Thursday, May 29, 2014

We need old leadership!

"We need new leadership!" Has been the desperate cry from the right for the better part of the past 6 years, and, save for perhaps a rallying moment or two following 9/11/2001, was the left's lamentation of the previous eight.

I don't know about you, but I would never have asked, nor expected, Barak Obama to lead me anywhere. The same goes for George W. Bush, his father, his brother, Bill Clinton, his wife, Jimmy Carter or any politician past, present, dead or alive.

Some of my hard core conservative friends attribute way too much leadership capacity to President Obama. One told me the other day that everything is unfolding in America precisely the way Obama designed from the day he was sworn in. Another recently explained to me how a Marxist society would be created, and then described, step by step, how the President is leading us down that path. At the risk of losing a couple of subscribers, I say hogwash! All I see is a young man, in way over a head that houses a monster-sized ego (which, by the way, is a prerequisite to public office), who responds as best he can to political winds. Whose personal history engenders in him a strong left bent. And big left-bending egos thrive on big government.

As for his immediate predecessor: I must say, for me, the only thing worse than a "progressive" promoting bigger government, is a "conservative" doing the same. At least the "progressive" tells you straight up that he aims to grow the government's reach (although he fails to add the resulting shrink your liberty part). When a "conservative" tells you he's all about shrinking government and expanding liberty, then tells you that he has "abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system", well, if you could only see how hard I'm pounding my keyboard at this moment!!

Yes, we do need leadership, there's no question. But not leadership in a sense that we allow someone else to dictate our dos and don'ts. Not the sort of leadership that would abandon logic and attempt to avert the necessary, and creative, destruction that occurs naturally in a free-market. We need not, in essence, subject ourselves to the paternalistic directives of politicians steeped in ideology, and possessed by personal political ambitions.

What we need is the style of leadership that founded this great nation. No, I'm not referring to the qualities of the framers of the constitution. I'm talking about our ancestors who, as individuals, led themselves to these shores. Men and women following their own compasses to a land where they would be left entirely to their own devices. With no expectation that some great all-knowing leader would be there to welcome, shelter, protect and direct them. Our ancestors, knowing the price of failure, courageously lead themselves and, consequently, this nation, to prosperity. And we utterly fail them when we look outside ourselves to some person, or some institution, to shelter, protect and direct us.

Don Boudreaux calls last week's opinion piece by George Will "a masterpiece". I second that! Will presents how his ideal Presidential candidate would announce his candidacy (alas, pure fantasy of course).

Here's a snippet:
“To another inane question, ‘How will you create jobs?,’ my answer will be: ‘I won’t.’ Other than by doing whatever the chief executive can to reduce the regulatory state’s impediments to industriousness. I will administer no major economic regulations — those with $100 million economic impacts — that Congress has not voted on. Legislators should be explicitly complicit in burdens they mandate.

Here's another:
“In a radio address to the nation, President Franklin Roosevelt urged Americans to tell him their troubles. Please do not tell me yours. Tell them to your spouse, friends, clergy — not to a politician who is far away, who doesn’t know you and whose job description does not include Empathizer in Chief. ‘I feel your pain,’ Bill Clinton vowed. I won’t insult your intelligence by similarly pretending to feel yours.

“A congenial society is one in which most people most of the time, and all politicians almost all of the time, say, when asked about almost everything: ‘This is none of my business.’ If as president I am asked what I think about the death of a rock star, or the imbecilic opinions of rich blowhards who own professional sports teams, I will say: ‘Americans should have no interest in my thoughts about such things, if I had any.’ I will try not to come to the attention of any television camera more than once a week, and only that often if I am convinced that I can speak without violating what will be my administration’s motto: ‘Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence.’

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