Bringing on America’s Fall

Editorial cartoonist Tom Toles has an amusing bit about how we can blame our politicians for everything:

You don’t have to consult any experts; you can see with your own eyes what is happening under the Obama administration. The leaves, ALL OF THEM, are coming off the trees! Sure, you can try to dress that up in pretty colors, but Obama promised GROWTH, and what we’re getting instead are BARE BRANCHES!

Our homes used to be places where we could relax in comfort with the windows open. But now? There is a CHILL in the air. What was all that talk about WARMING TRENDS? Sweaters don’t lie. The facts in the paper say it’s colder than it was JUST ONE MONTH AGO, and this when Democrats control BOTH houses of Congress. Why don’t you try and explain why your health-care plan didn’t stop me from catching this miserable head cold? Time for some hot TEA!

And whatever happened to our DAYLIGHT after dinner? Don’t try saying that it isn’t getting dark earlier, Mr. Socialist! You may not have CAMPAIGNED on taking away our daylight, but facts are facts, and you can’t run away from them. Oh, and how about reckless squandering of these very resources? Daylight SAVINGS Time is about to expire ON YOUR WATCH! You didn’t lift a finger to prevent that. Don’t think we are too stupid to notice! Well, the voters have a big message to send to you Mr. Anticolonialist: the winter of our discontent is coming!

via Tom Toles – Talk to the hand.

OK, what else can we blame the Democrats or the Republicans for?

Non-political spheres

R. R. Reno, in the context of another interesting discussion of the Juan Williams debacle, raises a point that conservatives need to remember:  Conservatives believe that some spheres need to be outside government interference, and thus not political.  (Unlike current leftist ideologies.)  Conservatives, therefore,  must be careful not to politicize those spheres themselves:

First, as I point out, the tendency to task everything to the political purpose of the moment is not good for the nation, because it has the tendency of perverting the non-political missions of important institutions, e.g., education, news-gathering, art museums, and so forth. Unfortunately, the Left has theorized culture in such a way as to make everything into politics, which eases their consciences as they politicize non-political institutions. What worries me is that conservatives in America assume that they must do the same.

The second thought follows directly. The struggle for political power is important. There are civic goods at stake in American politics: questions of fiscal responsibility, foreign policy, appropriate regulatory controls and social welfare policies, as well as the always important question of whether our laws are in accord with moral truths. But it is very important that conservatives not become counter-revolutionaries who have an essentially Bolshevik mentality oriented toward supposedly conservative ends.

One of the signal principles of true conservatism is that there exist personal and cultural spheres of life that are not the proper domain of government power. Therefore, no true conservative should use these spheres—family, education, art, and most importantly of all religious life—as mere instruments in the struggle for political power.

via More on Juan Williams » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

Someone might reply, yes, but since the left HAS politicized the family, education, art, and religion (hang out at a big university if you doubt that; browse the academic journals) undoing that influence will have a political shape.  Still, this is a good point, isn’t it?

The insanity charge

Kyle-Anne Shiver notes another trend in today’s political rhetoric from the left:  Accusing those they disagree with of being insane.  We have Jon Stewart’s upcoming “Restoring Sanity” rally, the NPR exec who said before she fired him that  Juan Williams should just confide his fear of Muslims to his psychiatrist, the psychoanalyzing of the President about  lizard-brained voters, and all kinds of comments about tea-party populists.  She notes:

The Soviets were infamous for declaring any vocal dissident “insane,” putting them in psychiatric “hospitals,” turning the shock therapy machines to full voltage, and throwing away the keys.

via Pajamas Media » Dems Playing Soviet-Style Insanity Card.

When I was in Estonia, I met a poet who had just been released from a mental institution where he had been consigned for writing a poem critical of communism.   Under Marxist theory, art and literature reflect the economic superstructure of the society.  Under a socialist society, a poet who do does not reflect the reality of socialism must therefore be disconnected from reality.  Therefore, insane.

It isn’t that the culture czars were simply trying to shut up a critic.  They really did think he was insane, according to their worldview and their definition of insanity.  (We even had that here in a comment in our discussion of the president’s remark about his opponents not being rational or “scientific” because when they are afraid a different part of the brain takes over.  The commenter argued essentially that  conservatives really ARE irrational.)

I’m not saying that these silly political slams are equivalent to the Soviet persecution of artists. Just that this is dangerous rhetoric to be throwing around.

Myths About The Middle Ages

HT to Joe Carter for linking to this mythbusting of assumptions about the Middle Ages, including my pet peeve, the notion that people back then believed the earth was flat.  Also that they didn’t bathe: Top 10 Myths About The Middle Ages – Top 10 Lists | Listverse.

Taking Jon Stewart’s rally seriously

Jon Stewart keeps insisting that his “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” that he and Stephen Colbert are putting on next Saturday is not going to be a liberal or progressive partisan event.  It sounds designed to be more like a postmodernist-style meta-rally, a rally making fun of rallies.  And yet lots of liberals and progressives are taking it seriously.

Arianna Huffington is offering free transportation from New York to her Huffington Post minions.  Oprah Winfrey is paying for a bunch of her followers to be there.  The Democratic Club at the University of Pennsylvania is busing in college students.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will be there in force. So will the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.  President Obama has been pushing the event and might show up.  More than 200,000 people have posted on Facebook that they will attend.

Never mind that the weekend before the Tuesday election is the most important time for actually campaigning for the people you want elected.  From the Washington Post:

Many conservatives have watched smugly as liberal activists have become caught up in a gathering that will probably resemble a circus more than it does a serious political event and that is taking place on a prime day for campaign volunteers to help get out the vote.

Brendan Steinhauser, spokesman for the “tea party”-affiliated Freedomworks, is a fan of Stewart’s show and recently appeared on “the Colbert Report,” but he said he will be in West Virginia on the day of the rally, knocking on doors for Senate candidate John Raese (R).

“I’d rather have as many liberals in D.C. that weekend as possible, because I don’t want them out doing the phone calls and get-out-the-vote,” Steinhauser said.

via For liberal groups, “Daily Show” rally on Mall, not just for laughs.

Jefferson on funding NPR

I had never heard this quotation from Thomas Jefferson:

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

via Michelle Malkin.

It might be possible to make a case for public broadcasting–or it used to be, when higher-brow programming was not available before the advent of abundant-channel cable TV or digital radio.  (Though it’s still not clear to me why the state should fund high-brow programming with the tax dollars of those with regular brows.)  But isn’t it intrinsically wrong in a free society for the state to fund programming with specific political opinions?  Isn’t that what totalitarian states with their propaganda media do?

So should we de-fund NPR and PBS?  (Notice that “But I like their programs” is NOT an argument why taxpayers as a whole, including many who do not avail themselves of the programming, should pay for them.)


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