Liberals, Finis, part iii (A Sense of Obligation)

November 29, 2009

If you are obligated, you owe someone something that they have the right to compel you to perform. Are you obligated to relieve the suffering in the world? To put the question a different way, should you be forced to help?

Does one of Sally Struthers’ kids have the right to force you to cough up $14.95 a month? Should you be sued if you don’t pay up? Or taxed? (Getting sued, getting taxed, it amounts to the same thing.)

You’re not obligated to the poor to help the poor. They have no enforceable claim on you if you pass by on the other side of the road.

This does not mean that the right attitude toward suffering and need in the world is indifference. Of course, you should care about other people, even strangers. That’s part of being a normal, decent human being.

You’re obligated to yourself, to what you want to accomplish in the world, to what kinds of differences you want to make. But it’s nobody else’s business if you decide to pass through the world without adding meaning or value. Other people are perfectly entitled to make negative moral judgments about you if you live a completely selfish, cold life–but they’re not entitled to force you to be warm and charitable.

There are many virtues that are entirely up to you. There are no general standards of acceptable performance, and you don’t deserve to be coerced about them. Things like being intellectually honest, working hard, persevering, overcoming fear, seeking knowledge, improving your skills and developing wisdom. And being charitable and generous.

How can you know when you’ve given enough to helping other people? How can you know when you have worked hard enough, practiced long enough, thought deeply enough, tried hard enough to solve a problem?

It’s up to you and only you to decide these things as part of deciding who you want to be. What basket of virtues do you want to exemplify? You have limited time and energy. You have people close to you that you can deeply impact and be deeply involved with and people far from you that you might be able to deeply impact if you were less deeply involved with those close to you. There are limited resources along multiple dimensions and costs and there’s To hell with it, I’m tired and I just want to watch TV. You could sacrifice the pleasure of giving an expensive Christmas gift to your own child to feed a dozen other children in Africa. You could wrap up Thanksgiving leftovers for the homeless–just the leftovers–or invite 2 or 3 of them to your home for Thanksgiving. Why stop at 2 or 3? Or why not 1?

There are no objective standards for these virtues that anyone has a right to enforce on you.

Once again, I know I’m not making a formal argument, but once again, I’m just trying to screw in a light bulb far enough that it comes on–

Helping other people is one of those virtues that is within your realm of choice, not within the realm of your mandatory obligations to other people. Liberals don’t believe this. That’s what sends them off down the road to totalitarianism.

Helping others is not nearly as important in the hierarchy of moral values as is helping yourself. If you can support yourself, you should. To take help you don’t need is a far worse offense than to not give help. The first self-regarding moral obligation of every human being is to try like hell not to need help.

Liberals have done a great job of ruining those they see as victims of circumstance by trading them a mess of subsidies for their basket of virtues. When charity isn’t local and personal, deployed by Little Platoons, it messes people up. And it’s not just poor people we’re talking about here. The list of victims gets longer as people learn that they can get freebies by acting helpless and victimized, and as others realize that if they don’t similarly lobby, they will be at competitive disadvantage.

When people think they have a right to be helped, they lose the humility and gratitude that could protect them from becoming leeches. And when people think they have a right to force you and me to help when we don’t want to, they have become our tyrannical enemies.


Liberals, Finis, part ii (I’d Sell My Soul for Total Control)

November 29, 2009

Most American conservatives want to live their own lives and spend their resources mostly on themselves and on people who give them something back in return. Even if what they’re getting back in return is just one more day of not paying alimony.

Conservative compassion is something like a magnetic field:  it weakens exponentially with emotional distance. Not so for liberals. Liberals are passionate about helping people they’ve never met, never will and would never want to.

Both liberals and conservatives believe in Promiscuous Compassion (PC). Why do liberals take this ideal more seriously? Or, at least, why do liberals try harder to ensure its universal application?

Because conservative PC is circumscribed by the institutions that conservatives think are appropriate for expressing compassion. Conservatives think church, family and community are the legitimate venues for practicing altruism. (In that last sentence, community refers to Rotary Club and JayCees, not local government.)

Liberals see no reason why government shouldn’t be the front line in the PC army. In America, family and church are too local, fractured and ungovernable to satisfy the liberal desire to solve problems once and for all.

Liberals think of government as the perfect hammer to pound down every nail. They lust to hold the hammer and wield it wisely.

Conservatives grant government grudging tolerance and limited allegiance. They are deeply suspicious of whoever is swinging the hammer and are always watching to see if they’re going to need to swarm the bastard.

Conservative PC is deeply personal and local, even in support of a mission half way around the world. There are many little platoons, as Charles Murray puts it, each with skin in the game and deep local knowledge of the facts on the ground.

Liberal projects, casting their nets too widely, are hammer handed. Liberals promise that nobody will slip through the cracks of their system, without realizing that the rest of us consider that a threat rather than a promise. Liberals respect no bounds when it comes to using whatever power they can leverage in teaching the whole world to sing in perfect totalitarianism.

Liberalism (Americant-style) is totalitarian.

Let’s get clear here about what totalitarianism is: It is the notion that an external authority should be allowed, for whatever reason, to control all aspects of individual choice, including the most intimate and personal aspects. Forcing a racist to hire or rent to black people is totalitarian. Denying gays the right and honor to serve in the military is totalitarian. Forcing people to separate their trash in different colored bins is totalitarian.

Sure, it’s small “t” totalitarianism. It’s the condo association board and being snooty to black people and being mean to gays in uniform, not Stalin-totalitarianism. But it’s the same nasty root impulse and the people on the condo board are easy pickings and henchmen for a Stalin. Excusing them is like excusing the little brat down the street who always smells like pee and smoke and has cat blood on his t-shirt, and then wondering where serial killers come from.

Yes, American Christians are, philosophically, and I use that word loosely when applying it to Christianity, technically totalitarians. But, more deeply than ideologically, most Christians have become cultural Americans. Were push to come to shove, the majority of Christians would abandon The Bible before giving up The Bill of Rights. They see no conflict between the two, and good luck trying to convince them there is one. God knows, I’ve tried and I’m glad I failed.

I’m fine with accepting a split decision in the battle between Jehovah and Jefferson. Christians are more than welcome to think their doG won that fight. In any case, Jesus & Thomas have shaken hands and are tag-teaming the terrorists, and that’s good enough for me.

Ok, so where were we? Oh, yeah–What do we owe the poor?


to be continued in pt iii

Liberals, Finis, part i (Promiscuous Compassion)

November 29, 2009

The most fundamental difference between American liberals and conservatives is in what they believe about their compassionate obligations to others. This may seem an odd characteristic for me to pick since liberals and conservatives mostly seem to share the same core belief: I have a deep moral obligation to help those who are suffering and needy, whoever and wherever they are.

(Before I continue, fair warning that my Objectivist roots will be exposed in this post, so don’t bother accusing me of being an Ayn Rand fanboy. Damn straight I am. But I will try to refrain from using these words or phrases:

  •  depraved
  • willful evasion
  •  only those who…
  • and, drumroll, please, the archetype of Randian smite-speech:  There (is/can be) no greater (depravity/crime/abdication/evasion/immorality) than to…. )

I call this sense of moral obligation to the less fortunate Promiscuous Compassion, or PC. It is the excuse for every liberal power-grab. Without exception. If you learn how to deal with this, you have learned how to deal with every stupid thing liberals say and propose. If you undermine this in a liberal’s mind, you plant cancer in a liberal’s ideological brain stem. If you undermine this in a conservative’s mind, you plant self-respect.

Conservatives have a hard time arguing with liberals in a way that convinces bystanders. Conservatives typically cede moral high ground right at the beginning of the argument, and then have to work hard to take it back.

Typical Liberal: “Conservatives would let babies starve in the streets rather than pay a little extra in taxes to help them!”

Typical Conservative Response: “No, we wouldn’t! We just think it’s not the role of government/government will make it worse, etc.”

Typical Liberal: “Ok, what if the churches and voluntary organizations don’t feed all the starving street babies, then is it OK for government to step in?”

Typical Conservative Skulking Away: “Well, yeah, I guess, I mean there has to be some kind of minimum safety net…”

Let’s rewind that and do it over HLET-style:

Typical Liberal: “Conservatives would let babies starve in the streets rather than pay a little extra in taxes to help them!”

HLET Response: “That’s why I like conservatives better than liberals. Conservatives don’t stick mop-handles up starving babies’ butts and wave them around like a flag.”

Typical Liberal: “How much have you had to drink?”

Neither conservatives nor liberals come anywhere close to living up to their self-imposed PC obligations. Because it’s impossible to do so without living an absurd, miserable life. I’m not saying that conservatives get 50% of the way there and liberals get to 70%, I’m saying neither gets to 1%. Taken seriously, PC means that it is wrong for you to spend your resources, however acquired, on luxuries while anyone else lacks necessities.

Even the most weepy American liberal will dine at a fine restaurant without feeling guilty about the fact that the money he spent could have, quite literally, prevented some child somewhere from dying. He’ll even do it with a sense of self-righteousness if the Brie and Chardonnay are being inhaled at a fundraiser where the homeless would be beaten and tossed out by private security if they dared crash the $1,000-a-plate gate closed against them in their honor.

Same goes for a conservative going through the drive-through at KFC because she feels too tired to cook for her brats. She could eat much more cheaply at home and send the extra $10 to that dying kid who is no more and no less precious in God’s eyes than her own brood of overfed plushly upholstered little monsters. She could subscribe to several of Sally’s kids if she’d sell the plasma TV that keeps her own birth control failures entertained while she surfs for rescue dates on

I won’t spend much more time trying to screw in this light bulb. It will either come on for you or it won’t:

It’s not your obligation to fix every misfortune or injustice in the world. You can spend money on your TV, Thanksgiving dinner, a nice vacation and renovating your deck while knowing that the money could have made a dent or even a big difference in keeping a starving child from expiring, or a wrongly imprisoned man from being executed. You should not feel even a soupçon of guilt for not helping those who most need help.

So what should you feel? Not indifference, that’s for sure. I’m saying guilt is not the right thing to feel if you don’t help. I’ll take that up next. For now, I’ll just tease it by saying that conservatives feel guilty for not being helpful enough, and liberals focus mostly on trying to make other people feel guilty for not helping enough.

Liberals, part 3

November 17, 2009

Ok, here we go. I’m really going to get to the point I’ve danced around the last 2 posts. Any readers still with me now know how close suspense and boredom can be to each other.

I started this because I was struck by how rude liberals can be to conservatives in supposed polite social situations. Yeah, I know, you shouldn’t talk about religion, politics or pedophilia in polite company. But liberals do it a lot, expecting impunity and bobble-headed agreement. If someone dares to demur, it shocks them into mildly shocking rudeness. You see the compassionate, diversity-respecting mask slip just a little. The insults are nearly always I.Q.-based.

Conventional wisdom is, whether you’re liberal or conservative, that liberals are smarter, as a rule. Conservatives tend to disparage the book-l’arnin’ job avoidance that many liberals practice well into their 60’s. The conservative book on liberals is that they graduate from 4 year programs after 6 years, and then transmogrify their articularity into luftmenschen jobs in non-profits and government, or they regress to nursing perpetually from their alma maters.  Or they just deal drugs and let their butchy bitchy wives support them.

I’ll grant that, on average, liberals are smarter than conservatives, no matter which average you choose: median, arithmetic mean, mode, tendency, whatever.

Sadly, for liberals, it’s not the averages that matter when it comes to intelligence. It’s the extremes, especially on the right side of the bell curve.  (I’m sure that right side thing is just a coincidence.)

I’ll assert something now without proof, but confident that it’s provable: the smartest conservatives are a lot smarter than the smartest liberals. At a given level of extreme smartness, there are 100 conservatives, or more, for every liberal at that rarified level. I throw this down as a gauntlet, to annoy miserable liberal people who unconsciously perceive that this is true. It also explains, in part, why Liberals blurt/fart “You’re a big stupey stupe stupid!” when surprised by a contrary opinion.

Which brings me to Point 1: When a liberal is self-surprised by calling a conservative stupid in polite company, it has the same psychological significance as when a closet racist calls his daughter’s black fiance boy at Thanksgiving dinner or when that Virginia Republican guy called a brown guy Macaca or…well, I’ll leave it to liberals to remember all the rest of the racial faux pas committed in public in the last few years.

A couple of decades ago, we’d have labeled these as Freudian slips. Two pickets to Tittsburgh.

Liberals treat each conservative slip as license to burn a witch. For example, every liberal of good conscience should be horribly ashamed of what you did to Trent Lott. If you don’t remember, well, burn fewer witches.

Here’s the truth of it: Liberals are privately bigoted against conservatives. It’s not disgreement, it’s bigotry.  That’s why they agonize so much about dating one.  Conservatives are the niggers of the liberal world. Yes they are. Ask the one you accidentally invited to your last cocktail party.

Anyhow, I’ve obviously been mulling this over since last week. That’s a long time for me to mull something.

I’m kind of worried about what I’m thinking now. I suspect I’ve been Uncle-Tom’ing to my bigoted, but perfectly nice, liberal friends. They’ve been putting up with me as one of The Good Ones.

Ok, in Part 4, I promise to get down to it.

Stupid Liberal!

November 14, 2009

Liberals like to play the stupid card even more than the race card.

Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, but calling a conservative stupid is the first tactic of most liberals. American liberals think they’re smart because they’re liberal. This is like how most conservatives think they’re righteous because they’re conservative.

First, I’m going to harsh on the conservatives, even though this post is about liberals, because I’m hoping that liberals might have a pot/kettle moment from it.

Forget that Catholic women are twice as likely to have abortions as the average (because Catholic women ignore birth control and have huge incentives to hide out-of-wedlock pregnancies). Forget Sarah Palin’s slutty little daughter and Carrie Prejean tweakin’ her bean, and Newt Gingrich bangin’ his mistress. Ignore Jim Bakker and all the other fakers. Ignore the fact that conservatives get divorced more than liberals (probably because they marry younger).  And let’s ignore the closeted criminality, from the wide-stanced Mormon in Minneapolis to the predatory page dater in Pensacola.

No doubt about it, conservatives are a hot moral mess. On their main claim to fame, it’s epic fail.

Now, let’s talk about liberals. They think they’re smart, enlightened and compassionate. As SNL says, Really?

You liberal guys think Joe Biden is smarter than Sarah Palin? Really? You think John Kerry is smarter than George Bush? (Look up their SATs and college grades. Think about what it takes to fly a fighter plane before you call Bush stupid again.) Really, you think that Keith Olbermann is smarter than Bill O’Reilly? That Pelosi would beat Gingrich on Jeopardy?

Liberals get a thrill up their legs from glibly articulate incompetence. They have no understanding that smart and articulate don’t always go together.

You liberals all are still laughing at Bush for saying, “Heck of a job, Brownie!” while defending the feckless fools that Obama has surrounded himself with. They’re taking credit for saving the economy like an Indian rain man takes credit for the fact that if he dances for 9 months, it eventually rains. (Oh, and all Barack’s boy geniuses shouldn’t get all happy just yet–the crops ain’t in yet. Y’all have been out peeing in the fields for 9 months, and the rain we’re getting now may not be enough to wash all of your smartness away.)

Liberals created a welfare system that incents the stupidest to reproduce the mostest, and then you justify expanding it because the mostest are now birthing the stupidest?

No matter that nearly every blue state is on the verge of bankruptcy and nearly every red state is doing ok.

No matter that you’re going to try Khalid Mohammed in a civil court. OJ the Sequel. How stupid do you have to be to be this stupid?

No matter that Iran has played Lucy to your Charlie Brown all year, with a nuclear football.

No matter that you’re all starry-eyed about your big-eared Charlie Brown who’s knuckled under and hired a bunch of wrinkled Marxists and Maoists to tell him what to do now that he’s King of the World, Ma!

To be continued.

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard you say

November 14, 2009

I get called stupid at parties. It usually happens suddenly, during a conversation that I thought was civil and interesting.  Politics is the usual trigger, and the usual offender is a nice, doctrinaire liberal person.

It comes out in a blurt, an involuntary verbal fart, sometimes followed by angry tears, almost never followed by an apology.

I’ve been trying to figure this out on a couple of levels. It doesn’t happen when I’m being particularly argumentative. Usually, my opinion has been asked for, and they’re surprised by what it turned out to be. I’m then told, Oh, you’re not serious!  But I am serious. Mostly.

Sure, sometimes I’ll say, It really was a mistake for men to give women the vote. Or, we should resurrect the poll tax. But mostly I’m expressing opinions that aren’t that unheard of, even if people disagree. No, I don’t think the evidence is conclusive on global warming. Yes, I do think that Barney Frank is gay.

The other day, I was listening to the Adam Carolla podcast. (That is one great podcast, and Carolla is turning into a pretty good interviewer. He gets great guests — Francis Ford Coppola, Mike Tyson, Danica Patrick, even Jack from Jack in the Box, in character. He got Jack to call the Burger King King a fag. Check it out.)

Carolla had a liberal friend on, and they were talking about immigration and welfare benefits, and Carolla said that he thought they should cut off free school lunches and those crappy parents would damn well start making breakfast for their kids and be better parents for it. This elicited an involuntary liberal “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard you say!” blurt/fart. It was interesting seeing this phenomenon as a bystander. It made me realize how rude and jarring these little moments are.

I remembered a time at work when I was a subject matter expert for a technical certification test. We had a working group of about half a dozen people. The psychometrician, a nice, large liberal lady of a certain age, during lunch, made a snotty crack about Ayn Rand. We’d been getting along just fine–we’re a few days into the project. I said I kind of liked Rand. She farted back, Only an idiot would like anything about Ayn Rand!

That was the last word on the subject. No way was I going to be the first one to pick up that dead mouse, and she was fine with it sitting on the table, pretending she didn’t drop it there.

Probably she didn’t follow up because she was embarrassed (it sure made everyone else get suddenly interested in what was in their box lunches).

I let her pretend it hadn’t happened, and she graciously did so–no apology or discernible olive branch offered–even though we worked together for several days after that. I bring this up because calling somebody an idiot at work in the middle of a team meeting is pretty clearly not respecting diversity. It’s more serious than doing it at a party where everyone’s had at least 2 martinis. This anecdote supports my liberal fart thesis.

I didn’t hold it against her, after about 5 minutes. I did not, as they like to say in geek circles, “flip the bozo bit” on her. She was good at her job and knew a lot about statistical analysis, and I found her interesting to talk to and I kept talking to her. Had she been the first nice liberal to suddenly fart in my general direction, it might have been different, but by then I’d been living in Seattle for several years and was used to frequent liberal sulphur-suffused El Nino’s.

I’m lucky enough to be daily surrounded by people I respect and who are way better than me at at least one thing that matters. I’m glad to be allowed to hang out with them. Most of the guys I work around are great at XBox games and Sudoko or Soduku or Seppuku or whatever the hell it’s called. When forced to play, I crash the car repeatedly, commit suicide after killing most of my team-mates or wipe my ass with the puzzle page till they let me leave. My point is, on my best day, I’m on the 50 yard line, intelligence-median-wise, in my world.

But politics and such are in my wheelhouse, and rudely trying to stifle me has a high correlation with not knowing much and/or being a crackpot/conformist. face/off. Being smart does a little, not a lot, to insulate you from childish fears, neuroses and ways of looking at the world. That’s probably why I like these subjects so much–it’s where I can compete and win.

Ok, as usual, I’m taking forever getting to my real point. I’ll take that up in my next post.

Fort Hood shooter was nuts, NSS

November 8, 2009

Ok, mental illness explains the Fort Hood shooter. I’m fine with classifying Islam as a mental illness. In which DSM IV dartboard quadrant should we place Islam?

UPDATE: I’m starting a new category called Mental Illness. This is where I will put posts about Islam. Who am I to argue with the legacy media about what religious commitments mean to people?