Friday, November 5, 2010

A Rational Majority

This week has been downright lousy with conservatives crowing about the election, and there's no respite in sight. It was a rebuke of big government, a triumph of common sense, a return to reason, a resounding victory for the American people, and so on. The Democrats, after all, have spent nearly two whole years tinkering with the economy and most of us aren't self-employed millionaires yet, so out with them! And since we refuse, for whatever reason, to allow ourselves to be represented in Washington by a truckload of inanimate carbon rods, the duty falls to the Republicans.

But despite my sarcastic skepticism (not to mention my skeptical sarcasm), I can't help being cautiously optimistic (that is, when I'm not being aggressively pessimistic about the election's implications for immigration reform, gay rights, marijuana legalization, and other issues I won't get into here). I give conservatives a hard time, but, when it comes down to it, I do sincerely believe this country would benefit from a government with more of a laissez faire approach to the economy. In the two-year-old words of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Will:[1]
Conservatives rightly think, or once did, that much, indeed most, government spreading of wealth is economically destructive and morally dubious—destructive because, by directing capital to suboptimum uses, it slows wealth creation; morally dubious because the wealth being spread belongs to those who created it, not government.
And yet, when it comes to the conservative movement itself—rather than the philosophy in the abstract—Will and I are no longer on the same page. A line in his most recent column nicely illustrates why (emphasis added):
This was the serious concern that percolated beneath the normal froth and nonsense of the elections: Is political power—are government commands and controls—superseding and suffocating the creativity of a market society's spontaneous order? On Tuesday, a rational and alarmed American majority said "yes."
So, if I've got this right, here's what George Will is saying:
  1. A free market economy is the smoothest road to prosperity.
  2. Therefore, it's rational to support free market economics.
  3. In this week's election, a vote for Republicans was a vote in support of free market economics.
  4. Therefore, Republican voters are rational.
Nope. Not how it works. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt on propositions 1, 2, and 3—as I'm inclined to do—there remains all kinds of room on the free market bandwagon for the least rational among us to jump aboard.[2] I'd be a lot more comfortable with proposition 4 if it looked something like this:
  1. Therefore, Republican voters may or may not be rational, because, while rational people support free market economics, irrational people support whatever the hell causes their semi-functional neurons to light up, including but not limited to Michael Bay movies, Scientology, bi-weekly Powerball drawings, the New York Mets, and, yes, free market economics.[3]
But still, flawed logic aside, who am I to say that Will isn't (accidentally) right about Republican voters? Maybe they are, indeed, (by sheer coincidence) uniformly rational. If that's the case, then it must've been a bunch of deceitful liberals—as Will points out, they'll stop at nothing to portray conservatives as angry, uninformed morons—who adorned his column with the following comments (edited for brevity, but, obviously, not for content):[4]
Leftist Lie: "Two never ending wars=republican"
Actual Truth: Iraq war is over.
Leftist Lie: "hate Muslims=republican"
Actual Truth: Republicans hate terrorists, leftists want to give them a safe haven.
Leftist Lie: "Hate gays=republican"
Actual Truth: Republicans value the tradition of marriage. Leftists want to destroy its meaning.
[Obama] is a pseudo intellectual who has been programmed by a series of communist and revolutionary associations. Collective Salvation is a key incite to his programming and whence it came. A perversion of Christianity by communists. Traditional Christians like POPES consider collective salvation as a political teaching as DEMONIC. There is no telling where an Unstable Obama will take us or what he will do. After he scolded us for going to Los Vegas he is taking a 2 billion dollar trip to India. Is the man sane?
We have a Communist sociopath as President.
[Obama] surrounds himself with Tax Cheats, Chicago thugs, incompetents, radical loony perverted Czars and has Democrat accomplices in congress that can't even READ the trillion dollar pork packages and Obama/Pelosi Government Crap Care they put their X on and inflict on Americans…
And now the investigations will begin. I can't wait for the one that Obama will try to explain how he is legally qualified to be president when he can't product a certified birth certificate and neither of his parent were qualifying US citizens.
Finally, my favorite (because really, you do need to be aware):
The intelligence of the Liberals is stunningly low.They lack the ability to see what Obama and the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS are doing to this country…If you have money in the bank,you might want to pull it.Another piece of advice,watch GLENN BECK, THURSDAY,FRIDAY he has been warning for a year and a half about OBAMA ,everything he has said is happening.The man loves this country,he is warning us.The media,OBAMA,SOROS has been boycotting his show because he has been exposing them,WATCH,YOU NEED TO BE AWARE !!!!!
Alright, that's enough for now (check this article's comments for some more gems, if you're into that sort of thing). Internet commenters, as always, prove nothing, except that stupidity is ideologically-neutral.

So, are intelligent, thoughtful, and rational conservatives out there too? Sure—plenty of them. Is voting Republican, in and of itself, proof of intelligence, thoughtfulness, and rationality? No, of course not,[5] and if conservatives like George Will are as smart as they seem to think they are, they should understand that.

1. Also from the 2008 column (but not relevant to my point, which is why it's stashed away down here in this footnote):
Hyperbole is not harmless; careless language bewitches the speaker's intelligence. And falsely shouting "socialism!" in a crowded theater such as Washington causes an epidemic of yawning.
Well said.
2. I assume the Free Market Bandwagon, for the sake of comfort, fuel efficiency, and durability, would be a foreign model. Or, for the sake of irony, a GM.
3. Does that sound mean-spirited? I feel like it sounds a little mean-spirited. Oh well, I'm just trying to be funny. I really don't mean to offend Transformers fans, Scientologists, lottery players, capitalists, or…yeah, that's all.
4. For what it's worth, I tried to avoid picking out comments that are simply poorly-written. My intent is not to mock those with a shaky grasp on the language (or, to put it in PC terms, those with a "unique voice"), but to mock those who have proudly and openly severed ties with reality—though the latter is hardly a stranger to the former. Anyway, in the interest of fairness, here’s one of the good ones:
George, with all due respect, a wave of rational and concerned voters did not really come into it. You and I and a fairly small minority live in an informed and rational world, but the vast majority of the voting population votes purely from the hip. Happy? Yes – vote for incumbent, no – vote for challenger.
And one more, just because I like it:
We demand to see Boehner's birth certificate! He's orange. No human is orange. Is he American or Alien? Release his college records now! We want proof he attended college. We want our country back!
5. Is engaging in a Q&A with myself a lazy, overused stylistic device? Absolutely, but screw you—I'm doing it anyway.


  1. My article already contains more than enough semi-literate nonsense, but some of this stuff is too good to ignore. Here are a few more Republican voters expressing their agreement with George Will, in re the intellectual superiority of conservatives:


    Whining, complaining, ordering, sneering at and insulting... that pretty much sums up both the intellect and the modis operandi of the Democrat left. And, since this behavior is endemic to the President and his red supporters, i.e. they can't stop doing this because if they do they won't be reds anymore, it will continue and we'll have another chance to play whack-a-red-mole in 2012.

    [Responding to a commenter who said: "Will's an idiot. Republicans can't govern, have no ideas and lucked out because only the right wing crazies came out to vote."] Well, if only the right wing crazies came out to vote it clearly proves how useless the left wing-nuts really are. They were probably too stoned on kool-aid to leave their dwellings.

    After listening to President Obama today I am now quite positive that he just doesn't get it. One term seems to be want he plans on having.

    Why do so many Obama supporters read Will's column?Because they want to be sure they can make the effort to come to Obama's defense. Clearly, they see Will's intelligence and insight as a threat to the ineptitude and ridiculous spending of the Obama administration. When you recognize that Will can see through Obama's agenda, then you cower and defend, however weakly and ineffectively. Sorry for the desperation of the Obama and associates today.

    [Will] nails the central premise and liability of liberalism-their disdain for the voters and hence democracy. He captures the essence of Obama by describing him as " a chronic campaigner and incontinent complainer". Never in our country's history has such a juvenile and narcissistic politician occupied the White House.

    There's a simple way for the remaining Demoncraps to win re-election: Become Republicans.

    I listened to Pres. Obama's news conference today (after election) and am absolutely amazed at his callow comments. He just can not get the points being made because his experiences are so shallow, and callow, that he has no frame of reference. It is like watching a college junior/senior debate with a graduate lawyer - they each use the same words but you can tell the junior/senior does not even understand the indepth meaning of the words.

    Thank you America for stopping runaway unchecked liberalism. Liberisl is a horrible affliction on any country.

    Ill miss the cackling laughter from pelosi and the arrogance of the liberals with complete power.
    Can you hear me now obama?
    YOUR NEXT-after two years of cutting you down to the useless liberal you are.
    The party of HEL# NO is on a mission actually listening to voters to do ONE THING- reverse, repeal and repudiat any liberal agenda youve thrown in our face.
    No more czars, no more holders racism, no more joy rides in air force jets (pelosi), no more degrading the office, no more arrogance.
    BYE BYE to the experiment with socialism. Time for you dopesmoking liberals to get a job, move out of mommas house and pay yaxes instead of leaching off others.
    Wake up liberals, this is america, not cuba.

    Alas, November 2, 2010 brings an end to the raping of America by this lying, corrupt, and inept Chicago block captain. In 2012, this Scam is over.

    Drastically reform Medicare, or repeal it altogether. Make all people over the age of 65 buy health insurance insurance coverage, or be on their own.

    Opposition to liberal fascism is the identifier of American patriotism. No one who supports totalitarian socialism, in the form of the democrat party, can be considered a friend of freedom.

  2. These [Democrats] aren't the ruling "elites" - as they are often described. Rather, this is the "dictatorship of the proletatiat." That's why the left constantly derides the right as morons or wackos or racists. Do not believe for a moment that they view yesterday's results as anything more than a minor, temporary setback on the road to communism…If you believe that Obama got the message the voters sent yesterday, then you certainly did not see his post-election news conference. This man is out of touch with the voters because most American voters aren't communists.

    The most respected, successful and influential black man in the United States is Michael Steele. Obama has been marginalized by his own mouth and lack of accomplishment.

    The liberals progressives will not back off or change their minds. Their basic motivating ethos is fascist.

    Obama'Ego is inflated to the point og being puncture-proof.
    A year ago Justice Scalia said it needs only 2 or 3 voices for an impeachment. A new round turn of the Supreme Court would be now again appropriate.

    Thank you for taking Obama and hi sycophants to the woodshed! The sad point is that they are as pervasive as an aggressive malignancy and thus must be managed with a daily strong dose of the political equivalent of chemotherapy.

    How typical of Leftists. How utterly droll. In 2008, in the wake of two unpopular/failed wars and an economic meltdown, the voters elected Obama. The Left couldn't stop congratulating voters for their maturity and wisdom. In 2010 we had a tsunami whereby Obama's policies and ideology were overwhelmingly rejected. The Left is now having a hissy fit accusing voters of being stupid, racist, frightened, uninformed, etc. Funny how so many people became so stupid in such a short time. The Left is like a rejected lover; spiteful, hateful, and in complete denial.

    Progressivism = Totalitarianism

    A recoil against liberalism...against outlandish Union and illegal alien entitlements; against Liberal and foreign national suits against Arizona and its citizens; against liberal open borders and amnesty policies; against unchecked spending parties; against unchecked attempts to over tax US citizens for radical agendas; against givernment RULING Americans vs. Americans ruling Congress. against tyranny over freedom. The list goes on but, as the old Dylan song goes, "It's all over now Baby BLUE!

    Obama is after one thing only -- and that is raw power. He wants the power to control the lives of every citizen in this country at every level.

  3. "And now the investigations will begin. I can't wait for the one that Obama will try to explain how he is legally qualified to be president when he can't product a certified birth certificate and neither of his parent were qualifying US citizens."

    I can't wait for that, either?

    "The most respected, successful and influential black man in the United States is Michael Steele."

    I almost spit out coffee when I read this. Thanks for posting these comments.

  4. You're welcome, thanks for reading them. This one, I think, is especially fascinating:

    "Thank you America for stopping runaway unchecked liberalism. Liberisl is a horrible affliction on any country."

    There are enough difficult words in there to establish this person as a more-than-competent speller, so what was the chain of events that led to "Liberisl"? I'd really like to track him or her down and find out.

  5. Re: "Obama will try to explain how he is legally qualified to be president when he can't product a certified birth certificate and neither of his parent were qualifying US citizens."

    First, Obama has already produced the OFFICIAL birth certificate of Hawaii, the Certification of Live Birth, which is the only birth document that Hawaii has issued since 2001. Also, the facts on Obama's certification were confirmed twice by the officials of the department of health and department of vital records of Hawaii and most recently by the governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, a Republican.

    Second, the reason that Obama's election was confirmed UNANIMOUSLY by the US Congress (535 members) is that not one of them believed that the citizenship of parents affects Natural Born Citizen status.

    Such prominent conservative Senators who are also lawyers as Orren Hatch and Lindsay Graham say that a Natural Born Citizen is simply one who was born in the USA:

    Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said:

    “Every child born in the United States is a natural-born United States citizen except for the children of diplomats.” (December 11, 2008 letter to constituent)

    Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), said:

    “What is a natural born citizen? Clearly, someone born within the United States or one of its territories is a natural born citizen.” (Senate Judiciary Committee hearing hearing on OCTOBER 5, 2004)