Thomas Sowell: The media have recently been so preoccupied with a Congressman’s photograph of himself in his underwear that there has been scant attention paid to the fact that Iran continues advancing toward creating a nuclear bomb, and nobody is doing anything that is likely to stop them.
Nuclear weapons in the hands of the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism might seem to be something that would sober up even the most giddy members of the chattering class. But that chilling prospect cannot seem to compete for attention with cheap behavior by an immature Congressman, infatuated with himself.
A society that cannot or will not focus on matters of life and death is a society whose survival as a free nation is at least questionable. Hard as it may be to conceive how the kind of world that one has been used to, and taken for granted, can come to an end, it can happen in the lifetime of today’s generation.
Those who founded the United States of America were keenly aware that they were making a radical departure in the kinds of governments under which human beings had lived over the centuries — and that its success was by no means guaranteed. Monarchies in Europe had lasted for centuries and the Chinese dynasties for thousands of years. But a democratic republic was something else.
While the convention that was writing the Constitution of the United States was still in session, a lady asked Benjamin Franklin what the delegation was creating. “A republic, madam,” he said, “if you can keep it.”
In the middle of the next century, Abraham Lincoln still posed it as a question whether “government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Years earlier, Lincoln had warned of the dangers to a free society from its own designing power-seekers — and how only the vigilance, wisdom and dedication of the public could preserve their freedom.
But, today, few people seem to see such dangers, either internally or internationally.
A recent poll showed that nearly half the American public believes that the government should redistribute wealth. That so many people are so willing to blithely put such an enormous and dangerous arbitrary power in the hands of politicians — risking their own freedom, in hopes of getting what someone else has — is a painful sign of how far many citizens and voters fall short of what is needed to preserve a democratic republic.
The ease with which people with wealth can ship it overseas electronically, or put it in tax shelters at home, means that raising the tax rate on wealthy people is not going to bring in the kind of tax revenue that would enable wealth redistribution to provide the bonanza that some people are expecting.
In other words, people who are willing to give government more arbitrary power can give up their birthright of freedom without even getting the mess of pottage. Worse yet, they can give up their children’s and their grandchildren’s birthright of freedom.
Free and democratic societies have existed for a relatively short time, as history is measured — and their staying power has always been open to question. So much depends on the wisdom of the voters that the franchise was always limited, in one way or another, so that voting would be confined to those with a stake in the viability and progress of the country, and the knowledge to cast their vote intelligently.
In our own times, however, voting has been seen as just one of the many “rights” to which everyone is supposed to be entitled. The emphasis has been on the voter, rather than on the momentous consequences of elections for the nation today and for generations yet unborn.
To those who see voting as more or less just a matter of self-expression, almost a recreational activity, there is no need to inform themselves on both sides of the issues before voting, much less sit down and think beyond the rhetoric to the realities that the rhetoric conceals.
Careless voters may be easily swayed by charisma and rhetoric, oblivious to the monumental disasters created around the world by 20th century leaders with charisma and rhetoric, such as Hitler.
Voters like this represent a danger of terminal frivolity for freedom and democracy.
Here’s another thing to consider: The Valedictorian for Arizona State University this year is an ILLEGAL ALIEN! Think about that for a moment…
Envy-is best described as an emotion that “occurs when a person lacks another’s (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possessions and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it”. It does seem that the left run on emotions more than on facts no?
Oh, and the “fair” Media:
On Sunday’s This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour repeatedly hit Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with the White House’s plea for “revenue raising” measures, often the new euphemism for tax hikes, but when she talked to Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn, the Assistant Minority Leader in the House, she failed to press him about agreeing to GOP spending cut proposals and instead only asked him about prospects for a deal.
Amanpour began with how reasonable President Obama and Democrats, who “need revenue,” are acting: “Democrats are saying they’re not putting, for the moment, tax hikes on the table, but they need revenue, they’re talking about closing loopholes, subsidies for wealthy corporations. Is that out of the question for you, or are you willing to entertain that?”
When McConnell wouldn’t agree, with “NEW TAXES OFF THE TABLE?” as her on-screen heading, she followed up by pleading:
Are you willing, I mean this is a negotiation after all, to talk about any kind of revenue raising, for instance, ethanol subsidies, for instance, tax breaks for oil and gas corporations or corporate jets. Is there anywhere where revenue raising can happen without you saying it’s a tax hike?
She wouldn’t let it go, despairing: “Are you now basically saying, all revenue increases off the table?”
But will she ask a Democrat about spending cuts?
Of Course not!
47% of people pay no Income Taxes AT ALL.
So is American Democracy doomed?
Then there’s Eugenics Al (the Global Warming Loonie gone insane) Gore:
‘One of the things we could do about (global warming),” Gore said recently, “is to change the technologies, to put out less of this pollution, to stabilize the population, and one of the principle ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women.” That, he said, would cause population “to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices and more balanced choices.” The logic is inescapable: A smaller global carbon footprint means fewer footprints.
But governments around the world have already “empowered” women to make “more balanced choices.” These have often led to something awful: the death of tens of millions of female babies, the very ones Gore wants to “empower.”
FED HAS NO IDEA WHY…
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says he’s puzzled by the failure of the economy to respond to our government’s many ministrations. Which explains much of why our economy is such a mess.
‘We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting,” Bernanke said recently, adding that the growth slowdown was proving to be “more persistent than we thought.”
His remarks came as the Fed dropped its 2011 gross domestic product growth forecast from the range of 3.1% to 3.3%, made just two months earlier, to a much slower 2.7% to 2.9% pace.
Not to be rude, but can the nation’s top banker really be so clueless? Anyone with half a lick of common sense looking at our economy knows what’s wrong: We’ve spent the better part of three years with government making the most extraordinary interventions in the economy in our nation’s history.
Government spending, as a share of the economy, has soared 25%. Regulations, many of them arbitrary and foolish, such as the ban on incandescent light bulbs, have never been more numerous.
Businesses say in survey after survey that, with all the government’s micromanaging of the economy, they are uncertain of what comes next, and therefore are postponing investment and hiring decisions.
But to top economic officials like Bernanke, it’s not clear by now what’s wrong. Really? How about:
• $830 billion in failed, corrupt stimulus efforts?
• A $700 billion TARP program that was promised as a way to stabilize the banks but ended up as a kind of union-crony slush fund?
• The government takeover of GM and Chrysler?
• The punitive re-regulating of Wall Street through a Dodd-Frank bill that affected even those entities that had nothing to do with the financial meltdown?
• Small-business fears about higher taxes and stringent, new green regulations that are making it harder to plan and make profits?
• Soaring oil prices that the government seems not only to tolerate, but also to actively advocate by refusing to permit our oil companies to drill for more?
• The admission by Vice President Joe Biden, put in charge of efforts on the economy, that higher taxes are “most important to us Democrats”?
• And, finally, the Bernanke Fed’s own $1.7 trillion in quantitative easing — a fancy central bankers term for “let’s print more money”? (and devalue what we already have)
Seriously, does Bernanke — and for that matter, all the other policymakers who say they’re “surprised” at the weakness in our economy — really think all this is normal?
Look at what’s transpiring in our markets. After repeated government intervention, no one today knows the real price of food, housing, energy, raw industrial goods, bonds or stocks. The amount of government money distorting these vital parts of our free economy is so great, our markets can’t really function.
Free prices set by buyers and sellers are the way free markets work. Free prices create efficiency. They send vital signals about what to produce — not to mention when and where and at what price.
Absent those price signals, which happen spontaneously between buyers and sellers, a free-market economy can’t work. That’s what’s happening today. And that’s why the USSR, with all of its grand five-year plans and thousands upon thousands of apparatchiks, couldn’t make its command economy fly.
A handful of bureaucrats can never set prices or allocate goods or decide what should be made as efficiently as millions of people acting in their own interest through a free and open market.
Our policymakers seem to have forgotten this. They make statements that indicate they don’t know the damage their policies are doing or they are willfully oblivious to them.
Either way, America needs to change course, and fast. This Keynesian superstimulus is a failed experiment — one that deserves to be cast on the ash heap of history as soon as possible. (IBD)
But don’t expect the Democrats to abandon their dreams or the Media to suddenly understand reality.
So you will have to.
And you will have make sure they do to.
They will kick and scream and yell. But if we succeed your kids will thank you for it.
Otherwise, kiss their asses goodbye.