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Classical Liberalism

From  Jonah Goldberg in National Review, When We Say ‘Conservative,’ We Mean . . .

America’s founding doctrine is properly understood as classical liberalism — or until the progressives stole the label, simply “liberalism.” Until socialism burst on the scene in Europe, liberalism was universally understood as the opposite of conservatism. That’s because European conservatism sought to defend and maintain monarchy, aristocracy, and even feudalism. The American Founding, warts and all, was the apotheosis of classical liberalism, and conservatism here has always been about preserving it. That’s why Friedrich Hayek, in his fantastic — and fantastically misunderstood — essay “Why I am Not a Conservative” could say that America was the one polity where one could be a conservative and a defender of the liberal tradition.

It’s also why I have no problem with people who say that American conservatism is simply classical liberalism. As a shorthand, that’s fine by me.

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Marco’s Boat


From National Review, Kevin Williamson, Envying Marco Rubio:


Marco Rubio, according to that last surviving bastion of pure Yankee bigotry, the New York Times, has financial problems. What are those problems? He managed a $300,000-plus annual income and an $800,000 book advance in a way that was — get this! — different from the way a New York Times reporter might have. Thus we were treated to the spectacle of Michael Barbaro of the Times writing, no doubt from the study of his $1.1 million New York City apartment, about the fact that Rubio “spent heavily” by buying a house in Miami that cost half of what Barbaro’s apartment did. Rubio also leased an Audi and kept his four children in parochial schools. Because you know how those flashy Latin arrivistes are: always trying to impress their historical betters with their “meticulously manicured shrubs and oversize windows,”

The Rubio story is not about where Marco Rubio is, socially and financially. It’s about where he is from and where he is going. That’s the source of resentment. You see this all the time, if you know where to look for it: The chairman of a college department is steamed that he has to suck up to a man with a dozen successful car dealerships when he wants a new building to house his prestigious department of lesbian basketweaving grievance studies. “Why should that guy make 40 times what I do? Think about my value to society! Think about how important my work is! Look at his big, ugly house and his car that cost more than I make in a year — he does all the wrong things with his money!” Nobody blinks an eye at John Kerry’s yacht.

He (Rubio)  bought a boat. Deal with it, you upright, ridiculous, short-panted, ninnified Manhattan thumbsuckers in your million-dollar rat’s-nest apartments.

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A Political Project


Rupert Darwall writes in The National Review,  On Climate, Science and Politics Are Diverging


Predictions of an ice-free North Pole are frequently accompanied by warnings of climate-change tipping points, tripping the planet into uncharted — and, by implication, scary — climate scenarios. A new paper by two scientists at the Scripps Institution suggests that previous concern about the irreversibility of the melting of the Arctic ice cap left out two key physical processes that had led previous studies to spuriously identify a tipping point that did not correspond to the real world.

Global warming is preeminently a political project. On Tuesday, the leaders of France and Germany met to set a goal for the December climate summit in Paris: to fully decarbonize the world economy by the end of the century. It required, Angela Merkel and François Hollande declared, “a profound transformation of the world economy and society.” The role of experts is to provide a scientific consensus to support the drumbeat of alarm. When the president of America declares climate change an immediate threat to national security and accuses skeptics of “negligence” and “dereliction of duty,” scientific skepticism becomes an enemy of the state. The shrillness of the president’s rhetoric draws attention to the weakness of the science. The true believers have given up trying to win over the undecided.

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A Long Tradition of Existence


Jonah Goldberg in The National Review writes Will Hillary’s Accomplishment Deficit Be Her Undoing


So, the best case for her is that she weathered a lot of scandals and, to borrow Robert Hoover’s defense of the Delta Tau Chi fraternity in Animal House, Hillary Clinton has “a long tradition of existence.”

Supporters also said she knows how to get stuff done but can’t name anything she’s actually, you know, done. This is like praising a coach for knowing how to win football games but not being able to cite any actual wins.

In fairness to them, Clinton can’t name anything significant she did as secretary of state either — because she didn’t do anything very significant.

The consensus inside the Beltway is that this isn’t a big problem for Clinton. I’m not so sure.

Swing voters put more emphasis on particular personalities. They also put a premium on their own self-conception as independent thinkers. Thus, they give a lot of weight to things like accomplishments, if for no other reason than to justify their “swing voterness.” If neither Clinton nor her fans can offer evidence she’s effective, that could hurt her among swing voters in swing states.

And that’s why the 2016 election will be an ugly affair. Going by her own fan base in Iowa, Clinton is not a fresh face. She has more baggage than the luggage-claim level at O’Hare Airport. Her record amounts to surviving scandals, many of her own making. Her most compelling selling point is that she’s a woman. And her strategists have decided she needs to energize the “Obama coalition” of low-information voters.

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Climate McCarthyism


from A Shameful Climate Witch Hunt by Rich Lowry in The Wall Street Journal

Let the climate inquisition begin. The ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, has written to seven universities about seven researchers who harbor impure thoughts about climate change. One of the targets is Steven Hayward, an author and academic now at Pepperdine University. As Hayward puts it, the spirit of the inquiry is, “Are you now or have you ever been a climate skeptic?”

Soon’s lapse aside, the assumption of Grijalva’s fishing expedition is that anyone who questions global-warming orthodoxy is a greedy tool of Big Oil and must be harried in the name of planetary justice and survival.

Science as an enterprise usually doesn’t need political enforcers. But proponents of a climate alarmism that demands immediate action to avert worldwide catastrophe won’t and can’t simply let the science speak for itself.

Consider the plight of Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado Boulder, who has done work on extreme weather. He, too, is on the receiving end of one of Grijalva’s letters. At first blush, Pielke seems a most unlikely target. It’s not that he doubts climate change, or even doubts that it could be harmful. His offense is merely pointing to data showing that extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and droughts haven’t yet been affected by climate change. This is enough to enrage advocates who need immediate disasters as a handy political cudgel.

It can’t be Apocalypse 100 Years From Now; it has to be Apocalypse Now.

It has to be counted a small victory in this project that Pielke will no longer be an obstacle. Citing his harassment, Pielke has sworn off academic work on climate issues. And so the alarmists have hounded a serious researcher out of the climate business. All hail science! The other day, the head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, quit amid a sexual-harassment scandal and noted in his letter of resignation: “For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion.”

Is it too much to ask that the man in charge of a project supposedly marshaling the best scientific evidence for the objective consideration of a highly complex and contested phenomenon not feel that he has a religious commitment to a certain outcome?

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