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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘liberalism’

Instinctive Liberalism And Halachic Conservatism

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Liberal Judaism in North America is almost perfectly correlated with political liberalism, while Orthodoxy is more diverse politically. The correlation between religion and politics reasonably suggests to many that the tail of liberal politics is wagging the dog of liberal religion. An unfortunate result is that liberal political aims are becoming suspect in Orthodoxy as stalking horses for liberal religious aims.

Is there a way out of this trap? The early 20th century great Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin (Netziv) suggests a way forward in his approbation to the Chofetz Chaim’s book Ahavat Chesed.

Ahavat Chesed sought to demonstrate that engaging in gemilut chassadim (acts of loving-kindness) is not a vague and fuzzy “soft” obligation but rather the fulfillment of clearly definable commandments and hardcore halachic obligations. For example, it argues that there is a specific positive commandment to lend money to the poor. The Chofetz Chaim thought this work would inspire his community to do more chesed, in the way that his famous “halachification” of lashon hara was intended to alter his community’s speech habits.

Netziv applauds the effort but is aware of a tension here. Why should such a book be necessary? Shouldn’t observant Jews engage in loving-kindness by nature, regardless of whether obligations are spelled out in exhaustive detail? His answer sets out far-reaching theories of human and Jewish nature, and an original understanding of the relationship between halacha and ethical intuition.

Netziv begins by positing that human beings are by nature creatures of gemilut chassadim (perhaps because of our Divine Image, tzelem Elokim). He then contends that human beings are naturally commanded to fulfill this aspect of their nature. This generates a category of obligations he calls chovot ha’adam, the obligations of human beings qua their humanity, which likely includes all categories of proper interpersonal behavior. These are in addition to the seven Noachide commandments.

Jews, as descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, are attuned to this imperative, and correspondingly are even more commanded by their nature to engage in gemilut chassadim. Why then should laws of gemilut chassadim be necessary?

Here Netziv presents an astonishing biblical interpretation.

Exodus 19:3-5 reads: “Thus you must say (tomar) to the House of Jacob, and tell (tagid) to the House of Israel . . . Now, if you heed My voice, and observe My covenant, then you will be for me a treasure out of all the nations . . . ”

Netziv argues that House of Jacob refers to the masses (hamon am), whereas House of Israel refers to the Torah intellectuals. He further argues that “if you heed My voice and observe My covenant” is an amirah directed at the House of Jacob. How does it differ from a statement intended for the elite? Netziv suggests that it refers to only two legs of the tripod on which the world stands – it refers to Torah and Divine Service, but not to gemilut chassadim.

Why would God leave out gemilut chassadim when talking to the masses? Netziv explains that the Jewish masses are obligated by their nature to do chesed anyway. Only the elite needed to be made aware that Jews should engage in chesed not only to fulfill human nature and sustain the world, but also to fulfill God’s command, or leshem Shamayim.

This additional dimension of Jewish obligation is formalized within halacha, and therefore carries with it practical differences. As an example, halacha prohibits charging interest to Jews. If Jewish person X needs a loan, and Jewish person Y can afford to make the loan only if he charges a low but nonzero rate of interest, Y may not extend the loan even though doing so would be an act of chesed.

This means halacha is not always a deepening and ultimate fulfillment of chesed but rather can stand in tension with it. Netziv does not explain why God established halacha to be in tension with chesed, but multiple explanations are at hand. For our purposes, the simplest is that the world requires din (law, justice) as well as chesed; or put in American political terms, that pure liberalism is not sustainable. In American Jewish religious terms, those whose political perspective is pure chesed need to have a deep respect for traditional wisdom (Torah) and ritual (avodah).

Netziv contends that the different sensibilities God acknowledged at Sinai continued afterward. The tribes descended from Yosef continue the House of Jacob; the tribe of Yehudah continues the House of Israel. Yosef, says Netziv, represents an effusion of chesed without great Torah knowledge, whereas Yehudah represents Torah greatness. The Tabernacle dwelled in Shiloh, in the tribe of Joseph’s son Ephraim, for many years because of their great natural chesed and despite their relative lack of Torah scholarship. It was only when Torah greatness was achieved in David and Solomon that God’s place on earth was transferred to Yerushalayim, in Yehudah’s sphere of influence.

Perhaps we should acknowledge that we have regressed, and therefore open space to again appreciate Mishkan Shiloh, and the strengths of Yosef, and the differing religious needs and virtues of the Houses of Jacob and Israel.

This would allow Orthodoxy to celebrate the instinctive liberalism of non-Orthodox Jews as a profound religious fulfillment of their human and Jewish nature, without being committed to or endorsing the specific policies associated with American liberalism. Orthodoxy would therefore be at much lower risk of being driven and deformed by reactionary impulses against non-Orthodox liberalism.

We would of course maintain that all Jews should strive for a culture of maximum Torah awareness, and that halacha is the binding way for Jews in all areas of life. But even if our halachic sensibility led us to prefer conservative policies in some or many areas, the liberal impulse in politics would be seen as genuinely Jewish.

Rabbi Aryeh Klapper

Modern Liberalism and the Death of Civilization

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The Nihilism (involving moral relativism) that contaminated higher education in America begins with the early 20th century flood of European philosophy in American academia. Most influential was Germany’s (or Hegel’s) historical relativism, which contradicts the biblical narrative, as did England’s (or Hume’s) atheistic empiricism. Both dominate higher education to this day, even in the “Jewish” state of Israel.

As Leo Strauss has shown, the father of modern liberalism is none other than Spinoza. Spinoza is also the father of biblical criticism. This made Spinoza the darling of Germany, of the nineteenth-century German school of Bible Critics.

Spinoza must therefore have encouraged the European-educated John Stuart Mill, whose mid-nineteenth essay On Liberty made him the world’s leading exponent of unfettered freedom of speech, hence of the free speech Liberalism that continues to predominate the mentality of American law schools and judicial institutions.

Paradoxically, however, free speech Liberalism is now eviscerating academic freedom in the United States. American colleges and universities have succumbed to the virtual totalitarianism underlying the prohibition of what is called “hate speech,” speech that offends the sentiments, above all the religious beliefs of Muslims, The ban on “hate speech” means the end of the liberal dogma of unfettered freedom of speech. The ban on “hate speech” may readily be construed as indistinguishable from speech involving, however remotely the character of other human beings.

What irony! The unrestrained permissiveness of Liberalism regarded obscenity as a protected form of speech by the American Supreme Court. This ruling at least denied the existence of truth and of evil, hence of that which denies the existence of a rational God, as well as the distinction between the human and the subhuman.

That denial can readily undermine the distinction between the polite speech appropriate in the company of woman and the obscene speech typical among vile men. This involves a degradation of language. The foulness of language violates the language of Holy Writ, which utterly avoids obscenity and employs only euphemisms to avoid any degradation of the human body, the creation of God.

This lofty attitude toward speech or language was overruled by Israel’s ultra-Liberal Supreme Court president, Judge Aharon Barak, who nullified a law permitting the Film Censorship Board to ban pornographic movies by ruling that nothing can actually be declared pornography, “as one man’s pornography is another man’s art” (Station Film Company v. Film Censorship Board, 1997).

As a free speech Liberal, Barak seems to have been very much influenced by the academic doctrine of moral-cum-cultural relativism. Moral-cum-cultural relativism was, and effectively still is, the ruling dogma of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The most famous and influential intellectual founder of this university was the German-educated Martin Buber. Buber, who renounced Judaism to the extent of marrying a Gentile, propagated the anti-Jewish Hegelian doctrine of Historical Relativism (or moral pluralism). Buber’s book, Two Kinds of Faith, happens to provide a philosophical basis of the “two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Buber wrote Two Kinds of Faith to justify by his marriage to a Gentile, a convenient academic justification for a Jew-turned cultural relativist!

Epilogue

The free speech Liberalism underlying American as well as Israeli law has sanctified public obscenity and even pornography, which are rooted in atheism.

The denial of God, evident in contemporary Liberal education, engenders the denial of all moral distinctions.

An important set of moral distinctions is related to men and women. The ascendency of free speech Liberalism, of unfettered freedom of speech, diminishes the differences in the language used in speaking to and about men and women.

This unrestrained Liberalism encourages not only homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage. By its denial of truth it generates nihilism which in turn undermines any normative understanding of Islamic terrorism, as is evident in President Barack Obama’s attitude toward that savagery.

Same sex marriage, like Islamic terrorism, is a rejection of Western Civilization. Women (hence children) will be the first victims of this Liberalism, beginning, as mentioned, with our attitude toward Language. Since language distinguishes the human from the subhuman, its degradation in obscenity cannot but degrade human life. This is also the consequence of Islamic terrorism which, consistent with Islamic theology, substitutes the primacy of force over the primacy of reason.

Summing up: Free speech Liberalism – with its denial of truth – is actually a negation of rational speech, hence of God’s gift to man. Unfettered freedom of speech, the tendency of modern Liberalism, and implicit in the above-mentioned decision of Judge Aharon Barak, signals the death of rational speech, hence of civilization.

With Barak-type Liberals laying down the law concerning what was traditionally known as distinctively human, and therefore hence of what is decent and indecent, the word “terrorism” will become as meaningless as the term “marriage.”

Small wonder that neither Israelis nor Americans know where they are going, although there are signs that their ultimate destination is the grave.

Paul Eidelberg

The End of Competition

Monday, May 20th, 2013

The American Dream does not actually require a red, white and blue flag or a dream. What it requires is a willingness to accept messiness.

Messiness is another word for chaos. And no one likes chaos. Chaos means that in the richest country in the world some people will be illiterate, others will be homeless and some will accidentally set themselves on fire because the fireworks don’t come with enough safety warnings.

Those aren’t good things. They’re not things that governments and the squeaky wheels who make governments what they are think should be tolerated. They’re messy.

Messy is all those things that people say someone should do something about, by which they don’t mean themselves. What they really mean is that we should be living in a more orderly society. And an orderly society is one where things don’t just happen. You have to file eight forms, duck six committees and debate four non-profits to have any chance of getting things done. And even then you probably won’t.

Orderly societies have nailed down all the loose ends. There are fewer homeless people, mainly because they are now living in sixty thousand dollar per inmate shelters designed by progressive architects, but there are also fewer errand boys becoming Andrew Carnegie. What is really being lost is social mobility. The ladder up.

Meritocracy requires chaos. An orderly society isn’t chaotic, it’s stratified. The power has been parceled out to all the people who should have it. And there’s only so much to go around. Newness is a threat because new things are unpredictable. They’re chaotic. They disrupt the power structure.

The liberal argument is largely an argument for a society consolidated around government in service to progressive ideals. It’s a tidy world in which governments and non-profits consume an always increasing share of everything else until there isn’t anything else because it’s been consolidated. The end result of that process however isn’t progressive. It’s tribal.

Power naturally consolidates along personal lines, not political lines. A society may begin by consolidating power so that all the non-profits can help the homeless and the people who can’t read fireworks instructions, but, in a peculiar phenomenon, the homeless never seem to get helped much and fireworks accidents keep happening.

The phenomenon isn’t really peculiar at all. Humanitarian work is a job that exists to eliminate itself. The only way to keep a job dedicated to solving the problem is to perpetuate the problem. Or to redefine the problem on a larger scale. All that is familiar enough from any number of non-profits and government agencies that exist to remind people to care about a problem that they don’t care about.

Redefining the problem on a larger scale means more money, more power and more control. Any problem, whether it’s homelessness, illiteracy or crime is a social problem and can only be solved by taking a holistic approach to everything. A city, a country and a world become a giant puzzle that can only be solved by manipulating all the pieces into place in the right order. The only way to solve the problems that never get solved is through total control over every human being on earth.

Power can only be consolidated ideologically for so long. Both the Russian and Chinese Communist revolutions eventually collapsed into familial profiteering. China’s Princes and Russia’s KGB clans brought down Communism in both countries and resurrected it as profiteering oligarchies eager to live the good life.

To some measure, Capitalism beat Communism, but more accurately tribalism beat internationalism,  powerful men built systems that lock in privileges for their friends and families while tossing out the lefty ideologies that allowed their grandfathers to get close to those privileges. It’s an old story and it’s how the progressive experiments in the ideological consolidation of power will end here.

Power is personal. As is wealth. A system that consolidates enough power turns tribal as fathers look to pass on their privileges to their children until, like so many social services agencies, the system exists for the sake of the system.

Tribal systems are not meritocracies. They aren’t interested in talent, but in a sense of order that derives from the consolidation of power. Their idea of civilization does not lie in their arts or sciences, only in the orderliness of power. Only when chaos assails them, is talent released out into the wild where unpredictable things happen. But the chaotic period passes and the old patterns assert themselves again strangling the wildness and consolidating it.

Daniel Greenfield

Who is an ‘Islamist’ and Why it Matters

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The Associated Press has decided that the word “Islamist” may not be used to describe anything objectionable.  The Jewish Press’s Lori Lowenthal Marcus calls out the relevant passage from the news service’s newly revised stylebook:

[An Islamist is] an advocate of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.

Hmmm.  It’s an interesting question who will be called an Islamist by A.P. writers, given this definition.

Who is an Islamist?

Presumably, Mohammed Morsi could be called an Islamist by the A.P. – unless the second sentence above cancels out the first, making it impossible to call anyone an “Islamist.” And maybe that’s the case; if so, defining “Islamist” is an exercise in futility for the A.P.

But will Morsi be called an Islamist?  By the letter of the A.P. definition, being labeled an Islamist would put Morsi in company with Hamas, the Iranian clerical council, and the Taliban.  He belongs there, of course, but will that association be considered politically correct, given that the U.S. government is committed to Morsi’s success, and continues to deliver arms to him?

Hamas and the Taliban are terrorist organizations, but are or have been government authorities as well (the latter aspiring to be one again), reordering government and society precisely in accordance with laws they deem to be prescribed by Islam.  Iran’s leaders sponsor terrorism, as well as doing the reordering thing in the name of Islam.

In fact, Hizballah fits the bill as well, being a terrorist organization which currently governs Lebanon.  Among this terrorist-governing group, Hizballah may have made the least effort to reorder government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  But then, Hizballah governs a tiny, fractious, all-but-ungovernable nation with mostly porous borders, and in that role has been more concerned since January 2011 with holding power than with remaking society.  Does that mean there is some meaningful sense in which Hezbollah is not “Islamist” – even though it proclaims sharia and holds its political goals in common with Hamas and Iran (and has considerable overlap with Morsi in Egypt)?

Perhaps the seemingly narrow A.P. definition of “Islamist” is meant to ensure that only those who advocate Islamism from the more consensual environment of Western liberal societies will meet it.  This proposition will run into its own set of troubles, however, partly because radicals like Britain’s Anjem Choudary, who have been, so to speak, the face of Islamism in the West, might be considered ineligible for the title due to their explosively radical demeanor.  If Choudary isn’t an Islamist, who is?

That remains a good question, considering that other, more mainstream Western organizations may have ties through their leadership, like CAIR’s, to the Muslim Brotherhood and even terrorist groups, but they do not overtly propose to reorder government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  Does that mean they are not Islamist?  And if not, what does that mean?

At present, CAIR’s efforts are not focused directly on reordering government and society, but rather on undermining one of the essential pillars of Western civilization: unfettered pursuit of the truth – about radical Islam as about anything else.  Government agencies, with their top-down institutional pieties, are an easy target for outright censorship in this regard.

The A.P. Stylebook revision is something different, and perhaps more insidious.  Presumably, an A.P. writer would not refer to CAIR’s involvement in redefining “Islamist” as a method of Islamism, although it is one.  And, in fairness, there is a good case to be made that rewriting definitions for political reasons is something the Western left requires no prompting to do.  Need it be “Islamist” to define categories prejudicially?  It certainly doesn’t have to be “Islamist” to label anyone whose arguments you don’t like a “racist.”  The Western left thought that one up all on its own.

The lack of firm ground to stand on in this analysis is quintessential in the propositions of radicals.  Corruption and politicization of the language are common radical tactics.  Whom, exactly, can an A.P. writer call an Islamist, given all these factors?  The antiseptic definition of Islamism approved by CAIR might apply only to Islamic theoreticians who never actually engage in political advocacy – if there are any.

J. E. Dyer

A Jewish State Can Be Democratic and Moral

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Joseph Levine is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and he has published an essay in (where else?) the New York Times, in which he argues that the proposition ‘Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state’ is false.

There are many things in the article to complain about, but I am going to content myself with pointing out the single massive howler by which his argument collapses.

He makes the distinction between “a people in the ethnic sense” and in the “civic sense,” which means either residents of a geographical area or citizens of a state. He generously grants that there is a Jewish people in the ethnic sense who live in Israel, but only an ‘Israeli people,’ which includes Arabs, in the civic sense. Then he tells us,

…insofar as the principle that all peoples have the right to self-determination entails the right to a state of their own, it can apply to peoples only in the civic sense…

But if the people who “own” the state in question are an ethnic sub-group of the citizenry, even if the vast majority, it constitutes a serious problem indeed, and this is precisely the situation of Israel as the Jewish state. Far from being a natural expression of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, it is in fact a violation of the right to self-determination of its non-Jewish (mainly Palestinian) citizens. It is a violation of a people’s right to self-determination to exclude them — whether by virtue of their ethnic membership, or for any other reason — from full political participation in the state under whose sovereignty they fall…

“Any state that ‘belongs’ to one ethnic group within it violates the core democratic principle of equality, and the self-determination rights of the non-members of that group” [my emphasis].

His exposition is much more lengthy and you should read it. But I think I have extracted the gist of it.

Interestingly, while he explains what he means by ‘a people’ and draws a distinction between two senses of the expression, he does not even hint about his understanding of the concept of ‘democracy’ and especially “the core democratic principle of equality,” the violation of which he believes disqualifies Israel from continued existence as a Jewish state.

Levine explains how Israel violates these principles:

The distinctive position of [a favored ethnic people] would be manifested in a number of ways, from the largely symbolic to the more substantive: for example, it would be reflected in the name of the state, the nature of its flag and other symbols, its national holidays, its education system, its immigration rules, the extent to which membership in the people in question is a factor in official planning, how resources are distributed, etc.

Actually, concerning the “more substantive” things, Arab citizens of Israel are doing quite well: they have the right to vote, to hold political office, and a large degree of control of their educational system; there are rules against discrimination in housing and employment (with exceptions related to national security), etc. In other words, they have full civil rights.

Naturally there are differences in the treatment of Jews and Arabs. Some are due to cultural differences — Arab towns are governed by Arabs and distribute resources differently — some are related to security, and some to anti-Arab prejudice. But the degree of prejudice in Israeli society is not particularly great compared to other advanced nations like the U.S., and nobody is suggesting that the U.S. does not have a “right to exist” unless all discrimination can be eliminated.

In any event, discrimination in what he calls “substantive” ways are not essential to the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, and there is a general consensus that such discrimination is wrong and should be eliminated.

Israel’s immigration rules are certainly unequal. But immigration rules by definition do not apply to citizens; and few — if any — of the world’s nations permit free immigration.

Levine also does not consider security issues at all. If Israel ignored them it would cease to exist without philosophical arguments. This would be bad both for the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel (just ask any of them if they would prefer to be citizens of Israel or the Palestinian Authority).

Vic Rosenthal

The Road to Oligarchy

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Regardless of how many wars on poverty are declared and how often calls are issued to make the rich pay their fair share, neither the rich nor the poor will be going anywhere anytime soon. The question is what forces will keep the poor impoverished and where the rich will derive their wealth from.

The founder of Subway recently said that he could not have started up his company today. Similar messages have come from the founders and heads of other major companies. That isn’t to say that companies will cease to exist. What we think of as business has been changing for some time.

In most countries, starting a business does not begin with a great idea. It begins with connections. Knowing the right people is still important, but in most places it’s the most important thing.

Under the current American model, a company becomes successful and then begins to lobby Washington to gain a competitive advantage or to avert hostile lobbying directed at negating its existing competitive advantage. That is a perversion of free enterprise, but in much of the world companies begin lobbying first and then become successful. This is the model that has evolved under Obama. And it’s a familiar model to anyone doing business in Russia or China. Political connections come first and then the business becomes feasible.

Oligarchy is the inevitable outcome of an economic climate where the governments acts as a gatekeeper to the country’s customers. Measures that began as limited safety and fraud regulations have become a comprehensive political economic system that controls every aspect of every economic transaction.

The government creates markets. It creates companies and customers. It sets prices and taxes industries that it does not favor out of business.

Corporate lobbying isn’t just about the proverbial 200 dollar screwdriver. It’s about making it more expensive for some companies to make screwdrivers than others. It’s also about forcing independent screwdriver manufacturers out of business. It’s about government grants to make environmentally friendly screwdrivers and heavy taxes on companies that don’t make environmentally friendly screwdrivers.

Tactics like these aren’t new. The Esch Act eliminated white phosphorus matches through a punitive tax back in 1910. But a century later, the government wiped out the incandescent bulb industry, not for health reasons, but to comply with a trendy ideology. Microsoft, which had hardly bothered to lobby before, was dragged to Washington on monopoly charges that Google, the ultimate dot com insider, today laughs off. And Microsoft learned its lesson, investing in sizable amounts of lobbying capital.

The government is a bigger factor in business models for both large and small businesses than any other. Whether it’s struggling against the mountains of paperwork or looking for ways to profit from the latest regulations, business has come to be defined by government. The tier of governments at every level have accumulated huge amounts of wealth and power. Government power is used to control how business is done while government spending makes political officials into the country’s biggest consumers.

The fusion of business with government leads to oligarchy. The rich are not going anywhere, but wealth becomes a factor of their government connections, rather than skill or even inheritance. Government control over business began under the banner of combating monopolies only to end by creating government monopolies. The war against income inequality will end the same way and with the same results as the oligarchies in Russia, China, Mexico and everywhere else.

The future of Obamerica is a country full of corrupt government officials and tycoons. The future is an aristocracy of union bosses running their own guilds, corporate monopolies that change with each election and government officials with mansions and armed bodyguards.

Income inequality will be huge with oceans of poverty and small islands of wealth locked away behind gated communities. Populists will promise power for the people, only to make the system even more corrupt. One company or one boss will be brought down, only to be replaced with the favorites of another party.

Everyone will despise the tycoons and the government. The government will promise to protect the people from the tycoons, even as it works closely with them, and the tycoons will lavish money on certain areas in exchange for loyalty. Both the government and the tycoons will be closely tied up with organized crime which will launder its drug profits through the tycoons and use its political connections to gain protection and sanctions against rival organizations.

Daniel Greenfield

Obama’s Panama Canal

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Sitting in the CNN studio today, with an earpiece jammed in one ear and a microphone clipped to my jacket, the disembodied voice of some CNN guest urgently proposing that the government take advantage of historically low borrowing rates to invest in infrastructure howled in my ear. Without a monitor, the voice had no body belonging to it. It was the muse of liberalism. The idiot angel standing on the shoulder of Uncle Sam crying out, “Spend, spend, spend.”

In 1 Time Warner Circle, all the elevators play the CNN feed in small monitors. On the floor, there is more of the same. There’s no escaping CNN in the tower of the corporate parent of CNN. Like some cheap production of 1984, it’s everywhere and nowhere, one long commercial break for the country’s least popular news network, whose most famous figure is doing his talk show on Hulu, still in his trademark suspenders while his third-rate British replacement shrieks nightly about gun violence.

CNN is irrelevant, but in the ugly Time Warner Center, part shopping mall, part unfinished pile of construction equipment arranged to look like two skyscrapers, defacing the view outside Central Park, it’s all that matters. In the CNN bubble, it’s still vitally important and incredibly influential, even if its most influential moment in the last ten years consisted of two shameless doughy buffoons screaming at each other about gun control.

If America ever goes the way of CNN, then it too will be reduced to some badly designed urban skyscrapers full of important people talking importantly about issues while outside the world has moved on. The disembodied voice in the backlit wilderness cries out that we must invest more in infrastructure. “America built the Panama Canal. They said it couldn’t be done and it revolutionized commerce.”

But where exactly is our Panama Canal? For that matter, where after years of insane deficit spending is our anything? What infrastructure achievement has the shovel-ready administration managed to achieve? What has it done besides rename a few areas after politically correct figures and set up some monuments to the destructive energies of the left?

In December we learned that the National Park Service had spent $1.5 million to restore the graffiti on an Alcatraz water tower put there by leftist American Indian activists in the 70s. Their manifesto read, “We will purchase said Alcatraz Island for $24 in glass beads and red cloth.” But 24 bucks in tourist junk would be a bargain compared to $1.5 million spent during a recession to preserve the sort of leftist idiocy that trolls today leave in comments sections.

That water tower is Obama’s Panama Canal. It’s as close as we’re going to come to it. Either that or one of those light rail schemes that gets funded, but never goes anywhere. These are our expensive monuments to a left that occasionally talks like Stalin, but runs things like Castro, talking incessantly without anything to show for it except a bigger mountain of bureaucracy overhead. This is our CNN government full of commercial breaks and breaking news bulletins, but utterly unaware of its own irrelevance. It can still spend money, but it can’t move out of third place.

There is no Panama Canal project in the works. No great plan to revolutionize commerce and transportation. Only a sad failed attempt to get Americans to switch to electric cars which mainly existed as a way of shoving more pork into the orifices of Obama’s donors.

China can build things, for better or worse, because it has the manufacturing capacity to get things done. America no longer has manufacturing capacity, it has bureaucracy. China makes products. America makes government. We make government at home and we export it abroad.

If any country wants to know how to make a big expensive and unwieldy government ruled by the threat of someone screaming racism and someone else promising free birth control for perpetual grad students who one day hope to teach other perpetual grad students or perhaps file lawsuits on their behalf, then we can do that. If you want us to teach you how to make things, go look up some of our books from the first half of the last century. They may have something of relevance to offer on the subject. The America of 2013, whose government is in its own CNN tower, does not.

Daniel Greenfield

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/obamas-panama-canal/2013/02/17/

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