Liberals: not evil, not stupid…just 100% wrong!

For conservatives and libertarians, the movie icons might be High Noon or True Grit.  For Liberals, the defining anthem is John Lennon’s “Imagine“.

Why is there such a fundamental gulf between ourselves and Liberals, to the point where we find ourselves simply talking past each other? Can this gulf ever be bridged?

I came across this delightful essay at “1389 Counter-Jihad” that builds upon the thoughts of one of my favorite political and social commentators, Evan Sayet, to help define this gulf. It doesn’t necessarily say anything new, but it packages it so well.

http://1389blog.com/2010/11/17/why-modern-liberals-are-100-wrong-about-everything/

The central tenet of this posting is that, after years and years of indoctrination, Liberals see the world so fundamentally different than the rest of us that they can no longer recognize human fallibility and evil. If the core premise is correct, then I say there is no way to overcome this gulf and, perhaps, it would be best if we lived apart from one another. Why? Because I fear that the endgame of this Liberal world view can only be an epic global disaster. This Liberal view not only cannot survive (Darwin), but is the enabler of its/our own destruction.

Here’s a sterling outtake: “So the mindless foot soldier, which is what I call the non-elite, will support the elite’s blueprint for utopia, will side with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success, out of a sense of justice”

I know that we at Bookworm Room have explored this issue over and over. Does this help explain the divide? Can this gulf be overcome?

Wisconsin Liberal Disconnects

Today, several schools in Wisconsin announced that they would be closed so that their teachers could attend protests in the state capital, Madison, against GOP Gov. Walker’s proposals to take away collective bargaining rights from public sector unions. Wisconsin, like neighboring Illinois, is going broke. The behavior of the Wisconsin public school teachers pretty much underscores why Gov. Walker is right.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-protests-mount-as-wis-lawmakers-consider-antiunion-bill-20110217,0,5403222.story

We have several friends and relatives in Wisconsin who come from solid blue-color union backgrounds. Some have already retired on handsome benefit packages (one was able to retire with full retirement benefits at age-49), albeit from the private sector. Following their Facebook comments, we learn that they are in full uproar, encouraging each other to go to Madison to lend their support to the protests.

The funny thing is, these are the same individuals who have been complaining to us that they are thinking of moving out of Wisconsin because the cost of living and taxes are too high.

I suspect that this type of cluelessness is pretty common among Liberals in general.

So, in trying to patiently explain our (national) debt crisis to Liberals (I know, I know…for too many of them, math is hard, so KISS), I propose trying to lead them to the following exchange, based on conversations that I have had:

Liberal: “Our country should not have any trouble affording [insert Liberal pet project du jour]. We are the richest country in the world” (a line repeated to me ad nauseum)

Conservative: “Is someone with an annual income of $150,000 rich?”

(national GDP of roughly $15 trillion)

Liberal: “yes”

Conservative: “Is someone with an annual income of $150,000 that already owes $1,300,000 and $15,000 in new credit card debt rich”?

(Government debt obligations of $130 trillion plus $1.5 trillion in annual debt)

Liberal: ??

Conservative: “This is where we are as a country today!” (national + state debt plus entitlements, in trillions).

Does anyone have any better ideas on how to get this simple idea across to Liberals….that we are flat broke?

Salary envy

I attended a family gathering not long ago, liberally populated with Liberal in-laws,  in which the mood was decidedly sour. Discussions revolved around the poor job market, employment uncertainty and health insurance.

In conversations, a lot of resentment was directed at corporations, CEOs and their “disgusting and greedy” profits, salaries, benefits and bonuses. I understand (but don’t excuse) much of this as pure envy, a failing that I see expressed far more in Liberal/Left circles than conservative circles. I should also point out that some of this is the bitterness expressed by people that were pretty casual about their own work ethics and careers and now, in middle age, confront an uncertain future, not to mention retirement prospects. We all make critical decisions at key junctures in life with which we have to live.

I have also known and worked with enough CEOs and senior execs with large corporations to know that they work under highly stressful conditions and in between short, sleepless nights. The ones that I have known were extremely hard workers 24/7 and I, personally, value my quality of life far too much to envy them their salaries and perks (we don’t need to explore how seriously pathetic many of their personal and family lives are). Anyway, I consider envy a particularly ugly member of the deadly sins.

One irony is that my Liberal/Left relatives (some of whom purport to be very well educated) apparently cannot draw the connection between corporate profitability, personal incentives and a healthy jobs market. I can understand this to be the case with college students (sophomoric minds full of mush), but working adults have no excuse.

However, what floors me, is that these same Liberal/Lefty in-laws seem to have no trouble accepting the extraordinary high incomes of a) sports figures and b) entertainment figures (newscasters, movie actors, television personalities, etc.).

Sports figures that play games to entertain, singers that…sing songs…, actresses that pretend to be people they aren’t (when they do work) and newscasters that read copy from teleprompters are idolized.

Corporate executives that manufacture services and products that improve our lives (drugs, fuel, cars, food, shelter, insurance, bank loans, etc.) are vilified.

Why is this the case? Any ideas? Please help to understand.

Liberal thinking in a cup of tea

We are a family of tea drinkers.  As dedicated tea drinkers, we like good tea, which usually means loose leaf tea.  Loose leaf tea, in turn, means special tea makers.  Our favorite is the Adagio Ingenuitea Teapot, which makes one perfect cup of tea at a time.  The only downside of the Ingenuitea maker is that, as you carry it from workspace to sink, a drop or two of tea will escape floorwards.  Since I take my tea black, this is not a problem.  Mr. Bookworm, however, likes a small — a very small — amount of sugar in his tea.  When his roving tea drops dry, the floor is marked by a slight tackiness, which is very obvious underfoot.

What does all this have to do with liberal thinking?  A lot, actually.

You see, Mr. Bookworm holds, as a matter of “scientific” theory, that the amount of sugar he uses in his tea is too small to leave any sticky spots should the tea drip on the floor.  The fact that I can show him the sticky spots on the kitchen floor is entirely irrelevant to him.  Since the sticky fact on the ground doesn’t mesh with the pure theory in his head, the sticky spot cannot exist.  At various times he asserts that I’m imagining it, that it comes from another source, or that I’m trying to gaslight him (that last is his little joke, by the way).

Mr. Bookworm’s thinking, of course, precisely reflects the Ivy League thinking that prevails in Washington.  Obama, and those who surround him, haven’t held real jobs, they haven’t started businesses, they haven’t deal with payrolls.  Likewise, they’ve never lived in a village that has 10,000 rockets aimed at it.  They’ve never spent time in the company of “boot on the ground” Islamists.  Instead, they consort only with the erudite, British-accented academic fifth column that drips constant antisemitic, anti-Israel poison in their ears.  They’ve never spent significant amounts of time in a socialist/communist country (or, worse, that country’s health care system).  Their sole contact with socialism comes from academic elites who are dedicated to the theory of Marxism, facts be damned.

And that’s always it, isn’t it?  Theory will invariably trump facts for the liberal.  Theory is a nice neat package, an NPR story with a beginning, middle, and predetermined end.  It has no icky facts, no unknown variables, no human equation, and no room for the possibility that the liberal’s theory might be wrong.  So just as I’m condemned to tip toe across a tacky kitchen floor, we Americans, in the age of Obamic Progressivism, are condemned to a flailing economy, weak national security, and creeping socialism, all because the Ivy Tower academics in government refuse to acknowledge that their exquisitely crafted theories might not function in the real world.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

“Simplistic” and “primitive” *UPDATED*

As I’ve mentioned just a few times, I just read, and was very moved by, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.  A liberal I know flipped through the book’s first few pages and had a very different reaction.  The following passages bugged the liberal:

My name is Marcus.  Marcus Luttrell.  I’m a United States Navy SEAL, Team Leader, SDV Team 1, Alfa Platoon.  Like every other SEAL, I’m trained in weapons, demolition, and unarmed combat.  I’m a sniper, and I’m the platoon medic.  But most of all, I’m an American.  And when the bell sounds, I will come out fighting for my country and for my teammates.  If necessary, to the death.

And that’s not just because the SEALs trained me to do so; it’s because I’m willing to do so.  I’m a patriot, and I fight with the Lone Star of Texas on my right arm and another Texas flag over my heart.  For me, defeat is unthinkable.  (pp. 6-7)

[snip]

[As they're taking off from Bahrain to Afghanistan:] There were no other passengers on board, just the flight crew and, in the rear, us, headed out to do God’s work on behalf of the U.S. government and our commander in chief, President George W. Bush.  (p. 12.)

[snip]

[Of the Taliban/Al Qaeda enemy in Afghanistan:]  This was where bin Laden’s fighters found a home training base.  Let’s face it, al Qaeda means “the base,” and in return for the Saudi fanatic bin Laden’s money, the Taliban made it all possible.  right now these very same guys, the remnants of the Taliban and the last few tribal warriors of al Qaeda, were preparing to start over, trying to fight their way through the mountain passes, intent on setting up new training camps and military headquarters and, eventually, their own government in place of the democratically elected one.

They may not have been the precise same guys who planned 9/11.  But they were most certainly their descendants, their heirs, their followers.  They were part of the same crowd who knocked down the North and South Towers in the Big Apple on the infamous Tuesday morning in 2001.  And our coming task was to stop them, right there in those mountains, by whatever means necessary.  (pp. 13-14)

The liberal felt that the above passages showed that the writer was simplistic and primitive in his thinking.  The whole notion of simple patriotism offended the liberal, who also thought it was just plain stupid to seek revenge against guys who weren’t actually the ones who plotted 9/11.  My less than clever riposte was, “so I guess you would only kill Nazis who actually worked in the gas chambers?”  Frankly, given the differences in our world views, I’m not sure there is a clever comeback or, which would be more helpful, a comeback that actually causes the liberal to reexamine those liberal principles.

UPDATE:  Here’s an apt quotation, written by John Stuart Mill, in 1862, as a comment upon the American Civil War:

A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

The illogical behavior and beliefs of the American Statist

“Logic! Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?” — C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Neither Data nor Mr. Spock, two relentlessly logical creations, could ever be liberals or Democrats or Progressives, or whatever the Hell else they’re calling themselves nowadays.  (For convenience, I’ll just lump them all together under the “Statist” title).  As I realized over the 20 plus years of my political journey from knee-jerk Statist to thinking Individualist, the single greatest difference between the two ideologies is that the former lives in a logic-free world.

Sure, as Statists will always shrilly point out, more Individualists than Statists subscribe to traditional religion — and the belief in God definitely requires a leap of faith — but that’s just about the only leap of faith in their lives.  Their political positions are almost always driven by a solid understanding, not only of human nature, but also of the realities of cause and effect.  Liberals, on the other hand, even as they pride themselves on the logic of their abandoning God (never mind that they cannot satisfactorily prove God’s nonexistence), apply magical thinking to just about everything else.

Here, in no particular order, is a laundry list of illogical policies espoused by Statists (with the understanding that modern statism is driven by identity politics and self-loathing):

Statists believe that America’s out-of-control illegal immigration has nothing to do with the fact that, when illegal immigrants sneak across the border, we provide them with education, health care, welfare, food stamps, and the promise that they will be allowed to remain in the country regardless of their unlawful status.  These same Statists, blind to the laws of cause and effect, are always shocked when temporary crackdowns result in a corollary (and, equally temporary) diminution in the number of illegal aliens.

Statists are wedded to the idea that government creates wealth.  To this end, they are bound and determined to use taxes to consolidate as much money as possible in government hands so that the government can go about its magical wealth creation business.  The fact that those countries that have all or most of their wealth concentrated in government hands have collapsed economically (Eastern Europe, Cuba) or are in the process of collapsing (Western Europe) doesn’t impinge on this belief.  As even my 10 year old and 12 year old understand, the government’s ability to print money is not the same as an ability to create wealth.  The best way for a government to create wealth is to ensure a level playing field with honestly enforced rules — and then to get out of the way.

Statists believe that no-strings-attached welfare has nothing to do with the creation of a welfare culture.  My father, the ex-Communist, figured this one out:  “If you’re going to pay women to have babies (meaning constantly increasing welfare benefits), they’re going to have babies.”  In 1994, a Republican Congress forced Clinton to change “welfare as we know it.”  To the Statists’ chagrin, all their dire predictions about weening Americans off the government teat proved false.  Poor people are not stupid people.  If they’re getting paid to do nothing, they’ll do nothing.  If that money vanishes, they’ll work.  By the way, I’m not arguing here against charity for those who cannot care for themselves.  I’m only railing against a political system that encourages whole classes of people to abandon employment.  This subject is relevant now, in 2010, because there is no doubt but that, Rahm-like, Democrats are using the current economic situation as a backdoor to increase welfare benefits to pre-1994 standards.

During the run-up to the ObamaCare vote, Statists adamantly contended that, even if employers would find it far cheaper to pay fines than to provide insurance coverage for their employees, they would still provide coverage.  Likewise, they refused to acknowledge that, if insurers could no longer refuse coverage for preexisting conditions, and if individual fines were cheaper than insurance, savvy consumers would jettison insurance and wait until they were actively ill before knocking on the insurer’s door.  In both cases, the Statists’ illogical beliefs about human nature and economics were proven absolutely and conclusively wrong.  (Info and examples are here, here and here.)

For decades, Statists have contended that if we can just get guns out of citizens’ hands crime will go away.  To the Statists, the problem isn’t one of culture and policing, it’s that the guns themselves cause crime.  What’s fascinating is that they continue in this belief despite manifest evidence that it is untrue.  The NRA was right all along:  If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Statists firmly believe that Individualists (a group that includes Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and other “bitter” Americans), are an angry mob, primed and ready to explode against all non-white, non-straight, non-Christians.  They do so despite hard evidence that angry mobs, as opposed to scattered angry individuals, reside solely on the Left, anti-American side of the political spectrum.

Statist gays, who feel obligated to be Leftists because of identity politics, throw their wholehearted support behind Palestinians, whom they see as the beleaguered victims of evil Israeli imperialism.  They hold to this view despite the fact that Palestinians kills gays, and Palestinian gays regularly try to immigrate to the safe haven of Israel.  In the same way, Statist gays, hewing to their solid Leftist credentials, side with Iran against America, despite the fact that Iran is able to boast about the absence of homosexuals only because it routinely kills them.

Statist blacks, who feel obligated to be Leftists  because of identity politics, are deeply hostile to the police.  While there is absolutely no doubt that, in the past, police routinely harassed, arrested, and killed black people just for being black, we’re not living in the past anymore.  In modern America, the person most likely to kill a black person is another black person.  Blacks need police more than I do, sitting in my comfortable safe, suburbia — yet it’s here, in white suburbia, that our police force, which is largely decorative, is appreciated and admired.

American Statists believe that, if you placate a bully, he will see the error of his ways and become nice.  It didn’t work for Chamberlain in 1938, and I’m pretty damned sure it won’t work for us, whether the bully is Iran, Venezuela, China, Russia or any other totalitarian government intent upon expanding its power beyond its own borders.  I’m not advocating unbridled aggression our part.  That would mean we’re no better than the bullies arrayed against us.  I’m more of a Teddy Roosevelt, in that I’ll allow us to speak softly, as long as we carry a big stick.  Self-defense is not aggression — and sometimes you have to fight to defend a principle, a person, or a nation.

Statist women are silent, absolutely silent, about the condition of women across most of the Muslim world.  I think I’ll rename them “sadist” women, not “statist” women.

Statists tout as a quality Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, who violated American law to bar the military from her campus because of Clinton’s don’t ask/don’t tell policy, but who cheerfully accepted millions of dollars and a chair from the same Saudis who murder homosexuals and treat women like 32nd class citizens.  There’s logic for you.

I opened this post with a quotation from C.S. Lewis regarding the absence of logic in education.  We can see the profoundly dangerous effect that lack of logic has on real world policies.  I’ll end with Tweedledee and Tweedledum opining on logic in a way that only a Statist could appreciate and understand:

“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum: “but it isn’t so, nohow.”

“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

Ordinary people view Rush as a dangerous Svengali *UPDATED*

If you’d been around in 1894, you would instantly have recognized the name “Svengali.”  He was the chief villain in George du Maurier’s blockbuster novel Trilby. The Svengali plot-line was a simple one:  Trilby was an innocent (and tone deaf) laundress and model living in fin de siecle Paris.  Svengali hypnotized her into bec0ming a great singer and the toast of the music world.  When he suffered a heart attack during one of her performances, his spell over her broke, and she was left standing on stage, bewildered and humiliated.  Since then, we use the word “svengali” to describe a person who steals the will of another with evil intent.

It’s become increasingly clear to me that liberals view Rush Limbaugh in precisely that light.  And no, I’m not making the obvious point that the Obami and the Democratic party fear Rush’s bully pulpit and consistently demonize him.  I’m talking about the rank-and-file’s fear that even listening to Rush for a moment or two causes a person to lose the will to be a liberal.  Those liberals to whom I speak shy away from him, not because they disagree with what he has to say, but because they fear he will convince them that he’s right.

The following is a talk I had just the other day while driving in the car with a liberal friend who, having voted for Obama, is now deeply regretting that decision:

Me:  How would you like to do something completely different?  Let me put Rush on the radio.

Her:  No, no.  I don’t want to do that.

Me:  Come on, you’ll like him.  He’s not at all the way you’ve heard him described in the other media.  He’s very well-informed, quite funny, and amazingly prescient.

Her:  No, no.  He’s too arrogant.

Me:  Nah.  That’s just an act.  Give it a try, for just a few minutes.

Her:  No.  I can’t listen to him.  [Then, as a sop:]  I watch Fox sometimes.

So here we have a woman who realizes that she made a mistake voting Democrat this election, who is open to conservative news (I believe her when she says she watches Fox), yet who assiduously avoids any contact with Rush.  Incidentally, this was not a one time-0nly conversation.  I had virtually the same conversation with two other regret-filled liberals.

The belligerently liberal ones are equally averse to exposing themselves to Rush.

Me:  I challenge you to listen to Rush for a half hour.

Him:  No.  He’s an idiot.

Me:  Have you ever listened to him?

Him:  No.

Me:  Then how do you know he’s an idiot?

Him:  He is.  He’s a wacko.  He doesn’t know anything.

Me:  How do you know that?

Him:  Are you trying to make me mad?

Me:  No.  But I do think that you should listen to him.  At least then you’d have first hand knowledge of what he says and whether you agree or disagree with it.

Him:  I’m not going to waste my time.

And so on, ad infinitum and definitely ad nauseum.

During the 1990s, when I was an unthinking liberal, I knew Rush was out there, but he existed on the periphery of my existence.  I read Al Franken’s Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, and laughed at how “stupid” Rush was, but I actually didn’t care about any of the core issues at stake.  I had no interest whatsoever in finding out what Rush was like, because nothing he said really mattered.  I was working hard at my career, getting married, starting a family, and was therefore disinterested in things political.  The world seemed to be rolling along just right, with a Democratic president and a booming economy.

To give myself some retroactive credit, though, if a conservative had challenged me back then to listen to Rush, I would have done so — because I would have been certain that Rush was a big joke, and that I could have laughed at him just as Franken did.  I might have expected to be bored or offended, but I wouldn’t have been worried about being mesmerized and brainwashed.

And then came September 11, 2001 and I started paying attention.  I began to be concerned about what was going on around me.  This concern led me to start reading anything I could get my hands on about all sorts of subjects.  I read blogs, both liberal and conservative.  I opened my mind to the possibility that my attachment to the Democratic party was wrong — a possibility helped by the fact that I found myself agreeing with the major political decisions George Bush was making, both regarding national security and the economy.  In other words, once I realized that my old political staples were failing, I started looking for new information.  I wasn’t scared of the new information but, rather, was curious.

Both my old attitude (“Sure, bring silly Rush on, ’cause he’ll be good for a laugh”) and my new attitude (“There’s something out there I need to learn about”) make it impossible for me to understand the resistance, shading into fear, that my friends and family show when confronted with the possibility that they might hear a minute or two of Rush’s mellifluous tones over the airways.  They don’t seem to recognize either the possibility that they might laugh at a fool or learn from a wise man.  Instead, they seem genuinely afraid that any exposure to Rush will corrupt them irreparably.  Like poor Trilby, they’ll be seduced into an unsustainable way of being, only to find themselves suddenly abandoned and exposed.  To them, Rush is no mere conservative; he is Satan incarnate, a tempter who will destroy their liberal souls and leave them in an endless conservative Hell.

It’s quite a high compliment to Rush that ordinary liberals believe he has extraordinary powers.  It isn’t every conservative radio or talk show host who is perceived as so compelling and seductive that he can destroy people’s world view in an instant.

It’s also very frustrating to me because, in a funny way, I agree with my liberal friends that Rush can rejigger their world view very quickly.  The only thing is that I don’t believe Rush works his magic through hypnotism and trickery.  Instead, I think Rush’s real magic lies in his ability to view the political world as a vast chess board, one on which he can see multiple future moves; his prodigious memory; his well-informed mind; his logical analyses; and his funny persona.  He convinces by appealing to our rational mind, our sense of humor, and our knowledge of the world as it is, and not as some Ivory Tower liberal tells us it should be.

So, whether by cajolery or challenge, I’m still trying to get my liberals to listen to Rush.  For all the wrong reasons, they’re right about one thing:  he will change their minds.

UPDATE:  Welcome, Instapundit readers!  As you may know, for a conservative blogger, being Instalanched is pretty much the blogging equivalent of going straight to Heaven, without any stops in between.

UPDATE II:  Is it too late to say welcome to Rush Limbaugh listeners?  Ironically, I was away from my computer while this whole excitement was going on, and never got the chance to say hello.  I’m back now, and I’m still pretty darn excited.  I hope those of you who stopped by come and visit again.

Maybe liberals need a linguist’s help to hide what they’re saying, not to promote it

I found the following paragraph, culled from the San Francisco Chronicle, fascinating (emphasis mine):

From top congressional leaders to online activists, liberals have sought the wisdom of UC Berkeley linguistics Professor George Lakoff for years. They ask him to teach them to do something that conservatives traditionally have done better — frame complex policy into simple, digestible morsels that voters will swallow.

(The rest of the article is about Lakoff’s own contribution to the California ballot, which is interesting, but does not interest me right now.)

There are two thoughts underlying that emphasized language.  The first is that voters can only understand the most simple ideas; and the second is that Machiavellian conservatives (probably because they are themselves simple-minded morons) have figured out how to tap into that vast, stupid national psyche.  The one thing that doesn’t seem to occur to the Chron writer, or to the Democrats themselves, is that conservative ideas might succeed because there is an elegant purity to them, that all can easily grasp without sophisticated salesmanship and translation.

Not all good things need to be complex, at least in their ultimate expression.  The Ten Commandments (although there are actually more than the core ten) are a lovely example of moral clarity in few words.  The ideas are remarkably sophisticated, and were groundbreaking when Moses first announced them in a pagan world, but they are simply written and require little in the way of clarification to appreciate them:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;

Do not have any other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

For six days you shall labour and do all your work.

But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

It’s certainly true that one can refine on those core principles.  Murder can be situational.  Is it murder when one is engaged in war?  Is it murder when one is acting in self-defense?  Is it murder when one is in the grip of a delusion?  Stealing also might yield to situations:  Is it stealing if you’ve been imprisoned by the Nazis and are able to “obtain” food from one of those same Nazis?  While the nuances are pretty much endless, the core principles remain easy to follow.

The same is true for a lot of conservative core principles.  “The more power that vests in government, the less power there is for individuals.”  Again, you can debate situations in which it is appropriate to cede power to the government, but the underlying truism is easily expressed and helps guide conservative thinking without any fancy linguistic tricks.  “Government is a poor manager.”  Well, our own life experience shows us that.  We acknowledge that there are some things that government must manage (the military, national transportation, etc.), so the application of that principle is open to debate, but the principle itself is straightforward, and easy for the man on the street to understand.

One thing life in law has taught me is that the best arguments are invariably the ones that can be expressed in the simplest terms.  If I have to mass hundreds of little factual points and conclusions, and delicately weave them into some airy, gossamer fabric, I’m going to lose.  I’m adept at doing that, since I have a flexible mind and good writing skills, but even the best lawyer is going to have a hard time forcing a judge to bet on that tangled intellectual fabric.  If my argument, however, is a short, sweet, easy-to-understand amalgam of fact and law, I’ve won.

And here’s something for you to think about:  it’s no coincidence that the best writers on the Supreme Court are conservatives (Roberts and Scalia), while the worst writers are, and have been, liberals (Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter).  Liberals spend an inordinate amount of time trying to pretend that disparate ideas, false logic, unworkable syllogisms, bad law, and twisted facts can come together in a smooth, constitutionally whole fabric.

The conservative justices, however, since they begin each decision with the Constitution (itself a simply written document) as their guide, are easily able to bring facts and law together under that already logical umbrella.  They therefore repeatedly publish decisions that are well-written, comprehensible, and easy to sell to ordinary Americans, without translation through the Berkeley linguistic filter.

In other words, the problem doesn’t lie with liberal language, it lies with liberal ideas.  And if you don’t believe me look at Obama.  Liberals consider him to be the oratorical Second Coming of John F. Kennedy.  He has promoted his health care plan in 35 speeches, but has only succeeded in hardening voters’ dislike of government run health care.  It’s not how he says it, it’s what he says.

Spengler (David Goldman) gets to the core problems with Obama’s economic analyses

There were so many things wrong with Obama’s speech last night, whether because of dumb ideas, lies, vicious attacks against Constitutional guardians, etc., that criticism actually becomes difficult.  It’s kind of like punching Jello, because you just get sucked in.  Nevertheless, it is important to criticize, not just Obama’s untruths, but the fundamental flaws in his reasoning.  David Goldman (aka Spengler) does precisely that when he goes after Obama’s facile prescription for America’s economic malaise.  Aside from learning more about Obama’s profound wrongness when it comes to economics, you’ll get to read this gem of a paragraph:

In his attempt to emulate Clinton’s success, President Obama resembles nothing so much a the New Guinea aboriginals who built model airfields complete with straw control towers and airplanes after the Second World War and the departure of the American army. The Americans had summoned cargo from the sky through such magical devices, so thought the aboriginals, and by building what looked like airfields, so might they. But Obama can no more conjure up an economic recovery by doing things that look like what Clinton did, than the natives of New Guinea could draw cargo from the sky with straw totems. Marx’s crack about history repeating itself—the first time as tragedy and the second as farce—comes to mind.

Incidentally, Obama is the lightening rod for this critique, because he is the President who uttered the words showing his profound inability to understand economic forces. Democrats, however, are supporters and enablers, so please don’t give any Dems in Congress a pass on this. Statistics show that America’s Congressional Democrats are as loony-toons liberal as they come. Even the Blue Dogs are simply “blue,” without any mitigating “dog” attached.

Liberal fear; conservative resurgence

Vanderleun, who blogs at the wonderful American Digest, put me on to a liberal Massachusetts blog that tells its readers to suck it up and vote for Coakley:

Let’s get this out of the way.  You might not want to vote for Martha Coakley.  You might think she deserves what’s she’s getting after an absentee, self-satisfied campaign (why should I bail her out?).  You likely want to send a message to everyone from the attorney general all the way to every Democratic official in Washington, DC.  Odds are you didn’t vote for her in the primary.  And, you might be wondering if it’ll make a difference who wins this Tuesday.

You got every reason to be pissed, but it needs to be clear: not voting for Coakley is the same as voting for Brown.  And voting for Brown is a very, very bad thing.

Does this argument sound familiar to you?  It should.  This is precisely the same argument conservatives making in 2008 when they thought about voting for McCain.  They really didn’t like him, but they were going to hold their collective noses and vote for McCain, because voting for Obama would be “a very, very bad thing.”  Sadly, for many the McCain stench was too great, and Obama won (a pattern that may repeat itself in Massachusetts, with Coakley and Brown as the stinky players).

As you know, I’ve been trying to convince myself for a while that, in a peculiar way, Obama is a good thing.  Until Obama, people could convince themselves that liberals should be viewed by what they said, not by what they did, primarily because semi-functioning Republicans were there to put the brakes on the worst liberal excess.  With Obama and the Democrats having power fettered only by voter dismay, not by effective Republican opposition, the country is having to face — for the first time — the reality and not the rhetoric.  I think they’re finding the chasm between the two unnerving.  And I think Massachusetts is the first place in which we’re seeing voters figure out, finally, that this is not John F. Kennedy’s Democratic party any more.

The line of the night

Christmas dinner (which was lovely), included in a brief foray into discussing the Senate’s health care bill.  A liberal friend let loose with this terrific line after I said that the Senate had raided Medicare and Medicare Advantage to make the bill ostensibly revenue neutral:  “I don’t know anything about the bill, but I know that you’re wrong.”

When violence is the answer

I love my dojo.  The teachers are, without exception, top quality and, also without exception, they are just about the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  Oh, one other thing:  without exception, they’re pro-Obama and anti-War.

What this means is that you have people who dedicate their lives to teaching fighting, and who believe passionately in personal self-defense, but who are ideologically completely opposed to the notion of national self-defense.  They believe that, at the personal level, if one can’t defuse a hostile opponent quickly, one should subdue that opponent with swift and overwhelming (although not necessarily deadly) force.  However, they believe that, at the national level, there is never any justification for a nation to go to war.  War is evil.  Bush was an evil war-monger.  Obama is good because he is the bringer of peace.

(And no, I haven’t talked to them about Obama’s decision to conduct a temporary, mini-Surge in Iran Afghanistan.  [Editor's note:  Was that a Freudian slip, or what?]  Indeed, I never talk politics with them at all.  I just listen to their conversations and read their bumperstickers.  I’ve learned that, when it comes to politics in Marin, direct confrontation is never as effective as small asides that cause people to think.)

I always wonder when the cognitive dissonance between my teachers’ personal passions and their politics will finally become overwhelming.  They’d probably be helped if they ever saw this Steve Crowder video: