The Biden scandal 24

When Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, he was bribed through his son by a crooked Ukrainian company to force the Ukrainian government, under threat of denying aid, to fire the prosecutor in charge of investigating it.

Vice President Joe Biden was televised boasting about how easily he had worked the threat to achieve his end.

All this has been well known for years. But new evidence that Joe Biden “subverted American foreign policy in order to enrich his own family” (to use the words of Tucker Carlson on Fox News) has come to light in emails from a laptop computer belonging to Hunter Biden.

Now that Joe Biden is the Democrat candidate for the presidency, the fact that their candidate is a corrupt crook must surely trouble the Democrat Party? Obviously no, it doesn’t. Not in the least. The Democrats and their voters want to have a corrupt crook as their president.

The case shows that the US already has a crooked and corrupt federal police force. We’ve known that also for years, but there’s new evidence of that too from the Biden emails.

Megan Fox points out at PJMedia:

The FBI had possession of this information back in December? Why didn’t the FBI come forward with this evidence about Hunter Biden’s emails, which appear to show collusion and influence-trading? Isn’t that something they should have told the president or members of Congress? … If the good citizen who came forward and alerted the FBI of the contents of the laptop [containing the emails] had not made a copy of the information, it would still be under FBI lock and key. … It’s a stunning indictment of the FBI that an American citizen who alerted them to … multiple crimes involving a guy with the last name Biden knew not to trust them and made other arrangements should they try to cover it up (which, apparently, they did).

One new revelation is that the son, Hunter Biden, wrote about giving 10% of bribe money he got from a company in China to the “big guy”. There can be little doubt that the”big guy” is Joe Biden, candidate for the presidency.

These corrupt practices are a political scandal of immense proportions.

It is so big and appalling that the Democrat-supporting mainstream media refuse to report it. Twitter and Facebook, actively trying to get Joe Biden elected, have blocked or limited users’ discussion of it. Why? Not because they are disturbed by the Bidens’ immorality, but because they know that many citizens would be.

The facts are spreading anyway. The election will show whether America is still a moral nation, by voting Donald Trump back into the presidency; or has become an immoral nation, happy to be led by the venal scoundrel Joe Biden.

Posted under China, corruption, Ethics, Ukraine, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 17, 2020

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An education in ethics 5

“I want the entire world to burn until the last cop is strangled with the intestines of the last capitalist, who is strangled in turn with the intestines of the last politician.”

Thus Nathan Jun, Professor of Philosophy, now teaching a course in Ethics at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

(We quote an article by Johnathan Jones at the Western Journal.)

Some who read that statement by the professor reacted – he claims – by sending him death threats and vandalizing his home.

He complained:

There’s no way that I can make those sorts of expressions publicly around here without this kind of thing happening again and again and again and again. I’m just tired of it.”

But he is not easily intimidated. He will bravely adhere to his principles and continue to spread his teaching.

He feels obligated by his job to “speak out fearlessly and unapologetically on matters of public concern according to the dictates of my conscience.”

He has noble aspirations:

I do long to live in a world in which we no longer have cops, which we no longer have capitalists and which we no longer have politicians. Because those are my political beliefs and I own them and I make no apologies for those beliefs.”

He said this in an interview on KFDX-TV. As he spoke he was wearing a shirt advertising Antifa, and he claimed affiliation with the murderous Marxist organization Black Live Matter.

The University defended his right to say what he did on grounds of upholding the right of free speech. It is doubtful that the University would allow a defender of capitalism, law and order,  and conservative political principles to speak on its campus. What it was really defending was the idea of “burning the entire world until the last cop is strangled with the intestines of the last capitalist, who is strangled in turn with the intestines of the last politician”.

Most universities in the “free West” would take the same position. Those are the ethics of our culture now. Professor Nathan Jun speaks for the professoriate of America.

Posted under education, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Sunday, October 4, 2020

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Marxism versus morality 2

On the left, the concept of objective truth is increasingly deemed a form of white supremacy.

From time to time, staunchly and admirably conservative Dennis Prager writes in defense of what he (along with many others) likes to call “Judeo-Christian” values. We generally reject the term for reasons we give here. But we accept its use in the article below because he gives it a definition which makes it palatable to reason.

He writes at the Daily Signal:

All of my life, I have said that the left’s moral compass is broken. And all of my life, I was wrong.

Why I was wrong explains both the left and the moral crisis we are in better than almost any other explanation.

I was wrong because in order to have a broken moral compass, you need to have a moral compass to begin with. But the left doesn’t have one.

This is not meant as an attack. It is a description of reality. The left regularly acknowledges that it doesn’t think in terms of good and evil. Most of us are so used to thinking in those terms—what we call “Judeo-Christian”—that it is very difficult for us to divide the world in any other way.

But since Karl Marx, the left (not liberalism; the two are different) has always divided the world, and, therefore, human actions, in ways other than good and evil. The left, in Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous words, has always operated “beyond good and evil.”

It all began with Marx, who divided the world by economic class—worker and owner or exploited and exploiter. To Marx and to Marxism, there is no such thing as a good or an evil that transcends class. Good is defined as what is good for the working class; evil is what is bad for the working class.

Therefore, to Marxists, there is no such thing as a universal good or a universal evil. …

By which is meant that –

Whether an act is good or evil has nothing to do with who committed the act—rich or poor, male or female, religious or secular, member of one’s nation or of another nation. Stealing and murder are morally wrong, no matter who stole or who murdered.

That is not the case for Marx and the left.

As Marx put it in “Das Kapital”:

Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and the cultural development thereby determined. We therefore reject every attempt to impose on us any moral dogma whatsoever as an eternal, ultimate, and forever immutable moral law.

Fifty-three years later, Marx’s foremost disciple, Vladimir Lenin, architect of the Russian Revolution, proclaimed:

We say that our morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat. … We do not believe in an eternal morality. … We repudiate all morality derived from non-human (i.e. God) and non-class concepts.[Address to the Third Congress of the Russian Young Communist League, Oct. 2, 1920.]

As professor Wilfred Cantwell Smith, director of Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions, wrote in 1957:

For Marxism there is no reason … for not killing or torturing or exploiting a human person if his liquidation or torture or slave labor will advance the historical process.

This is how Marx’s ideological heirs, today’s leftists, view the world—with one important difference: Morality is not determined only by class, but by race, power, and sex as well.

In Left-think, racism is wrong – as it is in reason. But only for some people, not for all – a position reason rejects.

It is left-wing dogma that a black person cannot be a racist. Only whites can be racist. And, indeed, all whites are racist.

It is increasingly a left-wing position that when blacks loot, they are only taking what they deserve, or, as the looters often put it, looted goods are “reparations”. A Black Lives Matter organizer in Chicago, Ariel Atkins, recently put it this way:

I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store because that makes sure that person eats. That makes sure that person has clothes. That is reparations. Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance.[Chicago Tribune, Aug. 17, 2020.]

Another non-moral left-wing compass concerns power. Just as right and wrong are determined by class (worker and owner/rich and poor) and race (white and people of color), good and evil are also determined by power (the strong and the weak).

Power is wrong – unless of course it is in the hands of the Left.

That’s why leftists protest and riot whenever a confrontation between a police officer and a black person ends with the death of an unarmed black person. … The death is automatically deemed murder.

And causes the world over are right or wrong according to that criterion:

That explains much of the left’s hatred for two countries in particular—America and Israel. America is wrong when it does almost anything in the world that involves weaker countries—assassinates the most important Iranian terrorist, builds a wall between itself and Mexico, opposes unlimited immigration. It is wrong because it is much stronger than those other countries.

The left’s antipathy to Israel derives from both the power compass and the race compass. Because Israel is so much stronger than the Palestinians and because Israelis are classified as white (despite the fact that more than half of all Israelis are not white), the left deems Israel wrong.

So, when Israel justifiably attacks Gaza for raining rockets over Israel, the world’s left vehemently attacks Israel—because it is so much stronger than the people of Gaza and because whites have attacked people of color.

In Left-think, rape is wrong – as it is in reason – but only for some people.

When a woman accuses a man of sexually harassing or raping her, the left’s reaction is not, “Let us try to determine the truth as best we can.” It is, “Believe women.” One must automatically “believe women” …

Unless, as we have seen lately, the accusation is brought against a leading Democrat, such as Joe Biden, the Left’s candidate for the presidency. In his case the woman must not be believed.

… because, on the left, it is not only morality that doesn’t transcend race, power, class or sex; truth doesn’t either.

Posted under Ethics, Israel, Leftism, Marxism, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Free thought as heresy again 9

The Left has captured the culture. That’s well known and oft repeated. Education is now religiously Leftist from kindergarten to doctorate. The entertainment industry – stage, film, television –  faithfully carries the sacred messages. The media, both “mainstream” and “social”, are packed with acolytes.

Not only the guardians of the culture have converted en masse to the Church of Marx. Big panjandrums of our capitalist economy are dropping their checks for hundred of millions of dollars into the collection boxes of the Left’s terrorist curates – buying time, they foolishly hope. That would be more surprising if we didn’t have Vladimir Lenin’s (possibly apocryphal but highly plausible) prophecy that “the capitalist will sell you the rope you’ll hang him with”.

And now it is all too horrifyingly possible that the Left will re-capture the legislative and executive branches of the US government. As for the judicial branch, seven of the Supreme Court  justices – all nine of whom were formerly Jewish or Catholic which was not harmful to determinations of law – are dancing arm-in-arm leftwards through a side door into the C. of M., where doctrinal orthodoxy is strictly enforced. Could SCOTUS become the tribunal of the next Inquisition?

A dark age lies ahead. But need we despair? There is consolation to be found in the records of the fast fading era of free thought (roughly 1700-2000), that will still be available to us in books.

Or will they?

Oh, oh! It seems that books by or about the great  – mostly white – scientists, inventors, discoverers, philosophers, visionaries, economists, historians, educators whose ideas debunk the doctrines of the C. of M., are to be removed from libraries, bookshops, even probably our private rooms, and destroyed. Blotted out of human memory. They will not be published  again; or if published by some rogue publisher, not advertised;  or if advertised by some mischance, not sold; or if sold on a black market market of color, confiscated and destroyed.

On the other hand, books supporting the doctrine of the C. of M. (chiefly concerning anti-racism and the evil of being White) will abound. Vast libraries will be built to contain them. There’ll be at least one in every hotel bedside drawer. There’ll be cutely illustrated versions of some on the shelves of kindergartens; thousands to be checked out by students in all grades or else; and subterranean university bookstores will be chockfull of them.

Bruce Bawer, observing the trend, writes at Front Page:

Of America’s most powerful and prominent cultural institutions, it’s quick work naming those that aren’t entirely left-wing satrapies. TV? Fox News, although things are looking less and less encouraging there. Colleges? Hillsdale, I guess, though how many Ivy League faculty members would ever admit to having heard of it? Newspapers? The New York Post (sometimes), Wall Street Journal (kind of)and perhaps one or two others from sea to shining sea. Silicon Valley? Nothing. Hollywood? ¡Nada! Big business? Hmm: what is there, nowadays, honestly, other than that My Pillow guy?

One field in which there’s at least a soupçon of ideological diversity is the book trade. Yes, staffers at the major publishing houses are overwhelmingly on the left. Ditto bookstore employees. Plus the people who give out the major book awards. Not to mention that the heftiest advances for political books go to Democrats. Since the turn of the century, the biggest nonfiction book deal, amounting to at least $65 million, was for Michelle Obama’s Becoming (2018) and for an as-yet-unpublished opus by Barack; second – raking in $15 million – was Bill Clinton’s My Life (2004); third – at $14 million – was Hillary’s Hard Choices (2014).

One more thing about the reflexive leftism of the book scene. Thanks to today’s lethal cancel culture, even classics are at risk. Recently, in an article for the School Library Journal headlined “Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with ‘Classic’ Books That Are Also Racist”, Marva Hinton identified both Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as racist. No, she didn’t just say that they contained racist language, which would have been fair enough; she asserted that these two books – both of them key texts in the history of the American struggle against racism – are in fact racist.

Hinton quoted Julia E. Torres, a Denver school librarian, as saying that when she’s consulted by teachers who want to assign Harper Lee’s novel to their student, she often suggests replacing it with Samira Ahmed’s dystopic novel Internment, “about a teen sent to a U.S. internment camp for Muslim American people”. Alternatively, Torres “suggests they teach To Kill a Mockingbird using excerpts or through a critical consciousness lens, which would include lessons on white saviorism and the weaponization of white women’s tears”. Check, please!

I’m not familiar with the novel Internment – just out in paperback from Little, Brown – but it’s part of a full-court press by the book business to normalize Islam and demonize “Islamophobia”.  Also in on this effort are the major pre-pub reviewing outlets, all of which gave Internment starred reviews that were short on praise for aesthetic values and long on PC drivel. (“Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America…” – Kirkus.  “A very real, very frank picture of hatred and ignorance…” – Booklist. “An unsettling and important book for our times.” – Publishers Weekly.)

In 2006 I published a highly critical book about Islam. Even then, it was savaged by bien pensant book-world types. But criticizing Islam has become so verboten on the left that I doubt any major publisher today would touch a book like While Europe Slept – even though the problems described therein have grown far, far worse.

Meanwhile, to peruse the latest catalogues from those same publishers is to discover a blizzard of dreary-sounding new or forthcoming novels that, judging from the plot summaries, are drenched in identity politics. (Two quick examples from Knopf, perhaps the most respected of literary publishers: Burning by Megha Majumdar, about an Indian girl who’s falsely accused of terrorism and turns for help to a trans woman; My Mother’s House by Francesca Momplaisir, a novel that takes on “the legacy of colonialism” and “the abuse of male power”. …

Amazon’s current list of top ten bestsellers includes several far-left books on racism: Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning, Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. You might think there’s a market for at least one book criticizing these authors’ views; but I’ve been assured by industry insiders that no major New York house would even consider publishing such a book.

Even in book publishing, then, the left is way ahead. But this isn’t good enough for Alex Shephard, a young staff writer at the New Republic, who in a recent article maintained that the book industry is “overdue” for a major “reckoning”. Here’s his article’s subhead (italics mine):

The industry is facing demands to live up to its stated values. That might mean ditching writers like Donald Trump Jr.

And later there’s this (italics again mine):

…these publishing houses are, like many corporations in the country, being asked by their employees and customers to live up to a set of values. And that would seem to be impossible while also publishing the likes of Tucker Carlson…

What does Shephard mean by “stated values”? Simple: left-wing ideological purity. In his view, conservative books are, with exceedingly few exceptions, “valueless”. (Shephard implies that “quality control” alone would eliminate most conservative titles.) Also by definition, they’re awash in “factual inaccuracies”. Because of course you can’t possibly mount a convincing non-leftist argument for anything without radically distorting the truth. (As Shephard puts it: “Being forced to tell the truth is not an existential issue for most of publishing; it is for conservative imprints.”)

Hence, if book publishers began to be serious about fact-checking, it would, argues Shephard, “make it impossible to publish a great many conservative books”. Indeed, even the “more ‘respectable’ side of conservative publishing”, as represented for Shephard by Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 bestseller Liberal Fascism (note, however, those scare quotes around the word respectable), would be challenged by a responsible fact-checking apparatus.

According to Shephard, another attribute of many conservative books is that their authors aren’t serious. He quotes Kimberly Burns, a book publicist: “I’m OK with books being published from different political viewpoints – in fact, it’s necessary for debate and being able to see a whole picture … The problem is when authors write things only to get themselves attention or to make news, instead of to enhance a dialogue…” Apparently this isn’t a problem with left-wing books.

Bottom line: Shephard really likes censorship of his ideological opponents. And he really admires his fellow “woke” types who put pressure on publishers to cancel books. He notes with obvious satisfaction that Henry Holt, the publishing house, “drew fire for its decision to continue publishing Bill O’Reilly after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made against him”. (There’s no indication that Shephard believes multiple accusations of sexual harassment should affect Bill Clinton’s publishing career.)

Shephard approvingly mentions Simon & Schuster’s 2016 decision to drop the book Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos, whom he identifies as “a troll known for shallow publicity stunts”. And he tells us that he’s spoken to employees at another publishing house, Hachette, who “expressed discomfort about the company’s conservative imprint, Center Street, which publishes Donald Trump Jr., among others”.

Boy, I’ll bet they did. Since Shephard’s article appeared, Hachette staffers – largely lower-level Gen-Z brats – have said that they won’t work on J.K. Rowling’s forthcoming book because she’s criticized transgender ideology. Hachette is the same house that, in response to workers outraged over unproven quarter-century-old sex-abuse allegations, canceled Woody Allen’s about-to-be-published memoirs in March. Allen was never charged with any crime, let alone found guilty of one; years later he was permitted to adopt two children. Yet thanks to those junior Jacobins – every one of whom should’ve been fired – Allen was unceremoniously cut adrift.

And Shephard fully approves. He actually calls Allen a “pariah”. The ease with which this smug punk swats away the legendary writer-director is chilling. No matter what you may think of Allen or his films, the whole ugly spectacle is just too reminiscent of the way things worked under Stalin and Mao. And it’s all too representative, alas, of the atrocious attitudes of the rising generation of lockstep cancel-culture creeps who, like it or not, are well on their way to becoming our nation’s official cultural gatekeepers.

Totalitarian Catholic Communism – an ideal for America? 8

Adrian Vermeule is a Harvard professor of Constitutional Law who doesn’t like the US Constitution, is nostalgic for Roman Catholic statist totalitarianism, and proposes a new dispensation for Americans under “authoritative rule for the common good” which, he gleefully declares, requires the “overriding” of “the selfish claims of individuals to ‘private rights’”.

Vermeule is a convert to Catholicism. He does not mention Catholicism by name in this article, but his belief that morality is rightly defined and imposed by a central authority for the “common good” belongs to his religion. And the idea that self-sacrifice is the highest moral good is essentially a Christian teaching. A fear of heresy – people being allowed to voice an opinion that the state-as-church does not approve – suffuses his political philosophy.

Free speech and free-speech ideology — that government is forbidden to judge the quality and moral worth of public speech,” he writes, “should be not only rejected but stamped as abominable, beyond the realm of the acceptable forever”.

The article in which he propounds these views appears in the Leftist journal, The Atlantic, as “part of the project The Battle for the Constitution, in partnership with the National Constitution Center”. (Go there to see how all the contributions to this project are actually against the Constitution.)

It is easy to see why The Atlantic likes his ideas. Stalin would have applauded them.

As for the structure and distribution of authority within government, common-good constitutionalism will favor a powerful presidency ruling over a powerful bureaucracy, the latter acting through principles of administrative law’s inner morality with a view to promoting solidarity and subsidiarity. The bureaucracy will be seen not as an enemy, but as the strong hand of legitimate rule. The state is to be entrusted with the authority to protect the populace from the vagaries and injustices of market forces, from employers who would exploit them as atomized individuals, and from corporate exploitation and destruction of the natural environment. 

The close resemblance between Left statism and Catholic Christianity could not be more candidly displayed.

This Constitutional Law professor would not allow a thread of the Constitution to remain … Oh, wait! He does allow a few threads to remain, useful for the re-construction of the United States of America:

The general-welfare clause, which gives Congress “power to … provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”, is an obvious place to ground principles of common-good constitutionalism (despite a liberal tradition of reading the clause in a cramped fashion), as is the Constitution’s preamble, with its references to general welfare and domestic tranquility, to the perfection of the union, and to justice.

And he could endure the retention of some words, provided they were re-interpreted:

Constitutional words such as freedom and liberty need not be given libertarian readings; instead they can be read in light of a better conception of liberty as the natural human capacity to act in accordance with reasoned morality.

“Reasoned morality” being the “common-good” morality such as was propounded by the Catholic Church and for many centuries enforced by the Papal and Spanish Inquisitions.

This imposed “common-good” morality will be resisted at first, but –

Subjects will come to thank the ruler whose legal strictures, possibly experienced at first as coercive, encourage subjects to form more authentic desires for the individual and common goods, better habits, and beliefs that better track and promote communal well-being.

Notice that citizens have become “subjects” under this ideal regime. And the state run by bureaucrats has become “the ruler” – more pope than king.

If it can be taken that The Atlantic speaks for the Left – and surely it can? – we are being told in the strongest possible terms that the Left wants and intends to abandon the Constitution – which alone binds the states of America together into a nation – and substitute a federal government with totalitarian policies and absolute powers that would establish Roman Catholicism as a state religion, substitute central planning for the free market, and implement the “green” policies of environmentalists further to restrict our lives as “subjects” of the Moral State.

If it was just one Catholic religious nut pleading for the establishment of this utopia, we could laugh at it and forget it.

But it is not just one. It is millions of – mostly young, school-indoctrinated – Leftist religious nuts wanting dependence on parental government; the drowning of individuals in an ocean of common-good; the implementation of anti-industrial “green” policies with the hard forced labor and poverty they’ll entail; sacrifice of personal ambitions and talents; acceptance of chastisement for sin (you “will come to thank the ruler” for it) and life-long indebtedness for food, shelter, and apportioned health care; total loss of self-determination; obedience.

Obedience. Bureaucrats will tell you what to do. Do it!  It is for the common good.

Above all, obedience. 

Revolution? 4

Is America in the throes of a revolution? Are we sliding unstoppably into totalitarian communism?

Angelo Codevilla writes at American Greatness:

Some conservatives, rejoicing that impeachment turned into yet another of #TheResistance’s political train wrecks and that President Trump is likely to be reelected by a bigger margin than in 2016, expect that a chastened ruling class will return to respecting the rest of us. They are mistaken.

Trump’s reelection, by itself, cannot protect us. The ruling class’s intolerance of the 2016 election’s results was intolerance of us.

Nor was their intolerance so much a choice as it was the expression of its growing sense of its own separate identity, of power and of entitlement to power. The halfhearted defenses with which the offensives of the ruling class have been met already advertise the fact that it need not and will not accept the outcome of any presidential election it does not win. Trump notwithstanding, this class will rule henceforth as it has in the past three years. So long as its hold on American institutions continues to grow, and they retain millions of clients, elections won’t really matter.

Our country is in a state of revolution, irreversibly, because society’s most influential people have retreated into moral autarchy, …

Autarchy, or autocracy, is rule by a dictator. Has any Democrat proclaimed a desire for a dictator, or to be a dictator? If so, we missed it. The Democrats want absolute power in their own hands, but have’t yet wished up a Stalin or a Mao. It’s highly likely that Bernie Sanders would like to be an American Stalin, but has he admitted it?

Besides which, there is not a single Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States who could run a poll in Iowa, let alone the country. 

Moral autarchy? Not sure what that means. But okay, let’s accept the term in order to follow the writer’s argument.

… have seceded from America’s constitutional order, and because they browbeat their socio-political adversaries instead of trying to persuade them. Theirs is not a choice that can be reversed. It is a change in the character of millions of people.

Does character change? Does the character of a people – a nation – change? What characterizes any nation must by definition be what does not change about it. For a country to change its character it would have to have its population replaced by a different population – as is happening rapidly in Sweden, France, Spain, and Germany.  The Democrats seem to like the idea of America becoming more “Hispanic” than “Anglo”, but it hasn’t happened yet, and might never happen.

There has been a change in America over the last 70 years or so. It is not a change of character. In all their variety, Americans are recognizably the same as they were 100 years ago. What has changed in America are ideas about values and morals, about what matters and what doesn’t.

And that is what the article under discussion is really about.

The sooner conservatives realize that the Republic established between 1776 and 1789—the America we knew and loved—cannot return, the more fruitfully we will be able to manage the revolution’s clear and present challenges to ourselves. How are we to deal with a ruling class that insists on ruling—elections and generally applicable rules notwithstanding—because it regards us as lesser beings?

The resistance that reached its public peaks in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the impeachment imbroglio should have left no doubt about the socio-political arbitrariness that flows from the ruling class’s moral autarchy, about the socio-political power of the ruling class we’re forced to confront, or of its immediate threat to our freedom of speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, presiding over the Senate’s impeachment trial, was as clear an example as any of that moral autarchy and its grip on institutions.

Pursuant to Senate rules, Senator Rand Paul sent a written question through Roberts to House Manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) regarding the extent of collaboration between Schiff’s staffer Sean Misko and his longtime fellow partisan, CIA officer Eric Ciaramella in starting the charges that led to impeachment. Roberts, having read the question to himself, declared: “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

The chief justice of the United States, freedom of speech’s guardian-in-chief, gave no reason for declining to read Paul’s question. The question was relevant to the proceedings. It violated no laws, no regulations. The names of the two persons were known to every member of the House and Senate, as well as to everyone around the globe who had followed news reports over the previous months. But the Democratic Party had been campaigning to drive from public discussion that this impeachment stemmed from the partisan collaboration between a CIA officer and a Democratic staffer.

“Collaboration” is the polite term for it; “conspiracy” the more accurate one.

Accordingly, the mainstream media had informally but totally banned discussion of this fact, supremely relevant but supremely embarrassing to Schiff in particular and to Democrats in general. Now, Paul was asking Schiff officially to comment on the relationship. Schiff could have explained it, or refused to explain it. But Roberts saved him the embarrassment and trouble—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spared senators the problem of voting on a challenge to Roberts’s  ruling. The curtain of official concealment, what the Mafia calls the omertà, remained intact. Why no reason?

Just as no dog wags his tail without a reason, neither did Roberts wag his without reason. Neither the laws of the United States nor the rules of the Senate told the presiding officer to suppress the senator’s question. Why was Roberts pleased to please those he pleased and to displease those he displeased? In short, why did this impartial presiding officer act as a man partial to one side against the other?

This professional judge could hardly have been impressed by the ruling class’s chosen instrument, Adam Schiff, or by Schiff’s superior regard for legal procedure. Since Schiff’s prosecution featured hiding the identity of the original accuser—after promising to feature his testimony—and since it featured secret depositions, blocked any cross-examination of its own witnesses, and prevented the defense from calling any of their own, it would have been strange if Chief Justice Roberts’s bias was a professional one.

Is it possible that Roberts favored the substance of the ruling class claim that neither President Trump nor any of his defenders have any right to focus public attention on the Biden family’s use of public office to obtain money in exchange for influence? That, after all, is what Washington is largely about. Could Roberts also love corruption so much as to help conceal it? No.

Roberts’s professional and ethical instincts incline him the other way. Nevertheless, he sustained the ruling class’s arbitrariness. Whose side did he take? His dinner companions’ side? The media’s? His wife’s? Roberts’s behavior—contrary as it was to his profession, to his morals, and to his political provenance—shows how great is the ruling class’s centripetal force.

The sad but inescapable consequence of this force is that conservatives have no choice but to follow the partisan logic of revolution—fully conscious of the danger that partisanship can make us as ridiculously dishonest as Adam Schiff or CNN’s talking heads, into rank-pullers like John Roberts, and into profiteers as much as any member of the Biden family.

Do conservatives have no choice but to go along with “the revolution”, with the abandonment of the values that inspired the Constitution, with corruption as a matter of indisputable but unchangeable fact?

The writer then seems to change his mind. He suggests there is a choice:

And yet, revolution is war, the proximate objective of which is to hurt the other side until it loses the capacity and the will to do us harm. That means treating institutions and people from the standpoint of our own adversarial interest: controlling what we can either for our own use or for bargaining purposes, discrediting and abandoning what we cannot take from our enemies.

Opposing them by the means they choose, the weapons they use? That – so the writer suggests – is our best recourse?

Unlike our enemies, our ultimate objective is, as Lincoln said, “peace among ourselves and with all nations”. But what kind of peace we may get depends on the extent to which we may compel our enemies to leave us in peace. And for that, we must do unto them more and before they do unto us.

Which is true? Do we have no choice but to join “the revolution” – a change from a free open society of self-reliant individuals into a government-controlled, race and sex obsessed, doom prophesying, totally organized community? Or are we still in control of our destiny? And if we fight our revolutionary enemy, must it be with their weapons, or ours? On their terms, or ours?

We do not see that there has been a revolution – though the Obama administration tried to make one. We do not think the only way to save America from totalitarian one-party rule is by following the rules laid down by the Gramsci-Alinsky school of sedition and the Cloward-Piven blueprint for chaos. (See here and here and here and here.)

By great good luck we have President Trump leading us in another direction, showing us another way, prioritizing better (characteristic) values: freedom, individual enterprise, innovation, industry, competence, patriotism, strength, ambition, self-confidence, prosperity. For a few more years at least. During which the Left revolutionaries may, in the fury of their frustration, stamp themselves into the ground.

Loving prayers, hate speech, and disinformation 1

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives and official leader of the campaign to destroy President Trump by impeaching him, furiously denied to a reporter that she hates Donald Trump when he asked her if she did:

“I don’t hate anybody,” responded Pelosi. “I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody, not anybody in the world. Don’t accuse me of hate.”

Being accused of hatred was, in Pelosi’s mind, the same as accusing her of being a bad Catholic.

“As a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” she said. “I don’t hate anyone.”

Hatred was not part of her upbringing, she said. “I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love.”

On the contrary, she said, she always prays for the president. “I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time.”

How deeply reassuring for the president. (And the reporter – a rare one to provoke Speaker Pelosi! – must have felt warmly loved too.)

But in Reality, for the last four years, the Democrats, the Left everywhere, and the media have been spewing hatred of Donald Trump non-stop, night and day. They hate him.

It’s not that they merely don’t like what he stands for, what he does or how he does it. They certainly don’t, and they would be against anyone who stood for the same and did the same. But their intense hatred is plainly for the man himself.  

The hatred is totally irrational, and for those of us who much admire and like President Trump, impossible to understand. Is their hatred motivated by envy? Can they not bear it that Donald Trump is a successful businessman, a billionaire, a TV star, and on top of it all, president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world? And he has a very beautiful wife. And successful children. How dare he?

They – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa activists, the professors, the media hacks – hate him with a hatred that drives them to any length in their effort to destroy him. For days, weeks, months, years on end they rage against him in the House and the Senate. They make up absurd lies about him. There is no accusation, however farfetched, however unlikely, however ridiculous, however crazy, however impossible that they have not or will not level against him, over and over again.

Has there ever before been so much hate speech poured out against an elected American leader?  

No matter how much good he does for the country – and he has done a lot; no matter how competent he is – and he is highly competent; no matter how generous he is – and he is generous, even giving away his salary: they hate him, hate him, hate him. They want him thrown out of office; they want him humiliated; they want him tortured; they want him dead. 

To help them achieve his ruin, to help them advance the great cause of destroying Donald Trump, the media (most of them) lie about him. They spread misinformation, disinformation, scurrilous rumors, obscene tales, filthy smears.   

And at the same time they all – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa actvists, the professors, the media hacksceaselessly rail against “hate speech and disinformation”.

What they mean by “hate speech” is the expression of any opinion that differs from their own. And by “disinformation” they mean any contradiction, any disproof, any exposure of their lies.

They want “hate speech and disinformation” stopped. Pronto. It’s intolerable to them that people go on saying things they don’t like. It’s too provoking! People .. people … do it, go on and on doing it, in the “social media”. Freely. Saying whatever they like. No regulation. No punishment. Good grief, they behave as if the United States of America were Liberty Hall!

We quote parts of an article by Paul Bradford at American Greatness:

 Joe Biden wants to punish Facebook and Twitter so they will censor more.

Biden endorsed one of the most aggressive proposals against Big Tech last week in an interview with the New York Times. He wants to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from publisher liabilities.

“Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one,” Biden said. “For [Mark] Zuckerberg [CEO of Facebook] and other platforms.”

“It should be revoked because [Facebook] is not merely an internet company,” Biden said. “It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy. You guys still have editors. I’m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible. It’s totally irresponsible.”

Biden also won’t rule out criminal penalties for Zuckerberg over alleged collusion with the Russian government.

Biden, it needs to be borne in mind, was vice president when Barack Obama was president and they were colluding with the Russians.

He implied the Facebook executive is selling out American democracy to foreign tyrants for cold hard cash.

Biden, it should also be borne in mind, and through him his brothers and his son and his sister and his son-in-law, corruptly raked in cold hard cash, much of it from foreign tyrants, by the million when he was vice-president. He sold his office.

Biden is particularly upset with the number of ads Trump runs on Facebook.

He sees a terrible risk that if Trump is allowed to do that, he could get himself re-elected! Why can’t Zuckerberg and the other tech giants see what danger they’re running America into?

Nearly every Democratic presidential candidate, both former and current, wants to punish tech companies for allowing “hate speech” and “disinformation” on their platforms.

Three candidates besides Biden want to target Section 230. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to look into Section 230 to make sure “right-wing groups don’t abuse regulation to advance their agenda” and that tech platforms censor hate speech. He doesn’t call for the outright elimination of Section 230 but his meaning is plain enough.

Similarly, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a forgotten presidential candidate, wants to revise Section 230 to hold Big Tech accountable for “misinformation and hate speech on their platforms”.

The other candidates also want to pressure Big Tech to censor more, but haven’t specifically mentioned Section 230. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to break up Facebook and other tech giants as punishment for “profiting off of hate speech and disinformation campaigns”.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says his administration would investigate and call out platforms that “traffic in hate and encourage or fail to moderate abuse and hate”. Buttigieg wants more aggressive measures to suppress ads that liberals deem to be erroneous.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another former presidential candidate, also wants Big Tech punished for alleged hate speech. “We will hold social media platforms responsible for the hate infiltrating their platforms, because they have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy,” she told the NAACP last year.

No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, that candidate will demand more online censorship. Every major candidate sees what they call “hate speech” as something that should not be protected by the First Amendment. Every single one of them wants to use state power to push Facebook, Twitter and other platforms into only allowing liberal discourse.

In fact, in Reality – the sphere where Leftists do not like to live – conservatives are constantly being censored, suspended, rebuked, and outright banned by the Powers that govern the internet. Every one of those Powers is Left-biased. But some conservative opinion does get published to the world, and how can the Left, and especially those in it who have been raised in a way that fills their hearts with love, be expected to tolerate such a state of affairs?

Of compassion and commonsense 12

It’s generally a sign of a weak argument when something that is a plain and obvious disaster, which must be fixed, urgently, is allowed to flourish because of constitutional theories and scientific studies. … Without common sense, all the verbal gymnastics on earth will not find the truth. 

So Edward Ring writes at American Greatness.

He quotes a Democrat who objects to dangerous Democratic policies concerning the homeless:

I live in a city, Portland, OR, plagued by homelessness. I do not want homelessness to be criminal, but I also want to remove homeless camps and tents from my city’s sidewalks, fields, under bridges or overpasses. … The objection is far greater than a distaste for the appearance of the homeless or their camps.. … Portland’s waterfront is plagued by the smell of urine under bridges, large number of rats (they come out at night), danger from discarded drug paraphernalia, and threatening nature of many homeless people.

He writes that citizens fear “walking by large numbers of people sleeping in filthy towels, sleeping bags and tents”; that “a business owner’s objections to having a homeless person sleeping outside her store” is not unreasonable, nor is the preference of householders who live near a homeless camp “to live without fear, or worry their children will play with a discarded syringe”.

Many, perhaps most of the homeless are lunatics. They need to be in asylums for their own and everyone else’s sake. They are on the streets because way back in the last quarter of the last century, theorists who made academic studies insisted that those we commonly called raving madmen were “really” sane and the rest of us, designated “society” or “the community”, were “really” the insane. These theorists sprang up simultaneously in many Western countries – notably America, Britain and Germany –  singing the same song. An international chorus hymning a momentous discovery, a breakthrough in the understanding of human evolution: what seems insane is sane; what seems sane is insane. 

The compassionate thing to do was to “release these men and women into the community”. The homeless wretches reel about the streets of the cities, bewildered, helpless, desperate, lost. Drugged and diseased, they lived on the streets and died on the streets. Unless they were caught for crimes and died in prison. Successive generations of them do the same.

But now theorists who make academic studies are insisting that homeless deranged criminals are “really” the victims of social crime, and we, “society” or “the community” who obey the law are “really” criminals. The compassionate thing to do is to let them commit crimes.

We’re not making this up.

Edward Ring makes it plain that it is not compassionate to tolerate crime:

As anyone who lived or regularly visited New York City in the early 1990s will attest, “Broken Windows” worked brilliantly. Crime and disorder fell precipitously virtually overnight, and for the first time in decades, the city felt safe. It worked so well that most of the rest of the country quickly followed suit with similar results. It is the rare social science theory that actually worked. … Abandoning it wholesale is folly. Do people really want more disorder? How is that good for anyone and how will it not lead to more crime?

He is talking about all street crimes, not just those committed by the psychotic homeless. In California now, the theorists who make academic studies have enlarged their exonerating cloud of compassion to enfold and protect all street criminals.

He comes to the nub of the argument. What is and what is not compassionate?

Beyond constitutional theorizing and scientific studies, which can be posturing rationalizations as often as they are valid, is the moral value of compassion. That value is priceless.

“Priceless” meaning precious beyond price, extremely valuable. We would join issue with him over that, qualify the claim, but not here and now. We continue to follow his argument.

But common sense requires tempering the value of compassion with common-sense recognition of human nature. Compassion comes with obligations. Compassion is one of several moral virtues that need to inform common-sense solutions to public policy challenges.

For example, according to University of Virginia social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, there are six universal moral foundations. These virtues (and their opposites) are: care/harm, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, sanctity/degradation, and liberty/oppression. Progressives … apparently place the virtue of compassion above all others. But true compassion cannot do good unless it is balanced with fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity, and liberty.

We would omit “sanctity” and substitute “honor”.

Is it fair to anyone … to permit people to defecate on public sidewalks? Is it compassionate to allow people to stagger about a busy shopping district, stupefied on heroin? …

[A] “new breed of Democratic prosecutors” … is part of the problem, not the solution. They have placed a highly selective compassion before common sense.

It is true that, somehow, Americans need to figure out how to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated.

But the obligations of commonsense compassion

“Commonsense compassion” being not an oxymoron in his view, but an alliance, or at least a truce, between head and heart? …

… require policymakers to accept unpleasant realities: When you downgrade crimes you encourage more crime. When you decriminalize possession and personal use of hard drugs, you encourage more drug addiction. When you provide benefits and services to homeless people, you encourage more homelessness.

These realities don’t mean we shouldn’t have compassion for people who are homeless or who are coping with drug addiction, or even for those who have turned to a life of crime. …

There he goes too far!  To condone “compassion for those who have turned to a life of crime” is to condone the rape of justice.

But he turns back to commonsense.

Compassion has become so corrupted by progressives and the special interests who benefit from disorder and misery that the policies enacted in its name have made the problem worse. How is it compassionate, when supposedly compassionate policies lead to more victims; more homeless, more drug addicts, more criminals?

He’s right: it is not compassionate. It is cruel.

Posted under Crime, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 19, 2020

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The enemy on the Right 25

Anti-white racism now obsesses the Left more than any other of its preoccupations (“gender-fluidity”, “climate change”, citizen disarmament, open borders). It was surely only to be expected that there would be an equal and opposite reaction on the Right. It exists. It is equal in intensity, but not in the numbers who support it. Adherents of what we might call the “whites are best movement” are a small minority among conservatives.

American Greatness publishes articles by some of them. Why is American Greatness giving the alt-Right a respectable platform? It is not that the editors are simply allowing the expression of white-Christian-supremacists as a matter of tolerant  broad-mindedness. One of their columnists who defends the alt-Right is Matthew Boose. He, we are told, is “a Mt. Vernon fellow for the Center for American Greatness”. We have recently discussed an article of his here. Boose defends a facetious youth named Nick Fuentes who declares the Holocaust to be a lie, and a funny one, a rib-tickling yarn.

Pedro Gonzalez is another such contributor. He is also a member of the online journal’s staff. Though not named on their “Who we are” page, he is, we learn from a note at the bottom of his column, an “assistant editor”.

In the column discussed here, he is reviewing a documentary film titled No Safe Spaces … 

… featuring conservative commentator Dennis Prager and comedian Adam Carolla. The aim of the film is to expose the illiberal direction that the halls of higher education have taken.

He gives it some praise:

The days of rage that have rocked universities across the country in recent years are well documented here.

And he makes it plain that he is in strong agreement with the film-maker, Dennis Prager, that the outbreaks of student rage – which in some cases brought disastrous consequences for the affected universities – were outrageous and indefensible.

But he finds flaws in the film. Or, rather, with people whose opinions it reflects. Gonzalez does not object to what they say in the film itself, but what they have said and done in other places at other times.

He says:

No Safe Spaces succeeds at its primary goal: revealing the fundamentally evil designs of our enemies. … There are, however, serious flaws in this otherwise polished production. For a start, the mainstream conservatives Prager props in the documentary have recently behaved themselves in a way consistent with how the Left operates.

They had offended, he explains, by refusing to give a platform at certain conservative gatherings to spokesmen of the (self-styled) alt-Right. Why?  Because, we can infer, the opinions of the alt-Right are as offensive to most conservatives as are those of the Left, for the same reason. They are intensely racist.

The alt-Right, spoken for in his review by Pedro Gonzalez, claims that its indignation is a righteous reaction to their being denied freedom of speech. (They speak and write freely, however, at many a gathering, on many a blog site, and everywhere in the social media.)

One of the professors whose story is treated sympathetically in both the film and, at first, in the review, is the (liberal, not conservative) biologist, Brett Weinstein. He refused to be kept away from the university where he taught, Evergreen State College in Washington state, on a “no whites on campus” day, was consequently subjected to violent persecution by Leftist students, and hounded out of his job. He maintained that the attempt to force whites to stay away was “an act of oppression”, and cited historical precedents of groups trying to force others to share their beliefs. He gave an example which Gonzalez quotes:

“Some of history’s darkest chapters involved brutal coercion of people because they didn’t accept that ‘Jesus is the son of God’,” wrote Weinstein recently. “Assuming Christians have outgrown that inclination, they’d be wise to quit broadcasting this exclusionary claim. Seems obvious. What am I missing?”

And that irked Gonzalez.

He comments:

That is, Christians must stop being Christians. Or to use Prager’s line, on preferring “clarity over agreement”, Weinstein is merely clarifying that liberalism requires that Christians dissolve Christ and adopt a secularized theology of humanism.

Weinstein did not mean that “Christians must stop being Christians”, unless Christians are nothing but enforcers of shared belief. Nor would Dennis Prager tolerate a requirement “that Christians dissolve Christ and adopt a secularized theology of humanism”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our beef with Prager is that he taints his intelligent advocacy of conservatism with arguments for religion. He earnestly defends Christianity, even as he passionately proselytizes Judaism.

But Weinstein had struck a nerve. The alt-Right does not only believe that whites are best, but that Christian whites are the best of the best: Christianity is the supreme good; it can do no wrong. And because Christianity is the supreme good, devotees of all other religions – and non-believers – are bad, and deserve what they get at Christian hands.

The alt-Right is doing exactly what Weinstein advises them it would be wise to quit doing: “Broadcasting this exclusionary claim.”

Indeed Gonzalez insists: “[T]he only social force with the moral and ethical framework to counteract leftism [is] Christianity.”

While many Christians today, particularly in America, are supporters of freedom, the kind of Christianity that the alt-Right apparently admires has more to do with intolerance, domination, and compulsion.

Christianity had a very long reign. Contrary to Christian claims, it did not prove to be historically a force for good. Whether the human suffering the Christian churches caused when they had the power to do so on a massive scale was less or more, better or worse, than that caused by Leftist powers, is a verdict more easily reached by prejudice than judgment.

Posted under Anti-Semitism, Christianity, Ethics, Race, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 1, 2020

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What makes for the common good? 22

We can usefully start with two quotations:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.
― Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol 1

Which is  a description of capitalism in practice. It is a beautiful system. Individuals provide goods or services that other people want and therefore pay for. The greater the demand, the more rewarding the provision, the more profitable the business. If the demand is too great for the labor of the provider to meet on his own, he can pay people to help him. How much he pays will depend on how much the employee contributes to the profit: his contribution must be worth more – twice or three times as much – as his pay to make him worth hiring.

I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Senator Marco Rubio does not agree with Adam Smith and Ayn Rand. He believes that the butcher, the brewer, the baker, must carry on their businesses as benevolent enterprises. And that we live to serve others.

He does not say so in as many words, but his opinions amount to those sentiments.

Which he writes about at National Review in an essay adapted from a speech he delivered at the Catholic University of America. We quote the greater part of his essay:

Large corporations have become vehicles for shareholders and banks to assert claims to cash flows, rather than engines of productive innovation. Over the past 40 years, the financial sector’s share of corporate profits increased from about 10 to nearly 30 percent. The share of profits sent to shareholders increased by 300 percent. This occurred while investment of those profits back into the companies’ workers — and future — dropped 20 percent. Last year, corporations on the S&P 500 spent more than a trillion dollars buying back their own shares. These are the largest corporations in the world collectively saying, “We don’t have anything to invest in.”

This is what it looks like when, as Pope Francis warned, “Finance overwhelms the real economy.”

A phrase that means nothing. But then, Pope Francis knows nothing about Economics. He’s  a “liberation theologist”  – an oxymoronic god-worshiping communist. And Rubio, the ostensible conservative, quotes him as an enlightening sage?

The world is full of enterprises to invest in. But Rubio wants the investment to be ethical according to his own judgment of what is ethically acceptable.

The result has been an economy whose architecture has been rapidly transformed. Despite three years of robust economic growth, millions are unable to find dignified work; they feel forgotten and left behind. We are left with a society with which no one is happy. …

An outright lie. In fact, unemployment is low –  lower than it has been for 50 years.

Rubio goes on to attribute a variety of “social ills” to there being “millions unable to find dignified work”:

The repercussions have extended far beyond the economy: a collapse in churchgoing and community institutions; a decline in marriage, childbirth, and life expectancy; and an increase in drug dependency, suicides, and other deaths of despair. We have condemned the next generation of Americans to be the first to enter adulthood worse off than their parents.

Diagnosing the problem is something we should be able to achieve across the political spectrum, though even that seems challenging at times. Ultimately, deciding what the government should do about it must be the core question of our politics.

Marco Rubio is a Republican Senator. But he he thinks like a Socialist Democrat – that the solution to people not going to church (an outcome of which, if it is true, we heartily approve of course), to a drop in births and life expectancy, to drug dependency, to suicides “and other deaths of despair” and to anything else worth clicking one’s tongue over that goes on in a population of over 330 million, lies with government.

We must start by rejecting the false choice our politics has offered us for almost three decades. First, our financialized economy …

He is alluding to the ways in which money can make money. When you are young and in the prime of life you work for your money; when you are old you let your money work for you. You own bonds and shares. Both the investors and the companies invested in, benefit. Companies get the capital they need to produce goods and services, investors get income and increase their capital worth. It’s one of the joys of capitalism.

Why that is a bad thing for the wealth and happiness or the morals of the nation, Rubio does not explain. Financial markets do not require busy hands, the sweat of the human brow; the physical toil he apparently considers “dignified” and which alone, in his view, brings the worker satisfaction. As if happiness were best pursued at the conveyer belt or the plough or the coalface or the anvil.

“Our financialized economy” was the undesirable result of government decisions, of “policy choices lawmakers have made in the past”. It makes for an undesirable “imbalance” which must be set right, he says:

[R]estoring a balance between the obligations and rights of the private sector and working Americans will require the attention of lawmakers today.

He quotes Pope Benedict (the non-Communist Pope) objecting to “the dominance of ‘largely speculative’ financial flows, detached from real production”.

He argues that money producing money is not good. That the production of material things is good.  That somehow “our financialized economy” has taken us away from a system which, while still capitalist, is geared towards community benefit rather than individual gain. (But which has never existed.) He calls it “common-good capitalism”. And he says we need to get it back.

What we need to do is restore common-good capitalism: a system of free enterprise wherein workers fulfill their obligation to work and enjoy the resultant benefits, and businesses enjoy their right to make a profit and reinvest enough to create high-productivity jobs, which is what I mean by dignified work for Americans. …

The butcher, the brewer, the baker must not give up slaughtering, brewing and baking, but must do it out of benevolence and not self-interest. They must employ workers in order to make them happy, not because their labor is needed by the employer.

It is also possible to reform the Small Business Administration to reinvigorate the legacy of business innovation that delivered Americans to the Moon 50 years ago. …

“Business innovation” did that? And it’s not doing it now is a result of … what? Losing vigor? Letting the financial markets become dominant?

We must remember that our nation does not exist to serve the interests of the market; the market exists to serve our nation. And the most effective benefit the market can provide is the creation of dignified work.

No, the market does not exist to serve the nation, any more than the nation exists to serve the market. The market is the nation serving itself.

His vision is communitarian:

Dignified work allows people to give their time, talent, and treasure to our churches, our charities, and community groups. It makes it easier to form strong families in stable communities and reinvigorates those institutions that bind us together as a people.

Because when you live with, worship with, serve with, or share a community with someone, you know him or her as a whole person. You may not agree with the person’s politics, but you have other commonalities that bind you together.

But when your neighbors are strangers, and all you know about your fellow countrymen is who they voted for, it is much easier to see them as the other.

He invokes the name of a famous Catholic in politics – a Democrat:

In 1968, Robert Kennedy decried the deep cultural sickness of his era that was “discouraging initiative, paralyzing will and action, and dividing Americans from one another, by their age, their views, and by the color of their skin”.

As Kennedy did in 1968, we must accept the indivisible tie between culture and economics, so that once again we can reclaim the motto on our nation’s seal: E pluribus unum — out of many, one.

All of which is, frankly, drivel.

E pluribus unum was chosen as the motto of the United States because many states united to form one new nation. It had nothing to do with communitarianism.

If and how we resolve this will not just define 21st-century America; it will define the century itself. Our future is not ours alone to decide. In China, we are confronted with a near-peer competitor on the global stage.

China is undertaking a patient effort to reorient the global order to reflect its values and its interests at the expense of ours — a global order in which the key industries and good jobs are based in China and controlled by them; in which the principles of freedom of religion and speech are replaced by what the Chinese call “societal harmony” …

Isn’t “societal harmony” the very thing that the Senator is arguing for?

… and in which the right to elect your own leaders and voice dissent is replaced by a totalitarian system that criminalizes protest and imprisons minorities.

Nobody here wants that (except perhaps the American Left, the professoriate, the mainstream media, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez).

An America in which no one is held back by his or her gender, skin color, or ethnic origin is no longer just morally right; it’s a national imperative.

And is not that the American reality (except in the universities where Asians are held back by Leftist administrations because too many of them are high achievers)?

For, in the words of the late sociologist Robert Bellah [a sociologist of religion who had been a Communist in his youth], the American tradition — the “transcendent goal” of our politics — renders sacred our “obligation to carry out God’s will on Earth.”

Let’s repeat that: our transcendent political goal is to carry out the American tradition because by doing so we sanctify our obligation to God. It makes no sense, even as a religious idea.

But Rubio asserts –

That is the task accepted by each generation before us. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices and achievements.

Now we must decide whether to accept the challenge of our time and author the next chapter in the story of the nation that changed the world.

How can we not? As we live and act the “chapter” of our time is being “authored” by us.  So – more drivel.

Senator Rubio’s “common-good capitalism” may be good Catholicism, but it is neither good capitalism nor conducive to the common good.

All who live in the same country have certain needs in common – such as roads, sewers, street lighting in towns, bridges, ports, the rule of law, military defense – so it is plainly reasonable for all to contribute to their provision and upkeep. There is no economic or moral imperative that one person pay for another person’s (other than his own natural dependents’) education, medical treatment, shelter – or survival. Because people in civilized cultures are generally humane, however, they help their helpless compatriots. As a personal choice, as voluntary activity, such giving is irreproachable. Charity is neither immoral nor threatening to the economy when it is practiced between consenting adults in private.

But Christian doctrine compelled material charity at the same time as it mercilessly punished dissent. And Christian morality became socialist doctrine. It shouts down Adam Smith, burns Ayn Rand, and inspires Senator Marco Rubio.

Adam Smith proves that the best way to serve our fellow man is to supply each our own needs by providing others with something they will pay for. That is the market. We do not have to love our grocer, only to pay him. As an economic system, it is capitalism. It does not need to be made more palatable with a condiment of sentimental togetherness.

Just as it is, it is good for us all.

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