The West’s Loss of Will to Defend Itself

From Charles Krauthammer:

There is a loss of spirit in the west, not so much in the U.S. as in Europe, where we don’t believe in ourselves, where our history is flawed, where we teach our kids all of the sins of the American republic and none of the glories. When you do that for a long enough time, you end up with a generation that doesn’t know why they should be proud to be Americans, why they should be defending America.

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Obama Saw His Son in Trayvon Martin, We See Our Daughters in Kate Steinle

From Breitbart.com:

[Rep. Trey] Gowdy said, [relevant remarks being around 6:15] “the president said that he saw Trayvon — in Trayvon Martin, he saw his son. Well, I can tell you, those of us who have daughters, saw our daughters in Kate Steinle. And he’s got two of them too, so at a minimum, he ought to pick up the phone and tell the Steinle family that ‘I grieve for you.’”

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Tearing at the Very Fabric of the Constitution

From The Patriot Post:

Barack Obama claims to be a “professor of constitutional law,” but a genuine constitutional scholar, George Washington University’s Jonathan Turley, a self-acknowledged liberal Obama supporter, has offered severe criticism of Obama’s “über presidency,” his abuse of executive orders and regulations to bypass Congress.

When asked by Fox News host Megyn Kelly how he would respond “to those who say many presidents have issued executive orders on immigration,” Turley responded, “This would be unprecedented, and I think it would be an unprecedented threat to the balance of powers.”

In July, Turley gave congressional testimony concerning Obama’s abuse of executive orders: “When the president went to Congress and said he would go it alone, it obviously raises a concern. There’s no license for going it alone in our system, and what he’s done is very problematic. He’s told agencies not to enforce some laws [and] has effectively rewritten laws through active interpretation that I find very problematic.”

He continued: “Our system is changing in a dangerous and destabilizing way. What’s emerging is an imperial presidency, an über presidency. … The president’s pledge to effectively govern alone is alarming but what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in the establishment of our tripartite system of government. … Obama has repeatedly violated this [separation of powers] doctrine in the circumvention of Congress in areas ranging from health care to immigration law to environmental law. … What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. I think the framers would be horrified. … We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. … No one in our system can ‘go it alone’ – not Congress, not the courts, and not the president.”

Turley reiterated this week: “[Obama has] become a government of one. … It’s becoming a particularly dangerous moment if the president is going to go forward, particularly after this election, to defy the will of Congress yet again. … What the president is suggesting is tearing at the very fabric of the Constitution. We have a separation of powers … to protect Liberty, to keep any branch from assuming so much authority that they become a threat to Liberty. … The Democrats are creating something very, very dangerous. They’re creating a president who can go it alone – the very danger that are framers sought to avoid in our Constitution. … I hope he does not get away with it.”

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A Post-Thinking Era

From Thomas Sowell:

Some have said that we are living in a post-industrial era, while others have said that we are living in a post-racial era. But growing evidence suggests that we are living in a post-thinking era.

Many people in Europe and the Western Hemisphere are staging angry protests against Israel’s military action in Gaza. One of the talking points against Israel is that far more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli military attacks than the number of Israeli civilians killed by the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel that started this latest military conflict.

Are these protesters aware that vastly more German civilians were killed by American bombers attacking Nazi Germany during World War II than American civilians killed in the United States by Hitler’s forces?

Talk show host Geraldo Rivera says that there is no way Israel is winning the battle for world opinion. But Israel is trying to win the battle for survival, while surrounded by enemies. Might that not be more important?

Has any other country, in any other war, been expected to keep the enemy’s civilian casualties no higher than its own civilian casualties? The idea that Israel should do so did not originate among the masses but among the educated intelligentsia.

In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.

It is much the same story in our domestic controversies. We have gotten so intimidated by political correctness that our major media outlets dare not call people who immigrate to this country illegally “illegal immigrants.”

Geraldo Rivera has denounced the Drudge Report for carrying news stories that show some of the negative consequences and dangers from allowing vast numbers of youngsters to enter the country illegally and be spread across the country by the Obama administration.

Some of these youngsters are already known to be carrying lice and suffering from disease. Since there have been no thorough medical examinations of most of them, we have no way of knowing whether, or how many, are carrying deadly diseases that will spread to American children when these unexamined young immigrants enter schools across the country.

The attack against Matt Drudge has been in the classic tradition of demagogues. It turns questions of fact into questions of motive. Geraldo accuses Drudge of trying to start a “civil war.”

Back when masses of immigrants from Europe were entering this country, those with dangerous diseases were turned back from Ellis Island. Nobody thought they had a legal or a moral “right” to be in America or that it was mean or racist not to want our children to catch their diseases.

Even on the less contentious issue of minimum wage laws, there are the same unthinking reactions.

Although liberals are usually gung ho for increasing the minimum wage, there was a sympathetic front page story in the July 29th San Francisco Chronicle about the plight of a local non-profit organization that will not be able to serve as many low-income minority youths if it has to pay a higher minimum wage. They are seeking some kind of exemption.

Does it not occur to these people that the very same thing happens when a minimum wage increase applies to profit-based employers? They too tend to hire fewer inexperienced young people when there is a minimum wage law.

This is not breaking news. This is what has been happening for generations in the United States and in other countries around the world.

One of the few countries without a minimum wage law is Switzerland, where the unemployment rate has been consistently less than 4 percent for years. Back in 2003, The Economist magazine reported that “Switzerland’s unemployment neared a five-year high of 3.9% in February.” The most recent issue shows the Swiss unemployment rate back to a more normal 3.2 percent.

Does anyone think that having minimum wage laws and high youth unemployment is better? In fact, does anyone think at all these days?

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Number One

From VDH:

There is a pastime among liberal pundits — the latest is Nicholas Kristof — to quote a new center left global ranking (with unbiased titles such as “The Social Progress Imperative”) and then to decry that the United States is behind its major industrial competitors in things like “Internet Access” and “Ecosystem sustainability.” The subtext of these rants is that an illiberal, reactionary U.S. does not spend enough on government entitlements to promote parity, equality and social justice among its citizenry. These pessimistic rankings increase the angst about the American condition when viewed from scowling perches in Washington or New York.

Not surprisingly, the winners in these periodic gloomy assessments are usually smaller or intermediate quasi-socialist nations, with mostly homogeneous ethnic and religious populations (e.g., Switzerland, New Zealand, Iceland, Denmark, etc.). And the result is that Americans are scolded to tone down their pride at being exceptional and to begin to emulate such supposedly more livable societies.

Yet I suppose that if you were to assess, say, the mostly 5.6 million homogenously well off Californians, who lived within 10 miles of the coast, from San Diego to Berkeley, they would compare quite nicely with Denmark. Or for that matter, should the Danish system be applied to 300 million in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, I also think that they would sink a bit in terms of social progress.

The criteria by which America is to be judged are often both biased and historically ignorant. Why not rank the United States in comparison with other similarly huge countries that span three time zones, and include in their enormous populations radically different ethnic and religious groups?

How about comparing America to countries that, like the U.S., have vast territories and diverse populations over 200 million — China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil? How would such nations stack up to the U.S, in terms of corruption, health care, pollution, freedom of the individual, treatment of women and gays, religious tolerance, or other criteria of “social progress?” Is there a global assessment of coups and revolutions per nation, or contrarily the longest sustained democracy?

Most such rankings rely on statistics that rarely weigh in factors that non-elites take for granted as part of the good life. How about the number of cars a family household on average owns, the relative percentage of the household budget spent on food, the price of gas that allows them mobility, the average square footage of living space, or the number of electronic appurtenances that make life easier and enjoyable, such as microwaves or televisions? In all such categories, the United States ranks at or among the top nations in the world. I suppose those in Manhattan or at Harvard would not interpret the fact that a poor Mexican illegal immigrant can buy a used Yukon relatively cheaply and fuel it with $3.50 gallon gasoline as progress. But in terms of global assessment, he still has a safer, roomier, and cheaper automobile experience than the French or Italian driver of a tiny European Fiat that requires $9 a gallon fuel.

Nor do such pessimistic assessments consider intangibles such as global politics. Globalization itself is a product of U.S. innovation and technology and the U.S. military. The latter not only subsidizes the safety of the European Union and many of China’s immediate neighbors, but also generally has kept the Western world safe and the global sea-lanes and methods of commerce and communication free from disruption. That was not cheap, which is why the European Union, for all its advocacy, does not attempt it. If Russia goes into Estonia, it will not be the Dutch or Danish army that is called upon to ask Putin to leave.

The U.S. not only created the landscape that allowed, for example, a South Korea, Japan, or Germany to thrive over the last 70 years without substantial military investments, but presently allows such countries — among them also Australia, Canada, Taiwan, and much of Europe itself — not to worry about developing a nuclear deterrent and the costly and risky politics which that entails. Should we retreat from the world stage, in the next twenty years, then we might appreciate differences in the “social progress index” of a Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan, or for that matter a Germany or Iceland that will have to vastly increase defense expenditures to survive.

Homogenous South Korean eighth graders may test higher in math than do Americans, but then again Americans are not looking up to the skies to see whether a North Korean artillery shell or gas-laden missile is on its way down. Is there a global “security anxiety” index? Nor are there thousands of South Koreans posted on our shores to protect us from belligerent neighbors.

Speaking of social progress, the United States lets in the largest number of legal and illegal immigrants in the world. Currently 45 million or more residents were not born in the U.S. — a number four times larger than any other nation. Ethnic, religious, and cultural homogeneity promotes some of the values (such as Internet access) that social progress indices usually value.

Yet in my hometown, which has been overwhelmed by illegal immigration over the last two decades, I can see why recent arrivals from Oaxaca have some difficulty in getting online free at the local Starbucks. The problem is not that they do not have cell phones with Internet service or that Starbucks and other franchises don’t offer free Internet services, but that the language, past experience, and culture of central Mexico are not quite the same as those in the United States. Speaking Mixtecan languages and not being able to read Spanish in an English-speaking country makes it hard to surf the net.

One reason why the U.S. is volatile, influential, dynamic, and by far the most culturally influential society in the world are the number and variety of its legal immigrants. No one wants to move to Russia. Switzerland does not want any new immigrants. France and Germany don’t quite know what to do with those already residing in their countries. China and Japan could never consider an African, Swedish, or Mexican immigrant fully Chinese or Japanese. The Arab World would not let in Jews and in many places is driving out Christians. Building a large new Church anywhere in the Islamic world is for all practical purposes now impossible.

In short, people vote with their feet, and by huge margins prefer the greater freedom, economic opportunity, and security of the U.S., not to mention its meritocracy that assesses talent far less than elsewhere on class, racial, tribal, or religious criteria. Because the U.S., also unlike other countries, strangely does not value that much education, capital, or skills in assessing potential immigrants (family ties and the fact of reaching U.S. soil being the more influential criteria), and because it hosts somewhere between 11 and 20 million illegal immigrants, it naturally has ongoing challenges to provide near instant parity to millions who arrive here poor, uneducated, and without money.

To suggest that we are at fault because our healthcare or primary education system is somehow not up to Danish or Icelandic standard is laughable, when 13% of the present population is foreign born — and probably far more had we accurate numbers of illegal aliens currently residing in the American southwest. The source of immigration makes assimilation also more difficult. Switzerland became culturally and psychologically incapable of accepting more immigrants, despite the fact that they are largely from elsewhere in Europe. In contrast, most of the current immigrants to the U.S. arrive from an impoverished Mexico and Latin America, not Canada, and thus come with far greater disparities than other North American citizens.

Assessments can be rigged anyway that one wishes — if the point is to advance preconceived and ideological aims. The relative price of food, fuel, and cars, or the number of air conditioners per capita, or the global rankings of universities, or comparative population growth, or the rate of and age at marriage, the ability to defend one’s nation without alliances and outside subsidies, or religious observance, or rubrics about assimilation, integration, and intermarriage of newcomers could all be massaged to make Europe look quite pathological in terms of aristocratic bias, class impediments, ossified attitudes from defense to entrepreneurship, atheism, and the loss of freedom resulting from massive regulations and high taxes.

In short, if you want to prove that the U.S. is not number one, you can — usually to reflect the particular agenda you wish to advance.

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Required Reading for Republicans

The country is in desperate need of another Ronald Reagan.

From VDH:

On almost every contemporary issue there is a populist, middle-class argument to be made against elite liberalism. Yet the Republican class in charge seems ossified in its inability to make a counter-argument for the middle class. Never has the liberal agenda been so vulnerable, a logical development when bad ideas have had five years to prove themselves as very bad ideas. When Obama is all done he will have taken high presidential popularity ratings, a supermajority in the Senate, and a large margin in the House and lost them all — if only the Republicans can make an adequate case that they represent the middle class, the Democrats only the very wealthy and the very dependent.

Illegal Immigration

We know the entry of 11 million illegal aliens depresses the wages of the poor and entry-level working class. Illegal immigration overwhelms state services, and that too hurts citizens most in need of help. The lower-middle classes do not have low-paid nannies, gardeners, and house-keepers. We know the illegal influx pleases La Raza activists, most of them second- and third-generation elites in government, politics, journalism and education, who without illegal immigration would not have much of a moral or legal justification for the continuance of affirmative action and identity politics, given that statistically Latinos would soon follow the pattern of other assimilated groups. (For example, is there affirmative action for Armenian immigrants? An Italian Razza movement? Punjabi Studies?)

We also know that cheap labor in the shadows benefits corporate business, eager for low-wage laborers. So how hard is it for a Republican simply to say, “I oppose illegal immigration because (1) it is illegal. It undermines the sanctity of the law and discriminates against the law-abiding waiting in line to enter the U.S. legally. (2) It benefits corporate grandees at the expense of working people. (3) It is driven by self-serving elites of the ethnic-grievance industry to enhance their own advantage, rather than to help poor folks struggling to find decent wages and schools. Illegal immigration, in short, is the most illiberal issue of our time.

Energy

Fracking and horizontal drilling help the middle class. Stopping them on federal lands or banning Keystone makes the lower classes pay for the pipe dreams of the upper class. The Berkeley Sierra Club professor doesn’t worry whether he can find a job welding on a pipeline. He does not drive along the Westside 50 miles to work and so cares little about the price of gas for his third-hand pick-up. It is about 70 degrees year round in Menlo Park, so it is easy to jack power bills up to subsidize wind and solar, when you don’t need to survive 105 degree temperatures in Bakersfield. Discouraging energy development is a pastime of the rich, who have the money to shield themselves from the consequences of their advocacy, and do not associate with the less well-off, who always seem to suffer from elite pipe dreams. Why not headquarter the Sierra Club in Bakersfield, where the cost of electricity is real for real people? Cannot a Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union simply say, “Mr. President, you are shamelessly taking credit for gas and oil production that you did all in your power to thwart. The middle class is enjoying a temporary cut in gas prices, despite, not because of, you.”

Gun Control

How hard it is for Republicans to say to liberals, “I accuse! The wealthy have their security details, most of them armed. The underclass has access to illegal weaponry as the armed crime sprees in a Detroit or Chicago attest. Why then go after the middle class, who neither outsource their security nor break the law? Before we issue sweeping edicts aimed at the law-abiding, let us disarm all the security guards of Hollywood and Washington, D.C., and put away for good the criminals who use illegal firearms to hurt the innocent.”

The Federal Reserve

Barack Obama’s Wall Street is booming, not because of a superb business cycle, but because there is no interest on capital anywhere else to be found. The rich profit from their more sophisticated knowledge of stocks, the poor from debt relief. The middle?

What good is it to them that they played by all the rules and saved money — if only to receive no interest on any of their passbook accounts? The self-employed man who was not a pensioned employee in the public sector, who does not chat with his stock broker each week, and who is not eligible for mortgage-debt relief, student-debt relief for his children, credit-card relief, or any federal relief of any sort is a veritable fool. He socked away each month a few hundred dollars in his savings — but in an era when having cash in the bank means that inflation eats it away faster than minimal interest can preserve it.

Young People

Obamacare is a gift to the old and affluent, who use subsidized health care from the young and poor. It is the greatest tax on the youthful cohort in the history of the republic at a time when student debt already exceeds $1 trillion. How liberal is that? Or for that matter, how liberal were colleges to up their annual tuition rates higher than inflation, assured that their own pyramidal cultures (compare the disparities in salaries of the part-timer and full professor for the same class) were subsidized by federally guaranteed (and mostly high-interest) loans? How many rants on race and gender are necessary to win exemption from the exploitation in the classroom next door?

“Fairness”

We talk about fairness. Do men and women make the same on the president’s own staff? Why does Kobe Bryant make so much and some of his gifted colleagues make so little in comparison? Does Johnny Depp really need $40 million a year when the Hollywood sound tech cannot afford a cottage in South Central L.A.? Did not the Malibu grandees hear their president say that they did not build their film careers, and at some point long ago had made enough money? Could not the gardeners or nannies of Santa Monica at least be unionized? Is there a chapter of ACORN at Google? Can graduate-school TAs get the SEIU interested in their plight? At some point cannot a conservative make the case that liberalism, as preached by its elites, is a psychological mechanism to shield wealthy progressives from the ramifications of their own ideology? Do Apple executives not outsource? Does Facebook not offshore? What is so liberal about Mark Zuckerberg besmirching his opponents as nativists, as he tries to access as much cheap labor as he can, at a time when the Other in Silicon Valley — from his gardeners to computer programmers — could not afford to rent a cot in his tool shed? Cannot a Republican ask Obama at least to forgo Martha’s Vineyard next summer or the next zillionaire golfing outing if he wants to rant about the perks of the 1%?

Green

How liberal was it that a few hundred Bay Area elites went to court over the last few years to divert about 20 million acre-feet of precious irrigation water to flow out to the sea, in vain pursuit of their fantasies about expanding bait fish populations in the delta or in hopes of seeing a salmon jump out of the river by Fresno? Tens of thousands of poor people will lose their jobs this summer, as irrigation water reserves are exhausted and acreage goes out of production. What is more liberal: allowing an out-of-work poor logger of 23 to go into the Sierra to salvage timber from a burned-out Sierra Nevada forest, or to keep him jobless and on the dole in order that the precious lumber rots and breeds precious populations? In the liberal calculus, is Coleoptera more valuable than homo sapiens? Is the distant bark beetle a more cuddly creature than the jobless, tobacco-chewing chain-sawer having a beer at the Lakeshore bar?

Diversity

Yes, let us all hail diversity and insist that it be applied across the board. Cannot California find a senior elected leader other than Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Nancy Pelosi? How diverse, given California’s trumpeted diversity, are three elderly multimillionaire women, with hyper-capitalist spouses, who live within commuting distance of each other in the Bay Area? Should the United States Postal service base correct its current labor profile by hiring in accordance with ethnic percentages within the population? Should Asians depart from UC Berkeley so more whites, blacks, and Latinos might enroll commensurately with their percentages in the population? Should the NFL have quotas for non-African-Americans, to give others a chance — to paraphrase Kanye West — to have insider contacts to land such lucrative athletic billets? How many Asians are on the L.A. Lakers versus the size of the Asian community in L.A. County? Have the military casualties of the last decade in Afghanistan and Iraq been computed to ensure that all groups suffered commensurately? Just when or when do we not insist on proportional representation based on ethnicity? Are the heads of Hollywood studios reflective of the rich diversity of California? And if we are going down the diversity and fairness routes, then surely Al Gore needs a sermon — after he unloaded a failed network to an anti-Semitic, carbon-burning medieval sheikdom, in failed efforts to beat the new capital gains tax that he so strenuously supported. How fair, how egalitarian, how diverse is all that? What is the ethnic profile of Sierra Club membership?

In 2014 Republicans are going to be kamikazeed by very wealthy, highly educated, and relentless operatives in the Boston-New York-Washington, D.C., nexus, with backup from the San Diego to San Francisco bookend coastal corridor. These critics mostly rest at the top of the capitalist heap, and will assail those who are not, on grounds that they are unfair to every hyphenated group in America.

To survive, Republicans must go on the offensive and point out that their accusers never live the lives they advocate for others. Liberal feminists seem to be John Edwards and Bill Clinton. Liberal men of the people are Al Gore, John Kerry, and Jon Corzine. Their populists who deplore outsourcing, offshore accounts, and non-unions are Apple and Facebook grandees who embrace all three. White privilege is not the fate of the West Virginian or West Texan working at Target, but the tiny, inbred old-boy and old-girl world of prep-school to Ivy League to the insider pull of Dad and Mom to land up with a phoned-in job in journalism, politics, finance, entertainment, the arts, and academia on the East and West coasts, followed by pro forma praise of diversity — for others. Open-borders zealots have their children behind the walls of private academies.

Surely there is a populist case to be made — or is the Republican establishment to manage a permanent, sober, and judicious out-party, as it is demagogued to death by the privileged?

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