The TRUTH SQUAD that isn’t
John in Firestone send along the following, found on facebook and posted by “someone educated at a boarding high school and an Ivy League university, who now has a Master’s degree” — which means only that he when s/he is wrong, s/he can do so with sneering dismissiveness and a wellspring of buzzwords that serve to raise the antennae of other members of the hive mind.
That is not to say this is the condition of all “academics.” But rather, it is to say that it is the general stance taken by the vast majority of academics who have survived the ideological homogenization of most major universities, particularly in their Humanities and Social Science programs.
The mini-rant is packed full of misinformation, baseless eliptical assertion meant to be suggestive of some fraught point never truly spelled out or given any kind of factual support, and — most scary of all — a confident, arrogant, and even aggressive willingness to bracket out the obvious fact that Biden’s rhetorical strength last night, when it came, was generally built around the repetition of lies and caricaturing of his Republican opponent.
So. In the spirit of brotherhood — and for the good of the country — let’s take a few steps into this manure pile and see if we can’t take away from it maybe a diamond or two that this privileged moron may have swallowed.
Here’s the rant as it was presented to me:
Fine. Okay. Now, how to go about unpacking what is already a highly compressed piece of agitprop masquerading as righteous indignation and championing of the little guy?
And the good news is, my strategy would be a simple one. And would provide, as the left likes to say, a teachable moment. To wit:
Begin you answer with “what are the founding principles as you’d explain them? You ask if Ryan even knows them, but in order to assess that we first need to know what you believe them to be, because it is you who is questioning his understanding of those principles.” If your interlocutor replies, then you can go one of two ways, depending on the answer given: as an Ivy league grad with a Master’s degree, s/he will almost certainly realize they are being set up. And so they will likely try to avoid a gotcha by (poorly, and in a watered down manner) cite and explain natural rights, individual liberty, consent of the governed, etc. If he does, you can then point all the ways both parties routinely overstep their authority at the federal level — while pointing out that it is the left, however, which does far more aggressively, a result of their not believing in the very constraints on government and the protections of individual liberty they take an oath to uphold. As proof, point to Dahlia Litwick or Ezra Klein or Thomas Friedman or others on the left who decry the “fetishizing of the Constitution” and launch queries against its continued applicability, given that it is, like, over 100-years-old and really kinda confusing. Unlike, say, Derrida.
If, however, the answer proffered doubled down and tries to define a leftist spin on the founding principles (most likely this will include a lot of talk of positive rights couched in the language of fairness and civil rights), calmly alert him to the fact that you’ve found where the confusion in his worldview lies — and counsel him to study more and pontificate less. Then ask, almost as an aside, what is the left’s governing end game? When do we know we’ve reached that point?
Explain how positive rights granted by government — as distinct from natural rights that protect men from tyranny — rely, of necessity, on the usurpation of the labor and or private property of others. If “everyone has a right to health care,” point out that everyone has health care available to them now; the problem is, some can’t pay for it. Which is why we have safety nets like Medicaid and medicare. But the idea that the government can step in and set prices and tell doctors and nurses and private insurance firms what they must charge and who they must treat — that’s indentured servitude. It’s a form of slavery. Which of course is the natural condition of the subject under even a tyranny that considers itself benevolent.
Follow this with a discussion of Ryan’s plans and papers and budget proposals — and his willingness to work across the aisle to fix what he rightly sees as a looming economic and fiscal disaster. Point to the actuary reports from Medicare and Social Security. Point to the CBO reports noting that such entitlements are unsustainable without a serious reform. Did Biden offer any reform ideas last evening? If so, what were they? Because what he did do was demagogue the loss of certain benefits and payouts should their be reforms such as those proposed by Romney Ryan — without taking the obvious next step, which any thinking human knows is this: a decline in the amount and breadth of entitlement coverage (and Ryan noted that means testing would be a factor in determining whose returns on their lifelong investment are cut most; w/ the poor and the sick guaranteed full retention of their benefits) is preferential to the complete and utter bankrupting of the programs themselves. Which means, at first, an automatic decrease of 25% in benefits, and finally, nothing. Because the money isn’t there, and you can’t simply print more of it and expect to hold its value.
Something is greater than nothing. So when it comes to assessing empty suits, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to ascribe that characterization to the man who offered nothing while trying to attack the man who has produced detailed, vetted, reviewed plans for real reform?
As a follow up to that point, provide links to independent assessments of the Romney/Ryan plan; and a link to the WaPo piece reluctantly debunking the oft-repeated big lie of a $5 tax cut for the rich (and Stephanie Cutter’s reluctant corroboration). Point out that just because Obama and Biden keep repeating the debunked claim — and doing so “passionately” — doesn’t make it any more true. That is, unless you wish to elevate form over function, which is the very kind of superficial governance for which empty suits and demagogues are renowned. The fact is, the cuts in taxes that will lead to an initial theoretical decrease in government revenues do not need to be made revenue neutral by reforms to the tax code alone. Spending cuts, job growth, economic reinvestment, etc — all of these things provide the revenue that is “lost” by the federal government, and it does so in a way that allows people to keep more of their earnings, while teaching the federal government that all money does not belong to them, and they can determine how much of it we deserve to keep. It’s a fundamental difference: liberty vs. tyranny.
As for the “Lyin Ryan” bit. Here’s what you do: Ask, who said last evening that the Administration has no knowledge of requests for added security — keeping in mind that he made the claim it last night, long after the story broke, long after the Congressional hearing provided the testimony that solidified the veracity of that version of events. Was it Biden or Ryan who made that claim?
It having been Biden, ask: does the VP still not know additional security was requested? Because millions of Americans are aware — and it would be an astounding admission by the Vice President were he to admit, in a VP debate setting, to being less informed that the vast majority of the citizenry.
And just so your interlocutor can trust what you’re telling him, provide a link to the Libya memo calling for added security; or to the testimony of one of those in Libya so outraged that they went before Congress and expressed just such outrage, noting that the added security was both called for and rejected.
You might follow this to a link to Carney or Cutter saying, on video, that the President called the Libya attack an “act of terror within 24 hours” — and then juxtapose these statements with the President’s later appearance on Letterman, or his speech at the UN, where he is still blaming the YouTube clip. Which begs the question, if the President knew within 24 hours, how can Biden claim that the intelligence was faulty? If the State Department, which was able to monitor the siege in real time knew that there were no spontaneous protests, why was that story allowed to play out for several weeks? And why was the Secretary of State, who was among the first to know what actually happened, standing over the coffins of our dead blaming a YouTube video and scapegoating a US citizen well after the information had been assimilated? After all, some consulate members escaped and were able to report events almost immediately. So are we to believe that the Vice President hasn’t heard any of this — from the Congressional testimony to the time line claims of his Administrations Press Secretary and the campaign’s deputy director? Is that what we’re to believe?
And if so, who is operating on blind faith — Ryan or Biden?
For good measure, and to provide punctuation to the response, attach a picture of the hapless YouTube filmmaker, his face covered, being escorted from his home. Note that he’s still in jail. Note that both our government at its highest levels and our media purposely and aggressively fingered this man, scapegoating him in such a loathsome and unconscionable way that even when a Pakistani official put a bounty on his head, the US response was to keep up the ruse and run ads in Pakistan apologizing for our First Amendment — while many members of the media launched into musings about how the First Amendment might need to be altered or reconfigured to bracket out “hate” and “intolerance,” in essence, positing a revision that would invert the intent of the amendment and create a government-approved speech code within which we are permitted to speak freely. Just like the Founders and Framers wanted!
Finally, you might also point out that Biden — who made his quips about putting wars on credit cards — voted for both wars while denying he did so last evening. Those votes are easy enough to find. And in addition to those votes, I’m also certain that he pushed for even more spending than did Republicans under Bush. As did Obama, who let’s not forget has a Senate record as well.
Too, Biden backed the Presidents entry into Libya without congressional discussion or approval. Ask your interlocutor, how would s/he define an illegal war and an imperial presidency?
All of which is a way to ask, so, who’s the liar here?
Conclude thus: do you agree with JFK’s assessment that a rising tide lifts all boats. Do you acknowledge that the Reagan years reversed the Carter malaise — bringing down inflation, creating millions of new jobs, and giving the US a booming economy that lasted for 25 years? Ask about the Laffer curve. Ask if s/he believes businesses will invest where they are taxed least and if that, in his or her estimation, would have an effect on job growth and increased revenue collection. The ask if s/he’d support a flat tax, the very definition if “fair”. If not, why not? Because if we’re all to have skin in the game, isn’t it problematic that 47% of us don’t?
Too, point out that the progressive income tax comes from Marx. Which is why the left’s fidelity to using it as a wealth redistribution agent for cronies and clients both explains why we call the ideology they are operating under Marxist, and simultaneously show the inherent flaws in the ideology: once the majority can vote themselves the property and labor of the minority, we live in a full blown tyranny.
Incidentally, Ryan voted for the one-time stimulus. So naturally he would have requested stimulus money for his state. Biden’s whole attitude — that he had the almost kingly power to grant that request, for which Ryan should be grateful and not now criticize the failure of the stimulus as it was implemented — bespeaks an attitude more befitting a dictatorship than a constitutional republic.
The fact is, only 6% of the stimulus money was used on the “shovel-ready jobs” Obama promised. Biden, for his part, was supposed to track the stimulus money. Well? Where did it go? Also, that stimulus money, sold as a one-time infusion of capital into certain sectors of the economy, is now part of a baseline budget that automatically renews.
The Democrat Senate hasn’t passed a budget in three years. Meaning we’ve had 4 “stimulus plans.” It hasn’t worked. And Ryan is at least willing to say so and to look for more fiscally sound ways to revive the economy.
Even those Congressman against earmarks will accept them so long as that’s the way the system is functioning. And that’s because they have a responsibility to their constituencies. With a Bush-led (and Democrat expanded) stimulus, it is natural that each state would want a share of that money. Just ask Ron Paul. What Ryan planned to use it for is what matters — along with the fact that once it became not a one-time event but part of a baseline budget, he rejected it.
Meaning even Biden’s tu quoque was a colossal lie and an attempt at a gotcha moment. One that will soon be revisited on him in spades.
There. Any questions?