Posts Tagged ‘conservatives’

Bloodless Moralism – First Things Magazine

August 25, 2015

Helen Andrews writes an interesting article about moral decisions in First Things magazine.  It essentially is a treatise on the current method of justifying moral decisions on the political and social theory level using statistics and heresy, and contrasts it with how the same decisions are made on the personal level. It implies that over-reliance on the statistical method can lead to absurdity. I agree. Here are some of my favorite quotes from it:

“We are hesitant, almost to the point of paralysis, about making moral claims on moral grounds.”

“During the Depression, the problems that government sought to address had mostly been brought to its attention by cries from below, expressed by people who could see the problem with their own eyes. From Kennedy’s presidency onward, bureaucrats armed with national statistics—then a fairly new phenomenon, not coincidentally—began searching their data for problems to solve, whether popular demand for such solutions existed or not.”

“When professionals put such zest and seriousness into persuading people that they have a problem that can be solved, several things can go wrong. It may be that the targets of their attentions have a problem that cannot be solved. It may be that they do not have a problem at all. Or it may be that they do have a problem and it can be solved, but it would be better for them in the meantime to be able to appreciate, relish, draw from, or find the richness in their problem instead of simply deprecating it. The professionals’ response to each of these three possibilities ends in false hope, false despair, or false resentment for the sufferers, yet ever greater self-satisfaction for their would-be saviors.”

“If the governor of New York were to promise to abolish stupidity within ten years, anyone hearing him would think, “Physician, heal thyself.”

“Membership in the lower class, for example, has never been a picnic, but it used to be something that a person could draw from and take pride in. Described in the terms that politics permits us to use today, as “socioeconomic disadvantage” (or worse, “lack of privilege”), it sounds like nothing more than a list of things to complain of.”

“During the Cold War, especially its early stages, the books written in defense of the Soviet model fairly bristled with statistics. Wisely, the West’s more effective defenders did not attempt to refute tractor-production figures from the Ukraine with tractor-production figures from Moline, Illinois. They made more fundamental points, like the difficulty of collecting accurate statistics in a police state, or the conclusiveness with which even accurate statistics are trumped by the brute fact of mass starvation.”

At a more Kirkian level of abstraction, there were such simple observations as: Our people are free, yours are not; we produce poetry, you produce propaganda; our cities are beautiful, yours are hideous. The equivalent arguments in the modern context might be (1) no amount of creative accounting will convince a sane person that you have made a money-saver out of a vast new entitlement like Obamacare; (2) no study could ever refute the fact that character is both a cause and a casualty of government-subsidized poverty; and (3) I will listen to econometricians as soon as you show me one that can write with more fluency than a high school sophomore.”

“…they have an idealized picture of the sciences as a self-policing community of disinterested truth-seekers with laboratories and databases and state-of-the-art modeling programs.”


Ron Paul’s Predictions

January 13, 2012


It’s the ROLE of Government, Stupid

September 14, 2011

Now I dont’ mean to call anyone stupid, and it’s not my intention to offend, but who can help but play off the old saying, “It’s the economy, stupid”?  Well, we live in a day when Americans have lost sight of some basic principles, and one of them is the failure to see the direct correlation between the size of the federal government and the role of the same.

You see, Republicans and Conservatives of all stripes are howling for a smaller government, but what do they really mean when they say that?  Are they pleading for a smaller government, or just asking MegaNannyFedGov to please cut out some of her wasteful spending?  You’ll see and hear it if you pay close attention:  they don’t want to let go of MotherGov’s milk supply; they just want it to cost less.

The next time you hear a Republican speaking, pay close attention – because while they all say they want “smaller” government, they may be promoting its expansion out of the other side of their mouth.  Can you remember the last time a republican actually named the FedGov program they would like to eliminate?  Oh, they tickle the ears with complaints about social security  or “entitlements”, but they do this knowing full well that it is these programs that the people are least likely to support eliminating; thereby giving them the eventual side-door exit from responsibility they have used so skillfully time and time again.

One of the greatest expansions of the Federal Government took place under Republican President George W Bush.  And the expansion was taking place well before 9-11.  This is not easy to read for many of us, but it is time we looked truth in the face and began a conversation with it.  And in case you think I’m just a Bush-Hater, you should take a look at this earlier post which speaks to the irrational hatred of Dubbya by the liberal media. 

In any case, the conversation we must have cannot progress to truth unless we allow some of the shine to fade on many of our favorite icons.  The fact is that the Federal Government has continued to expand unabated since its inception, with a small beginning, but on an exponential curve; under both republican and democratic politicians.  Certain watermark changes have taken place to further its growth:  reconstruction, the popularity of progressivism beginning around the T. Roosevelt administration, the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, WWI (1917), the New Deal, federal takeover of public schools, LBJ’s Great Society, and so on.  Now, in 2011, it seems there’s nothing that the FedGov can be held back from, in shameful contradiction to the American Constitution – the tenth amendment in particular.

A fact we must face is that the Republican Party does not offer a way out of Leviathan’s grip.  None of the candidates for the upcoming Presidential race have shown the unwavering committment to constitutional principles that will be necessary to defeat the Federal Gargantua.  And if I am wrong about that and a candidate might become too “idealistic”, the party will quickly crush them.  Make no mistake about it – the Republican Party eats its own.  Don’t believe it?  Ever heard of Christine O’Donnell?  How about Sarah Palin?  Ron Paul?  Can anyone survive the onslaught of the liberal media and the constitution haters at Fox News?  It’s no accident that you can’t turn on FNN in prime time without hearing from establishment apologists like Charles Krauthammer or Karl Rove.  One might also want to notice how certain talk show hosts (Laura Ingraham, Bill O-Riley for two) turned against the efforts of newly elected, principled, republican/tea party congressmen, who were trying to put a stop to the mad spending spree in congress during the fight over the recently increased debt limit.  Rove, Krauthammer, Ingraham, O’Riley – they all cried out, “COMPROMISE, WE MUST COMPROMISE, IT IS THE AMERICAN WAY!”  — showing their true colors.  And then they had the gall to declare that the Tea Party had won the battle over the deficit increase.  Let’s see:  the debt limit was raised by two and a half trillion dollars, the can’t-spend-enough congress and President was handed a blank check for $2,500,000,000.00, and the Tea Party won???  Man, with victories like that, who needs defeat?

It’s time to start voting for people who really represent our views – people like Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin.  I know these two men have been consistently delivering the same message for decades, and in the case of Ron Paul, has a spotless voting record that reflects his message. 

Let’s stop wasting our votes on people who don’t hold to our principles and will lie to get our vote.  It’s time for the Republican Party to turn or burn, repent or perish, pull up or fold up.  Once and for ever.

P.S.:  What does Joel recommend eliminating?  First, the Dept of Education – too much money spent on new buildings for kids to disrupt learning in.  Second, Homeland Security – that’s right, Homeland Security.  We already have the Dept of Defense that is constitutionally authorized to perform that task.  Third, stop the military deployments – enough already!  Just for starters…

Politics and Basketball – More Similar Than You May Think

June 7, 2009

——-Political Commentary——- 

I took my position under the basket – an unusual position for me, being a small guard.  But my opponent, whom I was defending against, felt he could do more good near the basket than far away.  As the shooter prepared to launch a long shot, I felt myself instinctively pushing against the chest of my foe with my back.  As the ball approached ever closer to the rim, the intensity of the mutual shoving increased exponentially, until finally, as the ball hit the rim, my opponent and I exploded into a shoving, clawing, jumping, fierce and bloody battle.  For what?  For the REBOUND!  O!  How we both desire to get that rebound!

 But let me ask – just what does this scenario indicate?  It indicates an obvious fact: the fact that the reason I was fighting for a rebound is because I DID NOT HAVE THE BALL, else, rebounding would not have been an interesting activity.

And so it is in politics.  The team without the ball is always looking for a block, a steal, a rebound.

Recently, a statue of President Ronald Reagan was unveiled in the rotunda of the United States Capitol building.  This is an honor he richly deserves, seeing that he is perhaps the most historically significant and inspiring US President of the twentieth century.  One might argue that that title belongs to Franklin D. Roosevelt, but Roosevelt worked in an atmosphere of cooperation and support while Reagan worked in an atmosphere of vehement opposition from the mainstream media, Hollywood, and the collectivist one-world.  One must admit this regardless of party or political persuasion.

While Reagan stood in the bitter cold of Reykjavík, awaiting the arrival of the leader of the communist world to negotiate an end to the earth-threatening Cold War, rebounders hoped for his failure.  Later, with victory in hand and standing before the infamous Berlin Wall, with all the boldness of a lion in righteousness, and in direct defiance of frightened advisors, he openly demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, TARE DOWN THIS WALL!”  Can anyone forget the effect of that speech:  The moistened eyes, the tightened throat, the chill bumps as we realized that we were witnessing greatness at its greatest and the overwhelming pressure that it brought forth on the Russian president, who ultimately acquiesced?  And yet for all that, rebounders were hoping for his failure.

And I believe I can say the same about our most previous president’s tenure.  As George W. Bush bravely faced a lying, sneaking, cold-hearted murderous enemy, his political opponents shamelessly hoped for his failure.  And these rebounders, void of any concern for our people, and apparently motivated only by their own ambitions to power, rather than lending an ethos of optimism to the cause, spewed venomous criticisms on the effort, hoping above all for the failure of the man they seem to hate with an unsurpassed irrationality.

And just what was it about George W. Bush that brings out the tantrumous worst in his haters?  Isn’t it just his cowboy-like mannerisms and lack of a smooth tongue that bothers them?  Not policy (it was relatively liberal), not lack of irenic spirit (he readily compromised with his opponents and even wined, dined, and hosted his bitterest foes in the White House), not even the war (both liberals and conservatives had been beating the drums for war in Iraq unceasingly since the end of the first Gulf War*).  No, I don’t believe it was any of his policies that were the real cause for the foaming loathing of the man.  Really, wasn’t it just his lack of polish that was the source of irritation for liberals, democrats, “moderate” conservatives, and such?

Are we so shallow?  Are we so vain?  That we would destroy our own President because he lacks the suave and debonair of a Frenchman, or the stiff-lipped stoicism of a Brit?  I fear this is so.

President Bush literally stood in the ashes of the buildings and bodies of the World Trade Center and promised to visit the perpetrators of the greatest evil of the twenty-first century with a wrath worthy of their deeds.  And yet for all that and more, a short five years later, the man could not even endorse a candidate for president, being so hated by the people he game himself over to protect.

He shot and missed in Iraq, and the rebounders took possession of the ball.  He shot and missed on some other issues, but politically speaking, Iraq was the big one.  The bad economy sealed his doom, but in reality he had little to do with the economy.  He simply was following the boom-bust Keynesian model like all other presidents since the early twentieth century, and was both blessed and damned by it like most of those presidents.  But no doubt, his handling of Iraq was “a shot and a miss”. 

In basketball, rebounders EARN their rebounds.  But in politics, they simply stand around criticizing and criticizing, slinging mud, slinging mud, until the opponent slips up and the mud begins to stick.

And why do we reward the rebounders?  Political rebounders do nothing to deserve our support, yet we reward them with great acclaim and access to important offices and such.  They promise us the world, and we elect them in hopes that they will deliver on their promises.

But time and time again we are disappointed.  Once in office, they don’t deliver on their campaign promises, nor CAN they deliver on them.  In fact, their policies are often strangely similar to their predecessors.  And so it is today.  Barack Obama is no different than any promise-making candidate before him.  His policy on Iraq and foreign policy in general was to be radically different that Bush’s, but the only difference has been in rhetoric.  But, alas, it seems that to shallow Americans, smooth-talking and false praise for avowed enemies IS policy. 

The reality is that Obama faces the same difficulties that Bush faced.  North Korea continues to build their nuclear powers.  Shallow Americans thought they would stop doing that if we just got a president that would talk nice to them instead of warning and threatening them like Bush did.  But what is the reality?  North Korea has nuclear weapons, they are continuing unabated in perfecting their delivery systems, and they fully intend to use them to intimidate the world into giving them the goods, services, and wealth that their communistic economy cannot provide itself.  And worst of all, they may even actually use them some day.

And how about Iran?  Have they decided to stop their march to nuclear capabilities?  Have they suddenly decided not to destroy Israel as soon as possible now that the President of the United States “talks nice”?  (By the way, George Bush effusively praised Islam as “a religion of peace”)

Yet it seems that the world of politics is the world of the rebounders.  And so the tide ebbs back and forth.  Republicans win, and then the Democrats win, Republican, Democrat, so on.  The phenomenon reminds me of the preacher’s observation in Ecclesiastes:

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

And so is the nature of basketball and politics.  Back and forth.  Shoot, miss, rebound, shoot, score.  And who wins?  Usually, whoever has the ball last.

And in politics, like in basketball, the crowds become irrational.  Hysteria sets in, and in the primal urge to win, we turn our opponents into demons that deserve our unchecked hatred. 

Just look at basketball fights, how violent they can be.  And political fights too.

Wounding opponents is typical of politics, but the demonization of George W. Bush got way out of control. 

I think some apologies are in order.  Don’t you?