Friday, April 12, 2013

Obama as Roosevelt

Some fuss was generated when Obama promised "the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one" in his acceptance speech this year. The whole point of the Shales book, "The Forgotten Man,' was this very observation: Roosevelt spent much of his presidency with whimsical and fitful projects he thought might help the economy. The net effect was to prolong and, in some respects, deepen the depression.

This idea of the federal government as sort of a campus coffee house with this good idea and that good idea being tried by this guy and that guy is a real nightmare model. And success is, at best, random. If the statist experience in Europe in the last two generations teaches anything, it is humility. But the elite are rarely humble. They know they must be special for a reason. And it is up to us poor oarsmen to keep the boat afloat while the captain and his friends debate their new ideas of navigation in their special cabin over fine meals and wine, believing as they do that they are immune to their own errors.

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