September 20, 2010
The Curious Logic of Our Governing Elites
George Orwell said, "There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them." What follows is my beginning of a list of ideas that some very intelligent people seem to believe.
The air should be taxed. More precisely, what every animal on earth exhales and what every plant on earth inhales can and should be taxed.
President Bush was bad for the economy because he spent too much. President Obama is helping the economy by spending a lot.
A jury is better informed if evidence is withheld from it.
The Boy Scouts are wrong for having policies that inhibit pedophilia. The Catholic Church was wrong for not having policies that inhibit pedophilia.
An economy in which government accounts for about 40% of economic activity, which owns a similar percentage of all land, and which enforces a stack of regulations the size of 64 Bibles (or 30 New Deals) is considered a radical laissez-faire free market.
Grabbing a person by his shirt and pulling him toward you is an "enhanced interrogation technique" not in the Army Field Manual. It is therefore "tantamount to torture" and out of bounds for any government agency or contractor to use when asking a terrorist what his plans are. Simply dropping a bomb on him, though, with neither trial nor tribunal, and killing him and anyone near him, including his wife, children, family and friends, is OK.
Stopping Saddam Hussein by force was wrong because he did not have WMD. Using force against the Taliban is OK despite no one even claiming the Taliban has, or ever had, or ever intend to obtain, WMD. It was also OK to use force against the government of Yugoslavia, which had no WMD and had never harmed or threatened anyone outside Yugoslavia.
Using force against Saddam Hussein just because he was a mass murderer was wrong because we cannot be the policeman for the world. This despite two wars that he started, killing about one million people, mostly Muslims; despite hundreds of mass graves containing hundreds of thousand of bodies; despite using chemical weapons on his own people; and despite a record of torture. However, using force, including the bombing of population centers, against the Serbs for killing perhaps 2,000 people -- many in the KLA, a certified terrorist organization -- was OK.
It was wrong to use force against Saddam Hussein because the inspections/sanctions regime was working. However, the inspections/sanctions regime was wrong because it was killing half a million Iraqi children.
It was foolish to let Saddam Hussein go in 1991. It was foolish to go after him in 2003.
It is wrong to use force against any country just because you think it might obtain or develop nuclear weapons; that is preemptive. It is wrong to use force against a country that already has nuclear weapons, since that could start a nuclear war. It is wrong to defend against incoming nuclear bombs because that is seen as provocative against countries that have nuclear bombs. Sanctions are also wrong because they kill children and provoke people (see above). In summary, it is wrong to defend yourself against nuclear weapons or any WMD, at any stage of their development or use, by any means other than politely asking your enemies to "stop that."
It is wrong to ask any person for his papers, even after that person has committed a crime and fits the profile of an illegal immigrant, and even though all non-citizens must carry identification papers per federal law. It is OK to ask every citizen in the U.S. to prove he or she has health insurance.
The federal government can force a state to recognize gay marriages because of the 14th Amendment. The federal government cannot force a state to not recognize gay marriages because of the 10th Amendment.
Toilet tank capacity is interstate commerce. "Public use" of private property includes handing it over to another private owner. Large seasonal puddles connected to no other bodies of water are "navigable waters" as far as the government and its regulators are concerned.
The phrase "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law" means (a) it is OK to deprive property owners of their property and (b) it is not OK for a state to outlaw depriving life to any baby whose head has not left the birth canal.
The phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" means it's OK to outlaw owning or carrying handguns.
The clause "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" means a public school must prohibit voluntary, student-led prayer at all school events, including football games. But it is OK for government to subsidize "art" such as a crucifix in a pitcher of urine.
The clause that says Congress shall make no law "abridging the freedom of speech" does not include workplace speech that might be considered racially or sexually offensive, commercial speech not approved by a federal regulatory agency, or political speech too close to an election.
A guy who made a $34,000 mistake on his own taxes is the best choice to be in charge of the IRS and the entire federal treasury. The guy with thirteen House ethics charges against him, including misusing federal resources and not paying taxes on his villa in the Dominican Republic, should be in charge of writing the country's tax laws. The guy who told us in 2005 that a housing bubble was nonsense and Fannie Mae was in fine shape should be writing in 2010 the regulations to overhaul all finance conducted in this country.
One way to a colorblind society is to ask for "race" on every official form. Another way is to add points for certain races on civil service exams and to use different cutoffs for different races on things like ACT, SAT, and LSAT scores when deciding whom to accept in educational institutions.
The way to increase jobs is to raise taxes on those who provide them and give money to those who don't have them.
The way to reduce health care costs is to mandate that every person have health insurance and that that insurance cover every possible physical health- and mental health-related cost, including massage therapists, social workers, drug and alcohol abuse treatment, acupuncture, hair prostheses, and about two thousand other insurance mandates levied by government.
It was right to take John McCain to court, through oral arguments and written opinion, to prove that he is "natural born," despite both his parents being U.S. citizens their whole lives and despite being the son and grandson of U.S. Navy admirals. It was wrong, even insane, to think Barack Obama should have to prove his birth status to anyone prior to taking the oath of office as president.
Enough for now. I started this with a quote from Orwell, and that is how I will end it.
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.