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Gay Marriage and the Secular Inquisition

From the Federalist, gay marriage as a tool for subjugation of the individual to the state.

The theory behind gay marriage, in short, was the theory behind the entire secular left: society and the state are the all-powerful forces on which the life of the individual depends, and the most important political task—indeed, the most important task in life—is getting this irresistible power on your side. Once you gain social and political power, you hold on to it by making your preferred views mandatory, a catechism everyone must affirm, while suppressing all heretical views. In this case, to gain social acceptance of homosexuality, you make the affirmation of gay marriages mandatory while officially suppressing any dissenting religious views.

Exactly so. There is no reason to force ordained ministers to perform gay weddings, no reason to force bakers to provide cakes for gay weddings, no reason to force florists and photographers to participate in gay weddings… except to enforce the idea that individual must bow to whoever wields the power of the state.

More Fascism from the Left

There is a GoFundMe page for contributions to the legal defense fund for policeman Darren Wilson, who either 1.) Shot down an innocent little black child who was just minding his own business out of sheer hate, or 2.) Shot a violent, aggressive 300 lb black man in self-defense after being assaulted, or 3.) Something in-between.

Barack Obama’s Justice Department, the Governor of Missouri, the MFM and the Left have all made up their minds that Number 1 is what happened. To the left, a trial at this point is just a formality; the mob has made their intentions clear and the mob must be satiated.

Therefore the left, since they know what is best for everyone, is demanding that GoFundMe take down the legal defense fund for Darren Wilson. Because — much like Christians who do not want to participate in gay weddings — his rights are forfeit to the will of the mob.

The President Is Very, Very Disappointed in you, Gusano

Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the Triumph of Affirmative Action

In an interview with Democrat Operative George Snuffleupagus, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor explains, in a grammatically interesting sentence, why race-based Affirmative Action is necessary to put people like her into place where their opinions have the power to shape society.

“What does qualifications mean in an academic setting?” she said. “A place like Princeton could fill their entire beginning freshman class with students who have scored perfectly on undergraduate metrics.

Seriously, what does qualifications mean in terms of academic success? I suppose we need to ask ourselves, is our minorities learning?

#bringwhateverandstuff … Is this really how we handle things now?

I don’t really know how to express how puerile and silly the whole thing with the First Lady and that hashtag thing was, so I’ve put it down in a few thousand words instead (and included a thousand empty ones for you to play along and do your own as well).

(By the way, a whole bunch more here. I haven’t read through all of them, so if I accidentally ripped someone off with one of mine, it was totally unintentional.)

Have fun

Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from The Ranch)

michelledosomething

michellesgirls

michellebringbackourgirls

michellebringsexyback

(more…)

Left-Wing Nuts Decide the Word “Homosexual” Is a Slur

As noted before, on the right, we worry about actual issues: regulation-fueled economic decline, corruption in Government, the erosion of individual liberty, the unsustainable fiscal path of the national Government.

On the left, they worry about vocabulary.

In part, this is a mark of desperation, David Brock and his merry band of Soros-paid nutjobs are desperate for anything they can fling against the one news outlet that airs opposition views to leftist hegemony. There is no real racism, sexism, or homophobia on the right. So the left, in its desperation to remain peeved and aggrieved, must constantly lower the bar and change the rules. Hence, they declare that a previously inoffensive word is now offensive, so they can have their self-righteous tantrums about it. Also, note the new phenomenon of the “micro-aggression,” defined as a behavior that would not bother a normal person, but sends a politically correct leftist into paroxysms of outrage.

It’s also like the old English Aristocracy’s custom of establishing obscure collective nouns to refer to animals (a sleuth of bears, a whoop of gorillas, a murder of crows). The primary purpose for which was to distinguish themselves from the ill-bred peasantry, who were presumed not to know these things. In the same way, the left’s obsession with PC vocabulary is also intended as a social marker; those who use PC terminology are part of the class. Those who don’t can be safely mocked and looked down upon.

The real obsession of the left isn’t inclusion, it’s exclusion.

If President Obama had Wielded “Soft Power” at Home…

Do we all agree that, notwithstanding his penchant for distant murder-by-disembodied-aerial-vehicle, not-as-surgical-as-you’d-wish-it-were, drone strikes (what I like to call a “passive-aggressive” military policy), the president’s favored foreign policy is a preference for ‘soft power’? Which is to say, don’t you think the Obama Administration’s approach to the world is to rely more on influence than on coercion? I think he (and Secretary of State John Kerry too) would say so himself. He’d much prefer (well, either of them would, I suppose) to rely on what he considers (ahem) his extraordinarily outsized powers of charm and persuasion to win over other heads of state, rather than the inelegant and clumsy use of force to dictate his way when it comes to what other countries do.

Contrast that with his approach to the issues with America’s healthcare system.

Although I disagree with the premise (a topic for another post altogether), President Obama and the Leftist technocrats with whom he finds common cause believe in the scheme of health “insurance” and feel the third-party payment system is good because healthcare (which for some reason they feel is synonymous with health insurance) is “different” and thus not to be entrusted to market forces…then again, the things in life that should be influenced by market forces is pretty limited anyway.

Anyway. From their perspective, the answer has always been that not enough of the ‘young invincibles’ were bought into the cockamamie scheme and thus not participating, pushing the cost up due to what’s called ‘adverse selection’. Not enough people willing to pay more into a system and voluntarily get less out means that the whole thing collapses under the weight of those who are taking more than they’re putting in. It’s not even economics…it’s basic physics.

Their answer to this was (and is) that more people need to abandon their own better judgment and personal motivations and jump right in. But how to achieve that?

Well, with a super-majority in the Senate and an overwhelming majority in the House in 2009 those who know better than you pushed through the ACA without a single Republican vote in either chamber. For your own good, they forced an unpopular (at the time, and downright detested now) gigantic overhaul of an enormous chunk of our economy. Let’s call that “hard power”.

Of course, we see what hath the ACA wrought: With higher premiums than before for young and healthy individuals, those needed to save the sinking ship are now even less inclined to climb aboard. So now the very solution to the problem (as the health-insurance-scheme supporters see it) is even farther out of grasp.

This struck me as ironic because now the president and his lickspittle sycophants in the press/Leftist Hollywood/sports/entertainment/etc. are reduced to begging, pleading, brow-beating, heavy-handedly imploring every 20-something to please, please, please sign up for health “insurance” through the exchange, lest the signature program of your benighted leader fall to pieces and all we’ve worked for (WE!, not me, this is about YOU and how important all that work YOU! did on the campaign for…well, yes, me, but anyway…YOU! did to get…well, yes, me, but anyway…elected so I could serve YOU, because after all, YOU are the ones YOU’VE been waiting for, and thank goodness I came along to make YOU feel special about needing ME…oh, I mean ‘me’, but anyway….) tragically succumb to the machinations of the awful powers of cynicism and the Koch brothers and Rush Limbaugh and the War on Women, and…okay, where was I going with this? Oh, right. Please sign up for health insurance and talk about it in your pajamas with your friends at your kegger parties…

The president is in an all-out campaign to get the least-likely people to sign up for health “insurance” to…sign up for health “insurance”. But if he’d done that when he was popular (and his ACA handn’t ironically increased the price of it), couldn’t he have avoided all this?

Consider: when he was elected, Barack Obama had an incredible amount of popularity and political capital (before his inauguration, his approval rating was 79%). With that, he had the power to influence and persuade. Let’s call that “soft power”. What’s ironic is that, had he chosen to use his soft power (and been successful), he may have been able to convince a ton of the 20-something sheep who voted for CHANGE! and HOPE! to actually do things (even things against their own better interest) through the influence of this “soft power”. Who knows? It may have actually kept the system afloat.

*(No, The system still would have eventually collapsed, of course, because the problem wasn’t ever that young people weren’t buying “insurance”, rather the dis-incentive for consumers to shop for, and for providers to offer prices commensurate with their actual value…well, you know how that story goes…)

This suave and persuasive dude who had just sailed into the Oval Office because he was too cool for the room and was able to exercise the lost art of subtlety was loved by damned-near everybody in the Country. He believed in The System. He realized (believed) that the problem with it was that not enough people were active participants in it. His solution? Heavy-handedly and by force, to coerce everybody into doing what he wanted them to do.

Way to go, Cowboy!

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from The Ranch)

The Perspective Gap and Fox News

My long absence from GayPatriot, has been brought on by a few factors, chief among them that I’ve been taking some classes in the evenings and haven’t had much time for blogging, and what little time I have had to spare has been consumed by more going on socially than in the recent past.  But beyond that, there has been my general sense of what I wrote about in this post, and called either Obamalaise or Obamanomie, that feeling of depression and listlessness that comes when I consider the sad state of a country that elected Obama not once, but twice and seems more interested in bread and circuses than in seeking actual, workable solutions to the difficult problems that face our country.

Naturally the online leftist rag Salon can’t understand why anyone would feel upset or bothered by the direction of the country in the era of the glorious Obama, and so one of its contributors, Edwin Lyngar, has written a laughable piece about “elderly white rage” which places the blame on that favorite bogeyman of the contemporary left, Fox News.   I learned of the article when various liberals and leftists I know–including one I’ve taken to calling a MINO (a moderate in name only)–linked to it on social media.  I just glanced past it until one of them approvingly quoted one of the more ridiculous passages from the article.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I am not elderly, nor am I viewer of Fox News.   I mostly avoid the whole TV news genre, preferring to get my information from other sources.  The full title of the article reads: “I lost my dad to Fox News: How a generation was captured by thrashing hysteria.”  The author, who describes himself as “overeducated in the humanities” with both an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University (not exactly a bastion of conservative thinkers) and an MA in Writing from the University of Nevada, Reno unwittingly demonstrates the way shallow generalizations count as somehow being deep thought by those who advocate a politically correct perspective.

As I don’t care to be guilty of the same intellectual offense, I’d like to highlight and  unpack a few of the article’s more ridiculous claims and observations.  Let’s start with the opening paragraph:

Old, white, wrinkled and angry, they are slipping from polite society in alarming numbers. We’re losing much of a generation.  They often sport hats or other clothing, some marking their status as veterans, Tea Partyers or “patriots” of some kind or another. They have yellow flags, bumper stickers and an unquenchable rage. They used to be the brave men and women who took on America’s challenges, tackling the ’60s, the Cold War and the Reagan years — but now many are terrified by the idea of slightly more affordable healthcare and a very moderate Democrat in the White House.

Of course GayPatriot readers can see what he’s doing there, but just for the sake of argument, let’s illustrate that he opens by offering a caricature and a generalization about elderly Fox News viewers, conflates Fox News viewers with the Tea Party, accuses them of being filled with “rage,” and then ends by trying to ridicule them as being “terrified by the idea of slightly more affordable healthcare and a very moderate Democrat in the White House.”  Say what?  That last clause is contains so many misrepresentations and non-sequiturs that it is really rather stunning.  Barack Obama is only a moderate Democrat if you are so far to the left already that you can’t see how far his administration has shifted the political status quo towards statist goals.  And just because Obamacare was given the Orwellian title “the Affordable Care Act,” doesn’t mean it has anything to do with making healthcare more affordable.  Far from it, just ask the many people dropped from insurance who find that their health insurance costs have gone up and their deductibles are now much higher than they were previously.  Even those who haven’t had to change insurance are getting less for more costs.

The article continues with an anecdote about the author’s father and an exchange where the writer tells him he shouldn’t watch Fox News:

enjoyed Fox News for many years, as a libertarian and frequent Republican voter. I used to share many, though not all, of my father’s values, but something happened over the past few years. As I drifted left, the white, Republican right veered into incalculable levels of conservative rage, arriving at their inevitable destination with the creation of the Tea Party movement.

When I finally pulled the handle for Obama in 2012, my father could not believe how far I’d fallen. I have avoided talking politics with him as much as possible ever since. Last week, I invited him to my house for dinner with the express purpose of talking about po

(more…)

So let me get this right:

The administration—whose latest foray into unobstructed, unlegislated, we’ve-got-this, go-it-aloneism was the fabulously ‘effed up roll-out of HealthCare.gov—is going to make 2014 the year of the Executive Branch takes on the world without the messiness of involving the People’s Branch of the federal government?

This’ll be something to see…

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from The Ranch)

Evan Sayet, “KinderGarden of Eden” speech

This one is probably a year old (like the book), but I had missed it, and found it worthwhile, when I came across it earlier today.

YouTube Preview Image

In Sayet’s theory, the left-liberal holds a basic premise that all discrimination is bad (the root cause of human conflict). From that premise, consequences flow: (more…)

From the comments: What we must acknowledge about the left

In the comments for my last post on Obamacare commenter Ignatius began his discussion of the legislation’s undesirable albeit unstated aims with the observation: “I believe that political discussions would be much easier if those on the right jettisoned this quaint idea that leftists have good intentions.”  I highlighted that sentence in a subsequent comment, and other commenters took up the theme, as well.

Commenter Eddie Swaim observed:

While reading the comments about “the left,” it suddenly occurred to me that after listening to Rush Limbaugh for 25 years, he has always been careful to separate “the left” politicians in D.C. from “the left” common everyday folk. I always agreed with him but now I’m not so sure. Most of the gay male liberals that I know fall right in line with the D.C. politicians. Anything and everything is o.k. if it hurts [conservatism] or wins them a battle against the right, whether or not their action is legal or ethical. The ends always justify the means.

Likewise, commenter Steve linked to this video of Ann Coulter discussing the tendency of liberals and the lamestream media to fall back on “racial demagoguery” to advance their agenda in cases like the Zimmerman trial.

I thought of all three comments when I came across another link to an article by John Hawkins dated March 27, 2012.  Hawkins’ article is entitled “5 Uncomfortable Truths About Liberals,” and I encourage everyone to read the whole thing.  For the moment, though, I’ve summarized his five points below.  Hawkins writes that:

1) Most liberals are hateful people.

2) Liberals do more than any other group to encourage race-based hatred.

3) Most liberals are less moral than other people.

4) Most liberals don’t care if the policies they advocate work or not.

5) Most liberals are extremely intolerant.

Now while the language in those observations is strong enough that Hawkins could be accused of engaging in hyperbole, I think a certain amount of strong language is necessary for describing leftist rhetoric and means of argumentation.  There’s no need to take my word for it, though, read the whole thing and decide for yourself.

I would say, though, that in both the Zimmerman case and in the debates (and protests) over late-term abortion restrictions in Texas, we’ve seen many of the traits Hawkins describes displayed quite openly by many leftists.

Likewise, consider this article in The Advocate which a Facebook acquaintance brought to my attention.  The article focuses on the “mighty change of heart” which many Mormons have undergone on the issues of gay rights and gay marriage.  True to what both Hawkins and our commenters noted, most gay leftists will have none of it, as is very evident from their comments on the Advocate article.  Rather than welcome the changes underway in the LDS church, they are expressing their hatred and intolerance for the Mormons in very hostile language.  Read the comments there and see for yourself.

Now while I know a number of our readers might believe that the Mormons brought the hatred on themselves through the church’s advocacy against Proposition 8 in California in 2008, I’d point out a few things that the left never will, namely: 1). Despite what the HRC and its allies would have us believe, opposition to gay marriage isn’t necessarily motivated by hate, however easy or convenient it may be to believe that, and 2). Individuals are and should be defined by more than their affiliation with some group or collective.  The gay left is always up in arms about what this group or that group said or did about some gay issue, but they never have qualms about denouncing or smearing or insulting members of that group in a similar manner.

Humanities in the 21st century

As many have observed, the humanities (and allied disciplines) at U.S. universities have gotten rather silly, these last few decades. Now they’re also falling from favor among job-conscious students:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The humanities division at Harvard University…is attracting fewer undergraduates…

Universities’ humanities divisions and liberal-arts colleges across the nation are facing similar challenges in the wake of stepped-up global economic competition, a job market that is disproportionately rewarding graduates in the hard sciences, rising tuition and sky-high student-debt levels.

Among recent college graduates who majored in English, the unemployment rate was 9.8%; for philosophy and religious-studies majors, it was 9.5%; and for history majors, it was also 9.5%…By comparison, recent chemistry graduates were unemployed at a rate of just 5.8%; and elementary-education graduates were at 5%.

Coincidence?

But, not to worry: Harvard’s Humanities department is prepared to sneer at anyone who doesn’t see how tremendously valuable they are:

This “is an anti-intellectual moment, and what matters to me is that we, the people in arts and humanities, find creative and affirmative ways of engaging the moment,” said Diana Sorensen, Harvard’s dean of Arts and Humanities…

Homi Bhabha, director of the Humanities Center at Harvard….said he didn’t give much weight to criticism from some elected officials who carp that young people need to go into fields that are supposedly more useful. “I think that’s because they have a very primitive and reductive view of what is essential in society,” he said.

Get it? If the Humanities are in decline – despite this being an age of left-wing triumph, and with university revenues/budgets near all-time highs – it’s not the fault of Humanities professors for too often failing to teach kids how to reason, usefully, about life’s problems. No, no, no. It’s everyone else’s fault for being primitive, reductionist and anti-intellectual.

All I can say is: I have an idea of what’s genuinely intellectual, and Sorensen/Bhabha are not it.

Via Zero Hedge.

UPDATE (from Dan): Jeff addresses a topic near and dear to my heart. There are many reasons the humanities are in decline and a good number of them trace back to the humanities professors themselves who focus on esoterica and offer, in the words of Homi Bhabha (whom Jeff quoted above) a “reductive view of what is essential in society”.

Perhaps were more humanities professors to show a genuine passion for the ideals which had defined their professor until scholars (thinking they were really quite clever) started “deconstructing” it in the 1970s, they would find greater interest among students.  But, professors would then have to make the case why the study of philosophy and great works of literature mattered to those who pursued careers in law, medicine, banking and commerce.

I highly recommend Bruce Bawer’s The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind which explores one aspect of the humanities’ decline in contemporary academia.

Today’s Appalling Facebook Meme

Wow, just wow, is about all I can say in response to this piece of leftist rationalization which I saw today on Facebook.  It goes without saying that we’d be hearing something VERY DIFFERENT from this fellow if there was a Republican president.

The message here boils down to: freedom doesn’t matter, liberty doesn’t matter, rights don’t matter, and the most important role for government is to stand for “social justice.”  Here’s the link, but I’ve quoted the whole thing in its appalling entirety below:

Things I’m more worried about than my phone being tapped:
Global warming. The richest 1% controlling more wealth than the bottom 50%. Homelessness. Gutting the food stamp program. The rich hiding several Trillion untaxed dollars. Secretaries paying more in taxes than billionaires. Politicians being bought and sold. Malaria and starvation. More people per capita in prison than any other country. The “war” on drugs. More black men in prison than in college. Rising cost of education and health care. The rise of extremism. The continued oppression of women. The general lack of compassion in the world. The degree to which we all blame our problems on others and close our eyes to our own irrationality.
That more people are outraged by a small loss of privacy than any of these other issues.

Should I add “People who write in sentence fragments” to his list of outrages more “worrisome” than a government which spends all its time monitoring its people, or is that just my pet peeve?

Not surprisingly, the best responses to this kind of thing date to the founding of the Republic.  We’ve always got the classic from Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But in this context, where the message is to sacrifice liberty for “social justice,” I think Sam Adams might be better, though trying to choose just one passage that is appropriate is rather like an embarrassment of riches.  I have long admired this one:

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Perhaps this one is better: “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

And just in case the Obamalaise is getting to you, here’s one worth repeating regularly: “Nil desperandum, — Never Despair. That is a motto for you and me. All are not dead; and where there is a spark of patriotic fire, we will rekindle it.”

Capricious Enforcement: A sign of the times

Back in October 2010, blogger Tigerhawk recalled what one of his Princeton classmates, who was originally from Romania, said about the nature of life under socialism:

One recurring tool of socialist tyranny is the capricious enforcement of unworkable laws.

He quoted the passage in making a point about the “capricious enforcement” which was an inevitable feature of the unworkable mess better known as Obamacare.

But two and a half years later, it’s evident that observation could just as easily have been applied to our byzantine tax code, our environmental regulations, and even laws pertaining to press freedoms under the Obama administration.  As Dan wrote earlier today, the only folks who are surprised by any of these scandals are the ones who haven’t been paying attention to what has been going with our government since January 20, 2009.

In the case of the Obama administration, though, it’s not strictly capricious enforcement, but selective enforcement, always with a partisan goal in mind.  The IRS targeting of the Tea Party and conservative organizations is appalling, but one would have to be naive not to believe, as ABC’s Trey Hardin noted today, that it wasn’t authorized by someone in the West Wing.  Hardin observed (audio at the link):

I will tell you this on the IRS front. I’ve worked in this town for over 20 years in the White House and on Capitol Hill and I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it. It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization.

And it’s not just the IRS.  Earlier today it came out that the EPA waived fees for leftist organizations and leftist journalists who requested information, but not for conservative ones:   “Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.”  Yes, this would be the same EPA that has classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant, making the mere act of exhaling potentially troublesome.

A coincidence?  I think not.  This is the same administration committed to picking winners and losers on most matters.  Hence, it should surprise no one that while oil companies are prosecuted for the deaths of eagles and other protected species, the bird-killing wind farms are naturally given a pass.   Clearly, some energy companies are more equal than others.

It’s the same with journalists.  Just a day after the AP snooping scandal broke, the administration is playing favorites again.  Jake Tapper has gained a reputation as one who can be counted on to ask tough questions of the White House with greater frequency than the reporters at most of the other lamestream news organizations.  Well, today Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection is reporting that the White House played Jake Tapper by selectively leaking one e-mail with the apparent aim of creating a diversion in the reporting about the Benghazi cover-up.  Jacobson writes: “Like I said, this entire diversion of leaking a single email out of a chain of emails to Tapper was simply meant to put critics of the administration back on their heels and to provide an excuse for White House defenders to throw around words like ‘doctored.’”

And so what else do we see today?  Well, all of a sudden the administration’s lackeys in the press such as Hilary Rosen are now out expressing their sympathy for poor Jay Carney.  I guess they’re afraid of ending up as the subject of a DOJ snooping scandal or an IRS investigation or a selective leak.

 

Social Liberalism: Simple-minded and Pernicious Memes

When I wrote my first post on liberalism as more of a social phenomenon than an intellectual one, I imagined a series of posts dealing with many different implications of that idea.  So far I’ve written three other posts in the series on topics ranging from slogans to leftist intolerance and political changers to the so-called “wealth gap.”

One big topic that I haven’t explored yet–even though I’ve meant to do so since the start of the series–is the way in which liberal ideas are perpetuated on social media and elsewhere through the use of simple-minded memes.  As I considered the idea of social liberalism, one point which came to mind is that so many liberal memes might seem catchy at first glance,  but they are either responses to outlandish straw men, or they make no sense whatsoever when subjected to even the slightest bit of scrutiny.

At Legal Insurrection, Professor Jacobson has written a few posts about the role of the leftist site Upworthy in promulgating memes of both sorts, including a post this past Tuesday on the high cost of low-information voters.  And he’s not the only one to recognize the importance of simple-minded memes for the left.  For example, this post at Breitbart.com takes the idea one step further to reflect on the significance of LOLcats in politics.

What interests me at the moment, though, is that there is a whole class of liberal memes which go beyond the simple-minded to the downright pernicious: they promulgate leftist thinking in a way that seems ironic or clever or humorous, even as they blatantly acknowledge the darker goals of leftist ideology.   I stumbled across a prime example of one such meme on Facebook about two months ago when an acquaintance “shared” a meme which had been promoted by the Facebook group “Being Liberal” back in December 2011.  I’ve pasted the image below.

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We’re all familiar with the common liberal tropes about “beating swords into plowshares” and the frequent lament heard on the left that “if we spent on education or social programs what we spent on the military” somehow all of society’s ills would disappear.   This meme takes that same tack, but uses “irony” to take it one step further by suggesting that the government can use the military to “win the hearts and minds of the population” and put the “locals to work” working on infrastructure politics.

By supposedly employing “irony” to make its point, therefore, it moves from the simple-minded lament about spending more on education and social programs into the territory of the pernicious by endorsing the use of the military as a means of social control.  The person who posts or re-posts the idea can feign ignorance of the pernicious implications by saying that the meme isn’t “serious” or that it is “just making a point through irony,” but it’s a point which betrays the left’s ignorance of the way free people and free markets operate.  The point of the meme is unmistakable:  all good comes through government, and we ought to use the force of government to establish a planned economy.

The Facebook page for “Being Liberal” attributes this meme to one of its readers named Terry Sebolt who wrote in and said (with the disingenuousness common on the left): “”Those were my words, but not my pic. Feel free to put it anywhere you want. I meant every word of it, and hope people enjoy the irony, regardless of credit. It was a throw away line…”

The claim may be spurious, though, as I did some internet searching and the earliest example I could find for the meme online was this appearance on Twitter from August 9, 2011.  I’ve posted a screenshot of the image below.

Screen shot 2013-03-01 at 11.22.28 PM

Regardless of the authorship, though, the claim is intended to make a point by shocking, even though those who quote the statement will try to distance themselves from its actual implications.  Those implications, though, tell us a great amount about the worldview of the left.

What’s even more amazing in the case of the person I know who re-posted this meme is that she is an immigrant from eastern Europe with a PhD in a scientific field from an American university.   She often refers to the bad days growing up in her country under a brutal dictator when everyone was suffering.  And so she moves to the U.S. and spends time in universities and decides that she’s a “liberal” and approvingly re-posts that “ironic” image.  If that’s not an example of a socially-promulgated disorder, then I’m not sure what would be.

Filtered History vs. the Political Wheel of Fortune

Henry David Thoreau once wrote: “There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.”  I thought of that recently in seeing some of the media pushback against the publicity generated by the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas this week.  Thoreau’s quote is as true as ever about the state of contemporary philosophy, but it is also true about the state of historical inquiry:  these days we have professors of history more than historians.

The professoriate is a class with its own interests and its own agenda, an agenda that largely overlaps with that pursued by the majority of our lamestream media.  That agenda does not include the practice of history in the abstract, insofar as that involves presenting the evidence, weighing the options, employing reason, and drawing conclusions.  To most professors of history and folks in the media these days, history is only useful insofar as it serves their left-wing agenda.  Hence their resistance to the displays in the Bush library.

Consider this article from Yahoo! News:

DALLAS—As former President George W. Bush prepares to officially open his presidential library on Thursday, a question arises as it has for his predecessors: How objective will it be about his time in the White House?
Bush left office five years ago as one of the most unpopular presidents in history, his poll numbers weighed down by public discontent over his handling of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and worries about the economy.
But the former president wanted to take the controversies about his presidency head-on, say several former aides who worked closely with him on the library. One way of addressing the challenge is an interactive exhibit allowing visitors to see what it was like for him to make decisions as leader of the free world. People will hear information Bush was given by aides, then be asked to make their own choices. Afterward, the former president’s image will appear on a screen to explain what decision he ultimately made and why.
“He really wants people to go in there and get a sense of what it was like to be president during that time and to use that to make an informed decision about his presidency,” said Karen Hughes, a longtime Bush adviser.

In some respects,  the article strives to be slightly more balanced than I’m giving it credit for being, since it does point out controversies over the presentation of material in both the Clinton library and the LBJ library, as well, but I think it is materially different, too, in that Bush is trying to present the information that influenced his decisions and both the media and some so-called historians are crying foul over the fact that he is doing so.

One reason they don’t want Bush to tell his version of the story is that as the nightmare that is the Obama administration continues to develop, Bush is regaining popularity.  While I don’t often share Dan’s enthusiasm for Peggy Noonan’s writings, I was intrigued to see her recognizing the depth of the differences between the two men in her column this week where she wrote:

But to the point. Mr. Obama was elected because he wasn’t Bush.

Mr. Bush is popular now because he’s not Obama.

The wheel turns, doesn’t it?

Here’s a hunch: The day of the opening of the Bush library was the day Obama fatigue became apparent as a fact of America’s political life.

And she isn’t the only one.  Writing for Politico this week, Keith Koffler complained  about “Obama’s hubris problem,” prompting Neo-Neocon to ask the question that is on many of our minds: “And he thinks it’s only a second-term phenomenon? Where has he been, on planet Xenon?”

It seems like the media is unhappy this week because Bush is getting a fresh chance to tell his story independent of their filter, whereas the public is increasingly growing tired of the combination of arrogance, divisiveness, imperiousness, incompetence, and the need to politicize everything for which President Obama is increasingly known.

Perhaps, to modify Noonan a bit, the opening of the Bush library was uncomfortable for many of his admirers because, in seeing all five living presidents together again, the public got a chance to see them and to size them up, and as Joseph Curl wrote in the Washington Times W. easily outclassed Obama.

 

 

Friday Night Thoughts

Although I first saw an online news posting about the explosion in West, Texas on Wednesday night, I had no idea of the severity of the incident, and I didn’t research the matter in much depth.  When I first heard news reports about the story on Thursday morning, though, I was struck by the fact that the reporters and the news networks almost resented having to take time away from covering this week’s events in Boston to report on the disastrous accident in Texas.

I wasn’t the only one to notice.    Yesterday Ace and Mary Katherine Ham noted a New York Times piece faulting Fox News for focusing on the events in West, Texas rather than reporting on the failure of the gun legislation in the Senate on Wednesday.  Writing in the New York Times,  Brian Stelter lamented: “While most of [MSNBC's] ‘Joe’ was dedicated to guns on Thursday, Fox’s morning show, ‘Fox & Friends,’ didn’t mention the word once. It focused instead on news about a Texas fertilizer plant explosion.”

Ace’s characterization of the complaint gets at it perfectly:

The media here documents its own sick-making bias and arrogance but instead of understanding their own words — we ignored the destruction of an entire town to focus only on the minor heartburn suffered by our Liberal Messiah — they use it as a bludgeon for criticizing Fox.

See, Fox did wrong by thinking the lives in West, Texas mattered.

And as Thursday moved into Friday, that has only continued to be the case.  Granted, the story of a manhunt for a suspected terrorist is more dramatic, particularly when most of a major urban area is ordered to go on lockdown and to stay indoors.

But when it comes to the magnitude of what happened in West, Texas Wednesday night compared with what happened in Boston on Monday, what happened in Texas is many times worse, not only in terms of deaths, but also in terms of destruction and lives uprooted.  At this time, the death toll in Texas stands at 14 (including five volunteer firefighters and four emergency service workers) with 60 people still unaccounted for.  Three fire trucks were destroyed, at least 50 homes were damaged or destroyed, and at least 200 other people were injured.

An act of evil which terrorizes and disrupts a major city is certainly important.  What happened in Texas, though, is just as important, as the consequences will likely be much more devastating for the lives of those involved and for the entire community, and yet the media is doing its best to bury the story, just as the media and the Obama administration did its best to deny that a terrorist incident in Texas 4 1/2 years ago was actually a terrorist incident.  How many people even knew that three weeks ago, the Army formally declined to give Purple Hearts to Fort Hood shooting victims?

To listen to most of the media this week, it should be abundantly clear that some lives and some places are clearly more equal than others.  And the lives and livelihoods of a bunch of folks in a tiny town in rural Texas aren’t viewed as amounting to much.

UPDATE:  Assistant Village Idiot has some related thoughts (about Boston’s importance to the media, that is, not about their lack of interest in Texas) here.  This paragraph stands out as a key reflection of the media’s insularity about its focus on the Northeast:

I admit, a few dead and almost 200 injured is a big deal.  But the shared mentality is of the news, the politicians, and the teams combining to make it look more universal than it actually is.  OMG, the kid was from Dorchester!  Why, I go past Dorchester a lot!  A BU grad student! Oh no!  I knew some BU grad students once!

When should trading on inside info stay hidden?

Answer: When you’re a federal employee:

The U.S. House on Friday eliminated a key requirement of the insider trading law for most federal employees [ed: the 2012 STOCK Act], passing legislation exempting these workers, including congressional staff, from a rule scheduled to take effect next week that mandated online posting of financial transactions…

One advocacy group pushing for greater government transparency blasted the move, saying it “guts” the law…

To be precise: Federal employees would still have to report trades. But mainly to Big Brother. Not in a form that would let the proverbial Army of Davids (online citizen-journalists) catch inside trades.

But hey, at least we know now what the ‘gun control’ drama is about:

The House vote followed similar action by the Senate Thursday. The votes were done with little notice and came at a time when most people were paying attention to the Senate’s work on high profile issues like guns and immigration.

Hat tip, Zero Hedge.

UPDATE: The IRS is now watching your transactions; even your eBay auctions and Facebook updates.

Here’s the thing. As America has devolved into a social-fascist state these last several decades, we have increasingly developed a presumption that government employers can spy on monitor the taxpayers. But, taxpayers monitoring the government employees? Perish the thought! Repeal it by a unanimous vote of Congress, with Obama signing the repeal swiftly! That’s the opposite of what the American Revolution was fought for.

Hugo Chavez is dead. NPR hardest hit.

Those of us who listen to NPR largely to monitor the bias in the publicly-funded network’s news programming were treated to a whole series of stories about Hugo Chavez and Venezuela this week in advance of that country’s election on Sunday.   While it is easy for NPR to downplay the bias in its reporting on North Korea since few on the American left are foolish enough to openly praise Kim Jong-un, reporting on Chavez and Venezuela poses a large number of challenges for the network, as it tries to appear “balanced” while still advancing its agenda.

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, for instance, I heard part of this interview and couldn’t believe what I was listening to, as NPR’s Steve Inskeep interviewed Rory Carroll, a correspondent for The Guardian who has written a book about Chavez.  The interview began with Carroll making an observation about Chavez’s strong support among poor Venezuelans:

I would say about a third of Venezuelans adored him right through everything. From the beginning, right until the end. And, it’s impressive. I mean, for a guy who’s in power for 14 years? And you would tramp up the barrios — these hillside slums were his bedrock of support — and these people felt that down below in the palace, in Miraflores, there was a guy who was on their side — that he was their champion. He looked like them, he spoke like them. He was them. And that was an incredibly powerful connection that Chavez was able to maintain all through his 14 years in power.

In a subsequent exchange, Carroll related the story of a “clash” he once had with Chavez on television where Chavez responded to the question in part by deploying the rhetoric of race and class which is so popular on the left.  Summing up the encounter, Carroll made it clear he thought Chavez had made a valuable point: “I was a perfect fall guy or rhetorical punch bag, in the sense that, yes, I’m Irish, freckly and blond, or ginger, if you like — I was in that sense a perfect foil as a stand-in agent of imperialism.”

As the interview continued, though, Carroll acknowledged that the longer Chavez remained in power, the less enthusiastic he and the staff at The Guardian felt about Chavez’s reign.  Carroll talked about economic stagnation in Venezuela, the rising crime rate, and the fact that the failure of many of Chavez’s policies disproportionately affected the poor.  Carroll answered a question about his declining enthusiasm for Chavez as follows:

Well, it’s a good question. Yes, at the beginning — and I think most liberals and right-thinking people would have been, in his first couple of years in power. There was plenty of reason to give him any benefit of the doubt. Now, over time, when he became a bit more oppressive, shutting down television stations, and when the wheels were kind of beginning to come off the economy in some ways, I, in my own reporting, became very critical, just reflecting what I saw on the ground. And this prompted quite a debate, internal debate, in my newspaper, because a lot of editors then and to this day feel and felt that we should have supported Hugo Chavez because he was a standard-bearer for the left. Whereas I, very close up, I thought, well, no, actually. Because sadly, he’s running the country into the ground and we have to report that.

In other words, even a reporter for The Guardian feels compelled to actually practice journalism once in a while.  And it was at this point when this interview–and other stories like it during the week–started to get very challenging for NPR and its listeners.

My reaction to the interview–and other stories like it during the week–was rather like Tim Graham’s take at Newsbusters: “Thatcher, Schmatcher. NPR is still obsessing over its loss of leftist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.”  But when I actually looked up the interview on the NPR website, I saw something else completely.  Even when normally far-left NPR decides to air a mostly positive story about Chavez, it is still not positive enough for its left-wing listeners.

Many listeners were voicing their anger at NPR for daring to mention any of the negative realities of life under Chavez.  One listener wrote:

The tone of this article is most disappointing. Where do I start and is it worth it, given that NPR has become a mouthpiece for North American pursuit of control over everyone, starting from its docile citizens? Or are they simply immoral and prefer to ignore military intervention so they can continue to shop and charge everything on (more…)

More signs of the times

Don’t worry, I’m probably not going to make these headline summaries a regular feature. Other bloggers do it better.

Still, I must again express my amazement at how, on any given day, a quick scan of the headlines reveals a world gone awry. Just from Ace and HotAir today:

I need to start looking for things that are going right. Of course Obamacare, which kills both jobs and worker benefits, isn’t one of them.

But maybe the fight for gun rights is. Like seeing Mark Matteoli (of Sandy Hook) or Manuel Martinez (formerly of Communist Cuba): two men who understand freedom, and speak out in its favor.