This is a rather long lecture by Milton Friedman on the issues of government in medical care. As it is so long I’m not going to write a lot, but you should watch it because, despite being over 3 decades old, every word is still very relevant.
Category Archives: Tyranny
Someone (we’re not sure who, Obama and Kerry say Assad, the UN says the rebel—I don’t trust either, so who knows) used chemical weapons in Syria.
Some might argue that we should punish those who have done so. That we need to go in to save lives.
But they’re looking at it wrong. While we do as decent people have a responsibility to stop genocide, that isn’t enough, we have to make sure we can actually improve the situation. The question shouldn’t necessarily be is Assad (or the rebels) killing people, it should be, can we stop the killing? In Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan there were either prodemocracy forces (and in those last two I will fully admit we botched any attempt to rally those forces and form a real government)…and in Japan we had the wherewith-all to stay in charge for over a decade to ensure a stable government was left in place. The problem with Syria is that it’s a choice between Assad and his Iran/Hamas terrorists backers and the Rebels (read Al-Qaeda)…if either side wins, they’ll use the chemical weapons and kill the people of Syria and probably other nations…and America at this point (even if we had a leader and not an idiot in charge) doesn’t have the resolve to stay the time needed and spend the money required to take over Syria and build a system that will end the killing of people. The fact is that no matter what we do, people are going to die. If we help people die, if we don’t help people die. There is no way out of this that can stop the killing.
Now some people, whose opinions I respect, suggest we should go in and just bomb Assad’s ability for air dominance, level the playing field and let the rebels and Assad fight it out on equal terms. I can see the wisdom in this…but this assumes a leader who knows what do to and how to handle such a campaign. And here’s the problem if you had such a leader my NeoCon side might just say, why half-ass it?, go in occupy the nation and set up a democracy…but lacking such a leader I don’t know if I can even trust the idiot we have now to level the playing field…honestly has he done anything else right in foreign policy? Which again leads me back to it’s best to stay out of this mess.
The silver lining to not doing anything at the moment is that this is Hamas and Al-Qaeda killing each other…which saves us the time and trouble of doing it.
But let’s talk about what we should do if reality had no bearing on this (or, say, if we had done the intelligent thing and elected a leader and good man and not a buffoon and corrupt hack). Now Syria would present it’s own challenges but I think the best way we should do with Syria, if we were going to get involved is to look at our two most recent mistakes, Iraq and Afghanistan, and see where we screwed up there.
Now let’s first deal with some of the points of why we went. We went to take out terrorist threats (and both nations did present such a threat), we went to do the ethical thing and stop genocide, and we went to spread democracy. All could have been accomplished if Bush and/or Obama had had even half a brain between them…but Obama likes to grovel and apologize for America’s virtue and Bush was an isolationist (just look at his debate with Gore where he said he didn’t want to engage in nation building…so stop blaming NeoConservatives for Bush’s idiocy, he was never one of us and never will be). It was the right war to fight.
It was also fought well. The military is not the part to blame, it is the diplomats and politicians who screwed the occupation up, not the war itself.
Now let’s review what we should have done but didn’t. And, in terms of full disclosure, I honestly thought we would have been bright enough to do these things when I gave my support for these wars…I thought that even if Bush was dumb enough to not know to do these, his advisors would at least be bright enough…boy was I wrong.
The first thing we should not have done was turn over Iraq and Afghanistan to Iraqi and Afghani control so soon. We were in control of Germany for year (and only gave them independence to gain their alliance in the Cold War) and were in complete control of Japan for nearly a decade. We should have remained in political and military control of Iraq and Afghanistan for nearly a decade as well. It takes time to rebuild the infrastructure of a nation, it takes time to get the culture used to the principles of rule of law and a democratic-Republic, it takes time to properly write a Constitution. All of these were rushed for political convenience. And that is partly what ultimately made these situations so terrible.
Someone should have gone to Congress to first get an act of war declared and second to get Congress to lay out in writing and law what defines success and when we can legally leave. Right now we can leave whenever, whether we’ve finished the job or not, and it is largely up to the president and the president only. These are powers that Congress should have, and they should not have been given up, nor should any president have grabbed them.
The nations should have been broken up. Their current borders are arbitrary creations of colonialism and forced numerous ethnic and religious groups that loathe each other. Pluralism is also superior, but it grows best naturally when two group both doing well see each other as equals that both can grow and learn from, not from being forced together. Iraq, should have been three nations (Kurds, Sunni, Shia)…Afghanistan should have likely been broken into a Southern and Northern part (although I’ll admit my knowledge of the breakdown of clans, ethnicities and religious divisions in Afghanistan is not as deep as it could be). My point here being that smaller less diverse areas are easier to administrate, easier to work with, easier to maintain stability it…and if there is terrorist activity in one it does not mean that destabilizes the whole operation (for instance Kurdistan would have likely been stable, and possibly even economically prosperous very quickly which would have led to more stability in the whole area and an ally we can count on).
We should have never let the armies disband as quickly as we did. We should have kept them as POWs vetting every single one of them before releasing them. This would have delayed the terrorists attacks.
I agree completely with the surges, only disagreeing that they should have been done earlier and probably to an even greater degree.
We should have burned each and every poppy field in all of Afghanistan to the ground and shot any drug lord who complained. The terrorists live off the funds of the drug trade and one of our first goals should have been to deny them any and all funds.
The Peace Corp should have been recalled for training in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Dari, (and anything else we needed) and then sent to Afghanistan and Iraq. There is no point in having a Peace Corp in helping in social and economic development if you’re not going to use it where it was needed most.
Border walls. As we have learned in the US, there is nothing so important as a border wall…more so when dealing with terrorists. We should have been building walls on the border of every single nation, starting with the borders of Iran, Pakistan, Syria. If we had done this the terrorist activity would have been drastically reduced (as most of it came from Iran, Pakistan and Syria)…and if there had been a division of the nations we should have had walls between them as well to help stop the spread of terrorism.
With staying longer, our first responsibility should have been building up roads, water, electricity, schools, hospitals and the basic of industry…the infrastructure needed to support a republic of law. Training the military and police should have been a distant second (because when you rush that, you let the terrorist infiltrate easily and attack us from within, as we’ve seen all too well) as the military can handle that for a longer period as we’ll be there for a while.
There is no way we should have ever left Iraq without gaining a permanent military base and the same goes for Afghanistan. One of the only reasons why these invasions made sense in the long run from a tactical stand point was gaining foot holds to ensure stability in the area (would Syria be as violent as it is right now if there was a permanent US base with missile launch capability just a few minutes from it’s borders?)
Among stronger women’s right pushes than we made, we should have made it a requirement that both nations add full rights to women and some version of our burning bed justifications (which more or less makes it justifiable for a woman who is afraid of her husband beating or murdering her to kill her husband…and then we should have probably armed every woman as we could have). This would hopefully have cleared out a lot of the worst bastards we would have to worry about, and the scum who objected should have just been summarily shot as well because you know they’re shit who would be nothing but a blight on humanity. (And I can hear some liberal whiny about it’s their culture who are you to judge. I’m a human being with a brain, that’s who. Any man, any law, any religion that says women are inferior to men is shit and deserves to be wiped off the Earth with extreme prejudice.) We should probably also have installed a lot of women in positions of power, those who objected can be shot. (This is more to quickly identify the terrorist scum and quickly eliminate them).
We should never have stopped it being a major function of the military and CIA to gather intelligence. We should be capturing terrorists leaders and water-boarding every last piece of information out of them. The problem with drones isn’t their use or their death toll…it’s that they’re being used in lieu of gathering intelligence which actually (causes more death in the long run) kills even more people in the long run.
(On a side note) We should have backed, supported and armed the revolution that started in Iran. Conversely we should not have given moral support to the largely terrorist led Arab Spring.
We should have gone in and still should be going in with the mentality that first and foremost this is a war. If you are dealing with rational people then negotiate with them, but otherwise there is no retreat, no fallback, no quarter and all that is acceptable is either complete and unconditional surrender or every member of your opposition dead. No negotiations with the Taliban, no playing nice for Iran and Pakistan. This is a war, we are in the right (or at least we could have been) and we will not stop until every tyrant is dead or in jail and every innocent citizen enjoys full human rights.
Now, while Syria presents it’s own challenges and idiosyncrasies, but it is these general principals that should guide the occupation and rebuilding of any nation. And the question you need to ask is, do you think Obama has the spine and intelligence to do any of this? Do you think he even has the brains to carry out attacks on Assad’s military targets?
For me the answer is simple. No. I would love to spread liberty and end genocide everywhere…but from what I have seen of this nation, and especially Obama, we don’t know how to do it, we don’t have the patience it takes to do it, and right now we certainly aren’t in an economic position to do it. In an ideal world intervention is what we should do, but the realities of the present state that our current situation will only lead to making things worse.
So a friend shared with me this gruesomely titled article, “Top Democrat Pushing For “One Child” Population Control In America.” Now, the Democrat in question is Michael E. Arth, a failed Democratic candidate for the governor’s mansion in Florida. So I’m not sure if I would say “Top Democrat” is completely accurate…but he’s certainly up there…but his statements are actually rather typical for liberals and their insane fear of overpopulation.
Here are some fun highlights:
Now, thanks to the one-child policy – to which there are many exceptions, by the way – China’s ageing population will probably not grow much more from now on, as long as they don’t remove the restrictions.
China, and the rest of the world, would be better served by a choice-based marketable birth license plan, or “birth credits,” that could stop or reverse population growth on a dime. Birth credits allow people to have as many children as they desire and can manage and reward people who are willing to give up that right.
The limit to individual freedom is where the exercise of an individual right begins to infringe on the rights we hold in common.
If you feel like vomiting, I can’t blame you.
Liberals seem to think that the world is heading to an apocalyptic scenario where every part of the world is crammed with people stacked on top of each other while simultaneously the Malthusian nightmare of perpetual famine, war, pollution and death. And of course the only way to solve this problem is the same answer liberals have for every single problem in the history of human existence*: more government regulation. To a liberal we of course need the government to limit how many children we can have, license who can have children, punish those whom we don’t like having children, and provide free ways to dispose of those nasty little bastards when you don’t want to have them.** I think we’ve all joked, upon seeing the inept wretches out there that have children, that there should be licensing to have children…but we also all agree that the idiots who run the DMV with such efficiency, the NSA with such high moral standards, and Treasury with such common sense and restraint, are quite literally the most unqualified people to issue such license, and are in fact the people whose births we hoped would have been prevented by such regulation. I think we can all agree Joe Biden’s mother made a terrible, terrible mistake in deciding to keep him. Now you may think I’m exaggerating, that it’s only a few kooks…but no. A search of the terms Overpopulation, Sustainability, Carrying Capacity yield articles from CNN, MSNBC, Salon, and of course this one from the UN itself on the horrific terror that overpopulation brings. And there is a plethora of even less reputable sources. Granted I may not always view these as the most accurate of sources, but it does show a mentality that thinks that overpopulation is a problem…and for them it is a problem related to all their whiny fake environmentalist hysteria, and just general hatred of the individual who makes their own choices.
You can see this hatred is for the individual in Arth’s words:
The limit to individual freedom is where the exercise of an individual right begins to infringe on the rights we hold in common.
There is no such thing as “rights held in common.” Only individuals have rights. ONLY INDIVIDUALS. Groups do not hold rights. We can talk about balancing the needs of the whole versus the rights of one person, we can talk about practicality, but never make the mistake that the call for pragmatism in policy has anything to do with the rights of groups. Only individuals hold rights, because only individuals can make the choices to exercise those rights. When people talk about group rights held in common, they are only saying that a government task master will be the one exercising control and choice over the sheep they control. And what greater control could there be than to say who can and cannot have a child and when they can or can’t. This coming from the party that says government has no right to say what you do in the bedroom or with whom.
There is of course one tiny little problem. US population is dropping, European population is dropping, Hell, world population may be dropping. If it wasn’t for immigration it would be even more evident. And even if it isn’t dropping, you could actually fit all 6.9 billion people in Texas if you packed them in at the population density of New York City…doesn’t exactly sound like there is no room for anyone else. Now for liberals who statistically live in crowded cities, it may seem like there is no room left, in reality there is A LOT of land left.
Part of the problem is they hold Malthus’s ideas as gospel. For those not familiar with them, here is the short, short version. Malthus believes that technology increased food production arithmetically (10, 12, 14, 16, 18…all plus 2) while population grew geometrically (2, 4, 8, 16, 32…all times 2) over a certain period of time. So when you start and there is food for 10,000 people and you only have 2,000, you’re all good…but after a while you have food for 16,000 and a population of 16,000…still good until the next generation when you don’t have enough food to feed 14,000. This leads to wars over food, famine from lack, disease from malnutrition (modern liberals would add pollution from over farming habits) and just suffering in general. The problem here is that Malthus understood nothing about the coming effects of science, technology, innovation, mass production, the industrial revolution, and of course capitalism. ***
Overpopulation is a lie. It is not a global problem. Like so many things it is merely a tool of fear, an excuse to expand the power of those in control over the rest of us.
However, I would like to say that this does not mean that the opposite is completely true as some foolish conservatives seems to claim. Overpopulation isn’t a global problem…but it is a problem in certain areas. The third world has a major problem with over population. Yes capitalism and all the benefits it brings make Malthus’ predictions pointless…but without capitalism everything Malthus feared goes on in the third world with deadly accuracy. And overpopulation makes it worse because it actually works against creating capitalism. The most egregious example is of course parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. There you see overpopulation continue in a way that actually prevents capitalism from taking root. It keeps the population just malnourished enough to prevent them from really having the energy to find the entrepreneurial spirit. It keeps any attempt to build the infrastructure necessary for the modern economy just out of reach because once you plan, invest, and create infrastructure for one level of population the population has grown just enough to make that level of infrastructure inadequate. It prevents the growth of a middle class and hampers mass education since so much time must be spent looking for what resources there are that must be spread out among the whole. Malthus wasn’t wrong about what happens, he just didn’t know you had to add the caveat “unless you have capitalism.”
And there is no easy answer here. Because the government controls vile idiots like Arth propose would only make it worse. Don’t believe me, look at what wonders they did in Detroit…do you really want to let liberals have control over a place that’s already doing badly. Of course helping promote capitalism in these area might not stop the suffering immediately but it will promote the long term prosperity.
But despite the fact that overpopulation may be a problem in certain areas due more to lack of economic infrastructure than actual population, overpopulation, is not, has never been and will never be a global problem.
*Unless it involves narcotics or regulation the health standards of abortion clinics. The liberals are quite dead set against government even acknowledging such things exist beyond your absolute right to use such things.
**I’m prochoice, but the way the left defend the absolute right of any woman to abort a fetus the day before her due date is just a tad disturbing. Like most rational prochoice people I find little problem with abortion in the first trimester, but anything after that starts getting ethically iffy…although, conversely, if you’re so unspeakably stupid that you haven’t made up your mind by 20 weeks, you may not be qualified to have children.
***I’ll attack the idea, but honestly, I have a hard time really blaming Malthus who wrote around 1800. He wasn’t that far off for his time. Yes there had been many technological advances over the 2,000 years before him…like crop rotation, and how to make really bad steel, and gun powder. But in the grand scheme of things the 2,000 years before Malthus saw almost no advances when compared to the 200 years that followed him. Yeah we can look to the Renaissance and see where the groundwork was laid for modern science and technology, but almost none of it had materialized into anything practical when Malthus wrote. They were still using chamber pots. Bleeding was still a popular medical technique, and in terms of practicality quantum mechanics has more meaning to your life than electricity had for Malthus. So I really can’t blame him for not seeing how much technology driven by capitalism (also a new idea in Malthus’s time) could radically change the way people lived. He had no way to foresee the massive upheaval of technology that would follow him
The great Milton Friedman on the ethics of capitalism.
This is long enough, so I won’t type much, but this has some very needed information on the history of Communism and how it is still a horrific problem…
Red Eye is the one of the greatest TV shows ever. It is fun, witty, bizarre, informative in spite of itself, and a place where you will hear commentators be bluntly honest where in other formats they would be more reserved. And then there is Bill Schulz, Bill is the liberal on Red Eye…most of the time he plays just a coked out hobo spouting idiocy…but sometimes he’ll tell you what he really thinks, and that’s when his spiel turns from funny to just plain stupid. But it’s not that the real Schulz is particularly below average…in fact, I think his honest moments show us the level of idiocy of your average liberal (and probably some of your dumber libertarians*) on foreign policy. So to give you an idea of how little your average liberal knows, let’s look at some comments made by Red Eye’s liberal voice.
So let’s start with a discussion about his opinion about Obama’s term in office so far.
Amb. John Bolton: And significantly in the days of the IRA terrorism, Britain was led by Margaret Thatcher—we’re led by Barack Obama.
BS: Who has got a really good record so far.
Bolton: Five dead in Massachusetts . And four Americans in Benghazi. All unanswered at this point. That’s the signal to the terrorists that it’s open season.
BS: I think so far that’s a great record. You don’t want anyone dead, but those are the realities of our war on terrorism. I thought he’s done a great job defending this country so far. I have never understood that argument.
Bolton: The question is stability in the Middle East where the Arab Spring has turned badly wrong. The loss of influence in Iraq.
BS: How is that his fault?
Bolton: Because of the policies he’s pursued. The withdrawal from Iraq, the withdrawal from Afghanistan. And the unwillingness to take on the war on terror. The unwillingness to go after countries like Iran and North Korea who are pursuing weapons of mass destruction.
BS: I think if you ask most Americans they’re going to say I want out of Iraq. I want out of Afghanistan. And I don’t see what the negative repercussions will be.
Red Eye April 23rd
So so many stupid statements in such a short period of time. Let’s deal with the last statement first. That because people wanted out of Iraq then it’s a good thing. Leadership is not about doing what the people want. Leadership is about doing what is best for the nation in the long run. If those happen to match up, great. But when they diverge leaders do the unpopular thing, they will try to convince the nation that it is the best thing, but if they can’t they will still expend all their political capital and even commit political suicide to do what is important and right . But just doing what is popular is the base and cowardly move of hacks. And to praise that is idiocy that only liberals can embrace. It doesn’t matter if everyone thinks a course of action is wrong, if you believe it to be right and it is your job to set policy you do what you believe to be right. Now there may be compromises here and there to ensure the most good comes about depending on the limitations of your power, but overall you do not care about what is popular if you are a leader.
But then let’s deal with the truly idiotic statement of “And I don’t see what the negative repercussions will be.” Which pretty much sums up the rest of his comments and shows the differences between liberals and their opponents. Liberals are too stupid to see any long term consequences. They think only in the emotional moment. Libertarians and conservatives on the other hand both consider the long term perspectives—where they differ is Libertarians focus on the consequences of action and conservatives point out that the consequences of inaction outweigh the negative effects of action.**
So let’s look over some of Obama’s foreign policy moves.
Iraq: Bush was an idiot who didn’t have a plan on how to rebuild Iraq. But if I can lay into Bush for being short sighted, Obama was worse. First off, did he do any of the right things and begin to rebuild Iraq? Nope he left, and left it to crumble. Yeah there are still US soldiers there (so if anyone tells you he ended the war in Iraq, they’re either lying or they’re dumb) but there are not enough there to do anything substantive…only enough there to get killed. Great plan Barry.
Then he did something even more short sighted. You don’t have to be terribly bright to realize that the Middle East is going to take up a large portion of foreign policy for a while. Part of the reason to go into Iraq was not only to stop a dictator (something we should have done in the early 90’s) and to stop support for terrorist networks…but one of the major reaons, long-term reasons, (besides stability, but you’d need a plan for that) was to establish a base from which we would be centrally located in the Middle East and thus have more effective influence on the entire area. Right now our only major staging grounds (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Israel) are kind of on the periphery of the Middle East.
So thinking short term Obama not only doomed the nation to chaos again but he also blew one of the most important long term goals of the war. Also since problems you don’t fix always tend to come back, don’t be surprised to see that this is not the last of major US troop deployments in Iraq in your lifetime.
Afghanistan: Initially I thought this might not be a complete cluster. We were burning more poppy fields than under Bush, and the initial stories of the uptick in drone warfare were hopeful. But then we found out drones weren’t being used to take out high value targets we couldn’t easily get to, they were being used without any concern. No one was being captured, no one was being interrogated. You run a war as much on intel as you do on manpower….yes you can perhaps keep the problem at bay by an unrelenting drone war, but that is like sandbagging a river that shows no sign of stopping its flooding, the minute you stop sandbagging the flood will break, the second you stop the drones the flood will break (keep in mind Obama was planning on putting strict rules on how to use drones should Romney have won). And then you will have no drone and no intel to work with. Whoever takes over from Obama will have their hands tied on both fronts. And not only that…we’ve been in negotiations with the Taliban. That’s right we want to make peace with the people who throw acid in women’s faces for not wearing a burka and who shoot little girls in the head. I want you to take a look at these pictures. Those are the people Obama has tried to negotiate a peace with. Take a long look. You cannot, you must not negotiate with things that can do that to the innocent. The collateral damage of war is one thing, the intentional mutilation of innocent is another, and any society that can coexist with people who do this as typical means to get what they want has no right to call itself civilized. And to negotiate with butchers like that sends a very clear message that America does not stand for ethics, values nothing but her own whims, and will tolerate any evil so long as it does not bother us.
Iran: Besides leaking information about the virus we planted in Iranian computers and probably leaking information of Israeli plans to attack to ensure everyone in Iran was safe. But while general incompetence abounds in not seeming to realize psychotically crazy religious people with nuclear weapons is a bad thing (and I would like here to thank Bush for blowing all his political capital by not having a plan, thus not being able to deal with this before moron boy took over) it takes a special kind of stupid to consistently back the wrong horse. In Iran that would be the uprising in 2009 where (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/15/iran-elections-protests-mousavi-attacks) the people of Iran rose up against the government run by the Ayatollah…and the US did nothing. Now you can argue to me all day long about how we couldn’t do much…but please consider that in the light of running guns to Al Qaeda backed rebels in Lybia and Syria…to using US intel to help these groups allied with our enemies…to giving money and weapons to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt…during the pro democracy, true pro democracy uprising in Iran, we did nothing. No word of encouragement. No behind the scenes support, not even running our jets and ships dangerously close to their border to remind them we are watching. NOTHING. When it is a real battle between tyranny and liberty, this worthless pieces of scum did nothing. I can’t promise that there was any way for this uprising to succeed, there probably wasn’t, but because we did nothing we made it very clear to every real desire for liberty in the world that we will not back you.
Israel: Obama has made it clear time and again he will not defend the democracy of Israel, going so far as to compromise the safety of Israeli intelligence officers so he could appear like the leader he is not (notice also they haven’t gone after this and like leaks that they thought made them look good…but leaks that made them look bad hell they’ll bug the AP, call reporters criminals for reporting, and god knows what else in the days to come.
In each and every dealing with Israel Obama leaves no doubt that support for Israel will be tepid at best, and nonexistent at worst, only encouraging further buildup and, God forbid, aggression.
Arab Spring: So while the pro-democracy protests of Iran were left to die, the pro tyranny, pro-Sharia, pro-Al Qaeda uprising of the Arab Spring were praised, supported, encouraged, armed, supplied, and even given money after their reigns are in place. I wonder if the long term consequences of this will be five countries supporting terrorism where we had just gone through so much in Iraq to get rid of one. Again I feel the long term effects of this will be less liberty and more terror.
I could go on, but in every single move the Obama administration has taken it has set long term advantages for the very people who want to destroy liberty and held back the long term strength of those who defend it. Don’t believe me on the weakening of our side, well then I would suggest you take a look at the latest lawsuit against Obama by the families of some of the dead members of SEAL Team 6…they’re not happy.
(yes the video of the press conference is very long, you may want to come back later and watch it because it’s worth it…though infuriating).
But back to Bill Schulz, it’s not a one night occurrence. Try this recent debate with former CIA Agent Mike Baker on the May 1st show.
BS:The congress thing is true. When he ran in 2008 it was not a Republican led Congress. It is now. There is no way he can get this to happen. You guys can complain about that but that’s the fact.
Mike Baker: You know why he’s not closing Gitmo.
BS: Because Congress won’t let him.
Baker: Bush spent several years doing what Obama found out is almost impossible to do. Get someone to take these people.
BS: Well Yemen wants 90 of them why won’t we give them to them.
So Bill’s genius idea is to send them to a nation where terrorists are numerous and partly in control. Can’t see the possibility of a jail break at all, can you?
Baker: The best way to end this prison let them die from the hunger strike.
BS: A lot of them have never been tried for anything and we don’t know if they’ve done anything. I don’t necessarily know if that’ s a great idea.
Baker: I’m sorry what.
BS: None of them have been tried for anything and we’ve already released a bunch that were innocent.
Baker: We just randomly picked these guys up and threw them in there?
BS: A lot of people have admitted that we’ve done just that. A guy working under Cheney said just that.
Greg Gutfeld: I think Baker’s going to kill you .
BS: No but isn’t that true?
I’ll agree Gitmo isn’t perfectly simplistic and that we probably did pick up a few innocent people (there is a reason we have the term “the fog of war”)…but the way Schulz is portraying it (especially if you watch the recording) is that everyone down in Cuba was just minding their own business and the US military randomly picked them up off the street (hence Baker’s face)…also the guy Schulz is likely referring to, Lawrence Wilkerson, who was on Colin Powell’s staff (yeah real conservative credentials there) is also on the record that we made up all the evidence against Saddam and he never had any WMD programs…which in light of the fact that we had to ship 500 ton of yellow cake uranium out of Iraq (according to CNN). Also Wilkerson currently makes a living as a pundit who goes on left wing shows and says that the GOP is nothing but a bunch of racists. Given that he’s clearly a liar (or too stupid to understand what 500 tons of uranium is) and he hates the party he supposedly is from (thought I doubt) his statements about us taking the innocent and shipping them to Gitmo so one finds that his statements may be more motivated by leftist ideology than those pesky things known as facts, which makes most of his points as being the kind you should take with a grain of salt.
Yes military tribunals would be nice…but Schulz in his hypocrisy has forgotten about the constant blocks from liberals who wanted to give them every single civil liberty of US citizens and all protections of the Geneva Conventions (this ignores that little point that the Geneva Convention only applies to those in uniform, and the uniform clause was put in there specifically to prevent the major kind of terrorism that these terrorists were engaged in. The Geneva Convention wanted to set rules that you will fight in certain ways, or we will not guarantee your safety in the least and you’re on your own. To offer this scum those protections only encourages the kind of behavior you don’t want to encourage…but there again we go back to Obama and other leftist). And their lack of understanding of all rules and regulaions, laws, constitution, etc.
And an earlier part of the conversation dealt with the foolish idea that Gitmo is something that makes us enemies…yeah cause our drone attacks are making us so many friends (I don’t buy into the pacifist BS that the drones do nothing but kill innocent children, I’m an adult and realize there is such a thing as unintended collateral damage…but on the same token Barry is rather haphazard in his use of drones and doesn’t seem to care about doing the normal thing and trying to limit collateral damage where possible). But back to creating enemies. It’s not creating more enemies. Religious psychopaths tend to hate whether they have a reason to or not. Note they hated us before the first Gulf War, they hated us before the Shah was put into power, the Mufti of Jerusalem was conspiring with Hitler on how to kill all the Jew in the 1930’s before there was a major Western presence, they have waged endless and constant war on the west since, well, their founding. When you found a religion on an act of genocide (the killing of the Jews of Medina) the after effects tend to be people who find enemies whether you give them a reason or not. If we pulled out every Western base from the Middle East tomorrow AND moved all of Israel here to America…I’d lay down my entire net worth on a bet that would say they would still be calling for death to the Great Satan. We’re not making enemies by our actions, an ideology that hates reason is going to find any example of it as an enemy.
The fact of the matter is that no sane person thinks the people in Gitmo are a bunch of saints. The fact of the matter is that liberals only care about what’s popular now and doing what they want now with no concern for long term.
Yeah Bush botched the job at rebuilding…probably because he wasn’t a real neoconservative (go back to the Bush/Gore debates, you will hear him say he doesn’t believe in nation building), it’s just that like his liberal sensibilities he did the only thing that made sense in the short term. The fact of the matter is that we don’t have anyone in power right now in this nation who thinks long term, and we haven’t had one for a while (although we did blow the chance to have one very recently). I’ve pulled out Bill Schulz as the representative of liberal thought here, but you hear dumb shit like this all over the place, not just on the token liberal of one show, and it is an ideology of short term thinking that will always lead to problems.
*Honestly, libertarians, why are you letting your party get taken over by the whiny anti-war crowd. You used to be Ayn Rand and Barry Goldwater types who encouraged destroying tyranny. What happened?
**Libertarians may dispute the idea that they don’t see as far into the future as conservatives, but history backs up neoconservatives on this point in terms of foreign policy
***Anyone who thinks George W. —Let me expand entitlements, give federal control of education, sign stimulus bills, not worry about Tort reform, Social Security reform, cutting any part of the government, do nothing about Fannie and Freddie –Bush was a fiscal conservative in any way, shape, or form is deluding themselves. But he lowered taxes! No he didn’t, conservatives know that a temporary tax reduction has no lasting effect on the economy, so even that move wasn’t conservative. The man was conservative only in the part of “conservative” that is a gross misuse of the word and that the GOP needs to drop, let’s the use government to promote social values.
Capitalism is the only system that has been shown to raise people out of poverty. It is the only system that benefits the rich, the middle class, and the poor. It is the only system that can bring a nation out of destitution. It is the only system that works long term. It is the only system compatible with human nature. It is the only system of economics that is ethical. It is the only system of economics that is sustainable because only capitalism creates and encourages the innovation and imagination needs to deal with the constant slew of problems that life brings.
You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts.
Let me say again…You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts. That is all.
Every single claim here is the result of bad management not because of budget cuts.
Not only is she crying the sky if falling, but every program this idiot mentions could be cut by 100% of their budgets and the economy would actually do better
Ignoring the Jedi Mind Meld thing, I prefer the line “Even though most people agree I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it [blah, blah, blah]”
In what universe does this idiot live in to think that anything he does is reasonable? His answer to everything is higher taxes more spending. Without exception. Not one proposal he has made is reasonable. He makes demands and tells people it’s his way or the high way. Kind of like, oh I don’t know, a dictator.
But rather than deal with these as small cuts and make legitimate cuts Obama would rather treat this like the end of the world.
Not to mention blame others for his mistakes
Of course there is a reason more important than Obama why the economy sucks. And no it’s not even that the government and it’s monstrous regulations and stifling taxes has gotten out of control. It’s the American public.
According to a recent Pew Poll the mentally challenged mob known as the U.S. public doesn’t really want to cut anything. ANYTHING.
Look at that list. With the exception of State Department, military defense, veteran’s benefits and maybe environmental protection not one of the things listed should even even be a federal issue. They should be state and local issues. Cut them all and hand them to the individual states. As to the 4 that should be federal issues, trust me they’re not underfunded, there are mountains of wasted dollars, unnecessary employees and useless projects. Not a single one of those programs shouldn’t be cut, most should have their budgets hacked apart by a machete. The sequester’s only problem really is that it doesn’t even begin to cut enough.
This is why the economy sucks because people want the government to provide them a free lunch. They want every thing to be provided for, they don’t want to cut anything they benefit from, they just don’t want to pay for it. So tax someone else and cut programs that don’t benefit me, but don’t cut myprograms.
But of some of us recognize that just about everything the government does, all of its entitlements, programs, systems, and handouts hurt us in the long run.
Yes there are legitimate functions of the federal government that must be funded. Yes you could theoretically cut some of those needed functions too much. But right now we are nowhere near a place where cutting every single office and department wouldn’t be a blessing for the economy and the nation.
Just think about it, we’re freaking out over a 3% cut when we should be focusing on Paul Ryan’s needed long term cuts to the black holes that are our entitlement programs.
And if you want to further keep up on the Sequester and it’s consequences I would go to the The Snark Who Hunts Back who is keeping a journal of how the sequester is affecting all of us. Day 1 and Day 3 journal entries are already up.
So it becomes very clear from the State of the Union either due to incredible arrogance and idiocy or just vile evil Obama and his ilk are out to destroy this nation. Yeah let’s raise the minimum wage, that only ever lowers employment and hurts the economy. Let’s spend more and tax more, because that always works. Let’s pay only lip service to the problems abroad. We’ve got problems in education let’s throw money at it, that always works. Even his best example, the return on the Human Genome Project, has a bizarrely overblown number attached to it…and oh, that’s right, the private sector did better on spending and results in their concurrent research. And gun control I’m sure that will make us all safer. Either intentionally or through idiocy, it really doesn’t matter, Obama’s plans seem to be putting us on a one way course for economic ruin, the expansion of tyranny the world over, and the contraction of freedom and prosperity everywhere.
Some people, clearly not the masses of idiotic liberals, but some rational people are worried about this. There is a lot of depression out there lately. From the people who see a coming economic collapse (but the stock market is really high…yeah because a lot of long term investors just got out and this bubble is being fuelled by day traders and emotional buyers…you know just like it does before every crash…when you look at the fundamentals we’re in for some pretty bleak moments) to those who are seeing a revolution coming (not a desirable outcome by any stretch of the imagination but certainly one that will happen if this idiot were to actually make the move against private ownership of guns he seems to be suggesting). Any honest look for the long term outlook of this nation is worrisome. And many are worried.
But I’m not.
I know liberals, and probably libertarians as well, have a problem with this, but there is something truly special about this nation.
This nation has been knocked down over and over again. This nation has not just beat but defied odds, defied likelihood, defied certain destruction. We have come so close to death so many times, and each time like a Phoenix risen from the mess we have created.
“Some people believe that our Declaration and Constitution were written by very brilliant men, others believe that they were divinely inspired when they wrote it—I believe it was a bit of both.”
The documents were written by men, albeit brilliant men, but men nonetheless, who were capable of error and thus you could not claim absolute perfection in their documents…but also the beliefs and ideas in these documents represented an immeasurable leap forward in human society and that at some level the hand of God was present. Name for me a time when you would have an Adams, a Jefferson, a Washington, a Franklin all in the same room together. History provides few men of such insight, intelligence, and character (not that they were perfect, but they were certainly ahead of their time by massive steps); occasionally you get two of them together at the same time; at very special moments you get three together at once…at both the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention you had whole rooms of these men. Please tell me of another time in history when you had such a grouping (and to see it happen twice in one generation). To a group of men who believed in ideals of right and true being more important than their personal fortunes (a good portion of the signers of the Declaration went broke, many were tortured all of them suffered for signing that document…not one recanted their signature.) How do you not see the hand of providence in that?
If more divinely inspired words have been written, I do not know about them.
How do you not see it in:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Please tell me which passage of the Tanakh, the New Testament, the teaching of Buddha, the Gita, the Tao or any other holy book surpasses that passage in its understanding of the relationship between God and man (that we are given free will and liberty by our creator with the expectation that we will use them), that understands the teleology, the purpose, the end of life (to achieve Happiness), and how men should treat one another (not violating the rights of others, but setting up a society to protect them from those that do seek to violate those rights). The heart of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics answered correctly in one sentence. And you don’t think God had anything to do with that? Do you see the hand of God in anything?
And then you look at our history. Time and time again, if Vegas odds makers had existed from the 1750’s to today, you would have bet against the survival of the U.S. over and over again. Yet somehow we’re still here. The history of America is often the history of convenient accidents. Convenient in that reinforcements were mistakenly diverted from helping General Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga, letting the Americans win when they most needed a win. Convenient that when Lee, a general of unquestionable skill, was a week’s march from capturing D.C. he has the 3 dumbest days of his life at a little town in Pennsylvania. Convenient that all of our carriers were out of harbor on December 6. Convenient that we found the Japanese Navy almost by chance at Midway. To name a few, there are so many others. In science, in economics, in politics, we have been blessed with having the right people in the right place in the right time over and over again. You can believe in chance, I don’t.
I don’t believe in chance and I don’t believe we get all these lucky breaks just because…
We make mistakes, and dear God have we made some abhorrent ones. Liberals love to point out all the evil things we have done, ignoring that at anytime in history, we didn’t even rank in anything but the top third of what the rest of the world was doing at that time. Oh and I know pointing that out is wrong, because that’s their culture. Oh that’s right anyone else does something worse than America and it’s racist to hold them to the same standard…but we have to hold America to the standard of perfection (which, ironically, shows that even liberals believe in American Exceptionalism, otherwise why hold it and it alone to such a standard). We’re not perfect, no one is. But we have always been the beacon that sings to the best in humanity, not the example that speaks to the worst.
We’re the nation that fought to create a republic where the haves and have nots gave equal measure. We’re the nation that fought our own citizens to free slaves. We’re the nation that pioneered capitalism and law that gave liberty and opportunity and progress to more people than any other country in history. We’re the place where “tired, the poor, the huddled masses” come to be energetic, successful and stand on their own feet. We’re the country that conquers whole nations so that others may be free then tries to rebuild them and then leaves without tribute or power. If you don’t think we’re the “shinning city on the hill” you don’t know history, philosophy or human nature. We’re not perfect, we’re not always right, but we are consistently the nation that calls for the best in humanity to put down the worst.
Too often I think people forget that this is a nation where people still regularly risk their life to get to. America-or-die isn’t a slogan it’s a fact of existence. Whether you were born here or came here you should take more than just a day out of every year to remember what a blessing this country is. Of course there are some ignorant jackasses out there, who don’t seem to understand this blessing who say “I didn’t sign up for a country that’s the rest of the world’s police, I just happened to be born into it.”
And these ideas are important. This is a nation founded on the purest, most noble ideas yet to grace the face of the Earth and even though we waver we always come back to them. And that is why I think we see the hand of Providence, yeah I said it, in our history. This country should have fallen by now, but it hasn’t and one or two times you could put it up to the American nature of not giving up and our ingenuity. But time and time again everything has lined up just right for us, in ways I can’t see for any other nation in modern history.
For some reason we have been pulled back from the brink, and I believe it is because of the truth and righteousness of our ideals. And we haven’t lived up to them yet. We haven’t spread them over the world. We haven’t finished being the shinning city on the hill. So I can’t see why we would have been pulled back all those other times and simply let go this time.
I have faith that some higher power has a purpose for America that has still yet to be completed, so I am not worried too much over the next few years. Yes I know they will be terrible, but I know that something better is on the other side. That what I fight for and strive for is not in vain and that I will not witness the end of this nation and its ideals, but rather see them rise again, stronger, brighter, more just and right than they ever have before.
And yes you can whine about how I’m believing in faith, and God, and something you don’t believe in. But odds are you’re one of the people I’m fighting against, so I don’t really care for anything you have to say about my faith.
And for those of you who do have faith but are having a hard time to have hope…do you really believe that the ideal this nation stands for would be abandoned after all this time? I doubt it.
In amongst all of this brouhaha, there are some claims that we can all agree on “common sense gun control.” And this sounds reasonable. More strenuous background checks, preventing the mentally ill from getting guns, and the like. Of course all of these measures must be implemented by the government. You know the same government that gave the very guns it’s now claiming should be banned to Mexican Drug Cartels. I’m sorry but I would give a schizophrenic a gun before I give a gun to drug cartels (with the schizophrenic you might have a 50/50 chance they won’t do anything, with the cartels you have a 100% chance that mass murder will occur).
But I do believe in common sense gun control.
I believe in common sense gun control…but common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense spending, which means you do not spend more than you have. You do not believe that you can spend your way out of debt or into prosperity. Common sense requires that you ignore everything idiots like Krugman, Bernake, Geithner, Lew, and Keynes have ever said because common sense tells you their ideas are harmful and idiotic. Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense spending.
Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense taxation. It means you recognize that raising taxes on the rich will not solve anything, that if you raised taxes on the rich to 100% it wouldn’t begin to make even a dent in our year to year budget (let alone the complete national debt). Common sense taxation would show that the entire code is far far too complicated. Common sense taxation requires that you recognize that taxes only hurt the economy and never help, that they must all be cut and cut drastically if we are to get out of our problems. Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense taxation.
Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense regulation, which means understanding that regulations only harm, and that a government that has the best interest of the people and the economy in mind will only have the bare minimum amount of regulation. Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense regulation.
Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense foreign policy which means understanding that isolation is both foolish and immoral…and that the only thing more foolish would be to engage in getting rid of the bad guys without a plan (Bush) or being the ally of the very nations which are out to kill us (Obama). Thus using common sense you would never allow lunatics like Hagel, Kerry, Brennan near our foreign policy infrastructure. Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense foreign policy.
Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense legislation. Common sense legislature would not include bills longer than Russian novels or being told that you have to pass something to know what’s in it. Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense legislation.
Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense immigration. That would include things like real border security, real reform that allows workers to come in as guests, professionals to come in with an easy way to Visas and citizenship, stopping anchor babies and allowing immigrants to take handout from entitlements. Lots of things. It would not include amnesty and Dream Acts via illegal executive order. Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense immigration.
Common sense gun control can only be instituted by a government that has common sense that means common sense welfare. That would mean work and education requirements. Time limits. Working to roll back the rolls not expand. Working to make more people get off welfare not get on. You can’t praise the life of the utterly indefensible Julia and you can’t roll back work requirements. Obviously I can’t trust the government to institute common sense welfare.
Until then there is no such thing as common sense gun control because even the most reasonable proposals will be carried out by over paid, over educated, life long bureaucratic idiots and will always be carried out to a very non-common sense, illogical and harmful extreme.
Common sense gun laws wouldn’t depend on gun free zone which we all know don’t work.
It wouldn’t be championed by people from the most violent cities with the strictest gun laws that show beyond a doubt that gun laws don’t work. (Oh and before you begin with that, but they get their guns in places without those gun laws arguments…one needs to ask why isn’t the crime just as high in those places with the lax laws? Oh maybe because in those places criminals know people will shoot back).
Common sense gun laws may sound like “we’re not going to take away your gun if you’re a law-abiding citizen.” But let’s be honest here, is anyone a law abiding citizen anymore? With all the federal, state, local laws, regulations, statutes and judgements are you sure you haven’t broken any of them? Can a human being even be expected to know all of them? But that might be the point.
But really that might be the point….Anyone remember this scene?
“Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against – then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
Common sense gun control would be to enforce the laws you have, not have prosecutions go down 45% from the previous administration.
And common sense has nothing to do with 23 executive orders that create commission and spend more money but do actually nothing.
Or let’s try this bit of common sense. Countries like the UK and Australia that don’t allow hand guns have higher violent crime than the US (much much higher). States and cities with stricter gun laws have more violent crime than those that don’t. There has never been a mass shooting at an NRA meeting or a gun show…there are lots of shooting in gun free zones. Common sense and statistics tells us that John Lott was right, “More guns, less crime.” But that would just be common sense.
So don’t talk to me about common sense gun laws until you have a government that can enforce common sense gun laws. Until then I, and you, are safest when we are armed and able to defend ourselves.
But maybe we should just listen to the inherent argument for gun control and why it isn’t needed for to protect us from the government.
(1) Our government would never ignore the rights enumerated in the Constitution so we don’t have to worry about needing guns to defend ourselves against the government
(2) Therefore we don’t need guns.
(3) Since we don’t need guns the government should confiscate them, to hell if it’s a right enumerated in the Constitution, ignore it.
(4) What do you mean you see a contradiction between points 1 and 3? I can’t hear you LALALALALALALALALA!
“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?
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.
Anne 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.”
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!”
So I begin with this hopeful view of the future of history from Bill Whittle and I find it rather convincing. Government models the needs of society and the economy. The one caveat I would point out is that governments historically have also been the greatest impediment to the kind of growth and evolution Whittle and McCotter are referring to…thus it is imperative that we continue to push for the more decentralized, more liberty based government that this third wave needs.
However, while this video takes a long term look at things, I thought I’d take a more short term look.
(Now you may easily take everything I say with a grain of salt based on the fact that I did not predict the election correctly, but as I have already pointed out, I was working off legitimate assumptions…and you’re an idiot if you don’t think a great deal of Obama’s votes were completely fraudulent. So take this for what it’s worth because obviously my crystal ball isn’t perfect).
I predict that you will see a worldwide increase in death from minor diseases. Obamacare is taxing and regulating many medical businesses out of business or at the very least overseas (because I’m sure anything made in China will be safe). This will create a greater stress on the existing drug shortages we are already facing . This shortage of drugs combined with the fact that the virus and bacteria we are affected by will continue evolving and will result in a worse than usual cold and flu season. Compound that with the fact that Obamacare will encourage people to visit hospitals and clinics more often (i.e., if they weren’t sick before, they’ll leave sick after sitting in a full waiting room for hours)…you can see how this spirals. And this will also raise the cost of a lot of drugs, so developing nations are even more screwed than usual.
I predict real unemployment will rise a lot once the holiday season (that’s kind of like predicting the sun will rise in the East) but that the Obama administration will doctor the numbers to make it appear as if unemployment didn’t get worse.
I can’t say for sure that it will happen in 2013, but by 2016 I predict Obama will overstep his bounds and try to round up somebody’s guns…when this happens it will be handled with such incompetence and lack of forethought that Ruby Ridge and Waco will look like textbook cases of what should be done. There will be several dead ATF agents. I will not feel sorry for them.
I predict stoners will be stoners, i.e. rude, irresponsible, obnoxious, irrationally selfish, and annoying to such a degree that Washington and Colorado will already be contemplating getting rid of those laws by the end of the year.
I have no idea which one, but I will bet you anything at least one state will have a bill to secede introduced in it’s legislature. I make no predictions on the vote.
I predict someone (probably Egypt or Syria) is going to attack Israel with weapons that originated in the U.S. New Secretaries of Defense and State Hagel and Kerry will not have the first clue at how bad this makes us look.
At this rate it looks like Hilary will die before being forced to testify on Benghazi. It’s also easy to predict that most of the media will continue to ignore that Benghazi even exists.
I have no way of predicting which way the Supreme Court is going to go on these gay marriage cases. I do however know that whatever they say will only make things worse and make this stupid issue even bigger.
I predict John Boehner’s going to lose his job. And that makes me smile. At present, I can’t predict that his replacement
will be any better.
Detroit/Chicago will continue to devolve into a scene from Mad Max.
New York may go as far as banning everything.
Chris Christie will continue to cozy up to liberals as he deludes himself that he has a chance at a higher office. No thanks, I don’t need another Taft Presidency (I refer to both the policy and the weight).
Based on his flub at the convention and the fact the he was the genius who introduced the much despised SOPA bill without ever reading it, I predict Marco Rubio is going to make, maybe not a career ending mistake this next year, but certainly one that will end any serious attempt at seeking higher office.
Given the pumping of money by the Fed inflation will continue and real income will continue to drop.
Despite that fact that many schools will put cops in the schools for safety no one will cut money from administration or
useless sports programs to pay for this. Who needs books or teachers?
The Arab Spring and all the governments that come out of it will continue to devolve into a state of fascist tyranny that makes you yearn for the days of “enlightened” rulers like Ghadaffi.
I lay even odds on Britain leaving the EU before the whole thing falls apart. If it does Germany will make a quick exit of it’s own. Ireland will probably follow. The EU probably doesn’t have more than 2 years left in it.
Russia will continue to flex its muscles like it’s still relevant. They will continue to undermine their economy and resources thus repeating the cycle of Russia always being its own worst enemy that will leave it in yet another collapse by the end of the decade.
I predict Mitt Romney will have too much class to publically say “Told you so” but that we’ll be able to see it on his face.
And really on the outside of probability predictions,
I predict the conflicts between Japan and China will continue to escalate…but will only begin to show underlying cracks in the Chinese economy and its inability to actually sustain a prolonged foreign conflict. When it becomes widely known that the Chinese economy is nowhere near as powerful as it has pretended to be there will be international ripple effects, few of them pleasant in the short term.