Quote of the Day

From Mises Institute President Jeff Deist, in a piece published on The Daily Caller.

“A government big and powerful enough to cause widespread psychosis after presidential elections is a government without much legitimacy. People become irrational about politics precisely because government depressingly controls so much of our lives. It chooses winners and losers. It is the superstar player in American society, rather than the referee.

The obvious and reasonable option staring us all in the face is to go our separate ways. Let us consider political secession, radical decentralization, nullification, and localism as the realistic alternatives to a much more unpleasant conflict. Let us reconsider living as a loose confederation of states. 320 million vastly diverse people, from Anchorage to San Francisco to Topeka to Miami, cannot be governed by a top-down central authority in Washington.

Surely divorce, in whole or in part, is better than an abusive marriage.”

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Tactics: Left and Right

It’s been known for quite some time that the political left is much better than the right when it comes to protest. One can see a continuum that extends from 60’s and 70’s era anti-war progressives to 2011’s Occupy Wall Street crowd to the fever pitch that has become anti-Trump events. Though not always the most classy affairs, the recent anti-Trump Women’s March, for example, included tens of thousands of women lecturing us all on human dignity while dressed as vaginas, the left can always seem to rally people and, more importantly, outrage.

In fact, the only recent protest success for the political right has been the Tea Party “revolution”. Unfortunately, what started as a clarion call to low taxes and a small constitutional government was co-opted by the GOP establishment almost as quickly as it started. Though, in fairness, the Tea Party’s rise did give us Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY), as well as Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT).

It Comes Down to Tactics

One of the main differences between the political right and left when it comes to protests are tactics. Recently, the left has become much more aggressive protesters, largely taking their cues from the postmodernist, neo-Marxist social justice warriors whose mantra can only be described as “we provide no platform for people who disagree with us, regardless of the reasons”.

That’s a main reason why Antifa protests of pro-Trump “free speech” rallies and anti-free speech protests on college campuses, have become so tumultuous, even to the point of violence. This turn of events can’t be a surprise given the above mantra; SJW’s have no interest in honest, open debate. Their only interest is in shutting down their opponents by any means necessary, including mobbing and shouting down opponents and stopping speakers they don’t like by calling in bomb threats to venues. Though these tactics are reprehensible enough to demand denunciation by any responsible party, the fact is that a friendly media and political class has only exacerbated the problem.

This has led many on the right to seek a more direct strategy when dealing with the left: use the tactics of the left on the left. We have seen a few cases of this recently. First is the push to declare leftist violence as hate crimes. The whole idea of hate crimes is ridiculous and succumbing to the left’s linguistic games plays right into their hands by normalizing and justifying bad laws. The second strategy is even worse: to start shutting down free speech events themselves.

I can understand why this strategy is appealing. It is certainly frustrating to see your political enemies seemingly getting away with anti-free speech violence, but that’s no reason to resort to their tactics.

There is simply nothing to be gained for the political right by using the same pernicious tactics that their rivals use. It makes the right look childish, spiteful, and only continues to justify similar leftist responses. One reason for this is because conservatives and the right will never get fair treatment in the mainstream media. Another reason is that the public will simply throw up its hands and declare the two sides equally destructive.

As Nietzsche said, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”

The Evergreen State College Controversy in 7 Blood Boiling Minutes

Evergreen State College, a Washington college with a student acceptance rate of 98.9%, has recently come into the news for a free speech controversy. The controversy centers around Bret Weinstein, a progressive evolutionary biology professor, who had the audacity to object to a student led initiative to make white students and professors stay home for a day.

The ensuing student protests show perfectly what today’s neo-Marxist campus left has become.  The only thing more pathetic than the student’s behavior has been university president George Bridges’ response. By allowing these intellectually stunted campus bullies run roughshod over the college, even while they shout profanities and attempt to block his access to the bathroom, he is only pouring gasoline on the fire.

Evergreen State College has always been a left-wing training ground. In addition to the 98.9% acceptance rate (the national average is 65%), the college boasts “narrative evaluations” instead of a traditional grading structure. This speaks volumes about the institution’s lack of academic standards.

If the behavior in the video wasn’t irritating enough, consider this: Evergreen State College currently receives over $24 million in taxpayer funding annually. The controversy has led a state lawmaker to introduce a plan to privatize the university and eliminate the funding over five years. Even better would be to eliminate all taxpayer funding of colleges and universities, as well as ending all government subsidy of student loans. Let the campus crazies terrorize impotent college presidents on their own dime.

 

McCain Institute funded by Soros, Saudis

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has recently come under fire for some questionable donations that were made to the institute that bears his name, the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group is reporting.

The McCain Institute for International Leadership was created in 2012 using almost $9 million dollars of unused campaign contributions from McCain’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.

According to the Institute’s website, the “McCain Institute is a non-partisan do-tank dedicated to advancing character-driven global leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity – in the United States and around the world. The Institute seeks to promote humanitarian action, human rights and democracy, and national security, and to embrace technology in producing better designs for educated decisions in national and international policy.”

Per the Daily Caller, though, “Critics worry that the institute’s donors and McCain’s personal leadership in the organization’s exclusive “Sedona Forum” bear an uncanny resemblance to the glitzy Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that annually co-mingled special interests and powerful political players in alleged pay-to-play schemes.”

Here are a few of the donations in question:

George Soros – $100,000

If there was ever a match made in hell, it’s this one. Soros, who has been linked to funding violent leftist groups like Antifa, and McCain, maybe the senate’s worst authoritarian warmonger, extending their “leadership” internationally should terrify anyone who values peace, liberty, and self-determination.

Teneo – $100,000

Teneo, the international advisory firm and investment banking platform, was co-founded by Doug Band. Band, a former Clinton assistant and lawyer, helped create the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and later worked for the Clinton Foundation. Both the CGI, which was dissolved in early 2017 after Hillary Clinton’s presidential election loss, and the Clinton Foundation have been criticized for many of the same issues that now plague the McCain Institute.

Saudi Arabia – $1,000,000

First reported by Bloomberg in 2016, the McCain Institute collected a $1 million donation from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are notorious sponsors of terrorism in the middle east and thanks to the release of now infamous ’28 pages’ report have even been implicated in helping organize the 9/11 attacks.

Morocco – $100,000

Per the Daily Caller:

“It accepted more than $100,000 from OCP, S.A., a Moroccan state-owned phosphate company operating in the Western Sahara, territory which Morocco seized in 1975. The North African country has since occupied the region by force in defiance of U.N. resolutions and legal declarations by other international bodies.

Morocco has come under criticism from human rights groups that the government violates basic human rights and that its state-owned companies subject its workforce to gruesome conditions while exploiting the disputed territory’s natural resources.”

Not to mention that the King of Morocco is a long-time donor to the Clinton Foundation, including a multimillion-dollar donation that secured a CGI meeting in Marrakech in 2015.

For the record, McCain claims to have very little involvement with the institute, even though he regularly attends events and meetings, his wife is on the institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council, many of his “longtime political allies” sit on the board of directors, and one of his fundraisers keeps the institute’s books.

So far, there is no definitive proof that pay to play going on at the McCain Institute, but if there seems like there is overlap between the Clinton Foundation and the McCain Institute, it’s easy to see why.

Quote of the Day

Today’s quote comes from Patrick Henry, along with commentary by the Mises Institute’s Ryan McMaken (read the whole thing here).

Henry’s quote comes from a speech he gave at the 1788 Virginia convention, which was called to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Henry’s insights into the abusive nature of a strong Federalist government is prescient and McMaken drives the point home.

“If we admit this consolidated government, it will be because we like a great splendid one. Some way or other we must be a great and mighty empire; we must have an army, a navy, and a number of things: When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, Sir, was then the primary object…But now, Sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country to a powerful and mighty empire.”

And quite an empire it has become. Today, as Americans, half our incomes are taxed away to that consolidated government; we send our sons to die toppling dictators armed and financed by those same taxes; we bleat like sheep for protection from each other and every foreign bogeyman near and far, and we call it liberty!

And for most Americans today, Patrick Henry is no doubt seen as a hopeless romantic, an impractical partisan of an imperfect ideology. He should have compromised and joined the Convention, we are told. His vision for America is in the dustbin of history. A fine man for a revolution perhaps, but of little use for our civilized government of today. Such are the rationalizations we now must resort to.

Patrick Henry may have failed to prevent the destruction of the free states of 18th century America, but he speaks to us across the centuries. Henry provides us with an eloquent example of those men of principle who put liberty first and were not afraid to fight for it. Today, as we beg for scraps at government’s table, perhaps we could learn a little something about courage and liberty from Mr. Henry.

 

James Madison and the Problem with the Constitution

This comes from an early section of Tom Wood’s excellent The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. (Seriously, if you don’t have it, click the link and go buy it.)

Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1792,

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands, they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all the roads other than post-roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress.

Sound familiar?

The man who wrote the First Amendment knew exactly well that the federal government would try to exploit areas of the constitution in order to expand their power. Madison wrote the above in 1792, but even by 1798 John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts were pushing the envelope of what the federal government could get away with.  With the later help of activist, federalist judges like John Marshall and those after him, the door was officially opened to allow the federal government to grow into the monstrosity it is today.

So the question becomes, does the constitution authorize the federal government expand it’s powers into every area of our lives, or is it simply too weak to restrain it?

My answer is: does it matter if the outcome is always the same?

19th century political theorist and lawyer Lysander Spooner convincingly argued in No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority, that the constitution shouldn’t even apply to those who never agreed to it. To him, the constitution was a contract between men. Spooner saw the idea of the constitution binding future generations of people by some mythical “social contract” as a ridiculous one.  I agree.

The State always expands its own power and authority at the expense of its subjects. It is parasitic by nature. The goal for should be to decentralize that power away from the federal government and back to the individuals, who are far better capable of making decisions for themselves.

Walter Williams on Rewriting History

Walter Williams has an interesting column today on the left’s tired attempts to rewriting American history. In it, I think, he encapsulates the proper way to think about this issue. This is no surprise from the always clear-thinking Williams.

He starts his column (which you can read in its entirety here), fittingly, with a quote from Orwell, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” That is certainly an apt description of the left’s incessant need to tear down the elements of history that they don’t approve of.

Some brief history is necessary. Outlawing or tearing down confederate monuments and symbols is certainly nothing new. There have been organized movements to remove the confederate flag and other monuments in southern states since the 1960’s. The movement has gained even more traction since the 2015 South Carolina church massacre, which led to the removal of the confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol building. This success has led directly to the recent events in New Orleans, where four long time historical monuments are now being removed.

Whether controversial historical monuments belong on public property or not should be up to the people who live there, but it is a dangerous game the left is playing. If you believe that those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, how much more so for those who willingly repress and destroy the past? Wouldn’t a better solution be to allow a private dealer to purchase the monuments and display them on private property? Well, no, because the goal isn’t to relocate the monuments to somewhere more appropriate, the goal is to destroy them and any memory of them. It isn’t about tolerance and inclusiveness, it’s about political power, pure and simple.

Not to mention, where do you stop? This is ultimately Williams’ point.

“The challenges of rewriting American history are endless, going beyond relatively trivial challenges such as finding new pictures for our currency. At least half of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners. Also consider that roughly half of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia were slave owners. Do those facts invalidate the U.S. Constitution, and would the history rewriters want us to convene a new convention to purge and purify our Constitution?

The job of tyrants and busybodies is never done. When they accomplish one goal, they move their agenda to something else. If we Americans give them an inch, they’ll take a yard. So I say, don’t give them an inch in the first place. The hate-America types use every tool at their disposal to achieve their agenda of discrediting and demeaning our history. Our history of slavery is simply a convenient tool to further their cause.”

Well said.