C.S. Lewis understood the Left very well, indeed

January 3, 2016

It’s hard to find a better description of  one of the key characteristics of the Left –from mild progressive to hard-core communist– than this:

Lewis on the Left

In other words, the Left believes it has figured out History, is certain that it flows in just one direction and where it ends, and that they themselves are the ones best able to facilitate this. Whether you want it or not.

Or, as I like to say, “God save me from those who want to save me.”

Via someone on Twitter, can’t recall who. smiley I dont know

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(Video) How to insult progressives

July 12, 2015

According to Pat Condell, it’s easy: tell them the truth, especially if it’s politically incorrect.

Trigger Warning: Pat is an atheist, so he’s not shy about his opinion of all religions, not just Islam.


Brit Hume reduces progressivism to its essence in 30 seconds

November 16, 2014

Hume here is talking about Obamacare and the admissions by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber that deception played a key role in its passage — indeed, that deception was essential. But it isn’t just Obamacare; this attitude of patronizing condescension and even contempt (1) for the average American underlies all progressivism, and thus the governing assumptions of the Democratic Party.

Here’s Brit:

via The Right Scoop

Footnote:
(1) They’ll deny it hotly, of course, but that’s because the truth hurts.


The #Obamacare Chronicles: In which I agree with Howard Dean

November 12, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Now that is something you’ll rarely see, but, in this case, the former Vermont governor is right. When played the latest infamous quote in which one of the principle architects of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, said that the stupidity of the American voter was essential to the law’s passage, Howie blew a gasket:

“The problem is not that he said it–the problem is that he thinks it,” Dean said. “The core problem under the damn law is it was put together by a bunch of elitists who don’t fundamentally understand the American people. That’s what the problem is.”

[MSNBC’s Mika] Brzezinski cringed after repeating Gruber’s quote.

“Jesus!” Dean exclaimed after hearing that one of Obama’s key health care advisers would call the lack of transparency “critical” in passing the massively unpopular law.

All I can say, Governor, is “YEEEAAAAGGHHH!!!”

Dean is right, of course, but what he misses is that an elitist contempt for the average voter is central to the progressive mindset. Whether it’s Woodrow Wilson arguing that society is far too complicated to be administered by anything but boards of technocrats, or Barack Obama condescending to unenlightened voters who “cling to their guns and religion,” progressivism is inherently elitist. A law like the Affordable Care Act was passed the way it was not only because the American people would reject it if they knew what was in it, but because the progressives and their Leftist allies know what’s best for the American people, regardless of what the people think.

In his anger, Howard Dean took a large step closer to a truth about his side. Someday, he may realize the problem isn’t just the people, but the philosophy motivating them.

Visit the Free Beacon for the entertaining video.

RELATED: At Hot Air, Allahpundit reports that Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) thinks hearings should be held soon on Gruber’s comments. Go for it.


Thanks to progressivism, we’ve lost the “War on Poverty”

August 1, 2014
"Defeat"

“Defeat”

The War on Poverty was launched in 1964 under Lyndon Johnson with the best of intentions: through massive spending and extensive welfare programs, the government would eradicate poverty in America and make people self-sufficient. Like I said, a worthy goal.

It has also been an utter failure. In 1964 we declared war on poverty, and poverty won.

As the chart above shows, poverty was in deep, rapid decline in America after World War II without any government help, just the natural processes of a growing, prosperous economy. It looked well on its way to elimination, perhaps. Then, in the mid to late-60s, it leveled off and, save for an occasional bump up, has stayed right around fifteen percent.What happened?

In 1964, with the start of the War on Poverty, progressives and other economically illiterate do-gooders wound up trapping people in poverty, rather than helping them out of it. As Robert Rector at The Signal writes:

Johnson did not intend to put more Americans on the dole (1). Instead, he explicitly sought to reduce the future need for welfare by making lower-income Americans productive and self-sufficient.

By this standard, the War on Poverty has been a catastrophic failure. After spending more than $20 trillion on Johnson’s war, many Americans are less capable of self-support than when the war began. This lack of progress is, in a major part, due to the welfare system itself. Welfare breaks down the habits and norms that lead to self-reliance, especially those of marriage and work. It thereby generates a pattern of increasing inter-generational dependence. The welfare state is self-perpetuating: By undermining productive social norms, welfare creates a need for even greater assistance in the future. Reforms should focus on these programs’ incentive structure to point the way toward self-sufficiency. One step is communicating that the poverty rate is better understood as self-sufficiency rate—that is, we should measure how many Americans can take care of themselves and their families.

Emphasis added.

What was it Ronald Reagan said?

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

One would think that, faced with all the mounds of evidence that government programs don’t lift people out of poverty, Progressives, who claim to be devoted to “progress,” would see the war on poverty has been a failure and that the programs should be reformed or discontinued and something else tried, something like less government intervention.

But, no. Few ever will be that honest, because to say government failed to reorder society as desired would be to admit that the central tenet of progressivism, a faith in the power of technocrats to manage a vastly complex society, was wrong.

Meanwhile, that core 15% remains trapped in poverty, addicted to government “crack” and walking a road paved with good intentions.

PS: Note the sharp climb back up to 15% at the end of that chart. It starts soon after the Democrats take over Congress in 2006 and undo the 1990s Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform, then accelerates under Obama. Coincidence? I think not.

RELATED: Cato economist Dan Mitchell has often written on the same topic. Here’s a post he wrote on the failures of the War on Poverty and another on the “redistribution trap.” That latter is must-reading.

Footnote:
(1) Many criticize that assertion, with some justification. See for example Kevin Williamson’s “The Dependency Agenda.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Justice Ginsburg: “Don’t use the US Constitution as a model”

February 4, 2012

Old and outdated?

Pardon me, but …ahem… WTF??

Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on which she sits to rule on constitutional matters, gave an interview to Al Hayat TV on the revolutions overtaking the Arab world and the prospects for democracy. (Video here.) She starts off fine:

Let me say first that a constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom. If the people don’t care, then the best constitution in the world won’t make any difference. So the spirit of liberty has to be in the population, and then the constitution – first, it should safeguard basic fundamental human rights, like our First Amendment, the right to speak freely, and to publish freely, without the government as a censor.

Can’t argue one bit with any of that. If there’s one thing fundamental to genuine democratic rule (and one reason why Sharia-based societies can never be truly democratic), it’s the guarantee of freedom of speech.

But then she runs off the rails and into WTF-land:

You should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II. I would not look to the US constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary… It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the US constitution – Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It dates from 1982. You would almost certainly look at the European Convention on Human Rights. Yes, why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world?

“But, for God’s sake, don’t use only the most successful governing document in Earth’s history. It’s so… old!”

I wonder if she and Ezra Klein are related?

Now, to be fair, there is a “this wasn’t a stupid thing for a SCOTUS Justice to say at all” argument. It runs something like this:

The Constitution of the United States arose under conditions unique to the time and place in which it was written, and to the people who wrote it. The traditions of British Common Law and Whiggery with its limitations on the power of government and protection for the  rights of the individual; the Classical examples of Greek democracy and the Roman Republic, which the Founders knew by heart; the Judeo-Christian traditions that separated government from God; and the Enlightenment, which applied reason to government. Thus all Justice Ginsburg is saying is that this mix was unique to 18th century America, and that the new Arab governments should look to examples reflecting more current conditions.

But I don’t buy it.

When she refers to a “charter of rights,” I have to wonder if she’s ever heard of this little thing called the Bill of Rights. It secures the political rights of the people (free speech, free assembly, the right to a jury trial and habeas corpus) and their rights to their own property. (1) Beyond that, it leaves the people to take care of themselves as free citizens.

In that lies the problem, I suspect, for Justice Ginsburg: the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are negative charters. They grant limited powers to the general government and largely circumscribe what it may do, restricting it to those things necessary to the general welfare.

All else is left to the people and the states.

And I suspect that bugs the heck out of progressive liberals, such as Justice Ginsburg. They want government to do more for the people, because the world is too complex and just too difficult for people to take care of themselves:

This isn’t a new phenomenon by any means. It’s old, going back to the roots of American progressivism in the 19th century, what we now call, incorrectly, “liberalism.” It’s fundamental thesis is that the modern world is too complex for a governing system designed in the 18th century for a rural, isolated republic; that legislatures were too fractious and trapped by partisan interest to do what was best; and that these complexities were best handed off to boards of experts and technocrats who could make the correct decisions with scientific dispassion — Orszag’s “depoliticized commissions.” Woodrow Wilson crystallized this contempt for democratic governance when, before becoming president, he argued in essence that the Constitution was obsolete. (See also Goldberg’s excellent “Liberal Fascism.”)

Politically, it’s represented in modern times by FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights” and its modern promoter, Cass Sunstein, as well as the idea of the “Living Constitution” — a document that “evolves” with changing times and needs. Justice Ginsburg would be its judicial exemplar.

Take a look at a portion of one of the documents she praises, the South African Bill of Rights. It speaks not only of political and property rights, but health care, housing, the environment, and linguistic and community rights. That is, welfare state-style economic and social rights, far beyond what we understand as “unalienable rights.” I suspect that she would love to see the courts in the US step in to provide those economic and social rights when the legislatures fail to do so, acting themselves as a sort-of legislature.

But, to get back to Justice Ginsburg’s assertion that the US Constitution is not a good model for new Arab governments, I’d say quite the opposite. The danger in societies under Sharia is repression and the loss of individual rights, especially if one is a woman or a non-Muslim — or both. Sharia is totalitarian, governing every aspect of daily life, and its adherents are a threat to the liberties of others wherever they gain control of government.

And even if not Sharia-based, Arab governments have shown themselves far too willing interfere in their economies in the name of “fairness” (and to keep control for themselves), with results that have ranged from mediocrity to outright wreckage.

Hence what is needed and what new Arab governments should look to, if they want to guarantee liberty and prosperity, are precisely those governing philosophies and documents that limit the power and reach of government.

Gee, something like the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. (2)

It’s a shame that a Justice of the United States Supreme Court doesn’t understand that.

via David Freddoso, Phillip A. Klein, and Weasel Zippers

RELATED: Justice Ginsburg, eugenicist?

LINKS: More at The American Spectator and Hot Air.

Footnotes:
(1) Yeah, I know these have been eroded to one degree or another, here, especially after Kelo. Bear with me.
(2) No slight meant to South African or Canadian readers, though Canada is a bit dodgy from a US point-of-view on free speech.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Can we call them “Socialists” yet?

January 19, 2012

Harking back to some of the worst excesses of the New Deal, six Democratic members of the House lead by Denis Kucinich (D-UFO) and all but one members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have proposed an additional tax on oil companies to be levied when profits rise above “a reasonable level”:

The Democrats, worried about higher gas prices, want to set up a board that would apply a “windfall profit tax” as high as 100 percent on the sale of oil and gas, according to their legislation. The bill provides no specific guidance for how the board would determine what constitutes a reasonable profit.

The Gas Price Spike Act, H.R. 3784 (PDF), would apply a windfall tax on the sale of oil and gas that ranges from 50 percent to 100 percent on all surplus earnings exceeding “a reasonable profit.” It would set up a Reasonable Profits Board made up of three presidential nominees that will serve three-year terms. Unlike other bills setting up advisory boards, the Reasonable Profits Board would not be made up of any nominees from Congress.

The bill would also seem to exclude industry representatives from the board, as it says members “shall have no financial interests in any of the businesses for which reasonable profits are determined by the Board.”

And, of course, “reasonable” would be in the eye of the beholder: in this case, appointees of Barack Obama, renowned class warrior and Socialist. What could go wrong?

Of course, this isn’t about the economic ignorance of the members sponsoring the bill; they’re leftist Democrats, progressives. It’s practically an unwritten law that you have to give up any understanding of basic economics to join that club. The idea that these profits can be returned to shareholders, including pension funds and individual middle-class Americans, many on retirement, via dividends and capital gains is immaterial. And don’t even think of suggesting that these oh so unreasonable profits could be used to expand the business or explore for more oil —or both!— thus creating jobs.

Like I said, to join the club, you have to forswear any economic common sense.

No, this bill, which will never pass the House or even get out of committee, is nothing more than an election year appeal to the worst of Americans populist instincts: class warfare, punishing those “evil” oil companies, and looking for a scapegoat for high gas prices rather than understanding the Law of Supply and Demand. Oh, and already-high federal, state, and local taxes.

It’s all about pandering to people’s frustrations, so they won’t blame the real cause: the radical and against-all-reason natural resources policies of the Democrats and their environmentalist allies that keep us from developing the vast resources we have.

It’s the political equivalent of “Look! It’s Elvis!”

But, let us not forget, it’s also about control and power. These are, after all, progressives, social democrats. Some are full-blown Socialists. It’s their belief that only government can fairly (in their definition, again) distribute wealth. They may not be Marxist, and are thus willing to allow the shareholders to still own their companies, but government has first call on “your” money, to do with what it will. You can keep whatever they decide is reasonable.

Which is why I put “your” in quotes.

In their world, you are not a free citizen with unalienable rights, but a dependent who must wait to see how much of what you earn government will let you keep.

So, while this bill may be a bit of populist red meat that will never pass, it has a very real and very pernicious-to-liberty philosophy behind it.

And it’s another example why the Democrats should never win another election again.

via Jammie Wearing Fool

RELATED: Pirate’s Cove has suggestions for other “reasonable boards.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)