The Other Half of History Daily Blog

Thoughts on modern politics from a historical perspective.

Friday Links and Notes (February 3)

It’s been a busy week in politics. Mitt Romney said on Wednesday that the “very poor” already have a government “safety net,” and that increasing the size of the welfare checks they get is not a primary concern to him. Romney is being assailed from every side for saying this, but his statement was right. America has a very expensive and complicated social safety net. Some families get caught in the net and stay in it for generations.  
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Fuller’s Law

The months leading up to a presidential primary, presidential candidates always spend about half their time crisscrossing Iowa to promise every Iowan in every meeting hall that they will continue to support the federal government mandate that forces oil companies to buy billions of dollars worth of corn-based ethanol. The ethanol mandate costs the taxpayers a bundle, hurts the environment, and raises food prices worldwide, as various studies have shown. So why do we still have it?

The ethanol mandate is a good example of Fuller’s Law: When government controls something, the decisions are made politically.
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What is a Conservative?

A reader asked me an interesting question the other day. Why, she asked, does almost every political issue have a well-recognized “conservative” and “liberal” side? Why should the great majority of conservatives agree with each other on subjects as diverse as abortion, tax rates, capital punishment, gun control, illegal immigration,  foreign aid, and campaign finance; and why can we count on the great majority of liberals taking the opposite side?
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A Government of Laws, or of Men?

“The very definition of a republic is ‘an empire of laws, not of men’.” John Adams

Several of the founding principles of this nation have come under fire from liberals in recent years. One of them is John Adams’ definition of a republic. Adams and the other Founders all believed, as modern day conservatives do, that a nation should be governed by laws; laws written on paper, clearly defined, easily understood, and universally acknowledged.
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