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Profiting from Complexity

jonahgoldberg

from Jonah Goldberg on Foxnews

GOLDBERG: I heard about it. But it was today doing my homework for this that I finally read up on it. I just got angrier and angrier about it. In a lot of ways this spectacle represents not just everything that’s wrong with the Obama administration. It’s sort of everything that’s wrong with liberalism and a lot that’s wrong with America itself. You’ve got this guy who is pretending to be an objective, independent analyst, who’s got huge amounts of skin in the game in terms of money he’d make over off consulting fees, but also off of the prestige of being involved and the speeches he could do, which haven’t been tallied in these numbers. Anyway, it’s millions of dollars being touted around through a transmission belt of liberal journalists who all are pretending to be objective analysts too, quoting each other, reaffirming each other, all with the help of the White House which went along with this soup to nuts, what a process which this guy said was all about lies and misleading the American people. And then when caught about it, the same administration tries to dismiss him as if he was just some sort of random White House intruder.

The whole thing stinks. It’s not just that he’s getting rich. It’s the hypocrisy that every time Republicans complain about ObamaCare, they say it’s just because those evil, profit-hungry Koch brothers are trying to get rich, which was always a lie. It is also that this law itself makes American life more complex. And then there’s this leaching new class of people, who profit from the complexity that they are imposing upon the society. And so it’s like a pinata. You can hit it from any angle and you’ll get something out of it.

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Illiberalism

From the Editors at National Review, Progressive Illiberalism

The prevailing view in Democratic circles is that Americans enjoy constitutional and legal rights when acting alone but not when acting jointly — i.e., not when it matters most to public affairs. Under this model, the owners of Hobby Lobby enjoy First Amendment religious protections, and RFRA protections, when they are kneeling in prayer by their bedsides, and perhaps, with certain limitations and IRS oversight, when they are in their church pews. But if they make a decision together, as a group of business owners with a particular vision of the good life and their own duties as people of conscience, then the Democrats believe that their legal and constitutional rights should be set aside, as though human beings and American citizens acting in concert with one another were less than human beings or less than American citizens because of that act of coordination.

That is morally and constitutionally illiterate, but it is the prevailing view on the Left — especially when it comes to the First Amendment. Once again vexed by the likes of Antonin Scalia and his Cro-Magnon insistence that words mean things, Senate Democrats have rallied behind Harry Reid’s attempt to repeal the First Amendment’s free-speech protections, proposing to effectively disembowel the Bill of Rights. Once again, the theory is that while individuals enjoy free-speech rights, associations do not — except for Democrat-friendly associations such as labor unions and the New York Times. Ordinary citizens acting together and pooling their resources to engage in political discourse are to be denied free-speech protection.

There is an ongoing debate on right about what to call our antagonists on the left. “Liberal” is the traditional word, and one that we still employ out of habit, but the Left is anything but liberal — in the matter of contraception as in the matter of free speech, it is fundamentally and incorrigibly illiberal. The word “progressive” has some appeal in that it does not invest the Left with the merits of a liberalism that it detests, but that term presents a problem, namely the question of: Progressing toward what? If Senators Reid, Murray, and Udall are any indication, the answer is an enlarged state under the management of a diminished intelligence.

HKO

There is a large intellectual gap between rights such as free speech and freedom of religion which are a recognition of your state of freedom and your right to acquire  services and products at someone else’s expense.  Such poorly named rights can not be both none of my business and remain my responsibility to fund.

It is very politically shortsighted to designate power to deliver political outcomes desired at the moment.  You need to visualize that power being in the hands of your worst nightmare.

 

 

 

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Intellectually Medieval

Kirsten Powers

Kirsten Powers

Kirsten Power writes in the USA Today, Liberals’ Dark Ages

Excerpts:

Don’t bother trying to make sense of what beliefs are permitted and which ones will get you strung up in the town square. Our ideological overlords have created a minefield of inconsistency. While criticizing Islam is intolerant, insulting Christianity is sport. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is persona non grata at Brandeis University for attacking the prophet Mohammed. But Richard Dawkins describes the Old Testament God as “a misogynistic … sadomasochistic … malevolent bully” and the mob yawns. Bill Maher calls the same God a “psychotic mass murderer” and there are no boycott demands of the high-profile liberals who traffic his HBO show.

The self-serving capriciousness is crazy. In March, University of California-Santa Barbara women’s studies professor Mireille Miller-Young attacked a 16-year-old holding an anti-abortion sign in the campus’ “free speech zone” (formerly known as America). Though she was charged with theft, battery and vandalism, Miller-Young remains unrepentant and still has her job. But Mozilla’s Brendan Eich gave a private donation to an anti-gay marriage initiative six years ago and was ordered to recant his beliefs. When he wouldn’t, he was forced to resign from the company he helped found.

Got that? A college educator with the right opinions can attack a high school student and keep her job. A corporate executive with the wrong opinions loses his for making a campaign donation. Something is very wrong here.

HKO

The dangers of the politically correct gone amuck. It is a weak intellect that is so afraid of debate and dissent, that it must be silenced.  It is medieval.

On a further note on this topic:

CLIMATE SCIENCE DEFECTOR FORCED TO RESIGN BY ALARMIST ‘FATWA’

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen.

It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years. Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.

 

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An Assumption of Decency

Daniel Greenfield writes The Guns of Obamerica in his blog The Sultan Knish, 1/20/2013.

Excerpts:

67% of firearm murders took place in the country’s 50 largest metro areas. The 62 cities in those metro areas have a firearm murder rate of 9.7, more than twice the national average. Among teenagers the firearm murder rate is 14.6 or almost three times the national average. Those numbers are from six years ago. They have grown worse since.

Those are the crowded cities of Obamerica. The places with the most restrictive gun control laws and the highest crime rates. These are the places where the family is broken, money comes from the government and immigrants crowd in from some of the most violent parts of the world bringing with them their own organized crime. These are also the places that have [been] run by Democrats and their political machines for almost as long as they have been broken.

Obama won every major city in the election, except for Jacksonville and Salt Lake City. And the higher the death rate, the bigger his victory. He won New Orleans by 80 to 17 where the murder rate is ten times higher than the national average. He won Detroit, where the murder rate of 53 per 100,000 people is the second highest in the country and twice as high as any country in the world, including the Congo and South Africa. He won it 73 to 26. And then he celebrated his victory in Chicago where the murder rate is three times the statewide average.

In 2006, the 54% of the population living in those 50 metro areas was responsible for 67% of armed killings nationwide. Those are disproportionate numbers especially when you consider that for the people living in most of those cities walking into a store and legally buying a gun is all but impossible.

HKO

While I try to avoid overt partisan commentaries, this is a stunning observation.  Our democracy was always predicated on an assumption of civil decency.  Our value of individual rights was tied to individual responsibility   One has to ask if the impact of creating dependency in the guise of fighting a war on poverty has not turned into a war on the very people we pretended to help.

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Getting Distracted

There is a real problem with the border in Arizona.  And there is a real problem with the Mosque near Ground Zero.  But these are distractions from the greater issue of an economy out of control and a government that sees no problem it cannot solve, and no issue it should leave to the citizens themselves to address.

The immigration issue is difficult, but it is attracting the extremist elements. And the Republican suggestion that the 14th amendment should be changed makes it easy to tag the Republicans with the prejudice that was a real problem with the party many years ago.

Realistically the 14th amendment will not be changed, so even suggesting it serves only to paint the GOP with a label it should seek to avoid.  It is a red herring as Jeff Jacoby noted in the Boston Globe,  Born in the USA.

The Cordoba House, the Ground Zero Mosque, is also a losing argument.  While I think they would be wiser to have it elsewhere, the Republicans are unwise to direct more attention to it. President Bush was wise to disassociate the radical from the rest of Islam after 9/11.  The party would be wise to follow his lead.

The Twitter sphere and social networks is pulsing with emotional comments on the mosque. Much of it crosses the line of legitimate debate, and is just hateful.

It matters little that 70% of Americans are against it. True leadership is the following of principles, not polls. It may look convenient to take advantage of the strong sentiment to score political points, but the Republicans would be wiser to take the high road.

The independents are cautious of divisive politics.  Besides, the Republicans already have the Democrats on a broad retreat, on the subject of the economy, jobs, health care, cap and trade, card check, the debt, and many examples of anti business sentiment and intrusion into our private lives.

The Republicans are providing the Democrats with the ammunition to attack the GOP as prejudiced and extreme.   They would be wise to focus on the real issues that concern so many Americans and turn down the noise on the difficult emotional and less important but more divisive issues.

As Dick Army once advised, “ Don’t waste your energy killing your enemy if he is busy committing suicide.”  Sometimes all you have to do to win is shut up and let your opposition destroy themselves.