“Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change and can trace its consequences; a harvest reared not by themselves but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens.” —Federalist No. 62, likely James Madison

“[T]he House of Representatives approved a bill to allow offshore oil drilling, but nearly all the Republicans voted against it… It isn’t a drilling bill, it’s an anti-drilling bill. If it becomes law, nearly all the oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf would be off-limits forever… This bill permanently bans all drilling within 50 miles of the US coast, which just happens to be where most of the recoverable oil and gas reserves are. It permits drilling between 50 and 100 miles out only if the adjoining states agree – which they won’t, since the bill denies them any share in the royalties the oil companies would have to pay, thereby eliminating any financial incentive for a state to say yes. Virtually all the oil off the California coast and beneath the Eastern Gulf of Mexico would be locked up for good. Don’t be fooled: The only offshore drilling this bill really opens the door to would have to be 100 miles or more out to sea, where the oil companies have no infrastructure… According to the Interior Department, the offshore areas where drilling is restricted contain more than 19 billion barrels—that’s equal to 30 years of current imports from Saudi Arabia. The bill would deny Americans access to as much as nine-tenths of that oil. A good deal? I don’t think so.” —Jeff Jacoby

“The configuration of the financial hurricane will become clear soon enough. The sad thing is that the free market will likely get a disproportionate share of the blame, finding its wrists more tightly shackled if the bloodthirsty critics of free enterprise gain enough power in Washington. Whenever markets mess up, control freaks blame it on too much freedom, on undue latitude for plungers and gamblers and similar riff-raff, when the blame properly rests with the gambling instinct itself, which is a part of human nature. If it weren’t, and thanks goodness it is, the first man to peek outside the cave and see the possibilities of a home on the hillside would never have tried it. ‘Too much risk!’ he would have muttered (in caveman-ese). Nothing ever gets done without risk. Risk entails the possibility of failure, but also of growth and gain. If you don’t want growth, you shun risk. Fortunately, capitalists and entrepreneurs constantly seek growth. They gamble. They stick out their necks, sometimes fatally.” —William Murchison

“With freedom comes responsibility. Those who would have self-government must, by definition, govern themselves. Self-government only works when people act responsibly and fulfill their obligations. When people abuse these freedoms to enrich themselves at the expense of others, then the public will demand the government to step in. That is how government grows, and how freedom is diminished. The prospect of government intervention should be terrifying to corporate leaders. For too long many of them viewed it as a safety net. …[A]fter the recent federal bailouts, some corporate officers are likely considering seeking the same bailout. As my grandmother was fond of saying, if you reward bad behavior all you are going to get is more bad behavior. Reckless and irresponsible individuals like those at the companies mentioned above give decent corporate managers a bad name. When financial meltdowns occur, the public’s outrage drives government to take over part of the private sector. When the government does so, it replaces irresponsible executives with unaccountable bureaucrats. That takes us out of the frying pan and into the fire.” —Ken Blackwell

“One has to wonder just how much more Democrats will milk class-warfare politics before people wake up to their deception. No matter what economic problems we face, Democrats always find a way to blame them on the ‘rich’ and the Bush tax cuts. Why? Because it rallies their base and—they hope—will alienate enough others against evil Bush Republicans to give Democrats a prohibitive advantage on domestic issues. Joe Biden even blamed the current mortgage crisis on the Bush tax cuts. He said: ‘We should try to correct the problems that caused this… [which are] the profligate tax cuts to the very, very wealthy that John [McCain] wants to continue.’ Never mind that low- and middle-income earners received greater tax rate reductions than the highest-income earners; that doesn’t fit within the Democrats’ class-envy template. Forget the reckless legislation forcing financial institutions to lend money to people who probably couldn’t pay it back—to satisfy the liberals’ obsession with looking compassionate and pandering to minorities. Forget that Obama was the second-highest recipient of campaign cash from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (according to the Center for Responsive Politics), cash aimed at keeping congressional regulators off their backs… Despite the Democrats’ destructive practice of blaming every economic woe—from Enron to rising oil prices—on the Bush tax cuts, the tax cuts had nothing to do with those problems, including the mortgage crisis.” —David Limbaugh

“During decades of researching racial and ethnic groups in countries around the world—with special attention to those who began in poverty and then rose to prosperity—I have yet to find one so preoccupied with tribalistic identity as to want to maintain solidarity with all members of their group, regardless of what they do or how they do it. Any group that rises has to have norms, and that means repudiating those who violate those norms, if you are serious. Blind tribalism means letting the lowest common denominator determine the norms and the fate of the whole group. There was a time when most blacks, like most of the Irish or the Jews, understood this common sense. But that was before the romanticizing of identity took over, beginning in the 1960s… The unanswered question is why an approach with a proven track record, not only in American society but in various other countries around the world, has been superseded by a philosophy of tribal identity overriding issues of behavior and performance. Part of the problem is the ‘multicultural’ ideology that says all cultures are equally valid. It is hard even to know what that means, much less take it seriously as a guide to living in the real world.” —Thomas Sowell

“The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the ‘little’ choices of years past—by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation, [which was] whispering the lie that ‘it really doesn’t matter.’ It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away—the decision that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity—or dishonor and shame.” —Ronald Reagan

Question for Hube

Q. I am a venture capitalist with several hundred million dollars and need your opinion: In these troubled times, which is a better long-term investment, Lehman Brothers or the St. Louis Rams? (Michael Becker; St. Louis)


Things I’ve learned as I’ve grown up

  • It’s not worth getting upset about
  • No matter how stupid or useless a person seems, there’s something he’s (or she’s) better at than you are, and you should respect them in that area (no matter how little you respect them in other areas)
  • It’s less frustrating to assume that people are basically well-intentioned, rather than assuming selfishness, laziness, corruption or carnality in their motives.
  • Most political disagreements aren’t over logic or conclusions, but exist at a much more fundamental level with underlying premises
  • Whatever can go wrong for a Philadelphia sports team, will