Monday, April 27, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Left to ourselves"


a world without a belief in politicians?
America has been different. Just ask any tax collector, as I have. People historically obeyed the law, perhaps because it was theirs. Kinuachdrach's road warriors were a special case. Americans have traditionally been less devoted to conformist procedure than the English middle class, whether in queuing or in deportment. That is probably changing across the pond as yob culture spreads. We are however still far more self disciplined on average than most foreigners when it comes to acceding to procedures designed to avoid taking unfairly from others. That is to say that for all the Jacksonian rhetoric about being a nation of common men Americans tend to be polite. Compare their compliance with that of a group of Russians who turn into a pushing mob whenever there is no one with a weapon around or the Italians who appear to be mystified by the concept of almost universal voluntary tax compliance that has prevailed in the US.

It is a mark of the Protestant heritage that being self supporting was seen as a mark of a good citizen and an attribute of a courteous gentleman. One of my better lessons on the rise of Capitalism included me admonishing the class to look in the mirror every evening and ask if they had created more wealth than they had consumed.

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JMH,
I’ve as little sympathy for dissapointed Obama Voters as I do for Madoff’s victims
Most of Madoff's victims weren't the lazy and arrogant plutocrats who he glad handed at a country club. They include the groundkeepers at the Botanical Garden, the animals at the Zoo, the scholarship students at colleges, and people with any connection to a web of charities including many that had no funds with him but now face no support from vanished donors and a government that will devote a shrunken pot only to special interest groups. His victims include the people who had never heard of Madoff and who had their funds sent to him by other supposedly reputable managers. I have far more sympathy for Madoff's victims than I do for the disappointed Obama supporters.

The deep stain of bigotry that underlay most of the support for Obama must be confronted. When Colin Powell turned on John McCain he should have been called out and pounded. The most galling thing is that it was simply accepted that flagrant racism in support of Obama would have to be accepted. Why, because challenging it would have displeased the New York Times?

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