Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Look on the Bright Side of Obama's Follies

Today in National Review the classicist Victor Davis Hanson writes about the world as Pottersville, the mean and nasty world that is developing without the good-natured power of the United States to stand up to the Potters of the world. Pottersville is what the ideal New England small town Bedford Falls would have become had It's a Wonderful Life hero George Bailey not lived and the greedy banker Mr. Potter had had his sneering, cynical way.

Golly Gee. That's just a day after I wrote about the "Fargo" Presidency, comparing Obama to clueless car dealer Jerry Lundegaard, who thought he could make some quick money by having his wife kidnapped. What could go wrong, I asked.

Yes, things do look like a mess, what with the Iran threat and the ISIS threat and the Putin threat, but they always do. Just think about the last 100 years. In World War I it was the Hunnish threat. After 1917 it was the Bolshevik threat. Then it was the Nazi threat. the End of the World was nigh.

After World War II we got the Cold War and the global Communist threat. Only this time we had the additional threat of global thermonuclear war. Then, with Korea, we discovered the Maoist threat. Then with the birth of Israel and its wars, the Nationalist Arab threat. Then it was the domino threat, with the Soviets backing anti-colonialist thugs all over the world. Then Communism collapsed, China and then India took up capitalism, and lo and behold now we have the Islamic threat.

And that's to say nothing of all the threats that liberals throw up, from racism to pollution to population explosion to global cooling to sexism to world hunger to homophobia to ozone holes to global warming to peak energy to islamophobia.

Yes, but after the disasters of Obama, what will come of the United States? Can we roll back the thugs and the jihadis and resume our climb to the sunlit uplands of live-and-let-live under limited government and capitalism? The simple answer is that we don't know.

But think back to the middle of the Civil War. I wonder what people thought then about the future of the United States. Or back in December 1776 when Thomas Paine wrote "These are the times that try men's souls." What about the days of the Robber Barons when everyone was railing against the evil railroads? Or in the mid 1800s when the Irish were staggering ashore more dead than alive from the coffin ships. Truth is that the past always looks more tranquil and ordered than it seemed at the time.

My favorite example of the past is the British Empire. We like to think of it as Britain painting the world red. But actually it was one disaster after another with the government trying to pick up the pieces. Local chaps on the ground out across the other side of the world were always getting into a scrape. Before the days of the telegraph it would take three to six months for the news of the disaster to get back to Britain and then the government had to decide what to do about it. If anything. But first it had to pretend to the domestic public that everything was in hand and there was no need to worry.

But think about the disasters: losing North America; the Crimea War; the mess of the Indian Mutiny (called the Great Uprising in India); Gordon in Khartoum; the South African messes ending in the Boer War. Nothing but incompetence recovered at enormous expense in lives and treasure.

The good thing about the Years of the Obama Disasters is that they have really discredited the Democratic Party and liberalism with the American people. It's going to make really hard going for Democrats for a few political seasons. That means that there will be a calm in the usual trade winds of liberal cultural domination. That will provide a chance to do some genuine reform that rolls back government, just a little, for just a while, until the political climate returns to normal and the liberal trade winds resume.

And think of the gift of Hillary Clinton as the Democrats' Anointed! We conservatives and Republicans should be paying the Democrats to keep her in the race.

Hmm. I wonder.

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