31.5.10

SIGN OF THE TIMES. Tigerhawk (via No Oil for Pacifists) finds an intriguing bumper sticker.



The intrigue is in where Tigerhawk spotted it.
If you've lost the Whole Foods-shopping Prius-driving voter, you've lost liberal America, and you're in trouble with your base.

At both sites, there is discussion about whether Whole Foods shoppers or Prius drivers have predictable politics, or whether the sticker identifies a feature rather than a bug.

The bigger problem for liberal America might be the failure of activist government, according to Michael Barone.

The candidate who told us his electoral victory would be seen as "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal" is now the president who seems helpless to prevent the oil slick from spreading.

Charles Krauthammer uses the same promise to launch a more scathing observation.

Moreover, Obama has never been overly modest about his own powers.

Two years ago next week, he declared that history will mark his ascent to the presidency as the moment when "our planet began to heal" and "the rise of the oceans began to slow."

Well, when you anoint yourself King Canute, you mustn't be surprised when your subjects expect you to command the tides.

Both columnists note, correctly, that candidates for the presidency frequently overpromise, and many in the electorate and in the press have unrealistic expectations about presidential omniscience. On the other hand, undoing the mind set that goes back at least as far as the New Deal, and possibly back to the Southern Rebellion, of activist presidencies that Save The Republic, will be hard work.

RUNNING EXTRA. Mark Steyn (via Betsy's Page) sets the record straight on King Canute.

So one day, weary of being surrounded by Chris Matthews types with the legs a-tingling 24/7, Canute ordered the footmen to take his throne down to the shore and he’d command the incoming waves to stay the hell out. Just like Obama, he would steer the very currents. Next thing you know, Canute’s got seaweed in his wingtips and is back at the palace wringing out his Argyll socks. “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings,” he said, “for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.”

In other words, he was teaching his courtiers a lesson in the limits of kingly power. I’m a child of the British Empire and, back in my kindergarten days, almost all the stories we were taught about kings went more or less the same way. Generations of English children learned of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex back in the 9th century. Another A-list bigshot: Winston Churchill called him “the greatest Englishman that ever lived.” One day, during a tumultuous time in the affairs of his kingdom, he passed a remote cottage and called in on the local peasant woman to rest a while. Unaware of who he was, she went off to milk the cow and told him to mind the cakes she’d left on the hearth. He was a big-picture guy preoccupied with geopolitical macro-trends and he absentmindedly let the cakes burn. She took him to task (“You’re happy to eat the cakes but too lazy to keep an eye on them”) but, upon realizing he was the king, begged a thousand pardons. “No, no,” he said. “Entirely my fault.” And there in the rude hovel he humbly turned the woman’s loaves for her.

He continues with a rebuke to the contemporary devotees of Presidential Power.

In the age of kings, we were taught that kings were human, with human failings. Now, in the age of citizen-presidents, we are taught that government has unlimited powers over “heaven, earth, and sea.” Unlike Canute and Alfred, the vanity of Big Government knows no bounds. Tim Flannery, the Aussie global warm-monger who chaired the Copenhagen climate circus a few months back, announces with a straight face that “we’re trying to act as a species to regulate the atmosphere.” Never mind anything so footling as the incoming tides, but the very atmosphere! How do you do that? Well, first, take one extremely large check. Next, add several extra zeroes to it. Then, toss it out the window. “He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws”? Hah! That’s chickenfeed compared to the way things are gonna be once heaven, earth, and sea are forced to submit to a transnational micro-regulatory regime.

I'm working on a longer post on the implications of the failure of the Progressive Conceit during a time that can properly be referred to as an era of Secular Crisis (the word "crisis" being too frequently ascribed now-a-days to challenges well short of secession or global war.) The idea is out there among the paid pundits, but has not been put into logical form.

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