The latest debate

We had another G.O.P. presidential candidate debate.  I’ve stopped watching them, finding them too disheartening.  If you watched it, please report in the comments.  Did anyone rise or fall?

What does Occupy Wall Street want?

Some of the demands of the Occupy Wall Street protesters:

Demands posted in OWS’s name include a “guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment”; a $20-an-hour minimum wage (above the $16 entry wage the United Auto Workers just negotiated with GM); ending “the fossil fuel economy”; “open borders” so “anyone can travel anywhere to work and live”; $1 trillion for infrastructure; $1 trillion for “ecological restoration” (e.g., re-establishing “the natural flow of river systems”); “free college education.”

And forgiveness of “all debt on the entire planet period.”

via Can Occupy Wall Street give liberals a lift? – The Washington Post.

It’s going to be Romney

It looks like the Republican presidential nominee will be Mitt Romney.   Tea party favorite non-candidate Chris Christie has endorsed him, as have former candidate Tim Pawlenty.  Meanwhile, many conservative pundits are writing columns about how terrible it would be for someone to oppose a candidate just because he is a Mormon.  True, not a single primary has been held, but it looks like Romney will be the last man standing.  If that proves true, look for my Obama re-election prediction to come to pass.  That would mean not even Republicans will vote for a conservative candidate.

Columnist Michael Gerson notes the antipathy of many conservatives and Christians to Romney’s Mormonism.  “About 20 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of Protestants tell Gallup they would not support a Mormon for president.”  Gerson thinks many of them will come around to supporting him as an alternative to Obama.  But, he points out, the dislike of Mormonism is even greater among liberals and secularists.

In 2008 Mormon leaders raised their heads in support of Proposition 8 — the California initiative against gay marriage. Their commitment to the traditional family runs deep, and no issue is currently more likely to provoke liberal ire. Secular progressives will add this transgression to a history of Mormon offenses against women and minorities and raise, as usual, the specter of theocracy. . . .

Secular tolerance for the emphatic faiths has been thinning for some time. To many liberal thinkers, conservative religion is inherently illiberal. Mormonism only magnifies those concerns. Damon Linker has warned that Mormon leaders, claiming prophetic authority, might dictate to an American president. Jacob Weisberg has insisted, “I wouldn’t vote for someone who truly believed in the founding whoppers of Mormonism.” Twenty-seven percent of Democrats currently say they would not vote for a Mormon — a higher percentage than among Republicans or Protestants.

via Who’s afraid of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism? – The Washington Post.

Do you think Christian conservatives will vote for Romney despite his Mormonism?  Will you?  Would you rather have a Mormon in the White House or Barack Obama?  If you refuse to vote for either, what will you do?  Vote for a third party or just stay home?  Or does the candidate’s religion not really matter in the task of running the government?

Republican score card

I didn’t watch the debate last night between the Republican presidential candidates.  I hear they all ganged up on Herman Cain, who really has become the putative front runner as the alternative to Mitt Romney.  I heard that Michele Bachmann cast aspersions on Cain’s 9-9-9 tax reform plan by telling voters to turn the numbers upside down (6-6-6–get it?).  You know, that might be enough to sink Cain with many Christian voters.  Again, I didn’t watch it.  Maybe some of you can report how it went and what light it shone on the campaign, if any.

At any rate, here is where I think the candidates stand right now with the general public (not me, necessarily, the general public):

1.  Mitt Romney.  The Mormon who laid you off.

2.  Herman Cain.  Not even in the pizza industry is the top boss an entry level position.

3.  Rick Perry.  Too Texan.

4.  Ron Paul.  Too Libertarian.

5.  Newt Gingrich.  Too mean.

6.  Michele Bachmann.  Violated her confirmation vows in leaving Lutheranism over the antichrist flap.  No one can win without the hotly contested Lutheran vote.  (OK, that is more me than the general public.)

7.  Jon Huntsman.  We already have Mitt Romney.

8.  Paul Johnson.  We already have Ron Paul.

9.  Rick Santorum.  He’s smart.  He’s principled.  He hasn’t got a chance.

How would you characterize the candidates so far?

 

 

Individualism vs. collectivism

Here is how George Will answers Elizabeth Warren’s statement that we posted yesterday:

Such an agenda’s premise is that individualism is a chimera, that any individual’s achievements should be considered entirely derivative from society, so the achievements need not be treated as belonging to the individual. Society is entitled to socialize — i.e., conscript — whatever portion it considers its share. It may, as an optional act of political grace, allow the individual the remainder of what is misleadingly called the individual’s possession.

The collectivist agenda is antithetical to America’s premise, which is: Government — including such public goods as roads, schools and police — is instituted to facilitate individual striving, a.k.a. the pursuit of happiness. The fact that collective choices facilitate this striving does not compel the conclusion that the collectivity (Warren’s “the rest of us”) is entitled to take as much as it pleases of the results of the striving.

Warren’s statement is a footnote to modern liberalism’s more comprehensive disparagement of individualism and the reality of individual autonomy. A particular liberalism, partly incubated at Harvard, intimates the impossibility, for most people, of self-government — of the ability to govern one’s self. This liberalism postulates that, in the modern social context, only a special few people can literally make up their own minds. . . .

Many members of the liberal intelligentsia, that herd of independent minds, agree that other Americans comprise a malleable, hence vulnerable, herd whose “false consciousness” is imposed by corporate America. Therefore the herd needs kindly, paternal supervision by a cohort of protective herders. This means subordination of the bovine many to a regulatory government staffed by people drawn from the clever minority not manipulated into false consciousness.

Because such tutelary government must presume the public’s incompetence, it owes minimal deference to people’s preferences. These preferences are not really “theirs,” because the preferences derive from false, meaning imposed, consciousness. This convenient theory licenses the enlightened vanguard, the political class, to exercise maximum discretion in wielding the powers of the regulatory state.

Warren’s emphatic assertion of the unremarkable — that the individual depends on cooperative behaviors by others — misses this point: It is conservatism, not liberalism, that takes society seriously. Liberalism preaches confident social engineering by the regulatory state. Conservatism urges government humility in the face of society’s creative complexity.

Society — hundreds of millions of people making billions of decisions daily — is a marvel of spontaneous order among individuals in voluntary cooperation. Government facilitates this cooperation with roads, schools, police, etc. — and by getting out of its way. This is a sensible, dynamic, prosperous society’s “underlying social contract.”

via Elizabeth Warren and liberalism, twisting the ‘social contract’ – The Washington Post.

The choices are individualism or collectivism.  Or is there something in between?

The social contract

In addition to my other pessimistic predictions, I am thinking that liberal ideology will soon return to popularity.

Here is a forceful statement by the liberal law professor and Obama administration regulator Elizabeth Warren, now running for Scott Brown’s Senate seat in Massachusetts:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. . . . You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea — God bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

via Elizabeth Warren and liberalism, twisting the ‘social contract’ – The Washington Post.

So does she have a point?  How would you answer her?

(By the way, she’s from Oklahoma, and, as I recall, my brother Jimmy, sometimes commenter and contributor to this blog,  knows her!)


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