Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Some Non-News

     My health is currently in a downtrend – I really must stop volunteering to carry refrigerators up the stairs unassisted – which has left me more than usually inclined toward the lighter side of things, by way of compensation. (They say that laughter is the best medicine, and I never argue with they.) In particular, this article tickled me nicely, for reasons that might not be immediately apparent. Give it a look, then return here.

     Now, you probably heard about that yesterday evening, while watching the TV news or reviewing your preferred news websites. And you probably reacted mildly to it: a positive development, but hardly world-shaking. Yet as the Victory Girls’ piece indicates, that simple assertion by the Supreme Court of a statutory power of the president has made the Left go utterly bonkers. Left-leaning “entertainers” and “journalists” predicted everything but the end of the world.

     The Left’s reactions to the GOP tax reform bill were about the same. Have a gander at this collection of shrieks and faints from Twitter.

     Any Monty Python fans in the audience?

     This is no real problem for anyone who can read the bill. First and most important, it eliminates the ObamaCare “individual mandate,” a very important step that frees young, low-income Americans from the requirement to buy medical insurance. Second, it reduces the top corporate income tax rate from 35% to 20%, which will result in a lowering of prices generally, will help to create jobs, and will greatly improve the U.S. as a corporate homeland. Third, it reduces personal income tax rates, though the way the Left is screaming you’d never have believed it.

     Yes, the bill eliminates certain deductions, such as the one for state income taxes, and caps others, such as the deduction for property taxes. However, it greatly increases the standard deduction, a boon for low-income persons who don’t itemize, and the Head-of-Household per-child tax credit, which is especially helpful for single-parent families. On the whole the bill, if it comes out of the conference committee approximately as it stands, will modestly reduce the burden on American taxpayers and accelerate the revitalization of the American economy.

     The Left’s howling over the bill, as with the Supreme Court’s reinstitution of Trump’s travel executive order, is all out of proportion to its provisions and their probable effects. That might have something to do with the elimination of the state income tax deduction and the cap on property tax deductions, which are particularly significant for California, Illinois, and New York, ultra-high-tax states where most left-leaning figures reside. But that’s merely more occasion for mirth for us in the Right – and lest my Gentle Readers forget, I’m a resident of New York, the Vampire State, and am likely to see my aggregate tax burden increase.

     It’s time for the Democrats and their handmaidens in the press and entertainment industry to recognize a simple truth about public rhetoric:

Equating every development you dislike to a surprise nuclear strike will cause ordinary citizens to dismiss whatever else you might say.

     And we’ll laugh while we do so. Watching the Democrats and the stars of their media annex howl and caper like a troop of barefoot midgets on a hot griddle is better amusement than anything on late-night television.

     “Did you meet the Reverend Mother?”
     “The Truthsayer witch from the Imperium?” Hawat’s eyes quickened with interest. “I met her.”
     “She...” Paul hesitated, found that he couldn’t tell Hawat about the ordeal. The inhibitions went deep.
     “Yes? What did she?”
     Paul took two deep breaths. “She said a thing.” “He closed his eyes, calling up the words, and when he spoke his voice unconsciously took on some of the old woman’s tone. “‘You, Paul Atreides, descendant of kings, son of a Duke, you must learn to rule. It’s something none of your ancestors learned.’” Paul opened his eyes. “That made me angry and I said my father rules an entire planet. And she said, ‘He’s losing it.’ And I said my father was getting a richer planet. And she said, ‘He’ll lose that one too.’ And I wanted to run and warn my father, but she said he’d already been warned – by you, by Mother, by many people.”
     “True enough,” Hawat muttered.”
     “Then why’re we going?”
     “Because the Emperor ordered it. And because there’s hope in spite of what that witch-spy said. What else spouted from this ancient fountain of wisdom?”
     Paul looked down at his right hand, clenched into a fist beneath the table. Slowly, he willed the muscles to relax. She put some kind of hold on me, he thought. How?
     “She asked me to tell her what it is to rule,” Paul said. “I said that one commands. And she said I had some unlearning to do.”
     She hit a mark there right enough, Hawat thought. He nodded for Paul to continue.
     “She said a ruler must learn to persuade and not to compel. She said he must lay the best coffee hearth to attract the finest men.”

     [Frank Herbert, Dune]

     If everything’s a crisis, where’s the crisis? – Arthur Herzog, The B.S. Factor

     Many years ago, a wise man told me a parable of sorts: A rider must learn how to direct his horse with gentle, subtle commands. He can’t always be sawing at the reins or kicking the horse in the flanks, for eventually the horse will become non-responsive...or worse, it will turn on him. A horse that has developed insensate flanks and a calloused mouth cannot be ridden to good effect.

     The same is true of the rhetorical arts.

     When the amps are forever turned up to 11, there’s no way to indicate the concepts of better and worse. This is so obvious that I blush to write it...but there’s that word again. Yet the Left, supposedly the political family more skilled at communication and persuasion, has calloused our brains with its unceasing trumpet blasts of impending doom. You’d think people in their trades would have known better...but then, evidence always beats conjecture, and we have plenty of evidence to the contrary.

     Still, we can laugh – and we’ve had several demonstrations that laughter isn’t just good for our souls, but good for the national discourse as well. The overly serious purely hate to be laughed at. It tends to send them away fuming – a state of mind in which many errors are made. If we can keep them in that state, who knows? Further gains than anyone with a “respectable” perch in the Punditocracy has forecast might be possible.

     This isn’t news. It’s a reminder:

Keep your spirits up.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.

     Remember the Fifth Rule:

     A veteran British diplomat had a favorite way to put down a pushy or egotistical junior. The diplomat would call the young man for a heart-to-heart talk and quite often at the end of the talk would say, “Young man, you have broken the Fifth Rule: you have taken yourself too seriously.” That would end the meeting...except that invariably, as the younger man got to the door, he would turn and ask, “What are the other rules?”
     And the diplomat would smile serenely and say, “There are no other rules.”

     [Attributed to Governor Pete du Pont.]

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Monty Python is always good for a laugh. Thanks for the review on the tax bill. I needed to read something about it from a clear headed person not associated with the MSM.