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Independence Whip, July 1, 2010

Walter Lippmann on Progressivism -- The uncomfortable truth that all too many people want to ignore--and some use Beck's histrionics as an excuse--is that on the actual, factual grounds of history, Glenn Beck is correct.

Progressivism, a variant of the 19th Century German social democracy and political philosophy that also spawned Marxism and European 20th-Century fascism, took root in the U.S. in the late 1800's, and with the elections of Theodore Roosevelt (R) and Woodrow Wilson (D) gained a dominant foothold in American political thinking. It simply metastasized with FDR's "New Deal" into a peculiarly American form of socialism, which is now wheezing a death rattle, even as the "progressives" seek to give it larger and larger transfusions of our money. It will collapse--sooner or later--and that collapse will be a new birth of freedom, or the beginning of a dark age from which the world will be a long time recovering.

So, the failure of "progressivism" sooner--at the hands of the regular, common Americans who lately have called themselves "Tea Partiers," "Patriots," and other politically incorrect names--would be better, for everyone concerned. Everyone that is except perhaps those special interests most wedded to the existing system--large mega-corporations, labor unions, and the "intelligentsia" of government bureaucrats, university professors and think tanks, and Big Media who always seem prone to big ideas that centralize power and make power easier to grab and wield. The "progressives" aren't offering "new" ideas at all. Their ideas are old. They're wrongheaded, they don't work as public policy, and they're dangerous and corrosive to human morality and the human spirit.

Throughout the world, in the name of progress, men who call themselves communists, socialists, fascists, nationalists, progressives, and even liberals, are unanimous in holding that government with its instruments of coercion must by commanding the people how they shall live, direct the course of civilization and fix the shape of things to come. They believe in what Mr. Stuart Chase accurately describes as “the overhead planning and control of economic activity.” This is the dogma which all the prevailing dogmas presuppose. This is the mold in which are cast the thought and action of the epoch. No other approach to the regulation of human affairs is seriously considered, or is even conceived as possible. The recently enfranchised masses and the leaders of thought who supply their ideas are almost completely under the spell of this dogma. Only a handful here and there, groups without influence, isolated and disregarded thinkers, continue to challenge it. For the premises of authoritarian collectivism have become the working beliefs, the self-evident assumptions, the unquestioned axioms, not only of all the revolutionary regimes, but of nearly every effort which lays claim to being enlightened, humane, and progressive.

--Walter Lippmann, former "progressive", after seeing clearly for the first time, in 1937, what Franklin Delano Roosevelt was doing. The words ring 100% true today. But there is another way--one that in a little over one hundred years turned a wilderness into the world's most productive, prosperous, and powerful country. One that, when noticed at all, is either given lip service by the progressives, when it's not being derisively laughed at and belittled. That's why Hayek's The Road to Serfdom is as relevant now as when it was written in 1944--He grew up in Germany, and writing the book from England, saw the exact same things happening in England--and in the United States.

"History doesn't repeat itself. But it does rhyme." - Mark Twain

Which reminds me of another thought I've had: If the concept of "linear time" is so backward and unsophisticated, why is it that a key tenet of "progressivism" is a steady, inexorable march towards better life and better men, and why do the many of the very same people who look down their noses at a perception of "linear time" simultaneously believe in it so fervently in political practice? Perhaps people with the "progressive" mindset are not quite as smart as they think they are. It wouldn't be the first time, would it?
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Independence Whip, June 30, 2010

Know your Republican Heritage – QUIZ #1 -- Highly amusing, especially question #1. Click on the link for the answers:
Q. How many Democrats in Congress voted to abolish slavery?
127
95
34
0

Q. Which park was established by a future Chairman of the Republican National Committee?
Central Park
Griffith Park
Franklin Park
Lincoln Park

Q. Which former Republican presidential nominee declined a nomination for Chief Justice?
James Blaine
Wendell Willkie
Thomas Dewey
Bob Dole

Q. Who was the first Vice President to attend Cabinet meetings?
Levi Morton (R-NY)
Theodore Roosevelt (R-NY)
Calvin Coolidge (R-MA)
Charles Dawes (R-IL)

Q. Which archaeological site was discovered by a future Republican U.S. Senator?
Angkor Wat
Great Zimbabwe
Machu Picchu
Stonehenge
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Independence Whip, June 29, 2010

First in a series of Irregular Whips, as Whipping will be irregular through the Independence Day holiday period:

Two faces of the tea party
if one traces the origins of progressivism, as Ronald J. Pestritto does in Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism, one discovers the deep hostility of the progressives to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The progressives' hostility to the Declaration and the Constitution is rooted largely in nineteenth-century German thought.

It is an indisputable historical fact that "progressivism" and European 20th Century fascism are close intellectual cousins. And the American Left today are the direct heirs of the marriage of progressivism and Marxism. This is also an indisputable historical fact.

Sarah Palin may have an issue with comparing Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler. I don't. And the comparison is immediately above. No, I don't mean that Obama is going to round up the Jews any time soon and send them off to concentration camps and ovens, or suddenly decide to partition Canada between the US and Russia, or re-occupy and annex Cuba or the Philippines . . . he's actually more like Mussolini than Hitler, I think.

But for the angry activist Left, a Hitler is a logical next step, after they see that they won't get everything they want with Obama and today's Democrats. And they won't get everything they want, because their wants are unlimited. It's time for people who vote Democrat to take a long, hard, sober look at what their political party is advocating, and go back and look at the political platforms of the Communist Party of the USA over the years, and yes, even elements of the platform of the German Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei of the early 1930's.

That's the road you've started heading down, folks. But there is still time to stop, reflect, and find a different road.
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Afternoon Whip, June 24, 2010

Night of the Yeoman
There are two Republican parties, and both had a candidate on the 2008 presidential ticket. John McCain was the candidate of the thin-blooded aristocracy, tired men who dislike certain elements of their nominal constituency far more intensely than their political opposition.
. . .
The other Republican party is young and vital. On the 2008 ticket, its banner was carried by Sarah Palin. It’s the yeoman wing of the party, composed of people with middle-class backgrounds and real-world business experience.

Repeal.

Reorganize.

Renew.
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Noonish Whip, June 23, 2010

About the McChrystal Affair:

The man who should resign for dereliction of duty and insubordination is Barack Hussein Obama. Don't get me wrong--if I were President, McChrystal would already be out of a job for abject stupidity in how he and his staff dealt with the Rolling Stone reporter. The McChrystal Flap

So what if the Commander in Chief is an Idiot. -- He needs to be fired--in 2012, if not before.

Did Obama reap what he sowed with McChrystal? -- Obama's objective in appointing McChrystal was NOT to win the war, but to make Obama look good. That's a very, very bad way to try to manage . . .

Don't blame McChrystal, blame Obama -- The problem with the Afghanistan war effort is not and never has been McChrystal. It's been Obama.

Civilian press aide resigns amid flap over McChrystal's 'Rolling Stone' profile

Media Has Long Record of Supporting Military Insubordination... Under Bush, Of Course

McChrystal: “I’ve compromised the mission” -- Yes, General, you have . . .

Morning Bell: Obama’s Leadership Vacuum -- . . . But then, so has your boss . . .

Open thread: Obama announcement on McChrystal’s status; Update: AP says he’s gone, Petraeus back to the front; Update: Fox confirms -- Still waiting for Obama's resignation, though . . .

Downsizing The Federal Government -- Repeal. Reorganize. Renew.

Repeal Obamacare and the various other nightmare legislation the Democrats have passed.

Reorganize the entire Federal Government. No office, no employee is safe from the audit and the cutting block. The Federal Government is riddled with cancer--duplicated and ineffective programs, bloated bureaucracies, and improprieties small and large. Every single Federal agency gets an anal probe from truly independent auditors--both financial and legal--and all of the cancerous lesions that are found get cut out. It will hurt, but if we don't do it, it will hurt worse later.

Renew the Constitutional contract between the American people and their government, by returning the Federal government to its proper roles, and returning to the States those powers not explicitly delegated by the people to the Federal government.
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Morning Whip, June 22, 2010

Morals & the servile mind: On the diminishing moral life of our democratic age.
The evident problem with democracy today is that the state is pre-empting—or “crowding out,” as the economists say—our moral judgments. Nor does the state limit itself to mere principle. It instructs us on highly specific activities, ranging from health provision to sexual practices. Yet decisions about how we live are what we mean by “freedom,” and freedom is incompatible with a moralizing state. That is why I am provoked to ask the question: can the moral life survive democracy?

By “the moral life,” I simply mean that dimension of our inner experience in which we deliberate about our obligations to parents, children, employers, strangers, charities, sporting associations, and all the other elements of our world. We may not always devote much conscious thought to these matters, but thinking about them makes up the substance of our lives. It also constitutes the conditions of our happiness. In deliberating, and in acting on what we have decided, we discover who we are and we reveal ourselves to the world. This kind of self-management emerges from the inner life and is the stream of thoughts and decisions that make us human. To the extent that this element of our humanity has been appropriated by authority, we are all diminished, and our civilization loses the special character that has made it the dynamic animator of so much hope and happiness in modern times.

It is this element of dehumanization that has produced what I am calling “the servile mind.” The charge of servility or slavishness is a serious one. It emerges from the Classical view that slaves lacked the capacity for self-movement and had to be animated by the superior class of masters. They were creatures of impulse and passion rather than of reason. Aristotle thought that some people were “natural slaves.” In our democratic world, by contrast, we recognize at least some element of the “master” (which means, of course, self-managing autonomy) in everyone. Indeed, in our entirely justified hatred of slavery, we sometimes think that the passion for freedom is a constitutive drive of all human beings. Such a judgment can hardly survive the most elementary inspection of history. The experience of both traditional societies and totalitarian states in the twentieth century suggests that many people are, in most circumstances, happy to sink themselves in some collective enterprise that guides their lives and guarantees them security. It is the emergence of freedom rather than the extent of servility that needs explanation.

THIS is why government MUST be limited, restrained, and under the control of the people. The powerless, the poor, the least among us--they are the ones who MOST need to be shielded from the oppressive, suffocating embrace of an all-powerful government. They are the ones who will, as Benjamin Franklin feared, gladly trade their freedom for security.

Government power corrodes and corrupts the human spirit. The Founding Fathers understood this. Today's politicians, for the most part, do not. Barack Obama sure doesn't act like he does.

Why Are People Democrats? -- Because they either don't know any better, or they like the feel of having power over others . . . if you're a Democrat, which one are you?

The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1)
If you knew it, you’d say, “Wait a minute. The decision I just made does not make much sense. I had better go and get some independent advice.” But when you’re incompetent, the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is. In logical reasoning, in parenting, in management, problem solving, the skills you use to produce the right answer are exactly the same skills you use to evaluate the answer. And so we went on to see if this could possibly be true in many other areas. And to our astonishment, it was very, very true.
. . .
The notion of unknown unknowns really does resonate with me, and perhaps the idea would resonate with other people if they knew that it originally came from the world of design and engineering rather than Rumsfeld.

If I were given carte blanche to write about any topic I could, it would be about how much our ignorance, in general, shapes our lives in ways we do not know about. Put simply, people tend to do what they know and fail to do that which they have no conception of. In that way, ignorance profoundly channels the course we take in life. And unknown unknowns constitute a grand swath of everybody’s field of ignorance.

Which explains why trying to seriously discuss solutions to issues with Democrats is doomed to failure--they simply don't seem to have the cognitive tools to understand the disastrous effects of the policies they advocate. The concept that "we don't know what we don't know" is a very subtle philosophical thought, and I have found it actually much more common among people with right-leaning political philosophies than those on the left. The phrase "it was like talking to a brick wall" very succintly describes many of my attempts to explain reality to Democrats. Which is why I seldom bother any more, except here on this blog, where I still hold out the thinnest shred of hope . . .
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Morning Whip, June 21, 2010

N. Korea lifts restrictions on private markets as last resort in food crisis -- When all else fails, try freedom. This is how totalitarians--and "progressives" think. This is how the leaders of the USA think, too. Freedom is too dangerous for you, the little people, to be entrusted with. That's why the Wise, your rulers, the elite, must make these decisions for you--decisions like health care, like retirement, like what Internet provider to use, like how to power your car, like even if you should have a car in the first place, etc., etc.

Public Morality - Private Corruption -- More power to government means more corruption. Always. Everywhere. People in America are not inherently more moral than people anywhere else in the world (sorry to break that to you.) It's just that . . . until lately anyway . . . corruption was not the easiest way to make a lot of money. Thanks largely to the Democratic Party, this is changing here, as they doggedly arrogate more power to themselves through the government. And more power means more corruption.

Always. Everywhere.

Obama and the vision thing
There's a reason petroleum is such a durable fuel. It's not, as Obama fatuously suggested, because of oil company lobbying but because it is very portable, energy-dense and easy to use.

A replacement to hydrocarbons has to be better. Not "better" in an emotional, "green," squishy save-the-whales-and-bunnies way, but better in a clear-eyed, real, boots-on-the-ground engineering sense of a better fuel source to power our post-industrial society. None are yet, really, with the possible exception of nuclear fission (which of course we can't possibly consider using, because Obama cancelled the one place in the U.S. that was in any way suited to store the waste material. Heckofa job, Barry.

$7-a-Gallon Gas? -- Which we will pay, because we have no alternative. Which will further depress the economy. Which, in my darker moments, I think is the goal of Obama and the Democrats in the first place.

Jon Stewart on Energy Independence: "Why didn't it work? Why didn't we do it?" -- Because it was a happy, loopy, fuzzy-bunny idea, not a cold, rational, down-to-earth idea . . . it can be done, but not the way the "environmental left" wants it to be done. Of course, you can say that about most public policy issues . . .
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Morning Whip, June 18, 2010

Republican Candidate for Congress: Hey, Maybe BP and the Federal Government Conspired To Leak the Oil -- On the one hand, this is patently stupid. On the other hand, given ACORN, it has a certain conspiratorial plausibility in today's political environment. On the third hand, maybe BP is one of those companies that's become Too Big To Persist--and maybe the Federal Government has, too. Too Big To Fail is Too Big To Persist.

All about Sharron Angle: The background of the woman who’s taking on Harry Reid.
“I’ve seen government from many sides,” Angle says, smiling. “Legislator, school board, citizen in the initiative process. I have a multifaceted background in education. I’ve done public-school teaching, private school, homeschooling, and tutoring for juvenile justice. I’ve taught adults at community college.” So when she says that she wants to dump the entire Department of Education, she comes across as a warm grandma who’s fought the beast, knows it, and detests it, not as some anti-government demagogue.

“Look, the Department of Education is a policy machine that sends down one-size-fits-all rules that fit no one,” Angle says. “Education works best when you have all of the stakeholders involved and working toward the same commitment. That happens best at the local level. Anything bureaucratically, administratively, these layers and layers — that just diminishes the involvement of the stakeholder. They feel like their voice isn’t being heard because there is too much of a loud clamor from the top.”

See, the problem that the "progressives" have is that when they demonize people like Angle, they're demonizing people I've spent my entire life sitting across kitchen tables, school lunchroom tables, and college town bar tables from. The "progressives" have a wonderful line of BS that simply doesn't stand up to reality. And reality always wins, although sometimes it takes a while. The chickens are coming home to roost.
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Afternoon Whip, June 16, 2010

The Future of Journalism & Washington’s War on Advertising -- If you want a look at the near future, look at the Catholic Church's attempts to keep control of the "narrative" in the 1500's, when printing presses became widespread. Hint: do the words The Reformation mean anything to you? As the saying goes, "the bell can not be un-rung." The Conservative New Media are the New Protestants, rebelling against the catholic belief in "progressivism." And so, ironically, the "progressives" actually are the conservatives, now, and the "conservatives" are now the radicals--the liberals if you will. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Gulf - It Is Worse Than We Thought -- So, tell me again how drilling in ANWR or off the coast of California within sight of the beaches would be worse than this? At least in those places, there would be a better chance of controlling and containing any such disastrous oil leak.

We're not going to be able to snap our fingers and get off of dependency on hydrocarbons for energy in one decade, or even two. The avaliable alternatives (primarily nuclear fission, quite honestly) are inadequate. The proposed "renewable" options are not yet available, AND won't be adequate to meet any foreseeable global energy demand. We're going to burn a lot of oil, gas, and coal before we're able to transition off of them to something else.

That's the cold, hard, inalterable fact that Obama and his ilk absolutely, positively refuse to even concede. That just makes them unreasonable and irrational.
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Morning Whip, June 15, 2010

Tennessee Dem on female Republicans: “You have to lift their skirts to find out if they are women” -- With every day, the deeply-held racism and sexism of the average Democrat--not just elected Democrats, but those rank-and-file voters who vote for these racist/sexist mouthpieces--becomes more apparent. To vote for a Democrat is to vote for a racist, a sexist, a socialist, an ultimately a thug. It drags the voter down to that level, if he or she is not there already.

If you are a Democrat voter who is not a racist or a sexist, you really need to open your eyes and ears to what the people you are voting for are saying--because they are speaking for you. Oh, the racism and sexism are most often cloaked in high-sounding words like "fairness" and "rights" and "equality" but the core of all of those concepts, in the mind of a Democrat, is a very, very ugly view of people different from the Privileged Class--the Class for which the Democratic Party truly works to maintain.

Don't like class-based politics? Don't like race-based politics? Don't like sex-based politics? Think that everybody truly should have equal access to law and opportunity? Think that people should progress based on ability, not on race, sex, class, or anything other than their determination and talent (and the usual little bit of luck?) Then you can't vote for a Democrat, because while they say things that sound kinda like they support those things, what they actually do is consistently, profoundly destructive of equality before the law and the concept that "all men are created equal."

Shocker: Government Subsidization of Movies Comes With Editorial Strings Attached -- I'm not sure why people keep putting the word "shocker" in front of post titles. So many outrageous things happen, how can you really be shocked any more? Disgusted, yes. Appalled, yes. Enraged, yes. Shocked?

Media gets low ratings from public -- I'd be OK with "shocker" in front of this title . . . for purposes of ironic humor . . .