A Further Perspective

A Further Perspective

What Happened Last Week?

By 11.11.14

Just what happened last week on election day? And what is going to happen in the years ahead?

The most important thing that happened last week was that the country dodged a bullet. Had the Democrats retained control of the Senate, President Obama could have spent his last two years in office loading the federal judiciary with judges who share his contempt for the Constitution of the United States.

Such judges — perhaps including Supreme Court justices — would have been confirmed by Senate Democrats, and could spend the rest of their lifetime appointments ruling in favor of expansions of federal government power that would make the freedom of “we the people” only a distant memory and a painful mockery.

We dodged that bullet. But what about the rest of Barack Obama’s term?

A Further Perspective

Our Military Is the Most Important Organization on Earth

By 11.10.14

Following the Democrats’ debacle in last week’s midterm elections, President Obama was his usual self at a press conference refusing to accept any responsibility for this electoral disaster despite having said his policies were on the ballot much less give any indication he intends to redeem his conduct in his last two years in office.

Perhaps Obama’s most telling statement was when, in response to a question from CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, he recalled pep talks he gave to White House staff before and after the midterms:

I told them this last week, and I told them that this morning. We have this incredible privilege of being in charge of the most important organization on earth--the U.S. government, and our military, and everything that we do for good around the world.

A Further Perspective

T’was a Famous Victory

By 11.7.14

So did anything change on Tuesday? Very likely not. The ability of Congressional Republicans to enact legislation is not much changed from last Monday. Before Tuesday they held the House. Now they hold the House and the Senate. But it takes three branches of government to enact a law, and there isn’t much difference between holding one and holding two branches, if you don’t have the third.

To which I’d add two caveats. First, there’s an important psychological difference. The House Republicans caved on the debt ceiling last January because they didn’t think they had the voters at their back. They had held out in 2011, and then got shellacked in 2012. Perhaps they’ll feel differently now. That’s important because their ultimate power is that of the purse, and that requires staring down Obama, as they did in the debt negotiations of 2011.

That implies a long-ball strategy, where the Republicans try to enact the sort of things on George Will’s wish list. Otherwise they’re just whistling in the wind.

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Dear Newly Elected Officials: You Are Not Our Daddy

By 11.6.14

After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, comedian Chris Rock made headlines.

Emotions were running high, and he spoke in favor of President Obama’s call for more gun control:

I am just here to support the President of the United States. The President of the United States is, you know, our boss. He’s also, you know, the president and the first lady are kinda like the mom and the dad of the country and when your dad says something, you listen.

He went on to say that when you don’t listen to your dad, there are consequences. Rock’s comments — so obviously ignorant — even drew laughs from other speakers standing behind him.

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Reagan and Nixon: Two Speeches

By 11.5.14

Last week Ronald Reagan’s famous October 27 “A Time for Choosing” speech during the 1964 presidential campaign was justly commemorated on its 50th anniversary as Reagan’s dramatic entrance into national politics.

Less commemorated this week was the 45th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s momentous “Silent Majority” appeal to mainstream America to back his Vietnam policy against anti-war zealots demanding immediate surrender.

Asking support from the “great silent majority of my fellow Americans,” Nixon carefully explained that America had “no future as a free society” if an agitated “vocal minority” dictated national policy through street demonstrations. Citing signage cynically and impatiently demanding, “Lose in Vietnam, bring the boys home,” Nixon warned that defeatism and division among Americans would only hinder his power to negotiate a just peace with Communist North Vietnam.

“Let us be united for peace,” Nixon implored. “Let us also be united against defeat. Because let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.”

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Hillary and Obama: Saying More Than Intended

By 11.3.14

Hillary Clinton has now joined Obama in making a decidedly anti-business remark. While the camps of both politicians attempted to explain these away as gaffes, they still raise a host questions. The most important of which is how these two top Democratic leaders actually feel about the private sector, in which the vast majority of Americans work.

The other week at a Boston rally, Hillary Clinton came out with this jaw-dropper: “Don’t let anybody tell you that corporations and businesses create jobs.” If that sounds more than vaguely reminiscent, it should. Obama said essentially the same thing in a 2012 campaign rally. Speaking about infrastructure and the wealthy paying higher taxes, Obama took verbal flight: “…If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

While both politicians’ camps sought to undo the damage — Hillary doing so three days later at another Massachusetts rally — when two people of such importance make essentially the same huge mistake, it raises a host of questions America should be asking.

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Attractions of Islamism — Explored in Three Stories

By 10.31.14

In 1910, with Prussian militarism apparently the greatest looming threat to the British Empire and Western civilization, G. K. Chesterton published a novel, The Flying Inn, in which he argued the longest-lasting threat was Islam, and its attractiveness to a certain type of liberal mind.

In the story, the jaded British upper-class and smart set are captivated by a fashionable, nuanced variety of Islam, headed by the urbane, silver-tongued Nietzschean nihilist Lord Ivywood and a strange little Turk, Misyra Ammon.

The cross is replaced by trend-crazed clergymen on the spires of the great cathedrals with a multi-cultural, politically correct symbol combining cross and crescent, and alcohol is forbidden for working people (though the smart set can still obtain it for themselves). Furtive preparations are made to introduce polygamy and harems.

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Envy in a Time of Inequality

By 10.29.14

Envy, I’ve often thought, is the very worst human emotion. The epic Biblical narrative of Cain’s slaying of Abel reminds us that people have been jealous of others’ successes and well-being from time immemorial. When mixed, however, with the near-obsession with inequality that dominates much public discourse these days, there’s a serious risk that envy — and desires to appease it — can start driving public policy in ways that aren’t economically wise or politically healthy.

Remarks like “you didn’t build that” or François Hollande’s notorious 2012 “I don’t like the rich” statement don’t of course come out of a void. On one level, they reflect long-standing ideological complaints about the nature and outcomes of market economies as well as animus against particular groups. But the current fixation with economic inequality has arguably made it easier for our political masters to say such things out loud and with less fear of electoral retribution.

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Democrats Can Run But They Can’t Hide From Barack Obama

By 10.28.14

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

The great boxing champion Joe Louis once said about one of his opponents, who was known for his speed: “He can run but he can’t hide.” In the Congressional elections this year, many Democrats are running away from Barack Obama, but they can’t hide their record of voting for Obama’s agenda more than 90 percent of the time.

Now that the Western democracies have learned the hard way what the consequences are when you admit all sorts of people into your country — including people who hate both the principles and the people of your society — will that cause zealots for open borders and amnesty to have some second thoughts, or perhaps first thoughts?

I hope Yankees manager Joe Girardi was watching the World Series when Madison Bumgarner was allowed to come out and pitch the 9th inning, even though he had already made 107 pitches. Time and again, Girardi has taken out a pitcher who was pitching a great game, and brought in a reliever who lost it. Baseball statistics provide good rules of thumb, but bad dogmas on a given day.

A Further Perspective

Who Am I to Judge?

By 10.24.14

The logic of Pope Francis’s claim that “God is not afraid of new things” calls for some comment, and the crossing of several pons asinori.

First, if you are a Christian, it is a statement of the obvious: God, as God, is not afraid of anything. (Christ, as a man, was apparently afraid of crucifixion — His sacrifice would have had no meaning if it had not included fear — but that is a different matter.)

While God is not afraid of new things, there are many instances in which Man should be afraid of new things, from bio-engineering to nuclear weapons. Both Nazism and Communism had claims to be new things, new orders sweeping away old dead orders.