Thursday, August 18, 2011

Van Jones – Transforming the American Dream into the American Nightmare (Pt 2 of 5)

Yesterday I started walking through Van Jones’ ‘Contract for the American Dream’, and pointed out that, IMHO, if having the liberty to live your own life is the essence of the American Dream, then being told by the state how to live your own life is the collective American Nightmare, and this 'contract' is the very stuff that those nightmares are made of.

And as with nightmares, this document is deeply unreasonable, full of contradictions, and ominously seeks to sway people down the path of good intentions towards a certain hell on earth. The most disturbing thing about this is that it isn't accomplished through skillful reasoning and subtle rhetoric, but via a clumsy set of claims and appeals which amount to sheer idiocy. Stay with me on this, the stuff gets deeper and deeper with each paragraph you step into it.


  • Idiot: an utterly foolish or senseless person.
  • idiotic:senselessly foolish or stupid: an idiotic remark.
When I say this document is idiotic, I use that word advisably, I don’t mean the idiocy of the mentally deficient – we should be so lucky – but the far more dangerous output of the intelligently idiotic, those who are thoroughly foolish or senseless to the meaning and implications of what they do, and this sort of behavior is on display in the blatant contradictions in terms which this document peddles as proposals. Aristotle identified and sparked the intellectual heart of western civilization, when he identified the fundamental law of logic, as,
“that the same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the same subject and in the same respect”
, and when you state contradictory beliefs, you quite literally say nothing at all, or even worse, less than nothing (accomplished by dis-integrating existing knowledge), and to behave as if nothing is something, is indeed, idiotic - 'senselessly foolish or stupid'.

Let’s see what I mean here, you can follow along with the Preamble in the insets to the right.

There's a lot of traditional American ideals in that preamble, good stuff, true, but did you notice what it was all wrapped around? All that Americana is wrapped around this line, like bacon around a poison pill,

"should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity, and give their kids a better life"

, and it is loaded with trouble, in at least two forms. First, how do you suppose they mean that 'should', do you think they mean that in a speculative way? A "Well, if you do all the right things, the odds are that it'll work out for you."?
“We, the American people, promise to defend and advance a simple ideal: liberty and justice. . . for all. Americans who are willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity, and give their kids a better life. Every one of us – rich, poor, or in-between, regardless of skin color or birthplace, no matter their sexual orientation or gender – has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is our covenant, our compact, our contract with one another. It is a promise we can fulfill – but only by working together.”

Or do you think they mean it in more of an expectant fashion, something more like, 'if you pay for a product, you should receive it', or as those with the force of law behind them might put it, 'if you break the law, you should be put in jail'?

If you are uninformed enough about how the left likes to implement its policies to imagine that they meant that in the speculative form rather than the forceful sort... hold that thought, we'll come back to it.

The second part of the problem, is what it tries to present as the 'American Dream', which they presume here to be that Americans should aspire ‘to find a decent job’, which singled out as it is, assumes (hopes or expects) that they have no other aspiration but to ‘get a decent job’ working for someone else. There is nothing wrong with doing that of course, except that it implicitly excludes from its narrow dream of America, those who might want something else, such as those who want to start their own business.

That is not a small thing or a small exclusion, it is a central possibility to what the American Dream originally was – seeking the liberty to live your own life. When the American dream was first being dreamed up, some came here seeking a plot of land they could call their own, some a farm, some to create a business, some to get a decent job so as to be able to live the life they wanted – and no one should rate any one of those dreams as being better or higher than the others – they are all possibilities inherent in what is the real American Dream – to live your own life.

But seriously, think about this, as someone asked the other day, when did 'getting a decent job' become the American Dream?! If that is The American Dream... just imagine what no longer is.
What this preamble sets up as a hint of what’s to come, if people like Jones get their way, and if people who should know better, let them, is not the broad American Dream of liberty and justice for all, but a narrowing of that dream to one predefined slice of it, cut out by those who feel themselves expert enough to 'know what's best for them' and served up for all Americans to have to swallow - along, no doubt, with their peas.

The last sentence,
“That is our covenant, our compact, our contract with one another. It is a promise we can fulfill – but only by working together.”
, is true enough, but only, only, if the words it refers to, 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' and 'liberty and justice. . . for all' are words which mean something… and when you read those soaring words along with this document, you quickly find that within the context of this 'contract', they cannot possibly continue to mean what they have always meant to Americans and to the American dream. The American Dream of living your own life, would be thoroughly replaced and bound down, if this ever came to fruition, by governmental experts telling you how to live your life - and like it.

And to eat your peas. No joke.

Another thrilling paragraph or two to come tomorrow.

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