We are watching the fall of the American Republic before our eyes. Just as the rise of Caesar heralded the end of the Roman Republic, so too is America due for a Caesar of our own.
I assumed that I would eventually be banned from Twitter. They eventually come for all truth-tellers: Milo Yiannopoulos, Zerohedge, Laura Loomer, Katie Hopkins… they will surely ban President Trump the moment they think they can get away with it. This week, the priestly censors came for me.
Oddly enough, it was not for my viral tweet suggesting that, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, that President Trump should rule like a king. It was not for my habitual use of the “drooling retard” meme. It was not even for my retweets of notorious thought criminals like Nick Fuentes, Ann Coulter, or Jon Del Arroz. No, it was for an entirely innocuous tweet reminiscing about the boxes of food that graced my kitchen counter as a child:
Perhaps an algorithm went overboard looking for any mention of Aunt Jemima, after the Quaker Oats company inexplicably bowed to mob pressure to remove the character from their artificial syrup products. Rather than deleting the tweet and serving my twelve hour sentence, I appealed, because this ban was capricious and absurd.
Thirty-six hours later, no response. Sure, it would have been quicker in retrospect to simply give in. But that is what they want us all to do. They want us to simply accept their arbitrary and capricious rules, granting them the moral authority to determine what speech is acceptable in the public square. I do not wish to grant them that legitimacy. Twitter, Facebook, and Google have captured a near-monopoly of social media discourse, and are now using their power to decide what we are allowed to discuss. It is long past time for the government to treat these companies as common carriers. The phone company is not allowed to disconnect you because you said something they disagreed with; so it should be with social media.
I am just a small person in the grand scheme of things; a writer and thinker with a few hundred followers. This (hopefully temporary) ban does not impact my ability to pay the bills or provide for my family. What if it did, though? What if I had a business that relied on Twitter or other social media outlets to gain and maintain clients? What if I sold books or other content through social media? Social media companies should not have the power to ruin someone’s livelihood on the whim of some low-level social justice warrior employee. I know of many content creators on YouTube who were making a good living, only for the company to suddenly demonetize their entire library without explanation. This is wrong, but this is also a warning that we should be careful about relying on companies that hate us.
I have learned a few things from this short vacation from Twitter. First, I did not realize how much I had come to rely on Twitter to keep up on breaking news. I do not watch TV, and I generally stay away from big news websites. I follow a wide enough variety of people on Twitter that if something important or interesting happens, I hear about it fairly quickly. For the past two days I have felt like I am living in a bubble, blissfully unaware of what is going on in the wider world.
Second, there exists an entire alternate universe of people who have been banned by mainstream social media. The problem with finding free speech replacements for Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube is that there are so many options. The reason Twitter is the modern day public square is because that is where the public is. No other platform has as many people, from President Trump himself to CEOs, journalists, professors, authors, movie producers, and millions of regular people like me. Every alternative platform bills itself as the new and better Twitter, but how do you choose? One exile might choose Gab, another chooses Parler, another chooses Minds, and another chooses Mastadon. Scott Adams recently promoted Locals, while Ramzpaul has moved over to Slug. If you want to keep in touch with them all, you have to sign up for half a dozen new services. Nobody has time for that.
In any case, I signed up for Parler and followed a few people. It looks like Twitter, but many of the people who post there are exiles from Twitter. Conservative activist Laura Loomer, for example, was banned from all the mainstream social media sites years ago, but she has a prominent presence on Parler. She is currently running for Congress in Florida and seems to be the frontrunner. Yet she is not allowed to speak on most social media platforms. That sounds like election interference to me.
Finally, with so much happening in the world I was hoping to do another livestream soon, but I realized that most of the people who would be interested in watching are on… Twitter. That is where most of my audience is. Streaming without Twitter would be like talking to myself in an empty room. Clearly I need to diversify my presence on the web.
Again, I am just small potatoes here. I doubt I was targeted in any way; most likely an algorithm was too aggressive and Twitter just drags their feet on appeals as a matter of policy. My story, as well as those of the much more prominent writers and thinkers who have been summarily banned, shows that we need regulation of this new public square in order to ensure our speech remains free. Libertarians can argue all they want about how Twitter, Facebook, and Google are “private companies” but the simple truth remains that these companies have enormous power over what can and cannot be discussed in public. In an age when schoolchildren are being doxxed for not sufficiently supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and where public figures are being fired and blacklisted for holding beliefs that run counter to the social justice zeitgeist, the need for free speech is greater than ever. We, who hold truth as a virtue, must fight for the right to speak that truth in public. The alternative is to give in to the persecution; to become an underground resistance to the totalitarian thought police.
I hope to have my Twitter account back soon. I will not give in, unless they force it, but I will wait out the appeal. In the meantime, find me on Gab and Parler, and maybe a few more alternative platforms soon. I also encourage you to visit and subscribe to the blog’s Telegram channel for updates and discussion.
Dan Carlin is one of the best podcasters in the business. While it takes him six months to put together just a single episode of the Hardcore History podcast, it is always worth the wait. He tells the story of what happened in history like few others can. In addition to Hardcore History, he has another podcast called Common Sense where he discusses current events within the context of history, sort of like the one published here. He presents himself as a centrist, which works well for teaching history, but listening to Common Sense makes it clear that he has a left-wing worldview. On a recent episode, Carlin was talking about why he thought President Trump was different than his predecessors, pointing out his Twitter account, exaggerated rhetoric, and executive orders as things that were not normal for the office of the Chief Executive. His point seemed to be that the unprecedented resistance to President Trump – from news media, both the Democratic and Republican party establishments, and even from within the federal government itself – was fomented, even justified, by Trump’s apparent perversion of normal politics.
With respect and trepidation, I must disagree with Mr. Carlin. I suggest that it was Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, that broke presidential politics.
Let us go back to the beginning. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the defining characteristics of American governance. Throughout world history, succession has always been a flash point for conflict. Medieval societies codified the rules of monarchy and primogeniture precisely to avoid a civil war every time the old ruler died. You can see that kind of chaos in 3rd century Rome, where a new emperor rose every couple of years in the midst of nearly constant conflict. Even with these rules, conflict still arose at the margins. When King Henry I of England died, he had no sons (his son and heir Henry the Young King had died in a shipwreck.) He had named his daughter Matilda as his heir, but a woman succeeding to the throne was not one of the commonly agreed upon rules, so conflict followed. The lords of England supported a cousin of the royal family, Stephen, and this led to decades of conflict called the Anarchy. This is also why King Henry VIII was so obsessed with producing a son: his dynasty would fall into chaos if he did not ensure the succession.
In 1788, George Washington won a unanimous vote of the electors to become the first President of the United States. He was reelected in 1792 but chose not to run for a third term in 1796. This is important: had he run, he would have easily won again, and likely would have died in office. This would have established the precedent that the presidency was a life term, and future presidents would also have stayed in office until they died. Instead, Washington stepped down, establishing the precedent that presidents should not seek more than two terms in office. His successor was his Vice President, John Adams. When Adams ran for reelection in 1800, something remarkable happened: he lost. Adams was challenged by his Vice President Thomas Jefferson, a one-time friend who was now a fierce rival. In many nations throughout history, even to this day, when an incumbent leader loses an election he does not go quietly into retirement, but instead uses his remaining power to invalidate the election and remain in office. Sometimes he uses the military to arrest his opponent. Yet Adams did none of these things. Though stung by the rejection of his country and the ascendance of his rival, he did not throw a national tantrum but instead simply packed his things and went home to his farm in Massachusetts.
This too established a precedent. Every four years, the American people had an opportunity to replace their leader with someone else. In 1824, when no candidate received a majority of electors, the House of Representatives selected John Quincy Adams, despite the fact that General Andrew Jackson had received the most popular votes. Rather than raising an army and marching on Washington, as a jilted Roman general might have done, Jackson instead traveled the country speaking out against what he called the corrupt bargain made between President Adams and Congress. Four years later, Jackson was overwhelmingly elected to the presidency, and continued his populist campaign for two terms.
Even the election 1860 was not a departure from the doctrine of a peaceful transfer of power. When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, the southern states who feared his abolitionist aims did not raise their militias and set out to stop him from occupying the White House. Instead, they voted to leave the union. While northerners considered this an act of insurrection, it was not violent – they simply chose to leave rather than trying to work with a leader that they detested. It was Lincoln who raised troops and invaded the South.
Franklin Roosevelt was the first to break the two-term precedent. He was first elected in 1932, taking power early the following year. Little did the American people know that they had just elected a president-for-life. By 1940, the Depression was nearly over, but war loomed on the horizon. Hitler had invaded Poland in September 1939 and was threatening France and Britain. President Roosevelt was committed to supporting the Allies, but isolationist sentiment in the United States prevented him from too much outright support. As the election of 1940 approached, Roosevelt decided that he himself was the indispensable man in America, and that nobody else could possibly have the knowledge and experience to handle the coming crisis. Note that this is the same rationale used by every dictator throughout history.
Roosevelt won a third term in convincing fashion, partly by campaigning as an opponent of American involvement in the escalating war. Pearl Harbor changed that, and Roosevelt led America into World War II. With the war going well and Roosevelt’s popularity sky-high in 1944, Roosevelt saw no reason to step down, easily winning a fourth term. Party insiders were well aware of the president’s ill health, but rather than admitting this to the American people, they instead made sure that Vice President Henry Wallace was replaced on the ticket by their preferred man, Senator Harry Truman of Missouri. Roosevelt would die just weeks after being sworn in for his fourth term, and Harry Truman would be forced to deal with the ramifications of the war, including having to make the decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan.
In his hubris, Franklin Roosevelt had given in to the temptation that George Washington had wisely resisted. George Washington was called “the American Cincinattus” for following in the footsteps of the famous Roman dictator who laid down his power when the crisis was over. Roosevelt, on the other hand, could rightly be called the American Caesar. Many dictators throughout history start off as democratically elected leaders, only to consolidate their power and remain in office until they are deposed or die in office. Adolf Hitler, in fact, became Chancellor of Germany the same year that Roosevelt became President, and died just a few weeks after Roosevelt did. There will always some new crisis or problem that necessitates the suspension of the normal precedents and rules. Roosevelt cited the ongoing Depression and the outbreak of war in Europe as reasons to abandon the old norms. Hitler had used the Reichstag fire as an excuse to grant himself emergency powers. Just this year we have had governors and mayors using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to exercise invasive powers at every level of society, while the civil unrest of the past few weeks will surely lead to ever more expanded government powers. It is the same playbook every time.
After the death of President Roosevelt, things mostly returned to normal in the White House. American voters, concerned about the another FDR coming along someday, gave the Republicans a large majority in both the House and the Senate who proceeded to pass the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution which prohibited future presidents from serving more than two terms. While President Truman decried this as an unconstitutional constraint upon the will of the voters, he retired in 1952, his prosecution of the Korean War leaving him deeply unpopular. Every president thereafter left office and entered a quiet retirement. Rather than continuing to fight political battles, former presidents instead worked on cementing their legacy, building their libraries, and engaging in non-partisan work for various charities. In the latter half of the 20th century, former presidents rarely criticized their successors. We resumed the tradition of the peaceful transfer of power. For example, after a contentious election in 1960, the losing candidate Vice President Richard Nixon dutifully attended the inauguration of the incoming President John Kennedy. In 1976, Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford, yet Ford graciously attended Carter’s inauguration as well. It is important for the American people to see their leaders, who might have viciously attacked each other on the campaign trail, come together and engage in the same rituals that have accompanied our presidential transitions ever since the time of George Washington.
The contested presidential election of 2000 was the last great stress test of our political system. When the ballots were counted, Governor George W. Bush of Texas had defeated Vice President Al Gore by a few hundred votes in Florida, giving Bush just enough electoral votes to win the presidency. A general recount in Florida confirmed this victory. The Gore campaign sued in order to keep counting past the deadline, as well as to do extra hand recounts in pro-Democratic counties. The Supreme Court voted 7-2 that recounting only blue counties violated the equal protection clause, and 5-4 that Florida could not continue counting past the deadline. George W. Bush was duly inaugurated president on January 20, 2001. To his credit, Al Gore did not raise an army and march on Washington, though some of his supporters surely wished he had. The Democrats complained and stewed for the next four years, but they allowed the system to work. I am not so sure that this same situation would have had the same outcome if it occurred in the contentious time we live in today.
When Donald Trump was inaugurated president in January of 2017, President Barack Obama sat nearby, as is tradition. What appeared to be the usual peaceful transfer of power was actually cover for a secret coup that had already been set in motion. Nobody knew at the time that Obama had been secretly working with the FBI and the Justice Department to spy on the campaign and transition team of President-Elect Trump. Nobody knew that Obama, Susan Rice, Sally Yates, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and even Vice President Joe Biden were all involved in a plot to wiretap the Trump campaign and to fabricate evidence that they were somehow colluding with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election and subvert American democracy. This conspiracy makes President Nixon’s coverup of the Watergate burglary look petty by comparison. While not quite on the level of using the military to prevent an opposing leader from coming to power, this was darned close. A president who abuses his authority over the law-enforcement and counter-espionage entities within his government to covertly attack his successor has absolutely no precedent in American history.
The purpose of this investigation was to prevent President Trump from having authority over the Justice Department, to winnow away his supporters from political positions, and to eventually oust the president himself, whether through impeachment or by forcing him to resign. Trump had appointed General Michael Flynn, a thirty-year veteran of military intelligence, to the post of National Security Advisor, which would have had authority over the very investigation that the Obama Administration was secretly conducting. Rather than allow this to happen, the conspirators fabricated a charge of lying against General Flynn which forced him to leave office and spend the next three years fighting bogus charges. With Flynn out of the way, the conspiracy was allowed to continue unchecked, leading to the Mueller investigation, the so-called whistleblower report about the Ukraine phone call, and more. This is exactly the sort of behavior you expect from a banana republic, not the Executive Branch of the United States of America.
Anyone who paid attention to President Obama’s tenure in office should not be surprised that he would engage in such deceitful actions. People like Dan Carlin, well-meaning but invariably left leaning, do not see the many ways in which Obama broke presidential norms because they generally agree with the outcomes. When a president is pushing an agenda that you believe in, you are less likely to call out the ways in which he is bending the rules, cutting corners, taking advantage of loopholes, or ignoring precedent. You are just happy to see “progress”. Nevertheless, Barack Obama was unprecedented in many ways. Let me be clear, however, that his skin color has absolutely nothing to do with any of the following points.
Unlike every previous president, Obama grew up outside of traditional American culture. I am not a birther – I believe he was born in Hawaii – but he was raised in a much more international manner than our previous chief executives. The Bushes and the Kennedys were born into American wealth. Bill Clinton grew up in a poor family in Arkansas. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer in Georgia. Yet Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a globe-trotting mother who had studied at the East-West Center in Honolulu. His father was a Kenyan nationalist that he would barely know. His mother moved to Indonesia and married Lolo Soetero, an Indonesian Muslim who worked for the government. Obama’s childhood then was somewhat chaotic, being spent in Hawaii, Indonesia, and sometimes with his grandmother in Kansas. He did his undergraduate studies at Occidental College before moving on to Columbia and Harvard. While in college he alternated between portraying himself as a regular American named Barry and an exotic foreigner named Barack. He entered politics in the Illinois legislature, but his first attempt to attain higher office was thwarted by longtime Democrat powerbroker Bobby Rush. When Obama challenged him for his House seat in 2000, Congressman Rush accused Obama of not truly representing the African American community. This accusation was undoubtedly true: Obama was not descended from slaves, and he was born just as Jim Crow was ending. Neither he nor his family had the same experiences as the African American families that had come out of the south to cities such as Chicago.
Steve Sailer suggests that Obama was raised and groomed to be a diplomat or State Department bureaucrat, someone who could bridge the divide between the United States and other cultures. After all, his mother was educated at the East-West Center in Hawaii, which was explicitly created to find common ground between the United States and Asia. This is what brought Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, into contact with foreign men such as Barack Obama Senior and Lolo Soetero. Yet something strange happened. Rather than shuffling off to an unremarkable career in bureaucracy, Obama rocketed to the White House with breakneck speed. How? Why?
Obama’s rise to power was in part due to his skin color. While conventional wisdom about the United States suggests that we are biased against non-white people, the very fact that Obama was half black meant that he could step into the role of “first black president”. A white Barry Dunham who followed the same career path would probably never have made it to the US Senate, much less the White House. As the first serious black presidential candidate (Jesse Jackson’s 1988 primary run notwithstanding), Obama was a blank slate upon which all of America could paint their aspirations of achieving the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. The fact that he had very little political experience, and absolutely no executive experience, actually helped him here, as he could become whatever people wanted to see.
Barack Obama has never been shy about playing underhanded if it helps him win. In 1996, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners invalidated the signature submissions of every other Democratic candidate except for Obama, who then won the primary unopposed. In the 2004 Senate race, his cronies got a court to unseal divorce records for his Republican opponent Jack Ryan, which caused him to withdraw, allowing Obama to win once again essentially unopposed. (The GOP flew in Alan Keyes to run in Ryan’s place, but that carpetbagging attempt failed spectacularly.) Before he had even won his Senate race, Obama gave a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that had media figures tingling. He was immediately anointed as a future president, despite having nearly zero real accomplishments to his name.
During his long campaign for the presidency, Obama always portrayed himself as a uniter, someone who could bridge the divide between blue states and red states, blacks and whites, liberals and conservatives. Once in office, however, his tone changed drastically. He used his filibuster-proof majority in the Senate to pass Obamacare, making promises he could not keep to moderate Democratic Senators in exchange for their support, and then ramming the bill through reconciliation without regard for congressional rules. This naked partisanship resulted in a huge Republican victory in the 2010 midterms, regaining the House of Representatives only four years after losing it in the Democratic landslide of 2006. When President Clinton faced this same situation in 1994, he engaged in political triangulation – moving to the right on some issues in order to compromise with the new Republican majority. Obama, however, chose the opposite tactic. He simply ignored the Republican House, proclaiming that he had a pen and a phone, and did not need to work with Congress to enact his agenda. And enact it he did. Just after the 2012 election, he issued an executive order to cease prosecution of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.
Despite campaigning as a uniter, Obama was most definitely a partisan fighter. He told a crowd of Hispanic activists that they could punish their enemies by voting for him. His first Attorney General, Eric Holder, proclaimed himself “the president’s wingman” and promised to use his position to help “our people,” meaning African Americans, not Americans in general. While media today would have you believe that President Trump is controlled by Putin, it was Obama in 2012 who was secretly working with the Russians. At a conference with Putin’s right-hand man Dmitri Medvedev, Obama was caught unawares by a hot microphone saying,
On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space. This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
Imagine such a hot-mic moment like this for President Trump.
The fact that Obama used his authority to spy on the Trump campaign should not have been a surprise. This is the same President Obama that weaponized the IRS to attack conservative non-profit organizations, while lavishly distributing federal grant money to progressive organizations. This is the same President Obama that surreptitiously wiretapped reporter Sheryl Atkinson’s computers because she was working on stories that the administration did not like. Like third-world dictators, Obama was never shy about using his powers to elevate his friends while attacking his enemies. Only in the west is that behavior universally condemned. In many cultures, the entire point of political power is to reward your friends and attack your enemies.
Obama has not followed the traditional path of a former president either. Rather than sitting back and tending to his legacy and finding charitable projects, Obama has led the charge in criticizing President Trump and his Administration. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Obama set up a new office in Washington DC where he could continue to coordinate resistance against the new president. Again, this is not like American politics as usual; this is like a banana republic.
My point with all of this is to say that it was really Barack Obama who changed things. President Trump is the natural Hegelian antithesis to the excessive partisanship of the Obama Administration. If Obama had governed from the left-center like Bill Clinton, or had stayed above the fray like George Bush, then the Republicans would probably have gotten away with nominating another milquetoast establishment figure like Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney. Instead, we saw the naked will to power on the part of the left in general and Obama in particular, and voted in someone who promised to fight for the forgotten men and women of America against the deep state bureaucracy that had taken over our government. Trump is not the outlier; he is the natural follow-up to a man like Obama.
I believe that the 2008 election will go down in history as the last time America saw a peaceful transfer of power. Obama beat the feckless John McCain fair and square, and not a single Republican took to the streets, rioted, or tried to undo the results of the election. Even in 2012, after four years of recession and embarrassment, Obama was reelected, and again not a single Republican threw stones or tried to burn down buildings. Yet when Trump won in 2016, the left was unleashed. They rioted in the streets. They demanded recount after recount. They tried to pressure electors to change their votes. They used the last few moments of power in the Obama Administration to begin a bogus investigation that sought to hamstring and eventually oust the new president. They used impeachment. Now they have military leaders writing editorials denouncing the president, with some on the left demanding a military coup. Imagine what November of 2020 will look like. Imagine 2024, and 2028.
If President Trump wins reelection this year, all hell will break loose. The Democrats did not accept the results of the 2016 election, and they surely will not accept them in 2020. The street fights and political battles will make the last four years look calm in comparison. On the other hand, if Trump loses, then few on the right will believe it was done without rampant fraud. Many states have already switched to mail-in ballots, using the pandemic as an excuse. We know Democrats cheat at the polls, and mail-in ballots only make their job easier. If the Democrats do win, however, they will immediately set to work making sure that they never lose again. Say goodbye to the electoral college. Say goodbye to the Supreme Court. Say goodbye to the separation of powers. Say goodbye to the integrity of our elections.
No matter what happens this year, hindsight will show that American democracy ended a long time ago. Our political process has been irrevocably broken; we just do not realize it yet. In their lust for power, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party set us on a course for chaos, and there are no brakes on this train.
Many people complain that President Donald Trump has broken the norms of the office of President. However, I believe that those norms were already broken, and that is partly why we elected Trump in the first place. Can we go back to the way things were?
In my fourth livestream I discuss the ongoing breakdown of law and order and look at how our worldview informs how we see current events.
Watch on Periscope, or listen to the audio through iTunes or your favorite podcast source.
At the heart of so many of our disputes today is the question of who owns America. Who has the best claim on this country, this nation? What makes someone an American? As rioters storm our streets to take our country by violence, I try to figure out who this country really belongs to.
Listen here, or listen, subscribe, and review on iTunes.
In my third livestream I discuss the chaotic week that was, as riots have engulfed most of our major cities. The division in our country has never been greater, and this could be just the beginning.
(Note that the Periscope video cuts off at about 34 minutes – I am not sure why, as I streamed for 51. The audio version posted below has the full stream.)
If truth no longer matters in America, what does? People today interpret the news and current events based upon their tribal affiliation, and every tribe acts in its own interests, except for one.
Listen here, or listen, subscribe, and review on iTunes.
Truth is treason in the empire of lies. We live in that empire today, where news media and politicians are working to convince us that up is down, right is wrong, and two plus two equals five. Fight back against the lies by keeping your eye on the truth.
Listen here, or listen, subscribe, and review on iTunes.
Friday night I recorded my second livestream, this time with a better camera. In this stream I ask if the good times are over for good, talk a bit more about Justin Amash, look at the way the FBI framed General Flynn, and take milquetoast conservatives to task for fighting harder against the right than the left. Check it out!
No matter where you look, our society feels like it is rapidly spinning out of control:
- The response to the coronavirus pandemic might well be worse than the virus itself, as our economic shutdown has now displaced thirty million American workers.
- Supply chains have been disrupted, and some are predicting massive food shortages across the entire world.
- The left is using the virus as an excuse to push their entire wish list from open borders to green energy to 1984-style surveillance.
- China is ascendant in the world, using their military to bully their neighbors and their propaganda machine to cow Americans who question our relationship with them.
- Migrants are still coming to civilized nations, crossing both the Mediterranean and Rio Grande at will.
The whole world is hurtling down the road like a runaway truck, with no way to hit the brakes. How can we disengage before we utterly crash? Where is the off-ramp from this highway to hell?
Let us start with the economy, which was running at full steam just two months ago: Unemployment was below 3.5%. The stock market, which includes all our retirement accounts, was at record highs. The housing market was expanding, and new construction was happening everywhere. The response to the coronavirus pandemic has shattered that strong economy, yet the cracks were there for anyone to see. Unfunded state liabilities continued to increase, without hope of being fulfilled. Federal deficits continued to be more than a trillion dollars a year, and the growth of our national debt showed no signs of slowing. Much of our economic expansion had been driven by infinite debt, as the Fed continued printing nearly free money. The employment numbers masked some problems too, as many of the new jobs over the last decade went to temporary migrants rather than American citizens. Outsourcing has only increased over the last decade, and the massive spike in unemployment brought on by the pandemic response is unlikely to stem the tide. President Trump last week signed an executive order to limit immigration and work permits, but the big business interests that have an outsized voice in the Administration managed to carve out exceptions for foreign tech and farm workers.
The time to patch these cracks was before a global emergency, not during one. Once we are in the middle of a crisis, corporations and elected officials feel the need to take drastic measures to “save” the economy. As soon as the crisis began every big business came to Congress hat in hand demanding a bailout. After all, when the market crashed in 2008, the government declared all these businesses “too big to fail” and bailed them out with taxpayer money. In a real free market economy, there is no such thing as “too big to fail”. Ideally, we would let airlines, banks, and other corporations go bankrupt in order to clear the deck of over-extended and inefficient corporations. Bankruptcy is not dirty word; rather it is a vital part of a free market. Over-extended businesses and diseconomies of scale need to be partitioned and sold off to satisfy their creditors, not given a cheque from the taxpayer that allows them to continue operating inefficiently. Yet there are few elected officials with the courage to do what is necessary to fix the fundamental problems of our economy. Anything that is worth doing will inevitably result in electoral losses. The American people, having been fed media propaganda for generations, will not accept a politician who takes these problems seriously. Instead, we demand pat answers to hard questions. Instead of fixing the problems, elected leaders just kick the can further down the road, hoping to have retired into a comfortable lobbying gig before the bill comes due.
The pandemic is also showing the vulnerability of our supply chains in multiple ways. When China locked down in January and February, this started a chain reaction that is just beginning to reverberate through the world economy. So many of our essential goods are manufactured in China now, from electronics to antibiotics to the raw materials for most everything else. This was bad enough before Europe and the US locked down as well, and now every industry in the world is facing Armageddon. It has taken this crisis to demonstrate how weak we are left by relying on foreign nations for our supply lines, especially belligerent nations such as China. Back in the 1980s and 90s, our leaders thought they could liberalize China by normalizing trade. After all, open cultural exchange with the Soviet Union brought down that Communist juggernaut, so why not China? However, in this case the reverse happened, and the Chinese Communist Party corrupted America. Corporations such as Google and Apple happily work with China to censor the internet and crack down on dissidents, the NBA and Hollywood prostrate themselves before their new Chinese benefactors, and American media outlets reprint Chinese propaganda because it serves their short-term anti-Trump narratives.
Disentangling us from China will likely be difficult. Big corporations have found it lucrative to fire American employees in favor of foreign temp workers, who are cheaper and easier to control. In addition to corporate outsourcing, China has also taken full advantage of our education system. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students come to America to learn engineering while we waste our time teaching our own young people grievance studies. Like big businesses, universities will resist any effort to stop the flow of foreign students. Once again, it would take politicians with more courage than we currently see in Congress to stop this cycle. Globalist elites see themselves as beyond such petty distinctions as citizenship, so they see no reason not to sell out to China if it helps their bottom line. For the elites, this pandemic is not an existential crisis like it is for the little people, but rather an opportunity for greater wealth and power. The time to solve these issues was before this mess began.
Our food supply might also be in danger. A few days ago, the CEO of Tyson, the country’s largest chicken producer, put out an ad saying that this shutdown is going to destroy the market for meat. I have seen stories and pictures of chickens and hogs being destroyed because farmers say they are unable to get them processed. Whether that is true or not, I do not know. I do know that far too much of our meat industry is controlled by foreign owners, who heavily depend upon migrant labor, and that it is far too centralized in the hands of just a few corporations. While a meat shortage would be devastating for the American people, the globalist left seems to be looking forward to it. Over the last year the media has been pumping out stories about meat being bad for your health as well as for the environment, and that we should switch to eating soy protein or bugs instead. Many on the carnivore right wondered about the purposes of this propaganda barrage. Well, here we are, and the American people have been primed to accept a future where we eat insects instead of hamburgers. However, it should go without saying that while we eat bugs and soy paste, the elites will still be eating steak at Davos.
The globalist left is advancing on the domestic front as well. While the Trump victory in 2016 was a blow to their totalitarian dreams, they were not vanquished completely, and the last few years have seen them redoubling their efforts to permanently crush us under their boots. They have raised their derangement to a fever pitch, and as soon as they control the government again, they plan massive retribution. This pandemic is giving them the opportunity for a trial run of authoritarianism:
- Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered stores to stop selling “non-essential” items. The government bureaucrats who decided what was considered “non-essential” banned such things as lawn tools and seeds, which a rational person would think of as being important in the face of uncertain times.
- The Democratic governors of Massachusetts and Colorado ordered gun and ammunition stores to be shut down, despite the increased risk of lawlessness and danger due to prisoners being released for fear of infection.
- Governor Andrew Beshear of Kentucky ordered churches closed on Easter Sunday, without exception for drive-in services. He sent State Patrol officers to churches to record license plates of congregants in order to cite them later.
These dictatorial orders are less about protecting citizens from a virus than about simply enforcing the will of these petty tyrants. On Good Friday, the Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee tweeted:
“We respectfully ask that churches in our area not move forward with “drive-in” worship services or any other kind of public assembly. Allowing people to gather, even in their cars with the windows rolled up, will be considered a violation of our directives.”
Did you catch that? “…a violation of our directives”. This is not about public safety; it is about humiliating American citizens into respecting the unconstitutional authority of our elected officials.
Of course, as is usually the case, the laws made for the little people do not apply to the big people. After closing non-essential businesses in New York City, Mayor Bill De Blasio went out to his favorite gym. After telling Chicago citizens to stay home, Mayor Lori Lightfoot went out to have her hair done. She had the chutzpah to defend her decision, saying “I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye.” The mask has come completely off, and our bureaucratic tyrants are telling us to our faces that they are more important than us. The concept of “public service” has been inverted in America today. Rather than facing a single tyrant like King George III, we have thousands of little tyrants, each doing their best to interfere in our daily lives in a way that King George never could have dreamed.
In Arkansas, a twelve-year-old girl was playing basketball outside by herself, so city officials removed the basketball hoop. Police in Colorado found a man playing t-ball with his six-year-old daughter in an empty park, and they arrested him, putting him in handcuffs in front of his little girl. These stories go on and on. It is insane, but this is what America is like in the age of a thousand petty tyrants. However, keeping people out of public parks is just the beginning. The Atlantic recently published a piece extolling the virtues of authoritarianism and censorship:
“In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.”
Remember when the left was in favor of free speech, free expression, and an open internet? Those days are long gone. Today’s left looks at the authoritarianism of Communist China as an example, not a warning. Of course, the big question left unanswered here is who should decide what is compatible with society’s norms and values? I doubt the writers of The Atlantic would consider traditional American values to be their goal. A century ago, our norms and values were unabashedly Christian, with emphases on hard work, personal liberty, and the importance of the family. Today, powerful cultural forces are working to change our so-called norms to something much more sinister: Socialism and dependence upon government; collectivism rather than liberty; and the destruction of the traditional family. The people in charge of enforcing these norms are social justice warriors at Twitter, Facebook, and Google who boast of their mental illness and declare that transgenderism, homosexuality, atheism, and even pedophilia are all right and proper while traditional American values are on par with Naziism. These are the values that The Atlantic, and the rest of the globalist progressive left, want to impose upon you and your children.
How did we let this happen? Where was the off-ramp from this cultural freeway? Conservatives ceded control of the culture in the 60s, and the left never looked back. Even as the Communist experiment failed in the Soviet Union, the American left was content to march slowly through our institutions, turning public schools, universities, television, music, comic books, and everything else into instruments of cultural destruction. Where were the conservatives? Sitting on a cruise ship lobbying for tax cuts. Where were the Christians? Whistling past the graveyard while their children were converted under their noses. I often hear conservative Christian friends talk about reclaiming our culture, as if a few Bible verses posted on Facebook can reverse a century of cultural decline. That ship sailed three generations ago. The time to fix this was when the left made their first assault upon our defenses, not when they have all but won and are just mopping up the few who remain. Imagine if we tried to fight Nazi Germany by sending our children to the Hitler Youth to act as missionaries for American culture. Absurd, right? Yet that is exactly what millions of Christian parents have done over the last three generations: They sent their children to be brainwashed in progressive prisons and while naively expecting that an hour or two of church every Sunday would counter the damage.
With regards to international diplomacy, the world is due for a major conflagration. War was once a regular occurrence in the affairs of nations – as Clausewitz said, war is politics by other means. In the first half of the 20th century, hundreds of millions died due to war and the accompanying starvation and genocides. The “small” wars we have engaged in since Vietnam have lulled us into a false sense of security about world peace. It was just over a century ago that World War I was fought over land, colonies, and diplomatic insults. Ironically, learned men had been writing during the first decade of the 20th century that war was obsolete. They believed that the new global economy of the 1900s made war impossible, that nations were two intertwined to possibly go to battle. Sound familiar? Nuclear weapons have been a deterrent to war between great powers since the end of World War II, but the pressure cannot keep building forever. The current diplomatic situation looks a lot like it did before World War I, with an ascendant China in place of the Kaiser’s encircled Germany.
Chinese elites believe that this is their time. If the 1800s were the British century and the 1900s were the American century, then why should the next hundred years not be the Chinese century? China has an old and proud culture, and they were the jewel of world civilizations a thousand years ago. By the Industrial Era, however, they had been eclipsed by the west, culminating in a humiliating defeat at the hands of the British who fought to keep the opium trade going. The Chinese have long memories, and they still aspire to be the greatest civilization in the world. They have been working patiently toward that end since 1948, and their work has finally started bearing fruit. Today, China has a massive economy, and consider themselves at the forefront of technological development. They are building a navy that can project power throughout the region, and perhaps even challenge the mighty US Navy for dominance in the South China Sea. They know that time is on their side. Over the last half century, America has become weaker and more dependent upon nations such as China for supplies, while China itself has become stronger. They are propagandizing our children in our own schools using fronts like the Confucius Institute. While the coronavirus pandemic is generating support for decoupling from China, it might be too little, too late. What happens tomorrow if China decides to finally seize Taiwan? What happens if they decide to occupy disputed islands in their region? Does America stand up and say stop? Or do we back down rather than risk World War III? China can afford to play chicken here, much more than we can. China’s collectivist culture would not hesitate to sacrifice a hundred million men to win a war, while our culture would not have the stomach for such death and destruction.
We missed the off-ramp to stopping China thirty years ago, before they reached this point of cultural, economic, and military dominance. We should never have normalized trade relations with a country that is willing to kill millions of their own people on the road to progress. We should never have allowed them to use our universities to train their engineers and researchers. We should never have allowed them to wantonly steal our intellectual property, proprietary designs, and even nuclear secrets, as well as to spy on our elected officials. Now it could be too late. There might be no way to stop China from achieving the dominance they desire. Our best hope is to disengage as much as possible and return manufacturing to within our borders.
International diplomacy might be the least of our worries, however. Demographic change looks likely to end our nation soon anyway. Vdare.com recently published a chart showing the decline of the white population in New York City over the past century:
In 1910, it was 98% white. This was the New York City of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, of Jay Gatsby and Captain America, of King Kong and The Miracle on 34th Street. Today, however, that number is down to 32%, and possibly lower, depending on how you count Jews. (Many Jewish people online identity as white when it suits them, only to draw a contrast when it does not.) I believe the world should have a variety of cultures and ethnicities. Yet this wholesale replacement of our people is not cultural diversity, rather it is cultural genocide. Cities and countries that were once filled with people of western European descent are being occupied by other races and cultures, while any word of criticism is called racist and is grounds for censorship and ostracism. If someone on the right points out how demographic change is altering American society, they are denounced as white supremacist Nazis. If someone on the left does it, as the ambitious Georgia politician Stacy Abrams does, it is considered a good thing, and inevitable.
Of the twenty-five largest cities in America, only seven are still majority-white in 2020, and zero of the top ten. Our great cities have become miniature earths, with varying proportions of ethnic groups from across the world. Globalists call this beautiful, as if our cities were merely snow globes full of different colors. Yet what does this diversity portend for the future of America? The descendants of African slaves who migrated to Detroit and Philadelphia after World War II have no reverence for the founding fathers; in fact, they most likely hate them as racist white slave owners. Same for the Hispanic population that is rapidly increasing in our southern states. As each of these different cultures gains more political power, they are going to use it to transform our country into something it was not. Once again, the globalist left will call that a good thing, saying that America has always been evil, racist, and white. (Note how they often use the word “white” as a pejorative.) Those of us who descend from America’s founding fathers are having our civilization conquered by force, but the worst part is how we are made to celebrate our own annihilation.
The seeds for this sad end were sowed many years ago, but even as late as 1965 we were still a Christian nation of mostly western European descent. Our leaders, many of whom traced their American ancestry back to Ellis Island rather than Valley Forge, told us that we must open our doors to the whole world lest we be accused of that dreaded word, racism. So we dutifully opened our doors, and now our country is permanently changed. Other nations have occupied our great cities, and the only rational ways to take them back are abhorrent to our own values.
Europe faces the same problem, with migrants from Africa and the Middle East pouring in every day. Turkey uses these migrant mobs as a weapon against Europe, restraining or unleashing them as it suits their purposes. The last few weeks have seen clashes on the Greek border as migrants try and force their way past fences and guards. It feels like these clashes could escalate at any time to all-out war. These migrants have been told by globalist organizations that Europe and America are theirs for the taking, and that they have the right to live here for free, and to take advantage of our generous welfare. Centuries ago, Muslim armies crossed into Europe with the belief that their god willed them to conquer the world. The only difference then was that Christendom was willing to defend itself. Today we simply open the gates and invite our conquerors into our homes. The resistance to this cultural genocide by the Greeks is a welcome sign, but again, possibly too little, too late. The time to stop this invasion was before it started, but our culture had long since lost confidence in itself and so saw no reason to stand in the gap and say stop.
Our civilization is driving toward the edge of a cliff at breakneck speed. The brakes no longer work. The last off-ramp was passed many miles ago. All we can do is hold on, or maybe try our luck and bail out the door before it is too late. The only thing that is for sure is that we have passed the point of no return. Our country faces a reckoning, and the forces of history have gathered at our gates to deliver it. There is no saving America as we know it now; we had our chance decades ago and blew it. Yet it is imperative we survive the coming crash so we can still be here to rebuild again.
Our society is like a runaway truck headed for a cliff. Our brakes have been cut, and the precipice approaches. When did we miss the last off-ramp before annihilation?
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My first ever livestream, recorded Tuesday evening April 21, 2020. I share my thoughts on the state of the world, with specific attention to China, libertarian idealism, and de facto American blasphemy laws.
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The coronavirus pandemic has provided an excuse for tyranny from all levels of our society – from governors and mayors down to the nosy neighbor across the street. How should we respond to the growing totalitarianism of 21st century America?
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America is due for a reckoning. We have forsaken the traditions and wisdom of our ancestors in favor of novelty, throwing out generations of knowledge in our effort to remake society and remake mankind. Yet pride always goes before the fall. The gods of the copybook headings always have their due.
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The coronavirus pandemic will surely be the end of America as we know it. But what is America? Our country has been radically transformed from the nation created by our Founding Fathers, and we are continuing to be transformed every day. What can we do to make America what we want it to be for our posterity?
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We tend to think that the way we live now is how it always was and how it always will be. But society is always changing; sometimes gradually, and sometimes suddenly. This pandemic is going to change many things in our lives, and we will soon be confronted with the new normal.
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A few days ago, I mentioned to family and friends that we were about to witness a preference cascade for canceling large gatherings and switching to remote work as much as possible. I did not expect how quickly it would occur, nor its magnitude. As I write this, the NCAA has cancelled March Madness, Major League Baseball has cancelled Spring Training and delayed Opening Day, the NBA, the NHL, and MLS have all suspended their seasons, numerous events from Coachella to SxSW to E3 have been cancelled or postponed, schools and universities throughout the country have closed indefinitely, and even Disneyland is preparing to shut down. Governments and organizations, seeing what has happened in Italy over the past two weeks, are taking the COVID-19 outbreak seriously and looking to contain or at least slow down the pandemic.
No matter what happens with the virus, these cancellations are already going to leave a mark on our economy. Think about all the industries that depend upon events and travel to survive. March Madness is a huge part of the income for hotels, restaurants, bars, and drivers in the cities that host each game. For some vendors, events like E3 or SxSW are the linchpins of their entire revenue stream. No matter what steps the government or Federal Reserve take to mitigate it, we will see a significant economic contraction over the next year.
Our nation has had recessions before. Recessions are necessary in a healthy economy, like a forest fire is occasionally necessary to burn away the deadwood and leave room for new growth. Like a fire, recessions can harm a lot of people in the process. However, once we come through, we can enjoy another long period of growth and prosperity. More interesting, I think, are the long-term societal changes that will occur due to this outbreak.
Working from home is going to become more socially acceptable. We have had the technology to enable telecommuting for decades now, but many companies have resisted thus far. Working from home means an employee is out of sight of management, which worries some bosses. Employees at home can be distracted, and collaboration is more complicated. With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing businesses to move to a work-from-home model, I think both employers and employees are going to decide that it is not so bad. Telecommuting means less traffic, and less gasoline usage. It means less eating unhealthy food for a quick lunch before getting back to your desk. It means less disease transmission. It means less overhead for office space, electricity, janitorial services, etc. Rather than paying for an entire office, a company can rent some space at a server farm and have all their workers connect remotely from the comfort of their own homes. Working from home also changes the paradigm for childcare. Rather than having to make arrangements to send children to daycare or a babysitter when school is out, they can just stay home with their telecommuting parents.
Speaking of school, this outbreak is also going to make a lot of people realize how obsolete the public school system really is. Homeschoolers have known this for years, but even normal folks are going to see how much easier it is for children to learn at their own pace using online resources than it was to send them to a seven-hour prison sentence every day. Even as local officials throughout the nation considered closing schools to try and slow down the pandemic, they hesitated. Not because they were concerned about the education of America’s children, but because the public school system has become a de facto daycare and meal service for millions of children. For a child who wants to succeed, public schools are often a hindrance. While school closures might be temporarily inconvenient, they will be a demonstration of how well a driven student can learn when he can go at his own pace and has the sum total of all human knowledge at his fingertips.
This outbreak is also going to put a dagger in the heart of globalism. For nearly thirty years now, corporations have been cutting costs by outsourcing work to developing nations. It’s cheaper to pay Chinese factory workers pennies, to manufacture products and then ship them back to America, than it was to pay American workers prevailing wages. Yet this outbreak is exposing the flaws of this design. It was bad enough that outsourcing took good jobs away from American workers, but now we see the dangers of having our supply lines controlled by a foreign, sometimes hostile, nation. With China basically shut down for two months, we are starting to see shortages of goods that we once took for granted. More than just our cheap trinkets, China supplies us with many of the raw materials we need for vital industries.
President Trump has been warning against entanglement with China for many years, even before he ran for high office. As president, he has been trying to disentangle us from China, using tariffs and new trade deals to bring manufacturing back to our own shores. This outbreak is just a minor stress test compared to what could happen in the future. Imagine if China suddenly declared war on us; what happens to our vital industries if their factories are all in enemy territory? Divesting from China and making our own stuff again will be a positive effect of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nationalism and national borders work. Nations that closed their borders early have seen only mild outbreaks, while nations like Italy that remained open have borne the full brunt of this pandemic. Viruses do not respect borders, but they require human hosts, and humans can be contained. The very concept of the quarantine is about keeping viruses immobile by restricting the movement of the people that carry them. People who use this crisis to demand open borders are dangerous ideologues who should be ignored. People who say it is racist to say “Wuhan virus” or complain about bigotry toward Asians are not serious about saving lives, rather they are just using this outbreak as an excuse to attack their political enemies and push their globalist agenda. Nationalism saves lives, while globalism kills.
If nothing else, the outbreak has been a reminder to us all about the basics of hygiene and controlling disease transmission. Antibiotics and other advances in modern medicine have left us complacent about the power of disease. In the old days, disease was a constant terror, something that could strike without warning and decimate entire nations. The Black Death killed more than a third of Europe’s citizens in the 14th century, returning several more times before fading into history. Just over a century ago, the Spanish Flu killed more people than both world wars combined. Now more than ever we should take steps to keep ourselves and our families healthy, so that when we do inevitably get this or any other viral outbreak, we are prepared to survive it.
The next few months are going to be interesting. We are going to see many companies flirting with bankruptcy, as their planned revenues go up in smoke. We are going to see new industries rising to fill the gaps as people change their daily lives to contain this outbreak. We are going to see government clumsily attempting to keep the stock market from cratering, which will probably only prolong the inevitable crash. This is all just a taste of what the future holds. The decline and fall of America is not going to look like the zombie apocalypse, but will be a series of sudden changes like this followed by eventual acceptance of the new normal. Don’t freak out, don’t panic, but do keep your head about you and be prepared to adapt and overcome.
Our nation is run by a bloated bureaucracy that has become so inefficient it cannot carry out its basic functions. That has been on display this week, as our government has been unable to test for and contain the COVID-19 outbreak. What is the solution to this mess? Is it more socialism and more federal control? On the contrary, the answer to our problems is localism and small government.
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