Why is localism important? | AECR

For us as Americans there is nothing new or novel about what is stated here. We are inclined to refer to it by its third name: Federalism. And as such it is one of the principles our founders used to help us maintain our freedom.

It’s interesting, I think, that one of the things the statist have done is to centralize power in Washington where they can mandate things and we (the people) have much less influence than their buddies in business, big labor, and yes, big law. That undoubtedly leads to corruption on a vast scale, here as it does in Europe.

So, while there is nothing new here, it does a very good job of stating the elementary reasons why local control of almost everything is such a good safeguard for the average citizen.

How subsidiarity inspires civic engagement – and thereby good democracy

Where Conservative governance is, in a word, subsidiarity; Socialist governance is centralisation. The AECR’s Reykjavik Declaration explains how subsidiarity “favours the exercise of power at the lowest practicable level – by the individual where possible, by local or national authorities in preference to supranational bodies.” […]

One only has to participate in a European election campaign to hear the number of pleas about “the pot holes down the lane”…

… and a true Conservative never patronises this! Here we find the Burkean heart of subsidiarity: the love and reverence of the local. It does not presume to impose principles from a centralised high tower. Socialism is so determined on redistribution between localities that it reductively quantifies them, not caring to truly look at them. When fairness is measured numerically, communities are soon reduced to numbers, before an alien hand from the centre reaches in and unintentionally desecrates.

Why is localism important? | AECR.

Boys Don’t Cry?

This is my post from this morning at the Watchtower. As you know, I rarely crosspost between the sites, the mission is different, as is the readership. But this one, I think, transcends the differences, and has lessons for us on both sites. You’ll find a link in the post to an article of Jessica’s which I urge you to follow, as I do with the links she provided.

I think you will find here, a measure of what we, as a society lose, when we perceive that our forebears were different and perhaps cold. They were not, they just had different priorities, and I think more valid ones.

On the post entitled The War of Ideas (6) Thoughtful Traditionalism, Nicholas commented that

This also raises an issue about the health of the church and society in general, which is the difference in outlook between the generations which needs to be healthily discussed with perhaps confession on both sides. “Boys don’t cry” is a Victorian fallacy that people my age have rejected – but it grieves us to be at variance with our fathers. Who’s advocating for our heartache?

To which I replied with this

Be careful, Nick. Yes, we were taught that but there was a lot more to it than “Boys don’t cry’. What it really was, was a lesson in self discipline. What it really said was, “Boys (actually, men) don’t cry-in public because they have work to do.” They felt things just as you do.

In my family, you rarely get more than a handshake-the first time I ever hugged my brother in law was about 2 years ago at my sister’s funeral, and I’m in my sixties. I never thought he didn’t feel things, he’s buried one daughter, and his parents and all those things but, his duty was to keep the family going, and he did..

Kipling may be the best Victorian example we have, read his “My boy, Jack” or even better the video of it. He was no different from you (or I) he just did his duty first, and grieved later and privately. That is the Northern European ethos, and it always has been, It’s also why (in good measure) our society is less corrupt than others, we keep our eye on the ball.

My dad’s line was illustrative. when I’d get the normal bangs and bruises of an active little boy, and whine about it, dad would always comment, “I didn’t feel a thing”. Now, I don’t notice even when I spring a leak, if I’m doing something, there’s time for that later.

But the other example I use is that when I was about sixteen, we were painting a car, and the thinner splashed into my eye. Dad happened to look at me (I don’t remember that I said anything, but I couldn’t open my eye. Mom was watering the flower bed and dad yelled at her (and this is nearly the only time I heard him raise his voice) for her to bring the hose over. She was completely unaware and said effectively, “What?”

Dad’s answer for the only time I ever heard him say it was, “Bring that f***ing hose here!” I found out later that no one had heard him use that word since about 1935 but, it mattered right then.

One does what is necessary to accomplish the mission, that’s what it’s all about, it’s not about our feelings.

But let’s expand a bit on that. Nobody that I know of is advocating for anybody’s heartache, we all have that, and we have in all our generations. In fact, I’d guess that we have less cause for it than any generation before us, whichever generation we are a member of. But we’re always going have some. Essentially, that’s life.

There’s nothing particularly Victorian about it either. We tend to think so because that is the literature that we read. But if you read Beowulf, or the Icelandic Sagas, or indeed the Bible, you’ll find the same themes, it comes down to growing into manhood. It’s not easy, in fact, it’s very difficult, and how well a society does it, is one of the measures of that society’s viability.

The difference with the Victorians was that they openly talked about duty, more than most societies that came before them. A good example is this.

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

And the great thing about the Victorians was that they not only ‘talked the talk’ (very well), they ‘walked the walk’ as well. I mentioned this in my comment quoted above. Jessica introduced it to us and explained its background.

We’d do well, I think to quit denigrating them and attempt to live up to their example.

The New Intolerance

warningI very much want you to read the linked article, it puts thing in perspective exactly as they are, and I think it does a good job of tracing the course as well. It is written from a Catholic/Christian perspective but in reality, this is a problem for all who care about the poor, the downtrodden, and yes, the children as well. In many ways we have sold our heritage for much less than a bowl of pottage, we have old it to get laid, nothing more, no commitment, to anything or anyone..

yes, it is a bit longer than the average article but, it needs to be. Read it, think about it, and then start thinking about how we restore the values of western civilization. Because if we don’t–we are quite simply doomed.

The New Intolerance

by Mary Eberstadt

In November, Cardinal Walter Kasper gave a speech at the Catholic University of America in which he said, “Mercy has become the theme of [Pope Francis’s] pontificate. . . . With this theme, Pope Francis has addressed countless individuals, both within and without the Church. . . . He has moved them intensely, and pierced their hearts.” The cardinal added, “Who among us does not depend on mercy? On the mercy of God, and of merciful fellow man?”

Those questions move all people of good will, and they also go straight to the core of this essay. Pope Francis and Cardinal Kasper teach that mercy means meeting people where they live. We should take their counsel to heart and apply it to ourselves at the present time, looking at where many Christians in America and Europe and other places live today because they are Christians. We are not speaking here of the believers across the planet who suffer grievous harm for the sake of faith. We’re talking instead about something else: the slow-motion marginalizing and penalizing of believers on the very doorsteps of the churches of North America, Europe, and elsewhere, in societies that are the very historical strongholds of political and religious liberty.

Men and women of faith in these societies are well-off, compared to many others. At the same time, though, their world is unmistakably darker and more punitive than it used to be. Let us show empathy and solidarity with all people who need it. Repeating the cardinal’s watchword, mercy, we hope that moral and political and intellectual leaders of all persuasions hear it too.

For there is no mercy in putting butchers and bakers and candlestick makers in the legal dock for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs—but that’s what the new intolerance does. There is no mercy in stalking and threatening Christian pastors for being Christian pastors, or in casting out social scientists who turn up unwanted facts, or in telling a flight attendant she can’t wear a crucifix, or in persecuting organizations that do charitable work—but the new intolerance does these things, too. There’s no mercy in yelling slurs at anyone who points out that the sexual revolution has been flooding the public square with problems for a long time now and that, in fact, some people out there are drowning—but slurs are the new intolerance’s stock in trade. Above all, there is no mercy in slandering people by saying that religious believers “hate” certain people when in fact they do not; or that they are “phobes” of one stripe or another when in fact they are not. This, too, happens all over public space these days, with practically no pushback from anyone. This, too, is the new intolerance at work.

All these are facts of life for Christians and other believers in the West today. This is where a lot of real people now live, and where they need to be met.

Continue reading The New Intolerance by Mary Eberstadt | Articles | First Things.

Libertarian Nationalism

1904 cartoon. United States threatening Morocc...

1904 cartoon. United States threatening Morocco for release of citizen held. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I ran across this article, with a hattip to  @MZHemingway. He pretty well sums up my feelings but I won’t let that shut me up! ;)

For instance:

It’s worth remembering that libertarianism is a political philosophy regarding the nature of the relationship between citizens and states with whom they are in political compact; a philosophy that places a high premium on individual autonomy and the enforcement of negative rights. As such the government of the United States exists for the benefit of its citizens, not those of other countries. While foreigners have the same inherent, inalienable rights as Americans, their protection is simply outside of the responsibility of the United States government.

Got that? We, the Americans, created the US government to the benefit of us, the citizens of the United States.

Not really for the benefit of Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys everywhere. It’s OK if they benefit from our thoughts and actions but it’s not ever our primary aim. If you want to live like an American, you have two choices, come on over and be a US citizen, or change your government to be more or less like ours. Both work, both have been done successfully, and both have been tried and failed, it depends on you, mostly.

Or this:

We should seek non-aggression pacts with all who will treat us honorably, and alliances with those of good reputation whose interests align closely with our own and who can carry more than their own weight militarily.

With regard to nations that lack civilization, seek conflict with us, or simply wish us harm, however, a nationalist libertarian policy should have one overarching principle: if you lay a finger on one of our citizens — or otherwise violate their rights as we understand them — it will end badly for you. The nature, degree, and timing of your punishment will be of our choosing, and we will be less concerned about inflicting collateral damage or injustice on those around you than we will be in seeing you suffer for your wrong. Indeed, the harder you make it for us to punish you, the more likely it is that we’ll have to get sloppy about it. If that concerns you, we encourage you to reconsider your actions and refer you to infographics such as this for calm reflection.

There is a Marine Corps T-shirt around that summarizes this well:

No better friend

No worse enemy

Teddy Roosevelt was a mixed bag as President. An admirable man, he had huge flaws as well. What else can you say about a man who started our slide into (misnamed) Progressivism, and almost single-handedly gave us the idiotically stubborn and freedom-hating Woodrow Wilson as President. Thanks TR.

But when Ion Perdicaris was kidnapped by a non state actor (the Raisuli) in Morocco TR sent the whole Atlantic flotilla (although nobody had a clue what to do) to make the point that we cared about that individual American. You may remember the phrase,

This government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.”

When he was released Perdicaris commented while looking at the fleet gathered in Algiers harbor, “It was that flag, aye and that navy, and that nation, to which I owe my freedom.” or something like that, since I can’t find the quote right now. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

And this:

Punitive campaigns against nations who harm their own citizens but do not otherwise affect the United States’ interests should, therefore, be avoided, unless cogent arguments can be made that failure to intervene will harm the United States.

He uses the example of Gaddafi, which is an excellent choice. There are plenty of other examples, which might include Iraq, and Syria (or ISIS, if you prefer).

Pointedly, I do not include Afghanistan, which allowed a state sponsored terrorist group to mount an attack, using weapons of mas destruction, against civilians, in the US homeland. As such, according to doctrine, 48 hours later Afghanistan should have been a smoking, radiating, sheet of glass, but we didn’t think it necessary.

He ends this way:

More simply, our foreign policy should be motivated solely by our interests and limited only by our morality, rather than the other way around.

The Case For Libertarian Nationalism, Part II: Defense | Ricochet.

I have little to add to that.

British Conservatism

uk-us-shooping-0211I wanted you guys to see this because many of my British friends think he is pretty much of a right-wing conservative. Personally I see him as a warmed over squish someplace between John Kennedy and Walter Mondale.

And in truth that is why so often we and the cousins seem to talk right past each other. Where for us, the Constitution is bedrock very similar, in fact, to what the Catholics call “the ordinary Magisterium”, the interpretation can be explained and the meaning twisted (slightly) because of the times but essentially it means exactly what it says, no more and no less.

These types of basic principles don’t play for our British brethren, mostly anyway. Their history tell tells them that all is pragmatism, does it win elections. Rather like HMS Victory at sea in fact. They know what they think is right, but they are dependant on the electoral winds to get there. That is what their history tells them.

When we separated from them, we set up safeguards so that no branch could wield power on its own; that’s what our Constitution does, although it does require some integrity from some number of members of the government. Our president was originally to be rather a constitutional monarch, his power proscribed by the other branches.

The cousins are different, the system until 1689 was essentially ‘The King in Parliament’ which had at least some features of separation. Since then the monarch has been rendered increasingly irrelevant (as has the House of Lord’s) leaving Britain ruled by the Prime Minister (a creature of the commons) ruling in the House of Commons, without anything resembling a check on what they can do. Both Magna Charta and the English Bill of rights have long since, almost totally been repealed. No Checks, No Balances, No Appeal. It’s democratic in the sense that you can vote for whichever creature of Westminster you choose if you can see any difference.

Anyway, here’s Michael Gove speaking to the Legatum Institute

[Unless you really like their backdrop you can safely skip to about 11:00]I think he has a few good ideas, but it’s hard for me to judge a house built on sand, and in truth, how they run their country is their business.

But he’s also got that peculiar British blind spot that you can drive a Nimitz class carrier task force through. That the NHS actually works, and is better, contrary to all (and I mean all) the evidence, that it is actually better than Zimbabwe’s system. It’s simply an ethnic religious belief, because not only can it not be proved, it can be disproved by anybody at all with about five minutes research.

We’ve  (both Jess and I) have written about it a fair amount here, because the so-called system, which might be better than Stalin’s in the 30s is the model for Obamacare.  In one of her posts on it, Jess said this.

Someone recently said that the National Health Service (NHS) was the closest the British now have to a religion. At the opening ceremony of the Olympics there was a section given over to celebrating the NHS. We are always being told it is the ‘envy of the world’, and in something close to brainwashing, any criticism of it is usually quickly closed down by the media. We’ve been fed a version of its history which tells us that before it poor people were toothless and dying in the streets for lack of money, but that now it cares for us all regardless of cost on a basis of ‘need’ only. It is, in short, the last argument left for socialism. That may be why so many in our media circles refuse to see, even when they get a report like this, that their story no longer holds water.

There’s no such thing as ‘regardless of cost’. The NHS is the largest employer in Europe. Every doctor and nurse in every hospital, every porter, every workman in hospitals, every local doctor, every midwife and social worker, they are all NHS employees. The bill of this is huge. Whether, as some say, it is £100 billion, or £101.5 billion, it costs each of us about £1500 a year.

The BBC, funded by a compulsory tax on every household with a TV, tells us how wonderful it is and how much better than what the Americans have. It is certainly true that no one in the UK needs to worry about paying if they get ill. The NHS will take care of you – the problem is not the money, it is the ‘care’.

She also recognized that it is very politicized, and in fact Jess, who is very well connected politically, although like me she tends to not use her contacts, does, I think, owe her very life to connected people who were able to threaten the NHS effectively on her behalf. I had the distinct impression, that left to themselves, the NHS would simply have left her to die unattended, like they have so many others.

And that is the model we have chosen for American health care as well. God help us.

Knock Off The Loser Talk.

Percentage of members of the US 109th Congress...

Percentage of members of the US 109th Congress House of Representatives from each party. Data from 109th United States Congress. Legend as shown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of you who have been reading here for a time will likely have noted that I’ve cut back on political content.There are a couple reasons for that, a lot of the time it is the same old, same old, there are few people in it (more than there used to be though) that I consider worth emulating. In addition, it’s both addictive and not particularly good for my health.

But I still read some and sometimes pass some on, as I did yesterday. And that article prompted an old and good friend of mine, Ike, to comment.

I am fully aware that I am “from outside” and as such and with my experience as well as observation of history since the start of the Colonial period I have come to believe that Nations should stick with their own domestic affairs. This tongue in cheek observation comes with my love for the America I once knew.

You have always had the best two-party system in the entire world with just the right size floating vote; that’s the way to share periods of governance between both major parties.

However, with modern Liberalism gone awry and right off the track, can America afford any third Party risk of handing government to the Dems again? I know the Reps are not perfect right now but it seems to be the time to ensure a few Rep victories in a row and defeat the Dems to elect “the better of two known evils” rather than the Dems gaining ground and getting stronger.

America is in my humble view at risk, and seriously so, if your elect the Dems again in 1916, not even to mention 1920 and 1924. You have to defeat the Dems and let them self-destruct before they become and African Party.

Would love to hear what you think.


I agree with him. The Republican party has never been a conservative party, it grew out of the statist Whig party, and it’s roots have always shown through. Whether we’re talking Lincoln, Grant or TR, nobody is going to think they are conservative icons. But it is the party of Coolidge and Reagan as well, and they are.

The  thing is, we just don’t have the time to build ourselves a bespoke conservative/libertarian party, the old wobbly-wheeled whiggish Republican party is going to have to serve, once more, as it has quite well the past. Kurt notes in the linked article that America is more conservative than it has been in a hundred years. He’s right, we’re chipping away in the state houses, and the legislature, and increasingly in the Congress well. The only way we’re going to lose–is to quit, and why would we do that just as we’re beginning to win?

Here’s Kurt:

Oh my goodness, the 2014 election victories didn’t end the war! You mean the progressives are still out there dreaming of a future full of hugs and goosestepping? You mean the GOP Establishment hasn’t just given up its power and knelt before us, begging to be forgiven for its craven crony corporatism? You mean the fight’s not over?

No, the fight’s not over. So stop whining that you can’t go back to sitting on your rear end – we have a long campaign ahead. I know you’re tired. I know you’re frustrated. And I don’t care.

Some people want to throw in the towel just as we are approaching the knockout. News flash: Our opponents punch back. Time to take the hit and drive on.

We’re winning, only we haven’t won yet. So pick up your (figurative) weapons and follow me. The fight’s up ahead, and we’re going to keep moving to the sound of the guns.

Writer Brian Cates has the right idea. Jolted into action by Andrew Breitbart, as so many of us were, he watched conservatives win in 2010 and things marginally improve. Then 2012 moved us backwards. Then 2014 moved us forward again as we retook Congress. Then, last week, he watched Team Boehner and McConnell roll over on immigration funding after utterly botching their strategy in a manner that would make the French Army proud.

So, like all of us, he had reached a decision point. His options: Give up or fight on. In a brilliant series of tweets, collected here, he chose to fight on. (Hat Tip: Glenn Reynolds)

Yeah, the GOP stinks. Yeah, there is a contingent within the GOP that prioritizes its own power and position over conservatism. Well, welcome to human nature – a certain percentage of human beings simply suck. You can cry about it like Nancy Pelosi at a Bibi speech or you can man-up and deal.

The only viable strategy is this – complete the seizure of the GOP’s infrastructure, turn it completely conservative, and then go and defeat the liberals. And that’s hard. And that won’t happen overnight. And we’re going to be disappointed – probably a lot. But the alternative is to cede the country to the liberal fascists who want to force us to live in carbon-free huts, steal our sacred Constitutional rights, and peer into our bedrooms lest we commit felony cisnormativism.

I’m not willing to let that happen. What about you?

Keep reading Knock Off The Loser Talk. This Fight Hasn’t Even Begun – Kurt Schlichter – Page 1.

Suck it up and saddle up guys, nobody ever said keeping America free was going to be easy or cheap.Why would something so valuable be, remember what Thomas Paine said about the value Heaven places on its good’s? He’s right.

The other thing guys, is this. look around the world at our friends, Australia has a Conservative PM, and he’s making the place take off, Same in Canada. They’re just waiting for America to become America again. And have you been looking at Britain at all? UKIP looks about ready to storm Westminster, which is even more a law unto itself than Washington is.

I rarely make predictions, and I could be wrong but, I think if we keep our course, in a few years we’ll see a boom that make the roaring twenties seem boring. But we must stay the course, we are America, we lead, and we win.

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