Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Who Created the Tea Party?

February 28, 2011

Sorry folks! My daytime life has kept me from blogging for a little while. So to quote an infamous Jack Nicholson character, “I’ve been away, but now I’m back!” Now on with the show!  

The liberal news media—CNN in particular—have been talking quite a bit lately about the supposed second anniversary of the Tea Party.  Which I find very amusing.  It’s as if in their minds the Tea Party movement came into being one dark day by some formal pronouncement or decree. 

So who did create the Tea Party?

TO BE CONTINUED …

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Decision Time

November 2, 2010

Today is the day.  Election day.  Finally.  If you have not already voted early, today is the day for you to do so.  To vote.  It is a rare and wonderful right that we possess as citizens of a magnificent and exceptional country.  But in this election it is especially so.  Certainly each individual candidate has his or her own distinctive strengths and weaknesses, his or her own policies they seek to support or oppose.  And while those considerations should be given their due weight, try to put those aside for a moment and think about something much larger.  No matter the personal peculiarities of the contestants, and their specific policy views, the decisions we make about those whom we choose to send to Washington will have far-reaching consequences for the greater future of this country, and for your own future as well.   For this is a time to decide what kind of nation we want America to be. 

The Democrats, and their leader President Obama, have made the choice a very clear one from the start.  They believe that a large and expanding central government offers the best solutions to the problems we face as a nation.  Obama, himself, has repeatedly said that government—and only government—can adequately address the challenges we have before us.  On the other hand most Republicans—at least those who are truly conservative—see things the other way.  That individuals, living and acting for themselves and interacting with one another through free exchange, are best able to make their own decisions about their own lives.  Indeed, government, they argue, has proven itself capable of only getting in the way; and the larger and more intrusive government becomes, the more it gets in the way, or worse.  It is an age-old struggle: the freedom of the individual against the ever-encroaching power of the government. 

The “Progressive” ideology advanced by Obama, and his followers in Congress, maintains that America must always be moving forward—changing, transforming, progressing ever-closer toward becoming something, and that the power and machinery of government are to be fully utilized in that endeavor.   But becoming what?  Becoming what they see as their idea of the ultimate society.  It is a grand vision they have.  One in which the individual, and the choices allowed to the individual about his employment, his compensation, his finances, his health, where he lives, how he moves about, what he eats, what he drinks, the air he breathes, and even the very speech he utters, are all in one way or another, monitored, measured, influenced, controlled or compelled by government.  It is a vision of a nation and society where everyone pulls together in a common purpose and towards a common goal, a goal that is predetermined by government, or specifically by a small elite within government. 

And this goes to the prime difference between the ideology of Liberal-Progressivism, as embraced by the Democrats, and the conservative philosophy of Republicans and the Tea Party groups that are having such an influential role within the Republican Party and in this election.  And that difference is this: Progressives start with a vision—their vision—of what society should be and they seek, through government, to compel individuals to comply with that which is needed to bring about that utopian vision.  Conservatives, on the other hand, start with an understanding of individual human nature—its strengths and its weaknesses, its aspirations and its limitations—and upon that foundational understanding, they craft the rules upon which to build a successful government and society.

The Progressive belief in a common, top-driven, overriding principle of society has been tried before, in many nations and at many times throughout human history.  It has come forward in many guises, under many banners, called many different names, but it is always the same and it has always failed.  Indeed, it has done much worse than fail, it has destroyed; destroyed economies, destroyed societies, destroyed cultures, destroyed families and destroyed lives. 

History has shown us that great civilizations will rise and they will fall.  But to the extent that they have succeeded, it has always been because they have stayed true to their founding principles.  If they have failed, it is because they have strayed from them.  If our founding fathers were alive today, being the men they were, as champions of a limited, judicious and ethical government, knowledgeable as they were about human nature and the tragedies of human history, how do you think they would vote in this election?  How would they decide the question: what kind of nation do we want to be?

Related Posts:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/to-be-american/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/coming-undone/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

 

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

October 30, 2010

 

“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

–James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, 1877

James Garfield

James Garfield was not one of our more distinguished presidents.  But then he didn’t have time to be: he was assassinated by a deranged individual in 1881, after serving only 200 days in office.  It would seem, however, that Garfield at least had a clear understanding of what was required of the nation if it were to continue to exist as a constitutional republic.

With that in mind, and with this all important mid-term election finally upon us, I thought it might be worth looking at some of the devious (not to say illegal) things our opponents have been up to lately.  And for those of you who might be first time readers to this blog, our opponents are the Democrats, the Liberals, the Progressives, or whatever the hell they choose to call themselves these days.  Let’s take a look at some key races.

In Nevada’s hotly contested Senate race, where Republican challenger Sharron Angle currently holds onto a slim lead over Democratic incumbent Harry Reid, otherwise known as the Progressive Prig of the Senate, the following chicanery has occurred:

  • Reid’s supporters have propped up a fake Tea Party candidate, Scott Ashjian, to siphon off votes that would otherwise go to Angle.  Of course Harry Reid himself denies all knowledge of any such thing. 1
  • Reid’s union thugs and other supporters are giving away free food and gift cards at early voting rallies, despite the fact that Nevada law expressly forbids such bribery.
  • The polls of at least one county in Nevada are controlled by Reid’s union supporters—the SEIU (Service Employees International Union)—and, not surprisingly, voters there have discovered that Reid’s name was automatically checked off on their ballots when they went to vote.  3

In Pennsylvania, where Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak are locked in a close Senate race, Democratic officials in the City of Philadelphia are literally handing out cash, otherwise known as “walking around money” or “street money” in order to buy votes.  Oh but don’t worry, it is a time-honored practice with roots in the corrupt politics of the nation’s inner-cities and involves campaigns actually making cash payouts to local political hacks and “community organizers” who then spread that money around to anyone who is willing to knock on doors and ratchet up voter turnout for Democratic candidates. 4

Turning to Arizona, the left-wing Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled against the state, striking down its law requiring proof of citizenship identification when residents are registering to vote thus making it much easier for illegal aliens, felons and others to fraudulently register and vote as though they were Arizona citizens. 5

Finally in Maryland, a state currently run by some of the most disgusting politicians in the country, Democratic officials are actually considering appealing a federal judge’s ruling that would extend the deadline for allowing absentee ballots for military personnel, currently serving on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, to be counted—a situation that was created by that state’s failure to timely comply with the law in the first place. 6

Now call me a rube, but it would seem to me that safeguarding the right to vote should be among the most basic, if not sacred, of duties for any who would involve themselves in the politics of this nation.  Without the integrity of that process—one so fundamental to any political system that purports to abide by democratic principles—the entire foundation upon which government rests must ultimately fragment and fall apart.

This country’s founders, like President James Garfield after them, understood that the nation they had formed would last only if its people were morally good and decent, and if those same qualities were reflected in the individuals the people chose to represent them.  As John Adams, considering the fragility of the newly created government, once wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Perhaps even more to the point was Benjamin Franklin.  Upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him what kind of government they had given the country.  Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Can we indeed.

_________________________

Notes:

Fn. 1: http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2010/10/sharron-angle-builds-lead-on-harry-reid-in-nevada-race/

Fn. 2: http://www.rightpundits.com/?p=7539

Fn. 3: http://biggovernment.com/publius/2010/10/26/the-seiu-harry-reid-and-voting-problems/

Fn. 4: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/10/28/walking-money-alive-election/

Fn. 5: http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/arizona-looses-9th-circuit-court-voter-identification-requirement

Fn. 6: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/10/29/maryland-weighs-appeal-military-voters-win-extension-absentee-ballots/

_____________________

Related Posts:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/decision-time/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/to-be-american/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/coming-undone/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

Riddle: How Many CNN Reporters Does It Take to Write a One-Page Article On Morality? Answer: Two.

September 17, 2010

Yesterday, two children who go by the strange and possibly made up names of Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate spent their whole summer vacation coming up with a one-page article entitled: “Our Moral Code is Out of Date.”  They submitted it to their fourth grade teacher who immediately emailed it to CNN and it was of course summarily published on the CNN website.  By the way, for any of you public high school teachers who would like to use this CNN primer as a short-cut to actually doing your job, you may find the article here:

 //edition.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/09/16/brook.moral.code.outdated/index.html

(Just do me a favor and don’t tell anyone I sent ya.)

Anyway, I, for one, was very interested and excited to learn just how our morality–being around for two thousand years or so–had suddenly gotten out of date and was in need of an extreme makeover.  I mean, since CNN has been a premier (tee-hee) news agency for about two or three decades, you would have thought they might have jumped on this story earlier.

Anyway, if I understand what these two kids are saying, our morality is out of date because Christianity (there ya go, blame those damn Christians again!) screwed up.  By failing to predict the advent of the industrial revolution and the benevolent greed of the robber barons and their modern-day P.C. equivalent (e.g. Bill Gates), the Bible and other similar undisclosed texts have basically become obsolete, and hence let us down. Until, in the words of the authors, “science, freedom and the pursuit of personal profit” are embraced, our morals cannot truly be caught up with the morality of September, 2010. Now, what the shifting standards of moral relativism will be like in October, 2010 is anyone’s guess, so I suppose we’ll just have to wait for CNN to find two more smart fourth graders to explain it to us.

Oh, by the way, there is just one little thing in the article written by these kids that should be pointed out: They assume that “giving money away to strangers” is not a morally significant act inasmuch as morality is only about pursuing one’s own happiness.  Assuming, for the moment, that their definition of individual morality  is the correct one, since when does the personal decision to give one’s own money away fail to meet the definition of the pursuit of happiness?

Mosque Mania!

September 14, 2010

Yesterday, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf called on “moderate” Muslims (and others of the moderate persuasion) to take control of the debate swirling around the controversial proposed Ground Zero mosque, known as Cordoba House.  1

Speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations 2 —a self-described research center that dedicates itself to understanding the world “by better comprehending global trends,” Imam Rauf said that America has let “extremists hijack the agenda.” 3

The Iman (who for some reason reminds me of a Bond villain) had some other things to say.  First, that he is a devout Muslim and that he prays at least five times a day as required by Muslim law.  But that he’s also just a regular American, that he pays his taxes, pledges allegiance to the flag, and that he’s even a Giants fan don’t-cha know!  (Personally, I would rather he’d said he was a Jets fan, but that’s just me.)

In light of all the controversy surrounding the Cordoba project, when asked about whether it was necessary to build a mosque at Ground Zero, this regular, reasonable American said that his answer is still “a categorical yes.”

Now, I actually agree with the silver-tongued Imam that the voices of reason should attempt to regain control of the discourse regarding the mosque, but for those of you who are just joining the story now, let’s examine some items of recent history:

Item One:

When asked last month by the Governor of New York, David Paterson, to meet in order to discuss the possibility of moving the mosque to another location, the Imam and the developer behind the project categorically refused to meet and rejected any offer on the part of the Governor to help them find a different site.

Item Two:

When Donald Trump, in an attempt to end the controversy, made an offer to purchase the proposed mosque site for 25 percent over and above the value of the property, the lawyer representing the Imam and the project developer rejected the offer calling it a cheap publicity stunt.

Item Three:

Last week, the Imam appeared on CNN and said that if the mosque is moved at this stage it would mean violent attacks against the United States and that “if we don’t handle this crisis correctly it could become something which could really become very, very, very dangerous indeed.” 4  (Now, I’m no expert on criminal law, but that sounds a lot like extortion to me.)

Item Four:

During the same CNN interview, wherein he fielded a battery of tough, investigative questions by fourteen-year-old Soledad Obrien, he said that he would provide complete information that would make transparent all the murky details behind the syndicate of backers on the mosque project, including whether any of them are affiliated with terrorist organizations. (We are still waiting on that, by the way.)

Item Five:

The Imam has made statements in the past about: America being an accessory to 9-11, about America having more blood on its hands than Al Qaeda, about having America become compliant to Islamic Sharia law, and about how Hamas is not really what he would call a terrorist organization. But let’s not dwell on the past.

So where was I?  Ah, yes – moderate Muslims.  Well, as I said, I agree with the smooth-talking Imam that moderate Muslims should control the discourse. But what I am wondering about now is whether the Imam actually knows of any.

___________

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY OUR PROUD SPONSOR:

www.mosquebusters.com

___________

Notes:

Fn. 1:  The proposed name for the planned Ground Zero mosque—Cordoba House—refers to Cordoba, Spain where Muslims built a great mosque as a symbol of their conquest of Spain during the Islamic invasion of the 8th century.  The building of mosques on conquered ground is standard practice in the Muslim world: a kind of triumphalism or a planting of a flag of victory. 

Fn. 2: This august body is apparently populated by great world thinkers such as movie actress Angelina Jolie and T.V. anchorman Brian Williams.  See: http://www.cfr.org/about/

Fn. 3:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/09/13/new.york.imam/index.html?hpt=T2

Fn. 4:

 http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1009/08/lkl.01.html

To Be American

July 4, 2010

I. What is it to be American?

What is it to be an American?  Is it to live at certain points on a map?  Is it to have the right to vote?  Is it to have the right to free speech?  Is it to have the strongest military?  Is it capitalism?  Is it George Washington?  Norman Rockwell?  William Faulkner?  Aaron Copland?  John Wayne?  Baseball?  Apple pie?  All of the above?  None of the above?  Or is it something much more?

II. America is an Idea

America is really an idea: an idea of liberty, or freedom.  It is an idea that recognizes man is born with certain rights which are inseparable from him.  It is an idea of a new nation.  A nation based on a form of government by the consent of the governed, founded on certain principles, and granted certain powers organized in such a way as to best secure those rights and liberties for the people it governs.  This idea of a new American nation is set out in two separate but interconnected documents: The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.  The Constitution flows from and is a natural outgrowth of the principles of the Declaration. 

III. The Vision of the Founders

The men who created and shaped these two documents, America’s founding fathers, were men of great vision but also men of practical common sense.  They truly believed they were putting forth self-evident truths, but they knew full well the radical departure they were taking from what must have seemed, at the time, the destined march of human history.  So when Thomas Jefferson put ink-dipped quill to paper, the Declaration of Independence, he knew, would be a fundamental rejection of all other forms of government extant at that time.  Most especially, the Founders of the new American nation were intent on differentiating and separating themselves (or dissolving all political bands) from the country that was their progenitor turned antagonist: Great Britain.

In taking this upon themselves, the Founders relied on the protection of Divine Providence and pledged to one another their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.  If they failed, they knew that their lives would be over, and that no future history would remember them for long.  Indeed, they and their cause would be a mere footnote to history: rebels who dared challenge the might of the British Empire and who were justly crushed by it.  But they did not fail.  Miraculously, they succeeded in their cause.  They prevailed, even though at times all seemed lost. 

The Founders knew, however, that it would not be enough to merely win.  They knew that if they were victorious over the British they could not simply substitute one kind of tyranny for another: one despotic ruler for another despotic ruler.  No, the form of government which they would need to create and put in place would have to be something quite different from the European model of a supreme centralized state authority as embodied in the personage of a king.  Indeed, so worried were they about this, that the first form of government they ratified, the Articles of Confederation, was hardly a government at all.  It was so removed from any central form of government that it resulted in near anarchy and was an utter failure.  So they tried again.  And this time they got the balance right.

The Founders envisioned and created a new and unique form of government.  They foresaw that if they put in place only that government which was absolutely necessary, such conditions would allow the maximum amount of liberty for the people.  They knew government could never deliver happiness to people and, if it ever tried, it would only create the opposite result.  Rather, they understood that if people were merely allowed to pursue their own happiness, that they would, and that in their own way they would find it.

They also foresaw that power in such a system of government would need to be diffuse.  They understood all too well that men were not to be trusted with power: that they were easily corrupted by it.  Hence, the form of government they would establish would have power so balanced and so spread throughout its various layers that no one individual or group of individuals could credibly accumulate and concentrate power and so pervert the system into tyranny. 

And so, the formulation of a system of government was created based on certain guaranteed liberties and certain checks and balances on power.  It was to be one that would be a bulwark against those unscrupulous individuals who crave power and would seek to use power to subvert liberty.

IV. American Exceptionalism

Alexis de Tocqueville

So unique was this new system of American government that people began to talk about it, and the concept of “American Exceptionalism” arose.  American Exceptionalism is something I have touched on several times before in these writings.  It is a philosophy that can be traced back to Alexis de Tocqueville, a French historian who in the 1830s travelled throughout the young American nation and was quite impressed by what he saw.  And no wonder. Coming from Europe where despotism was still entrenched, American democracy was a refreshing and remarkable experiment.  So inspired was he that he wrote about it.  His treatise, Democracy in America, is a major work on the early American nation, its government and society.  In it, he depicted America as having established a form of government that created a remarkable balance between individual liberty and the needs of the community.  In this, he saw the young American nation as truly unique in the world.  Indeed, it was exceptional.

V.  Abraham Lincoln and American Liberty

Abraham Lincoln also knew that America was a unique and exceptional nation.  Delivered in the midst of the Civil War, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is a kind of testament and prayer in recognition of America’s unique position in the world.  At the time, the fate of this nation “conceived in liberty” must have seemed very much in doubt, and Lincoln obviously feared that this, the only beacon of liberty on earth, could very well be snuffed out.  On this July 4th, it is worth remembering his stirring and enduring words:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. –Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863.

The nation survived that ordeal, but both Lincoln, and the Founders before him, knew that this unique concept, this idea of liberty embodied in a nation, would be tested throughout its existence, as it had been during the Civil War.  And they knew it would be tested from without and from within.  The year following his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln made the following statement on liberty:

We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny.  –Abraham Lincoln, 1864

VI. Liberty and Tyranny Today

Lincoln’s quote on liberty and tyranny seems most prescient.  For in America today there are those who would call a thing liberty when it is really tyranny.  They are Americans who would do with other Americans and the product of other Americans’ labors as they please and all the while call that liberty.  Or compassion.  Or spreading the wealth.  Or social justice.  Or socialism.  But by whatever words they may call it, it has but one name: tyranny.

They are the ones Lincoln and the Founders forewarned us against.  They are the ones who would test liberty again and again and, if they could, take America away from what it was and remake her into something else.  They would use the power of the government as a tool to compel Americans to do what they think Americans should be doing with their lives.  They would use the power of government to compel Americans to embrace certain things and give up other things; to compel Americans to obey certain rules but dispense with other rules.  And they would call these actions the granting of “rights” and they would do so operating under the banner of liberty.  They would change, if they succeed, the very idea of America.  

And they are succeeding.  They are doing these things right now, and they are doing them from within.  There are leaders in America today who think it is government’s role and function to change people’s inclinations: to get them to do what they think they should do.  They seek to enact laws that purport to make certain groups or classes of people healthier and happier; or laws that are intended to make things more affordable, or safer, or cleaner, or easier, or more efficient; or laws designed to advance a particular cause or industry or private—but politically connected—entity within an industry.  In essence doling out happiness, to some.  And all at the expense of other people.  This stands diametrically against everything the Founders envisioned for this country.  And it is an anathema to the very idea of America.  Charity and compassion when compelled by governments, are neither charity nor compassion.  They are hoped-for handouts, that in turn become expected welfare, and that in turn become entitlements.

Most Americans today don’t think or probably even care much about all this stuff.  For them, it is just a bunch of politicians bickering, as usual.  But make no mistake: there is a war going on right now and right here in America.  Not a war fought with guns and bullets (at least not yet) but with ideas.  And the victor will determine the kind of nation we will be.  On the one side are those who believe the Founders got it right from the beginning.  That their formulation is one that works better than any other system ever has or ever could.  On the other side are those who think that the Founders’ views, while perhaps historically interesting, are to be seen as quaint and misguided, and in these modern times, certainly outdated.  They see the Founders as just a bunch of decrepit old white men who dressed funny and wore funny wigs and who just “wouldn’t get” what America is all about today.  They see America as having run its course, as being on the wrong side of history, as needing to be more like modern Europe or other nations of the world.  They see America as a country in desperate need of change, or even “fundamental transformation.”  There is no single idea or viewpoint that could be more wrong or more dangerous to this country’s existence than this one, for it takes aim at the very heart of what we are.

VII. Conclusion

What makes us exceptional, unique and unlike the other nations of the world, both past and present, is an idea.  An idea of liberty that binds us together as Americans.  We, as a nation, took a divergent path off of the historical road towards strong centralized government.  Yet, there are those who would have us return to that road and become more like other nations.  If we do, we will move further away from what we are meant to be: further away from what it means to be American.

The Founders bequeathed to us and made us stewards of a simple and elegant formula.  A way for a self-governing and self-reliant people to pursue happiness on earth.  For the Founders, it was their vision, their dream.  And to be American today is to have the great privilege to actually live this beautiful dream as a reality.  Now, why on earth would we ever want to change that?

Related posts on this topic:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/coming-undone/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/america-r-i-p/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-arrogance-of-hope-change-%e2%80%a6-or-else/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/glenn-beck%e2%80%99s-cpac-speech-tiger-woods-and-toilet-bowls-a-blackboard-and-brilliance/

Coming Undone?

June 11, 2010

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth

Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;

Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,

And men forgot their passions in the dread

Of this their desolation; and all hearts

Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:

And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,

The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,

The habitations of all things which dwell,

Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum’d,

And men were gather’d round their blazing homes

To look once more into each other’s face…

                           —Lord Byron, from Darkness

 

I.  Introduction

Thomas Hobbes

Long ago, an English philosopher once characterized the natural state of the human condition as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”1  Perhaps Thomas Hobbes had it right.  But considering the everyday lives of most modern Americans and Europeans, you wouldn’t know it.  Until recently, that is.  Over the course of our daily lives, most of us probably never give a second thought to how fortunate we Westerners — particularly Americans — truly are.  How pampered and privileged we’ve grown accustomed to being treated.  Most of us live and work in relative comfort.  We cruise around in our SUVs, or other similarly extravagant vehicles, while listening to the latest songs on our I-pod playlist.  We go to shopping malls (real or virtual) that cater to our every whim and fetish for things gaudy and gadgety.  We chat (or text) away on our cell phones or clatter away on our laptops while sipping gourmet coffee.  We see luxuries as mere conveniences and conveniences as absolute necessities. And we demand all sorts of expensive “rights” from our government leaders who seem more than happy to dole them out to us provided we keep electing them to office.  We’ve become so used to this coddled — albeit humdrum — way of life that we feel cheated if it is ever somehow denied to us.  We see it as no less than our birthright, our inheritance, our legacy.  We feel we are entitled to it.

And yet, most of us don’t seem to have a very clear understanding as to how we even got here; or have even the vaguest idea how entirely new and fragile all this is.  And for those of us that do, it is a trifling thought that signifies very little as we go about our daily routine.  We don’t stop to think that what we call life today in modern Western civilization, never even existed only four or five generations ago.  And we have nary a thought that one day it might all just go away.  Instead, we go on living in our own world enveloped by a kind of bubble of affluence and entitlement which deludes us into believing that Hobbes’s stark observation of man’s true state of existence is just not so.  Or if it is so, then it has little relation to today.  In our comfortable time and place, the realities of that other, much bleaker human condition are kept neatly at bay, tucked far away in other times, in other places.  In short, we take everything we have for granted.

But only five generations ago, everything was completely different.  At the very beginning of the twentieth century, there were of course no I-pods or I-pads or laptop computers.  There were no cell phones (the telephone itself was still a new invention.)  There was no Internet.  There were no televisions, no radios, no air conditioners, no refrigerators, no microwaves, no coffeemakers, not even a pop-up toaster.  In fact, the widespread use of applied electricity, as made available to consumers, was in its infancy.  The newly invented gas-powered automobile would have been a quirky indulgence.  And even basic needs like central heating and running water would have been considered a comfort that only a relative few could afford.  Indeed, a world with all of these amazing things in it would have seemed, to the seventeenth century mind of Thomas Hobbes, entirely fantastical.  And yet still alive today, there are those few very old folks who can actually recall, from childhood, the harder but much simpler times before any of these incredible advancements in the human condition had come into being.  Before the world was utterly transformed.

II.  A Brief History of American Capitalism

But what was responsible for this astonishing transformation of the world?  What was the overall driving force behind the affluence and technological advancements?  Was it government?  No, absolutely not.  And it definitely was not a large, centralized government.  In fact at that time government programs, to the extent they existed at all, were nothing like the costly entitlements of today.  Indeed, outside of waging war, the government’s role at the beginning of the twentieth century was, by today’s standards, a very limited one. 2

So what was responsible?  In a word, it was capitalism. American capitalism. As the nineteenth century drew to an historic close, the premonitory beginnings of the new twentieth century foretold the advent of an even more momentous age.  The decrepit despots and ruling classes of old Europe were on their last legs.  Soon, the First World War would snuff them out completely.  And in the New World, the age of American liberty and American capitalism — of individual freedoms and free enterprise — was well underway.  America had made it through a bitter civil war and survived.  And a nation, “conceived in liberty,” had in fact not perished from the earth. 3  Indeed, it was flourishing.  America as an idea — an idea of freedom — had taken hold.  Liberty, individual liberty, and self-reliance were at work in all spheres, and had become the fulcrum and foundation of the American economy.  And they became embedded in American culture and society.  The young American nation’s industrial revolution was in full swing.  Virtually over night, America went from an agrarian economy to an industrial powerhouse.  And the nations of old Europe looked our way with envy and a desire to emulate.  And emulate they did, but they only got so far.  Caught up in class struggles and internecine conflicts, and tied down by the vestiges of their own feudal past, capitalism in the American sense never quite took root in Europe.  The façade of capitalism was erected but deference to the central authority of the state remained.  It would take yet another World War and then a Cold War for European nations to finally try to put misguided ideologies behind them.  Yet even today much of Europe still seems poised to slip back into the false calm of despotism.

Nevertheless, as the new American century moved forward, the power of American capitalism, and the wealth it created, was spreading worldwide anyway it could.  And as the reach of America’s brand of capitalism extended elsewhere, it began to utterly and fundamentally alter the lives and living standards of Americans and Europeans.  Indeed many Europeans, not willing to wait for prosperity to come to them were now emigrating to America’s shores in droves.  Capitalism was lifting off the shade of night and raising America and the world into a bright new realm of limitless possibilities.  Unfettered freedom in the markets, freedom in the exchange of thoughts and ideas, created and still today creates the nurturing environment — the incubator — for individual initiative and innovation and invention to take place.  It was the “pursuit of happiness,” that our founders had so eloquently bequeathed to us, made actual and real.  Individuals, not governments, reliant on no one, other than themselves, armed with freedom and a desire to succeed: that was the simple but beautiful idea — a dream almost — upon which the young American nation was founded and that Americans were actually living.

And, at least until recent times, it was an idea that was lived by Americans without undue interference or “assistance” by government.  Quite the contrary, it was a formula that worked precisely because government was removed from it.  As little government as possible; only that government which is absolutely necessary — these were the things our country’s founders warned us about over and over again.  But somewhere during the past one-hundred years or so, between New Deals and Fair Deals, between Progressive Reforms and Great Societies, between Social Justice and the Nanny State, between Hope and Change, we allowed government to gum up the works.  Big time.  We are now a full-fledged entitlement economy, society, and culture which is something the founders of this country never wanted us to be.  Individual self-reliance and initiative have gone by the wayside.  They have been supplanted by a group mentality of entitlement.  We look to government now, rather than ourselves, for “rights” and other “free” stuff, and we are embittered and angry if ever we are denied our due.  Moreover, we are made to feel justified in these feelings.  Indeed, over the years we have been encouraged and conditioned by weak leaders within governments and by a misguided media culture to see these things — this grand benefits package — as our heritage.

But as we choose to remain an entitlement society, we shall go the way of all entitlement societies: sooner or later, the bubble bursts.  And when it does, that other, cruel Hobbesian world comes rushing in. 

III.  Greece: The Collapse of an Entitlement Society

In Greece, that bubble has burst.  The momentous events in Greece over these past several weeks and months have been a rude awakening for the Western world.  Greece, the epitome of a modern entitlement society, has finally come crashing down.  For decades, Greek citizens have relied on government entitlements and subsidies: unaffordable state jobs, excessive state pensions, government healthcare and other high-priced government programs and, consequently, the country has amassed unsustainable debt.  They’ve simply run out of money.  Now, the government’s long overdue attempts to rein in spending through a variety of austerity measures — a requirement of their multi-billion dollar bailout by the European Union and the largely United States funded IMF — have forced the Greeks to give up the entitled way of life that they had grown accustomed to and accept another, harsher reality.  As a consequence, Greece has erupted.  The Greeks have resorted to looting and rioting and lawlessness, resulting in anarchy and death.

At present, the only thing keeping the Greek economy alive today is the massive infusion of loans from the IMF and the European Union.  The Greek economy and society have simply come undone.  And it is dark days indeed for the Greek people: nasty, brutish and short.  They must now try to start over.  To search for the pieces of their past lives through the dark of starless nights and the sulfurous pall of extinguished days.  To rethink the future and to relearn, perhaps, what they had never really taught themselves in the first place.

Now, comparable calamities are foreseen in the other entitlement nations of Europe: particularly Spain, Italy, Portugal, Great Britain and Ireland.  If one or more of these nations experience similar death throes then the dominos will surely begin to fall.  Some experts suggest that any number of obscure triggers may set things off and send fundamentally profound tremors undulating through all of the industrialized world’s economies. 4

Obviously, this all has potentially dire implications for the United States.  But the Greek example illustrates a larger point: the inevitable predicament that all entitlement societies, including the United States, eventually find themselves in.  As the debt grows, it eventually swallows up the nation’s capacity for production.  Like in Greece, ultimately the nation’s economy is devoured entirely by national debt and becomes no more. Essentially, entitlement economies feed upon and finally consume themselves until there is simply no economy left.  So is present day Greece a glimpse into the future of America?  Are we coming undone too?

IV.  Are We Coming Undone?

Well to start with, we are a nation and government that bears little resemblance to the one that existed just four or five generations ago (to say nothing of the one that the founders envisioned).  We were then a land of immigrants — mostly European immigrants— who fled our respective home countries to come live the promised dream of America.  But the sad irony is that now we have more in common with Europe and European systems than ever before.  A recent study by the Heritage Foundation finds that one in five American households now depend on the government for assistance with basic necessities (e.g., food, housing, etc.) And one in eight households now rely on the government for food-stamps.  This is to say nothing of unemployment subsidies, education subsidies and the advent of subsidized healthcare.  All this, the study finds, while the number of Americans who actually pay the taxes to ostensibly support this government largesse is shrinking.  5

And, all the while, the government continues to grow.  Recent federal government stimulus programs, government bailouts of industries, and now government-run healthcare have been heaped onto an already growing mountain of national debt.  The government has become an enormous and myriad conglomeration— a colossus — of bureaucratic programs, agencies, divisions and departments that siphon billions off the nation’s wealth just to pay for the interest on the debt alone.  While Greece’s debt to GDP ratio is at an unsustainable 110% the United States is now not far behind, with a recent CBO report estimating U.S. debt will rise to a staggering 90% or more of GDP by next year!  6   Continuing down this path, “we can expect a default on government promises (Medicare, Social Security, Healthcare), higher interest rates on U.S. government bonds or even a flight by foreign investors like China to alternative investments, and a drop in the value of the dollar, raising energy and consumer costs and spreading inflation throughout the economy.” 7   All of this resulting in a dramatic decline in American living standards for generations to come.  Eventually, the colossus topples and falls.

The Colossus of Rhodes

So these are all very disturbing statistics.  Numbers shocking enough to provoke any reasonable government official to take action and change course.  Or at least one would think that.  And yet today we have leaders in government who seem not the slightest bit concerned by any of this – on the contrary they are willing to go even further in this direction.  Indeed, our President actually comes right out and says, and seems to truly believe, that government and more government is the only solution for America.  And he is aided and abetted in this view by a complicit mainstream news media that borders on a ministry of propaganda. 

But what’s more is that we, as a people, seem perfectly willing to accept this madness; and that is the real tragedy.  Apart from a few vocal dissenters, today we, the people, look to government for solutions rather than ourselves.  With our dependable entitlements and our reassuring affluence, with our mania for creature comforts, and in our sheer arrogance and complacency, we have moved well beyond mere apathy and into the mindset of dependency.  We have lost our way and drifted far, far away from what we were one hundred years ago, and before, into something that we were never meant to be.  We have allowed ourselves to be cajoled, nudged, and deceived by those in government who would have us depend on government rather than ourselves; so much so that we now feel entitled to our dependency.  But dependency and liberty can never go together.  So we’ve traded in one for the other.  Now we’re left with platitudes from politicians, slogans of hope and change, images on the television, and our own vanities.  We are left with the mere trappings of liberty.  But not liberty itself. 

So how long can America remain on this tragic, catastrophic course?  How much longer can the unsustainable be sustained?  How long before we realize that we have become Greece?  Before we realize the inevitable, tragic collapse?

In a way, Greece is lucky that they are the first.  They are lucky that there are still  solvent institutions like the IMF and EU to come and bail them out.  But what happens next?  What happens to Spain, to Italy, to Portugal, to Great Britain, to Ireland?  Who comes to bail them out?  What happens to California? To New York?  To Michigan? To Louisiana? To Florida? To Pennsylvania?  To the whole of the United States?  What happens when the economy completely shuts down?  When currency becomes worthless paper?  When investments, retirement accounts, savings accounts are completely wiped out?  When there is no longer a monthly check from the government?  When there is no food on the shelves?  No electricity?  No heat?  No running water?  When people have nothing left to lose; when we have finally come undone?  Because sooner or later in an entitlement economy, society and culture, it all comes undone.  And, frighteningly, these sorts of things always seem to happen sooner than anyone expects. 

Darkness falls.  And the night comes swiftly.  

V.  Conclusion:   “We Are Americans”

It was a simple formula that the Founding Fathers gave us.  Individual liberty combined with self-reliance in the pursuit of one’s own happiness.  A simple and beautiful and common-sense formula; not some pricey entitlement and benefits package.  We were given an elegant thing by very courageous, brilliant and generous men, and we threw it away; or rather so abused and neglected it that it is as good as thrown away.

However…   However, individual liberty, self-reliance, free-enterprise, the free exchange of ideas and freedom of speech and expression — these essential ingredients that make up the rare alloy of capitalism — come from America and nowhere else.  They come from our shores.  They may have taken root elsewhere in the world, and thank Heaven for that, but they are American “inventions” if you will and they are what make us unique.  America is the birthplace of these things and they are our true legacy, our real inheritance.  Capitalism, the free-market way, is the unique American way.  It is as American as apple pie or a Norman Rockwell painting.  It is in our blood, so to speak. It is our culture.  And for that reason, so long as we remain Americans, we can always naturally return to it.

And we will return to it.  With the passing of this year’s Memorial Day into night and into day again, and with this week’s remembrance of D-Day and the consequential days that followed it, I am reminded that this country has seen dark days and darker nights before.  This nation has faced formidable — seemingly insurmountable challenges — and has overcome them.  And so I am reminded of this nation’s greatness, its uniqueness.  I am reminded of its tenacity and inner strength.  I am reminded of its love of freedom and individualism.  And I am reminded of its people — our people.  Our people are not the Greeks. We are not the Italians.  Nor are we Spaniards or Portuguese.  We are not English, nor Irish nor Scottish. We are not Germans nor are we French.  We are not Russians. We are not Asians, neither are we Arabs.  We are not Africans, we are not Australians, and we are not South Americans. We are neither Mexicans nor are we Canadians. We are, rather, all of these, and something much more.

We are Americans.  E Pluribus Unum, is the Latin phrase.  Out of many, one.  And as Americans, we shall triumph over the undreamt of troubles that for us Fate has set in store.  We shall change our course and right our faithful ship, as we have done so many times before.  We shall come through this dour darkness to look yet once more into each other’s face, in the bright early light of a newly dawning day.  8

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Notes:

1: The full Thomas Hobbes quote: 

“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  –Leviathan, Ch. 13.

2:  Around the beginning of the twentieth century, the United States national debt as a percentage of GDP was only around 10%.  United States currency was tied to the gold standard.  There was no Federal Reserve Bank.  And there was no Federal income tax — that would have to wait until 1913 with adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution.  For a great website on the history of U.S. Government, taxation, spending and debt, click here:    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/index.php

3: The full Gettysburg Address:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” –Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863.

4: Washington Post article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/23/AR2010052304170.html

5: http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36648

6: Washington Times article:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/26/cbos-2020-vision-debt-will-rise-to-90-of-gdp/

7: Heritage Foundation article:

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/05/10/europe-2010-a-glimpse-of-america%e2%80%99s-economic-future/#more-33298

8: The poem: 

We Are Americans

We are Americans.

E Pluribus Unum,

Is the Latin phrase.

Out of many, one. 

And as Americans,

We shall triumph

Over the undreamt of

Troubles that for us

Fate has set in store.

We shall change our course

And right our faithful ship,

As we have done

So many times before.

We shall come through

This dour darkness

To look yet once more

Into each other’s face,

In the bright early light

Of a newly dawning day.

              – by Elbert Soler

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For related posts on this topic, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/america-r-i-p/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-arrogance-of-hope-change-%e2%80%a6-or-else/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/glenn-beck%e2%80%99s-cpac-speech-tiger-woods-and-toilet-bowls-a-blackboard-and-brilliance/

TRAITORS ALL!

May 27, 2010

se·di·tion (n.)

1. Conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of a state.  2. Insurrection; rebellion.

There’s been a lot of throwing around of the word “sedition” by liberals these days.   (Funny how they never brought that word up during the Bush Presidency.)  Anyway, a few weeks ago, Time Magazine columnist and all-around Obama butt-boy, Joe Klein, said that comments made by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck criticizing Obama come “close to being seditious.”1  And now just this week, uber-liberal Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said that Republican opposition to the Obama agenda is “almost at the level of sedition.”2  

Of course, neither of these left-wing geniuses cited any examples to back up their assertions.  But that’s okay.  If they want to talk about sedition, let’s talk about sedition. 

The definition of sedition (above) entails language or conduct that either incites rebellion or is tantamount to rebellion against a state.  Well, what about the spectacle that took place on the floor of the U.S. Congress last week?  I’d say that just about qualifies.  There you had the leader of a foreign country, “El Presidente” Felipe Calderon of Mexico, appear as an invited guest of the Democrats in Congress, and bash the State of Arizona’s new immigration law.  Speaking from the podium, Calderon had this to say:

“I strongly disagree with the recently adopted law in Arizona.  It is a law that … ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree, [and] introduces a terrible idea using racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.”3

Now, while this comment may have been ugly, tactless, undiplomatic and even insulting to most Americans — not to mention a display of complete ignorance of the law in question (Hey, maybe this guy should go to work for the Obama administration!), — none of what El Presidente had to say has anything to do with sedition.  Calderon is a foreign leader and, while he may be an indelicate third-world clown, he is allowed to say just about whatever he wants.  More the fools we as a country are for inviting him to say it in the House of Representatives during a joint session of Congress. 4

No, the sedition occurred immediately following Calderon’s remark: when every single Congressional Democrat, together with key Obama administration officials including the Vice-President, gave this obnoxious foreigner a standing ovation.  The sedition occurred when Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), acting in her capacity as Speaker of the House, chose an ovation to the leader of a foreign power over the duly enacted law of a sister state.  The sedition occurred when Eric Holder, acting in his capacity as Attorney General, chose an ovation to the leader of a foreign power over the duly enacted law of a sister state.  The sedition occurred when Janet Napolitano, acting in her capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security, chose an ovation to the leader of a foreign power over the duly enacted law of a sister state.  The sedition occurred when Senator John Kerry (D-MA), acting in his capacity as an elected representative of the State of Massachusetts, chose an ovation to the leader of a foreign power over the duly enacted law of a sister state.  The sedition occurred when Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), acting in her capacity as an elected representative of the State of California, chose an ovation to the leader of a foreign power over the duly enacted law of a sister state.  The sedition occurred when Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), acting in his capacity as an elected representative of the State of New Jersey, chose an ovation to the leader of a foreign power over the duly enacted law of a sister state.

After Calderon made his offensive utterances, these legislators and these White House officials — supposed representatives of the American people — had a choice, and they chose to conduct themselves in the vile, seditious manner in which they did.  They chose the facile expediency of political correctness over fealty to their own country.  They chose the distorted, ill-informed, self-serving policy pronouncement of a corrupt foreign power over the duly enacted law of a State of the Republic.  In short, they publicly and flagrantly betrayed the State of Arizona and, in so doing, betrayed us all. 

What’s more, the sedition occurred (and continues to occur) when John Morton, the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the man supposedly charged with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws — says he’s not necessarily going to enforce the law insofar as it pertains to Arizona.  Uh-huh.  Why?  Well, because he says he doesn’t think it’s all that great of a law.  “I don’t think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution,” he said. 5  Who the hell cares what you think you elitist asshole!  Who says you get to pick and choose which laws to enforce?!  Do your job and enforce the law! 

And so… [composure regained] these are all rank traitors.  So brazen are they in their treason that they are effectively pledging allegiance to a foreign sovereign state and a foreign flag: the Mexican flag.  They are doing so in their capacity as duly elected officials and government employees.  They are doing so on government soil and during a high-profile exercise of their solemn duty and sacred oath to represent the citizens of these United States, not the corrupt interests of a foreign sovereign.  They have betrayed that duty and that oath.  And they have betrayed the trust of the American people. 

It is one thing to use speech (language) to criticize a particular leader and his policies.  That is what Palin, Beck and many others including your humble writer here do.  That is political debate and political discourse and is at the essence of a free and open society.  However, it is quite another thing to attack the society itself and the very laws that undergird it; that is what these Democrat politicians are doing and that is sedition.  Simply, they are traitors all! 6

Now in the good old days, traitors were hanged, drawn, and quartered. Sadly that’s no longer the practice and as long as these thugs remain in power they will escape any punishment.  Elections have consequences, don’t cha know!  However in November, you the American voter can have your own little treason trial: where you get to be judge, jury, and hangman right there in the voting booth.  Be sure to make these villains pay for their high crimes.  And as for the biggest traitor of all, well I guess we’ll just have to wait for 2012 to come around.  But that’s okay.  We can wait, Mr. President. 

——————————————————————————–

Footnotes:

Fn. 1: Joe Klein:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36020.html

Fn. 2:  Deval Patrick:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/

2010/05/patrick_says_ob.html

Fn. 3:  Felipe Calderon before Congress:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2010/0520/Felipe-Calderon-calls-Arizona-immigration-law-racial-profiling 

(For a video excerpt of this speech, see the Comments Section of this post.)

Fn. 4:  As an aside, an inquiring mind might ask why he is so against the Arizona law? Is it because Señor Felipe Calderon is such a big proponent of civil rights in a country where he tolerates half of his population living in abject poverty?  No, it’s because Arizona just made it just that much more difficult for him to unload that half of his country into our country.  (According to official figures, in 2009 Mexico had more than 50 million people living in poverty, roughly 45 percent of the population, and those numbers are increasing.) 

Fn. 5:  John Morton:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/21/official-says-feds-process-illegals-referred-arizona/

Fn. 6:  Of course, throughout Calderon’s speech the Re-pubes just sat on their hands.  It would’ve been nice to have had a Patrick Henry moment and seen them get up and walk out en masse but I guess we just don’t have that kind of bravery anymore.

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY OUR PROUD SPONSOR:

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Gem of the Week: Woody the Fascist

May 20, 2010

 

“It is a fool’s prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak.” 1

In a recent interview published by a Spanish language newspaper, film director and comedian Woody Allen had this to say about Barack Obama: “I am pleased with Obama. I think he’s brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him… It would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.” 2

Dictator? Really?  Sounds ridiculous, right?  And coming from a nutty—albeit highly accomplished and creative—guy like Woody Allen, it’s to be easily dismissed. Or is it?  Perhaps Woody himself is unaware of just how germane his comment really is. 

First, need we remind ourselves that Obama and his party control the White House and both houses of Congress.  As Commander in Chief, he of course has full control over the military.  And in less than two years, the Obama government:

  • controls at least one-sixth of the American economy through the new healthcare law;
  • controls a large part of the automotive industry with the bailout and takeover of General Motors;
  • controls or exercises daunting power over the insurance and financial industries with the bailout of the banks and AIG;
  • controls 96% of the housing market through quasi-government housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
  • will have unprecedented control over a large part of the energy sector with the passage of “Cap and Trade” legislation;
  • will have unprecedented control over news and other media outlets that it doesn’t already have de facto control over (i.e., NBC and MSNBC) with the passage of the “fairness doctrine” or its equivalent.
  • will have unprecedented control over the Internet with the passage of so-called “net neutrality” or its equivalent.
  • is attempting to infiltrate and exercise control over the nation’s churches through a new faith-based initiative program that merges churches with the EPA.
  • is attempting, through the Justice Department, to usurp control over a state’s right to duly enact laws to deal with immigration problems within the state (Arizona);
  • is publicly contemplating, through the Justice Department, a modification to the Miranda laws with respect to certain U.S. citizens.

It would seem all President Obama needs now is some kind of national catastrophe or emergency (real or contrived) as justification for enacting his own form of “enabling” law to sweep away any remaining dissent and fully suspend all freedom of speech and civil rights.  So I’d say Woody is just one Reichstag Fire away from getting his wish. 3  But Woody may want to be careful what he wishes for.  His people don’t have a really good history with dictators, don’t cha know. 

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Footnotes:

Fn. 1: Attributed to Neil Gaiman, in Dream Country

Fn. 2: For Woody Allen quote:

http://entertainment.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/05/17/woody-allen-president-obama-dictator/

Fn. 3: For more information on the German Reichstag fire click here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire

Hey, This Universal Healthcare Thing is a Big F*ing Deal!

April 12, 2010

Yes, Mr. Vice-President, it is a big f*ing deal!  Shredding the Constitution always is.  Joe Biden is of course a buffoon, and he might even be slightly crazy.  (Boy-oh-boy, we sure are lucky we didn’t end up with that loose cannon Sarah Palin!)  But every now and then, in his own inimitable way, he says something that is on the mark.  The latest gaffe — dropping the F-bomb on an open microphone during the healthcare bill signing ceremony — being a case in point and, in this writer’s humble opinion, an understatement.  But you probably know my views on the healthcare law by now.  1   For the present discussion, I want to focus on the illustrious Mr. Biden.

As I am sure everyone is well aware, Joe Biden is compulsively prone to making these kinds of wacky remarks, always, it would seem, at the worst possible moments.  He has done so as Vice President, as a candidate for VP, and also over his long career as a United States Senator.  Here is just a sampling of the rich repertoire of Bidenisms:

  •  As the titular head of the White House team that is supposed to keep track of stimulus spending, Biden was on the CBS “Early Show” touting a government-run website that allegedly tracks stimulus money.  When he was asked for the site’s web address, he said: “You know, I’m embarrassed. Do you know the Web site number?” he asked an aide standing out of view. “I should have it in front of me and I don’t. I’m actually embarrassed.”
  • And of course, we all remember his colorful remarks last year about the Swine Flu:  “I would tell members of my family – and I have – I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now.  It’s not that it’s going to Mexico – if you’re in a confined aircraft and one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft…. I would not be at this point, if [my family] had another way of transportation, [be] suggesting they ride the subway.” 
  • At a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the White House, Biden took a moment to honor the memory of the Irish prime minister’s mother—a woman who is still very much alive.  “God rest her soul,” Biden said.  But he quickly corrected himself noting it was the prime minister’s father who had passed: “Wait … your mom’s still, your mom is still alive. It was your Dad (who) passed. God bless her soul. I gotta get this straight.” 
  • Finally, when recently asked to comment on why no one seems to pay attention anymore when he says something off-the-wall, he said, “A couple weeks ago, I insulted this disabled kid and a pregnant lady all in one day, but all anyone wanted to talk about was how President Obama was hating on the Special Olympics.  I’ve gotta figure out ways to elevate my game.”

The temptation is to write off old Joe as the crazy but affable uncle of the Obama administration who they keep locked up in the attic of the White House (or in the cellar, if you prefer) and only let out when they have to—for special ceremonies and such.  And even on these occasions it almost always looks like Obama is actually on the verge of tackling Biden before he blurts out some hellishly embarrassing thing in front of a live microphone.  Though I have to admit that lately it seems the President has resigned himself to the Vice President’s risible verbosity.  I mean, what can he do but laugh it off and hope no one is paying that much attention.  And of course the Government Information Ministry, formerly known as the mainstream media, is more than happy to laugh along with the President over Joe’s gaffes as though it’s all a big joke and we needn’t worry that he’s only a heartbeat away from running the country.

So there is this temptation, encouraged by the media, to say, “Well, it’s just Biden being Biden” and to ignore whatever he has to say.  And make no mistake; a lot of what he does say is indeed rambling nonsense.  But bear in mind, he sits in on all national security briefings and other top level meetings with the President and the Cabinet.  He obviously has the highest level security clearance which gives him access to all sorts of classified information. (I mean, he has to have that right?)  And after all, he is next in line to be President if, God forbid, anything should happen!  So one has to think that he knows about stuff, lots of stuff, and that he has known about it for a long time, going all the way back to the days of the 2008 campaign. 

But therein lies the pickle this administration finds itself in.  Biden is the Vice President.  But he is also Joe Biden.  He is still the big, likeable, garrulous, grinning guy from Scranton, PA who can’t wait to tell everybody what he knows or to blurt out whatever’s on his mind, even if what he knows or what’s on his mind is a big f*ing deal, to put it in the vernacular of the Vice President.  And so, every now and then, chatty Joe blabs about something that he’s not supposed to.  He lets out something that he’s just heard, or read, or been told is a really big secret.  I’m alluding to what Biden said back during the 2008 campaign.  Remember?  It was on the campaign trail and Biden had recently been selected as Barack Obama’s running mate.  In fact, you could say this was one of his first gaffes as a member of “Team Obama.”  He was at a fundraiser in Seattle, surrounded by the party faithful.  He was in his element.  He hadn’t realized that there were any press in the room (not that they make any difference anyhow) until after he had rambled on about some very revealing stuff.  Here are some excerpts: 

“Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy… Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy…. And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you — not financially to help him — we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right….  Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, ‘Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?’ … So I’m asking you now, I’m asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you’re going to have to reinforce us… There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don’t know about that decision.’  … I probably shouldn’t have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here.” (Emphasis added.)  2

As the then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden also touted his own credentials and said he would add value to the Obama ticket. “I’ve forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know,” he said, “so I’m not being falsely humble with you.” 

So what exactly was Joe, the humble foreign policy expert, talking about?  What did the Obama people confide in him was going to happen?  What kind of test?  JFK had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis which brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation.  Is that what he meant?  Just what kinds of decisions were going to be coming down that would make folks say “Whoa… I don’t know about that decision!”  Liberals (nervous liberals especially) will conveniently dismiss this as Biden just opening his big mouth.  But I think Biden gave us a brief, rare glimpse into the inner sanctum here.  He opened up a small window into the mind of this administration when it was in its infancy, sensing that victory was at hand and planning about all the fundamentally transforming things they were going to do, both domestically and on the international scene.  And Biden was like a new convert who had just come out of a revival meeting, having heard the true Progressive Gospel for the first time; and he just couldn’t wait to spread the word, to tell everybody what he knows.

While this administration has seen its challenges in the international arena, a catastrophe of the magnitude that Mr. Biden was suggesting has yet to materialize.  There have been no Cuban Missile-size crises or 9-11’s to deal with.  So Biden’s prognostications as to timing have been wrong…  so far.  However, just about every week it seems like there is some new big f*ing deal.  Some new push.  Some new peeling away of the onion.  Some new chipping away at the foundation.  Gradually, the curtain is being pulled back on this President and his administration to reveal the inner-workings of the machine; the levers and pulleys of the mechanism of fundamental transformation.  But none of these things rise to the level of actual crises.  Certainly none have been “generated” by our enemies.  They don’t even come from someplace else in the world.  Rather, they are ginned up right here, at home, by this President and his administration.

For example just this past week, the Obama administration announced a new nuclear policy for the country.  For the first time, we unilaterally and preemptively have said to the world that we are fundamentally altering our policy as to when and against whom we will and will not use our nuclear arsenal.  In particular, the new policy actually allows certain nations to attack us with biological and chemical weapons and we will politely refrain to retaliate with a nuclear weapon.  Without here debating the merits or recklessness of such a decision (i.e., whether or not our existing or potential enemies will be inspired to follow suit or actually emboldened to press an advantage) it is beyond dispute that such a move is unprecedented in the history of American nuclear security policy.  In fact, it is a radical change in that policy.  It is a meddling with something that does not cry out for meddling with, indeed, something that has stood us in good stead for some sixty odd years.  And yet, this decision follows a pattern and formula that has become the hallmark of this administration.  That being: fundamental change, for its own sake.  Fundamental change, based on an intellectual argument.  Fundamental change, whether you like it or not. 

So again, what was Joe Biden talking about?  What kind of long range plans and schemes did the Obama people let him in on (before it dawned on them they were talking to Joe Biden.)  Did he hear something but misinterpret it?  There is certainly a high likelihood of that!  Maybe he got the “test” part right but mixed up the antagonists.  Just who is testing whom here?  Is it this President who, like John Kennedy, is being tested by the world?  Or is it perhaps the other way around?  We could ask Joe Biden, but he’d probably honestly say he doesn’t remember.

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Footnotes:

Fn. 1: In case you don’t, I expand on why this law is an affront to the U.S. Constitution in several prior posts. To read, start by clicking here:  https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

Fn. 2: Source: 

 http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/10/biden-to-suppor.html