Gary Galles applauds Calvin Coolidge. A slice:
One might ask why there is such a gap between Coolidge’s success and his reputation. In large part, it is because he advocated individualism, as clearly spelled out in his speeches (which he composed himself, in sharp contrast to Biden, who can now barely deliver words written for him), and the newspaper column he wrote after leaving the Presidency. For example, his speech to mark the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence is well worth people’s attention. While that seems appropriate for the only President born on the Fourth of July, it is so distant from the modern mindset that many now cannot understand why someone who, as Senator, Governor, Vice-President, and President, viewed government intervention in broad areas of life as a problem rather than a panacea.
Some people’s unduly negative evaluations of Coolidge also come from attributing the origins of the Great Depression under Herbert Hoover, who had been his Secretary of Commerce. But they have not done so because of any evidence that his policies were responsible. Along with monetary policy blunders, the Great Depression was triggered by Hoover’s abandonment of Coolidge’s policies, in favor of disasters ranging from erecting monumental trade barriers to sharply raising tax rates. Coolidge made the chasm between the two men clear when he said of Hoover: “That man has offered me unsolicited advice for six years, all of it bad.”
This problem is just as pernicious on the Left. An avowed socialist came perilously close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination. Liberal Democratic mayors have struggled to condemn the Antifa fanatics who had turned parts of their cities into wastelands. I remember the Cold War days when progressives fawned over Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega, just as some righties now fawn over Putin and Hungary’s Viktor Orban.
Given all the talk about Russia, it’s a good time to consider the legacy of Alexander Kerensky, the relatively moderate prime minister of the Russian government in 1917. As his regime faced attacks from the Right, Kerensky embraced a “no enemies on the Left” strategy that emboldened Bolsheviks such as Lenin—and led to the overthrow of his government and to a 70-year totalitarian calamity.
The modern lesson is that liberal parties that can’t purge themselves of socialists and conservative parties that can’t purge themselves of fascists risk destruction by those “allies.”
Douglas Murray harshly criticizes the dangerous fanatics who form the group Extinction Rebellion. Here’s his conclusion:
A wise person adapts to the situation around them. A judicious person recognises their own cause in relation to the other priorities of their time. But fanatics like those of XR will never do these things. Not just because they are injudicious and unwise, but because they are fundamentally selfish. They believe that they hold the only truth that matters and that everybody else must suffer – to the utmost extent, if need be – until such a time as everyone recognises the fanatic to be right. They are a great irritant, to be sure. And though there is no logic that could make them go away, still one wishes they would leave us alone now. At this moment, if not for good.