America's Vast Margin of Error
Victor Davis Hanson
The Obama administration is facing scandals everywhere -- using the
In other words, the sort of government overreach that hardly raises eyebrows in
We also have wide margins of error in energy. President Obama still keeps the Keystone Pipeline on hold. He has frozen almost all new gas and oil leasing on America's vast public lands. Yet throughout the 2012 campaign, the president also boasted that gas and oil drilling in
Despite, not because of, the president's efforts, production rose due to a long history of protecting private property rights and ownership of subterranean resources. The country also inherited a can-do tradition of private enterprise using innovative new technology to cut costs and increase efficiency.
In contrast, much of
With the Obama administration's scheduled Pentagon cuts, on top of the sequester reductions, about
Even with budget cuts, the U.S. military will allot more to defense than what the next 10 nations spend on their militaries combined. America manages to do this, while investing less than 5 percent of its GDP, primarily because its economy remains the world's largest, most productive and most innovative.
Elements of American universities are increasingly subject to global ridicule. Annual tuition customarily soars far beyond the rate of inflation. Aggregate student debt is now unsustainable. A lost generation of unemployed youth fails to translate their questionable degrees into well-paying jobs.
Colleges waste money on the superfluous, from rocking-climbing walls to diversity czars. College catalogs now include
offerings such as
American universities have the luxury of offering the inane precisely because their math, science and computer departments, along with their medical and business schools, would never offer such fluff. In other words, the meritocratic protocols of institutions such as Caltech,
The same paradox is true of the green movement.
Californians have shut down huge swaths of irrigated farmland to save a bait fish in the
These realities and fantasies assume that
At some point, our margins of error will disappear and with them the indulgent toying with our freedoms, defense, energy, education and food. Americans will then have to reawaken and act more like our no-nonsense predecessors -- if our successors are to inherit what we have taken for granted.
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