Say “no” to unqualified voting

We’ve been indoctrinated to believe voting is a “right,” and that much of progress in America is related to the gradual expansion of the franchise to the point where anyone with a pulse can enter a voting booth.  We’ve even become so “inclusive” that some cities are allowing non-citizens(!!) to vote.

Before I get bombarded with the usual Progressive insults, let me state for the record that I do not believe voting should be limited on the basis of ethnicity or wealth (i.e. landowning requirements).  But on the question of voting, there is one thing of which I am certain: the automatic universal franchise for those born here is the worst idea in the history of republican thought.  Why have I reached this conclusion?  Consider this:

A new survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center finds that most Americans are ignorant of many very basic facts about the Constitution.

* More than one in three people (37%) could not name a single right protected by the First Amendment.
* Only one in four (26%) can name all three branches of the government.
* One in three (33%) can’t name any branch of government. None. Not even one.

You can’t do anything in life well without knowing the rules.  Why should voting be any different?  Now, note carefully what the Washington Post (motto: “Democracy Dies In Darkness“) says next:

The protection of constitutional rights is in large part the business of lawyers, judges, government officials, and other experts. But public opinion plays an important role, as well, which it is unlikely to do as effectively if most of the public is ignorant.

No.  Emphatically no.

The informed and invested citizen is the primary protector of our constitutional freedom.  Therein lies a major part of the problem: being informed and taking action requires effort and some level of personal sacrifice (such as leisure time).  For the vast majority of people, this is simply too much work.  It’s well-said that “Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.”  Voting is not a “right.”  It is a privilege, and carries with it the reverse of the coin: responsibility.  To hand over the responsibility largely to “lawyers, judges, government officials, and other experts” (notice the order in which these are listed?) is to hand over the privilege of having a voice as a citizen.  By not acting to enforce the Constitutional role on our various government functions, the public has allowed them to determine the limits of their own power (hint: none).  A true citizen refuses to accept that, and challenges — physically, if necessary — undermining of the Constitution.

The only way to be able to do that is to know the Constitution.  It’s no surprise to anyone who’s read this blog for long that I believe voting should be restricted to those who have passed a civic exam at least as difficult as the citizenship test (which, frankly, is not a high bar).  Such an arrangement does not preclude participation on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, wealth or any of the other categories that have been used historically to deny the franchise.

What it does is require the would-be voter to earn the privilege — something nearly everyone can do (excepting the mentally incompetent, who already are not allowed full privileges in society).  By bestowing citizenship on those who enter our nation illegally, and allowing anyone with a pulse to vote, our nation shows it does not value either.

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”
— Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1776

Frankly, studying for an exam is a small price to pay for the franchise.  Others have theorized about requiring much, much more.  (While I don’t subscribe to Heinlein’s exact solution, the requirement to have a “citizen” demonstrate a commitment to something more than their own narrow self-interest would go far to fix what ails us.)

The next time you’re contemplating the sorry state of our nation, just remember it’s likely a good number of the people surveyed were in a polling place last November, and their vote was swayed more by emotions (“I feel like there should be universal health care”) than by knowledge and analysis (“There is no such thing as a free lunch“).

Idiocracy, indeed.

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Don’t think she’s alone, either

We’re living in a time when many masks and pretenses are dropping.  In this case, it’s because one side believes they’ve achieved enough power to no longer need hiding:

Among her elite social circles in Washington, DC, and the Hamptons, Washington Post religion writer Sally Quinn did not keep her use of black magic a secret. In a lengthy and glowing profile, the Washingtonian reveals that Quinn’s fascination and outright use of the dark arts were just another part of her wide and varied social scene.

***

Ouija boards, astrological charts, palm reading, talismans—Quinn embraces it all. And yes, she has been in contact with her husband since his passing. Through a medium. Repeatedly.

Some friends have voiced reservations that Quinn is now showing all her cards, so to speak. “Don’t play up the voodoo too much,” one implored. But Sally does nothing by halves. (emphasis added) She reveals that, in her less mellow days, she put hexes on three people who promptly wound up having their lives ruined, or ended.  ((Since she believes she was responsible, shouldn’t this be tantamount to admission of assault and murder?  After all, we’re told repeatedly to accept the sincerely held beliefs of everyone…  — Jemison))

Quinn co-founded a regular column on religion in the Post that later morphed into a standalone website, but neglected to mention these little tidbits until it came time to write her memoir.  Thus, under the cloak of ‘journalism,’ she published many columns seeking to undermine orthodox Christian beliefs and their proponants.  Contrast this approach to that of the late Charlie Reese, who made a point of ensuring his readers knew where he was coming from by publishing periodical columns about it.

[Note: I recommend regular readers here to look at the three linked columns in the previous sentence.  I read Reese’s columns as a young adult.  He, along with Thomas Sowell, caused me to think deeply about governance and economics, though they are far being from my only influences.  Reese’s transparency about his worldview was the inspiration for the “About” tab at the top of this blog, where you can get a basic overview of where I’m coming from.  It’s a practice I think should be standard among writers who aspire to be more than mere propagandists.]

Why would Quinn conceal her beliefs as a columnist for a decade, only revealing them when it was time to cash out?  Likely because for that decade she was but one of many agents undermining the historical value systems of this nation, an effort moving much swifter and closer to its goals than the now-revered 1960s.  That Quinn felt free to “tell all” in this month’s book shows two things, I think:

  1. She does not fear social, much less physical, repercussion
  2. She and her publisher believe there is a large audience for what she now says openly

Keep in mind this woman moved in the highest social circles of Washington D.C.  According to a reviewer, the memoir contains many examples of highly selfish, manipulative and admittedly demonic-spirited behavior.  While the reviewer occasionally seems to cringe at the material, she concludes by quoting the author’s expectation of respect, and calls it “courageous.” — the same label applied to anyone who publicly jettisons and/or attacks Christian beliefs.   D.C seems filled to overflowing with such “courage” today, and its true colors are showing through.

Does it become more apparent now why I’ve long nicknamed that city “Mordor?”

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”  (Ephesians 6:12)

A slow-motion coup

Pat Buchannan’s column today looks at how government officials are breaking the law to “leak” sensitive information in order to damage the Trump administration, and asks the question — where does this all lead:

Before Trump departed D.C., The Washington Post ran transcripts of his phone conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.
Even Obama administration veterans were stunned.
So, it is time to ask: If this city brings Trump down, will the rest of America rejoice?…

Our media preen and posture as the defenders of democracy, devoted to truth, who provide us round-the-clock protection from tyranny. But half the nation already sees the media as a propaganda arm of a liberal establishment that the people have rejected time and again.

Consider the (Washington) Post’s publication of the transcripts of Trump’s calls with Mexico’s president and Australia’s prime minister.  The Post was letting itself be used by a leaker engaged in disloyal and possibly criminal misconduct. Yet the Post agreed to provide confidentiality and to hide the Trump-hater’s identity…

…there is a far larger story here, of which this Post piece is but an exhibit. It is the story of a concerted campaign, in which the anti-Trump media publish leaks, even criminal leaks, out of the FBI, CIA, NSA and NSC, to bring down a president whom the Beltway media and their deep-state collaborators both despise and wish to destroy...

The Justice Department is now running down the leaks, and the ACLU’s Ben Wizner is apoplectic: “Every American should be concerned about the Trump administration’s threat to step up its efforts against whistleblowers and journalists. A crackdown on leaks is a crackdown on the free press and on democracy.”

That’s one way to put it. Another is that some of these “whistleblowers” are political criminals who reject the verdict of the American electorate in 2016 and are out to overturn it. And the aforementioned “journalists” are their enablers and collaborators.

Read the entire piece hereNot every leak qualifies as “whistleblowing.”  In fact, I’d say that most leaking in D.C. is done out of political motivation of some sort.  True whistleblowing is the release of information a government, business or organization is holding back simply because it reveals wrongdoing.  The classic case of this is, of course, the Pentagon Papers.  The Supreme Court upheld the publishing of the papers because they clearly showed the Johnson administration had lied multiple times to the American people about the progress (or lack thereof) in Vietnam, and because revealing the contents posed no direct national security risk (only a political risk!).  When such a concerted effort is being made to conceal the truth, going outside the system as a whistleblower can be justified.  There are, of course, many other examples of people who took great personal risk to expose wrongdoing.

But that’s not what’s happening today.  Nobody is claiming the release of presidential telephone transcripts reveals devious doings and attempted cover-up.  In fact, most of the “leaks” are more like the National Enquirer’s gossip-mongering (“you won’t BELIEVE what Steve Bannon and H.R. McMaster said to each other today!”).  It’s a scattershot rumor mill enabled by spineless weasels who put their vanity as an “unnamed source” to a reporter above their duty to the country.  The ACLU has it all wrong here.  Cracking down on leaks doesn’t threaten whistleblowing — it protects it from abuse.  Protecting whistleblowing means bestowing that status only on courageous individuals who see clear, unaddressed wrongdoing in a failing system and literally blow the public whistle on it.

Speaking of failing systems, that now seems to include our entire crony-infested government bureaucracy.  The public has a right to know a great many things, but their are legitimate reasons for the government to protect certain types of information.  Those who abuse that trust need to go to jail, period (including Her Hillariness and Huma Abedin, among many others).

The corporate press is also a failing system.  The Washington Post’s new motto is that “Democracy dies in darkness.”  Fair enough.  It can also be murdered in broad daylight by irresponsible officials working with reporters who simply want to delegitimize the last election because it didn’t go their way.

Because once the government is seen as completely and hopelessly illegitimate, it’s only a matter of time before the true “Resistance” begins. THAT’S where the road we’re on seems to be headed.

WaPo to white middle class: drop dead

The Washington Post’s Johnathan Capehart explores “The Real Reason Working-class Whites Continue to Support Trump.”  To his credit, he manages to find one of the main underlying causes:

Working-class whites feel not only voiceless, but also silenced, especially in matters involving race. “The way they understood racism is different from the way we understand racism,” said Gest. “For them, racism has become an instrument of silence. It is a way of invalidating people. By saying someone is a racist, it means they cease to matter. Don’t listen to them.” ((emphasis added)) Gest spent three months in Youngstown, Ohio, and three months in East London, England, conducting interviews and researching his book. “So, when people said to me, ‘Now, I’m not a racist but …,’ what they were actually saying to me was, ‘Listen to what I’m about to tell you, and don’t dismiss me.’ ”

Indeed, for too long, traditional Americans have been shunted aside politically by the label ‘racist.’  It’s a far easier process than actually having an honest discussion of the issues.  The dangerous thing about this long-standing trend is that many average Americans have reached the point “if you’re going to call me racist no matter what I say or do, then what do I have to lose?”  This is one of several reasons race relations have deteriorated since the Civil Rights Era.

Another is the contempt shown by various colors of our social rainbow to the plight of working-class whites in an era of globalism, open borders, free trade agreements, loss of purchasing power (and jobs to foreigners) and reverse discrimination.  But the Post reports on how to deal with these:

“The only way of addressing their plight is a form of political hospice care,” he said. “These are communities that are on the paths to death. And the question is: How can we make that as comfortable as possible?”

It’s no secret the Left has been giddy about the approaching demographic shift in America to a nation made up of competing minority groups, with no one group making up a majority.  The Huffington Post even looked at “Ten Reasons You’ll Love Living in a Minority-Majority America.”  After discussing such insignificant ‘advantages’ as “culinary diversity,” it goes on to say:

Without a numerically dominant race, people of every group could be more inspired to drop discriminatory biases and challenge the racial injustices that continue to define the American experience for many.

It’s cute that they expect such a utopia, but visible trends today seem to indicate it’s not going to happen.  Our political class has stoked social divisions for so long that a minority-majority nation will end up being even more a collection of squabbling interest groups, determined to ensure their demographic gets a “fair share” (as they define it, of course).  That such an outcome results in more government power as a referee is not coincidental.  At least one public college has attempted a “day of absence” for white teachers and students, and when a white (and by all accounts, liberal) professor protested, the campus erupted.

Since 1965 and its notorious Immigration Act, the percentage of whites in the population has fallen from 85% to just over half.  In those same 52 years, the dwindling white population has been increasingly vilified as personally culpable descendants of previous generations of slaveowners and bigots.  (Hint: this is not a good way to win friends and influence people.)  As the Evergreen State College professor found out, even if you go along with most of The Narrative, any deviation will be dealt with harshly.  Devastated by the loss of good-paying blue-collar jobs, often to immigrants, many whites have fallen into despair and substance abuse.

Is it any wonder this demographic overwhelmingly went for Trump?  His election represents one big raspberry (and a couple extended middle fingers) to the system that has pulled the country out from underneath them.  Many see Trump as the last chance to have a voice in the largely faceless U.S. bureaucracy that for so long has been stacked against them.  So I believe the Instapundit is right when he shows the latest outrage from the Left and asks “do you want more Trump?  Because this is how you get more Trump.”

No matter how “comfortable” the Washington Post may want to make the allegedly dying white community, it’s not likely that community is going to softly and suddenly fade away.  Perhaps the Washington Post should do an article on why middle-class Americans no longer put much stock into anything they (or any other traditional media outlet) have to say.  They might find out that calling certain groups ‘racist’ at the drop of a hat, while musing that such groups need to be put in ‘hospice care’ might not draw many subscriptions.

Tripling down on failure

This is a piece that has to be read… and then mocked loudly and often:

For my entire professional life, I have been a limited-government libertarian. The just state should, in my opinion, protect private property, promote voluntary exchange, preserve domestic order, and protect our nation against foreign aggression. Unfortunately, too many modern libertarian thinkers fail to grasp the enormity of that last obligation. In the face of international turmoil, they become cautious and turn inward, confusing limited government with small government.

Sounds good to start with, but it becomes clear that while this person purports to be a “limited government libertarian,” in the words of Inigo Montoya, “I doona think that means what you think it means…”  To wit:

(Senator Rand Paul’s) argument… is that the United States should not have sought to degrade Bashar Assad’s regime because that effort only paved the way for the rise of ISIS against whom Assad, bad as he is, is now the major countervailing force. Unfortunately, this causal chain is filled with missing links. The United States could have, and should have, supported the moderate opposition to Assad by providing it with material assistance, and, if necessary, air support, so that it could have been a credible threat against Assad, after the President said Assad had to go over three years ago.

OK, Mr Self-proclaimed Libertarian: under your theory of limited government, unless the nation has been attacked, what gives the US the right and/or obligation to go around determining which world leaders “need to go?”  It is just that sort of arrogant self-importance in foreign affairs that has led the US to stick its nose into just about every hornet nest imaginable around the world.  That highly interventionist approach is not only NOT ‘libertarian,’ it is directly responsible for the significant loss of US prestige around the world, the creation of large numbers of people who hate us not for our ‘freedoms’ but for our actions, and the creation of a large Security State here at home that is antithetical to the liberties we claim to be defending by galavanting around the globe.  But hey, you’re apparently OK with that kind of State:

Senator Paul errs too much on the side of caution. He would clamp down, for example, on the data collection activities of the National Security Agency, which allow for the better deployment of scarce American military resources, even though NSA protocols tightly restrict the use of the collected information. It is wrong to either shut down or sharply restrict an intelligence service that has proved largely free of systematic abuse. The breakdown of world order makes it imperative to deploy our technological advantages to the full. Sensible oversight offers a far better solution.

Are you freaking kidding me?  “Tightly restrict the use of collected information.”  You mean in the same way that taxpayer info is confidential and never abused by the IRS?  And as for ‘sensible oversight’ of the NSA… let me suggest you Google the words “Edward Snowden.”  Whatever you think of the man himself, the reading that Google search will generate should disabuse you of any notions that the NSA is naught but a benign public servant of good.  I don’t believe I’m in any danger of the “No true Scotsman” fallacy in saying that any professed ‘libertarian’ who so easily dismisses the threat of the modern National Security State is either seriously confused or being disingenuous with their labeling.  Whichever it is, they are no true libertarian.

This is a propaganda piece, nothing more, intended to get Americans to ignore the rising voices (of which Rand Paul is but one) warning that we need to change the course this nation is on both at home and abroad.  Paul is not the simpleton or naive dove the author makes him out to be.  In response to ISIS’ multiple beheadings of Americans and clear declaration of intent to harm the US, Paul stated that as President he would convene Congress to request authorization to destroy the organization militarily.  As the Washington Post noted, this is another reason why it’s wrong for anyone to try to put Paul in a narrowly labelled box.

That tendency toward oversimplification and dismissive labeling is, of course, is what is wrong with most of our politics and policy making today.  It’s as if nobody understands the concept of principled but situationally driven leadership.  Despite the charge of pacifism Mr “libertarian” Epstein throws at Paul, it’s clear the Senator acknowledges ISIS as a threat to be confronted.  Unlike Epstein, however, Paul is willing to say that while this is a reluctant necessity, maybe it’s time America acknowledged that a lot of these messes are either of our own making, or were significantly boosted by our blundering about in the world.  That willingness to assess our own actions and possible culpability in today’s crises du jour is a real danger to the Statist interventionists whose delusions of grandeur have put us where we are now.  Thus it has to be attacked and discouraged, lest it infect the population and cause them to question the wisdom of our would-be rulers.

So who is the real libertarian here?  One who would have us triple down on years of intervention in Iraq and the broader Middle East (Libya, Syria, etc, ad nauseum) in just another knee-jerk reaction, or the one who admits we may have to use force yet again, but perhaps we should consider recent history so we don’t once again make a bigger mess than the one we’re trying to solve?  The one who would have us unquestioningly accept the role of the modern NSA, or the one who publicly decries the intrusion of the national security state into every facet of American life?

I still haven’t made up my mind about Senator Paul, but I’ve seen enough to keep me watching and evaluating for now.  On the other hand, I know very little about Mr Epstein.  Having read his philosophically incoherent article, though, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to be looking him up in “Who’s Who.”  I know all I need to about him at this point.