Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sycophancy Should Not Be a Resume Enhancer

"What’s really going on, I think, is that the nature of class war has changed. The old virus has mutated. The old social and political divisions have given way to two new classes — rather as on the trains. Those in economy are most of us, paying for the comforts of those in first class. And those in first class are the new political class — all those who owe their advancement and their security and their pensions and their privileges not to their backgrounds or their talents, or even necessarily their political parties, but to the state and our taxes."

Minette Marrin.

I think she is on to something and though this author is British and writing in reference to Britain the same phenomenon is reaching the shores of the United States. As Americans, we reject largely, the idea of nobility. Particularly special status granted by birth right or favor. We, largely, reject the notion of special status by way of unearned and undeserved privilege.

Yet, we can see it and sense it in the halls of our governments, in the schools of our communities and in the offices of our civic leaders. It is exactly the disgust we feel toward such a system that is fueling the tea party movements. Everyday, ordinary Americans, incidentally the people who have made this country the engine of the world, are recognizing that the world of the ivy leaguer and the VIP by name is worse off than the world would be if ran by Mr. and Mrs. Smith of Main Street. They also see that they are the people solely responsible for funding this orgy of incompetence sure to bring about heir own demise. They are funding their own destruction and they want it to stop.

Americans will entertain the notion of nobility only so far. They accept the movie stars and their offspring living lives of opulence. Maybe because of the knowledge that so many have come from nothing and so many never will enter that stratosphere. Maybe, too, because they receive something in return, diversion and entertainment. They also have a sort of schadenfreude when they see through the tabloid windows that all is not perfect in the lives of opulence. On some level, too, exists a knowledge that their wealth and prestige is earned through some control of the consumer. We choose whether to dish out ten bucks for the latest Brad Pitt box office release or to pay $17 for the Miley Cyrus t-shirt.

We also accept our Bill Gates and Steve Jobs model moguls. Largely self made men or women who won the lottery of life through determination, skill, smarts, timing, intuition and luck. People who, in turn, have brought us products or services that have revolutionized our lives for the better. Again, we got something out of the equation. Millions of others road their backs to lesser but still beyond their dreams standards of living.

However, these new elites -- we gain nothing from their self imposed status. They ride our backs to comfort and prestige. They do not create wealth. Rather, they destroy it. They do not elevate citizens or inspire them to higher levels. Rather, they encourage and institute policies that insure the citizen's own permanent mediocrity in the name of equality.

What is worse, they divide people. They pit one group against another against another to keep the ire and attention directed anywhere but at their own ineptitude and their own lack of greatness. Like bulldozers, they make their way through our society destroying and devaluing everything they come into contact with. They rouse the rabble and on the backs of the poor they claim to represent they ride their first class seats and make permanent offices in their ivory towers.

Like a bolshevik street fighter in the early 1900's, I watch as the public grows weary with the gluttony of the political class. Everyday, more would welcome watching this new nobility stripped of their positions of prestige and be forced to survive in a world where sycophancy is not a resume booster. The world most of us choose to live in.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Unity of an Economically Conservative Cause

Ron Paul gets a bad rap with conservatives. Mostly because he has a contingent of staunchly ideological supporters who are as equally malcontented as any leftist you will come across. Reading the rabid responses to Paul's victory in the CPAC poll told the story of the chasm that exists with conservatives today. We can nearly all agree on the things we do not want however we cannot come to a meeting of the minds on just what it is we do want.

Instead of , at least, reveling in the idea that people, particularly young people (it was pointed out on FOX this morning that the CPAC poll was influenced by a large number of people 25 and under) are open to the ideas of limited government, abolishing the Fed and the message of our Founding Fathers, posters on leading conservative message boards are throwing out adjectives such as mentally unstable, nuts, kook and whacko. Hardly inclusive talk that is looking for common ground to secure the leadership position in Washington come 2012.

Ron Paul is as clear a litmus test on limited government as we might get for a long time. He has a pro-freedom resume that is solid. Yet, we are told over and over again that he is not conservative because of his "only respond if attacked foreign policy". When did an interventionist foreign policy agreement become the litmus test for conservatism?

True, Paul does not understand radical Islam and the threat it poses to western civilization. Conservatives do not understand we are not going to save western civilization by fighting half hearted wars in countless foreign countries all while Islam proliferates in the capitals of Europe and American cities. Something has to give.

Ron Paul isn't going to win the GOP nomination, but he's bringing new, young fiscal conservatives to the cause. When they come to that cause rather than the leftist dogma they were steeped in from cradle to grave we need to embrace that hope. Not only American youths either. Young minds from Istanbul to Oslo are listening to his message and are hearing ideas they have never heard before. For all their lives they've been bathed in cheap Social-Democratic rhetoric and all of a sudden they have a man talking something that stirs them.

As conservatives of all stripes, we need to come together on the principles of liberty we can agree on. All the other stuff, we can work out later. We must understand this one salient point of history; no republic ever fell due to invasion or due to being conquered from outside. Every single republic, from the beginning, fell due to internal economic policy failures. It is for that reason alone, that Ron Paul cannot be dismissed, even for his other errors.

At this standing Barack Obama can not beat any single unified candidate in the 2012 general election. His 41% strongly disapprove numbers are largely irreversible. A single unified fiscally sound and conservative candidate is unbeatable. The trick is keeping our marriage of convenience together and not slipping into 1992 Perot style defeat. The times are too serious and the stakes too high.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Help Wanted: President of the United States of America

Coming off the wire from AP today is the announcement that Obama's advisors, in reaction to criticism that he is no longer connecting with the milk cows (that would be us), is reverting back to :

-- More direct rapid response to criticism....

-- More events at which the president speaks directly to the public without the filter of the media...

-- Carefully choreographed interactions with the press. Unlike news conferences that are unscripted and can cover many topics and put reporters in competition with the president for the spotlight, the Obama team is trying to place a premium on its media interactions. (taken from AP article via Fox News Link)

I had to check the calendar. Groundhog Day was a few weeks ago, wasn't it? I was not aware we ever left "campaign mode" so how is it he is retreating back to it? Are we going into "campaign mode" on steroids? It is times like these I am thankful to be out of the country. I rarely have to withstand his appearances.

All this in the same 24 hour news cycle where Al Gore makes his reappearance reaffirming that all things climate are "worse than we thought". It might lead one to conclude that all the leftist indoctrination centers where these folks cut their teeth are only focused on the gaining of power. Things kind of fall apart for them with the actual governing once in power or once things are looking to be going their way. It seems they've only mastered "Down For the Struggle 101" and "Getting the Masses All Hopped Up on Class Envy".

I wish I knew which of his advisors was telling him, "Yeah, we agree with you, it isn't your policies, it's just the fact that the guy who lost his job ten months ago and is losing his house has not really heard your message. Once you can convince him that change is hard and he is just the cannon fodder for this sort of change, he'll get it"

What is telling is that Obama does not perceive himself as doing anything wrong. He thinks he is just saying it wrong. Somehow, he feels, he can convince us. Just like with Iran or jockeying for the Olympics, Obama believes his mere presence solves problems. That is why he feels the need to go to the American people without the filter of the media. Which, incidentally, was exactly what George W. Bush needed to do. It is exactly what Obama does not need to do.

I reckon the American public has seen enough Obama to last them a long good while.

Most of the Americans who do not embrace socialism see him for exactly what he is, an old school radical socialist with the ideals of a 19 year old university student. You have to wonder, does he have one competent advisor to tell him, "Campaign time is over, these are serious times. It is time to lead"?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hate To Say We Told You So

Ah jeez, no one saw this one coming. The New York Daily News (Link) reported yesterday that Obama is now "agnostic" on possible tax hikes for households making less than $250,000 a year. The poll on the page shows 81% of readers think it is a terrible idea. I wonder how many of them voted for Obama? Perhaps, it is a great idea. We should all share in the misery of Obamonamics equally, especially people who voted for it. Maybe then, a few more eyes will open a more will see just how far down the road to serfdom they are.

To those who voted for Obama and believed he was not going to raise their taxes, point you to the ever reassuring and motivating advice of Michelle Obama on Good Morning America earlier this week, "Change is hard, no one said it was going to be easy." (That's Obamafamilyspeak for "let them eat cake"). Hmmm, maybe that is why the kids are all so fat, so much Obamanomics cake. See youtube video at about 3:14 mark Link

Obama is quoted as saying, "The whole point of it is to make sure that all ideas are on the table. So what I want to do is to be completely agnostic, in terms of solutions." Have you ever come across a leftist who had any other solution than raising taxes? Just look to Greece and California, hanging by a thread over the cliff, and the state's only solution in both instances is "raise more taxes". It is like believing the cure to your lung cancer is smoking five packs of Camels a day rather than undergoing surgery and chemotherapy.

No, it is worse than that. It is like just being diagnosed with lung cancer and visiting a ward of people on their death beds who tried the 5 packs of Camels a day treatment and then visiting people who have survived lung cancer by using surgery and chemotherapy and still saying, "You know, I think I am going to go with the Camels route, it's never worked before". It is just that crazy,

Let us contrast agnostic Obama with campaign trail Obama on September 12, 2008 in Dover, New Hampshire: “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” How many times did he repeat that? Hundreds, easily.

Obama is finding out what we have known all along. The herd is a bit thin at the 250k and above mark. Oh, and we told you so.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ich Bin Ein Lemming

Imagine it is about 1924 in the new Soviet Russian Ukraine and for analogy purposes we have the technologies we have today. Imagine again, for analogy purposes, a tractor company airing an ad that shows Ukrainian and Russian citizens being visited by the "collectivization police". (admittedly, this is asking for a lot of poetic license as there would be no advertising, tractors, televisions or disposable income to support such endeavors in the Soviet Union, but bear with me) Images might be shown of people helping the Ukrainian farmers, farming their own plots of land or tending to their livestock. The "collectivization police" would be shown harassing, roughing up and inspecting the people thought to be engaging in these acts. Incidentally, all three of these examples were deemed illegal in the Soviet Ukraine in the mid to late 1930s by Josef Stalin.

The commercial might then show the Kulaks (displaced Ukrainian farmers) living "special settlements" in the wilderness of Siberia or working on the collectivists farms and the "collectivism police" then happily interacting with the rest of the population who were not considered "enemies of the people". The message, subtle, resistance is futile. Just comply.

Looking back, would we have found humor in the prophetic ad? For satire to work there must be an element of truth and this hit right on the nerve. I fully understand the extent to which the green movement wants to go, not to save the environment, but to nourish their pathology. I have talked to "progressives" who would have no problem with a representative of the federal government coming into your home for an “energy” audit. These people and their useful idiot supporters would welcome the Green Police. I have little doubt enough of them would welcome "green" punishments too.

Ofcourse I am writing in reference to the now highly talked about Audi Superbowl ad. It was a great ad. Albeit, a little disturbing coming from a German carmaker though I am sure the concept materialized on 5th Avenue and not the Unter den Linden. It was for all intents and purpose a brilliant ad that more than accomplished it's mission. It has people talking and thinking. I just wish it ended a little differently.

We were left with the final message that depicted tacit acceptance of green fascism. The message: you need to buy a eco friendly car to avoid getting hassled by the government but it doesn't have to be a goofy golf cart. Look, it can be an Audi! A sort of Neville Chamberlain like approach to fascism.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sign of the Decline

News broke last year informing the residents of Phoenix that we were now living in the kidnapping capital of the country. Though it had reached a small decline in 2009, the Valley of the Sun had reached a 10-year high in 2008 with 359 kidnappings. Authorities were quick to try and relieve fears by insisting most kidnappings were related to the drug cartels. However, the metro are was seeing a sharp increase in abductions for the purpose of child prostitution and what is termed as "express kidnappings". "Express kidnappings" are abductions in which victims are held for a short time and either used to extort money from family members or forced to deduct money from their bank accounts.

I do not know what is more disturbing the idea that it is happening or the idea that we are adding slang language to our lexicon to describe these acts. This is how the decline into the third world happens. Not with a single cataclysmic event but with a slow trickle of rot and ruin. Suddenly, we have all adapted.

I would even venture to say if we go third world, the term third world leaves the lexicon. It just becomes the way things are. For the whole world.

Large healthy middle classes are what provide for stability. A country can handle a certain number of very poor people but not a majority. That means the hard working but not overly educated or especially brilliant guy gets to have a decent enough job that gives him something to care about.

The important class is the middle class. All third world countries have a small wealthy class and a vast poverty class. Mexico for example is one of the world's wealthiest nations. The rich class is small but extremely wealthy and decadent. There is a tiny middle class. The majority are very, very poor. Poverty leads to desperation. All the child labor laws in the world will not stop a hungry, amoral and ambitious sort to sell off a mouth that they can not feed. Or conversely to nab one off the street to make a few thousand dollars.

Often making the Argentine analogy, I think it is important to point out that Argentina was once on the trajectory to be like the United States. European immigrants, often times, were torn between choosing the United States or Argentina. It was the world's tenth wealthiest nation in 1915. That should be where the similarities end.

The decline was not sudden as many would lead you to believe. It was a slow death brought on by decadence of ruling European blood lined elites, welfare statism and the borrowing, spending, printing and debt to pay for those welfare statist promises.

I follow the Surviving in Argentina blog with some degree of regularity and I was disturbed to see his February 5th posting was titled Kidnappings in the USA: How to Prepare for Them. Link. He gives the warning that "how suddenly, things that supposedly didn’t happen anymore, like kidnappings, well they do."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Obama Fatigue, Liberty and Political Transformations-Not Necessarily Related

I am finding myself suffering from Obama fatigue or even just sheer government idiocy fatigue. After watching the State of the Union Address, it appears Obama is poised to continue off the cliff. The only real question remains how many of us he succeeds in taking with him, how much of his agenda can be blunted and what exactly will happen in the 2010 elections. Until then, it is a watching and waiting game. Hoping also. Hoping that enough Americans awake and embrace liberty. But it seems the further one is from true liberty the less they know it's true meaning or can even envision what it would look like in it's practical form.

If liberty were to come, there is even the gamble that many would reject it in it's whole.

Some time ago, I read a piece by Solzhentsyn in which he said many people in this country believed their carefree life would continue on forever, unabated, no matter what they did. It was a keen observation. The way they were raised by parents in a country of unprecedented comfort and wealth that spoiled them. Not only their way of life but an improvement of it was a conditioned expectation. In reality, freedom can not survive irresponsibility.

Socialism and big government foster that irresponsibility. Socialism is an ideology wherein everyone owns each other, but, ultimately, nobody owns themselves. Everyone is owned by a coalition of resentful busibodies, leeches, incompetents, and demagogues. However, the idea of not owning one's self is attractive especially if they are free to engage in vice. Vice is then repackaged as a substitute for freedom.

I would guess it holds true that many conservatives or libertarians can admit to once being more socialist in nature. Growing up in upstate New York I was always intuitively more conservative than nearly anyone I encountered. That being said, the tide all around me was so low, that all things relative, my beliefs were pretty statist, looking back. My first tour of living in Europe cured me of any leftward idealists thoughts I might have. I saw first hand the discrepancy between our lives and what, in reality, was another of the "richest" nations lives. There was no comparison and the backwardness of their societies was palpable.

My abject fear of ever having such a society foisted upon us made me more nationalist, certainly jingoistic. Having the luxury of time I was able to ferret out the differences and feel out the small day to day nuances. For instance, watching as a man refused to move simple box 100 feet because moving boxes was not in his contract was a one day cure-all for any union sympathies I might have had. Also watching my neighbor take a full six weeks off of work for hay fever as he spent his days reading the paper and taking every meal out in his garden was another memorable eye opening observation. Observing human nature as it was, not as I wanted to believe it should be, was key in understanding the failures of collectivism.

As it is, no one talked me out of socialism. Like most, I had children, got a mortgage and saw how confiscatory it was to the typical family. Realistically, it took years to go from "talking point repeating drone" to conservative. Even still my political awareness is evolving. I am still recognizing the places where I accept the premise of an authoritarian big government. The places where, I myself, may reject liberty.