Free Markets, Free People

Land of the free?

Peggy Noonan pretty much hits a home run today (well, it being Super Bowl weekend, maybe a touchdown analogy would be better).  Here’s how she begins:

The State of the Union was a spectacle of delusion and self-congratulation in which a Congress nobody likes rose to cheer a president nobody really likes. It marked the continued degeneration of a great and useful tradition. Viewership was down, to the lowest level since 2000. This year’s innovation was the Parade of Hacks. It used to be the networks only showed the president walking down the aisle after his presence was dramatically announced. Now every cabinet-level officeholder marches in, shaking hands and high-fiving with breathless congressmen. And why not? No matter how bland and banal they may look, they do have the power to destroy your life—to declare the house you just built as in violation of EPA wetland regulations, to pull your kid’s school placement, to define your medical coverage out of existence. So by all means attention must be paid and faces seen.

Dead on. SOTU has become kind of like entertainment industry awards shows I guess … something else I never watch.  What government can do to your freedom?  Very real.

But she’s right, more and more Washington DC has become Oz.  More and more it becomes delusional, more insular and more isolated from the real America.  And that’s where Noonan goes – she does a riff on real America – i.e. “reality” – a state of being that progressive try to avoid at all costs:

Meanwhile, back in America, the Little Sisters of the Poor were preparing their legal briefs. The Roman Catholic order of nuns first came to America in 1868 and were welcomed in every city they entered. They now run about 30 homes for the needy across the country. They have, quite cruelly, been told they must comply with the ObamaCare mandate that all insurance coverage include contraceptives, sterilization procedures, morning-after pills. If they don’t—and of course they can’t, being Catholic, and nuns—they will face ruinous fines. The Supreme Court kindly granted them a temporary stay, but their case soon goes to court. The Justice Department brief, which reads like it was written by someone who just saw “Philomena,” suggests the nuns are being ignorant and balky, all they have to do is sign a little, meaningless form and the problem will go away. The sisters don’t see the form as meaningless; they know it’s not. And so they fight, in a suit along with almost 500 Catholic nonprofit groups.

Everyone who says that would never have happened in the past is correct. It never, ever would have under normal American political leadership, Republican or Democratic. No one would’ve defied religious liberty like this.

The president has taken to saying he isn’t ideological but this mandate—his mandate—is purely ideological.

It also is a violation of traditional civic courtesy, sympathy and spaciousness. The state doesn’t tell serious religious groups to do it their way or they’ll be ruined. You don’t make the Little Sisters bow down to you.

This is the great political failure of progressivism: They always go too far. They always try to rub your face in it.

She has other examples, but the way she wrapped up this portion is a pretty good summary of the state of Oz.

And we’re all the poorer and less free because of it.


21 Responses to Land of the free?

  • Maybe next year Barack the great and his panoply will enter riding in chariots – as in the movie Hunger Games.

  • And in other ‘free’ news – F16’s will be flying CAP over the Super Bowl, because nothing says freedom like having to make sure you maintain air superiority, over a sporting event, in your own country.
    TSA screeners on American Highways, airports, bus terminals, train stations.
    The DHS making sure counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise isn’t sold.
    F16 air patrols over the SuperBow.
    MRAPS and M107 LRSRs for every police department with more than 6 officers.
    Kids being expelled for their imaginary finger guns.
    The NSA listening in to any call they want to ‘protect us’
    So, What does it look like when Al Queda wins?
    because this place kinda looks different than it did 14 years ago, and oddly (Look! F16’s on CAP!  YEAH!!!!!!)
    I don’t feel 1 bit safer.

    • I kinda like F-16s flying over, but only if they are part of the show.
      I tell my daughter “that’s the sound of freedom.”

      • “I tell my daughter “that’s the sound of freedom.””
        I love the birds, my sentiments exactly.
        Not like this though.   The article I read they were boasting about it.   It’s not something to boast about in my opinion.
        What’s next? Watch towers? checkpoints?  Machine gun posts at intersections?
        Is all this supposed to make me feel safe?
        Now, the border, well, we can leave THAT open, but TSA needs to pat you down before you can go to the restroom at dinner.

  • Viewership was down, to the lowest level since 2000.
    Nielsen showed the numbers for the last twenty years, and this was the lowest, by both share and viewers.  Obama and Clinton both peaked in their first SOTU, while Bush 43 peaked in 2003, his third year.
    As far as the Little Sisters of the Poor.  I’m waiting for Secretary Syphilis, a supposed Catholic, to be excommunicated.

    If you have not read that, please do.
    I think Williamson nails it.
    If I were President, I would send a nice, succinct letter.

    • … and this probably the best part of the SOTU …

      WASHINGTON — One of the most celebrated guests at the State of the Union address Tuesday was not a politician, but Willie Robertson, a star of the hit A&E show “Duck Dynasty.”
      Robertson attended the speech as a guest of Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister, and he stood out in the sea of coats and ties with his long beard, untucked white shirt, and signature American flag bandana around his head.
      “It was neat being here,” he told reporters after the speech. “It’s cool to be here. Neat experience.”
      From the moment Robertson arrived in the Capitol complex, he was in high demand — multiple lawmakers tweeted pictures of themselves posing with him before the speech.
      When he was seated in the visitor’s gallery of the House chamber before the speech, he was introduced to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who had made a special trip up there to speak to Robertson and shook his hand with a big grin on his face. Later, Sen. John McCain waved up at him from the House floor. McCain pulled over New York Democratic Sen. Kristin Gillibrand and pointed out Robertson; Gillibrand also waved excitedly. Robertson waved back.

      … and don’t miss Jon Stewart’s interview with the ever “powerless Nancy Pelosi” as she does her best Sergeant Schultz imitation.

  • “SOTU has become kind of like entertainment industry awards shows I guess ”
    Watch out, because those awards shows get good ratings. Sigh.

    • …and, regardless of how obnoxious the entertainment shows are, you can turn THOSE OFF.
      Plus, non of the creeps in Hollywood can TAKE anything away from you.

  • Maybe this is too personal, but…
    For a couple of decades I have not been able to sing the national anthem.  I can’t get past the terrible question about whether the star-spangled banner yet waives or’ the land of the free.
    I know there are still fine, brave people here, so it isn’t that.

  • If there is one enduring, permanent fact about why America will never be a “progressive” country, it’s that the one thing everyone can agree on is the fact that nobody likes a smartass politician.

    Has it really been 50 Years? The Beatles – Ed Sullivan Show (1964) (All 3 shows)

    This Mann guy is really an idiot, and he doesn’t care who knows it.


    • He’s afraid the pipeline will cross forest area with trees he uses to make unique hockey sticks.

    • Human civilization needs energy. Adding extra difficulties to obtaining energy does not stop humans from needing energy. It just adds unnecessary costs.
      Currently, in most of the US, such annoying additional costs are relatively minor. They had close to zero impact on the use of energy, industrial and commercial progress, etc.. Thus, people like Mann, Gore, et al. were just stringing mosquitoes, annoying us, but not having a major impact.
      With the EPA rule on coal, which kick in this year, expect the mosquitoes to be replaced by attack helicopters. Your utility bills will start a rapid increase. Subsequently, the hit to industry and retail concerns will start to make a big dent. It might even trigger another deep recession.  Mann and Gore will be dancing happily at the news of plants closing, Americans taking desperate measures to curtail their use of energy, and the media redirecting anger at the government towards “green energy” projects. More boondoggles, more cronies getting rich. Probably no major technological breakthroughs.
      Seen on the Interwebs: “What did socialists use before candles? Electricity.”

    • Heh, he is wrong about the history of the qwerty keyboard and seems to think that Canada will not exploit oil sands if Keystone XL is cancelled. Presumably Mann lives in the same reality dysfunction inhabited by other American professors of note.