Friday, December 31, 2004
THE CONDESCENDING MOLLY IVINS
Molly Ivins, Texas’ most well-known liberal cry-baby and political satirist (ha!) writes a monthly column for The Progressive. The Progressive is a flimsy wanna-be magazine written by liberals for liberals. I imagine their readership to consist of insecure liberals, in need of reassurance and conservative snipers like myself looking for a laugh.....
Finally, the saddest part of the article. Sad because she believes she is going to help the left when, in fact, she is digging them deeper into the bigoted, Christian hating hole in which she and her friends are already fully entrenched. She tells the reader that Jesus was the original bleeding heart liberal which is the only fact she states in this article. She then explains how she “grew up amongst a lot of foot-washing, full immersion Baptists.” Now that’s not condescending is it? She continues by saying “I’m so glad the majority of Bush’s supporters turn out to be “moral values” voters. I thought they were all greedheads, bless their hearts.”
For those of you who are not from Texas, “Bless their hearts” is a phrase used by southerners as the highest form of passive-aggressive behavior. They use it to exonerate themselves of any guilt from the statement they just made. For example, “That Molly Ivins is as dumb as a stump, bless her heart.” See how the “bless her heart” takes the sting out of the insult and almost makes it sound like you care.
Finally, she invites the Left to reach out to the Christians/Evangelicals by going to their churches and talking with them. This just a few sentences after she wonders if John Ashcroft leaving his post might provide us with “tits on statues” again. Referring, of course, to Mr. Ashcroft’s decision to cover the bare breasts on a statue.
This type of comment is the reason the Left could talk to a million Evangelicals without making a bit of difference. They support groups like the ACLU who hates Christians at the same time as supporting pornographers and pedophiles. She sees Mr. Ashcroft as a prude because he is not comfortable with exposed breasts, but supports a group that regularly attacks Christian symbols in the public square because the symbols make them uncomfortable. Typical liberal thinking – exposed breasts good, Christian symbols bad…
Thursday, December 30, 2004
THE ARROGANT ELITISM OF THE GREEN/LEFT
An email from one of my readers. He starts out by quoting a comment I make elsewhere:
"It must be so sad for Leftists to hear even from their own that, under wicked old capitalism, the poor are getting richer, not poorer."
Oh definitely! I'm constantly hearing them say that this is indeed the problem. Because it's leading to people consuming too much. And they are becoming too "Americanized."
As I've told you, I'm in Costa Rica. And we get a lot of goofy leftist college girls vacationing here. Ultra granola wicca nature goddesses. And they don't like all of this globalization because they gripe that it's "destroying cultural diversity with globo-mono-culture." You'll find variations of this kind of thinking in Naomi Klein's book NO LOGO, which is mindless but an excellent description of the mindset. They are angry about the cultural imperialism that leads a peasant kid to buying a pair of nikes. Poverty is good, it keeps things as they are. Tradition. Diversity.
It's really a horribly patronizing outlook, which can be summed up as: "these people shouldn't have money because if they have money they'll no longer be cute little zoo creatures for me to admire as something different than myself. They'll be like people anywhere." Imagine a big nature reserve/zoo/park in the developing world where a bunch of native animals are kept in "their" natural environment. Now imagine the same with people. That's precisely what these leftists want.
And they've got some skilled rhetoric to back this up. They accuse "multinational corporations" of "preying upon" "poor people in the developing world" and announce themselves as the protectors of those people. Which is about as condescending as you can get, but it's for the native's own damned good. Because the natives are fooled by these wily corporations (no one could ever want a pair of nikes were it not for "brainwashing") and the higher consciousness leftists feel that they understand what the natives should be doing better than the natives themselves do. It's a religion. A religion of people obsessed with what other people are doing.
And as far as religiousity goes, there's another very interesting aspect. These leftists hate the SIN more than the SINNER, and look at the SINNER as being redeemable. What I mean by this is that they hate the companies, they hate globalization, they hate seeing a poor kid wearing nikes. But that kid is just a VICTIM. They don't hate him. They hate the sin of mono-globo-capitalism that has taken him over. Much like an old time priest might assume that a wicked person was possessed and needed an exorcism, these religious fanatics see the poor kid and think he needs to be "awakened." He's been "possessed" by advertising in some magical way. He can be redeemed, but he needs to repent. And we need to do all we can to save his soul.... It's quite supersitious. It's interesting how you can see man's religious nature so clearly in self-professed secularists.
I've not owned a pair of Nikes for years. The last pair I had wasn't great, and just as brands benefit from loyalty they can lose big when that loyalty is lost. I became brainwashed into buying other brands of shoes. But I recently went out and bought a pair of Nikes. Some leftist had sent me a bunch of materials encouraging me to boycott Nike.
And this led me to what I called the Nike Test. Show someone a poor kid from the developing world, clearly in a very, very poor neighborhood. And he has on a very nice pair of Nikes. There are two basic reactions: 1) Wow, that's cool that a poor kid in a remote part of the world can afford to have some of the most advanced shoes ever made, a shoe put together and distributed by an incredible harmonization of human effort in several countries. 2) that poor kid is a victim. He should only wear locally made shoes, even if they are of much lower quality and he doesn't want them. He's clearly brainwashed and it's just insidious. The leftist will find a victim where a conservative sees someone with expanded opportunities and enhanced connection with the rest of humanity -- AND more comfortable shoes!
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
(Incidentally, "Taki" is a Greek abbreviation of "Panayotis". Beat that! This "Taki" is however, a well-known social commentaor who happens to be one of the legendary rich Greeks. So how do you get "Taki" out of "Panayotis"? Easy. The familiar form of "Panayotis" is "Panayotaki". I have yet to figure out what "Panayotis" means, though. Maybe it is modern Greek for "All Saints". Greeks are big on Saints. )
"Babbittry is the idea that the average Joe lives within the passionless routine of marriage, the tyranny of consumerism, and the regimentation of small-town civic life. Babbittry judges Joe to live in a benighted, blinkered spiritual state, a gay-bashing, beer-drinking redneck whose Taliban tendencies want to ban dancing, rock-and-roll, and R-rated movies. People who don't live in New York, Hollywood, or divide their time between Virginia, Hyannis Port, or Nantucket estates and their Georgetown mansions view the rest of us as Babbitts. Who can blame them? When was the last time, say, Tina Brown, spoke with anyone not famous? (Not for at least 30 years, since she was an unknown Jewish girl sucking up to Oxford Dons and Fleet Street journalists.) Tina comes to mind because of a recent name-dropping column of hers about dining with a bunch of heavyweight media types discussing how to get rid of Bush. The only one who objected was the Hispanic busboy serving them drinks.
As one who did not endorse Bush, I was delighted with his victory, if only for the outrage it caused the New York Times and other "nattering nabobs of negativism," as my fellow Greek Spiro Agnew once called them. Let's start with the by now infamous headline of the London Daily Mirror, "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?" For any of you who have never heard of the Mirror, it is a leftist British tabloid daily that sells in the millions and features keyhole expos‚s of minor celebrities, porn-star confessions, and traditional Elvis sightings. Here's how it described the 59-odd millions who voted for Bush: "The self-righteous, gun-totin', military-lovin', sister-marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', non-passport-ownin' rednecks, who believe God gave America the biggest dick in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land `free and strong.'"
Well, it might not be very elegant-alas, there's nothing less elegant than British tabloids-but it's sure to the point. Babbittry lives, or at least that's how filthy-haired, yellow-teethed, whiskey-breathed, mostly queer, raincoat flashing British journalists see it. (Gee, it's catching.) Mind you, most of Europe went ape over the election, and it doubled my fun. There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than to listen to Europeans say "and if the Americans refuse to ... we will have to ..." Have to do what? Have Brussels declare war? Cut off diplomatic relations? Refuse to sell weapons? European threats can make a man laugh out loud during a rainy Sunday evening in Belfast.
Mind you, smug Europeans have nothing on smug American so-called elites. My friend Liz Smith described the post-election atmosphere as "The New Civil War! The East and West coasts break off from the red states and form their own more perfect union made up of intellectuals, show-biz and poor folks." (Surely the latter is a mistake, dear Liz. You meant poor in morals and manners rich folk.) It is as rare for showbiz and media folk to know any poor folk as it is to find a man who went to bed with Paris Hilton and did not videotape it.
The New York Times felt it had to help its readers get over their depression by running an advice piece on how to cope with a second Bush presidency. "After all, medical studies have shown that anger can lead to heart disease ..." Well, here's some good news at last. Times columnists like Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd are soon to be diagnosed with heart trouble, that is, if the paper of record has it right for a change.
Garry Wills, writing in the Times, took the high road under the title "The Day the Enlightenment Went Out." Wills muses that Muslim zealots and those who voted for Bush are one and the same. "It is often observed that enemies come to resemble each other. We torture the torturers, we call our God better than theirs ..." Good old Garry Wills, he does have a hell of a point. Harvey (disgusting) Weinstein, Whoopi (foul-mouthed) Goldberg, Michael (slob) Moore, George (schemer) Soros, and the rest of what John Tierney called the "Water versus Earth" people, do resemble the imams preaching hatred and intolerance-certainly where physical ugliness is concerned. (If you put a towel on Michael Moore's head he'd look like any fat slob preacher in Saudi.)
My favorite was "Coping," yet another New York Times advice column, by one Anemona Hartocollis. "For some parents, the urge to leave the country was a gut feeling, like the one that tells people it's time to move to the suburbs." Anemona, I feel for you, and I agree. If only some of your bosses would skip the place it would make for a better country. But leave it to Hollywood to have the last word. Susan Sarandon claimed on a nincompoops' TV show that Bush won because there was massive electoral fraud. The election was stolen, according to Ms. Sarandon, which I guess proves that 59 million people are not only dumb, they are also a cheatin' bunch of no-goods who deserve what they're about to get in the next four years. Go figure, as they used to say in Brooklyn before the Taliban took over.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
KERRY SQUIBS IT ON WINDMILLS
It's embarrassing to go into reverse but the Leftist elite must not have their scenic views spoilt! Only the plebs should have to put up with windfarms in their vicinty
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who championed renewable energy in his presidential bid, yesterday said he won't take a stand on the proposed Cape Cod wind farm until the Army Corps of Engineers completes its environmental impact report next year. ``After this process is complete and the environmental impact statement is final, Sen. Kerry will make a decision based on the best interest of our state and our energy future,'' said Kerry spokesman David Wade. Kerry had been expected by some observers to weigh in on the controversial wind farm after the Army publicly released its voluminous draft environmental report last month. The failed Democratic presidential nominee, who has helped lead the fight against drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as many other environmental causes, has refused to take sides on the controversial Cape wind farm, even as he touted wind power and other forms of renewable energy during the 2004 race.
Most other major Bay State political figures - from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to U.S. Rep. William Delahunt to Gov. Mitt Romney - already oppose Cape Wind's $770 million project. With his presidential campaign over and the Army's 4,000-page Environmental Impact Statement released last month, some expected Kerry to offer his views on Cape Wind's plans for 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.
The EIS was generally favorable, saying the project would have minimal environmental impact. The Bay State senator will not submit any materials to the Army Corps as it conducts a public comment period on its EIS that ends Feb. 24, Wade said. The corps will review public comment and issue its final report later next year.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Who wrote a poem containing this verse?
Like unto a God I dare
Through that ruined realm in triumph roam.
Every word is Deed and Fire,
And my bosom like the Creator's own.
It was our old friend, Herr Karl Marx, no less. So modern Leftist elitism is not exactly new. In this poem, old Karl actually compares himself to God. Beat that! Not much doubt about where he was coming from. Modern day Leftist elitists are actually quite modest by comparison.
For those who doubt the translation, the original German is:
"Goetteraehnlich darf ich wandeln,
Siegreich ziehn durch ihr Ruinenreich,
Jedes Wort ist Glut und Handeln,
Meine Brust dem Schoepferbusen gleich."
Old Karl was quite a poet -- with about 150 of his poems on record.
SOME LEFTIST EMAILS
Conservative Australian columnist Miranda Devine gives us a selection from those she has received:
Walter thought IQ was a factor in the elections: "It is not, as you wrote, 'this inescapable realisation of their own impotence which so baffles and enrages [Howard and Bush's] enemies'. It is the realisation that by definition half the world has an IQ under 100 and they vote conservative."
Scott, summing up the bemusement: "My despondency is increased by the fact that Howard won ours fairly and squarely and Bush has won the popular vote in the States. So now, the majority of the people in this country and the US appear to deeply hold views I just cannot understand."
From Sandy, a conservative: "I have learned to quietly back out of political discussions with those opposing my views, as their passion often seems to border on violence. But after the recent federal election I had an astounding moment of revelation: I'm actually in the majority! I can hold my head high and stop apologising for my 'ridiculous' views. Anyway, who the f--- is Cher?"
From Gordon: "The more I scan your ludicrously blowhard 'opinion' pieces in the press the more amusing I find them. Compare, for instance, Dr [Bob] Brown's 30-plus years of tireless work promoting environmental responsibility with your achievements, which amount to ... Umm ... Umm ... Errr ... Oh, that's right - being a frontperson for a typing monkey."
A column on Mark Latham's "Us and Them" schools policy during the election campaign prompted this, from Frank: "You are full of shit about pointing your finger on Latham being a hater. Why can't you be honest and admit you are getting paid well by this Murdoch to write this hate crap. Good luck to your garbage reporting."
From Allan: "You have painted Latham as an instigator of class hatred. Do you really want to be ruled one day by a prissy, private school toady?"
But Samantha wrote: "I am a sole parent who has lived on the North Shore my entire life. I have worked two jobs for the past 15 years to support my three children (and at least one dole bludger) and put them through private school. Who does Latham think funds all his great ideas? I can tell you now that it is not the people who will be voting for him."
And after a column defending "McMansions", HSC student David wrote: "Let's put a wall up around Kellyville and block their ugly homes from sight. Maybe it would be best to have a wall all the way along Windsor Road, or anything west of Parramatta. By the way I am not rich. But [you're probably] thinking what a snob." Yep.
Many people were outraged that I referred to American filmmaker Michael Moore's excess lard.
Carrie thought it was all a plot: "Is it relevant that Michael Moore is obese? Or that you're probably being paid by the White House for every pro-US (and therefore pro-Howard) column that you pen."
Saturday, December 25, 2004
To all those who come by here on this great day
And may all those who recognize Jesus as Lord always walk in his wisdom
Let us forget the nastiness of Leftism today
Friday, December 24, 2004
ELITE VALUES EVEN TRUMP POPULARITY IN HOLLYWOOD
"In the shadow of a public debate over the propriety of the words 'Merry Christmas' at department stores, a big battle in the culture war is looming. The Passion of The Christ, one of the most powerful, commercially successful, and, by any measure, brilliant films of the year is being utterly rejected by the Hollywood elites this award season, demonstrating yet again their tone deaf disdain for all things middle-American. What's going on here? Well, the cultural elites took a whooping on Election Day, 2004. And they are taking it out on Mel Gibson."
Thursday, December 23, 2004
KUTTNERISM: SAYING THAT THE AVERAGE GUY REALLY IS A LOW TYPE
Amazing: Leftists just can't help it. I ran an extract from a George Will column on this blog on 14th. In it Will accused Leftist honcho Robert Kuttner of condescension towards middle America. Kuttner has now replied to Will. His defence? He says that he was not being condescending because middle Americans really are a bad lot! Racist bigots, in fact, not wonderfully tolerant types like himself who cannot even abide Christmas, let alone Christianity! One excerpt:
"Lyndon Johnson fought for civil-rights legislation over the strenuous objection of white racists, understanding that his party could lose much of the white South. It is not "disparaging" middle America, much less a "spasm of moral vanity" to point that out. It is simply stating an ugly historic fact."
Kuttner conveniently forgets to mention that the opponents of integration were in fact his fellow Democrats!
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
BOOK BY LAURA INGRAHAM:
Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are Subverting America
Meet the elites.
They think you're stupid. They think all freedom loving Americans are stupid. They think patriotism is stupid. They think churchgoing is stupid. They think flag-flying is stupid. They despise families with more than two children. They are sure that where we live-anywhere but near or in a few major cities-is an insipid cultural wasteland.
From environmentalists to Hollywood celebrities to media yuppies, no American elite is safe from the astutely critical eye of Laura Ingraham. In this refreshing book Ingraham probes the condescending elitism of liberals in politics and entertainment. She shows how their lack of national pride, their distaste for religion, and their disregard of American ideals are undermining traditions and values across the country. And her criticisms go deeper than just the elites in the Democratic Party; she even zeroes in on elite enclaves in the GOP.
1.Why the elites want America to be torn down, tradition by tradition
2.The real reason Hollywood is politically moronic: including a case study of "Stupid White Man" Michael Moore
3.How to understand the goals of the elite - and spot their tactics
4.Why the elites are "theophobic" - and bent on eradicating religion from American life
5.The antiwar crowd: anti-Americanism in disguise
6.Why our current immigration policies border on insanity
7.How our colleges and schools try to brainwash students in political correctness and anti-Americanism
8.The UN: why this darling of the elites desperately needs to be reformed, reconfigured, and reoriented
9.Why the elites are either losing or on shaky ground on most issues
Meet the elites. They have big plans for us. But with dead-on wit and precision, Laura Ingraham shows how we can torpedo their plans.
HOLLYWOOD ELITE A DRAG
Dems to Hollywood: The end: "As dispirited Democrats mull various routes back to relevance, here's a quick and easy first step: Say goodbye to Hollywood. The attitudes and behavior of the film-industry elite are out of sync with much of the country, and linking the party with the West Coast glitterati makes national Democrats suspect with too many voters. One need look no further than a recent New York Times survey to see the disconnect. Fully 70 percent of those polled said they were at least somewhat concerned that TV, movies, and popular music are lowering moral standards. Beyond that, the self-absorption of Hollywood stars and producers makes them off-putting campaign props who too often distract from a candidate's intended message."
Monday, December 20, 2004
Liberal myths: "What is it with liberals that makes them 'rise' within their party and political group when they're always wrong? The answer is simple: they don't look for SUCCESS in what they do, they look for their INTENTIONS. They don't care if a liberal FAILS, they only care that he/she TRIED. ... Why do the liberals fail at everything they try? Because they operate on a completely wrong premise. They think Americans are stupid, and that only they, the 'elites' of the world, know what's good for us. ... They're wrong again, of course. They've been wrong all along, and they are not only wrong, they have no idea they're wrong. They're cursed with a double malady: ignorance and arrogance."
Sunday, December 19, 2004
ELITISTS ATTACK THE PEOPLE'S RELIGION
"Thomas Frank, a leftist author from Kansas, wrote a book this fall titled What's the Matter With Kansas? In it he asked why this state, and much of the heartland, had gone from being near-socialist to being the most Republican and conservative states in the country......
Franks and the Democratic strategists would have done well to show up at McLean High School the weekend before Thanksgiving to watch that school's drama troupe put on a rendition of Inherit the Wind, the play depicting the famous 1920s Scopes "Monkey Trial."
In the real life trial, the ACLU convinced a 24-year-old schoolteacher in Dayton, Tennessee to get arrested for teaching evolution in the public schools. The ACLU then brought in as defense attorney avowed agnostic Clarence Darrow, who was known for reading Nietzsche to assembled crowds of intellectuals in his Chicago apartment. William Jennings Bryan arrived to prosecute the teacher and defend the law.
I was at the play to watch my girlfriend's little sister in the female lead (in which she was stellar), and frankly I was ready to get upset at what I figured would be an anti-religious leftist play. Instead, I got the answer to Franks' question.
Why have the poorest counties in the country sided so fully with the Right? When did this happen? Maybe it was when the Left started sending big city ACLU lawyers to their small towns to tell them how to run their lives and educate their children.
Remember, on a political level, the Left was attacking its own. As Franks points out in his book, these were Democrats in these counties, and often extreme leftists. Bryan, the ACLU's antagonist, was a populist who made his name fighting to devalue currency in an effort to make farmers' debt less painful--in effect a startling redistribution of wealth. But with the monkey trial, and countless cases like it, the Left drove the salt of the earth from their own camp.
The play gets its title from the Bible's book of Proverbs: "He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind." The Left should have listened to this tidbit of wisdom if it didn't want to confine its relevance to the coasts.
Paris provides a good peek into our own future. Chirac banned displays of religion in all public schools in order to uphold France's "tradition of secularism." Similarly, the ACLU is tireless in its century-long war against religion, using the "separation of church and state" (words that never appear in the Constitution) as their rallying cry. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that students are not allowed to pray on the loudspeaker at a High School football game. The 9th Circuit court outlawed the pledge of allegiance because it mentions God. A California school district has prohibited at least one teacher from using the Declaration of Independence for the same reason.
Liberals have a view of conservative Christians who try to force their religion on other folks, but a real look around shows almost the opposite picture. One of Ann Coulter's greatest insights was that leftists are the new puritans, who can't go to sleep at night fearing that someone, somewhere, is looking upon a religious symbol. In Paris, there is no backlash yet. The French are accepting the state's abolition of government--at least those who identify themselves as Christian. In the U.S., our history of resistance and rebellion leaves us with a different tradition than France's: we resist people telling us how to live.
As long as the media and the Democrats see a photo negative of the real world--imagining that cultural conservatives are forcing their way of life on people--they won't understand what it will take to stop the people from drifting towards the GOP: they need to stop sending their lawyers and judges to our towns and forcing us to have homosexual scoutmasters and banning us from praying. In France, where the dissenters are immigrant Muslims, the consequences of the government's war on religion may be more dire. But in the U.S., the Left, now out of power in the elective branches of government after attacking the way of life of their own people, is already inheriting the wind.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
SOCIAL SECURITY ELITISM
The supporters of Social Security reform who want a system of personal accounts are getting lucky. Opponents have tipped their hand and they are not showing any new cards. What follows is a primer on the arguments they've been making since 2000.
1. Personal Accounts Will Be A Free-For-All. In a recent article financial analyst James J. Cramer complains that personal accounts will amount to "self-directed investing." Cramer caricatures the attitude of the reformers: "The secret to solving the inevitable bankruptcy of Social Security? Let people manage the money themselves: They have to do better than the .86 percent annual return the Feds get for them."
Well, sorry to disappoint all you gung-ho investors hoping to do some day trading, but the reform almost surely will be set up to encourage wage-earners to invest in reputable diversified funds. There will be no Enron-style 401(k)s beckoning beginners to invest all their money in one risky stock. The lesson of the stock market is diversify, diversify, diversify. Any serious reform plan will take that lesson to heart.
Indeed, underlying Cramer's free-for-all complaint is the idea that…
2. The Average Joe Is Just Too Dumb To Manage His Own Account. Cramer exhorts reformers to "Spend an hour listening to my radio show when I fix a 401(k). Every week, hundreds of Americans send me their wrecked 401(k)s…that they, their brokers, and their human-resource 'experts' have" wrecked. And,
As someone who listens to or reads e-mails from literally thousands of investors a week, I'm dumbstruck by how little most people know about even the basics of investing. Almost no one can read a balance sheet. Most don't know the difference between a stock and a bond. The majority think that diversification means owning Dell, Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco or Bristol-Myers, Pfizer, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson. Few think there's anything dangerous about putting all of their retirement assets in their own company's stock, even after the Enron, WorldCom, and Global Crossing fiascoes.
Has it occurred to Cramer that the folks sending him emails and calling in don't represent most 401(k) account-holders? If there were widespread discontent and mismanagement among the 42 million Americans with 401(k)s, we would have heard from them by now. And the competitive forces of the market would be offering services tailored to their discontent.
What drives Cramer is typical liberal elitism: We need benevolent government bureaucrats to make sure that the benighted masses don't hurt themselves. As Cramer puts it, "The idea that somehow these people are now going to get to handle their own Social Security and health-care accounts should scare politicians to death." Actually, what should scare us to death is the idea that politicians will have total control over Social Security and health care. After all, it was their "wise, prudent management" that's left the taxpayers holding the bill for a $24 trillion entitlement liability.
Friday, December 17, 2004
HOW THE ELITISTS SQUEAL WHEN THEY LOSE THEIR MONOPOLY POWER
South Dakota Republicans decided that the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, which dominates the state's media since it's the only paper with a statewide circulation, was hopelessly biased in favor of Mr. Daschle. "The ability to use the Internet to circumvent concentrated media power became a 21st-century updating of 19th-century Dakota populism," says John Lauck, a history professor at the University of South Dakota who was allied with Mr. Thune. Mr. Lauck and several of his friends collaborated on blogs that constantly reminded voters of contradictions between Mr. Daschle's voting record and his statements in South Dakota, as well as the Argus Leader's refusal to acknowledge them.
"South Dakotas have for the first time been hearing a few things about 'ole Tom' that have surprised," reported The Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel from South Dakota last October. "Mr. Daschle has assured voters he supports a state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Yet in July he voted against a similar constitutional amendment that two-thirds of South Dakotans support. He was a free trader, but now he's not. He's for legal change, but blocked every tort bill. He beats up on drug companies, though his wife, Linda Daschle, lobbies for them."
Patrick Lalley, the Argus Leader's assistant managing editor, acknowledges that the blogs had an impact on how his paper covered the Senate race. They certainly got under the skin of some of the paper's executives. Randell Beck, executive editor of the Argus Leader, called some of the bloggers work "crap" and said they represented an organized effort by conservatives to discredit his paper. In July, he explained to readers that "true believers of one stripe or another, no longer content to merely bore spouses and neighbors with their nutty opinions, can now spew forth on their own blogs, thereby playing a pivotal role in creating the polarized climate that dominates debate on nearly every national issue. If Hitler were alive today, he'd have his own blog."
Thursday, December 16, 2004
They think you are too stupid
New York Times columnist Daniel Altman wrote about "Taxes and Consequences" after the election, fearing all prospective changes in the status quo. His complaints about allowing young workers to put part of their Social Security tax into personal savings accounts were stupendously supercilious. He demanded to know "who would choose where workers could put their money?"
The elitism is obvious. Like other New York Times employees, Mr. Altman has a 401(k) retirement savings plan. So, who gets to choose where he puts his money? He does, of course. So, why does Mr. Altman presume other people are too stupid to make such choices? It's their money, after all.
He wondered, "What would happen if financial markets crashed?" It is considered polite to say, "There is no such thing as a stupid question." But this particular question must be an exception. He makes it sound as if retirees have to liquidate their lifelong retirement savings the day they empty their desks, and would be most eager to do so during a market crash.
But anyone who cashed-out a retirement savings plan in such an untimely way would have to pay income tax on that lump sum, often at a high rate. Prudent retirees instead avoid touching tax-deferred plans until age 70«, when they are legally required to begin taking the money out. Only academics who ask stupid questions would even think of rushing to liquidate life savings during a cyclical crash such as 1933 or October 1987, which were excellent times to buy.
The money invested in any retirement saving account goes in over many years and comes out over many years. What the stock or bond market happens to be doing during the year one begins retirement tells the retiree almost nothing about the next 10 or 20 years. The stock market rarely stays down more than three years, and then typically rebounds quickly (as in 1983 or 2003). Meanwhile, the value of bonds often rises in recessions when stocks fall (as in 2001).
Under a partly privatized Social Security system, potential retirees' incentives to tap the retirement account slowly would be similar to existing 401(k) plans. Unlike old-fashioned Social Security, there would be no artificial incentive to retire prematurely at age 62 or 66, because the longer you keep investing in your own account the more comfortably you can retire or partly retire whenever you choose.
On Dec. 1, Wall Street Journal writer Tom Lauricella chimed in with a Page One feature saying, "The Bush administration wants to incorporate elements of the 401(k) approach into Social Security." But those who have such retirement savings plans, he warned, "have made obvious mistakes in investing their money, such as putting too much money into low-yield savings accounts or betting the house on their own company's stock. Many also don't put as much money into the plans as they could, forgoing big tax savings and employers' matching contributions." .....
The Wall Street Journal cites a study by an employee benefit consultant claiming professionally managed 401(k) plans earned a slightly better 10-year return than the do-it-yourself variety - roughly 6.8 percent yearly for the pros and 6.4 percent for the amateurs. Since amateur investors in 401(k) plans managed to earn 6.4 percent a year from 1992 to 2002, however, they suddenly look a lot less stupid than Mr. Altman and Mr. Lauricella think. That is nearly enough to double the size of a 401(k) account every 10 years. And the professionals may well have taken bigger risks, since they weren't playing with their own money.
Once younger people get the choice to build such private accounts under Social Security, an extremely competitive market for professional advice will spring up to meet the demand because millions of employees, rather than a few bosses, will be newly empowered. But if Mr. Altman and Mr. Lauricella are still offering their arrogantly ignorant investment advice, you'll be safer sticking with a do-it-yourself approach.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
AN IGNORANT AND BULLYING ELITE
True or false: The average resident of New York City, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles or San Francisco knows more about life in France than they do about life in South Dakota. That question came to mind while listening to some of the establishment Democratic media discuss November's election results.
For just a little while, they noticed the rest of the country. I heard one correspondent joke that maybe they should send some foreign correspondents to the Midwest. Urban, blue state opinion is so uniformly liberal, it was hard for them to believe Bush could win. They didn't personally know many Bush supporters. They're seldom exposed to opposing points of view, and they never have to intellectually defend what they believe. For them, every election like this is a reminder of how strange we red staters must be.
One reason is that, despite the homage the urban liberals pay to the idea of diversity, you have to live in rural, red state America to experience intellectual diversity. We hear both sides of the story. On abortion, the environment, gay marriage, war, and taxes, we hear the liberal side from the national media, and we hear both sides in the local media and radio. Sure, we hear the liberal side twice, but at least we hear the conservative side once.
Another reason liberals never hear the other side is that they're such bullies. Intellectual bullies, that is. I'm sure Manhattan has conservatives, but they live in such an intolerant environment, they probably keep quiet. Things like this are hard to quantify, but you can detect it in how liberals argue their political positions. Consider hate crimes laws. They criminalize thought. We can all agree that things like assault, murder, and theft should be illegal, but only an intellectual bully is interested in whether you had the correct thoughts about those you were murdering or assaulting.
Or consider sex education. Liberals oppose laws requiring abstinence education. These laws don't forbid schools from continuing on with the traditional "we know you're going to have sex, so here's a condom" philosophy, they merely require that schools also inform kids of the benefits of abstinence. Only intellectual bullies would feel so threatened by the idea of students hearing both points of view.
Another trademark of intellectual bullies is that they can't resist calling people names. They honestly think their opponents are evil or stupid. We're homophobes. Patriarchs. Greedy. Fundamentalist. Bigots. Gun-toters. White trash. Bible-thumpers. It's hard to listen to new ideas with these thoughts in your head.
This blue state bullying and biased media go a long way explaining how little they understand about us red staters, but it goes deeper than that. I have a childhood friend who moved to a very urban part of a very blue state, and we made a game of blue state ignorance about life here. When he'd call, I'd ask things like, "Did they believe the story about the renegade buffalo herd that destroyed the clothesline?" They bought it. Did they believe the story about how local employers require their workers to attend church? Totally.
These city folk are victims of a new cultural hegemony in America. Whenever we turn on the TV or watch a movie, we learn all about life in their little corners of the world. They seldom get a glimpse at us.
I tried to think of current TV sitcoms or recent movies which tell our story. There aren't many. The closest I came was "Northern Exposure," a '90s show about a New York medical school graduate forced to practice in a small town in Alaska. But I ruled that one out. It was about a New Yorker. And towards the end, the story line was hijacked by two gay men who moved to town to operate a bed-and-breakfast and an environmental wacko who lived in an air-tight dome and claimed he could sense releases of toxic gasses thousands of miles away.
Those plots are really about Hollywood life, not ours. Almost every episode of "Northern Exposure" featured footage of a logging truck chugging down Main Street. Logging seemed to be the main industry in that town. I awaited plot lines involving loggers and millworkers. None.
I think the TV series "Roseanne" was set in a red state, hence the blue staters' belief that we're mostly fat, poor, and stupid. It's very hard to think of a recent movie or TV show which sympathetically portrays our lives. "The Waltons," "The Andy Griffith Show," and "Petticoat Junction" were set in red states, but they're all set in the past. A few movies, like "A Walk to Remember," are sympathetic portrayals of contemporary rural American life, but they're the exceptions that prove the rule. If you want to see a small-town southern preacher who is wise and compassionate, watch this movie. You won't see it again soon.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
ELITISM NOW FUNDAMENTAL TO THE MODERN AMERICAN LEFT
Some liberals simply cannot control their insuppressible reflex to look down their upturned noses at the American electorate. Writing in The American Prospect, a liberal monthly of which he is co-editor, Robert Kuttner, in a thoughtful analysis of Democrats' difficulties developing a distinctive values vocabulary, argues that "when Democrats fail to articulate pocketbook issues as values, class resentments become cultural ones," and Republicans prosper. Then, in his penultimate paragraph, his own cultural resentments against the American majority, as he imagines it, drive him into a ditch: "Bill Clinton won election by declaring, as a matter of values, that people who work hard and play by the rules should not be poor. Middle America forgave him for treating gays as people."
Ponder that second sentence. Kuttner could not resist a spasm of moral vanity. He had to disparage "middle America," which means most of America, as so bigoted it denies the humanity of gays. If liberals like Kuttner keep thinking like that, in December 2008 they will be analyzing their eighth loss in 11 elections at the hands of voters weary of liberal disdain.
A better analysis of the Democrats' difficulties comes from Peter Beinart, writing in The New Republic, which he edits. His "An Argument for a New Liberalism" actually argues for an old liberalism, that of 1947. Beinart focuses on foreign policy, to which Kuttnerism -- the belief that most Americans are viciously ignorant -- is pertinent.
In 1947, Americans for Democratic Action was founded by anticommunist liberals who, galvanized by the onset of the Cold War, were contesting with anti-anticommunists for control of the Democratic Party. The ADA, said one of its founders, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., believed that liberalism had been "fundamentally reshaped" by a "historical re-education" about the threat of Soviet totalitarianism.
Beinart is dismayed that more than three years after 9/11, liberalism has not been "fundamentally reshaped." It "remains largely what it was in the 1990s -- a collection of domestic interests and concerns." But Beinart may not be sufficiently dismayed, because he may not recognize how Kuttnerism complicates the recovery of anything like 1947 liberalism's robust patriotism and confidence in America's capacity to do good abroad.
There is, Beinart says, "little liberal passion" to win the struggle against Islamic totalitarianism. Responsible Democrats believe that, as Sen. Joe Biden says, there is an "overwhelming obligation" to use "the full measure of our power" against radical Islam. But how can there be passionate support for U.S. power from a Democratic Party whose 2004 presidential nominee felt compelled to pander to the party's base with isolationist rhetoric: "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them down in our own communities." John Kerry's unstable straddle between the passions of that base and the need to seem serious about terrorism produced his vow that he would enlarge the military -- but would not send more troops to Iraq.
Beinart aspires to change the Democratic base so that it will accept a presidential candidate who espouses 1947 liberalism -- someone for whom antitotalitarianism is the organizing imperative of politics. But how do you begin reforming a base polluted by the Michael Moore/MoveOn faction? Moore says "there is no terrorist threat" -- that terrorism is a threat no greater than automobile accidents. MoveOn says "large portions of the Bill of Rights" have been "nullified" -- presumably, then, the federal judiciary also has been nullified.
When Moore sat in Jimmy Carter's box at the 2004 Democratic convention, voters drew conclusions about the party's sobriety. Liberalism's problem with the Moore/MoveOn faction is similar to conservatism's 1960s embarrassment from the claimed kinship of the John Birch Society, whose leader called President Eisenhower a Kremlin agent. The reason Moore is hostile to U.S. power is that he despises the American people from which the power arises. Moore's assertion that America "is known for bringing sadness and misery to places around the globe" is a corollary of Kuttnerism, the doctrine that "middle America" is viciously ignorant.
Monday, December 13, 2004
A CAST-IRON ELITIST MINDSET
The people must be fooled. WE are not going to change to accomodate them
Democratic strategists keep holding post-election powwows aired on C-SPAN, but their introspection never adds up to very much. They usually end up saying in one form or another: we need to fool people better. At some level they know that the problem the party faces is not that the American people don't understand their positions but that they understand them too well. So what options are they left with? Since changing philosophy is out of the question in their minds they are left with changing their rhetoric: let's make the American people think we're revising our radical views without actually doing so.
During the presidential campaign, Democrats rejected the suggestion that they were out of touch with mainstream America even as their candidate bragged about non-American support. That Kerry had to cite endorsements from foreign leaders as a political prop was a tacit admission of the party's estrangement from America: the less support the Democrats could find inside the country, the more they turned to support for their views from outside it.
In American political history, modern Democrats are an anomalous creature, a party that seeks to win elections by running on foreign endorsements while regarding many of their countrymen as anthropological curiosities foreign to them. Running against "conservatism" at some point turned into running against America for the Democrats, and as they grew more alienated from mainstream America the more they came to depend on foreign fashions and views to justify their agenda, whether it was Democratic activists citing Danish jurisprudence to dismantle marriage or Bill Clinton hiding behind the opinion of "the world" during his impeachment.
Listen closely enough to what the Democrats say and it becomes clear that their first problem is not with modern conservatism but with America itself. They simply don't agree with America's founding philosophy, which is why they find basic American customs like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance distasteful and why their judges are constantly trying to rewrite the founding documents of the country.....
The Democrats' America wasn't started in 1776 but more like 1966. The policies of the Democratic Party amount to a declaration of independence from pre-radical America. They have suspicion, and often contempt, for anything historically American that doesn't conform to their liberalism. Because the Declaration of Independence contains what the left regards as an embarrassing article of faith -- that human rights come not from secular governments but from God -- it is unfit matter for a public school....
Sunday, December 12, 2004
ELITIST CONTEMPT FOR BLACKS
The late Mary McGrory, a white liberal, called Scalia "a brilliant and compelling extremist" - as opposed to McGrory herself, a garden-variety extremist of average intelligence. But Thomas she dismissed as "Scalia's puppet," quoting another white liberal, Alvin J. Bronstein of the American Civil Liberties Union, to make the point. This is the kind of rhetoric liberals are reduced to when they just can't bring themselves to use the n-word.
Most recently - at least as we go to press - last Sunday Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, had this to say about Justice Clarence Thomas: "I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written." You'd think Thomas' opinions were written in ebonics.
In the same interview, Reid called Justice Antonin Scalia "one smart guy." He said that although he disagreed with Scalia, his reasoning is "very hard to dispute." Scalia is "one smart guy"; Thomas is the janitor. If Democrats are all going to read from the same talking points, they might want to get someone other than David Duke to write them.
On the Sean Hannity radio show, Democratic pundit Pat Halpin defended Sen. Reid's laughable attack on Thomas by citing Bob Woodward's book "The Brethren," which - according to Halpin - vividly portrays Thomas as a nincompoop.
I return to my standing point that liberals don't read. Harry Reid clearly hasn't read any of the decisions Justice Thomas has written, and Pat Halpin clearly hasn't read "The Brethren."
"The Brethren" came out a decade before Thomas was even nominated to the Supreme Court. The only black Supreme Court justice discussed in "The Brethren" is Thurgood Marshall. That's one we haven't heard in a while: I just can't tell you guys apart.
How many black justices have there been on the Supreme Court again? Oh yes: two. It's one thing to confuse Potter Stewart with Lewis Powell. After all, there have been a lot of white guys on the court. But there have been only two black justices - and Democrats can't keep them straight. Two! That's like getting your mother and father confused. I can name every black guy on a current National Hockey League roster: Is it asking Democrats too much to remember the names of the only two black Supreme Court justices?
In "America (The Book)," by Jon Stewart and the writers of Comedy Central's "Daily Show," the section on the judiciary describes how to make a sock puppet of Clarence Thomas and then says, "Ta-da! You're Antonin Scalia!" On grounds of originality alone, Mr. Stewart, I want my money back.
But reviewing the book in the New York Times, Caryn James called the sock puppet joke one of the book's "gems of pointed political humor." Funny how the liberal punditocracy all parrot this same "sock puppet" line about Thomas year after year, almost as if they were sock pu— oh, never mind.
Curiously, of all the liberals launching racist attacks on black conservatives I've quoted above, only two are themselves black: the two who write for the New York Times. So I guess there are still a couple of blacks taking orders from the Democrats. Isn't there an expression for that? I think it begins with "Uncle" and ends with "Tom."
Saturday, December 11, 2004
HOW AN ELITIST DENIES ELITISM -- BY LYING
I must confess that I read no farther in the corny Mr Corn's article than what I have reproduced below. He asserts that Republicans "want to banish homosexuality from public life" when all that they oppose is homosexual marriage. As I understand it, GWB supports "civil unions". Mr Corn's values do not appear to include any allegiance to the truth -- no surprise from a Leftist, of course.
"Republicans and conservatives are fond of decrying Democrats—especially liberal Democrats from, say, the Northeast—as elitist. And this has become part of the post-election debate over so-called values: those high-falutin’ liberals just don’t get values, especially Middle American values.
That’s a mischaracterization. The Blue Staters pledge allegiance to values—just a different set of values than those adhered to by social conservatives who want to banish homosexuality from public life, bring creationism and prayer into public schools and criminalize abortion. After all, isn’t the right to privacy a values-driven concept? And the belief that gays and lesbians should be allowed to form civil unions (if not marriages) is predicated on values, as is opposition to the death penalty. The values-versus-no-values debate is a phony concoction (that just so happens to benefit conservatives and GOPers). There is a values war going on. It is a clash of competing values—not a face off between a values-free elite and the non-coastal masses. And, thankfully, we slug it out in the political arena and not on fields of armed combat. At least not yet.
Friday, December 10, 2004
THE HOLLYWOOD ELITE IS FANATICAL (AND HYPOCRITICAL)
The 2004 national election destroyed many longtime Hollywood friendships, as Tinseltown's glamorous denizens were torn by heated arguments over Bush and Kerry. That's the shocking revelation of Hollywood scribe and proud Republican Burt Prelutsky, who recently authored Conservatives Are from Mars (Liberals Are from San Francisco): A Hollywood Rightwinger Comes Out of the Closet. "I know of friendships that have been torn asunder and of business relationships between writers and producers that have ended badly," said Prelutsky to the Hollywood Investigator.
Asked whether the arguments stem from an especially contentious election or from the GOP's growing presence in Hollywood, Prelutsky said, "I think the strain is based on the fact that no president in my lifetime has been hated as much as Bush. Personally, I attribute it far less to his policies than to his being so forthright about his religion. Much of the hostility to him comes, I know only too well, from my fellow Jews. Oddly enough, they dislike and fear devout Christians more than they do Islamo-fascists." Declining to name names, Prelutsky added, "I myself have had friendships and even family relationships strained to the breaking point and maybe beyond. Only time will tell." .....
"For most of my life I was a Democrat," Prelutsky told the Investigator. "Coming out of the [GOP] closet, as it were, hasn't harmed my TV writing career, because I haven't got a career these days. It's true I converted [to the GOP] before getting my first staff job (as Executive Story Consultant with Diagnosis Murder), and that I argued at length with my colleagues on the show, but we all got along in spite of our political differences. I know they hated my politics, but fortunately it's very difficult, if not impossible, to dislike me!
"Hollywood's hypocrites are quick to label those who disagree with them racists, sexists, fascists, and bad dressers. However, I don't think they cut conservative blacks, Jews, and gays any slack. Instead, they merely add to their list of insults 'oreos' and 'sellouts.' Of course, a white Christian fundamentalist, a WASP, cannot be proven innocent. He is the enemy. He is, after all, the living embodiment of European culture, representing those very Judeo-Christian values and traditions the elitists despise."
Oddly, while Hollywood claims to be sensitive to racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and homophobia, its ageism is open and unabashed. Calls for diversity ignore diversity of age. Yet Prelutsky believes that Hollywood liberals are not even consciously aware of their inconsistency to their own ideals. "If they weren't blind to their shortcomings," said Prelutsky, "they would have to acknowledge that they are all hypocrites. For instance, they claim they want the government to look out for the little guy, but they pay their gofers and assistants as little as the law allows, and they don't think twice about filming out of the country in order to keep expenses down by not having to hire union people on their movies. But you never hear about any of them taking $19 million in salary instead of $20 million so that the IATSE members in America can feed their families."
Many Hollywood liberals are not only open, but even proud, of practicing ageism (though that's not the term they would use). They brag about the youth-appeal of their shows and films, and about the youth-orientedness of their companies and of themselves......
Thursday, December 09, 2004
THE ELECTION RESULT WAS A REJECTION OF RULE BY JUDGES
"Eleven states voted to preserve traditional marriage--not launch 11 more Fallujahs, and that is what really bothers the Left. Atrocities and foreign-policy disasters they can accept, even snigger at. It's their fellow citizens they really cannot stomach. Reading the post-election press is enough to convince an honest reader that the radical cultural elite in the U.S. is not merely wrongheaded but contemptuous and fiercely intolerant of the ethical concerns of the American majority. Indeed, a single edition of the New York Times op-ed page made this abundantly clear. The often judicious Thomas Friedman proclaimed himself deeply depressed by the election, which he said had been swung by "by people who don't just favor different policies than I do-- they favor a whole different kind of America. We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is."
Not quite true, Mr. Friedman. In fact, we differ on how America should be governed--by majority votes in legislatures or the diktats of unelected, unaccountable judges.
Maureen Dowd poured out her patented petulance on the "devoted flock of evangelicals, or 'values voters,'" who favor "opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage." Bush won the election "by dividing the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule."
Just down the page, Garry Wills--a man who has read enough St. Augustine that he ought to know better--bemoaned the apparent ignorance of his countrymen, sniffing that "many more Americans believe in the Virgin Birth than in Darwin's theory of evolution." Wills, author of Why I Am a Catholic... Why I Am Also the Queen of Spain, compared the voting majority of Americans to terrorists, opining, "Where else do we find fundamentalist zeal, a rage at secularity, religious intolerance, fear of and hatred for modernity? Not in France or Britain or Germany or Italy or Spain. We find it in the Muslim world, in Al Qaeda, in Saddam Hussein's Sunni loyalists."
Well, I guess that makes things clear, doesn't it? These people have really convinced themselves that they live in enemy-occupied territory, surrounded by dangerous fanatics. And what convinced them? The fact that Americans rebelled against the decision of a panel of appointed judges in Massachusetts to rewrite by fiat the very institution of marriage, just as in 1973, when another bunch of lawyers decided to rewrite the definition of human life.
Republican, representative government is the only system America has ever had--and the Left has become disgusted with it. Having used judicial decisions over the past 60 years to impose its preferences upon a disgruntled majority, leftists are now enraged that an effective rebellion has finally been mounted. And they are going to fight it tooth and nail. Let's be clear: this election was not about gay marriage and abortion--it was about who rules whom. Do Americans rule themselves, within a broad range of constitutional principles, or do judges and lawyers rule us behind a democratic faØade? Pay no attention to the judge behind the curtain. Candidates who declare they support Roe v. Wade are saying nothing more than that they will protect voters from themselves--defend people whom they claim are "pro-choice" from the results of... their own votes. These people really do see Americans as a band of dangerous children who have somehow gotten hold of firearms (figuratively in the form of the vote and literally in form of, well, firearms), who must be coaxed into putting down the pistol and handing it to the nice judge over there, who will keep it safe.
Here is what I wish George W. Bush had said in his debate with Senator Kerry--and what I hope any judge he appoints will tell his congressional examiners: "I believe in democracy around the world but especially here in the U.S. I trust the American people. I trust their wisdom over that of nine unelected judges who serve for life. I trust the average voter over the average lawyer. I'm in favor of letting the people of the 50 states vote on their abortion laws. I trust them to make these laws like all the other laws. My opponents don't. They claim to believe that Americans want abortion to be legal for any reason at all, up through the ninth month--but they aren't smart enough to vote that way. These elitists think that the voter is stupid enough to pass laws he doesn't support. So they intend to protect Americans from themselves by making sure that they never have the chance to vote on this issue--or on so-called gay marriage. These liberal elitists are so afraid of the common man that they'll twist the Constitution into a pretzel to make sure that the voter can't make important decisions. I have a different view. I think it's the view on which this country was founded."....
We have to be clear: this election was not about homosexuality or tolerance or the secret (putative) desire of rednecks to beat up choreographers. It was about judicial tyranny, about the final rejection of democracy by a self-appointed cultural and legal elite that despises the rest of us, feels a loyalty not to America but to an international social and opinion class, dreams of transforming the U.S. into the image of the EU--minus the fine architecture.... We should cast the issue clearly: are you for judges making the rules--or citizens? Should America be run by its law schools or its voters?"
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
KANSAS: A LYING ELITIST PORTRAYS SUCCESS AS FAILURE
So what else is new?
Kansas is a reliable "red" state; President Bush carried it by nearly 21% in 2000 and padded his margin to nearly 26% this year. The state's rock-solid support of Mr. Bush and other conservative candidates has sent at least one of its native sons, political commentator Thomas Frank, into paroxysms of rage. In his new book, "What's the Matter With Kansas?," Mr. Frank argues that all those Jayhawk State rubes have got things backward: They've continued to vote Republican as the state goes through economic hardship, even though, by doing so, they're voting against their own economic interests. The book is a big hit with left-leaning commentators and has sold very well, making the author something of a celebrity on the talk-show circuit.
In purple prose, Mr. Frank paints a grim picture of the state and its towns. Kansas is "pretty much in a free fall," he informs us, and as a result of its economic devastation, it's "a civilization in the early stages of irreversible decay." The cause of all this decline, he says, is modern capitalism, especially as practiced by all those businessmen-Republicans. Kansas is "burning on a free-market pyre," he writes. Things are especially bad in his old hometown of Shawnee, where, during his visits, he no longer sees anyone in the streets. Instead, "heaps of rusting junk and snarling rottweilers" blight the landscape.
Yet Mr. Frank's characterization of the Jayhawk State is completely--bizarrely--at odds with the facts. Kansas's economy has actually outpaced the nation's for years. Throughout the 1990s and the first part of this new decade, Kansas had a lower unemployment rate than the U.S. as a whole. In fact, when the country's unemployment rate dipped below 5% from 1997 to 2001, Kansas's fell under 4%--a level so low that economists basically consider it full employment. Overall, the state's economy added 256,000 new jobs during the 1990s, a 24% growth rate, compared with a 20% national gain in the same period. Even when the economic slowdown set in and the recession finally hit in 2002 and 2003, Kansas lost jobs at a slower rate than the national economy did.
It's the same story in the state's agricultural sector, which Mr. Frank claims the free market has driven "to a near state of collapse." Yes, Kansas farm jobs shrank by about 9% in the 1990s, a result of farms becoming larger and more efficient (and producing more), but the state's total agricultural economy grew by 10%, some 30,000 jobs, as areas like food processing and agricultural wholesaling expanded.
The objects of Mr. Frank's particular concern, his hometown of Shawnee and the rest of Johnson County, have done especially well. For three years in the 1990s, the Shawnee area's unemployment rate actually dipped below 3%, making it one of the tightest labor markets anywhere.
When the recession hit, Shawnee's unemployment rate did rise, but it still stayed below the nation's. And though Mr. Frank describes the place as practically desolate, Shawnee's population grew by a robust 27% during the 1990s. Even more astonishing, today, only 3.3% of its citizens live below the poverty level, compared with about 12.5% nationally. "It's possible his view of us is outdated," says Jim Martin, executive director of the Shawnee Economic Development Council, in classic Midwestern understatement.
Regardless of Kansas' economic performance, Mr. Frank's main thesis--that people who are struggling economically should be voting as liberals, not conservatives--is dubious. As an editorial in the Wichita Eagle observed: "There's nothing wrong with many Kansans wanting to hold onto a little more of their paychecks . . . or preferring that when they need help it comes from their family, their church, their community--not an intrusive federal government." But what's really astounding is that Mr. Frank, who offers little in the way of economic data, would base his argument on such blatant falsehoods. To Mr. Frank's liberal prejudices, something may be the matter with Kansas, but it sure isn't its economy.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
"Intellectuals probably believe that every election will be decided by the moron vote. That’s why they are intellectuals, after all: because, knowing as they do (or think they do) all about the way the world works, their minds are already made up. This in turn means that elections are for them a matter of watching to see what the morons, who imagine that there could still be a reason to vote for the other party, will do. Moreover, in analyzing the moron psychology, like the hidden motivations of the opposition, they affirm their own status as intellectuals. This came home to me recently at a dinner party where I sat next to one of the OUTRAGED persuasion, a man who actually identified himself as an “intellectual”—no false modesty for him!—and who spent the entire meal trying to decide whether it was the mendacity or the incompetence of Bush’s prosecution of the Iraq war which was the more egregious. “But why,” I finally asked him, “is George Bush lying and deceiving us, as you say he is, in order to wage war in Iraq when there is no obvious electoral advantage in it—when, in fact, it may well cost him the election?”
He looked at me in a pitying sort of way, as if he thought I had just blundered into admitting my membership in the stupid party, and replied: “Because he’s in the pocket of the Israelis!”
As the man was Jewish, perhaps I should have seen this coming, but he might have said any number of other things—that Bush was doing it for the oil or to increase the profits of his buddies at Halliburton and the Carlyle group or out of Oedipal rivalry with his father or any of a host of more exotic reasons—with the same basic meaning. For I suspect that it scarcely matters to a political intellectual what are the real motivations of those in power for doing what they do, so long as those motivations are hidden from the sight of the base vulgar and only accessible to advanced powers of analysis like his own. It occurred to me then that, like the conspiratorial omnivore Michael Moore, this man would probably have been just as willing to accept any or all of the alternative explanations discreditable to Bush so long as he wasn’t asked to believe the one thing that has always seemed to me obvious—namely that the president is an ordinarily decent guy doing what he thinks is best for his country.
An intellectual can’t believe that, of course, because it is what the stupid people believe. It would threaten his very identity as an intellectual, so much prized in this case, for him to believe only what the lumpen mass of the cognitively challenged believe"
Monday, December 06, 2004
ELITISM IN WA
Recently Republican Dino Rossi won the governorship of Washington State by 261 votes -- defeating Democrat Christine Degregorie after 2 weeks of counting. A reader emailed me in that connection:
"I was talking about the Rossi win with a rather active Seattle lefty. Honestly, she said, "Those ignorant, bible-thumping, farmers don't understand what we're trying to do for them.""
Sunday, December 05, 2004
WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THE BLUE STATES?
The absolute egocentricity and vacuity of the liberal intelligentsia was exemplified during a November 9 C-SPAN interview with Thomas Frank, author of the book What's the Matter with Kansas, which purports to explain why his native Kansas, once a liberal state, is now one of the most conservative in the nation. He lamented that Republicans fool Red Staters with their "phony populism." They portray Blue Staters as educated elitists, "with fancy diplomas on the wall," who tell everybody how to live. According to Thomas Frank this is not so -- Blue Staters are not people with letters after their name who want to tell the Red Staters how to live.
So who is Thomas Frank? He is a PhD from the University of Chicago, who wrote a book telling people in a Red State what's wrong with them and how they should live. Incredible. This author is the paradigm of the quandary of the Blue Staters -- their inability to comprehend, and therefore to demonize, people who do not think as they do. He is illustrative of Blue State insularity. Simply put, Thomas Frank is a supercilious, sanctimonious twit, who promotes the creed of the Blue State, which is any working/middle class/poor person who votes for Republicans is a fool because:
-- Republicans are conservatives and conservatism equals greed.
-- Republicans represent the rich and are just manipulating working people,
-- Democrats are the political party of the common person and voting Republican is against your own interests.
The reviews of this book only validate that this is the true attitude of the Blue Staters. For example, Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, wrote a review stating, "What's the Matter with Kansas? is the most insightful analysis of American right-wing pseudopopulism to come along in the last decade. As for Kansas: However far it's drifted into delusion, you've got to love a state that could produce someone as wickedly funny, compassionate, and non-stop brilliant as Tom Frank."
It is worth noting here that Barbara Ehrenreich is the honorary chairwoman of the Democratic Socialists of America. For her to lecture us about Republican pseudopopulism is ironic when one considers that she is apostle of the philosophy that invented pseudopopulism.
It is also worth noting that Thomas Frank was a guest speaker at the 1998 Socialist Scholars Conference along with Michael Moore and Katha Pollitt. Michael Moore, who wrote after 9-11, that the terrorists should not have killed people in the blue states who did not vote for Bush. Katha Pollitt who scolded her daughter for wanting to display an American flag after 9-11 because the flag stands for jingoism and war.
Another review, by Rick Perlstein, states, "Tom Frank has stripped the right-wing hustle to its core: It is bread and circuses -- only without bread. " Red State people just want bread and circuses (beer and football perhaps?).
However, the most salient and informative review is by bien pensant, Molly Ivins. She reveals the true beliefs of the Blue Staters. Ivins wrote, "hilariously funny on what makes us red-staters different from blue-staters (not), and he actually knows evangelical Christians, antiabortion activists. and Bubbas. I promise y'all, this is the only way to understand why so many Americans have decided to vote against their own economic and political interests." (italics mine)
Interesting how Molly Ivins claims that many Americans voted against their best interests. This is a refrain we hear routinely by the liberal elite. We, the hoi polloi, are too stupid to know what is good for us. This is what makes us Red Staters. What is interesting about this concept is that it echoes the sentiments of Cheka Commander Felix Dzershinsky, one of the most murderous of Lenin's band of genocidal Bolsheviks. Dzershinksy wrote, "They (the Soviet peasants) are so ignorant that they have no idea what is really in their own interest." It was this concept that was used as the justification for the terror campaign by the Bolsheviks against the Soviet peasants. (italics mine)
These are the people who feel they are uniquely qualified to tell the Red Staters what's wrong with us. Is it any wonder that the Red Staters reject them and their ideas?
During the CSPAN interview, Frank proffered as evidence of Republican nefariousness and deception Bush's tax reform plan. According to him, Republicans talk of values during the election campaign. However, after being elected, they do nothing to implement "values" policies. Instead, they do everything to implement economic policies that favor the rich. He mentioned that Bush's first act was to repeal taxes.
I do not know whether he is ignorant or lying; whichever it is, he is not telling the truth. There are two things incorrect about this claim. First, it is not true that President Bush enacted tax reform before values policies. One of the first things Bush did, one week after inauguration, was to enact a Faith Based Initiative. Second, tax reform is not inconsistent with Red State values. Taxes are taken from some people and distributed to others by politicians who think they have more wisdom to determine how those funds should be spent than the people who earned them.
Once again, Thomas Frank, unwittingly, validated the belief of Red Staters. We are neither sufficiently intelligent nor compassionate to know what to do with our own wealth. What he does not understand is that Red Staters believe taxes to be a necessary evil. Taxation is a privilege granted to the government by the people that is often abused by politicians for their own aggrandizement.
While his book is an anodyne to liberals, Thomas Frank's Manichean philosophy is illustrative of those incapable of understanding the hopes and dreams of others. This philosophy was reiterated by an essay from novelist Jane Smiley, who wrote for Slate.com about the "unteachable ignorance of the Red States."
I once wrote that liberals are the self-righteous, led by the self-important, for the benefit of the self-interested. Thomas Frank and those who praise his book do nothing to disprove this. Indeed the Red State /Blue State dichotomy as defined by the Blue State chatterati just confirm it.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
ELITISM IN THE AUSTRALIAN LEFT
The writer, Peter Walsh, is a former Minister in an Australian Labor Party (Leftist) Federal government. He refers particularly to a referendum Australia held about whether or not Australia should remain a monarchy. Even though some senior conservatives preferred a republic, the monarchy was decisively upheld by the voters
"At a Labor social gathering just after the 1999 republic referendum, I was accosted by a state MP who said she heard I had voted no. Surely that could not be true. I assured her it was and added that I was in pretty good company because of the high no vote in strong Labor Party polling booths. Yes, she replied, but you know better. That sort of reaction was common among elites in both the Labor and Liberal parties......
The deniers, who hated Howard anyway, found the scapegoat in him. Bad losers as usual, they demanded a referendum every year or two until the people got it right. And in their incestuous arrogance, they underestimated the common sense of the electorate. To the extent they thought about it, I believe most people considered the republic to be a matter of monumental unimportance. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - it was a passive reason for voting no. When they discovered it was accompanied by a proposal to insert a preamble to the Constitution that would make it easier for judges in the Brennan-Kirby mould to usurp, for the courts, power that belonged with the parliament, they had an active reason to vote no. Most electors are as suspicious of elites as the elites are contemptuous of electors.
All this may not seem to have much relevance to Labor's primary vote. But, notwithstanding high-profile Liberals like Turnbull and the lower-profile Peter Costello, Labor activists were much more prominent in the Australian Republican Movement and much noisier. More Labor votes were turned off by them.
In the six elections from 1990 onwards Labor's primary House of Representatives vote averaged only 39.93 per cent to the Coalition's 43.97 per cent and the gap is growing. A party that cannot get above 40 per cent primary is unlikely to win. Labor's vote is fretting away. And the aforementioned republican experience helps explain why Labor's vote is fretting away. Indeed, on a wide range of policies – republic, border protection, mandatory detention, Aboriginal reconciliation, gay marriage, the environment – Labor has been hijacked by well-heeled, vain, self-indulgent ideologues. Is it any wonder its policies are anathema to people who vote Labor – or used to vote Labor?
Take the environment. Just before the election being called, Kelvin Thompson, then shadow environment minister, was interviewed on the ABC Country Hour program and asked what drought relief a Labor government would provide for farmers. He replied that Labor would abolish drought by signing the Kyoto Protocol. From at least three perspectives, he paraded his profound ignorance of the subject.
For starters, droughts have been around for longer than recorded history; probably the worst in recent times was 100 years ago. Second, there is no reason to believe that higher temperatures will lead to lower rainfall. And even if the Kyoto hypothesis is correct, whatever Australia does will make negligible difference to the outcome.
Of course, Thompson's ignorance may not have done much damage to the Labor vote. But it is a frightening insight into the capture of Labor policy formulation by economic saboteurs and secular religious zealots. The same of course applies to the mantra of "saving", even "preserving" old-growth forests".
Friday, December 03, 2004
DECLINE OF THE MEDIA ELITE
So now CBS News anchor Dan Rather, too, is set to leave the evening news show. Rather was at CBS for more than two decades and was known as "Rather Biased" to his conservative foes. I'm not going to speculate on whether Rather's decision, or CBS' decision, was prompted by the controversy when Rather reported a story that was based on forged documents and was damaging to President Bush. Of more importance is the demise of the mainstream news media.
For decades, the only way to get television news was to listen to the evening news broadcasts of the three major networks. That was it. The "message" was controlled, and it was a pretty establishment message. There was simply no way for any other point of view to be expressed, no way to get any news story deemed unimportant by the evening news folks out to the public. No way to correct wrong information or straighten out a consistently liberal bias. That's all changed now. So, it's no wonder that since cable television grew in the '80s and Internet use grew in the '90s, the ratings of the evening news shows have consistently dropped, and their viewership, while still large, is now largely made up of older folks.
I'm not nearly as sure that the bias of the established networks wreaked the havoc that some of my conservative friends might think. After all, Ronald Reagan won in 1980 and by a landslide in 1984, when the networks ruled the day and clearly could not stand Reagan or his presidency. But there's no doubt that, with the demise of the mainstream media and the rise of alternative opinion outlets on everything from the Fox News Network to talk radio to countless news Web sites, the left is feeling more than a little peeved that its fiefdom is gone.
The reason some folks are growing increasingly shrill is that no one controls the news these days. It's not that the right has a monopoly on the news; it's that the liberal establishment no longer does. Why are some in the liberal establishment so afraid to let a thousand flowers bloom? Maybe because it's the liberal establishment that is, dare I say, intolerant? The departures of Rather and Brokaw are symbolic of something much bigger than a couple of older men resigning from their top media jobs. It's a metaphor for what's been, and is becoming, a healthy sea change in the American news media. Finally, there is healthy competition there, just as there is in every other aspect of the American economy. Such competition, particularly when it comes in the marketplace of ideas, is something that apparently bothers liberals.
I've got an idea. Maybe the networks could stick a reality-TV show in the place of the evening news. Here's the premise: A dozen establishment and liberal political types are trapped in a house, no mainstream media allowed. Who can take it the longest? Mainstream news monopoly, RIP.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
ELITE MISREPRESENTATIONS OF CHRISTIANS
In A recent speech at Tufts University, Andy Rooney reflected on the election and said, according to The Tufts Daily, that Christian fundamentalism is a result of "a lack of education. They haven't been exposed to what the world has to offer." Those comments as well as the identification of the "bigoted Christian redneck" after Election Day in various editorials left me wondering: Where do these "liberal elites" get this fictional image of Christians? When did this distorted perspective begin in our cultural history? How can I work to bridge this gap? Rooney is reflective of the "liberal elite" in America that suffers from an odd disconnect with much of America and those who voted for President Bush. With respect to Isaac Asimov, I have decided to create "The Three Political Laws of Christian Fundamentalists" for the confused "liberal elite":
* A Christian is a human being capable of independent, logical reasoning to the highest order.
* A Christian is not a mindless entity seeking to obey public religious leaders, such as Pat Robertson, John Paul II, or Ralph Reed, when voting on the future of America.
* A Christian must protect his own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the Bible.
These laws might serve a good base as these elites attempt to reach out to those in "Jesusland" over the next four years and work to correct their lenses that only allows them to see "homophobic knuckle-draggers." In terms of practical examples supporting these laws, it might be good to look back in history and be reminded that some of these Christian fundamentalists served a significant part in our great nation's birth. From Sir Isaac Newton to George Washington Carver, from Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Martin Luther King Jr., these were all what liberal elites such as Andy Rooney would define as "uneducated, uninformed Christian fundamentalists" simply based on their religious beliefs.
There also seems to be a myth traveling around certain intellectual circles that science and the insanity of Christian fundamental doctrine cannot coexist. Again, history serves to prove this wrong and acts as a reminder. Each of the following people held strong beliefs -- "extremist beliefs," some would say -- as Christians and sought to reveal the work of God through their contributions. For some liberal minds that cannot reach to their grade school days, I made a summary of their accomplishments:
* Johannes Kepler was a mathematician and astronomer who discovered the laws of planetary motion and fathered the study of celestial mechanics.
* Galileo Galilei was the inventor of the telescope, discovered the laws governing falling bodies, and made numerous astronomical discoveries.
* Antony van Leeuwenhoek was the father of microbiology and discovered bacteria, blood cells, and other things beyond the naked eye.
* Robert Boyle was a natural philosopher, founder of modern chemistry, and discovered the nature of gas, which is now called Boyle's Law.
Christians always had intellectual giants and agents of change whose faith did not conflict with becoming a great inventor, statesman, or advocate of human progress. From Cyrus McCormick to Charles Malik to Fyodor Dostoyevski to Mother Teresa, the driving force behind their intellect, sweat, and compassion was their faith in Jesus Christ. These people are representative of the millions of evangelical Christians from every corner of our world and every upbringing. Not just poor, uneducated, and isolated people from middle America.
I grew up in the Midwest with a familiar story to most Americans. My family members and I have attended Ivy League institutions, expounded upon Emerson and Whitman, lived abroad, and chatted endlessly on various topics in Upper West Side cafes. Oddly enough, we believe in the deity of Jesus Christ and the literal translation of the Bible. We also believe in the necessity of the separation of church and state, know that Jesus would not be a Republican nor claim allegiance to any earthly organization, do not hate Jews, and do not hate gays and lesbians. Lastly, we do not want to establish a Christian kingdom, since the only one we should have our eyes on is the eternal kingdom. So please do not hate or fear us. We seem to be misunderstood with multiple myths surrounding our beliefs, motivation, and existence.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
ELITISM IS BASIC TO LEFTISM
A prescient friend among serious Democrats explained last week what was wrong with his party and how it had contributed to liberalism's defeat on Nov. 2. He believes a growing majority of Americans simply don't trust Democrats because Democrats don't trust Mr. and Mrs. America to make sound decisions for themselves and their families. Blue-collar Americans believe liberals are anti-Christian and seek to suppress all public expression of religious beliefs, including school prayer. That they are amoral--or, as Irving Kristol once said, a liberal is someone who thinks it is all right for an 18-year-old girl to perform in a porn film so long as she is paid the minimum wage.
Liberals see themselves as self appointed Robin Hoods, but they are seen by red-county Americans as taking from the productive and giving to the indolent. They look down on average Americans as misguided and too dumb to know what is good for them and their families. Since such people are unlikely to make the right decisions, a wise government must do it for them. And of course the bigger the government, the better.
An equally serious friend on the other side of the political spectrum says the acrimony of the past four years may have been intensified by social issues, but it is the economic issues that are determining the outcome of elections. He believes the liberal left may actually be winning on the social issues--that gay rights and stem-cell research, for example, are trending in their direction--but that liberals have suffered a wholesale rout on their economic beliefs. They were wrong about communism (it was an economic failure), wrong about socialism (it didn't work either), wrong about the welfare state, wrong about high taxes and government regulation of economic matters.
Rather than applauding Hillary Clinton's telling them last summer that their taxes must be raised because "we're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good," they prefer Newt Gingrich's observation that the Declaration of Independence's Pursuit of Happiness includes an active verb: "Not happiness stamps; not a department of happiness; not therapy for happiness. Pursuit."
If the Democratic Party allows itself to be defined by Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore and the editorial page of the New York Times, while Republicans, their president and their strengthened congressional majorities encourage the pursuit of happiness in an opportunity and ownership society, then Mr. and Mrs. America will make sure conservatives are in power for a great many years to come.