Two stories today about internecine warfare on the Left:
I am gleefully wallowing in schadenfreude.
Two stories today about internecine warfare on the Left:
I am gleefully wallowing in schadenfreude.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:*
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:
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.
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.)
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- 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)
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
- 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
UPDATE: I’m not the only one struck by Leftist delusions. My friend Garry is thinking along similar lines.
Robin of Berkeley hits a home run — actually, she hits it right out of the park — in this post explaining the two different types of Jews who support Barack Obama. One type is the type I used to be, an unthinking liberal, who actually loves America and strongly supports Israel. The other type of Jews is a hardcore Leftist who is Jewish in Name Only (a JINO?). It is important to understand the distinction, so that you can understand who and what Obama is, and where “Jews” or, rather JINOs, fit in the grand scheme of things.
Okay, I’m not really saying that those on the Left are quivering, whining cowards. They are, however, working hard to present themselves in that light — or, rather, in the light of helpless victims — in the hope that they can convince ordinary Americans that conservatives, libertarians, Tea Partiers, etc., are unhinged neo-nazis who are filled with an insatiable blood lust.
To that end, starting on Saturday, they’ve been accusing people opposed to Obama Care of racism, spitting, violence, powder threats, etc. My suspicion is that (a) many of these alleged threats are imaginary, for propaganda purposes; (b) that those making the threats are often Leftists who are faking the attacks as part of the Alinsky tactic of making conservatives look evil; and (c) a few fringe people who should be ignored, rather than spread out over the front pages.
I’m assembling here a collection of solid posts that expand upon my own suspicions about the Left’s propaganda technique here and that remind us that, even in their wildest imaginings about conservatives, Leftists haven’t managed to come close to what Bush and other conservative politicians suffered through for 8 years. Without further ado:
Brutally Honest: The incredible hypocrisy of the “inciting violence” crowd
Patterico’s Pontifications: Leftist Issues Death Threats to Palin and Family on Twitter
Wizbang/Lorie Byrd: Josh Marshall — Beyond Absurd
Michelle Malkin: Unhinged: the mugshot collection
UPDATE: James Taranto opens his Best of the Web Today with a nice collection of provably false (or, at least, grossly exaggerated) accusations health care supporters have made against the bill’s opponents.
At first, when I watched White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, I thought he was a buffoon. I then began to think that his gibberish was a rather clever approach to hiding unpalatable news.
I’ve now realized that Gibbs is, above all, the perfect symbol of the Nanny State: he believes that he and his fellow Obama are wise adults, and that all others in the world are children.
“Duh,” I hear you say. “That’s the nature of Leftism, which is that it believes a wise and powerful government will care for the immature citizen children in its charge.” True. But usually the Leftists reserve this attitude for laws that sap individual initiative and freedom. To our faces, they preserve a simulacrum of respect. Gibbs is different,because he is so cocky that he has dropped the mask of respect, and actually treats citizens like children to their faces. I’m aware of three times when Gibbs has done this, although there may well be more.
The first incident concerned cell phones. A cell phone went off during his press conference. Gibbs, instead of treating the reporters like adults, and reminding them to turn off their phones, confiscated the phone. That’s what we do with children and chewing gum, not with adults. The reporters, predictably, acted like children, with the exception of Jake Tapper, who looked alternately bored and appalled:
Gibbs’ next adventure in infantilizing those around him occurred when he reprimanded a black, female reporter, who was pushing for more information on the White House gate crashers. Unable to give decent responses to actual questions, Gibbs went on the attack, and expressly compared the reporter to a child:
APRIL RYAN: Was there a concern in this White House that she came out being, some might have called her the ‘belle of the ball,’ overshadowing the first lady at the…
ROBERT GIBBS: I don’t who some are. I’ve never heard that. Again…
RYAN: Well, it’s been bantered around Washington, and it’s been in Democratic circles as well as Republican circles, high-ranking people.
GIBBS: April, I, I, that’s not a station I live in in life.
RYAN: Just answer the question, please.
GIBBS: Are you done speaking so I can?
RYAN: Oh yes, I’m done.
GIBBS: I’ve not heard any of that criticism. I’ve not read any of that criticism. The president, the first lady, and the entire White House staff are grateful for the job that she does. And thinks she has done a terrific and wonderful job pulling off a lot of big and important events here at the White House.
RYAN: Did she invite herself to the state dinner or was she a guest? Did the president invite her or did she put her… No, that’s a real question. Do not fan it off. I’m serious.
GIBBS: I, I, Jonathan-
RYAN: No, no, no. Did she invite herself or did the president ask her? Her name was on that list, and social secretaries are the ones who put the names on the list.
GIBBS: Right. Was she at the dinner? April, April, calm down. Just take a deep breath for one second. Now see? This happens with my son. He does the same thing.
(Here there is an Audible reaction from other reporters as, Ryan mouths, “I’m older than your son.”)
RYAN: Don’t play with me. I’m being serious. Do not blow it off.
GIBBS: I’m not… And I’m giving you a serious answer. Was she at the dinner? Yes. She’s the social secretary.
RYAN: Social secretaries are not guests of the dinner.
GIBBS: She had the primary responsibility for running the dinner. I’m going to get back to weightier topics like 98,000 men and women in Afghanistan.
Here’s the video, so you can watch Gibbs’ condescending attitude in real time:
In the above two incidents, Gibbs reserved his condescension for the press. And perhaps the press deserved that treatment, giving its thoughtless fawning over the Obami since they first appeared on the political scene. If you don’t act like a thinking adult, you don’t get treated like a thinking adult.
But what about the entire American nation? It turns out that Gibbs thinks we’re also pretty dumb in a child-like way:
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at President Obama’s 47 percent approval rating in the Gallup daily tracking poll, the lowest the firm has recorded at this point in a presidency.
“If I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I’d visit my doctor,” Gibbs told reporters in his morning gaggle.
Gibbs said the swing in the poll could be duplicated by a “six-year-old with a crayon” and said he doesn’t put a lot of stake in the daily poll and “never have.”
Gibbs repeatedly reveals himself to be an arrogant man with the utmost disdain for anybody who doesn’t completely agree with him. Indeed, as he showed to the fawning White House press, he even thinks those who agree with him are pretty damn stupid and need to be controlled.
Gibbs’ attitude is not a coincidence. That is, it’s not that he’s a perfectly fine Presidential Press Secretary who just happens to have a personal superiority issue. Instead, he is the living, breathing embodiment of the mind set controlling those at the upper levels of the nanny state. We, the American citizens, are not intelligent adults who can be charged with the responsibility of guiding our own destiny. We are, instead, naughty and foolish little children who need to be controlled by those infinitely wiser than we are.
Last Sunday, a private San Francisco museum unveiled a new painting, billed as the world’s largest portrait mural. The mural contains the following edifying images, all homages to the wacky City I once called home:
The colorful mural by acclaimed artist Guy Colwell features Speaker Nancy Pelosi lancing a Republican elephant; a Terminator-dressed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger patting the back of a grizzly bear; Senator Dianne Feinstein waving the California State flag; Mayor Gavin Newsom performing a same-sex marriage ceremony; former Mayor Willie Brown brandishing a freshly pressed suit; former Board of Supervisors President Angela Alioto donning angel wings outside the Porziuncola Chapel in North Beach (an endeavor Pritikin helped to promote); a singing former Supervisor Tony Hall; former Supervisor Harvey Milk waving a Castro Rainbow flag with former Mayor George Moscone by his side; actress Marilyn Monroe hugging baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio on the back of a giraffe; San Francisco Chronicle scribe Herb Caen; actress Carol Channing; Emperor Norton; Jerry Garcia; topless stripper Carol Doda; Willie Mayes and Mark Twain, as well as the Zodiac killer, Jim Jones and Huey Newton – all set against an iconic San Francisco skyline. (Emphasis mine.)
Color me oh-so-naive about the sophisticated art world, but I think a painting that celebrates a City’s heritage by showing a politician brutally, albeit metaphorically, killing her duly elected opponents in a democratic two-party system, and that highlights a serial killer, a mass murderer, and a murderous thug, just lacks the eternal charm that you’d find in, say, a Da Vinci, Van Eyck, or Rembrandt.
Perhaps, though, the painting is just a part of a greater whole, as the museum boasts these other gems, as well:
The mansion also features a few shockers including an Adolf Hitler gallery containing the Fuhrer’s personal world globe and his Swastika armband acquired by two American soldiers at the end of World War II. The authenticated items “are a chilling reminder of the horrendous crimes committed by the most heinous of history’s despots,” Pritikin remarked. The Hitler gallery appropriately displays a large disclaimer that reads: “May the bastard rot in hell.”
In another room, perhaps the most shocking of all, is a working electric chair, complete with a death-row inmate dummy that sizzles and shakes at the flip of the executioner’s switch.
Considering the art world’s Leftism, it can’t be a coincidence that, despite the worst recession in decades, art agencies just got their highest funding in 16 years. After all, if you were on the Left, wouldn’t you want to fund people like the Chief of the National Endowment for the Arts, who is not only someone whose paycheck has a lot to do with American taxpayers, but who also is a man who thinks Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. (I’m not a sufficiently good parodist to take on that one, although others, fortunately, are.)
Most of the world’s media members, if asked, would undoubtedly identify themselves as sophisticates, who are too cynical and world-weary to take anything at face value. Their mental self-image almost certainly falls somewhere between wise-cracking Cary Grant (His Girl Friday) and idealistic Woodward and Bernstein. They care deeply, but they’ve seen it all. To which I would respond that it’s always a fascinating sociological and psychological moment when a single group suffers from such a profound mass delusion.
That the media has no healthy cynicism, objectivity, or even decency, was beautifully demonstrated when Sarah Palin appeared on the political screen. Even as someone who likes Palin, I freely admit that she was an easy target. If you think Ivy League degrees are the only ones worth having, she didn’t have one; if you think states with big populations are the only ones that provide worthy political experience, she didn’t come from one; if you think believing in God is a sign of primitive irrationality, she was both primitive and irrational; and if you believe in the perfection of the human race through casual eugenics, Palin was a race traitor. And of course there was that absolute lack of foreign policy experience, although no one seemed to mind it in Obama, so I won’t go there.
The media wasn’t content with easy targets. Proving themselves credulous and naive, rather than cynical and sophisticated, they leaped onto every rumor they could find, and trumpeted those rumors as the absolute truth:
This New Journalism, if you can call it that, exhibited in 2008 was epitomized by an eradication of the lines between fact and opinion – and, even more troubling, between reporting and propaganda. Some journalists were content to repeat Democratic Party talking points or bloggers’ rumors as though they were established fact, interspersing them with ideological commentary in a kind of toxic stew.
The media’s mass hysteria when it came to Sarah Palin was a sad demonstration of the way in which blind ideology can lead formerly trustworthy institutions to engage in ferocious acts of personal destruction. (The by-product, of course, might be the destruction of America as we know it, but that certainly wasn’t the media’s goal. Its members were out to get Sarah, not America.)
But what about a media that’s out to get a whole country? And what if, in pursuit of that goal, reporters set outside any journalistic instincts and report as gospel truth the most scurrilous, and manifestly false rumors they can find? If you’ve paid any attention to the news for the past twenty-five years or so, you know that this question isn’t hypothetical. It’s an accurate description of the way in which the world media responds to stories about Israel. The latest example popped up this past week. I discovered it when I checked Spiegel Online, as I periodically do for news as seen on the continent.
At Spiegel, I saw this bold-type headline: ISRAELI SOLDIERS PROVIDE SHOCKING TESTIMONY : Report Paints Damning Picture of Gaza Campaign. The story reported on the horrible testimony IDF soldiers provided about routine brutality against Palestinian civilians:
Israel has claimed that everything was done to protect innocent lives during its recent military operation in the Gaza Strip. But according to statements from Israeli soldiers there were malicious acts of destruction, white phosphorus was used and civilians were deliberately targeted.
The report is an account of acts of brutality. The Israeli human rights organization Breaking the Silence spent several months interviewing veterans of the Gaza war that took place in January of this year. The responses by 54 of the veterans paint a completely different picture of Israel’s campaign against the Islamist organization Hamas from that provided by the Israeli military leadership. According to the report, the commanders hammered it into their soldiers that they were not to show any consideration for the Palestinian civilian population, so as not to risk the lives of Israeli troops.
The statements by reservists, conscripts, soldiers and officers, which are consistent with and reinforce each other, substantiate for the first time the suspicion that the Israeli military in many cases ignored one of the basic tenets of the international laws of war: the distinction between combatants and innocent bystanders. The three-week war claimed the lives of about 1,400 Palestinians, many if not most of them civilians.
There’s more, all in the same vein, including pictures of sad Palestinians. What’s fascinating is that, aside from ignoring conflicting third-party reports about Israel’s exceptional efforts to protect civilians) there’s not a word in the Spiegel article about the “human rights organization Breaking the Silence” on which the story relies. After all, a report is only as good as its source. Unlike the credulous reporters, who assumed that Breaking the Silence must be speaking the truth because it’s results jibed perfectly with their own ideological view (Israelis: murderers; Palestinians: victims), I was immediately suspicious.
One of the first tip-offs was the way Breaking the Silence is designated as a “human rights organization.” Long experience shows that those groups are never concerned with human rights in the abstract. They are always leftist organizations that are concerned with proving that America and Israel brutally victimize other people and they’re willing to sleep in any beds (politically speaking) to make their points. The fact that this is an Israeli group (which has the potential to destroy Israel) didn’t seem to affect that agenda.
Still, the organization’s self-identification is circumstantial evidence at best. I needed more, so I contacted the people who were most likely to know: Robert Avrech at Seraphic Secret, Soccer Dad, Thomas Lifson of American Thinker, Omri Ceren at Mere Rhetoric; Freedom Fighter at JoshuaPundit; and Carl at Israel Matzav. They were all swift and unanimous in their response: Breaking the Silence is a Leftist group that is more dedicated to Leftism than it is to its members own survival. Soccer Dad sent me the best summary of this latest example of Israeli citizens attacking themselves:
Israeli non-governmental organization Breaking the Silence has published a new report reliant upon testimonials from soldiers who served in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Once again, allegations of “war crimes” and misdemeanors are based on second-hand evidence and hearsay. Once again, international media outlets rushed to publish a story from another flawed source.
While the BBC gleefully pushed the story to the top of its agenda, The Independent produced a two-page center spread with a screaming headline “Israeli soldiers reveal the brutal truth of Gaza attack”. Others also covered the story, including CNN, The Guardian, Associated Press, Reuters, AFP, Financial Times, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, NPR, Toronto Star and the Globe & Mail.
The G & M’s Orly Halpern even wrote on her personal Twitter page: “I’m reading a really moving report which I will be writing about for the Globe and Mail. It makes me sick to my stomach.” Can an objective and balanced story emerge when emotions rather than facts are the driving force?
Defending the IDF operation against charges including the use of human shields, Golani Brigade commander Col. Avi Peled stated that one of the soldiers who testified in the report was not even in the field at the time: “He told his commander about a week [during] which he wasn’t even in the field. He reported about what he heard happened.”
NGO Monitor’s Dan Kosky points to the Breaking the Silence report’s central problems - flawed methodology and absence of any reasonable research standards:
By Breaking the Silence’s own admission, the allegations are comprised of “the testimony of around 30 combatants” – a fraction of the thousands of Israeli combat troops deployed during the Gaza conflict. This extremely narrow and presumably hand-picked sample is an absurd basis on which to pass judgment, and even these limited testimonies were entirely unverifiable.
All statements are anonymous, and so-called “evidence” is further compromised by the absence of any details of where and when alleged incidents occurred. Consequently, were the report intended to prompt the IDF to investigate individual allegations, Breaking the Silence has made this impossible.
The IDF has issued an initial response to Breaking the Silence that can be viewed here.
In other words, Breaking the Silence is like any other Soros-funded, far left, anti-War group.
To my mind, though, there is a difference between anti-War groups in Israel and the same groups in America. Leftist anti-War groups in America merely wish to reconstruct America as a subservient, third-world nation. In Israel, though, the group’s members must know, or are completely blind to, the fact that their acts invite their nation’s imminent and complete destruction. MoveOn will cause America’s decline; Breaking the Silence will cause Israel’s death and that of all her citizens.
The actions of Breaking the Silence, and other similarly situated Israeli groups, take Jewish self-loathing to an extreme that is pretty much impossible for the rational mind to comprehend — and the world’s media laps it up. As with Sarah Palin, the media gives up any pretense of actual investigative reporting when the information that lands in their laps aligns perfectly with their world view: pretty, religious conservative woman is an ignorant, book-burning, devil-chasing slut; small nation besieged on all sides by genocidal enemies is a vicious, sadistic war machine that does everything it can to destroy all in its path.
This next bit is not the digression it seems to be:
When my father was a little boy, living in the Dickensian slums of Weimar Berlin, his mother had to leave town for some reason. She made arrangements to place him with a Jewish welfare organization that would take care of children under those circumstances. Since she wasn’t a very bright woman, she managed instead to place him with a Catholic organization that, unfortunately, was run by some very sadistic nuns. (I like nuns in principle, by the way, because they were so good to my Mom when she was interned in Java. These particular nuns, however, were sadists.) Rather than police the children and punish the offenses they actually committed (if any), the nuns just beat every child severely at bedtime, on the assumption that, as children, they must have done something wrong during the day. Within a couple of days, my father decided that, if he was going to get beaten any way, he might as well be bad.
You can see where I’m going here. If Israel is inevitably going to be accused of using disproportionate force in any wars against the Palestinians, a sensible policy, unbounded by moral standards, would have Israel, which has the necessary fire power, actually using a scorched earth policy and getting rid of the Palestinian problem once and for all. The fact that Gaza and the West Bank still stand, and that the citizens still live in the millions, is all the evidence one needs that the stories about Israel systematically committing atrocities are libels.
UPDATE: Thanks to Rob Miller for information about a group of soldiers who are countering these libels.
UPDATE II: Thanks to Robert Avrech for information that Breaking the Silence is not a grass roots movement from the Israeli Left. Instead, it’s funded in significant part by many European governments:
In response to the claims, Breaking the Silence presented the Post with its donor list for 2008. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv gave the organization NIS 226,589; the Dutch Embassy donated €19,999; and the European Union gave Breaking the Silence €43,514.
The NGO also received funding from the New Israel Fund amounting to NIS 229,949.
In 2007, Breaking the Silence received a total of NIS 500,000, and in 2008 it managed to raise NIS 1.5 million.
There’s definitely a European trend to try to prove that, historically, Europeans weren’t really so bad to Jews, with the proof being that Jews are bad people, who are currently worse than Europeans were on their own worst days. (Sorry about the awkward writing there, but you know what I mean.)
I’m now looking for information about the New Israel Fund. It’s an American/Israeli entity, and I wonder if I’ll find Soros’ name behind it somewhere. Do any of you know anything about it? It’s website shows that most of the players are “human rights activists” which, as I noted above, is inevitably code for an anti-American, anti-Israel agenda. That’s not to say that America and Israel might not have committed abuses. What shows the activists’ bias is that they’re never looking at or for human rights abuses committed by any other countries, especially other Middle Eastern countries.
UPDATE III: Israel Matzav has vast amounts of information about Breaking the Silence. If this article at all piqued your curiousity, you must click the link and find out more about this Israel-based, anti-Israel NGO.
UPDATE IV: Melanie Phillips writes about the ugly antisemitic firestorm ignited by Breaking the Silence and other European anti-Israel initiatives.
Israel stopped a contingent of Hamas supporters who tried to run a blockade bringing money and supplies into Gaza. Cynthia McKinney figures prominently in their number:
The Israeli navy intercepted a ship carrying foreign peace activists – including a San Rafael woman – trying to break a blockade of Gaza on Tuesday and forced it to sail to an Israeli port, the military said.
A statement said the Greek-registered freighter Arion ignored a radio message from the Israeli military saying it would not be allowed to enter Gaza waters and ordering it to turn back.
Also on board (in addition to a Marin County resident) is former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire and other activists from Britain, Ireland, Bahrain and Jamaica.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel was planning to free the crew and passengers. “Nobody wants to keep them here,” he said. “They will be released as soon as they are checked.”
The Free Gaza Movement has organized five boat trips to Gaza since August 2008, defying a blockade imposed by Israel when the militant group Hamas seized control of the territory from its Palestinian rivals in June 2007.
This blockade running is a stunt, of course. Unlike sieges of old, Israel is not imposing a blockade in order to cause the citizens of Gaza to experience famine and disease. The amount of government-sanctioned money flowing into Gaza from all points of the world is staggering. In 2009 alone, Saudi Arabia promised $58.9 million; President Obama (bless his little Leftist heart) promised a staggering $900 million; and, ‘tho I can’t find 2009 figures, as little as two years ago, Europe was giving annual aid at the 500 million Euro level. None of this, of course, is chump change. If the Palestinians had spent it wisely, they could have had a true Utopia. As it is, because they are a mix of corruption and murderous hatred, they’ve created a foul dystopia.
But I digress. Given the money that pours into Gaza, and given that Israel allows food, water and electricity to flow into that hate-filled territory, why the Israeli blockade? Only useful idiots would fail to see that the blockade is a desperate effort to prevent arms from flowing into Gaza. As it is, despite the blockade, Israel deals with thousands of rocket attacks annually. One only shudders to think what would happen without a blockade.
I’m willing to believe that the useful idiots on that ship have nothing to do with arms smuggling. Frankly, they’re too dumb to be trusted with what is, after all, a delicate task. They are cover, pure and simple. Hamas has discovered that there’s no better way simultaneously to hide and support their murderous agenda than to encourage the belief on the part of the credulous on the Left that Palestinians are victims of a genocidal Israel plot. One of the hallmarks of Leftists, both those who are informed and committed, and those who are merely stupid, is the inability to realize that not all Goliaths (that is, all big guys) are bad, and not all Davids (that would be the little guys) are good.
As I’ve said time and again in this blog, it’s not enough to be little. You have to stand for something good to be deserving of the David appellation and the world’s assistance. Right now, there are Davids in the world, but they are the Iranian citizens facing the guns and axes of their own government in an effort to bring some small measure of freedom to their totalitarian corner of the world.
Somehow, though, I don’t think I’ll see Cynthia McKinney and her fellow-travelers making a stand for Iranian citizens any time soon. She takes her cue from our President, who seemingly has never met a totalitarian government he hasn’t liked.
One of the things that’s been playing through my head lately is the distance between the liberal worldview and actual reality. The media arguments directed at Palin, especially those that deal with women’s issues, really highlighted that divide for me.
Let’s begin with the way in which liberals distinguish themselves from conservativeds, something David Smithee examines in Palin and the Left’s Comprehension Gap. The title is self-explanatory. Smithee explains that part of the hubris that characterizes the Left is the fact that it is unable to take a clear look at conservatives. It sets up easily defeated straw men, without ever really touching upon true conservatism, a mistake the conservatives tend not to make:
But we also know that when liberals look at conservatives, no such courtesy or openness of mind is extended. They don’t see considered issues, critical thought, or the faintest possibility of reason. They see white trash men waving bibles at teen brides, while a gaggle of kids groom each other for lice on a cracked linoleum floor. ‘Bitter clingers’ who mindlessly adhere to second-amendment rights so they can shoot baby possum off a tin fence on slow Friday nights. The other sort of conservative invariably invokes 19th century robber barons, plutocrat industrialists swollen with loot plundered from the proletariat, abating their whipping of Dickensian child labor just long enough to polish a monocle.
The flip side of this hysterical denigration is the liberals’ own self-aggrandizement. If conservatives are people who crawl in the dirt, alternately praying to God and picking lice, liberals, by obvious corollary, are higher beings, with vast intelligence and delicately refined sensibilities.
Certainly that’s how I always understand myself as a Democrat: I was better educated, more refined, and better traveled than my conservative counterparts. Therefore, any conclusions I drew, values I had, and opinions I held must be better too. Never mind that there are large numbers of educated, refined, and well traveled conservatives, and never mind that conservative conclusions, values and opinions actually operate with more efficiency and humanity in the real world (as opposed to the theoretical one). It was enough that I knew I was better than they were.
For a long time, because they own the MSM, Lefties have been able to sell the American public on their “we’re better than you are, so just shut up and follow our lead” meme. What’s so wonderful about the Palin candidacy is less what it says about conservatives, who really haven’t changed, and more what it says about liberals, who are casting off their loving sheep mantels and showing the wolfish reality behind the rhetoric. It’s not pretty.
The “feminist” attacks on Palin are the ugliest thing of all, of course. They reveal that “feminism” has absolutely nothing to do with enabling women to live as fully realized citizens in the United States of America, able to strive for all the opportunities this great country makes available to its citizens. (Or, alternatively, opting to take advantage of the opportunity to be an old-fashioned wife and mother, which is just another right of citizenship in America.)
Instead, feminism has almost nothing to do with paving the way for full and equal citizenship for women, and everything to do with bowing before the Leftist political line. Politically-aware conservatives have long known this. The attacks on Palin allow others to see it. (For more on this topic, I recommend Jonah Goldberg’s column, which spells out what’s going on with these current anti-Palin attacks, and Christina Hoff-Sommer’s wonderful Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women, which was published in 1995, but is as fresh today as the day it was written.)
When it comes to women, Obama is just as guilty of putting distance between himself and his high flown rhetoric. Despite the fact that equal pay for equal work has been the law of the land since 1964, Obama has shrilly demanded he be elected because, he assures us, under his tender loving care American will finally see the realization of the historic goal of “equal pay for equal worth.” Let’s ignore the fact that his muddled rhetoric really seems to be aiming at the nightmare of “comparable worth” pay, which seeks to have some Leftist college professor assign an abstract value to women dominated jobs, to make them line up nice will men dominated jobs. The Hell with the market. Let the government and the professors assign wages. It worked in the Soviet Union, right?
But as I said, let’s ignore that. Instead, let’s focus on Obama’s own reality. It’s obvious that, if he’s saying those things he must mean them, right? Right? I’m sorry to say that the answer is “wrong.” As Deroy Murdock explains, a non-partisan group that presents data about the wages American senators pay their staff reveals Obama’s ugly little secret: the women who work for him have lower level positions and lower wages. Strikingly, McCain’s staff has women holding the higher level positions and receiving higher wages.
Keeping on the subject of women, it turns out that the whole “pro-Choice” theme constantly sounded by Leftists since 1973 is also more rhetoric than reality. For 30 plus years, Americans have been told that the Left isn’t pro-Abortion, it’s pro-Choice (with the corollary being that the conservatives are anti-Choice). It turns out that this too was also more rhetoric than reality. I already quoted the following yesterday, but I’m going to quote it again today — “it” being James Taranto’s analysis of three of the more horrible attacks against Sarah Palin for her decision to have baby Trig:
This is worse than tasteless or even unhinged. It is depraved. It represents an inversion of any reasonable conception of right and wrong, including liberal conceptions.
Fowler uses Palin’s motherhood to disparage her accomplishments, an obvious betrayal of the principle of women’s equality. And although proponents of permissive abortion laws nearly always claim to support not abortion but “a woman’s right to choose,” here we have three of them rebuking Palin for choosing not to abort her baby.
Sullivan and Wilson go further, ascribing evil intent to an act of maternal love. To Sullivan, Palin’s decision to carry her child to term is a salvo in a “culture war”–that is, an act of aggression against those with different political views. (That, at least, is how he sees it for the purpose of this post. In an earlier one, he praised her for going through “eight months of pregnancy and a painful, difficult, endless labor for a cause she believes in”–which, although considerably less obnoxious, still depicts the decision as a political rather than a personal one.)
To Wilson, Palin’s adherence to her own principles about the sanctity of life is an act of neglect toward her children–proof “that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform.” Never mind that the alternative would have ensured that one of her actual children did not live.
Since I’ve kept these examples of the vast gulf between Leftist rhetoric and Leftist reality in the realm of women’s issues, I’m going to close with another example that arises, not at the political level, but at the personal level — and that appears in a book that, like Hoff-Sommer’s book, was originally published in the 1990s (and republished in 2003). The book is called The Second Shift, and it focuses on the fact that the average working woman work harder than her average husband, since the woman, on average, layers housework and childcare on top of her paid job.
I don’t think most women will find this conclusion all that exciting. What the writer did find — at least in the 1990s edition of the book, which is the edition I read — is a fascinating divide between older, traditional men and younger, more liberated men. The older men resented bitterly that their wives had to work, believing women should take care of the home and children. The younger men thought it was wonderful that the women contributed to the family wealth and said that, of course, they (the men) would help in the home. One would think, therefore, that the women in traditional households would be buried under double loads of work, while the women in progressive households would have an equal partner. The opposite was true.
It turned out that the conservative men actually valued what the women did in the home, and helped a great deal. (And indeed, my father exemplified this attitude when my mom was forced to take a job.) The progressive, modern men paid lip service but, in fact, did almost nothing. They’d say things such as “We’ve divided it in half. I do the outdoor work, she does the indoor work.” It sounded good, but the reality was that the outdoor work consisted of taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn once a week, while the indoor work meant shopping, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and taking care of the kids, all on a daily basis. There was a complete divergence between rhetoric and reality in the progressive households and it did not redound to the women’s benefit.
I leave you to find other examples of the divide between Leftist words and Leftist reality. While Leftists blindly castigate the conservative straw men they’ve created, they remain curiously unmoved by the vast divide between their perfect intellectual world and their own acts. However, because of Palin, ordinary Americans are getting a glimpe of this divide, and they might not like what they see. If for this reason alone, therefore, the Palin nomination was a blessing for America.
Prior to Palin’s appearance on the national political scene, conservatives had long griped about the fact that the media’s narrative was slanted against them, but it was often difficult to point to something obvious that demonstrated this fact. The media slipped up occasionally in big ways, such as Rathergate, but usually the bias was expressed more subtly, with turns of phrase, and over- or underexposure of issues. With Palin, though, the ideological Left has abandoned subtlety and given up on any effort to advance actual facts.
I’m not the only one who has noticed the wholesale embrace of absolute falsehoods. Ace noticed it too and did some investigating. He discovered that the hardcore Left is encouraging the dissemination of out and out lies as an absolute necessity in the war against McCain and Palin. Here’s Ace:
That’s a weird thing: Coordinated mass lying. Shit is slipping by us that we’re assuming might be true or somewhat true (those missing months of Bristol’s when she was carrying baby Trig, that “Alaskan Airline crew members stated Palin didn’t look pregnant,” etc.) just because we’re simply not used to thousands of people agreeing to spread deliberate lies to as many people as they can. The fact that multiple people on multiple websites are claiming it, seemingly independently, tricks us into thinking, subconsciously maybe, “Gee, they must have gotten that from some article; they all couldn’t just be lying in unison.”
Or could they?
I’ll print this posting found at DU, tipped to me by the great Larwyn, again:
122. What many here don’t understand. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. RUMOR IS TRUTH.
The modern laws of media hype and political warfare have a useful tenet:
Repeat ANYTHING or raise false concern over ANYTHING and it is likely to be planted in the conscious/subconscious of many voters.
If people start to think that there might be something fishy with Palin’s last kid (if hers), then that’s FINE. One more doubt (whether tied to reality or not) is another hesitation at the ballot box.
GET WITH THE PROGRAM PEOPLE. The “rising above it” bullshit has served us so well in the past, hasn’t it?
If you have problems with the story, then STFU and get out of the way of Dems who are engaged in MODERN POLITICAL WARFARE. Go tend your garden or some other pedestrian task, because the “concern trolls” are not helping shape the message.
By the way, if you’re a student of history, the directive in the last paragraph quoted, the one about abandoning truth in favor of useful lies, may strike you as familiar. It’s the same technique that Goebbels perfected on Hitler’s behalf. Goebbels’ theory was that the only “truth” is that which leads to the desired goal. Or, as he said, “That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result. It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.”
Repeat lies, big and little, often enough, and you will convince people of their truth. Confuse straightforward arguments with myriad irrelevant, and often false, facts, and you will eventually exhaust people. The good will walk away in disgust; the weak will capitulate and accept your false premises. Either way, you win.
There is a point to this post beyond the obvious one of highlighting the way in which the Progressives, Liberals and Democrats (and whatever else they’re styling themselves)* have gone after Palin in an attempt to destroy the Republican ticket. As many of my regular readers have noticed, my comments have been visited with overwhelming frequency by a handful people who oppose Bush and the Republicans, and are supportive of Obama and the Democrats. Certainly that is their right to hold those views.
However, while their views are rightfully theirs, this blog is mine. I’ve always encouraged open debate in the comments at this blog, and I’d like to continue to do so. As long time readers know, some of the most interesting, enlightening and truly civil discussions here have involved people who are not conservative, but who come here with genuine good will and a desire to discuss issues.
My recent liberal commenters, however, seem less interested in reasoned debate, and much more interested in generating confusion and disinformation. In other words, their tag team approach, demonstrated by an overwhelming volume and immediacy of responses, suggests a concerted effort to “shape the message” in precisely the way described in that DU post Ace describes. Not only does this hog space, but it turns reading my blog into an exhausting exercise, and makes the blog a hostile environment to my regular, more temperate readers.
If this were a public forum, of course, we would all put up with this noise, since it would be a sign of a healthy public marketplace of ideas. This is not a public forum, however. It is my personal blog. If you, my readers, are enjoying the debate, I will continue to let it flow freely. However, if the intentional or unintentional tag-team approach that’s playing out now results in my blog being co-opted as a forum for views with which I disagree, let this post stand as warning that I will block commenting privileges — and I will do so by the end of this week.
And please don’t anybody cry censorship. I’m not the government. This is not a public space. This is my intellectual parlor, and I am free to include those I feel enter with good will, and exclude those I feel come with a more nefarious purpose.
*A propos the way in which liberals keep changing their name: There seems to be a sense among them that one term after another that is associated with them degrades in value. We know this happens with language. The most lovely example is the word beldam, which now means an “old hag,” but which comes from the French phrase for beautiful woman. As the term “liberal” has become degraded from its association with the Left, the Lefter side of the spectrum has abandoned it for the term Progressive. However, as long as the ideas continue the same, I suspect the title “Progressives,” too, will fall into disrepute.
UPDATE: Old War Dogs has an excellent no troll policy. A little more blunt than anything I would write, but the spirit is dead on correct.