American Elephants


Thomas Sowell Has Some Explaining for Us: by The Elephant's Child

This is an oldie, but worth reviewing for its appropriateness for today. A fascinating interview with Thomas Sowell about “intellectuals”. Do make time to watch the whole thing, It throws a lot of light upon what is happening in our present day, how to consider what’s going on. Whats the matter with intellectuals anyway? Aren’t they smarter than the rest of us? Shouldn’t we listen to them?

So whose opinion matters? See the previous post on “Opinion.

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Another View of Immigration and Becoming a Citizen by The Elephant's Child

There’s a splendid essay on “Citizenship and Choice” by Angelo Codevilla at American Greatness (Excellent website) Angelo M.Codevilla is a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University and the author of To Make And Keep Peace (Hoover Institution Press. 2014) on immigration and citizenship. Here’s an excerpt from his essay:

My friend, Peter Schramm, recalled his father—realizing that the 1956 revolution against the Soviets was going to fail—telling the family that they would flee to America. Now Peter, who was 10 years old at the time, would have gone anywhere his father asked him to go, but he was confused about why his dad had chosen America, so he asked, “Why America?” His father’s answer is instructive: ““Because, son. We were born Americans, but in the wrong place.”

My own experience confirms his. On the foggy morning of August 8, 1955, as the S.S. Constitution slipped past the Statue of Liberty, I stood with a couple of hundred other immigrants on the port rail of the third-class section. There were tears, and not a few sobs. None of us spoke any English. I was 13 and, like the others, had seen America in the movies, had heard stories, and had gone through the extensive screening process. We knew the basics: equality, freedom, opportunity, non-stop work, and utter seriousness. Having chatted with many of the others over the 10-day voyage, it seemed that I was already an American patriot in the company of American patriots.

Had we read what Lincoln had to say about immigrants becoming citizens, “equal in all things with us,” we would have cheered even more than did his 1858 audience: “When they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,’ and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, [loud and long continued applause] and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together.”

Do read the whole thing, it’s not much longer. It is a proper and useful contrast to the histrionics of the Left who want all immigrants admitted at once without screening, or order, want ICE abolished  because “ripped from their mothers’ arms” has become their theme, because new immigrants are likely to vote Democrat, and the only goal of the Left is to be fully in control.

Like Alexandria Ocasia Cortez, newly elected to Congress, they want free college for all, free health care for all, and have no clue about where the money will come from. It will come from somewhere, and we’ll just pay for it. She is currently somewhat indignant because she will need an apartment in Washington DC, and doesn’t know who is going to pay for it.



The Florida Election Count by The Elephant's Child

Florida Governor Rick Scott has taken legal action against the irregular vote counting operation in two of the most liberal counties in the state. A Florida judge has ruled that Broward County has violated election laws. The elections supervisor in Broward County illegally destroyed ballots in 2016, and has remained in the same office. She has refused to release information about the number of ballots cast and how many ballots had yet to be counted. Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips found that Snipes violated state public records laws. The Judge ordered Snipes to provide that information to the Scott campaign by 7:00 p.m.

Democrats, of course, claim there is no such thing as vote fraud. Those people who vote in their winter residence in Florida as well as their home residence in another state are committing vote fraud. Illegal aliens who are not citizens are committing vote fraud if they register to vote and do so. Election supervisors who destroy ballots they don’t like are committing vote fraud. One of the first things a candidate needs to know is how many ballots were given out, how many people actually voted, and something about absentee ballots. California has been issuing voter registration with drivers’ licenses, which are issued to non-citizens.

The European press has reacted to our election about as expected. Trump is demanding that NATO members cough up their agreed-upon contribution to defense instead of failing to pay, which means that their governments have less to distribute around their own country and as favors to the press. What follows at the link are snips from the major European outlets.



Public Opinion Isn’t What Its Cracked-Up to Be by The Elephant's Child

Thomas Jefferson said that our democracy rests on a “decent respect to the opinions of mankind” In a long essay Democracy and its Discontents: Reflections on Everyday America, (1971), Daniel Boorstin,  the late Librarian of Congress suggests that “we suffer from a disease different from that which any society before us has suffered. I call it “overcommunication.”

He suggests that we could actually define the rise of civilization as the rise of communication, and sharing of information and knowledge. This is called the information age, and so it is. Communicate means to impart information, knowledge or the like, to impart or convey knowledge of or inform a person of, to tell. But there is an indispensable counterpart, the right to listen – or not to listen – begins to disappear. I am sitting in front of my computer monitor, listening on Tune-in Radio to a local radio station because on the actual radio (which is turned off) there is too much static. I am writing as I listen, but can search for a bit of information I lack, turn to any one of dozens of websites for other opinion or information.

Daniel Boorstin goes on to suggest that we have too much communication, too many opinions, and the good manners that did, or at least should, accompany opinion has gone a-glimmering.You only have to read the comments section on any popular website. It’s not just good manners that have disappeared. Comments are vulgar, ugly, scatological and often ungrammatical, and give opinion a bad name. .

The progress of civilization depends on the ability of people to develop a more self-controlled attitude about what they say – and how, when and where. In the early days, there was a town crier, who called out the important news as he walked around the town. Riders brought the news of an election – days after it happened, depending on how big and important your town was. The news from England in the 1700’s probably took about 6 months. Think the invention of the steam engine, the Panama Canal, the Pony Express, canals, railroads, the telegraph, the telephone, photography. I saw a brief video yesterday of President Trump talking to reporters in the Oval Office. A huge mob of people with microphones on long poles and cameras — and think of all the inventions involved in that brief occasion that was brought across the continent to my desk in the Pacific Northwest, shortly after it actually happened.

Boorstin is right, there is too much opinion, you can’t get away from it. The websites that offer news offer opinions not just from those who make the news and those who record it and disseminate it, but opinions from people who have the opportunity to express their opinions because they are “celebrities”, which means that we know their names because they did something to get their name known, like sing, or tell jokes, or act on television or on the screen. (This is a personal bugaboo.) I don’t think that having their names made public, whether we recognize it or not, qualifies them to have their opinions listened to – nor does the content of their opinions qualify as “news.” So Boorstin is absolutely correct there is way too much opinion, and you can’t get away from it. I would like to know what is happening without the intrusion of Cher, or any of the other formerly famous who cannot wait to get their opinions out there.

It’s opinion that is the problem. Opinion was once something personal, thought (as Boorstin says, “Opinions then, are distinguished by the strength with which they are held rather than the authenticity with which their conclusions  are demonstrable.”) And we have reached the point where there is Big Opinion, or as it is usually called, Public Opinion. Public Opinion is more important and somehow more respectable than private opinion. We have Opinion Leaders, Opinion Writers, huge polling businesses to tally Public Opinion. Opinion has moved from something that should be kept to yourself, to a controlling voice in our society.



Oddly, This Is What The Democrats Oppose! Keep That in Mind by The Elephant's Child

The one identity we’re not encouraged to trumpet is the one that enables us to trumpet all the others, our identity as citizens of a very particular kind of society, built on the rule of law, property rights, freedom of expression, and the universal franchise.……………………………..

Mark Steyn: “The Silver Virus: The West’s Anti-Westernism:”.The New Criterion: Feb. ’02

In the Western myth, many have found exactly what they were looking for. Significantly, the images and the simple story of the western legend first caught on in the early nineteenth century, those years when the young Republic, like a proud and gawky adolescent was trying to decide who and what it was. This myth has been around ever since, simply because it has always done its job.
The legend is rooted in a story with which just about anyone can identify. It tells what happened when ordinary people moved into an extraordinary land. Often enough they overcame the challenges that they met there, but the real point of the story is not what happened to the land, but what happened to the people. They were changed, the legend insists—transformed, reborn. And they were better for it. The ordeal in the wilderness created the American, we believe, free-thinking, open, tough, optimistic, self-reliant—the litany goes on and on. The western hero has embodied these virtues and this message. He is us, only a little bigger, tougher, braver. From James Fenimore Cooper to John Wayne, whenever someone has told us this story and has done it well, we have clapped and made him rich.

………………Robert  G. Athearn: The Mythic West: University Press of Kansas. 1986

The framework that the Founders devised to unite a baker’s dozen of small homogeneous colonies on the Atlantic coast proved strong enough to expand across a continent and halfway round the globe to Hawaii. That’s why the British have successfully exported Westminster constitutions to Belize, Papua New Guinea, and India, the world’s largest democracy, mainly Hindu but with a minority population of 150 million Muslims (that’s some minority) who to their credit have no interest in the fetid swamp of militant Islamism in which so many of their co-religionists elsewhere are festering. Of the world’s fifty most free nations, half were once ruled by Britain. That’s the sort of thing most countries would boast about, not teach in schools as a shameful legacy of oppression.
……………………………………………………………………………………Mark Steyn: Ibid

Our county was not predestined to prosper, it did so through choices made at its Founding and renewed every generation since: the choices of freedom over rule, property over collectivization, the liberty of the individual human spirit over the dictates of the enlightened few. We should be thankful for the wisdom of our ancestors in creating this heritage, and mindful of our stewardship as we are called to carry forward this idea called America.…………………………

……………………………James S. Robbins: “Pilgrim Parable” NRO, November 27, 2002



The Democrats Insist This Election Is About Trump by The Elephant's Child

Everything in the “news” today seems to be speculation about the mid-term elections. Nobody knows anything, including the polls. (recall last election)
The most interesting comment I have seen came from Mark Levin, who asked: “Aren’t you getting tired of being called Nazis?” Yes I am. See the previous post on the degradation and politicization of language.

No, Donald Trump is not a Nazi. To the extent to which he is “authoritarian,” that’s why we have presidents – to get things done. And he’s done a pretty impressive bunch of things: When President Trump was elected, Nov. 8th 2016, the DOW stood at 18,332 and has moved up to 26,964. During President Trump’s first year in office, 2017, the DOW has closed at new record all-time highs – 103 times.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 250,000 new jobs were created in October. More people are working in the US than ever before and unemployment is at 50 year lows. In Trump’s first two years, the economy has gained over 4.3 million jobs. If you recall, President Obama said that the economy could not grow at a rate greater than 2% – It was a new era and we just had to get used to it.

The Washington Examiner lists 289 accomplishments in just 20 months. All of which the Democrats hate. But the tax cuts and relief from burdensome regulations have left businesses free to expand, build, improve and hire. People get the courage to act on their ideas and dreams, and introduce new products. I guess that since these were done by the hated Trump, all are derided as evil or wrong, and would be instantly eliminated by the Democrats.

African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American unemployment rates have reached record lows. Women’s unemployment is at the lowest rate in nearly 65 years.

For all that, President Trump has been called a Fascist, Nazi, Racist, Anti-Semite (his daughter, son in law, and their children are all Jewish), and until he was elected President – nobody ever called him a racist. It’s not just that the insults are misplaced, but that they are so dumb. There are true-believers in the horrors of Climate Change (think nutty Tom Steyer) who are sure that getting us out of the Paris Climate Accords means that the planet will die next month or something, but President Trump was right. It was simply a plan to transfer as much American money to Africa as possible, and the goal of “climate change” is not to keep the planet from warming, but to destroy Capitalism.

Do look at the long accomplishment list.  As they said, It’s 20 months of promise-keeping. Oddly, the Democrats, always right on top of things, have insisted that this mid-term election should be a referendum on Trump, even though he is not on the ballot.

ADDENDUM: I should add that the reason the Democrats have insisted that this election should be about Trump, is because they are sure that hating Trump and all his accomplishments is a universal belief amongst all  but the stupidest Deplorables, and because as David Gerlernter said “Have you noticed that the Democrats have no issues?” And they don’t – other than raising taxes promptly and eliminating all the other useful things Trump has done. They really and truly just don’t understand basic economics.



They Just HATE Being Laughed At, So Try to Contain Yourselves by The Elephant's Child




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