Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The meaning of what "works"

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

-- The late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931 to 2005
from the message "Financial Freedom" - #1054
Love Worth Finding Ministries

"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."

-- William J. H. Boetcker

Class envy is possibly the greatest weapon in politics, because "divide and conquer" has proven to be a profoundly effective tactic. The two quotations above address the failed essence of Marxian ideology - that it is unsustainable and that manufacturing fairness is not fair. But this wisdom does not carry much weight among those who believe fairness is more important than freedom. Those who gladly sacrifice other people's liberty do so because they believe it brings us all closer to a more enlightened goal. Mr. Boetcker and Mr. Rogers were showing that artificially created fairness results in tyranny. Unfortunately the truth of their statements will only penetrate a mind that is willing to hear it.

These two men were addressing the Marxist push in western culture, ushering in greater economic equality at the expense of political and personal freedom. What they were suggesting, and what conservatism itself teaches, is the essence of the search for a political system that "works". But what "works" can mean very different things to different people.

In the Marxian/left wing world view, fairness is one of the ultimate virtues, along with compassion. In this mindset, the freedom of others can justifiably be sacrificed in order to achieve greater fairness, even if it means doing so by force (i.e., greater taxes, speech control, imprisonment, etc.). Coercion and oppression are legitimate tools to achieve these virtues as long as they are motivated by good intentions. Platitudes about fairness and equality are used to deny these oppressive measures are actually oppressive. Fighting for people's right to make their own decisions is problematic, and labeled as uncompassionate. All social problems are to be solved on some government level. When greater equality results with greater diversity of influence the attempts to improve fairness are deemed successful. In the liberal mind, what "works" is what ever makes society more egalitarian, and government must be used to that end.

In the conservative/right wing world view, freedom is one of the ultimate virtues, along with individual responsibility. This responsibility is to be taught on the local level, preferably within the family. Actions that harm others are subject to the law, but intentions by themselves are not (i.e., hate crime legislation is viewed as pandering more than useful). Social problems would ideally be solved on the local level, with local government only if necessary. A system organized to sustain society as long as possible with peace and prosperity is considered successful. This ideal would include a balance between maximum individual liberty and minimal government participation, balanced by respect for others taught at home. In the conservative mind, what "works" is what makes life the most stable for the most people, and no one is better qualified to determine that than individuals themselves.

These philosophies are mutually opposed to one another. But both can be said to be unrealistic or over simplistic. The success of either approach to governing is entirely subjective. To the conservative, confiscating one person's wealth under threat of imprisonment and redistributing it to others (particularly with the government keeping a portion for itself) is considered an injustice. To the leftist, allowing people to keep the fruits of their own labor is considered an injustice if this results in unequal wealth among the population - unequal effort spent is irrelevant. To the right, "earning" something is a major factor - to the left, this, too, is irrelevant.

The attempt to achieve the ideal setting is moot without the means to protect that ideal. To the conservative, preventing oppression is a virtue because this protects freedom. To the leftist, oppression is a necessary tool to achieve equality. Where the leftist would support laws that oppress the people in order to improve economic order or maintain economic standards, they would also typically oppose laws designed to maintain moral order, almost as if moral anarchy were the goal. The conservative sees moral anarchy as ultimately destructive to society, and so moral standards are promoted. At the same time conservatives would prefer less regulation in industry, but greater personal responsibility. Conservatives also prefer laws already written to be enforced so that new laws are not constantly needed. Liberals seem to prefer new legislation and new regulation at the slightest provocation, even to the point of regulating personal opinions (i.e., the precept of the hate crime).

Protecting Family

The traditional family is a prime example of the battle over morality. The conservative sees the traditional family as the primary means of building and sustaining civilization, with marriage being the essential public recognition of that building block. Threats to the traditional family have shifted over the last century from promiscuity and infidelity and divorce to redefining marriage, abandonment of marriage and abortion. The killing of children in the womb is considered a heinous thing in the conservative mindset, but a civil right to the leftist. In the right wing view divorce and abandonment of marriage are considered harmful to the primary building block of society, but a matter of freedom to the leftist, with no regard to the damage they may cause to society as a whole. A collective change in social attitude toward marriage leads to active changes, such as redefining marriage to apply to any two adults rather than one man and one woman. Such a foundational change in the institution of marriage opens the door to any other legal change. Once the fundamental understanding of marriage is altered this naturally leads to eliminating all other safeguards, resulting in the destruction of the primary building block of civilization. Who are we to say 5 people can't all be married to each other? Who are we to say a 52 year old man can't marry a 9 year old child? Or an animal? The requirement that those being married do so volitionally can also be challenged. There is already wide historical precedent for forced marriage, which our society currently frowns upon.

We've seen the damage to society that results from the abandonment of traditional marriage, and this damage has been decades in the making. Problems at home breed problems elsewhere, from school murders to over crowded prisons. Poverty is often blamed (typically by leftists) for society's ills, with almost total disregard for the roll played by degrading morality. When morality degrades criminal activity becomes more frequent and more severe. The elimination of moral safeguards naturally leads to the self-destruction of society, with or without poverty.

In a conservative world view, the stability of the family, where mutual love and respect are the norm, must be protected (with as little government interference as possible) as this is the best means of sustaining a peaceful society. Modern technology creates new possibilities and new situations, which make the traditional biological principles less clear, and again more susceptible to breakdown. Without safeguards for the family American culture is deteriorating at an accelerating rate. Where the right wing philosophy promotes legal moral restrictions (such as indecency laws) but promotes freedom in all other means of personal interaction, it seems the left wing mindset prefers the opposite - promoting freedom regarding sexuality, but regulating all other means of personal interaction.

Protecting Government

The leftist sees the government as the primary means of building civilization, with little to no thought as to the sustainability of society. Since the ultimate virtues of fairness and compassion and diversity can be achieved only by the work of government (in the leftist world view), it is government that must be protected, rather than the family. Government involvement must be encouraged and enforced where ever possible. What "works" is determined by the degree first of economic and then political equality (with some exceptions, since the unborn do not have constitutional rights, neither the right to live). Problems caused by government can be ignored or covered up because of the blinding effect of a desire to be thought of as caring. The recession of 2008/2009 is a conspicuous example of this observation.

In 2008 a recession hit the United States, and eventually spread to become a global problem. An already hurting American economy, slowed by high fuel prices, noticed some relief when it was suddenly struck by the disintegration of the sub-prime mortgage bubble. It turns out lenders were required by federal law to offer bad home loans to people who could not afford to repay them. But that fact was obscured by protectionist reactions from liberals, both in politics and news media. Orson Scott Card, the well known author, had the courage and intellectual integrity to address this egregious propaganda campaign designed to protect Democrats. As Card mentions, it was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that pulled the U.S. economy into a recession, not a failure of the private sector. Left wing journalists and Washington liberals circled the wagons to shelter their Marxian philosophy from any blame, and their accusations against the free market are now a pervasive lie bought by many Americans who either value their leftist paradigm more than the truth or who simply don't know what's going on.

A video of various elected politicians was circulated on the internet which shows numerous statements made about an impending danger posed by problems found in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In case you haven't see it, in the video below you'll notice it is Democrats denying there were problems with these government institutions, and that Republican attempts to warn us all about the situation were treated as some sort of right wing political ploy.

These statements and other actions made by liberal Democrats have been utterly ignored by politicians and by the majority of the main stream media. Disregarding this inconvenient history makes it much easier to misconstrue and blame conservative philosophy and policies for the crisis in which we now find ourselves. Subsequently it is also easier to revise history to perpetuate this lie. Even now the official narrative of Democrats is that capitalism caused this recession.

And what is the result of this propaganda campaign blaming the free market for this recession? Marxians now have a crisis in which to demand immediate action, using only their proposals (sometimes with no public review), and they accuse anyone recommending oversight on this federal money of needlessly stalling a solution to the problem. Let me say that again, debating legislation in public view as it is supposed to be and addressing problems and waste amounts to, as President Obama recently said, an "inexcusable and irresponsible" delay of the economic bailout bill Congress passed in February 2009. The president also reiterated the common left wing Misattribution of Blame in rebuking the Bush tax cuts for causing the current recession, which is of course absurd. In the leftist mindset, any government action (meaning spending) in a crisis is the solution, even if harmful, wasteful, and doesn't really do what we the people were promised it would do. There is no need to look closer at leftist claims, either their claims to help or their accusations against right wing philosophy. Any criticism of the those who disagreed with the Bush administration was condemned as anti-American, but apparently it is now perfectly acceptable to question the patriotism of those who disagree with President Obama. You see, patriotism now means blindly believing what ever the government says, because Democrats are in charge, and they care. Apparently, there was no need for members of Congress to even read the bill before voting on it.

The greatest problem with the economic crisis is that the majority party (Democrats) are simply not interested in repairing the economy. Achieving their social policies and returning political favors is what interests them.

What Is Congress Stimulating?
What's most striking is how much "stimulus" money will be spent on the government itself.

A 40-Year Wish List
You won't believe what's in that stimulus bill.

Dems Blew $500,000 of Taxpayer Money At Lush Resorts
Deal Or No Deal? New Big Box Jobs For Chicago - Chicago again rejects Wal-Mart's offer to build 5 new stores within the city, which would have created thousands of new jobs.
Economists question budget's economic assumptions by MARTIN CRUTSINGER

Some wise history and common sense solutions Democrats flatly rejected:

Stimulus will take a while to work Amid all the anticipation of Obama's stimulus package, Americans should realize that its effects aren't likely to be felt until the economy is already rebounding on its own. by Anthony Karydakis

CBO: Obama stimulus harmful over long haul by Stephen Dinan

The Common Sense Fix, promoted by Dave Ramsey. This solution would have given incentives to people with money to invest it into the market - immediately infusing huge sums of money into the economy without having to go $700 billion in tax money (and more) into debt. But it would also have been advantageous for rich people, which automatically means it's dead on arrival with Congressional Democrats, because to them increasing wealth does not increase equality. As shown by their own actions, government influence and redistributing wealth was more important to Democrats than actually fixing a problem.

UCLA Economists: Government Intervention Prolonged Great Depression, by Paul Detrick.

Economic Recovery Act is wiser alternative to massive spending, by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.)

"Congressional Democrats have engaged in a full offensive to convince the American people that another massive dose of borrowing and spending is the solution to our economic tribulations. They talk of an economic near-Armageddon without as much as a trillion dollars in new spending. The rhetoric, in point of fact, sounds remarkably similar to the appeals for their last economic solution, the disastrous Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The truth is, proven by history, that massive government spending is not a solution. And the American people know there is another way — a real economic solution that empowers our people without mortgaging our future. After a year of bailouts, rebates and taxpayer-funded backstops, we can move toward renewed prosperity by unleashing the potential of and providing economic relief for our real economic growth engines — hard-working Americans and businesses."

FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate, by Meg Sullivan

Why Government Spending Does Not Stimulate Economic Growth, by Brian M. Riedl

"In a throwback to the 1930s and 1970s, Demo­cratic lawmakers are betting that America's economic ills can be cured by an extraordinary expansion of government. This tired approach has already failed repeatedly in the past year...."

Dr. Faber (predicted '87 crash) Says Obama Plan Doomed, Marc Faber:

"I can tell you that the current crisis, the economic crisis and the financial crisis is a direct consequence of continuous U.S. government intervention into the economy, through fiscal and monetary policies that have been designed to never have a recession and to combat recession. And what has happened is if you never have a recession it's like someone who never sleeps. You need some sleep, a resting period, and then you recover.

It is not a failure of the free market that brought about the crisis, it is continuous intervention by the government, with fiscal and especially monetary measures that have brought the crisis about. And now the same people that brought the crisis about want to solve it with more intervention."

Even in the first quarter of 2009 we are already getting reports of scandal and fraud regarding the bailout money. TARP Bailout Scandal: Taxpayers Shortchanged $78 Billion on Asset Purchases

So what does all this mean? Clearly, the mindset of more government intervention does not solve problems, but that evidently isn't the point. It seems to me Democrats in Congress care more about fairness than they care about people, even to the point of shoving bad legislation down our throats while insisting it is the best solution to this crisis, ignoring ample evidence to the contrary. What "works" in this situation depends entirely on one's paradigm: greater equality or fixing the problem. Both sides of the debate publicly argue fixing the problem is the thing we should do. Yet, the bailout bill of 2009 was rushed through Congress so as to hide the tremendous pork which was never intended to rescue the economy. Any proposals from Republicans were disregarded as simply a matter of foolishness or greed. For some reason we were supposed to believe Democrats had good intentions and that their good intentions and pork spending on bloating government would actually fix the problem. Unfortunately, the real impact of the pork-laden bailout bill Congress approved will have very different results.

Someone needs to ask Congressional Democrats and President Obama when the economic stimulus bill is supposed to have its magical effect on our economy. If our economy's negative momentum doesn't turn around by that time we will surely be told to be patient, as though the government intervention simply needs a little more time to do its work. But if natural market forces cause the recession to fade away it will be the failed government policies that get the credit. And conservatism will still get the blame. No matter what happens, the free market will not be acknowledged by the left as having contributed to any economic recovery. In the leftist mindset only the government can fix economic troubles, and so government must get the credit for our recovery, when ever it actually happens. And the free market must always get blamed for the problems. Liberals don't trust you to make good decisions.

Liberals, Marxists and other leftists don't care that capitalism is the only way yet discovered that can rescue the masses from grinding poverty. But they care a great deal about the fact that wealth is unequally concentrated in a capitalistic society. How should we interpret that opinion? I interpret it like this: leftists care more about equality than they care about people. Results of Marxian failures are ignored, while "failure" of capitalism is construed as a matter of inequality, disregarding the high standard of living ordinary people enjoy in such societies. Fairness, as promoted by modern liberals, does not mean elevating those at the bottom, it means punishing those at the top. Fixing problems is not even a factor for modern liberals, and their platitudes about helping people are nothing more than propaganda.

Tell the government to keep its efforts limited only to what the constitution says (as is required by the 10th Amendment) and let the market do its frelling job. Government interference caused our economic crisis. You have a better idea of what is best for yourself and your loved ones than the government does.

"It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people..."

-- Adam Smith

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