The DHS Outrage. If the Shoe Fits…

FauxRageWatch03.png
It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the Fauxrage Watch, but there’s no rest for either the wicked or the easily amused. Today’s edition comes from the continuing outburst of indignation over a Department of Homeland Security report (download the .pdf) which warned law enforcement groups about potential “right wing extremists” who may be planning mayhem on the home front. At the risk of being labeled (yet again) some sort of far Left sympathizer, I feel compelled to point out the likely intentional misreading of this, the obvious fauxrage and a brief lesson from the school of “what goes around, comes back around again.”

First, two disclaimers regarding both the title and the banner. For the title, the phrase “if the shoe fits” is generally taken to mean that you’re referring to the person who is offended. (“Who are you calling stupid!?” “Hey, if the shoe fits…”) Not in this case. The point here is that if a label offends you, perhaps you should stop to check and see if that label was really meant to apply to you before you fly off the handle. The shoe in question might have been meant for somebody else.

As to the banner, why is this a case of Obama Derangement Syndrome and not DHS Derangement Syndrome? Because the winner of this edition of the Fauxrage Follies is none other than Michelle Malkin, who cleverly titles her personal piece of pestilence, Obama DHS hit job on conservatives is real. Congratulations, Michelle. Enjoy your award. (Please see the full spread at Memeorandum for the rest of the enraged, offended mob.

So what is it in this report that has the usual list of suspects up in arms? You can download the report or browse the sites yourself for the full measure of atrocity and insult these poor paragons of Right wing fortitude have endured, but here are just a few snippets from the DHS poison pen.

a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,”

The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.

They also mention the tendency towards additional unrest during times of economic hardship. In order to argue against this you would have to believe that such incidents don’t rise during recessions and high unemployment. (Obviously, they do.) You would have to think that either white supremecy groups don’t exist or that they couldn’t be exercised by the election of a black president. It defies belief.

What excuse is provided for this discontinuity? That the DHS didn’t provide specific instances or of known threats currently in progress. Really? That’s your reason? So if they do know of credible plans in progress, they should send them out where the media might get hold of them? And even if not, might they not begin monitoring such groups more closely at a time like this? It boggles the mind.

The real kicker is the horrible “slight” done to veterans. (And yes, I am one, thanks. And you’re welcome.) Here’s our good friend Ed Morrissey at Hot Air on this hot button issue:

Gee, it could lead? What evidence does DHS have of this? Oh, yeah, Timothy McVeigh was a veteran … and that’s it. I’m not joking:

That could be a somewhat compelling element if McVeigh actually was the only one. Unfortunately, only a few hours after he wrote these remarks, I was sitting in on Ed’s daily show when Audrey Hudson of the Washington Times unexpectedly stopped by. (Audrey penned her own column on these atrocities today.) It was Ms. Hudson who helpfully pointed out that her background research indicated roughly two hundred cases of veterans who engaged in such violent, criminal activity.

She’s absolutely correct to point out that 200 is a minuscule number compared to the millions of veterans we have. But the issue remains. This isn’t a slam against veterans, thank you. It’s a sad fact that some people who return from combat suffer from PTSD or other lingering effects, may suffer economic hardship, drug problems, and generally have extensive weapons training and experience in combat. This makes them extremely tempting recruitment targets for some of the most violent fringe groups. Why on Earth would the DHS not be monitoring these hate groups to see if they seem to be targeting any veterans?

We could go on, but the bottom line to this is quite simple. You’re all offended because the report used the phrase “right wing” in it. Well guess what? There are only two wings handy for such references unless you’ve got a third hand the rest of us didn’t get in on. If liberal groups that support gay rights, civil rights for blacks etc. are referred to as “Left wing” groups, what would you call groups that target and kill gays and blacks?

Unfortunately they pick up the term Right wing. And that’s extreme Right wing. Do any of you think of yourselves as extremists? No? Then they’re not talking about you. Now stop and think back on how many times you’ve made reference to fringe Left wing groups like ALF and ELF and the rest of the whack jobs. Did you feel bad about saying Left wing then? Don’t flinch. I’ve seen pretty much all of you use the phrase and hear it on a daily basis. Welcome to the party. Now some of these groups are in the spotlight and you get to enjoy the same broad brush your friends on the Left are constantly painted with.

And while you’re all busy dismissing the “one guy” in Pennsylvania (which nearly every Right winger on that Memeorandum list did) keep the following in mind: Yes, he was “one guy” who was espousing the extreme language of the furthest Right wing. So you think he’s the only “one guy” out there? Do you want the authorities to assume he’s the only “one guy” out there? Or do you think maybe they should be on the lookout in case there’s “one more guy” or one more after that?

The only way this isn’t Fauxrage is if you you think these extremist descriptions apply to you. If you don’t, then you’re dancing with straw men to score cheap political points. If you do, then I hope the DHS catches up with you before you kill someone.

(Fauxrage banner courtesy of T.G. Studios)

         

133 Comments

  1. I'm having another “tomato- tom-ah-to” moment here.

    Why?

    Sorry, but there's always a tension between those two things. Since conservatism's guiding principle is to conserve the status quo, the degree of internal consistency that you require would mean that even more so than now, they'd have to reject ANYTHING new. You know very well that if that were the case, you'd attack on that basis, so it's a case of any stick being good enough to beat 'em with.

    There's always a tension between what two things?

    Conserving the status quo does not explain why the same Republicans who attack national health care (e.g.) as “socialism” do not attack Medicare (e.g.) as socialism. I don't follow how that connects to “rejecting anything new.”

    So, on the Dem side with regard to foreign policy, is it also internally inconsistent when Obama orders a troop surge in Afghanistan while Kucinich speaks out against that escalation? Why don't the arguments (articulated now by Kucinich) about how this won't be won militarily and a troop surge is a futile waste of manpower, lives and resources apply here as they did in Iraq according to the Democrats?

    CS, the above doesn't make sense. If Kucinich is arguing now against a surge in Afghanistan on the grounds that this won't be won militarily, and if the Democrats made the same argument regarding the surge in Iraq, where is the inconsistency?

  2. There was certainly a lot of anger about that unbridled Surveillance State — Dems in Congress were going out of their way to find a TV camera to say how much of an infringement it was on our civil liberties. So, now that many of those policies are being continued, what happened to all of that outrage? I know Glenn Greenwald remains up in arms about it, but I haven't seen too many faces complaining about it now that Obama is doing it.

    Greenwald is pissed about it. I'm pissed about it. Olbermann is pissed about it. Andrew Sullivan is pissed about it. Talking Points Memo has had some scathing posts about it.

    With the exception of me, that's the some pretty high profile outrage from what are usually Obama supporters.

  3. Chris, give yourself some credit — you're in some pretty good company, and you're consistent. Perhaps I should have been a bit more clear about pointing fingers at the politicians. At any rate, it appears we'll get an answer on just how far this whole thing goes:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily

  4. If Kucinich is arguing now against a surge in Afghanistan on the grounds that this won't be won militarily, and if the Democrats made the same argument regarding the surge in Iraq, where is the inconsistency?

    In Obama's position.

  5. jchem,
    I agree about the politicians. With the exception of Feingold, Paul, Kucinich and maybe a handful of others, Congress is all to willing to cede more and more unchecked power to the presidency. As long as it can be loosely defined as “defense”.

    When you look at the last few years when the Congressional Democrats were in power, they did little more than pay lip service to antiwar and civil libertarian positions. Under their watch we got retroactive immunity for telecoms, more authorization for wars and no pushback on the elimination of habeas corpus.

  6. I'm having another “tomato- tom-ah-to” moment here.

    Why?

    Because I see no distinction between 'fiscal conservative' and 'not wanting to spend on domestic programs'. In order to be fiscally conservative, one has to limit discretionary spending.

  7. Hemm:
    Her original casual reference to some Democrats and liberals as believing in socialism is just a demonstrated willful blindness.

    And your continued misrepresentation of my statements after I've taken the time to respond and explain my statements is just a demonstrated continuation of carrying on in bad faith, Hemm (or the only other possible explanation would be dimwittedness and inability to understand my statements, which I don't believe is the case.)

    Enough already.

    What's really ridiculous is that you keep carrying on, I guess to try to draw criticism to me as though I was tarring and feathering Democrats with that label, when you and Kathy are the ones who keep insisting that several existing government programs ARE examples of socialism, so you guys are the ones who are claiming widespread acceptance of it and trying to assert that Republicans accept socialism in those forms but pretend to reject it overall.

  8. There's always a tension between what two things?

    Internal consistency and flexibility. Almost by definition, because being internally consistent means sticking to a rigid set of ideological principles instead of examining each situation and making adjustments as required.

  9. Because I see no distinction between 'fiscal conservative' and 'not wanting to spend on domestic programs'. In order to be fiscally conservative, one has to limit discretionary spending.

    The assumption there, of course, is that domestic spending is “discretionary” by definition, but military spending is not. No one who questions the necessity of almost any spending on domestic social programs while almost never questioning the necessity of any military spending can be accurately called fiscally conservative.

  10. CS

    You used the word first to describe some democrats.

    I demonstrated that programs Republicans regularly vote for are by Webster's definition, socialistic. You agreed with Webster's definition, but then said it didn't fit because Social security was not an “industry”.

    I then used a dictionary definition of “industry.”

    “Agreeing to disagree on the industry definition for now, ”

    Why? Is this definition one I made up? I gave common everyday examples of such “industries” and even included the private sector retirement fund industries as one of my examples.

    You choose not to define your definition of socialism but have repeatedly stated that I've somehow got socialism and industry both wrong. You became angry when I accused you of deflecting. If not deflection, when has the Dictionary's definition not been an authority for the words we use?

    I repeat, throughout this entire thing, you have merely said my definition does not work. What definition does? You have used a word to describe some Democrats, but leaves out all Republicans. What definition do you use that does that?

  11. Internal consistency and flexibility. Almost by definition, because being internally consistent means sticking to a rigid set of ideological principles instead of examining each situation and making adjustments as required.

    Then they need to articulate the difference. If Republicans/conservatives in Congress oppose domestic spending because it's socialism, then they oppose Medicare because it's a domestic program. So they need to state, clearly, out loud, and in public, that Medicare is socialism but they won't vote to repeal it because there is another outweighing factor (which is….) or they need to stop opposing domestic spending on the grounds that it's socialistic. Because if domestic spending is socialism, and socialism is always bad, then one cannot support some forms of domestic spending and not others without clearly explaining why domestic spending is socialism and thus bad, but *this* particular domestic spending is not socialism and thus not bad (or is socialism but is not bad).

    It simply does not work to scream “Socialism! Communism! The Soviet Union!” at every single piece of spending on social programs and/or human needs that comes down the pike while continuing to support programs like Medicare.

  12. when you and Kathy are the ones who keep insisting that several existing government programs ARE examples of socialism…

    When or where did insist that several existing government programs are examples of socialism?

  13. In Obama's position.

    Using your logic.

    Using mine, the two men just take the same sets of facts and see reasons to come to differing conclusions.

    Are you trying to say that if *Obama* opposed the surge in Iraq he should not be authorizing a surge in Afghanistan? If that's what you're trying to say, I agree with you.

  14. I agree- that's been my position all along. I stated that I agree with you that the GOP is disingenuous when they object to certain spending bills and programs as socialistic, and it's pretty obvious that this is an intentional attempt to scare people off from those programs (instead of taking the more difficult but more honest approach of explaining what it is we oppose about those spending programs.)

  15. when you and Kathy are the ones who keep insisting that several existing government programs ARE examples of socialism…

    When or where did I insist that several existing government programs are examples of socialism?

    If I have misunderstood, I apologize but I thought you had expressed agreement with Hemm and he has quoted a dictionary definition of socialism and then stated that he sees social security meeting that definition. I then disagreed with that interpretation.

    I also thought that this was your position about Medicare- that the GOP is dishonest not to admit that it's a form of socialism. Again, I dispute that- I don't think any of that meets the strict definition of socialism- and just as the GOP is dishonest to try to portray all Dem domestic spending programs as socialism, I don't think it's any more honest to try to force the GOP to say that those existing programs that THEY support are socialism. Those are two arguments that are the different sides of the same coin.

  16. Are you trying to say that if *Obama* opposed the surge in Iraq he should not be authorizing a surge in Afghanistan? If that's what you're trying to say, I agree with you.

    Yes, sort of. I'm saying that according to the 'rules' you set for internal consistency, that would be the case. And I see you're following your own rules. :)

    Those aren't exactly my rules though. I do think that there has to be a compelling explanation for why one conclusion was reached in one case and a different one in the other- and I'm not at all sure that Obama has made that case. However, as a general rule I do allow for the idea that there could be some such compelling reason- thus, flexibility even though I still expect some measure of internal consistency.

    So there again- the tension between those two concepts. If one requires really strong internal consistency, as you apparently do, you sacrifice somewhat the flexibility part. I assume you aren't 100% rigid about this rule, but whenever you allow for some flexibility you have to then accept that there's the possible criticism of the disconnect between two situations being decided differently as a sign of internal inconsistency.

  17. I repeat, throughout this entire thing, you have merely said my definition does not work.

    Hemm, the problem is that you cut and paste a definition (which I accept) and then you interpret it in a way that I don't accept- yet you act as though your interpretation is the only possible one.

    I should have been more clear in that comment I quickly jotted about 'agreeing to disagree', what I meant was disagreeing (again) on your interpretation. You quoted the definition of industry as sale of goods and services and did a hand wavy thing about the 'retirement industry'. What?? Retirement is a good or a service that can be sold? It might make some sense if there were actual retirement accounts set up within the social security system, but you know very well it doesn't operate that way. SS is strictly a transfer of funds from current workers to the government and then back to retirees.

    Can you at least admit that two people can accept a dictionary definition but then one interprets it to say that a certain thing fits that description while the other person disagrees with that interpretation?

    And then concede that what I'm doing here is simply disagreeing with you, not refusing to accept dictionary definitions??

  18. CS

    I suggest you merely Google “retirement industry.” Somebody's making money from this non-existent industry. I got 23 million responses. Do I need to demonstrate this too?

    Accounts are how private business does this, so SS is not an industry because the government does hold separate accounts. I guess those reports I get that show what i will receive based upon what I contributed are not specific enough for you? If you put in more, you get more – just like an individual account.

  19. Did I say that there is no such thing as the term retirement industry, or did I say that your reference to it fitting the description of the government social security program is not accurate?

    A retirement account is a good which can be sold (or brokered), but since there are no accounts being bought or sold under the social security program, that makes the definition of industry that you quoted inapplicable.

    Yes, I realize they do things differently when it's a government program. That's why this isn't an example of the government running an industry though.

    Any lightbulbs going on yet??

  20. CS

    You've outdone yourself. The fact that you can't sell a fund due to the fact that is part of a mandatory government program means its not socialism.

    What's the going price of your 401k? Limited by law too? Your argument has made the perfect circle. SS can't be a socialist program because you can't apply free market principals to it.

    Your absolutely right CS, socialism is not socialism if you can't sell parts of the socialist program in a free market. Catchy definition to use.

  21. If one requires really strong internal consistency, as you apparently do, you sacrifice somewhat the flexibility part.

    No. CS, you are still not understanding my point. It's not the inconsistency in and of itself that I object to. It's not being honest about why you are upholding a value in every instance but one. Republicans who conspicuously omit Medicare from their list of socialistic domestic programs that should be deep-sixed. Is there something about Medicare, some mitigating factor about that particular program, that makes it legitimate and important despite the fact that it's creeping socialism? What IS that factor?

  22. Nah, you have it backwards. It is rising fascism that this report is warning of. And hey, if you don't like the report then maybe you evil SOBs should stop coming home from the wars and killing people.

  23. I guess the lights are just permanentlly out, so I'll probably have to give it up.

    It's not that the 'thing' is not allowed to be sold- it's that there's no THING. I'm glad you like those quaint statements you receive from SS about how much you've paid into the system, and how much you will receive, but you are kidding yourself if you believe that this represents a 'thing' which you have purchased.

    And yes, that does mean that it no longer fits the definition of 'industry' (by the definition you quoted and agreed to.)

    There's also the fact that there still is a private 'retirement industry'. If our government had socialized this INDUSTRY, then there would be no such thing as private retirement plans. And that of course is the facet of socialism that conservatives reject, and it hasn't happened. Ergo your complaint about how conservatives are hypocritical for accepting the SS program while fighting against other programs which they claim are socialistic in nature is bogus, because the nature of the complaint against socialism is not present in the current situation of social security. There are absolutely no restrictions on anyone from having private investment accounts for retirement- in fact that is encouraged under our current system. Mandatory participation in SS has nothing to do with that, because the government is not controlling the sale of the good or service of retirement accounts IN ANY WAY.

  24. Kathy
    YES!

    The mitigating factor is that Medicare is a program for a specific subset of the population that needs assistance. It's a safety net sort of program (though some conservative/libertarians would reject that as well, because it's a pretty big net.)

    I understand your frustration since that point is not often made- the GOP who speak about creeping socialism are preaching to the choir and conservatives get their meaning but you are scratching your head (kind of like I've been in this whole thread, as I felt that I accidently wandered into a talking point of the left- you understood perfectly why Hemm brought up TVA and SS and asked why GOP never complain about them, and I had no idea what he was talking about.)

    But that's why it would be nice if we could all stop talking past each other. Ignore what this party or that is saying, and talk to each other as normal human beings, explaining to one another why we believe X but not Y.

    Anyway- I could say a lot more but have to run…working today so I'll not be online much.

  25. I thought you had expressed agreement with Hemm and he has quoted a dictionary definition of socialism and then stated that he sees social security meeting that definition.

    I would agree (and it's plainly true) that programs like Medicare and Social Security — indeed, pretty much all programs in which the government subsidizes or pays for the human needs of Americans in specific areas of life — are socialistic in that they are examples of government controlling the distribution of a particular product or service, but I don't take that to mean that the U.S. government is trying to impose socialism on the country, or turn the U.S. into a “socialist state.” The fact is that most countries in the world that are not dictatorships or failed states have some elements of both socialism and capitalism. Most normal healthy countries (i.e., not dictatorships or failed states) are mixed economies — to greater or lesser extents. Sweden's political/economic system is democratic socialist; our system is capitalistic, but with elements of democratic socialism. Countries that are totally socialistic or totally capitalistic tend not to work very well.

    I also thought that this was your position about Medicare- that the GOP is dishonest not to admit that it's a form of socialism.

    No, that is not my position. My position is that the *GOP* — or large swaths of it, and certainly the current GOP leadership in Congress — consistently attack human needs programs and domestic spending in general because, they say, “it's socialism.” That being the case, I am quite certain that these same GOP leaders think that Medicare “is socialism.” And socialism in their view, by definition, is bad, always and forever and with no exceptions, ifs, ands, or buts. However, no Republican in Congress who wants to remain in Congress would ever attack Medicare on the basis that “it's socialism.” So they don't.

  26. The mitigating factor is that Medicare is a program for a specific subset of the population that needs assistance.

    Well, so is unemployment insurance. So is the food stamp program, and the school lunch program, and Head Start. So is welfare — not just cash assistance but related welfare programs like rental assistance (which I am getting as an alternative to being evicted and having to live in a homeless shelter). Republican leaders in Congress and conservative media pundits and bloggers all attack these programs as “socialism.”

    In an economy that is run according to undiluted, unfettered capitalism, having a “safety net” for people who need assistance would not be regarded as either desirable or necessary.

  27. CS

    Mistaken again.

    SS “sells” the promise to pay their “customers” reaching retirement based upon the payments received for that customer's account number, aka their Social Security Number. That promise is the product that is sold.
    Your reclassification of “thing” sounds Clintonesque.

    ” There's also the fact that there still is a private 'retirement industry'. If our government had socialized this INDUSTRY, then there would be no such thing as private retirement plans.”

    Monopoly is no requirement for socialist program. Besides, “Monopoly” is a free enterprise term; You again wish to describe one system in terms of another. That kind of comparison is specious. The total dominance you require is just making stuff up.

    The TVA, your favorite socialist program co-exists alongside private power companies. Your logic would require that we do not call China a Communist state because they allow free Enterprise. The totality you require is not required by anyone but you.

    Christine

    You have questioned every term, and still wish to do so. There's a simple enough answer to this, PRODUCE your definition of socialism. I've been doing the heavy lifting through all this, and you have merely issued edicts condemning my efforts. You've argued authoritative definitions of socialism, social security, industry, and your latest, “thing.” At the same time, you used a word that you define in some secret way that does not conflict with those definitions of terms I have cited.

    If you can't produce this definition, I'm done with this. I'm done because you really are demonstrating a lack of good faith. If you're going to use a term, at least have the common courtesy to define it when asked.

  28. HemmD –

    I’m sure you did not brush over intentionally the significance of TVA’s role in the federal government.

    Not quibbling over definitions, it is my understanding and long held belief that a “socialistic society” is one totally controlled by government. Can it be partly socialistic?

    In TVA’s case, I believe so. It is because TVA is a federal agency (TVA Act, 1933) with most unusual powers (‘flexibility of a corporation with the power of government – eminent domain’, said FDR) that operates beyond anything resembling our free-market system or of any other federal agency.

    The fact that the TVA exists in a huge taking by the TVA, essentially by dictatorial power, that impinges on the lives of over 8 million people does not mean that the TVA “co-exists” with surrounding investor-owned electricity producers. TVA has an inviolable “fence” some 2500 miles long. No sneaking in and stealing power customers even though their rates may be cheaper.

    The confusion planted by the TVA for 75 years claiming they’re just good old business people trying to get along with their neighbors is falsity personified. Stop. TVA is a federal government agency. Does that need further defining?

    I hope some of you have the chance to read some of my articles about the TVA at http://norsworthyopinion.com

    I believe the nationalization of the electric power industry in America has never been a closer reality, if I read some of Obama’s energy aims correctly.

    Ernest Norsworthy
    emnorsworthy@earthlink.net

  29. Hemm, give me a break. You're now trying to claim that the 'goods and services' in the definition of 'industry' can be an abstract promise? That's beyond ridiculous, and I really think you need to hang up your hat on this one (really, it's OK to admit that you overreached with your argument- you'll look much more respectable if you just own up to that instead of continuing to stretch.)

    I mean really. By your logic then, another example of socialism would be the Declaration's 'promises' of right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Does that mean that the government controls the 'happiness' industry?

    You have questioned every term, and still wish to do so.

    OK, for about the fifth time…I AM NOT QUESTIONING A SINGLE TERM. I accept the dictionary definitions that you've provided for socialism and for industry- in fact, I'm trying to persuade YOU to follow those definitions instead of stretching them beyond belief.

    Arguing in good faith doesn't mean I have to agree with your interpretations when they're quite obviously wrong. If you have to stretch a point to talk about promises as commodity, I'm sorry but it's not going to fly.

  30. at least have the common courtesy to define it when asked.

    I did. Over, and over. My definitions for socialism and industry are the ones you produced from the dictionary, but not the twisted ones that you produced with your interpretation.

    And I've said this repeatedly, but you keep saying that I have not explained what my definitions are. Who's arguing in bad faith?

    Monopoly is no requirement for socialist program. Besides, “Monopoly” is a free enterprise term; You again wish to describe one system in terms of another. That kind of comparison is specious. The total dominance you require is just making stuff up.
    I didn't use the term monopoly, you did.

    I realize you introduce that term because the conditions that I wrote about would be like a monopoly in a free enterprise system, but in this case government having total ownership of a segment of the economy (an industry.) But the term monopoly applies to a situation in a capitalist economy when one private company controls an entire industry without competition. So, you're right in saying it's a free enterprise term, which is why I didn't use it. You brought it into the conversation- that's supposed to be my bad?

    Your logic would require that we do not call China a Communist state because they allow free Enterprise.
    Say what?? You do realize that Communism is a political term, not an economic one. Why would my logic then lead to that false conclusion?

    But yes, according to my logic, China doesn't have a purely socialistic economy. In fact, it's more correctly termed a socialist market economy. which is gradually being transformed into a more capitalist one as nationalized companies are being privatized.

  31. @ Kathy- I believe you're right about Medicare/Medicaid. I spoke imprecisely there- what I was getting at is that both of these programs are designed to meet needs of specific subsets of the population whose ability to pay for healthcare is at risk. The idea for retirees, of course, is that lack of salaried income would require them to have very high savings/investment to pay for healthcare at the time of their life when they're statistically going to have the most healthcare expense.

    Now, before you go off on me and say that these days EVERYONE is at risk of being able to afford healthcare, I get that argument. But just because the solution of a govt run program works for one segment of the population doesn't automatically mean that this should be the only solution we consider.

    And this is my problem with the entire way that you frame these arguments. It's like “Well, if conservatives accept this degree of government social welfare, there's no reason they should object to a higher and higher degree of it.” That's illogical, and it's intellectually lazy.

    I've agreed with you that the GOP is lazy in it's arguments to support its positions- but I'm now also trying to point out that yours too are 'preaching to the choir'.

    You are also correct when you write about the continuum between capitalism and socialism or a social welfare state (and there too, I'll criticize the GOP for disingenuousness by often not admitting to that.) But accepting some level of these kinds of policies (whatever you want to call them- and I keep trying to stick to very narrow definitions of socialism simply because that term is too politically loaded) does not mean that one is a hypocrite if one feels there's a line to be drawn with how far we go with it. You obviously would probably disagree with those lines- but if you'll stop and think about it, there's nothing hypocritical about the idea of lines or limits.

    Imagine a number line with pure free market capitalism at one end and pure socialism at the other. Although I reject the definition of 'socialism' for social welfare programs, they would certainly be placed a bit away from the pure capitalist end of the line. The level to which we've now made that move, and accepted those programs, does not in any way mean that further movements shouldn't be questioned. And part of the reason for questioning it is our belief that a certain degree of capitalism is necessary to support and sustain the social welfare safety net. Look at the problems that the European social democracies had in the 70's – 80's (and what I believe they're headed for now- unsustainability.)

    So, anytime you want to argue for increasing the 'safety net', you still have to make your case all over again, for why and how it can be done successfully in your opinion. You can't just say that the need is there and so this is the solution to that need- because if we don't have a way to pay for that solution then you're creating more problems down the line.

    And when you frame your arguments as you are doing, you're leaving yourself wide open for one of the main arguments conservatives have with liberals- namely, the 'creeping' or 'slippery slope' problem. If you're going to argue for expansion of all existing programs by saying “well, you accepted it at that level therefore there's no reason you shouldn't accept more of it, and you're a hypocrite if you don't” then we're going to continue to be highly suspicious anytime you introduce ANYTHING, because we'll see that it's always the start of something that you intend to keep expanding.

  32. You say, quote: That could be a somewhat compelling element if McVeigh actually was the only one. Unfortunately, only a few hours after he wrote these remarks, I was sitting in on Ed’s daily show when Audrey Hudson of the Washington Times unexpectedly stopped by. (Audrey penned her own column on these atrocities today.) It was Ms. Hudson who helpfully pointed out that her background research indicated roughly two hundred cases of veterans who engaged in such violent, criminal activity.”

    “such violent, criminal activity” as McVeigh? I don't think so . . . I'm sure we would have heard about it. Ok, so just what kind of “violent criminal activity”? And what percentage of the military veterans is 200 over the past – um, how many years? How does that compare to the general population? It's all pretty vague, yet the message seems clear. If a person is a part of one of these mentioned groups, that person is MORE LIKELY than the average bear to be involved in the “emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.” And, if you react to these bogus charges, you are deranged. Add yourself to the list.

    Nope, sorry, I'm not drinking the kool-ade.

Submit a Comment