Universal Basic Income

CNBC, reporting on comments by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi highlights the first open admission that left-liberal progressives intend to utilize Coronavirus as a pretext to implement some of their most radical short-term objectives. Quoting Pelosi[1], CNBC reported, “Others have suggested a minimum income, a guaranteed income for people. Is that worthy of attention now? Perhaps so.”[2] Andrew Yang included universal basic income (UBI) as part of his 2020 presidential campaign. Yang was quoted as saying, “I’m pleased to see the White House adopt our vision of putting money directly into the hands of hard-working Americans.” Bernie Sanders, in one of his last campaign speeches before dropping out of the 2020 election proposed a scheme to pay every household $2000 monthly.

Willkie in her CNBC article parroted numbers of unemployed in the U.S. at approximately $25 million. She sailed to acknowledge that phase one of the CARES Act included a provision that added $600 per week to unemployment benefits, above and beyond what one would normally qualify for based upon prior income level. Numerous other sources have reported the impact of this fact – individuals make more money being unemployed than working[3], and some are unwilling to go back to work.[4] On the face of it, this is an absurd policy. No reasonable person can make an honest argument in support of a policy that redistributes wealth and pays people more not to work than to work unless the worldview behind the support of the policy leads the supporter to other, unspoken objectives. By any honest account, this is plunder.[5] If we accept the reasonable conclusion that paying people more to be unemployed than they made while working is absurd and the people supporting such are not deficient in mental capacity then we must also accept that something else is at play – it is a straightforward syllogism.  It is also a fact that the same people that supported the boost to unemployment pay in the CARES Act are now suggesting full-blown UBI, we begin to see the greater objective.

Universal basic income, once adopted, would be nearly impossible to rollback. It would be perhaps the most transformative public policy legislation in U.S. history. The implications of control and intrusion in everyday life and control of the economy are wider than any previous move toward centralization. UBI, if adopted, is a great step forward toward socialism. The fact that both of these programs are being slipped in amid a ‘crisis’ seems deceptive. “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit…”( ESV Colossians 2:8). Socialism is a derivative of the ideology of Marxism and the deception being used to implement it is abhorrent. Public policymakers and citizens must be vigilant.


[1] See video of Pelosi's statement, https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1254764438000984064.

[2] Willkie, C. “Pelosi says universal basic income could be ‘worthy of attention now’ as coronavirus stifles economy”, CNBC. 27 April 2020. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/27/coronavirus-update-universal-basic-income-could-be-worthy-of-attention-pelosi-says.html.

[3] See, “Some people are earning more in unemployment benefits than they did while working, leaving little incentive to return to their jobs”, Business Insider, 21 April 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/unemployment-benefits-may-be-higher-than-wages-for-some-workers-2020-4.

[4] See, “Furloughed Workers Don’t Want To Return To Their Jobs As They’re Earning More Money With Unemployment”, Forbes, 28 April 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/04/28/furloughed-workers-dont-want-to-return-to-their-jobs-as-theyre-earning-more-money-with-unemployment/#50054cb06b76.

[5] Bastiat, Frédéric. The Law. United States: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Law/DZKE3-pV1AYC,  p. 13

Saul Alinsky and Coronavirus

An editorial essay in The Washington Times [1] argues that much of the hyper-crisis reporting and governmental action related to COVID-19 aligns with principles laid out in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.   Chumley begins her argument by quoting one of Alinsky’s foundational presuppositions, “[a]ny revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future.”[2] She argues that “[t]his is Coronavirus Chaos, exemplified.” In support of that bold statement, she provides examples of America being in full panic mode and willing to sacrifice more civil liberties to gain more perception of security. She argues that the Constitution has effectively been suspended, to the applause of the left and right. Pastors have been arrested for conducting services, fathers handcuffed for taking their kids to the park, public protest outlawed, and individuals drug from public transportation by the police.

Chumley observes that all of this, and more, have occurred in a time when we have yet to understand the real nature of Coronavirus. She observes that even a mere hint of skepticism is met in the public and private square with ostracization and ridicule. This comports well with Alinsky’s foundational presupposition, of a non-challenging attitude by defeated people, combined with later suggestiong toward the use of ridicule. Americans are not allowed to work, to produce and create a livelihood. Quoting Alinsky again she observes that this “shake[s] up the prevailing patterns of […] lives — agitate[s], create[s] disenchantment and discontent with the current values.” Chumley does not suggest that Coronavirus is not real, nor that it is necessarily a creation intended to bring about the consequences observed. She merely points out that the crisis and reaction cycle related to the event meshes well with Alinsky’s radical prescription. Her observation itself is a radical statement, bold questions and observations in a time when the discussion is so limited in the public square.

The Washington Times piece raises numerous questions that policymakers should be asking and framing during this event. Chumley raises two issues that are undeniable facts. First, the progressive left-liberals have held an objective of implementing many of the policies that have so easily entered public policy over the proceeding weeks, the adoption of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)[3] as one example. The second is perhaps subject to interpretation but hard to argue against, much of the behavior of left-liberal media outlets and politicians align with Alinsky’s Rules, it appears that progressives are taking advantage of the crisis, perhaps even exacerbating it, in order to enact policies they might never gain consensus to enact otherwise.

If we ignore the ease that governments across the land have attacked religious liberty, often to cheers of ‘Christians’, as well as numerous other assaults on civil liberties and basic common sense and address just the implications of our adoption of MMT, we find those implications to be profound. One simply cannot put the genie of universal basic income and magic money creation back in the bottle once released. The longer the lockdowns continue, the more ‘stimulus packages’ passed by the Federal Government, the nearer we approach to establishing a universal basic income scheme. Printing money to give to people not producing is contrary to historical lessons, averse to common sense and contrary to biblical teachings (Proverbs 12:24). Public policymakers across the land must take action now to react to Cornovirous in a principled, right-reasoned, common sense manner. The Governors in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennesee have recently taken the right steps in restarting their economies – others should follow.

Chumley’s interpretation of recent events and her analysis of progressive left-liberals utilization of this crisis to advance their agenda is a cautionary lesson for policymakers. Policies made in a time of uncertainty, when facts and truth are distorted and the emotions of the populace enflamed are often bad policy.

 

Chumley, C. “Coronavirus and the smell of Saul Alinsky”, The Washington Times. 18 April 2020. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/apr/18/coronavirus-and-smell-saul-alinsky/.

[1] One might argue, perhaps correctly so, that The Washington Times has a bias. Other news organizations that disavow the existence of their own observable bias would certainly make this claim in an effort to support an argument that the Times is not a legitimate news outlet. This is an absurd argument, in a time when the entire ‘Fourth Estate’ has abandoned neutrality and objectivity, the Times is as much a legitimate news source as any other.

[2] The Washington Times via, S Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010), https://books.google.com/books?id=VIH0UbZ8qU4C. p. XiX.

[3] See for instance, “Unlimited Money and No Liquidity: Welcome to 2020”, https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/unlimited-money-and-no-liquidity%3A-welcome-to-2020-2020-04-15.

Coronavirus, Crisis, and ‘Opportunity’

A recent CNN piece that discusses the percentages of black Americans in three locations and the relative population size by infection rate. The article subtly hints at what some, more radical progressive public figures, have been claiming – that there is inequity caused by discrimination therefore the government must provide universal healthcare for all.  This is crisis/problem creation, straight from Saul Alinsky’s Rules.  


A recent CNN article[1] demonstrates the propensity of the left-liberal media to act as sophists[2] executing what one might argue is a direct application of Saul Alinsky’s Rules. Alinsky argued that “revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude”.[3] He also argued that the first task of revolution is to create issues or problems.[4] As the events of coronavirus drag on, we are beginning to see more news articles and discussions of how the ‘crisis’ impact favored progressive issues – this is essentially narrative building.

Yan and Holcombe in their CNN piece discuss Chicago, Louisiana, Michigan, and New Jersey comparing the total racial makeup of each area, and that to the incidence of confirmed COVID-19 infections. For example, the article states that in Chicago 70% of those infected are African-American while that population comprises 32% of the total. Quoting a representative from a group called The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law the group stated it wants to “ensure that communities of color receive equitable treatment during the crisis”.[5] This sort of piece subtly echoes what more radical progressive elements are saying, it is part of a narrative, creating the problem as Alinsky suggested. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently stated that “inequality is a comorbidity”[6] and that “[w]e need to drop the Medicare eligibility age to [zero] right now”.[7] The CNN article mentioned above lacked context, failed to address other potential underlying causes that might explain the numbers presented and left the reader with one presented solution, ‘the discrepancy must be related to discrimination’. It is part of a greater narrative effort.

This progressive narrative is wrong on several counts. Thomas Sowell points out that the state of healthcare in a nation is rarely an indicator of people’s health.[8] It ignores the fact that we will “always have the poor”. (Mathew 26:11 ESV) It is blind to the fact that every time governments try to eliminate all poverty, they only succeed in lowing wealth overall.  However, the CNN piece and the emerging narrative from the far progressive left is reductionist as it sees one problem, inequity based upon discrimination, and one solution, government-run universal healthcare.

This is, of course, not the only plank of the progressive narrative being pushed. The Post Millennial reports that “Jealous of coronavirus, radical trans activists seek attention from Buzzfeed”.[9] On its face, this is so absurd[10] as to be unbelievable, yet this is part of the debate in the public square.  This is the result of what Alasdair MacIntyre termed the victory of Nietzsche and Weber over Aristotle.[11]

Recognizing the progressive narrative and Alinsky’s tactics is one thing, counteracting them is another matter. Shaffer in Manifesto points out that principles and real revival are required.[12] However, even from what we might consider now an innocent perspective in 1981, he foresaw real change might require something more extreme.[13]

Public policy based upon the Weberism and emotivism that MacIntyre describes as the prevailing worldview[14] is flawed. It is antithetical to the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded. It is ultimately absurd because it does not comport with proven economic principles and does not align with the observations of history. If America is to traverse this crisis and those to follow with any semblance of freedom, right-reasoned government and morality we must act. The sophist, the progressive narrative weavers and the “useful idiots”[15] must be denounced or converted. Old assumptions about the value of enlightenment thinking must be reexamined.[16] The center can no longer hold. Two such opposing worldviews cannot coexist. Only poverty, tyranny, suffering and persecution can follow the complete victory of progressivism.[17]

[1] Yan, M, Holcombe, M., “Coronavirus hitting some African American communities extremely hard”, CNN, 6 April, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/06/health/us-coronavirus-updates-monday/index.html

[2] See Aristotle's Ethics: Writings from the Complete Works - Revised Edition. United Kingdom: Princeton University Press, 2014. (EE 1.6 1217 1-6), https://www.google.com/books/edition/Aristotle_s_Ethics/NGmYDwAAQBAJ. via Strauss, Leo, Cropsey, Joseph. History of Political Philosophy. United States: University of Chicago Press, 2012. p. 121. https://www.google.com/books/edition/History_of_Political_Philosophy/E7mScxst9UoC.

[3] Alinsky, Saul D., Rules for Radicals. United States: Random House, 1972. p. xix. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Rules_for_Radicals/4LbvAQAACAAJ.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Yan, M, Holcombe, M., “Coronavirus hitting some African American communities extremely hard”.

[6] See, https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1246091210449719296.

[7] See, https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1246134686092537862.

[8] Sowell, Thomas. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One. United States, Basic Books, 2008. p. 93. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Applied_Economics/gh4JdTv-t9sC.

[9] See, “Jealous of coronavirus, radical trans activists seek attention from Buzzfeed”, https://www.thepostmillennial.com/jealous-of-coronavirus-radical-trans-activists-seek-attention-from-buzzfeed.

[10] Clark, Barry, The Rise of Absurdity in Western Philosophical and Political Views (January 22, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3523995 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3523995.

[11] MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue. United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013. p.112. https://www.google.com/books/edition/After_Virtue/00rsK2Y98gQC.

[12] Schaeffer, Francis August. A Christian Manifesto. United Kingdom: Crossway Books, 1981. p. 71. https://www.google.com/books/edition/A_Christian_Manifesto/eWHBcQAACAAJ.

[13] Ibid. 130.

[14] Ibid. 121.

[15] 1959, Congressional Record, Section: Appendix, Useful Idiots: Extension of Remarks of Hon. Edward J. Derwinski of Illinois in the House of Representatives on June 30, 1959, (Reprint of editorial from June 23 edition of the Chicago Daily Calumet), Page A5653, Column 2, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. (LexisNexis Congressional Record Permanent Digital Collection)

[16] See, “Government for the Common Good”, https://calhouninstitute.com/government-for-the-common-good/.

[17] Clark, Barry, From Radical Progressivism to Authoritarianism (December 19, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3506918 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3506918.

The Role of Religion, Morality, and Worldview in Public Policy

Everyone has a worldview. Many hold to a ‘religion’ even if it is not theistic and almost all individuals in society adhere to some form of morality. Thus, religion, morality and worldview always shape public policy.  The central question then becomes, particularly in a pluralistic representative republic, what role does the traditional and conventional views on morality and worldview play on public policy and should these views be considered salutary and preferred.  

______

It is inarguable that everyone holds a worldview. Religious views, theistic and non-theistic, are ubiquitous. Everyone among us, even the most immoral and those whose morality is based upon nothing more than self-interest, have a moral view. Therefore, religion, worldview, and morality are the key inputs to public policy development because these views and their variations fundamentally shape the entirety of how one views the world. Necessarily, the central question before us centers on the role that traditional and conventional views play in public policy creation.

Science, or empiricism, requires ‘religious’ faith to account for something arising from nothing.[i] Big History, an academic and ideological movement that attempts to paint a thematic metanarrative from creation to consciousness, is an organized attempt to synthesize this ‘faith’ into a counter-narrative to traditional religious stories. [ii] Modernism shapes views of morality and religion toward progressivism and Monotheistic Therapeutic Deism.[iii] Postmodernism denies metanarratives entirely and defines truth as being subjective.[iv] All three of these worldviews require faith, adhere to elements of dogma and in some cases have features of doctrine, they influence their adherents' views of public policy as much as a Christian, Muslim or Jewish view.

What value should these newer worldviews hold relative to the traditional and conventional positions of a people of a nation? What role does, or should, the permanent things of a people play in shaping policy? Christians understand that man is fallen and all ideas, idealism, and constructs of man are imperfect. (Romans 5:12) Russell Kirk argued that permeant things are “those elements in the human condition that give us our nature, without which we are as the beasts that perish.” [v] One could argue that Christianity is a permanent thing of American culture.[vi] If we accept the arguments of Edmund Burke, as paraphrased by Kirk, we must take into account the history, the moral order, the resources, and prospects in all that government is and does.[vii] History, tradition, and convention are, therefore, important. America’s four-hundred plus year history is replete with significant examples of Christian influence. Our traditions and conventions deriving from our British heritage of culture, language and law is a Christian heritage. Therefore, not only is it important for a Christian worldview to have input into the creation of public policy, it is arguable that such a position should be privileged if we want a culture and a government for the common-good that aligns with tradition and convention.[viii]

@onlyBarryLClark

_____________________________

[i] See previous argument that “Nothing comes from nothing’, http://barryclark.info/first-principles-axioms-and-syllogisms/

[ii] See, Behmand, Mojgan., "Big History and the Goals of Liberal Education." In Teaching Big History, edited by Behmand Mojgan, Simon Richard B., and Burke Thomas, 21-26. University of California Press, 2015. Accessed April 4, 2020. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt9qh2dw.8. And “Gates’ Big History Project Closes Young Minds to God”, https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2013/08/big-history-project-closed-to-god.html

[iii] Passing on the Faith: Transforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. United States: Fordham University Press, 2009. p. 9.

[iv] David W. Scott, Lecture on postmodernity, THiC, Boston University, May 3, 2011. http://blogs.bu.edu/dscott/files/2011/05/Lecture-on-postmodernity-David-Wm-Scott.pdf

[v] Kirk, R. 1969. Enemies of the Permanent Things: Observations of Abnormality in Literature and Politics. Arlington House. https://books.google.com/books?id=xLCBAAAAMAAJ . And “The Permanent Things”, https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2013/02/russell-kirk-the-permanent-things.html

[vi] See previous argument, Clark, Barry., The Philosophy of Commonsense: A Cultural War Primer, Abbeville: The Calhoun Institute, 2019, https://books.google.com/books?id=CK6-DwAAQBAJ. As well as, DeMar, Gary. America's Christian Heritage. United States: B&H Publishing Group, 2003.

[vii] Kirk, Russell. Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered. United States: Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ORD), 2014. And “Edmund Burke and the Constitution”, https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2012/05/russell-kirk-edmund-burke-and-constitution.html

[viii] See previous argument, “Government for the Common Good”, https://calhouninstitute.com/government-for-the-common-good/

This gets Stranger by the Day

Three days before I went into isolation with the wife and dogs a friend of mine and I went to lunch and obviously discussed the developing Coronavirus story, (this was 11 March). He said, and I believe he was half-serious, that he wondered if China could have done this intentionally. He was commenting on my post from 2 February discussing gain of function bioengineering experiments and the Wuhan high containment biotechnology lab. We laughed and moved on. Conspiracies are complex, and therefore are almost never the answer to an event.

However, this entire situation gets stranger all the time. Below I lay out all the very odd things that simply make no sense when you look at them all together.

  • February 2019 - China opens a biosafety lab in Wuhan China for the purpose of conducting experiments with highly infectious pathogens.
  • Beginning in 2019 and accelerating drastically in 2020, CEOs have left their companies and dumped their stock. (record numbers, particularly in 2019 when the economy was churning).
  • 18 December 2019 - The House impeached Donald Trump. Remember, he was a danger to the universe and could not be allowed to remain, it was 'that serious', remember the words?
  • 31 December 2019 - Reports of a new repository illness in Wuhan China.
  • Late January 2020 - Wuhan is cordoned and isolated.
  • From late January until the week of March 9th we are told by Trump that any talk about a pandemic is a hoax and fake news, the left media said it was just like the flu and medical 'experts" said it was not that bad.
  • The week of 23 March - the US economy shutdown. Congress passes two massive 'stimulus' packages.
  • 26 March 2020 the US tops all nations in the number of Coronavirus cases.
  • 27 March 2020 -Trump authorizes the call-up of 1 Million ready reservist and retirees. (this is not the national Guard nor drilling reservist, this is folks that have retired or 'left' the service)

Consider these facts:

  • These massive bills passed with really very little debate, the Democrats control the House, remember how dangerous Trump was in their words in December, now they are all working together?
  • These bills contain the progressive dream agenda and enormous 'help' to large corporations. It is the worst of both worlds from both sides.
  • It 'nationalizes' part of entire industries - taking ownership of a portion of the airlines.
  • QE forever? The government can create 'money' to buy shares of entire industries as it pleases?
  • A large step toward universal basic income (universal poverty).

Only a Republican could have done what Trump has done, the Defense Production Act, activated today - in peacetime! The progressives could never have hoped to accomplish what has occurred without regular Americans literally taking up arms. It could happen when a swath of Americans believe in "Q" and think Trump equals 'Judges'.

I am not denying that people have and will die from COVID-19. However, nobody, not the experts nor the media seem to understand the true nature of this thing. We have no real data to even analyze the problem. In all of history, what nation has ever stopped their economy and essentially mortgaged their future of many future generations based upon guesses and fear? I took it seriously, as an individual, as individuals should - but this? This thing we have done, very strange set of coincidences - and I do not believe in coincidences.

China has now shut its borders. It is ramping up its production and economy while we create trillions of dollars in magic money. Why? what are the implications? How does this all work out to our benefit?

I am not suggesting the following is the answer to these questions but it certainly looks a lot more like all those conspiracy guys that have preached for years that some global cabal of governments and the elites were planning a crisis to take our freedom and impoverish us are worth reconsidering right now. It actually seems plausible.

Nothing that has happened, shutting it all down, creating these outrageous bills, locking people down, trampling the Constitution - all while we cheer. It is very strange. That is the only fact I know for sure, it is strange.

Plausibly Explaining It all

All of the coincidence and strangeness above could make sense, if:

  • Trump and Congress are idiots, liars, and fools.
  • Medical 'experts' in the west were either deniers, fools or liars
  • Maybe all those CEOs just saw the tea leaves of a coming recession (nothing to do with Coronavirus) and resigned their positions and cashed out over the last 14 months - nothing nefarious in that case.
  • The virus really is as bad, or close to as bad as some of the models predicted - it was only less deadly in said because of social norms in places like Japan and Hong Kong, and governmental control of the population (and spread) in China.
  • The West's love of individual freedom (in this case license to not be good citizens) made us more susceptible - think Carnival, Madi Gras, Spring break and idiots going to bars.

It is possible this really was an 'accident of history', just a natural virus that China's authoritarian regime was able to control through draconian measures while our attention in the West was diverted by incompetent news media and politicians worried about petty partisan squabbles. If it turns out to be a pretty bad virus, but just an accident of history that highlights and takes advantage of our weaknesses as moral citizens - well perhaps there never needed to be a 'global cabal' and all the conspiracy theories associated with it.

In either case, authoritarianism wins, China wins, freedom loses, the entire ideal of 'Americanism' loses. Sometimes, oftentimes it is just 'accidents of history' that shape and define the future. Cultures and societies that are not prepared for those accidents, and people that are not just and moral, do not survive them unchanged.

Our only real option is to seriously consider a new system of government that values the common good and morality as a virtue.

 

Candidates, 2020 Presidential Election

I have noticed some friends throwing about the idea that perhaps one or more of the Democratic candidates would be tolerable, even acceptable perhaps. I have heard Biden, Gabbard and Klobuchar mentioned in this regard. I have only one acquaintance that I know of that supports Sanders (and would conceivably be open to Warren). I will not discuss those two, their ideas are disastrous, anyone that doubts that could care less what I say.

I get that many folks are disgusted by Trump. I will discuss him at the end of this post. But first to these ‘tolerable, perhaps even acceptable’ Democrats.

If you are a Christian and a Conservative, and at this juncture of the cultural war, I cannot imagine that you can be the first without also being the second, then you must oppose abortion. I cannot imagine how a professing Christian could support that. As a realist you probably acknowledge it is here to stay for the time being in one form or another, but, a Christion metaphysical realist view of the world, and a plain understanding of the Word simply must inform you that it is wrong. So where are these ‘almost acceptable’ Democrats on the issue?

Klobuchar and Biden would use your tax dollars to provide abortions, making you even more complicit in murder. Gabbard would simply maintain the status quo, meaning any judges she appointed would solidify the state of the law as it stands. Not acceptable to any Christian.

On healthcare, all of the candidates would place us further down the track toward a socialized healthcare system. Gabbard is with the hardcore socialist, Klobuchar proposes something less drastic and Biden is interested in saving his legacy by ‘fixing’ the broken Obamacare. I understand that healthcare expenses are troublesome. I get people ‘feel’ as if the government ought to do something. Austrian economics indicates it is all broken because the government did too much of something in the first place with Medicare, Medicaid and monkeying with price controls in pharmaceuticals. More government intervention never solves the problem of government intervention. Go study the British economy in WWII and the effects of intervention that still exist there today. Good intentions, terrible ideas.

If you want to talk about completely failing to understand the nature of our Republic and original intent, consider the above. If this occurs, major cities and metropolitan areas will forever lord over and rule all the rest of the country. That was never the intent, and it would be a horrible outcome. The Framers understood the importance of place and community. This would be tryanny for the minority.

Lastly – none of these great ideas (let’s be honest based upon humanist idealism) are fully disclosed. By that I mean, a public choice economics analysis would demand a full accounting of the costs of the various (and massive) programs that the entire group above advocate for in one way or another. Such disclosure is lacking. Greats ‘idea’ but these all violate a principle we ought to hold dear – the government is not God and government is pretty poor at actually solving problems and generally only makes them worse.

So?

If you are a Christian, the first point above ought to be enough to stop the notion of entertaining any of these people. If you are a conservative and an American of a traditional mind, the second two cements the deal. It is not even a question.

But Trump you say.

Yes, he is ill-mannered, often embarrassing, sometimes spastic in his actions and likely someone none of us would invite him to dinner.

However, he is a pretty good speed-bump to slow further damage until maybe, perhaps, hopefully, and prayerfully, we find a way to coalesce around something solid.

He did appoint a couple of OK supreme court justices – not perfect, but not two more RBG types either. When he gets another chance he will likely nominate Amy Coney Barrett, that would be a pretty good win all by itself.

His speech at the National Right to Life March was the best of his career and sounded sincere. He has done nothing while in office to make it seem disingenuous and has taken steps to act out on his words.

He has taken steps to support Religious Liberty, as Christianity enters a minority phase, RL will become increasingly important.

His foreign policy appears spastic, but at times it has demonstrated the touch of realist genius. It is certainly no worse than what we generally see in this regard.

I can already hear your next argument. I am suggesting one hold their nose and vote for the lesser of all these evils. Yes, yes I am. Do you remember how much damage Bill Clinton did to the culture? DODT, etc. What about Obama? Surely you remember all the cultural foundations that were eradicated in his two terms. Neither of those guys held any of the views expressed by the above so openly. Yet, look at their wake.

There is no choice. Hold your nose and vote for Trump. Or Vote for one of the above, and carry the moral cost or don’t vote at all and allow your failure to do what we must be your shame and burden. Not even a choice.

I do not like this any more than you do. I suppose we could get it over and all vote Bernie, you know just burn the house down all at once – voting for one of the other Democrats is really just burning it room by room. But hey, if you want to give up they why not just feel the Bern all at once?

If we want to fix this long term, we need to figure out a way to break the establishment GOP and find a way to elect Americans of principles that respect people, property and tradition.

Love y’all, mean it.

It is Time To Reconsider President Trump

I will state upfront, I have never been a cheerleader for President Trump. I have also never been an unmovable critic. I acknowledge he is perhaps best termed a realistic pragmatic populist. I also find him ill-mannered. But here is the thing, he might be just what American conservatism needed; not to right the ship, but to buy time.

To the folks in a certain circle of conservatives that moan and complain about the man, I would say – I can also quote Burke, Kirk, and others. Yes, there is a crisis of principles in American conservatism, the Straussians did great damage. Many came to see conservatism to mean big government, war, and corporations combined with a ‘fringe’ element that advocated for moral issues. That ‘fringe’ that I am part of has often felt unheard and confused by what is happening. I agree with those that argue that conservatism in America lost its way because it left the principles that define true conservatism. We lost our way and allowed a strange coalition of fringe ideas to rise against us.

I ask you then?  What would you see done?  Retrench into Benedictine enclaves because the culture is lost? Post on Twitter about how much you disagree with Trump until another Kirk or Benedict comes along to put us back on the right path? Here is the thing fellows, there is great value in continually and consistently articulating true conservative principles. There is also great value in being realistic and pragmatic. Talking, throwing rocks and complaining will not change anything.

It is time that all the “blue checked principled conservative ‘intellectuals’ and ‘journalist’’ see President Trump for what he is and what he represents. It is time to stop throwing rocks. Keep up the good work of reminding the world of what true conservative principles look like, but realize, if we are going to get back to those principles in action, we will have to get there in small steps.

Consider if you will, the events of the last month or so

  • Soleimani killed. Iran allowed to ‘save face’ while the U.S. demonstrated the resolve to escalate if necessary. You may say the killing of this man was unnecessary, I would ask were you ever there? Have you ever seen actual intelligence reports related to his activities? I was and did, my knowledge is dated at this point, but he was a valid target just based upon my knowledge. Trump’s handling of the situation was perhaps geopolitical genius. It would have been the easy answer to retaliate against Iran after their ‘for show’ rocket attack. Instead, take a real look at what he did. Unprecedented and perhaps genius.
  • National Right for Life March.  So many of us ‘principled conservatives’ talk about the moral decay that results from a culture that murders the unborn. President Trump was the first US president to speak at this march, go back and watch the speech, perhaps the best of his career.
  • State of the Union.  Religious liberty, Pro-gun rights, Pro-life, Pro-capitalism. Argue with that. (also, tacky and non-traditional, I agree)

You wanted ‘less government’ thrown in there too?  I heard some of that, but here is the thing, what is conservatism really?  To preserve the permanent things. All the permanent things are under assault. One real way to reverse that trend is to change the narrative. To show that conservative principles are not hatred, but rather kindness. A strong economy with less regulation lifts everyone up. For a ‘populist’ president to do that while speaking truth about other conservative issues has real value. Contrasting the conservative vision directly against the socialist view speaks to a large segment of the coalition that supports the left.

Such as;

Black Americans, for instance, have never been completely on board with many aspects of the liberal agenda. They went along because the narrative said evil conservatives are filled with hate. It is hard to make that argument when conservatives are increasing opportunity, incomes and prosperity. It is the economy stupid! That might just be the ticket that breaks up the liberal coalition.

Mexican Americans, we assume, because the left says it is so, that all Latinos are exactly the same, all one block. I am not so certain. I suspect many, those that have been here working for a few years, legally and illegally, view new migrate waves from Central America with suspicion. They know those folks will compete with them for jobs. Trump’s stance on the border will perhaps have a different long-term impact on how many of these folks view conservatives than the liberal narrative paints.

Regular Joes. Factory workers, union men, blue color guys that vote for the liberal ticket because they are supposed to, even though they disagree with many of the social and cultural aspects of the liberal agenda. The economy and jobs is a real way to bring these folks over and break them away from blind support of politicians that harm them and their families.

I get it, and agree, the free-market is not a sacrament. We can all argue internally for decades about how unbridled vulture capitalism has ruined families, rural America, and the country. These are important conversations, we need to eventually expunge the idea that one can separate economic and social conservatism into public and private. However, right now, the real fight is about survival. If we retrench, argue internally over ideas that are alien at best, and heterodoxy at worst (in the minds of ordinary ‘conservatives’) what will we gain? Either Conservative. Inc will cement control of the opportunity of Trump’s populism, or the liberal socialist will take control. In both cases, the cause of conservatism will be killed. We have one chance, to become relevant. If Trump can crack the left’s coalition through economics while talking about real conservative issues, we need to try and get behind that- it is our only option that may actually help restore real conservatism. Throwing rocks, in the face of all the money and influence behind Conservitive, Inc. will simply ensure were are left on outside the circle.

Here is the crux of the matter. Talking about principles is important. High-minded rock-throwing, however, will not fix anything. Believing yourself too educated in the mystical traditions of conservatism to support a populist president that does not speak all the right conservative orthodoxy is not productive, not for the culture. It may garner you followers and book sales, but, you are not in the game. You will not help fix things.

President Trump represents a real opportunity to break the back of the hodge-podge coalition that makes up the power-base of the liberal establishment. Those people have never been more vulnerable. They look pathetic, weak, feckless and wrong at this point. Once that coalition is broken, perhaps then we might turn our guns on the false conservatives and reform conservatism in a real and practical way in America. If we fail to put down this abomination that has become of the left, all of our ideas and theories will be nothing more than academic pursuits and talk.

It is time for the fence-sitting rock-throwers to come to the conclusion I have, President Trump is good for conservatism because he represents a real opportunity to crush the liberal coalition and break it apart. It is time for real conservatives to turn away from ‘never Trumpers’ that cannot recognize this as the reality we live in – those people if they cannot come to understand the reality we live in should never be listened to again. We have an opportunity.

Y’all think about it!  Keep up the good work of articulating the principles of conservatism, however, look around at reality – we have a real opportunity to crush the biggest threat to conservatism and break apart its powerbase. Let’s do that, then we can expunge the Straussians and Neocons.

Unhinged and Triggered
They are unhinged and vulnerable now!

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen. -Luther

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Connect with Barry on Twitter, @onlyBarryLClark. Wondering who I am? See here.

Northam’s High-Value Target List Team

Virginia’s Governor Northam, perhaps in response to so many Virginia counties passing a resolution stating country police forces and sheriff departments will not enforce any laws related to unconstitutional gun confiscation has taken a lesson from the War on Terror and brought it home.

He is asking for the formation of an 18 man team, and $4.8 million dollars (see page 23 for the funding of the team) to equip and fund said team for the purpose of enforcing state laws related to gun confiscation. (Washington Examiner)

Let me explain why this is a problem. Regular folks assume that there are some good people in law enforcement, and based upon the number of sheriffs across Virginia and other states that have publically stood up lately to say they would not violate the constitution, this seems true. Most Americans believe the National Guard would not be a good option to enforce gun confiscation, many Soldiers and leaders would resist, and this is probably also true.

To get this done, Northam would need people he could trust to do it, ‘special’ people that are treated special, given special equipment, special perks, allowed to grow facial hair, all that – getting an idea of what I am talking about yet? He wants to build a small special operations force, essentially soldiers instead of law enforcement officers, that will do his will without concern for morality or legality.

You say an 18 person team could never confiscate all the weapons Northam wants to ban. Sure, not all at once. They do not need to. All of the ‘offenders’ would be placed on a ‘target list’, intelligence packets created, hasty planning conducted on the evening’s targets and after say midnight or so the team would launch in a geographic area, hitting perhaps six homes a night. It would be all very efficient, fast, and as violent as the team thought they needed to make it in order to quickly hit all the targets on the list before dawn. This would go on night after night…

Most ordinary people would get the message pretty quickly – you cannot stop these guys from entering your home, shooting your dogs, pushing around your wife and trashing your house – try and they will shoot you and move on. I do not care who you are, one guy or four guys cannot stop a well-trained and efficient team practiced in forced entry and clearance procedures. They pick the time, they have the tactical advantage and they have the numbers and firepower. Try and stop them and you die.

The target list would organically shrink pretty quickly. Ordinary people would get the picture and reevaluate their life choices and give up the banned guns. Those few that decided to hold out would remain on the list until their time in the lottery came up one evening. When I was around guys that did this sort of work we called those sorts “deadenders”. Get it? The target was basically dead before the door was breached.

Look, this is dangerous for a bunch of reasons. Recruiting young fellows that want to be ‘heroic’ and are willing to do nasty and unconstitutional things in order to be special is flawed from the beginning. Once teams like this get rolling, night after night of kicking in doors, they begin to believe they are special, and their targets, become just that “targets”- not humans, with families, lives and rights.

There are just too many wolves out there pretending to be sheepdogs, guys that would jump at the chance to join Northam’s new kill squad if it meant they got to be special, wear tacticool stuff and call themselves an elite ‘operator’. Throw enough money and perks at trash and the trash will form a long line to join up.

Here is the thing, the people that advised Northam on this brilliant plan already know what I just said above. They learned this in a warzone, and they know the implications, yet, it is on the table for use in the US. There is no mistake or oversight here, this is intentional and it shows intent. Northam is literally willing to form a small army and invade and quarter them in Virginian’s homes to achieve his desires. Yes quarter, this squad of soldiers will occupy a home as long as they see fit to find justification for being there.

If this is the way he and those around him think I worry about what might occur come Monday.

Nobody anywhere is really “anti-gun”. Anyone that claims they do really means they believe that guns should only be held by the nice, trustable, and moral government. After all, the government would need those guns to actually take everyone else’s guns and to keep everyone in line. Elites and powerful people would ‘need’ those guns for their protective staff to keep the rabble away. When a person says they are anti-gun or for gun control they are saying they think the government is moral, ethical and trustable and everyone else is not to be trusted.

That sort of thinking did not work in the Soviet Union, Germany, Venezuala or the Ameican Plains.

Northam is not anti-gun. He needs the guns and his special HVT ‘kill squad’ to enforce policy. He simply expects everyone to trust him and government.

See also: Second Amendment and From Progressivism to Authoritarianism

When The People see the Government as Illegitimate

There have been several news articles of late quoting a Trump supporter as saying something like “there will be a Civil War if Trump is impeached”. These are click-bait pieces, intended to rile up a certain segment of the population with images of white men in their 50s or 60s with MAGA red hats and shotguns storming the steps of Congress.

On the face of it, this is simply preposterous. On a deeper level, there is something to this idea. No, not that Trump supporters would take to the streets in violence if the Senate actually impeached him and actually try and overthrow the government. That is not the real danger. The real danger is the government itself already looks pretty illegitimate to a lot of folks right and left. Impeaching a president, now, in this great divide, with clowns in office, right and left, could only serve to further delegitimize the government itself.

The far left sees the government as oppressive, its police forces unchecked and the government as a tool of inequity. The far-right sees the government as the champion of the destruction of traditional America and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property. Everybody left, right and middle sees the federal government as incompetent and mired in silliness. It is not a far jump from thinking something an incompetent joke to actually seeing it as illegitimate.

No there will not be a Civil War if Trump were to be impeached but the pendulum does swing, and it is swinging harder with each iteration. Trump was a logical counter-reaction to Obama, the Alt-Right to Antifa, one party’s witch hunt is a reaction to the others when they were in power. The witch hunts will not stop, the pendulum will not stop swinging and the government will not suddenly start appearing more legitimate or competent. Ineptitude, investigations, chaos, and pettiness are now the very best Congress can provide America, no matter which party is in charge.

Somebody, one side, will eventually grow tired of the pendulum and violence will ensue someday. It is likely now, not just theoretical. It could take a year, or twenty, but a government cannot rule without violence once it becomes illegitimate – the Federal government has either crossed that line or is rapidly approaching it, it all depends upon your perspective. The apathy demonstrated by most is an absolute sign of this illegitimacy, a testimony equal to the anger and agitation on the far right and left.

An illegitimate government either crumbles, the least likely outcome, or resorts to violence to combat violence, to shore up its power in a vacuum of legitimacy. Authoritarianism often follows illegitimacy.

The cultural war has devastated a lot more than American traditions, it has polarized politics to such a degree that the government can no longer actually function to fulfill its purpose.

We elect guys with nicknames like “Tricky Dick” and “Slick Willie” and wonder why those men have scandal. We elect a guy that is first generation with a middle name of Hussain and investigate his ties to Kenya. We elect a fellow that demonstrates amorality in his personal life and we are shocked by his audacious tweets. But Americans elected these men, and perhaps as Hans Herman Hoppe pointed out in Democracy, The God that Failed that is the problem, the voters or more specifically democracy is the problem. Hoppe was echoing Alexis de Tocqueville’s sentiments about great requiring good. Americans elected these people, and despite the flaws of their choices, they expected the government to get to work. And perhaps that is the problem.

If the government is illegitimate and there are clowns running the halls of congress and bafoons regularly occupying the White House, whose fault is it? This is not a right or left issue, Trump cannot be the best and the brightest that conservatives might have found, he does not even qualify as a conservative in my mind. But have you taken a gander at the debate stage of the left recently? Are those people the best and the brightest from that side? Some of the Democratic offerings even propose eliminating the last “check on stupid” the Founder’s placed in the Constitution, the Electoral College. That is a brilliant idea!

If the government is illegitimate, it is because the electorate is at fault. We elect these people. We are the clowns.

Humpty Dumpty has taken a fall and no amount of effort can put him back together again. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.

The Day I Became Involved in Local Politics

Tip O’Neil famously said, all politics are local. I have spent much of my life being interested in national and international politics and geopolitics but have never paid much attention to local events.

Very recently I realized that my little city of North Augusta, SC is in something of the order of 120 million dollars in debt. Apparently approximately 70 million of that on account of the construction of SRP Park.

My wife and I bought a home here in 2016, I was deployed, we actually purchased the home while I was on leave. We knew she had a good job at the University and this is where I should retire. I could not imagine living in the debacle that is Richmond County and Columbia County was too far. Besides, I was born and bred in South Carolina, I am a proud son of the State. North Augusta seemed perfect.

I recall in an off-hand conversation my wife and I discussing how the ballpark had been funded. I assumed that surely there must have been a referendum for such an expenditure. Surely, right? How could a small town council possibly spend so much of their neighbor’s money without asking them? I supposed my assumption was correct and moved on with life, happily ignorant.

In the last couple of years my wife has occasionally mentioned to me something like, “man, there is some drama going on at North Augusta 20 20”. I would generally mumble in acknowledgement and continue on with what I was doing. I long ago stopped paying much attention to Facebook. I have seen too many people with drama there. I never stopped to wonder if there was really fire associated with the smoke she was seeing.

Apparently, there has been a real fire raging beneath the smoke of Facebook drama. Contentiousness has been the norm in council chambers and outside for some time it seems. However, I do not know all the facts or personalities or details involved up to this point.

I know one thing for certain. My original assumption concerning the state of good governance in my little city were all wrong. Based upon one fact alone I am prepared to say something is amiss and things must change.

The council saddled the citizens of the city with enormous debt, almost $70 million, without a referendum. Nobody elects part-time city officials to make decisions of that magnitude – it is plain and simple irresponsible, unconscionable and immoral. It is theft of property no matter how you state it. In local government one just generally assumes that everyone knows that the right thing to do when such a large matter is in question is to allow the people to decide – after all it is their money.

image via Ken Powell

Based upon this one simple fact, this one simple callous immoral act of hubris I have become interested in and involved in local politics.

Last night I contacted the Constitution Party of North Augusta and asked them to place a sign in my front yard. I offered to help in any way possible and next week I will break bread with one of their officers to discuss what that means and figure out where I can help.

The list of absurdities could go on – perhaps the passage this past Monday of an ordinance allowing open air consumption of alcohol in Riverside Village (mind you there are what two bars there at present). That seems a rather silly thing to be worried about considering almost none of the magnificent storefronts, shops and entertainment that was promised in the artist depictions have actually materialized. When I recently visited the area I wondered where there might actually be space for any of the grand things we were promised. The hotel is not grand and the ball park is archetecturally out of place.

Then perhaps one could point to the utterly brilliant idea to install parking meters down there. You people build a field of dreams with our money, sold a bill of goods with wonderful pictures and delivered a much less grandiose reality with already frustrating and limited parking and now you want to discourage further patronage with parking meters. Simply brilliant. These folks must go.

Finally, we read our city administration is coordinating with Augusta and Georgia to construct a pedestrian/bike path on a future 13th Street bridge. I suppose all North Augusta needs is folks walking over from Broad Street in Augusta to ask me money when the wife and I go out to eat. This is a large reason I do not often go to Broad Street! Again – brilliant.

North Augusta is not Augusta – that place elects fools and those fools mismanage funds and the potential of the city and county. We do not need to be like Augusta. We should progress, but keep the culture and nature of our city intact. We also should expect elected officials that know the moral limits of the power vested in the positions they hold. Placing every resident of the city in debt without the common decency to ask – that is wrong. This is what got me interested and involved in local politics.