Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Can't Do Society

Excerpts from Victor Davis Hanson below. There is much truth in what he says but I disagree with his use of "We". Why should Americans in general and conservatives in particular take the blame for what Leftists have wrought?

We have become a nation of second-guessing Hamlets. Shakespeare warned us about the dangers of "thinking too precisely." His poor Danish prince lost "the name of action," as he dithered and sighed that "conscience does make cowards of us all."

With gas over $4 a gallon, the public is finally waking up to the fact that for decades the United States has not been developing known petroleum reserves in Alaska, in our coastal waters or off the continental shelf. Jittery Hamlets apparently forgot that gas comes from oil -- and that before you can fill your tank, you must take risks to fill a tanker......

We are nearing the seventh anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center. Its replacement -- the Freedom Tower -- should have been a sign of our determination and grit right after September 11. But it is only now reaching street level. Owners, renters, builders and government have all fought endlessly over the design, the cost and the liability.

In contrast, in the midst of the Great Depression, our far poorer grandparents built the Empire State Building in 410 days -- not a perfect design, but one good enough to withstand a fuel-laden World War II-era bomber that once crashed into it.

Despite unsophisticated 19th-century architectural and engineering science, not to mention legions of snooty French art critics, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was finished in a little over two years and is as popular as ever well over a century later.

In my home state of California, we spent a decade arguing over the replacement for portions of the aging and earthquake-susceptible San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Now that the design has finally been agreed to, it will be several years before it is finished. That's quite a contrast to the original bridge that was completed in just over three years.

California is also in yet another predictable drought and ensuing water shortage. Despite strict conservation and new water-saving technology, we simply don't have enough water for households, recreation, industry and agriculture. Building new dams, reservoirs and canals, you see, would apparently be considered unimaginative and relics of the 20th century.

The causes of this paralysis are clear. Action entails risks and consequences. Mere thinking doesn't. In our litigious society, as soon as someone finally does something, someone else can become wealthy by finding some fault in it. Meanwhile a less fussy, more confident world abroad drills, and builds nuclear plants, refineries, dams and canals to feed and fuel millions who want what we take for granted. In our present comfort, Americans don't seem to understand nature. We believe that our climate-controlled homes, comfortable offices and easy air and car travel are just like grass or trees; apparently they should sprout up on their own for our benefit.

Americans also harp about the faults of prior generations. We would never make their blunders -- even as we don't seem to mind using the power plants, bridges and buildings that they handed down to us.

Finally, high technology and the good life have turned us into utopians, fussy perfectionists who demand heaven on earth. Anytime a sound proposal seems short of perfect, we consider it not good, rather than good enough. Hamlet asked, "To be, or not to be: that is the question." In our growing shortages of infrastructure, food, fuel and water, we've already answered that: "Not to be!"

More here



Three in four likely voters - 74 percent - support offshore drilling for oil in U.S. coastal waters and more than half (59 percent) also favor drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.

A majority of likely voters across the political spectrum support offshore oil drilling, with vast majorities of Republicans (90 percent) and independents (75 percent) in favor of drilling for oil off U.S. coastal waters more than half of Democrats (58 percent) also said they favor offshore drilling. Republicans (80 percent) and political independents (57 percent) are much more likely to favor drilling for oil in ANWR than Democrats (40 percent).

The telephone survey of 1,113 likely voters nationwide was conducted June 12-14, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points

More here



Apes are human in Spain: "Spain is to become the first country to extend legal rights to apes, wrongfooting animal rights activists who have long campaigned against bullfighting in the country. In what is thought to be the first time a national legislature has granted such rights to animals, the Spanish parliament's environmental committee voted to approve resolutions committing the country to the Great Apes Project, designed by scientists and philosophers who say that humans' closest biological relatives also deserve rights. The resolution, adopted with crossparty support, calls on the Government to promote the Great Apes Project internationally and ensure the protection of apes from "abuse, torture and death". [No naughty comments about Hispanics now!]

Hong Kong cuts a tax : "For all their own policy foibles, Hong Kongers still understand one thing that sometimes eludes American pols: Tax cuts stimulate the economy. Witness Financial Secretary John Tsang's speech yesterday recapping the benefits of the territory's elimination of its 40% wine duty. The February measure has instantly made Hong Kong an Asian wine hub. An auction last month fetched HK$64 million ($8.2 million), an Asian record, on the heels of an auction in April that brought HK$11.5 million. The government's investment promotion agency says five wine-related companies, including dealers and storage companies, are considering opening Hong Kong offices. All of this creates jobs - perhaps only in the dozens so far, but industry insiders expect that number to grow over time."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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