Back when Bill Clinton was elected as President in 1993, I was the editor of my Jaycee club newsletter, and wrote this editorial for the occasion. I wondered how it had stood the passing of time?
It seems as if every editor in the world has written an editorial comparing new American President Bill Clinton to the late John F. Kennedy, and there are interesting parallels between the two men. Both are young Democrat Presidents who share a reputation for womanising, a talent for Television Electioneering — looking good on T.V. is the main reason they were elected — and a potential for becoming an assassin’s target. Apparently Bill Clinton thinks he is so popular he need not worry about his security — J.F.K. felt the same way, with more reason, but still wound up dead. So if you’re reading this, Bill, take care.
I don’t know enough about Bill Clinton to fill an Editorial, so I would rather direct your attention to two other former world leaders; President George Bush of the USA, and Mikail Gorbachov of the Soviet Union. Arguably at one time the two most powerful men on the Planet, both men worked for and led their country’s Secret Police forces (CIA and KGB) before using that powerbase as a platform from which to reach the top. Both men must have made decisions in the service of their countries which would lead to the deaths of their colleagues as well as their enemies, leaving blood on their hands. One would expect that years in the shadowy world of espionage and “National Security” operations would have brutalised both men to the point where by the time they reached the pinnacles of power, only evil would result. On the contrary, it would appear that Mikhail Gorbachev did whatever was necessary to survive and to reach the top of the Soviet system, only so that he could dismantle what President Reagan was pleased to call “the Dark Empire of Evil”. So while Mikhail Gorbachev presided over the disintegration of the Soviet Empire, George Bush used his hard-won power to aid and hasten the process. If it had not been necessary to bolster Gorbachev's prestige by giving him a foreign affairs victory at a crucial time in the overthrow of Communism, the West would not now be faced by a resurgent and defiant Saddam Hussein. On the other hand, without the New World Order which has resulted from these two men’s work, we would still have no way of dealing with maniacs like Saddam.
We all of us owe a great deal, perhaps our children’s futures, to these two spooks turned statesmen. History will record that Communism was the worst experiment in social engineering the Human race has so far tried. By comparison, New Zealand’s 50 year experiment with the Welfare State has only crippled, not killed our economy. Karl Marx could not have known that when he wrote “ to each according to his needs, from each according to his means” that he was proposing the simultaneous subsidisation of need and the suffocation of means. Any system which rewards the poor for their poverty while punishing the rich for their wealth has sewn the seeds of its own destruction. The lesson for New Zealand, unpalatable as it may be, is that benefits should be only enough to keep one alive, not enough for one to live on.
What has any of this got to do with Jaycee? A lot of irrelevant international politics and recent world history you may think; but consider what George Bush and Mikail Gorbachov were able to achieve together : haven’t they, and the fall of Communism, shown us that the brotherhood of Man can, at times, transcend the sovereignty of nations, that economic justice (rather than equality) can best be won by free men through free enterprise, and maybe even that service to humanity was the best work of their lives.
This is at the core of what Jaycee is all about.