Memo For File CLXV
Somewhere, I made the comment “Looks like we have our campaign year issue” or something like that. The “We” was the country, not the conservatives or the Republicans or libertarians; and the “issue” is the idiotic remark made by our current President, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.” In the wake of the Chick-Fil-A hoop-dee-doo, I’ve thought back to this thing I said with the understanding that it is going to require some updating. We have two issues. They have it in common, as consequences, that they arouse great passion in people because they speak directly to the inner psyche — how each individual has developed his comprehension of the world around him, and his methodology of figuring out what to do about whatever it is he’s noticed lately.
I say “as consequences” because, on one side of each issue, the passion is a cause as well as a consequence; on the other side, the passion is a consequence only, it is logic and reason that have detonated it. Liberals came up with a goofy idea and said “We’re just sure this is going to work out super-awesomely,” conservatives took a look at it, saw what would happen, and said “Can’t believe they’re really serious about this.” That seems to be a consistent configuration.
Before these two, there was the Buffett Rule imbroglio. That, too, aroused great passion for the same reason.
So we have three things:
One: I think, if you’ve built a business, the credit for building it needs to go to the government and “roads and bridges,” versus, that’s horse squeeze it’s the guy who built the business who gets credit for building his business.
Two: I think, once the business is built, it might be incompatible with the sensible values of a community so we need to elect some really smart and enlightened mayors and councilmen to tell the business to go stuff itself…versus…uh, if the community doesn’t like the business, it can not shop there, and boy will that business ever end up sorry. Mayors and councilmen should stick to staying within budget and making sure the traffic lights work.
Three: I think, if someone is really rich then he needs to give back to the community and pay his fair share through higher taxes…versus…taxes exist to fund vital services, not to make sure everyone ends up with roughly the same amount of money at the end of it, if these guys want to pay more they can just write a friggin’ check.
It is hard to read my summations and come away with much sympathy for the progressive viewpoint. The progressives, I’m sure, will point out all sorts of reasons for this. The most meritorious will be: I can’t provide sympathy for the progressive viewpoint that I do not have, and I have little to none. They will also say, with far less merit, that I am somehow misstating the left-wing position, missing some subtle but very important nugget of nuance. Well, fine, let’s agree to disagree about that. Liberal positions like these are based on emotion, and there is no nuance in emotion; quibbling about such things is like insisting that only a surgeon’s scalpel can be used to slice jello. It isn’t so. Arguments based on feeling are just feelings. You can divide jello with a scalpel, butcher knife, bread knife, or heck, a chainsaw. Once you spot a valid problem involved with enshrining a primitive feeling into public policy, the criticism stands. To criticize the criticism on the basis that is grounded on some trifling misunderstanding just pulled out of thin air, is, well…just more arguing based on emotion, when you get down to it.
You can apply tests to the three, to show the left-wing position on each of the three is based on emotion and not on reason. If people do not build things, they merely channel the beneficial energies of society as society does the building — does that pertain to Barack Obama’s many accomplishments then? Society won the Nobel Peace Prize? How about when people destroy things instead of build things…did they not really do that? Pop goes the argument, just like a balloon…if it’s based on reason and not emotion. But of course it isn’t. If we need to elect Mayors to tell businesses, with bad values, they aren’t welcome here…does that rule hold for a conservative Mayor in Utah, telling Disney they can’t build an enchanted castle in his area? Pop! And as to the third, what the heck is “fair share,” exactly? Pop! So you see, not only are the progressive positions based on emotion, but measurably so. The conservative positions are also emotional, but they’re not grounded in emotion, the emotion is consequential. Reason has been applied. If a guy built a business, he built the business; if you don’t like the business, you can shop elsewhere; if your taxes aren’t high enough, write a check.
The three have it in common that, in addition to the intensity of emotion, there is a durability as well, a quality of “remember ’til November.” Nobody’s going to go through a drastic epiphany in one direction or the other, about any of the three. In all three, our friends the modern liberals are opposed to freedom.
The unifying principle among the three, from what I can tell about it, is: Roles of hosts and roles of parasites. That is not, I hasten to add, a way of expressing this unifying principle in a way that all sides would agree to it. But here we get into the cognitive dissonance of the liberal mind: Their quibbling with the word “parasite” would be purely semantic.
1. An organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.
2. A person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.
I’m presuming that the weirdly unified body of modern liberal thinking, would take issue with the second definition but not with the first, when the word “parasite” is applied to our government. The government lives off of our works; that is what it is supposed to do.
It also provides services and, unfortunately, a lot of people live on that. The means for these services, it obtains from the “host”; it collects taxes from us, and borrows money in our name, and from those assets it makes block grants to the states, funds food stamps, maintains the precious “roads and bridges,” et al…
In these three, there is a sense that the parasite must be the brains of the outfit. Much like a queen ant, or a queen bee. You wouldn’t leave it up to the drone ants to make a crucial decision like, that crumb over there shouldn’t go into this anthill because it isn’t compatible. Of course, real ants do work that way, but that’s how you kill ‘em, you fool the drone into carrying something back to the nest. So I guess the liberals think we’re a step of evolution above that; we are to be evolved versions of ants, with a proper bureaucracy in place, so the queen can say “that doesn’t go here.” Those ants are far too libertarian for today’s “moderate” liberal. Of course, no single drone ant built the hill, somebody else made that happen. A drone ant that “owns a business” would be, I guess, a worker that brings a larger crumb of food to the queen than most of the others…he didn’t really do that, somebody else made it happen. I wonder, would it not be in the queen’s interest to say “Hey, that rocks! Let’s have this worker ant teach something to the other worker ants”? I wonder if ants do that. President Obama seems to have made up His mind that it isn’t going to happen…if you happen to have a successful business, let’s just forget all about it. You pay your taxes, and everyone else will just kind of stagger around doing what they’ve been doing. Socialism, like they say, is trickle-up poverty.
Here we get into the third of these remember-’til-November issues, the Buffett thing. No one worker ant can be bigger than the others; if that be the case, the tax code should be used to even things out. I’m guessing that’s because, there is a finite quantity of resources needed to replenish the anthill, and the queen within it — a bigger worker ant might bring more food to the queen, but he’d consume a greater share as well.
I think we’re seeing why, it’s a huge deal when Ann Romney wears a blouse that costs a thousand dollars, but no biggie if Michelle Obama wears a jacket that costs seven times as much. She’s entitled. She’s the “queen.”
On a related note, I’m noticing a plurality of libs are taking issue with my definition of “Architects,” as in, Architects and Medicators, when I cite Hammurabi’s Code 229 (actually codes 229 through 233), which Wikipedia claims “is generally accepted as the first building code.” That’s the one where, if a family is killed because you built them a house and the house falls apart over their heads, you get crushed to death.
Their incredibly flawed thinking seeks to entrap me in a “gotcha”: Since I approve of 229, and why else would I make a reference to it, why that must mean I similarly approve of government regulation! Weird. So, I define something, with a reference to a nugget of history; that is tantamount to personal approval of it, so I’ve been caught contradicting myself…I guess I’m supposed to go “homina homina homina” off in a corner somewhere while everything I’ve said is expunged from the record or something.
I’m wondering, with unease, if such people have occupations in which they produce something I use. To make liberal ideas look sensible, I notice once again, it becomes necessary to make meaningfully similar things look like they’re different, and meaningfully different things look like they’re identical. “Government regulation,” as we use the term today, and as conservatives criticize it, is not quite like Hammurabi Code 229. It isn’t even close. I’ve actually worked with regulators and, frankly, I have to wonder if these people have. They sure talk a lot about “nuance” when it comes to the proper interpretation of their own arguments, it’s odd how clumsily they noodle out the other guy’s…
The distinction is between codes that are outcome-based, and codes that define the process. Architectus, from the Latin: Master builder. Hammurabi Code 229: If you screw the pooch on this thing, you will be crushed. You’re on the hot seat. You’re the big cheese. That is not what regulators regulate, today; if what we follow today, in terms of “government regulation,” indeed enjoys some kind of solid line of descent from Hammurabi’s “I will suffer no foolish pie-eyed liberals in my kingdom” law, there has to have been a major twisty going on somewhere. But I do not accept that there is any such solid line of descent. They are, in fact, polar opposites. Modern regulation says, the what, where & how are to be decided by people who do not actually build anything. It regulates that production is to be decided by those who do not produce.
Liberals do not understand what it is they are really advocating — in no small part because, when you listen to them criticizing the opposite, you find they have no idea what it is they’re really opposing.