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Political Incivility


(AUTHORS NOTE: I originally began writing this post a few days ago, but given the news of the past day, it seemed a good idea to get back to it.)

I know I’m not the only one who has noticed the rather violent rhetoric coming from the liberal/progressive side of the American political spectrum over the last 18 months or so. Anyone paying even a modicum of attention cannot have failed but to notice it. The two video clips at the opening of this post are examples of leaders of that movement making very public statements that not only support the idea of engaging with people politically opposed to you in a violent manner but actively encouraging it. There are no “dog whistles” in these statements.

Hillary Clinton: “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about… We have to get, maybe not cross the line, but get meaner, get tougher.”

Maxine Waters: “If you see anyone from that cabinet, that administration, in a restaurant, in a department store, in a gasoline station – you get out, and you create a crowd. You push back on them and you tell them: YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!”

This type of incendiary rhetoric from the American left is nothing new, of course. It has its beginnings in the protest movements of the 1960’s, which in many respects were hijacked by radical elements looking not to reform American society but outright overthrow it. Most of you reading this are familiar with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals,” the openly subversive book that recommends confrontation with and hostile takeover of American institutions. Professor Alinsky advocated taking what began as an idealistic youth movement looking to proactively redress the egregious, systemic racism of our first 150 years and warp it into a campaign against all societal norms.

In the time between Richard Nixon’s near impeachment in 1974 and George W. Bush’s electoral victory in 2000, we enjoyed a respite from the violent catachism of the Left. Certainly, they were still out there and they still employed the rhetoric, but they were pushed to the fringes. After the abject failure of McGovern, the dismal Carter years, and the national rejection of progressivism that culminated with the Reagan administration, mainstream liberals largely rejected the type of political violence that attended their movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The bombings and assassinations stopped.

But those subversive elements never truly went away, they had just gone to ground. Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” that ended the 20th century gave way to a full-throated progressive in Al Gore, whose narrow defeat seemed to awaken what was once thought a comatose movement. In 2004, the Democrats shifted even further left, nominating the very progressive (and some would say traitor) John Kerry as their standard bearer. His drubbing at the hands of the same George Bush who had vanquished Gore four years earlier unleashed the type of liberal passions that we are now living with. It was the driving force behind the eight years of Alinskyite leadership under Barack Obama.

Understandably, progressives were shocked to discover the mandate to fundamentally transform American society they imagined had been secured a decade earlier wasn’t much of a mandate. After decades of planning their relatively bloodless coup, they awoke on a frosty November morn in 2016 to discover their vision of America had been soundly rejected – again. And as when faced with similar rejection two generations earlier, they broke out the late 1960’s playbook almost immediately.

So, for nearly two years now, American sensibilities have been subject to a daily, at times hourly, onslaught of political violence. Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Waters’ statements aside, we’ve witnessed a progressive attempt to assassinate the Republican Congressional leadership at a softball practice. The Secretary of Defense and Chief of Naval Operations have been mailed ricin. A GOP congressional candidate in California was knifed, another in Wyoming had his campaign office firebombed. Jay Webber, a Republican running for Congress in NJ, has a police detail protecting his 7 children after a series of death threats against them. A teenager wearing a “MAGA” hat was assaulted for the crime of eating a sandwich. By one count, there have been over 550 acts of political violence – not just violent speech, but actual acts of violence – committed by progressives since the election of Donald Trump. By comparison, refusing to serve the Press Secretary or stealing the Senate Majority leader’s doggie bag seems almost trivial.

My point is this. From the days of Lenin and Trotsky, assassinations, arson, and other assorted mayhem have been the hallmark of progressive political argument. it is not a fallback position, so much as a default one. Historically, when progressives, whether they called themselves socialists, communists or fascists talk about fundamentally transforming a society, they speak of themselves as revolutionaries.

There have been very few succesful revolutions that didn’t involve an assumption of violence.

The progressive predeliction for violence is well established. The aim of such political violence is to destabilize normal society, to inspire fear – and ultimately, to provoke normal society into adopting the same tactics. The reason is simple. Once normal society includes daily, hourly political violent carnage, there is no more normal society. At that point, the fundamental transformation can occur without any resistance.

Normal society defeats progressivism by refusing to engage in the cycle of political violence. Normal society wins by continuing to engage in the normal political process: by engaging with ideas, not bombs; words, not knives; votes, not guns. Don’t take this to mean you should leave yourself defenseless or refuse to be vigilant. After all, a dead patriot is only good for worm food. Defend yourself if need be. But let it end there.

Last weekend, we saw a mob attack one of progressivism’s paragons, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. I do not agree with a single position that Mrs. Pelosi espouses. However, chasing her through a hotel and refusing to let her speak is every bit as reprehensible as when progressives do the same to a conservative speaker. I found the actions understandable, but appalling nonetheless. We cannot defend all that we hold important by throwing our values out and engaging the left on their terms. Our goal should be to force them to engage on ours, if for no other reason than their tired ideas have time and again proven bereft of value.

I intentionally have not mentioned today’s (well, yesterday’s, by the time this gets published) spate of attempted bombings until now. I have a good reason for that. As I write this, the motivation behind them remains murky. Nobody has claimed responsibility. No associated manifesto has been published. This leaves several possibilities: a foreign actor, seeking to upset the political applecart. A very poorly executed attack by a right-wing extremist. Or a “false flag” operation by left-wing extemists looking to change the narractive prior to this year’s elections. I’m hoping it is determined to be option 1 or 3. If it is option 2, then this post may already be too late for all of us.

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It’s Good To Be Back


I haven’t meant to be away for so long. For those of you who don’t follow me on social media (and while we’re on that topic, why aren’t you?), I experienced yet another flare of my Crohn’s Disease a couple of weeks ago. Or, as the doctors call it, an exacerbation. Whatever you call it, I call it a humdinger of an attack. My ileum (that’s the part of your intestines that connects the large and small intestine together) blew up like a hot air balloon. I wound up totally obstructed, which is a pleasant way to describe a very unpleasant form of constipation. A week at the VA hospital in Philly, and another week of more-or-less R&R at home, has me feeling much more like myself these days. I’m not totally out of the woods just yet and ileostomy remains a very real possibility if this recurs in the next 60 days, so even if you aren’t the praying type – prayers are appreciated!

Now, one of the things that happens when you’re lying in a hospital bed is you get a LOT of time to think. Boy, have I been doing quite a bit of thinking. I have notes and ideas scattered all over my desk. The topics foremost on my mind: the looming midterm elections, the immigrant “caravan,” and the impending baseball offseason. And no, the World Series is not high on my list of worries this year. The only team I hate more than the Dodgers are the Red Sox. This is the first year I find myself hoping nobody wins that thing.

So, beginning tomorrow, prepare to get deluged with posts. Lots and lots of posts.

Happy reading!


To Reduce Gun Violence, We Should…


I was recently asked for my opinion regarding the best way to reduce gun violence in the United States on Quora. I thought I would share my answer here, and see what all of you think.

First, thanks for the A2A. I’m not certain if you’re trolling, or truly interested in hearing the views of an avowed Second Amendment type on this subject, but I’ll treat this as if it’s the latter case.

The problem is not necessarily one of gun violence, per se. The problem is one of perception: the media wants us to think there is an epidemic of gun violence; a sense of murder and mayhem at the hands of deranged individuals toting machine guns through the street.

The reality is much, much different. I grew up in the 1970’s, the era of Fort Apache and Escape From New York. In 1980, when I was getting ready to make my way in the world, the typical American had a 1 in 338 chance of finding themselves involved in a crime with a gun. By 2014 (the most recent year for which FBI statistics are available), that number had dropped to 1 in 422. This is despite the fact that legal gun ownership is at an all-time high.

What is undeniable is that gun crimes in certain cities and states have moved in the opposite trend. For instance, the typical resident of Chicago in 1980 had a 1 in 210 chance of finding themselves at the wrong end of a gun. By 2014, that had increased to 1 in 100. Baltimore has seen a similar rise in gun violence, from 1 in 148 to 1 in 108. So, part of the perception is driven by the fact that while gun crime is down overall, the number of gun crimes in our major cities (which is also where our media is centered) are on the rise.

The other driving factor in the misperception of the degree of gun violence is argeting. While there have always been madmen with a rifle who went on murderous shooting sprees, those of our modern era have chosen spectacular targets that will drive national media coverage for days on end. Schools and churches are not only prominent in our society but emotional by their very nature.

Part of the divide in America over the use of weapons is that so many of those under 45 have almost no exposure to them, except what they see in the movies (which are generally ridiculous depictions) or on the news. Would it surprise you to learn that when I was in school, it was common for students to bring their rifles and pistols to school? Not only that, it was highly encouraged? Gun safety courses were a requirement in those days. This wasn’t all that long ago, either.

So how do we reduce gun violence, and just as importantly, cure the misperception that legal gun possession increases the likelihood of being assaulted with a weapon?

I think the first thing to do is increase exposure to guns so that people understand that a gun is a tool, no different than a hammer or a car. They are no scarier (and actually far less dangerous to you) than that hunk of aluminum and fiberglass in your driveway. I mentioned above that you have a 1 in 422 chance of being involved in a crime committed with a gun. What I failed to mention is that you have a .0045% chance of being murdered by someone with a gun. Conversely, you have a 3.6% of dying this year in a car crash. You are over 800 times more likely to die in your car than by being shot, yet people calling for cars to be banished are generally regarded as crackpots.

As far as actually reducing gun violence, the first thing to realize is that gun violence has steadily declined in all areas except those with strict gun control measures. This sounds counterintuitive to gun control proponents. How can easier access to firearms result in a reduction in gun crime? Yet the proof is in the results: while some states and cities have made it dramatically more difficult to legally possess a gun, those are also the ones that have the greatest spikes in gun crime. A while back, I had done a project that projected the gun violence rate in the nation, presuming the 50 most restrictive cities in the nation followed their country brethren. Based on the numbers alone, the incidence of gun violence would have dropped to 1 in 803!

Now, I’m not silly enough to think removing most restrictions on gun possession alone will suffice to reduce gun violence, especially in our cities. There is a greater propensity for crime in those locations, due to higher rates of impoverishment, population density, and social disorder. Those societal ills peculiar to city life need to be tackled by the cities themselves.

I’m also enough of a student of human nature to realize that you can never get crime rates in general, or gun crime in particular, to zero. It’s a problem that has vexed humanity since our beginning.

 

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.


We Have a Serious Problem


When I saw this tweet the other night, it got the ol’ gears a-turnin’, as my grandfather would say. John Podhoretz was making a point about one particularly one decidedly unserious lawyer promoting a seriously insincere story based on an even more insincere allegation. It’s the kind of nonsense that never would have seen the light of day, other than on some anonymously written blog, not that long ago.

But I contend the problem runs much deeper than a one ambulance chaser engaged in some shameless self promotion. No, the problem is we have a whole bunch of unserious people filling serious positions.

For instance, the entire “Russia collusion” narrative was driven by the campaign staff of a presidential candidate, who contacted a Washington legal firm, who contracted a former spy to write up a salacious “dossier.” And there the story might have ended, except a US senator then was passed this dossier, who took the absurd revelations in the dossier and gave it to the career prosecutors at the Justice Department. Those prosecutors then gave the dossier to the career investigators at the FBI, who used it to gain a “secret warrant” to spy on the other presidential campaign (and after the election, the President of the United States – elect).

So, people in serious positions who got snookered by this bit of legerdemain:

  • Hillary Clinton, Presidential candidate; former Secretary of State, US Senator and First Lady
  • James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence; former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Loretta Lynch, US Attorney General
  • James Comey, FBI Director
  • Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI
  • Peter Strzok, Asst. Director of the FBI for Counter-Intelligence
  • Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General; former US Attorney for Maryland
  • Lisa Page, Federal prosecutor, assigned by the FBI to assist Special Counsel Robert Mueller
  • Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS co-founder; former investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal and Roll Call
  • Marc Elias, lead elections attorney for Perkins Cole; formerly the lead counsel for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign
  • Rosemary Collyer, current FISA court presiding judge
  • Michael Mosman, FISA court judge who approved the first Carter Page warrant

That’s a dozen very well paid people in positions that at one time were considered some of the most important and prestigious in government, the legal profession, the courts and the media. These were positions that once would have been filled with people who understood how serious those positions were to maintaining the apparatus that is the US government, from both inside and out. Instead of people. Those serious positions would have been held by serious people.

Not any longer. It is the crux of the problem Americans see all around us. Is it any wonder we’ve lost our collective trust in these institutions? We have some very unserious people filling positions that are still vital to the nation. It isn’t confined to those dozen people listed above. It is a plague, infecting every level of government, of business, religious life, media and science. The institutions that I and millions of my fellow Americans were taught to admire and respect as youngsters, have spent the past two decades proving that they are filled with people who do not deserve that respect.

I hate tossing out problems without having solutions ready to propose, but I honestly can’t find any to this problem. I learned early on in my career that the best person for the job understood the nature of it, had the skills to perform it and was trustworthy. Obviously, the more senior the positions become, the skills required change, but the person filling the role should still have the first and third qualities. But as we’re witnessing, there aren’t a whole lot of those people around right now.


Quick Thoughts on Flake’s Flakiness


Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court has been reported out of the Judiciary Committee and sent to the full Senate, but of course there was a hitch. Given how everything has gone with this confirmation, how could there not be a hitch?

Senator Jeff Flake (R?-AZ) voted to advance the nomination, but only after some serious arm twisting from Democrats yielded an agreement from Flake that he wouldn’t vote affirmatively on the floor unless the FBI conducted a 7th background check.

There has been speculation that Flake modified his vote out of deference to his good friend, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speculated that Flake might be trying to heal the divide in the country, an effort that Graham doesn’t even think will work. Taking heads have alternately suggested that Flake simply doesn’t know who to believe, despite all the testimony we’ve had and all the evidence of the minority party’s duplicity.

I don’t think any of is what has led Flake to spectacularly demonstrate his infamous lack of conviction. Prior to this morning’s session, there was an incident in which protesters cornered Flake on an elevator and spent 5 minutes yelling and berating him.

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So, as always, if you want Flake to vote your way – just threaten him. He remains the most cowardly man the Senate has seen in a long time.

We are almost finished our descent into mob rule, which is what the Democrat’s ultimate goal has always been. Keep your powder dry and weapons cleaned, my friends.


The Dems Tried to Make Brett Kavanaugh Their Handmaid. He Wasn’t Having Any Of It.


images (1)The bible of “third wave feminism” is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Written in 1986, it is a dystopian novel in which societal collapse stemming from climate change, pollution and low birth rates has brought about a technologically enforced über-puritanism. Women are now slaves, and anyone who dares cross the regime is summarily executed, often on trumped up charges.

As a fan of dystopian fiction, I first read the novel in the early 90s. Personally, I don’t think the novel is particularly good. I found the story to be disjointed and not particularly engrossing. It’s entirely possible the author was hoping to evince a negative emotional response to her narrative. It wouldn’t surprise me; evoking negative emotional responses (loathing, fear, anxiety) is a hallmark of the progressive movement. Certainly, the entire circus around Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation has been based on those emotions. The Democrats have whipped up the notion that Judge Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court will mean the end of civil rights. This, despite the fact that his record as a jurist is in opposition to that supposition.

But this wasn’t what made me think of that story when watching yesterday’s testimony. No, it was one particular scene in the book. A member of the elite is found to secretly be supporting the ideal of liberty and fairness. The regime drums up a false charge, a charge rooted in the puritanical mores of the dominant society (yep, sexual assault). There is a sham trial. At the climactic moment of the scene, the crowd is whipped into a frenzy and turned loose upon the poor guy. He is literally torn to pieces in their anger and blood lust.

How is that any different than what we watched yesterday?

Do I think Dr. Blasey-Ford is sympathetic? Yes. Do  I think she’s credible? No. Her testimony was only clear on one point: she honestly, absolutely believes that Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when both were in their teens. Despite that, she cannot even recall when that happened (not even a year, much less a month or a day). She does not know where it happened. She does not know how she got to where it happened (even though any of the possible locations are about a 20 minute drive from her childhood home) or how she got home afterwards. She does not know how long she was at the party where she alleges the attempted rape happened.

As if that weren’t enough, her testimony changed rapidly once being questioned by an admittedly compassionate and empathetic prosecutor. She didn’t run down the stairs; she walked calmly out of the house. She only told her husband, before she they were married. She only told her husband, but after they were married. She only told her husband while in couple’s therapy over how many doors she wanted on their McMansion. She only told Rep. Anna Eshoo. No, wait – she only told Anna Eshoo’s staff and a reporter from the Washington Post. No, she told, Eshoo, her therapist, Diane Feinstein, a reporter from the Washington Post, and a friend at lunch, another friend at another time that she can’t quite recall, some more friends on the beach. She’s afraid of flying. No, she isn’t afraid of flying; she flies for work and family events all the time. Ok, she’s afraid of flying, except when she’s flying for a vacation to French Polynesia.

Dr. Ford has more memory lapses than a blackout drunk, which leads me to believe that the neurotransmitters in her hippocampus are defective. Or maybe she is a blackout drunk. Either that, or she remembers everything possible in a traumatic experience, but the other people she names as being at the party – including her lifelong friend, Leland Keyser – are lying when they say it never happened.

So how do I explain why she honestly believes Judge Kavanaugh tried to rape her? I’m not a medical expert, but we know memory transference is a real thing. By her own testimony, she was something of a social outcast in high school and the group she most wanted to be a part of was the circle that included a youthful Brett Kavanaugh. Perhaps an assault did happen, but she’s substituted the people who scorned her into the roles of the truly guilty.

Regardless of her credibility, however, is the process by which this entire episode has been handled by the Democrats. Among the more shocking things that came out during yesterday’s testimony is this. When Judge Kavanaugh met with Senator Feinstein on August 20th, she was not only aware of the allegations against him, but was actively working with Blasey-Ford on her future testimony through legal counsel. The entire idea that she didn’t leak the “anonymous” letter and that this wasn’t a manufactured crisis was blown apart with that fact.

Who can blame Brett Kavanaugh for lashing out at the Democrats during his testimony? He knows he is innocent of these allegations – and the even more ridiculous and spurious allegations that have followed. His credibility attacked, his family denigrated, his honor and reputation sullied? How would you expect him to react? Especially when Democratic Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Chris Coons, Diane Feinstein, Richard Blumethal and Dick Durbin announced they wouldn’t vote for him, even before the confirmation hearings began. Booker went so far as to call Kavanaugh “evil.” Think about that, for a moment.

Given all that, Kavanaugh’s confrontational manner wasn’t only justified, it was muted. I would  not have blamed him had he gone on a Lindsey Graham-esque tirade.

Democrats are reacting as they always do, given the circumstances, with outbursts of rage and indignation. They don’t like it, and like an emotionally overwrought child, they are throwing temper tantrums. They were certain that weaponizing criminal allegations against an upstanding citizen whose political views are at odds with theirs would result in the mob turning against him. Well, indications are their mob is ready to do to Judge Kavanaugh what happened to the poor guy in Atwood’s book: literally tear him limb from limb.

They attempted to turn Brett Kavanaugh into their Handmaid. He refused. After years of treating Republicans as their Handmaids, the GOP has finally risen up and declared, “Enough!”

The saddest, and most ironic, thing about this entire episode is that by weaponizing the #MeToo movement, Democrats have neutered it. By supposedly advocating for the rights of abuse victims, they have done the opposite. By lending credibility to incredible allegations, they have cast the pall of suspicion over all allegations of sexual victimization. By calling Dr. Ford’s allegations “credible,” despite an independent prosecutor saying there wasn’t enough evidence to even file charges, they have sullied not only the reputation of Judge Kavanaugh but those of every woman who’s been assaulted.

By playing politics with people’s lives, Democrats have shown themselves to be the cold, heartless would-be rulers who would turn all of us into their handmaids.

The Senate should confirm Brett Kavanaugh. We should reward them by voting for every Republican on the ballot come November 6th. We should tell the Democrats, with the same vigor and fire as Kavanaugh and Graham, that we will no longer be your handmaids.

 


In Remembrance


September 11, 2001.

There are only a few dates in a person’s life that can be recalled in perfect clarity. Dates where your memories are supercharged by the emotions felt that day, dates that haunt your dreams and whose events can be replayed like an old video.

My wedding day is one such day for me. The other is not nearly so happy: September 11, 2001.

It was my first day off from work in nearly two months, and I rewarded myself by sleeping in that morning. I was sitting at my kitchen table, a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper (yes, back then, a newspaper was not unusual) in front of me when my wife hollered from the living room. “A plane just hit the World Trade Center!” she yelled. “It’s on the TV. Come and see!”

I’m ashamed to admit that my first reaction was that it was a bad accident, but one I had been expecting for years. After all, those two skyscrapers jutted out, almost into the air lanes at the very southern tip of Manhattan. That no pilot had accidentally run into them before I considered a miracle.

I went into the living room, coffee in hand. My wife had the Today show on. They were showing the smoke pouring from the building via a helicopter shot and Matt Lauer was babbling about the WWII bomber that ran into the Empire State Building. I remember thinking that as much as I had dreaded a pilot losing his way and flying into one of those towers, I couldn’t wrap my head around how one had done so on that morning. The weather seemed so perfect, the skies so clear, that it seemed impossible that a pilot couldn’t have seen where the hell he was flying.

Fast forward a bit, and the first reports came in that air traffic controllers had lost contact with the plane before the crash. “Maybe the pilot had a stroke,” I remarked to my wife. It was 9:01 am. I remember the time because I had glanced at the wall clock as I turned to go back into the kitchen. I was hungry and about to root around for some food.

2 minutes later, my wife was screaming, “Another plane just crashed into the South Tower!” It was the moment our world changed. Because at that moment, I knew this wasn’t an accident. It was a planned, coordinated attack on the very heart of our economic might, on symbols of our national strength. Someone had just declared war on the United States.

Do you remember how you felt at the moment you first realized that? I do. I was pissed off. And confused, because like most Americans I had no idea who it might be. I had never heard of Al Queada, and never in a million years would I have guessed a bunch of cave dwelling goat herders could be sophisticated enough to use our own aircraft to attack us.

After that, of course, came the mad scramble. I called my store, told my employees to lock up and head home for the day. Called my DM to tell him what I did and why (like a lot of people, he was already at work and had no idea what was going on yet). And then the phone lines were jammed – nobody could a call through, which just added to my wife’s anxiety. I wasn’t certain if it was another attack or just everyone in the country trying to call one another, but I wasn’t taking chances. We raced to the school to grab our kids, just in case this was a precursor to a larger attack.

Of course, there were two more attacks that morning: flight 77 rammed into the Pentagon, and the heroes of flight 93 averted a major disaster by taking back their plane and crashing it before it reached Washington.

At 9:59, the South Tower collapsed – and like everyone else, I was shocked. One plane brought down a 1000 foot skyscraper? A few minutes later, the North Tower followed it’s sister to its death.

I was numb. I was angry. I was afraid.

And I wanted whoever had done this to be beaten to a bloody pulp, heads ripped from their necks, a pike driven so far up their asses that when it rained they could get a colonic.

When a date is so traumatic, so vivid, that it can be shared by a generation, it is a milestone event, a moment in history that can galvanize and define nations. Such is September 11.

God bless those who lost their lives that day and the men and women who toiled for weeks after to search for survivors and perished as a result.

May God bless the United States.

#NeverForget


The Insanity of the Butthurt


Last night I came across this tweet from Tom Nichols:

To be fair to Tom, he’s been one of my favorite writers for some time now and I don’t mean to pick on him, per se. But it was this tweet that got me thinking about the group of Never Trumper’s and what I suspect is more than a severe case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

I understand their central complaint: Trump is an uncouth lout who prefers trolling the left to decorum, and even dares to use louder dog whistles than their preferred candidates. I suspect it runs a bit deeper than that, though. The President paints with a broad brush, mostly because a lifetime spent in marketing and promotion has taught him that people react most viscerally to generalizations, not specifics. So when the President decries the corruption that runs rampant within the intel community and Department of Justice, he doesn’t focus on specific people until after he’s carpet bombed the departments. This often leaves the surviving members of that department fearing that their particular institution will be irreparably damaged. Most of the prominent Never Trumper’s have significant attachment to those institutions, could have prevented said carpet bombing by rooting out the corruption before Mr. Trump took office, and instead are complicit in its existence. They may be upstanding people of principle, but they will forever be tainted by giving the wrong people the benefit of the doubt.

The other issue I see consistently raised is that Trump has a unique negotiating style. You could call it, “take it or leave it, but if you leave it, I’ll do my best to nuke the road back.” It is confrontational, in-your-face, undiplomatic – and thus far, effective. After a generation of leaders who have gone the diplomatic route with middling results, this new tact may upset traditional allies and foes alike, but it has already resulted in a renegotiated NAFTA, the potential of a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, increased contributions from the other NATO countries and brought the Chinese and EU to the negotiating table.

On the domestic policy front, that same confrontational style has brought mixed results. The largest tax rewrite in a generation was prodded along by the President, but it comes with an increase in spending that would make most Democratic presidents blush. Full repeal of Obamacare remains a pipe dream, but the courts are largely being remade along constitutionalist lines because of the President’s unflinching resolve to nominate constitutionalists to the bench.

This is what puzzles me regarding the stance Nichols and his ilk are taking. Maybe they don’t understand how far to the left the Democrats are going. Most of us have suspected that “democratic socialism,” with all that entails, has been the aim of the Democratic party base for the past 50 years. If they acknowledge that we are engaged in a fight to prevent those who would push globalism at any cost, government control over every aspect of our lives and the attendant despair and poverty those changes would create from ever gaining power again, then how can they counsel voting for those same people? I’m not saying every Republican is a saint; far from it. But they are far better than the alternative.

I understand being frustrated with a President who, to put it mildly, usually acts like a spoiled 3 year old in a candy store. Many is the day I wish someone would take a hammer and do a Hillary to his phone. The pettiness and unnecessary feuds accomplish little. But at the same time, those same personality traits have laid bare the hypocrisy of the mainstream media for all to see, and forced Americans for the first time in 80 years to question just why their federal government has ballooned to the point that most of us have no idea just what it is doing. He is the first President in two generations to address immigration in terms the American people understand – and largely support.

The tension the Never Trumpers attribute to Donald Trump has existed in the country for far longer than they want to admit. Trump is only the manifestation of those anxieties. If you like, you can call him the right’s ying to the left’s yang of President Obama. Now, would I have preferred another man to fill the ying? Sure. But here’s the thing: only one of the other 16 people who ran for President in 2016 acknowledged that the fundamental divide between left and right is cultural, not strictly policy driven. To this day, the Never Trump faction still doesn’t seem to grasp this fact.

Perhaps one day, a third party will rise up to address not only the cultural differences but also the need for smaller, limited and fiscally responsible governance (my hope is the modern Federalists fill the bill). But until then, I will continue to vote for the Republicans. The reason is simple: as bad as most of them are, they’re still better than the party that wants to destroy both the nation and the fabric that holds us together.

Tom Nichols and his friends need to wake up to that fact, too, before history records them in the same paragraph as Benedict Arnold.


On Moral Character


You could be excused for thinking it’s 2016 again.

After all, we’re litigating the President’s character and moral compass again. That was the central theme of the 2016 general election. I argued against his selection as the Republican nominee on those very grounds, often and vociferously. And you know what? The problem with those arguments was always that the people he ran against are hardly paragons of moral certitude.

Thus it was during the general election. Those arguments that Hillary Clinton tried, casting aspersions on Donald Trump’s character, might have held water – except they were being made by Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t that anyone thought Trump is a man of virtue. His 40+ years in the public spotlight have proven to all but the most blinded that he is anything but virtuous. But if there is one politician alive who is even more corrupt and morally bereft than the Donald, it is the former First Lady.

So, Americans went to the polls, held their noses, and elected Mr. Trump to be the 45th President. Contrary to what professional punditry claims, it wasn’t personality that landed him in the White House. It was the difference in what each party, and candidate, proffered as policy prescriptions for the United States. They chose the more conservative of those two visions. They chose Trump.

As expected, the Democrats have continued to hammer away at character, because they really have no other tools with which to engage in political debate. While there are policies President Trump has pursued that are anathema to doctrinaire conservatives, and he’s been a little squishy on some others, for the most part he has stuck to the conservative script. The adoption of those policies has resulted in an economic boom unlike anything this nation has seen in a generation. Moreover, his judicial appointments (considerable in that they are mostly Constitutionalists and in number) promise to begin stemming the tide of judicial activists that have largely torn the social fabric of the nation.

So long as he continues to deliver a robust economy and solid appointments, Republicans will continue to support him, character be damned. After all, that issue was litigated and determined to be of little importance to the general public.

Now we’ve reached another inflection point. We can be reasonably certain that not only is the President a cad, his choice in women remains…juvenile. We know this because his fixer has all but admitted he directed payments to a pornographic actress and a nude model at then candidate Trump’s instruction.

Democrats and “Never Trump” Republicans have seized on this latest revelation as if it proves the President is a mass murderer. Even their attempts at at saying he violated campaign finance laws and therefore deserves immediate impeachment have proven more hyperbole than fact, as even the FEC admits Mr. Trump didn’t endanger our republic any more than candidates Obama, Clinton, McCain, Bush, Kerry, et al. So now, they’re back to pressing the character question, as if it were a question at all.

What all of this hew and cry fails to do is respect the judgement of the voting public. The typical American hears all about yet another President who can keep his pants on around the fairer sex and thinks, “How does this affect me?”. The answer, of course, is it doesn’t. We’ve suffered (if that’s the right word) through philandering presidents more often than we care to remember, and provided they delivered results all was forgiven.

Would I prefer the President were the virtuous sort? Of course I would. But I look at our current crop of politicians and quite frankly, the only one who matches that description is the current Vice President. So, I’ll stick with the current President, thank you very much.


Are You Confused About Democratic Socialism?


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Social democracy … was born of Marxism …[the] other camp called for a gradual transition to socialism — one country, one institution within a country, one system, like a healthcare or school system — one step — at a time. This was what came to be called social democracy.

~Umair Haque, writing for Eudaimonia

 

Many of our friends on the left mean well enough. Understandably, they don’t want children shot in schools. They don’t want to see their neighbors go hungry. They don’t want someone shot simply because their skin tone was wrong. What they don’t understand is that those of us on the right don’t want those things, either.

The difference is in the way we approach what we all agree the problems are. Folks on the right know human nature is what it is, that the only real solution to problems that are moral in nature is for each individual to acknowledge their shortcomings and strive to improve. Those on the left have latched onto a shortcut, a lazier way to attempt a solution, but advocating government step in to restrict any freedoms that might potentially be unsafe. Little do they realize that if they spent half the energy they do on convincing us of their piety on effecting the change in moral attitudes, we all could along much better.

But it is far easier to throw their money (and yours) at the government, in the hope that even if government cannot effect the proper change in attitudes it can at least effect a begrudging change in behavior. The problem is once the boot heel is removed, the natural state of things quickly returns – and government must then reinforce the preferred behavior, almost invariably by force.

I doubt a sweeping preponderance of liberals understand how allowing a pair of humankind’s natural proclivities – sympathy and sloth – to guide their lives is being used by hardcore Marxists to assume power. They refuse to see, or worse, have resigned themselves to what they see as a depressingly required way of survival.

Of course, the goal for the committed left is still for the world to live in a Marxist state of being. By their own admission, the Marxists have just simply changed tactics – from outright, bloody coups to a much more insidious revolution. Unfortunately, too many people allow their sympathies to be manipulated into compliance. They chant, “but the children!” or “racism!” or “income inequality!” or simply knowingly nod their heads at those who do. Then one day, they awaken to find they have no freedom left and no idea how it even went away; if freedom was ever more than an illusion of the past, much less an idea of the effort it takes to win it back. All because they have no idea of the effort required to even protect their freedoms from the rampaging mob.

We thought fighting for the ideals of Locke, Jefferson, Madison, Smith, et al., had ended with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Little did we pay attention to that other branch of Marxist ideology, the “democratic socialist.” Now we stand on the brink once again, but the threat is more insidious. As opposed to the in your face Marxism of the Soviet, this branch is playing a long game. It is not looking to use overt acts of violence to destabilize civilization. Rather, this one uses the very tools of civilization to usurp and overthrow individual freedom, relegating our God-given liberties to a burial ground, potentially for centuries to come.

So, it remains up to us, those of the committed right, the classical liberals, the conservatives – it is our mission to win this battle. Failure cannot be an option, for our failure will mean the abdication of the principles that have guided humanity from wretched feudalism to our current prosperity.