American Elephants


The Founding Fathers Explain Conservatism by The Elephant's Child

First published in January of 2008.  Seems like we need reminding now and
then
.The Founding Fathers

The brilliant Mark Levin laid out the bedrock principles of conservatism using the founders’ own words. It is no coincidence that they are the exact same principles our nation was built upon. These are the exact same principles that made America great, they are the exact same principles that liberty depends upon, and they are the exact same principles that liberalism seeks to destroy:

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“[T]he powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.”
~ James Madison
“…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
~ James Madison
“…the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”
~ Thomas Paine
“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”
~ Thomas Paine
“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”
~ John Adams
“To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
~ George Washington
“One single object. . . [will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
~ John Adams
“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
” I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
“The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
“[The purpose of a written constitution is] to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
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About the Politics of Personal Destruction by The Elephant's Child

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I just blamed what we have called the Trump Derangement Syndrome on Kathy Griffin’s severed head stunt, which demonstrated that there were no barriers of truth, taste, or decency for Democrats — they were now free to attack in any way they chose, a “can you top this” contest in which you got brownie points for being disgusting. Anything goes in the battle to attack Trump.

You wouldn’t go far astray in suggesting that Minority Leader Charles Schumer is the “Kathy Griffin” of the Senate.

“The Democrats have suddenly lost interest in the sexual assault claim that they claimed was central to Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness to serve on the Supreme Court? We’re now in the “temperament”phase. Judge Kavanaugh’s visible and justifiable anger at having his reputation destroyed, his years of public service attacked and his family publicly attacked — supposedly showed that he did not have the temperament to serve on the Supreme Court.  One is supposed to remain passive while his life is being destroyed publicly before the whole nation? simply for political gain. They are now hot on the trail of what might be a case of Judge Kavanaugh’s throwing ice at someone.

Victor Davis Hanson writes:

Conventional wisdom suggests that, if confirmed, Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh forever will be “smeared” and stained by past frenzied unfounded allegations of sexual assault.

Yet the opposite just as well may be true. As a Supreme Court justice, Kavanaugh would have withstood every imaginable smear and slander and yet stayed defiant in defending his character and past, proof of both his determination and principles. His near-solitary rebuttal to his Senate accusers may suggest that Kavanaugh could prove to be among the most fearless justices on the Court.

Indeed, the only lasting effect, if any, of the serial smears lodged against him might be that in the future, as in the case of Justice Thomas, Kavanaugh would be essentially immune from progressive media attacks. What he went through likely has inoculated him from the Georgetown-party-circuit syndrome of conservative Supreme Court judges’ eventually becoming more liberal by the insidious socialization within the larger D.C. progressive media, political, and cultural landscape.

Incidentally, contrary to popular opinion, Clarence Thomas hardly remains under a permanent cloud after his ordeal. What stopped further Robert Borking for a while was the resistance and pushback of Clarence Thomas. Far from being ruined by unproven charges, he resisted the mob, got confirmed, and thereby established a precedent that innuendo, ipso facto, would not derail a nominee. For three decades, Thomas has not been regarded as suspect by most Americans but is seen as inspirational for his courage in facing down character assassination.

Christine Blasey Ford’s story continues to fall apart. Nothing in her entire testimony seems to be supported by actual evidence. Those she claimed were with her have denied it. The “second door” thing turned out to be false. She is not a practicing psychoanalyst, she has never completed the requirements of the State of California for certification. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has renewed his requests “for material evidence relevant to allegations of sexual assault … as the Senate exercises its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent for a judicial nomination. I urge you to comply promptly with my requests.”



Jordan Peterson: The Fatal Flaw in Leftist American Politics by The Elephant's Child

What is political extremism? Professor of psychology Jordan Peterson points out that America knows what right-wing radicalism looks like: The doctrine of racial superiority is where conservatives have drawn the line. “What’s interesting is that on the conservative side of the spectrum we’ve figured out how to box-in the radicals and say, ‘No, you’re outside the domain of acceptable opinion,'” says Peterson. But where’s that line for the Left? There is no universal marker of what extreme liberalism looks like, which is devastating to the ideology itself but also to political discourse as a whole

. Fortunately, Peterson is happy to suggest such a marker: “The doctrine of equality of outcome. It seems to me that that’s where people who are thoughtful on the Left should draw the line, and say no. Equality of opportunity? [That’s] not only fair enough, but laudable. But equality of outcome…? It’s like: ‘No, you’ve crossed the line. We’re not going there with you.'” Peterson argues that it’s the ethical responsibility of left-leaning people to identify liberal extremism and distinguish themselves from it the same way conservatives distance themselves from the doctrine of racial superiority. Failing to recognize such extremism may be liberalism’s fatal flaw.



Compassion is the Moral Sea in Which We Swim by The Elephant's Child

In one of her appearances on her international whine tour, Hillary suggested that the reason (among the multitudes) that she lost the election was that she was a Capitalist, while most of the Democrats were Socialists, which I found highly amusing. It’s nice to have a Democrat admitting that most Democrats are Socialists because you now have a witness, Hillary, defining them so. But what kind of a capitalist would hang out with a bunch of socialists? Another bit of evidence that Democrats just don’t understand economics at all.

Democrats operate on feelings. Compassion. William Voegeli, in his marvelous book The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion remarks on how “as politicians have made the Democratic Party increasingly liberal, liberals have turned it into the pity party, committed to doing good socially and thereby doing well politically. People have interests, of course, and a political party that promises that the government will give things to them and do things for them will never lack for a constituency. But people also have pride: they desire approval, including self-approval… The term “compassion”—or “empathy,”or even “kindness”—is routinely used not just to name a moral virtue, but to designate the pinnacle or even the entirety of moral excellence. Precisely because this moral conviction is ambivalent, with so many Americans taking for granted that moral growth requires little else than feeling acting, and being more compassionate, it’s an important  yet difficult subject to analyze. Compassion is the moral sea we swim in, which works against our awareness of it, much less efforts to chart its depth and currents.”

This explains how Democrats are always willing to help someone out with welfare payments, but unwilling to help them get off of welfare or to become independent. As long as they remain dependent, Democrats can continue to feel compassionate, and get their votes as well. Republicans want to get people off of welfare and self-supporting so they can stand on their own two feet, and take part in the economy like everyone else.

Economic growth has always had its detractors. “Among those who view it as fundamentally good, most conservatives are inclined to treat growth as a necessary and virtually sufficient condition for improving human life, while the disposition to regard it a necessary but far from sufficient condition increases with one’s political liberalism. Here Voegeli turns to Economist Dierdre McCloskey who calculates that in “the countries that most enthusiastically embraced capitalism some two hundred years ago, real, per capita economic growth has increased by 1.5 percent annually. Owing to the miracle of compound interest this increase has meant a 19-fold increase in living standards over the past two centuries, which , she contends, is a “change in the human condition” that “ranks with the first domestications of plants and animals and the building of the first towns.” McCloskey argues that this enormous economic result had a cause that was cultural rather than economic. Humans did not suddenly become more acquisitive or creative. Rather, “when people treat the marketeers and inventors as having some dignity and liberty, innovation takes hold.” The new respectability of bourgeois life, the belief that the creativity of capitalism’s creative destruction more than offset its destruction, was the decisive attitudinal change that rendered human life in the past two centuries decisively different from what it had been throughout  the preceding millennia.”

“An economically dynamic society is likely to be a good place to be poor not only because there will be many opportunities, but because the habits of thought and action conducive to creating those opportunities are also directly beneficial to the aspiring.”



Dr. Jordan Peterson Went to Australia by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Jordan Peterson went to Australia in Mid March to give a series of lectures. Here he meets with  John Anderson, who was a Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the rural-based National Party of Australia from July 1999 to July 2005. John Anderson has a marvelous voice. The conversation is passionate, deep, and powerful, and about deep things, essential things, like the meaning and purpose of memory, what is going wrong in the present and what we should do about it, how the Left is going wrong, and what is the wrong. And how do you do right?

Powerful stuff. It’s a long video, and you will want to have the freedom to listen to the whole thing, and then perhaps, listen again. Why is history so important, and why are our children not learning history, and how will they survive in our world if they do not. When is the last time you had a conversation like this? I thought so.



About Draining That Swamp… by The Elephant's Child

How about a little good news for a change? You may be astonished to learn that it comes from Canada. Conrad Black says that “the Canadian media has failed in its coverage of the biggest political news in the world in many years. Trump is the most successful U.S. president since Reagan.” (Do read the whole thing.)

But no one relying on the Canadian media would be aware that he has more than doubled the economic growth rate, reduced illegal immigration by about 80 per cent, withdrawn from the insane Paris Climate accord, helped add trillions to U.S. stock market values, created nearly two million new jobs, led the rout of ISIL, and gained full Chinese adherence to the unacceptability of North Korean nuclear military capability. He will probably pass the greatest tax cuts and reforms since Reagan, if not Lyndon Johnson, by Christmas, and may throw out the most unpopular feature of Obamacare, the coercive mandate, with it.

And here’s Victor Davis Hanson at American Greatness:

After 10 months of governance, Trump’s deregulations, a foreign policy of principled realism, energy agendas, judicial appointments, efforts at tax reform and health care recalibration, cabinet appointments, and reformulation at the Departments of Education, the EPA, and Interior seem so far conservative to the core.

In the few areas where Trump conceivably differed from his 16 primary Republican rivals—immigration, trade, and foreign policy—the 20th-century Republican/conservative orthodoxy was actually closer to Trump’s positions than to those of recent Republican nominees, John McCain or Mitt Romney.

Vast majorities of conservatives always favored enforcement of federal immigration law rather than tolerance of sanctuary cities. They wanted to preserve legal, meritocratic, diverse, and measured immigration, not sanction open borders. And they championed the melting pot over the identity politics of the salad bowl.

After the daily criticism and angst from the junior journalists, it’s nice to hear about the president’s accomplishments for a change, for there are a lot of them.  A little celebration is in order.



The Leader of the Free World by The Elephant's Child

The presidency has evolved into something that was not quite intended. George Washington felt a great responsibility and made a real effort to avoid any elements of grandeur. There were many who would have made him a King, but he resisted, and set the plain standard for future occupants of the office.

Today, we still don’t do grandeur, at least not in the European way. In contrast, other new countries have gone for presidents as we did.  We do, however, make a very big deal of our president as the leader of the free world, and the most important man. We watch every action of the president and of his family, approve or disapprove, love him or hate him. Yet we think of him as someone we picked to lead for four years, and if he does a fairly good job, we’ll give him another four. Then we want them to fade away. George W. did a particularly good job of working with the veterans he sent off to war, encouraging the wounded, honoring those who served.

We are told that those who unsuccessfully ran, but were not elected, never get over it. Harold Stassen kept running for years. That may account for John McCain’s attitude towards Trump. Al Gore concentrated on getting rich with environmental propaganda. But we had what ? —17 candidates when Trump got the nomination. Do they all still resent that they didn’t get the nomination? I’ve seen signs…

But we really don’t want to hear from past presidents, except on formal occasions. Perhaps each retiring president should be supplied with a copy of Winston Churchill’s Painting as a Pastime. George W. got a copy and has used the pastime to honor the veterans who served. Very nice. Good paintings too.

Perhaps someone could send a copy to Hillary?

 




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