All Of Life, From Zero To Eleven

Let’s imagine, if you will, a big knob or dial with a scale from 0 to 11.

This dial measures…

…well, anything, really.  For purposes of this article, let’s measure “Liberty” – the prevalence of and respect for the rights to think, speak, act, work and prosper freely.

Let’s say the numbers on the dial mean something like this:

0 – You’re in a North Korean concentration camp.

1 – You are in North Korea, but not in a concentration camp.

2 – You are in Cuba – unfree, and most likely dirt poor.   Your only “opportunity” is found in a bottle of some kind.  You are fed, more or less, and cared for, sorta.  Like a farm animal, really.

3 – You are in Red China – unfree, and a little less likely to be dirt poor.  Like an animal on a farm where the back forty is “free range”, if Farmer Brown Hu lets you live back there.

4 –  You are in Greece – Rioting and living on the dole? You’re “Free”.  Starting a business or excelling on your merits, absent lots of graft and what the Mexicans call mordida (maybe the Greeks call it “Mordidos?”  I dunno), and faced with paying taxes to pay for the problems caused by the earlier excessive taxes?  Not so free.  You are fed well enough, and cared for (or should be, if the government can figure out how to balance its budget) – like a house pet with a badly-organized owner who’s going to have to file for bankruptcy if he doesn’t square his act away, and who seems unlikely to do anything of the sort after the weekend’s household elections.

5 – You’re in the Netherlands or France.  You are “Free” from most wants, and have lots of “Free” time – but taxes and regulations make entrepreneurship exceptionally difficult, although it’s a more orderly form of difficulty than in Greece.    Food and care from the government are plentiful (provided that taxes and borrowing are in turn also plentiful, which is a big “provided” these days); you are like a pet in a well-organized and happy home, albeit one that has to keep renegotiating its credit cards.

6 – You are in a highly regulated United States or the UK – think “the worst of the seventies, on turbo”, run amok.  Entrepreneurship is marginally more free than in socialist Europe, and the social “safety net” is almost as smothering and the taxes almost as debilitating.

7 – You are in what Newt Gingrich might call Mitt Romney’s America – with lower taxes, but still more regulation that the United Freaking States of America, the land of people who risked all to come to the new world to risk all, could do without, and still too many taxes.  A place that is essentially a welfare state with some doors of opportunity left open for the lucky and incredibly motivated (or connected) few.

8 – You are in an America that Ronald Reagan worked toward – where we have the government we actually need, but not too much, and where feeding government comes in second to feeding and educating your family and financing your dream of success – a place where the rising tide lifts all boats, and where we don’t level out the peaks to fill in the valleys, but where we (as Churchill said) spread a net over the abyss.

9 – You’re in the America that Ron Paul’s party line says he works toward; where government is stripped down to the bare minimum, and people have the responsibility – and opportunity – to fend for themselves.

10 – The pure Big-L Libertarian Ideal.   Government guards the borders, enforces laws regarding order and property rights, and adjudicates contracts.  That’s it.  You are free to succeeed or fail precisely according to your merits and work.  And if you fail?  Social policy, especially the whole “Safety Net” thing, is in the realm of society – the individual and their own organic institutions (the church, Packers Nation, trade unions, the Elks, the NRA, the Oprah Book Club or whatever).

11 – One more than ten.

Where do you want to live?

That’s one way of looking at life, anyway.


I was listening to Jason Lewis the other night – something I don’t get to do nearly enough.  And he looks at political life a little differently; “You’re either for freedom, or against it”.  Instead of a dial from 0 to 11, you have a light switch, or an LED; it’s on, or it’s off.

How accurate in measuring anything in life is a lightswitch?

Is your marriage either wonderful, fulfilling and perfect or utterly miserable, abusive and dysfunctional?

Is your job either your dream come to fruition or something that makes you want to stick a gun in your mouth every morning?

Are your children either endless joys that make you thankful to wake up every day or little deviants on whom you can’t find enough dimes to drop?

If your marriage, job and kids aren’t perfect, do you instantly file for divorce, quit, and look up a pack of travelling gypsies?

Of course not.  So – is all of American political life really a choice between either “North Korean Concentration Camp Inmate” or “One More Than Ten?”

Of course not.

You put up with your spouse’s imperfections and insanities (or, in about half of marriages, you don’t).  You tough out a job you may not like until something better comes up (or doesn’t).  You try to focus on and bring out the best in your children, and get them to the point where you can say “I did the best I could”, and others answer “We can tell”, and you both keep a straight face.

Everything in life has a “dial” that goes from zero to 11 – your marriage, your job, your kids…

…and political life isn’t any different.

There are two political battles going on today, if you are a conservative and a Republican.

The big one is against Barack Obama.  Obama’s America is at or below a “Six” right now, and – measured by executive branch action – heading south.  He’s putatively targeting a “five” – but his deficit spending, as any sane conservative knows, pretty much inevitably leads to “four”.  Which, then, can just as easily lead to overreaction on the part of government and those who’ve come to depend on it – the Democrat constituency – that leads to points south of four; see “The Weimar Republic”.

So if you’re sitting at a 5.5, and your options are “Five and dropping” or “Seven (at worst) with the potential to move up, if you keep engaged and don’t let up the pressure?”, what would you take?

Which leads us to the other – and first – battle we face; between those who answer that question “If I can’t get at least a nine, then I don’t care and I’m going to stay home”.

Now, during the caucus and endorsement process, I’m all for accepting no substitutes – for pulling like hell for whomever your ideal candidate is, and eschewing compromise like the plague.

But once the endorsement process is over, there’s another time for choosing.  And if you’re a conservative Republican, at any level, your choice is, ineluctibly, this:

You held out for your ideal.  Now it’s time to choose; the US is at a 6, maybe a 5.5, today. Another term of Obama and we’ll be a weak 5, maybe headed south.  The only realistic choice right now is – at worst – to increment the counter to a 6+.  Maybe a 7, maybe shooting for an 8 if we get a good Congress.  You will not get your 9 or 10 in this election – and if the needle slips further, and more Americans slide into dependence and choose that comfortable, entitled “Five” on the big dial of political life, it’ll become much, much harder to budge things upward again.

Do you let the dial slide?  Or do you push the dial up?

There is no other option.

What do you say?

22 thoughts on “All Of Life, From Zero To Eleven

  1. Because he has a fucked up view of the constitution. Our founding fathers would be vomiting with rage at what he thinks about what the constitution really says. At a personal level I wish to be at an 8.5 (that is to say a 9 with a strong foreign policy and support of Israel). Speaking as the head of the DDE anywhere between 3 and 7 is fine, 11 would be interesting Mitch. And instead of ripping off the Spinal Tap quote about 11 why not just say what it is, full blown anarchy.

  2. I’m kinda with PoD up there. 8.5-9ish minimum. I also think we should support Israel. Not that I want World War 3 with Islam, but they are our only ally over there, and there IS a chunk of Islam that wishes to convert or kill us (and at 1.5 billion Muslims, ANY chunk of that is large enough that we best not ignore it). As much as some people say I am worrying about nothing, I also believe that Islam should be kept FAR away from our government, for the very simple reason that under Islam, the mosque IS the government. It gets down to trust…trusting a muslim politician enough that he places our Constitution above his religious doctrines (not that I’m picking on Ellison here…but I’m picking on Ellison here…he’s already authored at least one bill that had principles of Islam in it – something about credit cards and interest rates or something…can’t remember exactly). “But we have the Constitution to direct and protect us!” Tell that to the judges who have started ruling that Sharia law is acceptable as an influence on their ruling. Romney’s Mormonism might be a sore subject for some people, but there is no command in Mormonism to co-opt or take over the government and govern with Mormon policies and church law.


  3. Some dumb guy said: “Our founding fathers would be vomiting with rage at what he thinks about what the constitution really says.”

    Let’s not generalize, prince of dogballs. The founding fathers were a diverse, highly intelligent and opinionated group. It’s unlikely that each one of them would “vomit with rage” upon learning a 21st century president wanted to give all Americans access to medical care (translation for the Vomiting Fathers: bloodlettings and adjustment of humours).

    A more likely scenario:

    Adams: Vomiting with rage
    Washington: Explosive diarrhea of indignation
    Jefferson: Uncontrollable snot bubbles of disdain
    Hancock: Open sores oozing pus of disapproval
    Franklin: Scoring a French hooker a third his age

  4. For someone who claims to be a clown you don’t seem to get humor, or a vague Simpsons reference AC, jebus.

  5. And prince of dogballs really AC? How about if you are going to insult me you ditch your junior high bullshit and come up with something creative. Although since your side snickered like high teenagers at ‘tea baggers’ I suspect that might be the best you can do.

  6. It’s unlikely that each one of them would “vomit with rage” upon learning a 21st century president wanted to give all Americans access to medical care (translation for the Vomiting Fathers: bloodlettings and adjustment of humours).
    Read the federalist papers much, Mr. Clown? They went into quite a bit of detail on what should and should not be the responsibility of the Federal government, and why. Maybe the founders wouldn’t “vomit with rage”, but they probably would laugh at the stupidity of making a government with limited and enumerated powers responsible for every residents’ health care.

  7. They’d also crap their pants in fear during a plane ride and try to buy the black people at a Knicks game. So maybe running every single decision past a bunch of dead guys who wrote with goose feathers isn’t the smartest idea you’ve ever had, Blofeld. Though it does at least beat all you kooks wondering what kind of TV shows Jesus thinks we should watch.

    Angryclown regrets missing your fanboy cartoon reference, prince of dogballs. He trembles in fear, awaiting the devastating “Twilight”-themed put-down you’re no doubt formulating right now.

  8. Actually, AC’s “explosive diarrhea” comment was above his usual average, treading into Learned Foot’s area. Which is not a place to tread unshod.

    But come on, AC, give credit where due: the Founders who wrote with goose feathers used the most advanced technology of their time. If only we could get you to tweet your comments – keep them down to that old 140 character limit.
    Now THAT would be progress!

  9. So first AC says the Founders would be fine with Obamacare. Refuted, his fall back position is “Okay! Maybe not! But they were just dumb old guys from the dinosaur days!”
    Whatever, dude. Go back to snarking,

  10. So now Santorum, the rabid, Opus Dei catholic has endorsed Romney the mormon. So has Bachmann, the rabid pope-hating Lutheran-Evangelical, or whatever she is. Just keep believin’, libs, in the myth you tell yourselves about how bigoted and rigidly ideological conservatives are.

  11. Really. That’s your big example of inclusion Blofeld?

    “Sure, we’re nominating another super-rich white guy. But this one belongs to a socially conservative religion that’s only *kinda* Christian.”

  12. At this point the only thing for a conservative to do is to vote for Romney when the time comes. I don’t see how Romney won’t be the guy.
    I don’t see Romney beating Obama as things stand right now, though. Just a guy feeling. And it’s tempting to feel that it’s too late already – that we’re too far in the hole to ever recover. Unless some new positive development occurs it really is hard to shake that feeling. I don’t know what it would be – a new technology that suddenly creates so much demand that full employment suddenly returns, coinciding with the end of our wars and slashing our foreign aid? Who knows. Not me.
    Israel is a good example – that would be a place to slash some spending right there. They’re not even a formal US ally – theoretically the US could find itself in a situation where a formal US ally decides to fight Israel and the US would actually be obligated by treaty to support Israel’s attacker.
    Good luck to us all. I think it’s gonna be 4 more years of Obama – and we in MN are going to build the Vikings an outdoor football stadium.
    It really is too late.

  13. Mitch, who are you trying to kid? Come clean and admit your online blog persona is alot different than how you act around your friends. Don’t deny it, it has been FACTCHECKED!
    Not to mention how Deegee took you to task the other day; yep, a total fisking!

  14. Back on the subject at hand, I believe the RP folks deny your reality, and substitute their own. Just because there are only two choices on the real-world ballot, by the sheer magnificence of their vision there is a third, where we get to 9 (which is really 11, you just don’t grasp it yet) immediately after the election, so long as we don’t vote for one of the two.

  15. KRod,

    Oh, great. What did DG write this time?


    That’s pretty much how it works, with the ones who haven’t really figured out the “polit” part in “politics” yet.

  16. “There is no other option.”

    Of course there is. The Tea Party was formed by people who can think for themselves.

    I won’t vote for Romney or below. I will vote for what I believe in, which is eight and above. If you’re running for office and that’s what you stand for, fine. You can have my vote. If not, then that’s too bad.

    If you folks want to vote for Romney or worse, that’s fine, but what we turn into is on your hands.

  17. Actually, Colonel – if you follow the logic in Mitch’s post …… what we “turn into” will be more “on your hands” by virtue of not having voted for the better of the two viable candidates ……… but at least you’ll still have your principles. Or do you disagree with his logic? Or are you just taking your ball and going home? Rush (musicians not radio host) wrote in the tune Free Will “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice”. I assume you will be casting a ballot for someone?

  18. Well, Mitch, you post “some amazingly silly things as if they were fact when the are hoaxes.”
    “…the HOAX story Mitch quoted as if it were legit… …like the Onion, without the humor, well, the intentional humor.”

    Now, Mitch, will you come clean and admit your online blog persona is alot different than how you act around your friends?

  19. “I’m still trying to figure out, to decide, if the right – particularly the Shot in the Dark audience – is simply seriously unsophisticated, or if they really WANT to be lied to so badly, they persuade themselve to overlook big wildly flying red flags in order to justify their unjustifiable positions.” – DeeGee

    But wait, there’s more for you from “your friend” at the Cowardly PeniBlog:
    “Military Intelligence
    An open letter to a person I know….”

    “As far as Mr. Berg,…
    …he once allowed my fidelity with my fellow soldiers to be insulted beyond any tolerance. I am neither surprised by his ignorance of military decorum nor am I surporised by his lack of regard for respecting the President. He would advocate for convvicting a ham sandwich if it suited a political purpose. Nuff said – other than it is a shame that honor means so little to certain people.”
    – Peevee the Coward

    “put another nail in the coffin of the idea of Isreal” – penigma | 01.13.09 – 9:01 am |

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