jump to navigation

What Happened to Brazil? April 1, 2017

Posted by intellectualgridiron in Politics.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

What happened to Brazil (economically-speaking)?  In previous articles, I have already spelled out the problem in so many words.  Brazil did enjoy economic growth for a while, which made them appear as though they were ready to join the grown-ups table of commerce-oriented countries.

But then Brazil hit an economic downturn from which it has failed to recover.  Even in 2009, it was still able to display a facade of prosperity, and thus successfully sold the International Olympic Committee on the idea of becoming the first country and city [Rio de Janeiro] to host the Olympic Games.  All those sports venues, built by government money, are now vacant and deteriorating, by the way.  So much for governmnent “stimulus”.

But do not take my word for it.  Now, Felipe Moura Brasil, a native Brazilian, offers his perspective on the systemic problems that have brought Brazil to this sorry pass (video at the top of the article).  Watch, listen, and learn.

Among the points he cites are:

  • Government transferring money from the rich to the poor.  Funny who the poor never got any richer as a result.
  • Those who did get richer by the aforementioned government actions of legalized theft were — surprise, surprise — Lula da Silva (Brazil’s then-president) and his corporate cronies.
  • The Socialists increased government spending, deficits, and debts, calling it “Stimulus” (e.g., all the Olympic venues that are now abandoned).
  • The same Socialists also increased the salary and retirement benefits of those in the civil service, euphemistically calling it “investing in the future”.
  • Handed out thousands of jobs in state-owned companies to political allies, euphemistically spinning such corruption as “good governance”.
  • Government spending kept going up, causing the economic growth to eventually collapse.

Fortunately, the Brazilian journalist in question cites some good news in the wake of this government-begotten economic wreckage.

One is that, according to Brasil, more Brazilians are starting to see capitalism and limited government as the way out of their national malaise.  As we have already pointed out on this blog, da Silva’s successor, Dilma Rousseff — also a Socialist — has been impeached and removed from office.  Her successor, Michel Temer, has already been leading some important economic reforms.

As Brasil himself points out at the end of this video, it will take a long time for his native country to recover economically from the havoc wrought by the Socialists.  This is to be expected for a country that was still on the upper end of the “developing country” spectrum, and whose corrupt government policies preempted it from being able to fully emerge as one of the truly grown-up, commerce-oriented nations (e.g., the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Australia, etc.).  Brazil’s only hope to be able to recover so as to emerge as one in the future is through, again, limited government and free enterprise.

Just as socialism wrecked Brazil’s economy and continues to wreak apocalyptic havoc in Venezuela, it can also cause America’s prosperity and social order to also collapse.  Bernie Sanders supporters, take note.

On the Double-Standard of Objectivity and Perfection November 7, 2015

Posted by intellectualgridiron in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

It is funny how random memories from days of long past can creep into one’s conscious mind and thus catch one off guard.  One memory that keeps cropping up from time to time dates back to the early Spring semester of my freshman year in college, when I attended a lecture on a course I took on mass media (my misguided and regretful major at that time).  In that lecture, the instructor tried to rationalize away the idea that the mainstream media was liberal-leftist in its bias and hidden ideology/agenda.  He did so by pointing out that news itself is about change (a fair enough point, to be sure), and since change for change’s sake is a driving force for many liberals these days, it left us to surmise that being in the news business would naturally incline towards the leftist ideology.

But then the instructor added something else, too, that human objectivity is an unattainable ideal.  This is the key point on which to focus.  One of the conservatives’ justified gripes against many in the so-called mainstream media is that they are not objective, that their liberal bias shows not only in how they report the stories, but also which stories they report and which stories they deem unworthy of their time by not reporting.  A recent example is the case of the impudent black student in South Carolina whose flagrant disobedience led her to be dragged to the floor and out of the classroom by the school’s security officer.  Fanning the flames of hysteria, the MSM acted like this was a national scandal, and the federal government, (the DOJ in this case) in yet another case of poking its tentacles into a place where it has no business venturing, has said it will conduct a civil rights investigation about the matter.  Seriously?

Yet when a black high school student body-slammed his high school’s principal, we hear hardly a word about it from the MSM.

Yes, it is natural for humans to have our biases.  Indeed, it is part of our nature.  But as rational creatures, we have the potential to overcome them when duty calls for us to do so.  That said, being imperfect beings, despite being made in the image of the Creator, we often fall short of such an ideal.  Nevertheless, the aforementioned double-standard is obvious enough for rational people to see through biases and recognize that these two stories at least deserve equal time so as to allow for an optimally-informed citizenry.  If having such a well-informed citizenry is NOT the goal, then the very usefulness of the journalism profession within the MSM is to be seriously called into question.

Since we acknowledge that pure objectivity is often an unattainable, if not worthy ideal, can we also acknowledge, given the facts of these cases, that ideological bias pre-screens which stories even get reported?

An even deeper systemic problem is the double-standard regarding perfection itself.  To acknowledge the we as human are naturally biased is tantamount to the acknowledgement that we are imperfect beings.  Five and a half millennia of recorded history chronicles all these imperfections of man, and such an incredibly long span of time (from the perspective of mankind in general, not of a geologist!) attests that these imperfections are not going away any time soon.  Not in this life, at least.

Yet that does not prevent many journalists in the MSM and elsewhere from nevertheless clinging to the foolish belief (demonstrated to be foolish by more than 5,000 years of human experience) that mankind is somehow perfectible.  Their naïve yet dangerous idea is that all they need to do to be rewarded in their gigantic leap of faith is to “point the way” to the betterment of man.  Invariably, their way to a more enlightened, perfected species is through more and more government-sponsored indoctrination, government intervention, and control.

Such dangerous, authoritarian ideas naturally attract a coalition of other groups and individuals who see a government increased in magnitude, strength, and centrality to our lives as a way of begetting their own parochial agendas, from political feminists (is there any other kind?) to race hustlers, to environmental activists.

The overall point is, the lack of objectivity one can discern from stories printed in the New York Times to the flagrant malpractice on display by the CNBC crew at the most recent Republican primary debate is at once part of a double-standard that liberal sycophants all too readily rationalize, while at the same time ignore a far more systemic problem.  Yes, it is all well and good to acknowledge that we cannot expect perfect objectivity from reporters at that level of journalism.  But can they at least try?  The fact that they seem not to suggests an ideological filtering of those who enter this profession in the first place.  Is it any wonder that former basketball coach Bobby Knight had such disdain for the profession?  That is to say, folks go into the MSM already with an agenda, and leave objectivity at the front door, never to reclaim it.

Even more disturbing?  Their own lack of clarity of thought will lead them to quickly point out that they themselves are flawed when it comes to objectivity (or lack thereof), yet turn around and cling to the faith of the perfectibility of man.

The Opinion Index, 11-15-12 November 16, 2012

Posted by intellectualgridiron in Politics.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

The issue of Republicans trying to broaden their base is one that has obviously been on my minds within the ranks of the GOP, specifically, how do we bring in more minorities into our camp?   Many people who just happen to be minorities no doubt share most of our values, but others, namely a large swath of blacks, seem not to.  Many in the black community have kept themselves on Uncle Sam’s Plantation, much to their own peril economically, socially and spiritually.  What must be done, according to Dennis Prager, is to bring more minorities towards our values, meaning that we must get the message to them, make it clear to them, and prove to them that our values are in their best interest, and indeed, in America’s best interest.

At the core of things is a particular challenge.  We as Republicans stand for hard work, self-reliance, free enterprise and individual initiative.  On paper, that seems like an easy sell.  But it becomes a much tougher sell when the other side says “don’t worry, we’ll take care of you,” without regard for who will pay for all the goodies.  This is part of the case that Mona Charen tries to make, along with the chilling reminder that the worse an economy gets, the more lots of people (single women, etc.) cling to government for security.  To overcome this huge obstacle to preserving individual liberty and prosperity, we need to have more brains (and common sense!) and imagination than the Democrats.

One important thing to keep in mind is that some Republicans happen to win in places where they are least expected to, such as the People’s Republic of Massachusetts.  How do they do it?  Jeff Jacoby points out that they won with focusing on grassroots, and champion liberty, limited government, and low taxes.  This, of course, flies in the face of conventional wisdom from campaign consultants, who think that GOP candidates must go wishy-washy and moderate positions.  The message is clear:  clarity, conviction, and the ability to put it in words people can understand wins, even in Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, lots of people within conservative ranks seem to be piling on Romney right now (hasn’t the poor guy taken enough grief?).  Did he make mistakes?  Of course he did.  Taking Rick Perry to task over his stance on the DREAM Act was a fatal blow towards his hopes for attracting Hispanic votes, for example.  But having said all that, it is more than worth pointing out what he did RIGHT.  Who better than Hugh Hewitt to offer a nice, easily digestible list of things Mitt did well which future candidates would be well-served to emulate, and others which have set the GOP up for long-term success?

Finally, one important thing to note is an alternative solution to solving the mess in Washington.  Instead of trying to change Washington — which we ought not to give up anytime soon — let us also devote just as much energy towards helping the Several States wrestle issues back into their sphere of control.  Justin Owen offers a very timely piece on how some states have already challenged the Federal government in key areas such as environmental protection, Medicaid reform, and education.  Let us never forget that we have something called the 10th Amendment.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This must be remembered above all else, especially now.

Refuting Warren specifically, and liberalism in general October 9, 2011

Posted by intellectualgridiron in Politics.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

By now, many readers who have been paying attention to the political scene have no doubt heard the quote from Elizabeth Warren that has recently “gone viral,” to use the modern parlance.  Warren, who currently seeks the nomination from the Democrat Party to run against Republican Senatorial incumbent Scott Brown for Massachusetts in the 2012 election, created something of a stir during a meeting with voters in someone’s living room in Andover, Mass., when a would-be constituent had the temerity to question the idea that more government is the solution to everything.  She responded:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own.  Nobody.  You built a factory out there — good for you.  But I want to be clear.  You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.  You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.  You were safe in your factory because of police and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. …  You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea — God bless, keep a big hunk of it.  But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Sigh.  Where to begin?  The fallacies of Warren’s little rant are so numerous, I ask that question in all earnestness.  Naturally, these fallacies require refutation, and who better than George Will, who explains how that rant encapsulates the modern liberals’ contempt for individualism and their lust for collectivism.  Moreover, Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe effectively attacks these fallacies by pointing out that she mentioned nothing of the wasteful government boondoggles that promote inefficiencies, nor the burdensome regulation that stiffles innovation and growth.

Will’s reminder to all of us is thus:  Warren misunderstands, on a fundamental level, what the purpose of government is.  Her rant was symptomatic of the liberal intelligensia’s fixation on the idea that everyone else is a potential victim, and the only way to preempt such victimhood is for everyone else to subordinate themselves to the intelligensia for their own good.  More to the point, though, Warren has fundamental misunderstanding in what America’s “social contract” truly is all about.  The individual’s social contract is to cooperate with one’s fellow man.  To do so out of one’s own free will requires the individual have an incentive — specifically, an economic one — to cooperate with one’s fellow man.  That same incentive will lead people to make rational decisions with regard to such cooperation.  Government’s job is to facilitate such cooperation with roads, schools, and police.  Warren’s implication is that government is to create such cooperation through social engineering — in other words, government is not just to facilitate, it it is create it as well.

Thankfully, this thinking is at odds with the majority of the public.  Jacoby points out in his column (linked above) that people’s dissatisfaction with the government is at a 40-year high, according to a Gallup Poll.  Contrast that with 84 percent of the public thinking positively about entrepreneurs in general, and 95 percent thinking positively about small business.  Full disclosure:  yours truly works for a small-business manufacturer, as legally defined.

All this leads to yet another false premise that Warren implied to operate under during her infamous rant:  that because conservatives are suspicious of government’s effectiveness means that they want to do away with government altogether.  Of course nobody in the mainstream, right or left, wants such a thing, and that includes the Tea Party movement.  What those who are advocating for limited government call for is a reduction, not randomly, but towards that for which the federal government was instituted; to provide for the national defense, to deliver the mail, to help out with infrastructure when need be, and to provide uniform interstate commercial regulations that are not too burdensome at the same time.

Alas, this is currently not the case, as the federal government has grown way beyond in function for which it was originally intended.  Our tax dollars go towards unstainable “entitlement” programs that are driving us broke (James Madison admonished his colleagues against “objects of benevolence in 1794).  It was the federal government that gambled with the taxpayers’ money when it gave exorbitant amounts of cash to failed enterprises like Solyndra (since when did our Founding Fathers want government to pick winners and losers in business, anyhow?).  The federal government also wastes our money on regional airports nobody uses, un violation of the spirit of using the power of government for internal improvements.  This hardly even scratches the surface, but they are sterling examples of grounds for those objecting to big government, and eating up more of our hard-earned money in so doing — money that could go to further the private economy, and private sector jobs.

If Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren is serious about living up to her prestigious academic credentials, then she would be well-served to brush up on the Constitution and learn about the concept of Enumerated Powers in Article I of that important document.  But her rant exposed her bias as an elitist academic who thinks she knows what is best for everyone else.  With that sort of bias, I doubt she could humble herself to learn of this important concept, even if her effectiveness as a would-be legislator hinges on it.

With all of this in mind, Warren has yet to win the Democrat Party nomination, which could be more difficult than it would initially seem.