Kategoriarkiv: Fra Redaktionen

Dagens citat: Regeringen som socialdemokratiske administratorer

Fra en ideologisk taler i dag:

"Sidder de slet og ret i deres ministerbiler og ved, at de kan være forvaltere af det socialdemokratiske velfærdssamfund og ikke en tøddel mere? …  Ideologi er ikke noget man skal skamme sig over eller erklære stendød," sagde han med henvisning til tidligere statsminister Poul Schlüters bemærkning om at ideologi er noget bras. "Schlüter erklærede ideologien for stendød – det lader til at de borgerlige har taget det til efterretning".

Hvem mon sagde det?  Søren Pind? Jacob Axel Nielsen? Martin Ågerup?  Christopher Arzrouni?  Læs svaret her hos 180grader.

Velkommen til ny Punditokrat

Her på nippet til weekenden har vi den store fornøjelse at sige velkommen til en ny Punditokrat, Jonny Trapp Steffensen. Jonny er tidligere adjunkt i EU studier ved Handelshøjskolen, Århus Universitet, men har fornylig forladt elfenbenstårnet til fordel for en større dansk erhvervsvirksomhed. Vi lender Jonny som en dygtig og tænksom fyr med spændende synspunkter, og glæder os til at læse hans indlæg i fremtiden!

Ugens citat: Dave Barry om frihed

På det amerikanske Marquette University har institutlederen for Dept. of Philosophy, James South, beordret en ph.d. studerende, Stuart Ditsler, til at fjerne et “patently offensive” citat, som den studerende havde placeret på sin kontordør på instituttet.  Citatet var af den meget vittige amerikanske humorist (og libertarianer) Dave Barry, som er forfatter til bl.a. bestsellerne Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A Vicious and Unprovoked Attack on Our Most Cherished Political Institutions (2002), Dave Barry Slept Here og utallige morsomme klummer.  Citatet lød sådan:

“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless.  I refer, of course, to the federal government.”

Så meget for “academic free speech”.  Mere her fra Cato Institute.

Ugens citat: Peggy Noonan om Bush & State-of-the-Union

Den tidligere præsidentielle taleskriver Peggy Noonan fabulerer i sin ugentlige WSJ-klumme over, hvordan det mon i disse dage går med skrivningen af Bushs State-of-the-Union tale til kongressen onsdag, og hun nærmer sig et eksistentialistisk øjeblik:

"The small things are overthought. The big things are underthought. This is the way of government."

Resten af klummen er her.

Ugens citat: Schlüter (den gamle ideolog) om AFR

Fhv. statsminister Poul Schlüter har de sidste fem-seks år arbejdet beundringsværdigt på at få nogle af os til at glemme, at det var ham, der i sin tid sagde, at “ideologi er noget bras”.  (Faktisk brugte han i originalformuleringen et andet fire-bogstavsord, men det kom ikke med i det kendte interview i Berlingske.)

Og det gør han godt.  Her er den forgangne uges sammenkædning af den halvvidenskabelige meningsmåling fra A4/Epinion med spørgsmålet om regeringens ophørsudsalgs-linie (inkl. det reelt slet skjulte spark til Bendt Bendtsen og den nuværende konservative partiledelse):

“Hvis man opgiver sine tidligere synspunkter, som man er kendt for, og som man har stået for i en generation eller to, så skaber det forvirring hos vælgerne. De tænker, “når de borgerlige politikere ikke vil have deres holdninger længere, så skal jeg vel heller ikke have dem”.

PS. Schlüter foreslog iøvrigt ca. 1980 en fusion af V og K under navnet “Det Liberale Folkeparti”.  Se dét kunne have været interessant – eller det modsatte …

Guest comment: Politics rather than policy

We are happy to bring a guest comment on the US Mid-Term elections. Today’s  guest commentator is David Pontoppidan, who studies sociology and is research assistant at CEPOS.

Politics rather than policy
By David Pontoppidan

There has been much debate on the result and outcome of the US midterm elections since the Democrats took back Congress last week. What effect will their sweeping victory have on the upcoming presidential election in 2008? And with Nancy ‘Perilous’ Pelosi as speaker of the House, what impact will the election result have on US policy? According to John Fortier, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who visited Denmark last week, the impact on US policy will be minimal, but the result on US politics overwhelming. This was his main point at the meeting held last Monday by the Danish free-market think tank CEPOS.

It’s important here to distinguish between the difference in meaning of policy and politics. Policy consists of setting forth actual bill proposals and engaging in bipartisan settlements. In other words what politics should be all about. Politics in reality, however, is all the rest: investigative committees with unfavourable witnesses, filibusters and philandering, accusations and double standards. According to John Fortier, this will be the primary effect of the Democratic victory. With the 2008 elections being so open, Nancy Pelosi’s promises of bipartisan cooperation will soon drown in the presidential campaign from both camps, regardless of what she may say or think. The result of which will be more politics, and less policy. Donald Rumsfeld and UN Ambassador John Bolton may be the first casualties of the midterm elections, but Pelosi could be the first in 2008.

I took the liberty during John Fortier’s lecture to mention some historical events that may prove this thesis wrong. E.g., after the midterm elections in 1986, during Reagan’s second presidential term, the democrats had majority in both House and Senate, and through various committees investigated the Iran-contra scandal, tried to push own issues through and worked against Reagan’s agenda. The result, two years later, was Walter Mondale running against George Bush Sr., an election the Democrats will be highly unlikely to try and repeat in ‘08. And after Nancy Pelosi having to promise on live television that the democrats won’t impeach President Bush, as if this was something fairly common, the danger of a “showdown” is definitely present. The question is if the Democrats will wait until 2008 before they draw arms.

“I would think that every Democrat has been reading up on how Newt Gingrich took back Congress in ’94 with his ‘Contract with America'”, says John Fortier. Pelosi has been compared to Gingrich, in spite of their difference in opinion but because of similar style. Yet opinion polls taken immediately before the midterm elections in ’94, show that only 16% of the American public had a negative view of Newt Gingrich. The following April, it was almost 40%! As former top aide to President Clinton, Paul Begala put it in the International Herald Tribune, Whitehouse spokesperson under Clinton put it, “We pushed it, but Newt did most of it to himself”. Nancy Pelosi may prove more perilous to herself than the Republican Party if she decides to continue down this path.

These are all good indicators that the Democrats should favour of a more bipartisan Congress the next two years, John Fortier agrees. But they won’t. Mainly because there is one major difference. In 1988 you had a former Vice President who was running for office. In 1994 you had President Clinton preparing for re-election, and the Republicans wanting to hold on to power. The presidential race in 2008 will be very different, because it’s so open. Dick Cheney isn’t running for office, and since the midterm elections were decided on the question of Iraq, it’s very unlikely that Condoleezza Rice will be running as well, as a colleague of John Fortier, Joshua Muravchik, recently put it. The Republicans have been looking for the Ken-doll of conservative politics, a good middle-of-the-road conservative, ever since this became apparent. One such Republican, former Senator George Allen from Virginia, who has previously been mentioned on this blog as a possible candidate, struck out in the midterm elections, and thereby lost his presidential chances according to Fortier. The same goes for the former senator of Montana. There is no obvious heir to the throne in the GOP, and the same can partly be said of the Democrats.

Whether this is a good thing or not remains open to debate. For those hoping for a Democratic revolution similar to the Republican revolution in ’94, prospects may be dim. For those hoping for actual policy-change, the same can be said. Instead, Fortier predicts, the debate will be heated, while the actual policy will be on hold until 2008, even though this may harm Democratic chances in ’08. As the Daily Telegraph reported the day after John Fortier’s meeting, George McGovern, the Democrat 1972 presidential anti-war candidate who lost a landslide victory to Richard Nixon, will be addressing more than 60 senate- and house-representatives next week on the issue of Iraq, not to mention John Myrtha, an outspoken anti-war senator whom Pelosi is backing as future Senate Majority Whip. A clear example that gives credence to Fortier’s theory of a heated political debate that won’t result in actual policy.

As William Kristol of the Weekly Standard put it, the election was won on dissatisfaction with the strategy for victory in Iraq, not for withdrawal. “Staying the course” is obviously no longer an option for President Bush. But while the debate in Congress may heat up and the filibusters increase, withdrawal is unrealistic.

The most important factor in American politics at the moment is the X-factor. Who will be the candidates in 2008? And can an incumbent senator really win the Presidential election for the first time since John F. Kennedy? First of all, the challenges for a senator-would-be-president, who suddenly has to balance a budget, rather than increase it, seem clear. Furthermore, a Clinton or a Bush has been on the presidential ticket for the last 25 years. Will the Americans continue this trend?

If both Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton are left out as obvious candidates, we may be witness to one of the most exciting and unpredictable presidential races in US history – but for now it’s politics, rather than policy.

Ugens citat: Bistrup om smagsneutralitet

Annelise Bistrup har denne fornøjelige passage i sin søndags-klumme i Jyllands-Posten:

"[På Venstres landsmøde] skal man vedtage en ny trosbekendelse, der er spiselig for det flertal af vælgere, der skal holde regeringen ved magten.

Efter at have studeret røgen fra konciliet og uden at foregribe begivenhederne i kongrescentret i Odense kunne søndagens tekst for rettroende medlemmer af Ny-Venstre lyde sådan her:

»Vi tror på den hellige, almindelige velfærdsstat. Vi tror på den offentlige sektor og al dens væsen. Vi tror på skattestoppet og 24-års-reglen. Og vi forsager brugerbetaling, ulighed, Cepos-økonomer og Søren Pind.«

»Ideologi er noget bras,« som en forhenværende statsminister en gang sagde.

Venstres statsminister har endnu ikke sagt det, men det kommer nok: Liberalisme er noget bras. Og de, der stadig tror på de gamle guder, skal have skyllet munden.

For eksempel yngre Venstre-løver som Søren Pind, Peter Christensen og Edith Thingstrup, der har foreslået, at væksten i den offentlige sektor til enhver tid skal være lavere end i den private sektor.

Gammelt liberalt tankegods? »Nej ikke mere,« bjæffede indpiskeren i liberalisme-light, Claus Hjort Frederiksen. »I er ude af trit med virkeligheden og ude af trit med Venstre.«

Fremtidens politik er smagsneutral."

Ugens citat: Dennis Miller om narkotika-forbud

Her på stedet har vi tidligere citeret en af USA’s morsomste komikere, den krypto-libertære skuespiller Dennis Miller.  Det kan man næsten ikke gøre for tit, for hans kombination af metaforer, politik og politisk ukorrekte grovheder er som regel ret morsom.  Så her er en af hans kendte, såkaldte “rants”, denne gang om “the war on drugs”:

“Maybe he [the drug user] deserves a second chance, I mean who did he really hurt besides himself? Maybe it’s time that we as a nation start staying out of people’s personal problems and vices. What are we doing spending billions of dollars trying to keep people’s private lives in order?

And I’m talking about legal age consenting adults here, not kids, we
obviously have to take special precautions to protect kids. But what is this Orwellian hang-up of ours of sticking our nose into other
grown-up’s affairs? What concern is it of ours if some mindless stoner wants to spend his his life hooked up to a Turkish skull bong?

Now, I’m not pro-drug, they obviously cause a lot of damage, but I am pro-logic and you’re never going to stop the human need for release through altered consciousness. The government can take away all the drugs in the world and people will just spin around on their lawn until they fell down and saw God.

Now I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but it seems to really enrage the vast cheese dog and beer quaffing nation out there when someone decides to waste his own life chasing down chemical euphoria and I’m not sure why. Our displeasure with someone hell-bent on self-ruination through drug use seems really disproportionate to its direct impact on us. And as a matter of fact, I believe we amplify that impact when we attempt to enforce unenforceable laws. It not only costs us billions of dollars, but it puts us in harms way as addicts are driven to crime as a means to an end. Why do we chase druggies down like villagers after Karlov? Let them legally have what they already have and defuse the bomb. You know, I think the hysteria about drugs is often times baseless.

And this comes from me, a man who has never done cocaine in his life, although I did smoke dope upon occasion during my stint as a student at Oxford in the late 60s. And you know, the war on drugs is more often than not fruitless and patently hypocritical, be honest with yourselves now.

What drugs are the most dangerous to the most Americans? Its a no brainer: cigarettes and alcohol. Those are the statistical champions by hundreds of thousands of deaths. And wouldn’t you rather shoot a game of pool with a guy smoking a joint than a guy drinking whisky and beer? Someone smoking a joint doesn’t all of the sudden rear back and stab his partner in the eye socket with a cue stick, ok? He’s too busy laughing at the balls.

And you know as far as harder drugs go, if somebody wants to shoot up and die right in front of you, more power to him, you know? It’s his call. And you know the herd always has a way of thinning itself out. We aren’t stupid people here in America, no more than anyone else in the world, so why are we obsessing on habits that harm no one but the habitual, while we let real problems slip ever further out of reach. We seem to be willfully turning away from reality, and from logic might I add, to punish people, who in many instances are doing an extremely fine job of punishing themselves, thank you. And in some cases they’re not even punishing themselves, but rather just following age old spawning instincts that are as woven as deeply into their brain as their need to watch Home Improvement.”

Imod panikmagerne

Da der øjensynligt har været problemer med adgangen til David Gress’ indlæg, bringer vi det her igen fra redaktionen:

Blandt de adskillige udmærkede og hårdtslående kritikker af den tendentiøse Stern-rapport om global opvarming, som Information skadefro publicerede hovedkonklusionerne af på dansk, glæder denne mig i særlig grad da den skyldes min gamle studiekammerat Chris Monckton.

Et par citater (med indbygget link til tabeller og udregninger):

Sir Nicholas Stern’s report on the economics of climate change, which was published last week, says that the debate is over. It isn’t. There are more greenhouse gases in the air than there were, so the world should warm a bit, but that’s as far as the “consensus” goes. After the recent hysteria, you may not find the truth easy to believe. So you can find all my references and detailed calculations here.

The Royal Society says there’s a worldwide scientific consensus. It brands Apocalypse-deniers as paid lackeys of coal and oil corporations.

The oceans, we’re now told, are acting as a giant heat-sink. In these papers the well-known, central flaw (not mentioned by Stern) is that the computer models’ “predictions” of past ocean temperature changes only approach reality if they are averaged over a depth of at least a mile and a quarter.

Deep-ocean temperature hasn’t changed at all, it’s barely above freezing. The models tend to over-predict the warming of the climate-relevant surface layer up to threefold. A recent paper by John Lyman, of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, reports that the oceans have cooled sharply in the past two years. The computers didn’t predict this. Sea level is scarcely rising faster today than a century ago: an inch every 15 years. Hansen now says that the oceanic “flywheel effect” gives us extra time to act, so Stern’s alarmism is misplaced.

Finally, the UN’s predictions are founded not only on an exaggerated forcing-to-temperature conversion factor justified neither by observation nor by physical law, but also on an excessive rate of increase in airborne carbon dioxide. The true rate is 0.38 per cent year on year since records began in 1958. The models assume 1 per cent per annum, more than two and a half times too high. In 2001, the UN used these and other adjustments to predict a 21st-century temperature increase of 1.5 to 6C. Stern suggests up to 10C.

Und so weiter und so fort.  Læs det hele. Vi glæder os til

Next week (hvor Monckton vil) demonstrate the atrocious economic, political and environmental cost of the high-tax, zero-freedom, bureaucratic centralism implicit in Stern’s report; I’ll compare the global-warming scare with previous sci-fi alarums; and I’ll show how the environmentalists’ “precautionary principle” (get the state to interfere now, just in case) is killing people.

Her er iøvrigt Nigel Lawsons demolition af Stern; fyldigere version kommer senere fra Centre for Policy Studies.

Men se om Connie Hedegaard eller den nykonverterede grønne Fogh vil høre efter.  Nej, de vil hellere spilde penge og gøre deres hoser grønne (pardon!) hos meningsmagerne.

To Kill a Journalist: Guest comment by Samuel Rachlin

For the benefit of both our Danish and our foreign readers, we are proud to bring a guest commentary on the death of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Our guest commentator today is one of the most distinguished and respected Danish journalists, Samuel Rachlin.

By Samuel Rachlin

COPENHAGEN Anna, Anna, I did not get to call you last time I was in Moscow, and now no cell phone can reach you. I am looking at your phone numbers and e-mail address in my PDA and think of all the occasions in the past when I called you to ask for your advice or ask you to let me interview you on camera. I am not deleting your name or numbers and will keep you alive digitally like, I assume, hundreds of your other colleagues and friends around the world, to stay connected with you and preserve the illusion about you as an active contact, source or colleague – beyond our reach.

You were always busy with your next story or your family and you could come across as absentminded and stressed when you guided us through the piles of papers and books piled everywhere in the usual chaos of your typical Moscow apartment. But you always were ready to share your time and knowledge and advice with a smile and a mixture of amazement and patience when you were confronted with a foreign correspondent’s naiveté or lack of understanding for the realities of your country.

I have to confess that where we practice our professional duties it is difficult to relate to a reality where you kill a journalist, gun her down like a snitch because you don’t like her work or perhaps fear what her revelations can lead to. There is a long distance between the reality of one of our popular TV shows, “Crazy with Dance”, and the reality of a Russian journalist who can pay with her life for her word.

I don’t know if you were crazy with dance, I don’t even know if you knew this entertainment program at all. But I know that you were crazy with truth. You wanted to get to the very core of it without any compromise and at any price – even the highest. You got to pay that price last Saturday when you met your fate in that elevator and your killer finished your most important story – your life. Probably, you did not see him because he shot you in the back with three shots and one to your head, the control shot as they say in Russian, to make sure that you would die.

That’s how your narrative ended, Anna, and I think it’s fair to say that you were not surprised. You had often told your friends that you had received death threats, that you felt you were in danger and that somebody was trying to get you killed. The best known case was the attempt at your life when you were poisoned on board the plane en route to Beslan to cover the hostage drama. You never made it to Beslan and doctors had to do their utmost to save your life.

That did not make you change you workings habits or style. You did not give it a thought that you could move to another country and take advantage of the fact that you were so famous now that there would be no lack of job offers. But you wanted to pursue what you had set out to do – to tell the world about the state’s crimes in Chechnya, the violation of human rights all over Russia, abuse of power in the Kremlin and the rampant corruption in all layers and corners of the society,. You were not driven by any death wish. You loved life and admitted readily that you were afraid. But there was no alternative for you. You knew better than most what Putin’s Russia has to offer journalists who do not follow directions and keep challenging the system and the authorities.

Freedom of expression has been constrained all over Russia in the past six years and the media are, like in Soviet times, increasingly being used as an instrument or a weapon in the service of government. Like in Orwell’s “1984” prison is freedom, darkness is light, lying is truth. Your life is at stake when you choose reporter as your profession in Russia.

A Russian poet, Osip Mandelstam, said in the 30’ies that nowhere are poets as important as in Russia. Only in Russia poets are being killed. And yes, Mandelstam was killed. Today you can say that nowhere are journalists as important as in Russia. Only in Russia, journalists are being killed. 12 journalists have been killed in Russia under Putin. You became the 13th.

Anna, you knew, of course, which powers you were challenging when you said that Chechny’a young prime minister, Ramzan Kadyrov is “a state level bandit” and that his appointment was one of  President Putin’s most tragic mistakes. When you met your killer last Saturday you were working on a story about how Kadyrov and his men use torture, abductions and killings against unwanted people in Chechnya. You said you had pictures to document your charges. Your article was to be published last Monday. Instead, your paper published your obituary.

Moscow is awash with rumors and speculation about who took out a contract on you. There is the Chechen trace, assumptions about the Kremlin’s interest in getting rid of you, suspicion of some Neo-Nazi connection and all kinds of other theories. The fact of the matter is that, like in all the preceding killings of this kind, it will never be established who killed you.

The journalist who would be the best to investigate and establish who, what and why would, of course, have been you. Your paper has started its own investigation, but I am sure that it all will be in vain. Even if a Russian court some day will sentence someone as the killer the truth will never surface. You can catch and jail someone, but how do you catch and sentence a system that has made it possible to hire a killer to eliminate a journalist.

Today’s Russia is basking in its oil money and the sense that its great power dreams are within reach again. For the Kremlin, the killing of a journalist is a deplorable even tragic act. But it does not call for a quick reaction. It took President Putin three days to condemn your killing, Anna. But he added that your influence on the political life was insignificant and that your killing was far more damaging to the Kremlin than any of your articles.

More interestingly, Putin said that he knew there were forces that want to exploit your killing to damage Russia’s interests in the world. I can hear how you laugh at this suggestion and how you will cut to the bone withy this analysis: “Putin never could use me for anything when I was alive, but now he will use my death to tighten the screws even more and do away with what is left of freedom of expression in Russia. Just wait and see.”

Anna, the problem for us and all your Russian colleagues now is who is going to tell the Kremlin that Putin and his men with all their financial prowess and power must understand that there is one loss which the new Russia cannot afford: you and your courage, tall, slim, upright Anna.

Ugens citat: Tierney om pager

New York Times’ fortrinlige, klassisk-liberale klumme-skribent John Tierney (som vi omtalte allerede tidligt i denne blogs første levetid) har denne spidse kommentar til den dagsaktuelle sex-skandalen i USA’s kongres:

“Suppose Nike’s founder, Phil Knight, asked taxpayers to subsidize a program for 16-year-olds to leave their homes to become “squires” running errands at Nike headquarters. Or suppose, before his death, Sam Walton had asked Congress to build a dormitory in Arkansas to house teenage “serfs” spending a semester away from their schools to work on a Wal-Mart loading dock.

These executives would become national jokes. They’d be denounced for trying to revive 19th-century child-labor practices and 12th-century feudalism. There would be no public money appropriated for Knight’s Squires or Sam’s Serfs.

Yet Congress sees nothing strange about dragging teenagers from their families and schools to become pages, one step below a squire in the feudal food chain. They’re not being forced to wear Prince Valiant haircuts, but they have to do scut work that’s probably even less useful than what they could learn at Nike or Wal-Mart.

Congressional pages spend much of their time hand-delivering documents, a job that’s done electronically in most 21st-century institutions. When educators talk about preparing youth for jobs in the Information Age, they’re not talking about training messengers.

The justification for the page program is that it gives teenagers an insider’s glimpse of how Congress works. But why disillusion them at such a tender age? If they stayed in school, they could maintain their innocence by reading the old step-by-step textbook version of how a bill becomes law. By going to Capitol Hill, they see how the process has changed:

1. A bill is introduced to build highways.

2. A congressman receives a donation from a constituent who wants to open a go-kart track.

3. The congressman persuades his committee chairman to slip in a $350 million “earmark” for an “alternative sustainable transportation research facility” in his district.

4. The chairman quietly adds similar earmarks for all members of the committee.

5. The bill is passed unanimously.

6. The president complains about the “wasteful spending” but signs it into law anyway.

7. The congressman attends a fund-raiser at the new go-kart track.

What lesson has the page learned? That Congress is the closest thing in modern America to a medieval court: an enclave governed by arcane ancient rules of seniority, a gathering of nobles who spend their days accepting praise and dispensing favors to supplicants.

They’re so secure in their jobs, and so used to being surrounded by groveling minions, that they assume the privileges of feudal lords when dealing with pages and other lieges. Which is why, on occasion, they try to exercise the droit du seigneur.”

Ugens citat: Geertsen om Venstre, skat og midten

Søren Pinds efterfølger som den politiske leder af Venstre i København, kulturborgmester Martin Geertsen, har i mange år været at finde på, hvad der vel bedst kan kaldes den liberale fløj indenfor Venstre.  Det må så være slut fra dd., hvor Geertsen i Berlingske Tidende tager den neo-Foghske logik til kommunalpolitik:

"Vi skal være et midterparti, og vi skal søge indflydelsen - også selv om det kommer til at gøre ondt – af den simple grund, at vores vælgere vil se konkrete politiske resultater. … Hvis du vil, kan du sikkert finde en eller to, som til hver en tid vil foretrække ideologien frem for resultaterne. … Kvaliteten af de offentlige tilbud skal være i orden, inden vi begynder at snakke om skattelettelser. …  Det kommer selvfølgelig til at tage tid, og derfor er det ikke aktuelt at snakke om lavere skat".

Så er dét da sat på plads.

Årets citat: Anders Fogh Rasmussen om værdikampen

I et iøvrigt i mange henseender særdeles bemærkelsesværdigt interview med statsminister Anders Fogh Rasmussen i denne uges Weekendavisen, “Afsked med en isme”, fremstår én udtalelse særligt instruktiv, nemlig mandens opsummering af status p.t. for hans ideologiske ambitioner med regeringens “værdikamp” (eller “kulturkamp”):

“Jeg har nået, hvad jeg gerne ville.”

Det var da godt at få slået fast.

PS. Vi må simpelthen have et citat mere fra interviewet:

– Det lyder mere som noget fornuftigt pedelarbejde i velfærdsbygningen end som et borgerligt liberalt regerings-projekt. Er det ikke et udtryk for, at du har aflivet den klassiske liberalisme, som – sagde du under valgkampen – hører fortiden til?

»Det jeg ville sige dengang var blot, at liberalisme for mig mere et livssyn end en isme. Når vi siger: »mennesket fremfor systemet,« er det, fordi vi netop tager vores udgangspunkt i det enkelte menneske. Og vi lader os ikke snøre ind af ismernes bånd. Jeg har aldrig taget afstand fra begrebet liberalisme, men jeg har forsøgt at kvalificere det ved at sige, at man som liberal skal passe på, at man ikke bliver så grebet af ismen, at man glemmer mennesket. Og derfor må det være sådan, at hvis man faktisk kan se, at det enkelte menneske får større frihed ved, at vi gør nogle ting i fællesskab, er det ikke i modstrid med en liberal tankegang, men tværtimod i overensstemmelse med en liberal tankegang. Og det er det, jeg kalder moderne liberalisme. Og det er det, som det nye Venstre står for. En moderne fællesskabsorienteret tankegang, hvor fællesskabet ikke er indrettet på at begrænse det enkelte menneskes frihed, men på at fremme den.«

Papirsposen kan findes i holderen i stolen foran Dem …

Punditokraterne i medierne II

Dagens Berlingske Tidende bringer i dag hvad man måske bedst kan beskrive som et ‘portræt’ af Punditokraterne. Under overskriften “Professor-bloggeren” har Bent Blüdnikow interviewet undertegnede redaktør og – synes jeg – givet en positiv og passende indgang til vores blog. Han skriver blandt andet at:

Bloggen »Punditokraterne« havde blandt initiativtagerne tre professorer af borgerlig observans. Men »Punditokraterne« er ikke kun seriøs – den kan tillige være polemisk skarp.

Hele artiklen kan læses her.

Ugens citat: WSJ om "The Fabulous Castro Boys"

Wall Street Journal har onsdag en fortræffelig leder, “The Fabulous Castro Boys “, om Fidel Castro, hans broder, den designerede arvtager, Raúl, og Cubas fremtid.  Der er flere perler imellem, bl.a. (med fremh. tilføjet):

“Fidel is not only the longest-reigning dictator in the history of the modern world; he is also the archetype of the paranoid communist micromanager. He is known to be ruthless, insecure and distrustful, to the point of executing ideological allies suspected of disloyalty. He has also been obsessed with anti-Americanism for more than a half-century. If Cubans are malnourished and the country resembles a rundown 1950s’ museum, so be it. Fidel has been more interested in his legacy as the revolutionary who stood up to the imperialists. The odd admiration for his handiwork among many on the U.S. left–he may be a dictator but the health care is good!–is a mystery of our time.

Enter Raúl, five years younger than Fidel, and, historically, every bit as dedicated to the revolution. During their exile in Mexico in the 1950s, Raúl was the brother who befriended Che Guevara and he encouraged the adoption of a communist hard-line in 1960. Beginning in Mexico and especially when consolidating power after they overthrew Batista in 1959, Raúl did the bulk of Fidel’s political dirty work.

And yet, despite this brutal past, Raúl is now widely thought to be the reformer. Some of this is relative, given the harshness of his narcissistic older brother. But Cuba watchers say that Raúl has been known to express concern for the suffering of the Cuban people under the current system and has been a consistent voice for economic change.

As minister of defense, Raúl has also been in charge of the military which owns and profits from the most lucrative businesses in Cuba, particularly tourism. He has undoubtedly noticed how China’s military has prospered from creeping market liberalization. Should the U.S. trade embargo be lifted, he knows that he and his cadre of raulistas would be the immediate beneficiaries.

Whether it comes sooner or later, Fidel Castro’s death will be a moment of hope for the liberation of an island that was once a jewel of the Americas. If Raúl wants to go there, the U.S. ought to help show him the way.”

Ugens citat: En økonom om The Economist, kapitalisme og filantropi

Her på stedet synes vi endog ganske godt om det hæderkronede engelske ugeskrift The Economist.  Men selv det blad kan (en sjælden gang imellem) skrive noget sludder, og så er det godt, at der findes en ph.d. studerende i økonomi fra George Mason University, der kan gøre redaktionen opmærksom på det.  Isaac DiIanni havde i den forgangne uge denne kommentar til en artikel om Bill Gates’ og Warren Buffets filantropi:

Sir –

In praising Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and others for their philanthropy, you endorse the view that capitalism’s winners should “use some of their wealth to compensate the losers” (“Billanthropy,” July 1st). Innovators like Mr Gates make money by serving their customers, who also gain from the exchange. The idea that wealth creators have a duty to “give back” betrays a lack of understanding of that most basic principle of economics: voluntary trade benefits both parties. Whether the wealthy should help the poor is an important ethical question, but to confuse charity with compensation is just bad economics.

ISAAC DIIANNI, Fairfax, Virginia

Ugens citat: Venstre-borgmester om finanspolitiske principper

Det er i visse kredse velkendt, at der ikke kun findes to fraktioner indenfor partiet Venstre–“højskole-Venstre” og “handelshøjskole-Venstre”–men at der tillige findes (mindst) en tredje, nemlig “kommunal-Venstre”.  Sidstnævnte er karakteriseret ved (næsten) aldrig at have set en kommunal udgift, man ikke synes så godt om, at man ikke gerne vil øge den, og ved i stort set enhver henseende at være umulig at skelne fra kommunal-Socialdemokraterne (samme holdninger, samme visioner, samme argumenter, samme frisurer, samme tøj …).

Men, men, men … I den forgangne uges Berlingske Tidende kunne man konstatere, at det ikke er hele sandheden.  Der er faktisk endnu principfaste og visionære mennesker, der som repræsentanter for Danmarks Liberale Parti pynter sig med de ansvarstunge gyldne kæder.  Tag nu f.eks. borgmester Bjørn Dahl, Roskilde, der havde dette at sige til debatten om velfærds- og skattereformer:

“Står man med fem mia. kr., og Bendt Bendtsen siger skattelettelser for alle, og Helle Thorning-Schmidt siger velfærd for alle, så kan jeg hurtig forlige dem: 2,5 mia. kr. til begge dele.”

Er det ikke dejligt at vide, at der er nogen, der virkeligt forstår, hvordan der skal træffes velovervejede beslutninger?

Nostalgi video II

Hvis man har en halv times fri, og hvis man iøvrigt er til, hvad super-bloggeren Andrew Sullivan (kærligt ment) kalder for “intellectual porn for classical liberals and conservatives of doubt”, så besøg Googles nye video-arkiv og se/lyt til et ca. 35 år gammelt sort-hvid TV-program med den senere Nobelprisvinder Milton Friedman.  Hør ham på samme tid være velformuleret, kompromisløs, offensiv, sofistikeret, pædagogisk og tiltalende på en måde, som meget, meget få andre kan mestre–det er, som Sullivan antyder, til at blive helt intellektuelt … opstemt … af.

Bemærk at Friedman her, i TV-programmet, er i begyndelsen af 60erne.  Selv størstedelen af Punditokraterne–30-somethings eller deromkring–kan dårligt håbe at være lige så friske og klare.  Og imponerende nok er Onkel Milton efter sigende lige så frisk den dag i dag.

Ugens citat: Støvrings non sequitur

Den statskonservative Kasper Støvring (der for nogle måneder siden fik prygl med det intellektuelle spanskrør af Christopher Arzrouni i den anden Djævlens Advokat) har en kronik i dagens Jyllands-Posten, med den sigende titel “Staten bør støtte den nationale kultur”.  Heri dette fine eksempel på et non sequitur (med fremhævning tilføjet):

“En fælles national kultur er bevaringsværdig, fordi den skaber stor indbyrdes loyalitet mellem kulturens medlemmer. At danskernes nationalfølelse og tillid til hinanden ligger helt i top dokumenteres hyppigt. Senest i en ny international undersøgelse om “social kapital”, udgivet af forskere ved den spanske bank BBVA.

Derfor er der god ræson i at styrke den nationale identitet i globaliseringens tidsalder, hvilket også har været intentionen bag kulturministerens initiativ til at skabe en national kulturkanon. For også de “umistelige” kunstværker i kulturkanonen udtrykker hver på sin måde en idé om danskheden.

For konservative bør staten derfor støtte den nationale kultur.”

Hvor er David Hume, når vi virkelig har brug for ham?

Ugens citat: Lars Løkke Rasmussen om debatkultur

Indenrigs- og sundhedsminister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, der som næstformand for partiet Venstre står med ansvaret for fornyelse af partiets program i retning af en af ham benævnt “velfærdsliberalisme”, har i Politiken følgende at sige om, at Søren Pind, Peter Christensen m.fl. har følt sig tvunget til at trække deres i forvejen udvandede teseforslag fra diskussion på partiets landsmøde:

»Det er jo deres egen beslutning at trække forslaget, og det er ærligt talt lidt tomt at kritisere debatkulturen, hvis man trækker sit indlæg på forhånd«.

Det er jo på sin vis sandt.  Det forhold, at man de senere år har set Venstres partiledelse slå hårdt og offentligt ned på enhver form for tilløb til markering af liberale holdninger blandt medlemmerne, kan da bestemt ikke ses som undertrykkende for en debat.  På samme måde som det jo kunne opfattes som lidt “tomt” at kritisere ytringsfrihedens vilkår i Sovjet og Nazi-Tyskland, hvis man selv havde rømmet landet–man kunne jo bare blive og forfægte ytringsfriheden! Uden sammenligning iøvrigt.