My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Ending the Helicopter State: Step 3--Know Your History 

Liberal Progressives--and, for that matter, Conservative Progressives--love to feel. To emote. To be able to sympathize/empathize is the strongest of character traits for a Progressive.

Sadly, this is contrary to our best traditions. Thomas Jefferson was a great thinker, as was Abe Lincoln. The men who created our great institutions--the Declaration, the Constitution--were men of unparalleled ability to think. That thinking was deeply informed by great passions, but those passions were suborned to reason.

The Founders understood the dangers of unbridled passion. Why else would they have built in to the Constitution the multiple layers of checks and balances? Why else would they have gone to such lengths to reduce the power of the majority? They understood that unbridled passions lead to mob rule; the Senate was designed to mitigate that danger; the power of the Presidency was diffused to eliminate the possibility of dictatorship; and the whole purpose of the "Great Compromise" and of the Electoral College was to guarantee that simple majorities never ruled the day.

Passion is powerful when it is used to serve a higher purpose, but Progressives have elevated passion above reason, above Faith, above tradition--even above the rule of law. The Supreme Court ruling the other day is startling in this regard: only 5 of the 9 "most brilliant legal minds in the world" managed to find in the Constitution the radical idea that people have a right to have a gun. Never mind that the 2nd Amendment reads "Congress shall make no law abridging the right of people to keep and bear arms." Once upon a time two-thirds of the states ratified that idea; now we're down to 55% of the most important panel in the country. Progressives have changed things.

And they don't care that they've changed things--that's what "progress" is all about. Being tethered to outmoded, archaic ideas like Liberty, Marriage, Faith, or Authority are not for the Progressive: the Progressive MUST be free to act on whim and passion, and things like Scripture, Constitutions, and Laws are nothing but impediments to the pursuit of utopia.

So why, you might ask, should our side learn history? Because, quite simply, there is nothing new under the sun. Every idea that these brilliant and creative Progressives are trying to implement are ideas that have been tried before. Universal health care? check Europe. Government takeovers of industry? check Moussolini. Complicit or cowed media? check Cambodia. Budget deficits to choke a Great White? check the Soviet Union.

The argument is not for Progressives--the argument is for the third-party observer. You cannot convince the true believer that their way is wrong because it is a matter of Faith to them. But there are any number of interested parties who do not know all the facts, and it is this person that you must convince when you debate with a Progressive.

The Progressive will make great hay of their compassion and their desire to "do something;" you must be able to demonstrate where "doing something" has always led to a worse outcome. The Progressive will argue that the restraints of Constitutions make it impossible to solve the real-world problems of the modern world; you must be able to demonstrate where operating within the Constitution has solved similar problems in the past. The Progressive will accuse you of hate, bigotry, and lack of vision; you must be able to point out that those were the exact tactics used to stifle debates in the past and shut them down with the comparison.

The interested third party listening to your debate must connect with your argument on one level and one level only: competence. Anybody is capable of emotion; only a select few are able to channel that emotion into effective governance. Those select few have NEVER come from the Helicopter State side of the ledger. There is a long history of the Helicopter State failing, and we're watching new chapters of that history get written in Greece and Spain even today. The historically demonstrated incompetence of the Helicopter State is irrefutable, and it is on that simple fact that a good debate must hang.


Ending the Helicopter State: Step 2--Candor 

We should all take a lesson from Jim Joyce. Jim is an umpire in major league baseball, and one of the really good ones. But a few weeks ago, Jim missed a call--and not just a small one. It was the last out of what would have been a perfect game, which is one of the rarest feats in all of sport. And, in a close play, Jim made the wrong call--he called "safe" when he should have called an "out," and the perfect game was erased at the last possible moment.

Within an hour, Jim Joyce came in front of a microphone and said "I blew it. I booted the damn call, and I'm sorry."

Government blows calls on a daily basis. Government gets it wrong more often than it gets it right. The State, if it were an umpire, would not be allowed to call a little league game, much less any level of professional ball. But for some reason we trust the State to dictate the terms of "serve and protect," to make huge decisions about how the economy is going to work, and to make life-and-death decisions about foreign affairs.

And do you ever hear the State, through its electeds, say "I blew it?" No.

And why do you suppose that is? I believe Nancy Pelosi will never go in front of a microphone and say "the stimulus didn't work, and bailing out all those companies didn't really help much, and we're sorry--we blew it" because that would be the beginnings of admitting that the State does not have all the answers.

But Statists aren't ever alone in their obfuscation; they are ALLOWED to continue their failures because the people who should be holding them accountable give them cover by not speaking honestly and bluntly about reality.

Part of turning back the helicopter state has GOT to be a return to honest dealings with the American people, no matter how unpleasant that may be. Unfortunately, the only real medium for dealing honestly with the American people is the media. And until and unless somebody has the courage to call the media on their failings/bias, there will never be a chance to make an honest deal with the people.

Conservatives have, heretofor, been comfortable going in front of other conservatives and complaining about the media; sadly, too many have been afraid to go to the media and confront them. Of course, there's the old adage of "never starting a war with someone who buys their ink by the barrel," but that ends up being both cowardly and ineffective. What conservatives need to realize is that they are never on Rachel Maddow's show to convince Rachel Maddow--they are there because somewhere in her miniscule audience are a few people who haven't drunk the cool-aid yet and are convince-able. Make your case, make it with humor, and never let them box you in with a false premise--it's just possible you might be able to break through the noise.

After that, we need to be willing to say "we screwed this up." Somebody somewhere should admit that the budget problems from 2001-2009 were the result of a Congress pushing to buy more votes while the President was busy running two wars; we should admit that we failed in our oversight responsibilities for the war.

We should also be candid that our war was fought in a ridiculous way--the Rules of Engagement all but guaranteed our failure.

We should not be afraid to say that the United Nations is a joke institution whose anti-Semitic bias prevents it from being an effective broker in the world, and whose corruption makes it completely untrustworthy of any serious mission.

And we absolutely have to push back against the people who want to end our discussions of serious issues like immigration and urban blight and education failures by shouting "racist" at us.

We have all been boxed in by Political Correctness for far too long. "Diploma-speak" has seriously hampered our efforts to accomplish anything in the world, particularly with regards to Africa and other fringe nations around the world. If we can't speak with the courage of our convictions, then we should get off the stage and let people who do have that courage take the microphone.

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