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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

1133. The great intellectual failure of the left is to assume that ideal conceptions represent viable alternatives in real life. It is easy to proclaim virtue by being on the side of peace, tolerance, and equality. But peace may entail self-destruction, tolerance of evil allows it to spread, and equality -- if it were actually attainable -- implies mediocrity, stasis, and the cessation of progress. Choosing -- in the real world -- usually involves determining the lesser evil. 

1126. Mr. Trudeau: a man whose superficiality extends, undiminished, to his core.

1125. Mr. Trudeau is a deeply superficial man.

1118. Socialism illustrates the tyranny of the ideal: it invariably leads to dictatorship.

1074. In left-wing philosophy, only society is to blame -- evil and self-interest are vague illusions. Justice is best employed as an occasional scullery maid in the house of infinite mercy.

1071. Tribalism -- which is instinctive -- favours conformity and provides the comfort of herd-like thinking; thus it tends naturally towards dictatorship. Democracy attempts to modify the natural bias -- but it requires constant effort and commitment. No one should be surprised that it is not more eagerly adopted.

1069. Socialism pretends that benevolence can be made compulsory. But compulsion is corrosive -- it erodes and eventually destroys benevolence.

1065. Apology and appeasement -- the Obama approach to world affairs -- represents a sacrifice of truth in the pursuit of harmony. But, in the end, the world recognizes merit; it is not productive to hide the light of superior ideas under a barrel of obsequious self-effacement.

1064. Life, at its core, is not egalitarian, but competitive. This fact may be deplored, and competition may be beneficially modified in the interests of "equality" -- but it can never be eliminated. The attempts to create egalitarian societies -- socialist states -- are coercive cures worse than the disease they are meant to remedy. All socialist societies are Procrustean beds -- they invariably become dictatorships as they attempt to force real, natural, competitive inequalities into a theoretical framework of equality.

1061. Voting for politicians who spout optimistic nonsense is like buying a lottery ticket: you can live in a fantasy of hope until the numbers are drawn. Then it's back to reality.

1023. Socialism -- the dictatorship of good intentions.

1022. Socialism is the road paved with good intentions -- it invariably leads to the hell of dictatorship.

1021. Central planning can never achieve the promised equality -- for its premise is the existence of two unequal classes: the planners and the planned.

1020. Socialism seeks harmonious perfection through central planning -- the successful completing of ideal round holes using the square pegs of reality. Thus it is necessarily oppressive; it is invariably revealed as a dictatorship.

1018. Socialism requires central planning -- it assumes that men are piano keys to be manipulated in the achievement of an ideal harmony. But men prefer to be composers and pianists  -- not piano keys.

1015. Capitalism works because it recognizes and gives scope to the competitive instinct. Socialism doesn't work because it pretends that people don't want to compete -- they want to be equal. It's the distinction -- once again -- between what works and what sounds good.

1014. A capitalist democracy -- in which citizens conform in the interests of self-improvement -- is superior to a theocracy or socialist state -- where citizens are required to conform to an ideal vision of reality; these invariably become indistinguishable from oppressive monarchies or dictatorships.

950. Mr. Trudeau’s intellectual arsenal consists of a stock of comforting platitudes, feel-good fantasies, and myopic mantras. They are un-assimilated hand-me-downs – neither forged from personal struggle nor tempered by encounters with reality.

949. The European Union overlooks the reality of man’s instinctive tribalism. People do not like to be ruled by those both distant and unaccountable.

948. In an era of political correctness -- where feelings are more important than facts -- it is not surprising that socialist regimes are not judged on facts and results, but on aims and intentions. As long as the aim is equality and brotherhood, murder and oppression are merely unfortunate but excusable inconveniences.

947. The "preferred narrative" of those on the left is the world not as it is, but as it "ought" to be. Thus fascism is the obvious and necessary response to any threatening reminders of a reality that has already been rejected.  

925. Socialism requires a great deal of coercion in order achieve the unnatural conditions of "brotherhood" and "equality." It is simply dictatorship pretending to benevolence.

915. When confronted with the choice between an attractive dream and a workable reality, people often choose the dream.  The admirers of the Canadian health care system are an excellent example.

912. Mr. Obama's intent has always been clear: to transform the lion of initiative and entrepreneurship into a pussy-cat of socialist mediocrity.

901. Socialism has a magnificent vision: a crystal palace of equality for all. Such edifices are doomed to fail -- since no one has found a way to construct the crystal people required to inhabit them.

900. Capitalism embodies freedom; socialism yearns for security. They are the cobra and mongoose found in battle within the body politic.

899. The universe is not an ethical machine, but a utilitarian one. That is one reason why successful dictators are not more reviled: the successful end overshadows the dictatorial means.

898. Fidel Castro illustrates the necessary link between socialism and dictatorship. Socialism is the genetic legacy of ants, but human beings still yearn for some degree of autonomy and some measure of freedom.

897. Fidel Castro did not "love the Cuban people." He loved his vision of the Cuban people. Between these two concepts there are worlds of cruelty, and light years of oppression. Nor should brainwashing and the Stockholm Syndrome be confused with genuine reverence.

892. Socialism always looks like a peach -- but it tastes like a lemon.

890. "Thrift" and "government expenditure" are concepts not simply mutually exclusive -- or even mutually destructive. They occupy galaxies so distant that no light has ever travelled between them.

837. As much as power corrupts -- it also seems to blind.  (The political class seems enamoured of the idea of anthropogenic global warming -- despite failed predictions, and the fact that the behaviour of alarmists is indistinguishable
from that of the purveyors of snake oil.)

828. The open border is a sieve claiming to be a bucket.

827. The "open border" is a conceptual triumph of the oxymoronic mind. It should be welcomed with the restrictive abandon of enthusiastic reluctance. [We assume that borders have a protective function -- against invading armies and uncontrolled immigration. If security and cultural integrity are not issues, an "open border" is possible -- as in a provincial or state boundary line.]

825. Identity politics – which assumes that no man can see beyond the interests of his own minority group – combined with the fashionable focus on maximum diversity – would suggest that a return to tribal government (preferably with no more than twenty individuals per tribe) should be instituted as soon as possible.

813. In the end, human societies will reflect the nature of the creatures of which they are composed. Man is neither as independent as the jaguar nor as tribal as the ant. The view that humankind can out-tribalize the ants and become one giant colony is currently popular, but has no chance of being realized.

812. Each society must determine how much liberty should be sacrificed for security and equality.

810. Schemes to promote equality invariably involve a loss of liberty.

801. Socialism is based on the premise that human beings would prefer to be ants.

799. There is no free lunch. The Canadian government funds the health care system, but the patient is required to donate his right to choose a more efficient and timely service.

795. Those on the left usually follow a "preferred narrative" -- one from which any awkward, truthy bits have been excluded.

778. Appeasement never deters -- but always encourages -- aggression.

777. Every government contains the seed of corruption. It is called power.

776. The United Nations is extremely useful: it ensures that -- this side of sanity -- the idea of world government will never be considered.

774. No scheme of government benevolence should overlook the fact that some portion of humanity is crooked.

730. The Rose Garden was never promised; nor should it be invoked or simulated by Human Rights Commissions.

723. Truth disdains alike the sanctity of religion, the myth of equality, and the ideal of cultural fraternity. Thus it is inimical to peace, order, and security -- the raison d'être of all government.

691. The globalist view is that national borders are anachronistic relics which should be destroyed. This ignores a certain obdurate reality: human beings are instinctively tribal, and territorial -- and tend to resist the incursion of foreign cultural values. 

690. Borders make the nation. When borders are destroyed, the concept of nationhood is effectively obliterated.

686. The project of the European Union reflects a spirit more idealistic than scientific. It assumes – contrary to historical evidence -- that citizens are enamoured of central planning, and welcome the central plans of unelected elites; further – most recently – it has pretended that cultural – that is tribal -- differences are always minor, and will succumb to good intentions. It is significant that the first country to leave the Union is one which, by historical exceptionalism and through geographical isolation, has a strong sense of tribal identity.

681. Globalism is theory; nationalism -- which has its roots in instinctive tribalism -- is practice.

679. We have begun to believe that a certificate of intellectual bankruptcy must be one of the chief pre-requisites for those on the political left.

650. The enthusiasm of the Liberal government for deficit spending suggests they believe they have discovered a new magic -- an innovative incantation which will ensure their perennial popularity. In fact the new magic is simply an old trick -- one destined to be seen as a false "sleight of mind" when the money runs out, and there are bills to be paid.

649. The spiritual home of Left-Wingery is -- of course -- none other than the Big Rock Candy Mountain -- where the sun always shines, the handouts grow on bushes, and the bluebird, full of free lemonade, exults in perpetual song.

626. It's a pity to see western democracies caught in the trap of their own idealistic but inappropriate tolerance.

617. Life's but a trial --
        A bleak day-to-daybia
        So vile is the style
        In Saudi Arabia.

603. "Preferred narrative:" A pleasant, left-wing version of reality designed to obscure the truth.

601. The Greater Carrot Theory of International Relations: Carrots, provided promptly, and in sufficient quantity, render the need for sticks obsolete.

583. Government by grand gesture and untested hypothesis will proceed quite happily -- until the bills come in.

577. Virtuous Exemption Syndrome: An affliction which leads the sufferer to believe that his clear and undeniable virtue exempts him from observing normal conventions and rules of behaviour. 

532. Virtue -- self-perceived -- seeks no compromise with reality.  This explains the fascism of the Left.

524. The more governments grow in power, the more people look to government to solve problems; the more governments are asked to solve problems, the more power they seek to solve them. Thus liberty defers to security.

475. Conservatives are like the primly unaccommodating governess, constantly warning of what is permissible, what is reasonably consistent with the limitations of reality. Liberals are like the doting aunt, who never appears without a bag of candy, who holds out the promise of an easy trip to the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where the bluebird sings, and the sun always shines. 

466. The love affair with central planning has its roots in religion: God -- omnipotent, omniscient, and holier than thou -- is the archetypical central planner.

458. Compassionate government largesse, apparently unencumbered, may yet contain the seeds of dependency, and the tendrils of tentacles. It is not inconceivable that eventually, "free" health care may require behaviour, diet, and medication in conformity with government guidelines.

451. Mr. Obama: the paragon of pusillanimity. When principle is sacrificed at the altar of legacy, weakness rises to virtue, and appeasement bears the palm and pride of statesmanship.

443. The United Nations is doomed to dysfunction because it falsely assumes the equality of nations and the moral equivalence of cultures.

429. No man is more dangerous than the idealist with power, for he will always seek to oppress or betray the people. The strong idealist sees citizens as square pegs who must be forced, ruthlessly, into the round holes of an imagined perfect behaviour. The weak idealist sees citizens as requiring no special care or protection: their power and advantages may be ceded, easily, to others -- because he believes in the essential goodness of mankind, and the kindness of strangers.  Mao Tse-tung was a strong idealist; Mr. Obama is a weak one.

419. Mr. Trudeau's endorsement of all ninety-four of the often unrealistic recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission shows -- once again -- that there is no opportunity for political pandering which he deems unworthy of seizing.

409. The self-importance of those in government is directly proportional to the GMQ -- the Government Meddling Quotient.  This ensures that Government Meddling will always be extensive, intensive, persistent -- and expensive.

396. Idealism is absolutism. That is why idealistic schemes for improvement, allowed their full scope, become coercive and oppressive.

383. Internationally, Mr. Obama shows a rare talent for imbecilic perversity: he spurns his friends, and appeases his enemies. Thus he is, quite legitimately, derided for betrayal and despised for weakness.

371. The price of security is always liberty.

370. In the secure interdependence of citizen and state, the savanna gives way to the hive; man becomes a mere "piano key" to be depressed and released in accordance with the melody: a contented, harmonious buzz.

344. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal... (The American Declaration of Independence) This, of course, is mere pious piffle, the empty puffery of platitudinous pretense. We must conclude that declarations of independence are meant to have the flavour of ceremonial occasions – in which the pomp of oratory is expected to vie with the facade of circumstance.

327. The mainstream media seem determined to protect Mr. Trudeau from the natural consequences of his deficiencies.  In this, perhaps, they simply reveal the persistence of a monarchist undercurrent beneath the democratic and egalitarian calm of Canadian society. For is not Mr. Trudeau the Hair Apparent and the Prince of Platitudes?

322. His intellect would feel lost in the vastness of a thimble. [Refers to a prominent Canadian political leader.]

315. When Mr. Trudeau speaks, it is as if a great muddle has been splashed onto the calm surface of the sea of sanity.

313. For the Left, being the underdog excuses sins mortal, moral and multitudinous.

306. Mr. Obama is the great Sadim -- a Midas in reverse: everything he touches turns to lead.

302. There can be no honesty in politics: the realist must lie to get elected; the idealist, easily elected for his promises, must cede his beliefs to reality once in office.

298. Beware of politics masquerading as science.

292. Human Rights Commissions, with an alchemy perversely unjust, turn whines into gold.

287. Of all dreams, those driven by government are the most dangerous; implementation is undeterred by a sense of personal responsibility, and negative effects are felt by entire communities.

276. Human Rights Commissions show that the road of Bias can never lead to the city of Justice.

263. The socialists’ ideal is a compulsory grand scheme to construct a shimmering palace of crystal for all; that all citizens should have the freedom to construct their own dwellings is as abhorrent to them as the hodge-podge of mud, wood, brick, and glass which must invariably result.

262. The ideal of the central planner is a Phoenix too frequent: from the ashes of any grand, universal scheme -- from the immolation of inefficiency, or the conflagration of collapse -- must rise again the same remedy -- improved central planning.

254. The waving of Legislative wands, hoping that human nature can thereby be magically transformed, is the remedy of fools. It will create only the knavery of a disease worse than that which cries out for cure.

232. The United Nations is a wonderful example of the failure which occurs when idealism is unchecked by pragmatism.

218. The fascism of the Left, though masked in compassionate smiles, is still oppressive, and still cruel: it is still fascism.

217. Bureaucratic domination without representation is a recipe for slavery.

195. Western societies are engaged in a slow, determined march from liberty to security.

192. In general, it may be said that as the rôle of government increases, so liberty declines.

173.  Evolution trumps revolution. Great changes are achieved incrementally, each step building naturally on the last. It is the folly of government to believe in the efficacy of great leaps -- and its hubris the attempt to implement them.

172. The response to criticism of those in power is in direct proportion to their feelings of illegitimacy.

161. The motto of the political class: Never displease; pretend and appease.

This may also be put in verse form: For wisdom it passes
                                                            'Mongst the political classes:
                                                            Never displease;
                                                            Pretend and appease.

150. Security by government intervention is always paid for in the dear coin of freedom.

143. The socialist’s advocacy of compassion, powerful and heartfelt though it may be, is matched by the staunchness of his belief that charitable works are best performed using other people’s money.

136. The silly hat syndrome is an unfortunate affliction specific to the political class; it is manifested by those politicians who adopt, on a temporary and expedient basis, the garb of that cultural group whose votes they wish to attract.

117. The left has an admirable but single-eyed concern for mercy–the raising of the unfortunate to a state of equality; what is missing in its vision is a concern for merit, that element of justice which dismisses equality, and acknowledges the legitimacy of both failure and success.

105. In the interests of accuracy, Human Rights Commissions should be re-named: Victimhood Advocacy Commissions.

104. It is hard not see Human Rights Commissioners as tiny tin-pot O'Briens, intoxicated, blinded, and corrupted with their power to compel assent to the proposition that two plus two makes five, three, six, or sometimes all of them together.  (The reference is to Orwell's 1984.)

92. The truth is never a match for politics, or ambition.

84. In the fashioning of any government enterprise, efficacy is but a footnote to empire.

74. The capitalist system is competitive--hence cruel and unfair– just as life is. We can mitigate the injustice in both, but never eradicate it. When, in dismay, we seek alternatives, we are confronted with socialism and death; no one has made a convincing argument for the attractiveness of either.

56. If nothing else, The United Nations has a significant instructive purpose: it shows with what speed and to what extent idealism can be corrupted by reality.

49. Generous dispensing of funds is a largesse of the spirit, and a balm to the soul; it is especially pleasant when you are a politician or civil servant, and the money is not your own.

43.Nice is admirable, but consistently nice is at a disadvantage when dealing with nasty. That is why we have arguments, prisons, and wars. Canada’s attempts to enforce niceness constitute an egregious folly.

15. It has often been observed that socialism is a system designed for man as he should be; capitalism has evolved from the practices of man as he is.

13. Affirmative action is simply discrimination with a pretty face.

10. Expense accounts tend to corrupt; Government expense accounts corrupt absolutely.

9. Deep down, liberals and socialists would prefer a populace that is not independent, competent, and wealthy; distributing government largesse to the poor, the incompetent, and the dependent plumps their self-esteem, and, indeed, provides their raison d’être.

7. Socialism places much store in the notion of equality, but all it can provide is equality of  poverty.

5. Conservatives have more trouble getting elected, because they tend, on the whole, to have a more realistic view of human nature and its possibilities than the Liberals. Reality is always the dowdy sister to Fancy.