Conservative Colloquium

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Archive for June, 2008

Abortion, Public School Indoctrination, and Winning Elections

Posted by Tony Listi on June 11, 2008

I have a confession to make: In my darkest, most morbid, and most cynical moods, I’ve always thought abortion might actually be good for the country.

Just think about it. A large majority of children eventually adopt the political leanings of their parents. Therefore, if liberals keep aborting their offspring, the American voting population should eventually become more conservative. The discrepancy in birthrate between liberals and conservatives would eventually tip in favor of conservatives. The very policies of liberalism would ensure its own extinction, haha! You would think liberals of all people would take Darwin and natural selection more seriously, lol! Liberals would reap the what they sow. It would be justice.

Of course, that is not how it really happens. Though liberals don’t have children (or relatively few), they do have access to the children of conservatives and moderates. Liberals use the public education system as a means to indoctrinate the children of others in liberal ideology. Those children then grow up to lead their own children astray in a vicious cycle. What liberals lose through abortion, they more than compensate for through government-monopolized education. How clever of them! They don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting of caring for and raising a child, they demand the children be brought to them by law (truancy laws), and then they get paid (always demanding more) for corrupting the youth and future of America. How perverse. (And of course, kids are then primed and ready for leftist university professors.)

This is why the Left, including communism and fascism, has always shown great concern for children: it must find a way to sustain itself in future generations. Like a virus, it uses children as a host to merely replicate itself, destroying the host in the process. For liberals, children are a means to an end, which is to perpetuate their own ideology and secure sympathetic voting blocs.

Parental choice of which school their children go to is critical to breaking down this systematic liberal indoctrination. Not only will it create better students, but it will also create better citizens, citizens who in the long run may vote more conservatively and thus elect conservatives. Ultimately, future elections will be won or lost in the battlegrounds of the classroom, education boards, and state legislatures.

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Posted in Abortion, American Culture, Culture War, Education, Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Conservatives more honest than liberals?

Posted by Tony Listi on June 10, 2008

Ideas have consequences.

http://www.examiner.com/a-1419425~Peter_Schweizer__Conservatives_more_honest_than_liberals_.html

By Peter Schweizer
June 2, 2008

The headline may seem like a trick question — even a dangerous one — to ask during an election year. And notice, please, that I didn’t ask whether certain politicians are more honest than others. (Politicians are a different species altogether.) Yet there is a striking gap between the manner in which liberals and conservatives address the issue of honesty.

Consider these results:

Is it OK to cheat on your taxes? A total of 57 percent of those who described themselves as “very liberal” said yes in response to the World Values Survey, compared with only 20 percent of those who are “very conservative.” When Pew Research asked whether it was “morally wrong” to cheat Uncle Sam, 86 percent of conservatives agreed, compared with only 68 percent of liberals.

Ponder this scenario, offered by the National Cultural Values Survey: “You lose your job. Your friend’s company is looking for someone to do temporary work. They are willing to pay the person in cash to avoid taxes and allow the person to still collect unemployment. What would you do?”

Almost half, or 49 percent, of self-described progressives would go along with the scheme, but only 21 percent of conservatives said they would.

When the World Values Survey asked a similar question, the results were largely the same: Those who were very liberal were much more likely to say it was all right to get welfare benefits you didn’t deserve.

The World Values Survey found that those on the left were also much more likely to say it is OK to buy goods that you know are stolen. Studies have also found that those on the left were more likely to say it was OK to drink a can of soda in a store without paying for it and to avoid the truth while negotiating the price of a car.

Another survey by Barna Research found that political liberals were two and a half times more likely to say that they illegally download or trade music for free on the Internet.

A study by professors published in the American Taxation Association’s Journal of Legal Tax Research found conservative students took the issue of accounting scandals and tax evasion more seriously than their fellow liberal students. Those with a “liberal outlook” who “reject the idea of absolute truth” were more accepting of cheating at school, according to another study, involving 291 students and published in the Journal of Education for Business.

A study in the Journal of Business Ethics involving 392 college students found that stronger beliefs toward “conservatism” translated into “higher levels of ethical values.” And academics concluded in the Journal of Psychology that there was a link between “political liberalism” and “lying in your own self-interest,” based on a study involving 156 adults.

Liberals were more willing to “let others take the blame” for their own ethical lapses, “copy a published article” and pass it off as their own, and were more accepting of “cheating on an exam,” according to still another study in the Journal of Business Ethics.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all conservatives are honest and all liberals are untrustworthy. But clearly a gap exists in the data. Why? The quick answer might be that liberals are simply being more honest about their dishonesty.

However attractive this explanation might be for some, there is simply no basis for accepting this explanation. Validation studies, which attempt to figure out who misreports on academic surveys and why, has found no evidence that conservatives are less honest. Indeed, validation research indicates that Democrats tend to be less forthcoming than other groups.

The honesty gap is also not a result of “bad people” becoming liberals and “good people” becoming conservatives. In my mind, a more likely explanation is bad ideas. Modern liberalism is infused with idea that truth is relative. Surveys consistently show this. And if truth is relative, it also must follow that honesty is subjective.

Sixties organizer Saul Alinsky, who both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton say inspired and influenced them, once said the effective political advocate “doesn’t have a fixed truth; truth to him is relative and changing, everything to him is relative and changing. He is a political relativist.”

During this political season, honesty is often in short supply. But at least we can improve things by accepting the idea that truth and honesty exist. As the late scholar Sidney Hook put it, “the easiest rationalization for the refusal to seek the truth is the denial that truth exists.”

Peter Schweizer is the author of “Makers and Takers: Why Conservatives Work Harder, Feel Happier, Have Closer Families, Take Fewer Drugs, Give More Generously, Value Honesty More, Are Less Materialistic and Envious, Whine Less … And Even Hug Their Children More Than Liberals” (Doubleday).

Posted in American Culture, Culture War, Government and Politics, Liberalism, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sexual Attraction is Not Love: A Critique of the Movie “Closer”

Posted by Tony Listi on June 9, 2008

If you have not seen Closer, you might want to familiarize yourself with it here (will spoil the movie) or just skip this post. The style of story-telling is very clever and imaginative. The characters are powerfully portrayed by each actor. But it is the substance of the film that I am most interested in.

This movie is about 4 messed up people who cheat on each other and have no idea what love really is. It is a reflection of how dysfunctional and hyper-sexualized Western societies have become in their relationships. It is the tragic and perverse culmination of so-called sexual liberation. It is hard to find a theme or moral that is not negative in formulation (e.g. “Don’t do this!”).

Dan, Alice, Anna, and Larry are all weak, broken people. Each has their own unique faults, but all of them fail to realize what love really is. The men measure their relationships and “love” based on mere sexual attraction or in terms of power. Alice seems unable to love herself and who she is, and so she lies to herself and Dan from the very beginning. Anna is too weak to rebuff the advances of Dan and her own attraction to him, a married man. Both women prostitute themselves and thus degrade themselves. None of the characters seems to realize that love is not sexual attraction, not something that one feels. Love goes beyond mere feeling that intensifies and fades away (perhaps in cycles) with time. Love between men and women is a permanent, exclusive commitment to sacrifice for and serve one another till the death of one spouse. It is a relationship that is to be strengthened and made sacred before the eyes of God through the institution of marriage. How can love be more than bestial urges, mere irrational biochemistry, without an anchor in the Transcendent?

One line of the movie (paraphrased) stands out among others as a potential takeaway message: “Without the truth, we are nothing more than animals.” True enough. And yet Larry, the doctor character played by Clive Owen, is scrupulously honest with others throughout the film, as far as I can tell. But he behaves like a sex-crazed, vengeful animal just like the other three. He is vain and malicious. For all his honesty, he is a monster. So if the message of the movie is merely “tell the truth,” that merely begs the question: what is the truth that we should tell? How can we be honest with each other when we don’t know what the truth is?

Of course, the previous question is not quite the best interpretation either. Each of the characters knew it was wrong to cheat on their spouse. Each should have plainly seen how their choices, actions, and approach to sex and love were destroying their lives. Guilt was no mere “social construction” for the four. The real question is this: how can we be honest with one another when we aren’t honest with ourselves, when we don’t heed the moral truths written on our very hearts that are confirmed by human experience and history?

It has been said that art is a reflection of life (among other things); Closer, sadly, probably is a reflection of real life in many Western cities, especially those which embrace modern liberalism. It is gritty, sexual realism of a sort. Because the movie accurately portrays the consequences of breaking moral laws, especially with regard to sex and marital love, I cannot help but like the movie for its honesty.

But as I’ve suggested above, honesty is not enough. There was no closure to Closer. There was no offer of a better alternative to the moral chaos and misery of these characters. There was no offer of hope. Marriage is treated as a superfluous social convention rather than as something made holy and seriously contemplated. The film is devoid of any reference to the Divine, which points the way to real Love. But perhaps one cannot expect too much of one movie. The detailed intensity of the havoc of sin in the movie (especially of a sexual nature, which is often hard to demonstrate abstractly) may be valuable enough to those who already know what the alternative is or those who are spurred to search for a meaningful alternative.

But I can’t help but think that many people are going to accept the moral chaos at face value as “a fact of life” and search no deeper. Some will conclude there is no truth, no morality, no exit. Some will watch the movie and embrace its nihilism, its poetic meaninglessness. They will embrace it as a “feel good” movie because the harsh reality was “beautifully” presented. They will take hollow comfort in the beauty of tragedy without seeking a better escape. That is what I fear. That is what I object to.

Yes, art can be an honest reflection of life but it can do better than mere honesty. Art can be a reflection of Truth. It can be a reflection of moral truths, of ideals that may never exist in full in this world but which we should constantly aim towards nevertheless because the alternative is the observable fate of Dan, Alice, Anna, and Larry. Art can be a reflection of Purpose, of meaning to our lives because we embrace certain truths. Art can be a reflection of Faith, of trust and submission to something higher than ourselves, higher than the tragedy of fallen humanity. Even the ancient pagan Greeks and Romans recognized this higher plane of art. Ultimately, if art is not grounded in Truth, Purpose, and Faith, it merely intensifies the maelstrom of confusion, chaos, misery, and hopelessness.

Posted in American Culture, Art and Creativity, Culture War, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Religion and Theology, Sex, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 59 Comments »

Petro-Dictator Noriega Supports Higher Gas Prices

Posted by Tony Listi on June 5, 2008

Petro-Dictator Hugo ChavezEverything is bigger in Texas. But gas prices shouldn’t be. And yet that is exactly what Rick Noriega and his extremely liberal friends in the Senate would like to impose on Americans!

Noriega has expressed his support for a disastrous bill (S. 3061, introduced  by ultra-liberal Sen. Boxer, but entitled the Lieberman-Warner Bill) that would more than double the price of gas and electricity. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would impose “tens of billions of dollars annually” on you and me in increased prices. By other estimates, the bill would cost trillions dollars to the US economy in total. Yeah, kick the economy when it is down, Democrats! Does that sound smart to you?

Energy is the lifeblood of the American economy; tax it and you tax the economy causing it to shrink, cutting off economic opportunities to American citizens.

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Noriega claims to want to help those struggling at the pump by raising the price of gas through taxes? Talk about incoherent! Yeah, tax our gas, that’ll make it cheaper for all of us! Why would we want to send this fool to the Senate to represent us? Senator John Cornyn is the sane, rational choice.

We Texans would be especially hard hit by this bill. We take pride in the size of our state and our wide open spaces, but if Noriega has his way, the long distances between the major cities of Texas (compared to other states) will become a burden upon the average citizen rather than a badge of pride. Gasoline gives us the freedom to travel, whether it is to visit family, conduct business, or make a new start. Noriega apparently doesn’t care about our families, our businesses, and our freedom to shape our own lives. He would rather sacrifice us and our dreams at the pagan altar of Marxism-induced hysteria.

Hugo Chavez, watch out! Looks like another socialist Latin American dictator wants to seize the energy industry in a government takeover. I always knew Comandante Noriega would live up to his name.

Posted in Budget, Spending, and Taxes, Elections and Campaigns, Energy, Global Warming and Environment, Government and Politics, Political Philosophy, Politicians, Socialism, Texas Politics, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »