In with the new 5

The times they are a-changing.

A new sort of politics is arising: populist, passionate, inconsistent, pragmatic, loud, muscular, energetic, boastful –  and gloriously capitalist.

It’s case is put in exclamations rather than arguments. Policy statements abrupt as a tweet.

Donald Trump invented it, heralds it, personifies it.

The conservative National Review got a bunch of conservatives – some of them greatly and justly respected as thinkers of the Right – to explain that Trump doesn’t belong with them.

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They’re right. He doesn’t.

But it is they who must catch up.

Mark Steyn puts it this way:

I’ve received a ton of emails today asking me what I make of the National Review hit. I used to contribute to NR, and I generally make it a rule not to comment on publications for which I once wrote. … Nevertheless, notwithstanding some contributors I admire, the whole feels like a rather obvious trolling exercise. …

I don’t think Trump supporters care that he’s not a fully paid-up member in good standing of “the conservative movement” – in part because, as they see it, the conservative movement barely moves anything.

If you want the gist of NR’s argument, here it is:

I think we can say that this is a Republican campaign that would have appalled Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan…

A real conservative walks with us. Ronald Reagan read National Review and Human Events for intellectual sustenance…

My old boss, Ronald Reagan, once said…

Ronald Reagan was famous for…

When Reagan first ran for governor of California…

Reagan showed respect for…

Reagan kept the Eleventh Commandment…

Far cry from Ronald Reagan’s “I am paying for this microphone” line…

Trump is Dan Quayle, and everyone and his auntie are Lloyd Bentsen (see here): “I knew Ronald Reagan, I worked for Ronald Reagan, I filled in Ronald Reagan’s subscription-renewal form for National Review. And you, sir, are no Ronald Reagan.”

You have to be over 50 to have voted for Reagan, and a supposed “movement” can’t dine out on one guy forever, can it? What else you got?

Well, there are two references to Bush, both of them following the words “Reagan and”. But no mention of Dole, one psephological citation of Romney, and one passing sneer at McCain as a “cynical charlatan” – and that’s it for the last three decades of presidential candidates approved by National Review, at least to the extent that they never ran entire issues trashing them.

Will the more or less official disdain of “the conservative movement” make any difference to Trump’s supporters? Matt Welch in Reason:

Many or even most of the people who make a living working in politics and political commentary—even those who think of themselves as outsiders, such as nonpartisan libertarians—inevitably begin to view their field as one dedicated primarily to ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth, and NOT to the emotional, ideologically unmoored cultural passions of a given (and perhaps fleeting) moment.

I’d put that contrast slightly differently. The movement conservatives at National Review make a pretty nice living out of “ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth”. The voters can’t afford that luxury: They live in a world where, in large part due to the incompetence of the national Republican Party post-Reagan, Democrat ideas are in the ascendant. And they feel that this is maybe the last chance to change that.

Go back to that line “When Reagan first ran for governor of California…” Gosh, those were the days, weren’t they? But Reagan couldn’t get elected Governor of California now, could he? Because the Golden State has been demographically transformed. …

The past is another country, and the Chamber of Commerce Republicans gave it away. Reagan’s California no longer exists. And, if America as a whole takes on the demographics of California, then “the conservative movement” will no longer exist. That’s why, for many voters, re-asserting America’s borders is the first, necessary condition for anything else – and it took Trump to put that on the table.

Dr. Brad Lyles writes at Canada Free Press:

It is discouraging to find the National Review, home to a profundity of prominent pundits, attacking the frontrunner, Donald Trump, on the very eve of the first primary contest. “Conservatives against Trump?” Really? …

Conservatives against Trump misses the point entirely. None of us regular guy and gal Conservatives out here in flyover-land … are encumbered by the ridiculous ages-old insistence upon purity in Conservative candidates.

Most people in the real world understand life is composed of incessant demands we make “trade-off” decisions. Traditionally, the only political class denying the reality of trade-offs has been the Left. It is certainly no longer helpful, if ever it was, for our Conservative literati to parse candidates’ strict allegiance to Conservative doctrine (and I write this as a life-long staunch Conservative).

How can National Review be so wrong? How can so many Conservative luminaries be so wrong?

It is easy. They can adopt the timeworn requirement that a Republican candidate, especially one who self-identifies as a Conservative, be a purist Conservative. In the current circumstance, however, the literati actually do possess the option of a purist Conservative, Ted Cruz. For the first time in history (well, aside from Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan), Conservative purists can realistically expect to run a purist Conservative candidate.

And it is true Ted Cruz is a proven Constitutional Conservative, his dedication to the cause attested to by his education, training, practice, office, and nearly every single word he’s ever uttered.

But now (or at least since June 16, 2015), a quasi-Conservative has entered stage left, pirouetting far beyond every other diva on the stage and stealing the limelight every single damned day since.

How can this be? How has Trump been able to polarize the debate so deliciously — among Conservatives? Easy answer: The self-immolating wing of the Conservative Movement, including the bright lights at National Review, again, insist upon purity.

Is this prudent? In particular, does Ted Cruz’ Conservative purity predict he will/would be superior to Trump as President? Reflexively, we Conservatives would answer, “of course”.

Life doesn’t always work that way, however. We are constrained by trade-offs not of our own choosing. For example, Cruz will endeavor to reinstate Constitutional principles. But, striving against the hydra of the Administrative State and the Crony-Capitalist Establishment, Cruz will likely make no more headway than even Ronald Reagan when merely trying to close the infant Department of Education.

Furthermore, Cruz’s legal/Constitutional expertise just simply is no match for Trump’s likely success in his emblematic asymmetric approach to diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military endeavors. Moreover, Trump’s personal history of success in most every endeavor, cannot be underestimated as a boon to the Presidency.

There is one more spectacular element which makes Trump likely to be a natural-born comprehensively successful President — and for Constitutionalists as well. He has declared himself, and then doubled down, on his intention to destroy radical Islam — declaring the need for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country — how incendiary! And he declared to “build a wall”,  and shut down illegal immigration. Whoa! And he not only survived the media conflagration following both pronouncements, he destroyed the media in the process.

These two issues, illegal immigration and radical Islam, are the two pivotal issues of our time, the “existential” issues that are truly existential. If we do not prevail in these two arenas, we will prevail in none.

But wait … the citizen can also win a guy who  emphasized the necessity of a “huge” military (and huge support of Vets). But there’s more. … The citizen can also win draconian tax cuts, slashed regulations, with the jobs and prosperity inevitably to follow (Ex. Presidents Harding, JFK, and Reagan). …

In particular, Trump has accomplished what no politician, ever, has accomplished. He owns the media. He defeats the media and gets his message out no matter the forum and in every forum.

In fact, some would argue the media and its sibling Political Correctness Movement are the true“existential” threats facing this country. Both facilitate nearly all dangerous things we contend with. Trump’s conquest of these malign forces, as President, may be the most pivotal accomplishment of any President in history. Imagine four more years of this tour de force! Fabulous!

Trump can bring us successes on the political battlefield — and for Conservatives — unmatched even by Ronald Reagan. And it will be fun! National Review and its peerless contributors should be ashamed of their lackluster vision.

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Posted under Capitalism, government, immigration, Islam, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 24, 2016

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The last zone of freedom closing? 6

To “save” us from “corporations” that cannot be trusted not to interfere with our Internet uses, the power-grabbing, control fanatics of the Obama government are ready to come to our rescue.

Only, how much less do we trust government – any government, but especially this one – to safeguard our freedom?

This is from the Heritage Foundation:

The policy the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] is trying to enact is known as “net neutrality,” an unfortunately vague code word for government regulation of the Internet. Supporters of net neutrality will tell you the regulation is necessary to keep the Internet “free and open” and to prevent corporations from “throttling” network speeds, making it faster to download some things, slower to download others. And, in this doomsday, apocalyptic, dystopian future, only the FCC can save the day with more and more government regulations. …

The  reality is much different. FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, who opposes the net neutrality policy, explains that the policy isn’t needed, and regulation by the FCC can lead to even greater problems, such as rival Internet providers attacking each other in hopes of getting them regulated:

Everybody wants an open Internet that enhances freedom, but that’s what we have today. We already have enough consumer protection laws on the books to cure many of the hypothesized fears (that some see). The goal should be to make the market more competitive.

All we are going to do with this FCC decision is clog up the courts and increase billable hours for lawyers; litigation will supplant innovation. …

The net result [of net neutrality]— a slower and more congested Internet, and more frustration for users. Even worse, investment in expanding the Internet will be chilled, as FCC control of network management makes investment less inviting. The amounts at stake aren’t trivial, with tens of billions invested each year in Internet expansion. ,,,

The FCC doesn’t even have the legal authority to enact these regulations. Like any federal agency, the FCC can only issue regulations if Congress delegates it the power to do so. Though the FCC has the power to regulate telecommunications, it hasn’t been granted the power to regulate the Internet. Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC’s attempt to regulate the Internet was outside the scope of its authority. That didn’t stop the FCC, though. It went ahead and issued new regulations anyhow.

That regulatory overreach is unfortunately all too common in the Obama administration. From the FTC [Federal trade Commission] to the FCC, the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] to HHS [Department of Health and Human Services], an alphabet soup of agencies are issuing a spiderweb of regulations touching all corners of American life. The food we eat, the cars we drive, and now the Internet we surf are all subject to regulations by unelected bureaucrats.

The Internet is one of the Obama administrative state’s next targets.

Congress, thankfully, has taken note – this time. But Americans must take note, too, and heed their president’s promise. What he can’t do by law, he will do by regulation. And once enacted under the cover of night, such regulations are not easy to untangle.

Congress saving us? Not according to Julie Borowski, writing at FreedomWorks:

Two pieces of dangerous legislation are currently being debated in Congress that could forever change the Internet: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). The proponents of these harmful bills claim that it is necessary to stop online piracy, the illegal sale and/or distribution of copyrighted and trademarked products on the Internet.

Regardless of how well-intentioned the pieces of legislation may be or one’s perspective on intellectual property laws, SOPA and the Protect IP Act would severely cripple free speech and stifle innovation online.

The Internet is a prime example of what Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek called spontaneous order. One single institution does not control the Internet. This is primarily what makes the Internet so great. Billions of individuals all over the world are free to spread unrestricted information on the Internet. I actually became a libertarian largely because I was exposed to ideas that I never heard before on the free Internet. Can you imagine how terrible the Internet would be if it was centrally planned by the government? A centralized institution cannot possibly know or satisfy the unique wants of billions of individuals across the globe.

Despite the lack of centralized control, the Internet exhibits a high degree of order. As the Taoist Chuang-tzu said, “good order results spontaneously when things are let alone”. Self-policing has worked to a certain degree to keep harmful content off the Internet. As it currently stands, there are no government mandates requiring search engines to remove information. Many websites already voluntarily remove information deemed inappropriate. For instance, Google routinely screens out child pornography from its search results. Facebook and Twitter encourages users to flag malicious content that violates their terms of service. While self-regulation may not be perfect, it is much preferable to government regulation.

The House version SOPA and Senate version PIPA would grant the federal government unprecedented control over the Internet. Both bills would give the federal government the power to shut down literally millions of websites. SOPA, the most dangerous version of the two, contains vague language permitting the government to shut down any website that is found to “engage in, enable or facilitate” copyright infringement. Senior Fellow at New America Foundation Rebecca MacKinnon writes in the New York Times,

The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial. The House version goes further, allowing private companies to sue service providers for even briefly and unknowingly hosting content that infringes on copyright – a sharp change from current law, which protects the service providers from civil liability if they remove the problematic content immediately upon notification. …

SOPA and PIPA threatens our free speech. These bills forcibly require search engines and other third parties to remove links to rogue websites. This is a clear violation of our constitutional right to free speech as well as a burdensome regulation that will destroy jobs. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and all search engines would likely have to hire countless new employees to ensure that no copyright infringing content is posted to prevent their websites from getting shut down by the government.

Social networking sites would surely prefer to spend money on growing their websites rather than complying with costly government rules. David Carr of the New York Times even writes that the bills would “probably not” stop online piracy. He further states that, “even if it made some progress toward reining in rogue sites, the collateral damage would be significant”. These proposed online piracy laws would have disastrous economic consequences while failing to fix the problems that they were supposedly intended to solve.

SOPA and PIPA would undermine the free flow of information on the Internet. This could be a dangerous slippery slope in which the federal government seeks more and more control over the Internet. The Egyptian and Chinese governments have actually shut down citizen access to the Internet over the past few years. Every authoritarian government ultimately desires to have complete control of information and communication technologies.

Twenty-seven Republican lawmakers who strongly opposed net neutrality are strangely cosponsors of SOPA in the House or PIPA in the Senate.

Yet, the proposed online piracy laws are equally as bad or perhaps even worse than net neutrality. SOPA and PIPA would disrupt the growth of technology and infringe on free speech. Any individual interested in preserving the freedom of the Internet should not support either version of this dangerous bill.

And this is from Canada Free Press, by Dr. Brad Lyles, commenting on the Obama administration’s proposals that will put an end to Internet freedom. He too does not agree that “Congress has taken note” and will save us “this time”:

This week one of two Republican FCC Commissioners leaked the new “Net Neutrality” Commandments that will become policy/law by March. At the same time the FEC [Federal Election Commission] is mulling increased regulation of the Internet to prevent “politicking” in that medium. The new information about the inevitable FCC and FEC rulings is demoralizing, deflating. It seems the deathblow to those few freedoms remaining to us. It is difficult to find hope. Government appropriation of the Internet is the last domino falling.

He is very pessimistic – even more than we often are:

All this occurs despite the majority of Americans self-identifying as Conservatives or as adherents to core Conservative principles. Despite our superior numbers we Conservatives nonetheless march toward a battle of total annihilation. It seems we are to be undone completely.

We are beyond the tipping point. Liberalism’s relentless brinksmanship and incrementalism, paired with its successful use of the “doubling effect” bring us now to the exponential growth phase of the Leviathan. Every day assaults us with news of more defeats, more freedoms lost. And every defeat is exponential in its effect, each one a hole in the dike portending our obliteration.

It is remarkable we have survived so long. Perhaps this fact alone rekindles hope.

Can one President save us? Not bloody likely. Could a Ronald Reagan save us? Not likely either. It’s almost as if we’re beyond saving, that we’ve finally arrived at the point where neither words nor actions matter … Like ill-fated protagonists in a Greek Tragedy, [we’re] doomed no matter what we do.

Our foes marshal larger forces each day, committing more and more atrocities each day. How can we be saved after we are already dead? How can we save our Country after it has already been destroyed?