Black Man with a Gun: Beautiful Loser

David Cole at Black Man with a Gun talks about something which, hopefully, most of us have all realized about politicians in general, not just pseudo-republicans — namely that they only care about maintaining their place at the trough — in Beautiful Loser.

“He’s your oldest and your best friend
If you need him, he’ll be there again
He’s always willing to be second-best
A perfect lodger, a perfect guest”

The recent events in Washington have highlighted a recurring thought of mine. As we watch Republican after Republican run away from President Trump and his agenda, I keep hearing political commentators saying that “Republicans don’t know how to win.” I don’t think that’s true at all. After all, you don’t maintain a seat in the U.S. Senate for 35 years if you don’t know how to win. You’ve actually been winning for some time.

The problem is that when you and I think of winning, we’re thinking of advancing conservative principles as they pertain to government. And in that sense, we can all agree that they are huge losers. But to the modern Vichy Republican, winning means maintaining their position as DC elite, not preserving the Constitution or the Republic it created. Consider these words by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem:

“There are a lot of Americans whose frustration has been building for many years. Republicans have had opportunities to fix our healthcare system, reform immigration, and get our fiscal house in order, among many other things. Republicans have had chances to deliver for the American people. But we haven’t followed through…Republicans have not been disciplined enough to do the hard work. The American people need us to fight for them on a daily basis, not just 30 to 60 days before an election.”

She’s not wrong. But unfortunately, to these Vichy Republicans it is not only acceptable to come in second place, it is actually preferable. As the minority party, they aren’t expected to produce any results. All they need to do is shake their fists at the sky, and mouth some conservative words until they inevitably lose to the Democrat majority. Then they take the video of their “fiery takedown” of the Democrats and weave it into their next campaign ad, so they can tell you how they “fought the good fight” and how they’ll keep fighting for you (against insurmountable odds) if you’ll just vote for them one more time.

Republican chair of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, Thomas Massie. Voted NO on reciprocity then, doesn’t support it now.

Take the current iteration of H.R. 38, the national concealed carry reciprocity bill. If it sounds familiar, it’s because it keeps getting recycled every Congress, where it fails to pass every single time…yet is used as cover for Vichy Republicans to bolster their pro-2A bona fides without having to produce any real change. Even in 2017, when Republicans held both houses of Congress and the Oval Office, our own Republican “leadership” couldn’t find the cojones to pass it; after repeated badmouthing* from Congressman Thomas Massie (Republican founder and chair of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus) Republican Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell folded right up and let it die in committee.

If the GOP had any intention of advancing the conservative agenda, they’d have passed that bill. But that would have landed them on the bad side of people they want to stay in good with…and that’s not you. It’s the other politicians’ good graces they need to keep winning, and that means they need to lose. They know you’ll be there for them come election day, because where else are you going to go? Sure, there will be some voter pushback, and some Republicans will lose some elections. But not all of them. There will still be Vichy Republicans enjoying the good life in DC, so who are you calling loser?

The American Mind: Blue America Needs Red America

From Hillsdale College’s Michael Anton, writing at The American Mind, comes Blue America Needs Red America

In a recent essay in The New Republic, Chris Caldwell predicts the coming crackup of the Blue coalition. Since I argued something very similar in my recent book, The Stakes, I naturally agree with the thrust of his thesis.

Except, I think, with the conclusion. Caldwell notes in the last paragraph that

in the 1860s, three major Western countries—Germany, Italy, and the United States—each fought similar wars of national unification, in which the more dynamic part of the country subjugated the more bucolic (or backward) part. In our time, Democrats are the party of relatively greater technological and demographic dynamism, Republicans the party of relatively less. This is not the same type of relationship as the one that obtained until half a century ago, when Republicans were (roughly speaking) the party of capital, and Democrats the party of labor. Capital and labor need each other in a way that dynamism and tradition do not. One fears the present conflict will differ accordingly.

The point about the three great examples of the advanced part of a nation subjugating the backward part is insightful and chilling. I do believe that is what Blue America intends for Red.

But Caldwell further says that dynamism does not need tradition in the same way that labor needs capital and vice versa. I suppose the qualification “in the same way” makes that statement true, but Caldwell’s implication seems to be that they don’t need each other at all. Is that really true?

I doubt it, for a number of reasons. In our specific context, “dynamism” is not what it was in the 1860s, when “dynamism” was quite materially, physically productive. Contemporary “dynamism” is productive on paper but not in the physical world. Blue elites have bet their entire project, and all their status and wealth, on the proposition that this distinction doesn’t matter. No, even more: they’re entirely convinced that “knowledge” productivity is inherently superior to physical productivity. But what if that bet doesn’t pay off? What if physical productivity is inherently more valuable economically, socially and politically, more conducive to civic life? What if virtual productivity depends decisively on its physical counterpart?

To what extent, also, is our paper productivity simply fake? I’m no expert on high finance, but our whole economy seems to me to be jury-rigged, smoke-and-mirrors—dependent as it is on debt, fiat currency, etc.

The Blue Economy

Mass financialization seriously drives the Blue economy. This seems to be based on a few factors, all of which are inherently unstable. The first is a reliance on monetary policy, which is mostly chicanery—zero interest rates for more than a decade now?—and which depends on the dollar’s status as a reserve currency, on the willingness of foreigners to lend us money, and on our ability not necessarily to pay them back (we almost certainly can’t, and even more certainly won’t) but to meet the interest payments.

All of these are interconnected and will go on until they don’t, or can’t. But they seem to have much less staying power than the massive economic expansion from roughly the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th, which was driven by concrete innovation and delivered real gains in standards of living for all classes.

A related but hardly irrelevant point: financialization seems to amount in large part to creating new “products” and markets at the high end, which enrich elites based on…what? Rents excreted out of government monetary policy, outsourcing, immigration, globalization, etc.—all of which make the middle and the heartland poorer. In particular, financialization means finding new ways to stoke consumerism from people who can’t really afford “stuff” like they (or their parents) used to and so must pay for with debt, which obviously benefits banks, in two ways. They make money on the front end through “market-making” and financing the global expansion of big business, and on the back end by lending (and charging usurious interest rates and late fees) to consumers. This is, of course, parasitic.

The other major pillar of the Blue economy is Big Tech, the actual rewards accruing to which appear to be wildly out of proportion to the benefits conferred. When you think back to what the Industrial Revolution accomplished in the transportation sector and manufacturing alone, all of it was vastly more “concrete” than what tech is doing. And the earlier expansions’ benefits were far more transformative and widespread. 1900 looked far less like 1860 than 2020 looks like 1980. Tech is powerful today because of how it can throttle information flows, but information flows are as old as writing. Tech is an effective instrument of tyranny but it does not yet provide benefits for most people that aren’t merely frivolous or enstupefying. Which is in itself a problem for the “dynamic” coalition.

The last element of the Blue economy is media, broadly understood, which either doesn’t make money but is subsidized by Tech or Techies, or does make money but only through its tight alliance with Big Tech, to which it is an appendage. Media (to be more specific, propaganda) is the pillar of the Blue regime, in the sense that it is in effect its army and police force. But as such, it is fundamentally a cost center, not a profit generator.

Perhaps most important, those most emblematic of Blue America, and of the Blue economy—coders, app developers, financiers, VCs, senior managers, foundation grant-makers, professors, vice chancellors for diversity, bloggers, Vox editors, sous chefs, hairstylists, interior decorators, handbag designers, etc.—do not constitute a majority, or even close, of Blue America. They are in fact a minority—and a small minority.

The Blue coalition is something like a layer cake in which the only visible part is the frosting. But underneath that veneer is a light, airy, spongy, not very filling mass that constitutes (spit-balling here) something like 80% of the cake. It doesn’t contribute much to Blue America’s self-congratulatory wealth or “dynamism.” It is, like Blue America’s propaganda arm, a cost center—only much, much more costly. The one thing it contributes is votes. But those votes, even when obtained lawfully, are very expensive. It is at the very least an open question how long “productive” “dynamic” America can generate enough wealth to fund the accustomed lifestyle of the frosting and enough to cover the subsistence of the crumbs sufficiently to keep them turning out to vote the “correct” way.

Blue Subjugation

All of this suggests that the “dynamic” Blue part of the country needs the “backward” Red part a lot more than Caldwell estimates, for a few fundamental reasons. One, the latter are consumers of the stuff the Blues are selling: pixels, bytes, and debt. Second, to the extent that anything gets made any more in this country (other than, perhaps, motherboards), Red people make them. Third, they grow all or most of the food. Fourth, they do the lion’s share of so-called “dirty jobs” or grunt work. Granted, they aren’t hotel maids in Blue cities. But all kinds of other things get done by them and only by them—both Red people in Blue areas and Red people in Red areas, whose work product gets transported into Blue areas also by Red people.

More fundamentally, “dynamism” is inherently parasitic on stability, which is to say virtue. Yes, I know Red America with its opioid crisis, obesity epidemic, welfare usage, etc., is not as virtuous as it used to be. And in some ways—high divorce and illegitimacy rates—it’s in worse shape than the Blue upper and upper-middle classes. But it is also more religious, patriotic and tradition-minded. These traits provide some measure of continuity to a society that is otherwise continually in the process of upheaval owing to the “dynamic” half of the country. What happens when that brake on dynamism is gone, or becomes so weak that it can no longer slow down the car?

Dynamic America has a few ways to address this problem. It can subjugate, as Caldwell says, Boring America. Or it can try to import or develop a Boring class of its own that it can boss around within the confines of Blue America. But the latter solution presumably will, sooner or later, lead to the same problem. “Blue helots” will still be helots. Eventually they will see themselves as such and develop similar interests and political impulses. At which point they will have to be subjugated, too.

Subjugation—whether of a Red class within Blue borders or of Reds where they live now—carries the same risks. One is a reaction that breaks the system and ends the subjugation. That end could take the form of a new settlement that keeps the whole together, perhaps via a kind of radical federalism and regionalism. Or it might lead to a formal separation. Or it might simply end the United States altogether, to be replaced by God-only-knows-what. Barring overt rebellion, the other likely outcome is a kind of implicit general strike in which the Reds’ output and contributions decline.

Aren’t we already seeing at least nascent signs of both? Isn’t the Deplorable support for Trump a sign of rebellion, while the opioid crisis, etc., are signs of apathy and despair?

No one—at least not I—can say which reaction will prevail. But it seems to me that one eventually must if Blue subjugation continues. Which it surely will. The Blues have all the power now, with precious few exceptions, and I see no sign of moderation or circumspection in any of them whatsoever.

Blues sense, at a deep if subconscious level, their need for Reds. Much of their talk about the superiority of their society, economy, and way of life is cant. They may not want to think about where their grubby necessities come from, but they know it’s not from themselves and hence intuit that it must come from somewhere—and someone.

Then there is the unpleasant fact that Blue America wants to rule Red in a way that the latter does not want to rule Blue. To borrow from Machiavelli, in the present-day United States, these two diverse humors are found, which arises from this: that the Blues desire to command and oppress the Reds, while the Reds wish to be neither commanded nor oppressed. Machiavelli offers two solutions to this perennial, inherently irreconcilable conflict. To a prince (sitting or would-be), he recommends becoming the leader-vindicator of the backward or bucolic or less dynamic side and sticking it to the dynamos. To the founder of a republic, he urges the creation of institutions through which both sides harness their mutual enmity to team up and wring the good life out of foreigners.

The problem with the latter solution Machiavelli partly illuminates in another passage where he describes Ferdinand and Isabella’s expulsion of the Jews from Spain as an act of “pious cruelty,” that is, cruelty allegedly in the service of God. Pious cruelty is perhaps the animating impulse of the average Blue’s outlook and behavior toward the average Red: the spirit of the Grand Inquisitor, who, as he flogs you for heresy, really believes he is saving your soul. This, too, is not a recipe for long-term stability. Even—especially—if the Blues win.

In sum, my contention is that dynamism needs tradition more than the reverse, and that tradition may not need dynamism at all—if it’s willing to live a little poorer and with slow or no WiFi.

I leave to the reader to decide for himself whether this short missive has ended on a hopeful note or gives cause for alarm.

The American Mind: A House Dividing?

The American Mind talks about the widening chasm between liberal and conservative Americans in A House Dividing? The piece includes links to other essays which further discuss the issues.

We do not publish this feature lightly. Nor do we intend to take a firm editorial stance in the debate. But it is past time to bring the discussion Americans are now having in private into public light. The longer it stays underground and forbidden, the more we risk serious and sudden shocks to our political and cultural life together. Only by having this debate out in public can we hope to resolve the current crisis.

When we can’t agree as a people on the purpose of government, or even about what human nature is, the next logical question is: how can we stay together as citizens? What truths, in other words, do we still think self-evident? What is the basis of our shared citizenship? Where is the growing divide in America leading us, and what is the best path forward?

The best book on the topic has been written by our colleague Michael Anton, who explores these questions in The Stakes, which we encourage you to read. Examining the contemporary scene, we find those, like Geoffrey Vaughan, who acknowledge the deepening divide yet hold that the structure of American government stands. In “Madison Wins, Factions Lose,” he argues that “Madison has continued to outwit the ideologues and factionalists.” And, after all, even Democrats who support packing the Supreme Court and adding Puerto Rico as a state are operating within the Constitutional framework. Republicans now eye the Constitution’s requirement that state legislators ultimately choose their state’s electors to the Electoral College.

Yet one must also note that changes to the Constitution’s Electoral College and the apportionment of the U.S. Senate are being openly proposed by mainstream Democrats. Further, while the Constitution at least partially holds, the question is how long it can continue to keep a house divided together. In the midst of the growing divide in America, red counties are growing increasingly eager to leave blue states and reconstitute red ones even as blue states have been saber-rattling for four years about federalism and state prerogatives. This week, we present the visions of two pseudonymous authors pointing toward a national separation in the interest of preserving the union.

It is not only young radicals who are thinking though a potential balkanization and breakup of the nation. Many engaged citizens are talking about such things in private. It is particularly worth noting that many highly competent professionals throughout the country—notably those in finance and tech whose livelihoods are tied to judging reality as it is and not as they’d like it be—quietly believe that America is headed towards an even deeper divide. Many are silent readers of this website, and in private they often offer dark thoughts about the state of our financial system, Big Tech, and our political culture.

In “2020: A Retrospective from 2025,” Professor “Tom Trenchard” provides an account of what might happen if red counties began to act as a unified front against the blue cities that propelled Joe Biden’s vote count. This is not merely a fantasy: red county repartition movements have been picking up steam, and Trenchard’s account identifies the real divide in American political life between rural and urban areas.

Finally, in the essay of the week, “Rebecca” presents an extended argument for the depth of the divide, proposing that the only way to resolve it is a more radical form of federalism. This “proposal for a renewed America” is not an argument for secession, but a peaceful process whereby both sides are allowed some measure of self-governance, with an eye to reunification. As the author says, “The two Americas avow their disagreements. The Separation respects reality and seeks peaceful co-existence.”

Such thoughts are no longer wild-eyed fantasy. Both pseudonymous essays vaguely echo Angelo Codevilla’s thoughts at the end of Revolution 2020 and “Our Revolution’s Logic.” These voices now represent those of many thoughtful Americans concerned about the fate of the nation. We welcome more to the discussion.

FEE: Would AOC Blacklist 73 Million Americans?

The Foundation for Economic Education discusses how people are losing their jobs over a lack of “proper” political orthodoxy – Would AOC Blacklist 73 Million Americans?

Should a qualified employee’s political views determine whether he gets—or keeps—a job? For a growing number of Americans, they already do. As I wrote in an article published recently at American Greatness:

[Last month] a Pennsylvania police chief was forced to retire by his “progressive mayor” after 26 years on the job. His offense? The chief’s wife posted a Facebook message supporting President Donald Trump.

Lancaster Police Chief Jarrad Berkihiser might be the latest victim of cancel culture, but he won’t be the last.

The article was written before the 2020 election. Since then the female African-American police chief of Portsmouth, Virginia, lost her job. The town’s progressive leadership fired Angela Greene after she pressed charges against rioters who decapitated and pulled down a Confederate statue, striking a middle-aged black man in the head. The injury left the man temporarily comatose, caused him to flatline twice as his brain swelled dangerously, and required months of therapy to teach him to walk and talk again. City officials fired Greene on Monday morning, a little more than two months after placing her on paid leave. She said she plans to sue.

Greene will have company in the unemployment line, and not merely because of another round of proposed COVID-19 lockdowns or impending minimum wage hikes. A number of political figures have in effect declared a Bush Doctrine against the Trump administration: They will make no distinction between the 45th president and those who “enable” him. For instance, former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Reich proposed a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to discover the names of anyone who helped “enable” the Trump administration.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted support of the Trump Accountability Project, an effort to blacklist “Trump sycophants” to stifle their employment prospects. (After the blacklist backlash, TAP announced last Thursday that “this project will no longer be active.”)

“Employers considering them should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values,” said former Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan, threatening not only Republicans but those who hire Republicans.

Depending on how broadly one wants to define “helped,” this description could encompass 73 million Americans. It could go well beyond Trump administration alumni to include anyone insufficiently supportive of the Great Awokening, and perhaps the whole point is to instill the maximum level of fear in the greatest number of political apostates.

This is alarming. Americans of all political backgrounds should seek to reverse this lamentable trend for several reasons.

First, threatening to lock someone out of “polite society” over run-of-the-mill political differences normalizes discrimination. While some find it more acceptable to discriminate against people based on their beliefs rather than immutable factors such as ethnicity, sex, or gender identity, legitimizing employment bias against any group opens the possibility of bias against every group. Worse, researchers have found that Americans already indulge political animosity “to a degree that exceeds discrimination based on race.”

Second, employment bias denies people the opportunity to share their God-given gifts and talents with others. It deprives their families of an adequate livelihood, entirely out of spite.

But discrimination does not simply hurt those who are discriminated against. It also violates the bigot’s self-interest. Viewpoint discrimination in the workplace denies a firm the most productive talent on the basis of often-irrational biases. That lowers the office’s efficiency, productivity, and ingenuity.

Two researchers, Shanto Iyengar and Sean Westwood, bore this out by conducting an experiment that allowed participants to award scholarships to either the most qualified applicant or a student who shared the same political views. When it came to a time for choosing, they wrote, “partisanship simply trumped academic excellence.” Discriminating against the best and the brightest leaves bigoted firms competing for second place.

Politically prejudiced hiring also harms businesses in another way. One source summarized the late economist Gary S. Becker’s groundbreaking work on the economics of discrimination this way:

Suppose that an employer does not want to employ members of a particular group even though these workers are as productive as any others. If the firm has to pay all workers the same wage it will simply not employ members of the disadvantaged group. However, if it is possible to pay these workers less than those from other groups the firm then faces a trade-off: it can employ members of the disadvantaged group at lower wages and thus increase its profitability, or it can discriminate and employ only workers from the high wage group even though this will mean lower profits. Discrimination in the latter case therefore imposes a cost on the firm.

Finally, if the neo-McCarthyites really believe that President Trump and his supporters are revolutionaries, the last thing they should want is for this group to find itself unemployable, aggrieved, and awash in free time. If they honestly think that job losses make people “cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them,” it would behoove them to see their political enemies busy themselves punching time clocks, creating goods and services, and entangling themselves in the joys of family life. One can only speculate how better employment prospects might have thwarted previous revolutions. What if Adolf Hitler had been a better artist? What if Fidel Castro had been a better baseball player?

For economic as well as philosophical and moral reasons, we should oppose viewpoint discrimination in secular education and employment. As I wrote at American Greatness:

We must stand up for Jarrad Berkihiser. We must demand our right to offend and be offended. We must insist on being judged on the content of our character, not the color of our skin.

Among those rights is the right to be judged on our performance, not our political orthodoxy.

Mises Institute: Talk of “Unity” Is Both Hypocritical and Delusional

Professor Gary Galles at the Mises Institute says political Talk of “Unity” Is Both Hypocritical and Delusional

In Joe Biden’s address after being declared president-elect by news organizations, he promised to be a leader who “seeks not to divide but to unify.” Making that assertion after the campaigns we have seen, not to mention the light-years-apart treatment of the candidates, while Donald Trump is still adamantly disputing the election because of alleged Democrat malfeasance is, at a minimum, ironic. And it would be the height of hypocrisy if only a few of Trump’s claims of cheating are true. But we need to go further and recognize that even the possibility of Joe Biden uniting us is a delusion.

Agreement on the specific ends we want to achieve is unattainable because our desires are mutually inconsistent. Our agreement is very limited on even very broadly defined issues, and once we look further than vague, aspirational language and feel-good generalities, Americans disagree on virtually everything.

All of us want to be fed, clothed, housed, educated, etc. We agree in that sense. But we disagree about virtually every aspect of who, what, when, where, why, and how. We want different types and amounts, in different ways, at different times and places, and for different people. We are vastly different in the tradeoffs we are willing to make among our desires, not to mention who we think should pay our bills. Once we consider any of the myriad actual choices faced, the fact of scarcity necessitates that our specific ends conflict, rather than align.

Consider a mundane example played out daily in our homes—breakfast. Does everyone in your family agree on “the most important meal of the day”? Does everyone even eat breakfast? Does each member have coffee, a cold caffeine drink, or neither? Juice? What kind? Are all agreed on when, where, what, or how much to eat? Do we agree on who should pay for breakfast, cook it, and clean up after it? Do we agree on the “dress code” that should apply, either at breakfast or afterward?

Diverse individuals have diverse preferences. Multiplying this single example by the uncountable decisions that must be reached in society every day makes our fundamental disunity clear. And we are no more unified when we get to public policy. We are not in agreement about people’s rights and government powers that some view as essential but others view as unforgivable. The same is true of many foreign policy choices. We cannot be unified as “one nation under God” when some vehemently reject any reference to God. We cannot be unified about abortion when some view it as murder and others consider it sacred. Policies that take from some to give to others also inherently create disagreement from those whose pockets are involuntarily picked. Reducing what we take from some, entailing giving less to others than they wish, also triggers disagreement. So long as government dictates such choices, political unity is unattainable.

In fact, politics as currently practiced eviscerates the one thing Americans could agree about. This reflects the far-too-little-recognized fact that we have greater agreement on what all of us want to avoid than on what all of us want. None of us wants what John Locke called our “lives, liberties, and estates” violated. That is, each of us wants rights and property defended against invasion. Respecting all of our property rights reduces the risk from predation for each of us. But creating added rights and privileges for some at the expense of others’ equal rights and privileges makes government the most dangerous predator, even when who is selected to do so is determined by majority vote.

Each of us would like the freedom to peacefully pursue our own goals. As Lord Acton put it, “liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition,” because freedom to choose for ourselves is always the primary means to our ultimate ends. That is why the traditional functions of government are to protect us from abuse by our neighbors and foreign powers, while its greatest threat is supposed protectors becoming predators against citizens. That is why Acton recognized that liberty requires “the limitation of the public authority.” But we are incredibly far from agreement on that today.

Well-established property rights and the voluntary market arrangements they enable let individuals decide for themselves, limiting each of us to persuasion rather than coercion. Except in the very unusual case where we must all make the same choice, this allows us to better match our choices to our preferences and circumstances. And unlike minority votes in elections, every dollar “vote” matters.

In fact, we should recognize that markets are our primary means to transform our disagreements into mutually beneficial cooperation, while restrictions on markets hobble that essential function.

Say I offer you a widget for sale at $10 and you say yes. That does not mean we agree on its value. We disagreed. I valued it at less than $10 worth of other goods and services, or I wouldn’t have sold it for that. You must have valued it more than $10, or you wouldn’t have bought it for that. Importantly, however, we have transformed our disagreement on values into an exchange that gives both of us benefits we consider to be worth more than the costs.

In contrast, talk of political unity is primarily rhetorical cover for those who are in power to coerce those who disagree with them. They benefit themselves at others’ expense, taking others’ resources and making them acquiesce in what they object to. And unlike markets, in which greater disagreements about value create greater net benefits from voluntary arrangements, “unifying” political initiatives are just ways to control who will be forced to do what for others, driving Americans apart while hamstringing cooperative arrangements and squandering the wealth they would have created.

Grand invocations that “I will unify us” are actually shorthand for “We disagree about many things, but those in this group are unified against others’ preferences, and we mean to get our way, regardless of their well-being and desire,” which is made clear by the demonization of anyone who doesn’t support the supposed “unity” position as divisive. That kind of unity is tyranny. Strengthening our union actually runs along a different path than the unity of 50 percent plus one, unified against the interests of others. It is uniting in a common commitment to honoring one another’s rights and the liberty this makes possible for all of us. Without unity in that, we can never achieve the kind of unity that is actually desirable and achievable. The alternative is the prospect of more of what we have experienced of late, which resembles what Thomas Hobbes called “a war of all against all.” But if we are united only by the ongoing fight to win that war against other Americans, we are selling out the birthright we have from our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

The Federalist: 5 Reasons Conservatives Should Have Hope For The Future

The Federalist and Peter Burfeind have 5 Reasons Conservatives Should Have Hope For The Future

If Joe Biden walks away with a presidential victory, conservatives will have many reasons to despair. This would portend some terrifying realities about propaganda and the manipulation of public opinion, the acceptance of potential fraud, and the willingness to accept the curtailment of basic liberties.

But it need not. In fact, conservatives have reason to be quite hopeful. We might be in an Obi-Wan Kenobi moment, wherein striking Trump down will make his movement more powerful than anyone can possibly imagine. Beyond the typical takes on the election that give conservatives hope — we appear to have kept the Senate, and socialism and critical race theory lost — we have five long-term reasons to be hopeful.

1. Final Liberation from Establishment Republicans

At some level, the left has to be jealous. For any chance of defeating Donald Trump, look what they had to settle for: a dementia-addled, 78-year-old fossil who’s spent 47 years in the Senate as a pandering politician straight out of Central Casting. But the Democrat establishment pushed him because he polled best against Trump and, as Democrats are so quick to remind us, “science and data.”

Ah, I remember those days. I remember hearing the smart set tell us how a Herman Cain would be an abject failure as a candidate or president, so we’d better go with a traditional politician, such as John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush.

Then came Trump, dismantling the entire paradigm. One of the most beloved politicians in our history, he showed us how a successful American with a love for his country can do great things, things politicians have been promising for years, such as lowering unemployment for minorities, increasing wages for the working class, sticking it to communist China, creating peace in the Middle East, giving us energy independence, restructuring bad trade deals, withdrawing from foreign entanglements, and revolutionizing the federal judiciary.

Meanwhile, the Democrats get to watch a doddering hack grapple with the wily Sen. Mitch McConnell for four years, while trying to pick up the pieces of an economy they tanked to get Biden elected president and nothing else. Or maybe they’re looking forward to a President Kamala Harris doing her “Excuse me! Excuse me!” routine like that vice principal you mocked in high school.

You almost have to laugh. While they’re locked into “establishment mode” for four years, pantomiming gravitas with their whole “adults in the room” schtick to impress the seven remaining people watching CNN, the right will be having a blast retaking the House, nurturing a new generation of Trump-like candidates, and choosing another unconventional leader for president in 2024 that we actually like and don’t have to hold our noses to select. We’re done with the establishment, and it feels so liberating.

2. Germination of Several Movements

Let’s get into that new generation of conservatives. Trump brought in a significant swath of working-class voters. The Blexit movement continues, with obvious results in the increased turnout of black voters for Trump. With Trump’s Hispanic gains, can we say the whole “demography is destiny” theory officially ran out of juice at, of all places, the Rio Grande and southern Florida?

The last these demographic groups tasted of genuine Trumpism — prior to the Wuhan virus — they were doing outstanding. Now they got Biden to build his case that destroying the energy sector and subsidizing green energy will really get things going again.

Who better than an old, pandering white guy to convince young minority Americans that maybe it’s time for a second exodus from the Democrat plantation? And who will be on the sidelines with a megaphone the whole time saying, “I told you so. Remember what you had under me?”

3. Trump Not Going Anywhere

That of course leads to our third reason for long-term hope: Trump isn’t going anywhere. This is a man who did five to six rallies a day, speaking an hour and a half at each one, for two weeks after recuperating from COVID-19. He’s also a man who hates losing, and his family is completely invested in the movement he started.

Who knows how this will translate. There’s talk of him beginning a right-leaning media outfit to compete with Fox News. Will he continue doing rallies to inspire support for a transformed Republican Party? Will he do a Grover Cleveland number and run for president again?

Whatever it is he chooses to do, he remains the same person uniquely suited to the task at hand, of disrupting the status quo in Washington. He clearly has the support of half the country. Many love him like they’ve never loved any other politician because of how he spoke up for them. That doesn’t end.

4. The Left Not in Charge When We Survive Meltdown

The left displayed a real logic problem this year. I became alert to this problem when I heard Biden and others blame Trump for the COVID-19 deaths. Huh? Do people really fall this easily for the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy, the logic that “X is president during Y, therefore X caused Y”?

Of course they do. That defines the leftist mind, the hive mind, the belief that agency doesn’t reside in the individual but in collective systems. This is how they think. Consequently, they must run those systems. They must have power.

Their attraction to the swamp comes with an underlying presumption of incredible self-importance. They manage the economy. They keep peace in the world. They take care of us all, good people that they are.

So what do you suppose it means when precisely nothing happens 10 years from now, about the time the world is predicted to implode from climate change? If the left is in charge of things, you know exactly what that will mean: “Thanks to President Ocasio-Cortez’s extreme measures, we’ve saved the world from catastrophe.” We’ll get a preview of this propaganda when a President Biden announces the end of the pandemic due to his wise governance.

This is why they not only needed to win this year but win big, big enough to enact the Green New Deal. That, in turn, could only be sustained with court-packing and a few new states to ensure a friendly Senate for the foreseeable future. With each radical measure, they would use the COVID-19 response as a template. “We came together before to defeat coronavirus; let’s do the same to defeat climate change!”

Alas, this is not going to happen thanks to the GOP’s other 2020 election victories. Without new states and new senators, the midterms will remain seasons of GOP success. It’s difficult to imagine the next presidential election generating excitement for a second Harris or Biden term, at least enough to create coattails for a Democrat takeover of the Senate and House.

2030 will come with glorious weather, and the left will have had nothing to do with it. After a string of exposed lies — Russia, COVID-19 “science,” systemic racism, polls, climate change — how soon before the nation becomes wise to the fact that leftism is synonymous with lying?

5. America Is Still America

The answer to that last question gets to the American DNA. Americans distrust power. The left does well appealing to that distrust, promoting a false narrative blaming the “powers that be” whenever they’re out of power. They milk that “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy for everything it’s worth. It comes more naturally to them than it does to the right.

How often, these past four years, did the leftist mind resort to “Orange Man Bad!” and a primal scream into the cosmos every time their car didn’t start, or they encountered a long line at McDonald’s, or they just felt blue? It’s their psychic makeup.

No more. The left is running their asylum now. They’re great at manufacturing fear about the bogeymen behind “the system,” but in actual governance, they do nothing but lose. Of course, the leftist answer to that conundrum is, “If we all just work together, nothing is impossible.” So they can continue to blame the Senate, disinformation, gridlock, those on “the wrong side of history,” and Trump.

The whole point of leftism is that it can’t succeed without total investment by everyone in its program. That’s why it’s “all hands on deck” from Big Tech, Big Media, Big Business, Hollywood, Wall Street, human resources departments, and the Washington swamp. That’s why cancel culture is integral to their success. Dissent, alternative information, and a muscular minority topples the whole house of cards.

We’re America. We left the tyrannies of the world to come here. We left our cultures and even families. We’re all just a few generations away from incredible risk-takers, fighters, and survivors. Rugged individualism is in our blood.

Add to that the brilliant system set up by the forefathers with its many checks and balances. The newly conservative federal courts, red state governments, and that troublesome right to free speech aren’t going anywhere for now. Meanwhile, the free market is begging for new social media platforms and a FBexit or Twexit movement.

The left tells Americans, “We’re all in this together,” but it won’t be too long before, well, 70 million people say, “Speak for yourself. We’ll speak for ourselves, thank you.” That 70 million isn’t going anywhere. It’s only growing.

Independent Institute: Replacing RBG — A Lesson in Politics

Randall Holcombe writing at the Independent Institute reminds us that politics is adversarial whereas markets are based on agreement and mutual benefit. Better to rely on markets than politics for more of what we do. Replacing RBG: A Lesson in Politics

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on September 18, less than two months before the upcoming presidential election, set off a major political controversy. Democrats argued that the appointment of her successor should wait until after the election and be made by the winner of the election. Most (but not all) Republicans argued the appointment should be made now, before the election.

When Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in the last year of President Obama’s administration, Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill Scalia’s seat, but the Republican Senate refused to give his nomination a hearing, arguing (as the Democrats are now) that any Supreme Court appointment should be made after the election, by the winner of the election.

According to the Constitution, President Trump has the power to nominate Justice Ginsburg’s successor immediately, “with the advice and consent of the Senate.” The election year argument against making the appointment is somewhat weakened because President Obama nominated Garland in an election year, although the Republican Senate did not confirm him. But arguments about whether President Trump “should” make a nomination are pretty much irrelevant, except for their rhetorical value, because he has the constitutional power to do so.

While Garland’s nomination stalled, a nomination by President Trump likely would not be, unless a sufficient number of Republican Senators declared their opposition.

The biggest difference between Obama’s nomination and Trump’s is that Obama was facing a Senate with his party in the minority, whereas Trump is facing a Senate with his party in the majority. He likely has the votes to get his nominee confirmed, whereas President Obama did not.

Even if Trump wins the election, waiting to make a nomination could make things more difficult for him, especially if the Democrats were to gain a majority in the Senate. If he wants to “win” on this issue, he should make the nomination now.

Another factor to consider is that if the election is contested, its ultimate outcome might be decided by the Supreme Court, as the presidential election of 2000 was. Trump might like to have another friendly Justice on the Court were that to occur.

I’m not passing judgment on whether nominating a candidate now would be the “right” thing to do, or whether waiting would be the “right” thing. In politics, that’s pretty much irrelevant. You take whatever opportunities you have to “win,” because in politics some win while others lose, and politicians naturally want to avoid being on the losing end.

There is a larger lesson that is playing out in this one specific issue, which is that politics is adversarial, and any political decision produces winners and losers. Thus, politicians have the incentive to take whatever opportunities are offered to put themselves on the winning side of issues.

This contrasts sharply with market activities, in which people transact voluntarily with each other for their mutual gain. Nobody has to engage in a market transaction, so individuals in markets naturally want to entice others into making mutually advantageous exchanges by offering them a chance to increase their well-being by participating in transaction.

Market activity is based on agreement and mutual benefit. Politics is based on conflict, and trying to win by preventing others from getting what they want. The more we rely on markets and the less we rely on politics in our interactions, the more peaceful and harmonious will be our society.

President Trump will make a Supreme Court nomination, not because it is the right (or wrong) thing to do, but because the Republican Senate gives him the opportunity for a win—an opportunity that might not exist after the election. That’s politics. Any other arguments for or against simply amount to empty rhetoric.

Zero Hedge: Pelosi Says There Should Be No Presidential Debates

From Zero Hedge, “I Don’t Think There Should Be Any Debates” Says Pelosi, Calling Them An “Exercise In Skullduggery”. In order to protect Biden who has recently come under fire for exhibiting symptoms of dementia, top Democrats have been coming up with any reasons to avoid a Presidential debate.

Nancy Pelosi has just joined the chorus of prominent Democrats trying desperately to avoid placing Joe Biden in front of the proverbial firing squad in a debate with President Trump.

“I don’t think that there should be any debates,” Pelosi said on Thursday, one day after President Trump demanded Biden take a drug test before the two square off.

I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him – nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States,” she added.

Pelosi said that Trump was “disgraceful” when he ‘stalked’ Hillary Clinton during the 2016 debate by walking near her, and that he will probably “act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency.”

“I think he will also belittle what the debates are supposed to be about. And they’re not to be about skulduggery on the part of somebody who has no respect for the office he holds, much less the democratic process.

“I don’t think that he should dignify that conversation with Donald Trump.”

Pelosi then suggested that each candidate could hold separate ‘conversations’ with voters, saying: “Let that be a conversation with the American people, not an exercise in skulduggery.”

Watch:

Pelosi is far from the first Democrat trying to avoid a Trump-Biden debate. As Rick Moran wrote via PJMedia earlier this month:

*  *  *

Democrats around the country have begun to pressure the Biden campaign to call off all debates with Donald Trump due to the coronavirus pandemic, they say.

In truth, the reason they don’t want Biden to debate Trump is that they don’t think Trump will play by their rules. The president would take over the debate and make it about what he wants, not what Biden wants.

Democrats are also worried about Biden’s mental stamina and his ability to remain engaged for an hour and a half during a debate.

Newsweek:

Democratic strategists and supporters of Vice President Joe Biden are urging him not to debate President Donald Trump in the lead-up to Election Day, citing Trump’s publicity stunts and disregard for the rules in 2016. Meanwhile Biden backers, including some conservatives, applauded the University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan for cancelling their scheduled debates over COVID-19 concerns.

Former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart joined several Democratic Party strategists in bluntly advising Biden, “whatever you do, don’t debate Trump.” Speaking on CNN Saturday, Lockhart said Trump shouldn’t be given another platform which will enable him to “repeat lies,” which he said occurred in the 2016 debates against Hillary Clinton.

Trump has a knack for exaggeration and hyperbole that Democrats don’t like. It’s very effective in debates and Biden would spend most of his time on the defensive.

Automatic Earth Blog: Are The Tables Starting To Turn?

…according to a Zogby Analytics poll, Trump’s job approval numbers are now at record high levels. And I know polls -and pollsters- can be biased, and so can the press quoting them, but to see three in a row, Reuters/Ipsos, Rasmussen, Zogby, all reporting similar movement, may still be significant…

Frontpage Mag: The Perils of Pretending a War is Something Else

Freedom Center found and author David Horowitz writes The Perils of Pretending a War is Something Else about the failure of Republicans to acknowledge that Democrats are waging war on them.

If you haven’t noticed yet, our political life is rapidly descending into a series of charades with the potential for catastrophe. In case you think that a “charade” is just a parlor game, here is a dictionary definition: “an absurd pretense intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance.” The peril created by false appearances in the current political climate is blindness in the face of the evil that threatens us.

Is there a person of sound mind in the entire country – Democrat or Republican – who thinks Joe Biden is mentally up to the job of leading a deeply divided nation, coping with a pandemic and facing threats from nuclear enemies like Russia and China, or terrorist regimes like Iran? Daily now, we are watching an already impaired individual, closeted in a basement, mentally deteriorating in front of our eyes, with a national election only three months away. And not one national figure is shouting “WTF?! What are the consequences for our country if we continue this charade?”

The mere fact that Biden’s candidacy to be commander-in-chief is supported by a major political party, whose leaders are appear before TV cameras daily reassuring voters his candidacy is normal – the mere fact of this absurdity should alarm every decent American who cares about our future. The reassurance by Democrats and their pundits – without a single objector – that Biden has the knowledge, experience and yah-da-da to stand up to the destructive leftists he is now allied with, or to defend the nation against its enemies or to lead us through all the crises we facet, is even scarier than the extreme policies – open borders for instance – that he has already endorsed.

Here’s an equally scary current charade: the straight-faced claim by Democrat leaders and their media enablers that there are only “peaceful protests” in the streets of our 400 torched cities – no riots, looting and arsons, no rioters, looters and arsonists associated with Black Lives Matter and Antifa communists. Instead, the denial that the mayhem which has injured thousands and cost more than a dozen lives are only possible because of the support of lawless Democrat mayors and city councils who are preoccupied with disarming the police. Or the accusation by top Democrats that federal security officials sent to protect federal courthouses from immolation are actually “Stormtroopers” (Pelosi), or “Gestapo” and “terrorists” (Clyburn).

In regard to this “peaceful protesters” charade by the Democrats, Martin Luther King led actual peaceful protests openly committed to non-violence. His marchers wore suits not Ninja outfits, helmets and flak jackets, did not loot stores, or torch buildings or blind people with lasers, or physically attack police with explosives and clubs. It is true that the nightly violent protests (about which Democrats are still in denial) were often preceded by non-violent marches in the day. But how difficult would it be for a non-violent protest leader to assert the principle of non-violence, as Martin Luther King and his supporters did, dissociate themselves from the violent protests, and select places to protest that were socially distanced from the rioters and looters, and therefore did not provide cover for the criminals? The fact that there have been no serious attempts by “peaceful protesters” to denounce the violence and the organizations that perpetrated it – speaks volumes to the effect that they consider themselves allies of the rioters and share their agendas. Defunding the police, leaving the most vulnerable in society without protection against criminals is the goal of rioters, arsonists, looters, and so-called “peaceful protesters.” The charade protects the criminals and their crimes.

Republicans collude in these dangerous charades. Democrat leaders like Pelosi call Republicans Nazis, Russian agents, traitors. And Republicans respond: “Democrats are playing politics.” No they’re not. This is not the language of politics; it’s the language of war. It’s designed to destroy you. From the moment Trump emerged as victor in 2016, Democrats declared war on the president and therefore America, whose duly elected commander-in-chief he was. They also declared war on everyone associated with the White House and supporting its agendas. Republicans need to wake up. The most important decision they can make as we approach the November elections is to end the charade, accept that it is a war we are facing, and return the Democrats’ fire with fire.

 

Sultan Knish: The Media’s Political Suicide

Daniel Greenfield of the Sultan Knish blog writes about the end of news media and its replacement with political hit pieces in The Media’s Political Suicide.

…The media still insists that it’s objective, trustworthy and seeking the truth. But those slogans are the leftovers of an older generation that at least believed in hypocritically mouthing such pieties. The new generation, the one leading the purge at the New York Times, doesn’t even believe in the pieties.

The campaigns, like those that hijacked the Times, are coordinated by political allies from different media outlets across social media. The participants in this new collegiality view journalism as a form of advocacy for their political agenda. They have no commitment to the organization they work for, only to the larger movement of which they are operatives, coordinating to undermine their own organizations.

In the leftist non-profit realm, organizations are just shells for an agenda and they can be jettisoned, renamed, or swapped out at the right time. As the media falls into that category, publications become mere brands to be tied to a fake news narrative, and tossed aside when they’re no longer getting clicks.

The weight of the name on the masthead matters much less than the ability of the activists it employs to appear influential by picking fights on social media. Media publications no longer serve a community, but a narrative, and constantly swapping out publication names helps make the narrative seem fresh.

The end result is State News, a product that closely resembles the government news networks in China or Russia, but which is still distributed across a variety of organizations and which is controlled by social media narratives coordinated across social networks rather than by a central government agency.

At least for now.

“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor,” Bari Weiss wrote in her resignation letter to the New York Times.

Twitter is the media’s editor. Its platform provides the content that fills the media, but it also makes the infrastructure of the media surplus to requirements. The medium is the message and the medium of Twitter is 280 characters. As Weiss notes, “the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space.”

But the real performance space is on Twitter where content is consumed and debated much more rapidly in short form than in the long form pages of the New York Times. As the media transforms into a pure instrument of political advocacy whose antics play out on social media, there’s less and less use for the expensive billion-dollar operations, the newspapers, channels, and even the sites of the media.

Media bosses keep saying that their future is digital. But that digital future is a Twitter debate.

The only reason to read long form articles is to find out the details of a story or experience new ideas, but when writing exists to reinforce what readers already believe, then it doesn’t need to be read.

Hardly anyone bothered reading Soviet papers because everyone already knew what was in them.

A media that exists to tweet articles about Trump’s terribleness and a story about an oppressed person whose plight proves the need to have open borders, no police, and free everything is unreadable. Not just to conservatives, but to everyone who isn’t looking for a righteousness or rage fix in the morning.

The media envisions its own transformation into public service non-profits subsidized by dot com tycoons and then eventually the benevolent socialist state that will pay its members to put out propaganda that nobody reads. This act of literary suicide for power and profit is its real legacy.

The media has been killing cities and the country to buy a little more time for its existence. But it is becoming a zombie that is killing the basis for its own existence and then the very thing that it does.

The members of the media began by killing their ethics and morals. They tossed away the truth as a value and a goal. They turned on their colleagues, incited mobs, celebrated violence and terror. And then they set out to destroy the organizations they worked for and the country that they live in.

Their final act of political suicide will be to kill their own writing.

Click here to read the entire article at Sultan Knish.

Gatestone Institute: A View of the U.S. from Across the Atlantic

This brief article was written by Andrew Ash of the UK for the Gatestone Institute – A View of the U.S. from Across the Atlantic. Within, Ash reveals his growing interest in American politics; growing because of its apparent corruption and secrecy.

…Compared to the almost polite political rivalry between voters and parties in Britain, the political division in the US began looking distinctly engineered.

My American friends, in an effort to help me try and understand their conclusions, sent a raft of articles from the US mainstream media, which, in their bias, displayed the same lack of integrity as my friends’. Even in the extended echo-chamber of social media, there appeared to be a seemingly pathological fear of anything even remotely resembling a balanced view.

Then, along came the 2016 election and the arrival of presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. Whilst the UK was not looking, war seemed to have broken out. If I was not prepared forthrightly to dismiss Trump as the white supremacist he so obviously and professedly was, it was clear that if I was not careful, I would be tarred by the same brush.

My friends assured me there were terrible, terrible things that would become apparent in the ensuing months. The problem was, they never once articulated any of them. Their suspicions all appeared to be hysterical unfounded inferences.

The evident reluctance by left-wing media outlets to condemn a — by now — extremely guilty-looking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now seemed unfair. Much of the media seemed all too happy to turn a blind eye to the Benghazi affair, her “unusual” email practices and other seemingly incriminating pranks. The media also seemed to ignore the treasure-trove of information on the suspect machinations of the DNC and its incumbents and other dubious goings on, including truncated FBI investigations, the “controversial” resignation of Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the sudden departure from CNN of Donna Brazile after having fed questions to Clinton prior to the televised presidential debates, and so on.

The potential skulduggery seemed never ending. How come my friends had never mentioned any of this? Surely, they knew? The echo chamber, it appeared, was hermetically sealed…

Click here to read the entire article at the Gatestone Institute.

We the Governed: In this City Council Race – Every Politician Is Breaking the Law

From Glen Morgan at We the Governed, In this city council race – every politician is breaking the law.

In the City of Port Angeles, the politicians expect the little people to follow the law, while they apparently don’t believe the laws apply to them.

 

Port Angeles, Washington State

In many cities and counties across Washington State, primary elections are in process as voters complete and mail in their ballots.  In the City of Port Angeles there are two contested primary races for city councilHowever, in one of the council races, every politician running for office is breaking Washington State’s fair campaign practices act (RCW 42.17A).  Some are not even trying to comply with the law.  When every politician breaks the law, how can a voter decide which one is best to represent them? 

Washington State’s all-mail in ballots were sent to every registered voter (in a jurisdiction with a contested race on the primary ballot) last week.  The ballots are already trickling back into the 39 different county auditor’s ballot boxes around the state with the first scheduled announcement of election results 8pm on election night, Tuesday, August 6, 2019.  Washington State law allows ballots which are postmarked before 6pm that day to count towards the final election results (as opposed to having the ballots in-hand by that date and time), so the final election results are not known in many close races often for several weeks as the later ballots trickle in from throughout the state, and sometimes local auditor offices (typically King County, but they are not alone) suddenly find “missing” ballots in car trunks and back rooms.

In the Northwest corner of Washington State, in Clallam County– the City of Port Angeles has two primary races for city council seats.  A total of four seats are up for election in 2019 (out of a council of seven including the mayor).  Of these, two races have more than two people who have filed to run, which is why Council position no.7 and position no. 5 are on the Primary election ballot.

These candidates need to file with their local county auditor in order to legally run for office, but they are also required by Washington State Law (RCW 42.17A) to register with the Public Disclosure Commission in order to ensure that their campaign contributions, expenditures, and other information about the candidates are open, transparent, and available to review for all voters, media, and interested citizens.  Unfortunately for the voters in the City of Port Angeles, most of the politicians are running “stealth” campaigns, ignoring the law, and generally blundering through the process under the belief there are no consequences for violating the law...

 

Click here to read the entire article at We the Governed

Liberty Blitzkrieg: The Next Revolution by Murray Bookchin

Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg has a short review/discussion of Murry Bookchin’s collected essays published as The Next Revoltion: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy. Bookchin believed that the ideal was for people to make decisions for themselves in public assemblies or municipalities.

…While there are numerous key points on which Bookchin and I would have disagreed spiritedly, that’s not the purpose of this piece. Aside from being a wealth of information and knowledge (he closely studied nearly every major revolution in the Euro-American world), his greatest service here is a framework through which to understand human governance and how and why it’s all gone so terribly wrong. Many of his themes cover ideas and realizations I’ve come to on my own, but the clarity with which he describes certain key concepts helped refine my thinking. The purpose of this post is to outline some of these ideas…

In The Need to Remake Society he writes:

To create a state is to institutionalize power in the form of a machine that exists apart from the people. It is to professionalize rule and policy-making, to create a distinct interest (be it of bureaucrats, deputies commissars, legislators, the military, the police, ad nauseam) that, however weak or however well intentioned it may be at first, eventually takes on a corruptive power of its own.

One would have to be utterly naive or simply blind to the lessons of history to ignore the fact that the state, “minimal” or not, absorbs and ultimately digests even its most well-meaning critics once they enter it. 

The notion that human freedom can be achieved, much less perpetuated, through a state of any kind is monstrously oxymoronic – a contradiction in terms…

In Cities, he explains:

But democracy, conceived as a face-to-face realm of policymaking, entails a commitment to the Enlightenment belief that all “ordinary” human beings are potentially competent to collectively manage their political affairs — a crucial concept in the thinking, all its limitations aside, of the Athenian democratic tradition and, more radically, of those Parisian sections of 1793 that gave equal voice to women as well as all men.

Bookchin was a huge supporter of direct democracy, in other words, of the people making decisions for themselves within their own communities. He envisioned this being done in a face-to-face manner within public assemblies. Like myself, Bookchin believed this sort of thing would only work properly (and resist statist tendencies) if employed at the local level. He understood that centralization leads to statism and vice versa.

So what did Bookchin see as the ideal political unit for self-governance? He saw it in the municipality…

Further, in Libertarian Municipalism: A Politics of Direct Democracy, he notes:

Today, with the increasing centralization and concentration of power in the nation-state, a “new politics” — one that is genuinely new — must be structured institutionally around the restoration of power by municipalities…it presupposes a genuinely democratic desire by people to arrest the growing powers of the nation-state and reclaim them for their community and region.

Importantly, Bookchin believed such self-governing, decentralized municipalities should be connected with one another in a system called confederalism. He defines the term in his essay, The Meaning of Confederalism:

What, then, is confederalism? It is above all a network of administrative councils whose members or delegates are elected from popular face-to-face democratic assemblies, in the various villages, towns and even neighborhoods of large cities…

What humans employ for governance in 2019 primarily consists of “states,” i.e. professional power, as opposed to people power. The general public is made up of electoral constituents, not free citizens participating in the governance of their communities. Bookchin was in favor of decentralized, local rule via direct democracy in contrast to today’s world governed by centralized mega states showcasing a facade of democracy in order to mask an underlying corporate oligarchy or bureaucratic technocracy.

One thing I didn’t expect to see in his work, but proved a pleasant though sobering surprise, was an admission that people themselves need to change in order to successfully implement the sort of governance model he advocates. Since the public is so used to being mere subjects, it’ll be a monumental task to transform them into actual engaged citizens…

Click here to read the article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

The Burning Platform: US Politics – Us vs. Them

This Burning Platform, two-part piece discusses the monoculture of the US two-party system, contrived divisiveness, and the relation of that to President Trump.

Us vs Them, Part I

Us vs Them, Part II

“I’ll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. “I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.” “I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.” “Hey, wait a minute, there’s one guy holding out both puppets!”” – Bill Hicks

Image result for “I’ll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. “I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.” “I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.” “Hey, wait a minute, there’s one guy holding out both puppets!””

Anyone who frequents Twitter, Facebook, political blogs, economic blogs, or fake news mainstream media channels knows our world is driven by the “Us versus Them” narrative. It’s almost as if “they” are forcing us to choose sides and believe the other side is evil. Bill Hicks died in 1994, but his above quote is truer today then it was then. As the American Empire continues its long-term decline, the proles are manipulated through Bernaysian propaganda techniques, honed over the course of decades by the ruling oligarchs, to root for their assigned puppets.

Most people can’t discern they are being manipulated and duped by the Deep State controllers. The most terrifying outcome for these Deep State controllers would be for the masses to realize it is us versus them. But they don’t believe there is a chance in hell of this happening. Their arrogance is palatable.

Their hubris has reached astronomical levels as they blew up the world economy in 2008 and successfully managed to have the innocent victims bail them out to the tune of $700 billion, pillaged the wealth of the nation through their capture of the Federal Reserve (QE, ZIRP), rigged the financial markets in their favor through collusion, used the hundreds of billions in corporate tax cuts to buy back their stock and further pump the stock market, all while their corporate media mouthpieces mislead and misinform the proles.

There are differences between the parties, but they are mainly centered around social issues and disputes with little or no consequence to the long-term path of the country. The real ruling oligarchs essentially allow controlled opposition within each party to make it appear you have a legitimate choice at the ballot box. Nothing could be further from the truth…

Click here to continue reading at The Burning Platform.

AIER: The Real Problem Is the Politicization of Everything

Kai Weiss at the American Institute for Economic Research has a nice, short article on the problems of over-politicization and the solution thereto – The Real Problem Is the Politicization of Everything. Unfortunately, at least one of the sides will reject the idea of a less-intrusive state.

…This is a problem the great C.S. Lewis also saw when he mused that we should focus on “a household laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint of beer, or a man alone reading a book that interests him.” Meanwhile, “economies, politics, law, armies, and institutions, save insofar as they prolong and multiply such scenes, are a mere ploughing the sand and sowing the ocean, a meaningless vanity and vexation of the spirit. Collective activities are, of course, necessary, but this is the end to which they are necessary.”

So what is a possible way out of this conundrum? A multitude of proposals have been made to detoxicate today’s climate, and it would frankly be pretentious for me to claim to know the solution. Nonetheless, one surefire way, as friends of liberty will quickly point out, is to get politics out of our lives. As Kristian Niemietz notes, “The most obvious antidote to a dysfunctional, adversarial political culture is just to do less politics.”

What does that require? It necessitates a dramatic reduction in the size and scope of the state, the building of a wall between the state (so long as it exists) and the rest of our lives, and the restoration of the conviction that society works best when it is left alone. In other words, we need desperately to resurrect the vision of classical liberalism and draw lessons from its modern heirs in the libertarian tradition…

To regain civility in human interactions and finally treat other human beings as human beings again, we would do well to get politics out of human affairs.

Click here to read the entire article at AIER.org.