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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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Interesting news is coming furiously since the election and I just can't muster enough wherewithal to write whole entries about it. So here's another barf:

  • So Obama's plans for enlisting teenagers and college students into national service morphed from "require" to a "setting a goal" after a few hours of bad publicity. I saw this on Friday too and was aghast at the thought, but it was something that both Obama and McCain had campaigned on all along. I don't understand the furor and I was glad that he was finally coming clean about "expecting you to work." Does this mean that he'll be the panderer everyone right of him hoped he'd be? I had considered him to be a closet Marxist given the company he kept, the statements he casually dropped, and the path by which he had risen. This incident plus the hint that he's going to pull from the Clinton dugout for his Cabinet makes me hopeful, but not too much so.
  • The encomiums continue as writers gush over the ascendance. I love how they delude themselves into thinking that he's writing these speeches himself. And I'm sure they're off the cuff. And those teleprompters are there just in case he gets distracted by a flash of inspiration. Bush is routinely accused of being anti-intellectual, but who looks to the president for inspiration or validation? Oh, collectivist writers.
  • Earlier I linked to an inspiring call to action by Representative Jeff Flake the day after the election. It was clear to me during the entire campaign (and really during the whole Bush administration) that the GOP had strayed far from its Goldwater days. Back then, it was a party in favor of limited government and individual freedom. (For the most part, that is, because there was a sizable states' rights faction that fought desegregation. Goldwater wasn't a part of that at all.) The neoconservative movement had systematically taken over the Republican Party, reorienting it towards big government. I had (and have) high hopes that this defeat will bring about a shift or retrenchment away from the neocon philosophy. There are now a lot of voices joining Flake's in calling for a refocusing and a return.

    But I worry that Republicans might get the wrong lesson from this election. I worried that they might conclude that they weren't religious enough (Pence, I retract my earlier praise), that McCain was too moderate, or that they should veer left to get back in power. Reading this conservative post-mortem, only Richard A. Viguerie nailed the proper conclusion. We must take back the GOP and put it on a principled footing of individual rights and limited government. Only then can the voters make a valid choice between two opposing viewpoints.

  • One of the oft-repeated canards of this election cycle is that voter turnout was unprecedented. The story goes that Obama is such a charismatic and inspiring leader that he aroused the average apathetic American out of electoral slumber. More people voted, but the turnout was about the same. It appears that the average apathetic American was just as apathetic—rightly so, given the contest between Socialism and Socialism Light—as ever, but the average Democrat was much more involved. And the youth really came through for Obama. This alarms me somewhat, but I think their expectations are so high that they're in for a rude awakening. There's already been some move to cushion the fall for when Obama Claus can't deliver.
  • I don't know whether to laugh or to cry about Al Gore's recent editorials. On the one hand, I'm heartened by his need to disguise his eco-fascism as "capitalism." That suggests that he thinks he couldn't get away with baring his teeth openly. On the other, the prescription he lays out for making capitalism "sustainable" is so nakedly anti-capitalistic that I can't believe anyone would be snookered by it. Yet surely they must be. "100% carbon-free electricity within 10 years" WTF? HFS! "At this moment, we are faced with the convergence of three interrelated crises: economic recession, energy insecurity and the overarching climate crisis. Solving any one of these challenges requires addressing all three." Solving any of these "problems" will require massive dislocations, inconceivable expenditures, and unprecedented government interventions. None of these "crises" are legitimate: the bugaboo is but a dodge to distract while the statists expand their power. Taken together, it's of a piece with 9/11 and the rise of Homeland Security—fear overcomes many people's natural aversion to government intrusion.
  • This cartoon illustrates one of the things that Americans just don't understand about immigration: it is almost impossible to do it legally. Yet hundreds of thousands do every year and a decent percentage of them go on to become American citizens. Freedom isn't something that depends on where you popped out of the uterus; it is inherent in our humanity. If people want to come to America, then we should welcome them so long as they are not contagious or criminal. It worked—for the most part—the first hundred and fifty years so why not re-open our borders?