America goes 4

As the Catholic Church did in ages past, and Islam still does, the Left strives to bring every nation, and every last member of every nation, under its rule: a rule not of law but of lawyers, law-makers and law-breakers; bureaucrats, bankers, communication controllers, billionaires.

In America there are still tens of millions who refuse to comply, and they are being treated as heretics, infidels, and pariahs. If you are a Trump supporter, or in the least degree opposed to the Leftists who have seized the executive branch of government and now control both houses of the legislative branch, you are likely to be forced into conformity and unquestioning obedience. The means to be employed will be cutting you off from the services you need to live a normal life.

Through institutions of government and enormously powerful corporations, the heresies of patriotism, populism, anti-tribalism, individualism, and defiant defense of free speech, private property, arms bearing, and the teaching of reading writing reckoning and history to your children, will be punished.

You will be denied the services of banks, credit card companies, the internet, social media, insurance companies, the national health service, schools, universities. It will be very hard for you to find a job.

There will be degrees of deprivation. If you are a mild offender, you may be allowed some health care, for instance, and a low-paying job. If you are a grave offender – one who goes so far as to persist in speaking well of Donald Trump – you may face long imprisonment. An active attempt to reinstate him could be ruled a capital offense.

If you capitulate and submit, your life will not be easy. Your record will be held against you.

Even if you always supported the Left and voted the totalitarians into power, you will receive only the information that the rulers choose to allow you. You will have no way of knowing – unless by chance you personally witness a reported event – whether what you are being told is true or false.

Bruce Bawer writes at Front Page:

I’ve been ranting for years about the perfidy of the left. At times I’ve been accused of exaggerating. On rare occasions I feared – or hoped? – that perhaps I was exaggerating. In fact I can now see that these people are worse than I ever imagined. Worse than most of us ever imagined.

Worse than even Donald Trump “with all his insight” imagined.

He went into office determined to clean up the swamp. He was tireless. But not tireless enough. No mere mortal could have been tireless enough. Trump had denounced the swamp in apocalyptic terms, but it proved to be even deeper and more extensive than he knew. It reached into the upper echelons of the intelligence community and the military, into cabinet departments and the judiciary.

Not only did the Democrats try to derail his campaign and then his presidency. Even people whom he appointed to White House jobs proved unreliable. Far from being too suspicious, he’d been too trusting. He’d appointed two-faced D.C. insiders. He’d trusted people who turned out to be snakes in the grass.

The news media, with very few exceptions, made it their task to thwart his progress and poison his name with a constant flow of disinformation. They said Trump had told people to drink bleach. They said he’d called neo-Nazis “good people”. They said many other outrageous things that they knew were outright lies. They relentlessly repeated the charge that he did nothing but lie, lie, lie, when in fact it was they, the media, who were constantly feeding us lies. …

When enemies of Trump, and of freedom, created violence and mayhem in cities around the country, they were whitewashed, protected, and even praised by the media, by Democratic politicians, and by police officials. In a debate with Trump, Biden said Antifa was an idea, not an organization. Congressman Jerrold Nadler called it a myth.

Meanwhile Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave BLM $3 million. While the leftist gangsters went unpunished, citizens who tried to protect their homes and businesses from destruction by them were arrested by the police and demonized in the media. If you tried to spread the truth about all this on social media, you were shut down by Silicon Valley bosses who said you were lying.

And then the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Republican officials in the states affected by the steal sat on their hands. State legislatures, ditto. Even the justices he’d named to the Supreme Court refused to hear Texas v. Pennsylvania, absurdly maintaining that a state didn’t have standing to challenge the conduct of a presidential election in another state.

Trump’s supporters, ever civilized, waited patiently while every possible means of stopping the steal was dutifully exhausted. When it came down to the final vote certification in Congress, an army of [between 600,000 and 2,000,000!) MAGA folk gathered peacefully in Washington to show that they had Trump’s back.

Then a tiny percentage of them foolishly entered the Capitol building. And a tiny percentage of that tiny percentage – at least some of whom seem to have been Antifa goons – caused minor damage. Most of them appear to have milled harmlessly around the building, leaving paintings and statues untouched. The contrast with the conduct of Antifa and BLM insurgents during the previous year could hardly have been more striking. …

One of those people, an Air Force veteran named Ashli Babbitt, was shot dead by a Capitol Hill policeman. She didn’t do anything to provoke the shooter. It was impossible not to think of George Floyd, the career criminal who, on May 25 of last year, died while resisting arrest after committing a crime. Floyd was black; the arresting officer was white. In the ensuing months, Floyd’s death was used to justify rioting, arson, and vandalism by Antifa and BLM agitators, none of whom ended up being killed by a cop.

But nobody’s making a martyr out of Ashli Babbitt.

I’m not saying anybody should. I’m just saying that after four years of reportage that routinely demonized Trump, sugarcoated his opponents, and cruelly mocked his supporters, and after an election that was blatantly stolen yet described in the media as eminently fair, those supporters could hardly be expected not to explode – especially since they’d seen, during the previous few months, one leftist explosion after another rewarded with praise.

But they did not explode.

On January 6, Biden, oozing faux solemnity, addressed the ongoing situation on Capitol Hill. After months of referring to Antifa and BLM thugs as “protesters”, he called the non-violent people who’d entered the Capitol a “mob” of “domestic terrorists” who, in an action bordering on “sedition”,  had made an “unprecedented assault…on the citadel of liberty….This is not dissent, it’s disorder”.

He wasn’t alone. In one voice, people who’d spent months cheering leftist violence expressed horror at the breach of the Capitol building and blamed it on Trump. Once the Capitol was secured, the planned challenges to the vote steal were scuttled and the election of Biden and Harris duly certified.

Whereupon the left – and not just the left – moved with the swiftness of lightning.

Accusing Trump of having incited the Capitol breach, [Speaker] Pelosi and [Senate minority leader] Schumer raised the possibility of using the 25th Amendment to deny him his last few days in office …

And she absurdly introduced a proposal to impeach him for a second time, though he had only a few days more as president. .

Republicans who were never strong Trump supporters to begin with were quick to profess outrage at Trump’s purported provocation. Cabinet members Elaine Choi and Betsy DeVos quit. The Wall Street Journal called on Trump to resign. Senator Pat Toomey gave a thumbs-up to impeachment. Forbes warned companies not to hire anybody with a Trump connection.

Both Twitter and Facebook deplatformed Trump, and when he shifted from his personal Twitter account to the POTUS account, Twitter silenced that one, too. Other enemies of the left were also kicked off social media – among them Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon. Facebook ejected the WalkAway movement, in the process deleting countless heartfelt posts by ordinary citizens explaining why they’d quit the Democratic Party. YouTube took down a video by Rudy Giuliani. Amazon, Google, and Apple removed Parler, a “free-speech” alternative to Twitter and Facebook, from their app stores. The CEO of Mozilla, developer of the Firefox browser, wrote an essay entitled “We Need More than Deplatforming.”

(Yet the social-media accounts of the Chinese Communist Party and Ayatollah Khamenei remained untouched.)

Pelosi tried to get the military to stop taking orders from the President. …

She urged the Chiefs of Staff to mutiny against their commander-in-chief! (They refused.)

The director of ABC News spoke of “cleansing” the Trump movement after January 20, whatever that might mean. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who’d taken the lead in challenging the vote steal, to be expelled from the Senate. Simon & Schuster canceled Hawley’s contract for a book about cancel culture. Biden likened Cruz to Goebbels. …

There’s no intrinsic magic about America that protects it from becoming Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia. Only utopians believe in the perfectibility of man. People are people. And some of the people who are now, or are about to be, in power in the United States would, if accorded enough power, do far more to those of us who falter in loyalty than merely take away our social-media accounts.

Indeed, as scary as the situation may be right now, one thing’s for certain: worse is on its way. The Democrats now control both houses of Congress and are about to be handed the executive branch. The totalitarian-minded elements in that party are on the ascent, backed up by Silicon Valley, the legacy media, and much of corporate America.

Bruce Bawer thinks that by “listing, arresting, and imprisoning ‘enemies of the state'” – as, he reminds us, was done in the terrible reign of Stalin, and under the brutal tyranny of Mao –

These people will overreach. Their lists will grow so long, their cancelations so widespread, that, as happened with the Reign of Terror, everyone who isn’t clinically insane will finally realize that things have gone too far and will, in one way or another, put an end to the madness.

He asks:

But how far will things have to go before that happens? How long will it take? And how many lives will be destroyed before it’s over? These, alas, are the all too sobering questions that have yet to be answered.

In the meantime, those of us who care about liberty will simply have to do our best to keep enduring the daily tsunami of evil ideology, fake news, and contempt for decent people, and to continue hoping that the true and good will yet prevail.

Much as we would like his optimism – such as it is, sorrowful and tentative – to hearten us, we are less sure that such a realization will come, or that “the true and good will yet prevail”.

What has happened seems to us to demonstrate that there is a tragic weakness in freedom and tolerance. They permit those who value neither to exploit them to gain the power to abolish them. 

To shrink bureaucrats and swat pundits 4

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

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

Or Hitler’s Italian ally, Mussolini.

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

William McGurn writes at the Wall Street Journal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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