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12/30/01

STRAPPADO WRACK

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If I advance, follow me! If I retreat, kill me! If I die, avenge me!

Francois De La Rochefoucauld

How Is Bush Doing?

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How Am I Doing?

As the year ends, and the prospects for another, under war conditions begins, how is President Bush doing? Forget the polls and the support he is receiving from the American public about the way he is conducting the campaign, because this begs the question. The proper standard to judge all presidents is never the current status on a battlefield. It should be obvious that success should be viewed within the context of realization of American ideals. But if that norm is used, few if any of our leaders can be showered with laurels.

So for the sake of simplicity, we will use the relative comparison of recent presidents to see how George II has emerged. From Truman to Clinton we have a consistency and continuity to the Socialist State that FDR established. Even our most cherished standard-bearer Ronald Reagan, never was able to roll back and reverse the roll of central government. The parade towards wider involvements and consolidated expansion marches on, as each succeeding administration grows in size and score. What minor slow downs that occur, are insignificant when compared to the ominous trend of all forms of government.

Bush has appointed competent, experienced and pragmatic stewards of the established order. In contrast to the previous Clinton régime, who can doubt that the adults have returned to the seats of government. On style and appearance, practical common sense is back in vogue. Dedicated supporters of the social liberalism may wish to criticize and condemn the party of the status quo, but their resentment is strictly with the timetable for acceleration to an all inclusive collectivist society. Let us never be confused; President Bush, like every other administration, never changes the direction.

Leaving aside the degree of corruption within the ordeal of Bill and Hill, we have in Bush a pleasant version of the same culture. Much like the frog that is placed in the pan of cold water, 'we the people', are lulled into a false confidence that we finally have a moral leader to set things right. As the warmth of his smile and the sincerity of his intentions raise the assurance of trust, the heat of the surroundings push the climate of control another notch higher.

But if he makes us feel good, isn't that enough? Sorry to say, many conclude that it is. Compared to the incompetent Carter, Bush looks great. Contrast to Johnson, he is a Napoleon. And viewed against the legend of the left JFK, Bush can avoid the black mail, because he can control his appetites. GOP presidents fare only marginally better.

So if you judge your president against recent ones who came before, you should be satisfied. But how can you be content with this mirage of contentment? Look at the big picture, decades at a time. Answer for yourselves the following:

1) Is there any remnant of personal privacy left?

2) Is your property your own and secure from confiscation?

3) Is your ability to rent your property or hire your workers your own decision?

4) Does your money retain its value?

5) Can you borrow money at fair rates or earn equitable returns on your capital?

6) Is your personal security reduced when your right for self protection is denied?

7) Is the percentage of all forms of taxation greater than that of previous years?

8) Are you free to express your beliefs without the fear of 'PC' sanctions?

9) Can you trust the education of your children to the curriculum of government schools?

10) Is the direction of the future more promising for protecting your freedoms?

Common to each of these questions are the policies, regulations and legal decisions of government. When presidents are compared to their peers, should these standards be the ones to apply to this evaluation? These principles are the substance by which we accept and give our consent to allow governments to organize. But few realize, and even less accept that progress must be judged by the preservation of these values.

Technology has allowed for great innovations and discoveries. Material success has allowed for the accumulation of task saving products and services. But these improvements should not be confused as equivalent to the creation of wealth, and the independence that is afforded, when the means of continued abundance is placed in our own hands.

How can society claim to be advancing when more decisions, that affect each of us, are made by others? Faceless bureaucrats and unaccountable government agencies set the course, while we are compelled to accept their rules. If you are sincere in asking yourselves if we are better off under the current President, should you not relate your conclusion back to standards, that government policies are systemically designed to destroy those principles?

Any President has the entire mechanism of government to overcome if there is a real desire to initiate meaningful change. Only the total fool thinks that a President can will a fundamental change or reform on his own. The risk to challenge the political elites and contest the culture of governance, is the utmost gamble that any politician could take. Doing 'what is right', has never been a noted behavior of those who rule. So why should we think that Bush might dare provoke his mentors and pose a threat to their interests?

Only an epiphany of biblical proportions could muster the courage to dare the danger of true reform. Bush may well be a moral man, as he presents himself to be. We all should hope he is. But to deny the path to power and the family road to wealth, one need not expect the improbable. We would have greater confidence if the likes of a Buchanan, Keyes or Browne were in a Bush administration. But compared to a Gore or a continuation of the Clinton era, many will enjoy the temperate water as it continues to boil.

Ultimate solutions will require radical measures. The American public has long ago lost their courage to defend the Republic. Why should we be surprised when we get only a temporary easing, while meaningful relief escapes for another term. As the war proceeds, any bets what will be left of the Nation in a few more years?

SARTRE - December 30, 2001

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.
James Crook

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