The left’s poisoning of everything

(A quarter of a century ago when I still voted for the notably different Democrat Party, still lived in Houston with my second wife, I enjoyed watching Dennis Prager’s television show. Prager is a conservative Jew, a radio talk-show host, author and columnist. Even back in those days, I always agreed with him, which means I was a conservative at heart. I just had not quite seen the light.

(Prager is the source of one of my favorite quotes, one of those I have in the right sidebar here: “The usurpation of the word ‘liberal’ by the left has been a catastrophe.” The left’s superior skill with words often leaves conservatives coughing in the dust. But without further ado, here’s Dennis Prager.)

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Guest Post

new-image2The only way to save Western civilization is to convince more people that leftism — not liberalism — is a nihilistic force. Quite literally, whatever the left touches it ruins. So, here is a partial listing of the damage done by the left and the Democratic Party:

The most obvious is the near destruction of most American universities as places of learning. In the words of Harvard professor Steven Pinker — an atheist and a liberal — outside of the natural sciences and a few other disciplines (such as mathematics and business) “universities are becoming laughingstocks of intolerance.”

If you send your children to a university, you are endangering both their minds and their characters. There is a real chance they will be more intolerant and more foolish after college than they were when they entered college.

When you attend an American university, you are taught to have contempt for America and its founders, to prefer socialism to capitalism, to divide human beings by race and ethnicity. You are taught to shut down those who differ with you, not to debate them. And you are taught to place feelings over reason — which is a guaranteed route to eventual evil.

The left has ruined most of the arts. The following three examples are chosen because they are scatological, a favorite form of left-wing artistic expression. Before the left poisoned the arts, art was intended to elevate the viewer (or listener). But to the left, “elevate” is a meaningless term; it is far more at home depicting urine, fecal matter and menstrual blood.

In 2011, a lifelike German sculpture depicting a policewoman squatting and urinating — even the puddle is sculpted — received an award from a prestigious German foundation, the Leinemann Foundation for Fine Art.

In 2013, the Orange County Museum of Art in California placed a huge 28-foot sculpture of a dog outside the museum, where it periodically urinates a yellow fluid onto a museum wall.

In 2016, one of the most prestigious art museums in the world, the Guggenheim in New York, featured a pure-gold working toilet bowl, which visitors were invited to use. The name of the exhibit was “America” — so one could literally relieve oneself on America.

Thanks to the left, The Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the greatest orchestras in the world, allowed itself to become a voice of leftist hate last week. It featured the premiere of Philadelphia Voices, “a political rant put to musical garbage,” as some musically knowledgeable Philadelphians described it to me. In the fifth movement, titled “My House Is Full of Black People,” the black teen narrator chants the following lines: “The county is full of black people/ All wanting to be heard/ While old white men draw lines on maps/ To shut all of them up.” Later in the movement, he yells, “If you would all just f—-ing listen!”

Uplifting, no?

On the left, that’s considered art.

And, of course, such politicization of the arts is accepted as the norm.

Indeed, that’s part of the left’s poisoning of everything — its politicization of everything.

The left is increasingly poisoning sports. In most football stadiums this past season, one could not attend an NFL game without being subjected to left-wing contempt for America and its flag.

So, too, one cannot watch late-night television if one desires to simply be entertained before drifting off to sleep. Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and other hosts have changed late-night TV into left-night TV. Why merely be funny when you can use your monologues to advance your left-wing views?

The left has poisoned mainstream religion. Mainstream Protestantism, non-Orthodox Judaism and much of the Catholic Church — including and especially Pope Francis — are essentially left-wing advocacy groups with religious symbols.

The left is destroying the unique American commitment to free speech. Almost half of incoming college freshmen do not believe in free speech for what they deem “hate speech” (merely taking issue with a left-wing position is, in the left’s view, “hate speech”). They do not understand that the whole point of free speech is allowing the expression of opposing ideas, including what we consider “hate speech.”

The left has poisoned race relations. America is the least racist multiracial society in the world. On a daily basis, Americans of every race and ethnicity get along superbly. But the black left and the white left constantly poison young minds with hate-filled diatribes against whites, “white privilege,” “systemic racism,” black dorms, black graduations, lies about the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the like.

The left has made innumerable women unhappy, even depressed, with its decades of lying about how female sexual nature and male sexual nature are identical — leading to a “hookup” culture that leaves vast numbers of young women depressed — and its indoctrinating of generations of young women into believing they will be happier through career success than marital success.

And, in some ways scariest of all, the left is poisoning our children with its commitment to ending male and female as distinct categories. One of the great joys of life, celebrating one’s sex, is now deemed nothing more than a hateful idea in many of your children’s schools.

For these and other reasons, if you treasure American and Western civilization, fighting the left — something all liberals and conservatives need to do — is the greatest good you can engage in at this time.

America’s sneaky despotism

(The PanAm Post, where I found this interesting piece, describes the writer, José Azel, as a “scholar and author.” It’s about Democratic Despotism, a phrase that I like and which I think applies not only to the United States now but to most of Western Europe.

(Azel makes the point that in Democratic Despotisms one finds “armed forces, securities agencies or administrative agencies [that evolve] beyond the effective control of the civilian political leadership.” Of these three, I believe it’s administrative agencies that are the biggest peril today to individual freedom in the United States. They constantly grow and spit out endless rules to keep themselves in business and you hog-tied.)

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The idea of democratic despotism appears to be an oxymoron – a contradiction in terms. But, in “Democracy in America” (1835-1840) Alexis de Tocqueville offered a powerful description of democratic despotism as “a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd.”

Under Tocqueville’s democratic or soft despotism, “The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting.”

Democratic despotism “does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flow of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

Soft despotism is not as obvious as hard despotism. It gives us the illusion of being in control; it degrades us rather than persecutes us. It often takes the form of a state within a state (imperium in imperio) where an internal organization, such as the armed forces, securities agencies or administrative agencies, evolves beyond the effective control of the civilian political leadership.

Regulatory policy should be viewed with extraordinary suspicion and used frugally.

For example, historically, efforts to separate Church and State were anchored on the perception that the Church could turn into an imperium in imperio undermining civilian leadership. In other examples, in the Soviet Union, the secret police (KGB) was considered a State within a State. The same is true of its successor, The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).  And, in the United States, the government’s bureaucracy is often portrayed as a modern-day example of an imperium in imperio.

The modern definition of bureaucracies comes from German sociologist Max Weber who, in the 1920s, defined bureaucracies as any system of administration conducted by trained professionals according to fixed rules. And, although Weber considered bureaucracies necessary in a modern world, he also warned that bureaucratization was a threat to individual freedoms where individuals would be trapped in a soulless “iron cage” of rule-based controls.

Bureaucracies are also characterized by unrelenting growth. In the United States, the original bureaucracy of the federal government consisted of only the employees of three small departments; State, Treasury, and War. Today the federal branch employs nearly 3 million people. The old Soviet KGB employed one officer for every 428 citizens. In today’s “freer” Russia the FSB employs one officer for every 297 citizens.

Tocqueville forewarned, back in 1835, of a degrading despotic democracy of “small complicated rules.” Imagine what he would say today. During the last few years of the George W. Bush administration regulations increased dramatically, and in the first seven years of the Obama Administration over 20,600 new regulations were added for an estimated regulatory cost burden in excess of $100 billion annually.

Conceptually, government regulations represent a way for people to give up managing their own affairs and turn those affairs over to a government agency.

According to Tocqueville, a byproduct of turning over the management of our affairs to a government institution is that we become incompetent to choose good leaders. Thus, government regulations would ruin the American experiment by combining the vices of those who govern with the weaknesses of the governed.

This regulatory paternalism embodies the philosophy that people cannot be trusted to make good decisions, requiring government to impose its judgment over the voluntary decisions that represent our needs and preferences. Yes, some regulations are necessary and inherent to the rule of law. Regulations to protect children and those unable to make reasonable judgments are essential. But regulatory policy should be viewed with extraordinary suspicion and used frugally.

Fortunately, we seem to have finally understood that the soft despotism of regulations undermines the very concept of personal responsibility.

New ImageIn January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order requiring government agencies to slash two regulations for every new regulation put in place. The President has now reported a success ratio of 22 regulations eliminated for every new one enacted.

The measure is being touted as an economic success. It is much more than that. It is a restoration of personal freedoms.

Gun control: an American fantasy

fantasy
Democrat National Committee headquarters.

(The following is an editorial in today’s Washington Examiner.)

The shooter who perpetrated the recent massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., succeeded in killing 17 people. He also got Americans talking about gun control again.

Once again, too, there were those whose contribution to debate was to sneer at people who offered prayers for the victims and their families, instead of advocating or promising gun control. Even if you set aside the sneers, there is a problem with their attitude, no matter how good their intentions are otherwise. Prayer might actually help. Gun control, on the other hand, doesn’t work and can’t work in the U.S. and is a fantasy now just as it ever was.

By “fantasy,” we mean to express several important facts that are ignored in this debate. It is fantasy as policy because stricter gun control, within the limits of what is considered reasonable today (i.e., anything short of a total ban on sales or even gun confiscation), does not guarantee or even statistically correlate with lower gun homicide rates in any given state. This fact merits your time for some research, but to give just one prominent example from the FBI data, Texas and California have comparable gun homicide rates each year (they were actually tied in 2015).

If gun control were effective, that is not what you’d expect in the nation’s two most populous states with two of the most different gun policies. And that is by no means the only observation of its kind that you’ll take away from the FBI’s annual numbers.

Gun control is a political fantasy because the Second Amendment and various states’ constitutions protect the right to bear arms. This will not be changed, full stop. You don’t need to support or even like the Bill of Rights to see that gun control is an administrative fantasy as well.

In a country where private citizens own more than 300 million firearms, no effective form of gun control can be practical, and no practical form can be effective. Even an obviously unconstitutional ban on all new sales would take a century to make its effects felt. Universal confiscation of hundreds of millions of firearms would be several orders of magnitude more difficult than deporting every illegal immigrant in the U.S.

Gun control advocates seem frustrated that this country is not and cannot ever be Luxembourg. But the sooner they accept that reality, the closer everyone will be to starting a productive conversation about how to prevent the next Parkland.

This conversation ought to begin with the question of why the nation’s existing background check system and law enforcement agencies are so woefully ineffective in preventing known threats, like that from the Parkland shooter, whose irregular and threatening behavior was no secret, from becoming school shooters.

Why is the government so bad at keeping guns out of the hands not only of people who arguably shouldn’t have them, but even of people who by law are already not allowed to have them? The Charleston church shooter was a felon who should not have been permitted to buy his gun, but for an FBI error during the background check process.

The Parkland shooter, like the Pulse Nightclub terrorist and the Boston Marathon bombers before him, had been flagged for FBI attention long before his crimes. In each case, the bureau shrugged.

Is the government incapable of safeguarding citizens’ rights and safety? Could it do so with more resources, or with more authority? Congress should at least consider granting money to the states to pay for the personnel and computer resources required to make the background check database work as intended.

Meanwhile, it should also consider creating a universally accessible, voluntary background check system, as we have recommended in the past, to replace or supplement the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The next step will likely fall to state governments, which may want to consider new ideas such as temporary gun violence restraining orders. They probably ought also to be reconsidering procedures for officially identifying and legally recognizing mental illness in people who are suspected threats to themselves and others.

There is also an entire universe of discussion that hasn’t been had in decades, about whether we as a society are inappropriately neglecting to prescribe and perhaps heavily subsidize assisted living arrangements and even partial physical confinement for certain disturbed individuals. In today’s technological context, many of these might benefit and even become productive members of society, without posing a threat.

These ideas should be at the center of this debate. Once we’re talking about them instead of trying to drink from the dry well of gun control, we’ll actually be making some progress.

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(Note: A more accurate headline would have been Gun Control: a Leftist Fantasy. Conservatives tend to be more realistic. We are people with our feet on the ground, with some exceptions. The Democrat Party, i.e. leftists, excel at dreaming.)

Democrats stew in loathing

curl
Curl

(President Trump gave an excellent State of the Union address last night. No matter. Democrats loathe everything about him and, apparently, everything about America too. Guest poster Joseph Curl describes the situation beautifully.)

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If you were an alien being who swooped down to earth and landed inside the House chamber just in time to catch President Trump’s first State of the Union address to a joint gathering of Congress, you would think that one side of the room loved America, and the other sides literally hated its guts.

Praise to the U.S. flag? One side stood and cheered, the other side sat silent. Applauding America’s gritty veterans? A no brainer, right? Wrong. Republicans stood and clapped, Democrats didn’t budge. Freedom and democracy? Yawn, said the Democrats, as Republicans whooped and hollered.

When Trump touted the fact that black unemployment has hit a record low, you’d think the Democrats — the party of black America, seeking always to divide the races — would have at least fallen into a polite golf clap. Think again.

That’s right, black Democrats hate Trump so much that they refused to cheer the rise of the black community — or even acknowledge that whatever fears they may have had about Trump, he’s done, so far, anyway, all right.

Throughout the 80-minute speech, Democrats were downright glum. None apparently wanted to be captured by cameras applauding anything Trump said, but it all just got weirder and weirder as the night went on.

“That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America,” Trump said. Applause from the right side of the room, crickets from the left. So, Democrats object to that pledge — that America only aid friends, not foes? That’s a tough sell in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, or Abilene, Texas.

When Trump told a heart wrenching story about two young girls killed by MS-13 gang members — their parents were in Trump’s box and sobbed softly — he said: “Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents … so that this cannot ever happen again.”

The camera panned the room: One side clapping, the other side, nothing. In fact, boos and groans were heard when Trump began his story. Again, so Democrats are on the side of MS-13 and they DO want that to happen again?

It all got more silly. At one point, dissing the NFL, Trump said “we proudly stand for the national anthem.” Republicans stood. Democrats sat. So petty.

“Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses – many of them thousands of dollars per worker.” Democrats didn’t applaud that, either. They seemed sad — angry, even — that Americans are getting some of their money back. The Middle Class they’re always saying they fight for? No joy for them. But then again, Rep. Nancy Pelosi has called those “thousands of dollars” mere “crumbs,” so that makes sense.

At another point, Trump expressed solidarity with the people of Iran. “When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.” Republicans cheered, Democrats sat stonefaced.

CRUX — THEY REFUSED TO APPLAUD FREEDOM IN A COUNTRY THAT OPPRESSES WOMEN AND GAYS! ALL BECAUSE THEY HATE TRUMP SO VERY MUCH.

A shot on Fox News at one point caught Democrats looking at their phones and chatting with each other during the speech. They had decided, en masse, that they wouldn’t listen to Trump — and they certainly wouldn’t agree with anything he said. But they missed a helluva speech.

In a section on North Korea, Trump told an amazing story that led to the picture of the night. He told the tale of Seong-ho, who in 1996 as a small boy tried to steal a lump of coal to trade for food. Exhausted and starving, he passed out on some train tracks and was run over and gravely injured. He underwent multiple amputations, but still had no food — his family sometimes ate dirt.

But he made it out. “Today, he has a new leg. But, Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those old crutches as a reminder of how far you’ve come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all. … Seong-ho’s story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom,” Trump said.

Seong-ho stood and, with tears streaming down his cheeks, held aloft those old crutches, worn and beaten. The room erupted in applause.

But only a smattering of Democrats stood. They couldn’t give Trump even this small moment — they couldn’t cheer one man’s escape from tyrannical rule merely because it was Trump telling the tale!

In his famous orations, former president Barack Obama was all about himself. In his first State of the Union, he said “I” nearly 100 times. In another speech, he praised himself a whopping 156 times.

But Trump was different last night. He said “we” 129 times, and offered his hand repeatedly to the Democrats.

Too bad they hate Trump so much they now hate America.

At the end of the speech, Trump launched in to some soaring rhetoric about America. The audience, moved, began chanting “USA! USA!” Rep. Luis Gutierrez — an advocate for letting illegal aliens stay in America — was clearly triggered. So distraught was he at the chants that he rose quickly and fled the House chamber.

That’s how much Democrats hate America.