The value of the vote

Caution: this is a long post; that’s why it has a “jump break” on the front page of the blog.

It’s ironic that Bernie Sanders brought this up while I’ve been re-reading Heinlein’s Starship Troopers:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he thinks every U.S. citizen, even the convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, should be allowed to vote in American elections.  Sanders offered his stance at a CNN town hall Monday when asked whether he thought felons should be allowed to vote while they’re incarcerated, not just after their release.

He was pressed on whether it was appropriate to enfranchise sex offenders or someone convicted of a heinous crime like Tsarnaev, who with his brother carried out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that left three dead and injured hundreds more.

“Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, ‘Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not going to let that person vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slope,” Sanders said in response to a question about restoring felons’ voting rights.

It appears Sanders is saying everyone should have the privilege of voting, regardless what they’ve done in their lives.  That’s not merely wrong, it’s disastrously dangerous.  Unlike the (poorly done) movie of Starship Troopers, the book discusses in great detail the importance of the franchise.  Indeed, the book is highly controversial for presenting a futuristic society in which the only full citizens with voting privileges are military veterans.  Pardon the excerpt from one of the book’s classroom discussions:

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A one-way ticket

Democrats must be concerned about internal polling indicating Trump’s policy successes are pulling away minority votes:

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker introduced a bill Monday that would establish a commission to study the impact of slavery on the black community and propose slavery reparations initiatives.

Sen. Booker tweeted in reference to the bill he will be backing in the Senate, saying, “I am proud to introduce legislation that will finally address many of our country’s policies—rooted in a history of slavery and white supremacy—that continue to erode Black communities, perpetuate racism and implicit bias, and widen the racial wealth gap.”

Senator Spartacus” obviously doesn’t see the irony inherent in a Black U.S. Senator complaining that blacks just can’t get ahead in this country, less than three years after a Black man left the Oval Office.  That said, let’s examine his complaint:

Few things “erode Black communities” like the twin scourges of welfare and abortion. Both are practically sacraments to leftists.  And both have devastated the nuclear family, which study after study shows is vital to social and economic mobility.  The advocacy of abortion in America, in particular, has demonstrably racist origins.  As for the welfare legacy of the Great Society, let’s review the thoughts of its architect, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson:

These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.

No amount of monetary compensation can undo the damage that two generations of government paternalism has caused the Black community.  Only by leaving Uncle Sam’s plantation and its slave mentality of perpetual victimhood, and taking personal ownership of their community’s fate, is there any chance for improvement.  (The same is true for all Americans, not just Blacks.)  Reparations are the exact opposite of that.  It’s “enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”  Of course, it’s good for buying votes, though, which is the real point.

At the same time, reparations represent an injustice to the rest of Americans.  Inevitably, it will open the door for demands by the Native Americans, Hawaiians, the Chinese and others, each with their own legitimate historical grievances.  The fabric of our society will become even more frayed as each group jostles for its share of the loot.

And where will that loot come from?  Largely from the White Devils, of course.  After all, we pale skins are the root of all evil — our college professors told us so.  Sarcasm aside, I’m the first in my family history ever to go to college.  My ancestors were hardscrabble, not wealthy, and none ever owned slaves, even though they were eeeeeeeevil Southerners.  It wasn’t my white skin that got me through college.  It was my parents ensuring I made use of my high school education, and instilling the work ethic that allowed me to work and go to school at the same time.  If he had any sense, Spartacus would see why I’m less than enthused at the prospect of being taxed to pay for others’ historical sins.  Apparently to the Democrats, I’m a “deplorable,” a “bitter clinger,” and a cash cow for redistribution schemes.  I wonder why they’re having a hard time connecting with my demographic these days.

We need a different vision if this country is to survive, a century and a half after it nearly tore itself apart.  (Today, by the way, is the anniversary of the effective end of that cataclysm.)  I’m reminded of a line from the movie Kingdom of Heaven:

“We fight over an offense we did not give against those who were not alive to be offended.”

We are at a crossroads.  Either we acknowledge our shared history — good and bad — has led all Americans to where we are now, which is a place of privilege beyond compare to most of the world’s population.  Or we begin fighting over the scraps of that heritage, and in the process tear apart what remains of it.  We can no longer afford would-be leaders who use grievance-mongering for personal advancement (I’m looking at you, Southern Poverty Law Center).

Which is why I’ll say this: there is one form of reparation I would support, and one only.  The original offense of the slavers was to forcefully remove Africans from their home and transport them to the Americas.  If any slave’s descendants truly believe this country is irreparably unjust to them, I support funding a one-way ticket to whatever African country they choose.  I don’t expect a mad clamor to take up such an offer, however.  Anyone with eyes can see that even the poorest of families in the most violent of Democratic-run cities like Chicago or Baltimore still has more opportunity and more to be thankful for than the vast majority of their distant relatives overseas.  Deep down, Senator Spartacus and his ilk know it.

And that, I submit, is reparations enough.  If it isn’t, by all means book the flight, bill Uncle Sam, and leave your U.S. passport on the way out the door.

Facts versus feelings

The issue of illegal immigration is an emotionally charged one.  I believe far too many of our leaders enable its continuation due to cynical political calculations: if the American people won’t vote them greater powers, they’ll import a people who will.  But for the average citizenry, those who support the continued entry of hundreds of thousands of migrants each year are largely driven by genuine compassion.  Indeed, it’s hard not to compare the conditions many of these people are leaving to those in the U.S. and not feel a sense of obligation to help.

That is why dispassionate examination of the facts of the matter is absolutely essential.  Simply put, this ongoing, unprecedented wave of migration is demonstrably harmful to the citizenry already living within the United States:

A majority of “non-citizens,” including those with legal green card rights, are tapping into welfare programs set up to help poor and ailing Americans, a Census Bureau finding that bolsters President Trump’s concern about immigrants costing the nation.

In a new analysis of the latest numbers, from 2014, 63 percent of non-citizens are using a welfare program, and it grows to 70 percent for those here 10 years or more, confirming another concern that once immigrants tap into welfare, they don’t get off it…

“Concern over immigrant welfare use is justified, as households headed by non-citizens use means-tested welfare at high rates. Non-citizens in the data include illegal immigrants, long-term temporary visitors like guest workers, and permanent residents who have not naturalized. While barriers to welfare use exist for these groups, it has not prevented them from making extensive use of the welfare system, often receiving benefits on behalf of U.S.-born children,” added the Washington-based [Center for Immigration Studies].

The numbers are huge. The report said that there are 4,684,784 million non-citizen households receiving welfare… Compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives).

The American people have historically been a generous one, no doubt in large part to the legacy of Christian charity.  The current level of charity, however, is both unsustainable and unfair to the Americans who have paid into various systems like Social Security and are now unlikely to realize their promised benefits because those funds went to others.  The injustice of transferring wealth from citizens to those who have entered the country (legal or illegal) only to become a burden on it should be obvious.  Given the fact the United States is already flirting heavily with insolvency, carrying trillions of dollars in debt and routinely hearing warnings about Social Security and other programs running out of funds for promised benefits, it’s clear the current situation cannot be tolerated.

The soothsayers who want to allow the status quo to continue try to shame concerned Americans by pointing to our history as a ‘nation of immigrants.’  In doing so, they omit certain critical data points:

  • Past waves of immigration, such as the early 1900s, were conducted according to strict legal protocols, requiring processing at such places as Ellis Island.  It was not a free-for-all “rush for the border” as we have today.
  • Previous immigrants had to prove, among other things, that they had the means to be self-supporting.
  • Previous sources of immigration were mainly from Western European nations with at least a tenuous connection with the English social and political context that framed the United States.  Today, not so much.  (Note the dramatic change on this animated map, both in terms of volume and sources of immigration, starting about 1970.)

This is not to say that individual people from other parts of the world are any less human. It acknowledges, however, that culture is an essential facet of any country, and is not easily discarded in favor of a new worldview. In short, we have allowed alien ways of thought to establish themselves among us, with major implications for the future of our Constitutional heritage.

Much, if not most of our current inflow of people is from Latin America.  Is it not prudent, then, to examine the fact Latin America is “the murder capital of the world?”

With just 8% of the world’s population, Latin America accounts for roughly a third of global murders. It is also the only region where lethal violence has grown steadily since 2000, according to United Nations figures. Nearly one in every four murders around the world takes place in just four countries: Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia. 

The linked article goes on to note most of these murders are never solved, a result of the very weak legal systems and lack of accountability that exist in most of the countries south of the Rio Grande.  Gangs like MS-13 represent the effective local authority, and it should be no surprise that as we continue to receive large numbers of people from this area, that the established gangs export their influence north with it.  It’s understandable to want to help people fleeing such lawlessness.  But such an impulse has to be tempered by at least two questions:

  • Given the pervasiveness of violence and lawlessness, are we willing to import the entire populations of countries like El Salvador or Honduras to allow their people to escape it?  For how many nations are we willing to do this?
  • Does it do any good to permit large-scale immigration from this region that results in importing to the U.S. the very social problems so many profess to be fleeing?

The first duty of any legitimate government is the protection of its own citizens, not provision to outsiders.  Yet many of our leaders seem to turn that on its head, viciously attacking and slandering any who then question their priorities.  In turning the U.S. into the world’s charity, we have forgotten a warning given to us in the famous parable by C.S. Lewis:

Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.

Indeed, the benevolence we think we bestow when we allow people to move to America only to become trapped in ethnic enclaves as wards of the state, is indeed largely imaginary.  Worse, it breeds understandable resentment among citizens who see their job prospects (see: H1B) and sources of public support diverted to newcomers, many of whom already broke our laws just coming here.

Our commendable compassion is being used to subvert us, and it’s well past time that stopped.  It isn’t compassionate to destroy one’s own nation trying to provide dubious help to others.  Universal birthright citizenship and the resulting “anchor babies” need to go, as does the vast majority of immigration of any kind for the foreseeable future.  When the lifeboat is already leaking and listing as the U.S. is, it’s suicidal to keep adding to the passenger list.

Parasitical terrorism

I’m increasingly convinced that if we (and the rest of the West) got our own house in order with regard to immigration and welfare, terrorist activity would be severely curtailed even without further major military operations:

On the morning of March 15, Fox 9 chased a tip about a man who was leaving the country. Sources said he took a carry-on bag through security that was packed with $1 million in cash. Travelers can do that, as long as they fill out the proper government forms.

Fox 9 learned that these cloak-and-dagger scenarios now happen almost weekly at [Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport].  The money is usually headed to the Middle East, Dubai and points beyond. Sources said last year alone, more than $100 million in cash left MSP in carry-on luggage…

[Former Seattle police detective Glen] Kerns discovered some of the money was being funneled to a Hawala in the region of Somalia that is controlled by the al Shabaab terrorist group…

As Kerns dug deeper, he found that some of the individuals who were sending out tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of remittance payments happened to be on government assistance in this country.

How could they possibly come up with such big bucks to transfer back home?

“We had sources that told us, ‘It’s welfare fraud, it’s all about the daycare,’” said Kerns.

Read the whole thing.  Minnesota is now home to a very large Somali Muslim community.  Next door in Michigan the Muslims tend to be from Bosnia, Yemen and Bangladesh.  In both states, Islam is increasingly influential.  Those communities are already linked to a rise in female genital mutilation cases (a practice that is rightly illegal in most of the West).  It appears the community is also linked to shenanigans back home as well.

Think about it: we’re allowing colonists to come here, partake of our welfare system, and use some of the proceeds to fund extremist groups back home.  We can’t defeat what we’re allowing ourselves to subsidize.  Seal the borders and tighten down on foreign remittances.  Otherwise there’s no point in waging this war.

Who is creating the problem?

With the meteoric rise of Bernie Sanders, we’re seeing an accompanying increase in class warfare rhetoric (part and parcel of the Marxist worldview, which relies on creating envy to generate much of its appeal).  One side effect of this “soak the rich” battlecry is that it presumes most, if not all material success in life is achieved through undeserved and ill-gotten gains.

The problem with this approach is that being wealthy is no more a reliable sign of insidious living than being poor automatically confers virtue.  Below is a much better perspective:

CLASSWARFARE

There are many who have worked hard, been creative, stayed “in bounds” of the law, and still achieved material success and social status.  Then there are those who have lobbied and bought influence to bend the system to their ends, using government force to exclude potential rivals, or to hire cheaper foreign labor to displace hardworking Americans… all to squeeze a few more cents per share of profit from their corporate cash cow.  But despite Bernie’s bellowing, those CEOs are the minority.

At the same time, there are those Americans who make use of a publicly provided “hand up” to get their life back on course after a disaster (loss of job or spousal support, or a bout with substance abuse or crime).  But there are also those who make public assistance a way of life, seeing no incentive to become self-supporting instead of living off the goodwill of others.

The problem we have is not one of “rich versus poor.”  It’s one of “workers versus looters” that crosses the spectrum of income.  It’s one of people at all levels of society who use government to take from others what they would not otherwise give.  CEOs and their companies who spend each day making themselves more profitable by providing better value for society should be applauded, not demonized.  The same is true for those who are saved by the “social safety net” but show the determination to climb back off of that net and start moving upward on their own power again.  These are the ‘workers.’

But those of any income who increase their worth primarily at the calculated expense of others — looters — should be rightfully condemned, whether they live in Manhattan, New York, or Manhattan, Kanasas.  This is yet another issue where Democrats and Republicans each decry a selected part of the problem, while both make it worse.  Republicans complain (rightfully) about those who purposefully live off the welfare system, while simultaneously supporting H1B visas, offshoring and other corporate goodies that force vulnerable workers onto unemployment and other forms of public assistance.  Democrats rightfully attack Uncle Sam’s “corporate handouts” (of which there are many), but then promise to hand out so many “goodies” to the citizenry that they promote individual dependency and an entitlement mentality.

Here’s a radical thought: how about EVERYBODY stop looking at government as Santa Claus?  How about we stop empowering government to pick the winners and losers at all levels of living?  This is supposed to be the land of opportunity, not the land of who-has-the-most-organized-lobby.  (By the way, if you truly want to study and go to college, the opportunities exist.  Stop waiting for government to make it “free.”)  Government should be a referee, not a retailer of tax loot.

Solving any issue effectively means first defining the problem accurately.  That is one reason why socialism ultimately fails.  It substitutes blind jealousy for incentives and a work ethic.  I suspect its growing appeal to the current generation is based in no small part on the failure of America to prevent the corruption of what was once a successful attempt at free market capitalism into a blatant and corrupt system of cronyism based on an alliance of Big Business, Big Government and a Bi-factional ruling party.

Neither of these is the answer to the problem.  Where are the candidates promoting individual freedom and personal opportunity?

This -n- that

*  Sad to say, there’s likely more wisdom in this incredibly brief commencement speech than is found in many students’ four years of college indoctrination instruction

* Three years after armed federal agents raided Gibson Guitars, there have been no chargesand no day in court, despite the seizure of half a million dollars worth of property

* Logical debate?  Ain’t nobody got no time for them standards and such no more!  (I credit my experience with competitive debate as one of the most challenging and valuable in my high school education.  What this article describes does no one — least of all society — any good whatsoever)

* …because putting a US warship in the Black Sea as a target for buzzing by Russian aircraft wasn’t enough

* Nothing says “unsustainable” like a system that has 86 million contributors and 146 million dependents… and that’s not even counting ‘defense’ corporations!

* It’s official: when Congress passes a law a President doesn’t like (but doesn’t have the guts to veto, knowing full well the backlash that would ensue), he can just sign it and say “I’ll take that under advisement…”   Who needs those pesky checks and balances anyway?

* More and more the question is whether ‘the center can hold.’  And that’s a good thing.  Memory jogger:  “When any government becomes destructive of these ends (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness), it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and establish new government…”  That doesn’t have to be a violent process, provided the government found to be wanting doesn’t literally force the issue.

* And finally, a practical SAT question

That about sums it up…

So, how’s that return on investment, America?  Any end to the ‘war’ in sight yet?  Ready to acknowledge collateral damage, such as aiding the destruction of the family unit? Ready to acknowledge this may be more of a civil and ‘self-help’ project than a national mobilization issue?

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