American Elephants


Americans Want Their Self Government Back, And They Want it Now! by The Elephant's Child

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There was a time, not too long ago, when news was conveyed largely by radio, newspapers, and magazines. Television added several channels and commentators who became celebrities because they kept us in touch with the world, and we trusted them. TV added more channels and cable, reality shows, and we began to trust them a little less. With the advent of the computer and cell phones and hundreds  of online magazines, not to mention blogs — newspapers are dying, though many are still alive online, and our trust is largely gone.

A common photograph of kids today is of a group, each intent on their own cell phone and social media, mostly unaware of what is going on around them. Roving reporters with microphone and recorder try to find out what the man-in-the-street knows about history, politics, or current events. The answer, uniformly, is not much of anything.  Response on college campuses is equally embarrassing.

So we are deep in “the information age” and nobody knows much  of anything.

The continuing question is “Why Are Voters So Angry?” most recently answered by Myron Magnet, editor-at-large at City Journal. He says firmly that the people want their self-government back.

Haunting this year’s presidential contest is the sense that the U.S. government no longer belongs to the people and no longer represents them. And this uneasy feeling is not misplaced. It reflects the real state of affairs.

We have lost the government we learned about in civics class, with its democratic election of representatives to do the voters’ will in framing laws, which the president vows to execute faithfully, unless the Supreme Court rules them unconstitutional. That small government of limited powers that the Founders designed, hedged with checks and balances, hasn’t operated for a century. All its parts still have their old names and appear to be carrying out their old functions. But in fact, a Nnew kind of government has grown up inside the old structure, like those parasites hatched in another organism that grow by eating up their host from within, until the adult creature bursts out of the host’s carcass. This transformation is not an evolution but a usurpation.

What has now largely displaced the Founders’ government is what’s called the Administrative State—a transformation premeditated by its main architect, Woodrow Wilson. The thin-skinned, self-righteous college-professor president, who thought himself enlightened far beyond the citizenry, dismissed the Declaration of Independence’s inalienable rights as so much outmoded “nonsense,” and he rejected the Founders’ clunky constitutional machinery as obsolete. (See “It’s Not Your Founding Fathers’ Republic Any More,” Summer 2014.) What a modern country needed, he said, was a “living constitution” that would keep pace with the fast-changing times by continual, Darwinian adaptation, as he called it, effected by federal courts acting as a permanent constitutional convention.
…………………..(Do read the whole thing, it’s rewarding)

When did you start to get ticked off? When they took away your lightbulbs and made you buy those twisty things?  Or was it when you read about the EPA case against the Sacketts who started to build their dream home on the shores of Priest Lake in Northern Idaho, and the EPA charged them with building  in a wetland and charged them a $37,500 fine for each day they hadn’t restored the property to it’s original condition? Or was it the orange river from the Gold King Mine Disaster? ObamaCare, and you found out you couldn’t keep your doctor after all? Or when you found out that veterans were dying while they waited to get an appointment at the VA? Or the scandals at the IRS, HHS, ICE, DOJ, or was it the terrorist attacks for which Obama couldn’t find the motive, and couldn’t call it anything behind “violent extremism.” Or was it just political correctness in general?

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

Steven Hayward sums it all up with one paragraph from a 1994  Harvard Law Review article The Rise and Rise of the Administrative State“.

Philip Wallach from Cato Unbound: “Questioning the Administrative State

From the Wall Street Journal: “Obama’s Age of Discord



Milton Friedman Explains Free Trade. This is the Classic. by The Elephant's Child

This is a classic long (48 min.) lecture by Milton Friedman from 1978, in which he explains free trade and tariffs, how they work, why we get confused, trade deficits and government interference. There’s a long section where the film is bad (in the original) with snow/static/ interference early in the film, but it clears up fairly promptly at about 20.42 and remains clear for the remainder of the video. You can still hear Milton Friedman perfectly well throughout. Take notes. Play again until you feel confident that you have it down.

Here’s another, in which Milton Friedman debates a protectionist. It’s from January 2012, and is between Milton Friedman, Michael Walker, and Steven Cohen, from the “Time to Choose”series. This one is just over 15 minutes long.

Our politicians are just ordinary human beings like the rest of us, and they get just as many nutty ideas as we do. Many of the Republicans who are as yet uncomfortable with Donald Trump, are because of his misunderstanding of the Trade issue. Many assume that a “trade deficit” is a bad thing, but do not recognize that the excess dollars we pay for a large quantity of stuff from another country must be invested in the United States. This is not to suggest that there are not some very bad deals, but free trade is the goal.



Politics and Promises of Equality, When What the People Want is Their Freedom Back. by The Elephant's Child

We are in an election season, so politics dominates the news, with ideas devised, not necessarily to improve anything at all, but to get votes. The season of promising big giveaways to the voters on the one hand, while promising to slash budgets on the other, with no apparent awareness that the two are incompatible. (Are you all conventioned out? And are you prepared for another one next week?)

Thomas Sowell, who always has his eye on basic common sense, addressed “the dumbest idea in politics,” which plays a very large role in political conversation. Dr. Sowell’s nomination for the most stupid idea in politics would be “the assumption that people would be evenly or randomly distributed in incomes, institutions, occupations or awards, in the absence of somebody doing somebody wrong.”

Political crusades, bureaucratic empires and lucrative personal careers as grievance mongers have been built on the foundation of that assumption, which is almost never tested against any facts.

A recent article in the New York Times saw as a problem the fact that females are greatly underrepresented among the highest rated chess players. Innumerable articles, TV stories and political outcries have been based on an “underrepresentation” of women in Silicon Valley, seen as a problem that needs to be solved.

Are there girls out there dying to play chess, who find the doors slammed shut in their faces? Are there women with Ph.D.s in computer science from M.I.T. and Cal Tech who get turned away when they apply for jobs in Silicon Valley?

Well yes, and the claim that the candidate will demand equal pay for women is loud on the campaign-trail, despite the fact that unequal pay for the same work has been against the law since 1963. Inequality comes from different career choices. Men and women make different choices. It’s quite natural—way back when humanity were hunter-gatherers, men were the hunters and women the gatherers. Human nature.

There are countries where children are expected to follow in the same trade as their parent. There’s no real opportunity to do something different.There are many countries where women are expected to care for home and children, and any other choice is unthinkable.

Discrimination plays a large part not only in politics, but as employment for attorneys. “Billions of dollars, in the aggregate,  have changed hands as a result of individual lawsuits charging discrimination,” Dr Sowell added.

The Left is deeply enamored with the idea that everyone should be equal, (except themselves of course). They welcome change in the interest of equality and individual liberty, although equality doesn’t really go with individual liberty. You have perhaps noticed that in their drive for equality, equality is supposed to come from vastly increased government regulation. Forced equality goes with their push for control of everything, which comes from lots of regulation from the wise and superior people in government agencies.

Why anyone would believe that would increase individual liberty is a mystery. The thing is, they just don’t like human nature  either, and want to fix it.  And they don’t like actual liberty at all.. They hate the First Amendment, the repeal of Citizen’s  United is in their platform, as is silencing anyone who ‘denies’ catastrophic global warming that is threatening our very survival, or at least the survival of Manhattan with the rise of the seas. Trouble with that is that some very important figures in the catastrophic global warming movement have revealed that their real goal is a vast transfer of wealth from the rich nations (us) to the poor nations, in the name of  — (of course) equality.

I think most Americans would rank freedom above equality. It’s freedom that allows people to have ideas and take it out to their garage and struggle to make it develop and grow, and in America there has usually been the possibility to take that idea and open a business without too much fear of government regulation and too much fear of endless red tape that makes a start-up impossible. The folks on the Left insist that they want new businesses and new jobs, but they cannot understand that the controls and regulation and requirements and fines and inspections that they find essential for control — kill the businesses they claim they want created.

When they have controlled and regulated ordinary people into more satisfactory people, and they have devised better rules for everyone to follow and better laws — we will have a better chance of reaching “that world as it ought to be” that the Obamas speak of. “The world as it is just won’t do,”they say, and they consider that a proper goal. They believe they have an obligation to strive for a brave new world.  Oh yes, that was the name of a book, wasn’t it? Oddly enough, writers of science fiction cannot stop demonstrating the dreadful results of trying to fix humanity. But then, we’ve had some real-life attempts as well — Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mugabe, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Mao Zedong, Saddam,  Assad — the list goes on and on.

Set free, ordinary people can do some pretty amazing things, like building a free country, and inventing all sorts of advancement in human life, curing disease and creating great works of art  and writing marvelous books to warn us about what could go wrong if we are not paying attention.



Crime in Major Cities, and How Long They Have Been Run By Democrats! by The Elephant's Child

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A friend sent this comment:

I was just thinking – not long ago GM was building cars in Flint, Michigan and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico.

After 7 plus years of Obama’s administration, GM now builds cars in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint, Michigan.

Hope and Change delivered! Is this a great country or what?



Heather MacDonald by The Elephant's Child

This is a lecture given by Heather MacDonald in April of this year at Hillsdale College. Heather MacDonald is a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, and a recognized authority on American crime and policing. She has the data and statistics to back up her contentions, which belie  the claims of the Black Lives Matter crowd and their attacks on police and policing.

It’s a long lecture, so you will want to postpone it till you have time, but if you can manage it, her command of the facts will clarify this situation that is getting increasingly dangerous. Or you can just buy her new book, The War on Cops.



The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West. by The Elephant's Child

From The Devil’s Pleasure Palace by Michael Walsh.
“The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West”

Dissent, they say, is the highest form of patriotism.

As for “the highest form of patriotism,” all that ever meant was that the Left did not wish to have its patriotism questioned while it was busily going about the process of undermining the existing order (in order to create a better one of course). Not only was its patriotism questionable, it was nonexistent. The patriotism the ’60’s radicals praised was not the patriotism of the past (now dismissed as “jingoism”) but the patriotism of the America of the Future, the new State that would come into being once the old one had been destroyed and replaced with the Brave New World they were cooking up in poly-sci test tubes on campuses across the country.

Any leftist will tell you, usually indirectly as he may not admit it to himself, that he does not admire the world as it is but esteems the world as he wishes it to be. That few agree with leftists when this proposition is so bluntly stated simply means they must conceal it for the time being, until it can be forced on an unwilling but sullen public. They see themselves as inheritors of a noble tradition, perhaps best summed up by the composer Gustav Mahler when he declared, “My time will yet come.” They look to the judgment of posterity, not history. The very fact of being against something—it doesn’t matter much what—contributes to their sense of moral superiority, without which they are nothing.

This last is crucial to the understanding of the Unholy Left: that they consider themselves, like the Puritans they otherwise execrate, the party of the Elect, the Blessed. Likewise, they consider resistant conservatives—those who like things more or less the way they are, who trust the judgments of their ancestors and honor their wisdom and experience—to be the Damned who must be brought into the Light—that is to say, into the Darkness.

In her convention speech, Michelle Obama said:”Barack stood up that day, talking about a visit to Chicago neighborhoods, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. … All of us are driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do, that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.”

One would think that with the prominent examples of Cuba and Venezuela the idea of Socialism should be thoroughly discredited, but even starvation doesn’t sway the morally superior minds of the Left. They just didn’t do it right.

I like this quotation from Holman Jenkins:
‘It turns out government cannot spare us from having to adapt
and compete in an economy.’

 



A Small Lesson in American Exceptionalism. by The Elephant's Child

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In Holland, a 44-year-old man  has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for intentionally insulting King Willem-Alexander, according to a court ruling. The man, from the city of Kampen, had posted a message on his Facebook page in April, 2015 calling the king a murderer, rapist, “oppressor” and thief.

“Hereby the defendant damaged the dignity of the King,” wrote judge Sylvia Taalman in her decision. “This behaviour is not acceptable in our society.”

Many Dutch consider the law “Insulting the Majesty” to be an antiquated relic that should be scrapped, but it has never featured high on the country’s political agenda.

The crime carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of 20,000 euros.

The royal family is generally popular in the Netherlands. Willem-Alexander ascended to the throne in 2013 when his mother Queen Beatrix abdicated. She had reigned for 33 years. The King is not yet as highly regarded as his mother.

It seems worthwhile reminding Americans that free speech isn’t free everywhere, and that our Constitutional rights are worth fighting for. Democrats, naturally, oppose any free speech that criticizes them, or disagrees with their ideas—which are, of course, right, and should be recognized as correct.

Just think how many people would be in prison here, if our comments on social media were monitored for “offensiveness.”esson in




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