American Elephants

We The People Of The United States of America — Are Pretty Ticked Off by The Elephant's Child

Reposted from June 25. 2016


—Over at Powerline, John Hinderaker asked rhetorically “Why are Liberals so Hateful?” Good question. James Taranto pulled up a 2010 piece from Charles Krauthammer, to explain why the liberal elite finds Americans revolting. Krauthammer finds a pattern:

— Promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

— Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

— Disgust and alarm with the federal government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

— Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

Taranto says: Krauthammer portrays this as a cynical game: “Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. . . . What’s a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument.”

Because their motives are pure, their intellectual superiority and managing expertise entitle them to rule over the rest of us ignorant, backward, stupid, religious nuts, and clinging intolerant bigots.

We daily hear about “the elites” and “the working class”— where do they get that? The “elites” naturally include as the cognitive elite the nation’s reporters, columnists and scribes. Businessmen are not really part of the elite—they are more apt to be included in “Wall Street” or excluded as manufacturers. We do have some wealthy playboys (and girls) but most everybody else supposedly works for a living, yet “the working class” are those who perhaps went to trade school or do those “dirty jobs” that Mike Rowe built into a successful career,( with some very good advice for future members of the employed ranks.) That leaves rather a large segment of the American public who actually do work for a living, enjoy it at least part of the time, and feel good about putting supper on the table and enjoying a movie now and then—out of the picture as — what, unmentionables?

Are BREXIT and Trump and all the international anger about being sneeringly called “the working class” when we are obviously more than a little short of work? Unemployment is a big problem in the EU as well as here. Holman Jenkins, business columnist for the Wall Street Journal remarked recently:  “It turns out government cannot spare us collectively from having to adapt and compete in an economy.”

The Left, in their headlong race towards what they conceive to be a more perfect world, when they get the rest of us bullied into shape, simply do not grasp basic human nature. We are flawed creatures, imperfect, and human nature is not perfectible. At the end of their relentless drive towards an imaginary utopia is — Venezuela, or Cuba, or Auschwitz or the Gulag.

Well, no wonder they think of themselves as an “elite.”The federal government has too many people working for the government, and there isn’t enough work for them to do. Government workers make 78% more than the private sector for comparable jobs according to Cato. They call themselves “public servants,” but they don’t mean it. When they start to think of the U.S. Constitution as an impediment rather than a guarantee that the government belongs to the people and the public servants are there to work for us, not the other way around, we’re in trouble. So here we are.

I think it was Mike Lofgren, author of The Deep State, who captured the essence of Leftist discourse: “Take offense, call your opponent names, refuse to let them speak, decline to debate.”

That pretty much covers it.

The Bureaucrats In Washington Think We Are Really Dumb! by The Elephant's Child

uscapitolwestside-crop-600x338Instead of polling the American people about Washington D.C. some academics from Johns Hopkins tried something new and different. They reversed the question, and polled Washington about the American people.

“What they found was a combination of ignorance, contempt and disdain.”

Survey data from the polled group — staffers from the White House and Capitol Hill plus career civil servants and the policy community of lobbyists and others who work closely with government from outside it — indicate that the functionary class thinks of itself as our betters. Our bosses, not our representatives. They see their own judgment as being far superior to that of the rest of us — the people whose wishes they are supposed to be carrying out.

The findings were revealing: By a huge margin, the bureaucrats said they knew better than the public what was right for the public. On Social Security, twice as many bureaucrats said they knew best. On crime, three times as many bureaucrats said their way was superior. On the environment, the ratio was almost four to one.

Why am I not surprised that they feel so self-important on matters environmental?

The academics presented the bureaucrats with simple multiple-choice quizzes. 65 percent of the DC insiders guessed that the median household income was lower than the reality (about $52,000 a year). Four out of five respondents  thought the percent of the population that is white (78 percent of Americans) much less. Sixty four percent thought the percentage of American who had a high school diploma was much lower than it is (85 percent). Eighty percent of respondents thought the rate of homeownership is much lower than it is (67 percent).

They proudly call themselves “public servants” but they define it a little differently.

Thus the instructions they give us are usually off the mark. They are usually pushing “urgent, disastrous fixes for imaginary problems.” Out-of-touch doesn’t even begin to cover the problems. Half the problems with Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare can be laid to poor regulations. Officials vastly overestimate (by 8 percentage points) the proportion of Americans who support increasing government spending in areas like education, welfare, child care and crime prevention. They are sure that we want them to solve more of our problems.

They think enforcing existing immigration law as unnecessary or even undesirable. It would be impractical or racist anyway. They believe that terrorism or jihadism is under control. (71 percent of the public thinks its a big problem.) They don’t think that the people know anything about the policies created to deal with these problems. They think of themselves in a paternalistic fashion, taking care of the people. The poor unfortunate stupid people to whom they report. Do read the whole thing.  It explains a lot.

“The revelations in the new book “What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People,” by Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg, serve up the side benefit of providing a partial explanation for the rise of Donald Trump.”


Not Constrained Anywhere Nearly Enough! by The Elephant's Child


We want so badly to understand just what is going on. Reports vary from “run for the hills” to “nothing to see here,” just move along. It’s pretty clear that the economy is not thriving, no matter how often Mr. Obama insists that it is. We are not happy with our economy, we are not happy with our government, and we’re not happy with each other.

Have you read the comments on any major website? It’s getting truly nasty out there. Black Lives Matter is successfully causing riots and attacks on police. Seventeen year-old Brian Ogle is fighting for his life after he dared to post “Blue Lives Matter” on his Facebook page. He was attacked and beaten and is in critical condition with three skull fractures.

We have an ideological war going on. The Democratic Party elite have moved far, far to the Left. I don’t know if the rank and file of the party is in line with that. There’s talk of globalists and anti-globalists, immigration and open borders, terrorism and inviting in unlimited numbers of Syrian refugees who cannot be reliably assured are even from Syria, or are not ISIS fighters. Matthew Continetti took that one on:

What is a “globalist’? They are, according to the Times, the “advocates of a more densely enmeshed world,” “concerned internationalists,” “humanitarians, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, donors, investors, app peddlers, celebrities,” a cast of managers, bureaucrats, apparatchiks, media figures and billionaires working across borders to solve problems such as climate change, the Syrian refugee crisis, Third-World poverty;, racial and sexual injustice, and interplanetary colonization. They are the busybody winners of the knowledge economy. And they are feeling glum.

I have a lot of articles attempting to explain what is going on, sitting on my desk, from John Fonte’s “Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism: The Future of the Ideological Civil War Within the West”, to Ernest Sternberg’s “Purifying the World: What the New Radical Ideology Stands For.” to Angelo M. Codevilla’s “After the Republic” and from the anonymous Decius: “The Flight 93 Election”.
All excellent, a lot of reading, but worth your time if you have plenty to spare.

I think it evolves down to a simple fact: The radical Left does not like human nature, and they want to fix it. Our founders gave a lot of thought and worry to devising a Constitution to guide our country. They recognized man’s urge for power, the desire to enhance one’s own position and reputation, and they tried to insert checks and balances to keep us on the straight and narrow.

Leftists do not like the free market, which relies on the individual decisions of thousands of people making their own choices. They do not trust mass choice, they want control. Free people have ideas about how things can be improved or about a new product that they are sure will be popular. Rich people often support a new product by paying exorbitant prices to have the newest thing — which in turn makes it possible to begin mass production and bring the cost of the product down. The Left doesn’t want rich people to be free to buy high priced goods, they want to tax their money away to be given to the needy.

The Left does not like needy people being needy, but they are unwilling to leave them free enough to begin the climb to their own riches. They are wrapped up in their own empathy, and feeling good about taking your tax money to succor the world’s poor. As Thomas Sowell wrote — the anointed, or self-consciously elite, are sure that they know what is good for society and who think that the good must be attained by expanded government action. It’s always a ‘crisis’ that must be solved by government action, and they, of course, are always correctly the government who solves stuff. Remember the crisis when it was said that some of our school children were obese?

Human nature: people are tribal. They belong to countries with borders and a language, and customs, and food, and a history and traditions. We establish our own smaller tribes as well, from bridge clubs to neighborhoods, to political groups and football fandom. We seek out those who share our ideas and interests. Haven’t you noticed the extent to which the government is trying to dictate where we live and with whom we associate? If our interest groups are not sufficiently diverse, they may come after us, and we will be called racist, or homophobic or Islamophobic.

They don’t like human nature, they don’t like freedom, they want to control everything — so they can shape us into something they like better. The problem is those three separate branches of government set up to prevent exactly that control. You have noticed, I am sure, how far the Obama administration has gone in bypassing the three branches, ignoring the Constitution and custom and the traditions of the office. He has made a study of what he can get away with by executive orders, actions by federal agencies, and other means to avoid having to work with Congress. He wants to do what he wants, without interference. Which is surely one of the reasons why we have Donald Trump and a lot of very angry Americans.

Here’s How Republicans Rob People of Their Right to Vote! You Might Ask What the Left is Doing! by The Elephant's Child

Arcan Cetin who went on a shooting rampage at the Burlington Mall in Washington, killing four women and one man at a Macy’s store, came to the U.S. from Turkey as a child. He never applied for citizenship, but remained as a permanent resident. It seems, however, that he has voted in the past three elections.

The Washington state election system operates on a sort of honor system, since anyone who shows up to vote does not have to prove he or she is an American citizen. Voting as a non-citizen could carry a five-year prison sentence, Secretary of State Kim Wyman said. She also said that she does not believe that the case points to a larger issue in the state concerning the upcoming election.

Clearly they are not listening to the Republicans who are desperately trying to keep people like the 12,571 Syrian refugees the Obama administration has brought in in Fiscal Year 2016 from voting.  How many of them will vote in the this election?

An official working for one of the resettlement agencies who receives more than $1 billion annually from the federal government to resettle refugees said he expects the Obama administration will bring between 20,000 and 30,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. in FY 2017. Most are Muslim, less than 1% of those who have arrived so far are Christian or of other faiths. Most probably are not Syrian, for Syrian passports are available cheaply and there is nowhere to check in Syria whether they are real.

More dead people are voting, this time in Virginia. California Governor Jerry Brown has just signed a bill allowing felons to vote from their jail cells.The law does not take effect until January 1. so will have no impact on this year’s elections. As I said, you might ask what the Democrats are doing.

“Obama’s Last Lecture” by The Elephant's Child

President Obama delivered his final address to the U.N General assembly on Tuesday. I listened to a bit online, and decided to get the transcript, as I prefer to read it unadulterated. The Wall Street Journal headline over their commentary was “Obama’s Last Lecture,” and my immediate response was “Please God, Make It So.” President Obama started right off to tell the delegates just what an impressive difference he had made in the world and how very important it was. As  usual, it was all about him.

From the depths of the greatest financial crisis of our time, we coordinated our response to avoid further catastrophe and return the global economy to growth.  We’ve taken away terrorist safe havens, strengthened the nonproliferation regime, resolved the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy.  We opened relations with Cuba, helped Colombia end Latin America’s longest war, and we welcome a democratically elected leader of Myanmar to this Assembly.  Our assistance is helping people feed themselves, care for the sick, power communities across Africa, and promote models of development rather than dependence.  And we have made international institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund more representative, while establishing a framework to protect our planet from the ravages of climate change.

This is important work.  It has made a real difference in the lives of our people.  And it could not have happened had we not worked together.  And yet, around the globe we are seeing the same forces of global integration that have made us interdependent also expose deep fault lines in the existing international order.

We see it in the headlines every day.  Around the world, refugees flow across borders in flight from brutal conflict.  Financial disruptions continue to weigh upon our workers and entire communities.  Across vast swaths of the Middle East, basic security, basic order has broken down.  We see too many governments muzzling journalists, and quashing dissent, and censoring the flow of information.  Terrorist networks use social media to prey upon the minds of our youth, endangering open societies and spurring anger against innocent immigrants and Muslims.  Powerful nations contest the constraints placed on them by international law.

He hit all his favorite progressive notes: inequality, the one percent controlling all the wealth, beggar thy neighbors policies, injustice undermining people’s faith in the system, soulless capitalism,  the gap between rich and poor, and I loved this one: “with further investment in infrastructure and early childhood education and basic research, I’m confident that such progress will continue.” About infrastructure, remember there weren’t any shovel-ready jobs. It has been a dismal eight years, with no real recovery, an economy never reaching even a basic 3% growth, an economy burdened by excessive regulation, overreaching controls, and of course the constant pursuit of some way, any way, to stop the normal warming and cooling of our planet, on which he has squandered billions to no avail whatsoever.

On the other hand he’s for democracy, our democratic Constitution, our Bill of Rights and the ideals which let our ordinary  people organize and march and protest.  The American narrative, I guess. It was a lecture.

The speech is here if you want to read it.

Sources For Everything You Need to Know on Constitution Day by The Elephant's Child

Where can you get a copy of the United States Constitution? The Cato Institute has dandy pocket Constitutions — 3½” x  5″ for $4.95 each, or 10 copies for $10 — including the Bill of Rights and all the amendments. Make sure each of your kids or grandkids have their own copy, and that they read it.

Birthdays or Christmas, get them a copy of An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power by John Steele Gordon. It explains why things happened the way they did, and why a free people, whose freedoms are guaranteed by the world’s greatest constitution, are the envy of the world.

Here’s a list of the 20 questions kids ask most on Constitution Day.

Here’s a list of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention who signed the Constitution into law, and a brief biography of each one, and of the three Delegates who refused to sign.

Here’s a brief 10 question quiz to test your basic knowledge of the Constitution, and if you don’t excel, refer back to where you get a copy.

Don’t forget that the Constitution was preceded by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. The Library of Congress has an excellent overview of the Articles, and  you can read the Articles of Confederation at Yale’s Avalon project to see why we needed a do-over. And here are copies of The Federalist Papers, in many different editions.

Progressives don’t really like the Constitution, as their aim is a socialist paradise of some kind with themselves in charge. Free people and Free Markets just don’t fit into their vision, and apparently they don’t read enough or keep up with the news enough to grasp the long dismal histories of socialist countries — evidenced by Obama’s efforts to make nice with Cuba, or the current situation in Venezuela where the people are starving. Or North Korea, Russia, China, Vietnam, etc., etc. They always believe that those other people just didn’t do it right. That, in itself is a very basic reason to bone up on the Constitution, if you value being a free person in a free country.


Happy Constitution Day! by The Elephant's Child

Today is Constitution Day, September 17, celebrating the ratification of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787.  If you are unfamiliar with the day of celebration, you may be forgiven, for it was only established in 2004, and to further confuse matters, if it occurs on a weekend it is celebrated in schools and government offices on the closest weekday, so they supposedly celebrated yesterday. Check with your child if you have one in school.

The law establishing the American federal observance was created with an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004, and mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions, and all federal agencies provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on September 17, 1787. It is also Citizenship Day, commemorating the coming of age or by naturalization, of those who have become citizens. (What? You’re not a citizen until you turn 18?)

Iowa schools started celebrating in 1911, and there’s a long history of attempts to make it a national celebration, which aren’t really important anyway. What is important is that a recent survey determined that most college students had no idea who James Madison was, or why he was important. And were astonished to learn that slavery was not practiced only in the United States. No idea of Muslim raids on the British Isles to capture British slaves, or of Muslim slave traders caravans up from ‘darkest Africa’, nor of  American Indian slaves. Schools across the country have become very lax in the teaching of American History. And our college students have no idea why the Constitution is a big deal. Oddly enough, the institution that makes the most of American history and the study of the Constitution is Hillsdale College, which receives no federal funding at all. Here is Dr. Larry  P. Arn, President of Hillsdale College explaining why they study the Constitution.

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