Thursday, May 13, 2004


There is a long and wide-ranging essay here which looks at the major influences in modern American conservatism. I am certainly inclined to agree with this: "From the 1950s to the present, libertarianism has been an important and influential - arguably the most influential - stream of thought on the Right, informing both Republican policy making and conservative ideology more generally". He faults libertarianism, however, for not coming to terms with the fact that lots of people seem to WANT big government and says that it is only the neoconservatives who are realistic about that fact. He presents the neoconservatives as being the practical, pragmatic dealers in political reality. He does definitely have a point but I would argue that no libertarian is unaware of how difficult it is to implement any part of a libertarian agenda and that ALL conservatives compromise with the possible. The difference is that the libertarians have the clearest vision of the direction in which they want to head -- and the best evidence that their ideas work for the general betterment.

There is another good review out of In Denial by Haynes & Klehr: Glenn Garvin opens his rather amusing comments on the ineptitude and dishonesty of America's many pro-Communist historians and other academics as follows: "In 1983 the Indiana University historian Robert F. Byrnes collected essays from 35 experts on the Soviet Union -- the cream of American academia -- in a book titled After Brezhnev. Their conclusion: Any U.S. thought of winning the Cold War was a pipe dream. "The Soviet Union is going to remain a stable state, with a very stable, conservative, immobile government," Byrnes said in an interview, summing up the book. "We don't see any collapse or weakening of the Soviet system." Barely six years later, the Soviet empire began falling apart."

To be Australian is to believe in the `fair go', even if it is not always clear what this means in practice.... examples suggest that the `fair go' in 19th century Australia was largely associated with a set of ethical principles which today we would recognise as `meritocratic'. The belief was not that everybody should end up with the same shares (egalitarianism), but was rather that everybody should get the opportunity to compete and thereby to improve themselves.... In August 2003, AC Nielsen carried out a survey of public opinion ... there was very strong (85%) public support for a meritocratic definition of fairness"

"One of the great goals of education is to initiate the young into the conversation of their ancestors -- to enable them to understand the language of that conversation, in all its subtlety, and maybe even, in their maturity, to add to it some wisdom of their own. The modern American educational system no longer teaches us the political language of our ancestors. In fact our schooling helps widen the gulf of time between our ancestors and ourselves, because much of what we are taught in the name of civics, political science or American history is really modern liberal propaganda.

Sowell: "Nowhere have whole peoples seen their situation reversed more visibly or more painfully than the peoples of the Islamic world... Why do they hate us? Maybe it is because the alternative to hating us is to hate themselves".


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