Saturday, May 23, 2009

Olberman's Obtuse Oratory

An alert reader recently brought to my attention Keith Olberman's Rant over Texas Governor Rick Perry's refusal to rule out secession as an option for Texas.

While I don't think Perry's comments were anything but disingenuous political posturing (he's always been an opportunistic hack of the Republicrat mainstream, and shows no signs of changing those colors), Olberman's histrionic response exposes remarkable measures of both ignorance and intellectual laziness worthy of enough contempt to pretty much eclipse any embarrassment I might feel for Perry.

Olberman wastes no time revealing his true nature, as he starts off by calling Perry "Governor Asshat." So much for common courtesy.

Though he feigns a measure of civility by suggesting the other states might give "permission" for secession, his historical ignorance is betrayed by his failure to take into account the fact that Texas didn’t wait for the anyone’s permission when seceding from Mexico or the U.S. (the first time), nor did the first American states, when seceding from Britain. It isn’t clear where he gets the notion that "permission" is a relevant — let alone necessary — factor today.

Mr. Olberman's predisposition towards tax-and-spend Big Government plundering as a norm comes out next, as the first consequence of secession he announces is "Your taxes would shoot through the roof!..."

But his conclusion is predicated on the (false) assumption that all Texans share his (religious?) belief that the status quo in government-provided "services" (mostly at what is ultimately the barrel of a gun) is a desirable norm. No longer compelled to finance endless ventures in imperialism and "nation-building" abroad, and Big Government welfare-state socialism at home, Texans could actually enjoy a decrease in taxes, once the tethers of "American" bureaucratic bloat have been cut.

Olberman brags that FEMA has sent over $3 billion to Texas since 2001. That's less than $400 million per year — a tiny fraction of what the US government plunders from Texans in taxes annually.

"Other agencies sent you another $1 billion just for hurricane Ike last year," he says, boasting about what amounts to a mere .6% of the state's current $150 billion budget.

Later he throws in another billion in Pell grants as an afterthought. (Tellingly, while I was able to find unlimited government sources for discussions nitpicking over the amount of each of these socialist "education" giveaways, no overall budget numbers for the total Pell grant welfare program was to be found. Hmm...)

Then he starts listing all the meddlesome socialist programs, police state bureaucracies, and war machinery he presumes Texas will want to replicate, both betraying (again) his personal dedication to Big Government statism and his (largely erroneous) delusion that Texans somehow share his love for the welfare/warfare state. "You'll need your own Gitmo," he says, as if Texans actually want to pattern their independent republic after the US imperialism model — complete with torture and without habeas corpus.

He also presumes that the "gringos" will "pull out" — again revealing his aversion to civility, and forgetting that Texas was a Mexican state with a white minority in the first place, and that by and large, Texans of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds get along fairly well, as long as folks like Olberman aren't around to fan the flames of racism.

Mr. Olberman is already reaching when he starts whining about nuclear waste disposal and the big business sports franchises have become — as if these would somehow uniquely become more severe problems for an independent Texas than they are for any state or country. His use of TV ratings and sport franchises as an argument against secession shows just how far he puts the prosperity of Big Business "sports" and Big Business mainstream media above the principles of liberty and self-determination.

He suggests that the US will want a border preventing commerce and free movement between Texas and the US, as if the US federal government will somehow be able to a better job than it has already, without the tax revenue it currently plunders from Texas.

His blathering about the effect of a Texas secession on US politics is moot. (Why would or should Texans care?)

The "scare tactic" he invokes of seeing Texas reunite with Mexico is another non-issue. The US government's taxation, intervention, and imperialism all dwarf those of Mexico by an order of magnitude, so why exactly should Texans find the prospect of "joining Mexico" so terrible? Every year, many Americans (Texans included) are already voting with their feet by relocating to Mexico, where they are basically left alone by the local and federal governments.

All in all, Keith Olberman's hysteria over the prospect of an independent Texas has plenty less to do with facts and sound reasoning than an irrational zeal for what has become the fascist norm in American economic and political life. It's no wonder that he can't stand the idea of the second largest economy of the country pulling its contribution from the federal trough — why, all of his favorite Big Government programs would lose a big chunk of their raison d'être, and (more significantly) an even bigger chunk of their plundered funding.

His taxes would shoot through the roof!...