- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gates plan?

“Microsoft founder Bill Gates used the occasion of his Harvard commencement speech [last month] to expound on the new philanthropic phase of his life’s work. In doing so, he referenced a commencement address given at that same school 60 years earlier, a speech in which Gen. George Marshall discussed his plan for the rebirth of war-torn Europe.

“The consensus view is that the ‘Marshall Plan’ was the catalyst for Europe’s economic revival after World War II. Today, that plan has taken on an almost generic quality, as it is used to describe high-toned schemes meant to tackle big problems — such as Gates‘ philanthropic venture. …

“The lesson to take from Japan and Western Europe’s postwar economic revival is that tax cuts and stable money, rather than financial aid, are the certain cures for economic devastation. Simple financial aid … has yet to prove its effectiveness.”

John Tamny, writing on “Gates’s Marshall Plan Falls Short,” June 25 at NationalReview.com

Risk, not crisis

“Global warming is a manageable risk, not an existential crisis, and we should get on with the job of managing it. Conservatives should propose policies that are appropriately optimistic, science-based and low-cost. This should be an attractive political program: It is an often-caricatured, but very healthy, reality that Americans usually respond well to the conversion of political issues into technical problems. After all, we’re very good at solving the latter.

“It sometimes feels as if there is unstoppable momentum behind a quasi-messianic program of aggressive emissions reductions. In this kind of debate, however, appearances can be deceiving. As usual, Tocqueville put it best. He described in eerily accurate, if not completely flattering, terms how the American people react to radical plans put forth by a revolutionary leader: ‘They do not combat him energetically, they sometimes even applaud him. To his impetuosity they secretly oppose their inertia; to his revolutionary instincts, their conservative instincts; their homebody tastes to his adventurous passions; their good sense to the leaps of his genius; to his poetry, their prose. He arouses them for a moment with a thousand efforts, but soon after they get away from him, and, as if dragged down by their own weight, they fall back.’ ”

Jim Manzi, writing on “What Conservatives Should Do About Global Warming,” in the June 25 issue of National Review

Citizen lame

“I’m convinced there’s a Movie Critics and Reviewers Union work rule requiring that any list of ‘best movies’ must have that tedious and pompous bore, ‘Citizen Kane,’ at the top.

“Comes now the American Film Institute and its updated list of ‘100 Greatest Movies’ and, sure enough, this over-long snoozer, featuring a young but pompous-beyond-his-years Orson Welles, leads the list. It’s one of the mysteries of the ages why this talky movie, which seems to be famous for being famous, is whooped up so much. I’ve never been able to stay awake through it. …

“I’m working on my list of the 100 biggest humbug organizations. Don’t be surprised to run across AFI somewhere near the top.”

Larry Thornberry, writing on “Don’t Save Me the Aisle Seat,” June 25 in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org