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

Posted by intellectualgridiron in Politics.
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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.
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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.