Neo-Liberal Revolution

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.