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Yesterday, the New York Times carried a story and photographs covering riots in Bologna, Italy. It appears that students there were a trifle upset at their government’s intention to cut back on student services, as well as raise tuition. Earlier this year, we were treated to news accounts of workers rioting in Greece and France over government plans to implement austerity measures due to pressure from the European Union, and the fact that, well … they’ve run out of other people’s money.
Which, as many of us know, is always the fate of socialist states. It’s interesting, though, that when such measures are proposed or taken in America, people complain, then provide for the amelioration of whatever brought the circumstance about. Perhaps it’s the fault of shortsighted public-sector managers or politicians. Maybe it is in fact a necessity. We look for causes and solutions.
In Europe, they break things, set fires and attack the police. This is because the sense of entitlement has been so thoroughly inculcated into Europeans’ worldview. Their inordinate dependence upon the state causes them to perceive such deprivations as you might if someone stole from your home.
This is the direction in which congressional Democrats and the Obama administration have America gravitating, indeed, the direction in which their political compatriots have been edging us for decades. There is no advantage to it whatsoever, save for the personal and political aggrandizement of politicians and their cronies; it consigns everyone else to a grim, insidious form of slavery to a megalithic state. The rhetoric (read propaganda) employed to effect the cooperation of workers, business owners and particularly those in the lower socioeconomic realms is never more than baseless invective, patent falsehood and Utopian wet dreams.
We can see evidence of this progression and the success socialists have had in this regard here in the U.S.; this week, workers whose unemployment insurance benefits are expiring have held protests and appealed to news outlets both local and national to convey their plight to their fellow citizens.
Not to minimize the lot of unemployed Americans, but we can also see the changing perspective of many of these in the tone of their rhetoric. Using such terms as “cuts” (to their benefits), assigning blame to political scapegoats and holding protests in the first place is indicative of the sense of entitlement these people feel. As you may be aware, the Senate did vote to extend jobless benefits in March of this year, at a time in which Americans, analysts and GOP lawmakers were wont to criticize such action over concern about from whence the money would come.
Which is, as you might imagine, generally of little concern to socialists – until others’ money runs out. Then you have people breaking things, setting fires and attacking the police.
The travesty of recent exchanges between President Obama, outgoing Democratic House leaders and incoming Republican House leaders has been good political theater for some, and of grave concern for others. Americans who turned out in record numbers (in my county, the turnout was 80 percent) to arrest the momentum of this creeping (or perhaps I should say lurching) socialism are essentially on pins and needles, gauging what the new Republican House leadership intends to do about the aforementioned objective.
Certainly, it would not have been politically prudent for Republicans among the incoming majority House to rebuff the president’s efforts toward “reaching consensus” on such things as the expiring tax cuts put into place by former President Bush. Despite those aforementioned efforts being hypocritical window dressing, GOP leaders don’t believe they can afford to appear obstreperous, and perhaps they presume they might be able to leverage a concession or two out of President Obama.
The obvious point upon which a few prominent commentators have expounded – and which altogether too many Americans have yet to learn – is that there is no such thing as compromise with an adversary whose objectives are diametrically opposed to your own. If the pilot of a jetliner wishes to slam the aircraft into a mountain and the copilot does not, there’s no compromise; the copilot must neutralize the pilot if he or she wishes to save the passengers.
How many Republican lawmakers are on the same page with those who voted for reform in November? That is, unfortunately, hard to say. It would appear that a few who are leading the conservative charge “get it,” as it were, but nearly 50 years of political gamesmanship and visionless, progressive Republican politicians have bred an understandable cynicism among the electorate.
Obama doesn’t have it in him to “move to the center” substantially, as did Bill Clinton after the 1994 midterm election, and as some naïve pundits have predicted. Republican lawmakers will, quite frankly, have to be politically brutal with those across the aisle, and with this gross caricature of a president, employ methods and measures that will cause their more moderate colleagues to quiver with revulsion within their gelatinous, invertebrate carcasses.
And engaged Americans must remain as engaged as they were this summer and fall, and at such levels, for many years to come.