- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Public philosophy

“[President] Bush has neglected the critical task — carried out by Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Newt Gingrich — of advancing a public argument that connects his otherwise disparate policy decisions to a broader philosophical framework. He has failed to articulate the philosophical argument for limited government that once defined the Republican Party. At the same time he has failed to win broad acceptance for his alternative, so-called compassionate conservatism. To a large extent, he has abandoned the systematic promotion of public philosophy altogether.

“Republicans have more to lose than Democrats by failing to advance a public philosophy. … [T]he institutions primarily responsible for interpreting the world and conveying ideas to the public — the educational system, the mass media, and popular culture — advance liberal ideology on the Democrats’ behalf. …

“For four decades, the Republican electoral realignment kept rolling due in part to the party’s substantial efforts to persuade the nation of conservative principles. Because Reagan made a persistent argument, today’s 30-44 year-olds who came of age during his presidency are some of America’s most Republican-leaning voters.”

—Andrew E. Busch, writing on “After Compassionate Conservatism,” Tuesday in Opinion Journal at www.opinion journal.com

Glass half full

“What does the future hold for economic life in the United States? Will we move toward greater freedom or less? …

“One way of looking at American economic policy in the 20th century is that [British economist John Maynard] Keynes held sway over economic policy for the first 50 years. In the second half of the 20th century, [free-market economists] Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek held the upper hand. In the first half of the 20th century the dominant president was [Franklin D. Roosevelt], who centralized economic power. In the second half of the 20th century the most important president from the perspective of economic policy was Ronald Reagan. … In this story of the 20th century and the future, the glass is half full.”

—Russell Roberts, writing on “The End Run to Freedom,” in the June issue of the Freeman

Secular doom

“The overweening confidence which so often colors statements from men such as [Osama] bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad always rings strange in Western ears. …

“Christendom has twice previously endured periods of Islamic expansion and even managed to roll back Islamic gains. … But that was when the Christian West saw Islam as an enemy and bitterly contested it on every side. Now, a secular West no longer sees itself as a player in the great game, but as a referee, and views Islam as being merely one of the various contestants. …

“In the same way that atheism provides no moral basis for an individual to resist evil, secular, religious-neutral government provides no practical foundation for opposing Islamic expansion. …

“None of this means that Islam cannot be turned back a third time; it does, however, suggest that the concept of Western secularism is doomed to failure one way or another. Secularism does not inspire, it enervates.”

—Vox Day, writing on “Who’s really riding the weaker horse?” Monday in WorldNetDaily at www.world netdaily.com

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