, as well as the meaning of "general welfare" are difficult ones to strike. But the Democrats never seem to try.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

10 Reasons to be Dismayed About Democrats (and John McCain, sadly) #9: "Energy independence". This is a fatuous, meaningless phrase. 2 things in basic outline can happen with our energy. Either we produce more than enough for ourselves, in which case we'd sell the rest of it to someone who needed it, or we'd purchase it from elsewhere (the dominant method right now). Before we get all in a lather about the peoples and countries and regions whence our oil comes, let's ask ourselves if, generally, people making money like to kill those from whom they take money. No. And if indeed that region depends solely upon sales of oil, and we were concerned about its influence, wouldn't we buy as much oil as possible, so as to hasten the day when they need things we Americans have to sell? Furthermore, doesn't importing certain things mean that we have time to create other things?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

10 Reasons to be Dismayed About Democrats--#10: Trade
I struggle with the urge to physically attack political candidates who (and the frequency is increasing) say some variant of, "My opponent voted to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas!" When I hear this, my mind hears, I hate capitalism and foreigners. My mind might also hear I am envious of the wealth and success of others, even though it has no impact on my wealth or success. Say it with me now, everyone: Voluntary partnerships between two or more parties for the exchange of goods or services is good, and almost always of at least indirect benefit to the common good. Hello, capitalism, my old friend.
Debate #1

I'll keep it brief, but I wanted to share my thoughts. I agree with what was said over at the Volokh Conspiracy; the first 20 minutes were the mindless bromides that indicate both these candidates think we are stupid. But the rest, with its foreign policy emphasis, struck me as really significant. That is, we were treated to the national conversation on the use of force in basic outline: national honor (and sense of self) vs. strategic prudence. Given the fact that the strength of AQI is unknown, that our impending withdrawal's impact on that nation is unknown, Obama gave a more than adequate defense of his own view in contrast to the once-dominant neoconservative view (which McCain still holds). I was actually very impressed with Obama's defense of 'without preconditions.' Yet McCain almost trapped him here into a mistake, noting usefully, "Low-level meetings like this already happen all the time." The question becomes, "What impact will Obama's outspoken articulation of such practices do to his own position in negotiation?" That's the weak point. It's clear that he has no sympathy for our enemies. But if they think he does, or that they can take him for a ride, that could be highly problematic. The discussion of Afghanistan was highly useful on both sides. (To this day, you cannot pay me to say that Iraq was a "distraction" from Afghanistan; whether I'd do it at all is another question.) As Obama spoke, I thought, "I can tell he's read the International Crisis Group report on Afghanistan." I was also in agreement with McCain that Petraeus should go fix Afghanistan at his earliest opportunity. If this election turns on the means by which the economy is improved, McCain wins. If it turns simply on the fact that it is bad, Obama wins. Democrats, as usual, are worthless on economics. But as this was a foreign policy debate, I'd say it's 1-0 Obama if you're scoring at home.