I was asked for my “thoughts on other tactics and techniques that can help us get to more rational and open public discussion and decision making for our county.”
Forty-five minutes drive in 3 compass directions from Elbert County bring one to growing communities hosting a variety of job opportunities, renewable water sources, vibrant real estate markets, hospitals and health care facilities, medical specialists, fast transportation arterials, light industry and commerce, etc. Evidence suggests these adjacent communities have benefitted from rational decision making for their communities. The standards of living there look good.
In contrast, Elbert County remains heavily influenced, if not controlled, by a small group of xenophobic luddites determined to destroy the potential for growth, substantive commerce, light industry, renewable water, and any semblance of a modern economy.
A majority of commissioner candidates in this years election promise more of the same.
So, the answer to the question posed seems clear. Send the luddites back whence they came, and keep them from continuing to influence the governance of Elbert County. They had their shot, and Elbert County has paid a steep price for following their advice.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
by Daniel Greenfield
The sort of people who set off class wars as a hobby have very particular classless societies in mind. The average left-wing revolutionary is not poor. He is a homicidal dilettante from the upper classes with a burning conviction of his own importance that he is unwilling to realize through disciplined labor. His revolution climaxes with a classless society in which he is at the very top.
Not near the top, not adjacent to the top, as he usually was before, but at the very top.
Utopia has a class system. At the top are the thinkers, the philosopher kings who develop plans based on how things ought to be and then turn them over to lesser men to actually implement. They are the priestly class of an ideological movement whose deity is politics and whose priests are politicians.
In a planned economy, they are the titans of industry and finance, they are the heads of banks and the men who move millions and billions around the board, and they are utterly unfit for the job. But they also make decisions in matters of war and science. And in all things. They measure political heresy in all things and all the activities of man are measured against their dogma and rewarded or punished.
This is the way it was in the Soviet Union or Communist China. But take a closer glance at the White House – and Elbert County* – and see if you don’t spot the occasional similarity.
In the middle of Utopia’s class system is the middle class. This is not the middle class you are familiar with. There are no small business owners here. No one striving to make it up the ladder. Utopia’s middle class is the bureaucracy, the interlinked hive mind of government and non-profits.
At the top of Utopia’s class system are the philosopher-planners who issue the regulations. Or rather they offer objectives. The bureaucracy filters them through successive layers, transforming grandiose ideas into stultifying regulations and each successive layers expands them into further microcosms of unnecessary detail. This expansion of regulations also expands the bureaucracy. One feeds off the other.
Utopia has no lower class. That would be dystopian. Instead it has a client class. The client class is what used to be known as the working class. Utopia however transforms it into the welfare class.
Clienture transforms the working class into the welfare class. The destruction of the conditions under which the working class can exist forces its members either upward into the bureaucracy, a feat that is only possible for the younger generation willing to undergo the educational process, or downward into the welfare class.
The client class justifies the existence of Utopia’s upper and middle class which are, in theory, dedicated to public service, to remedying the ills of an unfair society, which has been made fair by eliminating all free will and individual choice. But the client class exists to be subsidized. And its subsidies justify the subsidizing of the upper and middle classes of the planners and the bureaucrats.
This is Utopia’s crisis.
Its upper class of philosopher kings expect to live like kings. They want to vacation in Aspen and New England. They want Bernie’s summer home and Hillary’s flat broke houses. And that does not come cheap. Utopia’s middle class expects to live the way that our middle class does. And yet none of them actually produce anything. They will, in Obama and Elizabeth Warren’s “You didn’t build that” formula, claim that their public service makes the condition of productivity possible.
There is one problem with that. Their public service actually inhibits production. Whatever the rhetoric, they spend all their days killing the geese that lay the golden eggs. And then they are insulted when the goose doesn’t recognize their contribution to her golden egg-laying.
Utopia has a series of interdependent classes that are subsidized by a productive class that is being starved out of existence. The inevitable outcome of such a system is one in which the lower classes are worked to death to subsidize its betters and the middle class is robbed by the upper class.
The left thus creates the predatory economic system it preaches against as a way of life. Its own abuses are inevitably worse than the system it replaces because it is not only exploitative, but its exploitation actively inhibits production.
Taxing imports – customs import duties – don’t do us any favors [Mr. Trump.] Notwithstanding where ownership of the foreign production resides, import duties raise prices to consumers, and send more money to be burned in the fire of federal spending. If the product is a necessity, the burden of the cost of the import duty will fall on those in need of the product. If the product is not a necessity, it will become less price competitive and possibly disappear from the market altogether.
Mr. Trump, however, is on the right track toward repatriation of American capital by lowering business taxes. But while the negative threat to levy import duties on a firm contemplating moving operations to a more economically favorable location politically appeals to class warriors, it’s really a threat to cutting off one’s nose to spite the face.
American consumers should benefit from least cost manufacturing environments.
And poorer countries know they must bootstrap themselves into the modern world, that there is no charity to bail them out from decades of socialist economic degradation. In the modern era they watched while America manufactured its way to the good life. They want to do it too, and they should.
Lower prices do not harm anyone, including Americans, and higher prices will not bring jobs back to America.
Job makers won’t leave America if the return on investment and regulatory environment remain more favorable to manufacturing in America than somewhere else. And job-making capital will return to America for the same two reasons.
These conditions should not be temporary inducements. They should be fundamental and long term features of the American business landscape. Job-making capital will come back, and will not leave in the first place, if taxes on business and income are removed, and if regulatory red tapes – at all levels of government – are eliminated.
Let’s call a spade a spade. America became socialist in the 20th century. Capital doesn’t like socialism. We can have jobs or we can have socialism. Not both.
Overt socialists like Clinton and Sanders will lament the loss of federal spending that feeds their voting blocks, and feeds their political machines. But their voting blocks would be much better fed by good paying jobs than by government handouts, price controls, subsidies, and legal shelters.
America needs to give up the socialist nightmare. Even China knows that socialism causes poverty and economic decline, though they’re not yet willing to release the communist reins of power.
Power is heroin for socialists. Cold turkey is the way to end an addiction. You don’t gradually ween from a disease. You cure it or you die from it.
We have the medicine. We know what works. We just need to quit listening to the socialists selling snake oil.
The following essay by the Syrian-German Islamic reformer Bassam Tibi was originally published by Die Welt. Many thanks to Brunhilde for the translation:
Young men who bring a culture of violence with them
by Bassam Tibi
The events in Cologne were just a prelude: Many Arab migrants bring very misogynistic social values to Germany. That makes it almost impossible for them to be integrated. A guest commentary.
Is there any connection between the attacks on New Year’s Eve in Cologne and the situation in Syria? The answer is: Yes, there is a connection and the common denominator is violence against women.
Many of my German discussion partners do not seem to understand the violence that is directed against women in a oriental patriarchal culture. In the orient, a woman is not considered an entity, but an object of a man’s honour. The violation of a woman is not viewed only as a sexual act and crime against the woman herself, but more as an act of humiliation of the man to whom she belongs.
In this barbaric war in Syria, that completely erroneously is called a “civil war” (no citizens, but rather ethno-religious collectives, are fighting each other in it), the Shiite-Alawite soldiers of the Syrian army rape women of the Sunni opposition as a method of warfare.
With rape, these Alawites are seeking to dishonour the men of the Sunni opposition. The Sunni “rebels” for their part do the same with Alawite women. It is a war of all against all with women as pawns.
Cologne was not an isolated case
As a Syrian from Damascus, I am astonished at the ignorance and naïveté of the Chancellor and her defence minister, who believe that they can end the war with conferences in Geneva and Munich. But this war should be categorized as a “protracted conflict” that will be with us for many years. It is a type of war that I call “an irregular not state-run war.”
Among the war refugees, there are not only victims of violence but also many perpetrators, and even numerous Islamists. Added to that is the fact that these predominantly young men aged 14 to 20 bring with them the culture of violence, including against women, from the Near East to Germany. New Year’s Eve in Cologne is just a demonstration of that, and no isolated case as our politicians like to pretend in order to downplay the significance of the matter.
Independent of the war, the image of women in the Arabic-oriental culture is patriarchal, even comprehensively inhuman. This image of women must not be tolerated in Europe under the mantle of respect for other cultures.
And for the Arab man, the sexual violence is not just about the “sexual attraction” of the European woman but also about the European man, whose honour he wants to besmirch. And that is what happened in Cologne.
Cologne was just the beginning. If Germany brings in over a million people from the world of Islam and does not fulfil their expectations, we had better be prepared for a few things. From advertisements, all these young men think that they know that every European has a luxury apartment, a car and a “pretty blonde”; they think that they will get all that too and join in the prosperity.
But when these young men instead end up receiving emergency accommodation in school gyms or sports arenas, they feel like they have been deceived and discriminated against. So they develop a desire for revenge against the European man. The disappointed and enraged Arab men therefore took their revenge in Cologne and Hamburg against German men, represented by their women.
As a Syrian who represents an enlightened Islam and who advocates respect for women, I say: That was a culturally anchored act of revenge. What should be criticized here is not only the much lamented false tolerance, but also the ignorance about other cultures.
The conflict in Syria between Sunnis and Alawites, which has developed into a bloody war, will accompany us for many years to come. The number of the dead meanwhile amounts to about half a million Syrians, among them one hundred thousand Alawites; the rest are Sunnis. This kind of conflict is difficult to resolve. An example of this from the past is the Lebanon conflict between Christians and Muslims that lasted from 1975 to 1990, that is 15 years.
Religion belongs to Allah
In Syria the conflict has a long history. The Syrian capital Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world; from 661 to 750 it was the capital of the Omayyad kingdom, that is to say the first imperial Caliphate of Islam that stretched from Spain to western China.
In the late 19th century, Christians and Muslims adopted the European idea of the Nation, in which both had equal rights (therefore different from the Caliphate, where Christians were considered second class believers). Secular pan-Arabism arose from this. After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Syria became a mandate of France from 1920 to 1945, and after that an independent secular republic.
In this secular Syria I was born in 1944 in Damascus, an offspring of the Ashraf aristocratic family Banu al-Tibi. The orientation of our values was: Religion belongs to Allah, but the fatherland belongs to all. That’s what the Sunni majority thought, about 70%, and lived in mutual respect with a large number of religious and ethnic minorities.
Bloody feelings of vengeance
Damascus was a peaceful city with a Christian and a Kurdish quarter. That changed after 1970, when the Alawite-Shiite General Hafiz al-Assad seized power. In the years that followed, he succeeded in filling all key positions in the army and security services with Alawites.
Inspired by the Arab spring of 2011, there was an uprising of the Sunni majority against the Alawite rule from which the current war arose. A bloody line of enmity, laden with a strong desire for revenge, between Sunnis and Alawites characterizes this conflict. Alawites and Sunnis do not have a common future.
Neither regional nor international powers are able to gain control of this conflict. In the Syrian conflict, it is important to understand that Putin is not employing his Russian military power out of sympathy for Assad, but solely in an effort to force the West to recognize Russia as an equal actor. At the Munich security conference in February of 2016, it became clear that Putin had achieved this goal.
The conflict in Syria is illustrative of a continuing process of disintegration of states in the Near East. This is currently also happening in Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. The consequence of this will be that in the coming years, massive demographic avalanches are in store for Europe.
Thanks to the invitation of Chancellor Merkel, Germany is the primary destination of the refugees. But the other Europeans are not playing along. The children’s squabble among all German parties about upper limits and limiting the number shows that German politicians do not understand the dimension of the problems.
Early in 2015 following the murders in Paris, Chancellor Merkel participated in a public demonstration in Berlin shoulder to shoulder with Islam functionaries who vehemently oppose a European Islam, and still she doesn’t even know what she is doing. Her Syrian and refugee policies lie along this line.
While German politicians and German Gutmenschen speak about tolerance and the misery of the refugees “in a German pathos of the absolute” (Adorno), the Islamists laugh contemptuously and call these debates “Byzantine blather.”
Far and wide no Euro-Islam
The origin of the term is revealing: In the year 1453, the Byzantine capital Constantinople was besieged by an Islamic Ottoman army. During this siege, Byzantine and Christian monks exhausted themselves in debates about magical and religious formulas, despite the seriousness of the situation.
In the same year, 1453, the Islamic Sultan Mehmed II successfully conquered Constantinople with his troops and transformed the city into an Islamic Istanbul. Since that time Islamic historians have therefore called such debates “Byzantine blather.”
As a Syrian from Damascus, I have been living in Germany since 1962, and I know: Patriarchally minded men from a misogynistic culture cannot be integrated. A European, civil Islam that the Islamic functionaries in these parts have rejected as Euro-Islam, would be the alternative. At the present time, it doesn’t have a chance. My teacher Max Horkheimer called Europe “an island of freedom in an ocean of dictatorships.” Today I see this freedom endangered.
We publish this text with the kind permission of the publishing house Kiepenheuer & Witsch. It is a preview of the book by Alice Schwartzer, “The Shock — New Year’s Eve in Cologne,” to be released in May.
Bassam Tibi, 72, is a Political Scientist Emeritus at the University of Göttingen. He arrived in Germany at the age of 18 from Syria.
The tautological foolishness currently embodied in Leftism seems present in one form or another in every age. As human capacity has increased, so too I suppose has the capacity for human delusion. The inexorable perniciousness of the Left’s determination to utterly destroy any opposition to their march into utopia takes my breath away. As I get older, my respect increases for those who take on the challenge to correct the malformed mindheads. It is difficult work with slim prospects for success.
September 1, 2016
“Education,” wrote Malcolm Muggeridge fifty years ago, “the great fraud and mumbo-jumbo of the age,” had not brought to the mass of men the best that has been done and thought and said, but rather spread ignorance and folly across the land. Muggeridge understood, though he did not feel he needed to say so explicitly, that the modern ignorance is a new kind of thing, not like the ignorance of old. We Catholics who wish to bring the good news of Christ to the world must now reckon with the malady, because it will require of us something other than what was required of the old missionaries when they went among a heathen people, to show them that the best of what they already believed was but an adumbration of the truth, whole and living.
The old ignorance is easy to describe. All it meant was that people did not know how to read, or had not had a chance to study arts and letters and the sciences, or were never introduced to the gospel. Among peoples already Christian it had more to do with what class you were born to than how intelligent you were. So an Italian mason would know how to dress a block of marble for a rounded pillar, so that it would sit securely in place, tapering it towards the top, too, lest it look as if it were beetling above you and getting ready to fall upon your head. The miller knew how to rig the carpentry so that he could engage and disengage the water wheel with ease. The painter knew how to build scaffolding, and where to get the earths, greens, shellfish, bones, berries, and whatnot to create his pigments. You could not get through an ordinary day without putting into act a wide variety of skills, and practical knowledge of the world around you, and this was true of both sexes, and even of children. But they might not know who Cicero was, or how to read The Divine Comedy, or, unless they were sailors, what route you would take on the sea to get to Ireland, or what a logarithm is, and so forth.
I could now say that the new ignorance is just the old ignorance, without those skills and that practical knowledge. The new ignorant are vague about what a mill is, nor do they know who Cicero was, even though they have attended school, that efficient emptier of brains, for twelve to sixteen years. That would be bad enough, but it would still not be exactly correct.
Lately I followed a lead to an article written by our good friend Joseph Pearce, on the fact that students coming to college and students leaving college do not really know much at all about the history, theology, philosophy, art, and poetry of the Christian heritage. He is quite right about that, and I’ve long known about it. I’m sure he is aware of an even deeper ignorance, though—the ignorance you have to be educated into; the ignorance on gaudy display in the comments below his article.
Constantine decreed that the Church had to believe in the Trinity.
Christians adopted a pagan festival to celebrate Easter and Christmas.
Christians were pacifists who sapped the strength of the Roman Empire (hat tip to you, Edward Gibbon, sour skeptic and despiser of the Church).
Christians massacred people who did not convert to their religion.
Christians burned down the library at Alexandria.
Catholics persecuted the “heretic” Copernicus.
Jesus preached socialism and the redistribution of income.
Christians despised pagan philosophy.
Christians are responsible for the rejection of centuries of scientific achievement.
Christians caused the fall of the Roman Empire.
Catholics burned a million people at the stake for being “witches.”
If it weren’t for Christians, we might have been driving around in automobiles fifteen centuries ago.
Those are just from the one article. I can supply more. The Founding Fathers were mostly deists. Enlightenment skeptics were primarily responsible for abolishing slavery. Nothing important culturally happened between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance. The American Indians were largely peace-loving until Europeans arrived. Women in the Middle Ages were no better than chattel. Michelangelo and Shakespeare were homosexuals. Scholars in the Middle Ages fought over how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. People believed the world was flat until Renaissance scientists (or Columbus) proved otherwise. The American economy flourished because of the slave trade. People used to practice abortion every bit as commonly as now.
“Wise women” used to give herbal remedies to people, and that is why they were accused of witchcraft. The drafters of the American constitution determined that a black man was worth only three-fifths of a white man. Women were not allowed to own property before (pick your year). The Catholic Church in particular, and Christians in general, have always been afraid of sex and the human body. Islam was peaceful enough until the Crusades. Pope Pius XII was Hitler’s man.
Catholics believe, and have always believed, that all Protestants are surely going to hell, and vice-versa, and both Catholics and Protestants believe, and have always believed, that every person not baptized with water by a priest or minister is going to join them there. Religion is just a means of “controlling” people. Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Saint Paul invented the Church. Jesus was just an ordinary teacher, like the Buddha. The gospels were written down a hundred years after the facts. The first Christians suppressed the “real” gospels.
The human race was matriarchal until (pick your event: the ancient agricultural revolution will do). There was no division of labor between men and women until (pick your event: the industrial revolution will do). Very few people in the United States knew how to read anything much until the advent of compulsory schooling. The account of creation in Genesis is just like every other account of creation from the ancient world.
And on it goes. I will soon be meeting my college freshmen for the first time, in our program in the development of western civilization, and I know that I will have to un-teach them a great deal of nonsense that they have been taught. Much of it is sheer blinkered stupidity, such as that you must never use the personal pronoun “I” in an essay, or that you may not begin a sentence with “because,” or that you should never use the passive voice—defined as using any form of the verb “to be.” But much of it is this new kind of ignorance, the shallow bigotry of people who have been malformed in their schooling and in their reading of bad books or sloppy journalism, over the course of many years, so that they “know” all kinds of things that are not true, and “know” them as ingrained prejudices. I have seen it many times before: we will spend a whole semester teaching them about the glorious art and literature of the Middle Ages, introducing them to Dante and Giotto and Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure, and still some of them will repeat that canard about darkness covering the world in gloom for ten centuries, until Petrarch or somebody was born.
The situation would be bad enough if we encountered it only in the graduates of high school and of the “lesser” colleges and universities, but not from places like Princeton and Harvard and Yale. Alas, that is not the case at all. The graduates of still-Catholic and still-Christian colleges are more likely than are their counterparts from the Poison Ivies to know some things about the western heritage. You cannot graduate from my school, Providence College, without at least brushing up against Homer, Virgil, Marcus Aurelius, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Kierkegaard, inter alia. But it is highly unlikely that a graduate of Brown University, that overpriced bohemian stew pot across the city from us in Providence, will have read a single play by Shakespeare for his or her classes, let alone anything of Virgil or the Scriptures.
We will also encounter it among the self-styled prophets of our time: the journalists, and journalistic writers of memoirs and cultural analyses. Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates, new darling of the left and a recipient of one of the MacArthur “genius” awards, admitted recently without embarrassment or apology that he had never heard of Saint Augustine; which is rather like a prize-winning author from England having never heard of Charlemagne. Since Coates writes about racial issues, his ignorance of the great intellect from North Africa was all the more stunning. And yet he can speak endlessly about racism and the Christian faith. Such a thing is common among journalists and the writers of popular journalistic books, and it comes from all races, all political persuasions, and both sexes.
That is what we have to deal with now. In The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis said that the task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. That is still true, except that the desert-dwellers we meet suffer one jungle-mirage after another, a veritable fantasyland rain forest of monstrous untruths and massive foolishness. We will have to help them clear their heads of the hallucinogens before we can fill those heads with truth and beauty.
Editor’s note: The image above depicts Bugs Bunny’s nephew Clyde in the final scene from the Looney Toons cartoon Yankee Doodle Bugs (1954).
Given that Elbert County voters prefer the comfort of Republican figureheads to lead government, and given that statutes control commissioner duties and powers, and given that commissioners rarely exercise their quasi-judicial authority to decide a discretionary matter, and given that local Democrats construe every Republican commissioner word and deed in the worst imaginable light against them – whether or not factual support exists for such constructions, and given that few sane people even consider taking a public service job that exposes them to unrelenting hyperbolic and vicious attacks, of what practical uses are the primary and general election processes in Elbert County? Haven’t they become obsolete?
Under present circumstances, it seems that the method used to fill the recent commissioner vacancy – appointment by central committee – more than adequately protects the interests of Elbert County.
The electoral candidate vetting process is predicated on something that no longer exists – representative government. Local Democrats simply don’t trust representative government to proceed.
So Democrats encumber the BOCC domain with hyper paranoid citizen second-guessing of every fact and opinion that surfaces in the daily affairs of government. All of the local print media, and most of their on-line counterparts, assist.
Leftist overseers, using skills honed in decades of service in a variety of public entities, carved out procedural intervention points to control many local government functions.
No one elected them – they chose themselves. They bring their own deviant and un-vetted ideologies to the table to inject into government policies at the intervention points they’ve carved out. And they’re self-funded retirees. No one needs to pay them. They volunteer – and frequently pat themselves on the back for doing so.
In other words, they expropriate power, and congratulate themselves on how appropriate they are to do so.
This is the quasi-socialist utopia that Elbert County government has become. If we can admit its existence perhaps we can rescue ourselves from the expensive and apparently obsolete limited-government illusion that causes so much division and contributes to no-one’s self-esteem.
Surely we must conclude that Leftists do want everyone to feel good about our government since they intend it to control so much of our lives. So let’s dump the unnecessary charade of representative government altogether, allow the self-appointed central committees to select leaders, just as we allow the self-appointed overseers to monitor and control those leaders.
Now that voting is obsolete, we can safely eliminate the whole process, save ourselves a lot of time and money, and avoid the inevitable disappointment that comes from investing hope in leadership that Leftist controllers will inevitably discredit.
Once again we see the basic problem with technocracy:
Adults will be told it is fine to drink in moderation in new guidelines on alcohol intake unveiled by the government — in a slapdown of Britain’s top doctor.
The rules, to be announced soon, will set the recommended weekly limit for both men and women at 14 units, a reduction of seven for men, and explain that every drink comes with a small health risk.
The dangers of alcohol, like the dangers of rather a lot of things in this life, come on a curve. No booze at all leads to shorter lifespans than some, too much to shorter again. Where those curves are is of course an empirical matter but the too much, leading to the same dangers as none, is well out beyond 14 units a week for men. Up more at 30 to 40 units in fact.
That this is true of much of life is obvious – no food is not known to be good for us, 5,000 calories a day plus a sedentary lifestyle similarly not all that healthy. A diet of pure sugar won’t keep you going all that long but an insistence on “no refined sugar” is to make the opposite mistake. And on the larger scale of course a tax rate of zero percent raises no money from that particular tax while there really is a rate which is “too high” in that raising it further will produce ever less revenue.
It’s superficially attractive that we have experts who decide how these curves work and then tell the rest of us. Certainly we think that pointing out that the peak of the Laffer Curve for UK income tax is somewhere around 40% or so, less than 50% or so, is an empirical result which we think experts should mention.
And yet there’s a problem with such technocracy. It’s akin to the trade protection and tariffs problem. The people who will end up as the technocrats on any particular subject are going to be those with a whole hive of bees in their bonnet about that particular subject. We end up being ruled by the Single Issue Fanatics, as Bernard Levin used to put it.
It’s a standard analysis of the problem with trade tariffs. Those who gain from the protection they provide are a concentrated interest- those few who produce whatever the tariff is placed upon. Those losers are the dispersed interest of everyone else. We don’t care very much, and therefore make very little noise about, tuppence on every toothbrush. Toothbrush manufacturers are very interested indeed, and will be most vocal, about 2 p on every brush they sell. And will thus be insistent about the vital interest of protecting British teeth from the horrors of Chinese competition.
So it is with our technocrats. Those who take a sufficient interest in how much other people drink are going to be those who are very interested in being able to control how much other people drink. The Temperance Lobby in short. Those who wish to control how much people smoke are going to be those against smoking itself. Those who work to regulate e-ciggies will be those who really don’t think they should exist at all. “Proper” salt levels will be determined by those with a bugbear about salt for whatever reason.
It is that concentrated and dispersed interest again. As soon as there is some small part of government which determines such details that small part will be colonised by the fanatics.
[see: Elbert County Planning]
Which is the basic problem with technocracy. It doesn’t end up with those who know what they’re doing running matters, it ends up with the fanatics as they’re the only people who care enough to regulate the rest of us. And if we’re honest about it rule by fanatics doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as rule by experts.
All of which is rather why we are fanatics ourselves. Fanatics for there being fewer rules and rather more of that dispersed interest making itself known by what people get on and do themselves rather than the imposition of absurdities by those with the power to do so.
We live on a hill on the SouthEast corner of CR 118 and CR 49. About 8 years ago, Elbert County approached us to give them some dirt from our corner. They didn’t offer us any money for the dirt. They ended up taking many semi-loads of dirt off our corner to use as road base in other parts of the county, implying that it was our civic duty to give it to them. I lost count of the loads – maybe 30 semi truck loads, maybe more. They brought in an earth mover to scrape the dirt off into a very large pile. Then they brought in a large front loader to fill county gravel trucks to haul it out of here. The operation took weeks.
To repeat, they offered no compensation for the dirt. Zero.
Our property runs along hills on both CR 49 and CR 118. When it rains heavily, dirt from the county roads washes into our pastures on both sides. We have large fans – I would guess hundreds of yards – of county road dirt washed on to our property that the county has shown no interest in removing.
On the CR 118 wash, a transverse culvert for moving water from pasture to the north to pasture to the south has been covered up. On the CR 49 side, we’ve had to raise the fence because the ground keeps rising.
Not a word from the county. No compensation for the dirt we gave them. No offers to remove the dirt washed in from the roads they maintain.
And I would mention none of this if it weren’t for the following. Come to find out, Elbert County considers a few yards of county dirt quite valuable – worth prosecuting over.
Now comes my neighbor across CR 118 to the North. His driveway washed out at the road, resulting in a deep cut from a heavy rain this summer, and he repaired it in order to get cars in an out. He used his small tractor to fill in the rut. His driveway is on the crown of a hill and, as we have seen, water moves dirt downhill.
The county issued a summons against him and made him go to court to answer charges, possibly including theft of county dirt, to fill a rut. He hired a local attorney and went to court. Now he has another court date in September and a restraining order that prevents him from speaking to the county.
There’s a large inequity here folks when a citizen maintains his own driveway entrance to fill a rut by moving a couple yards of dirt from where it washed down into a ditch, and that offends the county and causes them to use the sheriff and the court to harass that citizen.
But when the county benefits from taking large amounts of dirt, and leaves “their” dirt on someone’s land when they don’t want to bother recovering it after the road they’ve built washes, they’re silent.
A large inequity indeed.
Looking at the big picture, Independence Development in its current state is an anomaly compared to everything around it.
Those allied to prevent its development claim that houses on it would not fit the style of the county. Really, where? Not around Independence Development – there are no large ranch operations anywhere near it.
The property seems to represent a myth of country life that people who live near it hoped to find by moving to Elbert County. They can see this myth out their windows and from the roads as they drive around it without, apparently, realizing it’s a symbol of a lifestyle from a bygone time that no longer exists around there.
Stopping the progress of the Independence Development won’t bring that lifestyle back.
The pseudo-science of planning and zoning affords innumerable mechanisms to exploit by third parties wishing to reach out from their own property domains to invent claims for properties they have no natural right to control. Water, roads, schools, style, the list of intervention justifications is virtually endless and completely malleable. The statutes exist and they will be used.
It’s a dirty business and the phenomenon of large numbers of people so engaged does not cleanse the activity of its unjust nature. Might is, in fact, not right. Or at least it didn’t used to be.
The bottom line is the folks allied against this development seek to protect their own property values by keeping livable real estate in their vicinity more scarce. They use planning and zoning – collective coercive tactics – to impose an artificial market condition to prevent a natural equilibrium in a sustainable property market from arising.
But scarcity never solved anything. If America stands for anything, its legal foundation was intended to give citizens the tools to overcome economic scarcity – not induce it! The statutes that exist to artificially impose market scarcity to unjustly enrich some citizens at the expense of others are completely repugnant to our whole way of life.
On those grounds, I hope they don’t succeed.
Clinton thinks that distributing money financed by government debt, and redistributing tax money to entitlement beneficiaries and government spending targets, are preferable to allowing citizens to choose how best to spend their own money, and avoiding government debt altogether.
That’s because in the citizen-self-directed model, Clinton is superfluous.
In the name of doing good, Clinton and the Left are all about creating roles for themselves. To be sure, they probably want to do good as well, but if they weren’t getting rich and powerful in the deal, they’d do something else.
Interestingly, the only roles they seem to know how to create are ones that involve dictating other people’s behavior.
They seem to have no idea about how to create and run a sustainable market enterprise that makes a net addition of value to the economy, provides paying jobs, and succeeds solely from the voluntary cooperation, without coercion, of all parties in the exchange.
But they have no problem telling everyone else in the country how to live.
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, why do so many people fall for the Left’s confidence scheme? None of the Left’s excuses for socialist mechanisms hold up under the slightest scrutiny.
The tip off for me is how quickly the Left get upset and start to freak out when questioned about their methods. It tells me that on some level that they won’t face, they fear how wrong they are.
Indeed, the Left are Gnostics and every speech at #DNCinPHL illustrates this point.
Speakers provide no analyses, no methods, no proofs, no procedures, no causal chains … nothing dispositive! The Left are much too absorbed with knowing their convictions to worry about how they arrived at their glorious conclusions.
The conclusions are so wonderful that further discussion is pointless. Why bother with analyzing what everyone KNOWS? – the Gnosis! You already have all you need in the conclusion itself, so there’s no point in questioning how it was derived.
Things are so evident to the Left, anyone who doubts them is an evil, neanderthal, racist, homophobic, oppressive, denier of their evident truth. And they mean these things literally. It’s not a close call for them.
So we doubters personify pure evil to them and must be suppressed, shouted down, ostracized, marginalized, ridiculed, and shut up. After all, why would anyone tolerate the continued existence of pure evil? Pure evil does not deserve to live.
Everyone knows this.
After two administrations of a president elected because of how he looked rather than the beliefs he held – those of a red diaper communist with an uncertain origin and Muslim preferences, isn’t it time we elected a president because of how she looks rather than the beliefs she’s expressed – those of a hard-left legally-immune socialist-apparatchik who personally collected hundreds of millions from foreign government and business interests by selling State Department influence and giving away American state secrets?
We still have the remains of a health care system to dismantle while any doctors remain in private practices. There’s a dwindling deep-pocket supply of rich people to confiscate wealth from so long as one of their dollars is left in the bank. There’s a few American businesses still profitable and we’d better take those profits for the common good before they have a chance to hide them in some other non-socialist-paradise of a country. There’s still remnants of the American military and defense system to dismantle to make funds available for entitlement redistributions and who cares about jihad and other workplace violence anyway? There’s still some un-stoned people and plenty of states in which to spread recreational drugs to experiment with on the children who survived their parents right to abortion. There are still some human activities that have not been regulated and we need to write more regulations and laws to put controls on those pesky freedoms. And don’t forget the majority of voters in America who are net recipients of government redistributions and who must be mollified. We wouldn’t want to have riots now would we?
We’re not done yet! Move on! March on! Jihad on! Progress now! America is not dead yet! There’s still a few drops of American blood flowing there to suck out of her corpse.
So step up comrades and cheerfully surrender those IRAs and 401Ks, those family businesses and farms, those paid up property deeds, and all that freedom – the products of your life’s work – the spoils of your rigged system with its income inequalities and systemically oppressive hegemonic white-Euro-male-dominated social injustices. Pony up and put a patriotic smile on your face! It’s your duty to give to the peoples who need what you have earned!
“Stop aiding Soviet fascism [in America].”
An exchange with a Republican delegate observed on Facebook today, July 15, 2016:*
Melanie Sturm to Tom Krannawitter
Professor Krannawitter, I’m interested in your historian’s view on the #FreeTheDelegates movement that is gaining momentum.
Should delegates in Cleveland overturn the democratic primary process by selecting someone other than Donald Trump, is there justification? Are there historical precedents for such “anti-democratic” behavior in America?
I’m at my son’s baseball tournament, Ms. Melanie Sturm, so I have to be brief.
Bottom line: It’s hard to imagine a brand with less credibility than “Republican.”
Suppose the convention ditches Trump for some “conservative.” Maybe a Ted Cruz. Or pick any other.
Would such a move attract the vote of one liberal or one Democrat?
Would such a move cause millions of registered Republicans who voted for Trump in the primaries to ditch the Republican Party?
I don’t think most Republicans realize how close their party is to evaporating politically and disappearing forever. But reflecting on the questions posed above help illuminate that reality.
The Republican Party today really has become what the Whig Party was in the 1850s: It stands for nothing except being a power-hungry opposition to the Democratic Party.
If one doubts this, just consider: Pick any issue, and one finds prominent Republicans on both sides — big gov’t, small gov’t, pro private property, plunderers of private property, pro-independent regulatory agencies, anti-regulatory agencies, high tariffs, low tariffs, pro free trade, anti free trade, pro-Constitution, no idea what the Constitution is or means, etc, etc, etc.
In principle, that is identical to the Whig Party as it became increasingly irrelevant to the most pressing problems of the day.
I get your disfavor of the Republican Party and share it, alas. But do we delegates (and I am one) throw our hands up in surrender?
With such a weak and dangerous democrat nominee, isn’t there an urgency to save the nation from President Hillary, thereby starting the process of reviving the Republican party by nominating someone who is willing and able to defend the principles (especially equality under the law) upon which it was founded? Wouldn’t Abraham Lincoln want that?
If conscience-voting delegates can replace Trump with someone whose character and governing experience contrasts with Clinton, isn’t that the first step on the road to reviving the party? Someone who could attract voters who say she is untrustworthy and who are repelled by her banana republic-like monitizing of public service? Someone who could argue that the American ideal that no one is above the law must prevail in this election?
We are where we are, and there’s no turning back. I infer from your comment that the “party is over,” so it may well not matter what delegates do in Cleveland. But I ran (and won) on a platform to help the Republican Party* recover its bedrock constitutional and economic freedom principles so it can better represent its voters. That’s why I support the #freethedelegates movement and hope we prevail, despite the anticipated backlash to what’s perceived as an anti-democratic and unfair “coup.”
That’s why I’m reaching out to you for some historical perspective (and argumentation) because this convention could be among the nation’s most historic….that’s the goal for which I’m hoping and ?.
Serious question Melanie Sturm: How does what you propose differ from what conservative think tanks, conservative magazines, conservative policy organizations, and the rest of the conservative movement have been doing the last seven decades?
Stated differently: What is the conservative movement? What does conservatism mean? And what is the relationship, if any, between the conservative movement and the Republican Party?
It differs a lot because it’s action, not talk. Nominating someone who can unite (most) of the party and make a compelling case against Clinton and for constitutionalism is very different from the hot air vented by the movement you call “conservative.”
Also, notice I didn’t use the world conservative. It has been sullied and twisted out of all recognition. That’s why I’m using terminology like “equality under the law” because it is widely understood and accepted as an American ideal.
Will someone “unite (most) of the party and make a compelling case against Clinton and for Constitutionalism” with speech? How does that differ from what you call “hot air?”
Further, where are we to find someone who has mastered the ideas of the Founding, the ideas of freedom, and knows how to market those ideas effectively to modern Americans who don’t know about those ideas nor do they think they care?
The “non-hot-air” action would be a vote by the delegates for an open convention and then for a nominee other than trump.
It’s my premise — and you are free to disagree — that 2-term governors like Scott Walker, Nicky Haley or Mitch Daniels would be far better than Trump at uniting the party and making the arguments for freedom and constitutionalism, based on their records (while not perfect).
And yes, I think enough of the general electorate detests Hillary that a quality non-Trump nominee could prevail.
Ms. Melanie Sturm, please help me understand: More votes were cast in Republican primaries for Donald Trump than any other 2016 Republican Presidential candidate.
In fact, I believe Donald Trump received more primary votes than any Republican Presidential candidate ever — in the entire history of the Republican Party, going back to its origins in 1854 and its opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Trump received something like 13.5 million popular primary votes, if memory serves, a number no Republican has ever matched or exceeded in any primary election for any race, ever.
And you are suggesting that replacing the candidate for whom 13.5 million (mostly) Republicans voted, with a candidate you think is superior (who’s not much different than any run-of-the-mill conservative, whether we use that label or something else), will UNITE the Republican Party?
I truly need help understanding how an un-democratic substitution of a democratically chosen Presidential nominee will unite a political party that has almost no public credibility and is already dissolving.
With the “conscience clause” losing in the Rules committee tonight, this may well be a moot discussion. Also, to be clear, the two options — bind the delegates to Trump or unbind them and let them vote their conscience — both have potential downsides for the party and the nation. You describe the downside to the second, but there’s a potential downside to the first too.
My son is at space camp in Huntsville, Alabama where the running joke is: “If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are in a fatal car accident, who lives? Answer: America.” According to a new AP/Gfk poll, eight of ten Americans don’t merely prefer one candidate to another, they are actually scared of one or both of the candidates.
But to answer your points, while it’s true that Trump got a record 13.4 million votes in the primary, Hillary got 15.9 million. It’s also true that Trump’s 44% plurality of support by the end of the primaries is the weakest showing of a Republican nominee in modern history — Romney had 52%, McCain 48% and Bush 61%. In other words, in 2016 more votes were cast for someone other than the presumptive nominee than ever before, yet according to the RNC rules, Trump still got a disproportionate 62% of the delegates. The primary system is clearly not working….a subject for another day.
Also, the reason more votes were cast in 2016 in the Republican primaries is because a record number of Democrats voted in them, and because the primary season lasted into May, bringing out more voters in states that were irrelevant in prior election years, like Indiana.
Finally, I’m going to attempt to venture into your wheelhouse: The Founding Fathers rejected the notion of “vox populi, vox dei.” As James Madison wrote in Federalist 10, one advantage of a representative republic over direct democracy is that representation may “refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.”
Hence, the duty of a delegate is not simply to reflect public opinion (or be a rubber stamp on a beauty contest), but to find a way to “refine and enlarge” it, by aggregating the diverse views of the people into a final judgment that serves their interests better.
So according to Madison, the delegates are within their rights — indeed have the moral obligation — to nominate someone who they think can win in November, which is afterall the real role of the convention.
What I’m suggesting is that allowing the delegates to vote their conscience is not only honorable, it’s consistent with our founding values. If delegates think Trump is the right choice, they can still vote for him and should he win a majority, he has all the more legitimacy. But if they do not think he’s the right choice, they should not feel morally bound to vote for him. The delegates responsibility above all else is to the well being of the Republican party, and having a viable Republican party as a counterpoint to the Democrat party is in the national interest.
There’s much to be said in response to your comment, Melanie Sturm. But rest assured, in Federalist #10 Mr. Madison most certainly was not talking about delegates of a private organization to its national private convention.*
Also, one ought to read #10 as well as all the early essays in light of the later essays in The Federalist Papers — which is where one finds the gritty, hard teaching of self government. Based on what Madison argues in #57 alone — regarding citizens who allow their chosen agents in government to pass laws that apply to citizens while exempting the agents in government — Americans are no longer suited for the experiment of mixing freedom and self government.
The Federalist Papers were written for a people who had a century and a half of personal experience living and dying by the own efforts, without any parental or nanny or shepherd or “leader” figure around to offer (allegedly) free stuff.
Our situation today is strikingly different. Which is why we must think, speak, write, and act differently if freedom is to have a future in the United States of America.
In this case, the teacher who provides the most illumination is not Madison. It’s Tocqueville.
Tocqueville predicted with incredible prescience exactly what would happen in the modern hyper-Christian-egalitarian-democratic world when claims of superior wisdom bump up against the irresistible, relentless, flattening heavy presses of “democracy.”
I respect your scholar’s take Tom Krannawitter on the trends that brought us to this moment, and your disdain for the consequence – a hollowed-out Republican Party. I share your frustrations and have catalogued them over the years in my Think Again column.
I think it’s remarkable — and a commentary on our dramatically unsettled electorate — that such an outsider and Republican Party critic is a national delegate to the party’s convention where I also won election as a committee member.
Now I’m struggling with my #1 goal: how best to avert a Hillary Clinton presidency, which would accelerate the lamentable “fundamental transformation” of America, chiefly by proving that Americans no longer uphold the tenet of equality under the law.
Giving Americans a better choice than the even more disfavored Trump – recognizing all the downsides of replacing him at the convention after a vote of no-confidence — is one way to avoid the “Clinton Crime Family” back in the White House.
I thank you for this dialogue, which has been instructive to me.
Melanie Sturm, to be clear: Hillary Clinton is a deeply immoral, wicked human being.
Even worse: her pathologies are not confined to the personal sphere, and she’s no petty criminal. When she harasses others, controls others, works to make the lives of others worse, steals, lies, or ignores people who desperately need her help, she does all of that by using government’s monopoly on legalized force.
The very thing that is supposed to keep people safe and protect persons and private property — government! — Hillary Clinton uses to harm persons and steal personal property.
Which is worse: A man who sexually harasses and abuses and possibly rapes women? Or the woman who protects that man by destroying the lives of those victims — using every government power, formal and informal, at her disposal! — simply so she can continue her own political ambition of controlling other human beings?
I don’t know the answer. I know only that they’re both very bad.
I, however, do not view Hillary Clinton as the beginning or cause of a new bad trend in the United States. I see Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and other prominent American socialists as a symptom of the political pathology originally called “progressivism” that emerged from American colleges, universities, and churches more than a century ago. A small number of academic and theological experts offered to give people free stuff in exchange for total control over their lives, and many of the people accepted the offer. That’s how FDR came to be elected President not once, not twice, not three times, but four times.
So this process has been at work for a long time now. It’s fruits are the millions of citizens who think themselves to be sophisticated if they can provide additional justifications to demand more government power and regulatory control over our lives. The result of progressivism is an American population who believe firmly that only increased government supervision of our lives follows any discussion of education, health care, medicine, technology, poverty, the environment, guns, or even government corruption and cronyism.
Think about it: Even when the subject is government officials taking bribes and accepting crony deals to help some Americans by hurting others, what’s the American response? Further government restrictions on what citizens may say and how citizens may spend their own money — rather than criminalizing the immoral, unjust actions of those in government!
We have much work to do. If you can keep Hillary Clinton from the levers of government power, I’m sure the gods of freedom will smile on you for your effort. At the same time, Hillary Clinton is neither the beginning nor the end of the American tragedy of free people freely choosing to give away their freedom.
And if my teaching has any influence, that tragedy will be dramatically interrupted by a great freedom revival. That is my goal.
This might be the end of the Republican Party.
And let us remind ourselves of two important facts:
A political party is a wholly private organization. A party is no part of the Constitutional design of government, nor does a party have any constitutional standing.*
Also, if this be the demise of the Republican Party, and if that demise involves Mr. Donald Trump, then it also involves the more than thirteen million Americans who voted for him in primaries.
I understand there was much crossover voting. I get that. Still, many Republicans voted for Trump. Many. And why did they do so? Look to the Republican Party ever since the New Deal and the history of the conservative movement during the same time period, and there you’ll start to find answers.
* Italics mine.
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