I have no faith in a coming conservative counter-culture among today’s youth because they’ve never been taught that such a thing is possible.
Long-time readers know that, for many years, I’ve been commenting about how sheeple-like the young people in my children’s generation are. I was a little girl in San Francisco in the 1960s, but I certainly remember the rebellious spirit that animated the youth of the 1960s and early 1970s. They were pushing back against the traditional values of their parents and teachers.
In leftist Marin, though, in the first decades of the 20th century, the young people were entirely in sync with the leftist values of their parents and teachers. That appears to be true in liberal enclaves across America. It’s also the case that young people in changing communities (traditional homes, leftist teachers’ unions), will hew to their teachers’ values. My generation sneered at the teachers. (I still do because, with few exceptions, I found my children’s teachers to be singular ill-informed and not very bright.)
I assumed that, eventually, conservativism would intrigue these young people because it was the opposite of the stifling conformity imposed on them in their communities and their homes. After all, the media, the entertainment world, and the history books constantly tell us that the youth movement in the 1960s was a rebellion against the stifling conformity of 1950s America.
There hasn’t been a counter-revolution, though. Today’s young people are more sheeple-like even than my now-grown kids were.
I’ve finally realized what’s going on. In the 1950s, there was cultural conformity that aligned behavior with traditional American values. However, one of the values that Americans still honored was to teach young people actual American history and civics.
Students learned about the Bill of Rights. Their teachers emphasized the tremendous virtue of the First Amendment’s freedoms: speech, religion, assembly, protest, and the press. In other words, what I thought was youth’s natural rebellion was, instead, the fact that American young people had been inculcated with their inherent rights.
What’s different nowadays is that schools do not teach those values anymore. There is no institution that teaches our children that they have these inherent freedoms. Instead, their schools don’t just limit themselves to teach kids what to think (as opposed to how to think, using reason, not emotion). Instead, they teach the kids that independent thinking is dangerous and that speech that deviates from leftist conformity must be stifled.
The way I see it, if you raise kids in a generally conformist society but let them know that they have the right not to conform, you might end up with a counter-culture revolution. However, if you raise kids in a conformist society and hide the fact that they have inherent liberty to think, write, speak, protest, and assemble in ways counter to that conformity, young people aren’t naturally rebellious. Instead, they’re herd animals without inspiration.
In other words, we conservatives will never be the cool kids and rebels because, for the past 20 years, America’s youth, haven’t been taught that they have an inherent right to rebel. Instead, they’ve been indoctrinated to believe that free thought and free speech are dangerous.
Incidentally, that mindset explains how Democrats can sell what happened on January 6 — a protest that got out of hand but that did nothing to touch our governing institutions, and was never intended to do so — was an illegal “insurrection” or “coup.” With the Bill of Rights a dead letter to multiple generations of students, they believe that anything that challenges leftist ideas is an “insurrection” and must be quashed.
In America, the term Right Wing is misused to imply that conservative Americans are fascists lusting for world domination; in fact, the opposite is true.
(As my regular readers (to whom I am endlessly grateful) know, I was away from my blog for some time caring for a relative who had surgery. Being away that long gave me time to think about “going a little crazy,” as Bob Ross likes to say when he adds another tree to a painting. In my case, “going a little crazy” meant wondering if I could do a video as well as a podcast.
In addition to the time spent researching how to do go about making a Power Point video (I’ve got to start somewhere), it took me six hours to create a 35 minute video and companion podcast. They both are a little glitchy, but not bad for a first effort. I will get better. But I will never forget my readers, so here is the same content in written form.)
The idea for this video came when I ended my trip with a much-needed massage. Because this is Tennessee, my masseur is a liberty-oriented man so, in the midst of a far-ranging conversation, he asked this question: “Why are conservatives called “fascists,” when fascism is a socialist doctrine?” An excellent question, and one I wanted to answer here.
The reality is that, even though the media loves to talk about “right wingers” (although never left wingers), there is no “left wing” versus “right wing” in America, at least as those terms are understood in the rest of the world. Instead, we only have liberty versus tyranny, along with the supporters of both those ideologies.
Ironically enough, although the French Revolution post-dated the end of the American revolution by six years, the terms “right wing” and “left wing” are leftovers from that overseas kerfuffle. Let me explain.
The French Revolution had as its slogan “Liberté, égalité, fraternité.” Liberty, equality, fraternity! In the context of the French Revolution, those words were always lies.
At the start of the Revolution, France had an absolute monarchy that sat on top of a large, equally absolutist aristocracy. It was not a sustainable system, and the revolutionaries intended to topple it. However, unlike the American revolutionaries who envisioned limited government coupled with individual liberty, that’s not what the French wanted. Instead, the revolutionaries imagined an absolutist commune, with the monarchy and aristocracy replaced by an equally controlling cabal of “the people.”
But what, you may ask, does this have to do with “left wing” and “right wing”? Simple. In the French Parlement during the lead-up to the Revolution, the representatives who sought to retain an absolutist government led by the monarchy and the aristocracy sat to the Speaker’s right. The representatives who sought to replace the existing government with an absolutist government led by “representatives of the people” sat to the Speaker’s left.
And that’s where the terms still used today in American and around the world came from: Those on the right seek to “conserve” the old ways; those on the left seek to upend them. Except, as I’ll develop at greater length, America has not traditionally had any cognates to this European left/right divide.
And now we get to my favorite chart, one that, for convenience’s sake, uses a left/right continuum to show how there are two sides to the political spectrum:
On the left (although it could just as easily be portrayed on the right side of the line) is absolutist, totalitarian government, something with which we are all familiar. It exists under many names – monarchy, socialism, communism, democratic socialism, fascism, theocracy, etc. – but it always plays out the same: maximum government control; minimum individual liberty.
Meanwhile, on the right side of the continuum (although I could have easily placed “liberty blue” on the left), is the political system that has limited government and maximum individual liberty. At its extreme, it’s anarchy. Otherwise, it’s . . . well, it’s really only the American experiment. Everywhere else in the world, government control is the standard.
So what is the American experiment? It was build on Britain’s Magna Carta and its 1689 Bill of Rights. That last document was a statement of limitations on monarchical. William of Orange and Queen Mary II had agreed to this Bill of Rights in order to to attain the British throne in the wake of 1688’s “Glorious Revolution.” (It was glorious because King James II fled, rather than going to war.)
If you look at the British Bill of Rights, you’ll see many echoes in our own Bill of Rights. However, the British Bill of Rights limits only the monarchy. Parliament was not limited, which is why it felt free to impose all sorts of restrictions on British citizens in the American colonies.
When the Founding Fathers decided to draft a Bill of Rights, they did it correctly. Instead, of stating the items as a negative charter (as Obama wrongly put it), one that simply tells government what it can’t do, the Founders stated our Bill of Rights as a set of rights inherent and inviolable in every individual. No government – no monarchy, no legislature, no judiciary, no official whatever – should be able to impede those rights without a high showing of necessity.
Hold that thought in mind as we look at the three most common forms of government outside of America in the years since WWI.
First, we have socialism, which exists not only as a free-standing form of government (National Socialists), but also as an umbrella term for the evil twins of communism and fascism. Under communism, there is no private ownership. Everything – and everybody – belongs to the government. Examples, all of them tyrannical, are the Soviet Union, China (despite its faux market economy), North Korea, and Cuba.
Back in the 1930s, fascism put a softer face on communism, because it did not nationalize all private property, instead limiting itself to nationalizing a few major industries, especially fuel and transportation. However, there is no freedom in a fascist country. Mussolini provided the ultimate definition of fascism: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” (I also include today’s oligarchies in the list of fascist states, since they function much the same way.) In the World War II era, fascist states sought world domination and, in Germany’s case, included genocide and slavery in the service of an imaginary “master race.”
Today’s Europe is still fascist, although that would no doubt horrify Europeans were you to tell them that. Under both EU rule and the governments of the individual European states, there is private ownership, but major industries, especially transportation, are still nationalized. Moreover, the EU and the individual governments tightly control every aspect of people’s lives.
(When it comes to nationalized services, I have a real bee in my bonnet about these “soft” socialized states’ so-called “cradle to grave” care, something my parents’ European-based friends and family boasted about non-stop. These benefits had nothing to do with socialism. They were available in Europe because American taxpayers funded European defense costs during the Cold War. It wasn’t socialized medicine; it was American medicine. Now that the Cold War has ended and the money isn’t flowing as much, European socialized medicine is cratering.)
The difference between today’s European fascism and Hitler’s is that (a) it’s not called fascism today and (b) it’s not yet engaged in world domination and anti-Semitic genocide. However, given the speed with which Muslims are populating Europe, all in thrall to an Islamic doctrine that calls for world domination and anti-Semitic genocide, I think it won’t be long before Europe starts to repeat the 1930s.
The third type of government in the world today shows up in monarchies or theocracies, both of which thrive, and are often intertwined in the Middle East. Whether it’s Mullahs in Iran or Kings in Saudi Arabia, these are totalitarian governments that use religious doctrine to control every aspect of their citizens’ lives. (In Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammed bin Salman is slowly trying to change this but, since he holds the tiger by the tail, it’s a very delicate and dangerous process.)
And then there’s America, which has a totally different system, one that, in its purest form, does everything it can both to limit government power and mob rule. There’s nothing else like it in the world.
The American political system as the Founders envisioned it has a limited federal government composed of three parts – executive, legislative, and judicial – each with unique spheres of power, each with some control over the other branches, and each jealous of its own power as a bulwark against any branch becoming too strong.
The Executive branch eschews pure democracy in favor of an Electoral College, forcing presidential candidates to campaign in every state (as Hillary learned to her cost). Without this, all presidents would be elected out of population centers. If the Democrats were able to do away with the Electoral College, something they’re trying to do through the grossly unconstitutional National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, all future American presidents would be elected by California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Washington.
Under the Legislative branch, we have two organs. The Senate was originally meant to have its members appointed by each state’s governors, ensuring (a) that the Senators would be responsive to their states and (b) that no senator would be enslaved to the passions of the mob. The 17th amendment changed that in 1912, probably not for the better.
The House controls the power of the purse and, before the 17th Amendment, was the only branch of government with direct democracy. House members must go back to the voters every two years to make their case. This is why impeachment begins in the House and why the current refusal to have a formal impeachment – which would force House members to make their positions known to their voters — is a direct betrayal of the voters.
Finally, the Judicial branch is the least democratic part of our government, for its members get selected by the President, get approved by the Senate, and then sit for life. In theory, it is impartial and rules only on whether matters are constitutional or unconstitutional, a power Chief Justice Marshall arrogated to the Court in the early 19th century.
In recent years, the federal judicial has boldly grabbed for itself both legislative power and executive power. The legislative power appears in its finding emanations of penumbras to justify federally sanctioned abortion, something never contemplated in the Constitution, and writing whole romance novels to allow gay marriage, another concept far afield from the Constitution. Both these issues belong in the states until such time as the Constitution is formally amended. As for executive power, every time some podunk judge in a Leftist district blocks a facially valid executive order from President Trump based upon the judge’s interpretation about the purity of Trump’s mind and soul . . . that’s an improper exercise of executive power.
Lastly, as I said before, our Founders gave us a Bill of Rights holding that certain rights are vested in the people and that the government cannot infringe them. This is extraordinary and differs from all other constitutions in the world, each of which is an endless book of bureaucratic does and don’ts.
So what kind of cool stuff flows from a limited government and a Bill of Rights? For starters, we have free market capitalism, which has been doing wonders since President Trump reformed taxes to leave more money with citizens and cut back on onerous regulations.
Strikingly, our Democrat Party presidential candidates have no room in their platforms for the free market. Bernie is a stone-cold communist. As an aside, given that he’s been alive for the greater part of the 20th century and all of the 21st (to date), he must know about the tens of millions dead and enslaved under communism (a knowledge sadly denied to uneducated millennials). That he still supports communism despite this knowledge means either that he’s the most stupid man ever to walk the earth or an evil tyrant wannabe. Neither reflects well on him or the voters who support him.
Warren also should know better, but I can attest to the fact that she’s stupid. Maybe evil too, but definitely stupid.
The most recent example of the disrespect the Left has for the free market comes from Kamala Harris, another candidate who is dumb as a rock, only dumber. Her candidacy is in free fall, so she’s promising to seize private property to prop it up. (Incidentally, I don’t think the government should fund private companies, but it’s important to note that, government aid notwithstanding, these are still companies with shareholders, employees, and profits.
Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris on if drug companies do not comply with her mandatory set drug prices: “I will snatch their patent so that we will take over”
Audience asks: “can we do that?”
“Yes, we can do that! Yes, we can do that! … I have the will to do it” pic.twitter.com/gpU8nnGt6h
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 23, 2019
Another benefit we have is social mobility of a type that never existed anywhere else in the world before America. I created a little photo montage, just off the top of my head, of people who have attained success in a way that would not have been possible without America:
In America, the fact that your grandparents were rich doesn’t mean you will be, and the fact that they were poor doesn’t mean that is your fate either. We make our own fate in America.
One of my favorite rights – and one that I came to late in life – is the Second Amendment right to bear arms. I think this picture says it all:
In Nazi Germany, the government seized arms as a prelude to seizing people. A government should always stand in awe of its people’s right to defend itself against tyranny.
People should also be able to defend themselves against evil-doers in their own community. Mexico, a rapidly failing state, with appalling gun violence and skyrocketing murders, has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world.
Of course, the Democrat Party desperately wants your guns. Beto, before dropping out, was open about this – and please note the audience roar of delight:
And then there’s the right to free speech. In England, the cradle of free speech, it’s already gone:
Free speech isn’t doing so well in Leftist America either. In New York, you can be find $250,000 for “misgendering” someone. And in California, when it comes to long-term care facilities, it’s the law that you can be fined for “misgendering” residents there too.
So, going back to my chart and the left/right divide, here’s what you need to know about the rest of the world: it’s not tyranny versus liberty; it’s two different types of tyrants fighting each other for total control over citizens. In America, we have half of that equation. The American left wants total control over American citizens:
“We’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money, but you know, part of the American way is, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product.” – Barack Obama (net worth $40,000,000).
“You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads that the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” — Elizabeth Warren (net worth $18,000,000).
“I will snatch their patent so that we will take over.” – Kamala Harris (net worth $4,000,000).
“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.” Beto O’Rourke (net worth $10,000,000-$15,000,000).
On the opposite side of the political aisle in America, however, things are different. Conservatives don’t crave power. They crave a smaller government that leaves citizens alone to pursue their own lives, and that concerns itself solely with such core issues as national security, a stable legal system, functional transportation across the country, and managing (God forbid) major health crises.
“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – Gerald Ford
“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” – Ronald Reagan
With the above in mind – American conservatives are the sole political movement in the world dedicated to individual liberty – why are American conservatives called “right wing” or “fascist,” terms that are tied to totalitarian control, while American leftists are called “liberal,” implying a dedication to individual liberty? It’s time for a little history lesson to answer that question.
Back in the 1930s, Hitler and Stalin both presided over socialist governments. The former was fascist (private ownership but government control), while the latter was communist (no private ownership of the means of production). They were hideous, evil fraternal twins of socialism.
As is often the case with sibling rivalry, the two countries (and their leaders) hated each other. Nevertheless, in August 1939, a week before Hitler invaded Poland, sparking WWII, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia entered in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Under that pact, they swore to be neutral vis-à-vis each other in times of war.
When Hitler invaded Poland, Soviet Russia did nothing. Taking their cue from Russia, in America, communists also took a very lukewarm stance against Hitler.
The Pact ended abruptly on June 22, 1941, when Hitler initiated Operation Barbarossa by invading the Soviet Union. When America entered the War, it found itself allied with Russia against the Nazis. On the American home front, communists instantly became staunch and fervent anti-Nazis.
However, when the war ended, with the Allies victorious, and socialist/fascist Germany in ruins, American communists had a problem: Fascist socialism stood exposed as one of the most evil ideologies of all time. How were they to protect communist socialism, which was also one of the most evil ideologies of all time?
The answer was to create a false syllogism that took hold in academia and media, and that now controls American thought:
Communists and Fascists were enemies.
Communists helped win World War II, with the war’s end providing unquestioned proof that Fascists were completely evil.
Communists and American Republicans are enemies.
Republicans are therefore akin to Fascists and, like fascists, must be completely evil.
And what’s the moral of this story?
Next time someone accuses you, or any other conservative, of being “fascist” or “right wing,” object vigorously. You are a person committed to individual liberty as opposed to being a slave to an all-powerful government (no matter how woke, intersectional, and politically correct that government claims to be).
With Rep. Clyburn admitting that the proggies would prefer to govern without a Constitution, it’s time to take a look at their constitutional goals.
By Wolf Howling
Let’s face it. Progressives have gone a long way to making our Constitution a dead letter already. But as Rep. Clyburn makes clear in the video below, they are not yet wholly satisfied with the result. Work remains to be done.
What progressives want is nothing more than permanent power. That would be impossible to accomplish were they starting from scratch, but clearly they aren’t. A lot of the most important groundwork has already been laid over the past century. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the state of our Constitution today, how it has already been altered, and how it would look once the proggies are done rewriting it.
Art 1 Sec. 1: Out — All legislative power is vested in Congress.In — Government by regulatory bureaucracy and Executive fiat (Presidential pen and phone).
This is one we don’t have to imagine. Progressives won this fight nearly a century ago with FDR’s court packing scheme, but it was not until Obama that we were treated to Congress becoming a secondary, and comparatively unimportant, source of legislation. And that is how progressives want to keep it. It’s much easier to make “fundamental changes” to society when bureaucrats write the laws without being subject to any of the checks and balances written into the Constitutional scheme.
As Justice Kagan stated recently in Gundy v. U.S., if Art 1, Sec. 1 of the Constitution actually means what it says, that “all legislative power” resides in Congress and cannot be substantively delegated, “then most of Government is unconstitutional.” She says it like its a bad thing. Of course, this is the same Supreme Court Justice who accused plaintiffs of “weaponizing the First Amendment” by relying on it to challenge forced union dues. This is a woman who should not be allowed to sit on a public park bench in the U.S., let alone the Supreme Court bench.
Two notes — One, Senate Republicans and Democrats alike are fine the way things are. That way, they don’t have to make any of the tough decisions. It is the only way to interpret the fact that the Republican controlled Senate killed the REINS Act. Worthless bastards, all of them. Two, the Supreme Court as it is now sitting (and if it does not get packed by the next Democrat administration) signaled in Gundy that it is probably going to force legislative authority back into Congress, whether Congress likes it or not. The proggies will die to a man (woman, or pick your favorite fantasy gender) on the hill before they allow that to happen.
Art. 1 Sec. 2: Out — Each State is entitled to two Senators.In — Let’s have two Houses of Representatives.
Letting small conservative states have an equal vote in the Senate with large states (the Connecticut Compromise) was necessary in 1787, but there was no progressive imperative then; now, it just sucks. Per The Atlantic just a few months ago, this equal representation of states in the Senate is a problem in need of a progressive solution.
Today the voting power of a citizen in Wyoming, the smallest state in terms of population, is about 67 times that of a citizen in the largest state of California, and the disparities among the states are only increasing. The situation is untenable.
Under the new proggie Constitution, there will be equal representation in both Houses . . . at least so long as that continues to yield a progressive majority.
Art I Sec. 8: Out — Enumerated Powers of Federal Government;In — Unlimited Power of Federal Government (for Progressives Only)
It’s been a long, long time since progressives started running wild with the “Commerce Clause” to justify federal legislation reaching every aspect of life in America. Its reach is practically unlimited today, though it did suffer a small set back a few years ago in the Obamacare cases concerning the mandate to purchase insurance. Not to worry though, for while even the power of the commerce clause can’t be stretched that far, our inventive Supreme Court can find other justifications. Our modern taxing authority, as Chief Justice John Roberts reinterpreted it, can substitute in a pinch to save the progressive bacon.
We are already a very long way from the Founder’s Constitution of limited federal powers, but under the Constitution as rewritten this will be a settled issue.
Of course, the flip side of this new doctrine is also worthy of mention. As courts repeatedly make clear in the Trump era, most recently here, even if a Republican president uses federal power in a wholly legal way, s/he can be stopped by a progressive in a black robe who doesn’t agree with the policy.
Art II Sec. 3: Out — The Electoral College.In — Pure Democracy
The Electoral College is, according to Chiquita Khrushchev, a “RACIST scam” standing athwart the progressive will to power. We could be enjoying nirvana under President Hildabeast today were it not for the horrible, racist Electoral College.
One man (woman, or pick your favorite fantasy gender), one vote sounds fair . . . unless you know a bit about political history and why our Founders would not even consider democracy as a viable option for this nation. As John Adams said:
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
Democracy invariably devolves into mob rule. Of course, that’s okay with the proggies, for any rule that gives them a benefit at the moment is, to hear them tell it, the only one with moral standing — whether it is actually in the interests of minorities or not.
And in that vein, a special mention here of Art 1 Sec. 2 clause 3’s Three Fifths Compromise. While it hasn’t been operative since about 1865, word is that AOC wants to revive it as part of the new proggie rewrite of the electoral college. She wants to have the votes of white people counted as only three fifths of a vote. As quoted at the Bee, AOC said “What if we count all white people as three-fifths of a person instead of a full person? Then, good votes would count more than bad, racist votes. Like, four or five times more or something, because 3/5ths is only like 10% of a real vote.”
Sometimes it is hard to figure out whether the Babylon Bee is satire or not. No wonder Snopes is so confused.
Art II Sec II: Out — Limited Presidential Powers;In — Presidential Powers Limitations Depending on Party Affiliation
Art. III Out — An Independent Judiciary Limited to Exercise of Judicial Power;In — A Progressive Judiciary with Statutory Legislative and Constitutional Amending Powers
For nearly a century, our judiciary has leaned progressive and has busily been rewriting our Constitution by assuming the powers of legislation (Art. 1 Sec. 1) and amending the Constitution itself (Art. V) (abortion, gay marriage, etc.). Now, with the Court in danger of becoming non-Progressive, well, that cannot possibly be allowed. It would be too blatant to rewrite the Constitution to require a progressive majority on the Supreme Court, but the practical way of accomplishing that is to pack the Court.
Actually, I can’t think of anything more likely to ignite a shooting civil war in this country, but . . . what’s a civil war when progressive dominance over the evil that is non-progressives is at stake.
The Bill of Rights
1st Amendment: Out — Religious Conscience Clause;In — Progressive Conscience Clause
The whole purpose of the progressive embrace of sexuality, and in particular, homosexuality and gender identity as moral imperatives, has been as a cudgel to attack the Judeo Christian religions and drive those religions out of the public square. Bookworm had the definitive look at this years ago at American Thinker.
1st Amendment: Out — Anti-Establishment Clause;In — Secular Religion Clause
The progressive war on the Judeo-Christian religions has been ongoing in this country for over a century. Socialism requires the replacement of a monotheistic God with government. It has been that way from the moment of socialism’s inception:
Sixty years after the French Revolution, Karl Marx, socialism’s greatest philosopher, famously wrote in his Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right that religion is the “opium of the people” and that “[t]he abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.” The British socialist party wrote in their 1911 manifesto that “it is a profound truth that Socialism is the natural enemy of religion.” Lenin, the father of the Soviet Union’s bloody experiment in Communism, wrote in 1905, “The modern class-conscious worker, reared by large-scale factory industry and enlightened by urban life, contemptuously casts aside religious prejudices, leaves heaven to the priests and bourgeois bigots, and tries to win a better life for himself here on earth.” Lenin further noted that “every socialist is, as a rule” an “atheist.” And Hitler himself was of like mind – “National Socialism and Christianity cannot co-exist together.”
1st Amendment: Out — Freedom of Speech;In — Freedom for Progressive Approved Speech Only
4th Amendment: Out: General Warrants are per se Unconstitutional;In — The police power of government can be used against political opposition
Whether it was using the IRS to target the Tea Party or using general warrants under the guise of a counter-intelligence operation against the Trump administration, this obscene abuse of power is okay as long as progressives use it against evil non-progressives. The only surprising thing about the Obama administration’s incredible abuse of power as to the investigation of Trump is that the proggies found nothing to actually charge as a substantive crime. Beria would be most unimpressed.
So as you can see, the rewrite need not be too much more extensive than already exists. Then we can finally have progressive heaven on earth. Somehow, I think it is more likely to resemble biblical hell.
In their desperate grab for power, the Left is abandoning the unity of America’s ideas in favor of tribalism, with all its attendant violence.
(If you prefer listening to reading, the companion podcast is embedded below, or you can listen to it at Libsyn or at Apple podcasts. I’m trying to make a go of my podcast so, if you like it, please share it with your friends and on social media. Giving it good ratings helps too.)
One of the books I’ve recommended for some time now is Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. The title pretty much says it all: We live in a safer, less violent world than at any time in human history. It’s the kind of book people should read if the news is getting them down. While our media operates on the “if it bleeds it leads” principle, the real world operates on an “it’s never been better” principle even in the worst parts of the world.
Pinker wrote the book in 2012, before the world felt the full effect of Obama’s lead from behind policy in Syria, his attack on Libya, and his passivity regarding the Arab Spring, all of which turned large parts of the Middle East and North Africa into blood-soaked hellholes, with Angela Merkel then helping the violence to leak into Europe, which means that his book is based on a less violent time than the one in which we live. Nevertheless, his greater point is still a good one: Over the centuries . . . no, over the millennia, we humans have become less violent. We’ve become less violent in warfare, less violent in daily life, less violent in dealing with criminals, and less violent in entertainment.
Just think that a “mere” 2,000 years ago, the Romans were the apex of civilization, complete with their “Pax Romana” (or Roman Peace). For those who forgot to pay attention in Roman history class, the Pax Romana was a relatively peaceful period from about 27 B.C. to about 140 A.D. when there was minimal strife within Rome itself.
Of course “minimal strife” is a relative term. Rome expanded rapidly during this period, so there was actually constant warfare. Indeed, it was during this time — in 70 A.D. — that the Siege of Jerusalem took place and it proved to be one of the bloodiest wars in which the Romans engaged. Josephus, who wrote the history, believed that over 1.1 million non-combatants died in Jerusalem alone. He was probably exaggerating, but a good guess is still about 350,000 non-combatant deaths.
This was also the time during which Tacitus said of Rome’s conquering tactics, “They make a desert [or desolation] and call it peace.” In other words, it was not “peace” as we think of it.
This so-called peaceful time also saw crucifixion — which is one of the cruelest forms of execution — routinely used as an ordinary punishment, including against Jesus. Entertainment during the Pax Romana consisted of up to 80,000 Romans gathering together in the Colosseum to watch gladiators fight each other to the death or, for a change of pace, enjoying the spectacle of seeing wild animals tear apart prisoners who had been sentenced to death. During big celebrations, thousands of people would die before a delighted crowd. (The same was true 1,500 years later under Aztec rule.) And of course, there were the depraved Roman emperors, who delighted in torture, especially sexual torture.
Cruelty was the name of the game — yet, as I said, Rome was the apex of world culture and its idea set European standards for centuries to come.
(As an aside, I’m very tempted to buy Jerry Toner’s new book, Infamy: The Crimes of Ancient Rome, which takes a close, and apparently very colorful, look at just how awful the Roman empire was for those not lucky enough to live at the very topmost rungs — and given how frequently emperors were assassinated in Rome’s waning days, even the topmost rungs weren’t very nice places.)
Outside of Rome, life was just as awful. Large chunks of the world — most of Europe outside of Rome’s borders, the Americas, Asia, Africa — were tribal.
Of course, given the Left’s relentless attack on Western civilization, that’s not what our children learn. In schools today, our children are routinely taught that Native America tribes were peaceful tree huggers. They were not. Sure, there were some tribes that really were peaceful harvesters (the coastal Miwoks in Northern California, for example), but for most of them, life was a series of endless battles with other tribes over scare resources.
Beginning with one of the proto Leftists, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who was in love with the idea of the “Noble Savage,” and continuing with early anthropologists such as Margaret Mead who, in the wake of WWI and WWII, were in love with the idea of anti-civilization, we’ve been instructed that Stone Age tribes, especially the indigenous people in the Americas, were peaceful compared to modern man. And this is the point at which I loop back to the start of my post, to Steven Pinker. He addresses the type of violence attendant upon Stone Age tribes, whether 10,000 years ago or 5,000 years ago or, in the Americas, even 200 years ago (and do keep in mind that Native American tribes were devoid of writing and books, devoid of math and science, and devoid of smelting and metallurgy — in other words, they were Stone Age).
Pinker begins by noting that it’s easy to think of Stone Age tribes as relatively peaceful. In our imagination, neighboring tribesman face off against each other across a river, trash talking and shooting a few arrows. A couple of men are wounded or die and then the two sides retreat, having proven their honor and honored the process. As one historian, William Eckhardt, wrote, “Bands of gathering-hunters, numbering about 25 to 50 people each, could hardly have made much of a war. There would not have been enough people to fight, few weapons with which to fight, little to fight about, and no surplus to pay for the fighting.”
Those are all assumptions, though — and they are all wrong. In fact, Stone Age tribes were exceptionally deadly, opting for unending stealth warfare with an appallingly high attrition rate:
A party of men will slink into an enemy village before dawn, fire arrows into the first men who emerge from their huts in the morning to pee, and then shooting the others as they rush out of their huts to see what the commotion is about. They may thrust their spears through walls, shoot arrows through doorways or chimneys, and set the huts on fire. They can kill a lot of drowsy people before the villagers organize themselves in defense, by which time the attackers have melted back into the forest.
Sometimes enough attackers show up to massacre every last member of the village, or to kill all the men and abduct the women.
In North America, William Bradford, who arrived on the Mayflower, described how the Native Americans dealt with their enemies:
Not being content only to kill and take away life, [they] delight to torment men in the most bloody manner that may be, flaying some alive with the shells of fishes, cutting off members and joints of others by piecemeal and broiling on the coals, eat collops of their flesh in their sight while they live.
Pinker provides other examples of indigenous people brutality, whether the Yanamamo’s in Venezuela in the 1930s, the aborigines in Australia in the early 19th century, or the Inuits in the early 20th century.
So how bloody was all this tribalism — that is, one tribe fighting for resources or vengeance against another tribe? Pinker has the answer to that: Very, very bloody. While modern societies have killed in greater numbers, simply because we have a larger population, the percentage likelihood of death in pre-modern tribal society was tremendously greater. Men of fighting age had a 25% chance of dying in some form of tribal warfare.
For society as a whole, Pinker tries to give a relative sense of the risk of violent death. In pre-2015 Europe, before Merkel’s migrants raised the violence rate, Western Europeans had a homicide rate of about 1 per 100,000 per year. America, at its most dangerous in the 1970s and 1980s, had an average homicide rate of about 10 per 100,000 per year, with Detroit leading at 45 per 100,000 per year. (In 2107, by the way, Baltimore had a murder rate of 56 per 100,000, which is why President Trump characterized it as a hellhole for those poor people trapped within its borders.)
Pinker notes that a society with a rate of 100 homicides per 100,000 would mean that “violence would start to affect you personally: assuming you have a hundred relatives, friends, and close acquaintances, then over the course of a decade one of them would probably be killed.”
With the above numbers in mind, what does Pinker was happening in non-state tribal societies, i.e., tribal societies? “The average annual rate of death in warfare for the nonstate societies is 524 per 100,000….” Oh, my!
Pinker devotes a lot of time and words to explaining how and why violence has dropped. One of the main reasons was the creation of the state, which did away with constant Hatfield-McCoy types of revenge killings.
Another reason is one that Pinker doesn’t address, but that Nicholas Wade did in A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, the book that got him fired from the New York Times. In his book, Wade explains that Western society has bred out some of its most violent DNA. Because we created civil societies with the rule of law, violent people (especially violent men) ended up either imprisoned, executed, or simply socially disfavored, which prevented them from passing on their DNA. Meanwhile, in societies that remained tribal, violence continued to be a survival advantage, meaning it was also a genetic advantage.
Even though tribalism was eventually constrained by the state in most parts of the world, it continued in the form of nation-state battles. Across Europe, tribal battles were the norm, although they were on a grander, national scale. England and France were at war with each other for hundreds of years. The Serbians fought the Croatians, the Russians fought the Poles, the Italians fought the Yugoslavians and, of course, the Germans fought everyone. . . . The list of intra-European battles to death is the history of Europe.
The same is true for Asia — China versus Japan versus the Koreans versus the Vietnamese. . . .
And Africa! Oh, my Lord! Don’t get me started on Africa. The reason the African slave trade thrived was because Africans were busy selling their tribal enemies to Muslim traders who then sent those prisoners of war out to the rest of the world as slaves.
All of this was tribalism, which can be summed up in the Bedouin expression, “I, against my brothers. I and my brothers against my cousins. I and my brothers and my cousins against the world.”
There is something, though, that can stand against tribalism and that is the binding ties of ideas. And once again, this takes me back to Steven Pinker.
One of the things Pinker does not discuss in his book about violence is the rise of the Judeo-Christian ethic as an antidote to violence. To the contrary — in his first chapter, Pinker devotes a lot of pages to describing the terrible bloodshed in the Bible. He’s right that the early chapters of the Jewish Bible describe an a society riven by violence, but that’s because the stories are a history of pre-modern Stone Age societies. When it comes to the Biblical world, we don’t have to try to divine the past from bones and fragments of pottery. We can just read about it.
Take as just one example the story of Dinah: The son of a neighboring tribal leader rapes her, but then offers to marry her. Her brothers agree, provided that all the men in the other tribe get circumcised. Then, when the men are disabled by the procedure, Dinah’s brothers slaughter everyone. That’s Stone Age tribalism with a vengeance.
But the Bible is really two books. One of the books is a history of pre-modern man, a violent, bloody, vengeful, often extremely ugly history. The other book is the history of ideas, primarily those ideas expressed in the Ten Commandments. These are transcendent ideas that are not tied to tribes. Indeed, the Bible makes clear over and over and over again that the role of the Jews is to bring these transcendent ideas to the rest of the world. They are ideas about justice and the mandate for human goodness. When applied to society, any society, that society will be a better, more stable, safer society in which to live. It will be an imperfect society, because humans are imperfect, but it will be raised above a Stone Age, lawless society.
It may take centuries for people to incorporate the ideas into their day-to-day lives, but eventually they’ll back away from the norm of Roman violence and figure out Enlightenment civility. In this regard, let me point out that the worst violence in modern history — the 20th century violence of Nazi Germany and the endless, aching Cold War played out in one country after another — was triggered by nations that affirmatively rejected the Judeo-Christian doctrine in favor of what Americans once called “Godless communism.” (And need I point out that the Nazis were socialists and fiercely hostile, not just to Judaism, but to traditional Christianity, preferring instead their own version of Germanic paganism?)
In America, as an outgrowth of the Enlightenment, we had another blinding burst of binding ideas. Our Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, is not written for Germans or English or Irish or or blacks or whites or Asians or Hispanics. It was written as a set of abstract principles that could apply in theory — and have applied in fact — to all people, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or country of national origin.
I’m not arguing that imperfect men sought to deny these abstract principles to various peoples over America’s history and more shame to them. I’m just saying that the principles are color blind and sex blind and creed blind. Like the Ten Commandments before them, they are ideas that any people can embrace and, if they embrace them properly, all people will benefit from them.
That’s been the amazing compact of America: If you come to our country and embrace our creed, nothing else about you should matter. If you go to Switzerland and, slowly and laboriously, finally gain Swiss citizenship, you’ll still be an American, albeit one with legal rights unique to Swiss citizens. However, if you’re a Swiss citizen and you gain American citizenship — voila! you’re an American. By embracing our ideas, your DNA, your lineage, your natal land, all are irrelevant.
It’s that binding force of American ideas, though, that allows the Left to engage in the ridiculous fiction that there’s some homogeneous white mass of people in America that are all alike in their privileges and hatreds. Tell that risible fiction to every white Britisher, Frenchman, Dutchman, Pole, Russian, American, and Belgian who died at the hands of a white German. Tell that to every white Serb who died at the hands of a white Croatian. What unites white people in America isn’t skin color; it’s Americanism — it’s embracing the truths that we hold self-evident.
The same holds true for people of other races in America: Leftists try to tell us that blacks are just as homogeneous as whites, but we have only to look at Africa’s history to know how ridiculous that is. As I noted above, African slavery was made possible by the hatreds of African tribalism. It wasn’t black racism that caused the Tutsis to slaughter the Hutus. It was tribalism pure and simple. But here, if blacks will embrace the American credo, tribalism is irrelevant.
Given the violence inherent in tribalism, the Leftist desire to divide Americans once again by race, color, creed, sex, etc., is utterly appalling and, indeed, quite evil. Leftists are inviting onto American shores the horror that most Americans gratefully abandoned when they waved farewell to blood-soaked Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa (at least those Africans who, in recent years, have come voluntarily), and headed for America.
Whenever tribalism has set foot in America, whether whites against blacks, blacks against whites, established whites against Irish whites, blacks against Hispanics in the inner cities, or any other tribal combination, bloodshed has followed. It’s only when we’ve embraced the notion that we, the American people, are one nation, indivisible, that we have thrived and achieved a level of peace and success that has made America the envy of the world.
We must reject the Left’s tribalism in favor of American homogeneity, or we are doomed to relapse into a history all of us should be grateful we’ve left behind.
The Second Amendment is an unalienable right; plus, even assuming for the sake of argument that Trump has racist thoughts, his principles are not racist.
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In today’s podcast, I’m still chewing over the shootings this past weekend. I leave it to others to tackle the shooters’ motives (other than just being evil people) and the media’s haste to emphasize the allegedly conservative El Paso shooter (even though he seems terribly affected by the Leftist’s climate Armageddon rhetoric) while ignoring entirely the passions driving the Leftists shooter in Dayton. Instead, I want to discuss the Second Amendment and why it matters in the context of our relationship to the government. Long-time readers will recognize this discussion, but it may be new to others.
The right to bear arms is one of our premier constitutional rights. Too many Americans take our Constitution for granted without considering its centrality, not to government, but to the individuals being governed. Unlike the various federal statutes that impose laws on the people of this land, the Constitution imposes its restrictions on the federal government itself. The predicate to these individual rights is the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Without this acknowledgement of our unalienable status and dignity, the explicitly listed Rights in the Bill of Rights are meaningless. These unalienable rights – Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness — are the abstract foundational concepts that justify a citizen’s more concrete “right” to have spheres of activity (or inactivity) upon which the government cannot impinge.
Which gets us to the Bill of Rights. What exactly is it? I mean, we all know what’s in it, but I don’t think most people stop and really think about how important it is to them, as individuals.
The Constitution is a contract between the People (acting through their state-elected representatives) and the government. The main body of the Constitution, however, has nothing to do with the People, and everything to do with defining a functioning government. Thus, while it seeks to make sure that the executive can’t overwhelm the legislature or that the courts can’t overwhelm the executive, there’s nothing in the Constitution about whether the government as a whole, or any of its individual parts, can overwhelm the citizens under its rule.
The Founders realized in the wake of the Constitution’s ratification that creating a government is not the same as protecting the People’s unalienable under that government. If the government can “giveth” something and then “taketh it away” again, that something is not a right, it is, instead, a mere privilege.
Rights, on the other hand, belong to the People independent of government. Rights have nothing to do with government control over people, and everything to do with the People’s right to control government.
That rights are independent of government does not mean that the government cannot use its aggregated military, police, and taxing power to destroy those rights. Our rights’ fragility is what drove the Founding generation to create the Bill of Rights.
The first ten amendments to the Constitution describe rights that are fundamental to the individual and, therefore, transcend government. The Founders stated them explicitly, however, because they refused to assume that a beneficent government would automatically protect these rights. It was therefore necessary to err on the side of caution and warn the federal government away from touching the People’s core liberties.
The net result of adding a single extraordinary sentence in the Declaration of Independence and the first ten amendments to the Constitution is pure magic: For the first time in history, a government exists that respects the bright line of human inviolability into which government cannot intrude.
On the People’s side of that bright line are the freedoms to speak, worship, and assemble. And of course, the right to be armed, for whatever the heck reason you want, is also one of those unalienable right.
Contrary to what gun control advocates would have us believe, the Founders did not toss the right to bear arms into the Bill of Rights just because people were marching around with slow-to-load, hard-to-aim muskets or because people liked to hunt. Instead, they included this right because they viewed it as an important bulwark defending individual liberties:
False is the idea of utility. . . that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction (of liberty). The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws o’f such nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . such laws serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. (Thomas Jefferson ‘Commonplace Book’ 1775, quoting 18th Century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in on Crimes and Punishment (1764))
No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny in government. (Thomas Jefferson, June 1776, Thomas Jefferson Papers, (C. J. Boyd, Ed., 1950))
Although our rights are inviolable in principle, in fact the government can impose restrictions upon them – but if it does so, the government must prove that these restrictions are absolutely necessary. The opposite is not true. That is, the People do not bear the burden of proving that the government cannot impinge upon these unalienable rights.
Those who favor strict gun control argue that, by showing that guns kill innocent people, they have satisfied their burden of proving that gun control is as much a necessity as speech limitations on falsely shouting “fire.” This argument is wrong for two reasons.
The first reason is that, unlike freedom of speech, which is a generalized right, the right to bear arms is specifically and absolutely articulated: it “shall not be infringed.” Although we’ve long recognized that government can, in fact, infringe on this right, the standard to do so is incredibly high.
The second reason the gun control argument cannot reach the high constitutional standard for imposing strict limitations on gun rights is because it forgets that guns don’t just take lives, they also save lives. According to a 2013 study that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered, “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence”:
Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.
Progressives have an intellectual limitation that allows them to see only dead bodies, without any regard for those who do not die thanks to guns. This myopia creates the giant intellectual chasm that exists between those who oppose the Second Amendment and those who support it. The former see only the people who died in the past, while the latter count the ones who will live on into the future.
Logically, we know that people are going to die under any circumstances. Even those who argue most strenuously in favor of total gun-control concede that gun control will not actually do away with guns. They’re just pretty sure it will decrease the number of guns overall.
At this point, I always like to bring up French economist Frédéric Bastiat’s 1850 Parable of the Broken Window (emphasis mine):
Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation—”It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”
Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.
Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade—that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs—I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.
But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”
It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.
Just as is the case with the economic illiterate who cannot imagine that money might be spent on something more useful than fixing a broken window, a gun control advocate’s world view “is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.” He counts those who have died, but cannot even begin to imagine those whose lives were saved or never threatened.
In this way, the gun grabber is much like the anti-vaxxer who is terrified by the 1/10,000 risk of a vaccination and utterly blind to the much greater risk of an epidemic or even pandemic disease. And when I speak of such a disease, I’m not talking about Ebola, which does scare him because he sees dead bodies on TV. I’m talking about forgotten diseases such as scarlet fever, polio, even small pox, all of which have vanished from his frame of reference because he has never seen them.
So, that’s what I have to say about the Second Amendment and its centrality to individual liberty.
What I also want to talk about is the utterly spurious claim that Trump is a White Supremacist. I want to examine that calumny through the prism of “thoughts versus acts.” Before I start, though, let me say that I do not believe for a single minute that Trump is a racist, let alone a White Supremacist. This is as disgusting a canard as any yet leveled at him by those who are Leftists or in the grip of TDS. Still, solely for the sake of argument, I will assume that Trump harbors racism deep inside.
Back in the day, we kids used to chant “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Of late, Proggies/SJWS/Dems have done away with that schoolyard chant. They justify physical violence on the grounds that words are in fact identical to physical violence.
This is bad enough, but with Trump, we’re seeing them go to the next level, which is that thought crimes must be policed and can justify extreme punishment. This is entirely Orwellian. After all, it was Orwell to who defined “crimethink” as “the criminal act of holding politically unorthodox thoughts that contradict the tenets of Ingsoc (English Socialism).”
This is not the first time, of course, that the West has seen thought crimes. Back in Tudor England, thanks to the battle between Catholics and Protestants from Henry VIII through Elizabeth I, thought crimes got people burned, hanged, drawn, quartered, or, if they were lucky, merely exiled. That all came to an end in 1558 when Elizabeth, after signing off on the Act of Uniformity, refused to allow religious police to hunt up criminal religious activity. If someone was deemed a threat to throne and kingdom, their Catholic or dissenting faith could be used against them, but she was averse to using religion itself as a crime.
Elizabeth justified her forbearance by stating, “I would not open windows into men’s souls.” It was, so far as I know, the first time in the West anyone ever articulated this idea, or even thought it, and it’s a terribly important one. It forces us to ask whether we will judge people by their thoughts, either expressed or perceived, or by their actions.
In this regard, I always think of Harry Truman, one of the Democrats’ most admired presidents. He was a Missouri native and a terrible racist. Back in 1991, the AP reported on some Harry Truman quotations. (By the way, because the article predated the OJ Simpson trial, you’ll see spelled out what is now called “the N word.” I’ll leave it that way in this post because I’m quoting the AP article verbatim, but in the podcast, I say “the N word.” I don’t like the way the word in its entirety feels in my mouth and therefore don’t like to say it.)
In 1911, the year he turned 27, Truman wrote to his future wife, Bess: “I think one man is just as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman. Uncle Will says that the Lord made a white man from dust, a nigger from mud, then He threw up what was left and it came down a Chinaman.”
“(Uncle Will) does hate Chinese and Japs,” Truman continued. “So do I. It is race prejudice, I guess. But I am strongly of the opinion Negroes ought to be in Africa, yellow men in Asia and white men in Europe and America.”
More than 25 years later, Truman, then a U.S. senator from Missouri, wrote a letter to his daughter describing waiters at The White House as “an army of coons.” In a letter to his wife in 1939 he referred to “nigger picnic day.”
Nevertheless, on July 26, 1948, it was this racist man who issued Executive Order 9981 abolishing discrimination “on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin” in the United States Armed Forces. I doubt anyone will deny that our Armed Forces are the best integrated, most color-blind institutions in American society. Truman rose above his prejudices to effectuate principles that he knew were greater than his own biases.
Harry Truman didn’t like Jews either. In 1947, after the Holocaust that specifically targeted Europe’s Jews and succeeded in killing most of them, he confided thoughts on Jews to his diary:
Jews I find are very very selfish. They care not how many Latvians, Finns, Poles, Estonians and Greeks get murdered or mistreated as DPs [displaced persons] as long as Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political, neither Hitler or Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment for the underdog.
Naturally, I disagree strongly with his take. Still, it’s important to note that, despite this antipathy, in 1948 Truman had the U.S. vote in the UN for the creation of Israel and he never went back on that.
My own father, a Jewish man raised in Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s did not like blacks in the abstract. That never affected either his conduct or his principles. He fully supported the Civil Rights movement in both word and deed, and thought Willie Brown was the smarter person he’d ever met, and always treated the blacks with whom he dealt with the same level of respect he accorded whites or any other race. Whatever his thoughts, my father’s behavior was impeccable and his principles were always morally righteous.
The reality is that Trump never said anything racist. As the latest Prager U video shows, the “fine people hoax” was just that — a vile hoax that the media refuses to let go:
I just learned that within hours of PragerU posting “The Charlottesville Lie,” Google placed it on YouTube’s restricted list — just two weeks after a Senate hearing at which a Google representative swore under oath that Google doesn’t censor on the basis of political views. The ease with which the left lies is breathtaking.
The restricted list means, among other things, that most schools’ software, meant to protect children from porn or violence, blocks this video too.
As for Trump’s alleged “Muslim ban,” it was (a) not racially based because Islam is an ideology, not a race; and (b) it was predicated upon a list Obama’s State Department made identifying the top terror exporting nations. Again, no racism there; just a desire to protect Americans from a risk the previous administration had already spelled out.
But again, even if we assume solely for the sake of argument that Trump is a racist, he’s still presided over a booming economy that has especially benefited non-Caucasians; enacted criminal justice reform that, while it can be viewed as getting violent criminals back on the streets, can also be viewed as getting black men out of prison and back into the community to serve as fathers and mentors to boys and girls desperately in need of such figures; spoken out about the horrific conditions in Democrat-run black-inhabited inner cities; and supported gun rights for law abiding black citizens who are currently at the mercy of illegally armed predatory people in those same inner cities.
In other words, even if Trump is a racist (and I deny that he is), his principles are such that there is nothing prejudicial about his acts. I’d rather put my money on acts than on thought crimes any time.
American conservatives, Trump included, by definition cannot be Right Wing, because their primary goal is to lessen government control over the individual.
John Lott wrote an article challenging the media’s contention that the New Zealand mosque shooter is “right wing” and, naturally, tying that right-winged-ness to President Trump and his supporters. Lott based his challenge on the fact that the shooter’s manifesto, aside from some trolling about Trump and Candace Owens, aligns perfectly with the Left’s ideology and is utterly unrelated to Trump’s words or policies. It’s a good article and I recommend it.
I want to head in a slightly different direction which is to say, as I have said before, that there is no Right Wing in America, meaning that neither Trump nor his supporters can or should be smeared in that way. Moreover, there is almost no relationship between ostensible conservatives outside of America and those of us in America who identify as conservatives. We are entirely different breeds. I have a tendency to be wordy, but I’ll try to keep this as streamlined as possible.
I’ll start with the absolutely true statement that there are only two forms of government: Bigger Government and Smaller Government. No matter the label affixed to the governing entity, it’s either Bigger, which means fewer individual rights, or Smaller, which means more individual rights. This is true whether the government is a monarchy, an aristocracy, an oligarchy, a republic, a democracy, a theocracy, a junta, or whatever. It’s not the label that matters; it’s the amount of government control versus individual liberty. Of course, socialist governments, whether denominated as socialist, communist, or fascist, are all Big (indeed, Biggest) Governments by definition.
“Right Wing” and “Left Wing” are purely European concepts, dating to the French Parliament in the lead-up to the French Revolution. The people to the right of the Speaker were monarchists; the people to the Left were revolutionaries in what came to be understood as the socialist mold. Both sides demanded Biggest Government with total control over the individual.
The battle between Bigger Government political powers raged in Europe through the 19th century and continued in continental Europe right into the 1930s. During that decade, the two rising political movements were both socialist. One socialist movement, communism, demanded nationalizing all private property as party of its Biggest Government plan. The other socialist movement, fascism, agreed to leave private property in private hands, provided that the government called the shots. It was therefore still a Biggest Government ideology.*
Another quality inherent in Bigger and Biggest Government is the need for more and more territory. This is necessary for two reasons: First, governments are invariably poor economic managers. Immediately after nationalizing, there’s a flood of money, but as the free market dries up, the money stops flowing. Taking new territory brings in new wealth. Second, as Bigger and Biggest Governments inevitably become more totalitarian and despotic, they can avert people’s attention from their failings and cruelty by creating scapegoats and stirring up war fever.
The only thing that separated Hitler’s fascism from other socialist movements was that he infused it with his insane racial theories, whether about alleged Aryan superiority, the other races’ alleged inferiority and, most specifically, the Jewish race’s alleged sub-humanity, which required extermination. As was true for any Big Government, he hungered for world domination. He added to that the Muslim policy (and Hitler adored Islam) of enslaving those who couldn’t or wouldn’t get with the Nazi program and wiping out Jews entirely.
Hitler and the Soviet Union are gone, but Europe is in many ways the same as it was in the 1790s and the 1930s. In Europe, no movement advocates for “power to the people” (or, more accurately, “individual liberty to the people”). All we see across Europe are different political parties arguing that they are the better Biggest Government For The People. European political parties are, in other words, the direct descendants of the French Revolution.
Sadly, Britain and its former colonies (except for America, but more about that later), have become infected with Europeanism. They all went socialist after WWII. Once having done that, they lost the idea of individual liberty. Whether in England or New Zealand or Canada, there is no argument about Bigger Government versus Smaller Government. Instead, as with Europe, the only arguments are between political groups that promise that their Biggest Government will be better than the other party’s Biggest Government.
America is entirely different. The genesis for America’s revolution was England’s Glorious Revolution in 1688. That Revolution was followed in 1689 by a written Bill of Rights. It contains many of the components we see in our Bill of Rights. If you’re wondering why, then British people no longer have those inherent rights, that’s because Parliament, in an effort to quash America’s nascent Revolution, pulled a switcheroo, and said that, while the King owed his subjects those rights, Parliament did not. That’s why Brits can go to prison for criticizing Islam, but (so far) Americans cannot. That’s also why Brits are denied arms, even when fighting off armed intruders in their own homes, while Americans (so far) still can.
The American Revolution was pickled in the 1689 Bill of Rights. Even as the French Revolution was in full flower, with two totalitarian ideologies squaring off against each other in a welter of blood, America had taken those Rights, expanded them, and enshrined these marvelous inherent individual liberties in her Constitution and Bill of Rights. These rights truly are about “individual liberty to the people.” Every single one is geared towards Smaller Government. Each describes inviolable areas of individual rights into which the government cannot intrude.
Since its inception, then, America’s political parties have not replicated the European pattern. That is, it’s never been about this Biggest Government party fighting that Biggest Government party for total control. Instead, the fight in America has always been between those who value the Constitution and therefore want Smaller Government and those who resent the Constitution and therefore want Bigger Government.
What all this means is that America definitely has a Left Wing. American Lefties, just like those people who sat to the Speaker’s left in the 1789 French Parliament, want a non-aristocratic, non-monarchic government, but one that nevertheless holds all power while individuals hold none. Barack Obama perfectly described the mindset of this American Left Wing when he complained that the Constitution is “deeply flawed,” “imperfect,” and imbued with a “fundamental flaw.” He later clarified that the problem was that the Constitution is a “charter of negative liberties.”
To the true Leftist — to the Obamas of America — America’s Constitution fails because its primary purpose is to prevent Bigger Government. Robespierre and Marat would have approved of Obama’s viewpoint. Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and Washington would not.
As I pointed out above, though, America does not have two parties battling for totaling government dominance. Thus, while it has a Left Wing, just as other nations do, America does not have a Right Wing: The political party and people opposing Leftists are not arguing for a Bigger Government, albeit a different Bigger Government than that which the Leftists (aka Progressives or Democrats) demand. Instead, unique in the world, those opposing America’s Leftists demand Smaller Government.
Seen in this light, Trump, for all his bombast, is the perfect exemplar of American Small Government constitutionalism. Since the day he entered office, he has worked to shrink government.
Trump wants to shrink the regulatory state, which is an unconstitutional fourth branch of government that embodies Bigger Government. He wants individuals to keep their money, not have America’s police power grab it for government coffers that politicians, bureaucrats, and cronies can abuse. He does not believe America must be the world’s policeman or, worse, the world’s nanny. He is therefore ending the Wilson Doctrine, something that arguably has no place in the 21st century. Trump is working to reinstate the Rule of Law, starting at America’s border, something that exists, not to serve government, but to serve individuals.
Most importantly (I think), Trump believes in the inviolability of the individual right to bear arms. He understands that individuals are safest when the government fears them, rather than when they fear the government. In other words, while Obama and his ilk are classically Left Wing, Trump, and those who support what he is doing, are the antithesis of Right Wing.
Additionally, to the extent Right Wing is used as doublespeak for racist Hitlerites who want to enslave the world, Trump and his followers cannot possibly fall into that category. Even if some of them, including, solely for the sake of argument, Trump himself, have bad motives (hating blacks, LGBTQs, Muslims, etc.), this hatred is meaningless if the political party has willingly abandoned the engines of power necessary to effectuate those bad motives.
One last thing: For those wondering why American Republicans and conservatives (who seek Smaller Government and therefore cannot be Right Wing) are routinely labeled “fascists,” thank Leftists in academia for that. After Hitler left Europe in ashes, socialists in America and Europe needed to do everything possible to disassociate Hitler and his fascists from socialism. They therefore began to teach that fascism was Right Wing and that conservatives/Republicans are Right Wing . . . and therefore they are Hitlerian fascists. As George Orwell knew, it’s amazing what you can do if you control language.
And yes, the above was long, but I did cover more than two centuries of history and most of the world’s continents.
*England was anomalous in the 1930s because it still had something of representative democracy with individual liberty. However, the growing Labour movement (i.e., the rising socialist, Bigger Government movement) frightened many in the old landed classes. They had never trusted democracy and still yearned for a Bigger Government aristocracy. Seeing that this was not coming back, they were willing to throw their weight in with fascism because it would allow them the illusion of private property not to mention the money a fascist government was willing to pay private owners, in the form of retained profits, for ceding actual power to the government.