An Honest Mistake

From the Smoking Gun:

Suspicious that his live-in girlfriend was planning an affair, a Tennessee man confronted the woman after spotting a photo of an unknown guy on her Facebook page, according to a police report.

Lowell Turpin, 40, “angrily demanded to know who the male was,” reported Anderson County Sheriff’s Department investigators.

Crystal Gray, 38, “replied that it was a picture of Mitt Romney.”

Assuming this man is not charged with a felony, he will be eligible to vote this November. I wonder what he thinks of President Obama. On the other hand, perhaps he was right to be jealous. For a sixty-five year old, Governor Romney looks pretty darn good. This guy? Not so much.

Where Do Jobs Come From, Mr. President?

President Obama sincerely believes that simply dumping money into a favored industry will create jobs:

Energy was a particular obsession of the president-elect’s, and therefore a particular source of frustration. Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. “I don’t get it,” he’d say. “We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?” But the numbers rarely budged.

The president has given nearly $20 billion in loan guarantees to alternative-energy startups, and has seen less than four thousand new jobs created as a result. At the same time as the president has been dumping tax money into a giant hole, the much-maligned oil and gas industries have been creating jobs like gangbusters, to the tune of 150,000 new positions in 2011.

Let the free market work, Mr. President, and then you can claim credit for getting out of the way.

The Coalition of the Absurd

Over the last week, public officials in Boston and Chicago have declared their intention to block, by any means necessary, Chick-fil-A restaurants from opening in their cities. Now, Chick-fil-A does not discriminate in hiring, nor in service. However, the owner of the company, an outspoken Christian who closes his branches on Sunday so employees can attend church if they wish, recently outed himself as a supporter of traditional marriage. This is a bridge too far for Mayors Menino and Emmanuel. The way they see it, free speech may be a civil right, but certain speech is just too extreme for their diverse cities. Here is the punchline: They are doing this in the name of tolerance.

You see, the left claims the mantle of tolerance. Tolerance and diversity are their most sacred truths. It is with these claims that various left-wing groups join together against the forces of what they call intolerance, or sometimes even hate. This left-wing coalition is vast and broad, and includes such diverse groups as feminists, black activists, progressives, homosexual activists, Muslims, environmentalists, Communists, socialists, and even anarchists. Straight, white, conservative, Christian males need not apply, of course.

The funny thing about this leftist coalition is how many of these groups are united only by their desire to dismantle traditional American culture. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke before Columbia University, students laughed nervously at his assertion that there were no gays in Iran. Yet these two groups – leftist graduate students and radical Muslims – remain allies in the American culture war. To this coalition, a Christian who disapproves of gay marriage is more of a threat than a Muslim who has gay people beheaded. Mayors Emmanuel and Menino did not call to task any Muslim-run restaurants in their cities, demanding to know their position on gay marriage like they have done to Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy. As the brilliant Iowahawk pointed out on Twitter, “In Chicago, you must be pro-gay marriage to sell fried chicken, but not Chicken Shawarma. #knowyourChicagocitycodes”

It is not just in matters of religion or sexual orientation that makes this left-wing coalition so absurd. Remember the Tea Party rallies? Nearly every news story took pains to point out how the crowds were “mostly white”. MSNBC took it a step further during the healthcare town hall meetings when they photographed an armed man from the neck down, lest they reveal that this “dangerous white man” was actually a black man. Yet when Occupy Wall Street took to the streets, how many articles pointed out the racial makeup of those crowds? Occupy was almost entirely a white enterprise, but it was never viewed through the racial lens that the Tea Party (arguably more diverse) was in every news story. Apparently racial makeup only matters if the subjects are conservative. Members of the Coalition of the Absurd get a pass.

Remember Trent Lott? The former Senate majority leader was forced to resign after he made a nice comment about Senator Strom Thurmond, who was once a segregationist. On the other hand, then-Senator Joe Biden called then-Senator Barack Obama the first “clean” black man who was running for president. Biden’s punishment? The vice-presidency. African-American activists play a huge role in the Democratic Party today. They support people of color in every walk of life… unless that black person is Clarence Thomas or Condoleeza Rice, for whom they save their most vile epithets.

Feminists make up a large contingent of the Coalition of the Absurd. Like black activists, they claim support the rise of women everywhere… unless that woman is Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann, of course. And when men mistreat women, the Coalition is right there to speak truth to power… unless that power is Bill Clinton, who was defended by feminists even as he was being accused of sexual harassment and even rape.

The Coalition of the Absurd goes through twists and turns that would break the most limber acrobat in order to maintain their frame. Guns are bad, unless they are carried by your own bodyguards. Private jets are bad, unless they are used by congresspeople. Free speech is always good, unless it is conservatives doing the speaking. Tax breaks for big business are bad, unless that business is Hollywood. Sending American troops to fight foreign wars is bad, unless a Democrat is in office. Opposing gay marriage is unforgivable, unless you are Barack Obama running for president in 2008. Supporting gay marriage covers all wrongs, unless you are Dick Cheney.

I think the singular truth to be drawn from observing the Coalition of the Absurd is this: Leftism is their primary allegiance. Feminists are leftists first, women second. Progressives are leftists first, reformers second. The same goes for radical Islamists, gay activists, left-wing African Americans, and more. Left-wing ideology will tolerate no other master. All that matters is the intensity with which each group despises traditional conservative culture. How is that for tolerance?

It Takes A Village

Only a man who has never started a business or worked in the private sector can say something like this:

This sort of statement not only tries to undermine any credit that the successful entrepreneur deserves, but it also discounts the fact that we all pay taxes for the common good. The middle class, the wealthy, even the demonized “one percent” pay taxes to support roads, bridges, fire departments, police departments, etc. In fact, the wealthier you are, the more taxes you pay. To insist that I, a middle-class taxpayer, have a claim on the fortune that Jeff Bezos made from creating Amazon.com simply because my tax dollars helped pay for Interstate 5 is ludicrous. The genius of America is equality of opportunity. All of us benefit from public roads, bridges, fire departments, police departments, and more. Yet only a few of us have the combination of intelligence, determination, and luck that allow them to succeed magnificently.  They deserve whatever they can earn, without having to worry that the rest of us are going to demand the fruits of their labor.

Monday Links

Via Instapundit:

Vaccines aren’t supposed to cause disease. But that appears to be what’s happening on Australian farms. Scientists have found that two virus strains used to vaccinate chickens there may have recombined to form a virus that is sickening and killing the animals. (Source)

I will not deny that modern medicine has given us many benefits, but sometimes there seems to be a hubris involved. Keep tinkering with the building blocks of life, and things may go horribly wrong. But hey, to make an omelette you have to be willing to break a few genetic eggs, right?

Second, from our friends at Reason Magazine:

In May the Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina on behalf of blogger Steve Cooksey. The suit claims the state violated Cooksey’s First Amendment right to free speech when it informed him that his anti-diabetes blog runs afoul of North Carolina laws requiring a license to dispense anything the state considers dietary advice. (Source)

The article goes on to discuss the myriad of ways that the government gets between us and our food. How did the human race ever survive in the days before the FDA and the USDA? If we feel we have to surrender our nutritional decisions to boards of bureaucrats, we are no longer a free people.

Finally, Vox Day waxes eloquent about the necessity of history:

…the totalitarian thirst for eliminating and creatively rewriting history does tend to lend some credence to the idea that the knowledge of history is important, perhaps even integral to understanding and upholding human freedom. (Source)

It might be a cliche to say that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. Think about the characters in Orwell’s novels. They do not have any true knowledge of what really happened in the past; they know only what their leaders tell them. He who controls the present controls the past. Knowing what your fathers and mothers really went through is important. A knowledge of history does not produce things that people want to buy, but it may just keep another Hitler or Stalin from rising up and saying “We have always been at war with Eurasia.”

On Bookstores And Bubbles

As I was walking the streets of Olympia today, I decided to stop at some of our local bookstores, Last Word Books and Orca Books. For those who are not native to this area, “local bookstores in Olympia” means left-wing. Very left-wing. The typical clientele of these establishments are the type who will criticize President Obama for not being liberal enough. They are the sorts who long for a socialist revolution, and think that conservatives are the ultimate in stupidity and/or evil. Into this environment I went, without hesitation.

The walls and shelves at Last Word Books were plastered with posters celebrating anarchy and socialism while decrying capitalism. In addition to the usual bookstore sections of fiction, history, self-help, etc., Last Word had extensive collections of books on sex, gender theory, feminism, and counter-culture. There were many fliers for various left-wing causes. Personally, I could never support any of the groups that were promoted there. However, I found a book on farming by my hero Victor Davis Hanson for only $6, even though the same book was $16 on Amazon. I happily purchased my book and went on my way. Last Word is now free to use that $6 for whatever they wish. Capitalism: Learn to love it.

Folks are often comfortable living in ideological bubbles. Imagine that your parents, schoolteachers, and college professors all carry similar political beliefs. Imagine that the television you watch, the news you read, and the bloggers you follow all support those same beliefs. Encountering someone with different beliefs can be as disconcerting as a visit from space aliens. This sort of insular life can lend itself to caricatures. The common left-wing view of conservatives is either that of an uneducated, racist hick who acts like Archie Bunker; or a rich, evil oil baron in the guise of Thurston Howell. If you caricature your opponents, it makes it easy to dismiss their points of view without bothering to argue.

The downside of living in this bubble, however, is that your own position becomes weak. Someone who never has to defend their beliefs does not spend a lot of time thinking about why they believe what they believe. On the other hand, someone who lives outside of a bubble constantly has to defend and refine their own ideology. I live in a blue city in a blue state. Most news is slanted to the left, and most of my friends and coworkers hold liberal or progressive beliefs. Because of this, I know more about the reasons for my beliefs than I did when I was a naive kid in school. Iron sharpens iron.

My advice is to step out of your bubble. Those of you on the left, turn on Rush Limbaugh or Dennis Prager. Read a post by Victor Davis Hanson or Jonah Goldberg. For those on the right, watch Jon Stewart or Rachel Maddow. Read something on the Huffington Post or the Daily Kos. Step into a left-wing bookstore. You probably will not be converted, but it will force you to sharpen your own arguments. Pop your bubble.