31 October 2006

Another reason to vote Republican


As we sit down to write this post, we can't help but be grateful for the liberals who read this blog. Their responses effectively highlight the difference between Republicans and Democrats--particularly regarding the War on Terror. They are either bored, think terrorism poses no threat, or speak condescendingly of our military--"why else would they fight if they weren't ignorant, dumb, or poor?"

We wholeheartedly reject this liberal mindset. Those who join the military are like everyone else. They evaluate their priorities and make a rational decision. If anything, what differentiates them from those who don't serve is a higher dose of patriotism. But that doesn't make them irrational. They elect to defend the country for the same reason some liberals live in trees--they truly believe in what they are doing.

We thank the men and women of the Armed Forces for their service to our country.

How about a Halloween scare?

Last week the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered their legislature to write legislation defining whether homsexual unions would be called marriages, unions, or whatever. At least they allowed the democratically elected representatives of the people of the state of New Jersey that much. They reserved for themselves the judicially activist position of mandating that the state officially recognize some sort of homosexual union.

We oppose judicial activism--legislating from the bench--in all its forms, and are opposed to homosexual marriage (we've written about it here, here, and here.) Congress exists to write legislation, the courts are to interpret (not broaden) the law--high school civics taught us that much. Unfortunately it has become the main venue for liberal activism largely because a majority of Americans don't agree with their positions and wont allow such liberal ideas to pass democratically. Rather than persuade, liberals file a lawsuit--the environment, abortion and same-sex marriage are all examples.

And we agree with the inevitable liberal chorus who will scream that this isn't the most important issue of this election, we won't, however, agree that it is not an issue at all. Thanks to the liberals on the New Jersey Supreme Court, this has become a current issue for those elements of the Republican party who care about marriage. Seriously, Republicans couldn't have asked for a better rallying cry than the one offered up by the activist New Jersey judges. William F. Buckley Jr. and Stanley Kurtz have both written good articles about this topic.

Off year elections always depend on turnout. Though most prognosticators predict a Democrat takeover of the House and maybe the Senate, all of the races are very close. So close, in fact, that an issue like same-sex marriage might be just enough to mobilize otherwise apathetic Evangelical Christians and tip the balance of the election in Republicans' favor.

We hoped conservatives would vote Republican because they were afraid that if elected, Democrats would appease terrorists from Baghdad to Pyonyang. If that's not enough of a motivator, perhaps the threat of homosexual marriage by judicial fiat is.

27 October 2006

Why you should vote Republican

Whether anyone likes it or not, this election comes down to one question. Sure, a variety of issues are at play, but the one overriding theme is Iraq.

Make no mistake. If elected, Democrats will pull out of Iraq. They may try and play word games, calling for "redeployment" or "changes in strategy," but the net effect will be to leave Iraq.

Admittedly, things have not gone well in Iraq. We are sobered by the deaths of American soldiers. But do not kid yourselves, if we leave now, things will get worse.

Context. It's a wonderful word, but few people understand what it means. In the case of Iraq, historical context helps give us perspective and greater understanding of the struggle we face. Our experience in Japan and Germany after WWII teach us that establishing successfull, self-sustaining democracies is neither a short nor easy process. Those were never countries considered "ripe" for democracy. Conversely, we know what happens when the US pulls out before the job is finished. One need look no further than Vietnam, Somalia, and Lebanon for a cautionary tale.

These were fights the US did not have to lose. We had the military might, but the American public and its leaders lacked the will. As a direct result of that weakness of will, millions of people died and innocent people in Somalia, Lebanon, Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia continue to pay the price.

We mourn the civilian casualties in Iraq, but if we lose, if we give up now or anytime before Iraq can defend and maintain itself, numbers that can now be figured with five digits will jump to six and then seven. We wont be lamenting 30,000 deaths, we'll be outraged at the hundreds of thousands and then millions.

If we leave, various terrorist states and rogue nations will be emboldened. Rather than the voluntary disarmament we saw in Libya after Iraq, we will see more Irans and North Koreas.

We support the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq for the same reasons we outlined just over a year ago: Iraq is the central battle in the war on terror. This is not a war in the traditional sense, in which nation-states engage in set piece battles governed by the Geneva Convention. This is a war with a trans-national ideology--a war that does not recognize borders and boundaries. Worse still, it is a war in which our opponent places no value on human life. They will kill man, woman, and child and they will not negotiate. If we leave Iraq, it wont end our fight with the jihadists, it will simply force us to wage battle on a ground not of our choosing. We fear that ground will be US soil.

In our hierarchy of political priorities, we place the most value on a candidate's position on Iraq. When we fill out our absentee ballot thousands of miles from our home district in Washington, we will ask ourselves one question: does this candidate want to fight the jihadists in the homeland or in Iraq?

25 October 2006

College Roundup

In the last year we've called out students at several institutions of higher learning. BYUSA, --the student government association at BYU with soviet-style elections--felt our wrath in this piece and later in this follow up. We also rang up our friends at the University of Washington for their misguided anti-war protest. Rounding out our history of college critique was a vague mention of the Berkeley's role in giving "academic" credence to attacks on Wal-Mart and a hilarious poem by a Berkeley grad student dedicated to Hezbollah.

Call this, credit where credit is due.

In a recent article about the growth of conservative groups at universities nationwide, The Wall Street Journal covered (subscription required) some of the unique ways College Republicans are striking back at demonstration-happy leftist student groups. Among their more successful stunts, an anti-anti war rally (well attended), an affirmative action bake sale (one price for whites, cheaper for african Americans, even cheaper for latin Americans), and finally a hot dog giveaway, protesting PETA. It seems the College Repulicans now boast more members than the College Democrats. This is due, in part, to a splintering of leftist groups into various anti-globalization, anti-war, pro-choice and on and on, ad nauseum, and well, you get the idea. We're glad to see they are mirroring the grown-up members of their party.

In not-so-recent news, two thumbs down to Columbia students. This other bastion of really really left leaning students recently protested a Minuteman delegation who had been invited on campus to discuss immigration issues. Maybe "protested" isn't a adequate adjective. Calling the Minutemen's views "hate speech," the Columbia student mob used violence and the threat of violence to force the Minutemen from the stage. Bravo, ignorant Columbia students.

It seems "hate speech" consists of anything with which Columbia students don't agree.

Finally, kudos to BYU students. In the next couple of weeks, hundreds of BYU students will travel to battleground states across the country to campaign for congressional candidates. We wish them a safe and productive trip. And may they campaign especially hard for Mike McGavick in our home state of Washington.

20 October 2006

Historical Ramifications

Writing about Wal-Mart in Wednesday's post we addressed, almost as an afterthought, the impact of negative views of business in popular history. It wasn't the first time we'd written about Wal-Mart, but it was the first time we'd made the connection between antagonistic business history and its impact on the national agenda.

High school students and college students take few, if any, American history courses. The ones they do take are necessarily limited to surveying huge amounts of history. Compounding this is the beaten-to-death issue of students' general disinterest in history. If they are awake, they usually only capture the bold headlines--of which robber barons is one of the boldest and most oft-repeated. Students can't help but believe that if their history teachers says it so often, it must be true.

We recommend, therefore, Forrest McDonald's Recovering the Past. This superb memoir cum historiographical critique challenges accepted notions of history that have been put forth by a mostly liberal history professoriate.

The one advantage historians have on a liberal press that peddles the same anti-business slant, is that they are somewhat more self-conscious. The onset of post-modern theory has brought a certain awareness to the presence of bias--conscious and subconscious--in everything. Most historians, even the liberal ones, make some attempt at impartiality while realizing that true objectivity is impossible. Mainstream media is almost completely unaware of even the possibility of a bias. They live in an insular world where 70% of their ranks voted for John Kerry in the last Presidential election. To them, that's not bias, that's just the way the world is.

It isn't the conscious bias that harms the telling of "just the facts please, ma'am" news, but the unconscious bias. This unconscious bias is fed in this case by the anti-business entente of leftist- marxist-influenced historians who set the stage, Democrats angling for union support in upcoming elections (especially Presidential), and a press eager to follow in the footsteps of their forbears the muckrakers. Only with Wal-Mart, there isn't any muck to rake.

Isolationists and protectionists, ignorant of even the most basic economic principles (they slept through econ as well as American history) love to hate businesses that aren't mom and pop. They ignore abundant economic data showing the positive effects of capitalism, free trade and Wal-Mart's low prices. They see Tom's Hardware shut down on mainstreet with his three employees and overlook the hundreds employed by Wal-Mart with hundreds more clamoring for those jobs (see recent Wal-Mart in Chicago). But wait a minute, did Tom's go out of business because employee healthcare costs made it so they couldn't compete with Wal-Mart? Oh that's right, they pay their employees minimum wage too. Truth is, the average Wal-Mart employee makes $10 per hour.

As for healthcare, Wal-Mart has no responsibility to provide it. We understand where universal health care advocates are coming from--and it's not Great Britain. Over here there is constant debate and discussion regarding how in the world to reduce queues (Brit-speak for lines) for health services from ridiculous numbers like 40,000 down to more manageable numbers in the next 10 years. Just because they're called entitlements doesn't mean one ought to be entitled to them. Socialized medicine is inefficient and ineffective. In America we have Medicare for seniors, Medicaid for the poor, and Health Savings Accounts for everyone else. As we wrote in this article a few months ago, company managed health care contributes to, not helps, the problem of rising health care costs.

Apologies. This ended up being much longer than we intended.

Summary: anti-business history has tainted Americans' view of business and capitalism as a whole. Democrats pander to unions whose very existence is threatened by innovative, competitive businesses like Wal-Mart. A mostly liberal press parrots the company line. And otherwise intelligent Americans ignore the relevant economic data and irrationally lash out at Wal-Mart.

Got it?

18 October 2006


It's a testament to our (speaking for the collective American people, rather than the collective here at OL&L) love of bandwagons that Wal-Mart bashing has spilled over even into such popular web networking sites as Facebook. Facebook's new option allowing for members to virtually support candidates and issues has taken this darling of a Democratic (big D) issue to the screens of student's computers. We love the angst filled "notes" (for entertainment purposes) populated with anti-Bush diatribes literally (click if you have a facebook account) parroted from Keith Olbermann, as much as the next guy. We do wish, however, he would have stuck with sports. Politics, it goes without saying, is not his forte.

This mixing of sports and politics is getting as bad as Hollywood and politics. It used to be that we could sit down and read our favorite sports blog without getting an earful about how much things suck in Iraq. Seriously. You'd think the Tuesday Morning Quarterback would stick to Tuesday's, mornings and for the love of football--quarterbacks. But he's not alone, everyone from Dr. Z to our favorite columnists at the Seattle PI and Times feel duty bound to weigh in on the evils of the Bush regime (right up there with Hitler and Stalin, or didn't you know?). If it doesn't say "Sports - Politics - Pop Culture - History - Literature" across the top of their blog or article, then they should stay away from anything that isn't exclusively sports. We read the sports page to escape politics. Heaven help us when we start doing it the other way around.

And of course they are all critical of Wal-Mart. Even Gregg Easterbrook, the aforementioned Tuesday Morning Quarterback got in a little jibe at Wal-Mart in one of his recent articles. This coming from a guy who prides himself on challenging the accepted wisdom, who writes off-the-wall articles that make sense because he backs them up with statistics and evidence. What evidence did he cite in abusing Wal-Mart? None.

Today, The Wall Street Journal outed the group responsible for most of the anti-Wal-Mart slander--unions. It really shouldn't come as a surprise. Wal-Mart is threatening the domain of a group that has become an ancient fixture in American politics. But like some other things ancient, unions deserve to go the way of the dinosaurs. As The Wall Street Journal explains, the two major and supposedly grass root, citizen led groups are actually born of an unholy affair between two major unions and are almost wholly funded by them. And their major source of "academic" material to support outlandish claims of economic damage by Wal-Mart? Why, a couple of unbiased bastions of academic ethics itself--the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center. For their efforts they received at least $100,000 and $43,550 respectively from the involved unions.

We're sure there was no cooking of the books in these studies.

The truth, ma'am, is that as a study from Global Insight shows, Wal-Mart "saves American households an average of $2,300 a year through lower prices, or a $263 billion reduction in the cost of living. That compares with $33 billion savings for low-income families from the federal food stamp program."

So much for taking advantage of America's poor.

Bashing Wal-Mart is becoming as American as apple pie. But it shouldn't be. In addition to Democrats, unions, and Berkeley, we have some historians to blame. Their treatment of business throughout history has been less than favorable. For years, marxist influenced historians have been peddling stories about the "robber barons" of the early 20th Century who took advantage of Americans. These stories have filtered down to nearly every history textbook in every high school across America and are as accepted as the widely accepted notion that people thought the earth was flat when Columbus sailed (they didn't).

The implication is that historians, in taking an anti-business position on history, have contributed to anti-business sentiment in America. Popular memory tells us that business has always taken advantage of Americans and Wal-Mart is just the latest iteration of those 20th C robber barons. Of course, popular memory also tells us that America won the War of 1812. My British professors are quick to squash that misconception.

If they are leftists, who don't like capitalism, and write history, is it possible they might have an anti-business bent to their writing?

We are unapologetically pro-business and generally pro-Wal-Mart. When we visit Mexico with our family, and crave good old American foods like Peanut M&M's, we have no problem asking the locals for directions to "Wal-Mart-O," where we know we'll get good quality at a good price.

10 October 2006

We'll Be Back

On the 4th of October 2005, we posted our first bit of writing here at On Life and Lybberty. We regret not celebrating our 1st Anniversary, but even more than that, we regret the dearth of posts over the last month and a half.

Fear not, faithful readers (we know some of you still check the blog, statcounter.com tells us so). Now that we've settled into our grad program here in London, we'll soon return.

Stay tuned.