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LA politicians successfully take on politically correct forces

In this era of dumbed-down education, especially in the areas of history and economics (signified by politicians shorn of teleprompters claiming the country has 58 states or that men have landed on Mars), public policy debate really hits the jackpot when not just one but two politicians take on political correctness and dispel the prevailing kultursmog belched forth born of faith in the peculiar dogmatism of modern times.

Rep. John Fleming got his chance when asked about his status as one of the higher income earning Members of Congress. Besides a salary of $174,000, some Members have other sources of income, and while Fleming is a medical doctor he also own a slew of franchises giving him a gross income in the millions of dollars. He pointed out that after expenses what he really took home was perhaps a tenth of all that, which came to an estimated $600,000 annually.

Of course, to many on the political left this kind of net income automatically makes him evil, because in their warped mythology one can get that kind of wealth only through some kind of exploitation in a system rigged in the favor of a few, and the only way he can come close to paying for his crime is to give a substantial portion of it to government for redistribution purposes. Lost in all of this is that Fleming was not to the manor born and through sheer effort built all of this from scratch after his discharge from the military.

Which perhaps explains why he offered no apologies for his success and why he needed not to. To MSNBC presenter (and the conservative Republican Fleming deserves credit for making himself available to the openly-partisan, leftist-sympathizing network on this issue) Chris Jansing, he noted, “Class warfare never created a job. ... This is about creating jobs, Chris, this is not about attacking people who make certain incomes. You know in this country, most people feel that being successful in their business is a virtue, not a vice, and once we begin to identify it as a vice, this country is going down.”

He could have noted something else, but maybe discretion was the better part of valor. A significant number of able-bodied individuals, alone or in units regarded as families, make tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year off of government through provision of housing, food, utilities, transportation, and others plus direct cash subsidies for which they provide no little or no contribution to government through their own payment of taxes or to society in being employed. Meanwhile, those with gross incomes one-hundredth the size of Fleming’s, who like Fleming are contributing to society, perhaps to a lesser extent by their work but just as honorably, find government subsidizing unnecessarily the behavioral choices of the first group through their taxes. Much more than Fleming, they would benefit from a government that spends less, meaning they keep more of their own money that was not given to them, but that they earned. Yet critics of Fleming seem ignorant of the real problem here, inappropriate distribution of wealth based, as he noted, on class warfare that defines any success that improves everybody’s condition as a vice.

Interestingly, Fleming was not the only elected official in Louisiana recently to speak truth to power. Michael Delesdernier, president of the Jefferson Parish School Board, came under criticism from an interest group for his mentioning of God in sessions with teachers and in e-mail messages to them. Apparently, he made references to Biblical stories and conveyed the sentiment that he would pray for good student performance in testing.

In society, certain special interests exist looking to find offense to some creed of theirs and one of these called the Freedom From Religion Foundation got wind of his communications and expressed its outrage, hinting it could sue the district. They obviously misjudged Delesdernier’s fortitude, who explained why none of his statements violated the current jurisprudence concerning the First Amendment and exposed the silliness of the group’s position, which if implemented would remove studying the Bible as literature and necessitate establishment of a speech police patrolling against any remark by anybody in government that has any connection to any religious kind of belief (including the belief that there does not exist any kinds of supreme beings).

These kinds of interests often have a problem with people of faith – not as much because they wish to exclude totally any religious sentiment from the public square, but because they prick at a psychological trait of theirs. The insecure of those who have no faith, faiths of convenience, or wear their faith like a hat that they take on and off (putting it on Sunday mornings, for example, then forgetting it exists the rest of the time) become uncomfortable when people of faith express that faith in doing the ordinary things of life. They attempt to compensate by telling themselves that people of faith are deluded, or stupid, or defective in some way, enabling them to feel superior.

So, the worst possible thing for a person of faith to do, especially in the eyes of a group like this which primarily promotes atheism, is to act in ways that expresses absolute moral certitude based upon religious belief in the Deity in dismissing its claims. For example, telling atheists that you will pray for them simultaneously signals negation of their view and subtly reminds that they are the ones who display ignorance in understanding the human condition. Trying to avoid these blows to self-esteem drives the insecure into the hypercritical, hysterical posture adopted by this group.

Delesdernier, who says in all of he never asked any employee to pray, said “I plan to just live my life. I plan to continue to live my life with freedom from their version of religion.” As with Fleming’s response to half-baked notions of our time, well said.


Anonymous said...

Two Issues
The first; Congressman John C. Fleming’s tax rate: Fleming should pay higher tax rates because his Subway Restaurants could not exist without tax payer financed schools to educate his workers, courts to ensure business is conducted fairly, police, fire, and military defense of his property, aquiculture inspections ensuring safe raw materials and the myriad other government services supporting his business. Why should other taxpayers pick up his tab? How about him ponying up the part for his Ole Miss education the tax payers picked up. Maybe he should consider contributing to the Post Office deficit too as the law allowing his UPS Stores to siphon off their lucrative business cost the Post Office profits.

Second Issue; Public display of religion: One can display his or her religion on anything they own or rent. If Mr. Delesdernier wants to discuss Old Testament stories he should rent a hall or church. If he wants to get religious messages to school teachers he should rent billboards or takeout newpaper adds. He doesn’t own the School Board or their email. He has no business using these vehicles to create a platform for his views presenting to a captive audience.

Mr. Harris Plutocrat said...

This post by Jeff is the perfect example of his delusion and hysteria. Imagine actually believing that “to many on the political left this kind of net income automatically makes him evil because in their warped mythology one can get that kind of wealth only through some kind of exploitation in a system rigged in the favor of a few, and the only way he can come close to paying for his crime is to give a substantial portion of it to government for redistribution purposes.” This is profoundly hilarious. Having grown up in the deepest “political left” of nearly anyone in this country, this sort of paranoia is rich humor. Obviously, there aren’t any lefties who think that earning $600k is “evil.” But to a neo-con hiding under the bed, scared of communists, “islamists” and class warfare, it must be a terrifying life to imagine that 50% of the country thinks that people earning that much are “evil.” Message to idiots like Jeff who mistakenly sense boogiemen at every slight pretext: Fleming was roundly ridiculed by liberals and conservatives alike because what he said was stupid and offensive. If you doubt me, try to stand in front of a crowd of poor people and explain that $600k is not enough to make ends meet. Your whole post is the ramblings of a John Birch devotee. Only a New Christian like Jeff would say that ”telling atheists that you will pray for them simultaneously signals negation of their view and subtly reminds that they are the ones who display ignorance in understanding the human condition.” That is, to Jeff, open prayer is an appropriate insult to ignorant atheists to bring them down a notch. Jesus would be proud.

Jeff Sadow said...

Anonymous does not appear to know how a market system works. The things he lists are not so much there for an entrepreneur's benefit, but for society's, especially that part of it which benefits from the entrepreneur's products. Never forget that exchanges occur in a marketplace because each party believes he is better of by conduct of that exchange. And entrepreneurs like Fleming do pay more in taxes, disproportionately subsidizing those things that enable others to enjoy the good that come from labors such as his.

He also has reading comprehension problems. Delesdernier was not engaging in discussion about religion, but using it as metaphor. At no time did he proselytize.

My frequent commenter once again displays his ignorance about the way the world works, and adds to that ignorance about current events. "Obviously, there aren’t any lefties who think that earning $600k is 'evil'" ... ever heard of the (now dying) Occupy movement, which is nothing more than an amplification of the class warfare rhetoric emanating from the White House? Or he lives in a state of extraordinarily self-denial as a defensive mechanism. Or maybe he just doesn't reason particularly well. Nor is his understanding of Fleming's statement very astute. Fleming did not say he couldn't make ends meet, he said expenditures, including taxation, made it harder for him to earn a living and grow his business, which by its performance shows it is desired by society and serves a positive purpose. But the larger point made by Fleming, entirely missed by our obtuse commenter, is that the entrepreneur, because of the many benefits he brings society, should be valorized and encouraged, not envied or seen as a target to take from just and only because he has more wealth than others. The latter was the line of questioning from the MSNBC talking head.

He also has trouble with reading comprehension. Nowhere do I write that "open prayer" is seen as an insult to atheists; rather, prayer on the behalf by the faithful for atheists deflates the smugness many have, the feeling of "superiority" they have by thinking themselves learned rational creatures as opposed to believers, while, in reality, they close their minds to the beautiful realm of knowledge we acquire about mankind through faith.

I am, however, left curious by one remark -- what is a "New Christian?" I seriously doubt that I am, because my Catholic faith is the oldest of the Christian faiths.