Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Today is the day: A race that the whole nation will watch
And I will certainly be watching it on TV. No. Not the American Presidential election but the Melbourne Cup, Australia's richest horse race. It is known as "The race that stops a nation", as so many follow it, at work or at home. Both events are always held on the first Tuesday of November but I have no idea if that is anything more than a coincidence.
Australia is in a time zone that is nearly a day ahead of America, though, so it will be Wednesday in Australia before we hear anything of the election -- so I will be able to follow both races with ease.
Ignoring the Unseen Consequences of the Dole
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Mocking Mitt Romney’s shifting positions on the auto bailout, the New York Times editorializes that the bailout turned out to be a huge success because “nearly 1.5 million people are working as a direct result of the bailout. G.M.’s American sales continue to increase, and Chrysler said this week that its third-quarter net income rose 80 percent.”
We begin with the proposition that thievery can sometimes be tremendously successful for the thief. Let’s assume that a penniless robber robs a bank of $10 million dollars and isn’t caught. Obviously he’s now able to do things he couldn’t do before. He buys two new cars, thereby increasing employment in the car industry. He does the same in the home-construction business by purchasing a new mansion. He opens a successful business, hiring dozens of people. He donates money to the poor.
Defenders of the theft can point to the robber and say, “Look at all the good that has come out of that robbery. Praise theft!”
Do you see anything wrong with this picture?
One thing involves moral principles. Theft is wrong in a moral sense, even if the thief benefits from the money and does nothing but good things with it. The money belongs to the owner. He’s entitled to it regardless of how he uses it. The thief has no moral right to take the money from the owner, even if the thief plans to do wonderful things with the money.
That’s a moral blind spot that afflicts statists, at least when government enters the picture. For them, if it’s the government doing the stealing and redistributing, then it’s not immoral at all. Instead, for the statists, it is the epitome of goodness.
Consider the auto bailout. Where did the money come from? Contrary to popular opinion, the federal government is not a fountain of wealth. It doesn’t produce anything. Instead, it is parasitic in nature. It gets its money by confiscating (taxing) wealth from the private sector.
Thus, in order to give money to the auto companies, the government must first take it from people who are working in the private sector. In doing so, it is taking money from people to whom it belongs in order to give it to big corporations to whom it does not belong.
For statists, that’s no problem. For them, the taking and redistribution reflect how good the politicians and bureaucrats are. If anyone objects, he’s labeled a bad, selfish, no-good type of person.
Moral principles are one of the major dividing lines between libertarians and statists. Libertarians adhere consistently to moral principles, not just with respect to private conduct but also governmental conduct. For statists, moral principles go out the window when government is doing the stealing (or murdering, kidnapping, torturing, assassinating, etc.).
But that’s not the only blind spot that statists have. They are also unable to recognize the unseen economic consequences of a government dole. Their mindsets are focused on what is seen rather than on what is unseen.
The Times’ position on the auto bailout is a classic example of this phenomenon. The Times’ editorial board points to the auto companies and exclaims: Look at how well they’re doing with the money that the government has given to them; this shows that taking money from people to whom it belongs and giving it to people who need it more really does work.
But what about the people from whom the bailout money was taken? What happened to them as a consequence of having that money taken from them? How many marginal firms went out of business because that much-needed money was taken from them? How many people were put out of work owing to the fact that people in the private sector weren’t allowed to spend and invest their money they way they wanted.
Let’s assume, for example, that thousands of people planned to buy new television sets. Before they made the purchases, the government took their money from them and gave it to the auto companies. What happened to the television industry? It didn’t make the sales. It didn’t expand production. It didn’t hire new people.
Since those things never happened, we don’t see them. Even the new people who were never hired in the television industry don’t know how the bailout affected their lives. But through reason, thought, and analysis, we can see that a government dole has unseen economic consequences by virtue of taking money from one group of people and transferring it to another group of people.
There is another factor to consider. Think of the hundreds of millions of dollars that the auto companies have paid in income taxes for the last several decades to fund the welfare-warfare state. If all that money had not been extracted from the auto companies, they would have a nest egg of billions of dollars to draw upon. With all that money, they wouldn’t have needed a government bailout. The fact that the government has taken all that money from them to fund its welfare-warfare operations for the past several decades has left the auto companies (and everyone else in the private sector) significantly poorer than they would be had there been no welfare-warfare state and income tax to fund it.
Finally, we mustn’t forget the mindset of dependency that the statists have inculcated in the American people with the welfare-state way of life. As soon as things go wrong, as they inevitably do from time to time, the first thing many Americans now do is call on the government to take someone else’s money and give it to them. Thus the welfare state not only violates moral principles, it also damages the traits of self-reliance and independence as well as spirit of benevolence that comes in a libertarian society.
The Times concludes, “What Mr. Romney cannot admit is that all this is a direct result of the government investment he would have rejected.”
Maybe that’s true. But what the New York Times cannot acknowledge are the horrible consequences that the welfare-state way of life has had on the American people, morally, economically, and spiritually.
True the Vote: Keeping American Elections Free and Clean
The 2012 election will be the first in 30 years where the country will see a large organized presence dedicated to the integrity of votes cast, all thanks to voter integrity group True the Vote.
During the 2008 election cycle, Catherine Engelbrecht volunteered at the polls in Harris County, the second largest voting block in Texas. She noticed that although she was there with a small group of people to observe, Harris County had a poll watcher shortage of at least 50 percent. There weren’t enough people observing the election process to prevent fraud. Shortly after her experiences at the polls, Harris County authorities found 23,000 invalid voter registration forms that had been submitted by an ACORN operative. It was then that Engelbrecht founded True the Vote, where she now serves as president. The mission of True the Vote is simple: prevent voter fraud and uphold the law.
“We recognized there was a problem,” Engelbrecht tells Townhall. “There are raging debates about Cap and Trade and healthcare and you name it, but if the election process isn’t trustworthy, if it’s not reliable, then you know what does any of it really matter? It’s a scary thought to think about how tenuous, how fragile the process really is but it was so clear that something was not right and the quickest fix was to remind citizens that voting was not enough.”
Engelbrecht and True the Vote volunteers quickly started to identify how citizens could get further involved with the election process by looking at the process as a whole. Poll watching was an easy way to get a large amount of people involved in the election process.
“What got my attention is the simple fact that this where it all starts. If we cannot freely and fairly elect our representatives, nothing from there goes the way the citizens of the country want it to go, that’s the beginning,” True the Vote volunteer Joni Carlisle, who uses vacation time to help the organization 14 hours a day, tells Townhall. “We’re making a huge difference.”
By Election Day 2010, True the Vote had trained 1,000 poll watchers who could be used by election officials to observe polling stations in Harris County. Training of everyday citizens was then expanded across the country to further prevent voter fraud.
“We didn’t look for it to be a national thing, we just thought, ‘We see a problem and we need to fix it,’” Engelbrecht says. “We really decided we would become the boutique provider of in depth, real life training opportunities and it seemed to resonate across the country in ways that we could have never imagined.”
Bill Ouren started volunteering with True the Vote in January 2010 and is now the National Elections Director. His job is to connect citizens with their desire to ensure the freedom and fairness of elections.
“I was looking for something positive, something I thought would make a difference. There is nothing more fundamental to our democracy than our vote and the freedom and the integrity that surrounds that vote and it just appealed to me individually,” Ouren tells Townhall.
But what is a poll watcher or election observer? And is it effective? The fact is, poll watching is a time honored tradition dating back to the women’s suffrage movement and served as an important part of the Civil Rights movement. The NAACP used to support election observation because it keeps the process honest and ensures all voters are treated fairly. Poll watchers watch the election process to protect the rights of the voters. They do not watch the voters, they watch the process.
“They [poll watchers] are they eyes and ears of the Republic. They are not to talk to voters, they are to observe and report and they do that on behalf of the stakeholders they represent which is typically a party or a candidate or an issue on the ballot or in some cases like in Wisconsin, poll watchers can be self appointed citizens,” Engelbrecht says. “Observation changes things. Frankly, people want to do the right thing but it’s human nature to cut corners and you cut and you cut and you cut and before long you get to where we are and in many places across this country where the process isn’t even recognizable.”
Today, the NAACP, ACLU, SEIU, AFL-CIO, major media outlets and other far Left groups launch regular attacks on True the Vote and its volunteers, despite the organization's efforts to prevent voter fraud being non-partisan.
“They must be looking to protect some system of subversion that they’ve protected under the dark of night and they don’t want it to be exposed,” Engelbrecht says. “It’s stunning to hear these groups just deny vote fraud even exists. There’s every evidence to the contrary. It’s a known fact that it exists but yet they refuse to speak the truth.”
The catalyst for expanding from being a local group in Texas to a national organization according to Engelbrecht, was attacks by the Left because they gave True the Vote a new platform.
“Because of that platform, people from across the country began to contact us and say, ‘Hey that’s what you guys are seeing? That’s what we’re seeing too. Can we work together?’” Engelbrecht says. “Although there are many groups that want to continue to paint us into a corner, the fact is our message is one for all Americans."
Heading into Election Day 2012, True the Vote has trained thousands of people in 50 states to legally poll watch. Christian Adams, a former Department of Justice Attorney, New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case whistleblower and author says this is exactly why the Left is going “berserk.”
“I know this, there will be less crime in the election this year than there was in 2008,” Adams said. “There will be less crime nationwide than there was in 2008 because True the Vote is on the ground and that is something they deserve a great deal of thanks for.”
The True the Vote program is set up so that on Election Day in addition to volunteers conducting observations at the polls, they submit incident reports. This gives True the Vote evidence that can later be looked at, studied and used to reform broken parts in the election system to prevent fraud in future elections.
“This is not a press to go through the 2012 election,” Ouren says. “We have come a long way in two years, we will go probably that much further in another two years. We’re going to continue what we’ve been doing.”
There’s no doubt True the Vote has had an impact.
“I think we’ve changed the national debate. I think we’ve brought focus to an issue that’s been a dirty little secret of both parties for an awfully long time that everybody worries about after the election for few days and then everybody gets on with their business and it never fixes itself. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Engelbrecht says. “We are doing the right thing.”
Sunday night, hundreds of volunteers gathered one last time at True the Vote headquarters before heading into Tuesday’s election. After four years of attacks and smears, they’re ready to use their training to keep our elections clean.
“We are responding as best as we know how as good stewards for our country. It’s been an amazing privilege to be part of a movement born of nothing, born of an inspiration that didn’t exist prior in this way and be part of what I think is historic,” Engelbrecht says.
Racial Divide Worse Under Obama
The headline of a recent article by the Washington Post’s Peter Wallsten capsulizes, inadvertently, the supreme paradox of the Obama presidency.
“Obama struggles to balance African America’s hopes with country’s as a whole,” it says.
The story documents Obama’s struggles over the last four years, which continue today, to avoid overplaying his hand as the first black president, yet to also not ignore this fact.
But nowhere does Wallsten note the irony that four years ago many understood the meaning of Obama’s election as the beginning of the end of the perception of black America as a world apart from the rest of America.
There was exhilaration that the nightmare was over – finally. That wrongs have been righted, that we can get on with America’s business without the ongoing issue of race looming, and that we can stop looking at blacks politically as a special class of Americans.
Yet here we are now at the end of four years of the presidency of this first black president and attitudes about race seem to have hardly changed at all. There is still the sense that black America and the rest of America are not on the same page and that blacks and the country “as a whole” have different needs and different agendas.
Wasn’t Obama’s election supposed to have changed all of this?
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . GUN WATCH is now put together by Dean Weingarten.
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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 1:36 AM