Neo-Liberal Revolution

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Moral Equivalency

There is nothing equivalent between what the "insurgents" do in Iraq and even the worst of aberrations that have happened among the US troops over there. The ability to see them as the same, or the US as worse, is evidence that something is very wrong inside some people's heads. Something *else* than evidence is being used to make judgements.

I blame, quite frankly, multiculturalism. The applied belief that all men are NOT created equal and that one must not EVER judge men to an EQUAL standard. In fact, one must not judge those backward, primative, little brown people AT ALL.

Yes, that was sarcasm (for any idiot who couldn't tell) but it's also representative of the truth and the fatal error involved in the mindset. A desire to respect other cultures has become the worst sort of dismissive racism possible. And from there it has become an excuse to excuse the most horrific human rights violations and horrific slaughter of innocent people... because people have refused themselves permission to judge other people on their actions. It's only their culture, always their culture, and the only culture that can be criticized is your own.

This is a moral sickness.

What makes us human is our ability to wrestle with ultimate right and wrong, that it's WRONG to purposefully kill or hurt children, ALWAYS, no matter who does it. It's wrong to OWN people, ALWAYS, no matter who does it. It's wrong to try to control or to punish people for matters of conscience such as their religion or their lack of religion, or chosing a mate. ALWAYS. Matters of human dignity and freedom are universal. They don't apply just to "us" and not to "them."

This used to be the strength of Liberalism in the world, human justice, human equality, and the demand for human rights for all people, an assumption of a common human experience.

With Multiculturalism that's changed... nothing is in common and the quest for human rights must always and ONLY focus inward, since it can not presume to speak for any other human who might be *different*.

Conservatism, like conservatism does, has moved slowly and is these days conserving a human justice centered and interventionist policy that Liberalism has abandoned.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The problem of democracy

(This is also posted on my Synova blog.)

Well I'm feeling rather smugly smart just now, this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Pete Du Pont says what I've said many times. The electoral college is a *good* thing and direct popular election of the President is a *bad* thing.

The problem with democracy is that nothing about majority rule protects the minority. Nothing.

At one time I found it baffling that dissident groups in some far away country would boycott elections. What sense did it make for them to complain when they refused to participate? There is nothing baffling about it. They refuse to participate because they don't want to contribute to the illusion that they have representation when they have nothing at all.

When our constitution and our laws about the government were being set up the people discussing representation knew this very well indeed. This is why we have severe constitutional limits on the Federal government (not so much as when we started out, but that was the plan) and two houses of Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives. It was designed to balance the interests of large States and small States. It was designed specifically to circumvent the weaknessess of majority rule by weakening the potential ability of large states to dictate to small states. Small states had wanted equal representation with the larger states but that wouldn't be fair either. The Senate, where North Dakota is equal to California, and the house where California has hundreds of Representatives to North Dakota's ONE, is the compromise.

It's a good compromise.

The other thing that was done was that the States rather than individual voters selected the President. Today we have an electoral college that works to sort of even out influences. Each state gets the number of votes equal to its members in Congress. Again, California get's LOTS and North Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, get very few. It doesn't matter if a candidate gets 52% of the vote in California or if the candidate gets 90%, the candidate gets all the electoral votes. It doesn't change much but it does mean that legitimate regional differences have a better chance to be addressed. Candidates can't just dis the small states to concentrate on the largest ones. This lessens the chance that the coasts can dictate to middle America, because a simple majority in any of those small states is magnified. In a purely popular vote getting 42% of Colorado or Kansas is every bit as good as getting 52% so what candidate would waste time on Colorado or Kansas? No one with any brains would bother. 10% of the popular vote in North Dakota would be what percentage of the vote in New York? Is it even a whole number or is it a fraction of a percent?

What would majority rule be like? Do we really *want* New York and California as our masters?

The electoral college, like the Senate, was created for a reason. Without it most of us would probably be just as well represented if we took a page from third world revolutionary groups and refused to vote.

Friday, August 25, 2006

What has feminism come to?

There have been times in my life when I've been criticized, lumped impersonally with other "non-feminist" women. I've also been verbally attacked personally for typing the words, "I don't consider myself a feminist, but..." That particular event was rather interesting. The crime of "spitting on my sisters" was apparently absolute. This "feminist" called me a little woman (something a man has never done) and informed me that I got all my thoughts given to me by men, just because I didn't *identify* as a feminist. The conversation surely went downhill from there but I assure you that "you are so a man hating lesbian feminazi" came well after the "little woman told what to think by men spit on your sisters" part.

Truth is, I am a feminist... mostly. I don't like the term because it seems that the opposite would be masculinist, and what is that? The "I'm not a feminazi" I mentioned above claimed feminism was a lot of philosophical things, in fact, every *good* thing was feminist. I thought that feminism was about the vote, about self determination, about being able to own property after marriage and legally control your own bank account... about being able to make choices about your own life your own self. Legal equality.

Yet in my life I *had* all those things. Workplace inequities existed but had every appearance of being a passing annoyance that required diligence rather than passion.

NOW, by it's pro-abortion stand declared it didn't want me, so who was I to argue? In fact, "feminist" had no room whatsoever in it for differences of political opinion. Feminists were Liberals and that was that.

In this post I mentioned and linked to Pamela Bone who had been linked by Tim Blair. Today I was directed to another article by her via Instapundit.

Yes, conservative people are making note of the fact that a liberal feminist is speaking out. What fun it is to read,
"if fighting to prevent the possibility that my granddaughters - our granddaughters - will one day be forced to wear a burka makes me right-wing, then right-wing is the label I'll have to wear."
I'll admit it. But the fact it's fun to read isn't what makes it important. I feel safe to say that Pamela Bone doesn't consider herself right-wing at all. She's every bit the socialist and humanist that she ever was.

The difference is that apparently she meant it then and *still* means it now.

Read the Op-ed. In *my* world the feminists had won the war and all was left was the clean-up. Not so in the middle east. In my world the mission of the feminist movement changed with the times, went on to other issues, so that now feminism has become so removed from it's roots that it can't even chose to side against a patriarchy so opressive that it makes complaining about symbolically "giving away the bride" at a wedding in the West look like petulant idiocy.

Some quotes from Pamela Bone:

IN Tehran in June, several thousand people held a peaceful demonstration calling for legal changes that would give a woman's testimony in court equal value to a man's. The demonstrators, most of them women, were attacked with tear gas and beaten with batons by men and women from Iran's State Security Forces, according to Amnesty International.


Do you think women in Western countries marched in solidarity with the Iranian women demonstrators? Of course not.

Thank goddess, as they used to say: a few Western feminists have begun to wonder why women who once marched for women's rights are marching alongside people who would take away even the most basic of those rights.

The latest is Sarah Baxter, a former Greenham Common protester, who in Britain's The Sunday Times had this to say about a recent demonstration in London calling for a ceasefire in Lebanon: "Women pushing their children in buggies bearing the familiar symbol of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament marched alongside banners proclaiming 'We are all Hezbollah now', and Muslim extremists chanting, 'Oh Jew, the army of Mohammed will return'.

"I could never have imagined that many of the same crowd I hung out with then would today be standing shoulder to shoulder with militantly anti-feminist Islamic fundamentalist groups whose views on women make Western patriarchy look like a Greenham peace picnic."

As they say, read the whole thing.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Optimism, what's it good for?

I made a remark on Blackfive that conservatives were optimists. I got this response...

"conservatives optimists? That's one of the funniest damn things I have heard in a longggggg time!! Good one!"

I know that I'm an optimist. I'm also something of an idealist. It's common wisdom that the older a person gets the more cynical they get but the older I get the more optimistic I get... particularly about people. I used to wonder how people got through the day, how children grew up emotionally healthy, how ends are met when so many people are so hopeless. As I get older I realize that it all happens one day at a time, each hopeless person taking care of just what they can take care of and because we all do that it adds up to some incredibly impressive effort and highly functional result. As I get older I value idealism more and more for the way it empowers all of us relatively hopeless people to try for something better and believe something better.

I won't say that optimism is a conservative virtue. It might be a classical liberal virtue. One thing it is most certainly NOT is a modern liberal virtue. There is nothing at all optimistic about liberalism today. What do liberal commenters on the blogs I read say?

They say the Iraq war is a disaster. Nothing good can happen. The Iraqi people can not function in a democracy. If only the doom sayers had been listened to we could have avoided all this pointlessness. Iraq would be a horrible place, but it's going to be a horrible place no matter what.

When the recent report came out that conservatives out reproduce liberals by something like 41%? The liberal commenters talked about selfishness in the face of a doomed future, overpopulation and the health of the earth. People are a cancer on the world and the future is dire. The whole environmental movement is based, not on how good things *could* be if we make changes, but how doomed the world is.

Having children is optimistic. Not having children because the future is going to suck is *pessimistic*.

You know that song... lyrics go something like... "War. What's it good for? Absolutely nothing." I think that liberals today should be singing "Optimism, what's it good for?" Because they aren't optimistic about ANYTHING.

Monday, July 31, 2006

What if Mel Gibson isn't Anti-Semite?

What if he's just a liberal?

I honestly don't pay much attention to celebrities. Someone has to be really and truely obnoxious before I fail to forget whatever remark or antic I found so annoying when it happened.

Is Mel Gibson a self-identified liberal?

If he is, he may not be anti-Semitic at all, despite his alcohol induced rant about the Jews.

You see, liberals are the good guys when it comes to tolerance and ethnic sensitivity. What this means is that they are often not at all *careful* about their language. Why should they be?

In order for a conservative to slip into an anti-Jew rant they'd either need to be *heavily* anti-semitic or else far more drunk than a 0.12 alcohol level. Someone who isn't used to watching what they say... well, it doesn't take much. Not too much alcohol and not too much anti-semitism.

I grew up being told (by television and my culture) that I could be, and almost certainly was, racist without realizing that I was racist. The only reason that I wasn't also sexist was because I wasn't a man.

I've talked to blacks who said that their experience was that the South was less racist than the North. I've talked to gays who said that Red state neighbors were more tolerant of them as people than Blue state neighbors. I've worked for a liberated woman who saw nothing at all untoward with going through a pile of job applications and throwing away all of the ones with male names on them.

It's about self-examination. If it's not happening, if someone is too confident that they aren't one of *those* people, then racism, sexism, any sorts of prejudice can grow. People don't watch their language and they don't examine their own motivation when they *know* they are one of the good guys.

I don't doubt that Mel meant what he said... that wars are started by Jews. What we can't know is if he's just upset about what is happening in Lebanon or if he's actually anti-semitic.

What I do know is that anti-semitism is not a liberal virtue. Nor is racism, even the soft sort based on low expectations. Nor is sexism that favors women. And neither is pacifism in the face of human suffering. Things have become so twisted that sticking up for the oppressed has come to mean allowing *anything* if it's committed by the underdog... and blaming the war on Israel.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Patriotism and Hypocrisy - Hand and Glove

Heh. Is that subject title provocative enough for you?

Yes, this is my 4th of July post. I'm going to lay it on the line here: A whole bunch of people should take this opportunity to get their heads out of their rears. They should, they probably won't, but I have to believe that they will.


Patriotism is about ideals and myths. It's about hopes, dreams, and starry eyed longings.

Patriotism is about what we STAND FOR, it's not about what we ARE. It's about liberty and justice for all... even if it's never ever been that way. And unless and until people internalize that vision of liberty and justice for all, of freedom, of equality for all people... it not only won't happen. It CAN'T happen. The ideal always precedes the reality. Always.

When the pilgrims established the colonies for religious freedom, those colonies had none. But they had the ideal. That ideal made it possible to gain true religious freedom and tolerance. We still hold to that ideal and it's what allows us to work for justice.

When our country made a grand proclamation that all men are equal, there was no equality. But there was the ideal. That ideal made it possible to end slavery and get votes for women and minorities.

Rule of law didn't exist when even a win in the Supreme Court failed to stop the theft of land from Native Americans. But the ideal was there. The ideal was not abandoned because reality was lacking.

When Hitler was sending Jews to gas chambers, both the US and England were at the forefront of the eugenics movement. Argument could be made that Hitler was only taking what was preached by us to it's logical conclusion. Should our guilt require that we do nothing?

Among sinners we are foremost. Well, not really. When Paul said he was the biggest sinner he wasn't comparing himself to others and seriously saying that he sinned more. Nor is the US the worst sinner in the world, far from it. That's not the point. The point is that any imperfection is total and we should remember and remain humble.

Humble, but not trapped into a vegetative state of enforced inactivity. Not using that imperfection as an excuse to abandon the ideal that wasn't reached. The ideal, justice and freedom and equality... perfect justice and freedom and equality... is not reachable by flawed human beings, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

We're not pledging allegiance to what is, we're pledging allegiance to what should be.

We are, in fact, claiming something about ourselves that isn't perfectly true. Which means we are hypocrits.

That's a good thing.

Linked on Wizbang... read Lorie Byrd's post about patriotism.

Correction: And to the republic for which it stands... I knew I was missing part of that. I can't believe that no one left a note calling me on that one. (sounds of crickets chirping)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Votes for Women

We see more news all the time that progress is being made all over the middle east. This note is from Powerline. Women can now vote in Kuwait. There should be celebration among feminists.

Tim Blair quotes an Austrailian paper... oops... you've got to read this... from Pamela Bone.
Guy Rundle cannot forgive me for pointing out three years ago what many others are now pointing out: that the idea of international humanitarian intervention rightly belongs to the Left. Yes, that stance took some courage. However, I may be old, weak and sick, but I have one thing Mr Rundle will never have: guts.
I was intending to link this post... when I saw the post about Ms. Bone, which fits so well and I didn't even know was there.
The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Michael Gawenda:

There are signs that an increasing number of people on the left in the US, Europe and Australia are uncomfortable with knee-jerk anti-Americanism, with the left’s virtual silence in response to the unspeakable violence of Islamic totalitarianism, with the way Western feminists have basically turned their back on their oppressed sisters in much of the Muslim world. Many people would say about time.
I'm quoting the whole bit that is relevant because his link to Michael Gawenda didn't work when I tried it.

I have some liberal attitudes but I'll state right out that I tend strongly libertarian and am actually registered Libertarian at the present time. In some ways I'm strongly conservative. My purpose here is not to promote liberal ideology so much as to point out that what is good about liberal ideologies is getting lost in a knee-jerk need to oppose anything the other side stands for and, quite frankly, conservatives stand for several traditionally liberal things these days.

Conservatism is a moving target. Slow change equals change and what is being "conserved" is often enough the product of classical liberalism's influence in the past.

I want to include more from Pamela Bone via Tim Blair, because it's just that good.
As for the term ‘imperial feminist’; I am certainly a feminist, and I am happy to be deemed “imperial’ if that is taken to mean that I wish to impose on other cultures the basic human rights that are taken for granted in this culture (for I doubt he means the word in its other sense, ‘majestic’). Indeed, if I could, I would forcefully replace those cultural traditions that allow the stoning and beheading of women, or the throwing of acid in their faces, with one that grants women individual rights under the law. Happily, I don’t need to, for brave Muslim women are themselves beginning to force those changes.
Oh, I don't think we should go off and force the world to shape up when ever and where ever we see problems, but when events are such as they are the phrase "make hay while the sun shines" seems appropriate.

Does patriotism make you a neo-con?

Or any other sort of conservative for that matter?

Why would it? *Certainly* liberals are patriots too. Right?

I don't think that classical ideas of liberalism would go very well with nationalism. But nationalism should not be confused with patriotism. So it ought to be okay for liberals to express patriotic sentiments.

You'd think.

There's something else going on though. At some point people came to the conclusion that looking at both sides of an issue, walking a mile in the other guy's shoes, meant that you weren't allowed to make a judgement either about that person's actions or their culture.

Why not?

The result is that making a judgement, choosing sides, is presumed to be because of ideological blindness. We see it often enough... support Israel and you'll be accused of claiming Israel exists in a state of perfect blamelessness. Why should that be an assumption?

Why is someone a "neo-con" if they look at the situation and decide that the United States are the good guys? Why is a "liberal" required to stay in a "we need to look at the root causes" loop and never progress to the "okay, did that" and come to a conclusion?

Looking at all sides of an issue is a good thing. Examining how our own actions may have contributed to a situation is a good thing. A nuanced understanding of the complexities of human faction and motivation is a good thing. It's a good thing because it should lead to ACTION.

Introspection, walking in someone elses shoes, examining all the sides, should lead to conclusions or what was the point? Might as well have skipped all the trouble. A conclusion should lead to action, or again, what was the point?

It seems to me that patriotism does not require any sort of blind loyalty at all. Because... and this is important... loyalty does not require the object of the loyalty to be perfect. It's absolutely possible to look at our country with all her flaws and chose to cheer and to *work* for the success of the "home team" while accepting those flaws exist.

It does not require someone to suddenly become "conservative" for that person to conclude that we are engaged in a military conflict. Our enemy may not be a nation with a uniformed army, but our enemy has chosen the context of the conflict and it is guns and bombs and killing people. Their choice. Not ours.

Coming to that conclusion and supporting a military victory does not require giving up liberal beliefs... other than this "no conclusions" navel gazing, always questioning to no purpose, part of liberalism. Nor does it require giving up all other forms of action that might contribute to social justice and a better life for people in the middle east.

For the first time that I can think of we *are* fully engaged in adressing root causes. And all the "root cause" crusaders seem able to do is whine because someone not only had the gall to come to a conclusion but the audacity to take action.

What's worse... it's not perfect.