Thursday, April 04, 2013

Is Leftism the politics of envy?

Because there are so many rich Leftists, I have long argued (see the sidebar here) that material envy is not now, if it ever was, the driver of Leftism.  Even Marx, Engels and the Russian Bolsheviks were middle class rather than working class.  They were not generally poor.  I have argued that hate of the world about them and the people in it are  the key factors behind Leftism.  And the people Leftists hate most are those who cheerfully get on with life, as conservatives do.  Much more here.

So it is interesting that an academic journal article has recently emerged that also discounts the role of envy.  I reproduce the journal abstract below.

It should be noted however that the sampling underlying the article is fairly ludicrous. Sophisticated internet users do not represent the population at large.  And the over-representation of Democrat voters in the sample confirms that.

Additionally, the possibility of getting honest answers about political questions from Leftists has to be discounted.  They know how dismal is their internal world so tend to misrepresent it. Pol Pot tells you how Leftists really think.  So the article is a straw in the wind rather than anything conclusive.
Envy, politics, and age

By Christine R. Harris and Nicole E. Henniger

In the last 5 years, the phrase “politics of envy” has appeared more than 621 times in English-language newspapers, generally in opinion essays contending that political liberalism reflects and exploits feelings of envy. Oddly, this assertion has not been tested empirically. We did so with a large adult sample (n = 357). Participants completed a Dispositional Envy Scale and questions about political ideology, socioeconomic status, and age. Envy and age were moderately correlated; younger people reported greater envy. Political ideology and envy were weakly correlated; however, this relationship was not significant when controlling for age.



Liberals really do feel that way


A little bit of history

Then Senator Al Gore, a leading sponsor in the Senate of the Brady Bill talked incessantly about "safety" and "the children." Note this doofus however looking down the barrel of his M-16 when he was in Vietnam (as a reporter no less - though he looks all tricked out like an infantryman). Note also that there is no magazine in his rifle there could be one in the chamber. Now, having said that, if you were in a combat zone, would you be stupid enough NOT to have a magazine in your weapon? Me neither.


Black racism getting worse

Attacks on whites by groups of blacks are happening in many places in America but "dozens of mob groups" reported below seems an ominous escalation.  When the Left are constantly telling blacks that they are the victims of discrimination by whites, however,  the result is no surprise

Several teens were arrested after dozens of mob groups began attacking pedestrians on Chicago’s downtown Magnificent Mile area on Saturday night.  Police said 28 teens were arrested during the incident and no serious injuries were reported.

The teens charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and battery and later released, according to News Affairs Officer Perkus.
Eleven other teens were charged with the same misdemeanor charges after they attacked a group of women on the CTA Red Line, police said.

“You have over three to four hundred teenagers with mob action, jumping on individuals that are downtown,” said community activist Andrew Holmes. “Multiple people have been arrested and I caution those parents that get this call about your child being arrested -- maybe you need to check your child.”

Officers began breaking up the attacks by ushering teens to the Red Line. Chaos continued underground but many attackers reportedly left the area.

“I just saw a cluster run down to the Red Line,” said Red Line passenger Amanda Dobson. “I didn't know what was going on. I just kind of stepped back and let the police do what they needed to do.”

Police continued to patrol the area on bikes, horses and on foot as smaller groups wandered around the Loop.

It is not clear if the attacks are related to a similar mobbing of Ford City Mall last month.

Residents were concerned that this could be the first in a long line of attacks after warm weather brought on a string of similar instances last year.

"It's been happening a lot around here," said Eric Baldinger, who works along the Magnificent Mile. "Just keep your wallet close and your purse closer."

Others said the attacks were disappointing and feared for the future of the city.  "I think it’s very childish," said resident Angelica Wilson. "That’s what wrong with the generation today because there’s always petty fights going on down here and everybody getting hurt. We don’t need more problems."



Five simple ways to create economic growth

Americans want lower deficits and more economic growth; that much is clear. The problems arise when we leave it to lawmakers to agree on policies to achieve those goals. Republicans oppose new taxes, while Democrats abhor cuts to entitlement spending. Even the sequester, which included minimal cuts off a growth budget of eight percent for defense spending and five percent for other spending, was passed with great opposition.

Fortunately, there are common-sense policies that would spur economic growth if political leaders would put aside their partisanship and compromise for the good of the country. Here’s my advice for five simple ways to cut spending or add revenue sources, and jumpstart economic growth:

1. Cut Medicare and Medicaid spending. Lawmakers should encourage competition between U.S. pricing and international pricing for drugs. Americans are now the chumps pay the highest price in the world.  With competition, pharmaceutical companies will lower the prices of drugs in the U.S.

 To cut costs, doctors should be reimbursed based on procedures, not based on a percentage of drug costs or tests performed. To reduce end-of-life procedures for the terminally ill, Americans should be asked to state their end-of-life wishes when they renew their driver’s licenses. This could help ill patients who, if conscious, might say they want compassion and pain relief rather than uncomfortable and ineffective treatments.

2. Stop the war on drugs. Like Prohibition before it, the war on drugs has failed. An innovator doesn’t insist on repeating the same mistakes he’s already made; he learns from them and pursues new tactics with a higher likelihood of success.

Legalizing and taxing marijuana would not only generate new revenue, but it would also curb our spending on overcrowded jails. State lawmakers in Washington are hoping for hundreds of millions of dollars a year in new tax revenue because of a now-legal pot market. For many of the unemployed, legalizing marijuana would also create new job opportunities.

3. Give Green Cards to the best and brightest. Those who receive advanced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees in our universities should be encouraged to stay here. The world’s brightest people help our best companies create new ventures and train others. If they can stay in the U.S., they will help our economy, create jobs and generate new tax revenue.

4. Require those getting unemployment benefits to volunteer. Research shows the longer unemployment benefits are given, the longer the jobless stay jobless. Instead of incentivizing the jobless to find work, we continue to pay them benefits. If we simply require the unemployed to volunteer 20 hours a week at a non-profit, the unemployment rolls would drop and those volunteering would develop skills and create job networks.

5. Allow companies to bring back foreign profits. American companies have parked more than a trillion dollars overseas because the money was made abroad and has been taxed by another country. The U.S. uniquely taxes it again and does so at one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. If we want to jump-start the economy, jobs, and thus tax revenue, companies should be allowed to return their profits at a lower rate (say, 10 percent) if at least half the money is spent on new U.S. jobs or capital investment.

To cut our deficit and jump-start our economy, we need creative, bipartisan thinking. By adopting ideas like these, we can begin to meet sequestration goals without raising taxes or cutting entitlements. These are common-sense solutions that will help our nation balance the budget and put the U.S. back on the path to prosperity



If There Are No Winners, We’re All Losers

 Robert Knight

The last time I was in Ipswich, Massachusetts, I had one of the tastiest plates of fried clams imaginable. They were fresh, full-bellied and cooked perfectly. Try getting something like this outside the Bay State.

If it weren’t for the bizarre political culture, which ranges from the Kennedys on the left to the Kennedys on the far left, Massachusetts would be a wonderful place to live if only to enjoy the superlative seafood.

But I’ve thought about this a lot, and have concluded that it’s unfair. Yes, it’s not right that this little mom-and-pop place should have an advantage over restaurateurs who serve mediocre food. It’s especially unfair to restaurateurs in land bound places like Iowa or Nebraska, where fish sticks pretty much rule the seafood scene.

To even things up, the Ipswich eatery ought to dump its clams and start serving something you can get anywhere, say, a greasy burger. Then, everyone will feel better.

I gleaned this idea from the principal of the Ipswich Middle School, David Fabrizio, who recently cancelled the school’s tradition of Honors Night. That’s when top students are recognized for their scholarship. I’ll let Mr. Fabrizio explain, from the letter he sent to parents:

"The Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients' families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade-point average," Fox News reported.

In other words, because not everyone wins, no one should win. This is the liberal mantra of “equality,” which, taken to the extreme, results in regular assaults on common sense.

Any parent with a child in an organized sport knows what I’m talking about. Regardless of merit, your kid can rack up a whole shelf full of trophies just for showing up. Who needs to win?

The problem is that the world does not work like this. When feminists, trying to cheat nature in the name of equality, insist on giving their daughters trucks to play with and encourage their sons to find their inner mommy, they’re not preparing them for real life. And when the children are directed toward games where winning doesn’t matter, they are being set up for disappointment when their boss finds their work ethic lacking.

Enforced sameness for the sake of equality breeds all sorts of unnatural outcomes. Strong-arm edicts issued under Title IX to make sports participation exactly equal for men and women on campuses, has produced a striking result: colleges are dropping traditionally male sports as fast as they can.

“The total number of athletes, the gender ratio of the athletes in your athletic department must mirror the gender ratio of your undergraduate student population,” said Eric Pearson, chairman of the American Sports Council, which works to reform Title IX. Since female students now comprise 57 percent of undergraduates but only 43 percent of student athletes, sports like wrestling are getting the boot.

Like children, many progressives live in the present, fixated with “equality,” and oblivious or resistant to historic norms. Even the idea of “norms” is offensive to some.

The very existence of norms challenges the paramount importance that liberal culture places on self-fulfillment. Plus, it was once the norm in parts of America to own slaves and later to put Jim Crow laws on the books, not to mention denying women the right to vote or own property. All points taken. But the civil rights movement, created to right profound wrongs, has been hijacked by people engaged primarily in expanding government and creating dependency in the name of equality.

Along with the obsession with equality, progressives tend to embrace change, any change, that is, unless it's toward traditional or conservative ends.

In his new book Return to Order (on which I consulted on an early draft), author John Horvat II coins a phrase to summarize our culture’s dizzying, fast-paced, and increasingly unstable core: “frenetic intemperance.”

The term describes a spirit of lawlessness combined with a frantic drive to satiate desires. The result is an inability to distinguish the important from the trivial, and to surrender to “a bland secularism that admits few heroic, sublime or sacred elements to fill our lives with meaning.”

Mr. Horvat, who heads the Tradition, Family Property Commission for American Studies, says that, “We do not think it is caused by our vibrant system of private property and free enterprise as so many socialists are wont to claim…. Far from promoting a free market, frenetic intemperance undermines and throws it out of balance and even prepares the way for socialism.”

One manifestation of our culture’s becoming unhinged from its heritage is the recent creation of same-sex “marriage.” People contemptuous of the past and who yearn to evolve to some imagined ideal actually argue with a straight face (pun intended) that marriage was invented to exclude homosexuals. That was the basic finding of U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down California’s voter-approved marriage amendment.

Judge Walker, who has his reasons, wants the option of marrying a man instead of a woman, so he dismissed 6,000 years of history, the state constitutional amendment process, and the idea of self-government. He declared that “animus” toward same-sex relationships was the reason that men have been marrying women since time began.

If you’re living solely in the present and are obsessed with faux equality, it’s necessary to deconstruct marriage, plucking it from the rich soil of kinship and making it strictly about individuals’ feelings.

However, living only in the present has some odd advantages. You can spend trillions of dollars that we don’t have and not worry about the next couple of generations who will have to pay for it all. We’re busy creating equality!

You can turn over the world’s finest health care system to the government and hope that it won’t evolve into a giant Division of Motor Vehicles with band-aids.

As for future generations, well, pass some clams, will you? That’s still okay for now in Ipswich.




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