Saturday, December 02, 2006

Liberals

From a 2000 essay by John Derbyshire, via Right Wing Nation (see blogroll at left):

Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy. Won’t they ever learn? No, their stupidity is impenetrable. They will never learn.


It's as true today as it was in 2000. Go read the whole thing.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow. I never realized that sky high infant mortality and illiteracy where a point of pride within the conservative movement.

I am so glad we took over Congress. You are evil.

Darren said...

And you're an idiot.

Now that we've gotten past the name-calling, those topics you mentioned aren't a "point of pride"--but their eradication doesn't create utopia, either. What's the point of being able to read if the only things you can read are what the government allows you?

"No, their stupidity is impenetrable. They will never learn." You demonstrate that point oh so clearly.

John S. said...

Darren, are all liberals idiots and stupid? I mean, I know I demonstrate it, as a liberally oriented person, most of the time, but are all liberals stupid and idiots? Do you think liberals want to destroy America?

Also, Anonymous, do really think Darren is evil? I disagree with him most of the time, but here I am on his website, exchanging thoughts logically and congenially (for the most part), and he allows me to do so—that he has not removed your, well, I am going to channel rightwingprof here, “hogwash,” is a miracle. Actually, you make it easy for him to label liberals as idiots and stupid just like Ann Coulter walked into a liberal chat room. I have never met Darren, but by his posts, though I disagree with him, he proves his desire for a better world—great! We just disagree with him about what it means and how to get their. Why in the world do you post Anonymous? You are raging against conservatives without trying to articulate your thoughts thinking you may somehow “change their minds.” “Hogwash!” Do you have thee superior intellect! No, just as they do not have the superior morality. I am not here to change anyone’s mind—how delusional and impossible! I am here for my own selfish reasons—to exchange thoughts and ideas wherein I am forced to think about and articulate my own beliefs—to the chagrin of Darren, rightwingprof, and Allen. They are not changing my mind as much as I am not changing theirs. What we have done, or what they have done for me while not saying I am full of hogwash or use “so-called logic,” is to force me to think!

Darren said...

John S.:

No, liberals are not by definition stupid or idiotic. Their belief structure, though, is inherently untenable as it goes against human nature.

America isn't the most free country on the planet, isn't the biggest economic power on the planet, because government controls everything. It is so because government has, more so than most other governments in history, gotten out of the way of people and let them reach their potential. Why do you think Europe is the way it is? Next to no economic growth, next to no job growth, next to no population growth--I assert it's because they tax their people too heavily and operate nanny states.

Food is more important to people than health care; why do we want government to provide health care, but not tell you where to buy your food, and what food to buy? Why do we think the same governments that have lost the 40-year long War on Poverty, the same governments that created Cabrini Green and all the other "Projects", the same governments liberals don't trust as far as privacy concerns go (warrantless surveillance of phone calls, assigning international travelers a "terrorism risk score")--why do we think those governments will do so much better at providing national health care? Nationalized health care is a farce in Canada, it's a farce in Britain, it's a farce on the continent--let's not forget a couple summers ago, when 15,000 people died in France because a heat wave sent temperatures into the 90's; hell, at this rate, the war in Iraq could go on for a couple more decades before we lose as many people as France lost in a couple weeks in August.

That government is best which governs least. I believe that the reason the Republicans lost both houses of Congress is because, in part, "big government conservatism" is just a fancy term for "liberalism". At least, that's how it seems to us economic conservatives.

Government needs to get of people's backs and get out of the way, and provide an opportunity for people to do for themselves.

Government is great at wielding a sledgehammer but lousy at wielding a scalpel.

Anonymous said...

"Food is more important to people than health care; why do we want government to provide health care, but not tell you where to buy your food, and what food to buy?"

Communicable diseases?

If you were in charge, we would still have polio.

Darren said...

I've talked about getting rid of the CDC--where/when, exactly?

It's comments like yours, anonymous, that continue to prove the final statement of the post:

"Won’t they ever learn? No, their stupidity is impenetrable. They will never learn."

Hint: there was no nationalized health care when polio was eradicated.

rightwingprof said...

Side topic, but didn't I recently read an article somewhere identifying the first case of polio in years?

Darren said...

I believe so, yes. So let's turn our entire health care system over to George Bush, right? =)

John S. said...

Darren,
Your ability to write concisely with a still powerful meaning is a wonderful trait—one I wish I had. I will try to respond to our various dialogues in one. Your point of my “slippery slope” discourse failing to make sense can only mean one of two things: 1) you are dense; 2) I truly make no sense. I too vote for the second because the mere fact you said it makes no sense mandates it, not to mention how asinine a claim you are dense is considering your provocative prose and clear arguments. To summon up some self-respect though, I will pretend I made some type of point and we can simply agree to disagree.

As for the Crusades comment, well, I am wholly unqualified to speak. Yet, I will. I have never heard Muslims started it although I can see how since they sacked Jerusalem first. What transpired afterward, however, does not seem a point of pride for Christians—or Muslims for that matter. I am curious what your source is—or is it something you consider common knowledge. It seems all religions or groups of people have some blood on their hands. Your comment of the Christian atrocities committed during the Crusades as past and not present is right on (anyone can point to something in the past to fit their argument). The notion Christians are bloodless today is not. Muslims, however, are more so and I think the high rate of violence of Muslims compared to Christians is your point. Right? I cannot ignore, however, you then citing the same notion of the past to make a point, which you then muted by your following statement. Nevertheless, I am curious if you think the Christians Columbus or Cortez knocked any lighter on the doors of Natives than the Muslims in Vienna.

I tend to agree with your notion of liberalism as a bankrupt system going against human nature (unless if you are Christian and believe man is sinful by nature). I would just add “sometimes” before “bankrupt” and “going.” I also think the same of conservativism, republicanism, federalism, progressivism, socialism, fundamentalism, or any other “ism.” Here is a classic reason why I continually state I am liberally oriented and never claim a liberal or Democrat epithet. The truth, for me, is all these systems of thought and beliefs have pros and cons and all I can do is try to extract what I think is the positives from each (obviously I draw from liberalism’s well more often while you draw from the conservative). No single paradigm structures my entire thought to the chagrin of Geertz. I think I see you making the same sort of claim with the comment “it seems to us economic conservatives.” The statement seems to apply you may be socially something else. I do not know. I also see a hint of classical republicanism in your comments in line with Jeffersonian thinking (I am not sure if your are as extreme as Calhoun though?). In addition, you seem to make claims in the language of the economic philosopher Adam Smith by asking the government “to get off people’s backs [hands off] and get out of the way [laissez-faire].” While many considered Smith antiquarian today, so are many of the thoughts and models I extract from.

Darren said...

John S, don't sell yourself short. Conciseness is something I've never before today been accused of--a trait you and I share!

Many of the things you said in your last comment not only make sense, but are true. Let's enumerate those:

1. Yes, the Muslims started it. Their religion "started" over 600 years after Christianity "started", so any lands that had formerly been Christian (Eastern Roman Empire, including the Holy Land) that were conquered by the Muslims are proof that they started the wars between Christians and Muslims.

2. Wars were fought differently back then. I don't think atrocities were committed *because* of the religions, but in spite of them. Either side would have fought/killed the same way if they were fighting for non-religious reasons.

3. Guilty as charged, kinda!, for saying it's all in the past, but they started it anyway. I guess, to cover myself, I should say: If you (Muslims) want to whine about something that happened centuries ago, at least whine about something that you didn't start!

4. Cortez and Columbus--were products of their times. I don't think it's appropriate to judge them by the standards of today, just as I don't think judging the atrocities of the Crusaders and Muslims of centuries ago by today's standards is appropriate. But you're correct that they didn't live up to the Catholicism they preached--but who back then did?! So Cortez and Columbus *did* knock as loudly as did the Muslims at Vienna, but that's really a non sequitur, don't you think?

5. You're correct that I have a bit of Jefferson and Smith in my political blood.

So you read me well.

One point on which I'll call you, though, is when you said that "The notion Christians are bloodless today is not." Where are Christians killing in the name of Christ today? Whoever it is certainly isn't mainstream, and certainly wouldn't be well-received by the overly-liberal Christian churches today (Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian).

I'll restate that socialism is untenable. It didn't work with National Socialism (Nazis), it didn't work in the Eastern Bloc, the Chinese are trying to make a hybrid with capitalism and police state, and the Cubans have no workers' paradise. Where communism (extreme socialism) held sway, it's mostly died already in less than 80 years. The European economies are suffocating under the weight of their social welfare programs, which is why they haven't been able to approach the strength of the US economy even after merging into the EU and the eurozone.

I don't want to go the way of the Europeans. Nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live under their policies. And I can't, for the life of me, figure out why anyone with half a brain would want to.

John S. said...

Watch out, you are like Icaris flying to close to the relativist sun and rightwingprof may try to clip your wings (ha!). I have never met a conservative as elastic as you in their support for the notion of contextualizing people and events. We actually agree on some things. I hope we have not caused an imbalance to occur in the universe, which results in the destruction of us all.

As for socialism—agreed. Yet, socialism is not Marxism and if people understand this point, well, it is all I can ask. Indeed, communism is not socialism or even extreme socialism according to Marx. The two are different. Socialism interacts with Capitalism in a dialectical scheme that results in Communism. No Communism without both Capitalism and Socialism. Hence, Lenin, Mao, Castro, Ho, etc. all violated this principle by applying them to pre-or-partly-or-non-Capitalistic societies. Still, Marx is heavy on the crack pipe by creating a utopia he assumes everyone wants to be a part of. Just as any utopia is a pipe dream, whether Christian (St. Augustine, Hegel, Ranke), Communist (Marx, Bellamy), or Capitalist (Smith).

Finally, the idea modern Christians have blood on their hands is a point contested by you only because you do not include Christian Identity, violent fundamentalists, KKK, or, seemingly, Catholics under your conception of what true Christianity is. Right? I would agree with you. Yet, they do evoke the name of Christ when the commit the atrocities of violence that have taken the lives of many. Perhaps, a true Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu feels the same as you when he looks at the violent manifestations of his faith throughout the world.

Darren said...

What do you mean by "Christian identity"?

And the KKK, what part of it still exists, is 7 idiots running around in sheets. No one takes them seriously as Christians, just as no one takes "Reverend" Phelps and his ilk seriously as Christians.

John S. said...

Christian Identity is a militant terrorist group operating in Europe and North America. The Church of Jesus Christ-Christian and the LaPorte Church of Christ are some few examples, as is Aryan Nation and Eric Rudolph, the bomber at the Atlanta Olympics and suspected bomber of several abortion clinics.

Christian Identity: http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Christian_Identity.
Also try, http://www.religioustolerance.org/cr_ident.htm. I do not know the authority on which these cites draw so take it with a grain of salt. In addition, if you go to http://www.bartleby.com/65/ (Columbia Encyclopedia) and type in “Christian Identity” who will get several articles discussing them secondarily—but seems more authoritative since it comes from a more respected encyclopedic source.

As for the KKK, according to Columbia Encyclopedia: “Although a resurgence of support for the Klan was manifest in the surprising popularity in the early 1990s of David Duke of Louisiana, actual membership in Klan organizations is estimated to be in the low thousands.” Therefore, you are right; the KKK is marginal, but still alive. Likewise, Aryanism, as practiced by Neo-Nazis in the US and in Europe is minimal but still alive (this is also applied to a perverted view and interpretation of Christianity—though 99.9% of Christians see them as heretical).

We are splitting hairs. The aforementioned are Christian groups in which most Christians would deny are Christians at all. While I agree, we cannot ignore their proclamations of representing true Christianity. Still, how is a non-Christian (particularly non-western) suppose to separate all the various groups just as non-Muslims have a hard time differentiating between the violent groups and the “true” believers.

Cowboys game on soon (you are in 49er country, right? Frank Gore is awesome!). Go Romo!

Darren said...

These are fringe groups that you mentioned--as evidenced by the fact that I've never even heard of Christian Identity. When vast quantities of Christians take to the streets to support them, or cheer when they fly airplanes into buildings, I'll consider them more than just the nutjobs they are.

Right now, until they do something illegal or monstrous, I say let them hold their little rallies and earn the social ostracization (is that a word?) that they deserve.

If a non-Westerner can't discern the difference between kooks and mainstream, perhaps they're part of a culture that doesn't really have a difference between kooks and mainstream.

Anonymous said...

Christian Identity = New and Improved KKK

Crystal?

Anonymous said...

I think I get it now. You are not even aware that there are, in fact, some far right organizations in America, home grown terrorists if you will. You only focus on your ideology, never thinking that your ideas can be taken too far.

Without balance, there is chaos.

Peace.

Darren said...

There are nuts everywhere; that wasn't the point of this post. These right-wing nuts you mention, I haven't even *heard* of them. Since it should obvious that I spend a lot of time paying attention to news reports, the fact that I haven't heard about them indicates that they aren't very influential.

That's quite different from apologists for an entire political philosophy, apologists people have actually heard about and which *are* making the news.

As I said, when I even hear about your "Christian Identity" in the news, and see people taking to the streets to flock to its banner, I'll take them a little more seriously. Until then you're using them to deflect attention from a very serious problem with the American Left--support for totalitarianism.

And let's be honest, why wouldn't the Left support totalitarianism? They want government to control everything anyway.

John S. said...

Darren, well, I planned to let the discussion conclude, however, Anonymous, while behaving irrational I know (she does not represent me), apparently pushed your buttons enough to get you to declare, “Until then you’re using them to deflect attention from a very serious problem with the American Left--support for totalitarianism. And let's be honest, why wouldn't the Left support totalitarianism? They want government to control everything anyway.” I confess, I was shocked, disappointed, offended, but, nonetheless, understanding of the notion you were dealing with Anonymous’ irrational posts. Am I somewhat right? Were you simply employing a bit of dramatic rhetoric to speak in a language Anonymous would understand—pushing her buttons right back?

On the other hand, do you really believe the liberal ideology strives for a totalitarian regime?

Again, while I planned to let the discussion conclude, I must reiterate on how we still disagree, minutely here, and how we agree in a large majority here. We agree the Muslim religion, today, is far more violent than the Christian religion or any other for that matter (by seemingly leaps and bounds!). Indeed, my dissatisfaction with religion is one wherein I am suspicious of all and especially the most fanatical (the Muslims scare the “bleep” out of me). Where we disagree is on the notion the Christian religion today is bloodless—even if the symbolic bloody hand is a simple scratch compared to the oceanic blood pool Muslims find their religion swimming. While the aforementioned fringe groups of Christianity are marginal and small in comparison with fanatics from other religions (again by leaps and bounds), they are nonetheless real and do hurt and kill people. I fail to see, however, in response to your comments of not taking them seriously, when an amount of death and violence is high enough for you to take them “more seriously.” Now that you are aware of them, are you appalled by them and wish they too would face justice?

Darren said...

Your final question is silly. I have no intention of defending anyone who would illegally or immorally employ violence, whether they claim to be Christians, Republicans, or teachers (three groups with which I identify, in varying degrees). Of course I would want such people to face justice for their crimes. My point is that I don't view these people as a blip on the radar screen against much larger, better organized, more serious threats.

Prioritizing. When I was a manufacturing manager utilizing statistical process control, we focused on the most frequent or most costly causes of error first and foremost. If some problem was causing a miniscule percentage of errors, we'd deal with it if it wasn't too much trouble--but we kept our focus on the biggies. That's what I'm doing in this case. Remind me, how many airplanes have these Christian Identity people flown into buildings? How many heads have they sawed off on the internet? How many nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons have they sought? To me, not much of a blip on the radar screen.

As far as my comment about totalitarian regimes goes: Lefties want government to run everything. If that isn't totalitarianism, I don't know what is. You can say it's hyperbole on my part, but the exaggeration isn't much.

Darren said...

I'll meet you one step further, John S. Totalitarianism may not be what you strive for, but it's definitely what you'll get with liberalism.

Chris said...

If anonymous people give you stress, just take a break and smell the waffles.

Darren said...

I don't know what you mean by that, but I like the visual!

John S. said...

I am sorry, I have asked questions similar to this one before, but what in the world do you think totalitarianism is and where did you get your definition?

Darren said...

This is from dictionary.com:
1. the practices and principles of a totalitarian regime.
2. absolute control by the state or a governing branch of a highly centralized institution.
3. the character or quality of an autocratic or authoritarian individual, group, or government: the totalitarianism of the father.


#2 above is the meaning I had in mind when I discussed totalitarianism above. As government gets more power and controls more of our lives, how can we have anything but definition #2?

John S. said...

Great. So, with dictionary.com to lead the way, here is their definition of liberalism:

1. the quality or state of being liberal, as in behavior or attitude.
2. a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties.
3. (sometimes initial capital letter) the principles and practices of a liberal party in politics.
4. a movement in modern Protestantism that emphasizes freedom from tradition and authority, the adjustment of religious beliefs to scientific conceptions, and the development of spiritual capacities.

Therefore, with our two definitions of totalitarianism and liberalism how can we presuppose liberalism unfolds into totalitarianism? Likewise, perhaps best saved for latter discussion, has any other philosophy other than liberalism transformed into totalitarianism and has any conservative or republican nation-state ever devolve into totalitarianism? Another angle to tackle our question is the notion of other forces at work affecting the political or social philosophy of the state.

Now, with leaving all my varied questions aside for the moment, I return to your idea of liberalism turning into totalitarianism because “As government gets more power and controls more of our lives, how can we have anything but definition #2? [of totalitarianism: absolute control by the state or a governing branch of a highly centralized institution.” Well, first I think you already keenly pointed out what would be any liberal’s first defense—good. Specifically, liberalism is antithetical to totalitarianism because of its stated goal of assuring “unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor.” You nonetheless muted such a notion from the beginning of our discussion with the comment, “Totalitarianism may not be what you strive for, but it's definitely what you'll get with liberalism.” Okay, so I am going to run with your assumption here and concede, not so willingly however, intention has nothing to do with evaluating the soundness or correctness of a particular philosophy and only the effects matter (a very practical and logical way to look at it). Therefore, we shall move on. The second contestation a liberal may bring you is to disagree with your outcome, i.e. your assumption a government, which is large, powerful, and controlling, is what a liberal ideology actually creates and that such is actually synonymous with totalitarianism. Augmented further, and related to such a notion, a liberal may disagree with you by scoffing at the idea the American government (its size, its power, its control) is solely the result of a liberal paradigm. Certainly a liberal agenda calls for an extremely active government, however, if we refer back to its intentions I was so ready to dismiss, no such government is to impede, impair, limit, or otherwise obstruct human development, individual rights (a bedrock of classical republicanism by the way), and civil liberties. Another point of contention is further related: republicanism and conservativism has also resulted in the growth, power, and control of the government in the United States. The Patriot Act and Homeland Security for example are great modern day examples, as is the past example of President Lincoln and the Civil War or even Reagan’s efforts against the Soviet Union. Certainly, let me anticipate your reaction as you anticipated mine by rephrasing your own words, “Totalitarianism may not be what you strive for, but it's SOMETIMES what you'll get with republicanism and conservativism.” Actually, I do not by that. I see both liberalism and republicanism contributing to the growth, power, and control of the government. Indeed, we should reference back to perhaps one of the greatest republican thinkers of them all in President James Madison and his contributions to the Federalist Papers. For Madison, Republicanism was the philosophy that needed to be controlled and in danger of slipping into a tyranny of the majority—in other words, a totalitarian state. Still, he understood it to be the best system. Wow, while he knew republicanism could transform into totalitarianism he still strove to set up a republican nation. Why in the world would he do such a thing? He specifically answered controls on government needed to arise to avoid “the excesses of republicanism.” Here, let us be clear, he is classic republican in the sense of state’s rights, while also republican in the since he stressed liberty and freedom and rule by the people (or at least the intellectuals as he defined republicanism).

The final point to all my meager banter is to also contest your notion of a large, powerful, controlling government being synonymous with totalitarianism. A large, powerful, and controlling government is precisely what we need to protect ourselves from terrorists or any other threat. Madison and the other founding fathers understood a powerful, controlling government was needed to help the US compete commercially and economically in the world market and to move westward. Lincoln understood a large, powerful, controlling government was needed to not only reverse the dissolution of the union, but also to protect and uphold civil liberties and individual rights. Regan understood a large, powerful, controlling government was needed to resolve the Cold War and hasten the seemingly inevitability of a nuclear holocaust. Bush 43 understands a large, powerful, controlling government is necessary to protect the citizens of the US from terrorists.

So much can, perhaps needs, to be said. Yet, I resign myself to the thought you may now agree liberalism is not a philosophy that results in totalitarianism. It does not just as much as republicanism or conservativism does not. When a totalitarian regime arises, more than just a political philosophy is at work. A moral philosophy, economic philosophy, social philosophy, and other forces, mute or not, organic or not, metaphysical or not, all converge to result in such. Perhaps size of government is a symptom of a totalitarian regime, but it does not mean the government is.

Darren said...

Then we disagree.