Right Noise [A Tale of Two (Ancient) Cities]

Donald Trump is almost heroic–really.

Find out what our philosophical, cultural, and religious ancestors recommend we do to weather the Trump Era.

 

Credits:

  • Music: “From Then to Now” by Cutside; “I and I” by Downbeat; “Huzzam Oyun Havasi” by Seyyah; “Vari Hasapiko” by The Rosen Sisters; “Mary Celeste” by Kevin MacLeod; “Outside Poolside” by Lasswell; “Fossils” by Kyle Preston

The Art of the Pointless

Is politics still the “art of the possible?” In America, today, it appears as if politics has become the art of the pointless. Congress finally passed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, along with a defunding of Planned Parenthood, and sent it to President Barack Obama–for veto. None of the lawmakers who supported the bill thought the president would sign it, but Republican constituents would have still demanded it be done. John Boehner’s House of Representatives passed an ACA repeal about 40 times, knowing the Senate would never bring the bill to a vote.

 

Why fight unwinnable battles? Apparently, futility is good politics.

 

Donald Trump sits atop the Republican polls, a seemingly unstoppable force–at least until actual votes are cast. His plan to fix the immigration crisis consists of building a giant wall along our Southern border and “making Mexico pay for it.” The wall will cost upwards of $20B, face eminent domain challenges across multiple states, and will do nothing to staunch the sizeable minority of immigrants who fly into America and overstay their VISAs. In short, it’ll never happen.

 

No matter. Mr. Trump’s supporters also like his policy proposal to curb domestic terror attacks by restricting immigrants and visitors who confess to being Muslim. If you ignore that a cunning jihadist can lie about his religious orientation and gain access into his target, the idea is almost plausible. Except that such a policy would run so far afoul of the law that crafting the language of the legislation would be an exercise in futility.

 

Perhaps Donald Trump isn’t such a viable candidate.

 

Luckily, then, there’s Ted Cruz–the Senator from Texas who led a government shutdown that did not (because it could not) achieve the goal he intended. Then again, Cruz’ goal may have been to raise money for himself, in which case, the government shutdown worked perfectly. In the last debate, Mr. Cruz ended a sharp spat with Marco Rubio by saying that he would not support a path to legal status for the tens of millions of undocumented workers already living in the United States. Refusing such a path means either accepting the status quo, a broken immigration system, or deporting each of the illegal immigrants.

 

Deporting 12 million illegal immigrants would cost somewhere between $166B and $285B. These figures neglect the less tangible costs of businesses closing, industries taking a serious hit, and the bad press we would receive as we broke up families to send more than 32,000 people out of the country every day. Imagine how the photographs from the largest forced migration from America will adorn future liberal history textbooks.

 

It will never happen, though. That won’t stop Cruz from suckering people into believing in impossibilities to his self-serving ends.

 

Before concluding that futility politics exists solely on the right, turn your attention to President Obama’s executive orders on firearms. Look, too, to his “common sense” policy prescriptions–none of which would have done a thing to stop any of the recent mass shootings or curb gun deaths, as most are the result of suicides. Still, though, gun control measures soothe Democrats’ consciences.

 

Both Democrat Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, propose to make college tuition free, at least for students attending state schools. The cost of such a plan begins at more than $70B annually. This wouldn’t be a good investment even if it weren’t paying to send people to college who can already afford to go by their own means.

 

Combine this idea with Sanders’ plan for universal health insurance (Medicare expansion), his federal jobs programs for disadvantaged youth, his $1T infrastructure policy, and his expansion of Social Security benefits, and the likelihood of any of these plans coming to fruition matches that of Ammon Bundy’s standoff ending in his victory.

 

If American voters are so frustrated with politicians, why do we settle for and insist upon feel-good, doomed-to-fail, kamikaze, gestural politics?
There ought to be a law…

The Democrats’ Refugee Crisis

Democrats, nationwide, face a vexing refugee crisis of their own making: Hundreds of thousands of people have picked up their lives to rescue their families from devastation wrought by liberal incompetence and naive policies. These refugees, numbering nearly 1,000 per day, simply seek a better life, even if that means contending with culture shock and a change of climate. However sympathetic to the refugees’ plight, the people tasked with accepting them fear that the newcomers will bring along a dangerous worldview that can turn their newfound garden spots into the dysfunctional locales they left behind. As observers sift through the data to learn as much as possible about these refugees, one point remains clear, virtually all of them are Americans.

Writing for the Washington Times, Stephen Moore describes the IRS’ findings showing that, liberal blue states continue to hemorrhage people to conservative red states.

“The new Census data…in 2014 shows that the top seven states with the biggest percentage increase in in-migration from other states are in order: North Dakota, Nevada, South Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Arizona, and Texas. All of these states are red, except Colorado, which is purple. Meanwhile the leading exodus states of the continental states in percentage terms were: Alaska, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Kansas. All of these states are blue, except Alaska and Kansas.”

The first, most obvious, question is why.

In a summer debate with Moore, New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, argued that weather caused the migrations. “Air conditioning,” Krugman said, “has made the South more liveable.” While that may play some role in the migrants’ calculus, that explanation fails to justify why Americans jettison New Mexico for North Dakota. Furthermore, Moore notes that California, known for its beautiful weather (droughts notwithstanding), lost more than a million more people than it gained over the last decade.

Moore accredits this phenomenon to liberal policies, like pro-union legislation and green energy myopism, noting that Right to Work laws and the exploitation of oil shale mining act as magnets for people, industry, jobs, and opportunity.

Nowhere can Moore’s point be more evident than in our home state of Illinois. Illinois Policy Institute’s Vice President of Policy, Michael Lucci, explains that Illinois lags behind every state in the region in job growth, in large part, because it is surrounded by Right to Work states. And while the Land of Lincoln greatly underperforms her neighbors in job growth, she surpasses them in adding citizens to food-stamp rolls.

“During the recovery from the Great Recession, the Land of Lincoln, alone in the Midwest, had more people enter the food-stamps program than start jobs. Food-stamps growth in Illinois has outpaced jobs creation by a 5-4 margin. In fact…Illinois put more people on food stamps than every other Midwestern state combined.”

Increasing the number of Americans living in red states may appear to favor conservatives, as population boosts equal increases in the number of U.S. House seats and electoral college votes. In fact; Reid Wilson, writing for The Washington Post; argues that the 2016 electoral college map will favor Republicans precisely because of these migrations.

“Blue states would lose a net of four electoral votes, and red states would gain a net of two…the equivalent of flipping a state the size of Iowa from the blue column to the red column,” Wilson writes.

Unfortunately, though, Republicans may not enjoy such luck. Just as Moore indicates, by noting Colorado’s “purple state” status, the sad truth is that too many blue state refugees bring their blue state politics with them to their new homes. NPR’s Alan Greenblatt explains,

“Lots of Californians have moved to Denver and its environs, bringing a progressive strain of politics with them and angering more conservative parts of the state…Conservatives have discovered that living on the far side of the Rockies is no longer far enough to get away from the influence of West Coast liberals.”

Even worse, Colorado is not the only Republican state suffering from the political ideologies of the Left’s “huddled masses.” Greenblatt notes that Nevada, Idaho, and Utah are also transitioning, while other red states “enjoy” more liberal enclaves than in years past.

The remedy for conservatives wanting to combat these trends remains unclear. By staying in red states and fighting off the refugees’ influence, the state remains an attractive magnet for an even greater influx of liberal immigrants. By leaving red states and going to abandoned blue states, like Michigan and many in the Northeast corridor, red states flip quicker to blue as liberals drive conservatives out.

In an ideal country, liberals would own up to their deficiencies. They would abandon fallacious policies; like arbitrary minimum wage hikes, and aversion to nuclear power and hydraulic fracturing. Liberals would understand that unions have a place, but they also have costs and limitations. In an ideal country; liberals would be cured of their obsession with expensive, high-speed rail fantasies; and massive, duplicative, food-stamps programs.

In an ideal country, liberals would be conservative.

In the meantime, maybe red states should consider adopting comprehensive intra-immigration reform.

The Free Exchange (15-006)

The Free Exchange is a regular series in which I answer comments to the articles I write at Black and Red. I welcome any and all of my precious readers to share your thoughts about anything I write, tweet or post. I promise to respond.

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The Complexities of Identity Politics and The Free Exchange (15-005)

Black and Red Fan writes:

I just finished reading your comments on illegal immigration. I love it. This is the most clear and most organized groups of words on this topic that I have read. It makes total sense to me. Your words reflect Prager’s view who said that illegal immigration is not an immoral act, only a technical violation of the law. I agree with that completely. I actually supported the President George W. Bush/Edward Kennedy comprehensive immigration bill back in 2007. I was sad that it did not pass thanks to the Republican Party. I think what you said here is exactly what the GOP needs to do.

One interesting aspect of this is whether our viewpoint on this would be considered leftist or liberal or moderate conservative. I ask this because I don’t know about your experience, but this is the one issue where I’ve heard fellow conservatives be surprised that I have this “soft” view. Since they know me to advocate staunch and strong conservative viewpoints on just about every issue, they figured that I must have some liberal viewpoint on some issue and they think this is it. Frankly I don’t care. I don’t take a position on an issue because it is conservative. I follow the Bible and think out the issue and the conclusion I arrive at just all happen to be conservative viewpoints. I guess this is the one possible exception. Again it doesn’t matter in terms of the substance of this issue (which I agree with 100% of what you wrote) but just on a political theory nerd intellectual perspective, I wondered where we would fall on this issue. Thanks and I look forward to your comments if any.

J Hunter:

Thank you so much for the comment. I’m glad that you found my comments on immigration clear–when I write Free Exchange articles, I’m a lot less formal and sometimes that informality can cloud my clarity. I’m glad that wasn’t the case here.

My experience with talking about immigration with other Republicans has been mixed. Most of the time, my views on immigration are pretty well received. Some conservatives, though, think I’m way to the left on this issue. My first answer to the question of where we are (liberal or conservative) on immigration is: we’re not on the liberal side. My second answer is: that can’t be determined in the “left or right” paradigm. These answers may appear contradictory, so I’ll take great care to make my case as clear as possible.

To my first answer, our approach to illegal immigration matches the principles of the modern Republican Party–namely respect for the rule of law and a concern for the welfare of others. Liberals take a more Romantic view of immigration–one that cares less about the rule of law and more about “helping” the immigrants. Talk to liberals about border enforcement, and you hear silence. In practice, though, they piggyback off of Republican efforts. What has President Obama done to increase border security? Not much beyond continuing what the Bush Administration successfully implemented. Obama has done more to push legalization efforts like the DREAM Act, and has failed the millions of children who crossed the border months ago. In short, the difference on this issue between left and right is that the left appears unconcerned about enforcing laws going forward or penalizing those who broke the immigration laws in the past and need to attain legal status.

Our position cares for the people: the illegal immigrants, the legal immigrants, the children of illegal immigrants, and natural born citizens who share communities with the newcomers. Our position also cares for the rule of law, mandating that those who broke the immigration law face appropriate punishment, be in good standing with our other criminal laws, and positively contribute to our society by working. So, in these ways, I see us as squarely supporting the tenets of Conservatism: personal responsibility, respect for the rule of law, and welcoming other people to be a part of the American experience.

To my second answer, liberal and conservative (left and right) refer to an answer to The Enlightenment–to The Age of Reason–to Modernism. Premoderns believed that objective truth was knowable and that it came from God. Our rights, therefore came from God. During the Enlightenment, intellectuals like Rousseau and Voltaire challenged that assertion and concluded that truth comes from man and his experiences. Therefore, our rights come from man.

Those who believed Rousseau and Voltaire went East and spawned Nihilism, Communism, Nazism–the brainchildren of Modernism. Those who believed that God grants us rights and Truth went West to England and the New World–America.

This dichotomy describes the difference between liberalism and conservatism in that liberalism believes that rights derive from man: Homosexuals want to marry? Let’s name it a right. Do you want your neighbor to pay for your healthcare and material desires? From government comes your right to these things. Conservatives look to God and tradition to determine our rights’ source: there is no right to kill the unborn because God (the author of Truth and Rights) names every life sacred. There is no right to homosexual marriage because from God comes the institution of marriage between one man and one woman (furthermore, he names homosexuality a sin).

So, in terms of illegal immigration, since this isn’t a question of the source of one’s right to cross the border illegally and live in this country, I don’t see this technically as a left vs. right issue in terms of a “political theory nerd intellectual perspective.”

We could stretch theory and argue that if all men are endowed by God the inalienable right of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then the right thing to do is to allow all people the ability to partake in the American version of liberty and pursuit of happiness, but I think that does little to answer your question as both Democrats and Republicans would argue that they are working to achieve that end with their respective policy positions.

Let me know what you think of this. I hope my answer was useful.

Loretta Lynch is a Hostage. Who are Her Captors? and The Free Exchange (15-005)

Black and Red Fan writes:

Thanks for your comments as usual! I’m glad you and I could at least connect and keep in touch through this means. Now if only we can do so on a more personal level; we will have to work on that.

In terms of the Loretta Lynch subject: I am looking at the despicable lies by themselves since they are separate issues than whether the Republicans should move to confirm her now etc. On that issue, I’m agnostic. We may differ here but my philosophy is that even though we control the Senate, since they won the executive branch they have the right to appoint whoever they would like to such a cabinet position such as the AG. As long as the person is qualified and competent, I think it is the mature thing to just confirm Ms. Lynch. Of course we’re not going to like her views and all that, but the way solve that is to have won the presidential election back in 2012.

My reaction was only to look at their race-baiting tactics alone which it deserves. I don’t think this should be related to whether we should confirm her or not. I feel the same way with Supreme Court nominees. And so I don’t really care what the Republicans are doing or how impotent the GOP’s response is. That’s a separate topic to me. What do you think? I would love to hear whether you separate such subjects or not. Thanks. I’ll be commenting on the other pieces you wrote in a separate comment.

J Hunter:

Speaking just to the Democrats’ accusations of racism in the Loretta Lynch confirmation fight–I agree that the tactic is despicable. This is what happens when they run out of ideas–they resort to race-baiting and fear tactics.

The question to ask, though, is “is it effective?” On that point, I think the answer is clearly, “no.”

Thank God.


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