Monday, August 1, 2011

In a Nutshell

A GOVERNMENT’S credibility is founded on its commitment to honour its debts.

The Ecomomist
"Turning Japanese"
July 30, 2011
Volume 400, Number 8744

This is what the world thinks that it all comes down to.  Sometimes, when I read The Economist, I feel that I live on a different planet than the people who consider the well-written, witty, and thoughtful commentary and articles as holy writ.

You see, I believe something different.

 -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I can't see a word in that phrase about a credit rating.


Anonymous said...

Not to be argumentative [and the phrase is definitely well written and thoughful - as well as witty from a particular perspective] but the Gettysburg Address mightn't be the best example of government credibility to use in this instance. Half the population of the US was in the final stages of forcing the other half to live as it didn't want to live at gunpoint. The people the government was of, by and for included the people north of the Mason Dixon line.

Although slavery wasn't the primary issue at that stage of the game, blacks also weren't part of the of, by and for. Neither were the Cherokee, the Choctaw, the Cheyenne, the Apache, the Navajo, the Comanche and a lot of others who qualified as people by the usual definition.

I'm not suggesting he had his tongue in his cheek when he said it, but I still don't think the phrase attests to credibility.

Otherwise, however, I totally agree with you.

russell1200 said...

So Far,

You presume that the people of that time were not aware of those arguments. You cannot have it both ways, you cannot claim that the war was not about slavery, and then turn around and say that the argument for an indivisible union was spurious.

The majority of the country (not half) did not view it as spurious.

By the time of the Civil War, the United States was the only major democracy still standing. All the others had gone back to some sort of non-democratic rule (Napoleon III was in charge in France for instance). The North took the break off of the South to be a betrayal of the Democratic Republic and likely to cause it to fail. United We Stand Divided We Fall, etc.

Because the United States went onto be a world power, we ignore the very tenuous circumstances that the Republic was in at the time. The North felt that it was fighting for the survival of the country, that if the South could leave, the union was bound to disintegrate in time. They would argue that the Southerners were dooming everyone else to obscurity because of their own special interests, and that they were simply quiting the first time they lost (narrowly) political prominence.