Quit Whining!

July 27th, 2009 at 4:03 pm David Frum | 42 Comments |

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The United States in 2009 is living through the fiercest challenge to market institutions and limited government since the mid-1970s.

Defenders of free institutions will need the utmost energy, tadalafil courage and perseverance for the work ahead. And yet at just this moment, medicine the prevailing tone among those defenders is one of the most extreme despair.

The big conservative book of the moment, Mark Levin’s Liberty & Tyranny is suffused with this message of doom. “Liberty, once lost, is lost forever,” intones Levin in one of the book’s many dire assertions. The same tone is expressed in more urbane form in an elegant essay by Mark Steyn in the June issue of the New Criterion.

Driving north out of New York the other day, I heard a caller to Mark Levin’s show discuss his excellent book Liberty and Tyranny. The word she kept using was “inevitable”: The republic felt exhausted, and there was an  “inevitability” to what was happening. A quarter-millennium of liberty seemed to be about the best you could expect, and its waning was—again—“inevitable.” As she spoke, the rich farmland of Columbia County rolled past my window. To many of its residents, the caller would have sounded slightly kooky. Were any of the county’s first families suddenly to rematerialize from their centuries of slumber, they would recognize the general landscape, the settlements, the principal roads, and indeed many of the weathered farmhouses. And they would be struck by the comfort and prosperity of their successors in this land. So what’s all this talk about decay and decline?

Ah, but I wonder if those early settlers would recognize the people, and their assumptions about the role of government…

When President Bush used to promote the notion of democracy in the Muslim world, there was a line he liked to fall back on: “Freedom is the desire of every human heart.” Are you quite sure? It’s doubtful whether that’s actually the case in Gaza and Waziristan, but we know for absolute certain that it’s not in Paris and Stockholm, London and Toronto, Buffalo and New Orleans. The story of the Western world since 1945 is that, invited to choose between freedom and government “security,” large numbers of people vote to dump freedom every time—the freedom to make their own decisions about health care, education, property rights, and eventually (as we already see in Europe, Canada, American campuses, and the disgusting U.N. Human Rights Council) what you’re permitted to say and think.

Steyn perceives the predominant conservative mood with characteristic sensitivity. I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard similar remarks over the past 9 months – probably hundreds of times. It’s not just talk radio chatter either: I was in the audience recently for an almost morbidly gloomy assessment by a person who had served at some of the very highest levels in the US government.

Ubiquity however is not the same thing as acuity. Repetition may improve a false idea’s plausibility, but it does nothing to enhance its truth.

The apocalyptic despair heard from today’s conservatives is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong as a description of reality, wrong politically, wrong psychologically, wrong morally.

It’s wrong first because it denies and traduces the successes and achievements of the conservative movement. The story of the world since 1975 has been a story of the marvelous return and spread of liberty, in the United States and around the world.

In 1975, the federal government set the price of every airline ticket, every ton of rail freight, every cubic foot of natural gas and every barrel of oil. It controlled the interest rates paid on checking accounts and the commission charged by stockbrokers. If you wanted to ship a crate of lettuce from one state to another, you first had to file a routemap with a federal agency. It was a crime for a private citizen to own a gold coin. The draft had ended only two years before, but not until 1975 itself did Congress formally end the state of emergency (and the special grant of presidential powers) declared at US entry into the First World War.

In 1975, the British government still owned automobile factories, steelmills, and shipyards. Many European governments still regulated the amount of foreign currency their citizens could hold. The world’s two most populous countries, China and India, stagnated under state control – coupled in the Chinese case with soul-crushing political totalitarianism. Half the continent of Europe was governed by communist police states. Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey were governed by dictators or juntas, as was almost all of Latin America, as were almost all of America’s most important East Asian allies.

1975 saw the launch of the terrible auto-genocide in Cambodia and the reach of communistic terrorist attacks against democracies from Uruguay to West Germany.

Over the next 30 years, a new wave of conservative governments would accept these challenges and overcome them. In almost every way that can be assessed or measured, the world is a better, freer place in 2009 than it was in 1975.

Soft despotism? It was only yesterday that the world was oppressed by hard despotism, and plenty of it! When conservatives lament the rise of despotism, we deny our own greatest achievements, our own claim to the applause of history. We reveal in this lament a childish lack of perspective and a dismal ingratitude for the work of the generation before our own.

Not to mention – and more about this in the next post – we sound like a hysterical clutch of sore losers.

This is part one in a series.  Read the other articles here.

Recent Posts by David Frum



42 Comments so far ↓

  • Chekote

    I had to stop listening to Levin. I agree with him politically but it is not healthy to listen to his constant pessimism mixed with rage.

  • Spartacus

    Quit confusing liberty with unrestrained free market capitalism. The two are not the same, nor are they dependent on each other.

    In the mid-late ’70s, Western, and democratic, countries decided to liberalize their economies. Being democratic, the people were free to choose whichever economic models they desired. Today, still being democratice, the people are free to choose an economic model that spares them some of the harsh consequences of their earlier decisions. These countries are no less democratic, and the people are no less free, than they were in the ’90s, ’80s or ’70s.

  • sinz54

    Conservatives are walking around in shock and despair because their vaunted free financial market collapsed in 2008. The shock absorbers and safeguards put in place by the private sector proved totally inadequate.

    Conservatives forgot that they’re NOT libertarians; that there is a proper role for government in keeping market players honest.

    They’ve been running against “Big Government” for so long that they’ve forgotten to explain what the PROPER role of government really is.

    As a result, they come off as extremists when confronting a doctrinaire liberal like Obama. Americans are worried about Obama’s liberalism. But they’re not going to embrace Ron Paul or Sarah Palin either.

    We need to have a realistic, not doctrinaire right-wing, view of government. Just as, starting with Bill Clinton, the Democrats had to have a realistic, not doctrinaire left-wing, view of our military.

    Do conservatives want to abolish the SEC? The FDIC? The Federal Reserve? Social Security?

    If someone answers “yes,” he’s not a conservative. He’s a Paulian, a Randian, or a Libertarian.

    And it’s long past time that conservatives distinguished themselves from those types.

  • Midas

    David, is there any reason that you can speak only to the ‘rest of the world’ in terms of moving in a more conservative direction since 1975, when the lament you’re describing is about the leftward lurch we’re experiencing here in the US? The two have nothing to do with each other. Are you intentionally using this ‘rest of the world’ as a weak strawman, or was that merely a response that was poorly thought out?

  • SFTor1

    David Frum himself reviewed Liberty and Tyranny and aptly made the point that “freedom once lost” is NOT lost forever. Far from it. Curtailment of habeas corpus during the Civil War, internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and eavesdropping on ordinary Americans during the Bush II Administration give examples of freedoms that were lost and regained in this country alone.

    Now Mr. Frum inexplicably wants to rewrite history: Conservatives have always fought against the forces of despotism, and today can proudly watch the spread of freedom around the world. This is a truth that needs some serious modification. The Nixon Administration was firmly against the semi-authoritarian government of Allende, albeit a duly elected one. It supported the despotic and illicit Pinochet, and as we all know, helped bring him to power. We supported Thieu, an unpopular and corrupt authoriatarian, against the Vietnamese nationalists/communists, which we trade with today. We supported Suharto in Indonesia—a right bastard by any measure. A similar example offers itself with Nicaragua, the Sandinistas, and the Contras.

    These are not the only examples. The fact is that in most cases Republicans and Democrats were on the same side in this business. You had to go well to the left of the American political center to find people who objected and took the other side, which not infrequently was the one with international law on its side.

  • Drewski

    Mr Frum, Try to sell 5,000 books (last count you were at approximately 4,700) before dispensing advice. Mark Levin’s “Liberty & Tyranny” is averaging 53,000 copies sold per a week. In otherwords, Mr. Levin’s book has you outsold in one day!!

  • SFTor1

    The second thing that bears repeating ad infinitum is that health care is NOT a market. The supply is there when you don’t need it, and gone when you do. As a consumer you do not know what health care products you will need or when, or how much they are worth, except that in many cases they are worth everything because they may save your life.

    The idea that you are behaving like a free agent in this market is a monumental fallacy. You don’t have the professional understanding nor the foresight to know what you are buying nor why you are buying it. When you are sick you don’t need a choice of health plans, you need professionals to take care of you and get you the care you need. Chances are you may never have heard of the illness you or your child has, or the required treatment for it.

    Hopefully very soon we will stop this nonsense of equating private health care with “freedom.” It’s embarrassing. It is not freedom, it’s a gravy train.

  • SFTor1

    drewski, I think Das Kapital by Karl Marx has been eagerly read by millions and millions people over the years. Must be a great book, full of truth and wisdom.

  • Chekote

    Conservatives are walking around in shock and despair because their vaunted free financial market collapsed in 2008.

    The financial market did not collapse. As far as I know, the Dow Jones is still trading every week day. And no, TARP did not save anything. They still have not bought one toxic asset. You know, the ones we were told were clogging up the financial system and we needed to buy ASAP. I don’t know of any conservative that has argued for no government. The argument has always been about a limited federal government. What conservatives need to do is drop the TheoCons. Yes, I know they are the one who knock of doors but is that the face that we want to present to the indie voters? I think not. Time to drop cultural populism and its main spokesperson, Sarah Palin.

  • sharris

    I don’t understand the contempt for folks like Limbaugh, Levin, Coulter, etc. They’re not politicians. They aren’t representatives or elected leaders.

    Frankly, I find them entertaining. And they present an opportunity for me and like-minded people to gather around a common viewpoint. They help us bond as philosophical brethren. They help us think about a variety of issues from different angles while maintaining a principled and consistent core.

    Perhaps NewMajority folks wouldn’t be so bothered by them if you thought of them as satirists. I think their ability to identify and call out liberal inconsistency and do it with humor and showmanship is educationa. They help me solidify my confidence in the face of liberal venom.

    It’s interesting that the liberal propagandists masquerading as satirists, the likes of Stewart,Colbert, Letterman,etc. are lauded by the left. And yet we have genuine patriotic Will Rogers’, Mark Twain’s and Jonathan Swift’s right here in our presence and they’re eyed with contempt … by our own side no less.

    When the NewMajority is successful at silencing these patriots, where will we go for daily reminders that we aren’t alone? Does NewMajority plan to fill the void? I’m not sure conservatives can bear a 3 hour show telling us how we need to grovel for acceptance from power hungry liberals.

  • violet62

    Mr Frum,
    I can’t understand how you can interpret Mark Levin’s book, “Liberty and Tyranny”, as doom and gloom and thus creating “conservative whinners”. It appears to me that this important book has inspired many of us to take action against the Obama Adminstration and it’s outrageous and devious attempt to completely socialize my country. I know that for me Mark’s Book and his Radio show has brought me to embrace the conservative ideas and I feel that I’ve found my political party after not belonging to either party previously.
    After I read your piece here, it left me feeling that you are trying to convince me that “freedom” is just not quite what it is cracked up to be and really not that popular out there among the people. After all, people in Paris, London ect. don’t want it: I don’t know why this point should matter to Americans. It’s as though you are jealous of Mark’s ideas (individual freedom being one of them) and therefore you are trying to minimize the greatnes of “freedom” in this piece.
    You seem so desperate to be taken serious but you are forfeiting any genuineness of ideals and spirit that you may possess. I feel sorry for you, you look so pained so much of the time.

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  • MOborn

    sinz54 // Jul 27, 2009 at 5:32 pm said…

    “And it’s long past time that conservatives distinguished themselves from those types.”

    Um. What conceivable purpose could that serve? At a time when conservatives are out of electoral power, at a time when attracting more voters is vital to future relevance, how can you think it is a good idea to “distinguish yourself from those types”?

    These are losing arguments you engage in. If you want to create your own clicque, your own identity within the GOP that’s your call. But if you want to win elections, you find something you can stand to like about the others on your side in the name of forging an electoral majority. The way things are going, limited & responsible government is going to be a great issue in 2012, probably even 2010. Those “types” also believe in these things and will help you work to get them. It would be foolish to deliberately alienate them.

  • barker13

    Re: Sinz54 // Jul 27, 2009 at 5:32 pm –

    “…their vaunted free financial market…”

    “THEIR…???” (*CHUCKLE*)

    I always find it fascinating what Sinz let’s slip at times. (SMIRK*)

    Re: Midas // Jul 27, 2009 at 8:16 pm –

    “David….Are you intentionally using this ‘rest of the world’ as a weak strawman, or was that merely a response that was poorly thought out?”

    If I were a betting man… (*SHRUG*)… the former. (It’s his M.O.)

    Re: Chekote // Jul 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm –

    “The financial market did not collapse.”

    Check. (As in “correct.”)

    (Oh… and btw… in a capitalist system FAILURE – i.e. “collapse” – is, or at least should be, the counterpart to SUCCESS. I’m obviously not saying that I’d want “the financial market” {singular} to “collapse,” but if a business has screwed up to the point where market forces and economic reality call for it to either fail or be purchased by a stronger company, that’s what should happen.)

    “And no, TARP did not save anything.”

    BINGO! (Though a great deal of money stuck to a small number of fingers…)

    “I don’t know of any conservative that has argued for no government.”

    Nor do I. (Way to demolish the nonsense, Chekote!) (*APPROVING NOD*)

    Re: Sharris // Jul 27, 2009 at 9:09 pm –

    Think of it this way: Frum and a number of his “contributors” are the pilot fish of the political infrastructure. They see life as a zero sum game where if the Limbaugh’s and Levine’s “win” the Frum’s lose. (And in this case hopefully they’re right!) (*GRIN*)

    “…by our own side…”

    (*FROWN*) Don’t fool yourself. I assume you WANT to think the best of these… er… “types”… but there’s no getting around the pattern. Ever seen “I Claudius?” (*SMILE*) Yeah… think Livia. (*WINK*)

    Re: Violet62 // Jul 27, 2009 at 9:33 pm –

    “…you [David Frum] are forfeiting any genuineness of ideals and spirit that you may possess.”

    (*SIGH*) He doesn’t see it. He won’t see it. He can’t see it. I’ve tried. (*SHRUG*)

    Re: Moborn // Jul 28, 2009 at 1:28 am –

    “The way things are going, limited & responsible government is going to be a great issue in 2012, probably even 2010.”

    Yep! No doubt!

    I disagree with you, however, about these people perhaps creating their own little clique, their own identity, within the GOP. Far better for all concerned if they join the Democratic Party and work from within the Democratic Party to move the Democratic Party to the RIGHT as opposed to constantly pushing the GOP to the Left.

    (*SHRUG*)

    BILL

  • DFL

    David Frum is correct in a couple of aspects but ignores the problems of our times. Yes, the old pre-Reagan days when taxes were sky-high are over. George Harrison’s tune “Taxman” is now a historic oddity, not the lament of a wealthy Beatle. World communism has met its demise. Ten years after Reagan took office in 1981, communism was defeated. I would never have expected it so soon. The Age of Reagan(1981-2008) was an advance for freedom.

    But it is 2009 and new problems are at hand that may not be solvable. The government is massively in debt yet huge entitlement costs loom as the Baby-Boomers retire. How can a budgetary and economic implosion be prevented? Neither the American people or the national political parties are willing to face up to the economic armageddon coming down the road. The cultural collapse of the nation is accelerating despite what cultural agnostics think. Huge Third World immigration may have made tax takers a larger segment of the population than those who are productive.

    Is 21st century America undergoing a slow-motion collapse much like Rome? And can anything be done about it?

  • sinz54

    Midas: If you had lived during the Cold War, you would understand why the leftward lurch in the rest of the world had a lot to do with conditions here in the U.S.

    Leftists in America kept pointing to the socialist countries, particularly Yugoslavia and Sweden, as examples of how “socialism works.” Even the USSR inspired grudging admiration:

    “On the economic front, for the first time in its history the Soviet leadership was able to pursue successfully a policy of guns and butter as well as growth … The Soviet citizen-worker, peasant, and professional – has become accustomed in the Brezhnev period to an uninterrupted upward trend in his well-being …” (John Kenneth Galbraith, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, New Yorker Magazine, 1984)

    “It is a vulgar mistake to think that most people in Eastern Europe are miserable.” (Paul Samuelson, Professor of Economics, MIT, Nobel Laureate, Economics, 1981)

    “What counts is results, and there can be no doubt that the Soviet planning system has been a powerful engine for economic growth…The Soviet model has surely demonstrated that a command economy is capable of mobilizing resources for rapid growth.” (Paul Samuelson, MIT, Nobel laureate in economics, 1985)

    “That the Soviet system has made great material progress in recent years is evident both from the statistics and from the general urban scene…One sees it in the appearance of well-being of the people on the streets…and the general aspect of restaurants, theaters, and shops… Partly, the Russian system succeeds because, in contrast with the Western industrial economies, it makes full use of its manpower.” (John Kenneth Galbraith, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, 1984)

    Nothing succeeds like success, and the seeming advances of the Communist bloc (which we now know were all illusory) disheartened proponents of free enterprise here in America. Some savants were actually talking about “convergence,” in which the USSR would allow some capitalism (a la Lenin), and the U.S. would move eventually toward democratic socialism.

    The collapse of Communism, and its wholesale rejection by Eastern Europe and now even by the Third World (where yesterday’s “worker’s paradises” are now today’s “emerging markets,” has left the American Left without a role model for the socialist ideal which is still close to their hearts. They can’t sell Cuba or North Korea as role models for advanced scientific Western economies. So what they have remaining are nominally socialist countries with vibrant free markets, like Sweden, Israel, France, etc. Nobody talks about socialist control of the means of production and distribution anymore.

    That’s a major achievement of capitalist America–the discrediting of pure socialist models–and on that, history has made its judgment and is moving on.

  • sinz54

    Chekote writes: “The financial market did not collapse. ”

    The U.S. came within an inch of the entire financial system seizing up. Commercial paper was being threatened by the collapse of major firms that specialized in it. And without commercial paper, a modern industrial economy simply cannot function. Without commercial paper, companies couldn’t meet their payrolls; ATM bank machines would be out of order; and companies couldn’t buy goods and services from each other.

    Just the passage of TARP helped provide assurance to the financial markets that the U.S. Government wasn’t just going to sit there and let the free market implode by itself. Just like FDIC helps prevent bank runs, simply by being there. The Government bailouts of financial firms, and the takeover of firms, painful as those were, were still preferable to standing by and watching the “free market” eat itself up.

    The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates down to zero, and that stabilized the bond markets.

    As I said: Anyone who goes around saying we don’t need Government intervention in such crises, we don’t need FDIC, we don’t need the Federal Reserve, is not a conservative. He’s a libertarian, and belongs in the Libertarian Party, not the GOP.

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  • sinz54

    sftor1 writes: “The Nixon Administration was firmly against the semi-authoritarian government of Allende, albeit a duly elected one.”

    Allende was a confirmed self-described Marxist, who was busily converting his country into a Soviet state.

    We conservatives believe that Marxism is inherently antithetical to freedom. It doesn’t matter that Allende was elected. Hitler’s Nazi Party won elections too.

    Any day a Marxist falls is a good day for freedom.

  • sinz54

    sftor1: And as I pointed out, the Left was AWOL when it came to denouncing the horrors of Soviet Communism. To them, there was not much different between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

    That the Left looked the other way at Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and the GULAG, is a mark of historical shame that the Left will never live down. Because we conservatives won’t let them forget it.

  • sinz54

    moborn sez: “It would be foolish to deliberately alienate them.”

    The extremists can’t dictate the GOP agenda anymore. They’re the voice of the past in a nation whose electorate is changing in ways they can’t deal with.

  • barker13

    Re: Sinz54 // Jul 28, 2009 at 9:16 am –

    “The U.S. came within an inch of the entire financial system seizing up.”

    No, Sinz, we didn’t. (*SIGH*)

    And no matter how many times you spout such nonsense the fact remains that… er… it’s nonsense.

    In case you haven’t noticed, the Dems are trying to head us right back in the WRONG direction.

    Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Et Al want more spending, more debt (government and private!); more bailouts, more unfunded liabilities…

    (*SIGH*)

    (Oh, what’s the frigg’n use… reality plays little part in these “debates.” Sinz is gonna stick to his guns till they blow up in his face.) (*SMIRK*)

    BILL

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  • bethunedaja

    David, thou doth whine too much!!

    Mark’s book is not a long whine nor a surrender and Instapundit is correct when Glenn, per Jonah Goldberg, reminds us that you sound more like someone raising the white flag and not Mark. Whining does not become you , David.

    Heal thyself.

  • Kaz

    @sinz54

    Liberals will never explain in detail what they believe the “proper role of government” is because they know the majority of Americans would reject them.

    For the proper role of government, and the rationale of such, you should start here: http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

  • Kaz

    Some great American whiners:

    Abraham Lincoln
    George Washington
    Thomas Jefferson
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    James Madison
    Booker T. Washington

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    Chekote // Jul 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    “The financial market did not collapse. As far as I know, the Dow Jones is still trading every week day. And no, TARP did not save anything. They still have not bought one toxic asset.”

    …………To start with that’s not true…….they bought AIG which is one huge toxic asset………it’s true the main initial strategy changed from buying up toxic assets to investing directly in the banks but there were sound reasons for this……it was also possible to switch strategies because the Fed has taken roughly $1.8 billion of toxic assets onto its balance sheet in return for cash injections into the banks…….it’s the main reason why the money supply spiked in the second half of last year……subsequently the treasury in partnership with private investors has started buying toxic assets but the market has been weak…….there are various articles and books out there describing all this you might like to read

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  • jfhaney

    David, you mention the “freedom to make…decisions about health care, education, property rights, and eventually (as we already see in Europe, Canada, American campuses, and the disgusting U.N. Human Rights Council) what you’re permitted to say and think.”
    To take them in turn, I wonder first what decisions about health care you’re referring to, and how you believe the current proposed legislation (which I’m not an avid fan of) threatens them. As a general observation, I’m sure you understand that many people in need of health care currently have no choice as far as health care is concerned, so this much vaunted freedom vis a vis health care is rather irrelevant for a large number of Americans. Moreover, a “free market” in health care seems to be as irrational and wasteful as you accuse Medicare and Medicaid to be. To take only two aspects of this, first, fee-for-service health care apparently only encourages doctors to multiply services in order to augment their income. In short, what is market “rationality”, isn’t rational health care, and while it may benefit an “industry”, it ultimately isn’t good for society. Second, a fundamental principle of free market economics – the rational choice model of the consumer – doesn’t operate very well in health care: most people are not competent consumers of health care, being medical non-specialists; are in most high-expense episodes unable to “shop-around” (if you’re having a heart attack, you probably want the nearest, not the least expensive, hospital); and finally face inelastic medical choices (if you want transportation, a $50 bicycle might serve as well as a $50,000 Mercedes, but a liver transplant is a liver transplant – an aspirin won’t get the job done). For those aspects of health care where the free market operates well, I’m all for it. I wish it worked for all aspects, but I don’t believe it does.
    As for education, I’m not sure what liberal plot endangers education. I would, however, be interested to know.
    As for property rights, I think we can both agree that they are not absolute – as no right is. The rights of one individual must be considered in the context of those of another – a concept with which I believe conservatives are comfortable – but also of those of the effective community, which for conservatives is more problematic. I think a thoughtful and honest conversation is possible on this topic.
    Your last item, that of free speech versus its regulation in the interest of not offending individuals or groups within society, is an area with which we almost certainly agree. I am a liberal – one I’d like to believe that does not make a fetish of freedom: that all may do as they please without responsibility to others, which is the overthrow of law and humanity, of the simple human virtues of self-discipline and forbearance – but in this I am an ideologue, a characteristic for which I endlessly castigate conservatives, and for which in this instance I plead guilty. It isn’t the speaker who must be regulated – speech should be free because to allow all speech, even the most repellent, is to guarantee a forum wherein the truth may be told – but the hearer. The hearer is allowed the same freedom to speak as the speaker, but no one should be allowed the freedom to silence (outside the – no freedom is absolute – constraints of slander and libel, when you demonstrably damage an individual with intended falsehoods).
    I’m happy to know that you have made yourself an independent conservative voice. Unfortunately, it will probably make you less effective than more. Mavericks – left and right – own the margins, not the mainstream. They prefer light when everyone else responds to heat. It’s the way people are. Maybe the “light” people should talk more. Wha’ d’ya think?

  • jfhaney

    And by the way, what may be a major difference between liberals and conservatives occurred to me in reading your article. I think we agree that democracy is a process, not a result; and that as long as we honor and maintain the process, we needn’t worry too much about what it produces. It is the process that is important.
    This seems to hold true for conservatives in economics as well: the process, the free market, is primary. On the other hand, for liberals, outcomes may be more important. And liberals, unlike conservatives, do not equate market freedom with political freedom. Indeed, liberals may see them as sometimes contradictory.

  • drhagedorn

    Dear sinz54,

    I have read this several times, and I have no clue where you (Americans) get it from – so let me say this once loud and clear (I’ll use all caps):

    SWEDEN IS NOT A SOCIALIST COUNTRY!

    And it never was. Right now it is parliamentary constitutional monarchy, a trait it has in common for example with the UK. If you look up wikipedia’s list of scocialist countries you will not find Sweden among them, you will find it among the countries listed as liberal democracies, where you will also find the United States.

    However, as Sweden has been governed for long stretches of its history by the major “left” party (currently they are not in power) you might make a case, that this makes the country “socialist”. The awkward fact that gets in the way of this reasoning is, that Sweden’s left party isn’t a even a socialist party – they are Social Democrats.

    And yes, it does make a difference!

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    [...] posts since Monday under the headline “Quit Whining.” In the first he wrote, “The apocalyptic despair heard from today’s conservatives is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong as a description of [...]

  • Morning Skim: Iraq Attacks, Stock Signals, Conservative Despair and more - The Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com

    [...] posts since Monday under the headline “Quit Whining.” In the first he wrote, “The apocalyptic despair heard from today’s conservatives is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong as a description of [...]

  • In Case You Missed It: Best Reads of the Week on Whining Conservatives, Internet Battles, Peru, The Single Life, and the Unborn - 2parse

    [...] Whiny Conservatives. David Frum scolds conservatives for  quite whining and points out how silly they look doing so given how far the conservative movement has moved [...]

  • Don’t Give Up On The U.S. « economics

    [...] shares this pessimism, albeit for different reasons. With Obama and the Democrats in power, many conservatives, including such keen observers as Charles Krauthammer and Victor Davis Hanson, believe the country [...]