Sunday, December 05, 2004

Martin Van Buren on the American and European View of Politics

Today is the birthday of Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), the (8th) president of the United States who said:
To avoid the necessity of a permanent debt and its inevitable consequences, I have advocated and endeavored to carry into effect the policy of confining the appropriations for the public service to such objects only as are clearly with the constitutional authority of the Federal Government.

The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity

Maybe this quote helps explain some differences between America and Europe:
There is a power in public opinion in this country and I thank God for it: for it is the most honest and best of all powers which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens.
Maybe the following quote helps explain the difference between the Bush administration's failure to explain and publicize its actions, on the one hand, and, on the other, the success of some foreign governments in explaining their lack of action:
It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't.

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