Free Markets, Free People

Immaturity Or Genuine Anger?

A few days ago, David Brooks wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “The God That Failed” which is still bubbling in various blogs. Here’s how Brooks began his piece:

During the middle third of the 20th century, Americans had impressive faith in their own institutions. It was not because these institutions always worked well. The Congress and the Federal Reserve exacerbated the Great Depression. The military made horrific mistakes during World War II, which led to American planes bombing American troops and American torpedoes sinking ships with American prisoners of war.

But there was a realistic sense that human institutions are necessarily flawed. History is not knowable or controllable. People should be grateful for whatever assistance that government can provide and had better do what they can to be responsible for their own fates.

That mature attitude seems to have largely vanished. Now we seem to expect perfection from government and then throw temper tantrums when it is not achieved. We seem to be in the position of young adolescents — who believe mommy and daddy can take care of everything, and then grow angry and cynical when it becomes clear they can’t.

Glenn Greenwald and a host of other lefty blogs are now assuring us that this “hysteria” over the crotch bomber is a result of our immaturity as a nation because of our concerns about terrorism:

This is what inevitably happens to a citizenry that is fed a steady diet of fear and terror for years. It regresses into pure childhood.  The 5-year-old laying awake in bed, frightened by monsters in the closet, who then crawls into his parents’ bed to feel Protected and Safe, is the same as a citizenry planted in front of the television, petrified by endless imagery of scary Muslim monsters, who then collectively crawl to Government and demand that they take more power and control in order to keep them Protected and Safe.  A citizenry drowning in fear and fixated on Safety to the exclusion of other competing values can only be degraded and depraved.

Nonsense. This outrage isn’t just about terrorism and our fear of it. In fact, this isn’t a regression. It is a reaction to the continuing failures of a government which has repeatedly claimed it is the answer to all problems and repeatedly fails to live up to its claim. It is also an indication of the growing citizen anger at its continued unchecked expansion.

Brooks says:

In a mature nation, President Obama could go on TV and say, “Listen, we’re doing the best we can, but some terrorists are bound to get through.” But this is apparently a country that must be spoken to in childish ways. The original line out of the White House was that the system worked. Don’t worry, little Johnny.

Really? Well let’s think about that for a second, shall we? Prior to the complete takeover of airline security by the federal government, any president might certainly have been able to stand up and said that. And most of us would have likely agreed.   Airlines, which were responsible for their own security screening at that time, would certainly have reacted appropriately and taken new measures designed to heighten safety. And naturally, airlines which didn’t would most likely see passengers vote with their feet since a heightened chance of having your planes routinely blown out of the sky, when compared with the competition, isn’t good for business, is it?

Instead –and it happened under a Republican administration- the Fed decided that only it can properly provide the security necessary to ensure airline safety. A huge and costly system with its attendant bureaucracy was put into place based on that premise. And the implicit promise of the premise was that while under the airlines, “some terrorists are bound to get through”, under government, it would be safer than that. That was the purpose of the takeover.  And it is that which both Greenwald and Brooks miss.

In the case of this particular incident, you couple that with a little stupidity (Napolitano: “the system worked”), a dollop of denial (Obama: “an isolated extremist”) and typical non-responsive overreaction (TSA: stay in your seat the last hour with your hands in your lap) and you begin to understand why the president couldn’t go on TV and say something like Brooks claims he could say in a “mature nation”.  This has nothing to do with the maturity or lack thereof of the nation.  It has to do with an inept government unable to fulfill it’s promise and the righteous anger that causes.

This incident is just one of many which are awakening the public to the falsity of the pernicious myth that government is “the answer”. It was the financial crisis that began the process. As it developed, people were suddenly confronted with the realization that those who had assured us they were in control and knew what they were doing really didn’t have a clue. Add that with the rapid takeover of the financial sector and GM, TARP and the “stimulus”, extended trillion dollar deficits, health care “reform” and cap-and-trade legislation and now this airline security failure and you begin to understand both the rising alarm and the rising anger.

I’m sure there are those out there who still think the Tea Parties were about health care and/or Obama and the Democrats. In fact, they were an early outward manifestation of the phenomenon – the rapidly growing realization that a) government can’t fulfill its promises but b) despite that, it continues to attempt to accrue more power and c) really doesn’t care if the public wants it or not.

They also are beginning to realize the mammoth cost of the leviathan in place is bad enough (and it is only going to get worse).  And they are terrified of the cost of what is being promised as the government takes over more and more of our lives.

You can begin to understand why the growing anger is directed at this administration and government in general is the result. The attempted bombing incident and the resultant anger is no more just another indicator of that general anger and dissatisfaction.

What Brooks and Greenwald don’t seem to understand – and I’d think it is a safe bet to make the same claim about Republicans – is this isn’t anger just directed at this administration or Democrats alone. They’ve simply managed to bring it to a head with their over-reaching. It is anger, in general, at the depth, breadth, cost, intrusion and control government has and seeks to broaden. In a larger sense, what Greenwald and Brooks would like to write off as an immature tantrum about a security failure is just another manifestation of the growing anger and discontent directed at government in general and as result of the swiftness and scope of the recent expansion.

The culture of dependency that politicians have  carefully engineered over the last 80 years is finally seeing a backlash. Ironically it is the financial crisis and the Democratic ascendancy, along with their attempts to broaden that dependency, which has suddenly alarmed and angered the public. As dependency was incrementally increased over the decades, the public’s alarm at government’s increased powers was muted. With the sudden power and control grabbed by the government, precipitated by the financial crisis, the alarm –and anger- is no longer muted.

That, by any measure, is a good thing. What it isn’t, however, is an immature reaction. It is, if anything, not strident enough.



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15 Responses to Immaturity Or Genuine Anger?

  • The same apologist attitude will be dusted off when government super regulated (soon to be government run) healthcare fails to deliver.

  • David Brooks can’t think anymore, and Greenwald never could.

    The Crotch Bomber did everything but show up with a tee-shirt that said “I’m a Jihadist, and I’m Going to Blow Up This Plane!”

    Barack Obama took three days to come out and make a fool of himself, but then all he did with that was maintain his status quo.

    Let’s try a free market approach to terrorism: Make terrorist info available to bounty hunters and let the gold rush begin. Have Gun, Will Travel.

    I can sense an increase in blood flow at this blog already.

    Hey, get the government out of it altogether and let anyone contribute directly to the bounty pot. All that’s needed is the intel paper on the jihadis.

  • It’s not that I expect perfection. I know nothing is.

     I object to the government telling me they have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to fund total incompetence and then chastize me when I point that out.

    • I’m sure that if ObamaCare were to fail you, Obama would welcome you over to the White House where you could show him your gratitude.

  • Instead, it [H.R. 4173] supports the biggest banks. It authorizes Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for “no-more-bailouts” talk. That is more than twice what the Fed pumped into markets this time around. The size of the fund makes the bribes in the Senate’s health-care bill look minuscule.

  • First malaise, now immaturity. We peasants sure are a sorry lot. We obviously do not deserve to have those nice Democratic folks looking out for us. I is grateful, though, boss.

  • This is what inevitably happens to a citizenry that is fed a steady diet of fear and terror for years. It regresses into pure childhood. 

    Wait… Is this about the threat posed by terrorism or the threat posed by (ahem) skyrocketting health care costs and having 43 51 37 14 76 millions and millions of Americans without health insurance?

    And who was it said that a good crisis should never go to waste?

    People should be grateful for whatever assistance that government can provide and had better do what they can to be responsible for their own fates.

    To a large extent, I agree with the basic premise here, but I am outraged at the idea that I should be “grateful” to the government when it throws me a bone.  I must say that I also suspect that Brooks and the rest of the elites don’t really want us to do much of anything to be “responsible for our own fates” (witness their hysteria over people owning guns to protect themselves and their property) because, if people get the idea that they CAN take care of themselves, they don’t need parasitic elites running their lives for them.

    … we seem to expect perfection from government and then throw temper tantrums when it is not achieved. We seem to be in the position of young adolescents — who believe mommy and daddy can take care of everything, and then grow angry and cynical when it becomes clear they can’t.

    I’m sorry to say that he has a point.  Quite a few Americans DO expect Uncle Sugar to do everything for them.  However, I suggest that the anger and cynicism does not come from those who are disappointed that Uncle Sugar isn’t perfect.  Rather, it is from those who didn’t want him butting into many things in the first place because we KNEW that not only does the government have no business doing much of what it does, but also because we KNEW that the job would be done badly.

  • Oh so we have all become spoiled little children?  Well what do you expect when you have big brother government looking out for everyone and controling them.  You libtards made the country this way, Own it bitch!

  • Sorry to point out the obvious about that elephant there. Brooks and Greenwald and Rahm and Axelrod and Krugman and Barney and the MSM and the NYT are a far-left ethnic minority of about 2% who have now risen to power over a WASPish conservative majority who built this country but now doesn’t have the courage to stop it. Why quibble over minutia and miss the big picture?

  • My memory may be faulty on this point, but I could swear that post-Katrina it was discovered that per federal policy, individual citizens were basically on their own for 2 to 3 days before help could be expected to arrive, and the left threw a hissy fit.

  • This is what inevitably happens to a citizenry that is fed a steady diet of fear and terror for years. It regresses into pure childhood


    Yes,  that plane that almost blew up but for the grace of god and some quick thinking passengers, which would’ve killed at least 300 souls on Christmas……pure fantasy.

    It’s going to take a successful attack to wake them up, isn’t it?

    • It’s not a question of wakeing the government up.  What it is to them is to cover their butts for as long as they possibly can until the next crisis makes the public forget about this total screw-up since they really can’t do anything meaninful to change it.