Friday, February 01, 2013

BOOK REVIEW of The Other Side of Eden by Evan Sayet. Review by David Yeagley

Sayet really isn't talking about children, or Eden, but how "Modern Liberals" think, and why they think that way.

Yet, we can't really call it thinking. What Modern Liberals do is parasitical, reactionary, and wholly dependent upon the host, that is, the establishment, or what we call "conservatism." Liberal "thought" is seemingly utterly mechanical, almost animalistic. In so many words, Sayet declares the Modern Liberal an organic antithesis of creativity. Whereas conservatives build, liberals consume-or tear down.

What's uniquely captivating about Sayet's description of modernity is his use of the Edenic metaphor. Eden is employed as a Freudian sort of prenatal paradise, and the irrationality of Modern Liberals is due to a kind of peremptory re-entry-into what they semi-consciously believe is the state of innocence and perfection. Of course, to the Modern Liberal, such a state is infantile. It is the paradise of the womb-total dependency, unconsciousness, and utter irresponsibility.

However, as one who is familiar with the classic aberrancies of modern theology (as I learned at Yale Divinity in the `70's), I notice something very peculiar about Sayet's approach. He takes the standard, established position that innocence is associated with absence of responsibility, choice, even work, and that such an artificial construct represents the condition of man in Eden, before the knowledge of good and evil. But then Sayet explicates how this same aberration functions in the process of the entire liberal mind conditioning-without once addressing the theological aberration. This is remarkable, really.

For example, in Chapter 1, p.3, Sayet writes that the Modern Liberal's utopian vision
is predicated on the notion that if mankind lost paradise when Adam and Eve ate the apple and gained the knowledge of good and evil (and its little sisters - right and wrong, better and worse, and so on) then mankind can return to paradise if only everyone would just "regurgitate the apple" and give up all recognition of the existence of the better.
Sayet follows this thought by saying, "To the True Believer [the Modern Liberal], then, indiscriminateness -the total rejection of the intellectual process - is a moral imperative because it holds the key to returning to paradise."

Again, in Chapter 2, p.29, Sayet writes
Like Adam and Eve just prior to eating from the apple, the Modern Liberal has never had a mature thought in his life. That is, he has never once attempted to gather the facts, study the evidence and weigh these things in a rational formulation in order to seek out the rightful answers. This is because, like Adam and Eve in Eden, he's never once had to.
The analogy works perfectly, despite the universal misunderstanding of Eden, I should say, the established distortion thereof. Sayet uses the aberration of liberal theology and turns it on itself. Indeed, Sayet has actually beaten the liberal at his own game, theologically. This is what is critically unique in Sayet's Edenic allegory of the Modern Liberal. The liberal ideology simply cannot sustain itself logically.

Let's take a careful look at this. In Genesis 1 and 2, there is abundant evidence of "good" (Hebrew: towb) before there was ever the introduction of "evil" (rah). And the "good" that is juxtaposed with "good and evil" is not a different kind of good. The Hebrew word is the same.

The liberal pretends that in present life, after the Fall, on this side of Eden, evil can be separated out of the equation altogether. The implied belief is that the "good" in "good and evil" is a different kind of "good" from Genesis 1 and 2, before the Fall, before man's expulsion from Eden. The aberrant liberal notion is that paradise must therefore be a place really without good or evil. That is innocence for the liberal. Again, this is predicated on the idea that there are two kinds of good, and that the one before the Fall, in Eden, was inappreciable. Thus, what God pronounced "good" is, to the liberal, actually unaccountable and useless as a concept.

I remember Professor William Muehl at Yale, who once said that those who try to transcend (or eliminate) evil end up falling far beneath it. Muehl had referenced Adolf Hitler in fact. To coerce a theory of utopia on others, this side of Eden, is to engender tyranny, of the most intense order. Who would choose that, knowingly? Probably no one.

But leaders easily deceive the public with the promise of security and betterment.

Sayet pictures the Modern Liberal leader as one betting everything on some Jungian Collective Unconscious. And, the way the `low information' voter responds to liberalism, the odds look good that a liberal paradise is the winning steed. A life of ease and security is the desire of the heart, and its deepest motivator. Freedom is too heavy a concept, carrying too much responsibility with it. Dependency is much easier, and happier. Freedom is rather brooding. Dependency, or inertia, smiles like a nirvanic pinyin, a happy Buddha.

Irresponsibility, however, inevitably crashes on the cold concrete. If and when society does `awake' it will be one raging giant.

Would that Sayet's book had been published before the 2012 presidential campaign (-for that matter, the 2008 campaign). Mitt Romney was not able to persuade enough Americans of the meaning and worthiness of freedom. He did not articulate it clearly enough. It came down to freedom, or free stuff. Obama promised free stuff. Obama won.

A testimony like Sayet's, so simple, clear, and compelling, might have turned the tide. Let's hope that Kindergarden of Eden makes a difference in the 2016 election. If enough people read the brief and clarion text, it surely will.


Obama Is Not King

John Stossel

Watching President Obama's inaugural, I was confused. It looked like a new king was being crowned. Thousands cheered, like subjects worshipping nobility. At a time when America faces unsustainable debt and terrible economic troubles, why such pomp?
Maybe it's because so many people tell themselves presidents can solve any problem, like fairy-tale kings -- or gods.

Before America's first inauguration, John Adams suggested George Washington be called "His Most Benign Highness." Fortunately, Congress insisted on the more modest title, "President."

At his inaugural, President Obama himself said, "The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few."

But then Obama went on to say that his privileged few should force the rest of us to do a zillion things.

He said, "We must do these things, together." But what "together" means to big-government folks is that they have a vision -- and all of us, together, must go deeper into debt to pay for their vision, even if we disagree.

We can afford this, as the president apparently told John Boehner, because America does not have a spending problem.

But, of course, we do have a spending problem, and a debt problem, and the president knows this.

Just a few years ago, when George W. Bush was president, the Congressional Record shows that Senator Obama said this: "I rise, today, to talk about America's debt problem. The fact that we are here to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure and our government's reckless fiscal policies."


Sen. Obama went on: "Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased from $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion -- and yes, I said trillion with a 'T'!"

Again, he was right to worry about the debt and right to call it "a hidden domestic enemy ... robbing our families and our children and seniors of the retirement and health security they've counted on. ... It took 42 presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just five years."

It's hard to believe that Obama chose those words just seven years ago, because now his administration has racked up another $6 trillion in debt.

It's also a shock that Barack Obama believed this: "America has a debt problem. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."

Yet this year, he demanded Congress raise the debt limit without conditions.

I want the old Barack Obama back. He made sense. The new guy, he scares the heck out of me. Like a king, he assumes that the realm will be better if he can spend as he pleases.

He also issues executive orders when Congress doesn't immediately do what he wants. To be fair, he isn't the first president to do that. Or the worst.

That was Teddy Roosevelt. He issued 1,000 executive orders, including one that demanded phonetic spelling. On all government documents, "kissed" should be K-I-S-T and "enough" E-N-U-F. At least Congress mustered the two-thirds vote needed to override that one.

I might not mind presidents behaving like kings -- if they at least made the tough decisions that the government needs to make, like balancing the budget. But no president has tried to use an executive order to eliminate whole programs or cut spending. They almost always act only to increase their own power.

Yet they pretend they make bold choices -- even when refusing to make choices. Obama said, "We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the elderly and investing in the next generation."

That's Washington-speak for, "We will spend government money on young and old alike and refuse to think about when this will bankrupt America."

But it sounds exciting when he says it. He's not just a king -- he's Santa Claus, too. Except that Santa spends his own money. The president spends yours.

Kings don't like to be constrained. But all government should be.


Thrifty People Punished Yet Again By Obama Administration

by Hans Bader

When I bought my home, I chose a mortgage that was within my means. That meant buying a little two-bedroom house, and using much of my life savings for a 40-percent downpayment, so that my mortgage interest rate would be lower, and my monthly payment would be manageable even on my modest salary as a think-tank employee. It turns out that people who behaved like me — saving up their money for a big downpayment and not buying more house than they could afford — are suckers, since the Obama administration is using their tax money to bail out people who made smaller downpayments relative to their home value (and thus have larger mortgages that exceed the value of their home in the current depressed real estate market).

The administration is busy writing down mortgage loans, but only for certain favored categories of people whose mortgages exceed the value of their homes. Even in depressed real estate markets, people who made downpayments as large as mine don’t have mortgages that exceed the value of their homes. So effectively, the administration is rewarding certain lucky people who either (a) didn’t save enough money to afford a large downpayment, or (b) bought more home than they could really afford, or (c) have lots of money, but chose not to use it for a large downpayment. The thriftiest people are generally being treated worse. This isn’t as enraging as the Obama administration’s past bailouts for real estate speculators and flippers, and deadbeats who had high-incomes and modest mortgage payments, but it is disturbing nonetheless.

As Kathleen Howley of Bloomberg News notes:
Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac will let some borrowers who kept up payments as their homes lost value erase their debts by giving up the properties, helping Americans escape underwater loans while adding to losses at the mortgage giants bailed out with $190 billion of taxpayer money.

Non-delinquent borrowers with illness, job changes or other reasons they need to move will become eligible in March to apply for a so-called deed-in-lieu transaction that erases the shortfall between a property’s value and the size of its mortgage. It follows a change in November that lets on-time borrowers sell properties for less than they owe, known as short sales, wiping out the remaining mortgage debt. Normally, the lenders could pursue people to recoup their losses

“It’s an extraordinarily generous approach for companies still in debt to American taxpayers,” said Phillip Swagel, a professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy in College Park, Maryland. “We’re giving people an incentive to walk away, right when the housing market is starting to right itself
The participation of Fannie and Freddie in the current bailouts will drive up the cost to taxpayers of bailing out these government-sponsored mortgage giants, which have cost more than $170 billion to bail out, and have not repaid one penny of their bailout, unlike the private banks, which repaid their bailouts. The tab for bailing out Fannie and Freddie could go much higher, if the government expands bailouts further. The Obama administration earlier lifted the $400 billion limit on bailouts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which also helped spawn the mortgage crisis, so that they could continue to buy up junky mortgages at taxpayer expense, and showered their executives with $42 million in compensation. In May 2010, the administration and its congressional allies blocked efforts to reform Fannie and Freddie.

Earlier, the Obama administration announced a $26 billion settlement with the big banks that effectively robs Peter to pay Paul, ripping off innocent mortgage investors to reduce the big banks’ costs of bailing out certain delinquent and underwater mortgage borrowers. The administration’s bailout proposals are based on voodoo economics, and will discourage the saving and investment that are central to the long-run health of the economy.

Thrifty people are also being punished by new investment taxes contained in Obamacare (which also contains marriage penalties in its tax provisions and benefit eligibility criteria).



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