Posts Tagged ‘Free speech’

POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE—YEA OR NAY?

October 5, 2020

An article was forwarded to me by a friend predicting the low likelihood of major violence post election based on his research. Putting aside the evident but low-key political bias of the piece, it makes an attempt to inject some objectivity into something that is inherently speculative. I also think it’s wrong.

Predicting the future is a hazardous enterprise for anyone at any time (just look at the 2016 presidential election). That being said, it’s important to dig down below the superficial political animus to the values of the citizens if you want to get close to the mark. Analogies have been made to the unrest of the 1960s and the 1860s in attempting to extrapolate. Admittedly I’m influenced by the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe in The Fouth Turning and I view the 1960s as a period of Awakening and the 1860s as a more serious period similar to the present, a Crisis. Neither resulted in the dissolution of the Union. Neither accurately represents the present state of affairs, however.

It’s important to note that dynasties (the empires of Alexander, Ottoman, Rome, to name a few), even very stable ones, do not last forever, although those living within them at the time all share the illusion of permanence. What generally ends them is mismanagement born of a change in, or non-adherence to, the values that led them to succeed, causing them to disintegrate from within. In our case, the Founders, with unprecedented historical astuteness, developed a Constitution, designed to anticipate and ameliorate the forces constantly in play aiming to destroy the values upon which the country was based. As outlined in the Declaration of Independence, they are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The country was founded on the principle of rights granted by God, not government; they incorporated proscriptions to limit federal power over the states (it was also essential to getting it passed). Hence, they constructed a democratic republic and not a democracy. They recognized that tyranny of the majority was no better than tyranny of a monarchy.

Over the past few decades, the Left, via masterful commandeering of the educational system and the heretofore monolithic media have pushed the worn siren call of socialism effectively. A sizable portion of the country (we’re about to learn if it’s more than half) has accepted the notion of equality of outcome over equality of opportunity, and the concept of institutionalized racism as the founding principle and white privilege as its result. They’ve also moved from E Pluribus Unum (from many, one) to the concepts of diversity and intersectionality. These are divisive, not unifying principles; no country can survive widescale acceptance of these destructive doctrines.

Given the above, I predict the following with a Trump win: The protests and violence will continue and likely intensify, becoming more multicentric, requiring more police, military and National Guard intervention. Barring a shift in values, over the next decade or two we will start hearing state calls for secession. If Biden wins, a doubling down on the Leftist policies whose effects over time can be gauged by looking at the present state of the big cities will move the government more toward a socialist paradigm, the Constitution will be progressively weakened, the economy slowed by increased regulations, and the growth of the federal government accelerated. Democracy will be increased at the expense of republicanism in the political sense, with attacks on representative mechanisms such as the electoral college intensifying. Federal agencies and corporations with assail liberties such as free speech with cancellation, “diversity” training, and racial quotas with more alacrity, heightening the influence of the “mob.” An over-extended, indebted economy weakened by the pandemic will accelerate the malaise. A delayed result will be armed backlash by right-wing groups, at first those that are more extreme (including some execrable white supremacist groups) and, if pushed far enough, ordinary conservative Americans (possibly abetted by effective annulment of the 2nd Amendment by oppressive regulations). Alternatively, conservatives, who are less prone to demonstrate or initiate violence (remember the maligned Tea Party), will withdraw from Left-dominated tools and form their own schools, businesses, sports teams, and social media and we’ll be a divided country, ripe for secessions or outside attack. Disunity took decades to seed and grow; reunification. if it occurs, will likely take as long, barring assault from an external, mutual threat.

There is no Dumbledore or Hogwarts, and no magic wand that can be waved to unify us, no matter who inhabits the White House.

THE CURSE OF LIBERTY

September 18, 2020

In science, we’re always talking about sensitivity and specificity. As an example, consider the COVID-19 test: the more sensitive it is for detecting the disease, the more likely it will over-call it in some individuals; it’s a yin and yang thing. Now, as the tests improve, both sensitivity and specificity can too, but there’s always a trade-off. Liberty is something like that.

Everyone, including politicians, plays lip service to fealty to freedom. It seems a no-brainer. Then why, time after time, do people vote away their freedom? We’ve seen the Palestinians do it for Hamas, and the Venezuelans for socialism. These are just two of the dozens of examples that could be cited. It’s because the ying to freedom’s yang is law and order, or more broadly, security. It’s not that freedom is incompatible with law and order; we’ve admirably demonstrated this for over a couple of hundred years and have had remarkably peaceful transitions of power. It’s just that it takes constant effort and sacrifice. And the people have to decide if it’s worth the price.

The sacrifice is obvious in obtaining liberty; it’s usually a war with casualties and death and a tremendous outlay of resources. Maintaining it is another matter. Liberty naturally fades, even in (one might say especially in) a democracy. Over time, in a successful society, people become acclimated to security. A free society, with equal access to opportunity, naturally favors those with greater talent who exhibit greater effort; those who have high levels of competence and conscientiousness, in the words of Jordan Peterson. This results in disparity of outcome. It does not mean that a rising tide doesn’t raise all boats, just that some boats are much larger and more opulent than others. Every good society with a conscience strives to help the small boats in danger of capsizing; this charity, or welfare, is a good thing. The problems begin when the people in the small boats begin to think those in the large boats are bad, and that the government needs to fix it. Then the charity moves to sanctioned theft. The argument about the point at which this occurs is the basis for politics and ideology. The bottom line is that democracy inevitably deteriorates into socialism which more quickly devolves into poverty and fascism. History proves this. Unequivocally. So the founders tried to create a democratic republic with checks and balances to slow the deterioration, recognizing that it could serve only a moral people.

As government and the welfare state has grown and crony capitalism inevitably along with it, the family has shrunk. Charity is slowly being replaced by government largess. One or two generations ago a check from the government was seen as failure and often shunned. Now it’s more common to see it as an entitlement and something to be sought after. Being taken care of is slowly becoming more important than liberty.

With liberty comes free speech with the downside of allowing “hate” speech. Law and order with the downside of more rogue agents misusing it with criminal intent. More reliance on self, family and friends, and the Church, and less on government. Clearly, some societies favor less freedom and more security.

The coming election is so important because it will demonstrate the net vector of America in terms of this preference. It will serve as a bellwether as to how much time remains in our current system of government, founded on the values of the Declaration of Independence and implemented in the Constitution. History tells us this. Unequivocally.

The curse of liberty is that it has in its seed the very essence of its own destruction.

AN OPEN LETTER TO TRUMP

July 12, 2020

Dear Mr. President:

As a citizen and a constituent it pains me to say you’re a terrible politician, and hence a failure. I know you were elected as an outcry against the status quo, and your training and background are as a businessman and an entertainer. Like many, I thought not being a politician was a plus. I was wrong.

The decline of our nation has been so insidious, so well crafted, that at least half the country now believes that the system is evil and must be excised, or are oblivious to what the notion of “fundamental change” means. The Left has convinced too many that “hate speech” must be exorcised, and they define what it is. They have convinced too many that dissidents to their ideology of diversity, intersectionality, and “anti-racism,” nothing more than Orwellian terms for separation, socialism, and racism, should be “canceled,” demonetized, muffled, and unemployed. They are taking the nation down the path of the Soviet Union, China, and Venezuela. And too many can’t see it despite its unfolding right before their eyes. The increase in racial tension, the violence, the suppression of dissenting voices—and you are, in large part, to blame.

I will give you credit for your energy and perseverance. Few people, at any age, could have swum against the political currents as you have, righting an anemic economy, passing criminal reform legislation, confronting Chinese deviousness, and increasing the security at our border. You have been consistently demonized beyond your flaws, and they are many, and lied about. It’s not surprising you’ve had judgment lapses in the setting of a 2-year hoax promulgated by the Left of Russian collusion with the full-throated support of the mainstream media, followed on its heels by an outrageous politically-motivated impeachment. And without recognition of any accomplishments. To the contrary, everything has been blamed on you, including COVID-19. You have become, to many, the devil-incarnate. It has been the second most impressive marketing campaign ever undertaken, only eclipsed by resurrecting the image of the United States, probably the fairest, most tolerant nation in the world in 2020, as the most systemically racist and economically elite. But I still blame you.

To quote a prominent conservative thinker and commentator, you constantly commit political malpractice. There are still many of us out there that believe in the fundamental principles that undergird the country. Many of us can still distinguish between the value of equality of opportunity and the evil of enforced equality of outcome. Many of us still understand the reason our Constitution defends all speech, because tomorrow someone who disagrees will decide your speech is “hate speech.” Many of us still understand that anti-white hatred and discrimination is also racism. We see that the cities suffering the most, tragically presided over and populated by the same citizens of color that blame you, have been run for decades by the very people calling you out. We are not fooled by references to past sins to paper over the present in service of a malignant movement, and can understand statistics and hard facts that undermine the Leftist talking points being used to fundamentally change the country. And you’ve failed us with your tweets. You take a step forward with grand speeches, and instead of pressing forward, presidentially, and underscoring the inevitable outcome of the ascendant Leftist agenda of more violence, race hatred, and restricted speech, your ego takes over and you take two steps back, devolving into self-absorbed tweets about trivia, such as Bubba Wallace and the noose incident. You’ve reinforced the media’s false narrative so many times that even those who don’t like the lurch to the far Left that has consumed the Democrat Party won’t vote for you.

I know you think your tweets helped you win the last election. I used to think so too. Now I realize you won in spite of them. I now believe you would have won not only the electoral college vote, but the popular vote as well if they had been less off-putting. I believe the current polls, indicating double-digit losses to probably the weakest presidential candidate ever (yes, that includes Hillary) reflect your own political sabotage. There are few votes out there for Biden; he’s a place-holder—they’re anti-Trump. The current climate of violence and racial tension fomented by the Left should be your political ally. Even the COVID-depleted economy, in the setting of your prior demonstrated success, should be a friend. But instead, your political malpractice and malfeasance has let us down. Under your continued leadership, our recovery would by no means be assured, but it will assuredly be devastated by your opponent and his as yet unnamed but likely far-Left running mate. And your intransigence may also shift the balance of power in the Senate.

If you can’t overrule your temperament and ego and place wisdom between your twitter finger and the screen, and quickly, you will fail the country. Too many of us are counting on you.

Sincerely,

A Worried Constitutionalist

TO KNEEL OR NOT TO KNEEL

September 25, 2017

When you get away from the emotion, the current hoopla surrounding the mass kneeling in the NFL during the national anthem is both simple and complex.

The story, as most everyone knows, began with the Colin Kaepernick’s one-knee “salute” during the pre-game playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, purportedly in protest of social injustice by law enforcement against the black community. Since then he’s become radioactive from a business standpoint and remains a free agent. Things simmered until the president’s recent commentary that kneelers should be fired, sparking a more broad-based exercise of the right to kneel (approximately 1-in-8 players per the media). It’s not entirely clear that the new kneelers are protesting the “racist nature” of the country; many analysts feel that the ascendant motivation at this time is support of their colleagues’ right to free speech and defiance of the president.

Both sides have cogent arguments: The kneelers supporting the First Amendment, the anti-kneelers asserting that disrespecting the anthem, the flag, and the country casts aspersions on first responders and the military, and that both the manner of the protest and the venue are inappropriate.

The business leaders in the NFL don’t have the right to abridge the First Amendment, but they do have the right and responsibility to establish dress codes and rules of behavior to protect their company and brand names. In this case, to date, beyond adopting a hands-off posture on Kaepernick, they have not done so. Corporations are not ideological and have one nerve ending: money. We can expect them to sit tight and watch the bottom line.

The talking heads will take a view according to their respective ideologies. On the Today Show this morning, while host Savannah Guthrie paid lip service to the complexity of the issue, their on-line survey regarding the question of the audience’s perception of the kneelers presented the choices, “It’s their right” and “It’s disrespectful,” omitting “All of the above.” One wonders if this option even crossed their minds.

There is only one arbiter of this newest manifestation of our increasing national ideological divide: The American people. They will decide to purchase the NFL product in its current incarnation, or walk.

You get to decide.