- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Elegantly wrong

“The respect and even reverence that the modern American left has accorded to [the late John Kenneth] Galbraith — regarding him not just as a brilliantly effective writer, which he was, but also as a deep thinker about capitalism and society, which he was not — is telling. It reflects a tenacious reluctance to concede the ethical and material superiority of the capitalist system. …

“Much of the left still longs to sneer at the very idea of capitalism, especially at the claim that it has real ethical foundations. … There is still a wish to regard the whole thing as a scam: gulled and witless consumers; scheming and rapacious businesses; phony markets and bogus ‘competition’; politicians, media hacks, and other assorted apologists for ‘the system,’ all cozily in the pockets of the people in charge. It is a comprehensively false diagnosis. From a narrower political point of view, it is also … a self-defeating sentiment, because in America … this mind-set makes it harder to win elections, not easier.

“Galbraith dignified that self-defeating sentiment … and expressed it with wonderful wit and elegance. He did his followers, who loved him for it, no favors.”

— Clive Crook, writing on “John Kenneth Galbraith, Revisited,” May 12 in the National Journal

Liberal ‘Code’?

“Roman Catholics and Evangelicals have challenged ‘The Da Vinci Code’ for proposing that Christianity is a hoax perpetrated on the world for nearly 2000 years. The liberal National Council of Churches (NCC) is also concerned about the new movie, because it overlooks Jesus’ supposed endorsement of its left-leaning political themes.

“The real Jesus ‘cared for creation and called us to stand up for peace and justice in the world,’ just like the NCC, according to the NCC. Its latest causes include opposing the U.S. military presence in Iraq, demanding an increased minimum wage, opposing U.S. ‘torture’ of war on terror detainees, and demanding U.S. compliance with the Kyoto accord. Apparently ‘Da Vinci’ fails because it neglects to include Jesus’ stance on these issues. …

“For the NCC, that is the real work of Jesus: lobbying, protesting, and organizing on behalf of the NCC’s political agenda of the left.”

— Mark Tooley, writing on “Code Turkey,” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Worth fighting for

“Osama bin Laden and his followers … have called on Muslims to rise up against any Westerner who dares intervene to stop the [Darfur] genocide, even though Muslims, hundreds of thousands of Muslims, are its victims. Now that, my friends, is a difference, a cause, worth taking up arms against. …

“Human rights exist above the state and beyond history — they are God-given. They cannot be rescinded by one government any more than they can be granted by another. …

“This is a clash of ideals, a profound and terrible clash of ideals. It is a fight between right and wrong. Relativism has no place in this confrontation. … We are insisting that all people have a right to be free, and that right is not subject to the whims and interests and authority of another person, government or culture. Relativism, in this contest, is most certainly not a sign of our humility or ecumenism; it is a mask for arrogance and selfishness. It is … not worthy of us. We are a better people than that.”

— Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, speaking Friday at commencement ceremonies at the New School in New York City, reprinted Monday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

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