Sunday, October 31, 2010

An Invitation to Condescend

Do Democrats think that Americans are stupid?

That has been the upshot of the rhetoric lately emanating from Obama, Biden, Kerry and Clinton. And since there are no more senior leaders of the donks than these, one might well think that Democrats do think Americans are stupid. So notes Jeff Jacoby this Sunday before the midterms.

We think Ds are more cynical than that, however. We don't think that they think that we're stupid. We think that they think that we want to be as condescending as they are. Their dumb-voters trope is nothing more than a shameless invitation to arrogance, to join the smart folks in scorning the idiots. Don't be one of those stupid people who don't know what's best for them, namely us. Join us, the folks who know what's smart!

Well, two can play at that game. We say, scorn the scorners; condescend to the condescending; show the people who call you stupid how stupid they are. The cool kids aren't cool anymore.

Final Word on So-Called Stimulus?

What does it take to summarize everything SWNID has been arguing about economics since the ascent of BHO to executive power?

It takes a paper by a Harvard University economist.

Jeffrey Miron, in fully documented PDF format, argues with plain speech, common sense and empirical data that the best stimulus is entirely different from what BHO enacted. The Obama stimulus functions poorly because it empowers politicians to make economic decisions, inevitably for political rather than economic reasons, and acts far too slowly to address the lack of demand during a recession. Further, Obama's so-called green-energy initiatives are impotent because they again operate on a political rather than an economic basis and because they simply re-employ employed workers in government-funded employment. Then there's the way that stimulus spending tends to become permanent, tends to reward cronies, and all that.

What does Miron suggest as superior? Well, get ready for it.

He wants corporate taxes not just reduced but eliminated. Corporate taxes retard investment and employment, thereby retarding productivity.

He wants entitlement taxes disconnected from entitlement spending. That is, no more payroll taxes, which retard employment and perpetuate that myth that we've paid for the benefits of these programs through our lifetimes.

He wants "green" programs replaced with energy taxes, offset with lower taxes in other areas to offset their drag on the overall economy.

Note well that the Obamanoids can't ever do this stuff. They live by the myth that corporations are evil, that government is the Great Patron and Protector of the Working Person. They do favors in exchange for votes from people who don't realize that the favors are no favor.

Rs aren't going to do enough of this stuff, either. But that hardly excuses a vote for the status quo, or a wasted vote for a third-party that supposedly is pure, or refusal to vote because it make no difference at all.

Preaching Versus Lecturing

For those who do either or both or listen to either or both, this review of Arthur Hunt's The Art of Hearing: English Preachers and their Audiences, 1590-1640, contains more than a few fun remarks.

Here's one of our faves:

So we underestimate how powerful these occasions could be - and how contentious. He has a powerful argument that it was almost a logical impossibility to preach a sermon that no one found offensive. Some people certainly snoozed through sermons (then and now); others sat and nursed hair-trigger sensitivities to any real or imagined slights.

On Those Awful Political Ads

We thank honorary co-blogger JB in CA for this gem:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In Honor of JB in CA . . .

We post this David Zucker minor masterpiece for all of our gentle readers on the Left Coast.

Definitive Advice on Church Planting

Are you the only Christ-follower in America not presently planting a new church? Then here's the expert advice you've been looking for!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SWNIDish Must-Reads

This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order.

So says the inimitable P. J. O'Rourke, stating with his usual acerbic hyperbole that the Donks are "drunk on power." P. J. knows about being drunk, so we take his analogy seriously. Read between the lines and you'll see O'Rourke, like a manic, modern-day Thomas Paine, warning citizens that they're being turned into clients.

More soberly, Amity Shlaes offers another precis of her celebrated history of the Great Depression and its relevance to the Great Recession. Then as now, no one will play a game when a single player--the federal government--can dominate all the others by setting new rules. Forgive the PDF file from the impassioned conservatives at Hillsdale College, for this is an essay worthy of reflection.

Is there a common thread here, aside from SWNIDish endorsement? Yes. It is that we have agreed to elect people who insist they're so much smarter than we, they need to tell us what to do all the time. Well, we insist otherwise, and not just because we know that "we," not "us," is correct following "than" in the previous sentence. We insist because of the self-evident truth articulated by St. Milton of Chicago: No one takes better care of your stuff than you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Coolidge Love Keeps Growing

Cato Institute blogger Daniel J. Mitchell has jumped on the Coolidge bandwagon, under the benevolent influence of Coolidge biographer Amity Shlaes. Mitchell goes so far as to suggest that Coolidge was the greatest President of the 20th century, no empty boast, in our view.

And Mitchell notes the timeliness of this artifact, the first-ever sound film made of an American President:

Adjust for scale and you have today's political debate and its clear resolution.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Timelessness of Gilbert and Sullivan

Even our gentle readers who are pleased with our President's performance in office will agree that here is an even finer performance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dems Concede OH-1 to Chabot

The Gray Lady reports that Democrats are giving up on OH-1 and Steve Driehaus.

That is to say, the Driehaus campaign will receive less than its promised allotment of party money for advertising. This is part of the Dems' rear-guard effort to redirect money to districts that might remain competitive.

We figured Chabot as a likely returnee to the House in 2010, once the district voted without Obama on the ticket. But as this election turns to a rout, Dems are having a harder time finding places to spend their trade union/George Soros dough.

Now the question is whether the White House can find enough cushy executive-branch jobs for all the ousted incumbent Democrats they'll owe favors to in 2011.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mitch Daniels: Coolidge Redivivus?

The estimable Michael Barone today asks the question that dare not speak its name (for fear of being accused of being financed by foreigners*):

Could nerdy Mitch Daniels displace ueber-cool Barack Obama as POTUS?

We certainly hope so!

*Full, voluntary disclosure: SWNID has no foreign funding. SWNID has no funding, period. That doesn't make us more objective; it does make us poorer.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Campaign Finance, The "Big Lie," and Ad Hominem Fallaciousness

When the Supremes overturned most campaign-finance laws on the basis of free-speech rights, many on the left declared the end of American democracy. Who knew that the prophecy would be self-fulfilling?

Presently the so-called Leader of the Free World is stumping with the hopeful trope that Republicans are getting secret advertising money from foreigners, oil companies, banks and other forces of darkness.

On the foreigners, BHO and his minions point especially to the Chamber of Commerce as financed by aliens. The protectors of political uprightness admit they have no evidence against the Chamber, whose leaders insist that they sequester foreign funds outside their political accounts. But the Obamanoids insist that the allegations are "serious" and so must be disproved by those against whom they make them.

Barack and his buds also show no interest in the similar financial arrangements of their patrons, such as the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club. Not that anyone should care: just being directly associated with these groups is a political liability at present.

This stratagem so warmly embraced by The One We've Been Waiting For is well known as the "big lie": say an unproved allegation often enough and people will take it for granted. Or so it is thought. We think otherwise.

Once willing to require of all political advertising only that the source of its financing be revealed, we now believe that there's no reason whatsoever to require even that. Disclosure of donors is pointless regulation that will do nothing to protect the integrity of our political processes.

And so gentle readers exclaim, How can you say such an outrageously counter-intuitive thing, SWNID? Has your long neglect of blogging atrophied your common sense?

Well, SWNID relies on uncommon sense, but that's not the point.

The point is twofold: the source of a message neither validates nor invalidates the message, and influence buying can only be stopped at the next election anyway.

To the former: we assert that it's an utterly settled principle of logic that an idea can't be invalidated because it comes from a suspicious source. If Genghis Khan says the sky is blue, the fact that he is a murderous tyrant does not invalidate his assertion. So why should the electorate care whence cometh the money that sponsors this or that ad? Let voters judge the message on its merits. Perhaps if they have only the message's merits on which to decide, they'll think about something other than the messenger for a change.

To the latter: prior to overturning campaign finance laws, previous Supremes argued that such laws were needed to avoid the appearance of influence-buying that unlimited campaign contributions can constitute. But we reason as follows: the presence of a big donation does not necessarily indicate that influence has been bought, and the absence of such donations does not assure that it exists. A corrupt politician can be bought with all kinds of things, including the promise of a sweet deal after he leaves office (ever wonder why politicians retire richer than when they entered office?). An honest politician can accept all kinds of gifts and never be influenced at all. But in any case, voters simply review the incumbent's record and decide whether he's been bought or not--or even if they approve of the way he's been bought.

Note well, gentle readers: we, so pessimistic about the capacities of our fellow humans, nevertheless believe that voters are the best people to sort these matters out. Let them decide whether they like this or that candidate's message or record, not whether they like who pays that candidate's bills. Voters may be stupid, but campaign finance regulations are stupider, let alone those who write and enforce them.

We figure that most folks already see through the unsubstantiated allegations that BHO is passing out this round in place of his signature hopium. They know what it's like to be called upon to prove they're honest, even when there's no evidence of their dishonesty. They remember what it was like to get detention in school because they were in a class where one person did a dastardly deed and so all were accused as accessories after the fact. They are unlikely to be comfortable with folks who resemble an enraged PE teacher running the Justice Department and such.

When America votes GOP in November, it won't be because their votes were bought, but because ideas and records matter.