Friday, January 14, 2011

How the Left lost it: They need the lies

The accusation that the tea parties were linked to the Tucson murders is the product of calculation and genuine belief -- a belief that the Left need to prop up their self esteem and self-righteousness

There has been a great effort this week to come to grips with the American left's reaction to the Tucson shooting. Paul Krugman of the New York Times and its editorial page, George Packer of the New Yorker, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek and others, in varying degrees, have linked the murders to the intensity of opposition to the policies and presidency of Barack Obama. As Mr. Krugman asked in his Monday commentary: "Were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?"

The "you" would be his audience, and the answer is yes, they thought that in these times "something like this" could happen in the United States. Other media commentators, without a microbe of conservatism in their bloodstreams, have rejected this suggestion.

So what was the point? Why attempt the gymnastic logic of asserting that the act of a deranged personality was linked to the tea parties and the American right? Two reasons: Political calculation and personal belief.

The calculation flows from the shock of the midterm elections of November 2010. That was no ordinary election. What voters did has the potential to change the content and direction of the U.S. political system, possibly for a generation.

Only 24 months after Barack Obama's own historic election and a rising Democratic tide, the country flipped. Not just control of the U.S. House, but deep in the body politic. Republicans now control more state legislative seats than any time since 1928.

What elevated this transfer of power to historic status is that it came atop the birth of a genuine reform movement, the tea parties. Most of the time, election results are the product of complex and changeable sentiments or the candidates' personalities. What both sides fear most is a genuine movement with focused goals.

The tea party itself got help from history —the arrival of a clarifying event, the sovereign debt crisis of 2010. Simultaneously in the capitals of Europe, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and elsewhere it was revealed that fiscal commitments made across decades, often for liberally inspired social goals, had put all these states into a condition of effective bankruptcy.

This stark reality unnerved many Americans. The tea partiers' fiscal concerns were real. Despite that, a progressive Democratic president and congressional leadership spent 2009 and 2010 passing the biggest economic entitlement since 1965 and driving U.S. spending to 25%, or $3.5 trillion, of the nation's $14 trillion GDP. A public claim of that size hasn't been seen since World War II.

They expected to take losses in November. What they got instead was Armageddon. Suddenly an authentic reform movement, linked to the Republican Party, whose goal simply is to stop the public spending curve, had come to life. This poses a mortal threat to the financial oxygen in the economic ecosystem that the public wing of the Democratic Party has inhabited all these years.

The stakes for the American left in 2012 couldn't possibly be higher. If then, and again in 2014, progressives can't pull toward their candidates some percentage of the independent voters who in November abandoned the Democratic Party, they could be looking in from the outside for as many years as some of them have left to write about politics. A wilderness is a terrible place to be.

Against that grim result, every sentence Messrs. Krugman, Packer, Alter, the Times and the rest have written about Tucson is logical and understandable. What happened in November has to be stopped, by whatever means become available. Available this week was a chance to make some independents wonder if the tea parties, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Jared Loughner are all part of the same dark force.

Who believes this? They do. The divide between this strain of the American left and its conservative opponents is about more than politics and policy. It goes back a long way, it is deep, and it will never be bridged. It is cultural, and it explains more than anything the "intensity" that exists now between these two competing camps. (The independent laments: "Can't we all just get along?" Answer: No.)

The Rosetta Stone that explains this tribal divide is Columbia historian Richard Hofstadter's classic 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." Hofstadter's piece for Harper's may be unfamiliar to many now, but each writer at the opening of this column knows by rote what Hofstadter's essay taught generations of young, left-wing intellectuals about conservatism and the right.

After Hofstadter, the American right wasn't just wrong on policy. Its people were psychologically dangerous and undeserving of holding authority for any public purpose. By this mental geography, the John Birch Society and the tea party are cut from the same backwoods cloth.

"American politics has often been an arena for angry minds," Hofstadter wrote. "In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority."

Frank Rich, Oct 17: "Don't expect the extremism and violence in our politics to subside magically after Election Day —no matter what the results. If Tea Party candidates triumph, they'll be emboldened. If they lose, the anger and bitterness will grow."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Tuesday in the Huffington Post: "Jack's death forced a national bout of self-examination. In 1964, Americans repudiated the forces of right-wing hatred and violence with an historic landslide in the presidential election between LBJ and Goldwater. For a while, the advocates of right-wing extremism receded from the public forum. Now they have returned with a vengeance—to the broadcast media and to prominent positions in the political landscape."

This isn't just political calculation. It is foundational belief. So, yes, Tucson has indeed been revealing. On to 2012.



The dishonest NPR

Not that that's any surprise

The movement to defund public broadcasting has done very well over the past several months. In the wake of the firing of Juan Williams from National Public Radio (NPR), it seems as if the effort to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including NPR, is finally within reach.

Inside of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) has been fighting to get legislation that would completely stop public broadcasting from receiving any taxpayer funding. Rep. Lamborn attempted to pass legislation last year, but in the Democrat-controlled Congress it fell flat on its face. With the new GOP-controlled Congress though, Lamborn’s legislation H.R. 68 and H.R. 69 have a solid chance of success.

This increased chance of success has now led NPR to fabricate and release bogus information to the public that is solely aimed at discrediting the legislation that Rep. Lamborn has brought forth. NPR, realizing that the days of living off the taxpayer dime could well be coming to an end by 2013, released a bizarre response to The Hill indicating that Rep. Lamborn was attempting to regulate the news desks at NPR and public broadcasting radio stations nationwide.

According to NPR, "Congressman Lamborn’s legislation is an intrusion into the programming decision-making of America’s public radio stations. His legislation will disrupt and weaken the free and universal public media system that serves 170 million Americans each month… This legislation would ultimately dictate the daily editorial schedules and news programs of nearly one thousand public radio stations across America.”

Apparently they have not read the 7 pages of legislation, which you can read here H.R. 68 and H.R. 69 for yourself. You will notice there is no such language that NPR reports to have read.

Nowhere inside of H.R. 68 or H.R. 69 is authority granted to Rep. Lamborn or any other government official to regulate the program decision-making at NPR. The legislation strictly calls for a complete “prohibition” of taxpayer dollars to the Corporation of Public Broadcasting including NPR.

To be more specific H.R. 69 more explicitly bans any funneling of federal money through non-Federal entities back to NPR.



The money to fund Obamacare is just not there

Lost amid the partisan posturing over the proposed repeal of ObamaCare is a stark, unavoidable fiscal reality. Put simply: Our leaders have no choice but to scrap this socialized medicine monstrosity and start from scratch with a free-market approach.

Not only are ObamaCare’s unprecedented infringements on our civil liberties clearly unconstitutional, but American taxpayers cannot afford the new law’s expanded entitlements — particularly not in light of our current debt crisis and the impending Baby Boomer crush.

The federal budget is caught in a pincer — leaving no room for ObamaCare or any other new spending. In fact the only way to escape the trap is to dramatically reduce the size and scope of government — immediately.

Also our economy is clearly in no position to absorb hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases — something President Obama seemed to understand last month when his lame duck Congress extended Bush-era tax relief to all income brackets.

The question Obama and his diminished D.C. legions now must answer is this: If it was wrong to raise taxes during the lame duck session in December, what makes it wise to do so now?

With even the most optimistic Keynesians (such as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke) now predicting that the U.S. economy could take as long as five years to achieve “sustained declines in the unemployment rate,” ObamaCare’s tax hikes loom even larger as job killers. This is particularly true of the tax increase on upper income earners — many of whom invest their money in partnerships and LLCs that in turn fuel small business growth.

Astoundingly, the same fiscal liberals who added more than $4 trillion to the national debt over the last two years are now not only raising taxes through ObamaCare — but feigning outrage over the “deficit spending” that would result if the program were repealed.

In support of this twisted logic, the Keynesian number-crunchers over at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced last week that repealing ObamaCare would add $230 billion to the national debt over the coming decade.

Think about that statistic for a moment — what the CBO is saying is that the largest expansion of government in decades is not only free, but will actually save taxpayers $230 billion. Talk about “something for nothing.” Obviously these assumptions are pure fantasy — like the numbers the CBO released in March 2010 on the eve of ObamaCare’s initial passage. But how were they computed?

First, the CBO is assuming that the $770 billion worth of “revenue enhancements” included in ObamaCare will have no adverse impact whatsoever on the nation’s economy — which is betting against history. Second, the CBO presumes that Congress will actually follow through on its promise to cut $540 billion from Medicare — which is betting against common sense.

Additionally, the CBO estimates double-count Medicare savings, CLASS Act revenue, Social Security revenue and fail to incorporate the impact of so-called “doc fixes,” which erase billions of dollars in additional “savings.” “Garbage in, garbage out,” Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) said of the CBO report.

He’s not the only one voicing skepticism. “The CBO, CMS, and even the IMF have all discredited the idea that ObamaCare would reduce the deficit, because they all question the sustainability of ObamaCare’s spending ‘cuts,’” writes Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. “The spending cuts (actually, reductions in future spending growth) in the law were never going to take effect anyway,” Cannon adds.

Finally, when did our leaders decide that blocking a tax hike was somehow a net cost to government? Have they deluded themselves to the point that they think new programs and new taxes cannot be eliminated because doing so would be “too expensive?”

Obviously so — or else we wouldn’t be where we are today, staring down a fiscal Armageddon the likes of which human civilization has never seen.

If our Republic is to survive this fiscal storm, then our leaders need to stop fabricating numbers and start confronting them. For example, they could recognize that the elimination of entitlement spending produces savings — not costs. And more importantly, they could recognize that in light of government’s mounting debt and the millions of new Medicare and Social Security enrollees projected over the coming decade – there is simply no room for any additional spending.




Make the system work for you rather than against you: "I think I won’t be looking for a white-market job whereby I work half of the year to pay taxes. Rather, I’ll continue to work in the black and grey markets, and shop there when I can. If I am unable to make ends meet, then I say bring on the food stamps. If I go to the emergency room again, I’ll have the County pay for it. And then I’m going to rub it in the noses of those who work half the year paying taxes by reminding them that this is their system. If they don’t like it, they can always pull a John Galt and let the whole system come crashing down."

Your 401k is a sitting duck: "[Kirchner's Argentinian] government expropriated ('nationalized') the $24 billion private pension funds industry in order to save the public system, forcing citizens to trade their savings for Argentinean Treasury bills of dubious creditworthiness. I suggested then that such a thing might happen in the US, where Americans have many billions put aside in various retirement vehicles — a tempting target for any cash-starved government. I think that dark day is growing closer."

Corporations and the federal government’s bass ackwards priorities: "Many people have come to believe that to be pro business, pro free market is tantamount to being pro corporation. This is not so. In fact, I believe just the opposite. I think that being pro corporation is being anti business. I think that being pro corporation is being anti free market, in fact it’s tantamount to being anti freedom in general."

Honor for a man with no honor: Jack Murtha: "Mabus' decision has unleashed a continuing torrent of opposition from many former sailors and Marines. They say that naming a vessel for Murtha rewards a lawmaker who called for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq in late 2005 during the war's toughest days, and one who was implicated in bribery and pork-barrel politics. And that isn't the worst of it, according to sailors and Marines: putting Murtha's name on an amphibious warship designed to carry 700 Marines is outrageous, they maintain, given Murtha's 2006 charge that Marines in the Iraqi city of Haditha "killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Blame for the tragic Arizona shooting was premature, misplaced: "As soon as the tragic news broke, and before any clear details or evidence of the gunman's possible motivation had emerged, progressives swiftly and reflexively moved to hold Sarah Palin and the Tea Party responsible. Conspicuously absent, was the level-headed, fact-based, critical thinking, unmarred by prejudice, that so many progressives insist they exemplify."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

America's Enduring Strength

In her statement below Sarah Palin is right to call the accusations directed against her a "blood libel". The original blood libel was the attribution to Jews of murders that they did not commit. She has been held responsible by the hysterical Left for murders she did not commit. The abusive Leftist commentators put themselves in the company of centuries of antisemites. And we know where the hatred that is antisemitism led -- JR

Like millions of Americans I learned of the tragic events in Arizona on Saturday, and my heart broke for the innocent victims. No words can fill the hole left by the death of an innocent, but we do mourn for the victims’ families as we express our sympathy.

I agree with the sentiments shared yesterday at the beautiful Catholic mass held in honor of the victims. The mass will hopefully help begin a healing process for the families touched by this tragedy and for our country.

Our exceptional nation, so vibrant with ideas and the passionate exchange and debate of ideas, is a light to the rest of the world. Congresswoman Giffords and her constituents were exercising their right to exchange ideas that day, to celebrate our Republic’s core values and peacefully assemble to petition our government. It’s inexcusable and incomprehensible why a single evil man took the lives of peaceful citizens that day.

There is a bittersweet irony that the strength of the American spirit shines brightest in times of tragedy. We saw that in Arizona. We saw the tenacity of those clinging to life, the compassion of those who kept the victims alive, and the heroism of those who overpowered a deranged gunman.

Like many, I’ve spent the past few days reflecting on what happened and praying for guidance. After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event.

President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

The last election was all about taking responsibility for our country’s future. President Obama and I may not agree on everything, but I know he would join me in affirming the health of our democratic process. Two years ago his party was victorious. Last November, the other party won. In both elections the will of the American people was heard, and the peaceful transition of power proved yet again the enduring strength of our Republic.

Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.

As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.

No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.

Just days before she was shot, Congresswoman Giffords read the First Amendment on the floor of the House. It was a beautiful moment and more than simply “symbolic,” as some claim, to have the Constitution read by our Congress. I am confident she knew that reading our sacred charter of liberty was more than just “symbolic.” But less than a week after Congresswoman Giffords reaffirmed our protected freedoms, another member of Congress announced that he would propose a law that would criminalize speech he found offensive.

It is in the hour when our values are challenged that we must remain resolved to protect those values. Recall how the events of 9-11 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security. And so it is today.

Let us honor those precious lives cut short in Tucson by praying for them and their families and by cherishing their memories. Let us pray for the full recovery of the wounded. And let us pray for our country. In times like this we need God’s guidance and the peace He provides. We need strength to not let the random acts of a criminal turn us against ourselves, or weaken our solid foundation, or provide a pretext to stifle debate.

America must be stronger than the evil we saw displayed last week. We are better than the mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy. We will come out of this stronger and more united in our desire to peacefully engage in the great debates of our time, to respectfully embrace our differences in a positive manner, and to unite in the knowledge that, though our ideas may be different, we must all strive for a better future for our country. May God bless America.



Falsely accusing the Tea Party of murder

Sean Collins

Liberal commentators’ rush to blame the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords on heated political rhetoric exposes their censoriousness and intolerance

America was shocked to hear on Saturday about the gunman who shot Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head at her public meeting outside a Safeway supermarket in Tucson. Nineteen others were wounded, six fatally, and as I write Giffords remains in critical condition.

As this sad and tragic event reverberated across America, political commentators sought to find a larger meaning. Even though all the facts weren’t in, a theme quickly emerged: this violent act was the result of a malicious tone in the country’s political discourse. A New York Times headline, ‘Bloodshed puts new focus on vitriol in politics’, summed up the prevalent discussion. Even Clarence Dupnik, the local sheriff in Tucson, was moved to make a broader observation: ‘The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.’ Rhetoric ‘may be free speech’, said Dupnik, ‘but it’s not without consequences’.

Dupnik and others did not identify any one group as the source of the vitriol, but that was really unnecessary: everyone knew that this referred to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. Many on the liberal-left felt no compunction to hold back. Before the name of the gunman was revealed, prominent blogger Markos Moulitsas tweeted: ‘Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin.’ Moulitsas also blamed ‘the American Taliban’, thus capitalising on an assassination attempt to get in a plug for his book of that title.

Superficially, the shooting at first seemed it might be a political act that directly implicated the Tea Party. Giffords is a Democrat, and she narrowly retained her seat in November after a heated contest against a Tea Party-backed candidate. When Giffords’ father was asked if she had any enemies, he replied, ‘Yeah, the whole Tea Party’.

Last year, Sarah Palin’s political action committee produced a map that showed a series of contested congressional districts with gun targets trained on them, and Giffords’ was one of them. Even Giffords herself seemed to have warned about violence, when she criticised Palin in March for using such gun-related imagery: ‘We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realise that there’s consequences to that.’

Given these observations, it was understandable for people to start to raise questions. There was obviously a political dimension to the attack, considering it was an attempt to kill an elected representative. But that did not necessarily mean that it was political in content, nor that a certain group could be blamed for it. And as time elapsed and we learned more about the accused gunman, the theory of a political act fell apart.

For it is becoming clear that 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner is a deranged individual, not a political ideologue. He did not espouse Tea Party ideology, nor is there any evidence that he was inspired by Palin. His ramblings on YouTube and MySpace were incoherent nonsense about mind control, grammar and creating a currency. If anything, as many conservatives pointed out, there was as much evidence pointing to Loughner being a disgruntled liberal (no Tea Partier would name The Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books, said Republican senator Lamar Alexander). It turned out that Moulitsas’ Daily Kos website also had Giffords on a target list with a bullseye, and a liberal constituent on his site declared her ‘dead to me’ - and so Kos moved promptly to pull both pages off the site.

In no way can Palin and the Tea Partiers be held responsible for this senseless act. Some might find Palin’s gun cross-hairs map distasteful, but it is a metaphor not an explicit exhortation for violence. For decades both parties have used military rhetoric to describe their political campaigns. The Democrats recently used maps with bullseyes and missiles on them (see here).

Even if the shooter had been a paid-up member of the Tea Party who declared ‘I did it because I saw Palin’s gun-sight map’, Palin and the Tea Party would not be culpable. Only the person who pulled the trigger is responsible. People are not brainwashed robots taking commands. Just as video games and movies do not cause individuals to undertake acts of violence (despite what ‘media effects theory’ says), politicians’ words do not automatically create killers. Between rhetoric and deed, there is a human being with a brain who makes a particular decision. In the case of Loughner, however, it appears we have a mentally unstable individual who was probably incapable of comprehending a political message, never mind acting on it.

As Loughner’s story emerged over the weekend, it became clear to most liberal commentators that he was a lunatic, not a messenger sent from the Tea Party. Yet that did not stop them from finding the organisation at fault. The front page of today’s Times (London) has a photo of a peace activist in Tucson with a placard saying ‘Hate Speech = Murder’. Gary Younge in the UK Guardian articulated an argument that was rapidly spreading in liberal circles: ‘True, the rampage apparently emerged from his confused, unstable and troubled mind. But it was also the byproduct of a polarised political culture underpinned by increasingly vitriolic, violent and vituperative rhetoric and symbolism…. The connection between this rhetoric and Saturday’s events are not causal but contextual. The shooter was not likely to be acting under direct instructions but in an atmosphere that made such an attack more likely rather than less.’

We see this same formulation repeated over and over: ‘Yes, Loughner may be a deranged individual, but the Tea Party’s violent rhetoric is still to blame.’ Rather than prove causality or influence, this liberal argument posits that such evidence is not necessary, because the danger is inherent in the ‘context’ or the ‘atmosphere’ itself. This approach is even worse than traditional effects theory, which at least has attempted to demonstrate a connection, however dubious, between media and actions. Now, the liberal argument presents a nebulous concept of ‘atmosphere’ with no links between groups or individuals and the sentiments that are assumed to prevail in politics. From this perspective, words somehow create a febrile, unpredictable ambience out of which strange events might mysteriously emerge.

Before Saturday’s assassination attempt on Giffords, the predominant liberal view tagged Tea Party members as gun-toting racists or lunatics. Media reports of Tea Partiers carrying guns or a sole person shouting a racial epithet were claimed to represent the entire movement. In April, former president Bill Clinton indicated that he thought anti-government protesters like the Tea Party were potentially violent. He used the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing to warn that Tea Party-style rhetoric could encourage a repeat.

Essentially, the liberal response to Loughner’s shooting spree was to force-fit it into this pre-existing narrative – even if the facts did not support it. That’s why Moulitsas could, without any evidence, quickly conclude ‘Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin’.

Their calls to silence the Tea Party are anti-democratic. The use of inflammatory language – including military imagery - is not only a long-standing practice used by all parties, but a right that should be defended. The current discussion of the Tea Party erroneously conflates ‘extremism’, ‘anti-government sentiment’ and ‘political passion’ with mindless acts of violence.

Unconfident of winning political debate and fearful of the distant masses, liberal elites are trying to use the Tucson shooting to defeat their opponents with smears rather than intellectual arguments. You don’t have to agree with the Tea Party (and I don’t) to see that it is important to oppose these false accusations of murder.



The Authoritarian Media

The New York Times has crossed a moral line

After the horrific shooting spree, the editorial board of New York Times offered a voice of reasoned circumspection: "In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions . . .," the paper counseled.

Here's how the sentence continued: ". . . from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East."

One of the first to point an accusatory finger at the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin was the Times's star columnist, Paul Krugman. Less than two hours after the news of the shooting broke, he opined on the Times website: "We don't have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was."

In the column, Krugman blames the massacre on "eliminationist rhetoric," which he defines as "suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary." He rightly asserts that "there isn't any place" for such rhetoric. But he falsely asserts that it is "coming, overwhelmingly, from the right."

But Krugman's assertion that such rhetoric comes "overwhelmingly from the right" is at best wilfully ignorant. National Review's Jay Nordlinger runs down some examples on the left:
Even before [George W.] Bush was elected president, the kill-Bush talk and imagery started. When Governor Bush was delivering his 2000 convention speech, Craig Kilborn, a CBS talk-show host, showed him on the screen with the words "SNIPERS WANTED." Six years later, Bill Maher, the comedian-pundit, was having a conversation with John Kerry. He asked the senator what he had gotten his wife for her birthday. Kerry answered that he had taken her to Vermont. Maher said, "You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone." (New Hampshire is an early primary state, of course.) Kerry said, "Or I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone."

(This is the same Kerry who joked in 1988, "Somebody told me the other day that the Secret Service has orders that if George Bush is shot, they're to shoot Quayle.")

Also in 2006, the New York comptroller, Alan Hevesi, spoke to graduating students at Queens College. He said that his fellow Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer, would "put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it."

Much more here


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This is rich

The New York Times has given liberal Congressman Paul Kanjorski, who called for the death of Republican Governor Rick Scott, a soapbox to preach about the need for “civility” in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings, and an end to “violent confrontation” and the negative “political climate”. Excerpt below:

... even in this post-9/11 world, the shooting of Ms. Giffords was especially shocking, because it was so personal. She was hunted down far from the symbolic halls of power while performing the most fundamental responsibility of her job, listening to her constituents.

We all lose an element of freedom when security considerations distance public officials from the people. Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.



The Progressive “climate of hate:” An illustrated catalog, 2000-2010

By Michelle Malkin

The Tucson massacre ghouls who are now trying to criminalize conservatism have forced our hand. They need to be reminded. You need to be reminded.

Confront them. Don’t be cowed into silence. And don’t let the media whitewash the sins of the hypocritical Left in their naked attempt to suppress the law-abiding, constitutionally-protected, peaceful, vigorous political speech of the Right.

They want to play tu quo que in the middle of a national tragedy? They asked for it. They got it.

A comprehensive illustrated primer in 8 parts:

V. LEFT-WING MOB HATE — campus, anti-war radicals, ACORN, eco-extremists, & unions
VIII. HATE: CRIMES — the ever-growing Unhinged Mugshot Collection

Much more HERE


Getting something free Isn't Freedom: Handouts to the Healthy Only Hurt

Ralph Peters

My childhood was spent in the hardscrabble world of Pennsylvania’s coal towns, where hard-working anthracite miners drove the economy. As my awareness of the world around me grew, from the 1950s into the early 1960s, I was struck again and again by the pride of the men who worked underground in a dangerous profession: Those who avoided work were considered a blot on the community, and being forced onto “the dole” for any reason humiliated not only the immediate family involved, but even distant relations. Men expected to earn their way, taking pride in maintaining their simple “company” houses as best they could, and dressing their wives and children anew each Easter.

Ours was no ideal society (beware anyone who tells you an ideal society can be fabricated from human material). It was, by and large, a dirty blue-collar world, dangerous below ground and rough-edged above. But those miners had a pride and shared a comradeship I only encountered again when I served in our military. When troubles came, family members aided one another. When the need was too great for blood kin to relieve, communities pulled together. The question in every mind regarding an injured miner was, “When will he be able to go back to work?” As brutal as it was, the coal man’s work let him stand up straight and look any man in the eye.

An incident that shocked me then only seems quaint today, given the collapse of our social values: I was, perhaps, eight. The year would have been 1960. My mother and aunt were visiting in Lehighton, and I had been dragged along, barricaded into the backseat behind parapets of comic books. A summer evening softened the harshness of a hillside street lined with row houses. Jingling and trailing exhaust, an ice-cream truck appeared, conjuring shrieking children from every side. We stood in line, I got my chocolate cone (vanilla was for sissies), and my mother opened her purse to pay. Just then, a boy of about my age, wearing a hand-me-down t-shirt, sidled up to my mother and asked, “Lady, would you buy me an ice-cream cone?” My mother got him one, but we all were shocked. The boy had begged. It simply wasn’t done. My mother’s family first enjoyed indoor plumbing when the boys came home from the Second World War with money in hand, and a family of twelve had crammed into a two-bedroom house—but no one begged for anything, not ever. You went hungry first.

Then came the well-intentioned, disastrous programs of The Great Society. By the end of the 1960s, the miner’s pride lay shattered and the dream of the able-bodied blue-collar worker back home was to qualify for “total disability,” while retaining sufficient health to do some illicit work on the side (for cash payment) to supplement the beer budget. Lawsuits came into fashion, too. The Great Society’s message was “You’re entitled.”

It was the most-seductive, most-destructive and most-pernicious message our government had sent since the Dred Scott case prolonged slavery. Instead of giving us a more-equitable society, it destroyed the urban-black family; erected dependency walls around ghettos, barrios and rust-belt company towns; vanquished the blue-collar work ethic in innumerable communities; and put us on the road to our present state of whining, demanding, parasitic, morbid obesity. Congratulations.

Again and again across the decades, I witnessed the narcotic, enslaving effects of a government-provided “free lunch” for able adults: Members of my own family wondered who they could sue for imagined injuries; obese military wives paralyzed health clinics by treating them as social hubs—dragging in their children for every minor affliction, since there was no cost to do so (a mere five-dollar-per-visit fee would have cleaned out those waiting rooms rapidly); and working-age folks back home employed their considerable reserves of ingenuity to beat the system any way they could.

In the historical blink of an eye, we went from a self-reliant and spirited society to a nation of cattle satisfied with a government-filled trough.

Another tragic aspect of this cancerous transformation was that the social reformers of the 1960s, as well as many professional leftists today, had and have humane, idealistic intentions: They sincerely want to do good to less-privileged citizens. The problems arise, first, because few of these elite do-gooders actually know any working men or women paid by the hour, and, second, a healthy society, like God, helps those who help themselves. The crusaders for “social justice” not only destroyed individual pride in work and the family’s longing for the community’s respect, but established something-for-nothing as the new societal norm. Utterly misunderstanding the nature of pride, they told themselves that “having” was the same as “earning.” But it is not.

Another transformative moment for me came when I was a captain in the Army. Stationed at Ft. Hood, I pursued a master’s degree on weekends and, when the all-too-short evenings were not consumed with studies or field duties, I worked on a novel about the Soviet military. I wrote it because I was frustrated by the dreary nature of our training manuals and the sleeping-pill briefings inflicted on our soldiers. I grasped that the only way to communicate Soviet organization and tactics effectively was to humanize them, to tell stories with human characters that would illustrate how Soviet doctrine was meant to work. It wasn’t much of a novel (although, to my astonishment, it would become a bestseller), but it was one hell of a training tool.

I considered donating the book to the Army for issue as a manual. Two things stopped me. First, I knew that so many bureaucratic mitts would be laid upon it that any value would quickly disappear from the red-ink-raped text. Second, and more important still, was my experience of soldiers. Given something for free—a training circular, for example—they placed no value on it and soon discarded it. But if they paid a few dollars (back then) for a paperback, they’d share it and hold on to it. Even a token charge assigned real value. So I published the book commercially, which resulted in it being taken seriously.

Meanwhile, our society underwent expectations creep as I marched along in uniform. Limited reforms in the 1990s trimmed some of the welfare system’s worst abuses, but the sense of entitlement on an increasing number of fronts crept upward from the Lumpenproletariat, through the blue-collar class, into white-collar realms. Simultaneously, we underwent a one-off economic expansion that permitted Congress to lavish money on select constituencies, while the medical world innovated and invented its way to stunning capabilities—and staggering costs. With disorienting speed, we went from a country that knew it had to pay its medical bills to one in which relatives believed it was their right to keep a comatose elder with no chance of recovery on life-support systems for weeks and months at a cost of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. And why not? For that family, there were no trade-offs, no calculations of relative value. Health-care was already, essentially, free. A society that doesn’t have to make choices, won’t make choices.

For their disgraceful part, Democrats appear determined to turn unemployment benefits into a new welfare system, with endless payments and no personal responsibility to find work—indeed, for low-skilled blue-collar workers, unemployment’s often a better deal than a job. Well, we could trim those unemployment rolls sharply, were we to learn from the left’s beloved FDR: In the 1930s, my uncles had to work for the pittance they received from the Civilian Conservation Corps—and they were glad to do it. Today, anyone who has collected more than 52 weeks of unemployment benefits should have to work four full days a week—with one day free for job-hunting--on urban clean-up, infrastructure rehabilitation, health services and environmental restoration projects—and the work involved should be serious labor, not typical “government work” that involves hanging out with a bored supervisor. If the unemployed lack skills, this is a good way to impart them.

Of course, Democrats would never support such a program, because unions would oppose it. And Democrats will gladly destroy millions of jobs among the constituents they claim to champion, as long as corrupt labor unions are protected and happy.

And Democrats have lied wildly about virtually every aspect of Obamacare. This isn’t “wealth redistribution,” it’s poverty redistribution, taking from the productive members of society to reward the unproductive and unwilling—The Great Entitled. In the end, we’ll all get less, and those of us who work will work harder for it.

In the 58 years during which I have been privileged to be an American citizen, I’ve witnessed many destructive trends initiated or accelerated by my self-absorbed generation, the children of the Great Society. But none of those trends — not our moral fracturing, the collapse of civility, nor even our addiction to debt — so disheartens me as our mass flight from a credo of personal responsibility for our actions.

Today, everyone is entitled to something; criminals are all victims; patients who abuse their health are entitled to my tax dollars; and hard work is regarded as, at best, a sometimes-necessary evil (when the government can’t be persuaded to send us a check). In the ‘sixties, Madison Avenue told us we deserved new cars. Today, our politicians tell us we’re entitled to eternal life, with all expenses paid. I’ve always regarded Ayn Rand as a bit too categorical and heartless, but she came closer to diagnosing the dangers to our society than any of the lauded and beautifully educated theorists who made poverty and sloth desirable.

A morally healthy society needs pride. And real pride comes from self-reliance, not charity. While an ethically sound society allows for the legitimate needs of the truly incapable, it does not reward the capable-but-feckless. Government only rarely should be the first answer to our problems (it owes us nothing beyond security against foreign intruders and domestic criminals, and the protections detailed in the Constitution).

Pride is essential to individual well-being and good citizenship. And pride comes from work and achievement, from respect for our God-given bodies and self-discipline, from debts paid and obligations honored—but it does not derive from hand-outs. We live in a paradoxical age in which artificially inflated self-esteem has been decoupled from self-help, in which rewards are redistributed from the productive to the willfully parasitical in the name of “justice.”

I consider myself neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but an independent conservative. That means that I value work, honesty, reliability, personal responsibility, conservation of our natural heritage (I have never understood why conservatives aren’t for conservation), good craftsmanship in my trade, individual freedom, patriotism that isn’t just about scoring points, and the personal integrity from which the citizen’s virtues flow. I love my country, even as I despise what our corrupt cartel of political parties has done to it. I would die for it.

We all know—and the best citizens honor—the observation that “Freedom isn’t free.” But when it comes to government hand-outs, free isn’t freedom. On the contrary, the more dependent the citizen becomes upon government for his or her personal needs and wants, the more enslaved that individual becomes (I’m bewildered by those who demand “reparations” for slavery, while advocating enthusiastically the new slavery of unearned benefits--an addiction every bit as destructive to the soul as crack or meth is to the body). If government rewards anyone, it should be those who work the hardest and contribute the most, not those who shout the loudest and do nothing. If I have the ability to work and won’t, I don’t even have a right to a scrap of bread.




Political opportunism never lets a crisis go to waste: "All of this angst over political rhetoric is so overwrought and overblown as to be laughable. There has never been a time in the history of this land that the language hasn’t been rough or partisan. Never. Pretending this is the worst it has ever been is simply historically inaccurate. It may be more obvious now because of mass communications and the democratization of opinion, but it isn’t at all any different than it ever has been."

Americans resist blame game over Arizona shooting, poll suggests: "Most Americans aren’t blaming a 'harsh political tone' for the horrific January 8 shooting in Arizona, in which a lone and seemingly deranged gunman allegedly shot a member of Congress and a handful of people nearby, killing six people. Despite efforts by some political talking heads to blame Republicans or conservatives for the actions of the shooter, it’s a relief that a majority of Americans aren’t buying that bull. Sixty percent of those polled by CBS News said the shootings were not related to any 'harsh political tone.'"

Two toxic bubbles in one: "Goldman Sachs’ $2 billion deal for Facebook, valuing the social networking site at $50 billion, combines the worst elements of the 1997-2000 and 2004-07 bubbles. It sets a grossly excessive valuation on an Internet company with modest revenues and prospects. It also involves an investment bank structuring a complex deal to maximize its own fees, while driving a truck through two major elements of financial services regulation. Add a third element, that it places a company controlling personal information on 500 million users in close business partnership with a Russian billionaire with a criminal record and you can see the deal is truly groundbreaking. It should also raise important red flags about current market conditions."

Iran: Regime rounds up Christians in crackdown: "Iran has arrested about 70 Christians since Christmas in a crackdown that demonstrates the limits of religious tolerance by Islamic leaders who often boast they provide room for other faiths. The latest raids have targeted grass-roots Christian groups Iran describes as 'hard-liners' who pose a threat to the Islamic state."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In the Climate of Hate, Palin and Tea Party are the Targets Not the Source

Those who purport to care about the tenor of political discourse don't help civil debate when they seize on any pretext to call their political opponents accomplices to murder


Shortly after November's electoral defeat for the Democrats, pollster Mark Penn appeared on Chris Matthews's TV show and remarked that what President Obama needed to reconnect with the American people was another Oklahoma City bombing. To judge from the reaction to Saturday's tragic shootings in Arizona, many on the left (and in the press) agree, and for a while hoped that Jared Lee Loughner's killing spree might fill the bill.

With only the barest outline of events available, pundits and reporters seemed to agree that the massacre had to be the fault of the tea party movement in general, and of Sarah Palin in particular. Why? Because they had created, in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's words, a "climate of hate."

Pima County, AZ Sheriff Clarence Dupnik held a press conference during which he blamed vitriolic political rhetoric for provoking the mentally unstable, and lamented Arizona's becoming the "mecca of prejudice and bigotry." Video courtesy of AFP.

The critics were a bit short on particulars as to what that meant. Mrs. Palin has used some martial metaphors—"lock and load"—and talked about "targeting" opponents. But as media writer Howard Kurtz noted in The Daily Beast, such metaphors are common in politics. Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's district on a list of congressional districts "bullseyed" for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language like Mr. Obama's famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun"—it's just evidence of high spirits, apparently. But if Republicans do it, it somehow creates a climate of hate.

There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clich├ęs. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source.

Jared Lee Loughner, the man suspected of a shooting spree that killed a Federal Judge and critically wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, had left a trail of online videos in which he railed against the government. WSJ's Neil Hickey reports.

American journalists know how to be exquisitely sensitive when they want to be. As the Washington Examiner's Byron York pointed out on Sunday, after Major Nidal Hasan shot up Fort Hood while shouting "Allahu Akhbar!" the press was full of cautions about not drawing premature conclusions about a connection to Islamist terrorism. "Where," asked Mr. York, "was that caution after the shootings in Arizona?"

Set aside as inconvenient, apparently. There was no waiting for the facts on Saturday. Likewise, last May New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and CBS anchor Katie Couric speculated, without any evidence, that the Times Square bomber might be a tea partier upset with the ObamaCare bill.

So as the usual talking heads begin their "have you no decency?" routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel?

To paraphrase Justice Cardozo ("proof of negligence in the air, so to speak, will not do"), there is no such thing as responsibility in the air. Those who try to connect Sarah Palin and other political figures with whom they disagree to the shootings in Arizona use attacks on "rhetoric" and a "climate of hate" to obscure their own dishonesty in trying to imply responsibility where none exists. But the dishonesty remains.

To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America's political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder. Where is the decency in that?



A Federal Judge is furious at the way a Liberal Sheriff and Media are Exploiting the shooting

"He should be strung up." The speaker: one very angry federal judge furious at the cynicism displayed by both Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and the mainstream media in the shootings that took the life of one federal judge, wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and killed or wounded 17 others.

The judge, a personal friend of the murdered federal judge John Roll, declined to be cited by name but was brimming with anger at what he termed the "cynicism and downright evil" of the liberal media's "cynical attempt" to blame conservative talk radio and television for the murder of the only public official not to survive the shootings -- the conservative Catholic Roll, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush.

The judge, who assigned blame for the shootings to "a lone nut," was bitter over Dupnik's much televised departure from his job as sheriff to relate the facts of the shooting and instead start "grabbing the limelight for publicity."

Said the furious judge: "And though terribly tragic though all of this is, how ironic that the one constitutional officer to die was a conservative, Republican-appointed federal judge. Will anyone point out the hypocrisy of liberal media on that one? Or is it a fact that is just too inconvenient?"

Roll was described by his grief-stricken friend and colleague as "a conservative, values type Catholic who attended mass almost daily. When John and I first met, we discussed religion and culture at dinner. Just the two of us. I introduced him to Richard John Neuhaus's First Things, and he later subscribed."

The judge's fury comes as both Sheriff Dupnik and the liberal media are trying to blame everyone from the Tea Party to Sarah Palin to, in Dupnik's words, "the crap that comes out on radio and TV" for the murders. Meaning, of course, conservative talk radio and Fox News. While Arizona Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva tries to say that Palin was responsible for the "political tone and tenor" that led to the rampage, the judge says that in fact federal judges receive threats all the time ranging from "disappointed litigants and prisoners" to "nuts."

The judge believes the alleged Arizona killer, Jared Lee Loughner, repeatedly described by those who knew him as mentally unstable, was decidedly in the latter category and therefore the kind of person who poses a special threat to federal judges or any public official -- the "lone nut who doesn't make a specific threat."

The judge sees Dupnik, the man Politico identifies as "the liberal sheriff," disgracefully using his time in the tragedy's spotlight not to do his job but gain publicity by helping the liberal media exploit the killings by a "nut" to exploit a liberal political agenda -- gliding over the hard news fact that the only constitutional officer to die in the attack was a conservative Republican.

It was noted that during the controversy over the passage by Arizona of a bill enforcing federal immigration law, Dupnik sought out national media to essentially call the state's governor and legislature racists

The judge's angry remarks mean one thing: it's time for plain talk:

LEFTIST POLITICAL philosophy -- whether at its Communist extremes or with its weakest American liberal strains -- is about one thing and one thing only: man's domination of other men. Control. And in the relentless drive to dominate, leftists have a brutal, well-on-the-record history of two things.

First, deliberately and willfully committing political violence in the name of a leftist cause.

Second, blaming that violence on others -- the "somebody else made me do it" defense. Or, if the violence was perpetrated by a non-political crazy -- a "lone nut" in the judge's words -- cynically ascribing this violence to the favorite leftist political target -- and yes, target is the word -- of the moment.

How does the leftist political violence addiction work? Let's list a few examples.

• Racial Violence: Yes, those were leftists underneath the hoods and robes of the Ku Klux Klan. As mentioned in this space repeatedly, the Klan was founded as what liberal Columbia University historian Eric Foner called a "military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party…It aimed to…reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life." Using the Klan as a power base, the left elected hundreds of state legislators, congressmen, U.S. Senators and governors -- Democrats who in turn took a "progressive" stance on issues of labor and economics for the so-called "working man." All in the interest of controlling blacks.

With the rise of the Civil Rights movement, not all African-Americans were enamored with the non-violent protests of Dr. Martin Luther King. Others turned to violence, to seeking control just as the white Klan did. Yet as with the Klan, these black activists stayed within the political framework of leftist politics -- in this case the politics of control as advocated not only by Malcolm X and radical activists Stokely Carmichael, but by the writings of James Cone.

Cone, portrayed as a distinguished academic by the left because of his teaching position as Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, came to broader fame with the emergence of President Obama's infamous pastor Jeremiah Wright, a Cone disciple. In his new book Radical-In-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, journalist Stanley Kurtz cites Cone's call for the goal of black intellectuals to "aid in the destruction of America," a challenge to violence Cone presents in Black Theology and Black Power.

Gone is King's famous rhetoric about the importance of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and judging all men by the content of their character. Instead Cone uses the rhetoric of violence, referring to whites as "the oppressor" or "whitey." These indeed were the sentiments behind racial riots in the African-American sections of Los Angeles in 1992, most famously captured on video when white truck driver Reginald Denny was pulled from his truck by four blacks and almost beaten to death.

Kurtz cites the work of black Marxist Marable Manning and his determination to tie race and class issues together, resulting in the need for blacks to reject the "legitimacy of the State" …which is exactly what was happening when Reginald Denny drove his truck through South Central Los Angeles in 1992.

Arizona is famously ground zero in the illegal immigration fight -- and leftist violence is ruling the day. This time the cause in which violence is given a pass by the left belongs to Latinos -- and the repeated murders that have now resulted in U.S. government signs in southern Arizona warning Americans there own country is no longer safe is a perfect example of the "so-what" attitude the left has about political violence. The Obama administration could do something about this immediately by sealing the border -- yet consistently refuses for political reasons. Political violence when leftist race goals are at stake? No problem.

• Labor Violence: "We kind of agree with Mao that power comes largely from the barrel of a gun," says Obama "Manufacturing Czar" Ron Bloom. Bloom is, surprise, surprise, a former SEIU and United steelworkers official. Long before Mao, however, American labor was practicing political violence well-admired by the American left. From the Chicago Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which a bomb was exploded killing eight policemen during a strike, plus an unknown number of civilians, all the way down the years to the disappearance of Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa in 1975 -- through to ex-SEIU chief Andy Stern's famous vow on how to bring about political change (""[W]e prefer to use the power of persuasion, but if that doesn't work we use the persuasion of power") violence or the threat of it has been a regular feature of the American left.

• Student Violence: A classic example from the 1960's was the confrontation between then-Governor Ronald Reagan and radical leftists who had forcibly taken over a park owned by the University of California at Berkeley. The university, which owned the property, planned to build a sports field. The leftists had another idea -- a park. A standoff resulted, with the leftists making it plain they intended to stay and simply appropriate the land. Reagan saw this as an issue of property rights -- the university had duly bought and paid for the property and were free to develop as they wished.

Eventually almost 800 sheriff's deputies and law enforcement personnel faced off against some 6,000 leftists, the latter sending a shower of bricks, rocks and bottles down on the authorities. The deputies answered the violence with buckshot and nightsticks. One student was killed, another blinded.

These type of confrontations were a regular feature of the 1960s, with leftists repeatedly employing violence in marches against everyone from college officials to the Pentagon, where one student set himself on fire.

Much more HERE


Two Leftist writers (below) are dubious about the Leftist hate speech resulting from the Giffords shooting

The paucity of hope: "This tragedy has prompted not reflection but just another round of sparring. Some liberals quick to point the finger are linking 22-year-old shooter Jared Loughner to the Tea Party — showing the same lack of restraint and tendency to demonize their ideological opponents that they accuse the right of having. Some conservatives, meanwhile, were more concerned with the political consequences of this tragedy than with the possible impact of their rhetoric. Is this a moment for the president to give a big speech? The suggestion feels old-hat."

The Arizona shooting is not a product of right-wing rage: "Conservatives are furious that the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords is being pinned on them. Their indignation is justified. The mania of Giffords' would-be assassin may be slightly more right-wing than left-wing, but on the whole it is largely disconnected from even loosely organized extreme right-wing politics. The rhetorical attempts to connect Jared Loughner to mainstream politics take two forms, neither convincing."



In defense of inflamed rhetoric: "For as long as I’ve been alive, crosshairs and bull’s-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such 'inflammatory' words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I’ve listened to, read — and even written! — vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun."

Politicians miss no opportunity to exploit Tucson shooting: "Basically, Loughner’s crime can’t be blamed on anybody but himself, and his writings and actions lay quite a solid groundwork for a criminal insanity defense. But never doubt the readiness of the usual suspects to piggyback favorite pre-packaged authoritarian bills on the emotional reaction to the shooting."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Was it immigration policy that got Rep. Giffords shot?

Based on zero evidence, there have been many attempts to link the Giffords shooting to Arizona's policies towards illegal immigration. Some such attempts are reported in the excerpts below

The final paragraph is true in a way that its speaker probably did not intend. He is right that America is currently "practicing the politics of division and subtraction, not multiplication and addition", but who is to blame for that?

It wouldn't be a Democratic party that pushed through a vast healthcare bill that was clearly unwanted by the majority of Americans (something confirmed on Nov. 2 last year) and a party that has not shown one sign of that "reaching across the aisle" which Obama promised in his election campaign, would it? It took the defeats of last November to wring the first compromise out of them.

And which party tried its damnedest to push through the DREAM act when at least two thirds of Americans are opposed to any form of amnesty for illegals?

Another blogger makes similar points but at greater length. And, as noted here Giffords was in fact closer to the GOP policy on illegal immigration than she was to mainstream Democrats. It was a "secure the borders" politician who was shot -- JR

Even before the shooting of a U.S. congresswoman Saturday, the state of Arizona was in the throes of a convulsive political year that had come to symbolize a bitter partisan divide across much of America.

The motives of the alleged shooter, who wounded Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six people in Tucson, are not known and they may not be political.

But after an acrimonious election in November that followed months of bitter exchanges, politics looms large in the wake of the shooting and a local sheriff pointedly blamed hateful political rhetoric for inciting violence.

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told a news conference.

"The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

The spark in Arizona's political firestorm was the border state's move to crack down on illegal immigration last summer, a bill proposed by conservative lawmakers and signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.

The law known as SB 1070 "superheated the political divide more than I've ever seen it in Arizona," said Bruce Merrill, a longtime political analyst and pollster at Arizona State University.

A majority of Arizonans supported it, but opponents and many in the large Hispanic population felt it was unconstitutional and would lead to discrimination.

As the law went into effect, U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and opponent of SB 1070, closed a district office in Yuma after staff found a shattered window and a bullet inside.

Giffords favored a softer approach to illegal immigrants and was expected to push for comprehensive immigration reform in the Congress that was sworn in this week in Washington....

Art Hamilton, who served 26 years in the state House and 18 years as its Democratic leader, said there is "no question" that Arizona is at a low point in its governance. "I do believe we see a point in the history of this state that we're practicing the politics of division and subtraction, not multiplication and addition," Hamilton said.



The Left Hypocritically Exploits Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' Shooting

The fact that the shooter is an atheist will burn them up, though. If Christians were as dishonest as the Left, they would be blaming the shooting on the white-anting of community morality by the anti-religious Left -- JR

Just hours after Saturday’s tragic shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona, numerous news sources on the left from CNN to the Huffington Post were casting blame upon Sarah Palin, Tea Parties, and Second Amendment supporters. Hoping the shooter had right-leaning views, the Left immediately started portraying Jared Lee Loughner as a right wing nut. Even as information trickled in revealing Loughner had some left-leaning political views, the left ignored it and ran with their own spin, labeling him a product of the right.

Loughner is far from a right winger. A former high school classmate of Loughner’s described him as “…left wing, quite liberal...a pot head and into rock, like Hendrix, The Doors, Anti-Flag.” Loughner’s list of favorite books on his MySpace page include The Communist Manifesto, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Two YouTube videos he posted include numerous rants about the government and mind control, and reveal he does not believe in God. In one video he states, “No! I won’t trust in God!” Another of his 'favorite' videos shows a masked man burning the American flag.

Ignoring these facts about his political persuasions, the Left instead has tried to turn the focus of the shooting to blaming the right and Sarah Palin, trotting out a map Palin created last year “targeting” incumbent Congressional candidates. This is outrageous. There is no comparison whatsoever between “targeting” members of Congress for defeat in elections and attempting to murder them. Right-leaning politicians and activists do not approve of murder. There is also no indication Loughner was inspired by Palin’s map, considering his political leanings come from the anarcho-left.

In order to justify that desperate stretch, the left ignores the fact that one of their own, defeated Arizona Democrat Congressman Harry Mitchell, ran a campaign ad against JD Hayworth in 2006 featuring Hayworth in the crosshairs of a rifle.

The Democrat Sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, a partisan who has long fought with conservatives over enforcing illegal immigration laws, implied Saturday that the actions of Loughner were akin to Arizona’s stance on SB 1070 and illegal immigration. "We have become the capital, the mecca for prejudice and bigotry," Dupnik told reporters. He also said some of the anti-government sentiments in the media may have influenced Loughner.

The Left embraced Dupnik’s politically motivated smear of right-leaning viewpoints, using it to associate Loughner’s shootings with Tea Party activism. The liberal blog Blue Wave News posted an article entitled, “Tea Party Rhetoric: Nothing better than a dead liberal,” using one lone woman’s inappropriate remarks on video to justify lumping the entire Tea Party movement in with Loughner’s shootings. In actuality, Loughner has little in common with the Tea Party. His dislike of the American flag, his choice of The Communist Manifesto as a favorite book and his anarchist ramblings all point to someone on the other side of the political spectrum. The Tea Party’s biggest issues have been government spending and Obamacare, and Giffords was regularly protested by Tea Parties for her support of Obamacare. There is zero evidence that Loughner had any concern about those issues.

The left is using the shootings to call for stricter gun control laws, placing blame on Arizona’s strong pro-Second Amendment laws for the shootings. At this point, it is not fully confirmed whether Loughner broke any gun laws, so it is premature to assume that stricter gun laws would have stopped him. He has a history of arrests and convictions for various criminal activities, and was removed from community college for disruptions. There is no reason to believe he would have respected gun laws.

Most likely the real story is that Loughner is a seriously disturbed individual who fits the profile of a psychopath and was motivated by a number of factors, none of them being conservative ideology. Did the values pushed by the left of moral relativism, self-indulgence promoting acceptance of his imbibing of illicit drugs, and “tolerance” of hate-filled totalitarian books like The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf while dismissing the teachings of the Bible contribute to Loughner’s delusions? Perhaps.

Loughner is behind bars, so we may find out someday. Meanwhile, as more evidence comes out revealing Loughner has ties to the left, not the right, expect the left to suddenly blame his actions on mental illness.



Left-Wing Blame Game Won't Work With Arizona Tragedy

Carol Platt Liebau

As the nation reeled from news that a gunman had shot a group of Arizona citizens including Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, an all-too-predictable response emanated from some on the left. Despite news reports suggesting that the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was simply insane – a devotee of Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler, who believed in mind control and “conscience dreaming,” and who was convinced he would become the treasurer of a new currency – many left-wingers sought to attribute his despicable acts to a conservative political agenda.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was.” Democrat Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey denounced “an aura of hate” fed “by certain people on Fox News.” The National Democratic Jewish Council insisted that “building levels of vitriol in our discourse . . . have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired.” ....

Those playing the blame game against all facts and logic are following a well-worn precedent. Anyone who remembers the Clinton years will recall that the then-President used the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal courthouse in April of 1995 as a way to discredit conservative talk radio – the voices that had just played a central role in helping Republicans retake the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years.

In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, President Clinton condemned “loud and angry voices” in talk radio for “spreading hate and leaving the impression by their very words that violence is acceptable.” Thereafter, the Detroit Free Press published an interview with the President urging talk radio how hosts to reject all rhetoric “fostering hate and division and encouraging violence.”.....

This time, however, the Left is destined to fail. Here’s why:

First, now there is Fox News and the conservative blogosphere, neither of which existed in April of 1995. They enable the widespread dissemination of information rebutting efforts to equate Loughner with garden-variety conservatives or Tea Partiers – or blame his acts on the statements of public figures. For example, when left-wing bloggers invoked a bulls-eye graphic that had appeared on a year-old campaign map from Sarah Palin as a reason for the violence, right-learning bloggers like VerumSerum were quick to point out that similar graphics have been used by the Democratic Leadership Council. Liberals no longer have the media playing field all to themselves.

Second, at least some respected media figures have wearied of the ongoing efforts to use national tragedies for partisan political gain. Howard Fineman and Howard Kurtz – neither of them conservatives – have called a halt to “opening rhetorical fire,” as Kurtz put it, in the wake of such attacks.

Third, almost 16 years after Oklahoma City – and after seeing similar gamesmanship in the wake of crimes like the Holocaust Museum shooting -- Americans have become skeptical of cynical efforts to stigmatize entire ideologies based only on the actions of lone, clearly deranged criminals. That’s especially true where, as here, there’s no real evidence that the suspect actually subscribed to any coherent political creed.

Finally, the political climate has changed, drastically, since 1995. Many (if not most) Americans have just endured two years in which a liberal majority has governed against their own expressed wishes. By doing so, liberal politicians – from the President on down -- have aroused widespread, deep-seated opposition among the electorate to an unprecedented degree. In such a climate, people will find it easier to distinguish between insane criminals and law-abiding dissenters from government policy, because they are likelier than ever to be dissenters themselves.

Given all of this, those on the left would be best advised to avoid cheap blame-seeking for political gain. If they persist in the dishonorable effort to discredit the beliefs of millions of Americans based on the criminal actions of just one, ironically, they may hurt their own cause most, further convincing Americans of what so many already know: That the left is simply out of touch.




AZ: Shooting suspect charged: "The United States on Sunday charged Jared Lee Loughner, the man suspected of killing six people and wounding a congresswoman in Arizona, with five criminal counts, including attempted assassination. Loughner, 22, faces one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress; two counts of killing an officer of the United States; and two counts of attempted killing of an officer of the United States." [Apparently the nine-year-old girl who died, not being a member of the political class, wasn't important enough to bother with charging him over]

NJ: Christie targets Medicaid, benefits as deficit looms: "New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may propose cutting Medicaid spending and employee benefits to help close a $10.5 billion budget deficit, even as he considers contributing $512 million to the state’s underfunded pension. ... New Jersey has run consecutive annual deficits for a decade. The governor told reporters last month that balancing the next budget will be even tougher than with the current plan."

CA: Brown to unveil “painful” budget: "Gov. Jerry Brown has told Californians to sit down, fasten their seat belts and brace themselves for the budget proposal he will unveil Monday to address a deficit that could top $28 billion. ... Brown has offered no specifics on his budget proposal and would not confirm that he would seek an extension of tax increases when asked by reporters. Budget insiders and many others at the Capitol said they expect him to do so, and they also expect him to propose many of the same deep cuts to services like health care and welfare that were backed by Schwarzenegger the past few years."

Limited government? Keep an eye on Florida: "With both the federal and state governments in the United States seemingly headed the way of Greece, Florida appears to have the best prospects among the states for limited government. Florida already is among the lowest in per capita state government spending, and in state government employees per capita, and is one of the few states without a personal income tax."

Nixin’ Kennedys: "Ted Kennedy is gone, but the late senator’s family’s political power is alive and well. The History Channel has cancelled an eight-part miniseries, starring Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy, after lobbying by the Kennedy clan, upset with their portrayal, the L.A. Times reported."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Sunday, January 09, 2011

The shooting of Rep. Giffords

Rep. Giffords appears to be one of the more decent people in the Democratic party and I join with many others in deploring what happened to her. I made my comments on the issues raised by the shooting earlier today (below)


Horrors! A conservative GOP!

I hope the writer below is right but I am not so sure. Were the Nov., 2010 election results an endorsement of Tea Party ideas by a majority of Americans? I greatly doubt it. I think that in 2010 a yellow dog could have defeated the Democrats after their many unpopular moves -- but most centrally, their failure to bring unemployment down. In British and Australian politics there is a saying that opposition parties don't win elections, governing parties lose them. I think that was true in the USA of Nov. 2010. The one comfort is that Obama and his party show no signs of learning from their setback, so should still be unpopular in Nov. 2012 -- JR

An alarm has been sounded for Republicans who advocate big-government, abortion, gay marriage, and gun control: Take heed! The GOP is being taken over by (gasp!) actual conservatives!

Offering a review of Monday's debate between the four individuals vying for the mantle of RNC chair, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank first belittled, then bemoaned, the lack of ideological diversity among the candidates:

"There were two white women, two white men and the African American incumbent on the dais, but not a shade of ideological diversity. As a debate, it was about as successful as Carlson's time on Dancing With the Stars. As a cultural indicator, it was extraordinary. [Grover] Norquist and [Tucker] Carlson, serving as cardinals of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, administered a long series of loyalty checks, and the candidates were nearly dissent-free. Abortion? All opposed. Lower taxes? All in favor. Gay marriage? All opposed. Cutting spending? All in favor."

It is clear from Milbank's article that he expects his readers to be as shocked and dismayed as he is by the ideological homogeneity that seems to have infected the GOP. The question is, why? Why should Milbank or anyone else be surprised – in the wake of a staggering electoral victory fueled in no small part by a grassroots movement pushing back-to-basics constitutional conservatism – that aspiring leaders of the GOP all agree upon basic conservative principles like limited government, fiscal discipline, and support for traditional family values? The whole idea behind the party system, after all, is to provide a forum for like-minded individuals to work together in the pursuit of shared ideals, and to help the voting public discern which party best represents their own views, interests, and policy goals.

Unfortunately, in recent years this has rarely been the case. Hypocrisy – while certainly nothing new in human affairs – had badly infected the Republican Party. The party of limited government and fiscal discipline had aided and abetted an explosive growth of the size of government and the national debt, and the self-appointed guardian of traditional family values had been decimated by a string of shameful scandals.

It is largely due to this hypocrisy that the American people were so hungry for change in 2008. Even many who would normally not agree with Mr. Obama's policy positions felt that something different was needed in Washington; any change had to be better than more of the same. Thus the American people elected a man with unwavering faith in the superior capability of Big Government, a man who believes in the redistribution of wealth and supports abortion on demand, a man who is a reliable friend to organized labor and the environmental lobby, and a proponent of nationalized health care. In short, the American people elected a Democrat.

If Obama had won the Presidency under this mantle only to slash entitlement spending, appoint an anti-Roe justice to the Supreme Court, ignore his Speaker's cry for comprehensive health care reform, and backpedal on the push for cap-and-trade legislation, he would have been painted as a hypocrite and a disgrace to his party. There are assumptions that people make about what it means to be a Democrat, and the agenda that a Democrat is likely to pursue while in office. The same is true of Republicans. This is why political parties go to the trouble of drafting a party platform in the first place, to clarify what they stand for, what principles guide their leadership and inform their decisions, and how they view the relationship between citizens and their government.

How one answers these questions determines (in America, anyway) on which side of the aisle one falls politically. But for far too long there has been little to no correlation between what GOP said it stands for and what it actually does. Thus this "ideological cleansing" of which Milbank complains may actually help eliminate the cognitive dissonance that the American people have experienced as a result of Republicans saying one thing and doing another.

If the GOP is successful in achieving basic ideological unity within its party, then the American people will have an easier time determining if the conservative approach to government is something they support, and the charlatans inside the Beltway will have a harder time gumming up the works with politics as usual.



Advice for the new Congress from the original conservative insurgent

By Marc A. Thiessen

This week, as conservative insurgents take their seats in Congress, I can't help but think that my old boss, the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), would be thrilled. Before there was a Tea Party there was the New Right, and Helms was its most successful leader. He turned his surprise election in 1972 into a three-decade run driving the Washington establishment crazy. Were Helms still alive, he would have some advice for the GOP class of 2010.

* Ignore the national media. Once when the New York Times wrote a nasty editorial about Helms, I drafted a vigorous rebuttal. Helms smiled at me kindly and said, "Son, just so you understand: I don't care what the New York Times says about me, and nobody I care about cares what the New York Times says about me." The liberal elites were powerless over Helms because he simply did not care what they said. Neither should you.

* Embrace obstruction. Before they dubbed Republicans the "Party of No," the Left dubbed Helms "Senator No." He wore the moniker as a badge of honor. He was unafraid to block bad nominees, bad legislation and bad treaties. If you do the same, the federal bureaucracy will come to fear you - and you will stop bad things from happening without lifting a finger. One State Department official reportedly kept a picture of Helms on the wall behind his desk - a reminder that "that S.O.B. is always looking over my shoulder."

* Helms understood that some ideas before the Senate are irredeemably flawed and need to be killed. But Helms also practiced "constructive obstruction" - such as the time he blocked the confirmation of all U.S. ambassadors until the Clinton administration agreed to negotiate on his State Department reform legislation. Eventually the administration got its ambassadors and Helms got the dismantlement of the U.S. Information Agency and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Learn to obstruct constructively.

* Learn the rules. Helms was able to say no because he mastered the rules. If you do the same, you can tie the Senate in knots and force important votes. Once, Helms was doing just that in late December, when a senator approached him and said "Jesse, if you don't relent we're going to be here singing 'Silent Night.' " Helms replied, "If I don't get my vote, we're going to be singing 'Auld Lang Syne.' " He got his vote.

* Don't be afraid to wage losing battles. Helms often said, "The good Lord does not expect you to win, he just expects you to try." At times you might find yourself a minority not just in Congress, but within your own party. Who cares? Do what you believe is right. Like Helms, you will find that if you stand on principle, many battles you lose today you will win years later as the country moves your way.

* Be a happy warrior. Helms was once asked by a reporter if he would allow Massachusetts Gov. William Weld to be confirmed as ambassador to Mexico. Helms winked and replied: "No way, Jose." Take tough stands, but do it with a smile instead of a scowl.

* Be kind. Helms was hated by the left but beloved in the U.S. Senate. He always invited the Senate pages for ice cream in the senators' dining room, and he would keep the king of Jordan waiting if he saw a group of tourists in the Capitol who looked lost ("Have you come to visit your money?" he would ask). He was kind to liberals and conservatives, senators and elevator operators, and especially to his own staff, whom he referred to as his "Senate family." A reputation for kindness will serve you well - especially when you are forcing colleagues to take uncomfortable votes or miss their flights home.

* Focus on constituent service. The people of North Carolina gave Helms the freedom to fight for his beliefs, even when they disagreed, because they knew that no one would fight harder for them when they needed him. You won't be around long to oppose runaway spending if you don't making helping your constituents your top priority.

* Don't forget values. Helms was a spending hawk, but he also believed that "we will not long survive as a nation unless and until we restore the moral and spiritual principles that made America great in the first place." As you fight for fiscal responsibility, don't forget to fight for the unborn and the traditional family, which is the foundation of our society.
Jesse Helms was the original conservative insurgent. Follow his example, and you will leave a lasting mark in Washington. You may even shut down a government agency or two.



Government causes Conflict

Human differences such as race, ethnicity, religion, and language have always been sources of conflict. Despite arguments to minimize the importance of these differences, people still exhibit preferences in these areas when choosing a spouse, friend, business partner, employee, neighborhood, and other associations. People do not associate randomly. Efforts to deny such assortative behavior in the name of political correctness are foolhardy.

Far more worthy of our efforts is to acknowledge, not necessarily sanction, assortative behavior as natural. We should ask: How can we minimize the probability that such preferences will produce conflict?

The Marriage Market

Examination of marriage can provide concrete insights for our discussion. Like many other transactions, marriage is a contractual relationship where goods and services are exchanged under mutually agreeable terms. Most people tend to seek marriage partners similar to themselves in race, ethnicity, religion, language, and socioeconomic status. It may be tempting to dismiss marriage choices as trivial but, given their impact on society, that is utterly erroneous.

Highly educated people tend to marry other highly educated people. High-income people (or those with prospects for high income) tend to marry other high-income people. Just these two aspects of choice create an income distribution more skewed than would be the case if high-income and highly educated people chose opposites as partners. Thus marriage decisions have an important impact on society.

Despite the widespread use of race, ethnicity, religion, and other characteristics as criteria in mate selection, there is very little social conflict or controversy in the matter. It is such a nonissue that people hardly ever think of the marriage contract as an activity rooted in discriminatory choice. Moreover, if the discriminatory features of marriage were brought to people’s attention, they would probably respond, “So what!”

One suspects that marriage decisions pose few social problems because they are voluntary. Other than sanctioning the contract once it has been made, government plays only a trivial part unless there is a dispute. Interestingly enough, we only observe conflict in the marriage market when people use government or quasigovernment institutions, like the church, to impose restrictions according to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or religion.

Different Preferences, No Conflict

Freedom of choice can be found elsewhere. Just as people have strong preferences in race, ethnicity, and religion, they have strong preferences in goods and services. Some people strongly prefer Cadillacs while others prefer Volvos. Despite those differences, we seldom hear of conflict between the two groups. People simply purchase the cars they prefer.

In fact free markets are a great leveler of men; personal attributes have less importance. When a person buys a Cadillac or Volvo, his least concern is the race, ethnicity, or religion of the workers who produced the car. The person’s greatest concern is likely to be whether he has gotten the highest quality car for the lowest possible price.

Whenever government allocates resources, there is increased potential that preferences will give rise to conflict. Education is a good typically financed and produced by government, and as such it has been the focal point of considerable conflict. Some parents prefer that their children have a morning prayer in school. Other parents have the opposite preference. Both preferences appear to be legitimate exercises of parental prerogatives.

The problem arises because when schools are publicly produced, they will either have prayers or no prayers. Parents who prefer morning prayers must enter into political conflict with those who do not. There is a lot at stake. Parents who lose will have their kids in a public school not to their liking. Then the alternative is for parents to bear the financial burden of tuition at a nonpublic school, plus be forced through property taxes to pay for public school services for which they have little use.

A conflict-reducing method, if education is publicly financed, is to have it privately produced. Each parent could be given a voucher equivalent to the per capita expenditure on education. Parents who wished for their children to have a morning prayer would simply enroll them in such a school, and parents who preferred otherwise would enroll their children in an appropriate school. There would be little scope for education conflict between the two groups of parents. Instead of adversaries, they could be friends.

The primary reason government allocation of resources enhances the potential for conflict is that most government activity is a zero-sum game whereby one person’s gain can only be achieved through another person’s sacrifice. Parents who win the political struggle for prayers in school would benefit at the expense of those who were against prayers in school, and vice versa. By contrast, with market provision of goods and services we have a positive-sum game where everybody wins. This applies to any good or service. If the choice between Cadillac and Volvo were decided collectively, we would witness the same kind of conflict that arises over school prayer. Instead of people with differing tastes in automobiles getting their way and living in harmony with one another, those with strong preferences for Volvos would have to organize with like-minded people against those who had strong preferences for Cadillacs.

Race and Ethnicity: Government versus Markets

People have racial or ethnic preferences and will seek to indulge them. They will do so whether there is market or government allocation of resources. However, there is a key distinction. With government allocation part of the costs of preference indulgence tends to be borne by people other than the decision maker. With preference indulgence under market allocation, the decision maker tends to bear a greater proportion of the cost.

Suppose for purposes of simplicity that a black worker has the same productivity as a white worker, but the black worker offers his services for $5 while the white worker demands $8. If the decision maker is a government bureaucrat, the indulgence of his discriminatory preferences for the white worker is virtually free. It is taxpayers who bear the burden of paying $8 rather than $5; the bureaucrat takes home the same pay whether he discriminates or not; his cost of indulging his racial preferences is zero.

By contrast, in the private sector, the owner paying $8 for the work that could have been done for $5 an hour means a lower residual claim of $3. The cost of racial preferences is directly borne by the decision maker. Basic economic theory postulates that the higher the cost of doing something, the less it will be done. Therefore, it follows that we expect to see less racial discrimination in the private sector than the public sector. Similarly, when the political atmosphere changes to favor discrimination in favor of blacks, we expect to see more of it in the public sector.

The fact that it costs something to discriminate explains why those who wish to engage in it typically seek some form of government intervention. Intervention makes discrimination less costly to the discriminator than otherwise. The essential ingredient of intervention that makes discrimination less costly is restriction of peaceable, voluntary exchange.