Posts Tagged ‘progressive’

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/

 

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Gem of the Week: The Right to Disneyworld!

April 23, 2010

Tourism is now a human right in Europe!  Yep!  Not simply the right to move freely or travel about, but the right, if you are a European, to demand of your government a taxpayer-subsidized vacation to somewhere like, say, Disneyworld!  Euro-Disney, that is.  Wow, Europe must be such a wonderful place!  But where-oh-where do they get all that free money from?  I mean it must grow on trees over there!  Or maybe the Europeans who work at all the amusement parks, hotels, resorts and other vacation spots just work for free.  Not to mention all the folks working on the planes, trains, buses, etc. that are needed to transport everyone who chooses to exercise their new free tourism right.  Oh well, I’m sure they’ve got it all figured out.  Besides, who cares when it’s a free vacation!

With the big debate over here being about whether there is even a right to healthcare, those fancy European Union folks must think we’re just a bunch of heathens.  You can almost hear them in Brussels saying, “Healthcare a right? Oh, mon dieu! Of course that is a right!  We’ve wrapped that one up and given it to our peoples long ago, Messieurs.  Even Hitler and Stalin knew that! What is it with you provincial Americans and your so-called Natural Laws anyway?  No wonder we kicked you out.  Ignorant philistines!”

The Griswolds in Europe

Ah, yes.  It would indeed appear that the wise men and women of Europe have “progressed” to bigger and better things.  The Times Online reports that the European Union has formally declared that tourism is now a human right and that “pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidized by the taxpayer.”  According to EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, Antonio Tajani, “Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life.”  According to Tajani’s spokesman: “Why should someone from the Mediterranean not be able to travel to Edinburgh in summer for a breath of cool, fresh air; why should someone from Edinburgh not be able to travel to Greece in winter?”  1

And why not indeed?  Well, I guess they always have been a few steps ahead of us over there.  I for one will not be completely happy (as is my right) until everyone has a right to a mansion and a yacht and a Maserati Quattroporte and, oh yes, a free lap-dance from that Taiwanese stripper I met the other night.  Now that’s what I call exercising a natural right!

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Fn. 1:  To view the full Times Online article, click here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article7100943.ece

For a related post on this topic, link to:

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

Gem of the Week: Glen or Glenda?

April 16, 2010

This week, the Maine Human Rights Commission moved to ban gender specific bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams in all public schools and even some private schools.  That’s right.  The girls’ room ain’t just for little girls anymore!  Nor is the boys’ room only for little boys.  Nor are locker rooms, showers, etc. That is, if the Maine Human Rights Commission gets its way.  (Just as an aside, whenever I see the words “Human Rights” linked with “Commission” I get very nervous.)

Apparently, this issue really got going last year when the Commission ruled that, under the Maine Human Rights Act, a school had discriminated against a twelve-year-old boy who identified himself as a girl (they call it self-identifying), by denying him access to the girls’ bathroom.  Now the Commission is looking to issue guidelines on how schools—including even pre-school and nursery schools—should adjust themselves in order to deal with this issue.  Maine would be the first state to implement such guidelines.  Not surprisingly, the Commission has drawn fire for this decision and has recently been compelled to back-pedal a bit, but the issue is not entirely a dead letter; it has merely been postponed. 

I’m just curious, does a twelve year old have the mental and emotional (to say nothing of legal) capacity to sort out all the factors that go into whether he/she is a boy/girl?  I’ve heard of adults making the transgender switch only to realize later on that they may have been a little too hasty (I think it’s called transgender regret).  So I wonder about the parents of a mixed up child being so positively certain that their kid is this or that other gender. Something to think about and I wonder if the Commission did think about it.  Also, while I am no doctor or school guidance counselor, I do know what it was like to be a kid in public school, and the Commission’s decision has “really bad idea” written all over it.

Oh well, just another example of progressives meddling with the culture.  Even worse: Maine progressives meddling with the culture.  If the Maine Human Rights Commission ever succeeds in pushing through its radical-progressive agenda, I sincerely hope that the old aphorism, “as Maine goes, so goes the nation,” proves to be no more than a fairy tale.

Why I Love Ann Coulter

April 5, 2010

“Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire.  He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light.  But he left them a gift they had not conceived, and he lifted darkness off the earth.  Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. The great creators, the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors, stood alone against the men of their time. Every new thought was opposed. Every new invention was denounced. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid – but they won.   No creator was prompted by a desire to please his brothers. His brothers hated the gift he offered. His truth was his only motive.”

— Excerpt from Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead (Howard Roark’s closing statement in his own defense.) 1

First, let me say that this is not a defense of Ann Coulter.  As far as I’m concerned, she needs no defending.  And if she ever did, she’d be able to acquit herself quite well.  On the other hand, if you are looking for any semblance of objectivity here, stop reading.  I freely admit my bias.  This is instead a kind of open love letter to Ann: an offering of homage to someone whom, for reasons I expand upon below, I hold in very high regard.  I can only hope she reads it!

Now, I could gush all day about Ann’s charming ebullience, her rapier wit, her gifted erudition, her unapologetic boldness, her sexy blonde mane, or the immense joy I get at seeing how she afflicts liberals with apoplectic fear and rage.  But I find that this unique woman possesses one quality above all others for which I truly admire her.  That quality is her love of the truth.  You see Ann, believe it or not, is a moral person.  She lives by a moral code — her own principles and sense of right and wrong as rooted in her Christian values — to which she steadfastly adheres no matter what the consequences.  And among the tenets of that moral code, she champions speaking the truth above all.  In other words, I believe that her truth is her only motive.

Ann speaks the truth openly and unreservedly and, yes, sometimes even offensively.  I am not going to recount here all of the controversial statements made by Ann Coulter.  (Remember, I’m biased.)  Besides, they are widely known.  And if you are not aware of them, a ten second Google search will satisfy your curiosity (the liberal blogosphere is all agog about even her most casual remarks.)  Regarding these controversial statements, most people simply dismiss them or relegate them to hyperbole, satire, or just bad jokes.  A few of us view these comments in their context and see the larger point being made.  The rest are liberals.  These comments are Ann’s signature rhetorical devices and, while sometimes they are indeed over the top, one cannot say they are unoriginal, and they almost always make a big impression.  As General George S. Patton once said when asked why he used profanity while addressing his troops: “When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty.  It may not sound nice to some bunch of little old ladies at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember.” 2

Of course, it has reached the point now where no matter what Ann says she gets herself in trouble with liberals and progressives.  In fact, she doesn’t even have to say anything anymore.  The mere prospect of her speaking is enough to make them all aflutter.  The most recent incident was the “welcome” she received by the students and administration at that world renowned institution of higher learning, the University of Ottawa.  To make a long story short, Ann was prevented from speaking at the school after the school’s provost sent an email warning her to watch what she says as certain speech may run afoul of Canadian “hate speech” laws.  The obvious innuendo being that Ann is incapable of opening her mouth without potentially saying something tantamount to a crime!  Needless to say, this touched off a firestorm and an on campus student protest ensued (a protest against Ann, not the provost) which created a dangerous environment and caused Ann’s security detail (yes, she needs that now) to call the whole thing off.  For the full story, click here:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/gem-of-the-week-oh-canada-what-a-houles-you-are/

The attitude among liberal and progressive opponents to Ann Coulter’s right to speak is best summed up in their own words.  When interviewed, University of Ottawa student protest organizer Mike Fancie stated he was pleased that they kept Ann from speaking.  “What Ann Coulter is practicing is not free speech, its hate speech,” he said. “She’s targeted the Jews, she’s targeted the Muslims, she’s targeted Canadians, homosexuals, women, almost everybody you could imagine.” (Source: The Boston Herald)  Well, if according to this genius “she’s targeted … everybody,” including groups on either side of a particular debate, then she can’t really be said to be targeting anyone, can she?  It is this kind of aggressive stupidity that Ann comes up against almost every time she speaks in public.  But worse than that, it is political correctness run amuck.  It is liberal-progressive oversensitivity codified into absurd laws and rules and enforced by academicians and apparatchiks like the University of Ottawa administrator. The sick irony, though, is that they do so in the name of tolerance.  Only in their Orwellian world could suppressing freedom of speech and expression be viewed as “tolerant.”

The face of liberal tolerance: A University of Ottawa student protester

Liberal rules regarding hate speech and free speech raise all kinds of subjective questions: Precisely what is hate speech?  What is appropriate speech?  When is speech offensive?  When is it not?  Which groups can you offend and which can you not?  Is no group or individual at any time ever deserving of offensive speech?  What about child rapists and murderers?  What about terrorists? What about racists, adulterers and sleazy politicians?  What about liars in general?  Are all of these exempt from being the target of offensive speech as well?  And if not all, then which are and which aren’t?  What about the bogeymen of liberals: conservative speakers and commentators?  Is there also a prohibition on speaking offensively to or about them?  It would appear that there is not!  I guess targeting conservatives, like Ann, is a-okay with liberals and progressives because they level their hate-filled rants and offensive slurs against her all the time.  Apparently when Ann is the object, it is open season on hate. All of this points out the absurdity and insidious evil of liberal and progressive “rules” when it comes to what can and cannot be speech. Lies and corruption are the tools of the collective: they are the means by which it pushes around the individual and stifles any free thought or expression that does not fit into their agenda of political correctness.  The status quo of political correctness and moral relativism are phenomena that have become entrenched in modern American culture, much to our great misfortune. Ann attacks and roots out this liberal hypocrisy wherever she finds it: whether it be in academia, the mainstream media, the Democratic Party, or Hollywood.  She tears away at the façade of their lies and reveals the faulty edifice underneath.  With a truth as hard as steel, she exposes their hypocrisy for what it is, and they hate her for it.  Speaking truth to power, I think is what it is called, and it has become, in a way, her mission.

But one needs to ask, why does Ann even bother with all this?  What is her motivation? Liberals assign a variety of motives: she is vile and malicious and can’t help herself; she is pure evil; she is a natural-born hater; she is only doing this to boost her book sales; etc. They lean on these rationalizations because they refuse to accept that anybody of her obvious intelligence would actually believe the outrageous things she says.  They are so arrogant (or perhaps insecure) in their belief that they are right, that they are convinced there must be some ulterior motive.

Howard Roark

Ann has only one motivation: she actually believes what she says.  And she says what she believes, no matter how offensive.  The truth trumps polite conversation.  Of course, Ann pays for this truth in the frightful extreme.  She endures insults, scorn, contempt, even threats, and like Howard Roark, Ayn Rand’s hero in The Fountainhead, outright hatred for causing the entire foundation of their corrupted structure to shake.  As in Rand’s novel, they would destroy her.  They would burn her at the stake with the very fire she’s introduced, if they could.  But therein lies the beauty of speaking the truth, it will always triumph over falsehood.  Some might say her enemies always fall into her trap, but really it is not a trap at all, it is the truth: the logic of truth which will always unmask a lie.  In the end, the status quo of the corrupt liberal collective is beaten.  The individual of vision wins.

But if indeed this is Ann’s motive and mission, is truth-telling really necessary even when it offends to the point of provoking hatred and fear?  I don’t think anyone would openly admit that it is better not to know the truth (though it would seem that for many, willful ignorance is truly bliss.)  But what about the truth that offends?  Is that really necessary?

It is truth, in all its forms and expressions that advances the human condition.  Truth in speech, art, music, poetry, literature, truth in invention and truth in creation of any kind has been the foundation stone upon which all else: cultures, societies, economies, governments and entire civilizations are built.  This is also the case when truth offends.  The truth is always opposed when it confronts men and women, governments and institutions, whose “principles” are warped and corrupted by lies and hypocrisy.  In these circumstances, truth is essential to the advancement of the human condition – not just when it offends, but because it offends.

The world as we know it today didn’t just come about over night.  Down through the ages, the broadening of views, ideas and perspectives and the shifting of paradigms in the religious, political, economic, scientific, social and cultural spheres all took place only because someone said something or did something or created something that offended the status quo.  In this country alone, the improvement of the human condition for blacks, women and other minority groups would never have happened unless someone ticked off somebody else.  Indeed, the country itself would never have come to exist unless a courageous few spoke certain truths that were an affront to a mighty many.  In all these instances, the offensive nature of truth was not just coincidental, it was essential. 3

At the end of Ayn Rand’s novel, the architect hero Howard Roark prevails.  He stands atop the steel framework of his creation, admired by the woman who has finally come to see the true meaning of his spirit.  His truth — the truth of one individual’s vision — wins out over the hypocrisy of the collective.  Whether or not Ann Coulter shall ultimately prevail, only time will tell.  But one thing is for sure: that quality of unabashed truth-telling is a rare and wonderful thing in this world, and it is why I love Ann.  You see, I am a recovering idealist who wakes up every day looking for an honest man.  Unlike Diogenes the Cynic, I do believe that at long last I have found one; only she’s a woman.

Diogenes Sitting in His Tub, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1860)

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Footnotes:

Fn. 1: See the Comments section to this post for a video clip of the entire Howard Roark speech from the film, The Fountainhead.

Fn. 2: For a fuller version of the Patton quote: “When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty. It may not sound nice to some bunch of little old ladies at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember. You can’t run an army without profanity; and it has to be eloquent profanity. An army without profanity couldn’t fight its way out of a piss-soaked paper bag … As for the types of comments I make, sometimes I just, By God, get carried away with my own eloquence.”

Fn. 3: Of course, none of this is to suggest that all truthful speech need be offensive or that just because speech is offensive it is truthful.  On the contrary, there is plenty of offensive speech that is just plain offensive.

Gem of the Week: Oh Canada, What A-Houles You Are!

March 23, 2010

University of Ottawa's Francois Houle

Conservative columnist and best-selling author, Ann Coulter is visiting Canada this week where she is scheduled to speak at three universities. (Boy, I hope they’re paying her a lot of money for that!)  However, before she even got off the plane, a senior University of Ottawa administrator warned her to use “restraint, respect and consideration” when speaking at the school.  In an email to Ann, Academic provost and all-around douche-bag, Francois Houle, wrote:  “Our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or ‘free speech’) in a manner that is somewhat different than the approach taken in the United States. I therefore encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here… Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges… I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind.”  He said some other things too, but I don’t want to offend the sensibilities of average Americans.  By the way, I wonder to how many Jihad-chanting Muslim speakers he sent that kind of an email before they arrived on campus to speak.

Anyway, it’s all good because Ann, being smarter than your average college guest-speaker and infinitely smarter than the liberal provost of some third-rate Canadian university, has turned the tables and is claiming that the provost, by his email, targeted her as a member of an identifiable group, namely conservatives, and as such she will be filing a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging that she is now the victim of hate speech.  Go Ann!

When jackasses like the University of Ottawa provost are able to wield a criminal statute like a martinet school master would a yardstick, any kind of insanity can ensue.  But should we expect anything less from a university administrator in the age of political correctness?  In addition to the liberal bias that is rampant across college campuses in the U.S. and Canada, this incident points out the utter absurdity of the Canadian “hate speech” law, and, for that matter, any laws that would attempt to criminalize speech.  And yet, this Kafkaesque theater of the absurd is precisely what Liberal-Progressive ideas about how to create a politically correct society inevitably lead to.

Well, thank God the Progressives in America have yet to accomplish this item on their agenda (though given the swift and corrupt process by which they rammed healthcare into law anything could happen!)  Until then, I will continue to exercise my right to free speech and, to prove the point, with all due restraint and respect, I cordially invite the University of Ottawa provost and every other French-speaking Canadian to suck frozen moose cock.

For related posts on this topic, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/why-i-love-ann-coulter/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/gem-of-the-week-2/

Why You Don’t Have a Right to Healthcare

March 20, 2010

 

 

 

I.  What is a Right?

Healthcare in America is not a right and cannot be a right so long as we live in a country that still recognizes the United States Constitution as the law of the land.  Our rights are embedded in Natural Law.  They do not come from a king, they do not come from the President or any other politician, they do not come from Congress, nor do they come from the government as a whole or from some special group of policy makers within the government.  They do not even come from the Constitution itself.  Our rights emanate from the fundamental nature of our humanity or, if you will, from God.  As individuals, we are born with them.  The Constitution is the document under which our rights are protected.  Protected from what or whom? Why, from the government of course.  Or more to the point, the government’s inherent desire for ever more encroaching power and control over our lives.

Because our rights derive from our own individual humanity, healthcare, whether provided by the government or somebody else, cannot, by definition, be a human right.  And why is this?  Because if it were a right, we would be able to require of another person that he or she provide it to us, which would then infringe on that person’s rights.  In other words, if a so-called right requires someone else to do something for you or give something to you (i.e., guaranteed care whenever you are sick) then it is not a right.  So if healthcare is not a right, what is it?  It is a good.  A good is something we want or need, as opposed to something we naturally possess from birth.  So healthcare is no more a right than is food, clothing, housing, high-speed Internet access, or a double mocha latte from Starbucks. 

What are some examples of rights?  We have a right to life, to speech, to worship, to travel, to due process (or fairness); we also have the right to be left alone.  These basic rights and others are to be found among the first ten amendments to the Constitution, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights.  But when you think about it, they are not really rights at all. There is nothing there that is being given to Americans that they do not already naturally possess.  They are more like prohibitions – prohibitions placed upon the government; things that the government shall not do to infringe upon the rights of the individual.  “Congress shall make no law…” this right “shall not be infringed…” this other right “shall not be violated,” the Bill of Rights is replete with such language.  So if we already possess these rights, why were they even added to the Constitution?  Because the people were, understandably, suspicious of government and in fact feared a government that would not only fail to secure their rights but actually, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, become “destructive of these ends.” 

 

 

II. The Progressive View 

Of course none of this squares at all with what Progressive politicians are saying.  Those great liberal luminaries, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Harkin, Nancy Pelosi and even Barrack Obama, have all argued that healthcare either is or should be a right in this country.  If they think it is already a right, then they either are unable or unwilling to comprehend the above analysis.  On the other hand, believing it should be a right is even more troubling because that implies that they —the officials of the government — actually think they have the power to grant it as a right.  Well, they who have the power to give, also have the power to take away.

But all this begs the question, why are these deep-thinking Progressives so hot to make only healthcare a right?  What about food? What good is it being healthy if you don’t have anything to eat?  What about housing? You need a place to sleep don’t you? What about a job?  How about a car to get to the job?  How about a place to rest when you go on vacation from your job?  Sound good?

Well, believe it or not, these things can all be yours.  Just one little catch: you have to leave the country.  Yes, the governments of other fine nations, both existing and defunct, have provided in their constitutions for all of the above, including healthcare.  Regarding the healthcare “right,” here is just a brief sampling: 

Article 42.  Citizens … have the right to health protection.This right is ensured by free, qualified medical care provided by state health institutions; by extension of the network of therapeutic and health-building institutions; by the development and improvement of safety and hygiene in industry; by carrying out broad prophylactic measures; by measures to improve the environment; by special care for the health of the rising generation, including prohibition of child labor, excluding the work done by children as part of the school curriculum; and by developing research to prevent and reduce the incidence of disease and ensure citizens a long and active life.

This comes from the U.S.S.R.’s Constitution of Fundamental Rights, as amended in 1977.

Here is the right to healthcare from the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (as adopted in 1982): 

Article 45. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China have the right to material assistance from the state and society when they are old, ill or disabled. The state develops the social insurance, social relief and medical and health services that are required to enable citizens to enjoy this right. The state and society ensure the livelihood of disabled members of the armed forces, provide pensions to the families of martyrs and give preferential treatment to the families of military personnel. The state and society help make arrangements for the work, livelihood and education of the blind, deaf-mute and other handicapped citizens

And to satisfy the Michael Moore crowd, the Cuban Constitution (as amended in 2002) also gives everyone the right to healthcare:

Article 50: Everyone has the right to health protection and care. The state guarantees this right; by providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers; by providing free dental care; by promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccinations and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease. All the population cooperates in these activities and plans through the social and mass organizations.

Finally, there’s this one:

… Healthcare is a basic right … to be provided through a not-for-profit plan.  We … include coverage for those excluded… We … free the states. We … have control over private insurance companies and the cost their very existence imposes on [our] families.  We … provide a significant place for alternative and complementary medicine, religious health science practice, and the personal responsibility aspects of health care which include diet, nutrition, and exercise.

Actually, those are the words of Congressman Dennis Kucinich in a speech he gave just last Wednesday regarding his plans to vote on the upcoming bill for government managed healthcare in this country.  Sound familiar?

 

 

 

III. America the Exceptional

I often get this from liberals: “Most of the industrialized world thinks that healthcare is a human right, why not the United States?” Well most of the world, industrialized or not, thinks a lot of things that are decidedly un-American, including the government’s power to bestow healthcare (and other things) as a right.  One has to ask, how did America get to be America?  By becoming like the rest of the world?  By giving things away for free? Heck no!  What makes us still today the shining beacon to the rest of the world is that we are different from the rest of the world.  We are exceptional.  And what allows us to be exceptional is the recognition that our rights and liberties are intrinsic to the individual and not derived from government.  Where over the course of human history through to this day, governments of other nations have handed down rights to the peoples they’ve governed and have, in the name of those very rights, meddled, restrained and enslaved, in America the individual rights and liberties of our people have freed us to create, innovate, invest, build, grow and pursue success and happiness in every conceivable way, including giving it all away if that is an individual’s choice.

So really the question is not so much whether healthcare is or is not a right, because in America it is not.  Rather the question is what kind of country we want to be. 

For more on the healthcare debate, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/fortune-favors-the-brave/

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

The Arrogance of Hope

March 4, 2010

He is the distinguished college professor seated at the head of his class.  Today’s subject: universal healthcare.  He calls on his students one by one.  Have they done their homework?  Have they completed the assignment to his satisfaction?  Did they come to class prepared with the answers that he wants to hear?  He calls on Johnny McCain who inappropriately raises the issue of unequal treatment of citizens under the proposed law.  The professor summarily scolds him, reminding him that the campaign is now over.  As an upperclassman, Johnny should know better than to revert to mere talking points!  Then there is little Eric Cantor who had the temerity to bring the 2700 page assignment with him to class.  He needs to be scolded too.  Ostentatious props like that are uncalled for and serve only to distract from the intellectual discussion.  Then there is naughty Paul Ryan who just didn’t have his facts right. The professor will need to speak with him after class.  Alas, it would appear that at least some of his students are very delinquent indeed!  But then there are his honor students: Joey Biden, Harry Reid, and of course teacher’s pet Nancy Pelosi.  They all followed the professor’s instructions implicitly and so get to go to the head of the class.  Well if there is nothing further, class dismissed!  Now the professor, with the able help of his honor students, can return to his treatise on universal healthcare and the reshaping of American culture and society.

The arrogance is nothing new; only it was on full display at last week’s healthcare summit.  Americans who had the weekday leisure hours (and infinite patience) to tune in saw in microcosm the raw conceit that is the defining quality of this administration’s approach, not just to the healthcare, but every policy debate.  Perhaps the campaign trail is where he first learned he could get away with it, and indeed he did.  Being derisive of conservatives and conservative ideas will always win you points with the broad-minded liberal media. 

But it is much more than that.  Arrogance towards opposing ideas and derision towards those who stand in opposition is really what Progressive Liberalism is all about.  “If you disagree with me, it is because you are stupid.” That is the basic mindset.  “And because you are stupid, I don’t need to listen to you, you need only do as I say.”  When his healthcare plan is rejected by two-thirds of the American public, it is not because it is a bad idea, but because the ignorant masses are just too dumb to understand it.  So he will try to explain it in simpler terms so that they can understand it.  And if they still don’t get it, then tough sh*t!  Elections have consequences. The last election was about “hope and change”, but did anyone stop to ask what that really means.  Now that the campaign is over (as we are constantly reminded) apparently hope and change really mean entitlement and transformation: the entitlement of the governing elite to transform the society of the governed.

... or else!

This is the nature of Progressivism and, historically, has been the political approach of Progressives in America since the beginning of the twentieth century.  The governed are not to be listened to, but instead instructed by the governing elite in matters of health, wealth and general welfare.  Only the governing Progressive elites, having superior education and understanding, are qualified to fathom the multifarious aspects of daily life in an increasingly complex society.  It is they, therefore, who are best suited to make decisions for the average American citizen, who will only screw things up for himself.  Only the Progressives are capable of brininging about much needed change through the implementation of a whole raft of government programs.  And yet, none of the programs of the Progressives are based on any grasp of reality, but rather on an imagined vision of the future.  It is a vision of how to change reality.  A vision of a society reshaped and reordered in their image.  And once power is gained, that hoped for vision becomes expectation.  And the nearer the goal of the vision’s realization, the more expectation grows into entitlement.  Healthcare for all is now something to which we are entitled.  Healthcare is now a right.  In an America where rights are still defined under the Constitution and are God-given, this line of thinking is nothing short of arrogance: the arrogance of hope.

But the approach of the Progressives is not without its consequences, at least as long as we still live in a Democratic Republic.  Last week, average Americans finally got a long look at their methods and, in that sense at least, the healthcare summit did some good.  Regardless of how things play out over the coming weeks and months, there is always the ballot box, where Americans as voters will at last be able to send arrogance back from whence it came: the world of academia, where it doesn’t matter much.

Glenn Beck’s CPAC Speech: Tiger Woods and Toilet bowls, a Blackboard and Brilliance

February 27, 2010
 

Glenn Beck at CPAC

In an America that has grown up in a hurry – some might say too much of a hurry – Glenn Beck is someone saying “hold on just a minute.”  In Beck’s stirring speech before CPAC this past weekend (he was last Saturday’s keynote speaker) the conservative political commentator showcased his brilliance not merely as an orator but as the maestro of a mass movement disaffected toward the present state of American politics and big government.  In his delivery, Beck is at turns funny, flamboyant, histrionic, sarcastic and just plain brilliant.  In an age of teleprompters and cunningly crafted sound bites, Beck at all times speaks from the heart.

Beck is a Constitutional purist: a true believer in the great men who founded this country.  He believes that those men of genius got it right from the start and still have it right today: that America is an idea—an idea that sets people free.  And so Beck is a believer in all the greatness that was and still can be America.  His speech begins with a fond remembrance of Ronald Reagan (himself a former and frequent keynote speaker at CPAC) and the conservative President’s “Morning in America” slogan.  As bad as things seem, Beck assures us that it is still morning in America, albeit one where we are all hung-over and gripping the toilet bowl after the excesses of the previous night’s binge.

Beck is a self-taught student of history and a believer in the lessons it has to teach those who would only seek to learn from it.  In particular, Beck warns time and again about the unfortunate history of Progressives and the Progressive movement in America.  At CPAC, he actually had his trusty blackboard hauled out onto the stage so he could write out the word: Progressives.  “This is the disease!” Beck exclaims.  Progressives and Progressivism are the cancer that is eating away at America and the American Constitution.  It is a big government socialist utopia that must be eradicated.  The two (the Constitution and Progressivism), says Beck, cannot coexist, and the country needs big thinkers and brave people “with spines” to combat the Progressive disease.  But Beck, speaking to his conservative and pro-Republican audience, is not convinced that the Republican Party is even up to that challenge.  Drawing parallels to Tiger Woods, he says he still hasn’t seen a sincere “come to Jesus” style mea culpa from Republican leaders who, like a recovering alcoholic (which Beck himself is), need to admit that they have a problem too (with too much government spending and too little integrity).  It’s not enough, Beck says, “just to not suck as much” as the Democrats.  Beck speaks often and passionately about the need to have leaders who won’t “check their souls at the door” when they take on the privilege and responsibilities of elected office.  In this respect, one could say Beck has taken on the mantle of a modern John the Baptist in search of his country’s messiah, and one wonders if he would ever consider the lead role for himself.

Beck concludes his CPAC speech with a brilliant exposition on the little known back-story connected to the Statue of Liberty.  He explains that the French didn’t simply gift it to the United States as a mere gesture of goodwill between nations.  But rather it was given with the ulterior motive of mocking their fellow Europeans at a time when Europe was in the midst of its own upheavals and soul searching.  Further, it was a statement of admiration, not to say envy, toward a new and dynamic nation that, after its first one-hundred years, was beginning to come into its own.  This is a strong message and counterpoint for today when our own leaders seem to be saying we should become more like Europe!

The true intent and meaning behind the Statue of Liberty becomes evident when one reads (as Beck does) the entire poem that is engraved within the pedestal on which the statue stands.  The full poem reads thus:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

—Emma Lazarus, 1883

The poet and critic James Russell Lowell wrote that the poem gave the Statue of Liberty its “raison d’être.”  Beck would undoubtedly agree, but would add that the poem transforms the statue from a fancy welcome mat for immigrants into a testament to the world of indelible hope and endless possibilities for all who might yearn to breathe free, including even those that the storied nations of Europe, with their old systems and internecine struggles, would discard.

As Glenn Beck and many others would see it, the Statue of Liberty is really what America is all about.  And America is an idea that sets people free.