The Mainstreaming of Bigotry

If we are to hold to the principle of pluralism that those on the left and the right both at least pretend to seek, we have to reject the purposeful intolerance of those whose political ideas may be antithetical to our own, so long as they do not harm others.

The first time two people came over a hill, took a long, hard, look at one another, then decided they simply didn’t like the look of one another, the evil of bigotry was born into the world. Since then, of course, there have been many hills and many long, hard looks, and bigots have only ever become more and more numerous. Villages have been turned to ash, armadas of slave ships built, and cattle cars filled with weeping humanity in an ever escalating tide of evil born of ignorance and prejudice.

Among many horrible things, 2016 revealed that bigotry was now mainstream in the United States, as millions of American voters on both sides of the aisle revealed just how little tolerance they had of opposing political views and values. It is this intolerance of ideas, not just skin color or ethnicity, that is the putrid heart of bigotry. It eats away at the bridges of society and civil norms until all bonds of country are so wasted that they simply collapse under the weight of blind hatred.

When we reduce each other to “evil, greedy, rich white people” and “stupid, lazy people, who need to get a job“, what is there to discuss? If simply “getting a job” solved all problems, poverty could have been eradicated eons ago. If “white people” are what’s causing all of the problems, why are so many nonwhite nations not utopias? What does any of this have to do with solving the problems that have plagued humanity since we started living together in multi-family communities in the first place?

“An eye for an eye will leave everyone blind.”
-Mohandas Gandhi-

Our culture is at an impasse created by the constant appeal to the lowest common denominator, exacerbated by politicians who have abandoned any pretense of rational political discourse. This may have something to do with the large numbers of people that have abandoned the major political parties altogether, as many Americans have simply had enough of the fact free, anti-intellectual political rhetoric of the last 20 years.

The norm, not the exception, is that most wrongs will simply never be righted. These injustices, both perceived and real, will never be punished, not because justice is invalid or unnecessary, but because the actual perpetrators of the injustices are dead and buried. To be absolutely clear, I’m not denying there are people who are so ignorant and maladjusted that they believe other people are inferior, simply because they are different. I’m not denying that people have acted maliciously upon these vile ideas.

What I am denying is that all people of any particular group are somehow complicit simply because they share similar skin pigmentation or blood relation with transgressors of any group. The superficial bigotry of racism is only the ugliest form of bigotry. Condemning others based on their racial identity, their political affiliations, or upon any other point not related to their actual deeds and words is the very definition of prejudice. The very thing the left and right both claim to abhor has become normalized in both camps.

People are individuals, not groups, so no one can nor should be held accountable for anyone’s wrongdoing but their own. While people may agree on certain things, even form political parties in order to further those goals, in the end, we’re still all individuals, subject to our own faults and fears.

“When they kept on questioning him,
he straightened up and said to them,
‘Let any one of you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.'”
-John 8:7-

Without common ground, society cannot function. If we are to hold to the principle of pluralism that those on the left and the right both at least pretend to seek, we have to reject the purposeful intolerance of those whose political ideas may be antithetical to our own, so long as they do not harm others. However, even when we hold people to account for the harm they do, we cannot simply dismiss their ideas. Jefferson said that “The people cannot be all, & always, well informed..“, but he held that the people always retained the right to rebel.

I hold that conservatives must defer to Jefferson’s judgment here, because in the pursuit of justice, fueled by the passion of youth, the wrong actions made for the right reasons, even if based on fallacious assumptions, will happen, and, indeed, in a free society, must happen, if the society hopes to retain its freedom. The confusion of these young leftists is not solely, or even predominantly their fault. The groundwork for their misinformation has been laid for decades before their birth.

For a young man or woman to understand differently than the prevailing culture is almost a miracle when we consider all of the forces at work at every level of our society to lead the young astray. Regardless, there is very little we can do to force leftists to hold themselves to a consistent moral standard. We are the only people we can hold accountable, and we cannot legitimately hold anyone to any standard of behavior, if we aren’t, in fact, holding ourselves to that same standard of behavior.

Every bigot is also a hypocrite.

Liberty is For The Win!


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The Cracks Begin to Show

If history teaches us anything, it’s that the very things that may make something popular are also often the very things that make it wrong.

Athens, as every school child learned, was the birthplace of democracy, specifically a political system where the people vote for (or against) political issues directly. Those same school children were also told that Athenian democracy and philosophy contributed greatly to American political culture. This, like so much of what we learned as children, is only partially true. While Athenian philosophy contributed considerably to the foundation of our culture, the Founding Fathers wanted very much to avoid anything like Athenian democracy and for good reason.

Like all of the Greek city-states, the Athenians had an established aristocratic political class that squabbled viciously for political power for centuries, resulting in a long succession of kings and queens. Very much like the American colonies would do over two thousand years later, the Athenian people, with the military support from the Athenian nobility’s enemy, the Spartans, overthrew their aristocratic rulers in a bloody revolution. Understandably suspicious of their landed elite, the Athenians adopted a democratic form of government.

Freed of the tyranny of their aristocracy, the Athenians quickly reached the heights of their political and economic influence within a matter of three generations. They established themselves as a dominant sea going nation, trading with the far corners of the Mediterranean. Their wealth and influence multiplied, allowing massive growth of culture and architecture. It’s during this period that the Parthenon, arguably the most iconic of classical structures in all of Greece, was built.

Even though they could no longer appeal to their “noble heritage“, the Athenian political class discovered that they could instead tout their “piety and patriotism” to gain the support of the common man. Once they had enough support to form a consistent majority, they began systematically eliminating their political rivals and silencing their critics. In the span of just a single century, barely a blink of the eye in terms of human history, the Athenians went from subjugation, to freedom, to wealth, back to subjugation again.

The crown jewel of their great culture, the Parthenon, stands now as a crumbling echo of the failure of their experiment with self rule. How did the Athenian democracy fail so completely?

“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.”
-Aristotle-

Some will blame the rise of political neighbors, such as Thebes and Macedonia, but the truth is much simpler. The Athenian democracy failed because the deposed political class never stopped seeking power and soon realized that they only needed a simple majority to get it. They didn’t need to appeal to well educated Athenians who usually knew enough to oppose them. All they needed was to convince the gullible and thick headed to support them. The more gullible and thick headed, the better.

Appealing to “piety and patriotism” was incredibly effective at getting common Athenians to support the elite’s political causes. So long as the common people believed what they were voting for was “good” and that anyone that opposed them was “bad“, no logic or reason could shake their support. Because it’s human nature to be suspicious of the new or unfamiliar, the first one to get their idea to the people wins. Since only the elites had the means and resources to exert that much control over information, they won.

In the end, the very democratic system that was meant to check the power of the political elite, became the very tool the political elite used to reassert their power. The Athenian experiment proved that those who wish to enslave a democratic populace can best do that by simply using the very democratic values that they wish to violate. Democracy, as it turned out, was worse than the tyrannical systems that the Athenians overthrew. Even with free and equal a democratic elections, Athens rose and fell in the span of human life span, even if a long one.

A republic, if you can keep it.”
-Benjamin Franklin-

Like the ruins of the Parthenon, the American Electoral College remains a crumbling echo of the republican form of government that the Founding Fathers thought necessary to protect the liberties of the people. While many people correctly point to elements such as the Electoral College as evidence that we were not founded as a democracy, they miss the point that the Electoral College is the only republican element of our government remaining.

Representatives in the House are, as they have always been, democratically elected by the voters of their home districts. Senators, however, were once chosen by their state’s legislatures, now they are elected democratically by voters in their states. Along with the President, once to be chosen by electors, the Senate was intended to act as a constitutional check on the democratic House. This was why the republic’s Senate, not the democratic House, confirmed appointments to the Supreme Court and to the President’s cabinet.

What we see when we look upon the remains of our once strong republic is but a cracked and empty shell, hanging by a thread over the boiling madness of democracy beneath. If we truly wish to save our republic, then we cannot ignore the very same lessons of ancient Athens that the Founding Fathers themselves saw and understood. Democracy is worse than tyranny, because it couples injustice with volatility and ensures the demise of a nation.

If history teaches us anything, it’s that the very things that may make something popular are also often the very things that make it wrong. It’s time to seriously look at who we allow to choose our politicians, keeping in mind that it is possible to allow people to have a say in their government without necessarily going full Athens.

Liberty is For The Win!


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Cry Wolf and He Will Come

In a nation founded by daring to question centuries old political and cultural assumptions at the heart of society, how have we become a nation so ready to cry wolf at the barest scent of nonconformity?

An old tale with many variations, here is my own.

Once upon a time, there was a young boy who had the responsibility of watching the village sheep. Though he was thought well of, he was easily bored and more than a little attention seeking. So while sitting by the fence, absently poking an ant hill with a stick in desperate boredom, he came up with a clever plan. Climbing the fence, he bellowed at the top of his lungs, “Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is gobblin’ the sheep!

The men of the village heard the boy’s cries and came running with their tools, but there was, of course, no wolf to be seen anywhere. As the men began to search the pasture, the young boy jumped out from behind a rock and yelled, “I fooled you! There was no wolf!” The men rebuked him, saying, “You shouldn’t cry wolf, when there is no wolf!“, but the boy only laughed harder, so they threw up their hands and went back to work in the fields.

The next day brought rain and cold, and the young boy found himself poking the very same ant hill, but there were no ants to be seen in the muddy mound, no matter how hard he tried to provoke them. He was cold, wet, hungry, and, above all, bored, so he again climbed the fence facing the village and yelled, “Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is gobblin’ the sheep!

Again, the men of the village working in the cold and wet came running with their tools. Again there was no wolf to be found. The boy jumped out from behind a rock and laughed, “I fooled you again! There was no wolf!” The men again rebuked him, saying, “You shouldn’t cry wolf, when there is no wolf!“, but the boy only laughed harder, so they again threw up their hands and went back to work in the fields.

The next day, dreary and overcast, the young boy found himself again, poking the ant hill with his stick and thinking about how hungry he was. Then he heard the anxious bleating of the sheep, as they huddled together. He looked around quickly and spotted a huge black wolf prowling the low stone fence. In terror, he climbed the fence and again yelled for his life, “Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is gobblin’ the sheep!

This time, the men had decided to teach the boy a lesson and didn’t leave the fields. Only when the foolish young boy didn’t come to have lunch did the men of the village go check on him. They found that a wolf had indeed been among the sheep, but they never found the boy, only his stick lying by the ant hill.

Bashir: “But the point is, if you lie all the time, nobody’s
going to believe you, even when you’re telling the truth.”
Garak: “Are you sure that’s the point, doctor?” 
Bashir: “Of course, what else could it be?” 
Garak: “That you should never tell the same lie twice.”
-Star Trek: Deep Space Nine-

Turn on the television or radio today, and you will find that there is no shortage of individuals crying wolf about one thing or other. This is true no matter which side of the political aisle you are on, as the list of people who have made their fortunes by shrieking about the other party’s wolves grows every year. What’s really troubling, however, is the sheer number of people that are not only willing to believe these cries of wolf, but to vote for it.

Once upon a time, ours was a nation whose leaders were individuals who pushed the boundaries of knowledge and understanding in multiple disciplines. The Founding Fathers themselves were true men of the Enlightenment, with keen interests in the practical and social sciences. Many of the Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, were inventors as well as politicians, holding numerous patents.

So important were these disciplines to the Founders that the power to invest in both science and arts (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8) appears in the Constitution before paying for the Army (Clause 12) or the Navy (Clause 13). They understood the American Revolution would never have occurred if not for the scientific and philosophical advances of the 17th and 18th Centuries. This is why they held deep reverence for the political, scientific, and social thinkers upon whose shoulders they stood.

What would these great minds think of America today? A nation of ill-tempered sheep, tended by heckling demagogues, whose only notable qualifications are being able to convincingly parrot party propaganda. With every passing generation, what constitutes “knowledge” and who is considered “knowledgeable” has become increasingly incoherent, and our once open forums have become cloistered echo chambers, increasingly given to bouts of hysteria.

How has it come to this?

“There’s a sucker born every minute.”
-Attributed to P. T. Barnum-

Gone are the days when true “Renaissance Men” were elevated to high office because they were to “an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications” for the job. Now there is serious doubt that such eminently qualified men and women could even win an election in a country filled with people that prickle at the least provocation. In a nation founded by daring to question centuries old political and cultural assumptions at the heart of society, how have we become a nation so ready to cry wolf at the barest scent of nonconformity?

Question the veracity of global temperature data that have only been consistently measured for the last fifty years or so, and you’ll be labeled a fascist, heartless science denier (even while citing scientific data). Point out that every large city in the United States run by Leftist administrations for the last 50 years have deteriorated economically, and you’ll be labeled a fascist, greedy science denier (even while citing economic data). Acknowledge significant differences between male and female cognitive functions and their resulting economic choices, and you’ll be labeled a fascist, sexist science denier (even while citing psychological data).

This kneejerk outrage culture that we find ourselves living in exposes the erosion among the political class of the kind of scientific skepticism that informed the Founding Fathers. Looking back through history, there seems to be a strong correlation between this ever lowering bar among our politicians and the progressive democratization of our political system. As more and more people have been allowed to vote, the more “every man” the political class has become.

While there are indeed wolves among the sheep, it’s time we realized that more than a few of those wolves are of our own creation. Before we can do anything about the wolves, we must first ask some very difficult and certainly unpleasant questions about ourselves.

Liberty is For The Win!


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The Primeval Purpose

With no government to take from them, they thrived. With no one to silence them, they advanced. With no one to tell them how best to live, they prospered.

A wagon crests the top of a gentle hill, rolling to a stop as the woman driving the horses sets the brake. The horses chomp at their bits and stamp the tall damp grass as even they sense the end of the long journey. She climbs down from the wagon and goes about the business of unhitching the horses from the wagon, so they can go about grazing. Her husband rides up on his horse, having spent the morning surveying the edges of their property. He helps unhitch the other horse from the wagon.

In the next few weeks, their home built with lumber purchased from the settlement a few miles south stands beside a garden freshly planted with crops that will, with luck, be ready for harvest before winter’s first frost. Chickens strut around a pen with a small chicken behind the main house. A milk cow wanders their pasture among the rabbits that already call the place home. They meet their neighbors to the north and east. By a few months later, the garden is growing within its fence, and the chicken coup is even painted to match the house.

They take things day by day, solving problems as they come. Years pass, as they raise their family. News comes more regularly, so they learn that the territorial governor has been changed. There’s talk of turning the territory into a state. As they go about their daily business of tending the twenty cows and watching the corn grow, this is only so much noise. What matters to them is that their four children are all accounted for by supper time. When their neighbors need help, they offer it, but outside of social occasions, they keep to themselves.

In the evening, the husband and wife sit out on the porch of their home and sip tea quietly contemplating the days before and the days to come. This was the way of things in independent frontier America, right up to the Civil War.

“[A]nd reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind,
who will but 
consult it, that being all equal and
independent, no one ought to 
harm another in his
life, health, liberty, or possessions…”

-John Locke-

Marred as the European culture is by a long history of tyrannical impulse, subjecting the lives of innumerable men, women, and children around the world to the brutality of their ever hungry, hereditary dictatorships, it is imprudent to condemn Europe wholly for all of their many misdeeds. After all, there are no other nations of people throughout time, if put into the European place of relative advantage, that would not have done exactly the same (with only one notable exception).

Even in the bloody melee of Europe’s fifteen hundred years of near ceaseless conflict, which even excludes the no less gory Roman Imperial era, there grew a series of ideas that, in the age of their greatest political, cultural, and military expansions, gave birth to the Enlightenment. At long last, people began to question the very hereditary social structures that had been just assumed for centuries. What if, for example, the lowly pig farmer was every bit the moral equal of the King himself?

The concept of a “primeval man“, living absolutely free of government and exercising his rights and beliefs to the limits of only his own conscience, was birthed in the realm of lounge parlor discussion. Nowhere in the developed nations of Europe could conditions exist that would allow the observation of human beings living independently of an entrenched government. Even the European colonies, though distant from their crown benefactors, weren’t without the dependence and necessary chains of their sponsoring nations.

In the century following the American Revolution, the country began to grow faster than the young Republic could keep up, doubling and tripling in size over the course of 50 years. In these vast gulfs of open and fertile land, free of government bureaucracy, America found herself. Men and women guided by only their consciences realized the very essence of the “primeval man” that had been only a pleasant intellectual theory for centuries.

With no government to take from them, they thrived. With no one to silence them, they advanced. With no one to tell them how best to live, they prospered.

“[Happiness] does not depend on the condition of life
in which chance has placed them, but is always the result
of a good conscience, good health, occupation,
and freedom in all just pursuits.”
-Thomas Jefferson-

It is the tyrannical impulse that drives people to impose their rule over others. In Europe, it was the crowns of state that imposed their rule through cliques of political and military force. In the Americas, for much of its expansion, it was through the enslavement of men, women, and children whose only fault was being born with dark skin. No society has failed to fall short of the highest ideals of Liberty, however it is the pursuit, not the destination, that matters.

In that pursuit, we must always remember that the instinct to shut down those whom we disagree with is never righteous, because it simply replaces one form of tyranny with another. Even while the social frameworks of America have been tested, from the earliest moments of the Revolution, when those who had committed themselves to independence found themselves at odds with those who had committed to the British crown, there have always been differences as to how much was too much and how much was too little.

I, personally, know that I take a hard line stance which seems extreme to many of my countrymen, but I ask only for you to trust me. In the home of the brave and the land of the free, someone must be the voice of the Primeval Man, even if alone, to remind America of who she is. Free of tax collectors, bureaucrats, and politicians. Free of social movements, identity politics, and progressive collectivist moralizing.

Let no man or woman put a chain on the neck of another, not in speech or in deed. Not even when they have managed to convince the mean and irrational masses of their tyrannical impulse. No matter how popular this imposition may be, so long as we do no actual harm to the life, health, liberty, or property of others, we are meant to be free in all things.

Liberty is For The Win!


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The Winter of Truth

As it turns out, the duty once again falls upon American conservatives, as it always has, to carry the torch for truth.

The sky barely shows signs of dawn’s early light on Christmas Day, when a young boy wanders into his parent’s living room. There he finds a plate of cookies and glass of milk conspicuously consumed. Presents now fill the space beneath the Christmas tree, piled one upon the other. Stockings that were empty the night before bulge with sweets and small toys. Absent any other explanation, the child may come up with any number of reasons for the sudden appearance of these things, but he has learned that there is precisely one very magical explanation.

After all, why would he believe any different? His belief in Santa Claus came first from the testimony of his own parents. It was his parents that brought him to see Santa Claus with his very own eyes at the mall, where he even had his picture taken with Santa. He’s written letters to the North Pole that his parents made sure got into the mail. During these precious and far too short years of childhood, how could this standard of truth not be enough?

Thankfully, the standard of truth that children need or even often understand is very different than the standard of truth that adults must contend with. We spend a great deal of energy shielding children from harder truths, such as where those painstakingly wrapped gifts actually came from or where Mister Socks the cat really went after being found “sleeping” in the snow. We do this because there’s plenty of time for young children to deal with these adult truths when they are older.

It is exactly as we grow older and take on more responsibilities, however, that the margin of error for truth rapidly shrinks. As voters in a constitutional republic, the standard of truth should necessarily be that much higher still, yet the easiest person to tell comfortable lies to will always be ourselves. Since everything we believe first passes through the lens of our own limited personal experience, what we know is necessarily tinged with that temptation to comfortable ignorance.

This being the case, how then do we know for certain what we know is true?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right
of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
Government for a redress of grievances.”
-The First Amendment to the US Constitution-

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the existent rights of free religion, free speech, free press, free assembly, and free petition. Absolutely nowhere in the First Amendment is there any qualification that these rights are protected only if in accordance to some arbitrary objective measure of truth. The same protections afforded to the mainstream media to spew their incoherent politically charged drivel are also afforded to the fact free GOP president-elect. Unfortunately, one of those two equally dishonest parties now possesses actual political power.

In a misguided effort to hold the media accountable to some imagined standard of objective truth, Republicans have succumbed to exactly the same media partisanship that conservatives have been fighting against for decades. For far too many Americans, the definition of “honesty“, especially where it concerns the media, is largely dependent upon who the media source supported this past election cycle. Pushed the wrong candidate, and your entire media outfit is tarred as being “fake news” by people citing literal tabloid media and conspiracy pulp as “truth“.

Now that this insanity has infected the Republican Party, exacerbated by an election cycle between possibly the two most habitually dishonest people in the entire country, it’s clear that neither Democrats nor Republicans are actually interested in truth anymore. We watched in horror as once seemingly rational people viciously denied even easily verifiable claims against their candidate, as truth took a back seat to winning their precious election. Where I once held hope that sanity would be restored after the election, those hopes have since been extinguished.

Watching Baby Boomer partisans melt down into hysterical rage simply because someone dared criticize their groping orange messiah proves that Millennial snowflakes cowering in their “safe spaces” didn’t lose their spines by themselves. Regardless of whose feelings were hurt, no matter who won this election cycle, however, it’s clear that the lies of the victor would be vindicated, and it would be incumbent upon the victor’s political party to rein in their elected candidate. As it turns out, the duty once again falls upon American conservatives, as it always has, to carry the torch for truth.

“Facts don’t care about your feelings.
-Ben Shapiro-

We find ourselves living in an America where people on both sides of the political aisle no longer care about the truth or even basic civility. People who believe themselves justified in dismissing news solely based on perceived political disagreement are no better than a child that believes in Santa Claus because his parents told him so. For a child, it’s quaint magical thinking. For an adult, it’s dangerously irresponsible cult-think that survives through intimidation, indoctrination, intolerance, and gross ignorance.

Gathered into a ideological movement, there’s no limit to the very real harm these people can cause. In the coming years, Conservatives must stand against the tyranny of lies that has usurped our political system with every ounce of courage the Founding Fathers possessed in standing against the British Crown. The long and cold night is only just beginning.

Brace yourselves, patriots.

Liberty is For The Win!


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Riding the Black Horse

At the very end of a long and costly war against a hated common enemy, two political factions resumed a bloody conflict that would decide the destiny of an ancient empire. On the one side were the intelligentsia: teachers, doctors, lawyers, and professionals of the nation. On the other side were the common men: laborers, workers, and farmers of the nation. In the conflagration of politicking and force of arms, the common man won out, driving the intelligentsia out of power for the next half century.

With a populist “common man” leader who had won the hearts and minds of his nation, the People’s Republic of China was born, and over the next two and a half decades, China’s advance as a 20th Century power was stunted and incomplete and remains a caricature of the western societies that it now seeks to compete against. However even the United Soviet States of Russia experienced more robust economic expansion and modernization than China after the Second World War, even though the Communist Party of China emulated the same Soviet style communist economic reforms.

While he is credited with the modernization of China and steady growth of his nation after the difficult war period, the truth is far more complex, and Mao Zedong’s protectionist industrial policies ultimately lead to the deaths of 60 to 70 million of his countrymen to famine. So why did China’s modernization and economic not only lag behind that of even the USSR, even when they employed the same socialist economy, but lead to the needless deaths of so many millions of the very people they sought to better?

In a word: protectionism.

“The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”
-Robin Williams, World’s Greatest Dad-

One of the central pillars of socialism is that government not only can maintain control over every element of the economy but must do so. It would, after all, be a strange form of socialism where people had the freedom to pursue their own economic goals, to contract with whomever they wish, and to make their own productive decisions. In that respect, the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China were largely identical, from the standpoint of bureaucratic control of every aspect of labor, capital investment, and even living arrangements.

The USSR, however, maintained a massive trade base, despite their espoused ideological hostility to western nations. In addition to trade with western European nations, like France and England, the USSR possessed many satellite nations with which it traded goods, services, and other basic commodities. Third world markets, including many countries in the Middle East and Africa, also contributed to the Soviet trade economy. Where their ideological differences did not prevent them, the USSR saw such trade blocs as one of the major ways to spread its political influence.

Mao, however, chose a more traditionally nationalistic path for China, instituting protectionist economic measures that limited trade to capital machinery beyond the capabilities of Chinese manufacturing to produce. As much as was possible, products such as food, basic building material, oil, coal, and other resources were produced domestically, because, presumably, this was best for the development of the Chinese economy. What foreign trade existed was limited to a very specific bloc of trade partners. For a while the Chinese economy grew, though coming from the destruction of the Japanese occupation years, the economy couldn’t have done anything but grow.

When several years of drought crippled the agricultural sector in China, Mao remained firm on his protectionist political policies, and forced his starving nation to depend on domestic sources of food. However his ignorance of the severity of the drought and his mismanagement of farmers exacerbated the food shortage that could have been alleviated by simply importing food from abroad. Instead the nation wide food shortage became the outright famine that claimed tens of millions of Chinese poorest farmers and workers.

This is the legacy of protectionism.

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
-Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life-

From an economics standpoint, the one thing that protectionist policies do extremely well is create shortages of goods and services. These are the very same goods and services that the people of a society need to make their lives comfortable and, in some cases, possible. Under normal conditions, increasing prices indicate a increasing demand, either from a new market or a serious shortage. These increasing prices encourage suppliers to provide more of these goods and services to the market in order to meet this demand, because higher prices means increased profitability.

In the case of rising food prices, it means farmers and ranchers can make more money producing more food. More food obviously reduces the threat of hunger. Protectionism, however, eliminates possible foreign suppliers, no matter how inexpensive, from the market, because it is an economic policy designed to create barriers to non-domestic suppliers. So what happens if there aren’t enough domestic farmers and ranchers to meet the needs of the people? We already know what happens.

Worse, protectionism isn’t even a new idea. Trade barriers between nations and empires were the norm for thousands of years. Controlling who and what came into your country was the guiding principle of the Roman Empire. If they found a source of a good or services in a neighboring territory that they needed, they didn’t open trade negotiations. They sent a Roman Legion and claimed it for Rome. The Imperial Chinese were no different, and their armies were sent on “trade missions” across central and east Asia to “negotiate trade” in bloody wars for thousands of years.

The entire reason both Imperial Japan and National Socialist Germany invaded their neighbors in conflicts that ultimately became the Second World War and costing the lives of millions of men and women around the world in the first place was to acquire foreign markets and turn them into domestic markets, making resources that were not available to them through trade, available through conquest. This is the fundamental truth about protectionism and why it is fundamentally unAmerican.

In a land of plenty where the pursuit of happiness is cherished, especially when we consider the alternative, what kind of patriot supports a government policy that provably does more to hamper the pursuit of happiness for poorer Americans and ensures less is generally available for everyone? What kind of patriot uses government power to reduce freedom of commerce, the very definition of socialism? No kind of patriot at all.

Liberty is For The Win!


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Economic Speed Round: December 2016

The latest helping of government data on jobs and the economy are remarkably rosy, but there are more than a few dark clouds surrounding the silver linings.

It’s the first Friday of December, so the job numbers for November are out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the latest economic report came out from the Bureau of Economic Analysis on November 29th. The latest helping of government data on jobs and the economy are remarkably rosy, but there are more than a few dark clouds surrounding the silver linings. Let’s dig in to the numbers.

Official Unemployment Rate: 4.6%

The U-3 unemployment number is the biggest news from the latest jobs report, dropping to the lowest level since 2007. While a welcome sign of recovery, this is a number we could have seen four years ago without the burden of ObamaCare and massive taxing and spending programs that have slowed the economy. While the U-6 number also improved to a seasonally adjusted 9.3%, the Labor Force Participation Rate and Employment-Population Ratio numbers remained at their historically low 62.7% and 59.7% rates, respectively.

This indicates that the improvement in the unemployment rate is largely due to new workers entering the work force and finding jobs, while older members of the work force continue to drop out of the work force entirely. Only when we see a significant increase in both the LFPR and EPR numbers, along with a low unemployment rate, could we confidently say sidelined workers (ie, not presently in the work force) by the recession are reentering the work force. We aren’t seeing that, so put away the Champagne for now.

Jobs Created: 178,000

The economy created a solid number of jobs in November, though 65,800 fewer jobs than the Q4 2013-2015 average of 243,800 and 102,000 fewer jobs than same period last year. This isn’t something we can just gloss over, because that indicates that 26.9% fewer jobs were created from the prior three year average. That’s not insignificant, especially when considering the sheer number of temporary retail jobs that are generally created in late November leading into the Christmas shopping season.

The number of workers marginally attached to the work force jumped to 1.9 million, “up by 215,000 from a year earlier” (from the Labor Report), and, according to table B-1 from the report, year to year retail jobs were down 8.3%, with department stores reporting 5.1% fewer jobs from just 2015. While some of this may be due to increased competition from online retail, it’s too early to write it entirely off to that. It also represents quite a bit of dark cloud around the silver lining.

Q3 Annualized GDP Growth: 3.2%

The second estimate of the Q3 number came out at the end of last month, showing the first GDP growth rate above 3.0% since 3rd Quarter of 2014, only the eighth time the GDP growth rate has broken 3.0% during the Obama administration. Tempering this good news is that the stimulus programs of Quantitative Easing and historically low federal funds rates remain in place.

If the economy were really in good shape, the GDP growth rate should be over 10% given current stimulus conditions, yet both growth and inflation remain at very modest levels. If we think of stimulus programs as hospital care, until the patient isn’t receiving any more treatment, we can’t say definitively that the patient, being the US economy, is no longer very sick.

That’s the Economic Speed Round for December 2016. Catch you in a month.

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