MoMA: New York City’s zoo that masquerades as an art musuem

Museum of Modern Art is a strange place. It has everything one would expect from a first class art museum, but in many respects it is more like a zoo. Your friendly neighborhood blogger went to MoMA on his day off from work to check out art like Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer II, but instead struggled not get to swept away in a rip tide of tourists taking selfies.

Perhaps the best way to describe what it feels like to walk through MoMa is to use a painting analogy: I felt like Georges Braque’s “Man with Guitar” (1911). It’s easy to feel like you’re coming apart at the seams as a cacophony of laughs, giggles, squeals, shuffling feet, and jumbled conversations make it incredibly difficult to properly take in each artist’s work.

Man with Guitar BraqueWhile it is impressive that any museum in the world can convince the average tourist to pay $25 to view Marcel Duchamp’s “In Advance of the Broken Arm” (1915) — yes, that’s right, Mr. Duchamp literally hung a shovel from a ceiling and deemed it art — packing in as many people into a museum as humanly possible isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Marcel DuchampMoMA is certainly a place every art lover should go to — once. I suppose Mr. Duchamp would call me a “bourgeois” snob for saying it, but I don’t care: It’s hard to appreciate art in a museum when families are invited to run around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

There is plenty to do in New York City if you love the arts. Unless you have a burning desire to check it out, I would suggest looking at the snow shovel in your garage, pretending you’ve just seen “art” by Duchamp, and calling it a day.

Classic: Yale prof shocked to find tea party pretty darn good at science

In October, Yale Law professor Dan M. Kahan was doing a study on what the relationship might be between someone’s political outlook and their science comprehension skills. The answer: Identifying with the tea party correlates positively with scores on a test that measures science comprehension.

tea party science

Interesting, right? Well, sort of, because the story behind the story is even better. The professor’s reaction to his own findings are priceless:

I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension.

But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party. All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).

I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.

Of course, I still subscribe to my various political and moral assessments—all very negative—of what I understand the “Tea Party movement” to stand for. I just no longer assume that the people who happen to hold those values are less likely than people who share my political outlooks to have acquired the sorts of knowledge and dispositions that a decent science comprehension scale measures.

He doesn’t know a single member of the tea party. His worldview was shaped in large part from reading Huffington Post and Politco — and yet he was surprised at his findings. After having been shown that the “news” that molds his mind is so biased that it led him to come to false assumptions about the tea party, he still doesn’t question how those very same news sources could have warped his understanding of what the tea party movement actually stands for or — more importantly — the “moral assessments” he makes on a daily basis.

When you self-identify as a member of the tea party, you have to work twice as hard to prove you have the intellectual chops to be taken seriously by academics. Guys like professor Kahan just assume guys like me don’t read up on liquid fluoride thorium reactors. They assume that we would never find blogging material from sites like “I F**king Love Science,” and write on octopus camouflage in our spare time. Or that we have pretty cool friends who make engineering marvels for NASA, wives who are doctors, dads who took nuclear physics, etc.

I give the professor credit for being honest with his findings because many people would have buried them. It is often hard to admit when we are wrong, so in that sense Professor Kahan’s integrity deserves to be acknowledged. However, it should also be pointed out that the assumptions he held are sadly held by the majority of academics.

The Washington Post reported in 2005:

College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.

By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

Quick story: When I was in graduate school at American University, I had a professor who liked to brag about his contacts on the Hill. There were three conservatives in my entire program, and one day we met with him to see if there was any way he could help us obtain internships in the city. My friend said he was interested in working at a number of places, including the American Enterprise Institute. My professor’s response: “Oh. You’re one of them.”

“One of them.” It’s as if we were aliens from another planet that were sent to destroy the world. Of course he didn’t have any contacts in his magical Rolodex for us. Two of us went on to eventually work at The Heritage Foundation, and my other friend now works for the Department of Homeland Security. Not too shabby for a few kids who moved to Washington, D.C. with zero connections and a bunch of professors who probably held the kind of negative moral assessments of us that Professor Kahan has for tea partiers.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll ponder the singularity of a black hole and the existence of God.

Editors note: Hat tip to reader Denver Patrick for the story. I’m not sure how that one escaped my radar.

Paul Ryan takes heat from people who have never been in the kitchen

Romney 2012

One of the best things about living in the nation’s capital is that sometimes you get to hear some pretty cool people speak. One multiple occasions I got to hear Rep. Paul Ryan talk — extemporaneously — on public policy, and he blew me away. On top of that he was a nice guy, stopping in to speak to Heritage interns when he could have just whisked out the door without saying a word. Rep. Ryan has managed to work in the D.C. “kitchen” for quite some time now without deviating from his core mission — to increase freedom and individual liberties for all Americans — but yet he now finds himself taking heat from people who have never even entered the restaurant.

I’ve lived in Washington, D.C. for eight years now, and I never heard someone question his honesty and integrity. He’s a principled guy in an unprincipled town. He’s outnumbered and has limited tools to work with, which is why I find it bizarre that “RINO” keeps echoing off the walls of the Internet since the House announced its budget deal with Democrats.

Buzzfeed’s piece, titled ‘How Paul Ryan Saved the Day’ sums up the Congressman well:

Ryan’s recent success stems in large part from his deep roots within the GOP’s conservative wing. Long before becoming a member of the conservative “Jedi Council” that has helped foment conservative outrage against previous spending plans, Ryan was a key figure within fiscal conservative circles in Washington. Over the years Ryan has developed a reputation amongst conservative and moderate Republicans in the House as a trusted voice on not only budget issues, but broader economic policy.

“The thing about him is that everyone knows he’s a straight shooter, he’s not going to play games. And that’s what it takes,” Diaz-Balart said. “Everyone understands what he says is real, whether you agree with Paul Ryan or not everybody understands that his word is truthful. In this process, he’s among the most trusted.”

Republican Policy Committee Chairman Rep. James Lankford, one of the most conservative members of the GOP leadership, agreed. “The level of trust is there because people know what his core is. We’ve all gone through budget negotiations with him, we’ve all seen the budgets he’s put together and the coalitions he’s put together to get that done. So we know he’s going after as much as he can possibly get,” Lankford said.

Have you ever tried to get blood from a stone? Republicans are not in a position to be able to take a chainsaw to government spending at the moment — particularly after the shutdown. They crossed the rubicon on that, and then when the pressure got too hot they wilted. Worse, they weren’t able to articulate the legitimate philosophical concerns that motivated them to go that route in the first place. If it wasn’t for the Obamacare rollout disaster from Hell, where would the polls be at the moment?

Take a look at where some of the loudest criticisms of Congressman Ryan are coming from; they emanate from people who would very much like to take the mantle of pied piper away from President Obama and hold onto it throughout the 2016 presidential election. The tea party is right: America is broke. In fact, it is more broke than any nation has ever been in existence. The way to address the problem is not to cannibalize one of conservatism’s staunchest defenders as he’s trying to convince the American people that Republicans can work with people they have fierce ideological disagreements with.

Note to my Tea Party friends: If there is a Socialist who seems like a really nice guy and an free-market Republican who seems like a jerk, the American people will (at least these days) vote for the Socialist. This carries over to how we talk about social issues. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it — and if you always come across as an angry raving-mad lunatic who would rather engage in scorched earth tactics than work with a political opponent, you will lose. And then America loses.

You don’t win by subtracting and dividing; you win by addition and multiplication. Congressman Ryan understands that if he can only get 30% of what he wants, then it’s better to do that then to throw a temper tantrum and get nothing. If the tea party is smart, then it will hold its fire on one of the few principled politicians in Congress and resume the air campaign on Obamacare.

Related: Barack Obama, Mysterio vs. Paul Ryan, Spider-Man?

Related: Paul Ryan’s wine passes sniff test; Susan Feinberg’s behavior smells like rotting Monkfish à la Soubise

Michael Barone — Cranky elitist blames Tea Party for 2012 losses

Michael Barone is throwing temper tantrums because the Republican Party’s performance on Tuesday was, to put it nicely, lacking. He’ll feel better when he buys a tailored suit from Brooks Brothers this weekend.

Michael Barone is cranky. He predicted Republicans were on a road to victory in 2012, and now that he has egg on his face he has to blame someone. The target? The Tea Party, of course!

Conservative political analyst Michael Barone told an audience in Washington that Republicans put “too many” tea party “wackos, weirdos and witches” on the ballot this year, costing them seats in the U.S. Senate. …

The Washington Examiner and Wall Street Journal columnist said ABC News host George Stephanopoulos “will try” to get Republicans to say whether they “want to ban contraceptives,” but “‘George, that’s been illegal under Supreme Court doctrine for 47 years.’ That’s the answer.”

Barone recommended that Republicans choose candidates who do not make “unforced errors” because America does not have a “fair” press.

Want to know a bigger reason why Republicans lost? It’s because they come across like guys like Michael Barone, who look like they do all their shopping at Brooks Brothers, who look dour and grim, and who look like elitist stiffs who don’t care about everyday folks. Republicans lost because they’re perceived as thinking regular people (on both sides of the fence) are “wackos, weirdos and witches.” I wonder where the American people get that from.

Perhaps if the Tea Party ran candidates who had sex romps with Dominican hookers, like Sen. Bob Menendez, they’d fare better. Right, Barone? If the Tea Party ran white candidates who pretend they’re Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, perhaps they’d fare better. Right, Barone? Or maybe if the Tea Party ran House candidates like Jesse Jackson Jr., who went missing for months because he’s mentally unstable and under the gun of federal investigators, they’d win in a land slide. Jackson Jr. did…

Is the media biased? Yes. Are unforced errors ever helpful? No. But I’m sure the 72% of Hispanics that didn’t vote for Republicans this time around — or the 2.5 million voters who showed up for McCain but not for Romney — are comprised of sizable pro-life populations. Republican elitists now attack the Tea Party because it serves as a soothing salve to the fact that they have serious messaging problems. Geniuses like Barone were dead wrong, and instead of owning up to their failures they call liberty-loving citizens “witches.” It’s popular to say on the cocktail party circuit. The Foggy Bottom crowd likes to chortle at similarly snide comments as they nibble on hors d’oeuvres, but conservatives like me hear them and cringe. Keep it to yourself, Barone, because there isn’t a chance in hell I’ll expend my limited time, resources and energy to help out guys like you.

President Obama spent an ungodly amount of time in 2012 talking about a woman’s uterus and Mitt Romney’s tax returns while the tectonic plates under our financial house of cards rumbled — and the GOP still got spanked. It’s frustrating that pro-life Democrats are never asked if God would prefer it if “rape babies” were dead (imagine the unforced errors they’d commit), but it’s not going to happen. The Republican Party should be strong enough and deep enough to be able to take the hits on the occasional “unforced error” and still win. It is not.

Men and women of faith are not America’s problem. Men and women with a moral compass are not America’s problem. Elitist, crusty, know-it-alls who aim hate and derision and vitriol at their fellow Americans are.

Paul Ryan vs. Michelle Obama: A tale of two speeches

The difference between the kind of voter Paul Ryan hopes to motivate on election day and those preferred by Michelle Obama couldn’t be more striking. Let’s just say that I never know there was the “ol’ knucklehead” demographic until I listened to the First Lady. My second podcast is up and ready for viewing here.

Alter: Obamacare gave us immortality, Romney wants to take it away

Jonathan Alter explains to the world that Obamacare gave us eternal life, and that to abolish it will in turn doom us once again to the existence of miserable clay of mortals.

Jonathan Alter wants everyone to know that Obamacare grants us immortality — and that Gov. Mitt Romney wants to take it away. Alter wants us to get away from the “idiotic questions the press is focusing on” (that happened as a result of President Obama’s ‘Mitt killed a cancer patient’ ad, by the way), and onto more important issues — i.e., Mitt Romney wants to kill many people with preexisting conditions.

What the press should be focused on are: What are the consequences of repeal of Obamacare? And the consequences … are death. Repeal equals death. People will die in the United States if Obamacare is repealed. That is not an exaggeration, that is not crying fire. It’s a simple fact that if you have preexisting conditions and you are thrown off of health insurance, or if you get sick after your husband or spouse loses a job you’re not going to go to the doctor as soon, your cancer or disease is not going to be caught as quickly, and your odds of dying are much, much increased.

In Alter’s world, people didn’t die before Obamacare. Or perhaps not. Perhaps he’s just a shameless political hack who is willing to say and do anything to see that his guy is re-elected. Let’s be nice and assume that he really believes that “repeal equals death.” It’s more fun destroying him that way.

Instead of having a conversation on The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the employer-group-coverage market, the individual insurance market, and how the bill has historically affected people with preexisting conditions, Alter decides, “Screw that, it’s a lot easier to say ‘repeal equals death.'” And that’s fine, as long as we all recognize that he’s the sort of intellectual sloth who goes on MSNBC’s Ed Schultz show.

Let’s pretend Alter was an intellectually honest guy. Let’s imagine he understood that people also die from sub par coverage and long wait lines, as is well documented in any country with socialized medicine, and that the whole health care debate is a little bit more nuanced than “Obamacare or death.” He’d probably say we need Obamacare because HIPAA fell short as it pertains to individuals who originally purchased health insurances on their own and wanted to switch to a different carrier, as opposed to making some sort of transition involving employer-based coverage. If he was a serious analyst he might say:

“With respect to the individual market, Congress only applied … [a] balanced approach to those limited cases where a worker loses group coverage and obtains individual replacement coverage. It was the failure of Congress to apply a set of reasonable rules to the entire individual health insurance market that has resulted in continued inequities in that market. It also thwarts efforts to shift to a true consumer-directed health care system where individuals, not employers or the government, own their health insurance.

Specifically, under HIPAA rules a person who purchases individual market coverage, and later needs or wants to change individual coverage, can be refused the new coverage, or the new insurer can impose pre-existing-condition exclusions on the coverage or charge the individual a higher rate based on past medical history. Unlike the rules for group coverage, HIPAA does not require individual market insurers to credit applicants with prior coverage,” (Haislmaier, Saving the American Dream: The U.S. Needs Commonsense Health Insurance Reforms).

Sadly, Alter is not serious,  and he is most certainly nothing like Ed Haislmaier. In the myopic world of Jonathan Alter, there is death or there is Obamacare. You either want to “throw people to the wolves” (his words) or you are caring and compassionate like Mr. Obama. How Alter can live with himself as he spends each day using bottom-of-the-barrel tactics to scape up a few more votes is beyond me, but conservatives would be ill advised to ignore him.

This election isn’t about Mitt Romney vs. President Obama. It’s about much more than that. Given Romney’s hesitancy to hit back hard and defend conservatism boldly, it will be up to us to carry him across the finish line. We can hold his feet to the fire afterward. And to do that we need to educate ourselves on the issues better than anyone in our circle of friends, get motivated and work at a grassroots level to secure a victory for advocates of limited government.

And with that, I will end by saying: Jonathan Alter, I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

David Frum: Disingenuous, But Fooling No One.

Have you ever wondered how David Frum sleeps at night? Probably not, because most Americans have never heard of him. Even if you have, you’re probably busy running your life, so when he runs his mouth you brush it off and forget about it; the kids need dinner. You, my friend, are normal. I am not, which is why every time I read his disingenuous diatribes I wish I could wipe that stupid smirk off his pampered face with a five-fingered death punch.

Take David’s new piece, How Tea Party Could Drive GOP to Disaster. In it, he shows us that he shares the smarmy, lying sell-out gene with Paul Krugman when he opines on a few different 2012 presidential outcomes and the Tea Party’s reaction to them. Scenario 2 goes as follows:

Romney is nominated, Romney loses.

“For non-tea party Republicans, this second outcome opens all kinds of ugly, ominous possibilities. If candidate Romney loses, tea party Republicans will claim that the GOP lost because it failed to nominate a “true conservative.” That claim may fly in the face of political math (how would a more extreme candidate win more votes?), but it will pack a lot of emotional punch. Intense partisans are always ready to believe that the way to win is to be more intense and more partisan. Back-to-back losses under John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 will open the way to an ultra-conservative nominee in 2016 — and a true party debacle,” (emphasis mine).

Did you get the part where David would have you believe that “true conservative” to a Tea Party member is synonymous with “more extreme…more intense and more partisan”? A false premise there, a red herring there…a straw man for good measure—it makes one wonder what David’s motivation is. If he wasn’t married I’d say he was going out of his way to position himself as the curiosity-one-night-Republican-stand for young, liberal college coeds frequenting the Georgetown bar scene. Since he is married, I’ll assume he just has a lot of liberals to curry favor with at those Huffington Post cocktail parties.

The point is, the Tea Party isn’t looking for an “extreme” candidate—they’re looking for a principled candidate. Being principled is different than being partisan (particularly if you’re using the term to refer to hacks who toe the party line no matter how cockamamie the position is).

The Tea Party looks at 14 trillion dollars of debt and wants to see fundamental reforms to social security, medicare, and medicaid. The Tea Party sees unconstitutional health care mandates and wants to see them reversed. The Tea Party sees the leg of the conservative stool that stands for traditional American values hacked away at regularly by liberals and wants it to stop, so balance can be restored. To guys like David Frum, that’s “extreme.” Correction: guys like David are smart enough to know what the Tea Party really stands for, but for whatever reason he’s decided to malign the one group of people who are trying to return the nation to its constitutional roots.

Let us also not waste too much time on the ridiculous notion that because a few candidates saw spurts in their polling, for a political nanosecond, that it was somehow proof-positive that the Tea Party is filled with schizophrenic nuts switching from one “messiah” to the next. David Frum says the Tea Party holds a number of positions that don’t pass “the reality test.” That’s weird, because neither does David’s entire column.

What’s a good song to listen to while reading Frum? Oh, wait…never mind. I got it: Liar.

Charles Blow: Occupy Wall Street Like Cobain (Who Blew His Head Off).

Charles Blow thinks the Occupy Wall Street movement is "cool"---so much so that he likened them to a band that came to an abrupt end when its lead singer propped a shotgun under his chin and pulled the trigger. Nirvana, Charles? Not to most Americans, Charles.

Every day I’m thankful that Charles Blow is on the New York Times’ payroll. He’s the gift that keeps on giving. He hunts non-existent Tea Party racists with the fervor of a backwoods Bigfoot fanatic. He’s speaks on constitutional issues in ways that suggest he’s never looked at what the Constitution actually says about a government of limited and enumerated powers. He endears himself to independent women by likening Sarah Palin to horror film monster “The Blob.”

Today, he looks at the Occupy Wall Street Movement and sees Nirvana (the band and, seemingly, the transcendental state of awareness):

If the Occupy Wall Street protests were a band, I’d say the closest corollary would probably be the legendary ’90s grunge band Nirvana — both meaningful and murky, tapping into a national angst and hopelessness, providing a much-needed catharsis and gaining a broad and devoted following while quickly becoming the voice of a generation…

This has energized two groups who are notoriously apathetic and lacking in civic engagement — the young and the poor — and has done so outside the existing architectures of power and politics.

This excitement has attracted the attention of progressive politicians, pundits and celebrities, many of whom are making pilgrimages to the protests to lend support while reinforcing their own street cred and pondering how to best harness the energy on display.

Charles, Charles, Charles…the first thing you do when likening a movement to a band is to make sure their lead singer didn’t blow his brains out with a shotgun after pumping himself up on heroin. It can’t be a portent of success when the New York Times is making analogies to a guy who was ultimately found a decomposing mess in his bedroom days after his gruesome death. About the only thing Charles got right is the linkage to “grunge.”

Personally, I would have went with a Pearl Jam metaphor—they embodied the heart and soul of a generation, fought “the system,” and went on to become one of the most respected rock bands in the world. But who am I? I’m just a crazy, racist, conservative Tea Party type who’s completely out of touch with the pulse of the American people. (Right Charles?)

Charles goes on to talk about “progressive politicians, pundits, and celebrities” who are making a “pilgrimage” to “lend support” to the movement. Although he begrudgingly acknowledges it in the proceeding paragraph, Charles’ tummy is sloshing around with so much Kool Aid that he doesn’t realize the most accurate analysis would read:

“…progressive politicians, pundits, and celebrities, many of whom are making a Black Friday sprint to the protests to get in front of a camera while reinforcing their own street cred and pondering how to best exploit the energy on display.”

Blow continues:

“But there has been an even stronger reaction by some on the right, who, out of fear, are seeking to preemptively stain and marginalize the protesters.”

No, Charles. “The Right” hasn’t “stained” the protesters, the guy crapping on cops cars and the Occupy Front Porches with Our Poop squatters have “stained” the movement. The communists, anarchists, socialists, losers, and misfits have “stained” the movement. The college kids who admit they’re there for a student loan bailout have “stained” the movement. And New York Times columnists who insinuated the Tea Party was racist because they didn’t have a ready made bill to place in the House floor’s hopper—while completely ignoring the prominent anti-capitalist strain of Occupy Wall Street—have “stained” them.

The piece,Occupy-apalooza Strikes a Chord, ends with shocking statistics that show many citizens, “agree with many of the disparate ideas being put forward.” Okay. I agree with many of the generic ideas that Democratic Party puts forward (although, doesn’t everyone wish their was less “greed”?), but I disagree with almost all of their methods of implementation because they reduce individual freedoms and liberties.

Dear Charles,

I beat you to the punch on the Occupy Wall Street 90’s Anthem on Twitter: Beck’s Loser. Now I just need one for you. How about one from the Peal Jam vault, because you’re just Sad.

Morgan Freeman (Slave to Stupidity?), Calls Tea Party Racist.

"Apparently, when you say "I'm concerned with 14 trillion dollars of debt," Morgan Freeman hears, "I hate black people."

It’s one thing when Charles Blow of the New York Times starts ruminating on the elusive Tea Party racist, that Bigfoot-like creature the media fantasizes about catching on tape with its every waking moment. It’s quite another thing when Morgan Freeman does it.

In order to believe that the Tea Party is racist you have to believe that 14 trillion dollars in debt is a pittance. In order to believe the Tea Party is racist you have to believe that unconstitutional health care mandates are non-issues. And in order to believe that the Tea Party is racist you have to be shocked (shocked I tell you!) that conservatives around the country would root for a liberal in the White House to be a one-and-done president. Morgan Freeman wasn’t talking about “dark underbellies” when people were calling for BushHitler’s (one word) ouster, was he? Didn’t think so.

Poor Freeman has become a slave to his own stupidity:

“The Tea Partiers who are controlling the Republican Party…their stated policy is to see to it that Obama only serves one term. What underlines that? ‘We are going to do whatever we can to get this black man out of there…’ it is a racist thing.”

The tell tale sign of an intellectually lazy man is whether or not he plays the race card. I have no doubt in my mind Morgan Freeman believes every word he says. I also have no doubt in my mind that outside his ability to breath life into the creative writing of other men that he’s a psychological sloth. Such a condition coupled with a Hollywood narcissism that’s been pampered and nurtured by years fame is a recipe for ugly.

Morgan Freeman likens the rise of the Tea Party to “stirring up muddy water,” but he’s been bathing in the same, sullied, liberal Hollywood bath water for so long (i.e., Sean Penn wishes you got rectal cancer and died) that he sees calls for accounting transparency and a scrubbing down of the budget process as something dirty.

Dear Morgan Freeman,

It’s not often someone can blatantly call me a racist and still get me to shell out bucks to see their films. Congratulations: you’re one hell of an actor/adult pretender. Sadly, you’re also a fool. I’ll see you in The Dark Knight Rises on opening night!



The New York Times: Why Read Hayek When Ad Hominem Attacks Work?

Kurt Anderson from the New York Times understands that it’s so much easier to call someone a lunatic than to try and understand what they’re saying. Conservatives don’t think he’s stupid (he’s apparently just a jerk).

I’ve been reading a lot of liberal responses to the debt ceiling fallout. Whereas once the media simply tried to label the Tea Party “racist”, we are now “madmen” and actually unhinged,” according to New York Times op-ed columnist Kurt Anderson (emphasis his). The only thing that is mad is our Mad Debt, as Mark Steyn points out for National Review Online:

“Cutting federal spending by $900 billion over ten years” is Washington-speak for increasing federal spending by $7 trillion over ten years. And, as they’d originally planned to increase it by eight trillion, that counts as a cut. If they’d planned to increase it by $20 trillion and then settled for merely $15 trillion, they could have saved five trillion. See how easy this is?

As part of this historic “cut,” we’ve now raised the “debt ceiling” — or, more accurately, lowered the debt abyss. Do you ever discuss the debt with your neighbor? Do you think he has any serious intention to repay the 15 trillion racked up in his and your name? Does your congressman? Does your senator? Look into their eyes. You can see the answer. And, if none of these parties seem inclined to pay down the debt now, what are the chances they’ll feel like doing so by 2020 when, under these historic “cuts,” it’s up to 23-25 trillion?

Most independent voters will read Mark Steyn’s analysis of the situation and conclude he’s a pretty logical guy. In fact, I would wager that most people would (even those who disagree with him) concede that he’s an incredibly smart man. But yet, according to Kurt Anderson, the millions of people who agree with the Steyn’s sentiments are “unhinged.” Obviously, Mr. Anderson has never read F.A. Hayek (another undeniably smart man):

It is a common mistake to regard National Socialism as a mere revolt against reason, an irrational movement without intellectual background. If that were so, the movement would be much less dangerous than it is. But nothing could be further from the truth or more misleading. The doctrines of National Socialism are the culmination of a long evolution of thought, a process in which thinkers who have had great influence far beyond the confines of Germany have taken part. Whatever one may think of the premises from which they started, it cannot be denied that the men who produced the new doctrines were powerful writers who left the impress of their ideas on the whole of European thought…Once one accepts the premises from which it starts, there is no escape from its logic. It is simply collectivism freed from mall traces of an individualist tradition which might hamper its realization,” (F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom).

Smart conservatives know that to dismiss liberalism as “a mental disorder” is to set the conservative movement up for failure. The left has incredibly sharp minds at work promoting an ideology that should not be taken lightly. While I hate to give advice to the guy who flat-out says that I’m an unhinged lunatic, I can’t help but advise Kurt Anderson to rethink his position. The Teaparty is composed of millions of people who are familiar with economic giants like F.A Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Thomas Sowell, and Walter E. Williams, among others. The Teaparty turns to the Constitution, The Federalist Papers, and the timeless principles so eloquently articulated by our Founding Fathers, to guide them. To dismiss the Teaparty as a bunch of “madmen”, one wonders how Kurt Anderson feels about the Founders…

Actually, we know how liberals feel about them—and it’s not warm and fuzzy. In order to hide their animosity towards the Founding Fathers and the magnificent document they produced, liberals refer to the Constitution as “a living document” (i.e., it means whatever it is they want it to mean.) Only by viewing the Constitution in that light can liberals work around what has been an impediment — and a source of frustration — to their central planning for ages. In order for them to succeed, they need power. In a country of 400 million people — each with their own thoughts and dreams and desires —it requires incredible power to get everyone “in line.” The Constitution stops them in their tracks, which is why its defenders must be labeled “unhinged.”

Crazy? I think not.