Neo … what? 19

We had supposed that Neoconservatives were persons who had been on the Left, seen the light, and so become conservatives.

We thought they charmingly but mistakenly considered it possible to spread democracy, love of liberty and Austrian School economics round the world.

But it seems we were largely wrong.

Jack Kerwick explains, at Townhall, what Neoconservatism is all about:

In spite of the ease with which the word “conservatism” is thrown about these days, most people who associate with the “conservative” movement are not really conservative at all. In reality, the so-called “conservative” movement is a predominantly (though not exclusively) neoconservative movement.

Contrary to what some neoconservatives would have us think, “neoconservatism” is not an insult, much less an “anti-Semitic” slur. The word, rather, refers to a distinct intellectual tradition — a point for which some neoconservatives, like its famed “godfather”, Irving Kristol, have argued at length.

To start with then, neoconservatism is not entirely neo; it refers to a tradition. Though not a conservative tradition –

In The Neoconservative Persuasion, Kristol argues for another claim: neoconservatism and traditional or classical conservatism are very different from one another. “Neocons,” he states, “feel at home in today’s America to a degree that more traditional conservatives do not.” Unlike conservatism, neoconservatism is “in the American grain”.  And this is because it is “hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic”.

Furthermore: “Its twentieth-century heroes tend to be TR [Teddy Roosevelt], FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt], and Ronald Reagan,” while “Republican and conservative worthies” like “Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked.”

FDR a hero of American conservatism! Coolidge and Goldwater overlooked!

Neocons view the United States as “a creedal nation” with a “‘civilizing mission’” to promote “American values” throughout the world, to see to it “that other governments respect our conception of individual rights as the foundation of a just regime and a good society”.

But what creed would that be? What American values? And what individual rights did FDR nurture, protect, and promote?

Kristol is unambiguous in his profession of the American faith: the United States, given its status as a “great power” and its “ideological” nature, does indeed have a responsibility “in those places and at those times where conditions permit it to flourish”, to “‘make the world safe for democracy”.

Democracy, eh? In its “civilizing mission”. So there we go. We weren’t wrong in all our suppositions.

Here, Kristol articulates the foreign policy vision — “Democratic Realism” is what Charles Krauthammer calls it — for which neoconservatism is known. Yet to Kristol’s great credit, he readily concedes what most neoconservatives readily deny: Big Government abroad is, ultimately, inseparable from Big Government right here at home.

Kristol is refreshingly, almost shockingly honest: Neoconservatism, he informs us, endorses “the welfare state”. Its adherents support “social security, unemployment insurance, some form of national health insurance, some kind of family assistance plan, etc.” and will not hesitate “to interfere with the market for overriding social purposes” — even if this requires “‘rigging’” it instead of imposing upon it “direct bureaucratic controls”.

And this is “really conservatism”, and it “predominates in the conservative movement”?

As Kristol says, neoconservatives are “always interested in proposing alternate reforms, alternate legislation (to the Great Society), that would achieve the desired aims”—the eradication of poverty — “more securely, and without the downside effects”.  Neoconservatives don’t want to “destroy the welfare state, but … rather reconstruct it along more economical and humane lines”.

In vain will we search the air waves of “conservative” talk radio, Fox News,National Review, Commentary, The Weekly Standard, or any other number of mainstream “conservative” publications for a negative syllable regarding Irving Kristol. Though Kristol, like his son, Bill, is commonly referred to as a “conservative”,  he himself not only explicitly embraced neoconservatism as his “persuasion” of choice; Kristol happily embraced the distinction of being “the godfather” of this persuasion.

In other words, if anyone can be said to be the intellectual standard bearer of neoconservatism, it is Irving Kristol.

And yet here he is unabashedly conceding what some of us have long noted and for which we’ve been ridiculed: neoconservatism is every bit as wedded to Big Government as other species of leftism — even if its proponents want to use it in other ways and for other purposes.

Because Obamacare is woefully unpopular, neoconservative Republicans, both in politics and the “conservative” media, have nothing to lose and everything to gain from trashing it. But at this time leading up to the midterm elections, more traditional conservatives would be well served to bear in mind that, in principle, neoconservatives do not object to “some form of national health insurance”, as Kristol tells us.

So now we know. Neocons are socialists.

Indoctrinating the Green religion and its threat of hell on earth 11

There was a time, between the mid 1960s and the collapse of the Evil Empire around 1990, when little children were raised by “progressive” parents to fear that a terrible nuclear war was about to destroy all life on earth, starting at any moment, and all because the Western world was armed with nuclear weapons. The instilling of terror in the poor tots could not start early enough in the passionate opinion of hippie and New Left moms and dads. Ghoulish lullabies were sung to babies about carrion crows sitting on their cradles.

By winning the Cold War, the wicked West – led by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – put an end to that scam. Though maybe not to the effects of the dread deeply implanted in two or three generations of children.

What is it with the Left that it wants to instill anxiety and fear in their kids? Do they want their nights riven with shrieks as junior wakes hysterical from a nightmare? Seems so.

They’re at it again. This time the bed-time story – and the day time lesson – is that the earth is about to heat red hot, boiling oceans are about to rise and flood the continents, all the cuddly white polar bears will drown (because they cannot swim and have to to dwell on ice floes which will melt under them), the tops of the mountains will lose their pretty caps of snow, fish will mutate into Jesus Christ or Charles Darwin, and all because the wicked West won’t stop using aerosol cans, herding flatulent cows, driving motorcars, and breathing out.

This is from Front Page, by Mary Grabar:

Under [Arne Duncan's] watch the Department of Education has become a propaganda arm used to influence the next generation to accept the idea of catastrophic man-made climate change as per the UN, the Environmental Protection Agency, and such groups as the National Wildlife Federation. 

In a multi-pronged approach, the Department is teaming up with various non-profit and government organizations and curriculum companies to promote “fun” contests and activities for students, while promoting the next phase of Common Core “State Standards” — in science.

For example, the Department’s latest Green Strides newsletter (February 28) announced three contests for K-12 students who display their agreement with the government’s position on climate change.

In that newsletter, the Department of Education announced that another federal agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], and its National Environmental Education Foundation, have “launched an exciting video challenge for middle school students called Climate Change in Focus”.  In this contest, middle school students are asked to make a video that “expresses why they care about climate change and what they are doing to reduce emissions or to prepare for its impacts”.  To win loyalty to the EPA, it is announced that winning videos will be highlighted on the EPA website. The effort sounds like the kids’ cereal box promotions of yore: the top three entries will receive “cool prizes like a solar charging backpack”,  winning class projects will receive special recognition for their school, and the first 100 entrants will receive a year’s subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine.

Another contest, National Wildlife Federation’s Young Reporters for the Environment, invites students “between the ages of 13-21 to report on an environmental issue in their community in an article, photo or photo essay, or short video”. Entries should “reflect firsthand investigation of topics related to the environment and sustainability in the students’ own communities, draw connections between local and global perspectives, and propose solutions”.

Students are also encouraged to make nominations for “Champions of the Earth”, a “UN-sponsored award for environment, Green Economy, and sustainability”. …

Students already get exposed to climate change and sustainability in textbooks which are bought with taxpayer funds, as well as in videos and online materials produced by taxpayer-supported Public Broadcasting. Many students, of course, have had to sit through Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. …

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) — the next phase of Common Core — will make the situation worse, however. Students will be even less capable of distinguishing science from propaganda. These standards, like those for math and English Language Arts, were produced by Achieve, a nonprofit education group started by corporate leaders and some governors.

Started by lefties is our guess. Sensible decision to be “non-profit”. Who would buy their product?

As in the standards for English Language Arts and math, the NGSS are intended to be transformative, or as Appendix A states, “to reflect a new vision for American science education”. They call for new “performance expectations” that “focus on understanding and applications as opposed to memorization of facts devoid of context”. 

In plain words, indoctrination – teaching what to think,  instead of education – teaching how to think.

And they can even manage to do this with the teaching of Mathematics. Wow!

It is precisely such short shrift to knowledge (dismissively referred to as “memorization”) to which science professors Lawrence S. Lerner and Paul Gross object. The standards bypass essential math skills in favor of “process”, they asserted last fall at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation blog. [They said that] Common Core standards, in all disciplines, are written with a lot of fluff to conceal their emptiness. …

Lerner and Gross condemn the “slighting of mathematics”,  which does “increasing mischief as grade level rises, especially in the physical sciences”. Physics is “effectively absent” at the high school level. … [They] attack the “practices” strategy, as an extension of the “inquiry learning” of the early 1990s, which had “no notable effect on the (mediocre) performance of American students in national and international science assessments”. 

With some sarcasm, they write, “It is charming to say ‘students learn science effectively when they actively engage in the practices of science’.” However, … beginners don’t and can’t “practice” [science]  as do experts. The practices of experts exploit prior experience and extensive build-up in long-term memory of scaffolding: facts, procedures, technical know-how, solutions to standard problems in the field, vocabularies — of knowledge in short.

Not only do the Next Generation Science Standards shirk the necessary foundations in math and science knowledge, but they explicitly call for including ideological lessons, such as “Human impacts on Earth systems”.

For grades K-2, students are to understand, “Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impact.” In grades 3 through 5, students will learn “Societal activities have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space. Societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.” …

The objective, of course, is not teaching legitimate science, but indoctrination.

Amazingly, ten states have already voluntarily adopted the Standards.

Such efforts, coordinated by the Department of Education, threaten the future of science itself.

When will this lunacy pass? We venture to state our secret conviction, hoping the all-powerful EPA Gestapo is not listening:

The planet we live on is not under any existential threat. And if it were, there’s not a thing anyone could do about it. 

So sleep well, children. Happy dreams.

Tear down this red wall 3

There is a red wall in the schools and academies of America which needs to be torn down.

This is from Townhall, by Terrence Moore:

The ninth of November marked the twenty-fourth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, probably the most important historical event since World War II and the most important lesson about human freedom experienced within the living memory of most of us. …

How is this lesson being taught in the nation’s classrooms? For while those of us in our forties and older remember the fall of communism and its causes, today’s teenagers are wholly in the dark. What, then, are the high-school students of today being taught about what exactly — what principles, what forces, which people — brought down the Wall?

It is actually fairly easy to answer this question since forty-five states are now controlled by the testing and curricular regime known as the Common Core. … If we just take a quick glance at Appendix B of the Common Core English Standards, which recommends “exemplar texts” for reading, we find the addresses of a host of worthy historical figures: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, and, yes, Ronald Reagan. What a model of non-partisan selection!

But it would behoove us to look at which speech of Reagan is being recommended: “Address to Students at Moscow State University.” Now that is rather odd. Would that speech be the first that comes to mind when we consider “the best of Reagan”? Was that address the most historically significant? Why not the First Inaugural or his acceptance speech at the 1980 Convention or his important addresses on foreign policy or even his 1964 “A Time for Choosing” on behalf of Barry Goldwater that launched him to political prominence? Might this be a case of the architects of the Common Core wanting to look non-partisan by having Reagan’s name on the list while actually trying to take away the force of his message to America? We can solve the mystery by finding out what will take place in classes across the land …

On pages 403-4 of Pearson/Prentice Hall’s LITERATURE, Grade Ten, Common Core Edition, we see an editorial written on the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It appeared in The New York Times. It begins, “The Berlin Wall was bound to fall eventually”. …  [It] continues:

But that it came down as bloodlessly as it did 10 years ago this week is largely a tribute to one leader. Today Mikhail Gorbachev is a political pariah in Russia and increasingly forgotten in the West. But history will remember him generously for his crucial role in ending the cold war and pulling back the Iron Curtain that Stalin drew across Europe in 1945.

So there you have it. Gorbachev brought down the Wall. Why? Well, evidently because he was a good guy. In one line of the editorial we are treated to a masterful use of elliptical prose: “As political pressures began to build in the late 1980s, Mr. Gorbachev was left with two options.” Etc. What political pressures? Who or what brought those pressures? We are not told. The New York Times editors assign the words “enlightened,” “idealism,” and “pragmatic” to Gorbachev. Indeed, the General Secretary of the Communist Party is said to have had “a wisdom and decency that is sadly rare in international power politics”.  Does that comment extend to American participants in international power politics, particularly at that time?

Those of us who lived through those years and kept up with events might wonder what role, if any, Ronald Reagan played in this drama, according to the textbook editors. Will the adjectives “enlightened,” “pragmatic,” “wise,” and “decent” be applied to him? His name is not to be found in any of the documents concerning the fall of the Berlin Wall. But on page 449, we do find, as promised in the Common Core, his Address to the Students of Moscow State University held up as a model “exemplar text”.  Unfortunately, the address is so heavily highlighted with shades of green, blue, orange, gray, purple, and pink — and so buried under the jargon of two-bit literary criticism (central idea and point of view, methods of development, organizational structures, rhetorical devices, figurative language, tone and word choice) — that it is hardly readable. Worse still, in the textbook editors’ introduction to the speech, students are told the following:

Led by Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviets were blazing through the greatest changes they had seen since the 1917 revolution. Although reforms were rapidly taking root, they were not far enough from communist ideology for Reagan. . . . In this excerpt, notice how Reagan restrains his strongly anti-communist sentiments while still extolling the ideals he represents.

The lesson? The enlightened, idealistic, wise, decent, and yet pragmatic Gorbachev had events well under control. The Soviets were “blazing through changes”; i.e. reform must have been their idea. But things were not moving fast enough for the strongly-anti-communist (i.e. stubborn, right-wing) Reagan. Nonetheless, we, the editors, have found a rare speech in which he actually moderated his tone. That’s Reagan at his best, insofar as he had a best.

What’s missing in this account? “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Those are the words that brought down the Wall. But they are not to be found in the Common Core and therefore in the classrooms of America.

The architects of the Common Core plainly do not want the young people of America to read or to watch – for it is on the Web – that speech. The progressive bureaucrats who are now in control of the nation’s schools do not want the young people of America to know that the Cold War was won on principle, that courage and resolution on the part of Americans were essential to the ending of tyranny in the communist-controlled countries and the protecting of freedom in the rest of the world. They certainly do not want young Americans thinking that we were in the right and had to be prepared to use force against an evil empire. Above all, the arch-testers do not want today’s youth and tomorrow’s voters to know that in this contest for right and freedom a former actor named Ronald Reagan played the starring role.

He did – in partnership with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. All that Gorbachev can be credited with is that he saw – what by then was hard to miss – that the USSR could not survive. He tried to make adjustments so that it just might. It was impossible.

It had always been impossible for Communism to work. That is to say, it is not a system that can foster and protect prosperity, happiness, liberty, or even life. And when something can’t work, it doesn’t. The only surprising thing about the Soviet Union is that it creaked on in its hellish way for 70 years before it came to its grinding halt.

American children mis-educated by Common Core doctrine will not be told this. The compilers of Common Core text books seem still to have faith that Communism could work if only a few American generations could be brought up to believe that it could.

Leftists believe in the power of faith just as Christians do. But faith never has and never will overcome reality.

The marriage of Julia 1

The prime lesson of the last 100 years for political leaders and heads of government is: if you go left you will take your country to economic failure.

It is a lesson that President Obama either has not learnt, or has learnt well and wants just that result.

At his second inauguration (painful words!), “the apostle of the ever-expanding state” delivered “an ode to collectivity”. So Charles Krauthammer writes.

The media herd is stunned to discover that Barack Obama is a man of the left. After 699 teleprompted presidential speeches, the commentariat was apparently still oblivious. Until Monday’s inaugural address, that is.

Where has everyone been these four years? The only surprise is that Obama chose his second inaugural, generally an occasion for “malice toward none” ecumenism, to unveil so uncompromising a left-liberal manifesto.

But the substance was no surprise.

After all, Obama had unveiled his transformational agenda in his very first address to Congress, four years ago. It was, I wrote at the time, “the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president.”

Nor was it mere talk. Obama went on to essentially nationalize health care, 18% of the U.S. economy — after passing an $833 billion stimulus that precipitated an unprecedented expansion of government spending.

Washington now spends 24% of GDP, fully one-fifth higher than the postwar norm of 20%.

Obama’s ambitions were derailed by the 2010 midterm shellacking that cost him the House. But now that he’s won again, the revolution is back, as announced in Monday’s inaugural address.

It was a paean to big government. At its heart was Obama’s pledge to (1) defend unyieldingly the 20th century welfare state and (2) expand it unrelentingly for the 21st.

The first part of that agenda — clinging zealously to the increasingly obsolete structures of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — is the very definition of reactionary liberalism.

Social Security was created when life expectancy was 62. Medicare was created when modern medical technology was in its infancy. Today’s radically different demographics and technology have rendered these programs, as structured, unsustainable. Everyone knows that without reform they’ll swallow up the rest of the budget.

As for the second part — enlargement — Obama had already begun that in his first term with ObamaCare.

Monday’s address reinstated yet another grand Obama project — healing the planet. It promised a state-created green energy sector, massively subsidized (even as the state’s regulatory apparatus squeezes fossil fuels, killing coal today, shale gas tomorrow).

The playbook is well known. As Czech President (and economist) Vaclav Klaus once explained, environmentalism is the successor to failed socialism as justification for all-pervasive rule by a politburo of experts. Only now, it acts in the name of not the proletariat but the planet.

Monday’s address also served to disabuse the fantasists of any Obama interest in fiscal reform or debt reduction. This speech was spectacularly devoid of any acknowledgment of the central threat to the postindustrial democracies (as already seen in Europe) — the crisis of an increasingly insolvent entitlement state.

On the contrary. Obama is the apostle of the ever-expanding state. His speech was an ode to the collectivity.

For Obama, nothing lies between citizen and state. It is a desert, within which the isolated citizen finds protection only in the shadow of Leviathan.

Put another way, this speech is the perfect homily for the marriage of Julia — the Obama campaign’s atomized citizen, coddled from cradle to grave — and the state.

In the eye of history, Obama’s second inaugural is a direct response to Ronald Reagan’s first. On Jan. 20, 1981, Reagan had proclaimed: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

And then he succeeded in bending the national consensus to his ideology — as confirmed 15 years later when the next Democratic president declared, “The era of big government is over.”

So said Bill Clinton, who then proceeded to abolish welfare. Obama is no Clinton. He doesn’t abolish entitlements; he keeps old ones and creates new ones to pursue a vision of a more just social order where fighting inequality and leveling social differences are government’s great task.

Obama said in 2008 that Reagan “changed the trajectory of America” in a way that Clinton did not.

He meant that Reagan had transformed the political zeitgeist, while Clinton accepted and validated the new Reaganite norm.

Not Obama. His mission is to redeem and resurrect the 50-year pre-Reagan liberal ascendancy.

And take it as far left as he possibly can. To mold a poorer, more subservient, more weakly defended, mediocre America under dictatorial government.

How far will Americans let him take them in that direction?

Government v. business 12

A few days ago Obama told a crowd in Roanoke, Va., “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

In Obama’s phrase book, “somebody else” means the government.

Here’s the opposite opinion.

Posted under Capitalism, Commentary, Economics, liberty, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, July 17, 2012

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Shades of the prison house 6

The USSR and it satellites, the entire region of the world that lay beyond the Berlin Wall, was one vast prison house until 1991. Nobody – except the tyrants who kept the keys – could leave it at will.

Now there is a plan to let the US government stop Americans leaving their country if the state hasn’t extracted all the money it considers itself entitled to first.

This is from Investor’s Business Daily:

The Republican House of Representatives may soon follow the Democratic Senate and give the IRS the power to confiscate your passport on mere suspicion of owing taxes.

There’s no place like home, comrade.

If it is true that the Republicans are seriously thinking of passing this measure, then we cannot be confident that a Republican victory in November will restore the liberties America has lost under the disastrous rule of the Democrats, or even safeguard those Americans still have.

“America, Love It Or Leave It” might be an obsolete slogan if the “bipartisan transportation bill” that just passed the Senate is approved by the House and becomes law. Contained within the suspiciously titled “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” or “MAP 21″, is a provision that gives the Internal Revenue Service the power to keep U.S. citizens from leaving the country if it finds that they owe $50,000 or more in unpaid taxes — no court ruling necessary.

It is hard to imagine any law more reminiscent of the Soviet Union that America toppled, or its Eastern Bloc slave satellites.

In his 1967 CBS “Town Meeting of the World” debate with Bobby Kennedy, Ronald Reagan declared, “We don’t want the Berlin Wall knocked down so that it’s easier to get at the throats of the East Germans. We just think that a wall that is put up to confine people, and keep them within their own country instead of allowing them the freedom of world travel, has to be somehow wrong.”

Throughout the many decades of the 20th century’s Cold War, the freedom of movement Americans enjoyed as a cherished right was one of our secret weapons. As the Communists in Moscow promised the world utopia out of the barrel of a gun, people around the globe noticed that the Soviets needed walls and barbed wire fences to keep their people in, while in the U.S. walls were as pointless as a fish’s bicycle.

Q: What induces Americans to give up their citizenship and live forever in Foreign Parts?

A: As long as they’re citizens or permanent residents, wherever they live they have to pay US taxes.

Overtaxation has led to 1,800 Americans living abroad renouncing their U.S. citizenship last year or turning in their green cards — many of them with broken hearts because of their love for this nation. The record number of former U.S. citizens is nearly eight times more than those who renounced U.S. citizenship in 2008, and it exceeded 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined.

1,800 is not a lot. But the prevailing principle that any citizen or permanent resident is free to leave, is a vital part of what makes most of them want to stay. A law keeping people in may well have the opposite effect, and cause far more to venture reluctantly out into the wretched Abroad.

Where is he, who is he, does he exist? 0

There is an old British saying … “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” The idea, of course, is that when a crisis arises, a leader will also arise to show the way out of it.

So Andrew Klavan writes at PajamasMedia, in an article titled Mitt Romney versus The End of Western Civilization.

He goes on:

But those of us who feel the upcoming presidential election represents a crossroads of sorts are starting to find this faith in providential leadership somewhat shaken. We’re starting to think that if the man is cometh-ing he better hurry-eth up and geth here already.

Because Mitt Romney ain’t the guy. While he may win the Republican presidential nomination by default — and while he may indeed win the presidency due to desperation — it is clear from every word he says that he understands neither the peril nor the needs of the present moment. …

The professionals and money guys in the Republican establishment don’t seem to mind that. As always, they feel that they are the old pros who take care of the all-important business of electability while we children in the base worry about such nonsense as principle and the preservation of the republic. It’s these establishment types who have traditionally delivered the truly electable choices like Bob Dole and John McCain while staunchly protecting us from extremists like Ronald Reagan. On Fox News’ Journal Editorial Report this weekend, the Wall Street Journal‘s Dorothy Rabinowitz … seemed to give voice to that establishment opinion when she said that “reason is going to have to prevail” among conservatives and that they’ll ultimately have to abandon the likes of Herman Cain and “all of the alternatives that are warming their little hearts, that they’re playing with,” and learn to live with Romney as their guy.

And I fear she — and all those she speaks for — may be right. …  Cain seems like a terrific fellow but he has no foreign policy knowledge and his 9-9-9 plan is a mistake — a new tax that will never go away and will grow bigger than he imagines. Michele Bachman is wonderful on the economy, but her social policy is ill-informed and out-of-date. Perry can’t think on his feet, Huntsman’s a bore, and Ron Paul is a better cult leader than candidate. So far, Romney is, in fact, the best candidate actually in the race. I’m sorry, but there is something to be said for realism when you’re dealing with, you know, reality.

But he’s still not the guy. And just for the record, just to explain, the problem is not that he’s a moderate per se. It’s not that he has changed his mind from time to time. It’s not even his failure to renounce Romneycare, so similar to the disastrous Obamacare. … The problem is that Romney doesn’t understand that we — America — the west — are in crisis: a crisis of debt, a crisis of confidence, a crisis of identity and ignorance wherein journalists, professors, politicians, and priests have become one with the moral idiots occupying Wall Street.

Go on Romney’s website. Look at his proposals. There’s nothing wrong with them, for the most part. They seem intended to repeal the Obama administration and set us back on the path we were on before. That would be fine if Obama were the cause of the crisis, but he’s the symptom of the crisis, its incarnation as it were. Obama and his ideas are the creation of 40 years of moral error and political failure drip-drip-dripped into the consciousness of the country through our schools, news media, and culture. He could never have won our highest office if the electorate had not been bred by that error to foolishness, and then spurred to an act of panicked stupidity by a crisis that had already come.

It’s not Obama’s presidency that needs to be repealed — not just Obama’s presidency — but all the ideas that made Obama’s presidency possible.

To do that, we need a man not just of policies but of vision, not just of proposals but of high ideals. A mere Romney might — might — take us back from the brink to which Obama has sped us, but that would only delay the fatal catastrophe. Worse, it would perforce recreate the exact same set of circumstances that got us into this mess in the first place.

Could Romney be made to understand the nature and depth of the crisis that Western civilization is in? If he could be made to understand it, would he then see how to save it? And if he saw how, would he have the cunning and mettle to do it?

If not – and we agree with Klavan that Romney is “not the guy”, that he doesn’t have it in him  – is there a man or woman anywhere in America who could and would? Who has the depth and completeness of understanding, the power of leadership, the moral strength, the resourcefulness? Is there a potential political giant, greater than has ever existed before, waiting in the wings?

Failing such a genius, it seems we’ll have to make do with a Romney.

Tarnished laurels 1

The Nobel Peace Prize has been so thoroughly debased that it could be considered a positive insult for a person who deserves honor to be awarded it.

What decent man or woman would want to be in this company?

  • Yasser Arafat, the grandfather of Islamic terrorism
  • Al Gore, who promotes the lie of manmade global warming for personal gain
  • Kofi Annan, who presided over the UN-Iraq food-for-oil scandal
  • Jimmy Carter – enough said
  • Rigoberta Manchu, another prize liar
  • Sean MacBride, Chief of Staff of the IRA,  also awarded the Lenin Peace Prize
  • Barack Obama, a leftist community organizer from Chicago

All of these have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

There have a been a few, a small minority, of  worthy laureates since the Second World War. Martin Luther King was one, Aung San Suu Kyi who continues to oppose the oppressive regime of Myanmar (Burma) is another. Amazing that the Norwegian committee could very occasionally get it right!

And now again – the committee has actually chosen to reward a worthy recipient: Professor Liu Xiaobo, who at great personal risk has opposed the Communist regime of China, and is therefore being punished with imprisonment.

He is a writer who has dared to call for democracy to replace communist one-party rule in his country. He participated in the Tiananmen Square protests. He has committed no violent acts and has harmed nobody.

China is outraged that he is being honored, and has pressed other countries to boycott the award ceremony, where Liu Xiaobo will be present only in effigy, his face seen in a portrait on his otherwise empty chair. No members of his family have been allowed to travel to Oslo to receive the prize on his behalf. His wife, Liu Xia, is being held incommunicado.

The New York Times reports:

China has been incensed by Mr. Liu’s award …   and the government has been waging an offensive to rebrand the prize as a Western ploy to undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s hold on power. …

Chinese officials [are] saying supporters of Mr. Liu are fundamentally opposed to China’s development and trying to interfere in the country’s politics and legal system.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, told reporters: “I would like to say to those at the Nobel committee, they are orchestrating an anti-China farce by themselves.”

“We are not changing because of interference by a few clowns and we will not change our path,” she said …

Eighteen countries will obey China and boycott the event.

Nineteen governments have said their ambassadors will not attend a ceremony this week awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese dissident, the Norwegian prize committee said on Tuesday … reflecting the strong pressure exerted by Beijing to boycott the event.

Those 19 countries are: China itself, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq , Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

Look at it, this list of countries who will do Communist China’s bidding. How disappointing to see Colombia on the list. And why is Serbia doing this? Or the Philippines? Or Egypt? Or Ukraine? And why Iraq and Afghanistan, countries for which so much American blood has been spilled to bring them the opportunity of freedom?

However, 44 countries will be sending a representative.

Invitations to the ceremony are routinely sent only to those 65 countries with embassies in Oslo, Mr. [Geir] Lundestad [the committee's secretary] said  …  Those who accepted included “all the western countries” along with representatives from other countries including India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Japan, he said.

There’s at least one surprise on that list too: South Africa.

If it makes Liu Xiaobo’s name better known throughout the world, and his cause better appreciated, the prize, this time, has been well awarded.

But the only historically important fact about the Nobel Prize for Peace, demonstrating how valueless it has become as a result of the usual perversity and moral blindness of the Norwegian judges, is that it was not awarded to Ronald Reagan who, along with Margaret Thatcher, was chiefly responsible for bringing the Cold War – the terror that hung over the whole world for 45 years – to a quiet end. And that it did go to Mikhail Gorbachev, freedom’s defeated enemy.

In commemoration of the fall of the Berlin wall 0

Today, November 9, 2009, is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It was one of the greatest events of history.

The wall both literally and symbolically marked the division between tyranny and freedom.

It was erected on Sunday, August 13, 1961, to prevent people living under the Soviet-controlled Communist regime in East Germany from fleeing into free West Berlin.  About 1500 people a day had been migrating westward.

Within 24 hours West Berlin was sealed off from the so-called Democratic Republic of Germany.

At first it was a fence consisting of barbed wire, spread over some 96 miles.

In 1962 an inner wall was built. The 100 yard gravel area between the fence and the wall was booby-trapped with trip wires, and mined.

In 1975  a stronger, higher, thicker wall made of concrete and reinforced with mesh fencing and barbed wire was constructed. It was known as the ‘Grenzmauer 75’. Soldiers stationed in some 300 watchtowers had a clear view of the space, and orders to shoot down anyone attempting to cross it.

Over 100,000 people tried to escape to freedom. Some 5,000 succeeded, mostly in the early years before the ‘Grenzmauer 75’ was built. Later, successful crossings were made through tunnels. Two families succeeded by hot-air balloon, and one man in a light aircraft. At least 136 people were killed in the attempt, most famously 18-year-old Peter Fechter, shot on August 17, 1962, as he tried to climb the wall. He lay for hours in the space between the wall and the fence, crying out for help while he bled to death. The East German border guards waited for him to die before they carried him away.

Twenty-five years later, on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan of the United States stood on the west side of the Brandenberg Gate beyond which the wall ran, and said to the Russian leader in a famous speech, ‘Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’

The speech was symptomatic of the firm stand he maintained against the Soviet Union.

Two and a half years later the wall was brought down.

Its fall heralded the collapse of Soviet Russia and its evil empire. It marked the end of the Cold War and the victory of the free world, led by the United States of America.

The conquering hero of that stupendous victory was President Reagan. How he won the Cold War is the subject of volumes, but win it he did.

Of inestimable help to him was Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain.

A few days ago Mikhail Gorbachev, George H. W. Bush who was president of the US when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, and Helmut Kohl who was Chancellor of West Germany at the time, met on the stage of a Berlin theatre to commemorate the fall of the wall.

Margaret Thatcher, who had not wanted the reunification of Germany but nevertheless played a decisive part in defeating the Communist tyranny over Eastern Europe, was not included.

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, has refused to attend any of the celebratory ceremonies in Germany. His excuse is that he is ‘too busy’.

Jillian Becker  November 9, 2009