Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hubris v. Passivity

David Brooks had an excellent column today on the OpEd page of the New York Times discussing JFK's inaugural speech, and President Eisenhower's farewell address that preceded it.

Money quotes:

"While Kennedy gloried in the current moment, Eisenhower warned the country to “avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.” We cannot, he said, “mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.”

Furthermore, Ike warned, the country should never believe that “some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties.” He reminded the country that government is about finding the right balance — between public and private, civic duties and individual freedom, small communities and big industrial complexes."

Brooks discusses the problem that hubris poses for any politicians swept into office in a new wave of voter sentiment.  I have previously posted about what I saw as the ego problem of the Wisconsin Republicans, equating the extreme hubris of the national Dems in 2008 with the hubris that the Republicans in Wisconsin are now showing.  I believe the results will be the same for the Wisconsin Republicans as they were for the Democrats in the 111th Congress.

Here is another quote from President Eisenhower from 1953, early in his presidency:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,
signifies, in the final sense, a theft, from those who hunger
and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed."

Read more of it here.

Ike would not have had a tinker's chance in Hell in today's Republican party.

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