Date ►►► December 25, 2012
Have Yourself a Merry Little Chrismartini
Date ►►► December 24, 2012
Perversity, or Why I'm Ever the Optimist
End of the year musings...
I tend to wax philosophical at the turn of a new year; bear with me!
November 6th last, too many Americans made a terrible mistake: They voted for a Progressivist antiAmerican, a man obsessed with nightmare fancies of neocolonialism, who envies the action-action-action! of the French Revolution and the Terror that followed. Barack H. "You didn't build that" Obama appears to aspire to the values, such as they were, of that dark era: liberté (by which he would mean giving everybody the liberty to obey his orders), égalité (of outcomes, regardless of effort and intelligence), and fraternité (in the sense that since everyone is your relative, everyone can hit you up for a handout).
We know why Obama is a Jacobite; but why did the people vote to reelect him? Was it through sheer perversity, deliberately doing the exact opposite of what you know is right, moral, and effective?
No. That accurately describes the Progressivist leaders; but I believe the voters who reelect them (again and again) are quite ignorant of the great political struggle that led to the founding of our nation of freedom and true liberty, and why that means a damn. They have no inkling why the American Revolution stands alone, exceptional, the only uprising for individual liberty and Capitalism in the history of the world. Nor do they understand the distinction; to most folks, one revolution is as good or bad as another, just another power grab from the haves to the have-nots.
But why are the people so ignorant? Because the schools no longer teach civics, no longer teach honest history, no longer teach any formal logic at all. You go to public school for thirteen years, but you learn not a thing about those tumultuous, ideological arguments between democracy and kingcraft.
If it's mentioned at all, it's "taught" without authority or conviction. If mentioned at all, it's contrasted, unfavorably, to the French counterpart, where the narrative better fits the "story" that the Left wants to tell: citoyan-soldiers manning the barricades, a la Les Miz, to the accompaniment of stirring music and liberal subtext. Delving any deeper is counterindicated, labeled propaganda, mocked as "moral philosophy," and hushed in public schools.
All right, so why don't schools teach moral philosophy anymore? Because the axis of propaganda -- teachers, administrators, educational unionistas, presstitutes, and corrupt politicians -- never believed in either the cause or the street-level practice of the triumvirate of actual liberty: individualism, property rights, and equality under the law.
And last, before you ask, the axis doesn't believe in liberty because it wants, not to free mankind, but to shackle it to Progressivism's "inevitable progress"... a future of an endlessly expanding and intruding State that engulfs and devours the world, a totalitarian Leviathan.
The gift of moral reasoning waxes and wanes in society; it was strong right after the Revolution but dwindled before the Civil War. The grand argument over slavery revived the practice of moral debate, but it faded as the nineteenth century drew to its close in the Gilded Age, when ultra-materialism ruled and Gatsby was great. During the next half-century, two world wars drove us to think clearly about individualism and its opposite, totalitarianism; but a protracted, ambivalent, secretive "cold war" led an entire generation to question the fundamental premise that there was any difference between Us and Them. (Cf. John Le Carré.)
Moral clarity roared back following the attacks on September 11th, 2001, but we have lost focus again in the Obamic moment. Yet this very history of oscillation gives hope that today's moral apathy can reverse gear yet again. There is no reason to suppose that such "boom and bust" behavior anent moral reasoning has ceased, or that we Americans will never regain our ecstatic visions of divine liberty.
But not if Progressivism has its way. Everything in that perverse creed depends upon Americans' continued ignorance and willful blindness. However, we know from history that eventually, the sleeper wakes. And when he does, when something bursts his soap-bubble of somnolism, when he draws his first waking breath in decades, American culture can turn on a pinhead... and turn against the present pinhead.
The most important task for lovers of liberty is to keep making the moral argument for liberty, for decency, and for fairness... meaning treating everybody equally under the law, not singling out unpopular minorities -- the rich, Capitalists, businessmen, the Jews -- for a national "two-minutes hate." So long as we do that, we are primed for the long-awaited Unexpected, that unpredictable incident that yanks America's attention away from all the "free stuff [euphemism]" the government dangles then snatches away, and towards a true calculus of freedom.
And that is why I'm an eternal optimist: It's never too late to cast off the chains of intellectual atrophy and servitude, never too late to rediscover the revelations of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and yes, even Abraham Lincoln.
So no matter how bleak the playing field at the moment, quitting is not an option; defeat is a communal act: If we never surrender, we can never fully lose.
Date ►►► December 22, 2012
All Right, So It's December 22th 2012...
Date ►►► December 17, 2012
Ready, Aim, Stupid
Freedom Outpost has a roundup of the usual leftist suspects taking to the Twitterverse and urging the murder of members of the National Rifle Association.
I wanted to avoid posting on this after the unspeakable happenings in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday, because I thought that common decency demanded that the rest of the country give those poor souls at least a little time to come to terms with their loss before going on a rant about gun control vs. gun rights; but it seems as if the left, in calling for even more violence, won't even grant that smallest of reprieves -- so here it is.
If these people honestly believe that advocates for Second Amendment rights should be killed, then might I suggest that they also go gunning for the ACLU for advocating First Amendment rights? After all, it's not a stretch to suggest that the 24/7 news coverage given to these mass shootings might inspire other crazy people to carry out their own atrocities, thus ensuring fame everlasting for their evil deeds. Is "free speech" really so important that we have allow that sort of thing to just keep going on unhindered?
And what of the news organizations themselves? After all, the ACLU are merely enablers of their poisonous product. Maybe after they're done with he NRA and the civil liberties lawyers, the modern avengers could take out a few reporters and put a stop to this insanity once and for all.
Or is that all just a little extreme? Yeah, I kinda thought so too.
I swear, in times like these you can sometimes feel like the only person in the world who's trying to put out the fire while everyone else is stoking the flames. We need temperance and thoughtful discussion, not incitement and bloodlust. Unfortunately, the irony seems to be lost on those Twitter morons, not to mention a pretty big segment of the pundit class -- so let me keep it simple: Keep your frakking mouths shut. There will be time to debate policy later, after people have had a chance to heal.
And when that time does come, choose your words with a lot more care.
Date ►►► December 13, 2012
With "Ambassador" Susan Rice withdrawing her name from the sorting hat for the position of Secretary of State, the pundits, pontificators, and presstitutes universally predict that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA, 85%) will be nominated and easily confirmed; most predict by voice-vote alone, without even a roll call.
Does it bother you -- it outrages me -- that (leaving aside the extremely credible claims of the Swift Boat Vets) a man who admittedly lied and perjured himself to traduce his brothers in arms, accusing them jointly and severally of atrocities, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, should become the chief secretary of the presidential cabinet?
Or that our incoming Secretary of State could be an American traitor who flew to Paris to engage in secret talks with the North Vietnamese government, where he negotiated an American "surrender" -- with the very people who tortured Kerry's "fellow" senatorial colleague, John McCain?
I am infuriated that he is even in consideration. What next -- should Marc Rich become Attorney General? Should Hannibal Lector head up the National Institute of Mental Health?
If, as the political soothsayers say, the GOP acquiesces to JFK's appointment (presumably for no reason other than that he is a fellow member of the world's most exclusive conspiracy, the U.S. Senate)... then what standing have we to ever again call ourselves the party of national defense?
If we Republicans go along with this vile and grotesque farce, this sucker-punch to the men and women who guard the walls and secure our freedom, I fear we shall never recover from the self-inflicted immolation and degradation.
(Can't we have Jane Fonda instead? At least she partially apologized for posing on the North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. Kerry has shown no remorse nor expressed the slightest regret for calling his fellow servicemen baby killers and mass murderers.)
Date ►►► December 11, 2012
A Brazen Proposal
We all recognize the anti-carbon hysteria sweeping the sinistrosphere, leading to such energy-killing proposals as carbon caps (death to industry!), carbon-credit markets (millions to Algore!), bans on fracking and drilling on federal land (what the frack -- ?), upwardly spiraling CAFE standards (lighter, flimsier cars that crumble in a crash), and downwardly spiraling mandatory emissions standards (the death-spiral of Capitalism). Not to mention a thousand international climate conferences every year, which are as annoying as all get out.
To quote the late George Carlin, "some see the glass as half full, some see the glass as half empty; but I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be!"
The solution is obvious: Instead of banning carbon, shouldn't we encourage industry to burn more carbon-based fuel, producing even more carbon dioxide? That "pollutant" is really a gas!
- Our factories should burn more fuel to produce lots and lots of CO2.
- The factories capture the gas, pump it into tanks, and sell it on the free market to farmers.
- Meanwhile, farmers should get busy enclosing their fields in giant, airtight greenhouses. (This might be easier for hydroponic farms, also a good idea.)
- They buy the CO2 tanks and use them to pump up the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere in the greenhouse, thus producing much better yields, and incidentally needing to use much less pesticide.
- As the plants grow, they produce more O2 (pure oxygen)... which the farmers can capture and sell right back to industrial use (for oxyacetylene torches, hospitals, military jet aviation, rocket fuel, and so forth).
See? Win, win, win! When life gives you limes, make apple martinis.
I don't know why nobody else ever thinks of these things; or at least, nobody with the power to do anything about it.
A Modest Proposal
So the Conventional Wisdom has spoken on the matter of the "fiscal cliff," and it basically puts Republicans between a rock and a hard place. Neither of the choices they have are particularly palatable:
- Walk away from the negotiating table and allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, thus raising taxes on everyone. Some might say that this is the most fair option, but aside from the terrible optics ("See, the Republicans let taxes go up on the middle class just so they wouldn't anger their rich masters!") it also won't make a piff of difference in the long or short run. Democrats will simply fire off a bill to cut middle class tax rates after January 1, which Republicans will have to support -- lest they be cast as the party of tax hikes. As a bonus, Barack Obama once again gets to cast himself as the champion of the little guy.
- Boehner rolls over gives Obama everything he wants. This one is almost as bad as option 1, because it would ruin the Republican base and most likely create a full-scale Tea Party/Club for Growth led revolt -- which is rather the point from the president's perspective.
Either way, it's a lose-lose for the Republicans, which is why they've been desperately searching for some way to make their inevitable defeat on this issue a bit easier to swallow. Right now, they're hoping to squeeze some kind of entitlement reform into the deal -- but with the president thinking he holds all the cards (which, to be perfectly fair, he does), he's unlikely to give Boehner anything. To wit, the Dems have already telegraphed that there simply isn't time to devise any meaningful reforms before the year ends.
This, however, is where the Republicans just might have an opening. Obviously, entitlement reform polls well with a significant chunk of the electorate (otherwise the Dems wouldn't even pay it lip service). So why not use that for a little negotiating leverage? Republicans could propose an interim deal which looks something like this:
- An agreement to raise tax rates on upper-income earners (which is inevitable anyway) by some pre-determined amount -- but only after implementation of needed entitlement reforms.
- An extension of the Bush-era tax rates for another six months so as to avoid the fiscal cliff, and also give Congress enough time to hammer out the details of said entitlement reforms.
Granted, Obama probably won't like the terms of the deal one bit; but such a proposal would seem reasonable to the majority of the American public. Plus it would put the ball squarely back in Obama's court, and force him to prove to the American people that he's putting our interests above his own political position. If he refuses -- well, let's just say it'll go a way toward showing everyone what an extremist he really is.
It's worth a shot, anyway. What say you, Republicans?
Date ►►► December 7, 2012
Consummatum Non Est
With the very welcome news that the Supreme Court has agreed to decide the validity of California's state-constitutional ban on same-sex marriage (SSM), I am optimistic that we will finally get a ruling that states can indeed ban the practice -- that nothing in the United States Constitution explicitly states, or even implies, that so-called "gay marriage" be mandated. (Perhaps not the best word choice, but let it go.)
But I rise to object to a tendentious "summary" iterated in many news articles, varying slightly but always boiling down to this: "The Supreme Court will decide whether homosexuals are allowed to marry in California."
No, that's not what they will decide; it's already legal in California and in every other state in the nation for gays to marry... so long as they marry members of the opposite sex (except for D.C. and the handful of states that do allow SSM).
The point is neither fatuous nor trivial: Marriage is not primarily a sexual distinction, else all the unmarried would be celebate, and all the never-married virgins. Anybody believe that's generally true in any state anywhere?
Marriage is a legal and a social distinction; sex and procreation are usually implied but are not mandatory: No law requires married couples to have sex with each other, and the idea that a marriage is not valid unless and until it is "consumated" hasn't been true under the law for many decades, at least not in California. (It was even debunked in an early episode of Perry Mason, back in the 1950s.)
There are many good reasons for a gay man and a lesbian to marry; for the most obvious, they might both want natural children, conceived by the husband and borne and birthed by the wife. Or the couple might want the legal tax and estate advantages conferred by marriage.
Being married implies a commitment; a gay man and a lesbian might well want to commit to each other for life-long goals, such as buying a house or raising children. Or a gay man and lesbian might prefer the traditional division of one person working outside the house for income, the other keeping house, even though they're sexually attracted to members of the same sex. It's even possible that they might both be religious, might want to marry, but don't want to defy the teachings of their faith.
For a more notorious purpose, they might be partners in crime who want to prevent each from testifying against the other. Oh well.
Similarly, two heterosexual men or women are likewise banned from marriage. There are reasons why straights might want to marry, all the same reasons above for those who don't want to be anchored (shackled?) to someone of the opposite sex. Two old biddies might want to marry for tax, medical, insurance, estate, or other socioeconomic benefits or advantages, but not want the stress of being around men. However, California currently bans non-sexual same-sex marriage exactly the same as it bans sex-based SSM. (In fact, Proposition 8 does not even mention the words "homosexual" or "heterosexual," or any variation; the meat of it reads, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.")
What the Court will decide (we hope!) in this part of its eventual decision is whether California, or any other state, can bar men from marrying men and women from marrying women -- nothing more. Not whether gays can marry, but whether states can restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples.
(Although it's conceivable, it's extraordinarily unlikely the Court would rule that SSM is ipso facto unconstitutional; it will only decide whether states can ban SSM... I'm confident it will not rule that states must ban SSM. If it did, I would likely oppose it on grounds of Federalism.)
For that reason, I believe California's Proposition 8, the law in question, does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation: Homosexuals and heterosexuals currently have the same marital rights here, the right of an unmarried person to marry a person of the opposite sex, who is not too closely related to the spouse, is not already married, and is of legal age. Rather, Proposition 8 properly discriminates on the basis of gender: Men are essentially different from women, and states certainly have a rational basis -- even a compelling governmental interest -- to maintain that distinction anent legal marriage.
Just setting the record straight. (There's that pesky word-choice thingie again. Dang!)
Date ►►► December 4, 2012
Deal or No Deal
Apropos Dafydd's post below, here's what you can expect from the Fiscal Cliff "negotiations" going on in Washington right now. Listen carefully...wait for it now...
Can you hear it? The sound of crickets chirping?
The reason is twofold: One, Barack Obama isn't negotiating in good faith. He never has. The idea that Republicans will give a little on what they want and Democrats will give a little on what they want so that both parties can meet in the middle is a farce. That's because Obama's objective isn't to avoid the fiscal cliff -- it's to hike taxes as high as he can, and destroy the Republican Party in the process. Whether he accomplishes this by getting Republicans to cave on raising tax rates for upper income earners or by allowing the Bush tax rates to expire for everyone doesn't matter. Either way, Obama gets what he wants -- and with the MSM lackeys at his side, he'll lay the responsibility for what happens solely at John Boehner's feet.
Second, Obama doesn't care if we go over the Fiscal Cliff. A second term means that he doesn't have to worry about facing the wrath of voters, and in many ways the double-dip recession that will inevitably follow might actually help his cause of permanently remaking America into a quasi-socialist entitlement state. An even lousier economy will lead to an even greater demand for government services -- in other words, more dependency. That a lot of people out here in the real world will suffer greatly matters not a whit to Obama. The notion that he would do anything to avoid having a second recession taint his legacy is misguided at best, utter fallacy at worst.
It's time that Republicans wake up to the terrifying fact that Barack Obama isn't interested in what's best for the country; he's interested in what's best for ensuring a permanent leftist majority. The sooner they realize that -- and the sooner they approach the Fiscal Cliff negotiations with that in mind -- the better prepared they will be. This isn't like Ronald Reagan hammering out a deal with Tip O'Neill.
This is more like asymmetrical warfare. And we need a counterinsurgency -- now.
Update: John Barrasso of Wyoming gets it.
Date ►►► December 3, 2012
Blindingly Obvious Revelations
Yesterday, I had a sudden inspiration into the modi operandi of Left and Right, and why it's so difficult to bridge that rhetorical gap:
- Conservatives and other anti-liberals tend to use, as our model for conflict resolution, trade negotiation, as if bargaining over the price of a used car: offer followed by counteroffer, give and take, introducing sweeteners, with agreed-upon penalties for intransigence. In the end, the issue is settled, and both parties move on to other issues, other negotiations, other agreements.
- Progressivists and other liberals use a very different strategic/tactical model to resolve disputes: the general strike, or nationwide protest. That is, those on the Left present demands and threaten disruption; the longer the strike goes on without "management" caving, the more strident and ridiculous the demands become. Eventually, one side or the other must surrender. But any such resolution is only temporary, for nothing is truely settled "for all time." Rather, every dispute ends in a cease-fire, which lasts just long enough to lick wounds and reload for the next strike.
That's why it's so difficult for conservatives to resolve disputes with liberals, and vice versa: We offer compromises, while they respond with threats to sever all relations and go to the mattresses. They make non-negotiable demands, which we counter with split-the-difference counteroffers. Neither side can make heads nor teakettles out of the other's response.
The core communications breakdown is that A does not use the same conflict-resolution model as B: A musters evidence, precedent, and offers extra inducements to B to come to an agreement; while B recruits allies, forms coalitions, and offers extra inducements to government or corresponding authority (judge, teacher, Mom) to wade in on B's side.
A might offer a lower price, thinking that will increase B's interest; while B tries to grab a seat on the BoD, so he can fire A and impose his will by executive fiat. It's as if A is bargaining in Latin while B is sloganeering and demonstrating in Chinese!
Yes, I realize I'm privileging my own model in dicta; nevertheness, I believe I have identified the two underlying models: striking a deal versus going on strike. In the end, since A and B cannot communicate even long enough to craft a cease-fire, both ultimately leap to the conclusion that the only solution is to utterly crush the opposition.
The Left has followed this model all the way back the French Revolution; that's because "destroying the opposition" is a normal part of the Left's operating model. By contrast, the Right is still stuck in the paradigm that if we demonstrate that we're making a good-faith offer that would leave both sides substantially improved, that will be enough. We don't yet understand that many on the left would rather pull the whole world down upon our ears (and their own!) than give up even the least and most preposterous of their demands.
Now we know. For future elections, we have only two options:
- Use the destructive tactics of the Left -- but in service to the constructive principles of the Right. If you've seen the movie Lincoln, that is the modus I mean: Abraham Lincoln used the same corrupt tactics (buying votes) as the barbaric, slavery-supporting Democrats, but in service to the Godly goal of abolishing slavery.
- Or else we must lose every election from now until the day after forever.
In terms supplied by radical Islamists (who share the dispute-resolution model used by lefties), we first must establish ourselves as the "strong horse" and threaten a Left-Right war that will destroy everyone. Only when the Left faces annihilation will enough of its adherents abandon the tactics of the "general strike" and finally begin bargaining.
The key is to chop their man down, early and often, as Barack Obama's minions chopped down Mitt Romney. We must demonstrate that we can play just as rough and dirty as they; we threaten the war of all again all, in which everybody loses. Out of sheer desperation, Progressivists will be driven to the unnatural course of actually negotiating a real contract.
But remember, such agreements are only fleeting cease-fires; we must be prepared to refight the same battles over and over again. We're now "on notice," so never again should we be taken by surprise.
Date ►►► December 1, 2012
With their newly proclaimed "flexibility," lefties are feeling their beans. Here's an example:
A Democratic representative is calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution that would allow for some legislative restriction of freedom of speech.
"We need a constitutional amendment that would allow the legislature to control the so-called free speech rights of corporations," Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) was quoted as saying by CNS News.
Yep; with the limitless mandate the Democrats claim from their overwhelming, gargantuan, staggering victory in the 2012 elections, they now feel secure enough to do what they have always wanted: To throw the First Amendment out the airlock, and appoint themselves Guardians of Morality with full authority to censor or rewrite any human speech that is --
- Incorrect (a.k.a. "a lie!")
- Dissenting (a.k.a. "racist, sexist, homophobic, religious, and imperialist!")
- Upsetting to Progressivists (a.k.a. "unAmerican!")
- Inconvenient to Democrat schemes (a.k.a. "treason!")
Flexibility! That's the word.
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