(Reality) check … please

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 17, 2013

In a recent column in the Post (June 6), Leonard Pitts quite graciously advised Republicans against overzealousness in their quest to call the Obama administration to task for pitiably misdeeds.
While we should be grateful for his sage advice, collectively appreciative that a liberal such as he might be concerned for our well-being, I must take issue with two glaring inaccuracies in an otherwise well-crafted piece. One involves substance. The other involves structure. Both appear in the same line, “If one trait has defined the conservative movement in recent years, it is its extremism, its utter estrangement from reality.”
Those are two separate traits, or at least deserve to be. This sort of miscue might be expected from one of us struggling amateurs, humbly offering up our scribblings and scratchings in the hope of publication in our local paper. Syndicated columnists are paid for their products and should be held to a higher standard. While not a serious goof, it is a goof nonetheless.
Mr. Pitts and his supporters might argue that the estrangement from reality is presented as an example of the extremism. I would argue that the two elements are not inextricably linked, and that each concept is substantive enough to stand alone.
Now for the major inaccuracy. To claim that an estrangement from reality is a characteristic of conservatives is to rail about a speck of sawdust in the eye of one’s opponent while dismissing the Sequoia in one’s own eye. Any serious, thoughtful, objective analysis will reveal that, of the two ideologies, liberalism is more detached from reality.
Illusion is the foundation of modern liberalism. Concepts, imagery and perception are packaged and presented as reality. And why not? We, as a society, will fill a large arena or pay big bucks via pay-per-view to watch professional wrestlers flap their gums for 20 minutes, then pretend to fight for 10 minutes, the outcome preordained. It is unclear whether wrestlers learned their craft from politicians, or vice versa. The point is, liberals accept the mindset and use it to their advantage; conservatives seek to change the mindset, to bring folks back to reality.

Liberalism is the foster home of socialism, a system based not on reality, but on the utopian fantasy that if we promise everyone an equal share, everyone will work equally hard and with an equally happy attitude. The reality is that socialism works fairly well (for its administrators) in cultures that, unaccustomed to liberty as we know it, will eagerly exchange a lump sum of freedom for meager installments of subsistence.
Liberals are able to convince their supporters, as well as far too many moderates, that we can cure our economic ills by increasing taxes on The Rich. Reality tells us that a 100 percent tax on incomes of The Rich would fund government for less than a year.
Liberals tell us that wind and solar should replace carbon-based energy sources. The reality is, ain’t happening, nor should it. Carbon-based energy sources are more efficient and provide more private-sector jobs.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the ideological battle for hearts and minds is that, at the upper levels, liberals have to know that what they are peddling is bad for the country. Self-preservation trumps responsibility. Al Gore knows the truth about climate change. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid know the truth about Obamacare. Maxine Waters knows the truth about race relations in America. Wrestling fans know the truth about professional wrestling. Factor in unionism, abortion, evolution — the list goes on and on. The sad reality is that truth doesn’t matter for a large number of voters.
So, while conservatives may have their share of extremists, it is liberalism which depends upon an estrangement from reality for its success, if not survival.

Bruce La Rue lives in Mt. Ulla.

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