Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Why the Right Fears Transforming America -- and the Left Seeks It

A good basic statement from Dennis Prager below

The giveaway regarding presidential candidate Barack Obama's plans for America was his repeated use of the words "fundamentally transform." Some of us instinctively reacted negatively -- in fact, with horror -- at the thought of fundamentally transforming America. The "us" are conservatives.

One unbridgeable divide between left and right is how each views alternatives to present-day America. Those on the left imagine an ideal society that has never existed, and therefore seek to "fundamentally transform" America. When liberals imagine an America fundamentally transformed, they envision it becoming a nearly utopian society in which there is no greed, no racism, no sexism, no inequality, no poverty and ultimately no unhappiness.

Conservatives, on the other hand, look around at other societies and history and are certain that if America were fundamentally transformed, it would become just like those other societies. America would become a society of far less liberty, of ethically and morally inferior citizens and of much more unhappiness. And cruelty would increase exponentially around the world.

Conservatives believe that America is an aberration in human history; that, with all the problems that a society made up of flawed human beings will inevitably have, America has been and remains a uniquely decent society. Therefore, conservatives worry that fundamentally transforming America -- making America less exceptional -- will mean that America gets much worse.

Liberals worry over the opposite possibility -- that America will remain more or less as it is. Two famous statements encapsulate the operative liberal worldview.

The first was attributed to Robert F. Kennedy by his brother Sen. Edward M. Kennedy: "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were, and ask, 'Why not?'"

The other is one of the most popular songs of the last 50 years, John Lennon's "Imagine":
"Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people, living for today.

"Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too, Imagine all the people, living life in peace.

"You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one.

"Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people, sharing all the world.

"You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one."

Regarding the Kennedy quote, a conservative would respond something like this:

We conservatives look at America and ask, how did something so decent, so different from other societies, ever get created and last over 200 years? Of course, we always seek to improve it. But more than anything else, we seek to preserve it and its core values. We do not "dream of things that never were." We dream the same dream as our American forefathers did -- to maintain a society committed to the values of E Pluribus Unum, Liberty and In God We Trust. As for utopian dreams, we believe they are more likely to result in nightmares -- horrors that would engulf America and the world if America were to be transformed.

To Lennon's song, a conservative would respond:

Lennon's utopia is our dystopia. A world without God to give people some certitude that all their suffering is not meaningless is a nightmare. A world without religion means a world without any systematic way of ennobling people. A world without countries is a world without the United States of America, and it is a world governed by the morally imbecilic United Nations, where mass murderers sit on its "human rights" councils. A world without heaven or hell is a world without any ultimate justice, where torturers and their victims have identical fates -- oblivion. A world without possessions is a world in which some enormous state possesses everything, and the individual is reduced to the status of a serf.

Liberals frequently criticize conservatives for fearing change. That is not correct. We fear transforming that which is already good. The moral record of humanity does not fill us with optimism about "fundamentally transforming" something as rare as America. Evil is normal. America is not.



Political Fables

Thomas Sowell

President Barack Obama boldly proclaims, "The buck stops here!" But, whenever his policies are criticized, he acts as if the buck stopped with George W. Bush.

The party line that we are likely to be hearing from now until the November elections is that Obama "inherited" the big federal budget deficits and that he has to "clean up the mess" left in the economy by the Republicans. This may convince those who want to be convinced, but it will not stand up under scrutiny.

No President of the United States can create either a budget deficit or a budget surplus. All spending bills originate in the House of Representatives and all taxes are voted into law by Congress.

Democrats controlled both houses of Congress before Barack Obama became president. The deficit he inherited was created by the Congressional Democrats, including Senator Barack Obama, who did absolutely nothing to oppose the runaway spending. He was one of the biggest of the big spenders.

The last time the federal government had a budget surplus, Bill Clinton was president, so it was called "the Clinton surplus." But Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, where all spending bills originate, for the first time in 40 years. It was also the first budget surplus in more than a quarter of a century.

The only direct power that any president has that can affect deficits and surpluses is the power to veto spending bills. President Bush did not veto enough spending bills but Senator Obama and his fellow Democrats in control of Congress were the ones who passed the spending bills.

Today, with Barack Obama in the White House, allied with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in charge in Congress, the national debt is a bigger share of the national output than it has been in more than half a century. And its share is projected to continue going up for years to come, becoming larger than national output in 2012.

Having created this scary situation, President Obama now says, "Don't give in to fear. Let's reach for hope." The voters reached for hope when they elected Obama. The fear comes from what he has done since taking office.

Another political fable is that the current economic downturn is due to not enough government regulation of the housing and financial markets. But it was precisely the government regulators, under pressure from politicians, who forced banks and other lending institutions to lower their standards for making mortgage loans. These risky loans, and the defaults that followed, were what set off a chain reaction of massive financial losses that brought down the whole economy.

Was this due to George W. Bush and the Republicans? Only partly. Most of those who pushed the lowering of mortgage lending standards were Democrats-- notably Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd, though too many Republicans went along.

When President Bush said in 2004 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be reined in, 76 members of the House of Representatives issued a statement to the contrary. These included Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel.

More here


Obama is pulling down the shades on union financial disclosure

Should a union officer be able to keep his full compensation from the union treasury secret from the members? Should a union officer be able to accept personal payments from businesses the union has dealings with and then keep such dealings confidential?

Most would think the answer to these questions is an obvious “no.” Union management does not agree and they are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars from their members’ dues to prevent any such reporting and disclosure.

The reason I know this is that I spent eight years at the U.S. Department of Labor attempting to get unions to comply with such reporting requirements and they fought us every step on the way. With the arrival of President Obama, all such requirements are being rolled back or the Labor Department is refusing to enforce them until such a time as they can be rolled back.

More here



NY: Unarmed orthodox Jews patrol neighborhoods: "On Thursday night in Brooklyn, a suspect was chased and quickly surrounded by a group of patrolmen in blue uniform jackets who ordered him to halt. The man, David Flores, 33, who witnesses say was fondling himself in front of children in a Hasidic section of Brooklyn known as Borough Park, was about to be caught by the men in blue. He began shooting at the men, all unarmed, with a .22-caliber handgun, the authorities said, hitting and wounding four before being tackled. Although these streets are in the jurisdiction of the New York Police Department — the 66th Precinct — these patrolmen were not police officers. In fact, two were bakers, one was a dry cleaner and the fourth sells insurance.”

Troops don't believe Uncle Sam: "Uncle Sam wants to give free, no-strings-attached money to about 145,000 troops involuntarily kept on duty after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but is having trouble persuading them that it’s not a gimmick. Last October, Congress approved retroactive bonus pay for military personnel who were forced to remain on duty beyond their original discharge date, a controversial policy known as ’stop-loss.’ Lawmakers approved back pay of $500 for each month of involuntary service; the average lump sum due is between $3,500 and $3,800. To get the cash, an application must be submitted by Oct. 21; only about a third of those eligible have handed in paperwork.”

Legal bid to halt snooping U.S. airport staff: "Civil rights lawyers are suing the US Government to stop authorities from snooping in the laptops, mobile phones and cameras of international travellers without probable cause. The lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Brooklyn against the Department of Homeland Security as well as US customs and immigration authorities. The government did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Lawyers filed the lawsuit on behalf of the National Press Photographers Association, criminal defense lawyers and the student: Pascal Abidor, a 26-year-old French-American citizen whose laptop computer was confiscated at the Canadian border." [The searches are a blatant breach of the 4th amendment]

'More than half think Barack Obama is doing a bad job on the economy': "More than half of Americans believe Barack Obama is doing a bad job on the economy, according to a new poll, marking the first time the majority has voiced their disapproval. Some 57 per cent of Americans disapprove of Mr Obama's overall handling of the economy, while his job approval rating is also at a low, with 52 per cent saying he is not doing well. However there is some hope for the Democrats as only 32 per cent think Republican economic plans would work, although voters would favour a Republican candidate over a Democrat by 53 per cent to 40 per cent, according to the poll by ABC and The Washington Post."

OH: Bary granted US residency: "A runaway who said her father threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity from Islam has been granted permanent residency in the United States, her lawyer told CNN on Tuesday. Rifqa Bary, 18, who was an undocumented immigrant until recently, left her family in Columbus, Ohio, in July 2009 and took refuge in the home of a minister in Orlando, Florida. The girl was later moved into foster care after she said in an affidavit that her Muslim father had threatened her after finding out about her conversion. Her father denies the allegation.”

“Stimulus” snake oil: "A year after the US economy stopped falling, we are still mired in ‘the worst labor-market crisis since the Great Depression,’ writes Laura Tyson in The New York Times. Voicing the consensus of the left-liberal economic establishment — she’s reportedly a leading candidate to head up President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers — Tyson argues that the US unemployment rate, still stuck at 9.6 percent, is reason to try ‘a second fiscal stimulus’ to raise ‘aggregate demand.’ She’s wrong in a number of illuminating ways.”

The precedent for the NYC mosque: "Muslim followers of Shariah law have long built mosques on the most cherished and sacred sites of the peoples they have conquered – on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, at Constantinople’s St. Sophia Basilica (now Istanbul), and in Cordoba, Spain, the capital of the occupying Moors’ Islamic kingdom. Many Hindu and Buddhist temples also were destroyed in Asia and now lay underneath prominent mosques. These are the “facts on the ground” of Islamic conquest and religious supercessionism."

Here we go again: "Innumerable arguments and research have been produced showing that government stimulus is useless. Despite what President Obama and his cheerleaders in the academy, like Princeton’s Paul Krugman, seem to believe (or at least say), there is no evidence that government stimuli do anything to restore market activities. Such policies merely take funds from the right pocket and put it into the left while most often the transfer entails wasting a lot of resources so the net effect is widespread economic loss.”


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)


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)


No comments: