Saturday, May 10, 2008

Two Brooks = An Emerging River?

David Brooks wrote an excellent article in the New York Times Opinion section, titled “The Conservative Revival“.
I knew he had written something important after I read it --- but I didn’t know what. I re-read it once, then again, even now as I’m writing about the article my mind is still making connections. The synapses are firing down weird and different pathways. My conservative dogma keeps getting in the way though. It’s not that the basic ideals of conservatism were wrong, just out of step with the article. With reality I‘ll have to think some more. Just maybe the methodology didn’t fit what the people needed anymore. Perhaps too theoretical and not practical enough today. I have been posting about the evils of a government bloated with 20 million employees, and how could we fight that. Maybe we don’t have to maybe it’s more important to look at the what makes those 20 million and the rest of the American people happy. I don’t mean who can give out the most candy on the corner. I mean who can make what the government does now ---- more for and not to the people. More user friendly, better yet more interactive. Or "Ask not what your government has done to you, rather ask what you're doing to help the government help you". Man there goes those synapses again now they’re starting to release endorphins. That is what makes me happy. That may be but
I’m not normal. Most, probably 90% of the population could care less about government. No wonder I’ve been in the dumps, I would have to try and show 90% of the population how my way is better. Lol. Not happening. It’s not all lost though, my basic thoughts are still coming through. My one gripe with Newt Gingrich for example has been that although he talks about creating more efficient bureaucracy ect. He never talks of really cutting down the government, just making it more user friendly. Light bulb time. Make people happy when they use the government. Light bulb time. User Friendly = The flat tax, easy one pager, happier tax payer. Light bulb time, interactive = more transparency, easier accessibility to the facts and facillating methods for user input, the quicker and happier we the people are. Promote not just the feeling of community in relation to the whole governing process but actually set up mechanism to make it so.
-----Then came Arthur Brooks on Rightalk Radio. Below is a link to Arthur Brooks who has written two books on the subject. “Who Really Cares” and the last one recently published, “Gross National Happiness” I admit to not having read either. He was interviewed on “Leading The Majority” a Gingrich company aired on Rightalk Radio today at 2 I caught half of it. I’ll switch and catch the rest at 4. See my sidebar “Old Standby Links” for Rightalk.
The following link gives a brief description of each title and you’ll get a better idea of what I’m talking about.
The whole idea of conservatism or what Thomas Sowell in his book “A Conflict Of Visions” called the “constrained vision” is that conservatives tend to accept that humans are as we find them and can do little to change basic human nature. That short of the second coming we will need laws and the like to help us control “constrain” our actions, in order to form a more perfect union. Liberal ideology or as Dr. Sowell calls the “unconstrained vision” claims that man’s flaws can be overcome because they are not inherint in man, but rather put there by society and if we base our laws on letting men free to do as he will things will work out. I hope I’m not going to far a field in my paraphrasing of Dr. Sowell. The difference is that liberals tend to think that perfection is possible to attain and hence ever expanding government in the pursuit of that unreachable goal. Kind of like a never fulfilled ecstasy. The books Arthur Brooks wrote listed above claim that the frustration of liberals and their anger comes because they can never reach their goals. Hence Conservatives are happier just doing what they can.
------Way over simplified I know, and I’ve yet to read the books but hopefully this has given some food for thought. Perhaps a way forward based upon our unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness to focus along the lines of David Brooks article upon human relationships and the joy that can be found there. Merging the works of Arthur Brooks and his talk of the joys of work and giving into a happier and less intrusive mix of government and we the people. A way for the government to be just a network of we the people getting the work that needs to be done --- well done. That taking away of happiness by government is what elected Jessie Ventura, made Ross Perot famous and has people idealizing Obama and his claims of change. Getting government off our back is part of it. We all want that. But the other part that needs to happen is based upon positive solutions. Conservatives need to embrace ways to change government in a people friendly way, with the first priority being to make the government more enjoyable to work with. Yes enjoyable in the sense that after we wash the car we enjoy the feeling of a job well done. Not just the look of a clean car but the sense that we helped create it. We need to make interaction with government to be on a more personnel level. We need to get back to the neighborhood, Akindele Akinyemi knows what I’m talking about. He talks not about slashing government but about making it actually work. I claim it works best if it is at the level where we the people can work it. For country clubbers that’s an abstraction but if you live where government services interface with people, it matters it can be life and death.
-----My synapses are slowing down. This will not be the last article on this I’m sure. Got to order the book. I’m 3 books behind on my reading list now. Oh well I’m not perfect. And I’m learning to be happier knowing I'm not.
Regards, Live Dangerously

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