Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
There is a paradox at work here. Few people are talking about it, so I’ll just come out and say what I think everybody has come to realize, and try to answer the question I’m gathering everybody has.
Democrats should be kicking ass this year. Not just threatening to take over Congress, but winning in every contest in which they engage — with no compromise. They’re having an easy time selling the message of “maybe it’s time to think about putting someone else in charge”; they’re having a much tougher time selling the message of “that someone else is us.” It’s not having Democrats run things, that has people scared. It’s having Liberals run things. People are put off by the idea of seeing that happen. They’re even more put off by the idea of making it happen.
What is this liberalism all about? There is a central thesis to it, singular in nature, despite the pantheon of unrelated issues in our national debate. Part of the problem is, the central thesis has changed with the passage of time. And in the summer of 2006, it’s an ugly one that people don’t trust. Let’s look into it by exploring a plurality of issues, and the “liberal” resolutions to those issues.
Scenario 1 of 3: I run a shop. I need some help. A lot of help; as much as I can possibly get. Entry-level, no experience required, maybe manual labor. I have run the numbers and I can justify a total of $30 per hour, not counting money for the Social Security match, benefits, and miscellaneous employee-related expenses.
The minimum wage in California is $6.75 an hour. With the status quo left in place, I have the wherewithal to provide a livelihood to four recent high school graduates, looking for a way to enter the world of work. Whoops, though, In San Francisco the minimum wage is is $8.50.
Let’s say liberals want San Francisco’s minimum wage to become California’s minimum wage. Under the aegis of liberalism, the minimum wage must be constantly raised. Constantly. Sure, it has not been unusual to see liberals gathering some case studies of people on minimum wage who just can’t make it, and need more dough. But liberals don’t always rely on the case study to make their point. Since about halfway through President Clinton’s administration, it has become much more popular among liberals to say, heck with how people are doin’, the minimum wage must be raised because it has not been changed in X many years. So nevermind whether people are scraping by or not. Even if everything is peachy-keen from sea to shining sea, it’s got to keep on going up, as part of a ritual.
So $8.50 they want it to be, and $8.50 it shall be. There is no subsidy to tack on to my $30 an hour, because after all that would be “corporate welfare.” Liberals say you aren’t supposed to do that. So…eight-and-a-half goes into thirty three times, not four. One of my prospective employees must go back home, to circle more Help Wanted ads and yammer at Mom to bring some more grits to his bedroom door while watching Saturday morning cartoons.
Liberals have an answer for that, too. They “do studies,” and then come out and say things like “our study found no measurable negative impact on employment.”
So…the study says I do not need to send one of the four home to mother.
But $8.50 times four, is $4 more than I can spend, and $7 more than I have to spend with things left the way they are now. This is simple math. This is not an isolated situation; with issue after issue, liberalism upholds a disturbing pattern of insisting that I stop thinking for myself, even in matters of simple multiplication and subtraction, and outsource my thinking to other people.
People who do studies. People who promote studies. People who are not in the office with me, sweating over the figures with me, helping me to figure out how to pay the bills with the money I have. People who, so far as I know, have never transferred money from a personal savings account to meet a payroll. Those are the people telling me to forget about math, put the calculator down, it will all work out.
Scenario 2 of 3: Mohammed Atta al-Sayed, and eighteen other evil men, hijack planes and crash them into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. With 20/20 hindsight, our various intelligence services learn there is a complicated web of financial and political entanglements circumnavigating the globe, involving powerful and wretched men who kill jews and Americans so that they can send messages to each other. Our President, drawing on the patriotic fervor sweeping the country in the wake of the senseless tragedy that ended 2,996 innocent lives, comes up with a plan of action. It boils down to this: Drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan; enforce the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998 signed by President Clinton requiring a change in the government of Iraq; and hunt down terrorists wherever else they may be like the dogs they are.
Phase II of this plan turns out to be vastly expensive, in human life, dollars and in political capital. It is also hobbled by the specter of bad intelligence. The administration tried to get the ineffectual United Nations to come on board, and remain consistent with the resolutions the U.N. itself had passed, and support this pillar. He cited Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that Saddam Hussein’s regime was supposed to be pursuing, in violation of U.N. mandates to disarm. The U.N. in general, and France and Germany in particular, refused. We invaded Iraq anyway. We found WMD, but they were old. Deadly WMD. Old.
Now, then. What the liberal course-of-action is supposed to be with regard to this, has become extraordinarily difficult to figure out. The liberals themselves aren’t sure what it is. But we’re after a central thesis here, not a course-of-action, and while a course-of-action would be useful in figuring out the thesis, it is not required.
So let’s look at the ingredients the liberals want in their stew, and leave the stew itself for someone else to cook up. They want a withdrawal from Iraq, and/or a timetable for same. They want a legacy, a negative legacy, a consensus that doing anything at all with Iraq was a mistake and it should have been left alone. I am inferring, although I’m not completely sure about this, that they want a precedent in United States foreign policy that the next time we come across a troublesome psycho like Hussein, we may pontificate about the situation as much as we want but nothing should be translated into action. That seems to be a fairly solid conclusion.
The negative-legacy should include something about the epidemic of patriotism that swept the nation after the 9-11 attacks themselves, and translated into the actions we took. Somewhere in there, the liberals say in unison, there was a mistake. On where that mistake was, it appears they are divided. A big faction amongst them insists the patriotism itself was a mistake, and if there is a competing faction in their midst dissenting that notion, it has yet to find a voice. So patriotism is bad.
There is a lot of castigation for anyone who deigns to “question” their “patriotism,” though. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks attacks the very notion of patriotism. We are allowed to repeat the bad things liberals say about patriotism; we are not allowed to notice them saying it.
There is a talking point floating around in liberal-land that you aren’t that likely to be personally injured in a terrorist attack anyway. So I guess if there’s a course of action to be undertaken, it is to simply forget about the issue altogether. The liberal plan here doesn’t seem to have quite so much to do with things to do, as with what to talk about.
Scenario 3 of 3: My health is starting to fail. I have been successful and accumulated a comfortable personal fortune, in the range of somewhere around $10 million. I want to divide my estate among my three children. If I live until 2011 when the death tax is reinstated (barring further action from Congress), my assets will be subject to this tax. The website deathtax.com says “After utilization of a $625,000 exemption, the rate of tax is 37% and once assets have reached the size of $3 million, the rate of tax is 55%.” My calculator says this is $4,867,500.00, due from my estate, in cash, within nine months of my demise. Roughly half of the estate.
Not, it should be said, half of the liquid assets; half of everything. In cash. Which means a conversion must take place. On a timeline. My children, or the executor of the estate, will be placed in the position of being “low-balled.” If there is some acreage, then in 270 days time that acreage must be converted into cash. Prospective buyers, who perhaps don’t care as much about the transaction as the executor does, can offer whatever they want, and if the offer isn’t taken they can walk.
If this supply-and-demand equation upsets the net worth of the estate, so that after my death the estate ends up being worth eight million dollars instead of ten, that’s the executor’s problem, not the government’s. The bill is what the bill is. Pay up.
Family farm? Sell it.
Nothing left over? Fine.
Assets lost that were previously generating revenue? That’s great. My kids didn’t need the income anyway. If they think they did, they’re just wrong.
Liberals have a very specific position about this: Congress should take no action, and allow the death tax to be reinstated. They say without a death tax, we’re bound to get a system of stagnating aristocracy going, my children will sit around drinking lemonade at the Country Club doing nothing. With the death tax, they’re pulled down to the level of the rest of us, and everybody benefits.
Oh and by the way, don’t call it a double-tax, even though in my lifetime I paid taxes on every nickel I ever earned. The tax is being paid by my children, since I’m dead and don’t care what happens to my money. My children are seeing the money for the very first time, therefore Uncle Sam is entitled to his cut.
Curiously, even though this is a “tax,” it is spectacularly rare that anybody argues in favor of the tax on the strength of the need for the revenues to be raised. Amongst the advocates of restoring the death tax, it’s all about depletion. It’s all about making sure certain people are hurt appropriately.
Okay, what is the central thesis behind each of these scenarios?
There is a pattern of anti-intellectualism, even where personal success depends on personal thinking. Where am I going to get the money to hire these people, what are the terrorists going to do to us if we don’t do something about them, what will become of my heirs and my property after my demise. There’s a pattern of Hakuna Matata, “don’t worry be happy.” Liberals want us to be happy and content, living our day-to-day lives free of pressing concern — but not as dignified people. More like…ants. Ants do what The Queen tells them to do, toiling away, free of any concern about sadistic kids with hiking boots and magnifying glasses, since after all they can’t really do anything about it. They live, they die, and after they’re dead life goes on. They build hills, but not for themselves, instead it’s all for the hive.
It is nihilism, Definition 1-b: “A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.”
Well, that isn’t quite true. Liberal ideas can be communicated, indeed must be communicated. When this takes place, however, I notice that the communication doesn’t involve an awful lot. More often than not, that which is communicated is a negative. I have a non-liberal thought, and the liberal communication to me is a mental rap-across-the-knuckles, and derivatives of same — not much else.
Thou shalt not do math before adding people to thine payroll. Thou shalt not think about terrorists. Thou shalt not aspire to possess more money than we think thou shouldst have.
And this goes on down the line. Global warming: Stop thinking, trust the experts, do what you can to conserve — and what is conserve? Consume less, which means, do less living.
Education: Don’t take your child out of the failing school system, keep him in there. Stop asking how well the district is doing, or whether your child is receiving a quality education. Hakuna Matada. If you act, you may injure the collective. Think about the district the way the ant thinks about the hill.
How we’re seen around the world: Start apologizing. Worry less about the opinion of other Americans, and more about the opinion around the world — as it’s interpreted, more often than not, by other Americans. Be less “boisterous.” Be more “humble.”
God: Separation of church and state, which is not in the Constitution, is everything. Free exercise, which really is in the Constitution, doesn’t matter at all. In any arena that may be connected to public-sector administration, even tangentially, no religion may be mentioned — save for that religion embracing the article of faith that there is no God. That’s the new state-sanctioned religion. And oh by the way, if you’re thinking of actually calling it that, don’t.
Guns: Get rid of them. Think you need them for your personal protection? Don’t think about it. Living out in the sticks? Wife pregnant? “911” has a thirty-minute response time? Hakuna Matada. Our “studies” say you don’t need the piece. Ditch it.
It’s all got to do with things mattering less. Less thinking going on. People shutting up and doing what they’re told. What they’re told by…oh, what does it matter who. Stop asking questions.
This is a tragedy. Liberalism, as I pointed out in my FAQ (Questions #5 and 6), is supposed to be about thinking for yourself, freely. It has meant exactly that. It has swiveled around 180 degrees. It has done this in my lifetime, and I’m not that old.
No wonder people are having a tough time actually voting for it, now, when it should be easier to do so than it has been since the days of Camelot.
Votes, for better or for worse, are supposed to be cast by individuals. Thinking individuals. And liberalism is no longer on their side.
Thing I Know #113. A crisis precedes logical thinking. Logical thinking precedes a solution to the crisis. Too long a time without a crisis, precedes indulgence and sloppy thinking. Indulgence and sloppy thinking precede the next crisis.
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