Saturday, May 08, 2010
Liberals Are from Mars, Conservatives Are from Earth
By a recovering liberal who is a psychotherapist in Berkeley
One of the things I like so much about writing for American Thinker is the comments page. Readers offer so much: tips for books to read, quotes to ponder, spiritual inspiration. And then there are times when the comments absolutely floor me.
I was shocked that readers were shocked about my previously viewing Marxism as sublime. I was astonished that readers were astonished about my young client's freak-out about Styrofoam.
I realized that liberals really do live on another planet. Sometimes I feel like I'm having a Close Encounter of the Political Kind.
Conservatives can mistakenly assume that liberals think like they do, in a learned and rational way. This is an exercise in futility since liberalism is not based on logic.
To become a conservative, I've had to learn a whole new language, one based on reason. If conservatives want to understand the liberal mind, they should consider becoming bilingual, too.
Liberals live in a stratosphere centered on emotions and magical thinking. If you've tried to reason with your daughter and she looks at you blankly; if your neighbor changes the subject during your compelling arguments; if your cousin says this about Obama: "I don't know why. I just like the guy"...that's why.
After I 'fessed up last week to once being besotted with socialism, a reader had an epiphany. He wrote that maybe liberals are just plain stupid. I'm not going to disagree with this. There are innumerable examples from both the famous and the anonymous:
-- The most illustrious of all leftists, Noam Chomsky, still maintains that the Khmer Rouge did not slaughter millions of Cambodians.
-- Liberal luminaries Annette Bening and Naomi Wolf defend radical Islam, including the dreaded burqa.
-- After journeying to Cuba, members of the Congressional Black Caucus bragged about the stellar conditions there.
-- Michael Moore thinks that the Cuban health system is to die for.
-- Anita Dunn, a former special assistant to Obama, stated that Mao is one of the people she admired the most.
If these are the more informed liberals, what about Jane and Joe in the street?
-- During the primary, I asked my friend Gail why she was voting for Obama. Did she know anything about his voting record or background? She responded, "No, I don't." When I asked her why she was voting for him, she said, "I just am."
-- Last week, I chatted with Shelley, a liberal pal who voted for Obama. I asked her what she thought of him now. She said that she thought he was doing fine, but she confessed that she wasn't following the news.
-- During the election, I told a friend, George, that I thought Obama was a socialist. George responded, "Well capitalism doesn't work. Why not try socialism?" Dr. George has a Ph.D.
Are these folks "stupid"? I looked up the word, and my dictionary reads, "lacking intelligence or common sense." Going by that definition, it would be hard to argue no.
Liberals are certainly capable of intelligence. They may be adept at their careers and hobbies. But the problem is that their naïveté and a delusional way of looking at the world impedes common sense and street smarts.
Further, when liberals take the time to tune in, they get their "information" from progressive propaganda. And they don't question the Left's authority. That's the biggest problem -- not questioning the party line even though there are obvious gaps and gaffes. A big reason for this is fear. I had a telling e-mail exchange with a liberal friend. When I wrote that I thought Obama was a Marxist, she responded, "Don't say that! You're scaring me!"
Aside from intellectual laziness, the Fear Factor makes otherwise intelligent liberals stupidly fall into line. Liberals can scare easily.
Unarmed with either weapons or the basic facts, they have no way to defend themselves. Imagine a liberal and a conservative being dropped off in separate wilderness areas. How many days before the liberal would be no more? Meanwhile, weeks later, the conservative would still be going strong.
Many liberals know how inadequate they are, whether at hunting their own meat or throwing a baseball. It's generally the conservative they'll call on to build a fence or rewire their house or protect their families. Without conservatives, they are rendered absolutely helpless.
This may be a hidden reason for liberals' contempt for conservatives: They know that you can do stuff they can't, that you can survive when they'd croak, and that you don't need the government -- and they do.
Many conservative women -- like the intrepid Sarah Palin -- are more capable, more powerful, and yes, more a "man" than some of the liberal XY specimens. And the utter shame of this makes them despise you -- and want to render you helpless, too.
That's the universe I grew up in, that I lived in my whole life, until the mysterious winds of Fate swept me up and turned my life upside-down. For most of my life, I was a secular ignoramus, living in and for the self. I navigated the world with the Braille of feelings, and I blindly followed the leaders.
I've now spent two years exploring a different planet entirely, the more formidable and logical and spiritual one where conservatives work and play. I've parked myself firmly in your world, while I write about the other one.
Frankly, I like your hemisphere better, and have settled in for good. I feel more safely ensconced with the earth beneath me and the heavens above me than I ever did in Outer Space.
Big Government Schemes Get Free Pass in Report on Greek Problems
Greece has passed its audition for a bailout from other European Union states after running up its debt. The New York Times would have readers believe that tax cheats are the central problem here. But extravagant government benefits and entrenched union interests drive spending programs beyond the point where they are sustainable, nevermind how much tax revenue is collected. This point goes missing in the coverage…
Greece is a socialist state bedeviled by unsustainable pensions, mounting debt and a lethargic population. In many respects, it serves as a metaphor for where the U.S. may be heading in light of how powerful public employee unions have become. This front page piece in The New York is instructive because it fixes the blame on insufficient tax revenue as opposed to government spending; there’s an agenda here.
The Tea Party movement suggests that America may yet find her way again, which is why big government failures must be explained away in the liberal news media where there are most prevalent. Throughout the European Union, wages and taxes are high, regulations burdensome and the unions firmly entrenched. Former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao has warned against “The Europeanization of the American economy” in the form interventionist government policies that converge with disconcerting economic trends.
The U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for instance, has released some unsettling numbers that point to severe public policy challenges: 52 percent of all union members work for the federal or state and local governments, a sharp increase from the 49 percent in 2008.A majority of American union members are now employed by the government; three times more union members now work in the Post Office than in the auto industry. This means union workers have a vested interest in higher taxes and government expansion.
Although EU member states are required to keep their deficit constrained at 3 percent of GDP, Greece has already hit over 12 percent and will need to issue almost $80 million in government bonds to finance the debt, according to government figures. U.S. taxpayers who rightly balk at the bailout measures that have been floated since the end of 2008 ought to examine the rescue package that have been floated in the EU. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to sell the public (with a little help from a compliant NYT) on a $30 billion bailout for Greece.
Meanwhile, The Times is trying to sell the American people on the perfidy of taxpayers. This most recent article goes into great detail about Greek citizens who decline to acknowledge that own pools on their tax forms. It is a clever, cheeky piece that deliberately sidesteps the public policy failures responsible for the country’s collapsing economy. Only 324 residents admitted to having pools in the northern suburb area in question when satellite photos show there was almost 17,000 pools.
“Such evasion has played a significant role in Greece’s debt crisis, and as the country struggles to get its financial house in order, it is going after tax cheats as never before,” The Times argues.
Various studies, including one by the Federation of Greek Industries last year, have estimated that the government may be losing as much as $30 billion a year to tax evasion — a figure that would have gone a long way to solving its debt problems.”
But there is a big missing piece of the equation here. Even if the efforts are successful, the additional tax dollars will only be used to subsidize the very spending habits that have pushed Greece to brink.
The article concludes with a dig against the most industrious elements of society without any mention of the bloated welfare state that could cost neighboring countries in the EU a pretty penny.
“Some of the most aggressive tax evaders, experts say, are the self-employed, a huge pool of people in this country of small businesses,” according to The Times. “It includes not just taxi drivers, restaurant owners and electricians, but engineers, architects, lawyers and doctors.”
"Net Neutrality" Is Back
Exactly one month ago, I wrote in this spot about Net Neutrality being dealt a severe blow in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Court ruled unanimously against the FCC enforcing Net Neutrality regulations against Internet Service Providers.
In that same article from last month, I warned: "Don’t expect progressives to give up on Net Neutrality now because of a court ruling. At this time, more than ever before, we should be keeping a watchful eye on what they do next to sneak these Internet regulations through. Progressives never take no for answer."
And today, I write with an update exposing that the Progressives in the Obama Administration are doing exactly what I warned of. The FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, has decided to move forward with Net Neutrality regulations that would allow the FCC to regulate the internet.
How Did Genachowski Get Around the Court Ruling? Julius Genachowski has maneuvered around the Appeals Court ruling by using old phone regulations that were designed for traditional landlines–not internet broadband lines. Taking this route won’t give the FCC the full amount of power that it hoped to wield, but it is a start down a very slippery slope that will lead to more and more government regulation.
While the specifics of this are still being debated, it is troubling to see such regulations develop. It isn’t enough for our government central planners to regulate our health care, financial investments, and so on; these folks have proven that they will stop at nothing short of regulating every action you take–or think of taking.
Republicans Sound Alarm on Administration Plan to Seize 401(k)s
In February, the White House released its “Annual Report on the Middle Class” containing new regulations favored by Big Labor including a bailout of critically underfunded union pension plans through “retirement security” options.
The radical solution most favored by Big Labor is the seizure of private 401(k) plans for government disbursement -- which lets them off the hook for their collapsing retirement scheme. And, of course, the Obama administration is eager to accommodate their buddies.
Vice President Joe Biden floated the idea, called “Guaranteed Retirement Accounts” (GRAs), in the February “Middle Class” report.
In conjunction with the report’s release, the Obama administration jointly issued through the Departments of Labor and Treasury a “Request for Information” regarding the “annuitization” of 401(k) plans through “Lifetime Income Options” in the form of a notice to the public of proposed issuance of rules and regulations. (pdf)
House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and a group of House Republicans are mounting an effort to fight back.
The American people have become painfully aware over the past year that elections sometimes have calamitous consequences. Republicans lack the votes (for now) to reign in the Obama administration’s myriad nationalization plans for everything from health care to the automobile industry.
Now the backdoor bulls-eye is on your 401(k) plan and the trillions of dollars the government would control through seizure, regulation and federal disbursement of mandatory retirement accounts.
Boehner and the group are sounding the alarm, warning bureaucrats to keep their hands off of America’s private retirement plans.
Just when you thought it was safe to come up for air after the government takeover of health care.
Europe is irrelevant to China
By John Lee
The visits of Nicolas Sarkozy and the President of the European Union to China last week is the latest attempt to revive Europe’s relevance as a global power. But Europe is misreading how China views the strategic chessboard. Instead of seeking a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ with Beijing, European’s would be better off working with Washington to help manage the consequences of China’s rise.
Chinese strategists are obsessed with how best to deal with the United States. Despite speculation about a preference for a multi-polar future, Beijing ultimately seeks a bi-polar world, with China and America supreme above the ‘declining powers’ of France, the UK, Germany, Japan and Russia. European hopes that the G2 (America and China) can still be transformed into a G3 (America, China and Europe) will not receive Chinese support.
While genuine opportunities for European-Sino strategic cooperation are non-existent, there are real opportunities for a coordinated EU-US strategic partnership – a point, paradoxically, which is better appreciated in Beijing than in Brussels or Washington.
On a number of specific issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, global governance, and climate change, European and American interests are aligned. Both are concerned about Beijing’s willingness to support regimes in countries such as Myanmar, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Iran in return for access to energy and mineral resources. Both believe China’s rise as a ‘responsible stakeholder’ can lead to progress in domestic political reform and greater respect for human rights. Revealingly, Beijing has gone to great lengths to avoid discussing China’s poor human rights record in any multilateral forum that involves both the US and the EU.
Most importantly, Chinese diplomats fear international isolation above all else. Over 450 European delegations visited China in 2009. That Washington, London, Berlin, and Paris have focused on wooing China bilaterally, rather than developing a unified and coordinated diplomatic front, has been a source of much relief in Beijing.
The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated May 7. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
Posted by JR at 11:26 PM