"The house is Christmas-Party clean, if not cleaner," declares Tuck, who has just thrown in the
towelvacuum cleaner a full hour and a half before the guests are to arrive for our Thanksgiving Lite blogmeet. "It sounds like things are running smoothly. Very much non government," adds Goomp in imail, having fully steeped himself, as we have in the last day or two, in tributes to and writings of the late freemarket guru Milton Friedman. Speaking of very much non government, Tiny, above, surveys the table, knowing that all is running smoothly in the time-for-supper department.
"President Kennedy said, 'Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country,'" writes The Barrister at Maggie's Farm, quoting the late, great Milton Friedman's commonsense revelation of how psychologically dishonest and fundamentally vacuous that oft-quoted, superficially soaring political rhetoric really was:
Neither half of that statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society.
The Friedmanesque version would have run more along the lines of "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for yourself that will fuel the nation's aggregate well being." Adam Smith's Invisible Hand and all that. The same could be said -- in the psychologically dishonest and fundamentally vacuous sense -- of the rhetoric of Col. X, the well-meaning -- aren't all of our self-flagellating friends on the left well meaning? -- IDF photographer whose lecture Sol of Solomonia attended the other night. Sol reports:
"Yes, I know about the BU professor" [that would be our own mutual blogfriend Richard Landes] and others . . . "Why re-open that wound?" quoth he. "We may not have killed that boy, but we certainly have killed others, I've seen it . . . so there is a sort of truth here . . ." It's a paraphrase, but I kid you not. The other side couldn't have made their point better.
It's good to show honest concern for the genuine pain of all sides, but there is a level at which you overdo it and stop looking out for your own health. Col. X, and many others like him appear to be over that line.
And that seems to us to be what's wrong with the politically correct rhetoric of the left, both here and in the larger world of elite "thinkers" worldwide. Like zoo-born animals that have never had to deal with the vicissitudes of their natural predators and prey "out there," these reality-challenged folk neither recognize their mortal enemies nor have the skills to fight for their own survival. The road to Hell is paved with resorts to Col. X's "sort of truth." Just ask Dan "false-but-accurate" Rather. Once again we quote the British diplomat Dryden character played by Claude Rains in Robert Bolt's brilliant script for Lawrence of Arabia:
A man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it.
Milton Friedman is the great antidote for lies and half-lies. He never forgot where he put the truth. If you haven't already, be sure to treat yourself to former Friedman student Thomas Sowell's warm, personal tribute and a "Friedman's Sampler" of writings, both at Opinion Journal.
Update: Repost of (missing) November 19, 2006 post We gather together.