Mark Levin stands on moral pedestal after Trump’s ‘p***y’ comments, weirdly screams at Never Trump instead

Donald Trump

The 2016 U.S. presidential election gets weirder by the week, which in many ways is a good thing because the world is seeing everyone’s true colors come out. Audio from a 2005 conversation between Donald Trump and Billy Bush leaked late last Friday, which meant that “conservative” radio hosts weighed in today.

Mark Levin, for instance, thought the best thing to do in a post “grab her by the p***y” world would be to scream at the Never Trump movement like Grandpa Simpson.

Red State shared Mr. Levin’s opening monologue Monday night:

“This is a plebiscite against Hillary Clinton! Against Barack Obama! Against the centralized state! No, we don’t have the candidate that I wanted, but I can’t change that, now can I? No, I can’t.

So the moral high ground is not to duck the tough decision and stand on the sidelines while some of us make the tough decision. That’s not the moral high ground! The principled high ground is not to stand on the sideline and watch your country crater! And say, ‘I told you so, I told you so.’ No, that’s not the principled high ground, either. The real test of a human being is what they do when they’re challenged. When it’s not easy. When they don’t like the choices. But the moral and principled thing to not do is for conservatives to whine and complain, ‘Oh, woe is me,’ and just sit on your ass.”

Millions of people stayed home when Mitt Romney — a good and decent man — was the Republican nominee in 2008. I do not recall Mr. Levin ever screaming his lungs out and haranguing Republicans who sat “on the sidelines” in protest.

I voted for George W. Bush. I voted for John McCain. I voted for Mitt Romney. In each instance there were things about the candidates that bothered me, but I voted for them anyway.

Now, in 2016, guys like me are being rhetorically flogged by the likes of Mark Levin because we aren’t excited about someone who a.) was a Democrat for the vast majority of his adult life, b.) donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008, c.) still does not publicly hold conservative positions on multiple issues (e.g., free trade), d.) literally bragged about trying to “f**k” a married woman, and e.) admitted that he has never asked God for forgiveness.

Question: At what point does a Republican candidate become unacceptable to the likes of Mark Levin?

Answer: Apparently, never.

The 2016 U.S. presidential election is the visible manifestation of our own cultural rotgut eating away at our insides. Myself and many others are in this world, but not of it. If the nation goes mad, then I am under no obligation to partake in the affair. I will not be guilted or shamed into voting for a candidate, nor will I care if self-righteous radio hosts try to blame me — a principled, law-abiding man who loves his country — for America’s decline.

Here is an uncomfortable fact: Mark Levin and many other “conservative” radio hosts sat in silence regarding Donald Trump during the Republican primaries. They did this because they liked making the Republican Party squirm. In fact, they liked it so much that they ignored all the warning signs that they were creating a Frankenstein monster. And then, when the monster broke free, they decided to blame the very people who were screaming, “Stop! This is madness!” from the very beginning.

If Mark Levin does not like the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, then his search for people to blame should begin with a look in the mirror.

Jesse Watters’ ‘Chinatown’ video: Producer crosses fine line between ‘politically incorrect’ and ‘giant jerk’

jesse-watters

Fox News regularly fights the refrain that it is filled with a bunch of racists and bigots. Given that, one would think that producers would shy away from material that feeds the narrative. If you thought that, then you would be wrong! O’Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters came out with a “Chinatown” segment this week that was one of the most disgusting things I have seen on a cable news station in years.

As a staunch conservative, I will now explain to you why friends of limited government should vehemently condemn the network for putting this “political humor” on the air.

Conservatives like to think of themselves as politically incorrect, but there is a difference between speaking uncomfortable truths and being a low-life jerk. Jesse Watters does not know the difference between the two because he approached people who did not understand English, asked them culturally insensitive questions, and then exploited their inability to communicate to mock them.

That, dear reader, is not “politically incorrect” — that is mean. And for some reason people on social media do not seem to get this.

jesse-watters-twitter

As I told multiple individuals over the past few days, what Jesse Watters did was one step removed from asking a Chinese stranger what “Ching-Chong Ching-Chong” means. The guy literally asked people if he should bow to say hello, if it was the “year of the Dragon,” and if they knew karate. He preyed on the ignorance of an old woman for a cheap joke, and issued a non-apology apology when he was called out by millions of people with a functional moral compass.

What is extra grating about Mr. Watters is that he did what all bullies do — he went after an easy target.

Would Jesse Watters go into a Muslim neighborhood and makes “jokes” to Arabic-speaking women about washing feet in the sink? No.

Would Jesse Watters go into a community of Somali immigrants and joke about child soldiers? No.

Would Jesse Watters go into a Jewish community and joke with people who only speak Hebrew about rhinoplasty? No.

The reason why Mr. Watters created this “joke” the way he did was because he knew he could get away with it in an asian community. If he pulled that level of racial or cultural insensitivity in other areas, then he would have received a black eye and a trip to the hospital.

If you ever wondered why minority groups tend to shy away from the Republican Party, then Jesse Watters’ “Chinatown” is a great learning tool. There is nothing wrong with racial jokes in the appropriate forums (e.g., Comedy Central roasts), but it is certainly beyond the pale to use an immigrant’s language barrier as a springboard for ridicule.

Trump as ‘the Deadpool of national politics’? In many ways, yes

Deadpool Ryan Reynolds

Donald Trump has dominated news cycles for months, but perhaps the most apt description of the man came yesterday in a piece by The Federalist. Author James Poulos writes that cultural shifts, like the one that burst the “celebrity bubble” in the 90s, claim more than just the careers of actors, writers, and musicians. Politicians, too, he argues, can be crushed within sudden societal churning. That is why, he argues, we are now seeing the emergence of “the Deadpool of  national politics” — Trump.

Poulos writes:

How is it that others, but not you, know Trump perfectly inhabits the form of leadership that naturally emerged from our cultural moment? Even deeper and broader than the issue of the GOP base becoming completely disenchanted in the established party leadership is the problem that so many Americans (who are not senior citizens) just have zero respect for old-style politicians.

Even a young guy who’s auditioning for the part of tomorrow’s old-style politician — Marco Rubio — just doesn’t pass the derisive laugh test among the most culturally consequential Americans, whatever their class. Trying to reduce this situation to class makes as much sense as trying to decide whether “Deadpool” is highbrow, lowbrow, or middlebrow.

There was a moment when expectations shifted about what it was to be a real human being in politics, too, and the only major figure to apparently intentionally catch that wave was Trump. He is the Deadpool of national politics. You can agonize over this fact or you can deal with it.

Think about it:

  • Trump says whatever he wants — he’s completely unfiltered, like Deadpool. They both hate political correctness.
  • When Trump is damaged — even by self-inflicted wounds — he heals incredibly fast, like Deadpool.
  • Deadpool was created by unprincipled goons. Likewise, the creation of Trump in many ways hinges on the unprincipled goons of the Republican Party. They promised one thing, delivered another, and then laughed in the faces of those who expected them to live up to their word.
  • Deadpool lets the audience in on “the joke” by breaking the fourth wall. Likewise, Trump exposes “the joke” that is Washington, D.C.’s political class (on the left and the right).

It appears, unfortunately, as though the Republican Party will not listen to Poulos’ advice, but instead will continue to “agonize” over Trump. Meanwhile, Democrats like President Obama continue on their quest to “fundamentally transform” America. It’s a recipe for disaster.

America needs a Colossus in the White House, but perhaps it deserves Deadpool at this point. If nothing else, perhaps real-world Deadpool (and, sadly, the body count his administration will be responsible for) will show people that politics isn’t a joke. Maybe then the next cultural shift will attract serious men and women to the nation’s capital. Or not, and America will usher in its own “Age of Mephisto.”

 

Obama promised to heal the planet, but Obamacare is doing its best to kill liberalism

In 2008, Barack Obama said that one day we would look back at his election as the moment the world’s rising oceans began to fall and the “planet began to heal.” These days, people who have been dropped from their health insurance plans are wondering why President Obama would usher in an era of planet-healing while simultaneously making it harder for millions of Americans to do the same. The media has noticed, which is why we’re now seeing articles like ‘Obamacare’s threat to liberalism’ in Politico.

The situation is so bad that the president has now oddly decreed that people who liked their plans will be able to keep them. Why? Because he said so. Even though the health insurance industry spent years getting everything in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, Americans are supposed to believe that they can now throw the car in reverse, go back to the future and save those plans so they can exist … for one year. Why? Again, because the president said so. Who needs the rule of law when you can just enforce or ignore laws according to what the latest round of opinion polls are saying?

There are still a few people in the media with a shred of integrity, which is why different versions of ‘Obamacare’s threat to liberalism’ have popped up all over the Internet in the past few weeks. Here is what you need to know:

“Unlike the Republican agenda, the Democratic agenda does not work unless people have a certain level of trust in the competence of the government to act on their behalf,” said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who 25 years ago helped launch the centrist “New Democratic” agenda that brought the Democrats back from years in the presidential wilderness. “That is, if you will, the Democratic proposition. It’s not to say that the government should do everything, but it is to say there’s an indispensable — and not necessarily small — role for government at every level.” …

Every level. It’s incredibly frightening that there are millions of Americans who would read that, nod their head in agreement, and say: “Yep. Sounds like a plan.” It’s also refreshing that there are scholars at Brookings who are willing to put the playbook out there for everyone to see.

Geoffrey Kabaservice, the author of the recent book “Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party from Eisenhower to the Tea Party,” said it is too early to pronounce the end of Obama’s presidency — if only because the worst failures in the health care plan itself so far appear to be technical and bureaucratic, and may yet be repaired — despite the real and damaging furor over the president’s overblown promise that all who liked their current insurance plans could keep them. But he added, Obamacare’s early problems nevertheless reflect and amplify longstanding vulnerabilities for the Democrats, namely, “their love of complexity, the flavor of compulsion in their approach.” …

First things first: “the president’s overblown promise that all who liked their current insurance plans could keep them” is another way of saying “the president’s lie…”. It was a lie, but people who live in work in Washington, D.C. are often terrified of the truth because to do so might get you fired.

And now the scary part: The Democrats’ “love of complexity, the flavor of compulsion in their approach.”

Not only do they love trying to control complex interconnected systems that are far beyond the grasp of 535 know-it-alls in the nation’s capital, but they feel the need to force everyone to take part in their social experiments. Over and over throughout history, masterminds have tried and plan entire economies — and failed. And yet, each new generation has a fresh set of voters who are willing to buy into the hype if the right guy or gal with a cool cadence promises to heal the planet.

“The public feels completely bamboozled by this,” said [David Gergen, director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School and a bipartisan veteran of three White House staffs.] “And I think apologies are not going to be enough. I think it’s going to have to go deeper, and I think he’s going to have to think about some kind of shakeup to keep his presidency on track.” …

In the short term, the president’s best hope is to fix the immediate problems of the balky HealthCare.gov website, and enroll enough younger and healthy people to hold out the hope that the new insurance system will be economically viable.

The public feels bamboozled because they were bamboozled. They were lied to, and all of the people who screamed at the top of their lungs that it was a lie (including Rep. Joe Wilson), were called racistbigothomophobeteapartywackjobs (one word).

Ironically, the young kids who helped elect President Obama are the same ones who are going to see to it that his signature piece of legislation fails miserably in the long-run. They called the president’s opponents racists, and then backed Obamacare — a program that was designed to steal wealth from young people and transfer it to old, mostly-white retired Baby Boomers. Classic.

The Affordable Care Act is not economically viable, but like everything else that comes out of Washington it will be kept alive for as long as possible by confiscating more wealth and using accounting games that would get the rest of us thrown in prison. Sadly, the threat to liberalism is overblown for this very reason. By taking control of these complex systems, there’s always a scapegoat and there’s always enough time to convince gullible voters that someone else (i.e., “the rich”) will cover the cost of failure.

The silver lining in all of this is that the death of conservatism is also overblown. We all know the saying: A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. The problem with having allowed the federal government to take over 1/6 of the U.S. economy with its health care overhaul is that a certain percentage of experienced voters will die before they get around to the voting both.

Millenials: If President ‘I’m really good at killing people’ Obama spies on me, cool — but I fear conservatives

Last night in Virginia, a huge percentage of women actually believed that Ken Cuccinelli had the desire and the power to overturn Supreme Court rulings that are decades old. One of my best friends told me about his Facebook feed, where women breathed a sigh of relief because Terry McAuliffe wanted nothing to do with their vaginas.

A guy who supports President “I’m really good at killing people” Obama? Sweet. A guy who supports President Obama’s NSA spying — on innocent women — who “might” be a terrorist someday? Awesome. A guy who spent a lifetime working for Virginians — who happens to be more socially conservative? The Guardians of the Uterus will not stand for such an injustice!

And with that, I give you Kurt Schlichter, a a 48 year old veteran and lawyer who put himself through Loyola Law School after the Gulf War. Mr. Schlichter has made the decision to stop feeling guilty about people who vote for their own serfdom — particularly all the young voters who will pay higher insurance rates so his can be lower.

You didn’t listen to us. Maybe you’ll listen to pain. …

Embracing liberalism was a stupid thing to do […] and I will now let you subsidize my affluent lifestyle without a shred of guilt.

Somehow, you came to embrace the bizarre notion that conservatives are psychotic Jesus freaks who want to Footloosisze America into a land of mandatory Sunday school and no dancing.

But liberals, in contrast, are nice. Obama is cool. You chose petty fascism with a smile. Not a lot of thought went into it. Facts, evidence — these were mere distractions from the feelings-based validation that came from rejecting us wicked conservatives.

What did you get? The chance to be forced to buy health insurance you don’t want at inflated rates so my rates can be lower. You get to pay more out of your monthly barista take — liberalism ensured that the tanked job market foreclosed a real career — so that I get to pay less out of my lawyer checks. Thanks, suckers.

You fume that conservatives want to spy on you in your bedrooms. Leaving aside the fact that that your tacky boudoir fumblings are the last thing conservatives care about, have you noticed how your precious Big Brother spies on your doings everywhere else? But who cares about that – Mumford & Sons totally digs Obama!

Boom. It’s an intellectual pile driver for a generation of kids who are guided almost exclusively by emotion. They have more information at their finger tips than at any time in the history of man, but they lack the critical thinking skills to apply it to their daily life. Worse, they’re more interested in what the Biebs was doing with Brazilian hookers than how Obama is screwing their future.

Kurt Schlichter notes that he is a businessman. He hires people. He signs the front of checks. It pains him to see young lawyers with six-figures of debt working as baristas before he hires them, but it’s hard to have much sympathy for smart kids who fail to learn basic economics in college. “As an employer, are the salaries I pay generally more or less when I have 297 people competing for each job?” he asks. The kids are voting for people who destroy healthy economies, and at some point America’s self-made men — who empathize with those just starting out — will throw their hands up in the air and walk away.

The old saying is true: Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for the rest of his life.

These days, the kids are content to stare blankly into space with their mouths open like guppies.

So feel free to keep voting for the liberals who keep you in chains. I’ll take my cheaper insurance, my future Social Security checks, and the other benefits that come from being established without guilt. The guys who you squander your votes upon certainly won’t change that equation. You’ll tread water in life, but hey, at least those conservatives won’t be in charge!

Thanks again, suckers. Now get off my lawn.

Obama’s ‘favorite’ columnist thinks you and your family are idiots

Josh Barro elitist

President Obama is said to be a well-read guy, but who are his favorite writers? Thanks to the Internet, we have an answer. Unfortunately, it turns out that one’s of the president’s favorite columnists thinks you, your family and friends are all a bunch of idiots who need to be treated like cattle.

Buzzfeed reports:

The president’s news diet isn’t limited to the paper of record however. Vietor said Obama’s favorite columnists include Business Insider’s Josh Barro, New York’s Jonathan Chait, and the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein.

Enter Mediate, which takes Josh Barro to task over his Americans-are-too-stupid-to-know-what’s-good-for-them mentality.

The technocratic conceit has always been that their judgment should supplant the will of the public. Their methods, they assure themselves, are always justified because the end is noble and the opposition is never arguing in good faith. If they were, the technocrat insists, there would be no opposition in the first place.

This kind of thinking vindicates so many otherwise indefensible ends, including subterfuge and much worse. The technocrats among us today justify the president’s lie [that the insurance plan you liked would be safe under Obamacare] because they believe the end is virtuous. And perhaps it is. But what they do not understand […] is that no end is justified by any and every means. In fact, a virtuous project can be made forever toxic if its proponents adopt dishonest tactics in order to achieve it.

Enter Josh Barro, who reads the article and decides the best response is to wear his elitism like a badge of honor:

“Vast swathes of policy are based on the correct presumption that people don’t know what’s best for them. Nothing new.”

You are too dumb to pick the light bulbs that go in your house. You are too dumb to be able to have control over how much water your toilet uses per flush. You are too dumb to decide how much soda to drink in a single serving. You are too stupid to decide which school is best for your child, and you definitely can’t be trusted to pick the kind of health care coverage that best serves your needs. The list is never-ending.

As I said in the past, men like Josh Barro seek to turn Americans into human gerbils:

I care about a federal government that saps the will of its people. I care about a federal government that robs people of ambition and desire and the belief that they can do great things with their life. I care about the consequences of instilling in individuals a learned dependence that changes them from beings with limitless potential into hollowed-out husks that bump into each other for a few decades until death comes calling.

As Barry Goldwater so eloquently put it in The Conscious of a Conservative:

Consider the consequences to the recipient of welfarism. For one thing, he mortgages himself to the federal government. In return for benefits — which, in the majority of cases, he pays for — he concedes to the government the ultimate in political power — the power to grant or withhold from him the necessities of life as the government sees fit. Even more important, however, is the effect on him — the elimination of any feeling of responsibility for his own welfare and that of his family and neighbors. A man may not immediately, or ever, comprehend the harm thus done to his character. Indeed, this is one of the great evils of Welfarism — that it transforms the individual from a dignified, industrious, self-reliant spiritual being into a dependent animal creature without his knowing it. …

[We] can shatter the collectivists’ designs on individual freedom if we will impress upon the men who conduct our affairs this one truth: that the material and spiritual sides of man are intertwined; that it is impossible for the State to assume responsibility for one without intruding on the essential nature of the other; that if we take from a man the personal responsibility for caring for his material needs, we take from him also the will and the opportunity to be free.

Want to know what President Obama really thinks about you? Just read what he reads. If you voted for him you should prepare to feel duped.

Rock climbing as a metaphor for life: Conservatism vs. Liberalism

Douglas Ernst rock climb

Today I ran across an old picture of me ascending a rock climbing wall while at the Cumberland County fair in Maine. For some odd reason it dawned on me that rock climbing is a great metaphor for life. Before this picture was taken I had been working a booth for The Heritage Foundation, talking to the good people of Maine about the organization and its principles. A National Guardsman dared me to take the climb and, not one to back down from a challenge, I accepted.

Given that, I will now explain rock climbing as a metaphor for life, as well as how one’s worldview changes how they approach the wall.

In life, we all have an end point we’re shooting for. We all want to get to the top of some mountain. Some people want to prosper monetarily; others seek spiritual wealth. Some people seek knowledge; others wish to experience their fill of earthly pleasures. We all value different things, and as such our lives will all take vastly different twists and turns before we call it a day.

In between our starting point and the final destination there is an infinite number of paths laid out before us. We have a general idea of how we want to go about attacking the mountain, but there’s a big difference between gauging obstacles from afar and then experiencing them up close and personal.

Just like with rock climbing, sometimes the path that you thought would get you to the top in theory doesn’t work out in practice. You have to recalibrate your route. You might have to backtrack or go far out of your way to traverse a difficult section. In a worst-case scenario you might even fall off the wall, but thanks to a harness you don’t kill yourself and, if you so choose, you can start all over again — armed with the knowledge only failure can teach.

The conservative knows that every person who attempts the rock-climbing wall of life will have different strengths and weaknesses. Some people want to shoot for the top, and some don’t. Some people have amazing upper body strength, and others have an iron grip. Some people are light and some people are heavy. Some people are tall and some people are short. Given all these variables, the conservative generally doesn’t worry too much about what the guy next to him is doing and begins climbing away. He focuses on his technique. He monitors his strength. He takes time to stop and pause and re-evaluate his strategy when necessary. He isn’t afraid of falling. The conservative does all this, and in the long run he is generally rewarded for it.

The liberal, by contrast, does not fare too well. He complains about the size of the footholds. He looks at their placement on the wall and wonders who put them there and if there was some sort of nefarious plot connected to the decision process. He complains that he doesn’t have chalk, but the guy next to him does. He wants better shoes. It’s unfair that he has to climb in rainy weather, when the guy before him had nice weather. The winds are shifting one way or the other. He wants a different belay man. The list is endless. And at the end of the day the liberal sits at the bottom of wall, having wasted valuable time that would have been better spent just climbing the damn wall.

Sometimes, the liberal will look up and see his conservative counterpart smiling at the top of the mountain and will yell nasty things in his direction. The conservative will be accused of being a heartless bastard for basking in the sun’s rays and enjoying the view while the liberal down below must sit in the shadows — again, even if it was the liberal who chose to spend the limited time and resources afforded to him unwisely.

If you have a rock climbing wall around your neck of the woods, I suggest giving it a try. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, both mentally and physically.

See you at the top,

Doug

When we can see through walls, but not the debt in our face

New technology allows us to see light move at one trillion frames per second, but yet many citizens still can’t see the slow motion economic train wreck caused by out-of-control debt and a bloated federal bureaucracy.

How is it that it’s only a matter of time before Americans will be able to see through walls, but they can’t see the writing on the wall when it comes to debt and deficits? Professor Ramesh Raskar’s presentation on cameras that can film at one trillion frames per second is amazing, but it also demonstrates one of the problems conservatives have when it comes to talking about recessions, depressions and the economy in general.

Not too long ago I got to cover the Defending the American Dream Summit for work. While I was there, I got to talk to a number of older individuals who honestly believe that the standard of living their grandchildren will be lower because of the policies we are putting in place today. That’s true — in many respects — but it’s hard to get anyone to buy it when new technologies keep emerging that will change the course of human history.

How do you get people to understand the future that never was? While it’s a godsend that humans are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible, it also is maddening that so many are regularly susceptible to public policies that retard economic growth and the entrepreneurial spirit inside us. We adopt health care policies that hinder the innovation of lifesaving drugs while giving more people crappier coverage. We enact well-intentioned entitlement programs that turn able-bodied men and women into human gerbils waiting for the next government pellet — instead of encouraging them to break free of their mind-forged manacles. We use the tax code for social engineering instead of allowing the individual to keep more of his own money with which to build a brighter future.

The “poor” in the United States are not getting poorer. In fact, the “poor” (who are also not a static group) in the United States do quite well when compared with their counterparts around the world. Given that the standard of living generally goes up for all Americans each generation — even if the rates differ among social classes — conservatives need to find a way to talk about lost futures. It’s not enough to say that if we elect liberal politician “x” that life will be worse off, because benefits gained through technological advances mask all sorts of theft to our standard of living.

If conservatives are smart they will become tech-savvy nerds who not only care about cameras that can see around corners, but talented orators who can paint vivid pictures of the future by describing their vision for the world and the vision of their political opponents.

Arthur C. Brooks: Sharp dresser, sharper mind. Read his book, conservatives.

Besides being a really sharp dresser, Arthur C. Brooks has a really sharp mind. In fact, it’s so sharp that I think that all conservatives should read his newest book, The Road to Freedom. Mitt Romney would be wise to crack it open as well, since it seems to have been created for guys like him — believers in the free market who don’t particularly know how to politically sell it without an over-reliance on graphs and charts and statistics.

When advocates of limited government and free markets get in debates with liberals they get bombarded with the word ‘fair.’

“It isn’t fair that rich guys are so darn … rich! Those … rich guys need to pay their fair share. We need to level the playing field because of those … rich guys and make things fair. We need to tax those … rich guys more to make things fair.”

The knee jerk reaction by conservatives, as Brooks points out, is to start quoting economists like Hayek, or to talk about GDP comparisons that no one cares about because it’s really hard to make moral connections to bar graphs and scatter plots. Instead, conservatives need to make the moral case for their worldview. There are essentially two definitions of “fairness,” and the key is to be able to get people to understand the difference between the two and then have them decide that our definition is, in fact, more desirable.

Definition one: Redistributive fairness. It is fair to equalize rewards. Inequality is inherently unfair.

Definition two: Meritocratic fairness. Fairness means matching reward to merit. Forced equality is inherently unfair.

As Brooks notes “Many economists dismiss the whole concept of fairness and ignore it as hopelessly subjective, even childish, like an argument [between kids]. This is a mistake. To dismiss fairness is like dismissing love: a difficult phenomenon to identify quantitatively, but a central facet of life and hugely important to nearly everybody.” I wholeheartedly agree. The moral case for conservatism is strong, and yet fiscal conservatives all to often shy away from doing so.

It’s tough to really describe how Brooks weaves discussions on earned success, learned helplessness, happiness, philanthropy and history together into one power-packed punch in the “fight for free enterprise,” but he does. It’s odd to witness a former french horn player and classical musician deliver a bloody, knock-out blow to the statist worldview, but it happens in a little under 200 pages. And, like the living legend Thomas Sowell, he does it in a way that anyone can understand.

Brooks is an academic who can write in a way that doesn’t come off as pompous and condescending. I think a lot of this is because, like Sowell, Brooks once considered himself liberal. (Those who read this blog regularly know of my own transformation from default-liberal into staunch conservative). It’s usually harder to be a jerk with people who disagree with you when you were once in their shoes. But, having made the journey from liberal to conservative, the converted will always remember the path they took, and often make it a point to help guide others along the way. That’s one of the reasons why I suggested all conservatives read Andrew Breitbart’s book, Righteous Indignation.

The other great thing about Brooks? He can quote Thomas Jefferson, talk about Nobel Prize winning economist Ronald Coase, or … cite U2’s Bono!

“In Ireland people have an interesting attitude to success; they look down on it. In America, you look up at … the mansion on the hill and say, ‘One day … that could be me.’ In Ireland, they look up at the mansion on the hill and go, ‘One day I’m gonna get that bastard.”

The question remains: Do we want to be America, or do we want to be Europe? We already know what San Fransisco has decided, but luckily they don’t represent most Americans. Yet.

Do yourself a favor and purchase The Road to Freedom before you hit the beach this summer, and then make the case for free enterprise with your neighbor when you get home.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an old video with Arthur C. Brooks to watch.

An open letter to Sean Hannity

I like  you, Sean Hannity. You seem like a nice guy. However, as a friend to the conservative movement I have to break the news to you: You need to stop falling into the Obama campaign’s traps.

Let me explain: Not 24 hours after Barack Obama evolved from an anti-gay caterpillar into a gay-marriage supporting butterfly, a media-coordinated hit job took place on Mitt Romney, which accused him of being some sort of predatory high school gay-basher … in 1965. You rightly pointed out the absurdity of it all, but then went on to devote an entire show to digging through Obama’s past, accusing him of “bullying” a little girl (He shoved one in elementary school during recess — so what?), and then playing some of the president’s weirder passages from audio versions of Dreams of My Father. In short, you played right into Obama’s hands.

The United State’s is almost 16 trillion dollars in debt. Unemployment is over 8 percent. (The number is even worse considering the stats don’t include those who have simply given up looking for a job.) No one except perhaps Paul Ryan has seriously tried to talk about entitlement reform. And yet, someone as talented as you spends hours dredging up stories the American people already know about President Obama — and determined it wasn’t enough to stop them from pulling the lever for him — in 2008.

President Obama has a record of disaster. If it was a sentence, it would be a grammatically incorrect collection of gobbledygook with only the killing of Osama bin Laden as a properly-executed punctuation mark at the end. Playing clips of Barack Obama saying, “White greed rules a world in need,” from his memoirs is fine … for about five minutes, but there are bigger problems at hand. Let’s talk about the federal government’s greed, to the tune of $16 trillion dollars. Let’s talk about Barack Obama’s greed, through the confiscation of wealth and capital from small and big businessmen across the country. Let’s talk about Facebook co-founders renouncing their citizenship over burdensome taxation, and the billions of dollars that will now be in banks overseas. I know you do that Sean, but all too often it’s as filler to a pie crust made of Obama’s daily foibles and manufactured distractions.

What the American people need right now is a dissection of what, exactly, President Obama’s governance has done to America over the past three years. The base needs to know, in a way they can articulate to their independent friends and family, how the Constitution has been trampled. They need to be able to intellectually break down and convey to others how liberalism has broken down the economy. They need to know about executive order overreach, the expansion of the administrative state, and the gathering threats abroad that have never make the front page headlines because the Washington Post and the New York Times are worried about a forced haircut Romney gave a kid in high school (as opposed the the forced abortions the Chinese government gives its citizens, or the unconstitutional mandates doled out by the White House).

Sean, I think you are indeed a blessing to the conservative movement but I can’t help but think that sometimes you run your show like a celebrity chef cooking up tasty treats for his studio audience, and not the desperately needed boot camp Drill Sergeant who instills purpose and discipline into his troops. Right now Americans need intellectual Drill Sergeants putting minds through combat exercises until election day. They need philosophical training and ammunition because they’ve become soft. Media feeds us ideological swill, but serving conservative cat nip does us no favors either. Now is not the time for Rev. Wright. Now is not the time for Obama’s teenage drug use. Now is not the time for stories about his elementary school playground mishaps.

As a communicator of conservative thought — one with a large microphone — you have a responsibility to challenge your audience. Challenging people often means making them uncomfortable or angry, which is a risky proposition for a radio host with sponsors to please. I know that. But challenging the audience is what will help oust Barack Obama from office so he can be replaced with someone who could stop the bleeding.

And so I end with this: Leave Obama’s youth alone. Point out the media bias, make it crystal clear, and then move on to discussing the kind of problems that will bring this country to its knees if we don’t get a handle on them soon. I love the passion you bring to the conservative movement, but ask you not to sling your rhetorical arrows at our opponent’s body armor when his head remains exposed.

You’re a great American,

Douglas

Update: Hannity has read the post, and the tone of his reply suggests he wasn’t thrilled with it. I appreciate him taking the time (I really do), but I will say this: I listen to his show enough to know that he has a tendency to spend time on the side-show stuff that can play into the left’s hands. I also listen to Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin … and have not written comparable pieces on them. There is a reason for that.