Monday, September 24, 2012
A stylistic change I've made recently is to eschew the terms "liberal" and "progressive" when writing about leftists and instead call them, well, leftists.
A brief explanation follows.
F. A. Hayek used the term "liberal" quite liberally in "The Road To Serfdom". He was referring to classical liberals - those who advocate individual freedom and believe that an individual derives his rights, if not from God, then from nature, and certainly not from government. Further, a true liberal believes that no individual can trespass upon another individual's natural rights. Health care, for example, is not a right since it requires the appropriation of the rights of other individuals.
Today's leftists favor the illiberalism of collectivism over individual freedom. They are not liberals.
Social progress describes the general historical trend toward a more just and moral society. This trend has advanced, in large part, due to the liberation of individuals from centralized control - monarchies, caliphates, empires, communist and fascist dictatorships, independent payment advisory boards and the like. The leftist desire for top down power is thus regressive, not progressive.
Leftists have successfully hijacked much of the language, contorting the true meaning of words*. I will not help advance their agenda by calling them what they're not.
* Jonah Goldberg gives the subject his usual rollicking, in-depth treatment with his latest book "The Tyranny of Cliches".
Saturday, September 22, 2012
The official response of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the satirical Broadway play, "The Book Of Mormon" :
The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.
The reaction of Muslims to the You Tube trailer "Innocence of Muslims", a short video critical of Islamism.
Mark Steyn -
"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” says Hillary Clinton. “We absolutely reject its content, and message.” “We reject the efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” adds Barack Obama...Fellow government-funded film critics call Innocence of Muslims “hateful and offensive” (Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations) and “reprehensible and disgusting” (Jay Carney, White House press secretary).
What other entertainments have senior U.S. officials reviewed lately? Last year Hillary Clinton went to see the Broadway musical Book of Mormon. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”? The Book of Mormon’s big showstopper is “Hasa Diga Eebowai” which apparently translates as “F*** you, God.” The U.S. secretary of state stood and cheered.
Why does Secretary Clinton regard “F*** you, God” as a fun toe-tapper for all the family but “F*** you, Allah” as “disgusting and reprehensible”? The obvious answer is that, if you sing the latter, you’ll find a far more motivated crowd waiting for you at the stage door. So the “leader of the free world” and “the most powerful man in the world” (to revive two cobwebbed phrases nobody seems to apply to the president of the United States anymore) is telling the planet that the way to ensure your beliefs command his “respect” is to be willing to burn and bomb and kill. You Mormons need to get with the program.
Friday, September 21, 2012
A major reason for the unwarranted electoral success of Democrats is public ignorance of economics. (Not being a politician, I'm allowed to be condescending). To help remedy this unfortunate situation, I offer the following links; one to an essay by (the estimable) Thomas Sowell entitiled "Trickle Down Economics and Tax Cuts For The Rich", (two fantasies existing only in the imaginations of leftists). The other is to an article written by Andy Kessler appearing in Tuesday's WSJ (9/18) explaining why what he calls i-side economics, (for investment, innovation and individual incentive), is far superior to g-(for government)side economics for producing prosperity and jobs.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
"The first attempt to analyse the data in order to estimate the number of famine deaths was carried out by American demographer Dr. Judith Banister and published in 1984. Given the lengthy gaps between the censuses and doubts over the reliability of the data, an accurate figure is difficult to ascertain. Nevertheless, Banister concluded that the official data implied that around 15 million excess deaths incurred in China during 1958–61, and that based on her modelling of Chinese demographics during the period and taking account of assumed under-reporting during the famine years, the figure was around 30 million. The official statistic is 20 million deaths, as given by Hu Yaobang. Yang Jisheng, a former Xinhua News Agency reporter who had privileged access and connections available to no other scholars, estimates a death toll of 36 million. Frank Dikötter estimates that there were at least 45 million premature deaths attributable to the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1961 other sources have put the figure at between 20 and 46 million."
For an almost unlimited assortment of Mao and Mao-inspired T-shirts, some displaying the image of our current Great Leader, follow the link below.
For an almost unlimited assortment of Mao and Mao-inspired T-shirts, some displaying the image of our current Great Leader, follow the link below.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Andrew McCarthy offers a good discussion of the self-inflicted difficulty Republicans have in competing in national elections, even against the hapless opponent they're currently facing.
Though clearly a conservative, Peggy Noonan has a reputation as a moderate voice of reason in a world of raging extremists. Conrad Black, for one, calls her "delightful". Though I read her columns in the WSJ, I find her equivocations bland and boring as she tries too hard to maintain her signature evenhandedness. Noonan is also a prisoner of conventional wisdom. I remember her on Fox in 2003 enthusiatically endorsing the planned invasion of Iraq. Then, when things got difficult, she turned against both the war and George W. Bush. And naturally, she was, at least to a degree, smitten with Obama's Hopin' Change routine four years ago. And, though not exactly a fan, she currently holds a grudging respect for Bill Clinton, whom she previously detested. In her latest column, Clinton's DNC speech is criticized but only because it was, as she put it, "smaller than he is". (Perhaps she would reassess her reassessment if she read here how Clinton was a major architect of the 2008 financial meltdown).
On occasion though, Noonan makes a pointed critique that hits the mark.
"Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception," Ms. (Sandra) Fluke said. But why would anyone have included a Georgetown law student who never worked her way onto the national stage until she was plucked, by the left, as a personable victim?
What a fabulously confident and ingenuous-seeming political narcissist Ms. Fluke is. She really does think—and her party apparently thinks—that in a spending crisis with trillions in debt and many in need, in a nation in existential doubt as to its standing and purpose, in a time when parents struggle to buy the good sneakers for the kids so they're not embarrassed at school . . . that in that nation the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills. That's not a stand, it's a non sequitur. She is not, as Rush Limbaugh oafishly, bullyingly said, a slut. She is a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.
And, speaking of Sandra Fluke, Mark Steyn devotes his latest column to the absurdity of her sudden, undeserved notoriety. (Why does the left feel the need to trot out these airheads to promote some asinine agenda item only to discard them at its earliest convenience? Remember Cindy Sheehan?)
Here, Steyn makes much the same point as Noonan.
(Fluke) completed her education a few weeks ago — at the age of 31, or Grade 25. Before going to Georgetown, she warmed up with a little light B.S. in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell. She then studied law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, where tuition costs 50 grand a year. The average starting salary for a Georgetown Law graduate is $160,000 per annum — first job, first paycheck.
So this is America’s best and brightest — or, at any rate, most expensively credentialed. Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education, and, on the evidence of Wednesday night, is entirely incapable of making a coherent argument. She has enjoyed the leisurely decade-long varsity once reserved for the minor sons of Mitteleuropean grand dukes, and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year-old children.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Total U.S. government expenditures for 2012 come to $3.8 trillion. This is twice (!!) the 2000 budget - President Clinton's last year in office. As a percentage of GDP, spending has increased over this period from 18% to 24%. With "only" $2.5 trillion in revenues, our current deficit is $1.3 trillion. Current U.S. debt has just crossed the $16 trillion threshold. Unfunded liabilities for future entitlements - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid - has been estimated as high as $225 trillion. To put this in perspective, current global GDP is somewhere in the range of $70-$80 trillion. There is literally not enough money in the world to pay for what we plan to spend.
But surely all that money has bought us a comfortable existence today, even if our descendants will have to pay for our profligacy with a much lower standard of living. After all, leftists tell us that the path to prosperity goes through the federal government. Are they right? Have these otherworldly levels of government spending produced prosperity?
No. Real median income is down $4300 since January 2009 and we have 11+% (and rising) unemployment. (That phony 8.3% number, which is disgraceful enough, doesn't include those who have dropped out of the work force since President Obama took office). Of those unemployed, over 4 million have been out of work for more than one year. The first black presidency has been particularly hard on blacks, who have a 14.4% unemployment rate. Teenage (16-19) unemployment is 24%. Among 18-29 year-olds, those engorged on the Obama Kool-Aid four years ago, the rate is 12.7%. (Again, these are the phony numbers. The real numbers are much higher). The percentage of working age Americans currently employed is at a multi-decade low of 58%.
The U.S. is currently like a family whose two bread winners have lost their jobs. In response to their situation, they go out, put a million dollars on their credit cards, buy new cars, furniture, clothes and think to themselves, "Gee, we're really doing well!" Only, they're not and we're certainly not.
The fix for the economy's malaise? More government spending, of course. Since it's been working so well, Obama wants to expand the transfer of resources from our dynamic, productive private sector to his corpulent commissariat of central planners (or CCCP). Obama's budget projections for the next decade call for a 57% increase over today's insane levels. That's $46.2 trillion over 10 years, generating an additional $9 trillion in debt. These projections are no doubt understated, especially with the laughably low estimates for the cost of Obamacare. And Obama's "plan" to address the deficit and debt problem? A proposed tax increase on the "rich" which would yield $40 billion in revenue, without the drag on the economy it would certainly create. That (fantasy) revenue gain doesn't even qualify as a rounding error with respect to the overall numbers.
It is absolutely bewildering. There is no sensible explanation why this unserious man still has a serious shot at re-election.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
...to defeat Barack Obama. The National Review editors have managed to condense the list down from book length.
Everything is covered - the "stimulus", Biden, Obamacare, the debt, the deficit, unemployment, the foreign policy mess, Biden, post-partisan posturing, post-racial posturing, Holder, Napolitano, Biden, and on and on. The list is too long to present even a representative sample, but here are a few random items to provide a flavor.
3. Because Julia needs to get off her lazy, federally subsidized butt, get a real job, and pay for her own damned birth-control pills.
22. Because he listened to the Reverend Wright’s crackpot racist diatribes for years and then gave us a lecture on racism.
23. For ignoring his own deficit commission.
28. Because “jobs created or saved” is Enron accounting.
60. Because corpsmen deserve a president who can pronounce “corpsman.”
103. “You know, I actually believe my own bulls**t.”
104. Yeah, we know.
115. For passing it to see what’s in it.
371. The apology tour.
382. Shaking Hugo Chávez’s hand.
411. Humiliating Benjamin Netanyahu.
421. Assad the reformer.
496. Installing wind turbines that kill bald eagles.
584. Because the vaunted intellectual speaks fewer foreign languages than George W. Bush.
And my favorite...
688. Because the post-election National Review cruise can’t stock enough liquor if it goes the other way.
And the last one is, of course...
689. Because you built that.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Writing in his typically forceful and elegant manner, Conrad Black reflects on the savagery of the attacks on Paul Ryan and his religious faith, focusing on those from Maureen Dowd of the NY Times.
"Ryan is a traditional Roman Catholic, but to imply that he is morally on a plane with the tiny minority of Catholic clergy guilty of sex offenses, or that he is indulgent of rape, is so scandalous it must be considered aberrant.
"Indeed, if it were not the case that what is needed is a de-escalation of these wild accusations and smears, I would describe it as insane. It has been a notorious fact for many years that Maureen Dowd was irrationally partisan, and that somewhere in her feminism there was a revulsion against traditional Catholicism that was very searing. Further speculation in such matters would be inappropriate, and anything so heartfelt must be respected, at least in its privacy, if not necessarily in where it ramifies in public-policy advocacy. But for a prominent columnist of the New York Times, a newspaper whose rabid antagonism to the Roman Catholic Church is notorious and caused it at the height of the sex-abuse scandal virtually to offer a free tour of Manhattan capped by dinner at a five-star restaurant to anyone who could remember being looked at raffishly by a member of the Catholic novitiate in Patagonia in the Thirties, to utter such maniacal slurs at a vice-presidential candidate who is a moderate and decent man demonstrates more strikingly than any previous evidence how severely riven philosophically America has become."
(To save time for numerologists, that's a 98 word final sentence).
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Even if Obama is re-elected, there will still be Mark Steyn, mocking the president's sycophants (and entertaining the rest of us).
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/315658/play-clinty-me-mark-steyn (on Eastwood)
Steyn's weekend column (first link above) deals with the absurdity of what the left hears as racist code words. Michelle Malkin has her own take, listing the words (or phrases) in glossary form. Her list isn't comprehensive - for instance, she omitted "pickup truck", symbol of Senator Scott Brown's racism.
By the way, who are the targets of these shadowy words? Do conservatives use them to communicate to each other? To pass along subliminal messages to closet racists? To insult and warn minorities? The mind of the leftist is a strange thing indeed.