Archive for July, 2009

So said Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals.  But, guess what, Saul?  The same tactic can be used against you.  In fact, nothing is more ridiculous than radical ideas dressed up in “reasonable” clothing.  That’s what Russ Carnahan found out on Monday.

Meanwhile, Ben Cardin encounters real anger.  I remember when Dan Rostenkowski was chased down the street by a group of senior citizens.  The Senators and Congressmen who vote for any Obama health care reform proposal had better get used to such treatment—especially when people find that their parents, spouses, and children can no longer get treatments they can get now.

But don’t worry.  According to the President, you don’t need that pacemaker; some painkillers would do just fine!


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Barbara Moeller chronicles the destruction of the Western Civilization and American Institutions program at the University of Texas at Austin.  This program attracted a remarkable amount of alumni and foundation support, putting it among the top fundraising units at the University.  But the administration destroyed it anyway, because too many faculty oppose both Western Civilization and American Institutions.  It’s a sad tale that anyone interested in higher education ought to read, especially before sending a check to their alma mater, which is almost certainly just as bad.

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The Baron has been thinking deep thoughts lately, wondering whether this is democracy’s endgame and contemplating a choice between kinds of barbarism.  He begins by thinking about cap-and-trade:

This bill is not popular with the American people. Its alleged long-term benefits are far outweighed by the massive economic damage it will do to our country within the next few years. In the short term it will benefit no one except the already bloated federal government and its parasitic private entities. No major business stands to make a killing from it. No congressman who voted for it enhanced his chances of re-election by doing so.

So why in the world was such a monstrosity ever passed? Why would democratically elected representatives come out so strongly against our national well-being, our commercial interests, and public opinion?

Cap-and-Trade is hardly an isolated instance. Politicians all across the West are jostling one another to see who can be first to leap over the nearest available precipice, whether the issue is political correctness, mass immigration, capitulation to Islam, ruinous levels of taxation, or environmental orthodoxy.

I can’t find anything to disagree with there.  Our political class seems determined to undermine our civilization in any way it can.  Why?  The Baron asks,

Does democracy carry within it a poison pill that guarantees its own eventual destruction?

It’s a good question.  Plato and Aristotle, both of whom had experience with Athenian democracy up close, thought that it did.  Plato worried about an excess of liberty that would undermine character and lead to a thirst for tyranny, but also about the growth of bureaucracy, which was a problem even in Athens: “in democracies almost everything is managed by the drones.”  The final straw is that the less well-off seize more and more wealth from those who are more fortunate than they.  The upper class seeks to defend itself against this expropriation, and is accused of plotting against the common good.  A tyrant arises who claims to represent the downtrodden but in fact claims power for himself.  Aristotle’s story is similar.  The needy, being numerous, exert power in a democracy, and seize the wealth of those better off, while demagogues exploit the situation to their own advantage.

The Baron’s analysis:

A peaceful and prosperous civil society is a rare gift. Those who have only recently attained it are more likely to understand how precious it is, to safeguard it and be ready to defend it.

But peace and prosperity induce somnolence and amnesia. The current state of affairs comes to seem natural and normal. It is taken for granted, instead of being known for the fortunate anomaly that it actually is. We are living in a brief golden interlude of history: the normal state of human affairs is one of brutality, bloodshed, and barbarism. It will be all too easy to return to the old patterns as our vigilance wanes.

The democratic state begins with liberty as its ideal, the base on which all the other social and political structures grow. Peace and prosperity are the natural consequences of success in this endeavor, yet their accustomed presence induces a desire for security and a lack of conflict.

Eventually the warm cocoon of the omnipotent and omnipresent State becomes preferable to liberty itself.

But this is not just a matter of a soft citizenry.  The bureaucracy grows and, seeking to grow further, destroys national boundaries, thus undermining itself, the society, and indeed the civilization that supports it.

This historical process has unfolded inexorably to reach the endgame we are now facing. From the Enlightenment through Marxism and the Progressive Movement to post-industrial Social Democracy, the trend has been towards an ever-expanding bureaucracy, which of necessity requires more and more socialism, regardless of what name the reigning ideology bears.

As the 20th century progressed, the bureaucratic leviathan chafed at its final limitation: the nation-state. Only by dissolving borders and distinct national identities could the power of the bureaucrats continue to increase. Once again an inexorable logic drove the progression of ideological events as the century unfolded: universal suffrage, universal human rights, the elevation of “discrimination” to the rank of deadly sin, inclusion, diversity, multiculturalism, the EU, the NAU, and the UN.

To fulfill the global plan, our nations must be destroyed by incorporating people from alien cultures so as to dilute our separate national identities and remove the last barrier to the worldwide hegemony of the socialist superstate. Ideological indoctrination through the schools and the media has entrenched the idea that resisting the incorporation of foreigners is racist, xenophobic, and deeply sinful. The result is that it’s difficult now for most people to whole-heartedly support nationalistic ideals. No one can contemplate the defense of his own culture without a sense of moral uneasiness.

The international Islamic jihad has slipped a blade into that hairline crack of self-doubt and widened it into a gaping fissure. The cracks are now spreading, and threaten to bring the entire edifice of Western Civilization crashing down around us.

And so we get to the choice between barbarisms.  It’s still some distance away in the United States, but not so in Europe, where the disease is far more advanced, and where the choice between the Hell’s Angels and criminal immigrant gangs is imminent.

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Will California’s fiscal crisis—i.e., bankruptcy—crash Obama’s health care plan?  That’s what Kevin Hassett says:

The California morass has Democrats in Washington trembling. The reason is simple. If Obama’s health-care plan passes, then we may well end up paying for it with federal slips of paper worth less than California’s. Obama has bet everything on passing health care this year. The publicity surrounding the California debt fiasco almost assures his resounding defeat….

California has engaged in an orgy of spending, but, compared with our federal government, its legislators should feel chaste. The California deficit this year is now north of $26 billion. The U.S. federal deficit will be, according to the latest numbers, almost 70 times larger.

Bleak Picture

The federal picture is so bleak because the Obama administration is the most fiscally irresponsible in the history of the U.S. I would imagine that he would be the intergalactic champion as well, if we could gather the data on deficits on other worlds. Obama has taken George W. Bush’s inattention to deficits and elevated it to an art form.

The Obama administration has no shame, and is willing to abandon reason altogether to achieve its short-term political goals. Ronald Reagan ran up big deficits in part because he believed that his tax cuts would produce economic growth, and ultimately pay for themselves. He may well have been excessively optimistic about the merits of tax cuts, but at least he had a story.

Obama has no story. Nobody believes that his unprecedented expansion of the welfare state will lead to enough economic growth. Nobody believes that it will pay for itself. Everyone understands that higher spending today begets higher spending tomorrow. That means that his economic strategy simply doesn’t add up.

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Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Our family tradition, when we don’t go to a fireworks display, is to swim until early evening, barbeque, and then watch 1776.  Moe Lane posts my favorite scene as his Fourth of July gift this year.  Enjoy!

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Here are some more from this morning.








UPDATE: More pictures from my friend Lefty over at Lefty’s Hounds.

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I attended the Tea Party in Zilker Park this morning, met Joe Wurzelbacher (aka “Joe the Plumber”), heard him give a great talk, bought a copy of his book, saw lots of friends, and took some photographs.











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