Archive for the ‘The Split’ Category

One Sentence Each

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Conservatism means if an idea is repeatedly demonstrated to be flawed and/or dangerous, after awhile you put it on the shelf where it belongs.

Liberalism means you keep finding excuses so you can implement it over and over again, without regard to whether there’s any variance in the results.


Friday, November 27th, 2009

Had another thought about The Wilding of Sarah Palin that is worth a post all by itself. You know how it needs to fit into the 2010 and 2012 elections…whether she chooses to run or not.


From Wikipedia:

A caste is a combined social system of occupation, endogamy, culture, social class, and political power. Caste should not be confused with class, in that members of a caste are deemed to be alike in function or culture, whereas not all members of a defined class may be so alike.

Alphas betas gammas deltas epsilons, from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Those are castes. Each layer has a separate function to fulfill, and this in turn determines the rights and privileges enjoyed as well as the burdens and obligations imposed.

Liberalism has built an entire “Western Sharia Law” around this; a religion inextricably intertwined with a way of governing. If you’re a straight white guy, you get one package of rights & responsibilities; if you’re black, you get another, if you’re gay you get another, if you’re a woman you get another. Expectations are made. If you’re Latino, you m-u-u-u-s-t support illegal immigration even if it offends you deeply — even if the reason for the offense, is that you and your relatives, or your grandparents, meticulously followed the rules when coming here. And we already know from the good Rev. Jesse Jackson that “You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.” Of course you can’t. Expectations have been made.

There is the purity test to help define what it means to be a conservative. That’s a good thing; next year, it will certainly be needed. But a more concise definition is always helpful. One bullet is better than ten, although ten bullets are certainly better than the endless tome that is my own conservative platform. One bullet distills things down to an either-or.

Conservatives need to know two things about you in order to figure out what your rights are. One: Are you capable of accepting the associated responsibilities? Or are you mentally indigent? And two: Are you free? Or have you had a conviction imposed upon you, that revokes some of these rights through due process?

It seems to me that this is where the fundamental split takes place this year, and the next one. Liberals need to know so much more about you. It’s like they’re looking you up in an actuarial table. Do you believe in evolution, do you believe in climate change, are you white, are you Christian, are you Jewish, are you Muslim, are you female, are you gay, do you chew tobacco, do you smoke dope, do you drink, do you drive a hybrid, are you an immigrant, do you shoot guns, do you live in the city…

…are you a member of a labor union. That’s the big one right there. That demonstrates the point all by itself. You have an absolute, inviolable right-to-work — if you have that card in your wallet. And if you don’t, you don’t.

I’m a Congressman, so I get this health plan, over here. You’re not, so you get that one over there.

I got a liberal democrat elected, so I get some “stimulus” money. You didn’t, so you don’t. You get to pay in so I can have my money.

You see it in the CRU scandal. Scientists are to contribute studies to the IPCC…if their work has been subject to “peer review.” If not, then whatever they have to say doesn’t mean anything, even if they are real scientists. But gosh darn it, if we have to re-define what peer review is, we’ll go ahead and do that then! And, of course, you can’t participate in the peer review, if your works have not been peer reviewed. So it ends up being a cyclical, nonsensical criteria. Nothing more than a gentleman’s-club. I’m in. You’re out. I count. You don’t. We’re right. You’re wrong. Behold: the new “scientific method,” fit for a post-modern world saturated with, and drowning in, institutionalized thinking.

This has never helped the human race. It never once helped us to figure out the earth is round. To the contrary, this is precisely what kept it flat.

Castes, Republicans. You want to drive those other guys out, you talk about castes. That’s what it’s all about. Liberals love to talk about how we’re “all in the same boat,” and “all in this together.” Their actions are the direct opposite of that. Not on this issue, or those two issues, or these three issues over here. Each and every single one, all the way down the line. Do we have a caste system in place or do we not.

And they have to lose. Castes have no place in a free society. A free society cannot continue to function with their system put into effect. No culture is big enough for the two of them.

Update: Some quality parody of this mindset, making for a welcome lighter fare, from FrankJ at IMAO.

Look at this e-mail I just got:


I noticed you have a few thousand in savings. Please don’t spend any of it because I already have plans for it. Also, you’re out of Doritos.

President Obama

I’m really starting to think Obama doesn’t understand the American ideal of privacy and freedom. Plus, he’s a mooch. Here’s what I wrote back:


That’s my money! I’m going to buy a bouncy castle and usurp the king and declare myself “Lord of Bounce.” Why don’t you just admit you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re losing all our money, and you have stupid ears and then go resign. And those were Fiery Habanero Doritos! You have to go to Mexico to get those! You suck!

-Frank J.

AwesomeThe e-mail exchange continues, as His Holiness replies


I know change is scary and confusing, but that doesn’t mean you should direct all your cracker rage at me. I’m sorry you had plans for your money, but we don’t all get what we want. What’s more important is that I get what I want which is what the country needs. We all other than me have to make sacrifices. And I borrowed your golf clubs.

President Obama

Graaah! What a jerk! Here’s what I wrote back:


YOU’RE THE CRACKER!!! You don’t have any plans! You don’t even know what’s in those bills! And you don’t get what you want, which is to not suck so much! What this country needs is for you to announce to everyone, “I’m a stupid dummy dumb.” And then you should resign and get a job more to your skill level like Walmart greeter.

And you should have asked before taking my golf clubs! I need those to control the local squirrel population!

-Frank J.

I told him good. Hopefully he’ll resign now and return my clubs.

Effective parody has truth behind it; really good parody has more truth. This is awesome.

D’JEver Notice? XLII

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

The line that divides us cleanly in half, in 2009, remains; but it has shifted slightly. Might as well take a note of where exactly it is.

Some of us are willing to tolerate any sort of personal ridicule in order to avoid supporting the wrong decisions;

The rest of us are willing to support all kinds of wrong decisions, in order to escape any sort of ridicule. Yeah, it pretty much all comes down to that.

Know what makes me think of that?

This…it’s long been an item of “Everyone Else Is Blogging It, I Might As Well Blog It Too.” People paid to be cool, supporting bad ideas to make themselves cool. They’ll do whatever it takes. Even though the idea is oh so wrong.

Back in the middle ages the “court jester” was a fickle, silly, mentally unbalanced, pitiful individual. I wonder what people from a few hundred years ago would think if you could travel back there in a time machine and tell them, “When our clowns tell us we should think a certain thing, a lot of our ordinary but comfortably-living property owners do exactly what they say.”

Thing I Know #153. Lately I notice sarcasm is used, more and more, to discuss opinions without considering facts. In those situations the opinion that “wins” is almost always wrong.

Now, Everyone Wonders About Republicans

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The New York Times must have been reading the pages of The Blog That Nobody Reads yesterday (or, far more likely, John Hawkins’ fine column which got us onto the subject).

More of the New York Times big-lie about Republicans. The schism is supposed to be exactly what got President Garfield assassinated in 1881, between the moderates and the “stalwarts.”

A fundamental debate broke out among Republicans on Wednesday over how to rebuild the party in the wake of Senator Arlen Specter’s departure: Should it purge moderate voices like Mr. Specter and embrace its conservative roots or seek to broaden its appeal to regain a competitive position against Democrats?

To even ask the question, is to answer it. To stand for nothing…to sacrifice everything for the sake of whatever the latest poll numbers say is important today…to sail the seven seas in a raft without any oars, just heading wherever the tide takes you, rather than in a sailboat or a motorboat with a destination, a map and a plan. Why, exactly, does America need two political parties doing that? What would be the point?

I can only think of one: Competition for its own sake. A whole lot of screaming and yelling and finger-pointing and blaming, when in reality there “ain’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two of ’em.” In other words, exactly what people most often complain about the status quo right here and now.

Just plain stupid.

No, here’s what the difference should be. Here’s what the difference really was, back in the old days when the democrat party was about as popular as ferret farming.

This party, over here, is all about what’s hip and cool right now. They’ve got a bunch of plans that don’t work, that they’re trying to sell. Plans that have been tried before, throughout modern history, by many countries, and have always failed. That party is going to make all these plans popular, by giving away taxpayer money to whoever might otherwise remember the plans suck so much. If they give away enough taxpayer money, or if enough people forget history and traipse off to the polls thinking about whoever’s younger-lookin’ and sexier, they just might take the place over for two-to-four years.

That other party, over there, is more concerned with what works. They get accused of doing “favors” for their “rich buddies” a lot, but that’s because — well, all that stuff Party #1 says about “getting a tax code going that works for everbody“? This other party actually lives up to it. It isn’t out to punish success. It’s not going to force you to pay for everybody else’s hangnails, dandruff, octo-kids, halitosis, new radiators, crotch-rot, learning disabilities and big-screen television sets just because you happen to have worked hard to build a successful small business.

That’s the divide: What’s cool versus what works. American Idol versus Dirty Jobs.

Now, how does that win elections? How do you get cool and stay cool, if you aren’t concerned in the first place about what’s cool?

Answer: And it’s a big stinky dirty secret nobody wants to discuss. Hard work is cool. Yes it’s tiring, and the time always comes when you don’t want to think about it anymore. That’s where we are right now. But that’s always a pretty short recess…all people have to do, is put up with the natural consequences of screwing-around for a little while…and it always turns out the same. Hard work is cool again, and people are much more interested in what actually works. That’s when “reality” teevee shows start getting canceled.

By coincidence, blogger friend Buck put up yesterday a cartoon that captures this extraordinarily well.

So keep spewing your venom and your confusion, New York Times. Deep down, people understand when they’ve chosen strong leaders and when they have not. When all the rhetoric is about “that isn’t my deficit” and “I won” those other guys at the other side of the ring are just so awful…I think most folks understand. This isn’t how strong leadership talks. The time has come to revisit this choice we thought we made half a year ago.

But…we can’t. We have to wait another eighteen months. At that time, people will still be happy with their little vacation-from-reality, like they were before? Really?

Conclusion: Republicans don’t need to do a damn thing. They don’t need to change a damn thing. They don’t need to broaden their appeal. They need to wait, and that’s all. Time is on their side. If they are so stupid as to do something above & beyond that, then the time will come for a third party.

Here’s your new Republican motto: “I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, if you’re male or female, what color your skin is, or if you drink booze or smoke pot. Just help me chisel this government down to a sane size. Here’s a hammer.” That message would bring out a Reagan-Mondale blowout. Not years from now. Tomorrow.

D’JEver Notice? XXVII

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

There is no re-definition taking place about conservatives, right now, or for that matter about liberals either. The history involving these two camps stretches backward through the generations, quite far, and remains essentially unchanged.

The liberal says “If I can make it sound appealing enough to try my idea, it doesn’t matter how many times it’s been tried already or how badly it turned out. You have to go through it again to prove you’re a decent person.”

The conservative says “If you can’t give me some firm evidence that this makes things better, or at the very least leaves things unharmed…let’s just not try it, and say we did.”

The year 2008 didn’t change any of that. That’s Surprise Number One. Surprise Number Two is, that out of all these ideas liberals want us to try that conservatives don’t…very few of them even approach something you could legitimately call “new.” Nearly all of them have been tried before. Here, or elsewhere.

Coolness, Suckage, Pain and Time

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Via blogger friend Rick, we have some video of Sen. Chuck Schumer sticking to the meme that is going to lose the next several elections for his oh-so-powerful democrat party…and the Senator is blissfully unaware of what’s coming out of his mouth.

Like a dumb schoolgirl in the tenth grade, he thinks the elections were all about who’s wonderful and who sucks. They were, of course…we spent a lot of time and energy talking, and listening, to all the points about how cool Barack Obama is and how much George W. Bush sucks. But there is this little thing called time. Leftist politicians and pundits consistently forget about it. All history didn’t begin when our country invaded Iraq — and you don’t get to win at something and say “and we lived happily ever after” like it’s a Grimm’s fairy tale. There will be other elections. The fact that the democrats won this one by being cool, should be of glaring concern, because nothing stays cool for four years.

I understand he’s mocking “traditional values…strong foreign policy”; it’s not his intent to say from here on out, we embrace weirdo pervert values and stupid foreign policy. But the thing of it is — those are his words, and it’s kind of a Freudian slip because that’s exactly what his party going to be forced to sell us in the years ahead. Yes, half a year ago they were able to keep the limelight off policy. That was relatively easy. The voters weren’t demanding a discussion of policies.

If the democrat’s policies don’t cause any pain, maybe that won’t change. If they do, then it certainly will.

What are the democrat policies? Weaken the military exactly when North Korea is sending missiles flying; make our financial position stronger by placing us neck-deep in debt; put the government in charge of everything, so that all human affairs are conducted with all the efficiency of the line in which you’re waiting at the DMV.

There will be pain. Voters will become interested in policies. Schumer’s pals will be stuck selling degenerate values and weak dumbass foreign policy.

It’s not “all over,” Chuckie.

Rob, quoting from JohnJ, marks off exactly where the gray-matter has been removed, or failed to grow in the first place, in left-wing thinking:

I think the reason why liberals seem to believe in form over substance is because they actually do not believe in substance. Liberals do not believe in objective truth, so for them everything is only a matter of perception.

Perfect. Absofreakinglutely perfect. Liberals just jumped up and landed all over the idea that “perception equals reality” back in the ’90s (remember that?) When you add this to Morgan’s insight that trusting your own perceptions enough to put your ass on the line changes everything forever, I think we’re getting to the unbridgeable divide between liberals and normal people.

Perception-equals-reality when you have the luxury of building a reality around an untested perception. When there’s nothing that really matters to you dangling by a visible dependency upon what’s true, you then get to run around…just casually perceiving things. Yay, we vanquished the Republicans, we’re cool, now we get to live happily ever after and Barack Obama is so awesome! Socialism works! The reason it hasn’t worked yet is because the right people weren’t in charge, but by golly we fixed that!

But via Lucianne, we see the bloom is coming off the rose — already. So far, it’s looking like Obama’s major achievement in the first hundred days, is to get people educated in ways He did not intend to.

When he ran for president, Barack Obama was one of the most inspirational candidates in a long time, able to draw huge numbers of new voters to the polls by engaging them with a message of change and hope.

Now that he has been in office for two months, reality is overtaking charisma. Obama’s positive aura is dissipating under the relentless pressure to get results and make compromises. He is colliding with the same dynamic that other recent presidents have faced–Washington’s divisive and cynical atmosphere, and problems, such as healthcare and overuse of fossil fuels, that are endlessly complex and seemingly intractable.

Obama is facing an additional problem that has been little noticed by the media and little discussed by his own strategists, at least in public. He is turning out to be what he said he wouldn’t be: a polarizing figure. Each of his immediate predecessors was popular with core members of his own party–Bill Clinton with Democrats, George W. Bush with Republicans–but alienated the other side. That’s what’s happening to Obama as his ratings remain strong with fellow Democrats but slide with Republicans. Independents remain up for grabs.

Obama is learning the limits of his inspirational brand of leadership. In Washington, a mass movement, even one propelled by a dramatic slogan such as Obama’s “Change We Can Believe In,” gets a president only so far. Obama’s movement is essentially a liberal one aimed at using government to improve American life and lift the economy out of its current crisis. But this has little or no impact on less-government legislators from safe conservative districts and states or interest groups that are immune or opposed to the liberal agenda, especially the aggressive use of the federal government to right society’s wrongs.

That little bit of edification we lifted from Neo-Neocon’s pages yesterday, about Obama being favored while His policies are reviewed with deep suspicion, even by His adoring fans — proves prescient:

Obama continues to be more popular than his policies. The share of Americans who approve of his job performance is hovering at about 60 percent, a healthy number, but his calls for vast increases in government spending and his energy agenda, especially his plan to impose limits on carbon emissions, draw far less support. This could mean that he is in for more trouble in selling his ideas, no matter how much people like him personally.

And then we slide headlong into why those tables are going to turn, and turn hard.

Obama’s theory is that America isn’t divided fifty-fifty, as it was under George W. Bush. Instead, Obama believes there is a sensible center that will ally itself with the Democrats or the Republicans, depending on which side offers the most effective and pragmatic solutions to the country’s problems, according to Democratic strategists close to the White House.

Now, I don’t know if democrats and their strategists really believe this behind closed doors, and I don’t think it really very much matters. Because the sale is going to be conducted according to this flawed premise, that when we marched off to the polls in November of last year, we were voting on “effective and pragmatic solutions to the country’s problems.” Hah! Yeah, some of us were voting that way…our side got creamed. The People spoke up, loud and long, and their message was that they found effective and pragmatic solutions boring. Just pick the cool kid out of the class, make Him the ASB President, and send Him into a room somewhere to go talk this stuff out.

And from what The People know about those solutions, they aren’t too crazy about ’em. Fix our economic problems by spending all our money on bullshit? Come again?

I perceive what’s written above, to many of us is simply stating the obvious; but I further perceive there is this prevailing sentiment that whatever disenchantment there is going to be over Obama and the democrats who are aligned with Him, has already hit us. The worst is behind them.

That makes perfect sense — or it would, if the worst of the pain was behind us.

It’s early April. If the worst of the pain was already behind us, they wouldn’t be bad policies. As it is, all of the money hasn’t even been spent yet. The programs haven’t had a chance to underperform and disappoint. People haven’t had to wait in line for their government-backed car warranty transactions. We’ve only had one tinpot dictator kick sand in our faces; two, I guess, if you count the pirates. If I recall correctly, it wasn’t widely understood how urgently destructive Jimmy Carter’s policies were, until the hostages were taken in Iran; that just sunk the message in. November 4, 1979, late in Carter’s third year. From that point forward, Carter gratified nobody. Nobody, anywhere, was saying “I’m so sorry I voted against Jimmy Carter.” Nobody was saying “I can’t wait to re-elect Jimmy Carter.” In fact, for decades afterward the best thing Carter’s adoring fans could possibly say about him was “well, ya gotta admit he’s probably the best ex-President we’ve ever had!”

Now, I hope we’re not looking at anything like what happened in Tehran, in 2011 or any other time. But it does inspire a question that I think really does need to be asked, both by party strategists and by the rest of us. In the wake of an event like that…how much does it really matter that thirty-six months previous, the guy got voted in, even by a landslide…because he was just so mega-awesome?

How many things do you have in your dresser drawer, or in your garage, that are three years old and were super-duper-cool when you bought ’em — and you still look at them that way? Especially when you’ve endured some disaster that can be connected to your having bought it?

I see a connection between the liberal mindset’s fascination with what’s-cool-versus-what’s-uncool, and this lack of awareness about time. It’s like their brains work with snapshots. I guess it’s natural. You hand out these commands to your slobbering followers to remember the invasion of Iraq, but forget all about what came before, and they obey. I suppose after awhile you’d forget that things happen as a consequence of other things. Especially if you’ve been raised from childhood to think that nothing you do really matters, every little bad thing that happens to you is just plain bad luck, you didn’t cause any of it, and the whole point to your existence is to play video games and be happy. And, of course, if some pressing decision comes up and it involves something that is a really tedious and monotonous confrontation to your gnat-sized-attention-span, just elect someone who isn’t boring to go into a room somewhere and handle it for you.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.


Saturday, November 29th, 2008

My household is a dual-income one, now, which means two sets of job responsibilities. So the political loudmouth could not make the trek “home” for the festivities. It would appear, from my e-mail, that the extended family that could so journey, got into a little bit of a polite dust-up around the table.

I continue to marvel at what an incredibly rare event it is for yours truly to actually bring up the subject of politics — compared to the way people recall it later. Thinking back on it, it almost never happens. I’m not saying that to be funny; it’s true. People come to me with questions. I’ve always had this appealing trait that when people ask me what time it is, I tell ’em how to build a watch…so I suppose it’s natural that when you’re talking about one thing when you go to ask Morgan about the particulars, and by the time Morgan dishes out his monologue you’re talking about ten things, you should recall later that Morgan brought up the subject.

That’s quite understandable.

Doesn’t make it true.

Be that as it may. The subject of the elections came up at a dinner table which was separated from me by about eight hundred miles. So I can’t tell you how. I can only say the inquiry that came my way, was about people becoming tragically polarized, and the question that emerged was in what way did the recent election results address this trend, if they did at all. I take it the options were that the election manifested it, the election healed it, the election opened a new chapter of it, or…some smorgasbord of other alternative answers. Had I already “blogged” about this? What, if anything, is out there that has been written about this?

The reply follows, with just a few minor corrections (and one meaningful one — why do we always see these things after we hit the “Send” button?).

There is quite a bit inspecting the underlying causes, without attempting to attack the problem you specify directly, but you have to understand how to look it up. For example: The 527 groups. They can be used to channel large amounts of money into advertising campaigns *provided* the campaigns are not affiliated with, or directly advocate the election of, any specific candidate.

As anyone who’s been placed on their mailing lists knows, a victory for the opposing side brings on an avalanche of form letters from the 527. If these form letter campaigns are effective — and they must be, otherwise they would not take place — the money comes in. So right there is an artificial device put in place to keep your gas gauge at 50% or very close to it…the effect of this is that a massive war chest will be accumulated on the Republican side as the democrat party continues to run everything…with no opposition anywhere. It is quite unavoidable. Two solid years of form letters from Republican fund raisers to loyal Republican supporters to the effect of “Guess what they’re up to NOW?” is bound to have an effect. Mistakes will be made. Real life will bring challenges to everyone…it always does. Can’t blame conservatives for any of it. There aren’t any.

Also — there is a cause-and-effect relationship between all these drives to “get the vote out.” I’m sure you’ve seen these, all these PSAs, some paid-fer, some not…some of it just mindless pablum echoing from blogs — “Get out there and VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!” as if the subject under discussion is bringing a sandbag to an overloaded levee or a bucket of water to a house fire. Left undiscussed, is that there is one surefire way to get people to vote, that works better than any other: Convince them everything’s going to hell. [Lack of] voter participation, contrary to popular belief, is a sign of good times. People stay home because they’re pretty sure everything’s working out more-or-less OK.

Finally, there is the question of John McCain himself. The Republican party picked him out of a desire to decrease polarization across the board, to help unify — choose someone closer to the middle. The Republican party officials…were after exactly what you are after, to somehow compel people to agree. Supposedly, this was a surefire plan to win the election. Act a little bit more like lightweight democrats.

What did the electorate do? Congratulate the Republican party on doing this wonderful voice-impression of democrats, pat ’em on the head, turn around and vote for the other guy. He was cuter. But the lesson is, when people get offended about things, they’re often getting offended on behalf of others — with whom they don’t even agree, and people who in all likelihood aren’t even getting offended. I see it with Sarah Palin; all these democrats running around talking (still?) about what a terrible VP pick she was, with that pregnant unmarried daughter and all. You think the average democrat gives a rip about that? No. They’re trying to agitate fundamentalist Christian Republicans…who they hate. Take a poll of all the people who are sympathetic to conservative principles, and the message comes back pretty resoundingly: Fred Thomspon would have been a much better pick, and probably would’ve won. It sounds fantastic at first, but how many Republicans would have stayed home to watch reruns with a Thompson/Palin ticket out there?

So when one seeks to win converts, it never helps to mute the message. Therefore, the moderate sub-spectrum is a politically unattractive place. We just ran the most-liberal-Republican against the most-liberal-democrat, and the Republican got his own hindquarters handed to him. It wasn’t about Republican-ness…it was about moderation. People say they want it. They don’t. They want a messenger who will stand up for his message. They don’t care that much about the contents of the message. Heath Ledger touched on this a little bit in The Dark Knight, giving a brilliant monologue as The Joker: Something about how calmed-down people are, when they know there is a “plan.” If the plan involves death and destruction, they’re not concerned, compared to the way they would be if they thought there was no plan at all.

So I don’t hold out a lot of hope for unification if the plan is to gather toward the middle. Seems to me that’s been tried already, just now. In fact, I don’t altogether agree with the goal. How many people do we want agreeing? Sixty percent? Eighty? A hundred? On how many issues? Some? All? This fixes what, exactly? Does it manifest that things are OK? If so, how? Quite to the contrary, it would be an enormous red flag that people aren’t thinking for themselves.

And we have that problem with things existing as they are right now. I see it in every Obamaton with whom I discuss these things…every single one, so far. Time comes to discuss what His Holiness the iPresident Man-God is going to do to solve our various problems, and all I hear about is ending the war, which means giving up. Close down Guantanamo, sign Kyoto, and roll back the tax cuts. That’s all. After that, the specifics come to an abrupt stop. There are none. It’s just how wonderful the Man-God is, how smart all His people are. This, to me, is not indicative of people thinking for themselves. They can name four specifics, maybe, on which they think they agree with the Man-God, and each item has to to do with helping our enemies, or dealing injury to ourselves. “I need some ‘Change!’ — two twenties for a ten?” “Uh…yeah, that seems fair, sure!”

And the problem exists on the Right, too, to be fair about it. Lots of quoting from scripture (much of it non-existent), lots of sloganeering. Not nearly as much as the hopenchange liberals this year. But it is there. And there is some negative feeling about it too. Sarah Palin gave her best speeches when she showed evidence of some independent thinking going on upstairs. Once she took the housewifey approach and prattled on about how wonderful McCain was, her support started to erode. People wanted to know if she stood for sincere, heartfelt, resolute support for conservative principles, and she made the mistake of giving them two answers. When she’s at the top of the ticket in 2012, hopefully she’ll be in a position to do a better job of it.

The irony? I think people *do* want to be unified. Support for the liberal ideas dissipates, just as soon as liberals talk about how to split us apart, which never takes long. Rich versus poor, gay versus straight, white versus black, man versus woman, labor versus management. Do I need to substantiate this point? Listen to Hillary Clinton talk about an issue…any issue…for fifteen minutes. See if you can pick out who the bad guy is, the Snidely Whiplash who needs to be taken down a peg or two. There always is one. The subject she discusses, doesn’t matter. There always is one. Even when she talks about a tragedy with no villains in it, like Hurrican Katrina, the Indonesian Tsunami, or the AIDS epidemic. If there’s no villain, she’ll make one. That’s emblematic of what liberalism is in 2008, of [what] people chose to buy with their votes this year. They came together, to drive a wedge amongst themselves. Now there’s one-party rule so no wedge-driving will be possible. It’ll be interesting to see how they pull this off.

PS: A great hue and cry has arisen about how President Bush should resign before January 20, and (as usual) if enough people complain, we can make it happen. As a commentary on that, I designed a new bumper sticker:

[From here.]

This morning I woke up to find my hit counter had spiked, because of this. [Note: This was mostly a result of linkage at Maggie’s Farm, so welcome to The Blog That Nobody Reads, you Yankee farmers.] So there seems to be widespread recognition of this. We seem to have a lot of people living among us, who live their lives, perpetually, on a turning point. Always one revolution away from happiness. No schism, means no revolutionary event, and no revolutionary event, means a stultifying boredom [of such magnitude] that they’d never be able to tolerate it once they had it.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Joe The Plumber: American with a Capital A

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

My girlfriend wanted to go shopping for Halloween costumes on Thursday, during her lunch hour. Now, she works in downtown Sacramento and we live in Folsom, which presents a problem because there’s a good twenty or thirty miles between the two, and Al Gore tells me if I drive my car too much I’ll kill the planet, something I don’t want to do. So I packed up my son’s lunch and homework and saw him off to school, then hopped on my bike, with my AM radio piping in some talk radio for the trip.

One of the last things I did before I left the house was a quick update to The Blog That Nobody Reads, which involved an unusual wistful request about upcoming cultural changes, something that is typically outside of our field of interest. Of course, it had to do with the elections — a recurring four-year event in which all our lives are impacted, and practically shaped, by whatever values and sentiments emerge from the ballot box as “prevailing.” And so it is the one time I’m forced to care about what others think. So now I’m worried. I’m particularly worried that the signs indicate, with an undercurrent of certainty, that we’re about to botch it and botch it good.

I asked that a “meme” take over on the innernets with regard to Joe the Plumber; that people rise up, and say loud and proud, “I AM JOE THE PLUMBER.”

That was Thursday morning. On Friday Iowahawk, intentionally or not, obediently complied

I hope you will join me in expressing a simple bit of solidarity with this guy, Spartacus style. I AM JOE. I am a Wal Mart schlub in flyover country who changes my own oil and unclogs drains without a license. I smoke and drink beer and toss the football in the front yard with my kid, and I figure I can fend my way without handouts from some Magic Messiah’s candy bags. Most everyone in my family and most everyone I grew up with is another Joe, and if you screw with them, you screw with me.

Are you a Joe? Say it proud. Leave it on every goddamn newspaper comment section and online forum. Let these pressroom and online thugs know you won’t stay silent when they try to destroy the life of a private citizen for speaking his mind — because for every one of them, there are a million Joe Wurzelbachers. And for that we should all be thankful.

No, he didn’t “obediently comply” quite so much. It’s a case of great minds thinkin’ alike. Whatever; that was the kindling catching under the big-wood, and now the bonfire is ablaze.

Blogger friend Buck thinks I was ahead of my time. I prefer to think of it more as a natural resonance thing. Real Americans exhibit a common behavior, that is synchronized not through genuine collaboration, but by shared values. Joe the Plumber did not come looking for Obama; Obama came looking for Joe, and when Joe didn’t give Obama the answer Obama wanted, the Obama campaign started looking for ways to destroy Joe. I have an emotional reaction to that. Real Americans have the same reaction to that, that I do. The small-a “americans” who support Barack Obama, don’t react the same way and can’t react the same way, because it would conflict with their rabid, tingly support for their messianic but decidedly lackluster presidential candidate.

But anyway.

I put out my call for solidarity with Joe early enough that it preceded any real knowledge I had about the fellow. It came before what emerged as a swelling of new facts about Joe the Plumber…the whole license thing, tax lien thing, etc. etc. etc. None of which really matters to me at all. But what does matter to me, is something I heard coming out of Rush Limbaugh’s program just as I took my mountain bike off the Jedediah Smith recreational trail and pointed it down J Street, into downtown:

Joe the Plumber does not make 250,000 dollars a year. He doesn’t even make close to that.

He just wants to.

This does not detract from my admiration for the real Joe the Plumber. It doesn’t change my desire for people to pull the “I Am Spartacus” thing with Joe.

Quite to the contrary, I think that’s thirty tons of awesome.

You see, Joe is not speaking out about his objections to Barack Obama’s Robin-Hood tax plan with regard to his current economic status. He is objecting on behalf of his own dreams, which is quite a different thing. Joy Behar revealed herself to be a small-a american when she called those dreams “fantasies.” I’ve been familiar with that mindset for awhile. Years and years ago, the Sacramento area had a left-wing radio talk show host piped in from Los Angeles, and I remember this talk show host had a caller who was discussing tax plans and social programs and what not. The talk show host asked how much money the caller made, and I think the number was 44,000 a year or something. Talk show host said “Okay, then; you, will never, ever make more than sixty thousand a year. In your life. EVER. I guarantee it.” Or words to that effect. I’m paraphrasing. But the point was that we’re stratified, economically, and we’re stratified in perpetuity, womb to tomb.

I am Joe because I do not believe that is the case.

When You Dream...I do not believe we walk around from cradle to grave with “R” or “P” etched into our foreheads, marking us as rich or poor. I believe we ascend and descend; I believe we ascend and descend quickly and strongly. I would even add “violently.” Furthermore, I think that is the point of having an America. At all. I think the country was founded by people who figured out life is not about abundances of security, quite so much as of opportunity. Liberty…to succeed, to fail, to rise, to fall. Real freedom — when it’s sweet, and when it’s sour. I think they figured out when you have too much security, that things don’t move. I think they figured out what life is, and like babies emerged from the womb, were hungry to live it. They figured out life is motion, and therefore, life is danger. At least, that’s what life is if you’re of the mindset that equates responsibility with danger.

I think the country was founded by people who wanted things to move. Joe gets it. He’s got his big ol’ dreams, and being a capital-A American he’s going to work toward them. Maybe his dreams are on a completely different level from anything he’s done before. In fact, maybe when measured on a probability scale, they really do become fanciful. Maybe he will never succeed. Maybe he’s got his on-days when he works like a Tasmanian Devil toward achieving those dreams, and maybe he’s got his off-days when he never lifts a finger to bring himself any closer to those dreams. Maybe his lack of a license is a tell-tale sign that he isn’t really dedicated to what he’s supposed to be doing.

But they are dreams and they are not fantasies. Because here’s the difference: Barack Obama walks up to Joe, and says…if & when you make a quarter million a year, I’m gonna take some from you and spread the wealth around. And Joe, who I presume is not a loyal Republican or democrat and doesn’t really have a historical stake in the right-versus-left thing, says to himself…hey, that’ll work out alright for me in the here-and-now, but he’s screwing around with my dreams.

And so he safeguards the future. If you’re reading, Ms. Behar, that is the difference between a dream and a fantasy.

The small-a americans can’t have dreams like those. They’ve given them up. And they know it. That fills them with fear and rage; when they see someone like Joe, a Genuine American, who has dreams about the future and thinks they’re real enough that they deserve protection, it all bubbles up to the surface. Michelle Malkin calls it JTPDS, for Joe The Plumber Derangement Syndrome. And she’s got examples. Lots of ’em. Go read up.

I have seen this kind of anger before. I have seen it…roughly…a month and a half ago. When Sarah Palin started making the news. Women hate Sarah Palin because — and when they explain it, themselves, they don’t make an awful lot of sense.

 • She is seen as ideal because her son is being deployed to Iraq… does that speak to her credibility as a candidate?
 • children with crazy names: Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow, and Piper…. i feel sorry for them!
 • married to high school boyfriend…. come on how about some exploration! [emphasis in original]

This is not the way right-wing “hate” works, I notice. You haven’t long to wait if you’re looking for examples of how people on the right wing are perceived to be puttin’ the hate on people on the left wing. The accusations fly fairly often. And if you look at what inspires or provokes those accusations of right-wing hate, you see the motivation is something similar to what set off Plumber Joe.

It isn’t tax liens, or plumbing without a license, or hunting moose or giving one’s own kids crazy names. It is “HEY…your tax-the-rich plans are screwing up my dreams.” Dreams of starting a large, successful business; dreams of teaching my kid how to use a target rifle; dreams of buying my wife an enormous SUV that she can’t commandeer without a hydraulic stepladder on the side, just because she’s a wonderful woman and I think she deserves it.

The Left, on the other hand, just dredges up ugly tidbits…some of which aren’t even ugly. Sarah Palin’s got a tanning bed. Todd works for BP oil. Joe the Plumber called Social Security a “joke.” He’s divorced. Over and over again, they play up these things as scandals, and in so doing reveal how out-of-touch they are. And, the lengths they’ll go to putting America under the control of the “correct” people.

I Am Joe The PlumberIt’s the kind of snarking you do when you catch someone doing something wonderful, that you could’ve done awhile ago, and in the days since then have made some kind of commitment toward not doing it. And to think — all Joe did, to set off this kind of anger, was dare to dream. To imagine himself as bigger tomorrow than he is today, to to make some substantial choices toward bringing that “fantasy” to reality. And to do some thinking, which leads to Step One: Don’t support Barack Obama, or any other soft-socialist, for any position of power.

He saw the light, along with millions and millions of capital-A Americans. If this guy gets his way, then what is the freakin’ point to what I’m trying to do? That’s the dangerous message. That’s the genie that was let out of the bottle. That’s where the American identity lives. We don’t prove to each other, or to a bunch of foreigners around the world, what wonderful “civilised” people we are by backing the “right” policies…abolishing guns…abolishing capital punishment…signing carbon emission treaties…etc. Americans are not here to be wonderful — we aren’t here to be, period. Americans do. We dream, and then we do.

Joe The Plumber speaks for me. I am Joe The Plumber. His story is my story. So say we all. Or, at least…many of us. We think the way he thinks. We do not see ourselves, tomorrow, bound by what defines us today. To us, this is what being a real American, is all about — we dare to dream big. And when you screw with Joe, you’re screwin’ with the rest of us.

The rest of you who hate him so much…there are lots of other countries out there, who hate Joe for the same reasons you do. They’d love to have ya, I’m sure. Think on it. Hope you get your place overseas all set up and furnished by the end of the month, and no, DON’T take an absentee ballot. It’ll just weigh you down, and that’ll make your jet plane emit more carbon.

Cross-posted at Cassy Fiano and Right Wing News.

Making Yourself Useful

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Awhile ago The Anchoress laid down a challenge that someone should define: What’s wrong with the world? She imposed a one-hundred-word ceiling on the resulting essay, which I first honored, and then flouted. In the more loquacious version of my essay I identified a whole bunch of problems and then tied them all into a singular “root” cause. The root cause was: Us. We change the way we think to get the next piece of comfort, and in so doing make ourselves useful. Once we have that next piece of comfort, we take it for granted. We dispose of all the things we acquired, and all the things to get it, in order to chase after whatever comes next.

This is helpful when that next piece of comfort demands an accumulation of skills.

Much more often, it demands an atrophy of skills. It demands we become weaker than what we were before. So when we fail to appreciate what we have, what we end up doing is evolution via atrophy.

This leads to being over doing. Placing a greater value on what we are, than on what we do. This means we forget that love — is an action. Evil — is an action. Wealth and poverty — are actions. We forget all these; we start to visualize each other according to our states. We group each other that way. We start fighting fights that aren’t worth fighting; even worse, we avoid other fights, that actually mean everything.

Andy at Dipso Chronicles noticed the same thing, through something Mike Rowe said. You know who Mike Rowe is: He’s the “dirty jobs” guy. He has a television show that’s all about doing stuff. It doesn’t talk too much about what people are, it talks about what people do. It’s one of my favorite shows.

Renaissance man. And no, ladies, that doesn’t mean he knows how to make a butternut squash risotto while you are at the Jiffy Lube with his dirty Subaru, it means he knows how to do a lot a of shit that you women really want your men to be able to do, and then walk into a room full of REI-clad Berkely intellectuals and tear them a new one, to boot. That’s why I listen to him when he says things like “where we once encouraged each other to ‘make yourself useful,’ we now say ‘make yourself happy.'”

No kidding. How many things do you suppose that little ideological shift has screwed up? I came up with 5, but that’s because I am at work and only had about 18 seconds to think about this. Marriage, family, education, employment, and professional sports.

I think that’s what Andy is exploring here — doing, versus being. Hell, you saw it in that stupid debate a few minutes ago. Brokaw kept asking Obama and McCain what they would do. The candidates then spun the question around, and went into these litanies about what decent people they are.

This is a dead-end road. If you have what you have because of what a wonderful fellow you are, instead of the things you have done, this is something that is constantly up for review. You do not want to have a bunch of cars and a nice house jammed full of pretty things because you are a nice guy. Someone, somewhere, in a position of authority can get up one morning and decide — hey, that guy isn’t a nice guy anymore. He’s something of a jerk. Bam, you lose all your stuff.

McCain and Obama already live in that world. That’s why they underwhelmed so many tonight.

No, you want to be defined by what you do. It seems to suck green nickels some days when you can’t get everything done you want to get done — but that way, once you get things done, it’s locked in.

You know, now that I give this another think-or-three, that’s another one for Andy’s list. The subprime thing. That’s exactly how we got there. All these nice, wonderful, poor people who’ve been treated so bad, they deserve houses. How unfair it is to judge ’em by what they’ve done! Fast forward a few years, and we’ve got this massive financial crisis. It is a sinkhole crammed full of worthless paper. The paper is worthless because of a handful of years wasted evaluating people according to what they were, rather than what they did.

Or, to use Andy’s terminology, we demanded that people become happy instead of becoming useful. I’m pretty sure he’s exploring the same thing we explored a few months back. We haven’t changed our position in the last few months that this is what’s screwing up the world. So, by implication, we agree with him and Mike Rowe.

Update: We have attracted the attention of The Anchoress, probably through a trackback. She says our post is interesting. That’s what all the good-lookin’ girls said about us back in high school, they wrote in our annual “you made the year so…interesting.” Anyway, welcome, Anchoress readers. An additional reason why this might be worthy of mention, is Anchoress has seen fit to re-issue her question. She’s ready, willing and able to set the “blogosphere” on fire with this stuff, she’s done it before.

Anchoress, in turn, has attracted the attention of the other blogger super-diva Cassy Fiano. We know we’re of like mind with blogger friend Cas, because once she free-lanced on what’s wrong with the world, her thoughts were nearly identical to ours:

Once, it was understood that you could do anything… if you were willing to work for it. Americans now expect everything handed to them on a silver platter. Not eating out and buying used cars was called “sacrifice” last night. Americans have no concept of hardship, of sacrifice, of responsibility. And when we abandon the will to work, we lose the American spirit. Its in the eagerness to cut-and-run in Iraq, the panic over times being economically a little harder… sucking it up and working for the long run is unheard of. And that attitude is hurting us.

Anyway, this is a happy accident, in our mind. Can you think of a better time to ponder, seriously, what exactly is wrong with the world? Obama and McCain hit the campaign trail and rip into each other; the speech of each, is that the other (and others like him) is/are running around like a loose cannon and that is what is wrong with the world. You’d think the first time they were stuck in a room together, it would end with bloody entrails dangling from the light fixtures. Bloody entrails of one, or the other, perhaps both.

And instead you get the ultimate snooze-fest. In fact, they spent so much time agreeing with each other, the diligent observer is hard-pressed to name too many points of what’s-wrong and how-to-fix-it upon which they truly disagree. These are the guys who, together, are supposed to be representing the rest of us. If that be the case, and I think it is, then we have the ultimate dichotomy: We’ve got lots and lots of passion that something is terribly wrong with the world, and we haven’t got the slightest clue what exactly it is…nor can we claim to have spent too much of our energies earnestly trying to figure it out.

Ms. Fiano then goes on to list some of the things that are right with the world, pointing to an older post of Dr. Helen’s for her inspiration.


Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Carl at Simply Left Behind (which is a lefty blog) is opining on what’s wrong with us nowadays and sounding…very conservative

You get hit by a car. You sue the other driver. He hires a lawyer and sues you back to try to prove that, indeed, it was your fault for stepping in front of his car.
You see a woman in an emergency room collapse. She lays there for 24 hours and dies. No one does a thing. Why? Because someone else should have handled it.

You walk down a street and a piece of newspaper blows across and wraps around your ankle. You stand next to a garbage can, yet rather than reach down, pluck the paper and toss it in the bin, you shake your foot and off it flies to litter again. Serial litter, I like to call this.

We fight a war in a far-off land, and the only sacrifice we’re asked to make is to load up on debt and shop some more. Arguably, given what has happened, this might turn into the ultimate sacrifice for many of us, but that’s a different story.

And I would add to that, the story of Sergio Casian Aguiar curb-stomping his own son to death for a full seven minutes. While bystanders watched.

A spectacle that shocked and horrified conservatives, while liberals made excuses:

“I would not condemn these people,” said John Darley, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University who has studied how bystanders react in emergency situations. “Ordinary people aren’t going to tackle a psychotic.

“What we have here,” Darley said, “is a group of family and friends who are not pre-organized to deal with this stuff. They don’t know who should do what. … If you had five volunteer firefighters pull up, you would expect them to have planned responses and a division of labor. But that’s not what we had here.”

Carl’s cognitive dissonance on the virtue of sacrifice is a source of endless fascination to me, in part because he represents so many millions besides himself. And while parts of his thesis make sense, together as a whole it is a baffling tangled mess of contradictions.

When the newspaper attaches itself to your ankle you’re supposed to bend down, pick it up, and throw it away!

Okay, with Saddam Hussein that is exactly what we did. Carl doesn’t like that…

But it makes sense! Because there was no sacrifice!

Yeah, well, we sacrificed plenty. That’s the point of all these war protests…supposedly we’re drafting our innocent doe-eyed children, boxing ’em up, hauling ’em to Iraq where they get blown up by the thousands. And that’s wrong! But that’s a sacrifice if ever there was one. So…your point?

It’s only the sacrifice of a few! It doesn’t affect everyone, so it doesn’t count!

We-ell, as I pointed out in my comment, in a lot of other areas a financial sacrifice is supposed to count, and supposedly, the Iraq war is responsible for crude oil that costs $149 a barrel. When we pull in to a gas station and have to part with $50 to fill a twelve-gallon tank, that seems to me to be a sacrifice, especially when by Tuesday of next week we’ll have to do it again.

Unless financial sacrifices don’t count, in which case Carl just nullified every speech made by every tax-and-spend liberal who ever wanted to “roll back the Bush tax cuts” for the virtue of sacrifice.

I think liberals like Carl are confused on the concept of sacrifice. There are two definitions to it: There is the outcome-based sacrifice, in which the “sacrifice” itself is just a negligible and unpleasant side effect in the process of upholding what truly matters. The narrower definition, in which the pain is the point, is what John Galt was talking about in that monstrously long speech of his:

Sacrifice is the surrender of value — of a higher value to a lower one, or of the good to the evil.

The code is impossible to practice because it would lead to death, and thus moral perfection is impossible to man.

The Doctrine of Sacrifice cannot provide man with an interest in being good.

Since man is in fact an indivisible unity of matter and consciousness, the sacrifice of “merely” material values necessarily means the sacrifice of spiritual ones.

The self is the mind, and the most selfish act is the exercise of one’s independent judgment. In attacking selfishness, the Doctrine of Sacrifice seeks to make you surrender your mind.

The Doctrine of Sacrifice commands that you act for the good of others but provides no standard of the good. And it requires only that you intend to benefit others, not that you succeed.

The Doctrine of Sacrifice makes you the servant and others your masters –and adds insult to injury by saying you should find happiness through sacrifice.

Somewhere in there Galt made a mention of the mother who went without eating so that her infant could eat; that would not be a sacrifice, according to Galt who was using the pain-based definition of “sacrifice.” That mother would be upholding an ideal important to her system of values, simply paying a price necessary to acquire it. Sacrifice, Galt said, would have been giving up her child for the sake of something not important to her. (Update: It actually had to do with sacrificing the child for a nice hat. See below. My memory managed to “sacrifice” the finer details to retain the overall picture; cut me some slack, it’s a freakin’ thirty-five thousand word speech.) That is what is meant by surrender “of a higher value to a lower one.” It entails a net loss, because the pain is the point of the exercise.

My thinking is, the people who agree with Carl, also agree with John Galt. Sacrifice is not about principles. Sacrifice is identifying what is important to you, and then getting rid of it.

Our liberals do not feel the conflict of this dissonance when they talk about raising taxes on rich people. Money is supposed to be important to rich people, right? And so we force them to get rid of it through higher taxes. When we talk about meeting the objectives, we already begin the process of losing the interest of our liberals; their eyes glaze over, and they yearn to spend their precious moments on a rerun of The Daily Show or watching another one of Keith Olbermann’s recycled rants. But we complete that process of alienating them when we talk about meeting the objectives through private charities.

This is because in the more specific, liberal-and-Galt definition of “sacrifice,” private charities don’t meet the criteria. They are voluntary. The donors are exchanging an inferior value, which is the cash that is donated, for a greater one which is the beneficial effect of the charity. They choose this. In so doing, they are upholding their own systems of belief and therefore are not “sacrificing.”

I suspect that is the real reason why so many of our liberals can hold their protests about the latest handy round body-count in our “illegal and unjust war,” on the one hand — and on the other, decry the lack of “sacrifice” that has been made in the war. Real people like you and me who have red blood in our veins and are from Planet Earth, look at that and say “how can you protest both?” The answer to that is easy.

Liberals are like the girlfriend who is unhappy with her engagement ring if the prospective groom still has money left after he bought it — the size of the ring isn’t the point, how good it looks isn’t the point, how much did it cost isn’t really the point; the point is, did it cost enough that it hurt him.

This is why their ideas are unfit for implementation in the real world. Out here, if you have a job to do, and you get it done but it didn’t cause you pain, that’s a success. If it was such a painful experience that it injured you, it’s still a failure if you didn’t meet the stated objectives. Reality says it’s all about getting the job done, not what you give up to do it. Our liberals don’t agree. They think, if you’re suitably diminished that you can’t do anything else, and your intentions were noble, then that’s all that matters. Whether the job got done, is just a side bunny-trail to them.

This is provable. Saddam Hussein is that newspaper flying about the ankles if ever there was one. One President kicked him aside to be blown further down the sidewalk, and another President picked him up and stuck him in the trash bin. Our liberals are furious at the President who chucked him in the trash bin. They won’t say why.

Update: John Galt’s comments on sacrifice, whittled down to the bare bone, heavily edited from the state in which they exist starting on p. 940:

The word that has destroyed you is ‘sacrifice.’ Use the last of your strength to understand its meaning. You’re still alive. You have a chance.

‘Sacrifice’ does not mean the rejection of the worthless, but of the precious. ‘Sacrifice’ does not mean the rejection of the evil for the sake of the good, but of the good for the sake of the evil. ‘Sacrifice’ is the surrender of that which you value in favor of that which you don’t.
If you give money to help a friend, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to a worthless stranger, it is. If you give your friend a sum you can afford, it is not a sacrifice; if you give him money at the cost of your own discomfort, it is only a partial virtue, according to this sort of moral standard; if you give him money at the cost of disaster to yourself – that is the virtue of sacrifice in full.
A sacrifice is the surrender of a value. Full sacrifice is full surrender of all values. If you start, however, as a passionless blank, as a vegetable seeking to be eaten, with no values to reject and no wishes to renounce, you will not win the crown of sacrifice. It is not a sacrifice to renounce the unwanted
If you wish to save the last of your dignity, do not call your best actions a ‘sacrifice’: that term brands you as immoral. If a mother buys food for her hungry child rather than a hat for herself, it is not a sacrifice: she values the child higher than the hat; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of mother whose higher value is the hat, who would prefer her child to starve and feeds him only from a sense of duty.
Sacrifice could be proper only for those who have nothing to sacrifice – no values, no standards, no judgment – those whose desires are irrational whims, blindly conceived and lightly surrendered. For a man of moral stature, whose desires are born of rational values, sacrifice is the surrender of the right to the wrong, of the good to the evil.

The creed of sacrifice is a morality for the immoral – a morality that declares its won bankruptcy by confessing that it can’t impart to men any personal stake in virtues or values, and that their souls are sewers of depravity, which they must be taught to sacrifice. By its own confession, it is impotent to teach men to be good and can only subject them to constant punishment. [emphasis mine]

Now, I have not heard a single lefty-leaning Bush-bashing blue-blooder — not once! — seek to assert that the war in Iraq, oh dear if only it entailed “sacrifice” from us all the way that noble effort by FDR that was World War II demanded rationing of rubber, steel, wood, et al…why, then the War On Terror would be an equally heroic deed and then they’d be able to get behind it. I have not heard ’em say that one single time.

But I’ve heard ’em, many-a-time, throw out some platitudes designed to bully the casual thinker into believing that’s where they were coming from. That glittery, glistening heroic sheen of “sacrifice,” yesiree! That’s what Bush’s unjust and immoral war is missing. We aren’t sacrificing enough!

But John Galt’s words put that into a whole different light, don’t they. ‘Sacrifice’ is the surrender of that which you value in favor of that which you don’t. It is therefore morality for the immoral; it is a moral code for those who cannot appreciate having one.

Not that asphalt rationing would bring any of these nattering nabobs on board. It wouldn’t. If you parse Carl’s words very carefully, and listen to the other nattering nabobs very carefully, you’ll see they are promising no such thing. The universality of our sacrifices has nothing to do with it — the country is engaged in an intensive effort, there’s still a Republican in the White House, and that is all it takes to inspire their impassioned opposition to what we’re doing.

All the bitching about “sacrifice” is just a red herring — and that’s the best part about it.

Our Split

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Now that voter registration doesn’t work for this purpose, how do you tell our blue-staters and our red-staters apart today? To a child, or someone from a foreign shore, wanting to understand the definitions — how do you explain the split? Here’s one proposal:

A red-stater and a blue-stater break up a fight between a couple of kids on the middle school playground, and start debating what should happen to them.

The red-stater wants detention for whoever threw the first punch.

The blue-stater wants detention for whoever threw the last one.