Barack Obama

Obama Wants Millennials to Love Big Government

These days, millennials are growing less gullible.

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There's a specter haunting America's youth, President Obama warned in his commencement address to Ohio State University graduates Sunday—the specter of "cynicism." In Obama's account, sinister (but unnamed) "voices" have been busily corrupting the once-idealistic Generation Y with a siren song of "creeping cynicism" toward ambitious new federal crusades. They'll even "warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices."

I couldn't help thinking that Obama and his speechwriters were responding to what they'd read in the New York Times a week before. In "For Millennials, a Tide of Cynicism," the Times reported new polling data from Harvard's Institute of Politics suggesting that Americans under the age of 30, "who turned out in droves to elect Mr. Obama in 2008, are increasingly turned off by politics. Experts fear their cynicism may become permanent." If so, that's pretty good news, because those mysterious "voices" are on to something.

In 2007, candidate Obama even told a group of supporters: "One of the enemies we have to fight—it's not just terrorists … it's also cynicism." (Not the most comforting thing to hear from a man who now commands his own killer drone fleet.)

Nobody likes a cynic—the kind of killjoy Oscar Wilde famously defined as "a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." But in a $3.5 trillion dollar budget shot through with unfunded liabilities, maybe it's worth paying attention to what new proposals are going to cost.

It's a useful rhetorical trick, the president's decision to reframe skepticism toward overweening federal power as "cynicism." What's "really" cynical is how, in his Ohio State speech, Obama invokes "the Founders" to rebuke "voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate sinister entity" that can degenerate into tyranny.

In the Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, Bernard Bailyn, the great historian of founding-era thought, writes that, for early Americans "what turned power into a malignant force was … the nature of man—his susceptibility to corruption and his lust for self-aggrandizement. On this, there was absolute agreement."

Historically, our heritage of healthy skepticism has been an ally of sound government. It makes ambitious federal programs much less likely to pass, decreases support for foreign-policy adventurism, and makes the public less likely to endorse restrictions on civil liberties. When we trust too much is when we get into trouble.

When I first wrote about millennials' political attitudes for The Washington Examiner in 2009, I worried that the "Greatest Generation" would give way to "the Statist Generation." That's what the polling data seemed to show; Among other things, the 2007 Pew Political Values survey revealed "a generation gap in cynicism": where 62 percent of Americans overall view the federal government as wasteful and inefficient, just 42 percent of young people agreed.

These days, millennials are growing less gullible. Majorities disagree that "government spending is an effective way to increase economic growth" and they're skeptical about preventive war, among other results of the Harvard poll. Perhaps most significantly, "Today, only 39 percent of young voters trust the president to do the right thing, as opposed to 44 percent in 2010."

You can see why the president's worried: Kids today may just be wising up. Don't kick them off your lawn just yet.

This column originally appeared in the Washington Examiner

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  1. Prez pitches propaganda! Surprised faces missing!

    1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job Ive had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringin home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, http://www.Mojo50.com

    2. Emperor Obama wants to teach the millennials how to Love Government Almighty, you say?!?! PLEASE send all the millennials to the Church of Scienfoology; Scienfoologists wrote the BOOK on Worshipping Government Almighty!!! ENOUGH of all this endless cynicism, I say? Agreeing with Mien Emperor, Ich bin, I am? All Hail the Emperor, I say? Come and WORSHIP with us Scienfoologists! See http://www.churchofsqrls.com/ ?

      1. Add to this his Student Loan Forgiveness Plan to buy off said Millennials with extra give aways for government employees in order incentive more into government.

  2. I just commented on this at Transterrestrial Musings, so I’ll re-post that here:

    Not only is our entire system predicated on a distrust of government, the Constitution itself screams that distrust. Limited, enumerated powers. In case that wasn’t clear, a Bill of Rights to absolutely ensure the protection of key liberties.

    And the Founders and other great libertarian thinkers in the U.S. said again and again that government was a necessary evil (not good) that had to be watched closely at all times, or it would become dangerous. Like George Washington said, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

    Skepticism and distrust of government may be the one thing that, historically, could truly be called the core American value. We do not submit to the inevitability of government absolutism, nor do we easily surrender our liberties. At least, we didn’t used to do those things.

    1. I don’t know who you are writing about, ProL, but it isn’t this country. I’d say “not any more”, except that I don’t think it ever was.

      1. I think it was more so. Certainly, it was in the beginning. And, to be sure, there are still strains of it in this country, even among the idiots who keep giving more power to the state.

        1. marginally more so. Dude freedom in the initial days was for white guys with land, and there has been much hand-wringing over expanding the franchise. Not to mention some pretty serious depredations on free speech and the like that would make Obama look like an amateur tyrant.

        2. It has nothing to do with giving power to the state. We gave power to the uneducated, the ignorant, the abusers, those without pride, good morals, or innate intelligence. When you allow any idiot to vote, as soon as the idiots outnumber the productive sector, you inevitably reach Idiocracy.

          Seems awfully simple what’s happening to our country.

          We did it to ourselves.

    2. By the end of the first generation Paine despaired that the Spirit of 76 was dead. But its good to remind the socialist that they are a festering necrotic wound on our national soul.

    3. Wholeheartedly agreed!

    4. up to I looked at the bank draft that said $5552, I be certain that my mom in-law truley making money parttime at there labtop.. there brothers friend has been doing this 4 only about 17 months and just now paid for the morgage on there mini mansion and got a great Volkswagen Golf GTI. read more at wow65.com
      (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

  3. …the Times reported new polling data from Harvard’s Institute of Politics suggesting that Americans under the age of 30, “who turned out in droves to elect Mr. Obama in 2008, are increasingly turned off by politics. Experts fear their cynicism may become permanent.”

    I wonder what could have happened since they “turned out in droves to elect Mr. Obama in 2008” to make them cynical?

    1. The fact they still live with mommy and daddy?

    2. Turned out by drones to elect Mr. Obama in 2016.

    3. Who says people turned off by politics are cynical? Maybe they just don’t give a shit. Journalists need to break out of their stupid world where all that matters is politics and government.

      1. If you aren’t cynical about politics, you haven’t been paying attention.

        1. Yeah. Exactly.

  4. If anyone is cynical, it’s the pukes who distrust American individuals to run their own lives and invest their own money.

  5. They’ll even “warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”

    It is chilling to contrast that with Reagan’s
    “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

    1. Tyranny is always lurking around the corner. This jackass is a wannabe tyrant and should be watched even more carefully than most. And that’s saying something.

      A relatively free society–with all of the success and affluence that it brings–is an exceedingly rare thing in human history. The default, which occurs if we don’t fight the inertia, is tyranny, not liberty. No people coasted their way into a freer society,.

      1. I’m not sure he realizes that he wants to be a tyrant. He’s just a cipher who wants to feel important and gets annoyed when people disagree with him and get in his way.

        Valerie Jarrett, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Holder…. those people are wannabe tyrants. Not sure about Michelle.

        1. I don’t care what he intends. He’s trying to be a tyrant and would certainly accept the opportunity if it comes his way.

          1. Why are you conversing with a moron? Do you do it because it makes you feel smarter than…a retard?

          2. Look. Freedom requires structure. You can’t just have people going around and doing anything they want. That’s why we have permits and licenses. You see, a truly free person must ask permission and take orders from government in everything that they do. The alternative is chaos. You don’t want chaos do you?

            /Obamatyranttard

            1. Does the chaos include guns not safely locked up in safes?

            2. You don’t want chaos do you?

              Actually…

              BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!

            3. Chaos is not an abysmal pit, it’s a ladder of opportunity. Now cut scene to the dead wench who was the finest piece of ass in the entire series.

              1. And great men will climb that ladder.

          3. True, but dealing with him requires that we understand his motives. You don’t deal with BO the same way you deal with Rahm Emanuel.

            1. We need to make our limits on the government stronger than the government. Then the psychoses of those in power will matter less.

              1. One question – how do we do that?

                1. ProL has a lot of pipe dreams. I wish they could come true but they won’t.

                  1. It’s better than submitting. All it takes is a large enough minority to stop saying yes and start saying fuck no.

              2. Once you give government a free pass on stealing your money, it’s game over. They can buy more troops to keep forcing you to give them your money.

                The only way to defeat government is to help the great majority of people to stop believing that stealing is okay if something called a government does it.

                If large groups of people want to form organizations to defend their lives and property from evildoers, let them do so, but only if the funds are provided voluntarily.

          4. He’s trying to be a tyrant and would certainly accept the opportunity if it comes his way.

            But it’s for your own good… and that makes all the difference.

      2. Am I the only one who read this as a tranny around every corner? I’m suddenly very afraid to go around any corners.

    2. “You should reject those voices.”

      I liked the original line better – “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”.

      But you can’t beat the CGI on Obama’s flying monkeys. Those are some killer special effects.

      1. Killer? Heh, but the drone squadron is only in its infancy. What a precedent.

    3. “It is chilling to contrast that with Reagan’s….”

      I’ve always got the feeling Obama models himself after Reagan, only from the left. He makes references to him or his quotes all the time.

      1. Lawyer, actor, what’s the difference?

        1. Actors at least serve the marginally beneficial purpose of entertaining us.

    4. Obama: “This is not the tyranny you’re worried about. You can go about your business, and pay your taxes.”

  6. Voices warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices and all other voices save mine for I am teh Won, anointed by heaven to bring peace and justice to all of the world.

    Barry “Not a tyrant or a dictator” Obama

    1. Of course he can’t be a tyrant, he thinks he is the messiah.

      [cue Python]

  7. It’s not “cynicism” he’s afraid of. It’s skepticism.

    1. How can anyone not be skeptical of government? Even partisans know that politicians lie more often than they don’t.

      1. That’s a rather naive statement, ProL. Partisans are exceedingly stupid and think that by being part of the herd, they are safe. Just as long as their herd is in charge, they will be fine, is what they think.

        Like I said, they’re retarded.

        1. I don’t agree. I mean, yes, many are stupid, but they usually know the bigger lies are lies. They just rationalize them away. I hear all the time from lefties “But the Republicans. . .”, which, of course, doesn’t change one iota the lie/bad act that’s happened. And, of course, this goes both ways.

          1. It’s Orwell’s Doublethink. Pure and simple….

            To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself ? that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.

            1. The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies ? all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

          2. It doesn’t matter if they know the lies are lies. They don’t care. That is the point. They don’t care, because they think it won’t affect them, because they think by being on a TEAM they are safe.

            They are abject fools.

            1. One major thing people tend to get wrong is deferring their moral and ethical judgments to others. No matter how many people tell you something is right and ratify what you do, in the end, you are the only person responsible for your actions.

              1. That is entirely correct, ProL, but there are legions of people out there who will deny this fact to their last breath, because they do not want to take responsibility, because that’s hard. Most people are irrational and completely immoral, including not taking responsibility for their own actions. This is the world we live in.

                1. Human beings are master rationalizers Episiarch. An ideology or religion that allows you and encourages you to do what you would have done anyway is irresistible to most people. Also doing good or trying to do good in the public sphere is a wonderful way to rationalize your private failings. So, if you hate women and are a a serial womanizer, being a part of the “women’s rights movement” is a great way to rationalize and justify your private behavior to yourself.

                2. “I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline. I object to power without constructive purpose.”

              2. in the end, you are the only person responsible for your actions.

                Yes and no.

                In principle yes you are right. In practice, not so much.

                You see, if you defer to authority, ask permission and take orders like a good peasant, suck authority cock and all that, then when something goes wrong there’s a chance that authority will have your back. After all, you showed proper respect, you asked nicely, you did what you were told, you swallowed instead of spit, so they’ll find a way to shield you from the consequences of your actions.

                If on the other hand you acted on your own, did not ask permission, did not take orders, did not suck any cock, then when something goes wrong you’re up the creek. Heck, you don’t even have to do anything wrong. Simply not asking permission is a crime by itself. Authority is going to come down on you like a ton of bricks. Who said you could do that? Who gave you permission? By whose orders is this being done? You don’t have sufficient respect for authority. It’s time to beat some sense into you.

                Welcome to the land of the free.

                1. It is even simpler than that sarcasmic. Most people are unwilling to risk large and important parts of their lives for a marginal gain in freedom. So for example, I know good and well that filming cops is a constitutional right. And the best way to protect that right is for people like me to go out and film cops and accept the consequences and make filming cops something so common that cops can’t stop it and give up.

                  But do I do that? No. Why? Because the small increase in freedom I personally would get from people being able to film cops is not equal to the risk of being arrested, losing my job and so forth. So i don’t do it. And neither do other people.

                  This is why we don’t lose our freedom all at once. If they came to take away all of my freedom, then I would stand up and do something because losing all of my freedom is a lot worse than losing my job. They know this. So they don’t come for all of my freedom. The come for little chunks of it again and again banking on no individual lose of freedom will be worth me standing up and risking losing everything to stop.

                  1. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

                    Good men can’t support their families from prison.

                    1. Exactly sarcasmic. There are some people out there who just don’t give a fuck. And they are willing to go to the wall for principle. But most people are not. And that is what tyrannies bet on.

                    2. Here in Maine there’s a push to do what they did in WA and CO, and of course there’s the usual push back from law enforcement.

                      Well, I typed up a great little letter to the editor that smashes the gateway drug argument.

                      They say that marijuana should be illegal because it is a gateway drug, when in fact it is a gateway to other illegal drugs only because it is illegal. Alcohol retailers don’t give out samples of crack, and legal marijuana dealers would be no different. Legalize marijuana, and the single largest gateway to the black market would slam shut.

                      Of course the letter will never be sent because I have a family to support, and such a letter falling into the wrong hands could cost me my job.

                    3. Then again I wonder if law enforcement wants marijuana to remain illegal because it is their gateway to the black market. Without the ability to threaten small time marijuana dealers with crazy penalties, law enforcement has only a tiny chance of finding and busting dealers of hard drugs. Mainly because there are so few of them. This ignores the fact that if marijuana was legal, users of hard drugs would be hard pressed to find product, and there would be very few new users. Hard drug use would plummet.
                      But they’d rather keep their in than allow that to happen. Fuckers.

                    4. Damn good argument and one I have never before heard made.

                    5. You have to draw the line somewhere.

                  2. I just copied and pasted this to my facebook page.

                2. …then when something goes wrong there’s a chance that authority will have your back.

                  HAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! sarcasmic, you really do have a fine sense of humor. When something goes wrong, the degree of support you’ll get from authority is a direct function of the degree to which you can either bail their asses out or make the wrong worse. Period. End of story. The extent to which you sucked and swallowed’s really got nothing to do with it. If you’re expendable and you’ve got nothing on them, you’re screwed.

            2. They are fools, but since they belong to a team they’re also safe. Unfortunately most voters have zero fucks to give when it comes to questioning the shit being fed daily into ther brains as long as they have cheap 4G access and fantasy football.

        2. Having lived and worked around these sorts of people for years, I feel I have learned a few things about what motivates them.

          Mostly people in politics and government are motivated by the desire to be a part of something important and to leave some kind of mark in the world. To change the world.

          You have to understand that it takes a lot of courage and humility to look at the world and admit that there are a lot of bad things that happen but there isn’t really anything to be done about them. People hate that and mostly are unwilling to accept it. So they combine this unwillingness to accept the harsher realities of life with their desire to be a part of something larger and make a difference into a desire to change the world.

          Such desires are often very romantic and irrational. That is one of the reason why government programs go on and on even if they are total failures. It doesn’t matter to the people who support these programs if they succeed. These programs are designed to fulfill the needs of the people who created them. Actually solving the problem is incidental.

          1. Intentions trump results.

            1. If the action is there to satisfy the actor’s need, absolutely they do.

          2. I have to disagree. Maybe that is so for some lower level government employees, like social workers and some police officers. But I think that for most of them it is pure self-interest. Like the prosecutor who goes after people for their own career advancement, or the prison guard unions who lobby for “three-strikes” laws for their own job security.
            They are scum who use the power of government for their own personal wants, not for the good of others.

            1. You clearly have never been around them.

              1. Well, I’ve been around a few…I vaguely remember some of my teachers and professors, who I think would match your description pretty well. But I’ve also been on the receiving end of a witch hunt from a Federal Prosecutor, and it looked to me like she was interested in nothing besides getting the win for her career.
                As to the average government employee, you seem to have more experience with them than I do, so I guess you may be right. I sure hope that the average government employee truly thinks he is doing good, but many of the one’s I have interacted with have been power abusing, self promoting, hypocritical, and unethical.

          3. Actually solving the problem is incidental.

            Also, solving the problem would be undermine the reason for the programs’ existence, and the interests of those who rely on that existence.

          4. I Can Fix = Ego

            1. Jesus Christ went around bragging how he was the son of God.

        3. If Obama is held accountable for anything, Benghazi, Mexican gun trade black flag (sorry denouncers, black flags are the norm in skullduggery, just a fact, and I have the manuals the masters themselves wrote) operation blowing up in their hands, murderbots, anything, then the Republicans win.

          1. And, yes, I’d love to hold Bush accountable for his mistakes. Send him the bill. It is the one thing I hoped the democrats would do in the 06 takeover which would have also gummed up the works for the activist government we got under Bush. Precisely why the dems didn’t do their jobs.

      2. If we can just get the right people in charge…

        1. that’s what Stalin said!

          1. And then those Kulaks had the nerve to expect to keep the fruits of their labors.

      3. Even partisans know that the other TEAM’s politicians lie more often than they don’t.

        FTFY. The think about partisans is that they believe the other guys are the evil dishonest fucks, while their side is good and pure as the driven snow.

        1. Too bad they don’t see the snow is yellow.

    2. I think that’s the point of the article…

  8. But, but, but the government is us! We are government!

    Of, by and for the people!

    Our government could never become tyrannical because it’s us! You can’t have tyranny over yourself! That simply doesn’t make sense!

    Oh, you mean it doesn’t make sense because the premise “we are government, government is us” is a false premise?

    But, but, but…. *sputter*

    /progressitard

    1. If we are the government, why do I have to pay taxes. surely my spending would then be ‘double plus good government spending’ if we are the government. So leave the money in my hands and we’ll still get the magic government multiplier…

      1. Because you’ll spend your money on the “wrong” things, whereas the Top Men in government will spend your money on the “right” things. For example, I just spent $1500 on two sets of tires. That was wrong of me to do, but I couldn’t help it because I’m a product of our culture of depraved consumerism. The government would have “invested” that money in a solar energy project where it would have disappeared entirely. That would be the right thing to do since no one in the their right mind would do it.

  9. address to Ohio State University graduates

    That’s The Ohio State University.

    But what does it say about things that Obama trusts that the product of the public school system is too stupid to realize he is spewing utter nonsense? Would he have tried getting away with this at Michigan?

    1. I’m surprised to learn that you can get real degrees from both Ohio State and Michigan.

      1. Like currency, Degrees are worth what people believe they’re worth and have no intrinsic value.

        1. Fiat Degrees?

    2. No, it isn’t. It’s merely an Ohio state university.

      1. However, the “The” was actually part of the state legislation when the university was renamed in 1878. The following excerpt is from the Board of Trustee minutes:

        “…the educational institution heretofore known as the ‘Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College,’ shall be known and designated hereafter as ‘The Ohio State University.'”

        Pay attention and learn.

  10. Honestly, I don’t think many people care that much about what government does within certain boundaries. Most people aren’t hardcore ideologues, they just want a system that works reasonably well for them and the people they care about. There is a core group of people who will almost always poll towards one side of the small/big government spectrum, but the majority will change their opinions with the times. Bottom line: I wouldn’t read too much into the polling data.

  11. most execelent alt-text.

  12. Speaking as one of the more profoundly cynical members of Gen X around, I agree that cynicism is corrosive. I try not to spread mine to the yutes. But saying that the government is a mess isn’t cynicism, it’s an empirical fact. And the solution isn’t moar harder .gov. We’ve tried that, and it ain’t working so well.

    If kids tune out of .gov worship, that’s a rational response to observed reality, not cynicism.

    1. A cynic is just a bitter realist. It doesn’t have to be that way. Let the bitterness go and you become a happy realist.

      1. When happiness is unsupported by facts, then perhaps you’d have to give up the realism too.

      2. I’m an oddly optimistic cynic. I full well expect people to make wrong choices and act like idiots, so I’m plesantly surprised when they don’t. And enough people make the right choices and don’t act like complete morons that civilization keeps bumbling along, and in lots of respects, improving.

        1. My favorite cynic is HL Menken. Here’s a guy who was deeply skeptical of basically everything, was able to cut through people’s BS like a razor, but by all appearances seemed to love life nonetheless. Rothbard is similar. Contrast that with someone like say, George Carlin, who was hilarious, but not the kind of guy I’d want to spend too much time around.

          1. I think Carlin seemed like a nice guy. I would love to have known him. Menken in contrast always struck me as an elitist ass. The reason why he was so effective at cutting through other people’s BS is because he was so convinced everyone but him was a fool. It made him an effective writer. But I would be surprised if it didn’t make him an insufferable ass as a person. Think about it, Menken had an absolute disdain and hatred for nearly everyone and everything. Who did he like? It wasn’t the common man. He wrote pages and pages about how stupid and foolish they are. It certainly wasn’t politicians or other writers. I can’t see a guy who hates everyone being very pleasant.

            1. “Menken in contrast always struck me as an elitist ass…..

              ….Think about it, Menken had an absolute disdain and hatred for nearly everyone and everything.”

              These two contradict each other. An elitist is comfortable around other elites. Obama is an elitist. Menken has just as much, maybe more, contempt for them. Anyway, I just finished listening to an interview of Menken on youtube. You should listen to it. Might change your mind.

              1. An Elitist is only comfortable around other ‘elites’ they will admit as being at least on par with themselves, so I’m not seeing an inherent contradiction on what John said.

              2. The bottomline Kpres, if Menkin liked anything but the smell of his own farts, I haven’t heard what it was. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t an effective writer. He was. But I can’t imagine it making him a pleasant person to be around.

            2. I can’t see a guy who hates everyone being very pleasant.

              [glances sideways at Epi]

            3. When an elitist writer puts the common man down, his readers never think he means them.

  13. Tyranny is not “lurking” anywhere. It’s right out in the open, grabbing whatever it can get.

  14. They’ve now seen both a Republican and a Democrat administration. Cynicism logically follows that. Obama’s basically saying “Hey, remember back when all you knew were how bad Republicans were, back before you’d seen me govern? Can’t you just pretend like we’re back in those days and pour your adulation all over my empty canvas again?”

    1. I think this is it. All of those 18-25 year olds who blamed bush for everything in 2008 are now 23-30 year olds living with their parents and working dead end temp jobs.

  15. Video I linked last night on the Obama commencement speech.

    Kinda rambly, but I enjoyed it.

  16. This has a bit of religion to it, too. If you don’t have faith in government, it can’t work.

    1. “Faith is believing in something that no one in his right mind would believe” – Archie Bunker.

      1. Faith is usually defined as belief without proof. I have almost none of that. To quote P.J. O’Rourke: I believe in that which you can prove by reason and experiment, and I want to see your logic and your lab notes.

        1. Meh, I went with the line I found funnier. In context, I think Archie was trying to defend religion when he blurted it out.

        2. That’s what I just don’t get about faith. Without proof, or at least some decent evidence, why believe one thing rather than another?

          1. Because that’s how they were raised, being indoctrinated from a very young age. Why do you think most of the U.S believes in a bronze-age myth? Or most of the world believes in some sort of un-falsifiable religion developed in the shadowy mists of early history?

            1. “The best indicator of what religion you are is where you were born.”

              Hitchens or Dawkins said that, I can’t remember where I heard it.

            2. Growing up my family on my mother’s side was divided between Catholics – us – and Pentecostal Protestant – everyone else.

              We stuck out like thorns and to this day a Pastor who is a cousin of my mother’s looks at us “crooked.” Never really went out of his way to be friendly or kind which is in contrast from what I observed with interactions with everyone else.

              We used to have a laugh over that. Asshole.

              Anyway.

              I once had a conversation with my cousin (may he RIP) about faith. He said in order to be allowed into Heaven you HAVE TO ACCEPT JESUS. Believe in HIM and ONLY him.

              So I asked him if I merely respect Jesus and do good things on earth am I eligible for entrance? He said no. You had to believe.

              Which always struck me as weird because how the fuck does someone do that? I tried for about an hour and it just didn’t work. Then Ned Flanders came on TV…

    2. Yes. And think about the implications of that. If the reason why government fails is because people do not have faith in it, then anyone who doesn’t have faith in government is actively trying to make government fail. Thus people who disagree and don’t have faith in government are not just well meaning if mistaken people. They are traitors.

      When you listen to what they say and take it to its logical conclusion, you can see how leftists always end up shooting people. I don’t think Obama consciously wants to shoot people. But he clearly believes in ideas that if fully implemented and taken to their logical conclusion would result in that.

    3. Joe from Lowell understands.

      joe| 7.24.07 @ 3:16PM

      Tinkerbell’s dying! Clap harder! Harder!

      Well, congratulations, defeatists. Tinkerbell is dead. Of course, you don’t mind – you WANTED Tinkerbell to die!

      1. Not gonna lie – I DID want Tinkerbell to die. There – I said it.

        1. You are not alone.

        2. Not gonna lie – I DID want Tinkerbell to die.

          You’re just being spiteful because she turned you down. She probably laughed in your face and you never got over it.

      2. Ah, man. That is classic! Good one.

  17. …I worried that the “Greatest Generation” would give way to “the Statist Generation.”

    But the “Greatest Generation” was “the Statist Generation.”

    They grew up or came of age during the Great Depression and a huge majority of them supported the notion that New Deal policies were the only way. Then they went through the war either in the military or in highly regimented jobs at defense plants. In all of their formative years they lived with the concept that society depended a strong government directing all activity. And for the most part any who opposed the New Deal were hardly anything we would consider libertarian.

    After they left the military they were showered with the highest levels of individual entitlement spending ever and given that they had just finished kicking Hitler and Tojo’s asses fell into the new order of a standing Army with a draft that could intervene everywhere to impose American liberal democracy (basically the New Deal writ large). There was simply nothing that could not be fixed with the application of American military power.

    It wasn’t until Barry Goldwater stood up and started to oppose New Deal programs that any but a tiny marginalized faction began to question them.

    Today the New Deal is nowhere near the civic religion that it was in the 195s and 60s.

    1. Not the mention the fact that not only were most of the “Greatest Generation” New Deal Democrats, a non-trivial number were out and out communists.

      1. Not the mention the fact that not only were most of the “Greatest Generation” New Deal Democrats,

        The greatest generation were children when the New Deal was passed. So they were not “New Deal Democrats”. They were Democrats. But after the great society and Vietnam and the 70s became Reagan Democrats.

        1. They were New Deal Democrats in the sense that they were Democrats who believed in the New Deal. And keeping their support was one of the reason that the “Reagan Revolution” failed. Keeping them meant that programs like Social Security and Medicare were untouchable in spite of changes that younger voters would have supported.

          1. in spite of changes that younger voters would have supported.

            What young voters? Young voters have always been more liberal than older ones. Where did you get the idea that younger voters at anytime in the last 40 years would have supported a roll back of the entitlement state?

            In our dreams maybe.

            1. John, all of the people that have expressed misgivings about Social Security and Medicare, whether outright opposition or doubt as to whether they are viable in their current form, have been people my age (+or-). That means we first got to vote in the late 1960s.

              All of the people who bellowed like gored oxen every time someone proposed a change in Social Security and Medicare, whether outright opposition or doubt as to whether they are viable in their current form, were older voters (ie the “Greatest Generation”). This in spite of assurances that their benefits would not be affected.

              No, you’re right, not everyone who supported changes were calling for “a roll back of the entitlement state” but many were calling for revamping it to be a more reliable social safety net (no matter how misguided that may have been) and they were all younger voters. And the people that killed any chance for “fixing” things were the “Greatest Generation.”

          2. And I will stand by my assertion that the “Greatest Generation” was the most statist generation in the nation’s history.

            1. And I will stand by my assertion that the “Greatest Generation” was the most statist generation in the nation’s history.

              And you still haven’t given a single historical fact to support this. Most of the things you complain about are the produce of the generations that preceded and followed the World War II generation. You can’t blame the New Deal on them, they were kids and couldn’t vote. And they were for the most part not the prime supporters of the Great Society. It was passed over their objections for the most part.

              And oddly, even though you blame them for everything, you give them no credit for the ending of the New Deal and the ending of the war planning economy.

              1. You can’t blame the New Deal on them, they were kids and couldn’t vote.

                They are the reason why SS and Medicare are the “third rail” of politics. They had the opportunity to kill those programs in the cradle, and instead they rode the gravy train figuring that they’d be long dead when the thing fell apart. That’s a dick move, and certainly not anything I’d call “great”.

                you give them no credit for the ending of the New Deal

                Quite possibly because the largest programs of the New Deal still exist, and the ones that were ended were ended by SCOTUS.

    2. “Today the New Deal is nowhere near the civic religion that it was in the 195s and 60s.”

      Not sure if I’d credit Goldwater or the simple fact that those entitlements are so ridiculously more expensive these days than they were in the 50s and 60s.

    3. It wasn’t until Barry Goldwater stood up and started to oppose New Deal programs that any but a tiny marginalized faction began to question them.

      Issac that is just not true. The New Deal was a lot more than just Social Security. Most of the worst aspects of the New Deal were repealed by Roosevelt in the late 1930s after the Dems got their asses handed to them in the 1938 midterms.

      And the Dems desperately wanted to continue war planning and war rationing after the war the way Britain did. That was until they lost control of both Houses of Congress in the 1946 midterms. With the loan exception of Social Security, the country for the most part rejected the New Deal from 1938 on.

      Yes, the country did embrace the GI Bill, the Draft and the interstate highway system in the 1950s. But that was not “the New Deal” nor were Eisenhower’s economic policies anything like Roosevelt’s. There never was a sick chicken case under Eisenhower.

      Also, the Great Society was not the New Deal. And the Great Society was passed over the objection of the majority of the country. It was only passed because the Democrats got an unnaturally large majority in Congress after the Kennedy assassination. And they lost a big chunk of that majority in the 1966 midterms largely because the Great Society was not popular.

      Stop spreading cartoon myths.

      1. Have it your way, John.

        If the Great Society was not popular, why did it get passed by Congress and signed by Nixon. Oh, right, I forgot that people pretend that Nixon was a conservative.

        And the Great Society was absolutely an extension and a fulfillment of the promise of the New Deal. If there is anything that pisses Democrats off it is their belief that Republicans kept them from getting all their free ponies.

        Obama is the first president in nearly a generation of either party who has openly used the rhetoric of the New Deal. He sees himself as the second coming of FDR. That’s pretty close, except that his supporters have created a cult of personality FDR could only imagine in his wildest dreams.

        1. If the Great Society was not popular, why did it get passed by Congress and signed by Nixon.

          It didn’t. It got passed by the 1965 Congress and signed by Johnson. The Great Society was Johnson, not Nixon.

          And the Great Society was absolutely an extension and a fulfillment of the promise of the New Deal.

          You don’t understand the New Deal. The New Deal, sans social security was not about entitlements. It was about economic control and planning. The New Deal contained no real welfare in the way the Great Society did. They are two separate things. What your saying is just not reflective of what the two things were.

          Obama is the first president in nearly a generation of either party who has openly used the rhetoric of the New Deal.

          Maybe. But so what? The greatest generation is dead. None of them are voting now. So whatever Obama is, it has nothing to do with them.

          1. Implicit in Obama’s message is a call to be more like the “Greatest Generation.”
            Almost all of the economic control and planning measures of the New Deal survived in one form or another until deregulation started under Jimmy Carter.

        2. Why is it ‘having it John’s way’ if it’s (assuming) historical fact?

  18. Why can’t he just ask, Are you of The Body?

    1. Get me my robes and a hollow tube. You know, like the one gift-wrapping paper comes on.

      1. I always thought Romney looked like Landrew from that episode.

        Don’t blame me, I voted for Landeew!

  19. Only time will tell whether they wake up in sufficient numbers to do what is needed to save this country. It also depends on how many executive orders Barack Hussein Obama is able to sneak through on the American people!

  20. You know, it’s kind of funny that the left can’t seem to make up it’s mind whether libertarians and those skeptical of state power are naive idealists or hopeless cynics. I guess we all practice an incredibly idealistic cynicism.

    1. Maybe it is because they fundamentally misunderstand how libertarians think? If I had to define cynicism, I’d say it is the belief that success is simply not possible in some endeavor is not possible, even in principle. A skeptic, on the other hand, believes that success may be possible, but demands proof an reassurance that the power being granted won’t be abused, and is being justly granted in the first place.

      1. Yes. You have to remember liberals have fallen into totalitarian thinking. By that I mean they view government as encompassing every aspect of life. So when I liberals sees someone skeptical of government, they assume they are cynical about everything because to a liberal the government is everything.

    2. We’re rational romantic mystic cynical idealists.

      1. It all makes sense now.

        Thank you.

    3. Cynicism was a legit branch of philosophy in Ancient Greece and Rome.

      Obama is some piece of work I tell ya. I really hope more than a few kids in there listened with one eye brow raised like Bugs Bunny.

      Really, who’s lurking telling us government is bad? All I learned in school was government was a force of good because of the welfare state in the post-war era. They didn’t tell you that in so many words but it was understood that you don’t question the government’s good intentions.

      Of course, then it’s “question authority” when your guy isn’t in power.

  21. I wonder how much of that cynicism is rooted in postmodern philosophy? Ultimately, whatever it’s virtues, that whole movement was used primarily by the intelligentsia as a tool to tear down established Western liberal cultural values in the hope that it would enable the communist revolutions that weren’t happening. But they let the cat out of the bag and now they’re frantically trying get it back in, since nihilism is just as damaging to communism as it is anything else.

    1. That’s part of it. There’s also the older Romantic movement, which undid some of the good trends started during the Enlightenment.

      All in all, we like to fuck up good things.

    2. What comes after postmodern?

  22. You know what’s cynical? “Pivoting” on issues like gay marriage at politically-opportune times.

  23. The Millenials are all getting royally screwed at the moment – they’re on the hook for an astronomical and actually impossible amount of debt, they enjoy rampant levels of unemployment, and they’re taken for granted by the HopeyChangey cabal whilst they’re largely ignored by the GOP.

    Cynical? They should be downright pissed.

    Sadly though, most are too stupid to understand how screwed they really are.

    1. But Obama is so cool. And what about Big Bird and birth control? What about that?

      1. Big Bird? A homeless schitzophrenic with auditory and visual hallucinations? He creeped me out when I was still young enough to watch that show. Luckily, he never pushed anyone from a subway platform.

        1. Big Bird is a fag.

      2. Yes, and binders full of women.

        Oh, and racists and gay marriage.

        1. Worst economy since the 1930s and that is what the election was about. We deserve everything we get.

          1. Who’s we, Kemosabe?

            1. You kemosabe. You. that is right. you. Sometimes you gotta pay for other people’s stupidity.

  24. “CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic’s eyes to improve his vision.”

    -Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hy…..ierce.html

    1. The same Scythians who introduced the skull goblet to Europe? I think they’d maim you for the entertainment, never mind your outlook.

      1. “We must reject those voices who say tyranny, unjust taxes, civil war and barbarian invasions are just around the corner.”

        Emperor Obamus, AD 350

        1. Today’s Goths are not up to the task, so we have to find new Barbarians.

  25. They’ll even “warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”

    Oh yeah, this guy is a constitutional scholar alright. Unbelievable.

  26. What the fuck does campaigning for big government have to do with a commencement speech? Barack Obama is like school in the summertime. No class.

    1. That’s a good point I hadn’t thought about. Commencement speeches are supposed to be about inspiring and motivating the graduates going forward. Instead Obama uses it to shill for big government. Despicable.

  27. “It’s a useful rhetorical trick, the president’s decision to reframe skepticism toward overweening federal power as “cynicism.””

    Don’t forget “Denialism”.

  28. The millennials around where I live look and sound exactly like high school kids back in the late 90s or early 2000s. Skateboards and chained wallets are still common. Mohawks never went out of style.

    Where the heck are those emo kids and Ron Paul loving college students I hear so much about?

    I’ll occasionally ask them if they ever heard of Ron Paul, and the response is always something “Who the (bleep) is that”. It’s fun, I tell you.

  29. For a lefty, he sure likes the word “sinister.”

  30. my buddy’s step-mother makes $81 every hour on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 5 months but last month her payment was $15952 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site… http://www.up444.com

    1. So she works 49 hours a week? Sounds like a full time job.

  31. Who says Obama is the least transparent president in US history? He’s by far the MOST transparent. Transparently communist and anti-American!

  32. “You should reject these voices” … and in the meantime I’ll use the IRS to shut them up!

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