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.

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 respiratory 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.

I am beginning to smell a color revolution. Look for riots in the street before the election.

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.

 

A Peak at the Authoritarianism to Come

Virginia is poised to be a test case of sorts, a formerly ‘red’ state with historic roots of respect for natural rights to life liberty and property and a large gun-owning population now under the control of radical progressives. The incoming legislature, buttressed by a progressive liberal governor is foaming at the mouth to test the limits of its power. Virginia Senate Bill SB 16   “It is unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, purchase, possess or transport an assault firearm” and makes such actions a Class 6 felony. (The American Spectator) The definition of “assault weapons” is pretty broad meaning that many Virginia citizens, law-abiding citizens might find themselves faced with surrendering their property or losing their liberty, both violations of natural rights protected under the Constitutions of Virginia and the US.

This is no small matter.

Already there is posturing in Virginia and in Washington with bellicose words and subtle threats. 75 counties in Virginia have passed ordinances or resolutions stating county police and sheriff departments will not enforce laws that violate the right to bear arms. This is a direct plea to the common law principle of the sheriff acting as an intermediary between the people and other powers. Under common law, the sheriff had a duty not only to enforce the law but to protect the people from external oppression and tyranny. Many that hold to the concept of natural rights protected under the Constitution have theorized for years that a fight such as this might come down to good sheriffs performing their higher duty.

This inconvenient historical fact has not escaped the radicals either in Richmond nor Washington. Some are suggesting that the governor use the National Guard to carry out confiscations, others have advocated defunding sheriffs departments that do not toe the line. The governor mentioned recently curring off the power and water to those that do not comply.

Of course, all of this is premature. If SB16 passes, which it probably will, it will be tied up in court for months or years. That is really not the point of all this. The radicals know they will not be grabbing any guns come March or April of next year. This is really a show of force. They are forcing the issue in a state where such talk was once unimaginable. They are forcing real Americans to react, to become afraid and to show their hands. Talk of empowering sheriffs departments to resist bad laws is important and necessary but it brings the topic to the surface and allows the radicals to attack the notion long before the court cases are settled. They now know exactly which counties and which sheriffs might actually stand up, they have a target list.

In Retrenchment, I discuss Saul Alinsky who essentially wrote the rule book for the radical progressive movement in Rules for Radicals.  There can be no reprieve to the traditional viewpoint he advised.  Radicals must press the issue deep, ridicule, isolate and ostracized opposing views until the revolution is complete and the opposition silenced. He pointed out that Lenin was happy to use the ballot box as long as the other side had the guns but that Lenin was pleased to consider bullets once his side had the guns.

Alinsky also preached polarization, isolation, and ridicule as methods the left should use. Now that county boards and sheriffs have stood up to identify themselves the radicals know who to individually target. It is all an almost perfectly applied strategy out of Rules for Radicals.

Another point that Alinsky made was that the leaders of the progressive revolution must always find new targets to assault so that the mobs and supporters do not get bored. Alinsky did not have a lot of confidence in the base supporters of radicalism to really understand the issues, he thought leaders needed to help them. One method to help was to always present new issues and new fights and to focus on wins.

Gun control, a historically hotly contested issue, is an easy win for the radicals at this point. They have already won as much of the culture war as is possible at the moment, it is too soon for the next stages of that fight. But gun control, that is something they can push with a vengeance.

Even if SB16 ultimately fails in court, this test case will move the ball forward. They are frontally assaulting a former red state and hundreds of thousands of real Americans living there that cherish their rights. It is bold, audacious and just the beginning.

What we should find most disturbing in all of this are the words the radicals are using. They carelessly toss about the notion of using the National Guard, which is not the militia but is really just the part-time Army at this point. And using this army to go to the homes of citizens to enforce the law and take property. Let that sink in for a moment. These people are saying this out loud and without shame. They are willing to send an army to private citizens’ homes, potentially to do violence. We fought a revolution over that issue among others, now the radicals have come to see the power of the Government and of violence as a positive good. A tool they may use to complete their revolution.

If they so callously believe this is ok in this case do you believe for a moment they will not apply the same logic to future brilliant ideas they codify into law? Religious liberty, free speech, freedom of association? Do you honestly believe any of those notions are sacred and sacrosanct in light of these developments?

We are on a perilous road toward authoritarianism. The loss of the Cultural war by traditional America was never about marriage or monuments, it was about principles. It was a fight against one side saying that good ideas and intentions ought to outweigh natural rights and common-sense. It was a fight against one side telling everyone else what to think and believe. Now they show their full hand and their willingness to do violence against those that oppose them.

Mob Violence as a Tool of the Left

Mob violence, the threat of violence and intimidation of individuals by large groups is a core operational tactic of the radical left in the Cultural War. If you are like me, it is difficult to imagine that the activities in the videos and stories below really occur.  If you are aware of them, you assume, as I did for a long time that these are small isolated activities.  Surely, this cannot represent the nature and the character of an entire movement - yet it actually does. The mainstream media does not cover this in much detail, if at all.  When they do cover it they portray is as counter-protests to right-wing hate.

Three facts are important to understand.

First - there just does not exists a large and organized right-wing equivalent to these left-wing groups.  Yes, there are young groups on the Alt-Right that seem willing to take to the streets and get directly into the face of groups like ANTIFA, but they are small when compared to the left.

Second, the organization of the left is enormous.  The so-called ad hoc gatherings of students at campuses around the country to harass, assault and intimidate those that dare have ideas different than what their ideology holds dear are not nearly as random as the news media that covers these events would lead you to believe.  The left employs paid organizers and paid protestors to coordinate and facilitate these events and pass along best practices to ensure maximum success.

Third, and most important.  The radical left is proving through direct action that they have no respect for persons, property, liberty nor even life - the core principles that have made Western Civilization great.  In the videos below you will see individuals punched, spit upon, cursed at, property taken and destroyed and all manner of other things, all in the name of silencing people that disagree and denying others the right to speech free movement and peaceful assembly.

You will notice, these radical progressives perform these actions in the safety of a crowd, often punching and kicking people when their backs are turned.  They apparently believe in the power and justice of the crowd over that of the individual.  I imagine the same sort of attitudes prevailed during the French Revolution as people were denounced, "tried" and guillotined. This is the same sort of behavior that occurred during Chinas Cultural Revolution with Struggle Sessions and executions.   We have in existence the same sort of mob mentality, the same sort of ideological hate and the same level of individual cowardices that existed in France in the early 18th-century and China in the 20th.  Millions of people have been killed in the past because of mob violence.

When I write about the very real dangers the radical progressives pose, these are not theoretical or hypothetical arguments - these things are happening, and the brazenness of the mob is growing.

The videos below contain violence and crude language - but you need to see them to fully understand the gravity of this growing mob mentality.

I am posting the first video again. After having seen the videos above just imagine if the young lady in the video below was your daughter, just trying to attend a campus event and hear a speaker.

Cowards you say?  The videos bear this out. I suspect few if any of these people in black hoodies and masks would all alone get in the face of most regular Americans.  That is not their modus operandi, they are only emboldened by a large group, often attacking their victims from behind or from the sideThis does not make them less dangerous, perhaps more soWeak, feckless and confused people that feel powerless to act on their own, are conditioned to groupthink and feel the power in the mob are apt to perform collective acts that in history have proven to be murderous.

The notion that there is a moral superiority within the mob itself, a superiority that debases the humanity of individuals that disagree with the mob is a significant problem.  These people are learning the wrong lessons, lessons they will apply to politics and the public square for years to come.