Summary: putting recent events in a historical context.
Many conservatives describe the health care bill in almost apocalyptic terms, a slippery slope on steroids (much as leftists do with climate change). Hat tip on the following quotations to Brad Delong.
- Mark Steyn, “Happy Dependence Day“, National Review Online: “Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon. Must try to look on the bright side . . .”
- Michael Steele, “The End Of Representative Government“, TPM: “Today, America witnessed the first vote for the end of representative government.”
- Megan McArdle, “Life Under RomneyCare“, blog of The Atlantic: “Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority?”
- And John Derbyshire, Calm Despair“, National Review Online, giving the inevitable “western civilization as a sinking ship” metaphor.
From Gordon R. Dickson’s book Necromancer:
This has been a transition period in history. It’s been a time of stress and strain, and in such times things tend to become dramatic. Actually, each generation likes to think of itself as the pivot point in history, that in its time the great decision is made which puts man either on the true road or the false. But things aren’t really that serious. The way of mankind is too massive to be kinked, suddenly; it only changes direction in a long and gradual bend over many generations.
The people writing these things seek to arouse fear. Panicked sheep are easily controlled. Let’s disappoint them.
We face nothing worse than previous generations of Americans. We face nothing that cannot be handled by calm debate, careful evaluation of our problems and options, boldness only when necessary (but not waffling on those occasions), awareness that we’re all in this together, and that it’s a long game.
Conservatives, or some of them, have begun to think about their time in power. Their role in American history. And their role in America’s future. These are just the first small steps in the long road back to winning back the confidence of the American people.
- “Intellectuals“, Thomas Sowell, National Review Online, 11 November 2008 — “Ignorance has consequences.”
- “Eight Wasted Years“, John Derbyshire, National Review Online, 5 November 2008 — “And the ratchet slips free.”
- “The Death of the American Idea“, Mark Steyn, National Review Online, 8 November 2008 — “An electorate living high off the entitlement hog.”
(1) “‘Intellectuals“, Thomas Sowell, National Review Online, 11 November 2008 — “Ignorance has consequences.” Excerpt:
Perhaps Derbyshire has been reading the discussion in the comments on the FM series about reforming America. He nicely expresses what I have said about our dreams of saving the world.
“The Election From Hell“, John Derbyshire, National Review Online, 25 August 2008 — Bold emphasis added. Excerpt:
How quickly time passes! It has been a mere year and a half since the first candidate debates, and the party conventions are upon us already. Next week, the Democratic-party convention in Denver — “Most Diverse in Party History” boasts the website. The following week, the Republicans in Minneapolis-St. Paul — “Twin Cities Promise Double Fun for GOP.”
Fun? Melancholy spectacles both, in this writer’s opinion, for this is the most disastrously awful choice Americans have ever been offered for the post of chief executive.
… That these two men are much worse than I thought only became apparent to me at the Saddleback interviews conducted by Baptist minister Rick Warren in front of 5,000 of his parishioners. Here the truth came out. These are not merely two different specimens of mediocrity, as is usual in presidential campaigns; they are two different specimens of love-the-world romantic fantasist.
Perhaps there is at least – I am clutching at straws, dear reader – some tiny element of choice in the fact that McCain and Obama are methodologically different in their desires to spend as much of America’s resources as they can get their hands on to lift up foreign peoples in foreign places. In accordance with their youthful experiences, McCain sees the task in warlike terms: “evil must be defeated.” To Obama it’s more a matter of community organizing: “building public health infrastructure around the world.”