Archive for the ‘Political Philosophy’ Category

American Civil War 2?   Leave a comment

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyI’m writing an apocalyptic series. When I first started, I didn’t really think the US would be headed toward a civil war before my son’s beard completely grew in, but the last year has me rethinking that feeling … at times.

I want to believe that the fears of civil war are mostly overblown, but …. I want such scenarios to stay inside my books, but ….

The Good News?

I see some hard leftists and some hard rightists will to kill each other, but I don’t see even my heavily-armed neighbors shooting at one another or even at the people in neighbors within my city. Politics makes people irrational, but average people don’t shoot each other over political disagreements.

The Bad News?

Some observers disagree with me. They don’t live in Alaska, where politics is an indoor participation sport, and they think there’s a rational argument for why civil war can happen.

 

Jonathan Logan makes a thoughtful, informed argument for the plausibility of civil war:

  • For young people to be susceptible to war (the young fight while the old stay home and direct), they must not be too settled, invested, or satisfied with the status quo and they can’t be living stable lives. They require some motive, be it “making a name for themselves” or “fighting evil” or whatever.
  • Few young people in the West are willing to fight a foreign enemy for their country. (Polls find approximately 12% in Germany and 20% in the US). But when you ask if they would participate in riots against an unjust political order, the numbers shoot up. In Germany, it’s 66%; in the US, it’s about 60%.
  • For a civil war (which is really just a big riot against what is perceived to be an unjust political order) to break out, enough people must perceive the current situation as unbearable and be willing to use violence.
  • The police must be unable or unwilling to keep the two sides apart.

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyJonathan Logan’s theory goes like this:

  • There’s a growing inability of “cultural progressives” and “cultural conservatives” to engage in reasonable dialogue. Civility long ago hit the fan and was shredded by the blades.
  • For a long time the “cultural progressives” had success after success. That led to the internal perception that they were not just right but also absolutely right if only those stupid hicks (deplorables) would get out of their way. This was really the general lay of the American political landscape from the late-1960s through to the 2016 election with a couple of moderate setbacks when Reagan restructured taxes in 1986 and when Congress did the Contract with America in 1994.
  • Meanwhile, with limited and sporadic access to the reins of governmental power, “cultural conservatives” grew dissatisfied. They were pushed by progressives on a whole variety of issues to the point where they had a hard time tolerating some of the cultural changes that were forced on them.
  • Before Brexit and Trump, progressives were absolutely convinced that they were right, that they would win, and that the future would be bright. This wasn’t just an assumption. They were convinced of this as surely as they were convinced the sun will rise tomorrow morning. The election of 2016 came as a crushing surprise to them. They didn’t just lose an election. The results of that election destroyed their world perception. OMG, progressive liberals are NOT the center of the universe. The sky IS FALLING!
  • The result is widespread post-traumatic stress disorder. The progressives didn’t just lose; they were traumatized. They now experience anything or anyone that doesn’t go 100% according to their ideology as being violent, hurtful, and triggering. Their coping mechanism is to push harder, become more radical, accept less compromise. They feel that everyone else is actually trying to kill them.
  • At the same time the cultural conservatives experienced something new: victory. They’d just spent a decade in one losing battle after another. First, Bush 2 had reneged on his promises to them and then Obama had told them to sit down, shut up and let their betters lead because they were never getting into power again. Although they won the election of 2016, they are intently aware that there’s a huge mess to clean up. When they see progressives pushing back, they remember all the times conservative values were shelved, denigrated and ignored. They remember what it was like to be backed into a corner. Many of them haven’t actually left the corner yet.
  • So, we have two groups backed into corners with a huge no-man’s land between them. Both groups are deeply polarized and have virtually no shared values on which to find common ground.
  • A defining characteristic of my children’s generation (Millennials) is that they know they can expect nothing from the status quo. Add to that they lack tools for conflict resolution. Their generation is split between progressives and conservatives. Yeah, really, there are many conservative Millennials. Currently they are not the largest generation in existence and they lack influence because they are young. They, therefore, have no way to implement anything that matters to them.
  • So, the Millennials on the progressive side feel they must radicalize because it is imperative to destroy the “evil” other side. Antifa, BLM, RevCom, those groups at the center of the protests and riots, are desperate, hurting, hating, and they feel righteous in their anger.
  • Meanwhile, conservatives are starting to feel fear. Conservatives reject radicalism and the disorder that comes with it. They look at the progressive side and they see agitation, violence and hateful rhetoric. Their natural reaction is to defend themselves.
  • We’re already seeing the more radical of Millennial conservatives and progressives pull out clubs. That’s what happened in Charlottesville and Oakland. That’s a growing trend that doesn’t show signs of stopping. In fact, the progressives have planned a whole series of color-revolution-type protest/riots for November.
  • At the same time, the police are choosing to stand down in these conflicts. More often than not, they agree with the progressive sentiments, but occasionally a conservative administration will not step in the middle of a clash until someone has died.
  • And their refusal to decisively take sides is what allows the ingredients of civil war to ignite. –

I kind of agree with Logan that people are currently so polarized that the ingredients are there for civil war, but I’m going to keep hoping that people will listen to their better angels and just stay home. That’s unlikely with the media stirring the pot in the pursuit of ratings. If a civil war does happen, Judy Woodruff and Sean Hannity will be culpable for causing it.

Notice, I’m not blaming this on President Trump. Why not? Because I don’t think the president is that important. I also don’t think he is seeking to tear the country apart. He is seeking to fulfill his campaign promises and, regardless of whether he does fulfillment well, he’s answerable to the people who put him in office. Let him have his turn. He’ll be out of office in three years if he doesn’t do a good job or seven years if he does and then you’ll get another shot at tyrannizing the country … or not. Maybe by that time, you polarized advocates for coercing “the other guy” will have figured out that politics is poison and that we’d all be better off if we paid less attention to it.

 

 

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Liberals in a Tizzy   Leave a comment

By 

September 7, 2017

Many blacks and their white liberal allies demand the removal of statues of Confederate generals and the Confederate battle flag, and they are working up steam to destroy the images of Gens. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis from Stone Mountain in Georgia. (For the unfamiliar, Stone Mountain is the Mount Rushmore of the Southeast US – Lela). Allow me to speculate as to the whys of this statue removal craze, which we might call statucide.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/09/walter-e-williams/liberals-in-a-tizzy/

To understand it, we need a review of the promises black and white liberals have been making for decades. In 1940, the black poverty rate was 87 percent. By 1960, it had fallen to 47 percent. During that interval, blacks were politically impotent. There were no anti-poverty programs or affirmative action programs. Nonetheless, this poverty reduction exceeded that in any other 20-year interval. But the black leadership argued that more was necessary. They said that broad advancement could not be made unless blacks gained political power.

Fifty years ago, there were fewer than 1,000 black elected officials nationwide. According to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, by 2011 there were roughly 10,500 black elected officials, not to mention a black president. But what were the fruits of greater political power? The greatest black poverty, poorest education, highest crime rates and greatest family instability are in cities such as Detroit, St. Louis, Oakland, Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Buffalo. The most common characteristic of these predominantly black cities is that for decades, all of them have been run by Democratic and presumably liberal politicians. Plus, in most cases, blacks have been mayors, chiefs of police, school superintendents and principals and have dominated city councils.

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During the 1960s, black and white liberals called for more money to be spent on anti-poverty programs. Since the Lyndon Johnson administration’s War on Poverty programs, U.S. taxpayers have forked over $22 trillion for anti-poverty programs. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all U.S. military wars since the American Revolution. Despite that spending, the socio-economic condition for many blacks has worsened. In 1940, 86 percent of black children were born inside marriage, and the black illegitimacy rate was about 15 percent. Today, only 35 percent of black children are born inside marriage, and the illegitimacy rate hovers around 75 percent.

The visions of black civil rights leaders and their white liberal allies didn’t quite pan out. Greater political power and massive anti-poverty spending produced little. The failure of political power and the failure of massive welfare spending to produce nirvana led to the expectation that if only there were a black president, everything would become better for blacks. I cannot think of a single black socio-economic statistic that improved during the two terms of the Barack Obama administration. Some have become tragically worse, such as the black homicide victimization rate. For example, on average in Chicago, one person is shot every two hours, 15 minutes, and a person is murdered every 12 1/2 hours.

So more political power hasn’t worked. Massive poverty spending hasn’t worked. Electing a black president hasn’t worked. What should black leaders and their white liberal allies now turn their attention to in order to improve the socio-economic condition for blacks? It appears to be nearly unanimous that attention should be turned to the removal of Confederate statues. It’s not only Confederate statue removal but Confederate names of schools and streets. Even the Council on American-Islamic Relations agrees. It just passed a resolution calling for the removal of all Confederate memorials, flags, street names and symbols from public spaces and property.

By the way, does the statue of Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman qualify for removal? He once explained his reluctance to enlist former slaves, writing, “I am honest in my belief that it is not fair to our men to count negroes as equals … (but) is not a negro as good as a white man to stop a bullet?” It’s difficult to determine where this purging of the nation’s history should end.

The Rule of Law   Leave a comment

Immigrant Children and the Rule of Law

Earlier this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that in six months, the Department of Justice will begin the long process for deportation proceedings against 800,000 young people who came to America as babies and young children in the care of their parents and others because those entries into this country were and remain unlawful.

Source: The Rule of Law

When President Barack Obama signed numerous executive orders attempting to set forth the conditions under which illegally immigrated adults whose children were born here could lawfully remain here, he was challenged in federal court and he lost. Sessions believes that the government would lose again if it declined to deport those who came here illegally as babies and young children.

Here is the back story.

Shortly after President Obama formalized two programs, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (commonly known as DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (commonly, DAPA), in a series of executive orders, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that DAPA — the orders protecting undocumented immigrants who are the parents of children born here — was unconstitutional.

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Before signing his executive orders, Obama tried to persuade Congress to amend federal immigration laws so as to permit those who came here illegally and bore children here and those who came here illegally as infants to remain here with work permits, high school diplomas, Social Security numbers, jobs and other indicia of stability and permanence. After Congress declined to vote on the Obama proposals, he authored his now-famous DACA and DAPA executive orders. He basically decided to do on his own what Congress had declined to do legislatively.

But Obama’s executive orders were not novel; they merely formalized what every president since Ronald Reagan — including President Donald Trump — has effectively done. Each has declined to deport undocumented immigrants who bore children here or who were brought here as young children. President Obama alone showed the courage to put this in writing, thereby giving immigrants notice of what they need to do to avoid deportation and the government notice of whose deportations should not occur.

Numerous states challenged Obama’s DAPA orders in federal court. The states argued that because they are required to provide a social safety net — hospital emergency rooms, public schools, financial assistance for the poor, etc. — for everyone within their borders, whether there lawfully or unlawfully, DAPA was increasing their financial burden beyond their ability or will to pay. Stated differently, they argued that the president alone was effectively compelling these states to spend state tax dollars against the will of elected state officials. The states also argued that DAPA was such a substantial deviation from the immigration statutes that Congress had written that it amounted to the president’s rewriting the law and thereby usurping the constitutional powers of Congress.

A federal district judge agreed with the states, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit affirmed that ruling (emphasis Lela). That court held that by increasing the financial burden on states against the will of the elected officials of the states, the president had violated the Guarantee Clause of the Constitution — which guarantees a representative form of government in the states, not one in which a federal official can tell state officials how to spend state tax dollars

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It also ruled that by enforcing his executive orders instead of the laws as Congress wrote them — those laws mandate deportation for all who came here illegally, no matter their age or family status — the president was failing to take care that all federal laws be enforced (emphasis Lela). That behavior, the court ruled, violated the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, which compels the president to enforce federal laws as they were written, not as he might wish them to be.

The Supreme Court declined to intervene by a 4-4 vote, thereby permitting the 5th Circuit decision to stand undisturbed (emphasis Lela).

When Sessions announced this week that DACA will not be followed after March 5, 2018, he said he is confident that DACA is unconstitutional for the same reasons that the courts found DAPA to be unconstitutional. Yet there are moral, constitutional, legal and economic arguments on this that will be an obstacle to the cancellation of this long-standing program.

Morally, most of the beneficiaries of DACA are fully Americanized young adults who know no other life but what they have here and have no roots in the countries of their births. Many are serving the U.S. in the military. Constitutionally, DACA has effectively been in place since 1986, and 800,000 people younger than 40 have planned their lives in reliance upon it. Legally, once a benefit has been given by the government and relied upon, the courts are reluctant to rescind it, even though the 5th Circuit showed no such reluctance.

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Economically, the summary removal of more than three-quarters of a million people from the workforce would have serious negative consequences for their employers and dependents and for delicate economic forces, and there would be negative economic consequences to the government, as well, as each claimed hardship case — each person whose deportation is ordered — is entitled to a hearing at the government’s expense.

Now many Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress want to make a close version of Obama’s executive orders with respect to immigrant infants (DACA) the law of the land — something they declined to do when Obama was president. Were this to happen, the tables would be turned on Trump. He would be confronted with the constitutional duty of enforcing a federal law that he has condemned.

Would he live up to his oath of office?

Rise of the Illiberal “Liberal”   Leave a comment

How do you discuss something you’re not allowed to name? The media and academia declared the Alt-Left a myth, a product of American dialectical thinking that requires a balance to the Alt-Right, but not really something to worry about. Pay no attention to the club-wielding, masked thugs in Charlottesville, Berkley and Boston. Keep your eyes trained on the “fascists” because the Alt-Left doesn’t really exist and to use the term “Alt-Left” is a pejorative” used only by the right-leaning media and the center Left to attack a legitimate people’s movement. “Smart” people know it’s all nonsense.
Image result for image of illiberalismFor those self-identified liberals who may have been seduced by this belief system with its propaganda — I know I made you mad just now. I hope you will continue reading because this is a conversation we need to have.
I would define Alt-Left as a leftist, illiberal authoritarian ideology rooted in postmodernism and neo-Marxism that supports censorship, condones violence in response to speech, is obsessed with identity politics (much like the Alt-Right), and functions like a secular religion that gives its believers a sense of moral self-worth.

Posted September 28, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy, Uncategorized

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Myth Busting – Hitler WAS a Socialist   Leave a comment

The National Socialist German Workers Party (Hitler’s party) were socialists. How do I make that claim? It’s right there in their title, for one, but also because Hitler’s henchman Goebbels never doubted that he was a socialist. He considered Nazism to be a better and more plausible form of socialism than that espoused by Lenin. Instead of spreading itself across different nations like dandelion seeds, it would operate just within German-speaking countries, thus assuring cultural victory.

Image result for image of hitler as a socialistFor the modern Left not to know this shows gross historical illiteracy. That they try to explain the connection away would be laughable if I believed most people in the US were educated enough to know the Left is stupid.

Hitler boasted that “the whole of National Socialism” was “based on Marx.” Hitler thought Marx had erred in fostering class division rather than national unity. By setting the workers against the industrialists Marx had, in Hitler’s view, missed an opportunity to unite them to the same goals. He meant to “convert the German Volk to socialism without simply killing off the old individualists.” He thought the bankers and factory owners could serve socialism better by generating revenue for the state.

Yeah, the national socialists  and the international socialists loathed one another and rushed to put each other in prison camps or before firing squads, but that was merely a territorial food fight between two tribes that hated free-market individualists. They were brothers and brothers tend toward rivalry, but they were still brothers, more alike than not. Both were evil forms of statism … one attracting people who envied the wealthy and the other seeking recruits by demonizing non-Aryans.

Somewhere along the line we’ve forgotten what Nazism really was and we’ve allowed leftists to define it as a more extreme form of conservatism. The myth revolves around the idea that left-wing means compassionate and right-wing means nasty and we all know fascists are nasty.

Does that sound silly worded like that?

That’s because it is. The media calls all sorts of groups “right-wing”. The Taliban, for example, is “right-wing” according to the media. Yet, the Taliban, while being conservative Muslims, want communal ownership of goods. The “right-wing” Iranian revolutionaries seized industries and destroyed the middle class.

So let’s step back and consider this. Both ideologists favored authoritarianism as a means to their ends. So do, for that matter, the Iranian revolutionaries and the Taliban. Authoritarianism is the believe that state (government) compulsion is justified in pursuit of a higher goal. That goal might be scientific progress or great equality or the protection of religion. It was traditionally a characteristic of social democrats and revolutionaries, as pointed out by the very progressive HG Wells, who in 1932, told the Young Liberals they must become “liberal fascists” and “englightened Nazis.”

Wells wasn’t not advocating for embracing Hitlerism, which didn’t actually exist in 1932. He was describing government interventionism. A lot of people in the United States at that time were pro-interventionism, having not yet recognized the racism and anti-Semitism that were part of the fascist program. They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

What is the excuse of modern people who excuse communism today? We know where it has always led and we should know that it will lead there again, but some of Americans romanticize an ideology that killed tens of millions of innocent people. Do you not realize that T-shirt of Che Guevara champions the vicious enforcing of Cuba’s totalitarian regime.

Posted September 21, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy, Uncategorized

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How Is the Fix In?   2 comments

So, the other day, someone on Twitter informed me that all Republic states had done away with paper ballots and that no states do hand-counting.

Last I looked Alaska was a Republican-leaning state and I fill out a paper ballot and feed it into a scanner. I’ve seen what comes out at the other end – a scanned copy of my ballot. I’ve seen the poll workers hand-count the ballots to assure they match the reading on the scanner before forwarding a report that verifies that the hand-count matches the scanner count. Then the paper ballots are forwarded in a locked box with guards to the Division of Elections.

Image result for image of russians meddling with election on facebookSo I went out and checked and 37 states have maintained paper ballots, some with optical scanners, others with a paper ballot that prints out after you use the digital machine, and most states that use electronic methods still have some form of paper trail attached.

Amid all of these ridiculous claims was someone up in arms because “Russia used Facebook to influence the election.”

So what?

I used Facebook to influence the election too. I posted on my social media accounts that I thought folks should vote for Gary Johnson rather than the Donald or She-Who-Would-Be-Queen. I offered reasoned arguments that you were free to accept or reject. I pointed out fallacies that you could believe or disbelieve. I posted scathing memes.

Oh, but wait, I’m an American citizen, so it’s okay for me to influence an election, because we all know nobody takes an American citizen seriously, right. But Russia … Russia … oh, my god, Russian agents expressed an opinion and some people might actually have been influenced by finding out that Hillary Clinton thinks the American people are idiots. The horror! And, of course, nobody can exercise their common sense and decide that they disagree with ads posted by Russians because … well, it’s Russia and we all know they have mind-control powers. The horror!

 

We have been subjected to 10 months of propaganda about Trump/Putin election interference without a scrap of actual evidence being produced. It is past time to ask an unasked question: If there were evidence, what is the big deal? All sorts of interest groups try to influence election outcomes including foreign governments. Why is it OK for Israel to influence US elections but not for Russia to do it? I seem to remember Angela Merkel saying something about how she wanted the US election to turn out. Why is it okay for her to do that, but not Vladimir Putin? Why do you think the armament industry, the energy industry, agribusiness, Wall Street and the banks, pharmaceutical companies, what’s left of the Moral Majority, George Soros, etc., supply huge sum of money to finance election campaigns if their intent is not to influence the election? Why do editorial boards write editorials endorsing one candidate and damning another if they are not influencing the election?

What is the difference between influencing the election and influencing the government? Washington is full of lobbyists of all descriptions, including lobbyists for foreign governments, working round the clock to influence the US government. Actual citizens’ opinions are the least represented in the government because we haven’t got any lobbyists working for us.

The orchestrated hysteria over “Russian influence” is even more absurd considering the reason Russia allegedly interfered in the election. Russia favored Trump because he was the “peace” candidate who promised to reduce the high tensions with Russia created by the Obama regime and neocon nazis like Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. What’s wrong with Russia preferring a peace candidate over a war candidate? The American people themselves preferred the peace candidate.

Those who don’t agree with the electorate are the warmongers—the military/security complex and the neocons. These are democracy’s enemies who are trying to overturn the choice of the American people by keeping back information we had a right to know. It is not Russia that disrespects the choice of the American people. Russia is not in our streets throwing rocks through shop windows, burning cars and beating up people who voted for the constitutionally-elected President. Russia is busy dealing with its own issues while the utterly corrupt Democratic National Committee with its divisive identity politics, the military/security complex, and the left-leaning media undermine US democracy.

Whoever is producing the propaganda that these people believe about the election process should probably be looked at as someone trying to influence future election results because it is far easier to hack a nation-wide popular election than it is to corrupt 51 state-wide popular votes conducted by a myriad of election apparatuses.

The important question is who is it that is trying so hard to convince Americans that Russian influence somehow prevailed over our collective commonsense? It would appear that at the most, they released information that allowed us more information upon which to derive our opinions. Are we now saying that an uninformed vote is better than an informed one?

 

 

Posted September 18, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy

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Hey, Trump Voters! How Do You Like Betrayal?   1 comment

So, I think a lot of people have heard that President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) have agreed to pursue a deal that would permanently remove the requirement that Congress repeatedly raise the debt ceiling.

Trump signs Harvey aid, debt ceiling packageThis is a gentlemen’s agreement that’s been leaked by administration insiders. The Oval Office meeting included an agreement that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would work with the two men over the next several months to finalize a plan. Congress would have to approve the plan, of course, but the leakers claim Senate Democrats believe they can finalize the arrangement by December.

One reason I didn’t vote for President Trump is one of the reasons I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. I suspected Trump is still a Democrat. You do know you can join any political party you want and nobody actually asks you to prove you agree with the platform? One day in every four years, I’m a Republican so I can vote in the GOP primary. I’m back to being a Non-Partisan (an actual “party” designation in Alaska) by the general. So, I’m not surprised that President Trump has made this decision to betray American conservatives who voted for him. I kind of thought he would do something like this because he’s a closet Democrat and Democrats really don’t see anything wrong with debt.

I’ve spent a lot of blog posts talking about the danger of debt. Just as runaway debt in your household will force you into bankruptcy eventually, runaway debt in the government will eventually drive Washington DC into bankruptcy. Just like some households carry some debt and they do okay so long as they keep it under control, the national government can also carry some debt, but we are currently carrying more debt than all debt for the entire history of the United States. We’re in trouble, folks, and that periodic discussion of the debt ceiling helps us to remember that and encourages Americans to demand Congress do something about it.

It’s a lot easier to increase spending levels if the people don’t know what the national debt is. That’s how the government got away with running up debts in the 1950s and 60s. But in the 1970s, we started a very steep recession and the debt became a subject of common discussion. It forced the eventual passage of the Contract with America, which almost retired the debt.

No, Clinton did not have an actual surplus of funds. He raided the Social Security Trust Fund to make it seem like he had. And, now, we are $20 trillion in debt and going up and they want to move the problem out of sight so that we won’t care so much about it.

 

 

So, my question is –

Are you pissed off yet, Republicans?

Are you going to do something real about it?

No, I’m not saying vote for the Democrats. They are behind this stupidity!

I’m becoming convinced that voting does nothing, but if you’re going to vote, at least don’t vote for Dweedle Dee (GOP) or Dweedle Dum (Democrats). Instead, pick a third party you mostly agree with and vote for them. Take away the power from the elites – Congress and President Trump. Maybe a Libertarian President with a mixed Repubican, Democratic and Libertarian Congress would be more likely to address the debt and insist we do something about it.

Or maybe it will teach all of us that voting doesn’t do ANYTHING and we need to do something far different.

Posted September 9, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy, Uncategorized

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