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.

Immigration Follies; UK Style

From the  misery loves company file:

Here’s the linked story:

A high-flying academic who travels the world as a Government adviser is set to be deported from Britain under ‘barmy’ new visa laws – because she is out of the country more than 180 days a year.

Dr Miwa Hirono, 38, is originally from Japan but has been living in the UK since becoming a lecturer at the University of Nottingham seven years ago.

The world-renowned academic’s work – which helps the UK Government to set foreign policy – requires her to spend long spells working in China and Africa.

Set to be deported: Miwa Hirono with her husband, Peter Trebilco, 61, and one-year-old son Tada, must leave Britain under 'barmy' new visa laws

In 2009 and 2010 she spent around 200 days abroad researching China’s foreign peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

But Home Office immigration laws now state that people working in the UK on a migrant visa cannot be out of the country for more than 180 days each year.

And despite the fact Dr Hirono does research for a Government-funded organisation and her baby son was born in Britain, the Home Office has decided to deport her.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3004399/Academic-travels-world-government-adviser-set-deported-country-visa.html#ixzz3UyHzVflh
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Isn’t it wonderful to know that the cousins are about as screwed up in immigration policy as we are?

There are a few things here, in no particular order

  1. Anchor baby? What’s an anchor baby? Her personal life and well-being is no concern of HM Government. Let’s see, a Japanese mother, an Australian father and an English baby, where do deport that family to? Or do you split them up like the slave traders used to do?
  2. Did you catch that she is a world-class scholar that the university brought in to help their students? On a fellowship, no less.
  3. She was so good that they offered her a permanent job. But screw the students, they don’t need world-class scholars at the University of Nottingham, anyhow. Anybody think understanding the Chinese isn’t going to be important in the next fifty years? Other than the British government, I mean.
  4. She also does work for the government that required her to spend large amounts of time out of the country.
  5. She’s good enough that one of her papers in on the website of HM Embassy in Beijing.
  6. This (so-called) violation took place in 2010.
  7. The law was passed in 2012.

Six and seven are the very definition of an ex post facto law, you do something completely legal, later they pass a law making it illegal and then prosecute you for doing what was legal when you did it. The Brits have a history of this nonsense which is why Article 1 of the US Constitution says plainly in section 9

No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

and in section 10

No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.

I’d guess as a layman, that one could make due process arguments about this with precedents stretching all the way back to Magna Charta as well. It’s why our constitution is so important.

I suppose we should note that the British let in the dregs of all Europe with hardly a whimper, thanks to the European Union, and the fact that Britain is (and always has been) one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. Just like we do, with less cause, on our southern border.

Wow, just wow!


Bravery and Cowardice; France and the World

150107223804-31-paris-reax-0107-large-169I was going to write this post about the despicable act yesterday in Paris but, I decided it wasn’t really an article in it. Why? Because it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Yes, those cartoonists were very brave men. But they shouldn’t have had to be. If Europe really believed in free speech those cartoons would have been published in every major paper, not in one brave lonely paper. I carry no brief for their cartoons, most of their work I’ve seen, I find disgusting. Free speech is like that. As I said yesterday, “Free speech is inherently the right to offend, otherwise it has no purpose.” So I didn’t follow their work, but I supported their right to publish it, just as Voltaire said.

And so right now Europe, and especially France, is all fired up about the Islamic threat, or at least its terrorist component. Even enough in a few cases to overcome its PC scruples. That’s good, if Europe is to survive, it needs to. But how long will it last? A week, a month, a year? I’m not optimistic. We (and the Anglosphere) have been actively engaged for more than fourteen years. Where are the French, the Spaniards, to a point the Germans, and the Italians?

Waiting, I guess for John Bull, and Uncle Sugar to save their rights (that we provided them, in the first place) once again. Well, if we learned (relearned, really) nothing else in Afghanistan, it’s that we can’t make people free, they have to do it themselves.

And that’s the one thing Europe can’t seem to do. It can’t seem to care about anything or anyone enough to guarantee anything, especially long-term.

There was an interesting article in Commentary magazine last week. It started with noting that Europe was having trouble deciding what to do with abandoned churches.

This lack of religious belief may well also be related to why Europeans are choosing to have so few children. According to the CIA world factbook EU countries have an average birth rate of just 1.55 children per woman, and in countries such as Italy, Germany, Greece, and Austria that goes down to about 1.42 births per woman. And these are figures which are undoubtedly inflated by the higher birth rate of immigrant groups; among native Europeans the numbers are still lower.

For Europeans, it seems the absence of belief extends beyond religion into the realms of other traditional identities. As Annika Hernroth-Rothstein explains in a recent piece for Israel Hayom, Europeans have been increasingly choosing against national identities in general. Rothstein writes of how in Europe in the wake of the Holocaust: “nation-states and national identity have been deemed the culprit and the key to the dark European history that brought on such unparalleled suffering. The old was replaced with the new; a cultural relativism where no tradition, belief or state should stake a claim on any moral high ground. All ideas and cultures became equally unimportant compared to the globalist, multicultural ideal.”

And that is pretty much a cultural suicide note.

In this Europe where there is nothing worth believing in, nothing worth dying for—and perhaps nothing worth living for, given the birth rate—it is little wonder that Europeans now take the view on foreign policy that they do.

Europe Is Losing Its Soul – Commentary Magazine Commentary Magazine.

Oh, you needn’t expect to be troubled by these cartoons–our so-called free press which endlessly brags about how brave they are, is too terrorized to show them to you. I’d laugh at them but I’m too busy crying at their perfidy.

It’s a pretty sad epitaph, isn’t it? Died of apathy. But for today, we can truly say, perhaps for the last time, in sympathy, “We are all French!” (Thanks to Sarah Churchwell for the reminder.)


Election Economics 101; US and a little UK as well.

thobamaThe other day, Dan Hannan wrote on how much better Britain would be doing if it was not in the EU. Economically, yes, but in other ways as well, which are arguably more important. At least I think they are, although if I was trying to make a living in Britain, my priorities might be different, although given my outlook, I wouldn’t bet a lot on that. I’m one of those radical Americans that believe freedom is more important than nearly everything, and the EU is inimical to freedom.

Here’s some of Dan’s article:

1. Autonomous trade policy
Europe is the only continent in the world that is not experiencing economic growth, and Britain is the only EU state that sells more to non-members than to members. We are thus especially badly hit by the EU’s Common External Tariff, which sunders us from our commercial hinterland. Again and again, we have been unable to benefit from free trade because the common European position must take account of French film-makers, Italian textile companies, Austrian farmers and what have you. Norway and Switzerland, being in EFTA, recently signed free trade agreements with China. Britain can’t. Given that China grew by 7.7 per cent in 2013 while the EU shrank by 0.3 per cent, I’d say that’s a major disadvantage. Just look at this chart of where we’ll be in three years’ time.


Via Nine things David Cameron could bring back from Brussels to satisfy Eurosceptics – Telegraph Blogs.

OK, I hear you saying, so what, that’s Britain. Well yes, aside from the fact that I have a certain number of British readers, I want to point out the IMF number on where our economy ranks with the others as well. The other thing I want to note, as Dan did, and we’ll talk more about, the EU is dying, In a lot of cases, it almost looks like it is living off of Britain, and if Britain leaves, it’s going to be in real trouble.

Why? Well if I read right the other day, if you do your tax planning wrong in France these days, your tax bill can be about 105%, I can’t speak for anybody else but I wouldn’t work very hard to make a dollar if when I did I had to pay the government $1.05 for the privilege. That’s why so many people are leaving France.

But we aren’t doing all that well either, for all Obama’s bragging. We’re surely better than Europe but that saying almost nothing good. Here’s a bit of an article from Dan Mitchell yesterday.


Here are some blurbs from a Bloomberg report about the President’s remarks on that issue.

A month before congressional elections, President Barack Obama is making an appeal to American pride in promoting his economic policies, arguing that the U.S. is outpacing the recovery in other nations. …“The United States has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and every other advanced economy combined.” Obama said. …economies in Europe and Japan are sluggish. The recovery for the euro area – including France and Italy – stalled, with gross domestic product unchanged, from the first quarter to the second, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg. Japan contracted by the most in more than five years, with GDP shrinking an annualized 7.1 percent, data from the government Cabinet Office in Tokyo show. …Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers…called Obama’s emphasis on the relative strength of the U.S. economy “useful context to compare to other countries that are facing similar challenges.”

I don’t know if the White House is correct on every specific claim, but it’s definitely true that the United States is out-pacing Europe.

Here are a couple of charts I found with a quick search. We’ll start with one comparing GDP performance. It’s not as up-to-date as the one I shared back in June, but it does a good job of showing how our cousins across the ocean are falling behind.

And here’s another chart I found showing how Europe also is lagging on employment.

And I can also say from personal experience, based on my trips to various conferences, that Europeans look at the American economy with envy. Heck, they even think 1 percent growth is a reason for celebration!

Which should give you an idea of how bad the outlook is in Europe.

After all, the United States is experiencing the weakest economic expansion since the Great Depression. Yet compared to European nations like France and Italy, we’re a powerhouse.

Via Obama Is Right about the European Economy…

Meanwhile John Hinderaker over at Powerline Blog reminds us that the Democrats are running on the recovery. Personally I think they should be running away from such a botched recovery but, I suppose when you think all good things come from Europe. Here’s a bit of that


President Obama boasted in a speech yesterday that by any measure, the economy today is better than when he took office.

I should hope so! Obama took office shortly after the financial collapse of September 2008, in the depth of a recession. The stimulus, as you no doubt recall, was supposed to get the economy back on its feet. The problem we have today is not that we are in an even worse recession than in January 2009–God forbid–but that the current recovery is the worst one ever, by a wide margin. This graph, which I posted a few days ago, tells the story:

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 3.48.00 PM

As for the September jobs report, was it anything to crow about? Pre-Obama, a 5.9% unemployment rate was considered unacceptably high. The average unemployment rate during the George W. Bush administration was 5.3%. Moreover, most people have figured out that the official unemployment rate has been dropping primarily because Americans are leaving the labor force. Is the latest report a sign of some real awakening of the jobs market, that will make voters more optimistic over the next 30 days?

I doubt it. The September report says that the number of those not in the labor force increased by another 315,000 last month. […]


The “dismal science” wasn’t nearly as dismal back when Reagan was President, was it?

Why would anyone still love Britain?

The version used by the Scotland Office.

The version used by the Scotland Office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, tomorrow (British time) Scotland will decide whether or not to leave the United Kingdom. It will sadden me if they decide to. Of course as an American, like the Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders, I am a product of the United Kingdom, especially in my political and civic outlook, for all of my Norwegian heritage, life as an American is based in large part on the UK. Many of our tastes, loves, heroes, and basic outlook on the world are very similar to the cousins.

In fact the last quiz I took told me I needed to get the Corgis back in the palace. :-)

For all that as a conservative, nearly libertarian American, in many ways I think Scotland leaving might be the best thing to happen to England since the Union. Scotland has become, like our inner cities, a welfare drain on the country, one without a cure. In fact, Scotland has always been a drain on England. Scotland has always produced some really good men (including but not limited to the military) but it seems like they always had to go to England (or later the US) to make a living.

Scotland will do what it will do, you can find a poll to tell you whatever you want to hear, by all accounts if they leave they will have a hard road to travel, with their political tendencies, the most likely comparisons are to such places as Venezuela, although likely without the dictator.

For all the effects on the rest of the UK, they don’t get a vote, which strikes me as eminently unfair, but that’s the way it was set up.

So for a lot of us, it’s kind of like watching our cousins think about getting a divorce, we have our favorite ones but, we love them all, and will continue to do so, whatever they decide.

But I do think they are “Better together.”

Britain feels like a Christmas gift in August. In the debate over Scottish independence, it has been either ignored or mocked. For the ‘Yes’ camp, it’s an archaic remnant of an oppressive relationship. For ‘No’, it’s the great unmentionable, a baffling construction they seem to neither understand nor believe in. Britain is unloved and uninteresting.

The English are, if anything, even more critical of it than the Scottish. For the left it is an imperialist vehicle, a reminder of a shameful history. For the right it is a permanent disappointment, typified by the damn-it-all anger of Ukip voters. It is rare to find a right-winger with anything positive to say about their country.

For the rest of us, it is unseemly. It’s just not done to talk proudly about one’s country. It’s unBritish. Years of superiority and slaughter overseas have made us averse to banging our own drum.

But there are things about Britain which are worth celebrating. They are not values like ‘fair play’ or ‘supporting the underdog’, which politicians like to hark on about. No country on earth values cheating.

Our qualities are not in any way specific to us. But all countries have a specific mixture of attributes, in certain quantities, and that is what makes them unique, in the same way people are unique.


via Why would anyone still love Britain?.

Ukraine and America

In many ways it is difficult for an American to conflate the European Union with freedom, but in some ways we do the EU a disservice. They are far from perfect (so are we) but they are far better than, oh say, Putin’s Russia (soon to be Empire). Watch.

Honestly, even without the disadvantage of our (non)leadership, there is little we could do. The analogy that come to my mind is Hungary in 1956. But now, like then, we can hope and pray for brave souls who are willing to pledge “their Lives, their Fortunes, and their Sacred Honor”. If they truly hunger for freedom they, like the Hungarians, like the Czechs, and like the Poles before them, they are the heirs, like us, of the man who said this.

Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.

Patrick Henry

And so, my question is, “How fares that City upon the Hill, does its light still reach out to the world?”

My answer is , “Yes, yes, it does, but the guardians of the fire have become lax and it is beginning to gutter and flare. They need to be recalled to their duty, still another time.” For we know the light to be far better than darkness.

He’s right, you know. The reason that Lenin had to count on us to sell them the rope to hang us with is because they weren’t aren’t competent enough to make it, let alone design it. What can you say about a superpower whose ruling elite always imported their kitchen ranges from the enemy?

But on another not unconnected story we have some problems of our own that we need to solve.

Erick Erickson had some thoughts yesterday on the Democratic, Demopublican, Republican party. I think and have for a while, that he is exactly correct. The party of Leviathan is in charge whether they claim to be blue or red, and that is not the American way, that we have worked, fought, and yes, died for for over 200 years. Here’s Erick


I was once an elected Republican. I started the College Republicans at my school. I served as the state chair of the College Republicans in Georgia. I have worked for more than two decades to get Republicans elected. But more and more I cannot tell you what it means to be a Republican other than opposition to Barack Obama. I want to be for something, not just against someone. And I surely do not want to be for a party that thinks the problem is Democrats in charge of government and not government itself.

As a former political consultant I know most people want to vote for something or someone, not against something or someone. That, frankly, is one reason why Mitt Romney lost in 2012. He did not really give people something to vote for. He just assumed people would vote against Barack Obama. But a majority liked Barack Obama even if they disagreed with him. New polling shows a majority of people who voted for Barack Obama regret doing so, but they don’t regret not voting for Romney.

What does the GOP stand for?

I know what conservatives stand for — limiting government, local control, free markets, and life. But what of the GOP?

Continue reading Why This Fight

My key takeaway for myself from Erick’s article is this, “I want my government to leave me the Hell alone”. That’s the essence of America, right there.

But does it really matter? Sure I like being free and I’d like my kids to be but it’s a lot of work, and I’d rather drink a beer and watch the ball game.

Well, so would I, but you know something? So would that Ukrainian girl who led this column. And she knows, even if we’ve forgotten that freedom has happened only when a strong people made it so. And she knows that where that “Candy Striped Banner” flies, freedom reigns, as she has for 200 years. That is where the “City on the Hill” is. She doesn’t expect the US Army to do it for her but, she expects us to watch and pray and support how we can. It is our duty, and we are the guardians of the flame. If we don’t support freedom we will lose freedom.

That speech I quoted from above, it was in the Virginia House of Burgesses and it ended this way:

Give me Liberty of Give me Death


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