Political Finger-Painting

On April 5th The Signal published a column by Gary Horton entitled “America Has A Complex Complex” which brought a memory to mind for me.

When my daughter was a little girl she’d do finger-paintings for me. She’d sit at the table and smear random colors all over a piece of paper, and then turn to me.

“Look, Daddy”, she’d say proudly. “A sunrise!”

Of course, all I could see was paint smeared randomly all over the page.

That’s what we have with this Horton column: a little kid’s finger-painting of what’s wrong with America. It makes no sense to the person reading it. Only in the mind of the “artist” who created it do any of the shapes or colors coalesce into a meaningful whole, as they’re randomly selected and applied.

Horton’s painting of an “industrial-congressional-complex” makes as much sense as my daughter’s finger-painting of a “sunrise”, meaning none. It’s a very pretty picture, quite colorful, but not at all representative of anything in the real world.

He’s taken disparate elements of our society which he considers flaws or shortcomings in its fabric and tried to tie them together into a neat package of cause and effect. But the fatal mistake in this approach is that it ignores the benefits that derive from that very same system.

We live in a society unique in the world, with freedoms and liberty, guaranteed in our Constitution, that are unparalleled anywhere. We’ve also – whether willingly or not – been forced to assume the mantle of being the defender of those freedoms on a global scale, both for ourselves and our allies.

There are costs, both overt and hidden, that accrue to those kinds of benefits and responsibilities. That’s just the way the world works.

I know Horton, and those like him, have a utopian vision of how they think things should be. I’ve been active in politics for about five decades, and have been debating these issues for all of that time. But utopia doesn’t exist, and never will. That’s just a fact.

Any society with freedoms such as ours is going to be a messy place. Open debate, electoral politics, federalism, equal access of competing interests, free-market economics, free speech, property rights, individual responsibility, open competition… these are all concepts that, when put in practice, will naturally lead to uneven results.

Equality of outcome can only be assured by the imposition of tyranny.

So… which system would you prefer?


(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)


17 comments on “Political Finger-Painting

  1. Nee says:

    This is spot on as always. I had a chat with someone who thinks he is a liberal and one thing we kept coming back to is that America is unmatched in almost every arena– even though we know the flaws. We are copied in every way except for Freedom and Liberty. We are the most innovative, creative inventors, thinkers producers anywhere BECAUSE of those two things. I digress. You’ve already said it. Human nature is the biggest factor in why Utopia is only a frame of mind as opposed to a tangible thing that “everyone” should “have”. And the simple reason is because human beings are selfish and some are more enamored by the power they wield instead of what they can offer.

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks, Nee.

      I couldn’t agree more. Lefties are constantly asking “If that country can do X, why don’t we?”, as if there’s no other difference between us. They’re like the blind man who, when he feels the elephant’s trunk, claims an elephant is just a big snake. It’s nuts.

  2. CW says:

    Very well said, Brian. Leftwing logic is indeed a lot like the randomness of finger painting. I would only quibble with this one sentence:

    “Equality of outcome can only be assured by the imposition of tyranny.”

    Be careful not to give the socialists hope as, needless to say, tyranny cannot promise equality of outcomes. All it does is redistribute power and wealth according to the preferences of the tyrants.

    • BrianR says:

      LOL, CW!

      I stand corrected!

      But let me add this: Tyranny can PROMISE equality. It just doesn’t deliver once in place.

  3. Grey Neely says:

    Brian, most of these idiots want “paradise”. And short of the grave, they will never find it. And you are correct when you basically say, “Freedom ain’t free.” The world is a messy place and somebody has to step up and assume the position of “Leader of the Free World”. And equality of each individual’s outcome can never be achieved. But the beauty of our republic (and our Constitution) is that here in the USA we are all allowed a chance in the race. But the outcome of that race is not “a given”.

    • BrianR says:

      Exactly, Grey. The Constitution guarantees equality of opportunity, NOT of outcome.

      • Nee says:

        I say this over and over and over. And, no amount of regulation is going to equal the playing field so that every outcome is good. As Martin used to say: We can take every dime from the wealthy and in five years, they’ll have achieved what they lost and more, because it’s WHO they are. And the poor will be exactly where they started. It would be rare that the entitled mind becomes successful, but a “doer” will always make it.

      • BrianR says:

        Yup, no doubt.

  4. Hardnox says:

    Excellent essay Brian and excellent comments by all.

    The Left truly suffers from mental disorders for which there is no medical cure.

  5. Hopeful says:

    Your finger-painting analogy was absolutely brilliant, Brian! As usual, I couldn’t agree more!

  6. captbogus2 says:

    Yeah, our system is a “messy” place. It would be a helluva lot messier if we could return the public education to teaching instead of indoctrinating. So many young folks are disillusioned and don’t even know what they are disillusioned with because they have had to sit and listen to skulls full of bullshit fill their skulls with bullshit. I watch Watters World go on high dollar college campus’ and ask the most simple of questions about our country and these students have not a clue. Yet they think they can run the country..

    • BrianR says:

      And there it is.

    • Nee says:

      Don’t you love that!! Watters is pure gold with his unassuming self. And he gets them. Every. time. Have you heard of Evan Coyne Maloney? He used to have a site about indoctrination in education. I believe there was a video called “Indoctrinate U”. We here are pretty up on that phenomenon what with the feds and that Common Core shite, but this was a good ten years ago, now.

  7. slowcowboy says:

    The beauty of the system you describe is that it truly does not care what a person looks like or what part it has. Everyone can do virtually anything.

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