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A Disguised Dictator

from Carpe Diem

…. are from Ludwig von Mises, writing in Human Action.

1. A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.

2. Every socialist is a disguised dictator.

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The Statesman and the Political Opportunist

hkoisrael

by Henry Oliner

I have often heard the voters’ frustration with politics voiced as a call for statesmanship,  but what do we expect from a statesman?  Perhaps we can clarify by examining its opposite.   The opposite of the Statesman is the Political Opportunist.

The Statesman thinks of the next decade and the next century.

The Political Opportunist thinks of the next election.

The Statesman acts from principles gained from careful and thoughtful consideration and study.

The Political Opportunist acts from pragmatism- only what works NOW is important.

The Statesman is attuned to the morality of his actions and decisions.

For the Political Opportunist the ends justify the means.

The Statesman carefully nurtures allies, strengthening relationships even when they are not urgently needed.

For the Political Opportunist allies are commodities that serve or do not serve the situation at hand.

The Statesman understands that a strong nation cannot be built on a society of weak individuals.

The Political Opportunist will subvert individual liberty for the power of the moment.

The Statesman understands that we should not sacrifice a good solution for an unproven perfect solution.

The Political Opportunist is willing to sacrifice an unperfected solution for what often becomes a worse solution or no solution at all.

The Statesman understands coalitions to govern require understanding and recognition of political opposition.

The Political Opportunist will use demonization and populism to ignite a righteous rage against stereotypical straw men, and will subvert rational arguments in their pursuit of power.

 

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Straw Men

scarecrow

From American Thinker, Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist by Danusha V. Goska:

Excerpt:

It astounds me now to reflect on it, but never, in all my years of leftist activism, did I ever hear anyone articulate accurately the position of anyone to our right. In fact, I did not even know those positions when I was a leftist.

“Truth is that which serves the party.” The capital-R revolution was such a good, it could eliminate all that was bad, that manipulating facts was not even a venial sin; it was a good. If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs. One of those eggs was objective truth.

Ron Kuby is a left-wing radio talk show host on New York’s WABC. He plays the straw man card hourly. If someone phones in to question affirmative action – shouldn’t such programs benefit recipients by income, rather than by skin color? – Kuby opens the fire hydrant. He is shrill. He is bombastic. He accuses the caller of being a member of the KKK. He paints graphic word pictures of the horrors of lynching and the death of Emmett Till and asks, “And you support that?”

Well of course THE CALLER did not support that, but it is easier to orchestrate a mob in a familiar rendition of righteous rage against a sensationalized straw man than it is to produce a reasoned argument against a reasonable opponent.

HKO

Populism on the left requires demons more than either accuracy, facts or reality.  Modern accusation of racism are a clear sign that reality and intelligence have become optional.

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Subordinated Convictions

hillary

From Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal, The Hillary Metamorphosis

There are a few possible answers to that one. One is that the views she expressed in the interview are sincere and long-held and she was always a closet neoconservative; Commentary magazine is delivered to her mailbox in an unmarked brown envelope. Another is that Mrs. Clinton can read a poll: Americans now disapprove of the president’s handling of foreign policy by a 57% to 37% margin, and she belatedly needs to disavow the consequences of the policies she once advocated. A third is that she believes in whatever she says, at least at the time she’s saying it. She is a Clinton, after all.

There’s something to all of these theories: The political opportunist always lacks the courage of his, or her, convictions. That’s not necessarily because there aren’t any convictions. It’s because the convictions are always subordinated to the needs of ambition and ingratiation.

Then again, who cares who Mrs. Clinton really is? When the question needs to be asked, it means we already know, or should know, how to answer it. The truth about Mrs. Clinton isn’t what’s potentially at stake in the next election. It’s the truth about who we are. Are we prepared to believe anything?

We tried that with Barack Obama, the man who promised to be whatever we wanted him to be. Mrs. Clinton’s self-reinvention as a hawk invites us to make the mistake twice.

HKO

I don’t trust her.  Never did.

further:

Nothing Hillary Clinton is now saying about foreign policy matters

Concha: From ISIS to Health Care, Hillary’s Media Allies Rewriting History

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Wishful Thinking

 

From The Man Who Wouldn’t Be King by Kevin Williamson in The National Review,

We could save ourselves some time and argument by noting that the American electorate gives relatively little indication that it is on the verge of a “libertarian moment,” or any other sort of philosophical moment. Psephological experience and current polling data both very strongly reiterate what any sentient person knows: The American people are incoherent and inconsistent when it comes to public policy, and they seem to have long been driven, in the main, by wishful thinking.

Senator Paul has in common with Barack Obama that his presidential ambitions began to stir quite early in his Senate career. But the two have very little else in common. Senator Paul’s rhetoric is not soaring, but cautious. Cautious about military adventuring, cautious about the role of narrow financial interests in driving Washington’s agenda, cautious about the power of the state, even cautious about his own ideological orientation: not libertarian, but “libertarian-ish.” He is notably cautious about what he thinks he can manage through legislation and, implicitly, as president. It is impossible to imagine him telling his supporters: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Likewise, it is difficult to imagine him unilaterally arrogating power to the Oval Office simply because Congress is not behaving to his liking or the Supreme Court is standing in his way.