dimanche, août 16, 2009

Sorry, but Socialism sucks. And 'Utopia' means 'no such place.' But I hope we can still be friends.

I may have a problem with you. And I need you to understand where I'm coming from, because I don't want it to come between us. See, a small part of your belief system might just be a joke to me. Worse, I might even consider it ridiculous, even evil, and dismiss it out of hand, because it makes so little sense to me. I admit it. However . . .

Perhaps my problem with communism/socialism/liberalism is that it can be, in fact, has been, thoroughly debunked in masterful, scholarly works of brilliant historical analysis like The Crooked Timber of Humanity by Isaiah Berlin. [editor's note: read the book, read the book, read the book. Even if you don't have a passion for lengthy footnotes and pages upon pages of analysis so deep that you have to google one out of every three names he drops, you might still come to understand how an entire book could be conceived and composed based on a single quote from Immanuel Kant--"Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made."]

Or maybe my problem with communism/socialism/liberalism is that after an admittedly personal, but nonetheless exhaustive search of the founding documents and related statements of the founders of the United States of America, I can find NOTHING, not ONE THING that supports the idea that one segment of the population can or should be forced to pay for another segment. In fact I find the exact opposite. They feared the idea that the government might ever have the power to do immoral things like tax income, or redistribute wealth. Intellectual slouches like Thomas Jefferson dismissed such ideas with books, with legislation, with essays, with public statements, and with little quips like "The government that has the power to give you everything you want also has the power to take away everything you have." [ed. note: it is particularly painful to contrast such words with the words of a citizen, who recently got some money from the government, looked a reporter in the eye and literally said: "Hey, it's free money! Thank God for Obama."]

Possibly my disdain finds its source in my experience in Canada, where, for two years, I saw the soul of a generation sucked out and drained of anything resembling vivacity, wherewithal, or even sass by the simple fact that when they turned eighteen they were grandfathered into the welfare system, from which they would derive their material existence as long as they lived, essentially getting paid to smoke, watch TV, and go to hockey games. [ed. note: the author considers Canada a great and beautiful country.]

Could it be I find it difficult to accept a belief system that even an old hack like G. Gordon Liddy could dismiss with an epithet: "A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man. A debt which he proposes to pay with someone else's money." How am I to accept a philosophy that even my beloved (and, in fact wonderful) communist/atheist brother admits to accepting on blind faith, being without evidence of success anywhere in history?

Or does it all add up to a thought I had the other day, (as I strove to find a way to appreciate the nobility of people with compassion in their heart, who want to help others, who reach out to humans being with a helping hand): No matter how angelic it is to want to help others, wanting to FORCE others to help is satanic.

I believe that. My completely rational study, personal experience, and analysis have led me to believe it.

Which is why, if you happen to believe otherwise, my responses to your arguments might feel a little like I'm telling you to go to hell. Which I can only hope, perhaps irrationally, that you'll understand.

vendredi, août 07, 2009

On the Other Hand . . .

How could I forget the magic of shows like Arrested Development, and The Office? How could I neglect to praise the miracle of sports in HD? How could I overlook the incisive wit of the Daily Show, or, even funnier, the Colbert Report? How unfair of me to conveniently ignore the way the first season of Hero's grabbed me! What a cad I am. I can only hope it will forgive me. I still don't have one in my home, but a fairer assessment may be in order.

Modern Television might be just like Morrissey in his ripe old age, as years of greatness and geometric expansion of influence drive toward more extreme poles of contradiction: When he is good, he is better than ever--when he is not so good, he's a bit of an embarrassment.