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Before the Election: Some Questions From a Liberal Former Liberal

Before the Election: Some Questions From a Liberal Former Liberal

I am and always have been a liberal. I was raised to revere the Democratic party and feel contempt for the party of Richard Nixon (as well as the man himself). Democrats, everyone agreed, were freer spirits.  Uptight Republicans, everyone agreed, lighted cigars with hundred-dollar bills they’d stolen from poor people.

And so it was with a bunch of those likeminded everyones that I went to a college where the counterculture was the mainstream culture, at a time when not conforming to nonconformity was an unthinkable option.

For many people I knew back when and occasionally still see, hatred of conservatives remains an idée fixe, impervious to facts.  These friends are sadly sure that I’ve changed (and fie on me for it).  But as I point out, when you go bodysurfing in the ocean for an hour and find yourself a hundred yards up the beach, it’s not the people on the sand who moved.  You did, without your knowing it, thanks to the tide.

A tide has inexorably drifted modern liberals away from the classical-liberal ideas of celebrating individual freedom and working to limit government’s intrusion into our lives.  This is a sad irony whose consequences to the culture, via media and academia, are insidious.

Whether or not my age cohort admits it, Vietnam War protests weren’t really about the war itself—as was proved by what happened between January 1973, when American forces began departing Vietnam, and April 1975, when Saigon’s (ignominious) fall ended the war.  What happened?  Nothing.  There wasn’t a single antiwar protest in this country.

The V-12 engine driving all those massive demonstrations in the prior years (I attended plenty) was the military draft—that is, governmentally sanctioned conscription.  Legal kidnapping and torture, it was sometimes called.

Yet now, millions of those former flag-burning demonstrators want government in our light bulbs and (almost literally) worship a president who probably wouldn’t mind a bureaucratic nanny in every pot (but, haha, doesn’t support legalizing pot).

The best example I can offer to demonstrate this excruciating level of irony comes courtesy of a man I worked with recently on a project.  He’s behind the scenes now, but once upon a time he was a stand-up comedian of rock-star status, his career built on some viciously funny putdowns of Nixon.

This man is, you will not be surprised to hear, Jewish (Jewish comedians?!) and liberal (liberal Jews?!).  He also professes to adore Israel, where he once briefly lived as a teenager.

But when I noted that Israelis liked George W. Bush and dislike Obama, he changed the subject.  When I raised Obama’s snubbing of Netanyahu, he changed the subject.  When I opined that Obama’s proposal for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians (that they should begin with the pre-1967 borders) had undermined any chance of peace, he changed the subject.  And when I quipped that Obama was all teleprompter, no oratory, he winced and said that that was disrespectful.  We haven’t spoken since Benghazi, but I’m certain he sees no evil.

And I’m the one who’s changed?  Right.

If this coming election is about anything, it’s about the clash between modern liberalism and classical liberalism: more government versus less.  So to those who proudly consider themselves liberal and progressive, and want to see the country become more of both, I have a few questions.

Actually, I have more than a few, but space is limited, so I’ll begin with these and hope for some genuine answers instead of the standard, “You’re a moron” responses that liberals usually heap on conservatives in the illiberal belief that their ideas need not be defended with logic and facts, just restated with a generous helping of insults.

1. Why do some people fret more about the hypothetical consequences next century of nonrenewable energy than they do the verified consequences next week of unsustainable debt?

2. What’s so enlightened about focusing more on the theoretical backlash against all Muslims for the violent acts committed by some Muslims than on the victims of that violence and on the animating philosophy behind the violence?

3. Is it okay with you that the press, which Thomas Jefferson considered more important than the government itself, has abdicated its traditional watchdog role in order to serve the agenda and reelection of Barack Obama?

4. How come so many people who risk their lives sneaking into this country illegally in order to escape some of worst hellholes on earth appear prouder of their homelands than many native-born Americans do of their country?

5. If Barack Obama is such a marvelous orator, how come his only memorable lines are gaffes?

6. Isn’t the stubborn refusal to accept that Obama is the emptiest suit chair ever to be president akin to Lois Lane’s being fooled by Clark Kent’s glasses.

7. What’s liberal about depicting conservative blacks as boot-licking Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas?

8. What’s pro-choice about dismissing conservative women as inauthentic?

9. What’s progressive about liberal gays wishing death on conservative gays?

10. In what way is a man who gives away 30 percent of his own income to charity selfish while a man who wants to confiscate more of other people’s money generous?

11. Can you define “fair share”?  I keep hearing that rich people aren’t paying it, but if the top one percent already pays almost 40 percent and the bottom 50 percent pays nearly nothing, how much more do the rich have to pay before you’ll declare it fair?

12. The Benghazi cover-up aside, doesn’t it make you a little queasy that the President of the United States demonstrated such contempt for our First Amendment, first by (falsely) blaming worldwide violence on an American’s free expression, then by trying to get YouTube to take down the offending video, and third by telling his United Nations audience that the film was “blasphemy” against a religion?

13. Are you comfortable with that whole Obama cult of personality thing?

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Comments

So, you lifted yourself from the depths of leftism. What do you want? A kewpie doll?

    It appears that you’ve missed the point. I was never a leftist. I am what I’ve always been, someone who didn’t want the government in my face. That used to be considered a liberal idea. Today, thanks to the tide (or undertow), it’s deemed conservative. Clear?

    James Pethokoukis tweeted this earlier today: My favorite memory of this campaign season: A DNC delegate telling me I must be a GOPer since I said I was “for freedom and America”

      Doug Wright in reply to Joel Engel. | November 4, 2012 at 11:21 am

      Please, only use words as they are currently defined by the Queen of Hearts! To do otherwise is not her problem!
      😉

      Ragspierre in reply to Joel Engel. | November 4, 2012 at 11:22 am

      Gosh, where’s your “ashamed face”…???

      Bubbasuncle in reply to Joel Engel. | November 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Could you please explain when Liberals wanted less government?

        Ragspierre in reply to Bubbasuncle. | November 4, 2012 at 11:55 am

        Every time the GOP is in power.

        Remember, Collectivists are schizophrenic.

        c.f. “Keep your laws off my body!” and ObamaCare.

        see also GITMO, Predator killing, etc.

        “It’s different when we do it”.

        Etc.

        Crawford in reply to Bubbasuncle. | November 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm

        Bubbasuncle — you’re confusing the real definition of “liberal” — which Joel is using — with the thugs who attached it to themselves. The self-proclaimed “liberals” (now calling themselves “progressives”) are totalitarians.

        Joel — the sad fact is you should refer to yourself as a “classical liberal” to make it clear you’re not referring to the modern misapplication of the term.

        BTW — since college, I’ve heard nothing but contempt from the left for individual rights. I don’t know why it’s taken some people so long to realize they mean it.

      ReneeA in reply to Joel Engel. | November 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Someone of Greek ethnicity can not be a Republican. It’s a rule.

Uptight Republicans, everyone agreed, lighted cigars with hundred-dollar bills they’d stolen from poor people.

If they were so poor, how did they come by hundred-dollar bills?

“If this coming election is about anything, it’s about the clash between modern liberalism and classical liberalism: more government versus less.”, is where you err.

What you define as `modern liberalism` is anything but. Its soft Marxism as its best. When the govt thinks it has the right to tell a company where it may locate a facility all vestiges of liberalism has been shed.

    There is no error. You and Mr. Engel are describing the same thing. Today’s (modern) Demorcrats describe themselves as liberal, hence “modern liberal” (personally, I like to call them “modern liberal democrats”). They are statists, but apparently cannot recognize that fact. Classic liberals, on the other hand, oppose statism. So, today’s liberals have “drifted” from yesterday’s liberals.

    Engel’s point is that today the people describing themselves as liberal are, in fact, not “classic” liberals.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Miata Shinsen. | November 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      The left hijacked the term “liberal” way back when – I think sometime around when the 70’s became the 80’s. After 25 years of hiding their commie activities and proclivities behind the mask of “liberalism”, which was indeed a classic European philosophy of freedom of expression, freedom from oppressive government, and freedom from being managed and taxed from cradle to grave by bureaucratic entities and elitists who set themselves on high as the knower of what’s best for society, not the individual, the mask was pulled away, which is why the left in this country uses the term “progressive” to hide behind. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? “I’m a progressive. I want to move people forward into the glory of enlightment.”

      So, once upon a time there were “liberals” who were the good guys, but they never really gained a lot of ground in the USA. There was an anti-communist CIA operation in the 50s and 60s that funded and used superior liberal operatives to organize a movement of journalists, artists, entrepreneurs, political scientists and scientists to advance the classic liberal agenda and philosophy to counter-balance/tamp down the spread of Marxist and Maoist thought and activities coming from China and the Soviets. By the way, the journalist/pundit Bill Kristol’s parents were two of them.

DavidJackSmith | November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am

The left hijacked the word “liberal” because in the US the word “socialist” is poisonous. And rightly so.

So much so, that actual socialists try to call it racist to call Obama a socialist, which is exactly what he is. In British labor parlance he is a Fabian Socialist.

He started as a Marxist, which still commands his worldview, but he crossed over into the electorally more feasible realm.

Most people who call themselves “liberals” are really libertine socialists.

    Ragspierre in reply to DavidJackSmith. | November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I’m going to respectfully object to your sloppy use of terms.

    Obama supporters love it when you call him a “socialist”, because he is demonstrably NOT simply a socialist. It is easy for them to point out that he has not moved to nationalize much of anything, including health care.

    Rather, Obama is a much more dangerous animal. He is a opportunistic Collectivist…or a adherent of BIG STATISM in any form that gains ground.

    His favorite economic model is fascist economics, which in America is vastly more dangerous than socialism, which we would resist. Fascist economics allows people to be lulled into apathy because it leaves nominal ownership of property in the hands of its owners, while exerting state control over many of the most important decisions affecting its use. Look at GM, GE, and health insurance as examples.

I watched a group of four liberal women trying to “rescue” a hunting dog that had wandered into town. They were trying their level best to put a leash on the dog and she wasn’t having any part of it. After awhile I couldn’t help but to intervene……”She doesn’t want you to mess with her” I said….”leave her alone and she will be fine. Put some food at the edge of the lot and she’ll settle down and eat” I urged them. What I received was the nastiest stinkeye I have ever seen and an admonishment “We are professionals, we know what we are doing!” I just backed off and watched. Sure enough, one of the “professionals” got close enough to try and snap the leash on her collar. Sure enough, she got bitten by the scared-to-death dog and a huge scene ensued, culmunating in a call to the animal-control folks.
Here lies the problem….liberals are so much smarter than you or I and by questioning their silly antics you are a mere cretin know-not, and how dare you tell ME what to do! Sometimes you got to let folks get burned but sadly the modern liberal will burn themselves again and again and claim to like it to avoid being WRONG!

    legacyrepublican in reply to scooterjay. | November 4, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    In ’99, I thru hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT). Word came down to me on the Blue Ridge Parkway that part that the trail in the Shenandoah National Park had been shut down due to a fire.

    When I got to Waynesboro, I went into the outfitter’s store there to ask about the trail north and what had happened.

    They explained to me that the Forest Service did a backburn and it had gone out of control. Not surprisingly, I also found out that the locals, who knew the winds and forest conditions better than the Forest Service, had warned the Forest Service in no uncertain terms not to do a backburn because it would go out of control due to the current wind conditions.

    Later that year, the same genius’ at the Forest Service made the same mistake near Los Alamos, NM, threatening our nuclear labs.

    Now they want control of my health care!!!!

    LukeHandCool in reply to scooterjay. | November 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    @scooterjay

    That should start, “How many liberal women does it take to save a dog?”

    These days my son is often asking, “How many liberals does it take to …?”

      Valerie in reply to LukeHandCool. | November 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      What “save a dog?” You do realize that dogs that bite are classified as “dangerous animals” and get killed instead of adopted, don’t you?

Brilliant.

I can understand particularly with the timeframe. Many would be conservatives leaned left during the Nam years. The war was cast as a “Republican War” for an entire age group.
Then we finish college (back then) and start earning real money. Suddenly many of the Republican positions make better sense. We got involved politically or at the least began to wonder about where Democrats were taking us.
Then came Jimmy Carter. He was the first guy Ill call a modern day leftist. Anyone who lived during the Carter years knows what I mean. And sees about the same with Obama.
Then Reagan happened. The first genuine pushback at Big Government. And yes I recognize the size of government under Reagan expanded. Imagine if he hadnt won.

So here we are with Obama and his Keynesian policies.
We avoid the words socialist and marxist today.
Better to repackage and sell the notions with a smart sounding label worthy of a God like figure like Paul Krugman. Typical voters reason its somehow different.

And thanks for the article. Its interesting to see how folks evolve over time and why.

I was apolitical until O was running for president. I saw for myself and read what he was all about, and I was frightened for our country. I couldn’t understand why the Jewish people supported him? The answer I was given is that ideology is their religion. Well, the middle east is more dangerous now than ever and Israel, the only ally that we can rely on, is being ignored by O. And I firmly believe that everything he has done in the middle east was done on purpose. Hillary Clinton has an assistant who is somehow related to Morsi’s wife. Great. When Bachmann et al wanted her to be investigated, McCain got up and made a fool out of himself adamantly defending her. Boehner is another one. With politicians like that in Washington, who needs enemies?

Excellent, Joel. There’s nothing like asking questions! Also, it’s of note how difficult it is to have a discussion focusing on them.

As an aside, the “Lois Lane’s being fooled by Clark Kent’s glasses” phrase is a knee-slapper. Of course, Obama hasn’t even needed “glasses” to fool millions.

Henry Hawkins | November 4, 2012 at 9:22 am

Are these questions rhetorical or do we expect answers from our contingent of LI modern liberals?

Joel: Outstanding article, it deserves a Pulitzer by itself.

One point that your article makes that needs to be said repeatedly is that words do in fact have meaning. We are mis-using many words today, too many have become to mean only what we mean it to have right now; tomorrow’s another day.

    Well, there are some nails being hammered today! The definition-of-the-moment is a major defect of our culture. Tune to just about any panel discussion, any day, and it’s being practiced. What a shame it’s also pervasive in our educational systems. No wonder we have such difficulty talking with one another.

There was a very real response by the antiwar protesters after the draft was abolished. A huge spike in divorces. Remember, marriage was still one of the few things that would get you a deferment. When I left active duty in 1975 and started graduate school at the University of Wisconsin (there were still signs of the bombing in the hall where my office was)most of the younger faculty and graduate students were newly single.

7. What’s liberal about depicting conservative blacks as boot-licking Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas?

This one has always amazed me and it gets to the heart of modern “liberalism”
Liberals/Democrats have adopted for voting purposes all minorities.
Against all real history on civil rights legislation, Democrats parade themselves as the party that favors and takes care of minorities.
How?
Take a look at our Endangered Species legislation and compare it with liberal legislation/talking points over minority groups.
Minorities are to be protected with things like affirmative action iniatives. They are basically robbed of notions of self worth or advancement to compete in an equal world.
What on earth is more insulting to any minority group than to be sold on the idea “you cant compete on your own so we will stack the deck in your favor”?
Nothing perpetuates the master/slave relationship more than some liberal iniatives. Nothing.
Yet some minorities thank their liberal “keepers” for the favor with votes.
Its amazing.

Jack The Ripper | November 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

Liberalism IS The Establisment.

Innovation, creative thinking, dynamism, energy, embracing change, questioning authority, challenging the status quo are ovewhelmingly concentrated on the Right.

Liberalism and The Democrat Party of the United States in particular, are The Status Quo. They embrace the notion of Big Government dispensing favors to, and mediating the flashpoints between, Big Business and Big Labor.

Regardless of the personal politics of any particular individual such as Gates, Jobs, Buffet, Milken, the technological innovations of the past 30 years would not have happened under the American Liberal/Democrat Party approach to capital formation (junk bonds), regulation, deregulation, telecommunications policy, antitrust policy, taxes, labor, EDUCATION, or trade.

Somehow, its a safe bet that if all we cranked out were people who majored in Wymyn’d Studies, African Studies, Art, Art History, Literature, French Letters, Environmental Ethics, Sociology, LGBT Studies, and Social Work, none of the technical innovations that make all of us WEALTHIER (including the ObamaPhone Lady) would not have happened. Take all of the people who participated in Occupy Wall Street and give them unlimited resources and freedom, and you can bet your life that computers and cell phone systems/networks would not exist.

As for Trade, Clinton happened to have been in office when China got Most Favored Nation Trading Status, but that was clearly a trajectory of the Republican approach to free trade in this hemisphere and around the world, including Japan in the 1980s.

How much would a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone cost, if even invented, but for Conservatism’s (classic liberalism’s) approach to all of the things above?

Health Care? We have plenty of it. Its the economics of it that are messed up.

Entitlements: Don’t ask Liberals or Democrats to suggest a fix to these programs that by all accounts are unsustainable paths. The only fix any of them will recommend are levels of taxation that, by almost all accounts, are also unsustainable.

Pharamceuticals and Medical Innovation: If Liberals/Democrats have their way on the various issues above, plus ObamaCare, the pace of innovation in pharmaceuticals and medical devices and, think John Edwards, Fred Barron, etc., medical treatments will face stiff headwinds as profits decline, taxes rise, and tort law lags behind the pace of change.

Foreign Affairs: Liberals/Democrats would have us retreat from the world and stay home and watch PBS. They are the 1960s answer to the 1930s-1940s American Firsters/Charles Lindberg.

Do Conservatives/Republicans have all the answers? Hell no! And that is a Damned Sight Better than Liberals/Democrats who are sure they have all the answers, which happen to be the same answers they have been providing since 1952.

Other than being flogged forward into Orthodoxy by one war, three assassinations, and Watergate, the Democrat Party is pretty much what it was one-quarter of our Republic’s lifetime ago.

American Liberals/Democrat Party are the Establishment and the Status Quo. They became what they decried. They are what is old and tired and stale. They are not what is fresh and new and innovating. The only thing new about the Liberal Establishment is the level of vitriol about wealth, race, gender, and lifestyles, and the smallness of its “innovations,” which, in 2004 was symbolized by Cindy Sheehan and in 2012 is symbolized by Sandra Fluke (a pyromaniac in a field of reproductive straw men). Would that it were that Daniel Patrick Moynihan were alive, but completely retired from public service, so that he could comment upon the sorry state of Liberalism and its failure to depart from Einstein’s definition of Insanity.

The Successful, the Innovative, the Hip, the Cool, and the Good Looking Women, are all more heavily aligned with Conservatism/Republicanism/Libertarianism in 2012 America.

He’s using the terms the Left uses, and his essay is perfectly clear to me. He’s absolutely right about the real change in the policies of the Democratic Party, and how they’ve abandoned classical liberalism in favor of socialism (and, I would add, a cult of corruption. Maybe they go hand in hand). I’m a Lyndon Johnson, Barbara Jordan Liberal. I’ll be voting for Mitt Romney Tuesday.

I’m going to stick with #1 above, because like several other of these points, it is poorly framed. That’s on purpose, of course, because that’s the way the leftists talk about these issues, and it is important for the rest of us to understand the disingenuous use of language.

“1. Why do some people fret more about the hypothetical consequences next century of nonrenewable energy than they do the verified consequences next week of unsustainable debt?”

This question assumes, wrongly, that the opposition to the theory of “anthropogenic global warming” is economic and political in nature. This isn’t so. The opposition originated with, and got its power from, the chemists, engineers, and physicists who read the papers and saw that the entire theory was based on attempts to read deep meaning from experimental noise.

The polite way to say this is “the theory of anthropogenic global warming suffers from scale problems.”

The common thread between over-concern for hypothetical environmental effects and lack of concern for real monumental debt is innumeracy. If you don’t know the difference between 35% and .035%, between ppm and ppb, and between million and trillion, you are depending on somebody to give you your opinion on the crucial political topics of the day.

The Democratic Party at the national level has pushed environmental hysteria and then used it as a means to strip billions of dollars out of our national treasury to benefit its contributors. Its interest in the environment is venal, and this scandal is only one reason why I have been doing what I can to push the Republican Party into giving us alternative candidates for high public office.

It’s important to distinguish between leftism and liberalism. The former advocates equality, the latter balances equality with liberty. Classical liberalism advocated smaller government because government was aristocratic and non-democratic. Modern liberals advocate progressive policies, that is, using democratic governance to effect greater equality and liberty. It’s not unreasonable to claim that the modern liberalism has moved too far left.

Joel Engel: 1. Why do some people fret more about the hypothetical consequences next century of nonrenewable energy than they do the verified consequences next week of unsustainable debt?

Because unsustainable debt is only unsustainable if the U.S. doesn’t address its deficits in the outyears from the recession. The effects of anthropogenic climate change will only get worse, and the solutions more difficult, the longer humans take to address the problem.

Joel Engel: 2. What’s so enlightened about focusing more on the theoretical backlash against all Muslims for the violent acts committed by some Muslims than on the victims of that violence and on the animating philosophy behind the violence?

It’s not a theoretical backlash, but very real, especially on the right, and quite evident for any who care to look. Fortunately, institutions protecting individual liberty have been able to contain the venom — so far.

As for violent Muslim extremists, most everyone is quite aware of the problem. The U.S. and its allies are actively engaged in disrupting terrorist networks, but resolving the underlying violent theology will take at least a generation to resolve.

Joel Engel: 3. Is it okay with you that the press, which Thomas Jefferson considered more important than the government itself, has abdicated its traditional watchdog role in order to serve the agenda and reelection of Barack Obama?

The press has always been relatively weak. It usually has its greatest influence as an adjunct to warmongering.

Joel Engel: 4. How come so many people who risk their lives sneaking into this country illegally in order to escape some of worst hellholes on earth appear prouder of their homelands than many native-born Americans do of their country?

Darn those Italians!
http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Columbus-Day-Parade-kicks-off-on-Fifth-Avenue-3927725.php#photo-3562352

Darn those Irish!
http://media.smithsonianmag.com/images/Saint-Patricks-Day-Parade-631.jpg

Darn those Germans!
http://www.nighttap.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/oktoberfest2.jpg

Joel Engel: 5. If Barack Obama is such a marvelous orator, how come his only memorable lines are gaffes? 6. Isn’t the stubborn refusal to accept that Obama is the emptiest suit chair ever to be president akin to Lois Lane’s being fooled by Clark Kent’s glasses. 7. What’s liberal about depicting conservative blacks as boot-licking Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas? 8. What’s pro-choice about dismissing conservative women as inauthentic? 9. What’s progressive about liberal gays wishing death on conservative gays?

Someone on the Internet said something offensive!

Joel Engel: 10. In what way is a man who gives away 30 percent of his own income to charity selfish while a man who wants to confiscate more of other people’s money generous?

The 30% is not supportable based on current information (and many don’t consider giving to the church to be charity).

Joel Engel: 11. Can you define “fair share”? I keep hearing that rich people aren’t paying it, but if the top one percent already pays almost 40 percent and the bottom 50 percent pays nearly nothing, how much more do the rich have to pay before you’ll declare it fair?

Conflates the federal income tax with all taxes.

Joel Engel: 12. The Benghazi cover-up aside, doesn’t it make you a little queasy that the President of the United States demonstrated such contempt for our First Amendment, first by (falsely) blaming worldwide violence on an American’s free expression, then by trying to get YouTube to take down the offending video, and third by telling his United Nations audience that the film was “blasphemy” against a religion?

Quite a strawman. The President has been quite clear about American views of free speech. People will just have to get used to the fact that they can no longer shield themselves from things they find offensive.

Joel Engel: 13. Are you comfortable with that whole Obama cult of personality thing?

It’s called branding.

    NeoConScum in reply to Zachriel. | November 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Dear Zachriel:SOMETIMES the blog planets align in pluperfect harmony and the magical timing & ‘Cannot possibly make this stuff up’ combine on a thread to make Very Clear what the ‘Post’ author has been addressing. THANK YOU.

    The Central Committee at The Nation is applauding and Katrina vanden Heuvel will pat your little po-po. Promise.

    Weirddave in reply to Zachriel. | November 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Yay! The perfect utopia of magical equality is just one more government program away!

    What is so sad is that people like this don’t realize that their dream of perfect equality imposed by government is perfectly obtainable…..but the equality is the equality is that of the slave.

    Not really surprising, though, he still believes in the AGW con so he’s not very smart. Just one more sucker, born in his minute.

    Mark30339 in reply to Zachriel. | November 5, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Zachriel. Your comment is a curious response. The content tries to visually appear to be responsive to Joel’s points, while the substance reads very hollow and empty — almost as though Joel’s points were not pondered with much care. Yet the tone is rather respectful, as I think Joel’s piece was as well.
    .
    So perhaps respectful tone is the common ground upon which a dialogue can follow. Perhaps also a small reprimand is due NeoConScum for replying with a helping of thinly veiled insults (I believe Joel complained that the Left tended to respond with an extra helping of insults — this sorry tactic is over-deployed by conservatives as well). Weirddave, on the other hand, prefers to treat you in third person and pass judgment on “people like this.”
    .
    Let’s just engage on point 1, your response was: “Because unsustainable debt is only unsustainable if the U.S. doesn’t address its deficits in the outyears from the recession.” I think Buffett’s 2009 NYT Op-Ed at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/opinion/19buffett.html layed out the unsustainability quite clearly. Prior to 2009, US policy was to fund deficits by borrowing real dollars from real lenders in a real capital markets. In the early 80’s, the borrowing was so large, that it bid interest rates way up. Obama’s policy has been to use the Federal Reserve to bid the debt auctions at suppressed interest rates and fund the loans with printed money. Buffett rightly points out that Obama’s deficits are so large that there is not nearly enough supply in capital markets to fund them — and he rightly warns about serious adverse consequences of printed money; he calls them “greenback emissions,” I harken back to 1920’s Germany where one needed a wheel barrel of printed money to buy bread. I also wonder about the fraud on seniors and on their savings rates when the Fed suppresses the rates to virtually zero with no end in sight.
    .
    My point is that the debt crisis is not a tomorrow (or “outyear”) problem. And the immorality of spending more today with dollars our children have to repay fails to resonate on the Left. What person on the Left has ever stood up to say: “Stop kicking the can down the road! Let’s get our fiscal spending under control?”

Joel: Classic liberalism is something that Democrat Lefty-Libs have NOT been for a very long time…IF Ever. As you nicely stated, the classic liberalism to be found today is on the Conservative side, alone.

As a lifelong student of modern history(by discipline, training, passion and ‘avocation’)it has long amused me that “Today’s Liberals” prefer, as a species, the moniker “Progressives”, which–duuhhh–the CPUSA** used as their Brand in their heyday. What an unintentional ‘Tell’!

Speaking of the party of Tolerance and Diversity, did y’all notice that our lovely Winter Park Public Library(Central Florida/N.Orlando)early voting place was shut down for a few hours yesterday due to a “suspicious package”? Yep, bomb-squad, sniffer dogs and officers in kevlar held up the(trust me)overwhelmingly neat-well behaved Mitt Vote for a few hours. Me and the terrifying 4’11”,95-lb Sicilian Mrs.Neo did our early voting there on Monday,’Yo. Even that early we waited for 45-minutes with other clean, neat, well behaved Evil Winter Parkians to dimple chads for Romney-Paul!!

Turned out the suspicious packaging was trash & garbage probably from some “homeless” pan-handlers that our librarians have made welcome. Cannot make this stuff up,’Yo.

**Communist Party/USA**

JOEL, I WENT TO COLLEGE IN THE MID SIXTIES AND OUR BUMPER STICKER AND MOTTO WAS ‘QUESTION AUTHORITY ” THIS MOTTO SEEMS TO BE LOST ON MANY OF MY CONTEMPORARIES TODAY, WHO BLINDLY FOLLOW OBAMA’S AND DEMOCRAT’S AUTHORITY.

This post deserves a website of its own.

[…] Joel Engel at Legal Insurrection, Before the Election: Some Questions From a Liberal Former Liberal: If this coming election is about anything, it’s about the clash between modern liberalism and […]

Jack The Ripper | November 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

Some More Questions for Liberals, Democrats and Social Engineers:

If liberals are compassionate and conservative are heartless, how did Arthur C. Brooks document that conservatives give more to charity than liberals?

If Democrats care about black people, why do Democrats opposed school vouchers and charter schools?

Why do liberals believe that no time, effort or money should be spared defending capital murder defendants who have acknowledged their own guilt (and who are not underage or mentally infirm) but believe that even late-term partial birth abortions should be available on demand and at someone else’s expense?

How can liberals so easily picture a world without the combustion engine but cannot imagine a Detroit without GM?

If the Poverty Level in America is so low, how do you explain that it is squarely in the range of the lower-middle class of Europe in terms of living space, private transportation, health care, nutrition, and other amenities of modern life?

If airport kiosks and ATMs destroy jobs, shouldn’t we get rid of automobiles, refrigerators and washing machines and go back to horses, buggies, stables, hand-delivered hay, ice men, and domestic servants?

What was the overall effect on both the economy and the environment of Cash for Clunkers?

If 30 to 60 million Americans are hungry, how do you explain the high rates of obesity at all income and age levels?

Why do liberals Golden Rice and other genetically modified organisms more than blindness cause by vitamin A deficiencies?

How do you explain the superior academic performance of home-schooled kids?

If Americans are bigoted against “Negros” why do African and Caribbean immigrants to the United States perform so much better than “African-Americans?”

If financial inequality is merely a matter of inequitable distribution of wealth, home come so many lottery winners end up broke or dead within five years?

If America is so awful, how come so few people leave?

If the world is overpopulated, how come it is always someone else who is one person too many?

If the United Nations will not enforce its own sanctions and resolutions, why have a United Nations?

How do you explain that 80% of American millionaires are first-generation millionaires?

How does the cost of college consistently rise at well over the rate of inflation for almost a half century?

Why do we prop up agricultural prices and give out food stamps?

Why do the campaign staffs of even liberal and democrat politicians buy their supplies at Walmart?

What do you think of union paid protestors in the hot Las Vegas sun earning $1 per hour less than the Walmart associates inside the store that is being protested?

If there is no voting fraud and no need for voting ID laws, how come “voting irregularities” seem to lopsidedly favor one party and disadvantage the other? Can you name one instance of significant voting irregularities benefitting a republican candidate other than the much-vetted claims regarding Bush-Gore 2000 in Florida? [Had Al Gore carried his home state he would have won. Would he have won if he had carried even his home county?]

Farmers are dependent upon weather and ruinous competition. How does that make them any different than most other businesses, especially restaurants, which are dependent upon farmers?

If public money is so important for the arts, please rank the greatest works of Art throughout history?

If taxes and tax policy do not affect people’s economic behavior, why tax “cop killer bullets” and cigarettes?

Define “loophole?”

Define “fair share?”

Define “greedy?”

“But as I point out, when you go bodysurfing in the ocean for an hour and find yourself a hundred yards up the beach, it’s not the people on the sand who moved. You did, without your knowing it, thanks to the tide.”

—As both an avid bodysurfer myself, who continuously waves his drifting bodysurfing children over to bodysurf directly in front of me for safety reasons, and as someone who often says, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me,” I can attest to the veracity of Joel’s metaphor.

“This man is, you will not be surprised to hear, Jewish (Jewish comedians?!)…”

—A great episode of The Simpsons has Krusty the Clown gone missing, and the TV news describes his life as growing up poor and Jewish and, as a young boy, joining the circus and eventually becoming a popular kids’ TV show character. Upon this revelation, Homer laughs in disbelief, “A Jewish entertainer????!!! Hahahahaha!!!!”

“2. What’s so enlightened about focusing more on the theoretical backlash against all Muslims for the violent acts committed by some Muslims than on the victims of that violence and on the animating philosophy behind the violence?”

—As Mark Steyn (I believe) quipped a not-so-imaginary headline:

“Muslims Fear Backlash After Tomorrow’s Terrorist Attack.”

“6. Isn’t the stubborn refusal to accept that Obama is the emptiest suit chair ever to be president akin to Lois Lane’s being fooled by Clark Kent’s glasses.”

—Great line! Provides the perfect tenuous segue into a story I’m sure you’ll appreciate. A good friend was working his first day independently as a waiter after having been trained in a restaurant on the beach in Malibu. He was very nervous and one of his first customers that night was Margot Kidder and her daughter, who was a toddler at the time.

My friend said that when he stopped by Ms. Kidder’s table to check that everything was okay, her daughter was staring intensely at him. My friend asked, “Does she want something?” to which Ms. Kidder jokingly replied, “I think she wants a kiss.”

My friend, brain shortcircuited by nervousness, proceeded to bend down and kiss the little girl on the lips!!

He said as soon as he did this, he thought, “What in the hell am I doing??!!” As he stood back up, he glanced over at Ms. Kidder and said she had the most shocked look on her face that he’d ever seen. He just turned and walked away to the kitchen, demanding repeatedly in his mind, “Oh my God! What did I just do??!!”

I told him it was not long after that that they found Margot disheveled and crazy in the bushes in somebody’s back yard.

Back to all of your questions. Today’s progressives love to think of themselves as deep, nuanced thinkers, but in fact they are the most susceptible to shallow slogans and a simple, black-and-white view of how the world works.

This has progressed to the point where their tendency towards celebrity worship has caused them to unashamedly join a cult of personality, celebrating a man with no executive experience … someone who, as a state senator (not a U.S. senator, which he spent little time as, before running for president) a state senator!! had a completely undistinguished career … this undistinguished state senator was going to somehow save the world with teleprompted speeches … and they didn’t blush when he spoke of his election as a time when the seas would stop rising and the planet would heal … these supposed hip, freethinkers didn’t blush, even as the rest of us cringed at such nauseatingly melodramatic talk.

They love to think of themselves as non-materialistic, independent-thinking free spirits.

But celebrity and slogans cast a spell on them. He can fail at all his promises … continue many of Bush’s policies … and he’s still their guy!!

The depth of their reasoning is really embodied by someone I work with at the police department.

He’s a hipster who calls himself an anarchist. He blames all of the world’s problems on America, Israel, and capitalism.

An anarchist. Who works for the government. An anarchist. Who not only works for the government, but who works for the police, no less! An anarchist. Who wants bigger and bigger government!

LukeHandCool (who shakes his head in disbelief and mutters, “Where is my clue bat? I gotta hit somebody.”)

Great article. Never heard Vietnam war protests so simply explained. May need to repost some of your questions on facebook, along with link.

Good article. Thank you for posting this article.

I always considered myself liberal, a CLASSICAL liberal.

These people who have completely taken over the Undemocratic party ARE NOT LIBERALS!

THEY ARE THE INTOLERANT LEFT! PLEEEEASE STOP CALLING THEM LIBERAL!

“Liberal” means liberal thought, open to other points that oppose their own. THE LEFT IS INTOLERANT TO ANY POINT OF VIEW BUT THEIR OWN!

They hate, YES HATE, anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

I love this country, I love the US military and consider them the TRUE heroes of this country, I love the US Constitution. There was a time when dems were just left of center, but they are now rapid marxist lefties who think the govt is the center of everything good, and the individual is subservient to the govt.

PLEASE stop calling these people “Liberal”, as HillBuzz says, that’s that’s calling scorpions “hug a bugs”. They are the INTOLERANT left!

David Mamet should write a play about “The struggle of the Left to rationalize its positions…” and call it Bambi Goes to Washington.

Jack The Ripper | November 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm

MORE Questions for Leftists, Liberals, Democrats and Social Engineers:

If NOW really were the National Organization FOR Women, why didn’t it stick up for Meg Whitman and for any of Bill Clinton’s accusers?

If Gloria Allred truly cares about women, why didn’t she land any of Bill Clinton’s accusers as clients?

Who were the Davis and the Bacon behind the Davis-Bacon Act and what was its real purpose?

What is the average length of time, prior to 2008, that Americans in the workforce spent in minimum wage jobs before moving on to better paying positions?

If the right to bear arms, which is in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and backed by historical application of that law, is not a fundamental right, then how can the “right to privacy” which includes birth control and abortion be read from the umbras and penumbras of the Fourteenth Amendment? If the “right to privacy” is also a fundamental right and entails a right to have other people pay for one’s birth control, then, does not the right to bear arms entitle one to have other people pay for one’s bullets?

If the United States could hardly dent alcohol consumption via Prohibition and if the War on Drugs has not stopped drugs from being imported, manufactured and consumed and if we cannot seal our border with Mexico against either drugs or illegal aliens, then, what makes anyone think that contraception and abortion would ever be effectively prohibited in the United States?

Should there be a cap on corporate profits?

Should corporate profits be banned?

If Big Oil is so powerful that it can prevent alternative energies from being deployed in the United States, why haven’t alternative energies succeeded in other countries? What is to prevent Big Oil from also profiting from alternative energies? What is to prevent an entrepreneur like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs doing to oil what the PC and the McIntosh did to the mainframe computer? Why haven’t any Big Oil insiders broken ranks and run with the idea on their own or write an expose?

If the Marxist theory of international relations (that wars are economic) is correct, why did the U.S. intervene halfway around the world in Vietnam, where our direct investment was only $25 million but not in Cuba, which is only 90 miles from the tip of Florida and where our direct investment was a thousand times larger ($25 billion)?

If the Marxist theory of international relations (that wars are economic) is correct, why is it that nations that trade freely with each other or have representative governments or both are much less likely to engage in shooting conflicts?

Why haven’t rent and price controls ever worked over a sustained period of time?

If Health Care is just a matter of more money and if our defense budget is so monstrously large, how do you explain Canada having no military to speak of and having to ration health care with wait lists that result in many Canadians getting health care in the United States (e.g., snowbirds in Florida in the Winter), but hardly any Americans going to Canada for health care?

Why has laser eye surgery, which is not covered by many insurance plans, gotten cheaper and more plentiful over the past two decades? Would birth control also get cheaper and more plentiful if paid for by government?

If Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durban or any other Democrat politician supported a plan that would continue to fund the federal government and its entitlement programs at the same level at which they are currently funded, and which would exempt all Americans from federal income taxes up to the level of poverty, and then would tax earnings above that level without any “loopholes,” would you support such a plan?

If labor unions are a good deal for their members, why are union leaders and Democrats unwilling to allow each union member to decide for himself or herself whether to join and support a union?

If money is not a form of political speech, would you accept a ban not just of corporate contributions but also a ban of union contributions to political parties, candidates and campaigns?

Did Jimmy Carter’s and Ted Kennedy’s deregulation of the airlines increase or decrease fares and the availability of air travel to the general public? If deregulating air travel was a good thing, then why not deregulate the postal service and Amtrak?

Are politicians looking to hold onto power and prestige any more virtuous than business people looking to make a profit?
Would Newt Gingrich and the House Republicans have been able to take over the House of Representatives in 1994, after decades of being the minority in that chamber, if it were not for the post-1990 census minority-member congressional districts created under the 1983 Amendments to the Voting Rights Act, which made the surrounding congressional districts whiter and therefore more republican?

Why haven’t we heard much about Guantanimo, the Patriot Act, or the death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan after President George W. Bush left office?

Would you support tax hikes on “the rich” even if it meant less revenue for the federal government or for a state or local government?

Please rank your favorite educational, scientific, political, historical, civic, religious, or charitable TV shows. How many of them are on PBS?

SoCA Conservative Mom | November 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Joel… I took a look at your blog, it’s now a new favorite. Liberals will never answer the questions you posed, at best, you may get a pat on the head for being precocious.

Not so long ago — a mere 142 years ago — Democrats were still the party of Human Slavery, Jim Crow, and Bull Conner. Post-emancipation and post-Amendment XV to the U.S. Constitution (ratified 1870) — they would LYNCH any person of color who voted for a Republican or who claimed to be a Republican or even simply supported Republican causes whatever they may be. It was very common in the South.

To this very day — Democrats STILL insist on keeping ALL people of COLOR on the Democrat Plantation. And in their own way in present day America — Democrats STILL lynch people of color for being Republican, voting Republican, or simply supporting Republican led causes. And they STILL USE TREES to do it — on the paper of your MainStream Media newspapers and magazines.

It has ALWAYS been THEIR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY [OF DEATH — literally and then in contrived and concertedly manifested Public Opinion] throughout American history in American government with Liberals.

They even dragged the whole country into a bloody and tragic Civil War to prove it so after the President of the United States — Abraham Lincoln(R) — issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Liberal’s haven’t changed all that much, Joel. You may have — they have not.

[…] You and Him Fight Posted on November 4, 2012 3:30 pm by Bill Quick » Before the Election: Some Questions From a Liberal Former Liberal – Le·gal In&m… Whether or not my age cohort admits it, Vietnam War protests weren’t really about the war […]

[…] This is a sad irony whose consequences to the culture, via media and academia, are insidious… Before the Election: Some Questions From a Liberal Former Liberal Similar piece, which I found interesting. __________________ To view links or images in […]

Mark30339: I think Buffett’s 2009 NYT Op-Ed at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/opinion/19buffett.html layed out the unsustainability quite clearly.

Yes, he is reasonably close to the mark, and he is right that “major changes in both taxes and outlays will be required.” The question is when best to throw the switch. There’s been little pressure on interest rates, while the U.S. economy is growing, but slowly. It’s best to address the problem proactively, and not reactively, though.

Mark30339: I harken back to 1920′s Germany where one needed a wheel barrel of printed money to buy bread.

The U.S. is far from that situation. However, deficits can’t be sustained indefinitely. The trick is to use economic stimulus during downturns, then pay down debt during economic expansions. The U.S. has more than enough resources to deal with its debt. It’s a political problem, not an economic one.

Mark30339: And the immorality of spending more today with dollars our children have to repay fails to resonate on the Left.

And no one on the political right will admit that revenues will also be required.

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