It is more than likely now that Donald Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee in the presidential election this November.
It is therefore very likely that the Republican platform will be what he wants it to be. And many Republicans, especially the go-along-to-get-along pillars of the Grand Old Party, most prominently its leaders in Congress, do not like what he wants. They repudiate him and his ideas. They say he is unfaithful to conservative principles and will alter long-standing Republican policies. But if their choice is between changing principles and policies to those of Trump or breaking the Party asunder by thwarting the will of the millions of voters he attracts, they will accept – are slowly coming round to accepting – Trump and his vision for America. (While probably still planning to knock it into a more familiar and acceptable shape.)
What do his conservative Republican critics object to in particular?
In an article hostile to Donald Trump, but accepting that he is almost certain to be the Republican nominee, Linda Chavez writes at Townhall:
Trump represents a repudiation of the Republican Party’s commitment to smaller government, free trade and an internationalist foreign policy.
Let’s consider these commitments one by one, and assess how far Trump is likely to change them, and how bad the change would be.
Smaller government is certainly a cherished principle of conservative Republicanism. We list it among our core conservative ideals, along with individual freedom, a market economy, and strong defense. Regretfully we admit that government is not likely ever again to be actually small, but does Trump not say anything that suggests he would reduce the hugely overblown bureaucracy oppressing Americans now? He does. He says he will lower taxes. Lower taxes must mean some shrinking of government. And that’s probably the most any conservative Republican could do.
It’s on free trade that we have a difference of opinion with Trump. He has indicated that he would match tariff barriers with tariff barriers. We think that’s counter-productive. But it’s not enough to induce us to call Trump a wrecker of American prosperity. In fact, most of his economic thinking is likely to increase American prosperity very considerably. He would stop foreign aid unless America got something back for it. He would make those countries that want American military protection contribute to the cost of it. And he has plans for job creation which we’re inclined to trust because, as an extremely successful businessman, he has done it.
As for the Republican “internationalist foreign policy” – we’re coming to that.
Here are some points from Charles Krauthammer’s syndicated column on Trump’s recent foreign policy speech. Much as we respect Charles Krauthammer, on this rare occasion we disagree with him.
On the Republican side … foreign policy has been the subject of furious debate. To which Donald Trump has contributed significantly, much of it off-the-cuff, contradictory and confused. Hence his foreign policy speech on Wednesday. It was meant to make him appear consistent, serious and presidential. …
Its major theme, announced right at the top [was]: America First. Classically populist and invariably popular, it is nonetheless quite fraught. On the one hand, it can be meaningless — isn’t every president trying to advance American interests? …
On the other hand, America First does have a history. In 1940, when Britain was fighting for its life and Churchill was begging for U.S. help, it was the name of the group most virulently opposed to U.S. intervention. It disbanded — totally discredited — four days after Pearl Harbor. …
The irony is … it is the underlying theme of [Obama’s] foreign policy — which Trump constantly denounces as a series of disasters. Obama, like Trump, is animated by the view that we are overextended and overinvested abroad. …
Both the left and right have a long history of advocating American retreat and retrenchment. The difference is that liberals want to come home because they think we are not good enough for the world. Conservatives want to wash their hands of the world because they think the world is not good enough for us.
That’s nicely put! Our disagreements will come below.
For Obama, we are morally unworthy to act as world hegemon. Our hands are not clean. He’s gone abroad confessing our various sins — everything from the Iranian coup of 1953 to our unkind treatment of Castro’s Cuba to the ultimate blot, Hiroshima, a penitential visit to which Obama is currently considering.
Trump would be rightly appalled by such a self-indicting trip. His foreign policy stems from a proud nationalism that believes that these recalcitrant tribes and nations are unworthy of American expenditures of blood and treasure.
At least Krauthammer calls it “a proud nationalism”. Linda Chavez, in her article, likens Trump’s nationalism to disreputable [?] European nationalist groups which are better described as tribal. She seems to forget that the United States has for centuries been a melting-pot, and the American nation has been – until very recently under Obama – the least tribal in the world. And Trump’s “nationalism” is better described as patriotism. That’s what an American’s “proud nationalism” really is.
This has been the underlying view of conservative isolationism … It is not without its attractions. Trump’s version, however, is inconsistent and often contradictory. After all, he pledged to bring stability to the Middle East. How do you do that without presence, risk and expenditures (financial and military)? He attacked Obama for letting Iran become a “great power.” But doesn’t resisting that automatically imply engagement?
More incoherent still is Trump’s insistence on being unpredictable. An asset perhaps in real estate deals, but in a Hobbesian world American allies rely on American consistency, often as a matter of life or death. Yet Trump excoriated the Obama-Clinton foreign policy for losing the trust of our allies precisely because of its capriciousness. The tilt toward Iran. The red line in Syria. Canceling the Eastern European missile defense. Abandoning Hosni Mubarak.
Trump’s scripted, telepromptered speech was intended to finally clarify his foreign policy. It produced instead a jumble. The basic principle seems to be this: Continue the inexorable Obama-Clinton retreat, though for reasons of national self-interest, rather than of national self-doubt. And except when, with studied inconsistency, he decides otherwise.
Is Trump’s patriotism a “version of isolationism”? Is it “inconsistent and often contradictory”? By “unpredictable” did he mean what Krauthammer is taking his words to mean?
What did Trump actually say?
We quote his speech in part (find all of it here):
America first will be the major and overriding theme of my administration. But to chart our path forward, we must first briefly take a look back. We have a lot to be proud of.
In the 1940s we saved the world. The greatest generation beat back the Nazis and Japanese imperialists. Then we saved the world again. This time, from totalitarianism and communism. The Cold War lasted for decades but, guess what, we won and we won big. …
Does he regret those American involvements? Not at all. He is proud of them.
Unfortunately, after the Cold War our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. In fact, as time went on, our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. … We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper. Very bad. It all began with a dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interests in becoming a western democracy.
With that we could not agree more strongly. It is not possible to turn states like Iraq and Afghanistan – Arab states, Islamic states – into Western style democracies.
And as for his comment on Obama’s actions – they have been “unpredictable” in that they make no logical sense. Krauthammer chooses them as examples of unpredictability to condemn Trump’s recommendation of it, when in fact Trump means something entirely different – as we shall see.
We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans and just killed be lives, lives, lives wasted. Horribly wasted. Many trillions of dollars were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill that void much to their really unjust enrichment.
They have benefited so much, so sadly, for us. Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster. No vision. No purpose. No direction. No strategy.
Trump goes on to “identify weaknesses in our foreign policy” and to say how he would fix them. Among them (they are worth reading in full) is this:
We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies, something that we’ve never seen before in the history of our country. He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran, and then we watched them ignore its terms even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, cannot be allowed. Remember that, cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. And under a Trump administration, will never, ever be allowed to have that nuclear weapon …
At the end of his analysis and outline of his intentions he promises:
This will all change when I become president.
To our friends and allies, I say America is going to be strong again. America is going to be reliable again. It’s going to be a great and reliable ally again. It’s going to be a friend again. We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests and the shared interests of our allies. …
Does that sound isolationist?
We need a long-term plan to halt the spread and reach of radical Islam.Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed the world. Events may require the use of military force, but it’s also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War.
Absolutely right! And no other politician, as far as we can recall, has said it before.
He goes on to speak of “working very closely with our allies in the Muslim world”, which is one of the few points on which we disagree. There can be no such thing as an American ally in the Muslim world, precisely because “the philosophical struggle” prohibits it. Islam is ideologically opposed to the West.
… And then there’s ISIS. I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won’t tell them where and I won’t tell them how. We must as a nation be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We tell everything. We’re sending troops. We tell them. We’re sending something else. We have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now. But they’re going to be gone. ISIS will be gone if I’m elected president. And they’ll be gone quickly. They will be gone very, very quickly.
So that is what Trump means by “unpredicatble”. A commander-in-chief does not announce to his country’s enemy just when its army will stop fighting and when he will withdraw his troops – as Obama has done. It is a military absurdity!
He goes on to say “we have to rebuild our military and our economy”.
The Russians and Chinese have rapidly expanded their military capability, but look at what’s happened to us. Our nuclear weapons arsenal, our ultimate deterrent, has been allowed to atrophy and is desperately in need of modernization and renewal. And it has to happen immediately. Our active duty armed forces have shrunk from 2 million in 1991 to about 1.3 million today. The Navy has shrunk from over 500 ships to 272 ships during this same period of time. The Air Force is about one-third smaller than 1991. Pilots flying B-52s in combat missions today. These planes are older than virtually everybody in this room.
And what are we doing about this? President Obama has proposed a 2017 defense budget that in real dollars, cuts nearly 25 percent from what we were spending in 2011. Our military is depleted and we’re asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming.
We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.
Does that sound “isolationist”?
But we will look for savings and spend our money wisely. In this time of mounting debt, right now we have so much debt that nobody even knows how to address the problem. But I do. No one dollar can be wasted. Not one single dollar can we waste. We’re also going to have to change our trade, immigration and economic policies to make our economy strong again. And to put Americans first again. …
But, he says …
I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only is possible, absolutely possible. Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries.
Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a deal under my administration, a deal that’s great — not good, great — for America, but also good for Russia, then we will quickly walk from the table. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to find out.
Fixing our relations with China is another important step — and really toward creating an even more prosperous period of time. China respects strength and by letting them take advantage of us economically, which they are doing like never before, we have lost all of their respect.
We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit that we have to find a way quickly, and I mean quickly, to balance. A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China, better than we have right now. Look at what China is doing in the South China Sea. They’re not supposed to be doing it. …
To be militarily strong again, and at the same time try to negotiate better relations with an aggressive Russia and China – is that “contradictory” or is it speaking softly while carrying a big stick?
I will not hesitate to deploy military force when there is no alternative. But if America fights, it must only fight to win. …
Our power will be used if others do not play by the rules. In other words, if they do not treat us fairly. Our friends and enemies must know that if I draw a line in the sand, I will enforce that line in the sand. Believe me. …
My goal is to establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations. That’s why I also look and have to look for talented experts with approaches and practical ideas … We have to look to new people because many of the old people frankly don’t know what they’re doing …
No country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first. Both our friends and our enemies put their countries above ours and we, while being fair to them, must start doing the same. We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions … And under my administration, we will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs. …
I will view as president the world through the clear lens of American interests. I will be America’s greatest defender and most loyal champion. …
The world is most peaceful and most prosperous when America is strongest. America will continue and continue forever to play the role of peacemaker. We will always help save lives and indeed humanity itself, but to play the role, we must make America strong again. … We have to and we will make America great again.
Where are the alleged “inconsistencies”? Where is the “jumble”. (We urge doubters to read the whole speech and tell us if they find any inconsistencies or contradictions that we have overlooked.)
The speech as a whole could be taken as a manifesto of the new Republicanism – what the Republican Party will stand for under the leadership of Donald Trump. He will take the Party forward, but not in the direction it has long wanted to go. It wanted to go, but did not move. He will make both good and bad decisions, as leaders generally do. But he will make them in the interests of a strong and prosperous America, and that is an America that is good for the world.
Why private enterprise, being FOR PROFIT, will always accomplish anything and everything better than government can:
There are different Americas. The great America – the America viewed through European eyes with a mixture of snobbish patronizing indulgence and sheer envy is …
It is what Trump is. He could be said to personify it. His characteristics are those of great America: big, extroverted, ambitious, successful, rich, energetic, restless, generous, proud, adaptable, happy – all admirable qualities. Also … candid to the point of seeming naive, and – okay – boastful, not highly articulate in that he spins no fine phrases, and (many snort) “vulgar”. His candor is not naive; it would lay him open to being taken advantage of had he not been well schooled in the hard-bargaining world of American and international business. His boasting is fully justified: he is a winner. He says what needs to be said, as his tens of thousands of fans appreciate. As for vulgarity – it does no harm. Great America and its personification, Donald Trump, combine energy, high achievement, vision, and generosity that enormously benefit thousands, even millions of others. If the opulence Trump lives in proudly, his delight in showing off his achievements, his loud trumpeting of triumph with every success, is vulgar, then vulgarity is a “yuge” virtue. The fictitious characters whom he most resembles are Ayn Rand’s heroes in Atlas Shrugged. The John Galts and Dagny Taggarts who invent and build and drive and ever improve the engines of civilization.
Another America – more an anti-America – is personified by … Oh any of those sour pious busybodies who think they know best how everyone else should live their lives and want to force them to do as they say. Think current Democratic administration. Or Bernie Sanders. Intellectuals whose opinions were early in their lives pickled in Leftist theory. They are morally vain, needing to feel they are good rather than actually make good. Beings whom Trump would describe as “low energy people”. They make much of “compassion”, not noticing how much condescension there is in their compassion, and how much contempt in their condescension. Their college-age children need safe spaces, “trigger-warnings”, protection from challenging opinions. What words and phrases describe them best? Physically enervated, psychologically etiolated, smug, puritanical, introverted, dogmatic, envious, snobbish, acrimonious, precious, dishonest, hypocritical …Their model fictitious characters are Pajama Boy and Julia, for whom government needs to be an all-sustaining provider and a protecting nanny to the people.
If great America could come to power next year to guide the destiny of the country and shine a beacon light to the world, after 7+ years of stagnation under the debilitating and impoverishing ideologues of the Left, our civilization – now in decline – might be saved.
Or is that America lost and gone? Is Trump a relic of an unrecoverable past?
Margaret Thatcher interrupted the decline of Britain, the decades long rule of the Left. She tried to turn her country into a share-holding, property-owning nation. A free enterprise nation, where capitalism opened the way for everyone to become prosperous. She did what she could, but could not complete the transformation. The Left returned, though it might also call itself “Conservative”.
So even if Trump does become president, and those engines start up again, how far can he take America into a prosperous future? Generations of Americans have now been indoctrinated in schools and colleges to be socialists. Will the country have one last burst of glory, and then sink into welfare mediocracy? Is that the best that can be hoped for?
Jillian Becker April 15, 2016
We are about to make sweeping generalizations, with no attempt to accommodate all shades of opinion. ( Shades of opinion are welcome in comment.)
Left and Right inhabit different universes of discourse. Completely different issues concern them.
The biggest issues on the American Left (in random order) are:
- Climate and the Environment
- Social Justice
To elaborate a little more:
The Left – internationally – holds man-made global warming to be an urgent threat to all life on earth, and tries in the name of saving the planet to force redistribution of wealth over the whole world, the redistributing agent being ideally a world government run according to Leftist values.
The one freedom the Left passionately advocates for is that of Each to seek sexual satisfaction of any kind, and for Each to choose a personal sexual identity, all personal choices connected with sex to be protected by law and subsidized financially, where required, by government.
The Left catalogues all Americans and all foreign nations according to a race analysis, according to which the white race is privileged and oppressive, and all institutions, led by government, have a moral duty to compensate non-whites and handicap whites.
All inequalities between sexes, races, and classes are considered by the Left to be unjust, the injustice being perpetrated by institutions and needing to be corrected by government using any means, including quotas for opportunity and advancement; adjustment of standards for inclusion and compensation; enforced limitations on the expression of dissenting opinion; the redistribution of wealth and power.
The Right does not concern itself with these issues unless compelled to, in which case its dismissive opinion of them is:
Man-made global warming is not true and would not be a bad thing if it were.
Sex is a private matter, only of public concern if it harms children.
Race is irrelevant to all political issues.
All justice is personal, having no meaning apart from the individual; standards must be upheld; power belongs to the powerful and cannot be bestowed; wealth is inescapably unequal in a free society, equality and liberty being mutually exclusive.
The biggest issues on the American Right (also in random order) are:
- Individual freedom
- The economy
- The Constitution
A little more:
The Right holds that individual freedom is the highest value. All innovation, all progress, depends on it. It requires absolute freedom of speech. The prime duty of government is to protect it.
Capitalism is the only system that lifts people out of poverty and secures prosperity. The Right wants the free market to be left to operate without government interference.
The government’s duty of protection requires a strong military to defend the nation from foreign attack; to maintain America’s superpower status of which the Right is proud; and specifically at this time to stop the advance of Islam and its terrorism.
The Constitution established the best possible system of government for a free society and the Right holds that it must be upheld and defended in its entirety.
The Left does not concern itself with these issues unless compelled to, in which case its dismissive opinion of them is:
The individual is less important than the collective, and individual interests are always subordinate to those of the collective.
Capitalism is evil, it values profits above people, it allows some to be rich while it keeps the many poor. The economy needs to be planned centrally by government for the equal good of all.
Wars should never be fought. Spending money on the military is a huge waste. America should not be the world’s policeman. It should not be a superower.
The Constitution is an outdated document. It says nothing about slavery. It stands in the way of an enlightened executive, such as President Obama’s, hampering his laudable efforts to change America into a more equal society.
Plainly, there is no common ground between Left and Right.
Dennis Prager writes at Townhall:
Just about all candidates for president regularly announce their intent to unite Americans, to “bring us together”.
It’s a gimmick.
If they are sincere, they are profoundly naive; if they are just muttering sweet nothings in order to seduce Americans to vote for them, they are manipulative.
In his acceptance speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, John Kerry, one of the most polarizing figures in modern American political history, said, “Maybe some just see us divided into those red states and blue states, but I see us as one America: red, white and blue.”
And President Barack Obama, who has disunited Americans by race, class and gender perhaps more than any president since the beginning of the 20th century, regularly campaigned on the theme of uniting Americans.
In his 2008 victory speech, President-elect Barack Obama said: “We have never been just a collection of … red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
In their current campaigns for president, Republican Gov. John Kasich and Democrat Hillary Clinton regularly proclaim their intention to bring Americans together. He, one suspects, because he is naive, and she, because she will say pretzels come from Neptune if it will garner votes.
Bringing people together is actually the theme of John Kasich’s entire campaign.
One headline on the “Meet John” page of his website says, “BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER, LIFTING PEOPLE UP.”
Senator Rob Portman said of Kasich on Feb. 1, 2016, “I am endorsing John Kasich because I believe he is the person our country needs to bring Americans together.”
And Clinton, who, according to CNN, is tied with Trump for the most negatives in presidential polling for either Republicans or Democrats since 1984, also speaks repeatedly about her ability and desire to bring Americans together.
The “Hillary Clinton for President Supporters” Facebook page has even said, “We’re in the business of bringing people together.”
What’s more, on April 6, 2016, CNN posted a YouTube video titled: “Hillary Clinton — We need a president who can bring people together.”
Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton, wrote on The Hill website that “Clinton wants to bring us together”.
Beyond Kasich and Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders made this a major theme in one of his ads called “Together”, which begins with Sanders saying, “Our job is to bring people together.”
Even Trump, who divides Republicans – not to mention other Americans – like no Republican ever has, uses this mantra.
A January article on The Hill site quoted Trump saying, “I can really bring people together.”
Gov. Chris Christie introduced Trump on Super Tuesday, and a NJ.com column released that night was titled, “Christie on Super Tuesday: Trump is ‘bringing the country together’.”
For the record, Sen. Ted Cruz speaks about uniting Republicans, but not often about uniting all Americans.
All calls for unity by Democrats are particularly fraudulent. Dividing Americans by race, gender and class is how the left views America and how Democratic candidates seek to win elections.
But calls for unity are meaningless no matter who makes them, because no one who calls for unity tells you what they really mean. What they really mean is that they want to unite Americans around their values — and around their values only.
Would Clinton be willing to unite all Americans around recognizing the human rights of the unborn? Would she be willing to unite all Americans around support for widespread gun ownership?
Of course not.
She is willing to unite Americans provided they adopt her views.
Would Sanders like to “bring people together” in support of reducing corporate and individual income taxes in order to spur the economy?
Would Kasich be in favor of “bringing Americans together” by having them all support increasing the size of government and the national debt? One hopes not.
I first realized the dishonesty of just about all calls for unity during a 10-year period in which I engaged in weekly dialogues with clergy of all faiths. Protestant and Catholic clergymen and women would routinely call for Christian unity. When I asked Protestants if they would support such unity if it entailed them adopting the sacraments of the Catholic Church and recognizing the pope as the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the discussion ended. Similarly, when I asked Catholic priests if they would give up the sacraments and the papacy in order to achieve unity with Protestant Christians, all talk of unity stopped. And, of course, the same would hold true for both Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews who routinely call for Jewish unity.
Even more absurd are the calls of naive Christians and Jews to have all the “children of Abraham” – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – unite.
The calls themselves can even be dangerous. One would be hard-pressed to name a single free society that was ever united outside of wartime. The only truly united countries are totalitarian states.
So, why do presidential candidates repeat this nonsense every four years? Because Americans fall for it every four years.
But it’s time to grow up.
The gap between the left and right is unbridgeable. Their worldviews are mutually exclusive.
The Left is dangerously wrong.
This is about the criminalization of doubt.
The US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that not only has she discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against “climate change deniers”, but she has also “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action”.
Some Environmentalists are so absolutely convinced that human activity is really changing the climate of the planet, is really making it dangerously hotter, that they think big rich companies who deal in fossil fuels – the burning of which, they say, causes the alleged hotting up – simply must know this; must have done their own research and discovered it for themselves; and are hiding the documentation, which must exist, and which proves they know it; are deliberately concealing their knowledge and its proofs so that they can go on selling their “evil” product for the “evil” motive of profit, uncaring that it is “doing harm to the planet”, and continuing to deny that there is such a thing as man-made global warming; so they are criminals who need to be prosecuted and punished.
Just think what a heap of suppositions is being compiled here:
- That the earth is heating up.
- That human activity is heating up the earth.
- That the earth’s heating up is dangerous to human health.
- That the burning of fossil fuels is one of the chief human activities to blame for the earth’s heating up.
- That the fossil fuel companies have done their own research into these “facts”.
- That their research proves – must prove – that their products are much to blame for the earth’s heating up and damaging human health.
- That despite having found out all that for themselves they choose to lie about it and say that they do not know these “facts”.
- That they are lying when they say they do not have the documentation of their research which “proves” that they do know; and furthermore
- That they are doing all this lying and concealing and deceiving in order to be able to continue to sell their products while knowing that they are damaging human health.
- That therefore they are committing a variety of crimes including a crime against humanity in general.
We quote from an article at Watts Up With That?:
This is in the news today via “Climate NEXUS”, which is a Madison Ave. PR firm:
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he is launching a legal probe into Exxon’s climate denial. The inquiry will look into both consumer and investor protection laws, covering the oil giant’s activity dating back to the 1970s. Schneiderman’s investigation could open “a sweeping new legal front in the battle over climate change”, says the New York Times, which broke the story. Two separate reports by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times uncovered that Exxon has known about the dangers of climate change since the 1970s but sowed doubt by funding climate change skeptics to preserve its business. Exxon has been compared extensively to the tobacco industry, which was convicted of racketeering in 2000 for deliberately deceiving the public about the dangers of its products.
Behind all that is an orchestrated plan; a nasty, spiteful. wholly unjustifiable conspiracy.
So where do these strange ideas come from?
Step forward “Climate Accountability Institute”.
The Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) is … attempting to marry “climate concerns” to environmentalism and tobacco prohibitionist tactics. …
In 2012 the CAI held a “workshop” in La Jolla California. It was “conceived” by Naomi Oreskes and others, and called Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control.
So from the beginning, these persecutors, these witch-hunters, these self-righteous busybodies had it fixed in their heads that, as with smoking, human health is at issue.
Stanton Glantz, a prominent tobacco control activist scientist was present as were a clutch of lawyers, climate scientists, communication professionals, PR agency heads, bloggers and journalists.
They released a report:
The workshop was an “exploratory, open-ended dialogue” on the use of “lessons from tobacco-related education, laws, and litigation to address climate change“.
A key breakthrough in the public and legal case for tobacco control came when internal documents came to light showing the tobacco industry had knowingly misled the public. Similar documents may well exist in the vaults of the fossil fuel industry and their trade associations and front groups…
Why do these mythical documents need to be unearthed?
While we currently lack a compelling public narrative about climate change in the United States, we may be close to coalescing around one. Furthermore, climate change may loom larger today in the public mind than tobacco did when public health advocates began winning policy victories.
The reader should take a moment to grasp the momentous logic: We know legally “incriminating documents” (their choice of words) “may” exist, because tobacco activists had a breakthrough with such documents. They need to be found in order to make climate change a “looming threat” in the public mind.
Try thinking of a more reverse-engineered form of activism.
The first chapter in the report is Lessons from Tobacco Control. It is mainly one section called The Importance of Documents in Tobacco Litigation.
We learn next to nothing about these supposed “documents” from the report. After all, they haven’t been released or even found.
… many participants suggested that incriminating documents may exist that demonstrate collusion among the major fossil fuel companies …
But “the documents” were very valuable. … Since they were so sure they exist, careful plotting was needed on companies whose vaults to raid. …
Stanton Glantz was a vocal workshop participant. … [He] was so excited he proposed using the tobacco archives platform at the University of California San Francisco for climate documents (which were yet to be found). …
In what mode were the documents to be used?
Most importantly, the release of these documents meant that charges of conspiracy or racketeering could become a crucial component of tobacco litigation
Having firmly established that documents convenient to their strategy existed, the delegates moved on to discussing how to obtain them.
The answer was once again clear: “lawsuits”. It was not just lawsuits, it was “Congressional hearings”, “sympathetic state attorney generals” and “false advertising claims”.
State attorneys general can also subpoena documents, raising the possibility that a single sympathetic state attorney general might have substantial success in bringing key internal documents to light
The would-be litigators were inspired to think of other grounds for lawsuits: “False advertising”. “Libel suits”.
Now you know where the line on how “fossil fuel companies ‘knew’ they were doing wrong but yet did it” comes from.
The cries of “it’s a conspiracy!’”are planned and pre-meditated, on lawyers’ advice.
There certainly is a conspiracy underway – of these climate-change fanatics to do as much damage as possible to the fossil fuel industry.
This is where RICO [the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act] came in:
Richard Ayres, an experienced environmental attorney, suggested that the RICO Act, which had been used effectively against the tobacco industry, could similarly be used to bring a lawsuit against carbon producers. ...
[He] knew starting lawsuits against productive companies wouldn’t look good. They needed to be spun … By dressing [the lawsuits] up as injury “compensation”.
Even if your ultimate goal might be to shut down a company, you still might be wise to start out by asking for compensation for injured parties.
The conspiracy plot thickened:
The suggestions appeared to grow outlandish at every turn. Richard Heede, one of CAI’s members, had come up with a system for blaming individual companies … [His] bizarre formulas, we learn, were received “positively” by “most of the workshop’s participants”. One UCS participant felt that “it could potentially be useful as part of a coordinated campaign to identify key climate ‘wrongdoers'”. Another felt it was useful in blaming faceless corporate entities instead of countries thereby bypassing provoking patriotic impulses in international negotiations.
Heede’s work was funded by Greenpeace. Of note, Greenpeace counsel Jasper Teulings was present at the meeting.
Greenpeace is a profoundly evil organization, as we have explained here.
… Naomi Oreskes suggested that some portion of sea level rise could be attributed to the emissions caused by a single carbon-producing company.
The oil company Exxon made its appearance in her example:
She suggested, “You might be able to say, ‘Here’s Exxon’s contribution to what’s happening to Key West or Venice’.”
So now we see how they suck statements of “scientific fact” out of their thumbs.
This was a strategy Glantz liked:
…Stanton Glantz expressed some enthusiasm about such a strategy, based on his experience with tobacco litigation. As he put it, “I would be surprised if the industry chose to attack the calculation that one foot of flooding in Key West could be attributed to ExxonMobil.”
We cannot resist repeating that: They expect that “the industry” will not “attack the calculation that one foot of flooding in Key West could be attributed to ExxonMobil”. !
The conspiratorial tide did not recede. Former computer scientist John Mashey claimed collusion between “climate change deniers” and fossil fuel companies:
[Mashey] presented a brief overview of some of his research, which traces funding, personnel, and messaging connections between roughly 600 individuals …
The penultimate section in the report is on how delegates planned to win “public opinion”. … (“RICO is not easy. It is certainly not a sure win” – Ayres) and others were wary of drawing the attention of “hostile legislators who might seek to undermine them”.
With public opinion, the delegates were clearly divided. PR mavens, lawyers and activists wanted to cry fraud, paint up villains and create outrage:
To mobilize, people often need to be outraged.
Daniel Yankelovich a “public opinion researcher” involved in “citizen education” appears to have balked at the “sue, sue, sue” chanting. Court cases are useful only after the public had been won over, he said. …
The workshop ended and there was “agreement”. “Documents” needed to be obtained. Legal action was needed both for “wresting potentially useful internal documents” and ‘maintaining pressure on the industry’.
A consensus had emerged.
… an emerging consensus on a strategy that incorporates legal action with a narrative that creates public outrage.
The participants, we learn
…made commitments to try to coordinate future efforts, continue discussing strategies for gaining access to internal documents from the fossil fuel industry and its affiliated climate denial network …
Why is the report important? Because climate activists have done everything the delegates said they wanted done, in the report.
[This includes] the latest letter from US Senators to Exxon, the conspiratorial ‘Exxon Knew’ campaign with the portrayal of old Exxon reports by InsideClimateNews as “internal documents”, the RICO letter from scientists and much more. … It is almost as if climate activists have willed [incriminating] “documents” into existence – just as they were advised.
Almost as if? That’s exactly what they have done.
And the campaign to criminalize the businessmen who run the fossil fuel industry is gathering pace.
Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:
Led by agenda-setting New York State and radical left-winger Al Gore the progressive persecution of climate change skeptics by the states is underway.
Top law enforcement officers in several states are joining with the Chicken Littles of green activism to weaponize the scientifically dubious argument that human activity is not only changing the earth’s climate but that unprecedented world catastrophe awaits unless draconian, economy-killing carbon emission controls are imposed more or less immediately.
The litigation offensive has nothing to do with justice. It is aimed at forcing those few remaining holdouts in the business community who stubbornly cling to science to confess their thought crimes and submit to the know-nothing Left’s climate superstitions. It is part of modern-day environmentalism’s ongoing assault on knowledge, human progress, markets, and the rule of law.
Repent and embrace the true green faith or else you’ll be investigated and denounced as a climate criminal, is the message of “Inspector Gotcha,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
“It’s too early to say what we’re going to find,” he said of the five-month-old witch hunt aimed at his current target, the gigantic ExxonMobil, at a press conference this week in Lower Manhattan. “We intend to work as aggressively as possible, but also as carefully as possible.”
The New York Times previously reported that Schneiderman is looking into “whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business. … For several years, advocacy groups with expertise in financial analysis have been warning that fossil fuel companies might be overvalued in the stock market, since the need to limit climate change might require that much of their coal, oil and natural gas be left in the ground.”
“The First Amendment, ladies and gentlemen, does not give you the right to commit fraud,” Schneiderman said this week.
Of course that assertion is true on its face but that doesn’t necessarily mean whatever he’s calling fraud is actually fraud. How can rejecting a theory – a wild, unproven, apocalyptic theory based on creative computer modeling and little else – about future climate conditions constitute fraud?
The New York Times now reports that the attorneys general of Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands said this week they would join Schneiderman’s politically motivated so-called investigation into whether ExxonMobil lied to investors and the public for years about the alleged threat posed by climate change. California opened its own investigation into the company last year. …
At Schneiderman’s press conference, former Vice President Gore, whose understanding of science roughly mirrors that of the Unabomber, was in attendance along with the attorneys general of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, and the Virgin Islands.
Gore implied ExxonMobil was just as bad as the tobacco industry which allegedly denied risks posed by its products for years. State attorneys general were an important part of the effort to nail Big Tobacco, he said.
“I do think the analogy may hold up rather precisely,” said Gore whose longtime meal ticket has been global warming. … Gore reportedly had a net worth of about $1.7 million at the turn of the century. But global warming hysteria cultivated by Gore grew over the years and by 2013 his fortune had grown to more than $200 million.
Schneiderman, a left-wing fanatic, is gearing up for what amounts to political show trials to enforce the Left’s party line on anthropogenic global warming. …
This radical inquisitor whom Politico reported had “spent his career building an ideological infrastructure for the left,” is building a gallows for those with the temerity to reject the lies of the misanthropic global-warmist agenda.
And what is his deep, emotional, fanatical motive?
Schneiderman is a leftist’s leftist, a zealous true believer intent on, in his own words, “slow[ing] down the bone-crushing machinery of the contemporary conservative movement.” …
The business community is wary of Schneiderman — and for good reason. …
It needs to be said that Schneiderman’s pursuit of ExxonMobil sure smells like political payback.
As Dr. Steven J. Allen, my learned Capital Research Center colleague, has reported, ExxonMobil used to be a major contributor to the scandal-plagued Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, as well as a sponsor of the annual meetings of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). But as the foundation became inundated by adverse publicity related to the fact that it functions as a clearinghouse for future presidential favors from Hillary Clinton, ExxonMobil reportedly stopped giving it money.
It’s no coincidence that Secretary Clinton turned on the company last fall, demanding it be investigated for giving grants to warming-skeptic organizations. “There’s a lot of evidence that they misled the public,” she declared.
“In November, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — a top supporter of Clinton — launched an investigation into the company that, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, ‘marks a dangerous new escalation of the Left’s attempt to stamp out all disagreement on global-warming science and policy … demanding Exxon’s documents on climate research from 1977 to 2015’.”
Was Schneiderman’s newfound interest in ExxonMobil piqued by green idealism?
The question answers itself.
We would say, “Let that be a lesson to all companies that bribed, or were subjected to extortion by the Clintons!” – but we know it won’t be. Only if Hillary Clinton fails to win the presidency will companies (and foreign governments) even consider turning their backs on the Clintons and closing their purses.
Is it not passing strange that such monuments of capitalism as Exxonmobil, so likely to be targets of the Left, habitually give huge donations to leftist politicians like the Clintons? Does it never strike them that in the long run – though the short-term benefits they buy may be sweet – they are paying for their own destruction?
… is under debate today, because President Obama, speaking in Argentina, said that there is no significant difference between capitalism and communism.
If you can bear to listen to him, here’s the video.
It is an exercise in taqiyya – Islamic tactical deception – at which he is adept. His history shows plainly that Obama knows full well there is a difference, and he strongly favors communism. (See our post, A very disgraceful speech, immediately below.)
And here’s Milton Friedman explaining that capitalism is the only system that lifts millions of people out of poverty:
What is wrong with racial prejudice – before it is even acted on – is that it is a collective verdict. Individuals are seen primarily as belonging to this or that race, and the characteristics presumed to be those of the race are presumed to be those of each member of it.
To individualists, every human being is unique. Fair enough to judge him by the contents of his character (as Martin Luther King advocated), or the the contents of his mind (as we do), or his actions (as those affected by them inevitably will). He (or she, understood) may be – probably will be – first reacted to according to his perceived race, color, ethnic descent, place of origin, accent, physical build, manner and style; but to what extent do such facts about him have any significant effect on his social relationships and transactions? Impossible to know, and foolish to presume.
It is intensely unjust to select a person to be a specimen of a class and punish him for whatever its offenses are presumed to be.
It is what terrorists do when they inflict pain and death on someone because he is of this or that race, class, or occupation. In the 1970s young middle-class, affluent, educated, European terrorists seized businessmen and industrialists, held them to ransom, tortured and murdered them because they “belonged to the class” of businessmen and industrialists. The terrorists justified their actions as being blows against injustice – the injustice of racism, classism, and (especially) capitalism.
It is what Muslim terrorists do when they cut off an American’s head because he is American. And it is what Islam does perpetually to women. Muslim women are under a collective sentence of enslavement. The only thing that matters about any one of them is her sex.
It is what black racists do when they hold “whiteness” to be an offense that needs to be atoned for by every “whitey”.
It is what feminists do when they complain about “the patriarchy” and want revenge on every man for that ages-long male dominance (thanks to which we have a great civilization).
As stupid as treating others according to presumptions about their race or class or occupation, is setting oneself up as a representative of a race, or class, or country.
That is what Barack Obama does – has the breathtaking hubris to do – when he apologizes to other (often morally and culturally inferior) nations as the self-appointed spokesman for the American people, past and present, for something done that he personally disapproves of.
In all circumstances it is absurd and immoral to apologize for something you personally haven’t done. Just as it is absurd and immoral for you to forgive someone for something he did to someone else.
Obama, the Democratic Party, collectivists in general take an opposite view of course.
The Democrat-dominated government of Delaware provides a nice fresh example of this kind of nugatory group-think:
Gov. Jack Markell-D signed a resolution Wednesday apologizing for Delaware’s role in slavery and wrongs committed against blacks during the Jim Crow era. …
The resolution apologizing for slavery is a symbolic measure aimed at promoting “reconciliation and healing”. …
According to the resolution, legislatures in eight other states also have apologized for their roles in slavery.
Nationally, congressional resolutions apologizing for slavery were passed separately in the House in 2008 and the Senate the following year, but the two measures have never been reconciled into a single version to be submitted to the president for his signature.
Why not, we wonder. President Obama would sign the ridiculous thing for sure.
This is a repeat of an essay by Jillian Becker, first posted on April 29, 2011.
The rise of enthusiasm for Socialism in America, demonstrated by the great numbers of enthusiasts flocking to hear Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidate for the presidency, preaching it, prompts us to post the essay again.
It is human nature to be selfish. If we weren’t selfish we wouldn’t survive. If we didn’t eat when we were hungry, warm ourselves when we were cold, seek cures for our illnesses, defend ourselves (and our children and our life-sustaining property), we’d die out pretty damn quick. Or rather, we would never have come into existence as a species at all.
We are most of us capable of sympathy with others, and we often willingly give away a thing we own to another person. Some are altruistic. A few will even give up their lives to save the lives of others. Nevertheless, we are all naturally and necessarily selfish.
Christianity and Communism require human nature to change. As it can’t, Christianity’s commandments to love our enemies and forgive those who do us harm turn many a person of good will and high aspiration into a hypocrite if not a corpse. Communist theorists have never settled the question of whether human nature must change so that the Revolution can take place, or whether the Revolution must take place in order for human nature to change. Of course it will never change, but there’s no stopping the collectivist dolts arguing about it.
Capitalism works well because it is in tune with our nature. Adam Smith called it “the natural order of liberty”. Everyone selfishly desires to provide for his needs. To pay for what he wants from others – services and goods – he has to provide something that others will pay him for. Millions do it, and the result is prosperity. Capitalism is an abstract machine most beautiful to behold in the wonder of its workings. When individuals have the incentive to achieve, acquire, and enjoy something for themselves, they’ll go to great lengths to afford it. They’ll compete with each other to provide what others want, toil to make it the better product, and set the price of it lower. The best is made available at the least cost. Everyone is both a taker and a giver, and everyone benefits. True, not everyone’s effort always succeeds, but nothing stops anyone from trying again.
Of course capitalism isn’t a remedy for every ill and discontent. But a capitalist society offers the best chance to an individual to make the best of his condition – being alive – which presents him with a tough challenge – to stay alive for a few score years, and make those years as good as his energy, cunning, and adaptability to conditions outside of his control (plus his statistically likely share of luck), can help them to be.
In a capitalist society no one has a fixed place, whether below, in the middle, or on top. A person can rise, sink, or stay. A truly capitalist society is necessarily a free society in which no one is prevented, by some ruler or ruling clique, from bettering his lot, striving, succeeding, or failing.
Capitalism is the enemy of that God of whom all the children in the British Empire used to sing at morning prayers in school assemblies before the Second World War:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small;
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them high and lowly,
He ordered their estate.
The children were being taught to be content with everything as it was, trusting that God the ruler up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable had ordained how everyone had his fixed place and should stay in it, and because He had ordained it, it must be perfect. The recognition that such a God was an indefensible authoritarian, a whim-driven cosmic dictator, an unjust and arrogant tyrant, came – perhaps unconsciously – to the choosers of Anglican hymns only after a few of the earth’s dictators had been trounced in a prolonged and terrible blood-letting.
But then Socialists took over from God. They decided what was best for humanity. They established the Welfare State. No rich men in castles, no poor men at gates. The State would provide every citizen with depressing accommodation, dull food, health care if he were judged worthy of being kept alive, indoctrination in schools. Though the Socialist State is a slave society, the citizens are not called slaves but Social Security Recipients, National Health Patients, Students, Workers. The belief of their rulers is that they’ll be content because the State provides them with “everything”; they’ll be grateful for the food however poor, the unit in the tower block however depressing, the bed in the hospital however filthy, the indoctrination however boring. The great thing about it, to the collectivist mind, is they won’t have to strive to keep alive. And no one will have cause to pity or envy anyone else, since no one will have less or worse, or more or better – except of course the rulers up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable who ordain that everyone else has his fixed place. They reserve plenty, choice, comfort, luxury, information, and power to themselves.
The recognition that such a State is counter to the human instinct for freedom – call it “selfishness “ if you will – should have come to every sane adult the world over when the Soviet Empire crashed. The idea of Socialism should have died then. But if it did, it was only for a short time. Like the Christian God, it rose again, and lives now in the White House, an administration indefensibly authoritarian, whim-driven, unjust, and arrogant.
Selfish human nature with its instinct for liberty, its impelling desire to possess what is good for it materially and mentally, is the force that can and must defeat it.
Bernie Sanders thinks “millionaires and billionaires” are rich at the expense of the poor. And should have their wealth taken away from them and shared out equally among the rest of America’s 320 million people?
Milton Friedman enlightens a questioner who asks why there are “so many millionaires” in America at the same time as there are so many people in poverty:
Bernie Sanders wants government to look after everyone like a parent.
Milton Friedman deplores the ruler who sincerely believes he knows better than you do what’s good for you: