Demography is Not Destiny

Despite what today’s liberals might wish us to believe, the increasing percentage of minorities in the United States does not guarantee some future Democratic Party supremacy.

It turns out that while, yes, minorities (especially Hispanics) are increasing in numbers, they tend to be concentrated in places and Congressional districts that would have voted Democratic anyway.

From Third Way:

Republicans hold the governors’ mansions and both houses of the state legislature in 25 states, while Democrats control all levers of power in just five. . . . In fact, Republicans are now just one state legislature short of being able to call a constitutional convention to consider amendments to our founding document.

Democrats cannot simply rely on demographic change to deliver inevitable victories.

Demographic change is not evenly dispersed in states and voting districts throughout the country.

Voting behavior is not static. Voters more readily change which party they support than the demography-is-destiny models anticipated.

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Calexit?

The secession movement in California seems to be gathering momentum. It might be funny, all these granola types (nuts and flakes) on the Left Coast having a whiny tantrum over the election of President Trump. But, some Californians seem to be serious about this.

I’ve read many arguments against secession. For me, they come down to what has become “received opinion.” As in, all the right people agree, so it must be true that secession is illegal, against the Constitution. The least convincing is the oft-repeated mantra that the Civil War decided this question once and forever.

All the Civil War truly decided was that the Confederate States were defeated in war. That they had seceded and failed to prevail on the battlefield did not change the legal argument.

As fun as it would be to contemplate, California should not secede Bad for the remaining United States; worse for what would quickly become an impoverished socialist state.

Lastly, our Declaration of Independence states “That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…” Did this only apply to the original 13 colonies? Or, by logical extension, to all the other 37 states added since the Revolution? And, bigger question, are the words in the Declaration binding? If these are not, what other words may be considered as non-binding?

Hard questions, hard times.

Lions, tigers, and Mormons, oh my!

Here’s the list of exceptional groups for the New Year:

  • Jewish
  • Indian
  • Chinese
  • Iranian
  • Lebanese-Americans
  • Nigerians
  • Cuban exiles
  • Mormons.

This list, as reported in the New York Post,  is presented by “Tiger mom” Amy Chua and her husband Jed Rubenfeld.  Well, at least the groups of both husband and wife made the list.

While I’ve no argument with the fact of the success of these groups (who hasn’t gotten a personal message from a Nigerian prince?), it’s hard to have much sympathy for Chua and Rubenfeld. They’re innies, the rest of us on the outs. Nobody likes to feel that they are excluded from the in-groups that they’ve identified. After all, if we can have No Child Left Behind and, cue Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.

But in the real world, of course, we are no such things. Chua’s and Rebenfeld’s thesis boils down to this: groups that are insecure yet culturally superior (according to who, I wonder?) tend to do well. Some good logic there, as being insecure makes people take chances that otherwise they would not but which can lead to great success.

Here’s my issue: I’ve got one group excluded from the exceptional list that should not have been. The group without which there would be no United States of America: WASPS.

Too bad WASPs aren’t on their list. We used to fit the bill: Growing up, that pesky old Protestant work ethic (study hard; work hard; play only when you got the first two done) was beaten into my thick skull.

My experience used to be common, and crossed ethnic boundaries: my Irish and Jewish neighbors shared that good old Protestant work ethic. Without, of course, ever acknowledging that the English could have ever done anything good…

The simple truth is that our nation was founded with a good healthy dose of insecure yet culturally superior English immigrants (yes, technically many were “immigrants” as they were not native-born Americans).

Insecurity was manifest among those who chose rebellion: hanging was the best that could be hoped for had the rebellion failed. That would make any of us insecure.

My central point is that absent our grounding in English language, culture, and the liberal (old-school meaning) politics of the Enlightenment, it’s not likely that America would look much like it does.

Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness

On this, the 237th anniversary of our independence, it is useful to reflect on what it means to be an American. Far too many of those in America, native-born and immigrants, focus solely on that last part: the pursuit of happiness. And, if one merely looks at the millions of (mostly) illegal immigrants, it is clear that their concept of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is pretty much constrained by the notion that they will keep themselves alive if they have the liberty to accumulate “property” in the form of wages earned from menial labor.

No one can possibly wish a man ill who is merely trying to better himself economically and provide for his family. But let us never confuse this kind of “liberty” with the true meaning of that word in the American context. It is freedom of conscience, freedom from government interferance, the freedom to think, assemble, worship, speak, vote, and write as one will. With constraints, of course, an ordered liberty, needed so that my “liberty” does not deprive you of yours.

That so many immigrants come here for economic gain is not on its face a bad thing, and it is a testament to our success as a nation. It is, however, not a sufficient thing, and we ought never to think it so. America is based on the very idea of freedom, not on any particular ethnicity or social class. That freedom, which is granted by Almighty God, belongs to each and every man, woman, and child in equal measure.

That freedom does not guarantee that all will reap equal rewards in their individual “pursuit of happiness.” It does mean that all have the same chance to do so. Or should have; we fought a bloody civil war, and continue to contest with each other on its full implementation to this very minute. Equality of opportunity is the theory, and I maintain we’ve done better than any other nation in history to achieve this as a reality.

To those who think that the pursuit of happiness is a sufficient rendering of the American idea, think again. Millions may flock to our shores because of the chance to make a few dollars, the chance to better themselves economically. But the true meaning was set by the Puritans and others who fled Old Europe in search of freedom of conscience, a freedom basically lacking in most of the Old World. In more recent times, there may be millions of illegal Mexican farm workers here only to make money. They are more than balanced by the Vietnamese boat people, Laotians, Cambodians, and Cubans, to name but a few, who risked their very lives fleeing tyranny for the chance to breath free air.

The lesson? Not to deny that we are a land of great economic opportunity, a land where the “pursuit of happiness” is built in to our very Declaration of Independence. But the truth is that we are not free because we are prosperous. We are prosperous because we are free.

Trust

Jim Geraghty, writing in today’s National Review’s Morning Jolt, asks this important question: do we on the Right still trust the people? Here’s a link to the pertinent extract. The short answer? No. The justification for this lack of trust? Look no further than the re-election of Barack Obama, an empty suit who does not govern, but campaigns.

We conservatives preach individual responsibility as the price of individual liberty. That is, we each of us must be fully informed citizens; we must know what each candidate for office stands for. And, most important, we should each of us not simply swallow what politicians tell us. This goes for self-described liberals, centrists, or conservatives. We should be especiallly wary of any politician who tells us that he is a moderate, when his record, however meager, loudly tells us otherwise.

Objective reporting on Obama was hard to come by in 2008. It was far easier in 2012. And yet a majority of those who voted in the last presidential election ignored the evidence before their very noses and refused to take responsibility for their actions by voting, yet again, for empty promises and demonization.

When Obama was first elected in 2008, I chalked it up to a great campaign of misdirection, of smoke and mirrors, with the mainstream media being willing accomplices. After all, here was an attractive family man (at least on the surface), a man who promised to rise above partisan bickering. A man who promised to stop the rise of the seas due to global warming climate change or the enviros’ excuse-du-jour for controlling us. That alone should have been sufficient: hey people, don’t vote for a man who claims to be able to control the entire planet.

That should have been a wake-up call for all but the stupids. Obama was a man who seemed to believe that he was the messiah who could cure all of our ills by the force of his will. Sadly, the mainstream media made most criticisms of Obama seem to be racist. After all, what does it matter that Obama thinks he is a god? He will be our first African-American president.

Four years of ideological fumbling and bad governance later, still all Obama wants to do is demonize Republicans. His true nature is that he is in over his head, and is a vicious lefty more suited to organizing union thugs than running the Executive Branch. And yet a majority of American voters said, fine, we’ll re-up you.

That is the definition of either stupid or insane: to be immune to evidence that Obama is not interested in governing. Since I don’t believe that a majority of our people are insane, that leaves stupid. And I don’t trust stupid people. Ignorance may be fixed by information; stupid is forever.

Extract from March 6, 2013 National Review’s Morning Jolt by Jim Geraght

Our Big Challenge: Do We on the Right Still Trust the People?

My fellow conservatives . . . the state of our movement is not strong. Let’s face it. We’re depressed. We feel betrayed by the American electorate.

We feel betrayed by inner-city African Americans, who can see the abysmal results of decades of Democratic governance all around them and who suffer the most from those failed policies, yet somehow keep sending the same crooks and losers back into office. Put aside Obama and these voters’ obvious pride in electing and reelecting the first African-American president; why is there no functioning alternative party in Washington, D.C., Detroit, Newark, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and barely one in New York or Los Angeles?

We feel betrayed that anyone, let alone a significant chunk of the electorate, could believe that our belief that this country should control its borders is driven by racism, xenophobia, and a hatred of immigrants.

We feel betrayed by young people, who also have suffered greatly from these failed policies. They’ve been told that a college education was the ticket to a good life, and they’ve taken on crushing debt for jobs that don’t exist and may never exist. Their professors failed to teach them the skills to thrive in a competitive job market and overcome adversity, and yet they haven’t yet seemed to turn on them in outrage. No, instead, they turn to government, enticed by the promise of free birth control.

Anyway, since the election, we’ve been marinating in this very grim story: We, a bunch of Americans who love freedom and believe that we can live happy lives if the government will just get out of the way, got swamped by a growing swarm of voters who believe that government — the very same government who had disappointed them and failed them time and again — will solve their problems.

So . . . what’s our story to come back?

I don’t quite mean our policies, although that’s part of it. What is our story?You get stories from Obama all the time. The story is pretty simple, deliberately so, and large chunks of it are hogwash. But it’s believable enough for enough people:

In the beginning, there was Bush, and Bush was bad. There was war, and it was bad; the war created the deficits, and so did Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. Because all the money went to tax cuts and wars, the government didn’t make necessary “investments” in “roads and bridges” and “green energy.” People couldn’t get health care. The oceans were rising.

Then we elected Obama, and it started getting better immediately! Okay, not everywhere, and maybe the progress and improvement was really hard to measure, but Obama inherited the worst crises of any president ever. Nobody could have generated better results than he did. The arc of history bent more toward justice, and better days are ahead, just you wait and see . . .

Now, you can come up with dozens of objections to those few sentences, but for the average Obama voter, that’s the gist of the state of the country from 2001 to today. It’s not all that different from your usual religious narrative. You have a fall of paradise (the election of Bush) the Devil (Bush), the messiah figure (Obama), the coming of a new kingdom and ultimate utopia. The purpose of the believer is to continue to believe in the redeeming messiah figure in the face of skepticism and doubt, because belief in him makes you one of the special and enlightened ones, and so on.

So . . . keeping in mind that we want to avoid all the creepy messianic vibes . . . what’s our story?

It’s going to be written by minds wiser than me, but I think we all know some of the key elements:

The American people have the tools they need to succeed and thrive. Now, when you look around you and see Snooki and the marching phalanx of idiotic reality stars, you may begin to wonder about this. But a core element of a philosophy built around individual rights is the notion that the vast majority of individuals are doing just fine as they are. Grown adults don’t need some sort of robed master or political or cultural elite to tell us what to do, how to think, how to live. If we do seek out teachers, mentors, wise men and women to help us make better decisions, it is best to find them outside of the coercive and inherently corrupting power of the state. We don’t need some massive social engineering or reeducation to cure us of backwards ways. In fact . . .

We are right to be wary of the powerful, because most of the folks who are supposed to be better than us, smarter than us, more wise than us, and more virtuous than us have failed us miserably. Where shall we start, the Wall Street Wizards who thought it was a good idea to start making six-figure loans to just about anybody, wrecking the old-fashioned virtue of credit? How about the government that takes in record tax revenue and still has trouble keeping this year’s deficit below $900 billion? The media botches stories regularly, our political leaders get caught in scandals like clockwork, epic mismanagement turns beautiful parts of the country like California into places nobody wants to live, or can afford to live . . .

We must deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. While diplomacy will always have a role in our foreign policy, the world is always going to have hostile states and hostile forces, who can only be deterred through military force. Foreign populations do not care if our leader lived abroad as a child, nor do they oppose us because our leader is too much like a cowboy. No amount of self-proclaimed “empathy” or “smart diplomacy” can overrule geopolitical realities. If we intervene in the world’s trouble spots, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, foreign leaders will demonize us and blame us for everything that goes wrong. If we do not intervene, horrific bloodshed on a grand scale follows (see Syria). Perhaps we need some variation of “speak softly, and carry a big stick.”

Right now, there’s a conundrum at the heart of the conservative movement. Our entire philosophy is about trusting the people, in faith that they know what’s best for themselves, can spend their own money more wisely than the government can, and find the solutions that work best for their communities . . . and right now, we don’t really trust the people.

“They”

Some people may take comfort in the counter-demonstrations that have occurred in Libya. Yes, there are good and decent people there who appreciate the hand that the West had in freeing them from Gaddafi. And, these people, though they may be few in number, also appreciate America’s role, albeit we were “leading from behind” because our Fearless Leader is neither fearless nor a leader.

But those who take to the streets in favor of the West are atypical in the Middle East, where large majorities of the people simply hate us. Yes, it’s true that “they” don’t much like us throughout the world, where “they” is the man-in-the-street.

Not many people like us, if only because we have both saved the world’s bacon more than once, and, while doing so, became the richest nation in history. Builds a certain kind of resentment, it does. People, “they,” resent the living hell out of us.

But the “they” in, say, France, don’t attempt to kill us with IEDs or suicide bombers. In stark contrast, the “they” in the Muslim world hate us with a passion that is inseparable from their religion.

Short version: Islam has been at war with Christianity since its inception. It has spread, at the point of the sword, and the lines between the West (sorry atheists and liberals, but “West” and “Christianity” are synonymous for this purpose) have been in ebb and flow since the 7th century.

I don’t advocate a modern Crusade. I do advocate the West in general, and the United States in particular, knowing who and what the enemy is. And let’s stop pretending that if only we apologize yet again, if only we send more and more money to them, they will somehow learn to love us.

They will never love us. The best we can hope for is to be strong, kill those who would kill us before they get the chance, and stop groveling and cringing like whipped puppies. If we do these things we will not be loved. We will, however, come to be respected, feared even.

And this will be a very good thing.