Brief – Vol 9 No 20

Posted on Tue 05/19/2009 by

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Brief from The Patriot Post

THE FOUNDATION

“A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.” –Alexander Hamilton

Obama's Guidebook.

Obama's Guidebook.

RE: THE LEFT

“As a tool for understanding the thinking of Obama, [Saul] Alinsky’s most famous book, Rules for Radicals, is simultaneously edifying and worrisome. Some passages make Machiavelli’s Prince read like a Sesame Street picture book on manners. After Obama took office, the pundit class found itself debating the ideology and sensibility of the new president — an indication of how scarcely the media had bothered to examine him beforehand. But after 100 days, few observers can say that Obama hasn’t surprised them with at least one call. … Obama is a pragmatist, but a pragmatist as understood by Alinsky: One who applies pragmatism to achieving and keeping power. … Moderates thought they were electing a moderate; liberals thought they were electing a liberal. Both camps were wrong. Ideology does not have the final say in Obama’s decision-making; an Alinskyite’s core principle is to take any action that expands his power and to avoid any action that risks his power. As conservatives size up their new foe, they ought to remember: It’s not about liberalism. It’s about power. Obama will jettison anything that costs him power, and do anything that enhances it…. It’s not about the policies or the politics, and it’s certainly not about the principles. It’s about power, and it has been for a long time.” –columnist Jim Geraghty

OPINION IN BRIEF

“[T]he budding tyrant identifies personal insults as insults to the country. …Obama and his followers demonize anyone who challenges the Obama agenda as unpatriotic traitors to the country. …Obama’s entire persona is geared toward his personal elevation. His website, BarackObama.com, continues to run apace despite his elevation to the presidency — only now, the focus of the website is ‘Organizing for America.’ The website leads off with this Leninesque quote from Obama: ‘I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington … I’m asking you to believe in yours.’ … Despite certain early warning signs of incipient tyranny, the Obama administration is … still bound by the dictates of the republican electoral system. We must guard those dictates especially carefully, however, in a time when the Cult of Obama casually suggests that disagreement with the Great Leader is tantamount to anti-Americanism.” –columnist Ben Shapiro

GOVERNMENT

“The Troubled Assets Relief Program, which has not yet been used for its supposed purpose (to purchase such assets from banks), has been the instrument of the administration’s adventure in the automobile industry. TARP’s $700 billion, like much of the supposed ‘stimulus’ money, is a slush fund the executive branch can use as it pleases. This is as lawless as it would be for Congress to say to the IRS: We need $3.5 trillion to run the government next year, so raise it however you wish — from whomever, at whatever rates you think suitable. Don’t bother us with details. … The Obama administration’s agenda of maximizing dependency involves political favoritism cloaked in the raiment of ‘economic planning’ and ‘social justice’ that somehow produce results superior to what markets produce when freedom allows merit to manifest itself, and incompetence to fail. The administration’s central activity — the political allocation of wealth and opportunity — is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption.” –columnist George Will

THE GIPPER

“We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the earth. Our government has no power except that granted to it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.” —Ronald Reagan

LIBERTY

“Republicans and conservatives are trying to grapple with the Obama administration’s $3,600,000,000,000 federal budget — let’s include the zeroes rather than use the trivializing abbreviation $3.6 trillion — and the larger-than-previously-projected $1,841,000,000,000 budget deficit. Political arguments are usually won not by numbers but by moral principles. And conservatives, banished by voters from high office, are having a hard time agreeing on a moral case. … For the policies of the Obama administration are not designed to shelter and nourish what Edmund Burke called the ‘little platoons.’ They are designed to subject them to what [Alexis de] Tocqueville called ‘soft despotism,’ which he identified as the natural tendency and potentially fatal weakness of American democracy. Our would-be soft despots are offering Americans money and the promise of security against economic distress. The vastly increased cost of government will nonetheless nearly leave half of households free from the burden of paying federal income tax and eligible for occasional rebates. … The policy proposals of the Obama administration are portrayed … as addressing the concerns of middle-income people uneasy about the workings of capitalism. But they are not aimed at giving these people more control and choices over the course of their lives — rather the contrary.” –columnist Michael Barone

INSIGHT

“The economic freedom which is the prerequisite of any other freedom cannot be the freedom from economic care, which the socialists promise us and which can be obtained only by relieving the individual at the same time of the necessity and of the power of choice; it must be the freedom of our economic activity which, with the right of choice, inevitably also carries the risk and the responsibility of that right.” –economist Friedrich August Hayek (1899-1992)

CULTURE

“Secularism is a euphemism for a set of beliefs that are the antithesis of faith. Boiled down to its basic elements, secularism is man’s subordination of morality to his own earthly judgments, scientific and otherwise. …[T]he secularist catechism holds that truth is subjective, relative or contextual; because it demands that rationality can solve moral and ontological questions about man’s nature, that discrimination is the greatest of all evils and that patriotism is the only social disease that isn’t sexually-transmitted. … Obama’s thesis … is that our moral code can exist in the absence of a religious foundation. …[S]ecularism — and its cousin, multiculturalism — are the primary causes of the weakening of western society at a most dangerous time in history. The weakness results … because secularism turns the bedrock of western society — the moral code derived from Judeo-Christian faith — into sand. By divorcing our societies from faith, we render every man’s morality equal to every other’s, and thus make them all valueless. When President Obama says we are a nation bound by ideals and values, he postulates an impossibility: where do those secular ideals and values come from if — as liberal dogma requires — every man makes up his own?” –Human Events editor Jed Babbin

FOR THE RECORD

“When Barack Obama speaks at an American university, he does not provide a different perspective. He preaches to the liberal choir. And I am afraid that most of today’s Catholic universities are no exception. … Contrary to providing diversity of opinion, by inviting Barack Obama, [Notre Dame University president] Father Jenkins really just played to his audience. True leadership would have been to invite a speaker who would inspire this young audience to take seriously the values of their Catholic tradition. … Where can a parent send their son or daughter to get educated and not be indoctrinated with liberal boilerplate? Catholic universities were supposed to serve this purpose. But it’s clear that they, too, have been swept into the liberal tsunami that has engulfed America. Ironically, Father Jenkins states in his letter that Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama is ‘not a political statement or an endorsement of policy.’ He then expresses admiration for the president’s views on ‘expanding health care, alleviating poverty, and building peace through diplomacy.’ Does Father Jenkins not even understand what a ‘political statement’ is? Unfortunately, Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama has only contributed to the moral ambiguity tearing at our nation’s fabric.” –columnist Star Parker

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

(To submit reader comments visit our Letters to the Editor page.)

Mark Alexander wrote last week that ‘The intended consequence of this artificial barrier between church and state is to remove knowledge of our Creator from all public forums and, thus, over time, to disabuse belief in a sovereign God and the natural rights He has endowed.’ There should be no doubt in the minds of any conservative that it is the absolute intent of the Left to not only remove God from the public forum, but the private forum as well. Thus, how long before the Left will, as did the Communists in states such as the Soviet Union and China, make the worship of God an offense, punishable even by death?” –Clinton, North Carolina

“It would be heartening for the GOP to take seriously the words of Horton, the Elephant from Dr. Seuss, ‘I mean what I say and I say what I mean, an elephant is reliable one hundred percent.’ That is the kind of GOP I am seeking.” –Boise, Idaho

“What your article ‘Is College for Everyone?’ in Friday’s Digest didn’t mention is that prior to the 1960s and 1970s, applications for jobs often were accompanied with required aptitude tests. Formal education wasn’t as important as how the applicant did on the test. Then came the civil rights movement and the rise of ‘racial discrimination’ culture. Aptitude tests were accused of being slanted toward whites and therefore another means of racial discrimination. To overcome this, the employers ceased use of the tests and increased the importance of formal education. Businesses upped the ante, to the delight of college presidents everywhere, with requiring college degrees of increasing levels to get the better jobs AND to advance. Having taught at the university level, I know from experience that there are a lot of students that don’t belong there.” –Ballwin, Missouri

“Re: Friday’s Digest: You do ‘drunken sailors’ a disservice by comparing them with Congress. Unlike Congress, a drunken sailor spends his/her OWN money until it’s gone and is unlikely to go the printing press to print more.” –Killeen, Texas

Editor’s Reply: Our apologies to drunken sailors everywhere.

THE LAST WORD

“And then there is the stark reality that we live in an era of what I call ‘historical and Constitutional illiteracy.’ Most Americans, I am convinced, know very little about world history or American history, and the lessons entailed therein. Likewise, I’m pretty certain that most Americans have no clue about the Constitutional limits on the powers of the government, and the idea that there should be any limits at all on the Executive Branch is unthinkable. In many ways, it’s a sad state of affairs. Americans are scared and want their President to be an omniscient, omnipotent savior, and the man we elected knows with certainty that he is that savior. Yet it’s comforting to know that, in many ways, some of the founders of our nation understood human nature so remarkably well that they could have predicted a day when future generations would want not a President, but a messiah, and a day when a President fancied himself as such. Such wisdom is yours for the reading in ‘The Federalist Papers,’ that old compilation of some 85 newspaper editorials that argued for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, published in 1787 and 1788. While make the case for limiting the power of government, and establishing ‘checks and balances’ between government’s various ‘departments,’ James Madison eloquently wrote in ‘The Federalist Number 51:’ ‘It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government….’ It would seem that Madison the philosopher (who went on to become our Fourth President of the United States) was quite certain that those who govern will never be ‘angels’ (he would probably also concur that a President will never amount to a messiah). Madison also seems to indicate that those who govern will naturally begin to think a bit too highly of themselves, and will have difficulty with ‘self-restraint.’ The good news, even in this brief passage of Madison’s writings, is that ‘the people’ – – those of us who are ‘the governed’ – – can still function as the force that prohibits government from spiraling out of control. Certainly, we are still ‘free enough’ today to speak out, to allow our voices to be heard, and to freely exchange ideas about our country and its government — even if those ideas are contrary to the edicts of a dead-certain Command-In-Chief. The question is not ‘can we,’ but ‘will we’ function as that balancing force against a government that is spiraling out of control? Madison and the other founders set the course. Will we follow their lead?” –columnist Austin Hill

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