Identity Crisis in the Culture War

While most terms the leftists have used to describe themselves have had their time, “liberal” has stuck around. Why?

Words have power and are the guns and ammunition of a culture war, and America is in the middle of a culture war, between those on the left, who champion “equality” imposed by the full and unlimited authority of the government, and those on the right, who champion “liberty” governed with only so much power as to ensure the liberties of the People. It’s clear that the culture war has not been going well for us on the right.

From the late 1800’s through the 1940’s, both of the major political parties in the United States (Republican and Democrats) subscribed to a “progressive” western political ideology. The word “progressive” was embraced by all, it meant “forward thinking” and “advanced“. Words and ideas that appealed to the “collective” identity of Americans. Soon these words became the prevailing wisdom, and it was just accepted that “advanced nations” should use their political and economic advantage to the benefit of their citizens. Words like “liberty“, “enumerated powers” and “limited government” were tossed aside as things from a bygone era, quaint in its ideology.

By the 100th anniversary of James Madison’s death, the last surviving Founding Father, a long line of “progressive” presidents had already pushed through drastic political and cultural changes, expanding the executive power with a complicit Congress. Exactly the sort of changes that would have James Madison spinning in his grave. By the time Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented his “New Deal“, the fabric of the American liberty and individual “Natural Rights” were already in tatters. It wasn’t until the 1950’s when the shadow of the Soviet Union and their socialist tyranny threatened the free world that the Republican Party finally realized the importance of those “quaint values from that bygone era” and began to “conserve them” from being lost forever.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

– Benjamin Franklin – 

The wisest of all men once warned his followers to be wary of those who come in the likeness of a sheep but are inwardly ravenous wolves. In this we see the power of words, with clear visual metaphors and the stark implications of failing to heed the warning. That is the power of words, as well as the problem that we face. The wolves are among the sheep, and the sheep have been complicit in pulling the wool over their own eyes.

Consider for a moment all of the words that the left have employed in describing themselves: “progressive“, “socialist“, “leftist“, “democratic socialist“, and finally “liberal“. While most terms the leftists have used to describe themselves have had their time, “liberal” has stuck around. Why? The other words were often too honest and quickly had too much philosophical baggage to continue on, but “liberal“?  It offers the leftist something that they could never get on their own: “credibility“.

Take just a moment to research what “liberalism” means and, more importantly, its significance to the history of the American Revolution. The principles of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of property, freedom of commerce, security of privacy, secular government, and open diplomacy with foreign nations are core values to “liberalism“. They are the values for which the Founding Fathers put at risk their lives and sacred honor. They are the values Jefferson expounded upon in the Declaration of Independence. They are the values enumerated and protected by the Bill of Rights. They are the core cultural values that conservatives seek to “conserve“.

And yet conservatives, even prominent conservatives, will use the term “liberal” as though it were an insult, even as the leftists vigorously embrace the term. Why is it that the left continues to embrace the word? Because when conservatives hurl the word “liberal” as though it were an insult, it puts us on the wrong side of the values of “liberalism“.

george-washington

We are in the middle of a culture war that we are losing, and we are handing out our uniforms and ammunition to our opposition, and we are surprised that things have gone so poorly? The principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are at the core of our cultural values, yet so many conservatives continuously and willingly hand the power of that word to leftists when there is nothing “liberal” about “leftism“.

Criticize Barack Obama, and you aren’t exercising your freedom to demand redress of grievances, you are “racist“. Criticize Hillary Clinton, and you aren’t exercising your freedom of political speech in an election, you are part of the “War on Women“. Speak out against gay marriage, and you aren’t for freedom of religion, you are a “homophobe“. Disagree with ObamaCare, and you aren’t arguing for freedom of the market, you are “heartless” and “don’t care about the sick poor“. Want to abolish taxation of personal livelihoods, and you aren’t for freedom of property, you are “selfish” and “only care about the rich“. Protest against gun control, and you aren’t for protecting your Second Amendment rights, you are “promoting gun violence“.

The left doesn’t make “liberal” arguments. They make authoritarian collectivist arguments. They don’t care about the rights of the individual, they only care about the hegemony of the “collective“. Not only are the leftists not “liberal“, they are totally hostile to the principles of “liberalism” espoused by Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, and the Founding Fathers of the United States.

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you
can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
” – Sun Tzu

Cultures have values at their cores, which differentiate them from other cultures, and, traditionally, national borders have been drawn between people with different cultures. This idea of cultural identity is very important to nations, as it ties all members of the nation together with common values. Without these shared core values, a schism appears in society, which naturally creates cultural strife. This schism, unless dealt with, will eventually lead to the downfall of the culture and the nation.

In the United States, there has been just such a schism forming over the past century, that finds its roots in the first question of civilization: “Where does the line exist between the security of the nation and the rights of the individual, and how much, if at all, should it encroach on the basic liberties of men and women?”

This question precipitated the American Revolutionary War, and the very founding of the United States was an answer. It was the position of the Founding Fathers that the power of the state should be pushed to the far fringes of “Natural Rights“: right to life, right to liberty, and the right to property. Thomas Jefferson, among others, believed that government should exist only in so much and only as long as it protected those rights.

Thomas Jefferson was a liberal, and so are we as conservatives. Take back our word and we take back our identity. Take back our identity, and we take back our culture. Take back our culture, and we take back our nation.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

And just for the curious, the antonym of “conservative” isn’t “liberal“. It’s “radical“. Words matter. Use them carefully.

takebackourword

Liberty is For The Win!


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The Economy: Crash Cart Politics

Excuses won’t improve the economy but frankly neither will political rhetoric. Like a medical drama, the disease isn’t what’s killing the patient, it’s the treatment.

In hospital dramas, a patient is brought in with mysterious and horrific symptoms, and the medical staff race against time to save the patient’s life. To up the drama, the patient improves under treatment, then inexplicably relapses, developing new life threatening symptoms, and the doctors realize they were wrong about their diagnosis and the treatment. They run a battery of tests all through the night, then have some sudden insight, and try an experimental treatment.

It makes for riveting television. But what if the patient never gets better, no matter how many experimental treatments and expensive drugs are used? What if the goal of the doctors isn’t to actually let the patient get better, but to make the family think that they are doing something, so that the family will continue to let the doctors try experimental solutions? What if the doctors were politicians and the patient was the US economy?

So, the preliminary jobs numbers for October came out at the beginning of this month and were immediately touted as a sign that the economy is improving (seven years later). Taken on its own, 271,000 jobs created is a strong showing, not as strong as April (330), November (423), and December (329) of 2014, but it is fairly strong. However, between 15,000,000 and 20,000,000 Americans of working age are still sidelined by the economy, and, according to the Bureau of Labor, there are another 5.7 million Americans working part time, who want full time employment. That is as many as 25.7 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed in the United States. 271,000 jobs isn’t even a drop in the bucket at that point.

Further, there’s good reason to believe that many of the October jobs included tens of thousands of jobs that were NOT created in August and September, as only 290,000 jobs were created over the span of those two months combined. And while the job numbers have remained fairly stable through 2013 and 2014, the economy continues to have troubling symptoms. The third quarter GDP growth rate was revised downward from only 1.6% to 1.5%, half of the GDP necessary to create enough jobs to accommodate population growth, as was born out by the very modest job numbers in August and September. And it was only 0.6% in the first quarter of 2015.

The official U-6 number is currently at 10% to 11%, a number bad enough that even Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has made a campaign issue of the 1 out of 10 American workers sidelined in our economy. So, yes, the 271,000 jobs created was a good number, but it’s not good enough to make serious headway on the 25 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed in the United States. It’s a number that’s largely a result of hiring that didn’t happen in the third quarter, and it’s likely to be revised downward in the coming weeks.

And on top of everything else, the federal core loans rate remains at 0.10%-0.25%, where it has been since the bleakest days of 2008 in the middle of the Great Recession. The Bush Tax Cuts are still largely intact. And the Federal Reserve is still relying on quantitative easing, because the economy still isn’t responding to the low federal core loans rate. If the economy is doing so well, why are all of these “stimulative” policies still in place? More concerning still is why no one is talking about this in the mainstream media? We still have high unemployment, sporadic GDP growth, and a punitive regulatory environment, despite a full scale barrage of stimulus programs and increasing venture capital investment.

If we are to believe everything the Keynesians and socialists are to tell us about how the economy is supposed to work, then the economy should absolutely be on fire. With a federal core loans rate at less than 1%, a healthy economy would have run away inflation. With the quantitative easing policy, the economy should look like the Weimar Republic. After everything that’s been done to stimulate the economy, the economy is perpetually “recovering“. It’s time to stop accepting excuses as to why the economy hasn’t reached “expansion“.

“The buck stops here.”
-Harry S. Truman-

Excuses won’t improve the economy but frankly neither will political rhetoric. Like a medical drama, the disease isn’t what’s killing the patient, it’s the treatment. The patient simply can’t heal, because the treatment has the patient in constant state of trauma. The “cure” is to stop the “treatment“.

Let’s not mince words, however. Once the plugs are pulled and the needles come out, the economy is going to crash. The economy isn’t a living thing, however. Like a phoenix, the economy will be reborn from the ashes, and flourish anew. That’s how economies have worked since the dawn of human civilization. We have to stop letting politicians pretend they know what they are doing. The real challenge is that there may not be a politician brave enough to make these things happen.

Here’s the cure:

  1. Stop taking money out of the primary source of demand in an economy: the consumer. Consumer demand drives the economy. Every dollar you take away from the consumer is a dollar that is no longer available to buy something that drives the engine of the economy. Fairly taxing 250,000,000 Americans isn’t just inefficient, it’s impossible. Don’t tax individuals. (The Liberty Tax)
  2. Reduce the cost of hiring people, especially at the bottom rungs of the job market. More people working means more people buying. And more people buying means more people needed to produce, which means more hiring. Reducing the cost of labor also makes American workers competitive with foreign workers on an even playing field. Remember, the value of the dollar is arbitrary by definition, because the value of the dollar is determined by the market. Since the value of a dollar is arbitrary, the price of all goods and services adjust with the value of the dollar, not despite it. Reduce the minimum wage to $1.00 an hour. (The Currency Wage Policy)
  3. Eliminate regulation that is needlessly restrictive. Yes, we need laws that keep the environment clean, but we don’t need laws that redefine science. CO2 is not a pollutant. Any regulation that doesn’t directly deal with the health and safety of workers or consumers needs to be repealed. There are over a hundred federal agencies, when there should be no more than ten. The federal government’s job is to regulate commerce not to run it, and anyone that doesn’t understand the difference should not be in office.
  4. Stop federal dollars flowing into any part of the economy that isn’t attached to actual productive purchases. The federal government is not a hedge fund or venture capital firm. The government’s track record is terrible, picking losers over winners every time, such as the billions lost in the GM bailout alone. No more subsidies. No more corporate welfare.
  5. Cut government spending by at least half. It’s past time to look for a way to humanely sunset welfare programs, Social Security, and Medicare. We must find a way to maintain these programs for those currently on the programs, but cut them all off. For those who don’t meet the cut off, compensation for their contributions have to be made. The transition to better market or state level solutions is a priority. This will require action from the States and belief in the power of the market to solve problems and efficiently utilize resources.

Get government out of the economy, because, the secret is that economies do not need governments. It’s governments that need economies.

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW