American Elephants


Trump Is a Dictator and Other Democrat Language Excess by The Elephant's Child

Daniel Henninger had a splendid column in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. “Democrat’s assaults on the Trump presidency roll in like the ocean’s tides. But the one that landed on the beach today that deserves to go under the microscope. It is the notion that Donald Trump is a dictator.”

He rolls on through Attorney General William Barr’s refusal to appear before the committee after being slandered and ridiculed the day before, noting the other Democrats who piled on. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) raged that “If a Democratic President acted this way. Republicans would be calling him or her a dictator. Henninger added that this is progress. We’ve moved on from Trump-is-Hitler to mere dictator, which is discussable.

Nadler added that what is at stake in the standoff between President Trump and the Democrats is “the very system of government of the United States is “the very system of government of the United States, the system of limited power…”

Henninger asked “When in the past 20 years has a national Democrat invoked “limited power”?”

He added:

Of late, the Democratic left has adopted a familiar post election strategy: Taint elections they lose, and then delegitimize the opposition in the public’s mind to win the next election. …

America’s political left is impatient for power. It is frustrated it hasn’t been able to achieve its agenda on issues like health-care nationalization or climate policy through the normal legislative process, so it is trying to force it—by redesigning the political system to give itself power long enough to impose what it wants. In short, by dictating policy change.

To get there, the left is pushing to abolish the Electoral College and expand the Supreme Court. As power grabs go, these are pretty naked.

That’s quite clearly what today’s Democrats are up to. They would prefer to be running the country, saving us all from the horrors of climate change to secure their perpetual control. Pay attention to China’s electronic control of the Chinese people, and treatment of dissidents. The Uighurs, a Moslem segment of the Chinese people, are essentially in a concentration camp to be re-educated. Putin has
adopted the Chinese system of computerized facial recognition, which he is putting into force in Moscow. The Russians are apparently to be monitored as the Chinese people are. Total control would seem to be not far behind. Live correctly and behave properly, and the government will allow you to use the government facilities like trains and planes, and perhaps even travel. I suppose such control is so enticing for dictator types that it would be hard to resist. It is up to Americans to be alert to what is going on around the world, and what the implications are for our freedom.

I natter a lot about human nature, and trying to understand that which is just human nature and not subject to being “fixed.”. We are a highly imperfect species, and many cannot resist the attempt to grab for more power and control. Bureaucracy is an enemy, not our friend.



It Is a Constitutional Crisis! Isn’t It? by The Elephant's Child

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today that we are in a “Constitutional Crisis”. Jerry Nadler said that we are now in a “Constitutional Crisis”. Even Adam Schiff said we’re in a “Constitutional Crisis”. This seems to the the Left’s talking point of the day. There was also some muttering about Trump not being a king or an emperor. But they are clearly correct.

This is something of a Constitutional crisis. We have one political party unwilling to accept the rules of the Constitution on how elections are decided. They are furious because they lost, and want the Constitution changed so that it never happens again. And they are determined to get rid of the hated Trump by any means necessary. Outraged by the Mueller failure to provide immediate succor, they are groping for another solution. I’m not sure that you can impeach someone simply because you do not like him. But just who and what makes it a crisis is up for debate.

The Electoral College and the structure of the Senate were carefully designed to make sure that the people of the less populous states had equal representation. Every state has two senators, and the House of Representatives numbers reflect the population numbers. It was a pretty impressive bit of planning when at the time a sprawling union of 50 states was unimaginable, and Hawaii and Alaska were unknown, as was much of anything west of the Adirondacks.

I’m beginning to suspect that the Left has noticed that the economy is booming, that there are more job openings than unemployed people to fill them, and their celebrated former president could never get growth above 2% no matter how much he “invested” in the economy, and declared that the world had changed and an upside was no longer possible. Pelosi is still describing the Trump tax cuts as the worst thing ever done to our economy. (They simply cannot grasp supply-side economics.) The idea that you make the world a better place by giving people free stuff, like free college and Medicare for all, and making them happy to vote for you is clearly the better policy goal, isn’t it?



Some Quotations to Tape Up On Your Bulletin Board by The Elephant's Child

“A Society that puts equality—in the sense of equality of outcome—ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality of outcome nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.”
……………………………………………………………………………..Milton Friedman

“The very fact that economists sweat over statistics purporting to demonstrate economic inequality in America proves that there is, relatively speaking, not much of it.”
……………………………………………………………………………..Irving Kristol

“The historical uniqueness of Nazism should  not blind us to the fact that morally and  politically it is identical with Stalinism.”
.……………………………………………………………………………..Melvin Lasky

“Never was there a more outrageous or more unscrupulous or ill-informed advertising campaign than that by which the promoters for the American colonies brought settlers here. Brochures published in England in the seventeenth century, some even earlier, were full of hopeful overstatements, half-truths, and downright lies. Gold and silver, fountains of youth, plenty of fish, venison  without limit. How long might it have taken to settle this continent if there had not been such promotion. How has american civilization been shaped by the fact that there was a kind of natural selection here of those people who were willing to believe advertising.”
……………………………………………………………Hidden History:  Daniel Boorstin



The Greatest Threat to the World Today by The Elephant's Child

The Greatest Threat to the World as we know it, is not Russian influence, nor climate change, devastating diseases like Ebola sweeping out of Africa, it’s not even the machinations of Donald Trump. It’s an idea. An insidious idea that is sweeping out of our citadels of learning into the greater society. And the damage it has done and can do is incalculable.

The idea is a simple one. You shouldn’t have to listen to ideas with which you disagree, or that make you uncomfortable. That is so clearly idiotic that it seems impossible that one could not only accept the idea, but act upon it. Yet students in what we have long respected as centers of learning are protesting and rioting to prevent themselves from hearing ideas with which they are unfamiliar and which might disturb them by challenging their comfortable ways of thinking.

What the hell, one might ask, did they think education is? How do we learn, grow, improve? How are we to cope with a challenging world if we are not open to engaging with ideas that are new to us. How are we to recognize our own errors and misunderstandings?

The lists of speakers, experts, and fine minds who have been “disinvited” is long and growing. Many have not been disinvited, but protested or rioted against. There’s Charles Murray, Betsy DeVos, Heather McDonald, Clarence Thomas, Ben Shapiro, Henry Kissinger, Jason Riley, Doris Kearns Godwin, Laura Bush, Michael Bloomberg, and Camille Paglia — in no particular order or inclusiveness, and there are lots more.

We have a remarkable dereliction of duty from college administrators here. I have read of no cases of misbehaving students being sent home. This may date me, but when I was in school, many students were sent home for a semester, and able to return when they got their heads on straight, and it wasn’t for anything as dramatic as ordinary riots and protests.

There’s also what I call “cultural contagion,”and others refer to as “copy cat” stuff. Think of the way that Vietnam War protests swept through the nation’s campuses. Of course then there were a lot of young men of military age in the universities. But today they are protesting speakers in the U.K. as well. We have “Big Brother”in Silicon Valley who is bragging, or at least admitting, that they changed the outcome of the mid-term election. If you do not have long experience with encountering other ideas, will you have the knowledge and experience to resist the influence of manipulated search results? How will you recognize when and how the media distort the news? How will you know what you yourself believe and whether or not you have the knowledge to defend your ideas? Speak out, stand up to be counted, and if you have college age kids, make sure they understand what education is and how one acquires it.



Confusion and Misconception are Rampant Everywhere by The Elephant's Child

Friedrich Hayek once wrote: “Buying and selling were a procedure for discovering facts, which if the procedure did not exist, would remain unknown or at least would not be used.” The full name of Adam Smith’s classic work was “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,“as the Coyote Blog noted today:

The fact that AOC and other modern admirers of socialism can fret about poverty is, as they imagine, attributable to capitalism, but not in the way they think. Capitalism did not cause the poverty, it created the situation in which poverty is an issue with but a minority of the population (rather than essentially everyone). Before capitalism, fretting about poverty would just have been fretting about .. the way things are for everyone.

One of the earliest things that someone learns about politics, at least in Democrat families, is that Republican tax cuts only go to the rich. They simply do not understand the workings of the economy. Because “the Rich” pay way more in taxes than the rest of us, they get proportionally bigger tax cuts. What we are seeing out there is the result of everyone’s tax cuts. Someone remarked on the radio this week, in the wake of the  3½% remarkable growth spurt in the economy, that “people have decided to go shopping.”

Well, yes they have. I learned some time back that apparently large numbers of people have chosen to have their income taxes withheld from their wages, and really don’t know how much they paid in taxes — but only how big their refund was. This year, their refunds were somewhat bigger, and they have the money to do some extra shopping. I guess they worry that if they don’t have taxes withheld, they may not have the funds to pay on April 15. The rich don’t have to wait for refunds, so when they receive a tax cut, they have the extra funds to expand, grow their businesses, hire, invent—and make the economy grow. How do we tell? By reading the facts of the buying and selling that is going on.

This explanation does not fit into the world view of Democrats. They don’t buy it. I remember a few years back, a writer at the Wall Street Journal wrote in astonishment that “Elizabeth Warren has only a childlike understanding of economics.” That is why you have so many Democrats who want to get rid of capitalism. Much of the climate activists’ purpose is to use climate as a way to rid the world of capitalism. Mentioning Venezuela as a notable example of the abject failure of Socialism gets you nowhere. They do not, and cannot, accept the starving people of Venezuela as the inevitable result of Socialism. It just does not compute. It is based, of course, on a failure to understand human nature and an ignorance of history.

There has been lots of conversation about the vast crowd of Democrats running for the presidency. All are positive that Trump is so despised, so awful, that only the few gap-toothed deplorables in flyover country would vote for a second term. Joe Biden makes the twenty-first Democrat candidate to announce a run. Some reporters have remarked that name-familiarity should help him, but according to polls, large numbers of Americans have no idea who he is, and do not recognize a picture.

Those of us who have always assumed that we can depend on the wisdom of the American people may want to give some consideration to running for your local School Board. Or at the very least picking up one of Hayek’s books at the Library: The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, The Road to Serfdom, or The Constitution of Liberty.



Words of Wisdom for a Monday by The Elephant's Child
April 1, 2019, 3:59 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Communism, Economics, Economy, Free Markets, Freedom, History | Tags: , ,

Historians inescapably both write with the benefit of hindsight and shape the stories they tell. So history always appears much tidier and more dramatic to the reader than the events depicted seemed to those who lived through them day by day. Human beings have to live with a future that is always unknown while enveloped in the fog of mere existence that can be as hard to penetrate as the far better recognized fog of war.
……………………………………………………………………..John Steele Gordon
……………………………………………………………………..An Empire of Wealth

In sum, Communism failed and is bound to fail for at least two reasons: one, that to enforce equality, it’s principal objective, it is necessary to create a coercive apparatus that demands privileges and thereby negates equality; and two, that ethnic and territorial loyalties, when in conflict with class allegiances, everywhere and at all times overwhelm them, dissolving Communism in nationalism, which is why socialism so easily combined with “Fascism.” In recognition of this reality, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union abandoned the slogan, calling on all proletarians to unite.
………………………………………………………………………Richard Pipes
………………………………………………………………………Communism, a History

We don’t have a “profit system” – we have a profit and loss system, and the loss is the important part because it is a signal that company is badly managed and needs to do something about it.
………………………………………………………………………Milton Friedman



Clarifying the Nature of the Left by The Elephant's Child

From Andrew C. McCarthy’s book The Grand Jihad:

Neo-communism is leftism liberated by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many newly believed the Soviet demise would be a cautionary tale for the left, warning against the hubris of big- government schemes to perfect man and society. The opposite instead is the case. David Horowitz, today’s most eloquent and incisive observer of the revolutionary left, the movement in which he was raised and which he turned on fiercely, offers a perfect diagnosis.

“Far from instilling humility in progressives…the collapse of socialism has revived their self-righteousness and re-energized their assault on the democratic West. The disappearance of the Soviet bloc has only one consequence of note.  It has lifted the burden of having to defend…an indefensible regime. Because the utopian vision is no longer anchored in the reality of an actually existing socialist state, the left can now indulge its nihilistic agendas without restraint.”

ibid: Today’s hard left is defined by what it is against: the United States, free-market capitalism, and any foreign policy premised on defending American interests or promoting individual liberty. Only this part of the agenda is concrete, leaving neo-communism elastic enough to strike alliances with any movement that shares it. What neo-communists are for, by contrast is a set of abstractions – “social justice”, “equality” , “redistributive rights”, the “rule of law” and of course “our values” the details of those can be worked out later once the more pressing imperatives of undoing the existing order has been realized.

Seemed like a good reminder.




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