Audio: Newt Gingrich “in a benign sense … is a totalitarian,” says Mark Steyn
posted at 8:00 pm on December 17, 2011 by Tina Korbe
This, to balance out my anti-Mitt post earlier. The truest sentence Mark Steyn speaks in this audio: Newt Gingrich has “solutions to stuff most of us didn’t know were problems.” I’ll let Steyn’s statements about Gingrich speak for themselves:
Rather than add more about what we don’t want in a president, I’d like to offer a model for what I, at least, would like. Steyn references Calvin Coolidge as the quintessential conservative president. He’s onto something. Silent Cal truly grasped that less is more. Here, indeed, is a lesson for our crony-capitalism-plagued times, from Coolidge, via Paul Johnson in A History of the American People:
Later that year , in an address to the New York Chamber of Commerce, Coolidge produced a classic and lapidary statement of his own laissez-fair philosophy. Government and business, he said, should remain independent and separate, one directed from Washington, the other from New York. Wise and prudent men should always prevent the mutual usurpations which foolish men sought on either side. Business was the pursuit of gain but it also had a moral purpose: ‘the mutual organized effort of society to minister to the economic requirement of civilization … It rests squarely on the law of service. It has for its main reliance truth and faith and justice. In its larger sense it is is one of the greatest contributing forces to the moral and spiritual advancement of the race.’ That was why government had a warrant to promote its success by providing the conditions of competition within a framework of security. The job of government and law was to suppress privilege wherever it manifested itself and uphold lawful possession by providing legal remedies for all wrongs: ‘The prime element in the value of all property is the knowledge that its peaceful enjoyment will be publicly defended.’ Without this legal and public defense ‘the value of your tall buildings would shrink to the price of the waterfront of old Carthage or corner-lots in ancient Babylon.’ The more business regulated itself, he concluded, the less need there would be for government to act to insure competition. It could therefore concentrate on its twin tasks of economy and of improving the national structure within which business could increase profits and investment, raise wages and provide better goods and services at the lowest possible prices.
(Read the full address here.)
And, as a matter of personal taste, how nice would it be if our politicians said a whole lot less? As Coolidge put it, “I don’t recall any candidate for president that ever injured himself very much by not talking.’ Or again: ‘The things I never say never get me into trouble.’ All our candidates could stand to learn that lesson.
Parting thought: Coolidge was president in the twentieth century, and Newt still chooses FDR as the “greatest”?