Monday, March 16, 2009

The Maestro of Misery

Ralph Reiland, in today's paper, asks some questions about President Obama's tax policies. The entire column can be found at:

Now I'm going to extract those questions and provide my answers. (And please excuse me for picking such low-hanging fruit, but I'm feeling lazy today.)

"Does Obama's concept of fairness mean that an increase in taxes on capital gains is the right policy even if it leaves less money in the private sector for investment and job creation and brings less tax revenue into the government to fund his priorities in education, anti-poverty programs, energy and health care?"

My answer: Yes!

"Does Obama believe that it's the right policy simply because the rich should pay more?"

My answer: Yes!

"Does he think that a more level distribution of income is right even if it results in slower economic growth, a more equal misery, a government with less revenues and a business sector with fewer jobs?"

My answer: Yes!

"Similarly, perhaps Obama could explain why he seeks to limit tax deductions by the rich for charitable giving and mortgage interest payments when the effect will be a drop in charitable donations and housing sales right at the time when we need more of both. Is he saying that it's OK to starve the charities and keep home builders unemployed because the goal is to make the rich pay more?"

My answer: Yes!

Now let me elaborate a bit. Mr. Reiland may think he's asking rhetorical questions, i.e. questions to which the answer is obvious, but which are asked for the sake of making a point. In this case, the "rhetorical" part would be that the answers would, of course -- assuming we're talking about a sane person -- all be "no". But I disagree! And I suspect that Mr. Reiland still doesn't quite "get it" about the Democrats, and about liberals in general. This is, by the way, in contrast to Rush Limbaugh, who has _always_ "gotten it" about the Democrats and liberals -- even if he does have a massive blind spot about the Republicans and Neoconservatives.

The point is this. Liberals love misery, plain and simple. Not their own misery -- heavens no! -- but that of other people. It's their life's blood. It supports their jaundiced view of the way the world is, and of what life's all about. And mainly, it feeds into their power base, because the more misery, the more dependency, and the more dependency, the more support collectivist and totalitarian programs are going to get, which will, of course, enable the liberals to build empires and assume leadership-for-life positions in the government at all levels. Every liberal who ever lived nourished "rescue fantasies" in his or her heart -- i.e. the notion that most people, because they are too stupid and incompetent -- or "greedy and selfish" -- to run their own lives without harming themselves or others, need leadership and guidance. They need to be bailed out (sound familiar?). They need a "stimulus" (ditto). They need rescuing... they need... salvation! A savior! Someone like... well, whoever happens to be running for president on the Democratic ticket at the time, but Obama has exceeded even their fondest expectations, because he has a visible halo. (Can't you see it? Well then, I'm not going to believe you have a potato chip that looks like Elvis, so there!) Bill Clinton was certainly a core liberal type, but as a "savior" he was found somewhat wanting... unless you're talking about saving people from boredom, and he certainly accomplished that. Plus, times were good when he was in office -- lest we forget. Obama, on the other hand, has swooped down like Superman and grabbed the holiday excursion train filled with terrified children just as it was about to careen off the rickety railroad trestle. (Cue "Here I come to save the day!" from the Mighty Mouse theme song.)

The problem is that nearly all of what liberals think people need "rescuing" from are _good_ things -- things like the free market, competition, standards, freedom to choose, liberty, self-determination, and so on. But those things are inherently risky... they involve tough choices at times... dilemmas... they demand the exercise of the intellect, of logic and free will, of moral principles -- in short, of all those things that liberals either devalue or don't even recognize the existence of. So really, as far as liberals are concerned, people are helpless -- they have no tools, no talent, no aptitude. In the liberal worldview, anyone who shows high aptitude in the private sector, for things like work, innovation, invention, industry, and especially for making money, is suspect. Surely they cannot have achieved what they did through their own merit -- since there _is_ no merit in ambition or ability (except the political kind). So they are automatically suspected of lying, cheating, and stealing... of conspiring against the helpless masses (and the unions)... of being "unfair" and "inconsiderate"... of racism, sexism, homophobia... of "hate"... and so on. So the liberals respond with a multi-pronged approach. They rouse the rabble, and use the lumpen proletariat as the shock troops in a kind of extortion scheme aimed at free enterprise, competition, and competence. Then they lay a guilt trip on the white middle class, to get them to vote consistently against their own self-interest. And they extort money from the rich (or accept campaign contributions; either way works). But in any event, the baseline -- the bedrock -- of misery and dependency has to be maintained and nourished -- relentlessly -- through government programs, public education, and the media.

So yes, Obama really does care more about "leveling the playing field" than about the economic future of the country, or even the actual welfare of the disadvantaged. In this, he is not uniquely misguided or perverse -- he is simply a typical liberal. And since he now finds himself on top of the liberal heap (or at least sharing the throne with Ted Kennedy and the Clintons) he has to continually, and consistently, reflect their world view and their priorities -- even if he might, in the still of the night, suspect that there is something a bit pathological about it all. He is, in short, trapped in the liberal "meme" -- even more than he is trapped in the black "meme", because he wasn't brought up with the same victim mentality as the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton -- he had to acquire it, by osmosis, through his community activist work.

And yes, in the liberal handbook, "equality" really is more important than jobs... especially since, in the liberal's ideal world, idleness pays just as well as work. And poverty is perfectly acceptable as long as everyone is poor -- the Soviets showed American liberals how that works generations ago. Health care? As long as everyone is equally sick and equally unable to obtain quality care, things are OK. And as to education... well! That issue was solved by liberals decades ago. Simply declare that keeping kids behind brick walls for a certain number of hours per week equals "education". Problem solved!

You see, "fairness" is one of the most insidious concepts to ever come down the pike, and it has had a devastating effect on American politics, social policy, education, housing, labor, the media, and all the rest of it. The reason is that, despite the apparent simplicity of the concept, there is simply no objective criterion for "fairness", which means that, ultimately, it all boils down to political power, and that is the one thing liberals excel at -- getting it, and hanging on to it. Any government program or social policy can be defended on the basis of "fairness", and no one can argue, because there is no generally-accepted definition. So the group with the most political power, and/or votes, gets to define "fairness" their way, and everyone else can go blow it out their shorts. Of course the liberals will _claim_ that somewhere, in a great monolith out in the desert, with a secret door to which they possess the only key, there is a stone tablet upon which is carved the Universal Definition of Fairness. But the truth is, they gather in no-longer-smoke-filled rooms on a regular basis and decide who they're going to "get" next... and that process of "getting" is labeled "fairness".

So... let's stop asking all these intended-to-be rhetorical questions about the liberals, and Obama as their prophet. Misery is their stock in trade, whether they're consciously aware of it or not. It matters not, because it will be pursued with equal fervor in any event -- especially when they are riding high on a tidal wave of indignation and disgust with "capitalism" and "conservatism". Right now, everyone who is not a liberal, and everything that is not liberal, is on the defensive. But actually, that's not even true, because "being on the defensive" implies that there are defensive efforts being made -- and they aren't, by and large, except by Rush Limbaugh (AKA "the last man standing"), and the libertarians. The Republicans overall are like those aging Eskimos that are set out on an ice flow to meet their fate at the hands (OK, paws) of a polar bear. Liberalism is triumphant, and it rules the world (or at least our corner of it). Here is their chance to do what they have only dreamed of doing for so many years, on long, lazy afternoons in university political science seminars -- namely to do what Lenin, Stalin, and Chairman Mao tried to do... but get it right this time. The first step is to change that inscription on that building bordering the Mall in Washington, D.C. -- to "All Men Are Created Miserable".

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