This whole “bailout” thing — the actual money it’s going to cost is, is only a portion of the real damage, and it’s a minority portion. The real crippling payment for it comes out of the purse of our thinking. This is the price we really can’t afford.

We can’t have bipartisanship in the United States, because the fissure between our two parties is too deep. We have a party that values life, and another party that only pretends to value life when it really values death. We have a party that wants to work with the market and uphold the virtues of free enterprise, and another party that wants to get rid of free enterprise and put the market out of existence. We have a party that wants people to be independent and another party that wants people to be more dependent on their government.

You don’t find a compromise between these. You simply don’t.

This is where Sarah Palin really slipped and fell during that Couric interview. It’s always been her weak point — the talking points about bipartisanship. She runs out of things to say, she loops these things two, three, four times, it sounds terrible. Repeating something doesn’t automatically make it terrible. Speaking from talking points, instead of from the heart, sounds terrible. As a product, Gov. Palin has been enormously successful, and the success of that product comes from the prospect of translating ideas that work in the real world into our government. Whoever’s feeding her these talking points, is diminishing what’s wonderful about her and in so doing defeating the entire purpose.

Palin’s not alone. Nobody has said anything about the bailout yet, that has captured the public’s enthusiasm…which is a great pity, because the one thing that has a chance of getting us out of this mess is the one thing that would so capture the public’s enthusiasm.

And that thing is this.

Market forces, and populism, are like oil and water. Our nation has a long history, by now, of trying to mix the two together and it has never worked. It creates problems. Our tendency in dealing with these problems has been to blame them on the marketplace, rather than on the mixing, and then to indulge in more mixing. This latest meltdown is no exception, in fact, it’s already gone three laps on this merry-go-round and is starting a fourth. That’s why the dollar amounts we’re discussing are so staggeringly high. If we opt for more compromises where they aren’t possible, we will start that fourth lap and the next time we have to deal with it the dollar amounts will be even higher.

The marketplace has always been friendly to us when we have been friendly to the marketplace. That should be our paramount goal as we seek a solution to this crisis. And if it’s solvency we want, then we need to show our dedication to that solvency, and include that solvency in the objectives of this “oversight” we discuss so much and so often. I don’t know about you, but for the last several decades when I hear about regulatory oversight in the home lending market, I’ve heard a lot about “community outreach” and very little about solvency. So if solvency’s our goal, let’s make the oversight all about that, or else get rid of it altogether. But the status quo is, we pretend to appreciate the virtues of free enterprise, while engaging in a vicious assault upon it — and today, you see the result.

America needs to return to her roots. There is a difference between making it possible for people to live in freedom, with a minimalist government, and bringing them to harm. If you don’t believe that is so, you must not believe in the competence of people to eventually learn from whatever mistakes they may make. You have a right to that opinion. But that opinion is not centrist; it is not moderate; it is not compromise; it isn’t even American. From there, let the debate go forward, but let us debate things as they really are. Humans are glorious, intelligent creatures, Americans are among the most courageous and resourceful among humans, and we have always realized our most dazzling successes when left to embrace opportunity and danger as capable individuals. We got into this mess by putting security above opportunity. We will head in the exact opposite direction, to get ourselves out of it. And we will succeed. We will fix this mess we have made. That is the only way we can.

Update: Talk about humming from the same hymnbook. But there’s been no collaboration here, I found this after I’d written the above. It captures perfectly what I had in mind with these comments about the merry-go-round…so before anybody asks what that was all about, just hit play.

H/T to Neptunus Lex, via blogger friend Buck.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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