What America is about

Santosh Desai with his 'Just another country' piece betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the greatest idea that now is the United States of America.

Note the questions he poses. In fact I'll answer (with a lot of help from the great Thomas Sowell) each of them to illustrate Santosh's cluelessness about the miracle that changed the world, the nation that is the United States of America . Furthermore unlike what he sees, the grassroots movement in America today is more about reclaiming the real America, not drifting further away.

First the questions, 'There are larger questions that the world wants to ask of America. Why would any country willingly put automatic weaponry in the hands of its citizens in spite of the body of evidence that establishes the insanity of such a policy? Why would it fight a healthcare bill that is inclusive and lowers the cost of good medical care for all? How can a country that has lectured to the world about the benefits of free markets turn protectionist at the first sign that its jobs are at risk? Why would there be such opposition to the idea of raising taxes for those earning more than $250,000? Why would a country of immigrants be so nervous about an entire religious community and forego the ideals on which it was founded? And most perplexingly, how can someone Like Sarah Palin be a credible political leader?

Let me now answer the questions, one by one.

'Why would any country willingly put automatic weaponry in the hands of its citizens in spite of the body of evidence that establishes the insanity of such a policy?'

When the founders of America adopted the declaration of Independence they based it on the belief that God endowed all mankind with "certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Embedded in these are natural rights the founders knew existed but did not enumerate, and they include 'The right to bear arm for self-defence'.

Coming to whether there's a body of evidence that proves the 'insanity of this idea', think again, for statistics lie at our convenience.

Note what Thomas Sowell, the economist has to say on the matter, 'As for the merits or demerits of gun-control laws themselves, a vast amount of evidence, both from the United States and from other countries, shows that keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens does not keep guns out of the hands of criminals. It is not uncommon for a tightening of gun-control laws to be followed by an increase — not a decrease — in gun crimes, including murder.

Conversely, there have been places and times where an increase in gun ownership has been followed by a reduction in crimes in general and murder in particular. Unfortunately, the media intelligentsia tend to favor gun-control laws, so a lot of hard facts about the futility — or the counterproductive consequences of such laws — never reach the public through the media. We hear a lot about countries with stronger gun-control laws than the United States that have lower murder rates. But we very seldom hear about countries with stronger gun-control laws than the United States that have higher murder rates, such as Russia and Brazil.'

Santosh's Question 2., 'Why would it fight a healthcare bill that is inclusive and lowers the cost of good medical care for all?'

Really Santosh, you believe a healthcare bill that bankrupts the country and puts healthcare into hands of government bureaucrats should be welcomed? Sure, the premise just like all liberal premises sounds noble, but you've got to be a bat-blind socialist to believe it would usher in an era of universal wellness.

Note Sowell (in fact I'd recommend you read his 4 series articles on governementalising healthcare), 'What is most like Alice in Wonderland is discussing medical care reform in the abstract, as if there are not already government-run medical care systems in this country and elsewhere.

Yet there seems to be remarkably little interest in examining how government-run medical care actually turns out-- medically and financially-- whether in Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration hospitals in this country, or in government-run medical systems in other countries. We are repeatedly being told that we need to have a government-controlled medical care system, because other countries have it-- as if our policies on something as serious as medical care should be based on the principle of monkey see, monkey do.By all means look at other countries, but not just to see what to imitate. See how it actually turns out. Yet there seems to be an amazing lack of interest in examining what government-controlled medical care produces...

One of the statistics they spin endlessly is that life expectancy in some countries with government-controlled medical care is higher than in the United States. What they don't tell you is that, in some of these countries, all the infants that die are not included in infant mortality statistics, as they are in the United States. More important, both political and media supporters of government-controlled medical care consistently confuse medical care with health care.

About Santosh's next question, sure free markets is the answer, not protectionism. If you knew, its Obama and the liberal Democrats who favour the latter, not Republicans.

Santosh, I'm afraid but your next question smacks of classic liberal hypocrisy. 'Why would there be such opposition to the idea of raising taxes for those earning more than $250,000?'

Note Sowell once again, 'When politicians talk about "the rich" that they want to tax, send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee -- if not now, then at some other point in your life. Talk about how tax cuts will "give" money to the rich is very misleading. Thinking about the economy solely in terms of money ignores the fact that income and wealth consist of real things -- food and shelter, automobiles and airplanes, factories and farms. To boost the economy means increasing real production. Boosting the economy requires policies that change people's behavior, causing more people to be hired, more work to be done, and more production to result.

The point of cutting taxes on dividends is not -- repeat, not -- to get dividend recipients to spend more money, if and when they receive those dividends somewhere down the road. The point is to get them to invest right now, creating jobs right now, so that employment will go up and real output will rise. Those who think solely in terms of money prefer to extend the period for receiving unemployment benefits. But paying people longer for not working makes no sense if you want more output. Perhaps the most ridiculous of all the economic fallacies produced by politicians is that "tax cuts for the rich" are supposed to cause money to "trickle down" to those in lower income brackets. This is a pure straw man.

As someone who spent the first decade of his career researching, teaching, and writing about the history of economic ideas, let me assure you that there is no such thing as a "trickle-down" theory. No economist of any school of thought has ever proposed any such thing.'

Let me now skip and go to Santosh's last question. 'And most perplexingly, how can someone like Sarah Palin be a credible political leader?'

Well, what can I say, I am perplexed you're perplexed. Shouldn't you instead be perplexed more about community organiser Obama with no executive experience being elected president? Shouldn't you be perplexed that someone who was raised on the ideals of communist Alinsky and attended a church where Jeremiah Wright was the pastor got to becoming president of a country built on a glorious ideal drastically different from those shared by the people Obama admired?

Quoting the great Thomas Sowell one last time, note what he has to say about Palin who Santosh is so perplexed about, 'Governor Palin's "inexperience" is a talking point that might have some plausibility if it were not for the fact that Barack Obama has far less experience in actually making policies than Sarah Palin has. Joe Biden has had decades of experience in being both consistently wrong and consistently a source of asinine statements.

Governor Palin's candidacy for the vice presidency was what galvanized grass roots Republicans in a way that John McCain never did. But there was something about her that turned even some conservative intellectuals against her and provoked visceral anger and hatred from liberal intellectuals. Perhaps the best way to try to understand these reactions is to recall what Eleanor Roosevelt said when she first saw Whittaker Chambers, who had accused Alger Hiss of being a spy for the Soviet Union. Upon seeing the slouching, overweight and disheveled Chambers, she said, "He's not one of us."

The trim, erect and impeccably dressed Alger Hiss, with his Ivy League and New Deal pedigree, clearly was "one of us." As it turned out, he was also a liar and a spy for the Soviet Union. Not only did a jury decide that at the time, the opening of the secret files of the Soviet Union in its last days added more evidence of his guilt. The Hiss-Chambers confrontation of more than half a century ago produced the same kind of visceral polarization that Governor Sarah Palin provokes today. Before the first trial of Alger Hiss began, reporters who gathered at the courthouse informally sounded each other out as to which of them they believed, before any evidence had been presented. Most believed that Hiss was telling the truth and that it was Chambers who was lying.

More important, those reporters who believed that Chambers was telling the truth were immediately ostracized. None of this could have been based on the evidence for either side, for that evidence had not yet been presented in court. For decades after Hiss was convicted and sent to federal prison, much of the media and the intelligentsia defended him. To this day, there is an Alger Hiss chair at Bard College. Why did it matter so much to so many people which of two previously little-known men was telling the truth? Because what was on trial was not one man but a whole vision of the world and a way of life.

Governor Sarah Palin is both a challenge and an affront to that vision and that way of life-- an overdue challenge, much as Chambers' challenge was overdue. Whether Governor Palin runs for national office again is something that only time will tell. But the Republicans need some candidate who is neither one of the country club Republicans nor-- worse yet-- the sort of person who appeals to the intelligentsia.

So you see, the current Tea Party grass roots movement is so that America doesn't become 'just another country'. Of course, not the way Santosh Desai sees it, but the way it was conceptualised by the America's founding fathers.


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