I have for many years tried to make clear to people the difference between a “difference in degree” versus a “difference in kind.” Tying it in with the dictum of Marcus Aurelius that first of all, it is imperative to know what a thing is, I have for years worked on distinctions between particulars and generals, accidents and essentials. One of my daughters, both of whom I am inordinately proud of, to this day mocks me for instructing her in that discipline.
To make it simple, a cat differs from a dog in kind, while a dog differs from a wolf in degree. Humans all differ from each other in degree only, while we differ from animals in kind.
The point of all of this is somewhat political. I am, mirabile dictu, a conservative. I believe in as much unfettered individual liberty as possible. I oppose a growing government, and despise the modern welfare state. Along with Jefferson, I would rather deal with the difficulties attendant to too much liberty, than those attendant to too few.
And that is why I have decided I will vote for Obama in November. Not because he is a champion of individual liberty or small government, but precisely because he is neither. His every speech and proposal contains the germ of new taxes, or new programs, or both. He staunchly defends a status quo on spending that will drive us into Greek-like austerity sooner rather than later.
Romney, on the other hand, isn’t a champion of individual liberty or small government either. He, too, defends spending on policies that are transfers of wealth from payers to takers. Granted, he wishes to spend less, and perhaps slow the headlong rush into the street riots that follow austerity. He doesn’t propose to eliminate any of the implements of the welfare state, just to rearrange the timing of the ultimate bankruptcy.
Point being, the difference between Obama and Romney is not one of kind, but only one of degree. One is the wolf, and one the dog, but canines both. Oh, Romney may be more staunch on Israel, and Obama may be a more rabid union supporter, but the differences between them are mere accidentals. Obama promises cradle-to-grave government security and Romney promises the same, just on a less grand scale. Romney refuses to name an enemy in the “War on Terror,” and Obama caters to the unnamed enemy. There isn’t really a clear demarcation, just shades of grey, between the two.
Obama, like Nero fiddling, goes on Letterman, and gives some crippled procurer a radio interview while Americans die and Libya burns. Instead of a heartfelt and spirited defense of the first amendment, we get a tepid talk about “justice” while simultaneously condemning the exercise of free speech that caused the animals to kill and burn. Romney is no better. Faced with a clear act of war, Romney takes much the same tack.
Therefore, I have decided to vote for the candidate that will bring us to the ultimate denouement that much earlier. If we are to devolve, like Europe, into cultural, economic, and historical insignificance, I wish it to happen sooner rather than later. If it happens in the next ten or twelve years, I will still be, relatively speaking, a young enough man to take part. If we are to be driven off a cliff economically, I’d like to help pick up the pieces so my grandson won’t have to. If we are to be destroyed culturally from within, I’d like it to happen while I can at least speak out against the dying of the light. If it does come, as some say, to an armed conflict between good and evil, I want to be young enough to be involved.
Between the two of them, there is no difference between the two of them. Both will wind up taking us over a cliff, the only question is how soon it will happen, and how high the cliff.