Hope?

Gladstone quote

[Many of us here in America are very hopeful that Donald Trump will take a start on ‘Draining the Swamp’. I surely am. But I, like many of you, am wary, I have long since learned to not put my hope in princes, either in business or, perhaps especially, in politics. So we’ll see. Back in 2013 Jessica addressed this, and her words are still very valid. Neo]

One of the worst things about the state of our politics is the devaluing of one of its main currencies – hope. When politicians make a fetish of ‘hope’ they are setting both themselves and us for a disappointment. Whatever some people believe, the number of things which the State can actually solve for us is limited. Not all the attempts of the British Welfare State have eliminated poverty, even though the State takes 40% of all incomes above £32k (45% if you earn over £150k), and we all pay 12% of our income toward the National Health Service.  There does not exist a State which has disproved Christ’s dictum that the ‘poor are always with us’, although there exist some where we have effectively nationalised charity in as far as we think it is up to the State to deal with those who have fallen into misfortune.  This is a bad idea, as such people rarely have the command of the Welfare State system possessed by those who live off it much of the time.  It ends up with a situation where newspapers can easily enough find ‘scroungers’ and end up stigmatising whole groups of people, most of whom do not fall into this category, and who end up being at the sharp end of knee-jerk reactions when politicians need to play to the gallery. In this sort of politics, everyone loses, including the State itself, which falls below the level it would expect of any of its citizens with a sense of decency.

But it seems that inflation has taken a real hold. Party X feels obliged to turn up the rhetoric of hope because if it tells anything like the truth, Party Y will criticise it for not having faith in the nation, and promise that hope the other one failed to; it is a bad situation, and one in which we, as the electorate in some way collude.  But such an inflation leads only to a deflation of the very currency of ‘hope’ itself, and it makes us cynical and distrustful.  But quite how one persuades politicians not to debauch this currency is something no one has yet found an answer to.

Of course, to some extent, all democratic politics has at its heart the problem of how you both get a majority of voters to choose you and maintain your integrity, and we probably go badly wrong if we imagine there was a time when it was easy. Many British observers of democratic politics in America in the nineteenth century were appalled at what they thought of as its venality – but as Gladstone once said “there are millions of hard hands to rule and force is not an option”.  His own route was to try to educate the electorate and to appeal to its higher instincts – something his great opponent, Disraeli, eschewed as he tended to go for the lowest common denominator.

At some level, however, our politicians need to capture something of that Gladstonian instinct that nothing which is morally wrong can be politically right, even if it is politically expedient.  But, as our societies discovered with finance and inflation, it is tempting just to print more money and leave it to the next generation to sort it out; but the problem with that is it just gets worse and therefore harder to cure. One of the great achievements of the Thatcher-Reagan era was to bring down financial inflation; we need their like to do the same with rhetorical inflation.  If this fails to happen, then I wonder what future there is for democracy as we know it?

Time for Liberation

us_and_netherlands_crossed_flags_coffee_mug-r677a7289a5154b898760be8b881e7a2a_x7jg5_8byvr_324One of the more interesting things here in the last year is that our Dutch readership has increased to the point that it often is higher than the UK, and occasionally approaches that of our US readership. It’s interesting, and I have no real handle on why, although you are certainly welcome here.

This is, of course, a conservative blog, with Christian underpinnings and we mostly speak of the US and the UK, with some attention paid to the rest of the Anglosphere. Occasionally we make forays into continental Europe, but we simply do not know enough to speak to your issues especially well.

But we are watching the Islamification of Europe with horror, as we suspect many of you are. We are also aware that a good deal of our heritage runs through the Dutch republic as well. Yes, we do know where William of Orange came from! We also know of your proud heritage of exploration, your part in our founding, and your interconnectedness (if that is a word) with our own history (both US and UK), and your resistance to tyranny over the centuries.

The following is from Geert Wilders, and in it, he speaks up for Dutch history and gives his views. I won’t endorse him, if you’ve been here a while, you’ll realize it’s unusual for me to endorse any politician, and where I don’t really understand the issues, I certainly won’t. But in many ways, I think he speaks for many of us, as well.

Pim Fortuyn, the hero of Rotterdam, the man who shook the country awake, once said, “Do not aim for what is possible, but what is imaginable.” He wanted to make clear that for us, the Dutch, nothing is impossible.

Pim Fortuyn was right. Nothing is impossible for us. We are Dutch.

Look at our country. We have single-handedly created this unique and beautiful land. We are the only people in the world living in a country which for the largest part we created ourselves. A great achievement.

We not only created our own land, but we also explored the world. We have sailed all the seas. We founded New York and discovered Australia. Sometimes, it seems like we have forgotten it all. Forgotten what we are capable of. What we are capable of when we put our mind to it. And maybe that is our problem. We must dare to think big again. Because where there is a will, there is a way.

And yes, I know. Many things are bothering us. There is also much to be angry about, and rightfully so. This government has destroyed our country with its austerity policies and has allowed our country to be colonized by Islam. But let’s start aiming for the imaginable. Let us liberate our country.

via Wilders’s Plan: Time for Liberation

Do join us and the UK, we all have a tradition of liberty and freedom. But do realize, it is a difficult and often perilous journey. Out here along the Oregon Trail, they had a saying, “The weak never started and the sick died along the way.” Freedom is very like that too.

Friday Roundup

Cleaning out some tabs, interesting stuff that we’ve been hoarding.

 

Well, yeah, he makes some sense to me, at that,

From Melanie Phillips:

The hand-wringing by western politicians and commentators over the appalling humanitarian catastrophe in Aleppo reveals something far worse even than the nauseating virtue-signalling of pointlessly blaming themselves for having decided not to bomb Syrian President Assad’s forces. It reveals they still don’t understand just how morally culpable they actually are.

The current breast-beating is all about how the US and Britain made a terrible mistake in not bombing Assad’s forces years ago in this dreadful war.

But the issue that made them back away was valid then and remains valid now: that those who might come to power if Assad were removed would be as bad, if not worse, for both the Syrian people and the rest of the world.

People were, however, totally missing the point then just as they are doing now. Assad is the puppet of the Iranian regime whose infernal purposes, in gaining regional power in order to perpetrate genocide against Israel and jihadi terrorism against the west, he dutifully serves. Iran needs Assad in power. Without Iran, Assad would not be committing these atrocities. To stop him, the west needs to stop Iran.

Seems to me, she has a point, rather as if we had let Germany conquer Russia while we dealt with Japan. The Schwerpunkt the Grossgeneralstab called it. Apply force where it will do the most to damage the enemy, not the least.

Our heroes are old and stooped and wizened, but they are the only giants we have. Today, when we talk about Americans boldly going where no man has gone before, we mean the ladies’ bathroom. Progress.
-Mark Steyn on the passing of John Glenn

Churchill on America and Britain

No one can think clearly or sensibly about this vast and burning topic without in the first instance making up his mind upon the fundamental issue. Does he value the State above the citizen, or the citizen above the State? Does a government exist for the individual, or do individuals exist for the government?
I hold that governments are meant to be, and must remain, the servants of the citizens; that states and federations only come into existence and can only by justified by preserving the ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ in the homes and families of individuals,
I judge the civilization of any community by simple tests. What is the degree of freedom possessed by the citizen or subject? Can he think, speak and act freely under well-established, well-known laws? Can he criticize the executive government? Can he sue the State if it has infringed his rights? Are there also great processes for changing the law to meet new conditions? Judging by these standards, Great Britain and the United States can claim to be in the forefront of civilized communities.

Still so, as proved this year.

Heh!

doughnuts

All three from Ace’s

An American Hero Story here

In a remarkable World War II story that almost went untold, a devoutly Christian US Army sergeant refused to turn over his Jewish soldiers to the Nazis, even after a gun was placed to his head. Now, 30 years after his death, the Jewish people are showing their appreciation for his bravery.

Roddie Edmonds was a humble man and didn’t speak about his experiences in World War II, even when his children inquired. When he passed away over 30 years ago, his widow gave his wartime diaries to their son, Baptist Pastor Chris Edmonds, in Maryville, Tennessee.

Sergeant Roddie Edmonds in uniform.Photo by: Yad Vashem/Wikimedia Commons

A few years ago, one of the pastor’s daughters read through the diaries for a college project and was amazed at what she found. Despite being taken prisoner of war shortly after arriving in Europe, her grandfather was a hero.  He had saved hundreds of Jewish soldiers, motivated only by his Christian belief.

Edmonds was a Master Sergeant with the 422nd Infantry Regiment in the US Army. On December 16, 1944, just a few months after arriving in Europe, Edmonds found himself fighting in the disastrous Battle of the Bulge. The last major German offensive campaign of World War II, it caught the Allied Forces by surprise, resulting in 89,000 casualties. On December 19, Edmonds and an estimated 23,000 other American soldiers were taken prisoner by the Germans.

The sound of American Heroism: “We are all Jews,” Edmonds calmly replied.

Why the Electoral College? Because State and Regional Diversity Matters.

Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton

One of my very favorite blogs, Grassroots in Nebraska (GIN), has undertaken to explain, pretty much after every election why the electoral college, especially as implemented in Nebraska and Maine, is by far the most fair and equitable method of electing the president. A few highlights.

Where you live, your day-to-day experiences gained through interacting with your physical environment, influence your political viewpoint. The Founders realized this. When the Electoral College was born through compromise in 1787, each former-colony-turned-state had a unique history and perspective giving rise to significant political differences between it and its neighbors. The Founders had to resolve these interstate differences in order to form a more perfect Union. The Electoral College was an important part of the Founders’ efforts to ensure our election process gave voice to these regionally diverse viewpoints.

What critics of the Electoral College fail to realize is the strong influence state and regional diversity continues to exert today. In fact, differences of opinion concerning most hotly contested political issues, past and present, can be traced to the influence of state and regional diversity. Neutering the Electoral College, as 48 states have done with their winner-take-all systems, deadens the impact of intrastate diversity on election outcomes.  Ridding us of the Electoral College entirely, either by amending the Constitution or by the states conspiring to do an end-run around the Constitutional provision by awarding all of their respective electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, would render our election process deaf, dumb, and blind to both state and regional diversity.  I contend either change makes our electoral process more prone to something the Founders referred to as “the tyranny of the majority” or “mob rule.”

Still skeptical? Some examples are in order: […]

Linda also quoted a non-favorite Nebraskan of mine William Jennings Bryan, in his “Cross of gold” speech, and this I do agree with wholeheartedly.

“But we stand here representing people who are the equals before the law of the largest cities in the state of Massachusetts. When you come before us and tell us that we shall disturb your business interests, we reply that you have disturbed our business interests by your action. We say to you that you have made too limited in its application the definition of a businessman. The man who is employed for wages is as much a businessman as his employer. The attorney in a country town is as much a businessman as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis. The merchant at the crossroads store is as much a businessman as the merchant of New York. The farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day, begins in the spring and toils all summer, and by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of this country creates wealth, is as much a businessman as the man who goes upon the Board of Trade and bets upon the price of grain. The miners who go 1,000 feet into the earth or climb 2,000 feet upon the cliffs and bring forth from their hiding places the precious metals to be poured in the channels of trade are as much businessmen as the few financial magnates who, in a backroom, corner the money of the world.

“We come to speak for this broader class of businessmen. Ah. my friends, we say not one word against those who live upon the Atlantic Coast; but those hardy pioneers who braved all the dangers of the wilderness, who have made the desert to blossom as the rose —those pioneers away out there, rearing their children near to nature’s heart, where they can mingle their voices with the voices of the birds — out there where they have erected schoolhouses for the education of their children and churches where they praise their Creator, and the cemeteries where sleep the ashes of their dead — are as deserving of the consideration of this party as any people in this country.
. . . . .
“You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.”

True when the Founders were writing the Constitution, true in 1896 when Bryan said it, and yes, it’s still true today. The folks that he was speaking of are those who feed our families, fight our wars, and do all things that have made the United States what it is, the dream of the rest of the world. I’ve been proud all my life to be amongst and one of them. If you would know us, you would be well advised to listen to the lyrics here.

This, this is who we are. If you would know why Donald Trump won, think about those lyrics, and what has happened in the last few years.

via Why the Electoral College? Because State and Regional Diversity Matters. | Grassroots in Nebraska. Do read it and by all means follow the links in her article and in the article linked in them. This is one of the greatest civics lessons you will ever get, and it will come to you painlessly.

Hurricane Hysteria [Updated] | Power Line

This cartoon, from Watts Up With That, sums it up:

This cartoon, from Watts Up With That, sums it up:

From Powerline, with no comment,  because none is required.

The much-hyped Hurricane Matthew still hasn’t made landfall. It has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane as it makes its way up the Southeastern coast. It may yet do great damage here, as it already has in Haiti, but the disappointment in some quarters is palpable. Matthew had been hyped as the poster child for global warming, striking just in time to give Hillary Clinton a boost in Sunday’s debate. That plan likely will have to be shelved.

For the record, the U.S. is in the midst of the longest stretch in recorded history without being struck by a Category 3 or higher hurricane–more than ten years. Many expected that streak to be broken by Matthew, but it didn’t happen. There has been no increase in hurricanes either in the U.S., or throughout the North Atlantic, since 1880.

Still, there is no doubt that if Matthew had struck the U.S. as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, we would have heard about nothing for days except global warming. […]

Global warming hysteria stopped having anything to do with science a long time ago. It is now 100% politics.

UPDATE: Roger Pielke has updated his chart to show how the current hurricane drought shatters all previous records, going back to 1900. The rising trend line means more days between Category 3+ hurricanes:

via Hurricane Hysteria [Updated] | Power Line

The Politics of Energy

I try pretty hard not to write about politics overmuch, it angers and tires me, and I suspect it does the same to you, especially this year, when the noise level decidedly indicates hearing protection, much like an unmuffled chainsaw. Still, it matters, so let’s let Bill Whittle tell us why.

%d bloggers like this: