American Elephants


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.”

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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?

 



Exposing The Left, And It’s Not Pretty by The Elephant's Child

Important stories from the past few days that you might have missed:

—”30 GOP Congressmen Have Been Attacked or Threatened Since May”A total of 30 Republican members of Congress have either been attacked or revealed that they were the victim of a death threat since the beginning of May. This includes the Republicans who were on Hendrickson’s list when he shot Steve Scalise and others at the Republican charity baseball game.

—Mary Katherine Ham explains the “Aftermath of Alexandria Shooting Showed the Left’s Cultural Bullying At It’s Worst” much of the Left,  if it wasn’t praise for the shooter, it was the closest thing to it. Unbelievably crass.

—Daniel Greenfield explains what’s happening in a brilliant column titled “Anger Privilege:” If you want to know who has privilege in a society and who doesn’t, follow the anger. There are people in this country who can safely express their anger. And those who can’t. If you’re angry that Trump won, your anger is socially acceptable. If you were angry that Obama won, it wasn’t.

James Hodgkinson’s rage was socially acceptable. It continued to be socially acceptable until he crossed the line into murder. And he’s not alone. There’s Micah Xavier Johnson, the Black Lives Matter cop-killer in Dallas, and Gavin Long, the Black Lives Matter cop-killer in Baton Rouge. If you’re black and angry about the police, your anger is celebrated. If you’re white and angry about the Terror travel ban, the Paris Climate treaty, ObamaCare repeal  or any Leftist cause, you’re on the side of the angry angels.

But if you’re white and angry that your job is going to China or that you just missed being killed in a Muslim suicide bombing, your anger is unacceptable. Do read the whole thing. I think he nailed it.

—J.Christian Adams, writing at PJMedia, says President Trump is reportedly frustrated with Deep State leakers trying to sabotage his agenda. “Mr. President, Meet Avner Shapiro, Saboteur From the DOJ Swamp”

President Trump is a supporter of voter identification laws. Avner Shapiro is not. From his perch at the Voting Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Avner Shapiro has exerted more will over DOJ’s approach to voter ID — particularly against Texas — than has the president. The saga is a case study  in how Deep State leftists both sabotage the Trump agenda and unethically leak confidential information about litigation decisions.

—Victor Davis Hanson, at National Review. writes on “The Architecture of Regime Change.” ‘ The ‘Resistance’ is using any and all means —lies, leaks, lawbreaking, and violence—to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

The problem with the election of President Donald J. Trump was not just that he presented a roadblock to an ongoing progressive revolution. Instead, unlike recent Republican presidential nominees, he was indifferent to the cultural and political restraints on conservative pushback — ironic given how checkered Trump’s own prior conservative credentials are. Trump brawled in a way McCain or Romney did not. He certainly did not prefer losing nobly to winning ugly.

Even more ominously, Trump found a seam in the supposedly invincible new progressive electoral paradigm of Barack Obama. He then blew it apart — by showing the nation that Obama’s identity-politics voting bloc was not transferable to most other Democratic candidates, while the downside of his polarization of the now proverbial clingers most assuredly was. To her regret, Hillary Clinton learned that paradox when the deplorables and irredeemables of the formerly blue-wall states rose up to cost her the presidency.



Random Jottings from my Notepad by The Elephant's Child

— Tom Sowell: “Socialism, in general, has a record of failure that only an intellectual could ignore or evade.”

—Scott Carpenter was asked: “What did you think about as you were rocketing into space?”
He answered: “That each part of this rocket was made by the lowest bidder.”

—Ralph Peters:  “Obama’s Mideast Policy: Praise Muslims, Ignore Christians, Blame Jews.”

—Charles Schumer: “The only way we’re going to work with him is if he moves completely in our direction.”

— The Iran Deal: There is no deal. Nothing was signed. Iran said we’ll do this. Obama said, fine, we’ll pay for it.

— Monica Crowley: “Government has no profit motive, only a power motive.”

—You cannot spend your way out of recession nor borrow your way out of hard times. Social Security workers per beneficiary: 1960 – 4.9, 2010 -2.8, 2035 – 1.9 (CBO estimate).

— The population of Israel before the Holocaust was 600,000.

—Andy McCarthy: “Nihilism is the key. 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 instead of the rule of law” and, of course, “our values.” The details of those can be worked out later, once the more pressing imperative of undoing the existing order has been realized.”

—Zero Hedge: “All that debt Obama acquired and all the stimulus did work to redistribute wealth and income toward the well-connected cronies that funded Obama into office. Obama can talk all he likes about cutting taxes for the middle class, the data shows who Obama’s redistributionist policies have overwhelmingly favored.”

—Vaclav Klaus: “The people who are supporting Global Warming are not interested in temperature. They are interested in government control—identical to Communism.”

—C.S. Lewis: “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road: in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”



It’s a Big Job, How Do You Start? by The Elephant's Child

Over at National Review, David French explains what a monumental job reducing the reach of the regulatory state is.

At present, the vast and bloated executive branch — existing through its alphabet soup of agencies such as the EPA, IRS, DOE, ATF, and the like — intrudes into virtually every aspect of American life. It regulates your workplace, your home, your car, and your kids’ school. It’s staffed by legions of bureaucrats who enjoy job security that private-sector employees can only dream of, and it’s granted legal authority by the Supreme Court to interpret its own governing statutes and expand the scope of its own authority. In its own spheres of influence, it often acts as legislator, prosecutor, and judge. …

To dismantle the administrative state, the executive and legislative branches will have to act against their perceived political interests. The executive will have to intentionally surrender power, and the legislature will have to accept accountability. In other words, Donald Trump — as a matter of formal policy — will have to abandon an ideology that says he “alone” can fix this nation, and the legislature will have to embrace the reality of casting hard votes, day after day and week after week. Let’s not forget, the administrative state exists in large part because Congress has intentionally abdicated authority. It passes extraordinarily broad bills that empower executive-branch agencies to write even more law and impose even more restrictions. Congress goes home and says, “We voted for clean air,” while the EPA does all the heavy lifting to define what that really means. Or Congress says, “We voted for banking reform and better markets,” while an array of agencies promulgate rule after rule affecting companies from coast to coast. Congress takes credit for its intentions. It blames others for the outcomes.

To dismantle the administrative state, the executive and legislative branches will have to act against their perceived political interests. The executive will have to intentionally surrender power, and the legislature will have to accept accountability. In other words, Donald Trump — as a matter of formal policy — will have to abandon an ideology that says he “alone” can fix this nation, and the legislature will have to embrace the reality of casting hard votes, day after day and week after week. Let’s not forget, the administrative state exists in large part because Congress has intentionally abdicated authority. It passes extraordinarily broad bills that empower executive-branch agencies to write even more law and impose even more restrictions. Congress goes home and says, “We voted for clean air,” while the EPA does all the heavy lifting to define what that really means. Or Congress says, “We voted for banking reform and better markets,” while an array of agencies promulgate rule after rule affecting companies from coast to coast. Congress takes credit for its intentions. It blames others for the outcomes.

Do read the whole thing:




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