Vocabulary for the Struggle

Give the president credit. His second inaugural was sincere. It came from the heart. Which does not change the fact that the president wants to relive all the failed collectivist clichés of the 20th century.

Just one example:

For the American people can no more meet the demands of today's world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future. Or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.

"No single person can train all the math and science teachers..." But that's the problem with centralized control! It attempts to substitute the diverse efforts of the thousands of people who are closest to the problem, most informed about it, most affected by its outcome, and most committed to its mission, with centralized control by bureaucrats who, as Thomas Sowell has pointed out, will not bear the consequences of their mistakes. In effect, the government is the "single person [training] all the math and science teachers." And we have seen the results. The free economy reflects the wisdom, insight, and tacit knowledge of those closest to a task rather than transferring it to a distant unurgent, uninformed, hierarchical bureaucracy. That is the point of the free market as opposed to collectivism.

Progressives try to pretend that the alternatives are the individual standing alone or collectivism run from the center. But the genius of the free enterprise system is that it spontaneously organizes intermediate institutions that harness the drive, the initiative, the insights of its participants and lets them interact through a transactions economy. The anonymous nature of transactions gives participants the maximum amount of choice and autonomy. Transactions are not hierarchical; bureaucracy is.

Mikhail Gorbachev once asked Margaret Thatcher how she organized the feeding of the British people. "I don't" was the answer.

The government promises to love you. It can't. The code of a bureaucracy is not to become personally involved. So the promise of love from the government is a lie it uses to seduce the public. It is the "false-hearted lover that sends you to your grave" in the words of the folk song "On Top of Old Smokey."

Progressives are hung up on roads and bridges, as if it never occurred to anyone to build them before some bureaucrat thought to regulate them. Roads and bridges are the responsibility of state and local government (in most cases). It is what a large part of the taxes they collect are for. This has been true since the early days of the Republic, although there have also been private enterprise thoroughfares, the first "turnpikes." Roads and bridges are paid for by enterprise, not the other way round. Just visit any town that has lost its industry if you doubt this.

Responsibility to the community has traditionally been reinforced by Judeo-Christian ethics and religion... "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." The American public is unmatched in the world in the amount of time and money it contributes to charity.

Progressives are out to steal the soul of America. In Obama, they have the best of the best. Nobody is better at demonizing straw men and at making the collectivist case. As Thomas Sowell has said, "One of Obama's great gifts is the ability to say things that are absolutely absurd and make them sound not only plausible, but inspiring."

In this struggle of philosophies, we need to refresh what we on the conservative side believe...

1. The impact of the Democrat Party on the African American community in America has been one of the calamities of history. The Democrats are the party of slavery, segregation, lynching, and the Klan. The reason the Civil Rights Act of 1964 took until mid-century to pass was that the Democrats would not take their boot off the neck of African Americans until Martin Luther King had made them a politically potent force. This in spite of Republican efforts to outlaw lynching, poll taxes, and pass Civil Rights Acts in the prior 50 years, not to mention Ulysses Grant's destruction of the first manifestation of the Klan in 1871 and the Civil Rights Act of 1875.

2. Just as African Americans were gaining ground in the enterprise economy and in education in the 1940s and 1950s, the Democrats sidetracked a large proportion of them with the welfare plantation in the 1960s. In 1960, the illegitimacy rate in the black community was 35%. Last year, it was 76%. The welfare plantation has destroyed the black family, but by creating a dependency constituency it keeps the Democrats in power. Independent citizens will not sustain the Democrats in power. They need client constituencies for that and are good at creating them.

3. Democrats want to expand the welfare plantation. Republicans want to expand participation in the enterprise economy.

4. Democrats want people dependent on the government, which means politicians and bureaucrats. Republicans believe people are fulfilled by participation in the enterprise economy which also contributes to strong families.

5. Democrats believe in hierarchical direction of the economy. Republicans believe in private initiative and economic independence.

6. Democrats believe that government management of health care and government determination of when you should die is best. Republicans believe that doctors should be in charge of your health care.

7. Democrats believe that all cultures are equal and that a successful culture such as ours, being no better than other cultures, can only have succeeded by cheating or by theft. Republicans believe that the pie is not finite and that it is increased by the creativity, energy and labor of free people.

8. Democrats do not believe in American exceptionalism. Republicans believe that we have created a superior culture.

9. Democrats are unable to see that radical Islam is a threat to the values and protections of the Constitution and think appeasement of its demands is the right course. Republicans believe that there is no substitute for victory over radical Islam.

10. Democrats believe in vote theft and ballot stuffing, techniques the party has used for over 100 years. Republicans believe that the ballot should only be exercised by citizens and that fair elections are critical to a healthy society.

11. Democrats are bankrupting America. The deficit is shocking; the buildup of debt will ruin the country. They are willing to dismantle the military to continue on the current path. Republicans believe that spending must be brought back down to 20% of GDP without gutting the military.

12. Democrats believe in Keynesian economics. Republicans believe that the Keynesian economics practiced by the Obama administration have been a disaster (except of course for the recipients of the stimulus), with the labor participation ratio the worst in 30 years and the mean time between jobs having exploded to 40 weeks from a norm of 15 weeks.

We are engaged in a long twilight struggle over whether the principles that America was founded on and which supported its success will endure. 

Give the president credit. His second inaugural was sincere. It came from the heart. Which does not change the fact that the president wants to relive all the failed collectivist clichés of the 20th century.

Just one example:

For the American people can no more meet the demands of today's world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future. Or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.

"No single person can train all the math and science teachers..." But that's the problem with centralized control! It attempts to substitute the diverse efforts of the thousands of people who are closest to the problem, most informed about it, most affected by its outcome, and most committed to its mission, with centralized control by bureaucrats who, as Thomas Sowell has pointed out, will not bear the consequences of their mistakes. In effect, the government is the "single person [training] all the math and science teachers." And we have seen the results. The free economy reflects the wisdom, insight, and tacit knowledge of those closest to a task rather than transferring it to a distant unurgent, uninformed, hierarchical bureaucracy. That is the point of the free market as opposed to collectivism.

Progressives try to pretend that the alternatives are the individual standing alone or collectivism run from the center. But the genius of the free enterprise system is that it spontaneously organizes intermediate institutions that harness the drive, the initiative, the insights of its participants and lets them interact through a transactions economy. The anonymous nature of transactions gives participants the maximum amount of choice and autonomy. Transactions are not hierarchical; bureaucracy is.

Mikhail Gorbachev once asked Margaret Thatcher how she organized the feeding of the British people. "I don't" was the answer.

The government promises to love you. It can't. The code of a bureaucracy is not to become personally involved. So the promise of love from the government is a lie it uses to seduce the public. It is the "false-hearted lover that sends you to your grave" in the words of the folk song "On Top of Old Smokey."

Progressives are hung up on roads and bridges, as if it never occurred to anyone to build them before some bureaucrat thought to regulate them. Roads and bridges are the responsibility of state and local government (in most cases). It is what a large part of the taxes they collect are for. This has been true since the early days of the Republic, although there have also been private enterprise thoroughfares, the first "turnpikes." Roads and bridges are paid for by enterprise, not the other way round. Just visit any town that has lost its industry if you doubt this.

Responsibility to the community has traditionally been reinforced by Judeo-Christian ethics and religion... "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." The American public is unmatched in the world in the amount of time and money it contributes to charity.

Progressives are out to steal the soul of America. In Obama, they have the best of the best. Nobody is better at demonizing straw men and at making the collectivist case. As Thomas Sowell has said, "One of Obama's great gifts is the ability to say things that are absolutely absurd and make them sound not only plausible, but inspiring."

In this struggle of philosophies, we need to refresh what we on the conservative side believe...

1. The impact of the Democrat Party on the African American community in America has been one of the calamities of history. The Democrats are the party of slavery, segregation, lynching, and the Klan. The reason the Civil Rights Act of 1964 took until mid-century to pass was that the Democrats would not take their boot off the neck of African Americans until Martin Luther King had made them a politically potent force. This in spite of Republican efforts to outlaw lynching, poll taxes, and pass Civil Rights Acts in the prior 50 years, not to mention Ulysses Grant's destruction of the first manifestation of the Klan in 1871 and the Civil Rights Act of 1875.

2. Just as African Americans were gaining ground in the enterprise economy and in education in the 1940s and 1950s, the Democrats sidetracked a large proportion of them with the welfare plantation in the 1960s. In 1960, the illegitimacy rate in the black community was 35%. Last year, it was 76%. The welfare plantation has destroyed the black family, but by creating a dependency constituency it keeps the Democrats in power. Independent citizens will not sustain the Democrats in power. They need client constituencies for that and are good at creating them.

3. Democrats want to expand the welfare plantation. Republicans want to expand participation in the enterprise economy.

4. Democrats want people dependent on the government, which means politicians and bureaucrats. Republicans believe people are fulfilled by participation in the enterprise economy which also contributes to strong families.

5. Democrats believe in hierarchical direction of the economy. Republicans believe in private initiative and economic independence.

6. Democrats believe that government management of health care and government determination of when you should die is best. Republicans believe that doctors should be in charge of your health care.

7. Democrats believe that all cultures are equal and that a successful culture such as ours, being no better than other cultures, can only have succeeded by cheating or by theft. Republicans believe that the pie is not finite and that it is increased by the creativity, energy and labor of free people.

8. Democrats do not believe in American exceptionalism. Republicans believe that we have created a superior culture.

9. Democrats are unable to see that radical Islam is a threat to the values and protections of the Constitution and think appeasement of its demands is the right course. Republicans believe that there is no substitute for victory over radical Islam.

10. Democrats believe in vote theft and ballot stuffing, techniques the party has used for over 100 years. Republicans believe that the ballot should only be exercised by citizens and that fair elections are critical to a healthy society.

11. Democrats are bankrupting America. The deficit is shocking; the buildup of debt will ruin the country. They are willing to dismantle the military to continue on the current path. Republicans believe that spending must be brought back down to 20% of GDP without gutting the military.

12. Democrats believe in Keynesian economics. Republicans believe that the Keynesian economics practiced by the Obama administration have been a disaster (except of course for the recipients of the stimulus), with the labor participation ratio the worst in 30 years and the mean time between jobs having exploded to 40 weeks from a norm of 15 weeks.

We are engaged in a long twilight struggle over whether the principles that America was founded on and which supported its success will endure. 

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