Critics of “Gays for Trump” Party Miss the Point |

An interesting follow-on from the GOP convention, and many bad things happening in the world.

Gay rights activists have not traditionally found a political home on the right. Yet gay activist and alternative-right icon Milo Yiannopoulus wants to change that, arguing that while the Republican party may not love homosexuality, Islam wants gays dead, and therefore gay people should support Trump (who Milo calls “Daddy”).

This was the theme of “WAKE UP,” billed as “the most fab party at the RNC,” which brought Milo together with controversial activist Pamela Geller who has gained notoriety for her “Draw Mohammed”cartoon competition as well as billboards in New York which read: “In the war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

The event was panned by media outlets such as Salon in a piece which shrugged off the event as a “virulently anti-Islam party at the RNC” and The Nation, which slammed it as “Islamophobes, White Supremacists, and Gays for Trump—the Alt-Right Arrives at the RNC.”

Teen Vogue said the event “perpetuates Islamophobia.” The Nation’s piece revealed the alarmingly open presence of white nationalists at the event and the seemingly small numbers of gay people who showed up.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who spoke at the event, referred to Europe as “Eurabia” and said, “Islam is the problem.”

If they would have looked to France, they would have seen that gay support for the far right has already happened there. In 2015 a national scandal occurred when it emerged that the winner of France’s largest gay magazine’s beauty contest was an outspoken supporter of France’s right wing Front Nationale.

As early as 2012, 26% of the gay community in Paris supported the Front Nationale, as opposed to 16% of straight people.

The rationale is startlingly simple. Milo’s cult status as an online provocateur has been generated by making controversial statements and pushing the accepted boundaries of discussion. He has been able to tap into the large and growing alt-right movement — a disparate collection of mostly young white males who support socially liberal policies but who hold the left in contempt for their perceived abandonment of liberal values when it comes to human rights abuses committed in the name of Islam.

Because of this, Milo and others make the argument that only the right will stand up to defend gay people against Islamist extremism.

The movement also partially consists of white nationalists and racists, who are able to maintain their foothold because they have consistently spoken out against radical Islam (and indeed Islam in general.)

Put simply, people would rather be racist than dead.

That’s very true, of course, even very socially conservatives don’t want to kill gays. They may want to ‘cure’ them or ‘convert’ them or something of that nature, but they universally realize that conversion at the muzzle of a gun is likely to be insincere, and invalid.

Personally, I would be more pleased if the gay activists would realize that many of us, on the right, simply don’t care, in civil manners about any groups, our quest is for individual rights for each and every one. What Martin Luther King referred to as the content of the character, rather than the color of the skin (and we could easily add sexual preference to that). That underpins all of our belief structure, including the free market.

However the ideology in question is not Islam, as Geert Wilders would argue, but is Islamism, the theocratic political project which seeks to impose the religion of Islam over everyone in the world and implementsharia governance, complete with hudud punishments. This ideology does threaten the freedoms of all Americans.

Tarring all Muslims with the same brush is not only morally wrong, but also facilitates the very thinking propagated by the Islamic State and other Islamist groups –- by dividing the world into two camps, Muslims and non-Muslims.

However, the refusal of the elites around the world — with a few notable exceptions such as the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron — to correctly name and challenge the issue has created a vacuum.

People know there is a problem and know that it needs to be tackled.

When the Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) object to billboards calling on Muslims to talk to the FBI if they become suspicious of terrorism, when President Obama and Hillary Clinton point blank refuse to name the ideology at fault, people will start to draw their own conclusions about who is to blame and take action accordingly.

via Critics of “Gays for Trump” Party Miss the Point |

And so our elites themselves have prepared the battleground for the battle between the west, and not our real enemy radical Islam, but Islam itself, and quite possibly our own elites, as well. But we should forestall that, for defeating the wrong army is not victory. We need discernment in our leaders as much as we need courage enough to see and identify the enemy. And yes, there is one, and no it is not Islam. It is radical Islam, and when we fight this battle, we will do enough inadvertent damage to Islam, without confusing Islam itself with it in our minds.

This is the mistake that our political leadership (all across the west) makes. The west will be defended in the end, but there should be enough leadership to show that proper targeting will save many, many lives, on both sides.

I see little reason to fear radical Islam once proper defense measures are put in place, ones that do not overly infringe on our desiderata: individual freedom. But we have leadership that appears to be using radical Islam as a means to control their own populations, rather than defend our civilization. That is unlikely to end well for them, for us, or for Islam.

Special Favors For Businesses Don’t Benefit Taxpayers

shutterstock_439358455Interesting story here.

This election cycle has stunned even the most seasoned political prognosticators. Voters are clearly fed up with the “Washington Way,” lashing out like never before. If voters truly want to shake up the political landscape, they should start by demanding separation between big government and big business.

Corporate favoritism is when government takes taxpayer money and gives it to big businesses in the form of handouts, a practice that is rampant in America. Almost every day of the year, you can find a story about government at some level—be it federal, state, or local—doling out hardworking taxpayers’ money to a big corporation. The aim is to convince that company to relocate to, expand, or simply stay in their area. Some have coined this “press release economics,” where politicians cut ribbons and deliver statements about the jobs they are creating with these handouts.

But the consequences of corporate favoritism are dire. Since 2005, Tennessee taxpayers have handed over $1.75 billion to big businesses via handouts. All too often, corporate favoritism lines the pockets of millionaires with the tax dollars of the middle class. But most Americans would agree a company’s success should rely on what good or service it provides, not who its executives know.

These corporate handouts also mean we have less money for true government services. Every dollar forked over to a massive company is one less dollar that can be invested in maintaining our roads, educating our children, or keeping the public safe. It’s not the role of government to prop up large businesses with taxpayer money, yet more and more dollars are being redirected from other government services to do just that.

Every dollar forked over to a massive company is one less dollar that can be invested in maintaining our roads, educating our children, or keeping the public safe.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, sometimes those big businesses even take the money and run. We all remember Solyndra, a name that has become synonymous with failed corporate bailouts. In 2009 the solar company misled the federal government to obtain more than half-a-billion in federal stimulus grants, only to go belly-up two years later.

via Special Favors For Businesses Don’t Benefit Taxpayers

All true, and indeed it’s always been true to some extent, at least as long as there has been big business. Not that it is entirely their fault, as someone said during the Credit Mobliér scandal in the nineteenth century, we paid the bribes but we aren’t the ones that accepted them.

But just how widespread is this bad, antithetical, and anticompetitive practice? Well, James Bessen has some information on that, and a chart.

Profits are up. …is it good news for society?

…the rise in profits might represent a decline in…economic dynamism. …Firms engage in political “rent seeking”—lobbying for regulations that provide them sheltered markets—rather than competing on innovation. If so, then high profits portend diminished productivity growth. …In a new research paper, I tease apart the factors associated with the growth in corporate valuations.

I find that investments in conventional capital assets like machinery and spending on R&D together account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits, especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.

I find that investments in conventional capital assets like machinery and spending on R&D together account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits, especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.

[And the chart]

w1056

via: A Very Depressing Chart on Creeping Cronyism in the American Economy

How’s that for depressing, corporate America is making nearly as much money, playing the regulatory system, as they are from using their own money. And this is nearly part of the damage. A lot of what they do in the regulatory system is to use the government to stifle competition. We’ve said many times, and if you have any sense, you know it as well, that a large elephantine corporation can’t change direction quickly enough to respond to a dynamic market. But if they can use the government (and their guns) to suppress competition, it no longer matters. But the lost profits to the suppressed companies, and whatever they might have done with the profits (which we simply can’t quantify) are completely lost to us.

And so we have a triple loser here, from the standpoint of the individual taxpayer.

  1. We have the wasted tax dollars (like Solyndra)
  2. We have unresponsive, too big to fail corporations (yes, banks as well)
  3. We lose whatever products and payroll those other competitors (who were suppressed) might have provided.

Hard to see how we taxpayers could get a worse deal, it would literally be better for us, if they burned $100 bill to heat the capitol.

Brexit: a Month On

w10564Well, we are a month on from the Brexit vote, and it still echoes around Europe and indeed the west. Perhaps it would be a good time to review.

Everything is connected: Brexit, Trump, le Pen, Isis – even Ghostbusters. They’re all part of the same story.

It’s been nearly a month since the Brexit vote and Remainers are still in a daze. Most struggle to articulate why it’s so emotional, why we feel so bereft and angry. Surely this isn’t all for the EU itself, an institution no-one showed any real love for in the years leading up to the referendum, or even now as we hope to get back in. […]

It’s because this was never about the EU. This was the culture war. It is the single greatest question of our lifetime, the one which defines this moment for the West: do we accept globalisation? Do we share goods and people and culture across the world, or do we retreat into our closed identities? Nativism versus globalism.[…]

This correlates to the chaotic changes we’ve seen in the two main Westminster parties. Labour is in a state of absolute disarray, but the clash of personalities just reflects a deeper ideological malaise. Immigration is a wound at the heart of the party, preventing it from bringing together traditional support in its northern working class heartlands with middle class liberalism in London and the cities.

The Tories would be in precisely the same state right now if it weren’t for one little rule, a very sensible rule which has saved them as a functioning party: the three month window between membership and voting for the leader.[…]

Look overseas and see our own problems mirrored a thousand times over. Donald Trump is a walking Brexit. Where the phrase ‘take back control’ dominated the referendum, he promises a wall against Mexico and a ban on Muslims entering the US. But it’s not just the policy – the emotions are identical too. Take Trump’s promise to make Mexico pay for the wall. That’s the real kicker in the policy. Crowds at his rallies love the way it implies strength, total dominance, superiority. It is identical to the swaggering ignorance of Brexiters talking about how the EU will accept whatever trade deal we give it, or how Brussels doesn’t get to call the shots anymore. It’s the emotional frustration of those who feel powerless, disguised with bravado.

via A new politics forms in the furnace of Brexit

In a way, it’s funny: I (and many conservatives) am at heart a free trader. Like many of us, I recognize that the best chance for our poor to have upward mobility includes free trade, not least because protectionism mostly hurts the poor. If you doubt that a visit to WalMart will disabuse you. Free trade provides many, many things at a low cost that without other countries would be very expensive indeed, if even available. Like your Chinese made iPhone. But, we almost all, at least American ones, supported Brexit. Why, because from our vantage point, we could see that the EU had become the problem, not part of the solution. A protectionist continent, that was doing undue harm on its inhabitants. I wanted to say citizens in that sentence, but Europeans had long lost control of the bureaucracy of the EU. We, or at least me, don’t see the Brexiteers as little Englanders so much as we see the Remainers as little Europeans; and the Brexiteers as a free trade possibility for us.

What Mr. Dunt says above about the referendum as part of a larger story that includes Trump and le Pen is, I think, true, although I think ISIS is a point too far. ISIS is, I think, merely reacting to weakness in the west, and an inability to effectively defend ourselves. Yes, part of it is related to our mishandling of the middle east going back at least to Sykes-Picot, but that’s not really that novel anymore is it.

Chalcedon makes the point this morning that the founders of the EU were profoundly influenced by their Catholic heritage. I think him correct, as usual. He decries that England specifically lacks that heritage. Also true, but perhaps that is why England above all had the vision to see that the EU had become unfit for purpose, and should be scrapped, as it scrapped the hierarchy of the Catholic church during the English Reformation.

Theodore Dalrymple also wrote on this recently, his thoughts are also interesting.

[…]Certainly, many young people selectively interviewed by the media said that they felt that their future had been stolen from them by those who voted for Brexit. (The fact that the youth unemployment rate in Belgium and France was 25 percent, in Portugal 30 percent, in Italy 39 percent, in Spain 45 percent and Greece 49 percent did not seem to worry them. They were not of the youth-unemployment class.) And it was the old, who predominantly voted to leave, who had snatched their glorious future from them.

Actually, this is not the whole truth. The proportion of the electorate who voted in the referendum increased sharply with age, those over 80 being more than twice as likely to vote as the young, despite it requiring much more of a physical effort for them to do so. It seems, then, that the elderly care more about the future of their country, or have a greater sense of civic responsibility, than the young.[…]

The statistical correlation between both age and relatively low levels of education, on the one hand, and a vote to leave on the other, was much remarked upon, not only in Britain but throughout Europe and the rest of the world.[…] And only the young and educated know what the right way is.

While age is certainly not a guarantee of political wisdom, the ever-increasing experience of life might be expected to conduce to it.[…]

The relation between political wisdom and levels of education is far from straightforward. It was educated people who initiated and carried out the Terror in the French Revolution. The Russian Revolution, and all the great joy that it brought to the Russian people, was the denouement of decades of propaganda and agitation by the educated elite. There was no shortage of educated people among the Nazi leadership. And the leaders of the Khmer Rouge were also relatively highly-educated, as it happens in France. The founder of Sendero Luminoso, who might have been the Pol Pot of Peru, was a professor of philosophy who wrote his doctoral thesis on Kant.

via: Who Understands the European Project?

And so, in some sense, you pays your money and makes your choice, but I think it very important that we don’t make the mistake of considering these things in their own little vacuum bags, what happens in Europe affects America, and vice-versa. If we don’t defend the least (pick whatever measure you prefer) of our citizens, we defend none of them, and that is where ISIS enters the equation. But we also owe them the duty not to arbitrarily make their lives worse, and that is exactly what protectionism will do. It was no coincidence that because FDR continued and strengthened Hoovers anti-trade policies, the Great Depression continued and worsened until World War Two ended it. That is not a good model to follow. We should learn from history, not strive to repeat it.

GOP Environmental Platform, a Nice Dream

Good stuff, here, from the Republican Environmental Platform.

“The most powerful environmental policy is liberty, the central organizing principle of the American Republic and its people.”

The Republican platform on the environment is factual and realistic. It focuses on real environmental issues and not the trumped up one of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant. It looks to science but also political economy. “Science allows us to weigh the costs and benefits of a policy so that we can prudently deal with our resources,” the platform reads.“This is especially important when the causes and long-range effects of a phenomenon are uncertain.”

And better yet: “We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research.” Climate science research, it is time to go honest or go home.

Free-market environmental policy complements and supplements the Republican’s free-market energy policies, discussed yesterday. It puts people first. It reflects a Julian Simon view of the world.

And finally, private ownership, a staple of free market environmentalism. is elevated. After all, “The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.”

The Platform follows.

Protecting Our Environment

The environment is getting cleaner and healthier. The nation’s air and waterways, as a whole, are much healthier than they were just a few decades ago.

Efforts to reduce pollution, encourage recycling, educate the public, and avoid ecological degradation have been a success. To ensure their continued support by the American people, however, we need a dramatic change in the attitude of officials in Washington, a shift from a job-killing punitive mentality to a spirit of cooperation with producers, landowners, and the public.

An important factor is full transparency in development of the data and modeling that drive regulations. Legislation to restore the authority of States in environmental protection is essential. We encourage the use of agricultural best management practices among the States to reduce pollution.

Our Republican Party’s Commitment to Conservation

Conservation is a conservative value. As the pioneer of conservation over a century ago, the Republican Party believes in the moral obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles.

For example, we believe people are the most valuable resource, and human health and safety are the most important measurements of success. A policy protecting these objectives, however, must balance economic development and private property rights in the short run with conservation goals over the long run. Also, public access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting should be permitted on all appropriate federal lands

via GOP Environmental Platform: Free Market Directions – Master Resource

There’s considerably more at the link, and it’s all good, I think. As always, of course, the question is whether anybody at all sees it as a sketch plan to be implemented, or whether its all flights of fancy merely written to help get elected. I’m cynical enough these days, to suspect strongly the latter. But even so, the mere fact of it being adopted by one of the major parties is good. Except hardly anyone will bother reading it.

That has much to do with the root cause of our malaise, I think. We have, in far too great a measure, become, not a Republic, let alone the Great Republic, but a society who every four years elects our form of a God-king. That has consequences, especially in a world where no man is fit to govern himself, we increasingly give one man (or woman) the power to rule 300 million, nearly unchecked.

And that is the rub. Good intentions are lovely, but we all know the road to hell is paved with them, and so it is here. Many of our problems can be traced to never thinking anything through to the ultimate results. Could it have been seen back in 1964 or so that paying (especially black) women more to raise kids without a father, than if he was present would lead to single parent homes? Of course, we could, but I don’t remember anyone saying so, at the time. It’s been the same in almost every aspect of the growth of government, look for instant gratification, never mind the medium and/or long term results. That is how we got into the mess we are in now.

Some say that is characteristic of democracy. That’s plausible, but we are supposedly a representational democratic republic. We elect people to devote full time to study the best ways to implement our goals. What we get are time servers who never think of anything beyond getting re-elected to the gravy train.

The only solution is to put government back into the box that the founders confined it to. When it again become a duty to serve, usually to one’s own detriment, will we again have a government that truly represents the people’s interest.

Jim Demint on Rights Without Natural Law, and more

CiceroKnollerMedJim Demint is a familiar name to most of us, former Senator and now head of Heritage. Recently he had something to say about unalienable rights, here’s some of it.

While musing on the writings of author and philosopher G.K. Chesterton in his personal notebook, a young John F. Kennedy wrote, “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.” Fences hold things in we want to keep close, and protect us from things we want to keep out. But Chesterton and JFK were not making a point about physical fences. They were speaking of the ideas, principles, and institutions that surround the things that make life worth living, and protect us from threats to those things we value and love.

This is the sort of fence we are currently “taking down” in America. Since its inception, America has been surrounded and protected by a unique set of ideas that created the strongest, most prosperous, most secure and compassionate land of opportunity that has ever existed. These ideas were considered by America’s founders to be “self-evident” because they were based on the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” (from the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence).

Generations of Americans have lived in security and freedom because our leaders have generally been faithful to the belief that nature’s God, the Creator, imbued all people with unalienable rights, including the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The second sentence of the Declaration is all based on the assumption of what we call natural law:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

via You Have No Rights Without Natural Law

He goes on a bit and he is correct.

In the meantime, Laurence W Maher was writing in The Spectator about ‘hate speech’,

Will we live to see anything to match the suddenness, the scale and the ferocity of the eruption of hatred and loathing directed by the global know-it-alls at the 17.5 million Britons who, when invited to express their democratic wishes, had the temerity to vote in favour of the UK leaving the EU? Those envious, uneducated, ignorant, poor fools simply don’t understand: Inclusion rules OK!

Some Australians share the horror of the know-it-alls. The prescriptions of some of them reflect the (post)modern curse of abstractionitis. There are taboo ideas. We are told which words we must or must not use. They insist that ‘debate’ is bad. We must always ‘engage’ one another in ‘conversation’ (provided it is ‘meaningful’). We must be ‘inclusive’ and ‘respectful’ and otherwise comply with many other abstract multicultural pieties. We must tremble and wring our hands in timidity if we are exposed to anything remotely ‘divisive’ or ‘unsafe’.

This prescriptive school of democratic correctness is backed up by the legally enforceable censorious command of the Australian Human Rights Commission that we worship at the high altar of difference and diversity. A word search of the AHRC online archive demonstrates that the word ‘dissent’ is not part of its vocabulary. Its motto is ‘everyone, everywhere, everyday’. (The online anagram generator produced ‘evade or eye envy or nervy eye’). In truth, the AHRC is exhorting Australians to think and speak according to a simple rule – diversity in everything, EXCEPT OPINION OK!

via Ironic triumph of hate speech

Strikes me as pretty much diametrically opposite. And that marks the reason why Demint (and I) see it as a problem. As many including George Orwell demonstrated there is no real freedom without free speech. Has it perhaps been abused to cover trash as art and such things? Perhaps, but art is in the eye of the beholder, and like the old legal saying that it is better to release 1000 guilty men than convict one innocent man. That holds here, as well. And that is one of the things about America and Americans, we understand that the right to free speech is exactly consonant with the right to offend.

Demint ends with this, which is fairly obviously true as well.

Politicians will not rebuild the fence of natural law. It must be rebuilt by individuals, families, churches, schools, businesses, and volunteer organizations. It will only be rebuilt by We the People if we have the courage to tie our rights back to an eternal natural order.

The State: and Terrorism

marcus-cicero-freedomSo, on Bastille Day, the French version of Independence Day, which far more than ours represents a revolt against the authorities, a guy named Mohamed, decided that a crowd of people in Nice, France  were having too much fun so he drove his truck over them, and then committed suicide by cop. It was pretty obviously an Islamic terrorist attack. You haven’t read much about it here, simply because I see little point, in rehashing things we all know. I’m as appalled and angry as any, I just wait until I know enough to write about things, and there’s little point to being the 684th to say something.

What matters to us, as a society, is what we do about these things. Horrific things haves always been done, often in the name of Islam. They’ve been done in the name of Christianity too, in the past, but several centuries ago, Christianity seemed to grow up, and no longer feels the need to torture and kill people. Any that can’t see that distinction are either delusional, or that have other motives.

Who gains from terrorism? ISIS at least thinks they do, and right now, it appears to be working as a recruitment tool. Someday, that will likely change, if their subjects ever figure out that the leaders don’t do suicide attacks, they live much too well, but send the sons and daughters of the poor and oppressed to do them. Or if western society ever gets their earplugs out and blindfolds off, and takes care of business. As westerners, that should be our concern, there’s no fixing ISIS, any more than there is stupid; evil is as evil does.

But who else benefits from Islamic terrorism? Western governments do. No, not as representatives of the people, but as the rulers of the people. You’re going to have to think through this with me. We like to think our governments represent us. I submit they don’t, they rule in our name, but for their own benefit, whether elected or civil service, their good is not our good. Our good would be best served if they stayed out of our business, and left us alone, to succeed or fail, and get back up and try again.

But the government’s interest is best served by regulating any and all aspects of our life that they can get away with. What you do for a living, for recreation, marriage, sports, everything. Not to metion how you do literally everything. In addition, their meddling has made our formerly productive enterprises, whether steel, automotive, clothing, what you eat and drink, whether your doctor can help you, or almost anything else you can think of uncompetitive, mostly because of government’s interference in the free market. Many want to claim that they’ve made life better or safer, or some such claptrap. That may be true, for those unwilling to work to eat, for the competent, the willing, and the productive they have made it nearly impossible.The old saying is: if it moves regulate it; if it doesn’t paint it. With an overpaid (and underskilled) painter, of course.

And so over the years, terrorism has multiplied the benefits of government over the people they used to serve, from the execrable TSA, to the NSA, to the militarized police, both local and federal, terrorism has allowed the government to grow, and to intrude into our lives.

Many have come to the conclusion that a breakdown in morals is responsible for where we are. Well, they’re right, sort of. The breakdown of morality is a symptom, not a cause. It is in the direct interest of the state to destroy the family, it leads to the populace being dependent on the government, not the family (or the individual) finding its own way through life. In exactly the same way, Christianity, which forms the basis of our morals, and ethics, has come to be seen by the government as an enemy of the state.

We’ve said it before, If you cannot fail, you cannot succeed. And that is where we are, the safety net is so expensive and close beneath our feet, that we can no longer fail, instead we fail at leading a life which we can be proud of, not necessarily getting rich, but having a fulfilled life, that is what our governments have stolen from us, using our money to do so.

Falkland once wrote, “What should not be changed, must not be.” Very true, and like all deep truths, so is its opposite, “What cannot be changed, must be”.

And soon, if free societies are to survive. That will be difficult, I say it is our right, nay it is more, it is our duty to do so.

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