When one talks about the left, it’s important to note that the left is a large group and not everyone on the left is in lockstep on every issue. However, there are a large number of people on the left that have the ideological consistency of a turnip…and I apologize to any turnips that are insulted at the comparison.
The most recent example stems from Team USA shooter Corey Cogdell, an Olympic trap shooter who is in London right now representing the US. Cogdell, like a lot of competitive shooters, is also a hunter. Recently, she shared some photographs of animals she’s taken while in the field.
With me so far? Good, because a report over a Twitchy.com shows how “tolerant” some on the left can be with regard to hunting. Screenshots after screenshots of individuals wishing Cogdell would “shoot [herself] in the knees” and declaring her a “waste of oxygen and an embarassment to the human race.”
One particularly stood out to me:
What a f***ing waste! WTFIs wrong with ppl?cruel!! These ppl need to be shot deheaded and posted on a wall
Now, I can understand that not everyone shares my views of hunting. For the record, I am a hunter as well. I understand Cogdell’s love of hunting, I really do. The vast majority of hunters either eat the game they take, or they donate it to programs like Hunters For The Hungry which uses wild game to feed needy families. While I have little doubt that they exist, I don’t know a single hunter - trophy hunter or otherwise - that doesn’t eat what they kill.
Today, the level of political animus and vitriol seems to be on a nearly vertical trajectory, with both sides pulling out all rhetorical stops in an effort to win converts to their ideology. For a time this seemed to be just a partisan war, but I am beginning to believe that it is much, much deeper than that. I believe we are at one of those great crossroads in our nation’s history where we must assess who we are and what values we hold before we can come to agreement on policies that reflect those beliefs. On the ideological left is a philosophy which elevates the state above the individual, which says we as individuals can’t be trusted to make correct decisions and must therefore be governed by a technocrat oligarchy of (theoretically) unbiased bureaucrats. These are the intellectuals and the scientific “experts” who are smarter than the rest of us and will therefore make wise decisions that we are forced to accept now, and at some distant point in the future we will pay homage as beneficiaries of that wisdom.
This philosophy can be seen in efforts to ban the incandescent light bulb, regulate salt and sugar intake in our diets along with the use of trans-fats; in the use of the tax and regulatory codes to force us into smaller, more fuel efficient cars. It can be seen in attempts to ban all public expressions of religious belief and in the rigging of the free market in favor of “renewable” energy sources by providing taxpayer subsidies that hide the true cost.
On the ideological right is a philosophy that holds the individual above the collective, that sees government as a necessary evil to be kept under tight constraints and against which we must jealously guard our liberties from the encroachment and expansion of government power.
I have a confession to make…I love hate mail. I actually get disappointed if I go too long without getting a really nasty e-mail from someone. Hate mail means that I have challenged someone’s assumptions at a core level. Hopefully this irritates them enough to do research to try and mount an effective rebuttal, and in the process hopefully learn new truth. I don’t even care if hate mail comes from the political left or right. We all need our assumptions challenged. I used to be a die-hard advocate of the War on Drugs, until I looked at the facts and saw how it had failed at its stated purpose of reducing drug use, while simultaneously being used to destroy constitutional rights with such things as asset forfeiture laws, which allows government to accuse you of drug related activity, seize your assets, and then make you spend enormous money fighting them to prove your innocence and regain your property. Most people just give in to this tyranny.
Last week I offered some random thoughts, and I figured I’d do more of the same this week. However, before I do, I’ll respond to a few comments from an angry reader of last week’s article. The reader took exception to my mockery of the Occupy Wall Street protestors, accusing me of misrepresenting them. She said I ignored “corporate greed” and oppression of the poor, and asked “about all the corporations that want more and more from the general public”. She was upset that I pointed out that the socioeconomic demographic with the highest obesity rates is those below the poverty line, and claimed that it’s cheaper to eat junk food than to eat healthy fruits and vegetables.
On Monday afternoon, MoveOn.org and Rebuild the Dream announced a campaign to build up a popular movement that could match (if not surpass) the debt reduction crowd in both size and energy. And they have borrowed a concept from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) as their organizing principle.
The campaign, led by Van Jones, President of Rebuild the Dream; Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org; and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), among others, is debuting a new Contract for the American Dream. They describe it as “a progressive economic vision crafted by 125,000 Americans … to get the economy back on track.” Its debut will involve a nationwide day of action, as well as an ad in The New York Times to run sometime this week, organizers said.
This “Contract” is very illustrative of the core tenets of modern liberalism – that it is the government that drives the economy, and that the government has every right to commandeer your money if it believes it has a better means of using it. Remember that the government is not some abstract and omniscient system; it is merely a group of power-hungry individuals with enough naivete to believe they know more than the rest of us:
The basic premise of the campaign is that America isn’t broke, it’s merely imbalanced. In order to stabilize the economy, politicians should make substantial investments in infrastructure, energy, education and the social safety net, tax the rich, end the wars, and create a wider revenue base through job creation.
For those of you who have never heard of Alfonzo Rachel, he is a conservative commentator who recently joined PJTV team after becoming a viral success on YouTube:
AlfonZo Rachel is a musican and martial arts instructor who founded Macho Sauce Productions to create right-minded entertainment. His popular rapid-fire rants, originally self-produced on YouTube, have now found a home on PJTV.
His videos are a bit unorthodox among conservative pundits, which may have much to do with its appeal to younger conservatives and even some libertarians. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw this:
‘Zo’ begins the video quite oddly by equating independents with libertarians. He then defines a libertarians as “just liberals that don’t have a love-hate relationship with capitalism.”
Then comes a key comment: “The Constitution does not say that the government can tax the fruits of our labor, or impose an income tax. Which makes total sense because the government would bleed the people dry like they’re doing now as they defy the Constitution.”
That’s the question that entered my head this morning. Conservatives often accuse libertarians of “supporting” Obama by being critical of Republicans and conservatives. Obviously, this is nonsense, as no one is obligated to withhold criticism simply because of a person’s party. Libertarians are by no means required to even support Republicans, much less ignore their glaring deficiencies and attempts to abridge liberty.
What I’m asking is, is there any situation that could arise to cause a libertarian to actually vote for Obama in 2012? The current crop of GOP hopefuls, with the possible exception of Gary Johnson and perhaps a couple others, looks less than thrilling for libertarians (or really anyone). It is entirely possible that we will end up with a Huckabee, Romney, or other nominee that one could find impossible, or at least difficult, to support. Is anyone’s vote then going to Obama?
Personally, I’d argue that any libertarian who would consider this is, well, nuts. I realize there are some who supported Obama in 2008, most likely because of his supposed anti-war stance. But as the his actions have shown, especially his amplification of the Afghanistan war and his actions in Libya, Obama is most certainly not anti-war. Further, his behavior on the domestic front has been, in a word, horrendous. From ObamaCare to spending levels that would make George Bush blush, he has been anathema to libertarians in nearly every way.
So my question is, are any libertarians even considering voting for him in 2012? If so, what conditions would need to exist? And more importantly, why? I’m honestly curious to see if he retains any support in this segment. I highly doubt if it is significant after the above-mentioned. I just want to know if it still exists at all.
Podcast: $13 Trillion Debt, BP Oil Spill, Alvin Greene, 2011 Budget, and Economic Failing Guests: Mike Hassinger, Doug Mataconis
Interesting results from a Pew Research survey:
More than four-in-ten independents (44%) react positively to the word “libertarian,” while 32% have a negative reaction. Democrats are nearly evenly divided (39% positive, 37% negative). However, Republicans on balance have a negative impression of this term (44% negative, 31% positive).
In many ways we’re actually competition for Republicans and try to hold them to their principles and slam them when they don’t live up to them. But Republicans don’t like us on the social side of things
Commentators, from the left, of course, draw other conclusions:
The notion that Republicans are libertarian is ludicrous. They stick their noses into our bedrooms, into our doctors’ offices, into churches. They demand the roundup of people who don’t look like them. They whine about Miranda rights and due process. They are more concerned about the rights of big energy conglomerates, than they are about the rights of people to enjoy long walks on pristine beaches. They whine about true independent and free media that doesn’t validate their ideology. They freak out about anyone who doesn’t believe in their god, or worse, in any god at all.
For the American Taliban, “liberty” means their ability to impose their beliefs and lifestyle on the rest of society.
Recently, the TEA Party movement celebrated its first anniversary. At first the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party activists were dismissed as a few grumpy right-wingers upset that America elected a black president. They were given little credence beyond being an amusing political side show. That soon changed. On April 15th hundreds of thousands of average Americans showed up at protest rallies across the nation, outraged at the “stimulus” package of goodies doled out to special interests, liberal activism organizations and Democrat pet projects. CNN reported that a few thousand people showed up at the rally in Atlanta, but I was there and can assure you that it was close to ten-fold that amount. It was shoulder-to-shoulder for about four blocks in one direction, not counting the people on the side streets.
Once they could no longer be dismissed as a fringe element, TEA Party activists were labeled as “Astro-turf” (fake grass roots), accused of being flunkies of Big Corporate America, mindlessly doing the bidding of their masters. They were accused of being a fabrication of FOX News and the Republican Party. They were accused of being everything except what they are…average Americans, generally with traditional conservative values, who were fed up over 20 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush politics, two political parties who paid only lip service to the people they claimed to serve while engaging in a bacchanalian orgy of political perks, who had finally been pushed over the edge by a pork-laden spending bill of almost $800 billion. They were saying “Enough is enough!”, and they were going to make their voices be heard.
Former Congressman CA-11 Pete McCloskey, who switched his party affiliation from (R) to (D) last year after becoming disillusioned with the “new brand of Republicanism” (aka Neoconservatism) has decided to not only endorse Debbie Cook, the Democratic candidate in CA’s 46th District, but also write to 46th District Republicans explaining his rationale.
“Dear Republican,” the letter begins. “Like you, I was proud to be a Republican until the advent of Bush and the Neocons. My family have been active California Republicans since l859, the year before Lincoln was elected.” - Politicker.com