2011 April 18, Monday

WARNING: This is a nasty piece. The mentality of liberalism in the twenty-first century is presented here as a malignancy without any sugar coating. (Liberalism itself is nasty and malignant as well, but this is about the mentality of its adherents.) Any of the four categories of liberal believers presented here is likely to find this an annoying essay.
     It's Passover time again and we have four questions and four types of children, so it's seasonally appropriate that we classify the four types of economic liberals in twenty-first-century America. These are emotional, wrong goals, wrong methods, and real monsters. I believe I haven't missed anybody here and I would like to know what reasoning, what attitudes, what viewpoints justify any liberal who isn't already covered here. (I don't need any feedback telling me I'm a bad person for wanting my country successful rather than liberal.)

     In a nutshell, liberal economics, as we approach it here, is the notion that the route to economic health and prosperity is through government, coercive agencies of collective action to direct wealth and wealth-producing activity in directions other than where people left to themselves would want it to go. That includes telling people what kind of work they're allowed to do, what products and services they're allowed to offer, what prices they can charge for their efforts, what they have to buy, and, in the extreme case we have today, actually taking money and stuff from some people without their consent and giving it to others.

     I'm not debating the correctness or validity of liberal economics. There are flourishing liberal societies out there. They may be pitifully impoverished compared to non-liberal societies where there have been comparisons, but their citizens and subjects seem reasonably happy with them. The United States was clearly and deliberately founded as an alternative to them, founded to respect those who reject liberal-economic philosophy.

     So whatever one may believe about what is right or wrong, it is as appropriate to impose left-wing, liberal economics on America as it is to cook a bacon-and-cheese omelet in an orthodox synagogue or to take all the crucifixes out of a church because they're idols. Desecration of a political ideology using its very freedom and democracy as a weapon against it is profane and evil, and I debate that point elsewhere in another web page. Here I'm only investigating why people would even want to pursue the ever-popular group-think of left-wing economic liberalism in the first place.



     The emotional impulse is often hard to resist. We see a child starving, he needs a meal, and it's hard to resist the impulse to take meals from people we don't see starving. We see pollution coming from a smokestack, we don't like dirty air, so it's hard to resist the impulse to make someplace else dirtier to clean up where we can see.

     In the emotional camp I put the party faithful, people who choose candidates the way they choose athletes to admire, by their choice of party or team. "I can't imagine myself voting for one of them." If you vote for the democrats and have never pulled the lever for a republican or libertarian, then you're probably one of these. (There are equally emotional conservatives and libertarians, but they didn't cost my country over one-quarter of its economic strength in the last four years, so I'm not worrying about them at the moment.)

     A. Emotional response generates gratuitous action. "We have to do something!" If the right thing is to let something run its course, the emotional favors doing the wrong thing over not doing it. The result is doing stupid things because these people can't believe things will take care of themselves better than they can take care of it.

     B. Emotional response tends to be shortsighted. "How can you let this situation continue?" They're looking for a quick fix to a visible problem rather than an even-handed approach looking at all angles or over a longer time horizon. The result is things get fixed in the short term with no attention to longer-range issues or unintended consequences.

     C. Emotional response elects demagogues. "We need somebody to take charge!" Once we accept the urgency of doing something, anything!, and fixing the shortest-term aspects of whatever hot-button issue is at risk, the natural solution is to put somebody strong in charge. Sometimes that strong somebody is himself a despot (Hitler), sometimes he's a nice-enough, well-intentioned fellow (Lenin) whose successor (Stalin) isn't so nice. Often the strong leader finds he enjoys the power trip and goes from bad to worse during his reign (Roosevelt ultimately putting Japanese-Americans in concentration camps). We find story after story of somebody elected on an important issue (getting out of war in southeast Asia or the middle east) and finding the leader elected for that purpose reneges on his promise while doing all the other bad things traded off for the hot issue.



     Political liberals in the United States in the 1960's (THEN) had reasonably-noble goals for their movement. Most of those have become conservative goals as twenty-first-century liberals (NOW) have perverted those goals into something different and not-so-noble.

     D. Liberals THEN believed in making poor people not-poor. Infusing lower-class America with an income stream, through jobs or welfare, was a critical part of making things better. Liberals NOW believe in making rich people not-rich. Unless you believe the world's total wealth is unchangeable (a really stupid idea) these two things are not the same at all. Since rich people are the ones who produce the wealth that makes poor people less poor, a liberal THEN wanted rich people to invest heartily in enterprise. Liberals NOW want rich people to give their wealth away or, better yet, to have it taken from them.

     E. Liberals THEN believed that opportunity should be equal for all independent of race or sex. The doors should be open to all and they should be equally open. Quotas for blacks and Jews were considered a terrible thing because they made discrimination a fundamental part of screening. Once they got in, it was up to them to make their own way and up to us not to get in their way. Liberals NOW favor quotas guaranteeing not opportunity, not a fair chance, but a prescribed outcome. It is left to the conservatives to advocate the now "racist" idea that every candidate applying for something have the same, fair, even, equal chance.

     F. Liberals THEN believed in people having choice in education. Learning is a good thing, even if it pisses some people off. If black people were going to get out of their ghettos, then they should ask and answer some hard questions. Bill Cosby made a movie "Lost, Stolen or Strayed" where he confronts both whites and blacks to recognize the American racial problem from both sides. NOW the questions he brought up are strictly off limits. Just go into a twenty-first-century college and ask a social-studies class if the disparity between whites and blacks in America (even after forty years of affirmative action) is genetic or environmental and watch the sparks fly! They won't be arguing the point, they'll be arguing that that question is completely off limits. Try asking if electric cars create more pollution because electricity comes from burning coal, same thing.

     G. Liberals THEN believed in using our planet wisely for humanity. We didn't want our rivers to catch fire or our landfills to overflow. We learned that we had to guard our clean air and water so we could have enough to eat and drink for 3500 million people on this planet. We needed heavy metals to build factories to make the things we like to have for our enjoyment, or for our survival. It was a human-centric viewpoint of taking care of Mother Earth. It was all about conserving resources and using them wisely. NOW we treat humans on the planet as alien visitors. Our environmental programs NOW tell our world's developing societies that they can't have what we have because there isn't enough to go around. I was told Al Gore justified flying in his jet by purchasing "carbon offsets" from India. I wonder which families in India had to forgo cooking their meals.

     A common theme to all of these is jealousy. Liberals NOW are incensed that somebody else is doing better than they are. They wrap their envy in generous-sounding rhetoric, but underneath it's no more than whining about somebody else's success.



     Let's say we genuinely believe in the right social changes, as opposed to the perversions in the chapter above. I would classify as "right" things like making poor people less poor, creating equal opportunity for all participants in public life, helping less-well-off people get needed medical care, and making this planet take good care of its human and non-human inhabitants now and in the future. Doing stupid things in the name of good causes is still stupid.

     H. If you have to force people to participate, then it's bad. "It's for their own good." No, it's not, it's for the good of the people selling the program, whatever it is.

     If 67 million people believe that a shared-health-care-cost program is a good idea, who's stopping them from forming their own mutual health care? We have mutual insurance companies like State Farm that work really well, why not do it that way? The only reason I can think of for conscripting the other 66 million people is that those people have 66 million livers and 132 million kidneys that would not be available without their participation. There's really no nice way to look at it, is there?

     The same applies for any other social program I can think of. "Is it so terrible to buy a kid breakfast?" If you go out and pay for it, then not at all. If it's paid for with another family's dinner, then YES.

     I. It's not generous to force Peter to pay Paul. "Conservatives are mean because they don't want to fund programs to help people." (I don't have any statistics, but I suspect conservatives give more to charitable causes than the liberals who devote their time, energy, and wealth to taking the wealth of conservatives.) Liberals say they are generous because they take the wealth others have worked hard to produce and give it to somebody else. Where and when I come from, that's called theft. It changes name when it's done on a national scale, but it's still a nasty thing to do.

     The same goes when the "pro-choice" people point fingers at people who don't want government to pay for abortions. I'm strongly in favor of people making their own choices including both the choice to have an abortion and the choice not to pay for somebody else's abortion. Shame on anybody who thinks my unwillingness to pay for somebody else's choice represents my lack of support for that choice.

     J. Anti-poverty programs produce more poverty. Having government try to fix poverty has only increased poverty. Funding single mothers means fathers have to leave their homes so their wives and girlfriends can get paid, not a good thing. Workers time their employment cycles to maximize their unemployment-insurance benefits. Regular, old-fashioned welfare has taken people out of the low-paying jobs that train them with skills they would otherwise use to get higher-paying jobs. (Liberals love to hate Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart hires 1.4 million people each year and pays them terribly-low wages with even-more-terrible benefits, but they teach those people basic work skills. 1.4 million people leave Wal-Mart each year for better jobs with better pay and better benefits where they can use the skills they learned at Wal-Mart. Is that a bad thing? Would these people be better off with a lifetime on welfare?)

     K. Anti-CO2 environmental actions produce more CO2. Here's the clincher. Even if you believe the global-warming hype I wrote about elsewhere, then what has the government done to solve the problem? Cash For Clunkers spent energy, mostly fossil-fuel energy, manufacturing a whole bunch of new cars while ethanol has been a CO2 disaster story in every way for its entire history. The electric-car movement substitutes coal for oil as fuel and is anybody looking at the energy and pollution issues of manufacturing solar cells and windmills? The government's history of environmental support hasn't been all bad, but it 's been more bad than good, and most of the success has been raising awareness and smoothing the way for individual action.

     Do you really want to base public policy on the ecology scares of the moment?

     L. Anti-racism programs produced more racial division. In 1964 the United States federal government passed the Civil Rights Act that institutionalized racial fairness at a significant level. By 1970 the same government passed laws that institutionalized racial discrimination at all levels for all time. "Affirmative Action," code for pandering to minority groups, has neither controls nor defined end conditions. Forty years later, just about any large organization in the United States has a community of credentialed-but-less-qualified blacks, hispanics, and women in its workforce or membership. Not only does this disparity exist, it is confirmed and blessed at all levels of government. How is it ever going to go away?



Why was the 2008 election so especially, extra divisive in the United States? Because the monsters came out from under the covers. I see 52% of the U.S. voters figuring a big shake-up was a grab-the-wealth opportunity. Besides being fun for the Obama-maniacs to run naked down the street breaking our windows, pissing on our carpets, and tearing up our furniture, they also grabbed our big-screen, plasma, color TVs and anything else they could carry for the Obama-nation. This time there was no right-issue to hide behind, no world war, no great depression, no Vietnam war, just a take-the-money-and-run attitude. It was ugly and we could all see the ugliness.
     Once we get past the wrong reasons, the wrong goals, and the wrong methods, let's take a look at who's actually steering the boat.

     The foxes soon learn whose henhouses they can watch. The old excuse for bigger government was war. If they could create fear or some outside enemy in their population, then they could get away with bigger government and more control. Business learned just how much they could cheat on their military contracts. I'm told the canned goods that went to Vietnam during the "conflict" had half the cans empty (with a wink and a nod) so the military would have to buy twice as much to feed our troops. More recently, in the mid-twentieth century, helping the poor became the new boondoggle. I remember numbers for the cost of welfare being several times the actual payouts, something like $25000 per year in tax money for each family of four on relief (at least $200,000 in today's money) when the median income in the United States was half of that. Where do you think that money went? More recently, environmental and social causes have become terrific opportunities for skimming cream off the public tax money stream. Having the foxes guarding the henhouse isn't a good way of ensuring hen safety.

     The stimulus packages that started in 2007 (when the democrats took over congress, I believe) bypassed any justification of spending. The first package was almost a trillion dollars and, I'll ask you this: Do you personally know of anything building American productivity that saw some of that money? Do you know any local factories down the road from where you live that got government money to build manufacturing infrastructure to create jobs? So far as I can tell, all that money, all those trillions of dollars, went straight from taxpayers to greed and graft and special-interest lobbies without the intermediate stage of trying to do some good along the way. Other countries take for granted this level of corruption, but I believe this was a breakthrough in evil for America.

     Whatever liberals were at some other time in American history, they have become monsters in recent times. Many liberals have their vision obscured by emotion, wrong goals, and wrong methods described above. The rest are well aware of the consequences of their politics, and it isn't helping the poor, cleaning the air, educating the ignorant, or racial equality. It's a power-grab with massive transfer of wealth from whomever they're not to whomever they are.

     There was a video that summed the whole attitude up. Right after the election, Peggy Joseph, a joyful citizen of the new America jumped for joy, Obama's gonna buy her gas, he's gonna pay her mortgage. Where do you think the wealth is coming from to pay for that? Is it possible somebody else's gas and mortgage money is going to pay those bills? No decent person could take such joy—Peggy is a monster.

     As I said earlier, let's say you honestly believe in a socialized health care program along with sixty million other Americans. Wouldn't you just join a club, kind of a health-care version of AAA? You join, you pay your dues, and you get your benefits with the cost of the unlucky spread over millions of luckier members. That's how mutual insurance companies like State Farm are formed. (When State Farm had a luckier-than-expected year with fewer claims, I even got a dividend cheque as my participation in their insurance is part ownership of the company. That's what a mutual insurance company is.) There's no reason I would think of requiring you to join AAA or to buy State Farm insurance. I might recommend it as a good thing for my friends to do, but I certainly would never compel others to join. Even if I could do that, I couldn't live with myself doing it. Somebody who knowingly chooses mandatory socialized health care over voluntary participation is a monster. If they're not in the first three chapters of this paper, then the reason to favor mandatory participation is to get our wealth and, perhaps more important, our organs. That's not so nice, is it?

     Okay, maybe you're a nice person (one of the first three chapters) and so are your liberal friends. Do you really think the people who spent billions of dollars to get into power on liberal platforms did it out of the goodness of their hearts? Eric Blair (under the pseudonym of "George Orwell") pointed out, "The object of power is power." Demagogues don't rise to power from nasty people, they rise to power from nice people doing nasty things without realizing it.

     Again, P.J. O'Roarke said it better than I can. "The whole idea of our government is this: If enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it."



     "Those who fight monsters should make damn sure they don't become one." (Law & Order: SVU)

     I believe each Obama vote in 2008 cost my country about one million dollars. (You may think it's worth that much to close Gitmo, to repeal the Patriot Act, to end the war in the middle east, and to stop torture in interrogations of prisoners, but that cost is still real. That cost is what I'm writing about here.) Think of that as about the same damage as backing your car over your neighbor's toddler in the driveway. Maybe it was an accident, maybe you didn't mean it, maybe the kid is really a brat, but it's still leaves the kid missing a limb and the world about a million dollars worse off, the combination of all the care he or she will need for his or her remaining sixty-plus years and his reduced quality of life missing a limb. Without the metaphor, Post-Obama America will be saddled with enormously more corruption, bureaucracy, and government spending for its next sixty-plus years. What would be a just settlement?

     There is a fair and just settlement available to us that would solve a host of political and economic problems. All we have to do is hunt down anybody who supported the Obama presidency and charge each of them $100,000 for each calendar year they set foot in the United States and continue such a tax until the entire U.S. federal debt is paid off. We can use the FBI and CIA to find who these people are. Maybe the NSA can help by snooping into e-mails and web pages. It's as constitutional as federal health care, federal education support, or even federal support of public radio.

     But, assuming we could pull of such a just scheme, what kind of people would we be to carry it out? We would, ourselves, have to become monsters. The beauty of our current liberalism is they can be self-serving monsters cloaked in self-righteous sanctimony pretending to be sanctity while we would know we were being terrible people to do the same sorts of things. And that's why such a plan would be unacceptable.

     In this essay I'm not offering any advice or prescriptions, only observation and judgment. The path to action starts by recognizing what our problems are. The second step on that path is figuring out how thing got that way. This web-page paper is about why people become liberals and how we should judge their behavior. You can draw your own conclusions.




If you like what you read here (as I do), then here are my other American-issues essays.

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