Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Peggy Noonan on the Left

It's a pretty good explanation for the Trump rebellion

There is something increasingly unappeasable in the left. This is something conservatives and others have come to fear, that progressives now accept no limits. We can’t just have court-ordered legalized abortion across the land, we have to have it up to the point of birth, and taxpayers have to pay for it. It’s not enough to win same-sex marriage, you’ve got to personally approve of it and if you publicly resist you’ll be ruined. It’s not enough that we have publicly funded contraceptives, the nuns have to provide them.

This unappeasable spirit always turns to the courts to have its way.

If progressives were wise they would step back, accept their victories, take a breath and turn to the idea of solidifying gains, of heroic patience, of being peaceable.

Don’t make them bake the cake. Don’t make them accept the progressive replacement for Scalia. Leave the nuns alone.

Progressives have no idea how fragile it all is. That’s why they feel free to be unappeasable. They don’t know what they’re grinding down.

They think America has endless give. But America is composed of humans, and they do not have endless give.

Isn’t that what we’re seeing this year in the political realm? That they don’t have endless give? And we’ll be seeing more of it.



The Rise of Intolerant Liberals

Why have liberals become so intolerant? They think nothing of denying someone as prominent as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from speaking on a college campus. They embrace activists who shut down speakers. They publicly shame people for the slightest deviation from liberal orthodoxy.

For them everything from science to the law is “settled” once they get into power. Progress is a one-way street. Their mindset is the very definition of closed-mindedness.

The easy answer would be “they are all bad people.” But frankly that’s a cop-out. Not all liberals are bad people, any more than all conservatives are angels. No doubt among the fevered minions of liberal activists there are people with, shall we say, psychological issues, but that doesn’t explain why so many otherwise reasonable people are so beholden to liberalism as an ideology.

The short answer is that it pays. A lot of people in and out of government benefit. Liberalism also makes people feel good. Whether you are politician dispensing government benefits or the citizen receiving them, liberalism hides the self-interest and sometimes even greed that motivate people.

But the devolution of liberalism into something now openly illiberal has causes far more complex than these familiar explanations provide.

For one thing, liberalism is no longer mainly about ideas. It is about power—as in who has it and who doesn’t. Believing they already know the answers to all questions, liberals view politics and governing as mopping up operations.

Academic research is about proving a point rather than discovering the truth. Science is treated as the private preserve of a certain ideology, not to mention a political weapon to justify preferred policy outcomes. Mistaking as they do their ideology for morality, they see no reason to shun the most cynical of political tactics to get their way. For them, the end justifies the means.

Second, liberalism today is not the liberalism of yesteryear. It’s not Franklin Roosevelt’s or John Kennedy’s liberalism. It’s not even the liberalism of Bill Clinton. It has become something much more radical. Bill Clinton talked about the “era of big government” being over.

Today, there is virtually no government program that liberals won’t embrace. Clinton had his Sister Souljah moment when he repudiated extremism in his party. Today liberals can’t get close enough to the “black lives matter” movement.

Third, liberals have surrendered to (some would say created) the nasty culture of intolerance that infuses our popular culture. To this extent, they are not at all different from some self-proclaimed right-wing people who do the same. But the difference is—or at least is supposed to be—that liberals profess to be the party of the open mind. They have become anything but.

Now that they control so many of our institutions—our universities, high-tech corporate board rooms, the entertainment industry, and increasingly even mainstream churches—they are closing the door behind them, making sure that no one, especially conservatives, will sneak in the back door.

Finally, liberalism has become hostile to open inquiry. Liberal intellectuals used to love open-ended debates because they thought they could win people over with their intelligence and wit. No more. Today’s liberal intellectuals are much more interested in stifling debates than having them. After all, who needs debates when all the big questions have been answered by their ideology? Liberals are no longer the scruffy radicals of Washington Square, but a tenured Mandarin class hotly competing for government research grants.

As I argue in my forthcoming book, “The Closing of the Liberal Mind,” to this Mandarin class:

    Knowledge, like human progress, must be created and managed by state policy, bureaucratized and forced on all people equally despite the infinite differences that exist between individual human beings. It is a sad state of affairs, especially for intellectuals who are expected to know better.

There’s an old saying, he who controls knowledge controls power. Liberals get this adage instinctively. They treat truth not as wisdom—as something to be discovered—but as a will to power to be imposed by law and governmental fiat.

In this quest for power, they have become masters at controlling not only knowledge, but popular culture. For example, when Americans watch entertainers like Jon Stewart, they don’t see an ideologue channeling liberal clichés. They see just a really funny guy. The ideology is completely buried. Young people respond in lockstep not because they were indoctrinated by some boring Maoist, but because they think the whole thing is great fun.

What we have here is nothing less than a new and highly attractive form of illiberalism—an illiberal liberalism, if you will. Intolerance is championed in the name of tolerance, closed-mindedness in the name of open-mindedness, and hatred in the name of compassion. It’s classic double-think, and the deception is precisely the danger. Americans don’t expect liberals to be authoritarian wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are not prepared to be on guard all the time because liberals are supposed to be the good guys—the guardians of freedom of speech and the like.

Alas, they are not. Just ask Condi Rice or anyone else who has been denied the opportunity to speak on an American campus.



Obama’s Visit to Cuba Betrays America’s Commitment to Freedom

When President Barack Obama arrives in Havana next month, he will be greeted by an old-school autocrat, hungry for resources to sustain his oppressive regime. His visit will do little to improve the lives of every day Cubans, but it will significantly strengthen the regime that rules them at gunpoint.

It is clear that human rights are not at the forefront of the administration’s Cuba policy, so this rapprochement will do little else besides lend unearned legitimacy to a murderous dictatorship.

No sitting U.S. president has set foot on Cuban soil since Calvin Coolidge visited the democratically elected Cuban President Gerardo Machado in 1928.

The reason: For over half a century, the island nation has been ruled by a military dictatorship born from a bloody revolution and preserved through foreign-subsidized repression.

Led by Raúl Castro, the Cuban regime has murdered, imprisoned, and silenced countless of its own citizens. Internationally, it has actively worked to undermine democracy in the Americas, using its puppet in Venezuela to incubate and spread the anti-democratic disease that ails most of the Western Hemisphere.

This cavalier behavior has compromised America’s stance abroad. Lending recognition to the Cuban regime betrays American values and sends the wrong message to both our allies and adversaries. His administration’s continued unilateral concessions have emboldened the regime and undermined the democratic efforts it oppresses. How can America justify crossing oceans in the defense of liberty if it chooses to ignore abuses occurring less than 90 miles away from our shores.

When asked about visiting Cuba in a December 2015 interview, Obama said he wished to meet with Cuba’s dissidents “who want to broaden the scope for, you know, free expression inside of Cuba.”

However, considering his decision to stand with the regime, instead of the civil society it oppresses, this statement rings hollow.

Even if the president musters the courage to ask for such a meeting or to initiate a serious human rights discussion, his concessions have left the U.S. no real leverage to advocate for human rights. Raúl Castro has rightly judged Obama’s interest in the rapprochement to be more about his political legacy than the plight of the Cuban people. As it stands, the president will be another tourist in Havana. He will see and do only what he is allowed to and will leave the regime richer and stronger than when he landed.

Choosing to level with Castro in his own turf is Obama’s latest and most damaging concession yet. He has indeed charted a “new course” by reversing years of democratic efforts and returning to the old policies that enabled despots in the hemisphere. So far, the only accomplishment of the president’s radical Cuba policy has been the legitimization of the Castro regime, and it increasing looks like it will be the only one.



Trump Hits 50 Percent in Massachusetts

Before we know it, Tuesday's Nevada caucus will be over and all attention will head towards next week's Super Tuesday and the 12 states that will decide who their Republican nominee will be.  The states voting on March 1st will be Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.

In the latest Emerson poll from Massachusetts, where 42 delegates are at stake, Trump is up by a very large margin; 50 percent to Trump, 16 to Marco Rubio, and 10 to Ted Cruz.

On a side note, the fact that future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and pitcher Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox have come out in support of Trump may have helped the Republican frontrunner with the Boston sports faithful.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mostly about Muslim immigration and IQ


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1 comment:

Robert said...

The political left is tolerant only of evil and perversion. They are absolutely intolerant of goodness and normalcy.