This morning, I watched a French documentary on the equivalent of Animal Planet. It showed a middle-aged guy who has been walking around Europe with his donkey, like Robert Louis Stevenson did on a smaller scale in the 19th century. After several years, the thought struck the French hiker that there must be people who don’t have the use of their legs who would enjoy doing the same. He is developing at his own expense a contraption, a special paraplegic-friendly cart, that can be drawn by a donkey.
In my town of Santa Cruz, there is an organization that puts wetsuits on variously handicapped young people, some severely handicapped, to make them experience the approximate joys of surfing. The kind of generosity of spirit these two stories illustrate, and the imagination, also the individual economic capability to follow through, tell us what’s a good society. The differences between France and the US pale before the differences between those kinds of society and others.
I would bet you, there is no such private endeavor anywhere in China, or in Russia, or in Cuba, or anywhere in the Muslim world. I stand ready to be corrected, naturally. I will publish any credible correction.
That’s the seldom-told story of real capitalism, of course. It’s the side of capitalism people who live in feudal societies and in semi-socialistic societies, and in societies that are a little bit of both have no way of knowing. It’s also the side of capitalism that home-grown leftists perversely refuse to see. It’s a major reason why leftists have to lie so much: If capitalism does everything better, including compassion, what’s left of our collectivist dream, they ask themselves?
Capitalist societies in fact give a better life to everyone and especially to the weak and defenseless. They do this by providing the highest standard of living for ordinary people and by being associated with a high degree of personal freedom. Combine personal freedom with escape from abject poverty and you get imaginative generosity toward the vulnerable, like the generosity of the Frenchman with a donkey. And yes, despite a hundred years of leftist folklore poverty makes you narrow-minded and stingy.
On to the domestic end-of-reign. The President first announces that he will give another speech, a speech on jobs, no kidding! Then he says it will be delivered on the same night as a long-scheduled Republican presidential debate. When criticized, he backs out and schedules it on the same night as an important televised sports event. Then, he backs out and schedules for yet another night.
Does this sound live an evil Machiavellian political genius to you? To me, it sounds like the actions of a clueless man, of a man at sea, of a man isolated, with no one to give him advice. I have said from the days of the campaign that Barack Obama is much more incompetent than evil. He had never accomplished anything in any of his several careers before he was elected; he still has not. Even if you are a deluded liberal and wish to credit him for the ObamaCare 2,000+ page law, you probably shouldn’t. If it survives it will be the Pelosi/ReidCare.
The President has become a pathetic figure. He acts as if he had been abandoned by all who had any sort of adult credibility. That would include many public figures I dislike intensely because I am a conservative and because I am intellectually honest. It looks as if there were no one left to guide his steps, no one to hold his hand.
Speaking of hand: His is still the hand that has the finger that could press the button. I am worried he might get pissed or confused and nuke Dallas.