Many on the Left are perpetually concerned about overpopulation. There are too many people, using too many of our natural resources, and something must be done about it.
Last month, Alon Tal, Stanford University check collector and all-around Concerned World Citizen, reprised this theme in “Overpopulation Is Still the Problem” in the Huffington Post (emphasis added):
If food security is the criterion, it is particularly ironic that arguments are based on China. Anyone with a teaspoon of historic sensibilities about the country’s environmental history might want to mention its long litany of famines which occurred precisely because carrying capacities were consistently outstripped by a growing population.
Conservative estimates report that China’s most recent food crisis, between 1958 and 1961, led to the starvation of over twenty million people, in part due to the erosion of China’s natural capital.Uncontrolled human fertility led to a depletion of the land’s fertility. Previous famines were worse. Over the years, hundreds of millions died a horrible death of hunger. Their misery should teach a sobering lesson about insouciant disregard for the balance between human numbers and natural resources.
1958-1961 was Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Saying that the Chinese famine of 1958-1961 was caused by China’s “environmental history” is like saying the Holocaust was caused by an out-of-control Zyklon B mishap. From Wikipedia:
The ban on private holdings ruined peasant life at its most basic level, according to Mirsky. Villagers were unable to secure enough food to go on living, because they were deprived by the commune system of their traditional means of being able to rent, sell, or use their land as collateral for loans. In one village, once the commune was operational the Party boss and his colleagues "swung into manic action, herding villagers into the fields to sleep and to work intolerable hours, and forcing them to walk, starving, to distant additional projects."
The history of China during under Mao is truly one of history’s greatest, and least-acknowledged, humanitarian tragedies. The number of people who died during that catastrophe (18-45 million)—not to mention the destruction of property and cultural heritage—is the same order of magnitude as the number of people who died during World War II, in all countries, military and civilian.
Mao was championed by the same types of Western Leftists as now join organizations such as the Israeli Green Party and the faculty of Stanford University, and his ideology was essentially indistinguishable from modern Western progressivism, except for a few details here and there. During the Great Leap Forward, at least 2.5 million people were tortured to death, and between 1 and 3 million people committed suicide. To hear Tal describe this historical event, you’d think these victims were water-boarded by spontaneously rising sea levels, or committing suicide out of anguish over the endangerment of the Giant Panda. Tal should be ashamed to so grotesquely exploit the suffering of millions under Mao to advance a talking point—and his jibe about his opponents lacking “a teaspoon of historic sensibility” is ironic, considering his carefully studied ignorance.
“Population control” is—and can only be—code for forced sterilization and abortion, as is currently practiced by the Communist Chinese government. It is mind-numbingly hypocritical for Western progressive elites to decry, in the abortion wars, pro-life encroachment on a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, while simultaneously advocating that women in Africa and Asia be tied down and forcibly sterilized by government doctors, as routinely occurs in China. Perhaps Tal would have preferred to have his wife’s fertility circumvented by police doctors, but we’ll never know now, since they already have three daughters. So much for concern about overpopulation.
On top of all this, an African or Asian consumes, on average, a small fraction of the resources used by her Western counterpart. The environmental strain created by a Chinese subsistence farmer is negligible, compared to a politician who jets back and forth between Israel and Stanford University. Whereas in the past, famines were typically caused by natural events, now they are more often caused by political repression and poor central planning, as was the case during China’s Great Leap Forward.
Western progressive elites simply view poor Africans and Asians as somehow undeserving of the kind of reproductive autonomy that we take for granted. Given all of this hypocrisy, misrepresentation, and barely-sublimated racist eugenic fervor, I have a suggested response for the next person you find complaining about global overpopulation: “You first.” Think globally, act locally. In environmental terms, one dead Western liberal is worth dozens or hundreds of poor Chinese farmers.
Solving our environmental crises is going to take a lot of real sacrifice, and Progress is never without its casualties, as 18-45 million Chinese (among countless others) can attest. So c’mon, Leftists: Be the change you want to see in the world. The rest of us will take your environmental concerns seriously when—and only when—we read all about them in your suicide note.
Someone’s gotta go if we’re going to save this mixed-up planet, and it would be pretty racist to just casually assume that it has to be an African or Chinese person, rather than a privileged white Westerner. So:
I consider myself a pretty hardcore cultural conservative, but I’m also a fan of many (not all) Adult Swim shows, and I find this editorial by Brent Bozell annoying on a number of levels.
Some of the shows that Adult Swim produces are pointlessly offensive, but others are among the best on television. Adult Swim has a strong tradition of surrealism which, in the worst instances, is simply puerile, but often produces some of the wittiest and most vital programming available anywhere.
There’s plenty of stuff that I won’t defend, but I resent the collateral attack on such brilliant work as The Venture Bros., The Brak Show, Squidbillies, etc. And it is more than a little ironic that Bozell (whom I admire) attacks after-9pm reruns of American Dad and King of the Hill, both shows that (IIRC) were initially aired on conservative darling Fox *before* 9pm. So, by the standards he applies, Bozell should be attacking Fox and not Adult Swim. That Bozell appears unaware of this speaks to the superficiality of his fact-finding in preparation for this article.
The other show cited, Robot Chicken, is essentially an exercise in upending the nostalgia of Gen-X’ers who grew up in the late ’60′s and early 70′s. The point of jokes like the one described is typically to evoke children’s culture from that era (Star Wars, Rankin-Bass holiday specials, etc.), and then add an absurd (sometimes violent) twist. Whether it’s high art or not is certainly an open question, but Bozell’s description is reductive to the point of being misleading.
In the U.S., we tend to think of animation as a children’s art form, but this is a cultural habit, gleaned from three decades of Saturday morning cartoons, and not an objective statement about the intrinsic properties of animation. It’s instructive to recall that the rightly-venerated Warner Bros. theatrical cartoons were routinely butchered for television broadcast, as their theatrical versions often contained material that is now considered too “adult” for children (or even adults, for that matter, in the case of now-taboo racial humor).
Yes, the culture is being degraded, and yes, much of it is highly objectionable and needs to be condemned. But Bozell misses the mark when he is quick to condemn a cultural phenomenon about which he knows so little. I am highly sympathetic with parents trying to shield their children from junk culture, but are there not to be *any* fora where mature audiences can enjoy works that are not pre-emptively eviscerated for the sake of parents who refuse to expend even minimal effort policing their own televisions? I’m not saying those parents shouldn’t be accommodated–their requirements ought to be a primary consideration. But must they be the *only* consideration?
The programming bloc was not called “Adult Swim” out of irony, but rather to make as clear as humanly possible, to all interested parties and at every opportunity, that it is not appropriate for children. They even abandon Cartoon Network branding during the hours in question, effectively creating a whole separate channel. What more are they supposed to do? The bloc is probably far more popular than its creators ever imagined it would be–but success does not equal malice. Programmers at Adult Swim have acted responsibly.
I am not one of those people who evades the conservative critique of our culture by blithely claiming that parents should exert an unreasonable, superhuman degree of control over their child’s environment. But certainly they must take some measure of responsibility–such as detaching their children from television screens that might as well be flashing “THIS IS FOR ADULTS ONLY! THIS IS FOR ADULTS ONLY!”. The alternative is a popular culture constrained to the sensibilities of a five-year-old.
(As an aside, relying on ratings is lazy. Ratings systems are necessarily subjective and famously flawed. If your kid is watching so much TV that the only clue you have to its content is its rating, then the problem isn’t the rating–the problem is that your kid is watching way too much TV.)
Yes, Adult Swim tends to indulge in superficial potshots at Christians. The channel is part of Turner, based in Atlanta, and many of the creative folks behind the shows come from the suburbs and rural areas of the Deep South. So at least their Jesus and preacher jokes tend to be informed by personal experience rather than the pure secular alienation from traditional sensibilities that emanates from Los Angeles. But, in their defense, they are also one of the very few pop culture outlets (other than South Park) willing to air biting satirizations of Islam. The core sensibility at work is not Hollywood’s boilerplate Marxist progressivism, but a kind of Southern Gothic fatalistic absurdism.
Just as capitalism is “creative destruction,” the cultural artifacts of a society that ennobles freedom of expression will tend towards an anarchic free spirit–and we can intelligently critique this spirit without calling for its destruction. I can easily picture Bozell writing this article–having seen the ratings and demographics, I would guess that he watched Adult Swim just long enough to collect the examples of offensive material necessary to support his thesis. This is the cultural criticism equivalent of “gotcha” journalism. Popular culture (of one kind or another) is central to the lives and self-conceptions of nearly all young people in America, so if we’re going to speak about it, we must cultivate a sincere interest in it, as opposed to summary condemnation that, while expedient to older conservatives, is not–and should not be–appealing to young people who are navigating their way through vast expanses of unfamiliar ideas.
It is difficult to defend conservatism as the champion of liberty in general, when conservatives advocate, in the specific case, the censorship of culture that they have not even fairly attempted to understand (let alone appreciate), merely because it poses a transient logistical challenge to inattentive parents. Bozell uses a hammer where a scalpel is needed–surely we, as a society of literate adults, are capable of discerning between the highly objectionable and the merely adult-themed. More generally, if the advancement of conservatism requires summarily discarding every aspect of American culture that does not comport with bland conventionality, then its claims to champion the uniqueness of the individual appear contrived, and its motives therefore ulterior.
The culture war will not be won with a wave of the hand. It requires tactics, and therefore knowledge of the terrain. We can appeal to the hearts and minds of young people by demonstrating the fearlessness of the conservative intellectual tradition in the face of all possible ideas. On the other hand, get-off-my-lawn tirades only erect barriers in the minds of young people who correctly seek to maintain the freedom of their own intellects from narrow and arbitrary constraints.
For decades statists have been doing their homework vis-a-vis culture, and conservatives have not. That’s not the only reason we’re in the fix we are today, but it is one of them. It’s time for grandpa to up his game.
Afterthought: For many years, technology has existed that gives parents fine, granular control over the TV programming available in their homes. In my observation, parents have generally not bothered to learn enough about this technology to use it, even though the effort is roughly that of programming a VCR clock. How credible is such a person, when claiming overarching concern for the well-being of their own children? They’ve been given the tools, but refuse to use them. Whose fault is that?
Practical suggestions for parents concerned about their children’s TV consumption:
1. Investigate and use parental lock-out technology, which is available in television sets, DVR’s, programming providers like DirecTV and cable, and Internet delivery systems like Netflix, Hulu, and U-Verse.
2. Restrict tv-watching to specific hours, and none after 9pm unless supervised. It is common knowledge that many stations intentionally isolate their more adult programming until after 9pm, so if you’re letting your kids watch TV unsupervised after 9, all bets are off and you only have yourself to blame.
3. Disable/unsubscribe from cable and build a library of on-demand programs (i.e., DVD’s, videotapes etc.). It goes without saying that an essentially limitless amount of high-quality programming is available. If parents divert the monthly $100-200 that American households typically spend on cable to thoughtful DVD purchases, they will have established complete control over the television their children consume, without having to constantly supervise them, and without isolating them culturally (e.g. many modern TV series are available on DVD). If money is an issue, check your local library.
I just received a fundraising email from Barack Obama’s campaign, pimping out his “Dinner With Barack” raffle, and it contains a minor, but telling, gaffe–the subject line was left blank. This means one of two things: either the sender lacks basic professionalism, or the year is 1995 and he just signed up for his free 30-day AOL trial.
Given that Obama is spending tens of trillions of dollars of America’s money on the premise that he is smart enough to manage the entire U.S. economy, is basic computer literacy too much to expect??
In today’s Politico, in an Escheresque analysis of the reciprocal blame between the left and right in the wake of the Tucson shooting, Michael Kinsley made the following remarkable statement.
In just a few days, it has become the height of political incorrectness to suggest there might be any connection between the voices on right-wing talk radio and the voices in Jared Lee Loughner’s head.
It’s not so much political incorrectness that makes the suggestion objectionable, as the fact that it’s a vile slander that has absolutely no basis in fact. It’s as though one were to open a newspaper and read,
In just a few millennia, it has become the height of political incorrectness to suggest there might be any connection between Michael Kinsley and the decapitated female children that keep turning up in vacant lots around Washington D.C.
Which is true–it is politically incorrect to libel people without cause, and has been for thousands of years. But it’s a hell of an odd thing to complain about in an editorial.
All kidding aside, the fact that mainstream liberals have to resort to these types of mental gymnastics to justify their own narrative speaks for itself. And yet these are the arguments with which they would curtail speech that criticizes their policies and president. Vote accordingly, while you can.
hate n. Intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury. Extreme dislike or antipathy, loathing.
Re: the Tuscon Giffords shooting and subsequent attempts by Democrats to smear conservatives, by claiming the shooter was motivated by a “climate of hate.”
What we are seeing here is not the Big Lie, but the Big Innuendo. Repudiated at the ballot box, and incompetent in their official capacities, Democrats are desperate to stop attempts to reverse the massive power grab that occurred under Obama, Pelosi, et al. Apparently this desperation extends to wholesale fabrication of blood libel against conservatives.
Let me be clear: To the degree that current political events trigger violence in this country, it will be ultimately due to power-hungry liberals who disregard both the popular will and the Constitution (and, as we have now seen, even the lowest bounds of common decency) in order to transform our civil society according to their failed, evil models.
If liberals truly wished to live in a society ruled by civility, they would stop pushing the rest of us around with their dictatorial edicts. Of course, they are completely disinterested in either, routinely and deliberately ginning up popular discontent through their various minority “representation” groups, their firebrand university professors, their corporate-funded agitprop, their name-calling politicians, their goofball youth organizations, and a seemingly infinite army of narcissistic losers who believe that wearing a t-shirt with the slogan “Sarah Palin Is a Cunt” is the height of wit and sophistication.
To those liberals who profess to desire a return to civility, I say, “Fuck you.” To those who decry “eliminationist” (great word, thanks for that) rhetoric, I redouble my efforts of all kinds, especially rhetorical, to eliminate the statist scourge on our otherwise noble and magnificent society, as one would eliminate a cancer. And to those who decry so-called “hate speech” that is definitionally indistinguishable from “criticism of Democrats,” let me go on the record: According to the dictionary definition, I hate American liberalism. I hate that arrogant jerk Obama, I hate his shrew wife, I hate Pelosi, I hate Reid, I hate Stalin, I hate Castro, and I hate Chavez. I hate those who seek to destroy my liberty and prosperity. In a word, I hate tyranny–I hate its aspirants and sycophants, and I hate liberals’ current transparent attempts to silence their critics, with which I will never comply.
Your inability to cope with a free marketplace of ideas is not my problem. Oh, and by the way, this is political speech, and there’s not one thing you fascist fucks can do about it. So go cry to your mothers, because your totalitarian sensitibilies do not warrant an iota of respect by free people–and if you thought that demagoguing child victims of mass murder was going to confuse that fact, then your delusion is truly complete.
Besides, how can I love my own liberty, and not hate arrogant, unconstrained statism? Persons who are unable or unwilling to distinguish between common metaphorical icons on a campaign infographic, and complicity in capital crime, are manifestly unfit to rule–and yet liberals persist in imposing their demented vision, without regard for morality or rule of law. What’s not to hate?
"They are wings with which my imagination takes flight. Why do you ask?"
Drudge has a link up to an editorial written by Tim Burton extra Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, telling American voters to “man up,” and comparing Tuesday’s election to teenagers throwing a temper tantrum. Despite his use of words that even I find pretentious (and that’s saying something), Carter’s column is a masterpiece of disheveled reasoning. It’s remarkable, actually, that such a piece of pure fluff is still unpleasant to read, like one of those ultra-cheap chocolates that have such a weird aftertaste that you immediately regret having eaten it. How can one prominent Manhattanite magazine editor aim so low and still not even come close? Read on.
Carter kicks off by saying that Tuesday’s cold-blooded garroting of the progressive dream at the hands of the Tea Party happened because there’s a lot of anger in the American electorate–although to maintain his signature pose as an intellectual above partisanship, he notes that this anger exists across the political spectrum. (Nice try.) However, Carter concludes, because this is America, dissatisfaction with Obama’s performance is primarily due to racism. (Brilliant!!!) Carter then frets about conservatives going on (speculative) killing rampages, somehow triggered by their relatively higher rates of gun ownership–and, of course, all of that angry, angry anger.
Just to keep the non-sequitirs flowing, he then launches into his teenager analogy. He calls Christine O’Donnell “deranged” for having “no demonstrable talent for lawmaking,” as though that entire idea makes any sense whatsoever. (It must be asked: Are Vanity Fair’s owners deranged for hiring a magazine editor with no demonstrable talent for editing?) He wanders back to the angry theme for a few sentences, before detouring abruptly into an exceptionally lazy attempt to attach a crappy name to a popular movement (the Tea Party) that already has an excellent one. ”What headline writers a generation ago called the Silent Majority has become the Angry Majority,” Carter flaccidly offers up to his peers for immediate rejection. (Note the use of caps–that’s how you know this was a half-assed attempt to get a trend going.) I don’t know who coined the phrase angry white male, but they should sue for plagiarism–although Carter’s sheer blandness might prove an insurmountable defense.
Oompa, loompa, doompadee doo/Racists with guns are coming for you
Next come a few more deluded assertions of non-partisanship, followed by an enumeration of random, semi-recent news stories about conflicts involving two parties (as conflicts so often do)–British nationalists vs. Muslim immigrants, Sarkozy vs. the Gypsies, Sweden vs. the Jews, Holland vs. its own parliament. What do all these stories have in common, such that Carter would collect them all here? You know…anger ‘n’ stuff.
Seemingly apropos of nothing, Carter then begins talking about World War II, of all things, and especially how horrible it was, because people were dying–or maybe about how great it was, because it was full of heroism and meaning. It’s impossible to tell, really, and so the point of the entire exercise is unknown to the reader until this sentence, right before the very end:
Do yourself and the publishing industry a favor and buy the book after you read our excerpt, “Adrift but Unbroken.”
Ohhhh, now I get it. Everything up to this point is just the pretext for Carter to make this lame-ass promotional pitch for a book excerpt. And how blindingly awesome is that plea for readers to do his industry a favor? Carter should just tattoo “I GOT NOTHIN’” across his abdomen, 2Pac-style, and call it a day. In the meantime: hey, Vanity Fair–I’m available! And if you hire me, and I can’t think of a single remotely original idea to put on the inside cover to pitch this issue’s book excerpt, I promise I won’t beat the reader over the head with that fact by my artless prose construction. Is Vanity Fair a tax shelter or something? It’s like a publishing version of Mel Brooks’ The Producers: “…And then, to make sure we go out of business even quicker, we’ll hire an editor who can’t even write!”
Seriously, is this the kind of incisive cultural analysis a Vanity Fair subscription gets you? Isn’t Vanity Fair one of those magazines that liberals read to feel sophisticated? Maybe that partly explains the quality control issue, but if magazine publishers are already on the skids towards bankruptcy, hiring a guy like this is like getting naked and slathering yourself down with transmission grease. And as far as Carter telling American voters to “man up,” all I can say is: Graydon, I knew Sharron Angle when she was calling Harry Reid a pussy for ignoring Social Security–and you, sir, are no Sharron Angle.
As for me, I don’t know which makes me more grateful: that my politics don’t require me to pretend I enjoy reading garbage like Vanity Fair, or that this is the liberal intellegentsia’s A-Game three days after being beaten at the polls like Soveit slave laborers digging the White Sea Canal. Magazine publishing was a major part of the old liberal order. Look at it crumbling to nothing, right before our eyes. There may be hope for this country, yet.
The electoral fate of Republican politicians who collaborate with the enemy.
A liberal friend writes:
All right Republicans, think you can do better erasing ten years of bad policy, wars, financial meltdowns, unemployment? Wow me. Dazzle me with your legislative prowess. You have the ball and the shot clock is ticking. GO.
Tuesday wasn’t the start of a Republican shot clock—it was the deafening buzzer of liberalism’s shot clock expiring. To its supporters, the incoming Republican wave represents nothing more or less than the tactical advancement by patriotic Americans of a successful governmental philosophy over a failed one. Given the aggregate damage inflicted by Marxist progressivism upon this country’s finances, laws, institutions, reputation, and morale—including over $130 trillion of accumulated governmental debt, to which $1 million is added every 8 seconds—I’m dazzled every day our nation doesn’t suffer a flat-out collapse. God knows not a day goes by without an attempts by Democrats to trigger one—such as this week’s plan to monetize $600 billion dollars of debt, leading observers to predict an international currency war, the final end of dollar supremacy, and its devaluation by 20%. (Suck it, fixed-income seniors!)
Given all this, conservatives are not merely unconcerned with liberal assessment of their managerial acumen—they have realized, spontaneously and en masse, that a complete disregard for the policy preferences of liberals is itself necessary to save the Republic. In fact, in the view of millions of American conservatives, Tuesday’s wave was a mandate to obstruct every single atom of liberal policy, in any form whatsoever, without exception, from now until the end of time. I and millions of others will henceforth consider even the slightest compromise on the part of a Republican politician as grounds for instant, full-volume political and financial activism, until the turncoat son of a bitch is thrown out of office. Of course, this used to be a fairly extreme view, but that was before President Obama helpfully (and spectacularly) illustrated the degree to which the Democratic Party has been captured by the totalitarian Hard Left. (Blow a century of stealth Marxist infiltration into American institutions in just 18 months of pure narcissistic incompetence? Yes, We Can!)
No government can wave a magic wand and create utopian outcomes. (That’s the whole point.) The very best that government can do is refrain from interfering with citizens’ unalienable rights, and it can only do that as long as those citizens do not abuse their vote to institute a nanny state. The future of this country will not be determined by scheming politicians with brilliant plans, but by whether the American people, as a whole, still prefer their own personal liberty over the soothing lullabies and suckling bosom of Nanny Hyperstate. Tuesday was a step in the right direction, but liberty-loving Americans must become, and remain, at least one order of magnitude more vigilant and politically effective than we have been if we are to escape the socialist grave that has swallowed so manygreatsocieties in the past. Luckily, American liberals are a numerical fringe whose cultural hegemony decreases with each passing day, so we have reason to believe that, with enough hard work and perseverance, we may one day cast American liberalism back into the intellectual gutter from whence it slithered. Or, as a racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic mass-murderer and icon to consumption-driven liberals everywhere once said:
Then, it was the Chicago Board of Elections “accidentally” spelling Green candidate Rich Whitney’s name “Rich Whitey” in electronic voting machines destined for heavily black neighborhoods, then claiming that nothing can be done because the machines can’t be reprogrammed in time for an election that’s still 20 days away. Are liberals so terminally stupid that they fail to understand that it does not take 20 days for a technician to change a single fucking letter in a voting machine’s software, no matter how complicated it is? What, are the machines rigged with hair-trigger anti-personnel mines set to deactivate the day after the election? I bet the company that made them could deliver all-new machines with the mistake rectified by November 2nd. And, mother of all coincidences, this “mistake” is utterly prejudicial against the candidate competing with the Democrats. Boy, if 20 days is not enough time for bureaucrats in Democratic-machine Chicago to fix a typo, I can’t wait until I’m relying on Federal bureaucrats to arrange a life-saving MRI. And even if it were an honest mistake, and they’re honestly unable to fix this in time, that just shows how many orders of magnitude more stupid, lazy, and incompetent government bureacracies are compared to private companies. Suck on this: in roughly the same span of time in 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen not only wrote a programming language for a computer that was nothing but a box with switches and buttons on it, they also wrote a program that emulated that computer on a different computer. But then, they were entrepreneurs trying to create something useful, not Stalinist machine politicians rigging elections so they can turn the nominally free citizens of the United States into their own private army of slave labor.
A Chicago Board of Elections IT worker foolishly attempts to reprogram an electronic voting machine before November 3rd.
And this is just the fraud we know about. And it’s always the exact same response when they’re caught: tut-tut, so sorry, very regrettable, yes it’s a Federal crime but they didn’t know that so they’re excused–after all, they’re special and don’t have to follow the law like we dishrag masses. Any liberal who is not joining in a full-throated condemnation of these criminals is a hypocritical loser on a cosmic scale. Seriously, liberals…stop sucking the cock of power for two seconds and behold the used and abused apologist whore staring back at you from the mirror. Then towel yourself off and come join the fight to take the country back from these evil sons of bitches and restore it to the constitutional republic that has given you all your freedoms, even if you’ve been too much of an ungrateful fashion victim to admit it until now.
Or don’t. Stay on the plantation. You’re all irrelevant now anyway. 20-percenters, exposed–the very definition of lunatic fringe. It’s just going to get worse for you. Why not do everyone a favor and haul your red ass to Cuba where you belong? Obama blew the lid off your stealth mission to ruin America. Tut-tut, so sorry, very regrettable.
Cuba. Now there’s a country Michelle Obama can be proud of.
Politics is like a layer cake. The top layer is policy—whether or not abortion should be legal, guns should be controlled, health insurance should be nationalized, etc. Like everyone, I have opinions on all of these issues, some well-thought-out, some less so. Not all of my policy opinions are necessarily hard-line conservative, and on some issues, I am probably more inclined to agree with my liberal friends than with, say, a Southern Baptist. This is all well and good. Policy opinions are basically each person’s vision of the ideal society they would like to live in, and in a free society it follows that there would be a wide variety of such opinions, with each person legitimately advocating their own imagined paradise.
The bottom layer of the cake is process—things like the Constitution, separation of powers, and equality under the law. Process dictates how political decisions are made, irrespective of the specifics of the decision at hand. Most importantly, process determines who gets to make decisions, and therefore the degree to which the government represents the individual citizen. The root of all political process is the Constitution—it is, in fact, the supreme law of the United States. Therefore, if the Constitution is not legitimate, then no law is legitimate, and if it is subject to arbitrary modification, then so is every law, at any time. The Constitution is the process. And right now, that process is broken, because politicians simply ignore it when it suits them.
Consider: What difference do your views on abortion make, if abortion policy is set without taking your views into account? Why bother to form an opinion on gun control, if your opinion has no hope of affecting policy one way or another? As long as politicians are ignoring the Constitution, citizens who argue about policy are like a crazy homeless guy carrying on a loud conversation with someone he imagines to be there, but isn’t. The Constitution is the mechanism by which politicians are accountable to the citizens’ opinions. Without it, citizens—liberal and conservative—are mere observers, whether they realize it or not.
Two-layer cake, y’all. You can’t have a top layer without a bottom layer. The Constitution is most important, and to the degree it is threatened, it is the only thing that matters. Policy is also important, but only to the degree that the Constitution is obeyed.
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
OK, Dems, you heard the man—hop to it! Just because you spend the workday beseeching HUD to pay off the mortgage on the 4-bedroom rambler you bought back when you still had that sweet gig as night manager of the local BK Lounge, doesn’t mean you’re exempt from your mandatory evening shift canvassing the neighborhood and spreading the gospel of hope and change.
So what if your neighbors are too embarrassed to even admit they voted for Obama? Wear your credulity like a badge of honor—besides, life as you once knew it is now forbidden. No excuse for apathy! Chop chop!
Take, for example, Obama’s recounting of North American history circa 1810, long before the Founding of the United States:
Long before America was even an idea, this land of plenty was home to many peoples. The British and French, the Dutch and Spanish, to Mexicans, to countless Indian tribes. We all shared the same land.
In exactly what sense did, say, Chilean Incans “share the same land” with, say, French Canadians building settlements on the banks of Lake Superior? (Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Or how about this nugget of wisdom: “What made us all Americans was not a matter of blood, it wasn’t a matter of birth, it was faith and fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear.” From the 14th Amendment:
All persons born or naturalized [a legal procedure, not something that one confers upon oneself by having “faith and fidelity” to anything] in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
OK, so maybe it’s not fair to expect Obama to know anything about the U.S. Constitution. Let’s try the Wikipedia article on naturalization:
Nationality is traditionally based either on jus soli (“right of the territory”) or on jus sanguinis (“right of blood”), although it now usually mixes both.
Again, Obama’s quote: “not a matter of blood, […] not a matter of birth [in the territory].” If the Wikipedia article is correct, then Obama is comically precise in his wrongness. Of course, we all know that Wikipedia is not a credible source like MSNBC or Journolist—who knows what kind of miscreants might be writing things on there?—but goddamn, it’s easy as hell to use and would’ve at least pointed him in the right direction.
(As an aside, Obama’s obliviousness sheds light on what liberals mean by a “living Constitution.” According to the liberal imagination, from the moment that Obama or some other Marxist jackass finds it expedient to flatly contradict the plain meaning of the Constitution in order to pander to this or that lefty grievance group—or for any other reason, for that matter—the written word is nullified and the Marxist contradiction takes its place.)
Incredibly, Obama somehow manages to screw up the Declaration of Independence as well. I’m sure Hispanics, most of whom are Catholic, really appreciate the fact that he is evidently so hostile to and/or embarrassed by the concept of God that he would rather look like a stuttering dope than quote the Declaration of Independence correctly. Endowed with rights by whom, Barry? He continues:*
It’s only the Declaration of Independence, after all! WTF guys amirite? It’s not like it’s an important historical document, like Rules for Radicals or Das Kapital. Give me a fucking break here—I golfed a round with Captain America this morning, and by the time we were done I wanted to smash my driver into his fat mick face. Goddamn it, I just lost my place. Where was I? Oh yeah—“In this country, opportunity and equality are not just words in the mouths of politicians…”
But the most striking thing about this clip is not anything he says, but his mannerisms, which are deeply weird. He looks like he’s trying to decide whether to go for the crowd approval, or just say “fuck it” and walk off the podium. At no time does he seem remotely interested in the words he is speaking. And why would he be? As summarized by Valerie Jarrett, one of the many people whom Obama has appointed to lucrative and powerful positions because they really, really, really kissed his ass:
He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do. He would never be satisfied with what ordinary people do.
So that’s why he’s such a failure as POTUS: the job is too ordinary, not challenging enough for an intellect of his caliber. On the other hand, maybe he’s just a slow learner.
Whatever the case, Democrats didn’t hold their nose when they voted in 2008. To the contrary, they worshipped him en masse, largely on the premise that his supposedly superior intellect would reflect positively on their own (well, that and free gas.) If that’s not the first and last thing you need to know about the intelligence of liberals generally, then you are beyond hope.