Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rick Perry is fed up. Pardon me: Fed Up Exclamation Point. (I read Rick Perry’s book so you don’t have to)

Yes, I’m reading Rick Perry’s Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington (2010). It is his second book, following the smash success of On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.

I’ll do this in multiple posts as I read the book. This post covers the preface and chapter 1. Er, I may not be able to read all of it before family obligations and/or nausea intervene.

To start with the title: Do you trust any politician who uses an exclamation point in the title of their book? Me neither. “Fed Up” (Fed in red, Up! in blue) might be kind of a pun, although I’m not sure Rick Perry is that subtle. “Our” fight assumes that he’s writing not a persuasive book, but one aimed at people who already agree with him. The notion of saving America from Washington entails the belief that “Washington” is some alien usurper, and that “America” is in no way responsible for creating the perceived ills associated with “Washington.”

Anyone mind if I skip the foreword by Newt Gingrich? Good.

“It wasn’t so long ago that we were expected to pay our bills, we were able to pray at the town meeting, and we believed it was important to rely on ourselves or our families rather than government.”

He is definitely not writing this book because he seeks higher office. Put that right out of your head.

First sentence of ch. 1: “Something is terribly wrong.”

Here’s that first person plural again: “We sense that our way of life and, perhaps more importantly, our ability to decide how we shall live, is no longer in our control but in the control of an increasingly powerful and oppressive national government – a government run by people who simply do not share our values or our beliefs and blatantly ignore its limits.”

He’s talked to lots of people “and I can tell you one thing from certain: the American people are fed up.”

Evidently the government tells us how much salt we can put on our food.

And of course “what kind of guns we can own, what kind of prayers we are allowed to say and where we can say them, what political speech we are allowed to use to elect candidates” etc.

He uses the word chutzpah, which is I believe a Texan expression. Evidently the federal gov has the chutzpah to haul baseball players before congressional committees. Also something about Stephen Colbert.

Oh, several pages of things “we” are “fed up” with.

In fact, we are fed up with being told not to say that America is great, like some sort of cowboy, and what’s so bad about being a cowboy?

Americans are “a diverse people – incapable of being governed from a faraway capital by people who do not share our values.” So we’re diverse, except our values are the same, and they’re not the same as those of anyone in Washington. Gotcha.

In fact, values are geographically distributed, so the federal government should stick to national security “while we live in states with like-minded people who share our values and beliefs. Crucial to understanding federalism in modern-day America is the concept of mobility, or ‘the ability to vote with your feet.’ If you don’t support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don’t come to Texas. If you don’t like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t move to California.” Texas, love it or leave it. So I guess he supports diversity, but not within states. What’s the term for values-based ethnic cleansing?

The “assault” on the Constitution and federalism comes from 1) “those who believe in the primacy of the government over the individual, referred to as liberals...” – yes, I’m sure that’s exactly how John Stuart Mill defined the term. “ Progressives, or statists.” Evidently these people don’t believe in the things that made the US the greatest nation blah blah.

And 2) the statists’ enablers, old-guard Republicans.

In his list of things Republicans believe is “protecting innocent life.” Isn’t it interesting that every one of you reading that knows he means fetuses, and only fetuses?

(Click on the Rick Perry label at the bottom of this post for part 2 and beyond.)

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