Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting Worked Up

Tibor R. Machan

One might very well be right to consider me an emotional person although this doesn’t mean I lose my mind while I am worked up about something. Indeed, one result of being worked up can be more intense focus on the topic at hand.

In the current political climate, however, my feelings are taxed a good deal. I recall some years ago The New Republic asked whether it was OK to hate George W. Bush and pretty much argued “Yes” in several essays for that issue. I didn’t much approve of hating the then president although I found a great deal to criticize about his positions. I was against the war in Iraq from before it started and Bush’s sop to all the elderly with an entitlement mentality, his policy of providing aid to them for prescription drugs, was a betrayal of whatever modicum of loyalty he might have had toward the principles of a limited government.

Still, I could kind of see that both of these measures had been quite in line with the kind of Republican politics Bush practiced and preached. Nor did I ever see him as a racist or class warfare provocatuer. Now, however, we have in Washington a whole lot of truly despicable politicians and their bureaucratic cadre, people who make no secret of their demagogic contempt for the rich and successful--or their pretense of this in order to get the support of the worst elements within the American political landscape. This now feels every bit like the prevailing official attitude of Soviet bloc countries used to, what with their relentless besmirching of capitalism and capitalists (and anyone with even the slightest sympathies for these).

This then isn’t political debate, disagreement over public policy, etc. This is out and out misanthrope, hatred of the very best features of human society that America has always had to offer the world, namely, hospitality and friendship to those who try to succeed at commerce, those who pursued economic happiness and incidentally keep the wheels of the economy rolling.

This resurrection of the ancient attitudes of envy and resentment of people who do well in life is so unbecoming to anyone involved in American culture and politics that I am not at all ashamed to say that I do in fact hate these people--or at least this aspect of them--with a purple passion. When they offer their nasty soundbites on TV news and talk shows, I am just about ready rush in an blast them with some well chosen sound bites of my own, like, “You commies, go to North Korea where your philosophy will be right at home.” Yes, I have in mind Pelosi and Reed and Sanders and the lot--plus all the Americans who vote for them.

I had reserved this attitude mostly toward people who ruled the Soviet bloc countries and, I have to admit, also Ralph Nader (who epitomized for me the most maniacal proponent of the petty tyrannies of government regulation, thereby implicitly demeaning the American public, saying, in effect, that they must all be treated as children or invalids). (Yet once when I met and debated Nader, back in 1976 I believe it was, at Hillsdale College, in Michigan, he too wasn’t a visible monster, just a terribly misguided man!) These days, however, I am really quite openly angry at the statists in the country, ones who are threatening to bring it down for good unless they are stopped soon.

Of course, the politicians are only the tip of the iceberg. It is their intellectual supporters, writing for sophistic rags like The New York Review of Books, The Progressive, The Nation and the Op Ed pages of several national dailies, who frighten me most. These people, with their polished education but perverse ideas and ideals really need to be stopped in their tracks, refuted with all the ammunition possible to muster against them--with persistent blogging, writing, speaking, voting, and the rest. Otherwise they are going to bring to a sorry end the greatest human political experiment in history, one responsible for improving on human lives more than anything else, a country largely based on the principles of liberty.

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