It’s that time of year again, tax time. The April weekend when millions of Americans struggle over filing federal income tax returns. ...MORE
Insurance is a concept where lots of people pay a little so a few can get a lot, while government is a system where lots of people get a little while a few pay a lot. Mix it up, and you get a train wreck. ...MORE
JONAH Goldberg is not sure if Jacob Siegel is kidding when he applauds that the "U.S. Military is a Socialist Paradise" -- and sniggers that conservatives ought to be all confused about the institution we support being a poster boy for the "other" way of doing things, from subsidized childcare to universal health care.
But really, how little liberals know about conservatives and what we think!
Yes, of course the military is a socialist paradise. That's because the military is all about force. It forces its members to toe the party line, and it is the government's weapon for defending the country by force against foreign enemies.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the military is a single-purpose organization. Its job is to make war. All the members of the military are supposed to be focused upon the single purpose of preparing to make war on behalf of the United States government.
Such a single-purpose organization cannot have people going off doing things on their own account. That is why it has to provide everything for them. Even then, the military suffers from its Sgt. Bilkos trading on military supplies on their own account. That's why Sgt. Bilko was so funny in the 1950s. Everyone had run into a guy like Bilko in their time in the service.
But the military is not a poster boy for socialism. It shows why the socialist idea cannot work outside a single-purpose organization. The military is an engine for war. Very good: that is what it is suppose to be. But the trouble is that every other government program ends up being the Moral Equivalent of War.
Back in the day John Wayne starred as a civilian contractor militarized into one of The Fighting Seabees during World War II. The Seabees built all those Pacific island airfields. A major subplot in the movie was the difficulty of getting tough hard-nosed John Wayne to do things "the Navy Way" according to the bureaucratic book.
That's the way government does everything. It sets up one single way to do things, usually for the convenience of the bureaucrats, and certainly to try to control the Sgt. Bilkos. But it is ruinously expensive and ruinously unjust.
What about education? Well, the problem is that millions of parents have millions of different ideas about how to educate a child. But when the government does it we are all forced to send our children to government schools and our children get educated the One Way. Originally it was the One Horace Mann Way; now it is the One Liberal Way. So government education is irradiated with liberal initiatives like anti-racism, diversity, and positive self-esteem. Conservatives can go pound sand.
What about health care? There are about 170 million women in the United States and therefore about 170 million ideas on health care needs. But Obamacare is all about reducing those ideas down to a single program. There will be certain procedures that will be free, and certain procedures that will not be available. And a bureaucratic committee, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, will rule over all.
The point about capitalism is that modern society is so complicated that the ukase of the local political boss and the formation of society into a single socialist collective under his control just cannot work. What we find is that the market system, in its prices, wages, buying and selling, working and consuming, has spontaneously developed to coordinate the interaction of millions of acts and decisions of millions of individuals in the economy.
That's because a society does not have a single purpose. It has millions of individual purposes that are facilitated and coordinated by the voluntary cooperation of millions of individuals. Each person has her particular wants and needs that she wants to get from society. But each person has his individual skills and abilities that he can contribute to society.
How do we coordinate needs and abilities?
It is in the nexus between needs and abilities that society happens. In his Critique of the Gotha Program Marx confidently proclaimed:
In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly -- only then then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!Well, yeah! So true, Chuck old chap. But every individual and every society is trying to do that, to convert abilities into the satisfaction of needs. The question is what works.
IN the United States the coming thing is “marriage equality” and multiple genders. In China the coming thing is Christianity, like the new mega-church that just opened in Liushi, Zhejiang province, featured in the London Telegraph. China is on course for 247 million Christians by 2030. To your average educated American this seems astonishing, because after all Christianity is so ...
I wonder if it’s time to update Charles Krauthammer’s catchphrase about liberals and conservatives. Conservatives think liberals are stupid; liberals think conservatives are evil, says Dr. K.
Because if you are stupid enough to believe that your political opponents are “evil”, then you are stupid enough to wander into the paths of evil. Like right now.
If you are stupid enough to think that the practice of politics is exhausted by the politics of the community organizer, and that the only thing you need to do is to rally your troops with racist, sexist, classist catchphrases, then you really don’t deserve to govern in America.
I have my own catchphrases, and one of them is that “politics is division.”
There is, or at least I hope there is, a warning in that catchphrase. If you want to have a society in which people are doing something more than fighting each other over loot and plunder then you’ll have to make your politics extend to something a little bigger than mere division of the nation into “us” -- the good, the evolved, the educated -- and “them.”
And we know that liberals know this because they keep blathering on about the “other.” Except that if you are a sophisticated liberal that knows your German philosophy you will talk on a slightly higher plane about “ego” and “alter” of course.
When liberals reduce their politics, as the president seems to be doing this season, to efforts to rile up the race base, with speeches at the convention of the racist National Action Network, or rile up the feminist base with lawyers’ protection bills like the Paycheck Fairness Act that makes employers guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent, or with class appeals like the president’s minimum wage policy, when liberals do that then conservatives have every reason to wonder if liberals are something worse than stupid.
Because you are basically saying that there is no compromise with the other side. They must be destroyed.
How are you going to be able to work with people across the aisle after such a season of naked race, sex, and class baiting?
Now we have the IRS scandal, which seems to be escalating beyond mere efforts to embarrass conservatives trying to organize for political action into efforts to trick conservatives into criminal acts.
In the opinion of J. Christian Adams these efforts of the liberals stem from the thinking and the doing of their left-wing activist base. He goes into a lot of detail showing how these groups have persuaded themselves that right-wing speech is illegitimate and should be censored. They even have University of California at Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen with a blog to bring all the speech regulators together.
We all make a joke about this, and chuckle about the inanities of “political correctness.” But think about this. Liberals, the ones that lecture us about the “other,” seem not to understand the danger to themselves of censoring the “other’” speech.
What do I mean by this? I mean this: Does it not occur to liberals that when you censor other peoples’ speech it makes them really angry? Does it not occur to liberals that one of the reasons we have the First Amendment is to provide people with a safety valve? They may not get what they want from the political process but at least they have the right to peaceably assemble and present their grievances. If people present their ideas and then get defeated in a fair election, they they are likely to go home and feel that they have at least had a chance to make their case.
The only way this regulation of other peoples' speech works in the long term is if you are prepared to go Full Monty totalitarian and put your opponents in the gulag. I presume that liberals are not planning to do that. Not yet.
So why don’t liberals have the common courtesy of letting their opponents organize politically without harassment? How come that they are stupid enough to harass their opponents enough to make them really angry?
Well we know how all this comes about. It comes about because politics for liberals is a kind of religion. It is not just a practical thing about repressing violent foreign powers and violent domestic criminals. Politics is also about right and wrong, good and evil. It is also about saving society from injustice.
It is very easy, when your politics is to you religious, to make the next logical step, and try to suppress the Evil One. Nobody needs to ask Satan how he feels about things; you just stick it to him.
This is why I think that liberals are in for the worst times they can imagine. Ordinary, decent people are going to be shocked and indignant as they slowly get the picture on the corruptions and the repressions of the Obama administration -- let alone angry that they can’t keep their doctor and can’t keep their health plan.
Of all people, liberals should know this. They were beside themselves during the Bush administration, absolutely outraged by Christian conservatives in positions of government power. Can they not therefore see that conservatives might be absolutely outraged by what they experience as liberal abuse of power?
Answer: no they can’t. They can’t see it. It’s comical, in a way, because liberals have built a huge edifice of developmental psychology to account for the fact that most people can’t see other peoples’ point of view, starting with people that cannot even experience the possibility of other points of view. Only at the upper reaches of developmental psychological systems are there people that can put themselves in the place of the “other” and can understand the fact of other people, other ideas, other world views as perfectly natural and physical. Yet the liberal psychologists are about the worst when it comes to political intolerance.
And because liberals live in a bubble and have a way of forbidding anyone from uttering a discouraging word, they won’t know what’s hit them until it’s hit them.
THE US Senate is presently putting together what reads like Obamacare for Mortgages, a fiendishly complicated bill that will privatize, yet super-regulate home mortgages -- with a ton of special subsidy programs to queer the whole thing into a nightmare. At least that's what the Wall Street Journal reports. So the political elite hasn't learned from the Great Crash of 2008. And no wonder. ...
YOU can't be serious. That is perhaps what conservatives feel as each new Obama era folly hits the headlines. This week we saw Democrats in the House claiming that the Republican pursuit of Lois Lerner was McCarthyism. We heard of the Dallas office of the IRS brimming with pro-Obama election fever. We saw liberal students and faculty getting Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born woman who has ...
THE defenestration of Brendan Eich last week electrified the conservative world. Imagine! A guy contributes money to an initiative campaign in 2008 and that disqualifies him from running Mozilla, the non-profit foundation that makes Firefox. So the gay rights movement has progressed from hiding in the shadows to forcing its opponents into the shadows. That is what you call progress. But we ...
IN the third night of Wagner's monumental Der Ring des Nibelungen the broken Wotan, king of the gods, is reduced in Siegfried to "Der Wanderer," wandering the earth, his dreams of power shattered. But Mime the dwarf still has a power project. He wants to reforge Nothung, Siegmund's shattered sword so he can kill Fafner the dragon and recover the Nibelungs' golden hoard. Ask me three questions...
WHAT happens when government takes over health care? You get dozens of bureaucratic horrors like the "two midnight" rule for Medicare. What is the two midnight rule? It is rule CMS 1599-F. This new, Obamacare-forced rule specified that a hospital stay can only be paid for by Medicare insurance if that stay “(1) expects the beneficiary to require a stay that crosses at least two midnights and...
EVERYONE says that Republicans should reach out to minorities, especially Hispanics and blacks. But, Thomas Sowell writes, Too many Republicans seem to think that the way to "reach out" is to offer blacks and other minorities what the Democrats are offering them. Some have even suggested that the channels to use are organizations like the NAACP and black "leaders" like Jesse Jackson -- that is...
I HAVE BEEN reading a history of the British Glorious Revolution for the last month, and one thing comes through pretty clearly. There weren’t any liberals around back then. They hadn’t been invented.
If you want to know why everything is going wrong for Obama and the Democrats, from Obamacare to Ukraine, the answer is simple. ...
TO THE UPPER CRUST, the nineteenth century was a never-ending worry. The old order was coming to an end, the cyclical world of agriculture and its wealth in land.... more
Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education
Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system
James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls
James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor
E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century
F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law
Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract
John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present
James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.
David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century
David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state
Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again
David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China
Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation
Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state
David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world
Work to restore the Road to the Middle Class. Heres how. Ground it in faith. Grade it with education. Protect it with mutual aid. Defend it with the law. more>>
The Road to the Middle Class is a journey from a world of power to a world of trust and love. In religion, it is a journey from power gods that respond to sacrifice and augury to the God who makes a covenant with mankind. In education, it is a journey from the world of the spoken word to the world of the written word. In community, it is the journey from dependence on blood kin and upon clientage under a great lord to the mutual aid and the rules of the self-governing fraternal association. In law it is the journey from the violence of force and feud to the kingŽs peace, the law of contract, and private property.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
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