There for a while, I was watching, reading, and listening to the fringe media and bouncing around on liberal blogs, kind of doing recon, trying to figure out what the heck it is they’re thinking. And it turns out, they’re not thinking very much at all. And it’s not all rooted in hopeandchange man, though he seems to be the catalyst for some of their more bizarre, less earth-bound thinking. The democratic party is all but unrecognizable to me these days (and I say this as a former liberal). It’s lunged so far left that I’m actually ashamed to admit I was ever a liberal (just as I was once afraid to admit to any conservative values back in the much-missed Bush years), lest I be associated with the nutjobs on today’s left. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some fundamental principles that lefties simply don’t understand, are incapable of comprehending. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s evident across the libby blogosphere.
Things Liberals Don’t Get
1. There is a difference between the national debt and the national deficit. Libs use the terms interchangeably (like “hope” and “change”). When you try (politely and respectfully, of course) to point out that the government takes in X amount of dollars and any money the government spends over this amount of dollars is the deficit, they get all indignant. “Deficit spending” they say is the same thing as national debt (and they like to tag on some lovely, ad hominem adjectives that I’ll get to in a minute). Well, sort of. As we all seem to know, debt is carried over from year to year and is the money that we owe either our own Treasury or other governments (like China). Deficit spending adds to the debt, but it is not the same thing as the debt. Huh? They say (or sort of grunt). Let’s face it, they probably don’t have balanced household budgets, so how can they be expected to understand this? So I tried this:
Say you earn $50k a year. Say you have ten or so credit cards, and in order to sustain your lifestyle, you spend $75k a year. The $25k over your actual income is deficit spending; you are spending more money than you are bringing home. Say you do this for five years. Your debt is now (excluding interest and other penalties to keep things nice and simple) $125k, but your deficit spending is still only $25k. In summation, when you spend in the red, it’s deficit, what you accumulate in debt is . . . well, debt. Same thing for the government. Only bigger. Much much bigger.
Now of course there’s a lot more to it, but for a primer, I was quite pleased with this example because it’s clear and any numb nut understands that spending money you don’t have is unwise. If they didn’t understand it before the recent economic meltdown, I felt I sure they’d “get” it now. The sharp as a tack liberal rebuttal?
“I bet you still eat Freedom Fries.” I kid you not. Which brings us to the second thing liberals don’t get.
2. The difference between a thoughtful and concrete answer, and a childish insult (that’s not even particularly insulting). We’ve seen this repeatedly in the healthcare debate. I’m not sure that any liberal ever read the healthcare bills that were circulating this summer; no one I know did (and I know a lot of liberals), except conservatives. This is a problem because it means that libs’ only understanding of the proposed changes to 1/6 of our economy comes from . . . other liberals. Who are equally ill-informed. Their president has not adequately explained either his healthcare vision (we know he wants single-payer, he’s said it several times, but he can’t say it now, so he says “blah blah blah” instead), nor how he will pay for it (come on, even liberals don’t believe that it’s not going to “add one dime to the deficit” and that it will all be paid for by the rampant “waste, fraud, and abuse” in Medicare), so we can’t really expect them to say anything more intelligent than “that’s a lie,” “you’re stupid,” and “you’re paranoid if you think this will lead to government-run healthcare.” Well, no, not so much.
It’s not that difficult to understand how entitlement programs work, how they are paid for, and what this indicates about the future of a “public” option, but libs miss the boat on this one. How, for example, can the poorest 5% of our current uninsured subsidize a giant government beaurocracy (the new Health Benefits Blah Blah Blah)? That’s what BO says he wants to cover (review his joint session of Congress speech in which he claims that less than 5% of Americans would sign up.). See? They can’t. But you know who can? All of us. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the only way the government option can come close to “working” is if we are forced onto it (through BO’s idea of “choice”: pay into it or pay a fine and/or go to jail. It’s your choice! Woot!). It’s really very simple, very clear. And calling it an “Exchange” does not hide the fact that it’s the same thing as “public option.” It is, only it’s the tadpole version that will grow and grow until it’s three sizes too big and must be called a giant, toxic and warty, nationalized healthcare toad.
Rebutting such truths with “I bet all you watch is Fox News” and “You’re a liar [racist, hater of poor people, idiot]” does not constitute a viable argument. It’s the “nanny nanny boo boo” tactic of a kindergartner, not the thoughtful, engaged, and aware response of a thinking adult.
3. Libs don’t get the difference between the ideology of Karl Marx and the reality that’s played out every time it’s tried. This is a true head-scratcher for me. I very well understand how and why idealistic college students are drawn to Marx and Marxism, but I don’t understand how anyone over the age of 30 still clings to such an obviously flawed ideology. One of my new favorite articles on Marxism debunks it (or more accurately, shows how Marxism has debunked itself in both history and in intellectual thought). There is no more exploitative system of government than Marxism, none. Under Marxism, people are forced to live in poverty and on the verge of starvation . . . in that sense, I suppose they are economically and socially equal. Yay!?
Without getting into the theoretical gaps in Marxist thought (others do this far better than I), it’s simply not logical. Yes, I know, I harp on logic a great deal, but I like logic. It’s neat, it’s orderly, and best of all, it’s logical. Under a Marxist system, one is supposed to produce according to one’s abilities and to receive depending on one’s need. Okay, that sounds yummy. However, logically speaking, who determines what one’s ability is and what one’s needs are? Certainly not the individual. Under the Marxist system, there is supposed to be an equal redistribution of wealth; however, there is already a problem. How can you “equally” redistribute wealth without taking from someone who has it and giving it to someone who doesn’t? How is that “equal”? One works for and earns it, the other does not.
Further, if you really believe in wealth redistribution, go for it. Live it. Put your money where you mouth is. Most people who adhere to Marxism are pretty well-off, so they have wealth (comparative to those who have nothing) to spread around. But you don’t see BO giving money to his illegal alien aunt living in Boston slums or letting her move into his Chicago mansion while he lives it up at the White House, and you don’t see anyone in Hollywood (famous hotbed for “spread the wealthers”) setting themselves up in a modest home with a modest income and handing out the rest of their money to people with less. No, they buy massive mansions (plural), a gazillion cars, jets, jewels, designer clothing, goods, and whatever all else. Well, that’s a problem. Why don’t they (each) buy one thousand people who are homeless modest homes? Provide them with an “allowance” for their expenses? Each Hollywood actor, actress, producer, et al. could well afford to support a few hundred families, no?
And what about the middle class spread the wealthers? Are they falling over themselves to downsize so they can hand their money over to someone else? I mean if the national poverty level is around $10k, then surely someone making $50k should be handing out at least half of that to someone else, to two someone else’s, no?
The minute the people who sputter on about spreading the wealth actually start spreading their own around, I’ll listen. I might not agree with them, but they’ll have a certain credibility at that point. They don’t need the government to do that for them; when the government gets involved, they (in the words of Reagan) “take from the needy and give to the greedy.” It’s their money, or if they are true adherents to Marx, it’s everyone’s money, so hand it out to others. If you want wealth redistribution and are making more than the federal poverty line (or even an actual living wage) and NOT handing out everything over that to others who are less fortunate, then you are a fraud, a liar, and a hypocrite. I am a capitalist and a consumer, I put my money where my ideological mouth is. You can too.
4. They clearly don’t understand the difference between morality and Christian charity (i.e. being your brother’s keeper) and the government’s imposition of its own agenda in the name of morality and Christian charity. This is pretty simple. If I am a moral person who cares about my fellow human beings, I am free to volunteer my time and to donate my money and “gently used” clothing, furnishings, etc. to those who are less fortunate than I am. That is charity. If the government takes what I have and gives it to someone else, that is not charity, that is the government taking what I have and giving it to someone else (see number 3 above). I’ve written somewhat exhaustively on the role of God in our lives, and the removal of God from our lives has led to a very dangerous replacement of God with the government, in the person of BO. I do not worship a mere man. I do not tithe to the government. And I do not need, want, nor welcome the government dictating to me on morality and my duty to be my brother’s keeper (particularly not a government headed by someone so degenerate that he sat in Reverend Wright’s church for 20 years and listened to messages of hate and racism, nor to someone who must be aware that people around the country are praying TO him and who says nothing, fails to speak out against this bizarre trend, thereby implicitly supporting and approving of this elevation of himself to god-like status. That’s sick and twisted, and his silence on the topic is nothing but tacit approval. But I get side-tracked. Again. I do that. It’s a problem that I’m working on. Sort of.).
5. And flying way over their heads is the difference between “separation of church and state” and the abolition of all Christian references and symbols, or as some note, the difference between freedom from religion and freedom of religion. The first does not exist, per se, and is only an interpretation of the Constitution’s stance on the mandate against the establishment of a State-run religion. The second is a clear-cut violation of our right to religious freedom of expression (which is actually mentioned in the Constitution), particularly in the sense that it so unevenly controlled. All religious expression EXCEPT Christian is not only acceptable, but encouraged. While Muslim schoolchildren are provided separate rooms to retire to several times a day to fulfill their religious obligation to pray or fast throughout the day or on their religious holidays, Christian schoolchildren are banned from writing Bible verses on poster board and forming after school Christian clubs. Teachers are fired and/or arrested for teaching materials that contain the word “God,” for being conservative, or for saying grace on school grounds. Meanwhile, our public schools are teaching (at the K-12 level!) “Islamic studies” that actually teach a bastardized version of the Koran. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think public schools should be actively teaching the Bible, that is what Sunday school and church are for. But it’s completely out of line to teach Islam in our public schools, to allow freedom of one religion and to restrict or ban others.
6. The difference between “angry mobs” and “peaceful” demonstrators also seems tricky for libs. This one is best illustrated in video (thank you, One Ticked Chick!):
The way that liberals define peaceful demonstrations apparently involves cops in full riot gear and the destruction of property.
The way that liberals define “angry mobs” apparently involves people waving American flags (as opposed to burning them) and signs with images of BO with a hand-drawn Hitler mustache.
7. Libs are living in complete denial about the difference between a party that supports racial equality and one that perpetuates and profits from racism. This one is hard to fathom, but for some reason many democrats seem to believe that the democratic party is the anti-slavery, anti-racism party. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This difference, I think, is in how you “read” policies regarding the problems of legislating equality. Some see Reagan’s policies, for example, as inherently racist; however, I see them as inherently pro-racial equality, with emphasis on judging people by their ability and not by the color of their skin. The unrelenting emphasis on race that is embedded in all policies supposedly designed to create opportunity for black and brown people simply reinforces and perpetuates racial inequality. I do believe that Affirmative Action had its place, but I also believe that in order to move forward from here, to achieve actual equality, we have to stop giving money and opportunities to anyone on the sole basis of their skin color (or gender, for that matter). I saw the same thing in academia in relation to feminism. The underlying problem is that feminists cannot actually achieve their goals, for doing so would nullify their existence and their “cause.” So paradoxically, women are dragged down and “othered” (to borrow a silly term from ’80’s feminism) in order to perpetuate the very inequality feminists say they despise.
So if we understand the goal to be equality, there is no longer any room for the continued insult of race-based initiatives which in essence declare that people of color are “less” than white people: less capable, less intelligent, less able to “make it” on their own. This, in turn, sponsors racism as people absorb the idea that black (and brown) people are inferior and cannot succeed without the benevolent helping hand of white people.
8. The difference between arrogance and . . . well, arrogance. This came up in my last post, but BO’s supreme arrogance is somehow acceptable as long as he’s bashing American arrogance. Say what? BO’s spiel on this is: America sucks, it always has. Luckily for you, little world out there, I, the great and marvelous BO with visions of sugar plums and hopeandchange dancing in my head, am here to save us all. I, alone, can affect the change that America and the world needs. Mmmm mmm mm!
9. Libs can’t seem to grasp simple cause and effect equations. Their solution to the “evils” of big business is to tax them. This is simply insane. When you tax businesses for emissions or just because they’re “big” (as is usually the case with libs), two things happen: one, they pass that tax increase on to the consumer. If it costs them more to produce energy or to run their business/produce their product, they are going to charge the consumer more. This, one might think, is simple and obvious; and two, raising taxes on American companies to do business here in the States is exactly the reason they are now doing business overseas. All that outsourcing and loss of American industry is directly related to ridiculous and wrong-headed taxes on businesses.
Another example is again in the healthcare debate. They seem to think that having the government provide healthcare will actually mean free healthcare for all. Again, insane. Already we can see the future if the government option passes. There are currently discussions going on about charging people who are overweight, who smoke, who don’t “live healthy lifestyles” more money for the government option. This begs the question of how the government is going to know what you eat, whether you workout, or if you smoke and what the penalties are for misrepresenting this to the State. It also opens the door for the government to dictate every aspect of our lives related to health. That’s one hell of a door to open.
Furthermore, charging people who are overweight or who eat too much fast food (according to the government) will tax the poor in this country (thus breaking yet again BO’s promise not to raise taxes on those making under $250k). The overwhelming majority of people who are overweight or obese and who eat crap are people in low income brackets. The reasons for this are varied and debatable, but the main reasons are that healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy ones and that fast (and fattening) food is often the only viable option if you are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet. This latter reason also plays into why lower income people are not working out at Gold’s Gym every other day.
We keep hearing BO lament the increasing number of people without health insurance with absolutely no recognition of the fact that this is directly related to the huge and growing unemployment rate (it’s at almost 10% now). So saying there is a health insurance problem when so many people are losing their health insurance along with their jobs is not so very different than that “ice cream and violence” example (you know the one, usually used as an example of how not to think about causation, that noted there was an increased sale of ice cream at about the same time there was a violent crime spike and stunningly concluded that ice cream was causing violence.). So here we have millions of people out of work, and thus without health insurance, and the solution is . . . to give them health insurance? Make mine mint chocolate chip, please.