IRS correspondence seems to reveal conspiracy to criminalize conservative speech

Obama-IrsThe IRS’s job is to collect the taxes that Congress demands the American people pay. Under Lois Lerner’s guidance, though, the IRS’s job, apparently, was to identify potential conservative targets for Department of Justice criminal investigations. Hmmm.

PJMedia currently has running two excellent posts on the subject. The first is J. Christian Adams’ “A new, more sinister IRS scandal.” The second is Bryan Preston’s “The terrifying implications of the IRS Abuse-DOJ connection.”

Preston opens his post with this compelling paragraph:

Thank God for Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George. His investigation of what turned out to be the IRS abuse scandal may well have saved the Constitution and the nation.

I hope Preston is correct.

Adams closes his post by saying, “Just wait until the American people learn more about the modern American version of history’s speech regulators.”

Sadly, I think Adams is wrong. The ones who never pay attention will continue not to pay attention. As for the man-in-the-street Democrats, the ones who are unthinking, not activist, Leftists, I’m sorry to say that they won’t suddenly think, “Oh, my God! What have we become? This has to stop.”

Instead, when you try to convince knee-jerk, unthinking Democrats that their party is using the most powerful government agency in America to shut down political debate and imprison political dissent, you’ll get a shrug, along with mumbled remarks about “conservative wackos are paranoid,” and “these people were obviously breaking the law,” and “the IRS saved us from turning into a Christian Fundamentalist Nation, kind of like Iran.”

Government is the last place in which the war is fought.  The initial battles are for people’s hearts and minds, and the Left started fighting and winning those battles in the 1960s.  Now, as the old saying goes, “it’s all over but for the shouting.”

Wonderful things hiding in my inbox

Victorian posy of pansiesMy email inbox produces such wonderful things.  I hope  you enjoy these as much as I did:

I received two articles that are mirror images of each other.  The first is an article by Daniel Greenfield, which contains a very good insight about Obama’s magical attraction for the Ivy League (and Ivy League wannabes) who constitute his core non-black demographic.  The premise of the following paragraphs is the way in which the media repeatedly assured Americans that George Bush (Yale and Harvard) was an idiot, while Barack Obama (Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard) is the smartest man ever to occupy the White House:

But what is “smart” anyway? What makes Obama a genius? It’s not his IQ. It’s probably not his grades or we would have seen them already. It’s that he makes his supporters feel smart. The perception of intelligence is really a reflection.

[snip]

Intelligence has since been democratized. Smart has been redistributed. Anyone can get an A for effort. And the impulse of manufactured intelligence is not smart people, but people who make us feel smart. That is why Neil deGrasse Tyson, another obsessively self-promoting mediocrity like Carl Sagan, is now the new face of science. Sagan made science-illiterate liberals feel smart while pandering to their biases. Tyson does the same thing for the Twitter generation.

Self-esteem is the new intelligence. Obama’s intelligence was manufactured by pandering to the biases and tastes of his supporters. The more he shared their biases and tastes, the smarter he seemed to be and the smarter they felt by having so much in common with such a smart man.

Everyone who encountered him thought that he was smart because he made them feel smart. And that is the supreme duty of the modern liberal intellectual, not to be smart, but to make others feel smart. Genuine intelligence is threatening. Manufactured intelligence is soothing. And those intellectually superior progressives who need to believe that Obama is smart in order to believe that they are smart cannot stop believing in his brains without confronting the illusion of their own intelligence.

Please read the whole thing.  I do believe that Greenfield’s insight about Obama’s “Chance the Gardener” quality (which I touched upon in 2007 before much was known about him) is a very important one.

The mirror image of thinking you’re the genius in the room, of course, is proving to yourself, and to others, that people who aren’t just like you are idiots.  (This is a typical narcissistic behavior, by the way.)  Adrienne Royer hones in on the Left’s recent attacks against Duck Dynasty.  The elites were fine with the show when they glanced over and saw yokels (i.e., Republicans) laughing at other yokels (i.e., the Robertsons).  The show became threatening when the Left realized that the Robertsons, despite their foibles, weren’t idiots, and that too many people from all political classes (Obamas included) were looking at the clan as avatars of common sense, faith, and patriotism in a crazy world.  At that point, it had to go.

******************

That the attack on the Robertsons has nothing to do with gay issues and everything to do with their overall politics is nicely illustrated in this poster:

Comparing Robertson and Ahmadinejad

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One of the things I write about quite a lot is the gender madness that the Left foists on America.  In that vein, a friend sent me a link to an Onion-esque military blog and a video.  Apropos the video, my son’s comment after watching it was “That’s really creepy.”

******************

The old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be . . . and neither is America.  A friend sent me a link to an article about the U.S. trying to evacuate a few stragglers from the Sudan.  He included this comment in his email:

“Pentagon officials were trying to determine how to mount another effort to evacuate the roughly three dozen Americans in South Sudan…”

We have become such a nation of hand wringing milquetoasts it makes me sick. There was a time when we would respond with overwhelming force, like say an entire Marine Expeditionary Force, taken over the airfield in Bor, land as may aircraft as we pleased, rescued our citizens, then leave a giant crater behind us as we took off again.

Instead, we’ve allowed a handful of illiterate bushmen with AKs to stymie the worlds most powerful nation.

******************

I don’t think Bill Whittle likes that Obama chap very much, nor does he like Obama’s friends, nor does he respect or like the media, nor does he think much of those Americans who willingly let themselves be led down the primrose path, both because they liked the lies and because they were intimidated by the cry of “racist.”

******************

And to end on a lighthearted (and slightly NSFW) note, here’s Sunny Lohmann on the week’s news:

When narcissists apologize: Arne Duncan regrets that he was caught being a racist

Arne Duncan defended common core by verbally assaulting “white suburban moms.”  He’s now issued the standard Obama-era apology, which is to say that he’s not sorry for what he said, he’s just sorry that he got caught saying it:    “I used some clumsy phrasing that I regret.”

I was going to ask, “How dumb does Duncan think the American people are?”  That’s a stupid question.  The American people are dumb enough to have given people like Duncan virtually unfettered power in the halls of academia for upwards of 40 years now.

Dunca is right — he doesn’t owe us a real apology.  We had it coming.  Americans have had ample evidence that he’s a scorpion and they still held out their arms and said “Sting me.”

It’s we who owe the youth of America a real apology for inflicting these monsters on them.

My enlightening dinner with Blue State liberals

Dinner party

I had the opportunity the other day to dine with a collection of Blue State liberals.  It was enlightening, not because I actually learned anything from them, but because I learned about them.  It was also a reminder of how far I’ve traveled ideologically, because I used to be one of them.  Looking at them, I don’t regret my journey.

Most of the evening, of course, was idle chitchat, without any political ramifications.  Inevitably, though, politics and ideological issues cropped up.  I’ll just run down a few topics.

Antisemitism in higher education:

I was told in no uncertain terms that Columbia University cannot be antisemitic because it’s in New York.  My offer to produce evidence to support my thesis was rebuffed.  For those of you who, unlike Blue State liberals, feel that facts are valuable, these links support my contention that, New York address notwithstanding, Columbia is in thrall to Palestinian activists and BDS derangement:

100 Columbia professors demand divestment from Israel

Professors preach antisemitism from the Columbia pulpit

Columbia professor Joseph Massad, a one man antisemitism machine

Columbia students delighted at the opportunity to dine with Ahmadinejad

And of course, there’s simply the fact that Columbia is one of the more ideologically Left schools, although that wouldn’t have bothered my dinner companions.

The effect of taxes on investment:

One of my dinner companions is a successful investment analyst.  I asked him if he’d been hearing about any effects flowing from the Obamacare medical device tax.  “No, of course not.  It’s — what?  — a two percent tax.  That’s not going to make a difference to anybody.”  Again, my offer of contrary data was rejected, because it was obviously Fox News propaganda, never mind that it’s not from Fox News.  Stephen Hay, at Power Line, neatly summarizes a Wall Street Journal article predicated on actual investment data:

Today in my Constitutional Law class I’ll be taking up the famous case of McCulloch v. Maryland, the bank case from 1819 in which Chief Justice John Marshall observed that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy,” which immediately set my mind to thinking about . . . Obamacare.  Obamacare’s medical device tax—a tax not on profits remember, but on revenues—is doing its destructive work already.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “Funding Dries Up for Medical Startups,” noting that “Investment in the medical-device and equipment industry is on pace to fall to $2.14 billion this year, down more than 40% from 2007 and the sharpest drop among the top five industry recipients of venture funding.”  It seems we have to relearn every few years (such as the luxury boat tax of 1990, swiftly repealed when it killed the boat-building industry) the basic lesson that Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan taught us: tax something and you get less of it.  Especially when you tax it like Obamacare, where the tax significantly reduces the after-tax return to investors.

When a 2% tax is on after-tax returns, and it targets a specific industry, surprisingly it does make a big difference to people.  Right now, the difference is at the investment level, but soon it will be at the consumer level, as consumers are less likely than ever before to see life-changing inventions such as the insulin pump or the cochlear implant.

American healthcare compared to other Western countries:  Everybody agreed that America has the worst health care compared to those countries with socialized medicine.  Britain doesn’t count, my fellow dinners told me, because it’s “chosen” to offer bad health care.  My attempts to talk about freedom of choice, market competition, declining government revenue, cost-based decisions to deny treatment to whole classes of patients, etc., were rudely brushed aside.  “That’s just Fox News propaganda.”  Likewise, the liberals also dismissed as “Fox News propaganda” my statement that the studies they’re relying on have as their metric availability of coverage, rather than quality of outcome. I therefore wasn’t surprised when they equally rudely dismissed me when I said that a recent study showed that America has some of the best cancer survival rates in the world.

Since I know that you’d never be that rude, let me just quote Avik Roy, who actually studies the numbers:

It’s one of the most oft-repeated justifications for socialized medicine: Americans spend more money than other developed countries on health care, but don’t live as long. If we would just hop on the European health-care bandwagon, we’d live longer and healthier lives. The only problem is it’s not true.

[snip]

The problem, of course, is that there are many factors that affect life expectancy. One is wealth. It’s gross domestic product per capita, and not health-care policy, that correlates most strongly to life expectancy. Gapminder has produced many colorful charts that show the strong correlation between wealth and health.

[snip]

If you really want to measure health outcomes, the best way to do it is at the point of medical intervention. If you have a heart attack, how long do you live in the U.S. vs. another country? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer? In 2008, a group of investigators conducted a worldwide study of cancer survival rates, called CONCORD. They looked at 5-year survival rates for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and prostate cancer. I compiled their data for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and western Europe. Guess who came out number one?

[chart omitted]

U-S-A! U-S-A! What’s just as interesting is that Japan, the country that tops the overall life expectancy tables, finished in the middle of the pack on cancer survival.

I’m not doing justice Roy’s article with these snippets, so I urge you to read the whole thing.  Suffice to say that my companions were uninterested in data that ran counter to their narrative.

The racist inside every liberal:  My dinner companions did concede that culture is a factor in health care, although they stopped short of admitting (as they should have) that a country as diverse as America will never be able to counter cultural differences with socialized medicine.  (Or, rather, they couldn’t admit that it would take overwhelming government coercion to do so.)

One of the guests described a patient with a treatable disorder — i.e., one that could be controlled with a carefully regimented plan of medicine and treatment — who was too disorganized to follow the treatment.  As a result, this person ended up in the emergency room one to two times a month, at great cost to the system.  The healthcare provider finally hired a minimum wage worker to remind the patient to take the medicines and to drive the patient to the hospital.  Another guests said, “Black, right?”  The person who told the story said, “I can’t tell you that, but probably.”  They snickered companionably over the fact that blacks are just too dumb to care for themselves.

Another way of looking at it, though, was that this patient did fine:  The patient didn’t have to fuss with drugs (and their side-effects), got emergency treatment on an as-needed basis, and ended up having a dedicated employee to detail with the finicky little details of disease maintenance.  Who’s snickering now?

The power that maintains slavery:  One of the people at the dinner was a student studying American history.  The curriculum had reached the Civil War.  The student asked a good question:  “I don’t get how the slaves let themselves stay that way.  After all, they outnumbered the whites.”  Good point.  The liberal dinner guests started mumbling about systems, and complexity, and psychology.  And I do mean mumbling.  They didn’t offer data.  They just mouthed buzzwords such as “it’s complex,” or “you have to understand the system,” or “well, there’s a psychology there.”  I interrupted:  “The slave owners were armed.  The slaves were denied arms.  The side with weapons, even if it’s smaller in number, wins.”  To my surprise, none of the liberals in the room had anything to add.

The food was good and my dinner companions were periodically interesting and charming, so the dinner wasn’t a total loss.  Nevertheless, I found dismaying the arrogant ignorance that powers their engines.  All I could think of was my own blog’s motto:  “Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts.”  That was my dinner in a nutshell.

Why the Left cherishes “educators”

Yesterday, I wrote about the peculiar socialist inversion that sees doctors — who study for years, work insane hours, and hold our lives in their hands — routinely denigrated, while teachers — who study for a short time, work the world’s shortest hours, and don’t hold anybody’s lives in their hands — celebrated as society’s most worth martyrs.  My conclusion was that

Thinking about it, of course, this socialist inversion makes perfect sense.  Teachers produce the next generation of socialists; doctors cost money by saving the lives of old socialists who no longer contribute to the commune.  The relative values assigned these jobs in a socialist society has nothing to do with their contributions to the individual and everything to do with their contributions to the state.

In his column today, Dennis Prager confirms my point about the central role teachers play in a socialist culture.  He wrote a post about the way in which conservative parents are surprised that their children come home from college spouting hard-core Leftist ideology.  They shouldn’t be surprised, he says:

Virtually every institution outside the home has been captured by people with left-wing values: specifically the media (television and movies) and the schools (first the universities and now high schools). In the 1960s and 1970s, American parents were blindsided. Their children came home from college with values that thoroughly opposed those of their parents.

And the parents had no idea how to counteract this. Moreover, even if they did, after just one year at the left-wing seminaries we still call universities, it was often too late. As one of the founders of progressivism in America, Woodrow Wilson, who was president of Princeton University before he became president of the United States, said in a speech in 1914, “I have often said that the use of a university is to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible.” Eighty-eight years later, the president of Dartmouth College, James O. Freedman, echoed Wilson: “The purpose of a college education is to question your father’s values,” he told the graduating seniors of Dartmouth College.

Even now, too few conservative parents realize how radical — and effective — the university agenda is. They are proud that their child has been accepted to whatever college he or she attends, not realizing that, values-wise, they are actually playing Russian roulette, except that only one chamber in the gun is not loaded with a bullet.

Sick or dead citizens are much less important than indoctrinated citizens.  Leftists have always understood that, and conservatives have been too slow, too stubborn, and perhaps to honorable to recognize this reality.

 

Too much education makes people economically dumb

I’m not boasting when I say that I move in very rarefied circles.  It’s a fact that became glaringly obvious to me today when I started reaching out to legal colleagues via LinkedIn.  I’m launching a new business enterprise, and those connections will be useful.

For those unfamiliar with it, LinkedIn is the professional equivalent of Facebook.  Rather than chit-chatting about children, sports, and the minutiae of their lives, people use LinkedIn to post their resumes, boast about their professional accomplishments, and network with other professionals to whom they can be useful or who can be useful to them.  So, as I said, I’m working on using LinkedIn to touch base with lawyers I’ve met over the years, whether high school classmates who went into law, law school classmates, professional colleagues, or people whom I’ve met through PTA and the neighborhood who also happen to be lawyers.

As with Facebook, LinkedIn examines your friends’ friends and, if two of them share a common friend, LinkedIn will suggest that person to you as a possible link in your own professional network.  This is where I get to the rarefied bit.  When I scroll through my LinkedIn contacts (who currently number less than 100, because I’ve never paid that much attention to cultivating these contacts), I get suggestions that run the gamut from high stratum A to rarefied stratum B:  ambassadors, corporate CEOs, senior counsel at major corporations, managing partners of huge law firms, etc.  In my circles, these titles are predominant amongst the various professional friendships LinkedIn identifies for me.  I

What interests me so much about these people is that I know for a fact as to most, and can reasonably guess as to the remainder, that they voted for Obama and, within their own states, counties, and cities, also voted for the most Democrat and Progressive (although not Green) candidates.  This milieu — rich in degrees, Ivy League diplomas, and money — is disproportionately Leftist in orientation.  If you ask them about their political beliefs, they will say that it’s because they’re smart and educated, implying that brilliant mines inevitably embrace Progressivism.

I see things differently, of course.  All of these people are products of America’s colleges, universities, and professional schools, not to mention fine high schools, both public and private, in nice neighborhoods and suburbs.  All of these schools lean Left or have simply stopped leaning and collapsed completely on the Leftist side of education.

So these smart people are right that there’s an inevitability here, but it’s not that the logical output of a brilliant mind is Leftism.  Education certainly matters, but not in the way they think.  The fact is that, if you’re academically smart, you’re more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and even attend professional school.  In other words, the smarter you are, the longer your exposure to Leftist academic thought will be.  These high earning, upper echelon people didn’t embrace Leftism because their intellectual analysis inexorably led them to it.  Instead, they embraced Leftism because their smarts mean they’ve been steeped in the Leftist stew for infinitely longer than the average American who didn’t go on to a higher degree.

These same people also remind me that academic smarts do not correlate with real life intelligence.  I have no doubt that these people are good lawyers, doctors, CEOs, ambassadors, etc.  What they’re trained to do, they do well.  Outside of their sphere of expertise, however, they’re remarkably naive and intellectually incurious.

Here’s my example for today:  In the wake of the election, I’ve heard five Obama supporters — all of whom also voted for all the California Democrats and for all the California taxes — complain that their taxes are going up next year.  The cognitive dissonance is almost painful.  All of them consistently embrace big spending — and, therefore Obama and his fellow Democrats — because they’ve been trained to believe that the spending on welfare, entitlements, and “select” businesses is a “good thing.”  This is a knee jerk belief.  They will always vote for these “good things,” and for the candidate who promises them.  And they will ignore the rhetoric about higher taxes (Obama was not shy about targeting them as the next big source of funding), and they will ignore fiscal cliffs, and they will ignore plain old common sense that says that someone must pay the piper.

One of the things that made the rounds on my Facebook was a boastful poster saying that those states with the highest number of college-educated people all went for Obama.  The implication is that these smart Blue State people, unlike the ill-educated yahoos in Red States, are the ones who have the brains and ability to understand how Obamanomics will serve America.

What the genius who created this poster missed the fact that these smart Blue States are, not coincidentally, almost all broke.  Thus, of the list above, the following Blue States are amongst those states running the biggest budget shortfalls in America:  Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Minnesota.  In other words, 80% of the “best educated” states are in dire financial straights.  You’d think that, with all those smart people, they’d be rolling in the green stuff.

It turns out that one of the biggest indicators of Blue state-ness isn’t smarts — it’s brokes.  Here’s the list of the states Obama won, with the ones that have more than a 10% budget shortfall marked, appropriately enough, in red:*

California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Hawaii
Illinois
Iowa
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Wisconsin

It’s striking that, of the 26 states that gave their electoral votes to Obama, 84% are in debt.  (The perpetually broke District of Columbia also gave its vote to Obama, raising to 85% the number of broke jurisdictions that went true blue.) You’d think that, with all those smart people floating around, they’d manage their money better. In a way, you could say that the Blue States are actually Red States, given their financial hemorrhaging.

By the way, given that we’re still in a recession, it’s true that many Red States are also in debt.  Still, there’s no doubt that the Red States are managing their money better than the ones filled with all those educated Progressive geniuses:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
North Carolina
North Dakota
Oklahoma
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
West Virginia
Wyoming

As you can see, only 41% of the “dumb” Red States are seriously in the red.  They may not have the degrees, but they have sufficient smarts to control their budgets — which is the fundamental responsibility of all viable governments.

If the election is any indicator, it shows that our education system leaves people incapable of rational economic thought.  This is true even when these same educated people are the ones most hurt by their economic ignorance and Leftist credulity.

_______________________________

*I culled the state deficit information from here.

Steve Crowder on Israel hatred (and ignorance) on the Left

In a sane world, Steve Crowder would have his own TV show, rather than three-minute segments.  Of course, the discipline of a three-minute segment means that every word he says is worthy.  There is no useless, time-consuming filler.  Watch and learn.  (Ah, heck, you guys already know this.  But watch to get talking points for the next time you find yourself talking to someone who prefers gay killers to humanists.)

The worst insults always come from the Left

Gay Patriot has a post up about the nasty insults he receives as a gay man.  These don’t come from right wing homophobes, though.  They come from Leftists.  Read his post and you’ll see.

I’ll only add that, aside from being green with envy that he met Glenn Reynolds, I’m not at all surprised.  The Most indecent, hate-filled insults always comes from the Left.  The names Michelle Malkin gets called are so racist, misogynistic and otherwise filthy, they defy imagination.  Same for any conservative black.  It’s no surprise to me that Leftists would pile on the bad names for a gay conservative.

There’s a word for these disgusting accusations.  Hmmm.  Let me think.  La-la-la.  I know it’ll come to me.  Protection?  Nooo.  Rejection?  No, that’s not right either.  A-ha!  I’ve got it.  Projection!

Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings

Leftist thinking out of England

Two stories at the British Guardian caught my eye.  The first is the Guardian’s announcement that its readers think Private Bradley Manning deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.   You’re not imagining things.  Britain’s Left — at least that portion that answers unscientific online newspaper polls — thinks that the man who stole thousands of classified U.S. government documents and gave them to a man hostile to America, who in turn published them, leading to lots of boredom and, unfortunately, many deaths, is deserving of a “peace” prize.  The only thing that makes this logical is that you and I understand that “peace prize” is a misnomer.  What it really should be called is the “Nobel Hate America, Individual Freedom, and Capitalism Prize.”  Called by its true name, Manning is a perfect recipient.

The other story is one that’s both unbelievably tragic and that highlights the Left’s moral blindness.  The story is about a terrible famine affecting North Korea.  Here’s the Guardian’s take on the famine:

Footage of malnourished North Korean orphans and official warnings over failed harvests have given a rare glimpse at the scale of devastating food shortages in the country following a harsh winter and widespread flooding.

[snip]

North Korea has struggled with its food supply since the crippling famine of the 90s, and its biggest donors – South Korea and the US – have yet to decide whether to resume aid suspended in 2008, while rising global commodity prices have exacerbated its problems.

[snip]

The Reuters AlertNet humanitarian news service, which shot the new video, was allowed to make a tightly controlled trip to South Hwanghae, a farming province in the country’s arable heartland. The team reported signs of severe malnutrition in children and medical staff said they lacked the drugs they needed.

“The natural disasters of last year and this year have forced the people to live on potatoes and corn. Because people aren’t taking in proper nutrition, the number of in-patients has increased. While in May the number of inpatients was about 200, we have had around 350 inpatients each month from July to September,” said Jang Kum-son, a doctor.

Kim Chol-jun, paediatrician at a school for orphans, said heavy rainfall and flooding had also contaminated water supplies, leading to digestive diseases.

The governing People’s Committee said a bitter winter destroyed 65% of South Hwanghae’s barley, wheat and potato crops, and that rains, flooding and typhoons had destroyed 80% of the maize harvest. Officials added that they expected less than half the usual rice crop this month.

What’s missing from this story, with its focus on rainfall and flooding (some of which I assume affected neighboring South Korea) is that North Korea has had a perpetual famine problem.  This is not a weather related famine problem, although you wouldn’t guess it from the Guardian’s coverage.  Instead, it’s the same famine problem that affected the Ukraine in the 1930s and China during the Great Leap Forward:  It’s called a Communist-caused famine, and it occurs when a tyrannical centralized government destroys markets, designates food and farmland for favored citizens, diverts most of its resources to the military that props it up, and generally uses its citizens as servants of and tools for a small cadre of privileged people.

Did you notice, too, that the South Koreans are feeding their starving neighbors?  On the one hand, I totally understand it.  They don’t want hordes of hungry, nuclearized North Koreans swarming over the border.  On the other hand, it’s a shame that they’re propping up a dictatorship that’s systematically starving its own citizens.  I’m not exaggerating with the systematic starvation comment.  When I quoted from the Guardian, I left out a paragraph that provides the Guardian’s single nod to the fact that nature isn’t the only one at fault as North Korea’s children die:

Some suspect that Pyongyang may be hoarding crops to ensure there is plenty of food next year. The North has pledged that 2012 – the centenary of founder Kim Il-sung’s birth – will be the year it becomes a major power.

The narcissistic delusions of Leftists *UPDATED*

Can I say that an entire political ideology is narcissistic?  Because I’d really like to say that about Leftism, a political movement that sometimes seems like the textbook definition of narcissism.  Although the DSM is a highly political book, it’s still the starting point for any diagnosis of narcissism:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines narcissistic personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:[1]

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity(in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. Requires excessive admiration
  5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Doesn’t the above list make you think of behavior patterns on the Left?  Here, let me walk you through it:

“Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).”  Think of the Left’s Obama hagiography.  He was the embodiment of all that was Left.  Despite the lack of any proof, such as grades or real world accomplishments, we were assured that Obama was the most brilliant, successful, competent person ever to grace the Oval Office.  Even now, as Obama’s initiatives inspire visceral dislike in the American people, who are not better of now than they were four years ago, Obama and his crew routinely chastise the American people for failing to recognize his greatness.  We are routinely told that any failures occuring under the Left’s  governance lie, not with the Left itself, but with the idiocy of the American people.

“Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.”  See above.  Also, check out Obama’s “ocean rising” speech, back in 2008, which speaks both to Obama’s own messiah fantasies and to the entire Leftist belief in its world-changing powers.

“Believes that he or she is ‘special’ and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).”  Again, see above.  Obama’s vacation is also emblematic of this particular facet of narcissistic personality disorder.  If you’ve been following Obama’s most recent vacation, you’ll see that he has eschewed the prosaic Camp David or, God forbid, a working vacation such as those Bush enjoyed at his ranch.  He stays in luxury, socializes only with the self-proclaimed (and wealthiest) elite, and generally distances himself from the hoi polloi.  Michelle Antoinette shares his expensive tastes.  Both justify their conduct on the ground that they deserve this treatment and can only be comfortable (i.e., relax and get away from it all) when surrounded by “the best.”

“Requires excessive admiration.”  And again, you can look to the above for evidence of this requirement.  Fundamentally, whether speaking of grandiosity, fantasies of success, a sense of uniqueness or the uncreasing demand for admiration, one can can see that they’re all slightly differently stated sides of the same coin.  The Narcissist is his own God, and needs others constantly to remind him of the truth of this theology.

“Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.”  Ditto.

“Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.”  There is no better example of this than the way the Left uses minorities, especially blacks, to justify its big government fetish.  This is true whether we’re talking about (a) Jim Crow busily trampling blacks civil rights (because Jim Crow was big government directed at explicitly racist ends) or about (b) the current welfare society that emasculates black men and generally infantilizes the entire black community by preventing its members from becoming independent adults.

“Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.”  The best illustration I can think of this is the whole “civility” debate that’s sprung up recently.  In the Leftist world, civility is entirely a one way street.  Those who are not Leftists are not allowed to speak critically of the Left (or its individual members).  However, on the Left, there is no such thing as incivility.  There is only speaking the truth about the evil that is conservativism.  This is why expressions such as “tea bagging” become common currency on the Left, and Maxine Waters vile and vulgar statements go unremarked.

“Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her.”  The nature of Leftism is envy.  It is a political doctrine based entirely on making sure that the other guy doesn’t have more than you have.

“Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.” — Barack Obama is Exhibit A.  And Exhibit B.  And Exhibit C, ad infinitum.  However, if you think I’ve over-used Obama to make my point here, feel free to substitute Janeane Garofalo, or Keith Olbermann, or Ed Schultz, or most of Hollywood or [you fill in the blank].

The above is not to say that the conservative side of the spectrum doesn’t have its own pathologies.  I’m just arguing that a pervasive narcissism characterizes the Left.

It might help here if I explained what triggered this whole line of thinking in the first place.  I happen to know, pretty well, a couple of narcissists.  I recently had an insight about them:  narcissists are unable to distinguish between facts, opinions and morality.  A narcissist’s opinions and understanding become the only standard, rendering inoperative such things as objective and subjective thought or debatable moral issues.

For example, while I, a non-narcissist, might say that, having sampled all the french fries in the region, I like McDonald’s fries best, a narcissist will say that McDonald’s fries are the best.  The narcissist cannot contemplate the possibility that his preferences are not objective fact. This is why all discussions with narcissists quickly devolve into name calling — or, more accurately, end with the narcissist calling you names.

Since there is only one truth — the narcissist’s — you, by expressing contary opinions, are actually challenging his status as a God head  As I said above, the narcissist is his own God, and needs others constantly to remind him of the truth of this theology.  When you differ from the narcissist, you have shown yourself to be a heretic.  Auto da fé being unavailable, ad hominem attacks are the only thing left in the narcissist’s arsenal.

So yes, I’ve convinced myself that the Left is, collectively, a political movement suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.  What do you think?

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for the new low price of $2.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

UPDATE:  I’m not the only one struck by Leftist delusions.  My friend Garry is thinking along similar lines.