Washington has seen it all, and seen it off, before

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the military at a rally at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on Dec. 26, 2018.Andrew Harnik/AP

Back in 1973, Canadian journalist Gordon Sinclair had some things to say about America, as we plowed through the shambles left by Vietnam, Watergate, and general chaos. It started like this:

“This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for
the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least
appreciated people on all the earth.

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and
Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the
Americans who poured in billions of dollars and
forgave other billions in debts. None of these
countries is today paying even the interest on its
remaining debts to the United States. […]

If you were a sentient American at the time, I suspect you remember it, it was republished in most American papers. It’s the only article I ever recall my Mom clipping from our local paper and giving to me. It mattered. You can read it here.

Now there is another. Conrad Black published an article in Canada’s National Post, that I think we Americans need to read, to remind ourselves who we really are. It’s entitled: America’s resurgence is reshaping the world. Here’s part of it.

Almost indiscernible in the endless tumult about President Donald Trump is the objective return of American might, right on our doorstep. A casual sampler of the Canadian, and even the American, media, might think that the United States was so far along in its decline that the entire process of government and normal public discourse had broken down in that country, and that the much-discussed process of national decline was accelerating in a climate of virtual chaos.

In fact, the economy of the United States is astoundingly strong: full employment, an expanding work force, negligible inflation and about three per cent economic growth. And it is a broad economic recovery, not based on service industries as in the United Kingdom (where London handles most of Europe’s financial industry, while most of British industry has fled), and not based largely on the fluctuating resources markets as has often been Canada’s experience. In the eight years of president Obama, the United States lost 219,000 manufacturing jobs; in the two years of Trump, the country has added 477,000 manufacturing jobs. This was not supposed to be possible, and this time, unlike in the great Reagan boom, it cannot be dismissed by the left (and it was false in the eighties) as a profusion of “hamburger flippers, dry cleaners and people delivering pizza,” (all necessary occupations).

He writes here of China and oil and he does so most aptly, and I think realistically, you really should read the entire article.

What were for centuries the Great Powers, and for nearly 50 years after the Second World War, the principal Western Allies and the Soviet Union, have been reconfigured. The Soviet Union has been sliced down to Russia with about 40 per cent of the former Soviet population, offering a pallid replication of Gaullist efforts to make France great again by being an annoying gadfly irritating the Americans around the world. Charles de Gaulle was a great statesman, who personified the historic cultural and political attainments of France in its most difficult and dishonoured times; Vladimir Putin is just another chief thug residing in the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, in Europe…

France has elected a complete outsider as president and the brave new regime has been humbled and defiled by the imperishable Paris mobs, the extras and stagehands at 10 abrupt and profound changes of governmental structure in 230 years, and of countless sporting efforts to get the regimes’ attention with riots and vandalism. The splendid boulevards of Paris have seen it all before many times. Mighty Germany, its governing coalition almost worn threadbare by the imprudent admission of a million desperate Middle Eastern and African refugees, has delivered itself over to energy dependence on the feeble gangster-state of Russia while cutting its NATO contribution to half of what it had promised and complaining of American lack of enthusiasm to continue carrying Germany on its crowded and under-appreciated shoulders. Italy is in more profound political shambles than ever; Spain is distracted by a separatist threat that the central government has bungled (it could have learned from Canada but didn’t).

Through it all, the United States, appearing to be disorderly, its establishment and media at war with the occupant of the White House, is demonstrating almost effortlessly how illusory is the idea that any other country or group of countries can challenge its pre-eminence among the world’s nations. Canadians may not like it; the world may try to pretend otherwise, but however the domestic political tides of America may flow, North Korea is on its best behaviour, the ayatollahs are quaking in their voluminous raiment, and all America’s trade partners, including Canada and China, are accepting what amounts to unilateral renegotiation by the U.S. No other country in the world has any appreciable influence at all more than a few hundred miles from its borders (an area that includes 95 per cent of the population of Canada).

And so, 45 years after Mr. Sinclair touched America’s heart at a tender moment, nothing much has changed, except a whole bunch of America’s opponents are laid low, and a new set are on their way to join them. The beat goes on in the Great Republic.

Advertisements

Sovereign Brexit and Scare Stories

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of outlandish scare stories, whether offered by US government officials trying to foment a coup against the President, or in this case, Britons who are afraid of the big bad world and seek to shelter behind ‘Druncker’ Junker. I can see why the permanent government that we often call the deep state dislike President Trump, it is understandable, but the government is not sovereign in America, the people are, and the people have spoken.

It is less understandable why the world’s paramount trading nation would wish to cower behind the protectionist EU. Britain is the nation that pioneered free trade and thereby created the world we inhabit. The only things I can see is that it is very easy to get quite rich, personally, with Brussel’s favor, and also very easy to be responsible for nothing, simply blaming the EU for everything.

In any case, the other day, Brexit Central published an open letter from a British businessman to the Prime Minister. It is the kind of cool and aloof common sense we have a right to expect, and that the cousins are getting far too little of. It is quite long, but every word is necessary, so read it, especially if you are British (it’s only a bit less relevant for the rest of Europe, I think). And its an excellent reminder for Americans as well, about how important trade is.

Dear Prime Minister,

I have watched with a sense of appalled inevitability your recent unsuccessful visit to Brussels, characterised as it was by a lack of ideas, an absence of combativeness and a reckless and relentless desire to cling on to every rotten element of the vassal state deal that you and your small Remainer clique of advisers in Downing Street have concocted with the EU. Harsh words? Perhaps, but they are words that are endorsed – sometimes in more polite phrases, sometimes in less polite phrases – by the vast majority in our country and even of our Parliament.

Why are you so recklessly clinging to every suspect element of this ‘Brexit in name only’ deal? Many believe the problem all began with your still-secret promises made to Nissan, the car manufacturer in Sunderland, shortly after you took power in 2016. You have never published those promises. Many of us guess that it was partly as a result of those promises that in your talks with the EU you then gave away – whether in ignorance or because you never truly meant to leave the Customs Union – every possible negotiating element that would allow the United Kingdom to pursue its own independent economic and trade policies. Was that so? Can you not come clean with the electorate and tell us what those Nissan promises were, how much they are now constraining you and how much your desire to cling to your secret agreement with one company, Nissan, has led you to all this foolishness? Because if that is the case, then the honourable thing for you to do would be to resign and let someone else – someone not burdened by that promise – create a way forward for our country that is not shackled by that apparently all-constraining Nissan cursed promise.

If there was no such promise, then I am puzzled by your insistence that a WTO-terms deal – what is most truthfully termed a ‘Sovereign Brexit’, the thing that 17.4 million people actually voted for – must be ruled out by you. Your Remainer friends who dominate the media have managed to spin non-facts into a general belief that a Sovereign Deal would be catastrophic. Your grid in Downing Street has, month after month, delivered to a credulous press and public a remorseless stream of doom-laden statements by those rent-seeking members of the business community on whom you have chosen to rely to spin your message. Yet neither you, nor the spinners, nor your business allies, actually ever credibly articulated what the specific negatives of such a deal would be (the contemptible catastrophe forecasts by your discredited Treasury modellers, and by your apparently politically motivated Governor of the Bank of England, are no longer believed by anyone – as I am sure you must know).

Keep reading at A plea to the PM from a Leave-supporting businessperson: Stop the scare stories and embrace a Sovereign Brexit

There’s little for me to add to this, except to lament that this person is not 1) and American businessperson or 2) in charge of Brexit. With their clarity of insight they would have been out a year ago, and making a ton of money for Britain, instead, they are lions led by donkeys weasels.

Meaning What You Say

From Ace:

Because the US Stood Up to the Border Rushers and Refused to Let This Tactic Win, No Matter How Much Bad Press the Administration Got For It, Migrants Start Saying They Regret Joining the Caravan and Start Heading Home

Hey NeverTrumpers — tell me that your precious Maaaario or Jeb! or John Kasich would have faced the fire and simply said, “NO.”

TIJUANA, Mexico–After fleeing tear gas shot at the U.S. border, Carlos Gonzalez confessed confusion and second thoughts about the caravan that carried him to doorstep of his dream: life in the United States.The 40-year-old corn farmer from Honduras, wearing a pink breast cancer awareness hat and an orange work vest, had hopped on the caravan of Central American migrants figuring it would facilitate his entry into the country. It set out from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Oct. 12 and for five weeks he could hope and dream–especially as the caravan pushed past police barricades and crossed through closed borders in Guatemala and Mexico.

But the U.S. border has proved impossible so far for the more than 7,000 migrants anxiously arriving in Tijuana, where they’re waiting in the squalor of a small baseball stadium-turned-tent city. It’s just a stone’s throw from the border they hope to cross, which many could not imagine would be so difficult.

“I thought it would be easy,” said Gonzalez, who traveled north with his wife and two children, ages 4 and 3. He said his family was planning to sign up with Mexican officials for voluntary repatriation.

Hey Erick Erickson — he’s going back home and all we needed was to defend the fence. We didn’t have to fund authoritarian regimes dropping dissenters out of helicopters. We just had to say “NO.” We just had to stop pissing our pants and bowing to leftist media pressure as our cucked party always does (due to the cuck pants-shitters who lead it and fancy themselves as real stalwarts).

The migrants freely admit their tactic is to front their columns with human shields go garner sympathy:

Women and children were walking at the front of the march, he said, “to see if they would let them enter.”

But saying “NO” to predictable and tired tactics, and the hand-in-glove cooperation of leftwing NGOs, “protesters,” and media operations all working to achieve leftwing agenda points, has changed some minds:

Corrales, wearing a yellow soccer jersey, expressed few complaints with the camp, where he sold single cigarettes to fellow migrants. He thought the caravan’s experience crossing into Guatemala and Mexico would prove the template for the U.S. border.But now, “I’m done with the United States. I’ll stay [in Mexico, which offered him asylum].”

More to that post that is on point, and amusing. You really should read it.

Funny how that works, isn’t. All we had to do was to say what we mean and mean what we say. There’s still plenty trying of course, but the word is filtering through. Uncle Sugar isn’t playing word games anymore. He means it.

And even better, it starts to look like Mexico means it as well. The ones identified trying to jump the border are now on their way home, they’ve been deported from Mexico.

I’m no hard ass really. Many of these people I feel sorry for, and wouldn’t mind a bit if they came to America (not including the animals of MS 13, the terrorists sponsored by Hamas, and other assorted dregs). There are a lot of poor suckers in that caravan, just looking for a better life, and who can blame them.

Although it would be better for all of us if they worked hard to improve their own country. You know, like generations of Americans have.

They are likely not really asylum cases though, the actual rules are pretty strict, ask Elian Gonzales down in Cuba, thanks to Bill Clinton. But there is no reason why many of them couldn’t apply to emigrate here.

Not as easy as jumping an open border but a lot safer for everybody. It’s the right way to do it.

Sunday/ Monday Funnies

Didn’t want to overshadow, Remembrance/Veteran’s day so here we go, a day late, and a dollar short. Normal in other words.

One hopes.

 

A historical artifact, left in place to make people wonder!

 

And, of course

Bolsonaro, Brazil, and the Right Wing Victory

I don’t know much about Brazil, but am pleased that  Bolsonaro won the Presidency. I think that Rodrigo Constantino writing in Law and Liberty covers it pretty well.

Imagine the worst labels that can be placed on a person. “Fascist” has to be the very worst—and that is Jair Bolsonaro according to the mainstream Brazilian media, the nation’s professoriate, its artists and intellectuals. Despite this, Bolsonaro won the second round of Brazil’s presidential election last week by a wide margin, 55 percent to 45 percent for the candidate of the Workers’ Party, Fernando Haddad. Are there 57.7 million fascists in Brazil? Or did the “progressive” elite get it all wrong?

Yes, Bolsonaro was and is a supporter of the military regime that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985. But it was the Cold War, and the alternative was communism. That’s what the “anointed” people just don’t get, because they are sympathetic to socialism. Bolsonaro represents the anti-Left movement—the people tired of the legacy of the Worker’s Party, which ruled in Brazil for 14 years until President Dilma Rousseff was impeached two years ago.

The former army captain and seven-term deputy of the Social Liberal Party is not a classical liberal, though he has said lately that he has changed his mind about a lot of important economic issues. Importantly, he has chosen a free market advocate, Paulo Guedes of the University of Chicago, as his powerful Finance Minister. What he has always been is an ordinary guy who values decent mores, family, and tradition, and is not afraid to say so in a time when it’s the opposite of fashionable to do so.

The resounding victory of a hard-Right candidate is the Brazilian people’s response to economic depression, massive unemployment, large-scale corruption at the top,  soaring crime, and unease over the crisis in Venezuela caused by the leftwing authoritarianism of Nicolás Maduro—a crisis that has impelled a rising number of Venezuelan migrants to enter Brazil. It’s also a backlash against the political elites, who betrayed democracy as they tried in vain to stave off the Workers’ Party’s fall from grace.

Speaking ideologically, the Left lost all contact with reality, with the common people, and got stuck in its cognitive bubble where everyone loves gender identity, political correctness, feminism, and racial movements. This Brazilian “victim’s revolution” (under the leadership, by the way, of rich white people) failed, and its failure opened the gates for the Right’s upsurge.

Donald Trump in America, Brexit in England, Mauricio Macri in Argentina, and now Bolsonaro in Brazil—they are part of the same phenomenon. The “forgotten men” found a way, with the help of social media, to push back against elitism. Yes, there is a populist component in all of this, and every classical liberal and even conservative should be alert to the risks. But as was the case in the 1960s, the alternative is worse: to keep going in this sinister direction, which could implode our Western civilization as we know it.

Freedom does not survive in a vacuum of moral values. The void is soon filled by something. In our modern times, it has been moral relativism, hedonism, identity policies, and tribalism. The Left has been promoting this agenda for a long time now, with horrible consequences. As the American Founding Fathers understood, inspired by the thinkers of the Scottish  Enlightenment, only a virtuous people can sustain liberty. To think that we can ignore the moral structure that allows individual freedom and still have individual freedom is not only naïve, but dangerous.

Take the institution of the family, for instance. Whenever it weakens, the state steps in and the result is less individual freedom. Jonah Goldberg, in his book Suicide of the West (2018), explains it this way:

Healthy, well-functioning families are the primary wellspring of societal success. Unhealthy, dysfunctional families are the primary cause of societal decline. The family is the institution that converts us from natural-born barbarians into, hopefully, decent citizens. It is the family that literally civilizes us. Before we are born into a community, a faith, a class, of a nation, we are born into a family, and how that family shapes us largely determines who we are.

More at the above link, of course. What is easy to forget is that to most of the media in the west, anybody to the right of Stalin is hard right, but real people know better. His point on the family is well taken, a vacuum always sucks whatever it finds, no matter how bad it is, and it is often very bad.

So we’ll see, but it is still another very hopeful sign that the world is awakening, and as Americans, we should remember that this is one of our traditional allies, who was with us as far back as World War Two.

Brazil, like America and Britain (and some other parts of Europe), now has a shot, it’s up to the people, and you may only get one shot, so aim carefully.

Totenfest, All Saints Day, Heroes and Saints

I see a fair number of you have been reading this, from back in 2012, so let’s bring it forward for the rest. It’s one of the few where I talk about my family, and it goes to the purpose of All Saints Day. Enjoy

I’ll bet Totenfest is a new term for many of you, actually, it’s a corrupted spelling of Todtenfest, what it translates as is “Feast (or festival) of the Dead. It has a bit of that German propensity for calling things what they are, like Krankenhaus (house of the sick) for hospital. It comes from the Evangelical church, that strange Prussian hybrid of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches committed by King Frederick Wilhelm III. Totenfest was instituted to remember the soldiers killed in the Prussian war (unless I’m missing something we’re talking about what the rest of us call the Napoleonic Wars). It soon expanded to remember members of the congregation who had passed in the last year.

When I was young my home church (which was Evangelical and Reformed) read the passed members names with a single bell toll after each. It was a moving service which served in lieu of All Saints Day, which is now commonly celebrated on the first Sunday in November, as The last Sunday in October is Reformation Sunday. When I was a kid, and it was still the E&R before the merger which formed the UCC, every Sunday the first hymn was this, which is nearly always appropriate.

Same purpose really, since we in the Protestant tradition tend to refer to those who have gone before us as saints. It is important to remember our forefathers in the faith for the same reason that we all admire the saints in the Catholic tradition. I think our way perhaps makes it even more personal. On  Friday, Jessica over at The Watchtower said this:

All Souls’ day is a time when I pray for the souls of my parents and other relatives now dead. I know many Protestants who ask me why I do so, as they are now with God, and He alone will judge; do I, they ask, think that somehow my prayers will influence Him. I try to explain that this is not what I believe at all. Yes, I believe God makes the decision, and I don’t believe He will be in the slightest bit influenced by me. But it is an act of piety to my dead parents. They are no longer here in the flesh, but that does not mean I forget them, and praying for them seems to me to be a way of saying that I still love them and still care about them.

I completely agree with her, which is not unusual. This is the time of year when I think a lot about and pray for my parents as well, knowing that God will be just, which is enough for me. But I want the folks to know that I still think of them and care about them, and even that I have remembered the lessons they taught me, about many things. And that’s what I’m going to talk about today, even as Jess talked about her daddy in that post you should read.

I was born when my folks were in their forties, so it wasn’t like dad had time or energy to play with me but, he spent a lot of time with me, or maybe the other way around when I was a kid. Many people think I’m a bit of a hard case, they may well be right. The lessons I learned as a child were all about doing things right always and taking responsibility. Sure I learned about electricity and line work and wiring buildings and a bunch of other skills but, the real lessons were about honesty and justice. With dad you never got unearned praise, in truth not saying anything about what you did was usually all the praise you were going to get, screw up and you heard about it though, guess where I learned the catchphrase, always make new mistakes. Doing it wrong because you just didn’t get it was allowable, doing it wrong again was simply unacceptable, and you learned that quickly. One of the other lessons taught was that bad news is not like wine, it doesn’t get better with age. Learning those two lessons will take you quite a way in this life; there are others.

But, in truth, it’s certainly not about me, and it’s not even about dad, it’s about those who have gone before us in the faith. I find it easier to understand if I personalize, and it’s fun for me to talk about dad. Of all the men I have known in a fairly long life, he more than any of them deserved the title of “Lightbringer” for that is what he did for countless rural families in Minnesota, in the Amana Colonies in Iowa, and in Indiana. From 1935 until he retired in 1969 he was a man of rural electrification.

That was his mission, nearly from the time he held his father in his arms as he died and so became the head of the family as a junior in high school, until he retired, with honor. Because we in the family understood, even his pallbearers were linemen, and executives from rural electrification, including the President of the Statewide coop. There was no glory in the mission, it was always a struggle, and to his dying day, he regretted being essential in World War II. But his work enabled dozens, maybe hundreds, of farm boys to join the service, without reducing food output. But he never thought he did his part. In truth, he was the most righteous man I have ever known. No, I don’t mean self-righteous, he was never in it for himself, he was there to serve. The old REA Co-op motto fit him perfectly: “Owned by those we serve”. He didn’t write it, he lived it, it was the mission

The energization of the first house on Kankakee Valley REMC in 1939; courtesy KVREMC

But you know, it wasn’t only him, ever. here’s one of the very few pictures I have from those days, one of the interesting things about it that in the ’60s, many of those pictured here were still on the board of the co-op. I knew most of them, and I wish they were still with us. They too understood the mission. When the couldn’t get the power companies to serve them, they did the thing that d’ Tocqueville had commented on all those years before- they formed an association to do it for them. And they built a very successful business on what the power companies had said could never be done. That’s part of Dad‘s story, but you have to multiply that by thousands of these associations all over the country to understand the accomplishment. For what they did was nothing less than bring the American farmer into the 20th century. These were men that you could make a thousand dollar deal with on a handshake, and never worry. Their word really was their bond. As I commented on Jess’s post, there truly were giants in the earth.

But we are talking about saints, well that’s not for us to say, is it? Of all the men in that picture, I know nothing of what church, if any, they attended. Given the make up of the area, I would guess most were Lutheran, Catholic, or Evangelical & Reformed, and a few Methodists. But I would also bet that many, like dad, were afraid the church would fall down if they entered, and besides they had work to do. I suspect I could count on my hands the number of times that dad attended church, in my lifetime. The other half of that we children and Mom were strongly encouraged to be active members. In fact of the 3 siblings, we have all been officers of our churches. But James 2 tells us:

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

To me, by that standard, they are saints indeed. I was going to end with a different hymn but can’t find an appropriate version so I will repeat Jess’s choice of one of the great old All Saints Day hymns.

It strikes me that maybe some of you may read this as me bragging about my dad, and I have been known to do that. But what I am doing here is giving you an example of a man, who lived his life as he felt God commanded, and did his duty.

My purpose is to remind you of the saints, in your family, who have gone before us to prepare the way and to remind you how much we all have to live up to if we wish to be worthy of our forebears.

%d bloggers like this: