36 thoughts on “News/Politics 5-30-17

  1. Since we were on the subject of Ben Sasse and his book “ The Vanishing American Adult” (which I’m currently reading) I might as well share thoughts on this tidbit. I think it sheds light on where we have gone wrong in profit-seeking. From his book:

    “The Puritan work ethic—and its cousins “Yankee ingenuity” and later “rugged individualism”—helped form a shared identity for the Americans from the late seventeenth to the late nineteenth century….Hard work became a shared experience. It was an almost liturgical touchstone that all Americans, across geography, race, gender, and denomination, came to esteem together. What Wheaton English professor Leland Ryken explicated as “the Puritan doctrine [that] vocation sanctifies common work” became a common creed. Americans believe in work. There is not dignified versus undignified work, nor important versus unimportant work; there is only useful versus useless work. And it can be used as an occasion to glorify. Or, as Baxter preached it to his congregants in on one of his famous sermons, “God looketh not….principally at the external part of the work, but much more to the heart of him that doth it.” The heart of the grateful adult yearns to be productive, to be useful to his or her neighbor.

    Benjamin Franklin secularized the Puritan work ethic…..he dispensed with the Puritans’ rigorous focus on remembering God while you work. Instead, Franklin was the world’s first financial self-help guru, sharing advice and tips on how to pursue and build wealth. He saw great opportunity in marrying worldly, profit-seeking ambition with the Puritans’ practical focus on persevering and problem-solving. “Remember, that time is money,” Franklin wrote in 1748.

    There is certainly nothing wrong with profit— it is desirable—- but it cannot compensate for the loss of the religious motive of virtue-seeking. When the connection between work and virtue is lost, what predominates is the profit and accompanying consumption motives. And now, these are the very passions being inflamed in the American population—- young and old, day in and day out, from most commercial television and radio outlets, and newspapers around the nation.

    Relative to growing up but affecting more than just the young, the consumption motive in particular has been used as a pacifier, in order to induce passive consumption because there is an acceptable profit motive to do so. The key word there is ‘acceptable’; but it’s really not. It is not at all acceptable for our fellow countrymen to be indoctrinated, often through trickery or fraudulent advertising, against their own survival interest. Though in the short term it may be profitable for some, in the long-term, it’s national suicide. And it’s criminal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Merkel assumed the leadership of The Free World. Trump responds with Tweet with ALL CAPS.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One reason our infrastructure is in disarray is our constant focus overseas. Trump had a good trip with some solid, fruitful meetings abroad. Russia is not our primary problem: we are. Our budget-breaking competition to be the biggest baddest dog in the junkyard is eventually going to land us in the same place Russia landed when they tried it– broke and broken.


  4. Debra, Would you say that Trump (with his ownership of casinos, his appearance in pornographic movies, his fraudulent “university” aimed at conning people with get rich quick schemes, and his stiffing of workers by bankruptcies and lawsuits) has promoted the connection between work and virtue?

    I will be curious about your opinion of the book and Sasse.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Germany is a rapidly dying country with a healthy economy. The civilian invasion Merkel has encouraged will be what remains as a tombstone. In the next few years, she’ll be unrecognizable and in flames. Stand back or be burned.


  6. So Europe has weighed Trump in the balance and found him wanting, so Germany will lead Europe?

    But what about Asia? China is the 800 lb. gorilla. All of her neighbors want an alternative to submission to China. But what if the logical alternative (the US) is now led by a child?

    What a time to be a historian focusing on international relations!


  7. If Trump keeps his word to the people who elected him, I’ll leave his virtue in God’s hands. After all, Reagan and Bush appeared virtuous, yet they made the Mafia obsolete by mainstreaming their business model—dismantling banking regulations and usury laws meant to protect the whole country’s financial well-being. They dismantled the ancient protections of tariffs that have protected countries and civilizations for hundreds of years. They even made it a dirty word. Virtue was stood on its head. The ensuing economic free-for-all was not brought to us by virtue, but by the appearance of it

    American were dumped out of their work-places and replaced by cheaper imported labor, while being told things like “If you want a friend, get a dog.” “Greed is the new good”. “Buy a bigger [fill in the blank]—cheap.” “You’re just lazy and refuse to re-educate.” “Relocate”.

    The marrow has just about been sucked from the American bone. It’s time to pay for all of that ‘virtue’ in leadership that was not. And it’s going to take some hard work. It’s going to take real virtue in the people. I expect those who are addicted to the lies of the past few decades will simply take their gains and flee the country. So be it.


  8. I’m afraid we’re all being weighed in the balance. If the US was going to take a real leadership role there in Europe, we should already be working with Russia and Assad to help provide safe zones in Syria for the population there. It may be too late for that at this point. Europe is in bad shape. Welcome to the new Paris….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ricky, if you go to Sanders site he has a list of 13 items. I fully agree with 1,3, and 13. The rest are a mixed bag with some good ideas, or just bad ideas, in my opinion.

    I agree on infrastructure spending, trade agreements, and encouraging production at home through tax incentive carrots and sticks.

    Although I would like to see universal healthcare (maybe like Singapore’s) I’m less encouraged now to think we can pull it off. In the meantime, I would not do too much to cut medicaid.

    I don’t like sudden economic changes. People need stability, both for business growth and employment. Economies are created for people; people were not created for economies. That’s a priority we need to remember.



  10. Ricky,

    Well if “Europe” is so willing to cozy up with communists, so be it. Says way more about them than us. Germany doesn’t have what it takes to lead, like the US does.

    Now I have a few questions. It’s OK if you don’t know the answers, as most of the answers are obvious anyway.

    1. Will your new “world leader” Germany step up and fill the void if US aid to “Europe” stops?
    Of course not. They can’t, and won’t because they can’t afford it.

    2. Will Germany now be “Europe’s” go to place for military equipment, technology, and terrorist fighting strategies?
    Again, no, because they can’t. They don’t have what it takes to be a world military leader. And if you think that’s OK, they’ll just get that stuff from the Russians and Chinese, I’d point out how well that equipment and tech has worked against the US’s in Iraq during both wars. Here’s a hint, it didn’t. It’s outdated, poorly functioning, and was decimated in battle against superior US equipment and tech. It’s junk, and they know it because it’s been demonstrated for all the world to see.

    3. Will Germany be Europe and the world’s police?
    Yet again, no. They don’t have the military, money, or equipment needed to do so. They like to whine about Trump and the US, but the bottom line is without us, the world is a much more violent place. And Germany could do nothing about it. They need us more than we need them.

    4. When “Europe” is overrun by the muslim hordes they let in, which should take about a decade before they hold enough political positions and voters to effectively take over from within, will Germany come to the rescue?
    Still no. They’ve allowed more in than most, so they will be one of the first to fall.

    And last question…..

    5. Does it help you sleep at night to imagine such delusional nonsense?

    World leader? Not even close where it matters most.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting….


    “Had any Never-Trump conservative been told, say in the summer of 2015, that a Republican would win the 2016 election and, within his first few months in office, appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court; begin the process of replacing Obamacare; bomb Russia’s ally, Assad, after he again used chemical weapons; appoint the most conservative cabinet in modern American history; begin undoing hysteria-based, economy-choking EPA regulations; label the Iranian regime “evil” in front of 50 Muslim heads of state; wear a yarmulke at the Western Wall; appoint a U.N. ambassador who regularly condemns the U.N. for its moral hypocrisy; restore the military budget; and work on lowering corporate tax rates, among other conservative achievements — that Never-Trump conservative would have been jumping for joy. So, why aren’t anti-Trump conservatives jumping for joy?

    I have come to believe that many conservatives possess what I once thought was a left-wing monopoly — a utopian streak. Trump is too far from their ideal leader to be able to support him.

    There is also a cultural divide. Anti-Trump conservatives are a very refined group of people. Trump doesn’t talk like them. Moreover, the cultural milieu in which the vast majority of anti-Trump conservatives live and/or work means that to support Trump is to render oneself contemptible at all elite dinner parties.

    In addition, anti-Trump conservatives see themselves as highly moral people (which they often are) who are duty-bound not to compromise themselves by strongly supporting Trump, whom they largely view as morally defective.

    Finally, these people are only human: After investing so much energy in opposing Trump’s election, and after predicting his nomination would lead to electoral disaster, it’s hard to for them to admit they were wrong. To see him fulfill many of his conservative election promises, again in defiance of predictions, is a bitter pill. But if they hang on to their Never-Trumpism and the president falls on his face, they can say they were right all along.

    That means that only if he fails can their reputations be redeemed. And they, of course, know that. But there is another way.

    They can join the fight. They can accept an imperfect reality and acknowledge that we are in a civil war, and that Trump, with all his flaws, is our general. If this general is going to win, he needs the best fighters. But too many of them, some of the best minds of the conservative movement, are AWOL.

    I beg them: Please report for duty.”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Another thought provoking tidbit from Sasse:

    Matthew Crawford shares Roosevelt’s worry: “If the modern personality is being reorganized on a predicate of passive consumption,” Crawford writes “this is bound to affect our political culture.” It’s also bound to erode Americans’ desire and ability to work hard, to atrophy our drive toward larger, common projects.

    In bringing up the topic of passive consumption, Sasse is getting close to hitting the nail right on the head, I think. And as he continues, he pounds it squarely when he says something that has been so overlooked for many, many years:

    Thinkers from Aristotle to Thomas Jefferson have wrestled deeply with the “republican virtues” that need to flow from our work. They have worried about jobs that lead us to become “too narrow in [our] concerns to be moved by the public good.”

    And then Sasse hits a true crescendo of relevance that, to me, has remained hidden or at least entirely unarticulated by the Conservative/Republican mainstream. He says

    They debated not just which employments would produce material wealth but also which would “in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.”

    Let that sink in. I think that too often we have short circuited the debate and thinking about jobs and employment by relegating those activities to the private sector ‘free market’ forces only, rather than admitting that they are also very legitimate political and moral concerns.


  13. Ricky Weaver, I agree about Mexican food in Ruidoso and Las Vegas, NM. There is a great place in Tularosa that’s our favorite. Have you had breakfast at Jorge’s in the Downs?


  14. RKessler, No, I have not had breakfast at Jorge’s. I will try that next time. I’ve also not tried the place in Tularosa, though we normally make a trip down to Alamogordo every time we are in Ruidoso. Is it on the road to Alamogordo?

    I have traveled 100 miles out of the way to eat the Green chile chicken enchiladas at Casa Blanca in Ruidoso. In Las Vegas there is a place on the south side of the plaza that is just as good.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. AJ @ 11:51 I would agree that the Europeans have problems and weaknesses. To those that you listed, I would add:
    1. Their commitment to perversion which is as strong as that of California and our Northern states;
    2. Their excessive and counter-productive tree-hugging;
    3. Their anemic birth rate.

    Nevertheless, I respect Merkel’s decision to their reduce reliance on any nation that would choose to be “led” by Donald Trump.


  16. AJ, Conservatives have never left the trenches. We supported the House Healthcare reform effort that some Trumpkins attacked as being too harsh. We supported the OMB Director’s budget cuts to which some Trumpkins objected.

    It has been “General Trump” who has been AWOL:
    1. Comparing our intelligence agencies to the Nazis;
    2. Releasing secrets to the Russians;
    3. Picking fights with Germany and Australia;
    4. Getting in lengthy disputes after lying about his crowd size;
    5. Keeping his own staff in a constant state of confusion, paralysis, humiliation and near mutiny;
    6. Lying about mythical “tapps”;
    7. Shoving leaders of other countries;
    8. Engaging in Twitter wars with Rosie O’Donnell and Schartzenegger;
    9. Giving bizarre counter-factual history lessons about Andrew Jackson and Frederick Douglass.

    We really don’t care if “General” Trump returns to duty. An army can use a leader, but it also can enjoy being entertained by a clown.


  17. Merkel’s assumption of responsibility for the “free” world may be greeted by some nativists with relief or even joy i.e. isolationism returns. However, by withdrawing from alliances the US weakens its economic and diplomatic interests/power. It may be able to sail the high seas launching air strikes at will but it will be an empty tiger.

    The idea that America was founded on a combination of hard work and virtue makes for a nice founding myth but has no grounding in reality. The original sources (journals, gov’t reports, etc) are filled with complaints of runaway servants, settlers going native because the natives had more leisure and less morality, lower sons of the nobility refusing to work and insisting on slaves, etc. The very importation of slaves refutes the notion that hard work and virtue were common place in colonial times. It appears Sasse is waxing in nostalgia and like most nostalgic trips — it doesn’t quite match reality. Instead the mythical past acts as a counterfoil to the corrupt present. Allan Bloom did something similar in the Closing of the American Mind about 40 years ago. He was wrong then and Sasse is wrong now. (But I will have to see if my local library has the book)


  18. The embrace some Christians conservatives have given Trump has been puzzling. They have been far more pragmatic than their religious adherence suggests — which has led some on the left to assert its not religion that guides social conservatives but power and control. Voting and supporting a manipulative, lying, abusive, sexual deviant like Trump will in all likelihood come back to haunt social conservatives.

    The pro-Trumps can point to some accomplishments — a conservative judge perhaps. However, they need to admit the failings — obstruction of justice, Russian connections, and petty corruption (i.e. visiting his own golf courses and billing the secret service for staying there). When one weighs the balance — is the conservative judge worth the corruption, the loss of international power, loss of face for the family values party, etc. I really don’t think so.

    Thankfully, the evangelicals I know and grew up with have largely voted against Trump and any Cdn equivalent. I have a lot of respect for social conservatives although I’m on different sides often and have tried to pass this on to my daughter. If the religious members of my family had voted for Trump, I’m not sure I could convince my daughter to respect social conserrvatives despite obvious differences. People can’t claim the moral high ground and then vote for Trump — its simply not logical. I know some will argue Clinton is worse (I don’t like her but I can respect her as opposed to Trump), however, in the long run, has the social conservative movement been better served by a Trump vote or should they have left the president part of the ballot blank?


  19. HRW, The founding “myth” of Texas is that my people took Texas by killing or evicting a fairly violent group of Indians and (while greatly outnumbered) defeating a Mexican dictator and his minions, capturing the dictator and “persuading” the dictator to grant us independence so that we would not execute him for the war crimes he committed at Goliad.

    You are wise to practice attacks on Sasse. We can hope that he will be the leader of the Right if we are able to recover from our current bout of insanity.


  20. HRW, I am now sorry for my flippant response at 8:12. Your post at 8:10 is the best post I have read here this year. It explains the reason many conservatives, Christians and conservative Christians did not vote for Trump and are refusing to support any of his misbehavior while supporting his conservative efforts. We are afraid that Trump will turn a generation of youth against conservatism. We are also afraid that Christian support for Trump’s misbehavior will turn a generation of youth against the Church.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Debra — the Youtube video lacks context. The men camped out on the boulevard are not Syrian or other Arab refugees rather they are North African migrants. Some come as far south as the Congo and all come from former French colonies. Some cross in leaky boats to Italy and then board trains (with Italian help) to France. Others cross the straits of Gibraltar and then migrant through Spain working in the vineyards, beach resorts, etc. I saw this 35 years ago when I backpacked through Europe. Its part of a normal migration that ebbs and flows according to the economy much like Mexicans in the US.

    Sanders — #1,2,3,6,7,9,10,12, 13
    #4 — changes are needed to the system of international trade but you can’t unscramble an egg.
    #5 — its a duplication of #3, and gov’t spending should focus on infrastructure and jobs will follow. Putting jobs first will create a demand for make work projects.
    #8 — the Canadian cap on the pension plan is around the first $75K you earn. By lifting it past 250K, the gov’t increases its obligations along with its income.
    #11 — Instead of universal daycare (which isn’t a bad thing), I would rather support extended paternal leave — Canada has one year paid leave as do most Nordic countries. Extending leave to two years and start public school kindergarten at 4 years leaves a gap of two years which can be funded or not, I’m on the fence.


  22. On #13, those four megabanks were not created by the free enterprise system. They were created by the ad hoc actions and mandates of the federal government in response to the 2007-2008 crisis, also created by the federal government. Dodd/Frank and its regulatory burden actually works to help those big banks. Since a Trumpkin, a Canadian democratic socialist, and a Texas Reaganite/Neo-Confederate are all in agreement, we really need to break up those banks.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. HRW, @8:23 I was in Germany and France 35 or 36 yrs ago myself. My dad lived in Germany for many years as well, so I know that it is not the usual migratory patterns we are seeing in general. Whatever is happening in Europe, it is not usual migration.

    The Germans as a whole are very frugal and industrious. I’ve walked the back streets in Baumholder and Amburg, and seen the household gardens all in a row—-each one swept so clean not a stray leaf or twig could be found anywhere. Each home’s curb was swept clean of all dust or loose dirt as well.

    In Colorado last month, we stayed at an inn that was run by a German lady. In the early morning I went out to walk my dog and found the lady vigorously sweeping the sidewalk and separating the regular dirt from the cement dust caused by road construction in front of her house. The dust from the construction (about 3 or 4 large handfuls) was piled in a very neat heap by the orange construction cone. The dust from her lawn was neatly swept back into her yard. She was teaching her 3 or 4 yr old grand daughter to do the same.

    I have not seen or heard anything to indicate that the immigrants pouring into Germany have the same habits of industry as the Germans—most people do not. As the native Germans die off and the offspring of those immigrants take their place, you can be sure that Germany’s economy will change to reflect the character of her new inhabitants. Whatever that may be.


  24. hwesseli, so if a family has a child every year and a half or so, they don’t ever have to work at a job, but the government will pay them to have children?

    Where does all this free money come from?


  25. Richard Brookhiser (WFB’s protege before Rich Lowry) Tweeting George Will’s article about Buckley and what conservativism used to be.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.