ERROL CASTENS: Codgertations under the influence of coffee

By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau

I’ll give President Barack Obama a mulligan on his “You didn’t build that” statement to entrepreneurs. Surely he meant to add, “… on your own.”
Unfortunately, the cumulative weight of his other government-as-source-of-benevolence-and-providence statements in that speech and countless others constitutes an undeniably statist and collectivist approach to governing.
• One factor complicating poverty is that what would be an inconvenience for someone in middle-class circumstances quickly becomes a crisis for a person on the financial edge.
A broken car, for example, that causes a missed workday and a bounced check adds to the financial chaos. Imagine the spiral downward if that missed workday gets the person fired.
A further complication is that many poor people are surrounded by others in similar circumstances, which limits both resources and perspectives.
• Violence prevention should focus more on perpetrators than tools. Neither the Oklahoma City bomber nor the 9/11 terrorists used firearms. The Colorado Coward could easily have killed more moviegoers with just a gas can and a match.
• All violence is not equal. Wicked people’s violence against innocents is far more regrettable than that which the wicked inflict on each other. Violence inflicted in lawful defense of innocents is least regrettable.
• Involuntary institutionalization of the mentally ill used to be more common, and mass murders used to be less common. Where the balance lies is not within my expertise, but it’s obviously not where we are now.
• Only in modern philosophical contortions about abortion is the humanity of one person defined by the value another person puts on him or her.
• Enabling, in the addiction sense, is never ennobling.
• As Americans have been trained by their betters to understand the term, “fair share” means those who pay no taxes are victims of those who pay a lot.
• The current occupant of the Oval Office let loose a knee-slapper when he warned his audience, “Now, over the course of the next four months, the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen on ads … .”
It’s laughable because:
(1) the 2008 Obama campaign eclipsed the old spending records after he broke a promise to live within public campaign financing limits; and
(2) the more urgent spending problem in America is with tax revenues and borrowed money, in which President Obama and his political allies are also in a league of their own.
• President Obama says, “When I try something and it doesn’t work, I don’t try it again.”
Excellent advice.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at

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