The Right Opinion

Stupidity Sold as Common Sense

By Arnold Ahlert · Jul. 30, 2012

For me, there’s nothing quite like an ideological argument whose final destination brings us to terminal stupidity sold as common sense. Two of my personal favorites are playing themselves out right now, one courtesy of the atrocity in Colorado, the other courtesy of the 2012 election. Once again, the issues of gun control and the economy are at the forefront of the national conversation. And once again, both illuminate the utter bankruptcy of progressive ideology.

Let’s begin with gun control. Actually, the words “gun control” are a bit misleading. Government-imposed “self-defense control” would be a far more accurate statement of what the American left is attempting to foist on the public. Only a progressive could imagine that limiting a law-abiding citizen’s right to own a firearm would reduce the amount of gun violence, inasmuch as the law-ignoring citizen (or non-citizen, for that matter) would be completely unaffected by such restrictions. Perhaps progressives, as is their wont, envision a society with no guns at all, as if the proverbial toothpaste can somehow be squeezed back into the tube.

Of course in order to achieve that, one would first have to confiscate all of the existing illegal firearms, and/or eviscerate the Second Amendment. No doubt that is something a lot of progressives would like to do, especially if they could just avoid that “messy” constitutional amendment process that requires an enormous level of consent by people still quaint enough to believe in the rule of law. Like so much of their agenda, progressives would prefer to rely on the courts to do their dirty work for them. Perhaps if Barack Obama is re-elected, he will appoint one or two Supreme Court Justices who could manage to find a “living” reason for tossing the Second Amendment overboard.

Which brings us directly to why we have a Second Amendment in the first place. Unlike the straw-man arguments progressives and their media lapdogs are currently pushing about how much firepower a hunter does or doesn’t need, or American cities turning into shooting galleries should the right to carry be extended to places where it is currently illegal, the real reason we have a Second Amendment is because the Founding Fathers remembered why they came to America in the first place: to escape tyrannical government and all its excesses. It is truly remarkable how many Americans would willingly surrender their right to protect themselves from such tyranny, even as self-protection per se becomes a nice side benefit.

In recent media accounts of the Colorado shooting, the only one to raise this important point was former rapper Ice-T.

Whether that says more about the quality of rapping, or the lack of quality in a college education is something for my readers to decide.

And then there’s the hypocrisy. Few things are more laughable than a professional blowhard like NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg speechifying about the need for more gun control – while surrounded by armed bodyguards. That goes double for our deep-thinking celebrities, who similarly espouse the epitome of “do as I say, not as I do,” while common riff-raff like me and you are expected to take a bullet – or two or three – for the proverbial team. Only a progressive would countenance innocent Americans literally being held hostage to armed thugs in countless cities on a daily basis in order to assuage their personal, oh-so-righteous, sensibilities.

It’s no accident the phrase “a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged” resonates. Unfortunately some people must actually endure that particular “rite of passage” in order to discover such wisdom. As for police protection, a cop I know expressed two realities in that regard. One was for policemen themselves, who confront armed thugs on a daily basis. “Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.” The other phrase speaks to daunting but immutable reality regarding the rest of us. “When it’s a matter of seconds, the cops are only minutes away.”

That’s reality, and all the progressive hand-wringing – short of imposing tyranny – isn’t going to change it one iota.

As for the economy, nothing is more maddening than the experts who continue to be baffled by “unexpected” results – all of which stem from one undeniable reality: with rare exception, most of the world is up to its collective eyeballs in debt. This has led many so-called economists to the remarkable proposition that the only way to pay off this debt is to issue future debt to pay down current debt. That the total amount of debt increases exponentially as a result (they don’t call it interest for nothing, comrades), is irrelevant.

Why is it irrelevant? Because this new debt is buying the one and only thing these Keynesian quacks believe ultimately solves the debt problem: time. The longer we stretch out the payments, the more likely it is that somewhere down the line, an economic recovery will occur and the debt will eventually be paid off.

What could possibly go wrong? For starters, the same thing that can go wrong when you tell an alcoholic that he has to stop drinking at some point – even as you hand him another drink to get him through a “rough patch.” Second, in order to keep piling up future debt to pay for current debt, one has to find a sucker…I mean lender…willing to keep loaning one money even as it becomes more and more apparent the odds of getting paid back are moving perilously close to lotto territory.

Now, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke has devised a rather clever way around that last obstacle: he’s turned the Federal Reserve into both the borrower and the lender, although the word “lender” is a bit of euphemism. Ben’s paying off a large part of our current debt with future debt consisting of freshly-minted (actually computer-generated) greenbacks, mostly because the number of suckers is dwindling. Ben is also kicking the proverbial can down the road waiting for some economic recovery that will solve all of our problems.

Economically speaking, no solution to the problem could be simpler than the most obvious one: spend less than one takes in, and start paying down the debt. Politically speaking however, the entire Democrat party and half of the Republican one are dedicated to the idea that dependency on the state is directly correlated with their ability to maintain power. A substantial number of clueless and/or self-entitled Americans are on board, and nothing assuages their sense of clueless self-entitlement more than the notion that someone else is not paying their “fair” share.

Understand how remarkable that kind of thinking is. Not only have such Americans been alleviated of the guilt and shame of living off someone else’s effort, they have been told they have every reason to be self-righteous about it.

Barring a sea change – or a watershed election – thoughtful Americans must face a sobering reality: the ideological bankruptcy of progressivism leads directly to the economic bankruptcy of the nation. Progressives will continue to lie and tell the nation it isn’t so.

Unfortunately for all of us, the math never lies.