Everywhere we turn these days, it seems, leftists are undermining and attacking capitalism on moral grounds. Their criticisms are directed not at merely certain corrupt corporations or individuals who abuse the system, but at the system itself.
Sadly, few conservatives, even conservative Christians, are willing or prepared to defend capitalism's virtues. Rather than tout it in terms of liberty, they sheepishly apologize for its allegedly inherent greed.
It's a testament to the power of propaganda and the appeal of emotion over reason that a system that has produced the greatest prosperity in world history is castigated on moral grounds, while those systems that have proliferated abject misery, poverty, tyranny and subjugation are hailed as morally superior.
Last week, President Barack Obama was backpedaling like a circus unicycle rider, after his compromise on extending Bush-era tax cuts for the country's top 2 percent of income earners. Because he had pledged repeatedly during his presidential campaign to raise those earners' taxes, he instantly was slammed by his political base. Even pro-Obama comedic commentators Jon Stewart and Bill Maher were left humor-speechless.
Feeling defensive and maybe even a bit insecure, Obama fired back in anger against people across the political spectrum. Wielding his verbal sword, the president poked and prodded: "Take a tally. Look at what I promised during the campaign. There's not a single thing that I've said that I would do that I have not either done or tried to do. And if I haven't gotten it done yet, I'm still trying to do it."
"Not a single thing"?
"Missed birthdays, games, and plays end in tears," one congressional wife and mother of young children tells me, delighted by the "certainty of the calendar" for the next Congress. Hers is a reality that all too many parents -- in and out of Congress -- know is often unavoidable. But sometimes it can be managed. Seventy-six of the 87 new Republican members of Congress have children, 233 in total, a majority of whom are under 18. And they've got a leadership trying to make these scheduling problems a little less pervasive.
Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, has announced a schedule for the next Congress that looks something like what House Republicans have been promising for going on a year now. It's not about making life easier, but rather a little more efficient -- just a little saner -- on a fairly reliable calendar.
Immorality in government lies at the heart of our nation's problems. Deficits, debt and runaway government are merely symptoms. What's moral and immoral conduct can be complicated, but needlessly so. I keep things simple and you tell me where I go wrong.
My initial assumption is that we each own ourselves. I am my private property and you are yours. If we accept the notion that people own themselves, then it's easy to discover what forms of conduct are moral and immoral. Immoral acts are those that violate self-ownership. Murder, rape, assault and slavery are immoral because those acts violate private property. So is theft, broadly defined as taking the rightful property of one person and giving it to another.
If it is your belief that people do not belong to themselves, they are in whole or in part the property of the U.S. Congress, or people are owned by God, who has placed the U.S. Congress in charge of managing them, then all of my observations are simply nonsense.
There's a lot of noise today about promoting political squishiness to a virtue and endorsing the notion that compromise for its own sake is noble. I uncompromisingly dissent.
First, let's understand that compromise for pragmatic purposes or out of political necessity is wholly different from compromise for its own sake. It is the latter I reject, recognizing that the former is, by definition, sometimes the best of the bad options. Those types of decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis with a thorough evaluation of the available options and the short- and long-term implications of settling for the imperfect solution.
When jihad-bent American Muslims target American soldiers on American soil, why does America yawn?
The Fort Hood massacre has faded from view. The Little Rock Army recruiting station ambush barely registered on the national radar screen. And the arrest this week of a Baltimore-area bomb plotter, intent on blowing up a military center and murdering our troops in the name of Allah, was met with a collective shrug. It's pointless to rally citizens around "never forget" when their heads are in the sand.
The "grand bargain" agreed to by the White House to preserve the Bush-era tax rates, extend unemployment insurance for another year and reduce the payroll tax for 2011 doesn't get to the heart of the country's main financial problem: overspending.
The Irish were told this week they are going to have to bite the bullet and sharply reduce their expectations of what government can do for them, as it cuts spending and broadens the tax base. But liberal Democrats in the United States remain on a different track: increasing debt and waging nonstop class warfare. Did they miss the message of last month's election?
This is where the self-indulgence of the '60s and the excesses of the modern Gilded Age have led us.
The Great Denial continues. The liberals continue to labor under the assumption that nothing very bad happened in early November. They are still supreme. The columnists go on as though nothing is amiss. This week, E.J. Dionne consulted with three defeated members of Congress and passed on to President Barack Obama their advice on how to succeed during the next two years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues as if she is speaker for life, though it probably will be a generation until another Democrat holds the post. Mental illness can be amusing.
The fact is that the Democrats lost badly in the midterms, and they probably are going to lose again in 2012. The Republicans picked up six seats in the Senate and more than 60 in the House. They won 683 legislative seats nationwide and gained six governorships. That will give them a powerful say in redistricting. Moreover, in 2012, the Democrats have to defend 23 seats in the Senate, and they probably will lose the presidency, unless the Republicans run a platypus.
There is no such thing as a "free" government benefit. Ask small-business owners who are footing skyrocketing bills for bottomless jobless benefits. While politicians in Washington negotiate a deal to provide welcome temporary payroll, income and estate tax relief to America's workers, struggling employers wonder how long they'll have to pay for the compassion of others — and whether they can survive.
The Beltway deal hinges on extending federal unemployment insurance for another 13 months. This would mark the sixth time that the deadline has been extended since June 2008.
Have you noticed among the Obama-supporting elite a desperate agony upon realizing that he is not quite the messiah he made himself out to be and as which they willingly embraced him?
Many leftists are disgusted with Obama for supposedly betraying the cause on a number of issues, which tells us how irredeemably liberal they are. But their sense of betrayal runs deeper than ideology.