have proclaimed the president’s State of Union address cosmic, bold,
tough, just the thing, and more. The American press, generally,
has signed on to this reading. The European press seems a bit muted
in response, if slightly critical, but 1) they’ve heard official
U.S. bombast before and 2) they know that these speeches circulate
at a discount. U.S. leaders’ threats to invade the world only mean
that they might invade X or Y, if the mood strikes them.
Pizza, and Presidential Hermeneutics
was just possible to suffer through The Speech. This was due to
the timely intervention of beer and pizza. As for the speech, it
was what one might have expected. Like Gaul, it had roughly three
parts: one pointing with pride at how wonderful America is (presumably
the gift of the regime) and mentioning the "war"; one
calling on Congress to give the administration great heaps of money;
and, seamlessly flowing from the last, one claiming that the sovereign
can and will make us prosperous.
you see? Government spends more money and we are all of us, collectively,
more prosperous. As The Speech dragged on, the pseudo-World War
II theme of sacrifice yielded subtly to the Happy Days Are Here
Again theme, without missing a beat. Guns and butter, simultaneously,
thanks to the secular miracles made manifest by "small government"
Republicans - and global moral jurisdiction. Aren’t you happy you
voted for these people?
is so much in The Speech that could be subjected to rigorous criticism
that it is indeed fortunate that we can discount much of it. The
bottom line is more spending, and with it, more control. This part
we can’t discount. This promise will be kept by the self-serving
hacks and rascals whose party name implies some slight connection
with republican forms of government.
has already referred to the administration’s program as "perpetual
war for perpetual re-election." Certainly, the short list of
prospective new enemies gives those in power room in which to continue
their experiments in reliving the Cold War and other great adventures.
There were a few surprises in the The Speech. I was shocked to learn,
for instance, that two major oceans have disappeared: "America
is no longer protected by vast oceans." Good heavens! Why haven’t
the enviromentalists mentioned this to us?
"axis of evil" figure of speech was very fetching. Mind
you, an axis usually has something to do with some kind of real,
mechanical relationship, and it would hard to show any such relation
between the "rogue states" mentioned as making up the
"axis." But no matter, we will be allowed to see the evidence
in fifty years or so. You can’t expect a U.S. leader to pass up
a ringing axis metaphor when dealing out high moral theory for all
World War Two Theme Park
the supposed existence of an enemy "axis" can only mean
one thing: World War Two is back. For real state-worshippers nothing
less than that will do! Think of it: the Republican equivalent of
dear old Winston (or his double) going on about "blood, sweat,
and tears"; Tom, Dan, and Jim going on about the greatest generation
ever. Price controls! No gasoline for the unwashed masses! War bonds,
war brides, war socialism, war everything. The greatest good of
the greatest number – as defined by the holy state apparatus manned
by the likes of Republican versions of Harry Hopkins, Rexford G.
Tugwell, and the young J. K. Galbraith.
can possibly dissent from bipartisan Social Nationalism, now that
World War Two is back? Actually, it can be done, but apparently
not by Americans. In his interesting book, The
Abolition of Britain, Peter Hitchens – with full frontal
Blimpitude – decries the terrible moment in the late sixties when
it became possible, amidst the creosoted post-imperial malaise and
social-democratic rubble, for Britons to shake off their own defining
moment. It became possible for the Brits to mock World War II. Good
see? They are always ahead of us, those clever Brits. The day Americans
can look at World War II realistically and, yes, with some mockery
and regret, or worse, will be the day we liberate ourselves from
the gospel of the state. Evidently, that day will not come soon.
of Ideology, End of History, End of Republican Falsehoods
has been noted here and there that the Democratic Party (dealing
in stolen goods) does reward its followers, while the Republican
Party (dealing in stolen goods) pretends to defend its voters’ interests
and invariably betrays them. The con has worked up to now because
the lords of the GOP have been careful to allow their Southern and
Western office-seekers to go about proclaiming the Party’s deeply
held faith in individual liberty, limited government, lower taxes,
and economic freedom.
fifty or more years of idle rhetoric and consistent betrayal, a
Republican president has finally given up even the pretense of adhering
to the Party’s alleged values. That is what is new in Mr.
Bush’s speech. A moment of clarity has arrived, if anyone cares
to see it. The Republican Party must be torn down and thrown on
the trash heap of history, if America is to live under freedom.
hasten to add that, as Murray Rothbard pointed out, human action
does not take place in "infinitely small steps." This
is why mathematical modeling is both useless and misleading in economics.
Spotting decisive steps in human events is a matter of historical
questions of whether the Republican Party ever had any real principles
and exactly when those worthy gents finally sold out their
professed ideals may be controversial. The process has been gradual
and continuous. Even so, the Bush speech seems a good symbolic conclusion
to a sorry tale. After all, how much do they have left on which
they can sell out?
it will do little good, I nonetheless call upon all true Americans
to give two years of their lives to not voting for Republican Party
Joseph R. Stromberg [send
him mail] is the JoAnn B. Rothbard Historian in Residence at
the Ludwig von Mises Institute
and a columnist for Antiwar.com.
© 2002 LewRockwell.com
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