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Social Darwinism for political purposes only

Earlier today, Glenn linked a great post by the Cato Institute’s Daniel Mitchell which dovetails nicely with (& improves upon) my post on the failure of the president to meet his “moral responsibility” to present a fiscally responsible budget.

Obama said that Paul Ryan’s plan (whichallows spending to grow by an average of 3.1 percent per year over the next decade) is a form of “social Darwinism.”

But the proposal from the House Budget Committee Chairman only reduces the burden of federal spending to 20.25 percent of GDP by the year 2023.

Yet when Bill Clinton left office in 2001, following several years of spending restraint, the federal government was consuming 18.2 percent of economic output.

Read the whole thing!

Remember how Democrats railed against the immediate past president for his spendthrift ways, with one prominent politician telling us that under George W. Bush’s watch, we were “living beyond our means“.  Were it not for TARP [Troubled Asset Relief Program] (which Obama supported) just before W left office, federal expenditures during his tenure never exceeded 21% of GDP.

So, federal expenditures lower than 21% of GDP mean living beyond our means, but at 20.25% mean “social Darwinism”?

Seems one Democrat is more interested in criticizing Republicans than in offering consistent arguments.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  Sonicfrog contends that we’re all

. . . missing the real significance of the “Social Darwinism” comment. Think about the term and how it’s been used over the last century and more. It has been justification for all sorts of atrocities and prejudices, from racism to eugenics to Nazism to state sterilization of the mentally challenged and infirm. I generally scoff at the notion that people use “code words”, which is usually an accusation tossed at Conservatives by Liberals to try and portray Conservatives as racists. Well, in this case, although he apparently isn’t that familiar with the aspects of Marbury v Madison, I think it’s hard pressed not to conclude that this was the “Unifier-In-Chief’s” veiled and half clever way of accusing Conservatives of wanting to off cleans society of the poor and minorities.

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10 Comments

  1. After listening to Obama’s pseudo-liberal posturing and whining, I’m reminded of Dicken’s Scrooge.

    ‘The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?’ said Scrooge.

    ‘At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,’ said the gentleman, taking up a pen, ‘it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.’
    ‘Are there no prisons?”

    ‘Plenty of prisons,’ said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

    ‘And the Union workhouses.’ demanded Scrooge. ‘Are they still in operation?’

    ‘Both very busy, sir.’

    ‘Oh. I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,’ said Scrooge. ‘I’m very glad to hear it.’

    ‘Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,’ returned the gentleman, ‘a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?’

    ‘Nothing!’ Scrooge replied.

    ‘You wish to be anonymous?’

    ‘I wish to be left alone,’ said Scrooge. ‘Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.’

    ‘Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.’

    ‘If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

    And I sympathize with Scrooge….

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — April 4, 2012 @ 3:54 pm - April 4, 2012

  2. when Bill Clinton left office in 2001, following several years of spending restraint, the federal government was consuming 18.2 percent of economic output

    That is such a great point. If being a “social darwinist” means standing with Bill Clinton (whom I voted for twice, BTW) and others for a balanced budget and a contained, responsible government… I’m in. Guilty as charged.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 4, 2012 @ 6:59 pm - April 4, 2012

  3. When Obama popped out with “social Darwinism” I immediately did a double take over whether I was confused about what “social Darwinism” is or Obama is confused. As the day has gone on, I have read one pundit after another who is also mystified about the Obama usage.

    Then, I heard Rush explain it. Obama is defining “social Darwinism” as the jungle where the fittest are on top and everyone else is thrown into a dog eat dog, everyone for himself game of eat or be eaten. In other words, there is no paternal Democrat Party to protect the innocent and lame and downtrodden if Obama is defeated.

    Typically, Obama just redefines the term to fit his needs as he speaks power to truth. His audience is not the least bit interested in the meaning of “social Darwinism.” All his voters need is the red meat tossed out by the Demagogue in Chief. Obama’s strategy is aimed at the welfare state and that enormous number who are on his government employee payroll and cookie jar.

    Obama is stirring up stink. To argue against his “misstatements” is useless. Those he is campaigning to are not interested. They must be made to feel cheated, riled up and in the crosshairs of the mean Republicans who intend to do every form of evil to them imaginable.

    Comment by heliotrope — April 4, 2012 @ 7:33 pm - April 4, 2012

  4. Everyone is missing the real significance of the “Social Darwinism” comment. Think about the term and how it’s been used over the last century and more. It has been justification for all sorts of atrocities and prejudices, from racism to eugenics to Nazism to state sterilization of the mentally challenged and infirm. I generally scoff at the notion that people use “code words”, which is usually an accusation tossed at Conservatives by Liberals to try and portray Conservatives as racists. Well, in this case, although he apparently isn’t that familiar with the aspects of Marbury v Madison, I think it’s hard pressed not to conclude that this was the “Unifier-In-Chief’s” veiled and half clever way of accusing Conservatives of wanting to off cleans society of the poor and minorities

    Comment by Sonicfrog — April 4, 2012 @ 7:43 pm - April 4, 2012

  5. Ryan plan: Doesn’t even cut spending! … continues to increase spending substantially every year (just not quite as much as Obama wants)… only gets to a balanced budget in 2040.

    That’s “radical”, “social darwinism”. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    But you know, maybe I don’t like Ryan as much as I thought. Such a timid budget. I guess I support him because right now, he’s all we’ve got. (“We” being, Americans who want fiscal sanity.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 4, 2012 @ 7:58 pm - April 4, 2012

  6. sf, not missing a thing here, understood that 100%, took it for granted in fact.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 4, 2012 @ 7:59 pm - April 4, 2012

  7. Ditto that, ILC in #5.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — April 4, 2012 @ 8:12 pm - April 4, 2012

  8. Ditto ILC in #6.

    Comment by heliotrope — April 5, 2012 @ 9:36 am - April 5, 2012

  9. All his voters need is the red meat tossed out by the Demagogue in Chief.

    Don’t you mean tofu?

    But you know, maybe I don’t like Ryan as much as I thought. Such a timid budget.

    I agree, his budget is too timid. However, I get the feeling that he understands the situation, more or less. Unfortunately, he must deal with politics, and I don’t think it would be wise to give the Democrats too much ammunition (to level accusations that Ryan’s budget is “draconian,” which they did anyway, but they just look foolish now to anyone who is paying attention). Since his budget has no chance of being passed anyway, I would think that he would want to appear more moderate than he otherwise would be, while sticking with his overall message until more drastic measures become more politically feasible. This is just a guess; I guess we’ll have to wait and see what he does when he is in a more powerful position.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — April 5, 2012 @ 3:09 pm - April 5, 2012

  10. [...] currently test-ballooning.  Jennifer Rubin, Robert Wright, the NYT, Beck’s Blaze, Red State, etc., etc., etc.  Here at the League, its already being touched upon by awesome liberal blogger Elias [...]

    Pingback by Enough already with the “Socialist this,” and the “Social Darwinist that” — The League of Ordinary Gentlemen — April 9, 2012 @ 5:26 pm - April 9, 2012

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