The Politics of Division

Politics of DivisionThe Democrat stock in trade has always been division.  Whether it was the quite literal division they sought between American Indians and whites during the 19th century, the societal division between blacks and whites during the 20th, or the division of every minority group against every majority group in the 21st. Pitting American against American has been part of the formula that has driven virtually every Democratic campaign in this country since Andrew Jackson.  Through most of American history, they have been on the wrong side of virtually every civil rights issue.  In the 1960’s they came up with what would become their new template for their politics of division:  Identify a group, offer them help, but then implement laws and regulations that insure they continue to need it.  Anyone opposed to their scheme is then be labeled a bigot.

Another way to describe their Democratic divisive formula would be:  Favor one group that constitutes a large enough voting bloc, and offer them just enough, not to solve their problems, but to get their vote.  Most of the time, the quickest and easiest way to buy a group’s vote is to create a program with a high-sounding name, like “the war on poverty”. The program may or may not actually help the community, but regardless, the administrators who lobbied and donated to the proper candidates get paid or otherwise rewarded. The obvious question then becomes: Who do you get the money from?  You can only take so much money from the middle-class before they stop voting for you, so you take from the rich.  How do you get the voters to go along?  Convince them that the money the wealthy have was ill-gotten and at the expense of one or more of the favored groups.  To do this, you first need to portray the economy as a zero sum game– stress the notion that the economy is a pie, and every slice that someone takes out of it leaves less for everyone else.  If someone is making more money, someone else, probably you, must be making less.  If you convince a large enough segment of society that the rich one’s gain the poor one’s loss, then it is easy to pit one segment against the other.

When it comes to civil rights, Democrats have consistently been on the wrong side of history.  The civil rights battle at the forefront of the American psyche is still the one for black equality.  They got that one wrong and have been trying to find new civil rights causes that they can get right ever since. Liberals have to feel good about themselves.  Problem is, the policy that feels good may not actually be the best policy. Conservatives have a nasty habit of pointing this out when it occurs.  Nothing can stand in the way of the liberal and their need for unconditional approval.  Anyone who stands in the way must be demonized and marginalized.

If you believe in dealing strongly with the issue of illegal immigration on the basis that it robs citizens and legal immigrants of jobs and wage earning power, you’re anti-immigrant.  Of course the logic involved in calling someone who supports legal immigration anti-immigrant when they don’t support illegal immigration is questionable, but it’s never been about logic with liberals, only emotions.  The same thing can be said about how the left tries to portray those who don’t want to let in refugees from predominantly Muslim countries who can’t be properly screened.  If you’re against letting in vast numbers of Syrian refugees in without proper vetting, you’re anti Muslim. To be vocally against Islamic-extremism, is somehow to be against all Islam.  The left needs to see themselves as not just right, but morally superior to those who disagree with them.  If there is no real point of disagreement then one must be invented.  The language that the other side uses must be condemned and discredited in order to maintain that sense of superiority, hence if conservatives use the term “Islamic extremist terrorism” and that goes to the identity of a group, then identity politics demands that the term be deemed wrong.  Those who seek to be the arbiters of right and wrong with regards to a group must then control its identity so it can be tied to a voting bloc.  No one really cares about hurting the feelings of terrorists, so that sub-group must be tied at all times to a group that voters do care about i.e.:  Muslims.  The use of the modifiers “Islamic” and “radical” to describe “extremists” by conservatives affords the liberal a chance to create an imaginary division between they who don’t use the term and the those who do; even when it is clearly understood both sides are speaking about the exact same group of murderous fanatics.  It’s a complete contrivance meant to create division where there is none for the sake of being on the ‘right’ side.

The politics of division is the main weapon in the Democratic arsenal.  Their strategy is simple:  divide and conquer.  They pick a voting bloc, along any lines it doesn’t matter, give them victim status then assign a villain.  Then come the promises…  Give the ‘victim’ a largess, and/or take punitive action against the alleged bad guy.  The oppressor is always the larger party, usually they call them ‘big’ as in ‘big oil’, or ‘big pharma’, just so you know who to blame.  As an aside, you’ll never hear reference to ‘big academia’ or ‘big government’ from the left as those are clients and are thus exempt. Anyone who would dare to criticize their divisive agenda is demonized as a bigot, sexist, or (fill in the blank)-phobe.  They claim to stand for tolerance while at the same time exercising extreme intolerance when it comes to opposing viewpoints. Theirs is the only morally defensible position, therefore tolerance is not required.  If public sentiment is not initially on their side, a massive propaganda campaign is launched to ensure you know who the opponents of their agenda are and who to despise.  There are no exceptions, countries, competing political philosophies, even major world religions are fair game to be condemned and marginalized as it suits the Liberal cause.  Finally, they ensure their propaganda cannot be assailed by argument, as they control the very language to be used around it.  Their allies in the media and academia see to that.   Their words need not be honest, their ideas need not even work, so long as the formula works to get them the power they seek before their charade is exposed.  By the time that happens, they have moved on to the next con, the next group in need of their “help”.  And so it goes….

 

 

 


Originally posted in Poliltical Storm as: The Politics of Division

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The faulty rational of persistent #nevertrump’ers

Election 2016While the primaries were in full-swing, it made sense for movement conservatives to speak out against Donald Trump.  He made many a comment that would have ended the campaign of any other Republican.  His statements about Senator McCain immediately turned off many a patriotic conservative.  He made statement after controversial statement and yet his popularity with the working man only increased.  His has policies were all over the political map, some being conservative, some to the left of even Hillary, mostly all of them populist.  He was outmatched in knowledge about foreign affairs by nearly all of his opponents.  His near absolute ban on Muslims was completely unworkable, but since then has been refined away from populism to pragmatism.  He’s also made it a point to surround himself with foreign policy and military experts.  Still, there were preferable alternatives who showed greater aptitude for conservatism, and who had nearly mistake-free campaigns.

Marco Rubio had great foreign policy credentials. Carly Fiorina also proved herself equal to any of her rivals in that department and focused like a laser beam on Hillary from the beginning.  Senator Cruz has the support of the Constitutionalists and had by far the best ground game of any of the candidates, rivaled only possibly by the Clinton machine.   This was to finally be the year of the movement conservative.  What none of them realized, was that the white, non-college educated working man had abandoned the Republican party two elections ago. With no popular support for so-called ‘establishment’ Republicans (read Jeb Bush) and young, intelligent candidates who could speak the language of conservatism fluently, this election was to be the era of Regan reborn.  The problem was, the average American spoke the language of not conservatism, but populism.   Trump, like his followers, feels free to cherry-pick from any political school of thought, conservatism, nationalism, populism, and even liberalism.  In short, Trump followed former Republican constituency to where it wanted to go.

Everyone knows the result, Trump won the nomination.  the #nevertrump crowd now had (and still has) a decision to make, reluctantly follow the new GOP standard-bearer, for all his flaws, or stick with Republican and  conservative orthodoxy. As Trump filled in the gaps of his foreign affairs and military knowledge, and softened on some of his more problematic stances on immigration, the opposition of many Republicans against him softened.  Little by little, Republican diehards resigned themselves to the reality that it was Trump or bust.  Others though, convinced of the certainty of a Trump loss, and fearful of down-ballot losses stubbornly dug in their heels on the subject of never Trump, even to the point of actively undermining his candidacy.

Reluctant, even stoic support for Trump is to be expected and understandable.  He is not the second coming of Reagan, but the first coming of Trump.  Those who insist on ideological purity won’t find it in this GOP candidate.  Those who had fought hard to rehabilitate the Republican Party’s image after losing virtually all of the black and most of the Latino vote four years ago find themselves besides themselves with frustration in their candidate.  He is their candidate though, and for all his shortcomings with regards to many conservative principles and a maddening lack of political sense, is still better for America in many ways then his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The key is to show that while Trump says controversial things, Hillary has done, time and again, many things that were deeply dishonest, maybe even illegal.  While Trump’s thoughts get him into hot water, Hillary’s actual deeds (or occasional lack of) have gotten Americans killed or put in jeopardy.  While critics can theorize about Trump being bad, we have proof positive that Hillary would be worse.  Evidence of her corruption is well documented.  We don’t have to wonder how she would govern, she would turn America into her own personal fife, and we her serfs, existing only to provide her and her sycophants  with wealth.  On the subject of Supreme Court appointees alone, there is no real choice for the constitutionalist that wants a Scalia type justice on the Court.

There is no chance of Trump being replaced as GOP nominee, any talk to the contrary is pure fantasy. There is no realistic chance of someone not from the Republican or Democratic parties becoming our next president.  Even if the #nevertrump crowd could come up with a candidate with the financial means to do so, it’s too late to get him or her on the ballot in many states.  So why does anyone claiming to be a Republican seek not to simply withhold support, but actively act to undermine his campaign?  They are ideologues, but ones who fail to understand that under a Hillary presidency, none of their conservative initiatives will come to be.  Clinton will enact her liberal, even socialist policies.  If she can’t get her agenda done under a Republican Congress, the Democrats will appeal to the American sometimes pathological need to just “get things done” regardless what that actually means.  Republican control of Congress his hardly guaranteed.  Democrats are already counting on the fact that the Republicans were put into power on Capitol Hill for the express reason of stopping the liberal Obama agenda.  Whatever political victories Hillary can garner, she will lock in by appointing active judges and an ever-growing, compliant regulatory machine.

The never Trump crowd has fooled themselves that in four years, they will get a do-over if Trump loses and finally undo the Obama/Clinton agenda.  It won’t happen, what they dont’ realize is this election may be the last one for America as a true constitutional democracy.  The next election, should Clinton win, will be more like those in the democratic-socialist countries of Western Europe– mere referendums on how quickly or slowly to descend into the socio-economic oblivion, and who will go out on top. The fact is, regardless of how much the conservative true believer would rather not, there is no real choice when it comes to any meaningful governmental reform.  There is only one candidate that will appoint justices that will respect the letter and spirit of the Constitution.  There is only one candidate with a pro-growth agenda, only one candidate that will turn America away from an otherwise certain, yes certain, move toward a single-payer healthcare system.  Like it or not, the only viable choice, for all his shortcomings, is Donald Trump.

There I said it.

Election strategy revisited.

Election Flag sm_edited-1Going back over my old posts, I found this one:  Quick thoughts on 2016 election strategy. Now that we have a presumptive nominee, it’s worth going back for a second look.  Here’s a couple of key passages from it:

President Reagan’s famous question to the American voter was:  “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

freedom qstn

Along those same lines, for this next election I suggest this question:  “Are you freer that you were eight years ago?”

As for the security plank in the platform; let it stand, but not alone.  It must stand along one for libertarian agenda.  Our security will come through our strength and our willingness to support our allies in the war on terror.  It will come when energy can no longer be used as a weapon against us, the Ukrainians, or any of our friends in Europe.  As Rick Perry recently put it:  “If energy is to be used as a weapon, America is going to have the largest arsenal.” Security is necessary, even critical, but only as a means to an end, that end being greater liberty for all Americans.

Everyone assumes that the campaign will go very negative, very quickly.  Really, it’s a forgone conclusion. Hopefully the Republican campaign machine will at least occasionally come up for air and relay a positive message, or at least a less-negative one.  Hillary’s myriad faults are well-known, and will be even more so during the course of the campaign.  We have to present a positive alternative. What if the public knew as well as Hillary’s faults, conservative virtues?

  • A smaller regulatory state will mean greater economic freedom and more jobs.
  • An end to “crony capitalism” will mean that businesses must be fiscally fit.  Those with poor ideas and bad products will not survive.  Those with good ideas and products that the public wants will thrive.
  • Those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder won’t have to worry about companies hiring  illegal aliens and dragging down wages.
  • Our military hardware will no longer be in a state of disrepair.  This will serve as a force multiplier and make us stronger.
  • Healthcare will work for the consumer, and the consumer will decide what coverage they will pay for.  The healthy young will be able to save for their future healthcare needs.
  • The politics of division will come to an end.  Americans will no longer be pitted against each other along social, racial, and other lines for the sake of gaining votes.
  • The nomination of conservative Supreme Court justices will ensure that our rights as Americans will be upheld for one more generation, and won’t be subject to the whims of politicians.

There will be no shortage negative of ads and personal attacks in the coming months. Conservatism has so much more to offer America than that.  Americans were meant to be free, not subject to the short-term needs of the powerful few, and not be made to trade liberty for an illusion of security. The statism, the control over our lives that the Democrats offer can and must be countered by the freedom that comes by returning to the principles that founded this country.  The party that stands for these things needs to spend some time and effort letting the rest of the country know.

Exit Cruz, Exit Conservatism?

Ted Cruz Philadelphia
Ted Cruz may be out of the race, but is conservatism?

He’s a solid, movement conservative.  He was the smartest person in the race.  He is a true believer, and now he’s out.  Ted Cruz made it to the semis, but now his candidacy is effectively over. The most conservative conservative is out of the race, but is conservatism?  Mr. Trump is not a movement conservative.  Some of his positions are conservative, a few aren’t. Back when there was such a thing, Trump could have run as a moderate, maybe slightly conservative Democrat.  So what if any conservative principles will survive to become part of the Republican platform in the summer?

First, obviously illegal immigration will be dealt with.  Sanctuary cities will be no more.  A wall (or really imposing fence) will get done, either with or without Mexico paying for it.  Trump would be wise to embrace Rubio’s plan to track and control visas.  There will be a pause on letting in refugees from Muslim countries.  That is the better way to put it by the way—rather than make religion the operative criteria, banning refugees from specific points of origin is more doable, and doesn’t sound as bad.

The military will be rebuilt back to its former strength.  How and when it will be used will be a point of difference with many conservatives.  ISIS will be destroyed and the Russians will be made to think twice before getting up to more mischief.  That’s where the commonality ends.  Trump’s foreign policy would look more like Rand Paul’s than Ted Cruz’s or Marco Rubio’s.  He’ll seek a larger, more assured return on investment for any military intervention. World events though have a way of disrupting a new president’s foreign policy plans, just ask George W. Bush.  Sometimes they only thing worse than avoiding war is putting one off.   “Pay me now, or pay me later,” will be the likely advice from a number of his military experts.  Our need for strength in the end is merely a recognition of the fact of how little control over what our adversaries will do.

Perhaps most importantly, he will have an opportunity to appoint three, maybe four Supreme Court justices. He has stated that he will create a short list of candidates he would consider.  Perhaps he might even consider Cruz for one of those positions.  It would be a good move to smooth over some past differences.  It would if nothing else, prevent a 2020 run from his former rival.  He hopefully realizes that the promise of conservative Supreme Court picks is the single best way to win over skeptical Cruz supporters.  Most other things being negotiable for them, Constitutional principles are not.

If in July in Cleveland the Republicans focus on the commonalities rather than the differences between Trump and conservative wing of the party some degree of unity can be achieved. If they do, they’ll be the stronger for it.  If they don’t it could be a long, hot summer.   Whatever differences remain can be worked out in the course of time. The differences, if not overcome early on, will make it difficult to convince movement conservatives to come out in sufficient numbers for Republicans to win in November.

Not just another conservative tagline.

LR Banner Backgrnd WP newIt’s our beloved tagline:  “Not just another conservative blog…”  But why?

A little over a year ago, Liberty Relearned was born bearing the tagline:  “Not not just another conservative blog.”   The idea of the blog then and now, was to teach about conservatism, not through regurgitating the same pabulum you’ve heard over and over again, but by going deep into its central concepts. Lots of people call themselves conservative, they listen to conservative radio hosts, read books by conservative authors, maybe even belong to conservative organizations such as the Tea Party.  Everybody who reads this blog comes with their own concept of what conservatism is.  For some, conservatism means following social norms based upon religious or traditional values.  For others, it means following common-sense fiscal principles.  Still others refer to the Constitution and the values of the founding fathers.  Is there then a common thread or commonality of thought among these types of conservatives?  What does it mean to be a conservative?  These are the questions that post by post, over time this blog seeks to answer.

If you’re on social media (and who isn’t), you’re constantly exposed to ‘meme warfare’, those snappy snippets of wisdom.  You might like them, and think they’re clever, and indeed many of them are, but while memes may serve to reinforce a position, they are not very effective at teaching them.  They are mainly concerned with personality, and tend to emphasis the negative– how bad Obama, Bernie, Hillary, etc. are.  The question is:  To the extent these things might be true, why?  Why is the conservative approach better?  Meme warfare, while fun, and entertaining, is like the junk food of conservatism.

Books can be great for learning about conservatism, but all books were not created equal.  Some books, and some authors specialize in a very narrow facet of conservatism.   If you have only five books on conservatism in your library, and one isn’t by William F. Buckley Jr., you need to plan a trip to the bookstore, or to Amazon.  At least one of the others ought to be about, if not by, one of America’s founding fathers.

Conservative talk radio can also be an excellent source of information.  Like books, though, not all programs were created equal.  As some books fall under the heading ‘pulp fiction’, some programs could fall under the heading: ‘pulp conservatism’, merely recitations of conservative or Republican talking points.  Some are quite educational, if you find a host that not just entertains, but enlightens you, tune in as often as possible and read their books. Many shows though only focus on current events.  That’s great, but it’s assumed the listener already has a base of conservative knowledge.  In any event, they are probably the means by which most people are introduced to conservative thought.

Of course if you’re reading this, you’ve chosen the web as at least one source of conservative information.  Needless to say, there is a wide range, both in subject matter and quality, of blogs.  On one end, you have the academic sites. These over the course of time, can be the equivalent of a college level course on politics.  On the other end are those that focus on meme warfare and political satire.  Both have value, both are great in getting the conservative message across in their own ways. Somewhere in the middle, perhaps more toward the academic end, is LibertyRelearned.com.

The distinction that hopefully will come though if one follows this blog over time is that there is, as the name suggests, sort of a duel purpose for its existence.  There is the slant towards libertarianism and against such oppressive schools of thought such as authoritarianism, statism, and socialism.  There is also the educational component– the component meant to answer fundamental questions like:  What are the central themes of conservatism, socialism, capitalism, and such?  What is so great about our system that we fought to preserve it for over sixty years against the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War?  Just what is so great about free-market capitalism?  These are the questions that this blog seeks to answer, or better yet, provide some information to help the reader find their own answers.

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.