Great Schemes Don’t Work

Some thoughts on the impending collapse of the euro, and how much the UK may end up on the hook regardless of the fact that they kept sterling. I found this part interesting, though:

Again and again in politics, great schemes don’t work – Soviet Communism, for example, and now the euro. Rational people tend to conclude that, because a scheme doesn’t work, it will quickly stop. Unfortunately, rational people are wrong. Bad political schemes are usually given up only when they have been tested literally to destruction. It would be much better for Europe if the euro had never happened, and I long for it somehow to fade away, but the process of destruction will be horrendous, and it is only just beginning.

I think that we were seeing the same thing with Constellation and NASA’s five- and ten-year plans. Interestingly, the Founders didn’t have a great scheme, because they understood that they don’t work. That’s why they wrote a constitution of limited government. Unfortunately, the great schemers have managed to circumvent it over the past two and a third centuries. Their great scheme is on the verge of collapse, as well, and as usual, all will pay, guilty and innocent alike.

Our Incompetent Government

Some thoughts:

One of the reasons Big Government is so helpless in the face of an actual crisis is that it never learns anything, because it evades blame and consequence for its failures. The politicians who brought you the subprime crisis are richer and more powerful than ever before. The Gulf oil crisis may well end the same way, if the Democrats use a lame-duck session of Congress, plus resources from their new minions at BP, to shove cap-and-trade legislation down America’s throat. Like ObamaCare, such a bill can inflict serious wounds to American liberty during the two years it will take to replace a President determined to veto repeal attempts.

Indulging the urge of politicians to increase their power and wealth produces a government that spends all its time feeding, instead of doing the things it’s supposed to be doing. It is blinded by hunger, and uninterested in duties that yield no direct political reward. The lavishly funded agency in charge of regulating offshore drilling scarcely bothered to inspect the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. It’s painfully obvious that the Administration didn’t notice the Gulf crisis until it became a political problem. Our vast government apparatus was completely unaware of a large supply of containment boom until Jake Tapper, an ABC reporter, told them about it.

This is what comes from a government that tries to do too many things that aren’t its business, and neglecting the ones that are.

Is This A Gag Book?

Good lord, I think it’s serious:

In his historic rise to the most powerful position in the world, Barack Obama single-handedly altered the concept of leadership around the world. Now, Shel Leanne—the expert on the Obama way of leadership—explains how to thrive in any business setting by adopting the same skill set.

Leadership the Barack Obama Way examines the ins and outs of the leadership style the President of the United States rode to heights of power nobody dreamed possible just a short time ago. Leanne breaks down Obama’s style into easily digestible pieces that you can apply in any situation.

Actually, I think that the pieces have already been digested.

The Shuttle Cult

As Clark notes, the phrase “low-cost SDLV” is an oxymoron. It’s only low cost compared to Ares. Any solution that involves preserving the Shuttle infrastructure is going to be intrinsically high cost. Half a billion dollars per flight (and I’ll bet that doesn’t amortize development) is a lot of money. We’ll never open up space that way. The time for a Shuttle-derived vehicle was twenty years ago, when we were still operating the Shuttle and building the station. It’s an anachronism today.

Now He Tells Us

Mort Zuckerman has figured out that he was one of the rubes:

Obama clearly wishes to do good and means well. But he is one of those people who believe that the world was born with the word and exists by means of persuasion, such that there is no person or country that you cannot, by means of logical and moral argument, bring around to your side. He speaks as a teacher, as someone imparting values and generalities appropriate for a Sunday morning sermon, not as a tough-minded leader. He urges that things “must be done” and “should be done” and that “it is time” to do them. As the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Les Gelb, put it, there is “the impression that Obama might confuse speeches with policy.” Another journalist put it differently when he described Obama as an “NPR [National Public Radio] president who gives wonderful speeches.” In other words, he talks the talk but doesn’t know how to walk the walk. The Obama presidency has so far been characterized by a well-intentioned but excessive belief in the power of rhetoric with too little appreciation of reality and loyalty.

Well, I suppose he wishes to “do good,” by his definition of “good.” Of course, that’s kind of meaningless. So did Adolf Hitler, after all. And we know what the paving stones of the road to Hell are. Of course, I’ve never thought his speeches were particularly wonderful, either, unless by “wonderful” one means gaseous if not vacuous.

[Late afternoon update]

Bill Quick isn’t very impressed by Peggy Noonan’s and Zuckerman’s uptake speed:

Listen up, you punked, chumped boobs: We looked at Obama not through your rose colored hallucinations, but through the cold, clear spectacles of reality. None of what he’s done since has surprised us one bit. In fact, many of us, myself included, predicted it even before his coronation by people like you. Yes, it’s nice that after a year and a half of horrible examples, the truth about him is finally beginning to penetrate your skulls. But why, for the love of god, couldn’t you see it at the beginning, when it was no less obvious, but your understanding of it might have done some good?

Though, as he points out, useful idiots like them did prevent a McCain presidency, which would have been a disaster for small-government libertarianism. I wish that I were as optimistic as Bill, though, that Obama has wrecked the socialist project for decades.

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