McCain's Enlightened Self-Interest

Prof. K. reads McCain's victory speech last night and finds it good, but not good enough. I agree with his assessment that McCain needs to find a more powerful way to capture the notion of "enlightened self-interest," and a more enlightened principle altogether. At the same time, I'm heartened to find McCain talking this way at all. I am sick to death of Conservatives yielding the moral high ground to the Left with respect to economic policy --as if "everyone knows" the noblest, kindest, most decent way to deal with the human person is through clunky government programs whose excessive regulations make it impossible to exercise the virtue of prudence or live as an adult, and Conservatives stubbornly prefer to hang onto their money at the expense of the common good because they don't care about people. Anyway:

Hope, my friends, is a powerful thing. I can attest to that better than many, for I have seen men's hopes tested in hard and cruel ways that few will ever experience. And I stood astonished at the resilience of their hope in the darkest of hours because it did not reside in an exaggerated belief in their individual strength, but in the support of their comrades, and their faith in their country. My hope for our country resides in my faith in the American character, the character which proudly defends the right to think and do for ourselves, but perceives self-interest in accord with a kinship of ideals, which, when called upon, Americans will defend with their very lives.

To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude.

Yeah, I have no idea what a kinship of ideals means, I concede I'm only hoping he means enlightened self-interest, but his point is Obama-is-a-lightweight, and I think that will stick. And this is lovely:

When I was a young man, I thought glory was the highest ambition, and that all glory was self-glory. My parents tried to teach me otherwise, as did the Naval Academy. But I didn't understand the lesson until later in life, when I confronted challenges I never expected to face.

In that confrontation I discovered that I was dependent on others to a greater extent than I had ever realized, but that neither they nor the cause we served made any claims on my identity. On the contrary, I discovered that nothing is more liberating in life than to fight for a cause that encompasses you, but is not defined by your existence alone. And that has made all the difference, my friends, all the difference in the world.

I do not seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need. I seek the presidency with the humility of a man who cannot forget that my country saved me. I am running to serve America, and to champion the ideas I believe will help us do what every American generation has managed to do: to make in our time, and from our challenges, a stronger country and a better world.

Time enough for specifics on the stump.