Monday, April 09, 2012

Strangers in a Stranger Land

April 8, 2012
by Victor Davis Hanson

I need to go to a re-education, or perhaps a re-memorization, camp. What happened to “unpatriotic” presidents running up $4 trillion in debt in eight years, or is trumping that in three then patriotic? Was the presidentially appointed Simpson-Bowles commission the proper bipartisan way to address deficits, or were its findings coopted by the one-percenters? In December 2010, I thought suddenly raising taxes was supposedly the wrong thing to do in tough times. Was it not by March 2011?

When did the Catholic Church declare war on women, and at what point in history did condoms or birth control pills became oppressive expenses in need of federal subsidies in a way that, say, iPhones were not? Does the crude smear “slut” by media figures threaten the world of our children or help to raise money to donate to presidential campaigns? What words, what images, what references are taboo, and what are tolerable — and why? Did the president deprecate the working classes of Pennsylvania and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and did he make vague promises to the Russians off mic — or were those just products of our imagination?

At what point did borrowing against our children’s futures become needed “stimulus” and “investments”? Is keeping the federal budget far larger than it was during the Bush years “social Darwinism,” a term that is acceptable political invective in a way “socialism” is not? Where did the adverb “unexpectedly” come from, as in almost all economic news now is “unexpectedly” something: “unexpectedly” high unemployment figures or “unexpectedly” sluggish home sales?

Did unemployment ever really go over 8 percent? I thought that it had and is so now. I remember being told that high gas prices analogous to Europe’s, skyrocketing energy costs, and putting federal oil leases off limits (up to the point of risking $10 a gallon gas) were all our common aspirations to cool the planet, to cut fossil fuel use, and to transition energy management from the oil companies to the more caring government. But now I am told all that was never so: the private sector is to be praised for producing more gas and oil on private lands than ever before; high gas prices are bad; and we certainly don’t want energy costs to skyrocket. But will the 2012 truth soon revert to that of 2000-2011? Full Essay


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