Totalitarian Democracy

I became fascinated by the small island nation of Iceland in large part to Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising. A tome which probably doesn’t resonate with people who didn’t live during the Cold War, but which is a captivating and thrilling read.

I hope to visit the country at some point in my life, at least to see how they do Mexican food there…


Tabasco’s, a Mexican restaurant in Reykjavik (Photo Credit: Funofthefair)

One of Clancy’s subplots focuses on Iceland, it’s takeover by a Soviet Air Guards division and inevitable (Clancy is American after all) liberation by NATO forces led by U.S. Marines aided by a scrawny Air Force weatherman and his merry band.

So naturally, when I ran across the following article, Is Iceland a Totalitarian State?, I decided to check it out,

  1. Because it’s about Iceland
  2. Totalitarian __________ and Iceland seem incongruous

Needless to say, the article was eye-opening for it’s description of how a seemingly free, liberal even and democratic society can be anything but. And also for its relevancy to the way America is governed.

An excerpt,

Totalitarianism is a political system in which the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life. J.L. Talmon used the term “totalitarian democracy” to refer to a system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government.

It has a certain ring of familiarity to it, no?

Politics

Given the current (not to mention hopelessly stagnant) political climate in this nation, it seemed good to share the views (on politics) of two of my favorite columnists.

First up is noted sports columnist Jason Whitlock, who in this column, penned the following (emphasis mine),

Let me make one thing clear: I am neither Republican nor Democrat, liberal nor conservative. I abhor politics because of its inherent untruthfulness. I have never participated in the political process. Never. I don’t share that with a great deal of pride. I’ve just found it impossible to participate in a process that is directly opposed to truth.

Then there is this random thought from distinguished economist and author Thomas Sowell (emphasis mine),

Human beings are going to make mistakes, whether in the market or in the government. The difference is that survival in the market requires recognizing mistakes and changing course before you go bankrupt. But survival in politics requires denying mistakes and sticking with the policies you advocated, while blaming others for the bad results.

What do you think about their words?

Ben Shapiro Hits the Nail on the Head

One of the things that was hyped up in this recent election was the newfound enthusiasm of youth towards Barack Obama the political process.

Cue the music:

youth-of-the-nation

I was personally told that it was exciting to see so many young people voting and caring about the direction their country would be taking in the next 4 years.

That’s good and all but are the folks who waxed poetic about all this aware that no good has come out of youth-fueled political movements? While it is not a given that age brings wisdom, for the most part it can be said that age does bring valuable experience. What is done with that experience is, of course, at the mercy of human nature/depravity.

These thoughts swirled around in my head, then I ran across this column by 24-year-old (gasp!) Ben Shapiro:

The Sheer Idiocy of Following Youth Movements

He lists several historical examples (Hitler Youth, Soviet Communism, Maoism, etc) to back up his thesis.

Here’s how Shapiro closes it out,

Young people should be involved in politics — they should protect their interests. But they, like all other voters, should be expected to get informed, not just motivated; they, like all other voters, should be expected to learn about policy, not merely follow a leader.

And the rest of America should be expected to take the voting preferences of those who have never studied history, held a job, paid a bill, or built a family, with a large grain of salt.

Right on the head…

Comparing Barack Obama to Royalty

No, the post does not refer to the endless and erroneous comparisons to Camelot, the closest America has had to even a hint of royalty.

The comparison is to Princess Di and it came in one of the 2 columns referenced here.

Both of these pieces ran in the UK’s Daily Mail, quick someone cue up Paperback Writer!

One piece is written by Peter Hitchens (below)

The night we waved goodbye to America… our last best hope on Earth

peter-hitchens
To paraphrase Brian Giles, “his brother’s Christopher”

Whether or not Mr. Hitchens’ laid it on a little thick with the column’s title can only be ascertained after reading his opinion. I thought he made a couple of keen and dispassionate observations.

Here’s the intro to the column,

Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell – or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead.

The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship – its nearest equivalent – is focused on a man who actually did something.

I really don’t see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers. This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts.

It can be argued that Obamamania hasn’t been described any better than this.

The second piece is by Liz Jones and it focuses on our future First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Read more of this post

The Religious Right: Boom… Outta Here?

religious-right

(Created with the Tombstone Generator found here)

If anything, the above image has been the nocturnal emission of legions of people in these United States. Perhaps some of whom actually believe they might have actually had something to do with the demise of the so-called Religious Right.

Whether what the image conveys is true, that’s up for unhealthy debate, but columnist Cal Thomas seems to believe so.  In fact, the idea for generating the image came from the title of his latest column:

Religious Right R.I.P.

Here is a primer:

Social movements that relied mainly on political power to enforce a conservative moral code weren’t anywhere near as successful as those that focused on changing hearts.

Thomas Sowell’s Not So Random Thoughts

Judging by the number of people that come to this blog by searching for “Thomas Sowell Random Thoughts”, I gather that folks like to read his work.

The man, the myth, the legend

His latest column, “The Vision of the Left”, is a jewel.

Can it be anything else when the opening paragraph goes like this,

Conservatives, as well as liberals, would undoubtedly be happier living in the kind of world envisioned by the left.

Enjoy.

Sarah Palin Gets Some Love from the U.K.

Yes, despite the fact that the Republican Presidential nominee John McCain spoke tonight, it shall remain the Sarah Palin show here at Last Row (not to mention across the pond).

So not only did her historic speech garner huge numbers (37.2 million viewers according to this story), now she is being compared, by at least one British journalist, to one Margaret Hilda Thatcher (the one on the left by the way).

You rock, no, you rock

Here’s British journalist Richard Littlejohn’s story:
A pistol-packin’ Looby Loo: the Left’s worst nightmare

An excerpt:

The way the Left, both here and in America, are contorting themselves is a joy to behold. Sarah Palin is every Guardianista’s worst nightmare.

It’s reminiscent of how they used to patronise Mrs Thatcher 30 years ago. What did this small-town girl know about anything?

How could any woman expect to run a country and raise a family? What does she know about foreign affairs?

Of course, they weren’t saying that a woman couldn’t be Prime Minister, you understand. Just not this woman.