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DENNIS PRAGER: ‘Does It Do Good?’ vs. ‘Does It Feel Good?’ Left-Right Differences: Part III

Reason asks: “Does it do good?” Liberalism asks, “Does it feel good?”

A fundamental difference between the left and right concerns how each assesses public policies. The right asks, “Does it do good?” The left asks a different question.

One example is the minimum wage. In 1987, The New York Times editorialized against any minimum wage. The title of the editorial said it all — “The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00.”

“There’s a virtual consensus among economists,” wrote the Times editorial, “that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market . … More important, it would increase unemployment. … The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable — and fundamentally flawed.”

Why did The New York Times editorialize against the minimum wage? Because it asked the conservative question: “Does it do good?”

But 27 years later, The New York Times editorial page wrote the very opposite of what it had written in 1987, and called for a major increase in the minimum wage. In that time, the page had moved further left and was now preoccupied not with what does good — but with income inequality, which feels bad. It lamented the fact that a low hourly minimum wage had not “softened the hearts of its opponents” — Republicans and their supporters.

As second example is affirmative action. Study after study — and, even more important, common sense and facts — have shown the deleterious effects that race-based affirmative action have had on black students. Lowering college admissions standards for black applicants has ensured at least two awful results.

One is that more black students fail to graduate college — because they have too often been admitted to a college that demands more academic rigor than they were prepared for. Rather than attend a school that matches their skills, a school where they might thrive, they fail at a school where they are over-matched.

The other result is that many, if not most, black students feel a dark cloud hanging over them. They suspect that other students wonder whether they, the black students, were admitted into the college on merit or because standards were lowered.

It would seem that the last question supporters of race-based affirmative action ask is, “Does it do good?”

A third example is pacifism and other forms of “peace activism.”

The left has a soft spot for pacifism — the belief that killing another human being is always immoral. Not all leftists are pacifists, but pacifism emanates from the Left, and just about all leftists support “peace activism,” “peace studies” and whatever else contains the word “peace.”

The right, on the other hand, while just as desirous of peace as the left — what conservative parent wants their child to die in battle? — knows that pacifism and most “peace activists” increase the chances of war, not peace.

Nothing guarantees the triumph of evil like refusing to fight it. Great evil is therefore never defeated by peace activists, but by superior military might. The Allied victory in World War II is an obvious example. American military might likewise contained and ultimately ended Soviet Communism.

Supporters of pacifism, peace studies, American nuclear disarmament, American military withdrawal from countries in which it has fought — Iraq is the most recent example — do not ask, “Does it do good?’

Did the withdrawal of America from Iraq do good? Of course not. It only led to the rise of Islamic State with its mass murder and torture.

So, then, if in assessing what public policies to pursue, conservatives ask “Does it do good?” what question do liberals ask?

The answer is, “Does it make people — including myself — feel good?”

Why do liberals support a higher minimum wage if doesn’t do good? Because it makes the recipients of the higher wage feel good (even if other workers lose their jobs when restaurants and other businesses that cannot afford the higher wage close down) and it makes liberals feel good about themselves: We liberals, unlike conservatives, have soft hearts.

Why do liberals support race-based affirmative action? For the same reasons. It makes the recipients feel good when they are admitted to more prestigious colleges. And it makes liberals feel good about themselves for appearing to right the wrongs of historical racism.

The same holds true for left-wing peace activism: Supporting “peace” rather than the military makes liberals feel good about themselves.

Perhaps the best example is the self-esteem movement. It has had an almost wholly negative effect on a generation of Americans raised to have high self-esteem without having earned it. They then suffer from narcissism and an incapacity to deal with life’s inevitable setbacks. But self-esteem feels good.

And feelings — not reason — is what liberalism is largely about. Reason asks: “Does it do good?” Liberalism asks, “Does it feel good?”

 

This column was originally posted on TownHall.com

Personal Libert Digest New

morality concept

Advancing deviancy advances collectivism

Following a week or more of in-your-face coverage of Bruce Jenner’s posing as a woman on a magazine cover and exposing his psychological problems to the world, the Occupation Safety and Health Administration has issued a four-page guideline for employers to provide transgender-friendly restroom facilities. Coincidence? I think not.

The mainstream media glorified Jenner for his “courage.” ESPN, one of the leading proponents of perversion today, picked Jenner as its recipient of this year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award to be presented at the ESPY Awards in July. This was too much for even Bob Costas to stomach.

The OSHA guidelines, while not yet binding but likely soon will be (especially once the Supreme Court OKs gay “marriage”), will require employers to ensure restrooms are accessible to people according to their “inner gender” as opposed to their natural plumbing. But assigning gender-confused people their own restroom is not acceptable to the agency. Among the best policies, OSHA writes, are for the employer to provide “additional options, which employees may choose, but are not required to use” include:

  • Single-occupancy gender-neutral (unisex) facilities; and
  • Use of multiple-occupant, gender-neutral restroom facilities with lockable single occupant stalls.

So “Men” and “Women” on the restroom doors no longer will have meaning and, under the guidelines, will likely just be removed. And that man ogling your wife or daughter can follow them into the restroom with no questions asked.

A New World Order in social evolution has emerged over the past couple of decades, and it’s not the world your granddad knew.

How has the American nation fallen so far that a growing number of the masses and almost all the politicians not only accept but endorse the sodomites and “gender-confused” and all the sick things they do? The answer is: tolerance. The politicians and the propaganda machine have taught Americans to tolerate everything except that which is godly.

Fyodor Dostoevsky warned that without God, all bad things are possible.

Note that all major religions focus on “tolerance.” They tolerate everything but Christianity.

All those bad things have come to pass in America’s toleration of sodomy and the “gender-confused” as a “civil right” and “lifestyle.”

The secret truth is that sodomy is so much more. It is the secret ritual of political power. It is a recruitment tool for global collectivism. Globalism, with its underlying principle of collectivism and its secret ritual of sodomy is not primarily an economic or political development. Globalism, collectivism and sodomy are the result of moral decline on a mass scale.

We now have in this country state-approved abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, a “green” movement that exalts nature above people and much, much more.

Included in this “much, much more” would be Keynesian economics, gun control, confiscatory taxation, mass government spying, unquestioned support of Big Brother Government to the point of neighbors snitching on each other, corporate-government development of laws and public policy, and media-government collaborative propaganda.

It is all collectivism. It is all totalitarianism. All of these features of Nazism are features of modern democracy. One of my favorite formulas revealing the true nature of collectivism is: Communism = socialism = Nazism = democracy = occultism. The past 100 years will go down in history as the most successful hundred years of collectivism, led by the socialist democracy of the United States.

The great irony is that because of the occult power of collectivist propaganda, when one criticizes any of the things of collectivism he is the one who is falsely branded a “fascist.” As the kids on the playground exclaim, it takes one to know one!

Personal Libert Digest New

obamacare concept

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling later this month that could have devastating consequences for Obamacare. The badly misnamed Affordable Care Act, which established Obamacare, states very clearly that federal subsidies for health insurance would be offered only to people who signed up through state exchanges.

But when 37 states refused to establish state exchanges for the federally mandated health insurance, the federal government agreed to provide subsidies to people who got their coverage through the federal exchange. As a result, an estimated 6 million people are getting federal subsidies who otherwise would not qualify for them.

This is the basis of King vs. Burwell, the lawsuit now before the Supreme Court. At a news conference on Monday, Obama displayed an interesting bit of bravado when he declared, “There is no reason why the existing exchanges should be overturned through a court case.” Why, of course there is, Mr. President. It’s called obeying what the law says, not what you wish it said.

Trying to sound more optimistic than he probably is, the president went on to say, “This should be an easy case.” In fact, he added, “It probably shouldn’t even have been taken up,” by the court.

Hmmm, telling the nine justices on the Supreme Court that they shouldn’t even have agreed to hear the case in the first place probably isn’t the best way to get them on your side. But Obama said he is so optimistic that the Supreme Court will rule in his favor that his administration hasn’t even discussed a back-up plan, in case the court rules against the policy. Besides, he added, “Congress could fix this whole thing with a one-sentence provision.”

Of course, that is not going to happen. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.), who is the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, said: “Let’s be clear: If the Supreme Court rules against the administration, Congress will not pass a so-called ‘one-sentence’ fake fix.” And he added, “Instead of bullying the Supreme Court, the president should spend his time preparing for the reality that the court may soon rule against his decision to illegally issue tax penalties and subsidies on Americans in two-thirds of the country.”

We’ll know by the end of this month how the Supreme Court will rule. But remember, this is the same Court that said Obamacare was constitutional because it is a tax — despite the fact that Obama was adamant it was not. This wouldn’t be the first time the court turned logic and plain language upside down in one of its rulings.

Still, I suspect the president’s bravado is because his advisers have warned him that the court is likely to rule against him. Otherwise, why would he try to browbeat the court before it issues its ruling, with comments like this one:

I think it’s important for us to go ahead and assume that the Supreme Court is going to do what most legal scholars who’ve looked at this would expect them to do.

Sounds like somebody whistling past a graveyard, doesn’t it? If Obama were really confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the federal subsidies, he’d skip the smug comments and just smile for the cameras.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that the president played fast and loose with the truth. Shame on us if we’d expect anything else from him.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

ratplogo

WHEN: Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 7 pm

WHERE: The Palazzo Grande Banquet Hall

54660 Van Dyke (South of 25 Mile Road)  Shelby Township, Michigan 48316

The Benghazi Brief: Operation Zero Footprint

What Washington D.C. Doesn’t Want You to Know!

The Benghazi Brief will give you an understanding of how and why, in the post 9-11-12 era, terrorists attacked our U.S. embassy in Benghazi. Gary Kubiak, leader of the SE Michigan 9.12

Tea Partywill deliver a fascinating presentation revealing the White House’s underlining mission in both Libya and Syria. Learn why Hillary is not the only one who never wants the

American public to know the truth about the attack and the circumstances surrounding it. Discover why both Democrats and Republicans want to keep the real story hidden from the

light of day. Each time Gary’s video is posted on Facebook, it mysteriously disappears from the page! The brave men who died in the Benghazi attack deserve to have the truth be known!

Gary Kubiak

Gary worked 38 years in the printing paper industry. 30 of those years as a salesmen in the metro Detroit area, selling to commercial print shops.

He has been retired now for over 4 years. He is currently the president of the SE Michigan 9.12 Tea Party. “While serving in the 912 TP, I’ve gotten to know great patriotic people who

want to make a difference in preserving our freedoms of this great country.”

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by Diana Stancy 

A group of House Republicans unveiled a 192-page health care plan that fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with “patient-centered reforms” and “free-market solutions.”

“American citizens are suffering from the president’s broken promises under the unaffordable Obamacare law,” says @AustinScottGA08

Lawmakers released the plan Thursday as the GOP-led Congress prepares to attack the Affordable Care Act. Both houses of Congress have already signaled their intentions to repeal Obamacare by a simple majority vote using the reconciliation process—just as the law was passed in 2010.

The new GOP plan, American Health Care Reform Act, was written by Reps. Phil Roe of Tennessee and Austin Scott of Georgia. It has the backing of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus made up of nearly 170 members of the House of Representatives.

Authors of the plan say it’s an “aspirational model” of American health care.

“This is not the perfect bill,” said Roe, who worked as a physician for more than 20 years prior to joining Congress. “We’re open for amendments.”

Highlights of the bill include removing any subsidy assistance, increasing tax benefits, expanding federal funding for state “high-risk pools,” allowing Americans to purchase policies across state lines, reforming medical liability laws, and investing in research for the most common causes of death in the United States.

There is nothing in the legislation that requires health plans to provide coverage for abortion services. Using federal funds to pay for elective abortions is specifically prohibited, except in the case of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is jeopardized.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., author of the Republican Study Committee's health reform bill. (Credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)

While introducing the legislation to a small group of reporters, members of the Republican Study Committee slammed the Affordable Care Act.

“Access to a waiting line is not access to health care,” said Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky. He called Obamacare a “spectacular and breathtaking failure.”

“American citizens are suffering from the president’s broken promises under the unaffordable Obamacare law,” Scott added. “That’s why today, I am proud to join my colleagues in offering a plan that fully repeals Obamacare while replacing it with a patient-centered, free-market alternative.”

The American Health Care Reform Act covers four broad areas:

 

1) Encouraging Competition in the Health Care Market. The Republican Study Committee criticized the Affordable Care Act for not offering competition in health care.

“There’s less competition in the health care system than ever before,” Scott said.

The proposed legislation addresses this issue by allowing Americans to purchase health insurance products across state lines. Small businesses also are permitted to merge together to coordinate better rates.

Scott said adding more insurance carriers into the health care market is paramount to providing more competition.

2) Improving Access for Vulnerable Americans. Federal support for state high-risk pools will increase to $25 billion over 10 years.

Under the bill, premiums would be capped at 200 percent of the state’s premium average. Additionally, those with pre-existing conditions can alternate between health insurance markets, provided they maintain “continuous coverage.”

Roe said veterans would be positively impacted and would receive a Veterans Choice Card, providing more health care options.

3) Supporting Medical Breakthroughs. The bill provides funding for an eight-year, $15 billion Medical Breakthrough Fund at the National Institutes of Health to develop cures for the top five causes of death in the United States: heart disease, cancer, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. These conditions kill more than 1.5 million people each year.

There’s also a $1 billion prize for the first FDA-approved cure or vaccine for Alzheimer’s.

“Alzheimer’s costs a lot, and I’m not talking about just dollars,” said Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., who noted that finding a vaccine for Alzheimer’s would save the government a significant amount of money.

4) Reforming Medical Liability Laws. The bill identifies several solutions to the medical liability crisis, which increases health care costs and deters physicians from practicing, according to lawmakers.

Solutions include requiring review by an independent panel prior to malpractice discovery and a “voluntary right of removal to federal court so long as there is a federal payer or a federal statute.” Barr said that this reform increases the quality of care by establishing national guidelines for physicians to follow and helps reduce “frivolous lawsuits.”

The legislation wouldn’t replace the current subsidy structure that exists under the Affordable Care Act, which provides aid to those who cannot afford health insurance.

Regardless, Barr claimed the House bill’s provisions are preferable to a subsidy.

“We are doing something better than the status quo before Obamacare and under Obamacare,” Barr said. “We give patients choices.”

CAPCON LOGO

Good work, but more still to be done

The Michigan House Judiciary committee has passed a package of bills that would reform Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws. Currently, law enforcement officials are able to seize private property from residents and give it to government agencies, even if no one is convicted of a crime.

You can read the Mackinac Center’s past work on the issue here.

The bill package deals with mandating reporting requirements of law enforcement agencies and raising the standard of proof that must be met before property can be forfeited.

The transparency bills were passed almost unanimously by the 11-person committee. The state only has a rough idea how much property is forfeited each year to local law enforcement units, and the bills would require more reporting and greater detail.

House bills 4500, 4503, 4504, 4506, and 4507, and 4508 were supported by Representatives Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township; Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township; Joel Johnson, R-Clare; Triston Cole, R-Bellaire; Jim Runestad, R-White Lake; Martin Howrlyak, R-Troy; Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth Township; Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor; Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit; Vanessa Guerra, D-Saginaw; Mary Rose Robinson, D-Detroit. (Rep. Heise did not vote on 4504.)

House Bill 4508, sponsored by Rep. Irwin, would limit forfeiture in cases involving less than one ounce of marijuana, if the drug was being used for personal use. In other words, someone possessing a small amount of marijuana could be charged with a crime, but law enforcement could not confiscate their vehicle or property. The bill was supported by all members of the committee except Rep. Heise.

House Bill 4505, sponsored by Rep. Lucido, and HB 4499, sponsored by Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, would raise the standard of proof needed to justify seizing private property. Currently, law enforcement must demonstrate that a “preponderance of the evidence” (51 percent) shows the property to be the tool or fruit of a crime. These bills would raise that to a “clear and convincing” (67 percent) standard, which is still not as high as the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard required for criminal convictions. HB 4505 passed with all voting yes except Rep. Guerra, who voted “no” and Heise, who abstained. HB 4499 passed 7-2, with Rep. Guerra and Rep. Robinson voting “no” and Reps. Heise and Howrlyak abstaining.

The Legislature should require a criminal conviction before property can be given over to the state. North Carolina has long outlawed civil asset forfeiture, and New Mexico recently voted to prohibit it in April of 2015 (requiring both people and property to be tried in criminal justice system together).

Regardless of what crime someone is alleged to have committed, residents must be convicted before they can be punished, and this standard should also apply to their private property. The Legislature should continue moving toward that ultimate protection of constitutional rights.

Truth Revolt

Today’s Climate Change Doom is Yesterday’s Overpopulation Hysteria

In 1968, Standford University biologist Dr. Paul Ehrlich wrote the millions-selling book The Population Bomb which predicted nothing short of the global extinction of humankind due to starvation caused by an overpopulated planet.

Some of his predictions included the end of England by the year 2000, 65 million Americans starved to death by the 1970s, and an overcrowded India leading to its own demise. Of course, none of these prophecies was fulfilled and the Earth’s population has now surpassed seven billion — double that of the ’60s.

But Ehrlich’s warnings were heeded by many at that time through reading his book and watching his various appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The media was all over the story sharing the professor’s warnings. President Richard Nixon made headlines urging Congress to “attack” overpopulation. It was mass hysteria perpetrated and legitimized by the media and the government.

Followers of Ehrlich’s group Zero Population Growth (ZPG) began the movement by altering the dynamics of their own families. Many “stood up” for the cause by only having one or two children and encouraged others to do the same. All the while, Ehrlich was broadcasting his own twisted views of population control by suggesting “compulsion if voluntary methods fail” and organizing boycotts of people, companies, or products that violate the efforts of population control. He even offered “responsibility prizes” for childless marriages and proposed an extra tax of $600 to families with two children, and an additional $1,200 per child born thereafter. To top it off, a luxury tax was suggested on cribs and diapers.

Stewart Brand, a former follower of Ehrlich’s overpopulation fears, reflects back on his association with ZPG in a fascinating Retro Report by The New York Times:

How many years do you have to not have the world end to decide that whatever reason you thought the world was going to end — it actually, maybe, didn’t end because that reason was wrong?

Brand is just one of Ehrlich’s former believers that appear in the NYT mini-documentary (embedded below) that not only highlights the ZPG fallacies, but touches on the actual and current phenomenon of population implosion and its impact on the world. Brand suggests that because many countries’ population demographics are going in the opposite direction of too many, the headlines when the Earth reaches nine billion inhabitants in the next 30 years will be, “Oh, my God. We’re running out of people.”

Though Ehrlich now admits he was wrong about his predictions, he still believes that the population is out of control and the world’s end is just a matter of time. But now, his end-times visions, echoed today by many, include fears of overconsumption leading to global warming:

My language would be even more apocalyptic today. The idea that every woman should have as many babies as she wants is, to me, exactly the same kind of idea as everybody ought to be permitted to throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor’s back yard as they want.

Climate change is the new overpopulation hysteria. The Obama administration now claims that global warming is a threat to national security, it will impact how the military responds during a crisis, it will continue allowing terror groups to gain strongholds, and will directly contribute to a rise in poverty around the world.

For decades, dire predictions about the world’s end due to global warming have been spread through the mainstream media and by politicians who assure that their data is backed by the most respected scientists. Based on many of those prophecies, the oceans should have risen and engulfed entire cities by now and sea ice should be almost non-existent. Yet, that is not the case at all.

This is where Brand’s question is very timely and worth repeating: “How many years do you have to not have the world end to decide that whatever reason you thought the world was going to end — it actually, maybe, didn’t end because that reason was wrong?”

Home

PRAGER: Differences Between Left and Right, Part I

“If you can’t explain both sides, how do you know you’re right?”

Most Americans hold either liberal or conservative positions on most matters. In many instances, however, they would be hard pressed to explain their position or the position they oppose.

But if you can’t explain both sides, how do you know you’re right?

At the very least, you need to understand both the liberal and conservative positions in order to effectively understand your own.

I grew up in a liberal world — New York, Jewish and Ivy League graduate school. I was an 8-year-old when President Dwight Eisenhower ran for re-election against the Democratic nominee, Adlai Stevenson. I knew nothing about politics and had little interest in the subject. But I well recall knowing — knowing, not merely believing — that Democrats were “for the little guy” and Republicans were “for the rich guys.”

I voted Democrat through Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976. He was the last Democrat for which I voted.

Obviously, I underwent an intellectual change. And it wasn’t easy. Becoming a Republican was emotionally and psychologically like converting to another religion.

In fact, when I first voted Republican I felt as if I had abandoned the Jewish people. To be a Jew meant being a Democrat. It was that simple. It was — and remains — that fundamental to many American Jews’ identity.

Therefore, it took a lot of thought to undergo this conversion. I had to understand both liberalism and conservatism. Indeed, I have spent a lifetime in a quest to do so.

The fruit of that quest will appear in a series of columns explaining the differences between left and right.

I hope it will benefit conservatives in better understanding why they are conservative, and enable liberals to understand why someone who deeply cares about the “little guy” holds conservative — or what today are labeled as conservative — views.

Difference No. 1: Is Man Basically Good?

Left-of-center doctrines hold that people are basically good. On the other side, conservative doctrines hold that man is born morally flawed — not necessarily born evil, but surely not born good. Yes, we are born innocent — babies don’t commit crimes, after all — but we are not born good. Whether it is the Christian belief in Original Sin or the Jewish belief that we are all born with a yetzer tov (good inclination) and a yetzer ra (bad inclination) that are in constant conflict, the root value systems of the West never held that we are naturally good.

To those who argue that we all have goodness within us, two responses:

First, no religion or ideology denies that we have goodness within us; the problem is with denying that we have badness within us. Second, it is often very challenging to express that goodness. Human goodness is like gold. It needs to be mined — and like gold mining, mining for our goodness can be very difficult.

This so important to understanding the left-right divide because so many fundamental left-right differences emanate from this divide.

Perhaps the most obvious one is that conservatives blame those who engage in violent criminal activity for their behavior more than liberals do. Liberals argue that poverty, despair, and hopelessness cause poor people, especially poor blacks — in which case racism is added to the list — to riot and commit violent crimes.

Here is President Barack Obama on May 18, 2015:

“In some communities, that sense of unfairness and powerlessness has contributed to dysfunction in those communities. … Where people don’t feel a sense of hope and opportunity, then a lot of times that can fuel crime and that can fuel unrest. We’ve seen it in places like Baltimore and Ferguson and New York. And it has many causes — from a basic lack of opportunity to some groups feeling unfairly targeted by their police forces.”

So, poor blacks who riot and commit other acts of violence do so largely because they feel neglected and suffer from deprivations.

Since people are basically good, their acts of evil must be explained by factors beyond their control. Their behavior is not really their fault; and when conservatives blame blacks for rioting and other criminal behavior, liberals accuse them of “blaming the victim.”

In the conservative view, people who do evil are to be blamed because they made bad choices — and they did so because they either have little self-control or a dysfunctional conscience. In either case, they are to blame. That’s why the vast majority of equally poor people — black or white — do not riot or commit violent crimes.

Likewise, many liberals believe that most of the Muslims who engage in terror do so because of the poverty and especially because of the high unemployment rate for young men in the Arab world. Yet, it turns out that most terrorists come from middle class homes. All the 9/11 terrorists came from middle- and upper-class homes. And of course Osama bin Laden was a billionaire.

Material poverty doesn’t cause murder, rape or terror. Moral poverty does. That’s one of the great divides between left and right. And it largely emanates from their differing views about whether human nature is innately good.