Center for American Greatness • Greatness Agenda

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Center for American Greatness • Greatness Agenda

Tariff Delay Is Trump’s Christmas Gift to China

A mind-blowingly stupid concession from an allegedly pro-tariff administration.

CNN reports that President Trump’s aides persuaded him to delay the imposition of the latest round of protective tariffs, previously scheduled for September, until December 15, 2019. How? They claimed new tariffs would “ruin Christmas.”

Peter Navarro, Trump’s director of trade and manufacturing policy, defended the move saying that this was Trump’s, “Christmas present to the nation.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only would tariffs not perceptibly increase the price of toys, this schizophrenic shift in policy empowers the president’s political adversaries and enriches greedy multinational corporations and China.

My Kingdom for a (Toy) Horse!

It is fairly obvious to anyone who has worked in retail—or who shops at big box stores—that Christmas inventory arrives months before Christmas, and thus ships from China even earlier. CFC, a China-based shipping agent, notes that China’s peak export season is from July to September. Naturally, that’s when products typically ship to America for Christmas.

As such, President Trump’s September tariffs would have had little to no impact on shoppers this Christmas—assuming that greedy toymakers didn’t jack up the price of toys and use tariffs as an excuse!

And of course, we’ve been here before: every time President Trump raises tariffs, the media says American consumers will get burned. This hasn’t happened yet and it won’t happen now. This should be obvious to anyone who paid attention to the great washing machine debacle of 2018.

In January of 2018 Trump raised effective tariff rates on imported washing machines to 40 percent. He also imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. The media went nuts—this perfect storm of taxes would make washing machines too costly for ordinary Americans, who would be damned to wander the streets covered in spaghetti stains and sweat spots!

This was nothing but bluster.

According to the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) the cost of laundry equipment increased by 6.8 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, inflation was 2.44 percent. In 2019, the cost of laundry equipment decreased by 0.48 percent, compared to an expected inflation rate of 2 percent—this modest increase is nowhere near the 40 percent increase that the media anticipated.

Frankly, we don’t even know if tariffs caused this price increase. Remember that in 2012 prices increased by 8.56 percent in the absence of tariffs. This price vacillation simply could be an example of a random walk being ascribed meaning by economists who are wont to see faces in the clouds, who seek meaning in banality.

Trump’s tariffs haven’t noticeably increased the cost of goods yet, so why assume this time will be any different?

The Brave Little Toaster

Evidence aside, there is a very simple and logical reason why Trump’s tariffs haven’t raised consumer prices: tariffs aren’t levied on a product’s retail price, wholesale price, nor even the import price. Instead, they’re levied on the first sale price—the price paid to foreign vendors by American companies or their agents.

Calculating the tax burden in this way disproportionately hurts foreign suppliers and mitigates the cost to Americans. For example, pretend Trump imposes a 10 percent tariff on Chinese toasters and that Black & Decker makes toasters in China. The American retail price of said toasters is $60. Tariffs are not imposed at this point—$66 toasters are a media-concocted boogeyman.

American retailers buy from China. Because of China’s intentionally convoluted regulatory framework, however, they usually purchase through middlemen in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Taiwan. These middlemen charge Americans $14 per toaster.

Finally, we come to the end of our journey: the middlemen pay China just $7 per toaster. This is the first sale price upon which tariffs are calculated. As such, a 10 percent tariff on a $60 toaster works out to just 70 cents, or 1.15 percent.

In fact, consumers may not see any price increase whatsoever because suppliers may simply buy toasters from Taiwan or elsewhere. And of course, consumers are free to buy American toasters and pay no extra tax—it’s a shame we cannot do that for income tax!

Trump’s September tariffs would not have ruined Christmas, and yet that’s what his aids told him. Why would they lie?

Open Theft Left Unanswered

In answering this question the obvious first step is to ask: who benefits by delaying or eliminating tariffs?

First, the president’s political adversaries. This includes not just Democrats but also the liberal and libertarian factions of the GOP—otherwise known as the “free trade brigade.”

Navarro says delaying tariffs is a “Christmas present to the nation.” The implication here is that Trump’s tariffs would have harmed American consumers, and that Trump is doing us a favor by delaying them.

This is a mind-blowingly stupid rhetorical gaffe and intellectual concession from an allegedly pro-tariff administration. If tariffs would ruin Christmas then they must be bad. If tariffs are bad then why would Trump impose them? Unless—wait for it—Orange Man really is Bad!

This is pure fuel for the president’s adversaries, who I expect to jump all over this as an excuse to remind Americans that importing junk from China is the highest virtue.

If, on the other hand, President Trump really believes that tariffs are good for America—and I believe he is sincere on this issue—then why delay? We want to make America great again now, not four months from now. Carpe diem.

Second, multinational corporations and banks obviously benefit. The China trade has been incredibly lucrative for big business because it allowed them to slash their labor costs into teeny-tiny pieces while still selling their products in America for basically the same price—cheap Chinese goods is a myth told to wide-eyed libertarians. Nothing more.

Meanwhile, America lost millions of jobs to China. And as if this wasn’t bad enough, all those unemployed people began competing for work with everyone else, further driving-down wages. In order to survive, our dispossessed brethren remortgaged their houses and applied for new credit cards—they even elected socialist governments to tide them over with welfare which was paid using borrowed money.

In the end, the China trade has only served to impoverish the American public and enrich fat cat corporations and greedy bankers who loan us the rope (at interest) with which to hang ourselves.

Third, China benefits. This is so obvious, a blind man could see it.

China has purchased or stolen 200 years’ worth of Western technology from U.S. corporations that set up shop in China. As it turns out, exporting the production of advanced technologies to foreign countries and teaching foreigners how to replicate said technology is a great way to lose technological secrets.

And of course, espionage conducted by Chinese companies (de facto arms of the Chinese Communist Party and government) costs America immense profits, some $600 billion every year.

On top of this, the influx of American dollars into China has allowed China to spend said dollars abroad. We are financing China’s military ascendency and their colonial adventures in East Asia and Africa—we give them dollars and they buy influence. This is highly counterproductive from a foreign policy perspective.

By delaying the next round of tariffs, President Trump’s aides are not putting America first. Instead, they are giving a splendidly wrapped present to Trump’s political opposition, to the international bankers, and to China.

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Center for American Greatness • Great America

Cosmic Injustice

Politicians ignore felonies in their midst, preferring to hector the misdemeanors of the universe.

One of the weirdest characteristics of our global politicians and moral censors is their preference to voice cosmic justice rather than to address less abstract sin within their own purview or authority. These progressive virtue mongers see themselves as citizens of the world rather than of the United States and thus can impotently theorize about problems elsewhere when they cannot solve those in their own midst.

Big-city mayors are especially culpable when it comes to ignoring felonies in their midst, preferring to hector the misdemeanors of the universe. Notice how New York Mayor Bill De Blasio lords over the insidious deterioration of his city while he lectures on cosmic white supremacy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg used to sermonize to the nation about gun-control, global warming, the perils of super-sized soft drinks, smoking, and fatty-foods in his efforts to virtue signal his moral fides—even as his New York was nearly paralyzed by the 2010 blizzard that trapped millions of his city’s residents in their homes due to inept and incompetent city efforts to remove snow. Or is the “Bloomberg syndrome” worse than that—in the sense that sounding saintly in theory psychologically compensates for being powerless in fact? Or is it a fashion tic of the privileged to show abstract empathy?

In the last years of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s governorship, Arnold more or less gave up on the existential crises of illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, soaring taxes, water shortages, decrepit roads and bridges, homelessness, plummeting public school performance, and a huge exodus out of state of middle-class Californians.

Instead he began to lecture the state, the nation, and indeed the world on the need for massive wind and solar projects and assorted green fantasies. His old enemies, jubilant that they had aborted his early conservative reform agenda, began to praise him both for his green irrelevancies and for his neutered conservatism—to the delight of the outgoing Arnold who was recalibrating his return to celebrity Hollywood.

Failures to Protect

More recently, we often see how local sheriffs become media-created philosophers eager to blame supposed national bogeymen for mass shootings in their jurisdictions— killings that sometimes are at least exacerbated by the utter incompetence of local law enforcement chiefs.

Do we remember the horrific 2011 Tucson shooter, the mass-murdering ghoul who mowed down 19 people, killing six and severely wounding Representative Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.)? Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, without any evidence, immediately claimed that conservative anti-government hate speech had set off the unhinged shooter.

One might have thought from Dupnik’s loud blame-game commentary that supposed outgunned deputies on duty had shot it out with the killer in a running gun battle, and that he was furious that talk radio or right-wingers had somehow impeded him from getting enough bullets or guns to his men to protect the victims from such a right-wing ideologue.

Hardly. This shooter had devoured both the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. He was mentally unstable, drug addled, and without coherent views on contemporary issues, and thus no foot soldier in some vast right-wing conspiracy or any other conspiracy. He was certainly less connected to the Right than the Washington, D.C. shooter who tried to take out much of the Republican House leadership in 2017 was connected to the Left.

The next time a legislator, mayor, or governor rails about plastic straws or the Paris Climate Accord, be assured that his state’s roads are clogged, his public schools failing—and he is clueless or indifferent about it.

Again, no matter. The ubiquitous Dupnik in his efforts to translate his own incompetence and failure to secure the area where Giffords was to speak into media-driven celebrity, in cheap fashion blasted the Tea Party, critics of President Obama, and, of course, Rush Limbaugh as the culprits.

In truth, security in the supermarket parking lot where Giffords and others were shot was nearly nonexistent, a fact Dupnik never really addressed. He seemed unworried that he had not sent out deputies to ensure a U.S. congresswoman’s safety while conducting an open-air meeting with her constituents.

Florida Sheriff Scott Israel sought national media attention for trying to connect the horrific Parkland Florida mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (17 dead), which took place in his jurisdiction, to the National Rifle Association and Republican politicians in general. But it was Israel’s own Broward County Sheriff’s Office that responded slowly to the killings. In some cases, Israel’s officers exhibited timidity and refused to enter the building to confront the deranged mass shooter.

Before Israel lectured an international television audience on the evils of lax gun laws he might have at least ensured that his own sheriffs were willing to risk their lives to protect the endangered innocent.

Living High Above the Disasters

If we sometimes wonder why for years saintly Apple, Facebook, and Google have thrived in a sea of homelessness, amid pot-holed streets lined with strapped employees living in their cars, a good indication might be that the cosmic social justice so often voiced as penance by their woke multibillionaire  bosses exempts them from worrying about the disasters in their midst.

Pope Francis recently lambasted a number of European countries and leaders for their apparent efforts to secure their national borders against massive illegal immigration from North Africa and the Middle East. Francis plugged European ecumenicalism and seemed to dismiss the populist and nationalist pushback of millions of Europeans, who see the EU as both anti-democratic and a peril to their own traditions and freedoms as citizens.

However, before Francis chastised the continent for its moral failings, he might have explained to Italians or Greeks worried over their open borders why the Vatican enjoys massive walls to keep the uninvited out and yet why other European countries should not emulate the nation-state Vatican’s successful preemptive fortifications.

Better yet, the pope might have taken a more forceful stance against the decades-long and ongoing legal dilemmas of hundreds of global Catholic Clergy, who have proven to be pedophiles and yet were not turned over to law enforcement. The cosmic idea of a United Europe is easy to preach about, but reining in what is likely an epidemic of child-molesting clergy is messy. Francis’s frequent abstract moralizing is quite at odds with either his inability or unwillingness to reform pathways to the priesthood, some of whose members have ruined thousands of lives.

Powerless to Address Concrete Crises

What was lacking in the recent Democratic debates were concrete answers to real problems—as opposed to candidates’ nonstop cosmic virtue signaling. It is easy to blast “white supremacy” and “the gun culture” from a rostrum. But no one on stage seemed to care about the great challenge of our age, the inner-city carnage that takes thousands of young African-American lives each year. The inner-city murdering is tragically almost exclusively a black-on-black phenomenon (even rare interracial homicides are disproportionally committed by African-Americans) that occurs in progressive-run cities with strict gun control laws.

When leaders virtue signal about global or cosmic sin, it is often proof they have no willingness or power to address any concrete crisis. The public tires of such empty platitudes because they also see the culpable trying to divert attention from their own earthly failure by loudly appealing to a higher moral universe.

More mundanely, there is the role of hypocrisy: elites themselves never suffer the consequences of their own ethical inaction while the public never sees any benefit from their moral rhetoric. Illegal immigration is not a personal issue for Pope Francis, and most Europeans have more concrete things to worry about than lectures on populism and nationalism.

In the same fashion, New Yorkers in 2011 were worried more about the piles of snow on the sidewalks than they felt threatened by 32-ounce Cokes—while realizing that no snow blocked either the Bloomberg official or private residence.

Note a recent inexplicable Zogby poll that indicated 51 percent of blacks and Hispanics might support Donald Trump. How would such a supposedly counterintuitive result even be possible?

I have a suggestion: minority communities live first-hand with the violence and dangers of the gang gun culture. More policing and incarceration of guilty felons improve their lives. Secure borders mean fewer drug dealers and cartel smugglers in local communities, fewer schools swamped with non-English speakers, and social services not overwhelmed with impoverished non-Americans.

These can all be real concerns for beleaguered minorities. Yet they are virtue-signaled away by progressive elites whose own power and money allow them to navigate around the consequences of their own liberal fantasies that fall on distant others.

Add in a booming economy, rising incomes, and low unemployment for minorities, and the world of shrill yelling on the debate stage about “white privilege” seems some sort of an irrelevant fixation of the elite and privileged, akin to showing off a Gucci bag or Porsche Cayenne—but otherwise nothing to do with dangerous streets, wrecked schools, whizzing bullets, and social services that are becoming inoperative.

The next time a legislator, mayor, or governor rails about plastic straws or the Paris Climate Accord, be assured that his state’s roads are clogged, his public schools failing—and he is clueless or indifferent about it.

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Center for American Greatness • Great America

A Week in the Life of ABC ‘News’

Trump-bashing, race-baiting, and fear-mongering. Or as they call it at the network, Tuesday.

“ABC Nightly News,” televised daily across the nation at 5:30 p.m., offers what is perhaps the lowest common denominator of the mainstream media’s liberal, anti-Trump bias. But even if you compare what ABC has to say to what actually constitutes balanced reporting, as well as to what qualifies as newsworthy reporting, ABC falls short.

By these standards—by what used to be the basic editorial criteria for good journalism—ABC “news” is a dangerous fraud. They spew propaganda, calibrated at an almost infantile level, calculated to reinforce carefully nurtured biases within their television audience.

ABC News is anchored by the dashing metrosexual, David Muir, an actor of extraordinary skill. Muir, along with a laudably diverse collection of equally telegenic thespians masquerading as “journalists,” manages to exude convincing gravitas despite delivering, night after night, an embarrassing infotainment sham, mixing in equal parts pablum and agenda-driven propaganda. Forget about the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, or the Edward R. Murrow Award. Give David Muir an Oscar.

ABC’s nightly “news” is easily dissected. Their 30-minute formula, which all three legacy networks follow, consists of a prolonged opening segment, about 15 minutes in length, in which the  top national and international stories are presented (or so they tell us). An examination of what they reported on last week, during the five days from August 5 through August 9, provides ample evidence of just how far removed they are from genuine journalism.

Monday, August 5

Top story: the shootings in Dayton and El Paso. Almost immediately Muir had to connect the shootings to “growing scrutiny on the president.” Video clips were shown of Trump responding to someone who shouted “shoot them” at one of Trump’s rallies, followed by commentary stressing how “Trump has downplayed the threat of white supremacists.” With respect to the two shooters, the focus was on evidence of the El Paso shooter’s racism, with the left-wing lunacy of the Dayton shooter barely mentioned.

The rest of the top stories for ABC that Monday were on the following topics: “94 percent of Americans support background checks” (let’s see that survey question), the Dow Jones Index was down 767 points (with blame placed on Trump’s “trade war” with China—the implicit assumption being we should not be in a trade war with China), and North Korea fired some short range missiles (with no acknowledgement that they are refraining from firing long-range missiles thanks to Trump’s diplomacy).

Why doesn’t ABC report any of this news? Could it be that informing the American public as to what’s really going on in the world is not their primary concern?

Tuesday, August 6

Muir leads off by claiming the Dayton shooter was “motivated by violent ideology.” In a prolonged exploration of the “red flags” exhibited by the shooter over several years, it was only mentioned as a very brief aside that his chosen ideologies were leftist. Follow-up reporting on the mass shootings continued with an update about the El Paso shooter, where his right-wing ideology was on full narrative display along with a report that he had “no remorse,” and that he went on his rampage specifically to “find Mexicans.”

Tuesday’s mass shooting coverage continued with an attack on Trump’s visit to El Paso, with Muir’s monologue buttressed by words on the television screen saying “words of comfort fight words that came before.” This is typical of ABC in its war on Trump. A producer will selectively grab out-of-context remarks Trump made in the past that in order to assert they contradict something he said more recently.

In this case, for example, they reprised Trump’s description of the out-of-control flood of immigrants across America’s southern border as an “invasion.” This extended segment then dove into selective interviews with Trump haters attending Democratic presidential candidate rallies, followed by carefully curated anti-Trump soundbites from the mayors of Dayton and El Paso, along with “Beto” O’Rourke.

The top stories kept coming on Tuesday; including a familiar new theme in the mainstream national “news,” a weather report. “Severe storms across the Midwest” with “climate change” as the frightening subtext. Then a report on house fires caused by natural gas leaks in Detroit, Kentucky, and North Carolina, with the subtext being “fossil fuel is dangerous.” Then the obligatory revelation of yet another example of police racism, this time the click-worthy video of two cops on horseback arresting a mentally ill African-American (subtext: America is saturated in white racism).

Wednesday, August 7

Apparently, there was not much real news on Wednesday, so the top story was a weather report on “severe storms, tornadoes, heavy rain and floods.” Then, after this mandatory reminder of terrifying climate change, the focus shifted to messaging designed to create the impression the nation is gripped by gun rights induced chaos and terror.

The onscreen text read “Nation on Edge,” as Muir’s substitute anchor for the rest of the week, Tom Llamas, launched into a sober recitation of just how bad things have gotten. His rather underwhelming examples were a false alarm concerning a gunman at USA Today’s offices, a motorcycle’s backfire scaring tourists in New York’s Times Square, and a “loud noise in Utah” that frightened people.

“So many Americans on edge,” he concluded.

What next on Wednesday? Of course, Trump bashing. The onscreen text? “Trump’s Polarizing Trip,” where the president’s visits to Dayton and El Paso are disparaged as ill-advised forays at the same time as supposedly “the White House is keeping him [Trump] out of view” (subtext: because he’s so toxic).

Then the video cuts to Joe Biden, claiming that Trump “in clear language and in code, is fanning the flames of racism.” This is followed by further out-of-context comments by Trump, along with other top stories including a “Home Blast Hate Crime” involving “racial slurs and a swastika,” a “Deadly Police Shooting” in Colorado Springs where a black man was shot when he allegedly reached for a gun, and “ICE Raids.”

Thursday, August 8

The top stories, in order: “Deadly Stabbing Spree” with “dangerous incidents across the country,” followed by two examples, Orange County, where a gang member went berserk (but no mention of how California’s “early release” law put him back on the street), alongside cursory coverage of a stabbing in Pittsburgh. Then, “Dangerous Escapee Manhunt” in Tennessee (subtext: you’re not safe), followed by “Sweeping Immigration Raids” where a crying six-year-old is filmed saying, “My dad didn’t do nothing, he’s not a criminal.” But Thursday’s propaganda rich broadcast was just getting warmed up.

Also offered up in Thursday’s top stories was “Mother’s Warning,” a report explaining that the El Paso shooter’s mother had contacted police to see if there was any way to regulate her son’s purchase of a firearm and was told there was not (subtext: we need more gun control).

That story was closely paired with a report that in El Paso “none of the victims were willing or able to meet with the president” (subtext: who would want to meet with that racist), then campaign reportage, “Taking on Trump,” in which several Democratic candidates—Biden, O’Rourke, Warren—were asked, “Is the president a white supremacist?” Talk about a softball question.

Thursday’s top stories wrapped up with two climate change reports. The first, “Severe Storm Damage,” described tornadoes and flooding in the eastern United States, then the more consequential second one, with “Dire Climate Warning” emblazoned on the television screen as Llamas described a “new study” that reports “soil being lost 100 times faster than it is being formed,” with absolutely zero explanation of what that was supposed to mean, much less what assumptions were made or who came up with this study. The segment’s concluding words: “There’s hope if we act fast.”

Friday, August 9

End of the work week, and more of the same from ABC. “New Walmart Panic” was the top story, covering the odd fact of a young man walking into a Walmart store in Missouri armed with a rifle and wearing body armor. Nothing bad happened, fortunately, but this was the top story.

Then, to reinforce ABC’s “America is a terrifying place to live” theme, the second top story on Friday was a road rage incident in Houston where an alleged gang member armed with an assault rifle killed another alleged gang member. The third story was “Bombshell Documents Unsealed” with respect to the Jeffrey Epstein case. This could be a big story exposing a lot of powerful Democrats, unless something were to happen before Epstein could testify…

Friday’s top stories concluded predictably. The titles written onscreen are self-explanatory: “Meaningful Background Checks,” “Dangerous Storms,” “Dangerous Escapee Manhunt,” and “El Paso Suspect Confessed” (to committing a hate crime).

What is the Agenda of ABC Nightly “News”?

ABC’s choice of news stories, and how they present them, reveal a clear agenda. Trump is a racist, America is a racist nation, it is dangerous to walk the streets anywhere in America anymore, and a devastating climate apocalypse is already upon us (for which Trump is to blame).

Missing from these stories is any semblance of balance. What is the statistical context for mass shootings, crime rates, racially motivated murders and hate crimes, police misconduct, or extreme weather? Would the facts—that none of these phenomena are remarkably elevated today compared to what they were in the past, or numerically significant according to any reasonable standard—defeat the agenda?

Also missing from these stories is a sense of proportion. Obviously, a mass shooting deserves national news coverage, but does every storm belong among the top stories? A road rage incident? A follow up story making misleading claims about who the president saw in El Paso? An escaped prisoner? A natural gas fire? An allegedly controversial yet routine arrest?

The disturbing reality is you can’t criticize these story choices anymore without being considered insensitive, or worse. Incidents involving human suffering, much less murders, are horrific. To dismiss them as not newsworthy invites accusations of indifference that are not entirely unfounded. But what else happened in the world last week? What did ABC “News” ignore?

Here are just a few items that might have deserved a minute or two on the broadcast last week: India has just abolished Kashmir’s autonomy after nearly 70 years, an action that will provoke mass unrest and could even push India into another war with Pakistan. Anti-government protests, involving millions of people, are escalating in Hong Kong. The U.S. Navy just sent the supercarrier Ronald Reagan through the South China Sea. The United States and Great Britain are creating a maritime coalition to protect Persian Gulf shipping from Iran, and Germany is refusing to participate. Google is possibly collaborating with Huawei.

That only scratches the surface.

Why doesn’t ABC report any of this news? Could it be that informing the American public as to what’s really going on in the world is not their primary concern?

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Center for American Greatness • First Principles

We Must Ban Human Nature for the Sake of Humanity

In the wake of the Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton shootings, Americans have heard quite a bit of talk about assault weapons bans and “red flag” laws. I think it’s probably time to accept that there should be bans. Surely, though, guns aren’t the only objects in need of banning. Here are a few modest proposals.

First, it’s time to ban knives. While I understand that these tools are useful in the kitchen, for hunting, for carving, quite frankly for all sorts of things, the fact is knives kill. I bet you didn’t know this, but you are four times more likely to be murdered with a knife or box cutters than with a rifle. Therefore, morally, to save society, we should ban knives and box cutters. While I’m very sorry that this will make it difficult for you to open packages that some genius decided to seal with half a roll of packing tape, what is that frustration when pitted against saving even one human life?

While we’re at it, it’s time to also ban hands and feet. Before you start complaining, I get it. I understand the potential this ban has to make it difficult for us to function in life, but we need to be serious about the deaths that hands and feet cause: personal weapons, known as hands, feet, or fists, killed 692 people in 2017 according to the latest FBI stats versus 403 by a rifle, which by the way, nearly half of those rifle deaths are for unknown causes (think accidents).

The dangers of hands and feet are not to be taken lightly. Because of their potential for deadly force, I’m proposing that a universal background check should be done on every citizen so we can ascertain whether he or she will be responsible in the usage of their appendages. As a universal background system will only work with a universal registry, I’m hereby calling for a National Hands, Fist, and Feet Registry so that every American will feel safe from the clear and present threat that a human being’s hands or feet could pose. While we’re at it, there should be Hands and Feet Red Flag Laws. If you see someone misusing their hands and feet, there should be a way to report that immediately and check them against the national registry to make sure that the background check didn’t show any potential for nefarious intent.

We must also ban blunt objects, including hammers. While I understand this will make nailing objects together quite difficult, go find a rock or another board or some hard object: we have to confront the fact that hammers can be used as a deadly weapon and you are more likely to be killed by one of those than with a rifle. Having done quite a bit of home renovations and building in my time, I am fully aware how difficult it will be to build in the future, but for the sake of humanity, hammers should be banned.

As a universal background system will only work with a universal registry, I’m hereby calling for a National Hands, Fist, and Feet Registry so that every American will feel safe from the clear and present threat that a human being’s hands or feet could pose.

While we’re at it, I don’t want anyone to think they will skirt the hammer ban with nail guns. Oh, no. Those are going to be banned as well. Have you ever seen one of those in action? In a word, deadly. All nail guns are to be banned if only to save one hand or foot or life—provided, of course, that hand or foot is registered.

In this entire list of banned objects, I would of course never leave moving trucks or “lorries” out of the equation. As we have seen in Nice, France with the deaths of 82 people, moving trucks are a deadly weapon and should be banned. I realize this will make the process of moving difficult, but might I offer a horse and wagon approach? Their lower speeds make them almost impossible to use in the deadly way trucks have been used. And while I understand the inconvenience of it all, and the size limitations, and the slower speeds,, remember this is all for humanity’s sake.

Bottom line: I think we should be willing to ban literally anything and everything that might be used to kill another human being. This would include wood, rocks, water, fertilizer, No. 2 pencils (Just saying: the Joker in “The Dark Knight” made one of those deadly objects disappear inside someone’s brain; very unpleasant things can be done with No. 2 pencils), scissors, cars, rope, shoelaces, bed sheets; really the list is almost inexhaustible.

But honestly, I think the most important thing that should be banned is human nature.

I’m very serious about this: human nature is what animates the above inanimate objects. An inanimate object never killed anyone of its own volition or will or force; it has none of those qualities and something had to move it for death to happen. To quote Seneca, “A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.” It is, in fact, the evil that lurks in every fallen human being that if left unchecked, finds whatever tools it needs to kill or maim.

We now see people pounding the table, demanding an assault weapons ban and red flag laws, which are in defiance of statistics. But more importantly, the call for such things is in defiance of natural rights: self-defense is a natural right, therefore gun rights are a natural right. Government does not give us our natural rights, therefore government cannot legitimately take any of them away.

For those who are perhaps still interested in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, it should be noted that the Ninth Amendment is there for a reason. The Founders knew that there was simply no way to list out every right that we as human beings have been endowed with by our Creator. So the Ninth Amendment simply states: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Put simply, our Constitution and Bill of Rights were meant more to constrain government, box it in, and leave the greatest amount of freedom for the people within the bounds of ordered liberty.

So to those proposing and pushing bans and red flag laws, tread carefully: to destroy natural rights in pursuit of short term political gain is how great republics end.

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Center for American Greatness • Greatness Agenda

Only Bold Proposals Can Displace Globalism

Small-ball, targeted policies, and subtle tweaks will not suffice.

Nationalist or globalist? Somewhere or anywhere? American citizen or citizen of the world? These are the questions driving much of our current politics. But what is globalism? Rather than give a definition, I think it’s more instructive to give some examples.

Emmanuel Todd, a French sociologist and a man of the Left, made one of the most incisive—and most French—observations about our current political moment, which is sometimes called populist, sometimes nationalist, and sometimes both. He said:

The opposition between what are called populist movements and movements of so-called elites has long been complicated by a major paradox: the elites express, in elegant and apparently moderate terms, absurd ideas that are characterized in reality, by extreme violence. The discourse of globalization is nothing but shit in a silk stocking. Among its propagandists, we find well-bred persons who boast of every imaginable credential, but who say awful things and condemn a significant part of the population to social exclusion. In the opposing camp, we find improbable personalities, such as Trump, who certainly utter obscenities that are in fact much more reasonable and moderate in their economic, social, and demographic implications.

Why did he use the term “shit in a silk stocking”? You may recognize it. It is how Napoleon referred to his foreign minister, Talleyrand, and it is a remarkably useful and accurate allusion as we try to understand globalism and globalists—or those who believe in and profit from globalism.

Talleyrand was the richest man in France and her chief diplomat, which makes him sound suspiciously like the modern globalist oligarch, that we sometimes call “Davos man.” Talleyrand is notorious because he took bribes from France’s enemies while negotiating treaties on behalf of Bonaparte. Such treachery still happens.

Take, for example, Samir Jain. He was the head of cyber security policy at the National Security Council during the Obama Administration. This means he worked in the West Wing of the White House for the president. He was one of the top—perhaps the top—American official in charge of cyber security. Jain now works for the Chinese, having taken a position advising Huawei on how to “deal with”—or more likely, evade—the very security standards he helped to create.

This is wrong. But it is typical of the global elite who see themselves not as Americans but as free agents—global citizens—seeking their own narrow, parochial interests. They are happy to line their pockets regardless of what it does to their country. The spirit of Talleyrand is alive and well.

I’ll give you another example: Google. Peter Thiel noted in a recent speech, that Google refuses to work with the American military, but engages in a “seemingly treasonous” collaboration with the Chinese military.

All of us share a rich heritage that is under attack by a pernicious idea as old as human history. It is the idea with which the serpent tempted Eve, it is the idea that man can be his own god.

Six Propositions

So, with that as an introduction of what globalism is and what it does let me put forth a few propositions:

First, globalism is an advanced form of secular liberalism.

Second, globalism is a political movement with a comprehensive ideology.

Third, the globalist ideology is utopian and dehumanizing.

Fourth, the city-state and the nation state are better suited to nurturing and sustaining ordered liberty and the good life. I include city-states here because there are a few, like Singapore, that serve their citizens very well.

Fifth, globalism is an impatient, messianic ideology that engages in moral imperialism and is dependent on violence. Witness this country’s optional wars but witness also the way social and economic punishments are imposed upon those who question the ideology behind globalism. They are shamed, deplatformed, ostracized, and often made unemployable. Those who question the secular religion are shown no mercy. James Damore of Google is one well known example.

Sixth, globalism is a materialist, man-centered ideology that is overtly hostile to Biblical religion and the family, both of which represent competing power centers and must therefore be degraded or destroyed.

Recall what President Trump said in Warsaw in 2017:

The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?

And he was right. Those are the questions before us and answering them means we must be ready for action. If we answer in the affirmative then it’s time to stand and deliver—and to build anew.

Globalism vs. Civilization

Western civilization, itself, is at a crossroads across the globe—whether that civilization be manifested in the Western Hemisphere or the East, in the North or in the South. All of us share a rich heritage that is under attack. This time it is under attack by a pernicious idea as old as human history. It is the idea with which the serpent tempted Eve, it is the idea that man can be his own god.

The manifestation of this idea in a political ideology and movement have brought us to this unique moment in history. We now have a president who is an American nationalist and who unapologetically believes in our people. We must now reject the idea that nations and peoples should surrender their sovereignty to supranational and transnational organizations, to powerful, but unaccountable bureaucrats like those governing the EU from Brussels, to corporations loyal to themselves but not to their countries or their fellow citizens, and certainly not to the so-called NGOs like the misleadingly named Open Society Foundation, and other foundations associated with eBay founder Pierre Omidiyar and Tom Steyer who have other goals than the well being of America or Americans.

These are powers unto themselves that seek political control—albeit indirectly, often behind the scenes—and their object is to exert an unjust and unfair influence by strategic targeting of social and political pressure points. They seek to shut down conservatives and traditionalists and they are very well financed, as Left Wing causes always seem to be.

This should be no surprise. Globalism is the ideology of the powerful—or at least of those who hold power and want to retain it. It is the ideology of transnational bureaucrats, elite media, respected academics, and global capital. By contrast, identity politics is for the peasants. It’s the distraction created to keep labor—and here I am talking about the wage-earning classes, meaning, almost everyone—from focusing on the fact that real wages have stagnated for nearly 50 years while the price of the three largest expenditures in life (housing, education, and healthcare) have soared.

It’s a distraction, too, from the fact that Big Tech failed to deliver on its promise of better lives. Instead the tech monopolies have choked the promise of the distributed internet, built businesses on tracking and listening to their customers (“surveillance capitalism”), and perhaps worst of all: they aren’t even producing much meaningful new technology. Where is the self-driving car and the cure for cancer?

One of the reasons for the innovation slowdown is that the monopolists aren’t interested in innovating. They never are. They’re interested in rent-seeking and regulatory capture. So they spend their billions on politics. And that means building a world order that supersedes the nation-state and protects their power.

But let me digress momentarily with some examples of what’s possible even against these formidable foes. Here, in the United States, Trump was outspent 2-to-1. But he still won. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro spent very little on his successful campaign—less than a mayor would spend in the United States—and he won the presidency, too. And Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and his Lega Party, I am told (though I cannot confirm), spent less than $1 million in last year’s election. His party is now the largest in Italy. Those examples speak volumes about the strength of powerful ideas and energetic, charismatic candidates.

Let me reiterate the last part: powerful ideas require energetic, charismatic candidates to carry them forward.

The result of the intersection of the globalist ideology and the institutions that support and spread it is that the western world is currently undergoing a rolling political earthquake as free nations reassert their role against the encroachments and usurpations of a powerful front of unaccountable supranational organizations that gained significant power over the past few generations. It’s unclear at this point who or what wins. The organizations arrayed against the nation-state include multistate, multilateral organizations like the European Union, the United Nation, and the World Trade Organization. But they also include massively powerful NGOs and global capital exemplified by stateless multinational corporations loyal only to the dollar. To this we must say, “No more.”

Perhaps the supreme irony, is that these organizations are premised upon their unique ability to provide peace and prosperity, yet we don’t have less armed conflict (we don’t technically have “wars,” only because we don’t bother to declare them anymore) and the material prosperity of large numbers of people in the United States and Western Europe has stagnated or declined. While global capital has enjoyed a period of unprecedented wealth accumulation, the middle and working class have been under extreme duress. We see this across the United States but also in Europe where Jillet Jeunes—the Yellow Vests—represent a class similar to many of the people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and who face similar economic and cultural pressures.

Globalism vs. Globalization: Key Distinctions

Here, a word about the difference between globalism and globalization. They are not the same thing and they can exist independently. In fact, we’d be better off if they did exist independently and if one of them—globalism—just went away.

The globalist looks at society and says that there is no “we.” There is only a collection of cohabiting “mes,” each “living their own truth” but ultimately alone. This is the end state of liberalism: ripped free from religion, it offers a gospel of radical individual autonomy which predictably degenerates from “good news” into a war of all against all. We need look no further than America’s West Coast for a foretaste of the neoliberal state of the multiculturalist, globalist future. California, our largest, richest state, the home of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, is home to our largest Pacific ports and is thoroughly globalist in its political outlook. Tom Steyer lives there. So does Pierre Omidiyar. Hillary won the state by 35 points. So how is California doing? It boasts the fourth-highest Gini coefficient in the nation, signifying a gaping—and widening—abyss between its richest and poorest residents.

Globalism in practice insists on centralizing power in the hands of a supranational economic, cultural, and political vanguard.

Globalization on the other hand can be—and often has been—a force for increasing prosperity. It’s why we can have Italian mozzarella, French wine, and Brazilian beef in the United States. Free people trading with one another without coercion can be a mutually beneficial arrangement. I say that it “can be” mutually beneficial because it is not always the case, especially when it comes to international trade which is never strictly “free” in the theoretical sense.

As the process advances, globalization and the free trade it depends upon become more complicated. Supply chains become global. An American-made car assembled in South Carolina or an airplane built in Washington state contains components from all over the world. That might be good or bad for the nation’s prosperity, but it is also largely nonideological.

There are always externalities, especially politics, when considering what is good for any particular nation in these arrangements. Still, globalization is not the same thing as globalism. Globalism is a militant political ideology guided by a man-centered, relativistic moral philosophy that is degrading and destructive.

In a speech at the United Nations last year, President Trump announced, “We reject the ideology of globalism and embrace the doctrine of patriotism.” And he’s right, of course. Whereas globalization is a roughly organic process where the interests of the participating countries are weighed and worked out between the partners, globalism is an abstract and absolutist political ideology that is materialist, consumerist, and that creates the incentives for a kleptocracy.

We Are Not Machines

As a materialist ideology, globalism denies the imago dei—the image of God—present in all mankind. Like Marxism, it views all of human life, indeed, humanity itself in economic terms. Economics matter, of course. But this reductionist view does profound violence to the essence of our humanity. To use their own terms—the terminology of economics—when globalism looks at society it sees an equation. On the supply side, people are reduced to nothing more than economic inputs—like machines—that can be moved around, “managed” for maximum efficiency. That is to say, for maximum economic output. While on the consumption side, people are viewed and cultivated as pleasure seeking libertines.

The globalist view says that if GDP is increasing, life is getting better. But we’re measuring the wrong things.

We’re too focused on consumption. The more consumption, the more GDP, the better off we are, right? Not so fast. What if cheap Chinese plastic isn’t the key to the good life? What if there are higher goods? In fact, we all know that there are, but we’ve been taught to measure the success of the country in almost purely financial terms and even then we’re measuring consumption, not production. It’s no wonder the system is starting to fray and the people who have to live with the decisions made here in Washington are unhappy.

Man is not a machine and happiness is the result of virtue, of a life well-lived, of a family, of engagement with other people in a community. In fact, the moral philosophy underlying the globalist ideology does not permit contemplation of that sort of happiness so they replace it with—I would say they settle for—mere pleasure. In practice that means they just give people some product, anything really, to stimulate their pleasure centers and flood their brains with dopamine and serotonin—just like opioid drugs.

This is not hyperbole. The Big Tech oligarchs of Silicon Valley—companies like Google and Facebook—have done extensive research on how best to design their interfaces—the way things are liked, favorited, and shared—so as to increase the dopamine response in the brain and thus make them addictive. Have you ever had that urge—maybe even bordering on a compulsion—to check your phone? To check in on Twitter and see if your last Tweet was liked? How many times it was shared? Or how many people commented on your Facebook post?

That’s built into the design. It’s intentional. And it’s just one example.

Globalism in practice insists on centralizing power in the hands of a supranational economic, cultural, and political vanguard. It makes universal claims of justice and of its right to rule. Globalism promises the “perpetual peace” prophesied by Immanuel Kant, a heaven on earth manifest in what he described as “an international state, which would necessarily continue to grow until it embraced all the people of the world.” And it believes that it should—literally that is must—supplant the nation state, representative government, national sovereignty, and all of the institutions upon which our societies rely.

Many of the post-war globalist institutions that were founded by the United States have become destructive and actually undermine the peace and prosperity of the American nation and degrade human life here and abroad. They should be shuttered.

What’s more, it is a fervently atheistic faith that is openly hostile to Biblical religion and to the family. In it’s pursuit of its utopia, it seeks to replace both Athens and Jerusalem and the institutions born out of those traditions. This should be no surprise. Those institutions—those permanent, pre-political, human institutions that existed before, and should transcend any state—are a threat to the claims to rule made by the elites who espouse the globalist ideology. They claim the mandate neither of God nor of man because they believe that the new technocratic elite has replaced both—and their desire for the power they see as their inalienable right is voracious.

Globalism’s Demands Exact High Costs

Does it sound at all familiar? An expansionist, international ideology that wants to dominate national governments and make them vassal states? An ideology that is directly opposed to the family and the church? That is at heart materialist—that sees economics as the determining factor in all of human life? It should. Because globalism is just Marxism in a silk suit.

What are the results?

In the United States over the past 50 years household incomes have been basically stagnant. Moreover, they have remained that stable mostly because more households have two wage-earners now. In other words, it takes two incomes to maintain a middle class home today where it once took only one.

Yet even this president, who got so much right in the Warsaw speech and clarified the big issues so well, is missing this crucial piece in the puzzle of American unrest. In his State of the Union this year, Trump said, “All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before.” That was one of the few lines that drew bipartisan applause in the chamber. But why? Are we so sure that’s an unqualified good thing? The clear premise is that work outside the home is more valuable, more honorable, and more fulfilling than work inside the home. That is simply not so, but it is a destructive delusion under which we have labored for a very long time and one for which we are now paying the price.

Is any of this to say that women cannot or should not work outside the home? Of course not. The Book of Proverbs says that an “excellent wife” will find a field and buy it and “with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard” and later that she “perceives that her merchandise is profitable.” She’s wise in commerce. But it also makes clear that, like her husband, her focus is on her family and her unique contribution to making it thrive. And that’s what’s missing.

We’ve been sold a myth that getting into the commercial workforce will make every woman Sheryl Sandberg if they would just “lean in.” But it’s been a cruel joke on the middle class for whom it now takes two incomes to pay for what one income used to suffice. The reality is just more women working in retail or in office cubicles whose reward is less time with children and now having to pay for gas, and work clothes, and daycare. And there is a large body of research that shows that what a majority of women really want is to raise their own children and then later some will return to work outside the home. But that’s very difficult for many families to do now. That’s what Elizabeth Warren rightly called “the two-income trap” 15 years ago. But this is the globalist program. Why? Because globalism wants two things above all others: consumers and cheap labor.

The social costs of globalism’s ceaseless demands are readily apparent and they are painful: more divorces, more consumer debt, more children raising themselves because their mother is forced to work outside the home to make ends meet, and a declining fertility rate. Across Europe and the United States, citizens are not having enough children to replace themselves. Portugal: 1.24 Spain: 1.39  Italy: 1.49 US: 1.72 Brazil: 1.705

Obviously, this is unsustainable.

Fortune Favors the Bold

So what do we do?

The first step is to think big—far bigger than anyone has dared think in many years. The problems are big and have taken many years of destructive ideology and bad policy to develop to this point. People across America and across the West sense it, which is why they have been electing previously improbable candidates to high office. But that’s not enough. We need big proposals and bold leadership to rebuild the country on a more stable foundation that is better able to provide long-term peace and prosperity. Let me begin by proposing some big, cultural ideas and a few policy goals. This is just a starting point.

First, we must elevate and strengthen the basic institutions of human life. These give meaning and promote life in its ascendancy. They are:

The family. Sustainable, happy societies rely not on the individual homo economicus but on the family.

Religion. The church and the synagogue along with the family are the foundation of society. They should be returned to a place of honor and respect in society and by this I mean within official, elite society, not just among the deplorables who bitterly cling to their guns and religion. There is no irreligious society in human history that has lasted very long.

Friendship. This means fewer intermediated interactions and more IRL relationships. Spend time with people, get to know them. Re-learn what real friendship feels like. Achilles and Patroclus, Jesus and his disciples, these are great examples of what friendship makes possible.

All great undertakings depend on these three things. Politics can support them and in some situations protect them, but if we want them, we’re going to have to rebuild them from the ground up.

Second, many of the post-war globalist institutions that were founded by the United States have become destructive and actually undermine the peace and prosperity of the American nation and degrade human life here and abroad. They should be shuttered. I’ll start with two: the U.N. and the EU. If we want to get hold of the prime minister of Slovenia, America shouldn’t have to go through the U.N. We could just email or call ourselves.

Third, a policy goal for conservatives that would win nontraditional GOP voters: Break the two income trap. Propose a bold agenda: The “Family Deal” that will reorder the American economy in a way that allows a family of five or six to be solidly middle class on a single income and that emphasizes growth through innovation rather than financialization.

Small-ball, targeted policies and subtle tweaks will not suffice. The current complex of elite institutions that run the modern order and seem so powerful are, in fact, quite brittle. What looks like hegemonic political, economic, and cultural authority is, in reality, built on sand. And the people who run those institutions know it. Like all tyrannies, they base their power on terror and intimidation because they lack both the legitimacy and the charisma to rule by acclamation. They’re terrified someone will find out and replace them. So the project now is to build institutions and develop leaders to do just that. And that means thinking big.

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Center for American Greatness • Great America

The White Supremacy Hoax

A generation of domestic peace is increasingly difficult to imagine.

The specter of white supremacy haunts America. Let us empower the government to crush it.

Just yesterday, “the deplorables” were to be deplored because they were “racist, sexist, homophobic,” clingers to “God and guns,” and Russian dupes to boot. Today, the agility and unanimity with which our politicians and media—heck, the ruling class—have shifted to indicting roughly 72 percent of the population as white supremacists, likely violent, would fill with envy their homologues in China, Cuba, North Korea, and other tyrannical places. By comparison, Joseph Goebbels had sloppy message discipline. Not even the Soviets in their salad days were so “on message!”

One may suppose that our ruling class merely intends to energize its constituencies and cower the opposition in the 2020 elections. But this is no game. Their proposals would impose pre-punishment for pre-crimes on persons accused or “suspected” of being a “white supremacist.” By whom? On the basis of what?

In practice, a “white supremacist” is anyone whom anyone in power dislikes enough to so label him. Who would accept being outlawed at will? Our ruling class plays with matches in a house drenched in gasoline.

Here is the latest. The Wall Street Journal on Saturday featured an essay by one Clint Watts, formerly of the FBI and West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center. Watts makes those proposals using the word “white” 16 times in 18 paragraphs. The sociopolitical ideas rife among white people are the main matrix of terrorism in America, Watts contends. Racial profiling, anyone?

Bemoaning the fact that U.S. law now restricts surveillance of, never mind restrictions on, U.S. persons to those who have committed or may be about to commit crimes, Watts proposes legislation that would permit designating persons associated with what the government may identify as “white supremacist ideology” as subject to surveillance to “preemptively assess whether these white supremacists are taking a radical turn toward violence.”

Watts also proposes “red flag” laws, that would allow the government to take away weapons from someone so designated. Loss of weapons would be the least of burdens imposed on anyone so “red-flagged.” Career, reputation, possibly family, would be gone because someone in the notoriously impartial FBI so decided, perhaps with the agreement of the highly scrupulous FISA court, subsequent to ex parte, secret proceedings.

This has become ruling-class conventional wisdom. Desire to wage war on ordinary Americans—to disadvantage them and even to kill them—had long been bubbling in the ruling class’s basements. The countless, nearly identical pronouncements from on high in recent days can be taken as an announcement that the ruling class has raised them into its forceful mainstream.

In January 2012, the Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with the University of Maryland, published a study titled “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1979-2008.” It classified persons who it judged to be “suspicious of centralized federal authority” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right wing terrorists.” So-called studies published by Clint Watts’ West Point center use the same typology. Skeptical of the government? You’re a potential terrorist.

In July 2012, Colonel Kevin Benson of the U.S. Army’s University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Jennifer Weber of the University of Kansas, published an article in the Small Wars Journal titled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A ‘Vision’ of the Future.” Benson and Weber argued that the U.S. Army should prepare itself for contingencies such as “extremist militia motivated by the goals of the ‘tea party’ movement” seizing a small town. They contend, moreover, that Army’s “Operating Concept, 2016-2028” obliges “the military to execute without pause and as professionally as if it were acting overseas.”

None of this is law, or even official policy. It simply reflects the evolving identities and predilections of persons in power.

Today, our ruling class has come to define itself in terms of the will to humiliate “the deplorables,” as it subdues their disrespect. It is confident that the Republican Party won’t help the deplorables, and that President Trump will get out of the way quietly once he’s made some noise. And deplorables have this quaint habit of obeying laws—the fools!

All true. But the logic of the ruling class’s campaign against white supremacy cannot end in the deplorables’ peaceful submission because that campaign itself has no natural end. Some of the class’s components are sure to push for ever-stricter measures. More surely, an inherently abusive campaign of racial profiling itself guarantees deadly friction. One of these days, some misdirected SWAT team will shoot it out with innocent people, with casualties on both sides, or some person unjustly ruined will take his tormentors to the grave with him. One police force will fight another. The paths to civil war are many. A generation of domestic peace is increasingly difficult to imagine.

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Center for American Greatness • First Principles • Post

Betraying America’s Democratic Soul

In his book White-Jacket (1850), part documentary, part satire, part political rumination, and very small part novel, Herman Melville—if indeed he is speaking through his narrator—sounds like a new Moses urging the people of the United States to lead the other nations boldly from the Egypt of a servile past to the Promised Land to come.

“We bear the ark of the liberties of the world,” he says:

God has predestinated, mankind expects, great things from our race; and great things we feel in our souls. The rest of the nations must soon be in our rear. We are the pioneers of the world; the advance-guard, sent on through the wilderness of untried things, to break a new path in the New World that is ours. In our youth is our strength; in our inexperience, our wisdom. At a period when other nations have but lisped, our deep voice is heard afar. Long enough have we been skeptics with regard to ourselves, and doubted whether, indeed, the political Messiah had come. But he has come in us, if we would but give utterance to his promptings. And let us always remember that with ourselves, almost for the first time in the history of the earth, national selfishness is unbounded philanthropy; for we cannot do a good to America but we give alms to the world.

Melville, of course, is a master of the shell-game of irony, so that in these lines we may well hear the silken tones of his malign Confidence-Man (1859) suggesting to us what we want to believe, that in our case alone is selfishness a charity to the world, because we and not Jesus Christ are mankind’s last best hope.

Nevertheless, I take Melville mostly at his word here, because throughout White-Jacket he is at pains to urge his countrymen to look well at the condition of its navy, and at the laws and customs that govern the common sailors, whom he trenchantly calls “the people.”

About courts-martial, for example, which he compares with the secrecy of the royal Star Chamber and the Spanish Inquisition, and the seaman’s lack of any means of redress of grievances, he concludes that most of the wickedness in which sailors engage is “indirectly to be ascribed to the morally debasing effects of the unjust, despotic, and degrading laws under which the man-of-war’s man lives.” It is strange indeed that a nation whose president will enter a hackney-coach alongside one of the 20 million free men whom he governs, as if he were of no greater stature, must have a naval ship lorded over by a peacock of a Commodore, as gaudy as he is useless, who will hardly deign to brush elbows with a mere petty officer, let alone one of the ordinary rank of seamen.

Along with the cold eye he casts upon the fuss and feathers of rank, and the cruelty it admits or encourages in the officers, Melville gives us a few hearty endorsements of the democratic spirit, such as Walt Whitman or Mark Twain in his sunnier moods would have approved. When the good man-of-war Neversink must welcome his Imperial Majesty Don Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, a man of New England—after misconstruing the imperial family name Braganza as Brigand and then Braggart—cries out to his fellows: “You Emperor—you counter-jumping son of a gun—cock your weather-eye up aloft here, and see your betters! I say, top-mates, he ain’t any Emperor at all—I’m the rightful Emperor. Yes, by the Commodore’s boots! they stole me out of my cradle here in the palace at Rio, and put that green-horn in my place. Ay, you timber-head, you, I’m Don Pedro II, and by good rights you ought to be a main-top-man here, with your fist in a tar-bucket!”

The greatest-souled of the sailors then picks up the song, and tells the New Englander that he need not worry: “But I say, Jonathan, my lad, don’t pipe your eye now about the loss of your crown; for look you, we all wear crowns, from our cradles to our graves,” and he reveals his own, a bald spot about the size of a crown-piece, “on the summit of his curly and classical head.”

So once did sing the sirens of democracy, beckoning the ship of America to wreck upon the rocks of self-satisfaction, and—what Melville would have condemned as sheer romantic imbecility—the dissolving of hierarchical order. It is a song I once loved, and it still stirs me within. It is Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” It is Jefferson Smith from South Dakota, fighting for the Boy Scouts against privilege and power. It is Huck Finn, boy philosopher without knowing it, floating on a raft down the great river with the escaped slave Jim. It is Sergeant Alvin York, pacifist at heart, sharp-shooter from the hills of Tennessee, single-handedly rooting out a nest of German machine guns. It is the same Sergeant York, years later, speaking at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:

By our victory in the last war, we won a lease on liberty, not a deed to it. Now after 23 years, Adolf Hitler tells us that lease is expiring, and after the manner of all leases, we have the privilege of renewing it, or letting it go by default. We are standing at the crossroads of history. The important capitals of the world in a few years will either be Berlin and Moscow, or Washington and London. I, for one, prefer Congress and Parliament to Hitler’s Reichstag and Stalin’s Kremlin. And because we were for a time, side by side, I know this Unknown Soldier does, too.

I wonder whether it is worth my time to look more closely at this old song, when in point of fact nobody sings it anymore. Consider: the previous president celebrated his victory by having himself come forth from a makeshift Greek temple, as if he were Apollo. No president in my lifetime has dared to do what Harry Truman once did, which was to take an early morning stroll along the streets of Washington, accompanied by a couple of bodyguards, but otherwise open to the democratic world.

This betrayal of the soul of democracy is to be found everywhere; the habits of our political rulers are but our own habits magnified. Try to visit a class at the local public school for which you open a yearly vein to pay in taxes, and you might as well try to force your way through the guard at Buckingham Palace. Object to the idiocy, ineptitude, or depravity of the instruction in that school, and you may as well be a flea trying to move an elephant.

The point is not that we suffer these indignities. We take the indignities for granted. Our police are less and less like the men we can trust at the street corner, and more like a standing army whose faces we never see. If we are in business, we submit to regulations whose specifics, in the aggregate, no single person in the nation knows.

“It is one of the genuine marks of servitude,” says Melville, citing the jurist Sir Edward Coke, “to have the law either concealed or precarious.” It is concealed if because of its perplexity and obscurity no one can truly obey it, and it is precarious if for the same reasons it must inevitably be applied according to the partial knowledge or the whim of the enforcers.

We need not confine ourselves to the legal. There is also the customary. Free men honor the good and wise, the benefactors of their nation. Slaves toady to the famous. Free men make their own entertainment. Servile men are content to consume it ready-made. Free men seek out the dangerous space, as Melville sought out the sea. Servile men demand the safe space, where they may suck their thumbs. Free men fight in the open. Servile men sneak about, bear tales, attack the weak like a pack of jackals, and couch their enmity in soft and seductive slogans. Free men raise their own children. Servile men submit their children to be raised by others. Free men take their pedigrees from almighty God. Servile men seek out means of establishing a factitious superiority over their peers or their betters: a diploma, a bank account, a big house, a title, a special status as favored victim.

“A man’s a man for a’ that,” sang the poet Robert Burns, with the soul of a democrat, and, if I understand the sentence correctly, I will agree. But nobody else agrees. George III was but a boy stealing a peach from your lunch by comparison with our plumed and puffed liberty-thieves and governors.

Melville, you should be alive at this time.

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Center for American Greatness • Great America

The Strange Case of ‘White Supremacy’

Any majority population must be careful not to revert to pre-civilized tribalism and oppressing minority groups. The United States, like every other country that enjoys diverse populations has struggled from its beginning to ensure equality, sometimes unsuccessfully, and only at the cost of thousands of lives.

While the United States was founded originally mostly by those of European ancestry and was plagued by the endemic racism of the age, especially in regard to African slaves and Native Americans, nonetheless its unique Constitution, embedded within a larger framework of the Western Enlightenment, institutionalized self-reflection and the chance for amendment. America’s founding documents were unique in their singular calls for innate and universal human freedom and equality under the law that would eventually and logically demand reification of such ideals.

In other words, in America there was a real chance to overcome not American sins per se, but the ancient sins of mankind in general.

The result is that more than 243 years after its independence, the current longest-lived democracy arguably is also the world’s most racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse nation and unmatched in its efforts to promote equality.

More exceptionally, the United States did not resort to a coercive political ideology such as Stalinist Communism to unite the diverse, or embrace an all-encompassing religious orthodoxy in the manner of the dramatic spread of Islam between the 8th and 16th centuries among widely disparate peoples.

Global Comparisons

No American can emigrate to China or Japan and expect to find full equality, given the emphases in those places on race and appearance. Mexico’s constitution has in the past formalized questions of racial essence as a requisite for immigration, given immigrants would be judged “according to their possibilities of contributing to national progress” and without upsetting “the equilibrium of the national demographics.”In most countries, there still remain at least informal gradations and castes predicated on superficial appearances.

Because of the unique success of post-Civil War America in avoiding a Bosnia, Rwanda, or Syria, and given the nation’s lofty pretensions from its very founding, Americans often demand perfection as a requisite for being good—without much cognizance of what still passes for normal in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Not being a race- or class-obsessed Saudi Arabia, India, or Mexico may be a low bar, but some economically developed countries, such as South Korea and Japan, remain mired in racialist orthodoxies.

Immigration Matters

There are concrete ways even in these troubled times to calibrate real American successes in mostly transcending race and religion. The United States is said to be a nation of 70 percent “white” people, at least to the extent in this age of intermarriage that such ossified rubrics mean much anymore. Yet America is the destination of most of the world’s immigrants.

Most estimates suggest new American immigrants range from 80 percent to 90 percent nonwhite, the vast majority from Mexico and Latin America, and Asia, and in particular Mexico, Central America, India, Southeast Asia, and China. Given the dominance of the American media worldwide, the influence of American movies and television, and the ubiquity of American pop culture, most immigrants have a fairly good idea of what life inside America is like.

Why, then, if we as a people are plagued from the outset by an incurable “white supremacy” and “white privilege,” would hundreds of thousands of nonwhite immigrants each year wish to enter such a dreadful place?

The one reason there are so many fake Jussie Smolletts or Covington psychodramas or Duke Lacrosse constructs or notions like microaggressions is that ubiquitous white supremacy has largely become a thing of the past.

The answer to why America appears attractive to newcomers is obvious: what global elites say and what non-elites do are two quite different things.

Certainly, one can damn in the abstract (whether for careerist purposes or from psychological angst) what one desires in the concrete. For all her expressed disappointment in America, U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) may well have violated U.S. tax and perhaps immigration law in an allegedly felonious effort to facilitate her brother’s entry into America—a fact that resonates far more than her often tired whines about her dissatisfaction with her adopted country.

In sum, millions over the last few decades would have avoided or been barred from entering the United States, as they have avoided immigrating into an exclusionary but prosperous China or Japan—had they believed America was a racist country dominated by overweening white privilege. Throughout history white supremacist societies—or any other supposedly racially defined nation—have not adopted de facto or de jure immigration policies that welcome immigrants who are 80-90 percent of a different race or ethnic background.

Identity Politics

In terms of politics, there is little evidence that white people vote primarily for white people. Barack Obama, for example, exceeded the white voter support of almost any prior Democratic candidate in the three decades leading up to his 2008 victory. His margin of support from white voters (43 percent) exceeded that of a white John Kerry (41 percent) four years prior. And he topped the totals of the white vote won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 (39 percent). In turn, currently, Joe Biden polls higher among black Democratic voters than does either Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) or Corey Booker (D-N.J.),  suggesting that aside from elite racial pyrotechnics, most Americans want to transcend race.

The odd fact about the spate of well-publicized “cultural appropriations,” both linguistic and cosmetic, is that it is often a phenomenon from white to nonwhite, an effort of an Elizabeth Warren or Ward Churchill to adopt a fraudulent minority identity. “Beto” O’Rourke was neither bequeathed an Irish nickname by his father nor found it useful to adopt a German one—largely because he knew in contemporary America inferences of a nonwhite identity were advantageous for a political career, in both Texas and on the national scene. A cynic, of course, would cite the career advantages that constructed diversity offers. But real racists in a culture of endemic white supremacy would not even consider abandoning their own tribe for that of another.

What are we to make of racially themed congressional caucuses, safe spaces, segregated dorms and theme houses, separate graduate ceremonies, and national lobbying groups such as the former National Council of La Raza (“the Race”)? Are they now routine tools of white supremacy? Are they just appropriations of prior white racist protocols, in a sort of well-deserved karma? Are these desperate attempts to keep suspicious white people away from the spaces deemed necessary for minority well-being?

We need some transcendent explanation, but the current reality is that such racially based distinctions to an outsider would seem to have more in common with those of the white population pre-1950 than of white Americans in 2019.

Current Racialist Leaders

All racist movements have leaders. America’s white majority has experienced such fringe racist demagogues who hoped to forge a common racial identity among enclaves of white Americans. More recently, the repellent David Duke’s Ku Klux Klan and macabre George Lincoln Rockwell’s American Nazi Party come to mind. Yet both men were 20th-century fizzles who never succeeded in making shared whiteness the common weld among diverse Protestants, Catholics, Republicans, Democrats, coastal elites and midwesterners, working poor and the rich, immigrants and native-born.

Today, alt-rightist Richard Spencer sees himself as a successor to white supremacists of the past. But he has no real national following, opposes Donald Trump, and finds his support mostly only on obscure websites and fringe survivalist groups that appeal to the unwell. True white supremacists are always outnumbered by their opponents at rallies, and have no creed that attracts any but the unhinged.

In contrast, the well-known anti-Semites and unapologetic racists of our media age are provocateurs like Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, and Rev. Jerimiah Wright. They in varying degrees have been sought out by progressive politicians—for support, endorsements and photo-ops.

In the present-day America of 2019 anti-Semitism usually emanates from people like “the squad” or the unapologetic racial bigotry of an Al Sharpton, prominent rappers, or Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Who has had more influence on a president—Reverend Jeremiah Wright or Richard Spencer?

Political considerations now overshadow racial ones and determine who or what is racist depending on political affiliations, not necessarily actual words or action.

Barack Obama correctly assumed that all of his incendiary rhetoric—the clingers speech, the “typical white person” riff on his grandmother, the defense of his former pastor and confidant, the anti-Semitic Wright (“Them Jews ain’t going to let him [Obama] talk to me”), the cheap braggadocio of getting “in their faces” and taking “a gun to a knife fight,” or Eric Holder’s “my people” would be seen either as mere rhetorical excesses, or now and then understandable emotional cries of the heart rather than sincere windows into a problematic soul.

Of course, there remain overt expressions of old-time racism by whites who exercise real political power. Here one thinks especially of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s observation of Obama as a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Or Vice President Joe Biden’s assessment of his soon-to-be running mate as the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” (On Thursday, gaffe-a-day Biden remarked, “Poor kids are just as bright as white kids.”) Or Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noting matter-of-factly how she “had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding of abortion.” Or presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who observed of her rival and future boss, “I found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”). Or Hillary’s husband, Bill, the “first black president,” who quipped, “A few years ago, this guy [Obama] would have been getting us coffee.”

Yet often our hypercritical progressive establishment, both minority and majority, argues that the above are either slips of the tongue, forgivable lapses, or politicized sound bites taken out of context.

The point again is that politics seem to adjudicate racial offenses. Political considerations now overshadow racial ones and determine who or what is racist depending on political affiliations, not necessarily actual words or action. Had any Republican said anything of the above (remember the “macaca” slur of U.S. Senator George Allen?), his career would likely be over.

Similarly, black conservatives such as Clarence Thomas have been the subject of vicious racial attacks by white liberals. But such invective is written off as politics trumping racial hatred, on the liberal premise that progressives who taunt or deride Thomas do so on political rather than racial grounds.

A Thing of the Past

In short, racial politics is a mess. The standards by which racial chauvinism either is deemed dangerous or regrettable and a mere aberration, are largely political.

Thousands of African-American male youths are murdered each year by other African-American young men in progressive cities, run by progressive governments, and usually amid strict gun-control laws—without charges that progressive politicians who impotently oversee such mass death zones are racist or condone racism. That few progressives in 2020 are currently running on platforms with concrete ideas about how to stop the urban slaughter—the great American tragedy of our age—should tell us that racially-driven outrage is largely politicized. A supposedly Alt-Right, massive white supremacy movement is not credibly blamed for the carnage of Baltimore, even by the most opportunistic leftists.

The one reason there are so many fake Jussie Smolletts or Covington psychodramas or Duke Lacrosse constructs or notions like microaggressions—or careers such as those of the clownish Al Sharpton (the anti-Semite, past purveyor of hatred, and tax-dodging racist)—is that ubiquitous white supremacy has largely become a thing of the past.

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Center for American Greatness • Great America • Post

White Supremacy: Like Manna to the Left

Since the world has not heard enough about “white supremacy” lately, I thought I would say a few words about this neglected subject.

Please don’t turn up your nose and say “but ‘white supremacy’ is just a malignant fiction, a fantasy conjured up by the Left in order to beat up on conservatives, Trump supporters, etc.”

This is true. “White supremacy” is in this respect like “climate change”: a bugbear, a horror tale utterly without substance but scary—Oooo so scary!—nonetheless. In Through the Looking Glass, Alice scoffs when the White Queen tells her that she is more than 100 years old. “I can’t believe that!” says Alice.

“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

The whole “white supremacy” meme is a bit like that. The number of real, honest-to-goodness, card-carrying, union-affiliated “white supremacists” is vanishingly small. They could be crowded into a middle-school gymnasium in a small town with room left over for the cheerleaders and a popcorn machine. The idea that white supremacists or the ideology of white supremacism represent a threat to American society is preposterous. Everyone knows this, the pathetic commentators on CNN and MSNBC just as much as the gesticulating clowns running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Yet they keep screaming about “white supremacism,” hoping, I believe, that if they keep repeating the mantra, their incantation will bring the longed-for object into being.

A Religious Fervor

Indeed, it is one of the signal ironies of the campaign against the phantasm denominated “white supremacism” that the people shouting the loudest against it say they abominate everything about white supremacism—“racism,” Donald Trump, etc.—when, in fact, they crave its advent with a fervency that makes St. Theresa look blasé.

You see this every time there is a public act of violence. When the news breaks you can discern a sharp intake of breath on the part of the Confraternity of Leftist Pundits. “Please Comrade God,” you can almost hear them pray, “Please let the perpetrator be a pasty-faced, Trump-voting, Christian white guy.”

Usually, it isn’t. But every now and then their prayers are answered, as they were, sort of, just recently when some wacko who doesn’t like Mexicans murdered 22 people in El Paso. Central Casting is going to have a hard time making the chap in question out to be a “white supremacist,” however, since he was just a mix of nasty congeries of bizarre ideas. But at least he was white. So was the Dayton, Ohio, shooter, who murdered nine people, but he had the misfortune to be a registered Democrat and avid Elizabeth Warren supporter and espoused various left-wing causes, so the less said about him, the better.

Pop quiz: who is James T. Hodgkinson? Can you say without Google’s help? Stumped?

He was the fellow who, in 2017, went to a congressional Republican baseball practice and shot five people, including Steve Scalise, a congressman from Louisiana, who nearly died. You don’t hear much about Jimbo because he was an avid Bernie Bro and Trump-hater. Doesn’t fit the narrative, you see, so (if I may invoke Lewis Carroll again) he has been transformed into a Cheshire cat creature, disappearing bit by bit from the public record.

From Two-Minutes to an Endless Loop of Hate

Here’s another irony about the whole “white supremacist” wheeze. The politicians and their mascots in the commentariat keep screaming about “hate,” but it takes but a moment for anyone to see that the vast majority of hatred is emanating from the supposed opponents of “white supremacism.” So it is that ready-made presidential candidate impersonator “Beto” O’Rourke compares Donald Trump’s campaign events to Nazi rallies or Joaquin Castro, manager of his brother Julián’s presidential campaign, publishes the names of Trump donors and invites the public to harass them.

Readers of Nineteen Eighty-Four will remember the daily ritual in which the inhabitants Oceania are required to watch a film depicting the hated Emmanuel Goldstein, enemy of the state. In Orwell’s novel, the hate-fest was only two minutes long, whereas the supposed anti-white supremacist fanatics have their propaganda on an endless loop.

Back in May, PJ Media’s Sarah Hoyt put her finger on what the rallies against “white supremacism” are really all about when she noted that “We Don’t Have a Problem with White Supremacy. We Have a Problem with Leftist Supremacy.” Bingo. “The left is obsessed with white supremacists,” Hoyt observed, “the way that children are obsessed with Santa Claus, and for more or less the same reasons.” Santa doesn’t exist, but the presents pile up every December 25 because the right people have a stake in perpetuating the myth of his existence.

Another curious feature of the hysteria over the made-up tort of white supremacism is that its very frenetic quality, instead of highlighting its disingenuousness and absurdity, tends instead to function as a sort of camouflage. Parsing the psychological dynamics of this phenomenon would doubtless take us into deep waters—I’m not at all sure I can explain it—but the Freudians would probably explain in terms of the idea of projection: concealing one’s own unpalatable impulses from oneself by attributing them to another.

Perpetuating the Noxious Myth

There are two reasons that anti-Trump ideologues love the fairy tale of white supremacism. One revolves around the word “white.” Incessantly repeating “white” helps to create a semantic nimbus of racialism. You don’t even need to accuse anyone of particular impermissible acts. All you need to do is utter their names in conjunction with the phrase “white supremacist” and little flecks of racial suspicion adhere to them like iron filings coating a magnet.

Donald Trump is quite right when he denies being racist. He has taken many positions on many issues over his career, but never has he displayed any racist attitudes. (The same can be said, by the way, about the spurious charge that he is anti-Semitic.) But the charge of white supremacism is so precious to anti-Trump stalwarts because it enables them to inject the smudgy ink of racism into a discussion where it is totally out of place. As American society becomes ever less racist, any possible shards of racialist thinking are gathered up like manna for grateful consumption by those who have a stake in perpetuating the noxious myth that America is a uniquely racist society.

The unstable edifice of racial accusation can be kept upright only by constant pressure, like those inflatable toy castles at children’s birthday parties. Turn off the machine pumping in the air and the plaything collapses in upon itself.

The acolytes of white supremacy—by whom I mean not the relatively few who actually espouse it, but the great many who claim to have uncovered it everywhere—are right that the motor of their heart’s desire is hatred, but once again the hatred resides not in the objects of their obloquy but rather in themselves. In this respect, they are unconscious followers of the Roman poet Martial. “Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere quare / Hoc tantum possum dicere: non amo te.” My unauthorized translation:

I do not like thee, Donald Trump.
Don’t ask me why, you have me stumped.
But this I know, you awful frump:
I do not like thee, Donald Trump.

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Center for American Greatness • Greatness Agenda • Post

Nationalism Is the Key Ingredient for Space Exploration

The United States once was the dominant nation in space. Today, America endures the embarrassment of losing that considerable lead in space to middling powers, such as India and Japan. The United States is also now threatened by the likes of China in the critical domain of space—a domain that was once our playground.

This is not because India, Japan, or China have some great technological advantage over us, although they are getting closer to parity.

Instead, it is because India, China, and Japan all have a high degree of national confidence instilled through nationalism. They are possessed of a will to catapult (in this case, both metaphorically and literally) their respective states to new heights. And since space is the ultimate high ground—the “undiscovered country,” to paraphrase both Shakespeare and Nicholas Meyer—it stands to reason that these powers will no longer allow for the United States to have unchallenged dominion of space.

Space Nationalism is Real
China, India, Japan, and several other nations now catching-up to the United States in space are not compelled to engage in the costly endeavor of space exploration and exploitation out of the airy notion of globalism. The leaders in New Delhi, Tokyo, and certainly Beijing care little for the betterment of humanity as such. Instead, they want a return for their nations on what they view as the substantial investment they have in space travel.

That is why these three states have all striven to develop their space mining capabilities. Nationalism provides the inspiration for these countries while the promise of greater wealth and power—over one another and their fellow nation-states—provides the justification for the high risks.

In his book Meta-Geopolitics of Outerspace, Nayef Al-Rodhan discusses “space nationalism” as an understanding that space is “seen as a yet unpossessed resource which is to be conquered and exploited by mankind.” Belying this view is the realist notion that, since the international system is inherently anarchic, competition among states for the conquest of space will define all aspects of human space programs, just as geopolitical competition among rival states encouraged previous ages of exploration. Yet, the space-nationalist school of thought appears nowhere in mainstream American space policy.

In fact, the utopian rhetoric of globalism is infused into U.S. space policy. And, this is likely why the United States has failed adequately to defend its vital satellite constellations in orbit; why it has neglected fully to develop space weapons; and why no American has been to the moon since 1972. It is also why it is unlikely that an American will make it to Mars any time soon.

On the other hand, the Chinese, Indians, and Japanese have all used the rhetoric of nationalism and the logic of realism to outline their objectives in space. What’s more, these three powers have crafted reasonable budgets to fund their tangible objectives in space, thus delivering their people clear victories in space.

The United States spends a lot of money on NASA. With a budget of $21.5 billion, the agency is the most lavishly funded national space program on the planet. Meanwhile, India has a national space budget of only $1.8 billion. Japan’s space agency, JAXA receives a paltry $1.63 billion. China is more secretive about its space program budget, but as the Chinese have developed from an impoverished, agrarian backwater into a competitive space power, they’ve done so at a fraction of NASA’s budget.

What accounts for this? How is it that Japan makes history by landing on an asteroid or China defies expectations by being the first country to make it to the fabled dark side of the moon and the more lavishly funded NASA can only take pretty pictures from the proverbial sidelines?

We have been told that more money equals greater success. Yet, this does not appear to be the case with NASA. In fact, increased funding appears to have bloated NASA and made it less effective. Rather than creating the next spaceship designed to take men to Mars or building mining colonies on the moon, NASA has built an intricate bureaucracy that has barely managed to place Americans into Earth orbit.

There’s Money To Be Made In Space Mining
China, India, and Japan have identified space mining as the next great industry. Neil de Grasse Tyson assesses that the world’s first trillionaire will come from the space mining sector. It’s not just space mining that will offer wealth and power to the country and/or corporations that next come to dominate space. Space tourism is also set to become a booming sector. So, too, is the satellite business which is already a lucrative industry today.

The energy sector stands to benefit also, as things like space-based solar power and even, potentially, Helium-3-fueled nuclear fusion become a reality. Other industries, such as biomedicine and computing, also could be catapulted to new heights of innovation as the growing human presence in space demands more out of these attendant sectors. It will be the countries that have invested early in the creation of the requisite infrastructure to support manned space missions that will disproportionately benefit from these developments.

The United States’ position in space is eroding at precisely the moment that it needs to be intensifying. It isn’t really a question of funding. It is a question of mission. And, the mission is established by the political system, which, in turn, is defined by the culture. If a culture is healthy, it will take bold risks to propel itself beyond its fellow nation-states. Nationalism and the promise of a lucrative return on investment compels nations to engage in risky behavior, such as space exploration. After decades of Leftist “cultural revolution,” who among us seriously believes that America’s culture is healthy enough to challenge the far more muscular cultures of India, China, and Japan?

America must find its cultural mojo again, or it will lose out in the great competition for cosmic conquest to countries possessed of a stronger sense of who they are and why they deserve to succeed. America once had such a culture, but no more.

But, hey, NASA has invested heavily in “Muslim outreach” as a priority in recent years and has also vowed to do whatever it takes to ensure that it places the first woman on the moon.

Perhaps we’ve already lost.

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Books & Culture • Center for American Greatness • Post

Hollywood Satirizes Itself with ‘The Hunt’

The Hunt” is billed as a satire wherein rich liberal elitists have created their own game ranch for hunting “deplorables,” i.e. Trump supporters. It is a time-worn premise based upon Richard Connell’s 1924 short story, “The Most Dangerous Game,” which also led to a 1932 movie of the same title. (Horrifically, there was also a real-life instance of such barbaric cruelty by the Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen.)

Now, before you waste your breath carping about how progressives would feel about a movie depicting rich Trump supporters hunting progressives, remind yourself that Hollywood would call that a documentary. Besides, Hollywood would never, ever, permit an avowedly conservative film to be made—period, end of story. 

The good news, however, is that no conservative would be deranged enough to script such tawdry drivel, let alone ask for millions of dollars to spew such vile, divisive dreck for Americans’ collective consumption.

“The Hunt” is yet to be released, and its initial ad blitz has been paused in light of the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. In Brian Flood’s Fox News report, a Universal Pictures flack said: “Out of sensitivity to the attention on the country’s recent shooting tragedies, Universal Pictures and the filmmakers of ‘The Hunt’ have temporarily paused its marketing campaign and are reviewing materials as we move forward.”

Hollywood holds that such controversy regarding a pending motion picture is good for business. And, while there may be some half-hearted internal debate as to the way forward at Universal Studios, which greenlit the flick, as the flack makes clear, in lefty la-la land the show will go on because there’s money to be made. 

Or at least recouped. Per The Hollywood Reporter’s Kim Masters and Tatiana Siegel:

“The Hunt” made some executives at Universal skittish back in May 2018, when film chief Donna Langley acquired the script and fast-tracked it at a modest $18 million budget. It is unclear whether there were any other bidders on the property, the sale of which was brokered by CAA, but insiders at several studios told THR at the time that they did not pursue it because of the explosive premise. One executive says he didn’t even read the script, noting, “The idea seemed crazy.”

While it is nice to know one ostensibly sane person still works for a Hollywood studio, his opinion held no sway, which is good news for “The Hunt’s” producer Jason Blum and his company, Blumhouse; filmmaker Craig Zobel; script from Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse; and stars Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, and a host of others . . .  

Including you.

“How so,” you ask? Didn’t Brian Flood quote Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor as saying, “this certainly shows Hollywood for what it really is—demented and evil.” Didn’t Flood also gets a similar review from political satirist Tim Young: “‘The Hunt’ is sick and shows just how hateful the left has become.” And didn’t Flood note how DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall believes the film “says something sad about the state of the ‘entertainment’ industry that this movie ever got conceived and produced. Hollywood clearly thinks it is OK to stereotype so-called deplorables and set them up for a hunt.”

Hollywood does, indeed, which makes “The Hunt” Hollywood’s unwitting satire of itself.

Let us start with the premise. In Connell’s short story, the big game hunter became the hunted. In the R-rated “The Hunt,” the filmmakers are using the same ironic device: the gun-toting, bigoted, bloodthirsty deplorables are getting a dose of their own lethal medicine. This conflates two of the Left’s favorite delusions: their prejudiced imagining of Trump supporters—indeed, all non-leftists; and their false claim that most, if not all, political violence is perpetrated by said Trump supporters. Thus does this exercise in cinematic exploitation provide valuable insight into the Hollywood progressives’ patent paranoia and bigoted ignorance of half their fellow Americans.

This premise also once more proves the aphorism that the Left accuses its opponents of what the Left is doing. The film’s original title, which was changed in slightly less time than a New York Times headline, was “Red State vs. Blue State.” Yes, while conservatives are being kidnapped and hunted for homicidal thrills by rich progressives, by listing them first the original title subtly implies the red state is the aggressor, which is doubtless how the film’s creators view the present political situation.

Beyond the premise, enough of “The Hunt” has seeped into the public realm that one need not be a movie star’s life coach to glean other insights into Hollywood’s head. The Hollywood Reporter highlighted this witty banter between two progressive murderers (a.k.a., “hunters”):

Progressive Hunter No. 1: “Did anyone see what our ratfucker-in-chief just did?”

Progressive Hunter No. 2: “At least The Hunt’s coming up. Nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables.”

Hollywood’s message to its fellow progressives is that they will survive and thrive after they end the Era of Trump. 

And, as the last two-plus years have proven, the Left feels entitled to end the Trump era by any means necessary because Orange Man Bad. Chillingly, a progressive character “justifies” their killing spree of deplorables with an au courant leftist canard: “We pay for everything, so this country belongs to us.” As a fiscal (and moral) matter, this argument is intellectually bankrupt. This claim is indicative of how the Left rationalizes its entitlement to behave badly, including violently; and it is no surprise coming from Hollywood’s rife with riches progressives who are oblivious as to how the rest of the country actually lives, works, produces, and is taxed.

For those of us in the rest of the country, here’s a snippet of the operative logic Hollywood and other progressives would use to “fundamentally” transform America post-Trump. 

The murderous progressives, notes The Hollywood Reporter, “picked their targets because they expressed anti-choice positions or used the N-word on Twitter. ‘War is war,’ says one character after shoving a stiletto heel through the eye of a denim-clad hillbilly.”

That’s right: “The Hunt” claims it is equally vile to be pro-life as it is to be racist. Anyone who’s defended the unborn and the sanctity of life—really, every person not aligned with the Left’s civil religion—should prepare to be doxxed, drawn, and quartered in the public square—in other words, hunted and silenced.

Long before then—September 27, to be precise—“The Hunt” arrives in theaters. Though again, per THR, some in Hollywood believe “in light of the horrific [recent shootings], is this not the most craven, irresponsible, dangerous exploitation?” To the big shots at Universal, this translates into box office gold: “[‘The Hunt’] is meant to show what a stupid, crazy world we live in. It might even be more powerful now.”

Ah, the true bottom line of Hollywood’s progressives, who decry mass violence while pimping celluloid carnage. But how enriching for Universal and its filmmakers to release this half-baked progressive phantasmagoria of butchering deplorables? As THR muses, all of the controversy’s free publicity and the expected glowing reviews by progressive critics and “woke” theatergoers might not ensure a box office boon:

The satire “Assassination Nation,” which also pitted the woke versus the unwoke in uber-violent fashion, represented the top sale at Sundance 2018 at $10 million. But the film fizzled upon its release later that year, earning just $2 million with no international rollout. Says one person involved with that film, “We thought people would get the joke.”

Hollywood still doesn’t get the joke is on them.

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Center for American Greatness • Great America • Post

A Red Flag Law Won’t Prevent Another Massacre

Yes, America has a problem.

And no, red flag laws will not stop the next mass shooting.

Nor is “mental health” the heart of the matter.

I am an American by choice. My pride in being an American today is a function in part of choosing to be a citizen of the freest and greatest nation the world has ever seen, and although I may not have been born or raised in America, I am familiar with our history and our cultural heritage.

As a result I know that not too long ago, in living memory, gun culture so universally permeated American society that it would be totally normal for young boys to bring their .22-caliber rifles or single-barreled shotguns to school with them, keep them in their lockers, and use them on the way home to bag small game—even in California, one of the most anti-Second Amendment states in the nation today.

Yet children didn’t open fire upon one another in the corridors during recess or compile “murder lists” with the names of classmates they wished to kill. So the presence of guns per se is a red herring and tells us nothing. Not to mention the fact that you can kill far more people than either the Dayton or the El Paso murderers combined simply by stealing a truck—in one case, more than 80 innocent people in less than two minutes—without one large-capacity magazine.

But there is a pattern in recent mass casualty events in America. And Tucker Carlson is spot on. It has nothing to do with “white supremacy” or even with race. Yes, the majority of these crimes are committed by young white males. But not all. In fact, 18 percent of all recent mass shootings were committed by African Americans, a percentage that exceeds that demographic’s representative size within the U.S. population. Yet we don’t blame their ethnic identity for the deaths that result. And we shouldn’t.

But there is a pattern.

In every recent case of a mass shooting in America, in addition to frequent interactions with mental health professionals, the killer has had multiple negative interactions with the authorities and with the administrations of the school they were or had been attending. Incredibly, the Parkland shooter had more than 40 run-ins with the local police over the span of just a few years. More than 40. But nothing happened. Incredibly, the Dayton killer, when it was found in high school that he had a list of fellow students he wanted either to kill or rape, was merely suspended for one semester.

So what does this mean? Surely a red flag law seems a reasonable answer? Wrong.

The idea that private individuals who work with you or live next to you, or social media companies monitoring your posts and your communications should be able to initiate government action against you, to include law enforcement taking away your ability to exercise your Second Amendment rights and curtail your capacity effectively to protect yourself, is utterly Orwellian. It is reminiscent of the culture behind the wrong side of the Iron Curtain when children were encouraged to betray their family members to the authorities should they say something wrong.

Remember, we are living in an age when Google calls Jewish Americans “Nazis” in their internal emails before censoring them, an age where Democrat politicians are comfortable publically intimidating presidential donors and doxxing both them and their employers just because they disagree with their politics.

The idea that any red flag law, however well meaning, will not be abused in an era when the Left cries “Stab the motherf—er in the heart!” outside the home of the convalescing Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, or uses mob tactics outside the home of a leading conservative celebrity so as to intimidate his stranded wife, is not only foolish, it is dangerous.

No, the president must say “No” to any “red flag” law proposals.

But there is something he can do right now to prevent the next shooting in America.

Every such incident has involved massive failures by local authorities and the police. We need these officials, school boards, mayors, commissioners, and sheriffs to start protecting us all and the only way to do that is to make them feel the heat. President Trump should have his team draft a simple one-page bill today that would change everything. After Parkland, after Gilroy, after Dayton, after El Paso, we need a law that will make all local municipalities, school authorities, and police authorities criminally and financially liable for the deaths that they could have prevented if they had taken action when the multiple indications of an unstable and dangerous young man were ignored.

In this way the president would send a very clear message: I will not infringe on anyone’s right to defend themselves, I will not give the power to rob citizens of their Second Amendment rights to unseen and unaccountable forces, but I will not permit those who are responsible for preventing the next massacre from betraying that sacred trust.

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Center for American Greatness • Post

Don’t Augment Evil

French philosopher Simone Weil in the 1930s wrote: “Never react to an evil in such a way as to augment it.” In recent days, the United States has endured yet another spasm of senseless violence, this time in El Paso, Texas and in Dayton, Ohio. The two young men who conducted these mass casualty attacks were evil, plain and simple. Yet, to listen to the media, one would think the shooters were motivated solely by politics. And, depending on your own political proclivities, you’ve got your choice of narrative to pick from this time around, since one shooter appears to have been right wing and the other a confirmed leftist.

If neither of those narratives works for you, you can always cling to the even more simplistic notion that both shooters were just the most recent victims of some kind of mental health crisis.

Each of these simple explanations is wrong. In fact, as legendary physicist Neil de Grasse Tyson pointed out, gun-related deaths are not even a leading cause of death in the United States today. Though it’s true that mental health and our system of dealing with mental health in the United States has declined over at least the last 30 years, that decline is not to blame for the recent spate of mass shootings. After all, if declining mental health were the principal cause, why aren’t we seeing even more mass shootings than we’ve already experienced?

Contrary to the narratives, the two young men who shot their way to infamy in Texas and Ohio did not act out of any discernible political motivation. Yes, they had political opinions and expressed them on social media. But, that does not explain why they did what they did. Nor did they commit their heinous crimes because they were crazy.

Put simply, these two young men were evil. Yes, evil. Because of their actions, two small, quiet American communities have been upended; 22 people in El Paso are dead and at least nine innocent people are dead in Dayton—including the shooter’s own sister.

Why are we so hard-pressed in America today to recognize that evil exists, or that there is often little besides standing strong to be done about it? Good people do and will suffer because of evil. The men who conducted these attacks should be punished severely. That is why we are supposed to have the rule of law in this country. What we cannot do is allow the perpetrators of these evil acts to be absolved by engaging in a game of blaming each other—and ourselves—for their crimes.

In this regard, Simone Weil’s admonishment from 1933 is as true now as it was then. As a society, we should do nothing that augments and amplifies the evil acts that have been perpetrated in El Paso and Dayton. But that is precisely what we Americans have been doing in recent decades after every one of these atrocities. Neither the American people, nor gun laws, nor video games, nor mental health policy, nor political opinions, nor President Trump, nor Elizabeth Warren is responsible for these crimes.

Instead of being honest about this, our political elites are eager to use the events to score points. Reject answers that are too easy to be good.

Time to ban guns, says Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican. As a former Navy SEAL who has seen combat, he should know that evil exists. A jihadi armed with an IED assembled out of basic home goods is as effective in killing innocent people as a young adult in El Paso or Dayton, armed with a gun. It’s the evil, not the guns.

After 9/11 the political class warned us against disrupting our lifestyles. We were prompted to continue buying things and living our lives as though nothing had happened. Why? Because evil only prevails when the good and innocent people of the world change their behavior to better comport with the demands of evil. Now, these same elites blame everyone but the attackers for the recent bloodshed and insist that everyone change their way of life to prevent future acts of evil.

Of course, our political elite are so blinkered by their progressivism that they are incapable of ascribing evil to anything other than the Right. The two shooters could not have done what they did simply because they felt like being bad or sowing chaos. Oh, no! There is a larger, political reason and a policy must be enacted to correct it.

We used to overcome evil with strength and stoicism. Now we embrace it with our false sense of understanding and our endless, political self-flagellation. No law or executive order can change human nature. This is something the utopian Left has never learned. They still labor under the delusion that man is a perfectible creature. He is not. And we all suffer because of that delusion.

Man’s nature is flawed but it is fixed, as Adam Smith said. Anyone who believes otherwise will do exactly what Simone Weil begged us not to do: react to an evil in such a way as to augment it.

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Center for American Greatness • Elections • Post

When False Gods Ring Hollow

Sadly, but predictably, in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, many on the Left have resorted yet again to over-the-top rhetoric about gun control, white supremacy, and racism—screaming and pointing the finger at everyone but themselves. There is a real problem with that kind of rhetoric. It means we can’t have honest conversations about what’s taking place and, what’s worse, it’s an indication that many don’t want to have those conversations.

Democrats, especially the candidates for the 2020 presidential nomination, want to score political points by laying the blame for these atrocities entirely at the feet of Donald Trump. They forget Sandy Hook and Fort Hood. They forget Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) nearly bleeding out on a baseball diamond in Northern Virginia, the victim of a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter. Add to this a mainstream media so biased and so agenda-driven that they don’t do honest reporting and instead wave the bloody shirt for ratings and virtue signaling.

Democrats and the mainstream media in effect have decided the only subject worth discussing in the face of these horrors is the banning and confiscation of guns. Only this can stop these shootings and anyone who disagrees with them must be a white supremacist because support for President Trump or support for securing the border which, in their minds, is synonymous with white nationalism born and bred in hate. These are irrational and incoherent views driven not by a real desire to find solutions, but to browbeat and compel those who disagree with them to capitulate.

Of course, that’s not going to happen.

No rational person thinks the 100 million or so Americans who own the 300 million to 400 million legal guns in America are magically just going to hand them over or allow them to be confiscated. This flies in the face of Second Amendment rights, but also the basic premise for that amendment: it’s not about a well regulated militia, but the ability for armed resistance in the defense of natural rights against oppressive threats both foreign and domestic.

But even if for some strange reason Americans acquiesced to Australian-style gun laws in this country, it would do nothing to address the estimated 100 million illegal guns in the United States.

As for racism or white supremacy, the Left uses identity politics as a cudgel against people who disagree with them. But it is hardly racist or white supremacy to believe in borders and national sovereignty.

If there is a point where the rhetoric cools and rational minds on both sides of the aisle actually want to discuss solutions that would apply in the real world, there are a variety of topics to discuss, including taking a strong look at mental health laws.

We need a much deeper conversation about why these shootings are taking place—the kind of conversation that doesn’t lend itself easily to clichés and superficial cable talk show banter. This conversation will be a much harder one to have because it is not a simple political fix. It would require people to ask themselves hard questions about what they believe and about what is taking place in our society and culture; things that have been taking place for quite some time.

We’ve raised generations in what amounts to a culture steeped in nihilism. They’ve been taught they are the products of chance without eternal meaning, that there is no higher power, no immortal soul, that this world is all there is.

But this flies in the face of who we are as human beings. We are all spiritual creatures whether we choose to accept that or not. We are all, in fact, religious people, people of faith. Some will of course reject that, but the fact is every last person has a belief set, a faith set of what he or she actually believes. Call it a set of presuppositions and biases through which we view the world around us and decide what is right and wrong and how we are to live our lives.

What happens when someone comes to think that his belief set is really just a false construct? When he or she “realizes” that a life is based on really nothing more than a finite set of beliefs that have been constructed to assuage and sooth but are really nothing more than an attempt to deny reality?

The spiritual being cannot be fulfilled by the temporal yet people reject the idea of a God who created us and instead try to fill this spiritual void with all sorts of finite things; false gods if you will, whether they be money or power or satisfying base physical desires.

But what happens when those are found meaningless? What happens when the false gods are tested and found to ring hollow? What happens when someone believes that he or she is truly, desperately alone in this vast universe?

Emptiness. Hopelessness. Isolation. Rage.

By unmooring ourselves from Imago Dei, that we are created in the image of God and that He gave us immortal souls and there is a life to come, we have resigned ourselves to nihilism. But this isn’t simply me advocating on behalf of my Judeo-Christian beliefs. It’s about something much broader; for most of the history of western civilization most people believed in this way regarding the higher law and human dignity out of which came our societal norms. But as the number of people who believe it has diminished, we’ve brought chaos into society.

So why on earth should be surprised at what is taking place? We’re breeding hopelessness and rage and we wonder why we see it manifested in extreme acts of violence. Add to that the increasing ostracizing of young men from society, especially young white men. Unmoored from eternal meaning, degraded and ostracized, filled with hopelessness and rage, the question should not be why. It’s apparent.

The question should be how many more young men will come to these conclusions—and what happens then? We sowed the wind many years ago and now we’re reaping the whirlwind. So while there are issues that should be addressed in the short term—like strengthening our mental health care system—policy tinkering is not going to fix it. We would do well as a society to demand a serious and thorough examination of who we are and what we actually believe and what is the end result of this belief system.

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Center for American Greatness • First Principles • Post

Igniting Civil War

Government sponsorship of violence against opponents or complacency in the face of incitement to violence is a powerful tool of political repression. Regimes such as Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Nicaragua, China, and other tyrannies have used such tactics to great effect. When mobs attack anti-government demonstrators, for example, the police either disappear or stand by watching. In American cities run by Democrats and on the U.S. college and university campuses, the authorities increasingly have been standing by as radicals do the dirty work of beating up or silencing conservatives.

In societies riven by mutual hate, the people who control the police and public communications make all the difference. When they maintain impartiality, as did Germany’s Weimar government while the Nazis and Communists struggled for primacy, partisan warfare tends to be resolved politically—though the results are harsh. When societal hatred or the partiality of authorities results in deaths, long-smoldering cold civil war can blaze into holocaust.

We Americans are now facing the danger of a civil war thus ignited. We do not think of civil war this way because our Civil War from 1861 to 1865 was less a conflict within society than it was a highly organized war between states. That war notwithstanding, personal friendships and mutual esteem persisted on both sides, such as that between Ulysses S. Grant and prominent Confederate General James Longstreet.

What we face now is worse.

What’s Typical in Civil Wars?
Classic civil wars, from Thucydides’ account of the Corcyrean revolution of 431 B.C. to the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, tend to be far more bitterly murderous than anything that has yet happened in America. These wars ignite when public power abets—or is perceived as having abetted—violence in longstanding social struggles, when authorities treat opponents as outside the protection of the laws, or when they criminalize political differences outright.

The authorities also bear most of the responsibility for piling up and drying the partisan fuel that they then ignite. Thucydides tells us that the Corcyrean parties’ adherence to the Peloponnesian War’s opposing sides simply sharpened their long simmering conflict. It mattered little which of the two first refused to accept losing a vote in the city assembly and accused the winners of improprieties. Reciprocally, they heated their cold civil war until one side shed blood. The spiral of violence then accelerated, and the city essentially depopulated itself.

In 1920s Spain, the newly formed Communist Party, the socialists, anarchists, and various regional separatists spurred each other’s hostility toward the country’s Catholic, royalist population. Where the Left won local elections in May 1931, mobs of its supporters ravaged churches, raped nuns, and beat conservatives with impunity. As leftist violence spread to the rest of the country after the June national elections, conservative localities retaliated, and the army began to plot against the republic.

The Spanish government turned conservative in 1934. That led to the “popular front” alliance, consisting primarily of radicals, which narrowly won the 1936 elections. In the aftermath, a militant leftist squad leader was killed. As the police searched for the killer, one of their entourage murdered the country’s leading conservative politician, Jose Calvo Sotelo. The army struck back. The atrocities committed by ordinary people on ordinary people dwarfed the armies’ horrors. “Viva la muerte,” long live death, is the ensuing war’s most memorable saying.

Suborning Violence
It all starts with getting people accustomed to hating each other. And that starts at the top.

Saying hateful things about one’s opponents is a time-tested way of stoking supporters’ enthusiasm, of building support for one’s own side. But when blood is spilled, someone, then everyone else, tends to use it as a pretext for inciting more violence. That’s the meaning of blood-feud.

The story of the contemporary American Left’s sponsorship of hate and violence begins around 1964, when the Democratic Party chose to abandon the Southern constituencies that had been its mainstay since the time of Jefferson and Jackson. In less than a decade, the party found itself increasingly dependent on gaining super-majorities among blacks, upscale liberals, and constituencies of resentment in general—and hence on stoking their hate.

For the past half century, America’s political history has been driven by the Democratic Party’s effort to fire up these constituencies by denigrating the rest of America. As elements of cynical calculation melded into self-images of righteous entitlement to rule inferiors, the boundaries between the party and the constituencies’ most radical parts have eroded.

In the 21st century’s second decade, explicit statements by the party’s principal figures—President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to name only a few—have led their epigones in power as well as millions of followers to think and act as if conservatives were simply on a lower level of humanity, and should have their faces rubbed in their own inferiority. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo simply declared that pro-lifers and other conservatives have no place in his state.

As the media amplified and cheered such guidance from on high, it would be surprising if many ordinary followers have not concluded that harassing if not harming conservatives in restaurants, airports, as well as in their public functions is not just permissible but praiseworthy, and if thousands of persons who exercise power over cities, towns and schools have not concluded that facilitating such harassment and harm is their duty.

Police in leftist jurisdictions have stood aside as violent groups disrupted the 2016 Republican presidential campaign and the 2017 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., as racial mobs have ravaged malls and shut down major roads, as conservatives have been attacked physically as they tried to speak or merely observed. The media have basically justified the violence. The other side has done nothing comparable—yet.

But since the ruling class’s condemnations of conservatives as racists, environmental criminals, and would-be terrorists are becoming well-nigh universal, the probability of deadly attacks on conservatives, of intolerable convictions or absolutions, and assassinations, rises to certainty. So does corresponding demand for protection and revenge.

It would be surprising were political words from on high not to be among the factors that trigger mentally ill persons to act out their fantasies. Although the number of mass shootings in America has declined in recent decades, the role of politics in the killers’ derangement seems to have increased. In the closest call yet, a few months after the 2017 inaugural, a Democratic Party activist who had supported Bernie Sanders and regularly posted violent rants against President Trump on social media opened fire on Republican congressmen practicing for a baseball game, nearly killing Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.). The ruling class rushed to exonerate itself.

The ruling class’s provocative bias has been on display subsequent to the most recent outrages by mental cases—22 killed in El Paso, Texas, and nine in Dayton, Ohio—the first by someone who mixed anti-immigration rantings with radical environmentalism, the second by a purebred leftist. The bodies were still warm as Democratic presidential candidates vied to indict President Trump, his supporters and, yes, white men in general, for membership in (nonexistent) murderous white supremacist organizations. The fact that many of the denouncers are white men only underlined their short-term political calculations. The congressman representing El Paso and its sheriff told President Trump to stay out of their city. Dayton’s mayor said the same thing. Who can enforce dicta of that sort?

What should happen, what can happen, when the real, existing violent organizations of the Left—Antifa and the several radical black organizations—try to exclude or to punish? Several cities—Portland, Oregon and Charlottesville, Virginia among them—have had their streets taken over. What happens when these organizations organize mobs to harass their least favorite people? What happens when some of them wind up dead?

At a certain point, the other side shoots back. Here as elsewhere, the several police forces may be expected to split and take opposite sides. Then the army’s special forces become the arbiters, and the war rages.

We know that our ruling class having largely made government into a partisan thing, America has crossed the threshold of revolution. While we have no way of knowing what lies ahead, we know that the spiral of political violence has already taken its first fateful turns, and that the logic of our partisan ruling class is pushing for more.

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Center for American Greatness • Great America • Post

Democratic Corruption, Not Racism, Ruined Baltimore

President Trump was absolutely right to suggest Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) spend more time in his home district in Maryland, which includes most of Baltimore. What credibility can Cummings have as chairman of a congressional oversight committee when his own city, Baltimore, is corrupt, crime ridden, and a testament to failed Democratic governance and failed oversight?

Where was Cummings, during his 23 years (and counting) as a congressman, as Baltimore became one of the most dangerous cities in America? And rather than launching a tweetstorm of commentary (mostly retweets, actually) accusing President Trump of racism, why doesn’t Cummings admit that Democratic politicians have failed Baltimore?

The mainstream press agrees with the president, whether or not they choose to admit it now: Only four months ago, the liberal New York Times ran an in-depth feature headlined, “The Tragedy of Baltimore.” Among the facts cited in the article was this gem:

In 2017, it [Baltimore] recorded 342 murders—its highest per-capita rate ever, more than double Chicago’s, far higher than any other city of 500,000 or more residents and, astonishingly, a larger absolute number of killings than in New York, a city 14 times as populous.

One may wonder if the editors of what is arguably the most reputable liberal news source on the planet are regretting their decision to publish an article that confirms President Trump’s recent characterization of Baltimore.

Where the New York Times documents out-of-control crime in Baltimore, the reliably liberal documents corruption, as does mainstream Bethesda Magazine.

And while Townhall may not be a bastion of liberal reportage, the site just published what is nonetheless a scrupulously well-sourced column that even verifies Trump’s most incendiary tweet which made use of the supposed code word “infestation.” The title speaks for itself, “Yes, Baltimore Is ‘A Disgusting, Rat And Rodent Infested Mess’.”

Quoting the liberal Baltimore Sun on July 29, Cummings accused President Trump of “exploiting racism for their [his] own gain.” This, like so many liberal accusations, is a deliberate inversion of reality. The sad truth is that for over 40 years, Democrats have used the issue of race, and accusations of racism, as a weapon to silence critics.

Here’s the reality that “King Elijah”—a fitting nickname, given his membership in a liberal elite that has run America’s inner cities like an aristocracy—expects us to ignore: Since the mid 1960s, Democratic policies have done far more to harm African Americans than white racism.

In at least three critical areas—welfare, education, and law enforcement—liberal policies have destroyed opportunities for African Americans.

Welfare has destroyed the African American family, by taking away the incentives for fathers to stay with the mothers of their children. Only one-third of African American children are now living in a home with both parents. In 1960, over two-thirds of African American children were being raised by a married couple.

Decades of being dominated by liberal labor unions has grossly undermined the quality of public education. A telling example is found in this mesmerizing testimony in the 2014 Vergara case, which demonstrated that union work rules affecting teacher tenure, layoff, and dismissal policies had a disproportionately negative impact on disadvantaged communities.

As for law enforcement, the New York Times reported in March that corruption, along with capitulation to misguided activists, has led to an explosion of crime in Baltimore. There is no end in sight.

King Elijah, along with the rest of the Democratic Party, are explicitly to blame for the destruction of the family, failed public education, and rampant crime that plague African Americans in Baltimore and other major cities.

If King Elijah truly cared about his constituents, he would call for a complete overhaul of welfare policies that provide benefits without sufficient preconditions, he would call for the abolition of teachers unions, and he would support the type of broken windows policing that rescued New York City.

Don’t hold your breath.

Almost lost in the media frenzy over President Trump’s alleged racist tweets—and the press has stopped even bothering to apply the term “alleged” in its “reporting”—is the fact that Trump’s criticism of governance in Baltimore was prompted by comments made by Kimberly Klacik of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, who is herself African American!

It’s inspiring to see growing ranks of African American conservatives who are willing to stand up to the Democratic aristocracy. King Elijah’s preference—and Klacik’s transgression—was best expressed by one of his partners in the Democratic race hustle, Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who said, “Democrats don’t need any more black faces that don’t want to be a black voice.”

It’s also inspiring to see more white Americans, starting with President Trump, who are willing to do more than just, as the Democrats would have it, “know your place,” “shut the f–k up,” or be a “better ally.” Because the people who are telling white conservatives to know their place, shut the f–k up, and be a “better ally” are the people who are the racists. They are the ones who have inflicted grievous harm on African Americans.

Not only are Democrats the true racists, but in this walk away era, Democrats have gone a step further—they are increasingly dominated by die-hard socialists, extreme environmentalists, and corporate globalists who, unchecked, will take away American prosperity, American freedom, and American sovereignty. The hard currency of their politics is stoking racial resentment. It works.

Democrats today manage to capture around 90 percent of the African American vote, and they’ve managed to convince roughly two-thirds of other “people of color” also to vote for Democrats. The Democrats’ divisive message of racial resentment is convincing a supermajority of swing voters to support an extreme agenda that is not just going to ruin the lives of the “disadvantaged,” it’s going to destroy America.

Facing this, white Americans are supposed to be silent? Not a chance.

Americans of all ethnicities need to band together and reach out to communities that to-date are hoodwinked by the Democratic aristocracy. Perhaps Kimberly Klacik should consider challenging King Elijah in November 2020. Her victory would shock the pundits even more than that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). For that matter, where is the Republican “squad” in Congress?

The potential for practical alternative policies to garner the support of America’s inner city voters, ending decades of racist Democratic exploitation, is huge indeed. King Elijah, and all the other kings in all the other fiefdoms in this land, could be dethroned at any time. And all the accusations of racism in the world will not save them.

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Center for American Greatness • Featured Article • Great America

The Dream Team Loses to the Nobodies

When figurehead Robert Mueller likely allowed Andrew Weissman to form his special counsel team to investigate so-called charges of Russian collusion involving Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Kremlin, Washington elites became bouncy. The high-profile legal “powerhouse” lineup immediately looked like a sure-thing—an elite slaughter of the yokels.

As they perused the résumés of the New York and Washington prosecutors, and the Wilmer-Hale veterans, reporters were ecstatic that the supposedly straight-shooting Republican Mueller had turned his investigation into what the media soon boasted was a progressive “dream team” of “all-stars,” a veritable “hunter-killer team” of get-Trump professionals. One would have thought mere names and credentials win indictments, regardless of the evidence.

The subtext was that Trump had all but met his Waterloo. Indictments for conspiracy, obstruction, and worse yet inevitably would follow, until Trump either resigned in disgrace or was impeached. The media counterparts of the dream-team on MSNBC and CNN would make short work of the rubes. On air law professors and legal analysts who knew “Bob” Mueller (the same ones who assured us that “Jim” Comey was a “straight-shooter”), after all, swore this would be true.

Almost all the all-stars were not just liberal but “correct” as well. Many were either Clinton donors; a few in the past had defended either Clinton aides or the Clinton foundation. Many also had been tagged as Department of Justice future superstars. Their tony degrees seemed designed to spell the doom of the buffoon Trump.

Wired immediately boasted of Mueller’s team, “From the list of hires, it’s clear, in fact, that Mueller is recruiting perhaps the most high-powered and experienced team of investigators ever assembled by the Justice Department.” If “high-powered” seemed the signature adjective, then “ever assembled” was supposed to sound downright scary.

A Vox headline on August 2, 2017 summed up the progressive giddiness of the time: “Meet the all-star legal team who may take down Trump.” The subtitle offered more snark: “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team is full of pros. Trump’s team makes typos.” Get it? Young-gun pros against the so-sos.

So, whom exactly did Trump enlist against the all-stars?

An NPR editorialist in June 2017 condescendingly tried to explain Trump’s hapless plight: “If you asked a Washington insider to come up with a legal dream team for a situation like this, it’s highly unlikely this is who they would come up with. But President Trump came into office as an outsider and continues to operate that way, and in a way his legal team is a reflection of that as well.”

What is “this” and who exactly is “who”?

Trump’s Team: Not a Harvard Law Degree in Sight

The 75-year-old Rudy Giuliani who appeared in seemingly nonstop television appearances was said to have lost a step and to have confused punditry with jurisprudence. He was joined by 69-year-old Ty Cobb, an oddly named, rotund eccentric looking barrister with a handlebar mustache—almost a caricatured contrast with the suave, cool, and much younger Mueller head honcho, Andrew Weissmann.

John Dowd, a 78-year-old lawyer with degrees from Southern Benedictine College and Emory, seemed a slow-talking, septuagenarian who looked and acted his age. Few then imagined Dowd would eventually play something akin to the Wilfred Brimley closer role in Absence of Malice.

Sixty-three-year old TV and radio host Jay Sekulow, a frequent Christian Broadcast Network and Fox News Channel commentator, a Christian convert and Messianic Jew, with degrees from Mercer and Regent universities, and past chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, rounded out the original team—and, of course, he was snidely ridiculed as a media operator who would be chewed up when he finally went mano-a-mano with Weissmann’s killers. My God, Sekulow (Mercer and Regent) up against Weissmann (Princeton and Columbia)!

The final insult to the swamp was when Trump in autumn 2018 brought in the husband and wife team of Jane and Martin Raskin as replacements and additions. The Washington Post headline could only tsk-tsk: “Trump needed new lawyers for Russia probe. He found them at a tiny Florida firm.” “Found them” and “tiny”?

The media salivated over the supposedly obvious contrasts. The average age of Trump’s original old four-man legal guard of Cobb, Dowd, Giuliani, and Sekulow was 71. Not one had a Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, or Stanford law degree.

 Vox also sniffed of Michael Bowe and Sekulow, “The last two are known more for their time on TV than their time in the courtroom, and don’t have anywhere near the background Mueller’s team boasts to take on this challenge.” Vox apparently saw the fight as a replay of The Verdict, this time with the suave James Mason winning.

In fact, aside from age, looks, and degrees, the outnumbered Trump team was far more experienced than their counterparts, and it was sensitive to the fact that the legal agendas of the Mueller special counsel investigation were little more than pure politics, media hype, leaks, and had little to do with finding out with whom, if any, the Russians had been working to warp an election and sandbag a presidential campaign.

Mueller’s Team of Blunderers

Had the special counsel team been less biased, its lawyers might have discovered within days that the only interventionist foreign national who was actively recruiting Russians as nefarious sources was Christopher Steele, a Clinton operative paid through the firewalls of the DNC, Fusion GPS, and the Perkins Coie law firm to compile a tabloid dossier on Trump, to leak it to old friends and new contacts in the DOJ, FBI, and CIA and thereby to sanctify and disseminate his dirt to the media and tar the Trump campaign—and later an elected president’s transition and administration.

Whereas the Trump team sought to defend their client from charges they knew were false, the Mueller team sought to destroy Trump first, and worry about the evidence later. That proved an enormous disadvantage from the outset. One side saw it as a legal matter of proving an absence of guilt, the other as a political effort to fuel impeachment.

In terms of blunders, they turned out to be all Mueller’s. The Lisa Page-Peter Strozk text trove was an ungodly disaster for Mueller’s team—revealing supposedly professional FBI dreamers of his media-hyped team as adulterous and self-obsessed Washington insiders, with a buffoonish hatred of Trump and schoolyard disdain for his supporters.

That Strozk revealed himself as a blowhard and wannabe in his secret notes to Page was all the more damaging given that he was a sort of swamp FBI everyman. Indeed, Strzok popped up everywhere anything proved suspicious. Strzok convinced Comey to change the wording of his report on Hillary Clinton. Strzok likely initiated the setup of George Papadopoulos. Strozk gave away the game early on with his text to Lisa Page that there was “no big there there.” Strozk interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and got him to talk without a lawyer. Strozk met with Andrew McCabe to dream up ways of ruining Trump. The most confident and compromised of Mueller’s investigators had always been the most ubiquitous.

That Mueller staggered Page’s and Strzok’s forced departures and never told the media of their unprofessional romantic relationship and embarrassing texts only made “Bob” seem more partisan and less transparent.

Much of the Mueller team had proved indiscreetly partisan before coming aboard in broadcasting their anti-Trump venom. Weissmann had attended a Hillary Clinton “victory” party on Election Night (odd, given the Clinton-bought dossier would become a subtext to his entire investigation) and sent an egotistical email congratulating acting Trump attorney general and former Obama appointee Sally Yates for her stonewalling of a Trump executive order. Was that Ivy League cunning?

No Crime, But Plenty of Innuendo

From the outset Trump’s team was convinced that their client neither had colluded with Russia nor had obstructed an investigation of a crime that did not take place. He had turned over almost everything the all-stars wanted, and freely allowed the White House staff to testify.

From the beginning of the investigations, his lawyers sensed that the Mueller team quickly had concluded there was no crime, but there might be lots of innuendo, rumor, gossip, and Trump antics to be had that could be jammed into their final report and thus provide fodder for impeachment hearings.

When William Barr arrived in February as the new attorney general, replacing the recused Jeff Sessions and the buskin Rod Rosenstein, the Mueller dream team charade finally dissipated. Barr was an old veteran attorney general who did not much care what was said about him, and sensed from the start that Mueller’s team, far from being all-stars, were nothing but rank partisans uninterested in the commission of felonies by an array of Obama officials—deceiving a FISA court, leaking classified memos, lying under oath to congressional committees, and inserting informants into political campaign. Instead, they were obsessed with perjury traps, nutty things like the ossified Logan Act and the Emoluments Clause, and hounding a minor cast of transitory Trump aides.

At about the same time, a similar cultural fantasy was occurring about Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), head of the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairmanship passed to fellow Californian Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) when the Democrats assumed control of the House in January.

Nunes, the scion of Portuguese immigrant dairy farmers from California’s San Joaquin Valley, had first uncovered much of the Obama Administration’s weaponization of the Justice Department, FBI, and CIA and their obsession with destroying Trump through informants, warped FISA writs, unmasking, and leaks to the media of classified documents.

In fact, much of what the country learned from 2017 to 2019 about the various machinations of Glenn Simpson and his Hillary Clinton contracted Fusion GPS skullduggery, the antics of FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and the compromised roles of John Brennan and James Clapper was due to Nunes’s relentless digging, supported by a top-notch staff and likewise committed Republican colleagues.

Snobbery and Unmerited Elitism

One would never have known that, however, from the Washington media. They wrote off Nunes from the start as some sort of straw-in-the-mouth hick from Tulare—in obvious contrast to his Democratic better, the haughty Adam Schiff, Harvard Law Graduate and perennial prevaricator who serially hit the CNN and MSNBC circuit to flat out lie that he had the Russian collusion goods on Trump and the walls of indictments and impeachment were closing in each day.

Roll Call’s David Hawkings dismissed Nunes as a bumpkin: “The match between his backstory and his prominence seems wholly incongruous and helps underscore the perception that Nunes is cavalierly playing at a very high-stakes game while in way over his head.” Peter Lance of the Huffington Post sniffed, “There’s certainly nothing in his résumé that would have qualified him for the post.” In the elite world of the Left, “résumés” are everything, past physical hard work and innate intelligence nothing.

MSNBC analyst Elise Jordan also apparently thought farming made Nunes inept: “Why are Republicans trusting Devin Nunes to be their oracle of truth? A former dairy farmer who House Intel staffers refer to as ‘Secret Agent Man,’ because he has no idea what’s going on.” If the media thought Nunes was the out of place oaf Al Czervik, they never caught on that Adam Schiff was “Caddyshack’s” real loser, the smarmy and incompetent Judge Smails.

Snobbery and unmerited elitism characterized the entire collusion hoax and Mueller boondoggle. But being progressive, woke, and highly credentialed is not synonymous either with intelligence or wisdom. Just as Trump nobodies destroyed Mueller’s somebodies, and just as Nunes the farmer outperformed Schiff the Harvard law graduate, so too Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders each day squared off against Jim Acosta and a mediocre Washington press corps.

Journalists and Hollywood has-beens leveled the same old-same old cultural and class invective at Sanders: “Slightly chunky soccer mom,” “Organizes snacks for the kids’ games,” “Fake eyelashes and formal dresses,” “More comfortable in sweats and running shoes,” “To listen to her pronounce ‘priorities’ is akin to hearing the air seep out of a flat tire, and she leaves half of the consonants on the curb,” “She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye,” and “Maybe we should take her children away and deport her to Arkansas.”

In sum, the comical effort to destroy President Trump was a bad replay of the cultural cluelessness of a haughty Hillary Clinton in the last days of the 2016 campaign—the Ivy League prima donna, ensuring her “landslide” to come by futilely campaigning in Georgia and Arizona, fueled by the “analytics” of her whiz kids, while the orange, combed over, and uncouth Trump at her rear played the fox in her blue-wall henhouse. Was it Ivy League smarts to label roughly one-quarter of the country “deplorables” or to go to West Virginia to tell the impoverished they would have no more coal jobs?

There is always a civilizational elite of sorts, one based on merit, and it is often divorced from its counterfeit counterpart predicated on aristocracy, credentials, titles, and privilege. Real elites from all walks of life are rewarded for their singular achievement not for their empty reputations and media hype.

The last three years have been a painful relearning of that most obvious but forgotten truth that it is what we do rather than who we say we are that truly matters. That the lesson was lost on self-described egalitarians and social justice warriors is the most ironic lesson of all.

Center for American Greatness • Greatness Agenda • Post

Hawley Is Asking the Right Questions About the Dollar

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has wasted very little time in becoming one of the most important senators in this new freshman class.

From introducing provocative legislation to go after Big Tech, to roiling Washington’s legal establishment by insisting that President Trump’s judicial nominees be thoroughly vetted, to declaring the need for a “new consensus” in our politics, Hawley has become a polarizing figure among liberty-minded conservatives and libertarians—especially those who have not had their assumptions about the world challenged from the Right in decades.

But Hawley is not just challenging political and cultural orthodoxies. This week, he’s challenging economic ones as well.

With the introduction of the Competitive Dollar for Jobs and Prosperity Act, the senator teams up with Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to upend conventional Republican beliefs about the relative strength of the dollar.

Questions about the dollar’s relative value are usually reserved for global financiers, CNBC anchors, or beard-stroking academics. But once the basics of economic theory are understood, the real-world consequences become much easier to understand.

The value of the American dollar is determined by the demand for it, at home and internationally. One of the key metrics governing the dollar’s value is foreign exchange reserves—that is, the amount of U.S. dollars held by foreign governments. The more they hold, the lower the supply. That makes U.S. money more valuable.

A consequence of a high-value U.S. dollar is that U.S. exports become more expensive. And, conversely, countries with a lower-valued currency are able to sell their goods more cheaply.

Some of our craftier trading partners have figured this out. China and around 20 other countries have used billions in their public funds to buy up U.S. securities—$21 billion just last year, according to Fed data—thereby charging up the value of the U.S. dollar against their own currency, and making their own exports very price competitive as a result.

This, in part, explains the currency manipulation about which everyone from President Trump to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has complained. As the dollar increases in value and our exports become more expensive and thus, less consumed abroad, jobs at home decline. Particularly manufacturing jobs.

It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. A strong American currency results in diminishing manufacturing jobs, due to the decreased demand for our increasingly expensive goods.

According to some estimates, a strong dollar has led to the elimination of nearly 5 million good-paying manufacturing jobs over the past two decades, and the closure of some 900,000 factories. For those workers who keep their jobs, trade with low-wage countries is estimated to pull down the incomes of 100 million non-college educated workers by roughly $2,000 a year.

There are, however, sectors of the economy which benefit from a strong dollar. Nearly all of them are on Wall Street. The same things that hurt middle American manufacturing jobs—cheap imports—are a boon to financiers. Cheap imports fuel massive profits for big multinational corporations like Apple, Amazon, Costco, and Walmart.

Over the last two decades, the equation has been tilted in favor of Wall Street, and manufacturing jobs have suffered as a result.

Hawley and Baldwin’s bill attempts to re-balance this equation, placing a “market access charge” on foreign purchase of U.S. stocks, bonds, property, and other U.S. assets in an effort to reduce the ability of foreign nations to overvalue the U.S. dollar to their own benefit. Supporters of this approach say it will reduce the dollar’s value and improve the performance of U.S. goods abroad, without discouraging the purchase of long-term assets such as factories.

The effort is not without precedent. President Richard Nixon realigned the dollar in 1971, and President Ronald Reagan followed suit in 1985. Fed data show little evidence that economic growth suffered as a result, though economists have differing opinions as to the effect.

An Overdue, if Polarized Debate
Like many things Hawley does, this one will no doubt elicit a polarizing response. Many of those on the reflexive Right will label him an anti-market, anti-free trader, while a corresponding number of those on the Left will not take him seriously.

But Hawley is once again proving that he is starting the right conversations at a critical moment in our politics.

While we can argue the merits of his economic approach, the broader themes of this bill and of many others Hawley is championing are worthy of consideration: have we over-empowered corporate entities and global finance, and have we done so to our own detriment? Are we now sacrificing the interests of individual Americans—in this case, thousands of manufacturing jobs for non-college education workers—for a Wall Street benefit that increasingly results in only a few becoming extremely wealthy?

Hawley formulated this at a recent speech to the Conference on National Conservatism, where he asked the provocative question of whether the current political consensus that has resulted in the current economic arrangement has served us well.

. . . in this bargain, foreign competitors get to make the goods, and we just buy them. And then they buy up American companies with the profits. And yes, in this bargain there are lots of jobs — jobs on Wall Street, or in Hollywood, or in Silicon Valley.

Because the truth is, the cosmopolitan economy has made the cosmopolitan class an aristocracy. At the same time, it has encouraged multinational corporations to move jobs and assets overseas to chase the cheapest wages and pay the lowest taxes.

And it has rewarded these same corporations for then turning around and investing their profits not in American workers, not in American development, but in financial instruments that benefit the cosmopolitan elite.

In questioning the outcomes of a decades-long political consensus between social conservatives and economic libertarians, Hawley has provoked the ire of those who consider free markets the equivalent of dogma—something so self-evident that it shouldn’t need a defense.

But old assumptions and orthodoxies need dusting off and brushing up every once in awhile, particularly when both Republicans and Democrats in Middle America continue to feel left behind, ignored, and condescended to by the parties that are supposed to be representing them.

Robust trade and free markets undoubtedly have made America richer, better, and the most successful country on the planet. That is without question. But Hawley is forcing the Right to assess whether their economic theories about the way the market is supposed to work align with how the market is actually working.

Is it really “free trade,” to allow foreign governments openly to abuse our financial system for the purposes of undercutting our own manufacturing products, while we sit back and do nothing in response?

And is it really a “free market” when Wall Street manipulates the tax system to their own benefit, and gets consequence-free, taxpayer-funded, billion-dollar bailouts when it screws up, nearly tanks the economy, and costs millions of Americans their lifelong savings?

Maybe the answer to both these questions is yes, and maybe Hawley’s pursuit of these policy corrections is misguided. But the conversation he is starting is not out of line. Their dismissal of it is.

And it’s to the benefit of everyone on the Right to welcome an honest assessment of the realities in the current marketplace, test whether old assumptions still apply, and either attack or defend them with the intellectual rigor our politics deserve.

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Center for American Greatness • Greatness Agenda • Post

Earth to Libertarians: Immigration Hurts American Workers

An Islamist, a Communist, and a libertarian walk into a bar. The Islamist says submission to Allah is the highest virtue and an ideal society adopts Sharia Law.

The Communist strokes his grizzled beard in disagreement. “Religion is the opium of the people. What really matters is equality!” He then explains how Communism fixes inequality caused by bourgeois decadence. The Islamist nods approvingly—after all, decadence is sinful.

Finally, the libertarian pipes up: “No, no. Individual liberty is what really matters! Sharia Law and communism are fundamentally immoral because they violate personal freedoms.”

The Islamist and communist exchange a furtive glance before bursting out in laughter. “Individual liberty is immoral because it lets people betray Allah,” the Islamist chides. “Personal freedom is immoral because creates inequality,” chastises the Communist.

Dumbfounded, the libertarian wonders whether his fidelity to liberty is simply symptomatic of having been born in Minneapolis, rather than in Mecca or Moscow.

Libertarians—like Islamists and Communists—see the world as it ought to be, rather than for what it is. Given that, they seek to change reality so that it more closely resembles their theoretical utopia. They want to create heaven on earth. Islamists accomplish this through blood. Communists through subversion. Libertarians?

Through propaganda.

A Bad Tree Bears Bad Fruit
Reason magazine is the libertarian Pravda, and it’s raison d’être is to shill for ideological goodies like open markets and open borders. Consider the recent piece by Alex Muresianu, who absurdly claims that mass immigration does not reduce wages for American workers. His evidence? A recent study from the Journal of Development Economics.

The study explored the labor market effects of 1.3 million migrants entering Jordan, a country of just 6.6 million people. Researchers found “Jordanians living in areas with a high concentration of refugees have had no worse labor market outcomes than Jordanians with less exposure to the refugee influx.” Muresianu says this is “particularly eye-opening” because if Jordanian workers were unscathed by mass migration then American workers must likewise remain unharmed.

This conclusion is wrong. Although the study found “no worse” labor market outcomes for Jordanians living among high concentrations of refugees, the phrase “no worse” must be emphasized. Why? Jordan’s annual GDP per capita growth was negative for the study’s entire duration—mass migration hurt everyone equally.

Next, Jordan’s unemployment rate has almost doubled since the start of the migrant influx, and currently sits at 19 percent. This shocks no one—except libertarians.

Finally, Jordan’s labor market is only loosely analogous to America’s. This is partly because American workers are being squeezed by automation to a greater degree, and partly because our economy is relatively capital-intensive, which means that America’s economic growth is decoupled from population growth.

Libertarians routinely trot out studies from distant corners of the earth to “prove” their points. Meanwhile, they ignore data that’s right under their noses.

Consider that more than 45 million legal immigrants currently reside in America. On top of this there are at least another 20 million illegal migrants. And yet, American wages are actually lower than they were in 1973.

If immigration is so good for American workers, then why did wages stagnate when the era of mass migration began? Why do we see wages rise after crackdowns on illegal aliens and “temporary” foreign workers time and time again? Why is California—an immigrant magnet—America’s poorest state, “home” to 170,000 homeless Americans who are the victims of an income distribution more inequitable than Guatemala’s?

Contrast this with Japan. Since 1980, Japan’s GDP growth per capita has actually outpaced America’s—despite the fact that Japan has next to no immigration. How is it possible that Japan has prospered without benefiting from the “economic rocket fuel” that is mass immigration? Could it be that the libertarians are wrong?

Perish the thought! Instead, let’s ignore all that and instead follow in Jordan’s primrose footsteps.

I Don’t Care if the Pie is Small—Just Cut Me a Big Slice!
Muresianu also makes a theoretical argument as to why immigration doesn’t reduce American wages:

. . . the basic laws of economics suggest that an increase in the supply of labor should lower the price of labor. But increased immigration doesn’t just increase the supply of labor—it also expands the demand for labor. Immigrants aren’t just workers. They also help start businesses, and they purchase goods and services from existing businesses.

In effect, Muresianu argues American wages are not affected because immigration increases both supply and demand. Not only is this empirically false, but it misses the point entirely.

The debate over wages isn’t really about wages, it’s about prosperity. There are many ways that immigration reduces prosperity regardless of wages. For example, every time immigrants remit funds abroad they reduce the velocity of money and harm local economies—remittances are like a giant straw that suck liquidity out of American communities. While this goes unnoticed in major cities such as Los Angeles, the rural southwest is littered with ghost towns where the economic lifeblood was drained by remittance outflows.

Immigration also reduces prosperity by elevating taxes. Why? Immigrants are a net burden on the welfare state. This was documented in a comprehensive study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Academies made three key findings. First, immigration reduced wages and employment opportunities for American citizens (surprise!).

Second, the economic output of the immigrant population follows a Pareto distribution. That is, the most productive 15 percent of immigrants provide massive economic benefits. Meanwhile, the next 35 percent are revenue-neutral and the bottom 50 percent are a net drain on American taxpayers. In fact, it is estimated that this bottom cohort will cost American taxpayers a net $1.9 trillion in taxes over the course of their lifetimes.

The Academies’ findings are far from unique. The nonlinear, and deleterious, economic effects of immigration are echoed throughout the West.

Denmark’s Ministry of Finance recently found that non-European immigrants (and their children) consumed 59 percent of the tax surplus generated by native Danes. Canada’s Fraser Institute likewise found that mass immigration costs Canadian taxpayers $24 billion annually. Finally, a study from the University College of London found that immigrants cost British taxpayers billions every year.

Who pays for all this? Natural-born citizens. We make, they take. Simple.

Immigration also indirectly hurts American workers by increasing the cost of living and reducing economic efficiency. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to housing. Since 1973, the cost of housing in America (relative to purchasing power) has increased by 73 percent. The main driver of this is the influx of more than 60 million immigrants into America’s major cities—how could it be otherwise?

What about the infrastructure costs to support our larger population? The American Society of Civil Engineers predicts that America’s infrastructure deficit will reach $3.6 trillion by 2020. Who’s paying for this? Not immigrants. And what about something as mundane as traffic jams? More people on the roads means more traffic jams, which already cost America $124 billion a year in lost productivity.

Immigration poses real problems—problems that Muresianu completely ignores. Why? Because libertarians don’t care about America. They don’t care about the American people. And they don’t care about you.

Libertarians care about a theoretical construct they call “freedom,” buy only in its most rarefied and abstract sense. Invariably, they support anti-American policies if they happen to conform to libertarian theology. Is this any different than Islamists pursuing universal submission to Allah, or Communists fighting for global equality? I think not.

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