What Still Unites Us? Pat Buchanan

A friend sent me this Pat Buchanan column.  Pat’s thesis that the cultural divide threatens our continued existence as a country is one that I share.  If we don’t have a common history we respect or at least a respect for each other’s opinions of that history then how can we last as a country.

 

 

Source: What Still Unites Us?

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Concerning Racism and Prejudice “Having No Place in Our Country”

Following the revelatory events in Charlottesville, several politicians, many of them Republicans, bleated out the above line.  I, doubtlessly like many others, reflexively nodded in agreement. After all, our country is based on the ideal that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.  Who could disagree with the sentiments expressed, craven though they were, carefully crafted to take the politicians off the hook?  But on reflection, this sentiment reveals itself to be anti-liberal thus antithetical to our constitution and to our political system.  Indeed, the GOP leadership tacitly is supporting the so-called Antifa movement by agreeing with them that there are certain words, symbols and thoughts that cannot and must not be seen or heard in our country. 

The idea that there is ‘hate” speech that can be censured and suppressed is what has always separated the ideological systems of the Old World from ours politics.  Whether that ideological system is religious, socialist, conservative or whatever, it has been a tenet of the American system that all sides and all opinions have the right to be heard and disputed.  Jefferson and Madison, the two architects of our political system, would require that we listen to the Alt-Right protestors and then answer them correcting them where they are wrong and agreeing with them where they are right.  The interchange of opinions is necessary in our system where we replace force with reason and arbitrary authority with representative government.

There is a reason we have the first amendment after all and primarily it is to guarantee freedom of political speech.  It along with religious speech are the two most highly protected kinds of speech.  People literally have the right to profess their creed and to try to convince others to follow them.  This is a God-given right and it is absolutely required in a free society.  The attempt to suppress both religious and political speech has been going on for some time now.  The ultra Leftist Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled many churches as “hate” groups because their professions of faith don’t coincide with the Left’s latest ideas on sexuality.  The idea that a Christian church is a hateful institution shows how brazen the Left has become and how dangerous they are to the survival of our constitution.

As many others have pointed out, the abuse of language is the Left’s primary tool that it employs to muzzle debate.  Just look at the words racism and prejudice.  What do these words mean?  How is the Left employing them?  Let’s dispense first with the word prejudice because prejudice is necessary to survival.  You step out your front door and you encounter “a narrow fellow in the grass” so you jump back.  Then you discover it’s a garter snake and not a copperhead.  But you didn’t stop to consider that first because doing so might mean that you are now on the way to the hospital. So saying there is no room for prejudice is nonsensical and even stupid.  Prejudice is behavior learned from experience. So let’s move on to that more explosive word meant to shut down debate, i.e. racist.

This word is so loaded that it has long since ceased to be worth using.  When was the last time any one met a real racist? I mean a person who seriously believes that one race is superior or inferior to another based on mentality, intellectuality, morality, or any other aspect.  We all know there are subtle racial differences but none of these trumps individuality, which in reality is the only thing that matters.  What we have now is chauvinism, which is when some people for whatever reason decide they like some things that they ascribe as general attributes to their race or they don’t like some things that they ascribe to another race.  It is a general prejudice that people have willfully developed.  While it is true that some snakes are venomous and in some places, a lot of snakes are venomous, every one knows that most snakes are not venomous.  It is not subtle and most everyone involved knows it is not true, but through frustration, lazy thinking, evil intentions and downright pique they have decided to profess it.  And today, it is mostly Leftists who do so.

Leftists have decided to concentrate on racism not because they are racists, as some conservatives posit, but because they believe it will give them political victory.  It is dishonest to the core.  The Left has lost election after election, and no longer has faith that it can win a political argument on socialist propositions, e.g., single-payer healthcare, higher taxes, etc.  So the Left resorts to one of the oldest plays in the book, name calling and in so doing hopes to shut down debate by claiming that their opponents are so bad that they are not even worth engaging.  This tactic is doubly ingenious because it allows them to keep constituencies they badly need.  Never mind how well off blacks and Hispanics have become in our country.  The Left must try to convince them they have prospered in spite of our racist capitalist culture, not because of it.

So while people of good will can admit that racism is bad,  and we should call out groups who seek to denigrate people based on race or color and creed or religion, we must also allow that people who hold such views have the right to express their views.  We can easily defeat such views in the open marketplace of honest debate.  Being smug and feeling superior to such people is bad enough but having the hubris to believe that gives you the right to attack people, hurt them physically, deny them economic and political liberty is another.  We have an obligation to love each other and first try to correct error rather than destroy each other.  We also must be vigilant against unscrupulous Leftists who seek to use scurrilous charges of racism to silence their opponents.  We must continually resist this for what it is, a weakness and not a strength.  And finally, we must confront the Antifa movement and its violent attempts to stop debate and enforce its warped view of political correctness.  If we don’t, the noble American experiment of self-government based on reason and open debate will have failed.  America will descend into Bolshevism and brutality, and the light of our “shining city upon a hill” will be snuffed out forever.

Congress and State Legislatures Must Reclaim Their Prerogatives

We’ve seen some blowback in North Carolina after their legislature passed legislation to take some appointee power away from the governor following the narrow election of a liberal governor. The timing may be unseemly, but I applaud a legislature that is trying to take back its authority.  For too long, we’ve forgotten the lessons learned in the Revolution regarding strong governors with regal authority.  The first state constitutions sought to reduce the possibility of imperial rule by putting most power in the legislative hands and by limiting governors to short terms with limited veto power.  Over the years, people have gotten lazy and allowed governors longer terms and stronger veto power.  And legislatures too often have passed general legislation allowing the executive not only put the laws into effect but given them wide discretion in fleshing out the details of the laws themselves.  This led inexorably to regulatory power unchecked by the people’s representatives, effectively enacting a law that has no popular foundation.

In Alabama, for example, though the governor does have a veto, it amounts most of the time to nothing more than an advisory opinion.  Unless, the legislature has adjourned, it may easily override the governor’s veto with a simple majority. The Legislature enjoys the power to set the agenda with little interference from the governor.  And with fairly small budgets and low taxes, the legislature has managed to check the growth of the state bureaucracy.  This has been the hallmark of most of the Red states.  Unfortunately, the larger states have followed the example of our national government and created large bureaucracies that make it easier to thwart the will of the people.

Since the Great Depression, Congress has ceded more and more authority to regulate to executive agencies.  Initially, this was done to allow the president to move rapidly and to experiment in a crisis.  Over time, Congress got used to passing large pieces of popular legislation.  Keeping the laws ambiguous made it easier to forge the coalitions necessary to pass them (60 votes being necessary in the Senate).  They would then leave it up to the president’s ministers, ostensibly working with congressional committees, to work out the details.

Congress also created regulatory commissions charged with the power to oversee banking, communications, business and transportation.  Because of the great power delegated to them, the laws required  the commissioners to be bipartisan with fixed terms to shield them.  But by custom, the president is allowed to have a majority from his party on each commission.  A two-term president usually appoints a majority who share his ideology and agenda.  And so they can work his will.  For example, the FCC last year issued controversial rules on so-called favored.  The FTC, SEC, and others work in the same way. The independence of the independent regulatory commissions turns out to be more a fiction than a reality.

It is worse in the cabinet departments and federal agencies such as the EPA, HHS,  DHS, that are directed by a single administrator named by the current president.  They are free to issue regulations and exempt favored groups from those regulations.  No wonder a president believes he can work without Congress.  Short of lawsuits and impeachments, there seems little that Congress can do to rein in individual abuses.  The president’s veto power and the two-thirds’ vote needed to override him gives the president the upper hand in dealing with conflicts over policy.  This is not what the founders intended.  They wanted to make it difficult to pass laws but they expected the president to execute the law as it was passed and not to be making law himself.

When it was usual for Congress to be controlled by the same party as the president, the triangle of Congressional Committee, executive regulator and affected consumer groups could usually mitigate against overweening executive power.  But in the age of Obama, this iron triangle’s power has been reduced and Congress has proved unwilling to confront the president.  The result has been an embolden president who feels free to use his pen to circumvent the will of Congress. 

We must redress this imbalance.  This window of opportunity will pass quickly and no doubt there will be future presidents eager to circumvent Congress.  Congress must reclaim the power of the purse and use it to rein in the growth and power of the bureaucracy.  And, they must narrowly tailor laws so that agencies have less latitude for interpretation.  Major new regulations such as net neutrality or reinterpretation of law should require Congressional action.  The Courts have taken a dim view of the legislative veto so Congress must avoid its use. They should seek to limit executive authority by amending the laws that set up the agencies.  And they must ensure that new laws are written carefully so that future policies have to take into account the wishes of the people’s representatives.

The Worst Songs of the Christmas Season

Every year I look forward to hearing the Sounds of the Season on the radio or television.  DirecTV turns the 40s channel into a Christmas channel and Magic 96 in Birmingham plays just Christmas music from early November through Christmas Day.  I appreciate the effort, but it usually leaves me flat.  It isn’t just that they don’t play enough real CHRISTmas songs.  Or that some of the “artists” they select leave one underwhelmed.  All that I expect.  There is no accounting for taste as they say. 

It’s just that way, way too many of the songs have nothing to do with the Christmas event, secular or sacred.  Many offenders are winter songs, usually something to do with snow, that can be rather jolly. Still, too many Christmas songs that might put one in a festive mood, whether they be Santa songs or songs that truly herald the birth of Jesus, end up lost in the shuffle.  I can think of a couple of inoffensive show tunes that have become seasonal standards. Toyland has nothing to do with Christmas.  It’s just a Victor Herbert song from his operetta on Mother Goose.  It is rather sad about leaving childhood where one “can never return again”.  Another new standard is My Favorite Things from the “Sound of Music”.  These are wistful and can make you think about Christmases past so that redeems them somewhat.

The truly horrible songs, however, don’t have this redeeming quality. They are just seduction songs that mix in some ice and snow.  Many are dirges about some love affair that went awry.  Here in no particular order is my preliminary playlist of the Truly Horrible Songs I’ve heard ad nauseam this Christmas.

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Baby, it’s cold outside.  I was horrified a few years ago to hear this Esther Williams seduction number had been turned into a holiday song.  It’s not even really cold outside as the scene takes place in LA and Esther is swimming outside most of the time in her signature bathing suits.  I don’t revile it at all for what it is and the PC crowd’s silly sniveling about it being a date rape song makes me want to like it even more.  But, it is NOT a Christmas song.  Christmas isn’t even portrayed in the movie.  Ricardo Montalbán is in town to play polo, and it is sunny and warm as usual.

Snow.  This Rosemary Clooney song also comes from a movie, “White Christmas”, so at least it has a Christmas theme.  But the entire song is about snow and how soon they will see it and can go skiing.  She is so enthralled with the white stuff that she wants to wash her face and hair with it.  Even up north snow usually doesn’t arrive until after Christmas.  You have to go to the mountains to get it beforehand.  Snow just leaves me cold.  We got it Christmas Eve exactly once in my lifetime, in 1985.  I guess it was nice.  I worried about making it to Christmas dinner the next day, but of course, it melted away immediately.  Thank Goodness!

Let it Snow.  I guess you are getting the theme now.  Yep, it is another seduction, possibly post seduction song about how it is starting to snow or may snow so there’s no need to hurry out into it, and Dino and friend can spend some quality time popping corn and snuggling by the fire.  Nothing wrong in any of that except that it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with Christmas.  Christmas isn’t mentioned at all in the song. Ostensibly it’s February and it’s really COLD outside (not LA). So by all means, cuddle by the fire, do some snogging, drink some hot cocoa, but don’t play this song at Christmas.  Thank you very much.

Frosty the Snowman.  Ok, I admit I hate including this song, because it is jolly, and there are children in it playing with a magical snowman who came to life one day, probably AFTER Christmas.  Again Christmas isn’t mentioned in the song.  True, they turned it into a Christmas themed cartoon narrated by Jimmy Durante.  He led them down the streets of town right to a traffic cop.  Hey, don’t you cry, he’ll be back again next year. So, white lives do matter.  It is charming in a heavy hammy way, but I hate songs about snow.  So enough said.

Blue Christmas.  Ok, it mentions Christmas, but that isn’t enough or at least it isn’t Christmassy enough.  I love the King of Rock-and-Roll as much or as little as the next guy, but the song is a downer.  It is a post love affair gone south (unfortunately not south enough as he still mentions the white stuff).  It will be a blue Christmas without her and cold too no doubt.  She’ll be doing alright with her Christmas of white but he’ll have a blue, blue, blue, BLUE Christmas.  Where’s my Prozac?  Thanks man for destroying the Christmas mood.  And happy new year to you too.

So this is Christmas. OMG, where do I start with this shrug of a song?  Ho hum, SO this is Christmas.  This is the modern version of “Bah! Humbug!”.  What have we done?  I suppose you will want the WHOLE day off?  Can’t you Bob Cratchits do something meaningful to save the world?  What a waste of carbon credits! Don’t you dare squander any more coal! Stop populating the world with tiny Tims.  It’s the Earth, stupid.  Why isn’t it titled Just Imagine There’s No Christmas? It would make the cheerless thought complete.

Winter Wonderland.  I know, I know.  It is so popular and upbeat, and it is ubiquitous.  And it sounds Christmassy. At least, the seduction is headed somewhere since they do want Parson Brown to marry them as soon as he’s in town.  Old Rev. Brown must get around.  It’s so quaint that she’s holding out for the ring.  Until then, they frolic and play in the Eskimo way while pretending that the snowman they built is a circus clown.  Well, that just turned creepy.  Let’s move on.

Jingle Bells.  This song was written by the uncle of J.P. Morgan.  Morgan must have been so proud. JP made his money financing huge corporations but his uncle was one of the first to make it big in advertising.  This jolly song has nothing to do with Christmas either unless, of course, you are in the market for a new sleigh.  It has a different take on seduction. Just think what a stud you will be when you pull up to Fanny Bright’s house in your spanking new 1857 Pierpont Sleigh LX Deluxe.  She’ll love the Metallic Crimson paint job.  Oh no, they fall into a snowdrift and get upsot.  He wrecked it the very first day and hadn’t even made the first payment.

Last Christmas. He gave her his heart and the very next day, she gave it away.  Sigh, well that’s life.  It’s a Christmas song because this happened to him somewhere around Christmas last year. Pathetic.  This is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. It’s all about “me” and the bad choices “I” made last year.  This year, he’ll give his heart to someone SPECIAL.  Well, let’s hope he chooses more wisely. He’s known her two weeks this time.  Remember, just because they meet under the mistletoe doesn’t mean it’s true love.  But hey, thanks for sharing.  Thanks for taking the magic out of the season.  In other words, thanks for nothing.

Feel free to send me your nominations.  Perhaps,  I’ll do a list of honorable mentions next Christmas.  I’ll blog them to someone special.  Merry Christmas and God bless us everyone!

What’s Honor Got To Do With It?

Recently, the students and faculty at Bryn Mawr College “freaked out” when two Southern girls decided they would exhibit the Confederate Battle Flag in a free speech area.  You can read the story here.  Predictably, after weeks of harassment, the two have caved and apologized, but some academic fascists are still demanding that they be punished for violating the “Honor” code?  Why would one go to such a hateful, illiberal liberal arts school?  And what does honor have to do with hounding two young ladies because the mavens of the thought police have nothing better to do?

One wonders what Woodrow Wilson would say. He left Bryn Mawr for Wesleyan College early in his career because he found the students there listless and uninspiring.  No doubt, the college now has monuments to him after he became the father of the Democratic Progressivism. How ironic to recall that it was President Wilson who re-segregated Washington as one of his first reforms.

Progressives fear the Confederate flag because it represents resistance to their concept of what people ought to think.  Southerners were forced back into the union, and their flag is a constant reminder that some people remain who have not acquiesced to their world view.  Many will not accept the dogma of Political Correctness or worship at the Shrine of Holy Government.

The single important issue over which I disagree with the Confederacy is slavery.  But take our present union (please!), and I find a lot more with which to disagree.  In fact, it is just about everything.

I don’t like our government’s policies on healthcare, homosexual “marriage”, school prayer, abortion or contraception.  I don’t agree with reverse discrimination and affirmative action (just as I disagreed with the national Jim Crow laws and “separate but equal” policy that came before).  I disagree with the need for bureaucracies like the EPA, its environmental policy, the overweening scope of government, its banking policy, and the “too big to fail mentality”.  I disagree with our blanket welfare policy, food stamps and student loans for everyone.  I disagree with motor voter laws and with our immigration policy.  I don’t like the confiscatory, mendacious federal tax policy and its attendant redistribution of income.   I fervently disagree with corporate welfare, foreign aid (except for allies in time of war), women in combat and openly gay soldiers or scouts.  Furthermore, I don’t like that it takes 10+ years to execute a vicious killer.

And I completely disdain our present public school system, which is rarely more than a combined day camp, kindergarten and entertainment center that refuses to inculcate American values while brainwashing too many mushy young brains into approving the aforementioned abhorrent policies.

Using the progressives’ same hateful, illogical reasoning, Southerners should burn every American flag they see.  But we can divorce the American flag and its ideals from the dangerous, nihilistic, stupid and, above all, impractical policies foisted upon us by the addled-brained socialists just as we can appreciate the meaning of a contemporary display of a flag without embracing the negative aspects of its heritage.

Whose Outdated Ideas?

Barack Obama today accused Mitt Romney of offering outdated ideas to the country.  On the contrary, it is Obama who holds the outdated beliefs who created the policies that are responsible for the anemic, practically non-existent, economic recovery from which the United States is suffering.  The extreme form of these ideas has been tried and failed in Moscow, Beijing, Havana and currently Caracas.  Indeed, their utter failure has been such that both Moscow and Beijing all but abandoned them years ago.  Gentler forms of these ideas have also been tried in Lisbon, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Rome and Athens.  As Senator Marco Rubio said Thursday night, Obama’s ideas are the ones from which immigrants come to America to escape.  In other words, they seek the opportunities that freedom and free enterprise offer.

Mr. Obama has spent better than $12 billion dollars (half of which he borrowed) to try to create a new America. These expenditures are the modern-day equivalent of the Stalinist five-year plans of the 1930s.  They failed then and are failing again.  They merely grow the bureaucrats who with few exceptions do not create goods and services that people want to buy.  The president’s useless stimulus plan which funneled money to cronies and pie-in-the-sky utopian projects is a good example. 

Another longer lasting and ultimately more calamitous example is Obamacare, which when it becomes fully operational will replace an important part of our economy with government workers, political boards and public corporations whose costs cannot be controlled and where innovation will be slow or nonexistent.  It will be the Post Office competing against UPS and FedEx.  Only that people can bypass the Post Office and use FedEx; however, under Obamacare, most people will be forced to use government healthcare because they won’t be able to afford private healthcare.  So maybe a better comparison is public education, which created public schools for the many and left private schools for the few.  Currently, we have the best healthcare in the world, but according to most surveys, we have the worse schools (in the western world at least). 

Certainly, government can provide assistance to people in bad times to help mitigate the effects of an economic depression.  Transfer payments can prime the pump to use FDR’s famous metaphor, but they cannot replace the pump.  Government can never match entrepreneurs seeking profit when it comes to their efficient use of private investment or their deployment of human resources, their work ethic and continual innovation.  Only entrepreneurs can create the goods and services that feed the market to create the wealth that increases the standard of living.  Governments can merely coerce people to accept grudgingly the services they provide but consumers eagerly embrace the goods and services they can choose freely.  And entrepreneurs in competition constantly refine and create new goods and services for them.

Government has a role in play in markets.  It can level the playing field, break up monopolies, provide positive externalities (the roads and bridges that Mr. Obama confuses with entrepreneurs who build a business), and help remove negative ones.  But for the past 4 years, government has been the problem and the solution we need right now is a return to Reaganomics and his policies of growth.  Alas, it appears we shall have to get a new president who isn’t under the spell of outdated ideas.

Our shameful lying president

Can this election come to soon?  All of a sudden, Mr. I-Will-Let-The-Bush-Tax-Cuts-Die is calling for renewing them but only for lower and middle income earners. This is the same person who campaigned in 2008 on letting the tax cuts die.  The very same who during the 2010 Congressional elections said he would never renew them, who then suddenly reversed himself and agreed to extend them for two years.  At the time he said that it was foolish to raise taxes during a recession.  Well duh!  But no one asks, so what has changed?

No sooner did he sign the tax cut extender measure (along with Obamacare his sole legislative achievement), he began once again drawing another line in the sand vowing once again never to extend them.  Along comes a disastrous time in his campaign with polls showing Romney closing in on him, that he suddenly reverses himself once more.  Now he says to Congress, let’s skip the drama and just extend them for the folks who need them.  He claims that we cannot afford to “spend billions of dollars on tax cuts for the wealthy”.  Never mind that the money those “wealthy” pay in taxes will come out of the pockets of the wage earners they either lay off or will not hire, but since when does not receiving revenue equal spending?  — A typical socialist tactic!

Every economist knows that the only way to create jobs is to create wealth and wealth can only be created by capital investing in business expansion.  Every economist on television practically screams that what we need from government is to get rid of the uncertainty.  Almost all suggest that he make the Bush tax cuts permanent.  Moreover, he needs to cut the deficit so that inflation fears will be calmed and the Federal Reserve can return to a more normal modus operandi where people will feel safe to invest and save money.  Mr. Obama implicitly lies every time he claims he wants to create jobs.  His policies have been the opposite of what is needed.  Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush, Jr. all found ways to foster a good business environment and each one’s policies led to a decade of prosperity.  Obama has only pushed measures and issued executive orders that create more regulation and a more hostile environment for business.  Obamacare indeed threatens to remove a huge chunk of the business sector altogether robbing us of 15% of the opportunities to expand the GDP and collect tax revenue.

Our dear leader is interested in creating jobs, but only if they are part of the government bureaucracy.  These kind are paid for with tax revenue, but don’t generate profits that could be taxed.  Instead of creating wealth and manufacturing a product that might add to the GDP, they rob the private sector of capital that would create wealth.  And from this expansion of wealth taxed at a business-friendly rate, we could bring in more receipts that could be used to pay for vital government programs or decrease the debt.

Any high school student with a decent government or economics class under his belt knows this, but being a socialist Democrat means never having to acknowledge reality nor having to worry about being called out for your pandering policy and disingenuous statements, i.e., lies.