Friday, October 29, 2004
Back To “Normal?”
On the surface, Nagaoka appears to have returned to "normal," though many places are closing earlier in the evening, making the town look like it's frozen into a perpetual Sunday.
There are still many people in mass shelters living off of portioned meals and having to endure the lengthily wait to obtain private -- temporary -- housing. Some older people have died simply from their altered circumstance or the stress of events.
In my own fortunate circumstance, my utilities are now even functioning, which means I can indulge in the luxury of a hot shower. It's strange to feel that I've been camping in my own apartment for almost a week now.
The Japanese people are amazing (an opinion I held before the earthquake as well). News reports commonly show people in school gymnasiums recounting tragic events with smiles or resignation on their faces.
This is a great place, regardless of typhoons and earthquakes.
An interesting book has been out for a while now addressing the phony world of the intelligentsia (there are few -- not enough -- books that deal with this issue). Chris Banescu's Intellectual Morons is a story that definitely needs to be told. An interview with the author conveys the issue well. Another excellent book addressing the same topic is Paul Johnson's, Intellectuals. One of the best and most insightful books I've read on the topic is, unfortunately, out of print now; Eric Hoffer's The Ordeal of Change.
It amazes me that so many who are so wise in issues of the mind can be so utterly clueless regarding the real would outside of their own craniums. It wouldn't be such a problem if their inner vision wasn't something they felt so compelled to impose on the rest of us.
I love a good symphony, oil painting, or well-made film and I can certainly respect the time and energy some academics devote to mastering pursuits of the mind but, I personally trust the local mechanic and convenient store clerk more, when it comes to some things many intellectuals don't have -- common sense and a capacity for self-honesty.
In past writings, I've perhaps devoted excessive attention to the Che phenomena. It just bothers me to know that so few people really know who this guy was and what he was really about -- Another excellent account of the ruthless, authoritarian ego-maniac whose image adorns the t-shirts of more than a few wanna-be "rebels."
It's become a recent urban legend that the US -- specifically, the Bush administration -- has somehow done terrible things to the docile and friendly folks of pastry and appeasement. Truth is, the US simply asked for France's support in confronting Saddam Hussein's decade long rejection of UN resolutions. France, of course, didn't just disagree and choose not to assist; they aggressively sought to impede the US effort and added their usual mission statement regarding the importance of reining in the "hyper-power hegemon" (French Intellectual snob lingo for the US). You will recall that at least a third of France's citizens actually hoped Saddam would win in a war against the coalition (that's just plain stupid!).
An interesting insight into the long history of French and American animosity can be found in this interview with John J. Miller, co-author of Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Brief Update -- Niigata Earthquake
There's a nagging stress level under all of this. Everytime a mild tremor starts, it increases a bit and you just have no way of knowing how far it's gonna go. This morning I just held my bookcase in place while quickly contemplating the possibility that my whole building was going to go down -- ya never know. ...There went another one...as I type. I've gotten where I can estimate the level myself now without having to check the television reports -- that was about a "4" I'd say. 'Might as well start a betting scheme.
Nature can be quite beautiful. It can also be ruthless, violent, and seriously annoying. So much for cricket chirps and gentle spring showers.
Niigata Earthquake 2004
The dark side of nature can be rather exciting, initially. Before I realized the seriousness of the matter taking place around me, I had found it all rather amazing -- now it's starting to wear on me a bit. There have been several "aftershocks" each day. Yesterday morning a fairly large one occurred with that rapid increase in intensity that leaves one wondering just how far it's going to go. It's almost like a huge truck approaching on a bad road, and you realized it's not just passing by but may be about to hit your house. I'm not sure that "aftershock" is the proper terminology to describe events when you're struggling to keep your bookcase from falling over.
I'm on the 4th floor of a five-story apartment building which now periodically feels like a ship at sea. Even when there's no activity, one gets this surreal feeling of always being in suspension. There's mild swaying and occasional trembling. Watching one's entire apartment move about so easily makes one feel like a hamster in a shaken shoebox. When the trembling begins, it steadily increases like someone turning up the bass on their way-too-loud music system. You never know if it will taper off or continue to escalate in intensity. The constant sound of helicopters and sirens has been a bit disconcerting as well.
For those who have never been in an earthquake (it's a relatively new thing for me), it's really something you've got to experience in person to fully appreciate -- a multi-sensory experience.
I was sitting in a large commercial coffee shop on the ground floor of a local department store when the first strike occurred. When it began, it was like a chorus of jackhammers pulsing behind the walls. Everything becomes oddly flexible. It increased quickly and it would have been impossible to stand up if I had tried. All I could do at that point is sit and hope that when it reached it's highest point, it wouldn't be enough to bring an entire building down around me. Several minutes later, another major hit. Although one can experience visible quick movement (at least several inches in either direction) what's most impressive is the sound -- a clatter, a rumble, a barking medley in every pitch. Concrete, glass, twisting metal, and probably the heartbeats of lots of scared people -- nature gnashing its teeth.
About an hour after this initial cacophony, another fairly big hit. This time I was outside -- same sound, more amazing visuals. A few 6-10 story buildings all rumbled and shook as if they were mere accessories on a toy train set. You can actually see whole buildings shaking as if they were made of plastic.
Yesterday, a friend and I made it through the blocked-off streets of Ojiya, the little town about twenty minutes south of here (Nagaoka). Ojiya was the quake's epicenter, where most of the damage was focused. The photos I took fail to capture the reality of the scene, lots of buckled roads and collapsed structures. A two-story supermarket had its whole insides collapse.
I thought that this was something that occurs and then tapers off, but we're told to expect continued aftershocks over the next week (possibly, month), some possibly as intense as the initial one (in which case it probably shouldn't be called an "after shock").
The inconvenience to me is now primarily that of having to shower in ice cold water (still no gas). Thousands of others are in public shelters.
All of this just because some large stone plates have shifted a bit -- and because humans are so relatively small in comparison. Nature is a mixed bag.
"In other news:"
I'm sure that some local Western leftist clown living here in Japan is now working out a conspiracy theory linking George Bush to the Earthquake -- he's been blamed for typhoons and hurricanes already. The truth is, like plague bearing mosquitoes, freezing wind, and floods, an earthquake is just another face of "nature" that environmentalists tend not to acknowledge. Butterflies and leeches, rainbows and earthquakes, nature fails to show the one sided preferences shown by so many sandal clad youths with a "cause."
In more mundane political genre, it appears that voters are being hassled for daring to hold the "wrong view." There are reports coming from both the Bush and Kerry camps but lets face it, this fervent moralizing intimidation is most typically a taunt from the hypocrites of the Left. I've heard and read plenty of positions on the election and its clear, the most rabid fervor comes from the "my stuff don't stink" crowd. In every chastisment, you can hear the arrogant, self-righteous subtext of socialist control freaks:
The clueless hyperbole and bitterness from the Left is actually helping to reelect Bush. (How dare he initiate the removal of one of the Left's favorite dictators). If Bush wins by a narrow margin, one can speculate that some of those votes will have come from people who have just had their fill of excess rants from the morally pure clique of musicians, drama majors, and spoiled middle class socialist idealists.
State your case, vote, and otherwise, shut up and let others hold their own views and run their own lives -- you're not a superior human being because you like socialism and prefer to cut dictators some slack.
Several days ago, a few of the "mainstream" wire services ran a brief article telling us that an Iranian official supports Bush in America's presidential election. It went on to say that Republican are preferred, and Democrats have always been bad for the theocrats of Iran. Get real! Can anyone actually believe such concocted nonsense? Okay, lets say it's true and Iran fears the dangers of that noted strong and aggressive hawk -- John Kerry. Then, lets take a look at how some others see the choices in this year's election.
I'd say the totalitarian endorsements for Kerry are a bit more believable. With a long record of opposition to his own country and its system, John Kerry is the natural choice of anyone seeking the complete demise of the U.S. and its much maligned free-market system.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Bookstores In Solidarity With “The [Usual] Cause”
A couple of decades ago one could barely find a bookstore that would promote the sale of a conservative tract. This was partly due to the fact that one could also barely find a publisher who would publish such views to begin with. Although significant inroads have occurred in publishing non-Leftist beliefs, some attempts at censorship continue to occur at the final end of the publishing industry -- the bookstores themselves.
A little over a month ago, when the anti-Kerry book, "Unfit for Command" was putting heat on the Kerry campaign, some bookstore union clones let it slip on their internet site exactly what their attitude was toward "free speech."
Even in far off (from the US) Japan, where I live, the pseudo-intellectuals of bookstore marketing, have taken their stand on the issue of fair exposure to alternate viewpoints.
I sent the following letter to the Kinokuniya bookstore chain in Japan to note my observations regarding their ordering and display of popular non-fiction books:
I'm an English speaking resident of Niigata, Japan. I often frequent your Niigata / Bandai location. My purchases are typically restricted to magazines. I've purchased a few books but when it comes to topical issues in society and politics you don't offer much of what I'm looking for.
There currently are, and have been, several best sellers that don't make it to your shelves. There's a prominently diplayed sign promoting Michael Moore's movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11," and there is typically a virtual shrine erected to Michael Moore's books along with Noam Chomsky, Al Franken, Molly Ivins etc. One could get the impression that whoever decides what books will be displayed in your store has a political stance they are trying to promote. There are numerous -- again, best sellers -- from the other side of the political spectrum that are noticeably absent in your store.
I recognize that you may be merely catering to a foreign clientele that is likely "left of center," but I'm not sure that such skewed choices in what to promote are good business or fair and honest appreciation for diverse viewpoints.
I realize that I could "special order" certain books but still wonder why I should need to do so for a book like "Unfit for Command" when a book like Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" is readily available.
I'm puzzled as to what criterion are considered when seeking to offer options to your customers. On the surface it appears that there is a noticeable bias for left-of-center authors (in some cases far left of center).
I'll continue to purchase magazines from your Niigata store but If I have to "special order" best selling books I might as well continue to use Amazon.com
Your store is a pleasure to shop in but taking sides in political issues just isn't good business.
I haven't received a response to my complaint yet. I think there is a fair chance that those responsible for the ordering and displaying in the English sections of this company's bookstores are English speaking and also likely to be from English speaking countries.
Of course, what I've experienced here is not unusual in the grand scheme of things. In major bookstore chains in America however, the profit motive (fortunately) has finally forced acknowledgment of a wider spectrum of reader's tastes and preferences. Difficult as it is for the Left in general to understand, not everyone agrees with them or should necessarily be compelled to. There have been numerous best sellers in recent years that counter the highly promoted nonsense of Michael Moore et al. Needless to say, the Left is not happy about this kind of free speech.
I seriously don't imagine some kind of conspiracy on the part of book company managers, after all, it's in their interest to sell a product. Further down the decision making ladder, however, one likely finds the usual rabble of holier than though Leftism, bravely fighting the evil forces of those who differ in worldview.
The Left will whine constantly of "censorship" and "oppression" from the supposedly dark forces of conservatism but who is the real tyrant here? Is it any surprise that those who favor strong central government authority also favor the manipulation of ideas made available to the public?
Leftism -- Hypocrisy, and enforced ideological compliance, from the classroom to the local bookstore. Same as it ever was.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Political Spectrum Scams
Now, how exactly are you supposed to answer such a question? "Strongly agree" to primarily serve the "interests of trans-national corporations" over "serving humanity?"
The ridiculous false choice of the question is definitely skewed to make one choose a kind and caring stance (alluding to the Left’s phony humanitarian posture), or to a "mean-spirited," pro-market, "Right Wing" stance. What if -- like me -- you don't think globalization should "primarily serve" anybody or anything.
A free market among the citizens of the world results in "globalization." There needn't be a plan or "purpose" to it at all -- it's merely the result of individuals acting freely, making their own choices as to how they wish to allocate their resources. The test question is basically saying, "Do you believe in warm and fuzzy caring people or big, mean cold corporate institutions?" It's meaningless as a question. It doesn't gauge anything. It pigeonholes you into appearing either "nice" or "mean" -- it's total nonsense.
The thing is, people fall for such phony scholarship like this and think it really is some profound scientific indicator regarding where one stands on some phony "spectrum" or "compass" or whatever.
Do you think the role of government is to get out of our way, or to push old ladies down stairs?
The Electoral College is a concept many have little understanding of. It’s not all that complex or difficult to understand really. On the surface, it sounds terribly unjust. It’s not. Jonah Goldberg’s brief article not only covers the basic concept, but also argues why it’s ultimately a good idea. One must remember that "democracy" means, "rule by The People." While that sounds nice, it ultimately means mob rule. The American system of government was intended to establish the virtues of self-government. The few chores assigned to federal authority were to be dealt with by representatives who would ideally represent the various factions and interests in the country. Mob rule (e.g. "Democracy") is not a pretty picture and has little to do with the kind of society one imagines when one hears the word democracy.
When asked what kind of government the founders had finally ironed out for the new American nation, Ben Franklin famously answered, "A republic…If you can keep it" -- good idea.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Beyond Media Bias
How many Leftists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None, they're too busy ranting about the "injustice" of having to screw in a light bulb.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Common Sense Political Spectrum Test
I've devised a simpler, and I believe more common sense approach, to the political spectrum idea:
* Do you favor a more powerful, more centralized government authority and more laws and regulations over fellow citizen's lives?
Test Result :
If you answered Yes to the test's only question, you are one of those people who favor a more powerful, more centralized government authority and more laws and regulations over fellow citizen's lives.
Now you know what should have been obvious to anyone who's aware of the political stance of a control freak -- "right" or "left."
more observtions regarding "political spectrum tests"
Sunday, October 17, 2004
All Ya Need Is Laws
"All ya need is love…" -- and more laws.
Occasional dreadlocks or multiple piercings fail to mask the underlying conservatism of temperament actually held by many pseudo-rebels of socialist conformity. Ironically, those yearning for more state authority have gotten their wish a thousand times over. Literally thousands of new laws have been, and continue to be, passed to control the most minute aspects of individual lives, and yet the cry goes on, "More Laws! We have too much freedom!"
While continuing to feign the role of unacknowledged "victim," the forces of statism have, over the decades, come to dominate the schools and academia, media, entertainment, and of course the government bureaucracy itself. They are now the ones "in charge," and yet they continue their whine that some "rich" bogyman is "oppressing the poor," despoiling the environment, and pushing old ladies down staircases. "He" can be stopped, of course, if we all just buckle down and learn to comply with the latest state edict.
There may indeed be "too much" of something..., but its not freedom. There's to little freedom -- and insight into history and human character -- to ward off the totalitarian schemes so many pseudo-rebels would gladly subject us to.
Maybe some armchair philosophers for the omnipotent state have too much time on their hands and too little regard for the lifestyles and choices of their fellow citizens.
"We Need A Change -- Now, Line Up And Do What I Tell Ya To Do!"
The new Social[ist] Democrats have been really ratcheting up the coercion factor as the Presidential campaign goes into its final weeks. Of course, election season foul play is not new, and its certainly not the sole vice of any one political party. This year, however, the Democrats are uniquely fervent in their demand that we get back on track to the socialist plan Clinton had been working on, and they're not going to stand for other people's views getting in the way.
If Kerry wins this election, every problem that occurs over the next four years will be blamed on Bush. If Bush wins, the Left simply won't stand for it. They'll be out in the streets ranting about how "we" have lost our freedoms and a diabolical right wing extremist (who is also "stupid") has "stole the election." They "want a change" and you better comply! Remember after all, "Bush is Hitler," and every government agency and law is a warm and fuzzy mega-mom just dying to cuddle you to a pulp.
You wanna see "mean-spirited?" Just talk to a typical fervent Democrat. Now, get in line and do what you're told!
Friday, October 15, 2004
EUROPE’S GLASS HOUSE
America is hated because, it’s "unilateral, ‘too’ rich, arrogant, selfish, and militaristic. It won’t sign (all) UN treaties, it had slavery, has racism and poverty, and is a ‘bully’ toward innocent dictators."
Americans in general are “too conservative, too religious, too fat, too violent, too uneducated, too unsophisticated," and may just be the worst embodiment of evil to have ever graced the pages of history. Such hatred for a group of people isn't racism, sexism, or "homophobia," so it can skate by the political correctness template that is applied to virtually every other group within humanity.
Bitter invective toward Americans is expressed regularly in books, movies, Op Eds, and from the world’s squadrons of "educators." Many of them are from Europe or are American academics / intellectuals who adore the Euro-Bureau model of living. To read their rants one would think Europe was a virtual paradise, and America a living hell on the verge of collapse. It would not be unfair to say that much of this nonsense is a mere case of the "[European] pot calling the [American] kettle black."
It would of course never happen, but what if everyday, the world's media, entertainment, and education networks were filled with critical assaults on European civilization and its status in the world today?
I actually like Europe. I particularly admire European civilization’s cultural legacy to the world. In the grand scheme of things I think Europe’s negative attributes are far outweighed by its positive contributions to world culture.
In my writings thus far, I have never felt the need to insult or criticize Europe or Europeans in general but have often found myself having to defend the US(scroll to “Why They Hate Us”) from some Europeans and like-minded socialists in America and elsewhere. One of the reasons I have never felt the need to post rabid critique’s of Europeans is that I know there are many who do not hate Americans, and many who do not judge the US from the socialist template so commonly used by journalists and intellectuals. To be sure, there are many common citizens – particularly young people – who parrot the views heard daily in Euro-media, but what can I say? There are easily led flocks in America as well. The Left has successfully convinced many that adoration of a powerful socialist bureaucracy is somehow the hallmark of a rebel. It has become "cool" to hate free society and particularly one of its historical bastions (The US).
To point out the absurdity of regular taunts made against my country, I’m going to "turn the tables," so to speak. I say "my country" because I was born in America (I’m presently working in Japan). I don't fancy myself a “flag-waving” chauvinist. I'm well aware of dark moments in American history and there are many actions taken by America’s government and its politicians that I despise. Such flaws are certainly fair game for reasonable criticism but, "fair" is a boundary that has been breached long ago in the anti-American polemics of the world.
I was born in America. I have family in America. I have friends America. All in all, I think America is okay. In the grand scheme of history, I’d dare say that it has a competitive edge in goodness over many other nations, even some of those who fancy themselves superior, enlightened and righteous examples.
Back to a hypothetical "turning of the tables." Lets for a moment look at Europe with the same lens that’s typically used to deride America. Lets criticize and caricature its flaws (out of context) and omit any positive appraisal, as is typically done by the intellectual elites of Europe when directing scorn toward The United States.
ARROGANCE, HEGEMONY, AND BLOODSHED: THE BURO-STATES OF EUROPE AND THEIR LEGACY TO THEMSELVES AND TO THE WORLD
It wouldn't be fair to judge Europe by the events of two millennia ago but it’s probably no coincidence that its true birth as a distinct civilization emerged from the violent imperialism of the Roman Empire. It has only been in historically recent periods that Europeans have slowly (and reluctantly) freed the colonies they had,over time, forcibly taken across the globe. Even the "American" theft of native lands was initially a theft by Europeans, (since "Americans" per se didn’t actually exist at the time).
European hegemony over the world's cultures has been brutal and regularly marked by condescending racism and ethnocentric arrogance. It is no surprise that such efficient brutality emerged from the European subcontinent, as Europe was also the source of a variety of oppressive philosophies used to justify subjugation of both domestic and foreign citizens alike. A host of "isms" demanding communal conformity have spread throughout the world from Europe’s pervasive will to dominance. In the mock hopes of "creating a better world" the statist obsessions of European philosophers have caused carnage and enslavement on a worldwide scale. In numerous former colonies of the European master, theses same oppressive theories continue to bring bloodshed and economic stasis under local tyrants educated in the European intellectual "tradition." Even in their lighter manifestations, these same European philosophies (which all broadly fall under the heading "socialism") have brought inefficiency, violence, and decay to Europe itself. The world wars of the last century were products of conflicts in the European worldview as it spread across the globe. What was Nazism after all but Europe’s twin philosophical demons, Nationalism and Socialism -- National Socialism?
The Socialist–Lite welfare states of Europe today have created a generation of dependant, unproductive, alienated, and unemployed citizens on perpetual strike and bleeding more from their economies while producing less. It's no wonder that initiative and innovation are strengths long past for them. European cities today are mired in conflict, racism, and a resurgent anti-Semitism. Political extremism is the order of the day. Poverty amongst a new class of immigrants has bred rampant urban crime among many of Europe's former showpiece cities. Conveniently, Europeans have been able to afford massive social expenditures while their resented ally – The US – paid much of their military expenses for decades (while they claimed a stance of "pacifism"). The "warmonger" United States ironically saved them from possible enslavement to a Russian enemy driven by a European philosophy – Marxist Socialism – that they still pay homage to as a final solution to all the flaws they perceive in human character.
Today, Europe seeks to rebound with renewed allegiance to the dismal ideals that had wrought its contemporary social malaise. In its pathetic attempt to assert its relevance, Europe has come to embody no more than hollow attributes of indecisiveness and a lack of backbone in confronting terrorists and tyrants. Europe now reaps the existential fruits of a society forever skeptical, pessimistic, and bureaucratic.
Europeans writers regularly insult the results of statistics showing the religiosity of Americans but have for themselves replaced such faith with what? – A belief in the cold drab schemes of resentful "thinkers," social agencies, and an omnipotent state.
At this point in their dark and violent history, Europeans now strive for unification, but what exactly are they unifying? -- It appears to be no more than the inbred standardization of the failed bureau-statist model leading a population mired in cultural lassitude.
Modern Europe's attempts to live off of a nostalgia for grander times long past fails to hide the mere arrogance and jealousy that one often finds in a person suffering from marked feeling of inferiority. This is the Europe of today – a violent and oppressive past, a resentful present, and aimless future – a withered plant watering itself with stones.
The preceding negative critique of European civilization has been a deliberate caricature in the same style as that which is regularly passed off as objective analysis and even scholarship when America is analyzed daily. Directing this style of critique back at Europe itself may open some eyes (and may not). My critique has utilized the same hyperbole and contextual omissions one finds in attacks on the US, but it is essentially an accurate description of Europe’s shortcomings. As well as turning the tables on Europe in general, by default, I have sought to do the same regarding the entire socialist worldview that motivates much of the hatred Europeans express toward America.
Europeans reading such critical analyses – especially if they were to read them daily from a variety of sources – would justifiably find them "unfair." That’s the point. What would be unfair to Europe is equally unfair to the US and its people. To paraphrase a simple instructional question mothers have often asked their children, "How would you like it if someone said that about you?"
There are periods and places of both bad and good governance and positive and negative contribution to the world’s culture. For non-stop disdain and ridicule to be directed upon one of the freest and most prosperous and diverse civilizations in history is absurd. The fact that much of America has not yet fully buckled down to the dictates of Socialist incompetence hardly merits the pervasive negative portrayals commonly presented today.
Ironically, the greatest criticism directed at America is its perceived "arrogance" yet, what could be more arrogant than jealous invective from a Europe that has failed to keep its own house in order for at least a century if not its entire life span?
European civilization is a great civilization but, like America, it has a share of skeletons in its closet. Europeans and Europhiles who merely admire the contemporary trapping of the socialist mega-state need to recognize that their grand house is one of glass. They not only "shouldn't throw stones" they should adopt a more sober and fair appraisal of themselves and fellow democracies.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Hawks, Doves, and Pretense
Some may not be aware of it but, foreign election monitors will be nosing around America's election process in this election. This is, of course, an ominous symptom of the "Bush stole the election" nonsense that has become an urban myth over the last few years. The Democrats and voices from the Jacobin rabble assure us that Bush will "once again" cheat his way into the Oval Office so he can establish his Fascist empire -- or something like that. Truth be told, there are already several dubious election fraud scams in the works already -- from the Democratic side ("impossible!").
The domestic absurdities in this election are enough without adding to it the intrusion of a core of foreign Leftist clowns with their own PR agenda. Our two century old republic needs watching from some third world socialists? One must remember, these are the same people who think it's totally appropriate for Cuba to be on the UN "human rights" committee.
Things are really getting out of hand.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Being Liberal Doesn’t Mean Having To Say You’re Sorry -- For Voting For Bush
“WE” ISN’T ME
Michael Moore has written that Bush and company are “a bunch of conniving, lying, smug pricks who need to be brought down and removed and replaced with a whole new system that we control” (emphesis mine). Such perspectives in political philosophy have been uttered before in history and the result of “we" being in "control” was not a pretty picture. None the less, with this statement, Moore has captured the Left’s fantasy perspective in a nutshell.
Who exactly are “We?” At least Moore didn’t say, “The People,” the more classic generalization heard from those who think their abstract political fantasies represent real world circumstances. Are “We” farmers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, women, men, blacks, Hungarians, rich, poor, giants, or trolls?
To every Leftist, the assumed values and interests of “we” is always, in fact, the values and interests of them (the ones attempting to speak for everyone else). Amazingly, “The People” and “We” are always assumed to be Left wing in their stance and some conjured non-People are the un-We. Is it that hard to fathom that society, in reality, consists of a variety of conflicting interests and that one is no less a member of “The People” merely because they oppose tax increases or favor a strong defense policy. While Leftists fantasize their cooperative “community” in passive “consensus” (compliance), they fail to recognize that, in America, the guiding principal was intended to be Self-government under a limited and decentralized state.
Fears of an ominous “them” controlling government would be abated if government itself did not have so much power in the first place. How much power can any group wield with no energy source? Any faction that seeks to “control” the government does so merely because the government has – confiscated -- wealth, power, and the means of legally sanctioned force at its disposal. The Left is, in truth, more concerned about wealth than power per se. Other people’s wealth shouldn’t be an issue at all but it’s the Left’s prime obsession.
I personally don’t care that Bill Gates is a billionaire. In fact, I think the repercussions of his wealth to the economy as a whole are ultimately quite positive.
I don’t care that businesspersons want to play golf or doctors want to vacation in Spain. I don’t care that George Bush takes a tough stand on dictators (in fact, I’m glad he does) and I don’t care that Michael Moore chooses to dress like a slob… I just wish that he (and Leftists like him) would simply state their case, place their vote, and stop assuming that their phony use of “We” somehow applied to Me and everyone else.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
"Rocking The Vote"...Strait To Hell
One notch beneath the intellectual Left’s crusade for "justice" and state authority lies pop-land's contrived rebellion against their own bourgeoisie roots. Musicians in sympathy with totalitarian socialists and opposed to free-market constitutional society (e.g. Conservative society) is certainly nothing new. Even way back in the 19th century, Richard Wagner mixed his fanciful artistry with fervent political stands (no wonder that, later, another artist and socialist -- Adolph Hitler -- would hold him in such high esteem).
In an earlier post, (scroll to "Politics, Ideologies, and Astro-Psychology") I had once mentioned astrological affinities to certain psychological and political types. Astrology aside, it is clear that mastery in music, art, poetry, and drama (make believe) does not require the same personal attributes as those required to perceive, evaluate, and act in the world of practical reality. Only in Left-land's magic kingdom could escapist hopes and dreams be seen as templates to sound political policy. Add to this the catchall defense of mock victimization -- "you're trying to censor me!" -- from those who dare disagree with the Left's self-inflated moral superiority. Some Fascist concert fans have recently even refused to continue buying offending artist's CD's (obvious "censorship").
Elton John, Linda Rhonstadt, Steve Earl, and others have whined publicly about the horrid Fascist police state imposed by George Bush (Sadaam Hussein's police state was okay, and Castro's is paradise). Supposedly, no one can now "speak out" and everyone's intimidated by a "climate of fear." One would never guess the truth of the matter, that many are "speaking out" regularly and with considerable financial backing. Add to this a steady stream of highly promoted books, con-documentaries, and the usual coastal elite's views spouted on network TV and in news publications.
From the fever pitch of Leftist whining one would hardly know that the Socialist worldview as gotten virtually everything its demanded over the last few decades. Trillions spent on useless and ineffective dependency schemes, and laws and regulations to cover every action and transaction. When will we have enough laws and controls over fellow citizen's to satisfy these control freaks?
Many artists and musicians will continue their paranoid demand to further entrench the authority of the socialist state (usually in the phony guise of "helping the oppressed" or "eliminating greed"). When will this troupe of spoiled brats realize that their gift for making art and music is not just cause for all to obey their every whim?
You "rock" your vote, and I'll "rock" mine. Keep entertaining the public and yourselves with your talents, but leave us out of your fantasies of divine inspiration.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Take This "Village,"...And Like It
As more and more victims of the North Korean Marxist dynasty escape enslavement, in their search for better lives (or simple survival) we can depend on other countries to keep sending them back to a likely fate of punishment or even death. This is an old socialist standard that goes way back.
One is reminded of Janet Reno and Bill Clinton's brave enforced return of little Elian Gonzalez to the Cuban gulag. In the eyes of Leftists, anyone fleeing a Marxist prison state is an "enemy of the people," or at least fails to appreciate the need for communal obedience -- Yeah team!
It's horrible enough that these Marxist dinosaurs still exist, worse yet that moderate state bureaucracies bow to their demands -- kindred spirits in homage to state authority.
"It takes a village" -- a commune with compulsory membership -- and it takes an inept state apparatus to keep the villagers in line.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
The Current Civil War And The Demise Of Liberalism
Opponents of conservative political philosophy have been successful in conjuring negative associations to conservatism that have nothing in common with its true meaning as a philosophy of government. Nationalism, militarism, racism, cruelty, ignorance, narrow-mindedness, and "fascism" are all now seen to lurk in the hidden hearts of those who merely favor the autonomous individual and limits on the authority of the state. College and high school texts and teachers have successfully erected a myth that somehow the Nazis and Hitler were the end result of extreme "conservatism" (Hitler and his National Socialist Worker's Party actually despised the values of classical liberalism and espoused a violent style of socialism / collectivism). Over recent decades the values associated with liberalism have transformed as well.
By the 1960's in America, it was clear that a liberal was left of center and favored a degree of centralized government intervention into the lives of the country's citizens but, in most cases, a liberal did not despise market economics or the nation in general. They certainly would not have favored "speech codes" on college campuses or other authoritarian expressions of the left's collectivist ideal.
The present state of political discourse in America has seen the emergence of a radical transformation in the meaning of liberal. Some liberals today have been honest enough to break away from America's liberal Democratic party and redefine themselves as "progressives" (a euphemism, none the less). "Progressives" are leftists, they make no secret of the fact that they despise the free-market and despise the United States. They are kindred spirits of authoritarian collectivists. It's no surprise that Fidel Castro is one of their heroes and communism is not a bad word in their vocabulary. They are, for all practical purposes, communists -- but we can't say that (!). To label anyone a communist today would reflect back on one's self. You would be seen as resurrecting "McCarthyism" and the environment of "witch hunts." Accurately labeling an ideological opponent's affiliation with an authoritarian ideology that has killed millions would reflect badly on you for pointing it out. Those college and high school texts and teachers previously mentioned have successfully molded this context as they have our definition of conservative and liberal. We all "know" that McCarthy was some crazy fascist who harassed innocent Hollywood "liberals." In fact, McCarthy had nothing to do with such events. McCarthy's valid inquiry was into security risks in the State Department and the army. As it turns out, Soviet archives have confirmed that the Cold-War Marxist enemy had a vast network of operatives in many positions in the US government. To note such conditions is not paranoid right wing extremism, it's practical observation of a fact one would expect to occur in such circumstances. The country was in a battle with a state and ideology that sought the complete elimination of human liberty on a worldwide scale. McCarthy had the nerve to question the employment status and credentials of spies who had infiltrated the government at the time. The "Hollywood witch hunt" issue that is in-accurately associated with McCarthy was actually the work of the House Un-American Activities Committee (an organization originally founded for the purpose of investigating the Ku Klux Klan).
Today, many who are still referred to as "liberals" are really "progressives" and, as a statement of fact, communists in their sympathies if not their goals. Whether one thinks that being a communist is a good thing or not is of course up to individual choice (ironically). The ideology was responsible for over 100 million deaths under totalitarian government in the last century. Of course their goals were noble -- supposedly. To be sure, some who follow the "progressive" cause are merely romantic idealists and don't have a conscious intention to establish prison camps and purges, but ignorance on the part of those who defend tyranny is a weak excuse. The original intention of most tyrants was not blood stained pages in history. The "problem" arose when they realized that not everyone supported their vision of a "progressive" enforced communal future.
Forty years ago it would have been reasonable to disagree with a liberal on government spending, social programs, or the best way to deal with a mutually despised enemy. People could be close friends and have such different views. Neither party in their respective viewpoints would hate their own country or it's market system of free exchange or cheer for its decline and defeat at the hands of radical thugs.
Today, many of those still described as liberals are -- indeed -- leftists. To use the word "liberal" for them is to soften the reality of an ideological stance with brutal implications. From the French Revolution to Kim Jong Il's prison state, leftism always has been an ideology that despises the autonomous individual and diverse and open society. It has always sought the established rule of "philosopher kings" for the abstract end of a collectivist order, usually justified on the grounds of "the need for equality." They often hide behind esoteric titles like, "progressive," "feminist," "antiwar 'activist'," or "professor of critical theory," to name a few.
Saying one's goal is to "help poor people" is one thing, establishing reeducation programs is altogether different (one need only attend a teacher education program at an American university to sense the reality of such potentials in the leftist's train of thought).
Senator Joseph Leiberman is a liberal. Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, and Michael Moore are leftists. They are very different perspectives. Perhaps it is time we acknowledge the difference.
Whether leftists still comfortably ally themselves with the Democratic Party or attend cocktail parties with Hollywood's best the reality is clear, they are not mere liberals. To sympathize with a brutal Iraqi dictator or Cuban autocrat is not an attribute of liberalism. (There's no way around it, the Left wanted to leave Saddam Hussein in power).
Today's new New Left is merely the old left with the aid of a laptop. They hate free enterprise (which created the laptop). They hate America and its history. They hate any system that will not bow to the schemes of collectivist-statism. They're not "liberals."
The philosophical war occurring in the US at this point in its history is not some cooperative debate on how best to proceed in our constitutional system. It's a civil war between those who would defend free society and those who would impose the values of authoritarian collectivism. This is a battle between right and left, but to imply that it's a battle between "conservatives" and "liberals" would assume that liberals are still active players at all -- they're not.
Monday, October 04, 2004
The "Progressive" Worldview -- Priceless...
I liked Sadaam. I also like the Mullahs of Iran and Kim Jong Il.
Bin Laden, Sadr, and Al-Zawahiri want us out of Iraq and I think we should do what they say. In fact, we could use a radical Islamic dictatorship right here.
Sadaam's police state was alright with me. As for fundamentalist Islam I say, women should be hidden from view, not educated. Death is appropriate for wearing the wrong clothing.
I also think Castro is okay. Share the poverty!
Stalin was trying to make a better world.
100,000,000 dead in famines and purges was worth the socialist dream. I say, bring on the omellete and screw them eggs.
Long live the revolution...!
Long live the state...!
Long live Sadaam Hussein...and,
Long live Islamo-fascism...!
...Oh, did I mention, Bush is Hitler.
I'd really like a latte...
...I'm going backpacking in Peru next month...."
Friday, October 01, 2004
The "Wealth Gap;" The Left's Favorite Non-Issue
Another person (assuming you live in a free and open system) is making $3,000 per month. Maybe they're a business person, teacher, or department manager. Chances are, they made some choices that led them to their current, rather average income, they're likely older and more experienced and at least completed high school if not college. They've also, through time, likely established themselves with a record of responsibility, competence, and reliability.
Now,...you get a 10% raise. You are now earning $1,100 per month -- a hundred dollars more than before. The middle class drone also scored a 10% raise and now makes $3,300. That means they're now getting $300 [!] dollars more than they had previously. The "wealth gap" between you has just increased considerably -- how "unfair!"
What can we now do "as a society" to rectify this "injustice." The Socialist solution is obvious and typical -- punish the more successful person for the decisions they made that led them to their more fortunate economic condition. Take (confiscate) more of their money, or better yet, make it impossible for them to have gained it in the first place. The more they succeed, the more they must be punished (reeducation camps anyone?).
Of course even this isolated scenario fails to account for the fact that each of the two examples described will make other decision that will place them in other jobs and other career paths at other times in their lives. Some of their jobs will likely be of limited long term value, some will be fulfilling. They may decide to take a year off after college and go backpacking in Europe (thus showing up as "unemployed" in government statistics).
For most people, circumstance will be marked by considerable change with age and a reasonably increased learning curve over time that helps them to improve their career options. Even at a low paying service job, if the worker is reasonably efficient, dependable, and honest, they're likely to be bribed into greater responsibility with greater pay or benefits or, just as likely, to take their product (their quality of labor) to a higher bidder (another employer).
The reality behind these scenarios is the reality of an open system which is dynamic and forever offering continued change in a population of diverse circumstance, talents, and goals. For most people over time this means continued advancement, as has been the case in the United States. As this progress occurs, the "wealth gap" often increases. The same process takes place on an international scale (and is pointed to equally as an "injustice" by the Left). The tyrannies and highly regulated bureau-states of the world (that produce little, if anything) are inevitably poor. Typically, the more controlled, the more destitute. Meanwhile, free systems continue to progress and create new wealth and higher standards of living. The economic progress made possible by sound political/economic policy and systems of government, create a "wealth gap" when measured to the static systems of oppression and self-imposed poverty. Some systems actually decline in economic vitality after "choosing" the anti-capitalist road to squalor (i.e. Zimbabwe). Of course an un-free society is typically not chosen but imposed by collectivist / statist demagogues. When highly productive and unproductive people or societies are compared there will always be a wealth gap and any progress made by the already productive will cause the gap to increase.
Another confused demand in the Leftist rant is that, "A living wage" should be paid for non-living wage jobs. A person who stocks shelves should be paid as much as an electrician, teacher, or doctor. In the real world, it would be ridiculous and unaffordable to pay shelf stockers the same wage as electricians which is why, in communist countries, shelves go unstocked and there's a shortage of electricians and doctors. People in an honest economic context are naturally willing to pay more for electricians and doctors.
The inanity of the entire socialist worldview rests in its belief that they can actually outlaw economic reality. The market's "law of supply and demand" is seen as cold and "uncaring" in the socialist fantasy world, but then again, gravity and the speed of light are probably so as well.
We've been told for at least the last hundred years that, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer." Of course, if that were actually true then America by now would be a poor country on par with the failed states that socialism has riddled the planet with -- and 97% of America's "poor" citizens wouldn't own color televisions (as they do). In the real world of the capitalist economy, where many twelve year olds have their own computers and cell phones, (things that didn't even exist thirty years ago) and the great majority perpetually increase their standard of living, the fact that some become very rich is ultimately irrelevant unless envy is your only criterion for analysis. If so many citizens were so "poor" as we are often told, they couldn't afford to purchase the products that make the producers rich. It is not an increasingly poorer population crying out from the bottom of their "wealth gap," that purchases the Microsoft products that make Bill Gates rich.
In a world where almost everyone was a millionaire, the typical Leftist would still decry the "injustice' of the few who were billionaires. If the billionaires made a million more we'd hear of a dreaded "increase in the wealth gap."
We've been conditioned to a spontaneous reaction of shock when hearing that the "gap between rich and poor" has increased. In the Leftist ideologue's eyes, it's "not fair" that improvement and success occur for some while others are moving more slowly. Its like someone demanding that they be allowed to get in front of you so they can merely move slow or stop completely. The socialist is more than happy to clog the traffic of commerce and progress, anything but keeping the lanes open for everyone.
Life has continually improved in those countries that are socially and economically free (an honest appraisal of every condition of modern life bares this out) yet, the conniving charlatans of socialist statism continually whine in horror about a gap in wealth.
"Progressives" hate progress, which is why they so often sympathize with the tyranny that brings conformity, stasis, and destitution. The biggest "gap" of our time is one of basic economic common sense...and the gap between the ears of armchair philosophers -- the jealous closet tyrants of statism.
"The wealth gap has increased" ...so!
Refuse a raise, quit college, quit your job, return to the cave, brag of your concern for "justice" and help drag civilization back into the stone age...then, call yourself a "Progressive" who cares about meaningless things like an increase in the gap between rich and poor.
Michael Moore; Showered and Shaved
If you love Michael Moore, but would like a more polished and academically refined mouthpiece to rally the hate America fad, there's a cleaner and well shaven version out there that can answer every Leftist whiner's dreams.
Those who take interest in political issues and controversy are certainly familiar with the socialist sage of MIT, Noam Chomsky. He has a passionate cult following in both Europe and the US. Anyone who hates America and the free-market in products and ideas will feel comfortable with this popular charlatan of socialist polemic. For those unfamiliar with him, there is plenty of information available supporting him and his ideals, and even a few decent rebuttals as well.
Although Chomsky is employed as a professor of Linguistics, he's one of those unique individuals who obtain considerable income from "work" as a nonstop commentator on the evils of America's existence. Like Michael Moore, he's a pro at slick mind-editing and slippery delivery of word and phrase. He would have you believe he's merely an objective open-minded observer who has weighed the evidence after freeing himself from "the system's propaganda." In every instance and issue, Chomsky's evidence always seems to come to the same conclusion however, and -- surprise -- it's the usual stale rant on the virtues of socialism and the horrors of free-market America. Although he does have the marked ability to spout off a one-sided list of stealth Leftist dogma with a cirtain finesse, the essence of his appraisal is ultimately little different than what one finds daily in college classrooms across America and Europe. For such banal tirades he's often called a genius. As for his expressed opinions regarding America's worth, anyone can say what he has said without need of particular brilliance or insight (it takes no genius to arrive at skewed conclusions). It's become a rather cliché stance among Leftists to assume that anyone who articulates their own ideals is somehow a "genius." In the case of Chomsky, this admiration often accompanies the glazed stare one usually finds in members of religious cults.
Chomsky, like John Kerry, is considered to be a champion of the poor, "oppressed," and those lowly blue-collar underlings who may see things in simpler terms. The non-enlightened among us may not be as smart as Chomsky and his followers, but hey we can come along for the ride and share the spoils when the "revolution" eventually brings utopian "justice."
Chomsky is convinced that the "corporate media" is well aligned with the forces of one-sided capitalist promotion (wow, there's a new idea!). Ironically, the incestuous world of media, publishing, and academia has made him a best seller of books, tapes, and videos. (We could perhaps use some Chomsky dolls and key chains?) He's required reading in many college classrooms, which certainly helps him get his message out. Of course, along with Michael Moore, he could just rent billboards that say, "I hate America," but then he wouldn't get to travel as much.
Admittedly, Chomsky's smart. He can weave an argument with a style that could be called dry but agile. He would no doubt attribute his success to the "truth" of what he has said, but common sense can fortunately see through intellectual sophistry. As mentioned before, there are several common sense rebuttals to the Chomsky tirade.
One of the best, and most concise overviews of the Chomsky farce can be found in George Shadroui's recent article Dissecting Chomsky and Anti-Americanism.
I won't continue what could be several hours outlining my own reasons for hating this academic snob. Suffice it to say that, if the "working class" is beneath your lofty intellectual nose, you can join the cult of Chomsky and still have time to protest between annual ski trips in Aspen.
If the unkempt manner and appearance of proletarian America bothers you, just pretend Michael Moore has showered and shaved, then follow Chomsky into the elite halls of Leftist elitism. If you're truly skeptical, read between the lines and realize that some people see through his manufactured dissent.