The price tag on impotent investments: 700 billion dollars.
Earlier this week, President Bush proposed a 700 billion dollar bailout of financial institutions for their default loans. Said proposal would allocate the purchasing of 700 billion dollars worth of mortgages or mortgage-backed securities from failing financial institutions, like Freddy Mac and Fanny May, in an attempt to stabilize the housing/financial markets. The President’s plan requires immediate and intelligent analysis in order to quickly remedy this crisis. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain have exhibited drastically different approaches to the crisis at hand; these approaches are an excellent indicator of how they will perform if elected.
When this bailout bill was first proposed (earlier this week), Sen. McCain immediately halted his campaign and raced off to Washington to solve this crisis. He effectively cancelled Friday’s debate stating that he needed to be in Washington to “help build a bipartisan consensus for a proposal that would protect the American taxpayer.”
Sen. Obama’s campaign labeled Sen. McCain’s decision as politically motivated; having nothing to do with resolving the financial crisis. However, it seems Sen. Obama is the one playing politics. In comparison, Sen. Obama believed the financial crisis did not warrant his full or immediate attention. As the symbolic leader of the Democrat Party, Sen. Obama refused to take a stance on the Administration’s “bailout bill” merely stating “call me if you need me.” He was called, and he came to White House to help resolve the issue. But should a Presidential candidate have to be told when action is needed? Couple Sen. Obama’s reaction to this week’s financial crisis with his reaction to the Georgia-Russia conflict and you see an emerging pattern of indecision. It appears Sen. Obama is incapable of making on the spot decisions with confidence; decisions that every President has to make. If what we have seen this week is any indication, Sen. Obama appears to be inept at recognizing and solving America’s problems.
If only the saying “any publicity is good publicity” where true-how different this political season would be. When it comes to political coverage, the mainstream media Liberal media is biased, hypocritical, and professionally dishonest at its best. No better modern example exists than the differences in coverage between Senator Barack Obama and Governor Sarah Palin.
Obama has been the leading beneficiary of countless positive news stories since he announced his bid for the Presidency in early 2007. No other presidential candidate (Democrat or Republican) has received as much positive media coverage as Obama has. In fact, Obama’s campaign success is primarily due to the media’s anointment of him. If asked in March of 2007 who would become the Democrat’s presidential nominee, no political commentator, analyst, or Democrat party member would have listed Obama in the top three. Hillary Clinton was practically assured the nomination in early 2007. However, no one would have, or could have, predicted the favoritism that the media would have for Obama. This unknown freshman Illinois Senator quickly became the media’s favored candidate. News stories of his greatness swarmed the national stage. All of a sudden, Mrs. Clinton’s bid for the presidency was in question and then it was no more.
The media claims that Obama’s preferential treatment is due to his popularity (popularity induced by the media). This positive feedback loop unfortunately makes sense coming from today’s mainstream media where original stories are made by few and journalism is analogous to plagiarism. Regardless of how Obama became popular, he is so now; he is a national phenomenon for Democrats.
Compare this to that of Gov. Palin. Palin has also become a national phenomenon in the Republican Party (from individual merit rater than media uplift). If the mainstream media where unbiased, one would expect to see an equally positive anointment of Palin as the one we saw for Obama. However, this is not the case. Yes, Palin has received substantial media attention, but none of it has been positive. Instead of the messianic covers on news magazines that Obama received, Palin receives gritty, hillbilly covers of her toting guns. Instead of the endless coverage of Obama rallies, Palin receives endless coverage about her pregnant daughter. The mainstream media in America has lost its way. When did journalism stop being about presenting the facts and started becoming a means to an end?
Service to one’s country- there can be no greater cause- serving for the greater good- no greater calling. These are the values being heavily promoted by both Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. They want to increase incentives to promote service on a national level (like increasing the size of AmeriCorps and the military). They tell us, let’s put “country first.” I do not want to put country first; I want to put myself first.
Service to one’s country (whether it is military, community, or political service) is indeed a righteous endeavor. However, service and volunteerism are only viable on a micro level and primarily when they are recreational activities. Volunteering for local causes via your own volition is healthy and beneficial. Serving in the armed forces is undoubtedly noble and necessary.
However, once service to one’s country becomes a national prerogative, undesired consequences are inevitably the result. When military service becomes a primary goal for a country, militarism is the result. When community service becomes the dominant aspiration for government, communism is the outcome. Even if these extremes are never met, increasing service to ones country through national programs will result in negative consequences.
Service through national programs results in reliance and eventually dependence on the program by volunteers and benefactors alike. Additionally, the service these programs offer is usually based on bureaucratic greed-not communal need. Conversely, putting self first is one of the founding principles of capitalism and America. Capitalist societies are so successful primarily because every individual looks out for themselves, not the community. Capitalist societies serve everyone better than country centric nations. The great Adam Smith said it best: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”
In short, self interest serves everyone better because it requires offering other individuals betterment in return for your own. The promotion of service and volunteerism by Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain should be looked upon with skepticism. In America, volunteerism has its place, but it should never replace self interest.
Do you ever get the feeling that Conservatives are a dying breed; that the world just itches to get rid of us? That the walls of international community, press, and the educational system will eventually close in and crush Conservatism forever? Across the Atlantic, the European Union is increasingly becoming more and more Liberal. In the south socialist regimes are taking root where democracies once where. At home the winds of society unequivocally blow Liberal. The primary source of information for most Americans is merely propaganda masquerading as news. Only a few vestiges of Conservative media remain. Talk radio, the internet, and Fox News are the only Conservative media holdouts in a profession ruled by Liberal ideology. How is it, that Conservatism remains alive and strong under this torrent of ideological oppression?
The educational system in America is little more than a Liberal indoctrination program, with math and science being taught on the side. From K-12 to college, Liberal professors preach their ideology to supple minds from a pulpit of educational disregard. How do young Conservatives take root in this Liberal soil? How is it that Conservatives still exist at all? Is it because Conservatism is right and just or that Conservatives are more persuasive? Or is it because human beings inherently want freedom?
Whatever the reason, Conservatism is undoubtedly under siege. As Conservatives, we must battle this onslaught with unwavering resolve. Otherwise, Conservatism as we know it will become just another ghost of the past.
In our final piece in our series on ideological differences between Conservatives and Liberals, we will delve into some personal, and some governmental, discrepancies between these two ideologies.
Liberals believe national sovereignty is absolute; Conservatives believe national sovereignty ends when atrocities begin.
Liberals see the sovereignty of nations as all encompassing. No matter how heinous the acts a foreign government commits in their own country, the fact that they are a sovereign nation means that no meaningful or physical action against them is justifiable. This has been seen repeatedly throughout modern history. In Rwanda, mass genocide was denigrated, allowing unspeakable evil to transpire under the pretext of national sovereignty. In Iraq, tyrannical dictatorship was allowed to fester under the umbrella of sovereignty until Conservatives put a stop to it. For Conservatives, the sovereignty of a nation becomes void the moment when the atrocities begin.
Conservatives believe in small government, for Liberals, the government is never too large.
True Conservatives believe the government should be small and noninvasive (I say “true Conservatives” because the previously Republican controlled Congress spent like there was no tomorrow). Conservatives believe the federal government should only be engaged in three small categories: infrastructure, defense, and catastrophic protection. Infrastructure meaning: interstate highways, communications (FCC), the national power grid, etc. Defense being the military and other public health organizations like the FDA or EPA (though most Conservative would arguer the EPA has overstepped its bounds). Catastrophic protection meaning: rebuilding in the aftermath of natural disasters (Katrina), or stopping them (forest fires). Liberals believe the government can, and must, solve these problems in addition to every other large social or economic problem that arises.
Liberals look to the government for help; Conservatives look to themselves.
Liberals believe that the government should offer you “cradle to grave” protection from any and every problem that ails you. Is healthcare to expensive or not good enough for you? “No problem,” the Liberals say, “the government will, and must, take care of you.” Out of a job and can not find work? No problem, the government will pay you for losing your job. Can not afford to go to the best universities in the country? No problem, the government will make everyone else pay the tuition. Conservatives are not unsympathetic to the problems people face. They merely believe that most of them should be solved by the citizens themselves, not the government. Private industry should offer low cost healthcare, and not be mandated to do so. Unemployed workers need to pull together until they find another job, not be paid to prolong their unemployment. Less wealthy perspective college students need to look for others ways to fund their dream, (like ROTC or going to a less expensive school) not force everyone else to pay for it. Life is hard, and overcoming these hardships by yourself makes you stronger and the life you life better.
In part two of our series featuring a few fundamental differences between Conservatives and Liberals we will delve into the core beliefs that each ideology has as they relate to citizens and their government.
Conservatives believe in equal opportunity; Liberals believe in equality of outcome.
Conservatives believe that every individual, regardless of skin color, gender, or social class, should have the same opportunity to access public services and institutions. No group, no matter how underrepresented, should be allowed privileged access to these services. Liberals dismiss this view as an idealistic fantasy. Instead, Liberals see the inequality of outcome that many public services provide (such as low minority college enrollment, unequal pay for women, and underperforming low-income children on standardized tests) as racist, sexist, and classist. Conservatives also see these inequalities in outcome as problematic, but differ drastically from Liberals when it comes to solving them. To remedy these inequalities, Liberals institute and propose programs that allow privileged access for the underrepresented groups. They institute programs such as affirmative action for college enrollment, affirmative action for public employment, and greater funding per student for low-income area schools. In essence, they institute programs that discriminate against other Americans so that the outcome is the same for all Americans regardless of their individual, cultural, or ideological differences. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that societal pressure is the best way to fix inequalities in outcome, not governmental mandates.
Liberals believe in the redistribution of wealth; Conservatives believe in work.
For Liberals, the ideals of Karl Marx are alive and well in their belief that the wealthiest individuals need to be taxed disproportionately higher (much higher) than less-wealthy individuals. They remember the childhood story of Robin Hood: valiantly stealing from the evil rich and giving to the noble poor. This childish view assumes that the rich became rich by stealing from the poor (indirectly of course). The fact is the rich became rich by making everyone else richer, through employment or the convenience of a new good/service. If it was not for the rich Henry Ford, the “poor” would have no cars. If it was not for the enormously wealthy Bill Gates, the “poor” would not have the PC as we know it. Wealth in America is generated through innovation and entrepreneurship, not swindling and extortion; its time for Liberals to grow up to this reality.
Liberals see the armed services as a social welfare program; Conservatives see a military.
To Liberals, the armed services of the U.S.A. are little more than a social welfare program, analogous to the Civilian Conservation Corpse (CCC) of the 1930′s. They see them as a way for impoverished or unemployed individuals to find a steady income from the state. To join the military for ideological reasons, like freeing humans from the tyranny of dictatorship, is beyond Liberal comprehension. Liberals believe one joins the military for monetary or social reasons only; hence, their unwavering support of the troops but not the battles they willing face (as seen in Vietnam, Iraq, and to a lesser extent Afghanistan).
Liberals believe successful businesses are evil; Conservatives know businesses provide jobs.
Large corporations are not just bad; they are evil (according to Liberal mindset). This notion has so impregnated American culture that it is now common propaganda knowledge. Pharmaceutical, insurance, and oil/gas companies are all conspiring to make Americans sickly and poor through aristocratically priced medicines, callous claim practices, and colluded prices at the pump. Conservatives see things differently. They know that corporations provide not only a livelihood for many Americans, but also technological innovations that improve our lives. Conservatives know that pharmaceutical companies provide lifesaving drugs for a commercially viable price. Insurance companies offer a hedge against uncertainties that can ruin lives. Oil and gas companies deliver us the unprecedented freedom to travel for miles inexpensively. Where Liberals see a blight on the economy, Conservatives see free market enterprises that improve the wellbeing of the nation.