Leftists as Elitists 
Leftism IS elitism.... Conservatives think they can learn from the past. Leftists think no-one can tell them anything

The short essay that inspired this blog is here. More on why elites tend Left here.  




People with elitist attitudes tend Left and so do most of those who are actually in elite positions

An interesting saying:
"Egotism is the brain's way of easing the pain of stupidity"

The foundation essay for this blog is here

















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Saturday, April 30, 2005


From Taranto

"Survey Finds Many Have Poor Grasp of Basic Economics," reads a New York Times headline. No doubt many do, but reporter Mary Williams Walsh immediately draws policy implications that suggest she has a poor grasp of how a free society works:

With Washington considering whether to strengthen Social Security by giving Americans more responsibility for their own retirements, a survey released yesterday suggested that the typical American does not know enough about economics to prosper in such a system. . . .

Other analysts said they thought that the findings added to a growing body of evidence that the typical American is poorly equipped to take advantage of what proponents call the ownership society: a future in which individuals are free to invest their own retirement money, rather than having to accept the returns offered by the Social Security program or a group retirement program at work, like a pension plan. . . .

"It is abundantly clear that there are a large number of Americans who are completely unprepared to make these decisions," said Steve Blakely, the [Employee Benefits Research Institute]'s editor and communications director.

To see why this argument is faulty, consider an analogous one: Most Americans don't know much about medicine, therefore the government should control health care. Or: Most Americans don't know much about journalism, therefore the government should control the press.

Americans who don't understand economics don't need the government to make their decisions for them. There are people in the private sector with the expertise to help them make their decisions. But apparently Mary Williams Walsh has never heard of accountants or financial planners.

Friday, April 29, 2005


I recently put up on Dissecting Leftism a few examples of how Leftists issue condemnations of various people at great length but do not seem to think that they need to give any facts or reasoning to support their condemnations. Apparently they feel no need to put up an argument in defence of their judgments. People are not supposed to think for themselves but rather just accept what our wise Leftists say because they say it. It is extreme arrogance. Below are two more examples of such uninformative and fact-free diatribes. In the first a speech by Ann Coulter is condemned but we are not given one word of the speech to judge for ourselves the goodness or badness of what she said and in the second we are told that an article published by David Horowitz is bad but there is absolutely no reason given to say why. The Horowitz article concerned is, by contrast HIGHLY factual and not one of the facts in it is disputed by our Leftist commentator. Facts don't matter, apparently. We are just supposed to feel outrage as ordered:

1). The president of the University of St. Thomas on Monday condemned a speech at the Catholic school last week by conservative author Ann Coulter, saying "such hateful speech vulgarizes our culture and goes against everything the University of St. Thomas stands for." The Rev. Dennis Dease wrote in Bulletin Today, a university newsletter, that "although her presentation may have been meant as an 'act' or a 'shtick' to entertain by provoking those who disagree, such behavior unfortunately contributes to the growing dark side of our culture -- a disrespect for persons and their sincerely held beliefs."

Coulter spoke at the university on April 18. She was a guest of the school's chapter of the College Republicans and a student newspaper, the Standard, but neither organization paid her speaking fee. That was covered by the Young America's Foundation, a Herndon, Va., organization that bills itself as an outreach program for conservative youth.
A St. Thomas student who heard Coulter said he understood how her comments could have hurt others. "I knew kind of what she stood for," said Dominic Kramer, a senior political science major. "One thing that disappointed me overall, from both sides, was the feeling of tension in the room. I think Ann was very well aware of that. That's what feeds her fire, if you will."

Coulter spoke at St. Olaf College the day before she visited St. Thomas. The president of St. Olaf, Christopher Thomforde, said students told him that her comments were inflammatory for little reason. "You'd want a kind of intersection between faithfulness and respect and commitment along with intelligent critique and analysis," he said Monday night. "The issues are highly complicated, and to just sort of incite people is not helpful."


This article about Marla Ruzicka on David Horowitz' FrontPageMag.com is a new low in right-wing hate "journalism." Once upon a time there would have been repurcussions for whoever wrote something as evil as this - dismissal, getting dropped by their publisher, "never working in this town again."

That Horowitz allowed the piece to be published under his banner speaks volumes about his agenda. There is nothing redeeming to his mission. His activist infrastructure exists solely to destroy people, reputations and good will. Horowitz isn't interested in solving problems or building a better future for anyone. He is instead focused on fatally disrupting whatever small amount of progress he sees being made in a cold, hard, difficult world.

This article offends on a level so deep that it trancends liberal vs. conservative. I can't imagine anyone reading it not feeling as if they had been kicked in the stomach. We have an opportunity here, all of us - left and right, as human beings to condemn both the author, Debbie Schlussel, and Horowitz for lending it credence by featuring it on his site.

The message from all of us to Schlussel and Horowitz should be that we, the collective body politic, see this article for what it is: pointless, inflammatory hate speech. The article accomplishes nothing beyond shitting upon values that all of us hold dear - helping the helpless, charity, sacrifice and remembrance.

This isn't about censorship or curtailing Schlussel and Horowitz' ability to express their opinions. It is about feedback and community standards. The consumers of Horowitz' news do not want this. People from across the political spectrum working for positive change do not want this. This article does nothing but feed the author and publisher's ego and hatred.

Schlussel and Horowitz bring nothing to the table. Let them know how you feel. Enough is enough.


Thursday, April 28, 2005


In his thoroughly researched new book, South Park Conservatives (Regnery), Brian C. Anderson, senior editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, details the "revolt against liberal media bias" conservatives have waged in the last decades. It has been enormously successful. As he notes, even "aging liberal grandee Bill Moyers devoted his final PBS program to 'the biggest story of our time': the arrival of conservatives in media."

It's not hard to see why conservatives waged a war on mainstream media. Anderson does an admirable job of trodding through the oft-traveled territory of liberal media bias. His examples encompass all the big issues--economics, foreign policy, affirmative action, abortion.

But more telling than the usual outrageous editorials masquerading as objective news are the attitudes of those that provide them. CBS MarketWatch commentator Jon Friedman was mystified at George W. Bush's re-election in 2004: "To be honest I still don't quite understand how certified media junkies like me could have been so wrong. I read the New York Times and the New Yorker religiously. I watch CNN and the networks' evening news programs as well as the gabfests on Sunday mornings too. Go figure." Many in the mainstream media simply don't understand that the views of the East Coast elite are not those of most of America.

So it's no wonder that millions of people in this country were starved for news and opinion outlets that took their beliefs seriously. Network television and the big print periodicals were never going to, so conservatives just went elsewhere. Anderson chronicles how conservatives have become dominant in many areas of new media--A.M. talk radio, cable news, and Internet weblogs.

Rush Limbaugh started it all. Who would have thought the brash, self-confident former D.J. who started off many of his shows like this would become a national phenomenon:

"This is Rush Limbaugh, the most dangerous man in America with the largest hypothalamus in North America, serving humanity simply by opening my mouth, destined for my own wing in the Museum of Broadcasting, executing everything I do flawlessly with zero mistakes, doing this show with half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair because I have talent on loan from...God. Rush Limbaugh. A man. A legend. A way of life."

Americans had never heard anything like it before, and millions of them ate it up. Conservatives soon dominated the new genre, and they are making inroads in others now. Even the entertainment industry. Anderson's title, of course, refers to Comedy Central's very adult cartoon about four foul-mouthed fourth-graders. South Park's creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone skewer everything, right and left. As Stone once said, "I hate conservatives, but I really f---ing hate liberals."

Anderson takes an almost academic approach to the show that brought us Mr. Hanky, the Christmas poo: "there's no doubting that South Park, joining a long tradition that runs from Aristophanes to Tom Wolfe, exemplifies the essence of satire." But he's right about the show, so it works. For all its vulgarity, the show actually does tackle the big ideas. As Anderson says, "It's worth noting that Matt Stone's father is a semiretired economics professor."

Anderson analyzes an episode in which the kids' gay teacher does his darndest to get fired for being gay: "This comedic exercise in political theory at once sneers at spurious anti-discrimination lawsuits and excoriates the modern liberal quest to replace the democratic ideal of toleration, which implies moral judgment and limits, with the enforced acceptance, even celebration, of all 'lifestyle' choices, however extreme--a very different notion, ultimately corrosive of any social order."

Hence the book's title. Anderson rightly senses that the new generation of conservatives who are reading and posting on Internet weblogs, watching Fox News Channel in great numbers, and helping to popularize shows like South Park are not the conservatives of old. They're more libertarian. They don't mind foul language or sex and violence on TV. And they're finding many kindred spirits in some of the most unexpected places. Younger comedians, for example, are more willing to poke fun at what were once sacred cows, such as race issues. These stand-ups offer "a liberating release" to the political correctness young people were smothered by in college.

More here

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Their incessant Leftist propaganda drives away the young, who hate being preached to

If you awake before dawn you probably hear a daily sound that may become as anachronistic as the clatter of horses' hooves on urban cobblestones. The sound is the slap of the morning paper on the sidewalk.

The circulation of daily U.S. newspapers is 55.2 million, down from 62.3 million in 1990. The percentages of adults who say they read a paper "yesterday" are ominous:

• 65 and older -- 60 percent
• 50-64 -- 52 percent
• 30-49 -- 39 percent
• 18-29 -- 23 percent.

Americans ages 8 to 18 spend an average of six hours and 21 minutes a day with media of all sorts, but just 43 minutes with print media.

The combined viewership of the network evening newscasts is 28.8 million, down from 52.1 million in 1980. The median age of viewers is 60. Hence the sponsorship of news programming by Metamucil and Fixodent. Perhaps we are entering what David T.Z. Mindich, formerly of CNN, calls "a post-journalism age." Writing in The Wilson Quarterly, in a section on "the collapse of big media," he rejects the opinion of a CBS official that "time is on our side in that as you get older, you tend to get more interested in the world around you." Mindich cites research showing that "a particular age cohort's reading habits do not change much with time."

Baby boomers who became adults in the 1970s consume less journalism than their parents did. And although in 1972 nearly half of those 18 to 22 read a newspaper every day, now less than a quarter do. In 1972 nearly three-quarters of those 34 to 37 read a paper daily; now only about a third do. This means, Mindich says, "fewer kids are growing up in households in which newspapers matter."

The young are voracious consumers of media, but not of journalism. Sixty-eight percent of children 8 to 18 have televisions in their rooms; 33 percent have computers. And if they could only have one entertainment medium, a third would choose the computer, a quarter would choose television. They carry their media around with them: 79 percent of 8-to-18-year-olds have portable CD, tape or MP3 players. Fifty-five percent have hand-held video game players. Sony's PlayStation Portable, which plays music, games and movies, sold more than 500,000 units in the first two days after its March debut.

Also writing in The Wilson Quarterly, Terry Eastland, publisher of The Weekly Standard, notes that the old media establishment "emerged at a time when Americans generally respected those in authority." When that respect began to recede, establishment media actually gained strength. But the liberal coloration of the big media provoked the emergence of such rivals as Rush Limbaugh (1988) and Fox News (1996). Consumers of news now understand that, as Eastland says, "news is a thing made, a product, and that media with certain beliefs and values once made the news and then presented it in authoritative terms, as though beyond criticism. Thus did Walter Cronkite famously end his newscasts, 'And that's the way it is.' That way, period."

When, after the misreported Tet offensive of 1968 (a U.S. military victory described as a crushing defeat), Cronkite declared Vietnam a "stalemate," he spoke, as Mindich says, to "a captive audience." Nearly 80 percent of television sets in use at the dinner hour were tuned to one of the three network newscasts, and Cronkite had the largest share. If that had been the broadcast marketplace in 2004, John Kerry would be president: The three networks reported the Swift boat veterans attacks on Kerry only after coverage of the attacks by cable news and talk radio forced Kerry to respond. The networks were very interested in charges pertaining to a Vietnam-era story about George W. Bush's alleged dereliction of National Guard duties -- until bloggers, another manifestation of new, small and nimble media, shredded it......

More here

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Some excerpts from an article by Matt Bai:

Before Schiavo ever became the story of the moment, Democrats were wrestling over the meaning of moral values, with about as much clarity as you might expect from a bunch of cable-TV pundits debating superstring theory. There are two basic arguments being put forward by national Democrats on how to change their image, and at a breakfast for Democratic officials in Washington last month, I heard two of the party's more serious thinkers lay them out. The first speaker, Harold Ford, the young representative from Tennessee, argued that Democrats needed to speak the same spiritual language as Republicans if they didn't want to continue to be seen as godless elitists. ''We can separate church and state,'' Ford said in a preacherly cadence, ''but, by golly, we ought to be able to say that our spirit, our faith and our morals influence somewhat how we treat people and how we shape laws and how we implement policy.'' .....

All of us are inclined to see our own values as sacrosanct, while the choices of others are subject to review: if I put a statue of Zeus in front of my house, that's my decision as an owner; but if my neighbor sets a rusty car atop a pile of cinder blocks, it's suddenly an issue of our collective property values. When it comes to morality, our first instincts always tend toward tyranny. Moral issues bring out the worst in our two political parties because the parties seek to capitalize on those instincts, motivating voters by turning them against one another and pushing them toward extremes. What Republicans have managed to do is to dress up their particular brand of moral tyranny as a defense of life and piety in all its forms. The Democratic alternative, relying as it does on the moral judgments of Ph.D.'s and Oscar winners, subscribes to no such pretension. It simply smacks of boundless elitism.

Democrats can try to change the conversation by playing with language and definitions, but in the end, any meaningful re-evaluation of their approach to moral values -- like just about everything else on the Democratic agenda -- will require more intellectual rigor as well. Like Bill Clinton in 1992, Democrats now may have to confront some of their most powerful interest groups, which have grown accustomed to demanding absolute fealty on issues like abortion and obscenity, if they want their notions of morality to feel more consistent and inclusive to many Americans. This may be a transitional moment for both parties. More voters now are refusing to join either party, rejecting the notion that either holds a monopoly on values. And as technology advances, so, too, does the shading of moral choices that used to seem black or white. Can Roe v. Wade still be the sole arbiter of life's starting point, for instance, now that a mother can watch her 12-week-old fetus spinning in the womb? Perhaps the party that builds a national consensus in the era after Terri Schiavo will be the one that has the courage not to exploit moral choices but to wrestle with them. Most Americans seem to understand that we are entering a time of complex, wrenching decisions that defy facile and self-righteous answers. Maybe it's time for politicians to admit that, too.

Monday, April 25, 2005


The excerpts below are from a guy (Alterman) who is trying to prove that the Bush White House controls the elite media! If he thinks the N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, CBS etc spout a pro-Bush line it sure tells you something about his own politics -- somewhere to the Left of Lenin, I guess. But, like Chomsky, he uses occasional descents into reality to camouflage the extreme selectivity and one-sidedness of his other observations. I reproduce some of the descents into reality below

The right wing’s media “decertification” effort, as the journalism scholar and blogger Jay Rosen calls it, has its roots in forty years of conservative fury at the consistent condescension it experienced from the once-liberal elite media and the cosmopolitan establishment for whom its members have spoken. Fueled by this sense of outrage, the right launched a multifaceted effort to fight back with institutions of its own, including think tanks, advocacy organizations, media pressure groups, church groups, big-business lobbies and, eventually, its own television, talk-radio, cable and radio networks (to be augmented, later, by a vast array of Internet sites). Today this triumphant movement has captured not only much of the media and the public discourse on ideas but both the presidency and Congress (and soon, undoubtedly, the Supreme Court as well); it can wage its war on so many fronts simultaneously that it becomes nearly impossible to see that almost all these efforts are aimed at a single goal: the destruction of democratic accountability and the media’s role in insuring it.

The issue of “lies” has been the most consistently clouded by the Administration’s supporters in the conservative media, who refuse to report facts when they conflict with White House spin. It’s true, as I show in my book When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences, that many presidents have demonstrated an almost allergic reaction to accuracy.....

The Bush Administration has invested untold millions in video “news releases” that disguise themselves as genuine news reports and are frequently broadcast by irresponsible local news programs....... The Clinton Administration made use of video “news releases” as well, but now the government’s investment in them appears to have nearly doubled, as has its brazenness.....

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this war against the media has been the fact that members of the media have largely behaved as if it is just business as usual. In fact, much of the success of the effort derives from the cooperation, both implicit and explicit, of the press. No one, after all, forces local TV stations to run official propaganda videos in lieu of their own programming, or without identifying them as such, and no one forces CNN Newsource, among others, to distribute them.

The media’s failure to resist this assault is perhaps understandable. Members of the profession are under siege from so many directions simultaneously they may feel they can hardly keep up with each incoming salvo. Not only is much of the traditional media controlled by multinational corporations that view their operations not as a public trust but as profit centers to be squeezed, but newspapers are facing an alarming decline in readership (and more than a few are admitting to having padded those numbers all along). Broadcast news has been steadily losing audience share for decades.....

Another reason for the press’s complacency is that many of these tactics are nothing new. Reporters have always engaged in a complex push-me/pull-you relationship with the President, alternately sucking up and pulling down as the political tides rose and fell. More than thirty years ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed in Commentary that “in most essential encounters between the Presidency and the press, the advantage is with the former. The President has a near limitless capacity to ‘make’ news which must be reported…. "

Alas, reporters, like Democrats and cats, are maddeningly hard to organize. When some recently tried to map out a collective response to the White House’s secrecy obsession, it got few takers. Knight-Ridder reporter Ron Hutcheson, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, walked out of an anonymous briefing last term to be followed by exactly no one. Len Downie, executive editor of the Washington Post, has ruled out the possibility of participation in any such action. “We just don’t believe in unified action,” he explained in a note to former Post ombudsman Geneva Overholser, “and would find a discussion aimed at reaching agreement with others on ‘practicable steps’ or even agreement on when not to agree to various ground rules uncomfortable and unworkable.”

More here

Sunday, April 24, 2005


When Dan Rather retired a year early as anchor of the CBS Evening News this March, his departure symbolized the onset of a new media era that is proving far friendlier to the ideas and arguments of the Right. Gone are the days when the Big Three networks, plus The New York Times and The Washington Post, decided what was newsworthy, often with a liberal spin. In my new book "South Park Conservatives," I tell the story of this remarkable — and sudden — shift and try to understand its scope and implications.

Ten years back, 60 percent of adult Americans regularly watched one of the Big Three evening newscasts; now only a third do. And the typical Big Three viewer is 60; less than 10 percent of the viewership is between 18 and 34, the age group that advertisers covet — and the nation's future leaders. The big liberal dailies have taken heavy hits of late, too, especially the Times. In 2004, Pew Research found that just 21 percent of those it surveyed felt the "paper of record" reliably conveys the truth, a figure below the rating given the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and others in the same poll.

One in five Americans now gets his or her news from talk radio; two in five, from cable TV. And 30 percent of Americans now get their news online, up dramatically from 15 percent in 2000. What makes this shift so revolutionary is that none of these new media is a liberal preserve. Conservatives completely dominate the radio dial: Four of the top five talk-radio programs have conservative hosts; none of the top 28 feature liberals.

As for cable news, right-friendly Fox News is the colossus, beating all its competitors — CNN, CNN Headline News, MSNBC and CNBC, combined —in audience share. Many of the most influential Internet sites and blogs lean right, too. And the blogosphere is helping the Right indirectly, too: Left-wing blogs have empowered the Michael-Moore-wing of the Democratic Party — those folks who think The New York Times is a conservative paper — thus hurting the party's chances nationally, since the radical Left turns off a lot of centrist voters.


Saturday, April 23, 2005


In addition to the alleged ethical infractions that have dogged him in the press recently, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has one overriding, unspoken sin — he's declasse. In this, he has some of the same broad characteristics as George W. Bush: Texas, conservatism, Christianity, lack of — ahem — verbal subtlety. But on top of all these, DeLay adds the creme de la creme of unfashionability, for which many of his critics can't disguise their sneering contempt: He once owned an exterminating business.

In anti-DeLay commentary, derisive references to his former occupation are almost mandatory. Joshua Micah Marshall, a well-read liberal blogger, regularly refers to DeLay as "the bug man." A cartoon in the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post ridiculed DeLay's views on the war on terror since he "spent much of his life shooting bugs." A website offers anti-Tom DeLay T-shirts featuring a can of bug spray. Another, buzzflash.com, recently sent out an alert titled "Hypocrisy Is Tom DeLay's Middle Name, Along With Exterminator."

Even Supreme Court justices can't resist the meme. Ruth Bader Ginsburg remarked in a speech a few years ago, "Mr. DeLay is not a lawyer but, I am told, an exterminator by profession." How uncouth.

By one way of looking at it, prior to coming to Congress in 1984, DeLay was a struggling small-business man, striving to keep his company above water so its handful of employees could keep their jobs. In the process, of course, he provided a useful service to Texans plagued by fire ants and other pests. But this is not the narrative DeLay-bashers prefer. Oh no, his business killed insects, and that's inherently ridiculous, along with — one assumes — other swaths of the American economy.

Plumbers work with pipes and even less pleasant things, and sometimes their tool belts drag down their pants. Garbagemen deal with, well, garbage. Painters splatter smelly paint all over their clothes. Auto mechanics work with engines, axles and other car parts likely to get their hands dirty. Miners work underground all day. We'll leave aside for now long-distance truckers, maids, railroad linemen, longshoremen, day laborers, air-conditioning repairmen, and the cable guy.

All these professions can't pass what might be called the "yuck" test: If a graduate student or Manhattan professional can't help but think "yuck" when he considers a given job, it flunks the test. Everybody so employed should know that their jobs are fit for ridicule, and if they ever attain elected office they can expect demeaning nicknames related to their former professions. Even though it's not clear why any of these professions are less honorable than the one that typically produces politicians — lawyering.


To me one good pest-controller is worth 100 lawyers. At least the pest-man does something undeniably useful and is never a mere parasite

Friday, April 22, 2005


I suppose any respect for the spiritual leader of one billion people was not to be expected

"By the time the plume of white smoke appeared and the bells of St. Peter's pealed on Tuesday afternoon, a wholly unrealistic hopefulness had descended on the secular salons of New York. It felt a bit like the afternoon of the exit polls last November when Democrats believed Sen. John Kerry was about to become the 44th president of the United States. There was an irrational feeling that someone who would proclaim the truth of spiritual liberty over fundamentalism would fling open the doors to the balcony and emerge from behind those theatrical scarlet curtains -- some youthful cardinal we hadn't even heard of yet, some charismatic dark horse whom the joyful crowds, so many of them young, would immediately recognize as their own. The suspense was killing.

Until -- Oh no! Cardinal Ratzinger! His very name was ominous, a cross between Ratso Rizzo and William Zanzinger. His election was like the sharp rap of a ruler across the knuckles by a punitive nun. It was as if you expected Barack Obama and got Bob Dole. The more that cardinals and Vatican watchers lined up on "Larry King Live" to say what a friendly, conciliatory guy he really is (the most appealing detail that emerged the next day was that he looked "a little forlorn" as he entered the Room of Tears to change into his papal vestments), the more he seemed to emerge as a 19th-century throwback, stridently opposed to liberalism, doubt, internal argument within the church. And the Bavarian background doesn't help. As one of Larry's callers who identified himself as an amateur historian of the Holocaust put it, "Couldn't we have let this generation of Germans pass into history?"

"I am so bummed out," the writer Dominick Dunne, who is Catholic, told me. "I had gotten all excited about Catholicism again. I just loved all the people and ceremony of the last few weeks, all the hundreds of thousands in the square. I was out to lunch when I heard, 'It's the German.' You could just feel everyone groan."

That there has been such a sense of letdown among some New Yorkers who aren't even Catholic, as well as many who are, is a little surprising, given all the expert papal handicapping that had long made the "Panzer Cardinal" the favorite in the race. It probably reflected the airbrushing that had gone on all through the gauzy weeks of emotion-driven commentary. It was easier to focus on John Paul's reversal of the church's historic anti-Semitism, his outreach to other faiths and his defiance of communist tyranny. The non-negotiable harshness of his stands on women, on homosexuality, on denying condoms to stop the spread of AIDS, was now being filled in with a vengeance and experienced afresh through the person of his 78-year-old successor, who somehow has earned himself a nickname -- "God's Rottweiler" -- that evokes Camilla Parker Bowles".

More here

Thursday, April 21, 2005


What I experienced at Yale—and never forgot—was not just the haughtiness of the rich on the right (which I expected), but the contempt and superiority of the newly emerging elite on the left. Both groups tended to treat cafeteria workers like me, the Puerto Ricans who bused trays and washed dishes in the dining halls, and the blacks who cleaned the rooms and hallways as servants or worse. I expected the wealthy to act this way. I was surprised to hear many on the left, antiwar to the bone, talk about those who went to Vietnam, particularly the white working class, with utter disdain.

On the most basic level, the contempt of the progressive elite for ordinary people—for their faiths, their speech patterns, their clothes, their hobbies, their hopes, and their aspirations—has driven scores of millions of Americans out of the Democratic Party and into either the Republican Party or a no man’s land between the two. The willingness of many Republicans to simply show respect for the habits and interests of these mixed and moderate Americans has paid growing political dividends. The Republicans have understood that communicating respect is more important than offering programs or incentives. The Democrats have failed to realize that multiplying programs or policies designed to meet people’s needs is doomed to fail unless and until those people sense a fundamental level of recognition of who they are, not just what they need. The medium may not be the message. But a medium of respect and recognition is what makes the reception of the message possible.

What does this have to do with religious faith? Almost everything. When George Bush says that he has been born again, that he has been personally saved by the Lord, and that he has a personal relationship with Jesus, he is speaking the language of somewhere between 60 and 75 million Americans. It is not his region, the southwest, that matters. It is not his accent, Texas southern, that matters. When he talks about personal salvation, he places himself directly in the tradition, traced by Bloom, of enthusiastic, diverse believers who met at Cane Ridge, in rural Kentucky, in 1801, and who express their faith in different ways in every state of the union.

The core of this tradition, described by Bloom and many others, is clear. Believers strive for—and achieve—a personal relationship with God. This intense experience—a spark, a fire—is individual, not collective. The less mediation and interference by denomination or organization or professional clergy, the better. And there is simply no need for much organized communal activity. No church-defined version of “social justice” can compare with the intensity, purity, and clarity of the one-on-one relationship with the divine. Many Americans, in mostly exurban and rural counties, subscribe to this tradition and practice. But it is not exclusively a white, Southern, rural, or middle-class religious culture. Many scores of millions more, in megachurches in Houston, Pentecostal storefronts in lower Manhattan and the South Bronx, and Holiness congregations in Boston, have the same core habits, patterns, and basic beliefs.

I write this with deep respect for those who express their faith in this way. Just watch Pastor Joel Osteen’s services—25,000 believers packed into a Houston facility, Bibles on their laps, pens in hand. The preaching is excellent—prepared, thoughtful, positive. But it’s the response—from people who have worked hard all week, people who traveled far to come to the service, people who have all the pressures and strains of every other American, sitting and listening and working at their faith—that’s really remarkable. The racial and ethnic mix of the congregation is a marvel. I am a lifelong practicing Roman Catholic who has had the good fortune to spend many Sundays in Baptist and Pentecostal churches. The quality of the experience, the depth of feeling, and the impact on believers are often extraordinary. It is a tradition that must not be dismissed, that must be understood, first on its own terms and for its own sake, and then because it is at the heart of the cultural change that has already occurred and that continues to occur in our country.

When George Bush prays—when he invokes the Lord—he resonates with these Americans. He may be awkward and trip over his words, but he is in sync with the dominant religious rhythm of his time. In a culture cluttered with policies, proposals, and cause-and-effect analysis, with all the tools of the Enlightenment still at our disposal and dutifully taught at our academies, we often give short shrift to the appeal of a radical religious refrain that defies or defeats or simply stuns rational argument.

This resonance trumps reason. It lies outside the realm of polling and focus groups. It is not impressed with all the Yale Law School and Kennedy School of Government degrees. It does not just “level the playing field” and counter the contempt of the progressive elites. It tilts the field and sends them sputtering, fuming, tumbling to the floor......

This religious resonance is reinforced by an economic resonance that is also deep and powerful. The president’s “ownership society” is based on a vision of an individual who is capable of having a direct and personal relationship with the market. An individual should have control over his or her own economic destiny—should be able to own a home rather than renting, work for a private business rather than for the government, save money for retirement rather than expecting the government or an employer to make the arrangements. This is self-reliance, updated and reaffirmed.

The president is asserting that the individual person or family doesn’t need mediating institutions and programs. In fact, in his view, these institutions and programs have disrupted the development of the hoped-for relationship between the person and the market, just as many believers feel that denominations and religious bureaucracies impede the growth of the personal relationship with God. Rugged economic individualism parallels rugged religious individualism; it is a consistent, compelling, and profoundly appealing theme.

More here

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Unable to prosper in the medium, liberals have taken to denouncing talk radio as a threat to democracy. Liberal political columnist Hendrik Hertzberg, writing in the New Yorker, is typically venomous. Conservative talk radio represents "vicious, untreated political sewage" and "niche entertainment for the spiritually unattractive," Hertzberg sneers.

If some liberals had their way, Congress would regulate political talk radio out of existence. Their logic is that scrapping Air America would be no loss if it also meant getting Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Bennett off the air.

To accomplish this, New York Democratic Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey has proposed reviving the Fairness Doctrine to protect "diversity of view," and John Kerry recently sent out some signals that he too thought that might be a good idea.

Under the old Fairness Doctrine, phased out by Ronald Reagan's FCC in the late '80s, any station that broadcast a political opinion had to give equal time to opposing views. A station running, say, Hannity's show, would also have to broadcast a left-wing competitor, even if it had no listeners.

Pre-Reagan, talk radio in today's sense simply didn't exist. What station could risk it? But people listen to conservative talk because they want to, not because the post-Fairness Doctrine regulatory regime forces them to. To claim that "diversity of view" is lacking in the era of blogs and cable news, moreover, is downright silly. Complaints about fairness are really about driving out conservative viewpoints.

Sure, talk radio is partisan, sometimes overheated. But it's also a source of argument and information. Together with Fox News and the blogosphere, it has given the right a chance to break through the liberal monoculture and be heard. For that, anyone who supports spirited public debate should be grateful

More here

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Similarly, we sensed ten years ago that people watching television news felt alienated by the monolithic presentation of the news they were getting from the nightly news broadcasts or cable networks. We sensed that there was another way we could deliver that news – objectively, fairly, and faster-paced. And the result was the fox news channel, today America’s number one cable news network.....

But our internet site will have to do still more to be competitive. For some, it may have to become the place for conversation. The digital native doesn’t send a letter to the editor anymore. She goes online, and starts a blog. We need to be the destination for those bloggers. We need to encourage readers to think of the web as the place to go to engage our reporters and editors in more extended discussions about the way a particular story was reported or researched or presented.

At the same time, we may want to experiment with the concept of using bloggers to supplement our daily coverage of news on the net. There are of course inherent risks in this strategy -- chief among them maintaining our standards for accuracy and reliability. Plainly, we can’t vouch for the quality of people who aren’t regularly employed by us – and bloggers could only add to the work done by our reporters, not replace them. But they may still serve a valuable purpose; broadening our coverage of the news; giving us new and fresh perspectives to issues; deepening our relationship to the communities we serve, so long as our readers understand the clear distinction between bloggers and our journalists.....

I believe too many of us editors and reporters are out of touch with our readers. Too often, the question we ask is “Do we have the story? rather than “Does anyone want the story?”

And the data support this unpleasant truth. Studies show we’re in an odd position: we’re more trusted by the people who aren’t reading us. And when you ask journalists what they think about their readers, the picture grows darker. According to one recent study, the percentage of national journalists who have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the American public to make good decisions has declined by more than 20 points since 1999. Perhaps this reflects their personal politics and personal prejudices more than anything else, but it is disturbing.

This is a polite way of saying that reporters and editors think their readers are stupid. In any business, such an attitude toward one’s customers would not be healthy. But in the newspaper business, where we rely on people to come back to us each day, it will be disastrous if not addressed.

As one study said: “Even if the economics of journalism work themselves out, how can journalists work on behalf of a public they are coming to see as less wise and less able?”

I’d put it more dramatically: newspapers whose employees look down on their readers can have no hope of ever succeeding as a business.

But by meeting the challenges I’ve raised, I’m confident we will not only improve our chances for success in the online world, but as importantly, improve our actual printed newspapers.

Success in the online world will, I think, beget greater success in the printed medium. By streamlining our operations and becoming more nimble. By changing the way we write and edit stories. By listening more intently to our readers.

I do not underestimate the tests before us. We may never become true digital natives, but we can and must begin to assimilate to their culture and way of thinking. It is a monumental, once-in-a-generation opportunity, but it is also an exciting one, because if we’re successful, our industry has the potential to reshape itself, and to be healthier than ever before.

More here

Monday, April 18, 2005


All was well with the world when the mainstream media controlled the information flow and Democrats controlled the Congress, CBS's Lesley Stahl and MSNBC's Chris Matthews seemed to contend Wednesday night on Hardball. Matthews, who hosts a show of unedited opinions, rued how news is "coming out of blog sites and stuff that is unedited in a lot of cases, which is my big problem with it. There's no editors around." Stahl complained "it's contributing to the public's continuing dislike of us and mistrust of us. And we're all in this bowl together. 60 Minutes correspondents are the media. So are the bloggers."

Stahl, who works for an outlet which used forged memos in a political hit job, lamented that instead of checking facts, "everyone is shooting from the hip, everybody. And it's a little scary." Matthews expressed how he's "gettin' nervous lately" that "since we don't have any Democrats in Congress controlling those committees, like John Dingell and Ed Markey and those guys...that we don't have enough subpoena action out there. Are we keeping a check on corporate power in America right now?" Stahl worried that many media outlets cannot stand up to power and rued that "if the press doesn't do these things, sometimes, our system won't be as self-cleansing as it has been in the past."

The MRC's Geoff Dickens took down a bunch of the kvetching, on the April 13 Hardball on MSNBC, between Matthews and Stahl, who appeared via satellite from New York City.

-- Stahl: "It's the public discourse, the political discussion. We've lost the middle. We've lost the whole middle in our country. You know someone said, it was Cokie Roberts. I heard her on National Public Radio one morning saying, we don't have any middle people who everybody trusts anymore. And I was thinking, Chris, when, I don't know where you were when Reagan was president, but he appointed Alan Greenspan to do a study of Social Security. And he came out with his finding, and everybody said, 'Oh, okay, it's Alan Greenspan. We all listen to him, everybody.'

Alan Greenspan today, Harry Reid, the Minority Leader, called him a political hack. We won't even listen to him. There's nobody we all listen to, nobody we all respect, no institution we all respect. And this is, it's, it's partly brought on by technology. It's partly that we only now are able to listen to and watch what we want to watch. So, it isn't that we're not, it's that we're not, we're choosing not to even hear the other argument on the other side. We're choosing only to hear what we want to hear. So, when, finally, we do listen to someone who disagrees, instead of saying, 'Oh, I know how to deal with that, we get angry.'"

More here

Sunday, April 17, 2005


A general trend throughout revolutionary socialism from 1890 to 1914 was that the most revolutionary elements laid an increasing stress upon leadership, and downplayed the autonomous role of the toiling masses. This elitism was a natural outcome of the revolutionaries' ardent wish to have revolution and the stubborn disinclination of the working class to become revolutionary. Workers were instinctive reformists: they wanted a fair shake within capitalism and nothing more. Since the workers did not look as if they would ever desire a revolution, the small group of conscious revolutionaries would have to play a more decisive role than Marx had imagined. That was the conclusion of Lenin in 1902. It was the conclusion of Sorel. And it was the conclusion of the syndicalist Giuseppe Prezzolini whose works in the century's first decade Mussolini reviewed admiringly.

The leadership theme was reinforced by the theoretical writings of, Mosca, Pareto, and Michels, especially Pareto's theory of the Circulation of Elites. All these arguments emphasized the vital role of active minorities and the futility of expecting that the masses would ever, left to themselves, accomplish anything. Further corroboration came from Le Bon's sensational best-seller of 1895--it would remain perpetually in print in a dozen languages--The Psychology of Crowds, which analyzed the "irrational" behavior of humans in groups and drew attention to the group's proclivity to place itself in the hands of a strong leader, who could control the group as long as he appealed to certain primitive or basic beliefs.

More here

Saturday, April 16, 2005


The mainstream media are trying to make sense of the brave new world of the internet and bloggers. Old media types are worrying a lot these days about their waning influence, credibility and market share. They’re searching for a magic bullet that will make things “normal” again, meaning give them back their prestige, influence and monopoly. The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, in an April 12 column, does some soul-searching and concludes: “I don't see any easy solutions, but print, radio and television all need to take much bolder steps to reconnect with the public.”

Kristof admits media blame in one sentence and casts it off in the next. “We protest that we've been made scapegoats by partisan demagogues, particularly on the right, and I think that's true,” Kristof says. “But distrust for the news media, even if it's unfair, is the new reality — and we will have to work much, much harder to win back our credibility with the public.” (Emphasis added.)

He writes further: “If one word can capture the public attitude toward American journalists, I'm afraid it's ‘arrogant.’ Not surprisingly, I think that charge is grossly unfair,” he says. (Emphasis added.) “But it's imperative that we respond to that charge — not by dismissing it, but by working far more diligently to reconnect with the public.”

I heard a similarly schizophrenic prescription a few months ago when I was a guest at a training session held by one of the nation’s largest newspaper chains. The editor of a major metro daily was the host of the session, and his diagnosis was similar to Kristof’s: The credibility of the media is in a dumper and it must “reconnect” with people to get it back, and, oh, by the way, it’s not our fault. This editor diagnosed the symptoms accurately: lost circulation, lost credibility, lost relevance. But the reason is not through any fault of the mainstream media itself, he said, but, instead, due to Fox News, cable opinion shows and right-wing bloggers that have conditioned the American public to accept only news with which they agree.

So, if it weren’t for the ignorant, easily led, mind-numbed American public duped by talk radio, the problem would not exist, was his view (though not stated in such blunt terms).

So, how does a newspaper or other medium “reconnect” with a public that it feels are ignorant sheep being shepherded by right-wing bloggers and Fox News? How do they go about creating a bond with such people? Condescension seems to be the plan of the moment. Kristof urges that newspapers “hire more red state evangelicals,” and he allows that “gun owners have a point when they complain that gun issues often seem to be covered by people who don't know a 12-gauge from an AR-15.” I suppose it is now safe for young journalism graduates to begin touting their NRA and Young Life memberships on their resumes.

The big-city editor at the training session made “reconnecting” with real people sound a lot like scientists living among chimpanzees in hopes of understanding their social organization. These people love Wal-Mart, NASCAR and Jesus, he told his reporters and editors, so get out there and try to understand them.

More here

Friday, April 15, 2005


Democrats (and more than a few Republicans) think the GOP stepped in it by intervening in the Schiavo case. They cite polls which indicated between two-thirds and three-quarters of Americans disapproved of the bill Congress passed to permit the federal courts to take a second look at the facts in the case of the brain-damaged Florida woman......

John Zogby took a more recent poll. He asked questions that more accurately reflected the facts. Among them was: "If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water?" A whopping 79 percent said she should not be denied food and water. Only 9 percent said yes. I suspect our elites won't fare well when they stand before the Almighty, but ordinary Americans are about as moral as we've ever been.....

Noting the explosive growth of the mega-churches in the suburbs, University of Chicago economic historian Robert William Fogel thinks we're in the midst of a fourth Great Awakening. As a liberal, he's concerned about it. He'd like the energy being poured into spiritual renewal to be applied to more secular concerns.

Judicial imperialism has long been the last refuge of a political establishment that is on its way out. Judicial review is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. It was invented by Chief Justice John Marshall, an arch-Federalist, to handcuff President Thomas Jefferson, who had thrashed the Federalists at the polls. As more territories entered the Union as free states, the South lost its grip on Congress. It tried to preserve through diktats from the Supreme Court what slavery was losing in elections.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt trounced the Republicans in 1932. But conservatives on the court hampered him by invalidating New Deal legislation on specious grounds.

We're headed for another titanic battle between a religious populace and a secular elite, between the peoples' elected representatives and the courts.

More here

Thursday, April 14, 2005


With the fall of the Soviet Union and communist governments in Eastern Europe, too many have the impression that Marxism, the religion of communism, is dead. Hardly. It is alive and well in many countries still, such as North Korea, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, a gaggle of African countries, and in the minds of many South American political leaders. However, of most importance to the future of democracy, communism still pollutes the thinking of a vast multitude of Western academics and intellectuals.

Of all religions, secular and otherwise, that of Marxism has been by far the bloodiest – bloodier than the Catholic Inquisition, the various Catholic crusades, and the Thirty Years War between Catholics and Protestants. In practice, Marxism has meant bloody terrorism, deadly purges, lethal prison camps and murderous forced labor, fatal deportations, man-made famines, extrajudicial executions and fraudulent show trials, outright mass murder and genocide.

In total, Marxist regimes murdered nearly 110 million people from 1917 to 1987. For perspective on this incredible toll, note that all domestic and foreign wars during the 20th century killed around 35 million. That is, when Marxists control states, Marxism is more deadly then all the wars of the 20th century, including World Wars I and II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars........

There is a supremely important lesson for human life and welfare to be learned from this horrendous sacrifice to one ideology: No one can be trusted with unlimited power. The more power a government has to impose the beliefs of an ideological or religious elite, or decree the whims of a dictator, the more likely human lives and welfare will be sacrificed. As a government's power is more unrestrained, as its power reaches into all corners of culture and society, the more likely it is to kill its own citizens.

As a governing elite has the power to do whatever it wants, whether to satisfy its most personal wishes, or as today's Marxists desire, to pursue what it believes is right and true, it may do so whatever the cost in lives. Here, power is the necessary condition for mass murder. Once an elite has full authority, other causes and conditions can operate to bring about the immediate genocide, terrorism, massacres or whatever killing the members of an elite feel is warranted. But it is power – unchecked, unconstrained, uncontrolled – that is the killer.

Our academic and intellectual Marxists today are getting a free ride. They get a certain respect because of their words about improving the lot of the worker and the poor, their utopian pretensions. But when empowered, Marxism has failed utterly, as has fascism. Instead of being treated with respect and tolerance, Marxists should be treated as though they wished a deadly plague on all of us.

The next time you come across or are lectured by one of our indigenous Marxists, or almost the equivalent, leftist zealots, ask them how they can justify the murder of over a hundred million their absolutist faith has brought about, and the misery it has created for many hundreds of millions more.

More here

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


The hatred for ordinary people that motivates them also defeats them. They actively drive away the Christian voters they need in order to win elections

The original Latin noun Pagan, Paganis had a far different definition in the era of The Roman Republic than it does today. The term originated in the days before Constantine decreed Rome a Christian Empire. The Pagans lived far afield from Rome and grew its food supply in orchards and grain fields. They were often looked down upon as stupid and ill-informed. The noun had a negative connotation to it; like calling somebody a peckerwood today.

Fast-forwarding to modern America gives us a totally different view. The modern zeitgeist concerning religion has been informed by the writings on Engels and Marx who describe religion as "the opiate of the masses." While most well-educated people would admit that Marxism had severe shortcomings, this view of religion has taken hold with force amongst the self-selecting intellectual elite in modern America. This view of religion held by Marx, Nietzsche and many other Post-Enlightenment philosophers has made agnosticism, if not outright Christophobia, an unstated requirement to be admitted into this circle of intellectual brilliance. In essence, these people have come to feel they prove a certain toughness and superiority by casting religion aside and proving they don't need to walk with a crutch.

This puts them outside the intellectual and social realm of the rest of America. They respond to this the same way the supercilious elite of The Roman Republic responded to being surrounded by a bunch of back-woods illiterates who worshipped the tree-spirits. Rather than stopping to question the dissonance they experience from people who don't share their views on subjects such as abortion, euthanasia, or the basic decency of Pope John Paul II, they scoff at such things the way Sulla and his good old boy network would have laughed at the practitioners of Nature Worship in Pre-Imperial Gaul.

Or, they go strongly to the ad hominem and attempt to intimidate any who oppose their views into silence. Recently, The Drudge Retort, ran a story about John Paul II receiving nutrition through a tube in his nose during the last days of his coalescence. The comments were truly illuminating. Here's a sampling of what our enlightened elite had to say about the then mortally ill pontiff.

1) Time to let the old fart go.... All he can do is barely wave. He can not even give a sermon.... PULL THE TUBE!!!

2) No. Keeping him alive cripples the power of the Catholic church. Leave it.

3) Kinda like Ah gets new-trition from the rolled up hunerd dollar bills stuck up mah nose! SSnniiiiifff!! Ahhh! (signed GWBUSH)

Now these are the very deep thoughts of a group of people who consider themselves far superior to the rest of the human race. A self-selecting elite that finds itself increasingly disconnected from the rest of the country around them. Perhaps a few of these geniuses would wake up one morning and wonder how terrifically brilliant they really were if 7 out of 10 people lived a totally different life than they did and were basically glad of it. But they don't. When they don't blame it on others, a la John Edwards' "Two Americas Speech", they consider it an affirmation of their own superiority.

More here

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Three of the Democrats who reached the White House after FDR - Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton - were Bible-reading Protestants who spoke with a twang, and the fourth, John F. Kennedy, was a Roman Catholic, the first and still the only Catholic to reach the White House.

The Democratic Party, in short, made a powerful alliance with the culture of Ordinary America, including its religious values. True, the party's links to segregationist Dixiecrats caused problems - big problems. But it was two Southerners - Martin Luther King Jr. and Lyndon B. Johnson - who struck the most significant hammer blows against the injustice of that dependency.

But now the Democratic Party elite - the activists, the pundits, the big-bucks donors - have succeeded in pitting social democracy against the very values (one is tempted to say the very people) that gave rise to social democracy in the first place.

Baffled by such rejection, an ostracized faith community shows every sign of realigning itself politically. Although a few astute politicians such as Hillary Clinton are trying to find a way out of this breach, there is no clear path. Democrats should be reading Jacques Maritain - a social democrat and cultural moderate - or even studying the progressive policies and programs of the Eisenhower and (yes!) the Nixon years. Instead, social democrats, once anchored in the deepest imperatives of religion and culture, substitute sloganeering and sound bites for thought - as when party Chairman Howard Dean describes Republican Americans as pure evil, no two ways about it.

Faith and traditional values get shred in the ideological crossfire, and the sustaining, healing power of American culture is lost.

Enough already! Let Democratic movers and shakers take one last look at those they are demonizing, because many are their brothers and sisters, social democrats driven into exodus by party excesses.

More here

Monday, April 11, 2005


This is from a few years ago but it is well worth repeating

You have to understand something about liberals. I'm not talking about Mom and Pop Liberal in Champaign-Urbana, who are Democrats because FDR was one. I'm talking about the leaders, elected officials and people that work in Washington. They are no different than the European socialists who look at the United States with disgust. They're intellectual elitists. They think they are entitled to wealth because of their superiority.

They should run the world. They know better. You are just a bunch of serfs that can't manage your own lives. Ah, but they look at America and guess what they see? A nation in which it's the serfs who rule! It's the ordinary American doing extraordinary things every day that makes this economy what it is. It isn't the liberal intelligentsia in the think tanks, Congress or Washington.

Liberal elitists like Jon Corzine resent the fact that "the masses," as they derisively call them, run this nation. They look at the United States as a mistake, an aberration. Socialism and communism is where it's really at. It just hasn't been given a fair shot.

You have to believe this, if you're going to understand what motivates these people. It's not that Corzine has gotten his and so now he's free to be himself. He has always been who you see now: someone rigging things in his favor because of his superiority.

This is what the European Union is all about - and when push comes to shove, they're a bunch of wimps and pansies that can't defend themselves against anything. They need us, the nation of the common man, yet they have no faith in the common man. He is an idiot to them. Americans are a bunch of uncivilized, dirty, embarrassing little people.

How else do you explain what these people try to do? You can't make one decision that's right. You have to be given everything. You have to be given your health care, Social Security and retirement. Drugs are the latest thing you must be "given," by having these thieves reach into your pocket and the pockets of your fellow taxpayers to pay for it. They don't expect you to have the talent to do anything for yourself. They'll set up a welfare system that will keep you poor for the rest of your life if you sign on to it.

People like Jon Corzine and Daschle and Gephardt derive their power from the dependency they create. If you don't believe me, just look at the legislation they support and propose. Look at who they want to put in jail: anybody that's in the private sector. They want to criminalize conservative policies while blaming criminal behavior on corporations. Yet liberals can get away with cheating, lying and stealing.

But they're better than everybody else, so they're doing it for everybody else's benefit. They are superiorists. They are entitled. They are aristocracy. They're born to lead. How many of them actually worked for what they have? Oh, there's the occasional exception, but most of them are entitled in their own minds. They're all out of the Ivy League; they're all part of the striped-pants crowd. These are the people leaking our war plans against Iraq to screw up the operation, because they don't believe in the U.S. military.

They're the same people allowing Saudi Arabians into this country with no visas. It doesn't make any sense to those of us who use common sense, but they literally don't think the Saudis are enemies. It's the United States that is the problem - with our massive military. We threaten too many people with our debauched culture - by which they mean our freedom. If we would just change our ways and let liberals run this country, we wouldn't threaten anybody and everybody would leave us alone.

That's how Jon Corzine gets away with being the hypocrite that he is. These liberals are nothing but pure, unadulterated hypocrites. Nine of the top 12 wealthiest United States senators are Democrats, as we cover in Democrats Open Door, Hit Face. Yet listen to them talk. They run down the acquisition of wealth, and set up straw men like the lottery. You're never going to win, but you're so stupid you'll keep letting them rob you blind to pay for their big-government expansion.

Why, they've even convinced you that wanting to keep the money you work for is selfish and amoral! But do they use any of their own personal wealth to alleviate any of the so-called social problems? Look at Algore. He gave only $353 to charity in 1997. These people are pure, unadulterated hypocrites - and they are a clear and present danger to freedom and liberty. The problem is so many Republicans are scared to death of losing this election year, so they just go along with votes to steal your freedom.


Sunday, April 10, 2005


Howard Dean's failed presidential campaign left behind a cadre of political activists who now constitute the most liberal faction of the Democratic Party and who believe the party should move to the left as it tries to rebound from Sen. John F. Kerry's loss to President Bush, according to a unique survey of Dean's followers.

Dean attracted an activist corps that is whiter, wealthier, better educated and far more liberal and secular than Democrats generally or the population at large, according to the Pew Research Center. But the study found that Dean's followers were not, as some reports had suggested, dominated by young people and that he had strong appeal among voters ages 40 to 59.

The findings are based on Internet surveys with activists who had signed up on Dean's campaign site last year, which means the sample represents a fraction of the population. But the Dean followers provide an insight into what might be a much larger cadre of grass-roots activists who are a growing constituency within the party and one that Dean, as new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wants to integrate more directly into party operations.....

In a party that includes substantial numbers of blacks and Hispanics, the Dean Democrats are overwhelmingly white -- 92 percent, according to the survey -- and constitute what could be described as part of the American elite. More than half (54 percent) hold post-graduate degrees and a quarter have graduated from college. Almost one in three (29 percent) have household incomes of more than $100,000 annually.....

Dean's followers, according to the poll, want the party to challenge Bush more vigorously and embrace "progressive" policies, not the centrist positions that were critical to former president Bill Clinton's two victories. Just 18 percent of those who responded to the surveys said the party had effectively advocated liberal or progressive positions, and two-thirds said they want to see the party reflect those liberal positions in the future.

More here

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Considering how steeped in elitism last month's Academy Awards were--with "lesser" winners forced to stay back in their aisles or dutifully line up on stage, thus robbing them of a once-in-a-lifetime trip down the aisle--Hollywood sure has embraced communism with open arms.

In a town where antiwar activism is hot, a militant icon is even hotter: "The Motorcycle Diaries," a saintly portrayal of Ernesto "Che" Guevara in his early days, executive produced by Robert Redford and the toast of the Sundance Film Festival, won the Oscar for best song. "Al Otro Lado del Rio" was sung onstage by Antonio Banderas, accompanied by Carlos Santana--clad in the ubiquitous Che T-shirt that has become the brand of wannabe suburban revolutionaries.

Now that "Motorcycle" has ridden into the awards sunset--ironically, considering the nature of communism, also picking up two Independent Spirit Awards--the sequel to Che canonization is on the horizon. Filming is scheduled to start later this year on "Che," a Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic") vehicle starring Benicio del Toro as the famed Marxist. The plot line as listed on the Internet Movie Database: "An epic about Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, who fought for the people."

Wait, there's more. IMDb lists another movie titled "Che" currently filming, written and directed by Josh Evans, son of Ali McGraw. If one can assume that Sonia Braga's "Celia" character is Guevara's mother, are we in store for another innocent, youthful portrayal of the guerrilla in "The Tricycle Diaries"?

Annoying as the Che adulation is, a recent comment by a 14-year-old on an online movie message board was truly disturbing: "I just saw The Motorcycle Diaries, which further made me question: Why is communism bad? . . . Young people are told how bad communism is, but we are not told why. . . . The Motorcycle Diaries showed me how Ernesto Guevara wanted to help people. . . . But this did not explain why he was such a 'bad' person and apparently deserved to be murdered by the U.S."

Is this a legacy of dangerous ignorance that the makers of "Che" wish to continue? Might this teen be taught that the product of Guevara and Castro's "revolution" is a nation whose inhabitants still risk their lives to escape--and an estimated one-third die trying? A nation where neighbor spies on neighbor, where dissent lands one in the clink--or worse--and persecution is punishment for everything from religion to homosexuality?

More here

Friday, April 08, 2005


And how they hate it!

In a closely watched vote, residents decided against capping the size of big-box retailers to 75,000 square feet - an attempt to halt an expansion of the local Wal-Mart store. "I want a bigger Wal-Mart," said Jessica Caron, 26, a mother of three and a clerk at the Mobil gas station next door to the existing store. The bylaw, enacted in December, was expected to produce a closer vote Tuesday but the cap was rejected 2,189-1,724. The turnout was 40 percent of 9,650 registered voters - heavy for a special election.

Workers had distributed thousands of handbills urging residents to support the cap and nix Wal-Mart's plans to increase its store to 112,000 square feet. The anti-cap campaign ran radio ads supporting its cause. The victory for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. came after heavy advertising by Ohio-based real estate developer, Redstone Investments. "I'm very happy for the people of Bennington, Vermont," said Redstone partner Jonathan Levy. "They took on Town Hall and showed them what they thought about the whole thing."

The local Planning Commission and Select Board studied the issue at length and unanimously supported the cap. Then, opponents of a cap collected more than 1,000 signatures to put the question to a town-wide vote. Alicia Romac of the pro-cap group Citizens for a Greater Bennington said she wished the decision had been left up to elected officials. "It's special interests interfering with what's best for the community process, and I don't think that's really the best way to run a government," she said.

The vote in Bennington, a town of 16,000 in the southwest corner of the state, was closely watched by lawmakers in Montpelier, where a pending bill would limit retailers statewide to 50,000 square feet. A main sponsor of the bill, Republican Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, said he was rethinking his position and coming to believe the question should be left up to individual communities. "I'm sure there are existing stores in Bennington that will no longer be in business in three to five years," he said. "My hat's off to Wal-Mart and the developer. ... It shows that the company will spend whatever it takes to locate a store where it wants to locate a store."


Thursday, April 07, 2005


Every year or so, we have a cultural debate that seems to divide Americans into two camps. And as you have learned from my recent shows, it is not always Republicans fighting Democrats. I know many Republicans who support Michael Schiavo's efforts to end his wife's life, and I know many Democrats who agree with me that starving Terri to death is inhumane and beneath us as a country. But it is during these kind of dustups in American culture that elites earn their bad name.

Too many sniff and snort at any hayseed or redneck who dares to question their take on Jesus, Janet Jackson, or Terri Schiavo. And they will, more times than not, go to ridiculous ends to prove you and me wrong. I could name countless distortions trotted out by the mainstream media, Washington think-tanks or political organizations, but will instead focus on the media's claim that those of us who believe a state sanctioned starvation is immoral are, well, dead wrong.

The New York Times told us in a headline last week that starving to death was a most gentle way to die. The Associate Press cited a study that showed that on a sliding scale from one to nine, experts believed that dying from a lack of food and water was all in all, a very good death. Fascinating, isn't it? If starvation is such a rocking trip, then why did the New York Times report pre-Schiavo that famine victims clutched their stomachs in pain? And speaking of famines, are we now to believe that Bob Geldof and those meddling kids who put together Live Aid in 1985 were robbing African famine victims of a peaceful slumber, a most pleasurable death? If so, then why worry about famine relief at all?

Elites have had no problem coming on my show telling me how Terri Schiavo has no quality of life so she would be better off dead. Certainly the same holds true of starving children in Africa who are abused, raped, infected, and dying. Using elites' logic, feeding these children only prolong their pain. Maybe Elton John should headline the next Live Aid concert and sing 'Funeral for a friend' and 'Better off dead.' Or maybe, just maybe, elites should stop telling Americans how to live their lives, how to die, and how stupid we all are when we just don't see eye to eye.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005


there is no doubt that America’s culture has undergone a dramatic transformation — a transformation engineered by the radical left. Writing in the Winter 1996 issue of the Marxist journal Dissent, Michael Walzer enumerated some of the cultural victories won by the left since the 1960s:

* "The visible impact of feminism."
* "The effects of affirmative action."
* "The emergence of gay rights politics, and … the attention paid to it in the media."
* "The acceptance of cultural pluralism."
* "The transformation of family life," including "rising divorce rates, changing sexual mores, new household arrangements — and, again, the portrayal of all this in the media."
* "The progress of secularization; the fading of religion in general and Christianity in particular from the public sphere — classrooms, textbooks, legal codes, holidays, and so on."
* "The virtual abolition of capital punishment."
* "The legalization of abortion."
* "The first successes in the effort to regulate and limit the private ownership of guns."

Significantly, Walzer admitted that these victories were imposed upon our society by "liberal elites," rather than being driven "by the pressure of a mass movement or a majoritarian party." These changes "reflect the leftism or liberalism of lawyers, judges, federal bureaucrats, professors, school teachers, social workers, journalists, television and screen writers — not the population at large," noted Walzer. Rather than building "stable or lasting movements or creat[ing] coherent constituencies," the left focused on "winning the Gramscian war of position."

While most Americans would be mystified by Walzer’s reference to Italian Communist theoretician Antonio Gramsci, those who wish to understand the ongoing culture war must first have some understanding of the Gramscian concept of the "long march through the institutions." The process described by Walzer, in which the cultural and bureaucratic organs of our society have fallen under the influence of "progressive" forces devoted to transforming our nation, is derived directly from Gramsci’s blueprint for Marxist subversion. Gramsci’s distinctive insight, as we will shortly see, was that the construction of the total state requires the seizure of the "mediating institutions" that insulate the individual from the power of the government — the family, organized religion, and so forth — and a systematic redefinition of the culture in order to sustain the new political order.

That process is well underway in our nation — and if it is consummated, Americans will learn that the culture war is a deadly serious effort to destroy the institutions and traditions that have protected Americans from the horrors of the total state.

"The scientific concept of dictatorship," wrote Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin, "means nothing else but this: power without limit, resting directly upon force, restrained by no laws, absolutely unrestricted by rules." Benito Mussolini’s totalitarian formula was even more concise: "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." Whatever its specific configuration or ideological pretext, the total state always requires that all human activities be made subject to its power. But to exercise that power, the total state relies, to a remarkable extent, on the cooperation of its victims.

No matter how vast the instrumentality of coercion or how vicious the intentions of the ruling elite, the masters of the total state are always dramatically outnumbered by their victims. No army of occupation is large enough to exercise total control over a tyrannized population; no secret police is capable of exercising incessant and all-encompassing surveillance. The triumph of the total state is made possible by the conquest of the human mind. "We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission," explained O’Brien, an agent of Big Brother’s "Ministry of Love" in George Orwell’s 1984. "When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us.... We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him."

More here

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

City planning by Those Who Know Best


Many readers may be unfamiliar with New Urbanism and Smart Growth, two planning ideologies that are the hippest thing in the world of urban design. While the fixations of trendy planners might not register on the list of things that average Americans think about, these new utopian land-use ideals are filtering down into government agencies and city councils, and might eventually impact the way we all live.

It's time for more of us to get concerned, and to pay attention to what the planners are thinking, especially as O.C. seems to be at a planning transition point - continuing to spread out southward (i.e.: Rancho Mission Viejo) even as it rises upward with new high-rise proposals in more densely populated areas of Anaheim, Santa Ana and Irvine.

Recent history, in fact, shows that crucial debates in Orange County are to some degree an outgrowth of that new way of thinking about land-use planning. The attempts to build the CenterLine light-rail system despite the Orange County Transportation Authority's own data proving that the system would not move more than a fraction of a percent of county commuters is just one example of it.

It was never about transportation, but about planning, about implementing the transportation system that is at the core of the New Urbanist thinking, which emphasizes high-density urban living and eschews the supposed wastefulness of the car culture.

The cartoonish redevelopment-driven, subsidy-created faux downtowns built (or planned) in cities such as Brea, Yorba Linda, Placentia, Buena Park (officials there have dubbed the old mall a "downtown"!), Huntington Beach, Dana Point and elsewhere also contain echoes of New Urbanism/Smart Growth. (New Urbanism is the planning philosophy and Smart Growth is its implementation in the political world. For purposes of this article, I use the terms interchangeably.)

Here's a description of the New Urbanism from the Web site, www.newurbanism.org:

"New Urbanism is the most important planning movement this century, and is about creating a better future for us all. It is an international movement to reform the design of the built environment, and is about raising our quality of life and standard of living by creating better places to live. New Urbanism is the revival of our lost art of place-making, and is essentially a reordering of the built environment into the form of complete cities, towns, villages and neighborhoods ... ."

Whenever some ideologue claims to offer the most important thing since sliced bread and then promises to reorder my life around it, we should all get nervous.

New Urbanists are reacting against the suburbanization of American society. In their world, selfish Americans abandoned the inner city, with its joyful mix of high-rise living and neighborhood stores, and took up residence in ugly, look-alike tract houses rimmed by Wal-Mart-encrusted strip malls. Suburbanization embodies everything they hate about our society: consumerism, automobiles, the triumph of low culture.

New Urbanists never mention that urban liberalism helped destroy urban life through its emphasis on social engineering and its failure to provide decent basic services (schools, safe streets, trash removal, etc.) and thus propelled family-oriented people into the hinterlands.Butthere is some truth that the newer suburbs lack distinctiveness.

A non-New Urbanist, Joel Kotkin, puts the matter succinctly in a recent Washington Post article, which I found on the Claremont Institute's Local Liberty blog: "The suburbs have given us - in terms of space, quality of life, safety and privacy - much more of what we call 'the American Dream' than cities ever could. What they have failed to do, often miserably, is to live up to their promise of becoming self-contained, manageable communities that can both co-exist amiably with the natural environment and offer a sense of identity."

Proudly, fiercely suburban Orange County might strike the urban sophisticate as a miasma of sprawl, but it is no such thing. Many cities have their own downtown, their own distinctive flavor. Fullerton functions like an old Midwestern city. It runs together with other cities, but so what? That's what happens in urban areas.

Look at the thriving Little Saigon in Westminster, at the stylish beachfront cities such as Laguna Beach and San Clemente, at Old Towne Orange or downtown Santa Ana, or at any of the many beautiful, tree-lined suburban neighborhoods that epitomize this lovely county. This county is awash in style and personality - even if it is not the particular style and personality preferred by Those Who Know Best.

The New Urbanists pick on the ugliest form of suburban sprawl and compare it to the loftiest vision of urban living. They don't mention that even the most sprawling older suburbs (such as those in north Orange County) are bubbling with life, as immigrant businesses revamp strip malls. The suburbs are not uniform or soulless, despite the rhetoric.

New Urbanists never mention the word freedom. They are consumed by the form of a city, without thinking about the people who inhabit the communities they seek to reorient. Well, they think about them, much in the way that chess player thinks about his chess pieces. But they don't think about the hopes and aspirations of individuals.

The New Urbanist paradises have a certain appeal, especially when one is on vacation. But because of the growth controls and central planning, these are expensive places to live. The average family cannot afford to live in places like San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Ann Arbor, the model societies the New Urbanists want to create everywhere.

In Portland, Ore., the city where Smart Growthers have had control of the government for years, the hip neighborhoods "seem to have everything in new urban design and comfort," reported the New York Times last month. "Everything except children. ... Officials say that the very things that attract people who revitalize a city - dense vertical housing, fashionable restaurants and shops and mass transit that makes a car unnecessary - are driving out children by making the neighborhoods too expensive for young families."

The New Urbanists claim to want to give our lives meaning by creating superior urban forms of living, yet they miss the most meaningful things in life because they emphasize architecture over people. Like all totalitarians, they assume that what they prefer is so good and noble that they have the moral right to impose it on everybody else.


4 April, 2005


They see Christians as second-class citizens

"The Terri Schiavo tragedy has been seized on by long-time critics of the "religious right" to launch attack after attack on the legitimacy of political action on the basis of religious belief. This attack has ignored the inconvenient participation in the debate--on the side of resuming water and nutrition for Terri Schiavo--of the spectacularly not-the-religious-rightness of Tom Harkin, Nat Hentoff, Jesse Jackson, and a coalition of disability advocacy groups. The attack has also been hysterical. After Congress acted--ineffectively, it turned out--Maureen Dowd proclaimed that "theocracy" had arrived in the land. Paul Krugman warned that assassination of liberals by extremists was not far off. And the Internet frenzy on the left was even more extreme.

Into the fray came former Missouri Republican Senator John Danforth, an ordained priest, and much admired man of integrity. In yesterday's New York Times, Senator Danforth blasted the control that he asserts is now held over the Republican party by religious conservatives. Danforth specifically criticized the congressional action on behalf of Schiavo, a proposed Missouri bill that would halt stem cell research, and concerns over gay marriage.

All of these charges--from the most incoherent to the most measured--arrive without definition as to what "the religious right" is, and without argument as to why the agenda of this ill-defined group is less legitimate than the pro-gay marriage, pro-cloning, pro-partial-birth abortion, pro-euthanasia agenda of other political actors. Danforth's position is, apparently, that the agenda of the left on these matters ought not to be resisted, which means that it will be enacted. "For politicians to advance the cause of one religious group," Danforth intones, "is often to oppose the cause of another." That is inescapably true. To come to the defense of the unborn, as Senator Danforth correctly notes he always did during his legislative career, is to oppose abortion on demand. To come to the aid of the Christians in Sudan is to oppose the wishes of the Muslims who sought their destruction. Every political conflict is a choice between competing moral codes.

So Danforth's essay is really a poorly-camouflaged complaint that his positions on stem-cell research, gay marriage, and Terri Schiavo are not the positions of the Republican party. It is fair for him to try and persuade people to endorse his positions but it is wrong and demagogic to attempt to question the right of people of faith to participate in politics. That is certainly what Dowd, Krugman, and others want to accomplish, and although Danforth asserts that "I do not fault religious people for political action," the intention of his essay is to encourage the Republican party to reject the efforts of religious people to influence the party's agenda.

There is little chance that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Bill Frist or Dennis Hastert are going to heed Danforth's advice. But a strain of thought is developing that the political objectives of people of faith have second-class status when compared to those of, say, religiously secular elites. Of course, not only would such a position have surprised all of the Founding Fathers, it would have shocked Lincoln and Reagan, too".

More here

Monday, April 04, 2005


They see Christians as second-class citizens

"The Terri Schiavo tragedy has been seized on by long-time critics of the "religious right" to launch attack after attack on the legitimacy of political action on the basis of religious belief. This attack has ignored the inconvenient participation in the debate--on the side of resuming water and nutrition for Terri Schiavo--of the spectacularly not-the-religious-rightness of Tom Harkin, Nat Hentoff, Jesse Jackson, and a coalition of disability advocacy groups. The attack has also been hysterical. After Congress acted--ineffectively, it turned out--Maureen Dowd proclaimed that "theocracy" had arrived in the land. Paul Krugman warned that assassination of liberals by extremists was not far off. And the Internet frenzy on the left was even more extreme.

Into the fray came former Missouri Republican Senator John Danforth, an ordained priest, and much admired man of integrity. In yesterday's New York Times, Senator Danforth blasted the control that he asserts is now held over the Republican party by religious conservatives. Danforth specifically criticized the congressional action on behalf of Schiavo, a proposed Missouri bill that would halt stem cell research, and concerns over gay marriage.

All of these charges--from the most incoherent to the most measured--arrive without definition as to what "the religious right" is, and without argument as to why the agenda of this ill-defined group is less legitimate than the pro-gay marriage, pro-cloning, pro-partial-birth abortion, pro-euthanasia agenda of other political actors. Danforth's position is, apparently, that the agenda of the left on these matters ought not to be resisted, which means that it will be enacted. "For politicians to advance the cause of one religious group," Danforth intones, "is often to oppose the cause of another." That is inescapably true. To come to the defense of the unborn, as Senator Danforth correctly notes he always did during his legislative career, is to oppose abortion on demand. To come to the aid of the Christians in Sudan is to oppose the wishes of the Muslims who sought their destruction. Every political conflict is a choice between competing moral codes.

So Danforth's essay is really a poorly-camouflaged complaint that his positions on stem-cell research, gay marriage, and Terri Schiavo are not the positions of the Republican party. It is fair for him to try and persuade people to endorse his positions but it is wrong and demagogic to attempt to question the right of people of faith to participate in politics. That is certainly what Dowd, Krugman, and others want to accomplish, and although Danforth asserts that "I do not fault religious people for political action," the intention of his essay is to encourage the Republican party to reject the efforts of religious people to influence the party's agenda.

There is little chance that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Bill Frist or Dennis Hastert are going to heed Danforth's advice. But a strain of thought is developing that the political objectives of people of faith have second-class status when compared to those of, say, religiously secular elites. Of course, not only would such a position have surprised all of the Founding Fathers, it would have shocked Lincoln and Reagan, too".

More here

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Another seemingly unending parade of unproven assertions -- this time from an Australian weirdo. Just some excerpts below. And this wisehead who wants "to 'open up' the societal mind to fresh perspectives" doesn't even know what "disinterested" means. An opinionated moron. No wonder an Australian female blogger made the earthy comment "get your hand off it" to him.

We live in times of folly, where self indulgence deadens awareness, escapism entertainment keeps our conscience at bay and governments, intimately aware of these times and their habitual characteristics, very subtly work at removing our human rights. The 'smugness' of politicians as they appear in our lounge rooms, sorry, 'home theatre (nee escapism) rooms' is all the evidence one needs that this process is alive and well.

The vast majority of our society has become nothing more than disinterested followers. Our politicians espouse ideology and received wisdom leaving us jaded and foggy eyed. Any wonder when words like 'initiative', 'boost', 'strategy' and 'program' are used ad nauseam to portray action when in reality they are merely a disguise for in-action.

We are rapidly becoming devoid of creative thinking and have become mundanely comfortable in selling our souls on a daily basis to anybody who will pay us enough. When ones self centered desire for the latest and greatest techno toy depends on towing an ideological/ corporate line, compromising one’s own values without appearing like one is suddenly becomes a mandatory skill. We have become our politicians, or perhaps it is that our politicians have become like us.

Our conscience, that part of us that in the past kept self centeredness at arms length, has been in demise for some time and before long will be nothing more than a distant memory. When conscience disappears, denial takes its place. The guilt that ultimately follows is always kept at bay as it has been in the past, by self indulgence and escapism.

When our society is in a phase of extremes of either folly or despair, governments see the distraction as an opportunity to secure more ground, more power and more control. A quick look at our spiraling levels of government bureaucracy and red tape will attest to this. Our answer to this is more escapism, and our governments are happy to assist. Our current phase of self indulgence is perpetuated by our governments at Local, State and Federal levels; the distraction must be maintained.

We have no money for healthcare and our nurses and doctors are stretched to the limit but we can blow millions of dollars worth of fireworks into the sky on New Years and Australia Day.

The partying and self indulgence seems endless with massive amounts of public and private money available for the ultimate in distraction arenas, footy, cricket and sports grounds and of course the poker machine rooms......

I am the culmination of all those who have been before. I carry within me their experience, their knowledge. I have inherited tiredness from their battle and a quiet desperation deep inside, one that taunts me with the possibility that all they achieved was a deferral, a 'putting off' for another day, that which we will ignorantly stumble towards......

Where are the university students, the radicals who have a passion for changing the world, spurred on by lyrics and poetry, history and art? ......

When corporate ideology becomes main-stream, as it has on a number of occasions in our history, the consequences are usually devastating.

For those with a passion for the arts, the choice is stark. Lead a life of marginalization or apply for a Federal or State Government Grant. The latter ensures that any potential dissent, independent or creative thought is subtly muted. After all, who would dare bite the hand that feeds it? These grants are 'marketed' under the guise of a caring and interested government doing its bit to bring us culture, as long as that culture falls within predetermined 'corporate' guidelines.

It is not hard to imagine the chorus of disapproval emanating from the right of politics at these thoughts. As a thinker with a desire for participation in debate, I am conscious of the limits that the Left versus Right arguments place on our ability to think creatively. These now tired and out of date perspectives reduce the debate to the equivalence of a footy game with camps forming over 'who' is right and 'who' is wrong. It steals the debate, narrowing our thoughts towards habitual constructs that leave no room for fresh perspectives.....

Left and right politics are human constructs, nothing more nothing less. They are not laid in stone; they can be challenged, changed, improved or removed. The only limits that exist in this process are the one’s we place on them, through our habits and fears. Engaging our youth in the assessment and suitability of these constructs, openly, honestly and with a genuine desire to learn from their input would surely be a good start. Instead we 'channel' them, like we have with so many before, into the very same bi-polar views.

More here

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