Posts Tagged ‘Progressivism
With the Olympics on everyone’s television, what better way to highlight the true idiocy of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment than with a brand new meme.
Hey Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas and all the other gold medalists… in the spirit of President Obama’s theory on human success… you didn’t win that! Somebody else made that happen! After all, you couldn’t possibly have been successful without the roads and bridges that allowed you to reach the pool and the gym! The focus, the training, the countless hours of dedication… that nice but it’s barely a footnote to the contribution of the government!
No rational person would agree with the paragraph above. And yet, millions of dutifully ignorant Obama supporters see nothing wrong with the application of the same theory towards business owners. It’s madness.
Not everyone can be an gold medalist. Can we agree that these exceptional men and women are indeed born with a natural affinity for their sport? Is it OK to acknowledge that nature does play a role in the creation of an Olympic athlete?
Not everyone can be a business owner either. It takes a certain kind of person to be successful in business, and it takes an awful lot of focus and dedication. Well beyond the level of “hard work” that most non-business-owners — including President Obama — assume is necessary.
The great thing about a truly FREE country is that we don’t all have to be superstar athletes or exceptionally wealthy business owners to be successful. But in that same vein, we should not castigate those folks simply because their success is different than ours, or because we feel inadequate by comparison, or “cheated” by the system. No, we should be celebrating the success of American entrepreneurial exceptionalism the same way we celebrate our phenomenal athletes.
If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
So said President Obama in a particularly revealing address on Friday. Obama has been blasted lately for going so negative, and the full speech reads mostly like the “Hope and Change” he ran on in 2008. I have to wonder if this and other remarks were the result of an unfortunate TOTUS malfunction. It always seems Obama is most revealing when he is unscripted.
In any case, there is no doubt that Obama meant this as a shot at those who consider their success to be of their own making. The overall theme of his speech was that nobody is successful without some kind of help, especially help from the government. Unfortunately, Mr. President, somewhere around 24 million small business owners may disagree.
Throughout his speech, Obama reveals an obvious bias against pro-business economic theory, not to mention an unprecedented level of ignorance on the requirements of successful entrepreneurship. Here are some examples:
And on their side, they’ve got a basic theory about how you grow the economy. And the theory is very simple: They think that the economy grows from the top down. So their basic theory is, if wealthy investors are doing well then everybody does well.
Obama is displaying his reliance on demagoguery by willfully distorting the economic theory most conservatives refer to as “Reaganomics.” The so-called “top-down” or “trickle-down” theory has very little to do with wealthy investors, and everything to do with the production of value to the consumer.
Think about it this way: do business owners get rich just because they open a business? On the contrary. Most small businesses require a minimum of tens of thousands of dollars of investment to start — often financed in whole or in part out of the owner’s pocket — and at least one-third of them fail within 2 years. Anybody can open their own business, but that alone does not translate into success or wealth.
Unless you have powerful friends in Congress who can subsidize ineptitude, your success in business can only be achieved by creating a value proposition which entices consumers to purchase your good or service. Even then it requires many years of tireless labor and painful sacrifice to achieve success. 40 hour workweeks? Hah! Try 60+. 2 weeks paid vacation? There’s no such thing when you’re the owner. When you own a small business, you’re chained to it for the first several years. Some people never break those bonds.
So why would anybody ever want to own a business? It is the promise of future wealth which entices people to start (and stick with) a business. In the mean time, though, the owner is busy buying materials, producing products or services that people want to buy, and creating jobs. As economist Thomas Sowell has observed, “Reaganomics” is actually not “trickle-down” in practice. The money goes to the suppliers and employees and the value goes to the consumers BEFORE the owner get wealthy — if they ever get wealthy at all! Only after years of successful enterprise will the typical business owner ever truly enjoy above average wealth.
Obviously, this economic theory has nothing to do with wealthy investors as Obama characterizes. It has everything to do with producing value to the consumer, and the presence of a profit motive on the part of the business owner. Unfortunately for all of us, Obama and his progressive cabal seem woefully incapable of comprehending this relatively simple idea.
Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
Apparently, Obama is saying that being hardworking and smart is not sufficient for achieving success, which makes me wonder, what exactly is Obama’s measure for success? Surely there are millions of Americans who are not business owners and not “wealthy” who can nevertheless be considered successful by most standards. What kind of message is the President sending about success?
But returning to the core point, the President is right that there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. While hard work can create success for employees, hard work alone is not sufficient to create success for a business owner. Studies have proven what successful business owners already know — the secret to great success goes beyond just dedication, requiring higher levels of sacrifice as well as focused improvement.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.
I’m not going to bash teachers. Teaching is tough, often thankless work. But if all that was needed to be successful was having a “great teacher somewhere in your life,” there would be virtually zero unsuccessful people in this country. At some point in their lives, almost EVERYONE has had a great teacher. I remember having undisputed “great teachers” in high school and college, but not everyone got A’s and not everyone who went through their classroom ended up being successful.
Don’t get me wrong. Most accomplished people do have some person or some event to thank for planting the seeds of success. But the cultivation of those seeds into something fruitful is another story entirely. I can say that my own success had very little to do with my education and a whole lot to do with my work ethic and my business savvy. I can thank my parents for planting the seed, but it took hours upon hours of hard work well beyond a 40 hour workweek to bear fruit
Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.
I always love when liberals give the government extra credit for performing the basic duties with which the government is tasked. But even this argument this is spurious.
Giving the government credit for successful commerce because they build roads would be like Wal Mart giving their building contractor credit for selling me a DVD. Roads weren’t conceptualized by the government. We The People chose the government to be responsible for our road building. If not the government, We The People would find some other way to have roads built because roads are essential to our lives.
The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
False. Actually, the government was one of the main sponsors of a project by MIT called ARPAnet, which is widely (but incorrectly) considered the original Internet. However, an “internet” is a connection of multiple networks, whereas ARPAnet was simply a single network. The MIT research was responsible for some of the underlying technology, but comparing ARPAnet to the Internet is like comparing oil lamps to LED light bulbs.
At the time ARPAnet was being created, other institutions were already researching ways to connect computers together across short and long distances. ARPA got there first, possibly due to a larger influx of capital; at the time, the U.S. government was worried about being technological underdogs after the Soviets launched the Sputnik project. Nevertheless, anyone who says the Internet would never exist were it not for the government is certainly wrong.
Most objective observers agree that it really wasn’t until the government got out of the way, thereby opening the Internet up for private investment, that the World Wide Web was truly born. This is illustrated by the fact that the government’s own standards agency (OSI) actually tried to shut the door on the very same network communications protocol standards (TCP/IP) which are in use by all of us using the Internet today. They believed the technology would never work.
Beyond that, consider the underlying infrastructure supporting the Internet. Data travels across a huge network of fiber optic cables. Cables conceptualized and fabricated by private corporations, installed and maintained largely by private corporations, and funded by well over a trillion dollars of private investments, primarily from Wall Street.
At the very most, we could say the government accidentally helped encourage some of the basic technology of the precursor to the first version of the Internet while throwing money at any project that might have military application to counter the Soviets. After that, it’s at least plausible that the government’s role actually inhibited the development of the Internet we know today.
More to the Story?
By now, Obama’s ideological proclivities should come as no surprise. But reading his remarks, I am suddenly struck by another thought:
Consider his argument; the U.S. has the greatest system in the world, yet even here, people cannot be successful without help from the government. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” What does that say about this country, this world, and humanity in general? Not much faith in mankind there!
Does Obama’s speech reveal something deeper, something on a personal level? What kind of life experiences must a person have to hold such a belief? Is Obama telling us that his own successes are owed to others? Did he accidentally reveal that he was the beneficiary of some government initiative, perhaps affirmative action? Or maybe that someone else, like Bill Ayers, wrote Dreams From My Father?
The self-proclaimed language police of the progressive left have now decided that using the term “illegal alien” is inherently racist and inhuman, and damages the immigration debate. The leaders of this movement are asking that everybody stop using the term altogether. For once, the left got it right… sort of.
Set aside for a moment the sheer absurdity of grouping “illegal alien” together with the “N-word.” Set aside the fact that illegal alien gangs have themselves been committing racially-motivated violence (mostly against blacks) for years. Set aside the irony of the left claiming they are “humanizing” a debate while simultaneously branding millions of people as racists simply for using a factual term.
I actually agree with the left that the term “illegal alien” should be dropped. I even go so far as to generally agree with their statement that “people are not illegal.”Allow me to explain.
Punching someone in the face for no reason is illegal, but we do not refer to that person as an “illegal pugilist“. Selling drugs is illegal, but we do not refer to the dealer as an “illegal businessman”. Stealing is illegal, but we do not refer to the thief as an “illegal acquisition specialist.”
Typically, we refer to people’s ACTIONS as being illegal, not the people themselves. The people who commit those illegal actions? We call them criminals.
But what about the charge of racism? I can actually see how someone might object to being called an illegal alien on racial grounds. After all, in today’s society, “alien” has a much different connotation than it did a few hundred years ago.
It kind of makes sense that folks would find racial overtones in being compared to funny looking beings with odd colored skin and strange facial features.
The left would have us replace “illegal alien” with a term like “undocumented immigrant”, or “unauthorized immigrant.” Nevermind that these terms are contradictory, since being an “immigrant” to the United States implies both documentation and authorization. It’s kind of like saying bureaucratic efficiency, or political ethics, or progressive socialism.
Then there’s the hilariously ludicrous replacement term “NAFTA refugee,” which apparently has been coined to give the progressive left a succinct way to blame U.S. capitalism for the plight of Mexican citizens… you know, rather than the systemic corruption of their government, dysfunctional legal system, and rampant drug violence. But that’s another story.
The left is right though: it’s time to drop the I-word. It’s time to stop using the term “illegal alien,” because it lacks sufficient accuracy and context. Instead, I propose we all start using a far more descriptive term to describe those who cross our borders illegally; a term which may have even been coined right here on this very site two years ago:
As I said before, “criminal” is a much more correct and accurate way to describe a person who commits an illegal act than as an “illegal”. And using the word “Entrant” simply describes an action, thereby avoiding the inaccurate and contradictory use of “immigrant,” as well as the racial component of comparing people to little green men (or huge, scary, acid-spitting harbingers of death).
So today, let’s acknowledge that words are indeed important. Let’s follow the lead of our friends on the progressive left. Let’s agree that “illegal alien” is inaccurate, insufficient, and possibly charged with interplanetary racism.
Today, let’s begin using the far more accurate and race-neutral term of criminal entrant.
I decided to post this because of two stories I heard last week.
The first was about Keith Olbermann dejectedly wandering Central Park. Obviously the article is making many assumptions about Olbermann’s state of mind with very little direct evidence. However, Olbermann has certainly had a turbulent career, and his firing from CurrentTV (not to mention his failure to draw the expected viewers) was just the latest in a long string of fiery exits.
I can’t say that Olbermann has “hit rock bottom,” But his career does seem to be coming unglued. The interesting thing to me is that Olbermann is worth tens of millions of dollars. Yet here he is, wandering through Central Park almost as if he’s seeking the validation of being recognized by a random stranger. “Am I still relevant?” he might be wondering.
Normally I wouldn’t be focusing on a rich person who might be depressed. But Olbermann is a progressive. A believer in social justice. A redistributionist. A man who seems to think we can solve all the country’s problems by taking money from the wealthy and giving it to progressive government to redistribute as they see fit. And yet here he is, more money than 99.999% of the world, and still unhappy. It just goes to show you that if you think money is the answer to your problems, you’re wrong.
The second story was about Mel Gibson absolutely losing his mind (language warning). Mel Gibson is a very talented actor. Anyone who hasn’t seen it should pick up We Were Soldiers for a great movie and a great performance by Gibson. It’s one of those films that brings tears to a grown man’s eyes.
Unfortunately for Mel, being a rich, famous, talented actor is not enough to maintain even the most basic level of rational behavior. In his latest rant, he sounded like the grown-up version of a child throwing a giant temper tantrum, as if yelling and using entire breaths to say a single word somehow makes his point more relevant.
Was it fueled by alcohol? Is Mel Gibson psychotic? I can’t say for sure, but it would certainly seem that after a very messy breakup and so many tapes of insane rage coming to light that Mel is well on his way to rock bottom, at least in terms of human behavior.
Although I’ve used two celebrities in this post, it’s not just the rich and famous who suffer from this sort of behavior. Every now and then you hear stories about rich folks who throw their lives away on foolishness, or even commit suicide for no apparent reason. I bet it happens a lot more than anyone realizes, but we don’t hear about it because the people aren’t famous.
Which brings me back to my original point. Progressives would have us believe that money is the key to happiness. Class warfare is their game. They try to make it a fight between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. But “what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Or in Mel’s case, his mind? If progressives are correct that redistributing money is the key to happiness, then why are so many rich people unhappy?
It’s actually dehumanizing to suggest that happiness can be purchased like a commodity. If you have a hole in your heart, you can’t fill it with “stuff”. Sure, being poor can be stressful. I know, I used to be fairly poor. I used to have debt. But by God I worked my way out of that hole and I’m a better man for it. I dare say that if Uncle Sam had been there to bail me out with someone else’s money, he would have stolen a piece of my humanity at the same time.
What say you?
For years now I have been engaging in arguments with various lefties, from the typical casual liberal to the committed progressive to the more complicated personally-conservative social liberal (who never lowers themselves personally to the liberal standard, but is nonetheless outwardly supportive of liberalism for social connections or career reasons).
I am big on facts. The lefties I argue with are big on empty rhetoric. For years my initial reaction to any point made by a leftie is to bombard them with facts that completely and utterly destroy their argument. I thought that this was successful. To a certain extent, it is. I’ve never met a single leftie who could best me on the facts – I suppose this is because the vast, vast majority of lefties aren’t big on rational thought. I’ve even had people come up to me later and privately thank me for arguing with so-and-so, and that they themselves weren’t brave enough to stand up and do it for fear of losing a friend or whatever.
But the “success”, if you can call it that, was limited. Yes, I had won on paper, but it didn’t FEEL like a victory. My opponent left with the same absurdly smug aura of self-proclaimed righteousness with which he came. My cascading litany of facts and reason had fallen on deaf ears. I began to believe that these folks were unreachable, unbeatable. It did not matter how right I was or how wrong they were because their close-mindedness and intellectual bigotry would never allow them to engage in a substantive debate on the issues.
To someone like me, this defied logic. I am so driven by a desire to continually pursue the truth that it’s almost impossible for me to comprehend a person who can ignore that truth. But eventually it hit me: liberals do not see truth in the same terms as I do. Whether they realize it or not, whether they intended to or not, their ideology engages in explicit or de facto moral relativism. To them, “right and wrong” does not exist on a fixed linear scale.
To them, the ends justify the means.
In other words, “facts” are not absolute (and, therefore, not “facts” at all but rather tools for achieving a goal). No wonder these people were not swayed by my data. They naturally assumed that any fact with which I presented them was merely a tool that *I* was using to achieve my goal… because that’s what they would do in my position. This little intellectual loophole allows them to maintain their belief in their own righteousness no matter how many facts or rational counter-arguments are presented to destroy their ideology.
In a way, it’s bloody brilliant.
So lately my strategy has been shifting. Partly because I grew tired of long, relentless arguments in which I contributed copious amounts of detail only to have it cast aside or countered with some mind-numbingly inane bit of shallow “wisdom”. Partly because Breitbart identified the strategy first and began utilizing it himself.
Now, I just ask lefties to explain themselves. I simply ask “Why?”
Breitbart was brilliant, really. When he talked about challenging the left with the simple idea of asking them to rationalize their position, he explained that it naturally puts them on the defensive. Liberals aren’t used to having to explain themselves. They just dutifully repeat whatever glib talking point they happened to pick up that day, “RAAAAACIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSTTTT!!!!” being the most common lately. “Tax the rich!” is quickly taking over now that Romney is the presumptive nominee.
For a few months now I’ve been working on this. I admit, it’s hard for me. Pithiness is not my strong suit. But I have to say, it has yielded results. I do get a sweet satisfaction seeing lefties stumble over their own rationale, and it actually makes picking them apart easier. Where I used to deploy “shock and awe”, now I’m a careful sniper. I lure them onto my turf, let them think they can beat me at my own game, and then watch as they tangle themselves up in their own web of unsubstantiated rhetoric.
I can’t claim to have changed minds, but the strategy has definitely forced them to soften their argument. Where initially they were fervent in their position, by the end of the conversation they are subdued, even backtracking from their original stance. One person I recently debated even went from condemning all Republicans at the outset to openly calling for bipartisanship at the end.
This is not to say that simply asking “why?” is a complete substitute for facts and figures. On the contrary. While the typical “casual liberal” will never be able to explain his position, and you can dismantle him with very little effort, the committed progressive will actually be able to take it to the next level. He will come with a basic set of information with which to support his ideology. But remember, he will have one, or maybe two volleys at most. If you have three, you will probably win. If you have 5, you’re almost guaranteed a victory.
So know your stuff, friends, but I encourage you to try this out next time you’re arguing with a leftie. Channel your inner two-year-old. Make them enter your domain, make them commit to your playing field, make them explain WHY they are right, and please do report back and let us know how it goes!
Hey folks, happy Monday!
In case anybody out there missed it, a week ago the SCOTUS began hearing oral arguments on Obamacare. Over three days they heard 6 hours of testimony and, based on the reaction of the Democrat spinsters, I think even the Obama camp is worried he mandate or the entire law may be struck down. Check out the Wall Street Journal for the 5 Take-Aways of the Obamacare hearings.
Thanks to the couple of folks who linked to an update on Olbermann’s firing from Current TV (previous HillBuzz write-up: Olbermann Fired). The main goodie from this article is that Olbermann supposedly complained about his car service because the drivers spoke to him and “smelled”. I wonder how many of the 99%-ers who idolize Olbermann have car services? And I wonder just how far in to the 1% you have to be before you feel elitist enough to complain about your car service?
One of the commentors here alerted us to this story on Breitbart: Shockingly, the left and the media are silent when conservative women are treated similarly to Ms. Fluke. Actually, truth be told, although I do not agree with Rush’s comments, he probably had more grounds to make the ‘slut’ accusation than anybody had to make these comments about Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. After all, it was Ms. Fluke who chose to put her sexual opinions on very public display. All Lt. Gov Kleefisch did was be a conservative woman elected BY THE PEOPLE to public office.
The emperor is truly naked folks. I’ve come to a realization. By and large, besides doing a lot of research, blogging every now and then, and arguing with friends and family, I’ve basically just been waiting for the media to “fix itself”. Not by magic of course, but I always envisioned that the business model would collapse as they continued to lose eyeballs and they would be forced to become more fair, more honest, etc.
However, the book I’m currently reading (and will review here soon), along with Shakedown Socialism, has made me realize that my belief in the inevitability of said outcome is a fantasy. It is not inevitable. In fact, I’m starting to see that the odds are actually stacked the other direction. Throughout history, the “inevitability” is that the media and the government become increasingly intertwined, and the media become MORE corrupt as a result.
Of course I’ve known this for years, but I never believed it could be possible here in the USA. I never believed that insidious forces could sneak in and take over. But that is happening even as I type this. Media collusion, distributed progressive talking points, voter fraud, and Lord knows what else! Maybe we’ll post a list someday of all the ways the progressive left is working to destroy everything that you and I love and take for granted about this country.
You see, most of us conservatives just want to be left alone to live our lives, raise our families, help our neighbors, etc. We don’t like the government intruding in our lives, but along with that comes a desire to not to have to get involved beyond our civic duty of voting and maybe the occasional argument or debate with a family member, friend, or MAYBE even a coworker.
HillBuzz is a microcosm of the conservative populace. For every person who comments here regularly, there are thousands who do not. For every person who comments here occasionally, there are hundreds upon hundreds who never comment. We have some very dedicated folks among us. We have readers and contributors who even get involved in the races. But those of you who do that are in the minority.
I wonder, even among those of us who are highly involved, how many of us are actively working to reverse our slide into socialism? How many of us are actively working to try to force the main stream media to change? I admit, beyond blogging and some debating with folks, I don’t really even know how to go about doing that. How many of you out there have ideas on how we can go after the media? We would love to hear from you. And we would really love to hear from anyone who has been lurking for awhile but never or rarely comments.
What else is on your minds this Monday?
I have to extend my sincerest thanks to the Progressive “media” outlet Current TV for the fantastic bit of news I read today. It turns out Keith Olbermann (aka “bathtub boy“), former host of Countdown on MSDNC (oops, I mean MSNBC), can now add Current TV to his growing list of former employers. It turns out that Al Gore and Joel Hyatt fired Olbermann for not coming to work and basically being terrible at his job.
When I saw this story, it just made my day, and for oh-so-many sweet, sweet reasons. Here are my top 5:
1) Keith Olbermann is an ignorant tool, a liar, and possibly a sociopath
The first time I personally witnessed Olbermann’s extreme tool-hardy-ness was when he threw Hillary Clinton under the bus and began his blatant progressive love affair with Barack Obama. He continued to assail Hillary throughout the rest of the primaries. There are too many examples to list but YouTube has the clips if anyone cares to look them up.
Olbermann lied constantly, almost pathologically. Usually about conservatives, but that grew to include moderate Democrats and even Hillary. I remember one case where he blatantly tried tying Sarah Palin to a violent comment supposedly made at one of her rallies. It turns out that not only did nobody actually shout “kill him,” but Sarah Palin wasn’t even at the rally at the time the comment was supposedly made. And, Keith Olbermann KNEW that she wasn’t there due to the itinerary available at the time of his broadcast.
As for him being a sociopath, I simply refer you to Olbermann’s shameless, embarrassingly personal, and oddly mechanical exploitation of his own father’s medical saga.
2) Olbermann is pompous, arrogant, and misogynistic
You don’t have to take my word for it. Even the liberal media folk on Journolist think Olbermann is a bad person.
3) Current TV proves its commitment to values… by hiring Eliot Spitzer
Olbermann’s replacement is a disgraced governor who was forced to resign after details of his lurid affairs with $1,000 / hour prostitutes were made public. It’s nice to know that a man who has both the financial means and moral ambiguity to spend about as much on prostitutes as an everyday person makes in a year is representative of Current TV’s values. Does Current TV think that the 99% can afford to spend $80 Grand on sex?
4) Progressives proved they care more about their own interests than the Progressive ideology
Reading over the respective statements and following their overly public saga shows us that neither side was actually committed to the ideology itself.
Olbermann was probably unhappy with the level of promotion/advertising (he said they failed to provide the level of support necessary for a quality news program), and was willing to simply not show up for work as a way of trying to force Gore & Company to cave to his demands. Nevermind that Olbermann was being paid $10 million and was supposedly given an equity stake in the company. Nevermind that Olbermann was already worth like $35 million. How much support could have been purchased if Olbermann sacrificed some of his own salary?
On the flip side, Current TV has shown that progressive media is not nearly as popular as they would like it to be. They suffered the realities of the free market, which is that in order to survive, you must actually produce a product that people want at a price that makes sense. Apparently, Olbermann did not fit that need.
5) Progressives revealed their willingness to politically assassinate anyone who turns on them
Olbermann and other progressives have been trying to politically assassinate conservatives and moderate democrats for years. But now we see that they are even willing to excoriate and destroy the viability and livelihood of even other progressives who do not see eye to eye.
Current TV could have simply ended their relationship with Olbermann and put out the typical statement that one would expect in this kind of situation. Instead, they made a pretty obvious attempt at destroying his career by accusing him of not showing up for work and failing to adhere to the progressive values, as Current TV saw them.
Olbermann, on the other hand, accused Current TV of failing to meet its promises and obligations, cast aspersions on Al Gore’s ethics and honesty, and basically tried to scorch the earth as he left.
Let this be a lesson to any trolls or zombies from Kos, MM, DU, etc. The so-called “leaders” of your so-called “movement” are willing to destroy anyone or anything, even their own allies, if they fail to jibe with their own self-interests.
Progressivism is dangerous. Those progressives who deny this are either too ignorant to see it, too brainwashed to admit it or, occasionally, complicit in the danger. The Hunger Games offers us a peek at a universe which would only be possible under radical progressivism.
For anyone blissfully unaware of this particular cultural phenomenon, The Hunger Games is a young adult novel (the first book in a trilogy) set in a post-apocalyptic world where North America is ruled by a single totalitarian government. This successor to the United States, called “Panem”, is comprised of essentially one wealthy, advanced Capitol metropolis ruling over twelve poorer districts. Every year, 12 boys and 12 girls (one of each from each district) are selected to participate in a televised, to-the-death mega-event known as “The Hunger Games”. One victor emerges and is lavished in fame and riches.
If anyone is still planning to see the movie, I will avoid revealing any spoilers or discussing the plot of this story. Instead I will focus on the political world.
To be fair, I have not actually read the full trilogy. However, it is my understanding that the author does not get in to specific details about the post-apocalyptic event. She apparently does touch on some environmental issues, and based on some of the comments she has made, it would not surprise me if the author was herself a partial believer in the progressive movement. If so, what a delicious twist of irony that a progressive would inadvertently write a story exposing one possible endgame of progressivism.
In any case, it does not matter what the author intended us to believe. An examination of the evidence of the story gives us all we need to know. If, for example, the author tried to claim that The Hunger Games was the result of radical libertarianism then she would contradict herself.
Without further ado, let us take a look at the hallmarks of progressivism which appear in this movie.
Progressive Hallmark: Big, Totalitarian Government
The government of Panem is large and totalitarian. It controls all the means of production and all the distribution of food and other resources. Although not explicitly stated in the movie, it is implied that the government controls the entire economy.
Progressivism is rooted in collectivism, and the unavoidable endgame of any collectivist ideology is communism, and finally, totalitarian communism. Collectivism creates a downward spiral of diminishing returns, which requires further control, which spawns ever-further diminished returns and even more control. The spiral is documented in Shakedown Socialism. The ultimate end result is a government so large that is has no choice but to be totalitarian.
Progressive Hallmark: The Illusion of Democracy
Panem has a “President”, but it is clear that there is no democracy. The movie does not touch on the electoral process, but the President is an all-powerful figure who seems to have captured the unquestioning adoration of the citizens of the Capitol.
Progressives will rarely openly admit to the desire to destroy democracy, but I have personally experienced a progressive telling me that President Obama should go around Congress and “just do what needs to be done”. We’re already familiar with Obama’s huge collection of czars, a quick Google search for “Obama circumvent congress” will produce a litany of examples, and Obama’s own team announced that executive orders (“two or three a week”) will play a big role in Obama’s reelection campaign.
The world of Panem exemplifies the mentality that “the ends justify the means,” which also just happens to be the core of the progressive strategy for political change.
Progressive Hallmark: The Use of Implied Threats
The President of Panem comments that a particular person should “be careful”. The threat is thinly veiled and the message is clear: “Do what I say, or bad things will happen.”
What was it Obama said to the bankers? “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” The President used the power of his office to issue a thinly veiled threat that those bankers – private citizens in charge of sovereign corporate entities – should be careful or else. And worst of all, this made him a hero among progressives who are apparently too ignorant to recognize such a statement for what it is.
Progressive Hallmark: Ownership of Weapons is Forbidden
This is not explicitly stated but it is implied. None of the district citizens are ever shown having anything weapon-like, not even crude implements. Basic weapons used for hunting have to be kept hidden in the woods, away from the eyes of the of the Capitol.
Needless to say, a Panem-style government could never come about so long as gun ownership was as prevalent among private citizens as it is today. Do you see many conservatives advocating for abolition of gun rights? Of course not, but it’s a favorite topic of the progressives.
Progressive Hallmark: A Ruling Class
In Panem, not all citizens are poor and downtrodden. There is a ruling class – it would seem a fairly large ruling class – which resides in the metropolis of The Capitol. These people are depicted as wealthy, extravagant, and completely out of touch with reality. It is a world of pomp, circumstance, and political connectivity. People can fall out of favor quickly and suffer the consequences.
Progressives do not espouse the idea of a ruling class – in fact, they usually claim they are against such a concept. But this simply illustrates the ignorance of progressives to the reality of collectivism in general. Every collectivist society has a ruling class. Look at the former Soviet Union. Look at Communist China. Look at Nazi Germany (the Nazi party were socialists). Even something as seemingly innocuous and beneficial (to a progressive) as a trade union can give rise to an oligarchy of powerful union leaders at the expense of the general membership. From Sweden to Greece to right here in the U.S., history overflows with such examples.
Progressive Hallmark: Debauchery for the Few, Starvation for the Many
Residents of The Capitol enjoy access to fine foods, spirits, and a plethora of highly modern technology. Debauchery abounds. They live in excess, and as willing participants in the ultimate reality game show.
Progressives would argue that their ideology does not promote this. I will concede that it does not *promote* it… but it does *create* it. One should ask a simple question: if collectivism worked, why is there so much death and starvation under collectivist rule? Millions upon millions have died from starvation under socialism and communism, even while perfectly good food rotted away in government storage. Does anyone think the government officials were also starving to death along with the population? Of course not… the ruling class, their family, their friends, and their chosen accomplices were all living in the lap of debauchery while others died.
Progressive Hallmark: Collusion with / Control of the Media
It is not made clear in the movie whether or not the media is autonomous, but it’s clear that at the very least, they collude with the government.
Meanwhile, back here in reality, the collusion between the majority of the regular media and their chosen candidates is fairly obvious. It’s especially obvious on the left, and the speed with which the main-stream media collectively abandoned Hillary to support Obama only solidifies my belief that collusion already exists.
Unfortunately, collusion is not enough for the progressive left. Even now, progressives march ever-onward towards limiting conservative speech. They’ve been doing it for years by trying to control the language, and create ridiculous levels of political correctness. Even Democrat Juan Williams admits this in his book Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate. They want Limbaugh off the air. They want Fox News shut down. And these ignorant fools actually justify the involvement of government in shutting down media with which they disagree.
And let’s not forget, Obama wants an Internet kill switch… there’s no bigger government/media power grab than that!
Progressive Hallmark: Abolition of Individual Liberty
In Panem, individual liberty is nonexistent. Minors can be taken from their homes and forced to participate in a competition to the death. Even in The Capitol, people who fall out of favor fear for their lives or livelihoods. It would seem that personal property is an illusion at best.
By its very nature, collectivism destroys the concept of personal property and individual liberty. Woodrow Wilson once dismissed the inalienable right to individual liberty as nonsense. Oliver Wendell Holmes opined that liberty should not be construed “to prevent the natural outcome of a dominant opinion.”
Today, progressives carry on the assault by regularly advocating for the dissolution of contracts, seizure of private property, and excessive taxation of the wealthy… all in the name of “the greater good”.
Progressive Hallmark: Rejoicing in the Death of Other People
In The Capitol, the annual Hunger Games is a major television event and the ultimate reality show. Everybody watches. People cheer for the death of the unfavored and and survival of the favored.
If anyone questions that mankind could ever, in reality, actually enjoy such barbarism they have only to look to history. The Hunger Games event is really just a modern interpretation of the gladiatorial games which existed for around 700 years.
OK, but could we ever return to that sort of barbarism? One has only to look at the recent, untimely death of Andrew Breitbart for the answer. The Internet exploded with progressives rejoicing in Breitbart’s death. OK, that’s just one example, right?
- Ed Schultz wishing Dick Cheney were dead, and other progressives coming out to call his statement “beautifully phrased”?
- Twitter erupting in calls for death of Scott Walker
- Progressives calling for the round-up of “Tea Baggers”
- Death threats against Limbaugh following the Sandra Fluke controversy
- Salon publishing a letter to the editor insinuating that Sarah Palin should be electrocuted
- Mike Malloy hoping Beck, Limbaugh, and O’Reilly all commit suicide
- Chris Matthews waxing philosophical on a Bond-villain-esque death for Rush
- A litany of idiots on Twitter calling for the death of a variety of Republicans
I found these examples in just a few minutes on Google. I realize that progressives do not own the market on death threats, and some have been threatened with death themselves. But the prevalence of open rejoicing about the death of Breitbart is a new low and solid evidence of the decline in civility being perpetuated by the progressive movement.
Sadly, I know personally know progressives who honestly rejoice in the death, not just of conservative figures, but of regular folks who just happen to be wealthy. “Good”, they say, “they deserved it”. This may not be reflective of the ideology of the original progressive movement, but it seems to be the mentality of the newest generation of people who self-identify as progressive “soldiers”.
When otherwise regular people can find joy in the death of a fellow citizen simply because of a difference in political ideologies, how far are we, really, from a real-life Hunger Games?