Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Liberalism is not a mental disorder

Although Michael Savage's book Liberalism is a Mental Disorder came out in 2005, I've had the term lobbed at me twice in the last week. I haven't read the book, but Savage's flames were fanned by the likes of Lyle Rossiter:
When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious.
News alert: The impetus behind most of my liberal tendencies has nothing to do with my imagination, a sense of entitlement or infantile tendencies. It stems from a sense of obligation.

I don't want to live in a country that turns its back on the most vulnerable populations. I'm doing fine, thank you very much. I don't need any assistance, but PLEASE DO use some of my tax dollars to help out sick impoverished kids and seniors and to ensure all women have safe and easy access to reproductive healthcare and to give top quality care to our members of the armed services and and and ... I don't need to give you my whole list. You get the picture.

I understand there is fraud and perversion in public services and it makes me MAD AS HELL. You can bet I'd like to see that curtailed. I want to see tight smart management in those sectors. I want the very best value for my tax dollar. But if you're going to turn a hungry kid away from food in order to avoid those unfortunate side effects, don't ask me to jump on that band wagon.

The ideological crux of my "liberalism" is this: I support giving part of what I have in order to raise the collective human experience for all.

I am thoroughly sick of being called names for political beliefs that aren't all that radical, but if you call a reasonable sense of obligation to society crazy, then let me be crazy.

* * *

62 comments:

Bill said...

Give all you want. Don't tell others how much they should give. Keep a social safetynet. Don't turn the safetynet into an acceptable life style. That takes people down.

Vince said...

To be honest you'd be considered a Conservative in the UK. And a good bit to the right of center at that.

Leslie Morgan said...

Liberalism is not a character defect nor a crime of moral turpitude either.

Here's mine, not scholarly, but heartfelt and I try to live it: Help others in need in some meaningful way until it pinches. Then help them a little bit more. To do it anonymously earns extra karmic pints. Urge more than one other fortunate friend to do the same. Teach our children to do it, and teach more than one of their friends. Simple concept for my simple mind.

Once Known as The Badger said...

Michael Savage. The name alone should tell you where he's coming from.

Erin O'Brien said...

The vicious attacks I've fielded simply because I'm a self-described liberal are starting to become ridiculous. I could post some links, but gang, I just don't want to stir those snakes up.

The radical right wants me to be afraid to say I'm liberal. Sorry, ain't happening.

philbilly said...

I'd warrant it's your views on sexuality, not society, what's got their knickers twisted.

That's the hate that dare not speak it's name.

Leslie Morgan said...

I submit that the radical right wants you to get in line and stop dissenting. You've been down this road before. And I'm with philbilly. The fact that you're female makes it all SO much worse.

Erin O'Brien said...

A good example of how radical the right has become is the topic of the individual mandate. Newt, the Heritage Foundation, Romney and god-knows-who else all supported it for a reason--it is the pro-biz rightie solution to health care reform.

Now they're all flip flopping. I can't wait until someone corners Romney: So then, Mittster, why exactly was the individual mandate good for the people of MASS?

The left has given up on gun control. Women's rights are going down the tube fast. SCOTUS is handing the whole goddamn country to corporate America and Bristol Palin's on the front page of CNN with a quote about how Levi Johnston stole her virginity.

Good christ awmighty. We libs had better ramp up.

Big Mark 243 said...

The new profile pic is truly a profile and a beauty at that.

Harry Finch said...

Whether we like it or not, individuality is the product of a collective experience. - Clive James

No matter how a man alone ain't got no bloody chance. - Ernest Hemingway, To Have and Have Not

Harry Finch said...

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr (appointed to the Supreme Court by a Republican)

Erin O'Brien said...

The inscription on the Cuyahoga County Court House (side facing Lake Erie):

"Liberty is Obedience to Law."

Don't know how much I like that, but it's true whether I like it or not. Construction for the Court House started in 1906

Bill said...

Michael Savage is not allowed to travel to the UK. He's considered dangerous. That's funny.

Leslie: I agree with you! Charity begins at home.

philbilly said...

Johnston? I thought Bristol blamed two guys named Bartles and James.

alphadog said...

I cannot imagine a courthouse inscription being more wrong.
Obedience to man made laws is subservience, not liberty.
Lex malla, lex nulla.

Harry Finch said...

Obedience does not equal subservience. But on the whole, going forward, I would favor leaving off engraving pithy maxims on courthouse walls.

alphadog said...

Harry an example.
Every time you obey the sales tax law you are paying the government for the privilege of conducting a personal business transaction.
Theoretically, every time money is exchanged for a good it is to be taxed. Case in point, automobiles. If a car is resold enough times, the accumulated tax could well exceed the original value of the car. In Ohio you can't even title that piece of junk used car in your name until the tax has been paid.
In my opinion, that's subservience.

Erin O'Brien said...

It's actually carved in the exterior marble. It sort of shocking by today's standards, obedience being a dirty word for many. I don't think it was in 1906, but then again, I wasn't around.

The phrase reminded me of a specific paragraph, however.

The Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, who has just written a book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, puts things in historical context: "For 500 years the West patented six killer applications that set it apart. The first to download them was Japan. Over the last century, one Asian country after another has downloaded these killer apps — competition, modern science, the rule of law and private property rights, modern medicine, the consumer society and the work ethic. Those six things are the secret sauce of Western civilization."

--TIME

Despite the silly computer reference, that is 100 percent true.

Yep. Rule of law.

If you don't have it, you're shit-canned. Don't believe me? Plan your next vacation in Sudan.

Erin O'Brien said...

Sorry, alph, your post came up as I was typing mine.

I agree that it's mind-boggling when you start to tally how many times one dollar is taxed. My pet peeve is those goddamn traffic cams.

grrrrr!

But my comment stands on the larger idea it was meant to address and for the little things as well. One neighbor builds a shed, the other neighbor doesn't like it. If not for the Zoning Board of Appeals, that can escalate into a very unhappy ending courtesy of Smith and Wesson.

Not a very good example, but you get my meaning.

alphadog said...

Well now Erin O'Brien, if you were to obey all traffic laws instead of you and the mini treating every public thoroughfare as if it were LeMans, the traffic cams should not bother you in the least.

Joe said...

For the most part most compassionate human beings want the same things for society. It is all a question of degree. I don't think you are crazy.

I also do not think we should be compelled to contribute to those things. I have no problem with how you spend your money. I don't think you should tell me how to spend mine.

Here is an example:

I have no issue providing a helping hand for hungry kids. We have food stamps, etc. to help out struggling families. Do we really need to provide free lunch to EVERY kid under the age of 18 in the summer? That is going on in many communities through a Federal grant (Dept of Ag). We are buying lunch twice for the poor (food stamps and free lunch) and buying food for my neighbor, who makes more than I. This is all done with my taxes and your taxes.

Harry Finch said...

Splitting the obedience/subservient hair, the distinction is whether the law serves us, the people, or we the people serve the law.

If the law is unfair and there is no process for changing it, then abject compliance is subservience.

If the law is unfair and there is a process for changing it and no one is trying, well, so it goes.

An individual's dislike for a specific law doesn't mean it is necessarily an unfair law.

(Although, alphadog, the example you cited above sounds like a pretty crappy law)

In the end, any expression that requires so many qualifiers in order to get your head around it (such as "Liberty is Obedience to Law") should never be engraved anywhere.

Leslie Morgan said...

I like words and I like to check my assumptions about their intended meaning - even frequently used ones. Obedience and subservience certainly seem to be interchangeable based on my short research just now. That aside, maybe as EOB muses, "obedience" wasn't as prickly in the day. Also, fewer people were literate in 1906 and life was, perhaps, simpler. Maybe folks appreciated being told what liberty was. They didn't have to decide for themselves.

I'm with alph on this one: in today's context, that little aphorism feels a whole lot like "obey or you shall not enjoy your liberties!"

Anonymous said...

Erin,
...good post. Self-described 'conservatives' in our current political spectrum are no more conservative than Stalin was liberal.
...Citizen's United, overturning roughly 100 years of precedent in campaign finance law, was radical.
...Focusing on debt reduction instead of job creation during a shaky recovery is radical.
...Seeking, essentially, to eliminate and/or eviscerate medical coverage for the elderly and poor, instead of seeking common ground to support it, is radical.
...Seeking to overturn 40 years of progress in women's reproductive rights is radical. Passing legislation, as they are currently considering in Texas, that a woman undergo a STATE-mandated ultrasound (not doctor ordered) is radical.
...Nothing CONSERVATIVE at all about any of these policy goals.
Mike R
ps-Niall Ferguson is a British-born buffoon. Among his recent musings he expressed an opinion that Britain should have joined the Kaiser in the First World War, and so kept their empire for another century, and a fear that the current unrest in the Middle East might lead to a restoration of the Ottoman Empire. Cutting edge thinking there.

alphadog said...

Heh.
Harry, I will grant you that anyone being prosecuted/persecuted under any law probably feels its unfairness more than the person who has never run afoul of it. But a great number of laws on the books are merely revenue raising measures. No harm, no foul. Disobey, get caught, contribute to the coffers.

Erin O'Brien said...

I cannot keep up with you people, but Mark, thanks for the compliment.

Alph: how dare you suggest the mild-mannered O'Brien ever disobeys traffic laws!

Harry Finch said...

I disagree that obedience and subservience are interchangable, but of course concede that in modern usage they have become so. Even if everyone agreed that they are not interchangable, "Liberty is Obedience to Law" has a creepy doublethink quality to it.

Alphadog - There is a movement here in Vermont to tax sugary drinks in order to reduce their consumption. I may be a liberal, but even that is too much for me. It would be a despicable tax law with a wink - we know this won't stop you from drinking the crap, but that's okay, we're really only interested in the revenue.

Mike R - Thanks for the comment on Niall Ferguson. His what-if game may be making him a good living, but it's lousy history.

Ms OB - That's four instances of italicizing in one comment. That's an example of a true mental disorder. (five)

alphadog said...

Erin, you're Bill O'Brien's daughter, what more needs to be said?

As a 15 year old, putting along with your dad down Riverview Rd. at 70+ mph, I don't think he touched the brakes once; downshift into the turns, power out. The Jag came alive and responded like the most passionate of women, although the tires did protest occasionally. That was the most comprehensive, albeit too short, competitive driving lesson I've ever had. I had a har... I was aroused for a week.

Vince said...

You yanks really do live in an irony free zone. None of you have realized that absence of any adherence to the Laws was your very genesis as a State.

alphadog said...

I guess I should have mentioned, Riverview Rd. is a two lane up and down twisting turning 35 mph posted limit secondary road that the senior outlaw O'Brien enjoyed the hell out of driving on.

Leslie, imagine, you and I agreeing as individuals instead of as opposing members of some broadly tagged group. Only at the Owner's Manual.

Erin O'Brien said...

Riverview is one good road and this is one really good comment section.

Bet if I put on a black leather corset and lace up boots with 5" heels, nobody would protest me saying "obedient."

Harry Finch said...

Vince - those laws were crimping our style as smugglers.

Anonymous said...

Erin @ 2:22-hey, a man's gotta have a hobby...Mike R

Joe said...

Masochist to sadist: Beat me!

Sadist to Masochist: No, that's what you want!

alphadog said...

Huh. I suspect one could find that type of obedience liberating.

Ms Amanda said...

But if you're going to turn a hungry kid away from food in order to avoid those unfortunate side effects...

I tell you what, it's the idea that if we take away social justice program it's not the adults who suffer. It's the children. Some of those children will grow up tp to be a drain on the system, much like children from families that don't need it, and some will be grateful, recognize the value of the chance they were given and give back.
I will gladly be taxed to pay for these social justice programs & for schools, parks and libraries. Children with rough home lives are dependant on these as well.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
Frederick Douglass

Erin O'Brien said...

I probably shouldn't admit this, but Joe, I don't know if you're talking about sex or politics.

Bill said...

OK Amanda. You just make sure those geniuses direct your tax contributions to the children with rough home lives. You can trust them.

Harry Finch said...

Amanda - I'm with you. I love this country, and I think it's a place I'd like to invest in to make an even more fantastic place than it already is. I don't make a lot of money, and mine is a single income household, but my wife and I would make the sacrifice in paying higher taxes in order to reduce the deficit without screwing the less fortunate. Because this country is worth it.

Bill said...

Make checks payable to US Treasury.

Harry Finch said...

Nice to know we're on the same team, Bill. Nice to know that's how little you think of the country of your birth.

Bill said...

Harry: Everyone is free to give to their favorite charity, help at the local food bank, directly help families in need near you, or, as I said, send as much money as you want to the government so they can decide where to spend it. That's great that your wife and you would be willing to pay higher taxes. Do you think you have the right to insist that others pay higher taxes? Do you actually believe that I think less of my country because I'm not in favor of higher taxes? Really?

Leslie Morgan said...

@ alph ~ Well, it pleases me to be on your team of thinking people. Does that put us in the short line? Only on EOB's Owner's Manual.

Harry Finch said...

Bill - 9pm is late for this old boy to be making blog comments; so I think I was going down a path that only obliquely concerns Ms OB's original post.

I do not question you love of and loyalty to this country.

I do question your seriousness about solving the country's problems. But now I am getting onto the topic of the national budget, and I think that's best left to another discussion.

I realize my previous comment might have been insulting. I appreciate your calm response to it.

alphadog said...

Better the short line than the short bus Leslie.

Leslie Morgan said...

@ alph ~ VERY good. See you in line, then.

@ Erin ~ not sure how I missed the image of you in the leather corset and lace-up boots! I might have been able to steer that somewhere, but it seems sordid now over morning coffee.

@ Harry ~ I suspect you've got Bill's number. It's not about resolution, I think. He likes to distort and debate. There are such folk. Harry, you make me laugh when you call yourself "old". I refuse to do that and I'm about the same age as you are.

Harry Finch said...

Leslie - I consider it a privilege to be, and to call myself, old. I am not very old; that would be someone like my father, who is 93. Then there is my aunt, who is 108.

Erin O'Brien said...

Harry's pop is more than twice my age.

Life. Is. Beautiful.

Leslie Morgan said...

Points well taken, both Harry and EOB! I'm still not referring to myself as "old".

Lord Basil said...

Barack Hussein Obama is not a legitimate president. We can ignore any orders he makes.

We can ignore any legislation he signs. We do not have to call him president, because he is not eligible to hold the office. Barack HusseinObama is not only a liar, a Marxist, a Fascist, and a homosexual, he is a fraud.

Forget all the desperate liberal noise, and all the "birther" name calling. It matters little where he was actually born. It matters little if one or both of the birth certificates are fraudulent as some claim. Barack Obama is ineligible because he cannot possibly a natural born US citizen since both of his parents were not US citizens.

Quote:
"The recognized definition of a natural born citizen, a requirement to be President, does not require much more than common sense. In a May article published by Canada Free Press, Lawrence B. Solum, the John E. Cribbett Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, is quoted as having written in September 2008, Anyone born on American soil whose parents are citizens of the United States is a natural born citizen."

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/art…

Another nice quote, same article.

"If he resigns, he may be able to assert the legitimacy of every piece of legislation, every executive order, signed into law, but if he is found to have been ineligible, every one of them would become null and void.

The nation can be put right again as a Constitutional Republic. Obama has led an unlawful regime. America has been drunk on socialism since the 1930s. Its time to sober up."

Indeed. Drunk on socialism, pot smoking, and homosexuality. The hangover will be wicked once a hard traditionalist like Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, or Michele Bachmann takes over from that Kenyan fraud, but hard traditionalist and sound conservative principles will make this country great again.

VideoDude said...

Lord Basil, (Screamin' Lord Sutch), We had a nice little thread going. Then you and your Teapublican lies come along. Why don't you go back to watching Glenn Beck and Faux News and listening to the drugster Limpballs?

Sister Sarah, who can't remmeber what she learned a half hour before, Rick, we can leave the union anytime we want, Perry and Michelle Bachmann, I have no clue what Geography is, if either one of these people would get any real power nationally it would be the end of this country as we know it. It would be: "Welcome to the Corporate States Of America!"

The Teapublicabs have no answers, Conservastism has failed, so all you can do is attack. Is it the fact he is a Democrat or Afro-American that really bothers you? All the other excuses have already been shown as lies!

Leslie Morgan said...

Oh, Lord, guys, Basil woke up and realized there was a post at which to throw poison. Run!

Erin O'Brien said...

I'm not convinced the Lord isn't just a trickster who's funnin' us.

I don't think he's ever attacked anyone here. And he's sorta cute in his own way. Lord you're welcome here anytime.

Bill said...

Leslie: Can you point to one of my distortions? I definitely cannot find a resolution from you.

Harry: No insult taken.

Leslie Morgan said...

@ Bill: Sure, when we were threading about the girl who was so traumatized by 9-11 and I commented that my daughter, the same age, was really quite balanced about that event. You immediately chewed that into (paraphrasing) my daughter had been taught not to care or not to see such things as important. You also mangled another comment about my daughter in the same post and I was about to lambast you but that was the day Blogger ate everything on every blog. I believe that string is now restored. That would be one example. Other commenters would likely point to others.

BTW, I really kind of enjoy what you stir up sometimes, but it is my true assessment (admittedly from afar) that what you enjoy is the dust-up more than the outcome. Just my observation and not mine to criticize. However, when I type something clearly and you turn it 180-degrees, I'm going to say something about it. If it's about my daughter and her social conscience, it's worse. I'm her mother who worked hard to help her be a good human.

Bill said...

Leslie: We need to find that thread. Somehow I think it's not me doing the distorting. As i've said, many times, I see this as a conversation. An exchange of thoughts and opinions. An outcome isn't required.

Leslie Morgan said...

@ Bill ~ Well, um, OK - here it is. I notice that a number of other people were taking swings at you that day, too.

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to run out to one of those slimy Las Vegas establishments and get me a custom T-shirt made. When I forget myself, I'll just look down at my chest to read - LES is the distorter and no outcome is required.

Again, I stress, I think you add a certain flavor to every conversation. There are important roles for every participant to fill.

Bill said...

Leslie: Thanks for finding it. Here's what I said that had anything to do with your daughter: " But, hey, it's great that you were able to convince yours that it's no big deal." Pretty innocent, don't you think? Anyway, I'm glad to be a flavor. And, I enjoy participating.

Anonymous said...

Erin @ 12:15-"sorta cute"...like an iguana...Mike R

wv: 'spessess'-the intoxicated office manager called 'friidual spessess' to track his package...

Anonymous said...

MEMO: Lord Basil
RE: Special Ops
RENDEVOUS: Crack of Don
...Your Team...Count Oregano...Grand Duke Olive Oil...Baron Oregano...Princess Vinagaigrette...
...Your mission, should you to be able to linguistically embrace it's goals, is to toss salad as vigorously and as emphatically as possible, in order to extract from the Florida boss a Nocturnal Seminole Emission...From the leader of the South Florida Crime scene...
wv:propsu:
Your meds propsu up from hurting people on the bus...

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Lord Basil - does that mean he's in charge of an herb? Just asking ....

Al
TRAG

Leslie Morgan said...

Fudge Brownies! (Translated as "Fuck me to tears"): Beautiful application of food/chef-manship to Basil, Al TRAG! Who could do that to Bill on my behalf? Kidding ~ I shall do that myself. I must educate myself beyond "micro for 3 minutes, stir, micro for another 1-2 minutes." How do I determine whether it's 1 or 2 minutes? Or something in between? I shall have to research and return!