Sunday, March 18, 2007

(Self-)Partisanship Is Not A Virtue

The “sectarian violence” we read about in other countries taking so many lives daily, is just the next step up from rabid, knee-jerk partisanship we see promoted by our own cultural institutions (media) as an “enlightened,” smart way to be. Of course such people killing off other people never think of themselves as “barbaric” -- but regard themselves blindly and unquestioningly, as the “righteous” -- even doing God’s work for HIm.

Like a lot of ideas over the past thirty years, many vices have become redefined as virtues, and virtues ridiculed as naivete -- beneath a sophisticated. liberal person’s reflection. “Right” and “wrong” are for those without a higher education -- who are above such considerations anymore. They will even insist, that it is now they, who make the laws -- and enforce the rules. And that might well be true these days, when good people want nothing to do with government -- and government becomes all about serving itself first, and increasingly, only.

Lately, much of their “work,” are the latest studies in proving, how much more they should be paid, for even they don’t know what it is they are doing anymore -- because they didn’t have money or the interest in doing THAT study. The only study of burning interest and urgency, was their overwhelming conclusion that they should be paid twice as much as they are now -- for doing half the work they are doing presently!

Everything else is of little importance anymore -- and pales in significance to this great urgency and crisis of these times -- that they are falling behind by not being at the top of the charts, when it comes to their own compensation -- which they still haven’t gotten around to studying what it is exactly that they do, and especially what they do well, that nobody else can do, and should be prohibited from competing with them in offering.

The other monopolistic quasi-institutions stand by ready to lend their “public information” specialists (lobbyists) to the cause -- anxious to see what they can begin their negotiations at. This is the CAUSE and not the CURE of inflation in every community -- this mentality that every large group should get MORE than every other large group.

For specific individuals, this is not a problem, but is actually a well-proven device for rewarding merit. However, rewarding one group, not on the basis of merit but how much it can coerce and enforce its demands, rewards the division, conflict and exploitation in society -- of groups over every other -- that doesn’t occur on the basis of individual merit. But when individual merit is denied, then there can never be any accountability -- for anything, anymore.

“Things just happen,” and nobody can determine what exactly did happen, but they are pretty sure, that everybody employed in that concern, should be paid twice as much, and should work half as much. And the people of Hawaii should once again, trust that things will get better -- sometime in the future, but we have no idea how, or could we devise a way to find out.

3 Comments:

At March 21, 2007 6:00 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

In other words:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/03/progressive.html

Progressive?
By Henry P. Wickham, Jr.

It is time to drop from our political vocabulary the once useful word "progressive." When not deceptive, it is meaningless. It is a word that pretends to be descriptive and informative when it is more often an impediment to thought. When used as self-description, it is inevitably self-congratulation.

Progressive in its more general sense means advancing or making progress. It means increasing or developing, usually in a positive sense. When used in a political context, there is often a connotation of reform and improvement. Advertisers could not have come up with a more attractive label for one with a political agenda.

There was a time in our history when the positive connotations of this word as description of certain political policies were reasonably merited. When African-Americans were suffering the woes of Jim Crow laws and the bigotry that spawned them, efforts to end these conditions were certainly progressive.

Recognition that a functioning democratic republic must have an educated citizenry once led to a broadening of educational opportunities. Concurrent with these growing educational opportunities was a gradual opening of the political process. Candidates began to be chosen in primary elections rather than anointed in backroom deals. There was increased enforcement of voting rights for the disenfranchised. All of these developments could be fairly called progress, and those who advocated them, progressive.

There was legislation to make a more safe, competitive, and fair economic environment, not only among businesses but also between employer and employee. There is no question that the huge strides made in cleaning up the environment were progress. Those advocating these economic and environmental improvements could reasonably call this a progressive agenda.

However, those who call themselves progressive today advocate little that has the merit of these historical incidents of real progress. Just as labor unions and the NAACP are obsolete and crude caricatures of what they once were, so is the term, progressive, when used to describe a branch of current political policy or its advocates. One has only to look at the positions now adopted by our self-described progressives.

The once noble civil rights movement has become a campaign for racial preferences and even the absurd idea of reparations. Gone is the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. who advocated a color blind society where people are judged by the content of their character. For our progressives, advocacy of Dr. King's vision is "code" for bigotry and oppression. Racial and ethnic backgrounds have become the pretext for asserting grievances and extracting concessions. The comparison of Dr. King to the farcical Al Sharpton speaks volumes about the degeneration of what was once a genuinely progressive vision.

Those who call themselves progressives are now wholly-owned subsidiaries of union leadership. Rather than broadening educational opportunity, they condemn the most needy to failing schools. They oppose choice in schools. Judges torture language to eliminate the ability of the poor to attend better schools; all to protect the power and perks of the teachers' unions and the politicians on whom the unions lavish contributions.

One of the first acts of the so-called progressives in the House of Representatives in 2007 was to pass legislation that ends the secret ballot for union elections. What should be a sacred democratic right to a secret ballot has been sacrificed to union power and the uses of physical intimidation.

Our self-styled progressives ape the traditional claim to reform, this term "reform" being as inappropriate as the label, progressive. They bestowed upon the country "campaign finance reform." These laws and regulations protect incumbents, and they make it nearly impossible for anyone not independently wealthy to mount a successful campaign for Congress or the presidency. It is difficult to describe as progress public offices now reserved only for the rich and powerful.

Our progressives continually argue for expanded governmental entitlements, more dependence by the citizenry on our political classes, and the burgeoning welfare state. Old Europe is their model. They tell us to turn over the provision of health care to government bureaucrats under the euphemism of "single payer"; to restrict labor markets and mandate wages in a way that has given Old Europe chronically high unemployment and lower productivity; to raise taxes on the productive that stifles initiative and feeds the voracious bureaucracy; and to restrict trade the result of which inflates prices and restricts consumer choice.

In place of a responsible desire for conservation and environmental protection, they reenact the hysteria generated in 1938 by Orson Wells' War of the Worlds, with global warming serving as the substitute for the invaders from Mars.

Our progressives adopt policies that undermine not just the power of the United States in foreign affairs but also the concept of sovereignty itself. They seek to empower the thoroughly corrupt and ineffective United Nations Security Council on issues of American national security. They advocate that the politicized International Criminal Court have jurisdiction over American citizens and power over American courts.

It is especially damaging for those who sensibly oppose these polices and this agenda to refer to them as progressive. Words have meaning and meaning has consequences. To concede the word progressive is to confer upon these bad ideas all the good connotations of the word. It adds legitimacy that may not be intended. It is to compliment while condemning, and this undermines the argument against these bad ideas.

Of course, the First Amendment protects the rights of Americans to advocate foolishness. Let these advocates take into the marketplace of ideas their desire to burden America with these bad ideas. We can only hope that J.S. Mill is correct and that in this marketplace these ideas will be shown for the foolishness that they are.

However, it is time for truth in labeling. It is difficult for any marketplace to function when things are called the opposite of what they actually are. Let us resolve that from this day forward not to tolerate the calling of any of these bad ideas progressive, and let us resolve to call none who advocate them progressive. If we must call them anything, let us refer to these advocates as Statists, Socialists, Leftists, Euro-wannabes, or Euro-decadents. Anything but progressive. There is no progress to associate with these advocates and their agenda. They don't deserve the positive connotations of the word. It is time for this term, progressive, to join as a historical curiosity terms such as Whigs, Know-Nothings, and Transcendentalists. This banishment will be real progress, and truth its largest beneficiary.

 
At March 21, 2007 6:08 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2007/03/not_progressive_at_all.html

Not progressive at all
Thomas Lifson

As a companion to Henry Wickham's article today on the term progressive, let me offer a few thoughts from 2004.

The word 'liberal' has a bad odor to it these days, a situation which the American left blames on conservatives, accusing them of 'demonizing' it in the public mind. From their perspective, the average citizen is incapable of coming to an independent judgment, having observed decades of failed liberal policies. Instead, it must be evil conservatives who have propagandized the public into believing American liberalism is a failed ideology. The liberals' underlying contempt for the ability of the ordinary man and woman to understand reality and make meaningful choices is once again revealed.

Liberals are not exactly pragmatists, but they have discovered that burnishing the liberal label is a lost cause. So they have adopted a new brand name for their politics, 'progressivism.' A large insurance company (whose principal owner is a major funder of MoveOn.org and other left wing causes) is named Progressive, so the label is already supported by a fair amount of advertising aimed at generating a friendly image. Probably, this is a coincidence. But the fact is that most people have not given much thought as to the real meaning of the term progressive.

Americans are accustomed to thinking of progress as a mostly good thing. Our ancestors left their homelands in search of something better, and millions still come here as immigrants, seeking progress in their own lives, through the boundless opportunities our political institutions and our comparatively vigorous version of capitalism provide. Historically, we are innovators, and innovation is driven by the sense that things could be better. Progress, as we generally understand it, is change for the better.

Capitalism itself is an engine of progress. Entrepreneurs continuously search for new and better ways of providing the needs and wants of potential customers. The 'creative destruction' which Joseph Schumpeter celebrated sweeps away the old and inefficient through the engine of competitive markets. This is genuine progress, as judged by the people making their buying decisions. But this sort of progress is unpredictable and uncontrollable, since it is at the mercy of countless independently—acting producers and consumers.

The left has no use for this sort of progress. There is no room in it for the wise and all—powerful hand of government, which is what the left is really seeking to augment.

Buried in the term 'progressive' (as the left uses it) is the assumption that history is moving inexorably, even if by fits and starts, in a certain direction, one that is understandable to those who possess the secret decoder ring. This is why government is so necessary. It alone can bring order to the chaos and messiness which individuals, left to their own devices, impose on their masters, and on the intellectuals who see so clearly what the rest of us cannot perceive.

You know code they have mastered. It was explained in Das Kapital. Capitalism is but a stage. At the time when feudalism needed to be destroyed, capitalism was a progressive force. But by the late Nineteenth Century, the elect were able to see that it was a malign force, impoverishing the proletariat, and wasting too many resources on needless goods and services, at least as need and worth were understood by Marxists. Capitalism became, and remains, bad.

Progressives are still stuck, conceptually and politically, in the era of railways, steel, sewing machines, with high technology meaning oal tar-based chemicals. The era when labor unions were the defenders of oppressed workers pressed against the margin of starvation. Their current day protectionist policies, as well as their adherence to unions which have become bastions of restriction on free exchange, reveal this nostalgic set of priorities quite clearly.

Economic progress is the last thing in which political progressives are interested. They fight a rearguard action to preserve from progress the entrenched interests which donate money to them, and which depend on government favor to guarantee their security in an uncertain world. Progressives cloak their economic policies in the garb of compassion, an effort to ameliorate the pain that comes with change. They don't dare advocate the logical end point of their economic inclinations, because 'socialism' has even a worse odor than liberalism.

The one arena in which liberal policies proclaim themselves as on an unambiguous path to a better future, with history on their side, is in social policy, especially sexual politics. The family is an anachronism, and the restraints on sexual activity embedded in the Bible and in traditional morality, are all sheer repression, inhibiting the human race from expressing its full potential for pleasure, discovery, and experimentation.

If Marx is the godfather of their economic thought, then Jean-Jacques Rousseau is their social policy great—great godfather. Reaching back a full century prior to Marx, they draw inspiration from a man who taught that mankind is naturally pure, and becomes corrupted by misguided social institutions inherited from earlier eras.

Not for them original sin, or even human nature. We can be anything we want to be, as long as we invent the proper new social constructs to mold our nature to fit our desires.
Every child goes through a stage like this, where every part of the body is to be explored as an instrument of pleasure, before the customs and taboos of society are imposed from without. Sigmund Freud labeled this stage 'polymorphous perversity.' Most people travel through this stage and attain normal adulthood, but some remain in this stage throughout their lives.

Progressives seek to take us all back to that stage, overcoming the repression that Freud outlined as necessary to move past it. In a very real sense, progressives today want to take us back to a pre—adult stage of life.

I therefore propose that we rectify the name of this political tendency, dropping the label progressive in favor of the more accurate term: regressive. Call them what they are: the regressives.

 
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