Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Liberals at the Barricades

During the early nineteenth century, when the French were unhappy with their governments, they went to the barricades.  The Parisians would tear up their streets to use the cobblestones to construct barriers from which they could fight the authorities.  These served as a defense while they sought to defeat the army or police.
Today it is the liberals who are at the barricades.  They hate the Trump administration and hope to overthrow it.  As a consequence, they are using every weapon in their arsenal to prevent him from implementing his policies.
This should not be too surprising.  Although it is unprecedented in American history, it fits in with the socialist agenda.  Lest we forget, liberals are socialists.  As such, they are heirs to a tradition of revolution and unrest.  They see nothing wrong with toppling regimes with which they disagree.
And make no mistake about it; liberals want to depose Trump.  They boast about protesting, but that is not what they are doing.  They are seeking to sabotage and intimidate.  The goal is to wrest the government from Republican hands, so that it does their own bidding.
Liberals are not democrats.  They do not respect traditions of compromise and moderation.  For them, the laws and constitution are tools.  If these enable them to get want they want, they are followed.  If not, they are ignored.
Consider the many ways that liberals are attempting impose their will.  Because they regard themselves the “best and the brightest,” they have no scruples about dictating how others should behave.  As they see it, if they must force foul tasting medicines down our throats, it is for our own good.
This includes ignoring the plain words of the constitution.  One of America’s great strengths is that we are a nation of laws.  We defer to these rather than the whims of arrogant authorities.  Not so, for liberals.  If they conclude that the law might thwart their desires, the law is set aside.
Unelected judges did exactly this when they put a halt to Trump’s temporary pause on immigration from terrorist permeated states.  These magistrates did not apply the law as written.  They simply decided that they knew what was in the country’s interest and enforced it.
Democratic senators behaved in the same way.  Despite a long tradition of allowing presidents to appoint cabinet officers who share their views, they slow-walked the confirmation process.  Although they realized they would lose, they hoped to prevent a conservative administration from governing.
Washington’s entrenched bureaucracy followed suit.  Functionaries with matching socialist leanings refused to obey lawful administrative directives.  They even leaked sensitive information that might disrupt Trump’s foreign policy.  Anything that challenged their technocratic control was fair game.
Then there were the mobs.  They were everywhere.  They prevented speakers from appearing on college campuses.  They interrupted the townhall meetings of legislators.  They attempted to prevent a hated Secretary of Education from visiting a public school.
Next there were the journalists who put a target on the back of Trump and anyone associated with him.  Nothing the new government did met with their approval.  As a consequence, they said whatever was required to make him and his people look bad.  Truth and accuracy had little to do with their stories.
The central aim of socialists is to dominate the government.  They believe in achieving this by any means necessary.  It does not matter to them who won an election.  They don’t care whether this was by fair or foul means.  All that matters is whether they get to pull the strings.
Thus, when the governor the state of Washington did a gig about a court decision that stymied Trump, he was dancing on the grave of the constitution.  Likewise, when Elizabeth Warren got bent out of shape when stopped from violating Senate rules, she was thumbing her nose at institutional integrity.
This is what socialists do.  It is part of their revolutionary heritage.  If you hate America and all it stands for, this makes them heroes.  But if you love our nation and its history, it confirms that they are a threat to our values!
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology

Kennesaw State University

A Businessman for President

During the presidential nominating process, several of my colleagues were adamant in their support for Trump.  These folks were not sociologists; they were criminal justice types.  Believers in law and order, they assumed that the Donald would deliver exactly that.
I, however, demurred.  Trump was clearly a pompous fool.  He was a narcissist who would undoubtedly wreck havoc if elected.  Nonetheless, my coworkers persisted.  So far as they were concerned, he would get things done.
For as long as I can remember, conservatives have touted businesspersons for the presidency.  They have argued that these folks are natural leaders; that they are specialists in making things happen.  What is more, successful executives have proven themselves by making a profit.  Had they not been able to meet a payroll, they would have gone out of business.
This always struck me as a juvenile claim.  What had business success to do with running a government or conducting foreign policy?  This was apples and oranges.  Making money and protecting a nation were not the same thing.  Distinctions had to be made.
Now we actually do have a businessman as president.  Depending upon one’s interpretation, this may be for the first time.  Trump is certainly our first billionaire real estate developer.  So the question is: How is he doing?
In many ways, it is too early to tell.  Trump has not yet put most of his policies in place; nor have we seen their consequences.  Nonetheless, some things have come into sharper focus.  We already know a lot about his governing style.
First, Trump is painfully inarticulate.  Even when reading from a teleprompter, his words do not soar.  When extemporaneous, he stammers and repeats a few favored phrases endlessly.  The effect is to make him sound as if he knows less than he does.
Second, Trump is given to hyperbole.  Everything is the best and the greatest.  His programs will not only work, they will work better than anyone else’s.  Moreover, they will take effect immediately.  This propensity for exaggeration is probably a legacy from his days as a salesman.
Third, our president is agonizingly limited in his knowledge of government.  He has been described as intellectually detached.  That is probably true.  Time and again, he simplifies the difficulties he must overcome.
That said; let us switch to the positive side.  Trump has turned out to be a doer.  In a few short weeks, despite relentless opposition, he keeps on churning out new initiatives.  He also makes quick adjustments when necessary.  In other words, he wants to win.  He wants to get the job done.
Contrast this with Obama, who was a man of elegant language.  Nonetheless, Barack accomplished almost nothing in his eight years.  Indeed, his two major policy initiatives were arrant failures.  As an incompetent administrator, both his stimulus plan, with its shovel ready jobs, and ObamaCare, with it lower prices, were bombastic disappointments.
Trump is also a people person.  He talks to everyone.  This includes politicians, business leaders, and foreign leaders.  Unlike Obama, he does not closet himself with close advisors and political allies.  This enables him to learn from others and to enlist their cooperation.
Next, Trump has been straightforward.  Although he is constantly accused of lying, the reverse seems to be true.  Indeed, he appears to be a man of his word.  What he has promised, he is obviously attempting to deliver.  I, for one, am confident that a wall on our southern border will be built and that ObamaCare will be repealed and replaced.
The point I am trying to make is that, much to my surprise, I am finding Donald Trump a breath of fresh air.  Despite his obvious limitations and political awkwardness, he is doing what a business man was alleged to do.  He is attempting to make things happen.
Our last president was a man of words; our current president is a man of action.  Obama sold us on towering ideals he could not achieve; Trump is more down to earth and pragmatic.  I know which of these approaches I prefer.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology

Kennesaw State University

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fake Tears, Phony Compassion

President Trump called them fake tears.  The television commentator Sean Hannity described them as crocodile tears.  Whatever else they were, minority leader Chuck Schumer’s on-screen snivels were political theater—and cynical theater at that.
Schumer was attempting to demonstrate how upset he was by the president’s temporary exclusion of potential terrorists from our nation.  This was portrayed as un-American and as unjustifiably splitting innocent families apart.
Nonetheless, if evidence were needed that liberals are counterfeit humanitarians, this was it.  The ability of left-wingers to depict themselves as compassionate is surely one of the greatest con-jobs in political history.  Amazingly, Schumer sought to perpetuate this myth by condemning Trump as mean-spirited.
But what is mean-spirited?  My grandparents came to this country over a century ago.  Schumer’s probably did as well.  When they arrived at Ellis Island, they were checked for communicable diseases.  If these were found, people were refused entry.  As a result, some families were indeed broken apart.
Schumer assures us that keeping dangerous aliens out of our country is a violation of American values.  But one hundred years ago, protecting American citizens was a widely held belief.  When did it become un-American?  When did completely open borders turn into proof of compassion?
Nowadays Democrats do not want to build a wall on our southern border.  Doing so is denounced as hard-hearted.  This too presumably leads to separating families.  After all, destitute Central and South Americans deserve an opportunity to pursue the good life.  To deny them this is obviously cruel.
But what of the U.S. citizens who cannot find jobs?  What of those killed or injured by illegal aliens who are not deported.  Evidently liberal compassion is selective—as demonstrated by the fact that Schumer did not cry about Kate Steinle’s death or those massacred at San Bernardino and Orlando.
Liberals tell us they believe in free speech.  This too is an American value.  So why did they depict the rioters who prevented conservatives from speaking in Berkeley or New York University as merely expressing dissent?  Where was their benevolence toward those who disagreed with them?
Liberals likewise tell us they love democracy—ostensibly another American value.  But maybe I am wrong.  Apparently preventing a new president from putting his government in place is a way of defending our heritage.  No doubt, this too is an indication of deep concern for our freedoms.
Liberals also favor women’s rights.  That’s probably why they defamed Kelly Ann Conway, Melania Trump, and Betsy DeVos.  Although this might have seemed mean, they were protecting genuine womanhood—which, as everyone knows, does not include conservative women.
By the same token, liberals have always been on the side of freedom of religion.  Of course, this does not include pastors speaking up for conservative causes.  Nor does it apply to bakers who refuse to provide wedding cakes for gay couples.  These hypocrites have to be put out of business for their own good.
And finally, again as is common knowledge, liberals are the champions of the little guy.  This is why during the Obama administration they made so many more of them.  It is also why they forced union members to make contributions to political campaigns with which they disagree.  Here too it was for their benefit.
Let’s face it.  Liberals are not compassionate.  They are arrogant know-it-alls.  They are would-be dictators who would impose their discredited ideology upon the rest of us.  If they habitually employ dishonesty to fool us into supporting their agenda, it is because they are mistakenly trying to save us from ourselves.
At this point in history, liberalism is steeped in phoniness.  Some liberals genuinely believe they are kindhearted.  But folks like Schumer know better.  He understands that he is engaged in a naked power-grab.  As the leader of Senate Democrats, he knows it is his job is to advance their political interests.
So what about us?  Are we to be taken in by specious arguments and spurious tears?  Or should we stand back and separate political posturing from authentic American values?
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology

Kennesaw State University

On Lecturing the Mainstream Media

Donald Trump has accused the mainstream media of being his political opposition.  He claims that they traffic in fake news and that most political journalists are grossly dishonest.  Not surprisingly, those so depicted take umbrage at a president behaving in this way.
Editors and journalists alike reproach Trump for lecturing to them.  This, they say, is not his job.  As our chief executive, he should stick to running the country rather than instructing them on their business.  In other words, they should report and he should listen.
The irony in this colloquy is that the political press has engaged in non-stop lectures on how Trump should behave.  Everyday he is told about his mistakes and urged to take the advice of reporters who know better.
Journalism, as practiced in Washington, New York, and Los Angeles, has become a lost art.  Trump insists that many folks, who pretend to be objective observers, actually function as an arm of the Democratic Party.  They may say they merely transmit information, but they do so in a way that consistently slants it in a liberal direction.
Back in the days of the Soviet Union, the two main journalistic outlets for the regime were notorious for their propaganda.  The running joke was that there was no truth in Pravda—which in Russian means “truth” and there was no news in Izvestia, which translates as “news”.
This verbal witticism may not work for The New York Times or The Washington Post, but these papers have equally transformed into propaganda channels.  They too routinely distort front-page political stories to reflect their left-wing editorial attitudes.
How do I know?  Although I do not subscribe to the New York Times, my wife, who gets it on line, reads the top stories to me most mornings.  Then, if I am interested, I can grab a free copy of the paper at Kennesaw State.
What I peruse almost always begins with a description of how Trump messed up.  What he actually did generally comes later in a story.  And so, if he excludes terrorists from the country, the story starts by depicting how distressed Muslims were with his action.
Likewise, if protestors are tearing up property, the initial focus is on the justice of their complaints.  While members of the Tea Party would have been excoriated for impertinence, radical feminists are praised for their courage.
Nonetheless, the most egregious deficiency in the mainstream media is dishonesty by omission.  Explanatory information not only appears at the end of pieces; it may not appear at all.  Thus, although Trump’s first weeks in office were the busiest in presidential memory, the responses of his detractors took top billing.
Once upon a time, reporters were taught to keep their personal opinions out of their writing.  Those days are long gone.  Nowadays the objective is to be an investigative reporter—without actually investigating.  The goal is to take down a hated president the way Richard Nixon was taken down.
Journalists have become ideologues rather than neutral purveyors of facts.  In print and on television, the aim is to persuade rather than inform.  Emotional outbursts, instead of cool analyses, are the coin of the realm.  Political crusades, as opposed to dry details, are obviously more entertaining.
When I was in high school, my liberal teachers regularly warned of the dangers of “yellow journalism.”  William Randolph Hearst was berated for helping to get our nation into the Spanish American War.  After all, the warship the Maine had probably not been blown up by Spanish saboteurs.
What has changed?  Why the current smug self-righteousness of the fourth estate?  Are reporters smarter or better informed?  Are they more moral and compassionate?  Or is their descent into hypocrisy and bias a sign of our times?  Does it basically reflect the polarization of society at large?
Whatever the cause, many reporters deserve a spirited lecture.  Telling them to do their job is not the same as trying to shut down a free press.  The truth is that they have themselves discredited the press by violating their professional responsibilities!
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology

Kennesaw State University