Sometimes a Show is Just a Show

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Sometimes I have to wonder why people think they need to have an opinion on everything.  Case in point: A man took his wife to the theater in New York and the Republican National Convention felt it necessary to respond critically to this act of kindness because the man was Barack Obama.

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Sometimes I have to wonder why people think they need to have an opinion on everything.  Case in point: A man took his wife to the theater in New York and the Republican National Convention felt it necessary to respond critically to this act of kindness because the man was Barack Obama.

“As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan’s theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills,” RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said in an email this afternoon.

With thinking like this, it’s small wonder that this organization’s “product” has been two crushing defeats in as many election cycles.

News flash: American families have always struggled to pay the bills, even at the height of economic prosperity.  And GM was doomed to bankruptcy decades ago.  That it’s happening now is a nice coincidence given Mr. Obama’s anti-business agenda; however, the seeds were sown before the new president was even born.

If there’s a story here – and there ought to be – it’s that GM’s death knell was struck the day it gave in to the unions’ demands for higher-than-market-value wages and benefits.  The result was GM’s promise to provide life-long health care to retirees, an agreement that makes the company impossible to operate profitably now, a fact that makes it a perfect target for Democrat’s de facto nationalization.

Obviously none of this has anything to do with First Lady Michelle Obama collecting on the promise of a night out from her husband, which is the whole point.  The RNC should simply shut up and be thought fools rather than speak and leave no doubt.

My Personal Mea Culpa

Deliberate readers of this blog will have noticed its diminished content recently, a reduction caused in large part by the demands of my day job.  As rewarding as having this forum can be, it must be said that it doesn’t put so much as a crumb of food on the table.

Another component of my recent malaise has been that of hopelessness.  Change, it was said, was coming and with it hope.  Change has come in the form of a massive recession and government nationalization of of the banking and auto industries.  It should be obvious that the hope that was promised was an illusion.  Instead, our genuine hope, that of freedom and opportunity, has been diminished, a victim of the liberal steamroller that my fellow Americans saw fit to elect to the office of president.

It’s not easy to be ignored, as conservative and libertarian voices across this country now are.  Yet it is a useful lesson: I now understand how the howling mobs of liberal commentators such as those at dKos and FDL descended into madness, left alone as they were with their own thoughts.  Happily for you, dear reader, I have no intention of lowering myself to that level of discourse.  But neither will I yield the entirety of the web to such as those.

Speaking of which, the Texas Liberal recently went on-record calling the Texas legislature a “malignancy” because it failed to expand an existing welfare program for the state’s children.  He went on to correlate the election process to a cancerous mutation and pronounced such outcomes as the inevitable result of a sick and dying system.

TL’s analogy is interesting.  But as is so often the case with liberal thinkers his logic is turned in the wrong direction, something that’s easy to do when one’s initial premise is incorrect.  Like others of his ideological bent, TL seems to believe that the government exists to ensure quasi-equal outcomes for its citizens. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.  As I said, his thinking is useful, so let’s take his analogy and use it correctly to demonstrate this point.

A healthy state and/or country is not unlike a healthy human body.  In some respects the government is not unlike the human brain in that it makes the rules that the rest of the body is to follow and so long as those decisions make sense, the health of the governed is enhanced or at least not endangered.

Conversely, when the brain makes unfortunate decisions the body suffers, as when it is asked to do the impossible.  If I attempt to leap from the top of the Allen Center ala Neo in The Matrix I will quickly meet my end, no matter how much my brain tries to convince itself that what it’s done is a good idea.

One such analogous event in government is the fiscal suicide that politicians of both parties have committed over the last 4 decades.  Like jumping from a skyscraper’s penthouse suite, this cowardly, undisciplined act can have only one outcome – the destruction of the body the government was supposed to protect.  Make no mistake, our past leaders failed us, Republican and Democrat alike.

In the present, liberals like Mr. Obama and TL are defending his massive takeover of finance and business and his unspeakably enormous federal budgets by sticking out their tongues and crying, “Nyah, he did it too!” while pointing the finger at former President Bush.  While it’s true that Mr. Bush was a fiscal failure, his mismanagement of the economy was the barest taste of the bitter medicine that Mr. Obama would have us suffer.

But rather than dwell on the non-existent trillions that willed borrowed from our children, let us instead return to our examination of TL’s cancer metaphor.  In doing so, recall that the brain, important as it is to the function of the body, is in reality far from the central authority that TL imagines the government of Texas and the United States to be.

Rather, the parts of the body operate independently of the brain for the most part, going about their business unimpeded by the fantasies conjured up upstairs in the neural passageways.  This is a good thing lest the body stop breathing and die while the brain idles, entranced by the drama of the latest episode of The View or the Texas legislature.  Each part of the body, down to the very cells that make it up, functions entirely on its own, automatically, without direction from the brain.  It is beautiful and miraculous, which is as it should be in a healthy system.

As a case in point, consider the arm as it performs a useful function.  Should the brain attempt to direct each and every fiber of the muscles involved in the motion of assembling an automobile, for example, it would quickly be overwhelmed by the complexity of directing literally trillions of moving parts.  No such operation can be done by the central authority, as, for those who may have forgotten, was demonstrated quite clearly in the Soviet Union over the period of 7 decades in the 20th century, to the dismay of hundreds of millions.

Likewise, the function of government is to set broad goals and gross direction, not micro-manage its citizens.  Just as the brain cannot direct the arm from afar, Washington and Austin cannot successfully force people to do what it wants them to do simply by passing laws and spending bills.  Human society just doesn’t work that way.  It can’t, any more than Joe Stalin’s 5 Year Plans produced wealth in Russia.

Indeed, a governing agency that forces individuals to act against their own interests is itself the creator of a cancer that rots the body from within.  It may appear to be successful in the short run, just as Stalin’s produce-or-die model generated lurching successes for a time.  However, any achievements made in such a fashion are necessarily unsustainable.  When the individual cells give inevitably out and the body rebels, whether from sheer fatigue or sickness, the resulting collective failure is disastrous.

Liberalism is such a force in government.  It seeks as a principle component of its ideology to force individuals to surrender their rights and property so that it may transfer them to others.  In doing so it steals from its citizens, robbing them of their earnings and inheritance to enrich its adherents.  It should be understood that this is an act that is altogether destructive and entirely different than – and totally incompatible with – individual charity.  The former is theft, the latter virtue, and they are nothing alike.

Just as cells generally function in harmony with each other in the human body, so do most individuals live independently in a free and democratic society.  The function of government, which TL has so badly misunderstood, is to take minimally invasive action when that is not the case.  In this analogy its function is that of the skilled surgeon who intervenes to fix a specific defect within the body so it can again work properly.  This rather than acting as an infinitely controlling puppet master that pulls the strings of every citizen in an effort to create an otherwise unattainable outcome, thereby driving the entire body to its destruction.

For now I’ll leave you with a question:  What then is the cancer as relates to government?

Pakistan’s Army Killing Taliban in Mingora

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Not long ago we were worrying about Pakistan’s apparent lack of will to grapple with its Taliban problem and wondering if the government there – and the nuclear weapons it controls – would stay in power.  Now Pakistan’s army is going house-to-house in Mingora to root terrorists out of the Swat valley’s main city and having success.

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Not long ago we were worrying about Pakistan’s apparent lack of will to grapple with its Taliban problem and wondering if the government there – and the nuclear weapons it controls – would stay in power.  Now Pakistan’s army is going house-to-house in Mingora to root terrorists out of the Swat valley’s main city and having success.

Maj Gen Athar Abbas:

“This is an extremely difficult, extremely dangerous operation, because clearance has to be done street by street, house by house.”

So how is it going?  Pretty well, according to reports. 

The BBC says that the Taliban deny that 17 of their terrorists have been killed in the city.  Meanwhile the Pakistani army claims that more than 1000 Taliban have been killed in this month’s offensive versus a loss of some 50 government troops.

One has to take these numbers with a grain of salt.  But it appears that Pakistan is doing very well against the terrorists, which leads me to question if the Taliban weren’t deliberately lulled in to a false sense of their own strength by the government in Islamabad.

Doubtful.  Nevertheless, the effect at the moment is the same, whether through dumb luck or brilliant bluffing, the Taliban is exposed and being pounded for it.

According to the BBC, “The [Taliban] spokesman also said the Taliban would fight the security forces to their last breath.”

One can only hope.

Is Debt Default Immoral?

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Megan McArdle has wrestled with this question and came up with a wonderfully clear answer:

If people really acted as if the choice to default were morally neutral, we’d either lose most of our credit system, or the legal rules would have to be much more punitive.