What we're up against
While I have written several times recently about new polls showing measurable changes in sentiment against Democratic policies (more than against actual Democrats), several comments and online discussions I’ve had in recent days have served to remind me that we’re far from all being well with our Republic.
My most rabidly leftist commenter, over at the Denver Post “Gang of Four” blog, a guy who goes by the name of RyeCatcher (who can’t spell and proudly proclaims that he doesn’t have a cell phone, but who claims to have served in the military for which I have thanked him), offered this comment on Tuesday:
“Its going to be fun watching RGK self-destruct as the Congress eventually will be forced to raise taxes and end tax evasion privledges [sic] for the wealthy.”
What I find interesting about this is both how the guy takes pleasure in the thought of someone he disagrees with being attacked by the government as well as his obvious (and repeated) total lack of understanding of the implications for him when the economy tanks because of the left’s “soak the rich” policies. Actually, this guy has repeatedly made comments along the lines of how he’s looking forward to bad things (politically and financially) happening to me, betraying the liberal ignorance of how an economy really works.
The above statement by Ryecatcher was in a comment in response to a note I posted about the current health care “reform” debate. Another of his gems was in the same comment: “Isn’t the government allowed to compete. [sic]” Again, a typical and willful leftist ignorance of what government really is and really does.
And while this guy is extreme in his partisanship, I don’t think he’s alone (though I’m sure he doesn’t have as much company as he believes.) He certainly represents a substantial section of urban population (in this case Denver), in particular people of modest educational achievement. (I do not say that as an insult. If he served in the military coming out of high school, that’s a very high calling. And this nation is too obsessed with people going to college.)
Ryecatcher shows that ignorance can be impenetrable and that Obama’s cult of personality will hold up longer than one might expect in these economic conditions.
Next, over at FreedomWorks, there’s a commenter named Sickle who, while quite liberal, is (at least lately) far more civil than Ryecatcher and actually engages in a real discussion from time to time.
In response to a note about Obama’s economic fascism, which I defined as “the apparent continuation of private property as opposed to outright government ownership (thought obviously even that is an incorrect assumption in GM) but with government substantially dictating the terms under which those companies must operate, generally ‘in the service of the nation’ or at least in the service of the whims of the ruling elite,’ Sickle said he didn’t see any. I gave him examples of the government telling GM not to close certain facilities or dealerships as well as their forcing GM to make certain kinds of cars, but his response was that “pushing them in the green cars direction makes sound business sense” and “Where’s the fascism, Ross?”
Sickle represents the degree to which more intelligent liberals are willing to ignore clear evidence because it conflicts with their views that (1) doing something is better than doing nothing, and (2) it’s intentions, not results, which really matter.
Again, I believe Sickle represents many Democrats and while he’s more able (or at least more willing) to have a rational conversation than people like Ryecatcher, he consistently represents the liberal view that actions should be judged by their intentions rather than their outcomes. And of course, that is EXACTLY what Barack Obama wants people to think.
Also over at FreedomWorks, I got a comment from “ProudLiberal” who said “not every good or service should be provided by a free market system and health care is one that should not. I think most Americans will agree that what we seek as a people is a system in which consequences are the prime goal. Health care should be provided first to the people who need it most without the condition of paying for it.”
This statement is so perfect, I’m tempted not to comment on it, but being me I have to. First, the idea that some things should be provided in a free market and other things not is strange. Second, it begs the question of who gets to decide. Third, it implies that the consequences of socialist policies are superior to free market outcomes even though history shows that to be entirely false. And fourth, it shows the usual lack of understanding that creating a right for one person (that is a right to something that is not free) is creating a responsibility for someone else.
What’s probably most interesting about this comment is that the commenter is explicitly “proud” of holding these views and, as is typical of progressives, clearly believes he or his anointed leaders are smarter than the collective wisdom of free people making free choices. It is, as Hayek said, “the fatal conceit.”
So, the point of this somewhat rambling note? It’s that we lovers of political and economic liberty must never forget that the opposition, loyal or angry and bitter, cares little for liberty – indeed, they probably don’t even truly understand the word. They care little for the principles of the American founding. They are by turns jealous, closed-minded, brain-washed, or determined to be judged for wanting lovely things to happen even if their policy choices cause poverty and death.
It’s that we have an extremely difficult battle for hearts and minds our hands and, to be frank, I don’t think we can win it until the economy has collapsed around these people and they have no choice but to listen to capitalists again, just as Ayn Rand predicted 50 years ago.
And while part of me wants to say that we could make real headway in convincing the youngest third of the American population that freedom is indeed an end in itself if only we had more truly American politicians and activists trying to educate the citizenry, the truth is that much of the citizenry just doesn’t want to hear it. After all, they’ve been part of history, electing the first cool black president. Who cares if he’s dangerous in almost every way, whether to our economy, our national security, our health, or our basic American freedoms? No, the only way we win this is for people to learn that OUTCOMES matter more than intentions and the only way they’ll learn it is to suffer through some truly terrible outcomes.
Therefore, I take an even stronger stand than Rush Limbaugh when I say I want Obama to fail. I want him to fail so spectacularly that, at least for a while, people wonder if the nation is going to fail. Only then will people like Ryecatcher, Sickle, and ProudLiberal realize that the path to hell was paved with their good intentions.
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