I’ve just finished watching HBO’s John Adams and it is really great. I think they focused a bit too much on some not so relevant details about John Adams’ personal life (especially in the last 2 episodes) and they could have explored more his fall out with Jefferson. But overall it is a great miniseries and well worth the time and money for anyone interested in the roots of this country.
One point I thought was particularly interesting and well portrayed was how the political scene changed as soon as the war for independence was over. Even though HBO focused on Adams’ anti-war stance, which currently is identified with the left, it is clear how Adams (along with Washington) represents the right side of the spectrum at that point while Jefferson was surely to the left. It reminded me of something I mentioned before: even though political positions change over time, it is amazing how the left and right differ in personality and demeanor.
I think it’s really silly how lefties are now gloating about the intervention of the American government in the economy. I mean, the joke is really on both sides: conservatives who said Bush was great clearly need to re-evaluate Bush or their ideology – and the same applies to lefties who declared Bush the worst President ever.
At least for me, what is happening now is not really the confirmation or destruction of any ideology. Yes, Bush’s intervention can be characterized as lefty but the causes for the crisis are still undefined. Lack of regulation seems dubious since highly regulated firms (like FNM and FRE) failed while highly unregulated hedge funds didn’t.
Also, it is worth remembering that some of the reasons the crisis is not as bad as it could be can be credited to right wing policies. Globalization is allowing the economy to keep growing through exports despite of internal turmoil. Floating currency exchange also plays a big part on that.
Anyone who knows any history knows that this is not the first time the right wing tries some policy proposed by lefties; and the opposite is true also (ask Bill Clinton). Some work, some don’t: Nixon imposed price controls with disastrous consequences and that was the end of that.
Besides, it’s not like Bush was a perfect conservative before this intervention (his Medicare Drug Benefit May Cost $1.2 Trillion – much more than what this bail out could ever cost)
I shouldn’t be surprised that the left is now saying that this is the crisis that will “destroy the conservative movement”. They love drama and exaggeration. I try to show how silly this is but really is beyond me to care too much.
The truth is that American conservatives, regardless of the current political positions being defended, are by definition anti-government. If the current bail out works, new ideas to prevent this situation to ever happen will come up. Maybe the net involvement of government will be less if regulation increases? Who knows… The point is that just because we might need more government now doesn’t mean we will settle for more government indefinitely.
Quoting from Adams’ friend Washington:
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”