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I hate your politics
Scalzi.com ^ | 3/22/02 | John Scalzi

Posted on 03/23/2002 9:52:06 AM PST by jesterhazy

I hate your politics.

No, I don't know what they are. And no, I probably don't know who you are, either. Really, those two points are immaterial (no offense). As it turns out about, about 46% of you are liberal, 46% of you are conservative, and the rest of you just want your guns, drugs and brothels (here in the US, we call them folks "libertarians").

Each of you carries baggage from your political affiliation, and all of that baggage has a punky smell to it, like one of your larger species of rodent crawled in and expired in your folded underwear. Listening to any of you yammer on about the geopolitical situation is enough to make one want to melt down one's dental fillings with a beeswax candle and then jam an ice pick into the freshly-exposed nerve, just to have something else to think about. It's not so much that politics brings out the worst in people than it is that the worst in people goes looking for something to do, and that usually ends up being politics. It's either that or setting fires in trashcans.

In the spirit of fairness, and of completeness, let me go down the list and tell you what I hate about each major branch of political thinking.

Liberals: The stupidest and weakest members of the political triumvirate, they allowed conservatives to turn their name into a slur against them, exposing them as the political equivalent of the kid who lets the school bully pummel him with his own fists (Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself). Liberals champion the poor and the weak but do it in such condescendingly bureaucratic ways that the po' illedumacated Cleti would rather eat their own shotguns than associate with the likes of them. Famously humorless and dour, probably because for a really good liberal, everything is political, and you just can't joke about things like that.

Defensive and peevish even when they're right. Under the impression that people in politics should play fair, which is probably why they get screwed as often as they do (nb: 2000 Presidential election). Feel guilty about the freedoms their political positions allow them, which is frankly idiotic. Liberals are politically able to have all sorts of freaky mammal sex but typically don't; good liberal foreplay is a permission slip and three layers of impermeable barriers. The only vaguely liberal person we know of who seemed to enjoy sex in the last 30 years is Clinton, and look what he got out of it.

Fractious and have no sense of loyalty; will publicly tear out the intestines of those closest to them at the most politically inopportune times. The attention spans of poultry; easily distracted from large, useful goals by pointless minutiae. Not only can't see the forest for the trees, can't see the trees for the pine needles. Deserve every bad thing that happens to them because they just can't get their act together. Too bad those they presume to stand for get royally screwed as well.

Conservatives: Self-hating moral relativists, unless you can convince me that an intellectual class that publicly praises family values but privately engages in sodomy, coke and trophy wives is more aptly described in some other way. Not every conservative is an old wealthy white man on his third wife, but nearly every conservative aspires to be so, which is a real waste of money, youth, race and women. Genuinely fear and hate those who are not "with" them -- the sort of people who would rather shit on a freshly-baked cherry pie than share it with someone not of their own tribe.

Conservatives believe in a government by the oligarchy, for the oligarchy, which is why the conservative idea of an excellent leader is Ronald Reagan, i.e., genial, brain-damaged and amenable to manipulation by his more mentally composed underlings. Under the belief they own the copyright on Jesus and get testy when other political factions point out that technically Christ is in the public domain. Conservatives don't actually bother to spend time with people who are not conservative, and thus become confused and irritable when people disagree with them; fundamentally can't see how that's even possible, which shows an almost charming intellectual naiveté. Less interested in explaining their point of view than nuking you and everything you stand for into blackened cinders before your evil worldview catches on like a virus. Conservatives have no volume control on their hate and yet were shocked as Hell when Rush Limbaugh went deaf.

Conservatives clueless enough to think that having Condi Rice and Andrew Sullivan on the team somehow counts as diversity. Pen their "thinkers" like veal in think tanks rather than let them interact with people who might oppose their views. Loathe women who are not willing to have their opinions as safely shellacked as their hair. Let their sons get caught with a dime bag and see how many are really for "zero-tolerance." Let a swarthy day laborer impregnate their daughters and find out how many of them are really pro-life.

Libertarians: Never got over the fact they weren't the illegitimate children of Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand; currently punishing the rest of us for it. Unusually smug for a political philosophy that's never gotten anyone elected for anything above the local water board. All for legalized drugs and prostitution but probably wouldn't want their kids blowing strangers for crack; all for slashing taxes for nearly every social service but don't seem to understand why most people aren't at all keen to trade in even the minimal safety net the US provides for 55-gallon barrels of beans and rice, a crossbow and a first-aid kit in the basement. Blissfully clueless that Libertarianism is just great as long as it doesn't actually involve real live humans.

Libertarians blog with a frequency that makes one wonder if they're actually employed somewhere or if they have loved ones that miss them. Libertarian blogs even more snide than conservative blogs, if that's possible. Socially slow -- will assume other people actually want to talk about legalizing hemp and the benefits of a polyamorous ethos when all these other folks really want is to drink beer and play Grand Theft Auto 3. Libertarianism the official political system of science fiction authors, which explains why science fiction is in such a rut these days. Libertarians often polyamorous (and hope you are too) but also somewhat out of shape, which takes a lot of the fun out of it.

Easily offended; Libertarians most likely to respond to this column. The author will attempt to engage subtle wit but will actually come across as a geeky whiner (Conservatives, more schooled in the art of poisonous replies, may actually achieve wit; liberals will reply that they don't find any of this humorous at all). Libertarians secretly worried that ultimately someone will figure out the whole of their political philosophy boils down to "Get Off My Property." News flash: This is not really a big secret to the rest of us.

I'm guessing you thought I was way off on your political philosophy but right on the button about the other two. Just think about that for a while.

-- JS


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Political Humor/Cartoons
KEYWORDS: conservatives; humor; ideology; liberals; libertarians
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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Talk about equal opportunity!
1 posted on 03/23/2002 9:52:06 AM PST by jesterhazy
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To: jesterhazy
"Get off my property" you know I'd have a hard time not voting for a politician who used that as their campaign slogan.
2 posted on 03/23/2002 9:58:01 AM PST by weikel
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To: jesterhazy
Hilarious! Thanks for posting it.
3 posted on 03/23/2002 10:00:51 AM PST by Rick_Hunter
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: jesterhazy
Well that about covers it all...
5 posted on 03/23/2002 10:03:08 AM PST by LowOiL
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To: jesterhazy
I'm guessing you thought I was way off on your political philosophy but right on the button about the other two.

sorry, i think you're up in the night on all three...

except for maybe the libertarians and liberals.

6 posted on 03/23/2002 10:03:47 AM PST by glock rocks
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To: Canavan
WOnder how the author defines himself.

As a hazy jester, of course.

7 posted on 03/23/2002 10:05:58 AM PST by LantzALot
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Canavan
WOnder how the author defines himself.

Considering his 'skewering' of liberalism is that they are just so dog-gone good and nice that everyone screws them I'd say it was self-evident.

9 posted on 03/23/2002 10:07:57 AM PST by eddie willers
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To: nocomad
What a hoot. Bet this guy doesn't have too many friends.. kinda like me :(

--------------------------------------

My sentiments exactly.

10 posted on 03/23/2002 10:08:18 AM PST by Rick_Hunter
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To: jesterhazy
Mr Scalzi has a real penchant for hyperbole...
11 posted on 03/23/2002 10:13:42 AM PST by zchip
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To: jesterhazy
I'm so sorry the writer of this screed has apparently suffered from a lifetime of erectile dysfunction and digestive complaint. I am equally sorry that his blatant misunderstanding of all things political has somehow empowered him to discourse on his errors ad nauseum

If I could speak directly to him I would say "Take heart my impotent friend, you might aspire to literacy and one day be able to write something nearly intelligible that could be read by grown-ups and not laughed at for its precious silliness. You're not there yet".

12 posted on 03/23/2002 10:13:59 AM PST by muir_redwoods
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To: jesterhazy
The author conveniently forgot to mention that liberals are scumbags.
13 posted on 03/23/2002 10:16:03 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: jesterhazy
Found this from his web site... You tell me what he is..BTW he does some science fiction writting.

Who Have You Written For? The Washington Post, The Dayton Daily News, The Chicago Sun-Times, The San Fransisco Examiner, The San Diego Tribune (now Union-Tribune), The Sacramento Bee, The Fresno Bee, America Online, MediaOne, Road Runner, LifeMinders.com, FinancialPassport.com, WatchIT.com, GameDad.com, Sullivan & Co, Green magazine, New City magazine, MBA Jungle magazine, the alumni magazines of Dartmouth and the University of Chicago, and others. 

14 posted on 03/23/2002 10:20:15 AM PST by LowOiL
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To: jesterhazy
I score him zero for three ... a big give-away is his thinking the liberals got screwed in the 2000 election because they play too fair and too nice, rofl.
15 posted on 03/23/2002 10:22:59 AM PST by fnord
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To: Lancey Howard
We should feel flattered that he left his diggings in a hillside cave and came out to share this with us!
16 posted on 03/23/2002 10:23:57 AM PST by dvan
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To: jesterhazy
Conservatives:......an intellectual class that publicly praises family values but privately engages in sodomy, coke and trophy wives......

I've lived out here on the Left Coast for so long that I no longer know any Conservatives in person.

I hate to pry but, ummm....errr....do you guys really do all that?

If I can get my first and only wife to look like a trophy wife, can I pass on the other two and still belong to the Consevative Club?

17 posted on 03/23/2002 10:25:53 AM PST by Polybius
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To: jesterhazy
JS is not only ignorant, but intillectually dishonest. It is quite obvious he is a liberal. He half-heartedly derides the liberal cause for a lack of success more than anything else. Read the criticism of the conservative ideology. Looks like snivelling from DUh. Read the criticism of liberalism. Does is have the air of a Freeper description of the left? Not hardly. It wreaks of a frustrated socialist who isn't getting his way often enough.

This drivel is dishonest and lazy.

18 posted on 03/23/2002 10:26:26 AM PST by screed
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To: jesterhazy
Liberal: "I believe what I believe because I'm smarter than you."

Conservative: "I believe what I believe because I'm more patriotic than you."

Libertarian: "I believe what I believe because I'm BOTH smarter AND more patriotic than you."

Communist: "I believe what I believe because I'm NOT as smart or as patriotic as you."

<|:)~

19 posted on 03/23/2002 10:31:28 AM PST by martin_fierro
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To: jesterhazy
...and the rest of you just want your guns, drugs and brothels (here in the US, we call them folks "libertarians").

Here in Illbay-land we call them folks "Libertines," so as not to besmirch the high and honorable concepts of true liberty as they were originally established in our nation's founding documents.

Although the Libertines are quick to claim the unequivocal support of the shades of Jefferson, Madison and all the rest, the fact is I doubt they EVER seriously sat down to hash out an explicit address of the right to par-tay.

20 posted on 03/23/2002 10:32:46 AM PST by Illbay
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To: Polybius
Sorry, you gotta do all three. So if your darlin' little bride already looks like a trophy wife, you have a lock on one.

As far as the coke and sodomy go, you gotta do it. However, since you're one of us, we'll take your word for it. Just sniffle next time you come back from the restroom, for verisimilitude.
21 posted on 03/23/2002 10:34:42 AM PST by Xenalyte
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To: jesterhazy
What the hell is a blog? You're not one of them EuroWeiners are you?
22 posted on 03/23/2002 10:37:30 AM PST by Khepera
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To: fnord
...a big give-away is his thinking the liberals got screwed in the 2000 election because they play too fair and too nice...

Agreed. The nasty, liberal-mantra slurs against President Reagan ('brain dead') sort of telegraphed his real sympathies too but according to him, only conservatives 'nuke' political opponents. Uh huh.

Noooooo, John Scalzi isn't a liberal, he just writes like one. Nice try John; portray liberals as well-intentioned pushovers (this from the creators of the 'Politics of Personal Destruction') who argue internally while the big, bad, mean, cold-hearted conservatives 'beat them up'.

The 2000 election take was the capper; the Democracts got screwed? Since that will be the liberal orthodoxy for the next century or so regarding the thwarted Democrat theft of the 2000 election, Scalzi's 'moral relativist' nonsense directed at conservatives was hollow. Of course he assumes to trump any argument with his 'you all stink' pose, thus shielding his opinions from complaints from any corner, while still making the liberals look good by comparison with the nasty conservatives and the silly Libertarians. Clever, amusing but insincere.

23 posted on 03/23/2002 10:48:01 AM PST by Jim Scott
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To: Xenalyte
However, since you're one of us, we'll take your word for it.

Thanks!

For a while there, things looked really bleak....

Sodomy or vote Hillary! in 2004
Sodomy or vote Hillary! in 2004

"Well? What's it gonna be?"

Don't rush me! I'm thinkin'! I'm thinkin'!!

24 posted on 03/23/2002 10:52:25 AM PST by Polybius
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To: jesterhazy
Scalzi himself, of course, is a Liberal - the worst kind. This filth does not walk, it crawls. On his web site he defends the disgusting Ted Rall cartoon which mocked the widows of the WTC bombing, and Danny Pearl's widow, in the most vile way. You can read it yourself here http://www.scalzi.com/w020306.htm (major SLIME alert).
25 posted on 03/23/2002 11:05:21 AM PST by tictoc
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To: Khepera
Blog - web log, click here for more information.
26 posted on 03/23/2002 11:05:45 AM PST by Tennessee_Bob
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To: jesterhazy
The author of this article is just PO'd because I crapped on his pie.
27 posted on 03/23/2002 11:06:00 AM PST by Hell to pay
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To: jesterhazy
Fractious and have no sense of loyalty; will publicly tear out the intestines of those closest to them at the most politically inopportune times.

----------------------------

I'll say! Just look at the Democrats' smear campaign against Ralph Nader. Was that disgusting or what? I don't remember who said it, but I've heard it once said that when leftists start a firing line, they form in a circle.

28 posted on 03/23/2002 11:07:31 AM PST by Rick_Hunter
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To: weikel
Me too.

L

29 posted on 03/23/2002 11:14:25 AM PST by Lurker
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To: Polybius
Just re-define "Sodomy" to suit your own purposes.
30 posted on 03/23/2002 11:16:10 AM PST by El Sordo
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To: Canavan
"Liberals: ....allowed conservatives to turn their name into a slur against them,,,Defensive and peevish even when they're right...Feel guilty about the freedoms their political positions allow them, which is frankly idiotic...easily distracted from large, useful goals by pointless minutiae

"Conservatives: Self-hating moral relativists...but privately engages in sodomy...nearly every conservative aspires to be so...Conservatives have no volume control on their hate...Pen their "thinkers"...rather than let them interact with people who might oppose their views"

"Libertarians: ...currently punishing the rest of us...Easily offended; Libertarians most likely to respond to this column."

LIBERTARIANS/CONSERVATIVES:...The author will attempt to engage subtle wit but will actually come across as a geeky whiner (Conservatives, more schooled in the art of poisonous replies, may actually achieve wit; liberals will reply that they don't find any of this humorous at all). Libertarians secretly worried that ultimately someone will figure out the whole of their political philosophy boils down to "Get Off My Property"

Let me take a guess. The liberals are right and have useful goals, the conservatives are self-hating moralists that "hate", and the libertarians are only concerned about "their" property.

Full of hate and pretending to be open-minded, got to be a liberal infiltrator.

31 posted on 03/23/2002 11:17:01 AM PST by purereason
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To: jesterhazy
I'm guessing you thought I was way off on your political philosophy but right on the button about the other two.

Actually, all three of the summaries are shallow and impertinent.

32 posted on 03/23/2002 11:17:05 AM PST by jodorowsky
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To: Khepera
Sorry about the dead link. A blog is a web log - an online journal. Click here.
33 posted on 03/23/2002 11:18:06 AM PST by Tennessee_Bob
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To: purereason
Actually I doubt it he mentioned the liberals as the ones having no sense of humour.
34 posted on 03/23/2002 11:18:37 AM PST by weikel
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To: Canavan
Full of hate and pretending to be open-minded, got to be a liberal infiltrator.

Sorry forgot to re-review before posting.Lost last sentence.

35 posted on 03/23/2002 11:19:35 AM PST by purereason
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To: Tennessee_Bob
Well that explains it.
36 posted on 03/23/2002 11:21:29 AM PST by Khepera
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To: jesterhazy
Amazingly balanced (/sarcasm)
37 posted on 03/23/2002 11:22:46 AM PST by NC_Libertarian
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To: jesterhazy
I stopped reading right after the line that said liberals were screwed out of the 2000 election.
38 posted on 03/23/2002 11:26:11 AM PST by Humidston
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To: Canavan
This is pretty amusing. WOnder how the author defines himself.

You are joking right??

39 posted on 03/23/2002 11:32:40 AM PST by Sci Fi Guy
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To: nocomad
What a hoot. Bet this guy doesn't have too many friends..

He might, in fact, be great fun at parties after the third or fourth "freshening" of drinks, which would put his audience on the cusp of DUI, arrests for which would cause conservatives to be embarrassed and hire lawyers to defend them, liberals to blame their hosts and hire lawyers to prosecute them and libertarians to claim that police had no right to stop them in the first place, much less measure their body chemistry, and sue the government on that basis.

This was a great article. It caused me to laugh, grind my teeth, and think about several things. Luckily, after reading it, I'm still as wonderful as I was before.

To those of you who don't believe that, I'm going to get angry, then lose my sense of humor, then go cruising for illegal drugs and cheap, tawdry sex.

Can anyone spot me $20? Just until payday. Umm, make that $50.

40 posted on 03/23/2002 11:34:46 AM PST by ihatemyalarmclock
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To: tictoc
On his web site he defends the disgusting Ted Rall cartoon which mocked the widows of the WTC bombing, and Danny Pearl's widow, in the most vile way.

You aroused my interest in what John Scalzi actually said about the Rall cartoon(s) so I visted the website and read Scalzi's comments.

As I read it, Scalzi didn't 'defend' Rall (he claimed Rall didn't want to be defended) and he made the observation that the cartoon was offensive but that the artist had a point to make and although Scalzi didn't seem to have much enthusiasm for the 'point' (9/11 widows and greed) he appears to admire Rall for daring to make it.
A back-handed compliment, as it were.

Scalizi's comments regarding the cartoon mocking Mrs. Pearl were also rather bland; he thought that the fact she wasn't hysterical on TV interviews had something to do with her journalist background and a desire to thwart the kidnappers attempts at terrorizing her and the public. A valid point. Scalizi again didn't praise the cartoons, but the artists 'bravery' at drawing them, even though Rall knew they were offensive and probably unfair.

I had the impression that Scalizi was looking for some way to be on Rall's side, even when he couldn't approve of what the man had published. Liberals do this a lot, often where criminals are concerned. Any rationale that will absolve the offender is used, especially if he can be made to appear 'noble' in the process.
Tiresome and typical while liberals believe it to be intellectual and compassionate.

I don't share one iota of Scalizi's admiration for Rall but he didn't 'praise' the vile cartoons in question, he actually expressed a distaste for the material while admiring the 'honesty' of the artist. BS, but not quite as disgusting as your post implied. Thanks for the addy so we could check it out for ourselves.

41 posted on 03/23/2002 11:39:08 AM PST by Jim Scott
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To: jesterhazy
Talk about equal opportunity!

Oh please, liberals are described as the condescending champions of the poor and weak, humorless and dour.
While Conservatives Genuinely fear and hate those who are not "with" them , and have no volume control on their hate .

Those are hardly equal hits.

42 posted on 03/23/2002 11:41:38 AM PST by Sci Fi Guy
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To: weikel
Have you ever seen one that did?
43 posted on 03/23/2002 11:41:38 AM PST by purereason
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To: purereason
Among softcore liberals( ie they know on some level of their brain that the liberal BS is wrong) yesss hardcore liberals( the feminist are the worst type) no there is no reasoning, humour, logic etc with those brainwashed thugs.
44 posted on 03/23/2002 11:43:23 AM PST by weikel
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To: Sci Fi Guy
Being humourless is a pretty bad slam life is just too depressing if you don't keep a good sense of humour.
45 posted on 03/23/2002 11:47:25 AM PST by weikel
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To: weikel
Now your talking about liberal, not LIBERAL
46 posted on 03/23/2002 11:54:55 AM PST by purereason
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To: jesterhazy
Yet another P.J. O'Rourke wanna-be. He failed miserably.
47 posted on 03/23/2002 11:58:07 AM PST by Steve1789
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To: tictoc
"You can read it yourself here http://www.scalzi.com/xxxxxxx.xxx (major SLIME alert).

Suspect this guy only posted this article to get us to get hits on his web sight.(a lot of hits can mean advertising dollars)I'm not buying.

48 posted on 03/23/2002 12:00:42 PM PST by purereason
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To: jesterhazy
"I wonder how many of the people who profess to believe in the leveling ideas of collectivism and egalitarianism really just believe that they themselves are good for nothing. I mean, how many leftists are animated by a quite reasonable self-loathing? In their hearts they know that they are not going to become scholars or inventors or industrialists or even ordinary good kind people. So they need a way to achieve that smugness for which the left is so justifiably famous. They need a way to achieve self-esteem without merit. Well, there is politics. In an egalitarian world everything will be controlled by politics, and politics requires no merit. " -- P.J. O'Rourke

=============================================

The individual is the wellspring of conservatism. The purpose of conservative politics is to defend the liberty of the individual and - lest individualism run riot - insist upon individual responsibility.

The great religions (and conservatives are known for approving of God) teach salvation as an individual matter. There are no group discounts in the Ten Commandments, Christ was not a committee, and Allah does not welcome believers into Paradise saying, "You weren't much good yourself, but you were standing near some good people." That we are individuals - unique, disparate and willful - is something we understand instinctively from an early age. No child ever wrote to Santa: "Bring me - and a bunch of kids I've never met - a pony, and we'll share."

Virtue is famously lonely. Also vice, as anyone can testify who ever told his mother, "All the other guys were doing it." We experience pleasure separately; Ethan Hawke may go out on any number of wild dates, but I'm able to sleep through them. And, although we may be sorry for people who suffer, we only "feel their pain" when we're full of baloney and running for office.

The individual and the state

The first question of political science is - or should be: "What is good for everyone?" And, by "everyone" we must mean "all individuals."

The question can't be: "What is good for a single individual?" That's megalomania, which is, like a New Hampshire presidential primary, the art of politics, not political science.

And the question can't be: "What is good for some individuals?" Or even: "What is good for the majority of individuals?" That's partisan politics, which, at best, leads to Newt Gingrich or Pat Schroeder and, at worst, leads to Lebanon or Rwanda.

Finally, the question can't be: "What is good for individuals as a whole?" There's no such thing. Individuals are only available individually.

By observing the progress of mankind, we can see that the things that are good for everyone are the things that have increased the accountability of the individual, the respect for the individual and the power of the individual to master his own fate. Judaism gave us laws before which all men, no matter their rank, stood as equals. Christianity taught us that each person has intrinsic worth, Newt Gingrich and Pat Schroeder included. The rise of private enterprise and trade provided a means of achieving wealth and autonomy other than by killing people with broadswords. And the industrial revolution allowed millions of ordinary folks an opportunity to obtain decent houses, food and clothes (albeit with some unfortunate side effects, such as environmental damage and Albert Gore).

In order to build a political system that is good for everyone, that ensures a free society based upon the independence, prestige and self-rule of individuals, we have to ask what all these individuals want. And be told to shut up, because there's no way to know the myriad wants of diverse people. They may not know themselves. And who asked us to stick our nose in, anyway?

The Bill of Rights tries to protect our freedom not only from bad people and bad laws but also from the vast nets and gooey webs of rules and regulations that even the best governments produce. The Constitution attempts to leave as much of life as possible to common sense, or at least to local option. The Ninth Amendment states: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Continues the 10th Amendment, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

It is these suit-yourself, you're-a-big-boy-now, it's-a-free-country powers that conservatism seeks to conserve.

But what about the old, the poor, the disabled, the helpless, the hopeless, the addled and the daft?

Conservatism is sometimes confused with Social Darwinism or other such me-first dogmas. Sometimes the confusion is deliberate. When those who are against conservative policies don't have sufficient opposition arguments, they call love of freedom "selfish. " Of course it is - in the sense that breathing is selfish. But because you want to breathe doesn't mean you want to suck the breath out of every person you encounter. Conservatives do not believe in the triumph of the large and powerful over the weak and useless. (Although most conservatives would make an exception to see a fistfight between Norman Schwartzkopf and George Stephanopoulos. If all people are free, George Stephanopoulos must be allowed to run loose, too, however annoying this may be.)

But some people cannot enjoy the benefits of freedom without assistance from their fellows. This may be a temporary condition - such as childhood or being me when I say I can drive home from a bar, just fine, thank you very much, at three a.m. - or, due to infirmity or affliction, the condition may be permanent. Because conservatives do not generally propose huge government programs to combat the effects of old age, illness, being a kid or drinking 10 martinis on an empty stomach, conservatives are said to be "mean-spirited."

In fact, charity is an axiom of conservatism. Charity is one of the great responsibilities of freedom. But, in order for us to be responsible - and therefore free - that responsibility must be personal.

Not all needful acts of charity can be accomplished by one person, of course. To the extent that responsibility should be shared and merged, in a free society it should be shared and merged on the same basis as political power, which means starting with the individual. Responsibility must proceed from the bottom up - never from the top down, with the individual as the squeezed cream filling of the giant Twinkie that is the state.

There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as "caring" and "sensitive" because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he's willing to try to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he'll do good with his own money - if a gun is held to his head.

When government quits being something we use only in an emergency and becomes the principal source of aid and assistance in our society, then the size, expense and power of government are greatly increased. The decision that politicians are wiser, kinder and more honest than we are and that they, not we, should control the dispensation of eleemosynary goods and services is, in itself, a diminishment of the individual and proof that we're jerks.

Government charity causes other problems. If responsibility is removed from friends, family and self, social ties are weakened. We don't have to look after our parents; they've got their Social Security check and are down in Atlantic City with it right now. Parents don't have to look after their kids; Head Start, a high school guidance counselor and AmeriCorps take care of that. Our kids don't have to look after themselves; if they become addicted to drugs, there's methadone, and if they get knocked up, there's always AFDC. The neighbors, meanwhile, aren't going to get involved; if they step outside, they'll be cut down by the 9mm crossfire from the drug wars between the gangs all the other neighbors belong to.

Making charity part of the political system confuses the mission of government. Charity is, by its nature, approximate and imprecise. Are you guiding the old lady across the street or are you just jerking her around? It's hard to know when enough charity has been given. Parents want to give children every material advantage but don't want a pack of spoiled brats. There are no exact rules of charity. But a government in a free society must obey exact rules or that government's power is arbitrary and freedom is lost. This is why government works best when it is given limited and well-defined tasks to perform.

The preamble to the Constitution states: "We, the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare..." It doesn't say "guarantee the general welfare." And it certainly doesn't say "give welfare benefits to all the people in the country who aren't doing so well even if the reason they aren't doing so well is because they're sitting on their butts in front of the TV."

A liberal would argue that those people are watching television because they lack opportunities, they're disadvantaged, uneducated, life is unfair - and a conservative might actually agree. The source of contention between conservatives and liberals, the point at which the real fight begins, is when liberals say, "Government has enormous power; let's use that power to make things good."

It's the wrong tool for the job. The liberal is trying to fix my wristwatch with a ball peen hammer.

Government: Robin Hood or just robbing hoods?

Government is an abstract entity. It doesn't produce anything. It isn't a business, a factory or a farm. Government can't create wealth; only individuals can. All government is able to do is move wealth around. In the name of fairness government can take wealth from those who produce it and give wealth to those who don't. But who's going to be the big Robin Hood? Who grabs all this stuff and hands it back out? (Remember: even in a freely elected system of government, sooner or later that person is going t o be someone you loathe. If you're a Republican, think about Donna Shalala; if you're a Democrat, think about Ollie North.)

When government takes wealth from those who produce it, people become less inclined to produce more of it - or more inclined to hide it. Conversely, when government gives wealth to those who don't produce it, they too become less productive since they're already getting what they'd produce in return for not producing it.

If government is supposed to make things good, what kind of good is it supposed to make them? And how good is good enough? And who's going to decide? What person is so arrogant as to believe he knows what every other person in America deserves to get? (Well, actually, all of Washington, press and pundits included, is that arrogant. But never mind.)

We don't know what people want. By the same token, we don't know what people need. The government is going to wind up giving midnight basketball to people who don't have shoes to play in. Then there will be a block grant to provide shoes, which people will boil because what they really lack is something to eat. And that brings us to expanding the school lunch program. Pretty soon, it's not government, it's shopping. It's not Congress and the White House, it's Mall of America - and a bunch of politicians have your charge cards.

Individual liberty is lost when government stops asking "What is good for all individuals?" and starts asking "What is good?" To ask the latter question is to abandon a system in which all people are considered equal and to adopt a system in which all people are considered alike. Collective good replaces individual goodies. Government will make life fair. But since limited government is hardly suitable to a task of this magnitude, the role of government will need to be expanded enormously. Government will have to be involved in every aspect of our lives. Government will grow to a laughable size. Or it would be laughable except for our experience in this century.

Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China and dozens of smaller places around the world did indeed create just such leviathan governmental engines of "good," and the dreadful history of the 20th century is in large part a history of the terrible results of these collectivist endeavors. Once respect for the individual is lost, then what do 100 million dead individuals matter - especially if their deaths are for the "collective good"?

Of course, a liberal would say that a sharing and caring government doesn't have to turn out this way. It could be something like Sweden. And there you have it - the downside: 100 million people killed; the upside: ABBA, Volvos and suicide.

Why collectivism doesn't work

Why can't life be more fair? Why can't Americans take better care of each other? Why can't we share the tremendous wealth of our nation? Surely if enough safeguards of liberty are written into law and we elect vigorous, committed leaders...

Have another hit on the bong.

Collectivism doesn't work because it's based on a faulty economic premise. There is no such thing as a person's "fair share" of wealth. The gross national product is not a pizza that must be carefully divided because if I get too many slices, you have to eat the box. The economy is expandable and, in any practical sense, limitless.

Under collectivism, powers of determination rest with the entire citizenry instead of with the specific citizens. Individual decision-making is replaced by the political process. Suddenly, the system that elected the prom queen at your high school is in charge of your whole life. Besides, individuals are smarter than groups, as anybody who is a member of a committee or of a large Irish family after six in the evening can tell you. The difference between individual intelligence and group intelligence is the difference between Harvard University and the Harvard University football team.

Think of all the considerations that go into each decision you make: Is it ethical? Is it good in the long run? Who benefits? Who is harmed? What will it cost? Does it go with the couch? Now imagine a large group - imagine a very large group, say, 250 million people - trying to agree on every decision made by every person in the country. The result would be stupid, silly and hugely wasteful - in short, the result would be government.

Individuals are not only smarter than groups, they are also - and this is one of the best things about them - weaker than groups. To return to Harvard for a moment, it's the difference between picking a fight with the football team and picking a fight with Michael Kinsley.

Collectivism makes for a very large and, hence, very powerful group. This power is centralized in the government. Any power is open to abuse.

Government power is not necessarily abused more often than personal power, but when the abuse does come, it's a lulu. At work, power over the whole supply cabinet is concentrated in the person of the office manager. In government, power over the entire military is concentrated in the person of the commander-in-chief. You steal felt tip pens. Hitler invades Poland.

Most government abuse of power is practiced openly, and much of it is heartily approved by The Washington Post editorial board and other such proponents of the good and the fair. But any time the government treats one person differently than another because of the group to which that person belongs - whether it's a group of rich, special-interest tax dodgers or a group of impoverished, minority job-seekers - individual equality is lessened and freedom is diminished. Any time the government gives away goods and services - even if it gives them away to all people equally - individual dependence is increased and freedom is diminished. Any time the government makes rules about people's behavior when that behavior does not occasion real and provable harm to others - telling you to buckle your seat belt or forbidding you to publish pornography on the Internet - respect for the individual is reduced and freedom is diminished.

--P.J. O'Rourke

49 posted on 03/23/2002 12:15:16 PM PST by boris
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To: jesterhazy
He's a socialist-communist. It shows in the author's ignorance about all political philosophies, and in the smugness of his thoughts.

As it turns out about, about 46% of you are liberal, 46% of you are conservative, and the rest of you just want your guns, drugs and brothels (here in the US, we call them folks "libertarians").

Conservatives are rather fond of guns too, and the libartarians I know aren't in favor of brothels. As we've seen, even flaming lefty gun-grabbers like their guns- they just don't want others to have them.

In the spirit of fairness, and of completeness, let me go down the list and tell you what I hate about each major branch of political thinking.

Interesting that he leaves out some other political branches, like true socialism, which is far more 'major' than the little liberals these days.

The author clings more to the Naderite viewpoint, it appears- his gripes against liberals are those of another leftist, disgusted with the liberal's shortcomings in pursuing the left's goals:

Liberals: The stupidest and weakest members of the political triumvirate, they allowed conservatives to turn their name into a slur against them... Liberals champion the poor and the weak but do it in such condescendingly bureaucratic ways that the po' illedumacated Cleti would rather eat their own shotguns than associate with the likes of them.

(This last comment sets off my mean-spirited-condescending-liberal alert. Most gunowners are more educated than the liberals who seek to disarm them.)

Defensive and peevish even when they're right.

Only a lefty would ever entertain the idea that a liberal could be right.

Under the impression that people in politics should play fair, which is probably why they get screwed as often as they do (nb: 2000 Presidential election).

Only an EXTREME leftist, kool-aid-drinking naderite would be stupid enough to believe that any liberal thinks people in politics should play fair, when there are virtually no examples of liberal politicians who do play fair. Run-of-the-mill moderate lefties are not at all ashamed of dirty politics, abuse of power, plageurism, bribery, perjury, fried-chicken-dinners-for-votes, preying upon alzheimer's victims for votes, voting for John McCain in primaries, or of recording the cell phone conversations of conservatives.

Liberals are politically able to have all sorts of freaky mammal sex but typically don't;

Rosie, Janet Reno, Bill Clinton and Hillary don't have freaky mammal sex? How does this guy know what liberals do not do behind closed doors? This guy obviously has a higher opinion of liberals than I do- and has never seen a liberal in a pet shop gloating over the gerbils.

good liberal foreplay is a permission slip and three layers of impermeable barriers.

Don't be silly- it's a bottle of ecstacy and some everclear. Animals and small children don't require permission slips anyway.

The only vaguely liberal person we know of who seemed to enjoy sex in the last 30 years is Clinton, and look what he got out of it.

Clinton claimed that that wasn't sex. Remember?

Conservatives: Self-hating moral relativists, unless you can convince me that an intellectual class that publicly praises family values but privately engages in sodomy, coke and trophy wives is more aptly described in some other way.

Wow. Not one conservative I have known ever engaged in sodomy, and the last time I checked, coke was the drug of choice in the Clinton white house. The conservatives I know don't even know where to buy the stuff, unless they are cops who have to go to those locations to arrest perps once in a while. I'm not a moral relativist nor do I hate myself; and I am not ashamed of my past because my morality has kept me out of trouble.

Not every conservative is an old wealthy white man on his third wife, but nearly every conservative aspires to be so, which is a real waste of money, youth, race and women.

The only folks I know who are on their third wife are liberal or apolitical. And since I'm female and straight, I have no desire for any wife, much less a third one. I'm still trying to figure out why the author brought race into this...must be that typical leftist wordview shining through?

Genuinely fear and hate those who are not "with" them --

OK, got me there. I HATE socialists. I wouldn't have to fear them if they weren't teaching kids to be morons in public school.

the sort of people who would rather shit on a freshly-baked cherry pie than share it with someone not of their own tribe.

If I made the darn pie, I can do whatever I like with it. If you want some, you can buy a slice for $1.75. and I won't shit on it or even permit flies to land on it because I can make a profit off of the thing only if it looks and smells good to potential buyers. Now THAT's a conservative philosophy.

Conservatives believe in a government by the oligarchy, for the oligarchy, which is why the conservative idea of an excellent leader is Ronald Reagan, i.e., genial, brain-damaged and amenable to manipulation by his more mentally composed underlings.

'Fraid not. Reagan was brilliant and he defeated the pathetic excuses for political philosophy that flourished in his day- communism and the liberals. If he was 'brain damaged' when he did it, wouldn't that tell you all you need to know about the intelligence of his political opponents? Conservatives believe in the ideas espoused in the US constitution. You know- that document too many nonconservatives find inconvenient.

Under the belief they own the copyright on Jesus and get testy when other political factions point out that technically Christ is in the public domain.

Uh, no. Conservatives believe Jesus should be respected and Christian symbols should not be immersed in bottles of urine. Remember that cherry pie thing you talked about? Why is it that leftists want to shit on Christianity?

Conservatives don't actually bother to spend time with people who are not conservative, and thus become confused and irritable when people disagree with them;

I don't like to spend time with liberals because they try to dumb down everyone with whom they make contact. You can't go out to eat with them because they are snotty to the waiters and are tightwads when it comes to tipping. Worse, a real far lefty always tries to wrangle you into paying the entire bill. And then there is the sheer embarassment of hanging around with people who try to dress like streetpeople or who are covered head to toe in Persian cat fur.

fundamentally can't see how that's even possible (to dosagree with a conservative), which shows an almost charming intellectual naiveté.

Correction: we as conservatives are always stunned at how liberals don't recognize common sense when it slaps them upside the head.

Less interested in explaining their point of view than nuking you and everything you stand for into blackened cinders before your evil worldview catches on like a virus.

What the author doesn't like is that intellectually, conservatives CAN nuke libnerals into oblivion any time they can get a chance to speak without a liberal interrupting or trying to shout down the conservative.

Conservatives have no volume control on their hate and yet were shocked as Hell when Rush Limbaugh went deaf.

I hate socialism and communism. Outside of that, I'm the most loving person you'll ever know, because I don't hate people for their race, color or faith. I only hate those who try to destroy my freedom.

Conservatives clueless enough to think that having Condi Rice and Andrew Sullivan on the team somehow counts as diversity.

Diversity is overated if you mean that we have to conduct serious political debate with people who think there is a mother ship orbiting the earth waiting to destroy white people. It is overated if you mean that we have to treat NAMBLA and al-Qeada as political think-tanks with a legitimate point of view.

Pen their "thinkers" like veal in think tanks rather than let them interact with people who might oppose their views.

Please explain how we could prevent our thinkers from interacting with anyone they please? Don't confuse a person's desire not to waste time with mindless, stupid, leftist people. You can't fix 'stupid.' It is better to just make stupidity unfashionable.

Loathe women who are not willing to have their opinions as safely shellacked as their hair. Let their sons get caught with a dime bag and see how many are really for "zero-tolerance."

My son gets caught witrh a dime bag and he'll be begging the police to lock him away to keep him safe from Mom and Dad's ire. We stayed out of crime and drugs because Dad told us he would kill us if we didn't. And we were convinced that he was the type who might just do it, too. If my folks had Johnny Taliban as a son they would be buying the rope for the hangman.

Let a swarthy day laborer impregnate their daughters and find out how many of them are really pro-life.

My family raised up a lot of adopted kids left over from bad liberal decisions. Dad was pretty swarthy so I don't see your point here?

Libertarians: Never got over the fact they weren't the illegitimate children of Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand; currently punishing the rest of us for it. Unusually smug for a political philosophy that's never gotten anyone elected for anything above the local water board.

They are entitled to be smug; they at least have principles a leftist lacks.

All for legalized drugs and prostitution but probably wouldn't want their kids blowing strangers for crack;

Why not? Liberals think such behavior is the norm for their kids.

all for slashing taxes for nearly every social service but don't seem to understand why most people aren't at all keen to trade in even the minimal safety net the US provides for 55-gallon barrels of beans and rice, a crossbow and a first-aid kit in the basement.

I think the author confused the Reform Party with Libertarians here- Libertarians aren't big on survival supplies. I'll happily trade in the 'safety net' the US government unconstitutionally provides because I'll never benefit from it; it isn't my money to steal from my fellow citizens in the first place, and because if you are responsible, you have no need for a safety net provided by others, much less a useless one created by a bloated and criminally inefficient federal government.

Blissfully clueless that Libertarianism is just great as long as it doesn't actually involve real live humans.

The author confused communism with libertarianism here.

Libertarians blog with a frequency that makes one wonder if they're actually employed somewhere or if they have loved ones that miss them.

What the heck is 'blog?' Is it ebonics or what?

Libertarian blogs even more snide than conservative blogs, if that's possible. Socially slow -- will assume other people actually want to talk about legalizing hemp and the benefits of a polyamorous ethos when all these other folks really want is to drink beer and play Grand Theft Auto 3.

What other folks really want to steal cars? Is the author from East St. Louis? For the most part people would rather discuss tax cuts. ; )

Libertarianism the official political system of science fiction authors, which explains why science fiction is in such a rut these days. Libertarians often polyamorous (and hope you are too) but also somewhat out of shape, which takes a lot of the fun out of it.

The author seems to have a fixation on sex. Methinks he needs to find a date- that way he'll have less time to write drivel.

Easily offended; Libertarians most likely to respond to this column. The author will attempt to engage subtle wit but will actually come across as a geeky whiner

The author is right here- he does come across as a whiner, though I wouldn't call him a geek.

Libertarians secretly worried that ultimately someone will figure out the whole of their political philosophy boils down to "Get Off My Property."

Sounds like a VERY GOOD philosophy to me, libertarian or conservative.

I'm guessing you thought I was way off on your political philosophy but right on the button about the other two. Just think about that for a while.

Nope- I think you're way off about ALL these political philosophies. Now let's discuss yours.

50 posted on 03/23/2002 12:21:04 PM PST by piasa
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