Let’s Set The Record Straight, Here

Since the topic of political “extremism” is on everyone’s mind, I may as well get this out there.

I’m an extremist.

I’m an extremist for Western Civilization.

I’m an extremist for the legacy of the value of the individual that comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

I am a zealot for that civilization’s rejection of group guilt for the sins of the individual.

I am a full blown foot soldier for the idea that rights – freedom of expression, conscience, innocence until proof of guilt, and defending my life, family, home, freedom and community – are all indivisible parts of being human, not “privileges” granted to you by a benevolent government (and taken away by a less-benevolent one).

I am a militant (intellectually speaking, and here’s hoping it can stay that way) for the notion that “citizenship” means having all the powers, rights and responsibilities of government, allowing me (and you!) to govern a society together, regardless of (indeed, ignoring completely) the rest of our various identities.

I’m a howling berserker (again, purely intellectually, here) for the free markets of ideas as well as goods, which has made this civilization the most humane human system in all of history.

I am a full-blown crusader for the tolerance of dissent, and indeed exaltation of informed criticism of and dissent from our rulers, our laws, and indeed the imperfections of Western Civilization itself that our civilization, pretty much alone among all the world’s cultures through history, invented – as well as for the ability to tolerate, learn from, and co-exist with other cultures as equals in the eyes of God and the law…

…while keeping, living by, and proselytizing the parts of our civilization that have made it the system in human history that has most effectively and systematically upheld the dignity and value of human life, even with all its (amply studied) imperfections.
I’m a stormtrooper for the ideal that these freedoms, exaltations, values and traditions are not zero sum propositions; that taking freedom away from someone doesn’t give you more.

I’m a flag-waving militiaman for the imperative to spread those freedoms to as many people in the world as want them – and, if needed, defend them from those who don’t.
For those things, I’m an extremist. A peaceful one, one that welcomes both agreement and civil disagreement.

But I’m absolutely an extremist. You can have my Western Civilization when you pry it from my cold, hand – and you will spend an eternity trying to pry it from my hot, living soul, and failing.

“Extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”
— Barry Goldwater.

The Line That Needs To Be Drawn In The Sand. Stat.

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Republicans agreed to police reform bills in the second special session.  This is a mistake.

There should be NO legislative action, on ANY proposal, until Dictator Walz relinquishes his totalitarian control over the entire state back to the peoples’ elected representatives in the legislature.

Otherwise, it never ends.  Ever.  And in that case, why do we need the Legislature at all?

Joe Doakes

Couldn’t agree more.

Not one bill.

And if the GOP caves on the bonding bill – or any bill while the emergency is in effect – I’m going to have to reconsider why I vote GOP at all.

Spectrum

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Political scientists love to talk about the Spectrum, left-wing parties versus right-wing parties.
I look at it more from the point of view of government control. Anarchists are on one end, no government control it all. Totalitarians are on the other end, government control of everything.
Pure Liberty is pure license. It’s the right to do anything you want at anytime to anybody. We saw that during the riots. That’s anarchy. Nobody wants that.
Which means that in order to have real Liberty, there must be order. And ordered Liberty requires restrictions on what people can do. And restrictions require someone to enforce them, with force if necessary. Which means police.
If Minneapolis seriously goes forward with the plan to abolish the police, they are intentionally heading toward Anarchy territory. It’s no wonder businesses are uninterested in rebuilding there, and residents are talking about fleeing.
Joe Doakes

WIthout order, prosperity is impossible.

WIthout prosperity, liberty is pretty much academic.

Without liberty, prosperity is pretty much a “ruling clicque” thing.

The tension between liberty and order is what kept the founding fathers up all night writing the Constitution.

Never Waste A Crisis – Libertarian Edition

I pointed out with a bit of mindly tart surprise last month that California, after voting in lock step with the statist agenda for the past thirty years, had rediscovered the virtues of federalism via the current public health crisis, and the (to progressives) greater crisis of Hillary losing the election.

That was a tad sarcastic – but as José Niño at the Mises Institute points out, after quite a few policians romping and playing in power like Scrooge McDuck bathing in his coin vault…:

Amusingly, the COVID-19 saga has been host to some of the most flagrant political posturing in recent memory. Early in March (which feels like eons ago in today’s frenetic media cycle) New York City mayor de Blasio was telling people to go to the movies and have fun. Now, he’s done a complete 180, shutting down most private businesses and even calling for the nationalization of certain industries and begging the federal government for military aid to combat the epidemic.

…there’ve been some object lessons show, and learned, on the value of federalism coming out of this crisis:

We are indeed living in the strangest of times when LA Times columnists are expressing sentiments that better belong in a passage of Human Action. The jury is still out on whether this is merely oppositional posturing from the Left, but any kind of conversation entailing the restoration of federalism is a welcome surprise.

The “authorized” right can generally be counted on to disappoint its constituents who genuinely believe in small government principles. To their credit, there have been some bright spots on their side in the present pandemic. States like Texas have gone out of their way to declare gun stores essential businesses and to deregulate several parts of its economy at a time where bureaucracy is impeding various vital economic functions.

Elected officials like State Representative Matt Gurtler in Georgia have raised the stakes by floating a proposal that would allow law-abiding Georgians to concealed carry anywhere. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem projected a stark contrast in her relatively lax approach to handling the pandemic. Jeff Deist used her example as the basis for several pragmatic measures that state governments can take to reopen their economies without throwing civil liberties into the wood chipper. No doubt there is much work to be done, but we can find glimmering signs of promise every now and then.

The example I like to use – after Katrina, gun rights groups noticed the speed at which Louisiana and New Orleans’ layers of incompetent Democrat governments turned to confiscating the firearms of law-abiding citizens. In 2015, Minnesota’s gun rights groups pushed a law in Minnesota barring the state from confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens under states of emergency, or shutting down gun stores before every other store in the state was closed. The bills passed, with bipartisan majorities in both chambers powerful enough to scare Governor Dayton’s handlers away from telling him to sign a veto.

We – the good guys – need to do that with every other civil right.

Starting in November.

Blue Fragility, Part VI: Lysenkoism Vs. Actual Science!

Those of us who favor a safe, science-driven re-opening of the economy are frequently derided by the “shut down until ______” (fill in the blank du jour) crowd as either callous or ignorant.

But looking at examples of states that have managed to combine generally good public health outcomes with a relatively sane course on economic re-opening, two patterns emerge:

1) those paths tend to be steered by governors with experience in the private sector – the likes of Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Doug Burgum of North Dakota and especially Ron DeSantis of Florida) treat science as a way of finding the truth, as opposed it being a tool to coerce compliance.

2) The success tends to follow a parade of calumny in the “blue” media – followed by the media moving on to another story when none of the predictions pans out.

The response to Governor DeSantis’s plans early in the epidemic (the sky was going to fall!) and now (it didn’t!) is illustrative:

An irony of the national coverage of the coronavirus crisis is that at the same time DeSantis was being made into a villain, New York governor Andrew Cuomo was being elevated as a hero, even though the DeSantis approach to nursing homes was obviously superior to that of Cuomo. Florida went out of its way to get COVID-19-positive people out of nursing homes, while New York went out of its way to get them in, a policy now widely acknowledged to have been a debacle.

The media didn’t exactly have their eyes on the ball. “The day that the media had their first big freakout about Florida was March 15th,” DeSantis recalls, “which was, there were people on Clearwater Beach, and it was this big deal. That same day is when we signed the executive order to, one, ban visitation in the nursing homes, and two, ban the reintroduction of a COVID-positive patient back into a nursing home.”

DeSantis is bemused by the obsession with Florida’s beaches. When they opened in Jacksonville, it was a big national story, usually relayed with a dire tone. “Jacksonville has almost no COVID activity outside of a nursing-home context,” he says. “Their hospitalizations are down, ICU down since the beaches opened a month ago. And yet, nobody talks about it. It’s just like, ‘Okay, we just move on to the next target.’”

Perhaps more understandably, The Villages, the iconic senior community, was a focus of media worries. According to DeSantis, as of last weekend there hadn’t been a single resident of The Villages in the hospital for COVID-19 for about a week. At one point, the infection rate in The Villages was so low that state officials were worried that they were missing something. “So I got the University of Florida to do a study,” he says. “They did 1,200 asymptomatic seniors at The Villages, and not one of them came back positive, which was really incredible.”

So how did DeSantis go about responding to the epidemic? It began with the data, and trying to learn the lessons of other countries.

The “Red” states’ approaches (and to be fair, California’s) spared their states the carnage that befell New York’s nursing homes (and Minnesota’s, as well); a dispassionate, scientific approach to the data (as opposed to the governor’s desired conclusions, as in Minnesota) led them to protect their most vulnerable – in stark contrast to the policies of New York’s governor (and increasingly, Minnesota’s).

I’ve been calling this response “Blue Fragility” – the tendency of our society’s “gatekeepers” to lash out in anger and frustration at the realization that their version of “science” is as much about browbeating and logrolling people into submission as it is about systematic inquiry leading to knowledge. It helps deflect away from several fairly inescapable conclusions one might get from observing this pandemic:

  1. High density “blue city” urban lifestyles – like the Met Council is mandating in the Twin Cities – are not “resilient” against pandemics. High density living, transit-centered lifestyles, open plan offices, bars and restaurants are all hotbeds of contagion in a way that, at least anecdotally, lower-density areas – even as in Los Angeles as compared to New York – just don’t.
  2. When you mix science and politics, you don’t get scientific politics. You get politicized science – better known as “propaganda” and “logrolling”.

Blue Fragility is causing some shutdown proponents to “kill the messenger”; I had a prominent Saint Paul political operative tell me “small towns are going to get the s**t kicked out of them”, with an almost evangelical glee, like he was looking forward to watching all those MAGA-hatted bitter clingers’ suffereing.

And it prompts people to deflect away from the success story to, frankly, “dog bites dog” stories like this – where a “covid denier” who is quite visibly high risk of contracting the disease…contracts the disease. Surprise, surprise.

It’s easier to mock and taunt one’s opponent than engage them – when that’s all you’ve got.

Perspective

This blog is eighteen years old and counting. Granted, it’s been a hobby the whole time – other than my annual fund drive and the occasional Google Ads check, it’s never been a money-making proposition. There’s aways been something else to keep me much, much busier from 8-5 – initially a couple of kids, plus a career; these days, the career covers most of it.

But the goals have always been the same: talk about the things in this world where not talking about them would drive me completely crazy, and try to convince the “other side” that there’s another way.

Christian Toto – longtime journo, and conservative film critic – has been at it longer, with different priorities, and a story that resonates with me; a conservative in Saint Paul is a fish at least as far out of water as one in Hollywood.

The whole thing is worth a read, but here’s my pullquote:

What’s different now about me?

I’ve embraced more of Andrew Breitbart’s spirit, his vision. It IS a culture war, and one side has far more ammunition. I’m not looking for domination, though. Given the chilling clampdown on free speech I simply want all sides to be heard without, as Dave Rubin would say, being called a Nazi … and then punched.

Once upon a time that was the liberal’s default position. No longer. It’s time to act accordingly. Taking that basic stance makes me both an outlier and a culture warrior. Guilty as charged on both fronts.

If you’re a left-of-center movie buff, I hope you’ll stand by me, too. Let’s argue about the best, and worst, content streaming into our homes.

We can agree to disagree, assuming you acknowledge “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein” got stiffed by the Academy in 1948.

Worth a read.

The Real Virus

Epidemics and other disasters come and go

But the worst side-effects of the Covid epidemic are going to be with us for years.

This was the Raleigh NC Police’s response to a protest against the government’s shutdown restrictions:

And if the people allow this attitude to continue, then they – we – will deserve what follows.

The First Amendment isn’t more important than the broad concept of “order” – but it is certainly more important than the Raleigh PD treats it in this case.

Someone needs to get hauled into court, but good.

The ACLU has been showing some signs of paying attention to actual civil liberties again during this crisis. Here’s hoping.

Sort Of A Good News / Bad News Situation

As I discussed on my show on Saturday, I see potential good and potential immense bad coming from the Covid19 epidemic. It’s almost like one of those cartoon characters, with an angel sitting on one shoulder and a devil on the other, trying to convince the character of their next action.

Good Angel

On the one hand:

The Bad Angel

  • Progressive politicians are seeing an opportunity to exercise the Emanuel Commandment (“Never Waste a Crisis”), and they’re running with it
  • For a brief moment, it seemed like identity politics might fall ill with coronavirus.  But not so much.  

Let’s all give the good angel a boost, shall we? 

The Usual Disclaimers Apply…

But more of this, faster:

It may turn out all for naught. But on the other hand, a very timely advance like that – almost deus ex machina, if not a maguffin – would be a wonderful break for the economy, wouldn’t it?

On the slower and steadier front – US Health and Human Services will waive HIPAA regulations for “Telecare” consultations, even for HIPAA infractions committed “In good faith“:

Secretary Azar:

“Thanks to the Public Health Emergency I declared in January, more older Americans will be able to access healthcare they need from their home, without worrying about putting themselves or others at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers will be allowed to use everyday technologies to talk to telehealth patients, more telehealth services will be covered for millions more Medicare beneficiaries, and providers will be allowed to offer these telehealth benefits to Medicare beneficiaries at a lower cost than traditional services. From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, President Trump has been knocking out every bureaucratic obstacle possible that stands in the way of a rapid and effective response. We are grateful to the hard work of those across HHS who put together these actions, and we’re grateful to American healthcare providers for working to take advantage of these options and continue their heroic work serving patients during the outbreak.”



What a week: liberals buying guns, people appreciating going to work, kids wanting to be back at school?

I’ve been saying for years – after a disaster, everyone becomes a conservative. Who knows?

As We Wait, And Wait, And Wait, For The “Inevitable Tsunami Or Right-Wing Violence”, Part MCMLXI

Modern Democrats, told “dial back some of the Gulag-y, Stalin-y, Black Maria-y talk”, respond…

like leftists always have:

After the New Hampshire Democratic debate on Friday night, MSNBC host Chris Matthews uttered high heresy against the Bernie Sanders movement by remembering the Cold War and the threat of socialist and communist executions. He warned that if Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, “there would have been executions in Central Park, and I might have been one of the ones getting executed.” As if to demonstrate the truth of this statement, Bernie Bros got #FireChrisMatthews trending on Twitter…”A lot of this will be sorting this out if the Democratic Party runs a socialist candidate. That’s a change to the Democratic Party,” Matthews continued. He did not condemn the expansion of social programs, which he firmly distinguished from socialism. “The Democratic Party’s been to the left of the Republican Party on the issue of mixed capitalism, more social programs. They push Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, enormously popular programs. I think ACA/Obamacare, I wish they’d follow through with it, make it work. I think most Americans would be happy with … a public option” in health care.

Watch for burnings of The Gulag Archipelago and 1984 before too terribly long.

Ilhan Omar – Libertarian Heroine

Rep. Omar on Twitter yesterday:

There’s hope here!

If your healthcare, tuition and housing are “Free” (ergo, paid by me, the taxpayer who gets none of those benefits), I am your slave, and being a slaveholder is a moral burden on you as well.

I’m pretty sure Rep. Omar didn’t intend it that way, of course – as her droogs make pretty clear in the thread (and if there’s a 2020’s analogue to “never read the comment section”, it’s gotta be “never read the thread of someone with a blue checkmark).

But you never know.

Maybe Omar will finally get into trouble with Squad leadership for this gaffe…

Further Proof, If Any Were Needed…

…that only does Democrat messaging make no logical or intellectual sense, but it isn’t intended for consumption by an audience that worries about moral and intellectual sensibility.

The idea – presented here – that forcing Congress to stop abrogating its responsibility to write laws and stop slothfully fobbing the job off on the Executive Branch, should be fairly uncontroversial.

Not – as the piece posits – a threat to the general order.

Validated

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The New York Times reports that hermit crabs have wealth inequity.  It’s settled science. 
Which proves that wealth inequity is part of the natural order of things, and not the result of capitalism or white supremacy.  Therefore, I no longer need to feel bad about it.  
Good to know. 
Joe Doakes

Watch for hermit crabs to get “canceled. 

Tear Down This Wall

This week is one of those time when one hopes that the people of Hong Kong know what Lech Wałęsa knew, and our “elites”, then as now, didn’t:

he Hong Kong pro-democracy movement achieved a stunning victory in Sunday’s district-council elections. With turnout exceeding 70 percent, close to 90 percent of the seats went to pro-democracy candidates, who took 17 of the 18 district councils. As the first electoral barometer of public sentiment since protests began in June, the results are a turning point in the conflict that has wracked Hong Kong for the last six months.
Though the district councils’ authority is mostly local, they appoint 117 of the 1,200 members of Hong Kong’s Election Committee. Coupled with the roughly 400 opposition members already sitting on the election committee, the additional seats will give the pro-democracy camp much greater sway when the next chief executive of Hong Kong is selected in 2022. The current chief executive, Carrie Lam, has denounced this year’s protests and remained staunchly on the side of Beijing.

Watching how squarely our “elites” have come down , not so much “on Beijing’s side” as “trying not to cheese off the benevolent dictors” reminds me of life in the late seventies, when “detente” so frequently overrode any desire to call out the Soviets for what they actually were. It remained up to the locals – the Poles, Estonians, Czechs – and dissidents here at home, the “crazies” and “McCarthyite Cold Warriors”, to remind the world.

And the idea that the world would go from the squashing of Solidarity in 1980 to the fall of the Wall within ten years was almost as unthinkable as the idea of calling for a landing on the moon by 1970 in 1960.

As it seems today.

Keep your fingers crossed.

And They Say Progs Are Illiterate About Economics…

Portland voters impose a 1% “clean energy” tax on large and big-box businesses.

And are then outraged that those businesses pass the costs on to customers.

Emphasis added:

Terry Wiesner stared down at his Safeway grocery store receipt in confusion in mid-September after he noticed being charged an extra 3 cents for buying a package of $2.99 napkins. The 3 cent charge was listed as a tax.
He called over a store attendant while still in the self-checkout line at the Southeast Woodstock Boulevard branch and asked about the charge. The worker pointed to a laminated sign nearby.
Portland instituted a voter-approved clean energy surcharge in January, imposing a 1 percent tax on paper products, wine, beer, household items and other products, the sign said. The surcharge began appearing on Safeway customers’ receipts on Sept. 9 and people should contact the City of Portland if they had any concerns, according to the notice.
“I didn’t remember voting for any kind of tax,” said Wiesner, 74. “I later learned that this was meant to be a tax on businesses, not the people. Frankly, it just made me angry. It wasn’t about the 3 cents, it’s about the spirit of this charge and how it’d been passed off to me.”

To be fair, it’s entirely possible this has been passed off as something that’d “just affect business”; Portland, like Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth and now Rochester, is run by people who’ve never worked outside public employment, non-profits or academia.

Clap For Service

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Told my wife we should get The Clapper so she doesn’t have to get out of bed to shut off the lights when I’m done reading. She scoffed – do they even make those anymore?
Yes.  Amazon.  $17.  Order by 6:00 on Friday, guaranteed delivery on Sunday.  Seriously?  How is that possible? 
Yes, I understand they have a 850,000 square foot warehouse in Shakopee, a building as big as my entire city block. But surely they must prioritize inventory?  Amazon updates its list of “Most Popular Items on Amazon” hourly, so I can keep up with the Jones.  Obviously, they’d have a huge inventory of in-demand items.
But how much demand can there possibly be for The Clapper?  And yet they have them in stock locally for two day delivery?  Unbelievable.  There’s a reason Amazon is kicking every other retailer’s a**.  It’s called “Customer Service.”
Joe Doakes

And yet, someday, just like Microsoft, Time/Warner/AOL, IBM, AOL, General Motors and US Steel, something will come along to knock it off the top of the heap.

Making Housing Affordable By Making It Unattainable

Minneapolis passed a “renter protection” ordinance last week that’ll hamstring landlords trying to do even the most basic due diligence about potential tenants:

The renter’s protection ordinance prevents landlords from using old criminal or housing records to deny applicants. Specifically, an applicant cannot be denied if they have a misdemeanor conviction older than three years, a felony record dating back seven years, and more serious offenses that occurred 10-plus years ago. Landlords also lose the use of a credit score during the screening process and there is a new cap on security deposits at one month’s rent.

I can see giving people a break on criminal records after a long-enough time keeping one’s nose clean.

On the other hand, I don’t think the City of Minneapolis is the one to plop an arbitrary figure on how long it takes a criminal to be a safe risk…

…for someone else’s investment.

Previously, property owners could look at someone’s criminal and credit history before renting to them, sometimes going back a decade. Renters said mistakes of the past should not affect their future, especially something from 10 or 20 years ago. 

In the 1960s, New York City instituted “Renter Protections” – rent control, making evictions for cause nearly impossible, onerous regulations on landlords – that caused the stock of “affordable housing” to become unsustainable; as landlords abandoned or sold out cheaper properties, housing either became unlivably awful and abandone, or sustainable but only affordable by the wealthy.

San Francisco followed suit; there is little between great wealth and grinding poverty.

Sounds like a fine plan, Minneapolis. You’re in good hands.

Swamp Creature

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Counter-terrorism official claims that mass shootings in America are White right-wing terrorism and therefore should be handled like any other terrorists.
Author ignores untreated mental illness, claims it’s all White Supremacy and easy access to guns.  Only nation in the world to have this problem.  Article is easy to read, conveniently free of citations to studies or news reports or actual proof.  Entirely based on “I’m an expert, believe what I say,” which is a form of the logical fallacy “appeal to authority” that I’ve found particularly annoying since junior high school.
And what’s the proposal – treat White Supremacy like Muslim terrorism?  How?  Put all White American Presbyterians under surveillance?  Infiltrate spies into White organizations like the Kiwanis?  Tap the President’s phones (wait, already did that, it was a bust). No, the author wants the country to adopt two gun control bills presently in Congress, tinkering with background checks. 
Suppose the FBI receives a background check application.  Applicant has no criminal record, never officially diagnosed as mentally ill, not in their database.  But the FBI agent finds disturbing Facebook pictures of the applicant in front of a Nazi flag giving the Nazi salute saying “Finish what Hitler started.” 
Is that enough to deny him the gun?  On what legal grounds?  That he’s a member of the American Nazi Party?  “Being a hater” isn’t listed in any state or federal law as grounds for denial and for good reason – it’s political speech protected by the First Amendment, and thus cannot be used to deny firearms purchases under the Second Amendment.
The author was a Deep State government employee for years.  And his big solution to mass shootings – background checks – can only work if it’s expanded to include crushing unapproved political opinions.  Now we see why draining the swamp is more important that anyone thought.
Joe Doakes

If I were President, it’d be the moral equivalent of…

…well, not “war”. Maybe “dismantling the Department of Education”.

Which is, to be fair, mighty important.

Happy Birthday, Modern American Conservatism

Today is the 59h anniversary of the Sharon Statement – a 400 word essay that set out the founding principles of Young Americans for Freedom. It was hatched at William F. Buckley’s home in Sharon, Connecticut – hence the name – and it establishes principles that conservatives need to keep in front of them now more than ever.

Read it. Frame it. Give it to a muddle-headed young ‘un. History will thank yoiu.


The Sharon Statement

In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

We, as young conservatives, believe:

That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

That the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the genius of the Constitution—the division of powers—is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;

That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies;

That the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

That the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace; and

That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?

Pass it along.

How To Win “Prog” Friends And Influence Virtue-Signaling People

CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: “I am a conservative talk radio host. Let’s discuss the issues of the world”

“PROGRESSIVES”: “We want you to die in a grease fire, but only after you watch your family get eaten by mice”

CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: “But I’m running against the president in a Quixotic campaign/ratings stunt”

“PROGRESSIVES”: “Even though we couldn’t define “conservatism” correctly if you pelted us with stacks of $50 bills, we declare you to be a leader of conservative thought!”

(And SCENE)

Gerbils For Freedom

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My granddaughter is on vacation this week in Wisconsin Dells, so Grandma and I are gerbil-sitting. I remember gerbils from the olden days, they were just rats that lived in a big cage and made noise all night. Nowadays, they have a space-age plastic entertainment complex, with a menu of carefully selected natural foods and colorful blocks of wood, scientifically selected from the best species to promote rodent tooth health and avoid chemicals that may be hazardous.
That stupid rat lives better than I do, and vastly better than people in Venezuela, not to mention the free-range rats living in my attic. When did pets become bling?
I suppose I shouldn’t complain. At least she hasn’t declared it to be her emotional support animal, so I can prohibit her from bringing it in the car.
Joe Doakes

When you think about it? Gerbils have gotta be thankful for the blessings of the free market. Not only do they live better than “citizens” (subjects) in Venezuela, but in fact they’re pretty much food down there these days.

Misdiagnosed

Interesting article in the WaPo on San Francisco; its title suggests its current situation
“breaks America’s heart”,
which is a fine play on Tony Bennett, but doesn’t really reflect the contempt most Americans outside the tech industry and politics have for the place.

The city is in the midst of collapsing, not so much from wealth, or even the “prog” boogeyman “income disparity” or even the lack of a middle class, but from the complete unaffordability by anyone who isn’t either wealthy or heavily subsidized by the wealthy.

And of course, San Franciscans -the people who voted for the government that led them here – are the last to understand why:

“This is unregulated capitalism, unbridled capitalism, capitalism run amok. There are no guardrails,” says Salesforce founder and chairman Marc Benioff, a fourth-generation San Franciscan who in a TV interview branded his city “a train wreck.”

First – and something of a tangent – Salesforce sucks.

More on-point? “Capitalism” only “runs amok” when it’s got government paving its way – with zoning, taxes and social policies designed to promote some groups over others, to bring “the right people” and promote “the right kind…” of society, life, politics. It is leading the way – but hardly alone – in proving Joel Kotkin’s point from ten years ago; cities are becoming donuts, with a core of immense wealthy surrounded by immense poverty, largely via government policy.

Unbridled capitalism gave us…Williston.

Again: America Made Great

Progressives love America.

Well, no. Let me rephrase that.  Progressives love the idea that America is a big, powerful, wealthy place that they might control someday. 

That’s more like it. 

They may protest the point – but they let the truth slip on occasion; Michelle Obama’s “This is the first time I’ve been proud to be an American”, and of course Eric Holder’s “This nation was never great”. 

Christian Adams has an excellent reminder. The whole thing’s a pullquote, so I’m just going to do the conclusion: 

America is an idea, a great idea, that all are created in the image of God as free. That idea, not always perfectly executed, transformed the world. Along the way, it also limited government. The freedoms enshrined in the Constitution restrain the power of government. Government cannot act the way progressives want because the Constitution stands in the way. After decades of trying to redefine the notion of freedom in the courts, Holder and his gang have hit a Trump wall, where judicial nominees no longer subscribe to the utopian view of the Constitution.

Let’s hope that Eric Holder changes his mind and decides to run for president. Do us a favor. Go to Iowa, Texas, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania and tell Americans there that America was really never great. Please.

I’d love to see it.

Of course, they have a way of changing their tone when they have to. See also Amy Klobuchar.

Allegiance

SCENE:   Mitch BERG is checking his oil.   As he does so, Avery LIBRELLE pedals a “Nice Ride” bike up the sidewalk, obscured from BERG’s view by the hood of the car.  LIBRELLE pedals over to BERG. 

LIBRELLE: Merg!    What’s all this secession talk?

BERG:  There are those who think that as a result of a couple of generations of geographic sorting, the nation’s differences are so great it’s time for an amicable divorce.  Let Blue America and Red America split up and try their luck as sovereign, ideally friendly, countries.

LIBRELLE:   Hah!  That’s treason!  Treason, I say!  We are one nation under Goddess, and the last time the traitors tried to leave the union the rest of us beat them back into line!

BERG:   So there should always be one nation.

LIBRELLE:  Absolutely.

BERG:   One set of federal laws.

LIBRELLE:   Yes.

BERG:   So you support cracking down on “sanctuary cities” that flout federal law for their own ideological reasons?

LIBRELLE:  [Visibly flinching] Racist!  Traitor!   Badthink!

BERG:   Hey – it’s the middle of February.  Those Nice Ride bikes were all taken off the road in November.

LIBRELLE:  Oh, it’s on my sister’s credit card, so it’s free.

And SCENE