Monday, January 27, 2014

Are Leftists just looters?

An interesting email from a reader below.  I add some comments at the foot of it  -- JR

You claimed about Leftism: "Until you accept that the aim of Leftists is to hurt, not help, none of their actions makes sense.  Leftism, Liberalism, Progressivism are all words for the politics of hate. They hate the world about them.  And with motivations like that behind them, principles pass them by like a fart in a breeze"

I think I must disagree with you, based on my own experience with Leftists (particularly those one might label as "limousine Leftists"). Leftism, of whatever variety, appears to be much more about power and control, and about making a profit from the work of others through the process of managing economic activity.

Leftism shares the characteristics of a religion in that the founding ideology is axiomatic, and that any argument or dissent against their fundamental principles as stated is immoral. These principles can me quite flimsy and situational - for example, during the global cooling scare, arguing against the anthropomorphic global cooling theory was immoral and dangerous, until such time as empirical evidence transformed this thesis into an anthropomorphic global warming theory, after which arguing against the anthropomorphic global warming theory (or reflecting upon the earlier cooling theory) was immoral and dangerous, after which this changed to an anthropomorphic "climate change" theory, etc. This "Leftspeak" phenomenon is best described in the afterword of George Orwell's book, 1984.

Leftists may use the politics of hate to demean and isolate targets of opportunity, but this is not their defining characteristic. Leftists are just as likely to laud and promote some faction or class of people when such a strategy might be to their advantage. This may be as benign as the promotion of vegetarians or as destructive as the promotion of illegal drug traffickers, but the primary end is the empowerment and enrichment of the Leftist elite. Thus why, for example, Leftists who might go to excess to promote the civil rights of Muslims in Western countries preach non-interference with the extermination of Muslims in Syria. So also why Leftists who bristle at the slightest indignity to American Blacks will demean Blacks who vote Republican or who are known to be prominent conservative theorists as "race traitors".

Perhaps the best way to understand the Left is as a transnational criminal mafia, which are made up of a loose confederation of national socialist gangs that tend to co-operate to loot non-Leftist nations for their mutual benefit. Much like any other organized crime syndicate, they may certainly wreak havoc on the societies they inflict themselves upon and do frequently turn to fraud and violence to achieve their aims, but they do not do so simply in the name of spite or vindictiveness, no more than a bank robber's ultimate goal is to inconvenience banks. The bottom line for all Leftist entities is monetary gain and for a growth in prosperity and influence for their leadership elite. Absent this dynamic, Leftist factions tend to wither away.

That Leftist principles are merely whatever makes good propaganda at the time and that Leftists are power-mad I agree with.  The flexibility of their principles is certainly notorious, as their embrace of Islam shows.  If Leftists had ANY sincerely-held principles, they would be relentless enemies of Islam.

What I think the above account overlooks  however is the  passion of Leftists.  They are not just looters.  They are driven.  And hate is the driver.  They want power mainly to hurt others or to hurt whole societies -- as we saw with Pol Pot, Stalin etc.  They actually have a bloodlust towards those as they see as standing in the way of their ideal society  -- which is a society with them at the top running everything and dispensing favours, of course.  They normally have to mask that bloodlust but it soon pops out once they gain unrestrained power -- as after a communist revolution --JR.


Fact-Free Liberals: Part III

Thomas Sowell

Since this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the "war on poverty," we can expect many comments and commemorations of this landmark legislation in the development of the American welfare state.

The actual signing of the "war on poverty" legislation took place in August 1964, so the 50th anniversary is some months away. But there have already been statements in the media and in politics proclaiming that this vast and costly array of anti-poverty programs "worked."

Of course everything "works" by sufficiently low standards, and everything "fails" by sufficiently high standards. The real question is: What did the "war on poverty" set out to do -- and how well did it do it, if at all?

Without some idea of what a person or a program is trying to do, there is no way to know whether what actually happened represented a success or a failure. When the hard facts show that a policy has failed, nothing is easier for its defenders than to make up a new set of criteria, by which it can be said to have succeeded.

That has in fact been what happened with the "war on poverty."

Both President John F. Kennedy, who launched the proposal for a "war on poverty" and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, who guided the legislation through Congress and then signed it into law, were very explicit as to what the "war on poverty" was intended to accomplish.

Its mission was not simply to prove that spending money on the poor led to some economic benefits to the poor. Nobody ever doubted that. How could they?

What the war on poverty was intended to end was mass dependency on government. President Kennedy said, "We must find ways of returning far more of our dependent people to independence."

The same theme was repeated endlessly by President Johnson. The purpose of the "war on poverty," he said, was to make "taxpayers out of taxeaters." Its slogan was "Give a hand up, not a handout." When Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark legislation into law, he declared: "The days of the dole in our country are numbered."

Now, 50 years and trillions of dollars later, it is painfully clear that there is more dependency than ever.

Ironically, dependency on government to raise people above the poverty line had been going down for years before the "war on poverty" began. The hard facts showed that the number of people who lived below the official poverty line had been declining since 1960, and was only half of what it had been in 1950.

On the more fundamental question of dependency, the facts were even clearer. The proportion of people whose earnings put them below the poverty level -- without counting government benefits -- declined by about one-third from 1950 to 1965.

All this was happening before the "war on poverty" went into effect -- and all these trends reversed after it went into effect.

Nor was this pattern unique. Other beneficial social trends that were going on before the 1960s reversed after other bright ideas of that decade were put into effect.

Massive "sex education" programs were put into schools, claiming that this was urgently needed to reduce a "crisis" of teenage pregnancies and venereal diseases. But teenage pregnancies and venereal diseases had both been going down for years.

The rate of infection for gonorrhea, for example, declined every year from 1950 through 1959, and the rate of syphilis infection was, by 1960, less than half of what it had been in 1950. Both trends reversed and skyrocketed after "sex education" became pervasive.

The murder rate had been going down for decades, and in 1960 was only half of what it had been in 1934. That trend suddenly reversed after the liberal changes in criminal laws during the 1960s. By 1974, the murder rate was more than twice as high as it had been in 1961.

While the fact-free liberals celebrate the "war on poverty" and other bright ideas of the 1960s, we are trying to cope with yet another "reform" that has made matters worse, ObamaCare.



The deluded man

Does he believe his own BS?  Probably not

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, was recently interviewed about Syria. While many of his assertions can be debated, one especially requires a response. Throughout the interview, he repeatedly insisted that, if Bashar Assad would only leave power, everything would go well — especially for all of Syria's minorities.

In his words: "I believe that a peace can protect all of the minorities: Druze, Christian, Ismailis, Alawites — all of them can be protected, and you can have a pluralistic Syria, in which minority rights of all people are protected."

Elsewhere in the interview, Kerry declared that "The world would protect the Alawites, Druze, Christians, and all minorities in Syria after the ousting of Assad."

The problem here is that we have precedent — exact precedent. We've seen this paradigm before and know precisely what happens once strongman dictators like Assad are gone.

As demonstrated in this article, in all Muslim nations where the U.S. has intervened to help topple dictators and bring democracy, it is precisely the minorities who suffer first. And neither the U.S. nor "the world" do much about it.

After the U.S. toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here for graphic images). Christians have been terrorized into near-extinction, so that today, a decade after the ousting of Saddam, more than half of them have fled Iraq.  The "world" did nothing.

Ever since U.S.-backed, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overthrew Qaddafi, Christians—including Americans—have been been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert), their churches bombed, and their nuns threatened.  Not much "pluralism" there.

Once the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt, in place of Mubarak — and all with U.S. support — the persecution of Copts practically became legalized, as unprecedented numbers of Christians—men, women, and children—were arrested, often receiving more than double the maximum prison sentence, under the accusation that they "blasphemed" Islam and/or its prophet.

Not only did the U.S. do nothing — it asked the Coptic Church not to join the June Revolution that led to the ousting of the Brotherhood and Muhammad Morsi.

In short, where the U.S. works to oust secular autocrats, the quality of life for Christians and other minorities takes a major nosedive. In Saddam's Iraq, Qaddafi's Libya, and Assad's Syria (before the U.S.-sponsored war), Christians and their churches were largely protected.

Today, Syria is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Iraq is fourth, Libya 13th, and Egypt 22nd.

So how can anyone — especially Christians and other minorities — have any confidence in Kerry's repeated assurances that religious minorities will be safeguarded once secular strongman Assad is gone — and by the "world" no less — leading to a "pluralistic" Syria?



Message From the Left: If You Buy a Gun, You Will Kill Yourself

Leave it to our “friends” on the Left to draw exactly the wrong conclusions from a given set of facts. Take gun control, for example. In Leftspeak, “gun control” – harsh restrictions on gun ownership – makes the world safe by removing guns “from our streets.” However, notwithstanding the dirty little secret that the Entitlement Class currently controlling the levers of U.S. political power wants to disarm the public en route to its ultimate goal of statist tyranny, scholarly studies like those published in economist John Lott's book “More Guns, Less Crime” have conclusively shown that implementation of gun control laws is directly correlated – and strongly, at that – with violent crime rates. Further – as the title of Lott's book also suggests – per capita rates of gun ownership are inversely correlated, again strongly, with crime rates. As another data point: The NRA notes that gun ownership is at an all-time high at exactly the same time the nation's murder rate is approaching an all-time low.

But never mind the facts. Leftists have never let those pesky things get in the way of a good yarn. Fortunately for them, the halls of Pollyanna-academia are filled with mush-heads who stand ready to “refute” these inconvenient truths. The latest effort was recently published in the otherwise-reputable Annals of Internal Medicine. Now why, one might ask, would a journal of internal medicine focus on a political issue like gun control? Great question; we can't answer it. The gist of the study is the “conclusive” finding that having a gun inside one's home makes one more likely to successfully attempt suicide.

Of course, the authors of this brilliant study ask us to check our brains at the Left-think door before we critically examine their findings. As Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine notes, these researchers would like us to put aside the fact that someone contemplating suicide might actually have the malice aforethought to go out and buy a gun; or that “the same personality traits or circumstances that increase their risk of suicide also make gun ownership more attractive.” Sullum further asks, “In how many cases, if any, did an abusive husband disarm his wife and use the gun she bought for self-defense against her? Were the people who committed suicide determined enough that if a gun had not been available they would have killed themselves anyway?” Who knows? No one bothered to investigate these obvious questions.

The problem is that no analysis beyond a first-order glance at the data was made during the study. The pre-biased authors had a conclusion in search of research data to support it, as is often the case with such “studies.” Without knowing the details of each death, the study – though full of facts – is wholly worthless because so many other independent variables which bear directly on the results were not even considered, let alone evaluated. Not to worry, however: For the ideologically driven, facts that don't support the forgone conclusion may be readily discarded.

However, in debunking the latest leftist gun-control tripe, let's not forget to keep our eye on the ball: At issue here is not “how safe” we feel with or without guns. The real issue is whether we, as U.S. citizens, have the right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment – period. The Constitution's answer is, “Yes.” Setting aside the buffoonery that renders this study worthless, even if its claims were accurate, its findings would have no impact on our constitutional rights.



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