Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesdays Avec Zoidberg

Once again, like the annual groundhog thingie, Jonah Goldberg raises his head from the bunker & looks for his shadow. Shame we can't get him to do this on an annual basis, like Punxsatawney Phil, rather than the wkly. sked he's on. Jonah, we will assume (Much as he "guess[ed] in Obama's mind it must be a crime to be born or to go to college.") has been told by someone that conservatism & Republicanism are pretty much circling the drain, although he still makes the occasional "Oh, no, George Bush isn't a real conservative" complaint. He certainly couldn't have figured it out himself, having blindly hitched his wagon to the late W. F. Buckley's wingnut welfare some time ago. But he does attempt/pretend to be a"libertarian" these days, figuring that's where the hand-outs will be coming from soon enough. Case in point? His several hundred words on Sen. Obama's call for national service. It's the typical pointless meandering diatribe, but he does manage to hit a few important (to him) points. Point 1:
There's a weird irony at work when Sen. Barack Obama, the black presidential candidate who will allegedly scrub the stain of racism from the nation, vows to run afoul of the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery.
We're glad he pointed out that it's a "weird" irony. The big point here is that the Senator is, yes, a "black presidential candidate." He mentions that in case you hadn't heard. Now in which plank of the Obama platform does it promise to do this scrubbing? We find it hilarious that when a candidate connects w/ the American people on a level other than "Be scared, but we'll cut your oppressive taxes," or actually inspires some of them (not us, of course, we're too old & cynical, & we just plain know better) that candidate is instantly derided as a sort of messianic cult leader promising the difficult today & the impossible tomorrow, no matter what his or her record, platform or public statements actually indicate. Point 2: Only Jonah can stand athwart history & stop "the snake oil of 'bipartisanship'" from greasing the slippery slopes. Point 3: JFK? Cult. Not like the worshippers of beloved ol' Ronnie of Reagan, the Senile Saint.
Perhaps thanks to the JFK cult, which sees the refrain "Ask not what your country can do for you ..." as an all-purpose writ for social meddling, even the idealistic hipster crowd is on board. Devotees of Rolling Stone and MTV, who normally preen like cats in a pool of sunshine over their alleged libertarianism when the issue is sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, see nothing wrong, and everything right, with involuntary servitude -- as long as we just call it "voluntary."
We only note here that "sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll" are three separate issues, not one. Point 4: Really, Americans are almost too generous.
Americans are vastly more generous with their time and their money than Europeans. According to social demographer Arthur C. Brooks, in 1995 (the last year international comparative data on giving was available), Americans gave 3 1/2 times as much money to charities and causes as the French, seven times more than the Germans and 14 times more than the Italians.
We'll see how long that sort of thing lasts once the Great Bush Depression really gets moving. And here's a point of our own: The L. A. Times Investigation revealing how much charitable giving ends up in the hands of professional fundraisers, & how little goes to the non-profits, let alone those who need the help. That's not going to help donations any, though we're sure it warms the cockles of Goldbrick's heart to see people grubbing money w/o providing anything of value for it. It encourages him, really. Point 5: Uh, well, nothing.
This is the real problem with national service mania: It seeks to fix what ain't broke. No, national service isn't slavery. But it contributes to a slave mentality, at odds with American tradition. It assumes that work not done for the government isn't really for the "common good."
The "slave mentality" was quite an American tradition for several hundred yrs., & continues to this day. Most of the volunteering in question is doubtless to be done at private agencies & organizations. Whatever makes Mr. Goldbrick think that is some sort of gov't. indoctrination? And two paragraphs above that one we found this:
Time magazine's Richard Stengel speaks for many who insist that American government must consecrate everything. "The reason private volunteerism is so high is precisely that confidence in our public institutions is so low," he wrote last year in praise of universal national service. "People see volunteering not as a form of public service but as an antidote for it."
How does private volunteerism being so high, because Americans don't think gov't. is doing a good job of helping, lead to Jonah's belief that Stengel wants the gov't. to "consecrate everything?" Maybe if Dr. Zoidberg would stop throwing the religious terms around he'd be able to think a bit more clearly. In the meantime, remember: Obama is a black presidential candidate ("Black, I tell you!!") & Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance has been Bliss for Jonah for quite some time.

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