Paul Krugman holding his pussycat named Hypocrisy.
In the New York Times today, Paul Krugman writes of "A Tale of Two Moralities."
On Wednesday, President Obama called on Americans to “expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.” Those were beautiful words; they spoke to our desire for reconciliation.
But the truth is that we are a deeply divided nation and are likely to remain one for a long time. By all means, let’s listen to each other more carefully; but what we’ll discover, I fear, is how far apart we are. For the great divide in our politics isn’t really about pragmatic issues, about which policies work best; it’s about differences in those very moral imaginations Mr. Obama urges us to expand, about divergent beliefs over what constitutes justice. . .
Or, put another way, belief in the collective versus belief in the individual.
What are the differences I’m talking about?
One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.
The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That’s what lies behind the modern right’s fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty.
There’s no middle ground between these views. One side saw health reform, with its subsidized extension of coverage to the uninsured, as fulfilling a moral imperative: wealthy nations, it believed, have an obligation to provide all their citizens with essential care. The other side saw the same reform as a moral outrage, an assault on the right of Americans to spend their money as they choose.
He's close, but not quite there. It is not merely about spending our money the way we choose so much as preserving our liberty against unconstitutional Federal diktat. The Obamacare law forces us to buy something we do not wish. With its enforcement, we truly become slaves to Federal power.
This deep divide in American political morality — for that’s what it amounts to — is a relatively recent development. Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it. As many analysts have noted, the Obama health reform — whose passage was met with vandalism and death threats against members of Congress — was modeled on Republican plans from the 1990s.
But that was then. Today’s G.O.P. sees much of what the modern federal government does as illegitimate; today’s Democratic Party does not. When people talk about partisan differences, they often seem to be implying that these differences are petty, matters that could be resolved with a bit of good will. But what we’re talking about here is a fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. . .
Right now, each side in that debate passionately believes that the other side is wrong. And it’s all right for them to say that. What’s not acceptable is the kind of violence and eliminationist rhetoric encouraging violence that has become all too common these past two years.
It’s not enough to appeal to the better angels of our nature. We need to have leaders of both parties — or Mr. Obama alone if necessary — declare that both violence and any language hinting at the acceptability of violence are out of bounds. We all want reconciliation, but the road to that goal begins with an agreement that our differences will be settled by the rule of law.
First of all, Krugman needs to understand that the G.O.P. is the least of his worries. Just as the constitutional militia movement grew out of G.O.P. failure to protect the people from a militarized federal police, the Tea Parties grew out of G.O.P. failures to restrain Krugman's collectivists over the past two years and of their hypocrisies growing bigger government during the Bush years.
Secondly, when he says that the country needs to "declare that both violence and any language hinting at the acceptability of violence are out of bounds," he is only objecting to the threat of counter-violence to defend ourselves against the Federal Leviathan. Excuse me, Paul, but Nancy Pelosi and her ilk (cheered on by you and your kind) first plunked the threat of violence down on the table when the "health care" bill mandated our participation. As I wrote in my call to break Democrat party windows:
Nancy Pelosi's Intolerable Act is within days of passage by devious means so corrupt and twisted that even members of her own party recoil in disgust.
This act will order all of us to play or pay, and if we do not wish to, we will be fined.
If we refuse to pay the fine out of principle, we will be jailed.
If we resist arrest, we will be killed.
They will send the Internal Revenue Service and other federal police to do this in thousands of small Wacos, if that is what it takes to force us to submit.
This arrogant elite pretends that this oppression is for our own good, while everyone else understands that this is about their selfish, insatiable appetite for control over our liberty, our money, our property and our lives.
What Krugman objects to is our conclusion that two can play that game.
But let us not have any finger-pointing or tongue wagging about "threats of violence." Their side brought the threat of government violence to the table first. Now they want us to unilaterally disarm?