October 29th, 2009

My friends the liberals

Yesterday there was a big discussion here about one of our perennially favorite topics—liberals, and whether or not they really have good intentions.

For example, Steve G. wrote:

Most people are of good will and that includes having good intentions. But…[t]o acknowledge that liberals have good intentions is to buy into their mantra. Liberals are haters and control freaks, because they are “smarter” and know better than you how to live your life…I have been called a nazi because I questioned a liberal acquaintance how his liberal ideas could work in the real world, and this most offensive word rolled so effortlessly out of his mouth that I almost missed it. Liberals don’t realize or even care how offensive they are.

LIBERALS NEVER HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS .

LIBERALS ARE EVIL BUT HAVE NO IDEA WHY.

LIBERALS LEAVE ONLY MISERY IN THEIR WAKE.

Well now, I find I have to do at least a little bit of defense of the liberals I know—and I know an awful lot of them. First, a caveat: I believe there is a distinction between liberals and those on the far Left, and although it’s a continuum and it can be difficult to draw a clear line between the two, there is a difference.

Most of my friends are liberals, with just a few segueing into the hard Left. Most of them are also women, so perhaps what I’m describing is the subset “female liberals.” All but one were Obama supporters, and remain so (the one was a Hillary supporter who distrusted Obama from the start), although some are disappointed that he hasn’t accomplished more of his agenda, and a few have become skeptical and consider him more of a typical politician than they once did.

But in general they have good intentions. Very good intentions. And in fact, as individuals, some of them actually do a great deal of good in the world, and not only on a personal and familial level. They contribute to charities, some of which don’t just give handouts, but teach people skills and promote cottage industries that help them economically for life. Some of these friends have actually gone to Africa to put their mouths where their money is. Some are in the helping professions, and they really do assist their clients or students to build better and more productive lives.

But yes, they support public policies that, as Steve G. said, leave misery in their wake, and they are completely unaware of this and resistant to evidence that it might be so. Almost to a woman, they also sprinkle casual putdowns of the United States into their conversations when one least expects it. And many (not all) have a real hatred of what they consider the Right, an anger they manfully (womanfully, that is) attempt to swallow for my sake when I’m around.

As far as I can tell, all of them get their news from the liberal press. They read liberal newspapers. They watch CNN, if they watch cable news at all. They listen to NPR. They go to Michael Moore movies. They don’t read much about history and may not have studied it since college or even high school, where they got the usual cursory smattering of platitudes. They hate war and killing, which is another sign of how nice and how well-meaning they are.

Most of their friends think likewise, and so most of the conversations they engage in feature views similar to their own, voiced by other kindly, well-educated, well-meaning people who are liberals too. No doubt they also are acquainted with a few people on the Right and even some conservatives (besides me, that is; I’m a special case and a conundrum because they know I used to be a liberal too, and by some mysterious process I’ve unaccountably gone over to the dark side). But those conservatives tend to either be sensitive to their own odd-man/woman-out status within the group, and politely quiet when the conversation rolls around to politics, or loudly bombastic and unconvincing.

I mentioned that my liberal friends often diss America. This happens so often that it is almost a verbal tic. Often, their fellow countrymen/women are contrasted to those wonderful Europeans, who are (take your pick): cultured, sophisticated, linguistically diverse, international, pacifist, non-imperialist (now, anyway—since history began post-WWII). Americans? The opposite.

Therefore, one of the things my friends love most about Obama is his European-style America-bashing. They see it as a refreshing breath of much-needed humility, a realistic assessment of how America has behaved for at least a century, and a requisite redress of the wrongs that have been perpetrated by an arrogant and powerful nation. The fact that Obama projects a dangerous weakness, and that America and its actions may have often been a force for good in the world—a sort of “good cop” that has helped peace and freedom rather than hindered it—is too paradoxical, too foreign to the way they think.

If someone tries to point out certain things that are unequivocally and more conventionally “good” about America, such as the fact that the US was in the forefront of international relief after the tsunami, it is brushed off as a very small and insignificant matter compared to the manifest wrongs we’ve committed. Their belief in the general evil perpetrated by the US around the world is not built on a single event, nor can it be eradicated by pointing out a single fact, or even a few. It is a huge edifice built on thousands of smaller bits of supposed knowledge, and to mount an assault on it would take several courses and piles of reading matter, and might not be successful even then.

I know. After all, I was one of them once. And I know how much it takes to effect a change in perspective. But I also know that the sort of liberals I describe here are very well-intentioned indeed—for what that’s worth. Unfortunately, it’s not worth a whole lot, when the results so often are bad.

169 Responses to “My friends the liberals”

  1. Gray Says:

    Often, their fellow countrymen/women are contrasted to those wonderful Europeans, who are (take your pick): cultured, sophisticated, linguistically diverse, international, pacifist, non-imperialist (now, anyway—since history began post-WWII). Americans? The opposite.

    Only people who haven’t spent much time around europeans could ever believe that.

    I’ll take it on faith that they have good intentions, as one of the hated, I have a hard time seeing past the hate….

  2. Steve G Says:

    Baklava,
    You assume that I was as rude to my liberal acquaintance as he was to me. Far from it. But, I soon gave up trying to convert him. (Read neo’s “A mind is a difficult thing to change. my change story” as to why this is a thankless task and one for which you deserve a medal.) Four or five of us would go to lunch each day and have rather healthy discussions of various issues of the day. The liberal never got piqued enough to ask an original question and always fell back on tropes like “Bush lied. People died” or ” Everyone knows that Republicans are the party of the rich (he was somewhat out of date). These were intended to end the conversation because they were always off point and, in his mind, beyond argument. When asked, however, he could not quite identify the particular lie.

    If you “converted” a liberal it is only because you caught him at a time when he was ready to open his mind to new thoughts. Good for you. Better for him. But, just because I am coming to think less and less of liberals as good people (they are not) does not mean that I would ever lower myself to their level. What it means is that after years of taking verbal abuse from people who hold themselves out as better than me because they are liberal, I have come to appreciate liberals for their own true worthless and mean spirited selves.

    Speaking of mean spirited, when George Mitchell (a liberal Democrat who will not go away) was in the congress, he often appeared on news shows with one or more Republicans. He ALWAYS accused them of being mean spirited before he would address the issue at hand. And I mean always. And, the MSM never called him on it and few Republicans were willing to risk using the same bad manners in order to respond. So, he always got away with tarring the Republican as mean spirited. But, in fact, like all true liberals, wasn’t he just projecting?

    I have a few good friends and many acquaintances, some of whom are conservative, some liberal and most apolitical, at least in the sense that they do not follow national and international events very closely and have confidence that we have elected competent people to keep us safe. I don’t hate liberals and more than I love conservatives. I just stopped listening to them. I will say that us conservatives have healthier senses of humor and don’t live such angry lives as liberals, for whom nothing will make them happy.

  3. mizpants Says:

    Well intentioned, maybe. But not, for the most part, well motivated. There is too much herd instinct and moral vanity and anger mixed in with the empathy and the wish to do good that liberals genuinely feel. And when the motivation is suspect, the good intentions become very superficial and dangerous things — mere instruments of the misunderstood motivations.
    It’s not enough to mean well; intellectual honesty and insight are necessary. It’s so damned frustrating to try to point out the inconsistencies in the thought of these people. If Neo, with her deep immersion in history and politics, can’t do it, I certainly can’t. I’ve stopped trying, because I don’t have many facts at my fingertips and those I do have fly away under the pressure of the confrontation. One too many times I’ve been one of those who resorts to unconvincing bombast, and it’s done me real personal and professional harm.
    As for people on the hard left: they have both bad motivations and bad intentions. With them it’s “evil, be thou my good.”

  4. david foster Says:

    More than 60 years ago, C S Lewis did a great job analyzing some of the factors involved in the kind of thinking we would now call “progressive”…especially that which is connected to some degree to religion:

    http://photoncourier.blogspot.com/2003_03_01_photoncourier_archive.html#90746525

  5. Sean Says:

    What comes to mind is the saying:

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

    Sean

  6. betsybounds Says:

    Sean,

    Yes. That was what I was referring to in the earlier thread when I said, “Good intentions. Well, we know what is said to be paved with those.”

    I’m at work now, but this is a very interesting discussion that I hope to be able to join in a little later on!

  7. Adrian Says:

    For my money the liberal friends you describe are the most dangerous of all, because they far out number the hardcores yet are so easily and willing swayed by the movement in general. They are what I would call fashionable liberals. They wear their beliefs as a fashion statement and because they choose to be so shallow and ill-informed, they are impossible to influence by opposing views. They aren’t interested in the truth. They merely want more of what they already believe. They are the foundation that supports every liberal lie that thrives in our society.

    Hard of me to say, I realize, but like you I happen to know and love my share of these folks just like you. I fear that the day the portcullis finally does come crashing down for them it will be far too late…for us all!

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Adrian: I agree about the dangerousness. But I also think that many individuals in this particular group could experience a change of perspective if they were motivated (as I was) to immerse themselves in reading some of the arguments on the other side. The trouble is, few of them are. One also has to have an open mind. But some do.

  9. Sean Says:

    @Betsy,

    Sorry, didnt read the previous thread before I posted on this one. At least we are on the same wave length eh? :)

    Sean

  10. huxley Says:

    Anecdote from a Frank Zappa concert:

    FZ: Thank you, good night . . . Thank you, if you’ll . . . if you sit down and be quiet, we’ll make an attempt to, ah, perform Brown Shoes Don’t Make It.
    Man In Uniform: Back on your seats, come on, we’ll help you back to your seats, come on . . .
    Guy In The Audience: Take that man out of here! Oh! Go away! Take that uniform off man! Take off that uniform before it’s f***in’ too late, man!
    FZ: Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform, and don’t kid yourself.

    Reading this blog lately, I am wondering how much of a difference there is between liberals and conservatives.

  11. Portia Says:

    “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” and then in a footnote — “This is not actually true. The road to Hell is paved with frozen door-to-door salesmen. On weekends many of the younger demons go ice-skating down it.” — Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

    On the serious side (but not unrelated, considering how most people bought things from door to door salesmen when they still existed) I don’t know how much of it is evil and how much a desperate need to belong. The liberal credo is received as “good” and belonging to the “good” group is “good.” That’s all. Let us please remember humans are a social species. Belonging is important. I think this is the reason that anyone who is any way odd tends to grasp liberal shiboleths hammer and tongs and get quite furious when they’re questioned. Hence the attraction of minorities and “off beat people” to the wretched pseudo-religion, even before political correctness. Liberalism is a pandora box that most outliers can’t resist opening. For instance, most of my gay friends embrace socialism for the sake of belonging, for the sake of being accepted and treated as “normal” not to say a favored constituency. And then, one by one, all the benefits of “belonging” are removed, except the socialism they didn’t particularly want in the first place. At that point, being human they defend it all the more hottly. We all remember what was left at the bottom of pandora’s box, right?

    It is dangerous. It might be the end of us, as a civilization. But it is all too human.

  12. The Real Jeff Says:

    To me, most liberals seem to have stopped their mental development on the High School level. What I mean by that is if you think back to your high school year you can recall that one of the most critical things was to be “in with the cool crowd” and to most libs they see Europe as the cool kids. Ergo, anything Europe does we should do here because then we will be cool too.

    Bleahhhh! Just like all those conforming non-conformists out there in their matching piercings and tats etc…

  13. The Real Jeff Says:

    Portia, were you reading my mind?

  14. vanderleun Says:

    Ah, “good intentions”….. sure and this, THIS, has become their new transnational anthem:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQIxn7s3ym8

  15. betsybounds Says:

    Sean,

    No worries, no apologies–yeah we’re on the same wave-length! Well, great minds and all. . . . :)

  16. Portia Says:

    Huxley,

    Only one. After all my time obeserving political life, there’s only one difference I can be sure of. Conservatives (though most of us aren’t, are we?) by and large don’t hate themselves and the rest of humanity. You won’t find conservatives fantasizing about the extinction of the human race. Conservatives (and those fellow travellers like us) don’t want our nation defeated and don’t think our civilization is worse than all others. Most of us, in fact, would fight for those people we know personally rather than for the faceless, amorphous “downtrodden” or even fuzzier concepts like “Gaia”.

    Perhaps it is wrong of me but, to paraphrase Heinlein, while beavers and their dams might be far more admirable than humans and their skyscrapers, I am human and therefore I prefer humans and their buildings. That alone makes all my liberal friends think I’m nuts.

  17. Harry McHaliburtonstein Says:

    Biggest hypocrites on the planet bar none. Liberals imagine themselves to be the sentinels against bigotry and intolerance and have become every bit of that. They are who they rail against.

  18. Tom Says:

    It is difficult for me to consider folks well-intentioned when they are also known to hold reflexive hate in their hearts. It is difficult for me to consider them well-intentioned when they revel in their ignorance but deem themselves well-informed and brighter-than-most.

    As other former liberals, I look back on my gullibility and shudder. About the time I was a pro-McGovern Dem, I read a New Republic article about heath care that was totally, factually wrong. Thought, if NR is hardheadedly wrong about something I really know about, why should I believe its writings/opinions on topics of which I’m ignorant? Cancelled it. Thus began the conversion to “Trust, but verify”.

    The decades that followed showed me liberals are not to be trusted for judgment, though they may be likeable, dependable, charitable, and sometimes even loveable.

  19. Baklava Says:

    SteveG wrote, “But, just because I am coming to think less and less of liberals as good people (they are not) does not mean that I would ever lower myself to their level. What it means is that after years of taking verbal abuse from people who hold themselves out as better than me because they are liberal, I have come to appreciate liberals for their own true worthless and mean spirited selves.

    On most days this is how I feel. I tend to dissassociate myself with people like this more and more. I mark them in my mind as somebody I can’t and won’t do business with or include as a “friend”. There are a few individuals I do not exclude who are liberal but I will point out to them new facts here and there and I will point out their views are harsh and mean sometimes…

  20. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Cynical old me has the following observations:

    From those Leftists I have observed, those who are inspired to do what they think is good for the “masses,” usually hate and despise people as individuals.

    Almost invariably a hard look at their “selflessness” shows that, at its root, it is not about pure altruism but much more about some sort of personal gain, however disguised—psychic gain, gain in status, gain in self-satisfaction, or monetary gain of some sort.

  21. Ben-David Says:

    Most liberals are in disaster-recovery mode: reality has dashed their pet theories on so many fronts that they must invest more and more time in keeping that reality at bay.

    They’ve made a Faustian choice to spin away from reality to preserve their ideological bubble. And that’s a high-maintenance choice.

    It leads directly to a narcissistic worldview – not seeing other people as they are, but as objects whose worth depends only on whether they confirm or threaten the all-important Self and its status.

    This is the source of the bitterness, the anger, the irrationality, the inability to assimilate or learn from factual argument. It’s why political correctness is so heavy-handedly manipulative. It’s why this administration is so arrogant and inept in hiding its motivations.

    They’re trying to bully reality into getting with the program!

    The one good point of the violence here in Israel is that people cannot long delude themselves… we’ve seen a steady stream of mea-culpa opinion pieces from the intellectuals, politicians, and military leaders who promoted Oslo and supported the expulsion of Jews from Gaza.

    Leftists in the media are trying to crank up the annual Rabin-memorial mudslinging, but since Gaza they have fewer and fewer takers. More and more Israelis are post-Oslo, post 2-state solution.

    Netanyahu and Lieberman – elected despite unrelenting campaigns of character assassination – are carefully working to reframe the issue.

    Their numbers are still high.

    The prospect of getting bombed to death tends to focus the mind…

  22. T Says:

    Neo,

    Regarding your comments about your liberal friends dissing the U.S. You point out that many of them are rather historically uneducated. I’d like to offer an added point of view.

    It is quite possible that they also make the same error that members of the liberal media make. In a free and open society, all facets of that society are visible; that includes its warts. Thus we have people who are essentially cynics and who justify how bad our society is by pointing to its ever visible warts.

    Totalarian societies look better because the warts are kept under wraps, almost as a matter of national security. So Sean Penn and Danny Glover extoll the virtues of Castro’s Cuba, but can anyone, liberal or otherwise seriously decry our society as bad and yet ignore Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot and others too numerous to mention? These societies and leaders are inestimably worse, and yet receive little of no attention from these “sophisticated’ liberals.

    Furthermore, there is this essential attitude that the Europeans are so much more cultured than we are; we need to be more like them. Right! They started two world wars in the previous century alone. Not only were we responsible for ending those wars, but the relative peace of Europe since 1946 is, in great part, the result of continued U.S. military presence there. Their peace was created by the U.S. taxpayers dime. Just as agriculture freed up individuals to do other things besides hunt for food, U.S. defense of European territory gave the European establishment the appearance of a superior perch from which they look down their nose and judge us.

  23. Skookumchuk Says:

    Gray: Only people who haven’t spent much time around europeans could ever believe that.

    Very true. It is the sepia toned Europe of the 20th century American imagination, where elderly Frenchmen ride their bicycles and carry baguettes in the handlebars basket.

  24. southernjames Says:

    “As far as I can tell, all of them get their news from the liberal press. They read liberal newspapers. They watch CNN, if they watch cable news at all. They listen to NPR. They go to Michael Moore movies. They don’t read much about history and may not have studied it since college or even high school, where they got the usual cursory smattering of platitudes. They hate war and killing, which is another sign of how nice and how well-meaning they are”

    “Often, their fellow countrymen/women are contrasted to those wonderful Europeans, who are (take your pick): cultured, sophisticated, linguistically diverse, international, pacifist, non-imperialist (now, anyway—since history began post-WWII). Americans? The opposite.”

    These two paragraphs describe my older brother (who lives in New Jersey – me in S. Florida) to a T. An absolute T.

    He is ambivalent about Obama and doesn’t even pay much ATTENTION – since after all, he gets ALL of his news and information from CNN, NPR, NY Times – so what’s to be worried about? O is “doing his best” to try to clean up the “total mess Bush left behind,” so “just give him a little time.”

    And teabaggers are of course, uneducated, ignorant, provincial, unhinged right wing NUTS. What else is he to think – considering the source of his information, who he lives around, etc…..

    I will say this about conservatives however…..too many of us ALSO live in our own sheltered little echo chambers. Try reading the comments sections at Lucienne sometime, for example.

  25. Adrian Says:

    Neo:

    As you say “Many individuals in this particular group could experience a change of perspective if they were motivated (as I was)…”

    I agree but it’s hard to say what it takes to bring that about and perhaps it’s different for everyone. I was raised by very conservative parents, then threw out all of my upbrining in order to decide for myself. I was fiercely liberal in my twenties, when I moved to a New Jersey inner-city neighborhood to work with under-privileged children. I was a voracious reader during those years, but perhaps not a very critical one or maybe too unknowledgeable about the world to think critically. So when I read something like William Ryan’s “Blaming the Victim”, I just took it and ran with it. Since then I’ve come full circle. And of course I’m glad for the journey, having come to my beliefs on my own and not simply because I was raised that way.

  26. southernjames Says:

    “Only people who haven’t spent much time around europeans could ever believe that..”

    Not true. At least not in all instances. My older bro (died in the wool liberal) spent five years in France for his US company in the 90′s. And travels constantly to France, Germany, Britain, Italy, etc., on business. He constantly extols the sophistication, etc. of the French, as compared to the uncultured rubes who inhabit this continent – none of whom know a second language (gasp) and who are all sheltered and naive about the big diverse world that exists outside of their McDonalds Drive Thru in Podunk-Ville, Middle America.

    Oh no – a LOT of snooty elitist, Franco-phile liberals do quite a bit if traveling.

  27. J.L. Says:

    “Liberalism” (or “the Left”) is a broad term, defining a lrge number of people. Therefore, its probably incorrect to put them all into a small box, such as saying they are all bad intentioned.

    I’ve met all sorts. This includes:

    (1) Very well meaning people who really do think that theyre doing good by supporting liberal (ie, redistributionist, identity politics, weak military, etc.) policies.

    (2)Some very narcissistic, self-important, arrogant people who use their viewpoint as a weapon to thrash you wih if you disagree with them, and who enjoy assuming that they are superior to those they disagree with.

    (3) Some who are liberals as to some issues, but not others, and who are really conservative in some ways, but prefer to call themselves liberals. (For example, I have a very rational friend who also happens to be gay. He actually has views regarding, for example, affirmative action, government programs, foreign policy,etc., which are very much like those of people who comment on this blog, but who feels he must be liberal to support greater rights for gays.)

    (4) Some people who are a bit clueless and “pie in the sky,” and who wouldn’t know what you were talking about if (or only vaguely have an idea) if you tried to discuss Marxism with them, or what the Cold War was all about.

    I met some good people, and some real bastards who were “liberals” or “on the left.” I could wirte more, but I have to get going for now. Maybe I’ll be motivated a little later to write more. (Maybe I’ll have some flashback to some particulalrly bad experince with a so-called “progressive.”)

  28. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Liberals aren’t inherently evil. It’s just their ideas are stupid:

    Stupidity does not consist of being without ideas. Such stupidity would be the sweet, blissful stupidity of animals, molluscs and the gods. Human stupidity consists of having lots of ideas, but stupid ones.

    -Henri de Montherlant

    They also are unfamiliar with proper apologetics, and so they react poorly when challenged. They’re too used to preaching to like-minded individuals and can’t fathom how anyone could not hold similar values without being evil.

  29. rafinlay Says:

    Professional Liberals do not have good intentions. They use the facade of good intentions to gain power.

    Tribal Liberals probably do have good intentions. They project this attitude onto the Professional Liberals, so do not believe they could be dangerous. So they trust in the kindness of Professional Liberal Politicians to run big government programs the way they, themselves, imagine they would.

    This trust in fellow tribe-members is probably the most dangerous aspect of liberalism.

  30. Artfldgr Says:

    they are everything they hate, so the more they look around the more they see themselves and think its the other side. running into the burning building, the realization will not hit them till the fire comes up to their feet. then they look around and realize that all those things that they took for granted and leaned on, had been dismantled and gone and they are standing alone in a system in which whatever they wanted before, is forever gone, replaced with what other people who they really havent listened to want for them.

    right now they are basically calling for the extermination of the ‘western’ race (environmentalists recently pointed out if you offed a western kid, a eastern family could have many children, and still we would get a CO2 benifit http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/25/alex-renton-population-control-climate-change the poorer you are, the less carbon you emit. By today’s standards, a cull of Australians or Americans would be at least 60 times as productive as one of Bangladeshis. …one less British child would permit some 30 women in sub-Saharan Africa to have a baby and still leave the planet a cleaner place)

    we already have a Science Czar who has advocated putting sterilants in the water supply..

    and your women friends support women like C Mackinon, Robin morgan, Simone De bouvier… i bet they all saw the vagina monologues and never realized they were permoting drug induced gay pederastic rape as a social good (see coochie snortcher)..

    did they really think that selling their children to slavery and extinction was the way to improve the future?

  31. No one you know Says:

    huxley @ 4:21

    another Zappa anecdote, this time one place removed — Ike Willis performing with Project Object.

    paraphrase:
    Ike: “Frank taught us to take nothing, and no one too seriously. He taught us that we should make fun of corporate republicans as well as blue haired lesbians” (this after a good hour of bashing all things Bush, it was 2006 after all.)

    Me from the audience: “When you gonna sing a song about the blue haired lesbians?”

    I got the nasty glance, and then heard a song trashing Tony Snow.

    Frank may have learned the lesson, no one else took that lesson to heart. I find it amusing that his music would never be made today, and it’s got nothing to do with conservatives trying to shut down the debil’s music.

  32. neo-neocon Says:

    Wolla Dalbo: I agree that there’s no such thing as pure altruism, since even the purest get some sort of reward from doing good, if only the reward of personal satisfaction. But that doesn’t mean their altruism isn’t real. I understand what you’re saying, though, and I’m sure there’s a strain of that sort of contempt and dislike for the individual (especially among people who have the concept of “the masses”) in some do-gooders. But as I said, my friends are for the most part not Leftists, and do not share that sort of ill-will towards the individual.

  33. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    It seems to me that it is long past the time when we should give anyone an automatic pass, just because they had “good intentions”" I’m sure you could make the argument that Mao, Marx, Hitler and Engels had some species of “good intentions,” some worthy goal in their minds, however flawed in the execution.

    People have to take responsibility for their actions and the ideas they espouse, and the consequences of those ideas and actions. Saying that they did not foresee what their actions or the ideas they espoused or lived their lives by would eventually lead to, is an admission that they did not care enough about consequences to sit down and do even a little thinking about what those possibilities and consequences might likely be–especially in the global sense, and should not absolve them of responsibility.

  34. neo-neocon Says:

    Wolla Dalbo: I hope you’re not suggesting that I’m giving anyone a pass for good intentions. I do not, and I hope I made that clear.

    But I like to be as precise as I can. I believe that most liberals I know have good intentions. I believe those good intentions very often lead to bad results.

  35. neo-neocon Says:

    T: excellent point about closed societies vs. open.

    I’ll have to remember that for my next discussion with liberals.

  36. rickl Says:

    Neo, I hate to say it, but your description of your friends reminds me of some of Whiskey’s comments at Belmont Club.

  37. Ilíon Says:

    But, to have good intentions, even very good intentions just isn’t good enough. And, in fact, it is generally morally evil to impose one’s good intentions upon others without a reasonable expectation that the result will match the intentions. And, it is morally evil without qualification to impose one’s good intentions upon others without so much as even *caring* what the result will be.

    Most “liberals” don’t care whether or not the implementation of their good intentions shall result in good or ill. Therefore, most “liberals” are, indeed, wicked.

  38. huxley Says:

    No one you know: I wonder where Zappa would be today.

    On one hand he was as anti-establishment as possible, but on the other he was just death on hippie group-think and the hippie conceit that hippies were more thoughtful and independent than other people.

    I would like to think that after 9-11 Zappa might have recalibrated his politics. However much contempt he had for the right and conservative Christians, he might have realized that Islamic fundamentalists were a greater threat, and that the liberal multi-culti approach was short-changing freedom at every turn.

    Hard to say. One of my best friends from the old days was a total Zappa freak and even met Zappa a few times. That friend has made the change that many people here have. He says that Zappa might have changed but it would have been hard, given how dug in Zappa was against the Right.

  39. huxley Says:

    Conservatives … by and large don’t hate themselves and the rest of humanity.

    Portia: Interesting distinction! I’d have to agree with that.

    Back at a hippie commune meeting in 1972 I grew weary of all the mincing around about our miniscule environmental impact that made it impossible to do almost anything. With some exasperation, I said “It seems like we have no choice but to stab ourselves and fall on a garden.”

  40. T Says:

    Neo,

    Let me carry that thought (closed v. open societies) one step further.

    Karl Marx theorized that the proletariat would rise up after the “haves” acquired so much power and wealth that the “have nots” just wouldn’t accept it any more. His single greatest error was that he failed to account for the fact that as the “haves” acquired more and more, they brought the lower economic classes up the ladder with them.

    Marx failed to understand this because Europe never worked that way. As the European aristocracy coalesced more and more power and wealth, the European poor remained destitute. The United States broke THAT mold, too. In this country, as individuals (many of them immigrants) became successful, they did so by riding the waves of success of the lower economic classes. So much so, that this country with all its flaws is STILL the primary destination of choice for immigration, and so much so, that we have redefined the concept of poverty. We live in a world where the “poor” have cell phones, color TV, access to free medical care (Medicaid) and sometimes even a car.

    So let me sum up. In the U.S. we lay ourselves open to inspection, warts and all. We pulled Europe’s collective ass out of the fire twice in 30 years, with great sacrifice of American life and treasure. We provided for the common European defense for 60 years and counting; a cost born primarily by the American taxpayer and not the European taxpayer. We have single-handedly created a middle-class lifestyle that competes with the aristocratic lifestyle of most any previous European society, and yet we are reviled by the sophisticates and the intelligentsia because we have committed the unpardonable sin of not being perfect.

  41. huxley Says:

    Something that doesn’t change between being liberal and conservative are these cozy discussions of how horribly foolish, ignorant, hypocritical, and possibly malevolent the other side is.

    Yes, I thought about it and I chose the conservative side, but I wish I didn’t get the impression so often that I just decided that one side of the mirror was better than the other.

  42. Cappy Says:

    Don’t hear as much politics from liberal friends and relatives as I used to, but damn near every conversation or e-mail is really edgy in other ways. Has this happened to others?

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    Ilion: Most of the liberals I know do care about the effect of their good intentions. They think the effect has been good—or, if it hasn’t always been good, it usually been good. Or, if it hasn’t usually been good, that’s because it hasn’t been implemented correctly—and this time it will be implemented correctly.

  44. huxley Says:

    …but damn near every conversation or e-mail is really edgy in other ways.

    Cappy: How so?

    My experience is that most of the liberals I know have shut up, once they realized that I wasn’t an ally who would join in on the Two-Minute Hates against Bush and conservatives.

    In other cases my liberal friends and I have quietly agreed to disagree and no longer discuss politics. I think they may also have some buyer’s remorse, but I don’t know.

  45. No one you know Says:

    huxley, thanks for the reply. Zappa was a fairly libertine libertarian. Don’t know how 9/11 would have affected him. He could have very well been a Truther, since he was actually involved in government black lists back in the day. I’m fairly certain that he would have seen the oil relationships between the Bushes and the Sauds as the prima facia reason behind US involvement in the middle east. That said, he loathed many of the liberal power bases. Hated unions and race baiting Jesse Jackson types. Had nothing but disdain for do-gooder health nazi types. Hated islamists, read the liner notes of Joe’s Garage. So yeah, I’m not thinking he would have jumped up and down about John McCain, but I don’t think he would have much nice to say about the current administration and congress.

  46. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Again we come, it seems, to J.L. Talmon’s seminal book “Th Origin of Totalitarian Democracy,” illustrating how those on the Left who “have good intentions” for the betterment of “the masses,” and as leaders and intellectuals know better than the unwashed and stupid masses what crucial, urgent steps need to be taken to achieve the perfect society, believe themselves justified in running roughshod over or even destroying those obstinate obstructionists and “wreckers,” who stand in the way of such self evident progress.

    I believe we are in the midst of yet another illustration of Talmon’s thesis.

  47. betsybounds Says:

    With the talk of Zappa going around, I’m reminded of one of his pieces, I forget the title, that included some distonal duet statements of, “It Can’t Happen Here.” He wasn’t always real musical, but he was sometimes brilliant anyway. So remember the heavy irony of, “It Can’t Happen Here” in these days of something happening. . . here.

  48. No one you know Says:

    Ilion: Most of the liberals I know do care about the effect of their good intentions. They think the effect has been good—or, if it hasn’t always been good, it usually been good. Or, if it hasn’t usually been good, that’s because it hasn’t been implemented correctly—and this time it will be implemented correctly.

    Ain’t that the truth. When you hit ‘em with the 500 million dead because of the DDT ban, you’ll get obfuscation, then rationalization about their good intentions,and hey those egg shelsl really were thin, until you get to the real hard core types who’ll tell you that it’s a good thing all those people dies since we would not be able to feed them at this point

  49. huxley Says:

    betsybounds: Hi Betsy! After making that post, I’ve been groovin’ to Zappa all afternoon. Guy was a genius but … I remember why I don’t listen to him very often.

    “It Can’t Happen Here” is actually a cock-snooking 1966 anthem to the new freak-out thing that was happenin’ everywhere even though it shouldn’t have been smothered by plastic suburban values.

    Transposing Zappa’s song to our time, I’d say that it would be about all the middle-class moderates rising up, marching on Washington, and such like, refusing to have a far-left agenda forced upon them.

  50. huxley Says:

    Most of the liberals I know do care about the effect of their good intentions.

    Yes. They don’t notice or don’t believe their good intentions have failed, in large part because they don’t hear the other side because they don’t hear it from their friends or the papers they read.

    My houseguests last week were wonderful friends I knew from college. They only read the NY Times. What little of the Right reaches them is filtered and mostly they just notice the edge and the tone of people like Coulter, Limbaugh, and Savage, which they discard without engaging it.

    I’d like to recommend this blog to them, but we agreed not to talk about politics and by now this blog and its comments sound pretty much like the intolerant and nutty stuff they don’t like about the Right.

  51. neo-neocon Says:

    Wolla Dalbo: and it turns out that Joe Lieberman is now considered one of the “wreckers.”

  52. Richard Johnston Says:

    You know I think definition of terms is important here. In a recent thread (I’m not even sure it was here but I think so) I was on one of my anti-ERISA tirades and at some point allowed that most here would probably consider me to be liberal. Someone (forget who, sorry) said in jest that I couldn’t be a liberal because I said I was interested in talking substance.

    Said in jest but I thought I detected some true belief behind it. If we define away any and all positive qualities in our interpretation of the term “liberal” (or “conservative” for that matter) then we are going to be left with something quite objectionable indeed.

    As I said I would be considered liberal by many here. After all I am a lawyer who (tries to) make a living suing insurance companies. I support gay marriage and am a death penalty abolitionist. I voted for Obama, but not against McCain — in fact I was struck by how, for the first time in a long long time I believed the country would be in pretty good hands regardless of who won. In 2000 I switched parties temporarily for the singular purpose of being able to vote against GWB in the Republican primary — I was opposed to his candidacy enough back then that I wanted to stop him from even being nominated. I think I was wrong about him, although I continued to oppose him policy-wise. I came to oppose him respectfully. I think he’s a very decent and intelligent guy with whom I just disagreed on too many things to have been his political supporter.

    I spend a lot more of my surfing time on conservative blogs than liberal ones because I think they’re more interesting. I’ve been persuaded by many points I’ve read there. And I’ve appreciated the good will and usually respectful exchanges.

    I remember being called a “traitor” because I didn’t support GWB in 2000 or 2004. I was annoyed but did not think those who resorted to that were representative of the ‘pubs or of conservatism.

    I think this country would be badly ill-served if either side held sway for too long. The left without the right and the right without the left would not be a good prescription for what ails us.

    Having hopefully established my bonda fides as a liberal I am writing this long-winded message just to say that when the vituperation gets too severe and the name-calling and accusations of evil begin I think many people like me tend to tune out. Neither side is represented fairly by its worst partisans, and the many many people of good will on both sides, I suspect, can become quite weary of being lumped in with them.

  53. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Johnston: I’m curious—what do you think of Obama now? I’m not just setting you up to be attacked here :-). I actually am curious to hear.

  54. betsybounds Says:

    It occurs to me that some part of the philosophical difference between conservatives and liberal-leftists has to do with the recognition of human imperfection and whether or not it can be remedied by human efforts. Conservatives hold that it can’t, while liberal-leftists believe strongly that it can. Conservative philosophy, including that of the Founding Fathers, sought to recognize flawed human nature and corral it, keep its destructiveness from doing too much damage. Rather than trying to snuff out greed and ambition for power, they recognized those motivators for what they are and planned to present them with competition and obstacles, with counters.

    Left-liberals, on the other hand, have bought heavily into the notion that humans can be perfected by their own efforts–in the general (theorists), and thereby translating into the particular (social control)–hence the prevalence of “good intentions” among the Left. By this I mean that they think if a perfect society can be imagined, the means of reaching it can be devised (this is also why they like to view Social Studies as scientific–which I deny that they are–and implement such studies’ findings by coercion), and people can be trained to follow the resulting program. They are rigid in their implementation (the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, to name just a few, were and are nothing if not rigid), and intolerant of dissent because it interferes with implementation of the perfectibility program. They are constitutionally unable to accept humanity as it is, and implementation becomes the huge problem for them. When members of the population balk, they accept the need to eliminate those members as contaminants.

    Implementation is not such a problem for conservatives (of the Founders’ school), because their realist recognition of the “nature” of “human nature,” if you will, isn’t tempted to adopt the same kind of mass-discipline mechanisms. Their program is more self-correcting, and isn’t threatened when humans behave as, well, humans. It is also a bit messy, as the evidence in conservative societies suggests. The messiness is one of the things the Left deplores, but it has its beneficial function nevertheless.

    I think there is an intersection here with the notion of Original Sin and its playing out, variously, in Christians and people of other faiths. To my knowledge, Christianity is the only religion that accepts people as they are, with congenitally fallen natures, and their attendant incapacity to be Good on their own. It provides a way for individuals to approach God through the sacrifice of Jesus. No other religion that I know of does this, and I include atheism here, because they all rely on people’s following a program of rules or laws to become perfected–which people simply cannot do. I disagree, by-the-by, with the sometime Christian program of having the body-politic follow Christian principles. Religion does not work well as a political or governing program, and this includes Christianity. The Founders knew this, and did not try to impose it. The Bill of Rights, especially the first amendment, makes this clear.

    These are things I have thought for a long time, but in the present instance are kind of off the top of my head, and I’d welcome counterpoints and discussion.

  55. expat Says:

    T and Neo,

    The warts thing is really important. Every time a school board from a tiny US county makes a dumb decision, everytime there is a racist, faux or not, incident, everytime there is a new tacky fad, it is noticed in Europe. In contrast, the news from Europe must be really big if it’s negative. Otherwise, all one hears is about the wonderful culture. It’s all a sham.

    Most people who travel abroad or even work abroad for a while see a very narrow slice of European life at the top end. I doubt that many of their co-workers share stories about their borish and dysfunctional relatives. I doubt that many have eaten at the mediocre to lousy restaurants that serve lots of average Europeans. I doubt that many check out the intellectual level of tabloids or hairdresser mags. Many experience a Michelin Europe that has little to do with the supermarket clerk or the owner of a small plumbing company. But these people exist in Europe. Not everyone here takes Kant or Rousseau to the beach; as in America, they come home tired from work, get something to eat, and turn on the TV to see whether the world still exists and how their favorite sports team did today.

    One more thing: I have been seeing and to some extent reading the cultural elite of Europe for a long time. A large number are dumb as hogs and ignorant to boot. The plumbers and clerks often have more common sense and more real class. Our oh so sophisticated liberal elites don’t know they exist.

  56. betsybounds Says:

    Huxley:

    LOL! Your tale of the house guests is nice. Late last summer, we were house guests ourselves, and our host was (and is) a conservative of a mind like unto our own (we tend to the libertarian perspective). When we arrived (in the event, the gathering was at his lovely home overlooking Lake Travis, at Lakeway, north of Austin), our host. The other guests were adamant liberals, and because of that he asked us to refrain from discussing political matters. As it happened, he did not make a similar request of the liberal contingent, and we were treated to the kinds of sneering political remarks and assumptions of like mind among all that conservatives frequently encounter, and are quiet about. I can’t usually keep quiet for very long, though, I was very true to my childhood nick-name, Betsy Blabbermouth. The result was some testy exchanges and a general opinion amongst the liberal contingent that I am an idiot. It stung, I can tell you, and still does!

  57. Richard Johnston Says:

    Richard Johnston: I’m curious—what do you think of Obama now?

    I think more highly of him than you do but not as highly of him as his most vociferous supporters. I never considered him to be “the One” or a messiah or anything of that sort, as it appears some believe I must have in order to have voted for him. Nor did I (or do I) think he is a secret communist or marxist or Islamist bent of destroying the American way of life.

    I think he’s a politician doing the best he can to deal with all the problems we’re faced with. I think he’s made some mistakes so far, and am hopeful he gets better at his job as he gains more experience in it (and I recall a fairly broad consensus that GWB was pretty underwhelming until 9/11 occurred and then, I the liberal will admit, he rose to the occasion in many ways and grew before our eyes).

    If we can get away from seeing these mere humans as angels or devils and stick to ideas it’d make me a lot more happy about the state of our politics.

    Not that I am holding my breath.

    Thanks for asking by the way.

  58. betsybounds Says:

    Oops! Well–here’s a good example of why a preview function would be useful. I truncated a sentence in the post above that I should have re-read and caught, but didn’t. Sorry. I was seduced into to just hitting that “Submit Comment” bar!

  59. Harry McHaliburtonstein Says:

    Richard:
    What is it about Obama so far you think he’s done right that your still giving him the benefit of a doubt?

    As for the labels, if Obama isnt a Marxist, he sure loves to surround himself with them. May be he thinks it’s chic. But I recall when Bush was President liberals claiming his agenda was to turn this nation into a Christian theocracy without being able to explain how that was manifesting itself. I have to ask you: When is that last time a President has nationalized banks, automobile manufacturers and (if he gets his way) medicine? Who is most close to establishing an extremist agenda?

  60. huxley Says:

    I can’t usually keep quiet for very long, though, I was very true to my childhood nick-name, Betsy Blabbermouth. The result was some testy exchanges and a general opinion amongst the liberal contingent that I am an idiot. It stung, I can tell you, and still does!

    betsybounds: I’d bet you had more effect than you thought. I’d bet that in the back of their minds your liberal interlocutors experienced a bit of doubt that hmm … maybe their edifice of beliefs is not as stable and secure as they thought.

    In any event I think it’s worth pushing back in such situations unless it is work-related.

    I’ve done so and yes, I’ve experienced some ostracism, but I’ve also noticed that those forums (church and otherwise) in which I pushed back did back off their Two Minute Hates.

  61. betsybounds Says:

    I just re-read my post, above, which dealt in part with the philosophical/religious differences between Christians and non-Christians, and realized that I left out mention of the Jews. I accept the formulation of Corrie ten Boom’s father, as recounted in The Hiding Place, that “The Jews are the apple of God’s eye.” I make no judgment regarding them, and I realize that they are the forebears of all that I believe. They do not accept the sacrifice of Jesus or His co-divinity, but God chose them to be His people, and who am I to judge? I just thought I needed to make that clear.

    There is a certain specific exceptionalism involved in being God’s Chosen People which the rest of us are not free to judge.

    This is not meant to be a political statement, of course.

  62. betsybounds Says:

    Huxley,

    Again, you make me LOL. It’s true that Zappa was into chronicling the “new freak-out thing that was happenin’ everywhere even though it shouldn’t have been smothered by plastic suburban values.” One of my favorite of his formulations was the cautionary “watch out where the Huskies go, don’t you eat that yellow snow!”

    And of course during the current unease, who could forget “I might be movin’ to Montana soon, goin’ to be a dental floss tycoon. . . .”

  63. Steve G Says:

    “Most of the liberals I know do care about the effect of their good intentions. They think the effect has been good—or, if it hasn’t always been good, it usually been good. Or, if it hasn’t usually been good, that’s because it hasn’t been implemented correctly—and this time it will be implemented correctly.”

    Neo- “This time it will be implemented correctly” is the same argument that communism has not worked because of Stalin and Mao. All it needs are better leaders, which we’ll get next time.

    Your comment about Lieberman now being considered one of the wreckers is only the latest example of liberals eating their own. I wonder if Lieberman is reacting in some part to the rather evident anti-semitism of Obama’s administration. If so, good timing.

  64. Thomass Says:

    Richard Johnston Says:

    “Said in jest but I thought I detected some true belief behind it. If we define away any and all positive qualities in our interpretation of the term “liberal” ”

    Perhaps, but if you know what your talking about and are reasonable… your going to be considered a moderate. If you don’t hate bush and think seriously about public policy issues (re: not ALL problems are due to lack of regulation and republicans in power)… are you in sync with 90% of liberals? or are you a moderate who is attached to the old term?

    Because, sorry, most of the ones I know act like people are presenting them here….

  65. JKB Says:

    Every one, good or bad, consider themselves a hero. They are doing good from their perspective. I assume your liberal friends consider themselves heros of their own narratives. What it appears is that they cannot conceive that their perspective might not be the best one. That they may not know best. Like religious zealots they rationalize the damage from their actions, either as you say by denial, justification or not being sufficiently pure.

    It is only when they can step outside of themselves and view their actions objectively that they might find them wanting or another perspective to be more appropriate.

  66. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    betsybounds—Personality, education and experience certainly do come into play here, but as I think I have posted here in the past, it has more and more seemed to me that their profoundly differing beliefs as to the fundamental character of human nature is what is at the root of Liberal and Conservative philosophies and their usually diametrically opposed beliefs, positions and prescriptions for governing and ordering—or not–society.

  67. Gringo Says:

    lablabbermouthia a.k.a. betsybounds

    It occurs to me that some part of the philosophical difference between conservatives and liberal-leftists has to do with the recognition of human imperfection and whether or not it can be remedied by human efforts. Conservatives hold that it can’t, while liberal-leftists believe strongly that it can.

    That sums it up pretty well. While liberals are sure that the new social program they are voting in will bring Heaven on Earth to us, and anyone who is blocking said social program is against Heaven on Earth. Thus the Devil incarnate. Amazing how theology infuses even those who are not churchgoers.

  68. Harry McHaliburtonstein Says:

    Gringo:
    “Amazing how theology infuses even those who are not churchgoers.”

    I dont see it as being any different. I see little empiricism practiced in liberal ideology where I see much more of it with even religious conservatives.

    Everyone on the planet seeks relevancy in their existence whether they’re saving souls or saving the planet. Liberals certainly wouldnt recognize it but their blind acceptance of something, say; impending global warming doom is in my opinion no less desperate than a Christian’s dismissal of evolution for the same reason: the sake of personal relevancy.

  69. T Says:

    expat (at 8:51 above) , you mention that most people see a Michelin Guide version of Europe and not its underbelly. I’m certain you’re absolutely correct.

    Some tangential anecdotal evidence: A very good friend of ours is a Bulgarian immigrant (now U.S. citizen), who mentioned that the average table wine in the U.S. is substantially better than the average table wine in Europe. The idea that Europe is the source of great wines, and that U.S. vintages are little more than poseurs is your “Michelin version” or Europe. My Bulgarian friend exposes in some small way, the reality that most people don’t see.

    But this goes to reinforce the idea that liberals are primarily focused on the appearance of _________ (fill in the blank). It’s a matter of LOOKING sophisticated, being perceived as tolerant, having the trappings of education, culture and savoir faire. More than 20 years ago, Robert Hughes (art critic, Time Magazine) said that it has become more important to have seen Michelangelo’s David than to actually see it. He identified that same pretension even then.

  70. betsybounds Says:

    Gringo, you say: ” . . .liberals are sure that the new social program they are voting in will bring Heaven on Earth to us, and anyone who is blocking said social program is against Heaven on Earth.”

    Precisely. They view their opponents not as mere opponents, but as heretics. That is why they don’t mind eliminating opponents.

    Also, hence, their positions are theological. It’s not just a matter of what might work. It’s a matter of Revealed Truth. If they can impose their system, it will work.

    And the reason “theology infuses even those who are not churchgoers” is that we seek to be believers, and we seek only the system. Recall that the Bible tells us that the Devil can appear as an angel of light.

    We are susceptible to this kind of deception.

  71. Occam's Beard Says:

    it has more and more seemed to me that their profoundly differing beliefs as to the fundamental character of human nature is what is at the root of Liberal and Conservative philosophies and their usually diametrically opposed beliefs, positions and prescriptions for governing and ordering—or not–society.

    Exactly. What precisely do liberals think of a breakdown in civil order? “Great, now we can all live as noble savages?” I doubt it. So they don’t really take Rousseau seriously either.

    What would it take to disabuse of this notion that people collectively are intrinsically and reliably good? A trip to Mogadishu? Rwanda? What?

  72. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve G: Yes, my reference to the belief that it may not have worked this time, but will be implemented better next time, was written with full awareness that that’s the classic excuse for why Communism failed but might still work next time. I was being ironic.

    The point I was trying to make (perhaps too subtly?) was that you might know that, and I might know that, but a fair number of liberals don’t know that, and some of them believe it.

  73. T Says:

    Occam’s Beard,

    I don’t think that people are COLLECTIVELY intrinsically good, I believe that most people are INDIVIDUALLY instrinsically good.

    It’s being within the group that causes the problem, because there we are put into a position in which we must compete with others for our own welfare. Socialism has a much better ethic than capitalism; help your neighbor, but it doesn’t work in the group where we must compete with others to help ourselves and they, in turn, must compete with us.

    That’s what makes our response to disasters like 9/11 or the Indonesian Tsunami so remarkable; we strip away the influence of the group and our need to compete within it and we individually choose to act on behalf of a fellow human being.

    This cannot be contrived by government fiat and I believe that’s also why the most successful examples of socialism are voluntary and small scale (think monks and nuns) and not government imposed (if you won’t care about your neighbor of your own free will we’ll force you to do it).

  74. Gray Says:

    and by now this blog and its comments sound pretty much like the intolerant and nutty stuff they don’t like about the Right.

    Some of that “nuttiness and intolerance” is ‘cuz of me. Just to be clear, Huxley, I don’t ever want you to:

    Go to church
    Recycle
    Own a gun
    Read the NY Times
    Vote for dirty leftists
    smoke dope
    Listen to Talk Radio
    Drink
    Believe in Global Warming

    Unless you really, really want to and are willing to give me the same courtesy.

    “Do your own thing” should include healthcare, wealthcare and car care.

    I’m not gonna pay for nothing for you unless I’ve met you.

    I don’t care what goes in your veins, your nostrils, your mouth or your anus so long as you don’t claim special priviledges or rights based on what goes in your veins, your nostrils, your mouth or your anus.

    That is my political philosophy. It is profoundly “conservative” now. How weird is that?

    I was raised on Zappa and “you are what you eat” was the soundtrack of my infancy. I love my freedom, and yours too, and I’ve fought for it.

  75. Gray Says:

    What would it take to disabuse of this notion that people collectively are intrinsically and reliably good? A trip to Mogadishu? Rwanda? What?

    Not those people of course, I mean my dear friends on the Upper West Side who happen to be gay. Why can’t they marry? Aren’t they “intrinsically” good enough for you racist repuglicans?

    See how this works?

  76. Occam's Beard Says:

    I wouldn’t entirely disagree, but I submit that the responses to 9/11 and the Indonesian tsunami have non-negligible contributions from the Hawthorne effect. Once that effect abates (say within a few weeks)…that’s when the #$%^ starts.

    And even individually, our response to extraordinary circumstances partially reflects at least a subconscious expectation that those circumstances will pass quickly, so altruism exacts no toll, and opprobrium will attach to a more Hobbesian approach once normalcy returns.

    The counter examples, again, include Mogadishu, or indeed, most countries throughout most of history. Look at Europe: it’s enjoyed the longest period of peace since the fall of the Roman Empire, strictly and solely because of us, and our unspoken threat to kick some European behind if necessary. And as for, e.g., Africa? Forget it.

    So I’d say most people are to some extent intrinsically good (by our cultural standards), but also, at the same time, to some extent intrinsically capable of being not so good. Having a cop standing over them helps to favor the former over the latter. /g

  77. Richard Johnston Says:

    Harry McHaliburtonstein:

    What is it about Obama so far you think he’s done right that your still giving him the benefit of a doubt?

    Well, the facile but nonetheless true answer is that I like to give every president the benefit of the doubt, like as if my doubts were of any moment to any of them. But the same applied to GWB – didn’t support him, didn’t want him to be president, gave him the benefit of the doubt. Turned out that was a good idea because I came to think much more highly of him by doing so. I probably would have closed myself off to that realization had I not had that attitude.

    But to more directly answer your specific question about President Obama: I think he actually handled the stimulus think OK. I understand your concerns about “nationalizing” everything, but I consider that to be hyperbole. I’m not sure there was any right answer in that situation, but I think he implemented the least wrong one. It is necessarily speculative to say it either failed or did not, IMO, because we’ll never know what would have transpired, up to now or in the future, had this action not been taken. Same goes for the auto bailout; I know it’s theoretically sound to argue that the companies should have just been allowed to fail, but there were too many (again, IMO) real lives threatened with utter ruin from the domino effect of a failed domestic auto industry.

    Nor do I accept that he wants to “nationalize” health care. Again I consider that to be hyperbole. I am actually very sympathetic to what he wants to accomplish, but that’s likely because of what I’ve personally seen in my own professional experience both defending and suing insurance companies. I don’t think they should be eliminated but I do think at a minimum they need to be regulated like public utilities.

    I think that ten months in office is not enough to evaluate him for good or for ill. So I guess I end up reverting to the principle that if GWB got the benefit of my doubt then so shall BHO. And so shall the next guy too, even if I vote for his opponent.

    Thomass:

    Because, sorry, most of the [liberals] I know act like people are presenting them here…

    Or might you just be defining the people who act like that as liberals? If the people who act “that way” comprise “liberals” then for the life of me I don’t know what everyone is so worried about, because their numbers do not come close to matching their decibel level.

  78. Occam's Beard Says:

    Gray, never mind Mogadishu then. How about Compton? Detroit? East St. Louis?

  79. Occam's Beard Says:

    If the people who act “that way” comprise “liberals” then for the life of me I don’t know what everyone is so worried about, because their numbers do not come close to matching their decibel level.

    With respect, raw numbers don’t control. Relatively few Russians were Bolsheviks, for example, those who were successfully seized control of the state. I’m not equating liberals with Bolsheviks, but pointing out that a group can have impact grossly disproportionate to its size.

  80. Gray Says:

    Look at Europe: it’s enjoyed the longest period of peace since the fall of the Roman Empire, strictly and solely because of us, and our unspoken threat to kick some European behind if necessary.

    That’s why they despise us and will undermine us in an effort to return to the nasty, brutish, short mean.

    I’d say Most people are swine (by any cultural standards) and deserve nothing but suffering and a shallow unlamented grave; which, oddly enough, is what most people get.

  81. Gray Says:

    Gray, never mind Mogadishu then. How about Compton? Detroit? East St. Louis?

    Oh, well then, it’s your fault that they live like that: my dear friends on the Upper West Side, who happen to be gay, care very deeply about them unlike you racist repuglicans.

    See how this works?

  82. Thomass Says:

    Richard Johnston Says:

    “Or might you just be defining the people who act like that as liberals? If the people who act “that way” comprise “liberals” then for the life of me I don’t know what everyone is so worried about, because their numbers do not come close to matching their decibel level.”

    I don’t know, I asked a few questions in my message to you.

    Do you think the other liberals are like you?
    Or maybe have you’ve changed into a moderate?

    Then I threw in what I’ve seen…

  83. Richard Johnston Says:

    Occam’s Beard:

    I’m not equating liberals with Bolsheviks, but pointing out that a group can have impact grossly disproportionate to its size.

    Point taken, although what I have been discerning in this thread at least is not so much that the “liberals” will have a disproportionate impact but that they’re just so malignant/stupid/objectionable.

    I think it is a fascinating parlor game to psychoanalyze our political opponents. I remember people early on in GWB’s presidency speculating about his being a “dry drunk” and such. It was silly. We seem to be unable to just accept that some people of good will disagree with us, such that we have to put them on a microscope slide to figure out what makes them tick.

    So now we conclude that “liberals” are narcissistic, or delusional, or inscrutable about their true intent to take over the world. It is not very far removed from the ridiculous musings of a few years ago about Dick Cheney’s “real” plans for us.

  84. Oblio Says:

    Betsybounds, it sounds like your company was wasted on your Austin liberal blowhards. Arguing with most self-described liberals is more or less a waste of time, because they are more interested in striking attitudes than in facts and consequential reasoning. (On the other hand, the same is too often true with self-described conservatives, and we aren’t helping ourselves when that happens.)

    I started doing better after I decided to quit arguing with people who don’t know anything. With such people, the argument is not about what’s good for the commonwealth; it is about the relative status of the arguers. I save my political arguments for the pros.

    But I know I have a big challenge coming up in January. I’m meeting up with a bunch of cronies for a long weekend. Some of these guys are mega-liberals AND consummate pros. From history, I know that there will be no holds barred and no shortage of low blows. These guys know their stuff, and they will start the name-calling.

    Time to dust off Sun Tzu.

  85. Richard Johnston Says:

    Thomass:

    I don’t know, I asked a few questions in my message to you.

    Do you think the other liberals are like you?
    Or maybe have you’ve changed into a moderate?

    Well yes I think most other liberals are like me if I understand your inquiry. I don’t think they tend to be the unthinking narcissistic simpletons they are portrayed to be in a lot of places (and I should note this comment is based more on what I see elsewhere on the web than here, although this particular thread has gotten a bit psycho-babbly if you ask me). And I flatter myself to posit that I am not an unthinking narcissistic simpleton either.

    Case in point: this perceived fawning over BHO as if he were a messiah. I never saw that, and I saw the same things you guys did. Where you saw worship and genuflecting I saw a campaign song and some politicking. But boy do I hear that I must think he’s the second coming of Christ often, based on nothing more than the fact that I voted for him. Or the woman in Florida who was caught saying Barack Obama’s going to pay my mortgage, and by the next morning she was supposedly representative of “liberals” generally. For the record I never expected Barack Obama to pay my mortgage.

    I honestly don’t think I would be considered a moderate; about the only issue I would be considered “conservative” on is probably gun rights, that and some serious ambivilance about abortion. I say that with one major caveat: if you are going to describe the most extreme possible left-wing position on any issue, and label that as “liberal” then I would probably be moderate, although I expect a lot of “conservatives” would also be moderate if we did the same thing at the other end of the spectrum.

    But if we persist in defining out political labels not by beliefs or philosophy but by demeanor, then I guess I am a moderate.

  86. T Says:

    Occam,

    we may be speaking past each other. I would suggest that saying “most people are good” does not mean that they will always act altruistically; they are two different things. Survival of the self is THE primary motivator; that’s why we make such a big deal out of someone who shows a willingness to endanger his life for the welfare of another; s/he has overcome that most basic and primeval motivation.

    Must a “good” person always act out of concern for another? When we go to work everyday, are we not primarily acting to benefit ourselves but in the process, we do job that might benefit others? Does that make us any “less good?”

    I would say that altruism is a higher calling; we can be good, but by being altruistic, we are better. Thus with the pretense of liberalism. By espousing a liberal philosophy we demonstrate that we are better, superior to the knuckle-dragging types who think only of themselves. The pretense of liberalism (e.g., appearing tolerant while only tolerating those with whom one agrees) is like the philosophical equivalent of driving a Mercedes “I appear wealthy, therefore I am,” and it is to such pretense that humans subscribe.

    Remember the right does it, too; the evangelist caught with prostitutes, the traditional family man allegedly cruising for gay sex, Bill Bennet’s gambling addiction. When these happen, the left uses them as a cudgel because they see professed ideals as unachievable expectations and therefore worthless. They don’t understand that ideals are goals to strive towards, not expectations to be met. Now we return to the the idea, mentioned above, that the Right sees human nature as inherently flawed, with legislation restricting those flaws, while the Left sees human nature as inherently good.

    My question, then, is if the Left sees human nature as good, why do they feel required to enact legislation mandating that people help other people by redistributing wealth? I don’t think this is about altruism; it’s about the appearance of altruism (Gee, this is starting th sound like The Matrix).

  87. Perfected democrat Says:

    It’s called shallow… and the further left they lean the more insidious and dangerous their obstinate attitudes become. They are masters of rationalizing behaviour in the context of inappropriate compromise; not recognizing, even refusing to look objectively beyond their rigidly focussed informational milieu, and how, as a result, they enable and empower the worst varieties of despots, ie. empowering the regime in Syria, soft pedaling on Hugo Chevez and company, just to name a few. The result is a slow degradation of security for both America, as well as long-standing allies and groups with which we should staunchly share and defend common cause. It’s the black hole of left-wing despotism; but where America fell sway to the lure of Carter politics in the last century, and recovered, the similar phenomena with Obama and company is significantly more dangerous in the long run. It is going to be a deep hole to dig out of, once the Democrat’s potentially catastrophic deficit spending and government expansion is institutionalized. Reiterating my suggestion of viewing Victor Davis Hanson’s recent article, as always right on the money: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/allfallingdown/

  88. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Johnston: well, you are not typical of the liberals I know. As I mentioned, the people I talk to most about this are women, so maybe it’s the difference between male and female liberals. But most (not all, just most) of my liberal friends get starry-eyed about Obama.

    I have another question, if you don’t mind (actually, it’s two). Among the things that disturb me the most about Obama (and I’ve written a number of posts on this) are his secrecy (including his failure to divulge his past, such as his grades), his lying about the extent of past associations (for example, that he never heard Wright’s offensive sermons), and most particularly—since he has become President—his attack on freedom of the press (Fox News) and his position on Honduras. These are not just errors, they are pernicious policies, well-thought out and hammered home. I’m curious what your thoughts are about these issues.

  89. Harry McHaliburtonstein Says:

    Richard Johnston:
    “this perceived fawning over BHO as if he were a messiah. I never saw that…”

    You cant be serious. The soviet realist portraits? The Khamir Rouge style childrens recitals? Wall-to-wall magazine covers? The endless internet advertising entreaties “Obama wants mother to return to college”. You dont see it? What could be missing?

    You still have yet to mention anything this guy has done so far that you are still willing to give him the benefit of a doubt. Is it that “post-partisanship”? The “post-racialness”? What?

  90. Harry McHaliburtonstein Says:

    Sorry, didnt mean to step on you neo.

  91. gcotharn Says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading this thread.

    Richard Johnston: I’ve enjoyed reading you comments. I have questions, if you have time or inclination to answer:

    Why does Barack Obama deserve the benefit of the doubt? What do you see in him, or in his history, which justifies?

    I ought say: I do not believe the campaign justifies. Imo, he telepromptered through the campaign – exceptions being his debate and short interview offerings of vapid generalities, candy cane wishes, and flat out lies.

    Second: is it really true that government will make decisions which are more virtuous than the decisions of business owners who are motivated by profit? If so, why? I figure this question is in your wheelhouse.

  92. ghost707 Says:

    Excellent discussion.

    T: your narrative on open versus closed society was spot on.

  93. expat Says:

    Richard Johnston,

    What I miss in moderate liberals is their willingness to stand up to the loony fringe who are always pushing the envelope and are unable to think of society as a whole. It’s as if liberals with common sense leave it at the door when political agendas are being set. I don’t know whether they are intimidated or whether they just don’t think much about the implications of some radical goals.

    Take same sex marriage in California, where civil unions are already allowed: I personally don’t see this as a crucial issue at this time, and I rather resent people who try to put the issue above the economy or national defense or indeed a healthy discussion about what is good for children.I don’t trust that movement leaders aren’t on some kind of power high who will just move on to another issue like same sex bathrooms. I don’t like having these issues become litmus tests for distinguishing the righteous from the damned rednecks.

    It ‘s not just gay rights; it’s women’s issues, immigration and integration, ACORN thuggery, etc. I just don’t see much help coming from liberals in trying to tone down the radicals. I don’t know why. We face many problems with no easy answers. I would like to see more liberals try to give us some room to discuss them in a civil and intelligent manner.

  94. stan Says:

    Neo,

    Didn’t have time to read all the comments, but you started to hit the nail when you wrote about liberal hatred for America. Liberals hate America and hate Americans. They routinely slander people in flyover country. Liberals really do think conservatives/Republicans are mean-spirited, hate-filled, racist, sexist, etc. They really do think that blacks aren’t capable of success and in need of liberal help to make it.

    Obviously, this is painting with a very broad brush, but liberals are far more guilty of stereotyping.

    Your friends may want to be good people. Their problem is that they despise so many other people. Your friends may be generous with their time and money. They aren’t at all generous with their attitudes toward other people.

  95. Oblio Says:

    Richard, some liberals are like you. Others are not. We are arguing about proportions. Neo’s findings from her sample are perhaps different from yours. So are mine, especially when I consider the 80 some odd percent of my facebook friends who self-describe as Democrat.

  96. huxley Says:

    Richard Johnston: Welcome aboard.

    I too get tired of the “unthinking narcissistic simpletons” stereotype of liberals, and I much prefer an atmosphere in which informed citizens of good conscience may disagree.

    But that gets harder and harder. The stakes are high and people on both sides are understandably concerned. It’s easy to become frustrated and wrought up over the disagreements. I’ve certainly become so myself at times.

    Having crossed over from left to right, I have thought a lot about the differences between the two sides and how the gap — chasm’s more like it — between them might be bridged.

    I haven’t gotten far with that problem. My unoriginal thoughts on the matter:

    * De-escalate the emotional intensity and rhetoric.
    * Try to hear the other side as speaking in good faith.
    * Look for commonality when possible.
    * Notice when disagreements reflect an underlying conflict of beliefs.

    Strangely enough, I think Americans elected Obama in part because he seemed to offer a way out of the current polarization with an approach similar to my suggestions.

    Unfortunately, for many of us on this blog, Obama hasn’t walked that talk but instead inflamed the divisions with his constant strawman attacks and ad hominem characterizations of conservatives and their positions.

  97. rafinlay Says:

    Having concluded that most human traits are normally distributed, I also conclude that you cannot eliminate “evil.” There will always be a small percentage of the population at the extremes with a larger percentage close enough to them to (at least) put up with them. Therefore I do not believe in the “virtue” of institutions, because if it has the power to influence society in a meaningful way, it will attract people who desire power. Those who see “big business” as evil and “government agency” as good don’t seem to realize that both are just collections of people. When power, riches, status, etc, is best achieved by businesses, power-hungry people will work at taking over businesses. If in reaction to this demonstrable wrongness, we shift the power center to government, the power-hungry will work to take over government. Recognizing the need to keep organizations in opposition to each other to prevent excessive concentration of power is, to me, the greatest genius of the Constitution. Designed through a process of conflict and stress, not through the triumph of any particular philosophy.

  98. R.B. Glennie Says:

    I think there is a confusion of nomenclature here.

    The U.S. is, I believe, the only country which considers `liberal’ to be the left-wing of mainstream politics.

    In Canada, where I live, and in Europe, `liberal’ is centrist.

    The left are socialist, democratic socialists, social democrats, whatever you want to call them.

    However, this does not mean American liberals are centrist – or at least, what is the maintream of the Democratic party today.

    `Liberal’ is simply the American name for what other Occidentals call `socialist.’

  99. House of Eratosthenes Says:

    [...] of this may be taken as a lead-up to a wonderful essay Neo-Neocon has put together called “My Friends The Liberals.” You’ve made it this far through my own scribblings; in for a penny, in for a pound. [...]

  100. Trimegistus Says:

    If you look at a group of chimps in the wild you’ll learn all you need to know about politics.

    Social primates (like chimps, gorillas, and of course humans) are obsessed with status. If you have status you get more of the troop’s resources and your offspring have a better chance of survival. Why are we so good at language and recognizing faces? Because communicating within the troop and jockeying for status were literally life-and-death issues for ancestral primates.

    Europe has been synonymous with high status in America since about 1607. The wealthy could afford to travel across the Atlantic and get some “culture.” The poor stayed home. So Europe = high status, and all primates love them some high status. American intellectuals are still playing colonial acolytes to the Great Minds and Great Ideas of Europe, even after Fascism, Communism, and the general decline of the continent have shown how pernicious those ideas and thinkers are.

    Liberal politics seem (to my eyes) to be nothing but personal status-seeking. If you adopt the “correct” ideas and parrot the jokes of the “correct” TV comics, you gain status. (Note how much of the criticism of Sarah Palin has been based on her perceived low status, even though she was a sitting Governor and her husband is a millionaire.)

    The flip side is how systematically liberals have attacked other sources of status: business (formerly the prime mechanism for gaining status in this country) is now derided as villainous capitalists; religion is nothing but hypocrites and ignorant low-status morons; military heroism simply does not exist any more (quick: who’s the most recent Congressional Medal of Honor winner?).

    The prime sources of status today are, not coincidentally, those most solidly dominated by liberals: media, academia, and professional politics.

    However, all three of those areas are essentially sterile. Media as a business is collapsing, and soon will become a “public” utility paid for by the taxpayers. Academia long ago became a branch of government, and the liberal arts are dying on the vine.

    It is coming down to a stark opposition between those who make money and those who take money.

  101. T Says:

    Expat (at 6:51 above) and Trimegistus (at 9:43 above) make interesting and related points.

    What we need to remember is that the fringe left behaves in much the same way as the fringe right. In our society, however, the fringe right has been pretty much marginalized for over half-a century, while the fringe left not only has more credibility in a secular society, but has also jockeyed itself into positions of power.

    Take congress as an example. The important power players are people like Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman and Barney Frank. They play to an extreme leftist constituency because they need to do that to keep getting re-elected. As a result they tip the entire process toward the far left, much to the frustration of more centrist Democrats.

    In the process, they have re-defined the public perception of “the center” to the left so much so, that even conservatives to the center right are sometimes defined as being on the fringe. Of course they had help in this due to the presence of their ideology in the media and academia as well. This is why conervatives are always labeled (“The conservative talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh.”) while the left are only identified by name (“Radio personality Ed Schultz”). Liberal is the new normal, the new center, at least in the medias perception, and there is no need to identify the “centrist.”

  102. T Says:

    correction, I shouldn’t have written “. . .why conservatives are always labeled . . ..” it should be “often labeled.”

  103. Danny Lemieux Says:

    Def. “Those who make money” – slaves, serfs
    Def. “Those who take money” – slave masters, aristocrats

  104. Baklava Says:

    R.B.,

    They are liberal with other people’s money. Which makes them leftists. :)

    Seriously, I watched a panel of ‘voters’ last night which Frank Luntz put together.

    A few of the crowd stated why would anybody “NEED” millions of dollars and the government should take that money to use to help others – liberals simply do not understand that the TAKING is what leads to economic misery for everybody.

    And who is to determine what one person ‘needs’. And why can’t people understand that risk taking and working harder and smarter is good and leads to economic prosperity, companies making more money, hiring more and the PIE growing.

    It isn’t a bigger slice of pie for only one person. It’s an ever growing pie. If you try to give everybody a house, health care, child care, etc – there is no incentive for
    1) improving yourself, your skills and making yourself more marketable
    2) working longer hours to make more or provide more goods and services to others
    3) socking away savings
    4) coming up with good ideas and risk taking

    You then have a country full of service employees, becoming landscapers, janitors, car service experts, etc and nobody is innovating.

    It is through innovation that we have built some of the finest things in life and broken new ground. To have reward taken away and to go to the Marxist view that these liberal/leftists believed last night on Frant Luntz panel brings about more misery.

    It relinquishes our top dog status to Toyota, Air Bus, India’s brightest, China’s brightest.

    We need to buckle down with work ethic and allow reward for excellence. We need a new personal responsibility generation in America. If you want daycare – you go out and get it.

  105. Baklava Says:

    I could still just be working at Pizza Hut (where I started working when I was 16) if I was guaranteed health care, day care, housing, transportation, etc

    But I knew that those things were not provided and life would be extremely difficult if I didn’t improve.

    I then joined the military, went to college, have studied and passed over 20 certification exams in the computer field and have had a 21 year career working on computers.

    I’ve invested. I’ve kept my spending low and did not make stupid interest only loans when buying my home.

    I’ve had children and did not expect anybody else to provide things for them. I’ve paid many dollars for daycare, braces, eye care, etc.

    I’ll be doing everything I can to help my daughters get higher education.

    It’d be great if liberals donned the hat of personal responsibility.

    Yes – we need safety nets to provide for the elderly and non-able bodied.

    But liberals DILUTE safety nets and therefore harm the elderly and non-able bodied…. THINK ABOUT THAT. Liberals dilute the safety nets.

    How compassionate is that?

  106. Baklava Says:

    While I have liberal neighbors who have a new Toyota 4 runner and new V6 Honda Accord (yet get on tirades about global warming and CO2), I have a 10 year old minivan.

    I have myself a single 27″ tube TV, while my liberal cube neighbor has 3 thin wide HDTV’s.

    I do my own lawn care and house maintenance while my liberal neighbor on the other side has lawn people come around each week doing the lawn.

    I had a friend (don’t visit anymore) who expected the government to provide daycare because they are both working parents, while I was married at the time and my wife CHOSE to stay home and we sacrificed with one income.

    I think conservatives as a generality understand personal responsibility – though I do have acquaintances who are liberal and live their lives conservatively….

  107. Richard Johnston Says:

    I just wanted to do a quick post to say I appreciate all the good discussion here and the respectful tone. I’m not ignoring the various questions some of you have put to me, I am just really swamped with work today ( liberal who works!) and won’t be able to give them the time and attention they deserve for awhile. But I wil certainly get back to them over the weekend sometime.

    Thanks again.

  108. Portia Says:

    Closed vs. open societies. Something to remember is how very open WE are. My brother is European, in a western democracy, and even he can’t understand how open we are. He thinks the “Warts” are what escapes OUR government control (of the “do this for me” variety.) He thought Bush had more control over the media than Obama does over the MSM. Think about it. If you thought the stuff you read about Bush was what he ALLOWED to show — what would you think was going on?

    Huxley — there is no perfect side to stand on. I believe overall conservative positions translate into better policies for the well-being of humanity and that leftist-marxist-infected positions don’t work at all. Economically at least.

    On liberals shutting up… You mustn’t be a member of a VERY heavilly liberal community, where they reinforce each other. In my circles, it’s the conservatives who shut up and sometimes recognize each other by hints and signs.

    What you must understand is that in either case people are social animals. There is a type of bonding that involves discussing the other side in disparaging terms. Not that I’ve seen that here, so much as an effort to understand.

    The other thing is — as a former liberal, myself (well, I was RAISED to be one) — that when you see conservatives caricatured in the media, attacked in mystery books, made fun of in sit coms, accused of the worst in the daily paper, and when you are surrounded by liberals in your professional life (as I am) when you find yourself among your kind, you almost NEED to put left liberals down, just to redress the balance.

    Considering all that, I think we’re fairly civil.

    (And btw mostly with me it’s TRYING to understand because some of my professional contacts are extremely smart people whose ethics I admire in the more day to day practical context, but who support these anti-human, non-working, repulsive policies. It’s like they’re blind.)

  109. Mel Williams Says:

    Wow. Don’t have time to read through all of these thought provoking posts.

    My take. Liberals are adolescents in their view of the world. Adolescents see the world though ‘home/media/school’ eyes, with not much of their perceptions tested by the ‘outside’. And with our unmatched run of prosperity and the many safety nets to catch our falls, many people can glide right into middle age without letting go of adolescence.

    In short, they’ve held on to their cocoonish world because it is comfortable, and their lack of real world feedback keeps them there. They remain ignorant of history, and have no ability to put their own experience into any context.

  110. Baklava Says:

    Portia wrote, “just to redress the balance.

    Tell it sista! That had me chuckling….

    Working here in the belly of the beast (CA) gets my blood going sometimes.

    State Employees have huge (1 foot by 4 foot) signs in their front lawns saying, “State Employee and proud of it”.

    Hello ! Can you see how idiotic you look? Do you see people with signs saying, “Intel employee and proud of it” in their lawns ???

  111. Baklava Says:

    George Soros is like my neighbors – but on a larger scale

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/219720

    hypocrate

  112. Baklava Says:

    As liberals keep their heads in the sand (yes my personal experience), it is born out in these Pew poll results

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/10/pew_political_iq_poll_republic.asp

  113. huxley Says:

    Huxley — there is no perfect side to stand on. I believe overall conservative positions translate into better policies for the well-being of humanity

    Portia: That’s how I see it too, but it got me down for a while on this blog when I kept reading about how the US under Obama was about to descend into a collectivist horror complete with gulags and death camps.

    The tone was often shrill and the mood often paranoid. The content and style reminded me so much of what I used to hear on the Left except flipped sideways through a mirror.

    It was such a relief to leave the Left and leave that style of discourse behind, or so I thought.

    As to liberals shutting up — I’m talking about a church group and a psychological growth group, the members of which are overwhelmingly liberal. In the interests of group unity and I would say their sense of decency, they did cease politicizing those spaces after I spoke up.

    However, I also note the near-complete absence of buzz about Obama in my blue environment. I don’t overhear any conversations in cafes or stores etc. whereas I used to run into constant unhappy rumblings about Bush and Republicans.

  114. Mike M. Says:

    “LIBERALS NEVER HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS …LIBERALS ARE EVIL BUT HAVE NO IDEA WHY…LIBERALS LEAVE ONLY MISERY IN THEIR WAKE.”

    The guy who said this is correct. It’s about time more people started saying (shouting) what has been clear for over a decade now. It’s Paul Revere time in America again. It’s them or us.

    There was a time 30 to 40 years ago when it was the case that Liberals had good intentions. When the data of their experiments came in – and over and over it was beyond disaster into the realm of total catastrophe – then over time it dawns on you that they really are doing what they intend to do and what they intend is evil, not good (at least not the standard good of the ages).

    The liberal wants to destroy.

    It’s what they do.

    The only people who don’t admit this are the truly moronic liberals who can’t reason, the truly lazy liberals who won’t reason, and the cowardly normal people who don’t want to face up with what this means about half the citizens they live with – that they are evil people of malintent.

    If you think I am being extremist and exaggerating, you fit into one of the categories above, and before saying that hyou should pick up any standard history book of the 20th century and see what half the citizenry of several brutalizing nations were doing and thinking.

  115. Baklava Says:

    Mike M.

    negligent maybe.

    lazy politically speaking maybe.

    but desirous of bad things? No.

    Every liberal I know is simply misguided and needing to engage their brain – but they choose not to. That does not mean they desire to destroy.

  116. Gray Says:

    (quick: who’s the most recent Congressional Medal of Honor winner?).

    Quick: SFC Jared Monti (but that’s not fair, he was formerly in my old unit, 1/506 Infantry)

    But who is more likely to know that, a liberal or a conservative?

  117. huxley Says:

    If you think I am being extremist and exaggerating, you fit into one of the categories above, and before saying that hyou should pick up any standard history book of the 20th century and see what half the citizenry of several brutalizing nations were doing and thinking.

    Mike M.: You seem to be talking to me. I disagree. I’ve read a lot of history. I’d say you are overgeneralizing.

    Does FDR fit your bill as a destroyer, a moron, an evil person of malintent [sic]?

  118. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Johnston: your own tone commands respect. And don’t worry if you can’t hop to it—take your time. But we are interested in your responses.

  119. Mike M. Says:

    “Every liberal I know is simply misguided and needing to engage their brain – but they choose not to. That does not mean they desire to destroy.”

    I think that means you only know the lazy and moronic kind. Included in that is the sort that stopped thinking when they we about 20.

    Anyone conscious Dem, for example, since, say, the Reagan era, has made a deal with the devil himself. They have said I’ll suffer the 10 evils for the one small good that accrues to me.

    That’s harsh, I know. I don’t even want to believe it. But look at the cities; look at the abortions (50m); look at the loss of liberty; look at the theft of income; look at personal property; look at absolutely EVERY AREA WHERE THERE IS LIBERAL INTRUSION….and tll me what you see there and how in heaven’s name it got there if it wasn’t for actual liberals doing it on purpose.

  120. huxley Says:

    There seems to be some confusion in this discussion about the various forms of liberalism and socialism. That’s understandable. The terms are somewhat confusing.

    These wiki articles aren’t bad in providing some clarification:

    Liberalism
    Classical Liberalism
    Social Liberalism
    Socialism

    As Inigo Montoya says in The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  121. Mike M. Says:

    “Mike M.: You seem to be talking to me. I disagree. I’ve read a lot of history. I’d say you are overgeneralizing.

    Does FDR fit your bill as a destroyer, a moron, an evil person of malintent [sic]?”

    I’m not impressed by the “sic” btw. It was necessary for….? Its point was…?

    Anyway, does FDR fit? He’s a slightly mixed bag, so ‘yes’ in some areas and ‘no’ in others. But remember, he is at the beginning of this now multi-decade cultural slide to Gomorrah – and an important (and truly deceitful) person in the whole thing. And ask yourself this: Let’s say that George Bush or Ronald Regan or even Eisenhower or any decent person President you can think of tried to do what FDR diod with the Supreme Court. There would have been a Nuclear Explosion on the Left had GWB tried something like that. There would be rioting and violence in the streets. FDR did it.

    For the main things I was thinking outside the US: Germany, Russia, China, Iran, Italy, all the Communists Eastern Bloc States, all the current Muslim places – more than half of the freaking globe and more than that historically fir the profile Dems now occupy and lead us into. If you want ancient history, Greece and Rome are USA 2000 years earlier.

    You can deny everything. I’m not. I’m in the ‘naming things what they are phase’ of, I hope, renmaissance and recovery. The more people who are as honest as me, the better.

  122. Mike M. Says:

    Huexley: I know what all the words mean. I’m not confused. I know both the history and the philosophy and much else about the whole thing. To use the original meaning of ‘liberal’ is counter-productive unless you can get everyone to agree then that conservatives are liberals.

    I would take that trade if we could then agree that today’s ‘liberals’ would be called by their proper names: tyrants, totalitarians, fascists, Stalinists, communists, predators, abusers, slavers, etc., etc.

  123. Mike M. Says:

    Gray said, “I’ll take it on faith that they have good intentions…”

    Why? Can you cite some evidence that they have good intentions? When you say for 40 years that you want to end poverty, and everything you do exgtends poverty, is there really a good intention there? Or is it just a lie?

    I say it is just a lie. I have the eveidence of the actions. You have…?

  124. Gray Says:

    These wiki articles aren’t bad in providing some clarification:

    They were written by the same guy who forged the Limbaugh quotes….

  125. huxley Says:

    Mike M.: If FDR is not an American liberal, who is?

    And if FDR doesn’t fit your string of invectives about liberals, then you have a problem with your claims, including your claim that you know what those words mean.

    Gray: Those wiki articles are pretty reasonable. If you have any substantive, specific objections about them, feel free to post.

  126. Mike M. Says:

    Huxley: You said, “…if FDR doesn’t fit your string of invectives about liberals, then you have a problem with your claims, including your claim that you know what those words mean.”

    1. I made my claims, and then I responded to a question about FDR, saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’. I never said he was not an American liberal, therefore when you say above that I did say that you’ll have to tell me what you mean.

    2. Even if I did say he wasn’t an American liberal (which I did not), that wouldn’t necessarily mean there was a problem with my claims, since I’ve said in a few places that I am counting about the last 40 years (since the late 60′s/early 70′s). I’ve said that around that time a liberal could have good intentions; but that with all the evidence about liberal policies since then you could not say that today.

    I did not say all liberals were at all times people of bad intentions. I said that liberals today who did not fit into the categories I noted as exceptions, were people who did not have good intentions (they only say they do to gain the power to destroy, etc.).

  127. huxley Says:

    Mike M: You said:

    The liberal wants to destroy.

    It’s what they do.

    That’s straightforward. The only qualifications you offered were the possibilities that a liberal might be lazy or moronic. That’s what I am calling an overgeneralization.

    Now you are backtracking with well, it’s more complicated, FDR had some good and bad, and now you are only talking about the last 40 years and so forth.

    I suggest qualifying your claims as you make them, rather than tarring with large brushes, and fixing it later.

    I’m also curious what you mean when you say liberal.

  128. Artfldgr Says:

    at what point will those talking realise that liberals and conservatives are the same thing..

    and we are talking about neoliberalism.. vs classic liberalism..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

    Neoliberalism, or neo-classical liberalism is a product of classical economic liberalism. The term was coined in 1938 at the Colloque Walter Lippmann by the German sociologist and economist Alexander Rüstow, one of the fathers of Social market economy.[1] The label is referring to a redefinition of classical liberalism, influenced by the neoclassical theories of economics. The term “neoliberalism” is mostly used as a pejorative by opponents

    read the history… it basically is how they replaced the actual classical liberalism of adam smith, and the other dead white guys.

    Broadly speaking, neoliberalism seeks to transfer part of the control of the economy from public to the private sector,[3] under the belief[citation needed] that it will produce a more efficient government and improve the economic indicators of the nation.[neutrality disputed] The definitive statement of the concrete policies advocated by neoliberalism is often taken to be John Williamson’s[4] “Washington Consensus,”

    if you know yuor economics and the different types, they basically are fascists who again try to put together free market capitlaism with communism and end up with fascism…

    however, if you read their ‘planks’ they dont sound at all like what they are…

    the next revision of who they were came after the alinisky stuff.

    the consensus changed as needed… so in order to live and grow, they pretended one thing, and did another.

    now they are blatantly what they are, but we are too confused to tell.

    of course learning the differences would take some reading, and not just the stuff that revisioned and confused things…

    but that is not going to happen, since everyone is self confident they are a genius, has to learn nothing, and that utopia (for them not the elite) is around the corner..

    though it never ceases to amaze and interest me watching people who dont know the terms, dont know how they have been changed, dont know the history of usage and people, and yet, both talk as if they are not sitting in the tower of babble and are getting somewhere.

  129. Artfldgr Says:

    Classical liberalism was revived in the 20th century by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, and further developed by Robert Nozick, Loren Lomasky and Jan Narveson.[2]

    The term classical liberalism is also sometimes used to refer to all forms of liberalism before the 20th century. And after 1970, it began to be used by Libertarians to describe their belief in the primacy of economic freedom and minimal government. It is sometimes difficult to tell which meaning is intended in a given source.

    The phrase Classical liberalism is used in standard academic sources to mean early liberalism,[3] sometimes with particular emphasis on the liberalism of Jacksonian democracy in the 19th Century, which stressed laissez-faire economics and Originalism[4].

    The phrase “classical liberalism” is also used to describe a form of liberalism in which the government does not provide social services or regulate industry and banking, and followers of this brand of classical liberalism today often claim that early liberals shared these beliefs[5]

    In this latter sense, classical liberalism is sometimes called laissez-faire liberalism.[6]

    The philosophy of classical liberalism in the latter sense includes the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, individual freedom from restraint, equality under the law, constitutional limitation of government, free markets, and a gold standard to facilitate global free trade and place fiscal constraints on government,[7].

    etc

  130. Artfldgr Says:

    if it werent changed you couldnt get articles like

    Communism and liberalism two faces of totalitarianism

    Michael Newland

    Communism is now widely regarded as an aberrant system, and it is thought remarkable that it could have survived for so long among a species which regards itself as rational. There is little awareness that a system of broadly identical ideas dominates Europe under the title of liberalism.

    see

    just as the church was gutted in russia to work tot he state, its easier to repalce the meaning of trusted things and change them through manuipulation than it is to start an organization like the CPUSA and get everyone to sigh up.

    Tick off the five main points.

    Both communism and liberalism maintain with complete certainty that the destruction of the existing society will give birth to a new form of human existence at the least approaching utopia. They are what Daniel Chirot dubbed ‘tyrannies of certitude’.

    A particular group of people has been responsible for blocking the happy development for centuries. In the case of communism it was capitalists, in the case of liberalism it is ‘racists’. One must be harsh to build the new society and not make excuses. Few people know that the word ‘racism’ was invented by Leon Trotsky, one of the principal architects of the communist nightmare.

    so the whole idea of racism the way we know it today, was ideological crapola designed to set the people against each other the way a child puts some sugar between two ant hills and waits and watches the war that will happen.

    The rightness of the cause dictates that a political architecture of lies rather than reasoned argument is permissible if necessary to bring about the result. Since no one will willingly give up their human identity, and that is what we are being asked to do, lies will, in fact, be indispensable. The communists aimed at eradicating ‘bourgeois consciousness’. The liberals are systematically eradicating our history and identity from schools to ensure pliancy before the onslaught of anti-majority bias in everything from newspapers to employment law. In this they are unlikely to succeed in the long run. The Russian and Yugoslav experience under communism has shown the persistency of racial and cultural identity.

    Doubters concerning the wisdom of the new arrangements are to be marginalised, vilified or silenced – under communism they were dubbed capitalist spies and saboteurs, under liberalism they are ‘racists’ – a sound catch-all term of abuse for any person opposing their own marginalisation.

    does any of this sound familiar?
    does any one YET realize that this is a process being refined for over 100 years?
    (ok, yamarskar gets it)

    The ‘racists’ are well-organised and to blame for nearly everything which goes wrong according to authority, just like the ‘counter-revolutionaries, western spies and saboteurs’ in the heyday of communism. Under communism the newspapers would say ‘capitalist spy ring raided’. Under liberalism we read ‘police target racist groups’. In both cases good citizens are to congratulate themselves on the skill and wisdom of the authorities in protecting them from disruptions to the relentless march towards paradise on earth so evident on Soviet collective farms and now in Britain’s inner-cities.

    If communism was not delivering the goods then even more stringent action was needed to eradicate the source of the trouble. Since it had been scientifically proven that communism would deliver, what possible other cause could there be for failure except disruption by malcontents? If people do not actually enjoy mass immigration and the so-called ‘multiracial society’, it must surely be the work of similar malcontents. Liberal theory is flawless. Like communism, it presents itself as scientifically-based – an abundancy of pseudo-sociological tosh underpins its thinking – and dictates a historically-inevitable outcome in which we all celebrate the fact that we have as little in common with the people we live with as possible. Supposed ‘historical inevitability’ as a weapon of political language has been filched from communism and creeps into every liberal initiative. It is used, for example, to forward the EU superstate project.

    Both liberals and communists maintain that their systems can never be wrong. It is rather like the jesuitical argument that no innocent person has ever been hanged. Since all those hanged have been convicted by a court, they are by legal definition guilty! It is this feature – the refusal to admit to possible error in the theory – which makes liberalism as totalitarian in nature as communism and why it must be unmasked as the monster it really is. The rulers, too, can never be wrong since they are applying a system which can never err. They are relieved of all responsibility. Notice how no one in government within Britain today takes responsibility for anything! Blair has brought the tactic to a fine art.

    How is it that our people could have been so hoodwinked as many are in our country? A system which targets our society for slow destruction is met with passivity and acquiescence. We can learn a lot from the experience of communism.

    no we cant learn ANYTHING from communism. we are not allowed to discuss it, if you do your marginalized as above, and all the reasonable people who are reasonable because they meet such with passivity and discussion and such.

    ever have the same nightmare over and over again?

    thats an echo of reality and the even greater nightmares that are real!!!!

    why fear a nightmare when reality is many many times more scary and nasty in what it does to people?

    Communism could not provide even the material things. Liberalism does better in material terms but cannot provide meaning to life and human identity. Sooner or later, the increasingly open repression of european peoples will lead to its fall. Liberal actions are constantly justified by the claim to be preventing inequality, but end up as a system of attacks on the majority which fail to produce results satisfying minority complaints. Sooner or later, the majority will use up the last of its goodwill and the national genie will leave the bottle. As under communism, even the leaders will no longer be able to believe their own lies.

  131. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I take the position that the result of an action is the actor’s intent. If it happened, he wanted it to happen. He can admit mistakes, apologize, provide restitution if possible. Absent that, and making sure he doesn’t do the same thing again, the result was his intent.
    The likely result of an action is the actor’s intent. What he professes to want is a lie.
    If you take this position, you will see that many liberals are lying.
    The alternative is that they are stupid. Problem is, when you discuss the issue with them and they do not engage as if they were discussing a matter of facts and logic. That is not a matter of stupid but of deliberate obfuscation.

    “Where were the WMD? Where were the WMD?”
    It’s a version of Orwell’s “Four legs good, two legs bad. Four legs good, two legs bad.”

  132. Mike M. Says:

    Richard Aubrey said, “I take the position that the result of an action is the actor’s intent. If it happened, he wanted it to happen.”

    This is the right way to look at most things, most of the time. The exception is when there are exceptional circumstances. After 40 years of liberal actions, that excuse gets thrown out the window where it belongs.

    This actually means that the real problem is not the lying liberals who do have bad intentions, but the people who say things like, ‘I take it for granted that they have good intentinos, but…’

    That is probably just standard issue cowardice talking – the fear and therefore unwillingness to face the horrid truth that millions and millions of people, and many many people you know personally are not good people, but are wicked people.

    Why this should surprise anyone with a 12 year olds knowledge of the world, or a college student’s knowledge of basic history is beyond me.

    For as long as we shrink from calling these people what they are; for as long as we keep quiet instead of challenging them to their faces; then for that long their evil will win, and the good will lose.

    Remember, they are bullies. The thing a bully fears more than anything is to be challenged and then hit back. They always stop after one hit, two top (the term hit here being used metaphorically of course).

  133. Blackwater Says:

    I used to be a hardcore liberal as well until a few years ago. It becomes your default world view because 1) the left controls popular culture by dominating the media, the entertainment industry, academia, etc, which effectively brainwash you and 2) because they grew up in a left leaning home and area. And while most liberals might not have evil intent, the leftist elites who brainwashed them do. Most of them are hardcore Marxists. And while this may sound Glenn Beck-ish, a lot of leftist ideology can be traced directly back to extremely intricate KGB propaganda efforts:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_vsaPEajh0

    While a lot of leftist ideology can be traced back hundreds and even thousands of years, the effect the KGB had on fostering the self-destructive nature of modern liberal ideology seems to be quite evident. And even Stalin himself referred to Western liberals as “useful idiots”.

  134. expat Says:

    Blackwater,

    I think the problem is that the radicals can point out a “problem” and get people to agree that it is indeed problematic. Then by bullying or community organizing or whatever, they deny society the time or space to fit the problem into a set of priorities. They hype the problem to its specific victim group to isolate that group from others and to prevent them from seeing wider problems and interests. They take charge of not only defining problems, but also of defining the solution. And by using the language of rights, they make it impossible to ameliorate a problematic situation by pragmatic common sense steps. Any proposal that only ameliorates denies some victim group its rights, and the proposer is therefore a nazi. By this time, they have successfully fragmented society. People have chosen sides; discussion stops, and even failing policies become part of everyone’s moral self image.

    The question is how to stop this process.

    BTW: Great video link.

  135. Geoffrey de Bouillon Says:

    This is an interesting thread. Thank you. There is little to add which has not already been said. RA’s point is a good one. People’s intentions are generally congruent with the outcomes they obtain. Consistently bad outcomes call the intentions into question. The spiritual argument would say that Liberals are deceived. Unfortunately, this does not provide a starting point for discussion with Liberals since they strenuously deny the existance of a deceiver.

    Can one honestly catalog the outcomes of the last 50 years of liberal policies and claim that the outcomes have been good?

    A large stumbling block in this discussion is the use of the word ‘evil.’ Firstly, no one wishes to believe that large numbers of the people surrounding us are evil. But there is a great deal of denial on both sides of the debate. Also, as long as the sides admit that the other side means well, but might be wrong, discussion and compromise can continue. However, once the opposite position is defined as evil, compromise is no longer possible. Most people will not compromise with what they deem evil.

    There have been nice words written here about giving “benefit of the doubt” and “lowering the volume.” Sadly, these calls generally only apply in one direction. The leftist clamor of the last 16 years was neither reasoned nor civil. My patience has been exhausted by the constant ad hominems and fundamental lies about the nature of reality. For example, when a “Progressive’ tells me that Iran is actually helping us in the war in Iraq, and calls me stupid and uninformed when I challenge this, he is either too stupid to be let out without a keeper, or he is lying. This particular person is a PhD chemist, so what would you decide?

    I hear the left state their fear of violence and their calls for civility, but I fear it is much too late for that. What conservative has written a play fantasizing about the murder of the Zero? We must remember that utopianism always ends up at the gulag and the death camp. The fundamental human drive to control others motivates this. “We can have heaven if we only eliminate this that or the other group who won’t get with the program.” It is unfortunate that this commentary is probably nearer the real situation on the ground.

  136. rickl Says:

    Geoffrey: That was a good link. I fear the writer is on the right track.

    As I have written before, immersion in fantasy is a defining aspect of leftism. As they move progressively towards the left pole of the political spectrum, the realities become more and more immersive while becoming more and more detached from reality. At the far end of the spectrum, the leftists become delusional to the point they believe they are trapped in a gotterdammerung struggle of good versus evil that justifies any action they might take in fighting that struggle. When dangerous fantasies, once the providence of the 5% most radical left, become accepted as true in the 40% just to the left of center, the rest of us are in great danger.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    This isn’t about Limbaugh. They clearly view Limbaugh as just the most visible manifestation of tens of millions of Americans pining for the good old days of slavery. Make no mistake. They aren’t just targeting Limbaugh as someone so evil that they can justify any extremity in fighting him.

    They are targeting the rest of us as well.

  137. Artfldgr Says:

    As I have written before, immersion in fantasy is a defining aspect of leftism.

    the whole story in abstract is told in rocky horror (as i deconstructed before).

    franken furter (the front of the frankfurt school), the transexual transylvanians are the hoards of fellow travelers who meet to coordinate and approve the actions of the front people. brad and janet were old america to be perverted by the actions of franken furter. who in the lab is trying to make “new man”… (the story continued in shock treatment by binding up the men in society, and promoting tv as reality, and exploiting the vanity of women, the me of me… the use of medicine and science to prove and validate it. the inducement of culture shock and such as a means to unfreeze, move and refreeze. you need a bit of shock treatment)

    anyway…

    the song that covers that point about leftism, and resonates with the fringe that enjoys the show, and dont really know why (it resonates).

    Give yourself over to absolute pleasure
    Swim the warm waters of sins of the flesh
    Erotic nightmares beyond any measure
    And sensual daydreams to treasure forever
    Can’t you just see it?

    Don’t dream it – be it.

    the rest of this song has the other characters representing the old establishment right, brad and janet, and how such sexual perversion sweeps them away even if they are aware of it and try not to. like a gas it seeps into every corner, one one finds oneself in the pool of society as there is no place else to go.

    i always wondered if anyone took the time to understand the messages in the abstract…

    then the lyrics become more interesting… do note the big time careers that came from that movie. susan sarandon, tim curry, barry bostwick…

    the last song of the movie explains how the frankfurt school left us (the way they left germany before you know who kicked them out. they ended up at columbia, the school that obama said he went to, but now, no one can find any information or people that confirm it. the school with the most spies in history)

    the lyrics describe us to a T 20 pluse years after that movie came out.

    remember brad and janet represent the male and female aspects of our old culture.


    Give yourself over to absolute pleasure
    Swim the warm waters of sins of the flesh
    Erotic nightmares beyond any measure
    And sensual daydreams to treasure forever
    Can’t you just see it?

    Don’t dream it – be it.
    Brad:
    I’ve done a lot; God knows I’ve tried
    To find the truth. I’ve even lied.
    But all I know is down inside

    All:
    I’m bleeding…

    Janet:
    And super heroes come to feast
    To taste the flesh not yet deceased.
    And all I know … is still the beast

    All:
    Is feeding…

    Narrator:
    And crawling on the planet’s face
    Some insects called the human race…
    Lost in time
    And lost in space
    And meaning.

    All:
    Meaning.

    our lives are now devoid of meaning and socialisms stuff is the only meaning that is being allowed, and so like a funnel they fall into it.

    the men are bleeding… 73% of those fired this big recession were men. 40% of women are now the bread owners. the children are more and more in the hands of the state… so to the women, the beast(state), i still feeding and wants more…

    and the narrator tells us why?

    with no history or culture, we are cut off from time… a million years could pass and we would not know it. after a while, we could actually believe the old myths of fixed classes again, as in china and japan… and europe, where you and your family were the job you did, and the only 3D people were the elite who owned everyone else the way they also owned gyrfalcons, dogs, horses, and other thingsthat establish them.

    without meaning, we are no longer human

    people have always defined human not as the animal, but of what makes that animal apart from all others. which is why we can say that a person is inhuman, or has lost their humanity.

    without culture, morals, and history…
    we are no longer human…

    animals have little culture, no morals, and history is completey out of the question.

    I’m a wild and an untamed thing.
    I’m a bee with a deadly sting.
    You get a hit and your mind goes ping.
    Your heart’ll thump and your blood will sing.
    So let the party and the sounds rock on.
    We’re gonna shake it `til the life has gone.
    Rose tint my world, keep me safe from my trouble and pain.

    happy halloween!!!!

  138. Excellent Discussions of Current Cultural Dysfunctions « Sake White Says:

    [...] The Strategic Overview of the Left: Individual members and collective agencies [...]

  139. Geoffrey de Bouillon Says:

    If I might add a small additional comment: the world is very unkind to faulty thinking. A system of beliefs based on demonstrably false principles will yield a poor and even catastrophic outcome. It does not really matter whether liberals know they are wrong or not. The world will administer the harsh lesson none the less.

  140. Mike M. Says:

    Geoffrey: You said, “If I might add a small additional comment: the world is very unkind to faulty thinking. A system of beliefs based on demonstrably false principles will yield a poor and even catastrophic outcome. It does not really matter whether liberals know they are wrong or not. The world will administer the harsh lesson none the less.”

    Absolutely.

    The problem is that we all suffer the consequences. Anyone who voted for any Dem since 2006, and anyone at all who voted for Obama especially, has f*%ked the entire country, perhaps irreparably.

    Period. They have basically raped and pillaged the greatest country there ever was. Relaity will deal its lesson, but we all pay the price for the people who vote for Dems.

  141. Mike M. Says:

    From INstapundit, THOMAS SOWELL: Dismantling America, Part II. “This issue is too serious for squeamish silence.”

    Completely agree.

    And it shows that all the ‘I take it for granted the left have good intentions, but…’ crowd are rotten cowards as well.

    When tyranny and evil is about to defeat liberty and good, being polite is not a virtue but a vice. And a big one.

    It’s almost enough to make one think the so-called good guys are worth shyte either.

  142. Oblio Says:

    artfldgr: best comment ever.

  143. Steve G Says:

    When asked, Hillary denied that she was a Liberal. She now states that she is a Progressive. So, the whole discussion above is no longer relevant.

    Liberals (aka Progressives) are what they call themselves at the moment. When the term Liberal takes on too much of a stench, they call themselves Progressives. Then, in a few years, when Progressive takes on that stench, they become Liberals. I think we are now dealing with Progressives.

    Liberals, with the aid of the MSM, use language in an effort to scare and confuse us about what they intend and/or who they are. The global cooling scare morphed into global warming and then into climate change. What is it? We now have soup nazis, i.e., liberals in NYC, passing laws prohibiting transfats in restaurant food. The examples are legion.

    Corzine is running on the basis that Christie will keep women from getting mammograms, as if he will be standing at the hospital door to keep women from getting in. Democrats always run their campaigns by creating fear about their opponents taking us back to the stone age.

    I am about a third the way through “Witness”, Whittaker Chambers autobiography. In it he describes how and why he became a devoted and deeply committed communist and why he turned against the communist party. He said that every communist lives a lie and knows it. He was appalled at the killing by Stalin of thousands of communists in the late 30′s and could not abide the acceptance of this travesty with no reaction by the Communist Party USA. None of the party faithful talked about it. Many communists left the party at this time, as did he, but he knew that he was joining the LOSING side. He mentioned a certain communist who worked in some government office in Washington who, when told that one of the members of the party was no longer in good stead (or dead), acted from that moment as if that person had never existed, even if he or she had been a close compatriot. He did fabulously well in the party.

    With regard to how liberalism trumps religion, when Stalin and Hitler entered into a nonaggression pact in 1938, many jewish communists in the US left the party but a good number remained. Imagine their discomfort and how they must have applauded Hitler’s invasion of Russia in 1940.

  144. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve G: I wrote a post about that aspect of Witness and that phenomenon, here (the Witness reference, plus relevant quote, is in the last third of the post).

  145. Steve G Says:

    It’s a hard fight we have ahead but one that must be fought!

    By the way, the study by the MD group that equated Reagan with Mao, Stalin and Hitler shows just how far “good intentioned people”, in an effort to demonize conservatives, are willing to pervert their own “science.” I guess the good answer is that if you can’t tell a jackal from a human being you really shouldn’t be publishing these kinds of studies. The funny thing is that while we can discuss liberals in an objective way and come to conclusions that enable us to deal with them, I don’t think they have any idea who we are and what we represent. We sre just summarily dismissed as evil.

  146. huxley Says:

    Can one honestly catalog the outcomes of the last 50 years of liberal policies and claim that the outcomes have been good?

    Geoffrey de Bouillon: As is often the case in the real world, those outcomes are variously good, bad, mixed, unclear, and debatable.

    For instance, I’d argue that the civil rights movement — a mostly liberal movement — was good. On the other hand, I’m persuaded by the conservative critiques that affirrmative action and the welfare state were on the whole bad. But in each case there are long, detailed arguments about what went right or wrong and why.

    Conservatives celebrate Reagan’s steadfast, aggressive opposition to Soviet Communism. The USSR collapsed and it looked like a happy outcome.

    But if that collapse had culminated in a full-out nuclear exchange, as it very well could have, between the USSR and the US, future historians would have questioned the outcomes of conservative policies with the same zeal.

    History is not simple and makes fools of us all.

  147. betsybounds Says:

    Huxley,

    I’d agree with you that the civil rights movement was a good thing.

    I also agree that affirmative action and the welfare state are–not were, especially in the case of affirmative action–bad. There’s a good case to be made, I think, that affirmative action is an outgrowth and fellow-traveler of the civil rights movement.

    It’s worth noting that the problems with these kinds of movements and movement-generated outcomes begin when the movement largely accomplishes its goals. Nearly none of them that I can think of declare, “Mission accomplished, job well done,” and pack it in. No, they become fixtures and jobs programs for the movement leaders. The civil rights movement is an example. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is another. The entire labor union movement is arguably a third. Their missions are never accomplished, more must always be done. MADD did stellar work at the beginning, and then moved on to justify its continued existence by changing the definitions of drunk driving and is constantly lobbying legislatures all over the country to lower legal blood alcohol limits, so that an ordinary person cannot have a glass or 2 of wine with a restaurant dinner without being legally drunk on the drive home.

    That’s just one aspect of what happens to “movements” when they have laudable goals, but it’s not negligible.

  148. Geoffrey de Bouillon Says:

    Huxley,

    I agree that the civil rights movement was largely positive. However, do you believe that either M.L. King or Malcolm X would be pleased with the condition of the black community now? In life they agreed on very little, but I believe that they would agree on their views of that. Perhaps there are others that are debatable.

    Reagan’s policies did not result in nuclear war so that proposition is unprovable and has little bearing on the current discussion.

  149. Steve G Says:

    When Eisenhower was president he wanted to pass civil rights legislation but was stymied by Lyndon Johnson, I believe the majority leader in the senate and head of the southern dixiecrats. When he became president he had a change of mind (I can’t call it a change of heart) and pushed for passage of what was Eisenhower’s bill. It passed because a much larger percentage of republicans voted in favor. The democrats, primarily the southern dixiecrats, voted against. This is another one of those instances where the democrats claim credit for something they previously opposed, like the freeing of the slaves.

  150. Mike M. Says:

    “…the civil rights movement — a mostly liberal movement…”

    The “liberals” being?

    Republicans?

    People say things like that all the time. It’s received wisdom. Names are never named.

    It’s about as accurate as saying that Vietnam was Nixon’s war. This is Liberal orthodoxy and total crap. Kennedy started it. Johnson escalated it. Nixon won it and ended it. Dems in Congress lost it and were personally responsible for millions of being killed and enslaved.

    Liberals are like dentists. Lie, rinse, repeat…lie, rinse, repeat.

  151. Mike M. Says:

    The “liberals” who passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act (from Wiki):

    House of Representatives
    Democratic Party: 152-96 (61%-39%)
    Republican Party: 138-34 (80%-20%)

    US Senate
    Democratic Party: 46-21 (69%-31%)
    Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)

  152. Mike M. Says:

    Imagine if we told the truth, as a routine matter of education and basic honesty in reporting.

    Then, people like Huxley (who fancies himself educated and probabloy is if that standard propaganda we’ve got for 50 years counts as an education – but it doesn’t) would say things like, “the civil rights movement – a mostly Republican movement…”

    Kind of like that Civil War thing and the first republican President – and then the Democrats who enacted Jim Crow everywhere they could.

    The guy who was the subject of the beginning of this thread said it best and we have lost his main point. It is the main point. It is the relevant point. It is really the only point even worth discussing on this whole long thread, because it is a matter of civilizatinoal survival that we know the truth of it so that we might even have half a chance.

    His point was as follows, and I quote: “LIBERALS NEVER HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS…LIBERALS ARE EVIL BUT HAVE NO IDEA WHY…LIBERALS LEAVE ONLY MISERY IN THEIR WAKE.”

    What he said is all we need to talk about for as long as it takes to admit the truth of it.

  153. huxley Says:

    “…the civil rights movement — a mostly liberal movement…”

    The “liberals” being?

    People say things like that all the time. It’s received wisdom. Names are never named.

    People say things like that all the time. It’s received wisdom. Names are never named.

    I was alive back then. Anyone who was liberal supported the civil rights movement and did so passionately.

    NAACP, CORE, SNCC, Martin Luther King, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, the Highland Center, LBJ, Abbie Hoffman, SDS, the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Communist Party, the Black Panthers and so on.

    Okay, it included radicals, but it was not Republicans and conservatives who made the Freedom Rides and marched anywhere and everywhere and sometimes died for it.

    There were some Republicans in Congress who supported civil rights legislation, true enough, and they do not get enough credit. However, on the national level, I say again, the civil rights movement was mostly a liberal movement.

  154. Mike M. Says:

    Your head is full of mush Huxley.

    You may as well be a Dem Party spokesman. More likely you are the kid who got gold stars from your teachers who filled said head with the mush.

    You were alive back then?

    That’s amazing!

    From now on, we’ll just say you are the definitive go-to guy on the whole era and that the Republicans in those days were “liberals” and the Dems were “conservatives”, but then they both switched later and the conservatives got the credit for being liberal.

    It all makes sense when understand that being a good boy in class is a very important thing to be.

  155. huxley Says:

    I agree that the civil rights movement was largely positive. However, do you believe that either M.L. King or Malcolm X would be pleased with the condition of the black community now?

    Geoffrey de Bouillon: They would be pleased with some things and not with others, and they might not agree with what those things were.

    I think it’s good that blacks have equal rights and are protected from discrimination. I think it’s bad that blacks are so dependent on the government. Both are legacies of the civil rights movement.

    Were blacks better off in the Jim Crow days or today? Tough choice.

  156. huxley Says:

    Your head is full of mush Huxley.

    Mike M.: I stop talking to people who straight-up insult me like that.

    Bye.

  157. Mike M. Says:

    Huxley,

    That attitude explains the mush.

    Here’s something to read:

    http://reason.com/archives/2009/07/08/classical-liberalism-and-the-f

    Talking to you is about the last thing on my mind. Pointing out that parroted received wisdom is usually crapola is very important however.

    I suppose your pride can’t take it, but that’s your own concern.

  158. Geoffrey de Bouillon Says:

    Some things good, some things bad…yeah, yeah This sounds like tolerance, the graven idol of this era. It is unfortunate that we are only tolerant of some things, but not others.

    Living effectively in the world involves making judgments. I do not believe that a few good things justify many bad things.

    The liberal impulse to control and remake other people is part of human nature that was was rejected by Western Rationalism. My desire to be left alone by other people with good intentions is every bit as compelling as a liberal’s desire to control me. That is was one way that the Founders defined freedom. Liberalism’s will to power (over others) will end in tears if it is not controlled.

  159. betsybounds Says:

    Mike M.,

    Nixon ended the Vietnam War right enough, but I think it’s a bit thick to say he won it. The Boat People and others they left behind might have an issue or two with that idea. I imagine victory to have a bit of a different look than what we saw then, and see today.

  160. Mike M. Says:

    Betsybounds: You said, “Nixon ended the Vietnam War right enough, but I think it’s a bit thick to say he won it. The Boat People and others they left behind might have an issue or two with that idea. I imagine victory to have a bit of a different look than what we saw then, and see today.”

    If I can remeber the author/title I’ll tell you, but a book came out last year that repesented a kind of new concensus on Vietnam. The war was effectively won by Nixon et al – at least if you count Vietnam being dividedd like Korea as a win.

    After Watergate, the North took its chances and re-invaded the South – which could have defended itself.

    Except that the North had taken the meassure of Ted Kennedy (more than anyone else) and the Dem Party. Kennedy CUT OFF ALL MILITARY AID to the South. The US evacuated at the first sign of trouble. The Baot People came under Carter. All the rest of that misery and murder came after Kennedy, and after Carter.

    You can look it up.

    Anyway, all of that is just more evidence (as if more were needed) that the guy who said Liberals were the worst was right. THAT is what we should be discussing in this thread, IMO.

  161. Mike M. Says:

    Geoffrey: You said, “The liberal impulse to control and remake other people is part of human nature that was was rejected by Western Rationalism. My desire to be left alone by other people with good intentions is every bit as compelling as a liberal’s desire to control me. That is was one way that the Founders defined freedom. Liberalism’s will to power (over others) will end in tears if it is not controlled.”

    You are correct. You are only incorrect in that you say that your desire to be left alone is only ‘as compelling’ as the Liberal’s desire to control you.

    It is not ‘as compelling’ (so to speak). It is more compelling. The Liberal’s desire to control is evil. It’s what Liberals are – evil. This is one of the main reasons why they are evil.

    People with a desire to control other people we used to call by their proper names – slavers.

    We should begin calling things by their proper names again, IMO.

  162. neo-neocon Says:

    betsybounds: It was actually under President Ford that the abandonment of Vietnam occurred at the behest of Congress. I’ve written a great many posts about the timeline, and about what was going on at that point. But Nixon had been out of office for some time.

    Mike M: I’m not sure whether it’s the book you’re referring to, but Sorley’s A Better War is a good treatment of that era. Here are some previous posts where I discuss this.

  163. Mike M. Says:

    Neo:

    Thanks. It may have even been your site where I first heard of some of the books, or it may have been that I came across the Kaplan article at some point.

    The books are a good sign that “long term”, the truth usually wins out. “Short term” the lies told about that era have informed a generation and a half of people who think things happened that didn’t, or that things that didn’t happen, did. The tragedy of lies explodes across the decades. It kills people over there, and brings us a political climate over here that is deadening in iots own way.

    We are dealing with the overgrown children now (liberals and Dems), and they are trying to destroy us as we speak. My uneducated psycho-babble theory is that they are trying to destroy us because they know they destroyed innocent Vietnamese et al then – and they want to cover up the evidence or quiet the nagging conscience.

    And it is everywhere a liberal is, low or high. Last November, I simply told a 50-something acquaintance of mine that Nixon actually ended the war – and it send him into a seething boiling rage. He said I should not dare insult him.

    That is where we are. Citing dates, facts, persons now counts as a grave insult if it challenges the lie people have held close to their souls for 30 years. It threatens an entire personal identity for them. I feel for that, but the time for silence is over. They are now killing us and stealing our country. We have to sound the alram, and stop them by fighting them. It’s all a bully ever understands, and the Left are a Bully.

  164. betsybounds Says:

    Neo,

    You’re right, of course–my bad!

  165. huxley Says:

    So what do we do with our liberal friends and those, like myself, who would attempt to defend them to some extent?

    This topic, where liberals and their defenders are routinely slandered as evil, lazy and moronic, is not inspiring. It’s no different from an average day at the beach with the Daily Kos.

    I stick with Victor David Hanson who argues for a higher standard on the conservative side.

  166. Geoffrey de Bouillon Says:

    I will give my last word to Richard Fernandez

  167. Geoffrey de Bouillon Says:

    I will give my last word to Richard Fernandez.

  168. Mike M. Says:

    Huxley,

    “So what do we do with our liberal friends and those, like myself, who would attempt to defend them to some extent?

    This topic, where liberals and their defenders are routinely slandered as evil, lazy and moronic, is not inspiring. It’s no different from an average day at the beach with the Daily Kos.

    I stick with Victor David Hanson who argues for a higher standard on the conservative side.”

    Name dropping doesn’t work with me – not the Kos reference and not the Hanson one.

    What should have been done with the good Germans who voted for Hitler or other Nazis in, say, 1933? What should have been done with all the good Russian Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin supporters? What about all the good Venezuelans who go for Chavez? Or the good Iranians who voted for Achmedinejad?

    Ther’s is your answer. That is what SHOULD be done to you. You are as bad as a liberal since you defend them – and a liberal is as bad as it gets.

    Some people ARE evil. There are some ideas and plans that ARE evil. It is not a good argument to say that we should not call people or ideas evil if they really are evil. That is another way that liberals and the people like you who support them rationalize the evil you perpetrate or allow or excuse. Some people really do need to be socked inj the face and have their evil held up to them so they can see the horror of it.

    Liberals are not only the worst people there are; they are the worst there can be. They kill children ffs. They will soon be killing the elderly, the infirm, the incapacitated. They take your money. They rob you of hope and initiative. They think they know more than you, and more than anyone. The keep African Americans poor and on the liberal plantations known as inner cities as if they were animals being harvested for votes.

    That’s the truth and that is the mild version. That’s the horror of it.

    So, what we “should” do to them and what will actually happen to them are two different things. I think they will win, and that they will destroy America, and we will all be serfs on Animal Farm. The bastards.

    If I had my way? If I was King of the Universe for a day and could settle it my way? I would make an offer: $1m for every libneral who agrees to leave the country forever and never come back or they’d be shot on sight. They can go anywhere. They the the mil and the one-way ticket. Inexchange for each one who goes, we give one hard-working Mexican or SA illegal their citizenship if they pass a language test and some basic civics course tests.

    That is a great trade – the devils minions leave and we get the salt of the earth with an accent.

    Overnight, America improves 100% and the happiness quotient goes up dramatically.

  169. Lorenzo Himmelwright Says:

    Hey I landed on your site by mistake on ask while searching for something really irrelevant but I am truly happy that I did, You have just earned yourself another subscriber. :)

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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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