Monday, September 17, 2007

Greenspan puts finger on conservative failure

Self described "libertarian Republican" and former Ayn Rand associate Alan Greenspan has everybody talking about his forthcoming book [hat tip Russell Brown at Hard News], in which he sagely observes the reason for the Republican demise in last year's US election, and from which he draws a pertinent lesson for conservatives everywhere. The Republicans deserved to be soundly stomping, he says, because the party "swapped principle for power."
In the book, Greenspan wrote that Bush essentially left an unbridled GOP Congress to spend money however it saw fit, and by not vetoing a single bill in six years, the president deprived the nation of checks and balances. "The Republicans in Congress lost their way," Greenspan wrote. "They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose."
Are you listening David Cameron? Are you listening John Key? Do you listen 'Key Wees'? Greenspan's lesson is this: In swapping principle for power, you end up with neither.

The Republican congress was hopeless: the biggest spending congress in history, betraying whatever small government principles to which Republicans ever laid any claim. As Brad Thompson pointed out in a series I ran last year at Not PC on the collapse of American conservatism:
  • "Government spending increased faster under George Bush and his Republican Congress than it did under Bill Clinton.."
  • "More people work for the federal government today than at any time since the end of the Cold War..."
  • "If post 9/11 defense spending is taken off the table, domestic spending has ballooned by 23 percent since Bush took office..."
  • "...despite President Bush’s much vaunted tax cuts, Americans actually pay more in taxes today than they did during Bill Clinton’s last year in office..."
  • Asks Thompson in the introduction to his analysis of the Decline and Fall of American Conservatism, "What happened to the idea of limited-government conservatism? Have the conservatives been corrupted by power, or is there something in their basic philosophy that has led them to embrace big government?"

    That's the question answered in his article, summarised in the following posts:


    'CONSERVATISM: A NEW OBITUARY,' THE SERIES SO FAR:

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    9 Comments:

    Anonymous Banker said...

    Greenspan can talk. What do you suppose he was doing while he was operating the printing presses at the Federal Reserve?

    Banker

    9/17/2007 03:13:00 pm  
    Blogger ZenTiger said...

    And why call it the failure of conservatism specifically? (Well, yes I know, but stick with me here as I make the next point)

    This is a common problem with ALL governments. Whilst you are busy warning Key, who might actually listen, it's what the current NZ Government thinks is not only its natural function, but mandated right.

    The only reason to rail against the 'conservatives' is because they will understand they 'done bad'. It's somehow worse when the incumbent can't even comprehend an error, is it not??

    9/17/2007 03:48:00 pm  
    Blogger PC said...

    BANKER: Yep, it's always been difficult to reconcile his role with the Fed printing money with his arguments in 'Gold and Economic Freedom' that the Fed printing money is a form of theft.

    Perhaps his new book will shed some light on the contradiction?

    9/17/2007 04:50:00 pm  
    Blogger PC said...

    ZEN: The point is, perhaps, that the local incumbent is openly in favour of big government, and of a nannying welfare state.

    The other party who claims to be in opposition occasionally refers to its principles of small government, but in practice delivers precisely the opposite.

    To the conservative, political appeasement is a way of life, which is why under their watch western conservatives have done more to deliver big government to western countries than many of their openly socialist counterparts.

    And there are people who claim that conservatives are big on honesty and morality!

    9/17/2007 04:54:00 pm  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'd like to know who Key has actually 'appeased' - it's certainly not the blue-rinse brigade. If anything he's antagonising his conservative base, not appeasing them.

    Re the same nonsense about Greenspan being an appeaser, when asked by a random Objectivist a few years ago if he had changed his view from that essay, he replied "I tend to change my views when credible evidence forces a change. I can't say I have seen any lately."

    Rand was very proud of him, and was pleased enough with his foray into government. His inviting her to the White House was a kind of vindication, and he was never put on the defensive regarding his friendship with her. "His is a heroic undertaking" she said.

    I hope the book will arrive this week.

    9/17/2007 05:30:00 pm  
    Blogger PC said...

    RUTH: Your memory and points are, as always, selective.

    It's been made abundantly clear here that the charge of appeasement against Key is that he's appeasing his political opponents. That's actually the point of the post, of Thompson's article, and of Rand's point about conservatives.

    A pity you've never grasped the point.

    As to Rand being proud of him: yes, she certainly was, when he went to work with Gerald Ford on his Council of Economic Advisers.

    "His is a heroic undertaking" she said about his role on the Council.

    Greeenspan's time as chairman of the Fed didn't begin until 1987, six years after Rand died.

    So you either knew that and made up your story to suit, or you didn't know that and your claim to expertise on the subject (or possibly any subject) is overblown.

    Now please leave this site and stop embarrassing yourself, as you've so often been asked.

    9/17/2007 05:43:00 pm  
    Anonymous Eric B said...

    WTF? I was wondering the same thing. I like hearing other opinions.

    9/17/2007 06:23:00 pm  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm well aware that Rand didn't live to see Greenspan head the Fed. But given her support of his foray into politics, and her comments about deferring to him on economic matters I doubt if she would have been outraged by it.

    Rand, of course, is unavailable for comment regarding our respective opinions.

    I hope you put the environmental series in a pdf as I suggested, because it is good.
    Go in peace.

    Oh and thanx Eric.

    9/17/2007 07:21:00 pm  
    Anonymous Banker said...

    PC

    Yes, it sure is hard to reconcile what he wrote about fiat money fraud and the pyramid scam of central banking with his action in committing fiat money fraud and operating the largest pyramid yet encountered anywhere ever!

    The man has no integrity. Do not understand the man's desparate dishonesty. Unlike most collectivists and their fellow travellers he knows exactly what he is doing (or has been doing). He also is well aware of the necessary outcome. That is the reason for his latest missive.

    G/span does not want anyone to sheet home to him the responsibility for causing the largest inflation in modern US history. He knows that his antics as governor of the Fed have done and are causing severe destruction of wealth along with destabilisation of the economy. The scale of the impoverishment is unmatched. This commentary from him is an attempt wriggle out of reponsibility for what he did. He's getting in with his comments now because he knows what's coming.

    How base.

    Banker

    9/18/2007 06:28:00 am  

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