Quotes of the day

posted at 11:15 pm on August 2, 2010 by Allahpundit

Republicans used to believe that prosperity depended upon the regular balancing of accounts — in government, in international trade, on the ledgers of central banks and in the financial affairs of private households and businesses, too. But the new catechism, as practiced by Republican policymakers for decades now, has amounted to little more than money printing and deficit finance — vulgar Keynesianism robed in the ideological vestments of the prosperous classes…

The second unhappy change in the American economy has been the extraordinary growth of our public debt. In 1970 it was just 40 percent of gross domestic product, or about $425 billion. When it reaches $18 trillion, it will be 40 times greater than in 1970. This debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.

In 1981, traditional Republicans supported tax cuts, matched by spending cuts, to offset the way inflation was pushing many taxpayers into higher brackets and to spur investment. The Reagan administration’s hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces — the welfare state and the warfare state — that drive the federal spending machine.

Soon, the neocons were pushing the military budget skyward. And the Republicans on Capitol Hill who were supposed to cut spending exempted from the knife most of the domestic budget — entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects. But in the end it was a new cadre of ideological tax-cutters who killed the Republicans’ fiscal religion.

***
Buckley’s National Review, where I was the literary editor through the 1990s, remains as vital and interesting as ever. But more characteristic of conservative leadership are figures on TV, radio and the Internet who make their money by stirring fears and resentments. With its descent to baiting blacks, Mexicans and Muslims, its accommodation of conspiracy theories and an increasing nastiness and vulgarity, the conservative movement has undergone a shift toward demagoguery and hucksterism. Once the talk was of “neocons” versus “paleocons.” Now we observe the rule of the crazy-cons

When I became a conservative, that is what I signed up for: a profound vision granting transcendent significance to public life and hope in private life. The goal wasn’t to defeat Democratic officeholders or humiliate left-wing activists. It was, and still is, with those who remember, to save civilization.


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Kini on August 3, 2010 at 3:13 AM

sucks

Kini on August 3, 2010 at 3:13 AM

just bann me

Kini on August 3, 2010 at 3:13 AM

Oh now… you print….

Guys, HA, this is ridicules….

Kini on August 3, 2010 at 3:14 AM

Bill the Cat….

ACK!!!

Kini on August 3, 2010 at 3:16 AM

PU

Kini on August 3, 2010 at 3:19 AM

Bill the Cat….

ACK!!!

Kini on August 3, 2010 at 3:16 AM

That is a classic! :)

Dire Straits on August 3, 2010 at 3:22 AM

Soon, the neocons were pushing the military budget skyward.

Bonfire of the Neocons

Announcing that Gen. David Petraeus would replace the defenestrated Gen. Stanley McChrystal as commander of the war in Afghanistan, President Obama was emphatic in saying that this was a change in people, not in policy.

That policy, which Obama described in a February 2009 interview with Jim Lehrer, was “that is that we make sure that [Afghanistan is] not a safe haven for al-Qaida, they are not able to launch attacks of the sort that happened on 9/11 against the American homeland or American interest.” And that was George Bush’s goal. The strategy Bush chose to accomplish it — and the one Obama is continuing — is nation-building, also known as “counterinsurgency” in military lingo.

By the end of August, over 100,000 U.S. troops will be engaged in the counterinsurgency campaign and in less than a year the final curtain will begin to fall on the greatest wartime mistake America has made since Lyndon Johnson put Robert McNamara in charge of the Vietnam War: the strategy of nation-building.

Though he campaigned against it, President Bush embraced nation-building in January 2003 when he chose a nation-building plan for post-war Iraq authored by Colin Powell and George Tenet over the plan for a brief invasion written by Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Myers. And, by default, nation-building was decided upon for Afghanistan as well.

We are now close to the end of the ninth year of our counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan and success — as defined by Bush and Obama — is nowhere in sight.

In two years, nation-building will have failed conclusively in Afghanistan. The impermanence of its accomplishments in Iraq are already all too evident. The post-election stalemate between the incumbent Maliki and apparent winner Allawi has continued since March, accompanied by ever-increasing violence by a resurgent al-Qaeda.

In two years, Republicans will have to decide on a candidate to oppose Obama’s attempt to win a second term.

This will necessitate an argument between conservatives and neocons, the latter’s belief in nation-building being one of their defining characteristics. The outcome of that argument will determine the immediate future of conservatism and, in all likelihood, the outcome of the 2012 election.

But nowhere — in Iraq, Afghanistan or the score of other places where the war George Bush called the “global war on terror” is being fought — are we winning.

Why? What have we gotten so wrong?

The answer to that question is that we have gotten very few things wrong. But those few are the only ones that are important.

George W. Bush made three mistakes which altered the course of American history and from which we may not recover because Barack Obama is compounding them.

First, President Bush never defined the enemy clearly and correctly: we are at war with the nations that sponsor Islamic terrorism and the religion-cum-ideology which propels them.

Second, and the inevitable consequence of the first, we have mistaken the terrorist groups as the enemy and — despite overwhelming evidence of their responsibility for the deaths of American troops — we have never attacked the terror-sponsors or even exacted a price for their actions.

Third, and with equally disastrous effect, Bush sunk us neck-deep in the neocons’ self-imposed quagmire of nation-building.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 3:24 AM

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 3:24 AM

Proxy wars, has begun….

I seem to remember similar event during WWII.

Kini on August 3, 2010 at 3:36 AM

Is Sarah Palin going to make an election-day surprise game-changing endorsement in Michigan?

It would be huge because we need Pete Hoekstra in Michigan!

dnlchisholm on August 3, 2010 at 1:46 AM

What’s the matter, can’t your soggy mayonnaise and cucumber sandwich Willard push Pete across the finish line? I thought he was all powerful! …. Not!

gary4205 on August 3, 2010 at 3:37 AM

George W. Bush made three mistakes which altered the course of American history and from which we may not recover because Barack Obama is compounding them.

First, President Bush never defined the enemy clearly and correctly: we are at war with the nations that sponsor Islamic terrorism and the religion-cum-ideology which propels them.

Second, and the inevitable consequence of the first, we have mistaken the terrorist groups as the enemy and — despite overwhelming evidence of their responsibility for the deaths of American troops — we have never attacked the terror-sponsors or even exacted a price for their actions.

Third, and with equally disastrous effect, Bush sunk us neck-deep in the neocons’ self-imposed quagmire of nation-building.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 3:24 AM

1) The enemy was (and is) Islamic terrorists and the countries that willingly harbor them. That’s pretty specific.

2) The terrorist groups ARE the enemy. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban from power and handed the nation over to the people – who can now elect their own leaders. In Iraq, we removed Saddam from power and handed the country over to the people – who can now elect their own leaders.

3) Nations with evil oppressive dictators and oppressive, terror supporting groups like the Taliban are in desperate need of being ‘rebuilt’ not just for the sake of the people who live in those countries, but for stability in the regions and the world in general.

I take it you would prefer to let the Hitler’s and Hussein’s of the world stay in power?

Bush did the right thing. Liberating hundreds of millions of people from oppressive regimes and igniting the shining flame of Democracy in countries that had been oppressed by thuggish regimes for decades.

Mr Purple on August 3, 2010 at 3:38 AM

Bush did the right thing. Liberating hundreds of millions of people from oppressive regimes and igniting the shining flame of Democracy in countries that had been oppressed by thuggish regimes for decades.

Mr Purple on August 3, 2010 at 3:38 AM

Right ON!

History is repeating itself TAV.

Appeasement versus [insert argument here]

Kini on August 3, 2010 at 3:52 AM

The Arizona Ruling: a Gift for November

Rejoice conservatives, rejoice. We have been given a gift that will keep on giving right up to November. The travesty of Clinton-appointee Judge Susan Bolton’s decision blocking key components of the Arizona immigration law is a Godsend: it will be up to Democrats to explain why they stand on the side of border-busting lawbreakers–against citizens of the United States. They thought people were angry when Democrats rammed an unpopular health care bill down their throats? They ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Barack and Company will hold Arizonans and the rest of the country hostage. They will hammer ordinary Americans who dare to protect themselves, even as they wink at their fellow leftists whose cities and towns protect illegals.

They will leave the border wide open in the utterly cynical hope that they can wear down the citizens of this country with a war of attrition: either you accept the legalization of millions, or we’ll continue to allow them to make your life miserable–and dangerous.

Understand what they’re really saying: Democrats are literally willing to risk American lives to get their agenda through Congress.

Illegals and their enablers have won the battle. But if this is still the United States of America–and I believe it is–they just lost the war. It couldn’t happen to a nicer group of America-hating leftists.

Don’t forget to remind them in November.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 3:52 AM

Bush sunk us neck-deep in the neocons’ self-imposed quagmire of nation-building.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 3:24 AM

What a bunch of B.S.!
Neither “neocons” nor Bush are into nation-building: that is pure DemocRat/NObama stuff.

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:04 AM

2) The terrorist groups ARE the enemy. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban from power and handed the nation over to the people – who can now elect their own leaders. In Iraq, we removed Saddam from power and handed the country over to the people – who can now elect their own leaders.

And just what brand of fairy dust makes you think that those Islamic throwbacks will elect better leaders than America has (Obama/Pelosi/Reid)? Nation building/COIN depends on the leaders having the best interests of their people at heart. Here in America they don’t, so why would you expect leaders in backward Islamic Iran and even more backward Islamic Afghanistan to? BTW, Karzai won a fraudulent election and Maliki lost an election and remains in power. Karzai is clearly a crook and you can bet his Swiss bank account is now bigger than even Chelsea’s weding cost and John Kerry’s yacht cost put together, courtesy of the broke American taxpayer. Maliki is probably not far behind Karzai, maybe even ahead.

3) Nations with evil oppressive dictators and oppressive, terror supporting groups like the Taliban are in desperate need of being ‘rebuilt’ not just for the sake of the people who live in those countries, but for stability in the regions and the world in general.

Rebuilding Islam Iraq is a fools errand and rebuilding Islamic Afghanistan is utter madness.

I take it you would prefer to let the Hitler’s and Hussein’s of the world stay in power?

You ability to analyze is servery lacking.

Bush did the right thing. Liberating hundreds of millions of people from oppressive regimes and igniting the shining flame of Democracy in countries that had been oppressed by thuggish regimes for decades.

Mr Purple on August 3, 2010 at 3:38 AM

Shinning flame of Democracy? In Islamic countries with Islamic Law enshrined in their constitutions? You are living in a child’s PC fantasy world.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:11 AM

We are now close to the end of the ninth year of our counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan and success — as defined by Bush and Obama — is nowhere in sight.
Tav on August 3, 2010 at 3:24 AM

Wrong.
As for this November, we will have been there Eight (8) years, not even close to 9.
And Oilbama hasn’t defined “success” in Afghanistan and the last time I looked, he’s been C-i-C for the last 18 months.
Since he decided on nation-building and COIN rather than victory in battle, changed the ROEs to “protect civilians” (i.e. the terrorists) and had POWs read their Miranda rights, our KIA figure has doubled in the last year.

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:11 AM

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:11 AM

Full of hate for America and democracy much?

At least now that Iraq and Afghanistan have elections, they can vote a bad guy out of office–an option they certainly didn’t have before under Saddam and the Taliban.
And there’s no proof at all that Karzai is “clearly a crook.”

They may have incorporated Islamic elements into their constitutions, but Iraq and Afghanistan both have not instituted shar’ia and are trying to protect their minority religious populations under largely secular and democratic governments.

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:15 AM

What a bunch of B.S.!
Neither “neocons” nor Bush are into nation-building: that is pure DemocRat/NObama stuff.

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:04 AM

You ignorance is absolutely appalling. Bush was very much for nation building even though he had previously been against it and nation building almost defines neocons. If you want to defend nation building, even Islamic nation building, that’s one thing but to say that Bush wasn’t and neocons aren’t into it is utterly absurd.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:17 AM

Full of hate for America and democracy much?

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:15 AM

No, but you seem to be.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:19 AM

Saying that Bush wasn’t and neocons aren’t into nation building, and primarily Islamic nation building, is as absurd as saying Al Gore has never been into global warming. Are you intoxicated?

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:22 AM

Saying that Bush wasn’t and neocons aren’t into nation building, and primarily Islamic nation building, is as absurd as saying Al Gore has never been into global warming. Are you intoxicated?

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:22 AM

There’s an actual sound bite of Bush saying he wasn’t into nation building.
As for Neo-Conservatives, nation-building has never been part of our advocacy for a strong defense and an aggressive use of American military might overseas…for victory in battle.
If your desire is for nation-building, Neo-Cons recommend the Peace Corps and the U.N.

And you’re the one exhibiting hate for America and democracy on this thread, not me!

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:26 AM

If you want to defend nation building, even Islamic nation building, that’s one thing but to say that Bush wasn’t and neocons aren’t into it is utterly absurd.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:17 AM

I don’t want to defend nation-building.
As for being utterly absurd, look at yourself!
Repeating gibberish over and over won’t make it true or even sensible.

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:27 AM

As for this November, we will have been there Eight (8) years, not even close to 9.

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:11 AM

I think you have very good grounds to initiate a law suit against your early grade school math teacher.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:28 AM

And you’re the one exhibiting hate for America and democracy on this thread, not me!

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:26 AM

You are exhibiting hate for America and democracy as well as an absolutely appalling confusion with regard to even a basic understanding of Bush/neocons/nation-building, as well as an appalling inability to do simple arithmetic. I think you should just say you have been drinking too much and need to go pass out to bed.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:34 AM

Thanks for the health tips, but I haven’t been drinking and when I sleep is none of your business!

We went into Afghanistan in November, 2001–lessee, that will make it 9 years. But it hasn’t been a “full 9 years” as you stated.
As for as Bush and we Neo-conservatives are concerned, nation building isn’t on our “to do” list, so don’t blame it on us!
Whatever has been done in Iraq and Afghanistan since we liberated them from tyranny was to support their new democracies while stamping out any further attacks from jihadis.

Whatever you’re terming “nation-building” is what our nation considers “peace-keeping,” which is why we still have troops and bases in Japan, South Korea, South Korea and Germany, inter alia.

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 4:42 AM

Here’s is what Neoconservatism is about, by the Father of Neoconservatism himself, Irving Kristol: The Neoconservative Persuasion

Please note that neither nation-building abroad nor embrasure of the welfare state at home are elements of this political philosophy!

Jenfidel on August 3, 2010 at 5:02 AM

With its descent to baiting blacks, Mexicans and Muslims, its accommodation of conspiracy theories and an increasing nastiness and vulgarity, the conservative movement has undergone a shift toward demagoguery and hucksterism.

say what?

i believe he is referring to the other side…cuckoo for coco puffs there

cmsinaz on August 3, 2010 at 6:01 AM

It is also an outcome that Milton Friedman said could never happen when, in 1971, he persuaded President Nixon to unleash on the world paper dollars no longer redeemable in gold or other fixed monetary reserves. Just let the free market set currency exchange rates, he said, and trade deficits will self-correct.

“Trade deficits will self-correct” …Nixon’s fear and lack of faith that they would (given proper treaties) aided Kissinger’s prompting to open and enrich China making it our most favored trading nation. How are those US exports into China coming along?

For the pennies saved by consumers, that entire foolishness aided the false sense of entitlement that investors exploited not only at the expense of Chinese prisoner slave labor but the mentality of sucking the life blood dry from any business for a profit before exploiting the next company, the next industry.

No mention there of France demanding our Treasury Gold in exchange for all their Dollars. Thanks for nothing there, De Gaulle.

I don’t think that Nixon should have capitulated without getting something precious from France in exchange. But then, Nixon had a hankering for capitulation, also to Vietnam and finally resignation rather than face an impeachment.

maverick muse on August 3, 2010 at 6:46 AM

What nonsense. Neo cons are not into welfare state politics..and Reagan was a believer in Realpolitick to a great extent and he also ran a deficit. He did not cut social security, he raised taxes. That was not about nanny state politics, that was seen as a political necessity at the time.

But no Republican administration has ever run the kind of deficits we see now, it is like comparing apples and oranges. It really is.

Terrye on August 3, 2010 at 6:47 AM

The problem is that David Stockman and David Klinghoffer need to distract from the democrats failures. The real problem is Obama and the illiterate congress passing gigantic bills with complete disregard to their constituents. Pete Stark cleared up any confusion about that yesterday.

toongoon on August 3, 2010 at 7:04 AM

Laudible goals, bringing eventual peace and stability and freedom to Afghanistan, but a bridge too far I fear, ridiculous supply lines, no reliable political partner in sight. Time to cut our losses?

Tav, I hear you. Define the real enemy (radical Islam), and place the war effort there. Afghan terrorist camps are a symptom, not the disease.

exdeadhead on August 3, 2010 at 7:05 AM

Laudable. Jeez.

exdeadhead on August 3, 2010 at 7:09 AM

And just what brand of fairy dust makes you think that those Islamic throwbacks will elect better leaders than America has (Obama/Pelosi/Reid)? Nation building/COIN depends on the leaders having the best interests of their people at heart. Here in America they don’t, so why would you expect leaders in backward Islamic Iran and even more backward Islamic Afghanistan to? BTW, Karzai won a fraudulent election and Maliki lost an election and remains in power. Karzai is clearly a crook and you can bet his Swiss bank account is now bigger than even Chelsea’s weding cost and John Kerry’s yacht cost put together, courtesy of the broke American taxpayer. Maliki is probably not far behind Karzai, maybe even ahead.

Comparing their elected leaders to our elected leaders is a moot point. I have faith that the Iraqi and Afghan people can elect better leaders than Saddam Hussein and the Taliban. That is the comparison that needs to be made.

Rebuilding Islam Iraq is a fools errand and rebuilding Islamic Afghanistan is utter madness.

That was the conventional wisdom pre-Bush. Now we see Iraq stabilizing and embracing their newfound democracy. The fools errand is well underway – and you are now the fool for still believing the pre-Bush CW.

Can you name me a nation of people that would rather have a brutal dictator they had no chance of removing over the freedom to elect their own leaders – and replace them if they are not leading the country in a positive direction? No, you cannot.

You ability to analyze is servery lacking.

…and yet I have refuted every point you have made with logical analysis.

Shinning flame of Democracy? In Islamic countries with Islamic Law enshrined in their constitutions? You are living in a child’s PC fantasy world.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 4:11 AM

You were expecting an Islamic country to suddenly embrace the liberal agenda’s of promoting homosexuality, promiscuous teens, and abortions on demand (paid for by the US govt, no less – thanks to ObamaCare)?

They can now elect their own leaders. I do not believe they will knowingly elect murderous dictators to rule them (apparently you are convinced they will elect murderous dictators as leaders). If they choose to elect leaders that enforce Sharia law – at least it is the will of the people.

I guess I just have more faith in people than you do – whether they be Islamic or Christian.

Mr Purple on August 3, 2010 at 7:51 AM

The goal wasn’t to defeat Democratic officeholders or humiliate left-wing activists.

True, but that was the tactic of the liberals. That’s why we have dead people voting, ACORN, and Jon Stewart.

Unfortunately, it works. Like all smart capitalists, we go with what works.

Kafir on August 3, 2010 at 7:53 AM

/Yawn

Yes, yes. If only Republicans would denounce their uniquely crazy fringe (that is much, much crazier than the BDS paper-mache puppeteers and WTO rioters) and embrace higher taxes then the Entitlement leviathan would just go away.

Lehosh on August 3, 2010 at 7:54 AM

Grant you the Dems suck and the GOP as well. But we’re trying to fix the GOP (by taking it over). What if that Hillbilly from Wasilly earns the nomination and doesn’t pick a RINO for Veep?

Will the Bushies and RINOs heads explode?

Stockman is just a GOP media whore, move along.

PappyD61 on August 3, 2010 at 7:57 AM

dnlchisholm on August 3, 2010 at 1:46 AM

We don’t need another RINO in Michigan. He’s a big spender who voted for Porkulus and doesn’t want to take on the unions. Exactly what we don’t need here!

flytier on August 3, 2010 at 8:02 AM

You were expecting an Islamic country to suddenly embrace the liberal agenda’s of promoting homosexuality, promiscuous teens, and abortions on demand (paid for by the US govt, no less – thanks to ObamaCare)?

They can now elect their own leaders. I do not believe they will knowingly elect murderous dictators to rule them (apparently you are convinced they will elect murderous dictators as leaders). If they choose to elect leaders that enforce Sharia law – at least it is the will of the people.

I guess I just have more faith in people than you do – whether they be Islamic or Christian.

Mr Purple on August 3, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Elections don’t equal freedom. America isn’t great because of the democratic process – America is great because of limited government.

As long as Iraq and Afghanistan are ruled by sharia law, they will never have the freedom and prosperity America has had.

It’s a mistake to overlay our template that was based on Christian principles (and English common law) onto Islamic Arab countries. It won’t work in the long run. Heck, even Saudi Arabia, which is supposed to be our friend, teaches children how to blow up Jews and Americans in grade school. Anyone who thinks Iraq will be different is naive. You can’t undo hundreds of years of ingrained animosity and religious fervor in just a couple of election cycles.

fossten on August 3, 2010 at 9:22 AM

From neocons to crazy-cons
Once the conservative movement was about finding meaning in private life and public service. But it has undergone a shift toward demagoguery and hucksterism.

By David Klinghoffer
Aug.1, 2010
Los Angeles Times

Once, the iconic figures on the political right were urbane visionaries and builders of institutions — like William F. Buckley Jr., Irving Kristol and Father Richard John Neuhaus, all dead now. Today, far more representative is potty-mouthed Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart, whose news and opinion website, Breitbart.com, is read by millions. In his most recent triumph, Breitbart got a U.S. Department of Agriculture official pushed out of her job after he released a deceptively edited video clip of her supposedly endorsing racism against white people.

Buckley’s National Review, where I was the literary editor through the 1990s, remains as vital and interesting as ever. But more characteristic of conservative leadership are figures on TV, radio and the Internet who make their money by stirring fears and resentments. With its descent to baiting blacks, Mexicans and Muslims, its accommodation of conspiracy theories and an increasing nastiness and vulgarity, the conservative movement has undergone a shift toward demagoguery and hucksterism. Once the talk was of “neocons” versus “paleocons.” Now we observe the rule of the crazy-cons.

Crazy-cons being the Tea Party movement, disgusting to Republican elitists, the worst of the neoconservative bipartisan globalists who endorsed WITHOUT QUESTION Bush’s departing pernicious and unconstitutional executive order making the Sec./Treasury a totally autonomous Czar beholden to NO ONE at all. And that given Sec./Treasury PAULSON himself masterminding the Goldman Sach’s “legal” rape of the American market economy via the selected worst of all mortgage global investments. THAT’S THE BEST THE US COULD DO UNDER BUSH FOR THE AMERICAN AND GLOBAL ECONOMY.

For all his self righteous chest pounding as former Nat.Review editor, Klinghoffer plays his own fear mongering tactics against Constitutional Conservative activists, smearing Breitbart with the MFM whole cloth version of Sherrod’s “transcendent” message against those who have.

maverick muse on August 3, 2010 at 9:32 AM

Who at HotAir is a Neuhaus disciple or scholar?

My question: what specifically did Neuhaus promote regarding socialized health care?

Evidently he was not only an ecumenical pastor working to unite Christendom in order to function effectively in response to the world’s Marxist efforts to secularize (code for destroy religious culture) the CHRISTIAN world (certainly not to affect the Muslims). He worked to unite the religious with the liberals, the effort of less account given the liberal-atheist disdain for Neuhaus’ cultural premise.

Richard Neuhaus’ The Naked Public Square can be summed up no better than the quote that is on the front of the book: “The book from which further debate about church-state relations should begin.”
=

First Things
The “Naked Public Square: A Metaphor Reconsidered”
Richard John Neuhaus
May 1992

The Public Square:

Neutrality that is Neutral

A personal note may be permitted. This writer formed much of his thinking on church-state relations during his many years as pastor of a large, black, and very poor parish in Brooklyn. Most of the members were on welfare and they supported the parish generously. The undeniable reality is that St. John the Evangelist—its preaching, teaching, worship, evangelizing, and every other aspect of its mission—was supported by public funds. Or, as the ACLU would have it. the church was “watering at the public trough” and “nonbelievers” were paying for a religious mission of which they undoubtedly would not approve. If one insists upon putting it that way, churches and ministries such as St. John the Evangelist are tax-supported religious institutions. Were we to follow through on the perverse logic of the extreme separationists, welfare recipients should be forbidden to give a part of their welfare check to such institutions. So far as we know, not even the ACLU has proposed that, although it would seem to be required by the principles that it espouses.

Were such a policy to be adopted, it would cripple, if not destroy, the already desperately struggling churches and religious agencies in our poorest neighborhoods. It would involve government policing of individual behavior in a way that would inevitably violate rights that, unlike free exercise rights, the ACLU does care about. It would result in a situation where welfare recipients would be permitted to spend government funds on liquor, lottery tickets, and pornography—on anything, in short, that is not constitutionally “tainted” by a connection with religion. For these and other reasons, the ACLU, Americans United, the Baptist Joint Committee, and Seventh-day Adventists do not propose a policy that would seem to be required by the separationist principles that they do propose. They would undoubtedly respond that, for many practical reasons, they do not want to “go so far” as to forbid welfare recipients to support religious institutions. Perhaps it is not too much to ask that they reexamine the principles that, consistently applied, require going so far.

An alternative principle is that the government should be truly neutral toward religion. If a government program advances a legitimate public purpose, as democratically determined, it is a matter of indifference as to whether it also aids religion. (We say public purpose rather than “secular” purpose, which is too often the language of the courts, and which too often implies hostility to religion.) Thus the public purpose of welfare payments is to provide a “safety net” for people who otherwise cannot make it. If such people decide that their individual and communal welfare requires the ministry of the church, that is their decision. Similarly with the instances cited by Mr. Thomas where the government assists sundry projects operated under religious auspices—in housing, day care, providing for the homeless, and higher education. If the sponsors of such programs intend (as we believe they should intend) that they should also advance their religious mission, that is a matter of complete indifference to the state. The government’s interest, the public interest, is only that the programs help the people that they are intended to help.

maverick muse on August 3, 2010 at 9:40 AM

I guess I just have more faith in people than you do – whether they be Islamic or Christian.

Mr Purple on August 3, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Faith without works is dead.

It seems you haven’t researched the subject beyond what Drudge or HotAir post of Iraq.

Michael Yon did up-close-and-personal, and was finally driven crazy witnessing the ultimate insanity of our military nation building efforts as ordered by US Presidents Bush and Obama.

When I spent a month reviewing the subject of Iraq’s new government beyond the usual link sites, it became clear that the new politicians are every bit as cruel to their political opponent prisoners (religious and legitimate political party opponents treated as viciously as captured military opponents) as Saddam Hussein and Sons were. The main distinction between the regimes rest in the political stability that Saddam Hussein maintained for the Iraqi Jews and Christian populations to live in protected peace while also maintaining the balance of Islamic power between Iraq and Iran so that the majority could not do to the minority Muslim sects as they are abusing today under Bush’s gifted majority rules democracy uniting with Iran. The Iraqi Jews and Christians have been decimated since Bush liberated Iraq. It’s hard to vote after you’ve been murdered or exiled.

maverick muse on August 3, 2010 at 9:54 AM

I found both these articles traveling off into the weeds. First of all the one guy who makes the first ever accusation of Keynesianism against Republicans doesn’t mention democrats in his spending equation as if they didn’t exist. Newsflash genius the Republicans have never had the majorities to run the government on pure fiscal conservatism and when you don’t even mention Obama by comparison and the paper this appeared in, it comes off as complete propaganda for the One and the democrats.

The other article is way behind the curve when he considers the currant dialogue. The democrats have decided to bring a gun to what was once verbal argument. The 60 Senators and House majorities and the MOST incomplete candidate for President EVER elected were due to what he pines for, casual dialoue and pointing out what the public “should” understand about Republicans. McCain tested your campaign theory quit well, sir.

Now even McCain understands you better get excited about what you believe and the lies the other side is telling or it is over for your philosophies. These guys remind me of Basketball coaches for a football game. You idiots are playing the wrong game that had different rules, get friggin with it! This is a contact sport now.

Conan on August 3, 2010 at 10:42 AM

George W. Bush made three mistakes which altered the course of American history and from which we may not recover because Barack Obama is compounding them.

First, President Bush never defined the enemy clearly and correctly: we are at war with the nations that sponsor Islamic terrorism and the religion-cum-ideology which propels them.

Second, and the inevitable consequence of the first, we have mistaken the terrorist groups as the enemy and — despite overwhelming evidence of their responsibility for the deaths of American troops — we have never attacked the terror-sponsors or even exacted a price for their actions.

Third, and with equally disastrous effect, Bush sunk us neck-deep in the neocons’ self-imposed quagmire of nation-building.

Tav on August 3, 2010 at 3:24 AM

Yes.

The real enemy to target is Iran, then Saudi Arabia. Then perhaps the ISI in Pakistan. No nation building. Just rubble.

AshleyTKing on August 3, 2010 at 1:14 PM

When I became a conservative, that is what I signed up for: a profound vision granting transcendent significance to public life and hope in private life. The goal wasn’t to defeat Democratic officeholders or humiliate left-wing activists. It was, and still is, with those who remember, to save civilization.

“Transcendent significance”? “Profound vision”? Sheesh. Klinghoffer wasn’t looking for a political philosophy when he became a ‘conservative’, he was looking for a religion.

Also: The goal of Sgt. Klinger’s conservatism was (and still is) “to save civilization” — praytell, from whom?

Since defeating Democratic officeholders and humiliating left-wing activists don’t factor into his goal of saving civilization, which barbarian horde exactly does Kingleboffer think he was saving civilization from?

Exit question: If conservatism was his path to enlightenment transcendent hope, did that make Buckley’s National Review his nirvana?

Harpazo on August 3, 2010 at 10:43 PM

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