Back to G.K Chesterton

I’ve been very busy the last few weeks helping Adam Andrzejewski in the Governor’s race. That’s one reason I haven’t been posting that much. That’s also the reason I’ve been remiss in posting a daily G.K Chesterton “Quote of the Day.”

Let’s see if I can keep up that practice.

* The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.
o GK Chesterton – Illustrated London News (1924)

It’s too bad no one has developed a workable theory of “Progressive Conservatisim.” It would be akin to destroying every “Progressive” mistake (collectivism, bureaucracy, forced equality, public sector greed), while using enduring principles (10 Commandments and 10 Amendments) to build on positive “progressive” successes (citizen empowerment, individual autonomy, etc.).

Conservatives do themselves NO FAVORS by “conserving” bad ideas or fighting good ideas because they represent “change.” Sometimes the most conservative thing you can do is aggressively attack and destroy an entrenched bad idea. The absurd idiocracy of the “school district” comes to mind, but that is only one example.

America needs a “radical” party

Maybe they can run on the “radical” idea of effective, but limited, government.

As Barack Obama goes about the business of turning the USA into a patronage farm for old (teachers unions, trial lawyers) and new (Auto industry, Banking industry) constituencies – and thereby turning the nation into a banana republic – the rest of the world is going in the other direction.

The closet radical: The Spectator on David Cameron’s policy platform (The Spectator, 18th February 2009)

There is growing evidence that, within his recycled trainers, the Conservative leader’s toes twitch with nervous energy: that he may be a closet radical. This week’s Tory green paper on local government did not satisfy the most ardent localists and Simon Jenkins was certainly right in Wednesday’s Guardian that when politicians use the word ‘localism’ we should ‘count the spoons’. The package of Tory proposals does not resolve the fundamental problem of local governance in this country, which is that our town halls are completely dependent upon central government: 75 per cent of the money spent locally comes from the Treasury, the most centralised system of local government finance in Europe other than Ireland’s.

Nonetheless, the ending of Whitehall capping powers and the introduction of local referendums to enable residents to overturn bad budgets would be a very desirable transference of financial control from the mandarin to the man in the street. The removal of disincentives to build houses, the devolution of planning power, the plans to plough the fruits of local businesses back into the community, the proposed statutory presumption enabling town halls to act in the best interests of their voters, even if no specific legislation supports their actions: all these measures, if matched by serious political will, would be significant steps towards the growth of a genuine localist culture.

The Spectator has pressed, and will continue to press, for more grammar schools. But the Conservatives’ plan to adopt the Swedish model of independent schools, enabling parents, voluntary groups and businesses to establish their own educational establishments funded by vouchers, is a truly radical blueprint which we support wholeheartedly. The Swedish experiment has shown how the liberalisation of public services can triumph where top-down, centralised bureaucracies and targets have failed.

There is nothing radical about government programs to provide education or health care for the citizenry. There is nothing radical about turning money over to the citizenry for them to use as they see fit. Yet, people who propose such ideas are considered “radical.”

What SHOULD be considered radical, is that a class of corrupt politicians, corrupt corporations, and corrupt public employee unions have been allowed to loot the citizenry’s assets, income, and FUTURE assets and income, as far as the eye can see.

The rest of the world is moving (in fits and starts) toward where the US has pointed them. In the personage of Barack Obama and the party he leads, we Americans have decided to stop and/or move backwards.

God help us.