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Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

No, not all Muslims are terrorists.  And not all Muslims in the US are terrorists.  Clearly, very very few are.  But we don’t know which are which, and the non-terrorists have a bad habit of relativizing, sympathizing with, providing aid and comfort to, and otherwise showing more concern for themselves and their tribe than the broader community.

Equally important, the non-terrorist side of the ledger adds very little to our common and collective life.  We could do without any more such immigrants, and we should work to encourage self-deportation among those already here who are not firmly rooted.

Don’t expect to hear this from the Marco Rubio wing of the Republican Party any time soon.

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The Republicans appear likely to indulge in their worst instincts by agreeing (a) to extend unemployment benefits while (b) signing on to various tax cuts.  While perhaps tax cuts would be valuable, the real driver of our economic troubles is a widespread fiscal disaster among individuals, states and localities, and the federal government.  At all levels there is too much spending, not enough saving, and therefore too much debt.  Tax cuts and spending increases are a formula for more debt, and real debt hawkishness–not the timid embrace of welfare concomitant with tax cuts–is what is called for.  If anything taxes should stay the same while massive spending cuts are enacted in order to go to war with the debt.  If things continue as they are, there will soon be a complete devaluation of our currency, a debt default and/or hyperinflation, and continued stagnation.  Further, these various efforts at stimulating the economy through deficit spending have little to show for them this time around at home, in Japan for the last ten years, or in the US in the 1930s.  Only the private sector can create real wealth, and for it to work, this 1/3-of-the-economy-sucking-government to shrink.

The government needs to get out of the way of the economy.  In the late 70s, the way to do that was through tax cuts, which were exorbitant before Reagan came into power.  But today the way is by its overall mass and impact to shrink:  smaller spending, less generous entitlements, and a serious effort to attack the debt.  If that does not take place, tinkering with this or that program or tax rate will mean little.  Further, the real lesson of the Bush years, one would hope, is that we cannot follow the repeated Republican short-term-thinking which would cut taxes only to maintain generous spending programs.  This only kicks the can down the road.  The spending is the problem:   whether that money comes from borrowing or taxes is somewhat immaterial, either way it is sucked out of the productive economy and will be foisted on taxpayers eventually in some fashion or other.

The worst kind of politics often comes from bipartisanship, where each side gets what it wants, gives up its principles, and the public as a whole suffers due to mutual political expediency by the parties.  Obama must be opposed tooth and nail, along with nearly every component of his agenda.  If taxes slightly rise to deny him a victory on continued deficit spending, so be it.  He must be stopped, rendered impotent, and spending must be cut.

On the merits, unemployment benefits for 99 weeks are ridiculous.  People need to work, lean on family and friends, and nothing makes that happen more surely and quickly than a cut in these benefits.  Yes, there are bona fide hard luck cases, but there also a great many people that will look for and find a job within weeks of benefits running out.  If you subsidize something–in this case unemployment there will be more of it.  A much better program would be one where difficult make work was required to receive benefits, or if the government subsidized home sales and moves to places like North Dakota or Texas where work is plentiful.  More stringent work requirements for unemployment benefits (in the manner of the old “poor house”) would separate those truly unable to find a job from those running out their benefits to the max, while a spouse or parent or significant other’s income allows a middle class living when coupled with the benefits, plus some highly valuable leisure time.

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The Tea Party gets a bad rap.  It was mocked this weekend by the self-indulgent, incoherent Comedy Central rally in DC, supposedly to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.  While some have said their rally meant nothing, I believe it was the encore performance of Bush-era contempt for those who were reasonably and genuinely concerned for safety in the age of Islamic terrorism.  Oh, our “over-reaction” to 9/11, how funny that is.  How funny that their rally coincided with the interception of numerous al Qaeda bombs from Yemen. So realistic those liberals (including Republican liberals like Bush and McCain), allowing in tens of thousands of Muslim  Arabs after 9/11, while concerning themselves so punctiliously with the human rights of human scum down in GITMO.

That said, the concern with national security to the exclusion of other traditional conservative concerns after 9/11 has been a problem for the right.  It’s not been a problem that national security became a concern.   Bush clearly intended to defeat al Qaeda and took it seriously, even as he allowed his open borders liberalism to lead him into incoherence.  But for the left, it was all just a big overeaction.  We’re not really at war in their eyes. The enemy is just misunderstood or an echo of our own deep evil as a country.

The bigger problem for conservatives was that our post-9/11 prioritization of national security excluded the historical concern of conservatives for fiscal conservatism, a serious rethinking of the entitlement state, and the traditional concern for excessive debts.  And that national security policy was made on explicitly liberal grounds of expanding democracy and maintaining high rates of immigration.  The promise of the Tea Party movement (and its associated candidates) is that serious rollback of the entitlement state is now being discussed after a decade of Republican-led prolifgacy.  And its criticism extends to weak-kneed Republicans like Charlie Crist and Lisa Murkowski.

Janet Daly observes the real import of the Tea Party movement:

It was widely known in Europe that the American Left hated George Bush (and even more, Dick Cheney) because of his military adventurism. What was less understood was that the Right disliked him almost as much for selling the pass over government spending, bailing out the banks, and failing to keep faith with the fundamental Republican principle of containing the power of central government.

So the Republicans are, if anything, as much in revolt against the establishment within their own party as they are against the Democrats. And this is what the Tea Parties (which should always be referred to in the plural, because they are not a monolithic movement) are all about: they are not just a reaction against a Left-liberal president but a repudiation of the official Opposition as well.

Nor are they simply the embodiment of reactionary social conservatism, which has been the last redoubt of the traditional Republican Right. There were plenty of people in New York who wanted to believe that Tea Partiers were just a new incarnation of the gun-totin’, gay-bashing right-to-lifers whom they found it so easy to dismiss as risible throwbacks. This is a huge political miscalculation, which quite misses the point of what makes the Congressional midterm elections this week such an interesting and historic political event. This is so much more than the predictable to-ing and fro-ing of party control midway through a presidential term. What the grassroots rebellion is really about is an attempt to pull the Republican party back to its basic philosophy of low-tax, low-spend, small government: the great Jeffersonian principle that the best government is that which governs least.

Of course, there is much radicalism among Tea Partiers, including a general concern for open borders and a sense of “shoving off” the guilt-trip they have endured from minority hustler politicians demanding more and more largesse and special treatment.  The Tea Party should not restrict itself to fiscal conservatism or mere partisanship. It should not confuse itself, a la Glenn Beck, that a nonpartisan restoration of honor will do the trick.  If the Tea Party leaders and their members would connect the dots of the open borders Third World invasion of America, the racial dynamics of affirmative action, the impossibility of “exporting democracy,” and the unsustainable American welfare state–as many have, individually–then real sustainable reform of our country and its health could occur.

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When you look at the various policies that have contributed to America’s current crisis, it’s evident that a series of bipartisan, popular-with-elites, and thoroughly short-sighted policies have done much to bring us to where we are.   These policies are largely sacrosanct, particularly among elites, in spite of where we find ourselves as a country.  These include the following:

  • Free trade orthodoxy that eschews any “industrial policy” and has sent a great number of American jobs and much of America’s manufacturing capacity to the Third World, particularly China.
  • A related lack of criticism of our low wage, high consumption economic regime.  Americans’ wages have stagnated and credit–including housing based credit and refinance loans–did much to mask that wealth and wage decline over the last 15 years.
  • Support for multiculturalism, diversity, and mass immigration, which has left America disunited, with a lower wage and lower IQ workforce, and problems of Third World violence and terrorist acts that were formerly unknown to America.
  • A belief that home ownership is something attainable for all and that public policy should support the housing sector with various subsidies for the uncreditworthy.
  • A belief that a college degree is something attainable for all and that it should be subsidized by government grants and loans, which has left many Americans with worthless pseudo-degrees in subjects like “packaging” or “communications” along with mountains of (nondischargable) debt.
  • Indifference to unsustainable government pensions, transfer payments and welfare policies, including Medicare and Social Security, which will be insolvent in short order and will ultimately bankrupt the country.
  • Indifference to high rates of illegitimacy, which is subsidized by various government policies like Section 8 housing vouchers, food stamps, AFDC, and the like.
  • Support for global crusading, interventionism, and other activities that cost a great deal of money, employ our military in thankless and impossible ventures like Iraq and Kosovo, and that create enemies with long memories, while winning us few friends.

The thread that unites these phenomena to me is that they are all mutually enforcing, rooted in cosmopolitanism and sentimentality, and all are far from being solved.  Indeed, some of these problems are being made worse, as in the ram-through of Obamacare.  Elites have offshored jobs and imported cheap labor, which has pushed down wages and reduced productivity-per-worker, as well as the mean IQ, which in turn is masked by easy credit, worthless degrees, welfare policies, deficit spending, and denial regarding America’s various fiscal crises.  The foreign policy problem is mostly sui generis, except insofar as our elites believe so highly in themselves and consider the interests of random Third Worlders equally valuable as those of their countrymen.

In all of these areas, the elites have dissipated the country’s wealth, especially its human capital.  Whether Republican or Democrat, anyone who believes these things does not deserve to govern.

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Rand Paul Upset

The worst thing to come of a Democratic administration would be “anybody but them” syndrome, whereby weak, unprincipled Republicans are elected to govern like George W. Bush:  big on symbolism, but weak in all other respects.

Rand Paul’s victory in Kentucky was important.  It upset the establishment.  It represents a deflection of the mindless pro-war hawkishness that defined the Bush presidency.  And it shows how Obama is doing far more than a John McCain or even a Mitt Romney could ever do to get conservatives, Red Staters, out-of-work professionals, and patriotic Americans to realize the vast gulf that separates them from the Barack Hussein Obamas of the world.

I’ve hardly followed the recent primary. But everything I’ve heard from Rand Paul–son of Ron Paul–is encouraging in its radicalism!

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A depressing exposition by Srdja Trifkovic on the evil, interventionist consensus at the heart of both Democratic and Republican foreign policy views. Both are essentially rooted in a militant liberalism that has little in common with the old creed of George Washington about avoiding foreign entangelements:

It is incorrect to describe Wilsonianism and neoconservatism as two “schools” of foreign policy. They are, rather, two sects of the same Western heresy that has its roots in the Renaissance and its fruits in liberal democracy. Their shared denominational genes are recognizable not in what they seek but in what they reject: polities based on national and cultural commonalities; durable elites and constitutions; and independent economies. Both view all permanent values and institutions with unrestrained hostility. Both exalt state power and reject any political tradition based on the desirability of limited government at home and nonintervention in foreign affairs. Both claim to favor the “market” but advocate a kind of state capitalism managed by the transnational apparatus of global financial and regulatory institutions.Their shared core belief—that society should be managed by the state in both its political and its economic life—is equally at odds with the tenets of the liberal left and those of the traditional right. Far from being “patriotic” in any conventional sense, they both reject the real, historic America in favor of a propositional construct devoid of all organic bonds and collective memories.

The two sects’ deep-seated distaste for the traditional societies, regimes, and religion of the European continent was manifested in President Clinton’s war against the Serbs in 1999 and in their unanimous support for Kosovo’s independence today.

For the same reason, they share a visceral Russophobia, a soft spot for Chechen jihadists, and a commitment to NATO expansion. Both Wilsonians and neoconservatives are united in opposing democracy in postcommunist Eastern Europe, lest it produce governments that will base the recovery of their ravaged societies on the revival of the family, sovereign nationhood, and the Christian Faith. Inevitably, they have joined forces in creating and funding political parties and NGOs east of the Trieste-Stettin Line that promote the entire spectrum of postmodern isms that have atomized America and the rest of the West for the past four decades. From Bratislava to Bucharest to Belgrade, both present the embrace of deviancy, perversion, and morbidity as the litmus test of an aspirant’s “Western” clubbability. Ultimately, both sects share the Straussian dictum that the perpetual manipulation of hoi polloi by those in power is necessary because they need to be told what is good for them.

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