Dionysius II: Plato :: Quaddafi : Tony Giddens :: Newt Gingrich : Niall Ferguson
It never works. Never, never, never, never, never…
Simon van Zuylen-Wood watches the dirigible explosion:
Gingrich Gets An "A" From Niall Ferguson: I get that self-avowed “neo-imperialist” historian Niall Ferguson relishes his gig as academia’s most celebrated colonial nostalgic/conservative reactionary. But this is too much:
I just read the transcripts of some lectures [Newt Gingrich] gave in the 1990s on “Renewing American Civilization.” They positively fizz with historical insights and brilliant brain waves. They make the case against big government as vividly as anything you’ll ever read….
I too read these transcripts as part of an assignment for The New Republic…. From my piece:
Franklin Roosevelt’s “we can do it” attitude ended the Depression. (No mention of the New Deal.) McDonald’s entrepreneur Ray Kroc used working-class perseverance to create the crispiest French fries. Arnold Schwarzenegger overcame poverty through “amazing power of concentration” and “created a major export industry” in the Terminator franchise.
As for his impressive “case against big government,” here, from one lecture, is Gingrich’s biggest complaint about the havoc the Great Society wrought on 1990s America.:
I would assert that no civilization can survive with 12-year-olds having babies, 15-year- olds killing each other, 17-year-olds dying of AIDS, and 18-year- olds getting diplomas they can't read….
In order save a civilization ruined by the “subsidized self-destruction” of the welfare state, Gingrich said in the lectures, the social safety net should be replaced by networks of personal charity that distinguish between the “deserving” and “undeserving poor.” In Ferguson, Newt seems to have found an ally who shares his nostalgia for Victorian notions of cultural hegemony and personal responsibility…