Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's the Philosophy Stupid!

Before I begin let me apologize. My rhetoric yesterday towards the President elect may have been a bit harsh. Certainly I wish him well, as I do for us all. His past associations are frightening, but every sinner has a future, and I hope his future and ours will be bright.

Sarah Palin has been criticized by the left, and although I think it was over the top, slanderous in some cases and bogus in others, I expected it from the opposition. However critics like Peggy Noonan, George Will, and David Brooks (and others) are different. They are supposed to be on our team. If they were correct in what they said, it would be forgivable. In fact it might even have been constructive. However the attacks (criticism is far too mild a word) were unfounded, wrong and showed a complete blindness as to what makes a great leader.

The correct experience and preparation for any politician seeking the presidency does not exist. Most of our greatest leaders had little experience and even less knowledge of the job. What the great ones did have was sound character, a solid philosophical grounding, and the willingness to make decisions based on the those principles, doing it boldly without fear of contradiction.

No matter what choices a president makes, there will be critics. Ultimately, he must depend on himself. He need not know who the president of Kazakhstan is, or for that matter France. He must however know that capitalism, although imperfect, works. It permits maximum freedoms, and produces the maximum goods and services. It provides the best health care, the best lifestyle, and the best of everything to whomever faithfully follows its dictates. Leaders must not be tempted by the siren song of socialism, no matter how loudly the media and academia preach its virtues. They make it sound like nirvana, but a great leader must know a priori, socialism corrupts. It is a cancer on our freedoms and our productive capabilities. That leader must not worship at the alter of public opinion, but have the convictions to stand strong when enemies mass at his front, and they will. He must resist the temptation to yield ground because capitalism, like democracy, like any system, is less than perfect. In politics the imperfect becomes the enemy of the good, because it gives pretenders a weapon. They point to singular failures (not systemic ones), taking the spotlight away from the overall good the system they are attacking does, and they can ignore the far worse system they advocate.

Which of the four presidential and vice presidential candidates has these characteristics? Obama is saddled with no experience and all the wrong ideas. Biden has decades of experience, all of which taught him self aggrandizement, bloviating, and to never say anything of substance. Add to that he comes down on the wrong side of every issue, and it is clear there are few people on the planet less qualified. McCain has fine character, decades of experience, he lacks Biden's pompousness, but he is not a very thoughtful man. He is all over the map philosophically, giving support to several tragically wrong ideas.

Then there is Sarah. She has very little experience, but during her time in office she demonstrated she is on the right side of every issue, and equally important she held her ground in some very tough turf battles. She is principled in a way that many people wouldn't even understand. The thing that allowed her to make so many right decisions was her application of common sense free market principles. Academics are so often blind because they focus on a few trees, never seeing the size and shape of the forest. It really is the sign of a genius to make a complicated thing simple. When Lincoln decided to keep our country in tact and free the slaves, he didn't use linear equations. What he did use was his common sense, character and fortitude, sticking with it no matter how tough things became. It may be inconclusive, but everything Sarah has done in her short career indicates she has the requisite philosophy, common sense, character and toughness to lead.

Reagan said Republicans need bold colors, not pastels. He demonstrated that the principled is also the political. Act in a principled way and political benefits accrue. The press attacked him relentlessly, calling him stupid (as they do all conservatives), dangerous (all conservatives), and disengaged (all conservatives). Yet he won elections in landslides and today is much loved, even by many who opposed him. Who is more like Reagan than Sarah Palin? She understands and advocates for the goodness and the absolute need for capitalism, individual responsibility, less government, free trade, a strong defense, the sanctity of life, and free enterprise in schools, public utilities, energy and health care. Can anyone out there imagine Sarah Palin supporting a nonsensical unscientific theory like man made global warming? She is clear in her thinking, and willing to articulate it without apology.

Nothing listed above relates to experience. It all relates to an individuals philosophy and character, and that is all that is important. Although I only know Sarah Palin from what I read in the newspapers, all the evidence I have is that her character and philosophy could not be better grounded. As to her three conservative critics listed above (along with many others), they owe this emerging leader of our movement a very humble apology.

1 comment:

coop said...

great stuff--almost convincing--but you will never convince me that she has the right stuff to be president==oh, and i do think knowing who the president of France is should be a requirement to run for national office :). If the Republicans nominate her in 2012 be ready for anohter four years.
Great chatting with you tonight and i look foward to hanging with you more.