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Reflections on a House Divided

On Purpose

"Who me?"

if we were to think of the economic crisis the way commentators on the left usually do...it would be hard to escape the conclusion that - they themselves, along with Islamists and anti-Semites, were foremost among those to whom "credit" is due for the...meltdown affecting America and the rest of the world.
"Follow the money [or power]."
Indeed.

James Simpson - in the American Thinker - though, believes that there is more to this story than that.

I. By their own standard:

Who Profits?
When speaking of the root causes any disastrous occurrence - such as those of a war, or an economic meltdown - analysts on the left are fond of asking: "who profits most from the situation?" This is intended as a "show-stopper." It is taken for granted that - the answer to that question is the same as the answer to the question "who is most responsible for the current crisis."

In theory, this way of looking at things could - if taken far enough - lead to conclusions that are patently idiotic - e.g. that the economic boom in the US during WW II "proves" that, that conflict was caused by American businessmen.
But, let's take them - the leftists - at their word, and see what might turn up.

Just who may be the "big winners" from the current economic crisis?
The first that come to mind are Islamist factions such as al-Qa'ida - i.e. the gentlemen who want to kill all Jews, force Christians to convert to Islam,  implement Shiria law, confine women to the veil, and execute homosexuals, etc. A prolonged financial crisis for the west in general - and America - in particular - opens up the potential for broad and significant benefits and opportunities for them. In America and elsewhere, those elected officials who actually want to maintain a level of military and security readiness sufficient to counter Islamist threats and sustain active operations against them, will have a significantly harder time doing so. Economic resources will be scarce and public will lacking - as people strive to deal with their own troubles and seek government aid to do so. And, those who desire to follow polices of appeasement will have plenty of excuses for doing so. It will be much harder to justify military and security measures and expenditures to a public suffering privations at home. As a result, in western-style democracies generally, there could well be the opening of a "window of vulnerability" in regards to false offers of conciliation and "co-existence" coming from the Jihadists. In an atmosphere of the kind, the pace of Islamitization - in America and Europe - can be expected to quicken. With violent factions hovering in the background, the "quieter" segments of the Islamist movement can make themselves felt more strongly - i.e. by deploying all the legal and quasi-legal techniques employed by militant activist groups such as ACORN, ANSWER and the anti-globalization movement generally.

It should be noted that - already at this point in the financial crisis - Islamists are using it's occurrence as part of their propaganda efforts. They are claiming that is the result of divine wrath directed against the west for allowing loans to be made at interest, as well as for their "attack against Islam" generally. And, that - in secular terms - it is also a by-product of the economic cost of the military campaigns being waged by America and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Al-Qaida: US economic crisis equals Muslim victory

Anti-Semites could also be "big winners" from the financial crisis. If is it's going to be hard to convince the public to pay for there own defence needs, how much harder will it be to get them to support funding for the Israeli Defence Force, as well as other aid traditionally given to the Jewish state? How much easier then will it become to advance alternative policies - ones that don't seem to require such expenditures - e.g. a more "balanced and even-handed approach" to the conflict between Israel and other states and factions in that region? Even the idea of the reformulation of Israel into an entirely secular and multicultural state might then become something which American policy makers might consider supporting. Which measure - coupled with insistence on a "right of return" for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants - will basically guarantee the erosion of any lingering Jewish Identity a state of that kind might retain. And, while it is certainly fair to say that "not all who oppose or are simply critical of Zionism are also anti-Semites," it is equally accurate to assert that "all [but perhaps some miniscule and hidden handful] of anti-Semites do oppose [and] are...critical of Zionism." So that one can be sure that "benefits" affecting the first group - anti-Zionists - will also accrue to the second - anti-Semites. And,
It is also plausible to include anti-Jewish radicals of Jewish descent  - such as Noam Chomsky , Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky and many of their living disciples within the definition of both of these groups

In any case, it may be expected that a renewed wave of "traditional" anti-Semitism - aimed directly at Jews in general - will emerge as a result of this crisis - as it always has under similar conditions in the past. And in fact, the beginnings of that trend are already evident.
Hamas: 'Jewish Lobby' in U.S. to blame for global financial crisis

Finally, the biggest "winners" of this sad "lottery" may well be the hard left generally, the "progressive movement" in America, and the left wing of the Democratic party. And, depending on the results of the coming election, this condition may remain in effect until their Islamist "allies" begin to stone them to death - for adultery, throw them off roof-tops - for homosexuality, force the women amongst them into burqas, and cut their heads off - for blasphemy, as well as for the amusement it seems to provide them and in order to stay "in practice" for more strenuous efforts.

The reasons for that are fairly clear. For one thing, with some notable exceptions, the fear and privations generated by economic hard times make the kinds of socialist, welfare-states and anti free-market attitudes and solutions preferred by "Progressives" and left-wing Democrats seem more attractive - and plausible - than they would otherwise. The models for that response being - as always - the New Deal during the Great Depression, those found in "revolutionary utopias" such as Cuba, and the social-welfare systems long general in Europe. And in America now, before it became clear that a real crash was not going to be avoided, Sen McCain had pulled into a fair lead over Sen Obama. But, though it is anyone's guess as to what a final outcome would have or will look like had that crisis not occurred - or not occurred at this time - it has been clear that - in spite of solid evidence to the contrary - the public now holds Republicans, rather than Democrats, primarily responsible for these current troubles. And, that perception has been reflected in the current opinion polls on the election so far. If that trend continues up till November 4th, the Democrats may be in an unassailable position from which to enact the most sweeping and radical leftist agenda since those implemented during the period of the New Deal and the of the "Great Society" periods combined. And, it appears that they are fully posed of the intention of doing just that.

So, if we were to think of this crisis the way commentators on the left usually do of such things, it would be hard to escape the conclusion that - they themselves, along with Islamists and anti-Semites, were foremost among those to whom "credit" is due for the economic meltdown affecting America and the rest of the world.
"Follow the money [or power]."
Indeed.

II. Too improbable to be "just an accident?"

Some sober commentators believe that there may well be more to this story than can be explained by either a failure of good intentions or - even - by an assessment of who wins and loses in any particular case, like that outlined above.

In a concise, clear and well-reasoned, though speculative, essay:

Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis

James Simpson in the American Thinker makes the strongest case I've yet encountered for the conclusion that - the record of failed social programs created and implemented largely by the Democratic Party - such as those which blighted the mortgage sector and were, by doing so, instrumental in precipitating the current crisis - were not just products of "good intentions gone awry." But that, to a significant extend - at least on the part of some of the proponents of such programs - they were part of a deliberate strategy. One intended to create the conditions required for the introduction of radical changes to our society - and for the acceptance of that agenda by most Americans. And, to do so through the intentional creation of the kinds of disasters we are now facing.

He argues that --
for the last 50 years of so the record of the Democratic Party on social legislation has one of producing one failed program after another, and that
Before the 1994 Republican takeover, Democrats had sixty years of virtually unbroken power in Congress - with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a single policy that works? W
Therefore:
One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit....
and, as a result he
...submit[s] to you they understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter... But for others, the goal is more malevolent - the failure is deliberate. Don't laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy.
Further:
that this strategy was formulate by radical academics in the late 1960s; that they were undertaken with the intent of creating conditions that would make the implementation of Marxist-style changes - to the fundamental nature of our society - possible; that, as a result, these measures - such as the changes made to the mortgage industry and housing market that produced this crisis - were done with full knowledge and expectation that they would fail and produce the kinds of anxiety and privations Americans are now facing; and, that prime amongst the adherents and practitioners of this method were many - like Saul Alinsky - who have been key in facilitating the career of Senator Obama and many of his past and current associates. In short, that what we are experiencing now - right before the election - is no accident at all.

And, though I tend to have greater faith in the powers of human rationalization than Mr. Simpson expresses in his essay - there seems to be little limit to number of times many people can pull the same lever, have the same result, and continue to hope for a different - better - outcome, the next time. And - as a result, I also tend to believe that "good intentions gone awry," along with an ongoing - and often otherwise uncharacteristic - failure of critical judgment and imagination, are at the core of the reasons for why most of the persons who continue to advocate failed social polices do so. But, at the same time, the idea that there is a core of activists, commentators and academics for whom the vision of a socialist utopia is - in their secular terms, equivalent to the 72 virgins of the suicide-bombers dream of paradise - is entirely plausible to me. And, equally plausible is the idea that such persons - having a vision of that intensity and of that kind - and having little of no conception of ethical behaviour besides that which aids or impairs their utopian project - would stop at nothing to make that vision a reality; have developed systematic methods for doing so; and connive with other believers to put those ideas into play. It would be the "sensible" thing for persons - who saw the world in those terms - to do. It also matches my sense of just who these people are - as I have known them personally, encountered them in their own writings and read of their workings in history. They are, after all, the people who worshiped Mao while 20 million Chinese were starving to death; Stalin while he was slaughtering peasants, intellectuals and soldiers, and making the lives of Russian workers into a living hell; cheered on the NVA as it crushed the life out of any possibility for basic freedom and dignity in South Vietnam and Laos - and set the stage for the killing fields of Cambodia; and supported the PLO in attacks against Jewish school children in Israel. And they have no remorse for any of these things. They also sought to criminalize -through "speech codes" and anti-harassment laws - the expression of all and any ideas and attitudes that they deem to run counter to their project. And now they are seeking to use similar methods to close down the normal political rhetoric expressed by their Republican opponents. I could go on for days but there is hardly a point to it. In essence all-too-many of those in this core group of radicals are self-righteous thugs. And many of those who are more kindly inclined are simply deeply, and perhaps unredeemable, mistaken or - even - delusional about vital matters of history and life as others live it.

Please read the article though - and send it to everyone you know as well.
Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis

Notes:
Islamists and the Left
[The Islamist-Leftist] Allied Menace --
by Daniel Pipes
How US Anti-War Activists Can Help Topple the Empire:
by Virginia Rodino

In the U.S. anti-war movement, we must therefore create a jihad, a �struggle� and �effort against oppression and evil.� This jihad must be against Islamophobia. This jihad must be against Zionism. This jihad must be against imperialism. What this jihad must be for is a true democracy, created by the ordinary working people around the globe, a participating and engaged people who are empowered to carry out the decisions won through debates in a democratized public sphere...
Throughout these two particular campaigns, deliberate and consistent outreach must be made to the Muslim community.
(emphasis added)

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Failure of Social Policies
The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy by Thomas Sowell

My own evaluation:

...the trouble affecting Afro-Americans and other minorities during the last 60 years or so has had little or nothing to do with the effects of thoughtless, or even clearly racist, speech, but is instead - to a significant extent - the product of factors such as the following:

  1. The failure of liberal policy-makers during the 1960s and 70s to take into account - or even acknowledge - the pertinence of findings - such as those obtained by  Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the effect that, the problems then affecting Afro-Americans in urban America had at least as much to do with family structure - the legacy of slavery - and cultural attitudes towards the role of fatherhood - as they did with the direct effects of racism in contemporary society. And, to take such insights into account in the development of social policy.
  2. The consequent creation of  welfare assistance programs that went out of their way to exclude traditional families - those with a father in the household - from receiving aid.
  3. The - related - propagation of other attitudes current amongst the elites at that time in regards to marriage and parenthood. Attitudes to the effect that - traditional institutions and assumptions related to families and the rearing of children were merely  "social constructs" and oppressive ones at that
  4. Which factors - along with a veritable celebration of out-of-wedlock birth,  single-parent families and  sexual license generally - did much to further erode the strength and viability of Afro-American families - just as those same factors did to  many families amongst other ethnic groups as well -  resulting in greater levels of poverty amongst women and children generally.
  5. The creation of a welfare system that did little to encourage and assist recipients in preparation and search for viable employment.
  6. A blue-print for "urban renewal" based on bulldozing economically distressed communities. And, in so doing, destroying as well the residents own social institutions - often very vibrant, creative and successful -  in the process. During which destruction and dislocation, the former residents of targeted communities were placed - largely - in high-rise ghettos. One result of which process - in its entirety - being that the former residents were now dependent on bureaucratic structures, rather than those of their own creation - and under their own control - for the purposed of meeting their communal needs in regards to charity and political expression.
  7. Encouragement - from the same elites then involved in promoting radical changes in family structure and sexual mores  - for under-employed young minority men in particular - to adopt the notions that: members of the "dominant culture" in general - and businessmen in particular - along with the capitalist system as a whole - were to blame for all the real or imagined wrongs and personal disappointments that they, 'other member of their group, or their ancestors, had suffered in the last few centuries or so.   And that - rather than attempting to use the instruments of education, entrepreneurship, and traditional work ethic to better their positions in life -  it was both their duty and in their highest self-interest for them to actively engage in a relentless struggle against those persons and that economic system. And to do so "by any means necessary." Which attitudes and assumptions worked against full participation of young minority men in the nations economy and did so at the very moment that unprecedented opportunities had opened up for them.
  8.  Promulgation by the same elites of the related notion that - members of minority groups who adhered to beliefs, perspectives, methods and  practices commonly thought of as being fundamental to western civilization - e.g. in regards to: science and scholarship, work ethic, delayed gratification, organization of time, language/vocabulary, the role of  music and visual art in culture, etc, were "inauthentic" and - in some sense - guilty of betraying their "real" heritage
  9. in regards to crime, focus by social scientists and liberal elites on the disproportionate incarceration rates amongst minorities - particularly Afro-Americans - rather than on the equally disproportionate role they play as crime victims. And, in so doing, helping to create a perspective that could only have had the effect of: undermining efforts to protect the vast majority of blacks - honest and hard-working folk - from the thugs in their midst; strengthening the identification of minority members with thugs in the minds of the rest of the public; undermining the basis for the natural sympathy that would have otherwise been likely to have emerged as both blacks and non-blacks struggled against a common threat; and, the creation - by default - of an image of the Thug -  rather than those who worked to suppress him - as a primary role model for black kids.
  10. The poisoning  - through insistence by liberal elites on "curative" measures, such as affirmative action and forced bussing - of the well of good-will that had accumulated during the civil-rights era. Measures which made a mockery of the ideals - such as equality under the law, and the stipulation that persons should be judged through the content of their own characters, rather than in terms of the population and ethnic groups into which they happened to have been born. And which, in so doing, placed the burden of three centuries of oppression squarely on the shoulders of white working and middle-class families - who were subsequently stereotyped as - at best - stupid children, or vile racists, if they so much as questioned the wisdom or justice of such measures. And, which policies could be said to have - ultimately - had much more to do with the redemptive fantasies of guilt-ridden liberal elites than with any actual advancements to be had in regards to justice or reconciliation among Americans.
  11. All of which measures, policies and attitudes, having helped to foster an image of minorities - amongst themselves as well as the population as a whole - as hapless victims requiring pervasive and persistent paternalistic aid in order to function - at best - or of incorrigible thugs - at worst. An image that could not have been more damaging to the cause of justice and reconciliation then one that had been the product of a cooperative effort  between neo-Nazis and the KKK.

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(C) David Aronin 2008