American Elephants

Freedom and Control. Why is it So Hard to Accept Human Nature as Immutable and Unchangeable? by The Elephant's Child
May 14, 2016, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Why is free speech so hard to understand? Why is freedom so hard to understand? It has a lot to do with understanding human nature. Conservatives are big on freedom, but even they don’t always  understand what it means. They see human nature as flawed, but do not expect perfection. We are greedy and rude, peaceful and warlike, lazy, hardworking, vain, stupid, brilliant and foolish. We make lots of mistakes, yet try to clean them up after we’ve made a mess. We admire things that turn out well, but don’t expect everything to do so.  In general we recognize human nature as unchangeable, but believe that if left free to create and think and study, with a little encouragement things will mostly turn out alright. America has been an earth-changing laboratory of the benefits of freedom.

The Left — Democrats, Progressives, Liberals believe that human nature is a mess, but can be fixed. And that’s what they aim to do. With the right people in charge to make the right laws, mankind can be adjusted, and there will be no more inequality, nor discrimination, nor anything that offends. Everyone will at last be equal, and there will be no more hate and no more wars. Everyone will get along as soon as the Left  has reached complete power and control, and put all the right edicts into force. It will all be wonderful, just you wait and see.

The problems of the world are caused by greed and jealousy, and that’s why it’s important to help the poor, succor the needy, and give everyone just enough stuff to keep them dependent on the government largess you have granted them. So the programs of the left are largely about manipulating the people. The Left does not accept human nature as fixed or immutable. That’s why they are so anxious to be put in charge — so they can go about the hard work of fixing everything. To fix things they really have to be in control, so they are constantly reaching out for more power. Leaving the people free —just isn’t in their vocabulary. There’s no telling what the people might do if not controlled.

Progressives regard their drive to make everyone equal as so morally superior that it should not be questioned. They do not understand why those who disagree with their position should not be silenced. Their ideas are right, their rules are needed, and their goals are indeed morally superior. If this seems to translate as smug, well, there you are. I give you Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, and the list goes on.

Who would ever have conceived that the President of the United States and his new Attorney General should order that all Ladies Rooms now be opened to “all” genders, so that those men who “identify” as women should not be discriminated against? And if the nation’s schools do not immediately open the girls’ locker rooms and showers to those men who “identify” as women, then the federal government will take them to court and take away their federal funds.  Matters of freedom and control are not just fanciful notions.

Mark Steyn is in Australia Trying to Explain Free Speech to the Aussies. by The Elephant's Child

Mark Steyn was in Australia this week, trying to explain free speech to the Aussies. It’s an interesting panel discussion because it clearly explains the problem that always arises in any discussion of free speech. Everybody is absolutely for free speech, except no one should be allowed to make cruel, unpleasant, wrong, nasty, morally objectionable remarks or other things that might offend.

Shouldn’t there be standards? And there’s the rub.  People are still expected to have manners, be thoughtful, not advocate those things which society says are beyond the pale, and you can object, condemn them for what they said, smack them down or refuse to associate with them, but you cannot make a law against speech that you don’t like. Government has no role in abridging the right of free speech. None.

You can walk away, turn your back, or argue vociferously. If you punch them in the nose, you may get in trouble with the law for battery. But you may not silence them by force of law. Why? The minute you try to protect against one kind of offensive speech, there is no end to the speech your opponents will find unacceptable. It’s a very hard argument for even the Aussies and many Americans to grasp in full.

Fooling the Public and Manipulating the Media by The Elephant's Child


On May 5th, The New York Times Magazine published a lengthy interview with Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser.  Mr. Rhodes “travels with the president, sees him all day long, and not only writes his speeches and communications strategies but also shapes the content of policy.”

The piece was titled “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru: How Ben Rhodes rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age” by David Samuels. It was a revealing interview. Mr. Rhodes says he has a sort of mind-meld with the president. Much has been made of the fact that Rhodes was working on an M.F.A. in creative writing, and now he channels the president’s consciousness into an optimistic narrative that shapes the president’s foreign policy.

Rhodes strategized and ran the successful Iran-deal messaging campaign, helped negotiate the opening of American relations with Cuba after a hiatus of more than 50 years and has been a co-writer of all of Obama’s major foreign-policy speeches. “Every day he does 12 jobs, and he does them better than the other people who have those jobs,” Terry Szuplat, the longest-tenured member of the National Security Council speechwriting corps, told me. On the largest and smallest questions alike, the voice in which America speaks to the world is that of Ben Rhodes.

Rhodes is a storyteller who” uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal.”

His lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in international relations, rather than creative writing — is still startling.

The revelations of how the campaign to sell the Iran Deal to the public was developed, and though planned from the first days of Obama’s presidency, the “story” of the Iran deal began in 2013 when a “moderate” faction inside the Iranian regime led by Hassan Rouhani beat regime “hard-liners” in an election and then began to pursue a policy of “openness,” which included a newfound willingness to negotiate the dismantling of its illicit nuclear-weapons program.”

The president announced the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015: “Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not.” Actually the meaningful part of negotiations with Iran took place in mid-2012, many months before Rouhani and the moderate group where chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by the supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. There was never any new reality in Iran nor any moderate faction. With this one bold move, the administration would begin the process of a large- scale disengagement from the Middle East, which had always been Obama’s goal.

With the smug innocence of the morally superior, Mr. Rhodes revealed far too many truths about manipulating the media, his contempt for the press, and how he manages the flow of information. Since the actions of the Obama administration are obviously correct, selling the deal to Congress, and framing the deal as a choice between peace and war was Rhodes strategy.

Guided by his moral superiority, Rhodes neglected to consider that the American people aren’t much on being deliberately lied to, and the media isn’t enthusiastic about being manipulated, and especially about that being publicly revealed.

Articles about Ben Rhodes, about the NYT Magazine piece, and about the lies in presenting the Iran Deal have been forthcoming in a steady flow from all over the world. Congress has invited Mr. Rhodes to come testify about his part in the episode and it is suggested that if he does not turn up voluntarily, he will be subpoenaed.

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