February 28th, 2009

Class war: welcome to dinner at the égalité cafe

I’ve noticed a trend in comments by some Obama supporters on several other websites lately: Bring it on!, they say.

What are they seeking? Class warfare. The accusation from many conservatives and Republicans that Obama’s actions and rhetoric are fomenting more acrimonious division between the working classes and the wealthy isn’t being resisted by many of these commenters. Instead, it is embraced.

The tone is of seething resentment coupled with triumphant revenge—they screwed me, now I’ll screw them, cause it’s payback time.

This will give a flavor of the sort of thing we’re talking about:

I love the smell…of class warfare in the morning. It smells like victory!

And this is one of the most extreme statements of the impulse:

I don’t want anybody tending bar unless they or their parents own it. I want even rich people to have to cook for and clean up after themselves. I want a minimum wage large enough to make the service economy unmanagable. I want people busy creating real wealth and getting to share in it. I want a social safety net, including universal health care, good anough that employers can’t keep worker hostage in dead end jobs that they hate at low pay just so they can go to the doctor if they get sick. I want the American dream as Lincoln defined it, where a man can apprentice, learn a skill, buy his own tools and eventually compete with his master. And since they’ve been robbing us for lifetimes now I want the owning class robbed rigth back to pay for it.

How does Obama figure into this? After all, he isn’t responsible for the bile of a bunch of angry commenters on some websites. And who knows how widespread this phenomenon is, anyway? But if my perceptions are any guide, it appears to be on the increase.

Whatever led these people to this peak of pique has probably been a long time coming. The feeling has been fed by decades of maceration in the idea that life is supposed to be fair and that fairness equals equality; that people are entitled to do well financially; that it’s a zero-sum game in which, if your neighbor is doing better than you are, then he/she is taking something away from you; that economic downturns are always the fault of the rich doing something underhanded and crooked; and that taking it out on the rich will benefit the rest of us. And, of course, there are the very real abuses that have been committed by some of the captains of industry and finance.

Obama’s speeches and policies stoke the fires of that anger, a fact of which I believe he is absolutely aware. In his recent speech to Congress he made the division crystal clear. Here are some quotes that illustrate this (my interpolations and comments are in brackets and in bold):

A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future [ forgetting the idea that the wealthy often invest that money in the future, in new businesses that employ people who are not rich and that help grow the economy for everyone)...People bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway [ignoring the seminal role of liberals and Democrats in pushing these very loans on those banks and lenders]…

I will not send—I will not spend a single penny for the purpose of rewarding a single Wall Street executive, but I will do whatever it takes to help the small business that can’t pay its workers, or the family that has saved and still can’t get a mortgage [fostering that perception of a division between the bad and the good, the guilty rich and the innocent poor]…

In order to save our children from a future of debt [a substantial part of which is the result of the stimulus bill Obama has championed and Congress passed, loaded with non-stimulating goodies for Democratic constintuencies] we will also end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Now, let me be clear—let me be absolutely clear, because I know you’ll end up hearing some of the same claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people: If your family earns less than $250,000 a year—a quarter million dollars a year—you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: Not one single dime. Not a dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut—that’s right, a tax cut—for 95 percent of working families. And by the way, these checks are on the way. [There is great deal of emphasis on the division between the two groups here. The haves will finally be paying the have-nots and the have-lesses, and economic redistributive justice will be served.]…

I think of Leonard Abess, a bank president from Miami who reportedly cashed out of his company, took a $60 million bonus, and gave it out to all 399 people who worked for him, plus another 72 who used to work for him. He didn’t tell anyone, but when the local newspaper found out, he simply said, “I knew some of these people since I was seven years old. It didn’t feel right getting the money myself.” [The only good banker is a redistributive banker. Note that he gives the money to the people as a grant/largesse, rather than using it to start a new company or to employ them in jobs in some ongoing concern that will contribute more in the long run to growing the economy.]

These are not rabble-rousing sentiments. There’s no call to storm the Bastille, or to do away with royalty. But despite the lip service that Obama gives (towards the beginning of his speech) to pulling together, and to the importance of the entreprenurial imagination, it is clear that he is subtly equating the rich with an exploitative nobility whose actions do not benefit the nation, and who must be taken down a peg or two—or three or four or more. Those CEOs with their “fancy drapes” and private jets are the enemy, and Obama says their days of luxury are over. The idea that people work to get rich and enjoy the fruits of their labor, and that this is not a bad thing as long as they are not breaking laws and/or defrauding the stockholders, is nowhere to be heard.

Some of the angry commenters I quoted above sound a bit like the leaders of the French Revolution, whose slogan was “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, brotherhood). Here’s some pertinent historic perspective on how the idea of equality changed over time for the French. Initially, it was defined in a way similar to the way our founding fathers looked on it: equality of opportunity. In the Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1789, it is described thusly:

[The law] must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, shall be equally eligible to all high offices, public positions and employments, according to their ability, and without other distinction than that of their virtues and talents.

But that changed in France rather soon:

This identification of liberty and equality became problematic during the Jacobin period, when equality was redefined (for instance by Babeuf) as equality of results, and not only judicial equality of rights. Thus, Baudot considered that French temperament inclined rather to equality than liberty, a theme which would be re-used by Roederer and Tocqueville, while Necker considered that an equal society could only be found on coercion.

And coercion there was, if you look at the Jacobin’s most dreadful project, the Reign of Terror. We’re not there yet, and I hope we never will be—our “temperament” seems (at least until now) to be inclined more to liberty, and to equality of opportunity rather than outcome. But there’s quite a bit of fulminating rage out there, and enough people who would probably applaud the public guillotining of a few CEOs.

Of course, anyone guilty of a crime should go to prison—I am as incensed as anyone at Bernard Madoff, for example, and hope that justice comes to him sooner rather than later. But making a lot of money is no crime, and no one should be hated for it—that would be the politics of envy rather than reason. Obama’s refusal to acknowledge the following—and to say it clearly and loudly when he is addressing the American people—is definitely part of the problem:

[W]ho are the people out there today with the cash—and confidence—to spend? Most often they are people and families with earnings ranked in the top echelons and who will be subject to the Obama tax hike.

If I were a rich man—or woman (Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum)—I wouldn’t feel encouraged by Obama to invest in a new business or grow the one I already had. I would also feel unfairly characterised as an automatic exploiter of others rather than a hard-working American doing my bit to better myself and to add wealth to the economy as a whole.

That’s not a feeling that’s going to foster our financial recovery, or our “pulling together.” It’s more like this:

“It’s increasingly beginning to look like we’ve all been invited to the dinner, but some of us are showing up as the main course and others are the invited guests,” said Martin Regalia, the chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has supported Obama’s economic recovery programs.

And cake is nowhere to be found on the menu.

[ADDENDUM: Larry Kudlow agrees that it's war.]

80 Responses to “Class war: welcome to dinner at the égalité cafe”

  1. gcotharn Says:

    “Maceration”!! This is a fun blog.

    “maceration in the idea that life is supposed to be fair and that fairness equals equality” = nice

  2. bill Says:

    I don’t agree with you, but I do like the way that you write. You make your points well.

    Class warfare? Not all of us Obamaniacs want that.

  3. Oblio Says:

    “He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. And that was all his patrimony.”

    –Sabatini

    We kept the Revolution at bay for 30 years. We said that the Democrats and Mr. Obama were not the “moderates” they claimed to be.

    I want to take the Obama voters and shake them and say, “So you bring down the mighty from their seat. So you feel better. Then what? What comes next?” And answer there will be none.

    Or they might repeat some pious Utopian platitudes; to which I would respond:

    1. Socialism has no sustainable ethical foundation;

    2. Socialism requires belief in patterns of behavior that are contrary to nature;

    3. Socialism cannot accommodate the dynamics of complex adaptive systems.

    As a result, socialist regimes inevitably stifle growth, innovation and opportunity; stimulate corruption; eventually require tyrannical coercion; and usually result in misery and murder.

    There is a reason why “Thou shalt not covet” is in the Decalogue. Nothing is more human, or more destructive to society.

    Great post, Neo. This is the Big Story.

  4. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Considering this line of thought, I think it may be time for more people to get acquainted with J. L. Talmon’s 1960 book about what he called “messianic democracy,” titled “The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy,” in which he focused on the French Revolution, and discussed how leftist ideologues who believed only they really knew what was best for “the people” decided that their goals were so worthy that they could let nothing and no one stand in their way, even if it meant destroying/killing their opponents, or those who were insufficiently supportive of their goals: these leftist ideologues knew what “freedom” was, and they were going to “force people to be free” for their own good.

    Is this starting to sound familiar?

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    bill: Thanks for the compliment. But I tried to make it clear that not all Obama supporters want class warfare. I doubt it’s anywhere near a majority, even.

    It’s a minority. But a dangerous one, and one that may indeed become larger if Obama’s rhetoric doesn’t change.

  6. renminbi Says:

    Japan tried the same kind of stimulus Barack Mugabe is pushing and it did not go well for them;it won’t work better for us.Look for double digit unemployment and a slow recovery until this lot is voted out.

    It is a mistake to allow those who don’t pay taxes to vote-losers shoudn’t be able to ask the gov’t to pick the pockets of the productive.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Wolla Dalbo: When I was looking up the Reign of Terror just now I discovered that, although many of the guillotined were leaders and aristocrats, the majority of them were peasants and workers who’d been informed on by their peers. Sort of like the Soviet Union.

  8. huxley Says:

    My favorite tidbit from the French Revolution: the trials, denunciations, and executions were supervised by the Committee for Public Safety.

  9. huxley Says:

    In the dark days of 2006 some progressives, at the suggestion of writer Ann Lamott, wished to express their dissatisfaction with the evil Bush administration by declaring the need for revolution, specifically something like the French Revolution. They would wear green ribbons in public places on July 14, Bastille Day.

    What a great revolution to emulate! It turned out so much better than July 4th.

    Yes, some number of progressives really do think that way.

  10. Rose Says:

    I’m seeing and hearing the same thing around here – it is rhetoric with almost no basis in reality, no thought given to real life dynamics or consequences. It’s mental gymnastics – no, it is a bravado-like warfare mentality. Obama feeds it because it keeps his devotees ginned up.

    But hating the wealthy comes down to the same old Bush/Republican-hate – the tell and the disconnect is the refusal to add the Kennedy’s, John Kerry, Soros and now Warren Buffet into the “rich” mix. It seems anyone who gives them money is exempt from the hate.

  11. Perfected democrat Says:

    This is starting to look like a slow motion financial 9-11 or Mumbai attack, the more they are able to get away with, the faster they are operating. They are orchestrating a campaign which, under current circumstances and if events were rational, would be evolving over a period of at least two to 8 years. But the pace of press releases and new “programs” is becoming a daily blitzkrieg which is leaving people stunned and unable to react. Now we’re hearing about the deal with China, http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0f8_1235673139. This isn’t just class war, it really is starting to look more like a coup d’etat.

  12. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Neo—Unfortunately, I saw what I think is going to unfold as the Obama administration takes hold quite a while ago, perhaps most clearly when Obama inserted his little two sentence addition in his prepared speech about “Service” several months ago; two lines in which he called for a “Civilian National Security Force,” one, he proposed, to be as large and as well funded as our current military.
    This was little noted by the MSM—the WaPo, for instance, just printed the text of the speech as prepared, not as delivered, and thus avoided mentioning this bizarre and telling addition at all– and, if noted, just blown off, but it certainly rang all sorts of alarm bells for me. If this doesn’t conjure up echoes of Hitler and his road to the total mobilization of the German state, Mussolini and his Facisti, I don’t know what does.

  13. Perfected democrat Says:

    Sorry, if the above link didn’t display correctly, here it is, copied from LiveLink.com:

    Feds grant eminent domain as collateral to China for US debts.

    CLOSE [X] 060
    February 26, 2009
    FEDS GRANT EMINENT DOMAIN AS COLLATERAL TO CHINA FOR U.S. DEBTS!
    Beijing, China — Sources at the United States Embassy in Beijing China have just CONFIRMED to me that the United States of America has tendered to China a written agreement which grants to the People’s Republic of China, an option to exercise Eminent Domain within the USA, as collateral for China’s continu More..ed purchase of US Treasury Notes and existing US Currency reserves!

    The written agreement was brought to Beijing by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and was formalized and agreed-to during her recent trip to China.

    This means that in the event the US Government defaults on its financial obligations to China, the Communist Government of China would be permitted to physically take — inside the USA — land, buildings, factories, perhaps even entire cities – to satisfy the financial obligations of the US government.

    Put simply, the feds have now actually mortgaged the physical land and property of all citizens and businesses in the United States. They have given to a foreign power, their Constitutional power to “take” all of our property, as actual collateral for continued Chinese funding of US deficit spending and the continued carrying of US national debt.

    This is an unimaginable betrayal of every man, woman and child in the USA. An outrage worthy of violent overthrow.

    I am endeavoring to obtain images or copies of the actual document but in the interim, several different sources both in the US and in China have CONFIRMED this to me.”

    More details as they become available. . . . . spread the word ASAP.
    Less..

  14. Perfected democrat Says:

    Sorry again, it’s LifeLeak.com

  15. Perfected democrat Says:

    It is: LiveLeak.com ….. Sorry Neo, I give up for the afternoon…..

  16. Tim P Says:

    Neo,

    Interesting post. I’d like to add a few random thoughts.

    For a candidate who’s main themes were hope & change, we have seem him utter precious little hope since the election. You and others (even Bill Clinton) have commented on this already.

    I also think that Obama’s rhetoric, so far has been exacerbating the situation.

    I am of two minds as to why.
    On the one hand I think that Obama and his administration, along with the new democratic congress really are that out of touch, stupid & corrupt. They fail to grasp the seriousness of the situation. Or…
    On the other hand, Obama or who ever the real power behind him is, is engaged in using this crisis to fundamentally restucture our government towards a more centralized and socialized looking model.

    In either case, I think that we are on the brink of a major change of the post WWII geo-political and financial structure and nobody really knows how to deal with it.

    (Just for grins add the factors of the collapsing birthrates in Europe and Russia and the Islamic-ization(sp?) of Europe. The required pressure in China for continued economic growth to prevent massive social unrest.)

    That being said, while there may be hate filled bile emanating from certain factions on the left, that is nothing new. Blowhards and cafe critics. What was new (IMHO) was the massive con-job that the democrats and the MSM (as well as groups like ACORN) were able to pull off to put themselves in this position.

    Since then there have been rumblings from the left to perpetuate their lock on power.
    For instance, the talk of reviving the ‘fairness doctrine & net-neutrality in some new guise. Also the effort to renew the assault weapons ban under the lame excuse that the Mexican gangsters are all buying their guns here. Also the effort to wrest control of the census in 2010 and control it from the White House. The numerous radical left appointments to key positions within the administration. I liken it to a soft coup to roll back the rightward trend of the citizenry for the last 30 years.

    The other new wrinkle is the awakening right-center middle class, e.g. the ‘tea parties.’ This is something the left should fear because when fully awakened, they will sweep the leftists into irrelevancy.

    Another disturbing trend we are also seeing are signs of politicization within our armed forces. So far two active duty officers are involved in a lawsuit to uncover Obama’s birth records. Their reasons are because they have doubts about his eligibility to be president. This is the first time in my life (McArthur defying Truman was a couple of years before I was born). If the politicization of the military grows, it is most troubling.

    Given all of these contending groups and agendas and the shake up that’s in the process from the death of the old order, it will take a masterful politician, indeed leader to guide us through these troubled times.

    I don’t pretend to have a clue about what the future holds and the thoughts expressed above are only my opinion. However, so far the only thing I have seen from Obama, his administration and the democratic majority is the will to exploit this crisis to ram through their progressive agenda and pork payola to those who supported them. Very little will actually go to so called economic stimulation.

    What I’m seeing and my gut tell me that the actions taken so far will not help us and things will get worse, much worse. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not betting on it. This administration seems to be in the process of squandering our last chance to avert an out of control slide from a crisis into a catastrophe, as our man Obama likes to say, while we all squabble over who’s to blame.

    The underlying causes in contention seem to be the rights of the individual against governments (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, sanctity of property rights and contracts, etc.) versus the governments need to curtail those individual rights to maintain social control.

    As things get worse there will be unrest, possibly like we haven’t seen in our life times, domestically anyway.

    All in all, it seem to me that we are in a position similar to 1914. The golden afternoon of the old order prior to the great cataclysm that will sweep it away and bring who knows what.

    Man, I’m in a down mood today and I hope I can look back on this in a year or two and laugh at myself for being so pessimistic. That’s not how I’m feeling now though, as I watch events unfold.

  17. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Perfected democrat–I agree.

    Obama and his allies in the MSM create and continually stoke a crisis atmosphere, and in this crisis atmosphere Obama front loads a succession of bills and proposals of enormous scope and effect and the Democrats–in control of both houses of Congress–ram the bills through Congress at such a pace that there is no time to read, much less adequately study or debate each bill. I note, for instance, Democrats failure to put up on the Internet– as promised–a Pdf copy of the 1,000 page stimulus bill so that Republicans could search it and study it before the vote.

    We are being Blitzed, and we will likely wake up a few months from now to discover that, in effect, a coup d’etat has taken place.

  18. Rick Says:

    Many years ago I read a quote from Churchill that has stuck with me ever since:

    “The inherent sin of capitalism is the unequal sharing of wealth, and the inherent sin of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”

    I will add another that I got from a colleague this week: the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.

  19. Artfldgr Says:

    neo, great post… nothing for me to add..

    and for Perfected democrat, i posted the eminent domain thing in the prior thread. as i said they are working quickly to put the last things in place before we can figure things out.

  20. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Tom P–As an indicator of where a lot of people have a gut feeling this thing is going, I offer the fact that sales of weapons and ammunition have gone through the roof all over the country in the last several months.

    For example, a recent trip to a gun shop in the Virgina suburbs revealed a few boxes of ammo on shelves that used to be crammed with ammo, and a wall and racks that used to contain various long arms–perhaps 50-100 weapons total– that were completely bare.

  21. Tom Says:

    We are indeed in the grips of the tyranny of the 53% majority. America is being undone.

    I hope the Tea Party movement is not a flash in the pan, but that its units coalesce into a dynamic whole. The politization of the armed forces may be a good thing, if by that is meant they will do what it takes to defend the survival of the pre-Hussein Republic. How else are we going to extract ourselves from the tsunami of Hussein and his minions? The ballot box approach has been lost: You can kiss only moderately fraudulent elections goodbye.

    Obama=Chavez. Are you beginning to agree, Neo?

  22. expat Says:

    Obama didn’t seem to mind the rich so much when they were useful. Didn’t he do some gerrymandering to get the moneyed folks from the Loop into his district in Illinois? Penny Pritzker, the poor waif, seems to have been useful to him. And Rezko was just another Joe the Plumber fixing up apartment buildings when he and Obama got to know one another. There is not a shady dealer in his entire circle of friends. He is class baiting for sure, and the poor victims will fall for it, as will the ethnic and women’s studies grads who can’t get a job commensurate with their carefully cultivated self esteem.

  23. Occam's Beard Says:

    I want a social safety net, including universal health care, good anough that employers can’t keep worker hostage in dead end jobs that they hate at low pay just so they can go to the doctor if they get sick. …And since they’ve been robbing us for lifetimes now I want the owning class robbed rigth back to pay for it.

    Do you suppose the author of those sentiments happens to know any workers [kept] hostage in dead end jobs that they hate at low pay [sic]? Sounds like Starbucks has an HR problem.

    But this guy’s comment raises a curious fact: you never hear the winners complaining.

  24. Occam's Beard Says:

    The amazing thing is that Democrats have managed to position Republicans as the party of the obscenely rich. How did they do this?

    As pointed out above, it’s pretty hard to cast the Pritzkers, the Soros’s, the Kennedys, the Kerrys, the Peter Lewis’s, the Hollywood celebs, and the rock stars as the downtrodden working poor.

  25. SteveH Says:

    I think it is the actual fact of being dependent on others that drives this machine of class envy.

    The way we can tell is by noting the correllation of increased wealth redistribution with increased angst and rage.

    We’ve spent trillions since 1965 alone to fix financial inequities, when the inequity problem has been one of life potentials being thwarted by freely chosen and destructive world views.

    Money can’t fix that.

  26. Perfected democrat Says:

    Right you are Art, a day or so, and several hundred pages later… I doubt that the MSM, except maybe for Hannity, will enough report it.

    “…the ethnic and women’s studies grads who can’t get a job commensurate with their carefully cultivated self esteem.”

    Funniest line of the day!

  27. Oldflyer Says:

    Confirming what Wolla Dalbo said, I talked to a gun shop owner recently who told me that he cannot get product. There is a waiting list. I stopped by another outlet and the long guns shelf was completely bare and the hand guns were few and the prices were astronomical.

    I don’t know whether people are buying ahead of expected restrictions, or whether something else is in play. But, it is real.

    I considered buying a more capable home protection weapon before the election because I was apprehensive about what would happen if Obama LOST. Then it became apparent that I didn’t need to worry about that.

  28. Mr. Frank Says:

    This would be a good time to reread 1984.

  29. jon baker Says:

    The local Walmart here seems to be perpetually sold out of buck shot and slugs for 12 Gauges. There is however a lot of birdshot (7&1/2 and 8s) I have been told of purchases by the hundreds of dollars for ammo at a time when it does come in.

  30. jon baker Says:

    Tim P: “For instance, the talk of reviving the ‘fairness doctrine & net-neutrality in some new guise.”

    The Senate passed the “new guise” ie “localism”:

    http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/26/fairness-doctrine-on-the-senate-floor/

  31. kamper Says:

    It’s a bit surreal to read of your concern for the left’s supposed love of class warfare when the entire right wing blogosphere is filled with calls to stock up on guns and ammo for the coming race war. And that, by the way, would be a literal war, not the figurative war of which you speak.

  32. Occam's Beard Says:

    It’s a bit surreal to read of your concern for the left’s supposed love of class warfare when the entire right wing blogosphere is filled with calls to stock up on guns and ammo for the coming race war.

    The distinctions here, like the issues, have eluded you. Have someone explain them to you.

    Btw, who said anything about a race war – apart from you, that is?

  33. FredHjr Says:

    “It’s a bit surreal to read of your concern for the left’s supposed love of class warfare when the entire right wing blogosphere is filled with calls to stock up on guns and ammo for the coming race war. And that, by the way, would be a literal war, not the figurative war of which you speak.” thus sayyeth “Kamper”

    That entire statement is a lie. I don’t know anyone in my life calling for a “race war.” I have not read on any of the “right wing” blogs I participate in a summons to a “race war.” In lobbing that statement, you’ve just outed yourself as a dishonorable slanderer, which is pretty much par for the course among some elements of the collectivists’ end of the spectrum.

    Identify anyone on Neo’s board here who is calling for a “race war.” Put up OR SHUT UP.

  34. PA Cat Says:

    The feeling has been fed by decades of maceration in the idea that life is supposed to be fair

    Neo, do you perhaps mean “marination”? “Macerate” means to break down (as in the digestive tract), or tear or chop into bits. Sorry– it’s the editor in me.

  35. neo-neocon Says:

    PA Cat: dueling editors. I refer you here:

    Definition: This term means letting food, usually fruit, soak in a liquid to absorb flavor. Fruits are usually soaked in liqueurs. In other words, fruit that is marinated in liqueurs is being macerated.

    Also this:

    1. To make soft by soaking or steeping in a liquid.
    2. To separate into constituents by soaking.
    3. To cause to become lean, usually by starvation; emaciate.

    Mine is definition #1, yours is definition #2.

  36. FredHjr Says:

    Oblio stated it exactly as it must be stated in his 4:15 P.M. post. I could not have distilled it any better than he did:

    “1. Socialism has no sustainable ethical foundation;

    2. Socialism requires belief in patterns of behavior that are contrary to nature;

    3. Socialism cannot accommodate the dynamics of complex adaptive systems.”

    In 1977 I was a poor, financially struggling university student right out of the Army, who relied heavily on the G.I. Bill to fund my college education. Plus part-time work during school and full-time construction work during the summer. In the atmosphere of post-modern, cultural Marxism on campus, I was breathing in the ideas of the Frankfurt School Marxists. I was not at all an envious, grasping, materialistic kid. Did I want to better myself? Of course I did. But I never wanted to take it from others. But, I was a quiet, sensitive, and intellectual kid right out of the military who had somehow managed to retain most of my Roman Catholic Christian values and traditions. I was drawn to Marxism, but also cautious about how to appraise its prospects. I wanted to see if a few things could be done with it that would render it a possible template for a more humane society, and I was aware of the horrific outcomes that Marxism and socialism had previously dealt to history.

    I paid attention to the conservative critiques of socialism coming from a variety of sources, but most especially Michael Novak’s (he’s a traditional, Catholic theologian). I was drawn to Liberation Theology, and thought at the time that perhaps this could be a way to humanize and tame Marxism (little did I know that it was the Christians who were being used by the Marxists in that whole story). I wanted to see if in the future a way could be discerned that could open up the prospect that human nature could be flexible and change, so that an egalitarian value system would be more appealing to human beings. If Christian morality could not tame Marxism, then I wanted no part of Marxism. As long as I thought that could happen, then I was in the game and intellectually seeking to blaze a trail for it.

    At the end of a decade of my life I finally gave up that quest. In the end I realized it could not be done. Marxism is not compatible with Christianity and cannot even submit to our ethics. The only ethics the Marxists ultimately practice are the ethics of expediency. I personally experienced this in the behavior of not a few people on the collectivists’ side. Mated with the facts of the history of failed socialism and its atrocities. Marxists do not really love the poor; they only hate those who have more than they have, whether it be power, possessions, or position. Please, I am not trying to be immodest when I make this claim: I truly did experience compassion for and love for the poor. I actually lived in their situations as a seminarian and gave myself to their concerns. I claim no credit for that personally, but credit THEM for it and the grace of God.

    I went down this road because I was disillusioned with the crass selfishness and hedonism of people around me as a late adolescent and early adult. I wanted no part of a culture which reduced people to the status of objects present to consciousness. Over time, the more I gained in life experience the more I realized that there are a lot of good people out there who also are successful. And I also discovered that there were people in the Marxist camp who were just complete shits as human beings and only used people for their own ends as well. And because I had studied economics and finance I also was able to make realistic assessments about whether or not socialism can succeed as a viable alternative. It can’t. It is severely flawed in every respect, but most importantly flawed morally. It fails to understand that Evil and sin are very personal things and cannot be reduced to “the system” or “structures.” The darkness is in all of us. And it does its best work in those who deny it and its antithesis: grace, love, faith, hope and God.

    I have followed the intellectual scene on the collectivist side since breaking with “the Left” in 1987. They have not advanced one iota in terms of meeting the challenge of the critiques I set for myself as the hurdles to be overcome. In fact, a kind of entropy has set in over on that side. Instead of trying to explore the truth, wherever it comes from, they keep falling back on the tired, old theoretically failing positions.

    Those who think socialism is the future have not rigorously applied themselves to an exacting journey towards truth.

  37. kamper Says:

    Fredhjr
    Wow, name-calling. How refreshing. And ‘dishonorable slanderer’ no less. Do we need to have a duel or something?

    Really I apologize for the misstatement. I should have said “the entire right wing blogosphere is filled with calls to stock up on guns and ammo for the coming militia-driven patriotic uprising in which the vast majority of non-white peoples will by sheerest coincidence find themselves on the other side.”

    I regret the error.

  38. FredHjr Says:

    Kamper,

    I stand by my original statement, your snarky reply nothwithstanding. I made no error, and your sarcastic twisting of false humility is unimpressive.

  39. jon baker Says:

    no ,kamper,
    The stocking up on guns and ammo is occuring because people have seen two things 1) What happens when the lights go out- ie New Orleans in Katrina. 2) What happens when the left takes over in country after country. The “re-education” camps, the death camps, the artificial famine, the killing fields, the land seizures, the speech laws etc. We see how many on the left Love Che, a man who ran a death camp in Cuba. We see how the left applauded Chavez even after he shut down opposition media. The constitution is supposed to protect us, but we increasingly see how the left in this country views the First and Second Amendments. As something to be first twisted and then gotten rid of.

  40. FredHjr Says:

    I am stocking up on ammo. I cannot afford to buy an AR-15, but for my shotgun, my rifles, and my Smith&Wesson M&P 9mm I will stock up. Furthermore, I have plans for exactly how and where to hide them if the government thugs decide to seize our weapons. I’m a 54 year old guy who is a far cry from what I was when I was an 18 year old trainee at Fort Dix back in ’73.

    The Socialists desperately would like to disarm us because we and the military are what stand in between them and absolute rule of the Marxist elite.

    I pray daily now that a civil war does not come to pass and that this thing can be resolved politically. I really do. I don’t know any guy I shoot with and discuss these things with – and most of them are veterans – who wants to see war. A few of these guys already know what it’s like to kill a man. Nothing glorious about it. War is serious business and it has to be the thing you do when all other options are exhausted.

    The founders knew exactly what they were doing when they articulated the 2nd Amendment. It was the one thing the people had to enforce their liberties and depose a government that abrogates the Constitution. In every nation where the people have been disarmed by the government tyranny and murder have ensued. The butcher’s bill in the 20th century from what the socialists have done should be the hard evidence that snaps everyone back to their senses.

    There are trip wires out there that if Obama steps on them we will be in uncharted territory. To Obama I would render an adage from the Old Testament: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

  41. amr Says:

    how soon we forget: According to the company software Mr. Geithner could not understand, Turbo Tax states that the income tax rates will reset to the 2001 rates; 15%, 27.5%, 30.5%, 35.5% and 39.6%. President Obama said he would allow them to reset. Presently they are 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33% and 35%. And look at the impact on the poorest Americans; the special low 10 percent bracket is eliminated. So not just those over $250,000 will pay more because of their loss of mortgage deduction, charity deductions and the increased tax rates proposed for them next year, but all Americans who pay taxes will be impacted by this return to the 2001 tax rates as well as indirectly by the carbon cap taxes. I also imagine that some of those now not paying taxes, again the poorest Americans, will have to pay taxes since the Bush tax cuts raised the amount earned exempt from taxation. Plus they, I assume, would not receive money from the “negative income tax” program.

  42. marine's mom Says:

    A bit off-subject, but I haven’t lurked in a while.
    I am so sick of Obama’s face, his voice, and his destructive actions. I am amazed every day at the unreality and dishonesty of his rhetoric. I am further amazed at the seeming majority of Americans who worship him. And yet, every day, I have to think that he was created by the reluctance of the Republican Party to stand strong against the prevailing opinion of the weakest among us. I am a naturalized citizen, here by choice and good fortune, and I am more afraid for America than I have ever been.
    My son is a Marine and will be deployed to Afghanistan in the summer. This is the man I am supposed to trust to be his Commander=in-Chief?
    Heaven help us all.

  43. Tom Says:

    Occam: I suspect that characterization of Republicans as the party of the obscene rich dates back to FDR days. A multi-generational hurtful stereotype. As you know, FDR strongly disliked the wealthy (though he was one–kinda like present-day Hollywooders), and the party of capitalism was the Republican. Recall Wendell Wilkie?

    Federal campaign data show the opposite. Dems get ~90% of all big contributions. Repubs have small donors. This partly accounts for the gross campaign fund disparity in the last election. McCain got hoist on his own petard, needing McCain-Feingold moneys which Hussein, awash in cash, was able to refuse.

  44. Thomass Says:

    FredHjr Says:

    They’ll just call the class war the race war. And blame it on us. :)

  45. Links From All Over « West Bank Mama Says:

    [...] her finger on the pulse of what is happening in American politics – and she describes the class warfare heating up between the haves (who have worked hard to get there) and have nots (who blame the haves [...]

  46. Perfected democrat Says:

    Kamper, you’re making an a… out of yourself……

  47. expat Says:

    Tom,

    I don’t know whether it was the obscene wealth of the Roosevelt era reflects the class conflict we see today. Back in the sixties and seventies, I was more turned off by the country club snobbishness of much of the upper middle class. They didn’t reject the Great Society out of principle, but rather because they didn’t care and didn’t want to be bothered by the rabble. My experience as a welfare worker in a pretty terrible area of Philly allowed me to see first hand how ineffective and theory based the grand schemes of the left were and how little their designers knew of facts on the ground. I didn’t completely realize it at the time but the left was settling in at its own type of country club at the Ivies and they were far more snobbish than the 50s variety. So the class war has evolved: it is no longer the rich republicans who want your money; it is the elite dems who want power over your life and society. Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber brought this change to the forefront in a way that the Leonard Bernstein radical chic hypocrisies did not.

    Obama’s election has the power to expose the new front in class warfare to a broader segment of the population because the white guilt thing won’t work as it once did to silence the middle class. You can even see that ACORN’s latest “victim” in the Baltimore foreclosure was white. The left is working hard to expand the victim class. The right has to try to expose the sterility of victimhood.

  48. Mike O'Malley Says:

    Yes but this seems to be a particular kind of class warfare. From what I can tell Pres. Obama doesn’t challenge the wealthiest elite, his supporters, the Superrich, those who have already massed great fortunes which have been carefully protected and perpetuated by professional tax specialists and such. Pres. Obama seems intent on confiscating the earnings of those who are highly productive whose earning power and ascendancy threatens the social dominance of the established ultra-wealthy.
    .
    I worry that Pres. Obama seeks to replicate his relationship with the Black poor and and the ultra-wealthy Progressive Whites of his home legislative district in Chicago.
    .
    .
    .
    BTW: It might be time to revisit one of the neglected themes of Drs. Richard J. Herrnstein, Charles Murray’s “The Bell Curve”, that a powerful elite faction would restructure American society into a welfare dependency state for their own protection and continued dominance.

  49. br549 Says:

    Were it to be a war, kamper, it would not be a race war. You and others are trying to perpetrate it as such. And you are enjoying it.

    On “both sides”, if you will, are people of all colors. It has nothing to do with race, except on your side. You only wish that were the case, and keep trying to make it as such. It is about standing up and taking hold of your own life, instead of forcing others to do it for you. America is a republic.

    In the entire world, where do blacks, as a race, enjoy the highest standard of living? Chinese? Insert race as you wish. The answer is almost always going to be America.

    Socialists / communists have been so focused on making America into their dream versions of what they believe it could and should be that they have been blinded to what it truly ends up as, and how it truly fails. All one has to do is look around. Is Europe rising?

    Socialism pulls everyone down to a common level of misery. Do you believe you would somehow escape that because you are on that side; that somehow you will be rewarded for your efforts to bring all to the same level?

    There are millions of accomplished blacks in this nation living in nice homes, driving Acuras, BMW’s, Cadillacs, Mercedes. You are telling them they will have to give that up and ride the bus. Do you think for one five seconds they got where they are because of people like you and what you’re on about?

    Out of curiosity, did you?

  50. Oblio Says:

    There is a certain horror implicit in the theme of cannibalism at the Cafe Egalite. Lest anyone think it is over the top, do you remember this ditty, written in the spring or summer of 1968?

    Have you seen the little piggies
    Crawling in the dirt
    And for all the little piggies
    Life is getting worse
    Always having dirt to play around in.

    Have you seen the bigger piggies
    In their starched white shirts
    You will find the bigger piggies
    Stirring up the dirt
    Always have clean shirts to play around in.

    In their styes with all their backing
    They don’t care what goes on around
    In their eyes there’s something lacking
    What they need’s a damn good whacking.

    Everywhere there’s lots of piggies
    Living piggy lives
    You can see them out for dinner
    With their piggy wives
    Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

    Pigs eating bacon? The cannibalism motif is clear enough. Peace and Love? I don’t think so.

    Now what kind of behavior did that encourage, however unintentionally? One action that was understood by everyone at the time to be highly symbolic, occurred at the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in August 1969. The Manson Family killed the LaBiancas, leaving a carving fork stuck in Leno and the message “Death to Pigs” written in Leno’s blood on the walls. Manson’s intent was to stimulate a race war, a condition he called “Helter Skelter.”

    How did the Radical Left understand this propaganda by the deed? December 1969, Bernadette Dohrn (remember her?) told the Flint War Council of the Weather Underground, “Dig it! First they killed those pigs and then they put a fork in pig Tate’s [sic] belly. Wild!” In 2008, Bill Ayers claimed that Dohrn was being ironic, or that it was a joke. Some joke. And people didn’t seem to think it was a joke between 1969 and 2008, when the nature of the relationship between Obama and Ayers/Dohrn came under scrutiny.

    This horror isn’t coming out of nowhere. A related theme is probably the recent growth of zombie literature. What are zombies but brainless appetites in the shape of people that feed on other people?

    Since 1968, the class warriors have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They still don’t understand how vilifying the rich can get out of hand.

  51. Artfldgr Says:

    FredHJR, that was a great piece,
    But allow me to correct a term in it, in which if we use the right terms, things start to be clearer for those who don’t ‘get it’ (one way or another).

    The only ethics the Marxists ultimately practice are the ethics of expediency.

    “Ethics of expediency” would be PRAGMATISM, and is the core moral of communism.
    Its tenet is if it works, and it delivers what you want at the right costs, then its ok.

    Marxists do not really love the poor; they only hate those who have more than they have, whether it be power, possessions, or position.

    Actually, to understand this correctly you would have to understand the different levels in the hierarchy and what motivates them. The prols are certainly the way you say when fired up, but this same position does not inform as to why someone who is privileged would put a noose around their necks in such a slow and society destructive way rather than just take a jaunt to the basement looking for a pipe. George Soros has more “power, possessions and position”, so why would he work to enslave himself?

    I truly did experience compassion for and love for the poor. I actually lived in their situations as a seminarian and gave myself to their concerns.

    And by such you are part of the large mass that is just and good and does not commit crimes and such who have to be removed by socialism, because their majority threatens the very concept of the need of rulers beyond bureaucrats. The holocaust or conflagration will sweep over the world in the revolution and remove this class, which is why they are considered useful idiots working toward their own funerals.

    there were people in the Marxist camp who were just complete shits as human beings and only used people for their own ends as well.

    These would be the sociopathic who are higher up who understand that this is a communal means to collective sociopathic power. The message is everywhere for thos willing to act on such extremes, and discounted by those not willing to. You can see it in our entertainment and taboos (love is not permitted to be seen, but the worst sado sexual tortures with the most realistic special effects is just fine). They facilitate the change the moment that the restrictions are taken off them (which is why good people lose their protections so they cant fiht square with them, as fema did to people). If the restrictions were removed from people in 1957, nothing much would happen, today they riot and loot, and so we are now ready to be moved through such facilitated behavior (created by progressive culture experimentation on our children masquerading as “We know how to teach better”)

    They have not advanced one iota in terms of meeting the challenge of the critiques I set for myself as the hurdles to be overcome. In fact, a kind of entropy has set in over on that side. Instead of trying to explore the truth, wherever it comes from, they keep falling back on the tired, old theoretically failing positions.

    This is why smart people are not favored. Read Richard Wrights too smart to be a communist if you ever get the chance or read a un Stalinized biography.. quite interesting talking about tiny book stores in cities, and people appearing on his driveway, and they not liking that he can think things through. The very education reflects making this divide very clear, and that divide becomes the devide between the people of the revolutiuon and the artificial enemies that have to be crushed because they will naturally oppose it.. we all used to think that the opposers in the revolution were those who we didn’t want to realize why. The why is that they are smart enough that big empty assertions don’t sound like complex valid explanations, they are those who by their natural nature will foment trouble in the population by explaining why the leader is not saying anything. So they use the false position to test who is on which side or capable, and then they will naturally out the right ones because the right ones will not just blindly follow idiocy. (this is the weak point of the smart, they seize up on idiocy, so idiocy works to oppose them. as I have been trying to teach, they will push aspects of the argument out of the boundry of consideration and inclusion and so will make useless their assessments by such things).

  52. Murph Says:

    Our President is a master of the politics of envy. Keeps harping on the fat cat CEO’s and the “rich” not paying their fair share. Dual income families earning over 200k already pay their fair share and shoulder most of the tax burden. The Dems have always promoted class warfare to increase the size and power of the federal government, this is nothing new. Now they just have someone who can sell it…

  53. Artfldgr Says:

    Kamper,
    I don’t think this will sink in, but no one here can say I don’t try. You do not realize how all this plays out in its own time (which is why it took so long here). In fact, you do not understand any of the principals of action going on as your view is too close short and magnified to see the flow. Like having your nose just wet by a river, you don’t see much of how that river actually travels or where.

    The race war, culture war, gender war, economic war, has been going on for more than 50 years. What you are now thinking is the right responding to start it, is not the start but the culimination. Your very short sighted so you do not realize that the culture against war, torture, and such has not been your side, but the side you have been opposing. The people who want the rule of law, freedom from coercion, minimal state power, a good defense, low taxes, self determination, and so on…

    Read Clauswitz treatise on war, its online and free, and you will find that war starts when one group tells another group what to do, and the other group does not comply. the group with the guns do not want to use guns for this purpose, but they are free to. The new state believes that coercion, experimentation on children (what schools and psychs have been doing for decades), eugenics (abortion as its founder conceived of it), euthanasia (now here through healthcare rationing).

    What you are seeing kemper but don’t understand, like a person who has not been taught the real rules of a card game or chess game and cant figure it out by watching as the game is shifting too fast for them to understand it. history is on the move so to speak.

    Whats happening is that at some point, the freedom of all will disappear. But if they are all free, then why would an altercation having to do with guns happen? Because the group that wants the guns, claiming to be fighthing for freedom, is the group that will take away the freedoms.

    Just as the young and comers who got the new german centralized schools copied from dewey (who experimented in Russia and brought his PRAGMATISM back), took over the old in their country and forced facism down their thoughts as the new socialism.

    This could be why so many leftists intellectuals are now very worried about the fascism. But they don’t know that the political spectrum goes from totalitarianism/communism/royalty/feudalism, etc… to TRUE liberalism (which finds coercion is not compatible with freedom), and anarchism way to the end… they do not curve around… (that argument has gotten the anarchists to believe the fairy tail of the nation state dissolving after totalitarianism, but any idiot should be able to see that they don’t even change leaders let alone let the state dissolve).

    The baby boomers were the natural target for all this since the prior war created a situation where the young and stupid could outvote the old and wiser. Oh if you could go back and hear some of the arguments against things you would now wonder who really was being forward thinking and who was really desiring a more primitive gullible backwards state of mind.

    The thing that scares the state is that the people who have not swallowed the crap sandwhich are people who will not give up and whine like you Kamper.

    Kamper.. haven’t you noticed the mental training of your compatriots who refuse to be used and fight for anything… what will happen when the tar heels come onto your block, or someone says come over here we are moving you temporarily for your own good? They will just move like sheep, while the others will cause problems. Heck your side has already started helping by disposing of those who would have defended before they were born in a manner that was acceptable as the victims could not ever advocate for themselves to the short sighted.

    Here is the kicker kamper. If they are free, and can go about their business with no one threatening their lifes and several generations of property and ruler of law… nothing will happen… nothing at all… just as nothing has happened that way yet… but if someone decides to fulfil lenins maxim of controlling gun ownership as a means of enslaving the bourgeoisie (the MIDDLE CLASS is that this means!!!).

    So really what your worried about is not that they are going to organize and take over, but that when the gloves come off and the declared oppressed gets to have a pogrom and attack everyone in a revolutionary blood storm like storming the bastile, some of you are going to get shot by the oppressors who have been declared the enemy by hegelian leaders pitting brother against brother and collecting up the left overs. As long as one side of this equation is stupid, ignorant, believes they know it all, has great self esteem, and a huge inability to function in the real world, the rest is pretty much a given since they will not stop and realize that through all of this they have declared their free brothers the enemy who have to be enslaved for the future (fascist) state. They will not rest till they have removed those who would stand beside them in freedom.

    Then they will turn and learn the truth.

    You left dippies think that Hitler and his ilk are the way they are from the get go… no… they are devious angels that the people like and that they allow the get go, then they get strapped in for the ride of their lives having given away their choice in the matter. The key is that none of them can do what they do through peaceful means without your help, the help of the ignorant masses who will side with them long enough to set things up with a ratchet so that it cant slip back.

  54. bill Says:

    Ah — I missed that distinction. Then yes, I agree. Some Obamaniacs do want that. Fanatics on both sides do.

    What I want is intelligence, understanding, and insight (boy, don’t I ask for a lot?) on both sides. Liberals, show me what you’ve got. Conservatives, show me why you think you’re better. Both sides, show me where you agree, and when you don’t, tell me clearly why. Don’t expect me to go for you because you’re feisty, religious, white, or old. Show me. Make your case — with intelligence, foresight, and compassion.

    I really do ask for a lot!

  55. FredHjr Says:

    bill,

    What do you want us to discuss? Tell us the parameters. Is it redistributive economics? Foreign and defense policy? The differences between liberal capitalism and the social democratic state (like what you see in Western Europe)? What is your exposure to and depth of learning in any of these topics?

    By the subtle, pejorative overtones in your above post, I take it you don’t particularly like old, religious, white people like me. Why? Is there something that my type did to you at some point in your life? I can assure you that I have done nothing in my life to harm or injure another person. In fact, during my decade in the Marxist warrens I endured many snarky remarks and insults from other collectivists because of my stubborn refusal to leave my Catholic Christian tradition.

  56. Jack Says:

    We’re flying blindly through a lot of this crap. Hard to say what is going to happen. But I’ll guarantee that we’ll see a lot more mud being flung at the wall. It is going to be an “interesting” time, but not necessarily the kind of interesting we like.

  57. Baklava Says:

    Neo,

    Great post. It struck me after I read it that you should be writing in the Washington Post or New York Times.

    Oh how I wish.

  58. rickl Says:

    Oldflyer Says:
    February 28th, 2009 at 8:50 pm
    I don’t know whether people are buying ahead of expected restrictions, or whether something else is in play. But, it is real.

    I think it’s both.

    I considered buying a more capable home protection weapon before the election because I was apprehensive about what would happen if Obama LOST. Then it became apparent that I didn’t need to worry about that.

    I said on another blog (Gulf Coast Pundit) before the election: “If Obama loses, the cities will burn. If he wins, America will burn.

    I stand by my prediction.

  59. pst314 Says:

    “Feds grant eminent domain as collateral to China for US debts”

    Perfected Democrat, Little Green Footballs reports today that this story is a hoax that originated from a white supremacist named Hal Turner.

  60. Jamie Says:

    Bill, you found a good place to come visit us wingers… (I’m trying to coopt the term. Tell me if it’s working!)

    You said, “Conservatives, show me why you think you’re better.” I consider myself more of a classical liberal (versus “progressive”) than a conservative, except in fiscal matters, wherein I do have a solid conservative bent. It’s not that I think I’m “right” so much as that I think that my beliefs and principles are more in line with American foundational principles, particularly individual freedom, and with the way human nature works, than “progressive” beliefs and principles appear to me to be.

    “Conservative” can be considered “in favor of preserving the status quo,” which is the way it’s often defined by its opponents, or – as I think is more the case in American politics – “in favor of preserving that from the past that’s been shown to work and not to be inimical to American principles.” Conservatism changes, but not ahead of experience; progressivism – ISTM – argues for change, even sweeping change, from theory rather than experience.

    Human nature is what it is. Most people are nice. Most people will go a certain degree out of their way for others. But the stakes matter: the big world of even quite nice people will sometimes contract to include no one but their own family if they perceive scarcity or threat. Conservatism, or classical liberalism, doesn’t require that people ignore this natural tendency, just that to the greatest extent possible they not interfere with others doing the same thing. Progressivism seems to expect, and sometimes to require (as in “hate-free zones”), people’s behavior to conform to a particular ideal, and tends to vilify those who don’t conform.

    It’s a little deceptive, I think, because progressive conformity can include “non-conformist” behaviors like being the “greenest” person on your block or not wearing makeup or operating an unconventional vehicle like a Prius or SmartCar or bicycle. But the “non-conformity” follows a pattern, and breaking from that pattern has social consequences in progressive circles, in my (limited) experience as a closet conservative in a progressive neighborhood, workplace, church, and region.

  61. Jamie Says:

    Shoot. I forgot to add that “social consequences” are not, of course, limited to progressive circles; conservative circles can also have expected behavior codes and those who stray can be socially punished. But your “proper” classical liberal/conservative doesn’t (or shouldn’t, in principle) place a lot of stock in his neighbors’ approbation; he’s acting in his own behalf, expects them to do the same, and if they don’t like his garden, car, curtains, or shoes, it doesn’t mean that he’s wrong or that they’re wrong; they’re all just exercising their rights.

  62. stumbley Says:

    I propose the following simple plan: FedEx a pound of your favorite tea with a note describing your dissatisfaction with the “stimulus” and how Congress is handling the economic crisis to your elected representatives on April 15. End the note with the phrase “I vote”. Thousands of pounds of tea arriving in the capitol on a single day cannot fail to make an impression.

  63. njcommuter Says:

    I am a strong believer in private property. I believe that our tax code, if it were not law, would be a crime, and that if it were a contract, it would be unenforceable on the grounds that it was both self-contradictory and unconscienable. But I cannot wholly put out of my mind the biblical injunction: You shall not muzzle the ox that threshes the grain. This applies well to our time. In my own industry, venture capitalists are known for finding ways to minimize the equity that was promised to technical people who worked either without salary or at minimal salary to develop a product. Congress is known for doing it by punitive taxation. And Obama is declaring that it is a virtue.

    One ought not punish bad behavior by discouraging good behavior.

  64. Perfected democrat Says:

    On the topic of the eminent domain issue, check out the follow, linked from LGF:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/32939_Atlas_Shrugs_Promoting_Neo-Nazi_Agitprop

  65. Giles Says:

    You realize, of course, that the cake is a lie?

    - G

  66. Maggie's Farm Says:

    A few Monday morning links…

    1.5 million year-old human footprints. Video
    George Lakoff explains The Obama Code
    Re-usable toilet wipes? Gimme a break
    How Iran got the plans for Obama’s new helicopter. It’s about file-sharing.
    Why Socialists in Vermont? AVI
    Centrifugal forc…

  67. armchair pessimist Says:

    a powerful elite faction would restructure American society into a welfare dependency state for their own protection and continued dominance.

    In another time and place, such an elite called the successful “kulaks”. Things did not turn out well for them.

  68. neo-neocon Says:

    Giles: If you follow the link to the word “cake,” you will see that it contains a discussion of whether the quote and its attribution.

  69. Artfldgr Says:

    i like this one..
    The Seven Intellectual Underpinnings of the Obama Code: George Lakoff
    http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/40199

    [for a man busting a code, he only goes back one level.. so he doesnt point out that progressivism is communism, as is pragmatism, and a bunc of others all in costume… but like candy, you always eat sugar no matter all the other choices…

    and thanks for the heads up on the eminent domain… but the problem is that its not just coming from there… so the question is, is it an active measure of some sort, and which way is it actually pushing?

    as one example (not claiming at all this is it but as an exercise in logic):

    it could be true, and the skin head thing pushes it as true makes it appear false in everyones minds because everything “they” say is untrue. right? the truth of that is absurd…

    the outcome is whats important, when you do this analysis, sometimes you find that by playing things a certain way, all the outcomes are favorable, with some more than others.

    if the position is true, then sourcing it from a negative makes it untrue.. if the position is false, then sourcing it from a negative can sell it to the smaller cadre of beleivers and motivate them.

    the point is that this is a game of changing meanings by association using a reinforced pattern.

    so we could not use association to judge obama…

    but we are to reflexively use association to judge veracity.

    when logically, the ONLY point that is valid, is whether its valid… if one cant ascertain that, then all these other things become useless false tools.

    none of them change the state of the actual informaiton. what they are is bending or perverting the idea of veracity of the second hand story… but once you have determined that a source is no good, that only means that you cant tust the source, it does not mean that any particular information is bad, or all of it is bad, etc.

  70. Giles Says:

    Neo,

    I apologize for my inept use of a relatively recent cultural metaphor for a nonexistent incentive. “The Cake is a lie” is a reference to the puzzle game “Portal,” in which the player must navigate through a series of obstacles in search of an exit (your reward being “cake,” as the computer controlling the experiment calls it), but as the computer game progresses it is hinted at by seemingly random graffiti on the walls that there is no exit – “the cake is a lie.” This phrase has been adopted by many nerds (like me) to express a stimulus that may or may not exist. I was careless in using it, as I have been accustomed to having my cultural references understood, and I did not consider the fact that others might misinterpret my comments as being inane. For this, I apologize.

    I did, however, read the link prior to posting my earlier posting, and I found it enormously informative.

    - G

  71. neo-neocon Says:

    Giles: cultural references that would be obvious to the young and/or computer nerds are utterly lost on me, I’m afraid.

  72. br549 Says:

    Seems no one talks about it yet. But what we are experiencing here, at this time, has engulfed the planet.

    “America Alone” is basically going to become “48% of America Alone”. Maybe even less. Unless some sort of logical epiphany awakens everyone, the “mud” Jack speaks of (above) could become mixed with blood. It seems it always has. That human nature thing again.

    The happiest, most hope filled day of Churchill’s life was December 07, 1941. My God. Can you imagine that?

  73. Ursus Maritimu Says:

    If I were a rich man—or woman (Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum)—I wouldn’t feel encouraged by Obama to invest in a new business or grow the one I already had. I would also feel unfairly characterised as an automatic exploiter of others rather than a hard-working American doing my bit to better myself and to add wealth to the economy as a whole.

    I’m not rich either, so I will try to have as fun as I can, for as long as I can, and then I will destroy whatever I own that might have some value.

    I will not let someone else take advantage of my misfortune by gaining an item for which I paid $10 for $1. I have no desire to gift those $9 to anyone.

    My purpose is living is myself, not anyone else. And if someone tells me that
    “You have to stop living for yourself, your purpose in life is to support these others.”

    I will advice them to

    “Find someone else to exploit,
    from me you will get nothing.
    If you constrain and dictate
    my purpose in life,
    I will go on strike,
    by refusing to live.”

  74. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Democrats were never anti-war Neo. THat was only a means to an end. In fact, they are very pro war and suffering. It just matters which people suffer to them. It’s always the people in their way.

    Rush Limbaugh gave a speech that noted the same psychological warfare result of making people feel good about destroying the lives of the rich. As if this would benefit the lives of the poor. As if two racist actions will overturn the original racism.

    It is the logic of the Dems and now iti s our logic, because the Dems have made the schools teach that logic.

    Link

  75. Ymarsakar Says:

    Giles, thoseo f us that have played portal would get your reference. But Neo is rather a bit far ahead to be part of that generation ; )

  76. Ymarsakar Says:

    Btw, “The Cake is a Lie” is the same as saying “Don’t Drink the Kool Aid” for those that want an analogy here.

  77. Oblio Says:

    The great Wretchard is also cool with “the cake is a lie.”

    http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2009/03/03/and-the-word-was-made-fresh/#more-2449

    Neo and I need to get with it.

  78. Ed Driscoll » “Congress Takes Toys—and More—Away from the Kids” Says:

    [...] item on “The Vanishing.” Meanwhile, Neo-Neocon speculates if it’s all part of “Dinner At The Egalité Cafe.” (Do they serve toasted saffron couscous pearls [...]

  79. Eli Says:

    I bet most of these idiots you’re quoting are trust fund babies who have never had to work.

  80. No More Class Warfare Please Says:

    Please read this article on the Individual Income Tax system and Class Warfare for an interesting fact based analysis of the fairness in the U.S. Individual Income tax system:

    NoMoreClassWarfare.com

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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