Friday, November 02, 2012

Quote of the day

On the campaign trail, President Obama talks about Mitt Romney’s tax proposals, Mitt Romney’s investments, Mitt Romney’s binders, Mitt Romney’s dog. But when it comes to his own thinking, he is curiously laconic, and confines himself to slogans and platitudes. Occasionally, however, the mask slips, and the president tells us what he actually believes. 
Imprisoned in medieval notions of profit and competition, President Obama is unable to share [Adam] Smith’s optimism about the future. Instead he channels the pessimism of the English clergyman-turned-economist Thomas Malthus.
Modern liberalism is not the first political philosophy to rest its case on doom and gloom, and it is unlikely to be the last. But until liberals offer more compelling evidence that the era of heroic growth is indeed at an end (and has not been merely artificially depressed by excessive government interference), the reasonable observer will hold with Francis Bacon: we know too little about future possibility to be justified in the adoption of a dogmatic glumness. Bacon, when pressed for “forecasts of the works that are to be,” replied “that the knowledge which we now possess will not teach a man even what to wish.”

Francis Bacon was an American-style optimist ahead of his time. Barack Obama is a Malthusian pessimist trying to be president of the wrong country. After four years of his melancholy leadership, Americans are ready for some sunshine. 
That's Michael Knox Beran.

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