Why Liberals Think What They Do
Victor Davis Hanson touches on some of the emoting behind liberalism below and gets it pretty right. In a way, though, he puts the cart before the horse. The real question is what Leftism/liberalism IS.
My proposal is that liberalism is the interconnected emotions of rage/anger/hate. People who are in the grip of such motives ARE Leftists/liberals. Why they feel that way can vary but it is rage at the world about them that unites them and makes them Leftists. What they think all comes from that primitive emotion, not from any rationality. Hence the strange thinking that Hanson outlines. Their thinking is what is needed to justify their hates, nothing else. They just close their mind to any logic or reality that conflicts with that need
For a good current example of the hate and rage that motivates the Left, see here. -- JR
Exemption from guilt
Liberals believe that abstract caring allows them seclusion and cocooning in the real, material world. Private schools, tony upscale suburbs, nice Volvos and Lexus SUVs, jet travel to Tuscany, a fine Napa $100 wine, Harvard or Stanford for junior — all that reeks of privilege and exclusivity, and can prompt remorse. In some sense, Costa del Sol and Martha’s Vineyard, like John Kerry’s yacht or John Edwards’ home, are antithetical to the entire liberal value system. But if one is loudly for “pay-your-fair-share” higher taxes, or for affirmative action, or for more deficit spending, then one feels absolved from guilt over his isolated privilege — and can enjoy it without lamentation. And if one makes enough money not to worry about a few more taxes or fees, then a mind at peace is a pretty good deal. Lots of those who now reside in Portola Valley and the Berkeley hills helped to promote policies whose deleterious results fell on distant others, out of mind, out of sight, far away in Porterville and Stockton. Liberalism is an elite person’s psychological investment in enjoying a guilt-free affluence.
Large percentages of the population now work for government — federal, state, or local. Millions more are divorced from the tragic world of mining or drilling where nature is unforgiving. That distance has allowed Americans in droves to disengage from both the private sector, where one either makes a profit or goes broke, and the grimy processes by which we live one more day. A San Francisco professor, a Monterey lawyer, and a Sacramento bureaucrat do not know how hard it is to raise beef, grow peaches, find and pump oil and gas, and haul logs out of the forest and into Home Depot as smooth lumber, or what it takes to build a small Ace Hardware business. The skills needed to keep a 7-Eleven viable in a rough neighborhood, I confess, dwarf those of the classics professor.
In the elite liberal mind, there is instead a sort of progressive Big Rock Candy Mountain. Gasoline comes right out of the ground through the nozzle into the car. Redwood 2x4s sprout from the ground like trees. Apples fall like hail from the sky; stainless steel refrigerator doors are mined inches from the surface. Tap water comes from some enormous cistern that traps rain water. Finished granite counter tops materialize on the show room floor. Why, then, would we need Neanderthal things like federal gas and oil leases, icky dams and canals, yucky power plants, and gross chain saws — and especially those who would dare make and use them?
Anger, envy, and the primordial emotions
For some, especially those who are well-educated and well-spoken, a sort of irrational furor at “the system” governs their political make-up. Why don’t degrees and vocabulary always translate into big money? Why does sophisticated pontification at Starbucks earn less than mindlessly doing accounting behind a desk? We saw this tension with Michelle Obama who, prior to 2009, did not quite have enough capital to get to Aspen or Costa del Sol, and thereby, despite the huge power-couple salaries, Chicago mansion, and career titles, felt that others had far too much more than the Obamas. “Never been proud,” “downright mean country,” “raise the bar,” etc., followed, as expressions of yuppie angst. The more one gets, the more one believes he should get even more, and the angrier he gets that another — less charismatic, less well-read, less well-spoken — always seems to get more.
So do not discount the envy of the sophisticated elite. The unread coal plant manager, the crass car dealer, or the clueless mind who farms 1000 acres of almonds should not make more than the sociology professor, the kindergarten teacher, the writer, the artist, or the foundation officer. What sort of system would allow the dense and easily fooled to become better compensated (and all for what — for superfluous jet skis and snowmobiles?) than the anguished musician or tortured-soul artist, who gives so much to us and receives so much less in return? What a sick country — when someone who brings chain saws into the Sierra would make more than a UC Berkeley professor who would stop them.
Finally, we come to a small subset that simply does not like America’s wealth and capitalism, supremacy overseas, and ubiquitous global culture — or at least believes that anything not his own must be far better (an oikophobia or hatred of one’s own household). He bores us with lectures on the wonderful EU, the superior La familia romance of Latin America, the “it takes a village” values of Africa, or the Cairo speech mythologies of the Middle East. Because America is so affluent, it allows so many the luxury to dream of how our wealth is so ill-gotten — as long as quiet others in the shadows ensure that life remains pretty good in San Francisco and Madison. Contrarianism is an innate characteristic, but one indulged without risk, only when the larger tribe is safe and secure.
In short, twenty-first century elite liberalism has become a psychological condition, not a serious blueprint on how to solve real problems. The president knows that — and so without ideas has been reduced to name-calling and sermons on Big Bird.
Americans in Benghazi could have been saved -- except that Obama said No
The news is breaking today but there is a small bit that is being overlooked. According to the statements from Fox News:
"The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators."
Everyone is reporting this but they are missing a key point. From the retired Delta operator:
"Having spent a good bit of time nursing a GLD (ground Laser Designator) in several garden spots around the world, something from the report jumped out at me.
One of the former SEALs was actively painting the target. That means that Specter WAS ON STATION! Probably an AC130U. A ground laser designator is not a briefing pointer laser. You do not "paint" a target until the weapons system/designator is synched; which means that the AC130 was on station."
Only two places could have called off the attack at that point; the WH situation command (based on POTUS direction) or AFRICOM commander based on information directly from the target area.
If the AC130 never left Sigonella (as Penetta says) that means that the Predator that was filming the whole thing was armed.
If that SEAL was actively "painting" a target; something was on station to engage! And the decision to stand down goes directly to POTUS! This is far bigger than Watergate.
The second worst feeling in the world has to be the platform crew being desperately asked for help, given a clear target and then having to stand down and watch your fellow Americans die.
The worst has to be the team on the ground knowing that the President just left you to die.
Update: Even with two Predators on station, one unarmed and filming and one armed, the call to stand down comes from the same sources. Earlier today, Bob Owens at PJ Media posts about the responsibility of the order to call off the mission as well as some good info about the AC130s on station.
Defence Dept. Won’t Label Fort Hood Shootings as Terrorist Attack
Already facing intense scrutiny for its shifting narrative about the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, the Pentagon now says it will not reclassify the Fort Hood shootings as a terrorist attack over concern about biasing the case against the gunman -- an argument that is getting a mixed review from legal specialists.
Late Friday, after 160 victims of the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting called on the Pentagon to label the attack terrorism instead of workplace violence as it has for the past three years, the Department of Defense said it would not reclassify the attack.
In rejecting the victims outcry, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's spokesman cited concern that having the government weigh in could bias the case against Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 42, who is awaiting trial and faces the death penalty if convicted.
When asked how Mr. Panetta plans to respond to the victims, his spokesman took a day and a half to respond, eventually emailing a statement Friday night.
"The Department of Defense is committed to the integrity of the ongoing court martial proceedings of Major Nadal Hassan and for that reason will not further characterize, at this time, the incident that occurred at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in the statement. "Major Hassan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder, and 32 counts of attempted murder. As with all pending UCMJ matters, the accused is innocent until proven guilty."
But Mark Zaid, a national security law expert who sued Libya for the 1988 terrorism bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, said he doubted the government's hesitancy to designate the Fort Hood assault terrorism was really motivated by concern about prejudicing his trial.
"I find that a little difficult to believe," he said. "If that was the case, than how in the world would the Pentagon prosecute any terrorism case? There is a process in any case -- whether military or civilian -- to deal with any potential bias of a juror. It's a fundamental part of the judicial system to ensure that juries are impartial."
When presenting its case against Maj. Hasan, prosecutors will undoubtedly point to email chains between the defendant and al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, Mr. Zaid noted.
"There's clearly going to be terrorist angles in the process," he said. "And calling it terror is not going to change the nature of the incident or the [jurors'] knowledge about it."
Jeffrey F. Addicott, the director for Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, accused the Pentagon of "playing word games" just days before Monday night's final debate between President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney in which foreign policy was the main focus.
Acknowledging Maj. Hasan's alleged shooting spree as a major terrorism attack on the homeland "destroys the administration's narrative that al Qaeda is winding down" and there is a diminishing threat of a terrorist attack occurring on U.S. soil, Mr. Addicott said.
"This war against al Qaeda is not localized to Afghanistan and Pakistan -- the problem here is that we have many people who are not members of al Qaeda but they are infected with the virus of radical Islam," he said. "To say that Hasan was not motivated by radical Islamic extremism is absurd."
But David Glazier, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and a former fellow at the Center for National Security Law, strongly disagreed.
Labeling the shootings workplace violence instead of terrorism, he said, "makes perfect sense" because it's a simple cut-and-dried murder case without getting into the complexities of the military's law of war and whether it's appropriate to consider Maj. Hasan an unlawful combatant.
"The Department of Defense is being cautious but correct in proceeding with its case that this is an ordinary service member who is being prosecuted for a very serious crime," he said. "A military individual pulls out a gun and shoots. It's not necessary to get into motivation to prove that basic offense."
Reclassifying the shootings as a terrorist attack, could very well reset the whole case as the defense tries to obstruct and delay as much as possible, he added.
Last week a coalition of 160 victims and family members in the deadly rampage at the military post in Killeen, Texas, nearly three years ago called on the administration to reclassify the attack as terrorism, citing the suspect’s ties to al Qaeda and his radical Islamist beliefs.
The assault at Fort Hood left 13 dead and more than 30 wounded by gunshots, and officially designating the attack as terrorism would make service-member victims eligible for Purple Heart medals, and, the victims say, grant them access to medical care and benefits similar to what soldiers wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan would receive.
In the past month, many of the Fort Hood victims watched the Obama administration’s changing statements about the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and apparent reticence to label the attack in Libya terrorism until weeks later and drew parallels to the government’s reaction to the assault in Texas.
Nearly three years after the shootings, several government and separate independent investigations uncovered evidence that the FBI knew Maj. Hasan was emailing with al-Awlaki before the shootings and did nothing to intervene.
According to authorities, Maj. Hasan also followed al-Awlaki’s advice to scream "Allah akbar" ("God is great") to invoke fear before starting to shoot. Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 by a drone airstrike in Yemen.
Hurricanes are nature’s Keynesianism: "It was inevitable that with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, various economic pundits would speculate on its effects on 'the economy.' Needless to say, some were saying that the hurricane would boost spending—both at the retail and then reconstruction level -- and in that sense might actually provide a lift to GDP. The whole episode is yet another reminder that old fallacies die hard in economics."
Another counterproductive ban: " It's perplexing for both police and lawmakers throughout the U.S.: They want to do something about the danger of texting while driving, a major road hazard, but banning the practice seems to make it even more dangerous. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that 3 of every 4 states that have enacted a ban on texting while driving have seen crashes actually go up rather than down. It's hard to pin down exactly why this is the case, but experts believe it is a result of people trying to avoid getting caught in states with stiff penalties. Folks trying to keep their phones out of view will often hold the phone much lower, below the wheel perhaps, in order to keep it out of view. That means the driver's eyes are looking down and away from the road."
Another excuse for government bites the dust: "One morning last week the recycling truck came hurtling down the street. Only one family in our neighborhood, so far as I can tell, dutifully sorts their glass, plastic and other stuff into the red, white and blue bins. The trash men throw the contents of all three into the gaping maw at the back of their truck."
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
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for 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)