Chuck that map and floor it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"I heard we were gettin' near a cliff, so I chucked my map and floored it!"

Assuming one was hearing the truth, anyone would rightly conclude that, fool that he is, the interlocutor is lucky to be alive.

How much worse is it, then, to hear basically the same thing coming from the mouth of the man invested with the most responsibility for protecting our rights and our lives and, in today's mixed economy, the most power to endanger both.

It happened yesterday, with President Bush boasting yet again that he abandoned his professed "free market principles" in order to save the day:

I readily concede I chucked aside my free-market principles when I was told ... the situation we were facing could be worse than the Great Depression. (But) we've taken extraordinary measures to deal with frozen credit markets (that) have helped thaw the credit market. [minor edits]
I have already elaborated at length on the vital importance of rational principles, and summarized myself thus:
[A] pro-capitalist would know what capitalism is, what it requires (full government protection of individual rights), and why statism and anarchy are inferior, and dangerous to the survival of the people he is sworn to protect. He would know these things because he would rely upon free market principles when thinking about the economy. And he would know that if he doesn't rely on such principles -- if he "abandons" -- them, he will have no way to decide what action is best for the discharge of his office.
In his folksy boast, Bush has -- as usual -- conceded much more than he realizes, as men who attempt to go through life without thinking are wont to do: He has admitted that he never really held "free market principles".

It is telling that Bush chose to make this unwitting confession just before his last week in office. During such times, I imagine one would stress those things about his term of office for which he wants to be remembered.

So be it.

Our Founding Fathers were men of principle and men of action. George W. Bush is not, and he is proud of it. Dropping all historic context, and, in the process, failing to see whom he would be measured against, the fool described himself better by accident than I could have had I wasted a day thinking about it.

Not to embrace Obama's continuation and distillation of your willfully ignorant approach to government and the failed policies that flow directly from it, but here's wishing the door doesn't hit your ass on the way out, Mr. President.

-- CAV


Burgess Laughlin said...

In Ominous Parallels, pp. 143-144, Leonard Peikoff suggests: "If a man is skeptical about the role of philosophy in life, let him put aside the philosophy books . . . and plunge into the sprawling realms of practice. . . . In every area [of the society], let him discover the main developments and then ask: why? In every area, the actors themselves will provide the answer. . . . Predominantly . . . they offer passing references, vague implications, and casual asides . . . ."

You have highlighted and elucidated one such area (politics), one such actor (President Bush), and one such answer (pragmatism)--all with telling effect. Thank you.

In the spring, Study Groups for Objectivists will be examining several chapters in Ominous Parallels: (SGO). I will be moderating the six-week study group.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for the kind words and for the announcement, Burgess.

Kyle Haight said...

De gustibus non disputandum -- loosely translated from Latin, "Never get in an argument with Gus." Nice bitch-slap, and well-deserved.

Gus Van Horn said...

Hah! Love the idiomatic translation, there!

Michael Labeit said...

Bush's public concession regarding abandoning the free-market still won't be enough proof for interventionists like Naomi Klein who believe Bush is a die-hard laissez-faire liberal.

Gus Van Horn said...

Nothing would be enough.

This makes Bush -- and his offer to do more of the "bailout" on his watch -- particularly revolting.

Kyle Haight said...

I've been sitting on that pun for a year and a half, and I finally just had to use it.

There are people out there who would consider Bush a die-hard capitalist even if he stood up on national television and announced he'd been taking a paycheck from Fidel Castro for his entire term of office. Their assessment of Bush is based on emotion -- they feel that he's a capitalist, therefore he is. Facts are irrelevant.

Gus Van Horn said...

It's amazing how much they vilify Bush. He is, after all, the chief architect of Obama's electoral victory.