Saturday, May 06, 2006

The trouble with America is...

Many pundits have called the looney left, anti-American. I have always been a little uncomfortable (just a little) with that characterization because I believe many actually have a high regard for America, just not what it stands for...which is a little like supporting the troops but not the war. Anyway, after the recent spate of name calling I wondered what exactly was it that the left disliked. I think I have an answer.


The left does not like capitalism. Consider the evidence. There is a vocal movement opposing American 'globalization'. Most of us dismiss this out of hand because McDonald's wouldn't have a chance in France or anywhere else if people didn't actually BUY what they were selling. People around the world demand American goods and services, the marketplace provides them. There is no global conspiracy to put a Starbucks in every gulag or hamlet on the planet. There is I am sure a corporate conspiracy in Starbucks however to do just that! There is a cost however to having American corporations descend upon a foreign market, local companies get squeezed. Even here in this country, communities fight Wal-Mart on the basis that a Wal-Mart store will kill the small mom-pop places that line the quaint streets of their community. Capitalism has winners and losers. In the long run, for the greatest majority, capitalism is a net plus. For specific people, families, or businesses, capitalism can sink them. Adapt or die is a fundamental principle of capitalism.

Another piece of evidence. How many entertainment industry celebrities support anti-capitalism political positions? Many. How many SPORTS celebrities do so? I will state few but over the last 48 hours I have been unable to think of ONE! Why?

When Tiger Woods wins a tournament there is no denying the accomplishment. No one can say he won because he was politically connected, or he was well liked on tour, or that he won because the crowds wanted him to win. His scorecard clearly indicates the result of his efforts. Compared to equally fine golfers, on that particular four days, he was the best golfer.

When George Clooney works for 7 months on a film at a foreign location, putting in 15 hour days in terrible conditions and gives his honest best, the result can easily fail to make even a small ripple in the marketplace. His best efforts do not result in acclaim or material gain (other than the millions he makes as a fee). His best effort is ignored, counted as less than viable. Where is the fairness in the marketplace?

Liberals want to reward best efforts. Capitalism does not award honorable mentions. As long as capitalism is the system of economic activity that drives the United States, liberals and the looney left will continue to claim a fundamental unfairness in the system. They will seek to create programs and restraints that work to reduce the competitive outcomes inherent with capitalism.

Everything the left tries is tied to mitigating the effects of capitalism in our everyday lives. In schools: eliminating grading systems because it results in competitive winners and losers without considering effort. For most people such a situation is stupid on it's face. If Johnny can't read but he tries really hard, he CAN'T READ. Promotion or posturing that his effort is commendable ignores the result, he CAN'T READ. If anyone suggested that Phil Mickelson should get the same trophy and prize money as Tiger just because, despite coming in second, he tried really hard, they would be laughed off the course. How much more damaging is it to a child in the second grade that has mastered reading to find themselves promoted to third grade with someone else that can not read. What are we teaching them? Don't try so hard...promotion will happen anyway.

Even culture suffers competitive pressures. If democracy and capitalism succeed, then socialism fails. If France's economy continues to decline, if it's culture increasingly becomes irrelevant on the world stage, then can we say that France is being out-competed? Capitalism favors the strong and penalizes the weak. Liberals do not like that the weak suffer just because they are weak. It is fundamentally unfair. They want to claim that France's culture is just as important and relevant as American culture even if the obvious decline suggests the contrary.

It informs immigration as well. If someone comes here looking for a job, or to have a better life, why can't we just let them? Because they are cheating. No one expects Tiger to start on the second hole when everyone else has to start on the first. To the immigrants that came here legally, illegal immigration is a slap in the face. It is the third grader that works hard but finds his second grade friend on the same page despite failing.

To liberals, failure is part of what is wrong with our system of democracy and capitalism. It is the fundamental error of liberalism. Equal effort does not lead to equal outcome. Nor should it. As long as liberals continue to hold America and capitalism in low regard and joyfully assist other losers in cheating a system they see as flawed, we will be weaker than we should be and the Osama's of the world will continue to take advantage of that weakness.

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