Friday, October 23, 2009

Heads I Win – Tales You Lose (Liberals Win but leave behind a Mess)

Barack Obama has made it a point to continually talk about the “mess” he inherited from the Bush administration. In August, he said "But I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking."

Indeed, Barack Obama inherited an economy in freefall. There are wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while terrorist groups remain a constant threat. North Korea and Iran are testing long range missiles in conjunction with the development of nuclear weapons. It’s worth noting that the precarious state of the country is what got him elected in the first place. If everything was going along swimmingly, the country wouldn’t have changed direction.

Liberals need a catastrophe to get elected. They use the misfortune of others, a bad economy, a war, racial tension, hurricanes, the Rachel Maddow show – anything and everything to convince others that they and only they, can come in on their white horses with shining armor to come to the rescue and save the day. Their very existence as a political force is predicated not on solving real problems but on having problems to justify the need for their policies.

It’s a vicious circle. Without having to have to worry about consequences, liberals can promote the most radical policies the way that a gambler can go down double or nothing, without ever having to worry about losing. They are never held to account for their policies. No matter what the facts say, it’s always someone else’s fault. Hence they have a ‘Heads I Win – Tales you lose’ policy. If the radical policy produces results, they are heroes; if not, then there is justification for more of their policies.

Think this sounds crazy? In 1977, the Carter administration passed the Community Reinvestment Act. The goal was noble, as most liberal goals seem, but devoid of logic, as most liberal plans are. The idea was to create a situation where low income people would be able to buy homes. Banks had to prove that a certain percentage of loans went to these low income people and it forced them to make loans to people who didn’t qualify. In the 1990’s, in order to guarantee those loans, Freddie Mac and Fannie May promised to buy 2 trillion dollars worth of those mortgages. This took financial pressure off banks and they were able to make more of these risky loans and show what good ‘corporate citizens’ they were. The downfall was inevitable.

Once all this was set in place, there was speculation and trading on these loans to try to profit from it but none of that would have happened if the irresponsible policies weren’t put into effect in 1977 and then increased in the 1990’s. Before the inevitable collapse, President Bush tried to point out that there would be problems if the current policies continued. It was liberals such as Barney Frank who assured everyone that Fannie and Freddy were solvent. Bush didn’t push the point as hard as he should have, but at least he recognized the problem while liberal democrats said there was no problem.

So Barack Obama is elected into office based on an economic downturn that was created by exactly the kind of policies that he wants to implement to solve the problem. Incidentally, Social Security is another problem that George Bush tried to deal with. They criticized him for bringing up Social Security the same way they criticized him for trying to deal with the mortgage crisis. When Social Security blows up, liberals will no doubt use the same policies that blew it up to try to fix it. At the same time, they will blame republican and conservative greed for causing it to fail even though conservatives were the only ones who tried to head off the problems before they became critical.

President Obama talks about those who ‘created the mess’. How many messes has the left created and how many of those messes have they had to answer for? When you don’t have to answer to your failures, when you are, in fact, rewarded for your failures, it doesn’t provide any incentive to stop failing. Liberals either don’t understand or don’t care that there are consequences to their actions that go beyond the immediate situation at hand.

One mess created by liberals is the banning of the chemical DDT. Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” created hysteria around chemical pesticides. The manufacturers of DDT, farmers, scientists, and others tried to assure people that DDT was not harmful and had tremendous benefits. The anti DDT campaign took on a life of its own and when a liberal cause takes on that kind of momentum, there is no stopping it (See Global Warming). So DDT was banned. Since 1972, over 100 million people have died from malaria. This is a disease that was on the verge of being eradicated in the early 1960s. Millions of people died needlessly. This is a catastrophic event of monumental proportions that few people address and fewer take responsibility for. It’s not an exaggeration – 100 MILLION people have lost their lives yet no one is asked to answer for this! Is it because their heart was in the right place? Their intentions were good? People continue to suffer, mostly in Africa, to this very day and some are talking about re-introducing DDT – a bit late for all those who died because of well-intentioned people. For more information on Rachel Carson and the DDT ban, a good article is “Rachel Carson’s Ecological Genocide” by Lisa Makson in

Another fine mess that liberals have never had to answer for was when they pressured congress to withdraw all funding from the war in Vietnam. When the US withdrew, it did so under a treaty that it would go back in if the situation got out of hand. There was so much pressure by the left to get out of Vietnam, that they constantly blamed the US and absolved the North Vietnamese or the Khmer Rouge of any wrong doing. When it became obvious that mass extermination was taking place in Cambodia, the left continued to blame the US and make excuses for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. They placed all the blame on Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger as if, even if that were true, it would absolve them of the responsibility of living up to a treaty and saving the millions of people who were being slaughtered.

The propaganda that took place then was similar to the propaganda now and there was no FOX news, talk radio, or the internet to present the other side. Movies such as “The Killing Fields” made it seem as if everything the Cambodians did was the result of the actions of the US. Just as now with Islamic terrorism, it could never be that there were purely evil people who had to be fought and stopped. Nevertheless, regardless of the cause of the Cambodian genocide, we had an obligation to stop it, not to excuse the actions of mass murderers. Two million people died in Cambodia. Not only did the left not want to stop this genocide, they actually praised the people committing the genocide! For a more complete telling of the true story of the Khmer Rouge, see the chapter called “The Bloodbath” in Mona Charen’s book “Useful Idiots”.

Whether it’s as severe as mass extermination or a banking crisis, schools that can’t educate, a war on poverty that creates more poverty, inner city programs that create crumbling cities, rent control ideas that create a lack of housing, ideas to stop crime by understanding criminal behavior, rather than punishing it – thereby causing more crime, welfare ideas that cause dependency instead of personal growth, the messes created by liberal ideas are endless. They are never held accountable for these failures. It’s either because they didn’t do enough of whatever their miserable idea was, or they didn’t have enough money to do it correctly. It never dawns on them that maybe the ideas, themselves, are flawed.

So, we are now being forced to buy this bill of goods that has failed so miserably in the past. Apparently, we have no choice but to accept it. We’re supposed to just “get out of the way and stop talking”, but we have to leave our money behind of course -- they’ll need that. Obama is like a vacuum cleaner salesman who is going to pour some dirt all over the floor to prove how great the vacuum cleaner will work. It won’t work and we shouldn’t have to pay $10,000,000,000,000 for a broken vacuum cleaner that will leave a mess on the floor.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

War – What Is It Good For? – Absolutely Everything

Of course war is horrible. People say that war is to be avoided at all costs and it should always be a last resort. All other options must be completely exhausted before a country should consider sending troops (people) to fight and kill. War as an absolute last resort seems to make perfect sense.

Unfortunately, the idea of ‘war as a last resort’ assumes that there are two reasonable groups or countries who can resolve differences. It assumes that all differences can be ironed out with compromise. Sometimes, however, evil exists in the world and to compromise with evil is to lend it legitimacy.

Let’s look at this on a personal level. You witness a woman being mugged and beaten. What is the proper course of action? Maybe a good idea is to walk over to the mugger and say, “This mugging and beating thing is wrong. I don’t know how much money you hope to gain with this mugging but I’ll give you a twenty. Then we can all walk away satisfied.”

Or, if you are Barack Obama and you witness a mugging, you may say something such as “Hold on there young man, I know there have been differences between people who mug and those that don’t. We need to work together. Partnership and cooperation among all people is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity. I understand your frustration. In the past, people who haven’t broken laws or mugged someone have acted arrogantly and sometimes unilaterally, without consideration for those that have the need to mug others. And sometimes it is our very arrogance that has caused people to become muggers in the first place.”

In reality, when a mugging takes place, the witness to the scene has a responsibility. Perhaps you do nothing -- someone else is getting mugged and that’s not your business. Many cities have ‘good Samaritan laws’ which speak to the morality of doing nothing while a crime is being committed. You are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the same way that the person getting mugged is in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, you saw the crime and you now have a responsibility that you can’t escape from.

When countries commit crimes, the choices are no different than when a crime is being committed by an individual. While the choices are the same, the consequences of doing nothing are far more severe. The ultimate example is Nazi Germany and WWII. Suppose in 1939, the world community, knowing what Hitler was up to, had acted preemptively. Let us say that the moment the world saw Hitler’s designs on Poland, it attacked Germany. Let us also assume that the act of attacking Hitler’s Germany resulted in a war in which one million people died. Yet Hitler’s designs on world domination were stopped. It prevented the Holocaust from happening and it prevented a war where over 65 million people died.

No one would have known about WWII or the Holocaust because the preventative action would have stopped it. In such a situation, there would have been intense criticism on those who initiated a war where over one million people died. At the time, Hitler was looked at as a crazy Charlie Chaplain look-a-like. A million people dead? -- For what???

In an episode of the original Star Trek series, Dr McCoy (Bones for you Trekkies!) went through a portal that took him back in time. Back in the late 1930s, he saved the life of a woman played by Joan Collins. She was about to be hit by a car and McCoy pushed her out of the way. The character played by Collins was a peace activist who ended up influencing US policy and delaying the US entry into WWII. As a result, Germany won the war and all history changed. In the end, the Star Trek crew had to set history right by going back in time and stopping McCoy from saving the life of the peace activist played by Collins. In a moving scene at the end, Captain Kirk holds back McCoy as he is about to save the life of the Collins character. McCoy says, “Do you know what you have done? I could have saved her!!” To which Mr. Spock says “He knows, doctor, he knows.” Spock then adds, “She had the right idea, but at the wrong time.”

I bring this Star Trek episode up in all its excruciating detail because it demonstrates that the choice to initiate or retaliate in war has got to be looked at differently. No one ever gets to see the consequences of the “other choice”. When there is world conflict, the UN and individual countries always ask “How can we avoid a war”. This is the wrong question. Asking this question avoids reality and places world life and death situations into the realm of “wishful thinking”. The real question that needs to be asked isn’t how to avoid a war. It is “Based on what we know and can project, what are the consequences of going to war vs. the consequences of doing nothing?

People look at WWII as “the good war” because they know what happened. The reason that people know what happened is because we waited too dam long in the first place!! The so called and much maligned “Bush doctrine” was correct! This doctrine was based upon two truths of which reasonable and intellectually honest people cannot disagree. There are two imperatives in the doctrine. The first is that there IS evil in the world and that some countries fall under evil for a variety of reasons. When a country becomes a threat to its neighbors and its own citizens, the second imperative takes place and the world has to act to stop the threat – before innocent people suffer, not after!

The so called “Bush doctrine” was not too different from the original UN charter. The UN was set up to stop aggressive immoral behavior in order to PREVENT the kind of atrocities that took place in World War II. To stop aggression, it’s usually a good idea to make a distinction between the aggressors and the victims of aggression. Unfortunately, the UN has become incapable of making this distinction, often putting both aggressor and victim on equal moral playing fields, sometimes even taking the side of the aggressor against the victim. The UN, by this inability to distinguish right from wrong, has not only been ineffective but has often made catastrophes worse.

Even those who have coined the oxymoronic term “passive resistance” have had to come to terms that it only works if the group you are resisting against has a conscience. Mahatma Ghandi was once asked what Jewish people should do at the time of the Holocaust. His answer, documented in an essay by George Orwell, “Reflections on Gandhi”, as well as by Louis Fischer's “Gandhi and Stalin”, is that the Jewish people should have committed mass suicide in order to bring attention to their plight and to the evils of Nazi Germany. Gandhi is considered almost saintly because of his absolute renunciation of violence. But would his methods have stopped violence or caused more violence? His methods worked against the British because the British had a conscience. Again, here is the recognition of good and evil that the UN and pacifists in general, like to make believe doesn’t exist. Yet Gandhi, as displayed by his answer, clearly WAS aware of this distinction and held on to his philosophy of non violence knowing that it would not work and would lead to the extermination of a race of people.

Many people say that patriotism and religion can be blind. Pacifism can be as blind a faith as any. Shrouded in the certainty that peace is the way, no matter what the consequences, and so certain of the moral correctness of their actions or inactions, they have put pressure on countries to tolerate and often excuse evil. Whether witnessing a mugging or watching as a rogue nation gains the knowledge to build nuclear weapons, doing nothing is never the right thing to do. People never want to be in a situation where they have to deal with such horrible choices but these choices are thrust upon us whether we want them or not. In dealing with them, we will make mistakes. We are obviously not infallible. The choices we make should be based on reality and the knowledge that sometimes the choice is between something bad, something else that is really bad, and something else that is catastrophic. When you have those three choices, making the bad choice is the right choice.