Jorge Gonzalez is a motion designer and political activist living and working in Midtown Atlanta. In his free time, he enjoys filming, photography, and reading.
I recently had a discussion with a close friend of mine who is a very “progressive” guy. He’s the type that buys into all the horror stories about Republicans and libertarians. You know, we don’t care about the poor or women’s rights or worker’s rights and we’re cruel, intolerant etc etc. He started off the conversation by claiming “Romney panders to stupid people. Obama does not…Obama doesn’t bend his beliefs to fit an uneducated and sensationalistic base.” If you didn’t fall out of your chair just now at the sheer stupidity and myopia of a statement like that, then I ask you to read on, dear Reader, because what follows may be of interest to you.
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.
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.”
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.
* Barack Obama will realize that Congress is not ready to go along with his progressive agenda. Many Southern and rural Midwestern Democrats were elected as pro-life conservative Democrats. Hence, his Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) will never see the light of day.
* With nervousness on the economy, Obama will not push for Nationalized Health Care. You will see some adding around the edges, but no major increases in federal programs. Obama’s advisers will warn him about the effect of more spending and especially, more taxes on our fragile economy.
A blogger by the name of Allen Clifton over at “Forward Progressives” has put out a list of “facts” that annoy conservatives and Republicans, supposedly for fun. Allen writes:
I highly encourage all liberals to share this with their conservative friends. Then watch as they haplessly try and argue against each comment.
It’s irresistible. And, as I expected, it doesn’t actually make us look bad. It just shows that progressives like Mr. Clifton haven’t thought their argument the full way through. I’ll leave the points Mr. Clifton makes in bold and my responses below.
1. Nowhere in our Constitution does it say we’re a Christian nation.
2. In fact, no where in our Constitution does the word “Christian” appear even once.
These points are actually true, and I cannot argue with Mr. Clifton. The Constitution does not mention the word “god,” and while many of the Founders were religious, it is questionable whether they were hardcore Christians or rather deists (or, in Mr. Jefferson’s case and the case of others, Christian Deists.) There are mentions to God in the Declaration of Independence, but again, are these references to the Christian conception? The Declaration refers to “Nature’s God”—a deist term, not a Christian one. The only time the Constitution mentions God is in the dating: “ the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.”
That’s hardly grounds for making the Constitution a Christian document. That’s just how you told the date back then. These days, we replaced “Lord” with “Common Era.”
Can it be? Can young college students actually be turning away from social democratic liberalism? It seems so, when reading a study from UCLA [PDF]. In it, on page 7, it notes:
Figure 2 shows the change in political orientation for men and women from 2008 to 2012 in detail. Neither men nor women changed appreciably in identifying as “conservative” or “far right” in 2012, as roughly a quarter of incoming first-year men and one fifth of first-year women marked “conservative” or “far right” in both 2008 and 2012. By contrast, fewer men and women identified as “liberal” or “far left” in2012 compared with 2008. The proportion of left-leaning men dropped by nearly four percentage points from 2008 to 2012 (30.3% in 2008 vs. 26.4% in 2012) while the percentage of women identifying as liberal or far left dropped by approximately five percentage points (37.4% in 2008 vs. 32.3% in 2012).
Most of these students now consider themselves to be “moderate,” with moderate men increasing by 4% over 2008 numbers, and moderate women increasing by 4.5% in the same timeframe. Why not conservative? Easy—because 75% of incoming freshmen support same-sex marriage. Hard to be a conservative when you’re in support of that.
Interestingly, on four different areas, we see a strange mix. Support for Obamacare has dropped by about 7% since 2008. Support for legalized abortion has increased by 3% (roughly). Those who think racial discrimination is not a major problem in America have increased by 3%. Yet support for giving preferential treatment for students from disadvantaged social backgrounds has also increased by about 2.5%.