November 19, 2018
This has been a particularly violent year for Republicans across the country. Candidates were assaulted and Republican campaign offices were vandalized. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his wife were chased out of a restaurant; Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and his family were harassed by Democratic activists and reporters up until Election Day. Trump Administration officials were publicly intimidated and humiliated, and a leading Democratic congresswoman called for more aggression against Trump aides.
Republican senators were verbally accosted in elevators and on the streets of Capitol Hill during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process; a female Republican senator received death threats and a suspicious package at her home after she voted to confirm his appointment. Of course, this is all on top of the mass murder attempt against several Republican congressmen that nearly killed a top House lawmaker in the summer of 2017.
One would assume that any post-election analysis by a self-styled “conservative” about the menacing atmosphere on the Left would harshly condemn the incoming Democratic House majority for condoning such destructive behavior, and warn Democrats to clean up their act for the sake of the country. That sort of tongue-lashing by a leading outlet on the Right is not just appropriate, but essential.
But David French at National Review has other post-election targets in mind—namely, the imaginary cabal of white supremacists taking over the Republican Party.
Outlandish Claims, Distorted Evidence
French’s November 15 column, “The White-Supremacy Surge,” is more cowbell to amplify the media’s nonstop drumbeat that Donald Trump and his supporters are bigots, anti-Semites, and neo-Nazis. (A despicable Washington Post column over the weekend suggested that massacres and death squads might be in the offing because of Trump.)
Sadly, French’s incendiary analysis wasn’t far from that Post screed. It is a literary junk drawer of anecdotal evidence and conjecture scattered with overworn insults about Trump supporters.
In an attempt to boost his inaccurate claim that white supremacy is surging, French cited a sketchy study while overlooking exculpatory data in the very same report, and he mentioned random racial crimes that are vile but no indicator of a coordinated white supremacist movement. “Trump’s words have emboldened white supremacists,” French outlandishly declared, again without evidence.
In an effort to prove his case, French conflated a rise in white supremacy with a speculative rise in hate crimes. According to a May 2018 report from California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism—the paper French cites in his column—hate crimes increased by 12 percent in 2017 in 10 major cities. (The report documents the number of allegations, not convictions, reported to police. Dr. Brian Levin, one of the authors, confirmed to me via email that the center’s data “cover hate crimes reported to police at time complaint is made and is not dependent on how it is eventually charged.”)
A closer look at the statistics included in the report not only fails to bolster French’s claim, the data show that whites are the third-most frequently targeted group of victims, after black and LGBT people. Jews, Mexicans, and Muslims are less likely to be a victim of a hate crime than a white person, according to the study. Further—and highly relevant here—there is no proof that white supremacists committed most of the offenses noted in the study.
Then this: “We are forecasting a small to moderate increase for hate crime for 2017. Only a small number of agencies have partial year data for 2018, but most are down significantly . . . we are forecasting a significant national decrease in 2018 but only for the first half of the year.” (Emphasis added.)
So, despite the hysterical warnings from French and his collaborators in the media, there was only a small increase in hate crimes last year and those numbers dropped significantly in the first half of the year. This means there is no “surge” either in hate crimes or white supremacy. (The synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh last month singularly will change that forecast for the year. Trump also has been blamed for that massacre by French’s NR colleague, Jonah Goldberg, even though the shooter did not vote for Trump and criticized the president for being “surrounded by kikes.”)
Wrong Diagnosis, Preposterous Prognosis
French dragged out the usual bogeymen such as Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos— vanquished figures with little to no influence in the mainstream Republican Party—as proof the party is under some white-supremacy swoon. He slammed Breitbart and The Federalist for allegedly endorsing white supremacy. (The author of the Federalist piece he misrepresents is Jewish.) Non church-going Trump voters are closet racists, French concluded, because not enough of them have “warm feelings” for blacks, according to one survey: “The white-supremacist surge is a symptom of a greater disease, and it’s a disease with no easy cure.”
But what is the disease French diagnosed, not just in the “conservative movement,” but in large swaths of the country at large?
French identified a litany of woes suffered by white, working-class Americans who he claims are drawn to Trump and therefore vulnerable to the alleged white supremacy upswing, but in addition to offering no evidence of their supposed racial animus, French offered no solutions to their legitimate political concerns.
The greater disease afflicting America, as French should know, is the institutional decay in thousands of small towns across the country. Millions of white Americans have been failed by their political leaders, faith leaders, community leaders, business leaders, and union leaders. The political party that once stood for them has all but abandoned them, and the other political party has ignored them for decades.
No one spoke for them when their local industries were bought off to relocate to major cities or other countries; when allies and foes alike benefited from unfair trade agreements; when China and Mexico were dumping lethal drugs into their schools; when a blind eye was turned toward rising illegal immigration that undercut wages and job opportunities.
There’s now only one leader who is speaking for them, and that is Donald Trump. While French and his fellow political snobs sneer at the condition of rural and industrial America, and waste time chasing an imaginary tide of white hoods, Trump and his administration are addressing the real threats faced by forgotten Americans—threats that, if not addressed, will certainly lead to negative repercussions for the country as a whole. NeverTrump concern trolling about working class Trump voters is as disingenuous as it gets.
If influencers like French had their way, Republicans would spend all their time calling out the outliers on this side, rather than developing solutions to help disaffected white and other working class Americans—not to mention condemning the more dangerous and legitimate surge in left-wing fueled violence.
But the purpose of French’s piece is not to find a cure or even honestly and factually to articulate a serious societal menace. French lends a conservative imprimatur to the false leftist narrative that Trump is a racist, that the president promotes white supremacy, and that his supporters are ready to wield Tiki torches to burn down the country. A greater threat to civil society, in reality, is contemptible pieces of writing like French’s, which are intended to malign innocent people based on race and political affiliation, and further divide the country he laughably claims to want to save.
Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact [email protected].
Re-posted with permission.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr
(https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/20/confession-of-a-no-longer-russiagate-skeptic-219022) by Blake Hounsell, Politico, July 20, 2018
I can appreciate that many disagree with the President for their reasons. Admittedly, he is many ways a bull-in-a-china-closet iconoclast.
None the less, the article cited is rife with factual inaccuracies that matter. Then again, it’s an opinion piece. As New York Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed — “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”
Too many put a focus on words and not actions. I fully admit the current President’s verbal predilections tend to exacerbate things rather than move them forward. More often than not it’s how he says it and not the actual substance that give his political opponents fodder.
The key premise (though other items are listed; items upheld by biased speculation, wholly lacking what would qualify as in law as evidence) appears to be the current Administration’s actions his administration have taken that are “tough on Russia” are not credible.
Blake says Trump opposed both the idea of arming Ukraine and bristled at Congress’ Russian sanctions. He cites the tepid presser (which I don’t think it not served the President well) as proof of collusion, or cooperation at least with Putin and Russia.
Here’s what the Trump Administration as actually done regarding Russia. Actions versus words.
Re-institution of the European missile defenses:
- Obama stopped this – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/sep/17/missile-defence-shield-barack-obama
- Trump activated it – https://www.cnn.com/2016/05/11/politics/nato-missile-defense-romania-poland/
Provided arms to Ukraine, specifically to aid it’s efforts to defend itself against Russia.
- Obama resisted it – https://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/obama-ukraine-russia-putin-219783 (despite a Treaty in which Europe and the US bound themselves to Ukraine’s protection against Russia).
- Trump approved it – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2017/12/20/trump-administration-approves-lethal-arms-sales-to-ukraine/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b3627e0bf859
I would agree on the surface without looking at the whole picture, one might be able to think Trump is being soft on Russia. To do so one has to turn a blind eye to what he is actually doing. Regardless of what he has actually done, versus the speculation of what he may have done because of how he expressed himself, will never assuage those who oppose the President.
The President’s and his overall Administration’s actions, sometimes in spite of his words, provide a better assessment of his position, precisely because actions taken are what actually occurs and affects us. Actions are not in the realm of speculation, supposition, theory or opinion, unlike so much of what is propagated as news these days.
As the old adage says: actions speak louder than words.
To preclude the anticipated citing of the various indictments, particularly the last two announcements, not one single indictment cites collusion by the President. Not one. Read them for your self. Plenty of speculation by many. A plethora of innuendo. No facts, otherwise the indictments would state such.
2) Rosenstein’s announcement was reviewed and approved for release by the President PRIOR to his European trip.
3) Rosenstein’s own words, ….”there is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
4) The previous Mueller indictment disclosed much the same:
- The Mueller indictment of 13 Russians seems to clear the Trump team of collusion, at least in this part of the case.
- But the most important part of the indictment is the fact that it says the Russian efforts had no effect on the election.
- That’s a major shot in the arm for American voters, who have proven able to resist foreign meddling.
5) Russia meddling does not require Trump’s cooperation. As more actual EVIDENCE has come out, especially the background documents thanks in part to the various investigations, reports and the FOIA lawsuits to force transparency on the various agencies, the more it supports President Trump’s insistence he did not collude.
Parallel to “actions speak louder than words”, evidence, not speculation especially when bolstered by prejudice/preference is what matters. If ever evidence show there was collusion, the consequences are obvious. Thus far however, not one single shred, not even a “smidgeon” of evidence has been presented. All hat and no cattle.
We’re harming ourselves with such myopic obsession, when little more than biased speculation supports it. Some might call that delusion. Either way, none of this is helping us be a better nation, much less better and more respectful neighbors with one another.
Back in 2012, before the ascendance of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency and before neologisms such as “trigger warnings,” “microaggressions, and “safe spaces” became part of regular college campus discourse, New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt published a groundbreaking book titled The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
Today, America’s political polarization is deeper than ever. But there is hope and a way forward.
As a bibliophile who reads extensively on a wide array of subject matters, I can declare without hesitation that Haidt’s book is by far the most fascinating and important work on social science that I’ve read within the last five years. It is a book that I have given away to a dozen of my friends working in the political realm or who are regular politicos, and one that I’ve recently reread given the profound insights of its central thesis. Today, America’s political polarization is deeper than ever. But there is hope and a way forward.
Intuitions Come First and Reasoning Second
Haidt’s tireless efforts through his book and other writings provide a promising path towards understanding the psychological causes behind our tribal politics. Drawing upon his background in social psychology and twenty-five years of original research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how evolution is responsible for shaping people’s morality that both binds and divides and how politics and religion create conflicting communities of shared morality.
Most profoundly, moral attitudes and judgments originate from intuition, not calculated logic. In his 1739 magnum opus A Treatise of Human Nature, the philosopher David Hume mused that, “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” According to Haidt, the findings of modern social psychology research have largely vindicated Hume.
To illustrate his point, Haidt uses the metaphor of a rider and an elephant. The rider represents the conscious mind with its rational functions and controlled processes. But the domineering elephant is everything else outside the rider’s control: automatic processes that include emotions and intuitions. Although the rider can do “several useful things” such as planning for the future and learning new skills, ultimately “the rider’s job is the serve the elephant.” As a result of this one-sided relationship, the rider mostly “fabricat[es] post hoc explanations for whatever the elephant has done, and it is good at finding reasons to justify whatever the elephant wants to do next.” In short, “conscious reasoning functions like a lawyer or press secretary.”
What does this mean for political discourse? If people are asked to believe something that conflicts with their intuitions, you can almost certainly expect them to reflexively find an escape route – any reason to doubt the argument or conclusion they’re confronted with – and they’ll usually succeed. Haidt takes pains to emphasize that:
Moral judgment is not a purely cerebral affair in which we weigh concerns about harm, rights, and justice. It’s a kind of rapid, automatic process more akin to the judgments animals make as they move through the world, feeling themselves drawn toward or away from various things. Moral judgment is mostly done by the elephant.
Thus, if you’re trying to change someone’s mind, especially when it concerns a moral or political issue, you have to “talk to the elephant first.” [Dale Carnegie’s 1936 classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People is a good pairing with Haidt’s book and is referenced in the latter’s work. It contains many psychological insights that remain relevant today and in fact, are reinforced by modern findings.]
Moral Foundations Theory
Through his interdisciplinary research, Haidt and his colleagues uncovered six moral foundations that are shared across human cultures:
1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).
6) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor. We report some preliminary work on this potential foundation in this paper, on the psychology of libertarianism and liberty.
Most intriguingly, Haidt found that left-liberals and progressives recognize primarily the first two moral foundations, Care/harm and Fairness/cheating. For the political Left, Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity, are perceived not as proper morals at all but base human traits responsible for patriarchy, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression. However, this stance is an outlier compared to most other parts of the world.
Haidt provides many examples from ethnographies and cross-cultural studies that show that in “Western, educated, industrial, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) cultures,” the moral spectrum is “unusually narrow” and largely limited to the ethics of individual autonomy.
Given that human nature is tribal, people automatically form teams when they share values and morals.
In contrast, many non-WEIRD societies and conservatives use all five moral foundations that include embracing the ethics of divinity and community. Libertarians or (classical) liberals in the European sense are a truly unique political species and are not easily placed on the Left-Right political spectrum in that they prize the last moral foundation, Liberty, above all other values.
These are extraordinary differences and would explain the growing political polarization in the United States and why liberals can’t understand conservatives (and vice versa). In today’s political discourse, partisans often seem to argue not so much against each other, but past each other (an observation that forms the basis of Thomas Sowell’s eye-opening work A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, also alluded to in Haidt’s book).
Given that human nature is tribal, people automatically form teams when they share values and morals. While morality can “bind” people together through benefits such as group cohesion and unity, it also “blinds” them to the possibilities or even the existence of other legitimate perspectives akin to The Matrix. This kind of “moral matrix” can be so strong that it “provides a complete, unified, and emotionally compelling worldview, easily justified by observable evidence and nearly impregnable to attack by arguments from outsiders.”
As challenging as it may be to see through one’s own ideological blinders, empathy is crucial for successful outreach, acts as an “antidote to righteousness,” and has the added benefit of expanding one’s own intellectual horizons.
Why Intellectual Diversity Matters
Because of the inherent limits of human reason, Haidt reminds us that “we should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play.”
However, under the right circumstances and conditions, people can use their reasoning powers to check the claims of others. Furthermore, when people “feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system.” Thus, it is especially “important to have intellectual and ideological diversity within any group or institution whose goal is to find truth (such as an intelligence agency or a community of scientists) or to produce good public policy (such as a legislature or advisory board).”
Embracing intellectual diversity is of paramount importance to companies that wish to attract top talent and stay innovative.
Universities, most of which are still committed to their timeless mission to search for truth and push the boundaries of human knowledge, in particular must embrace complete freedom of speech, open inquiry, epistemic humility, and tolerance for the most radical and eccentric. Championing viewpoint and philosophical diversity goes hand in hand with these fundamental principles that form the bedrock of a liberal education.
Speaking as an entrepreneur, I would further add that embracing intellectual diversity is of paramount importance to companies especially if they wish to attract top talent and stay innovative in an increasingly competitive world. Haidt’s findings from moral psychology are consistent with research from other fields highlighting the value of those who “think different.”
Saras Sarasvathy at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business profiled some of the most successful entrepreneurs and found them to be spontaneous contrarians who have “confidence in their ability to recognize, respond to, and reshape opportunities as they develop” to the point that they “thrive on contingency.” Unsurprisingly, entrepreneurs relish bucking conventional wisdom whether it be following standard management practices or any other kind of defined linear process.
Adam Grant at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has extensively researched how “originals” move the world. Startups, which by their very nature are nonconformist, have a special obligation to hire originals who can seed a resilient culture, anticipate market movements under conditions of extreme uncertainty, and repurpose dissenting ideas in alternative ways. Grant emphasizes how originals can mitigate the risks every company faces:
Conformity is dangerous – especially for an entity in formation. If you don’t hire originals, you run the risk of people disagreeing but not voicing their dissent. You want people who choose to follow because they genuinely believe in ideas, not because they’re afraid to be punished if they don’t. For startups, there’s so much pivoting that’s required that if you have a bunch of sheep, you’re in bad shape.
Launching a startup requires boldness, imagination, and a contrarian streak. Perhaps then, it is not surprising that immigrants, individuals who leave the land of their birth for the unknown, have had a disproportionate impact on American entrepreneurship and may even be predisposed towards creativity. In trying to pin down the “secret of immigrant genius,” Eric Weiner speculates that intellectual development is stimulated when one’s world is turned upside down:
Many immigrants possess what the psychologist Nigel Barber calls “oblique perspective.” Uprooted from the familiar, they see the world at an angle, and this fresh perspective enables them to surpass the merely talented. To paraphrase the philosopher Schopenhauer: Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Beyond Identity Checkboxes
Broad liberal attitudes towards risk-taking, unorthodox thinking, and entrepreneurship are among the reasons why the United States is still the richest country in the world. In his wide-reaching book The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, science writer Matt Ridley traced the origins and spread of economic prosperity. He credits voluntary exchange and specialization, specifically what happens when different ideas meet, mate, and recombine to create new ideas, for being the main drivers of human economic and social progress.
As summarized by John Daly at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business:
Innovations often happen when you combine two or more things in unexpected ways. When you have a diverse group of people working on something, magic often happens because each person brings a different perspective and experience to the table.
Authentic diversity must go beyond identity checkboxes to fully include diversity in ideas. Viewpoint diversity drives creative tension, cross-cultural understanding, and the ability to identify and solve problems from multiple perspectives. Creativity and innovation ultimately depend on people stepping outside of comfort zones and trying new things including getting exposed to radical and unorthodox ways of thinking.
Companies that actively work to prevent the dangers of groupthink and foster a welcoming culture for weirdos and mavericks are better positioned to become more resilient and innovative environments. Cultivating the right processes and organizational norms may make the final difference in stronger financial returns. Whether it’s a feisty little startup looking to challenge the dominant players or an established Fortune 500 company looking to defend its position, any company can gain an edge over its competitors by unleashing the “gale of creative destruction.”
Intellectual diversity creates awareness of our own blinders.
Besides its obvious economic benefits, intellectual diversity creates value that extends beyond material gains. A marketplace of ideas is one of the key underpinnings of a free society. Truth can emerge when views are freely exchanged, challenged, and refined. People’s individual reasoning have inherent limits but through our collective intelligence, we can achieve the impossible.
Even though our intuition-based morality divides our allegiances into different tribes that seemingly cannot coexist with others, accepting and encouraging intellectual diversity creates awareness of our own blinders and provides a possible escape path out of our moral matrices. Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind is an invaluable starting point. He and other courageous “heterodox” scholars working to advance viewpoint diversity, mutual understanding, and constructive disagreement fill me with hope.
If we were to understand the moral foundations on which all our moral interests are based, we just might be able to restore civility, learn how to disagree more constructively, promote genuine tolerance, and ultimately advance human progress on every front.
October 9, 2017
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile
On April 30, 1934, under pressure from Italian-American lobby groups, the United States Congress passed a law enshrining Columbus Day as a national holiday.
President Franklin Roosevelt quickly signed the bill into law, and the very first Columbus Day was celebrated in October of that year.
Undoubtedly people had a different view of the world back then… and a different set of values.
Few cared about the plight of the indigenous who were wiped out as a result of European conquest.
Even just a few decades ago when I was a kid in elementary school, I remember learning that ‘Columbus discovered America’. There was no discussion of genocide.
It wasn’t until I was a sophomore at West Point that I picked up Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States (and then Columbus’s own diaries) and started reading about the mass-extermination of entire tribes.
Columbus himself wrote about his first encounter with the extremely peaceful and welcoming Arawak Indians of the Bahama Islands:
“They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron…They would make fine servants…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
And so he did.
“I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”
Columbus had already written back to his investors in Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, that the Caribbean islands possessed “great mines of gold.”
It was all lies. Columbus was desperately attempting to justify their investment.
In Haiti, Columbus ordered the natives to bring him all of their gold. But there was hardly an ounce of gold anywhere on the island. So Columbus had them slaughtered. Within two years, 250,000 were dead.
Now, this letter isn’t intended to rail against Columbus. Point is, I never learned any of this information in school. Decades ago, no one really did.
But today, people are starting to be aware of what Columbus did. And our values are vastly different today than they were in 1937. Or in 1492.
Decades ago… and certainly hundreds of years ago… the idea of a ‘superior race’ still prevailed, endowed by their creator with the right to subjugate all inferior races.
This readily-accepted belief was the pretext of slavery and genocide.
Even as recently as the early 1900s, there were entire fields of ‘science’ devoted to studying the technical differences among various races and drawing data-driven conclusions about superiority.
Phrenologists, for example, would take precise measurements of people’s skulls– the circumference of the head, the ratio of forehead to eyebrow measurements, etc.– and deduce the intellectual capacity and character traits of entire races.
Jews could not be trusted. Blacks and Asians were inferior. These assertions were based on ‘scientific evidence’, even in nations like Sweden, the United Kingdom, and United States.
Today we’re obviously more advanced than our ancestors were. We know that their science was complete bullshit, and our values are totally different.
There are entire movements now (particularly among university students) to remove statues, rename buildings, and re-designate holidays.
Frankly this is a pretty slippery slope. If we judge everyone throughout history based on our values today, we’ll never stop tearing down monuments.
Even someone as forward-thinking as Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. And that’s a LOT of elementary schools to rename.
More importantly, there will come a time in the future when our own descendants judge us harshly for our short-sighted values.
Fortunately we no longer have faux-scientists today writing dissertations about racial superiority.
But we do have entire fields of ‘science’ that will truly bewilder future historians. Economics is one of them.
Our society awards some of its most distinguished prizes for intellectual achievement to economists who tell us that the path to prosperity is to print money, raise taxes, and go into debt.
Economists tell us that we can spend our way out of recession, borrow our way out of debt, and that there will never be any consequences from conjuring trillions of units of paper currency out of thin air.
They created a central banking system whereby an unelected committee of economists possesses nearly totalitarian control of the money supply… and hence the power to influence the price of EVERYTHING– food, fuel, housing, utilities, financial markets, etc.
Economists have managed to convince the world that inflation, i.e. rising prices, is actually a GOOD thing… and that prices quadrupling and quintupling during the average person’s lifespan is ‘normal’.
They’ve also succeeded in making policy-makers terrified of deflation (falling prices) even though just about any rational individual would naturally prefer falling (or at least stable) prices to rising prices.
Economists make the most ridiculous assertions, like “The debt doesn’t matter because we owe it to ourselves…” as if it’s perfectly acceptable for the US government to default on its citizens.
Or that the US economy is so strong because the American consumer spends so much money, i.e. consumption (and not production) drives prosperity.
The public believes all this nonsense because the ‘scientists’ say it’s true.
The scientists also come up with fuzzy mathematics to support their assertions. Last Friday, for example, the Labor Department reported that the US economy lost 33,000 jobs in September.
Yet miraculously the unemployment rate actually declined, i.e. fewer people are unemployed despite there being fewer jobs in the economy.
None of this makes any sense. Fewer jobs means lower unemployment. Spend more money. Print more money. Borrow more money. Debt is wealth. Consumption is prosperity.
All of this is based on ‘science’.
We may rightfully take umbrage with the values and ideas of our ancestors.
But it’s worth turning that mirror on ourselves and examining our own beliefs… for there will undoubtedly come a time when our own descendants wonder how we could have been so foolish.
Reposted from SovereignMan
Are those so eager to tear down various monuments willing to do so to the fullest and logical extent of your reasoning? Are you?
If indeed, historical monuments, erected decades or more ago, are so offensive due to their ties to slavery, segregation and all its vile wretchedness, then are those of you so willing to demand with equal fervor that every Democratic Party member who promoted or defended slavery, who refused to support desegregation, aided and abetted “separate but equal”, who had been members of the KKK, who resisted every legislative effort to literally remove the physical and political shackles from people of color also have their names and likenesses removed from the sight of all?
Only one party literally has blood on its hand for the stain of bigotry and racism. One. It fought to keep slavery, segregation and institutionalized racism as a lawful right. That party used every means possible both legal and illegal, force and coercion, the courts and police, to take rights from people of color. That Party has a long and vivid history of legislators, jurists, congressman, senators and Presidents who, with vigorous conviction of the rightness of their view, denigrated people of color. But they would have us ignore that, vigorously pointing fingers in the direction of their political opposition whether it means distortion of facts, outright fabrications and vacuous verbal character assassination at any opportunity.
It is even said that the welfare state was designed to keep folks enslaved in the new plantation of the national state. One thing for sure, the Great Society of LBJ, not known for his racial fondness, was not put forth as scheme to bolster the lives of those he looked down upon (“they’re getting uppity”). One has only to look at the societal harm done by those legislative efforts. (See: https://goo.gl/yZEXfG)
For those so eager to denigrate a sitting President, who over his entire public life has denounced white supremacy (please understand this phrase to be as expansive as it need be to cover every possible iteration or group) in general as well as specifically, this outrageous display moral self-righteousness is utterly and distastefully repugnant.
Look at us! We are literally tearing at one another due to a misrepresentation of what someone said, over misrepresentation of the facts of events, due to either an unwillingness to hear the plain spoken words of an individual or the prejudice of mind that precludes the ability to listen without casting personal perceptions and feelings on them. How did we become such a hateful, spiteful and ruthlessly intolerant society? Neither white supremacists or Antifa are without blame. For that matter, how does a Governor and a Mayor come off so high and mighty when clearly they exacerbated events by their dereliction of duty regarding the appropriate implementation of law enforcement in the prevention of conflict.
And yet, all the uproar over what is not said? To quote someone far better than I, “Let he who has ears to hear, hear. Let he who has eyes to see, see.” The same person said, “If you would remove the thorn from your brother’s eye, you must first remove the beam from your own.”
How can we survive as a society when a news reporter is threatened for recounting events accurately? Even after she modified her report, she was still castigated (see: https://goo.gl/FXyxfD). How is this anything but mob rule and anarchy? Is this the kind of nation you wish to leave your children and grandchildren? I don’t.
The way out of this mess and bile, is first to step back and take a deep breath. Then to merely respect that we will all differ in our views on a whole host of subjects and issues. But to treat each other as idiots or less than human, then to resort to verbal and physical abuse on account of disagreement? Really? So much for a civilized society! So much for a lawful, much less, society! As for using law to compel others to get their minds right one need only look to Stalin, Mao, Che, PolPot and ISIS to appreciate where that leads. Even within our own recent history here, the FBI undercover testimony disclosed that the Weather Underground estimated that up to 25% of the population would have to be eliminated because at least many would not be “re-educated”. Is that what we really want?
We are at a crossroads, a watershed moment.
Will we embrace respect and deference when we disagree? Or will we devolve into mongrels and devour ourselves?
Why, when our nation was founded on the preeminent ideal of equality for all would we permit the desire, the pursuit and the means of potentially achieving it, cast it aside for the mob and despotism?
Robert Frost wrote: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.”
I for one choose the less traveled road of liberty and respect. You’re more than welcome to join me. Those who choose otherwise: leave those of us who love life and liberty, respect our fellow man, even when we disagree, who will not use force to compel another individual’s loss for their own benefit, but seek justice against those who would….those who prefer another way of life, leave us alone.
You may choose to grovel with the mongrels of the mob who would bite and snip at every difference natural and learned. What a pitiful lot. All the best to you. Just leave the rest of us alone and quit meddling in our lives.
Shame On Us
Shame on us for believing it is somehow compassionate to take the hard-earned resources of one individual and giving it to another.
Shame on us that we’ve forgotten that the “Government” is us, that whatever monies it has is our friends, our neighbors and individuals we do not know.
Shame on us for permitting legislators to throw about our earnings like so much candy to buy votes, to curry favor and seduce us into supposedly good things, all the while doing little more than spend money that is not theirs without regard of the costs to us.
Shame on us for assuming that because we think it’s a good idea to do such-and-such that every should be compelled by law to support it, even if they disagree.
Shame on us for daring to believe that what is our neighbors is ours to direct and allocate under penalty of law.
Shame on us for permitting our own self interest to pervert law into the means by which we take from others to line our own pockets (subsidies, credits, socialized healthcare, etc.).
Shame on us for daring to blindly throw about the hard-earned monies of each other as though it were ours to control and not the ones who earned it.
Shame on us for eagerly endorsing law that amounts to little more than theft.
Shame on us for forgetting it is NOT government but us, WE the People, that are the solutions.
Shame on us for being suspicious of anyone suggesting something could be better accomplished without doing so through government.
Shame on us for distrusting each other so much as to bind each other in the chains of legislation blindly believing that coercion and forced re-allocation will some how redress inequities.
Shame on us for refusing to resist the temptation to use law to coerce others to doing only what we approve of; for criminalizing rudeness and offensive behavior.
Shame on us for lacking the will and determination to win hearts and minds by example and persuasion and deeming ourselves the moral conscience and judge of our neighbors when they disagree with our particular views.
Shame on us for decimating the rule of law in favor of the rule of the mob.
Shame on us for preferring chains over liberty; for what we leave the next generation.
Shame on us.