Monday, September 21, 2009
Leftism abuses a primitive instinct
For better, or worse, it is part of human nature to bond together for mutual protection, and often projection. Within limits, the inclination is admirable – unless someone comes along who ploys upon it to seize power by false promises and phony threats. Enter the leftwing politicians with their penchant for Big Government's total control.
One of the major reasons for this, economist pioneer Dan Klein states, is "sociobiological and cultural evolution." Man was born as a hunter-gatherer where he interacted and bonded together with multiple other humans. Soon after, natural leaders would rise and those leaders would then monitor everyone's support. That meant that if one person slacked off, the leader would see that, and the group would trust him and decide punishment.
No one would argue that this happens on a micro scale, as humans interact within their own clubs, businesses, and families every day. But it is government that takes this sociobiological need and exploits it.
The whole mentality that the government must care for the poor, provide massive entitlements, and insure industries against failure, is putting government as the ultimate parent over (it's) child likes.
Economist Deirdre McCloskley mentions in her book "How to be Human" that it is difficult to teach free market economics to eighteen year olds because they "lived mainly in socialist economy, namely, her birth household, centrally planned by her parents, depending on loyalty rather than exit."
So what can the few of us who have not fallen in the trap do to combat this? It's simple: control the rhetoric.
For far too long, liberty-minded Americans have been losing the battle for language. For example, the world "liberal" once meant someone who was pro-markets and pro-individualistic freedoms, like Adam Smith or David Ricardo. Now people in America are more likely to think of Nancy Pelosi or Ted Kennedy, who have already done their fair share of dampening free-market individualism and initiative.
But, of course, in no way is this a recent development. For example, when the great economist Friedrich von Hayek wrote his seminal book "The Road to Serfdom," he had to write a new introduction for the American version that explained what liberal really means.
And the worst part is, when politicians use war as a tool for entrenching "The People's Romance." War is a time when people must bond together as they did during World War II to defeat a common enemy. So demeaning what many brave Americans fought for by labeling political excursions "The War on…" (Poverty, Drugs, AIDS, Hunger) is counterproductive towards freedom and a license for big government.
So, "what can we do?" First and foremost, the right should not accept the left's language control that has historically gone unchallenged. Remember it was Orwell who warned that when you lose the language you lose the battle against tyranny and Big Brother. And it is that battle that if lost by liberty-minded people for the final word for the Far-Left will be "Totalitarianism."
Conservative Christians fired up
U.S. conservative Christians, a key base for the out-of-power Republican Party, gathered in Washington on Friday to rally the faithful against President Barack Obama's agenda, including his top domestic priority of healthcare reform. Obama's falling poll numbers and what they depict as his ultra-liberal views on abortion rights, healthcare and climate change are galvanizing a group that could prove vital to Republican prospects of taking back control of Congress in the 2010 congressional elections or the White House in 2012.
Conservative activists see exploitable opportunities in Obama's policies and performance that also can stir more centrist voters, such as suspicions of "big government" and the almost uniquely American skepticism of global warming that prevails in much of the heartland. "The idea that the healthcare plan takes away choice and freedom, people see their liberties at risk," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), the conservative Christian lobby group organizing the summit of self-styled "values voters."
The Family Research Council also claims "Obamacare" will lead to federal funding for abortion -- an allegation hotly disputed by the president and his supporters -- and Perkins told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference that this issue went "beyond the ranks of the pro-life movement."
FRC Action, the Family Research Council's legislative action arm, is targeting about a dozen Democrats in the House of Representatives who it sees as vulnerable in 2010. The states where these House seats are located include Ohio and Virginia. Its actions in these races could include endorsements, advertisements, voter education and campaign contributions. "We have looked at the percentages by which people won or lost last time, we've looked at Obama's coat-tails, so we have a pretty good idea of the vulnerable seats," FRC Action President Connie Mackey said.
Virginia resident Bill Becker, 77, who is among the 2,000 delegates in attendance, said he is uncomfortable with much of the agenda pursued by Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress. "I'm toward the center of the conservative stream (but) ... I'm very concerned about the goals of the current government," said Becker, who said he was Presbyterian. Most of the conservative Christian movement, often called the "religious right," is comprised of evangelicals and right-wing Catholics.
Most of those attending swim far from the political center. "I don't believe in global warming," said conservative activist Kim Simac, a horse trainer and mother of nine from Wisconsin who also believes that the teaching of creationism and prayer need to be brought back to public schools.
The religious right has been at the forefront of conservative efforts to rally public opposition to climate change legislation aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming. Conservative Christian radio stations have spent the summer saying the legislation's "cap and trade" provisions would represent the biggest tax increase in U.S. history. That has stoked opposition and could have an impact when the legislation, already passed in the House of Representatives, is considered in the Senate.
The Kennedy Killed By The Right Myth
The truth is the first victim of Leftism
They set about creating the fable that Kennedy died battling “hate”—established code, then and now, for the political right. The story became legend because liberals were desperate to imbue Kennedy’s assassination with a more exalted and politically useful meaning. Over and over again, the entire liberal establishment, led by the New York Times—and even the pope!—denounced the “hate” that claimed Kennedy’s life. The Supreme Court justice Earl Warren summed up the conventional wisdom—as he could always be counted upon to do—when he theorized that the “climate of hatred” in Dallas—code for heavy right-wing and Republican activity—moved Lee Harvey Oswald to kill the president.
The fact that Oswald was a communist quickly changed from an inconvenience to proof of something even more sinister. How, liberals asked, could a card-carrying Marxist murder a liberal titan on the side of social progress? The fact that Kennedy was a raging anticommunist seemed not to register, perhaps because liberals had convinced themselves, in the wake of the McCarthy era, that the real threat to liberty must always come from the right. Oswald’s Marxism sent liberals into even deeper denial, their only choice other than to abandon anti-anti-communism. And so, over the course of the 1960s, the conspiracy theories metastasized, and the Marxist gunman became a patsy. “Cui bono?” asked the Oliver Stones then and ever since. Answer: the military-industrial complex, allied with the dark forces of reaction and intolerance, of course. Never mind that Oswald had already tried to murder the former army major general and prominent right-wing spokesman Edwin Walker or that, as the Warren Commission would later report, Oswald “had an extreme dislike of the rightwing.”
Amid the fog of denial, remorse, and confusion over the Kennedy assassination, an informal strategic response developed that would serve the purposes of the burgeoning New Left as well as assuage the consciences of liberals generally: transform Kennedy into an allpurpose martyr for causes he didn’t take up and for a politics he didn’t subscribe to.
Indeed, over the course of the 1960s and beyond, a legend grew up around the idea that if only Kennedy had lived, we would never have gotten bogged down in Vietnam. It is a central conceit of Arthur Schlesinger’s Robert Kennedy and His Times. Theodore Sorensen, Tip O’Neill, and countless other liberals subscribed to this view. A popular play on Broadway, MacBird, suggested that Johnson had murdered JFK in order to seize power. But even Robert F. Kennedy conceded in an oral history interview that his brother never seriously considered withdrawal and was committed to total victory in Vietnam. Kennedy was an aggressive anti-communist and Cold War hawk. He campaigned on a fictitious “missile gap” with the Soviets in a largely successful effort to move to Richard Nixon’s right on foreign policy, tried to topple Castro at the Bay of Pigs, brought the world to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis, and got us deep into Vietnam. A mere three and a half hours before Kennedy died, he was boasting to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce that he had increased defense spending on a massive scale, including a 600 percent increase on counterinsurgency special forces in South Vietnam. The previous March, Kennedy had asked Congress to spend fifty cents of every federal dollar on defense.
The Kennedy myth also veers sharply from reality when it comes to the issue of race. The flattering legend is that Kennedy was an unalloyed champion of civil rights. Supposedly, if he had lived, the racial turmoil of the 1960s could have been avoided. The truth is far more prosaic. Yes, Kennedy pushed for civil rights legislation, and he deserves credit for it. But he was hardly breaking with the past. In the supposedly reactionary 1950s, Republicans had carried most of the burden of fulfilling the American promise of equality to blacks. Eisenhower had pushed through two civil rights measures over strong opposition from southern Democrats, and in particular Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, who fought hard to dilute the legislation.
Sweden Slashes Income Taxes to Promote Job Growth
We noted here that the United States has the most progressive income tax system in the developed world. That's right--embarrassingly enough, more progressive than Sweden's.
Actually, a generation of economic stagnation has taught the Swedes a lesson. They've learned that government does not produce wealth, and if they want more people to work, jobs have to pay better, after taxes. Sweden is therefore in the midst of a series of tax cuts aimed at preserving the long-term viability of its economy. Today's headline: "Sweden slashes income tax further to boost jobs."
It's an interesting comparison: Sweden experimented with the nanny state, learned that it was devastating to the economic and moral health of its people, and is moving back toward individualism. Here in the U.S., we had the world's most dynamic economy, and the lesson we took away from that--some of us, anyway--was that we were doing something wrong and needed to socialize everything. Curious.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Charles Rangel, The Entitled One
Rangel is now chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and a man of immense importance in Washington. Nonetheless, he has been busy of late revising and amending the record, backing and filling, using buckets of Wite-Out as he discovers or remembers properties he has owned in New York, New Jersey, Florida and the Dominican Republic and God only knows where else — and has forgotten or neglected to fully report on the required forms, not to mention the income from them. Oops!
Rangel recently even discovered bank accounts that no one in the world, apparently including him, knew he had. One was with the Congressional Federal Credit Union, and another was with Merrill Lynch — each valued between $250,000 and $500,000. He somehow neglected to mention these accounts on his congressional disclosure forms, which means, if you can believe it, that when he signed the forms, he did not notice that maybe $1 million was missing. Someone ought to check the lighting in his office.
The dim bulb could also have accounted for why Rangel did not notice that he was soliciting contributions for the curiously named Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service on the congressional letterhead of the very same Charles B. Rangel.
It may also account for why he failed to report dividend income from various investments in addition to what he made by selling a townhouse in Harlem. The place went for $410,000 in 2004, and had been rented — or not — to various people, who paid rent or didn't — since Rangel reported no income for years at a time. This is what he did, too, with the rent he earned on his Dominican Republic villa. Again, nada.
There is something wrong with Charlie Rangel. Either he did not notice that he was worth about twice as much as he said he was — which is downright worrisome in a congressional leader — or he thinks that he's above the law — which is downright worrisome in a congressional leader.
I was with Rangel on election night last year and heard him speak movingly and eloquently about what it meant for a black person to become president of the United States — my God, who would have thought this day would ever come? — and he moved me to tears. So I don't think age has muddled his brain. He is sharper on a bad day than most people on a good one.
But he suffers from the degenerative disease called Congressional Sclerosis. Its symptom is the belief that the rules, especially the petty ones, no longer apply to you. This happens over time. It comes with seniority and a sense of victimization that combine to produce the onset of entitlement for goodies to which, in the course of things, you are not entitled.
All this is abetted by the righteous belief that everyone else is making money and taking private planes and dipping their tootsies in the balmy Caribbean on a given February Friday — and so why can't you? You have the power and the staff — just look at all those people! — and flunkies who will hold the elevator for you, pick you up at Reagan National Airport and on the other end at LaGuardia — and you ought to have some commensurate luxuries. This is only right.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:36 AM