Random Thoughts Posted by: Dale Franks
on Monday, October 27, 2008
A smattering of things I've been thinking about recently.
So, some guy in LA has a Sarah Palin manikin hanging from a noose. A lot of people on the Right have apparently been in a tizzy about that today.
Hanging in effigy is an old tradition in this country. We haven't seen a lot of it in the last generation or so, but, back in the day, it was considered fine public entertainment.
Still, there's an inordinate amount of anger over elections now. Sure, the 1800 presidential campaign is still the gold standard for nasty elections in this country but it's still troubling. But there's an element of rage now that we haven't seen in my lifetime.
Back in 1962, while he was out campaigning for congressional democrats in Illinois, John Kennedy said, "Why should they choose us and not the Republicans? The Republicans are equally patriotic, are equally devoted to our country, are equally anxious to see it move ahead."
There's none of that kind of rhetoric any more.
Part of the reason is that the grand consensus of the post-WWII era has broken down. For the WWII generation, both Republicans and Democrats largely believed that government could be a force for good. The shared experience of WWII, for both civilians and veterans, was that the government came together to pursue a righteous crusade against tyranny in Europe and Asia. From that, they extrapolated a larger, beneficial role of government in other areas of life.
To be sure, there were differences—mainly tactical—in how to do that. But there was a measure of strategic agreement that a more activist government was better.
Since the 1960's, however, both parties took radically different paths. The Republicans, on the whole, embraced a more libertarian, laissaiz-faire attitude towards government, while the Democrats moved down an explicitly Marxist path.
As a result, we've split into to warring camps, unlike any time since the Pre-Civil War era, and before that, the post-Washington era.
Even more troubling is that politics has become a religion, especially on the Left.
Now, when you say that, the objection always arises that the Religious Right is worse. On some issues, that may be true. Take abortion, for example. Many on the religious right regard abortion as evil, because it consists of killing an innocent baby. On that particular issue, they approach it from an explicitly religious viewpoint.
For the Left, however, all policy is a moral statement. Practically every argument they make, whether it be on tax policy, welfare reform, or any of a host of other things, are advanced on explicitly moral grounds. If you disagree, you are morally deficient, i.e, selfish, racist, etc.
It's not really a joke when we say America has two parties, the stupid party and the evil party. It's what, by and large, we actually beleive.
But, increasingly, the right is beginning to look upon the Left as being actively evil, too, not just stupid. For instance "spreading the wealth" is increasingly seen as a code phrase for violating some people's property rights by taking the money they've earned in order to give it to those who haven't.
Increasingly, America's political parties will be seen as the evil party...and the evil party.
Don't expect any explosions of bipartisanship in the near future.
Property rights are dead in this country. They're like an exceptionally well made-up body at a wake. "Why, he looks so lifelike! It's like he's only sleeping!" But he's still dead. Billy Beck points it out, via this quote from Bill St. Clair.
I believe that the purpose of Mr. Obama's presidency will be to do as much as possible to destroy the concept of private property.
But, as Billy notes, if the idea of property rights were still alive, there wouldn't even be an Obama candidacy. He'd've been written off as an unelectable Commie right from the start.
This shouldn't be a surprise, though. Once we passed the 16th Amendment, allowing a personal income tax, it was pretty much inevitable. Once you agree that the government has a right to any part of your income, you've agreed in principle that they can take all of it. The principle that the rewards from the sweat of your brow are yours is dead the moment you agree that the government has a legitimate claim on it.
All that's left to do now is to toss off a few shots of whiskey over the body.
But not Jameson's. That's Protestant whiskey.
So, apparently some white supremacists cooked up a plot to assassinate Barack Obama.
I was wondering how long it would take for something like this to pop up. The only surprise is that it didn't happen sooner.
It's certainly not a surprise that they were caught. Most members of the white supremacist movement are complete losers, and borderline morons. Most of them couldn't organize a successful panty raid on a girl's dormitory.
I'm reminded of a story from back in my law enforcement days. My partner and I had a run in with one of these morons.
Now, when I was a military policeman, I was stationed in Europe for a while. And, as it happened, my partner had actually been raised in Germany until he was about 13, and was a naturalized American citizen. So we both spoke German, fluently on his part, and passably well on mine.
Anyway, this guy has a big 'ol tattoo on his upper arm, complete with eagles and swastikas, and whatnot. Above it, was a large scroll with the words "Weiss Macht" written on it.
My partner asked the guy, "What does 'weiss macht' mean?"
He drew himself up, and proudly answered, "White power!"
My partner said, "No, it doesn't. In German, 'white power' would be 'weisse macht'."
I said, "Yeah. I'm afraid your tattoo says 'white makes'. That's dumb."
We then proceeded to laugh in his face, and I advised him that the next time he got a tattoo in a foreign language, he should probably get a reliable translator first, so he didn't look stupid. Again.
He didn't appreciate the advice.
Yeah, I was an ass. But I hate those guys. Nothing but contempt for them.
I'm sure he thought his tattoo made him look like a bad-ass swaggering around in Orange County. I bet he covers that sh!t up when he has to go over to Long Beach, though. I bet he covers it up good.
I told Chris I wanted to go ahead and get rid of my Glock 27 now. I don't really like it much, and with the matched M1 Carbies we're picking up on Monday, I don't see much need to keep it around. I don't have a CCW any more, so I'm ready to get rid of it. Besides, California registers handguns, and I'd like to get out from under the registration. Long guns aren't registered in California.
She practically had a cow. Her verdict: No way. Transfer it to me if you don't want it.
Might as well keep it if it's still gonna be around.
I don't understand. I'm just gonna stick in the sentry safe and forget about it. The small grip makes it relatively un-fun for me to shoot. And it's a .40 cal, so she can barely hit the broad side of a barn with it.
But, no matter. I guess I'm stuck with it.
At least, until the Federal handgun ban is signed into law by President Obama.
That assumes there will be an Obama Administration, of course.
I mean, I guess that's a pretty safe bet at this point. he's drawing 100,000 people at rallies. He's got a boatload of money. Every indication is that he's got this thing sewed up. But, in 1992, Tom Bradley thought he had the California gubernatorial victory sewed up, too.
Obama has a lot of first-time voters, and a lot of young voters. But these "voters" quite often don't actually...you know...vote. They register to vote. They intend to vote. But then, on election day...they don't.
Frankly, despite all the hype on the guy, I still think this election could go either way. I'll still be a bit surprised if McCain wins, because the trends are all against him, but I won't be slack-jawed with stupefaction.
I tell you what would be really fascinating though. Imagine that McCain takes all the states that Bush took in 2004, except IO, NM, and NV. The electoral vote count would be 269-269.
We'd see something that we haven't seen since 1800: The House of Representatives choosing the President, and the Senate choosing the Vice President.
Senators vote as individuals, so Joe Biden would presumably win the VP slot. But the House votes as states, with each state's representatives caucusing to determine how the state votes. If a caucus is tied, that state doesn't vote. The winner is the one who gets a majority of states voting. Imagine McCain wins, by something like 23-22.
McCain-Biden '08? Talk about strange bedfellows...
Obama has a lot of first-time voters, and a lot of young voters. But these "voters" quite often don’t actually...you know...vote. They register to vote. They intend to vote. But then, on election day...they don’t.
Normally I’d agree with you Dale, but this year (in GA anyway) they are allowing ’early voting’. The polls have been open for weeks. My wife and I went down yesterday and waited 20 minutes to cast our ballots. All across GA people are reporting long waiting times for ADVANCE voting. I fear with all that extra time, more of those ’kids’ are going to get in and vote.
Dale Franks - But, increasingly, the right is beginning to look upon the Left as being actively evil, too, not just stupid. For instance "spreading the wealth" is increasingly seen as a code phrase for violating some people’s property rights by taking the money they’ve earned in order to give it to those who haven’t.
Increasingly, America’s political parties will be seen as the evil party...and the evil party.
You underestimate the libs: they are fully capable of being both stupid AND evil.
Their leadership and the MSM that serves it are, I think, unquestionably evil, or at the very least unpatriotic and un-America. They will do anything for power, up to and including selling out our country and allies as well as trampling all over our individual rights.
In contrast, many of their supporters are stupid and ignorant. Talk to a dem voter sometime about what they support: it’s all fluffy-bunny stuff about "how nice it would be" if everybody had free health care, a nice house, a good job, clean environment, free education, etc, etc. Let ’em yap for a while about this utopia they want... then ask them who will pay for all of it.
The lib leadership hides the fact that they are marxists dedicated to the subversion and eventual overthrow of our government and way of life. Their followers don’t realize this, lulled into a false belief in nice slogans ("Peace! Bread! Land!").
I’ll have no problem with a Palin effigy hanging from a noose when we can hang an Obama one w/o fear of reprisals, either from his supporters, or from his people accessing my files looking for dirt on me.
A lot of people on the Right have apparently been in a tizzy about that today.
I think they’re in a tizzy about the hypocrisy on display from the media, not the effigy itself. Some guy shouts something at a rally, it’s proof of the racism of all Republican voters everywhere, some guy hangs an effigy of Palin, it’s not even news. Just a wee bit hypocritical.
It’s interesting that you see politics on the LEFT being more like a religion. I’ve tended to see that from the right. But I suspect both sides have been going this route together, each seeing the sins of the other side more clearly than the sins of ones’ own side. I know that when I post here, trying to be polite and avoiding ad hominems, I get a rash of intensely personal insults because of my political perspective. Not from everyone, but it’s clear that at Q&O there is a "politically correct" perspective, and those who try to engage with a different point of view are seen as being bad people. I also note how Reid, Pelosi, Murtha, and Democrats are constantly demonized on this site, making it seem like Republicans are generally good people, facing down these evil, dishonest Democrats. So this Q&O site is really part of this "splitting into warring camps" that has been taking place. I have never understood the way in which people turn disagreement over politics into a personal dispute, seeing others as bad or dishonest because they have a different perspective. It happens on the left as well as the right, it’s just a bit irrational in my opinion. It’s also a game I won’t play. As much as I’ll be critical of the actions of others, defend my philosophical and political points of view, I’ll try to respect others, and recognize that disagreement is good. It is necessary. And the smartest way to deal with it is to try to truly understand the perspectives of others and engage them, knowing there may be heated debates, but it need not turn personal.
I know that when I post here, trying to be polite and avoiding ad hominems, I get a rash of intensely personal insults because of my political perspective.
I’ll try to be nice Scott. You are the one who has time and time again said you are ’no longer going to post here’, yet you pop up, time and time again. It is not your ’political perspective’ that gets challenged here, but rather your integrity. If I had the time and or inclination, I could search out any number of times your facts have been refuted, at which point you disappear, never acknowledging you were wrong. After a while, it gets tiresome. And from what I’ve read, you have been doing it for years and years, long before QandO was around. So don’t be surprised when people go after YOU. You’ve drawn the bulls eye on your chest. Deal with it.
I call em as I see em, and Reid, Pelosi and Murtha aren’t evil Scott, they’re idiots & willing tools.
If you think the fact that they made it to the top of the Democratic party at the national level, and lead the House and Senate is an indication they aren’t idiots and tools, I give you the national perspective on George W. Bush as evidence to the contrary.
So if they get slammed around here, they do so deservedly, just as Bush constantly gets slammed for the things he deserves to be slammed for. You usually lay low on posts where Bush is getting slammed here. Not enough controversy or attention for you I think.
"Hanging in effigy is an old tradition in this country. We haven’t seen a lot of it in the last generation or so, but, back in the day, it was considered fine public entertainment."
Substitute the word ’public’ for ’effigy’ and the statement is still true.
"But not Jameson’s. That’s Protestant whiskey."
I think you might have that wrong. Jameson’s is distilled in Cork and Dublin, whereras Bushmills is distilled in County Antrim, Ulster.
************************* "I’ve tended to see that from the right."
No surprise, there. Some folks see what they expect to see.
"intensely personal insults because of my political perspective."
See above. Obviously reading comprehension and/or objectivity is not your strong suit. Several of us have been pretty clear on exactly why we detest you, and your politics was not the reason. Perhaps you can explain why others with similar politics are not treated likewise. They are, as you say, personal insults.
"I have never understood"
I think everyone here can agree on that.
"It’s also a game I won’t play."
You just did, moron.
"I’ll try to be nice Scott."
Don’t bother. It is a waste of time. You are still one of his irrational persecutors, a biased and overly emotional ignorant right-wing zealot.
No, see I disagree. I think evil people tend to have half a brain which they are actually using for creativly evil purposes.
Now willing tools of clever evil people? Yes, that I believe, but they themselves aren’t bright enough to be evil. That doesn’t make them less guilty of course, but in the end it will prove out what they are, which is stupid.
They aren’t properly formed Martin, they’re career politicians.
Sorry, I don’t accept that the two are mutiually exclusive. Generaly they are these days, but that’s not genetic, that’s a conditional reaction. They don’t ’all do it’. As I keep saying when that excuse gets used... "How Clintonesque"
I said that tongue in cheek to some extent. We do, occasionally, get conscience and politician together in one person. Alas my experience has been that most of us have a price and Washington is one market where that price will almost always be met.
So my current measure is to picture Reid and Pelosi as the head villains in a classic tale. Now, ask yourself, can you picture those two in the part? Surely not. They’re quasi evil, bumbling underlings at best. Nancy’s bewildered looks when she discovered that Catholic Church doctrine wasn’t founded on the basis of the opinions of her constituents was priceless. Harry Reid’s normal looks... Their evil (not that it’s less evil I suppose) is their complicity. No, these two need a Richelieu to pull their little strings.
George Soros, now him I can see. Ahmadenijad, Putin, I can see. Do you seriously put Reid or Pelosi or Murtha in the same category as any of these others? They’ll be lucky to make footnotes in history.
But look, perhaps we can clear this a little. Certainly, the actions of the people in the link above lack rationality. To us, anyway, though to them it seemd a good idea at the time. I’ll bet most still don’t understand why they’re in trouble.
Rationality is a subject that’s come up at my place recently, here and here.
Consider the following quote within the second link as an example:
Iranian parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Wednesday that Iran would prefer Democrat Barack Obama in the White House next year. Larijani also dismissed any idea that the US would attack Iran. “We are leaning more in favor of Barack Obama because he is more flexible and rational, even though we know American policy will not change that much,” Larijani said at a press conference during a visit to Bahrain.
I dunno about you, looker, but that line scares the crud outta me. That in the eyes of Iran, the generator of the world’s largest torrent of irrationality, Barack Obama is more rational. Certainly, it confirms something I’ve said for a while now, that Obama and his policies cannot be rationally supported as we understand the term ’rational’.
As I say in the first link, this is the result, I think, of a multi-generationally long educational process.
Ah, but Bit, I’ve avoided talking about Obama. I think he has some people as ’acquaintances’ that meet my standard for evil. William Ayers, Rev ’Wrong’ merely being the two most prominent examples. Was Nixon evil? Will Obama be evil? I wish I could answer that.
I just don’t think Nancy and Harry and Jack are in the same graduating class. I really think they, like many otherwise normal Americans, are about to be amazed at what they have unleashed.
Think of it this way - we survived Vietnam, and Watergate (and even Carter Scott!). We’ll survive Obama (and Harry, and Nancy, and Jack). I was just hoping the next 10 years of the life I can remember weren’t going to be a replay of the 1st 15 years I can remember. But I guess they will be.
I have to say lately the rising tone on the right sounds like panic, and sounds like what I considered the be the insanity on the left. Me, I think the fastest thing we can do to cause a panic is to panic.
Instead, I have a visions of Vietnam War era size protests about the coming lefty dominated government, resulting in failure of said government policies. It’ll just look less interesting on film 30 years from now because the outfits won’t be as odd, there will be fewer bra less women, and not so many guys with long hair and John Lennon glasses in this footage.
"I have never understood the way in which people turn disagreement over politics into a personal dispute, seeing others as bad or dishonest because they have a different perspective."
Some perspectives ARE bad or dishonest. And politics are personal because political views lead to political actions which can cause real harm. This isn’t all some academic debate. Consequences are REAL.
I have never understood the way in which people turn disagreement over politics into a personal dispute...
I tend to take it personally when people try to gain more power over me. Since you don’t understand:
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." — Samuel Adams
Meagain, I’m in lurk mode, not really debate mode, which is why I only post now and then, and generally do not get into arguments. Many of the posters here made my point. I also am amused by Don’s claim that the left ’feels’ and the right ’thinks,’ because liberals I know claim the opposite. The left analyzes, the right goes with the gut and emotion (like talk radio). I think my liberal friends and Don both believe what they say, it’s a bias that serves each of them. (Though Don - if you want to see really negative stuff about Palin, read what Republican insiders are claiming, including a member of McCain’s campaign that called her a "whacko" and another that said she was clueless about the issues...they’ve said far worse things about her than I have). I think if McCain had chosen Kay Bailey Hutchinson, he’d have a much better shot at winning.
For now I’ll stay in lurk mode, so I’ll comment rarely. I’ve found some other blogs by people with different perspectives than mine, but who engage in generally friendly discussion and debate. http://scotterb.wordpress.com
Yeah, I disdain those McCain and GOP staffers trying to lay this on Palin to save their own sorry behinds.
Especially because either way this election turns out, the real fight for some of us is rebuilding the GOP the way it needs to be. And Palin trumps insider weasels in terms of public support no matter what you read in the press
Prof. Erb — If you want a decent discussion, at least with me, I suggest you keep in mind that this is a discussion among equals.
You sound reasonable at first, but then this high and mighty tone creeps into your posts as though you are above the rest of us, intellectually and psychologically, and you start lecturing us as I suspect you lecture your students, as though you have the truth and are beyond bias, and you are here to rescue from our pettiness.
But we aren’t your students. Here you are just another person with an opinion, and only as good as the support and reasons you put together for your posts.
Repeating that "Iraq is a debacle" no matter what happens is not debate, but propagandizing.
Telling us, repeatedly, that you have left, then showing up to either gloat or advertise your blog is not debate, it’s not even lurking, it is trolling.
Finally, speaking as a writer, I would appreciate it if you revised your posts into coherent paragraphs before firing them off.
"I’ve found some other blogs by people with different perspectives than mine, but who engage in generally friendly discussion and debate."
Other Blogger: I think we should cook and eat all children over 5. Hey, btw, enjoyed your recent blog post.
Erb: Thanks. Glad you read it. Never considered your position on eating children before, but since all values and beliefs are subjective and of equal value, you probably have some important things to say about that.
Other Blogger: I appreciate your open and friendly reception to my idea. Other people tend to take my view as a threat and fail to consider that my beliefs are every bit as valid as their own. I also think we should eliminate all humans over 60 - but not to eat them. Purely on a economic basis. It would completely solve the social security funding problem.
Erb: I can tell I’m going to learn a lot here. While I’m less sure about your over-60 position, I can see the value in a long friendly discussion without any judgment. I’m certainly not going to jump to any conclusions, nor will I let my cultural influences color my reception of your unique viewpoints.
Huxley, you read into my posts things I do not intend. I certainly have never seen you as anything but an equal, I respect your intelligence and your general style. I suppose that when one does ’academic writing’ that style sort of bleeds over into blog writing and so I believe you that it sounds that way. That is not my intent.
I’m not sure what you mean by revising my posts into coherent paragraphs — I notice your post has just six one sentence paragraphs. I am absolutely convinced that Iraq is perhaps the biggest foreign policy mistake of modern American history, and this is hardly a fringe view. I certainly can accept that you disagree. Given the tenor of a lot of comments on the blog, it seems you hold me to a higher standard than you hold others. I don’t mind that either. (And the reason I keep posting my new webpage address when I do post here is that for some reason changing the "url" on the form doesn’t take and it keeps reverting back to my maine.edu address). http://scotterb.wordpress.com.
I just don’t think Nancy and Harry and Jack are in the same graduating class. I really think they, like many otherwise normal Americans, are about to be amazed at what they have unleashed.
Yes, I gathered that line of thinking from you previously. However, I disagree. A careful look at the record over a period of years and decades shows clearly... One cannot possibly avoid the correct path so carefully and exactly, by means of stupidity.
A careful look at the record over a period of years and decades shows clearly... One cannot possibly avoid the correct path so carefully and exactly, by means of stupidity.
This is probably true Bit, and I admit, I’m only watching them recently as they’ve hit their peak of power and I’m not factoring in the years it took for them to get there.
Hey, Looker: Rationality? Educational process? Case in point. Follow?
yes, I follow. Unfortunately for class after class of kids who probably don’t recognize and comprehend their indoctrination into the collective there’s not much we can do about it. Now if we had lots and lots of money behind us like a certain American Terrorist we could donate to appropriate institutions and organizations and work towards correcting things.