Thursday, October 02, 2008


Representative government -- so awfully frustrating. It's as Churchill said
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Citizens complained about the cost of the financial rescue bill, its failure to punish wrongdoers, and the new powers it gave the Treasury Secretary. In consequence the House of Representatives voted it down. The Senate took it up and passed much more expensive package.

Here are some links:Who knows what our Representatives will do now? When the bill is taken up in the House there surely will be lots of hold-outs. For some, the legislation is simply unthinkable. During House debate, Jeb Hensarling of Texas said it was "the slippery slope to socialism." Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan said "It was no mistake that, during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, the slogan was, 'Peace, land, and bread.' Today, you are being asked to choose between bread and freedom." Paul Broun of Georgia said "Madam Speaker, this is a huge cow patty with a piece of marshmallow stuck in the middle of it, and I'm not going to eat that cow patty." And John Boehner, the Republican minority leader himself, referred to the bill as a "crap sandwich."

Read this opinion piece in the Guardian. It's good.
The US democratic-capitalist model is on trial. No schadenfreude, please, This week the demands of American democracy clashed with those of American capitalism. And China's premier smiled, by Timothy Garton Ash, October 2 2008

Excerpts: A quarter-century ago, near the beginning of what came to be known as the Reagan revolution, the American Catholic social theorist Michael Novak published an influential book, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. It argued that capitalism is "compatible only with democracy". "While bastard forms of capitalism do seem able for a time to endure without democracy," wrote Novak, "the natural logic of capitalism leads to democracy." And true capitalism requires moral virtues such as "temperance and prudence, fortitude and justice".

To adapt Churchill, democratic capitalism is the worst possible system, apart from all the others that have been tried from time to time.

The challenge to American democracy today is nothing less than to prove it can reform its whole model of democratic capitalism, and make it better.

Pray that it can.

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