Category Archives: American Exceptionalism

Independence Day Musings: What makes America special?

America Best Damn Country EverThis seems like it should be an easy question. But then again answering who America broke away from should be an easy question…and yet 26% of the country seems to have problem with that…Still while this should be an easy question, I feel it is one that should be asked and answered. I feel this because some of the really stupid news reports I saw on Sunday nobody seemed to give a reason exactly why this should be an important day for people…other than it’s our independence day, not because there is something actually different about America–and that should be the reason why the 4th of July is special because there is something special about America. But what makes America so special?

Well it sure as hell isn’t our culture…or lack thereof. I don’t think any country is particularly smarter, but in reality no country has so well marketed our lazy, low class, and uneducated into a popular forum as well as America (well, maybe Ancient Rome). Granted the US created jazz, rock’n’roll, turned film from a simple curiosity into an art, has a smattering of great poets and writers, but hey it’s year 234, what did England have on it’s 234th birthday (1300 CE)…they had Beowulf, that’s it, (Chaucer was still 60 years away from publishing anything). So I’ll give America a break that we haven’t yet produced a Shakespeare or Beethoven or Michelangelo. But still our culture of McDonald’s, Reality TV, Britney Spears, Twilight and Twitter is nothing to be really impressed about.

Our politics perhaps. We weren’t the first republic or democracy, but we’ve managed to last longer than most. And we’re certainly more fair than most in history…but that still doesn’t excuse the fact that our politics are beyond screwed up. Yes we are free society where anyone from any class can be successful (but nowadays lots of countries get to claim that). Yes we’re better than everybody else (if you exclude the fact the the Heritage Foundation and the Wallstreet Journal says Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, and Austria are more free–and The Economist lists 17 countries as more democratic ) but we’ll just forget that for the moment…actually no we won’t forget that. If we were to pride ourselves on our government and freedom we would do everything we could to make it to the front of lists like this–and yet we elected a man who is making sure our rating is going down, down, down. Also the corruption, the inefficiency and just general waste is also nothing to brag about. And the insane way we go about trying to find candidates in primaries is beyond insanity.

Our history. Okay so we’re the first country to successfully break away from the mother-country and form a successful republic…to which I would suggest you read the above paragraph. You could argue we’re the only country to free another people and then leave…but then again we haven’t done that in a while and given the way we’ve backstabbed the the Koreans and Vietnamese (who we went to war for and then left them to communist tyrannies), Tibetans and Hungarians (who asked for our help which never came) and coming up soon the Iraqi’s, Afghani’s and Israeli’s (who we are about to betray), our history is not always something to say we are great nation.

Lots of stupid people used to claim that our economic prowess was proof that we are a great nation. First this is stupid; Germany in the 30′s was an economic powerhouse, yet certainly not a great nation. But more relevant our economy isn’t great. And I don’t mean because it’s falling like a rock, I mean because our economic philosophy sucks. And while I believe we will eventually pull out of this, nothing short of a massive and hard hitting pandemic will end our economic woes in the short run. We have a president who believes in Keynesian economics, long since disproved by common sense and history…but what did you expect when you have a country where 36% of people believe socialism is a good thing (of course my favorite part of this poll is that among those who identify themselves as liberals, 60% have a positive view of capitalism and 61% have a positive view of socialism…means that at least 21% clearly don’t understand that the systems are so diametrically opposed you can’t be in favor of both of them…and what is with the 20% of conservatives who have a positive view of socialism, those people clearly don’t understand what conservative means).

So what does make this country special? And make no doubt it is special.It is our ideals. It is always the ideals of a country that make it good or bad, superior or inferior. Now some countries change their ideals over time with the changing mood of the era, but America is different. This is probably because we etched them down on paper and kept that document around and untouched and open to the public once it was adopted. So what are those ideals? Well we all know the words,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

And what makes these so special? How about the idea that life is actually about achieving Happiness…not seeking to appease a god or monarch, or sacrificing your existence to this or that religion, but that life is to be lived for the purpose of achieving Happiness. And that it is only through liberty that these can be achieved. And even though this is so obvious a fact, people still delude themselves with ridiculous beliefs duties to the preposterous belief that life is only to have duty to others, and no other country I know of has adopted this ideal.

Further, while our present administration doesn’t quite get this (probably because I doubt The One’s ability to read anything but a teleprompter) government is formed only to protect these rights, not to give anything. As it says later in that blessed document : “we do in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies”–that is “of the people, and by the people”–it would take a man who had absolutely no respect for the Constitution and saw America only as land to add such evil and illogical shit as the concept that government is “for the people.” The government isn’t there for the people, only to protect their rights from being infringed upon by others…the Founders knew that, and while many have forgotten it, it is still an ideal of this country and always will be.

And the nice thing about ideals is that they have a very long shelf life. Just as the ideals of Athenian democracy (for all of it’s flaws) now rules much of the world, and will likely continue to spread even though Athens itself is no longer the center of the world; just as Roman republican values of law and infrastructure continue to essentially be a guiding light despite a rather well publicized fall of the Roman Empire; just as while the sun now sets daily on the British Empire, Britain still has left a permanent and wonderful mark on the world through the genius of British common law—so shall the United State forever be in charge. The ideals that formed the U.S. in an ungodly hot Philadelphia room in the summer of 1776 and were then refined over the course of the next two hundred years are not likely to die from the world. And that is only part of America that must be preserved at all costs. Whether the United States of America itself is top dog is unimportant, so long as the idea of it remains in charge the world over. Because it is that part that makes America great, not the economic power or the military might, not history, culture or even our process–those are only effects of that great idea, and as long as the idea remains powerful so shall America live forever.

And that is what makes America so special.

Seems a shame we only celebrate that once a year.

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Constitutional Amendments, The Fact We Are A Republic Not a Democracy, And Short-Sighted Fools Who Get Called Conservatives

So Mark Levin has a new book out and is calling for Constitutional Amendments. How do I know this? Well it certainly wasn’t because I look forward to books by Mark Levin—honestly this man endorsed Rick Santorum (enemy of capitalism and raging psychotic extraordinaire) and never missed a chance to hit Romney. Yeah with conservative and sanity credentials like that in the single most important election that he has ever lived through, can’t imagine why I tend not to take Levin too seriously. But given the amount of press it’s getting in conservative circles I thought I would at least take a look at it and peruse it in Barnes and Noble…and it confirmed all my dislike of Levin, reading just a few pages made me sick…on the surface it has some very conservative principles, but when you only scratch the surface it is not very conservative, not very well thought out, and little more than populist tripe.

So first the good.

He wants to make the commerce clause more limited. Excellent. South Dakota v. Dole, the case that expanded the powers of the government under the commerce clause, was a terrible decision and needs

Did we forget we're conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

Did we forget we’re conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

to be overturned…I’ll come back to why it was terrible in a moment.

He wants to reaffirm the 5th Amendment’s right to private property in very clear terms. Again this is partly in response to the terrible Kelo ruling. I have no problem with this.

He has an Amendment that would allow two-thirds of states to overturn any law passed by Congress. I think this is an excellent check on federal power.

And he wants to overturn the 17th Amendment and make it so that state legislatures and only state legislatures pick Senators. Which is in line with the republican virtues the Founders intended and will eliminate a lot of problems. Legislatures tend to pick more reserved members for positions like this so hacks and shills for unions like Boxer, Feinstein, Reid, Obama, Clinton, Kerry, “Dances with Bullshit” Warren (okay really just about any Democrat that has been in the Senate in the last 50 years) and treasonous scum like McCain stand little chance. You’ll get reserved people, thoughtful people, who are not beholden to polls because they don’t run for reelection and not beholden to campaign contributors for the same reason. The people still have a voice in the House and in choosing the representatives who will pick Senators. This will also lead to better Supreme and Federal Court Justices as the Senate will no longer be party hacks. So no Kagan, no Sotomayor, but you would get a Bork.

However I think it is a major mistake to only leave the option of the Senator to be chosen by the state legislature. I would be more than happy to allow states to pick some combination of the legislature and governor or just the legislature…it ensures more gridlock, fewer ideologues and less of a chance of bleeding heart idiots getting in.

Also I would think that you might want to allow the people to have the right of recall of any Senator. Quite frankly I would love the ability to fire Senators rather than hire them.

Okay those are the good things he suggested. Now let’s go through the terrible tings he suggests…

He suggests sunset dates for all legislation and that all federal departments have to be reauthorized every few years. That sounds nice…but when you think any deeper than how it sounds (which someone who backed Santorum, like Levin, is clearly incapable of even conceiving of) it becomes terrible. From 1913-2013 liberals and progressives controlled the White House and both branches of government for 38 of those years, conservative for only 18 of those years…so over 1/3 of that time with liberals in absolute control…and you want to have Congress be responsible to constantly reauthorize the Department of Defense? Mark, are you insane or just stupid? The Constitution exists because we know that there will be times when the public takes a complete and total loss of its senses and elects idiots. An amendment like this gives idiots more power to simply not reinstitute good laws and continue making bad laws (as Obamacare has shown, a law doesn’t need to be around for long to cause harm).

Better idea: A Constitutional Amendment that Congress must list under what clause or Amendment they are using to have the power to enforce such a bill. That covers the Departments of Defense, Justice, State and Treasury. In this same Amendment it states that any law that uses the necessary and proper clause as justification must have a sunset date and can exist for no longer than 5 years. This variation not only limits the powers of government to its expressly listed powers (and the wiggle room the founders intended the necessary and proper clause to be) without giving free reign to unchecked power grabs

Then Levin says we should change the Amendment process to allow states to amend the constitution with only a two-thirds majority instead of the usual three-fourths. Now take a look at it this way, the three-fourths bar has given us such bad amendments as the 16th (income tax), the 17th (allowing the public to choose Senators), the 18th (prohibition) and the unspeakably stupid 26th Amendment (which gives immature brats the right to vote)*. Yeah let’s lower the bar because we’ve had such great Amendments get through the 3/4ths vote. Levin seems to forget that the terrible worded Equal Rights Amendment (nice in theory, terrible in wording and near carte blanche in the powers it granted because of that really bad wording) got 70% of the states to vote for it. Thanks Mark. Only an idiot thinks that conservatives will always be the majority—the pendulum always swings back and forth and the Constitution needs to be there when progressives who want to give the government more power is a wall against them…not as a tool for them to use! Which is exactly what Levin’s proposed Amendment would eventually be.
Term Limits. Term limits sound so nice…get the idiots out, let fresh blood in. Here’s the problem. Liberals can always find an idiot to vote party line, finding good honest conservatives who are sane to actually run for office is much more difficult (conservatives usually have the good sense to stay away). So all you’ll be doing is for the bad legislators, trading one scoundrel for another and while getting rid of competent people like Issa, Ryan, and Cantor and leaving it open for liberals to take their place. Great idea. It’s even dumber when you consider the revoking of the 17th Amendment makes the entire Senate a check against the kind of corruption and party politics that popular election breeds. Yes term limits on an office where one person holds the entire power of that office makes sense, but not in a body of parliament.

SCOTUSOh and then Levin wants to put term limits on the Court and allow Congress to over rule the Court. Might as well just disband the court. Congress and the President already have the power to choose who goes on the court and determine how many justices we have, and Congress and the states can overrule the court via Amendment. That’s a lot of check and balances already. There are two reasons why we have bad Supreme Court Justices. The first is because we have popularly elected idiots in the Senate making decisions, but revoking the 17th already fixes that. The 2nd is that Congress and the President have already misused the power they have…above I mentioned South Dakota v. Dole which expanded powers under the commerce clause—it’s time to talk about that case now—that ruling came down only because the Supreme Court had been intimidated by FDR who threatened to pack the court if they didn’t vote as he wanted. So the current checks and balances against the court led to it being intimidated and bullied, which has left a lasting effect in terms of precedence and behavior…and you want to give the President and Congress more power over the court. Why have a court? Levin is just unhappy with the decisions they make, so am I, but like any populist child he simply lashes out without thinking, attacking the symptom while making the disease worse.

And then there is the amendment limiting spending to 17.5% of GDP. Again sounds really nice. So long as we never have a major national disaster or have to fight a war. Yes, we have a spending problem, but this doesn’t help. And I love how he tags it to a figure like GDP…like a liberal economist can’t play with how that number is reached. Whatever happened to a simple balanced budget amendment which has triggers for emergency spending?

And then there is my favorite the Amendment requiring that to vote you have to have an ID. Again something I’m in support of…when it’s a state issue. My problem is with too much government power, and an Amendment like this gives the federal government even more power. Just because something is a great idea for a state, even a necessary idea for all 50 states, does not mean it should be a federal issue…conservatives understand this…idiots who support socialist Santorum do not. But yeah, let’s give the federal government the right to say what does and does not count as an ID, who gets an ID, what barriers and cannot be put up (if you make it a federal issue you’ve just given the government all these powers…I’m sure they’ll never abuse them).

Also a fun part of this Amendment is banning all electronic voting. Yes because an Amendment, something that should guide the nation for at least 100’s of years should institutionalize luddite fears because of problems in the early stages of a new technology…I hate to tell Mark this, any form of voting is subject to fraud, electronic voting may get more press because it’s new and cool, but seriously, an amendment banning it for all time.

The fact of the matter is that for all Levin’s claims to be a conservative many of these amendments do not properly view the nation as a republic where law is higher than anything…but rather show him to be a populist who thinks democracy and the will of the people (hence the term limits, the neutering of the courts, the rapid amendment of the Constitution, and the rapid dismissal of all law through sunset dates). These make the system less stable and more volatile, yes while conservatives are in control it would give us the power to quickly enforce our policies which are more in line with the ideals of the Founders and reality…but the Founders had the good sense to know that what is right is not always popular…and these same mechanisms could easily be used against America if the will of the people shifted. Just ask yourself, if these Amendments were in place in 1978 when Jimmy Carter was in the White House, Democrats controlled the House and Senate, and had complete control of just shy of 30 states (governors and legislatures), controlling 60% of all legislatures, and all other states were divided (no Republican control of all branches of state government). What could Carter and his ilk have done in 2 years? Would there have even been a nation left for Reagan to save? A populist wants power to change things the way they think it should be, but a real conservative asks the all important question of what could their enemy do with that same power? And horrifyingly most of Levin’s Amendments would give too much power to liberals in the end.

Now as I said there were some good ones.
Private Property
Revoke the 17th Amendment
Commerce Clause
2/3rd’s check by state on federal law

And I listed two above
Require all laws to list what power granted to Congress the law is being passed under, and anything under the necessary and proper clause has a sunset date.
A Balanced Budget Amendment

I would point out two others that help reaffirm this nation as a Republic not a democracy.

The first would be to replace the 26th Amendment. I’m sorry but of all the 18 year olds I have ever met less than 1% of them were qualified to vote. Most of the people I’ve known in their 20’s aren’t qualified to vote. Science is now telling us the brain doesn’t even stop developing until you’re 25 or 26. The voting age needs to be raised not lowered. If you’re under 30 you do not have the mental capacity or experience to vote. If you want to include a clause that anyone who signs up for military service will be granted the right early, I have no problem with that, but your average 18-29 year old is simply too naïve, too stupid, too immature and too easily persuaded by emotion to be allowed to vote.

The 2nd point I would have is something I don’t think the Founders ever really considered but would agree with if it was put to them. At the signing of the Constitution one of the reasons you had to have 13 states and not just one central government, besides centralized power leads to corruption, is that there was simply too much land and too many people for one government to govern it effectively. You could probably fit the entire population of the U.S. at the signing of the Constitution into modern Los Angeles. And that was too big for one government to control. Now communication and travel have made this somewhat easier…but keep in mind that I think the Founders would have agreed that if there is a minimum population a state needs to have, then there should probably be a maximum number it needs to have before it should break up into two states. I’m thinking around 10 million. I’m sorry but after that point it becomes inefficient to run a state (not to mention that populations this high are usually because of a single large city in the state which siphons welfare money out of the non-city areas to fuel welfare programs and guarantee bought votes). Think of it, two New Yorks, the liberal city we know…but far more reddish upstate New York with red electoral votes, and red Senators. California cut into thirds one state blue, one red, one probably purplish.* Texas which is turning a little blue into two safe red states and a blue one. If you work out the math is this only good news for conservatives in terms of Senate and electoral votes (which is also a strong pro republic idea since it makes it harder to swing as many states). And you wouldn’t have to give the federal government power to split states just state you’re not counting population above 10 million for Congressional seats and electoral college votes…most states would simply choose to split if you put that in place once they went over the 10 million mark. Now I’m more just thinking aloud here, and haven’t worked out the details of how such an amendment would have to be worded, and I’m sure someone out there could even convince me that it’s plain insanity, but it’s just a thought.

Now I admit that my suggestions are even less likely of being adopted than Levin’s but that doesn’t change the fact that his are dangerous to the safety of the union in the long run.

*I realize the current population of California is 38 million and technically that would be cut in 4th’s…but even if the highly unlikely occurred and my suggestions passed, it would be after years of the current population drop in California and I think we’ll see California under 30 million within the next decade.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Founding, Government is useless, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid, politics, Problems with the GOP

A Tyranny by any other name would be just as terrible…Why Communism, Fascism and Socialism are really the same thing.

“You can’t call Obama a socialist!”
“You can’t call Obama a communist!”
“You can’t call Obama a fascist!”
“You don’t know what words mean!”
“Obama’s a moderate!”

I’ve heard all of these. All of these statements are incorrect. Why are they are incorrect? Because they like to play fast and loose with the meaning of words. They like to ignore that often in political philosophy there are ideal systems and there are pragmatic realities. That there are actual actions and there is PR. There is where the society is headed and where it is now. And liberals will always use the definition you’re not actually using in context.

For instance if you say that France is socialist, they’ll point out that some industries haven’t been nationalized thus it is not a socialist nation it’s a mixed economy. You’re looking at the fact that France is headed in that direction and the pragmatic reality, they’re looking at is where it is now. If you complain that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a Communist, they’ll point out that she hasn’t endorsed this or that policy from Soviet Russia. You’re looking at where they’re heading and what their ideals are, they only look at the words spoken so far and not making logical connections as to motives. You point out there is no difference between complete Socialism and complete Communism in reality; they’ll start talking about ideals and the utopia to come.

So let’s clear some things up.

There is the Communist Utopia, that place where government dissolves and everybody lives together in a global commune and sings “Kumbaya” and does their best and the shmoo run wild providing all our needs. This place never existed and never will exist on a national or international level. It can work with small groups of people who willingly join, but like pure democracy, it tends to fall apart when the group gets bigger than a couple dozen. This is what liberals claim they mean by socialism, but they forget that this pipe dream requires full and complete ideal Socialism first, even in their own arguments. They just think that the tyrannical government can somehow also be perfectly benevolent and will magically give up power when it has accomplished its goals (in a way no tyrant ever gave up power). And of course this is all silly anyway because history has shown without exception that the system ideal Communism really likes is anarchy, which only ever leads to post-apocalyptic wastelands.

Then there is practical Communism. Soviet Russia, Maoist China, North Korea, Cuba. This has near complete control over all aspects of the economy. They have numerous laws in both social and economic sectors. They are enforced with viciousness by police who basically answer to no one. The governments are controlled by a small cabal of people who have control of everything and while there may be the pretense of elections, the outcome is always the same. Slave labor and murder of citizens is how the populace is kept in its place. And all the time this is called socialism (because this is ideal socialism, although like in ideal communism, there is this foolish belief that it will be a perfect utopia where everyone is happy).

Strangely enough, this is almost identical to another form of government known commonly by a different name, but which saw itself as socialism. Specifically I’m thinking of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), of course known more commonly by the abbreviation, Nazi. But what exactly is the difference? Control of the economy? Check. Control of social order? Check. Slave labor? Check. Death camps. Check. Power of an unelected elite, no rule of law, state sponsored atheism*, no protection of natural rights.

That about sums it up.  But I'm always open to being proven wrong...How in any practical way is communism different from fascism or from what socialist say they want?

That about sums it up. But I’m always open to being proven wrong…How in any practical way is communism different from fascism or from what socialist say they want?

Check, check, check, and check. You know what the difference is between Fascism and Communism? It’s not in the type of government you have, it’s in the propaganda. Communism promises you a utopia where everyone is equal because they have done away with class, and every terrible act is justified to accomplish this greater good. Fascism is completely different in every way. Fascism promises you a utopia where everyone is equal because they have done away with everyone from a different heritage, and every terrible act is justified to accomplish this greater good.

There’s also a type of fascism that replaces race with religion, but most religions don’t work well with this because most religions argue that the human soul is divine, hence it works against fascist/communist principles that glorify only the whole and degrade the individual. In fact I can think of only one traditional religion that denies the divinity of the human soul and requires you to submit absolutely to the will of God.

Now I guess you could have something really bad which uses the racism of fascism and the class warfare of communism, and the religious overtones of Islamofascism, in one…oh wait, we do have that, it’s called North Korea. Otherwise known as the worst place on Earth.

There isn’t any practical difference between Communism in practice, Socialism in theory, and Fascism. They have the same means, the same methods, the same procedures. And they all have the same result. Suffering. Mountains and mountains of suffering. So, yes, calling someone by all three names is correct because all of them boil down to the lack of liberty in the name of the greater good.

‘But, but, but,’ I can hear the leftist whine now, ‘fascism is ultra-right not ultra-left.’ Okay, one, join the 21st century, the single axis right-left thing has been replaced by two and three axis plots of political leanings…and on those communism and fascism are pretty close to each other. The only reason some original idiot put fascism on the right was because they equated the love of country of the right wing America and Britain (which was based on the ideals of the nation) with the love of nation seen in fascism (which was based on things like race and ethnicity, you know the exact opposite of ideals). So let’s chalk up another moment in idiocy for political scientists.

‘But, but, but,’ they whiners will continue…and then they’ll bring up what we typically call socialism, the mixed-economy, and they’ll say that works. And the problem here is that the mixed-economy model covers a whole wide range of economic systems. Let’s start as the most free, the mixed-economy that leans towards capitalism (America in more recent history). Typically this tends to work and create prosperity. Then you moved to a truly mixed economy that are truly using a bit of capitalism and a bit of socialism (Israel, Poland, Mexico, France) depending on a lot of factors such as resources, culture, infrastructure, terrorism and crime issues, etc., this can work decently or not, but it tends not to create truly thriving and flourishing economies. Then you have your socialist leaning mixed economies like Greece (yeah they’re doing well) or India and China (where the media likes to focus on some people doing well, but somehow the socialism is still providing not much prosperity to the masses). But since all of these are called mixed-economies, idiots like to point to the successes of the capitalist leaning ones or the ones that benefit also from strong cultural issues, and use that as a justification for the socialist policies. However, this is silly, because when you line up countries by how economically free they are versus the prosperity there is, has always been, and will always be a strong relationship between economic liberty and prosperity. In fact there is a strong relationship to a lot of things we like (standard of living, life expectancy, low corruption) that comes with more economic freedom.

Yes maybe one country listed as a 67 by the Heritage scale of economic freedom isn’t doing as well as one rated as 57, and maybe one country did better one year even though its numbers dropped a little in that year, but as I said there are a lot of other factors that effect this or that individual nation but overall, every country does better the more economic liberty it has. So when socialists try to tell you about the joys of the mixed economy, point out that actually those benefits are what comes from capitalism not the socialist aspects of the mixed economy.

Now I could get into the fact that only capitalism within a Classically Liberal republic (or as close as we have gotten to it) has been shown to offer real protection of rights and real prosperity, but you’ve seen me do that before…or that cronyism, which is really a form of the socialist mixed economy, creates a lot of problem that capitalism gets blamed for, even though it has nothing to do with capitalism, but those are a bit off topic from my original point.

So back to my first quotes.

“You can’t call Obama a socialist!”
“You can’t call Obama a communist!”
“You can’t call Obama a fascist!”
“You don’t know what words mean!”
“Obama’s a moderate!”

Yes, I do know what those words mean. Now it would take a whole other blog to PROVE that Obama’s attacks on the free market and natural rights qualified him for those appellations, but I trust your common sense to make the prima facie case on your own, because I think it’s fair to say that every action he has taken over the last 5 years has moved us away from the benefits of capitalism and more and more toward the economic nightmares of socialism/communism/fascism. The only real question is, is it intentional or just gross idiocy?

Types of Government

*Yes, the Nazis just like every form of Communism embrace, encourages, and enforces state run atheism.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Atheism, Capitalism, Conservative, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Individualism, People Are Stupid, philosophy, politics, Tyranny

Hope, the American Way, and the “Man of Steel” Trailer


So there appears to be some brouhaha over the newest trailer for Man of Steel.  I have seen complaints about this on no less than 3 different political web sites, which seems a bit much for a trailer, but since they want to make a federal case over it, it should be pointed out that their case is baseless.   Namely the problem seems to be with the following lines:

Lois Lane: What’s the “S” stand for?

Superman: It’s not an “S.”  On my world it means “hope.”

Lois Lane: Here it’s an “S.”  How about Super…ManofSteelsymbol

Now the first complaint is that this is changing the story, where it has always stood for Superman.  This is a silly claim, especially for a comic book movie, which is based on comic books that have been restarted so many times with so many variations D.C. comics actually had to come up with a storyline about multiple universes just to keep all the versions straight (still didn’t help).   When you’re translating a story from one medium to another it’s pure insanity to think everything can remain the same.  Further, yes you might be justifiably angry at those changes…but only if those changes make the story worse.  The new Star Trek stripped all the good out of the original series and created a cheap sci-fi film that would never have gone anywhere without banking on the greatness of the original…so there bitching about the changes is justified.  Conversely, Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy took the Batman story from a more simplistic action/detective comic and created one of the deepest most meaningful films ever made.  Those changes made the story better, and so whining about purity of the original story is just bunk.  Rewriting stories is a part of literature dating back to when Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides rewrote the works of Homer for stage, nobody in their right mind claims they ruined the stories.  Now it may be that whatever changes Nolan and Snyder have made to the Superman myth in this film may make it better or worse, we’ll have to see, but change is not necessarily good or bad on its own.

The other reason this is silly (and keep in mind I’ve never read a Superman comic in my life, and even I could find this out easily) is that in terms of the meaning of the “S” they haven’t really changed anything.  In the original film starring Christopher Reeve, the symbol stood for the House of El, the Kryptonian family that Superman is a part of. But what about the “Hope” thing?  Apparently some on the Right are having knee-jerk reactions to the word and thinking that this is intended to be a reference to Obama.  It’s not.  This actually is taken directly from the 2004 comic Superman: Birthright written by Mark Waid (Obama had only come onto the national scene at the 2004 Democratic convention in July, the comic came out in September which means it was probably written well before July).  I will shortly come back to why using Waid’s work as a basis for this movie is a very, very good thing.

Finally there are of course the constant complaints still going on about the line from the last movie “Find out if he still stands for Truth, Justice, all that stuff” and how the writers shoved away the phrase “the American Way” and the worry that this will still continue in this film (this of course ignores that the line came from Perry White, the most cynical character in the Superman universe who probably would find the phrase silly).

ManofSteelAfter this trailer I especially find this fear also fairly unwarranted.

Why?

Well what is the American Way?

Contrary to what many believe, it has nothing to do with land, or resources, or economic success, or military prowess, or scientific achievement. America is America because of our ideals.  The ideals of liberty, of meritocracy, that anyone can achieve by their own will.  Or as I have stated before:

We’re the nation that fought to create a republic where the haves and have-nots gave equal measure.  We’re the nation that fought our own citizens to free slaves.  We’re the nation that pioneered capitalism and law that gave liberty and opportunity and progress to more people than any other country in history.  We’re the place where “tired, the poor, the huddled masses” come to be energetic, successful and stand on their own feet.  We’re the country that conquers whole nations so that others may be free then tries to rebuild them and then leaves without tribute or power.  If you don’t think we’re the “shining city on the hill” you don’t know history, philosophy or human nature.  We’re not perfect, we’re not always right, but we are consistently the nation that calls for the best in humanity to put down the worst.

The American way isn’t a habit, or a land, or a race, or even the citizens of this particular country, it is an ideal that believes the best in humanity can always rise above the worst in humanity, that the individual left to their own devices will rise to the pinnacle of achievement and not sink to the depth of depravity.

And just in this trailer alone, we see that way, that ideal.

We see it in Jor-El’s statement

What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended?  What if a child aspired to something greater?

Are you going to tell me a line about how a single individual can rise above the shackles of whatever society throws on them, and achieve because of their own will and merit isn’t at the very heart of America?

Or perhaps Jonathan Kent’s:

I have to believe that you were sent here for a reason.  And even if it takes the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is.

The belief that life has a purpose.  It has been seen in philosophy since Aristotle, but it has never been realized until America.  And this quest to find meaning is a personal one, “you owe it to yourself,” not one laden down with obligations to family, or clan, or religion, or state, or culture, or history or whatever other un-American claptrap other nations have followed.

Or perhaps we should go to first trailer, with another line from Jor-El

You will give the people an ideal to strive towards.  They will race behind you.  They will stumble.  They will fall.  But in time they will join you in the sun—In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.

Shining city on the hill anyone?  The beacon of hope and light that America is supposed to be.

Oh I said “beacon of hope” which brings us back to the symbol and them taking that point from Mark Waid.  This is important that they are drawing form Waid’s version. Why?  I would direct you to an essay written by Waid in the book Superheroes and Philosophy entitled “The Real Truth About Superman and the Rest of Us, Too.” (It’s an excellent essay which you may want to read.)

The essay covers the thought process Waid went through when the head of D.C. asked him a simple question: “Why does Superman do what he does?  Why doesn’t absolute power absolutely corrupt in his case?”  He quickly found the stock answer of, because he’s Superman, to be unsatisfying to the employer who was hiring him to revitalize the franchise.

What follows is an argument that references two of my favorite philosophical beliefs.

The first is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Waid starts from the premise that even though an alien, he has the same needs in the same order as any human.  Physical needs then Safety needs then Emotional Needs then Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsAchievement needs then finally the need for Self Actualization.  (You’ll find that the American beliefs in liberty and capitalism parallel this order of needs quite well).  Now for Superman, the first two, physical and safety need, aren’t an issue at all.  So that leaves emotional, achievement and self actualization needs.  Now he might gain some emotional connections by just being mild mannered Clark Kent, but certainly not achievement or self actualization.  Which then comes to a question of how much does he need to achieve…and this is where Waid turns to another idea, a quote in fact (which I’m hoping against hope will make it into the movie):

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” [Italics on the last part added]

 

It is the realization that Superman is who he is because to do anything less would not lead to his Happiness, and that a central theme of the story has always been that we should all strive to the edge our abilities, as Kal-El does, not just to help others achieve their goals (You will help them accomplish wonders) but to also achieve our own Happiness (you owe it to yourself).

So this is why I’m happy they are pulling from Waid, with the concept of Superman being a symbol of hope, the city on the Hill, because it places the whole story in a very strong and correct footing of spiritual values and Aristotelian virtue based ethics.

Now while Waid, or Marianne Williamson who first wrote this in her book A Return to Love: Reflections on A Course in Miracles, don’t make the connection, it is only through the American Way of personal liberty and personal achievement that we achieve the heights of shining our brightest.  So I feel the need to again point out, that the American Way is being championed in this movie already, whether they say the words or not.

Now, no one has seen this film yet, so it could either suck or make the Dark Knight Rises look like an F film student’s half-hearted attempt…or anything in between. I am merely pointing out that the complaints based only on this trailer are completely unfounded.  This movie appears to appeal to the best in this story, the core ideals that have let it rise above whatever flaws have plagued the various incarnations over the years.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Aristotle, Art, character, Faith, Individualism, Marianne Williamson, Movies, Movies for Conservatives, New Age Movies, Patriotism, philosophy, Popular Culture, virtue

For President’s Day, A Look at What Might Have Been…The Best and Worst Losers

So last year I did a list of the best and worst presidents for President’s day.  Not much has changed in a year.  I still

Currently inhabited by an idiot.

Currently inhabited by an idiot.

won’t rank Obama until he’s not in office (but I’m sure we can guess which end of the spectrum he’s going to end up on). So this year I thought we would look at some of the people who wanted the office but didn’t get it.

 

Gosh...how can I best kill my base and help Romney's?

One day he will be on the list of worst presidents…but not today.

Now most presidents are forgettable at best (at worst the majority are terrible)…and the also-rans are worse for the most part.  I went over the list.  Seldom were there truly horrific candidates who were actually worse than the people they ran against. And only a few times has there been someone of real caliber who lost to a terrible president.  Most of the elections can be classified as a race between Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber.  Most of the 1800’s is just semi-useless politicians for all parties, neither worthy of praise or dishonor, and just because there are bad presidents in the1900’s, the opposition didn’t always run particularly good challengers. Still let’s look at some of the people who could have been president.

I will cover the two groups, the bullets we dodged in not electing truly horrific candidates, and the great candidates we should have elected if we had had any brains.

 

(A quick disclaimer I tried going through all the history books I had and what reliable web resources I could get but the fact of the matter is that history tends to ignore the losers so I wouldn’t call this a definitive list because I’m sure there are issues and character traits I just couldn’t find out about.  It’s partly why the majority of the people on this list are from the last century, I know more about them…the other reason is that as we have gotten more towards a mob based democracy we’ve gotten a more erratic quality of candidate.)

 

Okay so here’s how I’m judging things.

 

 

1. Everyone on this list has not served as President. Yes we dodged a major bullet in getting rid of dim Jimmy Carter the 2nd time but we made the stupid mistake of electing him the first time and conversely another term of Quincy Adams would have been nice, but he served so he doesn’t get on this list.

2.  They must have been better for the greatest that “never were”  (and conversely worse in the “dodged a bullet” crowd) the person who did get elected. Whiny, idiotic, cowardly, and useless RINO John McCain would have been a horrific president, but disturbingly an even worse jackass got in.  Conversely Charles Pickney, Dewitt Clinton, and Rufus King would probably have made excellent presidents but they all lost to good presidents so it doesn’t really count.

3.  They must have actually run in the general election.  Rudy Giuliani and Steven Forbes would have made great Presidents, but they didn’t get the nomination…and I just can’t open myself up to looking at all the possible primary and convention candidates, it was hard enough doing the research I had to do.

4.  They have to have stood at least a semi-serious shot. I’m not going to count third parties that never stood a chance.  Yes Ron Paul would have let the world fall to evil and Ralph Nader would have been dumber and more corrupt than even Obama but we were never in any real danger.

 

 

So let’s start with the worst presidents that never were, the “Dear we Dogde A Bullet Candidate.”

 

WALLACE4. Strom Thurmond and George Wallace. Different elections but they’re terrible for similar Strom Thurmondreasons, namely that they were racist pieces of offal.  Yeah I know it was a bit of a stretch that these idiots could win, but they did get further than they should have.  The unlikelihood of them actually getting elected is why they’re this far down, despite how bad their presidencies would have been.  Want to wonder what having racist idiots who believe in using big government to further their beliefs that people should be divided against so as to gain even more power for themselves…actually that’s not to hard to imagine what their presidencies would have looked like.  (O ring any bells?)

 

3. Walter Mondale.

“My opponent will raise your taxes. So will I.”

A special kind of stupid.

A special kind of stupid.

Walter you sweet talker, be still my heart with your soft words.

Now, Mondale, VP for anti-Semitic trash, ran on a platform in 1984 of trying to destroy what recovery had started after his former boss, Jimmy “There’s never been an Islamist terrorist I didn’t support” Carter had done a swell job of destroying the economy. Remember that economic growth in the 90’s?…that was to a great degree because of the Foundation Reagan created.  You would have had none of that if Mondale had been President.  Remember that Soviet Union collapse?…would have eventually happened just not for several years more and unknown world destruction.

 

2.  Al Gore.

Think of Obama’s economics mixed with having issued an unconditional surrender on September 11th…that he would

Al Gore, wouldn't sell to Beck because he didn't agree with his values...did sell to jihadists hellbent on the destruction of America.

Al Gore, wouldn’t sell to Beck because he didn’t agree with his values…did sell to jihadists hellbent on the destruction of America.

have sold the country to the Islamists…like he’s done with other things.  Al Gore is so abhorrently immoral and unfit for dealing with foreign policy issues if he had responded by doing something other than attempting full isolationism after 9/11 (only to find that would have done nothing to stop the attacks) is he would have responded with the usual liberal overkill of striking everything he can…idiot probably would have launched nukes before we even knew who to blame.  Yes I am saying there is a good chance Gore could have started WWIII, I really think he’s that dumb.

 

1.  Aaron Burr. The man was one vote away from being president.  He later was tried (and acquitted) of attempting a coup against the US government. He may have been

Worthless litte piece of scum.  I wish Hamilton had had better aim.

Worthless litte piece of scum. I wish Hamilton had had better aim.

acquitted because of weak evidence, but no one in their right mind thinks this man wasn’t up to something.  And anyone who is willing to commit treason against the US, kill Alexander Hamilton, and be someone so despicable that Hamilton would vote for his arch-nemesis Jefferson over Hamilton…yeah, that man would probably have ended the union in its early days.

 

 

Dishonorable mentions: Bob Dole (RINO), William Jennings Bryan (Populist hack), anyone running against Lincoln who would have kicked the can down the road even further, John McCain (yeah the other guy is slightly worse, but let’s be honest here RINO McCain would have done everything Barry did but the GOP would get the blame).

 

Okay so that’s the pack of losers we should be glad didn’t get what they wanted…now onto the men we should weep that didn’t get.

 

The original Republican.

The original Republican.

4. John C. Fremont.  1856.  The first Republican candidate to run for President. None of Lincoln’s ambivalence about freeing the slaves (also none of Lincoln’s manic-depression).  Yeah he would have also caused a Civil War (and 4 years earlier) but I can’t believe he would have done things as ineptly as Lincoln (I know it’s an anathema to say such a thing but Lincoln couldn’t pick a general to save his life, couldn’t keep his cabinet or party under control, had no understanding of economics.  It’s truly a miracle we survived.)  I’ve looked over this and in a lot of ways I feel a Fremont presidency (in great part to circumstance out of his control) would have resulted in a Civil War that was significantly shorter, and probably less disastrous for the US.

 

3. Wendell Willkie.  1940. A pro-business, anti-isolationist, anti-New Deal candidate.  IWendell Willkie don’t agree with everything he believed in, but he was running against FDR, the man who sent a boat filled with Jews BACK to Germany to suffer and die.  Minor difference with Willkie compared to evil incarnate…oh, tough call.  A lot of Willkie support was hurt by the isolationist faction of the GOP (sounds vaguely familiar). To top it off the character in the great film State of the Union was loosely based on Willkie, which just make me like him more.

What would a Willkie presidency have looked like?  Well we still would have entered the war. He probably would have supported defeating the Communists in China after WWII ended (the benefits of that should be obvious) and hey there’s a fair possibility that he would have backed Patton’s idea to arm the Germans and head back in to take out Stalin (so the possibility that there would be no Communist or Fascist government after WWII). He was in favor of a world government body, but as president he probably wouldn’t have let it become from its inception the den of evil that it was and is.  And that’s just on the foreign front. He would likely have dismantled much, if not all of the New Deal apparatus which would mean that we would have been in an even stronger economic position before we entered WWII and a significantly stronger position after it.   Oh and he probably would have pushed civil rights even earlier than we did and we wouldn’t have had to wait for the Republicans in the 1950’s and 1960’s to do it (although Dems would probably still have taken the credit).

Would he have been conservative for my tastes on an objective level?  No.  But he was certainly more conservative than FDR and would have made a much better president.

 Barry Goldwater

2.  Barry Goldwater.  It should be obvious all the benefits here.  Better economy.  No War on Poverty, no slow down of the growth of the middle class, no welfare and Medicaid and Medicare driving us to debt.  A capitalist Vietnam.  A Soviet Union and China weakened even earlier.  Oh and to top it all off, no Nixon.  There are no downsides here.

 

Romney America1. Mitt Romney.  This should be obvious.  We have a treasonous, idiotic, tyrannical jackass in the office right now who dares to say we should protect our diplomats and intelligence officers overseas when he is the one who left them to die.  We are hurtling toward major economic problems and the growth of tyranny abroad.  Romney would have brought about an economic transformation that would have made Reagan look weak.  He would have held the line on tyrants overseas and driven back those who would impose their will by force. The nation and the world would have been a better place with Romney, it will be a worse place with Barry. I don’t think there has ever been a clearer choice in this nation where the people made the wrong choice. This will be viewed by history as one of the dumbest moments in history. And it pisses me off that those of us who aren’t idiots have to live through the incredibly bad choices of those of us who are.

 

Honorable mentions…no.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Conservative, Economics, Goldwater, GOP, Mitt Romney, Obama, Ronald Reagan

No matter how destructive Obama is, I see no reason to give up on America

So it becomes very clear from the State of the Union either due to incredible arrogance and idiocy or just vile evil Obama and his ilk are out to destroy this nation.  Yeah let’s raise the minimum wage, that only ever lowers employment and hurts the economy.  Let’s spend more and tax more, because that always works.  Let’s pay only lip service to the problems abroad.  We’ve got problems in education let’s throw money at it, that always works.  Even his best example, the return on the Human Genome Project, has a bizarrely overblown number attached to it…and oh, that’s right, the private sector did better on spending and results in their concurrent research.  And gun control I’m sure that will make us all safer. Either intentionally or through idiocy, it really doesn’t matter,  Obama’s plans seem to be putting us on a one way course for economic ruin, the expansion of tyranny the world over, and the contraction of freedom and prosperity everywhere.

Flag of the United StatesSome people, clearly not the masses of idiotic liberals, but some rational people are worried about this. There is a lot of depression out there lately.  From the people who see a coming economic collapse (but the stock market is really high…yeah because a lot of long term investors just got out and this bubble is being fuelled by day traders and emotional buyers…you know just like it does before every crash…when you look at the fundamentals we’re in for some pretty bleak moments) to those who are seeing a revolution coming (not a desirable outcome by any stretch of the imagination but certainly one that will happen if this idiot were to actually make the move against private ownership of guns he seems to be suggesting).  Any honest look for the long term outlook of this nation is worrisome. And many are worried.

 

But I’m not.

I know liberals, and probably libertarians as well, have a problem with this, but there is something truly special about this nation.

This nation has been knocked down over and over again.  This nation has not just beat but defied odds, defied likelihood, defied certain destruction.  We have come so close to death so many times, and each time like a Phoenix risen from the mess we have created.

 “Some people believe that our Declaration and Constitution were written by very brilliant men, others believe that they were divinely inspired when they wrote it—I believe it was a bit of both.”

Go on name for me one other time there were as many great minds in one place?

Go on name for me one other time there were as many great minds in one place?

The documents were written by men, albeit brilliant men, but men nonetheless, who were capable of error and thus you could not claim absolute perfection in their documents…but also the beliefs and ideas in these documents represented an immeasurable leap forward in human society and that at some level the hand of God was present.  Name for me a time when you would have an Adams, a Jefferson, a Washington, a Franklin all in the same room together.  History provides few men of such insight, intelligence, and character (not that they were perfect, but they were certainly ahead of their time by massive steps); occasionally you get two of them together at the same time; at very special moments you get three together at once…at both the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention you had whole rooms of these men.  Please tell me of another time in history when you had such a grouping (and to see it happen twice in one generation).  To a group of men who believed in ideals of right and true being more important than their personal fortunes (a good portion of the signers of the Declaration went broke, many were tortured all of them suffered for signing that document…not one recanted their signature.)  How do you not see the hand of providence in that?

If more divinely inspired words have been written, I do not know about them.

How do you not see it in:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Please tell me which passage of the Tanakh, the New Testament, the teaching of Buddha, the Gita, the Tao or any other holy book surpasses that passage in its understanding of the relationship between God and man (that we are given free will and liberty by our creator with the expectation that we will use them), that understands the teleology, the purpose, the end of life (to achieve Happiness), and how men should treat one another (not violating the rights of others, but setting up a society to protect them from those that do seek to violate those rights).  The heart of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics answered correctly in one sentence.  And you don’t think God had anything to do with that?  Do you see the hand of God in anything?

And then you look at our history.  Time and time again, if Vegas odds makers had existed from the 1750’s to today, you would have bet against the survival of the U.S. over and over again.  Yet somehow we’re still here.  The history of America is often the history of convenient accidents.  Convenient in that reinforcements were mistakenly diverted from helping General Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga, letting the Americans win when they most needed a win.  Convenient that when Lee, a general of unquestionable skill, was a week’s march from capturing D.C. he has the 3 dumbest days of his life at a little town in Pennsylvania.  Convenient that all of our carriers were out of harbor on December 6.  Convenient that we found the Japanese Navy almost by chance at Midway.  To name a few, there are so many others.  In science, in economics, in politics, we have been blessed with having the right people in the right place in the right time over and over again.  You can believe in chance, I don’t.

I don’t believe in chance and I don’t believe we get all these lucky breaks just because…

We make mistakes, and dear God have we made some abhorrent ones.   Liberals love to point out all the evil things we have done, ignoring that at anytime in history, we didn’t even rank in anything but the top third of what the rest of the world was doing at that time.  Oh and I know pointing that out is wrong, because that’s their culture.  Oh that’s right anyone else does something worse than America and it’s racist to hold them to the same standard…but we have to hold America to the standard of perfection (which, ironically, shows that even liberals believe in American Exceptionalism, otherwise why hold it and it alone to such a standard).  We’re not perfect, no one is.  But we have always been the beacon that sings to the best in humanity, not the example that speaks to the worst.

We’re the nation that fought to create a republic where the haves and have nots gave equal measure.  We’re the nation that fought our own citizens to free slaves.  We’re the nation that pioneered capitalism and law that gave liberty and opportunity and progress to more people than any other country in history.  We’re the place where “tired, the poor, the huddled masses” come to be energetic, successful and stand on their own feet.  We’re the country that conquers whole nations so that others may be free then tries to rebuild them and then leaves without tribute or power.  If you don’t think we’re the “shinning city on the hill” you don’t know history, philosophy or human nature.  We’re not perfect, we’re not always right, but we are consistently the nation that calls for the best in humanity to put down the worst.

Too often I think people forget that this is a nation where people still regularly risk their life to get to.  America-or-die isn’t a slogan it’s a fact of existence.  Whether you were born here or came here you should take more than just a day out of every year to remember what a blessing this country is.  Of course there are some ignorant jackasses out there, who don’t seem to understand this blessing who say “I didn’t sign up for a country that’s the rest of the world’s police, I just happened to be born into it.”

And these ideas are important.  This is a nation founded on the purest, most noble ideas yet to grace the face of the Earth and even though we waver we always come back to them.  And that is why I think we see the hand of Providence, yeah I said it, in our history.  This country should have fallen by now, but it hasn’t and one or two times you could put it up to the American nature of not giving up and our ingenuity.  But time and time again everything has lined up just right for us, in ways I can’t see for any other nation in modern history.

For some reason we have been pulled back from the brink, and I believe it is because of the truth and righteousness of our ideals. And we haven’t lived up to them yet.  We haven’t spread them over the world.  We haven’t finished being the shinning city on the hill.  So I can’t see why we would have been pulled back all those other times and simply let go this time.

I have faith that some higher power has a purpose for America that has still yet to be completed, so I am not worried too much over the next few years.  Yes I know they will be terrible, but I know that something better is on the other side.  That what I fight for and strive for is not in vain and that I will not witness the end of this nation and its ideals, but rather see them rise again, stronger, brighter, more just and right than they ever have before.

And yes you can whine about how I’m believing in faith, and God, and something you don’t believe in.  But odds are you’re one of the people I’m fighting against, so I don’t really care for anything you have to say about my faith.

And for those of you who do have faith but are having a hard time to have hope…do you really believe that the ideal this nation stands for would be abandoned after all this time?  I doubt it.

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Reflections on the Election: Why I was wrong, Why Obama Won, and what the GOP needs to do. Part III

It’s been a month since the election…and as you can tell from the limited number of posts, I’m still kind of depressed Obama won, America Lostabout this (and overworked at work, but that’s another story).  I’m still shell-shocked that people could be that stupid—even I, who believe the masses are idiots, can’t fully comprehend that people are so fucking stupid as to vote in a tyrant not once but twice.  It baffles the mind.  If you care about only what you can get you should have voted for the guy who would guarantee a higher chance at raises and better jobs: Romney.  If you cared about other people you should have cared about the guy who would have done the most to improve the middle class: Mitt.  If you care about character it would be the guy who personally does charity whenever he can: Willard Mitt Romney. Intelligence, that would be the guy who got his J.D. and MBA in the same 4 years: The Governor.  Experience, class, vision, leadership, surrounding himself with qualified people.  On every criteria you can come up with it’s a no brainer, but, but, but…

People are really fucking short sighted, envious and dumb.

But are we just powerless to do anything? Are we at the mercy of party leadership to pull us out of this tailspin the country has voted itself in (dear god that’s a depressing thought)?  Luckily no.  Unfortunately I’m not promising anything easy either.

So what can we as individuals do?

Well first I would like to turn back to the exit polls.  Now looking at ethnicity or gender or even age is pointless because there is nothing we can do to change that.   People are what they are.  (Yes, age changes, but it’s not like we have any actual control over it).

2012 exit polls education

Now education can change (complete shocker that Obama the no intelligence/no high school bracket and the no real world experience/postgraduate bracket) but unless you’re a parent most of us can’t really affect people’s education.  If you are a parent, I might suggest that you state you’re not paying for any kind of college education unless they get a degree in the Math/Science area and thus have marketable skills (if they want to get a dual major and have a liberal art as well, well you can negotiate) but parents do not pay for Sociology degrees they are worthless and breed dumb liberals.

2012 exit polls single

Next we turn to gender and marriage status.  A lot of to do was made about women in this election, but as you see it wasn’t really women so much as single women.  And I have seen conservative writers talk about how the single women pose a threat to liberty as they seem to look to the government for the security nets…but it if you look at the data single men are also pretty dumb. The conclusion I’m drawing here isn’t that women are liberal, it’s that single people on the whole are liberal and need to be stopped.  (Yes, I as a bachelor, may not want to throw stones in a glass house, but I’m not as dumb as my fellow singles who voted for Barry…but if you are or know any single, intelligent, conservative, spiritually open women in the Phoenix area…well…my email address is posted…).  Now does this mean we should all go out and get married without standards or relationships, that marriage is an end unto itself. No.  One of the reasons we have a high divorce rate is that people don’t take the time to plan and make sure they’re making a right choice.  So really unless you want to start playing matchmaker which some of us are more qualified than others (this would certainly not be a skill of mine).

2012 exit polls religion

And then we see that Obama did well with the non-religious crowd* and Romney did well with the religious crowd.  Let me put these last two points in context. It doesn’t have as much to do with faith or companionship.  For a lot of people it is an issue of safety.  If you have a spouse, if you have an active church community you have someone you know you can fall back on if things go bad, if you don’t have these things, then the psychology of most people is to seek something you can fall back on: the government.  Now I would rather people evolve and see themselves as their fallback (or at least maybe God) but if we’re going to get there we first have to have an economic system that allows people to take care of themselves (i.e. we need to get rid of liberals and progressives at every level).

So what does this have to do with religion?  Well it means that if you’re a member of a church you need to encourage, push for, and if necessary demand, that your church be more active in the community—charity, public works and improvement projects, fundraisers not for the church but those honestly in need. This should have nothing to do with demonization or dogma.  Only about helping the community and strengthening the bonds of community.

If you’re not in a church, say a New Ager, it couldn’t hurt to find a non-pushy church out there and see if they would like help with those charity projects.

If you’re in a church that does do these kinds of charity projects then see if you can invite people you know to help, don’t proselytize, don’t make it about belief, only about helping others.  (Also may I suggest making your charity functions known to the local middle and high schools—students, especially college bound students, are more and more looking for community service on their resumes—and let them know their parents are invited as well).

This has nothing to do with dogma, it has to with a core tenet in every religion I can think of, charity, community, compassion.

Show people that government isn’t the only source that they can fall back on.  Look at it this way, the way people talk about others often shows how they themselves think.  I call it the “I am the world” fallacy, and I’m guilty of it myself sometimes, we all are.  We tend to make assumptions about the way people act based on our own habits and thoughts.  Conservatives naturally tend to think that the government isn’t needed because we ourselves are more generous and just assume everybody does the right thing.  Liberals assume others are avaricious, cruel, irrationally selfish, and miserly not because they’re saints and know everyone else is stingy, but because they themselves are not compassionate at their heart—they fear they will have no one to fall back on because in their heart of heart they know they won’t help other either.  (Liberals give to charity less than conservatives and they volunteer a hell of a lot less than conservatives, see Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks).

But if we get people who might not usually attend church to come to charity events we can show them that people do care for people and that we don’t need government to care for us…and maybe we can even show them there is personal joy in compassion and charity.  Trust me, a person who does charity out of the joy it brings them never votes liberal, liberals give out of guilt not joy.

So get your church (or any other group that has the resources) involved in the community (if you’re not doing at least 3 events a month, it’s not enough), invite people to come just for the charity aspect, and watch their belief that the government is the only one looking out for them disappear (also with more human contact and larger social circles we might fix that single problem listed above).

Also this process will help destroy that one thing that Obama did well in “He cares about people like me.”

2012 exit polls key points

Charity and a strong community teach us that we are capable of caring for people who aren’t like ourselves.

But that can’t be all we have to do.  Liberals have done a great job with controlling the media.  News, movies, TV shows, you name it there are liberal messages.  But we cannot give in on this.

So there are a few things we can do.  The first is that we can try to pull their funding.  Here at the Conservative New Ager we’re going after that Goebbels style propaganda wing MSNBC.  We encourage people to write to their advertisers and pull their ads.  It works.  If a company just gets a hundred letters asking them to make sure the shows they are advertising on are only reporting the truth, they will either pull the ads or they will use the power their money buys them to get results.  We have already heard from P&G and UPS.

The next thing is that we need to expose people to the truth.  I would recommend everyone use all the social media they have to expose their friends to the truth.  Now you don’t have to repost a thousand articles every day, but don’t be afraid to share something for fear of losing a friend.  For everyone you lose you’ll likely help push a two or three that much closer to the truth.  (And if you’re like me you don’t have many liberal friends left anyway, it’s the middle we’re trying to win, not the ones beyond hope).

Also if you get a real newspaper (there aren’t many left: The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times…if it uses AP articles don’t bother) take it to work and leave it in the break room every day.  It can only help expose people to the truth.

But on that note we need to share the media that is conservative we need to focus on the stuff that isn’t the news and isn’t explicitly political.  Liberals have tried to infect every book, every movie, every show with liberal messages and just habituate people into thinking in liberal terms.  The problem is that most good literature is more conservative in its themes.  Self sufficiency, rational thought, ethical behavior, connection to God.  These subtle themes are in literature everywhere, even when it’s written by artists who are liberal themselves.  George Orwell was a socialist, but 1984 and Animal Farm are scathing critiques of the very state Orwell would likely have supported.   Given time, the truth will out, as a conservative writer once put it. What conservatives make the mistake of doing is trying to give people Atlas Shrugged and Ann Coulter and Thomas Sowell.  It doesn’t matter that we enjoy those, those books only preach to the choir.  If someone isn’t open to those ideas, if they’ve been indoctrinated to think conservatives are evil, Rand was psychotic, Coulter is vicious and Sowell is an Uncle Tom, it doesn’t matter if the facts are there, their emotional reaction to those works will prevent them from seeing the facts.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t share books and TV shows with friends, family, acquaintances. I’m sure we know lots of people who are not conservative but if they were introduced to those ideas the logic and reason of it would come out.  That is why I am putting together a list of books, movies and TV shows that depict the conservative themes and that we agree with, without being explicitly conservative.   The Individual, reason, ethical behavior, long term thinking, the truth.  These are things that bring people close to conservatism.  I would take a look at this list (and keep coming back as I hope to keep adding to it).  Lend these works out to people who you think might be open to them.  Give them as gifts for any holiday and any excuse you can.  And then discuss them with the person after they’ve read or watched it (never give out something you’re not familiar with already!  You don’t want to get caught where they make some silly liberal interpretation and don’t have a comeback for it).  It seems silly but ideas have power, and once they’re in a person’s mind they spread not just to affecting the other ideas of that mind but in the way they behave to others and the way they influence the ideas of others.  And if they get more conservative in their thoughts introduce them to the more explicitly conservative works…but don’t start with those, they’ll just shut people down.

Finally it’s the old stand-bys.  Write a blog or letters to editors.  Donate to organizations that promote your beliefs (right now I would focus on Heritage and Freedomwork because they do not seem overly obsessed with the social issues which are dragging this party down and giving the left too many easy targets), volunteer for campaigns, get involved.  We have four years where we can do next to nothing to save the economy or well being of our allies across the sea.  Nothing.  We have this idiot tyrant in charge and he will wreck the place as much as he can through a combination of stupidity and malice.  Focusing too much on that will be somewhat fruitless for us as individuals—but as individuals we do have the power to influence those around us and help bring them to our side.

*Also Obama did exceedingly well with people who aren’t not affiliated with any religion but are spiritual  you know, the kind of people the Republicans and Reincarnation was written specifically for.  If you know some of these people, could it hurt to give them a copy?

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Reflections on the Election: Why I was wrong, Why Obama Won, and what the GOP needs to do. Part I

Okay so I needed to reflect on the election for some time before I wrote anything meaningful on this.  Quick statements just to fill air time have over the past couple of weeks mainly been ignorant, self-serving or just stupid.

Why I was wrong

I was wrong because I made the incorrect assumption to trust that polls like Rasmussen would continue to be the most accurate.
I was wrong because I made the incorrect assumption to trust equally respected polls that showed huge Republican enthusiasm which would usually mean that the Rasmussen polls were off in favor of Republicans.

I was wrong because I simply assumed PPP polls would continue to hack partisan polls that were never all that close.

I was wrong because I assumed Democratic cheating wouldn’t be as effective as it was.
I was wrong because I, even I who have a very low opinion of people, couldn’t possibly conceive of people being so fucking dumb that they would reelect this idiotic wanna-be-despot.  I really couldn’t believe America could be that dumb.

Why We Lost

First off, between counties that had over 100% turnout, military ballots being sent out at wrong times and then going missing, programmers saying every electronic machine was rigged, and buses of immigrants showing up to vote out of the blue, the fact is that there appears to be a heavy amount of cheating going on by the Democratic party.  I’d say I’m shocked but I’m not.  This is what democrats do.  Now is every accusation of cheating real, doubt it, and fewer still are provable, but you’re living in la-la land if you think elections have been on the up and up when it comes to Democratic votes…it’s how they’ve won elections ever since Joe Kennedy bought the election back in 1960.

But I was expecting cheating and fraud…which means either the Democrats have gotten even better at it, or, as I’m more afraid is the truth, people were kind of dumb on November 6th.  The fact that cheating was enough to sway the election means that we have problems because this shouldn’t have even been close, this should have been a landslide against Obama and yet it wasn’t.  So that can’t be the only problem.  What else went wrong?

We can also blame the media.  Almost every reporter on the Romney trail and most of the major outlets were trying to find gaffes and slip ups.  They were actively trying to portray him in the worst possible light.  And they were conveniently ignoring everything about Obama and his record, including, low and behold that Obama let 4 Americans die through his depraved indifference because he thought going in might be bad for his reelection.  But we can’t lay full blame on the media, because as annoying and biased as they are, there’s Drudge, there’s FOXNews, there’s Breitbart and the Blaze and Twitter and NewsBusted and the Washington Times and the Heritage Foundation and a 101 other sources.  The information was there if people just listened.

Well apparently the ground game was abysmal from the GOP and great from Obama’s side.  Now part of this is that Obama used his obscene huge data mine to play his usual game of divisive politics (more on this later) Part of the problem is also that Romney’s system  which was supposed to help make sure all GOP voters got to the polls, ORCA, failed on election day—hmmm, an online system to help conservatives failed…I’m going to offer 50/50 odds that the terrorists known as Anonymous might have had something to with this.  But whether they did or not, I have to ask where was the ground game for the GOP House, for the GOP Senate, from local state parties?  As usual the entire party disappoints me.  We had a terrible ground game and did not do enough to get people to the polls.

Now many idiots (Santorum, Gingrich, Levin, etc) want to blame Romney.  This is beyond wrong because Romney didn’t do anything wrong.  As Ann Coulter points out Romney wasn’t the problem.  Romney was a conservative’s conservative.  Now I think Romney was not as much of a fighter as he could have been…but I don’t think that would have made a difference because every time he tried to hit the worthless jackass hard the media spun it as Romney was a terrible person…so is it Romney wasn’t a fighter or is it that Romney just knew to avoid a fight he couldn’t win?

But even with all of that why did we lose?  Well because Romney was right.  There is a portion of this country that thinks they’re entitled to shit and Obama targeted specific groups and pandering to them by giving them gifts.

Oh before you dare complain about that statement, let’s look at a few facts.

According to the exit polls here are the groups Obama did really well with (I’m defining really as over 10%) Women, those under 30, non-white voters, those with a high school diploma or less (he was +29 with those with no diploma), the LGBT crowd, those people who never get out of academia known as the post graduate crowd, those making under 50K, people who do not go to church very often.

Hmmm let’s look at those groups again.

Women…pandered to with the fake war on women and Fluke’s endlessly whining.

Under 30…pandered to with promises of more college money (by the way you do know he’s cutting Pell grants right?)

Those without education and making less than 50K pandered to food stamps and welfare and a whole lot of other entitlements.  As Dennis Miller points out you can make close to 45K just by living off the dole these days.

And those with Post Graduate degrees (already being fairly clueless of how the real world works) he pandered to with promises of more teaching jobs.

The LGBT crowd with promises of gay marriage (then turned around and said it wouldn’t be a priority for him).

And the largest group with the non Caucasian crowd, Latinos, he gave that Dream Act amnesty with the implication more was on the way.

Of course the difference between Obama and Santa is that, worst case, Santa will give you a piece of coal, whereas Barry is not only not going to give anyone what they promised, but he’s going to outlaw coal as well.

Yes how terrible of Romney to point out that that Obama’s giving out things and making promises to specific groups was giving out things and making promises to specific groups.  How dare he pay attention to the man behind the curtain and not just fall in line with the typical intentional ignorance of what is going on?

Obama divided people into groups, played on the most base impulses and fears of any individual and treated them as he sees them, only as groups.  And this worked for him because education, media and the government have treated people only as groups for years.  And we lost because of that.
Now the knee jerk reaction might be to start playing their game of identify politics, as some have suggested.  But this is a losing strategy.  The only way to win identify politics, to say that this group values things that other group don’t, is Obama’s way to give out gifts.  We are conservatives, we believe in ideas, in values and in individuals, and to treat people as only members of groups is to betray our values and forget everything that makes America, America.  Now there are things we need to do, and I’m going to go into more detail on that soon, but we must realize we lost because for years they have been playing this game of divisiveness and hatred and that we haven’t confronted it head on is the reason we lost.

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Why we fight, or, I will not shrug

“Mr. Rearden,” said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, “if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders-what would you tell him to do?”
“I . . . don’t know. What . . . could he do? What would you tell him?”

To keep doing what he knew in his heart to be right, no matter the cost, no matter the struggle.

So in amongst all the stupid idiots claiming that Romney didn’t win because he wasn’t conservative enough (yes, because his economics were more conservative than Reagan’s, his foreign policy was as conservative as Reagan’s and like Reagan he seemed to have a certain libertarian streak for social issues at the federal level…no, not conservative at all) and all the bickering over “demographics are destiny” (possibly the stupidest line I’ve ever heard), I heard a very bleak assessment by Dennis Miler:

I like a country where people bust their tuckus, and I think this country’s gone a long way towards becoming more of a European model. And I would say, once again, read the book, Amity Shlaes’ book, The Forgotten Man. If you are out there now making $45,000 a year, busting your hump, being away from your family because it’s in your hard drive to do the ‘right thing’– the ‘right thing’ changed in this country yesterday. You can get close to that from the government. And I’m telling you, when Nancy Pelosi said ‘kids take some time off, read a book, learn an instrument’ well listen it’s not always about kids, sometimes it’s about these hard working guys out there who I feel sorry for. And I would tell them, get in the hand out line, don’t get in the hand down line anymore—it doesn’t make sense.

I understand where Miller is coming from…all too well. That’s what is so disheartening about this election is that 62 million people voted to ensure that the 300 million in this nation will continue to suffer, continue to struggle, continue to lose what they have made and continue to work for what must seem to no avail. And damn them and their shortsighted grasping evil ways. They voted in a tyrant that will hurt the people of this nation and the world. And it just hurts to see that there is nothing we can do about it right now.

But Miller is wrong; the right thing did not change on Election Day.

The right thing before the election and after is to do what is right. And it will never be right to take something that has been stolen from another person. It will never be right not do everything in your power to make your life, your family’s life and the world around you better through whatever means you have.

I understand what Miller is saying, and I understand why he feels that way. But I cannot give up. It is just not in my nature. I was pretty depressed on Tuesday night and I even briefly took a longer than usual look at all those emails I get with offers to teach overseas (they were still not tempting enough). But what got me through were two things. The first was my faith in the universe that everything happens for a reason and that eventually everything will work out as it should—even if there are periods of extreme pain and suffering.

The second were two quotes.

The first was from one of my preferred British politicians, Tony Blair:

That’s what we’re fighting for. And it’s a battle worth fighting.
And I know it’s hard on America, and in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I’ve never been to, but always wanted to go…
I know out there there’s a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, “Why me? And why us? And why America?”
And the only answer is, “Because destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.”

The quote may have originally been about the war in Iraq, but the sentiment is still true. There is right and there is wrong. There are policies that promote liberty and there are those that promote tyranny. It doesn’t matter if you want the fight or not, if the fight is there and you recognize right from wrong then “destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.”

But what if I just let some else do it?

And that’s where the second quote comes in, from one of the greatest movies ever made: Casablanca.

When asked why we fight, the character of Victor Laszlo gives the perfect answer.

Rick: Don’t you sometimes wonder if it’s worth all this? I mean what you’re fighting for.
Victor Laszlo: You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we’ll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.

There is right and there is wrong. Good and evil. And every step Obama has made has been in the absolute wrong direction, and I have no faith he’s going to change course. (If he did, hell I’d support him—but I’m not so stupid as to think for one second he will). And thus whatever limited power I have through this blog, through my interactions with others; I have to use to push against this man and the ideology he represents.

Capitalism.  Liberty.  The Individual.  What is Right, and Good, and True, and Just.  America.  These are things worth fighting for, regardless of whether we win or not.  The fight holds its own virtue and is never in vain, for even if we don’t win this battle, or the next, or the next we provide the groundwork for the next person to pick up where we left off.

I’m not terribly convinced I’m going to win this fight in the short run. A miracle could always happen, but only a fool bets on them. But we do what is right because it is right, not because we are assured of winning. Yes there are times to make tactical retreats (which I think everyone forgets Atlas Shrugged was supposed to be, but Rand in her ever inefficient way hammered the let them have what they want point and forgot to hammer harder the point of we need to do this to have a chance to actually win in the long run) but that does not mean give up. So despite the taunting of some trolls, and despite Miller’s depressed statement. I will still be my workaholic self, because to be anything less would not be true to myself and for me would be unethical. And I will continue to use this blog and any other means I can find to advocate for what I believe to be true. Now I’m also going to divert a lot of the energy I’ve put into the blog for the last year into other projects I have neglected…
…but I will not shrug. And I hope I am not the only one.

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Obama did say, “You didn’t build that” and worse…Part III

 

“They might be giants, and we might be pygmies; but we stand on the shoulders of giants, so we can see farther.” Attributed to Sir Isaac Newton

So just to recap, Obama did actually say that government is responsible for all of your success and this is perhaps the dumbest idea in history.

Liberals will try and deflect from this by pointing out that Romney said the following at the Salt Lake Olympics:

Hand it to liberals to take a quote out of context…and still miss the point of what they’re taking out of context.

Well first off this, unlike the “You didn’t build that” comment is slightly out of context.  But before we get to context let’s just deal with the quote the liberals chose…as even that isn’t the same thing as Obama’s dipshit statement.

Let’s see what words does Romney use in that quotes.  Encouraged.  Guided.  None of which is equivalent to “You didn’t do that others did that.”   “All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them up.”  Which of course brings us back to the quote I have started each part of this series with: “but we stand on the shoulders of giants, so we can see farther.”  Those who stand on the shoulders, on the groundwork others have built have done something those people couldn’t.  They have done something that almost no one else could.

But is thanking someone equivalent to you didn’t do that?  No.  Look at the front or back of any book there is a long list of thanks and acknowledgements by the author to the people who helped them.  But just because people may have helped in deep and meaningful ways, it is the author’s name on the dust jacket because they’re the one who did the vast majority of the work, they’re the ones who created something out of nothing, they’re the ones who poured their soul out, worked long hours, fought the impulse to give up and created something.  And this is true of ANY entrepreneur, any Olympian, any person who accomplishes anything. They may have help and they should thank those individuals who helped them…but no sane person mistakes the kind of help individuals offer to one another for the actual accomplishment itself.

But ignoring that there is even a massive gulf between the two quotes out of context, let’s look actually at the full quote and see how while “You didn’t build that” wasn’t taken out of context, the Romney one kind of is.

“Tonight we cheer the Olympians, who only yesterday were children themselves,” Romney said. “As we watch them over the next 16 days, we affirm that our aspirations, and those of our children and grandchildren, can become reality. We salute you Olympians – both because you dreamed and because you paid the price to make your dreams real. You guys pushed yourself, drove yourself, sacrificed, trained and competed time and again at winning and losing.” …

“You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power,” said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics. “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right!.”

Remember how the full context of Obama’s statement was that it doesn’t matter if you’re smart or worked hard because lots of people are smart and lots of people worked hard…and I guess the implication is that they all fail if government isn’t there to decide who wins and who loses. Everything preceding Obama’s statement was “You are not good enough.  You cannot do it on your own.  Your intellect and drive are worthless unless government decides you should win.”  Well notice the context of Romney’s quote.  He starts off telling the Olympians they did do that.  “We salute you Olympians – both because you dreamed and because you paid the price to make your dreams real.”  (And don’t even get me started on how Obama wouldn’t understand the idea of paying the price for your dreams…he is a man who has had everything in his life handed to him without effort…which is why he believes you didn’t build that, he didn’t.)

“We salute you Olympians” Did Obama anywhere in his speech say we should salute the businessman who create products and services for us to buy or whose business creates jobs and wealth?  Does he say anywhere we should applaud them for taking a risk that could have lost them everything?  Does he say we should be in awe of them sometimes, like now when they’re keeping their businesses alive when they have a piece of shit President doing everything in his power (both through legal and illegal means) to try and destroy them?  Nope he doesn’t.  Romney starts his speech acknowledging that it is the individual who accomplished something that deserves credit first and foremost.  Obama doesn’t even understand that this should be anywhere on the list.

“You guys pushed yourself, drove yourself, sacrificed, trained and competed time and again at winning and losing.”  Romney recognizes that it is the individual who chooses to push themselves and the individual who works to achieve their goal. The greatest parents and coaches in the world in the best facilities in the world can’t do a thing if the person isn’t willing to drive themselves.  Compare that to “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.”  In Obama’s world you don’t push yourself to achieve, you’re “allowed” to achieve because government, all powerful government, deigns that you may achieve at their sufferance.

So in answer to question that some truly idiotic liberal put on that picture above “Why is it ok for Mitt to remind elite athletes that they didn’t do it alone, but when Obama says the same of business people, the Right throws a hissy fit?”  Because what Mitt and Barry are saying are not equivalent.  Because there is a difference between you had help in achieving your dream and you didn’t do it, the government did it for you.  Because one embraces what the individual is capable of and one denies the ability to shape your own life.  Because one glorifies what man is capable of and one denies he is capable of anything.  Because one is the basis of a system that provides freedom for the individual and one is the basis for the slavery of the collective.  Maybe that’s why we’re getting into a “hissy fit” as idiotic liberals put it (intelligent people might call it justified righteous indignation). Because we can tell the difference between ideas and recognize their consequences.

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Romney at VFW: America the Hope of the Earth



But remember we’re arrogant

But remember we’re not special in the world

And let’s not forget that we believe in American exceptionalism like Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism (yeah thanks Barry for comparing us to that excuse for a nation)…and that we should apologize to the butchers who kill our men but not when you slander a man and accuse him of felonies when you have not even an iota of proof (by the way we have tons of proof, the least of which is your Executive Privelage order, that shows you actually were complicit in the string of felonies known as Fast and Furious)…and that we should support every revolution backed by Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood (Syria, Lybia, Tunisa, Egypt) but let people in Iran who want democracy to be murdered.
I’m ready for a change, how about you?

Also, Mitt is going to meet with anti-Communist figher Lech Walesa and the great Tony Blair, two men who understand what America is, and Obama isn’t (by the way Walesa has refused to meet with Obama).



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A Tale of Two Visions of America


Meanwhile you have the other guy saying:

I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.

Yes, Greek exceptionalism.  You buy that don’t you?  With the nation falling apart I don’t think even Greeks are dumb enough to believe in Greek exceptionalism…

 

But don’t worry, Barack does believe one thing about American is exceptional without question…himself…

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Greatest Patriotic Films of All Time #2: John Adams

Join, or Die

Unite or Die

Appeal to Heaven

Liberty or Death

Don’t Tread on Me

These are the phrases that one sees during the credits for HBO’s John Adams (one wonders what happened to a network that could bring us great TV like Rome and John Adams that it has fallen to The Newsroom and Bill Maher so quickly).  But I think part of this film’s greatness comes from its director, Tom Hooper.  Hooper would later give us the great work of British patriotism, The King’s Speech, and is currently filming Les Miserables which speaks to French patriotism…let’s hope Hooper stops his world tour as films that speak to German patriotism tend to end badly for Poland.

Now there are numerous things in this seven part series to be proud of.  The least of which is an obnoxious, suspected and unpopular man with his outspoken wife doing anything and everything in their power and sacrificing everything they have to constantly do what they know ethics and morals dictate not just for their own lives but for the fate of their nation.  A liberal acquaintance of mine once tried to tell me that the deep love of the Adams was a Hollywood invention, that no man from that era would have held as his chief confidant a woman…clearly this ignorant wretch never had read the letters that John and Abigail wrote often to each other (In reality the show should have been named John and Abigail Adams as few men in history have so relied upon their wives as equals, partners, and true loves as much as John Adams did…which maybe why for all his fault he is possibly the most enviable of the Founding Fathers.).  And these letters are quoted heavily in the movie:

“My Dearest Friend,

Whether I stand high or low in the estimation of the world, my conscience is clear. I thank God I have you for a partner in all the joys and sorrows, all the prosperity and adversity of my life. To take a part with me in the struggle.” –John Adams to Abigail Adams

“Should I draw you the picture of my heart, you would know with what indescribable pleasure I have seen so many scores of years roll over our heads, with an affection heightened and improved by time. Nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the image of the dear, untitled man to whom I gave my heart. You could not be, nor did I wish to see you, an inactive spectator.” –Abigail Adams to John Adams

In their letters she was his “best friend” and his “Portia” to her, he as her “Lysander” (see Shakespeare if you don’t get the references).  I hate to be really mean to other nations, but tell me which heads of state of any other power have had not just a position that was enviable, but a personal life that is almost the definition of what we want in our significant other.  And I may be reaching here, but for all of our problems in society, past and present, at least to me America seems to breed more of these true loves than other nation.

While probably not the greatest of presidents, (you’ll never be remembered for keeping America out of a war it couldn’t afford to fight at the time, only for the wars you get the nation into) there is the fact that it’s nice to think that as lacking humility Adams may have been, when he was in an office it was the good of the nation, not himself that took first priority (even if his abrasive nature may have made many an enemy).

Or that here is a man dedicated to liberty above all other things.

“We have a right to [our liberties] derived form our maker.”


But, of course it is the second episode, “Independence” that stirs the strings of patriotism the most for me.  And for obvious reasons—it is this episode where the Declaration of Independence is created and adopted.  I know I am very odd, but I cannot read or hear the Declaration of Independence with crying.  It is a singular achievement of man and the divine working in harmony…or as the character of Adams puts it:

“This is something all together unexpected, not only a Declaration of our Independence, but of the right of all men.”

And this is what America is supposed to be, not just a nation out for ourselves, but a beacon, a promise, and a hope that one day liberty will reign not just in America but the world over and that tyranny will only be found in history books.

But what also makes this section so stirring is the arguments during the Continental Congress for Independence against John Dickenson and his cowardly and treasonous ilk (at one point in the episode it becomes clear that Abigail would just as well shoot the man for opposing independence if she were to go down to Philadelphia…it’s sad no one in real life had her conviction and wisdom).

“I see hope.  I see a new nation ready to take its place in the world—not an empire, but a Republic.  And a Republic of

Adams, Jefferson and Franklin…the creators of the Declaration.

laws, not men.  Gentlemen, we are in the vey midst of revolution—the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the history of the world.  How few of the human race have ever had the opportunity of choosing a system of government for themselves and their children.  I am not without apprehensions, gentlemen, but the end we have in sight is worth more than all the means.  I believe, sirs, that the hour is come, my judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it.  All that I have, all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready to stake upon it.  While I live let me have a country.  A free country. ”

This film makes clear Adams’ vision that America and its promise of liberty is worth the fight. Of course what also strikes me is his statement:

“There are persons in Philadelphia, to whom a ship is dearer than a city, and a few barrels of flour dearer than a thousand lives.  Other men’s lives.”

It’s good to know that my current intellectual (I use that word loosely in reference to my opponents) battles with the un-American tripe that is isolationists, cowards, and Paulbots, that their kind isn’t just a recent phenomenon but rather a sickness that has been around for years. And it’s good to know they’re losing power—before they almost destroyed America before it began, and delayed our entry into WWII to save people from genocide…now they’re just an annoying fringe.  Maybe within a generation their evil will be as dead as John Dickenson would been if he had been justly shot.

But it is also one of the last scenes that stirs my patriotism.  Adams’ last words.  His last words in the series and in real life really were:

“Thomas Jefferson survives!” (even though Jefferson had died 2 hours earlier. Both died on July the 4th, 1726, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.  Skeptics would call it coincidence, patriots a higher message in that.)

I’ve always liked to think that Adams, at the threshold of this world and the next, actually knew that the man was dead…but his vision “that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights, among these the right to life, liberty, ad the pursuit of Happiness” not only survived in that moment but for all moments to come (but then again I am a hopeless patriot and man of faith).

My dearest friend whether I stand high or low in the estimation of the world, my conscience is clear.  I thank God I have you for a partner in all the joys and sorrows, all the prosperity and adversity

Should I draw you the picture of my heart scores of years

“Oh, posterity. You will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom. I hope that you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.” –John Adams

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The Greatest Patriotic Films Ever # 3 Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

 

“What do you know about laws or making laws or what people need?”

“I don’t pretend to know.”

“Then what are you doing in the Senate?”

 

Frank Capra has this rather naïve view of humanity.  He sees all life as nothing but a battle of extreme good and extreme evil; a war between the Baileys and Potters; where the rich are seldom if ever wise, where the poor are noble by virtue of being poor.  Any single story has flaws that are forgivable (except maybe for when he added the speech of extreme pacifism into Lost Horizon which never existed in the book, good call Frank, add a call for appeasement and peace at all costs in a 1937 film…let me know how that works out in the real world), but taken together they have revealed a view of the world that is a little off kilter.  But as I said if you just take Capra’s films each on their own merit, and ignore the collective body of his work, they are good films.  And Mr. Smith is no exception.

 

The forgivable flaws?  That our supposed hero, Jefferson Smith, has to be the most seemingly ignorant Senator in the history of the body (I say seemingly, because, as we sadly know that most Senators make Smith, for all his ignorance, look like a Rhodes Scholar).  Still the scene where his aide, the real hero of the film Clarissa Saunders (Jean Arthur), has to explain how a bill becomes law is just so sad.  I fully realize that I currently live in a nation where the majority leader in the Senate, the minority leader in the House, the President, and the Chief Justice put together don’t know jack about the Constitution or how a bill becomes law…but I have a hard time finding heroism in staggering ignorance.  Especially for a man who claims to be a patriot.  If you say you’re a patriot and don’t know how a bill becomes a law, well SHAME ON YOU—ENDLESS HEAPS OF SHAME!  Now they claim Jefferson Smith knows the history of our nation and can quote it quite fluently (although they never show it) if you’re going to be a patriot you need to know something about your country, and I think how a bill becomes law is kind of simple (considering, that with the exception of knowing about committees, it’s kind of part of knowing the Constitution).

 

But enough about the flaws…because the strengths do overpower them.

 You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn’t, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that.

First there is the point in this film that for all the corruption and flaws, this is a nation of laws.  All the money and the corruption in the world can last for only so long against the law when it is enforced. Granted the Senate rules on filibuster may not be our most revered law, but the point is still clear.  Even corruption is no match for the law when it is applied (that caveat being the important part).  And this is why I think Saunders is the real hero of the film.  She is the one who knows the law, and the one who teaches it to Smith.  And it is in knowing the law that gives Smith the power to confront the corrupt in the Senate.  And it is this moral that I think makes this movie the most patriotic that we have had yet: learn the laws of your nation, with them they give you the power to enforce liberty and justice, without them you are the victim of those who do know them.

 

And of course there is the subtle point here that ANYONE can challenge their government.  Smith may have been lucky enough to get to the floor of the Senate, but any and all can peaceably assemble to “petition the government for redress of grievances.”  (More so now in the day of mass communication and the internet).

And then there is a point about this movie that I find ironic, and I find it ironic because it is the reason so many liberals say they love the film.  The film’s villain is a media mogul who uses his clout to control everything the public sees and hears and thus controls their opinion, and who then uses that power for his own avaricious ends.  Capra seems hell bent on condemning the media.  First for their desire to report on trivial nonsense only for entertainment, as when they tricked Smith into looking like a fool on his first day in Washington.  And second for this monopolistic control of information.  Liberals I know who like this film are very adamant at how evil this second point is….and then in the same breath will critique the existence of FOXNews, the Drudge Report, and Rush Limbaugh.  How dare the media report anything but the left wing talking points! Just a slight irony there.  However, I think it is also this point that will soon date this movie a little out of relevance.  In an age where three major networks, three major cable networks, online journals, blogs, twitter, facebook, youtube, and Wikileaks…in an age where anyone from any strata of society can post a blog that can go viral, where anyone can donate to a SuperPAC that can get the message they believe in out, in a day and age like this is simply impossible to control the message.  Your only option now is to make the more appealing message…and I may be more naïve than Capra, but I feel “the truth will out”, as it did in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

 

 

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The Greatest Patriotic Films Ever: #4 The Postman

“You have a gift, Postman. I saw it back in Pineview. You’ve given us all back what we’d forgotten. You made Mrs. March feel like she could see again. You made Ford feel like he was part of the world. You give out Hope like it was candy in your pocket.”

I know what you’re thinking, The Postman? Really? And I know why you’re feeling that way. It was the first movie Costner did after Waterworld and just about the time you might have forgiven he came out with Message in a Bottle so the hell if you were going to go back and give anything else a shot. I understand completely. And that was the feeling I had when I first watched it but I had nothing better to do and was with family so I couldn’t very well just tell my family to go to hell I wasn’t about to watch what I was sure would be a piece of crap.

And then I watched it and found out it wasn’t crap. It was quite good in fact.

And then you ask, ‘if it’s so good why hasn’t it garnered any acclaim since it first came out?” And the answer is: because it is so patriotic, and you know how the intelligentsia loathes that.

So, while I would recommend you see the movie before I reveal the plot, for any valid discussion I have to go over the plot a little.

The movie follows The Postman, played by Kevin Costner. Yes the character is never actually given a name. This is intentional. A drifter in a post-apocalyptic future (actually its 2013…damn Obamacare is going to ruin everything faster than I thought…I’m sure it sounded semi-reasonable in in1997). The first part of the film introduces us to this world where an army of thuggish marauders, called the Holnists, terrorize and control much of the Pacific Northwest. The Postman is at first captured and impressed into their fascist army, but escapes…and in his escape he finds a crashed US Post Office truck, fully loaded with a bag of mail and the skeleton of a dead postal official (still wearing his uniform). He takes the uniform and mail bag and concocts a story that the US government has been restored back East and he is a federal employee of the Restored United States, hoping this story will get him something to eat from every town he passes. What he doesn’t realize is what news of a Restored United States does to a population that has had all hope ripped away from them. Within only months he soon has his own army of mostly young men and women following him, carrying the mail all over Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Hope returns, people start fighting back…and with his band of very disgruntled postal workers they defeat the Holnist army and turn The Postman’s lie of a restored government into a reality.

So what makes this post-apocalyptic film, a film that shows the United States reduced to rubble, that states the White House had been burned to the ground, a patriotic film?

First it clearly points out what America isn’t. About halfway through the leader of the Holnist army, the psychotic and utterly taken with himself General Bethlehem, gives a speech on what he thinks made America great:

“We had a great nation once. You know what made it great? I can. Till the weak came along, the ‘I Can’ts” destroyed us. But I’m going to make us strong again. I’m going to be the father of a new nation. And do you know why it will be me? Because I can.”

The point here is to show exactly why this wasn’t what made America great. Any bully or tyrant can say “Yes, I can” any mindless mob can say “Yes, we can” but might doesn’t make right. America is great not because of brute strength but because we stand for ideals instead of might, we stand for ethics instead of the club, because the American ideal is “I should” not “I can.” America is great because we look at the greatest obstacles and say “I will” and look to the future instead of the mere tyrant who says “I can” as their only justification. Only tyrants and bullies speak of “I can”…the moral is the best in America speak of “I should.” And this is shown in the film, The Postman is offered a lot of things he “can” do, but it is the fact that in the end he chooses what he “should” do that makes him the emblem of America that he is meant to be.

The next is the very nature of democracy is shown in this film. Power coming from the people is the natural state of governments and it is antithetical to tyranny. After capturing a postal carrier and reading through the mail, Bethlehem’s men dismisses it as “Births and deaths, the weather, gossip. There’s nothing here.” Bethlehem recognizes the threat of people banding together to agasinst his little feudal rule. “Nothing? Everything is here. Am, I the only one who sees that?” People banding together is the greatest threat to tyranny. Always has been, always will be (the next most dangerous is an armed populace). (Granted people banded together can just as easily fall from one tyranny to another, see the Russian Revolution or the Arab Spring, but it always spells a short reign for the current dictator). This is why tyrannies spend so much time and money to control all forms of information, when people begin to associate and talk without government control, not much can stand in the way of the storm that is to come from their banding together. George III found this out, and this is why one of the first things the Continental Congress did after declaring independence is establish a postal system. Communication is essential for liberty and it is antithetical to slavery.

This movie is also patriotic in what it shows the United States, just as a concept is. It is a beacon of hope. Just the words “Restored United States” encourages people to stand up and resist their oppressors, it makes them believe in the future which they had stopped doing. Some of the more cynical are even afraid of what this hope means,

“These people don’t need dreams, Mr. Postman. They need something real. They need help with the goddamn Holnists. Are you going to bring them that?”

But the film does a great job at showing that it is this hope and this ability to believe that the future is worth fighting for is exactly what will give them the help they need. And the movie itself culminates in a personal battle between Bethlehem and the Postman and in a moment of attempting to gloat over his impending victory Bethlehem taunts the Postman with:

General Bethlehem: I know your problem. Do you know why you won’t fight? Because you have nothing to fight for! You don’t care about anything! You don’t value anything! You don’t believe in anything! That’s what makes me better!
The Postman: I believe in the United States.

The Postman immediately proceeds to beat Bethlehem to a bloody pulp. It helps when you believe in something real and something worth fighting for.

And one of the more overlooked parts of the film is a final reason why it shows film to be exceedingly patriotic.

The film ends with a speech given in 2043 by The Postman’s daughter at the commemoration of a statue to him.

“My father saw how fragile we are, how quickly we fell into the hands of tyranny. He saw that ordinary men could reach deep within themselves and find courage. He saw that if we began to communicate as a nation we could become strong again, united, but he never did see St. Rose. He said there was too much to be done. He’d made a promise. And in keeping it he traded one dream for another. With no regrets.”

And it is not only a speech that shows what America is capable of. The scene is not a post-apocalyptic wasteland just recovering. It is a healthy civilization. Prefabricated boats in a marina, factory made clothes on all the people gathered, cameras, electricity, mass media, a society that can spare the time and money to commission a giant bronze statue. It shows an America that can rise from its own ashes in a mere 30 years and recover all of it past glory in only a generation. And this is an accurate depiction of America. Time and time again we have endured depressions, natural disasters, the hell of war, and whatever else the world can throw at us. And each time we come back, stronger, more resilient, and wiser. Name for me a nation that can not only do that once, but time and time again, other than America.

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