Monday, February 28, 2005
A SAVAGE LEFTIST MEDIA ELITE
The media attack on homosexual conservative journalist Gannon shows how the Leftist media elite even abandon what they claim are their own principles (such as "tolerance" for homosexuals, belief in "diversity" and respect for "minorites") if their elite postion is threatened
"While Olbermann has launched endless witch-hunts of conservative columnists Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus, his newest obsession is former Talon News reporter Jeff Gannon (a.k.a, James Guckert, but who will be referred to here by his professional name "Gannon"). Gannon was a genuine newsman who Olbermann and other schadenfreudians (as Rush calls them), who have taken extreme pleasure in singling out Gannon for personal destruction simply because he's a conservative Republican.
In fact, Gannon was in the minority in a room full of the very pro-Democrat reporters who are still "White House-friendly" to Bill Clinton. "Gannon didn't realize that the purpose of the White House press corps is to make Republicans look bad," said Cliff Kincaid, editor of Accuracy in Media (AIM) on Feb. 10. "And when the left-wing media see their power slipping away, they go for blood and nothing is out of bounds. The political Left doesn't respect personal privacy when the potential victims are conservatives."
The real travesty is that these hate-mongering media leftists who are still bitter over the 2004 historic re-election victory of President Bush are declaring open season on Gannon and other conservatives as the elite media try to find any avenue possible to vent their rage. As a result, maligned conservatives are bearing the brunt of the Left's wrath and have become the main topic of discussion for the leftist media's anti-war, anti-GOP and anti-American bloviating simply because of their chosen political party affiliation. (As if these duplicitous White House press corps are the pinnacle of objectivity.)
The Gannon brouhaha started when Gannon was at a Jan. 26 press conference and dared to be fair and balanced by referring to top Democrats as "people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality" when he addressed President Bush. But it's a question that should have been asked by all White House correspondents, who are the most cravenly obnoxious and openly hostile partisan media hacks in the elite media. But Gannon's question sounds exactly like the kind of parceled phrasing these same leftist White House correspondents would likely have used to describe Republicans.
While Gannon asked a fair question that never would have been uttered by anyone in the arrogantly elitist White House press corps, it started a firestorm from the double-standard corners of the media Left that has shown no signs of letting up any time soon. For instance, Washington Post liberal reporter Howard Kurtz (Feb. 10) wrote that it was Gannon's outing by leftist bloggers that prompted him to resign from Talon News, when, in fact, he quit because he was getting threatening phone calls and death threats. "A conservative reporter who asked President Bush a loaded question at a news conference last month resigned Wednesday after liberal bloggers uncovered his real name and raised questions about his background," Kurtz wrote.
But what is so "loaded" about questioning the conduct of those politicians the White House press corps favor the most? - Democrats, who are now calling for an investigation to find out how Gannon was cleared to attend press briefings. Just the fact that Gannon was denied Congressional press credentials on numerous occasions - and was only issued daily passes - also proves that he was not a so-called "shrill for the Bush administration," as many media leftists have alleged. But that didn't stop whiny, Bush-hating Democrats from turning it into a partisan issue.....
Predictable as always, Olbermann, like his White House press pals, went in for the kill. "Jeff Gannon, fake reporter," said Olbermann when he kicked off his marathon carpet-bombing of Gannon late last month. For nearly a month now, Olbermann has been fuming over Gannon, who media leftists have accused of not belonging to one of their "legitimate" news outlets. The Boston Globe even labeled Gannon a "White House-friendly reporter." They marveled at Gannon's apparent audacity to question the credibility of Democrats; they also doubted his objectivity since he also wrote for (gasp!) GOPUSA.com (which isn't even directly tied to the Republican Party), as the elite media have falsely reported. To these pompous press partisans, Gannon couldn't possibly be as "objective" as they claim to be.
But this further begs the question: Are White House correspondents who ask even the slightest "friendly" question to President Bush, Scott McClellan or any White House official always going to be scrutinized and therefore subject to future anti-conservative witch-hunts by the condescending elitists in the White House press corps?
Randy Dotinga, correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, answered that question when he wrote, "Newsroom conservatives are a rare breed. In national news outlets, only 7 percent of journalists call themselves conservative (according to a Pew Research poll)," Dotinga wrote (June 3, 2004). "Does that deepen a trust gap?" In the same poll, 34 percent had identified themselves as liberal.
But these phony reporters that make up the vast majority of the White House press corps, who tried to take out President Bush last fall and lobbed infinite softball questions to John Kerry and other corrupt Democrats, are the very ones now crucifying Gannon, who was only asking direct and honest questions about Democrats that the elite media wouldn't dare utter. To them, demanding total honesty from a Democrat would be tantamount to blasphemy - as well as a sudden trip to the unemployment office.....
The bottom line is these disingenuous media leftists don't really care that Gannon's not from one of their precious Ivy League J-Schools: Their main gripe is that Gannon's a pro-Bush conservative who they think shouldn't have been allowed exclusive membership in their restricted clubhouse."
More (much more) here
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Leftists want the rich and the poor to unite— in submission to the bureaucratic state
There are "two Americas," according to former Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards. One is prosperous and affluent, with well-stuffed stock portfolios, good schools, and generous healthcare programs. But the other America is poor, underprivileged, and insecure. To big applause, Mr. Edwards promised to "fight" to close that gap. We are likely to hear more of that kind of rhetoric, with Howard Dean crowned as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The notion that Republican policies favor the privileged while neglecting the needs of the little guy is a constant theme of liberal politicians and pundits.
Such class warfare talk does not resonate well with most Americans, though. Karl Marx set the categories for the left with his paradigm of the "bourgeoisie" oppressing the "workers." But, contrary to his expectations, free-market capitalism has created so much wealth that today "workers" enjoy a middle class (that is, "bourgeois") lifestyle. The problem today is not with workers but with the relatively small 4 percent who do not have work. American social mobility and affluence renders Marxist-flavored invocations of class struggle absurd.
But let us grant Mr. Edwards's "two Americas" premise. Clearly, some people are well-off and others are struggling to pay their bills. What, if anything, can or should be done about this? The strategy of President Bush is to cut struggling Americans in on the prosperity-enhancing benefits enjoyed by the well-off. His Social Security plan would allow "the other Americans" to build a stock portfolio, an ownership share of wealth-producing companies, just like the "rich" have. Americans who do not have a lot of money to save would nevertheless cash in on free-enterprise capitalism. One would think the left would see this as a way to make the economic system more "fair," as they are always calling for. After all, the socialist dream is for "the people" to "own the means of production."
The children of privileged Americans have access to good education, while poor children are often consigned to public schools with abysmal academics, out-of-control classrooms, and violence in the schoolyard. Conservatives propose "school choice," which uses a small share of education dollars to allow poor children to go to private schools. Just like the wealthy do. And yet, school-choice programs are anathema to most Democrats (except for minority families who want their kids to get a good education so they can join the ranks of the well-off).
Affluent Americans have good healthcare insurance, usually as a job benefit, so that when they get sick, their expenses are mostly covered. But many Americans in lower-paying jobs or who are unemployed lack health insurance. What is the solution? Conservative programs try to find ways to help them get health insurance like well-off Americans, either by subsidizing benefits from low-wage small businesses or through other programs to insure those without jobs. Liberal programs, in contrast, want to socialize medicine for everyone. If the liberals had their way, everyone would have to wait in line in impersonal healthcare clinics, such as those sometimes provided for poor people. Why wouldn't liberals want to give lower-income people some of the same benefits that well-off people have? Isn't that a way to close the gap between "the two Americas"?
Underlying the policy disputes are worldview issues. The left tends to assume that free-enterprise capitalism is a bad thing, something immoral and intrinsically unfair. The privileged America should not be emulated, but reined in. Even though most liberals are themselves in the privileged class, they tend to feel guilty about it and try to redeem themselves with benevolent attitudes and political ideology on behalf of "the poor." Conservatives, on the other hand, believe in free-enterprise economics and want more people to reap its benefits.
The left would prefer to have both Americas dependent upon the state. The government would provide for the less well-off. And the affluent too would be dependent upon the mercy of the government, which would control businesses with regulations and confiscate wealth by means of taxes. That is to say, in the liberal universe, there are actually three Americas: the rich, the poor, and the coalition of politicians, intelligentsia, and bureaucrats who constitute the ruling class.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
My first job in Britain, teaching “liberal studies” in a technical college, brought me into contact with boys from East London with no occupational ambitions beyond becoming factory hands. They greeted any suggestion that they might consider professional or higher academic training with flabbergasted hilarity. My teaching colleagues made clear that the occasional rescue of a bright student, by persuading him to try for university, was a once-in-a-lifetime triumph. But, I argued, the boys themselves might just be subject to peer pressure. Surely we could enlist their parents to help them see the value of higher education and professional achievement. Hollow laughter: the parents, it seemed, were part of the problem. British working-class parents hardly ever urged their children to do better in life than they had done themselves. On the contrary, the adage was, “What was good enough for us should be good enough for them.” Self-improvement and ambition were not traits to be admired but rather signs of class disloyalty and snobbery. I had never before met people who, when urged to let their children go to university, said, “Don’t go putting ideas in his head.”.....
But what was less explicable than this working-class defeatism was to hear those who regarded themselves as progressive liberals conniving in it. The Left in Britain then (and scarcely less now) believed deeply that personal ambition was a petit bourgeois vice to be despised. Such left-wing antipathy to supposedly vulgar social striving became particularly vicious during the Thatcher years. The most telling left-liberal character assassinations of Thatcher herself focused on her being a “grocer’s daughter.”
One of my more vivid 1980s recollections is of an upper-class woman, whose family had been colonial officials in Kenya, saying airily, “When I was a child, profit was a dirty word.” This Jane Austenish disdain for the grubby business of trade strongly marked anti-Thatcherite rhetoric. The notion that private prosperity could transform the lives (and self-image) of ordinary people was viewed as faintly obscene. The great social caricature of the 1980s was “Essex Man”: the quintessentially vulgar upstart who had gotten money and property and was now busily spending (and flaunting) it in a myriad of crass ways. Everything about Essex Man, from his brash manners to his cleaned-up Cockney accent, came in for ridicule. His female equivalent--Essex Girl--was the butt of jokes too obscene to be published here. But Essex Men, with their sports cars and brassy wives, were not just thought to be ludicrous. They were a deeply sinister sign of the times: people without breeding and without the proper class connections were getting money and the confidence to spend it where they liked, for the first time in living memory.
Not only did the left-wing intelligentsia dislike uppity lower-middle-class arrivistes: they positively discouraged the most deprived working-class people from rejecting their “roots.” With a sentimental complacency that astonished me, they venerated the very social habits and attitudes that seemed to me so perversely backward. (A whole school of British film and television drama perpetuates the romanticized myth of working-class life--a kind of “noble savage” genre that utterly falsifies the grim repressiveness that this life actually embodies.)
The left-wing elite castigated teachers for attempting to correct the working-class accents and dialects that help trap children in the limitations of their own backgrounds. Correct grammar and properly pronounced English were, left-wing commentators argued, simply a middle-class dialect, with no claim to inherent superiority over the subliterate speech familiar to working-class children. Therefore, to inflict proper English on children who spoke the systematically ungrammatical dialects of the British proletariat was a form of cultural imperialism. Bourgeois values were the real enemy of working-class self-respect, because they made people who did not subscribe to them feel alienated and insecure. The socialist ideal was not to free people to fulfill their personal potential but to guarantee that no one would ever feel inferior to anyone else in any respect--intellectually, socially, or economically. Marxist veneration of the “working man” meant preserving, as a function of class cohesion, the behavior that I saw as symptomatic of self-loathing.
How had it come to this? Why did liberals who were supposedly advocates of egalitarianism collude in this blatantly repressive aspect of British social and political life? How did they reconcile their commitment to socialism, which I had always understood as being about the liberation of humanity, with a romanticizing of what anyone in his right mind should have seen as a cruelly inadequate and culturally degraded way of life? So much of what passed for left-wing thinking in Britain seemed to be steeped in middle-class guilt and self-hatred.
What decisively transformed my views was my growing understanding of the consequences of the welfare state that Britain had constructed out of a wartime command economy: it both reinforced the fatal passivity of the lower classes and provided a moral justification for the paternalism of the upper classes. The realization was slow but inexorable. It came through concrete example and abstract argument. By the end, it was so blindingly obvious that I wondered how anyone could ever not have seen that the socialist solution--the great, generous dream of perfect fairness--was inevitably destructive of the human spirit.
Welfare programs in Britain far exceeded anything that even the most radical Democrat would propose in the United States. When I arrived in 1965, more than half the population of the country lived in government-subsidized (“council”) housing. Council estates were not simply bigger and more ambitious versions of the housing projects familiar to Americans. Elite opinion saw them not as a stop-gap remedy for the very poor, but as an ideologically preferable alternative to private property. Government effectively seized whole tranches of major cities--including Hull, Sheffield, Liverpool, and East London--and turned them into what can only be described as working-class reservations: social ghettos where people were rehoused in a massive social-engineering exercise that ran roughshod over familiar neighborhood patterns and family networks. Officials often justified this move by the fact that heavy wartime bombing had destroyed vast areas of housing in the industrial cities. But the socialist ambition was not just to build new homes to replace the old, or to alleviate slum conditions. It was, quite consciously, to build a new society, in which the housing of many would be in the hands of the state, whose own commitment to fairness and the redistribution of resources would eliminate the squalor that private landlordism produced. (This mentality survived through to the 1980s--which is why Margaret Thatcher’s belief in a “property-owning democracy” and her policy of allowing tenants to buy their council houses seemed so dangerously radical.)
It is not hard to imagine what happened to people who went to live wherever the state put them, who were not permitted even to change the color of their front doors or to keep pets without explicit permission, and who were surrounded by a neighborhood of similar passive recipients of government beneficence. They did not develop, as their socialist patrons had expected, a stirring pride in their new collective identity. Having none of the rights of ownership over their own property--and no likelihood of escaping from that condition, since being housed by the council was regarded as pretty much a permanent condition of working-class life--they became less responsible and more dependent than ever. The desire and the ability to help yourself was not only unrewarded; it was seen as positively pernicious: a threat to the moral order of public ownership, which guaranteed that no one would go without the basic necessities--at the price of condemning anyone who dared to desire more than the minimum.....
This was the reality of the collectivist ethic in which each should be striving for all, not for himself and his own. It amounted to the infantilizing of people, who had come to believe that they could not, positively should not, be making life-determining decisions for themselves, because their choices might deprive someone else.....
Friday, February 25, 2005
THE ART ELITE: TAXPAYERS MUST FUND US
"The Government is facing a backlash from some of the most important figures in British culture, who accuse it of betraying promises to support the arts. In a move that will alarm ministers just weeks before an expected general election, arts leaders have spoken over their concerns about the potentially devastating impact of a spending freeze. ... A small elite who were invited to an arts summit at Downing Street in December, and who believed Tony Blair would not allow the axe to fall, are particularly angry."
Thursday, February 24, 2005
BLOGGERS ENDANGER THE BRITISH ELITES TOO
For decades the national conversation in most western countries has been directed by a few talking heads. Newspapers play important roles but all the evidence suggests that broadcasters have possessed the greatest potential to frame public debate. British politicians have known that communicating their message depends upon getting the nod from a small number of powerful figures in the broadcast media.....
But all of this looks set to change because of the blogosphere. Blogging is a geeky expression for how people use online logs, or diaries, to share their opinions. If a weblog is interesting and informed enough it can reach millions of people at zero cost. Karl Rove, the man George Bush described as the architect of his re-election, recently said that the dominance of America's mainstream media is coming to an end. And Rove credits the Davids of the blogosphere for the humbling of the old media Goliaths..... This is just one of the ways in which the internet has strengthened the American right. Last year's Bush-Cheney campaign used information technology to build the largest ever volunteer political army. Visitors to GeorgeWBush.com were invited to join email lists that offered regular information on everything from gun ownership to school prayer. The Bush campaign collected 7.5 million email addresses and amassed 1.4 million volunteers.
But the blogosphere will become a force in Britain, and it could ignite many new forces of conservatism. The internet's automatic level playing field gives conservatives opportunities that mainstream media have often denied them. An online community of bloggers performs the same function as yesteryear's town meetings. Through the tradition of town hall meetings, officials were held to account by local people. Blogger communities are going to be much more powerful. They will draw together not only local people but patients who have waited and waited for NHS care. They will organise parents of disabled children who oppose Labour's closure of special-needs schools and evangelical Christians who see their beliefs caricatured by ignorant commentators.
All this should put the fear of God into the metropolitan elites. For years there have been widening gaps between the governing class and the governed and between the publicly funded broadcasters and the broadcasted to.
Until now voters, viewers and service users have not had easy mechanisms by which to expose officialdom's errors and inefficiencies. But, because of the internet, the masses beyond the metropolitan fringe will soon be on the move. They will expose the lazy journalists who reduce every important public policy issue to how it affects opinion-poll ratings.
Tired of being spoon-fed their politics, British voters will soon be calling virtual town hall meetings, and they will take a serious look at the messenger as well as the message. It's going to be very rough.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
AN ELITE BREAKFAST
At an Upper West Side caf , my host greets me and my colleague, then orders a latte, the drink of choice for sophisticated young urban blue-state inhabitants. After an exchange of pleasantries, we both order the healthy choice. Meet the Kerry-core: mid-30s, successful and glamorous, keeping in shape while meeting the demands of a successful professional life in the fast lane. They keep up with the literary world on the metro and know which restaurant offers the newest version of California French-American fusion cuisine. No Hollywood movies for them: too commercial and superficial, the kind of culture that makes sophisticated Europeans loathe simpleton America for its shallowness. But they have seen the latest Broadway show and a Franco-Vietnamese film series playing in the nearby noncommercial movie theater.
My interlocutor is a thirtysomething TV journalist from a global network. With perfect nails, perfect hair and perfect command of her charm, she watches me eat my breakfast while her spoon hovers over her granola. She could, no doubt, be a good professional contact. But my colleague spoils the moment by flagging my current affiliation (The American Enterprise Institute) and my sympathy for George W. Bush.
My colleague is a foreign correspondent for a European daily who eats eggs Benedict but thinks Michael Moore has "a lot to say": She is fine in New York. Me, I eat granola but cheer for Bush. It's worse than a crime; it's confusing to my host. In her sophisticated understanding of the world, Ms. Latte thinks a PhD-holding, polyglot, granola-eating, urban-dwelling academic with spectacles from Europe (who, in addition, is Jewish) must be a liberal and must hate Bush. Anything different does not exist in her normative universe. It throws her off balance. "You actually like Bush?" she says in disbelief. Here's a chance to exculpate myself. Instead, I gingerly respond, "I actually love Bush!"
With her lower lip trembling, my interlocutor goes for the jugular. "Bush is stupid. And whoever supports Bush is stupid." Which effectively makes this hopeful moment stillborn.
Not every breakfast must be with the like-minded, of course, but if all breakfasts were like this one, a swollen liver would be a distinct threat. Still, it offers useful anthropological insights on Democratic bitterness after the November defeat. According to Ms. Latte, Bush is supported by duck-hunting, God-fearing rednecks who unreasonably hate foreigners and, religiously speaking, are still in the Middle Ages. Terrorism is a nuisance. Making it a top priority is a ruse to scare simpletons. Why would I be on their side?
a) I am stupid.
b) I live in an ivory tower and am not aware of reality.
For help in revising my views, Ms. Latte advises that I drive down Route 66 and try to socialize with people I meet in rural post offices. I will inevitably discover their stupidity, their intolerance of foreigners and their religious fanaticism. And I will give up Bush.
Still, who your allies are is not always a good case for switching sides. After all, "campaigning" for Kerry were the MoveOn.Org crowd and Michael Moore. Toward the end, even Osama bin Laden advised Americans not to re-elect Bush. Ms. Latte feels comfortable in their company. I don't. I still prefer Christian fundamentalists to the Michael Moores, Gore Vidals and Noam Chomskys of the world. I might feel uncomfortable among duck hunters, but if they support this administration, let them shoot ducks. Foreign policy is what matters, not weekend hobbies or church prayers.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
AN UNAPOLOGETIC CONFESSION OF BIAS FROM A LEFTIST EDITOR
Anything rather than give those stupid readers what they want
Until last year, I was the news editor at a midsized daily newspaper, a paper owned by one of the larger newspaper chains. I was the news editor at this paper when Bush took office, and I stayed there through 9/11, the runup to war, and the war. I, too, would like to see heads roll over what the media did in that time, but it's not that easy.
Day after day, I'd see the crap coming across the wires, and I'd have to decide whether to put it in the paper, and if so, where to play it and what headline to put on it. Every time, without fail, if there was anything on the wire that supported the Bush administration and we did not run it prominently and "favorably," the very next day, we would get a stream of phone calls from angered conservatives who railed on and on about the "liberal media." These calls, not surprisingly, registered in the offices of our senior editors ("news editor" is not a "senior editor," by the way), and those editors -- who feared for their own jobs if they pissed off readers and lost circulaton -- insisted that we present the news in a way that was favorable to the administration's position.
Indeed, after the first few days of the Iraq invasion, our corporate offices put out an advisory that their "research" was showing that readers were "tired" of news from Iraq, and that we needed to switch back to local news, quickly, relegating nearly all Iraq news to tiny spaces inside the paper.
Nonetheless, I was able to get stories into the paper that were appropriately skeptical. Those stories appeared periodically, and the Washington Post has already atoned for their repeated sin of burying such stories on Page A17 and beyond when they came up. That caused no end of pain at my paper, when senior editors would see the next day that stories I had placed on the front page were buried inside the Post. We were showing inappropriate bias against the administration, they argued -- after all, if it's not important to the Post, why should it be important to us?
A year after the invasion (oh yes, we steadfastly refused to call it "war" for as long as we could; it was an "attack," not a "war"), the nonstop drumbeat of pressure from senior editors -- caused mostly by the nonstop drumbeat of pressure from readers -- I finally decided that my stress level was getting way too high, and I had to bail.
Source. (Italics in original)
Monday, February 21, 2005
A TOXIC ELITE
At last, democracy has come to Iraq. And still our sneering "elite" insist it would have been better to leave the murderous Saddam alone.... Tragically, some 40 Iraqis died trying to get to a ballot box, martyrs for democracy, but the terrorists could not stop eight million more from casting the first free vote in their lives. The terrorists lost. People power won. Baghdad's mayor whooped: "I cannot describe what I am seeing. It is incredible. This is a vote for the future, for the children, for the rule of law, for humanity, for love."
And none of this would have happened if we'd listened to our "peace" movement, or to Labor, or to the petition signers, or to the United Nations. No, Saddam Hussein would still be on this throne of skulls if we'd listened to the Left.
We now need to learn two things from this victory - about Iraq and about these teacher-preachers of ours. First, this election has exposed a truth about Iraq that even a hostile Western media can no longer deny. Iraqis, their clerics included, do treasure freedom and the right to vote. The terrorists - whose true enemy is Iraq's democrats and not the United States - are too weak to defeat them. With its economy growing fast, Iraq is now likely to become the first true Arab democracy in history - the beacon of freedom the despotic Middle East so desperately needs.
All this is what we hoped for when we went to war. Now we see that this awesome gamble is paying off, and thousands of allied soldiers and Iraqi police and civilians have not died in vain. Freedom is coming to the Middle East, just as Bush promised, and we all will be safer for it. But hear those sighs? Back in Australia, our usual apologists for tyrants and terrorists seemed barely able to hide their dismay. On Sunday, as Iraqi voters literally danced in the streets with joy, the ABC television news started its report: "The worst fears of election observers in Iraq are being realised." The next morning, the far-Left Age led its front page with a headline that insulted all those Iraqis who'd defied the terrorists in numbers no one had predicted: "Iraqi attacks deter voters."
How morally sick is our cultural elite to see so little to celebrate in the liberation of Iraq. And this is the second thing we must learn - not to trust our own enemies of freedom again. How sick is this elite? Sick enough that the Melbourne Writers Festival two years ago invited Trotskyist writer Tariq Ali to give the keynote speech, praising Iraq's terrorists as "the resistance". Ali earlier demanded the murder of the Iraqi "collaborators", who have since brought democracy to their country.
Not sick enough for you? Then consider Australian "journalist" John Pilger, who last year told us "we cannot afford to be choosy . . . We have no choice now but to support the (Iraqi) resistance". Even our troops, he insisted, were "legitimate targets", as were Iraq's police - some of whom were killed on Sunday defending Iraqi voters. Disgusting, but this moral pygmy was given a fawning exhibition by the Melbourne Museum, was honoured by an Age literary luncheon and was introduced on Jon Faine's ABC show as one of our finest journalists.
Still not convinced our cultural elite is infected with a deadly disdain of freedom? Then consider that last year's Sydney Peace Prize, sponsored by the City of Sydney, went to anti-American writer Arundhati Roy, who declared: "We have to become the Iraqi resistance." Consider that Monash University last year sponsored the visit of Yvonne Ridley, the British Muslim extremist who calls suicide bombers "martyrs".
Consider that a regular guest on Left guru Phillip Adams' show on ABC radio is Robert Fisk, a journalist who was praised last year as "neutral" by al-Qaida boss Osama bin Laden and mocked Iraq's poll as a "fantasy election" and "an act of folly in the eyes of so many Iraqis".... Consider all our academics and journalists who routinely give Iraq's terrorists the heroic label "resistance". Resistance to what?
We must learn to reject the toxic preaching of such people. They and their sort told us not to confront communism, and were wrong. They told us not to liberate Afghanistan, and were wrong. They told us not to free Iraq and predicted defeat, and were wrong again. In every conflict with totalitarians they preached surrender. And were wrong.
Just look again at the Iraqis celebrating their election, and remember who it was that tried to stop you from seeing such wonders. Remember, and do not forget or forgive the enemies of this joy and this freedom.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
SOCIALISM IS INHERENTLY ELITIST
In 1945 Clement Attlee led the British Labour Party to victory over Winston Churchill's Conservative Party. He then proceeded to socialize much of the British economy, for he believed that "the creation of a society based on social justice . . . could only be attained by bringing under public ownership and control the main factors in the economic system." Labour's goal was to get rid of the waste and irrationality that, in the socialist view, doomed market economies to failure.
Fast forward six decades, and you hear an Attlee echo--Sen. Hillary Clinton telling a California audience last summer that taxes must rise because "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
American socialist Noam Chomsky made the same argument concerning Social Security: that allowing people to invest in markets is a bad thing, for "putting people in charge of their own assets breaks down the solidarity that comes from doing something together, and diminishes the sense that people have responsibility for each other."
So the 2005 Social Security argument is an old and familiar one: government decisions versus individual ones, government control of assets versus individual ownership. In short, socialism versus individualism......
AARP opposes individual Social Security investment accounts, running advertisements saying they are "insecure" and characterizing them as "gambling." So market accounts are sound for their 35 million members but not for the 154 million who pay Social Security taxes?
The AFL-CIO's Web site argues that "the stock market is too unstable" to allow working people to have Social Security market accounts, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees opposes such "risky investment accounts." Yet both organizations' employees can participate in exactly such retirement investments. Why is it all right for them and too risky for other Americans?
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says market Social Security accounts are playing "roulette"; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls them a "guaranteed gamble"; Sen. John Kerry that the market account idea is "a rip-off." Sen. Olympia Snowe (R., Maine) is opposed, having "serious concerns" about individually owned accounts; Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R., Mo.) opposes allowing individuals to invest their Social Security payments in "risky investments."
And yet each of these individuals owns just such marketplace investments, either through the Thrift Savings Plan or other accounts. The question is, why won't they let you do the same in your retirement plan, the one called Social Security?
Ultimately the argument isn't about investment accounts, or stocks or bonds or "gambling" or "insecurity." It is about socialism versus individualism, about Attlee's social justice and Hillary's common good and Chomsky's economic solidarity. AARP CEO William Novelli is in favor of allowing the government to invest Social Security surplus funds in the stock market, but against allowing individuals to do so--exactly the socialist argument, that government should control the distribution of the nation's wealth.
When you increase an individual's wealth, he becomes less dependent on government, and his attitude towards government changes. Socialists can't allow that, for it erodes their fundamental principle that social justice can only be achieved when important segments of the economy are under government control.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
A FURIOUS MEDIA ELITE
And bloggers are why. Peggy Noonan has got it summed up:
"Salivating morons." "Scalp hunters." "Moon howlers." "Trophy hunters." "Sons of Sen. McCarthy." "Rabid." "Blogswarm." "These pseudo-journalist lynch mob people." This is excellent invective. It must come from bloggers. But wait, it was the mainstream media and their maidservants in the elite journalism reviews, and they were talking about bloggers! Those MSMers have gone wild, I tell you! The tendentious language, the low insults. It's the Wild Wild West out there. We may have to consider legislation.
When you hear name-calling like what we've been hearing from the elite media this week, you know someone must be doing something right. The hysterical edge makes you wonder if writers for newspapers and magazines and professors in J-schools don't have a serious case of freedom envy. The bloggers have that freedom. They have the still pent-up energy of a liberated citizenry, too. The MSM doesn't. It has lost its old monopoly on information. It is angry.
But MSM criticism of the blogosphere misses the point, or rather points. Blogging changes how business is done in American journalism. The MSM isn't over. It just can no longer pose as if it is The Guardian of Established Truth. The MSM is just another player now. A big one, but a player. The blogosphere isn't some mindless eruption of wild opinion. That isn't their power. This is their power:
1. They use the tools of journalists (computer, keyboard, a spirit of inquiry, a willingness to ask the question) and of the Internet (Google, LexisNexis) to look for and find facts that have been overlooked, ignored or hidden. They look for the telling quote, the ignored statistic, the data that have been submerged. What they are looking for is information that is true. When they get it they post it and include it in the debate. This is a public service.
2. Bloggers, unlike reporters at elite newspapers and magazines, are independent operators. They are not, and do not have to be, governed by mainstream thinking. Nor do they have to accept the directives of an editor pushing an ideology or a publisher protecting his friends. Bloggers have the freedom to decide on their own when a story stops being a story. They get to decide when the search for facts is over. They also decide on their own when the search for facts begins. It was a blogger at the World Economic Forum, as we all know, who first reported the Eason Jordan story. It was bloggers, as we all know, who pursued it. Matt Drudge runs a news site and is not a blogger, but what was true of him at his beginning (the Monica Lewinsky story, he decided, is a story) is true of bloggers: It's a story if they say it is. This is a public service.
3. Bloggers have an institutional advantage in terms of technology and form. They can post immediately. The items they post can be as long or short as they judge to be necessary. Breaking news can be one sentence long: "Malkin gets Barney Frank earwitness report." In newspapers you have to go to the editor, explain to him why the paper should have another piece on the Eason Jordan affair, spend a day reporting it, only to find that all that's new today is that reporter Michelle Malkin got an interview with Barney Frank. That's not enough to merit 10 inches of newspaper space, so the Times doesn't carry what the blogosphere had 24 hours ago. In the old days a lot of interesting information fell off the editing desk in this way. Now it doesn't. This is a public service.
4. Bloggers are also selling the smartest take on a story. They're selling an original insight, a new area of inquiry. Mickey Kaus of Kausfiles has his bright take, Andrew Sullivan had his, InstaPundit has his. They're all selling their shrewdness, experience, depth. This too is a public service.
5. And they're doing it free. That is, the Times costs me a dollar and so does the Journal, but Kausfiles doesn't cost a dime. This too is a public service. Some blogs get their money from yearly fund-raising, some from advertisers, some from a combination, some from a salary provided by Slate or National Review. Most are labors of love. Some bloggers--a lot, I think--are addicted to digging, posting, coming up with the bright phrase. OK with me. Some get burned out. But new ones are always coming up, so many that I can't keep track of them and neither can anyone else.
But when I read blogs, when I wake up in the morning and go to About Last Night and Lucianne and Lileks, I remember what the late great Christopher Reeve said on "The Tonight Show" 20 years ago. He was the second guest, after Rodney Dangerfield. Dangerfield did his act and he was hot as a pistol. Then after Reeve sat down Dangerfield continued to be riotous. Reeve looked at him, gestured toward him, looked at the audience and said with grace and delight, "Do you believe this is free?" The audience cheered. That's how I feel on their best days when I read blogs. That you get it free doesn't mean commerce isn't involved, for it is. It is intellectual commerce. Bloggers give you information and point of view. In return you give them your attention and intellectual energy. They gain influence by drawing your eyes; you gain information by lending your eyes. They become well-known and influential; you become entertained or informed. They get something from it and so do you.
6. It is not true that there are no controls. It is not true that the blogosphere is the Wild West. What governs members of the blogosphere is what governs to some degree members of the MSM, and that is the desire for status and respect. In the blogosphere you lose both if you put forward as fact information that is incorrect, specious or cooked. You lose status and respect if your take on a story that is patently stupid. You lose status and respect if you are unprofessional or deliberately misleading. And once you've lost a sufficient amount of status and respect, none of the other bloggers link to you anymore or raise your name in their arguments. And you're over. The great correcting mechanism for people on the Web is people on the Web. There are blogs that carry political and ideological agendas. But everyone is on to them and it's mostly not obnoxious because their agendas are mostly declared.
7. I don't know if the blogosphere is rougher in the ferocity of its personal attacks than, say, Drew Pierson. Or the rough boys and girls of the great American editorial pages of the 1930s and '40s. Bloggers are certainly not as rough as the splenetic pamphleteers of the 18th and 19th centuries, who amused themselves accusing Thomas Jefferson of sexual perfidy and Andrew Jackson of having married a whore. I don't know how Walter Lippman or Scotty Reston would have seen the blogosphere; it might have frightened them if they'd lived to see it. They might have been impressed by the sheer digging that goes on there. I have seen friends savaged by blogs and winced for them--but, well, too bad. I've been attacked. Too bad. If you can't take it, you shouldn't be thinking aloud for a living. The blogosphere is tough. But are personal attacks worth it if what we get in return is a whole new media form that can add to the true-information flow while correcting the biases and lapses of the mainstream media? Yes. Of course.
Friday, February 18, 2005
THE MEDIA ELITE IN THEIR OWN WORDS
No bias here, of course
NBC's Tom Brokaw, August 31 during the Republican Convention, with Senator Susan Collins on his MSNBC show "Brokaw in New York": "You and Olympia Snowe, the other Senator from Maine, are known as moderate women. You have no place in this convention. The [Republican Party] platform does not seem to speak to a lot of women in this country. It's anti-abortion, it does not expand stem cell research, and on other social issues in which women have some interest -- for example, gay unions -- is formally opposed to that. Do you think that this platform and this party is doing enough to reach out to moderate women across the country?"
Former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite, October 29, on CNN's "Larry King Live": "I have a feeling that [Osama bin Laden's new videotape] could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, that he probably set up bin Laden to this thing. The advantage to the Republican side is to get rid of -- as a principal subject of the campaign right now -- get rid of the whole problem of the al-Qaqaa dump, explosive dump. Right now that, the last couple of days, has I think upset the Republican campaign."
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales in a January 21 Style section review of President Bush's 2004 State of the Union address: "The best reaction shots were those of Ted Kennedy, whose stature seems to grow right along with his nose year after year after year. Kennedy has now reached a grand moment in the life of a Senator; he looks like Hollywood itself cast him in the role. Seriously . . . , Kennedy looked great, like he was ready to take his place next to Jefferson on Mount Rushmore. He gives off the kind of venerable vibes that some of us got from an Everett Dirksen way back when."
Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham during pre-debate coverage on MSNBC, September 30: "[John Kerry] also could make a virtue, it seems to me, of the so-called flip-flopping. The greatest flip-flop in American history is Lincoln, [who] in his first Inaugural was not for emancipation and then two years later he was. Is that statesmanship or is that a flip-flop?"
Former "World News Tonight/Sunday" anchor Carole Simpson, at a November 8 C-SPAN-covered National Press Club forum, on her nationwide travels for ABC News talking to high-schoolers about how to interpret the news: "When you tell me, 'Let the states decide,' that scares me okay? I've got a little map here of [the] pre-Civil War [United States], free versus slave states. I wish you could see it in color and large. But if you look at it, the red states are all down in the South, and you have the Nebraska Territories, the New Mexico Territories, and the Kansas Territories. But the Pacific Northwest and California were not slave states. The Northeast was not. It looks like the [Electoral College] map of 2004."
ABC's Peter Jennings on December 14, 2003 the day of the announcement of the capture of Saddam Hussein (Jennings said this following the MRC's compilation for 2003): "There's not a good deal for Iraqis to be happy about at the moment. Life is still very chaotic, beset by violence in many cases, huge shortages. In some respects, Iraqis keep telling us, life is not as stable for them as it was when Saddam Hussein was in power."
CBS anchor Dan Rather, in a teaser to a report on the "CBS Evening News" on March 31 -- the day four American civilians were killed and mutilated in Fallujah: "What drives American civilians to risk death in Iraq? In this economy it may be, for some, the only job they can find."
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan, on June 10 -- five days after the death of Ronald Reagan: "Before Reagan, people sleeping in the street were so rare that, outside of skid rows, they were almost a curiosity. After eight years of Reaganomics -- and the slashes in low-income housing and social welfare programs that went along with it -- they were seemingly everywhere. And America had a new household term: 'the homeless.'"
CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer, recalling Reagan June 14 on CNN's "Larry King Live": "I don't think history has any reason to be kind to him."
U.S. News & World Report editor-at-large David Gergen during MSNBC's live coverage following Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller's speech to the Republican Convention, September 2: "Miller's speech was a speech of hate, it was a speech of venom. This is a man who started his political career with Lester Maddox and last night he imitated Lester Maddox. Lester Maddox, as we all know, was a segregationist, but he was a man of hate. Zell Miller is not a segregationist, not that at all . . . .[But] I grew up in the South. I've seen the face of anger. I've seen the face of hatred . . . .There are lines in politics and that speech went over the line."
Bill Moyers, March 26, on his PBS show "Now": "Even if Mr. Bush wins re-election this November, he, too, will eventually be dragged down by the powerful undertow that inevitably accompanies public deception. The public will grow intolerant of partisan predators and crony capitalists indulging in a frenzy of feeding at the troughs in Baghdad and Washington. And there will come a time when the President will have no one to rely on except his most rabid allies in the right-wing media. He will discover too late that you cannot win the hearts and minds of the public at large in a nation polarized and pulverized by endless propaganda in defiance of reality."
NBC White House Reporter David Gregory, September 1 on MSNBC, prior to Vice President Cheney's address to the Republican Convention: "One of the obstacles for Dick Cheney tonight is the fact that he has become a dark figure . . . .There are those who believe that Dick Cheney has led this administration and this President down a path of recklessness, that maybe his approach, his dark approach to this constant battle against another civilization, is actually the wrong approach for ultimately keeping America safe."
Dan Rather to John Kerry, July 22, on the "CBS Evening News": "Speaking of angry, have you ever had any anger about President Bush -- who spent his time during the Vietnam War in the National Guard -- running, in effect, a campaign that does its best to diminish your service in Vietnam? You have to be at least irritated by that -- or have you been?"
CNN's Aaron Brown, November 10, on "NewsNight" as he displayed a Stars and Stripes front-page photograph of U.S. troops in Iraq receiving medals: "Look at this picture here, if you can, [and the headline:] 'Troops' Bravery Honored in Iraq.' These are all Purple Heart winners. Someday, one of them will run for President and someone will say they didn't earn the Purple Heart. Welcome to America."
Thursday, February 17, 2005
IRAQ: A DILEMMA FOR THE NYC ELITE
After the blizzard and before the fashion shows, you may have heard, the elections in Iraq went off extremely well. Remember? Or, like most New Yorkers, perhaps you let that fact slide from your consciousness as quickly as possible . . . Hey, speaking of Fashion Week, what is it with this renaissance in corseting? Seriously: The success of the elections poses a major intellectual-moral-political problem for people in this city. The cognitive dissonance is palpable.
New Yorkers think we are smarter than other Americans, that the richness and difficulty of life here give our intelligence a kind of hard-won depth and nuance and sensitivity to contradictions and ambiguity. We feel we are practically French. Most New Yorkers are also liberals. And most liberals, wherever they live, believe that they are smarter than most conservatives (particularly George W. Bush).
And finally, most liberals and New Yorkers suspect that we may be too smart for our own good. It is a form of self-flattery as self-criticism. During these past few years, I have heard it said again and again that liberals’ ineffectiveness derives from their inability to see the world in the simple blacks and whites of the Limbaughs and Hannitys and Bushes. (Why else, the argument goes, did John Kerry lose?)
Maybe. But now our heroic and tragic liberal-intellectual capaciousness is facing its sharpest test since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Back then, most of us were forced, against our wills, to give Ronald Reagan a large share of credit for winning the Cold War. Now the people of this Bush-hating city are being forced to grant the merest possibility that Bush, despite his annoying manner and his administration’s awful hubris and dissembling and incompetence concerning Iraq, just might—might, possibly—have been correct to invade, to occupy, and to try to enable a democratically elected government in Iraq.
At a media-oligarchy dinner party on Fifth Avenue 72 hours after the elections, the emotions were highly mixed. The wife of a Democratic Party figure was (like me) unabashedly hopeful about what had happened in Iraq. Across the table, though, the wife of a well-known liberal actor was having none of it; instead, she complained about Fahrenheit 9/11’s being denied an Oscar nomination. And a newspaper éminence grise seemed more inclined to discuss Condoleezza Rice’s unfortunate hairstyle than the vicissitudes of Wolfowitzism. It was the night of the State of the Union speech, but as far as I know, no one (including me) ducked out of the dining room to find a TV. Who really wanted to watch Bush take his victory lap?
But for our local antiwar supermajority, the Iraq elections were simply the most vertiginous moment of a two-year-long roller-coaster ride. By last November, they’d hoped the U.S. would see things their way—and it was some solace that by January, a solid majority of the country apparently agreed with New York that Iraq was a mess and a misadventure.
Until the Iraqi vote: surprisingly smooth and inarguably inspiring and, in some local camps, unexpectedly unsettling. Of course, for all but a nutty fringe, it is not a matter of actually wishing for an insurgent victory, but rather of hating the idea of a victory presided over by the Bush team. (I may prefer the Yankees to beat the Red Sox, but I cannot bear the spectacle of Steinbrenner’s gloating.) Three months after failing to defeat Bush in our election, plenty of New Yorkers privately, half-consciously hoped for his comeuppance in Iraq’s.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
THE EURO ELITE ARE THE MOST PRIVILEGED OF ALL
REAL socialism at work -- just as in the old USSR
What the [U.K.] Government describes as "a small, technical and non-controversial" Bill now being nodded through Parliament will give the equivalent of diplomatic immunity to the employees of a range of "international organisations", mostly organs of the EU. The "privileges and immunities" it grants will be enjoyed not just by staff members of these bodies, but by all members of their families and "households".
Although questioning of this curious Bill has been led by a tireless Eurosceptic, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, it has raised the eyebrows of even such a committed Europhile as Lord Wallace of Saltaire. He was surprised to discover that, since his wife is a director of the Robert Schuman Centre, part of the European University Institute, he will share her "immunity from domestic taxation" and other privileges, as her "dependent spouse".
The danger of this Bill, according to Lord Wallace, is that it will create "two classes of people - those of us who are subject to domestic law and pay our taxes and parking fines, and an increasing number of people who do not".
While insisting he is a "strong supporter of the further development of the European Union", he regards "the powers, privileges and status of the Commission and many of its agencies with mixed feelings", fearing that "there is a real danger of a popular backlash against the emergence of this privileged elite".
The significance of this is that, as Lord Wallace himself pointed out, there are ever more of these EU bodies whose staff enjoy privileges above national law. In response to a question from Lord Pearson, the Government itself only named 28, ranging from the European Railways Agency and the European Plant Variety Office to the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia, although the Foreign Office concedes that its list will have to be updated "as new bodies are added".
What the Foreign Office would never explain, however, is how these fast-proliferating organs in many ways now represent the true government of our country. Just why therefore the privilegentsia that works for them should be granted the immunities traditionally accorded to diplomats of a foreign power is likely to inspire not just puzzlement but, as Lord Wallace suggests, very great resentment.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
CONSTANT ELITIST CONTEMPT FOR ALL OTHERS
The enraged speeches and street disorders across the country that accompanied the inauguration of President Bush may tell us more than we want to know about what is happening to this country. The media dignify these outbursts by calling them "protests" but what are they protesting? That they lost the election? Doesn't somebody always lose an election? Did the Republicans take to the streets when Bill Clinton was elected?
Are the shouters and the rioters protesting that they disagree with President Bush's policies? Isn't that why we hold elections in the first place -- because people disagree? Elections are supposed to be an alternative to other ways of settling political differences, including riots, military coups and dictatorships. But riots have been re-christened "demonstrations" by the mealy-mouth media.
What are these "demonstrations" demonstrating -- other than adolescent self-indulgence and contempt for the rights of other people to go about their lives without finding their streets clogged with hooligans and the air filled with obscenities?.....
Not only is there a growing class of people for whom indignation is a way of life, their sophomoric slogans are taken seriously by people who should know better. Moreover, their disruptions of the lives of ordinary people are accepted as if such things were nothing more than free speech. The media even give rioters free air time in exchange for providing them with a spectacle to broadcast and liven up their news programs. The taxpayers who foot the bill for mob control seldom rate a mention. Neither do the police who get injured trying to keep hoodlums in check.
This may be some people's idea of a healthy democracy but it is more of a sign of a spreading sickness in a society too wimpish to insist that law and order matter and too mushy-minded to see that self-indulgence at other people's expense is not idealism. If we were a little more clear-headed, these organized disruptions could be a valuable lesson in what the political left really believes in and what kind of world they would create if they ever get the kind of power they are seeking.
First of all, the left does not accept the proposition that other people have just as many rights as they do. This is obvious not only in the disorder and vandalism they inflict in the streets but also their intolerance on academic campuses across the country, where students who question the party line are hemmed in by speech codes and ridiculed and intimidated by professors who do not hesitate to punish them with low grades.
Ask any environmental extremist if people who don't care about preserving swamps ("wetlands") have the same rights under the Constitution that the people in the green movement have. Gay activists who demand tolerance and sensitivity from others do not hesitate to include in their parades insulting skits mocking nuns and others in the Catholic Church.
When pro-life demonstrators tried to hold a peaceful march in San Francisco on January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a pro-abortion crowd not only followed them, shouting to drown them out and hurling insults at them, some sat down in their path to block the march and force them to detour
We are seeing the ugly face of intolerance under the idealistic pretense of protest. We need to recognize it for what it is, even if the media refuse to do so. Above all, we need to see it as a warning of where our society is headed. Whether at home or abroad, if political conflicts are reduced to contests between the wimps and the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win.
Monday, February 14, 2005
AMERICA'S ANTIDEMOCRATIC LEFT
Reminds me that a lot of other Leftists have been antidemocratic too -- like in Russia, China, N. Korea etc
Democracy is a friend to the common man and authoritarianism is a crutch for millionaires with a villa in Italy -- right? Maybe no longer. Lady Liberty has acquired a new dancing partner. Politics in both Europe and the United States have unhitched the left from its trusted partner, democracy. American liberals now often spurn blue collar opinion that is democracy's fuel. They mostly reject global idealism that is liberty's post-communism vocation. This has allowed a Republican president to make democracy his cause. On the dance floor of the 21st century, the right embraces Lady Liberty.
In the late 19th century, the birth of the Labor Party in the UK, and social democratic parties in Germany and elsewhere, were seen by trade unions as a logical extension of democracy. The moderate left was in the vanguard of democracy's advance, first in the struggle for parliaments, then in the extension of voting to every adult and the use of power to legislate for workers' advance.
Suffragettes were on the left in England. Left-wing civil rights activists in the United States pushed the black vote in the South. Voices for democracy and decolonization around the world were mostly left of center. Meanwhile, not a few conservatives were lukewarm about democracy, in Europe out of lingering aristocratic snobbery, and in the United States because of low interest in global freedom.
Today is another story. For example, the liberals' petulant talk of "going to Canada " after Senator John Kerry lost the presidential election in November did not suggest belief in democracy. The New York Times urged "postponement" of last month's triumphant election in Iraq because Al Qaeda made threats against it. Faith in the power of elections? Liberal media sent scores of reporters to Switzerland to cover the chatterings of the Davos Forum, an unelected seminar with not a democratic bone in its body.
"The Democrats are the minority party in Congress, " said Senator Edward Kennedy, "but we speak for a majority of the American people." Don't the winners of an election have a better -- if imperfect -- right to speak for a majority of the American people than the losers? Not so to a left whose eyes bulge with self-entitlement and whose pale hand is estranged from physical labor.
In foreign policy, Kerry has not approved a major projection of American military power abroad since Vietnam. The Democratic Party seems against President Bush's words: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands." Sometimes there are good reasons for this prudence, but the change of voice is stark.
Why has the historic switch of partners occurred? The left of center parties embraced identity politics from the 1970s. Gays, minorities, women, and others were cultivated as building blocks for a progressive edifice. But the "rights" of blocs cut against democratic principles. The individual going to the ballot box does not want to be taken for granted in deference to identity blocs. Other factors include the left's discovery that courts help the cause of social engineering more readily than ballots, and the appalling role of money in elections.
Liberals' attachment to a notion of "international community" also dilutes democratic principles. If the UN chief says our actions in Iraq are illegal, he must be correct, intuits the left, and the American majority must be wrong. .
Not least, the left cultural gate-keepers of our time in the media and academia have come to picture themselves as rivals of democracy. Telling us how we are going to vote (polls) and then why we voted (more polls) is a usurpation of democracy. Consider the arrogance of the exit poll; CNN announces the result before the result exists! For voters, the system is not theirs to infuse from below; it is the to reengineer from above.
What a strange moment for the left to lose faith in democracy. The Soviet Union and other Leninist dictatorships are gone in a puff of smoke. Democracy is taking root in Latin America. South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Thailand are all newly democratic. Throughout the 20th century, war and authoritarianism were inseparable. For 30 years, democracy and free markets have surged and no war has occurred anywhere on the scale ofKorea and Vietnam, let alone World War I and World War II.
Seymour Hersh recently told "Democracy Now!" radio that America was in a bad way because "eight or nine neoconservatives" have "grabbed the government." Not mentioning that Bush was elected by 51 percent of the voters, Hersh did detect a ray of hope. One "salvation may be the economy," Hersh said regrettably, "It's going to go very bad, folks. You know, if you have not sold your stocks and bought property in Italy, you better do it quick." A left that sees a lousy economy as political salvation and frets about stocks and a villa in Italy is not the idealistic, worker-respecting left anymore. Certainly it is not a believer in democracy.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
BRITAIN'S LEFTIST ELITE
And their pathetic Opposition
What are our politicians talking about? It is not just that we might disagree with their arguments. Many of us find it increasingly difficult to understand them at all, to penetrate the opaque language that they use. The harder they try to explain themselves in new ways, to give 'meaning' to the forthcoming General Election, the less of any meaning they seem to say.
Listen to Alan Milburn, New Labour's election campaign coordinator, trying to inspire us by declaring that 'the priority must be to fashion an active citizenship'. Or David Miliband, the cabinet office minister now writing New Labour's manifesto, attempting to kickstart the election campaign this week by promising us a new era of 'individual empowerment' in Tony Blair's third term. It is like listening to the members of some exclusive club, using a code that is intended to keep their plans a secret. Yet this gobbledegook is actually intended to do the opposite, and make a connection with the rest of us.
The focus on the gap in the polls between New Labour and the opposition parties rather misses the point about this election. The gap that matters far more is the one separating the entire political class from the public. In every sense, that gap is yawning. It has become a defining characteristic of political life today. The major political parties and institutions are increasingly aware of it, yet apparently incapable of doing anything about it. The New Labour government looks more like an old-fashioned ruling clique at Court, a world apart from its sullen subjects, rather than a political movement with roots in society outside Westminster. And it's not just New Labour - the major political parties in Britain and the wider West all appear to be atrophying.....
Of course, modern politicians will claim that they are trying to listen to people all the time, with their public consultations, 'big conversations' and other PR exercises. The real problem is more that they have nothing meaningful to say to people. The gap between them and their electorate is made unbridgeable by their own political exhaustion. The political class seems entirely unable to come up with a vision that could connect with people or inspire loyalty. The old politics of left and right have gone, and little has emerged to fill the gap. The politicians' technocratic language of managerialism, taken to new depths of banality under New Labour, is unlikely to move anybody with a pulse.
The political elite is aware of this problem, which is why it is always searching for what the previous President Bush called 'the vision thing'. But any attempt politicians make to invent a vision thing out of thin air ends up as a disaster that only serves to illustrate their isolation. These are the people, remember, who brought us the Millennium Dome as a supposed symbol of what Britain stands for (an empty space in a wasteland?), and promised that referenda on regional assemblies would empower the people - until the people of north-east England told them where to put their empowerment.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Democrats Move to Plan B: "B" as in billionaires
Ordinary Democrats, defeated and disillusioned by last November’s whuppin’ by George W. Bush, may still be trying to figure out just exactly what went wrong. But at least one group of key party players have come up with an answer: Whatever the problem was, throw more money at it. Meeting behind closed doors last month in San Francisco, billionaire philanthropists who donated more than $60 million to the anti-Bush cause in 2004 agreed to pony up big bucks to help develop progressive machinery to battle the conservative ascendancy. Billionaire hedge funder George Soros, his son Jonathan, California bankers Herb and Marion Sandler, and Ohio insurance mogul Peter Lewis were all in on the meeting, where, The Financial Times reports, they agreed to fork over as much as $100 million over the next 15 years to build what one person involved in the plan called "intellectual infrastructure."
The core concept is to match right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute with effective liberal and left-of-center idea incubators. Few additional details of the plan are known, other than that the coordination of funding is likely to be directed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, who has spent the last two years running his own think thank, the Center for American Progress.
All of this reminds me of so many people I have met over the years who aspire to become writers. They spend endless amounts of time putting together an office or studio. They buy file folders and cabinets to hold their research; whiteboards to map out their storylines; ergonomic chairs for those all-night scribbling marathons; wireless laptops ready for service in a Starbucks; even expensive and gimmicky software guaranteed to help them generate, organize and elaborate their ideas. Only catch is, the ideas never seem to come and nothing actually gets written.
The Democrats need some ideas — any idea, really — that can ignite the imagination and enthusiasm of Americans and take us beyond either primitive and quite wearisome Bush bashing or a rote defense of absolutely necessary but deeply flawed institutions like Social Security and public schools. What, exactly, is the promise that Democrats can make to a new generation of voters that will inspire and motivate them? Merely defending Social Security, so today’s 20-year-old can retire at age 69 with 700 bucks a month, may, in fact, be marginally better than the Scrooge-like option of the Republicans, but it’s hardly the stuff of sweeping political vision.
Continuing to define the Democratic dilemma as merely a deficit of resources compared to the Republicans is to radically misjudge the depth of the liberal crisis. The Democratic Party is a sick, dysfunctional institution that has been in slow-motion collapse for at least two decades (depending on when you want to start the clock). It’s not about to be fixed with some Soros-funded cosmetic rearrangement.
Instead, the party — if it is to survive as a national force — must find some way to re-connect with tens of millions of ordinary Americans who, for myriad reasons, have ceased to identify themselves as Democrats. I am not so presumptuous as to hand out bumper-sticker recipes, but one place to start might be developing a Southern strategy to re-connect with a white working and middle class. Either that or begin one more election cycle by writing off 22 states where the Democrats refuse to even compete. Remember back to a year ago, when loose-cannon candidate Howard Dean actually said the unthinkable: that he wanted to be the candidate who could win back the "guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks." His reward for such candor and obvious wisdom was a public lynching by the other candidates.
Indeed, liberals who hear that kind of talk often begin snorting and shaking — protesting that someone’s trying to sell out the party to redneck Christers. But if you think that’s the only way to re-attract an estranged white working and middle class back to the Democrats, then you really don’t have any imagination and ought to be applying for one of those new jobs over at Podesta’s shop.
The Democratic elites are hardly the stereotype pushed by the Rush Limbaughs and Michael Savages. They are, nevertheless, severely out of touch with their potential base. The Democrats have become a party too dominated by social issues, lifestyle posturing and politically correct cultural sensibilities, and not enough by old-fashioned class-based economics. Real politics isn’t about finding other people who agree with you on the Web and exchanging Meetup.com dates. It’s about the hard work of persuading people who don’t ordinarily agree with you to join you in supporting a given candidate or cause.
Writing a post-election piece in The New York Times, lefty author Tom Frank concluded that the Democrats "lost the battle of voter motivation before it started" by choosing high-profile assistance from "idealistic tycoons" over a more natural class-based alliance with common people. As a result, "they imagined themselves as the ‘metro’ party of cool billionaires in some kind of cosmic combat with the square billionaires of the ‘retro’ Republican Party." Billionaires were our friends; guys with big belt buckles, our enemy.
Friday, February 11, 2005
A DESTRUCTIVE ELITE
Post lifted from The Belmont Club
Nelson Ascher's The Berlin Wall's Revenge argues that a Left shorn of its Communist goals by the fall of the Berlin Wall has become an enterprise dedicated to revenge.
They have only things to destroy, and all those things are personified in the US, in its very existence. They may, outwardly, fight for some positive cause: save the whales, rescue the world from global heating and so on. But let's not be deceived by this: they choose as their so-called positive causes only the ones that have both the potential of conferring some kind of innocent legitimacy on themselves and, much more important, that of doing most harm to their enemy, whether physically or to its image.
We, well, at least I was wrong to dismiss the pre-1989 leftists as dinosaurs condemned to extinction by evolution. While I was looking the other way, they were regrouping, inventing new slogans, creating new tactics and, above all, keeping the flames of their hatred burning.
This newly ever-growing Western left, not only in Europe, but in Latin America and even in the US itself, has a clear goal: the destruction of the country and society that vanquished its dreams fifteen years ago. But it does not have, as in the old days of the Soviet Union, the hard power to accomplish this by itself. Thanks to this, all our leftist friends' bets are now on radical Islam. What can they do to help it? Answer: tie down America's superior strength with a million Liliputian ropes: legal ones, political ones, with propaganda and disinformation etc. Anything and everything will do.
Although Ascher describes the hatred of the Left as the sole surviving ember in the ashes, he left out the one other emotion which has still survived: conceit. If the Western Left is convinced of anything it is it can bend the Islamic world to its will once America has been cleared away. Samuel Huntington wrote that Islam was "convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power." But he might have been describing the Left, for whom recent history has been an unaccountable theft of their birthright; a little detail they will put right when America is vanquished. But there is the additional complication of Islam and the idea that they are the Wave of the Future is so ingrained the possibility that Islam will eventually dominate is unthinkable.
But why not? Islam is 1000 years older than the Left; its population burgeoning while the Left is aborting itself into demographic extinction
Thursday, February 10, 2005
IT WAS A VERY DIFFERENT ELITE THAT ENDED SLAVERY
To me the most staggering thing about the long history of slavery -- which encompassed the entire world and every race in it -- is that nowhere before the 18th century was there any serious question raised about whether slavery was right or wrong. In the late 18th century, that question arose in Western civilization, but nowhere else. It seems so obvious today that, as Lincoln said, if slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. But no country anywhere believed that three centuries ago.
A very readable and remarkable new book that has just been published -- "Bury the Chains" by Adam Hochschild -- traces the history of the world's first anti-slavery movement, which began with a meeting of 12 "deeply religious" men in London in 1787. The book re-creates the very different world of that time, in which slavery was so much taken for granted that most people simply did not think about it, one way or the other. Nor did the leading intellectuals, political leaders, or religious leaders in Britain or anywhere else in the world.
The dozen men who formed the world's first anti-slavery movement saw their task as getting their fellow Englishmen to think about slavery -- about the brutal facts and about the moral implications of those facts. Their conviction that this would be enough to turn the British public, and ultimately the British Empire, against slavery might seem naive, except that this is precisely what happened. It did not happen quickly and it did not happen without encountering bitter opposition, for the British were at the time the world's biggest slave traders and this created wealthy and politically powerful special interests defending slavery.
The anti-slavery movement nevertheless persisted through decades of struggles and defeats in Parliament until eventually they secured a ban on the international slave trade, and ultimately a ban on slavery itself throughout the British Empire. Even more remarkable, Britain took it upon itself, as the leading naval power of the world, to police the ban on slave trading against other nations. Intercepting and boarding other countries' ships on the high seas to look for slaves, the British became and remained for more than a century the world's policeman when it came to stopping the slave trade.
Chances do not look good. The anti-slavery movement was spearheaded by people who would today be called "the religious right" and its organization was created by conservative businessmen. Moreover, what destroyed slavery in the non-Western world was Western imperialism. Nothing could be more jolting and discordant with the vision of today's intellectuals than the fact that it was businessmen, devout religious leaders and Western imperialists who together destroyed slavery around the world. And if it doesn't fit their vision, it is the same to them as if it never happened.
As anti-slavery ideas eventually spread throughout Western civilization, a worldwide struggle pitted the West against Africans, Arabs, Asians and virtually the entire non-Western world, which still saw nothing wrong with slavery. But Western imperialists had gunpowder weapons first and that enabled the West to stamp out slavery in other societies as well as in its own.
The review of "Bury the Chains" in the New York Times tried to suggest that the ban against the international slave trade somehow served British self-interest. But John Stuart Mill, who lived in those times, said that the British "for the last half-century have spent annual sums equal to the revenue of a small kingdom in blockading the Africa coast, for a cause in which we not only had no interest, but which was contrary to our pecuniary interest."
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
SOCIAL SECURITY AND THE ULTIMATE SOCIALIST ELITE
Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years. Our Senators and Congresswomen do not pay into Social Security and, of course, they do not collect from it. You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves. So, many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan . In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan.
For all practical purposes their plan works like this: When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die. Except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments..
This is calculated on an average life span for each of those two Dignitaries. For example, Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000.00 (that's Seven Million, Eight-Hundred Thousand Dollars), with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives. Younger Dignitaries who retire at an early age, will receive much more during the rest of their lives.
Their cost for this excellent plan is $0.00. NADA....ZILCH....
This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Funds; "OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK"!
From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into,-every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer)- we can expect to get an average of $1,000 per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one (1) month to equal Senator! Bill Bradley's benefits!
Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made. That change would be to: Jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us. Then sit back..... and watch how fast they would fix it.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
DEMS NOW AN ELITE ORGANIZATION
Since the 1960's there has been a breakdown in the machinery that allowed Americans to work together across class and other divisions. The educated class has come to dominate, and the issues of interest to that class overshadow issues of interest to the less educated and less well off.
But the two major parties were affected unequally. The Republican coalition still contains some cross-class associations, like the N.R.A. and the evangelical churches, which connect corporate elites to the middle classes. The Democratic coalition has fewer organizations like that. Its elite - the urban and university-town elite - has less contact with the less educated.
Not coincidentally, Republicans have a much easier time putting together electoral majorities. The story doesn't end there.
Over the past two years, what we might loosely call the university-town elite has come to dominate the Democratic Party not just intellectually, but financially as well. Howard Dean, in his fervent antiwar phase, mobilized new networks of small donors, and these donors have quickly become the money base of the party. Whereas Al Gore raised only about $50 million from individuals in 2000, John Kerry raised $225 million, including $87 million over the Internet alone. Many of these new donors are highly educated. The biggest groups of donors to the Dean and Kerry campaigns were employees of the University of California, Harvard, Stanford, Time Warner, Microsoft and so on.
They tend to be to the left of the country, especially on social and security issues. They may not agree with Michael Moore on everything, but many enjoyed "Fahrenheit 9/11." Perhaps they are among the hundreds of thousands of daily visitors to Daily Kos and other blogs that savage Democrats who violate party orthodoxy.
Many Republicans are mystified as to why the Democrats, having lost another election, are about to name Howard Dean as party chairman and have allowed Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy to emerge unchallenged as the loudest foreign policy voices. The answer, as Mickey Kaus observes in Slate, is that the party is following the money. The energy and the dough are in the MoveOn.org wing, which is not even a wing of the party, but the head and the wallet. Only the most passionate and liberal voices can stir up this network of online donors from the educated class.
Howard Dean may not be as liberal as he appeared in the primaries, but in 1,001 ways - from his secularism to his stridency - he embodies the newly dominant educated class, which is large, self-contained and assertive. Thanks to this newly dominant group, the Democrats are sure to carry Berkeley for decades to come.
From David Brooks
Monday, February 07, 2005
LEFTIST ARROGANCE ON DISPLAY
I recently got an email from someone describing himself as "Dr. Zen" (firstname.lastname@example.org) who appears to be something of a serial commenter on various sites. He complained that I was "Another rightwhinger with no comments" on my blog. He went on to say:
ZEN: It's always the freedom warriors who do not allow others to express their opinions or institute bans on their sites. Wonder why that is? Afraid of the truth maybe? BTW, Einstein was clearly espousing socialism. Your political philosophy is clearly not up to scratch. Marx was no socialist.
I (JR) replied:
JR: "Marx was no socialist". With fruitcakes about who say things like that, you can see why I have no comments
ZEN: Clueless cunt, like most rightwhingers. You never desire to learn, only to be right in your own little world. That's why you have no comments.
JR: Such a charming chap you are. You sure know how to win friends and influence people!
ZEN: I've no wish to win you as a friend or "inflence" you. You're absolutely nothing to me except someone to kick in an idle moment.
JR: Very Leftist!
ZEN: Well yes. We get to kick you mutts around intellectually. Unfortunately, you get to run the world. I think we got the rough end of the bargain somehow.
JR: You are certainly not short of arrogance. Perhaps you belong to a "Herrenvolk"?
That ended the exchange. "Herrenvolk" is of course Hitler's elitist term, meaning "Master people"
Sunday, February 06, 2005
WHY THE LEISURED ELITE HATE AMERICA
They hate being both wrong and powerless
What explains this automatic censure of the United States, Israel, and to a lesser extent the Anglo-democracies of the United Kingdom and Australia? Westernization, coupled with globalization, has created an affluent and leisured elite that now gravitates to universities, the media, bureaucracies, and world organizations, all places where wealth is not created, but analyzed, critiqued, and lavishly spent.
Thus we now expect that the New York Times, Harper's, Le Monde, U.N. functionaries who call us "stingy," French diplomats, American writers and actors will all (1) live a pretty privileged life; (2) in recompense "feel" pretty worried and guilty about it; (3) somehow connect their unease over their comfort with a pathology of the world's hyperpower, the United States; and (4) thus be willing to risk their elite status, power, or wealth by very brave acts such as writing anguished essays, giving pained interviews, issuing apologetic communiqu‚s, braving the rails to Davos, and barking off-the-cuff furious remarks about their angst over themes (1) through (3) above. What a sad contrast they make with far better Iraqis dancing in the street to celebrate their voting.
There is something else to this shrillness of the global throng besides the obvious fact of hypocrisy - that very few of the world's Westernized cynical echelon ever move to the ghetto to tutor those they champion in the abstract, reside in central Africa to feed the poor, give up tenure to ensure employment for the exploited lecturer, or pass on the Washington or New York A-list party to eat in the lunch hall with the unwashed. Davos after all, is not quite central Bolivia or the Sudan.
First, there is a tremendous sense of impotence. Somehow sharp looks alone, clever repartee, long lists of books read and articles cited, or global travel do not automatically result in commensurate power. So what exactly is wrong with these stupid people of Nebraska who would elect a dense, Christian-like George Bush when a Gore Vidal, George Soros, Ben Affleck, Bruce Springsteen, or Ted Kennedy warned them not to?
If the American Left is furious over the loss of most of the nation's governorships and legislatures, the U.S. House, the Senate, the presidency, and soon the Supreme Court, the Europeans themselves are furious over America's power - as if Red America is to Blue America as America is to Europe itself. Thus how can a mongrel culture of Taco Bell, Bud Light, and Desperate Housewives project such military and political influence abroad when the soft, subtle triangulation of far more cultured diplomats and sophisticated intellectuals from France, Germany, and Scandinavia is ignored by thugs from Iran, North Korea, and most of the Middle East?
Why would the world listen to a stumbling George Bush when it could be mesmerized by a poet, biographer, aristocrat, and metrosexual of the caliber of a Monsieur Dominique de Villepin? Why praise brave Iraqis lining up to vote, while at the same hour the defeated John Kerry somberly intones on Tim Russert's show that he really did go into Cambodia to supply arms to the mass-murdering Khmer Rouge - a statement that either cannot be true or is almost an admission of being a party to crimes against humanity if it is.
Second, political powerlessness follows from ideological exhaustion. Communism and Marxism are dead. Stalin and Mao killed over 80 million and did not make omelets despite the broken eggs. Castro and North Korea are not classless utopias but thugocracies run by megalomaniac dictators who the world prays will die any minute. The global Left knows that the Cold War is over and was lost by the Left, and that Eastern Europeans and Central Americans probably cherish the memory of a Ronald Reagan far more than that of a Francois Mitterrand or Willy Brandt.
But it is still more disheartening than that. In the 1960s and 1970s we were told that free-market America was becoming an anachronism. Remember Japan, Inc., whose amalgam of "Asian Values" and Western capitalism presaged the decline of the United States? Europeanists still assured us that a 35-hour work week, cradle-to-grave entitlement, and secularism were to be the only workable Western paradigms - before high unemployment, low growth, stagnant worker productivity, unassimilated minorities, declining birthrates, and disarmament suggested that just maybe something is going very wrong in a continent that is not so eager for either God or children.
Perhaps the result of this frustration is that European intellectuals damn the United States for action in Iraq, but lament that they could do nothing in the Balkans. Democrats at home talk of the need for idealism abroad, but fear the dirty road of war that sometimes is part of that bargain - thus the retreat into "democracy is good, BUT..." So here we have the global throng that focuses on one purported American crime to the next, as it simmers in the luxury of its privilege, education, and sophistication - and exhibits little power, new ideas, intellectual seriousness, or relevance.
In this context, the Iraqi elections were surely poorly attended, or illegitimate, or ruined by violence, or irrelevant, or staged by America - or almost anything other than a result of a brave, very risky, and costly effort by the United States military to destroy a fascist regime and offer something better in its place.
Yet as Yeehah! Howard Dean takes over the Democratic party, as Kojo Annan's dad limps to the end of his tenure, and as a Saddam-trading Jacques Chirac talks grandly of global airfare taxes to help the poor, they should all ask themselves whether a weary public is listening any longer to the hyped and canned stories of their own courage and brilliance.
From V.D. Hanson
Saturday, February 05, 2005
LEFTIST TELLS MICHELLE MALKIN THAT SHE COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE WRITTEN HER OWN BOOK
To him a conservative Asian female is obviously too dumb for that
Robinson repeated a plethora of errors he made in our initial debate and had the nerve to suggest (as his tag-team partner Eric Muller had earlier suggested) that it was beyond the realm of possibility for a pregnant woman with a day job to take a year to research and write a book challenging the conventional wisdom about WWII history--and more importantly, to apply the analysis to the current War on Terror (original analysis on which Robinson was largely silent).
Such intellectual snobbery is par for the course among my critics. Even as he accused me of "lifting" arguments from the late national security expert David Lowman about the so-called MAGIC cables (a baseless charge he had earlier backed away from), Robinson himself regurgitated the well-worn criticism of MAGIC made by internment scholar Peter Irons, activist Jack Herzig, and lawyer Angus MacBeth. Nor was Robinson forthcoming about his own book's failure to address MAGIC--he devoted a scant two sentences (plus one brief footnote) to their existence and completely ignored the intelligence memos from the FBI, Army Military Intelligence Division, and Office of Naval Intelligence supporting the military necessity rationale for FDR's homeland security policies.
Friday, February 04, 2005
MICHAEL MOORE ... ELITIST
So who is Michael Moore, this multi-millionaire filmmaker and author of several books, who has been called “the Left’s only well-known shock jock,” compared by Christopher Hitchens to socialist Adolf Hitler’s film propagandist Leni Riefenstahl? Michael Moore is his own fictional character, a self-written being who soon will require another rewrite if his lucrative fantasy career is to survive....
Moore’s parents enjoyed ample income, free medical and dental care, four weeks of paid vacation each year, and had two cars in their well-to-do Davison home. Moore’s Irish-American father had spent workday afternoons playing golf. After he retired at age 53 with a full pension, he enjoyed a life of ease, golf and volunteer work at the local Roman Catholic church.
Moore and his two younger sisters “were raised in what amounted to a mini-welfare state, where powerful unions took care of most of their members’ basic needs, right down to prescription eyeglasses,” wrote Ella Taylor in 2004 in the left-wing newspaper L.A. Weekly. “No wonder there’s so much fellow feeling between Moore and Canada, which has socialized medicine, not to mention Europe, where he is hugely popular.”.....
How far Left is Michael Moore? “Capitalism is a sin,” said Moore on the CNN talk show Crossfire in 2002. “This is an evil system.”
Those who become millionaires, Moore wrote, are “about one in a million.” If he is right, then America with a population of 295 million would have only 295 millionaires. But America has literally millions of citizens whose net worth in real estate and savings exceed $1 million. The average American family earns more than $1 million over its working life and could save much of that if Democrats like Michael Moore were not confiscating half their earnings in direct and hidden taxes.
But it would be far better, Moore apparently believes, if the American Dream died and people accepted their politically-determined place in a socialist-run system – where the capitalists will all eventually be expropriated by regulations and taxes, private property and “inequality” will vanish, and all jobs will become unionized government jobs. (Moore refused to see the “new class” of aristocratic rulers that arose under Soviet, Chinese and Cuban Communism, where power became the coin of the realm, determining who got the limousines and luxury dachas on the Black Sea, Beijing, and Havana.)
Michael Moore’s mentality was perfectly anticipated by the late Longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer, who wrote that if you ask a leftist at what other time in history he would want to live he will reply: the Middle Ages. This was the age of feudalism and paternalism, serfs and lords, the last time in the West prior to Marxism that intellectuals were part of the ruling elite.
The irony in Moore calling for the death of Horatio Alger, of course, is that Moore is one of these ultra-wealthy few, now probably worth more than $50 million. He claims to be a working class egalitarian who wants society to be open and honest, but Moore has always refused to make public his and his company’s tax, income, and net worth records. He claims to give a third of his income to worthy causes, but he refuses to make public records that would confirm this. If he “pays his fair share,” as leftists like to demand of the rich, and uses no tax avoidance methods, Manhattanite Moore should be paying more than half his huge income in taxes…but is he? His obsessive concealment makes one wonder what this self-appointed People’s Watchdog has to hide.
Excerpts from Front Page