The moral lessons that Jonathan Gruber could have learned from a brain-damaged man

Jonathan Gruber Health Care Obamacare for DummiesTrey Gowdy conduct a masterful examination of MIT Prof. Jonathan “Stupid Americans” Gruber.  What made it so good was that he had Gruber repeatedly offer the canned defense that he (Gruber) was arrogant, stupid, and ill-informed.  That defense might have flown once but, when a formerly boastful MIT professor said it over and over again, it quickly appeared insincere:

The incredible sweet spot in this examination comes right after Gruber robotically repeats again that he isn’t a politician, and he was just trying to make himself look smarter. Gowdy, in that slow, Southern drawl (the kind that makes Northeastern leftists mistakenly assume that Southerners are stupid), then says, “And again your defense is that you’re not a politician. The lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. Well, what is a non-politician doing talking about political advantages?”

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[VIDEO] Ben Shapiro exposes both the lies — and the reason for the lies — about Ferguson

The two Michael BrownsThe longer I’ve lived as a conservative — which still doesn’t equal the number of years I spent as a younger person on the Left — the more I’ve come to realize that one of the gaping chasms between conservatives and the Left is truth or the absence of truth. Conservatives construct their narratives around facts. Leftists eschew facts and focus entirely on the narrative. And really, if you don’t have any fealty to the truth, it’s a smart thing to do: Unfettered narrative is always going to be the more entertaining and accessible, because it’s expressly created to capture the audience’s interest.

As Ben Shapiro explains, the Left’s Ferguson narrative perfectly illustrates the fact v. narrative divide between conservatives and the Left:

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Leftists are toddlers at heart — which is a very, very bad thing

Toddler having temper tantrumI’ve been thinking a lot about Leftists and toddlers. I should start with my biases: I absolutely hated it when my kids were toddlers. On the one hand, they were cute and it was exciting to see them develop as little people, soaking in the world like a sponge. After all, these were my little progeny.

On the other hand, dealing with a toddler’s greed, frustration, anger, impatience, resistance to toilet training, and temper-tantrums got old really quickly. The only useful thing about the whole experience was that it left me thinking that the Catholic Church is correct — we are born in sin and it takes an enormous amount of parental and societal effort and pressure to subordinate our innate wickedness and to replace it with civilized behavior.

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America’s morality vacuum — if you’re the right victim class, if it feels good, do it

Moses receives the ten commandmentsSince the day I started blogging, I’ve returned repeatedly to an issue I find fascinating: America’s retreat from a God-derived, externally driven moral system in favor of an alleged moral system that is, in fact, a peculiar amalgam of emotion (“if it feels good, do it”), arrogance (“I’m Ivy League educated, which enables me to understand the real moral issues here”), and Marxist-based (social or economically oppressed people always behave morally if their transgressions are against “the man”). I’m returning to this issue today because Jonah Goldberg has a new article — actually, an excerpt from his contribution to a new book — that also examines this phenomenon, although at a deeper level and with greater style than I could ever achieve.

Because I’m a firm believer in eating dessert last and in writing my posts so that they build up to a stirring crescendo, I’m going to begin this post with my own meager offerings on the subject of America’s new morality before getting to Goldberg’s article and the ideas it raises.

To explain my fascination with America’s tremendous moral shift, I credit a news story I heard and a movie I watched during my long years as a generic Democrat.  They made me realize that we are in a time when our popular culture encourages every man and women to be his own god — at least if that man and that woman include in their doctrine the basic premise that men are bad, white men are really bad, and that everyone else lives in a hierarchy of victimhood that determines their moral-status.

It was an NPR report I heard in the 1990s (and that I cannot locate in the NPR archives) that first alerted me that America was well on its way to abandoning traditional moral notions, especially those predicated on the Ten Commandments. As best as I can remember, the report was about an American high school that was trying to deal with an escalation of student-against-student crime, most of which, I think, involved theft. The school instituted special classes during which a counselor would talk with groups of students in an effort to get them to change their habits. The NPR reporter attended one of those classes.

During the class, the counselor had the students imagine a scenario in which they’d left their wallet behind and someone walked off with it. Once the students had that picture firmly in mind, the counselor asked them to discuss their feelings. The students readily did so, describing anger, frustration, sadness, perhaps empathy (if they imagined the thief needing stolen money to buy food), a desire for revenge, etc. After all the student had talked about their feelings, the counselor suggested that, if they stole something, their victim might also experience those same feelings. The implication was that it’s not nice to inflict negative feelings on others.

This being the 1990s, when the journey from garden-variety Democrat to hard-core Progressive was still a work in progress, the reporter was taken aback, something that I doubt would happen today. I remember his wrap-up, during which he noted that the counselor never once mentioned that, as a moral matter, stealing was wrong. Empathy was the name of the game.

The reporter may have been perplexed by this omission, but even then, despite my Democrat identification, I wasn’t. If the students had been so bold as to ask the counselor why stealing is wrong, the counselor would have been at a loss for words. His answer would have boiled down to “because it is.” The reality is that, because religion is banned from schools, the counselor had no higher authority to justify the claim that stealing is wrong. The only thing he could do was point to feelings — which are definitely real for the person experiencing them — and to hope that teenagers, who are collectively the most narcissistic beings on earth, would have a sudden burst of empathy that would override their selfish, and presumably irresistible, urge to make someone else’s possessions their own.

A few years later, in 2000 (when I was still thinking of myself as a liberal Democrat), I watched The Contender, a movie in which Joan Allen played a candidate for Vice President who was the victim of appalling sexual slanders put about by Republican villains so dastardly that they made Snidely Whiplash look staid and restrained.  During her darkest hour, Allen goes an empty basketball court where, while shooting basket after basket, she breathlessly recites the doctrinal beliefs of what she calls a church based in “this very chapel of democracy” (i.e., Congress).

Here’s the video, followed by a transcript:

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman of the Committee.  Remarkably enough, it seems that I have some explaining to do.  So, let me be absolutely clear.

I stand for a woman’s right to choose.

I stand for the elimination of the death penalty.

I stand for a strong and growing armed forces because we must stamp out genocide on this planet, and I believe that that is a cause worth dying for.

I stand for seeing every gun taken out of every home.  Period.

I stand for making the selling cigarettes to our youth a federal offense.

I stand for term limits and campaign reform.

And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of Church and State, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did. It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism.

Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves, that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.

(A decade after watching The Contender, and being rather stunned by its navel-gazing in lieu of traditional morality I wrote a post explaining how Allen’s monologue sounds remarkably like something Barack Obama would say. A couple of months after that post, I again had occasion to note that Hollywood movies conflate the Progressive platform with an absolute moral code.)

By 2006, when I’d finally crossed the Rubicon and become a full-blown constitutional conservative, my sense about the politicization of morality, and its alliance with Marxist political doctrine, was well-enough developed to become a post at American Thinker. The catalyst for that article was yet another movie — Maria Full of Grace — from 2004.  Maria Full of Grace follows the sordid picaresque adventures of a small-town Latin American girl who comes to America as a drug mule. I disliked the character’s narcissism and amorality, but didn’t really get steamed about it until I somehow wandered across the reviews written when the movie was first released.

What horrified me was that the MSM’s movie critics, all of whom hew left, were raving about Maria’s moral righteousness — and this despite her many traditionally immoral acts.  For example, when Maria found she was pregnant, she refused to marry the father of her child.  Once having dumped her boyfriend, she became a drug mule and then, when the drug lords were after her, she deliberately placed innocent people (including children) in danger in order to protect herself. As far as the critics were concerned, the fact that Maria lived a dead-end life in Mexico (“Maria is a victim of economic pressures,” said Roger Ebert), her choices were all righteous. She was a victim and, just as blacks cannot be racist (never mind the slurs they direct at other races or creeds), it appears that, in the Marxist economic hierarchy, poor people cannot be immoral.

Given my ongoing thoughts about America’s changing definition of morality, you can imagine how excited I was today when I read Jonah Goldberg’s Empty Integrity, an essay he wrote for The Seven Deadly Virtues: 18 Conservative Writers on Why the Virtuous Life is Funny as Hell. Using pop culture as a springboard, Goldberg examines way in which Americans are being encouraged to abandon traditional morality in favor of feelings.  Goldberg describes a pop culture in which interesting people with whom we are made to empathize are viewed as morally superior to boring, unpleasant people, regardless of the fact that the former have utterly abandoned traditional morality (e.g., criminal mastermind Walter White, from Breaking Bad), while the latter are still trying to conform to that same traditional moral behavior (e.g., Walter White’s wife).

With his trademark humor, Goldberg cites to one hugely popular show after another, in which audiences are encouraged to identify with, or at least root for, the villain, rather than the good guy. This is an inversion of pretty much all Western popular culture going back thousands of years. To help constrain human conduct, Western cultures have defined what is “good” (the Judeo-Christian culture uses the Bible to provide this definition) and has then shaped its popular culture to elevate and make this good accessible. Now, though, with Hollywood in thrall to a worldview that denigrates faith, and believes that morality is the same as feelings — provided, of course — that those feelings are being felt by a member of the victim class — there simply is no room in entertainment for the traditionally moral guy to be either interesting or successful.

Or, as Goldberg says:

The truth is, it’s hard to find a children’s cartoon or movie that doesn’t tell kids that they need to look inside themselves for moral guidance. Indeed, there’s a riot of Rousseauian claptrap out there that says children are born with rightly ordered consciences. And why not? As Mr. Rogers told us, “You are the most important person in the whole wide world and you hardly even know you.” Hillary Clinton is even worse. In her book It Takes a Village, she claims that some of the best theologians she’s ever met have been five-year-olds (which might be true when compared with a certain homicidal Ukrainian priest).

Such saccharine codswallop overturns millennia of moral teaching. It takes the idea that we must apply reason to nature and our consciences in order to discover what is moral and replaces it with the idea that if it feels right, just do it, baby. Which, by the by, is exactly how Lex Luthor sees the world. Übermenschy passion is now everyone’s lodestar. As Reese Witherspoon says in Legally Blonde, “On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise professor quoted Aristotle: ‘The law is reason free from passion.’ Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law — and of life.” Well, that solves that. Nietzsche-Witherspoon 1, Aristotle 0.

The above two paragraphs, while amusing and informative on their own, don’t do justice to Goldberg’s carefully (and amusingly) developed thesis about the death of traditional morality in America. I urge you to read the whole thing.

Because the intellectual universe often harmonizes nicely once I get an idea my head, just an hour or so ago, a friend sent me an article showing that Jonah Goldberg and I aren’t the only ones thinking about the way in which morals are becoming de-valued in America, especially because of Marxist thought. Larry Correia, who earned well-deserved internet fame for his Second Amendment defense after the Sandy Hook shooting, has written a sterling post about the peculiar “morality” amongst self-styled Social Justice Warriors (“SJWs”).

Social Justice, as you’ll recall, is a movement predicated upon dressing the tenets of Progressivism up as moral imperatives. Leftist churches that don’t have time for Christ’s teachings, as well as Leftist synagogues that find the Torah old-fashioned, are big on social justice teachings which fill the gap created when House’s of Worship cling to their religious status despite having actually abandoned their religion.

The occasion for Correia’s post was a breaking story from SJW-land about the fact that one of its members, using a variety of alias’s, used the SJW’s crude tactics of insults, threats, intimidation, etc., against his fellow SJWs. Horrors! After absolutely savaging the SJW’s hypocrisy because of the way it accuses mild-mannered conservatives of oppression, intimidation, etc. — and then uses precisely those tactics to destroy the conservative — Correia gets down to the whole privilege hierarchy that the SJWs use to justify their hypocrisy:

If you really want to see just how stupid people can get, read the comments, where SJWs argue about “privilege”, where a bunch of white, liberal suburbanites excuse attacks on people who disagree with them, because they probably possess some nebulous concept of privilege. Like me for example, I grew up with Portuguese Dairy Farmer Privilege, where all that back breaking manual labor, knee deep in cow shit, at 3:00 in the morning, in order to scrape by in near poverty all those years, somehow turned me white and made it so that it was okay for SJWs to lie about me.

Privilege sounds awesome. You guys should totally get some of it.

Please read the rest here. It’s that good.

Reading the above, I’m reminded of that old joke that “everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Any person who has even a vestigal sense that traditional morality serves society well because it demands that people behave well towards others (and then enforces that demand by reminding people that running afoul of these rules could cause eternal damnation), is going to be worried about the fact that we’re dangerously deep into “do-it-yourself morality” territory. ”  Do-it-yourself morality is sold as a paradise in which people’s innate innocence, empathy, and good sense (something everyone who has ever cared for a toddler knows is a fantasy concept) inevitably lead them to do the right thing, resulting in a pastoral wonderland where the lion lies down with the lamb.

When this particular fantasy fails — which is always a surprise to the useful idiots — the new moralists tell the public that there is, in fact, original sin.  Unlike that stodgy Catholic teaching about original sin, however, true original sin doesn’t occur in all people.  Instead, it’s only to be found in oppressors. Oppressors are guilty of everything; the oppressed are guilty of nothing. Under this paradigm, morality is what the oppressed do to relieve themselves of the weight of oppression. Interestingly enough (at least to the ever credulous useful idiots), this so-called morality doesn’t work either. Indeed, it has an uncanny knack of leading first to riots (think: Ferguson) and then to rebellion and revolution.

Once rebellion and revolution are on the menu, the likelihood of a freedom-based constitution emerging is close to nil. (If you want an analogy, try to imagine how many monkeys, on how many keyboards, for how many years, would be able to come up with that doctrine. Can’t imagine that?  Neither can I.  The Founding Fathers were not the norm; they were a complete anomaly, and their like will probably never been seen again.) What inevitably emerges from the chaos is faith in the strongman, whether that strongman is big government or big dictator.

Our Man Obama of the Blessed Pen and Phone is working hard to merge these two bigs, with a Big Man heading a Big Government.  “Mess on the border? Don’t worry, with a stroke of the pen, I’ll erase the whole problem of illegal aliens by redefining them as legal.” “Concerns about two-tier pricing for broadband internet access?  No fear. With the stroke of a pen, I’ll bring the internet in the government fold, along with one of my solid-gold, time-tested promises that this act is to free the internet from businesses, rather than to subordinate it to government.”

When it comes to America’s fall from a traditional morality that is premised on externally imposed values of justice, respect, and grace, and enforced by the hand of God, it’s frightfully easy to talk about the problem, and to describe its various manifestations in great detail, . What to do about the problem, though, remains the big question. As Jonah Goldberg’s article makes clear, even those of us who decry this bizarre societal fall from grace are avid consumers of the same Hollywood and Madison Avenue fare that drives the fall.

So, having written this nice, very long post, I have a question for you: What steps can we, as ordinary individuals take, to try to resurrect the notion of a morality that transcends human emotions and politics, and that must be enforced if a society is to survive and thrive?

[VIDEO] Pat Condell on the West’s useful idiots who are aiding Palestinian genocide

I might have posted this Pat Condell video three years ago, when it first came out, but if I didn’t, it’s timeless and, if I did, it’s still worth watching again. If more of us had Condell’s passion for truth and individual liberty, the world would be a much better, safer place.

With Ebola, three strands in American culture — entitlement, accommodation, and Prius syndrome — all come together

Craig Spencer Ebola carrierThe Ebola story has temporarily drifted away from Obama’s bull-headed refusal to close the American border to flights origination in West Africa and, instead, focused on a doctor and a nurse. The doctor is Craig Spencer, who came back from volunteer work in West Africa and carried the Ebola virus all over New York.  The nurse is Kaci Hickox, who has been fighting a quarantine imposed against her upon her return from volunteer work in West Africa. Spencer’s and Hickox’s stories reflect three very strong trends that emanated from the Left and that now dominate much of American culture: a sense of entitlement, demands for accommodation, and the arrogance of Prius syndrome. Underlying all three of those trends is the Leftists’ belief that, to the extent their actions may have a downside, those downsides should not be imposed upon them, but should be redistributed throughout society.

Please bear with me as I explain each of these societal syndromes, so that I can intelligibly apply them to Spencer, Hickox, and to Barack Obama as well.

Kaci HickoxOften, when we speak of “entitlements” we’re talking about demands for government money: For example, in America, welfare isn’t a form of charity that sees the rich give extra money to the government, which then functions in a managerial role, distributing funds to the needy. Instead, welfare is something that the middle class and rich owe to other people, thereby giving the government the right to strong-arm that money through an increasingly corrupt taxation process.

I’m not using the word “entitlement” in quite that technical, bureaucratic, Leftist political sense. Instead, I’m thinking of all those Gen Xers, Yers, Zers, and Millennials, all of whom think that the world owes them. If you want the poster child for this entitled attitude, Lena Dunham may well be it. In her own biography, she describes a lifestyle of obscene material wealth that came paired with a parenting style that gave her everything but discipline, self-awareness, compassion, and responsibility:

Lena-Dunham-Naked-at-Emmys1Lena Dunham is fond of lists. Here is a list of things in Lena Dunham’s life that do not strike Lena Dunham as being unusual: growing up in a $6.25 million Tribeca apartment; attending a selection of elite private schools; renting a home in Hollywood Hills well before having anything quite resembling a job and complaining that the home is insufficiently “chic”; the habitual education of the men in her family at Andover; the services of a string of foreign nannies; being referred to a homework therapist when she refused to do her homework and being referred to a relationship therapist when she fought with her mother; constant visits to homeopathic doctors, and visits to child psychologists three times a week; having a summer home on a lake in Connecticut, and complaining about it; writing a “voice of her generation” memoir in which ordinary life events among members of her generation, such as making student-loan payments or worrying about the rent or health insurance, never come up; making casual trips to Malibu; her grandparents’ having taken seven-week trips to Europe during her mother’s childhood; spending a summer at a camp at which the costs can total almost as much as the median American family’s annual rent; being histrionically miserable at said camp and demanding to be brought home early; demanding to be sent back to the same expensive camp the next year.

Despite her exceptionally privileged upbringing — if one defines “privilege” to mean excessive wealth — Dunham is very sure that the world owes her something, no matter how perverse and selfish her demands may be.

Socialism is a good way to dump debt

Socialism is a good way to dump debt

Dunham’s entitled attitude is spread throughout America’s more prestigious college campuses. I certainly don’t mean to malign all college students, but the evidence of the Occupy Wall Street protests cannot be ignored: She is part of a cadre of upper class American young people who feel entitled to everything, provided that someone else pays.  Denying themselves things or working hard to be able to pay for things simply isn’t a part of their practical or moral lexicon.  In their minds, everything is theirs for the demanding, because their education — simultaneously privileged and Leftist — has imbued them with a moral compass that cannot be questioned.

This sense of entitlement isn’t limited, of course, to America’s young elite. It’s also very prevalent amongst the Leftist’s anointed victim classes: women, gays, and Muslims. Women are entitled to have paychecks identical to men’s, regardless of the fact that they work fewer hours, have less training, or demand more flexibility in their workplace and work hours. Women are also entitled to have jobs identical to men’s, without regard to the fact that women’s smaller build and lesser musculature means that the standards for those jobs have to be lowered — and to hell with the risk that lowering standards for cops, firefighters, Marines, etc., imposes on fellow cops, firefighters, Marines, etc., or on the public.

Who cares that those petite female firefighters who got on the force only because of lowered standards are incapable of carrying people out of a burning building? Those people would undoubtedly have died happy knowing that their lives were sacrificed on the altar of complete gender equality. (I covered the “size matters” issue at greater length here.)

Abercrombie shopping bagAmerica’s gays and Muslim’s are also exceptionally entitled and their sense of entitlement leads me to the second strand in the Ebola story, which is the insistence that the mainstream majority must yield to the demands of the entitled. Gays are entitled to force religious Christians (who are following a moral and doctrinal tradition that was unquestioned for all of mankind, right up until about 5 years ago) to perform or otherwise participate in gay marriage ceremonies. Meanwhile, Muslim’s insist that they have a right to refuse to handle pork products despite working in a grocery store or to be one clerk wearing a headscarf in Abercrombie, a store notorious for using nearly-naked sex as its primary sales pitch. Now, I’m not defending Abercrombie, which I think is an awful place, but I am defending Abercrombie’s right to be awful — and not to be bullied by a religious into hiring people totally at odds with its marketing ethos.

Putting Mezuzah on doorPut another way, up until this current generation of entitled people, what minorities sought was the right to be left alone. Conservative Jews wouldn’t make you hang mezuzot in every doorway in New York provided that you didn’t prevent them from nailing those same mezuzot to their own doorways. Likewise, an Orthodox Jewish woman wouldn’t demand that all the teachers at her private school wear wigs, provided that you allowed her to wear hers. And if you insisted she give up a wig, rather than suing you, she’d seek a place more accommodating of her beliefs. That Jewish woman understood that part of being left alone in order to practice ones religion freely was to keep the state away from her. Letting the state get involved in your religious practices is letting that camel’s nose in the tent — the inevitable result of that first intrusion, even by invitation, is that the rest is damn sure to follow, and with very destructive effects too.

Those people who feel entitled and demand accommodation are not a very pretty sight. Despite clothing their demands in the rhetoric of civil rights, they’re actually terribly spoiled people who insist upon using the weight of the government to force a nation of 300 million souls to bow down before them. The thing that best illustrates this arrogance, and the accompanying disdain for less “enlightened” Americans, oozes out in something called Prius syndrome.

I have nothing against the Toyota Prius. It’s a snappy, well-designed little car that gets good fuel mileage. It’s also small and, at least when introduced, pricey, making it an unacceptable car for large families (which are so un-green, what with overpopulating the planet and everything); ranchers (so un-green with their flatulent cattle); farmers (so un-green, with their demands for water); and ordinary middle Americans with little money and long commutes so that they can manage to bring that small paycheck home (so un-green to have a long commute).

(For more on my sense that the whole electric and hybrid car scene is an appalling transfer of wealth from working class to upper class, go here; for an admittedly old study indicating that the Prius manufacturing process is so un-green it ranks environmentally near the Hummer, go here. The point of the latter article is that a lot of so-called “green” products simply transfer the pollution away from where the entitled classes, so that their environment is free from smoke, exhaust fumes, and environmental destruction.)

Prius parked badlyIt turns out that having the money and “greenness” to afford a Prius has created a new class of arrogant drivers, fully equally to those Beemer drivers we all complained about back in the 1980s.  It’s not just these people boast at parties that “Oh, I drive a Prius.” Just as has long been true for those Beemer drivers, Prius drivers bring their arrogance and entitlement to the road. Rather than being simple, humble people of the earth, as one would think a super greenie would be, they’re instead arrogant lawbreakers:

And in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the status-symbol Prius was marked down as a luxury vehicle, researchers found their drivers to have a higher tendency to commit traffic infractions than most.

We shouldn’t be surprised, of course.  This is what happens if you’ve proven to yourself that you’re a better human being than the person in the car next to you. It doesn’t matter that you’re a “Herstory” major, living on your parents dime, and driving the car Grandpa Moneybags gave you when you graduated from boarding school, while the person in the old Plymouth is a decorated Iraq vet who works two jobs to support his family. Because you’re special, you can cut that gas guzzler off on the freeway or hog two parking places. Serves him right for polluting!

And now I’ll keep my promise and return to Dr. Spencer and Nurse Hickox, with a dollop of Obama to ice this particularly noxious entitled, demanding, arrogant cake.

It’s important to remember that both Spencer and Hickox did something decent and brave: They went to tend the sick and dying in West Africa. That’s admirable. But then they had to go spoil it all with their entitlement, arrogance, and Prius syndrome. Because of what they did, both of these medical professionals (and remember, that’s a “caring” field) believe that the ordinary rules of conduct or biology should not apply to them. They’re entitled and we should yield.

In their own minds, both Spencer and Hickox are morally superior people who are entitled to do whatever the heck they want and it is our responsibility to accommodate them. They are the living paradigm of a conflation of these unbelievable selfish, demanding, greedy, anti-social Leftist infections in American society.

Troops training for Ebola dutyEven worse, Spencer and Hickox are not unique.  President Obama, using the bully pulpit of the White House, agrees with them wholeheartedly. To Obama, it’s perfectly acceptable to force our military to go to Ebola-stricken regions and then to force those same military personnel into a lengthy and uncomfortable quarantine.  As he sees it, they deserve that risk and suffering because they’re, well, military, and we know what Obama thinks of our troops. However, in Obama’s Leftist world view, the corollary is that it’s unfair to quarantine people who volunteered to go to West Africa because they’re just better people than the troops:

Obama responded [to a question about different quarantine standards for the military and volunteers by saying] that the military is in a different situation from that of civilian volunteers because (1) they are not treating patients, and (2) they are not there voluntarily. Does this make any sense? While our soldiers might not be treating patients, they are still in the hot zone and have the potential to be exposed to individuals who might be infected. The Pentagon understandably doesn’t want its soldiers to hop on a plane when finished and return to wherever they are stationed with the potential to spread a deadly disease to co-workers and families. But here’s where this gets really convoluted: those who are treating patients – the civilian volunteers – are at an even higher risk of contracting Ebola than anyone else (over 200 health care workers, including doctors and nurses, have died treating Ebola), yet Obama doesn’t see the need to quarantine them upon their return, even though logic dictates otherwise.

[snip]

What is so infuriating, aside from his twisted logic, is that Obama suggests that civilian volunteers are the only courageous ones taking time from their families to use their expertise for a noble cause, as if our military volunteers do not have families they are leaving behind, using their expertise for an equally noble cause, and courageously walking headfirst into the fire:

When we have volunteers who are taking time out from their families, from their loved ones and so forth, to go over there because they have very particular expertise to tackle a very difficult job, we want to make sure that when they come back, that we are prudent, that we are making sure that they are not at risk themselves or at risk of spreading the disease. But we don’t want to do things that aren’t based on science and best practices because, if we do, then we’re just putting another barrier on somebody who’s already doing really important work on our behalf.

In The World According to Obama, it’s okay to put up a barrier for someone in the military who might have been exposed to Ebola-infected individuals, but not for a civilian volunteer who most definitely was treating and therefore unequivocally exposed to Ebola-infected patients. In Obama’s world, the civilian volunteer is “doing really important work on our behalf.” And what about the soldiers? What are they – chopped liver? Aren’t they working on our behalf, too?

Obama with haloIt’s Obama’s mindset that has left us with the spectacle of Ebola-infected Dr. Spencer “self-isolating” by trolling all over New York (dinners, taxis, bowling), and then lying about that fact to officials when it was apparent he was the infectious carrier of a deadly disease and of Nurse Hickox who thinks it’s a singular insult that she should be quarantined because she’s so special that society as a whole must yield her certainty that she’s not sick with a disease, never mind that scientists still aren’t quite sure how the disease is transmitted, how long it can last on surfaces outside the body, and how long the incubation period is.

Quite simply, both Dr. Spencer and Nurse Hickox are better people and more deserving than the rest of you.  You should be worshiping at their altar rather than whining about the fact that they’re doing their best to be vectors for a disease with a 25% morality rate under the best circumstances and a 70% mortality rate under the worst.

Some lovely reader comments to Danny Lemieux’s American Thinker article

Talking past each otherI just have to share with you some of the reader comments (now totaling 85) to Danny Lemieux’s American Thinker article. A lot of them elaborate on or repeat the theme, or engage in long dialogues with each other. Some comments, though, give praise. Full, honest, rich praise:

SmallSherm  Yes, yes, yes, and a thousand times YES! This is possibly the greatest article I have ever read on this site, and I have read many, many fantastic articles. This is the source of every problem we are facing as a nation, and therein lies every solution we would ever need: 1) EXPLAIN how our positions fit perfectly into the Judeo-Christian worldview (I’ve seen all too many try to explain them to secular masses and fail miserably) and 2) EXPOSE the Marxist-Progressive worldview for its imminent failures. Understanding the variances in worldview provide all of the insight necessary to convince the unliberated.

amerigal1 If ever there were a MUST READ article on AT, this one is IT!! Thank you Mr. Lemieux—outstanding job.

AmericanCitizen Excellent article, really shows the difference between our two sides, and I unfortunately think that this is a divide that cannot be breached.

ChristianWriter A fine, enlightening explication of our dire situation. Thank you, Mr. Lemieux.

johnnyrocks67 Fantastic article. Mr. Lemieux is correct in that our nation is like the aftermath of the Tower of Babel. We are not speaking the same language and simply can’t communicate. The difference between the right and left is that the conservatives are willing to learn the left’s language and try to reason with them while MarxProgs almost always refuse to even consider the conservative position and have virtually no interest in dialogue or healthy engagement with anyone who does not tow their line.

swampcat Excellent article, Mr. Lemieux. I appreciate that you laid out the irony of the marxprog with regard to materialism.

We do cultivate some truly fine talents here at the Bookworm Room. I’m always selfishly grateful that so many of you expend your talents here, rather than setting up your own sites.  They would, I’m quite sure, be wonderful additions to the conservative blogosphere, but it’s nicer to have so much talented collected here, where I am! As for those of you who do blog at other sites (e.g., David Foster or Ymarsakar, to name just two), I’m still grateful that you come here and add so much to my site.

Caution: Exposing children to the conservative world view can be dangerous

They're so happy.  They must be conservative.

They’re so happy. They must be conservative.

My daughter let loose this morning with a rant about the way in which political correctness stifles humor and free speech. She’s right, of course.  No wonder Progressives want to silence conservatives.  If conservatives are allowed talk, people — especially young people — will discover that they’re much more fun.  Young people like fun, which is why Leftists keep telling them “sex, sex, sex.”  Dig just a little past all that sex talk, though, and you realize that conservatives are actually having fun, while Progressives offer nothing more than a grim, puritanical slog through a Hobbesian life:

Progressives perpetually police their own and everyone else’s speech.  Conservatives, outside of the boundaries of ordinary decency and manners, do not.

Progressive humor is predicated on demeaning and deceiving people (I’m talking to you Jon Stewart).  Conservatives can laugh about most things.

Progressives live in perpetual fear that their world is in imminent danger of bursting into flames.  Conservatives do not view the earth in darkly apocalyptic terms.

Progressives worry that every interaction with nature is an evil act destroying Gaia; Conservatives respect nature, but allow themselves both to enjoy it and benefit from it.

Progressives fear guns.  Conservatives get to go out shooting for fun (although they do it safely).

Progressives hate the military.  Conservatives get to enjoy all sorts of cool military stuff even if they’re not actually in the military (e.g., Fleet Week and Navy League events).

Progressives think pregnancy is a “punishment” and babies are Gaia-destroyers.  Conservatives see babies as the promise of the future. And while we’re on the subject of babies, Leftists, with their abortion and euthanasia obsessions (not to mention medical “death panels,” are a death cult.  Conservatives, by contrast, celebrate new life.

Progressives often don’t believe in either a God or an afterlife. Life on earth has no purpose (except to suck Gaia dry) and death means a rotting corpse (that pollutes Gaia). Conservatives often believe in both God and an afterlife, giving every day meaning and purpose.

Progressives, despite their endless obsession with sex, kill the pleasure. Girls who have sex too young (as Leftists encourage them to do), tend to have unhappy sex lives. Girls who hook up have unhappy sex lives. Boys who hook up aren’t that thrilled with meaningless sex either.  People who dive into meaningless sex with strangers are more likely to have STDs.  And once you get to university, oy! The boys are all rapists and the girls are all victims, and everyone is dead drunk because it’s the only way they can get past the fear and revulsion in order to reach out to each other. Conservatives, on the other hand, have respect, romance, love and commitment.

I can see the ad campaign now: Enjoy Life: Become a Conservative!

Bill Whittle explains how the administration gaslights Americans

I believe I’ve spoken here before about “gaslighting,” because it’s a stock technique for malignant narcissists and other sociopaths, two personality disorders I think characterize the Left generally and Obama specifically.  To gaslight someone is to. . . .

Never mind.  Why should I explain it awkwardly, when Bill Whittle can explain it wonderfully?

So God made a liberal….

Brilliant take on Paul Harvey’s “So God made a farmer….”

My neighbors are a different kind of liberal. They’re the kind who were brainwashed into thinking that Democrats are good and Progressives Republicans are bad and, since they know they’re good, they must be Democrats. They live a conservative life (marriage, children, hard work), but are afraid to preach what they practice and refuse to believe in what they know from their own experience breeds success. They are riddled with guilt over being the product of their and their parents’ labors.

Why it’s impossible to argue with Progressives *UPDATED*

Father and son shoutingI said yesterday that we have to confront Leftists, because they will never go away.  Today, though, I got a perfect example of why it’s so gosh darn difficult to deal with them.  To understand this point, I need to take you back to the post I wrote about a killer who is about to be released from prison in Texas.

Here’s the brief run down:  In 1996, Bernie Tiede shot and killed 81 year-old wealthy widow Marjorie Nugent.  He hid her body in a freezer and spent the next few months running through her money before he was caught.  He confessed to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

At this point, we need to be clear about a couple of things:  First, Tiede is not facing the death penalty.  Second, no one is arguing that any type of prejudice played a role in Tiede’s conviction.  He was convicted the old-fashioned way:  he confessed to a premeditated murder and got the time for doing the crime.

Since Tiede’s conviction, a few things have changed:  Texas Monthly, a reliably Progressive publication, wrote about Tiede, saying he’d remembered that he’d been sexually molested as a child and that he revealed that he was a closeted gay man in East Texas.  The magazine article led to a 2011 movie starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and other big name stars.  And lastly, the prosecution and defense have agreed that Tiede’s recently-remembered childhood sexual abuse and the stress of being a closeted gay man in Texas were such that he couldn’t be held responsible for his well-organized murder and equally well-organized spending spree.  Tiede is therefore set to walk free.

I think this is a travesty.  It would be one thing if Tiede had been an innocent man railroaded because he was gay.  It’s another thing entirely saying that childhood molestation and being gay are mitigating factors to a life sentence for cold-blooded murder.  Mike Devx neatly parsed what happened:

“Stress made him do it”, is what this comes down to.

Well, the stress of being a soldier in war often leads to PTSD, and that stress must be worse than this stress.  So the way I see it, every soldier who has been or will be diagnosed with PTSD is now free to kill anyone they want to, and take the dead person’s money and live on it.  It’s only fair.

Precisely.

To get to my point about the difficulty of arguing with a Leftist, let me repeat the core matters at issue in the Tiede case:  Tiede is a self-confessed murderer who got a life sentence, but is about to be set free because he has successfully proven himself to be a member of the official victim class of the 21st century, relieving him of any responsibility for his evil acts.

So what does one of my reliably Leftist friends say when I politely (very politely) pointed out on Facebook that a cold-blooded, self-confessed murderer will get released from a life sentence because he was stressed? My friend says this:

I don’t know what to think. The movie made me feel sympathy for him, but I also think he wouldn’t have been released from his life sentence if he was black. Since our system is inherently racist, we must abolish the death penalty.

Did you see anything in Tiede’s story about either race or the death penalty? I didn’t. But in response to my politely expressed surprise about a murderer walking because it’s tough to be gay in Texas, she makes a bizarrely disjointed statement about sympathy for Tiede because of a Hollywood film, which she somehow contrasts to the fact that black people would be treated differently.  And then, having inserted race into the matter, she speeds ahead to announce that the death penalty is inherently unfair to blacks so the institution should be demolished.  I’m dizzy and confused.

Because I pick my battles, I don’t feel inclined to waste my time pointing out to this “well-educated” Progressive that, not only is her statement confused, random, and illogical, but she’s also wrong when it comes to data about blacks and the death penalty.  Because all of you care about facts, though, I’ll share the actual data with you:

2. [From ABC:] “Some states . . . for the same crime [are] three times more likely to sentence an African-American defendant to death. I think that’s very, very troubling. . . . Race is an issue.”

This is simply false. In murder cases, whites are executed much more frequently. Nationally, from 1977, when the death penalty was reinstituted, to 2011, the last year for which the FBI has compiled data, 64.7 percent of those executed were whites, but whites committed only 47 percent of the murders.

Nor do individual states stand out in the way this statement claimed. I went through the totals for each individual state over the seven years from 2005 to 2011, and none have the imbalance the ABC News panel complained about. Missouri was close, with five blacks and two whites executed. Only three other states, including heavily Democratic Maryland, executed more blacks than whites, and in each case only one more black was executed. (To see state-by-state data for a given year in this range, search for “capital punishment [insert year] statistical tables.”)

An honest evaluation has to start with explaining why white murderers are executed at a greater rate than black murderers.

Just like adolescents, Progressives won’t stick to the subject, ignore the facts, and are willing to repeat their unfounded statements ’til the cows come home.  It makes for very difficult arguments, because you have to ignore the red herrings and resolutely and repeatedly bring your errant Leftist back to the main issue.

UPDATE 2: The twitter image below, in my original update is false, says Sturmtrooper. I got pwned. Bad me! I did buy into my own biases, since it so perfectly aligned with the actual Facebook comment that a genuine friend of mine actually made.

The twitter picture is fake. The real moms demand action handle is @momsdemand note the D at the end. The one in the picture is momsdeman without the D.
If you look on the actual momsdemand twitter page they even mention it.

UPDATE: Another example of Progressive “logic” in action:

Rape versus guns