Archives For Politics

Timothy Dalrymple writes in Patheos.

 Roughly 1 in 50 doctors lose their medical license.  Only 1 in 2500 teachers ever lose their teaching credentials.  Process that for a moment.  It’s much easier to become a teacher than a doctor, yet teachers are fifty times less likely than doctors to be removed from the profession.

It’s no mystery who protects the teachers.  That would be the teachers unions.  And it’s no mystery who protects the teachers unions.  The NEA (National Education Association) and the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) together are the largest campaign contributors in the country.  In the twenty years prior to the recent election cycle, they gave over $55m to federal candidates and their parties — more than the teamsters, the NRA, or any other organization.  Over 90 percent of this money goes to Democrats.  When it comes to education policy, the Democratic Party is given its marching orders by the NEA and the AFT.

This is not about teachers but the unions that defend their entrenched interests.

Another part of the coalition in defense of educational failure is the entertainment establishment.  When Won’t Back Down reached theaters, it was roundly denounced by media liberals for presenting the teachers unions in a less-than-positive light.  Released by Walden Media (whose co-founder Mike Flaherty is a former education reformer from Boston and a widely admired evangelical businessman), the film presents a nuanced, enjoyable, inspiring story of a distraught parent (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and a jaded teacher (Viola Davis) banding together to take over a failing school.  The performances and production values were top-notch, and the pro-union side was given fair time.  It was an excellent film.  While the white elites were making fools of themselves in their sputtering rage at the “noxious” politics of a movie that actually questions the motives and methods of the teachers unions, the largely African American audience that attended the screening with me roared with applause and loved the film.  Yet the film was effectively hushed up after it evoked a negative reaction in screenings at the Democratic National Convention, and passed from most theaters in two weeks.

 

Rod Dreher writes in The American Conservative that we should abandon the fight against same sex marriage (SSM) and instead focus on the threat SSM poses to religious liberty.

To some this may sound like an abjuration of our principles.

But Dreher he argues that the battle is already lost so we should retreat behind defensible borders and retrain our focus on the next battle.

Namely that of freedom of religion/speech which includes the freedom to speak in opposition to homosexuality.

Dreher traces the victory of SSM back to how people think of sexuality and marriage.

We should understand that this was not an argument we were going to win, in part because the elites, especially in the media, were dead-set against us, but mostly because SSM makes sense given how most people today, especially younger Americans, think about marriage and sexuality. In short, they believe marriage and sexuality has no intrinsic value, that it only has expressive value. In other words, sex and marriage are seen primarily, and perhaps entirely, as an expression of emotions partners have for one another. For traditionalists — and remember that this was virtually everybody until very, very recently — it’s not that same-sex couples do not and cannot love each other; obviously they can, and do. It’s that their love cannot be marriage, in the same way the mail carrier cannot be Napoleon. It’s possible to explain this, and it has been explained by smart trads, but by this point, doing so is useless..

because the culture has already accepted that this is what sex means, and this is what marriage means, it is perfectly logical that gay folks would want to participate in it, and that many people, especially those younger people raised post-Sexual Revolution, would see no rational basis for denying them.

Dreher goes on to say.

I wrote in 2008 that social conservatives ought to be putting their money, their strategizing, and their public activism behind building some kind of legal firewall to protect religious liberty once SSM becomes the law of the land. It was my guess that most Americans who favor SSM don’t want to punish churches and religious charities who disagree. We should appeal to them while they still exist.

What does this mean going forward? Religious and social conservatives cannot abandon what we believe to be true. What we can do — what we must do — is stop trying to turn back a tide that started rushing in half a century ago, and instead figure out how to ride it without being swamped or drowned by it. Our best legal minds need to figure out the best possible, and best possible, legal protections for religious liberty in the coming environment. Our most able socially conservative politicians need to start talking all the time about religious liberty in relation to same-sex marriage, and not in an alarmist way (“We’ve got to stop gay marriage before they destroy our churches!”) but in a sober, realistic way that opens the door to possible political compromise with Democrats of good will.

It may already be too late for that.

Very soon it could be that pastors will be jailed for speaking in opposition to homosexuality publicly because it is a “hate crime.”

Dreher thinks this is where our energies should go.

Do you agree?

It makes a lot of sense to me, although maybe it is not an either or.

 

 

 

Let Them Go Hungry

October 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

Mark Steyn has an article on Michelle Obama’s campaign to reduce child obesity. As he states this is a hard campaign to argue against. After all who is for child obesity?

However his point is that “America is already hideously over-bureaucratized and pushing against the limits.” The point is not the campaign (which has good aims) but that the government is ever so slowly reaching its octopus arms into our lives and telling us and our children what to eat.

He closes with an image he uses at the end of his book.

In my latest book, I mention the famous image that closes Planet of the Apes: a loinclothed Charlton Heston falling to his knees as he comes face to face with a shattered Statue of Liberty poking out of the desolate sands. And I write that liberty is not a statue, and that is not how liberty falls. The more likely dystopia is a land where the Statue still stands, yet liberty itself withers away remorselessly, often under cover of bright shiny novel “liberties” and “freedoms” — “free” health care, “free” college education with “free” contraceptives for 30-year-old students. Until eventually you reach a point where a man in an office thousands of miles away is determining how much your child can eat — and nobody finds that unusual.

From National Review:

General Motors sells the electric Volt for $40,000 and loses about $50,000 every time it makes a sale, because that $40,000 car costs $89,000 to build. The solution GM has hit upon (you have to be a government-run enterprise to think this way) is to sell it for $30,000 instead. GM is offering additional $10,000 discounts on a car nobody wants, but the problem is: Nobody wants it. GM should just close the production line–in fact, that is what GM is doing abroad, shutting down factories in Europe because nobody there wants GM’s non-electric cars either.

The Democrats made the GM bailout the centerpiece of their economic case at their convention in Charlotte, boasting that intervention saved more than a million jobs. This ridiculous claim assumes that without GM every single automotive job in the United States would have been lost: not only those at GM and other U.S. firms pinned down under the morbidly obese autoworkers’ unions, but at Honda, Toyota, BMW, etc. An automaker that cannot sell cars at a profit is not a business, and it is altogether mysterious that it has become a talking point.

Over the weekend I picked up Thomas Sowell’s book A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles.

Sowell’s basic argument is that political views can largely be traced back to two basic views of the nature of mankind: the constrained view and the unconstrained view.

The constrained view sees human beings as tragically limited and constrained whose selfish and dangerous impulses can be contained by social contrivances.

The unconstrained view sees man’s fundamental problem not in the nature of man because it is malleable, but in institutions.

Sowell does not try to reconcile the visions or determine their validity, but understand what they are about. The question in the book is not which vision is best, but what is implicitly assumed in advocating one policy or social system over another.

Whatever one’s vision, other visions are easily misunderstood…because the very words used (equality, freedom, justice, power) mean entirely different things in the context of presuppositions.

Both are ultimately concerned with social results, but seek to achieve these results differently. Therefore they usually talk past one another even when they use the same rules of logic and analyze the same data. The clash between the visions is not over the actual or desirable degree of freedom, justice, power, or equality –but rather over what these things consist of.

UNCONSTRAINED

The unconstrained vision seeks to achieve these results through collective decisions prescribing desired outcomes. The basic concepts are expressed in terms of results.

  • Freedom =  the degree to which one’s desires can be realized
  • Justice = can be determined by outcomes
  • Power = If A can cause B to do what A wants done, then A has power over B, regardless whether A’s inducements are positive or negative.
  • Equality = the degree of equality or inequality being a directly observable fact

CONSTRAINED

The constrained vision considers it beyond man directly create social results but only social processes.

  • Freedom = a society has this to the extent that it refrains from interfering with the choices of individuals
  • Justice = if rules are just, regardless of the variety of outcomes resulting from the application of those rules
  • Power = to the extent that someone’s existing set of options are reduced
  • Equality = application of the same rules to all

OTHER RESOURCES

Here is an interview with Sowell about the book:

 

This song rings true in light of yesterdays ruling. Spektor’s songs have very simple lines, but deeper meaning below the surface. (P.S. there are curse words in the song, I think she uses them to show that the politician is being played).

 

Lyrics:

A man inside a room is shaking hands with other men
This is how it happens
Our carefully laid plans

Shake it, shake it baby
Shake your ass out in that street
You’re gonna make us scream someday
You’re gonna make it big

You love so deep, so tender
Your people and your land
You love ’em ’till they can’t recall
Who they are again

Work it, work it baby
Work your way ’round that room
You’re gonna make it big some day
You’re gonna make a boom

But I am
But I am
But I am not a number, not a name

But I am
But I am
But I am a carefully laid plan

Shake what your mama gave you
You know that it won’t last
You’re gonna taste the ground real soon
You’re gonna taste the grass

A man inside a room is shaking hands with other men
This is how it happens
Our world under command

Shake it, shake it baby
Shake your ass out in that street
You’re gonna make us scream someday
You’re gonna make us weak

You’re gonna make us scream someday
You’re gonna make it big