Thursday, June 26, 2003

Knee Jerk Conservatism

Reflexive political responses afflict all of us, not just the left. Kim du Toit probably thought out this post in a considered fashion, but it does look suspiciously like the Bill Clinton hard rubber mallet impacted Kim's conservative right knee. Kim saw red because the Chicago Sun-Times reported that:
Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday pointed his finger at the Bush administration, saying it is erasing accomplishments that he worked hard to achieve.

As conservatives we need to remember that Bill Clinton did work hard for at least two Good Things that Reagan and Bush did not, and that earned him no gratitude from his political base or from conservatives. The first is Welfare Reform. (Hip, hip! Hooray! Hip, hip! Hooray! Hip, hip! Hooray!) The second was to make the budget closer to balanced. I know he says that he created a Surplus, but I do not believe politicians who play games with Social Security revenue in order to claim the budget is balanced. An unsecured loan from the 'Social Security lockbox' to the General fund means that there is no 'Social Security lockbox'. Do private pension funds get away with similar shenanigans? (Sadly, yes, but when found out sometimes people get locked up.)

Our current President, to my chagrin, is erasing the second accomplishment.

In addition, if Clinton's comments are considered objectively, we must acknowledge that people with character flaws, even disgusting character flaws, can want to do good and can try hard to do good. Futhermore people can be mistaken about what is good and can work hard to implement their mistakes. It will distress them if their hard work is later undone, because they still don't realize their original hard work was in service of a Bad Idea. In addition, some of Clinton's accomplishments really were good, and it is too bad Bush is rolling them back. Thus Clinton's remarks are perfectly appropriate. I would not be surprised if Mr. Bush made similar remarks during a subsequent Democratic administration. (I hope I am wrong, either because there is no subsequent Democratic administration, or because the Democratic Party takes a hard turn to the right.)

Kim is definitively right about this ex-Presidential thought:
He encouraged the mostly black audience to vote for leaders who have their best interests at heart.

If said to a White audience this would provoke indignant outcries. I, on the other hand, also wish the mostly black audience would vote for leaders who have their best interests at heart. They could vote for leaders who want to stop filling our best colleges with under qualified minorities who are forced to drop out. They could vote for leaders who are not in thrall to the National "No Teacher Left Behind" Education Association and who support ways to improve public schools, such as home-schooling, vouchers, same-sex classes, home-schooling, vouchers, phonics, home-schooling, vouchers, appropriate corporal punishment, home-schooling, vouchers, leaving sex-education (and other time-wasters) out, home-schooling and vouchers. They could vote for leaders who thought law-abiding citizens had a right to self-defense and a right to the means of self defense. I could go on...

There is a quote at the end of the article upon which Kim did not comment, but I must:
"He gave insight to things that we overlook," said Ryan Fields, 20, a Morehouse College student from the Beverly neighborhood. "It's like the Trojan horse. The [enemy] warriors are coming out at night, and that could mean slavery, if we allow it."

Conservatives do not want to return to slavery. Personally, I find this both insulting and absurd. I am not so unethical as to want to own another human being, and I am in favor of fighting slavery whatever it is found (Sudan, Saudi Arabia, most Communist countries, most repressive dictatorships, brothels in the U.S.). It is absurd considering how hard it is to get my children (who love and respect me and who are generally obedient) to obey me. Why would I want to be in charge of a bunch of adults who hate my guts enough to spit in my lemonade and who will be infinitely more capable of wreaking creative mischief? I prefer free peers, thank you very much.

Update: I modified this post to be less insulting to the NEA. The NEA is just a union. They work to protect the jobs of existing union members, as well as to promote hiring more. They may work to improve education when their primary goals are met, but they have an automatic negative reaction to all ideas which lead to less union jobs, such as home-schooling. They also will tend to promote teaching at earlier and earlier ages. I would have no problem with this position as long as it was considered as purely as a union power-grab and stood no chance of being adopted. Since the NEA has (more or less) coopted the Democratic Party and there is a chance of these ideas being adopted, I have a big problem with that. Parents need more say over their children's education today, not less.