Saturday, May 29, 2010
In my last post I made a reference -- link -- to a speech by Jonah Goldberg regarding the issues he analyzed in his book, "Liberal Fascism."
I read "Liberal Fascism" and it's quite good. (Here's an amazon.com review that I had written after reading to it).
The link to the speech in the previous post warrents repeating -- it's very informative. I'm reposted it here.
'An excellent overview of what "Fascism" and "Socialism" really are and how they've manifested in history.
"Knuckle Dragging Neanderthals...full of hate"
The clowns of leftland have been rather successful in painting a portrait of conservatism as a philosophy of ignorance, greed, and "mean-spiritedness" for quite some time now. They've done this (and continue to) through virtually all organs of communication from journalism, education, and entertainment. In the conjured view of philosopher-king wannabes, those who favour the centralized authority of the state and micromanagement of individuals' lives are enlightened, loving, and caring. Their only motive is that of "making a better world" -- laughable!
One minor tactic used for some time by the left is to have painted left wing talking heads as somehow simply nice folks with professional insight who wish to inform us of the events of our times. This is the fantasy land ideology that successfully morphed John McCain -- previously known as a Republican "maverick" for his moderate to liberal views on a variety of issues -- into a blood-thirsty war-monger. Leftland's propaganda organs also, as many know by now, morphed a pseudo-Marxist community organizer with no real-world job experience into a god-man.
So, who are the pundits and thinkers "on the right" who speak for conservative and libertarian values? Common appraisals would tell us that they are Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck. They may even toss in Bill O'Reilly even though his style is a bit more restrained (or less sarcastic).
I can't say that I don't often agree with the above personalities. I'm well aware that their styles tend to the dramatic and their delivery often clouds the valid positions they often express. Most people have no idea that Ann Coulter's books are full of little-known facts and and Glenn Beck actually unveils some serious issues we should be thinking about backed by some rather insightful historical knowledge. But....the delivery and showmanship often trips up the message and loses the independents and uncommitted center -- Oh well.
What media leftland doesn't want people to know is that there are many genuinely scholarly pundits on the right with a level voice and head. They're the regular reading stock of many conservatives who share the view that the government that governs least governs best and that the U.S. -- warts and all -- is essentially a good country that has often been threatened by horrid ideologies and authoritarian institutions.
Getting to the point; below is a list of some very sober minds on "the right." Common folks who take little interest in daily political debate probably never heard of many of these people. It's in the interest of the left that citizens not be aware of these writer's ideas and that people think that the only spokespersons for conservatism those who rant on talk radio.
If you don't know the work of the following people, you should. You'd gain some insight that isn't readily available in pop/mainstream venues:
Victor Davis Hanson
Johah Goldberg (An excellent informative speech regarding "Liberal Fascism")
These are but a few. But those independents and centrists who have been led to believe that Tea Party activists are racists/fascists or who think that a controversial statement made by a loud talk radio personality and taken out of its actual context are the "conservative viewpoint" may find some interesting ideas among the writings, speeches, or interviews from/with the above mentioned conservative/libertarian personalities.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Redistribute Common Sense...
"Full Of Hate" For Thee But Not For Me
If one hates Obama, big centralized government, bureaucrats, lawyers, and assorted busy bodies and control freaks (if one wishes to be left alone), one is "full of hate." (Don't forget the hateful concept of favoring low taxes and maximizing individual freedom).
If one hates George Bush, businesses, entrepreneurs, and individualists, one is full of ...what exactly? --(besides shit).
The Greece-y Hands of Wealth Envy
Regarding Greece and the greed of the non-wealthy.
...The whole scenario is a preview of what's to come for most "developed" nations who have been lured to the scam that the state "should"/must provide for all issues that confront one in the real world. Just pay for it by stealing it from productive creators of wealth.
Get people fired up about how "unfair" it is that others have more wealth. After said wealth is bled dry, whine and continue to demand the fruits of further theft from victims of theft who have barely been allowed to exist.
It's no coincidence that Greece has such a large communist party membership.
There isn't anything "free" and the products of theft only lasts a limited time. Socialism always leads to an economic graveyard -- idiots.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
The Law of Unintended Consequences - Garbage Disposal in the Mountains of Japan
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Japan is Dying
…That's not to say that other countries, for similar reasons, are not also on the critical list. Demographics and the absurd demands of statist control freaks have made it almost impossible for advanced states to maintain their unique standings as places where the middle class can emerge and flourish in relative comfort and independence.
Like so many other countries (the United States included), Japan is slowly -- has been -- killing itself. One can drive along many roads in a country with limited space and find row upon row of rusted and abandoned factories, stores, and warehouses, carcasses that show witness to the effects of top-heavy state strangulation. Taxes are only a minor issue in the equation. There is virtually nothing one can do to maintain or augment one's livelihood without time and money consuming bureau-encounters. The drones of state stoically push papers, fees, and decrees in your face and at the end of the year they receive the popular windfall "bonus" that rewards mere compliance with dust. If one questions these persistent breaks on dynamism and economic health, the answer (excuse) usually relates to some phony pre-packaged statement that "Japanese culture"…is different from American (or any other) culture. But, what does the typical socialist bureau decree have to do with the tea ceremony, flower arranging, or leaving one's slippers at a home's entryway?
My criticisms of the Japanese bureau state certainly don't mean to imply that the U.S. or other countries are somehow free of the plague of statism. In many ways though, Japan offers a model upon which all dynamic and free societies will find themselves as politicians and the people who love them load political guns and point them at their country's hearts.
Many people are under the impression that Japan is simply an American clone and, looking at it superficially, one could be prodded to think just that but Japan, in many ways, retains the obedient collectivist nature that it had before its war with and defeat by America.
The citizens of Japan are amazingly tolerant of the bureau-oppressiveness around them. Even tiny issues like garbage collection are muddled by a thousand rules and fussy standards. In most towns, such edicts are arranged in complex charts specifying exactly what is to be thrown out and when and in what ceremony-styled manner (i.e. in the town I live in, aerosol cans must be punctured and placed in a separate bag with a large note saying "spray" on it). Of course in any country where classic socialist sentiments dictate that human nature must not be diverse and imperfect, people find it difficult to meet the high standards of their masters – almost no one gets the details of garbage disposal done "correctly." The anti-statist view of "simpler is better" is proven a thousand times over in such mundane ordained chaos. Throwing appliances away becomes incredibly annoying and tedious (one must purchase special stickers, pay special fees, call special departments, or return the product to where it was purchased -- they don't account for used products or ones purchased from a place that no longer exists). This results in what any free-market libertarian would expect. If one travels in the countryside or mountains of Japan they will eventually find a graveyard of dumped appliances no doubt put there by people who simply wanted to throw something away and found it nearly impossible or too annoying to do so. This is not to say that those who do such things are okay for tarnishing the natural landscape but, common sense would tell anyone that such things are bound to occur when the system is so clearly not organized to "serve the customer" in any way. Like any socialist template, the citizens of Japan are encouraged (forced) to "serve society" (i.e. bureaucrats and the government offices they dwell in).
I once tried to dispose of a Toshiba laptop here that I had purchased in America. The screen was toasted and getting rid of it my prefered "option." I had read in the lengthily trash disposal guidelines (perhaps I should have gotten a lawyer?) that one is supposed to take their laptop to a local electronic appliance store and pay some fee, give it to them and be done with it. No, I had purchased it in America and even though it was a Japanese made model they couldn't deal with it. I was told to send it back to the manufacturer. I instead simply dismantled it piece by piece over a couple months time and put the barely recognizable pieces into "non-burnable" weekly trash (a special purchased bag, of course). I'm sure I'm not the only one that has taken the time to accomplish my mundane goal with stealth and wasting of personal time. At least I wasn't littering the sides of mountain roads.
It's amazing to see so many huge SUV's in Japan -- they're everywhere and certainly defy the conjured myth that America is somehow the only place where big enviro-unfriendly toys are indulged in. In America, one occasionally has to have one's car checked for safety and pollution standards. The cost depends on the state one resides in but none even come close to the insane amounts Japanese citizens are forced to pay (even a small "earth-saving" car is typically tagged for a grand every couple of years and this fee doesn't even include annual taxes one must pay on a car as well – this doesn't include the state's take in gasoline taxes, nearly half what the "greedy" oil companies get to make with their average 13% profit margin – they at least give us the oil we want while the state just keeps robbing Yuko to pay Kenji...and some politician's construction buddies).
The clowns of state can't stop human nature (though they keep trying). Some people want a big car…and they act on their desire by – duh – buying a big car. I wonder though how many people don't send their kids to college or send them to a lessor college than they would like because every two years they have to dish out a grand or two to the political class. This car fee is only one example of many fees, taxes, and government roadblocks that channel Japan's wealth into the coffers of the political class instead of feeding a vibrant economy and allowing citizens the personal freedom to spend the fruits of their labor in the diverse ways that free people choose. Allowing for the unfettered creation, sale, and purchase of products and services increases a nation's wealth and overall living standard. Allowing the state a thousand and one ways to seize a nation's productive capacity creates stagnation, apathy, and decline (although it's beyond the scope of this rant, I'd venture to guess that such state imposed decline results in everything from reduced birth rates to increases in crime).
The state in Japan gives -- GIVES! -- me and everyone else with a young child about a hundred bucks a month. I take it of course, knowing that the reasoning behind it is blatantly stupid. No, that doesn't make me a hypocrite. I'll take all the ridiculous nonsense a socialist government throws my way knowing full well that the concepts that drive them are absolute nonsense. And, forfeiting it would certainly gain nothing for anyone either. The new socialist prime minister is going to hike that giveaway to about a hundred and thirty dollars (I know, it's yen). Supposedly, these huge outlays will encourage Japanese citizens to have more children (more accurately, to have children at all). Surprise, the birth rate keeps declining. Instead of handing other people's money to people like myself who may or may not be able to afford the monthly expenses of rearing a child, how about getting rid of the fees, taxes, and roadblocks to economic prosperity that are the default position of leftist governments? No, we have to keep that wealth envy going until a nation litterally eats itself (as has been the case in Greece for quite some time).
There comes a point in a "mixed economy" (as Ayn Rand refers to the socialist / capitalist hybrids we now live in -- always edging closer to the socialist end of the spectrum) when even private institutions begin to act as functionally fixed and sclerotic as their government models. I guess people become so used to the pervasive lack of service in the state sector that the private one simply feels it's an acceptable standard. In a small town coffee shop my wife was once told she couldn't order a simple piece of chocolate cake. It was advertised as a "set" with coffee. It was beyond the owner's rigid clerical thought process that he could simply sell my wife the cake she wanted without the coffee. No, he'd rather make less money and let the cake go to waste – idiot.
Capitalists being the "greedy bastards" that they are want to make money. Idiots haven't a clue about such things. Not because they're less greedy or because they're brimming with altruism, but because the entire system now teaches people to be mere functionaries that obtain a bare minimum result. Excellence or something so philistine as "giving the customer what he or she wants" is beyond even most "capitalist" enterprises. They're all just extensions of the hand of state. Cradle to grave lassitude.
Somewhere along the road to socialist hell citizens have been weaned from the concept of striving for a better life. A high standard of living is of no concern. Of course it will be too late when they find out that a high standard of living and a thriving economy are good things and that nations nosediving into deliberate decline have nothing to look forward to. Japan and America may not become North Korea but we may become Greece. (Anyone who's aware of economics and current events should be aware that being Greece at this time in history is not a good thing).
In America, the threshold has almost been reached where a majority of the population is either directly employed by the state or receives considerable benefits from the state and the spoils from the productive classes. When that threshold is breached a society permanently bounded by passions of wealth envy, dependency, and a blind march to economic suicide becomes firmly established. From there it's all downhill.
Japan's citizens were easy picking for the arrogant politicians of the modern bureau-state. They tend to accept most nonsense that's imposed on them and certainly wouldn't rebel against the hand that they think should feed them. A "tea party" would never happen in Japan (and in America, a media dominated by allegiance to socialist values won't allow such a rebellion to get the traction it needs to roll back an encroaching dystopia either).
Japan is a good country with good people but adopting the tired values so meticulously developed in Europe to guide (subdue) it's citizens is going to destroy it for good. America's fate will likely be little different. Huge tax burdens, unaffordable social schemes that will no longer pay, substandard healthcare, and rationed everything. The fruits of socialist "compassion" and the vegetables of blind followers into history's dust heap.