George Sarant

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Posts Tagged ‘conservatives

AGGRESSIVE PROGRESSIVE MULTICULTURALISM

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The Coca Cola company managed to seriously alienate a large segment of the American population with its Super Bowl ad, which appears to have been the work of progressive multiculturalists, no doubt warming the hearts of true believers in such things by “celebrating our diversity.” The trouble is that this is a small segment of the public, and this whole fiasco indicates just how out of touch the elites who fashion these messages are. This was not a broad unifying theme, but an expression of current left-wing ideology, which is why so many people were offended. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8iM73E6JP8).

The reaction of the left was to predictably characterize such criticism as “racist,” which at this stage is basically code for anything they don’t agree with. Others more mildly called it “nativist” based on the apparent objection to singing “America the Beautiful” in languages other than English, while depicting various ethnic groups. That is any easy conclusion to draw, but it is smugly self-righteous and just plain wrong. 

 For what people object to is the balkanization of their country and the assignment of individuals to various identity groups, to the point where they supersede any unifying American identity and further having it shoved in their faces. The corollary is that nothing can be done if it offends one of these identity groups, no matter how small (or more likely leftists presuming to represent them), lest we not be “inclusive.” However it is okay to offend the majority and to deny it any cultural rights. Thus, in cultural terms this amounts to the oppression of the majority by those controlling the institutions of communication. God forbid that anything patriotic be expressed, lest it offend someone, (usually leftists themselves).  Any hint of even an indirectly mild patriotic subject matter is savaged by the predominantly left-wing critics. Witness the reaction to the film Sole Survivor.

But what they are really objecting to is to those other people objecting to the commercial, whom they stereotype as “conservative white Americans” even if they are something else. The left has a visceral hatred for such “racists” (which you can hear daily, i.e.on the execrable MSNBC). However, most Americans reasonably assume, that since their ancestors came from elsewhere but assimilated, that others should do the same. We all have our private traditions, culture, and background but we do not foist them on the public. Separating people into categories and trying to make them publicly recognized should not be encouraged. Our motto is, after all, E Pluribus Unum.

Ironically the left once stood for the opposite of multiculturalism, favoring terms like “solidarity” and the “new socialist man,” which would presumably have done away with differences, in the process of molding a new, universal human identity.  But since that process produced disastrous results it was discredited. Now the left is obsessively anti-racist and therefore has foisted multiculturalism upon us. This is what the Coca Cola company waded into with its ill-conceived commercial. No one would have objected if they had played “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” where the imagery might have made sense. So the objections were hardly “racist,” but simply a reaction to the company essentially taking a position in an ongoing cultural conflict. For that they should pay a price. Although I’ve been drinking Diet Coke for years, for this as well as for health reasons it’s time to say “No more Coke!”

 

 

Written by georgesarant

February 5, 2014 at 9:38 PM

THE WRONG FIGHT AT THE WRONG TIME

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There is an excellent chance that the 2014 elections could result in a Republican landslide, given the present unpopularity of the administration and programs like Obamacare in particular, as its phase-in disrupts the entire health care system and the coverage of millions. This is a classic case of unintended consequences, as businesses reduce full-time jobs and replace them with part-time work to avoid various mandates, along with many other negative effects. The question is what is to be done about this? 

There are many who think it is time to defund Obamacare. While this may pass the House, it is dead in the Senate, as well as in the White House, given the presidential veto. Thus there is no possibility that such legislation can succeed, at least in the present congress. The focus should instead be on winning the upcoming elections. The problem is that this action could backfire and and seize defeat from the jaws of victory. First, as stated, it is a waste of time and energy given the current political configuration, second, if there is a government shutdown resulting from an impasse it is congressional Republicans who will be blamed, not the administration. The media has already seen to this by framing the story in terms of a “threatened shutdown” of the government. Third, as more of this health plan goes into effect, more and more people are being alienated, and left to itself, an increasingly angry public will justifiably blame the administration and vote accordingly. 

It is unsurprising that that the “Affordable Care Act” is a disaster for the existing health care of millions as well as for the economy. It is a result of the typical liberal impulse to upend and entire system because a minority is not being accommodated. Over 80% of the population were satisfied with their existing health care, but because a minority was uncovered for various reasons, rather than address that question directly, they decided to redesign the entire system, to benefit this minority. In addition there is no way around the fact that the cost of care for the minority is going to be born by the 80% in higher fees, taxes, benefits, etc. 

The media are laying all of this on Republicans, and it makes no sense to fulfill their narrative. The line is that the Republicans are “divided” between “moderates” and “conservatives” on whether or not to defund the government. This is a losing proposition, even though it is a lie. Both those labeled as “moderate” in this instance as well as “conservative” oppose Obamacare. The differences are purely tactical. Is this really the right time and the right legislative process to deal with this issue?  I think not, for the reasons I cited above.  There is simply no way that the realities of the current congress can be changed, and therefore the focus should be on winning the next congress. The best strategy is to sit on the status quo for the next year, and then reap the windfall when an alienated public takes it out on the governing party. 

 

Written by georgesarant

September 20, 2013 at 4:01 PM

CAN THE IRS SURVIVE?

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Many people may be angry about scandals that have emerged with regard to the Benghazi attacks, IRS political shenanigans, and government actions against the press, but more are oblivious to it all. It requires a modicum of civic knowledge to understand the nature of these offenses, a characteristic that is sorely missing among a substantial part of the population, who are more aware of celebrities and television shows, having never learned any of the basic principles of government while attending failing schools. Thus, without relentless media attention, they will likely blow over. That is why the actions against certain media figures are  unbelievably stupid. Why James Rosen? He is not even a partisan. Why CBS and the Associated Press? Whether that is enough for the press to do a turnabout from their uncritical coverage and stay with these stories remains to be seen. 

 But what is likely to be more lasting is the scandal of the IRS targeting conservative groups for political reasons. A lesser known corollary to this is the vast network of left-wing “nonprofit” groups engaged in political activity who not only are given a pass but are even funded by the government. People tolerate the IRS because the assumption is that everyone gets treated the same. Once it becomes clear this is not true, the basic foundations of the revenue system are undermined. 

While this partisan activity  is an ominous abuse of government power, the damage may run deeper. The IRS has the authority to gather a considerable amount of personal information about citizens; in fact, it is sanctioned to compel disclosure from recalcitrants. With that there is a basic trust that this information will be handled discreetly and objectively by an impersonal bureaucracy. This trust has now been shattered, and with it there has been a loss of legitimacy, for it is no longer a disinterested public institution. Now it is nothing more than another part of the cluster of institutions aligned with the left, which is unsurprisingly providing cheering section condoning and applauding these abuses, and revealing a troubling totalitarian mindset.

It was natural all along for the IRS and its personnel to be aligned with the party of government, both having an interest in ever increasing revenue. But it is more than revenue. In the process they get to peruse and evaluated your life, assuming you’re part of that half of the population that files and pays taxes. Think about it. When you file your taxes the government is basically compelling you to account for yourself over the past year, and if you don’t meet the deadline you’re in trouble. You must report to the government every year. If you get audited, you’re guilty until proven innocent, and the IRS holds most of the cards. As the agency has expanded the powers and activities it has been allowed to pursue since its inception,  it has been able to infringe on basic freedoms, reducing your privacy and ability to be left alone. 

Can its legitimacy ever be restored? Should it be restored? There are many alternative revenue schemes that could be adopted that are far less intrusive. I’m not advocating any particular solution here, so much as the idea that we ought to be looking at alternatives that are far less intrusive on private life. This would restore some basic liberties while reducing the power of government, and hence the potential for that power to be abused. It would allow for a single standard applicable to everyone. Whether politicians will actually adapt such a system is another question, for they love tinkering with the tax code to appease various interests, or provide “incentives” and exemptions for what they want done. This results in a system that is not only unfair, but now clearly is illegitimate. The IRS is beyond salvation.  It’s tainted. We should just get rid of it. 

 

 

 

Written by georgesarant

May 24, 2013 at 6:28 PM

LAST WORD ON LAST YEAR

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When the holiday season comes around I try to tune out the unending political rancor, and realize just how caustic it is when the season dissipates and it returns to the forefront. It is true that most people don’t follow these things or give them much attention, but those who do are usually angry for one reason or another, or upset about something, or fearful of what may happen, even though it often never occurs. For me the recent election and its aftermath constituted a distraction from other things I’d rather be focusing on, and never intended to give it as much attention as I have. I’d rather stay disinterested, but before moving on I’d like to reiterate a few ideas.  

It is pointless for those on the losing side to try and assign blame for the results, but some silly “explanations” have been put forward. These usually reflect the tendency to try and fit the election outcomes to reinforce something one believed before the election, or to advance a particular agenda. This is followed by a call to get rid of people they don’t like or disagree with. A lot of this has been directed against people with strong religious views, i.e. evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Jews, conservative Catholics, etc. – generally referred to as the “religious right.” A rather large number of people are then tarred with the antics of a minor fringe, and it is suggested that they should be ignored. They say these people have too much influence on social issues, and have alienated other people, who then vote for the other party, having been “driven away.” The fallacy in this is that these votes would otherwise have gone Republican, but there is no evidence to substantiate this claim. It is alleged that “exclusionary rhetoric” (which is often mentioned but rarely specifically identified) is the problem, and therefore this group should be excluded.  I don’t share much of the worldview of the religious right, but I know that purging people is no way to build a majority. 

Some people now feel under siege and threatened, based upon fears that certain things might happen, usually based upon rhetoric of the other side, rather than the more pragmatic reality any government must deal with. They feel that the country has been lost and America as we have known it is over.  I think this is a bit premature, at the very least until 2014, when the outcome will very likely be different.  A significant number of people have actually signed secession petitions for their state, which is like picking up your marbles and leaving the game because you lost. I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s not a good idea for a number of reasons. First because even most so-called “blue” states are actually geographically predominantly “red” at the county level. Thus, that means ceding away most of the territory in those states and abandoning the people who live in those counties. Second, over 600,000 died in a war to preserve the union and it is a disgrace to their memories.  Third, assuming these states actually did secede, soon enough there would be divisions within those states, in terms of government and opposition; this is inherent in the political process. 

 

Election outcomes have been far worse. When I was a fifteen years old I poured my heart and soul into Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign.   When he lost I was heartbroken,  at what I thought was the triumph of socialism and the end of our world. I recall being at the NY Conservative party office in (because the Republican party establishment didn’t support Goldwater)  election night. Women were crying and  guys were cursing the television at every smirk that appeared on Walter Cronkite’s face. The results then were a rout; there were losses everywhere, from congress to the state legislatures, and majorities left virtually nowhere. That was a time when communism seemed to be advancing all over the world, and socialism did seem to be the wave of the future, and our opposition seemed hopeless. But history turned out very differently. 

 

For things are seldom as bad as they seem, nor as good as we would like them to be. Much of the despondency  (or triumphalism on the other side) I’m hearing in the aftermath of last year’s election is premature. Many have given this election a portent that is unwarranted, often based upon expectations that are unlikely to be realized. On the surface, a recent Gallup poll showing that “socialism” was now viewed positively by 39% of Americans ought to be worrying, until you look a little deeper. By the same survey apparently 25% of “conservatives” and 23% of Republicans also viewed socialism positively. What this tells me is that when it comes to political terminology most people are clueless. Maybe they think “socialism” means social media like Facebook? This makes one realize that the problem really may be less the other “side,” than a situation of general stupidity. You have to wonder what all the political effort and conflict means in the end when must of the public is at best, vaguely aware. Clearly there is yet much to be learned out there and that is something all sides ought to agree on. 

 

Written by georgesarant

January 13, 2013 at 12:04 AM

REPUBLICANS FOR RENT

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There is no more dysfunctional, morally bankrupt political party in America than the Republican party of New York, which having hit bottom somehow manages to wallow in futile irrelevance. It is often said that New York, is after all, a “Democratic” state, which is true on paper in terms of party registration. But the state has often been as likely to elect Republicans in the past to statewide office, be it Governor or Senator, so the party argument doesn’t hold up. It is also suggested that it is a “liberal” state, which is another myth, at least outside of Manhattan and some other city neighborhoods. In fact because the registration is so Democratic there are a large number of conservative Democrats in the state. So there is no reason why Republicans cannot win elections at least some of the time, yet they do not hold a single statewide office at present. The party has become irrelevant, largely due to incompetence, mismanagement and stupidity.

I say this as one who once directed the state Republican Policy Committee and struggled to get ideas and solutions in the forefront, but when I persisted the highest elected official at the time told me “You want policy? How much money can you raise? That’s the policy,” and so it was and still is. This is a party that is focused on one thing: money, to fund itself, maintain the party apparatus, and go through the motions of trying to win an election. Thus they have a special soft spot for billionaires or millionaires that are willing to fund their own campaign and a long history of effectively “renting out” the line to whoever comes along with the cash, no matter how inept, politically illiterate, and tone deaf they are. This has happened time and again and will certainly happen in the future. While there rarely  may be a competent dud like Michael Bloomberg, he’s a perfect example of how low this party has sunk. First he was a Democrat who became a “Republican” and rented the line to get elected. Then he left the party and ran as an Independent, but the spurned Republicans gave him the party line again anyway. But the typical candidate, if not for their money, would be dismissed as a nonentity, and there are more former Democrats in the pipeline with cash.  

Even at the local level it is a disaster. Suffolk County on Long Island was once the most Republican county in the country. It leaned so much to the right that the Conservative Party of New York used to come in second, outpolling the Democrats. Now Democrats regularly elect the County Executive and Town Supervisors. The apologists will tell you it’s due to a demographic shift, but that is nonsense. The party overplayed its hand, behaving like the corrupt political machines that used to dominate New York City and eventually lost the confidence of the electorate, while the local Democrats wisely ran conservative campaigns. Virtually the entire congressional delegation from Long Island was once Republican. Now there is just one left. 

You would think that given the dismal state of the Republican party that the Conservative Party would rise as it once did in the past and keep the Republicans honest. Instead they have settled for making deals for their endorsement and are overly obsessed with a single issue, abortion, even though there is already a separate “Right to Life” party based solely on that. 

So there’s not much here to give genuine conservatives and remaining Republicans much hope, given the moribund party state and the total lack of effective leadership. Under the present circumstances they are likely to continue to falter and put up dopey candidates, we will hold our noses and vote for these fools, who don’t have a prayer of winning and wouldn’t know what to do, if by some miracle, they did win. Unless and until there is a reform movement that can muster enough support and financing to shake things up, actually stand for something, and field serious, articulate candidates, the New York Republican party will continue to be for rent. 


Written by georgesarant

May 30, 2012 at 1:50 AM

WHAT SHOULD CONSERVATIVES AND REPUBLICANS DO NOW?

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What should Conservatives and Republicans do now? That has been the subject of much discussion.  The short answer is nothing. At present they should just sit tight and wait and see, apart perhaps from some organizing activity. Let the Left have its moment of celebration, finally positive about something, until they are inevitably disappointed.
The reason for this is simple. We have to wait for Obama to do something to have something to respond to. Until that occurs there is little point in much criticism, and will only seem like sour grapes given that he will enter office with good will and high approval. That will not last once he is President, and given the Democratic congress much that is objectionable will soon come to the fore.
What should be done now is organizational, grass roots work. The party has to be rebuilt in places like California and New York, where it has totally collapsed and where the Republican line is for rent.
Meanwhile those in foreign countries who so loathed Bush and couldn’t wait to see him leave may come to regret it as economic and trade policies change; in other words what most effects them directly.

Written by georgesarant

January 7, 2009 at 8:13 PM

Posted in government, Politics

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