I just finished reading the latest edition of Imprimis, a periodical published monthly by Hillsdale College. This month's edition featured a stunning critique of President Bush by Charles R. Kesler, entitled Four More Years
. Mr. Kessler presents about as good of a critique as a non-objectivist could make of the president, both on the prospects of freedom in Iraq and on Bush's domestic policies.
The following are two delicious tidbits, which I can't resist posting here (but definitely read the whole thing, it isn't long):
We can get some idea of how the Founders might have thought about the problem of Iraq or Afghanistan by considering their reaction to the French Revolution. Here was an attempt to create a republican government in a society that was quite different from England or British North America. It was a Catholic monarchy (and the Founders thought the religious difference pertinent) in which the people had no experience in self-government, no habits of self-government – e.g., of electing local sheriffs or town councils or magistrates – such as people in England and in the American colonies had had time out of mind. John Adams, in one of his famous bursts of purple prose, wrote to Thomas Jefferson:
I was as well persuaded in my view that a project of such a government over five and twenty millions people, when four and twenty millions and five hundred thousands of them could neither write nor read, was as unnatural, irrational and impracticable as it would be over the elephants, lions, tigers, panthers, wolves, and bears in the royal menagerie at Versailles.
In other words, extremely unlikely to succeed.
And on the domestic side:
Bush hailed a “new commitment to live out our nation’s promise through civility, courage, compassion and character.” You might call these the four Cs. But missing was the fifth C – the Constitution. I am, of course, aware of Bush’s tax cuts and of his idea of an ownership society. This combines permanently lower taxes with partial privatization of Social Security and reform of education, healthcare and the tort system. In many ways, this is a farsighted agenda that Reagan would have approved. But so far, except for the tax cuts, it is a far away agenda. The only other parts of it that have been enacted are the No Child Left Behind Act and parts of the Faith Based Initiative, both of which are mixed blessings from the perspective of limited government constitutionalism. At present, the administration’s domestic legacy is sizeable increases in discretionary spending and a very expensive new Medicare entitlement for prescription drugs. These are not Reaganesque, to say the least. Admittedly, Reagan’s own record at cutting the size and cost of the federal government was not as glorious as he had wished. But at least he tried.
There definitely are some flaws in this piece, but in essentials it is right on the money, and well worth reading.
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:49 AM