American Elephants

Americans Are Not Willing to Trade their Liberties for Some Kind of Comfortable Dependence on a Corrupt State. by The Elephant's Child

Americans are disheartened at the drive by the Obama administration towards more government, bigger government, and more control by government.   This is such a profound misunderstanding of America and the American people, that we must return again to the great questions.  Where do we come from?  Who are we?  Where are we going?

“We Americans are a bundle of paradoxes,” says David Hackett Fisher.” We are mixed in our origins, and yet we are one people.  Nearly all of us support our republican system, but we argue passionately (sometimes violently) among ourselves about its meaning. ”

“We live in an open society which is organized on the principle of voluntary action, but the determinants of that system are exceptionally constraining.  Our society is dynamic, changing profoundly in every period of American history; but it is also remarkably stable.”

For over two centuries “our social system has remained stubbornly democratic in its politics, capitalist in its economy, libertarian in its laws, individualist in its society and pluralistic in its culture.”

The great historian Robert Conquest wrote:

The only reason we are able to examine our own and other history in an open way is that the culture which makes such thinking possible has, so far, survived and prevailed.

People forget what a remarkable thing it is that in our countries we have such rights and liberties.  Civilizations have existed for thousands of years in which there was no trace of the mere idea of criticizing the government, of being secure from arbitrary arrest, of having a fair trial (or even a fairish trial, or even a trial at all), of printing almost anything one likes, of voting for one of a number of candidates for public office.

We are Americans.  We are not Europeans, nor are we British.  We are not citizens who are willing to trade our personal liberties for some kind of comfortable dependence on the state.  We are a people who boarded ships to cross the stormy North Atlantic to an absolutely unknown land.  There we put down roots, built schools and churches, and pulled up the roots and moved on.  Across the Appalachians, across the plains and the Rockies, across a continent.

Even those who have arrived only yesterday come to an unknown country, and it takes courage to come.  We welcome them and ask them to become Americans, to renounce their prior allegiances, learn about their new heritage,  and become free people, free Americans.  Some of our newest citizens are most cognizant of the value of liberty, and prize it more deeply, for they have come from where such freedom was impossible.

I just don’t believe that free Americans will stand for ideological statist policies that are deeply opposed by the majority of the people.  Americans will stand up to be counted, and make it clear that there are limits, there are laws, and ego-driven congressional leaders must follow the rules. We don’t like corruption, we don’t like sneaky backroom deals, we don’t like crony capitalism, and we won’t tolerate thugs in government.

Recommended Reading:
David Hackett Fischer: Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America
Bernard Bailyn: The Peopling of British North America
Robert Conquest: Reflections on a Ravaged Century
Robert G. Athearn: The Mythic West In Twentieth Century America

For Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, Health Care Is an Ego Trip. by The Elephant's Child
March 2, 2010, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, Law | Tags: , , ,

Do you remember Representative Parker Griffith M.D. of Alabama, who was elected as a Democrat in 2008 and was part of the House Democrat caucus until last December 22, when he became a Republican?

Mr. Griffith’s unusual perspective — he is a doctor, with 30 years experience as an oncologist — gives him some insight into why the White House and the Democrat leadership in Congress continue to push forward on a national health care bill that most Americans oppose. Byron York notes in the Examiner:

It’s gotten personal, Griffith says. “You have personalities who have bet the farm, bet their reputations, on shoving a health care bill through the Congress. It’s no longer about health care reform. It’s all about ego now. The president’s ego. Nancy Pelosi’s ego. This is about personalities, saving face, and it has very little to do with what’s good for the American people.”…

As Griffith sees his former colleagues, Democratic leaders have become so consumed with the idea of achieving the historical goal of a national health care system that they are able to explain away the scores of opinion polls over the last six months that show people solidly opposed to the Democratic proposal.

The polls are wrong, they say. Or the polls are contradictory. Or the polls actually show that people love the health care plan. And even if the polls are right, and people hate the plan, real leaders don’t govern by following the polls. So just pass the bill.

It isn’t wise to assume that Americans won’t take this personally.  Americans don’t take kindly to those who threaten their freedom.

This One Didn’t Get a Lot of Publicity, and It’s Not Surprising. How Perfectly Disgusting. by The Elephant's Child

The Vancouver Winter Olympics are over, and the North Americans have won the medal races in spectacular fashion.  The Americans will go home with the most medals — 37 — won by any country at any winter games. It is only the second time that they have won the medal count, the other was at Lake Placid in 1932.

The Canadians have matched the record of 13 gold medals set by the Soviets in 1976  and Norway in 2002, the most medals Canada has won at any Olympics — 26.

The Russians are not happy.  President Dmitry Medvedev demanded that Russian sports officials step down over the country’s dismal performance. 30 medals and a top-three finish in the standings was their target. They placed 11th for golds and 6th in the overall ranking.  If officials do not take the hint and resign promptly, the government will resign them.

But here’s the interesting bit.  On June 16, 2009, a press conference announced the first ever White House Office of Olympics, Paralympics and Youth Sports. “The primary function of the Office will be to enhance awareness of the Olympic Movement through promotion of its fundamental principles at the federal level.

The press release states  that the formation of a new and permanent White House Office:

will establish more centralized control over “amateur” sports and over all athletes in the United States.

How very odd.  The Olympics, at least in the United States, have always been a home for amateurs and their dreams.  Parents and friends and neighbors help out, endure the long hours of practice and competition and struggle with the expense involved.  Much as NBC talking heads celebrate the nation’s “medal count”, it has always been a real celebration of the achievements of free individuals.

Janet Lynn, a five-time U.S. Ladies Figure Skating Champion, and Olympic medal winner is angry and disdainful:

This White House office has the potential to use athletes as pawns in a game for power.  By centralizing control and influence in American sports, this new office mirrors the centralized government sport structures of the nations I was exposed to that were not free.

Way Too Much Information About Food And Nutrition. by The Elephant's Child
March 2, 2010, 12:41 am
Filed under: Health Care, Law, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

Pediatricians are calling for a “redesigned” hot dog.  Not because of any nutritional deficiency, but because they pose a choking hazard to small children.

Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio said “If you were to take the best engineers in the world and try to design the perfect plug for a child’s airway, it would be a hot dog.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics  says that more than 10,000 children under 14 go to the emergency room each year after choking on food, and up to 77 die.  Their new policy statement says that about 17% of food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs.  That’s up to 13 kids, nationally,  in a year.  Losing a child is a terrible thing, but rather than redesigned hot dogs, pediatricians might be better off instructing parents on how to cut up food for little kids.

We’re a little over-inundated with “warning labels”, and they are far more often the subject of jokes than they are read.  Warning labels, devised by lawyers, get pediatricians and manufacturers off the hook.

Last year, the FDA warned the manufacturer of Cheerios against boasting about the health benefits of oat cereal.  “We have determined [Cheerios] is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug,”they said in a letter to General Mills.  A prescription to buy a box of cereal?

First Lady Michelle Obama is making childhood obesity her signature cause.  She will doubtless be advised about taxes on junk foods and soda. She is known to be an enthusiast for “organic” food and “local” food. The term “organic” is simply a marketing ploy, and refers to the process of growing food rather than any nutritional benefits. I hope that she can avoid becoming another food-nanny.

We are over-saturated today with food advice.  This is an era of a sort of “preciousness” about food.  If we just eat the right food, in the right combinations and in the right quantity, and dose ourselves with just the right supplements and the right herbs then we might have a longer healthier life.

Maybe so, but I doubt it. Food fads, acai berry juice, green tea, oat bran, shade-grown coffee, no coffee, free-range eggs, no eggs, brown eggs, egg beaters, all egg whites, bee pollen from New Zealand, and fish oil from Iceland.  We suffer from way too much information, much of it simply hype. Koreans do just fine eating dog and that dreadful smelling kim chee, the Japanese eat poisonous blow fish and usually survive,  the Inuit eat blubber — who is right? Man is omnivorous.  Eat a wide variety of foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Skip the supplement store.

And ignore the food police. The chief nanny promotes a diet of bread and carrots, and restrictions on almost everything else.

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