Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What He Said, He Being VDH

Much has been written about the Tea Party movement. Those within it (and I count myself) are naturally enamored with it while those in opposition view it more like a trip to the zoo. Understand that I'm not a member, since there seems to be no mechanism for membership. Also, there seems to be no national leader, no organizational chart and no bulging bank account. Hence, attempts to define a movement that has no clear definition is proving to be a daunting task, even for the most erudite among us.

Enter one Victor Davis Hanson. From his perch overlooking his vineyards, this history professor is one of the leading voices of conservatism. For those who are unfamiliar with his work, he can be found over at Pajamas Media. Here's a link to his recent posts.

In this post Where Did the Tea Party Anger Come From? he gives us his take on the Tea Party and makes some salient points about the country along the way.

He answers his question early on:

There is a growing sense that government is what I would call a new sort of Versailles — a vast cadre of royal state and federal workers that apparently assumes immunity from the laws of economics that affect everyone else.
If I were up on my European history, I might be familiar with his example. I'll just conclude that this sort of dissatisfaction with the overreach of the Obama administration is nothing new.

But at some point — perhaps triggered by the radical increase in the public sector under Obama, the militancy of the SEIU, or the staggering debts — the public snapped and has had it with whining union officials and their political enablers who always threaten to cut off police and fire protection if we object that there are too many unproductive, unnecessary, but too highly paid employees at the Social Service office.
Ooooh, that's good. And accurate.

There is another Tea Party theme that those who play by the rules are being had, from both the top and bottom.
More accuracy right there.

As goes California, so goes the nation?

There is a sense of futility: new higher taxes won’t lower the deficit and won’t improve infrastructure or public service. Much of it will go to redistributive plans that, the middle believes, will only, fairly or not, acerbate social problems. In California there is a sense (born out by statistics) that we lack a civil and humane public culture brought on by two often neglected facts: a small cadre of overpaid public employees ensures that we don’t have the money for continuance of basic public services; and, second, we feel our tax money is going to redistributive entitlements rather than focused on improving a collapsing infrastructure of dams, canals, freeways, airports, and trains.
Since his article is rather lengthy, I'll quote the passage that really got my attention. It concerns the steady drip of the loss of respect, for the nation and its people and values. We're not the country that some in the media think we are. We're still humble, honorable, and honest. The problem is that we've allowed ourselves to be taken in by the sweet nothings whispered in our ears by self-serving politicians.

It's not our system that needs a change. It was originally designed to be operated by fellow citizens who understand that they are working for other fellow citizens. In other words, our Founders relied on the wisdom of the average American to keep the government from growing too big for its britches. But progressives have sought to undermine the foundation of the country by feeding us a message that we're a country we're not. Now, as the Tea Party emerges as a movement comprised primarily of average Americans, we hear the same lies being trotted out by those who seek to see us submit to our alleged betters.

Here's what really jumped from the monitor:

Somehow we forget that we are in the 21st century with our multitude of cell-phones, laptops, no-down-payment new car leases, big-screen TVs, cheap food, and accessible rent that have permeated all society and given the proverbial underclass appurtenances that only the very rich of the 1960s could have dreamed of. Yet the Dickensian rhetoric has only intensified. There is rarely any acknowledgment of the public’s investment in anti-poverty programs or of its efforts to promote social equality. Instead, an overtaxed electorate is constantly reminded of its unfairness and its moral shortcomings. (I just left a multimillion dollar ICU unit in Fresno, where I was visiting a relative. Over a third of the visitors there did not seem to speak English, and so I was impressed by the public generosity that extends such sophisticated care to those who that day seemed largely to have arrived here recently from Mexico. The notion that a visitor to Mexico could walk into such a unit in Mexico City and get instant, free — and quality — care is, well, inconceivable. Yet politicians talk of our heartlessness, not our generosity.)
(emphasis mine)

If you're new to VDH, this article is a good introduction. If you're already a fan, this is one of his better posts. As they say, read it all.

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