Here's the letter (A7, subscription required), by a George T. in Hobe Sound, Fla.:
...We have a Democrat-controlled Congress with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi at its helm enjoying a pathetic 11% approval rating nationwide and accomplishing absolutely nothing. If my kid came home from school with a record like that he'd be on bounds for life. And if Hillary with a disapproval rating of 49% is piled on top of Nancy and Harry, and they win the 2008 election, this country will have a divide of bitterness deeper than the Grand Canyon for a long time to come. The Republicans have been no better. Government and spending have risen without restraint, contrary to their basic principles. "Earmarks" are revered, making erstwhile loyalists abandon the party as simply a bunch of politicians whose only goal is to get re-elected...
That's only part of the problem, and he puts it very succinctly. Now, for those people who hate the U.S. government, period, here's an alternative. But consider this: would you rather be under a corrupt electorate in an independent country, or be under a world government, a.k.a. nanny state? Here are excerpts from a review of the book "The Great Experiment" (auth. Strobe Talbott) (W8; reviewed by Karen Elliott House).
- "[The] point: The desire for security that prompts mankind to seek refuge in ever-larger groups will reach its apotheosis with an international system of governance -- George W. Bush's dreaded "unilateralism" notwithstanding." So now we know what Talbott's up to. Try a random sample of articles in scholarly journals: without looking at the abstract, find a clear statement of the main idea.
- "In the premodern period...governance was top-down, imposed on the populace by autocrats...But since the Enlightenment it has largely followed the principle, articulated by humanists like Immanuel Kant, that the individual is sovereign. Thus were empires reconfigured and nation-states undermined..." Thus, we could theoretically blame the Enlightenment for big government, hm?
- Accompanying criticism (only in the book, thankfully) of President Bush right and left (or just right) comes "the author's own fervent proclamation that 'within a hundred years nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority.'" All right, so if we're supposed to be part of this "single, global authority," what about the countries that think opposite of us? Iran? Cuba? Or will they be the ones most heavily represented in the government?
- On the style of writing, House notes traits including the following: the first section is "replete with the author's superfluous personal asides"; the second "offers plenty of opportunity for irrelevant name- and place-dropping by this proud graduate of Hotchkiss and Yale" (House comments wryly, "Unless Mr. Talbott is making a subtle case that Hotchkiss and Yale alumni should be deputized to run a world government, the point of these digressions is not clear"); and "even [in the last section] he gratuitously digresses." Hmmm...wasn't there something we learned, way back in freshman composition, that one should use the first person as infrequently as possible in academic treatises?
- Perhaps the most telling paragraph in the review is this:
Eventually the author gets around to describing events since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. He grudgingly acknowledges the U.N.'s inability to handle these events effectively, whether in a shattered Yugoslavia or Iraq. He nonetheless brims with enthusiasm for the U.N. itself -- the nearest thing we've had yet to global government -- and particularly for former Secretary General Kofi Annan's expansionist view that nations should intervene in the internal affairs of other nations to stop human-rights abuses. But when the U.S. confronts a tyrant who threatens American or allied security interests, that is to be deplored.
- And the one after it:
Thus, for Mr. Talbott, it is laudatory for the U.S. to intervene to protect Haitians from an Aristede or to protect Bosnian Muslims from a Milosevic but not to intervene in Iraq, where a dictator used chemical weapons on his own people and where most of the world, including President Clinton, believed weapons of mass destruction were stockpiled. Operation Iraqi Freedom, Mr. Talbott writes, qualifies, "even in the assessment of some of its original advocates, as the most ill-conceived, poorly executed, and disastrous exertion of American power in the history of the republic."
- House, a diplomat herself (and a former WSJ editor to boot), goes on for several more paragraphs, explaining the two quoted above. Her last sentence needs no epilogue: "In sum, the reader is left to suppose that if Mr. Talbott had to choose between a world with the U.S. and no U.N. or one with a U.N. and no U.S., he would prefer the latter. Fortunately, plenty of Americans feel precisely the opposite."