Donald Trump: An American Patriot of the Same Stripe as Ronald Reagan

From my friend, Danmillerinpanama whom many of you will know, but if you happened to miss the post, you’re missing a good one. A bit…

 

To my mind, that unholy dialectic between political power and an agenda of enforced dependency is one of the most despicable and destructive coefficients of the administrative state. It is despicable because it deploys power for personal aggrandizement under the camouflage of helping (i.e., pretending to help) others (the “Great Society,” etc.). It is destructive because its end is the eclipse of liberty for the sake of expanding and institutionalizing the apparatus of bureaucracy (and the perquisites of the bureaucrats running it).

So I applaud the president’s plan to cut taxes and allow Americans to keep a bit more of what after all is their own money. (We tend to forget this.)

But although taxes formed the official centerpiece of the president’s speech last night, and though I liked what he said about taxes, I thought the most impressive part of the speech was its rhetorical setting.  The occasion was a meeting of Heritage Foundation supporters. Accordingly, President Trump began by talking about the importance of embracing our history, our heritage. “For America to have CONFIDENCE in our future, we must have PRIDE in our HISTORY.”

I think that is right, and I think it is worth pondering each of the three stressed words.

One of the great liabilities of so-called identity politics is that, ironically, it acts as a solvent on shared cultural confidence. The irony flows from the fact that identity politics is supposed to leave its partisans with an enhanced sense of self-worth and solidarity but in fact it tends to isolate them in rancid grievance ghettos.

Along the way last night, the president spoke up for preserving our heritage, our history, an enterprise that encompasses not just the preservation of monuments and other historical markers that commemorate our past, but also extends to the spiritual decorum of civic respect: standing for the national anthem, for example, or (since this multiethnic country was and is, as Samuel Huntington observed, a country of “Anglo-Protestant” values) wishing people “Merry Christmas” in due season.<

It is worth noting, by the way, that saying one should have  pride in our history and confidence in our culture is not thereby to issue a plenary indulgence for past wrongdoing.  The fact that people erect a statue commemorating Gen. Robert E. Lee does not in any way imply that they are racist advocates of chattel slavery, any more than erecting a statue of JFK implies that one is an advocate of satyriasis.

Do read it all at Donald Trump: An American Patriot of the Same Stripe as Ronald Reagan. Because what Dan sees is what I also see, an American patriot, who will do his best (and his best is proving pretty damned good) for America. Perfect? No, he’s a man, and an imperfect one, as we all are. And that post from Theodore Roosevelt in my sidebar is my measure of a president.

“Every man, who parrots the cry of ‘stand by the President’ without adding the proviso ‘so far as he serves the Republic’ takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the King could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent free man could take such an attitude.”

And the inverse is just as true, any man who parrots the cry of stand against the president, so far as he misserves the Republic, is as unmanly as TR said. And yes, I’m looking at you, Bill Kristol, who was one of the people in the conservative movement I admired most, until last year.

And Dan’s ending for his post will do admirably for this one as well.

That is no surprise. The history of the world is full of redemption and conversion stories, from Saul of Tarsus to Henry V and beyond. Quoth the King at the end of Henry IV Part 2:

Presume not that I am the thing I was;
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn’d away my former self.

The proof of the pudding, they say, is in the eating.  It seems to me that in just nine months Donald Trump has given us a lot of savory tidbits to chew on.  Some people might object to the style.  But how about the substance?  In any event, it seems ungracious, not to say short-sighted, to withhold any possibility of reformation from a man just because he had the temerity to win an election without the permission of the would-be governing class.

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The Mighty Endeavor

General Eisenhower speaks with members of the ...

General Eisenhower speaks with members of the 101st Airborne Division on the evening of 5 June 1944 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prologue:

Seventy-three years ago, night before last a Royal Air Force Group Captain delivered a weather briefing to an obscure American general. The general had an operation planned and the weather was very iffy. But, that general, who was a staff major in 1940 said, “OK, let’s go”

And so after planning and deception efforts reaching back to before Pearl Harbor, an operation was launched. It would invade France’s Normandy peninsula. It’s name was OVERLORD.

It was a huge risk, and there was no ‘Plan B’. If it failed, obviously that general’s career would end, his name was Eisenhower, by the way, so would his boss’s General Marshall, and probably his boss Franklin Roosevelt, for this was 1944, and it was an election year. The Prime Minister, and government, of the United Kingdom would fall.

But the real damage was none of these, these were individual men, and their fate, while important, was not critical. What was critical was that Central and Western Europe would become the prize of the war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. This was the very last chance for freedom in and of the west.

And so, in one of history’s momentous decisions GEN Eisenhower said, “OK, let’s go”.

For planning purposes, everything had been planned to happen so many days before or after the day of execution, which up till that time had always been called “D-Day”. It never would be again. Because it was a singular operation, unlike anything seen before, and never seen again.

Prelude

Starting at about 0200 on Tuesday, the sixth of June, 1944, forever afterward known as D-Day, the United States 82d Airborne Division, and the 101st Airborne Division, the British 6th Airborne Division, the Canadian 1st Parachute Battalion, and other attached units parachuted into Normandy, more than 13,000 paratroopers. carried by 925 C-47 aircraft. The drops were badly scattered by winds and flak but eventually the units were able to consolidate and achieve their objectives. They also demonstrated how disruptive “little groups of paratroopers” can be to an enemy. They were joined later in the day by another 4000 glider-borne troops.

Shortly after 0630 the American 2d Ranger Battalion landed at Pointe de Hoc to begin their epic, and costly battle to take the bluffs, which held 6 German 155 mm guns.

The Main Event

U.S. Army troops wade ashore on Omaha Beach on the morning of 6 June 1944, although planned for the morning of 5 June, but delayed one day due to weather in France.

Gold, Sword, Juno, Omaha, and Utah, are now names which will live for ever in the iconography of freemen, but on 6 June 1944 the were merely code names, for the five beaches. At early dawn Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey, gave the order to launch the invasion, I like to think that he actually used the traditional naval command, “Land the Landing Party”. If so, what a landing party: From the United States: 1st Infantry Division, 4th Infantry Division, 29th Infantry Division. From the British Army: 3rd British Infantry Division,  50th British Infantry Division. From the Canadian Army the  3rd Canadian Infantry Division. They were supported by 12,000 aircraft under Air Marshall Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, coming from the 8th United States Army Air Force, the 9th United States Army Air Force and the Royal Air Force’s 2d Tactical Air Force. The invasion fleet consisted of over 6,300 vessel ranging from battleships like the USS Texas to LCVPs that could land a squad of infantry.

It was a very near run event, as the current was high, the water was choppy, and the Germans had been reinforced. 12 Medals of Honor were won this day, including one by Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., (awarded posthumously) as well as a Victoria Cross. But the lodgment was secured and 11 months later Nazi Germany surrendered.

They went into battle with a prayer from America led by the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas — whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them–help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.*

This is not meant to be a history of the operation, that would take several bookshelves and has been done, my purpose here is to commemorate these men and show how their achievement has altered history.

Aftermath

Most of you know the rough outlines of the story, the British stalled trying to take Caen. In fairness, the British could not afford to take casualties, remember they had lost almost an entire generation merely 26 years earlier. The Americans attacked into the bocage country of Normandy, which the American Army, as always designed for movement, found very difficult. The best explanation may well be that of “an irresistible force meeting an immovable object”.  Eventually, the force triumphed and 3d United States Army debouched onto the plains of France, stopping only when they ran out of gas in the approaches to Germany. As we have said, 11 months later, Nazi Germany surrendered.

Historical Consequences

But the invasion was a gamble, what would have happened if it failed? Undoubtedly, the Americans would have transferred whatever forces were left to the Mediterranean to be part of Operation Dragoon which landed in the south of France 2 weeks later. This could never have been a war winner though, the best it could have done is tied down some German forces from moving to the Eastern Front. So, the war in Europe would have ended with the Red Army conquering Germany, and who’s not to say they wouldn’t have come on through France as well. Simple prudence would seem to demand it, while the American emphasis would have been transferred to the war against Imperial Japan. The result is Europe from Portugal to the Urals, and from Lappland to Italy dominated by Moscow. But the Invasion succeeded due to the Valor of the English speaking peoples. There is a Churchill quote taken from his speech to the House of Commons on 18 May 1940 that comes to mind.

We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God’s good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old.

On Tuesday, 06 June 1944, the Americans and the Canadians, supported by the conquered people of Europe, in concert with the British Army, guarded primarily by the British Fleet, that promise was made good.

But it doesn’t end there either, for without this successful invasion, the Soviets would have controlled all of Europe, and probably still would. Would Britain have survived, for that matter would North America? It’s not for us to know, neither is it a sure thing.

But certainly, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact would not have fallen as soon as 1990, thus making Europe from Portugal to the Urals and the North Pole to Sicily free.

As he often did, President Reagan said it better than anyone, when addressing those American Rangers we spoke of earlier, at the 40th anniversary of D-Day he said.

…The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — at the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe de Hoc.

These are the men who took the cliffs.

These are the champions who helped free a continent.

These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life…and left the vivid air signed with your honor….

This was the spirit that animated the entire force that conquered fascism, In the words of another great general, “They came, They saw, and They Conquered”. And so the lighted torch of freedom was maintained for another generation. But the struggle continues.

* I note, in passing, without comment, that President Obama opposed, and opposes, this prayer being placed on the World War II Monument in Washington D.C.

The ‘Melting Pot’: Some Lessons

melting_potFirst off, when Jess says she’s been doing some spring cleaning, believe her, she wields quite a broom! But let’s take what she said yesterday, and detail it out a bit.

My background is very similar to hers, except being in the US instead of the UK. But I’ve spent some time in cities, although not really living in any of them, as she is now. But when you study American history, well immigration and how we became Americans is a lot of the story.

She’s decidedly right, no matter how multi-cultural, and multi-racial a society is, most people like to live and work with people that are a good bit like themselves. That becomes somewhat less true as income and education levels increase, but it’s always true. The old WASP acronym NOKD (not our kind, dear) is more about human nature than it is specifically about what we used to call ‘Preppies’. That doesn’t preclude mixing things up, especially in pursuit of a higher goal. Theodore Roosevelt found that cowboys and Yalies got along pretty well, at least in Cuba in the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry (the Rough Riders). Another interesting thing about that unit was that the Lieutenant Colonel was a guy called John Pershing, his nickname was ‘Blackjack’ because he had commanded a troop of the 10th Cavalry, one of the black regiments, the Buffalo Soldiers.

In fact the American military has always had a lot to do, especially in wartime, with bringing our disparate groups together.

But those are exceptional. More common was the Irish migration in the 1840s and 50s. They knew all about discrimination, and that had much to do with why they stuck with their own people. They only began to be accepted during the civil war, and units such as the storied Irish Brigade, from New York, and the Confederate one, from Texas, had much to do with it. They were also overrepresented in the Army during the Indian Wars and provided the bulk of the labor force that built the western railroads.

And if I look back at my own family, they migrated from Norway in the 1880s and 90s, to entire communities of Norwegians, and continued to be Norwegian outposts in mostly Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa, speaking Norwegian until the First World War. None of that implies that any of those settlers, Irish or Norwegian, or any other, had any real loyalty to anything but the United States, they all gave up almost everything they knew and loved, including most of their families, to come here, but it was hard.

That’s the thing, acculturation is hard, even if you’re fairly similar, like an Irishman in New York, where the laws are even fairly similar, and it simply takes a long time. Is America good at it? Yep, we are, but we’ve never made it easy on anybody, from John Winthrop on down. The melting post is a crockpot (slow cooker) essentially. But you know, Lutefisk is improved by Colman’s mustard and a taste of Jalapeno peppers. It takes generations to acculturate people, usually it starts with the children in school, and often churches have helped. We have found that being a bit hard is good, for instance, a common language is nearly essential, and a common dream is very useful. But expecting somebody to get off the boat and be a fully formed and functioning American (or Christian, for that matter) is quite simply a pipe dream.

We can help, probably more than we ever have, with English as a second language programs, citizenship programs and such. I imagine there are similar things in evangelization, they are a good idea, but we are not going to take a Mexican, or a Syrian, and make them into an instant American, or Scotsman. Can it be done? Not instantly. But, I’m not sure the UK doesn’t have some of those answers itself. It seems to me, as the Empire shrank, and the UK let so many former colonials in, they found that they had indeed, become pretty much Englishmen, even if they looked a good bit different. Like our immigrants, they became what they wanted to be, and they were prepared to do the work necessary to make it so.

And that may be the main lesson: If the immigrants don’t want to acculturate, they won’t, and if they don’t, they weaken the society, not strengthen it. Vetting is essential, especially for permanent residents.

Almost, but Not Quite

From the Daily Standard:

The magic number needed to capture the Republican presidential nomination in 1976 was 1,130 delegates, and Ronald Reagan was oh so close as the national convention prepared to convene.

After losing six straight primaries to President Gerald Ford early in the year, Reagan had come roaring back, attacking Ford for his weak foreign policy and deficit spending and winning the crucial North Carolina primary with help from Sen. Jesse Helms. Reagan achieved a political resurrection and posed the most serious challenge to an incumbent Republican president since 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt had taken on William Howard Taft.

After Reagan won the Texas, Indiana, Georgia and Alabama primaries, a nonplussed GOP establishment that favored Ford struggled to understand the former California governor’s appeal. Conservative author Richard Whalen made it easy for them: Reagan was doing well because he was “unsullied by Watergate, untainted by Vietnam, and uncorrupted by a Washington system that isn’t working.”

However, after failing to carry Ohio although easily winning his home state of California, Reagan realized that the political momentum was shifting back to Ford. Something dramatic had to be done. Breaking a long-held precedent, he announced his running mate before the convention: Sen. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania, a moderate conservative with a high rating from the AFL-CIO. Schweiker assured Reagan and his aides that he could pry loose delegates from Pennsylvania and other Northern states. […]

Anxious to achieve unity, Ford generously invited Reagan to join him on the platform following his acceptance speech. Reagan gave a rapt convention and tens of millions of viewers a taste of what they would have heard if he had been nominated. Without notes or a teleprompter, he speculated how Americans 100 years from now would look back at this time.

Would they say, “Thank God for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom; who kept us now a hundred years later free; who kept our world from nuclear destruction?” This was this generation’s challenge, Reagan declared. “Whether [the Americans of 2076] have the freedom that we have known up until now will depend on what we do here.”

via When Reagan Almost Won: The 1976 GOP Convention

And perhaps we shall, once again, have cause to quote the old English ballad that Reagan quoted the next day:

“I’ll lay me down and bleed awhile; although I am wounded, I am not slain. I shall rise and fight again.”

If so, we will know, once again, that it is the truth. And we shall return to the arena.

Libertarian Nationalism

1904 cartoon. United States threatening Morocc...

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

Or this:

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

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

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

No better friend

No worse enemy

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

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

This government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.”

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

And this:

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

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

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

He ends this way:

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

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

I have little to add to that.

Labor Day

English: Col. Theodore Roosevelt. Crop of Imag...
English: Col. Theodore Roosevelt. Crop of Image:Theodore Roosevelt, 1898.png with minor Photoshop cleanup עברית: תאודור רוזוולט (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In North America today is Labor Day. If you’re a Canuck you can put the ‘u’ back in there for yourself. Theodore Roosevelt was a practical sort of man. Nobody ever accused him of being lazy but he also didn’t believe in doing useless work either. So he took a bunch of useless vowels out. Now you know why Jess and I trip each others spell checks a lot.

Here’s why Time thinks we celebrate Labor Day.

The first Monday of September means that white clothes are out, sales are in, summer holidays are over and classes begin. For many of us (but far from all of us), it’s a welcome day off of work or school, ahead of what is likely to be a busier month than the last.

Well, OK, I suspect they are sort of correct although I fail to see why we need a holiday that celebrates organization that protect the lazy and incompetent, you know like unions do. Mostly, I think we just needed a holiday to mark the end of summer. And to finish up the back-to-school shopping.

Of course, the schools have been known to jump the gun and thereby make this simply a long weekend, snow days have to come from somewhere after all.

In other news, Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit thinks the cure over at Rotherham could well consist of rope, lamp posts, and officials, with some assembly required. I have trouble disagreeing.

Perhaps we should expect no more when community preservation is outsourced to bureaucracies, but the unavoidable reality is that on many occasions, Rotherham police came upon children being sexually exploited—in some cases, in the very instance of being raped—and arrested no one. The perpetrators are Pakistani; they might call us racists. The children seemed to consent. These gangs are violent.

All of which amount to an admission by those police officers that they are cowards, and something less than men. I’m reminded of the janitors who discovered Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky’s rape of children, and who said nothing, for fear of losing their jobs. They were cowards too, and deserve to be remembered as such.

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