Category Archives: character

GOP, Let’s ask what worked and what didn’t…

Do you ever wonder…

If Republicans would spend as much energy and time on attacking Democrats as they do their own party, if they might actually get somewhere?

So the last couple of weeks have once again revealed that the Republican Party’s perpetual need to shoot itself in the foot.   This of course is a side effect of who is in the Republican Party.  Unlike the Democrats (and people who voted Santorum, and Paulbots) most Republicans (both the conservatives and libertarians in the party) tend to be free thinkers…which means we don’t march lock step with the commands of the party and/or our chosen savior to blindly follow.  Unfortunately, while usually a good thing, this does lead to a little bit of a problem when trying to organize. We are all going our separate ways while our opposition, while idiotic and wrong, marches to the beat of a single drummer and provides a single, constant, well defended wall that we cannot break by not working together.

Does this mean that we should all just march lockstep just like they do?  No.  But it does mean we should try to think more long term than they do and work toward our long term goals rather than doing what feels good at the moment.

The shutdown is a good example. We should have never made this about Obamacare because even just a bit of forethought would tell us that if we did that then the only way to win was to hold a shutdown all the way through until the new congress is sworn in in 2015 (because we know damn well that Obama and Reid are too damn stupid to admit that their law is a horrific nightmare), and this only works if (A) Republicans hold firm (which we know isn’t going to happen) and (B) that the American people see that it’s the Democrats who are at fault and the House is doing what it’s supposed to in using the power of the purse (these are the people who voted for Obama, do you really think they’re going to see that?).  If we want to get rid of Obamacare then the first, thing we need to do is get rid of the Senate.  Nothing happens until then.  Nothing.  But we had short sighted fools going their own way saying we can stop this here and now (exactly how when we don’t hold the Senate, White House or Supreme Court is a bit beyond me… I actually saw a conservative commentator complain that the GOP is giving in even though the GOP “is in a stronger position than it was during the partial government shutdown in 1995/96.”  Yes right now with control of one house we’re in such a better position than in 1995/96 when we controlled both the House and the Senate and had Dick Morris screaming in the White House to give into the GOP.  We’re in such a stronger position now than we were then.  (What the hell are some conservative pundits smoking?)

But no, some genius thought that Obamacare was the line in the sand to draw—to hell if Ryan’s work on saving the budget would actually lead to more long term good, to hell that letting Obamacare go forward would be its own worst enemy, no let’s draw a line in the sand on this silly item.  So we shut down everything over Obamacare, and thus we killed all our other options.  Good call.  But once we were in the shutdown we should have not budged an inch.  Yeah getting there was dumb, but, a lot like getting your girlfriend pregnant, it may have been a series of shortsighted choices that got you into this situation, but now for the sake of intelligence and character you only have one option.  Did we hold firm? No.  Why?  Because again we can’t hold a united front.   When we were holding firm we had people insulting Republicans that they were RINOs and were going to get primaries out (so if you’re a Republican who really does believe that you will hold the line better than the Democrat who would trounce your Tea Party replacement, if you really believe that you’re doing what is best for the country you have to make a deal to ensure you keep your seat and that a Democrat doesn’t take it…not saying everyone was this noble but I’m sure one or two were).

Then we were even more stupid.  We had Republicans vote for the damn compromise (that gave us nothing).  This I don’t quite understand. It could pass the Senate without a single Republican vote, and it could pass the House with only a few Republicans voting for it (or just staying home and not voting at all).  Did we organize anything like this to at least be able to say that ‘We did not vote for this crap, this is the Democrats and all the Democrats.”  Nope, we didn’t even organize that well.

And as I hinted above, it’s not just the elected officials.  We attack our own, shout everyone down as RINOs at the drop of a hat.   Now some will say that I’m attacking the Tea Party…actually I’m only attacking part of it.  I’m beginning to notice there are two parts to the Tea Party. One is the “let’s shrink government in power, size and expenditure” let’s call this the Values Tea Party…then there seems to a second side, the “Everyone who does not agree with me 100% is a goddamn RINO and must be purged from the party.”  Let’s call this the Ideological Tea Party.  One side wants to win and is willing to make logical concessions if they need to but is just tired of the GOP ALWAYS making concessions even when they don’t need to…the other side wants the goddamn Spanish Inquisition (which I really wasn’t expecting) and purge all non-believers from the ranks of the Republican party (of course as it’s a constantly shifting set of values it’s hard to say what is and isn’t real conservatism to these people…but if you don’t perform a miracle right now and end Obamacare, overturn a hundred years of bad court decisions, revoke 200 years of bad executive decisions, clean the tax code, impeach Obama, destroy all terrorists, and turn water into wine you won’t vote for them…and anything short must be because you’re a filthy RINO and not, oh I don’t know, because you’re only in control of one half of one branch of the government.)

What I think some people don’t realize is that we need Republicans from all parts of the country to win (even blue states) which means that those Republicans have to be more moderate than say a Republican from a completely red state.  There are Republicans who are moderate on some things (mainly social issues).  There are Republicans who come from very blue states but believe they should honor their constituents beliefs on certain things (I don’t particularly like people who feel this way, but I find the people who bitch the most about these Republicans are the same ones who use “the will of the people” as justification for why legislatures should do this or that…pick one and only one, should legislatures use their own judgment (a republic) or should they be beholden to the will of the people (a democracy).

Goldwater Reagan Buckley RINO

RINOs as defined by some in the Tea Party right now.

By the standards that the pundits are now setting up William F. Buckley Jr., Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater would be considered RINOS (let me remind you that Reagan as governor passed more liberal laws than Romney, for much the same reason, because he was dealing with a very liberal legislature, and as president he cut LOTS of deals with the Democrats).

Do you think perhaps, that as a voting block we’re beginning to get a little strange?

Yes there are few very legitimate RINOs who will sell the party out at the drop of a hat.  McCain, Graham, Christie.  I’m probably forgetting a couple more.  BUT THE VAST MAJORITY OF GOP actually do believe in what they are doing, they may be wrong in that belief, they might get a better deal if they held out, but just because they are wrong in a tactical belief doesn’t make them liberal.

Establishment vs Tea Party

This picture should not even exist. We have bigger problems, namely liberals. Until they’re gone we should not be attacking each other.

So first off to anyone talking about putting up a primary challenger to any Republican they disagree with I want you to ask two questions.

First.

Will the Tea Party candidate you’re supporting win in an election against the Democratic challenger in that state/district?

And you need to be very, very honest here.  I liked Sharon Angel and Christie O’Donnell…but they were bad calls for Nevada and Delaware…and if you don’t think it would have been better to run a more moderate Republican and remove Harry Reid from office, you’re crazy.  Absolutely crazy.  This is the old Buckley Rule: Vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.  Because even the most moderate Republican is better than scum that is Harry Reid.

Now this may not be enough.  Because let’s be honest there are scum that jump ship when the Senate gets to that 50/50 mark.  And again you need to be honest here when you ask:

Will this the elected official you’re trying to get rid of jump ship if given a chance?

For people like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, yeah vote them out.  They’ll backstab the Republican Party every chance they get and will switch to Democrats if they’re offered enough if the it ever gets that close (As say when Jim Jeffords back stabbed the Republicans, changed parties and gave the Senate to the Democrats in 2001). They’re Democrats already for all intents and purpose because they have no character (oh, I would like to thank Sarah Palin for supporting McCain over the Tea Party candidate…thanks Sarah, you really helped the Republic with that move.)

So if it’s yes to both answers, sure get a primary going.  Even if it’s yes to just the second answer, get rid of the idiot. But if they’re just a moderate Republican who doesn’t always vote with the party but will give us control of the Senate or let us keep control of the House, they’re better than a Democrat. As we have learned, who controls the houses of Congress has massive authority and it is better that we dethrone Harry Reid even if we have to have every seat go to a moderate. Standing on principal when it will only hurt your cause in the long and short run isn’t standing on principal—it’s idiocy.

So just as a little reminder

There’s an election about a year away.  We need to hold onto ALL of our seats in the Senate (which means it might not be bright to primary out a moderate if that means the libs will pick it up…even a moderate Republican can still give us control of the Senate, which we’ve learned can be a very powerful thing) and we need to pick up at least 6 more seats.

Now might be the time to remember that as much as we hate some in our party we hate the Democrats even more.  We can purge the party when we’re in a position to…in the mean time I might actually like to not have to see Harry Reid’s stupid face for another few years…

Schmuck in Cheif

This man and all he represents is what we should be working against…not each other.

Or did you want to have Harry Reid in charge of the Senate if, god help us, another Supreme Court Justice needs to be replaced?

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Filed under character, Congress, Conservative, GOP, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid, politics, Problems with the GOP, Tea Party

Some thoughts on term limits

So last night I posted on tumblr my concerns about term limits.

Tumbrl post

My original comments.

 

The fact that after enacting them in California and Colorado seem to have gotten worse.  I admit that there are a lot of factors there and term limits may not be responsible.  But my request was that, surely there had to be some study of states upon adopting term limits and what the effects were.

Did it raise or lower corruption and graft?  Did it improve or worsen the fiscal situation?  Was there an increase or decrease in the severity of gerrymandering?  Things like this.

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

All I can say is the last 24 hours have been enlightening, but in a different way.

Some idiot who claims to represent a PAC pushing for term limits started harassing me with talking points but refused to actually show any proof for why his side was something I should adopt.

His argument boiled down to a few points.

1) Term limits are popular.  Great argument. Lots of things have been popular, Socrates drinking hemlock, crucifixion, Nazism, Communism, Obama, Obamacare…all popular at least at one point or another. But there’s this little point, what is popular is not always right.  Granted democracy and looking to what is popular is in many cases the best of bad options (but you’ll notice that our system of government is designed to specifically ignore the tyranny of the majority).

The worst argument a supposed conservative can make is that “well 70% of the people want it.”

 

We’re conservatives, we’re the party of logic and reason and ethics.  We supposed to know that the whims of the people are fickle and what is despised one day is popular the next, and vice versa.  We’re supposed to make the argument that it will work, that evidence shows, that it’s what is right.  If we can’t do that, if all we can appeal to is the whims of the hoi polloi being on your side at the moment, like liberals do, then we admit we have no proof for our argument.

2) There is no proof because looking at how it worked in states is irrelevant.  This one is particularly stupid as that’s what state laws are for.  One of the true virtues of federalism is that we have 50 little legislative laboratories, what works in one state is adopted by a few, what works in a few is adopted by the many, what works for the many might need to be made federal law (not always, something could work for all 50 states and still shouldn’t be a federal issue).  So to just say that what happened in the states doesn’t matter, is either unspeakably naïve, or, as I worry, the evidence actually shows term limits might not be the answer.

3) Career Politicians are bad.

The argument goes that all career politicians are bad, thus we should get rid of career politicians.  The argument that if something is bad, then change is good. And not wanting change is bad because it’s giving into fear, and we should be hopeful…

…and I’m sure we all know what happens when you only care about hope and change and not, you know, will it work, or asking “Yes this is bad, but is there a better way or is this just the best of bad options.”

The worst laws in history are mostly the result of people saying ‘this is bad’ and changing it for the sake of change and not stopping to think will change actually be better.

Here is my problem.  Let’s say you have 100 politicians.

Now you are left with only two logical positions.  Either they’re all bad, or you have a mix of mostly bad and a few good ones (I’m not stupid enough to consider the possibility that they’re all good)*.  Now if they’re all bad then this is just a pointless argument, because then there is no point in caring about how you select them.  Let’s for the sake of argument be very hopeful (and because I like round numbers) and say that in our group of 100 politicians, 90 are bad and 10 are good.

George WIll

This is a nice thought…but it could just as easily mean the corrupt will just be more corrupt to get their payoff in a short amount of time…show me proof whether my thought or Will’s prevails…

Now we have to look if politicians get worse as they stay in office longer.  And when you think about it, it’s hard to find anexample of a great politician who became worse with time.  Think about it, John McCain is a worthless piece of offal, but not because he’s spent his life in politics (I think everyone forgets he got caught taking bribes in his first term as Senator).  He’s always been a corrupt politician.  It just seems that politicians are more corrupt for two reasons (1) because the longer they’re there, the more chances we have to catch them at the corruption that started on day one and (2) the longer they are there the more they learn to work the system and with that comes making deals to get something in return.  Now some politicians make deals to enrich themselves (more than I can name, these are usually the one who were corrupt from day one) or they are making deals to get something they do actually believe is good for the nation but ideologues only look at the compromise and not what they got which makes even the honest attempting to do good seem bad in the eyes of the most knee jerk commentators.  So when you think about it very few politicians become bad the longer they’re there. It’s not that power corrupts, it’s that power attracts the corruptible.  So a good politician, a Bachmann, a Ryan, a Goldwater is not necessarily ruined by their time in the seat.  And even some of the questionable ones are still to the benefit of the public because of what they have learned over time…I may have issues with Newt Gingrich on a lot of points, but you can’t deny he was an effective Speaker who relentlessly pushed for conservative policies and got us a lot of what he promised…and he could do this because of his experience.

So the amount of good turning to bad probably isn’t as high as we think.  Let’s say that over time 2 of the 10 good ones go bad…because politicians are apparently like milk left out overnight (at least in the mind of people pushing for term limits).

But let’s put term limits in.

Now of the 90 bad ones…since their constituents already elected a terrible politician we are almost guaranteed that they’ll be putting another idiot in.  If we’re very lucky we’ll get one good one.  So we have 89-1.

But let’s look at the 10 good ones.  You term limited out the 10 good ones and now it’s a crap shoot again if you can even get a good candidate.  In all likelihood your 10 good ones are replaced by the law of averages with 9 bad and one good politician (as I feel the 10 good ones will, by simply statistics have candidates with the 9-1 split running, so I just feel it’s statistically unlikely that they all be replaced by good ones).  So now instead of 10 good politicians to the 100, you have 2.

Delete them all

No, because there are a FEW good ones in there.

And you see this in California, which went from occasionally having Republican control of the house in the legislature to never having control since 1997(term limits passed in 1990).  Granted demographic shifts could be responsible, so I’m in need of studies to show what actually happens for states I’m not as familiar with when term limits are passed.

Now maybe I’m wrong and the statistics hold across the board and we still wind up with a 90-10 split.  Which would mean that we’ve wasted time and money on term limits to have zero effect.  Money and time to get a Constitutional law passed which changes nothing.  Not seeing the upside here.

And I just can’t see a logical situation which makes it more likely that bad politicians will be replaced with good ones. I see term limits replacing bad with bad and good with bad.

So just because its career politicians are bad, doesn’t mean that getting rid of them is good.

Now I could be wrong.  Term limits could lead to better government.  Hence my call for evidence on what happens.  I did a quick search and couldn’t find any.  And the fact that the person who was pushing term limits so hard had nothing but these three bad arguments.

Now, it may simply be that this idiot was not well informed and there is evidence to the contrary, but show it to me.  Otherwise I see actually limiting the power of government (so that whoever is in will have less ability to ruin our lives), and Voter ID and raising the voting age (because it matters more who is electing the politicians than the politicians) as being a more effective avenue to put our time and effort into as any of these would require nothing less than a Constitutional Amendment…and if we’re going to exert that kind of effort it better be for something that will actually work.

 

But again if you have any study or evidence that term limits actually do lead to better government, less corruption, and more fiscally responsible legislatures (or any improvement other than new names) please share it with me and I will trumpet it over every social media avenue I have.

 

*This should really be on a sliding scale of good, okay, eh, bad, horrible, Obama.  But that would get too complicated to calculate, the general rule still holds.

 

 

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Filed under character, Congress, Conservative, Constitution, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid, politics

The Core Values of True Conservative Belief

“We ought not to listen to those who exhort us, because we are human, to think of human things.…We ought rather to take on immortality as much as possible, and do all that we can to live in accordance with the highest element within us; for even if its bulk is small, in its power and value it far exceeds everything.” — Aristotle

Knowledge of Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do. – St. Thomas Aquinas, Two Precepts of Charity.

So I have been looking for the core of conservative belief lately.  What is conservative, what isn’t.

Why is this even an important question?  Well because the conservative movement is overly obsessed with the idea of what a true conservative is (it doesn’t help when your main opposition is a bunch of blind followers in the Democrat party who will kneel before anyone who promises them more shit, and libertarians* who will promise them pot).  Paeloconservatives.  Neoconservatives.  Fiscal conservatives.  Social Conservatives.  Compassionate Conservatives.  (Hint I consider only two of these terms not be contradictions).  It’s a wide range.

And there is no big help when looking to intellectuals.  Sure there is Russell Kirk’s famous list of highly dense academic speak, I even used it in Republicans and Reincarnation, but over the course of his career he kept changing the last few points, making it more and more isolationist, and it’s so complicated as to be useless.

The Wizard's Rules Sword of Truth

Meanwhile, while I love Goodkind’s eleven wizard’s rules, and think them an excellent companion to Aristotelian philosophy, they’re not all that specific.

Then of course you could name certain policies…but that doesn’t work because what is conservative today isn’t conservative tomorrow.  Facts of reality change, priorities get shifted…for instance every conservative needs to be a fiscal conservative, however one can still be a conservative and willing to make a deal to that would raise deficit spending when a more important goal is present, say, toppling an evil empire.  And real conservatives, love the nature of America to take pieces of every culture and incorporate them into the melting pot of this nation…but right now reality and sanity dictate we need to concentrate on border control and being a little more picky about who gets in.

So the problem I’ve had for nearly a year is to find something that is accessible, adaptable, and always accurate in describing the core beliefs of conservatism.  And I just realized it was so bluntly obvious that I didn’t see it (but then again I haven’t seen anyone else talk about it all this time either)..I’ve even stated it, it’s just always been implied.

What are the core values of conservatism that remain the core values at any time any place any situation? The thing that binds Aristotle to Cicero to Aquinas to Locke to Burke to Smith to Adams to Goldwater to Reagan?

The Four Cardinal Virtues and the Three Theological Virtues.

Four Cardinal Virtues
Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Justice

Prudence

Temperance

Fortitude

Justice

Faith
Hope

Love

The first four come from Aristotle, the last three from Paul (although I would argue they are implicit in Aristotle if you read all of his works) and they are the basis for the most perfect system of ethics ever created.

Think about it.   Liberals only care about results, damn what rights or means you have to violate to create your Utopia (and that’s even before you consider they lack the follow through to do anything); the crazier members of the Libertarian party only care about means and an absolutist idea of right, to hell if you need some minor infringement to make a society properly function or to secure the vast majority of your rights.  Only the virtue based ethics of Aristotle deal in the reality of needing to consider ends and means.  And this refusal to look at only ends or means is one of the first reasons why the virtue ethics are inherently conservative—conservatives by nature see the whole.

Now let’s look at the virtues themselves.

Yes, Aristotle listed a lot of other virtues,

Sense of Shame

Pride

Wit

Proper Ambition

Truthfulness

Righteous Indignation

Generosity

Friendliness

Magnificence

Good Temper

But all of these are natural extensions of the other seven.  So let’s go over them and show why they are at the heart of conservatism.

In the order which most highlights the political aspects.

Cardinal Virtues
Justice.  Conservatives believe in the concept of Justice, that people should be rewarded and/or punished by what they deserve.  Merit.  Earning.  The basis of meritocracy of free market capitalism.  This is of course opposed to the liberal obsession with fair. It’s not fair.  Things should be fair.  Life’s not fair.  And of course whereas Justice requires the equality of opportunity and equality before the law, liberals want the equality of fairness where everyone has equal results.

Prudence.  While a highly complex concept that the word prudence doesn’t quite convey the complexity for the classical concept, it might be best defined as the knowledge of what should be valued.  With Prudence comes the understanding that the only truly valuable thing is Happiness (again I’m using the classical definition of a life lived well) and to value all the subordinate good that are required for Happiness.  This includes liberty, because Happiness cannot be achieved without free will, actual achievement.  Liberalism values material things and sees no higher point to life other than living, social conservatives only value society and some perverted view of God and not the individual or their happiness

Temperance.  Often mistaken for moderation, Temperance is taking the knowledge of what to value from Prudence, and deciding how much you should value it, at what time, in what place and in what manner.  In very simple terms this is the pragmatism of what works so clearly Keynesian economic and the libertarian desire to wipe everything out in one fell swoop without letting society adjust are right out.

Fortitude.  Again often misunderstood to just be courage, it is more tied into the previous three virtues as the will to do what you know to be right.  This throws out RINOs who stand for nothing, and worst of all the politically apathetic who seem to feel that there is no value in anything and nothing worth fighting for.

For purposes here, I am going to take Faith and Hope together because this is the primary difference between paleo and neoconservatives.  Paleoconservatives with their isolationist ways at their core are only looking out for themselves (clearly also lacking in that last virtue) but this is also because they do not have any faith in humanity or hope in the inevitability that republicanism and capitalism will spread to everyone.

Love, the last of the theological virtues and what must be required for all stable society. It is the belief that other humans have value and worth, and must be respected and helped when possible. This is actually the basis for capitalism, democratic-republics, friendship and all progress.  The belief that human beings are worth it (it’s a belief you don’t find in many political beliefs).

I have no doubt that I will come back to this theme over and over…but it has become clear to me that one or all of these virtues is missing in every political philosophy other than true conservatism.

(This will be the first post in an ongoing series on these virtues.)

*Not that all libertarians are this bad, but you have to admit there is a disturbing high number of single issue voters in your party…and their single issue is one that is really dumb. Of course Republicans have social conservatives who are just as stupid.

**I’m just going to gloss over these for now, don’t worry I’ll eventually have numerous blogs dedicated to this now that I’ve figured this out.

 

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Filed under Aristotle, Capitalism, character, Conservative, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Faith, Foreign Policy, Founding, Free Will, Individualism, Natural Rights, NeoConservative, Patriotism, philosophy, politics, Purpose of Life, Sword of Truth, virtue

Movies that show the rich as good #2: Meet Joe Black

“Should I be afraid?”
“Not a man like you.”

Meet Joe Black is a great movie for several reasons. A powerful love story. An insightful look at what life is about. And oddly enough a story about a businessman making sure his life work remains great. (Also the only time in history the IRS was even tangentially heroic…and not, you know, worthy of the treatment at the end of Braveheart).

Meet Joe BlackNow some might think that the story about the businessman trying to keep hold of his business when he knows for certain he will die in the immediate future is really a secondary plot line—that the love story of Death (Joe Black) and Susan is far more important than Anthony Hopkins business tales. And people who edit movies for TV and in-flight movies would agree with those people. However the director Martin Brest thought that it so ruined the movie that he got the Director’s Guild to agree that his name could be removed from the cut without the business story line—the Director’s Guild receives hundreds, some years, thousands of requests to have directors names removed because the director was unhappy with the result…virtually all of them are denied.* So that this was granted tells you that this plot line involving Hopkins’ character of Bill Parish is absolutely important.

Why? Or as Death puts it:

Joe Black: Bill, why at this juncture are you letting yourself be so concerned by business matters?
William Parrish: I don’t want anybody buying up my life’s work! Turning it into something it wasn’t meant to be. A man wants to leave something behind. And he wants it left behind the way he made it. He wants it to be run the way he ran it, with a sense of honor, of dedication, of truth. Okay?

Because this film shows us that life isn’t just about love. It is about life. The big and the small things (like peanut butter). And this movie shows the depth of love, not just romantic love, but the love of parents and children, of friendship, of siblings, and of life itself. Love is one of those massively important things…but so is accomplishment. In fact, if you look at the needs of people’s accomplishments, achievements, the attainment of goals is, according to psychologist Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs, is the next thing we need to achieve in our quest for Happiness.

Now the liberals out there are probably rolling their eyes when they hear attainment of goals or achievement, as theyMeet Joe Black Dance think that you attain goals you must do so by taking from others. They see a world of static wealth and prosperity, where if I am to be successful another must fail, where if I am to be wealthy another must be poor, where if I am to be happy another must be miserable. Which is why they must tear down the strong, the successful, the happy, because in their warped mind those people are taking strength, success and happiness from others. Reality tends to be quite different. Whereas historically most economic and political systems have done the liberal thing and only shifted money and resources around, or at best created wealth at an astoundingly slow rate…capitalism literally creates wealth where it did not exist before. It takes work, ideas, creativity, individual and cooperation, risk, and planning to create wealth…but capitalism is the only system that can sustain long term innovation to create wealth out of what was previously worthless. Wealth thus has no limit, so long as there is liberty and drive to keep creating it. It parallels the other thing we seek for constantly in life: love. Just because I love my spouse doesn’t mean I have to love my parents, my siblings, or my children, or my friends less…they may all be different kinds of love, but an increase in one does not diminish the others. And the movie is quite clear; we need love in our lives:

Bill Parish: Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head, and you listen to your heart. And I’m not hearing any heart. Cause the truth is, honey, there’s no sense living your life without this.

To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven’t lived a life at all. But you have to try, cause if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.

But again back to the Maslow’s hierarchy, life isn’t complete with just love, we also need accomplishment. And the character of Bill Parish certainly has accomplished as the founder and chairman and CEO of a multinational media empire. As he discusses his business he states:

Meet Joe Black ConfrontationSee, I started in this business because this is what I wanted to do. I knew I wasn’t going to write the great American novel, but I also knew there was more to life than buying something for a dollar and selling it for two. I’d hoped to create something, something which could be held to the highest standards. And what I realized was I wanted to give the news to the world, and I wanted to give it unvarnished. The more we all know about each other, the greater the chance we will survive.

Sure, I want to make a profit. You can’t exist without one. But John Bontecou is all profit. Now if we give him license to absorb Parrish Communications, and he has his eye on a few others after us, in order to reach the world you will have to go through John Bontecou. And not only will you have to pay him to do this, far more important, you’ll have to agree with him.

He veers almost into the territory of an Atlas Shrugged hero there…Yes I love making money, but I love making my creation more and you could offer me all the money in the world to scrap what I have built and I would throw it in your face. He is a man of morals which are more important than just money. Which is something else that correct philosophers from Aristotle to Maslow understood, while there are charlatans that can make money, they often can’t keep it going and can’t create. Yeah there are terrible businessmen out there, but the majority of the rich, from the so called Robber Barons to Mitt Romney the rich who come to their money through work and achievement are among the most generous people in the world (Please see Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks for further proof).

And it is this mixture of accomplishment and love and morality that makes the character of Bill Parish so admirable that even Death views him as someone to learn from.

The man from whose lips fall “rapture” and “passion” and “obsession”? All those admonitions about being “deliriously happy, that there is no sense in living your life without” all the sparks and energy you give off, the rosy advice you dispense in round pear shaped tones. […]It requires competence wisdom and experience, all those things they say about you in testimonials. And you’re the one.

And as we see through the course of the movie as he cares for his family and their happiness more than his business, and the achievements he has made more than just buying another day or two of his life, why when right before Death takes him he asks, “Should I be afraid?” The obvious reply to someone who has built and accomplished and loved the only answer can be, “Not a man like you.” Bill Parish stands out as a man who has excelled in every aspect of his life…and it’s amazing that Hollywood would show such a character as being.

Meet Joe Black Death

*If you ever see a movie directed by Alan Smithee, there is no Alan Smithee. That’s the name the Director’s Guild puts on films they allow the real director to distance themselves from. Producers or a studio have to ruin beyond the telling of it a director’s film before this is ever granted.

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Filed under Capitalism, character, Death, Faith, Fear, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Love, Movies, Movies for Conservatives

Before I go see Into Darkness…

EnterpriseI need to get it off my chest how horrifically, unbearably, atrocious the reboot of Star Trek was.   I’m not being hyperbolic, if you tracked down every single copy on DVD, Blueray, the original film and any other form it may exist in and launched them into the sun, the world would be a better place.

UglyassEnterprise

It’s bulky, clunky, disproportionate. It’s just ugly.

However, before I go into why I loathe this reboot, let me state a few things.  First, as far as I can tell the general rule seems to be that anyone who grew up first with the Original Series of Star Trek rightfully hates this abomination of a film—whereas the culturally bereft among you who grew up first on The Next Generation (or god help us Voyager or Enterprise) seem to be okay with mockery of all things Star Trek.*   Second let me say that I’m sure that even if I hadn’t seen all the Original Series before The Next Generation came out; by the time I was 6 I’m sure I had seen most of the Original Series (and all the movies that had come out by that point).  I’m a Trekkie.  Always have been, always will be.  My early teens were a bit more obsessive about the show than I am now (I have been to one convention 20 years ago, and I have no intention of ever going back, unless I have a booth selling copies of Destiny’s Knights and other fiction novels).

So that’s where my biases come from.

However that does not mean I was meant to hate it.  I could have easily loved the new version.  I liked the Tim Burton Batmans but I acknowledge that Nolan’s vision was vastly superior, and Daniel Craig’s more serious Bond is a major improvement.  If the Star Trek reboot had been better, or even on par with the original, I probably would have liked it…but it wasn’t. This film was inferior on every level.  And not just because it was from the writers who brought you such horrifically bad movies as The Island, The Legend of Zorro, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen…not to mention having been writers for Hercules and Xena (depending on when you grew up you might have some fond memories of the campiness of those shows, the writers of this movie didn’t write the episodes you have fond memories of).

Okay some people have covered some of the major reasons why this was a dumb film… but let’s cover some of the reasons not covered there.

StarTrekposter

Are they all trying to look evil or is just bad acting?

So three-quarters of the film is spent drilling holes into planets (let’s just ignore why a mining ship has more firepower than the entire Star Fleet).  A lot of time is wasted drilling holes.  Why?  So they can drop this plot device called red matter that creates a black hole wherever it is dropped.  So why not just drop the red matter on the surface?  A blackhole will still suck the entire planet in whether it’s on the surface or in the core of the planet.  And in general this is a major problem throughout the whole movie.  Star Trek has always skirted the laws of physics, but it has done it in such a way you usually don’t notice until the second or third viewing.   Usually the story of a Star Trek episode or movie (I’m not counting anything from Voyager) was good enough that you could suspend your disbelief enough to not notice the glaring errors in science.  Here you couldn’t do it.  Not in their crappy understanding of black holes, or theoretical time travel (yeah going through a black hole doesn’t send you through time it only crushes you…this isn’t an advance theoretical physics concept, this is high school physics), or even throwing out your own rules of how transporters work (yeah let’s beam them onto a ship with shields up going at warp speed…why?…because our crappy writers put us in this situation with no way to get us out beyond that little bit of insanity).  One of Star Trek’s long standing virtues was that it tried (tried didn’t always succeed, but it tried) to have a loose understanding of science…but not with this crappy reboot.

SpockandChapel

Do you see this woman? The character’s name is Christine Chapel. If Spock is meant to end up with anyone it’s her.  Might as well write Moneypenny out of Bond or Lois Lane out of Superman.

Oh and then there was the fact that every character is different.  EVERY CHARACTER (except Bones for some reason, way to go Karl Urban for actually doing some study of the character).  And what had changed?  Some captain no one ever heard of died and so did Kirk’s dad.  Yes I understand Kirk’s dad, played by Chris Hemsworth, is Thor, god of thunder…but even that strains belief that he would change how everyone turned out.  Let’s run down some of the differences.  Chris Pike has gone from a man who considered leaving Star Fleet and selling Orion Slave Girls to a sage like father figure who is a couple of magical powers short of Obi Wan and Gandalf.  Spock suddenly became hyper emotional, illegally marooning cadets, assaulting people on the bridge, kissing Uhura (WTF?)…so everything that people loved about Spock, the cold logic, the wry sarcasm, the only hints of emotion…all gone.  Uhura developed a personality.  Chekhov developed some useful skills.  Scotty turned into a comedian…with an ugly Ewok as a sidekick.  Wow, even if you believe in the butterfly effect, it’s a little hard to believe that Kirk’s dad had that much of an effect on the universe.  (Let’s also realize that this reduces all life to nothing more than a B.F. Skinner ideal of all there is is the conditioning of our environment, hell there isn’t even a genetic component to your personality, only the environment…and don’t even get me started at how this implies there is no soul, only a malleable thing conditioned by circumstance…thematically it comes off a tad cold and meaningless when compared to, well, any other incarnation of Star Trek.  Of course really you’d have to have a theme before we use the word thematically, something this movie lacked).

NewKirkSpock

I feel a battalion of tribbles could take these two down.

Oh and let’s talk about Jim Kirk.  The rebel without a cause, purpose, plan, brain, or clue.  And the punchline of numerous jokes throughout the film.  Part of what made the Original Series so good (beside the writing) was that the character of James Kirk (despite questionable acting at times) was, on the whole, an admirable figure.  Like the character of Horatio Hornblower whom Roddenberry used as a model, was a strict and disciplined commander, whom despite his appearance of bravado only cared for his ship and his crew.  This little punk was all ego.  And how the hell do you go from cadet about to be court-martialed one minute and, like a week later, promoted to Captain.   I’d follow him, how about you?  Quite frankly when I first heard Benedict Cumberbatch in the new trailer say he was better than this Kirk in everyway I rolled my eyes and said, ‘well, yeah, it’s not a high bar to reach.’  Nothing about this character makes him admirable, nothing.  You can like Shatner’s acting or not, but you have to admit when the script and directing were good Kirk was an admirable, likable, virtuous character.  This cocky little punk just needs to be punched in the face, often.  (Oh, by the way, Chris Pine will also be playing Jack Ryan later this year…yeah thanks for ruining another of my favorite characters.)

IntoDarknessCumberbatch

“I am better than you…in every way” No shit, Sherlock. Janeway and her bunch of losers were better in every way compared to this lot.

And then, of course, is the relationship these films had to their source material.  Nicholas Meyer (writer of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country…otherwise known as the good ones) said one of the first things he did when given the job of writing and directing Star Trek II was he sat down and he watched all the episodes of the original show.  Doing this he not only discovered the heart of the show was the friendship of Kirk, Spock and McCoy (utterly nowhere in this movie).  Was the original series inconsistent in quality and have some really bad moments?  Yeah.  If a Trekkie can’t admit that “Spock’s Brain” may have been the dumbest episode in the history of science fiction, they’re not looking at things rationally.  But the original series also had some of the best moments in science fiction history as well.  And what made the good movies good was that they respected and took from the best of the series, paying little homages to the source material all over the place.  Meanwhile I’m not convinced anyone associated with this film has seen anything beyond Futurama’s parody of Star Trek.   Nothing.  There is no connection to the original beyond a couple dead red shirts and Pike ending up in a wheel chair.

And before I end this let me talk about the preposterous villain for  a second.  So we have Nero, a Romulan commander.  But not the cool, cold, calculating Romulan Commanders we have come to love…no he’s in charge of a mining vessel.  But don’t worry his mining ship has more firepower than the entire Star Fleet…I knew the Romulans were a paranoid bunch…but really?  So his genius plan is to wait 25 years for vengeance, and apparently this guy, whose command skills were only good enough not to get him assigned to a garbage ship is able to keep his entire crew also hellbent on his personal madness for 25 year and nobody mutinies.  You believe that don’t you?

There is so much more that pisses me off about this movie, from horrible directing, bad acting, truly lazy writing, production values that think you should be blinded by light in every scene…I could go on.  It’s not really that I’m upset that they tried to reboot Star Trek, I’m upset they did such a poor job at it.  Just ask yourself this, if you took away the name Star Trek and changed all the character names…would you call this a great film…or would you compare it to other such sci-fi jokes as Wing Commander or whatever original movie is on SyFy this week?

*I’ve never actually met someone whose first exposure to Star Trek was Deep Space Nine, so I have no way describe their feelings toward the reboot

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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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A Compromise We Should Offer Liberals If We Want To Win

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

A couple of years ago I did a series on laws the GOP should pass and in that I did a series of compromises I suggested we conservatives should suggest some laws that give liberals what they say they want but in such a way that we also get something in return and even though we’re giving them what they want we’re doing it in a way that does not violate our values (for instance make marriage a religious issue that government has nothing to do with, government only offers civil unions—they get the equality under law they want, we get the religious nature of marriage untouched by government).

 

And in this vein I have come up with the ultimate compromise, one that will in the end mean the decimation of Democratic and progressive power, but one that will be just too good an offer for the stupid liberals to turn down.

 

Lately there has been a call among the libs, idiots that they are, to overturn the 22nd Amendment…now to save you the time (because I’ll be honest after 19 they all get a little mixed up for me too) the 22nd is the one that limits any person from serving more than 2 terms (technically 10 years total) in the office of the president.  Why?  Because the liberals are so enamored of their divine savior that they think that His Holiness the transcendent Obama should just be allowed to serve 3 or 4 or 10 terms.  He is just that good.  (Yeah because that doesn’t sound like a dictator at all.)

 

And I say we give it to them.  Pass an amendment that overturns the 22nd Amendment.

 

What!  Do I want this nation to be destroyed?  Do I want us to have a GDP lower than a hunter-gatherer tribe lost in the Gobi?  Am I looking to spark a 2nd Dark Ages?

 

No. Hear me out.

 

For this, in the same Amendment (because this has to be an all or nothing thing) we overturn the 26th (the idiotic one that says unspeakably stupid and immature 18 year olds can vote).   And not only do we overturn it we replace it with the new bar that no one younger than 30 can vote* for a federal office (House, Senate, Electoral College)** AND that all states must verify their electoral votes by making voters show valid ID.

 

Okay so?  Why would that make allowing Obama have a chance at a third term acceptable?

 

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

Because it will mean the end of the liberal movement.  It should come as no shock that the young, the immature, and the stupid from lack of experience tend to be liberal.  Also people who have not built up any property (again mostly the young) tend to liberal—yes I know it’s a shocker that the correct (read, conservative) governments, for whom one of the central functions is protection of property rights, isn’t popular with the people who haven’t been alive long enough to earn much. Also strangely the age group that finds the Daily Show to be their primary source of information tends to be the most liberal.

 

Okay, so we know that young people are dumb, big deal.  So what?

 

Well the benefits of Voter ID alone are almost too good to pass up. We all know that liberals have stolen an obscene number of elections through illegal voting.

 

I’ll tell you so what.  If voters under 30 had been barred from voting Romney would have won by nearly 70 Electoral College votes. Obama would have only won California by about 9 points (I could pull up the charts with all the math, but I don’t want to make your eyes bleed)…that’s right California would be at just the edge of swing state territory.  Swing states would become solid red and states that haven’t seen a Republican in ages would suddenly be battleground territory.  (And that’s before you take out all the illegals voting through Voter ID…if you had those 2 things it’s conceivable that California could once again be the state that gave us Reagan).

 

Almost every single thing that makes a person more inclined to be fiscally conservative (experience, marriage, children, income, wealth, employment, spirituality) is tied to age.  And think about it when the voting age was 21 in the colonial era, it wasn’t because people were so much more mature than by nature it was because the life expectancy was around 45.  You were already living on your own by the age of 19, still two years before you could vote.

 

By doing this conservatives gain an easy majority in the Senate and likely a consistent veto-proof majority in the House.

 

Now social issues will probably continue to lean a little left, but that’s just the evolution of society.

 

Now you may say, okay that will work for now, but once those 20 somethings get older they’ll be liberal with a vengeance in their 30’s.  Not so, because after a conservative Congress and conservative president institute real pro-growth policies, these otherwise idiotic young people will actually have something to work for and earn in their 20’s, will have families to care for, will have experience to guide them, and statistically they will vote for conservative economic policy.

 

Or you may say, the Democrats will never fall for it.

 

To which I have to say, you’re forgetting these are the idiots who fell for Obama’s shtick, deep thinkers they are not. If you offer them the chance to re-elect their God-king one more time they’d do things far worse than destroy their own party.  They’re deluded to think that he’ll get re-elected every time no matter what.  Yet the numbers show that’s not the case, but these idiots don’t understand numbers very much (as shown by their economic policies).

 

Now some of you still probably believe they’re not dumb enough to fall for this.  That they’ll see through the ruse and just vote for Obama-lite in 2016 and 2020.  Let me just point out that some of his idiot followers are attributing a cure for AIDS to the man, trust me they’re well beyond the point of being dumb enough. They really think this man is their lord and savior.  They’re well beyond dumb enough.  Well, well beyond.

 

They’ll fall for it.  And they’ll destroy their party in doing so.  So who’s with me on this?

 

 

*I’m more than willing to include an exception for active duty members of the military and veterans under 30.

**If states want to let the immature vote in state and local elections that’s their stupid choice.

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Eric Cantor on Conservatism and the Future of America

Eric Cantor“We will go forward with this agenda with the conservative emphasis on individual effort, opportunity, on self reliance and on opportunity for more people.”

Majority Leader Eric Cantor will probably never be label with the moniker of “The Great Communicator”…which is unfortunate because his ideas are great ones that need to be heard.

Today he gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on the goals of the GOP in this Congress covering the free market solutions to innovation, education, immigration, workforce laws, taxes, and healthcare.

What makes this speech interesting is that not only does encompass sound policy but it starts using the more emotional based arguments in defense of capitalism suggested by Arthur Brooks (who happens to introduce Cantor).  The thought being that we all know the numbers and the logic of the free market work…but we’re trying to sell it people who primarily think in terms of emotions not logic, thus we must make the argument that Capitalism, Liberty, and the free market are not only Just and Pragmatic, but fair as well.

“It’s about making life work again for people for more people.”

(I personally love his response to the 2nd to the last question.)

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Progressives want more fair pay acts to create equality…that will be neither fair nor equal…

So the latest pointless legislation to come from idiots on the left is the  ‘Paycheck Fairness Act’:

Mikulski and DeLauro said the Paycheck Fairness Act would also allow women to seek punitive damages for pay discrimination, establish a grant program to strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills and require the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to eliminate pay disparities.

Oh great more laws to enforce “fairness” between wages because of the myth that women earn less than men.

Yes because government programs, grants, Federal involvement in negations, and regulations will result in far more equal pay.  This equal pay will of course come in the form of more unemployed people because grants, programs, regulations and overreach tends to result in the contraction of the economy.  And everyone is equal when you don’t have a job.  But don’t worry we have the Obama and his Jobs Council to help find those people new jobs…oh, wait, we don’t.

But at least we have the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to protect us.  Obama said so in his inauguration.

Okay let’s first talk about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act…or as I call it bullshit.  What is it really?  It’s a bone to the trial lawyers who now have legal cover to sue for perceived injustices that are decades old.  It’s the exact opposite of the tort reform we so dearly need.   Because it has nothing to do with equal pay.

But back to the myth that men make more than women.  It’s only true if you ignore all relevant detail.  It’s like saying that people in their 40’s make more than people in their 20’s and blaming age discrimination.  Factually the wage gap is true, but it ignores all the relevant reasons as to why it’s true.

Did you know that women in their 20’s make more money than their male counterparts in the same field? 

Did you know that when you correct for experience and education and the job then women of any age earn more?  (See Thomas Sowell’s book Economic Facts and Fallacies for more on this) It’s just that women take these large swaths of time off from their careers…the Obama administration can find no explanation but sexism for the time women take off from their jobs.

Since women in their 20′s are making more than men in their 20′s, actually if you had equal work for equal pay it means most men should be making more…hmmm…..oh wait because we’ve put in card check and unfair practices at the federal labor board everyone will be in a unions with a few year whether they want to be or not.  Thus we will all be getting paid the same, irrespective of education, work, merit, seniority or skill.

Or consider the fact that 93% of all workplace fatalities are men.  Did anyone want to talk about workplace equality for this?  Or did anyone want to consider this suggest that men are statistically taking more dangerous jobs which pay more for the risk, thus accounting for the discrepancy between wages when you consider ALL MEN and ALL WOMEN.

Yes when you consider all men to all women men make more.  But when you look at the same job for two people with the same education and years of experience, women make more.

Women you want to make more?  Take jobs that pay more and don’t take off time to have children.  That’s all you have to do, value income more than a job you may enjoy and value income more than having a family.  Statistically that’s all you have to do and you will make more than your male counterparts.  You don’t need legislation.

real war on women(Of course if we took that route we might have to acknowledge things like Obama’s economics have hurt women more than men, or that Obama is funneling guns and combat jets to countries that treat women as little more than slaves, or that one of the few places women are paid less than men is Obama’s Administration, or that the real war on women might be gender selective abortions pushed by Planned Parenthood and defended by Democrats*)

In the end this is just another BS law by the left using government to infantilize people and make them feel entirely dependent on a government to protect them and take care of them.

*I’m pro-choice but I think even pro-choice people can admit that gender selective abortion are really sick…although ironically the people who would have such an abortion are the last people I would ever want to raise a child–it’s the sad irony of all abortion.

***t

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Movies for Conservatives: Les Miserables

Les Miserables Posters

“Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men.  It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.”

Les Mis a movie for conservatives?

Yeah.

But let’s first talk about the qualities of the movie apart from political or philosophical points.

The High Points

This is the play in all its glory.  And the play is a truncated version of one of the most moving books ever written.  All the passion, all the empathy there.  You will cry for Fantine.  For Eponine.  For Gavrouche.  For the revolutionary Friends of the ABC.  For Javert. And of course for Valjean.  Bring tissues this is movie that you will cry at, a lot.

And this movie has a few truly wonderful scenes that supply motivation that was missing in the play.  For instance it has Javert arrive on the same day that Fantine is dismissed from her job, which gives a reason for Valjean not taking a more serious interest in her case.

The movie also supplies little moments from the book that were never in the play, like Grantaire standing by Enjolras at the moment of execution.

I think director Tom Hooper created something truly genius with the live singing way this movie was made…however it appears in the early scenes that there was certainly a learning curve involved in using this technique (I wish this wasn’t the first movie to do it so Hooper could have had something to reference).  But for any inconsistency it brings up at some moments, it adds deeply to the rest of the film and emotional impact of the songs.

Les Mis HathawayAnne Hathaway deserves an Oscar.

And Russell Crowe’s singing was a pleasant surprise.  He added more humanity to Javert than any actor I have previously seen.

The Low Points.

I feel there was a lot that got left on the editing room floor. At 2 hours and 37 minutes this was pushing it for most movies nowadays and I’m pretty sure if all the little things that were taken out were put back in it would be well over 3 hours.  And since Hollywood has no intention of returning to the idea of an intermission (to me this makes no sense as most of the money comes from concessions and if there is a break at an hour and a half we would be more willing to buy soda since we wouldn’t have to worry about running out to the rest room and we would buy food at the halfway mark as we would be hungrier by that point…but at least it seems that way, real data I’m not privy to might show otherwise) they were probably forced to make some heavy cuts to the movie.  This creates some odd pacing issues, where certain parts feel a little rushed.

Also, and it may be a personal issue that others may not have a problem with, I was not overly impressed by Jackman’s singing. It wasn’t bad, but I’m used to a deeper more sonorous voice for Valjean.

On the technical points, the movie is one of the best of the year, the acting and visual work was spectacular. The editing needs work (or at least a director’s cut DVD…please.) and the directing while exceptional still could have been just a little better (I think the high cost of production may have prevented doing reshoots that other films might have done)…Hooper gets an A not A+.

The Political/Philosophical Points

Did you know this was Ayn Rand’s favorite book?  It was.  Kind of puts any thoughts that Les Mis is liberal out of the “obviously” category doesn’t it.

Okay let’s look at some of the points. On their own merits.

“I am the master of hundreds of workers, they all look to me.  Can I abandon them, how will they live if I am not free. I speak I am condemned, if I stay silent, I am damned.”

Jean Valjean is a convict, yes. But while that’s all that Javert sees, we’re supposed to see more.  We’re supposed to see the successful businessman who not only created a whole industry in a town, bringing it out of poverty and into an economic renaissance, but who also out of Christian charity (not guilt, it should be noted that if you read the book Valjean is motivated by a desire to be a better person, not by guilt about his prior actions) creates hospitals and schools for the poor.  In a day and age when lesser writers like Dickens would just recycle the terrible image of the robber baron, Hugo gave us a noble businessman as an example of what others should be. It should also be noted that in a very Atlas Shrugged kind of way, Hugo has no illusions that once Valjean is forced to run the industry and the town is not able to survive in its thriving state without Valjean’s leadership. The book to a great degree, with touches still in the movie, shows that prosperity is driven by captains of industry.

“Take my hand I’ll lead you to salvation.  Take my love, for love is everlasting.  And remember the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God.”

Further it should be noted what a deeply religious story this story is.  It is God and the Bishop of Digne, not government that redeems Valjean.  God and faith permeate all levels of this story.  Faith ironically is what drives both Valjean and Javert.  And it never condemns any form of faith, showing that all those fallen (except sadly Javert, whom I’m sure Hugo would have placed there) together in heaven.

The novel, the play, and now the movie praise faith.  It’s a rarity these days in serious well produced films.  And given the desperate need for spirituality in our modern world, something like this must be embraced.

“Let us die facing our foe […] Let others rise to take our place until the Earth is FREE!”

And dare we forget that much of the second half of the story is taken up by an uprising by Republican revolutionaries, seeking a return to law and not the capricious whims of a king.

“But, but, but” some liberals will complain.  The book is about helping the poor, and how unjust the criminal justice system is.  Those are liberal issues. And what they fail to realize is that these are different times and different issues.  The poor in 19th century France were starving (a problem with accuracy is that even the slums of France look too pretty in this movie…honestly we wouldn’t have felt comfortable actually watching what the “The Miserable” of 19th century France looked like…it wasn’t quite Nazi Concentration Camp, but certainly not as pretty as this film depicts it), the poor in 21st century America are suffering an obesity epidemic.  Hugo critiqued those who were lazy and those who felt entitled.  Poverty of the kind Hugo witnessed in France was what he wanted us to feel empathy for, modern poverty would not likely bring as much empathy from Victor.  And he would be horrified by the lack of the churches and religion in the government welfare that modern liberals champion.  And don’t even get me started on the fact that you can’t compare the legal system that punished Valjean for 20 years and hounded him for life for stealing a loaf of bread to our modern system…yes we have problems, but we have the kind of problems Hugo would have only dreamed of.

“Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free.”

Of course for me one of the most revealing passages in Les Miserable is when Hugo takes a moment to critique communism.

(It should be noted the terms Socialism and Communism at the time do not have the same meaning now…what he calls Communism would be more in line with modern European Socialism…the term Capitalism was first used in 1854, 8 years before Hugo published Les Miserables—it took him nearly 20 years to write—and its usage as a economic system did not begin until Marx used it in 1867, 5 years after Les Miserables was published.  So he could never expect to hear him use the term capitalism even thought that seems to be what he’s calling for.   He certainly did not have the term cronyism which describes the economics of 19th century France better than anything.  So pay attention to the systems and practices he is referring to, not the titles, as he had no access to the title we currently use.)

“The reader will not be surprised if, for various reasons, we do not here treat in a thorough manner, from the theoretical point of view, the questions raised by socialism. We confine ourselves to indicating them.

All the problems that the socialists proposed to themselves, cosmogonic visions, reverie and mysticism being cast aside, can be reduced to two principal problems.

First problem: To produce wealth.

Second problem: To share it.

The first problem contains the question of work.

The second contains the question of salary.

In the first problem the employment of forces is in question.

In the second, the distribution of enjoyment.

From the proper employment of forces results public power.

From a good distribution of enjoyments results individual happiness.

By a good distribution, not an equal but an equitable distribution must be understood.  The highest equality is equity.

From these two things combined, the public power without, individual happiness within, results social prosperity.

Social prosperity means the manhappy, the citizen free, the nation great.

England solves the first of these two problems. She creates wealth admirably, she divides it badly. This solution which is complete on one side only leads her fatally to two extremes: monstrous opulence, monstrous wretchedness. All enjoyments for some, all privations for the rest, that is to say, for the people; privilege, exception, monopoly, feudalism, born from toil itself. A false and dangerous situation, which sates public power or private misery, which sets the roots of the State in the sufferings of the individual. A badly constituted grandeur in which are combined all the material elements and into which no moral element enters.

Communism and agrarian law think that they solve the second problem. They are mistaken. Their division kills production. Equal partition abolishes emulation; and consequently labor.

It is a partition made by the butcher, which kills that which it divides.

It is therefore impossible to pause over these pretended solutions. Slaying wealth is not the same thing as dividing it.

The two problems require to be solved together, to be well solved. The two problems must be combined and made but one.

[…]

Solve the two problems, encourage the wealthy, and protect the poor, suppress misery, put an end to the unjust farming out of the feeble by the strong, put a bridle on the iniquitous jealousy of the man who is making his way against the man who has reached the goal, adjust, mathematically and fraternally, salary to labor, mingle gratuitous and compulsory education with the growth of childhood, and make of science the base of manliness, develop minds while keeping arms busy, be at one and the same time a powerful people and a family of happy men, render property democratic, not by abolishing it, but by making it universal, so that every citizen, without exception, may be a proprietor, an easier matter than is generally supposed; in two words, learn how to produce wealth and how to distribute it, and you will have at once moral and material greatness; and you will be worthy to call yourself France.”

[Emphasis added]

You will notice he is proposing such things as universal education, due process of law, and property rights.  He condemns any attempt for everyone to have their fair and equal share and envying the wealthy.  He proposes that people be paid just wages for their work (which was an issue then, not so much now). He proposes to make every man his own master, that everyone may earn wealth.  I can’t speak with certainty what political path Hugo would take in the modern world, but I can be fairly certain that if a modern day liberal went back to see him, Hugo would try to slap the stupid out of the Occupy trash.  I can also be mildly sure that Hugo might encourage the building of a few barricades against some of the government overreaches of the modern world.

All in all, the story is one of the value of liberty, of the individual, of redemption through works and of God.  Those are conservative themes if I ever heard them.

“Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night

It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the Earth there is a flame that never dies,

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

We will live again in Freedom in the garden of the Lord.

We will walk behind the plowshares.  We will put away the sword.

The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?  Who will be strong and stand with me?

Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?

Do you hear the people sing, say do you hear the distant drums?

It is the future that we bring when tomorrow comes!”

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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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The Great Greg Gutfeld at The Reagan Library

The first 8 minutes is dead air, but if you skip that it is a great speech by the most under-appreciated personality on the right.

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

So as I explained in the last part there are reasons that we can’t beat Obama at his game right now.  His data mine is geared to categorizing people by demographics of gender and race, things that can’t be changed, and then he plays to these groups based on promising them things (the fact that his gifts really hurt most of these groups in the long run is only secondary).

So how do we win?

Well first let’s take a look at a few things.

When you compare the 2008 numbers to the 2012* numbers you find that Romney beat McCain’s total numbers and he did much better than McCain in 32 states (possibly more as some states still haven’t certified).  The three states that saw the biggest loss in GOP numbers were New Jersey, New York (and Sandy might be partially to blame for those two) and California—all three liberal bastions where conservatives may have seen no reason to come out.

Obama did worse in all but 4 states.  (Again, maybe a couple more when the counting is done, but it’s still pathetic).

The next thing to look at is that Romney did better with almost every group (except Latinos) than McCain, including young African Americans (which offers hope that this voting block is beginning to realize they’re being used and exploited).

So we’re making headway anyway.

But we can’t rest on that for obvious reasons.

So what I see are the larger things that we, as individuals, may not have a lot of control over…and the smaller things we can do.

Let’s start with the larger stuff.

Now as the great Dirty Sex & Politics points out we do need to rebrand ourselves. 

And as many of the right have pointed out we need conservative media and conservative politicians to confront the liberal propaganda and spin even more.

And we also need to learn to not fall into all these stupid traps liberals set.

Now this last one is probably the easiest.  Most of the liberal traps deal with social issues (The libertarians did 600,000 voters better in 2012 than 2008, now, granted that’s a lot of anti-war liberal cowards, but it’s still something we can try and poach).  So everyone needs to remember this line and pass it on when it comes to any social policy at the federal level:

“I do not support that personally, but I am a conservative which means I support limited federal government and the Tenth Amendment.   While I don’t support that issue personally, it is not the place of the federal government to pick a side one way or the other, that is for individual states to decide and I will stop any attempt by the federal government to intrude on this issue.

And on issues where this can’t help but involve federal issues, the federal government must follow what the majority of the states are doing at the time. “

There you can be against drugs, gay marriage, abortion…but since we believe in the 10th Amendment we don’t think it’s the role of the federal government and will not do anything where the states chose in a way that contradicts our beliefs.  Social conservatives, this still allows you to not betray any of your values, but it also upholds your values of state’s rights…oh and it will allow us to win more elections.

You might want to tell me I’m wrong on this, but look at these exit poll numbers.

Blanket opposition to abortion isn’t going to win.  Ever again.  Now making it a state’s rights issue can win and you can prevent your tax dollars from funding anything…but just a blanket opposition is stupid.  The majority support abortion, the exit polls numbers and Gallup confirm this.

We need Voter ID laws in every state.  Better checks to make sure we don’t have false registrations (and Draconian punishments for turning in false registrations or “losing” the registrations of people aren’t for the party you like).  We need laws to clear the voter rolls every 2 to 4 years.  We need to dump these voting machines which seem to be a little too prone to leftist cheating and go back to paper ballots.  And we need laws ensuring that military will be counted no matter what.

Now really long term I would love it if we could get a lot of blue states to split their electoral votes, but that’s a pipe dream.  And really long term I think we need to look into overturning the 26th Amendment.  Yes, it seemed all nice and fuzzy and right to give 18 year olds the vote when we had the draft…but honestly, have you met most 18 year olds?  I mean we don’t trust these idiots with alcohol or rental cars…but we trust them with the future of the nation?  Yeah there are exceptions, and I’m more than willing to say anyone who has served or is serving their nation has the right to vote…but honestly, I think we need to move the age up to 30.  I mean just look at these numbers.  People under 30 are statistically idiots.

And of course we need the GOP to put some money into voter turn out at all levels, not just relying on the Presidential candidate to do it…which seemed to be their really dumb move this year.

Finally, the conservatives in power need to hold the line.

That means that the debt ceiling does not get raised (unless maybe we adopt the Ryan budget and overturn Obamacare).

That means we don’t make compromises unless we get something we really want or it gets us halfway to our goals….

…oh so you want to raise taxes on the rich.  And we want to get rid of loopholes and lower those taxes. We’ll meet you halfway and get rid of all loopholes for those making over $250K. (That way we just have to worry about lowering the rate when we get in).

…oh you want big public work programs and amnesty for all the illegal immigrants (oh I’m sorry we can’t use that term anymore, migrant felons)…okay then we want real immigration reform in exchange for amnesty and we’ll let you have a big public works project building a big damn wall on the southern border.

You know compromises like that.

As for the sequestration…I’m not that concerned about it honestly.  Yes it will cut military spending, and in the short run this is problematic.  But honestly the smaller military that this dimwit has at his disposal, that’s probably for the best.

These simple things will help us stay true to our values but make us more likely to win, reduce the liberal chance to cheat, and get us what we actually want.

This needs to be the plan the GOP holds to because it is the plan that will work.

But what can we do as individuals?  I’ll deal with that in the third part.

*I’m going to spare you the chart with all the state by state numbers unless anyone asks for it.

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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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Movies that show the rich as good #4 Batman Begins

“And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Oh come on you knew he would be in here. Super rich guy who uses his money to battle crime and evil. Of course he’s going to be in this list.

So I chose this one film over the whole spectrum of Batman films for two reasons. The first is that I find the Bale/Nolan interpretation of the character to be far more human and realistic than any other version of the character. The second is that because this version of the film includes not one person to admire, but two.

The first is of course Bruce Wayne. Yeah a little off in the early parts of the movie, but once he finds his calling for his life—“I’m gonna show the people of Gotham their city doesn’t belong to the criminals and the corrupt.” It’s a very conservative/libertarian idea—I’m going to show people that they can stand up for themselves, I’m going to show them their problems aren’t so big that individuals can’t face them, and, as he says in a later film, “A hero can be anyone.” And this is what makes him better than the other visions of Batman which at their best seem to only be driven by revenge or guilt at their core (or campiness) and have merely sublimated it into something more productive…but rather someone who has moved beyond his need for revenge and self-pity to actually do something productive with his life.

Honestly, the argument for Bruce Wayne kind of gets made on its own…or you’ve really been living in a cave.

But there is another nice thing about Batman Begins: Thomas Wayne.
This film gives us a look at the virtues of the Wayne family that are often ignored just a little in the whole of films.

“In the depression, your father nearly bankrupted Wayne Enterprises combating poverty. He believed that his example could inspire the wealthy of Gotham to save their city.”

Thomas Wayne shows all the virtues of all those robber barons of the 19th century who used their earned wealth to build infrastructure, charities, fund churches and reform movements, who brought cheaper goods at greater quantities. Those evil bastards. They understood the call of the now overly forgotten virtue of noblesse oblige*–that with the wealth you have earned and inherited one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you can do with that wealth is help others fulfill their potential as well. Wayne especially in his building a transportation system rather than just giving out the dole understands that it is systems and tools that help people more than just handouts.

“Gotham’s been good to our family, but the city’s been suffering. People less fortunate than us have been enduring very hard times. So we built a new, cheap, public transportation system to unite the city.”

Of course also this is the kind of man who through his superior actions as a parent also shows himself to be worthy of complete admiration. Even his dying words, “Don’t be afraid,” are concerned with the not just the physical well being of his son, but the mental and spiritual well being as well (yeah, it took Bruce awhile to internalize them, but he’s only human).

The Nolan series of Dark Knight movies as a whole is a wonderful depiction of human virtue and the good that people are capable of, but this movie also doesn’t give into the knee jerk ability to just portray the rich as vapid and pointless. (Notice also how offended even the rich are when Bruce starts to pretend acting like most Hollywood writers think the rich actually are).

*Yes I realize that the term has numerous definitions from the derogatory to the chivalrous, I’m going to use it here to more or less mean: To whom much is given, much is expected… or, if you prefer I keep in the comic book parlance for the blog, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” You might also look to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Book 4 Chapter 2 for a further discussion on this virtue.

Honorable Mentions in Film
I would be remiss to not mention two other rich people in film in conjunction with the Dark Knight films.

The first is Zorro. And I will say the best version of Zorro is still the The Mark of Zorro with Tyrone Power. Like Wayne, and in most versions of the Batman story the inspiration for Batman, Don Diego de la Vega is rich but cannot turn aside from the injustice he sees. So he dons a mask and becomes the Fox, Zorro. Now granted the wealth of a Spanish noble in Spanish California is probably not as ethically gotten as a modern industrialist, but it’s not as relevant to the story.

And of course, since most of Marvel’s stable of heroes are merely rip offs of DC characters we have to mention, Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr.’s Ironman starts off as a bit more immature than Bruce Wayne, but over the last three films (and soon Iron Man 3) we have certainly come to love Tony, if not still finding him a bit egocentric.

These are highly entertaining films, albeit maybe not as deep as the Dark Knight films.

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