Wednesday, August 12, 2009

“Where are we going, and what are we doing in this hand basket?”

As a recent convert from liberalism to conservatism, I must say… you all are so much more fun and entertaining! I truly wish I could have come to my senses sooner!

But now I find myself in this very strange place of conversion. I still hold some of my more liberal thoughts, but now find myself reviewing them from a firmer stance in reality. As my dear friend Kevin would probably phrase it, “You must have gotten tired of sniffing the Unicorn Farts!”

With this newfound light to the world, I also have a new view of where this illustrious country of ours is headed… and frankly it scares the crap out of me. I used to blind myself by saying, “We can make it better, we just need to try harder and come up with better solutions.” Something that I now have found out is very closely related to the Democratic motto when a plan of theirs goes wrong, “The philosophy can’t be wrong, the idea is sound… we just have to do it again, only harder!” Ah… to be free of the shackles of delusion.

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and you believe what ever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland.” “Remember, all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more.” – The Matrix, 1999

Well… I have taken the red pill and am seeing the world through new eyes. I now find myself in a country that no longer truly represents me. A country that is slowly dismantling the very core of what I have come to believe in as my inalienable rights. A country that has systematically stolen the power from the people in return for “more bread and circuses.” (Thank you Kevin, for all your wonderful colloquialisms.)

Kevin also turned me onto an interesting piece by Peggy Noonan from a WSJ Archives titled “A Separate Piece” in which she quotes Christopher Lawford:

Do people fear the wheels are coming off the trolley? Is this fear widespread? A few weeks ago I was reading Christopher Lawford's lovely, candid and affectionate remembrance of growing up in a particular time and place with a particular family, the Kennedys, circa roughly 1950-2000. It's called "Symptoms of Withdrawal." At the end he quotes his Uncle Teddy. Christopher, Ted Kennedy and a few family members had gathered one night and were having a drink in Mr. Lawford's mother's apartment in Manhattan. Teddy was expansive. If he hadn't gone into politics he would have been an opera singer, he told them, and visited small Italian villages and had pasta every day for lunch. "Singing at la Scala in front of three thousand people throwing flowers at you. Then going out for dinner and having more pasta." Everyone was laughing. Then, writes Mr. Lawford, Teddy "took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. 'I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you guys are my age.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.' "

Mr. Lawford continued, "The statement hung there, suspended in the realm of 'maybe we shouldn't go there.' Nobody wanted to touch it. After a few moments of heavy silence, my uncle moved on."

Lawford thought his uncle might be referring to their family--that it might "fall apart." But reading, one gets the strong impression Teddy Kennedy was not talking about his family but about . . . the whole ball of wax, the impossible nature of everything, the realities so daunting it seems the very system is off the tracks.

And--forgive me--I thought: If even Teddy knows . . .

If even Ted Kennedy accepts this as truth, how much more proof do we need that we are all screwed?!?!

Peggy continues on in her article about the elites and their reaction to the problems this country is facing, but towards the end she writes:

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."

This got me to thinking about one of the issues I have always struggled with, which are the uber-rich. As a liberal I admit to having thoughts of they should pay more to help “balance” society, but I now see that taxing a person more simply because they make more is no more reasonable than a poor man telling a rich man he must buy him a house while doing nothing to earn it. It was much easier to rationalize these thoughts when I had a big federal government that was a buffer between the two entities and would solve all the details of who was entitled to what. But now I realize that was simply utter insanity. Since when has our government done anything well. “Government does two things really well… Nothing and over-react!” (Thanks again Kevin, great T-shirt btw)

So where does this leave us? And by us, I am referring to the normal every day individuals that don’t have millions in the bank. I finally get it! I now understand the position of the uber-rich! THEY SIMPLY DON’T CARE! It is all a game to them because, in the end, they can go anywhere they want to at any time. Who got affected the most by the recent housing collapse? Who suffers the most due to the Wall Street’s debacles? Is it the wealthy CEOs and businessmen and women that make ridiculous salaries? Of course not! They can make all the bad decisions they want to because it isn’t their money at risk. It isn’t their homes on the line. It isn’t their lives that will be destroyed by failures on the part of the businesses they run. Their job is much more self-motivated. Make as much as you can… as fast as you can… and move on to the next position that will make you even more. These people are going beyond Capitalism… at least capitalism is private enterprise, but not here… this is corporate. And if this country fails, the uber-rich will simply take their money and move to the next place of business. Or maybe they will retire on their private islands in which they have to answer to no one. Not that they are answering to anyone now…

So what am I saying… frankly, I don’t know. I don’t have a solution… I only see a problem. I know that things cannot continue the way they are, but I don’t know the better method of how things should be done. In discussion with Kevin, we talked about how this country was founded. And that, when George Washington was preparing to step down after his second term as president, the King of England said that if he went through with it, he would be the greatest man on earth. To have the power of a country at his disposal, George did indeed step down. This means the system worked. So why is it now failing? I am lead to two thoughts on the matter… the original design was flawed and/or we found ways to fuck it up! How do we fix it? I am not sure there is a way. Kevin refers to it as entropy, while I look at it as more of a one-way street. I think my choice is a bit more hopeful; at least a one-way street can change direction. If it doesn’t soon, we will most definitely hit the brick wall we are speeding towards.


  1. Bill, you might want to read Neo-Neocon's A Mind is a Difficult Thing To Change series.

    Pack a lunch, it's 14 pieces long.

  2. There is no such thing as a system that is not flawed. We are human and subject to entropy, therefore, everything we create is also so subject.

    "Everything that has a beginning, has an end."
    -The Matrix: Revolutions, 2003

  3. I used to blind myself by saying, “We can make it better, we just need to try harder and come up with better solutions.” Something that I now have found out is very closely related to the Democratic motto when a plan of theirs goes wrong, “The philosophy can’t be wrong, the idea is sound… we just have to do it again, only harder!” Ah… to be free of the shackles of delusion.

    Good post.

    This was the great insight of the Founders. They did not seek to create utopia, but a society in which the evils of men were constrained by laws. They knew better than to create a perfect world, only a better one. For the worst hells on earth (Hitler's Germany, USSR, Pol Pot's Cambodia) were created by utopianists.

  4. From one ex-liberal (heck, I was briefly a member of Progressive Students Alliance and Democratic Socialists of America, way back in college days) to another, just keep reading and making up your own mind.

  5. So, the morale of the story is...become one of the hard, take risks, sell yourself up the chain, sign Golden Parachutes - whatever it takes! I've started playing the game to get there - it's long as Obama doesn't screw up my opportunity to get there by continually making me pay for all the lazy bastard's welfare!

  6. I remember being shocked at hearing evil rightwing conservative nazis arguing their own positions, as opposed to the strawmen I had always heard from my fellow liberals, and discovered that being rightwing and conservative was not synonymous with being an evil nazi.

    I am now plowing through Liberal Fascism, and being shocked again, after more than a decade since my eyes were first opened, to find that the entire vocabulary of American political discourse has been hijacked by socialists.

    It's causing me considerable pain, because all the words I know are wrong, including "liberal", "conservative", "right", "left", "community", "action", "united", "pragmatism", "progressive", "international", "national", and on and on. So many comfortable words and phrases carry hidden baggage and have toxic connections I didn't know were there. The resulting confusion makes it impossible to discuss things with people who haven't had their eyes opened, yet.

    Intelligent, well-educated, and well-meaning people cannot understand, CANNOT, that my not supporting Obamacare does not mean that I want, actively want, poor people to die of colds and paper cuts.