Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Sunday, October 12, 2003

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:
Of votes --and chads --and democracy--
Of Republics --and of kings--
And why the earth is getting hot--
And when will pigs have wings."

(With abject apologies to Lewis Carroll.)

Last week I had a couple of posts on the reaction of the moonbat wing of the Democratic Party to the California recall election - specifically those people who post to Those posts are here and here, with the second being by far the most egregious example. And I warned you at the end of "Not with a Bang, but a Whimper?" that I might have more to say on the topic. This post is it.

Now, I've ranted about Democrat hypocrisy like this before. In fact, in that essay written back during Election 2000 (long before I started this blog) I essentially wrote a companion piece to "janekat's" DU post, which - for my own amusement - I present part of in counterpoint to her comments:
What we MUST realize in order to win - Americans are stupid and uninformed

This is very important because in order to win we must understand the way the average American thinks. I'm afraid WE have nothing in common with them.

I came to the two following conclusions when I saw the large number of people who voted for Bush back in 2000.

#1 - I would dare to assume that most of us here are in the upper 1%-20% of the population intelligence-wise. We must come to the realization that the majority of the population is in the lower 80% to 99% percent of the bell-curve. WE are not the norm.
An Uncomfortable Conclusion

With the continuing legal maneuvers in the Florida election debacle, I have been forced to a conclusion that I may have been unconsciously fending off. The Democratic party thinks we're stupid. Not "amiable uncle Joe" stupid, but DANGEROUSLY stupid. Lead-by-the-hand-no-sharp-objects-don't-put-that-in-your-mouth stupid. And they don't think that just Republicans and independents are stupid, no no! They think ANYBODY not in the Democratic power elite is, by definition, a drooling idiot. A muttering moron. Pinheads barely capable of dressing ourselves.

Take, for example, the position under which the Gore election machine petitioned for a recount - that only supporters of the Democratic candidate for President lacked the skills necessary to vote properly, and that through a manual recount those erroneously marked ballots could be "properly" counted in Mr. Gore's favor. They did this in open court and on national television, and with a straight face.

So, it is with some regret that I can no longer hold that uncomfortable conclusion at bay:

They're right. We are.
It would appear that "janekat" has what it takes to be a member of the DNC elite. And she's absolutely one of Thomas Sowell's "Anointed." I have not yet had a chance to read Mr. Sowell's book The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, but I have read the text of his speech on the subject, and it rings wholly true. This part of the speech particularly so:
Just as economic issues are often seen as being about "the rich" and "the poor," various statistical disparities between social groups are often attributed to the moral failings of "society," just as innumerable dangers that are allowed to exist show society's blindness or callousness.

Whatever the issue, it tends to be seen within this framework -- this vision of the anointed-- and to take on the aura of a moral crusade. "Intellectuals cannot operate at room temperature," as Eric Hoffer put it. They cannot simply say that policy A is preferred to policy B for the following reasons and with the following evidence. To do that would be to lay their reasons and evidence alongside the reasons and evidence of those who disagree with them, so that others can weigh the one against the other. To argue in this way, on the same moral plane and under the same impartial rules of logic and evidence applying to both sides would be a violation of the whole vision in which the anointed see themselves. Their role is not to put themselves on the same plane as other people. The very words and phrases they use reveal the loftier plane on which they see themselves. From this loftier plane they are to raise our "consciousness," make us "aware" and hope that we will "grow." Those who nevertheless continue to disagree with them must then be shown to be not merely in error but in sin.
And let them without sin cast the first stones, as it were.

But here's the question I have had, as succinctly put by Sowell:
How do the anointed manage to survive - and, indeed, flourish - after being wrong so often?
And he answers it:
Much as animals and plants survive in nature-- by being in environments favorable to their strengths and not very severe on their weaknesses. The strengths of the anointed are verbal strengths and mental nimbleness, combined with whatever academic credentials may help sustain their sense of intellectual and moral superiority. There are environments in which that is sufficient and other environments in which that counts for virtually nothing. The anointed can be found concentrated in the former kinds of environments, rather than the latter, just as fish are found in the sea and not on mountaintops, just as it is just the reverse with eagles.

The academic world, for example, is a sort of natural habitat or wild-life refuge for ideas that cannot stand the test of empirical results-- except for those fields in which there are decisive tests, such as science, mathematics, engineering, medicine-- and athletics. In all these fields, in their differing ways, there comes a time when you must either put up or shut up. It should not be surprising that all of these fields are notable exceptions to the complete domination of the left on campuses across the country.
Where they are free to brainwash the young, some of whom become the primary and secondary educators of our children. And make no mistake - the world of the NEA is, too, a cloistered academic one where there is no decisive testing of empirical results. To the education system, how a child feels has become more important that what (s)he learns. Rand's Comprachicos have spread greatly since the 50's. They exist in politics as well - for "verbal strengths and mental nimbleness" are the hallmark of the successful politician, are they not? And how often do politicians actually debate "Policy A" vs. "Policy B" on the merits, rather than on the intent? Even in closed-door sessions away from the cameras? As the link above shows, the ranks of editorial cartoonists are rife with The Anointed as well, and they are but the most visible indicator of The Anointed dominating the media.

Nowhere has this jarring disconnect from reality in favor of lofty "higher ends" been more pronounced than with the gun control fight. That prominence has been due to, as Sowell put it, a lack of conclusive tests for empirical results. The fight over "Affirmative Action," the fight over "Welfare reform," the fight over taxes, all of those fights and more have not produced clear, unassailable empirical evidence of success or failure.

But "gun control" has. And presented with that evidence, the only thing The Anointed can respond with are reports like this one that states that the research in to whether gun control laws are or aren't effective is inconclusive, and more research is needed. But here's the incontrovertible, conclusive proof that, at least in part, "gun control" doesn't make the public safer - concealed-carry. In every state where "shall-issue" concealed-carry legislation has been promoted, the gun control groups predict "blood in the streets," "Dodge City shootouts," carnage and mayhem and death, Oh My! And it never happens - anywhere. The "gun control" of keeping guns out of the hands of the law-abiding has been conclusively proven ineffective at making us safer.

Faced with that incontrivertible empirical evidence, the best argument The Anointed can come up with is that it can't be conclusively proven that guns in the hands of the citizens make things safer, but what it demonstrates unquestionably is that more guns doesn't equal more crime - yet they don't abandon their mantra. Regardless of the empirical evidence they totally ignore the absence of the dire consequences they always predict, and in each new state the emotional argument is repeated, rather than debated on its merits as it should be. Again - "gun control" up to and including outright bans has not made England safer. They've simply disarmed the law-abiding, but pointing this out to The Anointed doesn't phase them.

However, that is only an aside to the larger problem I discussed earlier. Gun control is my particular hobby-horse because, to me, it encompasses the most explicit and outrageous attack on individual liberty that The Anointed pursue - a deliberate, undisguised, and direct attack on the integrity of the Constitution of the United States. It is that document that stands in the way of their quest to give us what they feel we deserve - good and hard - and it is that document that we, the masses, are tasked to protect and defend.

Because if we don't do it, no one will. Certainly not our elected officials without our torches and pitchforks behind 'em.

My earlier piece "Not with a Bang..." decried what I saw as a defeatist attitude among more than just the two examples I gave. The question I asked there may have been answered: Have we reached a "critical mass" where The Anointed have sway over enough of the population to get them to yeild our rights for The Anointed's "higher purpose"? After the California recall election, the answer appears to be "not quite yet." California - that bastion of the liberal Anointed (and make no mistake, there is a small conservative Anointed as well - and to the horror of both,) elected a man considered to be wholly unsuitable to be Governor of the 7th largest economy in the world. A man who was not one of The Anointed. A man who may not be controlled by The Anointed (but seeing as he married into one of the Brahmin families of the Anointed, that remains to be seen.) Worse, a man popular with the hoi polloi - which, in a democracy gives him power that The Anointed seldom receive. Worse still, the recall election demonstrates that the electorate can still be motivated to turn out in volume - and that cannot be good for The Anointed who see them as "not very bright" - ignorant, easily lead rubes who are the willingly-manipulated pawns of the forces of sinful self-interest.

Still, it's not all good news. As the joke goes "I want to vote for the best candidate, but he never runs!" - and the system is set up to ensure that he doesn't. If the recall election proves nothing else, it shows that the entrenched powers will stop at nothing short of actual assassination to retain power, so if you want to run for office it indicates something other than a desire simply to do a good job. I've said for quite a while that anyone actually willing to run for office ought to be immediately disqualified. Arnold's election proves, actually it only reaffirms, that popular recognition is the only way to elected office other than through the political party machinery, and John and Jane Q. Citizen don't have a chance of running through those machines without coming out mangled beyond recognition.

(Let me say that I hope Arnold does a good job as Governor, but I will not be surprised if he is thwarted at every turn by his legislature, or if he turns out like Jesse Ventura to be not up to the job on philosophical grounds.)

Here's the situation as I see it:

The The Anointed control the halls of higher education with the possible exception of the schools of engineering and the hard sciences (which are populated more and more by foreign students rather than domestic ones, as our population produces fewer and fewer students willing and capable of competing.) The Anointed have a firm grip on primary and secondary education in this country, and are only threatened by home-schooling (not an option for most families) and school vouchers (which they oppose vehemently.) Controlling these is actually more important than controlling higher education - it's easier to indoctrinate the young before they learn to think, as Ayn Rand explained so graphically in "The Comprachicos," or as illustrated in the present by this post. At any rate, both home-schooling and vouchers are, I think, too little, too late.

The Anointed occupy positions of power in the media, and are less and less concerned about the obvious exercise of that power in attempting to influence the "people of average or lower intelligence." Even when the manipulation fails as it did in California, there is no hue and cry over it. Yes, the conservatives have talk radio, and conservative print media exists, and Fox News for TV, but overwhelmingly the Anointed run the newsrooms in TV and print. Listening recently to the Hugh Hewitt radio show a caller commented that, during the news breaks on his local station, the news being reported was in diametric opposition to what what Hewitt was reporting. Reuters and the AP represent the news-reporting bodies of most small radio outlets. As more and more children process through the school system and have children of their own, the less likely they are to understand, less be swayed by, the relatively minor influence of conservative media that preaches pretty much only to the faithful.

The Anointed occupy seats in the legislatures and benches of the judiciary, though not yet in numbers large enough to completely control policy. While there they are active in the pursuit of increasing their numbers, however, and thwarting attempts to increase the number of conservatives - see the Democrat opposition to judicial nominees who "believe in anything." Possibly the most blatant example after that is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals - also of California - of whom fellow blogger Phelps recently wrote:
The discouragment comes from realising that I have no expectation of the application of law from the 9th circuit. None. The 9th is so activist, so interventionist, and so partisain(sic) that it is a mockery of what the Judicial branch is supposed to represent. They are supposed to be the brake on the engine of government. Instead, the 9th has ventured so far into judicial activism that they are not slowing the engine, but instead speeding it along.
He is not alone in that assessment.

I have written that liberals and conservatives are both necessary to the proper functioning of a healthy society, and I truly believe that. But there's a caveat: The liberals have to play by the same rules. They cannot abandon logic and reason for "higher purposes" and "greater callings." They must recognize that their reality has to be the same one the rest of us live in, and right now that doesn't appear to be the case. Bill Whittle, for instance, longs for the day when the Democrats return to "the party claimed by Jefferson and Truman, and many millions of other decent, patriotic Americans, people of integrity with whom it is a pleasure – sometimes an honor – to disagree." They certainly aren't that today, and to be honest, neither is the Republican party. In the world of politics, things have gotten to the point illustrated in this Sacramento Bee article:
"What is a little disconcerting for the French is an American president who seems to be principled," said Jean Duchesne, an English literature professor at Condorcet College in Paris. "The idea that politics should be based on principles is unimaginable because principles lead to ideology, and ideology is dangerous."
But we who are politically engaged are all ideologues. The difference is in our ideologies. Maximum freedom for the individual, or maximum conformance to the ideals of the Anointed?

I've also written that I believe we sit at a crossroads in history - where, through the easy availability of disparate opinion and vast amounts of information, we can, as a minority, influence our political futures far beyond our mere numbers. Besides the resignation I illustrated in "Not With a Bang...", there is a great deal of frustrated anger out there in the Jacksonian community, and the internet lets the frustrated communicate - and organize - in ways never before possible. Again, the gun control issue is foremost in this, as the gun control Anointed have commented at length on our ability to quickly and effectively organize and resist their efforts. Perhaps Missouri's concealed-carry legislation, over a decade in the making and requiring the overturning of a governor's veto, best exemplifies this. However, I don't think this window of opportunity is going to be open long. We must seize it, soon, or resign ourselves to one of two uncomfortable futures: Losing with a whimper, or eventually being forced to take arms and risk losing with a bang.

Discussion of this would also be appreciated, because I'm pretty much out of ideas.

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