31 August 2009

With a Democrat in the White House every cloud really does have a silver lining

A man said to the universe,
"Sir, I exist."
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
"A sense of obligation."
-- Stephen Crane

A perennial complaint during the Republican Captivity II was that myriads of college graduates were having to take low-paying, even minimum wage jobs. College graduates were "flipping burgers". Oh, the Charles Dickens of it all. That was bad news, because college graduates should just walk right into mid-management jobs. And that's in a bad economy; in a good economy, those graduates should have a seat on the board, no doubt. College graduates flipping burgers and waiting tables was also one of many signs that Republicans don't know how to manage an economy. (Note: an un-managed economy is a good thing to some of us.)

We deserve more, and some power, somewhere, is obligated to make sure we get it.

But now, believe it or not, that low-paying job could actually -- get this -- be a good thing. Paul Facella (ironically, a former burger-flipper), lists six good things, (six career enhancers, even) about starting out on the bottom rung.

That reminds me: remember when the best G.D.P. was a J-O-B?

Apparently, that applies only when a Republican is in the Presidential Palace. When a Democrat resides in the Palace as our Fisher-President, and the jobless hovers just below 10% or is it really closer to 20%?), why it's a great day in His Beatitude's coming paradise. These days, being J-O-B-less (and, therefore, G.D.P.-less) is, or can be, a good thing. If you just alter your perspective, these bad economic times are actually good. Think of it as "funemployment".


I do just happen to agree with Facella, though. Among the many benefits of starting at the bottom is the lesson in humility that some of us need, and some of us more than others. In 1992, while I was still an undergraduate, preparing -- I was certain -- law school, my wife and I suffered a financial set-back to the tune of, well, a lot of money. So long law school. I did well to get that B.A. in 1993.

I well recall the day one of my friends called, just a few days before graduation, to congratulate me. We spent just a few moments half-jokingly speculating on which think tank I'd be working for inside of a decade.

My first job after graduating was in a furniture repair shop; then I tried my hand at telemarketing, followed, rather ironically, by fast-food restaurant management. That fact -- the ugly truth of the matter -- is that life is like this (no, much, much worse) for most of the world's population. And it always has been. I'm not special because I went to university; and neither are you.

Life is difficult. Most people get out of life what they can scrape out of it. Deal with it.
28 August 2009

A bill, in lieu of flowers

Admirers of the late Edward Kennedy (R.I.P.), aware that a healthcare plan itself isn't very popular, now think we should, despite objections to a given plan, go ahead and support it now. Brian Williams has seen an email circulating, suggesting a heathcare reform bill, rather than flowers. The symbolism of a dead man, substituted for the substance of the lousy bill under discussion.

Sure, it stinks. Sure, it represents the most significant loss of freedom since the Raw Deal. But let's do it anyway. Let's put ourselves, and future generations, into chains -- chains of gratitude, no doubt. And let's do it for Teddy.

They desire to make a reposed hero -- a man who did much to benefit the less fortunate, with very little of his own money (no mean fete, I'm sure) -- their best argument for supporting healthcare take-over (I mean, reform -- healthcare reform), something fewer and fewer people want. To me, that makes it doubly unmerited.

If the plan (or some plan) is as full of merit as it supporters and proponents clearly seem to believe, then why take this (irrational!) tack? If we should have this over-kill version of healthcare reform, then sell it on its merits. This latest move is as close to an admission as we're likely to get, that reform, as they envision it, has no merits whatsoever.

UPDATE: Melissa Lafsky wonders what Mary Jo Kopechne, a dedicated liberal, would have thought about "arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history," and concludes, "Who knows -- maybe she'd feel it was worth it."


Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that Lafsky wants minorities and other beneficiaries to know that we owe Senator Kennedy a great debt of gratitude: "Disabled? Poor? A member of any minority group? Then chances are your life is at least somewhat better because of Ted Kennedy." Yes. Well, I, for one didn't ask for his pinche help.

My mother was, briefly, a single mother. She taught me not to look to government for help. Don't get me wrong: She tried it once, applied for some help. She was very seriously -- and I mean very seriously injured in an auto accident and out of work for months. But because she was a homeowner, she could get no help; if she wanted help she needed to sell her home. The working poor -- yes, they love us so much; that's why we must divest ourselves of the few assets we have in order to be worthy of their largesse. And have I mentioned that their largesse doesn't cost them anything?

These people -- they can can never do good without making sure we know the good they have arguably done for us, and without always demanding the appropriate demonstration of gratitude. Typical, guilt-ridden, self-loathing caucasian. If only they could find a way to do their good in a way that leaves their left hands ignorant of what their rights hands are up to. (But to do that, they'd have to use their own resources, divest themselves of their own assets.) And they never understand when some of us beneficiaries of their benevolent provision are, to say the least, ungrateful. They remind me of the liberal attorney, Lucy Kelson, in the movie Two Weeks Notice, when she dumps some money in a guy's coffee because she is just sure that's what the cup is for. Observe (start at about 7:30 into the clip):

There is, of course, a salient difference: In this clip, Lucy Kelson, uses her own money in expressing her concern for those less fortunate than herself. But that still doesn't prevent her being flabbergasted at her beneficiary's lack of gratitude.
25 August 2009

It's the polylogism, stupid (2)

One of the ironies in this (aforementioned) article is the complaint that protesters against government-option healthcare coverage are hindering the so-called discussion about health care. It's ironic because there is already a bill. Actually, I'm using the word 'ironic' to be kind. It's actually dishonest. But I digress.

Quite clearly, with the President's demand for a ready-to-sign bill, the debate (or discussion, to use to word of the day) is over -- as are all debates or discussions, once the left have made up their minds. Besides, the article mentions Democratic congressmen who are at these supposedly disrupted town hall meetings to explain the plan. There isn't much to discuss, in a certain sense. I've been to meetings where an insurance plan was to be explained; and it was a plan that had already been decided upon, by an employer. The only discussion involved what the plan covers and how. There was no discussion of whether the plan should be adopted, no discussion of whether employees wanted the plan.

Clearly, in true statist fashion (believing that we work for the state), whether some sort of government option should even be implemented is not for discussion -- in this land of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our employer, the state, has already made its decision, and it remains only to explain to us their benevolence. (But sadly, that is what the protesters want to discuss.) The people may show up; that's their right. But they are their to listen and ask questions about the plan; and that's all. That's the problem with the protesters: they (employees) still want to discuss whether; the Congressmen (employers) only care to discuss how.

So the complaint that discussion is being hindered is a bit disingenuous. The key determination has already been made; and it doesn't matter who, or how many, object to it. The only acceptable questions are those related to how the plan will work. Objecting to the plan itself is out of line.

How, we might ask, do the left come to have the notion that they can be so dismissive of opponents? I really wasn't engaging in rhetorical flourish when I said (here) that opponents of the left do not matter to the left. The left are polylogists. (They are also, for that reason, irrational.)

Polylogism asserts that the logical structure of the mind is different with members of various groups of humans. And the two most common forms of polylogism, at least here in the U.S., are racial and marxist. Racial polylogism, which I discussed to an extent here, differs from Marxist polylogism only in so far as it ascribes to each race a peculiar logical structure of mind and maintains that all members of a definite race, no matter what their class affiliation may be, are endowed with this peculiar logical structure. (That's why someone like Jesse Jackson is black, but Clarence Thomas is not.) Marxist polylogism asserts, in contrast, that each class has its own logical structure and only members of a given class are endowed with this logical structural. In both cases, however, polylogism is a debunking tool: it exists only to provide grounds for dismissing an opponent without engaging in logical rejoinder. In other words, the racial or marxist polylogist can respond to an argument by telling you that you hold the position you do only because of your race or your social class. The logical structure of your race's mind (or your social class's mind) simply prevents you seeing the wisdom of his position, and, thus, also prevents your agreeing with him. Given these differences in logical structure, why should the left bother?

In a sense, this is at least one way in which the left are logically consistent. If you take seriously the polylogists' claim, then there simply is no way for members of different races or classes to persuade each other of anything. How could there be? In order for two people to persuade each other of anything they must share the same structure of mind. Two leftists could, therefore, be persuasive to each other, and so could two rightists. But leftists and rightists, having differing mental structures, simply cannot reach each other. One is on AM and the other is on FM. Consistent with their position, the left do not feel obligated to reason with those who, on their view cannot be reasoned with. (The right feel the same way about the left, but for a slightly different reason: polylogists are, by definition, irrational.)

But the left also believe that they are correct. And this is not because they can, or have, proved anything. Rather it is because, in true Hegelian fashion, they believe that what arises later in history is superior to that which arose earlier. Leftism (socialism, new liberalism, whatever) is later than rightism (capitalism, the Judeo-Christian ethic, whatever); therefore, leftism is superior to rightism. Rightism (like laissez-faire capitalism) is yesterday's news; we must look not to the past, but to the future. Rightists are wrong, not demonstrably so, but because they are on the wrong side of history. They are looking backward, rather than moving forward, as His Beatitude likes to say. They are, to societal evolution, what someone would be to human evolution who wanted us to devolve back into, say, Neanderthals. In fact, Rightists are neanderthals, and Leftists are homo sapiens sapiens -- on their humble view, of course.

Some things just change a man

Like suffering -- suffering can change a man. Or, the right woman.

On the other hand, so can the right food. Like Volcano Nachos. I'm not a big fan of Taco Bell: I grew up eating as "food" what most of you people call Mexican food. But I do really like this commercial:

Volcano Nachos...changes a man. Not since the days of the little chihuahuah, have I enjoyed a Taco Bell commercial.

Pero, no quiero taco bell.
19 August 2009

Again: if Obama were not a black man, we'd just love this healthcare reform plan.

That, this time, according to Mike Lupica.

Not a word in actual support of the plan. Not one word explaining wherein any complaints about the contents of the are false. More words about the moral turpitude of the protesters, as if it could not be true that (1) the protesters really are as immoral as Lupica and others say and (2) the plan is exactly what the protesters say it is.

For present purposes, let us stipulate that the protesters are racists. Fine. The plan still sucks; and calling protesters racists will not alter that.

But the protesters aren't racists -- not all of them, anyway.


The Instapundit on when the Nazi meme was chic.
14 August 2009

"Nazis" for the goose but not for the gander

If I just had had enough time, this is what I would have written on the subject. Beautiful.

There is a trajectory of socialism, regardless of the good intentions of many socialists.... [Y]ou take things such as health care, things that are traditionally understood as within the ambit of individual liberty and free choice; you move such things into the ambit of state responsibility as the welfare state emerges and grows, on the theory that it is government’s responsibility to provide for everyone’s needs (by redistributing resources); as more things are moved from private to public control, the state by definition becomes totalitarian; and, inexorably, the totalitarian state gets bad leaders and the society comes to reflect the policy choices of those leaders.

Now, we can argue until the end of time about whether that trajectory really exists and whether it is inevitable. But however you come out, it is an argument very much worth having. It goes to what kind of society we are going to be, to what the proper relationship between the citizen and the state is.

Nazi Germany is a useful historical example of socialism run amok. The genocide and terrorism ultimately practiced by the Nazis were horrible — that goes without saying. But National Socialism went on for a dozen years, it was the last stage in a progressive nationalization of German society, and there was a lot more to it than genocide and terrorism. It cannot be that because there was genocide and terrorism, the socialist aspects of National Socialism are outside the lines of acceptable political discourse. Given the immense popularity of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, one of the most important political books of the last quarter-century, it doesn’t look like Americans are as convinced as Mort Kondracke seems to be that these comparisons are verboten.


National Socialism is banned from the Right’s case against socialism, but is somehow acceptable when leftists use it as a smear or when the Left’s nuanced geniuses, after their very thoughtful consideration, decide its invocation is suitable for mature audiences? I don’t think so.

Darn right it's not verboten.
13 August 2009

You might be a Nazi, but only if you're a socialist

That's right. You'd have to be a socialist in order to be a Nazi. The word comes from the German name for the National Socialist German Workers' Party, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. We cannot expect that fact to hinder people like Nancy Pelosi from making assertions about her opponents like this, because she saw some swastikas:

The question was about the legitimacy of the protests. She sort of answered the question, which, I guess, was no. There is no legitimate grassroots opposition to Democrat healthcare reform notions. The opposition are "astroturf", not real grass. Worse than that, however, they must be nazis, what with the swastikas and all.

Right. Like nazis -- socialists -- would object to government-run health coverage. In fact, Democrats have a lot in common with nazis, the Nazis being: opposed to big banks and capitalism in general, opposed to pollution, in favor of two years mandatory voluntary service to the country, in favor of make-work projects (such as the autobahn), opposed to vivisection and cruelty and to animals, opposed to smoking and all tobacco products, in favor of abortion and euthanasia of the infirm and undesirable, in favor of big, unlimited, centralized government, opposed to small, limited, decentralized government – and, of course, in favor of cradle-to-grave nationalized healthcare. If the protesters really are nazis then they must be upset by the fact the present reform plan allows too much capitalism, or something.

This is the result of an education system (and they want to run healthcare too!) that has managed not to include the fact that the nazis were not just some white people who killed Jews, but were socialists who killed Jews.

I too have heard about the swastikas, but so far the stories I've heard, on the radio, have the swastikas with a black stripe through them, as if to say, No, to national socialism for the U.S. In that case, the protesters are not claiming to be nazis; they are tacitly claiming that Democrats are the nazis.

Frankly I think that's a poor way to object to what's going on. As a Chinese proverb says: The one who lands the first blow is the one who ran out of arguments. Calling people socialists, especially if they are, is quite sufficient. Calling them nazis is over the top. And I'll tell you why. What separates nazis from other socialists was the joining of race to class; that was the true significance of their use of the word, national. Originally, the word national meant what we generally now mean by words like racial or ethnic. If we were to translate the best sense of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei into contemporary English, it might better be translated, Ethnic German Socialist Workers' Party, or the Aryan Socialist Workers' Party. In other words, it was not enough to be of the working class. One needed also to be a true German (i.e., Aryan) worker.

To my knowledge, Democrats, though I do think they are socialists, have not joined class and race. One may have to be a socialist in order justly to be called a nazi, but being a socialist is not a sufficient reason to be called a nazi. In order justly to be called a nazi, one must be a supporter of ethnic socialism.

Presently, Rush Limbaugh makes the claim that it is Democrats who are truly nazis, but that is because he has an incorrect understanding of the true sense of the word national. He thinks Democrats can justly be called nazis because of the similarity of platforms. It is a serious error. And one cannot expect to be taken seriously who makes that kind of mistake.

Always be polite, even if you think your liberty is threatened

Let's have something clear. There is no need to be polite when the proposition to be debated is whether you will accept loss of freedom. No one denies the left's vision of healthcare reform results in losses of freedoms. We will debate a great many things, but not that.

If Kondrake and Krauthammer had been in Sparta when the Persian emissaries arrived, they'd have urged Leonidas to discuss the offer, to think about it, to (how did Krauthammer put it?) ask questions before categorically refusing it. Don't oppose it, just to be oppositionist -- while the left continue to be counter-oppositional just to be counter-oppositional.

When "Submit to more and more government dictation over more and more of your life" is the so-called proposition, there is nothing to debate, except how our would-be masters will be resisted. This is especially true when you know that control of everything is the ultimate goal. To oppose this for the sake of being oppositionist is no vice.

Note: Yes, I am reading the bill. So far, I can honestly say, I'd rather be one of Leonidas's 300 Spartans than a beneficiary of the benevolence wrapped up in this bill. John David Lewis, of Duke University, is much further along than I (finished, in fact). Here's his assessment. I'm guessing he's not a fan. (H/T: Limbaugh.)
11 August 2009

If Obama were a white man, there would be no objections to the healthcare plan

At least, according to Chris Matthews and Cynthia Tucker. (H/T: Newsbusters.)

These people clearly have no arguments in support of the plan itself. So they demonize opponents. There is, apparently, only a problem when some people yell; others may do so freely, so long as they can feign righteous indignation. But if being thought a racist or bigot by the likes of Chris Matthews (or un-American by Pelosi and her ilk) is the price of freedom, then so be it. It's a very, very small price to pay. Note, you can object to having a black man as president and still have reasonable grounds for objecting to a government-run healthcare system. You can also object to having a black man as president and still support a government-run healthcare system, despite its being proffered by a black man.

But mostly, when you have no arguments, you can call your opponents names.

I know the healthcare system is messed up. But if the present, proposed reform is the only alternative; if not doing this means (and it doesn't) doing nothing -- then I'll take my chances.
07 August 2009

It's the polylogism, stupid (1)

Truth does not matter to the left. It never has. The left enjoy to pretend otherwise; but they are just pretending. This is why the left end up turning policy arguments into discussions of the moral failures of their opponents. That is to say, for the left, there is something immoral about disagreeing with the left. And this is odd, considering that the left also do not believe in morality.

Take, for example, this article by Jonathan Allen for CQ Politics at MSNBC.Com. The article purports to ask, in the same, tired way we've come to expect from partisan journalists who, apparently, still haven't noticed -- or are in denial -- that Toto has pulled the curtain back and we know they are partisan, if the protests about the plan are good for our democracy.


Of course, one can easily see, I think, that the purpose of asking the question is to lay some of the groundwork for dismissing the protesters. Observe:

All across the country, conservative opponents are clamoring to disrupt town-hall meetings about the proposed overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system, using GOP-generated talking points to shout down Democratic congressmen who attempt to explain the plan.

The Constitution protects their right to speak freely, but Democrats say that they are limiting rather than promoting an open exchange of ideas.

These opponents (conservatives, of course; for no liberal would oppose this plan,not willingly anyway) are "clamoring", not simply showing up, like supporters do. (Liberals never clamor, they congregate peacefully. We all know that.) Also, these protesters clamor, not to make their voices heard, not to share their views, or even, yes, to declare their opposition. No, they are there to "disrupt". Moreover, their opposition is not something in which they have a personal stake: they are simply, and blindly, unwittingly even, employing GOP-generated talking points. (And they probably don't even understand these talking points, the poor, dumb bastards). And, le pièce de résistance, they are not there to argue against the plan, but to shout down those poor Democratic talking-point spouting -- I mean those poor, concerned Democratic congressmen who are only trying to explain the plan. We know that those GOP-talking point spewing protesters don't understand the plan. Why, if they did they wouldn't be shouting down those whose only crime is to explain this new benevolence.

An especially nice touch is the obligatory nod to the Constitution. The Constitution, we are reminded, protects these protesters' right to speak freely, but, they are limiting speech. Thus we run rough-shod over the fact that the Constitution binds government against limiting speech. Nice touch, wasn't it? And note also that the person whose speech is supposedly being limited is a Congressman -- the government. Let us not dare limit the government's right to free speech.

This is one of the excuses to be used when they pass the bill over and above the opposition to it. They will say, Yes there was vehement opposition. But that opposition wasn't legitimate, but rather the activity of an irrational mob. Oh, yes, and don't forget the part about that irrational mob being funded by those evil private insurance companies. We know, of course, that honest dislike of the plan is not what's behind all. And the media will tell us what's really behind it, because they care about us poor saps who just don't know what's good for us.

You see how easy that is? You put forth a caricature of your opposition on the basis of which you can dismiss his opposition. For what is missing from the article is any curiosity about whether the supposedly GOP-generated talking points assert anything about the plan which is false. That question never comes up in the article. All we really need to know, one supposes, is that the assertions in the talking points are GOP-generated.

They may very well be. But are they false?

You'd think a journalist might think to inquire in that direction. Isn't that something we really need to know?

Of course not. We really need to know how awful the protesters are. We need to know that their opposition (like the Tea Parties) is not legitimate because it's backed by private health insurers and amounts to nothing but the spouting of GOP-generated talking points.

The fact is, because the left believe in ideology rather than truth, the only people whose opinions matter are those who agree with the left. Those who disagree are legitimately dismissed.

I think I'll write about more on this, and explain why. Just for kicks and giggles, which, really, is why I blog in the first place.

Part 2
05 August 2009

Seven Guys I'm Not Intimidated By

One "Married Jake" has a list of seven guys men are intimidated by. My personal sentiments are in italics.

1. Anyone who plays the guitar
I can't play the guitar. I can't do anything except for type and make guacamole. Ergo: I have always kept my women away from dudes with "axes."

Well, I also can type and make guacamole; and I don't play the guitar either. I started to learn in my youth, but was pre-occupied with saxophones and percussion -- which, I discovered, were as popular with the ladies as guitars. So, there you have it.

2. Dudes who can, like, change your valves
It's even worse if he's a guy who knows about cars and is all humble about it.

Well, I can do lots of stuff on cars, except things like change your valves. But I can do other things with my hands, things of a non-intellectual nature. (No, I'm not referring to sex. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

3. Your older brother

Please. I am the older brother.

4. Your friend's boyfriend
You know, the guy you always mention when we're being idiots. "John never does that to Jenny," you say. Man, when John comes around we're really on our best behavior.

I am the friend's boyfriend, or, in this case, husband. My wife's friends and co-workers don't believe half the stuff my wife tells them about the things I do for her. Ask her if she remembers (aside from the week before this past July 4 weekend) the last time she scrubbed the bathroom, or the kitchen floor, or did the carpets. Want her email address?

5. The kid you went to high school with and was your best friend for a while but you never dated because he was kind of nerdy but now he's gained some weight and is super successful and you realize you really missed out with that one ...
Am I the only one who has encountered one of these with every girlfriend?

Me again. Okay, not super successful, depending upon your definition of successful. But I was that nerdy kid. Thanks to some good coaching, and the Army, I gained some weight. Now, I'm still a bit nerdy. But I don't recommend doing as instructed should you ever see a "Kick me" sign on my back.

6. Marines
Man, a Marine started talking to my wife at a bar not that long ago. And I thought: that guy could kick my butt, tell a heart-rending story that would make her cry, and ask to be called "Captain" all at once ... I don't like him.

I wasn't a Marine, but I have it on good authority that my decision to join the Army was the Marines' loss. So, not very intimidated here, either. I, too, could kick "Jake's" butt and tell his wife a heart-rending story that would make her cry, but I'd have to ask to be called "Sergeant" instead. I would, however, be intimidated by a Green Beret or Navy Seal. Besides, I would never knowingly do or say anything to intimidate another man regarding his wife or girlfriend. For one thing, I'm married, so there'd be no point. (I don't know, however, that I could not unknowingly do so.) For another thing, to try to come between a man and his woman, in any way, is not demonstrative of love for one's neighbor.

7. Your father
Especially if he was a Marine, a firefighter and a mechanic who also plays the guitar.

He wasn't a Marine, a firefighter or a mechanic who plays the guitar. On the other hand, he wasn't that nerdy kid in his high school, where, as a matter of fact, he played on the football team, which I did not. (I was a runner.) Beyond that, I have no further comment.

There is, at least theoretically, one guy I could be intimidated by: a man who might treat my wife better than I do. That's the guy we all should be intimidated by. That's the guy who keeps me on my toes.

04 August 2009

Why so serious?

Fans of His Beatitude are upset over this:

The poor dears.

One fan wants us to know it is Batman, not the Joker who is the socialist. After all, the Joker is really some sort of anarchist, while Batman, according to this O-fan, is the one "who champions the cause of the people and believes in a society where everyone works together for the common good. I mean he’s basically Leon Trotsky in a cape and cow." Funny, I thought of Batman as a libertarian, trying to free Gotham from those who wish to keep it in subjection. In both of the most recent Batman movies, Batman's nemeses are not capitalists, but thieves -- kind of like, well, socialists.

Too bad all these people are offended. His recent predecessor had to endure it too:

And endure it

and endure it,

and endure it,

etc, etc, etc. Blah, blah, blah.

But note: Those who applauded when it was Bush being unfavorably caricatured have no business complaining now that it's their man. And those who cried foul when it was Bush have no business cheering now.

H/T: Anchoress , Michelle Malkin

Remember when the left were concerned that President Bush wanted us to spy on our neighbors?

Apparently, reporting your neighbor to the government is wrong only when a right-winger wants you to do it. The offense? Saying things about the healthcare reform plan that seem "fishy".

About Me

James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
View my complete profile

Blog Archive