American Elephants


Socialism Makes People Selfish by The Elephant's Child

From Praeger University: quickie courses in stuff you should know about. Most are only around a few minutes long, this one is just over 4. Right size for busy people. This one features Dennis Praeger himself.



The Paranoid Style of American Politics and the Left. by The Elephant's Child

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.



Heather MacDonald: “Are the Police Racist?” by The Elephant's Child

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.



Will Obama Get His 16-Year Era Of Progressive Rule to Fundamentally Transform America? by The Elephant's Child

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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.”

 



Enough With the Tired Old Slogans. Let’s Talk About the Real Issues. by The Elephant's Child

"American

“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.



Clinton Cash: The Movie. Everything is For Sale. by The Elephant's Child

I’m sure you  have heard of the movie “Clinton Cash” but have you watched it? Peter Schweitzer is an American author, and political consultant. He is president of the Government Accountability Institute, and a former William J. Casey Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. If you are curious about Mr. Schweizer, here he is for a speech at Hillsdale College. talking about “Money and Politics.

Hillary famously claimed that they left the White House “dead broke,” which is, of course absurd. Congress, shamed by Harry Truman’s plight when he left the presidency with only his Army pension to rely on, has provided a generous pension for former presidents as well as provision for an office and office help, whatever an ex-president needs. Hillary’s silly claim was the source for many a cartoon, but she now lives on a gated estate, and all her pantsuits are designer creations. Curious. You should see the movie before you vote.



There’s A Battle Going On Here, But It’s Not Quite What You Think! by The Elephant's Child

Statue-Of-Liberty-8
For years, everyone has pretty much agreed that ordinary Americans are blessed with plenty of plain old common sense. I believe that to be true. But the level of society represented by businesses and managers and officialdom at all levels seems to have gone remarkably nuts.

For example, consider the “zero-tolerance” thing that has infected our public schools across the country. Remember the little boy who chewed his Pop Tart into what the zero tolerance administration at his school considered a gun-shape, and he was suspended from school. What it actually looked like was the shape of the state of Idaho. You just turn the state on it’s side and voilá — a gun. Kim R. Holmes points out:

Children are suspended from school for pointing their fingers as a gun, using an imaginary bow and arrow on the playground…  Seven high school students are arrested for engaging in a harmless end-of-the-year water balloon fight, A student is slammed down on the sidewalk and hospitalized for an injury, and a parent standing nearby and complaining about the excessive use of force is threatened with a stun-gun, hospitalized for an injury, and arrested for trespassing. … So-called “free-range children” who are allowed to walk home by themselves from the playground are picked up by police, and their parents are investigated by Child Protective Services. Only decades ago their “offense” was the norm for most American families.

The sheer insanity of the “snowflakes” on college campuses has become well known, as has the utter inability of college administrators to do what would seem to be common sense and send the brats home. “A backlash from parents and alumni is turning up as a result of the campus disruptions of the last academic year. The University of Missouri, where the high-profile, racially-charged protests made national news, have found that enrollment is expected to decline by 2.600 students in the fall. The new freshman class will decline by 1,400. For every 100 fewer students on campus the university loses $1 million in tuition revenue, which rises to $2.5 million for 100 fewer undergraduates from outside the state.”

Across the pond, the experts told us not to worry, that BREXIT would never pass, the consequences would be too severe, but ordinary Englishmen were sick of being controlled by unelected members of an unaccountable bureaucracy and voted to leave. The world has not fallen apart.

Target Corporation responded to the current zeitgeist when it announced that it would allow customers to use whatever bathroom corresponds to their “gender identity.” The American Family Association charged that Target’s new policy would make women and children susceptible to sexual predators, and led a boycott effort that has now garnered nearly 1.5 million signatures. When Target announced its policy, its stock price was $83,50 a share. It has dropped to $67.17 a share. A man who “identifies” as transgender was caught taking pictures of a female customer in a Target fitting room. Target decided to add a third single-toilet bathroom at all stores, which can be locked by users, at a cost pf $20 million. Target clearly still doesn’t get it. Common sense Americans probably will not return.

Kim Rhodes is an Olympic champion who has won medals in six games. Her historic feat  had gone unmentioned by the press. She won her medals by (Gasp!) shooting a gun, which apparently puts her beyond the pale. No major corporate sponsor, but her ammunition and training costs are offset with sponsorship from firearms companies. Companies fear a backlash from the progressive anti-gun lobby. She shoots skeet, better known as clay pigeons.

Even when the press has reported on her achievement, the tone has often been dismissive. An NBC story noted that her medal record is arguably “far less impressive than, say, a gymnast or a swimmer” because shooting “requires fewer physical attributes.” Sure, all it takes is remarkable hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, steady nerves and dedication over 20 years.

Trap or skeet shooting is a pastime for tens of thousands of Americans outside the main media corridors. I even tried it once myself, I wasn’t too bad .

Meanwhile in Academe — the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout — has decided that two paintings should be removed from hallways in Harvey Hall, because the uncontrolled access poses a risk of having a “harmful effect” on their students. They are “French Trappers on the Red Cedar” and “Perrault’s Trading Fort.” They will be hidden away in the Library along with a document that explains their historical significance and the concerns Native Americans have expressed about how they are portrayed in the paintings. Can’t foist those ideas on unaware or unwilling recipients. It is becoming clear that today’s college students don’t know ANYTHING about history.

It is a pattern, repeated over and over. It’s not ordinary Americans who are out of touch. It is those who conceive of themselves as smarter, more enlightened, and just ever so modern and up-to-date for the 21st Century, you know. Every time someone utters the phrase “21st Century” you will know just where they are coming from.




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