Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Political Wind and the Bags Who Break it

Eww. That was yucky. After several days of posting only about spiritual matters, I had to go and touch pitch by discussing politics yesterday. Now I can't get it off.

I am reminded of something Frithjof Schuon once wrote: "I have an unpleasant feeling of limitation when I write about historical and political matters, of which I cannot think without bitterness. It is as if I had stepped down from my luminous world into a sphere of things which ought not to fill my being." To be precise, I would never, under any circumstances, describe myself as bitter. It is not that we are bitter. However, all Raccoons -- it is part of our genetic entaoment -- can "taste" the bitterness at the core of leftism. In fact, some coonologists believe that coon taste evolved prior to coon scent, and that both developmentally preceded coon vision.

This is why I always recoil from the person who describes himself as a "political junkie." Whether the person is left or right, their head is likely full of junk. The difference is that for a leftist, politics is their religion. This we know. Even if they claim to be religious, you can be sure that their religion flows from their politics and that they would never adopt a religious stance that contradicted their leftist faith. Examples are legion. For example, irrespective of how one feels about the constitutionality of Roe vs. Wade, no spiritually serious person could ever believe that abortion is something that pleases God. At best it is a necessary evil.

Now, the Raccoon is not a political animal. Like our exalted Raccoon furbears who founded America, he would enjoy nothing more than to be freed from the necessity of thinking about politics. If he could, he would spend all day laying back in his camouflage barcalounger listening to Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra broadcasting the sound of joy from some other heliocentric world while reading poetry or theology and thinking to himself, "Mmmmm, medicine for a nightmare. 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky!"

As we all know, before I discovered my Raccoon nature, I myself was a garden variety liberal. Although I didn't understand it at the time, I was also, ipso facto, a leftist. However, I was never a fully infected activist or anything like that, so my soul was basically intact. Rather, I simply drifted along in the intoxicating political tide of my generational cohort, the booby blamers. These narcissistic boobs continue to blame everyone but themselves for their problems.

These two designations -- Raccoon and leftist -- categorically exclude one another. Naturally, we get the occasional commenter veritably bursting with a rudimentary acquaintance with psychology, who says "aha! You were once a radical liberal! You are now a radical conservative! Underneath, you are simply the same person projecting into a different group, you know, like that evil David Horowitz!"

This type of comment should not be disregarded a priori. After all, it makes perfect sense to a dimwit, and dimwits are entitled to their opinions. Nevertheless, I did paws to scratch my coonskin cap over this mutterer. How is it different? How do I know that I'm not just projecting into leftists what I once projected into conservatives?

Well, for starters, there is the simple matter of knowing more now than I did then. To put it bluntly, when I was a liberal, I was an idiot. You have to imagine the days before the internet or talk radio, when there was literally no other widely available source of conservative opinion outside National Review, which I don't believe has ever had more than 100,000 subscribers. For a magazine with an ideology that supposedly caters to the "wealthy," one wonders why it has never turned a profit. Why do huge corporations not flock to advertise there instead of bonehead liberal magazines such as Time and Newseek? (That was a rhetorical question.)

So, number one, I was ignorant, even abjectly so. However, being that I did not know what I did not know, I assumed that it was safe for me to exercise my intelligence within the constraints of liberalism -- which ultimately is a good way to get nowhere fast, somewhat like a gifted Soviet economist who could only think about economics within the constraints of Marxism. No matter how brilliant, he will still be stupid.

We have an "integral" visitor who repeatedly chants the mantra of "separate lines of development," as if, say, someone can be highly spiritually evolved while being emotionally or politically stunted. That may be fine for postmodern integralists, but it is not the venerable Raccoon way, which insists upon the unity of the person -- indeed, equates both spiritual depth and height with unity or wholeness.

Coherence, depth, and meaning are all a function of increasing dynamic wholeness, so that, in the end (which is always here, both as ground and as telos drawing us toward it), we are no longer a scattered, fragmented multiplicity in futile pursuit of an ever-receding unity, but a Unity that com-prehends and therefore transcends the multiplicity of the cosmos. This represents our transdimensional bar mitzvah, as we make the transition from being a son or daughter of the the Cosmic Raccoon to actually being one. Only then are we entitled to "open the first clam" (speaking, of course, metaphorically).

Now, as stated, leftist and Raccoon are entities that precisely exclude one another. They cannot be integrated, any more than one can integrate Judaism with a ham sandwich. While Raccoons are technically omnivorous, certain things are nevertheless treif -- for example envy. It would never occur to us to exalt envy, much less build our political ambitions around it, much much less try to "integrate" it into our Raccoon nature.

But of course, leftism is little more than the breeding of victims for the cultivation of envy. Last night I did catch a few moments of the liberal rebuttal to the State of the Union, but to be honest, when are liberals not rebutting reality? It is what they do.

In his response, Jimmy Webb suggested that "Someone left the economic cake out in the rain, all the sweet green money flowing up. When one looks at the health of our economy, it's almost as if we are living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared."

Wo, wo, wo, time out, bucko. What are you hiding under that wig? "Fairly shared?" What's that supposed to mean? This is news to me. I am invested in the stock market. True, some of my mutual fund picks have been less than sterling, but it never occurred to me that it's someone else's fault -- that I'm not getting my fair share! Wahhhhhhhh!

But let's say I am intrigued. I like what I am hearing from this man Webb. My envy has been piqued. And exactly how are liberal politicians going to ensure that I do get my fair share -- whatever "fair" means? Why, they'll take away some of that wealth and create economic conditions in which less wealth is created for all! Of course, it will have no effect on my economic well-being, except to reduce it. However, if it also reduces my envy of those who are wealthier than I am, then I guess it's worth it.

Here is a type of "thinking" that would never occur to a Raccoon. It would never "cross our mind." Or, if it did, it would cross right through without ever nesting there: "When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day [this is a lie he just made up, by the way]. Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world."

My fellow Coons, do you smell what I smell? Let's pause for a moment to sniff this insane and disgusting approach to economics to try to understand just how spiritually rotten it is. We are not to live our lives from "within," to simply enjoy our life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the real world. No. Rather, we are to calculate the percentage of national wealth that we possess, and live our lives in the darkness of this meaningless and abstract imaginary world.

You see? You only thought you were content. But you were fooling yourself! You're not content at all. Liberals are here to remind you of this. Be honest. Envy is eating away at you. Something must be done to satisfy this envy. Someone must pay. Someone must be punished. I want some of Nancy Pelosi's millions! Her wealth must be fairly shared with me! I want my wife to have hundreds of thousands of dollars of plastic surgery so she too can look like a blinking corpse!

Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, here is another thing that disgusts us about the liberal media, the idea that we care that she is a "woman." Only a liberal could think that one's reproductive equipment is more important than one's ideas. Likewise, it disgusts Raccoons -- it literally makes us want to vomit -- to repeatedly hear about Obama's skin color, for we are so far beyond race that it doesn't even occur to us that he's half white. Rather, we only notice that he is halfwit. That is the only thing that matters to us.

Since liberals, with their perfect myopia, have no ideas but instead obsess over things like race, class, and gender, there is much talk that this is the year of potential "firsts." First black president, first female president, etc. But to a Raccoon, they might as well be saying "first chick president," "first n***** president," "first dago president" (Giuliani), "first baby killer president" (McCain), "first cult president" (Romney), for it is no less disgusting to our ears.

Besides, I thought negroes already had a president, Al Sharpton. Isn't he the "black leader?" That's what I heard from the liberal media. "Al Sharpton, Black Leader."

Imagine the bottomless contempt you must have for blacks to presume to appoint them a leader, much less a lowlife like Al Sharpton. Consider for a moment the racial condescension in imagining that, unlike any other Americans, blacks require a "leader" selected by the white liberals who know what's best for them. Sick, sick, sick.

By the way, ladies, who's your chick leader, anyway, Hillary or Pelosi? And where do you get your chick news, from Katie Couric or from the View? And if Tom Sowell is my leader, does that make me black?

68 Comments:

Blogger River Cocytus said...

Well, I'm one sixteenth to one thirty-second Cherokee Indian.

So... whaddya mean, 'we', white man?

It was funny, watching 24, even some of my more conservative friends were surprised that the president in the series is now a black guy.

I was like, "Huh? Well, I suppose it was bound to happen at some point. So what?"

Its not a matter of getting a black man to be a president, but rather having a president who is also a black man.

Which will happen in time -- guaranteed -- given liberty and freedom. And not license.

Jayson Blair comes to mind...

1/24/2007 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

I want an Eskimo-American President.
Free eskimo pies in every freezer,
seal-ed and pelted!
We will have a whale of a time!

1/24/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

jesus christ tom cruise
nike the second coming
it's handbasket time

1/24/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

Yoda, I assume you've seen pictures of Osama bin Ladin? that man is extremely fair-skinned, not brown at all.

Neither are most of the Saudi royals, judging by the pictures I've seen of them; or Yassir Arafat, or the Ayatollah Khomeini, or Saddam Hussein, or any prominent Islamic leaders.

And, of course, let's not forget those two famous "brown-skinned" Moslems---Adam Gadahn, from the oppressed, third world nation of Orange County, USA, and Johnny Taliban, who hails from the poverty-stricken nation of Marin County, USA.

1/24/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Sorry -- Yoda was deleted for exceeding the stupidity limit.

1/24/2007 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

river -

Uh, you haven't watched the previous seasons of 24? This is the second black president, the brother of the first one, who in turn is now "Snake Doctor" in The Unit.

I must admit I do like both shows.

1/24/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

endangered species
lifelibertyhappiness
one flag is still there

1/24/2007 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Ah, I must have missed that season. I only watched the missile crisis one.

24 has its good points and bad points, I think. It's like a Clancy novel except that the hero has to be super-heroic and the villains have to be ambiguous.

I always appreciated the genuine humanness of Clancy's characters. Bauer, as much as he is cool, is not realistic at all.

I think Kiefer does a great job playing him, I just think there are places where the writers could have made him... uh.. less Chuck Norris-esque.

Though, biting the terrorist to death, that had me laughing for a good 5 minutes. I mean, I GUESS it is possible. With 24, does it really matter?

(And that is the problem with sort of letting realism slide.)

I dunno, I have trouble getting into the story because they are always running along top of the PC fence about stuff.

But then again, as they say, "You are not your customer."

Ugh, I share the feeling, Bob, about politics. Sometimes I've gotten a good Spirit lather up-- and then I read LGF (which is one of my favorite blogs.) It's just depressing! I understand now why lots of millionaires don't read the news.

For me, I find that playing video games does the same thing-- its very coarsening much of the time. I think it is, and this is just a speculation, that lots of video games, particularly role playing ones, get you to focus on yourself in a strictly material way. Like, "Oh, man, I need to collect more gold. More items. More fame, more party members..." etc.

I think it also relates to the quality of modern RPG's-- it may be a side effect of the collective cloud of narcissism that is WOW (World of Warcraft.) But it seems to me that many RPG's now are focused on building characters -- including your own -- at the expense of story.

I recall that this is not altogether a bad thing; but there is always balance involved. One of the issues is, games like to take themselves too seriously. A game that I have, called Contact, is fun to play and all, but there are certain skills that to get better at you need to 'grind' (read, repetitively do) actions for maybe hours.

Anyway, I have a bunch of musings about Video Gaming that I'm going to write down one day. To me it is fascinating how games with 'boilerplate' gameplay but good music and sound, coherent visuals and a compelling story beat 'the newest thing' or 'the next halo killer' any day of the week.

1/24/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

"I want my wife to have hundreds of thousands of dollars of plastic surgery so she too can look like a blinking corpse!"

Nancy's blink rate was just plain weird, especially in comparison to Cheney. About 10 to 1, at least. It seemed to speed up whenever GB uttered a hard truth, betraying another core beneath her masked demeanor. Actions speak louder than.

1/24/2007 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Those two lines from Webb:"But these benefits are not being fairly shared." and "When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times." were all I could stomach. Clicked off the TV & went back downstairs to work.

And this: "might as well be saying "first chick president," "first n***** president," "first dago president" (Giuliani), "first baby killer president" (McCain), "first cult president" (Romney), for it is no less disgusting to our ears." I just want to shout at the TV (seemingly) when ever it is on. Maybe I'll have it stenciled on my car. Along with a racoon-style paint job. Hmmm...

"And if Tom Sowell is my leader, does that make me black?" Nope, just one smart Racoon!

1/24/2007 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Marginal Revolution cites a left-wing economist called Swaim who
supports raising the minimum wage (ad infinitum, one assumes) on the principle that "people ... should not feel like total losers."

And laws should be passed to make people feel some way or another? I missed that in Governance 101...

"I feel like a total loser..." is not the prelude to an economics anecdote, though one can have sympathy for the discomfort and lots of ideas for the begining of remedies...

1/24/2007 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

van: I'm recalling the 'coon character in Stranger In a Strange Land.

He called the TV (which was a holoset in their era) the 'Goddamnnoisybox'

My sentiments exactly!

1/24/2007 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Since fallen, unspiritual humans are base creatures at heart, appealing / catering to their base nature (envy, etc.) works real well at getting their attention. Progressives know this from what's in their own hearts. Expect to see even more of "haves vs have-nots economics" as we sink ever further into the socialist morass they're preparing for us.

1/24/2007 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

NoMo said... “Since fallen, unspiritual humans are base creatures at heart, appealing / catering to their base nature (envy, etc.) works real well at getting their attention."

For me, "Fallen" is a poetic for the fact that we have free will & so a guaranteed inability to be perfect & omniscient... we have to observe, think & choose. That is our Nature. Interestingly, - that doesn't actually rule out someone always judging correctly (though absurdly unlikely), Wisdom isn't the same as being perfect & omniscient.

Leftists assign to the entity they (most of them) deny, God, "perfect & omniscient" - and I think they resent it and envy that 'ability' and when possible seek to act as if they are perfect & omniscient, at least in their emotional demands.

There's your true fall - the rejection of your own nature, and the seeking after a perfect & omniscient 'ability' which your nature guarantees you can never attain - an 'ability' which if somehow obtained, being so incompatible with your actual nature, would obliterate you completely.

1/24/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy Webb is a filthy liar. He said:

"When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times."

Let's assume an ultra-conservative estimate for average worker pay of $15 an hour. That's $30,000 a year, assuming a 40 hour work week, 2 weeks vacation, and no overtime.

The average annual value of healthcare benefits, pension, 401(k), vacation and sick days, life and disability insurance is at the very least $5,000.

So we'll assume the average U.S. worker makes $35,000 a year in total direct compensation.

We won't even try to value intangibles such as job and family security, stable access to healthcare, secure retirement planning or the fact that our average annual earnings of $35,000 is far greater than average earnings anywhere else in the world.

We'll forget all of that and assume that $35,000 is a reasonable number to use for comparison, which it is not.

Now let's look at CEO pay. And let's not be the least bit conservative about our estimates.

162(m) caps annual CEO base salaries at $1,000,000. Let's assume cash bonuses of 250%. This level of bonus is well above average and would typically be paid only for maximum performance.

Let's assume annual equity grants totaling $4,000,000 which is also well above average.

And let's also pick a ridiculous number for the average annual value of all perqs and benefits. Say $3,000,000.

That gives total annual direct compensation of $10,500,000.

So even when looking at the most extreme and unfair estimates for average worker and CEO pay, the maximum pay differential we come up with is that CEOs make 300 times the average worker.

In truth, the average differential is probably more like 100-150 times.

Don't you think a good CEO is worth 100-150 times more to the company than your average unskilled line worker?

1/24/2007 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

anon,
do you really think a liberal is going to buy that argument? "Oh, it's only 100 times more?" "No, as a matter of fact, an unskilled worker is as important, when you accept the Marxist/envy basis of our argument"
I believe Bob's point is that it just doesn't matter. Our economic system, when not diddled with so much by the government (don't get me started on that), works amazingly well. Yes, it makes some people amazingly rich, who, oddly enough, don't simply put the cash in the bank, but invest it, thus making everyone, except the very, very lazy, wealthier than they were. What more do you want?

1/24/2007 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph,
I agree with your first paragraph. I hope for gridlock on his domestic & foreigh aid points, and cooperation (and more testosterone) in his foreign policy points.

The rest... oh... I think you drop one heck of a lot of context & plausibility throughout the rest of your 'speech' in favor of your personal feelings towards Bush.

And remember there is no human omnicience - you make your best judgment and roll with it. The idea that we would stand down as the Iraqi's stood up was at least a reasonable strategy, and untill the gov't there was in place there was no way of determining whether it worked in fact or not. Maliki wasn't in place that long, before they determined it wasn't working and changed tacks.

I think Rumsfeld was one of the best Sec Def's this country has ever had.

Would I have done it differently? Hell yeah, starting with obliterating Tora Bora with extreme prejudice, not giving the locals a chance at it or of delaying it at all. I never would have asked the U.N. for another sanction before invading Iraq. I never would have made the mistake of trading the Right and Moral highground for seeking a tangible "WMD" excuse for engaging in War. I Would have told Pakistan "If we see 'em, we're coming after 'em - get in the way and you're nuclear toast". Al Sadr & the Suni militia would have been dead right off, and we would have IMPOSED a constitutional gov't in Iraq, as with Japan, until they understood it and could take it over for themselves, a decade or two down the line. Iran & Syria would have at the very least have been carpet bombed very early on.

Would that have worked? No way of knowing. It certainly wouldn't have flown politically with the Press. I sure would like to see something more like it though.

1/24/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Wo! Joseph, where'd your 'speech' go?

1/24/2007 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph, you usin' dissappearing ink?

hmmm "You, Me & Dupree"

1/24/2007 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

;-)

1/24/2007 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph,

Yeah, I got the point the first time around. I just wanted to demonstrate that Jimmy Webb's numbers were a bunch of BS, and that he must have either made them up or used one of the most skewed studies available.

Envy and Greed are two manifestations of the same illness - namely, Ingratitude. Greed infects the so-called "haves." Envy infects the so-called "have-nots."

1/24/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I am sorry, but with all due respect to Mr. Rumsfeld, you can't be one of the best while losing a war. There is no failure like losing a war.
One does not have to be omniscient to act.
The moment they saw things falling apart they should have acted, and they did not, but kept saying we are winning, we're in the last throws.
I don't dislike Bush. I like that he clearly believes in what he's doing. But he is failing. I hope he does not fail.
I like my daughter (I actually love her), but I can't help but point out that she is doing poorly in science because she is not studying, etc.
My criticism is not of his person, but of his accomplishments, or lack of them.
Had Lincoln lost the Civil War, there is no doubt that he would be considered the worst president in history, assuming there was a history. As it is, he is more or less considered the greatest. The difference is in the results.

1/24/2007 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Sorry. I thought it might be somebody hijacking somebody's nic. Itchy finger today.

1/24/2007 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

No problem. Feeling a bit acidic today.

1/24/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Perhaps the envious human nature will always need a "tribe" to belong to in envious warfare against other tribes.
This country was founded on principles meant to evolve the nation beyond religious, sex, skin color and economic diferences yet envy continues to draw us back into the pit and there are politicians are all too willing to divide us along those lines.
It is a complete mystery to me why "diversity" is celebrated with such fervor when to anyone with eyes to see, it is the unifying ideals that founded this nation which make the diversity and prosperity possible.
Couldn't we have a few Founding Ideals Unity Day celebrations? I don't need a whole week, just a day would suffice.

1/24/2007 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

I think one important factor about the negative emotions stirred up by leftism - envy, jealousy, resentment, anger - is that they are addictive. This is particularly true when such negative emotions are "institutionalized* by the left, made into virtues.

The main lure of any addiction is something I rarely hear addressed in the anti-drug manifestos - it's fun. Granted it's a sickly, dead-man-walking kind of fun, but degrees of unconsciousness are fun, enjoyable. Comfortable, too, in a way. Waking up involves a certain amount of effort, effort equals a certain amount of pain, at first. For many, it's just more fun to remain asleep.

Of course, the leftist sanctifying of negative emotions creates an addiction, and this addiction like any addiction intensifies. Maintaining the "fun" aspect means feeding the addiction even more negativity. At a certain point, one becomes the addiction, becomes the negativity. Then one is no longer really human.

Watch for leftists to blasphemously proclaim the doctrine of "economic fairness" as a Christian virtue.

1/24/2007 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph, I know this argument is little in line with the post, but to say "... but with all due respect to Mr. Rumsfeld, you can't be one of the best while losing a war..." ignores that he (they) won two wars ridiculously quickly and in rapid succession.

The wars against the Gov't's of the Taliban & Saddam, were won hands down.

The fact that there has been an insurgency afterwards really doesn't take away from that. Criticizing how they've handled those, sure - but those are not wars.

I liked Rumsfeld from the start, He's a direct speaker without endless nuancing for nuancing's sake, and with his refusal to be lulled into continuing the 'fighting the last war' mind set & seeking a lighter more mobile force, way before 911. A strategy whose value He and Gen. Franks proved successfully.

The kind of situation we're in now, we've only got Rome & Britain for historical models, and short of colonialism, they're not going to show us that much of use.

And we aren't losing a military engagement; we're losing an opinion engagement. That is a type of warfare that has never had as much strategic importance and fluidity before, nor such a direct affect on the day to day military objectives as we are experiencing now, and that failure I place more at Bush & Rice's doorstep, than the Pentagon's. Public opinion and diplomacy have always been important to manage, but never before as an actual hot weapon of war, and that's a new wrinkle in warfare that needs to be come to grips with.

Actually, to Rome & Britain, I should have added Athens, and though the Peloponnesian war was quite different, the affect it had on the virtues and public spirit of the populace should be carefully noted - particularly how their overcoming the temptation to destroy defenseless Mytilene in the early years of the war, is in stark contrast to their slaughter and complete eradication of the Melians in the later years. Militarily they won (for the moment), but they were no longer the Athenians of Aeschylus's day.

1/24/2007 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Will: they already have (or some 'christians' have.)

If you've ever been in the Intervarsity circles of College Fellowships, there are a certain number of folks among them who are 'recovering' liberals. One of the things that they can't seem to let go of is envy. Or, rather, they've sanctified other people's envy out of 'compassion'...

They have bought into the socialist mindset, which sets 'Capitalism' as evil materialism, against 'Socialism' which is supposed to be compassion (when in fact it is another form of materialism.)

No form of materialism can ever spiritually satisfy. So neither the 'crass commercialism' that everyone associates with capitalism or the 'material compassion' (mandated altruism) associated with socialism.

I used to think that the problem with socialism merely was that you couldn't force virtue; but now it seems that the issue is even deeper than that.

The problem is simply that material things on their own cannot produce liberty. They can easily, however, be-- through envy or greed-- be used to destroy it.

The material things are tools. A cell phone can be a great tool for liberating people, but it can also be a source of greed and envy.

Consumerism is the idea that what is important is having the things (not what they are used for) and Socialism is the idea that because they exist and someone has one, everyone ought to.

People confuse consumerism (something possible in both socialist and capitalist states) with Capitalism.

Capitalism being more or less the principle that wealth is production and as long as there are things to produce wealth is unlimited. Consumption is assumed; the only trouble with capitalism is that consumerism often attends; but it attends socialism as well, so the problem of it is not inherent to either.

Which is to say, socialism is not a solution to consumerism, it is just a panacea we are all fed.

As long as consumerism is rampant we will see the success of and increase of 'low sells' -- they will always exist, but in places like Europe they are basically the 'meat' of the market.

Socialism is just a way for those in power to feel better about themselves.

1/24/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Philomathean said...

Tom Sowell had a great series of columns a few weeks ago called "A Dangerous Obsession" in which he absolutely skewered the whole notion that income distribution in the U.S. is "unfair." Governments that tamper with the free market in the name of fairness only succeed in making everyone miserable.

1/24/2007 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Jimmy J. said...

Bob, said, "And exactly how are liberal politicians going to ensure that I do get my fair share -- whatever "fair" means? Why, they'll take away some of that wealth and create economic conditions in which less wealth is created for all!"

Just so!

1/24/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Will said "...The main lure of any addiction is something I rarely hear addressed in the anti-drug manifestos - it's fun."

Also, that they involve a tangible physical component - even the apparently 'purely' mental/spiritual addictions, divert your attention from the area of the vertical (where all real effort takes place), and towards that of the physical, where you can experience a perceptual thrill through it.

Perceptual pleasures always require more quantity to feel the ever receding initial oomph of its initial 'quality'. One of the features of an addiction is that it creeps up on people through that very perceptual 'Fun' payoff, but while at first they don't notice that thay are out of control, it is often only after they're firmly in the grip of the descending whirlpool, that they realize it.

A clear distinction between such horizontal 'virtues' and the vertical values is that the Vertical eases, deepens and intensifies its pleasures with repitition, while the horizontal always needs more and more effort, and you receive less and less satisfaction & pleasure through it as you descend towards that dark gnashing of teeth.

1/24/2007 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Wahrheit said...

I wonder if anyone else around here was listening to the radio just before last night's speech, and heard the ABC newsbabe say that the advance copy had been posted on the Internet and that the President was going to plead, plead for help from Congress on Iraq? Heh, he was pleading and he hadn't even given the speech yet.

She was giddy with delight--indeed it almost sounded like she was experiencing some sort of kinky sexual exitement about the President "pleading."

I was laughing so hard I had to really concetrate on not leaving the roadway! All pretense of objective ocverage was shattered in the blink of an eye.

However, I'm really sad to find that my crush on Nancy Pelosi was not based on her inherent hotness, but on the miracles of modern medicine. Say it ain't so!

I guess I'm going to have to transfer to Hillary as my Chick Leader.

1/24/2007 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael Andreyakovich said...

Cocytus: It's the liberation-theology bullshit all over again. You'd think that they would have figured out, when they pissed off John Paul the Second (of all people), that something was wrong - but they all probably hated him anyway for not standing on the Russian side at the end of the Cold War.

1/24/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

The CEO numbers are 100% garbage. There are thousands of CEOs in America. A fraction of the Fortune 500 CEOs have huge compensation packages. This represents <500 people, who like NBA stars are exceptionally talented (some times).

The vast majority of CEOs earn on the order of a couple hundred grand to perhaps a mil per year. Some earn even less.

In any case this is another in the endless litany of leftist lies.

1/24/2007 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

philo - But then we'll all get to be miserable together -- and "misery loves company".

1/24/2007 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I haven't been reading long (was attracted by your WIE interview) this is the first time that I feel I'm not seeing much of a difference in either the blog or in these posts between reactionary leftism and reactionary (insert your personal identifiers here).

It's a pretty tilted argument that (however correctly) attacks forced equality (Socialism) and seems to suggest that the poor are lazy and the middle class should just relax and be happy (possibly even grateful to its betters?) without venturing AT ALL into some pretty obvious abuses in the name of "Capitalism" (tax breaks for HumVees and a capital gains levee that is lower than what families pay for the tail end monies of their subsistence-level incomes).

According to recent articles in The Economist (yuk it up) and Business Week, Webb's figures really aren't THAT far off and the trend is/has been/will continue to be in that direction--the bottom 90+ per cent of Americans (somewhat fewer in Europe) are losing a lot of ground to the top few per cent while the laggards in the top 10 per cent are making small relative gains.

Whatever. If your point is that free markets are the only solution to these "problems" and that the bottom can pull itself up in a free-market society, that's great. That's awesome! Kudos!

But you might consider the possibility (which, it turns out, is a fact) that we do not live in a free-market society but in one heavily influenced by gov't intervention (and therefore private-interest influence).

1/24/2007 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

anonymous:

How do you know CEOs weren't earning too little when Jim Webb was in college? Who is the judge of these things? And if a liberal didn't tell you to be unhappy about it, how would you even know?

Or how do we know whether psychologists earn enough relative to NBA stars? They make many times more than the average psychologist today. This irritates me, because I don't remember them making that much in the 1970's. Back then, it seemed to me that Bob Newhart and Oscar Robertson enjoyed similar lifestyles. In fact, this is what prompted me to become a psychologist instead of joining the NBA. I feel gypped.

Seriously dude, you need to crack a basic economics book. Being spiritual is no excuse for being innumerate.

I could cite hundreds of articles that explain why you're very confused, but just start with this:

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=012407E

1/24/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Uncle Carbunkle said...

Im still waiting for his know-all eminence Sri Bob to write something in defense of the Left Behind phenomena. And also the related phenomena of the Dominionist movement and their project to turn the USA into a theocratic state They are about as tradition and primitive as you can get in the USA.

If the Dominionists ever achieved power everybody I know would either be locked up or executed.

1/24/2007 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't even know what you're talking about, so I can't comment. Whatever it is, it's not on Dear Leader's radar. But as a general rule, I am not frightened of Christians, even kooky ones.

1/24/2007 04:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Snotty Nosed Kid said...

The western ego, in particular, is oriented to self-indulgence, and the search for self-fulfilment, only in the context of the gross domain. All kinds of justifications for the grossly self-indulgent life have arisen in the context of western cultures, particularly in the USA where it has developed as a kind of political philosophy that absolutizes the separate and separative ego-I. It is a false philosophy and has nothing whatsoever to do with Reality or Spiritual Truth.

Because of this orientation toward the search for self-fulfillment, which in turn generates the exercise of gross self-indulgence, the USA ego-persona is characteristically neurotic and disturbed and bound by fear, sorrow, and anger, by reactivity, by all the toxicity associated with physical, emotional, and mental self-indulgence, and by turning in on the separate self.

Generally speaking the entire world has become thus "westernised". The entire world is demonstrating an overlay of aggressively individuated, self-indulgent egoity, which has no association with the Wisdom of right life.

The nafs rule!

1/24/2007 04:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your company makes 100 million dollars per year. CEO GuruX says to you, "Pay me 10 million dollars per year to manage your company, and I guarantee you'll make 150 million per year. Good deal?

1/24/2007 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

snot nose:

What you say hasn't a scintilla of psychological, theological, historical, economic, neurological or anthropological truth. Otherwise, we agree completely.

1/24/2007 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Wahrheit said...

Well snotty nosed kid, I guess it's time for you to leave your useless individual material body and mind-meld with the Cosmic Consciousness. Leave your Ego and gross material body behind and become one of the One.

Before you go, could you box up the computer you wrote your comment on and send it my way? Just go to my site and email for the address.

1/24/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wellllll ... I personally have no idea what "fair" pay might be for most professions (and trust free markets to take care of that). However, since you claimed Webb fabricated the numbers (as opposed to embellishing them) and other posters hammered on the same subject and other liberal faux pas, I attempted to make the point (apparently poorly) that in-group/out-group mindsets are distressingly similar regardless of the particular group with which you/i/we identify.

Today's attacking of liberalism without any acknowlegement of the very pertinent (possibly negative) trends in modern conservatism feels (yup, feels) a lot less productive than what I've read on other days.

And that book-cracking crack was just a silly low blow. Dude.

1/24/2007 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Snotty Nosed Kid's Big Brother said...

Speaking of being taken out and being shot.
Has anyone noticed that it is mostly the people on the "right" of the culture wars divide that are in to the "culture" of guns.

Very few,if any,lefty academics or progressive (lefty)Chritians would be members of the NRA. Or Buddhists for that matter or most of the people that read WIE magazine where Sri Bob is featured in the current edition.

1/24/2007 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anonymous, you are making the elementary mistake of conflating what conservatives believe with what Republicans do. Very few Republican politicians are truly principled classical liberals.

1/24/2007 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, Bob, but you are a sophist. Or else my posts were completely uninteresting and without consequence. Or both.

Enjoyed the book, regardless.

1/24/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Beaver Cleaver said...

What's lacking on this blog is compassion. There is none. To test this notion, just deviate from the party line. Say something like:

Al Gore's movie was pretty good.

I like Senator Edwards.

Our addictionn to oil funds our enemies.

My wife wears the pants in my family.

I'm, uh, gay as hell.

I don't drink ale, and I hate Jazz.

Just for kicks, try saying any one of these things, and no matter how treasured a raccoon you may have been in the past, the pack will disown you.

One mistake, just one, is all it takes to fall from grace. Where the hell is the love? Where are the family values?

1/24/2007 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

AWWW Beev...

Let's test your premise. I've been hanging out here for a long time even though I've been back in the Lurkers' Gallery for a while. I'll be your test case.So here goes:
Our addiction to oil funds our enemies! Not only that but I really don't drink ale, and I'm not a jazz fan (although I've tried) John Edwards is better looking than John McCain. (That last one was an extra.)


waiting...

JWM

1/24/2007 06:37:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

I'm pretty gay when I dink ale.

1/24/2007 06:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Rookie Racown said...

I thought Bill Clinton was our first black president. Must missed sumpthin. Moo.

1/24/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

And I can't spell 'drink' even when I'm sober.

1/24/2007 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

snotty said "Speaking of being taken out and being shot.
Has anyone noticed that it is mostly the people on the "right" of the culture wars divide that are in to the "culture" of guns."

Hmmm... who loves guns more.

The right who believe everyone has the right to a gun to use in self defence in the very few cases where it is needed and in the small chance that the government is taken over by those who destroy the constitution (ie. those who believe guns are necessary but actually use them VERY rarely) OR....

The left who believes that nobody has the right to a gun except the government but uses the power of the gun (in the form of the government's monopoly on the use of violence) every second of every day to force citizens to "be compassionate", "be fair", "be equal".

Who really loves guns more - those who want them used rarely or those who want them used all the time.

Hmmm. Who are the real lovers of The Gun? What is the true culture of The Gun?

1/24/2007 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Just surfed over to WIE mag for the first time.

Is it just me, but I keep thinking: WHAT IS WITH these people who come from over there?

Was that not the source of The Integral One? Of Snotty & Others?

Will apologize right now to anyone who came over from that site, who has a clue & has not spoken up yet. And to those newbies who identified WIE as the link to Fearless Leader's blog, who have not been compelled to be humorless & and at times, downright stupid. I don't mean you.

Hey Raccoons: did you get aload of the SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS credit card?

Nuf said.

1/24/2007 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Anonymous said "... my posts were completely uninteresting and without consequence. Or both."

Yeah, pretty much.

Your 'Yuk it Up' & 'Yup Feels' comments seem to try to substitute emotional (?) blatantcy for worth, as if that somehow makes it more credible or makes you seem perhaps martyr like? Always a bad sign.

Actually, it just adds to your lack of credibility... quite possibly unfairly - say what you believe and the reasons you believe it - that'll be fine.

"some pretty obvious abuses in the name of "Capitalism" (tax breaks for HumVees and a capital gains levee that is lower than what families pay for the tail end monies of their subsistence-level incomes)."

That is not a trait of capitalism, but of unprincipled government intervention in the economy, and in peoples rights and liberties. As Gagdad said, don't confuse Classical Liberals with Republicans.

Personally, if shareholders (those would be the owners) want to pay $1,000,000,000,000 to a CEO because they think he'll make them profitable enough to justify that - Cool! If he succeeds, we all will benefit - shareholder or not (but more importantly it is Just). If not, he'll tank, and the company will colapse, and the wealth it held in unproductive and incompetent hands, will flow to other areas. Tip to investors: Don't just buy what MSNBC says to buy, check it out yourself, or you risk losing your money.

1/24/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Unki Carbi: If you really understood the Dominionist vision, you wouldn't use the word theocratic they way you did in describing them. For the most part, they are for self-government where the individual puts themselves under God's law. I differ from them because I believe that one can achieve without solely relying on the Bible... but that goes back to the sola scriptura thing.

1/24/2007 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Golly Beaver, I think what's lacking is sense. Yours.

Just to make an unnecessary point, Joseph, River C & I have disagreed a number of times... and if you go back really far, say a week or so, you'll even find a couple instances of me straying from the 'party line'.

Gasp!

What a maroon.

Again, it ain't the disagreements, it's the attitude and or violations of principle ON principle that brings out - not rejection, but identification of the obvious.

I know Joan... encouraging them... again... sorry.

I'm so ashamed.

1/24/2007 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

JWM...! Don't drink Ale...!

ah... my world... falling... apart... gargglklksdl.

1/24/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Anon. said,
"Today's attacking of liberalism without any acknowlegement of the very pertinent (possibly negative) trends in modern conservatism feels (yup, feels) a lot less productive than what I've read on other days."

Replace the word conservatism with republicanism and I would tend to agree with you.
I might also suggest a study of the spiritual principles and ideals behind the founding of the U.S., contrasting those with current U.S. political trends (last 60 years) and political philosophies throughout the world, keeping an eye towards those which would produce the greater human liberty and individual responsibility, may just begin to alter your opinion on what is and is not "productive".
Perhaps Bob is just what WIE readers need to discover that life is an out of body experience best experienced in body.
A little balance never hurt anyone.

1/24/2007 10:25:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Golly Beeev,
I'll bet you would have never said that if Mom and Dad were home.

"Al Gore's movie was pretty good?"

"I like Senator Edwards?"

"My wife wears the pants in my family?"

"I'm, uh, gay as hell?"

"I don't drink ale, and I hate Jazz?"


I FEEL your pain. :)

1/24/2007 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Beav: It is not the things you say but the values you espouse. It is difficult to so say certain things without espousing values that a repugnant to 'coons.

Al Gore's movie had pretty good cinematography!

1/25/2007 04:40:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Darn you Jazz haters!

I can't takes it anymore!

*Goes and listens to Coltrane*

1/25/2007 04:42:00 AM  
Anonymous beaver damn said...

O.K., let's see:

I didn't see Algore's movie-you couldn't drag me to it, because I cannot stand the sight of him since he attempted to steal the 2000 election.

John Edwards is a smarmy, insincere lawyer who invents reasons to steal money.

I chucked my ex-wife because she sang La Marseillaise.

I drink most anything other than Kool Aid.

I'll take Stravinsky over Coltrane regardless of what Dear Leader says.

Oh, dear, Bobbleheads (grovels and bows)I hope that last one won't earn a blackball.

G'day, Mates.

1/25/2007 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Stravinsky ain't bad.

1/25/2007 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Beaver Damn,

I'm guessing the algore & edwards comments probably earn you a pass

Just be careful around Dupree with the Coltrane comments... maybe say something like "I like Coal Trains", that might work... course the whole verbal sneak doesn't really work in a textual environment. Hmm, no your probably hosed. Really like those two comments though.

;-)

1/25/2007 05:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Not drinking ale and hating jazz?"

That's just pure madness.

1/25/2007 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is another aspect of the change in ratio of CEO to low level worker pay. Congress changed the rules governing corporate takeovers, favoring incumbent management over shareholders. This change essentially transferred some of the ownership from the shareowners to the management, and shows up in the relatively higher pay and bonuses.

Sorry for posting anonymously. Don't have a blogger id yet.

-- Katzxy

1/25/2007 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous chuckles said...

Hillary's flip-flop on why she voted to go to war in Iraq can be seen on YouTube now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNT3IWeHaKA

1/30/2007 11:20:00 PM  

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