Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The American Project Is Undone

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Humpty Dumpty

For many reasons I have not looked forward to writing this essay.   Some readers will surely view it as a pessimistic and panicky jeremiad; all Henny-Penny.  And I'd love to be wrong; I hope that my arguments will be found wanting and, if not rebutted definitively, at least convincingly.  My thesis is this: America has passed the tipping point in its long journey toward Marxist solipcism; that, barring the miraculous or the sudden emergence of a black swan, we cannot return to being a free society.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't Stand If You Can Sit; Don't Work If You Can Steal

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The Great Train Robbery

Allowing for cultural exceptions, such as the Protestant Work Ethic, labor is most often motivated by the desire to satisfy physical [1] needs.  We don't like to be hungry or cold or thirsty or standing wet in the rain or being unprotected from human enemies and predatory wild things.  Human nature, being what it is, we try to find shortcuts (not always a good thing) and efficiencies (usually good), or when we can get by with it, not work at all. But working is not always necessary, particularly in rich societies where stealing may be an attractive alternative.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fiscal Cliff: Let's Test Obama

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How Steep the Cliff; How Hard the Fall?

It comes to a choice, I think, between acute and chronic pain.

"Fiscal cliff" [1] ranks right up there with "shovel-ready jobs, reset button and pivoting..." as another simplistic and vacuous metaphor.  Nevertheless, the consequences of great tax increases paired with sharply reduced government spending should not be underestimated.  Another recession, bankruptcies, defense vulnerabilities and a probable downgrading of US credit seem all but certain.  But what if Republicans compromise with the administration in raising revenue through "taxing the rich"? [2]
What if they don't?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Conservatism Might Be A Good Thing...

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I allude by reference to George Bernard Shaw's famous quotation, Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it.  Actually, Christianity has been tried by a great many people, and with considerable success.  And the same is true of conservatism, but in a much more limited way.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Romney Retrospective

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The Romneys in Altoona, Iowa

I suspect that for many of us on the conservative side Mitt Romney's rise through the primaries had a foreboding familiarity about it.  McCain redux.  Another politically spineless pretender to conservatism carrying the Republican banner.  Another candidate of adaptive principle who would rather be liked than respected.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How Progressives Won

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Adding to the general confusion to be expected in a political rout is how questions are framed.  Establishment Republicans tend to put it this way: How did we lose?  Contrast the question with this essay's title.  I hope the reader will see what I see.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mea Culpa; Mea Maxima Culpa

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Manasseh's Sin and Repentance

Whatever shortcomings I may have -- and they are many -- I maintain a high regard for integrity.  In myself and others.  It's for that reason that I long ago resolved not to be a "drive-by" blogger.*  If I make a mess along the way, I'll retrace my steps and clean it up.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Predicting An Early Night

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Here, I take a position squarely at odds with pollsters, pundits and political pros.  I expect the presidential election to be called early by Fox News.  For Mitt Romney on the wave of a strong mandate.  If I am wrong, there is a great deal more at stake than my credibility.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Obama Is Right About Changing Government

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"The most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside." [1]  Though I may have arrived at the same conclusion much earlier, by another route, and in another context, I have to concede that the President spoke the truth; which, in itself, is noteworthy.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Debate: How MSM Set Up Obama to Fail

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Obama In Love
Romney (In the Real World)

Contrary to what seems to be the consensus, I don't think Mr. Obama was "off his game" in the first Presidential debate.  It's just that the game wasn't played by his rules.  MSM rules.

Obama at his best is prolix, stammering, pretentious and careless of fact, but his gift is a rare combination of rich voice, perfectly reinforcing gestures, facial expressions and cadence, capped by ex cathedra delivery that is mesmerizing and freighted with a strong hint of intimidation that discourages debate.  He is the uber elitist, perfectly miming the best features of the truly elite.  That he is profoundly ignorant in so many areas of common knowledge, thoroughly corrupt and intellectually vapid is not easily seen behind the persona of an accomplished man of letters.  Not seen at all by legacy-media types.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ignorance vs. Stupidity: A Dead Heat at CNN

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CNN Ireport Badge

More and more I am convinced that legacy media folks -- contrary to the opinion of some conservatives -- are perfectly sincere.  Innocent of fact, curiosity or independent thought, to be sure, but sincere.  They believe they are right in most, if not all, things, and I think they might even feel sorry for the rest of us if sympathy wouldn't interfere with the pleasure they take in condescension. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Mr. Obama: A Competent President

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Rope and Chains

If many people have styled President Obama as incompetent, they can be forgiven for their error; they are thinking that a robust economy and a position of strength in foreign policy are his objectives.  They are traditional Americans.  But seen from a Marxist point of view (the President's and that of his ardent Jacobin cohort) he has been extremely -- perhaps, spectacularly -- successful.  He has further divided America along  lines of race and class, hardened the ideology and dogma of the Left, increasingly marginalized capitalism in the public mind, and, by straining the economy to the point of collapse, he has set the stage for socialist revolution.  The uprising of the masses against the bourgeoisie that historicism demands.  He has succeeded beyond the dreams, so long unrealized, of Marxists planners who have so often been disappointed. [1]

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tea Party Terrorism

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Che Guevara

I was recently dismayed to learn that, as a Tea Party member, I am, per se, a terrorist.  Well, a potential terrorist anyway.  And that revelation on no less authority than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). [1]

A report commissioned by DHS called Hot Spots of US Terrorism tells us exactly who the terrorists are:
Extreme Right-Wing: groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (for some the threat is from a specific ethnic, racial, or religious group), and believe in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism. Groups may also be fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty, and believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Short Take: Republicans Endorsing Hillary? (*)

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In political contests all sides labor diligently to insure that events affecting the contest are not left to chance.  Though mistakes are inevitable, some "mistakes" are contrived.  That's exactly what seems to have happened in the case of the public endorsement of Hillary Clinton by Sarah Palin and John McCain.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Voter ID is Clearly Discriminatory

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Karl Marx

Laws that require careful verification of a voter's identity discriminate not so much against blacks, Hispanics or other ethnic groups and the poor as against an entire political class -- cheaters.  Known also as Democrats. [1]  Polls indicate that as many as 80% of the American public (including many of those said to be injured) favor stringent voter ID laws.  The Marxist-Progressive Left, however, behind lamentations and crocodile tears, stands in utter contempt of the righteous public will.  Citing a litany of imagined (and therefore real) abuses of helpless 'victims', they howl with feigned outrage.  If strawmen, in company with the dead, could vote, Marxists would never lose another election.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Illegal Immigration: Seen and Not Seen

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Frederic Bastiat

As with most things in Western politics, America's illegal immigration question is argued within contending narratives.  The Marxist Left points to cultural enrichment, tolerance, virtuous altruism, abundant and cheap labor and "diversity".  Conservatives point to enormous burdens on Federal and local governments in the areas of healthcare, public education, law enforcement and revenues.  Given that both are imperfect, which narrative is more correct?  Does either go beyond what is easily seen?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2012: Testing the American Narrative (Part II)

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As I said in Part I, this election -- more than most because of unusually clear contrasts -- will test the the American ethos, the narrative, the vision that tells us who we are.  For those of us who, contrary to a century of Marxist/progressive indoctrination, have managed somehow to maintain a reverence of founding principles, this is a make-or-break affair.  Many will say that ideas of the American Founders were but temporal signs of time and place and that we have evolved and matured in matters social, political and economic.  We have put away old ideologies.  And they may be correct in their assessment.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012: Testing the American Narrative (Part I)

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Who are we and what were we as Americans?  Today, there are competing narratives.  Two, though divergent, are organic, in that they grew out of the American Revolution and the founding principles. A more recent narrative that emerged out of European Marxist philosophy is being grafted onto one of the native strains.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Evaluating The Republican Field

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In company with many Tea Party conservatives, I am not particularly sanguine about the current field of Republican candidates.  But my choice at this point is not a difficult one to make.  Simple elimination leaves me supporting only Rick Santorum.  A year ago I would not have thought it possible, but things change.  The candidates currently in the early lead are not, in my view, core conservatives.  If either makes the nomination cut, I will vote for him in the general election.  With all the enthusiasm I felt for John McCain; maybe a tad more...

The big talking-point issue with establishment Republicans in general (and other wobbly conservatives) is "electability".  A combination of hubris and elitism causes too many to think it is a knowable trait.  Makes them confident they know what the electorate will decide in November.  A conceit of known and would-be pundits everywhere.  I think more in terms of principle than what is believed to be the most likely outcome.  Let me explain.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Human Nature

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Human nature is imperfect, and it is unchangeable.  The failure of the naive to acknowledge and accept those two simple, yet elemental facts leads inevitably to grief.

But grief does not discourage idealists; when their schemes fail they see only error in planning and execution, never questioning the possibility of -- nor their own faith in -- achieving a perfect end-state.
Utopian Dreams
The belief that men are capable of creating a perfect society is an old one, attested in Biblical writings and in Plato's vision, articulated in his Republic.
That vision echoed through the Middle Ages and persisted, with growing momentum, into the current era.  Along the way it found expression in Thomas Moore's Utopia (most famously), in the writings of Rousseau and in the early codification of communist socialism by Marx and Engels in reaction to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of capitalism. [1]

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Voting: Principle vs Praxis

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One finds no shortage of persons who will tell you with great confidence who is and who is not electable.  Certainly one can analyze what he knows -- or believes he knows -- about American voters, their political and policy opinions, their "mood" and their likely preferences and form an opinion as to how any election will fall out.  In fact, polling data, in experienced hands most often yield high probabilities of electoral outcomes.  But surprise!  Human behavior is not always predictable.  Black Swans -- perhaps far more common than the name suggests -- have ways to make laughable statistical models that very often assume a stability in kinetic systems that does not exist.  The models are correct often enough to create the illusion of predictability, but as, for example, the recent collapse of the derivatives market has shown, our confidence may be misplaced.  Said more directly, the laws of probability are not the laws of physics; they do not compel outcomes.  And it is always possible that there are variables that we do not recognize, anticipate or even imagine.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Historical Roots of Statism in America

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Opposing Statism: The Incomplete Conservative Argument 

Until recently, I had never been satisfied with with conventional explanations of the steady rise of American statism.  Within the conservative pundit class there seems to be general agreement (or, at least, emphasis) that beginnings lay in the presidencies of Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson and the rise of the Progressives.  To be sure, anti-Jeffersonian policies flourished in their administrations as it later did with F.D.R., Lyndon Johnson.  But the nagging question for me was how, after the Founding period, did this trend -- more or less suddenly -- emerge?  Say with Theodore Roosevelt...?  So recent?  What about the Hamiltonians, the Federalist Party?  Some of our conservative voices, Glenn Beck, for example, will talk about Alexander Hamilton (a good start), but then they seem compelled to leap over a big chunk of history to the late Nineteenth Century.  Why is that?  What are they avoiding?

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