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Did he just say “Enlightenment”?!?

I’ve learned not to expect consistency or depth of thought from politicians, with the usual exception of Ronald Reagan (peace be upon him.) But Rudy Giuliani impresses me every time I hear him speak, with his intelligence and level-headed optimism.

I know I am echoing some of Allison’s points from her earlier post on Giuliani’s speech to the Federalist Society, but as I often say, ‘Allison has great ideas’!

From his speech…

And I think that’s the reason why you’ve grown so much so quickly because people really want principle and they understand that our society is moved ultimately by ideas. Personalities can project ideas, but the healthiest way in which our society can move is by ideas.

And later…

We’re united because of ideas and ideals. That’s what holds us together. That’s the thing that makes America America, makes Americans Americans—shared ideas.

Not only does Giuliani understand and highlight the importance of ideas, he is optimistic enough to believe that most Americans understand it as well.

And speaking of Reaganesque…

America’s strength is just as great as it’s always been. …. And from the first moment when I saw the way the people reacted to it (September 11th) and I saw the way the firefighters and the police officers reacted to it and I saw the construction workers come and volunteer, you know hundreds of them, more than we needed, ultimately thousands of them. I realized that these people are the sons and daughters in spirit and sometimes in blood as the same people that saved our country some many times over and over again. And when you challenge us all this strength comes back, it’s really there we should not be worried about it, we have it, this generation is as strong as prior generations of Americans because we come from them and we owe it to them and to ourselves to make sure that this principle of democracy and freedom is upheld, preserved and expanded everywhere in the world.

Sounding more Objectivist than the Objectivists, I believe Giuliani represents the individual-centered value system we should support:

Now America is not great however because of our central government. And that may be one of the basic distinctions between the two political parties right now because I do believe quite honestly that the other political party does believe that the greatness of America lies in the central government because they want to impose and give more and more responsibility to the central government.

When people like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and Barack Obama and Charlie Rangel, when they’re talking about a trillion, two trillion, three trillion dollar tax increases what they’re really saying to you is and I believe in good faith they believe this, they’re saying government knows better. We can spend your money more wisely than you can. They’re sort of playing out the philosophy that the leading Democratic candidate once announced about tax reductions, which was we’re going to have to take things from you for the common good.

We’re gonna go, if I’m President of the United States, in the direction of giving more money, more authority, more decision making to the people.

But the Objectivist-who-shall-not-be-named says we should vote for Hillary Clinton. Go figure.

Finally, Giuliani understands the importance of context, that we don’t live in a vacuum, that history did not start when we were born..

It was this nation that took all of those ideas that developed from way back in the Old Testament and the Greek philosophy and Roman law and the enlightenment. …And America established this constitutional democratic government in the form of a republic and it was the nation that from the very beginning saw that tyranny and oppression is something that was illegitimate and had to be dealt with. It was this nation that saved the world from the two great tyrannies of the 20th century, Nazism and Communism. It’s this country that’s going to save a civilization from Islamic terrorism.

I was going to vote for him anyway, but extra points to any politician who talks about the Enlightenment, the importance of ideas, and the once and future strength of America.

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