Sunday, July 29, 2007

What will come of Sarkozy?

U.S. News and World Report gives us a report on President Sarkozy's brief time in office and his prospects for success.

According to the story, Parliament has already passed the initiative to allow for overtime. I did not catch this reading the wires, but good news nonetheless. This would water down the 35-hour workweek. The other intitatives I am interested in are the 50
% tax ceiling and the measure to curb public strikes. This agenda could just as soon be derailed by the "street veto". France has a history of the Unions, the students, and the scum of striking, marching, and generally raising hell simultaneously which has forced previous governments to repeal laws.

The President has also promised action on Darfur. Apparently he is going the route of an AU peacekeeping force through the United Nations.

On the political front, there is reason for optimism. Sarko enjoys about a 66% approval rating. His bipartisan cabinet strategy is looking wonderful. He is taking talent away from the Socialist Party, and surely providing headaches down at SP headquarters. It also looks good because it fulfills Sarkozy's rhetoric about the value of merit. Let me say also of the cabinet, it is the most diverse in French history. The Left in France has given lip service to diversity and they have called Nicolas Sarkozy a racist. It is apparent now that the Socialists flap their gums, while Nick Sarkozy follows through on his promises. Back to the point, this is a leader with great political skill.

Sarkozy's team has already given up a key provision on his higher education initiative- to give the national Universities the right to deny applicants to study more elite fields. In order to secure the release of the Bulgarian Nurses, "compensation" to the families of those affected by the dirty medical devices was given in the form of half a massive bribe. Its hard to say which way things will go. This summer will determine the President's success. France is in the middle of his emergency summer session. We shall see how he holds up in the face of expected huge demonstrations and strikes. If President Sarkozy retreats on his reforms, fails to do anything short of saving Darfur, or gets stalled in parliament, he could end up being a straight up bust.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sullivan's Sloppy Thinking

Apparently Andrew Sullivan has a little extra time on his hands, so he is looking for conservatives to attack whether warranted or not. Sully accused Ramesh Ponnuru of subscribing to the divine command theory. Ponnoru makes clear that he does not subscribe to the theory, and only believes that with God there are no human rights because with God there is no universe.

I largely share Andrew's interpretation of conservatism, but this is not the first example of sloppy thinking. He is becoming a caricature of himself, and more and more annoying to read. Andrew has really backed himself into a corner (no pun intended) on this one. When will he apologize?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

my kind of political party

Onatrio Alternative has cropped up in our neighbors to the North.

But Silvestro said the new party aims to field 50 candidates or more in the 106-seat contest on a platform that, among other things, calls for smaller government, an end to "enforced" bilingualism and multiculturalism, across-the-board tax cuts, and allowing municipalities to de-amalgamate.
Abortion and gay marriage? "We are not going to get bogged down in social issues," Silvestro declared, adding he does not want the new party to become a magnet for single-issue groups and voters.
I get annoyed when the American Republican Party offers boutique tax cuts to their contributors and special interests instead of offering across the board tax cuts that actually help the common man, and that voters can identify with. One thing I admire about Canada is that the center-right can actually have a debate about social issues. That is something that is missing in America.

I like Stephen Harper. He is an intellectual and a man of the right. He used to talk about how Von Mises and Hayek were his heroes. After all this is a man who once said this, "Conservatives need to reassess our understanding of the modern Left. It has moved beyond old socialistic morality or even moral relativism to something much darker. It has become a moral nihilism - the rejection of any tradition or convention of morality, a post-Marxism with deep resentments, even hatreds of the norms of free and democratic western civilization.
This descent into nihilism should not be surprising because moral relativism simply cannot be sustained as a guiding philosophy. It leads to silliness such as moral neutrality on the use of marijuana or harder drugs mixed with its random moral crusades on tobacco. It explains the lack of moral censure on personal foibles of all kinds, extenuating even criminal behaviour with moral outrage at bourgeois society, which is then tangentially blamed for deviant behaviour. On the moral standing of the person, it leads to views ranging from radical responsibility-free individualism, to tribalism in the form of group rights.
Conservatives have focused on the inconsistency in all of this. Yet it is actually disturbingly consistent. It is a rebellion against all forms of social norm and moral tradition in every aspect of life. The logical end of this thinking is the actual banning of conservative views, which some legislators and "rights" commissions openly contemplate."
(Hat-tip to Robert Jones of CoPunk)

When Harper was out of Government he criticized the "jackasses" running his party for running the opposition the same way Harper is governing. Harper has forgotten his roots. It is his own fault that Ontario Alternative has sprung up. Harper's budgets have been tremendously irresponsible and are transparently used as a way to score better poll positioning. If Canadian voters ultimately give Harper a majority rather than minority government Im not sure it would do any good.