Former President George Bush XLIII delivered a speech yesterday in which he warned against the kind of government meddling that he perpetrated last fall.
This 55-second clip reveals a wealth of mushy thinking, and shows that the former President still doesn’t grasp how deeply he harmed this country:
“I believe the role of government is … to create the conditions that allow entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive.”
No, it isn’t, and it’s arrogant and misguided for politicians to presume that government can “create the conditions” that foster prosperity. Freedom fosters prosperity, and freedom is natural; it needs no government to create it. Limited government is needed to protect the rights of those entrepreneurs and innovators and others so that they can create wealth. When government robs Peter to pay Paul, in other words, when it robs small-business owners and middle-class families to bail out big corporations, it undermines the very freedom on which prosperity depends.
“I went against my free-market instincts and approved a temporary [??] government intervention to unfreeze the credit markets so that we could avoid a major global depression.”
Economic freedom is not a matter of “instinct”. It is a matter of principle and common sense, backed by the lessons of history. If the former president had a stronger foundation in the philosophy of freedom, he could have understood at the time how the bail-out Band-Aid was really a poison pill.
“As the world recovers, we’re gonna face a temptation to replace the risk-and-reward model of fr– the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control.”
We’ve been failing in the face of that temptation for the last century, and we’re paying a high price for it. Former President Bush XLIII was simply continuing the 20th-century trend of arrogant politicians presuming that they can somehow sponsor prosperity.
“History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement but too much.”
And history will record President Bush XLIII as having greatly increased that threat.
It would be nice simply to say, well, gee, it’s too bad that he still doesn’t get it. But he’s far from being alone. Too many of the politicians still in power, and too many of the voters who keep them there, have the same mushy understanding of the role and capabilities of government. Our country desperately needs a renaissance of the philosophy of freedom, a reawakened, well-considered understanding that freedom nurtures prosperity, and that government will always be a threat to both.