The Brexit is real and is going to happen.

BREXITIt’s done.  The Brexit is real and is going to happen.  The intellectual elites were against it, the “establishment” of both Britain and Europe were against it.  The ordinary, working Briton thought otherwise.  Concerns over the flow of immigrants from other EU countries driving wages down, and open boarders that let Syrian refugees in insufficiently vetted were a major driving force behind the leave vote.  Also driving the leave vote was a sense that their country was being taken from them, their sovereignty handed over to bureaucrats in Brussels.  The British voted not just to exit the E.U., but for independence.

Because they were concerned with immigration, they were labeled bigots.  Because they were concerned with the failure of Muslim immigrants to assimilate into Western European culture and with the infiltration if ISIS terrorists among the horde of Syrian refugees, they were deemed Islamophobic.

Meanwhile, the ‘stay’ proponents felt secure they had the referendum wrapped up in their favor, and so bet heavily on stocks, running the market up.  Little did they know they were only setting themselves up for a farther fall.  The opponents of the Brexit mistook interdependence on Europe for dependence. They considered the taking in of refugees, however poorly vetted, a virtue.  Even after attack after attack rocked the continent, they refused to admit the obvious—even a minute percentage of Muslim refugees radicalized and loyal to the Islamic State, and protected by a sympathetic, unassimilated native Muslim population could wreak significant havoc. They also pressed the issue of free trade.  Without the rest of the E.U. behind them the intellectuals reasoned, Britain would surely lose out on trade deals.  Of course, many countries do just fine in trade without the clout of the E.U., some of those countries are even located in Europe.  The thing about trade is, that it has to be fair to both sides.  Trade deals that are not win-win do not last, and there is always another trading partner waiting to make a better offer.

Another concern of ordinary British citizens was the weight of overbearing regulation emanating from Brussels.  Common household appliances, including hair dryers, toasters, and tea warmers were deemed too energy hungry to be used in the E.U.  You can mess with Brit’s hair dryer, but threaten their toast and tea and you have a rebellion on your hands.  A majority of ordinary, working-class Britons had seen enough of this micro management from across the Channel and demanded out.

The establishment elite never seemed in the end to understand that those things that are fixtures of British life actually matter.  It was assumed that any sensible person would give up these ordinary things in the name of the greater good.  They ‘stay’ crowd vastly underestimated, or refused to acknowledge the resentment that had always been there and building over the decades.  Britain has always had a love/hate relationship with the continent, but the two forces had always managed to balance each other out, or so it was thought.  The immigration situation was possibly the feather that finally tipped the scale away from love.  Interference from President Obama did not help, the best way to get people to do one thing is for an outsider to tell them to do its opposite.  In the end, Britons probably simply felt like they were being taken for granted by powers that did not place value on a British identity, distinct and separate from that of continental Europe. Nationalism, so it seems is not dead in Europe, and globalism is not quite the suitable alternative governing philosophy that many make it out to be.  In the short-term, independence won’t be easy, but ought to prove worth it in the long run.  Britain lasted for centuries as an independent state before and can certainly make it as one once again.

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Liberty Relearned, Year One

 

LR turns 1
April 6th, 2016 is the first anniversary of Liberty Relearned!

The Liberty Relearned Mission Statement:

To engage in civil, enlightened debate on what political direction is best for the United States, promote a better understanding of conservative/libertarian principals and effectively express them to others in a thoughtful and insightful way.  Liberty Relearned’s goal is to help bring back liberty as the chief American value and to counter the misleading and destructive rhetoric of the liberal statist crowd in America.


A year ago, after a long time watching America drift ever further from her roots of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness I saw some very troubling things happening to my country and society.  The Supreme Court had ruled that it was indeed lawful for a government to mandate its citizens engage in commerce through the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The IRS had been used as a weapon against the Tea Party and other similar organizations.  In Washington, D.C., the President closed off and denied access to the WWII Memorial to the very veterans it honored just to turn the public sentiment against his opponents in Congress who were attempting to restore fiscal sanity to government.   I had wondered if the ideas of liberty and personal freedom hadn’t become passé, a quaint notion from a now bygone era.

Even more alarming was seeing the younger generation of Americans gravitate towards destructive ideas such as Socialism and Authoritarianism.  This generation, never having known such things as Cold War, the Reagan Revolution, being even farther removed from such things as the ‘space race’, WWII and the Marshal plan than my generation, seemed to be unaware of the things that made and continued to make America great.  Having never personally experienced any existential threat to its loss, many of them seemed to take things like freedom and liberty for granted.  Having never seen some of our greatest moments, they forgot or never even learned about something called American Exceptionalism.

What then, could a single person of modest means do to help turn the tide away from collectivism, progressivism, and just plan ignorance?  What could I do to help bring back the values that our Founding Fathers believed to be so important that they laid their lives and their fortunes on the line for?  Some people are blessed with skills of oratory, some are natural leaders, and some others have charisma.  I was blessed with a certain skill in writing and design.  There was really one avenue that I felt offered me my best chance to communicate my love of things like capitalism, Americanism, and personal freedom—a year ago this week I started this blog.

It’s now 52 weeks and many posts later, and I’m still working, still believing, still teaching, still learning.   A special thanks goes to you, the reader for joining me in this endeavor.  Here then is to another 365 days of us, in our own ways and voices, pursuing a common goal of helping to bring back liberty as a primary American value.

-JP Mac


 

Socialism in America: Just a President Away

Socialism: “a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies”

-Merriam Webster Dictionary. 

Statist ControlBernie Sanders warns us up front, he calls himself a Democratic Socialist.  Hillary, not so much– she keeps her socialist leanings better hidden.  First things first, show me a Democratic Socialist and I’ll show you a socialist. And now that’s out of the way…

If Sanders were to become president, he would try to make America into a European-style socialist republic.  Could he really do it?  The answer unfortunately, is yes.  As a matter of fact, we’re already well on the way.  The fact is, most of the infrastructure needed to make the U.S. a socialist state is already in place and operational.  The rest would quickly be put in place.  What would it take?  Here then are the key components required to create to a Democratic Socialist Republic of America:

  • A compliant Supreme Court. Check– a Supreme Court that can rationalize forcing citizens to engage in commerce (Obamacare) can rationalize the legality of just about any socialist “reform”.  This has occurred with a strict Constitutionalist, Antonin Scalia, on the court.  Imagine what would be possible with three to four more liberal justices to legislate from the bench.
  • An Executive Branch virtually unchecked by Congress or the courts. Democrats have convinced Congressional Republicans deathly afraid of being blamed for a government shutdown not to use their power of the purse to defund several of the President’s unconstitutional executive orders.  The Supreme Court as already mentioned, would not much stand in the way of anything a President Sanders or President Clinton would want to do.
  • A huge regulatory state. This most critical piece necessary for creating and maintaining a socialist state already to a large extent exists.  When we picture a socialist country, we think of the hammer and sickle chiseled into the façade of every industrial headquarters.  A socialist America probably won’t have or require that.  All the buildings that need them already have an official state seal on them, and most of them are in Washington D.C.  The EPA, IRS, FDA and scores of other regulatory agencies already weld extraordinary power.  Through these agencies, the federal government can and would control in great detail all of this country’s major industries.  With that much control, the government would not actually need to own these industries for us to be effectively socialist.
  • Big national law enforcement. This already exists in the form of the FBI, the ATF, and various other agencies.  Of course, many of these agencies are required to enforce the law, socialist state or not.  They do a pretty good job keeping us safe in an ever more dangerous world.  Not needed in a free state, but helpful in a socialist one would be armed law enforcement wings of departments tasked not with fighting violent crime, but the restriction of commerce and business, agencies such as the FDA, Department of the Interior, as well as other departments not very likely at all to encounter armed opposition.

We consider ourselves to be free citizens of a capitalist country operating in a free-market economy.  How close we are to not being that much longer, to the extent we even still are, is enough to give one pause.  Most of the components of a socialist America are already in place.  Most of the rest can quickly be put in place.  Really the only thing standing in the way of American becoming a European-style socialist republic is an election later this year.

Obama’s Latest Bailout

President Obama is pushing for another bailout, not of some bank or automotive company, but for his own signature piece of legislation, ‘Obamacare’. He remarks in Germany earlier in the week made it clear that he is hoping that the Supreme Court will bail him out and rule that people in states using the government exchanges can get subsidies for health care, a ruling that would require the Court members to ignore the plain language of the law.  Contrary to what the President would have us believe, they would have to also ignore that portion of the law’s intent, to dissuade the states from opting for the government exchange in favor of one’s they set up themselves.

So in other words, the Obama and the Democrats in Congress were fine with that clause the way it was when they thought that it could be used as a stick to pressure governors into setting up their own state exchanges.  Many states didn’t do what the Democrats wanted and forced the Government to create an exchange for them.  The stick did not work, but President Obama still wants to give about six million people in those states the carrot, claiming that was the intent of the law the entire time.  Problem is, that is not what the law says. The law says to the states, (in one of the few instances where it is clear enough for anyone to understand) that if you don’t set up your  own exchanges, your citizens won’t qualify for the subsidy.  It is clear that the clause in question was deliberately written that way under the assumption that no governor would risk not letting their constituents get the subsidy by not creating a state exchange.  To argue, as the President’s attorneys are doing before the Supreme Court, that this was not the case is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest.  They can argue all they want, but Johnathan Gruber, one of the laws creators is already infamously on record saying the intent of the clause was just that, to force governors to set up state exchanges, lest they face the ire of the voters.  There is also one other flaw in the President’s argument: There would be no purpose behind having such language included in the law at all if the intent was to allow everyone to receive subsidies as Obama is claiming.  It would be an “orphan” clause without impact on any other part of the legislation.


 If though, common sence prevails and the Court agrees that the law means what it says and says what it means, that ironically could mean catastrophic success for the Republicans.


If the Supreme Court rules in Obama’s favor, many will throw up their hands and say they give up.  (The author of this article being one of them.)  If though, common sence prevails and the Court agrees that the law means what it says and says what it means, that ironically could mean catastrophic success for the Republicans.  The President has no plan B.  Unfortunately, neither does, so it would seem, the Republican Congress.  They will be like the dog that after years of chasing after cars, finally actually catches one.  To be fair, alternative plans have been floating around the halls of Congress for years, but are any of them ready to go?  What about the six million people who are stuck in the middle?  Can a stop-gap measure that does right by them, but does not give any vindication to Obamacare’s supporters be crafted in time?

Obama is looking for the SCOTUS to bail him out of this mess, failing that, the Congress.  The price the Republicans should demand for this bailout should be the Affordable Care Act itself.

No Personal Freedom is Too Small to Give up Lightly

Thursday, Fox News reported on yet another example of a teacher truncating the freedom of a fellow American in the name of “a healthy diet”.  In a Colorado school recently, when a teacher spotted some cookies in a little girl’s lunch, she took it upon herself to play “food police” and took the offending snacks from the child.  The teacher then sent a note home to the mother of the child explaining why the food was taken away.

According to a report by KUSA-TV in Colorado the school said:  “It is not their policy to tell parents what children can and can’t eat for lunch.”

A good policy.  So where did the teacher get the idea to take the child’s snack away?  It comes from a portion of the Statist Left lead by Michelle Obama interested in forcing certain food choices on our children while denying parents the right to decide what is best for them.  The teacher, following Mrs. Obama’s example, decided that the mother did not have the freedom to feed her child whatever she wanted.  Her assumption and usurpation of the mother’s rights was not based on any notion that the food was toxic, or that the little girl was allergic, it was based on her belief that it was bad for her.  Emboldened by the hard Left’s ascension to power in Washington, the teacher concluded that her good intentions trumped the rights of the parents and countermanded the mother’s free choice of food for her daughter.  “The Greater Good” is the Left’s mantra justifying their right to take away almost any of our liberties.  Did one of the primary American values: liberty, even factor into the teacher’s decision?  Probably not.

Statist ControlIt may seem a small incident, but multiplied tens of thousands of times across the country; it becomes tyranny.  The Statist Left shows no evidence they will be content to simply control a parent’s school lunch choice for their kids.  They intrude into every corner of our lives– what we eat, what we drink, what sort of commerce we can engage in. They value their control over us more than they value any notion of personal freedom and liberty. They say it is for our own good, but it is in fact for their own power.  They will continue to succeed until the time comes when we decide we value our liberty more than they value their control over it. We must let them know that no freedom, no matter how small, will be given up lightly.

A Chilling Case of Apparent Polital Intimidation in Wisconsin

In his article to appear in the May 4th issue of National Review, David French gives a chilling report of an apparently politically motivated raid on the home of Cindy Archer, who helped craft the “Wisconsin Budget Bill”. Officially known as “Wisconsin’s Act 10”, the highly controversial law limits the collective bargaining activity and benefits for the state’s public-employee unions.   He described how armed agents came to her house in the middle of the night, banging on her door, demanding she let them in.  When she did, they went through her house, looking not for drugs or illegal arms, but evidence of campaign finance violations, embezzlement, and sexual misconduct, hardly offences worthy of such strong-arm police tactics, not when a simple knock on the door during the light of day would no doubt suffice.   The investigators reportedly left with a laptop and a cellphone.  The homes of several other conservative supporters of Governor Walker were similarly raided.  Archer, and the other conservative activists whose homes were raided were all warned to remained silent about the raids and home searches, they were told not to even inform their lawyers.

The raids, according to the article, were called for by a partisan political opponent of Governor Walker’s, District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat.  Staring as an embezzlement investigation, Chisholm expanded his investigation to include many of Walker’s allies. This expansion coincided with the protests against, and eventual passage of Wisconsin’s Act 10.

Whatever probable cause the Wisconsin law enforcement may have had to search the homes of these individuals, It would seem that these drug-raid style searches were carried out in a manner intended for maximum intimidation. As traumatizing as these raids would have been to the occupants at the time, perhaps more alarming were the warnings not to say a word, not even to their lawyers.  What???  The 6th Amendment guarantees our right to counsel, the 1st our right to free speech.  The Constitution does not allow for these rights to be abridged if the alleged offenders happen to be your political enemies.  This is kind of thing you’d expect to hear about happening in some third-world dictatorship, or in a Cold War era eastern bloc country, not the United States.  Shameful.

Statism, the Hammer of Liberals

One movement closely associated with liberalism in America is statism. Although most statists in this country tend to be liberal, not all liberals are statists. Statism in its most basic form is fascism. Correct, political statism is indistinguishable from fascism. In fascism, the State is the ultimate authority. The people are therefore subordinate to the State. Benito Mussolini’s Fascists were conservative in stripe, nonetheless his government was the ultimate in statism. It is important to remember this when liberals try to equate U.S. Conservatism with Italian Fascism. It is a lie. A political school of thought cannot at the same time be for personal liberty and Fascist. American conservatism is based on liberty and Rule of Law.  Conservatism and Fascism are mutually exclusive.


The Liberal/Statist ConnectionWhat is Statism Icon

It may come as a surprise, but I don’t mind liberals in general.  They honestly believe their ideas are good for their fellow man, if others don’t share them it’s because of a lack of knowledge and the solution is education. They believe their efforts to change things will result in a better world.  The problem I have is when the liberal agenda is carried out though statist means. Statist liberals believe not just their way is right, but everyone else is wrong. Not only that, but your liberty needs to be curtailed if it conflicts with their world view. To them “wrong” beliefs and practices are bad and therefore should be outlawed.

“Anything not good for you is bad. Hence, illegal…” (Demolition Man)

The fictional city San Angles from the movie Demolition Man is a perfect example of a liberal statist dystopia where personal liberties are severely restricted in the name of the common good. Another movie set in a future statist dystopia, but of a conservative type, was V for Vendetta. I wonder if the Occupy crowd, many of whom seem to be liberal statists see the irony of them wearing the Guy Fawkes mask, as “V” is an anti-statist hero, not an anti-conservative one.

The liberal statists believe that the average person is not smart enough for true liberty. To them the Constitution is a hindrance to their freedom limiting agenda, something to be worked around or simply ignored. They rationalize their disdain for personal freedom by claiming what they want is for the “common good”. They, not the Founding Fathers, and certainly not you, know what is best for you. They smugly believe themselves to be politically and morally correct and therefore superior.  Anybody who does not believe as they do must obviously be an ignorant brute, or have been duped by evil-minded, power/money hungry capitalist “fat cats”. If only we poor fools would just follow them, they lament, things would be so much better. Liberty is seldom if at all considered in their calculations when they imagine their liberal utopia. The credo of the Statist Left might well be:  “You’re free to do whatever the State allows you to do, isn’t that enough?  No, only true freedom is enough.