Let’s Use Logic!

This weekend, I heard a (California) member of Congress say that she wasn’t worried at all about the national debt because the “government” could always just print more money.  I was stunned.  Now, I realize that almost anyone can get elected in California, unless of course the candidate has actual knowledge or skills.  But this statement dredged the depths of ignorance that broke new ground even for the Golden State.  That utterance got me thinking about some of the other expressions of genius that I have heard over the past year:

  • It doesn’t matter if “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” was not an actual fact in Ferguson, Missouri.  It must have happened somewhere, so it is “philosophically” true.
  • If the minimum wage is raised to $15 and hour, minimum wage workers can have a “real life” and not have to worry about learning actual skills that some employer would pay more for.
  • Regarding Point 2 above, the employer has “plenty of money”, so it’s no big deal to double every employee’s pay.
  • Since voting is a right encoded in the Constitution, not only are photo IDs unconstitutional, but so is voter registration.
  • Welfare benefits are, theoretically, a “hand up” from the federal/state coffers, for people in temporary distress.  Many, many people have been in temporary distress for over fifty years.
  • People who have the nerve to equate minority groups with a rise in public assistance are ignorant racists.  The fact that, as a percentage of population, minority groups receive 70% of the public assistance is a fact that says nothing, except that whoever did the calculations must be racist.

I admit to not being a genius, but neither am I an idiot.  You cannot pee on my leg and tell me that it is raining.  I use logic and evidence – real, actual evidence, to support my opinions.  I have White friends, Black friends, Asian friends, even Gay and Biracial friends.  None of them, not a single one, would ever for a minute believe any of the BS bulleted above.  As different as they are from each other, they have one thing (at least) in common: They are not stupid!

Political / Philosophical Potpourri

Per the usual, I was holding a handful of blogs in “edit mode” for weeks.  After trying to edit / condense one of them, I gave up.  What you get, dear readers, is the thumbnail sketch of  all three in one posting.

The Constitution vs. Social Justice

Every chance I get, I watch “Washington Journal” on the original C-SPAN network.  For those unfamiliar with the program,  it is a two or three-hour (depending upon the starting gavel of the House of Representatives) call-in program in which certain topics are selected by the producers.  Various guests are sometimes included, but it is generally a venue for the “average voter” to address the various political and social topics of the day, with no interference or opinions from the host.   Naturally, “average voter” doesn’t really cover it.  Only political junkies watch or participate in this event.  Do not make the mistake of assuming that these callers actually know how the government works, either in theory or practice.  Many are profoundly ignorant of our system of representative government, but all have very strong opinions.

Nowhere can ignorance of the federal government be seen more clearly than in knowledge of the Constitution and separation of powers.  This cuts across all philosophical lines, although currently it seems much more prevalent among liberal Democrats and democratic socialists.  What I have observed in the last several months is the following:

  • While the Democratic Party was roundly slaughtered in the 2014 elections, from the state legislatures to the US Senate, you would never know it from the number of calls received from minority liberals, “peace-and-justice” liberals, and the group Rahm Emmanuel refers to as “crazy lefties”.  I think this is not a bias at C-SPAN, but rather the massive number of callers marshaled into action by Democratic boiler-rooms.
  • There is no concept of “Three Coequal Branches” as defined by the Constitution.  The Presidency, at least currently, trumps all other governmental entities for these groups.  Essentially, the American people elected, and re-elected a totalitarian leader who needs neither a congress nor a judicial system to “rule” the nation.  That seems to be fine with the majority of these callers.
  • The Constitution is not the basis of the law.  On the contrary, The law should bend to the will of the people, and not the majority of the people, but only the disenfranchised and oppressed, as defined by the disenfranchised and oppressed.
  • For the most part, economics in any real sense of the term is a complete mystery to these people.  They neither know nor care who or what pays for their “free stuff”.  It is quite more than fine to allow “the rich” to pay, and if they have to be forced to pay, there are no worries.  I have come to realize in listening to these callers that “the rich” seems to be anyone with employment that pays over minimum wage.
  • The answer to any question dealing with foreign affairs or defense is simply: “Why we be worried about that?  Why we killin’ all them brown people”?  “We need to feed our people right here at home!”

This is the Democratic base, my friends.  A gaggle of profoundly ignorant freeloaders who think little of dead police officers while bleating and moaning to any TV camera in reach about “poor little [fill in blank with neighborhood thug of choice]. There is one more concept that these callers lack knowledge of.  It is “Every action causes an equal and opposite reaction”.  In this case, the reaction may not be equal.

Nominate Someone Who Can Win!

I’ve been hearing that for a while now in establishment Republican circles.  Astoundingly, these are the same geniuses who rammed through George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain… has the United States of America, or at least the GOP, become the Soviet Union – foisting into nomination the oldest doddering has-been it can find? It is not a matter of liberalizing the GOP stance on immigration, but a matter of nominating candidates who are actually still alive!

All of the current establishment GOP power brokers will probably be dead within the next two election cycles.  If they retain control, the Republican Party will also be dead, and I will be the first to say “Good riddance”!  The party survived most of the twentieth century with a Gilded-Age outlook.  By 2016, at least for most voters under 40, they might as well be monarchists.  Not that the GOP won’t get young voters – look at the other choice – but these younger voters will be voting against the Democrats, not in any way for the GOP.

Blue Lives Matter and the “Militarization of Police”

The most unfortunate byproduct of the Ferguson, Missouri / Michael Brown event is not that a young man lost his life or that a good police officer’s life is ruined.  Instead, it is that a certain segment of the American population has decided that law-enforcement officers are now fair game, and more than a few politicians seem to be turning a blind eye to this.

Seemingly in league with “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” is the perceived “militarization of police”.  This has been a back-row topic among the crazy left for a couple of decades, as municipal police forces have had increasing access to disarmed surplus military transportation.  These vehicles provide light-armored transportation to riot scenes, etc., without putting police in danger from snipers or “ambush shooters”.  The media, either through ignorance or evil intent (I prefer the latter explanation), seem to think that these vehicles themselves present a danger to citizenry.

Other than common sense, which is no longer common, the average citizen does not avail him or herself with sources of information beyond the “mainstream news”.  As one conservative voter told me: “I just don’t care!”  If you don’t care to find the truth, you are likely to believe whatever is spoon-fed to you by corporatist elements whose profits are supported by ignorant, teeming Ugimme masses, happy and docile with “free stuff” and no liberty.

In the final analysis, it is the very law enforcement agencies that both politicians and minority citizens are declaring war on that will likely save their skins when the pot finally boils over, as it will.

The Truth No Longer Matters

I am a student of history.  I mean that in the broadest sense.  Academic historians are affixed to a certain period in a certain geographical area.  I’m a generalist.  My two favorite eras/places are Renaissance Italy  (for politics, not art), and the central Asian steppes from the beginning of time to the present.  But still, I am a generalist.  Ancient historians are not considered reliable because they “stretched the truth”.    I agree.  However, I can give you several instances in which the history of the “Watergate” scandal of the 1970’s has been stretched to the point of breaking in the most accepted  narratives, and yet both the public and professional historians eat it whole, because it fits the media narrative that has been around since the day after the break-in.     I’m sure the same could be found of the history of the British Raj or the American Civil War.  Roman Procurator Pontius Pilate said it best: “What is truth”?

In the America of the late 1950s and early 1960s,  I was taught that truth is truth.  “What really happened!”  The culture that I grew up in was more cut – and – dried, black and white (mostly white), protestant Christian.  It wasn’t until years later that I learned that “truth” has a great deal to do with perspective, and that one truth may depend upon a string of other truths, all inter-related.  Doubt one truth and you find yourself doubting them all.

When the “final” Justice Dept. report on the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown was released, the final nail was put into the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” coffin.  Even the most racist, left-wing justice department in a century could not find evidence that Michael Brown either said “Don’t shoot”, or put his hands up.  It doesn’t matter.  People from politicians, sports celebrities to street thugs have popularized “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”.    Most of them know by now that this never happened.  It doesn’t matter.  It expresses their frustration at being continually harassed by police, most of the time for very good reason.  It is something to fling in the face of “The Man”.  It is not the truth, but their truth.    Whether or not it actually happened, it illustrates for them what could have happened, and has happened, even if not in Ferguson.

Let me make it clear that these events are not limited to Leftist ideals.  Conservative politicians can mutilate truth with absolutely as much finesse as any socialist.  Let’s be honest; the conservative specialty is commerce.  Whether products or finance, the conservative absolutely excels at “making money”.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that in my book.  They shy away from fields such as academia and related enterprises, mainly due to the relatively low salaries attached to those professions.  So when the expert on the Middle East tries to explain to the congressional committee why the latest scheme to turn BFE into Bedford Falls won’t work,  the Republicans go nuts.  They know zip, zilch, nada about Islamic culture, but they are absolutely sure that everyone wants to be an American. “This guy is obviously a commie!  If it will work in Indiana, it will work in BFE!”  This is their truth.  Their truth comes from personal experience, which has probably never had a conversation with a village Arab, or any Arab or Muslim who didn’t graduate from Oxford or Harvard Business School.

In Sunday School in 1966, I couldn’t quite figure out what Pilate meant.

I know now.

What Do We Want?

I believe in synchronicity.  I don’t know why it happens or what, if anything, controls it.   Yesterday my offering in Imperium4256 was a mini-exposé on millennial libertarians and the eventual death of the conventional conservative movement.   This morning I open my e-mail to a newly released Gallup poll: “The Majority of Americans think that the Number One Problem in America is Government”.  Actually, government is the root of all of America’s problems.

For many years I was a “national security conservative”.  I was usually somewhat more liberal on domestic matters, but when it came to threats against the United States, I was right there with Dick Cheney.  But then I realized what Cheney apparently never did – the United States was manufacturing its own opposition.  Lt. Col. Ralph Peters said it best: “If you want to be successful in counterinsurgency warfare, use a knife”.  Politicians play to the voter, who most often has little concept of what is actually going on.  It is not that they are stupid, but they are ignorant.  Observing our system of government has taught me several things, one of which is that while civilian control of the military may help prevent coups and other nastiness, it leads most often to such sheer incompetence that it boggles the mind.  This is alive and well equally in both political parties.  Realizing that this is an organic situation directly wedded to our constitutional form of government, I have more or less given up my national security stance for a far more logical position.

I am a realist above all else.  I know that I hold certain philosophical positions that, short of an absolute miracle, will never occur in the US.  I also know that to continue on our present course will lead this nation into a wasteland.  It will destroy our economy, enervate its people, and eventually destroy our unity as a nation.  I’m not making any reference to party politics, as both parties are absolutely equally to blame.  I refuse to play “small ball”.  The argument that “if you don’t vote for X, then Y will win and…” only makes me feel sorry for the speaker.  They fail to see that our problem is systemic down to its root, and that no ‘party” can fix it.  Both parties are only capable of making it worse.

I am not convinced that our nation can be saved.  I’m not even sure that we have a 50/50 chance.  I suspect that my grandchildren may grow up to a dystopian world of violence and privation, but if we institute the following ASAP, they may have a chance:

Most powers of the federal government must be devolved to the states.  FDR’s total abuse of the “commerce clause” was an act of treason.  The federal government should exist solely for the defense of the states and to arbitrate disputes among the states.  Any other powers and duties are clearly unconstitutional.

Withdraw all United States armed forces back to the confines of the United States.  Many “conservatives” claim that the United States is not an empire.  They are both liars and fools.

Disband all federal welfare and “safety-net” institutions and provisions.  Under the Constitution, this is not the responsibility of the federal government.

Completely, totally dismantle the Federal Reserve, and return to a gold standard.  The idea of a fiat currency is at the same time both evil and stupid, unless of course your intent is to profit from the oppression of the people, in which case is convenient.

Abrogate every single “most-favored nation” trade agreement, put every foreign nation on the same footing, and institute tariffs.

Create a constitutional prohibition against federal judiciary interfering with any state constitutional amendment enacted by the majority of the voters of that state.  The penalty for violating this prohibition should be hideously severe.

There should be more, but that is a start.  None of these changes would be easy or painless.  But if the alternative is a civil war, I think we should try.

Government is Slavery. All Government.

I sent this e-mail to friends today:
“It hit me yesterday like a bolide from outer space. The problem isn’t with Democrats, Liberals, Socialists, RINOs, or the golf-pants gang (GOP), the problem is G-O-V-E-R-N-M-E-N-T!  Frankly, I think you all know that I didn’t like W much. Oh, sure, he was sincere enough. So was Mussolini. What the F–K does that even mean?  Now this complete cretin in the WH has so many different evil agendas going, even he can’t keep them straight.  If you expect the GOP to nominate anyone different from who they’ve been nominating since 1960, God be with you.”

“I’ve cast my lot with the objectivist/Anarcho-Capitalists. I want government destroyed.  In the words of Stefan Molyneux, ‘We’ll take over, and then leave you alone'”.

“Government is slavery.”

My younger readers already know this, because they are living it.  For “old geezers” like me, what you would call “conservatism” is going to die with my generation.  Oh sure, there will be little pockets of “culturally conservative” Christians and ultra-orthodox Jews here and there (Oklahoma City, Brooklyn), but there won’t be enough of them to affect any election, ever.

I work with people every day in the 20 – 35 age bracket.  They are not traditional conservatives.  They definitely are not anything close to “tax-and-spend liberals”.  They are true Libertarians, or as close as you can get.  They don’t care if you are gay, Black, Blue, bi-racial, or have horns and wings.  You don’t bother them; they won’t bother you.  They do not want to work for the government, because they’ve seen those who do.  They do not want to pay taxes to feed, clothe, and house those with no intention of working, and they don’t give a flying you-know-what about what happened to your ancestors.  If you don’t want to work, don’t work.  Eventually, someone will dispose of your corpse.  If you think that’s cruel, you are in for a very, very rough few years.  If we leave our world in their hands, I can happily go to my grave knowing that Liberty has won.

Objectivism has been around a long, long time.  Ayn Rand gave it a name in the 1940s.  American conservatives never warmed up to it, at least in part because it precludes a belief in a god.  The Millennials don’t have that hang-up at all, as current polls show.  Most of them don’t have their knickers in a knot over  illegal immigration, either, but they sure as Hell don’t want to pay for the “Dreamer’s” food and medical bills.  I agree.  What they want is to be left alone.  Left alone by a dishonest, thieving government that adds nothing to their lives.  The market will take care of itself, as it always would have without the do-gooder fools who make a dollar bottle of aspirin cost $12.95.

Frankly, all the pointed questions that government-lovers ask (including 85% of “conservatives”) have already been answered a hundred times over.  Some are either too lazy, or frankly, too stupid to bother to look.  Others just never considered an alternative to two-party slave masters.  All the information is “out there”.  It isn’t in Hillary’s e-mail server.  All you need is eyeballs and fingers.

I used to think that liberal government was slavery.  I was wrong.  ALL government is slavery.  Many will disagree.  Frankly, I’m really, really tired of caring.

For those of you who breathlessly wait for the next election, enjoy your servitude!

The Tommy Hanlon Problem in Conservativeland

I took eighth grade “civics” class with a boy named Tommy Hanlon.  Tommy was a big, red-faced Irish kid whose father was the local district attorney.  Tommy was an average student, as far as I knew.  In eighth grade, there is not a great deal of intellectual conversation, even in civics class.  But this was 1967.  The Vietnam War was in everyone’s living room every evening.  For many families, it was much closer than that.  My parents’ circle of friends had already suffered the death of one son.  More would follow.

As a younger teacher who saw her profession as a mission, Mrs. Suttles was not the type for stale lectures and rote memorization.  The one day that remains in my mind was our discussion of Viet Nam and the possible mining of Haiphong Harbor (it was mined years later, in 1972).  Our teacher pointed out that if the US mined the harbor, Canadian, British, other European and Soviet ships could be sunk, causing an international crisis.  While we took that in, Tommy jumped up and yelled; “Why are they there?  They are supposed to be our friends.  Bomb them too!”

There are many in the GOP that hold the Tommy Hanlon position.  Even in 1967, it was absurd, but in 2015, it dwells on the outer edge of insanity.  The United States is no longer the world’s foremost economic power.  Soon we will no longer be the foremost military power.  As for effective conventional military power, we have probably already lost that to China also.  “Are you kidding!!  Look at all the countries we are in!”  Exactly.  The United States reacts, regardless of which party is in power.  We put in troops, whether “advisors” or “boots on the ground”.  We win – we die – we leave.  They win.  The Chinese watch and wait.  Putin sends in two divisions wearing Nike T-shirts and Levi’s.  Suddenly, there’s a vote and territory X becomes part of the Russian Federation.   The Chinese watch and wait.  We go broke, holding a fire sale in Germany – “All Bases Must Go!  Tanks Included!”  We bomb ISIS targets in Syria –  two bombs a week.   The Chinese watch and wait.  Soon, Russian officers will be touring Estonia, Latvia, and Georgia.  The Chinese will be building a naval base in the Spratly Islands.  We will be busy telling Israel that they cannot defend themselves, while we create a thousand terrorists a day.

I am all in favor of the application of military power.  Smart military power.  Only where it’s needed.  Use a knife, not a nuke.

While Tommy Hanlon and Tiny Tim struggle for votes in America.