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Apr 21, 2010

Quadrant online features Palin.

Photo from Quadrant Online.

Quadrant Online is one of the best online journals I have encountered for the serious reader over the years, with well-researched articles giving fearless commentary on the issues of our times. In the latest issue there is a feature on Sarah Palin by Steven Kates who teaches Economics at RMIT University in Melbourne.

Normally when Palin is featured over here the press tend to do their research by going to the usual sources; MSNBC, The New YORK Times, etc with predictable results. In this case the author has taken the time to actually get an understanding of the subject. While I don’t entirely agree with him on all of it, it is in the main a pretty good representation of her:
Suppose Sarah Palin couldn’t make the simplest public statement without a teleprompter. Just suppose. Suppose she suggested that the people of Austria spoke Austrian or that there were fifty-seven states in the USA. Suppose she really had said that she could see Russia from her front porch. Suppose she had done that, or had spelled potato with an e at the end. Well, we can all agree that any and all of those would clearly make her or anyone else unfit to be President.

Wait, wait. Let’s have another look at the business about the teleprompter. Perhaps it would be a bit hasty to condemn someone as unfit for the presidency for using such modern technologies even in a kindergarten classroom, but should someone write notes on the palm of their hand before making a major speech, nothing would obviously make them less fit to be President than that.

There are at least three matters that follow from this. There is first the malign influence of the established media in the United States on the conduct of American politics. Second is how we, mere citizens, can ever get to know, really know, what we need to know about the people who run for office.

Finally, what do we know from her book about who Sarah Palin is and whether or not she has what it takes to be President of the most powerful nation on earth? ...
Until I read this extract from her book, I was unaware of her knowledge of the free market:
Within six months of taking office, President Obama put the United States on track to double its already staggering national deficit. The new debt, which will burden future generations, is immoral ...

Where is all the money going to come from? It can come from only three places. Government borrows it, government prints it, or government taxes the people for it ...

We tried growing government back in the 1930s, and it didn’t work then either. Massive government spending programs and protectionist economic policies actually helped turn a recession into the Great Depression. New Deal-like spending plans aren’t the only blast from the past we see today. With the government takeover of parts of the banking industry and the auto industry, we see the return of corporatism—government collusion and co-option of big business.

No one person is smart enough to control and predict markets. The free market is just that: free to rise or fall, shrink or expand, based on conditions that are often outside of human control. Government interference in market cycles is just as dangerous as government-directed programs that encourage permanent dependency. In both cases the rewards for responsible behavior and penalties for irresponsible behavior are removed from the scene. This is the lesson I tried to convey to Bristol when we discussed her plans for the future.
The author has a great deal of respect for Sowell who is one of my favorites:
.... That five pages previously she has quoted Thomas Sowell gives me a fair idea of where such ideas may have come from. But it is not that she read such concepts in Sowell that matters (if that is indeed what happened) but that when she did come across them, those were the ideas that stuck and remained.

Sowell is one of the most articulate conservative intellectuals of our time (and interestingly for me, his first book, like my own, was on Say’s Law). That she would find an affinity with Sowell, understand with perfect clarity what he had written and then condense the points so well, is entirely to her credit. ....
It is well worth the read.


  1. It's nice to see Sarah getting some good press Down Under. And that is pretty good.

  2. It doesn't happen very often, most of our journos are leftys and take their cue from yours.