Rush Limbaught often makes the point that conservatives need to stop arguing with liberals on policy solutions and start questioning the premises that underly their arguments.
As I look across these blogs, and so many others, I feel awash in class envy and hatred, and within that, an assumption that big government is a good thing for ordinary people.
Republicans have been such poor stewards of conservatism these last eight years, especially the mute President who just left office, who quite unlike Reagan and even Bush the elder, simply refused to explain conservative principles, challenge his critics -- and arguably failed to be a conservative on key issues, like the budget and immigration policy.
But reading about "taxing the rich" and "closing income gaps" is nothing more than a euphemism for confiscation. And on top of it, cheering on the expansion of the federal government into every corner of our lives -- it all seems shocking. What happened to the passion for indvidual freedom? Distrust of government and the centralization of power? These used to be characteristics of liberal as well as conservative thought -- they are rooted in the country's founding and in the thinkers who influenced them, like Rousseau and Burke.
Now we might as well read the Communist Manifesto as read these blogs... read about the proleteriat rising up to appropriate the means of production... transforming private property into the property of the people... appointing a dictatorship of the proleteriat, with the Party as its vanguard... throwing the jackboot of capitalism onto the ash heap of history!
Why did so many of us give up on the founding American principles? Why should we accept that people have given up on them? I urge posters on this board to challenge the premises and assumptions behind these malign arguments, and show how market economies really work for everybody when the right balance between state power and individual freedom is struck.
Krauthammer did a good job of challenging assumptions -- Obama's -- in his column today.
It slipped by everybody, but in his speech to Congress Obama pinned the cause of our economic decline on expensive health care, energy policy, and education policy. Krauthammer paraphrases and replies:
(Obama says) The "day of reckoning" has now arrived. And because "it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we'll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament," Obama has come to redeem us with his far-seeing program of universal, heavily nationalized health care; a cap-and-trade tax on energy; and a major federalization of education with universal access to college as the goal.
Amazing. As an explanation of our current economic difficulties, this is total fantasy. As a cure for rapidly growing joblessness, a massive destruction of wealth, a deepening worldwide recession, this is perhaps the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American people.
In the speech, Obama did not mention as causes the "credit bubble, a housing collapse and a systemic failure of the entire banking system... improvident loans, corrupted bond-ratings agencies, insufficient regulation of new and exotic debt instruments, the easy money policy of Alan Greenspan's Fed, irresponsible bankers pushing (and then unloading in packaged loan instruments) highly dubious mortgages, greedy house-flippers, deceitful homebuyers."
And now, true to Thomas Sowell's formula in The Vision of the Anointed, we have a crisis, and the anointed have the solution, and anyone who questions his solution is benighted.
In that book, Sowell questioned many liberal assumptions and shibboleths himself. So rather than argue about with liberals on this blog about the distribution of wealth:
"To say that 'wealth in America is so unfairly distributed in America,' as Ronald Dworkin does, is grossly misleading when most wealth in the United States is not distributed at all. People create it, earn it, save it, and spend it."
To me "rich" means having so much money that you don't need to get up in the morning and go to work if you don't want to.
But I don't want those people punished. I want those people spending or investing their money, and the rest of us being able to keep as much of our money as possible so we can all do the same.