Views on the News

Views on the News*

February 24, 2018


The genius of America, as those in the 19th century used to call it, is actually fairly complex.  There is no single factor that accounts for America’s exceptionalism, but, rather, there is a combination of traditional American values which does effectively differentiate us from other countries, and accounts for the fact that, historically, ours became the richest and most powerful nation in the world.  There are at least four basic principles which have animated our development since the break with Great Britain in the late 18th century: 1) an abhorrence of arbitrary power, and a commitment to the rule of law, 2) the belief that sovereignty properly belongs only in the American people themselves, and not in a King or a hereditary aristocracy, 3) a commitment to economic progress and social mobility, and 4) the understanding that there must be limits to the power of our government, and that some space must be permitted for the development of private property, individual freedom and conscience (including morality and religion).  These four principles lead to particular corollaries.  For example, there ought to be a separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers, to prevent excessive oppression and arbitrary action.  There ought to be checks and balances through such mechanisms as dual state and federal governments.  No private property should be confiscated without compensation.  Generally speaking, our country has flourished when the four principles are simultaneously operative, and we have encountered difficulty when one or more of the four are forgotten at the expense of others.  This is made more complicated by the obvious fact that the four principles are in conflict.  Too much emphasis on popular sovereignty (democracy) can lead to arbitrary power, and the suppression of individual rights; too much emphasis on economic progress can lead to dangerous levels of inequality which threaten popular sovereignty, and corruption which threatens the rule of law itself.  That we have generally managed to implement all of these contradictory principles might well be thought to be miraculous, and this accounts for Americans’ longstanding faith that there is a higher power which actually guarantees the success of the American experiment.  In God we Trust is not only a national motto but an inescapable reality.  God helps those who help themselves, and whatever role Providence has played in American history, there has been a constant need for Americans to exercise popular sovereignty with vigilance to ensure that arbitrary power has not triumphed and that our government remained limited.  During the Obama years, the notion prevailed at the highest levels of the federal government that it was the responsibility, particularly of the executive branch, to monitor and to supervise all American life, from preschool to grave; thus the takeover at the national level of one-sixth of the economy itself thru ObamaCare. The conviction that the federal government and the executive knew best was so strong in Barack Obama’s mind, apparently, that he assured us that through the use of his phone and his pen, and through the issuance of executive orders and administrative guidance he could act if Congress failed to do so, and he and his administrative agencies did.  President Obama, really, became the exponent of the very kind of arbitrary power our framers feared.  Because the policies he chose to implement - redistribution of wealth, legitimation of undocumented immigrants, and a reduction in American military might, among them - were popular with the national media, and because the media was deeply unaware of the complexity and multiplicity of American values, many Americans in and out of the government became convinced that what was being done was proper, even though the means used clearly betrayed our traditions.  To this day Obama’s party seems committed to what he did, and it should be no surprise that we are now beginning to discover that so great was their belief that what they were doing was the only right and proper approach, that so many Obama-era federal officials in the highest reaches of the government, may have believed that President Trump must be stopped at any cost.  This battle continues, with the media carrying on the work of the now disgraced Obama officials, and using any means at its disposal, including slander, innuendo, and salaciousness to seek to turn Americans against the current administration.  To struggle against the still dominant politically correct ideology is not easy, since most operating the great media organs, and many still left in the federal government adhere to the pernicious philosophy which dominated during the Obama years, and still dominates in the academy, in much of the legal profession, and in many of our courts.  If the progress begun under Trump in restoring limits to the power of the federal leviathan, in restoring the engines of economic growth, in restraining the arbitrary power of federal agencies, and in restoring the implementation of the sovereignty of the people itself is to continue, it is the responsibility of those who wish to preserve true American Greatness to remember what created it and to seek, perhaps with divine guidance, to continue to correct the errors of the prior administration and its accomplices.

(“How to Preserve the True Nature of American Greatness” by Stephen B. Presser dated February 16, 2018 published by American Greatness at https://amgreatness.com/2018/02/16/preserve-true-nature-american-greatness/ )

The grand jury indictment in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election destroys Democrat claims that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the race, and that the Russian interference cost Hillary Clinton the election.  It is now time for Mueller to look into real election interference and collusion with the Russians by the Democrats.  The grand jury indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities for their alleged efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.  The indictment says the Russians hid their involvement in this scheme and communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign.  There was no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the scheme.  The Democrat Trump-Russia collusion narrative is dead.  The left will continue to argue that Russia handed the presidency to Donald Trump.  Expect them to claim this is proven by two things: the sophistication of the election interference effort; and the allegation that the accused Russians promoted the Trump campaign and worked to disparage Hillary Clinton.  The indictment says the Russian election interference effort started in 2014.  It says that the Russians staged rallies for and against Trump after the election and also promoted the Bernie Sanders campaign.  These facts strongly indicate this was a Russian campaign to sow confusion in the United States and to undermine Clinton, who Russian officials expected to win the election.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein noted that the indictment does not allege the Russian operation changed the outcome of the presidential election.  This is similar to what the U.S. intelligence community found.  It reflects the fact that while this scheme was an egregious assault on our democracy, it was far too small to have any effect on the election.  Consider that while the indictment alleges the Russian operation spent thousands of dollars per month in social media ads and had hundreds of fake Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.  In contrast, the Clinton campaign spent tens of millions on social media ads and had hundreds of staff working on social media.  There also were hundreds of pro-Clinton organizations, including labor unions that conducted their own massive social media efforts on behalf of Clinton.  The bottom line from the indictment: no Trump campaign collusion with Russia.  The Russians did not hand the election to President Trump.  Now Special Counsel Mueller must turn to real and far more serious instances of election meddling and collusion with the Russians by the Clinton campaign, the Democrat National Committee and the Obama administration to damage the Trump campaign. These efforts included misleading the FISA (Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act) Court to approve electronic surveillance of a Trump campaign staff member and leaking highly classified National Security Agency intelligence to the press.  Although Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election is a serious matter that must be addressed,  Democrat abuses to weaponize U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to win a presidential election represent grave threats to our democratic system.  There must be indictments of everyone involved in Democratic election meddling as soon as possible.

(“The Trump-Russia collusion narrative is dead” by Fred Fleitz dated February 17, 2018 published by Fox News at http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/02/17/trump-russia-collusion-narrative-is-dead.html  )

We live in two Americas: one cherishes freedom; and the other demands safety and is willing to give up freedoms to achieve it.  Surveys have shown a stark difference between the Left and Right on issues of patriotism and government’s role in our lives.  The Left depends on big government, almost to a point of religious fervor.  Liberals feel government is the only entity that can control the malevolence of mankind.  The Right sees government as a necessary evil.  Controlling the hostile tendencies of men and women belongs both to government and religion.  The American Culture and Faith Institute surveyed 1,000 Americans from the Right and the Left, and the findings revealed a deep rift between the two camps.  Conservatives who thought of themselves as very patriotic were at 78%. Liberals who thought they were very patriotic was 51%.  Conservatives who were proud to be American was at 65%, while 37% of liberals were proud to be an American.  A sad discovery found that only 16% of liberals described themselves as tolerant of opposing views, whereas Conservatives were close to 40%.  Remember, Liberals said they were the only political and social group that was genuinely tolerant.  The divide that rocked the nation 150 years ago has returned.  Liberals will say we need more government, more control, more laws, but, laws do not change the heart.  The Left can scream all they want about gun control or the evils of gun ownership, but I can say with confidence and to the irritation of Progressives, this country will never see a government mandated disarmament.  Conservatives will say we already have too much government, and need to return to our Judeo-Christian heritage this nation has forsaken decades ago.  Benjamin Franklin said “He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.”  Freedom, once discarded, is near impossible to reclaim.  The natural propensity of government is to get bigger, more powerful, more controlling, but freedom without responsibility is chaos.  Our choice is simple, the freedom our forefathers fought for, the great experiment in self-government, yes, with the pitfalls and with no guarantees of personal safety…or choose the illusion of safety and a descent into the darkness of government without restriction, without limits.

(“Two Americas: Freedom or ‘Safety’” by Ray DiLorenzo dated February 17, 2018 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/article/two-americas-freedom-or-safety )

Liberalism is an idealistic political philosophy born after the defeat of Napoleon, a philosophy of freedom, which epitomized individual liberty, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and free elections.  Socialism, on the other hand, is a political philosophy and economic system that promotes egalitarianism, a theory of economic equality.  Modern socialism originated in the eighteenth century as a working-class economic and political movement that opposed private property and criticized the effects of industrialization on society.  It is usually defined as “common ownership of the means of production.”  With the passage of time, liberalism evolved into a broader vision of an ideal society, a brilliant future that also included economic equality.  After the American liberals crossed the threshold of economic equality, which is incompatible with individual liberty, there was no longer a principal difference between the two ideological vistas.  Indeed, it was the point of no return; and like a fall that cannot be stopped halfway, it signified the evolution of the fruitful coexistence of liberalism and socialism in this country into an inevitable merger of the two ideologies.  Winston Churchill insightfully described the divergence: “Socialism seeks to pull down the wealth; liberalism seeks to rise up poverty.”  The implications of the de facto conversion of liberalism into socialism were profound; socialism acquired a pragmatic political cover that preserves its enduring appeal, found acceptance by the American Left, and was gradually incorporated into the policies of the Democrat Party.  Socialist principles, built on concepts originally advanced by liberals, became the guiding factors of the party’s economic and social programs.  In 1927, an American socialist, Norman Thomas, validated the ideological link between liberalism and socialism, and asserted:

“The American people would never vote for socialism… [but] under the name of liberalism [nowadays rebranded as progressivism], the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day, America will be a socialist nation without even knowing how it happened.”

The Democrat Party has been slowly accomplishing the amalgamation since the 1930s, dismantling American Judeo-Christian values and fomenting the ideological transformation of this country via public education, endorsement of socialist policies, proliferation of the welfare state and polarization of racial relations.  Socialism, a metamorphosis of liberalism, disguised in some corners as social justice, neo-liberalism, and in others as progressive or “helper of the poor,” is now both the “basis” of the Democrat Party and the “source” of its moral decay.  During Obama's era, the waning of moral vigilance has empowered the Democrat Party to accelerate its ideological conversion into the socialists.  With the chief components of socialism firmly in place: a welfare state, high taxation and intrusive government regulations aimed at control over the health care, financial and energy sectors, the Party was about to take the nation in a direction decidedly not in keeping with the course charted by the Founding Fathers.  Although the election of Donald Trump has put a hold on the socialization of the USA, the socialist mission has not ceased.  The Democrat Party has embraced a strategy of fanatical resistance.  The Democrats are no longer acting as a political party -- they are the socialist cause.  It is of paramount importance to recognize the Democrat Party for what it really is, and what it means for posterity.  A commonality of the ideological vocabulary of the Democrat Party leadership with Marxism; visceral hatred of capitalism and seductive promises of miraculous fulfillment of egalitarian dreams leaves little doubt about the Party becoming the source and spirit of a Marxist awakening.

(“Time to Rebrand the Democratic Party as Socialists” by Alex Markovsky dated February 19, 2018 published by American Thinker at https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/02/time_to_rebrand_the_democratic_party_as_socialists.html  )

You'll find outrageous claims of the decline of capitalism all throughout history, that capitalism is nothing more than a greedy, immoral, inefficient system that uses citizens to fatten corporations and government leaders.  During the recent presidential election, otherwise respectable politicians tried to push the idea of socialism on Americans with straight faces.  While there's always room in America for debate and the marketplace of ideas, it's astonishing that people continue to question the effectiveness of capitalism when it has become the gold standard for successful government over the past few centuries.  In case you've become so inundated with the calls for socialism over the past decade that you've started to question your sanity, here is a refresher on how capitalism works and how it benefits the government, the marketplace, businesses, families, and individuals:

·    Capitalism Creates Freedom - At its very core, capitalism ensures freedom, because it promotes choice.  It gives every citizen the ability to choose what he buys, how much he pays, where he wants to work, what he wants to sell, etc.  With capitalism, you can decide to rent out your house  as a stream of income and buy another one to live in.  With capitalism, you can get three different quotes from three different contractors when you want to install a new HVAC system in your home.  With capitalism, you can run a business and set your prices higher than the competition simply because you offer better service and more value.  With statism, the opposite is true.  Choices are limited, and you must adhere to strict rules and regulations.  The removal of simple choices reduces freedom, and removal of all choices is slavery.  The direction of statism is towards slavery, and the direction of capitalism is towards freedom.  

·    Capitalism Encourages Productivity -If you want to be successful and financially independent, you have to work hard.  If you have no interest in working hard and creating a future for yourself, you don't have to work.  Capitalism encourages productivity on an individual basis.  Whereas a statist or socialist society gives people little reason to exert energy and make sacrifices, capitalism provides people with motivation to add value to society.  If you want to see your wages grow, you work hard and impress your employer.  If you don't want to have an employer, you launch your own business and pave your own way.  If you want to become a lawyer, you go to law school, get the degree, and prove your worth in the job marketplace. 

·    Capitalism Leads to Happiness - Every person in the world wants one thing: happiness. While it's possible to find happiness in just about any situation, data show that people in countries where capitalism is alive and well tend to be happier than those in socialist or statist societies.  When people have the freedom to make choices – rather than being told what they can do, where they can shop, where they can work, how much they can earn, and how much they can spend on products and services, they tend to be much more satisfied with their day-to-day lives and future outlook.  The result is happiness.

·    Capitalism Promotes Environmentalism - Capitalism does a better job of protecting the environment and promoting sustainability, than socialism.  When people own land, they take care of it.  When the state owns land, nobody is incentivized to steward it.

If you're lazy, unmotivated, and jealous of others' success, capitalism probably won't work for you.   If it doesn't work for you doesn't mean that the system, as a whole, is broken.  The fact is that ambitious people who are willing to work hard and create value will continue to thrive in a capitalistic society.  No level of noise from attention-seeking politicians, reporters, and high school economics teachers will change this fact that capitalism is still alive and well.

(“Capitalism is Alive and Well” by Larry Alton dated February 21, 2018 published by American Thinker at https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/02/capitalism_is_alive_and_well.html  )


There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  No updates have been made this week to the issue sections.


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY