Mr. Tucker‘s historical analysis is well-researched, objective and informative, his prose lucid and succinct. One comes away from this book with a newfound appreciation for the period and the lessons it holds for the current day. And with genuine admiration for Calvin Coolidge and John W. Davis, principled men of exceptional character whose formative years and formidable accomplishments are deftly capsuled.
As Tucker details conclusively, both men [presidential candidates Calvin Coolidge and John W. Davis] were bedrock conservatives,
with deeply held convictions. Tucker briefly describes the post-bellum
United States (1865-1900) as one of unbridled conservative philosophy.
It heralded the unparalleled blooming of the most prosperous, powerful,
dynamic and self-confident nation in modern world history as the US
adhered faithfully to the laissez-faire, individual freedom, limited
government model laid down by the Founders. Tucker explains how it was
the young Republican Party that motivated and steered this development;
he points out that in that era, the Democrats elected only one
president, Grover Cleveland, and he was as conservative as any
Republican of the time.
This is the kind of a book only a capitalist and practitioner of the American dream could write. Tucker longs for a return to those days when individual freedom allowed for the creation of personal wealth and American business thrived in an atmosphere of low taxes. Wistfully, he quotes Coolidge: "I want taxes to be less, that the people may have more."
Wouldn’t it behoove us to learn from this history? And if the pursuit of “progressive” policies to address a subsequent recession produced prolonged stagnation — which also happened — wouldn’t we benefit from knowing that as well?
Happily a very readable new book brings this history into focus in a fashion that should inform our thinking about issues that have challenged our nation before, and challenge it still.
Regular readers in this forum might remember occasional references to a conversation with Max Borders of the Free to Choose Network about the false metaphor that society is a machine to be "fixed" or "adjusted."
Borders revisits the topic in his latest Ideas Matter update:
If you had any doubts that the machine metaphor is pervasive in technocratic language about economics and society, consider:
* A CNN headline reads: "Obama's priority: Fixing the economy."
* Paul Krugman says that what's interesting about the Bush Administration "is that there's no sign that anybody's actually thinking about 'well, how do we run this economy?'"
* Mark Ames of The Nation thinks hiring Larry Summers "to fix the economy makes as much sense as..."
And, of course, my favorite is Paul Krugman (again) say that the draw of economics for him was: “the beauty of pushing a button to solve problems.” Wow. What hubris.
This sort of simplistic, reductionist economic thinking will plague us for some time until we find new metaphors. My favorite is economy as ecosystem.
Here is the lame joke of the week from Click and Clack, the tappet brothers, at NPR's Car Talk.
A bird hunter appears in court for having shot a pelican. The judge, shaking his head says, "Son, what were you thinking? Surely you know that pelicans are a protected species!"
To which the man replies "Well, Your Honor sir, I've been out of work for months, about to lose my home, and my family was hungry.”
The judge ponders this a moment, then says, "Well, the law says you should be in jail, or at least given a steep fine. But under such circumstances, I 'm letting you off with just a warning. Don't EVER let me see you in my courtroom again.”
The offender thanks the judge profusely and begins to walk away, when the judge asks, “What does pelican taste like?"
The man replies, "Well, sir, it's kind of like a cross between a Bald Eagle and a California Condor."
Senate Judiciary II Committee debated HB 2: Protect Health Care Freedom this morning.
At the beginning of the meeting it was explained that the bill is in the Judiciary Committee and not the Health Care Committee because it is a legal issue. The Federal Affordable Health Care Act that was passed infringes on the rights of patients- their right to choose to have health insurance.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Stam introduced the bill and explained the two purposes of the bill. First to put NC on the side of the other 27 states which have signed onto Florida’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal bill and then to protect free citizens from being forced to have health insurance. Stam asked the Senators as they voted on the bill to consider if they were children or citizens?
Questions that arose in the Committee were many of the same ones that had been addressed on the House floor last week when the House voted on the measure, including the role and support of the Attorney General. Stam assured the members that the AG will abide by his oath of office and will argue the case if HB 2 passes.
The fiscal note was also addressed and it was pointed out that the cost to NC would be minimal if HB 2 passes and NC joins the lawsuit with Florida. All that is required of NC to join is mailing a letter- Stam said he would pay for the stamp and even write the letter if the AG wanted. Florida is not requiring any cost sharing from the others states that have and will join the suit. If another state wants to contribute they can but only up to $5,000.
The committee did not vote on the bill but are hoping to at the next meeting.
Columbia University law professor Philip Hamburger writes here about the lack of legal authority for the president or his executive branch minions to grant waivers from statutes.
Kings could grant favored subjects waivers from laws, but we're supposed to be a republic, not a monarchy. Too bad Bill O'Reilly didn't ask Obama where he finds the constitutional authority to decide which citizens do not have to obey laws.
Those who just can't stand it that a federal judge has declared Obamacare to be unconstitutional have taken to name-calling. Judge Vinson is a "judicial activist" and that's really, really bad! Judges are supposed to find ways of supporting all legislation that expands the power of the government, not to wallow in their personal preferences for outmoded wording in the Constitution.
Thomas Sowell comments here on this effort at shifting the debate away from the constitutional defects in the federalization of health care and to the alleged evils of Judge Vinson.
Greedy businessmen seeking profits care nothing about environmental protection, right? That’s the conventional wisdom.
But Jonathan Adler, director of Case Western Reserve University law school’s Center for Business Law and Regulation, challenges that story line. Adler offered an alternative view Monday evening during a presentation for Campbell University’s Politics, Law, and Economics Lecture Series.
Sara Burrows' latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive focuses on the Electoral Freedom Act, legislation designed to ease North Carolina's ballot restrictions for third parties and unaffiliated candidates.
John Hood's Daily Journal calls North Carolina's current budget debate boring, then explains why.