Sunday, November 30, 2014

MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think

William Voegeli

It’s been more than 50 years since William F. Buckley first complained, “Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.”

Since then, things have only gotten worse. At the dawn of the Obama era, for example, Mark Schmitt, former editor of The American Prospect, wrote that the “conservative power structure” is so “dangerous” because it operates “almost entirely on bad faith,” thriving on “protest, complaint, [and] fear.”

Just before the recent midterm elections The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky called the GOP “as intellectually dishonest and bankrupt and just plain old willfully stupid as a political party can possibly be,” one whose only agenda “is to slash regulations and taxes and let energy companies and megabanks and multinational corporations do whatever it is they wish to do.”

In other words, it is impossible not only for any reasonable person to be conservative, but even to take such idiotic, malignant ideas seriously. And neither Schmitt nor Tomasky is a particularly shrill partisan, compared to the polemicists at, MSNBC or the New York Times editorial page. With such allies, it’s no wonder that Barack Obama’s wish for a new political unity that would transcend and heal the divisions between red states and blue states has come to nothing.

Liberal rhetoric emphasizes compassion, empathy and kindness—“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” President Obama has said—because these emotions need not and really cannot be theorized.

It’s tempting, but mistaken, for conservatives to think that the problem is as simple as liberals’ failure to observe the Golden Rule of democratic politics: take your adversaries as seriously as you want them to take you. That’s a good standard, of course, but it’s sound advice for everyone. American discourse would benefit if all disputants observed what economist Bryan Caplan calls the “ideological Turing test,” which requires characterizing a viewpoint you disagree with so discerningly and scrupulously that an adherent of that position finds your summary of it as clear and persuasive as any provided by a true believer.

Caplan’s test turns out to be not only a good general rule, but a good way to grasp one of liberalism’s defining features. It’s hard to understand liberals as they understand themselves because they insist there’s really nothing to understand. Liberal rhetoric emphasizes compassion, empathy and kindness—“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” President Obama has said—because these emotions need not and really cannot be theorized.

Even its philosophers reject the need for a theoretical framework. “The idea that liberal societies are bound together by philosophical beliefs seems to me to be ludicrous,” the left-of-center philosopher Richard Rorty contended. Philosophy “is not that important for politics.”

Liberalism, as liberals understand it, is not a philosophy, ideology, body of doctrines or a mode of interpreting political reality. It is, instead, nothing more than common sense and common decency applied to the work of governance.

It follows directly from this premise that opposition to the liberal project is necessarily senseless and indecent. Viewing themselves as simply nice people who want the world to be a nicer and nicer place, liberals regard conservatives as either mean people who want the world to be a mean place, or stupid people who can’t grasp that impeding liberalism means impeding the advance of niceness.

Convinced that no intelligent, decent person could take conservatism seriously, liberals believe it is not necessary or even possible, when engaging conservative ideas, to go beyond diagnosing the psychological, moral or mental defects that cause people to espouse them. Liberals claim to understand conservatives better than they understand themselves on the basis of seeing through the cynical self-interest of conservative leaders (and funders), and the fanaticism or stupid docility of conservative followers.

The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, scourge of the Koch brothers, went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show in 2010 to deny that the Tea Party movement was “a spontaneous uprising that came from nowhere.” In fact, Maddow explained, many of those attending its demonstrations “were essentially instructed to rally against things like climate change by billionaire oil tycoons.”

Viewing themselves as simply nice people who want the world to be a nicer and nicer place, liberals regard conservatives as either mean people who want the world to be a mean place, or stupid people who can’t grasp that impeding liberalism means impeding the advance of niceness.

This condescension has always been part of the liberal outlook. In 1972, eight weeks after George McGovern suffered a historically massive defeat against Richard Nixon, film critic Pauline Kael told the professors at a Modern Language Association conference, “I know only one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

Conservatives will wait decades in the hope of a fair hearing from such adversaries. That time would be better spent urging Americans who haven’t made up their minds that the same traits that make liberals contemptuous of conservatism make them dangerous for America. Liberalism exists to solve problems, and liberals regard every source of dissatisfaction or discord as a problem, not an aspect of the human condition that we must always contend with but can never sanely hope to eradicate. In denouncing “Dirty Harry” as a “deeply immoral movie,” Pauline Kael explained in 1972 that crime is caused, not by evil, but by “deprivation, misery, psychopathology and social injustice.”

Yet the crime wave that made urban life intolerable from the early 1960s through the early 1990s has, somehow, receded dramatically, even though liberals are as agitated about deprivation and social injustice today as they were 40 years ago. Such reactionary ideas as more cops, more prisons and longer sentences—all based on the conservative belief that constraining human wickedness through stern disincentives is plausible, but solving it therapeutically through social work is deluded—has made the difference. Liberal disdain for the wary view of human nature, which is conservatism’s foundation, turns out to be of one piece with the “idealism” and “compassion” that culminates in governmental malpractice, rendering liberalism a threat to the American experiment in self-government.



And Then There's the Crony Socialism

One of the largest myths going is that government helps the Little Guy.  On it’s face this is patently absurd.  More government – taxes and/or regulations – raises the costs of everything for everyone.  The Big Guys are far better equipped to absorb the punishment – while the Little Guys are pummeled into un-existence.

Then there’s the Crony Socialism – it’s not Crony Capitalism, because it has very little to do with capitalism.  Wherein Big Guys – who have the wherewithal – bend government policy to their will.  To their advantage – and against that of the Little Guys seeking to compete with them.  For instance:

Green Scam: 80% of Green Energy Loans Went to (President Barack) Obama Donors

Crony Socialists Looking to Ban Online Gambling Don’t Seem to Realize It’s a WORLD WIDE Web

Obama Donor’s Firm Hired to Fix Health Care Web Mess It Created

Obama Crony Wins Contract to Give Phones to Jobless

Obama’s United Auto Workers Bailout

Which brings us to the ridiculous Network Neutrality political rhetoric being extruded by the Obama Administration.

President Obama his own self recently said this:

“(N)et neutrality”…says that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations….

Then there’s Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the President’s allegedly politics-free, independent Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

FCC Chief on Net Neutrality: ‘The Big Dogs Are Going to Sue, Regardless’

First – why are these lawsuits inevitable?  Because the FCC has already twice unilaterally imposed Net Neutrality – and twice the D.C. Circuit Court has unanimously overturned the orders as outside the bounds of their authority.

Rather than complaining about additional suits to again fend off the Leviathan – perhaps the Leviathan should pull in its tentacles.  Especially when it has already had two lopped off by Courts.  As Jonah Goldberg has said: Don’t just do something – stand there.

But wait a minute – which “Big Dogs” does Wheeler mean?  The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) government intends to yet again assault.

To be sure, Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, et. al are big companies.

Verizon: ~ $207 billion.

Comcast: ~ $140 billion.

AT&T: ~ $183 billion.

But they aren’t looking for Crony Socialist favors from government – merely protection from its monumental overreaches.

Then there’s this plucky little upstart for whom the Obama Administration is fighting.

Google: ~ $370 billion.

Get that?  Google is bigger than Verizon and Comcast – combined.

Google has spent the last decade-plus shoving Net Neutrality down our throats.

Google…Support(s) Net Neutrality, Call(s) For Extension To Mobile Providers

Google has uber-generously funded pro-Net Neutrality Leftist efforts.  It twice helped President Obama get elected.  Google CEO Eric Schmidt was one of the first Obama Administration “adviser” hires.

The relationship really is that syrupy:

Obama & Google – A Love Story

So this isn’t a galloping shock:

Who Wins the Net Neutrality Debate? Google, of Course

No matter how the FCC rules next year, Google can move forward with fiber rollouts, even if they’re restricted, because it will still be earning far-healthier revenues from carrying content.

Google’s two-pronged strategy has been obvious for a long time, but lately it has looked genius given the net neutrality battle….

(I)t’s a strategy only a very large company could undertake….

Get that?  Google is more than Big Guy enough to absorb the government hit – the Little Guys looking to compete with them aren’t.

“It’s a strategy only a very large company could undertake” - using government to make the marketplace untenable for anyone but themselves.

Creating for Google a for-all-intents-and-purposes government-mandated monopoly.

The very thing the Obama Administration – with its gi-normous Internet overreach – alleges it is attempting to address/prevent.

To paraphrase George Orwell: All monopolies are equal – but some are more equal than others.

To paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Google will be a son-of-a-bitch monopoly – but it’ll be our son-of-a-bitch monopoly.

“Don’t be evil.”  Enjoy the Crony Socialism, All.



Surprise: Lois Lerner’s ‘Destroyed’ Emails Magically Reappear!

Friday afternoon, a government watchdog announced that it had magically found 30,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails!

That should be cause for celebration, but remember: the IRS went to great lengths to convince you that Lois Lerner’s emails were lost forever. They went so far as to throw Lois Lerner’s hard drive in an incinerator to make sure that any data left on it was destroyed.

We now have 30,000 potential smoking guns proving Lois Lerner’s, and potentially the Obama White House’s, participation in the targeting of opposition (conservative) non-profit groups!

We were told there was nothing more Congress could do and the IRS flat-out admitted that all during the investigation, it never even bothered to look for Lois Lerner’s emails!

Think about that… The IRS had been saying for weeks that Ms. Lerner’s emails were completely lost, all the while the agency never even bothered to search for them. Saying that is suspicious would be an understatement.

But now, a Federal Watchdog has uncovered what appear to be tens of thousands of Ms. Lerner’s emails.

How did the IRS respond? After months of claiming to have exhausted all recovery methods, you’d think that Obama’s IRS would be excited to hear the news of the recovered emails, right?

The IRS has “no comment.”  That’s right, they have “no comment” on the fact that everything they told Congress was a lie.

It will take weeks for analysts to decode the recovered emails, but one thing is for certain: There’s something out there that the administration doesn’t want you to see. Why else would Ms. Lerner’s hard-drive be incinerated before data could be recovered?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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