The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
McClintock is California's saving grace.
Somewhere in the Bible, God either spares or destroys some city or another because a decent man could/couldn't be found. (I forget the polarity: the basic deal was find 1 decent guy, and I'll spare the city)
I fear that if California sends McClintock to Washington, the "decent man" review of their government would fail, and that'd be the end of that, fire and brimstone of everyone.
That story is from Genesis 18-19. The cities God was planning to destroy were Sodom and Gomorrah. God told Abraham his plans because Abraham's nephew Lot lived there. So Abraham asked God to spare the cities if 50 righteous men could be found. God agreed so Abraham got bold enough to keep asking for smaller numbers until it got down to 10 righteous men, which God agreed to.
Of course, we now know that even that bar was too high.
Hmph...thanks, wasn't sure if it was Sodom & Gomorrah, or some other hapless city/group that had annoyed the psycho-killer god of old.
There was an awful lot of smiting going on in those days, so it's hard to keep it all straight.
You should check out the conditions the few times when God did his smiting. We've all heard about how bad New Orleans was if you get off the main drag during Mardi Gras, where the odds that you would get mugged were pretty high. (Maybe 25%?) We consider that horrible.
Now look at Sodom and Gomorrah, where a traveler had a 100% chance of being assaulted and there weren't even 10 men who could be considered to be honest, law abiding (as in those who would agree with the principle of rule of law) citizens.
Or how about the Great Flood? The entire world was like Sodom and Gomorrah, with Noah and his family being the only "righteous" ones out of the entire human population.
Then there's Ninevah which Jonah was sent to. He didn't want to go because they were just as bad and he didn't even want them given a chance to repent. They were known for doing things like taking someone out to the desert, burying them up to their necks then staking their tongues out based on the slightest provocation. I've heard of similar things they did, but I don't remember the details. Again, nearly a 100% chance of travelers being attacked. That time, they repented, so God didn't destroy them, a fact that annoyed Jonah to no end. About 2 generations or so later, they had reverted to similar barbarity and God destroyed them.
There are others, but this should give you the idea. The groups God wiped out had to meet 3 conditions:
1 - Completely evil actions all the time, to the point that would probably make you sick to your stomach; as in murder, rape, torture, etc., were common everyday occurrences carried out by everyone who lived there.
2 - Complete unwillingness to change their ways.
3 - Zero (or so close to zero that it doesn't matter, as in 1 or 2) men opposing the evil.
Do you really consider God's actions in wiping out such groups unreasonable, especially when he provided an escape for the (very) few reasonable people who lived with that group?
See Paris in the spring? Right. I took four years of high school French and a year of middle school French and we didn't so much as go to a French restaurant.
Sodom and Gomorrah = San Francisco and LA - it totally fits. Ninevah is Sacramento...
Please, don't take offense, and I don't really want to extend a religious scuffle in Kevin's living room.
I disagree on many points, and belaboring them would only pointlessly extend the scuffle.
Suffice it to say that I do not accept either Testament as a flawless rendering of Divinely Inspired Thought, and that the Diety I know isn't in the smiting biz.
I don't really want to extend an off topic discussion either, yet how we view issues of crime and punishment, whether at a human or divine level, is a primary topic of Kevin's blog and a critical question for our society as a whole.
What would you think of, say, a Federal judge who gave a convicted perp a sentence of time served for rape, manslaughter or even 1st degree murder? If you're anything like me, you would be calling for his resignation, if not more. Is it really reasonable to expect God to refuse to enforce standards of good and evil, especially if the perp is so brazen that he would repeat his crime in a heartbeat?
Or are you suggesting that there is evidence that those groups who God wiped out are actually innocent? Based on the evidence we have availablesome of which comes from sources other than the Biblethose groups were actually guilty of great acts of evil beyond even those of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union under Stalin.
There are only really two questions we could ask:
1 - Are they actually guilty or not? The proper way to answer this question is by looking at the evidence.
2 - If they are guilty, then why shouldn't they be punished?
McClintock should be at the top of McAmnesty's VP list. Get the man out of California and put him somewhere he can do good. The two of them would be an incredible fiscal team to get government in order.
Alas .... McAmnesty doesn't need or want conservative's votes. Where else are we going to go .... Cough... Cough ... Barr ... Barr
Except Barr isn't going to win. All he can do is get us an Obamanation.
I agree with Kevin. I want to punish the Republican party too, but this time, it's to important. Vote for whoever you want for Congress, but for the love of %diety, keep Obama out of the Oval Office. If not for your sake, for all of us serving in the military, who will bear the brunt of an Obama presidency.
I do not believe that our military can survive as it exists today if Obama wins. Too many good people will leave. I heard the stories first hand about how many good people left when Clinton was elected. The same thing will happen this time, but worse.
Quick point - during what presidential election in the past was it not a dire matter of choosing the lesser of two great evils? How many decades has it been since any of you have voted for somebody you were genuinely happy to vote for?
I'm not that old - I can only remember three presidential elections, and Clinton's is a bit fuzzy in my brain - but this seems to be the point we come to every time.
Maybe it shouldn't surprise us that we're losing. Continually supporting the guy who is stabbing you less isn't going to keep you alive, it will just keep you alive longer.
This pragmatic path is doing exactly what we should expect it to, it's bleeding us of all our freedoms, and we're reducing to claiming as victories that our new assailants are using a smaller blade.
I'm not voting for McCain. And I might just cheer if Obama wins. Because nothing seems to be reaching these people, and the sooner we reach financial meltdown, the destruction of fiat currency, and the destruction of the current religion of state, the sooner the rest of us can get on with our lives.
That's wonderful if you don't think that "financial meltdown, the destruction of fiat currency, and the destruction of the current religion of state" also means societal collapse that would make the Depression look like a Disney cartoon.
From my perspective it looks like "Tough History Coming," and I'd like to put it off as long as possible.
Truly, I understand the desire to pull it all down and start over, but I'm a middle-aged fat man with health issues. Going Lord of the Flies just doesn't appeal to me. Delaying actions provide for at least the possibility of incremental rollback.
On that topic see "Rights: Second Amendment."
A few of us were sitting around the desks here and somebody brought up the fact of how much fun it was going to be come February of next year when all the(analog) TV sets go blank.
That right there is enough to get me to vote for the obamanation. Think about it. No Oprah, no Montel or Springer. The proles will march on Washington and probably hang every body they can find there. And the dems will be in charge.
>>Quick point - during what presidential election in the past was it not a dire matter of choosing the lesser of two great evils?
As a point of order, most POTUS elections aren't nearly as dire as they have been for the last half dozen cycles.
It feels like there's a lot on the line, because there IS. We are in the midst of a genuine historical nexus: nothing is safe, everything's at risk, and we can in fact lose it all.
I'm crossposting this comment from elsewhere:
but I honestly believe Barack Hussein Obama could very well bring about the end of the Republic
I also believe this, although I haven't decided if the Obamination would be the instrument of its destruction, or simply the herald that it had already been destroyed through the self destructive will of the People.
I think a lot of people might think that to be a hyperbolic election year statement, but I think that if you've been paying attention, you'll recognize that we've been in a bona fide historical nexus, and there's still some ways to go before we pass through to the other side. The shape, form and spirit of the other side will be decided by what we do while we're IN the nexus.
For the last several election cycles, the Dems have been offering us a choice of increasingly not credible, increasingly extreme collectivist candidates, and enough people are going for it that they keep trying. We all know that the GOP has been offering us increasingly milquetoast "meh" as the alternative, and that splitting the diff between extreme leftists and centrists means a quasi permament leftwards vector.
For some years, we have been sitting on the edge of an incipient collectivist Mass Movement (y'all really MUST read Eric Hoffer's "True Believer" if you want to understand what is going on), which has been lacking only two criterion which are now arguably fulfilled: a sufficiently charismatic leader, and a sufficiently weak opposition.
Obama plays the pied piper's flute, and way too many of us are following, despite the outrageously obvious flaws in his character and substance.
For the love of pete, there are newspaper articles that are openly wondering if Obama is an enlightened being!
Those people are playing with powerful, primal forces they have not studied, do not understand, and have no hope of controlling.
The potential for things to turn to shit & darkness has never been higher in my lifetime.
And so, getting back to my question, "instrument or herald", the problem with mass movements is just as much with the followers as with the Leaders. After all, Hitler never personally killed anyone. He used his charisma to amass power, his power attracted more dark souls, and his charisma attracted many willing followers. Without those folks, Hitler would have been just another asshole spouting off in a beerhall.
Actually, I figure it's a good thing McClintock isn't governor... and it's unfortunate that Schwarzenegger has that (R) after his name.
The California state budget is so thoroughly FUBAR that no governor could fix it, even with the full cooperation of the legislature (a significant part of the problem is a series of spending mandates in the state constitution).
Sooner or later, the whole system will have to collapse, and I'd rather the chaos got blamed on the party that dominates the state's politics, not the minority party that once in a while gets a governor elected to try to fix the mess.
The first forty years of the last century was a nexus - they made (weak) fascists of us, and pitted us against the forces of communism.
The next thirty years was a nexus - every action we took transformed our position in relation to the world. We became a world power, and began spreading fascism (calling it capitalism) in the name of ending communism - and began a war on drugs which furthered the fascism.
The next thirty years - why, we got ourselves into two wars in opposing that communism which have transformed the face of America. We increased the level of fascism in response to growing racial tensions.
The next thirty years - which we're still working on?
There hasn't been an election in over a century that wasn't going to transform the face of American politics forever. From the latter Roosevelt past Hoover and Nixon and Reagan, every president we've had has overseen turmoil, every election we've seen has been the subject of an ever-growing hysteria, that -this- will be the most important one yet.
And we're losing. We're playing by their rules, and we're giving this absurd game the only validity it could ever have, pretending we're being given a choice, pretending that society is a thing with a volition we must bow to, adhere to, sacrifice ourselves to.
You say the last six elections have been truly important? How many of those did you pay attention to? My guess would be you gained interest in politics about thirty years ago.
The path we're treading now has been walked before - and we take the same approach now as then, opposing tyrants while obeying their directives, expecting different results?
A coworker of mine moved here from Russia a few years back - he is disgusted by what America had become. That should say everything that needs to be said. At what point does revolution become acceptable? At what point does it become obligatory?
I would say we passed that point when night raids became acceptable police tactics, when government decided that it had the right to say who you could and could not employ, when "society" decided that the individual was less important than the whole.
I'm not going to necessarily disagree with you... but...
"We became a world power, and began spreading fascism (calling it capitalism) in the name of ending communism - and began a war on drugs which furthered the fascism."
I would like to find out exactly how you define "fascism" in that sentence.
"I'm not voting for McCain. And I might just cheer if Obama wins. Because nothing seems to be reaching these people, and the sooner we reach financial meltdown, the destruction of fiat currency, and the destruction of the current religion of state, the sooner the rest of us can get on with our lives."
+1. We all know there's a hard time coming, but I nearly sincerely believe that the harder it is and the sooner it comes the better our chances of recovery are. It's the whole boiling frog idea.
Oz: "I nearly sincerely believe that the harder it is and the sooner it comes the better our chances of recovery are. It's the whole boiling frog idea."
I think we all agree on the problem. Based on the lessons of history, and most especially on recent and accelerating trends in America, our country is well into riding the wave down the toilet bowl of history. The big question is what, if anything, can we do about it.
On the one hand, we have the hope that letting the idiots who are pushing this process have their way, we may manage to reduce the destruction by powering through it. The thinking is that if we continue to resist we slow down the process enough that people can continue to remain oblivious to the dangers (boiling frog syndrome) while if the pace of collapse picks up, enough people may wake up to the dangers and become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Furthermore, allowing the destroyers of western civilization proceed without interference should theoretically make it impossible for them to shift the blame.
Another option is to keep fighting the fall as hard as possible in the hopes that we may actually be able to prevent it and turn things around. The hope here is that The Fall is not inevitable and can actually be avoided. The hope is that even if the current choices are just between Fall Fast and Fall Slow, the Fall Slow choice is just an anomaly that can be corrected with a later choice which can start to turn things around.
A third option is the Foundation Option. In this case, The Fall is recognized as inevitable one way or the other. So instead of trying to stop it or accelerate it, a plan is developed to safeguard a seed of civilization so that after the fire passes, civilization can be rebuilt much more quickly, reducing the period of darkness.
The more I think about these options, the more I think the third option is the only one with a reasonable chance of success. It's hard nosed in that people are going to suffer and nothing can be done to help them. But it's also one with a historical precedent for success.
According to history, the cycle from slavery to freedom to complacency back to slavery is apparently inevitable. History also contains a Foundation which preserved the seeds of civilization during the Dark Ages: monasteries. Not only did they copy and preserve the Bible, they also did the same for other critical works such as the writings of Plato, Aristotle, etc. As the Dark Ages drew to a close, people began to rediscover these classic works of western civilization which eventually led to the founding of The United States of America on timeless principles discovered throughout history.
Does anyone know of a Hari Seldon who can chart the best course through this mess?
Grumpy - I use Mussolini's loose definition - the merging of government and corporate powers. The loss of distinction between a free market, and a market. A defense contractor, by definition, is a fascist entity - as is a group of mercenaries employed by the government. But so is the business arrangement between a city and a garbage company, or a highway department and businesses which buy the rights to collect tolls on that highway.
That is, fascism is a government which thinks it is a business - the face we know fascism as is merely the result of its PR department, which after all any modern business will maintain, and its pursuit of the destruction of its competition. A fascist government is one which treats votes as currency, rather than legitimacy.
My definition of fascism is, I admit, a bit vague - because I've tried to define it, not by its behavior, but by its principles.
And Ed - the modern world usually allows a fourth option. For the innocent to leave. I think this will be the first time in more than two centuries that they have nowhere to flee to, however.
That's why it's not one of my options.
... and the sooner we reach financial meltdown, the destruction of fiat currency, and the destruction of the current religion of state, the sooner the rest of us can get on with our lives."
That is pure sophistry. I get on with my life continuously, and I refuse to be guided by the blind hope that things are gonna be OK after the next catastrophe. This isn't a soap opera, nor is it just waiting to rebuild the garden shed after the current one falls down, all the while hoping to just get it over with.
Pardon my French, but clichés aren't the answer, and neither is helping Obama to "lead" us off a cliff.
"Quick point - during what presidential election in the past was it not a dire matter of choosing the lesser of two great evils?"
During my lifetime, Ronald Reagan (1980) comes to mind. Just before that was Dwight D. Eisenhower (1952). Your mileage may vary.
You think I'm joking, right? Consider that Ronald Reagan (during his presidential campaign wherein we can compare one to the other, given that we know little otherwise about Obama), offered the precise opposite then of what Obama offers now, namely that the United States of America was still the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, that its best days are still ahead, and that optimism is infectious and desirable. Comparing his optimism to the disaster who is named Jimmy Carter, I quite easily found one to vote against and one to vote FOR. So did a lot of other people, and Reagan carried 44 states. The Republican Party currently has no one like him, and is suffering mightily for it.
Now, kindly don't jump to the conclusion that I am an unabashed Reaganite in all respects. I am not. I am discussing the election of 1980, not the administration that followed it.
Consider, too, that many of us predicted in 1976 just what kind of president ol' Jimmy would be. We were all very surprised, as he was much worse than any of us had imagined it was possible to be. Consequently, we have few illusions and much confidence in our expectations of Obama. We might just find ourselves pinin' for the good ol' days of Jimmy.
"For the last several election cycles, the Dems have been offering us a choice of increasingly not credible, increasingly extreme collectivist candidates, and enough people are going for it that they keep trying."
THAT oughta be the Quote of the Season.
Eisenhower? Are you kidding? The man who oversaw the dismemberment of private transportation? The expansion of the nanny state? And expanded our military in pursuit of a non-war we had no business fighting?
Reagan, I might grant you - certainly his products were fair enough. But one in a century is not good, and even he did nothing but slow the tide of socialism.
Adiran, you didn't grow up in the fifties. I was born in 1953. General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower was a HERO, a revered leader of men. My father served directly under him, as a liason officer between his headquarters and General Bradley's headquarters, from after the invasion of Sicily until the end of the war. He was astoundingly easy to vote FOR.
One votes either for or against a candidate at the end of the campaign, before he takes office. You ask if I'm kidding, given what he did after he took office. Now, try it again, but this time given only what we knew of Eisenhower on election day in November of 1952, as compared to his opponent, um, what's his name?
What, a direct ideological descended of Franklin Roosevelt? A man who was championed by the Democrats he was in supposed opposition to, whose support was derived from exactly that portion of the population which would have pushed, and was pushing for, the very things I just listed?
Nothing he did was a surprise. He promised to end the Korean War - with the threat of nuclear war, he did. He promised to fight the non-interventionalist policy - that is, he promised to continue fighting the cold war, which he oversaw the escalation of. The man was quite possibly the least surprising, the most honest president we've ever had.
Hero? Maybe. Roosevelt was a hero, too. Both of them oversaw the destruction of more liberty than anyone else in history.
And being born in 1953 means that you completely and utterly failed to live through his election, and equally failed to live through his presidency. The secondhand observations you are relying on are precisely the same secondhand observations I am.
Exactly how, incidentally, is arguing that we didn't know what we were getting going into that election - and ending up with something terrible - supposed to convince anybody that we just need to stick it out, that democracy will work, and that people will start being responsible for themselves on their own, that things aren't on a continual slide downwards that can only end when it's done?
We're in a recession of freedom. And like a recession of economics, increasing government spending - pouring ever-more power and money into politics by increasing the stakes - won't make it go away. At best and at worst it will slow it down, and drag it out.
- To clarify, by live through, I mean live through as a rational human being, paying attention to what was going on. His term would have been essentially over by the time you started paying attention with enough insight into the world to know what you were looking at, to recognize what was important.
"A man who was championed by the Democrats he was in supposed opposition to ... The man was quite possibly the least surprising, the most honest president we've ever had."
Imagine an election in which people had a choice of voting for, well, someone, or voting for a proven leader who gave no surprises and who was believed to be honest. Yup, that is why the presidential election of 1952 wasn't an election that was, in the words of your question that led to this exchange, a "presidential election in the past" in which it was "not a dire matter of choosing the lesser of two great evils".
I am not championing Eisenhower. I am simply answering the question you asked. He won with 55% of the popular vote and 442 electoral votes. Now, consider the tens millions of voters who overwhelmingly voted for him and tell me I'm wrong, that voting for him wasn't a "dire matter of choosing the lesser of two great evils" in the minds of those voters.
"And being born in 1953 means that you completely and utterly failed to live through his election, and equally failed to live through his presidency."
"- To clarify, by live through, I mean live through as a rational human being, paying attention to what was going on."
Stuck your foot in your mouth, did you?
I was born just after he was was sworn in as president. Other than the number of stars on the flag changing twice while I was in first grade, I paid no attention to politics during his administration. But I most certainly lived through all but a few months of his presidency, and I was a rational human being the whole time, to the extent a person of that age can be considered rational.
Really, if you have a point to make, you don't need such hyperbole.
"Exactly how, incidentally, is arguing that we didn't know what we were getting going into that election - and ending up with something terrible - supposed to convince anybody that we just need to stick it out, that democracy will work, and that people will start being responsible for themselves on their own, that things aren't on a continual slide downwards that can only end when it's done?"
Beats me. I make no such argument.
The argument I make is that, given a vote among evils: 1) making no vote simply leaves the choice completely in the hands of others, none of whom should be expected to make a choice with your interests in mind; 2) the most pragmatic course is to weigh, for all the choices, both the nature of the expected evil result and the likelihood that the expected evil result will come to pass, and vote to minimize the evil; and, 3) there is no advantage in voting to maximize or speed up the evil, or to phrase it more crudely, it makes no sense to vote for whoever will fuck things up the worst and the quickest. The problem is that you cannot predict just how bad the worst evil will be, and I don't want to find out the hard way.
And how is speaking in cliches going to convince anyone of anything? What does "a continual slide downwards that can only end when it's done" mean, exactly?
"At best and at worst it will slow it down, and drag it out."
And it might reduce how far it falls, it might reduce how hard it hits when it hits bottom, and it might reduce how long it takes to climb out of it, whatever the hell "it" is.
Oops. That shoulda been "was" a dire matter, given how I worded that statement. One shouldn't try to be serious just before bedtime, methinks. Mea culpa.