Do states need governments? 5

At present, every country in the world is over-governed.

The Covid pandemic made it easy for governments to impose authoritarian rules on entire populations.

Seth J. Frantzman raises the question whether governments are necessary in an article at Middle East Forum, which we quote in part.

It is about Iraq, which seems to be functioning well enough without a central governing authority.

Iraq’s non-leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who usually makes headlines for being unwilling to take charge of anything despite having the support of millions of Iraqis, withdrew his party’s 73 parliamentarians, making it harder for Iraq to form a government.

The miracle of Iraq is that, after years of political chaos, it continues to function despite having no real leaders.

At first glance, Iraq might be considered one of the first post-states, proof that people can live without governments. However, this assessment breaks down upon recognition that the country has been taken over, at least in part, by Iran in the center and south, and by Turkey in parts of the north.

Between these two powerful neighbors there are other governments, including the wealthy, stable, and relatively powerful Kurdistan autonomous region. There is also the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, the system of militias that run parts of Iraq. And there is a competent counter-terrorism force.

A competent counter-terrorism force! In the same country where Iran rules in the center and south, forcing its will on the population with a “system of militias”!

Still, Iraq is something of a miracle because it has gone from once being a stable and wealthy state governed by the genocidal maniac Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, to living under sanctions in the 1990s, to the US invasion of 2003, to the chaos of insurgency and then ISIS genocide in 2014, and now non-leadership.

Frantzman provides a description of governmental confusion worse confounded. The central government is dissolving away.

The Kurds are threatening to withdraw from the political process and return to undeclared independence.

The clash with the Kurds over the management of the oil fields in northern Iraq has become a constitutional clash. This prompted the Kurdish leaders to suggest that they would be the first to leave the political process, unless their demands regarding the independence of Kurdistan’s oil wealth from the authority of the center were met.

So Al-Sadr found all options closed. He couldn’t get Kurdish parties on board; he didn’t have Iran’s backing.

Yet, Frantzman repeats, the country continues to remain relatively stable despite the absence of any real leaders.

Which prompts the question: could a country be well managed, could freedom be reliably protected, if there were only local councils to make laws, and a central office of co-ordination?

Posted under government, Iraq by Jillian Becker on Friday, June 24, 2022

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The question 9

The Constitution is discarded, the rule of law abandoned, the nation-state abhorred, national borders removed, the people disarmed, the family destroyed, the past obliterated, the language befouled and diminished – so what remains to hold the United States of America together?

We ask this both here and in our Forum.

We invite answers, here or there: argument, denial, confirmation, analysis. We’ll not object to anger. We’ll even read soothing messages of sweetness and light.

 

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 11, 2022

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In defense of Trumpist conservatism 1

This article by William Voegeli at the Claremont Review of Books is presented as a review of The Conservative Sensibility by George Will, but reads as the author’s own animadversions on contemporary conservatism. The Right Now, it is titled.

We found very little in it to agree with. But we confine ourselves to arguing against a few passages which we consider most mistaken.

Quotation:

Trump could be seen as a culmination, revealing intentions and qualities inherent in the conservative enterprise all along. [That] interpretation is one shared by some of Trump’s conservative admirers as well as nearly all of Trump and conservatism’s most vehement critics. “If Trumpism was the Right’s end point,” asks historian Timothy Shenk, co-editor of Dissent magazine, “then wasn’t it an act of naïvety—maybe even complicity—to pretend there was more to [conservatism’s] story than crude bigotry?”

What “crude bigotry”? Not a trace of it in Trump or – therefore – in Trumpism. But Voegeli does not contest the allegation.

Quotation:

The Never Trump differences with the larger part of the Republican Party and conservative movement are profound, but its objections to the progressive agenda are increasingly difficult to specify. The main problem, as Never Trumpers see it, seems to be that progressivism is bad politics rather than bad governance. As Bulwark policy editor Mona Charen recently complained, Democrats’ ineptitude and the power of their far-left wing prevents the party from discharging its “overriding obligation”, which is to keep “the Q-Anon-indulging, Putin-friendly, truth-optional, insurrectionist party from returning to power”.

Surely Voegeli should declare with indignation that the Republican Party is not “Q-Anon-indulging, Putin-friendly, truth-optional, insurrectionist”.

And what are those “profound” differences? Do they exist? Or is Never Trumpism nothing more than shallow personal antipathy?

Quotation:

[E]very Biden proposal approved by Congress and deplored by conservatives—every executive branch appointment and policy decision rendered by those officials, every judicial appointment and ruling delivered by those jurists over the next 40 years, every spending increase crammed into a reconciliation bill—could have been prevented or mitigated if Trump had displayed a modicum of responsibility, restraint, and intelligence. What are we trying to conserve? Well, significantly less now than there would have been but for Trump’s signature blend of solipsism and nihilism.

Neither solipsism nor nihilism characterize Trump. Nothing could be further from him than either of these isms, and nothing could be further from his followers than nihilism.

When was he irresponsible?

Restraint? Did he not show restraint  – especially in foreign relations, and when he might have used the military to quell the murderous violence of Leftist mobs in (for instance) Seattle, Portland and Baltimore and did not (perhaps unfortunately).

As for intelligence – was it unintelligent rulership that gave us four years of prosperity, dissuaded foreign dictators from aggression, and made an astonishing rapprochement between Israel and certain Arab powers?

Quotation:

This dereliction of a party leader’s duties is a miniature of Trump’s dereliction of a national leader’s duties. Despite Trump’s outsized personality, Trumpism started out as about something—above all, repudiating Bush-era nation-building, entitlement reform, and immigration amnesty. Some of what Trump promised got done, while most of it proved harder than he made it sound in 2016. But since Election Day 2020, “All that is left of Trumpism are Trump’s grievances and aspirations,” as Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote this year in National Review. The entirety of Trump’s agenda now is to “restore his tarnished honor and make credible his belief in his own victory”.

Trump’s “dereliction of a national leader’s duties”? No mention of the unprecedented campaign of sabotage, the sustained lies, the vicious conspiracies hindering him. And If Trump’s own “tarnished honor”, and the victory he won being snatched from him by fraud, obsess him to the exclusion of anything else, why does a massive majority of the Republican Party continue to support him, as is the case?

What else has he proved he cares about? Chiefly: making America great again and saved from global socialism; upholding the rule of law and equality of all before the law; sealing the southern border; encouraging American manufacture; lowering taxes, ending inflation, achieving full employment; making America energy independent; augmenting America’s military strength; handling foreign enemies with personal tact while keeping an iron fist in the kid glove; ending racist indoctrination in the public schools and the universities; opposing abortion on demand; preventing the sexualization and prurient corruption of children; and, above all, protecting individual liberty.

If liberty is the highest value – and doesn’t American conservatism hold that it is? – all forms of collectivism are abominable, and the Never Trumpers are politically blind.

On the sixtieth anniversary of the hanging of Adolf Eichmann 1

This essay is from the New English Review, May, 2022.

June 1, 2022, will be the 60th anniversary of the execution of Adolf Eichmann.

He was the arch administrator of Hitler’s “final solution of the Jewish problem” by systematic murder. The plan was conceived by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS and Hitler’s second-in command. Between 1942 and 1945—the last three years of the Second World War—SS-Obersturmbannführer Eichmann carried it out. He organized the killing of approximately six million Jews of all ages, most of them by poison gas.

After the Third Reich was defeated in 1945 and Hitler and Himmler had committed suicide, Eichmann sought refuge from justice in South America under the name Ricardo Klement. Some twelve years after the establishment in 1948 of the independent Jewish state of Israel, the Israeli secret service traced Eichmann to Argentina, captured him, smuggled him out of the country and brought him to Jerusalem. There he was humanely imprisoned, politely interrogated, tried by a legally constituted tribunal, judged, and condemned.

The proceedings were conducted with scrupulous regard to the law and all the safeguards it provided: due process, evidence, cross examination of witnesses, argument for the defense. He was found guilty of multiple crimes against the Jewish People, of crimes against humanity, and of war crimes; and he was acquitted on certain parts of the indictment where proof was considered inadequate. He was sentenced to death.

Granted permission to appeal, he had his death sentence confirmed by the higher court. The appeal judges declared:

“In deciding to confirm both the verdict and the sentence passed on Adolf Eichmann, we know only too well how utterly inadequate is the death sentence when we consider the millions of deaths for which he was responsible. Even as there is no word in human speech to describe his deeds, so there is no punishment in human law to match his guilt.”

And on June 1,1962, a few minutes after midnight, he was hanged.

Hannah Arendt, the German-Jewish-American philosopher, was sent by the chic New Yorker magazine to report on Eichmann’s trial. She considered the proceedings to be flawed. She questioned whether the Israeli court had jurisdiction to try the crimes of which Eichmann stood accused. She argued that the Nazi policy of discrimination against the Jews was a “national issue”, so persons accused of implementing it should be tried in a German court. Deportations, however, affect other countries, therefore those accused of organizing them should be brought before an international court. So should those accused of genocide because it is “a crime against humanity”. The specific human genus marked down for total extermination in this case was the Jewish people, but the crime was nevertheless, in her view, against all humankind, so the obligation fell upon the world, not the Jewish state, to call its perpetrators to account. The fact that the world had shown little interest in tracking down Nazi fugitives was no discouragement to her optimism that it would see justice done.

She was not alone in having doubts on the question of jurisdiction. Legal opinion had been divided over the legitimacy of the court which had tried Nazi leaders at Nuremberg. Argument over type of tribunal, applicable law, and definition of Eichmann’s crimes were necessary, and the Jerusalem court itself examined such questions and gave reasoned answers to them. Fortunately, the judges had a more realistic understanding than Arendt of how the murder of Jews was estimated by the world at large, so they kept him well secured in their own jurisdiction.

Arendt’s criticism was not limited to those conscientiously debated issues. She also objected to the terms of the judgment. Although she accepted that the “guilty” verdict was just, and even agreed that Eichmann deserved the sentence of death (unlike some other liberal critics – such as the British publisher Victor Gollancz, who recommended that he be acquitted with the words, “Go, and sin no more”), she caviled at the judges’ reasons for their verdict. They should, she thought, have “dared to address their defendant” in these terms:

“Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that it was nothing more than misfortune [Eichmann’s defense being chiefly that he too was a victim of the Nazi regime, forced to obey immoral orders] that made you a willing instrument in the organization of mass murder; there still remains the fact that you have carried out, and therefore actively supported, a policy of mass murder. For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same. And just as you supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations—as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world—we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.”

In other words, what Arendt thought Eichmann the mass murderer was most guilty of; what she identified as his chief and most appalling offense; what she thought his judges should be hardest on; what alone would justify his being put to death, was—hubris.

This coolly detached opinion of hers is not, however, the point to which she most urgently directed her readers’ attention. The most important lesson she drew is encapsulated in her famous generalization, a phrase on the nature of evil. It is displayed in the title of her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, and the book ends (but for an Epilogue and Postscript) with a re-statement of it. It is her firm conclusion.

“Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows with great dignity. He had asked for a bottle of red wine and had drunk half of it. He refused the help of the Protestant minister …  who offered to read the Bible with him … He walked the fifty yards from his cell to the execution chamber calm and erect, with his hands bound behind him. When the guards tied his ankles and knees, he asked them to loosen the bonds so that he could stand straight. ‘I don’t need that,’ he said when the black hood was offered him.  He was in complete command of himself, nay, he was more: he was completely himself.  Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Gottgläubige [a God believer], to express in common Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death. [Yet] he then proceeded: ‘After a short while, gentlemen, we shall all meet again. Such is the fate of all men. Long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria. I shall not forget them.’ In the face of death, he had found the cliché used in funeral oratory. Under the gallows, his memory played him the last trick; he was ‘elated’ and he forgot that this was his own funeral. It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us—the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.” [All italics are the author’s]

For Hannah Arendt, the story required a fascinating demon, not a bespectacled clerk. Even when he stood under the noose, she laments, when history needed him to speak pathetic or terrifying words of pride or remorse, the best he could come up with were embarrassingly trivial funeral clichés. He was a dull person; not exactly stupid in her assessment, but not a thinking man. He was a mere instrument of evil, but with his final banal remarks he summed up a lesson that evil itself was banal.

Hannah Arendt was wrong about what Eichmann had been. He had not been a lowly bureaucrat unthinkingly carrying out orders; not “just a small cog in Adolf Hitler’s extermination machine” as he claimed, but a zealous, dedicated, ideological, leading Nazi. He had an entire bureau under him, a department of his own in the Reich Security Head Office.

She apparently never found this out. Between 1973 and 1975, she delivered a series of lectures on how philosophers from ancient Greece to modern Germany have dealt with the subjects of thinking and willing. They were collected—and published after her death—in two volumes under the title The Life of the Mind. In her introduction, she refers to her report on the Eichmann trial and changes what she had meant by “the banality of evil”: not that evil was banal (which is clearly what she wrote), but only that this particular evil-doer was banal. “I was struck by a manifest shallowness [in him] … The deeds were monstrous, but the doer … was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither demonic nor monstrous.” And she added: “Behind that phrase, I held no thesis or doctrine … although I was dimly aware of the fact that it went counter to our tradition of thought—literary, theological, or philosophic—about the phenomenon of evil.”

“Dimly aware”? Of “our” tradition of thought? She was perfectly aware that it went counter to her tradition of thought. She had studied philosophy at Marburg under Martin Heidegger—with whom she had a love-affair—and at Heidelberg under Karl Jaspers. In the introduction to The Life of the Mind she clearly states: “Evil, we have learned, is something demonic; its incarnation is …  the fallen angel … that superbia of which only the best are capable.”

That is as far as she goes in dealing with the aggrandizement of evil in “our tradition of thought”. She does not touch on it again in the chapters that follow.

Who are the “we” who learned that evil is something “of which only the best are capable”? The answer is: students of German philosophy. For over a hundred years, the most esteemed German philosophers—and artists—had been romanticizing evil. More and worse, they urged its practice. They despised morality. Most influentially, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) denigrated it; Richard Wagner (1813-1883) considered it a corrupting imposition on the pure, brave, superior, heroic German character, a taint for which the Jews, through Christianity, were to blame; and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), hated it with raging passion. And with raging passion he praised evil, praised the powerful who do evil on a vast scale. To him evil was “beautiful”, a source of intoxicating joy. He tops the list of revered German sages who romanticized evil, but Arendt does not so much as mention this, though she writes about him at length in The Life of the Mind.

It wasn’t as if Nietzsche did not know what evil was. He knew it was suffering, physical torment, mental anguish. He was a sick man, subject to acute pain and nausea, but in the worst throes of his suffering he would cry out for more of it, because to endure and rise above suffering was a means to attain genius—the creative genius of the Superman.

In Thus Spake Zarathustra, through the persona of Zarathustra (who bears no resemblance to the historical figure), he urges those who would be “noble” to be “ruthless”. In Beyond Good and Evil he eagerly anticipates a new caste of supermen who will rule over Europe. Under their enlightened rule, slavery will be necessary. In The Joyous Science he declares that these heroes will be able to commit terrible deeds of cruelty, torture, and mass murder, and yet remain blithe and light-hearted. “All those who create are hard … the noblest are totally hard.” They will be the glory of the human race, acting out of instinct, not thought. Thinking, reason, morality destroy creative inspiration and are inimical to life. “Life itself, its eternal fruitfulness and return, necessitates torment, destruction, the will to annihilate.”

The Nazis took the philosophy of Nietzsche as an instruction textbook, and Heinrich Himmler echoed him when he said in his infamous 1943 speech to SS officers explaining how just was the genocide of the Jews:

“Most of you will know what it means when 100 bodies lie together, when 500 are there or when there are 1000. And to have seen this through and—with the exception of human weakness—to have remained decent, has made us hard and is a page of glory never mentioned and never to be mentioned.”

Martin Heidegger—teacher, mentor, lover of Hannah Arendt, and to her mind a profound thinker—was a devout Nazi. He declared emphatically that he was not concerned with ethics. What he was greatly concerned with was the German nation, which must, he said in his rectorial address at the University of Freiburg in 1933, “preserve at the deepest level those forces that are rooted in the earth and its own blood”. The essence of the race, he said, was embodied in Adolf Hitler. “The Führer himself and he alone is the German reality, present and future, and its law.” Hitler, he said, would “heal” the nation. Only when, contrary to this prediction, the Führer led Germany to defeat and shame, did Martin Heidegger discern something he could call evil meaning it was bad. He wrote in a Letter on Humanism two years after the ending of the Second World War, when the atrocity of the Holocaust was known throughout the world: “Perhaps the distinguishing feature of the present age lies in the fact that wholeness as a dimension of experience is closed to us. Perhaps this is the only evil.”

 

Jillian Becker   May 22, 2022

The conquest of America 1

All those who with their votes or their assistance in the ballot-cheating got the Democrats into power, are guilty of destroying the America that was free, prosperous, ruled by law, and protected by a well-trained well-equipped military.

Now we are not only poorer, but impeded in all we do. Travel? You may need certification. Learn? Only approved topics and authorized dogma. Start a business? Get a license.

Every institution on which we used to be able to rely, has been corrupted, weakened, or destroyed.

The presidency was captured by fraud. A duly elected Republican president was twice impeached for no offense, no crime, while the offenses or crimes he was accused of were openly and brazenly committed by his accusers, including the fraudulent official who succeeded him by crookery.

We can no longer rely on the rule of law. Real insurrectionists who torched city centers, looted, murdered, threatened governmental authority, go unpunished, while people who walked into the Capitol and out again a few minutes later are imprisoned without trial for a year, ill-treated, and finally threatened with long prison sentences if they don’t confess to criminal acts they never performed – which will send them to prison anyway. The initiators of the “Russia-collusion” hoax – Hillary Clinton and her political lieutenants – have not been called to account. Applicants for legal immigration are kept waiting for years, while illegal aliens pour over the border unimpeded and are immediately given housing, schooling, health care, and even voting rights.

The House of Representatives is the staff quarters of a vindictive old woman. The Senate can be toyed with by a moronic vice-president.

The Supreme Court  is under threat of extinction. The junta in power wants to turn it into a rubber-stamping bureau that will support one party rule forever. 

Victor Davis Hanson writes at the Daily Signal:

Court-packing—the attempt to enlarge the size of the Supreme Court for short-term political purposes—used to be a dirty word in the history of American jurisprudence.

The tradition of a nine-person Supreme Court is now 153 years old. The last attempt to expand it for political gain was President Franklin Roosevelt’s failed effort in 1937. FDR’s gambit was so blatantly political that even his overwhelming Democratic majority in Congress rebuffed him.

Yet now “court packing” is a law school cause celebre. It is hailed as a supposedly quick fix to reverse the current 5-4 conservative majority.

Recently, a rough draft of an opinion purportedly overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion in all 50 states was leaked to the media by someone inside the court.

That insider leak of a draft opinion was a first in the modern history of the Supreme Court. It violated all court protocols. Yet it was met with stunning approval from the American left.

The leaker either intended to create a preemptive public backlash against the purported court majority in the hope that one or two justices might cave and switch under pressure—or to gin up the progressive base to fend off a likely disaster in the November midterm elections.

The recent leak, however, is consistent with a left-wing assault on the court that has intensified over the last five years. Democrats have gone ballistic ever since former President George W. Bush’s and especially former President Donald Trump’s appointees solidified a conservative majority.

During Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in 2018, protesters stormed the Senate chambers in protest. …

Later in spring 2020, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., whipped up a protest crowd right in front of the Supreme Court. He directly threatened Justices Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh:

I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.

What exactly did Schumer mean by “you will pay the price” or “you won’t know what hit you”?

Who or what would hit the two justices—and how exactly?

But it is not just the court the left is targeting. Long-standing institutions and even constitutional directives are now fair game.

At the 2020 funeral of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., former President Barack Obama crudely proposed bringing in Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as states—and with them likely four left-wing senators.

Obama’s “eulogy” also damned the 180-year-old Senate filibuster. Yet as a senator, Obama himself resorted to the filibuster in an effort to block the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

The Electoral College is under continued assault, especially since Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016 were elected without winning the popular vote.

The Founders’ arguments for the Electoral College are never mentioned. But the drafters of the Constitution felt it forced candidates to visit rural areas. They believed it would discourage European-style multiple splinter parties. It made voter fraud more difficult on a national scale. And it emphasized the United States of America. That is, America today is 50 unique states that are represented as such in presidential elections.

The Biden administration also narrowly failed to push through a national voting law. Such legislation would have superseded the states’ constitutional rights to set most of their own balloting protocols in national elections.

So what is behind leaking Supreme Court drafts of impending opinions, or seeking to pack the Supreme Court with 15 justices, or ending the Senate filibuster, or adding two more states to the 60-year-old, 50-state union, or curtailing states’ rights to set their own balloting procedures, or trashing the Constitution’s Electoral College? …

And how can Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas openly negate federal immigration law? How can he welcome millions to cross illegally the southern border?

The answers are obvious.

The hard left had detoured from the mainstream of American voters onto a radical trajectory. So it will never find 51% public approval for any of its current extremist and crackpot initiatives.

Instead, it sees success only through altering the rules of governance or changing the demography of the electorate—or both.

Has any institution not been deliberately spoiled? Is any activity, if not yet prohibited, left free of government regulation?

The banking system has become so byzantine that quite simple transactions, such as sending a payment abroad, takes days or even weeks to complete.

The schools and universities have been changed into indoctrination seminaries.

The mainstream media are as meekly submissive to the junta as a silly woman to a domineering husband.

The police are defunded, demoralized, weakened, disarmed, reduced in number, abused –  even murdered with impunity.

As for the army …These quotations are  from How Obama and Biden Destroyed the Greatest Military the World Has Ever Seen by Daniel Greenfield.*

Under Biden [“Biden” being the name of the president and so of the administration, though the man himself is senile and does not make the decisions propagated in his name], genocide and terrorism have become cultural norms that we are bound to accept.  (p.4)

China might beat us in the hypersonic weapons race, but America’s top military brass were determined to pull out all the stops to make sure they had the most diverse arrangement of incompetent radicals, preferably in senior leadership positions, to establish their progressive credentials. (p.10)

Obama didn’t just leave the military smaller in size, but smaller in spirit, its leadership class no longer dedicated to national security, but to the identity political agendas of the radical Left. (p.11)

Obama remade the military just as he remade the nation, from a team based on individual worth into a broken system divided by the intractable gulfs of oppressors and the oppressed. No military organization can function that way and no nation can survive that way.  (pp. 11, 12)

Long before the Taliban entered Kabul, the moral struggle had already been lost in Washington D.C. While the Taliban were carving up Afghanistan, the nation’s military leaders were busy implementing racial quotas, imposing implicit bias training, and teaching military personnel to hate their country through critical race theory. (pp.12,13)

There has been no accountability for the political leaders and military brass who wrecked the military. And none for those who were responsible for our defeat in Afghanistan. Patriots are being driven out while the disloyal leaders responsible for purging them and enabling the Taliban remain in charge. (p.62)

All that at a time when the US is faced with a more dangerous threat of attack than the nation has ever had to confront before.

Quotations from an article  by Judith Bergman at Gatestone:

China is putting up satellites at twice the rate of the United States and fielding operational systems at an incredible rate.

Look at what they [CCP) have today…. We’re witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geostrategic power that the world has witnessed.

The Chinese are building up their military capabilities in space, cyberspace, and in the conventional force. It’s all happening at the same time.

There is now as well the added probability of China and Russia engaging in military coordination…. a strategic partnership of “no limits” and with “no forbidden areas” in an agreement that they said was aimed at countering the influence of the United States.

Meanwhile, the Left has already captured and destroyed the free republic of America. It no longer influences the world for the better. It is ripe and ready for Chinese Communist conquest. 

Can the free republic be resurrected? Can America be saved?

 

 

*Published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, PO Box 55089, Sherman Oaks, CA 91499-1964

Is democracy the best system of government? 4

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill

In Britain, the right to vote was eventually extended to everyone except prisoners, Lords, lunatics, and children.

In his Federal Paper No. 10, James Madison distinguishes between a democracy and a republic, describing a democracy as a system of government in which every man has his say along with all the others, while a republic is governed by representatives of the citizens. In our time, a democracy is a representative system.

Can it be easily corrupted? It is in the US that the weakness of the democratic system was most dramatically and catastrophically demonstrated by the Democratic Party when it organized ballot fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The Democrats seem to believe that all votes not cast for them are invalid, and to favor a system which could be summed up as “one Democrat any number of votes”.

So now a party empowered by a minority of the people is imposing its will tyrannically on the entire nation.

Even when the will of a majority prevails, tyranny can emerge.

What checks and balances are there in the US to prevent or stop tyranny? The judicial branch of government? It refused to adjudicate the fraudulent election of 2020.

Do you think democracy is the best system of government?

Are you for universal suffrage? Should every adult have the vote, or should voters be qualified to some extent in some way? What proportion of the voters do you suppose are informed about the candidates and policies they vote for?

Can you suggest improvements to the current system, or describe an entirely different system that would better protect the liberty of the people?

 

Note: These questions are also being discussed on our Forum. Please join us there.

Posted under government by Jillian Becker on Thursday, May 5, 2022

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South Africa descends further into darkness 1

A South African sent us a description of how depressing life for even the well-off has become in that beautiful country:

Every day, we have to endure four hours — in separate two- hour sessions — of no electricity. South Africa has now endured fifteen years of load-shedding, and there is no end in sight. Massive corruption and incompetence have destroyed Eskom [South Africa’s state-owned and only power utility]. The consequences for business are dire. Who will invest in a country that is plunged into darkness for four hours every day?

Really, life in this land of ours is pretty depressing. The infrastructure of Johannesburg is collapsing— potholed roads, litter-laden streets— and it is all ghastly.

Everywhere, physical decay is visible.

The Johannesburg Art Gallery is leaking, poorly guarded, and penniless. I have not visited it for decades.

For vacancies in  departments of schools once held in high esteem for their academic excellence, new appointments are brazenly advertised as “transformative posts” — by which is meant, white candidates, however well qualified and however experienced, need not bother to apply. “Decolonizing” of content, ranging from geography to English literature, is officially under way. Even private school English departments that remain dedicated to teaching the classics of the Western canon are condemned by “transformation committees” as reactionary, regardless of the excellence of their pupils’ examination  results.

Recently there were floods in the east-coast province KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

The floods in KZN were horrendous – over 400 fatalities. The lack of maintenance of any kind under the ANC, let alone any development, is appalling. And still the “woke” idiots in charge screech on about pronoun use and critical race theory.

An article by Gerbrandt van Heerden in the Daily Friend confirms the accelerating decline with this information:

Skills are in short supply in South Africa.

According to immigration specialists Sable International, load-shedding and a failing electricity grid are among the reasons why skilled people are leaving the country.

And there are other causes of the shortage and the exodus:

An obvious cause is the country’s abysmal education system. Poor educational outcomes have increasingly led to a skills mismatch in the South African economy. While the country’s industries require high skills, the education system is producing a low- to semi-skilled workforce. Despite the poor performance of mostly government run schools, no clear plan has been articulated on how to fix the education crisis.

Corruption and nepotism have resulted in poor services and decaying infrastructure.

Harmful government policies, such as BBBEE [Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment  – quotas based on the old apartheid racial classifications!], make it increasingly difficult for the small pool of talented workers we still have to remain in the country. Parliament recently began public hearings on the controversial Employment Equity Amendment Bill. Proposed changes will enable the labour minister, in consultation with the stakeholders of a particular sector, to set numerical sector-specific employment equity targets. [“Sector-specific” = compulsory quotas of “underprivileged” groups.] Companies that fail to comply with the targets can be fined between 1% and 10% of turnover and will be disqualified from doing business with the government. Businesses are reluctant to expand at all if they are forced to hire staff on a basis that does not allow consideration of skills and experience. So this will further accelerate the skills flight from the country.

Despite the warnings from many experts, civil society groups, and healthcare professionals themselves, about the disastrous effects of nationalizing the healthcare sector, government has once again recommitted to the policy. The South African Medical Association (SAMA), which represents 12,000 medical doctors in South Africa, stated that thousands of its members will emigrate if the NHI is implemented. A survey conducted by SAMA showed that as many as 38% of its members plan to emigrate from South Africa due to the planned introduction of the NHI.

Some of the occupations in demand include architects, chemists, civil, industrial and mechanical engineers, economists, software developers, tax professionals, and maths and science teachers. Expatweb’s latest Critical Skills Survey, based on a sample of 220 businesses, indicates that businesses find it difficult to recruit engineers and ICT [Information and Communications Technology] specialists. Banks, retailers and businesses are fighting over the limited talent pool.

The shortage will have serious implications for South Africa’s political stability and economic sustainability. It will discourage business confidence and the ability of businesses to expand. This must increase unemployment, already at a record high level, and diminish further the dwindling taxable population. Yet the government shows no will to effect the reforms necessary for the growth of skills.

The corruption, the incompetence, the decline is gathering pace.

South Africa is hurtling to its fall.

Posted under South Africa by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 28, 2022

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How goes the revolution? 1

The radical Ethnic Studies addition to Minnesota’s proposed social studies standards encourages students to disrupt and dismantle America’s fundamental institutions.

Katherine Kersten writes at American Experiment about public education in Minnesota becoming nothing more than Marxist indoctrination, and how it is a model for the whole of America. (We quote a large part of her article, but recommend that it be read in full.)

Minnesota’s proposed new social studies standards have sparked controversy since the first draft was released in December 2020. What’s grabbed public attention in the final draft, now in the rule-making process, is Ethnic Studies. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has added this highly politicized “fifth strand” — unauthorized by statute — to the four content areas named in law: history, government and citizenship, geography and economics.

The inclusion of Ethnic Studies marks a victory for forces seeking to radically remake Minnesota’s public schools. Ethnic Studies goes beyond the standard “anti-racist” Critical Race Theory (CRT) focus, especially in its stress on student political activism: “disrupting”, “dismantling” and “transforming” our nation’s fundamental institutions. It imports the whole ideological thought world from which CRT sprang, and serves as a vector for the activist network that is driving it nationally.

In short, Ethnic Studies is the spider at the center of the web that MDE is spinning.

How did this extremist ideology — born of the “Third World Liberation Front” that grew out of the 1968 student strikes and riots in California — make its way from San Francisco and Berkeley to elementary classrooms in Litchfield and Faribault, Minnesota?

It’s a scandalous story. When MDE appointed the standards drafting committee, it took the unprecedented step of excluding academic subject matter experts in history, civics, geography and economics. Instead, it stacked the committee with political activists, community organizers and their allies, who dominated the process.

These activists’ goal was not to revise and improve “rigorous standards” in “core academic subjects” in our state’s K-12 public schools, as law requires. On the contrary, they view Minnesota’s public education system … as a “white supremacist puzzle that must be taken apart and exposed for the lie it is”. 

Activists’ weapon of choice in taking our schools apart is Ethnic Studies. Forget about teaching students about the historical leaders and events that shaped our democracy, like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and America-led victories in World War II. MDE’s new “fifth strand” trains K-12 students to view our nation’s social and political institutions with suspicion and hostility and seeks to enlist them in … a “political struggle” to change the social, economic, and cultural system that underlies our polity.

When the Minnesota Legislature adopted our state’s social studies standards in 2004, it authorized MDE to revise them every 10 years to “raise academic expectations for students, teachers and schools”. By law, state standards must be both “objective” and “measurable”, and “consistent with” the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions.

But MDE’s proposed standards fail on all these fronts. Under the new Ethnic Studies standards, one of which is entitled “Resistance”, for example, students are instructed to “organize” to resist America’s “systemic and coordinated exercises of power against marginalized”oppressed groups”.

How will this play out in Minnesota’s classrooms? Here’s an example: Students will study our police departments and justice system in connection with an Ethnic Studies standard that requires them to “understand the roots of contemporary systems of oppression” and “eliminate injustices”.

To this end, fifth graders will first “examine contemporary policing” and its alleged “historical roots in early America”.  The claim is that our police departments sprang directly from slave patrols of the Old South.

Sixth graders will describe the “impact of Minnesota’s juvenile justice system” on “historically disenfranchised groups”. High school standards suggest the notion of criminality itself is racist: “explore how criminality is constructed and what makes a person a criminal.”

Biased, misleading instruction of this kind will likely convince many young people that policing and the very idea of criminality are oppressive, racially “constructed” and among the many things schools are instructing them to “resist”.

The campaign to highjack the revision of Minnesota’s social studies standards may look homegrown, but it is nothing of the kind. EdLib MN [Education for Liberation Minnesota] is a state chapter — indeed the only state chapter — of a national extremist organization called the Education for Liberation Network.

The EdLib Network makes no secret of its revolutionary agenda: to dismantle and replace America’s fundamental institutions. Or in its own words, it “promotes the transformation of existing institutions and the creation of new ones that reflect the values of Education for Liberation”.  The network’s strategy to achieve this objective is “wholesale K-16 implementation” of Ethnic Studies in schools across the nation.

Two 20th-century Marxist thinkers, Paulo Freire and Antonio Gramsci, are central to the Ed Lib Network’s worldview. …

The name and concept of “Education for Liberation” are drawn from the ideology of Brazilian Paulo Freire, author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, published in 1968. Freire maintained that education’s purpose is not to pass on knowledge, but to build revolutionary consciousness among the “oppressed” to achieve “liberation” by overthrowing the system. For decades, his book has been one of the most widely assigned texts in many colleges of education.

Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Communist [a founder of the Italian Communist Party – ed) has been called the godfather of cultural Marxism. … He proposed that activists infiltrate and gain control of key institutions of civil society, like schools and political parties, to shape a new ideological consensus and organize opposition to the existing social order. This strategy has become known as “the long march through the institutions“.

According to its website, the EdLib Network has worked since 2012 to promote Ethnic Studies in California, the epicenter of the movement. In March 2021, California’s board of education approved the state’s new Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.

The model curriculum’s “guiding principles” call for “transformative resistance” and repudiate “forms of power and oppression” that include “cisheteropatriarchy” and “anthropocentrism” (the belief that human beings are superior to animals). The curriculum originally incorporated student chants to bloodthirsty Aztec gods, but recently dropped these following a legal settlement.

Now the EdLib Network is going state-by-state, “building power from the ground up” and creating “regional assemblies” to help “educators and grassroots organizers to implement Ethnic Studies in their own communities”.  …

The curriculum begins by declaring its support for political revolution: “System changes occur when people unite, mobilize and organize in coordinated resistance to disrupt and dismantle inequitable systems.”  

Lessons are saturated with the concepts and lingo of Antonio Gramsci’s Marxist ideology. Starting in pre-K, for example, students are taught to reject “normalization”. Older students are repeatedly instructed to question “common sense” and refuse to “consent” to “hegemony”— i.e. the power “white men use to dominate others”. In grades 7-12 lessons, Gramsci is invoked by name. “We need to understand common sense the way that Antonio Gramsci, an Italian philosopher, understood it,” students are told. They are asked, “What hegemonic beliefs do you plan to disrupt?” and assigned to “create counter-hegemonic stories.”

Throughout, instruction is cult-like and highly manipulative, and the pressure to conform is overwhelming. Elementary pupils are assigned to rewrite popular songs to reflect Ethnic Studies ideology, and to recite Gramsci’s ideological tenets in “choral readings”.  Overall, these mind-numbing lessons conjure images of youthful Red Guards being groomed for China’s Cultural Revolution. …

The new field of “Ethnomathematics” teaches that math began in ancient “empires of color”, was appropriated by the West to oppress BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), and should be taught, in part, through racial and ethnic storytelling. In science class … students may study Ojibwe architecture.

[In Minnesota] legislative proposals [include] one bill that would require MDE to establish an Ethnic Studies Task Force, with “input” from the Minnesota Ethnic Studies Coalition. This task force would be charged with developing K-12 Ethnic Studies standards in a range of subject areas, which MDE (the Minnesota Department of Education] would be required by law to adopt and to do so using an expedited process allowing minimal public input. …

Meanwhile, many young people — especially minority children — lack the basics in history, reading, science and math, as class time spent on fundamental knowledge shifts to indoctrination in extremist ideology.

Brave parents are stepping up to demand that our schools be returned to the people of Minnesota. But so far others — including the business community, civic organizations, and school boards and administrators — have been silent. Unless we all raise our voices, our state’s and our children’s futures will soon be in the hands of forces determined to transform our nation beyond recognition.

Will America allow Communism to win the Cold War after all?

Has it already won?

Posted under communism, education, Marxism, revolution, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, April 23, 2022

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World conquest by needle 1

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the agency of the abominable UN that is being used to bring us under one world government.

Dr. Tess Lawrie writes:

The WHO is proposing a global pandemic agreement that would give it undemocratic rights over every participating nation and its citizens. Put simply, in the event of a ‘pandemic’, the WHO’s constitution would replace every country’s constitution. Whether your country’s elected government would agree or not, the WHO could impose lockdowns, testing regimes, enforce medical interventions, dictate all public health practice, and much more.

Over the course of this pandemic, the WHO has withheld safe and established older medicines, ignored the experiences of frontline doctors, disregarded evidence from low, middle and high-income countries, and taken no heed of the values and preferences of people affected by their recommendations. It has apparently ignored the huge numbers of adverse reactions on its own database and has failed to issue warnings about the gene-based vaccines. It has also advertised that the mRNA vaccines are as safe as normal vaccines – and this is simply not the case.

Many of us are extremely concerned that the WHO now intends to take full control over every member nation via this pandemic treaty.

And over every individual.

Is it possible, do you think?

And if it is possible, is it likely to happen?

Posted under Health, United Nations, world government by Jillian Becker on Friday, April 15, 2022

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Voting for tyranny 4

In 2020, tyrants came to power in the United States by fraud. They were not elected by a majority. The majority voted for Donald Trump to be president, which means most Americans want freedom. But far too many did actually vote for the tyrannical party. All Americans got the government the large minority wanted and that they, but not most Americans, deserved.

In other Western countries, Germany for instance, the tyrants now in power were elected by majorities.

The proven fact that hundreds of millions of Westerners want to be governed by authoritarians welding power arbitrarily, cruelly, and destructively is strangely omitted from conservative commentary.

But Paul Gottfried has observed the horrifying fact, and writes about it at American Greatness:

A bad habit on the establishment Right, here and in other Western countries, is to treat those who have made disastrous electoral decisions as victims. If the choices made by these “victims” turn out badly, as they have in the cases of numerous municipal governments and blue states and with the election of Joe Biden, conservatives carefully avoid accusing the voters. Apparently high crime rates, unnecessary lockdowns, goofy LGBTQ+, antiwhite measures, and galloping inflation should not be pinned on those who cast electoral ballots.

If eligible voters in heavily black urban areas endorse corrupt politicians who thrive by playing the race card and ignore rising crime rates, the fault, we are led to believe, is entirely with those who have been elected. The stigma belongs to politicians who have betrayed the “people,” although a majority of the “people” dutifully voted for them. Are we to think that those who have voted more than once for Maxine Waters, Kweisi Mfume, and Bill de Blasio or who ran in droves to rescue Gavin Newsom in the California recall election last year are simply the hapless victims of evil politicians?

The same tendency to shift blame misleadingly is characteristic of the German democratic Right, as I gather from reading their leading weekly Junge Freiheit. Although Germany has moved even further to the left than the United States on social and cultural issues and is governed by a Green-Social Democratic coalition that is even more radical than our Democrats, the fault, according to German conservatives, does not lie with the German “volk“, which is no longer even recognizable as such.

Significantly, German voters stand behind a state that has little respect for civil liberties, one that has gone after its only non-leftist party—Alternative for Germany—because its leaders have suggested in speech that Germans are an historic nation, not just a collection of individuals. Unfortunately, most Germans don’t seem to care if a leftist woke government shuts them up and strips them of their national identity.

The lockdowns established by the German government were also far more comprehensive than ours, and the state attacked those who protested them as Nazi sympathizers and in many cases subjected them to arrest and prosecution. The new German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who has published in the far-left Antifa, has designated as her first priority, “combating the far-right threat,” a war that should start in kindergarten. Last week, the culturally radical Social Democrats swept to an unanticipatedly large victory in Saarland. Their chief competitor, the Christian Democrats, lost to the Social Democrats, who managed to outdo them in LGBT advocacy, and in calls for massive immigration and blatant antinationalism. The last time I checked, it was overwhelmingly ethnic Germans who voted for this woke hell.

Are we to pretend that those who vote for race-baiters and unhinged antifascists are not really voting? They are simply the victims of malign forces that bring to power leftist demagogues and crazed social engineers despite the “people”? Although it may be convenient to nurture that fantasy, real majorities often elect utterly loathsome governments

I’m also not willing to give these voters the benefit of the doubt because they have been under the influence of lying media. Although the leftist media lie through their teeth, one might expect that adults at some point would notice. But even if they don’t, I see no reason to treat voters as the helpless victims of their own choices. Truth is, they are getting the leadership they deserve. And they are suffering the consequences they brought on themselves.

We should assume that when citizens are authorized to vote, they are responsible for what they mark on a ballot. We are, however, free to doubt that all voting citizens take civic obligations seriously, and in the 19th century, the educated bourgeoisie … wished to limit the franchise to literate property holders like themselves. They believed that only the “capable classes (les classes capacitaires)” were able to exercise political power prudently, and some doubted that women, with certain exceptions, were emotionally stable enough to attend to political affairs.

Although these early bourgeois liberals may have had a point, Western countries since have moved in a different direction. We are therefore obliged to operate with another assumption. That assumption is that all authorized citizens should be able to choose their leaders. This means that they will be getting the government they democratically elected, and the responsibility for that choice is theirs.

Why have millions of citizens of the formerly free countries of the West turned against freedom?

Posted under China, Germany, Totalitarianism, tyranny, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 7, 2022

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