So volatile are these times that friends keep adding caveats to the wishes for a Happy New Year. My variation on this has become, Happy New Year, whatever it may bring!
But amid the uncertainties, there are a few things of which we can be sure. Some are so obvious that only among experts and politicians do they really need spelling out. Nonetheless, given the abundance of experts and politicians currently jockeying for the cockpits of the planet, I offer below a small selection of axioms for 2012:
1) The government does not “create” jobs.
In matters of the economy, all the government really has the ability to do is force the transfer of assets — in too many cases eroding liberty, destroying real jobs and wasting resources. Any candidate, from any party, who tells you he or she has some great program for job creation is offering another big bamboozle (unless that jobs program boils down to simply getting the government’s all-too-visible hands out of the marketplace).
2) Diplomatic persuasion has its limits: Negotiations will not persuade Iran’s regime to scrap its nuclear weapons program.
3) Ditto the bit about diplomatic persuasion: No matter how many variations on 2-party, 3-party, 4,5,6 or umpteen-party talks might for the umpteenth time sound tempting, North Korea’s regime will not be negotiated out of its nuclear weapons program.
4) Getting Jimmy Carter involved in anything at all (see #3, above) will only make matters worse.
5) Getting the United Nations involved in almost anything (see everything on this list) will quite likely make matters worse — with the exception of the UN itself, which will almost certainly emerge with more of your money.
6) There are miracles in life.
7) But fortune favors those who do their homework. Especially in politics, it is folly to depend on miracles.
And whatever the fol-de-rol, wrangles. loss, sacrifices and genuine crises that lie ahead — as a great many surely do — it’s worth celebrating life itself, which I think is the basic reason we raise a toast to the dawn of a New Year. Happy 2012!