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Here is Thomas Sowell on the incredible achievement of this young man born with no arms:

The vision on which the all-encompassing and all-controlling welfare state was built is a vision of widespread helplessness, requiring ever more expanding big government. Our “compassionate” statists would probably have wanted to take this young man without arms, early on, and put him in some government institution.
But to celebrate him in the mainstream media today would undermine a whole ideological vision of the world — and of the vast government bureaucracies built on that vision. It might even cause people to think twice about giving money to able-bodied men who are standing on street corners, begging.

The last thing the political left needs, or can even afford, are self-reliant individuals. If such people became the norm, that would destroy not only the agenda and the careers of those on the left, but even their flattering image of themselves as saviors of the less fortunate. Victimhood is where it’s at.

 

Here is my colleague Steve Landsburg on the enduring tragedy from Texas:

If there is such a thing as evil, it lived in Lyndon Johnson, whose life was one long obsession with the accumulation and exercise of power

As President, Johnson presided over a misbegotten war in Southeast Asia — a whirlpool of destruction fed with lives and treasure —

The War on Poverty might have been more accurately termed a war to consolidate Johnson’s influence. Poor rural families got grants and loans to expand their farms — provided they stayed on the farms, where Johnson needed their votes. Job training, educational programs, small business loans — all were available as long as you lived your life in a way that suited Lyndon Johnson’s purposes.

It was Johnson who launched the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to ensure that the agendas of the arts, the humanities and the airwaves could be guided by the tastes of officials appointed by Lyndon Johnson. It was Johnson who arrogated unto himself and his cronies the power to veto private rental and employment contracts.

In many ways, the Nixon administration that followed was a seamless continuation of the Johnson regime, the only change being the identity of the sociopath-in-charge. Under Nixon, the carnage continued in Southeast Asia. Under Nixon, the Great Society grew larger and more entrenched. It was Nixon who launched the eerily Johnsonian power-grab of wage/price conrols, injected his tentacles into the workplace with the odious Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act, and insured the incarceration of millions by launching the War on Drugs.

Have a nice day.

2 Responses to “How Things Have Changed from 50 Years Ago”

  1. Harry says:

    I wish I were more adept navigating Steve’s site to comment directly on his analysis, but last time I tried, it looked like one had to go into the dragon’s mouth of Facebook, and I do not release my address book and the address books of all my friends and their friends.

    His analysis of RMN and LBJ is correct, but I would add the demise of Bretton Woods as a bipartisan effort that led to many awful consequences.

    Regarding the Viet Nam war, started by Kennedy and continued by Lyndon Johnson, was prosecuted poorly, in particular with restrictive rules of engagement that prevented us from doing in the enemy. Although I know that anecdotal evidence has limited worth, I know at least one Navy pilot with three Silver Stars (for bombing Haiphong Harbor, not Viet Cong in Laos) who believes we could have won that war, had we not pulled our punches.

    Until LBJ got pictured as King Lear on the cover of Time, the rats in the ship of state were acting like moderately progressive well-fed rats, though upset with the fires set by napalm on the new color TV’s.

    Nixon, to his credit, ran for ending the war. Peace with Honor was the slogan, as I recall.

    So that is where I might disagree with Steve in blaming Nixon for intensifying the attack on Hanoi.

    The war ended badly. Thirty years after victory over the Germans and Japanese, we were demoralized. But, as I recall, in 1974 the annual federal deficit was around $15 billion. Harold Wilson was leading England down the drain. A year later President Ford and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller were wearing Whip Inflation Now buttons.

    Seven years later that would change.

    • Michael says:

      I agree with you about disagreeing with Steve in blaming Nixon on Vietnam. Nixon’s increased intensity got the peace accords (Jan ’73) which lasted until just a bit after his resignation and Congress cut funding (late ’74). The North launched a new attack in March of 1975. Both Grant and Patton new that war was terrible and the best thing to do as to be intensive enough to get it over with quickly.
      You also rightly note that Kennedy started Vietnam, not Johnson. Kennedy almost started WWIII with the Cuba missile crisis; cool heads (particularly some select Russians) kept that from going hot. I’m not saying that I’m fond of Johnson or Nixon, but Kennedy had some issues, too.

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