America has survived many external enemies – but “progressivism” is one internal enemy that has the potential to actually destroy it.

And the “Administrative State” – which, along with the Non-Profit-Industrial complex is where the regulatory rubber hits the road – is in many ways the spear point of the “progressive’ attack on everything that makes America worth living in. Nothing saps America’s resilience, vitality and prosperity like the Administrative State, which exists largely to transfer wealth from taxpayers to “progressive” stakeholders.

Recent weeks have been marked by the whining and caviling of “progressives” about the actions of the Republican-controlled Wisconsin state assembly, which acted to greatly reduce the power of the incoming Democrat governor.

Lost in all of the sore-losering – or intentionally concealed in it – is the fact that over the past eight years, Wisconsin has taken steps to curb the excesses of the Big Administrative State that the rest of the country, and the nation, would do very well to emulate:

In 2011, much attention was given Act 10, Governor Walker’s signature reform to public-sector collective bargaining. Less well-known was Act 21, which can rightly be considered the beginning of an administrative-law revolution in Wisconsin. In 2017, Acts 39, 57, and 108 added to those reform efforts. And this past summer, the Wisconsin supreme court issued a significant decision in Tetra Tech v. Department of Revenue, creating a stricter framework for courts to apply when considering the amount of deference to provide agency interpretations.

Much of what we now consider the standard rule-making process in Wisconsin was first set out in 2011 Act 21. At its core, Act 21 provides that no agency may implement or enforce any standard, requirement, or threshold (including as a term or condition of any license it issues) unless such action is explicitly required or permitted by statute or rule. Gone are the days of implied or perceived authority.

Additionally, for each proposed rule, the act required agencies to submit a “statement of scope” to the governor for review and prepare an economic-impact analysis relating to specific businesses, business sectors, public-utility ratepayers, local governmental units, and the state’s economy as a whole.

You should read the whole thing – and pass it on.

I Pledge Pledge Allegiance To Alexandria Ocasio Cortez…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I get it now. I understand. It’s hard to change a lifetime of thinking one way, the wrong way, but I get it now.

I hope my children do worse than I. I hope their prospects are dimmer, their fortunes poorer, their deaths early.

You see, I once believed that by staying in school to get an education, working hard in my job, spending frugally and investing wisely, that I was making a better life for myself and my family. But now that I’m woke, I see that I never earned anything, I didn’t build my career, it was all handed to me because my parents weren’t divorced and my Mother read to me.

I have White Privilege.

Oh, sure, I saw the brown, black, red and yellow kids outside the razor wire, watching us White kids go to the school where they were denied admittance. I saw them sitting against the wall of the supermarket, their bellies distended, flies buzzing around their heads, because they life in a food desert. I thought that was the natural and inevitable consequence of their parents’ cultural choices. I thought White culture was better at protecting women and children while building and conserving wealth.

But I understand things now and I’m not going to let my children make the same mistakes that I made. I’m pulling them out of STEM school and getting them hooked on drugs to ensure they never go back. I’m squandering my savings on a tricked-out Yukon with 20-inch Spreewells. I’m quitting my job and committing a few felonies, to ensure I can’t get another. When my kids’ lives are as bad as the kids in the lowest strata of society, then things will be fair.

I know they’ll thank me someday.

Equality!

Every Point A Strawman

I’ve long held, correctly, that Red America understands Blue America – its culture, society, ways, mores and the like – better than vice versa.   Red America gets New York and LA in a way that neither of them gets, and I’d suggest don’t believe they need or care to get, the rest of the country.

And it seems it’s not merely geographic:

In his remarkable book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, Haidt recalls a telling experiment. He and his colleagues Brian Nosek and Jesse Graham sought to discover how well conservative and what Haidt terms ‘liberal’ (ie: progressive) students understood one another by having them answer moral questions as they thought their political opponents would answer them. “The results were clear and consistent,” remarks Haidt. “In all analyses, conservatives were more accurate than liberals.” Asked to think the way a liberal thinks, conservatives answered moral questions just as the liberal would answer them, but liberal students were unable to do the reverse. Rather, they seemed to put moral ideas into the mouths of conservatives that they don’t hold.

That would explain why liberals are so very prone to arguing the straw man; it’s the only way they perceive conservatives.

To put it bluntly, Haidt and his colleagues found that progressives don’t understand conservatives the way conservatives understand progressives. This he calls the ‘conservative advantage,’ and it goes a long way in explaining the different ways each side deals with opinions unlike their own. People get angry at what they don’t understand, and an all-progressive education ensures that they don’t understand.

It’s been my observation that liberals, at large, can not effectively debate conservatives, because at no point in their education have they ever had to see conservatism and conservatism as anything other than cartoons.

I’ll urge you to read the whole thing.

The Rush To Mediocrity

The likes of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and most of the MInnesota DFL genuflect toward the Europeans for their economic advice.

Inconvenient fact:  all of Europe’s economies would fit tidily within the bottom third of US states:

Most European countries (including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium) if they joined the US, would rank among the poorest one-third of US states on a per-capita GDP basis, and the UK, France, Japan and New Zealand would all rank among America’s very poorest states, below No. 47 West Virginia, and not too far above No. 50 Mississippi. Countries like Italy, S. Korea, Spain, Portugal and Greece would each rank below Mississippi as the poorest states in the country.

Maybe they all need to go to war with us again.

Behind The Fashion Curve

Poke a needle in a Minnesota liberal, and they’ll likely bleed some combination of Danish and Swedish “social democracy”.

At Reason, Johan Norberg points out that they – and most Americans, really – could learn a lot from the Swedes.  Just not much of it goes along with the left’s dogma:

Norberg’s grand tour of his homeland reveals a country steeped in classical liberalism. Americans may be surprised to learn that Sweden’s experiment with socialism was a relatively brief flirtation, lasting about 20 years and ending in disillusionment and reform.

Sweden began rolling back government in the early 1990s, recapturing the entrepreneurial spirit that made it a wealthy country to begin with. High taxation and a generous array of government benefits are still around. But now it’s also a nation of school vouchers, free trade, open immigration, light business regulation, and no minimum wage laws.

Podcast?  Why sure, you can listen to the whole thing:

 

The Road To Hell’s Kitchen Is Paved With Good Intentions

A few years ago, when the city of Minneapolis jumped on the “raise the minimum wage to $15 and mandatory benefits“ bandwagon, the owners of popular downtown eatery “Hell’s Kitchen” led the way in virtue-signaling how very OK they were with it.

And they stuck to their guns (their owners would not be OK with me using that phrase, but it’s still a free country) as a wave of other restaurants shut down around the metro, many of them explicitly citing the City mandated bludgeoning of their bottom line. No, seriously – one of them, “Ward 6“ in Saint Paul – pops up in the story, although the article never really connects the dots.

The star Tribune assures us that the owners saw they had a problem – they don’t specify which problem, although they hinted at it in a few places – but, for the moment, the bleeding is stanched.

Incredibly, the article points out in almost as many words that the owners of the restaurant almost geometrically match the stereotype every conservative has of restaurantears who virtue signal their approval of laws that, historically, shred through restaurant jobs like wood chippers through particleboard end tables: they spent years really not paying much attention to their financials, floating on a wave of profits from a thriving business and a good location (and, let’s be honest, really good food – I haven’t been there in years, but I did love it) until almost literally waking up one morning and realizing they were in serious trouble.

And you have to go about 2/3 of the way down the article to get to this bit here:

“The restaurant’s staff of 180 was trimmed to 160, chiefly through attrition and by adjusting start times to better match the flow of customers, producing a wage savings of $170,000. “

I am sure that most of the cuts were “through attrition” – not only does the restaurant industry have famously high turnover, but so does any business when the owners start frantically slashing expenses – but let’s break the story’s numbers down: that’s $170,000 in wages – the equivalent of 11 part time, 20 hours a week jobs at the new city of Minneapolis $15 an hour minimum wage – that don’t exist anymore.

So underneath all of the restaurant management‘s and started being as happy talk, what’s happening is…

…Exactly what conservatives, business people and anyone who passed economics 101 and said would happen: the Minneapolis city council’s wage and benefit laws are not just killing businesses, they’re killing jobs.

Of course, the virtue signaling Minneapolis city counselors and the bureaucrats who work for them don’t work in restaurants (or any private sector or entrepreneurial business, for that matter); Minneapolis’s restaurant industry has been one of the service industry’s “it“ sectors for decades, now, so I suspect they figure they’ll always be another.

By the way – I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that Hell’s Kitchen’s current owners furtively start looking for a buyer in the near future, that the expenses continue getting slashed, the Yelp reviews start spiraling, and the place quietly closes within five years. And if that happens – heaven forfend – the last thing the city, the Star Tribune or the restaurant’s compliant DFL management will do is blame the city’s policies for it.

I hope not – I genuinely like eating there, although I actually can’t eat there anymore – but I wouldn’t bet against me on it, either.

Gör Sverige Bra Igen

Conservatives make major strides in…

…Sweden?

Sweden’s elections on Sunday carry the same lesson we should have already learned with Brexit and Donald Trump’s 2016 victory: Those whom political elites view as “deplorables” are going to have their say. The question now is whether elites will continue to ignore them and the lessons they bring.

Once a poster child for political consensus, Sweden is now deeply polarized. Parties on the traditional right and those on the traditional left wound up in a photo finish, each with about 41 percent of the vote. The remaining 18 percent of the vote was captured by Sweden Democrats (SD), a once obscure populist party with some roots in 1980s neofascism.It has since largely cleaned up its act and seen its support skyrocket as other parties have ignored its key issues of immigration and crime. The SD claims it now practices a “zero-tolerance” policy against members who make openly racist or anti-Semitic statements.

Sweden’s had a couple shots of Real World in recent years; conservative inroads should be expected.

But the “elites” never really do expect it.

Submitted For Approval

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I propose a new Berg’s Law.

“Socialists are frustrated people who believe that after the revolution, their worth will finally be recognized and they’ll triumphantly assume command, they won’t be purged with the rest of the kulaks, saboteurs and wreckers.  About this, they are uniformly mistaken.”

Joe:  Your proposal has been submitted to the Berg’s Law peer-review committee.

It has serious potentijal.

Of Pikers And Pimps

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

St. Paul and Minneapolis are considering raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.  There are no studies on the effect of a $15 per hour minimum wage because it’s never been that high.  The studies of effects of prior minimum wage increases go both ways, depending on who you believe.  What to do?

This is where it helps to be conservative, because we have principles to guide our actions, not just feelings.  One principle is:  “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  Another is:  “Don’t tear down a fence until you know why it was built.”  The core thought underlying these principles is to make changes cautiously, only when you’re certain they won’t cause more harm than good.  Since the evidence is equivocal, adherence to conservative principles would dictate that we not raise the minimum wage to $15.

But Democrats are not conservatives so they have no such principles to restrain them.  They’re going to raise it because it will please the mob and that’s the most important thing to them.  So if you’re going to raise it despite the evidence, why stop at $15?  Why not raise it to $100 per hour and we’ll all be rich?  Pikers.

Power is the principle.

Original Intent

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Gun control advocates insist The Founders could not have intended ordinary citizens to own the same weapons as the government.  Why, every Tom, Dick and Harry could have a machine gun!  They could use those weapons to overthrow the government!  The Founders never intended that, surely?

I’m not so certain.  We’re talking about the guys who planned and conducted a years-long guerilla war to overthrow the existing government.  Their speeches, pamphlets and Declaration expressly justify taking up arms against the King.  The Minutemen used every weapon they could beg, borrow or scrounge.  Washington crossing the Delaware at Christmas was a raid to steal British muskets, powder and artillery.  Most of the rebels brought their own hunting rifles which were more accurate at long range than the weapons British mercenary troops were issued; they were better than military-grade.  The Founders knew from close-up and personal experience what arms citizens needed, and what they were needed for.

Gun control advocates think The Founders were happy ordinary people had military grade weapons long enough to throw off the British government, but intended to restrict military grade weapons to the government only, once The Founders took control.  That’s how socialist dictators do it in banana republics.  That’s how gun controllers would do it, if they were in charge.  Why wouldn’t The Founders act the same way?

Because they just fought a long, bloody war using barely trained and poorly equipped civilians as impromptu militia forces.  Because they knew how hard they had to work to gain their freedom.  I strongly suspect The Founders wrote the Second Amendment to ensure ordinary citizens access to weapons at least as good as the government agents have, in case they’re needed to throw off another tyrannical government in the future.

Gun control advocates picture George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as distinguished gentlemen.  They imagine The Founders must have viewed the world the way sophisticated and urbane Liberals see it today.  That’s the wrong mental image.   To understand The Founders, stop thinking like New York Liberals and start thinking like the Montana Militia.  That’s a much better picture of the men who fought at Valley Forge and Bunker Hill.  Now you understand Original Intent.  And now you know why it terrifies New York Liberals.

And you know why they work so hard to repudiate their actual legacy.

Is This The MPLA, I Thought It Was The USA…

Johnny Rotten – lead singer of the Sex Pistols – joins the Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker among punk icons supporting Trump:

“What I dislike is the left-wing media in America are trying to smear the bloke as a racist, and that’s completely not true,” the 61-year-old said. “There’s many, many problems with him as a human being, but he’s not that, and there just might be a chance something good will come out of that situation, because he terrifies politicians.”

Mr. Lydon said Mr. Trump is like a “political Sex Pistol” whose purpose is to rattle the status quo. After co-host Piers Morgan described Mr. Trump as “the archetypal anti-establishment character,” Mr. Lydon added: “Dare I say, a possible friend.”

Back in the glory days of blogging, one of our sayings was “conservative is the new punk”.  In our society, the way it is today, standing for a fairly timeless establishment against an utterly temporal one certainly qualifies

The Moral Arc

There’s a quote attributed to Martin Luther King that President Obama liked to use a lot – “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. It’s an inspiring saying
 
It’s also a platitude with no historical basis.
 
Kevin Williamson paraphrased it and made it much more accurate: “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward tyranny and oppression”.
 
I like to think about that on July 4; of all the people who have ever lived in human societies in the past 20,000 years, the vast majority, before and after July 4 1776 lived under one form of strongman, chieftain, divine-right monarch or capo or another (at least, those who weren’t living in hunter-gatherer tribes – who lived a life that was “nasty, brutish and short” under the even more merciless tyranny of nature).
 
The idea that humans could live under anything *other* than those circumstances had scarcely occurred before the Declaration of Independence; the idea that human rights were something one was born with, rather than endowed by a benevolent monarch, was vastly more revolutionary and threatening to the status quo than the beat-up little army that faced off against the British was.
 
And it still is. Most of Europe’s “democracies” *still* believe that rights are granted by the community, not one’s creator. Which means that when (not if) a government goes off the rails, those rights follow suit.
 
Today we – those of us who are paying attention – celebrate an idea that most Americans can’t possibly comprehend: the very fact that a free society (albeit one overrun with an authoritarian bureaucracy and an arrogant, entitled political class) exists at all, even in deeply imperfect (aka “human”) form, defies not only history, but human nature itself. In the history of humanity, it’s as rare as a blue tulip.
 
What Nietzsche called the “Will to Power” – the ascendance of those with the desire to be in control not only of themselves but those around them – has driven most of human history. The fact that our society has managed to tame that impulse – or at least channel into a form that doesn’t end with endless wars, beheadings, forced famines and reprisals, is nothing short of miraculous…
 
…and about as fragile as that blue tulip, if we’re not careful.
 
Which is why we need to demand more of our media (who’ve become largely impotent, cowardly tools of the establishment in recent years), and government (whose bureaucracy more and more serves its own future), and most of all ourselves; to not let Facebook shut us up, not let the modern day brownshirts disarm us, not let bureaucrats with the Will to Power sap our right to privacy, to demand that people who want to come to America actually believe in what America *means*, not just what it gives.
 
The moral arc of history is not your friend. The job of bending it back never ends.
 

Square Pegs

I’ve been pondering how to address this for a while – what it’s liek to be an actual conservative in the Trump era.

John Hawkins takes a run at it with the five werdest things about being a conservative Trump non-fan.

Here’s one that some of my liberal friends have a hard time wrapping their brains around:

I can understand Democrats writing off a conservative like me because even if Alex Jones is duking it out with Todd Akin one day, I still won’t vote for whoever the latest socialist is that they run. That being said, there are roughly 8 million Americans who voted for Obama AND Trump and the general attitude Democrats have toward them seems to be, “Rot in Hell with your orange god.” No political party can appeal to everyone, but it’s so strange to see a political party that treats millions of voters they are going to want support from in the next election like pariahs simply because they voted for the other side. This would be like an NBA team saying, “If you didn’t show up to support us at yesterday’s game, then we better never see you again! Oh, and if we catch you wearing our merch, we will MURDER YOU.”

It’s part and parcel of the Democrats becoming an extremist cult.

Almost Coulda Been

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

John McCain, dying, says he regrets picking Sarah Palin as a running mate in his campaign against Barak Obama and Al Gore.

He wishes he had picked pro-abortion Democrat Joe Lieberman to run as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate.

This tells us all we need to know about John McCain’s firm commitment to conservative principles – none – and why the Republican base absolutely insisted on a rock-solid Conservative on the ticket.  Without her, people like me would have stayed home and McCain/Lieberman would have received no electoral votes at all.

And I for one was worried about that.

Too Big Not To Fail

It’s become Big Left’s latest line – America is “too big to govern”.

David French notes – of course it is:

What if trust in American democracy is eroding because the nation has become too big to be effectively governed through traditional means? With a population of more than 325 million and an enormously complex society, perhaps this country has passed a point where — no matter whom we elect — it risks becoming permanently dissatisfied with legislative and governmental performance.

It depends on how one defines “traditional means.” If we’re speaking about the post-FDR form of American government, with power increasingly centralized in Washington, then [Colby University sociology professor Neil Gross] is on to something: American political dysfunction will only increase so long as our leaders remain committed to that kind of government. But if one goes further back and defines “traditional means” as government ordered according to the vision of the Founders, then there’s hope for us yet. True federalism (and only true federalism) can match American government to the larger religious, cultural, and political trends that are pulling Americans apart.

And it shouldn’t even be a tough choice:

Simply put, our current national government isn’t fit for the times in which we live. What we stitched together in response to an unusual one-two-three punch of American history (the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War) during a period of extraordinary Democratic political dominance is now straining under its own colossal weight. It’s not responsive to a nation that lacks a mortal threat to its existence, and it’s incompatible with a population that is using the combination of geographic mobility and technological flexibility to wall itself off in increasingly cocooned and polarized communities.

Of course, true federalism would wipe out a lot of lucrative sinecures.  And that means it won’t happen until things completely collapse – at best.

Math Isn’t Their Strong Suit

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

They pay burger flippers nearly $12 per hour now.  The workers went union for a fair wage.

Bad news, people.  The fair wage for someone whose only marketable skill is flipping burgers is $10.  They were overpaying to keep the union out.  Now they’ll agree to raise wages but that will force layoffs to balance the budget.

There will be one guy working for $100 an hour but the rest of you will be replaced by a burger-flipping machine.  I predict bankruptcy in three years.

Joe Doakes

The story is from Portland – which seems to believe, these days, that if you vote for something hard enough, you’re enttitled to it.

Pick Your Enemies

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

 

Conservatives are throwing a tantrum.  Trump is a complete failure and we’re all doomed because he signed the horrible, no good, very bad budget bill.  Spending out of control!  Mountain of debt!  Economic collapse!  Doom!

Yeah, but where’d he get the budget bill?  From Congress, right?   And Republicans control the Congress, remember?   The Speaker of the House is Paul Ryan, R-Wisc and the Senate Majority Leader is Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.  If those schmucks passed the bill and sent it to Trump for signature, how is it his fault that the country is doomed?  Why didn’t they exercise a little fiscal restraint?

Why is it Trump’s job to battle Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, the Deep State, Democrats and, oh yeah, Republicans, too?

Joe Doakes

Plenty of blame to go around, in my book.

The Resistance

Silicon Valley has turned in to a de facto surveillance state, and is using its power to try to quash Conservative thought on the Internet.

The “#meToo” movement has harnessed the power of the Progressive Herd to co-opt what started as a good message (don’t abuse women!) into a policy bludgeon and a wedge used to shame, bully and censor dissent.

Conservative speech is actively squelched on campus, in many corporations, and in many community groups .

Big Left is relentlessly pimping a bunch of kids who, a month ago, were eating Tide Pods on Youtube, as the great unheard voices of wisdom on gun policy they clearly don’t understand in any way.

And the DC Establishment – Republican and Democrat both – have basically turned into the same, free-spending, debt-blind creature.

Sorry, libs;  the “resistance” in this country is entirely on the right.

Events Of A Feather

Six years ago, Venezuela banned private firearms ownership,  via a piece of legislation that had to have sent a tingle down Linda Slocum, Erin Maye Quade, Jamie Becker-Finn and Dave Pinto’s spines.   It was done to consolidate and reinforce the control of a government that, one might suspect in concept had to have sent a tingle down Linda Slocum, Erin Maye Quade, Jamie Becker-Finn and Dave Pinto’s spines.

Of course, we know the results; socialism degenerated “unexpectedly” into thugocracy (which, being “haves” in a socialist society, wouldn’t not send a tingle down Linda Slocum, Erin Maye Quade, Jamie Becker-Finn and Dave Pinto’s spines, necessarily – socialism is a wonderful thing for the kommissars).

And here we are today.

The left would like you to consider them separate events.

They are not.

In The Money!

SCENE:  Mitch BERG steps out onto his porch to bring in his mail – and is startled to see Avery LIBRELLE looking over the envelopes. 

BERG:  Um, Avery?  What the…

LIBRELLE: Merg!  Venezuela is raising its minimum wage! If they can do it, why can’t we?

BERG:  The “increase” is meaningless.  Just like the ones in the US.

LIBRELLE:  They benefit those who need it most!  The poorest and most vulnerable!

BERG:   Let me ask you this, Avery.  Let’s say that I give you coupons, in payment for waving a sign around at a rally.  Those coupons can be used for one thing – to get mint tea at Whole Foods.

LIBRELLE:  Mmm. . Whole Foods.

BERG:  Right.  Now, I give you two coupons.   One for every four hours of sign waving.

LIBRELLE:  OK.

BERG: But Alida Messinger gives you four coupons.   That’s a coupon every two hours.

LIBRELLE:  I’ll work for Alida.

BERG: Right.  But Whole Foods only has one bag of mint tea left in the store.  At all.  How many coupons is it going to cost?

LIBRELLE:  I don’t get it.

BERG:   You have coupons good for tea.  But there is no tea.  So all your coupons are are pieces of paper given to you in exchange for a day of waving signs.

LIBRELLE:  The correct answer, then, is that my labor – sign-waving – is of intrinsic value, and should be rewarded with tea.

BERG:  Not to Whole Foods, it’s not.    The coupons are just pieces of paper exchangaed for slices of time you spent, er, working.  The sign didn’t get waved twice as much, or twice as hard, or… (looks at LIBRELLE) twice as effectively.  You just got more slips of paper.  But the tea is all gone.

LIBRELLE:  Right, but I still have three more coupons!

BERG:  Which are of no value.  Like the 40% “pay raise” in worthless money that the Venezuelan “poor” will get out of this “raise”.

LIBRELLE: But when they throw off the shackles of the international capistalists, they’ll all be rich!

BERG: Right.  Just like you’ll have three bags of tea when the truck finally arrives at Whole Foods.  Hey – why are you on my porch.

LIBRELLE:  Just checking for thoughtcrime.

(And SCENE)