What would John Galt say?

by David Safier

Quick, someone find Clarence Thomas a speech writer! Now that the Bush administration is gone, it looks like he's garbled up his talking points.

Americans today are self-indulgent and don't make the sacrifices that their parents and grandparents did, and the nation's leaders don't ask people to act for the higher good, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Monday.

Act for the higher good? Pardon me? I thought the greatest good is "I got mine." I thought we need to cut taxes because "It's your money." What's this socialistic, redistribution, higher good stuff?

He quoted President John F. Kennedy's famous, "Ask not what your country can do for you" speech, but said Americans today are more likely to say, "Ask not what you can do for yourselves or your country but what your country can do for you."

The hell you say! For 8 years, I've been told that the country is either supposed to do for me, or get out of my way.

Paging John Galt . . . Paging a Mister John Galt.

Here's what I think happened. Thomas was channeling his inner crotchety old man, who wants to tell all those little whippersnappers how much better people were when he was growing up. He just kind of forgot that, if he wants to keep his conservative membership card, the "better" he wants to throw in their faces shouldn't be a president who asks people to be less selfish and do more for the common good. "Better" should be walking ten miles both ways to school.

Though, to give Kennedy some conservative cred, he did want to lower the highest income tax rate. He thought the rate Eisenhower left him was too high. It was 91% at the time. He thought 65% was a more reasonable figure. [This is one of those wonderful, little discussed facts about income tax rates in our not-too-distant past — the time people like to call The Good Old Days. What are the conservatives calling Socialism these days? Obama putting the rate back at 40% after Bush knocked it down to 35%.]

0 responses to “What would John Galt say?

  1. I thought it was odd that Justice Thomas didn’t join Roberts, Alito and Scalia in dissent in Wyeth v. Levine two weeks ago. Even if he concurred based on his expansive view of states’ rights, it hasn’t been often that he’d left the conservatives on the Court to find against a corporation and for a plaintiff injured by its actions.

    So maybe he’s not a Randite anymore.