This is chiefly idiocy at work

The American Cultural Revolution continues apace:

The mayor and city council in Duluth, Minnesota, are considering renaming any position containing the word “chief” because they believe it is a “microaggression” for Native Americans.

Job positions within the city’s government, including chief administrative officer and chief financial officer, would be renamed under the new policy as part of the city’s efforts to be more inclusive.

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said the city will vote next week to remove the word “chief” from city job titles “so that we have more inclusive leadership and less language that is rooted in hurt and offensive, intentional marginalization.”

Alicia Kozlowski, Duluth’s community relations officer and a member of the Grand Portage and Fond du Lac bands of Lake Superior Chippewa, told the Star Tribune that the city is being proactive in working to remove these titles even before protesters have made the request. She said she finds the city’s use of the word “chief” to be “a racial epithet, and it turns into a microaggression.” (emphasis added)

First of all, I detest the word “microaggression,” which in reality means “I have such thin skin and a chip on my shoulder that I chose to take offense at something you said, regardless of any actual intent to offend.”  And it’s telling that now cities are actively looking for things to do to look virtuous to various groups without anyone actually saying they’re offended in the first place.  Nice to know Duluth is so well-run that they can devote such effort to incremental improvements towards paradise.  I’m sure whatever will be spent on changing signage, stationery and such to reflect the new titles is worth some potholes not getting repaired.

As is the case with most fussing these days, this issue completely ignores history:

chief (n.) – from about 1300 A.D., “head, leader, captain; the principal or most important part of anything;” from Old French chief “leader, ruler, head” of something, “capital city” (10c., Modern French), from Vulgar Latin *capum, caput “head,” also “leader, chief person; summit; capital city” (from PIE root *kaput- “head”). Meaning “head of a clan” is from 1570s; later extended to headmen of American Indian tribes (by 1713; William Penn, 1680s, called them kings. Commander-in-chief attested from 1660s.  (emphasis added)

In other words, the term “chief” was used to refer to people in positions in Europe THREE CENTURIES before any indigenous Native American officials were bestowed the title by Europeans trying to approximate their position in familiar language.  The application of the term acknowledged the leadership of the tribes being encountered.  But the term was not appropriated from the tribes’ own languages.  Duluth (or any other city) has no business attempting to eradicate its usage.

Where does this end?  In the U.S. Air Force, the top enlisted rank (E-9) is called a Chief Master Sergeant.  Achieving that rank is a career pinnacle, and much of the trappings associated with it uses imagery of Native American “chiefs.”  The Navy has a similar term: “Master Chief Petty Officer” (also the service’s highest enlisted rank).  Such modern usage it titles should be recognized as simply acknowledging authority, but today’s Red Guards refuse to see any history, reason or nuance in their efforts to pull down all of the present in favor of the latest “Year Zero.”

History is important.  Language is important.  Culture and tradition are important.  That’s not to say that change isn’t sometimes needed.  But in the effort to pull up weeds, we need to avoid killing vital roots that sustain our way of life.  Slashing and burning the past never yields much in the way of good fruit.

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within”  – Ariel Durant

Does anyone doubt we’re doing a good job of that these days?

American insurgency

“The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.” – Mao Zedong

Under cover of protesters reacting understandably to what appears to be yet another instance of police brutality, the enemies of our nation have launched what amounts to a full-blown insurgency.  Pallets of bricks conveniently show up in time to be thrown through store windows.  Networks of celebrities are providing bail money for those who are arrested.  Politicians are pledging support to Antifa, even as the Federal government finally labels it a terrorist organization (spoiler: it always has been).  And the airwaves are thick with misinformation and misdirection, minimizing the extent to which actual violence and destruction have become daily routine over the past week.

And if that wasn’t enough, at least one potential agent provocateur has now been arrested while posing as a National Guardsman.  Keep that in mind the first time you hear of an incident between a Guardsman and a ‘protester.’  Things are not always as they seem, especially in press reports.

This is perhaps the most dangerous moment for the U.S. since 1861.  President Abraham Lincoln rightly pointed out:

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow?  Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. (emphasis added)

And so it was our adversaries, beginning in the Cold War, began the “long march” through American institutions, seizing control of the means to shape the culture in such a way as to alienate a significant portion of the population from loyalty to the United States.  Their efforts were greatly aided by the deep scars of slavery and racism in our country.  One of the major reasons any sort of lasting racial reconciliation eludes us is that the issue is too useful a wedge for gaining influence — and yes, this is a trick used by partisans of many persuasions.  Remember the adage “divide and conquer.”

Now we’ve arrived at a point in our cultural programming where trying to rightly discern between protest and pillaging is dismissed as ‘racist.’  Now Mao’s ‘fish’ in the above quote can swim easily in the ‘sea.’  If only pillaging were the only goal, however.

Mao Zedong literally wrote the book on insurgency, after successfully fighting the Japanese in World War II and toppling the post-war Nationalist government of China.  He identified three phases to a revolutionary insurgency:

(1)  Organize: Build cells and support
(2)  Guerilla Warfare: Undermine the Government
(3)  Conventional (open) Warfare to topple the Government

Our internal enemies are well organized and enjoy considerable support from “the commanding heights” of society: educators, politicians, entertainers, wealthy ‘movers and shakers’ and so forth.  The violence we now witness is the movement into phase two.  Our Federal, State and local leaders are confronted with a choice: show restraint, in which case they look weak, or crack down, in which case the propaganda machine will work overtime to paint them in the worst possible light.  Either way, the insurgents seek to reduce support for our government.  President Trump has openly criticized State and local leaders for not doing more to control the violence.  Contrary to published reports, he is not calling for the arrest or abuse of peaceful protesters.  (Don’t rely on reports: listen to the man’s own words.  And notice ABC’s headline for the linked video.  Do they match?)  The corporate media blur the distinction between protester and criminal so that the president’s calls for law and order appear to be an effort to curb legitimate expressions of dissent.  Heads, they win.  Tails, he loses.

Do not lose sight of the fact that during all of this chaos, the public is not paying attention to the recent declassification and release of very damning documents that show how contrived and politically motivated the entire “Russia Russia Russia” hoax was, and how Michael Flynn was wrongly targeted as part of that process.  Powerful people have great reason to do anything to keep focus from turning to these developments.  Many have remarked about 2020’s penchant for disaster. Think of the main media themes in the U.S. this year: in January, it was impeachment.  Hardly had that fizzled than we were told COVID would kill us all, so better shut society down.  Once it was clear society was tired of being shut down and was de facto on the way to opening up, suddenly a case of police brutality sets the nation on fire.  (By the way, want to see ‘diversity?’  Look at the four officers involved and fired — it wasn’t a gang of white cops, but photos of officers Thao, Kueng and Lane don’t appear in the Minneapolis Star’s report on Monday. Why is that?.)

None of these events are occurring in isolation.  This is not a normal election year.

I believe the experience gained in our overseas fights must be put to use here at home, and quickly.  The networks of support for organizing violent, criminal activity, must be rolled up, and those involved forced to pay a high price for their incitements.  There are very good reasons not to like Donald Trump, who is a deeply flawed man.  But many of his opponents (on both sides of the aisle) are no longer the “loyal opposition” — they are literally fifth columnists who are a domestic threat to the Constitution of the United States, willing to overturn an election through rumor and innuendo from within the apparatus of shadowy government agencies.  Never forget that our leaders and our armed forces take an oath requiring them to defend that document against ALL enemies, foreign AND domestic.  At the very least, there are a large number of people guilty of sedition in this country.  And while treason is a word too lightly tossed around these days, an argument could be made it’s applicable in some cases as well.

Even if the government moves effectively to end the current crisis, it’s not finished.  The reason insurgency is so hard to defeat is that unless the ideas and motives behind it are completely discredited, even losing in stage three can leave a small cadre of the committed to begin all over again.  This is the type of war we have been fighting in Afghanistan and the Middle East since 9/11, and the reason Al Qaeda and Islamic State still persist, however diminished.  Killing combatants is easy.  Killing an idea is damned well impossible.  (I use “damned” deliberately, as the resiliency of Marxist and Jihadist aspirations, despite the long historical record of horrors in their names, shows the hellish perniciousness of their deceit.)

This is why the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.  We have been lulled into complacency, our attention directed anywhere other than where it needs to be.  Whether the insurgency grows to phase three or is knocked back to the starting line for another generation depends on Americans learning what’s really going on.  Lots of dots need to be connected to see the picture.  The question is whether we have the attention span and discernment to do so anymore.  Otto von Bismark, the statesman most responsible for the creation of a unified Germany in the 19th Century, is said to have remarked “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.”

I certainly hope that still holds true.

Marx and medicine don’t mix

As Americans turn their eyes to Uncle Sam for guidance about the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a certainty that Leftists will be mindful of Rahm Emanuel’s mantra “never let a crisis go to waste.”  Every misstep and deficiency will be touted as an example of why there should be a single, government-run healthcare system in our country.

Fortunately, we have a counterexample: China.

I was witnessing the kind of maximum, almost brutal efficiency a society must develop when the state is the master and the individual is merely a subject. Why would a Communist country not have an effective FDA? Because who are you going to complain to if you get tainted food? The government? They don’t answer to you. The press? They are owned by the government. And again, they don’t answer to you.

So what if you don’t like the conditions in the hospital? Where else are you going to go? This hospital is the last (and only) stop. You can’t opt for another place and then just pay out of your own pocket. The government has capped financial upward mobility. There is now “income equality.” And that means nobody has the means to buy their way into a different (or better) situation. And even if you could, one doesn’t exist. The state provides it all. You’re stuck.

Single payer also means single buyer. That means the dynamics of the market get eliminated. One of the natural checks-and-balances of finding a hot-shot surgeon willing to do the risky procedure or even just seek a second opinion, get chopped away little by little. Because now we’re answering to the government. It isn’t answering to us. After all, where are we gonna go? They’ve got us. And our cancer treatment or skin graft surgery or kidney stone blast is up to their red tape. Sure, we can get in the door for free. But we might die in there, waiting on someone with no incentive and who faces no recourse, to change our plasma bag.

That’s a good summary of two basic problems with government-run anything: a lack of competitive incentives to improve and reduce costs, and no recourse when the product/service isn’t what is needed.  Left unmentioned in the linked article is an additional problem: when government is a provider, it also decides who gets the provisions.  They can decide you don’t merit the product/service because you’re too old, or a troublesome dissident, or a newborn who would be ‘too expensive’ to save.

There are legitimate criticisms of how healthcare is provided today in the United States.  Costs consistently rise faster than general inflation, making much of it unaffordable for those without access to group insurance plans or government programs.  It can be argued, though, that this is the case precisely because the government is already heavily involved.  The idea of free markets is that the cost of goods and services will reach an equilibrium based on what the market (consumers) will bear.   But the presence of a purchaser/guarantor (Uncle Sam) who believes he can throw as much money as he wants at a problem, eliminates any market incentives to become more innovative and efficient.  In fact, Sam’s presence as a customer is usually accompanied by extra overhead and red tape that make the product/service less efficient.  This same dynamic is at work in higher education, where the rising costs of tuition parallel the rise of government aid and the availability of student loans.  If County General Hospital and the University of Hereville could only charge what the average American family could afford, their operations would, of necessity, become leaner and more efficient (sorry, diversity bureaucrats!).

This is not to say government doesn’t have a role.  But instead of being a consumer, it’s supposed to be a referee — the one to whom people have recourse when an industry is being abusive or careless.  The recent requirement for hospitals to post prices for most common procedures is a tiny step in the right direction.  The requirement needs to be clarified that hospitals provide the lay reader with context by linking associated costs and giving a reasonable range of the average total price for a given procedure.  Such information is necessary for customers to know their options and take advantage of competition (which currently is next to nonexistent).

The same is true for pharmaceuticals.  Patients in the U.S. can pay anywhere from two to six times more than in other countries for the same brand-name prescription drugs.  In this paragraph’s linked article, the argument is made that’s because buying is more fragmented than in a country like the United Kingdom, whose National Health Service is a large, single buyer with associated market clout.  CNN is, of course, in favor of nationalizing U.S. health care, so it makes sense that would be their take on it.  But as they admit in their own article, Medicare is legally forbidden from negotiating drug prices (wonder who lobbied for that rule).  It isn’t that the market is ‘fragmented,’ it’s that there are only a few big players, including Uncle Sam.  When a prescription drug becomes available in an over-the-counter strength, pricing shifts to a broader market: the individual consumer, who will compare prices and look to save money.  There’s no reason this wouldn’t work in the prescription category:

[Dr. Peter] Bach, of Memorial Sloan Kettering, said that when buyers can say no, for whatever reason, they can control prices better. In fact, Bach’s hospital refused the colon cancer drug Zaltrap in 2012 because it cost double that of a reasonably good alternative, Avastin. The company that manufactures Zaltrap, Sanofi, worried that other cancer hospitals and doctors would follow suit, so it halved the price of the drug.

And they would do the same if it was millions of Americans individually making the same cost comparisons in their purchase decisions.  Granted, for some medications there are no approved substitutes, so such competition wouldn’t apply.   But those situations occur in part because drug manufacturers can patent their new products for as much as 20 years.   I sympathize with the argument that development can be expensive and it’s right to expect a return on investment.  But given how many drug-related trinkets I see in doctor’s offices and patient discharge bags, I’m not sure it takes two decades to recoup costs on an effective new medication.  I’m wary of any scheme wherein government determines prices, so the preferred solution would be to reexamine what a reasonable patent period should be before generic equivalents are allowed on the market.  After that point, let market forces work.

As repeated examples have shown in history, the equality Marxism achieves is an equality of misery for the masses, with exceptions and privileges for those running the Leviathan of government.  That’s not the right prescription for whatever ails us.

Setting an example

Many of us of a certain age are increasingly concerned about the growing popularity of socialism among the younger generations.  We rightfully point out that the horrors of communist life in the 20th Century have been minimized in our history classes, so that the siren sound of “equality” has regained some of the appeal it lost amid prior carnage.

The truth, though, is that America has been flirting with socialism for about a century ourselves — we just haven’t called it that.  And while the young may not be as wise as we might hope, they’re not completely blind to the hypocrisy:

…the irony is that these old anti-socialists already live in a wonderland of government generosity that bears a passing resemblance to the socialism they so dread.

The federal government already guarantees single-payer health care to Americans over 65 through Medicare. Senior citizens already receive a certain kind of universal basic income; it’s called Social Security. While elderly Americans might balk at the idea of the government paying back hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt, they are already the grand beneficiaries of a government debt subsidy: The mortgage-interest deduction, a longtime staple of the federal tax code, effectively compensates the American homeowner (whose average age is 54) for their mortgage debt, thus saving this disproportionately old group approximately $800 billion in taxes owed to the federal government each decade. The economist Ed Glaeser has likened these policies to “Boomer socialism.”

In this framing, Sanders is not offering his more youthful constituency a radically new contract. Instead, he is extending the terms of an existing social contract to cover more—and, necessarily, younger—Americans.

Now, while I’m inclined to agree with this diagnosis, I don’t agree with the proposed treatment: “Some, but not all, of the problems facing young adults would be well addressed with an expansion of government.”  The socialism we’ve tacitly accepted since the days of the Progressive Era and FDR has already warped our society and economy in harmful ways.  Government spending in the areas of healthcare and education (much of it debt subsidy in the latter) has allowed prices in those arenas to skyrocket far beyond the rate of inflation (itself a result of government meddling with the currency).  Want to reign in health costs?  Put the consumer back in control by forcing providers to post price lists and compete for business that’s paid for at the point of sale.  When someone else is paying the bill, there’s no incentive to reduce costs, and those who don’t have that “someone else” are left priced out of the market altogether.  Same with education – get the government treasury out of it, and institutions will suddenly no longer have funding for “diversity coordinators” that add little value to the transmission of useful knowledge that leads to gainful employment.

For many years I’ve said I’d love to have the option to sign away my claim to any Social Security benefits in exchange for never paying the tax again.  As I get closer to retirement, that’s obviously less of a good deal for me.  But while I’d love to have the taxes I’ve paid in my private accounts rather than in Uncle Sam’s, the fact is that *if* I draw what Social Security currently projects for me (something I certainly don’t count on), I’ll recoup my contributions in less than 6 years.  So if I live another decade or more after that, where’s the money coming from?

The paychecks of younger workers, that’s where — the very generation that realizes the system will not work for them as it has their elders.  Where their contributions don’t cover it all, Uncle Sam’s uses his credit card, the balance of which is a drag on everyone’s fortunes whether they realize it or not.  For example, Sam is desperate to keep interest rates low, so he can continue to carry that balance (and add to it!).  But in doing so, he robs those who dutifully save of the interest they would normally make as a result of their frugality.  Since the elderly on a fixed income can no longer live on interest earnings, Social Security becomes an essential part of most people’s retirement plans… and the cycle begins anew.

That which can’t go on forever, doesn’t.  Our current structures are unsustainable.  We are at a crossroads: either we double down on what is known to be a failed economic model (planned economies), or we get the government out of the driver’s seat.  We need to find a way to set the sun on Social Security and Medicare (just for starters), while putting consumer protections in place like truthful labeling of medical costs and investment risks.  Government is supposed to police abuses of the market, not become the major provider of a good or service.  I’ve said it before: the worst result of our current hybrid system is that it isn’t true market capitalism in many respects, but is believed to be.  As a result, truly free market economics gets a bum rap.

So it’s worth keeping in mind the difficulty of convincing Bernie Bros not to point our nation toward full-blown Marxism when we’re already relying on programs of which Karl would have heartily approved.

The morning after

In an unsurprising (but disappointing all the same) development, Americans have handed control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats for the next two years.  Republicans, however, have tightened their grip on the Senate, picking up seats there.  My initial thoughts:

  • Pelosi, Waters and their crew will use their restored subpoena power to make the administration as miserable as possible until 2021.  Buckle up for the ugliness.  That said, Democrats are probably regretting the precedents Obama’s administration set of ignoring such requests from Congress.  Trump won’t have forgotten that.  What goes around…
  • Retaining control of the Senate means the administration can continue building what may be Trump’s most enduring legacy: resetting the Judiciary by appointing judges who view the Constitution through an ‘originalist’ lens and are less likely to engage in policy direction by judicial fiat.  The impact of these appointments will be felt for decades.
  • There will be no funding for a border wall any time soon, unless Trump tries to coopt Defense Department money through Executive direction.  At the same time, the Senate will be able to prevent Democrats from undoing very much of the last two years (tax cuts, deregulation, etc).
  • There are still strong rumors (especially from the “Q” quarter) that ongoing investigations into prominent Democrats may soon yield indictments and the full declassification of the FISA court shenanigans.  One theory is that Trump held off pulling the trigger on these so as to avoid accusations of politicizing the investigations during an election cycle.  If true, that’s likely a wise move.  It also means the Democrats may soon be more on the defensive than their win of the House would normally indicate.
  • It will be instructive to see what independent counsel Robert Mueller’s next move is.  He, too, is said to have held back during the election season.  With that over, I suspect he’ll be under increasing pressure from both sides to show his hand and “put up or shut up.”

In short, while disappointing, I don’t yet see last night’s results as a full-blown disaster.  As many pundits noted, the President’s party usually loses seats in Congress during his first midterm election.  There is one ominous thing to point out, however.  Overall the Democrats ran a much more openly leftist/globalist agenda this cycle… and they still picked up considerable support.  That a candidate like Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke could challenge Ted Cruz so strongly in Texas is not a good long-term signal.  Nor is having Florida’s gubernatorial and Senate races within a percent of each other.  (Related note: the vast majority of Beto’s funding came from outside Texas, something that in my mind should be prohibited.  Residents of one State have no business trying to buy elections in another one.)  We are a deeply divided nation with two incompatible worldviews vying for dominance through government force.

Demography and the long-term effects of leftist indoctrination in our education system are having the intended effects.  That’s why this Trump period is so important.  So far it has been the only successful push back against the Left’s “long march” of the past three decades.  But unless traditional Americans break the lock the globalists have on the education of the next generation, it’s only a matter of time before an ignorant population rejects the birthright their ancestors worked so hard to achieve.

“When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”  Adolph Hitler, May 1937

“No borders, no wall, no USA at all!”

That’s what Antifa hoodlums chanted in Washington D.C. last weekend while trying to pick fights with anyone who looked remotely to the political right of them. While they were mostly mindlessly chanting as directed, one could give them credit for succinctly expressing the formula they and their fellow travelers are using to kill the United States. Because without any borders, without any walls, there won’t be a U.S.A. at all. Or any other nation, for that matter.

And that’s the real goal of the globalists. Too many people think “globalists” is just a quasi-conspiratorial term, but it’s a very real phenomenon. A significant number of Western leaders act as if they owe more loyalty to their transnational peer group than they do to the people they supposedly serve at home. The same holds true of most transnational corporations, whose leaders are more concerned with international access and profits–even if it means bowing to autocrats–than they are with domestic considerations or notions of representative government. This has created a political and technocratic worldwide “ruling class” and, as writer Sarah Hoyt points out, a developing version of the same sort of neo-feudalism that existed under communism:

…communism was not discredited where it counted. There were no long-running exposes of exactly how bad it was in the Soviet Union, or the other communist countries, nor of the massive number of people – at least a hundred million, but quite likely more – that these regimes sent to their graves. There was no explanation about how imposing this kind of regime from above always leads to a quasi-feudal existence, in which the functionaries at the top are kings and everyone else serfs because it has to. Because the people at the top are still human, which means they not only have no idea what is “each’s need” or “each’s ability” but they have their very own greed and desire and other issues the same as any robber Baron. Only at least the robber Barons had to establish some industry, create some empire, finagle some monopoly. Those at the top of the planned economy have full power and cart blanch to JUST rob.

The development of this international club goes a long way explaining the horrified reaction to the election of Trump. The constant harping on his personal moral failings conceals the real anger: he doesn’t play “One World” with the other would-be aristocrats. From all appearances Trump is implementing the promised “America First” policies he campaigned on. Such nationalism—particularly from a key center of power like the U.S.—is intolerable to the globalists.

So they have unleashed their modern brownshirts – the Antifa (another Orwellian misnomer, since they are quite fascist in their attitudes and activities). These street brawlers, like their Nazi forebears, are an army of “useful idiots” to break down the fabric of representative governance so it can be replaced with something more to the totalitarian’s liking. Most of these black-hoodie footsoldiers have no idea they are helping destroy the very system that makes their self-absorbed grievance-mongering possible:

…Antifa, an assemblage of the psychotic and the helpless and mostly both, people who couldn’t catch a clue if the clue was on crutches, people who – from the exemplars caught and exposed – either exist in the sheltered bubble of Academia or in the equally sheltered bubble of their parents’ basements, people who, if they have any job it’s the equivalent of barista.  These people, who would have trouble existing in the relatively harsher environment of Europe… only survive because the US is so prosperous and so secure that – outside of a few Democrat fiefdoms like Chicago or East St. Louis — it’s almost impossible to get yourself killed for gross and offensive stupidity…

Perhaps Antifa activists should reflect on the fate of D.C. denizens Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin, whose belief that people everywhere enjoy the same basic goodness and resulting security led to their deaths on a bicycling trip through Tajikistan:

…Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own [wrote Austin] By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.”

This same misguided idea that “people are basically good” – which runs completely counter to the Christian worldview – is the foundation upon which the idea of communism (and globalism, its current incarnation) is built. It fails to take into account, as Hoyt pointed out, the inherent fallibility of our decisions, as well as the self-interested motives that often color them. This is one of many reasons globalists are opposed to authentic, evangelical Christianity. The Bible makes clear “there is none righteous; no, not one,” and the litany of accounts in its pages go on to prove even the most well-intentioned people will always be flawed.  As a result, the Founders understood that nobody should wield unchecked power over others.  Barack Obama’s famous “I have a pen and phone” statement of intent to use executive power to achieve what he could not through legislation ran completely contrary to American tradition.  And yet he had his supporters, his own cult of (manufactured) personality.

Perhaps, then, from a Christian perspective Antifa is best understood as a cult. They have a worldview, require professions of “faith” from their fellow travelers, and viciously ostracize any who challenge their viewpoints. Unlike other cults, however, this one is not just a danger to its own members. Left to themselves, they will bring our nation crashing down.  They seek to erode patriotism, faith in our Constitutional institutions, and any sense the U.S. is special.  Nations cannot survive without these.

The United States has never been perfect. But it has resulted in more opportunity, peace and prosperity for more people than any other nation in history. It has yielded to the temptations and sins of great-power politics, but nevertheless on balance has been a positive influence in the world. The system of human organization from which it springs is an infinitesimal rarity in all of history. As such, it is worth defending, lest this part of the world cease being the “last, best hope for mankind,” and revert back to what history shows is the default result of unfettered power over the masses.

Never take for granted

The right to assemble for worship:

Chinese police officers demolished one of the country’s largest evangelical churches this week, using heavy machinery and dynamite to raze the building where more than 50,000 Christians worshiped.

The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province was one of at least two Christian churches demolished by the authorities in recent weeks, part of what critics describe as a national effort to regulate spiritual life in China.

Under President Xi Jinping, the government has destroyed churches or removed their steeples and crosses as part of a campaign that reflects the Communist Party’s longstanding fear that Christianity, viewed as a Western philosophy, is a threat to the party’s authority.

And never forget there are plenty of people living in the United States, Canada and Europe who’d like nothing more than to take down all the crosses and dynamite all the churches here, too.

Since we’re talking symbolism

Across the nation, Confederate monuments are coming down, and the question on many minds is whether the President was right: will it stop there, or grow to include any figure — including pivotal figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — associated with slavery or other grievances?

So this would be a good time to examine the symbol of one of the more active groups on the Left: Antifa.  Their flag has been seen from Berkeley to Boston at various “protests” and “counter-protests.”  Why the quotations?  Because in nearly every case, it has devolved into violence.

This is Antifa’s flag:

antifascistokc

Note that the full name of the group is “Antifascist Action.”  The photo above is from an event in Oklahoma City.  Now take a careful look at this next photo:

3rd Communist International

This is the debut of that logo, at the first meeting of the “Antifaschistische Aktion” group in Berlin, July 10, 1932.  The organization was created by the Communist Party of Germany as a replacement paramilitary force after their original goon squad –the Rotfrontkämpferbund — was banned due to fighting between Communists and Nazis.

Note that the emblem is centered between two Soviet flags.  The banner on the table reads “Long live the Red Front.”  In essence, Antifa originated as the Communist answer to the Nazi “Brownshirts,” and the nature of the group was inherently violent.

The point has been made repeatedly in recent days that neo-Nazi symbolism has no business in the USA, and I agree.  But what about neo-Communism?  We’re reminded “we fought a war to conquer Nazi Germany.”  True.  We also waged a half century “Cold War” under threat of nuclear Armageddon to defeat the Soviet Union and its communist empire.  So why is Adolph Hitler the lone boogeyman and political epithet?

It’s because Communists and Nazis strongly emphasized their differences rather than their similarities.  This is deliberate deception.  BOTH belong on the “left” end of the spectrum, as both are collectivist totalitarian ideologies.  The opposite of each is not the other, but rather minimalist, individualist government.

But wait, there’s more!  Our society today is so historically ignorant that many people initially can’t understand why I lump Nazis and Communists together.  So here’s some info to chew on: Continue reading

Indeed

Today’s read:

“It’s disheartening that an avowed socialist is a viable candidate for president of the United States. Socialism is a dead end. For hundreds of years, it has failed everywhere it’s been adopted. The enthusiasm of our youth for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is a symptom of our failure to educate them, not only in history, government and economics, but also basic morality…”

Read the entire thing.  Even as our nation reaches $19 trillion of acknowledged debt, too many people still seem to think it’s the best source of lots of goodies.  We’ve reached a point today where in education there is emphasis on science, technology, computing… but not on the lessons learned from basic human experience over 4,000+ years of recorded history.  And we wonder why we’re repeating mistakes that should have been proscribed long ago.

Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it

The resilience of socialism

Britain’s Labor party tacks hard left, electing as leader a self-described “socialist” who has professed admiration for Hugo Chavez and considers Hezbollah and Hamas to be “friends:”

Jeremy Corbyn, a leftist former union organizer, was elected the leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party on Saturday, a result that signals a more socialist direction for the country’s main opposition and could herald a realignment of British politics…

Mr. Corbyn’s unexpected ascent within the Labour Party has happened at the same time as the rise of American antiestablishment figures such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a socialist candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, and Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman and reality TV star who is leading the field of candidates for the Republican nomination.

Based on the experience of the U.S. over the last several years, Britons would do well to be wary of former “organizers.”  As the article points out, though, the rise of Bernie Sanders in the U.S. shows that we have learned nothing, either.  And while some would like to label all this flirting with leftism to be simple “antiestablishment” politics, it’s really just the resurgence of a pernicious lie.

In 1989, with the collapse of the Soviet Empire, it seemed Marxist collectivism in all its shades had been discredited.  As previously secret archives were opened for inspection, the true cost of the horrors of trying the sustain the ‘Worker’s Paradise’ were laid bare for all to see.  But just as 14 years is enough time to forget the real danger posed by Islamic fundamentalism, whether of the al Qaeda or Iranian variety, it would seem a quarter century is ample time to completely rehabilitate the image of socialism in the eyes of a new generation.  The persistent idea of using government force to play Robin Hood — to take from the “haves” (who must be guilty of something, since they “have”) and give to the “have nots” (who are assumed always to be virtuous and innocent of any responsibility for their station in life) shows that human beings are emotionally rationalizing creatures, not rational ones.

Socialism and its more militant Big Brother, communism, represents the politics of envy, a policy of entitlement rather than achievement, and a gross misunderstanding of the fallen nature of man.  It promises freedom, yet results in more concentrated power.  It promises utopia, but produces disharmony at best, and purges and gulags at worst.  The young flock to its banner out of inexperienced naivete, only to see their energy and idealism harnessed to produce power for the well-connected.

We are but a couple years from the centennial of the Bolshevik revolution, which itself was part of the larger story of the 20th Century — the bloodiest in the history of mankind, not only because of two world wars, but because of an ideology willing to kill an additional 100 million of its own countrymen in order to maintain power and conceal the contradictions inherent in the system.   Have we learned nothing?

“Before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.”
– Aristotle, Rhetoric