Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Founding

Dilbert on iPhone Government

Almost everything Dilbert creator Scott Adams says here is wrong--it's supersized Progressivism--but he makes a host of wise and witty comments along the way.  Examples of what I mean: 

If James Madison came back, he'd be peeved that he was the primary author of the Constitution and we honor his memory by not caring when his birthday is. When he stopped whining about that, and noticed that the system he designed has turned into a congealed ball of lard that eats money and excretes red tape, he'd probably be more humble about his contribution.

I'm fairly certain Ben Franklin wouldn't be impressed by our pace of innovation. He invented the post office and showed us electricity, and it still took us 200 years to come up with email. We're not good at connecting the dots.

RTWT.  For a closer look at Madison principles see these newly published brief essays, especially this long one by Tony Peacock and this short one

Categories > The Founding

Pop Culture

The Reactionary Left

A song for the Lefties protesting Capitalism. Heighten the contradictions!
Categories > Pop Culture


Less bang for the buck

The argument is often made that a government-run medical system is necessary in this country, because Americans spend a great deal on health care relative to citizens of other advanced industrial countries without getting comparable results.  Might I respectfully suggest that anyone who believes that a government-run system will deliver more bang for the buck consider the case of the public schools?
Categories > Education


Is the Electoral College Outdated?

This is the topic of a discussion taking place at Hillsdale College's Kirby Center this coming Friday. John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center and the principal contributor to the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Commission, will be speaking on the growing support for the National Popular Vote and what the implementation of that system would mean for our nation. If you're in or near Washington, stop on by to participate on Friday at noon. If not, you can also view it online.

While on the subject of the Electoral College, I would also like to bring to your attention a recent memorandum by the Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky on the issue.
Categories > Elections

Shameless Self-Promotion

Occupy Wall Street: Facts and Fictions

Daily Caller has posted an article of mine tackling the truths and fictions of Occupy Wall Street coverage.

"Occupy Wall Street" has captured global attention and become the darling of the world press. CNN hosts a "Meet the 99%" webpage advertising the movement on MSNBC's praise of OWS has approached religious awe. Yet for all the attention, many assertions about the movement are flatly inaccurate.

I address fictional media accounts which report OWS as having a "global span" and "global importance," being a "historic movement" (in the image of the Tea Party, Arab Spring and civil rights movement) and having achieved "effectiveness." An example:

Global Span: Claims that OWS has spread to countries around the world - that is, Europe - fail to recall that circuses of this sort have been common in Europe for years. The OWS brand of demonstrator belongs to a quasi-professional cadre of anti-everything crusaders who follow protests like a Grateful Dead tour. Euro-protesters launch copy-cat OWS rallies because that's what they do - they follow protests, not issues. Euro-protests have now reached America, not vice versa.

Several factual accounts are also considered, such as the group promotion of "direct democracy," and projection of "diversity" and "independence." Of course, all of these qualities prove to be liabilities when explored rationally. An example:

Direct Democracy: Commentators report that OWS presents an alternative to established republican government and reacquaints Americans with a strain of direct democracy. This is true, but confuses virtue and vice. OWS looks like direct democracy because it is disorganized, leaderless, inefficient, susceptible to demagoguery, overly influenced by passions and incapable of articulating a coherent philosophy or forming a consistent governing policy. These are precisely the reasons the Founding Fathers prudently rejected direct democracy in favor of representative government.

As always, I hope you'll RTWT.


A Foreigner on Obama

A foreigner made the off-handed comment today that Obama would win another term. As this person does not religiously follow American politics but is a rather perceptive sort, I asked how she could speak so confidently. She replied that everything that could go wrong in America had gone wrong, yet Obama was still popular enough to win. What else could go wrong in America to significantly hurt him?

I reluctantly concede the foundation, while yet refusing to accept the conclusion. As I've posited many times before, the Democrats' greatest weapon and advantage in American politics is not their ideas, policies or message. It is an allied media. Had Fox News not come into existence, Republicans would score 10% lower in every poll against Democrats. But Fox is but one voice among many. Without the media's absolute support of the liberal line, the Democrats would be a different party - and I wonder to imagine a world with a comparable right-wing media dominance and sense of license.

Nevertheless, the world is as it is - which means Republicans must strive to control the message throughout the campaign. The Republican most able to implement this strategy has a significant "plus" as a candidate, and should be viewed as such in the primaries. The ability to control the media directly equates to electability. It is obvious that Obama is able to avoid the blame he deserves for objective faults - it is the Republicans' role to act as a substitute media for the American people.

Categories > Elections

Foreign Affairs

Sink the European Stability Union

On November 1, 1993, the Maastricht Treaty entered into force, creating the European Union. The treaty faced a tumultuous start as it failed its first Danish referendum, squeaked by with a victory in a French referendum by just one percent, and almost saw the British Parliament overthrow the government of John Major. Denmark and the United Kingdom were pacified by provisions exempting them from certain aspects of the treaty. Eighteen years later, the path towards ever-closer Union has been completely derailed, the news of the day filled by the possibility that, come January, the European Union will be on the road to disintegration--at least in the form that we currently know.

In an effort to avoid the fate of the former Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who was thrown out of office one year ago with the lowest approval ratings in Irish history after forcing a European bailout on his countrymen, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou made a startling announcement that he would be putting the terms of the European Union's Greek bailout, decided at a summit of European leaders last week, to a popular referendum. Recent polls indicate that the bailout is massively unpopular among the Greeks, and unless Papandreou has some trick up his sleeve, the vote in January will be to oppose the bailout. This means that Greece will default and suffer economic collapse, the contagion poisoning what is left of European stability. It will also be the likely first step towards Greece's departure from the Euro currency; perhaps the first of several departures. It will be economic chaos that could very well thrust the world back into a large recession. While that consequence is undesirable, I contend that this is better for Europe in the long-run.

My reasoning for this is that the European Union's leadership went too far last week in assaulting the sovereignty of the people of Europe. Despite the efforts of the German Bundestag and the British House of Commons against it, the "stability union" was approved after Chancellor Merkel's warnings of war in Europe should it fail. This union permits to the European Union the power to approve or disapprove the budgets of member-states--that is, to control the taxation and spending policies of individual nations. In effect, this means that the governments of individual states are no longer answerable to their people on one of their most fundamental reasons for existence: decisions on taxation and spending. With this new "stability union" the power over fiscal policy now belongs to centralized bureaucrats in Brussels, not Europe's national leaders. This cannot be. Though the economic consequences could be terrible for the whole world, Greece is right to challenge this. The popular tide in Europe has always been opposed to the elite-driven experiment in union, and now Europe's oligarchs have gone a step too far. Damn the torpedoes. 
Categories > Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs

Can Palestine Take Down the UN?

In their continued bid to walk around peace talks and claim statehood by recognition in the United Nations, Palestine today won a victory by being accepted into UNESCO as a full member, 107 nations voting in favor and 14 voting against, with 52 abstaining. The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization receives 22% of its annual budget from the United States and 3% of its annual budget from Israel. Federal law made in 1990 and 1994 mandates that the United States stop financing any part of the United Nations that accepts Palestinians as full members, and the Department of State has confirmed that there is no leeway in the legislation, no matter how much President Obama likes UNESCO--it is going to lose one quarter of its funding, starting now, and will subsequently have to begin laying off staff and shutting down offices around the world unless other nations move to help cover the expenses.

The vote also revealed more fully to us which countries are siding where. Voting alongside the United States and Israel at UNESCO were nations like Germany, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Opposing us were France and Belgium, and then the expected votes of China, Russia, India, Brazil, and the vast majority of Africa and the Middle East. Most of Western civilization abstained from voting, including Britain, Japan, Italy, and Poland; while Latvia and Romania abstained, they initially voted against Palestine in executive committee.

Bolstered by this move, Palestine will continue to go around to various United Nations organizations and seek full membership. This action by the Palestinians comes at a time when Americans are even more skeptical of the United Nations and foreign entanglements than usual, and when our politicians are looking for any way to trim things out of the budget--with unpopular foreign aid (however small a part of our budget it may actually be) being a popular thing to add to the chopping block. As the primary source of funding for the United Nations, the United States could potentially start gutting the international organization if Palestine continues to be successful in this bid for statehood. It will be interesting to see how President Obama will straddle the line between his love for the United Nations and the combination of federal law, American support for Israel, and security in the Middle East forcing him to defund various parts of the United Nations. While I have a feeling he's just itching to sign waivers exempting the United Nations from the law, the political reality of already being an unpopular president going into a reelection year will probably compel him not to come across as joining nations like Russia and Iran in supporting Palestine over Israel.
Categories > Foreign Affairs

Political Philosophy

I Am Number . . .

4,196,949,605 of 7 billion people on earth.

I am the 78,636,613,080th person to have lived since history began.  

The historic milestone cannot but bring to mind the global hysteria of the "population bomb," a liberal fallacy which led to the international community's willful complicity in global programs of sterilization, abortion and human-rights abuses. The UN Population Fund is a remnant of this shameful history and exists now as little more than an international lobby for the abortion industry which identifies the Catholic Church as a greater enemy to "reproductive rights" than China.

Of course, the lie of overpopulation was always a mere means to the end of liberal globalization: the liberal control of international organizations capable of stealing sovereignty from the nations (and thus people) of the world. Liberal globalization would achieve by stealth and trickery what the greatest imperialists and conquerors in history had failed to achieve by force. Their weapon was fear and their delivery mechanism was "undisputed science" which captured the world's population in a stupor of ignorance.

Of course, rational minds prevailed. The Catholic Church was foremost in the resistance to these immoral policies and authoritarian tactics. Conservatives likewise opposed the radicalism of population control. They were vindicated as being on the side of science and rationalism.

Of course, the media largely failed to notice any of this. Partially, they didn't wish to expose their own complicity. But more importantly, they were already chanting the next cadence of liberal globalization. Global cooling was next, followed by global warming and now climate change. The entire environmental movement, with its need to regulate all life on the planet at the international level, serves this goal. Internationalism - be it law, politics, diplomacy or economics - has long been dominated by the left. They have recognized since the "population bomb" days that the last battlefield is global in breadth and that internationalism is the strategic high ground.

Their climate and environmental alarms will likely herald nothing more frieghtening than the overpopulation scare - and the damage inflicted on the world will be relative to the successes of such policies. Right-minded people have and will continue to oppose their secret war of oppression, but today is, more than anything, a reminder of the radical left's grand strategy.

Political Philosophy

Noonan on Ryan on Obama

Peggy Noonan has been listening to Paul Ryan. And Paul Ryan has been talking about Barack Obama. Noonan (re)confirms that she likes what she hears from Ryan in this weekend's WSJ.

This week [Ryan] spoke on "The American Idea" at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. He scored the president as too small for the moment, as "petty" in his arguments and avoidant of the decisions entailed in leadership. At times like this, he said, "the temptation to exploit fear and envy returns." Politicians divide in order to "evade responsibility for their failures" and to advance their interests.

The president, he said, has made a shift in his appeal to the electorate. "Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment."

But Ryan also had harsh criticism of conservative sacred cows.

. . . Republicans, in their desire to defend free economic activity, shouldn't be snookered by unthinking fealty to big business. They should never defend--they should actively oppose--the kind of economic activity that has contributed so heavily to the crisis. Here Mr. Ryan slammed "corporate welfare and crony capitalism."

Ryan articulates an interesting blend of liberal anti-wealth and conservative anti-spending sentiments by addressing government spending as benefiting the rich (rather than, as liberals would have it, the poor). Ryan casts Democrats - historically the party of big government - as the party of big government and big business. 

Rather than raise taxes on individuals, we should "lower the amount of government spending the wealthy now receive." The "true sources of inequity in this country," he continued, are "corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless." The real class warfare that threatens us is "a class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society."

Noonan observes that the American zeitgeist exhibits fear of division and posits that we may be  "living through the moment we'll look back on as the beginning of the Great Coming Apart." Yet where Obama has abandoned the hope of his former campaign and flung himself into the widening rift of social division, Ryan is an island of calm rationalism.

If more Republicans thought--and spoke--like this, the party would flourish. People would be less fearful for the future. And Mr. Obama wouldn't be seeing his numbers go up.