A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: email@example.com
- Name: Tom McLaughlin
Monday, August 11, 2014
While I can’t understand everything that’s happening in the world, I pay attention and try to at least form working hypotheses to explain things. Hypotheses, by definition, are subject to modification as evidence accumulates. At no time should evidence be ignored. It should always be held up against ideas to see if it fits our basic understandings. If it doesn’t, we have to re-shape them - our understandings, not the conflicting evidence.
If you insist you’re right about your view even when a preponderance of evidence points in another direction, you’re a bigot - a word habitually misunderstood. Bigot, according to the World English Dictionary, means “a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own…” If we look around us with clear eyes, who would best fit that definition? Those who continue saying and doing the same things in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence. People calling themselves progressives were in complete control of the Congress for four years after 2006, and half of Congress since 2010. They’ve controlled the White House for the past six years, and how are they doing? Looking at just two areas we can see they’re screwing up badly. Our economy continues to flounder, and foreign policy is a disaster.
Historical accounts of the Harding and Coolidge Administrations indicate that leaving the economy alone is best. World War II and its Cold War aftermath teach us that actively carrying a big stick works best in foreign affairs. So-called progressive beliefs, however, are opposite for each situation. They increase economic regulation while simultaneously cutting America’s influence in world affairs.
Progressives firmly believe that expanding government by spending enormous sums of government money - and regulating nearly every aspect of the economy - are the ways to stimulate economic growth. When Hoover and Roosevelt tried out their own “shovel ready” projects like the Hoover Dam and the CCCs of the New Deal, as well as FDR’s hyper-regulatory policies in the National Recovery Administration, they together prolonged the Depression for more than a decade. Obama has gotten a similar result with the weakest economic “recovery” since the Depression - in spite of borrowing and spending trillions, and raising the national debt from $10 trillion to $17 trillion! Undeterred by those debacles, progressives like Paul Krugman insist that we’re still floundering only because we didn’t borrow and spend enough! Evidently he considers taking over 17% of the US economy with Obamacare to be small potatoes.
In the area of foreign policy, President Obama believes that shrinking our military and its activities abroad is the way to go. He firmly believes that most of the world’s problems stem from previous US administrations using America’s enormous economic and military strength to influence world affairs. He started by assuring the world that he was not Bush, and that because his father was Muslim and he was such a nice guy, things would be different. He would both pull back and cut back the US military, and the world would be better off. There simply isn’t any more than that to his foreign policy. To say that it’s been disastrous would be an understatement. Our allies have stopped trusting us and our enemies have stopped fearing us. From Russians to Radical Muslims, the world’s bad guys are having a field day.
When the Harding/Coolidge Administration took office in 1921, it inherited an economic situation much worse than Obama/Biden did in 2009. It was a Depression we don’t hear much about because it didn’t last long. Richard K Vedder and Lowell E. Gallaway, writing in their book Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America claim: “By far the most important business cycle development of the first three decades of the twentieth century was the very sharp economic downturn of 1920 and 1921.” GNP was down 24% and unemployment was in double digits. Rather than expand government intervention the way Hoover, Roosevelt and Obama did, Harding cut it back. He cut taxes and regulation before he died suddenly in 1923, then Coolidge continued those policies when he took over. He was the last president to post a budget surplus in every year of his administration - and the economy soared.The evidence against excessive government control of America’s economy is voluminous, but do progressives pay it any mind? Obviously not. The Pax Britannia in which England controlled the seas lasted centuries while the world prospered. The Pax Americana has lasted about seventy years, but it’s fraying rapidly under Obama. Will it survive? Not as long as the progressive bigots remain in power. They'll continue doing what they always do and America will go under. We’ll see what the November election brings.