Yes, you’re shocked. You think I’ve ‘gone over to the Dark Side’ with my support of the Republican Party and John McCain for President. In fact, I supported McCain (with money) as far back as 2000—against Bush. Here all this time you thought I was almost as smart and enlightened as you are, and now you find I wasn’t all that smart or enlightened after all, because how could I possibly support people and ideals you detest and still be as smart and enlightened as you are? As one person put it, “Holy Crap, Michael, what has happened to you?” My answer is this:
I’ve finally come to my senses. I wish it had happened sooner. If you can endure a mangled metaphor, I wish I had cut my hair at twenty instead of at fifty. I screwed up. I’m sorry. What can I say? It’s totally my fault. I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed I marched on the freeway ‘against’ the Vietnam war (I got tear gassed. I deserved it.) I’m ashamed I put giant peace symbols on my VW Bug—along with the elk antlers—while my un-deferred classmates fought (and died) in an unpopular war. I wish I hadn’t done drugs and thought it was funny and cool. I wish I’d chosen better friends. I wish I had understood what responsibility was and taken it seriously. I wish I had been a better citizen of the United States of America. To my everlasting and eternal regret, I failed her.
I don’t blame my environment; I could have resisted the sixties. I don’t blame my upbringing; my father was a bartender, my mother agoraphobic. I don’t blame my economic circumstances. I lived in a house smaller than a mobile home with my father frequently out of work or gone. My mother often baked us coffee cake for dinner. (It was cheap.) I don’t blame anyone else but me. It was my responsibility, and I didn’t do it. I could have ‘seized the time’ and I did not. As they say (and I hate this): My bad. A liberal, of course, would find someone else to blame.
I endured probably the most liberal education possible by majoring in anthropology. That’s all about cultural and moral relativism. Anthropology ‘celebrated diversity’ long before it was popular and I was hooked. It substituted as my religion because I had none. (Within limits, I regret that, too. Jesus will never be my Savior, but there’s not much wrong with the Ten Commandments, per se.) I write about that here in my post about Obama’s Mama. I dated her kid sister. That’s a metaphor, okay? The point is I know what that culture is like because I was there. The problem, of course, is that absolute values suffer. You have no basis on which to build a civilization because, after all, who are we to judge their moral values? I’ll make up my own, thank you. But when you make up your own values, they tend to favor yourself. In fact, they are largely self-indulgent. After all, would you make up values that were not favorable to yourself? Only a masochist would do that.
I also endured a profession which is by its very nature liberal. Libraries exist off of taxes, and most librarians believe they have a right to those taxes. If anyone wants to take away our fifty cents per thousand dollars of assessed value, they are cheating the library out of rightful revenue! Librarians need that revenue so that they can perform the good work of enlightening the public on liberal principles. Oh, I know they are supposedly neutral and objective—just like newspapers in this last election were ‘objective,’ like when Obama sends tingles up Chris Matthews’ legs. ‘Objective!’ Ah, yes. I get it. Except when someone like Stanley Kurtz (an anthropologist, by the way) wants information libraries don’t want to share, suddenly the First Amendment is not so important any more. Hypocrites.
Not that I don’t like libraries. I hope I left the profession better than I found it. I know I left my institution better than I found it. I came in to find a $30K deficit and left it with a $3 million surplus. Yes, I’m the one who did that. I did the budget because it was my spreadsheet that controlled it. I over-estimated expenditures and under-estimated revenue. Every year, I banked the difference. I got us from paying significant interest to bankers to earning significant interest from bankers. That’s conservative values at work for you. (You see, you need a surplus because you only get paid twice a year. You need money to pay the bills in the months when you have no income. Duh! And if you need a new roof, you better have the bucks to pay for it. I call that responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. A Conservative approach took us from the red and put us in the black.) I practiced ‘stealth conservatism’ during those years. The librarians did not understand what was happening with the budget. Had they understood, they would have wanted to raid the treasury. It would have been ‘money for the people’ and bankrupted us sooner.
After I left, the liberals spent it all. They wanted to ask the taxpayers for more money, but since they finally figured out they had some money already, they felt they could not ask the taxpayers for more because said taxpayers might figure out they had some. Their solution? Spend it! Can’t blame that one on me. Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do. Yes, I’m pissed. It took me 23 years to get us financially stable and they spent it in two. Tiberius left the Roman Empire with a full treasury. Caligula spent it all. You DO know your Roman history, don’t you? Of course you do because you are so well read and wise in the ways of the world. In any case, the library is back to paying interest again. No raises for staff. It’s just so unfair they don't get money we don't have! Amateurs!
In such a social situation you simply cannot elucidate conservative principles. If you do, you are ostracized, considered a traitor to the cause. Indeed, it would be difficult to hold a job in such circumstances. One of the functional prerequisites of a society is to have a shared sense of values. (Yup, I still remember some of that anthropology stuff.) A conservative in a den of liberals must remain in the closet to survive. To a liberal, ‘freedom of speech’ means liberal speech, not conservative speech. NPR should be subsidized at public expense, but Sean Hannity should be removed from the air. Isn’t there a bit of cognitive dissonance over this? Don’t you think liberals advocating both of these makes them, kind of like, assholes?
So when I would go to library conferences and be forced to endure yet another left-wing socialist ideologue tell me how stupid I was, the few conservatives among us would sneak off to a corner and whisper a few encouraging words to each other. You had to whisper. You could not speak out. My cousin, more conservative than I: He helped convert me, recently left a Scripps newspaper in California where he was a copy editor. Those are the guys who put on headlines, correct the reporters’ grammar—that sort of thing. They do the grunt work without the bylines. He relates how the Editor there refused to print anything positive about the administration, he hated Bush so much. The surge worked? Impossible; don’t print it. ‘Journalistic integrity,’ another oxymoron. Creeps.
Liberals are pretty well convinced that whatever they think is correct by definition. Ronald Reagan, a target liberals loved to despise, said it best: “It’s not that liberals are ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” Now maybe Reagan was still as stupid as liberals suppose. Maybe a speechwriter fed him that line, but it remains one of the most succinct and potent lines he ever gave. I like that line, but I prefer one related by Judge Robert Bork during the hearings that refused him a seat on the Supreme Court. He was accused of being a socialist in his younger days. He said, “Any man who's not a socialist before he's 40 has no heart; any man who is a socialist after he's 40 has no head.'' He was supposedly quoting Winston Churchill, but it has been attributed to many people, including Benjamin Disraeli, Aristide Briand and Francois Guizot. Of course, since you’re so smart, you already know who these people were and what they did, right?
That pretty well sums up my feeling on the matter. I hate and detest Socialism with a passion. I believe Socialism saps humanity of the will to succeed and excel, saps creative strength, and creates a sense of entitlement that can never be fulfilled. Everywhere it has been tried it either fails or is propped up by a totalitarian government. The examples are everywhere, but my favorite is to contrast East and West Germany. The economic differences between the two formerly allied cultures was amazing. West Germany prospered. East Germany had to put a wall up to keep people from leaving, and they shot and killed those who tried. North or South Korea; Which is your favorite? Where would you like to live?
Great Britain is my other favorite example. After World War Two the socialists took over and proceeded to dismantle the class structure. There was (and is) much resentment over the aristocratic structure in Great Britain, so they decided to tax the rich ‘until their pips squeaked.’ (If you don’t know, a ‘pip’ is a device, usually a diamond shaped piece or maybe a small circle, on a Coat of Arms.) The rich were taxed to the point they could no longer own their own large homes. Their choice was to give them up to the ‘National Trust,’ which permitted the present generation to live in the homes until they died and their descendents were sent packing. The death tax was so high that it effectively destroyed the British upper class. Today, with inflation having made many middle class British richer on paper, the death tax is stalking them as well. Of course, now that it affects them, they no longer think it is fair.
Sure, some of the upper class were twits! Sure, riches based on birth was not ‘fair.’ But look what has happened to Great Britain. From my point of view, having been there a couple of times, it looks pretty impoverished and run down. It’s a shadow of its former self. Ironically, the greatest tourist attractions, and the ones that keep money flowing into Great Britain, are the large stately houses of times past, where you can see how the aristocracy used to live. A once thriving nation, and that’s all they’ve got left. They blamed the upper class for their riches, yet lived off of them. They still do. That leads me to the following quote I found recently, called the Ten Cannots:
In 1916, a minister and outspoken advocate for liberty, William J. H. Boetcker, published a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots:
* You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
* You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
* You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
* You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.
Now let me tell you a story about a friend of mine. I’ll use his real name: Minh Tran, because he deserves the credit. Minh is from Vietnam. Ethnically, he’s Chinese. People like him were Vietnam’s middle class. They owned stores, bought and sold goods, and kept the economy running. When Joseph Biden and others cut off funds for the Vietnam War, resulting in our defeat, the North Vietnamese swooped in and sent people like Minh to ‘re-education camps’ to teach them the follies of capitalism and working for yourself. But Minh escaped. He was one of the ‘boat people’ picked up in the waters off Thailand. He was sent to the Philippines, and a few years later he arrived in the United States.
Minh’s English wasn’t so good. The fact he was fluent in Mandarin, Hakka (another Chinese dialect used by Vietnamese Chinese. I tell you that in the unlikely event you don’t know that already.), and Vietnamese did him little good in the States. Ultimately he went to work with me at the library as a landscaper at the minimum wage or close to it. His dream was to bring the rest of his family to America, all nine of them. I knew Minh was working more than one job. One was at a fisheries place on Bainbridge in addition to the library. He also took courses at Olympic College in electronics. I would do his taxes for him at the end of the year. A couple of years later his sister and a brother showed up. They had also escaped by walking across a mine infested landscape in Cambodia to arrive at a relocation camp in Thailand. They moved in with Minh. Minh kept working at the library, and then he got a job at K-2 skis on Vashon. He worked there, too. As nearly as I can tell Minh worked two full-time jobs all this time.
I wrote a few letters to congressmen for him about his family. Minh became a naturalized American citizen as soon as he was eligible. Ultimately we were able to get his parents and five more siblings out of Vietnam under the ‘Orderly Departure Program,” set up to reunite families. Only one problem: Air fare for seven people was about $18,000. At this point in my life I did not have $18,000 to my name, but Minh did. He showed up with a certified check. “How in Heaven’s name?” I asked him. ”I saved it,” he said. The reunion at Sea-Tac between his grown sister and his father was one of the most emotional events I have ever witnessed. It still brings tears to my eyes. I gave his father an American flag. He hung it on the wall of his living room. America means freedom from tyranny for many people in the world. Liberals don’t like that.
So his parents and his siblings arrived in America and rented a house in Bremerton. Minh was still working. Then some of his brothers and sisters managed to get jobs--minimum wage, of course. Within six months of their arrival they decided to move to Seattle. They pooled their resources and bought a new house on Beacon Hill, carved up the basement into smaller rooms for bedrooms for all of them, and Minh kept working. The K-2 job dried up when the skis were outsourced to China. He worked on aircraft carrier maintenance for awhile, but then he said, “You know, we have to do something for ourselves.” So they bought a restaurant in Olympia that provided jobs for all their kids. The youngest, who was about six when she arrived, was fluent in English, went to college, married and moved back east.
The restaurant is doing well. And Minh’s English is pretty good now. Get it yet? If that were someone born here they’d still be complaining about minimum wage or be on welfare. They’d be complaining about lack of opportunity, even though they were completely fluent in English and understood all the social customs. They’d be complaining about discrimination and being under the thumb of The Man and evil corporations. But Minh and his family, who spoke no English and were culturally somewhat ‘challenged,’ in the same environment, thought they had FOUND opportunity! They did not understand ‘entitlement.’ They simply assumed they would have to fend for themselves. So they did.
One of liberalisms biggest mistakes is to equate ‘equality of opportunity’ with ‘equality of achievement.’ If you believe everyone is inherently equal in all respects save for environment, that leads you down that path. Anyone who ‘has more’ than you do must have it because they are crooked, not because they have more energy or, perish the thought, more intelligence and more resourcefulness than you do. After all, you’re the smartest guys in the world, so the fact you haven’t done as well could not possibly be your fault. It’s like that joke about the crashing plane with not enough parachutes. ‘It’s OK,’ says the hippie left, “The smartest guy in the world just jumped off the plane with my backpack.”
Here’s another short little story from my friend, Robert Lee. Robert is also Chinese. His father left Communist China and emigrated to Canada. He married (and divorced) one of my colleagues. Robert is the classic entrepreneur, an inventor responsible for the first color scanner, for example. He’s started a number of companies. Some have failed, but he just keeps going like the Energizer Bunny. He never gives up. I didn’t know he was conservative and he never typed me as that, either. It was funny when we confessed to each other, both amazed. Now, for a number of reasons, we are much better friends. From Robert:
“I was talking to a friend's little girl and when I asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up, she said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, Liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, 'If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?' She replied, 'I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.' 'Wow - what a worthy goal,' I told her. 'You don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds and sweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where that homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food or a new house.' She thought that over for a few seconds because she's only 6. And while her mother glared at me, the little girl looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work and you can just pay him the $50?' And I said, 'Welcome to the Republican Party.' Her folks still aren't talking to me.“
Now that’s probably apocryphal, and that’s okay; I’ve heard variations. The point still stands. What I see right now is a lurch to the left in this country, and it’s a lurch I don’t think most Democrats see or even really want. This is not the Democratic Party of John Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson, or Henry Jackson. It’s as Far Left as the Far Right is right. Last time we had a truly liberal President inflation went to 12% right along with unemployment. I fully expect that to happen again. You don’t stimulate an economy by taxing it more—you stimulate it by taxing it less. In any case, I believe Obama’s election is the worst thing that has happened to the United States of America since the Civil War. I can only hope that the constraints of the Presidency will slow Obama down enough so that he doesn’t destroy the country and force it into an impoverished backwater like Great Britain.
Now, the fact is I don’t like the Far Right either. I think the great albatross on the back of the Republican Party is especially Far Right fundamentalists. I consider myself a centrist and an Independent. I voted Democratic right up through Clinton, who disappointed me and betrayed my trust by masturbating into a sink and pretending Monica giving him a blow job wasn’t sex. He put his libido before the country. What an ass! I’ve stayed here in the center as the Democratic Party has moved back to sixties leftover Billy Bomber Ayers politics. (Ayers: “What a great country. Guilty as hell and free as a bird.”) I won’t go there. So where I used to vote Democratic with a few Republicans (Sam Reed, Rod McKenna), now I vote Republican with a few Democrats (Brian Sonntag, Phil Rockefeller). I don’t like Enron any more than you do, either. They hurt a lot of people. But Exxon is no bad boy. The government steals from them lots more than their own profits. And the economic ‘meltdown?” Lots of greed to spread around there. Just who took out all those ‘bad loans?’ And who was on the board of Freddie Mack when they intentionally misstated their profits? Rahm Emanuel. If you don’t know his name yet, I’m sure you will be hearing a lot more about him.
On the Iraq War? Thank God we went in there. Link tells you why. This isn’t about Weapons of Mass Destruction—never was. It’s about saving Western Civilization. Nobody else will. Of course, maybe you don’t want to. Sharia Law, anyone? I dunno, but I know right now they are absolutely delighted.
On Bio fuels? They’re getting a bad rap, though they aren’t the answer either. I get a kick out of the naysayers. We need more energy! But we can’t drill, can’t do nukes, can’t do clean coal, can’t do bio, can’t do anything. Did you know spotted owls were found in Bellingham? (Don’t tell anyone or we might have to revitalize the logging industry.)
You don’t think Obama is a Socialist? You’re deluded—or delighted, but let’s not pretend he is not.
Global Warming is destroying the planet. Nonsense. We’re coming off an ice age. It’s still warming up. The Sun does it, not us. You want Global Warming? Take a look at Hudson Bay, Canada. Circular, right? Asteroid, yes? Yes, a long time ago. The North is ice and glaciers. It begins to melt. Water in the bay is melted already. Land around the bay is not. (Ever seen the shore of the Great Lakes in winter? Same thing: Ridges of ice on land surrounding some very cold water.) About 14,000 years ago the dam breaks. Civilization was concentrated around the sea, probably near Renaissance in terms of advancement—especially in India. The cities flooded. Noah’s Flood. That’s what happened. Don’t believe me? Have you studied it? Have you looked at the evidence? Of course you haven’t. I have. This Global Warming is trivial compared to that. CO2 is fertilizer for plants.
Here’s what liberals do. They start out with the premise that anyone in authority is bad. All corporations are bad. If you have a struggling business, you are good, but as soon as you achieve some success, you’re bad. Anyone in power is bad. Any boss is bad. Any organization that employees people is exploiting them by definition. Anyone with more money than you is bad. If you have no money you are good. If you suddenly win mega-millions and have some bucks, you are bad. The military is bad. Unless you REALLY need them, then they are temporarily good, but not for long. By and large, cops are bad and criminals are good. All prisoners are innocent. Corporate attorneys are bad, but defense attorneys are good. O.J. didn’t do it, or if he did, it wasn’t his fault, or it was his wife’s fault because she was a white bitch. If you question Obama about anything whatsoever, you’re racist. All told, it’s a very pessimistic world view. It must not be very fun being a liberal; they always go about with a cloud above their heads as they tell other people what to do. Strangely, no matter what happens, the cloud remains.
The bottom line is this. I have been listening to liberal political crap for over forty years. I’ve been listening to the idea that my race, my age, my nationality, my education, my sex, and my income are all the worst things every to have been foisted on the planet. Well, guess what? I believe that is total crap as well. Your superior attitude impresses me no more than your intellectualism. It’s like a faux antique—looks good until you scratch the surface. I believe Marxist ideologies are corrupt. Here’s another Reagan quote: How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
I believe in free individuals and free markets (with government to oversee excesses like Enron), a strong and invincible military and a small government. I believe in individual responsibility, not government handouts. I do not believe anyone can be their own moral authority (and I fervently wish I had learned that point a lot sooner than I did. I made people suffer, and I am terribly sorry.) I do not believe in economic 'redistribution' since the top 50% of all taxpayers now pay 97% of all taxes. You’re trapped in your own liberal education and never made it beyond Judge Bork’s demarcation between heart and head. I don’t happen to believe you have a better take on reality than I do. I don’t believe you are intellectually superior to me or other conservatives. I don’t believe you know more than I do about how the world works. I don’t believe you are emotionally more stable or superior in any way whatsoever.
Now, I’ve put my articles on my blog for the last year or so. I didn’t write to you and say, ‘Look at my blog.’ I didn’t ask you to drop by. You weren’t invited. Frankly, you didn’t enter my mind. I never thought of you as my audience and I feel no obligation to you or to air your views. You can’t claim I foisted my beliefs upon you. I put my stuff up there, usually documented, so people can look it up and see for themselves. Yet you have somehow found this and feel compelled to write to me and start in on your old, tired, screeds about your warped view of reality and world events. I’ll tell you what. Don’t you dare chastise me about my beliefs. Don’t you dare try to exert your moral or intellectual superiority over on me. I don’t think you are particularly superior, either morally or intellectually. In fact, I think liberalism as a whole has caused a great deal of pain in the world. I’ve been a part of that in the past—and so have you. That is NOT a good thing.
How DARE you say you are 'disappointed in me.' Who put you on the moral high ground here? What made you so superior? Are you my teacher? My mentor? My parent? You dare JUDGE me? You have got to be fucking kidding! In terms of accomplishments and achievement, I'll stand on my own record, thank you very much. You want to compare c.v.’s? I win. You think you have a better education? In what way? Is your Masters better than my Masters? You think you’re somehow smarter? On what evidence? Grades? IQ? I have to tell you, that’s statistically unlikely. You think you’re older and wiser? Little late for that since I’m a senior citizen some places. You think you have ‘the pulse’ on poverty or class? I’ll bet I spent more years at the minimum age and poverty than you did. Do you think you have more class? Well, I might have to give you that one. I’m just lucky I don’t put my baseball cap on backwards. But I really don’t know why you think you have the high ground here. I don’t know who appointed you God or what gave you the right to use this high-brow attitude. By any measure I can think of, you don’t deserve such a lofty position. I do not accept it. You’re acting like the upper class twits you despise. Get over yourselves.
I have come away from this year knowing full well that politics sucks. It’s not about ‘fairness’ and it’s not about true democracy. It’s about who can get power by any means necessary. I say that about the Republican side as well as the Democratic side. I was shocked and appalled by the Ron Paul folks and how they conducted themselves this year. And just for the record, Libertarianism sucks, too. It’s philosophy: Close your eyes, look within, and all the bad will go away. Good Lord! It’s the Ostrich Party.
There's another world out there. It isn’t yours, but you've ignored it. That’s the audacity of hubris. I've had the misfortune of being forced to endure your liberal world of intolerance for decades, been forced to endure every liberal idea you can come up with being forced down my throat, whether it is supporting gay teen sex or late term abortions of a viable fetus, while you have enjoyed the luxury of ignoring mine. I would never say I was superior to you, yet you feel you have the luxury of telling me you are 'disappointed.' Compare that to a lifetime of disappointment for me. I don’t think you are stupid or ignorant. I would never claim that you are inferior to me, it’s just that you know so many things that are not so.
If I meet you I will be civil, of course. Some of us have shared adventures that should be fondly remembered. We’ve actually been on the same side on some issues and that I have not forgotten. But don’t bother writing back—I didn’t start this,
and get off my case.