|Do Recent Events Show the World Is Falling Apart, or Reaffirm Timeless Principles?|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, August 11 2011
To some people, recent events suggest that the world as we know it is falling apart.
But think of it another way. Paradoxically, today’s events simply reaffirm timeless principles. Moreover, they reassure us that recommitment to those principles offers a remedy.
Consider: The nation’s credit rating just declined for the first time in history. The floor suddenly dropped from stock markets. Unrestrained rioters terrorized England and set it aflame. Moammar Gadhaffi remains in power, months after President Obama promised that the Libyan military effort would be measured in “days, not weeks.”
Can anyone truly consider these events surprising, given the public policies that led to them? Only if one dismisses the laws of economics, morality, physics and human nature.
Take the Standard & Poor’s credit downgrade. In January 2009, the Obama Administration assumed power and responded to a pronounced but not unprecedented economic downturn with neo-socialist lunacy. Recall Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel declaring that they would not “let a crisis go to waste.” Thereafter, under the artifice of “stimulus,” Obama and his enthusiastic accomplices Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and a filibuster-proof Democrat Congressional supermajority unleashed an unprecedented deficit spending binge. ObamaCare and a regulatory onslaught also ensued, wreaking havoc on America’s employers and entrepreneurs.
Conservatives knew then what would follow.
After all, within Obama’s own living memory, Ronald Reagan’s supply-side economic policies had rendered Keynesian economics obsolete. Unemployment, interest rates and inflation were all higher in the early 1980s than during the peaks of the most recent recession, but we vanquished them through Reagan’s policy of lower taxes and less government. Yet Obama considered himself transcendent, and disregarded the simple lessons of very recent history. We were already on a slow path to bankruptcy, but Obama stepped on the Keynesian accelerator instead of the brakes. Obama promised the nation in February 2009, “Today I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term.” Well, the 2008 deficit was $458 billion. Today it is $1.6 trillion.
The Obama-Pelosi-Reid effort to turn America into a European welfare state set up a crisis, and the S & P downgrade arrived less than three years later.
Or consider the London riots. When a government’s raison d'être becomes distributing welfare checks and assuaging social grievances rather than law and order, and a society loses its self-confidence, chaos is a predictable byproduct. Anne Jolis of The Wall Street Journal offered this revealing quote from one British victim: “Everything we pay here – taxes, rates, rents – it’s all so expensive. And we can’t even get the police when there are people robbing our shop.” With such high levels of taxation, one would think that government would fulfill its most basic function of preserving the peace.
But pathetically, British Home Secretary Theresa May offered a message of weakness, not a commitment to order, when she said, “The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon, the way we police in Britain is through consent of the communities.” Ms. Jolis observed the inevitable result of that official policy of weakness:
“People protested, and then some people went and burned down a police car. And the police did nothing. They burned down more police cars, they burned down a bus, they burned down a building – and the police did nothing. They needed to respond. Instead the police retreated in Tottenham. So this, whatever you call it, it started as something against the police. The police did not show the strength to push back, and it spread. And that is why I’m out here now like a security guard.”
Meanwhile in Libya, Moammar Gadhaffi taunts allied forces while the story fades from the news. So much for the Obama Administration’s campaign to “lead from behind.”
Fortunately, there are also signs of hope, signs that Americans will not slouch into irreversible decline. Last November, voters took stock of the Obama Agenda and rejected it in historic manner. And just this week, Wisconsin voters disdained the latest Big Labor and liberal money blitz by rejecting the attempt to recall Wisconsin legislators who finally brought fiscal reform to that state. That came mere weeks after rejecting a similar attempt to unseat Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.
Nationally, public approval of Obama has plummeted to new lows, suggesting recognition and repudiation of his failed policies.
So there is reason for optimism. We have overcome crises far worse throughout our nation’s history. Moreover, the American electorate will have the opportunity one year from now to choose between the liberal agenda of decline and despair, or the conservative agenda of thrift, freedom and strength.
To be sure, no person should welcome the human adversity that is a byproduct of recent events. But they are natural consequences of self-evidently foolish public policy, and the absence of consequences would perversely suggest that the laws of economics and human nature had dissipated into chaos.
That would be truly distressing.
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