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November 19, 2008

Beyond the Shadow of A Freaking Penunbra...

Thomas Sowell has discovered the glorious glimmerings of a new right:

Among the many new "rights" being conjured out of thin air, a new one seems to be a "right" to win.

Americans have long had the right to put their candidates and their ideas to a vote. Now there seems to be a sense that your rights have been trampled on if you don't win.

Hillary Clinton's supporters were not merely disappointed, but outraged, when she lost the Democrats' nomination to Barack Obama. Some took it as a sign that, while racial barriers had come down, the "glass ceiling" holding down women was still in place.

Apparently, if you don't win, somebody has put up a barrier or a ceiling. The more obvious explanation of the nomination outcome was that Obama ran a better campaign than Hillary. There is not the slightest reason to doubt that she would have been the nominee if the votes in the primaries had come out her way.

As the election approached, pundits warned that, if Obama lost, there would be riots in the ghetto. We will never know. But since when does any candidate have a right to win any office, much less the White House?

In case you haven't noticed the omnipresent and ever increasing references to Franklin Delano Roosevelt of late, this is the source of this mystifying multiplication of rights. As the Princess pointed out many moons ago, it was no accident when The One conjured up the ghost of FDR during his campaign. The continual and overblown comparisons between our current financial contretemps and The Great Depression are no coincidence either.

If the Editorial Staff here at VC were more paranoid, we'd be inclined to call Obama's wisecrack about Nan Reagan and seances a Freudian slip. These days, one can hardly turn over a rock without being confronted with the shrieking ghost of FDR blathering on about how we need a second economic bill of rights:

* A job with a living wage
* Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies
* Homeownership
* Medical care
* Education
* Recreation

Apparently the old bean forgot the part about shattering glass ceilings and the right to self-esteem. Freaking sexist.

Posted by Cassandra at November 19, 2008 06:16 AM

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I am living over at Mises.org these days. Excellent post and brillian comparison.

Posted by: Cricket at November 19, 2008 09:18 AM

Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis

...The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse...

Sound like something happening today?

Posted by: OBloodyhell at November 19, 2008 09:28 AM

Actually, what I find much more disturbing is how the word "rights" is being perverted.

As expressed in the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights, a "right" is something that the Government cannot interfere with and that it must defend you from being interfered with by someone else.

For example, you have a right to freedom of the press. The government cannot prevent you from speaking as you please and must defend you if someone else tries to keep you from speaking freely in a public forum. You also have a right to keep and bear arms. The government cannot prevent you from purchasing and carrying a gun, nor can a private party prevent you from doing so.

Now, these rights have restrictions. You cannot scream "Fire" in a crowded theater. A convicted felon can be prevented from purchasing a firearm.

However, the central concept is this; your rights are something that you can do if you choose to and if you have assembled the necessary resources. The government cannot interfere and must keep others from interfering.

"Rights" as the left defines them, however, are something that the government must not just not interfere with; they are things that the government must ENABLE. A right to a job with a living wage, or to health care or home ownership means not that the government must not stop you from achieving these things nor keep others from stopping you from achieving them. It means that the govenrment must provide you with them, or the means to get them yourself. For example, the "right to an abortion" is viewed as meaning that if you cannot afford an abortion, the State must pay for it. Meaning you and me.

I have pointed this out on leftist blogs. The response is "What good is having a right if you cannot exercise it?" My response that "That's your problem" is viewed as being insensitive, not compassionate, racist, etc. After all, the reason that people cannot afford something is not because they lack ambition, drive, effort, etc., but because they are victims of discrimination.

Note, BTW, that this only applies to rights not outlined in the Constitution. Try responding "Cool. People have a right to keep and bear arms. When do we start buying guns for homeless people?" and they start searching for the exit. You see, gun ownership is a) unnecessary and b) evil. So the rights outlined in the Constitution go unfunded. The ones they make up MUST be funded.

Posted by: RonF at November 19, 2008 10:50 AM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/19/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at November 19, 2008 12:48 PM

I usually appreciate Sowell's writing but this is an astonishing sloppy article for such a smart man. I suspect he could get an excellent article out of his closing point (tolerating intolerance is a bad idea and how did we get there) but he makes three fatal mistakes in trying to get to that point from his opening point (“The right to win”).

First, he equates the feeling among HRC supporters that she should have won with the feeling that women face a barrier in running for office. Those are separate feelings although I'm sure many people hold both.

Yes, some HRC supporters believed she had a "right" to win but that was driven by ideas like party seniority, paying your dues, and media expectations. This is nothing new and you find it whenever the favorite loses to the underdog in any competitive endeavor: politics, horse racing, football, chess, you name it. The fact that Obama ran a better campaign is bitter medicine but I think even rabid HRC supporters have now accepted it as reality.

The belief that HRC faced a "barrier" is different. What drives this idea is that the Democratic Primary made it quite clear racism is now so unacceptable even Bill Clinton could be tarred as a racist for little cause while sexism is still acceptable enough even some members of the mainstream media felt free to indulge in it. I’m not seeing “Hillary would have won if not for sexism” claims out there but I am seeing (and agree with) “Obama was guilty of misogyny in his campaigning” claims. The extent to which the two beliefs get conflated has less to do with the feeling HRC had a right to win because she was a woman and more to do with the shock that Obama could win while happily making use of misogyny.

Second, Sowell takes “pundits warned that, if Obama lost, there would be riots in the ghetto” as evidence of belief in a right to win. It sounds to me more like evidence that some pundits are patronizing racists.

Third, he equates supporters’ anger over HRC's loss with threats of ghetto riots if Obama lost and with the actuality of intolerant behavior from gays in the wake of Proposition 8. I don't recall anyone threatening "there would be riots in the malls" if HRC lost nor have I heard of any of her supporters flinging racial epithets at passing motorists or disrupting services at Trinity United Church.

Think about what Sowell has done here: he's equated people who believe their side should have won with rioting that exists only in pundits’ imaginations with the reality of people engaging in bad behavior because their side didn't win. That’s quite a reach.

As for the economic bill of rights, I do agree there’s a good chance Obama and the Congressional Democrats will revive some of that. However, the right to education is already solidly enshrined in our politics and culture. (And, as I’ve said before, would make an excellent stick with which to beat Democrats since so far the Federal government’s “help” with education isn’t helping much.) One other right - health care - is also pretty much embedded via Medicare, Medicaid, and the right to emergency treatment. All we’re arguing about now is how to provide it.

Posted by: Elise at November 19, 2008 01:06 PM

OBloodyHell referred to the Cloward-Piven Strategy as a method to hasten the fall of a capitalist society an implement socialism.

Damn! How did you figure us out? Dude, us liberals been plotting this socialist take-over for *years* now, from getting Ford to pardon Nixon so we could put our boy Carter in and get that dreadful CRA passed, to faking you all out with that soaring stock market under Clinton. We even locked up John Galt back in the 80's while you all where watching Reagan.

The site you linked to, The American Thinker article, man, its like that guy stole our blueprints. I seriously wonder if someone leaked the scheme; I mean, this was one of the greatest conspiracies in political history; not only is it being perpetrated at every level of government, but its multi-generational as well.

Mr.Simpson has got it exactly right; we have had so much foresight as to put the right mechanisms in place far head of time to cause the crisis, such as modifying CRA in 1995 well ahead of the first privately issued mortgage backed security (1997-Bear Stearns) and ahead of the big real-estate bubbles in NV and CA. (And yeah, even though CRA only stopped 8 formations, acquisitions, or mergers out of 13,500 applications since 1988, it was totally our secret weapon to blow up the housing market)

Which is ultimately why we have to take all your guns away; otherwise you are going to revolt and fight our entitlement 'reforms'. Then we can all finally become slaves of the UN. Its like you and Miss Cleo hooked up in an amazing 'remote viewing' session and saw directly into Obama's soul. Frankly, the stark clarity to which Mr.Simpson has laid out our transformative and subversive plans is startling.

But then again, 50% of taxpayer only have a 3% tax burden, and I bet they would really enjoy that going to zero or even negative. 50%+1....

Posted by: libtard at November 19, 2008 04:09 PM

But then again, 50% of taxpayer only have a 3% tax burden, and I bet they would really enjoy that going to zero or even negative. 50%+1....

You may joke, but some folks do actually believe that's a winning strategy. Get over 50% of the populace off the tax rolls (or even get them checks from the government, even better), and you can demonize the other side "If you vote for my opponent, he'll take away your check/make you pay taxes."

What part of that sounds like a bad election strategy? Sure, it's terrible for the country, but remember, it's not like politicians (in general) really care about what's good for the nation, they care about what's good for the voters in their districts. After all, that's who puts them in office.

Posted by: MikeD at November 19, 2008 04:28 PM

MikeD nails it.

Posted by: Texan99 at November 20, 2008 12:53 PM

MikeD, that's what happened to the REpublic of Haven in David Weber's universe.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 20, 2008 04:11 PM