The dawn's early light caught our eye this morning as the bulk carrier "Baldock" disengorged a mountain of salt four stories high by way of a conveyor-belt boom swung out from the ship (right above and top below) over the wharf of Eastern Salt across the street.
"I disagree with Roger Simon," writes Arnold Kling provocatively at TCS Daily re Roger's correct but -- according to Kling -- irrelevant assessment of the failings of the current national Democratic leadership. Kling is one of those persons of the right who is planning to stay home November 7 to "send a message." We're going to hold our nose and vote straight Republican ourselves -- Western Civ is at war with the forces of darkness, fergossake, and the Democrats still don't get it -- but nevertheless find much wisdom and food for thought in his analysis:
Not because I think highly of the leaders he disparages. But one way in which libertarians differ from conventional liberals and conservatives is that we place less faith in having good political leaders.
The conventional wisdom is that we would be better off if politically powerful leaders were less mediocre. Instead, my view is that we would be better off if mediocre political leaders were less powerful.
The gray metal structural elements and clear plastic surfaces of the boom put on a dazzling show of purples and oranges, reflecting the sun's first rays.
"Democracy does not lead to particularly good choices," continues Kling:
The belief that the problem with government is the particular individuals in power is dangerous. The myth is that somewhere out there we could find great leaders who could use government to solve all of our problems. Instead, we need to be vigilant against the enlargement of government, by either mediocre or expert leaders.
Throughout the day, workers used bucket loaders (yellow vehicles center and far right) and a clamshell bucket suspended from a towering shore-based crane (upper right) to flatten the peak of the pile to make way for more salt from the "Baldock's" hold. Our camera missed Cartier-Bresson's "decisive moment" -- glimpsed out the SUV window as we drove off on errands -- when a biblical pillar of salt was pouring forth from the tip of the boom (center top in image), two bucket loaders were plowing salt left and right away from the peak and the clamshell bucket was doing its thing. Truly an awesome choreographed ballet of the working waterfront.
The media's embarrassing, self-revelatory swoon over the remarkable junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., comes to mind. An interesting fellow, no question, the son -- if we can believe what we read -- of a Kansan atheist anthropologist mother and a Harvard-educated Kenyan Muslim [?] economist father who met and fell in love while matriculating at the University of Hawaii, Obama is a distinguished graduate of Harvard Law School, "dripping with charisma" according to one of the MSM's latest fawning portraits. Oprah wants us to make him president of these United States. We'd love to know more about the fellow but couldn't read or watch (the toe-curling factor). Our fellow Americans of the left exemplify Arnold Kling's "dangerous" faith in a political savior who will lead them out of the desert. A recurrent American theme, but not our cup of tea.
Towards the end of the day, sirens and flashing lights filled the air as the Chelsea Police, Eastern Salt security, Cataldo's ambulance and Chelsea's finest (above carrying a rescue basket stretcher) converged on the wharf across the street. Tuck went over to investigate and learned that a crew member of the "Baldock" had fallen off the rope ladder that was the only access to shore from the mighty ship. Haven't they ever heard of gangways?
"So how do conservatives hold on to power when the population has been trained for two or three generations of Left-tinged rule to reflexively expect 'government to fix it' -- whatever it may be?" writes The Barrister at Maggie's Farm in a tour de force essay that puts its finger on what ails us:
There is only one way: to fill the nation with vigorous, optimistic, freedom-oriented, inspiring, courageous talk about the American way of life and the opportunities available to everyone to go out there and try to build whatever life they envision. Reagan knew how to do that. Bush has not the talent, nor the taste, for dramatic rhetoric -- and neither did his dad.
A wondrous post that must be read in full, not least for the picture of Maggie and Ronnie, deep in conversation, on a brisk walk through the woods at [presumably] Camp David. We LOVED the fact that he quoted our own "The totalitarian impulse runs deep and dark in our species" side by side with the estimable Dr. Sanity's "The political left and their totalitarian dreams" and Samizdata's breathtaking C.S. Lewis quotation:
Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
Yes, YOU, Hillary. For why "Republicans deserve to lose [and] what happens if Democrats win," check out Pete DuPont's excellent op ed at Opinion Journal today.
Update: Pajamas Media links.