I haven’t yet had the chance to see whether this app works (since I have an iPhone, not an android) but, if it does, it’s a wonderful thing:
If you like what you see, you can get the free download here.
Yesterday, I wrote about incrementalism. My point was that it took conservatives decades to get into this mess and that we have to expect it to take decades to get out of the mess. Reversing ObamaCare was never going to be the magic moment that reversed a trend that started with Roosevelt, and that got two big boosts, one under Johnson and the other under Obama. We have to fight myriad small battles, starting with the upcoming election.
Actually, the upcoming election is the easy one. We’re feeling the rage. We’re pushing and moving. It’s the next election, and the next one, and the next one, not to mention tracking what’s going on in our local schools, encouraging our young ones to speak up in school, to storm the newspapers, to set up alternative media, etc.
One of the things that’s both irritating and effective about the Left is that it’s always enraged. It’s always out there pushing and fighting and urging and co-opting and doing whatever else the heck it needs. (I know there’s not a single “it” out there. There is, instead, a collective of humans, but these humans are remarkably for their endless energy.) Conservatives tend to be complacent or, perhaps, we simply conserve our energy for the big fight.
Of course, it’s that innate conservativism, that passivity, that allowed us — meaning the American nation — to get into this semi-socialized mess in the first place. The past 70 years have shown that we’ll periodically rouse ourselves for some big battles, but we ignore the continuous lesser battles that the Left wages. If we win in November, my bet is on us doing precisely the same: we’ll celebrate our victory, and then lapse back into our usual torpor. At that point, of course, the Left moves, and it moves fast, hard, and relentlessly.
Here’s the deal: If we’re programmed by our conservative nature to sit inert until the big fights come along, we’re going to lose the cultural and political war. We just will. We’re trying to swing a big hammer periodically, even as we’re getting eaten from the ground up by small bugs. We have to overcome our inertia and fight continuously. We cannot relax, nor is it sufficient for us to fight a defensive battle. This political and social war requires constant, active, aggression — not physical violence, but aggression in the world of the mind.
If we don’t fight, if we don’t feel the rage, we will lose, and we’ll deserve to lose.
One of my favorite blogfriends sent me a link to John Yoo’s article excoriating Justice Robert’s decision in the harshest terms. Yoo states plainly that the decision spells the end of individualism in America, since it expands the government’s taxing power to encompass everything. Those who seek a silver lining (or ponies or lemonade) are deluding themselves, Yoo argues:
All this is a hollow hope. The outer limit on the Commerce Clause in Sebelius does not put any other federal law in jeopardy and is undermined by its ruling on the tax power (discussed below). The limits on congressional coercion in the case of Medicaid may apply only because the amount of federal funds at risk in that program’s expansion—more than 20% of most state budgets—was so great. If Congress threatens to cut off 5%-10% to force states to obey future federal mandates, will the court strike that down too? Doubtful.
Worse still, Justice Roberts’s opinion provides a constitutional road map for architects of the next great expansion of the welfare state. Congress may not be able to directly force us to buy electric cars, eat organic kale, or replace oil heaters with solar panels. But if it enforces the mandates with a financial penalty then suddenly, thanks to Justice Roberts’s tortured reasoning in Sebelius, the mandate is transformed into a constitutional exercise of Congress’s power to tax.
Given the advancing age of several of the justices, an Obama second term may see the appointment of up to three new Supreme Court members. A new, solidified liberal majority will easily discard Sebelius’s limits on the Commerce Clause and expand the taxing power even further. After the Hughes court switch, FDR replaced retiring Justices with a pro-New Deal majority, and the court upheld any and all expansions of federal power over the economy and society. The court did not overturn a piece of legislation under the Commerce Clause for 60 years.
Yoo is correct about the decision’s effect, and new evidence showing that Roberts was motivated more by politics than constitutionalism. Nevertheless, this war is not over as long as we don’t surrender.
Rightly or wrongly, the bottom line is that the Supreme Court will not pull conservative’s political chestnuts out of the fire. America is stuck with the government the majority elects. Conservatives sat on their collective backsides for 40 years as liberals took over one institution after another. They sowed, they reap. We weep.
John Will is a Brazilian Jujitsu martial artist who makes an interesting point when he teaches, one that sank into my brain and that still surfaces periodically when I get overwhelmed by things: we tend to get into trouble because we’re unaware that we’re heading into trouble. Few of us race to disaster. Instead, we head that way step by unwitting step. We can pull back at any time, but we don’t. If we were at the water’s edge, you would see that few of us jump into the deep end. Instead, we just keep walking, unaware that the water is rising, right up until it hits our mouth. That’s bad. What’s really bad, though, is that we think we can take a giant leap and suddenly be on dry land. That’s not what happens. Sadly, too many who assume that a giant leap is all there is, end up panicking when the leap fails — and there they are, stranded and helpless.
Will’s point is that, whether in jujitsu or life, one cannot instantly and completely pivot away from a slowly developing disaster. If it took 48 steps to get you in up to your nose, it might take 49 to get you back to dry land. In jujitsu, that means a victory might be freeing your elbow or your knee, so that you can go on to liberate the next body part from your opponent’s grip. In politics, a start might be holding the House and taking the White House. Not as good as all three political branches, but better than just one.
Here’s the deal: We’ve had decades to get ourselves into this fix. We — that is, we conservatives — will not reclaim the country in November. Nevertheless, this election, and the next election, and the election after that, each represents one of the small steps we must take so that the Supreme Court ruling is a tocsin and not a death knell.
This article that just appeared in Bloomberg.com, regarding Stockton-writ-California-writ-USA-writ-large’s pending bankruptcy, is just so absolutely jaw-dropping crazy…uh, no, wait….it isn’t really so crazy after all. Never mind.
If Stockton Is Broke, Why Isn’t San Diego?: Steven Greenhut
Here’s the money take-away: referencing the fact that, for the past 20 years, city employees could earn full lifetime health benefits (employee and spouse) after working only one month, Stockton City Manager Bob Deis noted…
“There was no money set aside to fund those commitments.”
And that’s the rub with our national, state and local governments, isn’t it? They can promise anything to get peoples’ votes, but there is no obligation to deliver. All they can do is make empty promises. And so, like moths to a flame, do we the people incinerate our futures and our freedoms on the soaring promises of hopey-change utopians. We once-proud, free, self reliant Americans have shown ourselves to be all too willing to give up our freedoms in exchange for promised government benefits…i.e., retirement pensions, health care, security, education…with not even a guarantee that the government will or can deliver.
You see, the government can never guarantee such promises, because (as our European cousins have so amply demonstrated) these are promises that government never could deliver. Government can’t deliver because a) government itself cannot create those benefits and b) because, inevitably, in the end, there is never enough money to pay for other people to provide those benefits.
The only thing the government can guarantee is that a) once surrendered, you won’t get your freedom, retirement, health care, security, or money back and b) the only way that it can even pretend to deliver on its promises is by taking away even more of your freedoms and money. Flame – moth – destruction.
There is a quality to real leaders called a “command presence”. You know the type: they walk into a room and by their force of presence, command of the facts, unshaken confidence and leadership qualities, they capture the narrative and control the agenda. That command presence is a necessary mark of a good leader.
In part, this is what I’ve been looking for in these debates and the most recent debate in New Hampshire helped crystallize for me what is wrong with the Republican candidates: I have yet to see a convincing command performance.
I’ve seen it with Govs. Christie and Palin. I’ve seen it in Lt. Col. and Florida Congressional Representative Allen West. I thought that I saw it in Cain, Bachman and Gingrich. I’ve been especially Gingrich’s ability to control the moronic chickadees of the MSM.
However, I definitely did not see a command presence when Governor Romney allowed an intellectual lightweight like George Stephanopoulos to control the narrative with his ridiculous obsession with contraception (I sense an inner conflict…care to share, Georgie?). Romney wanted to get along, to find the road to peace and harmony…so, instead, Georgie Stephanopoulos got to drive the agenda instead of getting slapped down and named for the trivial man he is.
So, after that, I was pretty much confirmed in my decision to support Gingrich as the one who best offered a vision and command presence for America. That was. This is now. The fact that Gingrich could not condemn the following ad that was posted by one of his PAC tells me that, when necessary, Gingrich will readily descend into the role of the demagogue, much like those on the Left.
You cannot be a proponent of capitalism while playing upon its worst caricatures for short-term political gain. This ad is vile. Romney was part of a turnaround corporation. Such companies play an important role in supporting the vitality and creative destruction and renewal of capitalist economies. As history has shown over and over again, the alternative is far worse.
After this ad, I can no longer support Gingrich. We’ve already got a demagogue-in-chief. His name is Obama.
So, with great reluctance, I throw my support to Romney. Anybody but Obama!
Yay, there’s another Sarah Palin in American politics.
Mia B. Love – mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.
Those of you that have read my posts and comments (whether you agree or disagree) know that I am a huge Sarah Palin fan. Frankly, there is a certain breed of all-American women that I hugely admire in this country – those descended from the same character stock that stood side by side with their men, gun in hand, ready to fight to the death for their families. This is the type of person that Sarah Palin typifies: strong, confident, articulate with a clear sense of…common sense.
Now, in Utah, we see that Sarah Palin is hardly alone. In fact, she may have paved the way for a new, assertive voice of American women in politics. Here is Mia Love…watch the video, imagine Liberal-Lefty heads exploding, then read the link (h/t Powerline Blog)
Let a million Palins bloom! We may yet win this country back.
Besides, I think Allen West could use some help.
We have an odd family friend. Fundamentally, she is a nice person and sports a very unconventional view of the world that occasionally emotes great insights into the human condition. She has a major flaw, however, one that she admits as a character flaw: she is an unabashed hater. Despite her husband, kids and friends being conservative, she targets her venom at conservatives. We who love her nonetheless, understand: “conservatives” remind her of her father, a redneck sort of fellow who was a very bad father. She blames him for her mother’s suicide, which occurred when she was very young.
If you dig deep into people’s psyches, you can often find the reason for visceral hatreds and, usually but not always, they have to do with childhood experiences. As Oprah (an abused child) famously remarked, some people seem incapable of shedding their childhood baggage.
So, what is it with Paul Krugman, once a brilliant economist and now a dark troll fulminating ugly thoughts under stone bridges in Liberal-land? This article, contributed by Peter Foster in Canada’s Financial Post, does a brilliant dissection of Krugman’s visceral hatreds and the warped views he espouses on economics, conservatives and climate change (some of which have been repeated rote on this blog by certain participants).
What the article doesn’t do is explain from whence do Paul Krugman’s demons arise. What happened to cause his descent into madness?
Last night, after Andrew Breitbart had already left to catch his plane, a few of us hung around to chat and to try to answer one question: what was the takeaway from Breitbart’s talk? Eat their eyeballs? Women’s dominance in the Tea Party means that men are eunuchs? The fact that the Tea Party needs to sex up a bit (Breitbart suggested cleavage) to attract younger people? Our responsibility to buy tickets to conservative movies even if we don’t attend, because brave Hollywood conservatives need box office support? Nope.
Those were all enjoyable motifs that Breitbart interjected repeatedly to liven up his talk, but the real takeaway message was this one: The true battle today isn’t being fought in the political arena, it’s being fought in the social and culture arena. It’s there that we need to engage the Left; to out-Alinsky the Alinsky-ites; and to call Leftists on their behavior. We can’t be afraid of confrontation, unless that confrontation will utterly destroy our lives and our livelihoods.
At first glance, Breitbart isn’t your typical warrior. He’s got a cloud of graying hair; a smooth, youthful face; bright, clear blue eyes; and he dresses casually in sports jacket, jeans and All-Stars. He is surprisingly handsome. I say surprisingly because his handsomeness doesn’t derive from his looks (although he is very good-looking). His handsomeness derives from his crackling vitality. He has enough charisma for two people. Even standing still, Breitbart is kinetic. This kinetic quality comes about because — and this is a rare trait — you can actually see his mind working. He is an unstructured speaker, but he brings such humor, energy, wit and (here’s that word again) vitality to his speech, that you feel you are getting the pleasure of engaging in a one-on-one conversation with the most interesting man in the room.
Breitbart’s discursive speech covered a broad range of topics. The eaten eyeballs trope came about after he explained that he tells his kids that, if someone is trying to bully them, they should first try to handle the matter politely and, if that fails, they should yank out the other person’s eyeballs and eat them, a theme he returned to throughout his talk. Since we were a sophisticated audience, we understood that Breitbart was not actually advocating violence and cannibalism. Instead, he was reminding us that we cannot back down from a fight. The Left’s MO is to bully all who threaten it or stand in its way, and the only way to handle a bully is through confrontation. Eyeball eating was an amusing metaphor for the need to stand up to the insults and intimidation.
The “men are eunuchs” point was another recurring theme. Breitbart pointed out that women outnumbered men in the room, something he says he’s noticed over and over again in his dealings with the Tea Party. While acknowledging that women have more free time (or, at least, more flexibility to their time), he also went on to make the broader point — one I’ve made repeatedly in this blog — which is that the Left, using our schools, works hard to emasculate men. Rather than cultivating their natural qualities as virtues (bravery, loyalty, energy, etc.), it’s castigated them as vices (aggression, bullheadedness, hyperactivity), and reduced many American men to cowering ciphers in touch with their feminine feelings.
Cleavage? Yup, that came up too, since Breitbart told us that a friend of his believes that the Tea Party should be sexed up. I’m not sure about the cleavage, but there was a larger point there, which is that young people are definitely missing from the Tea Party movement. Older people have a visceral understanding about the Tea Party’s necessity, since it stands for principles that hit them where they live — mortgages, food, jobs, etc. Young people, however, need another hook to engage them, and sex — or, at least, sexiness – sells. I would also argue that intellectual coherence sells, and the Tea Party has it in spades. We just need to figure out how to market it to the young.
And that’s where Hollywood comes in. When Breitbart decided there was a culture war that needed to be fought, and that Hollywood was Ground Zero in this war, his first thought was that he had, at most, an army of three: Tom Selleck, Robert Davi and Chachi (Scott Baio). As one Hollywood conservative revealed to Breitbart, though, Hollywood conservatives now number at least 1,500, drawn from all walks of Hollywood life, from writers, to stuntmen, to electricians, to actors, producers and directors.
The problem for Hollywood conservatives is that they commit career suicide if they come out of the conservative closet. Breitbart told stories of people who were permanently blacklisted for donating a hundred dollars to the “wrong” cause. This means that those stars who have come out openly as conservatives have taken an enormous risk. It was in this context that Breitbart said urged us, even if we’re not seeing a movie buy the ticket for that all-important opening weekend. And to buy the star’s book. And do whatever else we can to make it clear to the money people that there is money in conservativism.
Perhaps because of his Hollywood background, Breitbart, more than many, understands the theater that is Leftism, and the need to pull back the curtain and show that there isn’t anything real there. He likes to go up to protesters and simply ask them to explain the beliefs that motivate them. As he’s frequently shown on video, whether they’re protesting the Koch brothers, Fox, or whatever other liberal cause de jour loads them on the bus, most of the protesters have no idea what’s going on. They’re there because their masters have instructed them to be there.
The Left, Breitbart says, is a herd. That is both its strength and its weakness. He told a very amusing anecdote about spending several hours rollerblading through a vast SEIU crowd protesting a Koch brothers gathering. After capturing many on tape saying very ill-informed and un-PC things, he decided enough was enough. So, finding an open space, he announced loudly “We’ve spent enough time here now. Let’s all go to Applebee’s” — and they did!
The problem for conservatives is that we’re not a herd. We’re independent, iconoclastic, averse to mass crowds and gainfully employed. This means that we can seldom get together long enough to create the visuals so necessary in a media age. The fact that the Tea Party finally transcended this problem explains the explosion of crude, vile, incendiary hostility the MSM has directed at the Tea Party. Tea Partiers are the first telegenic conservatives since Reagan.
If Andrew Breitbart comes to your town as part of his tour, take (or make) the time to go and see him. He is a delightful and inspiring speaker, a true happy warrior. And whether or not he comes to a town near you, buy his book, Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!. I’m already in Chapter 2 and enjoying every minute.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News
In America, each side of the political aisle routinely accuses the other of engaging in “scare” tactics. Each side is right. Doomsday scenarios are how you engage an increasingly distracted population. My question for you is, when it comes to predicting doomsday scenarios to engage the population, which side is more accurate?
I’ve got three Progressive predictions, two of which were definitely wrong and one of which I think is proving to be wrong:
Progressives argued global cooling, and they were wrong.
Progressives argued anthropogenic global warming, which they’ve now altered to anthropogenic climate change, which I’m sure they will alter to some other fine name when their predictions fail to come to pass. Currently, I count them as wrong.
Progressives promised that, if “welfare as we know it” ended in 1994, the poor would be dying in the streets. They were wrong.
Here are three conservative predictions that were correct:
Conservatives said that if ObamaCare passed, health care costs would go up immediately and dramatically. So far, they’ve been right.
Conservatives said that withdrawing from the Vietnam War would result in a blood bath. They were right.
Conservatives said that “welfare as we know it” was a miserable, enslaving institution and that reforming it would not result in instant death of all poor people. They were right.
Obviously, I’ve cherry-picked to find incorrect Progressive predictions and correct conservative predictions. Can you support my position or disprove it? I’ll be interested either way.
Most of us here in the Bookworm Room express a healthy skepticism of “experts” in general. Most of us revel in our ability to think and discourse critically for ourselves, while others lament that socially-anointed “experts” are not solemnly revered through incense, incantations and burnt offerings made before the Temple of Orthodoxy. Ah well.
Age plays a factor. As a student in the sciences, I revered all my profs until I learned to see through their intellectual facades. By graduate school, I was far more discriminating. Don’t get me wrong – I was privileged to be able to study and discourse with true intellectual giants. I recognized that a common trait of these models and mentors was their ability to constantly question convention and reexamine their premises. They could also doubt themselves. I admire them to this day and I wanted someday to be like them. I am still trying.
However, there was also another group of intellectual wannabees, professors and classmates, for whom the sole objective of the id was the ego. Their entire sense of self revolved around a desperate need to be recognized for their “credentials”. This group was highly insecure and many were not particularly bright. I recall PhD students who were already penning their “expert” bestsellers before having completed their orals. Alas, such “scientists” were so intent on creating unwarranted reputations for themselves that they would cause great intellectual mischief in my professional field. Thus do I take any claim to self-proclaimed expertise or consensus opinion with a healthy grain of salt.
The point I am making is that scientists are humans, subject to all the quirks, foibles and fallibilities of other humans. However, because of their credentials, it is too easy for lay people to accept uncritically what these scientists profess. Scientists, like all other people, can also fall prey to herd mentalities and egos too often pose insurmountable barriers to self-reflection. For many of us, as we get older, realism displaces idealism and teaches many of us the need to think for ourselves. It’s part of our journey into adulthood.
I bring all this up because, at No Frakken Consensus, there is a delightful book review on “The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation”, by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky.
The book is a historical record of the many, many times that scientific, political, historical and social thinking and consensus have been proven wrong…badly wrong. It’s an intellectual journey sprinkled with entertaining footnotes and guide posts to help one navigate beyond the intellectual facades of credentialed experts (one of my favorites: “funding and forecasting may be dependent variables”).
If you click on the image of the book, it takes you to the Amazon website, where you can peruse pages thereof.
It’s a fun read and I am sure that all critical-thinking Bookworm Room aficionados could have loads of fun for years to come in adding to the book’s list of defrocked orthodoxies (it was most recently republished in 1998). It certainly yields more-than enough holy water with which to give the Temple of Orthodoxy a thorough scrub.
Democrats are the friends of big business, Conservatives are the friends of small business. Democrat government inevitably ratchets its way to corruptocracy.
If you don’t agree with this, can we at least agree that Democrats favor highly regulated economies and societies and conservatives don’t?
Let me explain with two examples.
1) The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about how the EPA has decided that milk, because it contains 4% butterfat, should be regulated under the same environmental control standards as petroleum. Consequently, dairy farmers will have to file Federally approve emergency plans on how to deal with “oil spills” and such. Large dairies (some dairies in California milk 10,000 or more cows at a time) will probably be able to comply. Small dairies (goat and sheep milk farms, Vermont dairy producers etc. ) are just out of luck. I happen to know something about the dairy industry – it’s a highly politicized, highly subsidized industry that operates on very thin margins. I’m sure that they will come to an accommodation with the EPA and Federal Government…at a very steep price, politically and $-wise!
2) As it becomes increasingly clear the degree to which Obama Care really is a pig-in-a-poke, there is frantic activity to opt out of it. The numbers of entities that have received waivers from ObamaCare (other than Congress) magically rose from about 200 to 700+ immediately after the SOTU speech. Those entities are large companies and unions on the inside track. The way you get a waiver is to have a lobbyist obtain it on your behalf. Money exchanges hands. Large companies can afford this, small companies…out of luck! If ObamaCare is so great, why the rush by Congress, favored businesses and union to obtain waivers?
Increased regulation is inversely proportional to lobbying activity. The less regulation there is, the less the need to influence government. The more regulation, the more the need to petition the royal aristocracy at a heavy price. The need to petition our government for redress under regulations fostered by our government is a corrupting influence. If you lack influence and can’t make payment, you are out of the equation. Here in Chicagoland, we know all about this. Here is what happens:
Society sediments into three classes: a) an aristocratic Democrat nomenklatura that controls the regulatory and judiciary structures of society; b) a wealthy, economic class that can afford to exchange favors for regulatory exemptions and waivers…at a price; c) a lumpen proletariat, outside of the power structures, imprisoned into forced into regulatory straight-jackets (taxable prey…if you will) that they will never be able to escape unless willing to surrender at the price of their souls. It is this last class that pays the bills for the others. This isn’t new…despite its “progressive” tag, it’s a regression to 19th Century economic “shakedown” realities.
My entire career, I have been a champion of entrepreneurs and small companies. They are vital to our society and economy, as innovators, risk-takers and employers. I would hate to see this glorious period end as we slouch toward third-world corruptocracy.
I know that Democrats mouth have historically mouthed platitudes about looking after the “little guy”. I would like to think that only the truly moronic and armchair philosophers walled into their temples of abstract theory can fail to see how Orwellian and corrupting these platitudes are.
Have we as a nation arrived at a point where we can stop this from happening or is it inevitable? A Jewish relative once remarked that no Jew sleeps without two shoes under his bed stuffed with a roll of cash, in case of a quick getaway. I am starting to understand his point.
Yesterday I mentioned John Hawkin’s post explaining why he is sponsoring HomoCon. I thought a nice companion piece would be Nick Gillespie’s post reprinting the HomoCon platform, a platform I think that all conservatives will find agreeable.
Remember (as if you, my dear readers, ever forget): Unlike the statists/regressives/so-called liberals, we are not the party of identity politics. We are the party of small government and big security. We welcome those who agree with us on those issues, regardless of their race, color, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or country of national origin. We also acknowledge that there will inevitably be disagreements on the ideological periphery. We know, though, that under America’s two party system, we cannot win federal elections if we allow our attention to wander too far from the core issues that currently threaten to destroy the country entirely.
My sense is that, aside from the belief many hold that homosexual activity is sinful, I believe that gay marriage is the single most divisive political issue right now between conservative gays (at least, those conservative gays who support gay marriage) and other conservatives (at least, those other conservatives who don’t support gay marriage). It shouldn’t be.
As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of gay marriage, since I think marriage is, at its core, a religious issue. The smartest way to resolve it would be for the state to get out of the marriage business entirely and, instead, limit itself to allowing those “domestic partnerships” that it deems are in the state’s interest.
Right now, we probably all agree that heterosexual partnerships fall in that “state interest” category. A slight majority of Americans would add homosexual partnerships to that category, something that should be worked at through societal consensus, not judicial fiat. And if the specter of “dogs and cats, living together” comes up, we’ll deal with that too. And then let those various partners find the churches that will unite them before their God(s). End of story.
That’s my view, for what it’s worth. But my question for those opposed to gay conservatives who support conservatism on the most important political issue of the day is this: Can you afford to get into a divisive fight over what is, temporarily at least, a less significant issue than saving our entire country from frighteningly potential internal economic collapse and external terrorist and military attack?
One of the things that I try to understand is the Great Divide between today’s Liberals and conservatives that has left us talking past one another on policy issues. Frankly, I have concluded that discussion with Liberals is often futile because we attribute different meanings to words and concepts.
One of those concepts, I suspect, has to do with “money”. Let me throw the following proposition on the table for discussion:
Liberal /Lefties view “money” as a fixed, tangible quantity with intrinsic value, like gold coins, for example. Thus, the value of money is intrinsic to the lucre itself, be it coins or dollar notes. Conservatives, on the other hand, see “money” more abstractly as representing “created value”…as scrip or IOU on value created or received. As economists put it, money is a “medium of exchange” for value. So, for liberals, “money” is something tangible to that must be amassed by taking from someone else’s stash. For conservatives, “money” is something more abstract that must to be created (i.e. goods or services) directly (e.g., wages) or indirectly (e.g., inheritance) through the creation of “value”.
How might this color our perceptions of one another?
1) When people like Bill Gates amass a large quantity of money by creating products that many people wish to purchase, conservatives view Gates’ money as a reflection of the value that he created and contributed others. No hard feelings there – it’s a fair exchange. A Liberal/Lefty, however, sees only Gate’s amassed pot of lucre that appears disproportionately high compared to the lucre stored in other peoples’ pots. They see this imbalance as patently unfair, especially since this lucre was transferred from other peoples’ modest stashes into Bill Gates’ already whopping big stash: Bill has more, all of his customers have less.
2) When money is needed to achieve a desirable social or governmental goal, a conservative recognizes that such money needs to be generated somewhere to pay for this goal. This can only be done by either drawing down existing value (confiscating peoples’ lucre) or by creating new ‘value” that can be taxed (i.e., growing the economy). A Liberal/Lefty doesn’t make this connection – they see the process simply as one of either redistributing the existing lucre from other peoples’ pots or creating new lucre by printing more money. The problem of printing new lucre, of course, is that it is still underwritten by a fixed quantity of value – expanding money supply representing a fixed value means that each dollar is worth less. We call that inflation.
I can’t tell you how many times Liberals have looked at me with puzzlement when I have asked where they expect to get the money for their favored social programs.
3) De-linking “money” from the process of wealth creation makes it easy for Liberal/Lefties to confuse using tax money to pay for unemployment checks, dance troupes or road repair as “economic stimulus”. You are, after all, taking lucre sitting idle in some peoples’ pots and putting that lucre into other peoples’ pockets to spend on purchases. Unfortunately, the fact is that such activities do not in themselves create new value. This cannot therefore “grow” the economy.
What do you think? Am I onto something? And, if so, what other aspects of the Great Divide does this help to explain? Does this help or hinder us in discussing our differences with the Liberal /Left?
Yesterday, weary and depressed, I linked to Charles Krauthammer’s most recent post, one that has him posit a Machiavellian Obama who has succeeded in laying the groundwork, not only for the transformation and, inevitably destruction of America, but also for his own reelection, so that he can cement his gains irrevocably. A youthful reader, Zurvan, was appalled by the pessimism we old folks showed, both in my post and in the comments to my post:
…. I would like to say no, all is not lost. Unless you let it go.
The attitude I see among conservatives is frankly astounding; never have I encountered a group more eager to surrender. Forget fighting the good fight. Forget the American Dream. Just lie down and rot. THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE TELLING YOURSELVES AND ANYONE LISTENING.
I’m not even twenty years old yet, my country is in the worst shape it’s been in since the Depression, and all you can say is “sorry kids, we didn’t feel like standing up to the bullies”? That’s it!?
I never fully understood the saying “civilizations don’t die, they commit suicide” until now. Some conservatives almost sound like they’re looking forward to oblivion!
Do you know why the progressives have taken over the country? It’s because they fight. They fight, and they never give up. They can wait decades and still have the passion to fight till the end of time, because they BELIEVE IN THEIR CAUSE.
Conservatives, on the other hand, just glower and moan and play Cassandra while never lifting a finger to defend themselves. Newsflash, guys: You can’t win an ideological battle if the extent of your philosophy is a death-knell!
So, it looks like the younger generation can expect no help from our elders. You want to abandon us, fine. We want your support, and all you can do is tell us how horrible our lives will be. While the rest of you hobble off to the crypts, we’ll be on the battlefield. I had hoped you’d have the decency to aid us, but who needs you? You work for the enemy! You fall over yourselves to let them win!
So go on, curse the darkness. I WILL LIGHT CANDLES.
I love Zurvan’s enthusiasm, and I should add here that not all are as gloomy as Krauthammer. Jonah Goldberg, for example, who is one of my most favorite writers and thinkers, believes that we’re witnessing a pivotal moment, and one that is good for conservative ideology, as opposed to continued progressive domination.
As it is, I agree with Goldberg that, at the grassroots level, the tide has changed. My concern is that I agree with Krauthammer that, at the political level, Obama may have irrevocably changed the playing field.
If I may make a complete hash of metaphors, by changing the playing field, Obama has made it so that the grass roots can’t take root, if you know what I mean. For example, nothing that happens in November will give conservatives a veto proof majority. More than that, we already know that too many of the so-called “conservative” politicians in D.C. are either true RINOs or just so desperate to be loved by the liberal establishment that dominates the media and D.C. that they’ll abandon principles in an instant.
Sure, even a slight majority of conservatives in Congress can stop some funding for some things for the next two years, but that’s not going to be the same as repealing ObamaCare or the recent financial “reform” bill. If Obama manages to hold office in 2012, nothing can stem the tide of these economy destroying initiatives. (And yes, there’s that pessimism creeping in again, Zurvan. I’m sorry. It’s cause I’m old.)
The brilliant (and yes, I mean brilliant) Wolf Howling thinks that a Newt Gringrich candidacy might make a difference, but I wonder if he can overcome almost 20 years of demonization by a Leftist media.
So, I’ve laid out the problems; Zurvan has laid out the challenge: Can Obama be defeated? And by that, I’m not just asking if we limit him to a one term presidency. Instead, I’d like to hear from you whether you believe that that there are specific things that can happen that will significantly reverse the harm Obama and the Democratic Congress have done to our economy, foreign policy, energy ability and independence, national security, military strength, immigration positions, support of our allies abroad (especially Israel), etc.? In other words, even if we take over Washington, can we actually win?
Last week, Townhall Magazine came out with a fun list of the 100 Americans it believes the Left hates most. You’ll recognize almost every name, as each person mentioned is a prominent conservative.
David Swindle, who manages David Horowitz’s News Real Blog, realized something, however: Townhall‘s algorithm seemed to be based a bit more on popularity with the Right, than on fear from the Left. That is, the editors assumed that, if conservatives like someone, than liberals will hate that same person. That’s a damn good standard, but there’s even a better one: Which people does the Left fear most? David Swindle has put together that list too.
I confess that I really like Book’s aphorism, “Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts.” I like it because it works. I have used it numerous times with Liberal-Lefties and I could see that it (miraculously) forced them to think. Another one for the ages is Maggie Thatcher’s “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”, which has been a rallying cry for conservatives.
I like aphorisms because a good aphorism cuts straight to underlying truths. With a good aphorism, you don’t get stuck in the brambles, dead ends, closed loops and non-sequiturs that mile-mark debates with Liberal Lefties. We know that logic doesn’t work, because Liberal-Lefties are so unclear on the concept thereof. A debate with a Liberal-Lefty provides only a very short window before he/she starts emoting or name calling, at which point (as we know), debate is over.
However, a good aphorism, delivered early with ad-byte precision, forces the Liberal-Lefty to address the underlying truths of their propositions up-front. There is no escape.
So, I would like to ask /plead with all Bookworm salon groupies to help me out with good aphorisms that we can use to define the oh-so-critical debates to come. Let me start off with a few of my own:
The dodo, as you may recall, is extinct. I wonder, though, how many people remember why the dodo became extinct. It was because, lacking any serious natural predators in their homeland of Mauritius, the dodos were a bit too friendly to incoming colonists (and their animals), and simply allowed themselves to be eaten into oblivion:
As with many animals that have evolved in isolation from significant predators, the dodo was entirely fearless of people, and this, in combination with its flightlessness, made it easy prey for humans. However, journals are full of reports regarding the bad taste and tough meat of the dodo, while other local species such as the Red Rail were praised for their taste. However, when humans first arrived on Mauritius, they also brought with them other animals that had not existed on the island before, including dogs, pigs, cats, rats, and Crab-eating Macaques, which plundered the dodo nests, while humans destroyed the forests where the birds made their homes; currently, the impact these animals—especially the pigs and macaques—had on the dodo population is considered to have been more severe than that of hunting. The 2005 expedition’s finds are apparently of animals killed by a flash flood; such mass mortalities would have further jeopardized a species already in danger of becoming extinct.
Dodo skeleton, Natural History Museum (England)
Although there are scattered reports of mass killings of dodos for provisioning of ships, archaeological investigations have hitherto found scant evidence of human predation on these birds. Some bones of at least two dodos were found in caves at Baie du Cap which were used as shelters by fugitive slaves and convicts in the 17th century, but due to their isolation in high, broken terrain, were not easily accessible to dodos naturally.
It turns out that there is very little difference between your modern liberal and the vanished dodo. Liberals are trying to spin this difference this as an attack on conservatives (“conservatives are paranoid loonies”), but we know who’s going to survive at the end of the day:
Researchers have found, for example, that some humans are particularly alert to threats, particularly primed to feel vulnerable and perceive danger. Those people are more likely to be conservatives.
One experiment used electrodes to measure the startle blink reflex, the way we flinch and blink when startled by a possible danger. A flash of noise was unexpectedly broadcast into the research subjects’ earphones, and the response was measured.
The researchers, led by Kevin B. Smith of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, found that those who had a stronger blink reflex at the noise were more likely to take such conservative positions as favoring gun rights, supporting warrantless searches, and opposing foreign aid.
That makes intuitive sense: If you are more acutely sensitive to risks and more fearful of attack, you also may be more aggressive in arming yourself and more wary of foreigners.
In other words, despite the nastiness that crept into that Nicholas Kristoff report (as, for example, the swipe that conservatives favor the ultimate evil of warrantless searches), the fact remains that we are the un-dodos, ready to defend ourselves from predators as necessary.
Kristoff also assures his liberal readers that science shows that conservatives are generally meaner, more abusive people, especially when it comes to their poor children:
This research is tentative and needs to be confirmed, but it fits into a fascinating framework of the role of personality types in politics, explored in a recent book, “Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics,” by two political scientists, Marc J. Hetherington of Vanderbilt University and Jonathan D. Weiler of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They start by exploring data showing a remarkably strong correlation between state attitudes toward spanking children and voting patterns. Essentially, spanking states go Republican, while those with more timeouts go Democratic.
Professors Hetherington and Weiler contend that the differences stem from profound differences in cognitive styles. Spankers tend to see the world in stark, black-and-white terms, perceive the social order as vulnerable or under attack, tend to make strong distinctions between “us” and “them,” and emphasize order and muscular responses to threats. Parents favoring timeouts feel more comfortable with ambiguities, sense less threat, embrace minority groups — and are less prone to disgust when they see a man eating worms.
We’re brutes, you understand, brutes. Except that research that Kristoff didn’t mention shows that the more authoritarian parent (who is someone distinct from the abusive parent) is good for children. Thus, people who impose quick and decisive boundaries on their kids are doing them a favor:
Children who are smacked by parents often turn out more successful than those who have not, research has found.
The study concluded that children who had been physically disciplined when they were young, between the ages of 2 and 6, were performing better as teenagers on almost every measure that was taken into consideration than those who had never been smacked.
It was only in cases where it continued beyond the age of 12 that the children were found to be affected negatively, resulting in a dip on performance indicators.
The results of the US-based study undermines the efforts of various campaigners who have been trying to have physical punishment outlawed in the UK, who have claimed that it causes long-term damage to the children.
Read the rest here.
So, even as Kristoff tries to show that, genetically, conservatives are paranoid and cruel, the facts show that people who have these conservative instincts survive well and raise children who thrive.
UPDATE: Right Wing News interviewed Thomas Sowell. You should read the whole thing, but this bit jumped out at me, as part of the dodo syndrome about which liberals are so peculiarly proud:
If terrorists with nuclear weapons don’t focus your mind, nothing will. Yet, not only are we doing nothing, we’re doing elaborate, clever nothing. We’re going to the United Nations, we’re holding conferences. There are resolutions being passed. You know — a lot of busy work — none of which has the slightest chance of deterring Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
Yesterday, I took to heart Mark Steyn’s warning that this is the beginning of the end. Health care is the wedge, and Democrats were willing to engage in long-term strategies — including the sacrifice of a few Democratic political careers — to make it happen. Bruce Kesler, however, actually sees cause for hope in the recent Democratic alignment around health care:
For the past three and a half decades, the clearest dividing line and predictor of how we and our leaders would approach issues, ranging from the social to the geopolitical, is the position – contemporaneous or in retrospect — held about the US Congress’ votes to not meet US pledges to supply and aid South Vietnam in the face of North Vietnam’s heavily Soviet and Chinese supplied continued armed and logistical build-up and massive invasion.
In the reaction to President Nixon’s deserved fall, an overwhelmingly Democrat and anti-Vietnam war Congress was elected in 1974, determined to overturn US foreign policy. Polls were equivocal, at least providing some cover or excuse. In the wake of President Obama’s undeserved credence to govern from the center, an overwhelmingly Democrat and liberal Congress was elected in 2008, determined to instead legislate from the left and overturn US domestic policy. This time, polls are decisively opposed, but ignored, and there’s no cover or excuse.
Basically, in both cases, we went from a nation following a course – as befuddled as it may be – of determination to pursue freedoms to a nation that waffles freedoms away. Basically, our “conservative”, “liberal” and “moderate” postures toward most issues over the past decades have been in line with how we view the causes and outcomes of our Vietnam involvement. So, too, will our future divides and postures be determined by how we now or come to view the causes and outcomes of reshaping almost a fifth of the US economy and almost 100% of our personal and fiscal health.
Read the rest here. I hope he’s right, although the insidiousness of Leftism, it’s refusal to die (kind of like fungus or cockroaches), has me down.
In the wake of the 2008 election, Republicans and conservatives were paralyzed. They’d been trounced, not so much by sweeper percentages (that is, the elections were all just over the slightly 50% mark), but by huge numbers of elections in which Democrats edged out Republicans by those few percentage marks. If there are 100 races, and you lose 90 of them, it’s really irrelevant whether you lost by 5% or by 30%. You still lost big across the board. What to do? What to do?
Fortunately, adversity has a way of clearing out the deadwood and clarifying the issues. We know that Barack Obama is anti-American in ideology and that he hates America as a practical matter. We know that he has surrounded himself with a cadre of advisers and czars who share his views, and that the top echelons in Congress do too. It’s all spread out before us.
With the malignant disease of rampant anti-American Leftism — a world view antithetical to an increasing number of Americans — finally diagnosed in Washington, Jennifer Rubin has the prescription:
Now it has unfolded. We know what Obamaism looks like. On the domestic side, it is liberal statism: higher taxes, mammoth bureaucracies, and a vortex of government regulation that sucks up private enterprise and transforms business decisions into political ones. It comes with an ungracious and sneering contempt for opposition. On the international scene, we have the intersection of incompetence and folly, with a strong element of cynicism. The Obami have deployed aggressive and losing gambits (Honduras and the Middle East), betrayed friends (Israel, Poland, the Czech Republic), snubbed allies (the Churchill bust goes home), thrown ourselves at the feet of adversaries (Russia, Iran), jettisoned human rights and the defense of democracy (Burma, Sudan, Iran), projected angst-ridden indecision (Afghanistan-war formulation), damaged our fighting ability (defense cuts and missile-defense withdrawal), and shown deference to debased institutions (the UN). Most alarmingly, Obama and his attorney general have scarred and scared our intelligence community and placed Lefty pie-in-the-sky moralizing above the safety of Americans (trying KSM, closing Guantanamo, and halting enhanced interrogations).
And so what should conservatives be doing? Well now it’s obvious — oppose, obstruct, warn, and cajole. There aren’t many weapons at conservatives’ disposal, but there are some. And the greatest is to be found in the reservoir of common sense and decency of the America people, who, when stirred, have risen up to oppose pernicious legislation and those whom they mistakenly trusted to behave in a responsible fashion. As Kristol points out, three years is a long time, but the congressional elections are approaching and the argument has begun. And now conservatives know precisely what must be done: as best they are able, slow and stop Obamaism until reinforcements arrive and the voters can render their verdict.
To which I’ll add Bruce Kesler’s reminder, in the context of Obama’s insane nuclear strategy, that we should “Be afraid. Be very afraid. Be aware, and more determined than ever to slow and halt this self-destruction in the elections of 2010 and 2012. Start by demanding that potential Republican challengers are informed and resolute, and don’t ignore the saner Democrats. We’re all in this together.”
Zhombre forwarded this email to me. I think it’s right on the money:
If a conservative doesn’t like guns, he doesn`t buy one.
If a liberal doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn`t eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.
If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
If a black man or Hispanic are conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it’s a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.
If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.
If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he’s in labor and then sues.
If a conservative reads this, he’ll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he’s “offended”.
I watched this short video that I found at Michelle Malkin’s site:
As I watched this video, I had this very weird feeling that something was deeply, deeply wrong with this protest. It looks wrong.
I’m a child of the Vietnam era, and I’ve managed to keep my eye on the news — and the protests — for the 40 years since those Vietnam era protests. I know exactly what they’re supposed to look like. They’re supposed to be heavy with references to blood, whether in words, photographs or paint splatters. All this blood is meant to remind smug Americans sitting at home in front of their TV sets that evil Americans have, for decades, been spilling the blood of innocents. You know who those innocents are: Innocent North Vietnamese, innocent Hondurans, innocent AIDS victims, innocent rape victims, innocent South American communists, innocent Iraqi special forces, innocent Afghani victims, innocent mass murdering terrorist victims — all brutally slaughtered by an avaricious nation given to torture and deceit. Heck, as far as the Truthers are concerned, even the 9/11 victims were killed by Americans.
The look of the protest is wrong too. People should be dressed in dark clothing and have grotesque masks on, symbolic of America’s torture and rapine. Regardless of the march’s ostensible purpose, there should always be at least a sprinkling of signs likening Jews and Israeli to the Nazis and demanding the Jews’ imminent return to the gas chambers. As we learned during the last eight years, there should always be death threats against the president, provided that the President is George Bush. And, of course, the American flag should be burned, trampled, despoiled, desecrated and in all other ways treated to the humiliation due the symbol of the evil nation being protested.
So what’s with these wacky conservatives and their amateur attempt at gathering a couple of million people to march on the Capitol? They’re going about it all wrong. They’re wearing and waving the American flag as if they’re proud of it, and they’re spouting incredibly foolish notions that have absolutely nothing to do with America being evil or America murdering people. They’re also not excoriating Israel.
Here are just a few examples of these neophyte activists who seem to have absolutely no appreciation for the fact that the purpose behind a march on D.C. is to let everyone know how evil America is but. These guys seem weirdly stuck on archaic concepts such as freedom, self-governance, self-reliance, and informed representative government:
Liberate Don’t Regulate
No Government Controlled Health Care
Stop Spending My Future (with a baby picture)
We Are Not “Astroturf,” Not “A Mob, Not “Nazis.” We Are Fed Up.
Repeal What You Have Not Read
Socialism Sucks. Always Has. Always Will.
Dependency Is A Form Of Slavery (my favorite)
Socialism Is Not Freedom
Freedom Of The People, By The People, For The People
We Are . . . America
Got Common Sense?
Most peculiar of all, the marchers aren’t demanding (or fantasizing about) the President’s death. Sure, some of the signs are hostile to Obama (likening him to a self-styled monarch or a socialist), but they don’t liken him to a Nazi or demand his death. There are no paintings of him dripping blood, decapitated, or with bullet holes in his head. Those foolish marchers, unversed in the way of protests, seem merely to resent his overreach, without having any desire to threaten him personally.
As for me, I don’t know…. Let’s must hope that ordinary Americans, sitting in their living rooms, will be impressed with this amateur style of activism, one tied to love of country and freedom. Indeed, they may be so struck, as I was, by the bizarre look that this protest has, that they’ll actually sit up and pay attention to what the protesters are saying. We can dream, can’t we?
UPDATE: Can’t link because I’m on an iPHone, but Little Green Footballs shows that there was an ugly side to the protest. That doesn’t change the top notes of patriotism and liberty, but the ugly side was there too.
UPDATE II: In the interest of full disclosure, here’s the link to LGF. I find it interesting that the negative signs are Charles’ focus. I think that, while he continues to remain admirably strong with regard to Israel and the war against Islamic terrorism, he’s souring on the conservative movement generally. As for his umbrage at the sign to “Bury ObamaCare with Kennedy,” I don’t see that as being as offensive as he does. It’s an appropriate response to the fact that the Democrats leapt upon Kennedy’s death as a way to sell Obama Care.
The nature of conservatism is to be . . . well, conservative. We don’t throw paint on people. We don’t burn figures in effigy. We don’t bite off fingers. We put our heads down and do our jobs. So when two million conservatives (and independents) take the time, the energy and the money to converge on Washington, you know that a fire has been lit. Just as the Obama administration has done the unbelievable and united the Israeli body politic, it has now done the equally unbelievable and created oxymoronic conservative activists.
I don’t have any insights to add, but I bet all of you do. I’d love it if you would leave your thoughts about the march on Washington here.
(And suek, you’ll see that I’ve added a new “Open Thread” category for this one.)
Bookworm is right that I’ve been on vacation from all things blog-related for some time now, but I’m happy to come back and see what interesting discussions we can stir up while she’s on a well-deserved vacation. As always, I’ll just throw topics out there and rely on the Bookwormroom’s intelligent and thoughtful readers to make the discussion sing.
Let’s start with something fun that we haven’t done in a couple of years. I recently saw a wonderful bumper sticker that read “Discuss Complex Issues . . . Through Bumper Stickers.” I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area, a prime market for liberal, air-headed, bumper stickers. Most these days have to do with war and peace – “There is no way to peace . . . peace is the way” “War is never the answer” “Support our troops . . . bring them home” etc.
There is no doubt that liberals are better at condensing their thoughts into bumper sticker sized sound bites than conservatives (maybe because their thoughts are so much smaller, so need less condensing). If we conservatives are going to be successful in the sound-bite world in which we live we need to be smarter and more clever than our liberal counterparts.
So, let’s have a contest. No prizes except for the fun of showing off how clever we are. Well, and the possibility of coming up with something really brilliant and making a fortune selling bumper stickers on the Internet. Condense whatever thoughts you like into bumper-sticker sized bits of wisdom. I’ll start. “A President’s mind is a terrible thing to waste” “Oppose health care rationing” “Freedom is worth fighting for” “Surrender is never the answer” “A war on terrorists by any other name is still worth fighting” “Peace . . . through victory” “Even Obama/Pelosi cannot destroy America” and, in 2010, “Time for the adults to take our country back.”
Okay, now it’s your turn. You’ve got to be able to do better that I have. And, Bookworm, if you get a chance, I’d love for you to play, too.