“Classical liberalism” and contemporary conservatism 0

We find this essay by Yoram Hazony peculiarly interesting, so we are posting it in full.

It was published in the Wall Street Journal two days ago on October 13, 2017.

We have long assumed that contemporary Western conservatism is “liberal” in the sense that John Locke and Adam Smith used the term. This essay enlightens us about that. We discover that we are not “classical liberals” after all.

And we are surprised to learn from Yoram Hazony that Friedrich Hayek, whom we much admire and often quote, was at one time an advocate for world government. (We have called world government “the ultimate nightmare” in an essay listed under Pages in our margin). The same goes for Ludwig von Mises. And we are less surprised but still concerned to learn that Charles Krauthammer is too.

We offer no criticism, make no comment, except to say that, like Hayek, Milton Friedman, Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand, we still “place religion outside the scope of what is essential to know about politics and government”.

Is ‘Classical Liberalism’ Conservative?

American conservatism is having something of an identity crisis. Most conservatives supported Donald Trump last November. But many prominent conservative intellectuals—journalists, academics and think-tank personalities—have entrenched themselves in bitter opposition. Some have left the Republican Party, while others are waging guerrilla warfare against a Republican administration. Longtime friendships have been ended and resignations tendered. Talk of establishing a new political party alternates with declarations that Mr. Trump will be denied the GOP nomination in 2020.

Those in the “Never Trump” camp say the cause of the split is the president—that he’s mentally unstable, morally unspeakable, a leftist populist, a rightist authoritarian, a danger to the republic. One prominent Republican told me he is praying for Mr. Trump to have a brain aneurysm so the nightmare can end.

But the conservative unity that Never Trumpers seek won’t be coming back, even if the president leaves office prematurely. An apparently unbridgeable ideological chasm is opening between two camps that were once closely allied. Mr. Trump’s rise is the effect, not the cause, of this rift.

There are two principal causes: first, the increasingly rigid ideology conservative intellectuals have promoted since the end of the Cold War; second, a series of events — from the failed attempt to bring democracy to Iraq to the implosion of Wall Street — that have made the prevailing conservative ideology seem naive and reckless to the broader conservative public.

A good place to start thinking about this is a 1989 essay in the National Interest by Charles Krauthammer. The Cold War was coming to an end, and Mr. Krauthammer proposed it should be supplanted by what he called “Universal Dominion” (the title of the essay): America was going to create a Western “super-sovereign” that would establish peace and prosperity throughout the world. The cost would be “the conscious depreciation not only of American sovereignty, but of the notion of sovereignty in general.”

William Kristol and Robert Kagan presented a similar view in their 1996 essay “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy” in Foreign Affairs, which proposed an American “benevolent global hegemony” that would have “preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain”.

Then, as now, conservative commentators insisted that the world should want such an arrangement because the U.S. knows best: The American way of politics, based on individual liberties and free markets, is the right way for human beings to live everywhere. Japan and Germany, after all, were once-hostile authoritarian nations that had flourished after being conquered and acquiescing in American political principles. With the collapse of communism, dozens of countries — from Eastern Europe to East Asia to Latin America — seemed to need, and in differing degrees to be open to, American tutelage of this kind. As the bearer of universal political truth, the U.S. was said to have an obligation to ensure that every nation was coaxed, maybe even coerced, into adopting its principles.

Any foreign policy aimed at establishing American universal dominion faces considerable practical challenges, not least because many nations don’t want to live under U.S. authority. But the conservative intellectuals who have set out to promote this Hegelian world revolution must also contend with a problem of different kind: Their aim cannot be squared with the political tradition for which they are ostensibly the spokesmen.

For centuries, Anglo-American conservatism has favored individual liberty and economic freedom. But as the Oxford historian of conservatism Anthony Quinton emphasized, this tradition is empiricist and regards successful political arrangements as developing through an unceasing process of trial and error. As such, it is deeply skeptical of claims about universal political truths. The most important conservative figures — including John Fortescue, John Selden, Montesquieu, Edmund Burke and Alexander Hamilton — believed that different political arrangements would be fitting for different nations, each in keeping with the specific conditions it faces and traditions it inherits. What works in one country can’t easily be transplanted.

On that view, the U.S. Constitution worked so well because it preserved principles the American colonists had brought with them from England. The framework — the balance between the executive and legislative branches, the bicameral legislature, the jury trial and due process, the bill of rights — was already familiar from the English constitution. Attempts to transplant Anglo-American political institutions in places such as Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and Iraq have collapsed time and again, because the political traditions needed to maintain them did not exist. Even in France, Germany and Italy, representative government failed repeatedly into the mid-20th century (recall the collapse of France’s Fourth Republic in 1958), and has now been shunted aside by a European Union whose notorious “democracy deficit” reflects a continuing inability to adopt Anglo-American constitutional norms.

The “universal dominion” agenda is flatly contradicted by centuries of Anglo-American conservative political thought. This may be one reason that some post-Cold War conservative intellectuals have shifted to calling themselves “classical liberals”. Last year Paul Ryan insisted: “I really call myself a classical liberal more than a conservative.” Mr. Kristol tweeted in August: “Conservatives could ‘rebrand’ as liberals. Seriously. We’re for liberal democracy, liberal world order, liberal economy, liberal education.”

What is “classical liberalism,” and how does it differ from conservatism? As Quinton pointed out, the liberal tradition descends from Hobbes and Locke, who were not empiricists but rationalists: Their aim was to deduce universally valid political principles from self-evident axioms, as in mathematics.

In his “Second Treatise on Government” (1689), Locke asserts that universal reason teaches the same political truths to all human beings; that all individuals are by nature “perfectly free” and “perfectly equal”; and that obligation to political institutions arises only from the consent of the individual. From these assumptions, Locke deduces a political doctrine that he supposes must hold good in all times and places.

The term “classical liberal” came into use in 20th-century America to distinguish the supporters of old-school laissez-faire from the welfare-state liberalism of figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt. Modern classical liberals, inheriting the rationalism of Hobbes and Locke, believe they can speak authoritatively to the political needs of every human society, everywhere. In his seminal work, “Liberalism” (1927), the great classical-liberal economist Ludwig von Mises thus advocates a “world super-state really deserving of the name”, which will arise if we “succeed in creating throughout the world . . . nothing less than unqualified, unconditional acceptance of liberalism. Liberal thinking must permeate all nations, liberal principles must pervade all political institutions”.

Friedrich Hayek, the leading classical-liberal theorist of the 20th century, likewise argued, in a 1939 essay, for replacing independent nations with a world-wide federation: “The abrogation of national sovereignties and the creation of an effective international order of law is a necessary complement and the logical consummation of the liberal program.”

Classical liberalism thus offers ground for imposing a single doctrine on all nations for their own good. It provides an ideological basis for an American universal dominion.

By contrast, Anglo-American conservatism historically has had little interest in putatively self-evident political axioms. Conservatives want to learn from experience what actually holds societies together, benefits them and destroys them. That empiricism has persuaded most Anglo-American conservative thinkers of the importance of traditional Protestant institutions such as the independent national state, biblical religion and the family.

As an English Protestant, Locke could have endorsed these institutions as well. But his rationalist theory provides little basis for understanding their role in political life. Even today liberals are plagued by this failing: The rigidly Lockean assumptions of classical-liberal writers such as Hayek, Milton Friedman, Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand place the nation, the family and religion outside the scope of what is essential to know about politics and government. Students who grow up reading these brilliant writers develop an excellent grasp of how an economy works. But they are often marvelously ignorant about much else, having no clue why a flourishing state requires a cohesive nation, or how such bonds are established through family and religious ties.

The differences between the classical-liberal and conservative traditions have immense consequences for policy. Establishing democracy in Egypt or Iraq looks doable to classical liberals because they assume that human reason is everywhere the same, and that a commitment to individual liberties and free markets will arise rapidly once the benefits have been demonstrated and the impediments removed. Conservatives, on the other hand, see foreign civilizations as powerfully motivated — for bad reasons as well as good ones — to fight the dissolution of their way of life and the imposition of American values.

Integrating millions of immigrants from the Middle East also looks easy to classical liberals, because they believe virtually everyone will quickly see the advantages of American (or European) ways and accept them upon arrival. Conservatives recognize that large-scale assimilation can happen only when both sides are highly motivated to see it through. When that motivation is weak or absent, conservatives see an unassimilated migration, resulting in chronic mutual hatred and violence, as a perfectly plausible outcome.

Since classical liberals assume reason is everywhere the same, they see no great danger in “depreciating” national independence and outsourcing power to foreign bodies. American and British conservatives see such schemes as destroying the unique political foundation upon which their traditional freedoms are built.

Liberalism and conservatism had been opposed political positions since the day liberal theorizing first appeared in England in the 17th century. During the 20th-century battles against totalitarianism, necessity brought their adherents into close alliance. Classical liberals and conservatives fought together, along with communists, against Nazism. After 1945 they remained allies against communism. Over many decades of joint struggle, their differences were relegated to a back burner, creating a “fusionist” movement (as William F. Buckley’s National Review called it) in which one and all saw themselves as “conservatives”.

But since the fall of the Berlin Wall, circumstances have changed. Margaret Thatcher’s ouster from power in 1990 marked the end of serious resistance in Britain to the coming European “super-sovereign”. Within a few years the classical liberals’ agenda of universal dominion was the only game in town — ascendant not only among American Republicans and British Tories but even among center-left politicians such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

Only it didn’t work. China, Russia and large portions of the Muslim world resisted a “new world order” whose express purpose was to bring liberalism to their countries. The attempt to impose a classical-liberal regime in Iraq by force, followed by strong-arm tactics aimed at bringing democracy to Egypt and Libya, led to the meltdown of political order in these states as well as in Syria and Yemen. Meanwhile, the world banking crisis made a mockery of classical liberals’ claim to know how to govern a world-wide market and bring prosperity to all. The shockingly rapid disintegration of the American family once again raised the question of whether classical liberalism has the resources to answer any political question outside the economic sphere.

Brexit and Mr. Trump’s rise are the direct result of a quarter-century of classical-liberal hegemony over the parties of the right. Neither Mr. Trump nor the Brexiteers were necessarily seeking a conservative revival. But in placing a renewed nationalism at the center of their politics, they shattered classical liberalism’s grip, paving the way for a return to empiricist conservatism. Once you start trying to understand politics by learning from experience rather than by deducing your views from 17th-century rationalist dogma, you never know what you may end up discovering.

Mr. Hazony is president of the Jerusalem-based Herzl Institute. His book “The Virtue of Nationalism” will be published next year by Basic.

 

(Hat-tip to our reader and commenter, Cogito)

And then they cry 5

Acting on the inflammatory rhetoric of the Left, a comedian, Kathy Griffin,

suggested beheading the President of the United States in the manner favored by ISIS.

When she was criticized for her idea, she cried.

Yesterday (June 14, 2017) the Republican Representative Steve Scalise was shot by a far left Bernie Sanders supporter at a congressional baseball practice on the baseball diamond in Alexandria, Virginia. At the time of this writing, Mr. Scalise is said to be in critical condition. Four others were also wounded. Two were Capitol Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey before they shot the gunman dead. (“Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre,” a witness – Senator Rand Paul – said.) The other two were Matt Mika, a lobbyist, and Zack Barth, a staffer for Republican Representative Roger Williams.

There is obviously no dialogue possible between Left and Right in America now (or anywhere else in the world). So the battle has to be fought in other ways.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at Townhall:

The two Americas watch different news. They read very different books, listen to different music and watch different television shows. Increasingly, they now live lives according to two widely different traditions.

The Left is inconsolably bitter over losing the presidency, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and most of the states. Having no arguments, no case to make, but being moved by intense childish emotion, Leftists strike out with fists, clubs, guns.

John Hawkins lists 20 quotations from the Left that urged the use of extreme violence. the beating, raping, torturing, and murdering of conservatives, Republicans, and Donald Trump. An accumulation of such declarations (there have been a great many) is more than likely to eventuate in attempts at murder.

You have plays, rap videos and prominent liberals glorifying the murder of the President …  while cops at left-wing universities stand back and allow violent students to riot, threaten and disrupt conservative speakers. 

1) “Michele (Bachmann), slit your wrist. Go ahead… or, do us all a better thing [sic]. Move that knife up about two feet. Start right at the collarbone.” – Montel Williams

The inciters become incoherent with rage. They choke on their fury. Their repetitious cussing is a sign that they have no reasonable case to make.

2) “F*ck that dude. I’ll smack that f*cker’s comb-over right off his f*cking scalp. Like, for real, if I met Donald Trump, I’d punch him in his f*cking face. And that’s not a joke. Even if he did become president — watch out, Donald Trump, because I will punch you in your f*cking face if I ever meet you. Secret Service had better just f*cking be on it. Don’t let me anywhere within a block.”– Rapper Everlast on Donald Trump

3) “I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn’t be dying needlessly tomorrow … I’m just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live. That’s a fact.” — Bill Maher

4) “I know how the ‘tea party’ people feel, the anger, venom and bile that many of them showed during the recent House vote on health-care reform. I know because I want to spit on them, take one of their “Obama Plan White Slavery” signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads.” — The Washington Post’s Courtland Milloy

The Tea Party! If those peaceful polite mainly middle-aged people who got together to ask for fiscal responsibility, and who meticulously cleared up every scrap of debris on the ground after they held a public meeting, were  full of anger, venom and bile, they certainly never showed it. But no doubt the lying left-biased media reported that they were.

5) “F*** God D*mned Joe the God D*mned Motherf*cking plumber! I want Motherf*cking Joe the plumber dead.” — Liberal talk show host Charles Karel Bouley on the air.

It was to “Joe the Plumber” that Obama explained how he wanted to redistribute the wealth of the country. His administration, he planned, would take money forcibly from those who had earned it and give it to those who had not. “Joe the Plumber”, like a lot of other Joes, did not like the idea. So, says the Left, kill him.

6) “Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada in this country? Because it seem[s] to me, that we are comfortable in where we are, watching CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and all these mainstream… giving us a window to the world while the world is being managed from Washington, from New York, from every other place in here in San Francisco: Chevron, Bechtel, [Carlyle?] Group, Halliburton; every one of those lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving individuals are in our country and we’re sitting here and watching the world pass by, people being bombed, and it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here. And we know every – They’re gonna say some Palestinian being too radical — well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet.” U.C. Berkeley Lecturer Hatem Bazian fires up the crowd at an anti-war rally by calling for an American intifada

That was clear and plain incitement to terrorist action on a massive scale.

7) “That Scott down there that’s running for governor of Florida. Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he’s running for governor of Florida. He’s a millionaire and a billionaire. He’s no hero. He’s a damn crook. It’s just we don’t prosecute big crooks.” — Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa

8) “..And then there’s Rumsfeld who said of Iraq ‘We have our good days and our bad days.’ We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say ‘This is one of our bad days’ and pull the trigger. Do you want to salvage our country? Be a savior of our country? Then vote for John Kerry and get rid of the whole Bush Bunch.” — From a fund raising ad put out by the St. Petersburg Democratic Club

9) “Republicans don’t believe in the imagination, partly because so few of them have one, but mostly because it gets in the way of their chosen work, which is to destroy the human race and the planet. Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recipe for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don’t give a hoot about human beings, either can’t or won’t. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.” — The Village Voice’s Michael Feingold, in a theater review of all places.

10) “But the victim is also inaccurately being eulogized as a kind and loving religious man. Make no mistake, as disgusting and deservedly dead as the hate-filled fanatical Muslim killers were, Thalasinos was also a hate-filled bigot. Death can’t change that. But in the U.S., we don’t die for speaking our minds. Or we’re not supposed to anyway. Thalasinos was an anti-government, anti-Islam, pro-NRA, rabidly anti-Planned Parenthood kinda guy, who posted that it would be “Freaking Awesome” if hateful Ann Coulter was named head of Homeland Security.” — Linda Stasi, New York Daily News,on a victim murdered in the San Bernadino terrorist attack

11) “Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams.” — Rep. Chuck Kruger (D-Thomaston)

12) “If I had my way, I would see Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell strapped down to electric chairs and lit up like Christmas trees. The better to light the way for American Democracy and American Freedom!” — Democratic Talk Radio’s Stephen Crockett

13) “May your children all die from debilitating, painful and incurable diseases.” — Allan Brauer, the communications chair of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County to Ted Cruz staffer Amanda Carpenter.

Can anyone get lower than that? Yup. For Leftists there is no bottom.

14) “Violence solves nothing. I want a rhino to f*ck @SpeakerRyan to death with its horn because it’s FUNNY, not because he’s a #GOPmurderbro.” – Jos Whedon

15) “I hope Roger Ailes dies slow, painful, and soon. The evil that man has done to the American tapestry is unprecedented for an individual.” — Think Progress editor Alan Pyke

16) “But, you know, the NRA members are the current incarnation of the brownshirts from Germany back in the early ’30s, late ’20s, early ’30s. Now, of course, there came the Night of the Long Knives when the brownshirts were slaughtered and dumped in the nearest ditches when the power structure finally got tired of them. So I look forward to that day.” — Mike Malloy

“Antifa” is a Leftist brownshirt organization, fascist if ever any organization deserved to be called fascist. It claims to be “fighting fascism”. They and other Leftist rioters who are attacking people at pro-Trump rallies (and the populist equivalents in Europe) are doing exactly what the fascist mobs, both Nazi and Communist, did in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. It is a joke – a very ugly one –  that they are doing their brutal violent murderous work against peaceful crowds in the name of “anti-fascism”.

17) “Or pick up a baseball bat and take out every f*cking republican and independent I see. #f*cktrump, #f*cktheGOP, #f*ckstraightwhiteamerica, #f*ckyourprivilege.” – Orange is the New Black star Lea DeLaria

18) “I wish they (Republicans) were all f*cking dead!” — Dan Savage

19) “Sarah Palin needs to have her hair shaved off to a buzz cut, get headf*cked by a big veiny, ashy, black d*ck then be locked in a cupboard.” — Azealia Banks advocates raping Sarah Palin over a fake news story.

They claim to have”imagination” while, they say, the Right does not. So there we see what it is they imagine: Jos Whedon’s hilarious dream of the rhino raping and killing Paul Ryan, and Azealia Banks’s wish for Sarah Palin. Behold the Vision!

20)” Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I’m outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything.” – Madonna

How many others, like yesterday’s would-be killer, take such outbursts to be declarations of war? There are surely more violent attacks to come.

The Left has become a terrorist organization.

To shrink bureaucrats and swat pundits 4

Adolf Hitler. Dictator of Germany. Oppressor of nations. He launched a world war that destroyed tens of millions of lives. He ordered the murder of millions more by execution, torture, incarceration, starvation, forced labor.

Or didn’t he? There are American media people, opinion-writers, who seem to think that he didn’t do any of those things. In their view Hitler was just an authoritarian figure who powerfully opposed political correctness, safe spaces, redistribution, and combating climate change by driving Priuses and recycling garbage. Therefore, any American who comes to power by democratic election and is against those things, is just like Hitler.

Or Hitler’s Italian ally, Mussolini.

Persons who hold that view are ill-informed, under-educated, and/or intellectually stunted. But they are many. They are the rulers of the press and the airwaves; they constitute the greater part of the American Fourth Estate.    

William McGurn writes at the Wall Street Journal:

Guess it depends on what you mean by “authoritarian”.

During the election, Donald Trump was routinely likened to Hitler. The headlines suggest not much has changed.

From the New Republic: “Donald Trump Is Already Acting Like an Authoritarian”.  National Public Radio: “Donald Trump: Strong Leader or Dangerous Authoritarian?” The New York Times: “Beyond Lying: Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality”. The New Yorker: “Trump’s Challenge to American Democracy”.

What’s striking here is that the same folks who see in Mr. Trump a Mussolini in waiting are blind to the soft despotism that has already taken root in our government.

This is the unelected and increasingly assertive class that populates our federal bureaucracies and substitutes rule by regulation for the rule of law. The result? Over the Obama years, the Competitive Enterprise Institute reckons, Washington has averaged 35 regulations for every law.

In the introduction to its just-released report on how to address this federal overreach, CEI President Kent Lassman puts it this way: “It is time for a reckoning.”

Philip Hamburger is a law professor at Columbia and author of “Is the Administrative State Unlawful?” He believes the president-elect’s cabinet selections thus far — Scott Pruitt for the Environmental Protection Agency, Betsy DeVos for Education, Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Puzder for Labor — may give Mr. Trump a unique opening not only to reverse bad Obama rules but to reform the whole way these agencies impose them. If Mr. Trump really hopes to drain the swamp, says Mr. Hamburger, cutting these agencies back to constitutional size would be a terrific start. 

For one thing, almost all these departments are legacies of some progressive expansion of government. While an uneasy William Howard Taft, for example, made Labor its own cabinet office on the last day of his presidency, Woodrow Wilson named its first secretary.

Meanwhile, HUD is a child of LBJ’s Great Society. The EPA was Nixon’s attempt to buy liberal approval for his administration. As for the Education Department, it was a reward from Jimmy Carter for the endorsement the National Education Association gave him in 1976. At the time this cabinet seat was established, even the New York Times called it “unwise” and editorialized against it.

There’s a good case that Americans would be better off without most of these departments meddling in our lives and livelihoods, however politically unfeasible this might be. The next best news, however, is that Mr. Pruitt, Dr. Carson, Mr. Puzder and Mrs. DeVos are not beholden to the orthodoxies that drive the rules and mandates these bureaucracies impose.

Mrs. DeVos, for example, has spent her life promoting school choice, and her husband founded a charter school. It is difficult to imagine an Education Department under Secretary DeVos ever sending out a “Dear Colleague” letter to bully universities into expanding the definition of sexual harassment and then encouraging them to handle allegations in a way that has turned many campus tribunals into Star Chambers. Not to mention making a federal case about bathrooms.

Ditto for HUD. Under President Obama, HUD bureaucrats, under the banner of “fair housing”, have taken it upon themselves to decide what the right mix of race, income and education is for your town — and will impose fines and punishments for communities that resist. Anyone remember the people’s elected representatives directing HUD to impose its ideas of social engineering on the rest of America?

Or take the EPA. Whether it’s some Ordinary Joe running afoul of wetlands laws or the department’s deliberate attempt to destroy the market for coal, the EPA needs more than good science. It also needs some honest cost-benefit analysis about the prescriptions it pushes.

And then there’s Labor. Under Obama Secretary Tom Perez, the department has so overstepped the authority Congress gave it (for example, on its overtime rule) that federal judges have stepped in to block it, notwithstanding the courts’ traditional deference. As an employer himself, Mr. Puzder appreciates the fundamental reality of labor: which is that you don’t help workers by making them too expensive to hire.

The good news is that Mr. Trump does not have to fight government by regulatory fiat alone. House Speaker Paul Ryan has a raft of legislation that would reassert the authority of the people’s elected representatives over an unaccountable bureaucracy — including a regulatory budget that would limit the costs an agency can impose each year.

Even without legislation, there are things Mr. Trump could do. Mr. Hamburger, for example, dreams of a president ordering federal agencies to submit all their rules to Congress for approval. He further believes the stars are in rare alignment for reform, with Mr. Ryan pushing it in the House, cabinet secretaries who appear sympathetic to the cause and a popular mandate against rule from above.

“Oddly enough, the danger is that Mr. Trump will not think big enough,” says Mr. Hamburger. “To paraphrase him, the impact of changing the way Washington issues rules would be YUGE—and it would make him a historic and transformative president.”

And he won’t be putting his enemies into concentration camps. Or launching a world war.

And the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and the rest of them will no doubt claim he’s only refraining from such actions in order to prove them wrong.

“Racisssts!” 1

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What is that hissing sound emanating from the Left?

It is the sound of the defeated Democrats calling their enemies “Racists!”

The Left is obsessed with race. It is reasonable to assume that Barack Obama was elected to the presidency more because he is black that for any other reason. Many voters wanted to prove that they were not racist by voting for him. But to vote for someone because he is black is patently racist. Obama’s election was a colossal manifestation of racism. The man had nothing in his record to commend him for the presidency of the United States. Quite the contrary. Considering that he was raised by Communists, and worked to organize black communities into Communist activist groups, he was peculiarly unqualified to have any role in the government of the United States.

It cannot be repeated often enough that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery. One of the main reasons why the Republican Party came into existence was to free the slaves. No Republicans owned slaves. No Republicans lynched black men. The KKK did, and the KKK was created and manned by Democrats.

Yet the Democrats succeeded in persuading a large majority of African-Americans that theirs was the party that would best serve the interests of Blacks. The result has been that African-Americans elect Democrats to govern them, decade after decade, in cities like Detroit and Chicago – where Black mayor after Black mayor turns out to be a criminal defrauding the voters and being sentenced to prison. (See here and here and here.) Still, the Black citizens vote Democrat.

Donald Trump, during his campaign for the presidency, pointed out to Black voters that the Democratic Party has kept them in poverty. He asked them what did they have to lose by trying something new – by trying him. It seems quite a few were persuaded to do so on November 8, 2016.

But according to the Left, Donald Trump is a “Racist!”

According to some of those irredeemably Leftist institutions, the universities, every White is a racist. So in their view the American population consists for the most part of Blacks and Racists.

Why does the Left want “racism” to be the supreme cause? (Even taking precedence over “sexism” and “man-made global warming”.)

Rachel Lu asks that question and tries to answer it in an article at the Federalist:

Liberals need racist foes to vanquish. Most of the time they have to resort to finding them where they obviously aren’t there. … Paul Ryan can hardly order a sandwich without liberal pundits combing through in search of the racist “coding” that they know to be hidden within all Republican rhetoric. …

It’s too bad to get back to business as usual in the racism blame game, because quite recently, Jonathan Chait’s feature in New York Magazine offered some surprisingly helpful insights into liberals and their need for conservative “racism”. Chait’s piece, and the firestorm that followed, make a fascinating tutorial in liberal paradigms concerning racism. Looking through their eyes for a moment, it almost starts to make sense why they’re so certain that racism is a significant moving force behind American conservatism.

Initially it can be a bit startling to remind oneself that liberals really don’t see their accusations as the political equivalent to calling us poopy-heads; they actually believe that ethnic hatred is an important motivator for conservatives. Some even get frustrated that conservatives have gotten so clever about “coding” our racist messages, hiding them in subtle subtexts that liberal journalists can’t easily expose (even while our barely-literate backwoods voters apparently hear them loud and clear). You can almost picture liberals playing Ryan’s speeches backwards, hoping to catch that moment when the mild-mannered and professorial Ryan secretly taps into the seething cauldron of bigoted rage that he knows to be driving his base.

Apparently some of them do actually realize that they’re overreaching, though it isn’t something they like to hear. Chait poked the bear by explaining some of the history behind the “coding” paranoia and agreeing that conservatives have some reason to resent it. More importantly, Chait explains with admirable clarity one important reason why the racist-conservative dogma is so important for liberals. A second emerges from the responses to Chait’s piece.

Reason One:

The Ballad of the Civil Rights Movement has long been liberals’ favorite bed-time story. Martin Luther King Day may be the only day of the year when they feel completely, unambiguously proud to be Americans. It’s hard to exaggerate how important this is to liberal political thinking. They are perpetually looking for new ways to recapture that high.

Although, according to MLK’s niece, he was a Republican.

Conservatives tend to miss this because we see the Civil Rights story as settled history. We’re all pleased to have sloughed off the bigotry of our ancestors. Of course we want people to be judged “by the content of their character” and not by their skin. What’s left to debate here?

Liberals have yet to turn that page. This is their favorite series, and like every loyal fan base, they always want another sequel. Indeed, as Chait acknowledges, one of the most appealing things about a 2008 Senator Obama was the perception that he could be the star of a particularly thrilling new episode. Of course, if that’s the storyline, it’s no mystery which role was available for conservatives. “Racial coding” became a convenient fix for a glaring plot hole: Republican politicians’ refusal to follow their racist script.

Of course, for conservatives this is a pretty bad deal. We can’t stop being the racist party if that’s the only “role” our political enemies have available. At most we can ask liberals to consider who is served by their implicit demand that racism never die. … Modern liberal oppression narratives are far and away the most expensive dramas ever produced, and we all get dragged to see them whether we’re interested or not.

Reason Two:

As grim as this sounds, it may actually be the more remediable liberal fixation. Another liberal paradigm (which is well articulated by Brian Beutler of The New Republic), leaves even less wiggle-room for a conservatism that actually serves the common good.

Beutler is gracious enough to agree with Chait that, “the left’s racial analysis of conservative politics might lend itself to careless or opportunistic, overreaching accusations of racism.” But he doesn’t feel too bad about it, because as he goes on to argue, liberals are fundamentally right about conservative racism. White racial resentment is one of the primary sources of energy behind American conservatism. It has to be, because that’s the only plausible explanation for why anyone but the rich and privileged would support the GOP.

The number of the rich and privileged who support the Democratic Party is very high. The ruling elites of the US, Europe, and the whole Western World are themselves on the Left (even those in Europe who call themselves “conservative”). The majority of those who voted for Trump to overthrow the ruling elite in America were workers, and would-be workers who could not find work.

To his credit, Beutler doesn’t probe the sub-conscious of high-profile conservatives for unconfessed bigotry. He is cheerfully prepared to admit (and he thinks most liberals would agree) that racial hatred plays a small role in the motivations of the major players. For them, it’s all about greed. Their policies are pitched to protect their own wealth and privilege at the expense of the poor.

But the ultra-wealthy (as we have been reminded ad nauseum) are a small minority in America, and poorer voters have little reason to support a plutocratic agenda that doesn’t serve them. In order to stay viable, therefore, Republicans need a populist hook. That hook, Beutler believes, is racial resentment.

So to disguise their “greed”, Republicans pretend to be “racist”?

Conservative readers might be asking: why in the world would he believe that? To liberals it seems obvious. Conservatives are ferocious in their assault on programs that disproportionately enlist ethnic minorities, including Medicaid, food stamps and welfare. How else to explain that except as a manifestation of white Republicans’ racist Schadenfreude?

It’s hard to know where to begin with such convoluted reasoning. The conservative distaste for entitlements is deeply connected to our political philosophy; all of our most cherished values come into play here. And we have plenty of sociological evidence to present, now that the scars of entitlement dependency blight every major city in America, bequeathing to our poorest children a legacy of dysfunction and vice. But sure, let’s write all of that off as a manifestation of conservative greed and hatred. That would make so much more sense.

In order to make sense of such an apparently-crazy view, we need to remind ourselves of some further features of liberal ideology. To conservatives it seems crazy and wildly uncharitable to dismiss their (well-grounded) views as manifestations of an irrational animus against ethnic minorities. But to liberals this seems reasonable, because embedded deep within the liberal worldview is the idea that the end of the day all political activity can be seen as part of a story about warring classes. It’s another trope that we can lay at the feet of our still-fashionable friend, Karl Marx. (1)

Still fashionable among the elites who are stunned that the “masses” (to use the Marxist word for them) have voted them out. And still intensely fashionable in the universities. But there will be no new Marxist regimes.

Marx declares early in The Communist Manifesto that, “The history of all hitherto existing societies is a history of class struggles”. This is one of those sweeping interpretive claims that sounds silly to the uninitiated, but that starts to seem all-important to those who have adopted it as their central political paradigm. Marx was a wonderful storyteller, and his fairy tale still holds much power over the minds of modern people, as we’ve recently seen in the furor over Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”.

(See our review of it here.)

As Marx understands it, societies are made up of multiple classes that perpetually jockey for relative advantage. Open warfare is avoided through a complex balance of agreements that enable each class to “hold its own” in the larger social structure. Some are better off than others, but all have something to lose if the arrangement collapses and turns into open warfare. Before the Industrial Revolution humans had crafted a fairly well-functioning “class ecosystem”, but rapidly expanding markets interrupted that balance by massively empowering one particular class (specifically the medieval burghers) to bring all others to heel. Now called “the bourgeoisie”, these new overlords wielded the immense power of the modern market as a weapon, harnessing all the other classes in an exploitative system that overwhelmingly benefited themselves.

It’s a story we all know, whether or not we’ve read [it]. … It wafts its way through their dreams and colors their entire social outlook. Of course we know that capitalists are castigated as exploiters and tyrants. That’s only the beginning, however. Everything is a zero-sum game in this outlook. That means that every move Republicans make must represent an attempt to win some marbles away from Democratic voters, which of course will be tossed into the overflowing treasure chests of Republican elite.

How do we know that Republicans are racist? Well, we don’t get much support from ethnic minorities, and we dislike entitlement programs. If you see the world through a Marxist class-warfare paradigm, that really does look like adequate evidence to make the case.

Conservatives have favorite stories too. We love our Constitutional Convention and our melting-pot of immigration. We get misty-eyed over the Greatest Generation and their triumphs in World War II. We believe that America is a special country. Conservative narratives have a level of transcendence that liberals simply don’t understand, which means that they [conservatives] can reject the dreary sameness of perpetual class warfare. …

Class warfare was probably never true. And certainly since Europe recovered from the Second World War it became so untrue – the workers of Europe, and especially Germany, becoming very well off indeed and thoroughly content with the capitalist system – that the Left had to stop looking to the workers, the “proletariat”, to be the “revolutionary class”. The New Left looked instead to the world’s underdogs to take on that role; the “wretched of the earth”; the Third World; the non-white peoples. (2)

Most incredible to liberals, however, is our claim that good economic policy (especially when combined with a well-ordered social structure) is actually good for everyone. We’re not all jockeying for the same pot of goods. It isn’t a zero-sum game. More opportunity for me can mean more prosperity for you, and vice-versa. We can all win.

This is the conservative Gospel, as it were. Conservatives tell Americans: we don’t have to fight over the pie! Let’s just make it bigger! Success is not a rationed commodity! …

Indeed there is no pie. Wealth is never fixed. It is constantly being created in thriving economies.

[T]his just seems absurd to most liberals. Free markets are good for everyone? Get out. Can you people please just fess up and admit that you’re closeted racists?

 

Footnotes:

(1) Karl Marx himself was a vicious racist. It is important to know this. He poured contempt on Jews and Blacks. His anti-Semitism was fierce, though he himself was a Jew by descent. He considered Latins and Slavs to be “inferior races”. The Slavs, he opined, should be wiped out in a revolutionary war. And he was all for the continuation of slavery in America. (See here, where relevant quotations may be found.)

(2) The switch from “class analysis” to “race analysis” (to use Marxist jargon) happened earlier in South Africa. The slogan of the Communist Party of South Africa in the early 1920s was “Workers of the world unite and fight for a white South Africa” – until 1928, when the Comintern decided that the policy must be changed and the Party take up the cause of the oppressed “natives”. The Communists eventually allied themselves with the African National Congress – giving the White nationalist regime an excuse to continue their apartheid policy throughout the Cold War.

Donald Trump and pussies galore 8

So like every other heterosexual male over the age of 7, Donald Trump talks about those little cats to his buddies. Talked about them to Bill Clinton maybe  on the golf-course. Yes, that Bill Clinton – the RAPIST.

Suddenly the Left turns prude. Public nudity is okay with the lefties. S&M performed in public in a gay pride parade is okay. Delightful actually. But using the p-word! Call me an ambulance!

Because it’s Donald Trump using a naughty word. You see it’s a matter of WHO does something, not WHAT they do. Bill Clinton raping a protesting, struggling woman, while also biting her lip till it bleeds, isn’t bad because don’t you see he’s BILL CLINTON.

But if Donald Trump talks about “grabbing pussy” and kissing willing “stars”- Oh Djeeziz! Help! I’m so-o-o appalled. I need a safe space.  

Really?

A lubricious statement weighed against RAPE? Are they kidding?

No. Look at their tight little mouths. They’re all celibate monks who’ve never told a dirty story in their lives. Never boasted of their sexual prowess, their conquests – Lor’ no. Wouldn’t think of it!

And not only lefties. Paul Ryan too is sickened, sickened!

Meanwhile that suppurating bag of corruption, Hillary Clinton, gets a pass for selling her country. Because she’s HILLARY CLINTON. See?

Posted under Commentary, Sex, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, October 7, 2016

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A stupid attempt at a political abortion 3

The old ripe-rotten Republican Party, personified by Mitt Romney, is doing all it can to destroy Donald Trump and so prevent a new Republican Party from coming into existence.

From the Political Insider:

Romney is attacking conservative businessman Donald J. Trump. Because Trump is self-funding his campaign, the GOP establishment and political class can’t control him. And that makes Romney angry!

Romney’s full speech was leaked, and included shameless and untrue attacks, such as:

Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat. His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.

But in one tweet, Donald Trump’s son Eric embarrassed Romney in a huge way.

The lack of loyalty is truly astonishing!

Right!

Mitt Romney tried with his ideas, his personality, his policies to gain the presidency, and he failed.

Andrea Tantaros in March, 2016, on Mitt Romney:

How staggeringly stupid the anti-Trump Republican grandees are showing themselves to be – Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Bill Kristol and the rest of them. Because Donald Trump and his style offend their patrician taste, they are trying to abort the new Republican Party that Trump would usher in and set on its new course for a new age. 

They are helping Crooked Hillary Clinton to come to power: she who has sold out her country over and over again. She sold its favors to foreign companies and powers when she was secretary of state through the transparent ruse of getting them to donate vast sums of money to the Clinton Foundation. She allowed its enemies to find out its secrets by using an unsecure server for her emails. She callously let one of its ambassadors and three of its soldiers be killed by Muslim terrorists. She insisted on destroying the frail stability of Libya so that now it is in chaos, with thousands of refugees fleeing from its shores to Europe, many drowning on the voyage. And she is notoriously a bare-faced liar. Is such a person to be trusted with the security and well-being of the nation?

Surely not. But Romney and his anti-Trump conspirators are willing to let her rather than a patriotic, competent, fellow Republican gain the presidency.

They are not only disloyal, they are stupid. Even the smartest among them is being, in this supremely important instance, simply but prodigiously stupid.

Posted under Commentary, corruption, Treason, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 11, 2016

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Who’re you calling a racist? 4

Straight White Men banned From Equality Conference reads a headline. And the article contains the declaration: “One cannot deny the privileges that straight white men have in today’s society.”

Can’t one? What are they exactly? They are not named. But let’s assume the statement is true. Who grants those privileges? Is there a body, a committee, a secret cabal, that allots them? Is it the Bilderbergers? The Elders of Zion? A convention of Harvard finals clubs? The Finnish Sons of Odin? PEGIDA? The Pacific-Union Club of San Francisco? Or “God”?

Or is White Privilege a specter conjured up by the imagination of the envious, the resentful, the grudging, the failing, the self-pitying and the paranoid? All of them would see success as “privilege”.

It is the “white” as accusation that gives the clue.

The specter has been conjured up by racists. America wanted so much to make up for a past of race discrimination that it elected a totally unqualified black president. And the black president has deliberately made race a stinging issue throughout the land.

A most unintended consequence. An unforeseen development. An enormous irony.

“Racist!” is now considered the worst of insults. Of course anyone can hurl it at anyone just to be nasty. It’s a cuss word. It needs no cause in the speech or behavior of the accused.

But in the unwritten lexicon of political correctness authored and held under continual review by the Left; in the abstract agoras of popular discourse – the media, both mainstream and social; in the institutions of higher learning, where the deep thinkers are – the academies; in the universal legislature of fashionable opinion – Hollywood, it is the law that only Whites can be “racist”.

And the worst of Whites are Republicans. And the worst of Republicans is Donald Trump. Ergo, Donald Trump is the worst racist.

Yet try as they might, the Left, the media, the professoriate and its furious disciples, the propagandists of the entertainment industry cannot find anything useful that Trump has said against Blacks.

However …

Ann Coulter writes:

Annoyed at federal judge Gonzalo P. Curiel’s persistent rulings against him in the Trump University case (brought by a law firm that has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches by Bill and Hillary), Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that maybe it’s because the judge is a second-generation Mexican immigrant.

The entire media — and most of the GOP — have spent 10 months telling us that Mexicans in the United States are going to HATE Trump for saying he’ll build a wall. Now they’re outraged that Trump thinks one Mexican hates him for saying he’ll build a wall.

Curiel has distributed scholarships to illegal aliens. He belongs to an organization that sends lawyers to the border to ensure that no illegal aliens’ “human rights” are violated. The name of the organization? The San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association – “La Raza” meaning THE RACE.

Let’s pause to imagine the nomination hearings for a white male who belonged to any organization for white people – much less one with the words “THE RACE” in its title.

The media were going to call Trump a racist whatever he did, and his attack on a Hispanic judge is way better than when they said it was racist for Republicans to talk about Obama’s golfing.

Has anyone ever complained about the ethnicity of white judges or white juries? I’ve done some research and it turns out … THAT’S ALL WE’VE HEARD FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS.

The New York Times alone has published hundreds of articles, editorials, op-eds, movie reviews, sports articles and crossword puzzles darkly invoking “white judges” and “all-white” juries, as if that is ipso facto proof of racist justice.

Two weeks ago – that’s not an error; I didn’t mean to type “decades” and it came out “weeks” – the Times published an op-ed by a federal appeals judge stating: “All-white juries risk undermining the perception of justice in minority communities, even if a mixed-race jury would have reached the same verdict or imposed the same sentence.”

In other words, even when provably not unfair, white jurors create the “perception” of unfairness solely by virtue of the color of their skin. …

I have approximately 1 million … examples of the media going mental about a “white judge” or “all-white jury”, and guess what? In none of them were any of the white people involved members of organizations dedicated to promoting white people, called “THE RACE”. …

The model of a fair jury was the O.J. [Simpson] trial. Nine blacks, one Hispanic and two whites, who had made up their minds before the lawyers’ opening statements. (For my younger readers: O.J. was guilty; the jury acquitted him after 20 seconds of deliberation.) At the end of the trial, one juror gave O.J. the black power salute. Nothing to see here. It was [police officer] Mark Fuhrman’s fault!

In defiance of everyday experience, known facts and common sense, we are all required to publicly endorse the left’s religious belief that [male] whites are always racist, but women and minorities are incapable of any form of bias. …

At least when we’re talking about American blacks, there’s a history of white racism, so the double standard is not so enraging. What did we ever do to Mexicans? Note to Hispanics, Muslims, women, immigrants and gays: You’re not black.

Other than a few right-wingers, no one denounced now-sitting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for her “wise Latina” speech, in which she said “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging”.

But Trump is a “racist” for saying the same thing.

Six months ago, a Times editorial demanded that the Republican Senate confirm Obama judicial nominee Luis Felipe Restrepo, on the grounds that “as a Hispani”, Restrepo would bring “ethnic … diversity to the court”.

You see how confusing this is. On one hand, it’s vital that we have more women and Latinos on the courts because white men can’t be trusted to be fair. But to suggest that women and Latinos could ever be unfair in the way that white men can, well, that’s “racist”.

The effrontery of this double standard is so blinding, that the only way liberals can bluff their way through it is with indignation. DO I HEAR YOU RIGHT? ARE YOU SAYING A JUDGE’S ETHNICITY COULD INFLUENCE HIS DECISIONS? (Please, please, please don’t bring up everything we’ve said about white judges and juries for the past four decades.)

They’re betting they can intimidate Republicans – and boy, are they right! The entire Republican Brain Trust has joined the media in their denunciations of Trump for his crazy idea that anyone other than white men can be biased. … 

The NeverTrump crowd is going to get a real workout if they plan to do this every week between now and the election.

What do Republicans think they’re getting out of this appeasement? Proving to voters that elected Republicans are pathetic, impotent media suck-ups is, surprisingly, not hurting Trump.

We appreciate Coulter’s sarcasm. It’s not surprising at all, of course. The more the Republican establishment attacks Trump – led in the outcry by Speaker Paul Ryan who says Trump’s objection to Judge Curiel is “textbook racism” – the more votes Trump can be sure of getting.

Posted under Race by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 9, 2016

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Put the strong new horse before the grand old party’s cart 1

The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, called on Donald Trump to unify the Republican Party if he wanted to earn his support.

If Paul Ryan gave his support to Donald Trump he would be unifying the Party.

He’s putting the cart before the horse.

A former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, reproached Ryan by pointing out –

Donald Trump may turn out to be the most effective anti-left leader in our lifetime. He is against political correctness. He is against bureaucracy. He places American nationalism first which I think we desperately need. I’m tired of being told we have to have phony agreements and phony efforts.

The Hill, in its report that Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, declared his support for Trump, quotes McConnell as saying:

As the presumptive nominee, [Donald Trump] now has the opportunity and the obligation to unite our party around our goals.

The biggest goal, in McConnell’s eyes, is to defeat Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, and prevent what is largely expected to be a continuation of many of President Obama’s policies if she takes the Oval Office.

That goal is surely one that Trump and (most of?) the old guard of the Republican Party can and do agree on.

But in general: No, Senator McConnell, you have got it wrong. Donald Trump has the opportunity and the obligation to unite the party around his goals. If he drops everything he says he stands for, everything he proclaims as his intention, the very ideas that are drawing the approval of millions of voters throughout the country, in order just to fall in with your old, stale, failed ideas, those millions of voters will not vote for him in the general election and the Republican Party will not win the presidency.

You stalwarts of the old guard must put all your resources behind him, back him up with so much enthusiasm it actually looks like and may even become an amazing Republican novelty – passionate commitment.

It is up to you, Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan, to unify the party and satisfy the people by joining your obvious nominee, Donald Trump. That is your obligation.

Posted under Commentary, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 6, 2016

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Democrats for Trump, Republicans against him 2

Hmmm … !

CBS reports:

Nearly 46,000 Pennsylvania Democrats have switched to Republicans since the beginning of the year. …

There’s even a title for the movement. It’s called “Ditch and Switch” and calls for lifelong Democrats to abandon the party, register Republican, and help ensure Trump’s place in the general election.

The numbers are similar in other states as well. The paper says in Massachusetts, as many as 20,000 Democrats have gone from blue-to-red this year with Trump cited as a primary reason.

Maybe because they think that if Trump is the Republican nominee, Hillary will win the race for the White House?

That argument will probably be made by some. But it isn’t very convincing if one looks at who the defectors are.

And in Ohio, as many as 1,000 blue collar workers have promised to switch parties and vote for Trump.

Numbers show that some Republicans are also switching to the Democratic party, but nowhere near the numbers that are switching to Republican.

And The Hill reports:

About 20 percent of likely Democratic voters say they would buck the party and vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in a general election, according to a new poll.

The willingness of some Democrats to change sides could be a major problem for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton this fall.

The new figures were released by Mercury Analytics, a research company with clients that include MSNBC and Fox News, as the result of an online poll and dial-test of Trump’s first campaign ad.

A smaller number of Republicans say they’d vote for Clinton — about 14 percent.

BUT … there are powerful Republicans who are desperate to stop Trump becoming their candidate.

Not surprisingly, of course.

Trump is the avenger of the conservative base against the powerful Republicans who have betrayed them over and  over again; those who have connived with the Democrats to let the Obama administration implement its “progressive” – ie. redistributive, unconstitutional, anti-American – agenda.

Now they are conspiring to discount and overrule the democratic choice of Republican voters whose only power is each his one vote.

The (lefty) Huffington Post reports:

Billionaires, tech CEOs and top members of the Republican establishment flew to a private island resort off the coast of Georgia this weekend for the American Enterprise Institute’s annual World Forum, according to sources familiar with the secretive gathering.

The main topic at the closed-to-the-press confab? How to stop Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google co-founder Larry Page, Napster creator and Facebook investor Sean Parker, and Tesla Motors and SpaceX honcho Elon Musk all attended. So did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), political guru Karl Rove, House Speaker Paul Ryan, GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Ben Sasse (Neb.), who recently made news by saying he “cannot support Donald Trump.”

Along with Ryan, the House was represented by Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (Mich.), Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas) and almost-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), sources said, along with leadership figure Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Diane Black (Tenn.).

Philip Anschutz, the billionaire GOP donor whose company owns a stake in Sea Island, was also there, along with Democratic Rep. John Delaney, who represents Maryland.

Note well. Democratic Representative John Delaney, was there. And no doubt there were more Democrats discussing the future of the Republican Party with the colluding Republicans.

And the worst is yet to come:

Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, was there too, a Times spokeswoman confirmed.

There we have it. The publisher of the New York Times. Was there too. If American conservatism has an American arch enemy, more dangerous because more lasting than even Obama and his gang, it is surely the New York Times.

Let’s amend that. If America has an American arch enemy, it is surely the New York Times; historically, and still now, under the captaincy of Arthur Sulzberger.

As the secret meeting of these plotters – scheming to frustrate the will of a very large number of the people – is now secret no longer, let those who doubt that Trump has a mission worth supporting ponder that well.

A more libertarian Republican Party? 2

This report, by Ross Tilchin, comes from the left-leaning Brookings Institution. It is titled On the libertarian challenge within the GOP.

Would a stronger appeal to libertarian values help the Republican Party win elections? This was one of the central questions raised during a discussion of the Public Religion Research Institute’s (PRRI’s) American Values Survey, “In Search of Libertarians in America,” launched at the Brookings Institution on October 29th, 2013.

Libertarianism has become a major part of the political conversation in the United States, thanks in large part to the high profile presidential candidacy of Ron Paul, the visibility of his son Rand in the United States Senate, and Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s well-known admiration of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. And the tenets of libertarianism square with the attitudes of an American public dissatisfied with government performance, apprehensive about government’s intrusiveness into private life, and disillusioned with U.S. involvement overseas. Libertarianism is also distinct from the social conservatism that has handicapped the Republican Party in many recent elections among women and young people.

Within this context, libertarians seem likely to exercise greater sway on the Republican Party than at any other point in the recent past. But a closer look at public attitudes points to many factors that will limit the ability of libertarians to command greater influence within the GOP caucus.

First, according to the PRRI poll, libertarians represent only 12% of the Republican Party. This number is consistent with the findings of other studies by the Pew Research Center and the American National Election Study. This libertarian constituency is dwarfed by other key Republican groups, including white evangelicals (37%) and those who identify with the Tea Party (20%). Tea Party members are much more likely to identify with the religious right than they are with libertarianism. More than half of Tea Partiers (52%) say they are a part of the religious right or the conservative Christian movement, and more than one-third (35%) specifically identify as white evangelical Protestants. In contrast, only 26% of Tea Partiers were classified as libertarians on PRRI’s Libertarian Orientation Scale.

While these groups are similarly conservative on economic matters (indeed, libertarians are further to the right than white evangelicals or Tea Partiers on some economic issues, such as raising the minimum wage), they are extremely divided by their views on religion.

Only 53% of libertarians describe religion as the most important thing or one among many important things in their lives.

Only? We’re surprised there are so many. More than half!

By comparison, 77% of Tea Party members say that religion is either the most important thing or one among many important things in their lives, and – not surprisingly – 94% of white evangelicals say that religion is either the most important thing or one among many important things in their lives. A full 44% of libertarians say that religion is not important in their lives or that religion is not as important as other things in their lives. Only 11% of Tea Party members and 1% of white evangelicals say that religion is not important in their lives.

There are evangelicals who say that? Evangelicals in name only, then? EINOs.

Additionally, libertarians are among the most likely to agree that religion causes more problems in society than it solves (37% total: 17% completely agreeing, 20% mostly agreeing); the least likely to agree that it is important for children to be brought up in a religion so they can learn good values (35% total: 13% completely disagree, 22% disagree); and the least likely to think it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values (63% total: 30% completely disagree, 33% mostly disagree).

About a third of the surveyed libertarians find it necessary to believe in a heavenly Lord? Astonishing.

These stark differences in attitudes toward religion help explain the large difference in view between libertarians and other conservatives on social issues such as abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and marijuana legalization. Given their positions on these contentious social matters, it is very difficult to envision Libertarians gaining the support of socially conservative voters in the Republican Party.

Libertarians’ influence on the Republican Party is also limited by geography. Libertarians are broadly dispersed across the country – and even where they are most regionally concentrated, they are outnumbered by Tea Partiers and White Evangelicals. …

Of the 10 states that Sorens identifies as having the most libertarians, only New Hampshire, Nevada, and Georgia had spreads of 8 points or less in the 2012 presidential election. The other seven were either solidly red (Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Wyoming, and Utah) or solidly blue (Washington and Oregon).

As such, there seems little impetus for any ideological change of course in these states—not to mention the South writ large, the region with the greatest level of libertarian support — since they are already so stoutly Republican. Perhaps in individual districts with a particular libertarian bent, libertarian candidates could have some electoral success. But any candidate running as a libertarian would, by the nature of libertarianism, have to emphasize their laissez-faire values on social issues. If running for higher office, this would surely alienate more socially conservative voters, so strongly represented in the Republican Party in these areas.

The business establishment of the Republican Party would seem a natural libertarian ally, given its moderate views on social issues, opposition to government regulation, and natural sympathy for classical economics. But this view is contested by Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. At the recent Brookings discussion, Olsen argued that the business community consists of “people who are generally but not intensely opposed to government expansion, people who are generally but not intensely supportive of personal social liberties, people who are generally but not intensely suspicious of intervention abroad. That is the center of the Republican Party, not the libertarian alliance.” The very intensity of the libertarian movement is, as Olsen observed, “a bit off-putting to the person in the middle.” …

Though the states with the most libertarians are primarily rural, libertarians are also wealthier than average, better educated than average, and young (indeed, 62% of libertarians are under the age of 50) — three demographic sets that tend to live in densely populated areas. Heavily populated areas are overwhelmingly Democratic. It is not clear how many of voters in these areas would support a more libertarian Republican [candidate]. Regardless, it is even less likely that libertarianism would tilt the balance in urban counties towards the GOP’s way. …

For a variety of reasons, the burden falls on libertarians to demonstrate how they will change these dynamics. While there may be real appeal for some for Republicans to embrace a more libertarian approach, the undercurrents of the party do not paint an encouraging picture for this as a successful electoral strategy. …

The cornerstone of libertarianism — a fervent belief in the pre-eminence of personal liberty — leads libertarians to hold views on social issues that fall far outside of the mainstream of large portions of the Republican Party. In addition, libertarians’ greatest concentrations in numbers tend to fall either in small, sparsely populated states with less national political power, or among younger individuals who live predominantly in densely populated, Democratic areas. This culminates in an environment where political and demographic forces across the United States and within the Republican Party itself severely limit the power and growth of libertarians as a force within the GOP.

Scott Shackford, writing at Reason, comments on the report:

I take slight issue with the analysis, though perhaps not the conclusion. What’s left out is the very libertarian idea that just because libertarians don’t see religion as an important component to their own lives, that doesn’t mean we would object to others who decide otherwise. And believing that “religion causes more problems in society than it solves” should not be taken to mean that a libertarian believes the government should implement policies in a pursuit to “fix” these problems.

Obviously there is disagreement, but it’s not actually, literally about faith. The disagreement is about the extent of and justifications for the use of government force. To say that religious beliefs should not be used to determine whether it should be legal to get an abortion or get married is not to say that people shouldn’t use religion to make these decisions for themselves in their own lives.

Given the libertarian rejection of government coercion, who else is better suited to even approach these issues with social conservatives? Who outside of libertarians is arguing in favor of same-sex marriages getting the same legal recognition as heterosexual marriages, while at the same time arguing that no church should be obligated to recognize them, nor should any business be dragooned into providing goods and services for them?

Rather than seeing libertarians in opposition to social conservatives, it’s more helpful to see libertarians as allies in protecting the civil liberties of the religious even as they lose cultural influence. Libertarians may not be able to “take over” the Republican Party (not that they should stop trying), but the party itself may be in deep trouble if these factions cannot find points of agreement.

One point that emerges from the data and the discussion as a whole is that the issue of personal liberty is assumed to be of no concern at all to the Democratic Party.

If the Republican Party – for all its faults – is so clearly the party of liberty, then all the straining by these earnest scholars of the Left to prove it is mostly the party of religious nuts and southern fuddy-duddies, is wasted effort. Those who want to be free need to vote Republican. Those who want Big Brother (or Daddy or Nanny) Government to run their lives, and keep them dependent on the whims of bureaucrats and collectivist ideologues, will vote Democratic.

If only the Republican Party could learn how to get voters to understand that that is the choice.

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