Musings on Sports, Politics and Life in general

Posts tagged “Socialism

The Insanity of the Butthurt


Last night I came across this tweet from Tom Nichols:

To be fair to Tom, he’s been one of my favorite writers for some time now and I don’t mean to pick on him, per se. But it was this tweet that got me thinking about the group of Never Trumper’s and what I suspect is more than a severe case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

I understand their central complaint: Trump is an uncouth lout who prefers trolling the left to decorum, and even dares to use louder dog whistles than their preferred candidates. I suspect it runs a bit deeper than that, though. The President paints with a broad brush, mostly because a lifetime spent in marketing and promotion has taught him that people react most viscerally to generalizations, not specifics. So when the President decries the corruption that runs rampant within the intel community and Department of Justice, he doesn’t focus on specific people until after he’s carpet bombed the departments. This often leaves the surviving members of that department fearing that their particular institution will be irreparably damaged. Most of the prominent Never Trumper’s have significant attachment to those institutions, could have prevented said carpet bombing by rooting out the corruption before Mr. Trump took office, and instead are complicit in its existence. They may be upstanding people of principle, but they will forever be tainted by giving the wrong people the benefit of the doubt.

The other issue I see consistently raised is that Trump has a unique negotiating style. You could call it, “take it or leave it, but if you leave it, I’ll do my best to nuke the road back.” It is confrontational, in-your-face, undiplomatic – and thus far, effective. After a generation of leaders who have gone the diplomatic route with middling results, this new tact may upset traditional allies and foes alike, but it has already resulted in a renegotiated NAFTA, the potential of a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, increased contributions from the other NATO countries and brought the Chinese and EU to the negotiating table.

On the domestic policy front, that same confrontational style has brought mixed results. The largest tax rewrite in a generation was prodded along by the President, but it comes with an increase in spending that would make most Democratic presidents blush. Full repeal of Obamacare remains a pipe dream, but the courts are largely being remade along constitutionalist lines because of the President’s unflinching resolve to nominate constitutionalists to the bench.

This is what puzzles me regarding the stance Nichols and his ilk are taking. Maybe they don’t understand how far to the left the Democrats are going. Most of us have suspected that “democratic socialism,” with all that entails, has been the aim of the Democratic party base for the past 50 years. If they acknowledge that we are engaged in a fight to prevent those who would push globalism at any cost, government control over every aspect of our lives and the attendant despair and poverty those changes would create from ever gaining power again, then how can they counsel voting for those same people? I’m not saying every Republican is a saint; far from it. But they are far better than the alternative.

I understand being frustrated with a President who, to put it mildly, usually acts like a spoiled 3 year old in a candy store. Many is the day I wish someone would take a hammer and do a Hillary to his phone. The pettiness and unnecessary feuds accomplish little. But at the same time, those same personality traits have laid bare the hypocrisy of the mainstream media for all to see, and forced Americans for the first time in 80 years to question just why their federal government has ballooned to the point that most of us have no idea just what it is doing. He is the first President in two generations to address immigration in terms the American people understand – and largely support.

The tension the Never Trumpers attribute to Donald Trump has existed in the country for far longer than they want to admit. Trump is only the manifestation of those anxieties. If you like, you can call him the right’s ying to the left’s yang of President Obama. Now, would I have preferred another man to fill the ying? Sure. But here’s the thing: only one of the other 16 people who ran for President in 2016 acknowledged that the fundamental divide between left and right is cultural, not strictly policy driven. To this day, the Never Trump faction still doesn’t seem to grasp this fact.

Perhaps one day, a third party will rise up to address not only the cultural differences but also the need for smaller, limited and fiscally responsible governance (my hope is the modern Federalists fill the bill). But until then, I will continue to vote for the Republicans. The reason is simple: as bad as most of them are, they’re still better than the party that wants to destroy both the nation and the fabric that holds us together.

Tom Nichols and his friends need to wake up to that fact, too, before history records them in the same paragraph as Benedict Arnold.

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Liberals Enable an Emperor President


Tuesday was, by normal reckoning, as sound a political defeat of the liberal philosophy as has ever been given by the American people. Everyone recognizes this fact. Everyone, that is, except for the President and a liberal punditry that refuses to accept the obvious. They’ve based their argument on some rather specious logic (of course, liberals exist on specious logic, so no surprise there). The argument is this: these were midterm elections, in which the “right” people didn’t vote, and so there cannot be any sort of political mandate. In the same vein, since the “right” people didn’t show up at the polls, they cannot refute the obvious (and liberal) mandate that was imposed during the last election two years ago.

It is more than hubris that drives this view. It is a distorted world view that simply cannot comprehend the very real fact that Americans do not like socialism, do not like bloated government, do not like high taxes and few services in return. We are not Swedes. I don’t mean to demean Sweden; they’ve opted for a socialist state and are generally happy with their choice. They don’t mind the trade-off of a cradle-to-grave social state for a loss of freedom and economic mobility. It is in line with their national character. But that same model is hugely unpopular in the United States because it is at odds with our national character.

Enter Barack Obama and a very leftist Democratic Party. In 2008 they were swept into power – not because Americans wanted to give socialism a spin, but because the incumbent President had managed to screw things up completely by governing as “socialists-lite.” They expanded government into more facets of life than ever, increased spending by more than the previous three administrations combined and mismanaged crises, both domestic and foreign. The new administration misread the mood of the country and doubled-down on socialism in the most explosive manner possible. In 2010, the American electorate said “ENOUGH.” The President paid lip service to the idea of changing policy, but was quickly back to pushing an ever more expansive role for government. Yet, soon enough the very size of that government became unmanageable – but the republicans nominated a guy who was the epitome of the Republican socialism. The electorate rejected him. (In the liberal argument, the “right” people stayed home from the polls that November). Once again, the very leftist party misread the mood of the Nation and tried overreaching even further. They were perplexed when their prized policy endeavors – increased gun control, increased spending, even higher taxes – were soundly rejected by the people. They were equally confused when their preferred method of engaging foreign adversaries, essentially singing kumbaya and sticking our collective head in the sand, began to yield very undesirable results. Around the world, tin pot dictators and “JV team” terrorists aggressively pushed their agendas, at our expense. Eventually, a third European war in the last century became a very real possibility. And that JV team began chewing up huge chunks of territory in the Middle East, using weapons we had supplied against both us and our lone ally in the region. At home, the bloated bureaucracy created by the President and his cronies in the Senate all but collapsed under it’s own weight, while the financial obligations of a $17 trillion debt kept us in the most tepid post-recession recovery in American history.

So, the voters went to the polls this time around and sent another “ENOUGH” message. Only, once again, the leftist pundits are writing this off because the “wrong” people voted.

Here’s the reality they’ve deluded themselves into thinking doesn’t exist. Presidential election years do turn out a larger chunk of the population – and that larger chunk tends to be the uninformed voter. They do not know what the issues are, and often they don’t even know who they’re voting for. They are only voting for whom a precinct boss told them to vote for, or who some celebrity on TV told them was better. They don’t know the electoral process, probably have never read the Constitution  and  are voting on emotion only. It is the midterm voter who tends to be informed, be engaged in the process and understands the issues at stake. So before the President turns even further leftward, this time resorting to executive overreach to pursue policies the electorate continually rejects, he would do well to shut up, sit down and actually listen to the American people.


“You Didn’t Build That”


Pres Obama campaigns in Roanoke, VA
July 13, 2012

Our President, it seems, is a socialist at heart. Or maybe a fascist. I used to joke about it, but never really believed our nation could elect anyone so far removed from American thought as that. But one thing is clear after his diatribe against business owners last week in Virginia: Barack Obama does not believe in the American Dream. He believes in the dreams of Karl Marx, instead.

If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. YOU DIDN’T GET THERE ON YOUR OWN… somebody along the way gave you some help…
If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made it happen.”

Look, I get it. So do the millions of other Americans – and people from around the world, for that matter. Humans are social creatures; we create and live in societies in which certain responsibilities are shared. The President’s speech highlighted the ones most of us recognize: police and fire protection, education, transportation. But here’s what the President and his acolytes fail to understand: while we do these things for the mutual benefit of everyone in the society, we also understand that differences in outcome depend far more on individual ability than any other factor. The President discounts that notion, and in so doing, insults anyone who has slaved at creating a business. Perhaps he thinks it an archaic anachronism from the 19th century, the same way he does religion or gun rights. I’m pretty sure that the men we celebrate because of the ability to turn their dreams into reality would disagree – from Thomas Edison through to the neighborhood butcher.

Regardless of his reasoning, the result is the same twisted, demented view of society – that all people should enjoy more or less equal outcomes, regardless of ability. That is, of course, the basis for socialist and communist thought. It is the responsibility of those more able to provide the means for the rest of us, and it is our right to expect they will. Of course, that isn’t the American Way – but it is the Obama Way, and it dovetails neatly with the change he promised in 2008.

The American Dream is tied to equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. Stop and consider your own lives. Are you more successful than some of the people from your own past? Less successful? Certainly, as I look back to my own high school graduating class, I’m more successful than some of my classmates and not quite as successful as a few others. Why is that? Did they have a different baseline than I? Of course not. We grew up in the same town, came from families that were more or less similar in economic and social status and attended the same schools with the same teachers. That the difference in our economic and social outcomes might derive from innate talent or desire or even how hard each of us worked throughout our lives is of no consequence to the socialist.

“I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.”

Yes, Mr. President. We are all working from the achievements of those who came before. But there are also the failures who came before and who come along today, and we’re also working from them. Are some the result of bad luck or bad circumstance? Perhaps, but I’ve never believed in “luck” as we commonly refer to it. Besides, I’ve thrived despite what most people would consider horrible luck – being stricken at age 25 with Crohn’s Disease. Has that horrible illness held me back some? Yes, but it is what it is: and it simply means I have to work that much smarter and harder to ensure that I got a positive outcome. So, no, I don’t believe that “luck” plays a significant role in your outcome and your individual ability is far more important.

This is the point that the President fails to understand. Just as every person’s world view is shaped by the circumstances of their life first, I think the President’s is likewise informed. He can look back upon his own life and understand the concept of getting ahead by being pulled ahead far more easily than by working harder or smarter than anyone else. This is a man who, by his own admission, was a pothead in High School, a classic underachiever who wound up attending Harvard and Columbia not because of his academic achievement but because of affirmative action programs. He became Harvard Law Review editor not because of his journalistic or legal abilities, but because of campus connections (to this date, Barack Obama remains the only editor without a single byline). The pattern has repeated itself, time and again throughout his life until he rose to the pinnacle of success and assumed the Presidency. This is not to say the President is not intelligent; he certainly is, but undoubtedly he realizes he would not hold his office were he not the Chosen One from early on. But he believes it impossible to achieve success without some form of divine providence. He completely ignores that individual ability is a far greater indicator of success than any other factor.

Relegating individual ability to a mere production indicator, not success indicator: this has been the progressive dream for over a century, of course. Equality of outcome, not opportunity is the hallmark of the Liberal Dream. In Barack Obama, that dream has found the ultimate champion – and a man determined to foist it upon the United States, regardless of the consequences.


The Little Red Hen


In case you’re wondering why so many Americans are dependent on the government for subsistence today, I thought returning to our childhood might be a good place to start. When I was a wee lad, I was told the story of the Little Red Hen. It goes something like this:

*****

Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who lived on a farm with her friends, the dog, the cat and the duck. One day when she was scavenging for food (for that’s what hens do), she found some seeds laying on the ground. Being a bright hen, she had an idea. She would plant the seeds and see what grew.

“Who will help me plant these seeds?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, the little red hen tilled the ground and planted the seeds by herself. But she knew from watching the farmer that the seeds needed to be watered.

“Who will help me water the seeds?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, every day the little red hen watered the seeds by herself. Soon, she had big stalks of wheat ready for harvest.

“Who will help me harvest the wheat?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, the little red hen harvested all the wheat by herself. She was tired, but proud that her hard work had paid off with such a handsome harvest. But what to do with the wheat? The little red hen thought she could grind the wheat into flour.

“Who will help me grind this wheat into flour?” she asked.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, the little red hen ground the wheat into flour. It was wonderful flour, pure and white, perfect for baking a cake. The little red hen, being hungry from all of her hard work, decided to do just that.

“Who will help me bake the cake?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I” said the dog. “Not I” said the cat. “Not I” quacked the duck.

So, the little red hen baked the cake. When it was done, it smelled soooo good that the little red hen decided to eat the cake.

“Who will help me eat the cake?” asked the little red hen.

“Oh, I will” barked the dog. “Yes, I will, too!” purred the cat. “I will eat the cake” said the duck.

The little red hen looked at her friends in amazement. “When I asked your help in planting the wheat, none of you would” she said. “When I asked your help to tend and harvest the grain, none of you would. When I asked for your help to grind the wheat into flour and to bake the cake, none of you would. So, I will give each of you as much cake as you have earned.”

And with that, the little red hen sat down and ate the whole cake by herself.

*****

Today, I see a lot of people acting like the dog, cat and duck in the story, but very few little red hens. Once upon a time, this was the American ethos. But the dual ideals expressed in the “Little Red Hen” are apostasy to many of our countrymen these days. The ideals of earning you own way in the world, and the that diligence in your labors enable greater gains in the future. Rather, today the story is seen as an example of greed and avarice: how dare that little red hen keep that cake all to herself when those around here are asking for their “fair share?”

How old is the story of the little red hen and her barnmates? Nobody knows for sure, or even knows the origin. Some say it began in Russia, others in Germany. What we do know is that the principles exhibited by the characters and the results of their work (or lack  thereof) are found in texts that predate the Persian Empire. In the Bible, the Book of Proverbs (also known as the Wise Sayings of King Solomon) has several passages that refer to laziness. Among them is Proverbs 10:4, “He becometh poor that dealeth [with] a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich” and Proverbs 19:15, “Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.” The current idea that your “fair share” is determined by need, not effort is a relatively new phenomenon, first expressed by Karl Marx. You know, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

I often wonder if the folks protesting at OWS encampments are aware of the story of the Little Red Hen. I’ve no doubt they’re aware of the Marx quote (although I would be willing to wager a small sum that most would confuse its origin). If we want to fix what’s wrong with the country, perhaps we should return to teaching more “Little Red Hen” and less “Critique of the Gotha Program.”


America’s Post-Partisan President


Barack Obama, during the 2008 campaign that led to his election as President, affirmed a desire to be our nation’s first “post-racial, post-partisan” chief executive. He insisted that despite conservative fears that he was just another tax-and-spend liberal, he would be willing to reach across the aisle to confront the country’s problems. He maintained that insistence, despite the fact that over the past 2 ½ years he has never proposed any policy or legislation that even gave the hint of centrism.

There was the automotive bailout, in which taxpayers wound up footing the bill to ensure the UAW would keep its membership rolls level. Despite assurances that the bailout worked, GM is rapidly heading for bankruptcy anyway. As of this morning, share prices of the company’s stock are down 47% from their IPO, and the taxpayers still own 65% of GM stock. As things stand, the nation stands to lose around $16 billion on this boondoggle. There was the stimulus program, with its nearly $800 billion for “shovel-ready” and “green energy” jobs. The shovel ready jobs were, in the President’s own words, “not-so-shovel ready” and the green energy jobs never materialized. However, liberal campaign donors like George Kaiser loved the plan. Understandable, since taxpayers hedged his bets in an unstable solar panel company with over $500 million; Kaiser has walked away from the Solyndra debacle with his investment intact while the American people are left holding the bag. So did public employee unions, another liberal constituency, since the bulk of the money went to saving their jobs. There was a massive restructuring of the nation’s healthcare system, with the highly controversial idea of forcing people to buy products from a market that the government will assume full control over. It proved so popular that over 1400 waivers were issued as of July 31 (there is still a week left to get yours!). Unsurprisingly, the majority of those waivers went to unions or companies that donated heavily to Barack Obama in 2008. Of course, the whole point of waivers may be moot, anyway: the entire package is likely unconstitutional, with the Supreme Court likely making a final ruling on the law next Spring. The NLRB is doing its best to stymie “right-to-work” states’ attempts at job creation; while Frank-Dodd ensures enough government oversight of virtually every financial decision to effectively paralyze the business community.

What all of this demonstrates to people is that whatever else Obama may be, post-partisan certainly isn’t on the list. The White House portrayed him as not taking partisan sides in those battles, insisting that the divisions over these and many other policies were the result of an intransigent Republican Congress. But the issue wasn’t really the Republicans as much as it was the Tea Party “terrorists.” The issue came to a head over the summer, when the non-partisan partisan tried the oddest bit of political contortion known to modern man. Still, most Americans understood the President is indeed the nation’s partisan-in-chief, even if he insisted on deluding himself. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with the job and has for every President, save Washington. And the nation was willing to give him a pass, as long as he was simply shilling for the Democrat side of the coin.

However, it seems the President decided on dropping all pretense of being “post-partisan” over the weekend. He finally has decided to let everyone know where he stands: as firmly to the left of most Americans as Karl Marx. In his new, post-post-partisan visage, government creates jobs, the private sector destroys them, minorities are the only majority and Republicans – especially that insane Tea Party – are out to cripple the country. As he said on Saturday, conservative policies are

“an approach to government that will fundamentally cripple America.”

So, the battle lines are now officially drawn. Many of us warned as far back as 2007 that Obama was indeed a socialist in Democrat clothing and we were ridiculed for suggesting it. With Obama now proudly assuming his mantle of  Very Liberal Political Hack and abandoning all pretense of being a centrist, the 2012 campaign is officially underway. And hopefully, this time America will listen and understand that this truly is an epic battle for our country’s soul.