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Blog

    Responding to the "liberal middle"

    06/27/2009

    My long-lost friend Scott Jones wrote a comment to my note yesterday (on my own blog at http://rossputin.com about “What we’re up against” which I think is representative of potentially the majority of Democrats in society (not the majority of Democrats in Congress.) So for today’s note, I’m going to offer my response to Scott. For the record, Scott is NOT lazy or blinded by Obama’s cult of personality, but I certainly intend to make the most of a part of his comment which describes many people who are both of those things.

    Scott, the “liberal middle” are unknowingly, and probably with the best of intentions, destroying the nation by supporting policies and candidates based on their claimed intentions rather than their obvious likely outcomes.

    Obama and the Democratic leadership explicitly support policies which have been tried elsewhere, whether socialized medicine or “green jobs” or an even more success-punishing tax code. And those policies have failed everyone.

    It’s typical of the liberal pathology to believe that it would have worked had only smart enough people been in charge of the implementation. As I’ve said it is indeed “the fatal conceit.”

    Your poorly defined commitment to or opposition to restrictions and limitations allows government to draw a line that you can live with at first and then move it later in a way which destroys liberty and economic opportunity.

    What do “regulations to monitor greed and avarice” mean? How much “greed” is OK and who is to decide? What about the “greed” behind the invention of new medicines?

    Regarding derivatives, no one person “decided they were a good idea” but they are obviously a good idea. As Mike R noted, a derivative without excessive leverage is no more dangerous than a rifle in the hands of an experienced hunter.

    The role of derivatives in the financial mess is overstated to the extent that people are thinking of options, futures, and even credit default swaps. Securitized mortgages are not what most people think of as derivatives. The problem was not derivatives. It was a combination of leverage (a private sector problem) and government coercion. You say “someone allowed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (some say pushed) to offer no-qualify loans to people who should have never owned homes in the first place.” Pushed is exactly right.

    Democrats used FNM and FRE to further their social engineering and vote buying. They had FNM and FRE threaten banks under the penalty of those banks being called racist and being prevented from such things as expanding into new lines of business or buying new branches.

    Do we wish Obama would fail? YES! YES!

    Of course I want him to fail to PROVE that his policies create bad outcomes. What other point would there be? The soft failures of decades of semi-socialism have not woken Americans up. It’s like boiling a frog. You can do it if you put the frog in when the water is cool and then heat it slowly, unlike just dropping it in hot water from which it will jump out.

    You say you think it’s a complicated situation. And I think most Democrats agree with you. But I don’t agree.

    What is complicated about, for example, whether to support the “cap and trade” will which represents the biggest tax hike in the increase of the human race while even believers in man-made climate change say that the bill would at most change temperatures by a small fraction of a degree over the course of decades – less than any natural annual variation.

    What is complicated about the government moving towards a health care system that is a disaster in places where it’s already implemented?

    Now, Scotty, it’s the last part of your comment, which you recognized as important, that I find most interesting.

    You said that “all anyone really wants” is for it to be made easy for him (or her.)

    You’re on to something.

    Maintaining a functioning Republic (note, this is NOT a democracy for good reason) requires effort and vigilance, sort of like (but more more difficult than) maintaining a good marriage.

    There have been many brilliant political analysts who have commented on this very point in one way or another. Here are a couple of examples:

    “Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.” - (Usually but almost certainly incorrectly attributed to Alexander Tytler.)

    “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” - Alexis de Tocqueville

    “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” - James Madison

    “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government……” - James Madison

    “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.” - Thomas Jefferson

    “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” - Thomas Jefferson

    What happens is that the Democrats/Progressives promise you that they’ll “make it easy” for you, hold your hand, tuck you in at night, and give you some money. Republicans/Conservatives/Libertarians say that life requires accountability and a large degree of self-reliance and, like it or not, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. So partisans on the left say that conservatives are mean-spirited and greedy and demand that liberals only be judged on their intentions rather than outcomes. And it’s not easy for conservatives to convincingly argue that good intentions aren’t good enough.

    As you sit there wanting someone to make it easy for you, your country and your children’s opportunity is being wasted, if not stolen, by your government. This government is saddling my children with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, and for what? The “stimulus” isn’t stimulating anything. (See yesterday’s savings data.) But the government is being permanently expanded.

    You should be scared to death. And not only can’t you wait for someone to “make it easy", you should recognize “easy” answers for what they are: A high-caliber weapon pointed at the heart of our nation.

    If you love your country and what it stands for, you MUST start paying attention, digging deeper into issues, calling your elected representatives, writing letters to newspapers, speaking with friends and colleagues, and doing anything else you can to rein in the ongoing destruction of everything our Founders held important and true.

    If you sit back and wait for it to be made easy, you will, by the time we’re old and gray, live with the crushing guilt of having done nothing while government eliminated your children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

    I will fight tooth and nail to stop this government. I will be able to look at my children and say “I did everything I could"…and with some luck “everything I could” combined with the efforts of similar-minded people will be enough.

    That said, I’m not optimistic for our nation. I believe Atlas is shrugging, and I believe that it will take an exceptionally hard lesson for Americans to learn that Barack Obama and “progressive” policies represent not hope but destruction.

    Fail, Obama, fail.