Monday, August 08, 2011

Cruising the Web

Peter Berkowitz describes how the liberal contempt for a diversity of opinion as represented by the tea party movement betrays their panic over having lost their monopoly on received opinion. They think they're the only ones who can represent popular opinion and so much unleash their vituperation against anyone who betrays the flimsiness of their claim.
The evident panic of the progressive mind stems from a paradox as old as progressivism in America. Progressives see themselves as the only legitimate representatives of ordinary people. Yet their vision of what democracy requires frequently conflicts with what majorities believe and how they choose to live.

Add to this the progressive belief that human beings can be perfected through the rule of experts, and you have a recipe—when the people make choices contrary to progressive dictates—for generating contempt among the experts for the people whose interests they claim to alone represent. And not just contempt, but even disgust at diversity of opinion, which from the progressive's perspective distracts the people from the policies demanded by impartial reason.

The progressive mind is on a collision course with itself. The clash between its democratic pretensions and its authoritarian predilections has generated within its ranks seething resentment for, and rage at, conservatives. Unless progressives cultivate the enlightened virtues they publicly profess and free themselves from the dogmatic beliefs that undergird their political ambitions, we can expect even more harrowing outbursts to come.
Enjoy the new E-trade ad. (Language warning)
Instapundit links to this story about a Senate bill that would encourage methods for teachers to get certified without having to go through education schools. The ed schools are the truly naked emperors and they'll fight tooth and nail against any attempt to recognize their unclothed state.

Wisconsin Democrats are also fighting back
against a free press that doesn't cater to their political line.

Conn Carrol points
to five looming flashpoints when Congress will have to fight over their spending. They've only passed five of the necessary appropriations bills. By September 30, they'll either have to pass the bills or a continuing resolution. They still have to do the Doc fix. Remember they left this out of Obamacare to game the CBO rating, but it's coming due again. If they don't fix it yet again, doctors reimbursements under Medicare would drop by 25%. You think that wouldn't have an effect on how many doctors will take Medicare patients? And then, as usual, there is the AMT. Without an adjustment a tax that was only supposed to apply to a few hundred people in 1969 will affect around 4 million taxpayers.

Arnold Ahlert watches a Penn and Teller show demonstrating that some people don't care about facts as long as they can preen about their ethical superiority.

Here's a fundamental question: is it possible for a free market economy to support a democratic socialist society?

George Will details how ludicrous it is that anyone should pay any attention to the Ames straw poll. It's never been predicative of the eventual nominee or even the winner of the Iowa caucuses. But the media can't help themselves.

William Voegeli lacerates
an essay by Slate's Jacob Weisberg that criticized the American people for being too dense to understand all that Wesiberg believes is received wisdom on our economic situation.
Given the entire rhetorical cast of his article, which never admits the possibility that the complex choices before our republic are ones about which decent and reasonable people can disagree, there's every reason to believe that what qualifies as successfully explaining complicated matters to the American people, in Weisberg's mind, is getting a large majority of them to assent to Weisberg's policy preferences. The healthy thing for a small-d democrat to do after a political defeat or disappointment is to commit new energies and arguments to the task of persuading his fellow-citizens to adopt his viewpoint. Weisberg is having none of that. If the American people don't agree with him it's because they're stupid, and our experiment in self-government cannot possibly survive such stupidity. We are, instead, doomed to a slow, "excruciating form of self-destruction."
As Voegeli points out, these are the same people who told us over and over again that we needed to pass a stimulus bill full of "shovel-ready" work projects only to have to admit, after hundreds of billions of dollars had been spent, that "shovel-ready" wasn't as "shovel-ready" as they'd first thought.

Oh, and by the way, that reset with Russia hasn't been working so well.

Eric Cantor responds to the demonizing criticisms that have attempted to paint him as the block for all that is reasonable in Washington.
Somewhat surprisingly, Mr. Cantor was in fact prepared to bargain on about $20 billion in higher taxes on "the shiny balls of the millionaires, billionaires, jet owners and oil companies" that Mr. Obama so often mentioned in public. "If they wanted to be able to claim the win on that," Mr. Cantor says, he wanted net revenue neutrality in return, by lowering the corporate income tax rate or perhaps enacting an even larger tax reform. In effect, he was calling Mr. Obama's bluff on "cheap politics."

In private, however, the debate always returned to the status of the top marginal rate for individuals earning over $200,000 and $250,000 for couples—aka the Bush tax cuts for people who do not own private aircraft. Mr. Cantor argued that some large portion of the income that flows through the top bracket comes from "pass-through entities"—that is, businesses—and "to me, that strikes at the core of what I believe should be the policy, and that is to provide incentives for entrepreneurs to grow."

By contrast, he says, "Never was there ever an underlying economic argument" from Democrats. "It was all about social justice. Honestly, one of them said to me, 'Some people just make too much money.'"
Michael Barone argues that what Americans really want is what Arthur Brooks of the AEI calls "earned success."
They want public policies that enable them to earn success, and they resent policies that channel money to the politically well positioned or to those who have not made decisions and taken actions necessary for earned success. They want to be empowered, not patronized.

That's why voters here and, as Greenberg notes, in other advanced countries are rejecting policies that give more power to the mandarins who run government and provide less leeway for ordinary people to work for earned success.