American Elephants


The Paranoid Style of American Politics and the Left.

In The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left,  Kim Holmes addresses the “paranoid style of American politics” as described by political scientist Richard Hofstadter in the 1960s.

Liberal populists, … are big believers in conspiracy theories. Hillary Clinton once spoke of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” against her and her husband, and she is not alone in her paranoia. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (whose financial disclosure reports showed her to be worth about $8 million in early 2015) believes businessmen, bankers, and the rich are irredeemably selfish and make decisions solely for their own benefit which hurts the poor. To many progressive liberals, opponents of same-sex marriage are not honest people guided by conscience, but malicious bigots out to do harm. American history is not a complex unfolding of events but a cynical conspiracy driven by rich white people whose only interest is to keep their racial and economic privileges. Since the “enemy” is in control of everything—the radio waves, the churches and the banks—they are thought to be all-powerful. It is perfectly acceptable to apply any means whatsoever to dislodge them from power. It is justice of the revolutionary sort, because according to the paranoid’s viewpoint, one’s political opponents  are simply too evil to be given  fair shake in the debate. They must not be merely opposed. Them must be silenced and removed.

Oh, come on! Surely that’s an exaggeration. Surely you have noticed that you are being called a “white supremacist,”

The city of Seattle, WA, has offered a class on “white fragility” to white people in order to explain white guilt and why white people cannot “handle matters involving race.”Lecturer Robin DiAngelo, who coined the term, is teaching the taxpayer-funded class for the city Office of Arts and Culture. She defines white fragility as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.”

Critics say it is just the latest attempt at spreading white guilt, following in the footsteps of concepts such as “white privilege.”

From Richard Hofstadter:

Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated —if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

Unrealistic goals? I give you millions of jobs from repairing our infrastructure, or how about running the country on wind and biofuels? Or possibly handing control of the entire Middle East over to the Mullahs in Iran, so we can have peace. I’ll even bet that you can think of some other unrealistic goals.



At Last! A Grownup. I Hope It’s Catching.

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From Economist Mark Perry at AEI— the quotation of the day:

The University of Chicago’s Dean of Students has sent a letter to the Class of 2020 incoming students:

Welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the College at the University of Chicago. Earning a place in our community of scholars is no small achievement and we are delighted that you selected Chicago to continue your intellectual journey.

Once here you will discover that one of the University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. This is captured in the University’s faculty report of freedom of expression. Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and  freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called “trigger warnings,” we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

Perhaps a little publicity will help other universities to discover just what education is all about, and stop pandering to agitators.



Heather MacDonald: “Are the Police Racist?”

The Data and the facts don’t support the accusations of racism. But the whole question is involved with feelings, not facts.  It’s past time to set the record straight.



A Devastating Flood in Louisiana Does Not Mean that Global Warming Caused It!

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Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. is a Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado, and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) slammed the idea of linking the recent dreadful floods in Louisiana to Global Warming.  It is always tempting to attribute catastrophe to those things that can be linked to a current political theme, but extreme weather is NOT getting worse.

‘Flood disasters are sharply down. U.S. floods not increasing either.’

‘Is U.S. drought getting worse? No.’

‘U.S. hurricane landfalls (& their strength) down by ~20% since 1900.’

‘Recent years have seen record low tornadoes.’

Climate Depot (add this site to your list) has an excellent article quoting Dr. Pielke which includes graphs of what is really happening and show the decline in disaster. Useful to keep in mind when confronted with the alarmists. Hurricanes are down by approximately 20% since 1900. Tornadoes are at a record low. Drought is not worse, though California’s government mismanagement has nearly caused disaster.

The hacked documents from George Soros Open Society Institute published by DC Leaks has revealed that the Liberal billionaire gave former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental group millions of dollars over three years to create a “political space for aggressive U.S. action” on global warming. “That included budgeting $10 million in annual support to Gore’s climate group over three years.”

So a little corruption here and there is just the normal way that government works these days? Don’t you hate the feeling that they are attempting to manipulate you and your ideas?



Will Obama Get His 16-Year Era Of Progressive Rule to Fundamentally Transform America?

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I received my copy of The Claremont Review of Books summer edition in the mail today, and a paragraph in the editorial statement caught my eye. Charles Kesler reflected on the campaign season.

For President Obama , the stakes are clear. As he told Politico recently; he wants his legacy to include “a 16-year era of progressive rule” that would upend the Reagan Revolution and fulfill his promise in 2008 to transform the country “fundamentally.” Obama’s own achievement, in other words, depends on eight years of a Hillary Clinton Administration, its agenda shoved further left by Bernie Sanders’s “political revolution.”Whether Obama likes it or not, if Change doesn’t continue, Hope will die, above all his hope of being the progressive Reagan.

I am continually amazed at the ignorance of the benefits of free market capitalism that is necessary to believe in a glorious Progressive future. But then, Christiana Figueres, Secretary General of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, cheerfully admitted that they weren’t really interested in saving the Earth from a forthcoming climate disaster, but that it was their best chance of ridding the world of Capitalism.

How do they continually banish the clear evidence before their eyes of the results of progressive governance? People are voting with their feet to leave the states where the administrative state reigns. Companies cannot make a go of it under confiscatory taxes and ever-increasing regulation. 9,000 businesses have packed up and left California for less regulation and lower taxes. The Cities that have been run by Democrats the longest, are the cities with the highest murder rates, the most dysfunction. There is a long and ugly history of socialism, but they just didn’t do it right? Obama has tried to open up Cuba with a visit and promises of closer relations, and the Castros simply said fine, but we’re not changing anything.

Venezuela is a classic example—an oil rich country that cannot feed their people who are breaking into the zoo to kill the starving animals for food. The absence of toilet paper has been the most celebrated, but there is little food in the stores, and long lines when the slightest truck loads come in. Nicholas Maduro has tried to confiscate all weapons — as he has some idea of his future.

Steven Hayward captured the essence of the administrative state in one paragraph.

Here’s Richard Epstein on “The Perils of Executive Power.

David Harsanyi  writes about “California: The Ultimate Nanny State.”

 



Daniel Hannan Explains Socialism at The Oxford Union
August 22, 2016, 6:27 am
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Economics, Economy, Europe, European Union, Politics, United Kingdom

Daniel Hannan is a British politician, author, and Member of the European Parliament representing South East England, who will, I guess, shortly be losing his job to BREXIT, which I believe he favored. Here he is clearing the air a little, about the wonders of socialism.

He is a very clear speaker, and I wouldn’t want to be on the opposing side of a debate with him. Good guy, always interesting.



Enough With the Tired Old Slogans. Let’s Talk About the Real Issues.

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“This is the most important election of my lifetime,” unfortunately, that is a statement you hear in every election. But then, sometimes, it’s true.  So do we worry most about — ISIS? The plight of Europe as they can increasingly not cope with the flood of migrants, many of whom are ISIS fighters? Or do we worry about terrorist attacks in our own country? Is it the Zika Virus? Or is it the economy which after over seven and-a half long years has shown little sign of a real recovery. This is really not the new normal.

Republicans are more apt to recall what they learned in school about separation of powers and federalism. Democrats have decided that they are far more interested in controlling the peoople, and that is a problem.

President Obama has maintained a steady course of increasing new regulations, more spending on”infrastructure,” more spending on the chimera of global warming, and through his unconstitutional executive actions, he has backed federal mandates on business, closed a lot of small businesses, increased taxes and in the strange interest of making America just one among the many countries of the world, made America weak. And then there’s the Iran Deal.

The executive actions are a big problem. All presidents do some, but President Obama has carried it to an extreme, and Congress has found it hard to cope. This is the first time we have had a president, schooled by Saul Alinsky, determined to change the country to something that is more in line with his personal vision of social justice, and unconcerned with following custom or the rules.

Republicans are inclined to believe that there is no such thing as “social” justice — that justice is what is embodied in our courts, our body of laws, our Constitution and the constitutions of the several states.

Democrats have had a degree of success with “social justice” and the associated ideas of an unjust minimum wage, income inequality, racial injustice, “white privilege,” a War on Cops, excessive incarceration of black perpetrators, too many blacks in prison, thousands of Syrian “refugees” who cannot be vetted are put ahead of those who have waited patiently in line as legal immigrants, and of course “crumbling roads and bridges.” You will notice that most of these are rallying cries in the Democrat campaign.

I continually get the sense that Democrats operate with talking points handed down, and thus do not have to study issues, read, or think seriously about history or the world, or about whether their issues are right or workable or even make sense. Or maybe that’s just Hillary.

They seem to be fixated on an improved version of socialism that will be socially just, totally different from all those other socialisms, and will fix all the dreadful problems of America — as it is. They find the old buildings and their peeling paint and the antique cars in Havana charming, and can’t get it through their heads that it is “charming” because that’s all they have. They completely ignore the devastation in Venezuela where the people are dying from lack of the simplest medicines, and plain starvation. They broke into the zoo to kill a horse to eat, but the animals in the zoo are starving to death too.

Hillary wants to raise taxes on the rich, who already pay most of the taxes, and on corporations, capital gains, death taxes and stock transactions, without the slightest understanding that will simply deliver more stagnant growth, falling wages and declining productivity. But then, that’s what her economic plan promises. More of Obama’s “success.”

What makes economies grow and prosper are free markets and free people who can work to come up with new ideas and bring them to fruition in their garage or small town or big city. Freedom works small and big miracles every day. Tried and tested for 240 years.




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