Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Being a progressive: The benefits

It must be nice being a progressive. You live in a never-never adolescent world of blithe intellectual freedom. You can take one position after another, with nary a thought to the consequences nor to any principles.

First of all, there are those very names; progressive and also liberal. They have such a nice, kind ring to them. Isn’t everyone in favor of progress? And liberals are so open-minded; you certainly don’t want to be thought of as closed minded, now do you?

Those are the first steps in their deceptions. Progressives are the true regressives for they believe in stifling the human spirit and liberals are not open-minded. They have no interest in freedom. It’s hard to discern any true principals that guide liberals. As William F. Buckley, Jr. once observed, he’d read many histories of liberalism and its development but never a set of principles. Quite so. Liberals just are interested in dreaming up government solutions to problems, whether they exist or not. Thus, Hillary Clinton warned us about ‘the silent crisis’ of daycare; so silent no one knew it existed but it required a federal solution and Lyndon Johnson was able to ram Medicare through Congress despite scant evidence that the elderly were wanting for medical care.

For any kind of a problem, liberals and progressives immediately develop a solution. Their solutions always require funds and personnel for the original purpose and then expand from there. Along the way, they look for other related problems for intervention. Thus, schools and medical care, inevitably require intervention in books, buildings, food and various equipment, just for starters. Eventually, nothing will be beyond their purview.

Of course, since problems are part of the human condition, intervention is open-ended but liberals exhibit no concern about that; they relish it. They are empowered with the endless expansion. And they will also not admit that the end point is government control of all aspects of society, as in communism.

Buckley also wrote a column mentioning The Communist Manifesto and I realized that I had never read it. So, I borrowed a copy from the library and read it. It was a revelation. Today, I have my own copy on a bookshelf and thumb through it from time to time but only when necessary.

Anybody who’s ever read it is impressed that anyone has ever read it. It is a plodding, numbing, sure-fire cure for insomnia, screed. I am an avid reader but it is a chore with not one rhetorically interesting passage. About two thirds of the way through it, is Marx’s ten point agenda for the communization of society. This is it:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of wasteland, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc.

I was astonished when I realized that every single last one is in place in this country, to a greater or lesser extent.

Here in Jacksonville, Florida, I developed an e-mail list of progressives from local hosts of a progressive talk radio station. I sent them that list of Marxist proposals and asked them which, if any, they disagreed with. Only two of them rejected one plank each. When I requested they reject another, I received no responses.

I have no doubt that no progressive will reject more than one of these yet, if you suggest the obvious conclusion, namely that in his heart, he agrees with communism, you will be met with howls of indignation and accusations of McCarthyism. Yet the conclusion is inescapable.

Despite their sensitivity to this, they never hesitate to call those who disagree with them the worst names. Thus, fascist, racist, greedy, insensitive and Nazi are just a few of the choice adjectives they use in their opprobrium. This has been noted by Thomas Sowell in a recent column wherein he writes, “Anyone who studies the history of ideas should notice how much more often people on the political left, more so than others, denigrate and demonize those who disagree with them - instead of answering their arguments.”

One problem with their labels is that the Nazis were really progressives in every sense of the word, yet today’s progressives never admit it. Adolf Hitler’s party was The National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Nazi was a contraction of nationalsozialistischer, the German word for national socialist and socialists or progressives they were.

Further, although today’s progressives vaunt their wellspring from the early decades of the twentieth century, none talk about those progressives’ enthusiasm for Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini; with a very few exceptions, they were unanimous in their admiration for those three demigods of brutality and butchery. Hitler to them was another great new leader to admire for the brave new world of the great new progressive century which, not coincidentally, went on to be the bloodiest in history.

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a raging racist yet that is all forgotten and she is prominent on the list of influential progressives of the twentieth century, as compiled by Peter Drucker in The Nation magazine. She and many on her original board were open admirers of Adolf Hitler, including his eugenics work that led to the Holocaust, yet, you cannot get any liberal to admit that she was both a racist and progressive.

Progressives are shielded, immunized, forever from their associations. Thus two of the most reprehensible radicals from the 1960s were Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. At the time of the Tate-LaBianca murders, Dohrn said this about the Manson cult members, “Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach! Wild!” If it was Sharon Tate’s stomach, that fork might have penetrated the eight-month fetus she was carrying. Ayers has often said that his only regret over the violence he was part of at that time, was that he had not done more!

Dohrn was Ayer’s paramour and is now his wife. Barack Obama initiated his first political campaign in their living room, yet was not challenged once on it by the media. These two people are among the vilest in America. No conservative or libertarian would ever have been let off the hook that easily.

When I circulated that quote from Dohrn to the hosts of that Jacksonville progressive talk radio station, with that fact and the comment that progressives are such wonderful people, I received a demand from one of the hosts to be removed from the mailing list. Mind you, it wasn’t a rebuttal, or a rejection; he simply didn’t confront the issue, as Sowell noted is the propensity of progressives.

And finally, they always elude any responsibility for their failures. Like Stalin, they know the shortcomings must be the fault of others who are insufficiently committed the mission.

And so it goes. Progressives continue to lecture the world and be our conscience. Their programs and they themselves, are never failures; they shift the blame to others. And when the horrors emerge, as with Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc., they blame that on someone else. Heads they win, tails their opponents lose.

It must be so nice to be a progressive and a liberal.



Islamist hatred for Jews and new dangers to Israel

The Muslim Brotherhood did not initiate the current upheavals in the Middle East, but the Islamist parties in Egypt, as in Tunisia and Libya, have been the chief beneficiaries of the collapse of long-standing authoritarian repressive regimes across North Africa.

In Egypt itself, the two largest Islamist groups (the Brotherhood and the Salafists) won about three quarters of the ballots in the second round of legislative elections held in December 2011, while the secular and the liberal forces took a battering. The Brotherhood (which garnered over 40% of the votes) is an organization founded by an Egyptian schoolteacher, Hassan el Banna, back in 1928. It has never deviated from its founder’s central axiom: “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

It is this radical vision which animates all those in the region who seek a fully Islamic society and way of life.

The Muslim Brotherhood has always been deeply anti-Western, viscerally hostile to Israel and openly anti-Semitic - points usually downplayed in Western commentary on the “Arab Spring.” Indeed, the anti-Jewish conspiracy theories promoted by the Brotherhood and its affiliated preachers are in a class of their own.

This is especially true of Egyptian-born Yusuf al-Qaradawi, undoubtedly the most celebrated Muslim Brotherhood cleric in the world. The still vigorous 84-year-old, often misleadingly depicted in the West as a “moderate,” flew in from Qatar to Cairo’s Tahrir Square on February 18, 2011 to lead a million-strong crowd in Friday prayers, thereby ending 50 years of exile from his native land. He called for pluralistic democracy in Egypt while at the same time offering the hope “that Almighty Allah will also please me with the conquest of the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem.)”

Two years earlier, in a notorious commentary on Al-Jazeera TV, the “moderate” Qaradawi had provided religious justification for both past and future Holocausts:”

“Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption…The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them - even though they exaggerated this issue - he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them…Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.

In other words, the loathing of Jews, the Holocaust and the destruction of Israel by Muslims were linked by Qaradawi as things mandated by God himself.

‘Kill all Jews’

Regarding Israel and the Jews, fundamentalist Muslim attitudes have never deviated since the 1940s. Islamist ideologues, despite their virulent anti-Westernism, have had no problem in drawing on Western sources for their radical anti- Semitism – whether these libels come from Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery, Henry Ford’s The International Jew, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, fantasies about Judeo-Masonic plots, or have their origin in Christian anti-Talmudism, medieval blood-libels and the slanders of contemporary or Holocaust deniers in America and Europe.

The current swelling of Islamist ranks within Egypt and across the Arab world has hardly improved matters. At a vocal Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo’s most prominent mosque on November 25, 2011, Islamic activists ominously chanted “Tel Aviv, judgment day has come,” vowing to “one day kill all Jews.”

The rally, which sought to promote the “battle against Jerusalem’s judaization,” was peppered with hate-filled speeches about the “treacherous Jews.” There were explicit calls for Jihad and liberating all of Palestine as well as references to a well-known hadith concerning the future Muslim annihilation of the Jews. Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University (the most senior clerical authority in Sunni Islam) even claimed that Jews throughout the world were seeking to prevent Egyptian and Islamic unity, as well as trying to “Judaize al-Quds (Jerusalem).”

This kind of incitement and the pressure from the Egyptian street does not mean that the fragile peace treaty with Israel will be cancelled overnight. But calls for such a step have been repeatedly heard in recent months even from the “liberal” and more “progressive” sectors of the political spectrum as well as from the Islamist parties.

Dr. Rashad Bayoumi, the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, bluntly told the Arabic daily al-Hayat on the first day of 2012 that his organization will never “recognize Israel at all”, whatever the circumstances. Israel, he emphasized, was a “criminal enemy” with whom Egypt should never have signed a peace treaty in the first place. If this treaty is not to be abrogated, much will depend on the United States making clear to Egypt how dire the economic and political consequences for its wellbeing would be.

It is particularly chilling to note that the Islamic wave already dominates not only in Iran, which is on the verge of nuclear weapons, but also in Turkey, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, the Gaza Strip under Hamas and the Lebanese state, currently in the iron grip of Hezbollah.

Apart from seeking to impose Sharia law, and to further downgrade the status of women – while repressing Copts and other non-Muslim minorities – the neo-Islamist movements and regimes remain as determined as ever to wipe out Israel and to radically reduce American influence in the region. Needless to say, like the Brotherhood itself, Islamists consider themselves to be the sole authentic interpreters of the divine will.

In the face of this mounting fundamentalist danger, Israel has no choice but to consolidate its deterrent capacity, close ranks and treat with the upmost skepticism any siren voices calling on it to take unreasonable “risks for peace." At the same time it will have to develop a new regional strategy that takes into account the seismic changes currently shaking the Middle East.




MLK’s public philosophy of freedom: "The free society as understood by classical liberals stresses the protection of the freedom of the citizenry with a suitably framed legal system, while the society fashioned by modern liberals stresses government’s providing to people what they are said to need by way of confiscatory taxation for this purpose. It seems to me that Dr. King was talking about the former kind of freedom, freedom from the oppressive acts of most whites toward most blacks, for example."

NH: Same-sex marriage faces repeal test: "The same-sex marriage movement is about to face a critical test, as New Hampshire lawmakers prepare to vote on a proposal to repeal the state's 2009 gay marriage law. With a vote expected on the House floor as early as Wednesday, foes and supporters of the law are clashing in a battle over whether New Hampshire will be the first state to reverse the tide of same-sex marriage with a legislative vote."

The War on Drugs is “the new Jim Crow”: "Blacks are hit harder by the War on Drugs at least partly because their drugs of choice are more likely to be illegal. Tossing back a couple of shots of bourbon is an adult thing to do. Smoking a joint is a crime. I think the racial profiling argument has merit too. Despite the title of Alexander’s book, many people aren’t colorblind, and that includes people in law enforcement"



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