Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: FrontPage.Com, History, Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:10 am

I have an article up at David Horowitz’s FrontPage.com this morning in which I lay out the case against “comprehensive reform” of just about anything.

A sample:

It doesn’t matter what putative tasks that government wants to assign for itself, anytime that Congress comprehensively tries to address a supposed injustice, or take on a big problem, it is a given that government will carve out a role greater than it had previous to the reform. It is a sure means of growing the size of the federal behemoth. Unintended consequences notwithstanding, you can take that to your federally run bank and cash it.


Prudence as a civic virtue has disappeared from public life. It’s just not the style in these days of massive, nation-changing legislation and a president with one eye on the polls and the other on the history books. One of Cicero’s Four Cardinal Virtues, prudence, he wrote, “is the knowledge of what is good, what is bad, and what is neutral.” Russell Kirk believed that prudence was one of the ten most important conservative principles, saying, “[a]ny public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity.” It would seem that both classical and contemporary philosophers had a better handle on what the liberals are doing than Republicans in Congress.

In an age where anything is justified in the cause of “social justice,” or advancing “positive rights,” the Left’s massive attempts at “comprehensive” reform are unsettling society, discarding America’s first principles, and uncoupling citizens from the traditions that have been lovingly and courageously handed down by our ancestors at great cost in blood and treasure. It is being done without so much as a sniff in the direction of continuity in government, as Democrats seek to shatter convention and substitute an alien philosophy that alters society in ways that most of those who voted for “change” in 2008 could never have dreamed. What is really needed in America today is not comprehensive reform but a comprehensive cleaning of our House – and the Senate.

When was our last truly “prudent” president? A case could be made that George Bush #41 was mostly a prudent leader, although some conservatives would argue that his policies provoked exactly the kind of “unintended consequences” that would brand his presidency as imprudent.

Ronald Reagan’s massive tax cuts were a boon to the economy but also unhinged the budget for a generation - a consequence we are still dealing with today. An argument could be made that it is the fault of Congress for not cutting the budget sufficiently, but there were plenty of conservatives who warned Reagan - Howard Baker among them - that Congress would never be able to cut the budget enough to balance outlays.

The flurry of government activity initiated by the Nixon-Ford-Carter triumvirate, with an alphabet soup of government agencies created or expanded would leave all three of those presidents off the list of “prudent” leaders.

I think we have to go all the way back to Eisenhower to find the last truly prudent American president. Both in foreign and domestic affairs, Eisenhower’s stewardship reflected his basic outlook as both a military commander - where prudence is a necessity - and his governing philosophy, where he believed doing the least was doing the best.

Barack Obama is giving LBJ a run for his money as far as being the most imprudent, reckless president of the 20th century. But he still has a way to go in that regard. Both men’s imprudence flowed from a serene, almost frightening confidence in their own abilities to manage the federal behemoth. They both have been blinded by their own arrogance to the point that they thought they could ignore any consequences flowing from their transformative policies, believing in the basic moral rightness of their cause.

Such hubris is always rewarded with the most damaging of unintended consequences. In Johnson’s case, the destruction of the inner cities, the black family structure, and the creation of a dependent underclass all flowed from his Great Society.

In Obama’s case, we can only dimly see how his massive intrusions in the private sector and threats to individual liberty will play out. Until then, we will have to award the title of “Least Prudent President of the 20th Century” to LBJ.

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    Pingback by Tweets that mention Right Wing Nut House » THE ROAD TO BIG GOVERNMENT -- Topsy.com — 5/4/2010 @ 2:15 pm

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