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Dec 28, 2012 The Liberal God Delusion by Michael Medved Our government has been hijacked by a party

obsessed with a higher power. But I m not talking about GOP. I m talking about the left and their worship of government. As Washington staggers into a new year, one side of the political spectrum polar izes and paralyzes all ongoing debates due to its irrational reliance on a highe r power. The problem isn t religious conservatives and their abiding faith in God ; it s mainstream liberals and their blind confidence in government. Consider the current dispute over the right response to gun violence. At its cor e, this argument comes down to a visceral disagreement between relying on self-d efense or on government protection. Gun-rights enthusiasts insist that the best security for law-abiding citizens comes from placing formidable firearms into th eir hands; gun-control advocates believe we can protect the public far more effe ctively by taking guns away from as many Americans as possible. In other words, conservatives want to address the threat of gun violence by giving individuals m ore power while liberals seek to improve the situation by concentrating more pow er in the hands of the government. The right preaches self-reliance while the le ft places its trust in the higher power of government. The same dynamic characterizes most of today s foreign-policy and defense debates. Right-wingers passionately proclaim the ideal of peace through strength, arguing that a powerful, self-confident America with dominant military resources remains the only guarantee of national security. Progressives, on the other hand, dream of multilateral consensus, comprehensive treaties, disarmament, grand peace dea ls, and vastly enhanced authority for the United Nations. Once again, liberals p lace a touching and naive faith in the ideal of a higher power potential world gov ernment while conservatives insist that the United States, like any nation, must u ltimately rely only on itself. Regarding the great tax-and-spend battles presently pushing the nation ever clos er toward the dreaded fiscal cliff, the right argues that the economy will perfo rm better if money is controlled by those who earn it while the left wants to go vernment to make better, more generous decisions on how to invest that money. De spite abundant evidence to the contrary from the failed welfare states of Wester n Europe, liberals maintain unwavering devotion to the notion that taking funds out of the private sector will miraculously generate more private-sector economi c growth. Republicans trust the private decisions of prosperous people to make t he best use of the money that those citizens have generated; Democrats rely on t he superior wisdom and broader perspective of a larger, more activist government to distribute rewards and plan for the future in a complex economy. In selecting strategies for helping the poor and uplifting the downtrodden, the opposed approaches of left and right offer an especially sharp contrast. Accordi ng to Arthur Brooks s important book Who Really Cares and many other studies, cons ervatives at every income level provide disproportionate support for private cha rities. On my radio show, we spent the holiday season raising nearly $50,000 for the Salvation Army with its focus on rescuing substance abusers, the homeless, and disaster victims from their miserable circumstances. Liberals, on the other hand, consider such private efforts insufficient and demand governmental initiat ives and interventions to supplement the private armies of compassion. This raises an uncomfortable question for true believers of the left: if organiz

ations like the Salvation Army have indeed done a phenomenal job over many decad es in turning lives around and bringing hope to the hopeless, why wouldn t governm ent want to invest its resources in supporting these operations rather than laun ching their own bureaucratic efforts? If private charities aren t large enough at the moment to cope with the epic dimensions of poverty-related problems, wouldn t government funding to expand these proven organizations provide a better investm ent reaching more people at lower cost than any costly federal start-up? The contemptuous refusal even to consider such an approach stems from two source s: a liberal belief in totally restructuring a broken society rather than merely repairing the broken lives of individuals, and the related belief in the healin g, transformative power of top-down, government-instituted change. There s also the inevitable tendency of any fanatical faith to despise and distrus t all religious alternatives: liberalism can be a jealous god. Most progressives would therefore prefer to commit trillions to purely secular (and mostly dubiou s) federal and state antipoverty efforts rather than spending less money for mor e results if those investments involved proven charities with religious agendas. The left s contempt for religious conservatives stems in part from the false assum ption that people of faith place irrational reliance on the role of God in solvi ng all the world s problems. Occasional comments by Christian right-wingers like the rightly derided suggestion that the Newtown massacre resulted from an absence o f prayer in public schools give some credence to this unflattering caricature. But mainstream conservatism has never denied the importance of human effort or g overnmental leadership in addressing dire circumstances or everyday difficulties : after all, Republican heroes of history from Lincoln to Reagan have been power ful presidents, not merely passive and prayerful observers. Yes, most religious conservatives hope for divine favor for the land they love but simultaneously em brace the old saw, God helps those who help themselves. Liberals, on the other hand, place their confidence in the notion that Government helps those who can t help themselves a proposition that s questionable in both its co mponents. First, it s wrong and destructive to believe that any America is truly h elpless and second, it s arguable whether government reliably helps more than it h urts when it expands its power into our daily lives. Fair-minded people of all perspectives should agree that any form of uncompromis ing, unquestioned, illogical faith can poison public discourse and derail import ant debates. There s no effective rejoinder to the declaration that God tells me th at that I m right and I refuse to consider other arguments. There is similarly no easy response to the insistence that I know that government can fix this problem and don t confuse me with evidence to the contrary. In the wake of Obama s reelection, unreasoning reliance on federal power distorts our politics far more destructively than simple-minded faith in God. At the mome nt, big-government fundamentalism poses more of a threat to the republic than re ligious absolutism. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Comments

publis The fact is, the premise of this article is flawed. Righties don't want less gov ernment - they want less Federal government, so they can push their prejudices a nd abuse people they don't like in the name of their g0dd@mn phony gods at the s tate level. They are for more government. Lefties on the other hand have no clue as to the nature of man, and everything t hey try to do is completely incompetent. The bigger their individual "government " gets, the wider its jurisdictions become, the more they will try to force man into a one size fits all model - in defiance of the nature of man - which will f it nobody. Both sides are trying to build the best idiot. If you pray, pray for mass extinction. highland In summation for Mr. Medved- "The fact that our country's profoundly high gun de ath totals is in direct correlation with our profoundly high gun ownership rates is irrelevant, likewise, the fact that lower taxes has never been shown to crea te more jobs is irrelevant, likewise, the fact that none of the right wing's "co re beliefs" has ever proven to be irrelevant". keith So government should not expand it's power into our daily lives? Ok, Mike, I ag ree with that. That means you should agree that gay marriage, abortion laws, and drug laws should not be something that concerns the federal government but is t o be overseen by the states. But that whole "peace through strength" bit just m eans that the government should expand it's power into the daily lives of people in other countries. SCfromNY Less government in our lives with regard to marriage would mean that the governm ent doesn't recognize any marriages, not that government recognizes gay marriage . nicholasfinny @SCfromNY exactly, that should be the true conservative position. The governmen t should have nothing to do with love. If you want to get married in your churc h, do it. We just need better contract laws. highland @SCfromNY_1 But the right wing's stance is not just to "not recognize" gay marri age, it wants a Constitutional Amendment banning it. heemowatt Not quite. Government could also choose to be a nation of laws in which all citi zens are granted equal protection regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation. That is what Massachusetts and a number of other states have decided their Cons titutions call for.

PatrickSolomon Relying on individuals (United States) = 11,000 firearms deaths per year. Relyi ng on government intervention (Japan) = 11 firearms deaths per year. (But, but, but POPULATION -- fine, pedants: 10.2 deaths per 100K population versus .07 dea ths per 100K population) Maybe -- just maybe -- we're actually trying to solve t he problem with something other than blind faith that contradicts empirical evid ence. SCfrom @PatrickSolomon You do understand that there's a rather sizable social and historical difference between the U.S. and Japan when it comes to guns, don't you? Actually, your seemingly reductionist argument suggests you don't. PatrickSolomon So then there's nothing that anywhere in the world can teach us, because our peo ple are completely, utterly unique. Or maybe we could look to Australia, which a lso has a history of rugged individualism and individual gun use. Government int ervention there, and a firearms death rate 1/10th of ours. Benjy @NJ Yes, I much prefer the fair and balanced approach Rachel Maddow and MSNBC ta ke with their guests. They represent the kind of balance this nation is seeking. Either that, or you need to turn down your Thorazine drip. Did you catch the ir ony of your post calling for Medved to solicit dissenting views on his show whil e asking the Newsweek leadership to purge Medved from their roster? SharnCedar Liberals and conservatives are like the heads and tails of a coin. They both rep resent the nature of Americans, just different aspects of the same psychotic per sonality. Liberals want to spend other people's money to help people in some far away place, while ignoring the tangible good they could do with their own time and money in their own communities. Conservatives want to impose strict moral ru les on other people in far away places, while ignoring their own behavior and it 's violations of moral law. The American political approach is all about hypocri sy and blaming others. It's not about each person doing their best as a citizen. I guess the people doing good deeds are too busy to get involved in politics or argument. heemowatt Medved states "Gun-rights enthusiasts insist that the best security for law-abid ing citizens comes from placing formidable firearms into their hands; gun-contro l advocates believe we can protect the public far more effectively by taking gun s away from as many Americans as possible." The first part of that sentence may in fact be accurate. The second part is pure NRA propaganda intended to stoke fear among gun owners. Gun control advocates d o have legitimate concerns over the 270,000,000 guns in circulation and the spir aling $10 billion dollar annual legal gun market but there is no real movement t o take "guns away from as many Americans as possible". Most rational Americans r ecognize that safe, responsible ownership of guns has a legitimate place in our culture. A more accurate description of the majority gun control advocates is th

ey want to reduce the easy availability of semi-automatic military style weapons , high capacity clips, and create a better system of background checks to make s traw man purchases less common and gun show sales follow the same requirements a s every other sale. Medved is such a tool, he is an embarrassment. Khadijah @heemowatt I quite agree with your characterization of what "gun control advocat es" want. However, WANTING something is one thing; the larger quesiton is "Is th at POSSIBLE or not." The first problem is this "military style" weapon thing. Actual military weapons are already banned in the US. A "military style" weapon is either the civilian version of a military weapon OR a regular hunting weapon with a "sexy skin" put on it. Either way, banning "military style" weapons doesn't do anything. Many o f them are far less deadly than the .38 Magnum that is carried by Dianne Feinste in; very very few, if any, are MORE deadly than Senator Feinstein's piece. The second problem is "high capacity clips". Sounds good, but we know from watch ing "Lara Croft" that even Angelina Jolie can drop two clips and reload in about 2 seconds, and she can do it while her objectives are, in order (a) looking sex y doing it, (b) looking cool doing it, and (c) actually changing the clips. It i s doubtful that any mass murder events would be averted simply because you force d the perp to either carry (a) more clips and/or (b) more weapons. The third issue is NOT a problem. The police can key in a VIN number and tell yo u who the last registered owner of a car is; they shold be able to key in a regi stration number and tell you who the last registered owner of a gun is, and if i t's not the guy whose carrying it, BOTH should be in deep trouble (assuming the gun was not reported stolen.) That's all good, and it's not any more onerous for Grampa to go online and transfer ownership of a firearm to junior than it is to do so with a vehicle. In the process, junior can get a notification about what classes he needs to take by when, and if he doesn't do them and provide evidence , he can start getting nastygrams and ultimately fines. However, the fourth element which is missing from your list is de-siloing mental health records. Both the Newtown and Virginia Tech shooters had school psychiat ric histories which never left the school. That's wrong.

joedavis Why is it OK to worship and have faith in something that has no evidence of exis tence(god) while believing that an institution that is run properly can do some good is bad? cqyates Since the beginning of the Social Security program, there has never been a late check. It is reasonably easy to apply and has been directly responsible for a d ramatic drop in senior poverty from over 30 percent down to 9 percent. Not all government programs work as well as SS, however to make a blanket statem ent that government is never run properly is just dumb.

LeftLeaner Since the beginning of the Social Security program, there has never been a late check." And yet Grandma spends years trying to get bogus charges removed from t he phone bill. Ted Frier While it is not true that liberals "worship" government like some Greek god as M edved suggests, it is true that Republicans don't really care about deficits, no t really, or they would do more to close them when they had a chance. Instead, Republicans double the national debt in just eight years from $5 trillion to $10 trillion by cutting taxes and launching wars at the same time, raising annual d eficits to record heights then attacking Democrats for "presiding over runaway s pending" when they do not immediately undo all the fiscal recklessness Republica ns left us with. Republicans, in short, make the deficit problem worse in hopes of manufacturing a crisis they can exploit to achieve their real revolutionary a im -- which is to dismantle the activist New Deal nation state and put billionai res in charge. And this, by the way, is why Republicans and the NRA, which is a subsidiary of the GOP just like Fox News, refuses to support limits on military -style assault weapons, because owning guns like these (useless for hunting or protecting ones home against intruders) flatters a radical right wing mentality that thinks of itself as being "at war" with its own "tyrannical" government Ted Frier The idea that liberals "worship" government as an ends in itself rather than as a means for countering the unaccountable and very powerful plutocracy that Ronal d Reagan and supply side economics first began to empower 30 years ago, makes no more sense than Charles Krauthammer's idiotic assertion that the primary reason President Obama is demanding an increase in the upper end tax rate is out of a sinister desire to foment civil war within a Republican Party that all on its ow n refuses to raise taxes on the rich for any reason -- even to defuse a fiscal t ime bomb of its own devising. It is easy to see how this happens. Medved and K rauthammer are right wing ideologues who look at politics through the lens of so me grand ideological struggle between right and left rather than as the everyday struggle of fallible people trying to come up with the best solution they can f ind to solve problems -- what the rest of us call "governing." And so quite nat urally they would assign malevolent motivations -- like worshiping the graven im age of government or fomenting civil war within the Right -- to what is nothing more than Democrats trying to raise money for government programs that help peop le Republicans are all too willing to abandon by the side of the road. Mike What hides inside the head of someone like Medved to simply make things up. Whil e Republicans continue their quest to privatize all government programs Liberals have seen, and in some instances helped, to hand over government work to privat e businesses. But when the evidence has shown that some of those moves have cost the government more for poorer service there is no going back in the Republican mind. Honestly, when facts have shown that one side is wrong who has the worse record of change? Khadijah

Mike1c To be blunt, an instance of a privatization costing the government MORE m oney does not prove anything other than the handoff was poorly devised. Look, when any government function says "we're going to privatize" HOW that actu ally occurs is a bill subject to the same lobbying crapola as any other bill. Th e companies who WANT that business also want to have as little risk as possible while maximizing profits, and by greasing a few palms, they can often skew thing s to get that to happen that way, seeing that most politicians have no business background and have no idea how to write a proper contract in the private sector . Take charter schools. In Texas, some of the best high schools in the state are n ow charter schools. If a charter school doesn;t deliver, they lose their charter , not as fast as some might like, but they lose it. I am told that in other stat es, the charter school programs are disasters, I SUSPECT because whoever wrote t he law wrote it to be unduly profitable for the school all the while making it v ery difficult for a charter to be revoked for nonperformance. In almost all circ umstances I can think of, privatization of a government service SHOULD result in savings to the taxpayer. If that doesn't happen, I'd check the way the contract s are written FIRST before impuning the free market. Robert J.Crawford Ah, another elaborate trope piece. The Democrats do not worship what the governm ent can do. They just think it can help. They don't want it to take over every thing, just contribute what it can. If you look at what Obama has tried to do, he is clearly an Eisenhower republican, to the RIGHT of Richard Nixon on domesti c policy. The GOP is stupid to prefer confrontation rther than to negotiate wit h him. Khadijah @RobertJ.Crawford Eisenhower is dead. So are his policies, which were tailored t o a post-war reality where Europe was wrapping up a major rebuilding effort wher e their own available vendor for manufactured goods was the US. Ergo, since that economy is no longer reality, we will indeed confront any politician silly enou gh to think that those sorts of policies will work. Our current situation calls for policies that are not Eisenhower and really not even Reagan, but Calvin Cool idge. SharksBreath Fair-minded people of all perspectives should agree that any form of uncompromis ing, unquestioned, illogical faith can poison public discourse and derail import ant debates. There s no effective rejoinder to the declaration that God tells me th at that I m right and I refuse to consider other arguments. President George W Bus h told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Ira q - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals. In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday 10, Monday 17 and Monday 24 October), Abu Mazen, Palestinian P rime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meet ing with President Bush in June 2003. Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanis tan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in

Iraq ." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in t he Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'" html Report: Bush Told French President Jacques Chirac That Iraq War Was Biblically O rdained With Story of Gog and Magog. After the recent disclosure of how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used biblic al passages as part of the war briefings for President George W. Bush, GQ magazi ne has an even more disturbing account: Bush lobbied French President Chirac tha t the war in Iraq was foretold in the bible and told that it was the final strug gle with Gog and Magog. hirac-that-iraq-war-was-biblically-ordained-with-story-of-gog-and-magog/