I note that Norway killer Breivik's clenched-fist Communist salute is universally being described in the media as "Right wing". Right wing Communism? It has been the Communist salute for around a century and Leftist journalists would be well aware of that. They have probably even seen examples of it at Leftist rallies in the USA in recent times. But for the media white can be black if it can be used to attack conservatives
There is NO Right-wing salute. Both the Communist and the Fascist salutes are Leftist. The man who invented the Fasicist salute -- Mussolini -- was a prominent Marxist theoretician. And if Hitler's socialist worker's party (NSDAP) was Right wing, it sure was a strange socialist worker's party. More on that here
Breivik flashed the same salute on day 2 of his trial as well. An interesting excerpt from today's testimony:
Breivik has disclosed how much he admires al-Qaeda. He described them as the "most successful revolutionary force in the world" and praised their "cult of martyrdom". He also said that he expected his rampage last July to be ended by a bullet from the security forces. "22 July was a so-called suicide attack. I didn't expect to survive that day," he said.
It is becoming increasingly clear that he sees himself as a revolutionary or a martyr rather than as being subservient to any ideology. How else to explain that he hates Muslims but admires Al-Qaeda?
At the risk of being seen as knowing what I am talking about, perhaps I should mention that on July 25, 2011 I described Breivik's actions as "pure Al Qaida"
"Conservatives Have All the Best Stories"
But, we're not telling them. So says Ann McElhinney of Not Evil, Just Wrong and Mine Your Own Business fame.
She has a great conversion story. She was a typical European liberal living in Romania working as a freelance journalist. She came upon a story of an "evil" Canadian mining company which was planning to open a gold mine in Transylvania by first tearing down a village, and, of course, raping, pillaging, and plundering the villagers. At least, that was the story she presupposed while riding the train to the area. What she found when she got there was somewhat different. May I present the incomparable -- Ann McElhinney!
Unless you are used to rapid-fire Irish speech, you may need to listen to it twice!
Ms. McElhinney is a fabulous mess of a speaker (John Fund), which makes every one of her speeches a trove of riches for conversation. Just in this short clip there's the brain dead liberal story, the liberal media bias story, the DDT story, the environmentalist tyranny story, the CO2 as the new DDT story, the wrong versus evil story, and probably more that I missed.
However, this post is just about conservatives telling their conversion stories. Or, if you've always been conservative, what's the most potent story you tell which reinforces the conservative facts of life?
Australia: A triumph of faith and connectedness: Fundamentalist pastor saves little girl
In a society as atomized and as anonymous as ours, church connections can be very important
A TODDLER who survived up to five days alone in her home after her mother died was within hours of dying herself, paramedics said yesterday.
Lucy Keevers, 2, has spent three days under the intensive care of doctors after she was found severely dehydrated at the house in Wagga Wagga, in the state's southwest, on Friday.
Her 36-year-old mother Liz, a severe epileptic, is believed to have had a seizure and died in the lounge room up to five days before Lucy was found.
Ambulance Service Inspector Eamonn Purcell said Lucy was close to death when she was rescued from the death house by a local preacher.
He said the two-year-old - with blonde hair like her mother, and wearing a pink outfit - did not make a sound as she sat in the back of the ambulance.
Insp Purcell said her eyes were open wide and she was weak, with a rapid pulse and low blood pressure. "Even when they stuck a needle in her, she didn't blink. I think she was within hours of death herself," he said.
The mother and daughter moved to the suburb of Ashmont about 18 months ago, renting a house on Tarakan Ave and attending the local church with a neighbour.
Insp Purcell said paramedics were often confronted by distressing situations and had been touched by the brave little girl.
Relatives arrived in Wagga Wagga yesterday to begin the task of clearing out the death house.
Neighbour Kim Beaumont described Lucy as a happy, quiet girl who was very much loved by her mother.
Ms Beaumont said she last saw Liz as she hung out the washing on Tuesday, April 10.
"It was just awful," she said. "The washing was still on the line and I kept telling myself I must go over and see whether Liz was OK? "You just feel so guilty, I know you shouldn't blame yourself but you do."
Ms Beaumont said Liz was an active, full-time mum. "She was on medication and being seen by doctors but no one expected this. There were never any problems at the house," Ms Beaumont said.
Church of Christ Pastor Ross Brinkman said the mother was a much-loved member of the church and the girl regularly attended playgroup there. He found the young mother and daughter after becoming concerned and breaking into the house by the front window.
"I received a phone call from one of our parishioners alerting me that she had not turned up to events," Pastor Brinkman said. "I went around to investigate and that's when we made the discovery."
Pastor Brinkman said the woman's daughter would be well cared for within the Wagga community. "The concern we have is for the welfare of the daughter. We will continue to love and care for her," he said.
Shifting the range of what is politically possibile
Comment from a prominent British free-market group
Yes, it's wrapped up in unlovely jargon but this is what we exist to do: shift the Overton Window. Chris Dillow:
"But that's what half of me thinks. Another half remembers Richard Cockett's description of how libertarian think-tanks helped - over very many years - to shift the Overton window; within my lifetime, private ownership of utilities, for example, has gone from being unthinkable by the political class to taken for granted."
It's true that we're largely seen as being right wing but this is a serious mistake upon the part of those so viewing us. We actually want the poor to get richer, something that makes us rather leftie. That we advocate policies like markets, policies that actually do make the poor richer, makes us unique among lefties, this is true but in this sense we are indeed of the left. As we are in desiring to increase liberty, remove legal and economic privilege and so on.
But what is this Overton Window thing? That's the set of policies which at any one time can be plausibly taken as being politically realistic. Our job is to shift the perception of the various policies we propose so that, over time, they become part of that set of plausible, possible, political actions.
Madsen has his own way of describing this, that we start out saying something that by the standards of the times marks us out as being complete loons howling in the wilderness. By the time people are drinking the beer made today they'll be chuckling at the latest weirdness from those nutters. By the time today's production of good Scotch gets drunk it'll be a serious policy proposal that one or more political parties is including in a manifesto. And by the time this year's claret is ready to drink it'll be a settled part of the legislative landscape and no one at all can remember that we haven't always done it this way.
And we'll take such victories from any political party: Red Ken is associated with the Congestion Charge in London but it's us classically liberal think tanks that set that policy running. Privatising the utilities was enacted by the Tories and I know for certain that the current Lib Dem idea of sharing paternity and maternity leave was inserted into party policy as a result of someone reading this blog. From my pointing out that we don't in fact have a gender pay gap, we have a motherhood pay gap. And it really shouldn't be all that much of a surprise to anyone knowing my background that the UKIP flat tax policy has certain similarities to the flat tax ideas of this think tank.
In terms of the future my biggest ambition is to get drug legalisation through in just this manner. We've been saying it for years already, that it's the illegality that causes many of the problems. We're already seeing serious and sensible politicians running with the idea: heck, Portugal has essentially decriminalised even if not legalised drugs. That Overton Window has already shifted and it is possible to at least conceive now of a future government legalising and taxing appropriately all drugs. It won't be by the time today's Scotch is ready to drink, sadly, but I can see it happening by the time this year's claret is ready.
A matter of principles
By Prof. Donald J. Boudreaux
Soon after Lehman Brothers' 2008 bankruptcy, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reportedly proclaimed that "there are no atheists in foxholes and no ideologues in financial crises."
Mr. Bernanke likely meant that, in a financial crisis, policymakers shouldn't be wedded to their pre-crisis understanding of what does and doesn't constitute sound economic policy. They should instead react to events as these unfold.
No one objects to policies changing to reflect an improved understanding of the economy. A financial crisis, however, is the worst situation for improving our understanding of the economy. And government officials are the last people to look to for such enlightenment. Panic, puzzlement and political pressures are all super-intense. The only reliable guides through this confusion are principles.
It's not as if we economists have no well-developed theories for understanding economic crises. We do. We also have principled policy recommendations based on these theories.
But in this crisis, Bernanke, panicking, tossed aside his principles.
I use the word "principles" here loosely. True principles aren't abandoned in a storm. The fact that Bernanke and many other government officials so readily pitched aside their alleged principles testifies to the fact that these officials simply aren't very principled.
Prior to 2008, Bernanke's economics was much closer to the free-market school of Milton Friedman than to the faith-in-government creed of John Maynard Keynes. Backed by sound logic and plenty of facts, the Friedman school teaches that markets are not naturally prone to huge downturns; such downturns typically result from unwise government meddling.
And so the cure for such crises is to stop the unwise government meddling. Sure, central bankers must take certain steps during each crisis to ensure that it doesn't get out of hand. These special steps, though, all turn upon ensuring that the money supply doesn't collapse. That's it. Nothing more.
Bernanke, though, went way beyond this prudent step. Blinded by panic (or eager to please the White House and Congress), Bernanke ignored what Carnegie Mellon economist Allan Meltzer calls "the powerful regenerative forces of the market."
Meltzer -- a pre-eminent scholar of monetary policy and the Fed -- understands that government meddling often causes unusually large numbers of people to make unusually bad investments. Although seemingly sensible when made, these investments are doomed because the information that guided these investments was distorted by unwise government meddling in the economy.
There's no way to get the economy back on the right track except to liquidate these lousy investments and allow the market to rediscover better, more sustainable ones.
And it's at this stage that sound principles are especially important.
Liquidating bad investments is painful. Real people suffer real financial losses. These people naturally wish to avoid these losses if they can. And politicians are eager to help them do so because that makes politicians appear to be powerful and good -- and worthy of re-election.
So politicians borrow and print money madly. Today's taxes don't rise and government spends the money, hoping to bolster the falling values of these bad investments.
For a time, this unprincipled policy might succeed -- but this "success" is only brief and illusory. Bad investments aren't turned into good investments simply because government "injects" new "demand" into the economy.
Had a principled economist been chairman of today's Fed, that person's principles would have led him or her to focus on the long-run health of the economy. He or she would therefore have argued against the massive "stimulus" package, knowing that the market economy would rejuvenate itself.
Print-on-demand aids book industry sales: "One of the book industry's largest print-on-demand operations has expanded to keep up with orders. The Nashville-based Ingram Content Group's Lightning Source division opened three new facilities last month -- two in the U.S., and one in Germany. Print-on-demand books are a bright spot for the traditional book industry, which has slumped as e-readers increase. According to research for IT Strategies, around a billion pages are being printed on demand each month -- driven by sales from Amazon."
Happiness is not an entitlement: "We ought to leave 'happiness' to novelists and philosophers -- and rescue it from the economists and psychologists who think it can be distilled into a 'science' and translated into pro-happiness policies. Fat chance. Government can often mitigate sources of unhappiness (starvation, unemployment, disease), but happiness is more than the absence of misery. If we could manufacture happiness, we could repeal the 'human condition.' Somehow this has escaped the social scientists who want to make happiness the goal of government."
Edgar the entrepreneur: "Edgar the Exploiter is a wonderful animated short by Tomasz Kaye that defends voluntary employer-employee relations and demonstrates the harm that policies like minimum-wage laws inflict on the very people they are supposed to help. Edgar is a capitalist who hires Simon as an unskilled laborer, until a minimum-wage law impels Edgar to lay Simon off."
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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)