American Optimism

There are a lot of American conservatives, libertarians, and objectivists who are pessimistic about the future of their country. They’re caught up in the middle of a recession (much like the rest of the world), with a liberal president who’s ideas of change are perhaps not the change they had in mind. The future looks grim indeed, some of my American friends have remarked. Well, the conservative ones at least. The liberal friends are still wide-eyed and hoping.

In any event, I think that the American right is wrong to be so pessimistic. Yes, times are bad, but they will get better soon. Americans are an inventive, talented, hard-working people who find strength in adversity. Obama might not be Ayn Rand’s ideal candidate for office, but he’s talented. He’s still far more pro-market than any European or Japanese leader, and to be completely honest, I doubt John McCain would spend any less taxpayer money. Look at the catastrophic spending habits of W, for instance. My personal favorite for the 2008 election was Mitt Romney. A talented fiscal conservative with a background as a business leader and a head for economics. Unfortunately the Huckabee-McCain team outplayed him in the Republican primaries. Politics is not a game for those who come in second place.

Moving on, my second thought was that America benefits from a diverse, immensly talented pool of free-market intellectuals with wide influence. From the Wall Street Journal and the Chicago School of Economics all the way to influential journalists like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, there are many who challenge the status quo and articulate sentiments that are literally banned from the airwaves in much of Europe. They speak of individual freedom and individual responsibility in a way that hasn’t been heard in Europe since Margaret Thatcher. And where her legacy is spat upon on the continent by rabid leftists and their sycophant allies in the press, in America she and Reagan are held as icons by the majority.

Likewise, even liberal bastions such as the New York Times preaches market economics, and criticizes government inefficency. What is considered far right in Sweden is considered mainstream left in America, with intellectuals everywhere inbetween and beyond. This leads to a vibrant, sometimes heated debate, that challenges each and every person to take a stand and defend it. It is a marketplace of ideas, with few sacred cows.

To continue that analogy: If America is a gigantic supermarket stuffed to the brim with competing ideas, then Sweden has a single government-run store where you take a ticket, and patiently wait in line. Much like our government-run liquor stores or pharmacies.

Just reading the following quote from the Wall Street Journal fills me with hope for America’s future. In a country with ideas like these featured in the nation’s most prominent newspapers, how can the country not face any challenges arrayed against it by the looters and moochers?

The current economic strategy is right out of “Atlas Shrugged”: The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you. That’s the justification for the $2 trillion of subsidies doled out already to keep afloat distressed insurance companies, banks, Wall Street investment houses, and auto companies — while standing next in line for their share of the booty are real-estate developers, the steel industry, chemical companies, airlines, ethanol producers, construction firms and even catfish farmers. With each successive bailout to “calm the markets,” another trillion of national wealth is subsequently lost. Yet, as “Atlas” grimly foretold, we now treat the incompetent who wreck their companies as victims, while those resourceful business owners who manage to make a profit are portrayed as recipients of illegitimate “windfalls.”


~ by Escaping Perdition on February 19, 2009.

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