Jewish World Review August 19, 2011 / 19 Menachem-Av, 5771
By Paul Greenberg
You come back from a visit to "good old
It's good to be home, just to know where things are once again. It's also a comfort to have a standard of comparison. And realize that
But this summer's string of torrid days have taken their toll on this old boy. I now love to see that evenin' sun go down, to give an old blues lyric a slight twist. Back at the office, even with cool air pouring out of the nearest vent like a restorative, that blank computer screen stares out at me like a cobra, asking: What are you going to do for your next column?
Forget going into the details of the economic mess. Everybody's patience has been exhausted by the never-ending debate and blame-shifting in
But my basic problem remained: What the heck was I going to do for a column? It was too hot even to pontificate. It would probably have been a great favor to readers to leave this space blank, white as cooling snow. Or maybe with just a small notice in agate in the middle of all that restful vacancy: Compliments of a Friend.
But it is in the nature of columnists never to seize a good opportunity to shut up. That's how we stay in trouble, our natural habitat.
What was needed, it dawned on me, was a guest column. Or at least a kernel of wisdom I could borrow and pass on as my own. And if you're going to steal, why not steal from the best? Which is why the thrust of today's piece isn't my work but that of someone who knew what he was talking about:
You couldn't crib from anyone better. Burke combined the economic philosophy of
These days, those of us dismayed by the economic news can turn for comfort and light to
Burke well understood the necessity of "a just revenue" for government, for from it derives "magnanimity, and liberality, and beneficence and fortitude ... and the tutelary protection of all good arts."
But wise management also demanded "continence, and self-denial, and labor, and frugality, and whatever else there is in which the mind shews itself above the appetite...."
There can be little doubt that now is a time for some overdue self-restraint. To quote Burke's conclusion:
"The objects of a financier are, then, to secure an ample revenue, to impose it with judgment and equality, to employ it economically, and when necessity obliges him to make use of credit, to secure its foundations in that instance, and for ever, by the clearness and candor of his proceedings, the exactness of his calculations, and the solidity of his funds."
For a more concise, American version of the same counsel, see
Here endeth the lesson. Finding wise counsel is easy enough. The challenge is having the wisdom and strength to follow it.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
if (strpos(, "printer_friendly") === 0)
=<< © 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.