Archives for April 24, 2009
Like Reason’s Nick Gillespie, I agree “that economic and civil liberties are conjoined at the hip,” yet this libertarian finds that the Barney Frank is desperate to distinguish the two. In an interview with the Conservative News Service (CNS), the unhappy Massachusetts Democrat shows that on personal freedom, he’s like a character from a comic book, call him Barney Two-Face:
I would let people gamble on the Internet. . . . I would let adults smoke marijuana; I would let adults do a lot of things, if they choose. . . . But allowing them total freedom to take on economic obligations that spill over into the broader society? The individual is not the only one impacted here, when bad decisions get made in the economic sphere, it causes problems.
Well, Mr. Two-Face, if you’ve bothered to read some of the arguments opposing legalized gambling and drug use, you’d hear those putting them forward say that the bad decisions made by gambling grownups and toking adults spill over into society. (For the record, while I neither use drugs nor gamble on the Internet, I do favor legalizing (or keeping legal as the case may be) both practices.)
There is this strange dichotomy among liberals like Barney who favor unfettered personal freedom in the social sphere, but wish to severely constrain our choices in the economic one. But, then again, there is a strange dichotomy among social conservatives who favor unfettered personal freedom in the marketplace (except when it comes to buying certain products of which they disapprove), but not in one’s own bedroom.
In Barney’s eagerness to dictate how an individual conducts his economic affairs, down to so much as regulating the salary corporations should set for their executives, he’s nothing more than a marketplace version of the social bluenoses he so regularly derides. While they wish to regulate different sorts of behavior, neither trusts individuals to run their own lives and the private associations they enter of their own accord. . . for their pleasure or their profit.
Although we have touched on this many times here, a number of bloggers and even MSM figures (including WaPo’s Dana Milbank) are suddenly “discovering” the vitrolic nature of American Liberals.
Here was a particularly good point from earlier this week:
So why is the left still angry? Glenn asks: â€œmaybe it’s become a habit.â€
â€œBecomeâ€ a habit? It seems to me it’s an intrinsic feature of leftism, which is based on a permanent state of envy, class warfare and seeking â€œsocial justiceâ€ and â€œequality.â€ Which is why it is leftists (from Hitler to Stalin to Mao and Pol Pot) who have been responsible for hundreds of millions of violent deaths over the past century. You have to break the eggs to make the social-justice omelette through the collective will. It’s not individualists who do that kind of thing.
Maybe it is a genetic issue? I mean they even were rooting for the USA to lose in Iraq.Â They were rooting for insurgents to kill our own troops.Â WTF?
I also think that the Left became clinically insane on December 12, 2000 … and they haven’t recovered.Â Not even an attack on their nation has stopped their progression into insanity.
For a great refutation of the various left-wing attempts to discredit the Tea Parties protesting ever-increasing government spending and tax hikes which are concomitants of such spending, just take a gander at Frank Cagle’s piece, Wallace, Perot demonstrated anger’s impact on political process. In fact, I recommend you do as I’ve done and print it out, so you can highlight his salient points.
Not only does Cagle offer a sound defense of the Tea Parties, but he also offers a nutshell version of why the GOP fell part in the first decade of this century and what help revive the party in the coming years.
More succinctly than any post or article I have read on the phenomenon in which I (and many of our readers) participated last week, Cagle rebuts the left-wing slur that these rallies were “astroturf,” i.e. fake grassroots:
Well, yeah. Instapundit, talk radio, and Fox News enabled the meet-ups. You don’t think The New York Times and MSNBC would help them get the message out do you? But you can’t turn people out for a protest if there isn’t a motivating energy and, yes, anger that drives it. Ask the environmental movement or any other issues-oriented interest group the last time they were able to organize a national protest with this kind of turnout.
The energy is real and significant and it ought not be ignored. There is very real anger across America and if political polling is to be believed it is not directed at President Obama. It is an anger directed at Washington in general, both political parties, and the prospect of a bankrupt federal government. The pictures I saw at the protests across the country had as many anti-Bush signs as anti-Obama signs.
Emphasis added. [Read more…]
In his piece, Democratic party partisans ‘outing’ gay Republicans, Rick Moran gets at the real reason for this type of “witch hunt:politics. Those who engage in “outing” may dress up their tactics with noble-sounding rhetoric about exposing hypocrisy and exposing the deleterious effects of the proverbial closet, but they’re just looking for whatever weapon they can find in their campaign against conservatives:
They don’t agree politically with the targets of their slimey attacks, that’s why. And basically, it comes down to the issue of gay marriage and their notions of “gay rights.” Because their targets don’t promote their idea of a political agenda, this is “hypocrisy” in their book and must be “exposed” by ruining careers and families.
In other words, despite the fact that their disagreement is political, they have chosen to respond by personally attacking the objects of their rage and in the process, attempting to ruin their lives.
Emphasis added. Moran adds a notion which seems to be one of the primary themes of this blog:
There is more than one political “agenda” for gays as just about any gay Republican or conservative can tell you.
Those who promote “outing” believe they should decide what the appropriate views someone harboring homosexual views should have. They want to define the “gay rights” legislation someone should support if he wasn’t a hypocrite who hated himself. If you have these inclinations, they contend, you must vote this way.
In short, they’re trying to make the personal political.
Indeed, for all too many who promote or otherwise support “outing,” there is no such thing as the personal. It’s all politics, all the time.
It’s not just Sweden.
In the latest City Journal, Bruce Bawer reports that Europeans are moving in the opposite direction from that American voters took in the most recent national election:
More and more Western Europeans, recognizing the threat to their safety and way of life, have turned their backs on the establishment, which has done little or nothing to address these problems, and begun voting for parties–”some relatively new, and all considered right-wing–”that have dared to speak up about them. One measure of the dimensions of this shift: owing to the rise in gay-bashings by Muslim youths, Dutch gays–who ten years ago constituted a reliable left-wing voting bloc–now support conservative parties by a nearly two-to-one margin.
By “these problems,” Bruce means the failure of European societies to integrate the millions of Muslims who have come to the continent. The mostly liberal governments of Western Europe (including Scandinavia) “have allowed them to form self-segregating parallel societies run more or less according to sharia.” And they sustain these parallel societies, in large part, by drawing benefits from the various governments’ generous social welfare programs.
Meanwhile, gang violence has increased, with women, Jews and gays the preferred victims. As a result, voters across the continent are turning right, with voters in Denmark, France and Italy electing more conservative governments and conservative parties are gaining strength in other nations.
It’s just the failure to integrate immigrants which is pushing Europeans to the right. It’s also economics:
Western Europeans have long paid sky-high taxes for a social safety net that seems increasingly not worth the price. These taxes have slowed economic growth. Timbro’s Johnny Munkhammar noted in 2005 that Sweden, for instance, which in the first half of the twentieth century had the world’s second-highest growth rate, had since fallen to number 14, owing to enormous tax hikes.
Guess Governor Schwarzenegger didn’t see those statistics.
The European media seems to be engaged in a process they might have learned from (or taught to) their American MSM counterparts: tarring “any nonsocialist party with the fascist brush.”
Barney Frank says Democrats are punting on repealing ˜Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) Until 2010. Looks like the folks at GOProud were onto something when they pointed out that so far, “Democrats have spent no political capital on moving on important election year promises such as the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell“.
I believe we should and will do ˜Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” next year. . . . We haven’t done the preliminary work, the preparatory work. It would be a mistake to bring it up without a lot of lobbying and a lot of conversation.
It does seem Frank, a key player in the passage of DADT sixteen years ago, has learned from Bill Clinton’s fumbling of the issue early in his Administration. That Democrat President so quickly clumsily pushed repealing the ban on gays in the military that he agreed to the pernicious compromise of DADT to save face.
I agree with Frank that we do need a “lot of conversation.” Let’s hope though that he’s not the one leading it. We need people with long records of support of the military to speak out in favor of repeal.
They can better show why it is in our national interest to repeal the ban. It increases the size of the pool from which our armed forces can draw recruits. And it saves the military time and money. Instead of rooting around in the private lives of soldiers, they can better train them to serve our nation and protect their fellow citizens.
Study after study (after study after study) has shown that allowing open service of gay people in the military will not compromise the effectiveness of the armed forces. A number of nations have allowed gay people to serve openly in their armed forces without undermining unit cohesion.
While I agree with Frank that we need begin this conversation as a preparatory move to Congressional consideration of repeal, I think it’s a mistake to wait. We can start that conversation today. Congress can start moving the legislation tomorrow.
While I find some of the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman‘s films tiresome, I’m always amazed by his capacity to write with light, how he frames a shot and captures an image.
When his movies are good, however, they are brilliant. I recently recounted how Fanny and Alexander moved me. I also find his films Wild Strawberries and Through a Glass Darkly while not as powerful at that flick, they remain meaningful meditations on our relationships to each other and to what lies beyond (or within).
Well, it turns out he wasn’t just a great filmmaker, he also was a champion of freedom, standing up to Swedish authorities who overtaxed him. When they arrested him for tax evasion,
. . . the director ripped the ever-expanding Swedish government bureaucracy which, he wrote in a letter to the newspaper Expressen, “grows like a galloping cancer” and very publicly decided to abandon the country for West Germany. . . . As one of his Swedish biographers noted, the Social Democratic press campaign against the director lasted into the late 1980s, after he had returned from exile.
It is possible some brave researcher will one day investigate just how much damage was done to our cultural life by the 1968 movement…Today, frustrated revolutionaries still…do not see (and how could they!) that their contribution was a deadly slashing blow at an evolution that must never be separated from its roots. In other countries where varied ideas are allowed to flourish at the same time, tradition and education were not destroyed. Only in China and Sweden were artists and teachers scorned…
Guess it’s time to update my Netflix queue. And to scoop up a few copies of that book to share with my liberal film-loving friends.
In his book The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University,” Brown University student Kevin Roose writes about his semester as transfer at Liberty University, the Virginia university founded by Jerry Falwell. In an article about that student and this book, AP’s Eric Tucker reports that “A roommate he depicts as aggressively anti-gay â€” all names are changed in the book is an outcast on the hall, not a role model.”
Even students at Liberty University, like patrons at a New Jersey sports bar, they have no truck for loud-mouthed anti-gay attitudes. Not all young people may support gay marriage, but it does seem that the overwhelming majority are remarkably tolerant of their gay peers, even in socially conservative institutions.
We really have made a lot of progress in the last forty years. And it’s important that we acknowledge it.
Bashing gay people is no longer a parth to gaining favor with one’s peers. It’s just not cool. And that, my friends, is something to cheer.