Paris, France: 200,000 March Against Gay-Marriage


200,000 Take to the Streets of Paris to Protest Sodomy-Based “Marriage”


by Tim BrownOctober 17, 2016

As sodomites and “Femen” activists attacked police, a crowd estimated at 200,000 filled the streets of Paris, France on Sunday to march against sodomy-based “marriage.”

The movement, which has been referred to as the Manif pour Tous, was a Catholic-inspired movement to support the family and demand the repeal of three-year-old marriage laws that include

I24News reports:

Several thousand people demonstrated in Paris on Sunday to demand the repeal of the gay marriage law three years after its adoption in France and defend the traditional family.

A banner proclaiming “in 2017 I vote for the Family” opened the procession composed of both parents with children than elderly who answered the call of the movement “The demo for all.”

Silhouette Of People Playing Tug Of War On Cliff

Silhouette Of People Playing Tug Of War On Cliff

This Catholic-inspired movement had collected in 2012 and 2013 throughout France for dozens or even hundreds of thousands of demonstrators against the law on the “marriage for all” then defended by the Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira and passed by Parliament May 17, 2013.

None of the contenders in the presidential election promises to repeal the law Taubira except a candidate for the primary from the right, Jean-Frédéric Poisson, president of a small party, the Christian Democratic Party (PCD).

New Observer Online adds:

In addition, the famous Mayor of the city of Bezier, Robert Ménard (who was recently in the news for starting a campaign to prevent invader “refugees” from being settled in his city), and several other prominent politicians, including Henri Guaino, a former advisor to Nicolas Sarkozy, were also in attendance.

The demonstration ended at the famous Trocadero Plaza, near the Eiffel Tower, where they also announced their opposition to the use of assisted reproduction techniques and surrogate mothers to help same-sex couples have babies. Currently, assisted reproduction is allowed in France only for infertile heterosexual couples and surrogacy is banned.

Manif seeks to establish the definition of marriage in European legislation as “the stable union of a man and woman” and the family as “based on marriage and / or offspring.” It was started in April 2016 and spread across seven countries in the European Union.

I’ll just bet most people have never even heard of this because both the news and the internet were not carrying this. They were too busy selling people in America the Trump/Clinton fiasco.

It’s good to know that some people have enough conviction regarding marriage to take a stand together and advance their agenda for themselves and their posterity.

Six Femen feminists were arrested as they exposed their chests with the words “Do not suffer you” painted on themselves.




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“Too Much Faith in God?”

biplane stuntIt is Starting to Get Very Creepy…

posted by John Schroeder

October 2016

Some mornings you wake up, you read the news and you just want to go back to bed.  This was one of those mornings.

On the one hand there was a story out of the UK informing us that the EU, which Britainreaching out to God is moving itself out of as fast as possible, has “suggested” that the British press stop reporting the Islamic faith of terrorists. On the other hand there was a pair of stories, one in the Washington Post and one in The Atlantic about how “too much faith in God” can result in not seeking medical treatment which some think is child abuse and can lead to death. The WaPo story reports on a study out of the University of Michigan and the Atlantic story is anecdotal in nature and focuses on the potential child abuse aspects. So, on the one hand we want to avoid discussing the religion of perpetrators of evil and on the other we want to pillory people of overzealous and perhaps misunderstood faith.

picassos loverFor the record, I am deeply devout in my Christian faith, but I have lost friends and seen newborns severely handicapped for life due to charlatan “christian” faith healers. You will find no greater opponent to misplaced and misdirected faith than I. The point of this post is not to recount all that, but I will tell you that the best place to oppose such chicanery is inside the church, not through government control of the church.

What we have here is a clear case of religious sides being chosen, protecting Muslims and accusing Christians. Obviously there is no grand conspiracy here.  It is not as if the EU is coordinating its activities with the American press, nor even WaPo and The Atlantic holding joint editorial meetings. The virtually simultaneous appearance of these three pieces is simply a stark and apparent indicator of the prevailing thought among the elite media and governing intellectuals of our day. This is a dangerous game.greater glory 2

Whatever bigotries and cruelties you may think Christianity guilty of – they pale in comparison to Islam. Further, while Christianity has historically engaged in bigotry and cruelty it has always, inevitably, self-corrected.  Islam was cruel and warlike in its very founding and has continued to be so to this day. But I do not really want to debate which is the preferable religion.

writing the constitutionThe intellectual drift highlighted by the juxtaposition of articles above does not yet rise to the actual governmental establishment of religion, but it certainly contains the intellectual seeds thereof. The anti-establishment clause of our constitution is one of the most foundational principles of our republic. Flirting with changing that is flirting with rendering our nation unrecognizable to the founders. The founders plainly saw from their European origins that the state establishment of religion was counterproductive on more than one front.

For one thing, (in Europe) the state establishment of religion tended to intensify, if not foment, international hostilities – turning territorial disputes into holy wars.  But more, the (American) founders of deep and abiding faith understood that the state establishment of religion tended to compromise the religion, turning it into an instrument of state instead of the force for good that it is intended to be.

At base here is a loss of the true vision that Christianity presents.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:26-29)

There is a tendency, largely among non-Christians, to understand this passage in exclusionary terms.  But such was not the intent of its author the Apostle Paul.  This passage was not meant to divide the world between the baptized and the unbaptized, but was rather intended to communicate that what divides us disappears in a confrontation with Christ.   When combined with the sacrificial missionary zeal of Christianity as expressed elsewhere in the Bible (to be deeply contrasted with the militant missionary zeal of the Islamic faith), it should become plain that desire at the heart of every Christian is inclusion and unity.

The (American) founders understood this and created a government that was minimal and transactional – allowing religion and other cultural forces to forge some sort of national identity and culture. The intellectual trends cited at the opening of this post are entirely divisive. A fact which may reveal that these intellectuals have more in common with Islam than Christianity, seeking to discredit and destroy the non-believer rather than convert and unite.

We tread in dangerous territory. It is tempting to sanctimoniously quote the 23rd Psalm. (“I shall fear no evil….”)  And I know that myself and my family will be safe in God’s arms.  But I am concerned about future generations and the future of the nation.  It is a time for prayer.


Article from


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The End of the American “Republic”?

washington dcAfter the Republicelection parties

By: Angelo M. Codevilla

Over the past half century, the Reagan years notwithstanding, our ruling class’s changing preferences and habits have transformed public and private life in America. As John Marini shows in his essay, “Donald Trump and the American Crisis,” this has resulted in citizens morphing into either this class’s “stakeholders” or its subjects. And, as Publius Decius Mus argues, “America and the West” now are so firmly “on a trajectory toward something very bad” that it is no longer reasonable to hope that “all human outcomes are still possible,” by which he means restoration of the public and private practices that made the American republic. In fact, the 2016 election is sealing the United States’ transition from that republic to some kind of empire.anti liberty

Electing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump cannot change that trajectory. Because each candidate represents constituencies hostile to republicanism, each in its own way, these individuals are not what this election is about. This election is about whether the Democratic Party, the ruling class’s enforcer, will impose its tastes more strongly and arbitrarily than ever, or whether constituencies opposed to that rule will get some ill-defined chance to strike back. Regardless of the election’s outcome, the republic established by America’s Founders is probably gone. But since the Democratic Party’s constituencies differ radically from their opponents’, and since the character of imperial governance depends inherently on the emperor, the election’s result will make a big difference in our lives.

Many Enemies, Few Friends

The overriding question of 2016 has been how eager the American people are to reject the bipartisan class that has ruled this country contrary to its majority’s convictions. Turned out, eager enough to throw out the baby with the dirty bathwater. The ruling class’s united front in response to the 2008 financial crisis had ignited the Tea Party’s call for adherence to the Constitution, and led to elections that gave control of both houses of Congress to the Republican Party. But as Republicans became full partners in the ruling class’s headlong rush in what most considered disastrous directions, Americans lost faith in the Constitution’s power to restrain the wrecking of their way of life.

From the primary season’s outset, the Democratic Party’s candidates promised even more radical “transformations.” When, rarely, they have been asked what gives them the right to do such things they have acted as if the only answer were Nancy Pelosi’s reply to whether the Constitution allows the government to force us into Obamacare: “Are you kidding? Are you kidding?”

On the Republican side, 17 hopefuls promised much, without dealing with the primordial fact that, in today’s America, those in power basically do what they please. Executive orders, phone calls, and the right judge mean a lot more than laws. They even trump state referenda. Over the past half-century, presidents have ruled not by enforcing laws but increasingly through agencies that write their own rules, interpret them, and punish unaccountably—the administrative state. As for the Supreme Court, the American people have seen it invent rights where there were none—e.g., abortion—while trammeling ones that had been the republic’s spine, such as the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech. The Court taught Americans that the word “public” can mean “private” (Kelo v. City of New London), that “penalty” can mean “tax” (King v. Burwell), and that holding an opinion contrary to its own can only be due to an “irrational animus” (Obergefell v. Hodges).

What goes by the name “constitutional law” has been eclipsing the U.S. Constitution for a long time. But when the 1964 Civil Rights Act substituted a wholly open-ended mandate to oppose “discrimination” for any and all fundamental rights, it became the little law that ate the Constitution. Now, because the Act pretended that the commerce clause trumps the freedom of persons to associate or not with whomever they wish, and is being taken to mean that it trumps the free exercise of religion as well, bakers and photographers are forced to take part in homosexual weddings. A commission in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reported that even a church may be forced to operate its bathrooms according to gender self-identification because it “could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.” California came very close to mandating that Catholic schools admit homosexual and transgender students or close down. The Justice Department is studying how to prosecute on-line transactions such as vacation home rental site Airbnb, Inc., that fall afoul of its evolving anti-discrimination standards.

This arbitrary power, whose rabid guard-dog growls and barks: “Racist! Sexist! Homophobic!” has transformed our lives by removing restraints on government. The American Bar Association’s new professional guidelines expose lawyers to penalties for insufficient political correctness. Performing abortions or at least training to perform them may be imposed as a requirement for licensing doctors, nurses, and hospitals that offer services to the general public.

Addressing what it would take to reestablish the primacy of fundamental rights would have required Republican candidates to reset the Civil Rights movement on sound constitutional roots. Surprised they didn’t do it?

No one running for the GOP nomination discussed the greatest violation of popular government’s norms—never mind the Constitution—to have occurred in two hundred years, namely, the practice, agreed upon by mainstream Republicans and Democrats, of rolling all of the government’s expenditures into a single bill. This eliminates elected officials’ responsibility for any of the government’s actions, and reduces them either to approving all that the government does without reservation, or the allegedly revolutionary, disloyal act of “shutting down the government.”

Rather than talk about how to restrain or shrink government, Republican candidates talked about how to do more with government. The Wall Street Journal called that “having a positive agenda.” Hence, Republicans by and large joined the Democrats in relegating the U.S. Constitution to history’s dustbin.

Because Republicans largely agree with Democrats that they need not take seriously the founders’ Constitution, today’s American regime is now what Max Weber had called the Tsarist regime on the eve of the Revolution: “fake constitutionalism.” Because such fakery is self-discrediting and removes anyone’s obligation to restrain his passions, it is a harbinger of revolution and of imperial power.

The ruling class having chosen raw power over law and persuasion, the American people reasonably concluded that raw power is the only way to counter it, and looked for candidates who would do that. Hence, even constitutional scholar Ted Cruz stopped talking about the constitutional implications of President Obama’s actions after polls told him that the public was more interested in what he would do to reverse them, niceties notwithstanding. Had Cruz become the main alternative to the Democratic Party’s dominion, the American people might have been presented with the option of reverting to the rule of law. But that did not happen. Both of the choices before us presuppose force, not law.

A Change of Regimes

All ruling classes are what Shakespeare called the “makers of manners.” Plato, in The Republic, and Aristotle, in his Politics, teach that polities reflect the persons who rise to prominence within them, whose habits the people imitate, and who set the tone of life in them. Thus a polity can change as thoroughly as a chorus changes from comedy to tragedy depending on the lyrics and music. Obviously, the standards and tone of life that came from Abraham Lincoln’s Oval Office is quite opposite from what came from the same place when Bill Clinton used it. Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm was arguably the world’s most polite society. Under Hitler, it became the most murderous.

In today’s America, a network of executive, judicial, bureaucratic, and social kinship channels bypasses the sovereignty of citizens. Our imperial regime, already in force, works on a simple principle: the president and the cronies who populate these channels may do whatever they like so long as the bureaucracy obeys and one third plus one of the Senate protects him from impeachment. If you are on the right side of that network, you can make up the rules as you go along, ignore or violate any number of laws, obfuscate or commit perjury about what you are doing (in the unlikely case they put you under oath), and be certain of your peers’ support. These cronies’ shared social and intellectual identity stems from the uniform education they have received in the universities. Because disdain for ordinary Americans is this ruling class’s chief feature, its members can be equally certain that all will join in celebrating each, and in demonizing their respective opponents.

And, because the ruling class blurs the distinction between public and private business, connection to that class has become the principal way of getting rich in America. Not so long ago, the way to make it here was to start a business that satisfied customers’ needs better than before. Nowadays, more businesses die each year than are started. In this century, all net additions in employment have come from the country’s 1,500 largest corporations. Rent-seeking through influence on regulations is the path to wealth. In the professions, competitive exams were the key to entry and advancement not so long ago. Now, you have to make yourself acceptable to your superiors. More important, judicial decisions and administrative practice have divided Americans into “protected classes”—possessed of special privileges and immunities—and everybody else. Equality before the law and equality of opportunity are memories. Co-option is the path to power. Ever wonder why the quality of our leaders has been declining with each successive generation?

Moreover, since the Kennedy reform of 1965, and with greater speed since 2009, the ruling class’s immigration policy has changed the regime by introducing some 60 million people—roughly a fifth of our population—from countries and traditions different from, if not hostile, to ours. Whereas earlier immigrants earned their way to prosperity, a disproportionate percentage of post-1965 arrivals have been encouraged to become dependents of the state. Equally important, the ruling class chose to reverse America’s historic practice of assimilating immigrants, emphasizing instead what divides them from other Americans. Whereas Lincoln spoke of binding immigrants by “the electric cord” of the founders’ principles, our ruling class treats these principles as hypocrisy. All this without votes or law; just power.

Foul is Fair and Fair is Foul

In short, precisely as the classics defined regime change, people and practices that had been at society’s margins have been brought to its center, while people and ideas that had been central have been marginalized.

Fifty years ago, prayer in the schools was near universal, but no one was punished for not praying. Nowadays, countless people are arrested or fired for praying on school property. West Point’s commanding general reprimanded the football coach for his team’s thanksgiving prayer. Fifty years ago, bringing sexually explicit stuff into schools was treated as a crime, as was “procuring abortion.” Nowadays, schools contract with Planned Parenthood to teach sex, and will not tell parents when they take girls to PP facilities for abortions. Back then, many schools worked with the National Rifle Association to teach gun handling and marksmanship. Now students are arrested and expelled merely for pointing their finger and saying “bang.” In those benighted times, boys who ventured into the girls’ bathroom were expelled as perverts. Now, girls are suspended for objecting to boys coming into the girls’ room under pretense of transgenderism. The mainstreaming of pornography, the invention of abortion as the most inalienable of human rights and, most recently, the designation of opposition to homosexual marriage as a culpable psychosis—none of which is dictated by law enacted by elected officials—is enforced as if it had been. No surprise that America has experienced a drastic drop in the formation of families, with the rise of rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites equal to the rates among blacks that was recognized as disastrous a half-century ago, the near-disappearance of two-parent families among blacks, and the social dislocations attendant to all that.

Ever since the middle of the 20th century our ruling class, pursuing hazy concepts of world order without declarations of war, has sacrificed American lives first in Korea, then in Vietnam, and now throughout the Muslim world. By denigrating Americans who call for peace, or for wars unto victory over America’s enemies; by excusing or glorifying those who take our enemies’ side or who disrespect the American flag; our rulers have drawn down the American regime’s credit and eroded the people’s patriotism.

As the ruling class destroyed its own authority, it wrecked the republic’s as well. This is no longer the “land where our fathers died,” nor even the country that won World War II. It would be surprising if any society, its identity altered and its most fundamental institutions diminished, had continued to function as before. Ours sure does not, and it is difficult to imagine how it can do so ever again. We can be sure only that the revolution underway among us, like all others, will run its unpredictable course.

All we know is the choice that faces us at this stage: either America continues in the same direction, but faster and without restraint, or there’s the hazy possibility of something else.

Imperial Alternatives

The consequences of empowering today’s Democratic Party are crystal clear. The Democratic Party—regardless of its standard bearer—would use its victory to drive the transformations that it has already wrought on America to quantitative and qualitative levels that not even its members can imagine. We can be sure of that because what it has done and is doing is rooted in a logic that has animated the ruling class for a century, and because that logic has shaped the minds and hearts of millions of this class’s members, supporters, and wannabes.

That logic’s essence, expressed variously by Herbert Croly and Woodrow Wilson, FDR’s brains trust, intellectuals of both the old and the new Left, choked back and blurted out by progressive politicians, is this: America’s constitutional republic had given the American people too much latitude to be who they are, that is: religiously and socially reactionary, ignorant, even pathological, barriers to Progress. Thankfully, an enlightened minority exists with the expertise and the duty to disperse the religious obscurantism, the hypocritical talk of piety, freedom, and equality, which excuses Americans’ racism, sexism, greed, and rape of the environment. As we progressives take up our proper responsibilities, Americans will no longer live politically according to their prejudices; they will be ruled administratively according to scientific knowledge.

Progressivism’s programs have changed over time. But its disdain for how other Americans live and think has remained fundamental. More than any commitment to principles, programs, or way of life, this is its paramount feature. The media reacted to Hillary Clinton’s remark that “half of Trump’s supporters could be put into a ‘basket of deplorables’” as if these sentiments were novel and peculiar to her. In fact, these are unremarkable restatements of our ruling class’s perennial creed.

The pseudo-intellectual argument for why these “deplorables” have no right to their opinions is that giving equal consideration to people and positions that stand in the way of Progress is “false equivalence,” as President Obama has put it. But the same idea has been expressed most recently and fully by New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, as well as Times columnists Jim Rutenberg, Timothy Egan, and William Davies. In short, devotion to truth means not reporting on Donald Trump and people like him as if they or anything they say might be of value.

If trying to persuade irredeemable socio-political inferiors is no more appropriate than arguing with animals, why not just write them off by sticking dismissive names on them? Doing so is less challenging, and makes you feel superior. Why wrestle with the statistical questions implicit in Darwin when you can just dismiss Christians as Bible-thumpers? Why bother arguing for Progressivism’s superiority when you can construct “scientific” studies like Theodor Adorno’s, proving that your opponents suffer from degrees of “fascism” and other pathologies? This is a well-trod path. Why, to take an older example, should General Omar Bradley have bothered trying to refute Douglas MacArthur’s statement that in war there is no substitute for victory when calling MacArthur and his supporters “primitives” did the trick? Why wrestle with our climate’s complexities when you can make up your own “models,” being sure that your class will treat them as truth?

What priorities will the ruling class’s notion of scientific truth dictate to the next Democratic administration? Because rejecting that true and false, right and wrong are objectively ascertainable is part of this class’s DNA, no corpus of fact or canon of reason restrains it or defines its end-point. Its definition of “science” is neither more nor less than what “scientists say” at any given time. In practice, that means “Science R-Us,” now and always, exclusively. Thus has come to pass what President Dwight Eisenhower warned against in his 1960 Farewell address: “A steadily increasing share [of science] is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.… [T]he free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution…a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.” Hence, said Ike, “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present—and is gravely to be regarded.” The result has been that academics rise through government grants while the government exercises power by claiming to act on science’s behalf. If you don’t bow to the authority of the power that says what is and is not so, you are an obscurantist or worse.

Under our ruling class, “truth” has morphed from the reflection of objective reality to whatever has “normative pull”—i.e., to what furthers the ruling class’s agenda, whatever that might be at any given time. That is the meaning of the term “political correctness,” as opposed to factual correctness.

It’s the Contempt, Stupid!

Who, a generation ago, could have guessed that careers and social standing could be ruined by stating the fact that the paramount influence on the earth’s climate is the sun, that its output of energy varies and with it the climate? Who, a decade ago, could have predicted that stating that marriage is the union of a man and a woman would be treated as a culpable sociopathy, or just yesterday that refusing to let certifiably biological men into women’s bathrooms would disqualify you from mainstream society? Or that saying that the lives of white people “matter” as much as those of blacks is evidence of racism? These strictures came about quite simply because some sectors of the ruling class felt like inflicting them on the rest of America. Insulting presumed inferiors proved to be even more important to the ruling class than the inflictions’ substance.

How far will our rulers go? Because their network is mutually supporting, they will go as far as they want. Already, there is pressure from ruling class constituencies, as well as academic arguments, for morphing the concept of “hate crime” into the criminalization of “hate speech”—which means whatever these loving folks hate. Of course this is contrary to the First Amendment, and a wholesale negation of freedom. But it is no more so than the negation of freedom of association that is already eclipsing religious freedom in the name anti-discrimination. It is difficult to imagine a Democratic president, Congress, and Supreme Court standing in the way.

Above all, these inflictions, as well as the ruling class’s acceptance of its own members’ misbehavior, came about because millions of its supporters were happy, or happy enough, to support them in the interest of maintaining their own status in a ruling coalition while discomfiting their socio-political opponents. Consider, for example, how republic-killing an event was the ruling class’s support of President Bill Clinton in the wake of his nationally televised perjury. Subsequently, as constituencies of supporters have effectively condoned officials’ abusive, self-serving, and even outright illegal behavior, they have encouraged more and more of it while inuring themselves to it. That is how republics turn into empires from the roots up.

But it is also true, as Mao Tse-Tung used to say, “a fish begins to rot at the head.” If you want to understand why any and all future Democratic Party administrations can only be empires dedicated to injuring and insulting their subjects, look first at their intellectual leaders’ rejection of the American republic’s most fundamental principles.

The Declaration of Independence says that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These rights—codified in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights—are not civil rights that governments may define. The free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, keeping and bearing arms, freedom from warrantless searches, protection against double jeopardy and self-incrimination, trial by jury of one’s peers, etc., are natural rights that pertain to human beings as such. Securing them for Americans is what the United States is all about. But today’s U.S. Civil Rights Commission advocates truncating the foremost of these rights because, as it stated in a recent report, “Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon those civil rights.” The report explains why the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights should not be permissible: “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.”

Hillary Clinton’s attack on Trump supporters merely matched the ruling class’s current common sense. Why should government workers and all who wield the administrative state’s unaccountable powers not follow their leaders’ judgment, backed by the prestige press, about who are to be treated as citizens and who is to be handled as deplorable refuse? Hillary Clinton underlined once again how the ruling class regards us, and about what it has in store for us.

Electing Donald Trump would result in an administration far less predictable than any Democratic one. In fact, what Trump would or would not do, could or could not do, pales into insignificance next to the certainty of what any Democrat would do. That is what might elect Trump.

The character of an eventual Trump Administration is unpredictable because speculating about Trump’s mind is futile. It is equally futile to guess how he might react to the mixture of flattery and threats sure to be leveled against him. The entire ruling class—Democrats and Republicans, the bulk of the bureaucracy, the judiciary, and the press—will do everything possible to thwart him; and the constituencies that chose him as their candidate, and that might elect him, are surely not united and are by no means clear about the demands they would press. Moreover, it is anyone’s guess whom he would appoint and how he would balance his constituencies’ pressures against those of the ruling class.

Never before has such a large percentage of Americans expressed alienation from their leaders, resentment, even fear. Some two-thirds of Americans believe that elected and appointed officials—plus the courts, the justice system, business leaders, educators—are leading the country in the wrong direction: that they are corrupt, do more harm than good, make us poorer, get us into wars and lose them. Because this majority sees no one in the political mainstream who shares their concerns, because it lacks confidence that the system can be fixed, it is eager to empower whoever might flush the system and its denizens with something like an ungentle enema.

Yet the persons who express such revolutionary sentiments are not a majority ready to support a coherent imperial program to reverse the course of America’s past half-century. Temperamentally conservative, these constituencies had been most attached to the Constitution and been counted as the bedrock of stability. They are not yet wholly convinced that there is little left to conserve. What they want, beyond an end to the ruling class’s outrages, has never been clear. This is not surprising, given that the candidates who appeal to their concerns do so with mere sound bites. Hence they chose as the presidential candidate of the nominal opposition party the man who combined the most provocative anti-establishment sounds with reassurance that it won’t take much to bring back good old America: Donald Trump. But bringing back good old America would take an awful lot. What could he do to satisfy them?

Trump’s propensity for treating pronouncements on policy as flags to be run up and down the flagpole as he measures the volume of the applause does not deprive them of all significance—especially the ones that confirm his anti-establishment bona fides. These few policy items happen to be the ones by which he gained his anti-establishment reputation in the first place: 1) opposition to illegal immigration, especially the importation of Muslims whom Americans reasonably perceive as hostile to us; 2) law and order: stop excusing rioters and coddling criminals; 3) build a wall, throw out the illegals, let in only people who are vetted and certified as supporters of our way of life (that’s the way it was when I got my immigrant visa in 1955), and keep out anybody we can’t be sure isn’t a terrorist. Trump’s tentative, partial retreat from a bit of the latter nearly caused his political standing to implode, prompting the observation that doing something similar regarding abortion would end his political career. That is noteworthy because, although Trump’s support of the pro-life cause is lukewarm at best, it is the defining commitment for much of his constituency. The point here is that, regardless of his own sentiments, Trump cannot wholly discount his constituencies’ demands for a forceful turn away from the country’s current direction.

Trump’s slogan—“make America great again”—is the broadest, most unspecific, common denominator of non-ruling-class Americans’ diverse dissatisfaction with what has happened to the country. He talks about reasserting America’s identity, at least by controlling the borders; governing in America’s own interest rather than in pursuit of objectives of which the American people have not approved; stopping the export of jobs and removing barriers to business; and banishing political correctness’s insults and injuries. But all that together does not amount to making America great again. Nor does Trump begin to explain what it was that had made this country great to millions who have known only an America much diminished.

In fact, the United States of America was great because of a whole bunch of things that now are gone. Yes, the ruling class led the way in personal corruption, cheating on tests, lowering of professional standards, abandoning churches and synagogues for the Playboy Philosophy and lifestyle, disregarding law, basing economic life on gaming the administrative state, basing politics on conflicting identities, and much more. But much of the rest of the country followed. What would it take to make America great again—or indeed to make any of the changes that Trump’s voters demand? Replacing the current ruling class would be only the beginning.

Because it is difficult to imagine a Trump presidency even thinking about something so monumental as replacing an entire ruling elite, much less leading his constituency to accomplishing it, electing Trump is unlikely to result in a forceful turn away from the country’s current direction. Continuing pretty much on the current trajectory under the same class will further fuel revolutionary sentiments in the land all by itself. Inevitable disappointment with Trump is sure to add to them.

We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation.


From September, 2016


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The Keynesian Appeal: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

a reflective observation…

America’s contemporary “ruling class elitism” was not born yesterday. It was born with the “progressive” movement of President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1908): it grew with the “progressive” policies of President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921); and was expanded with the “progressive” policies of President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933); finally, permanent progressivism was then installed, by force, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) via a ‘coup d’etat’ against a Constitutional law system and replacing it with FDR bubblesa “ruling class” paradigm that enforces its own rules through presidential edicts, government agencies (bureaucracy) and judges/lawyers who reinterpret laws accordingly. This ‘coup’ also included a paradigm shift in America’s economics, from free market to a” mixed economy,” requiring increasing taxation for growing and funding government agencies to govern and oversee every possible area of life of individual Americans. These policy changes along with America’s involvement in World War 1 and World War 2 fundamentally changed America from a Constitutional Republic to an unconstitutional American “Empire.” With only a few exceptions, this is the legacy of 20th century America, which, so far, continues in the 21st century. America’s economics since FDR (1933-1945) are basically drawn from John Maynard Keynes, a.k.a., Keynesian Economics or Keynesianism. The following article examines the appeal of Keynes economic model.  (Gospelbbq)

Why & To Whom Keynesian Policies Appealsheep-in-wolfs-clothing

By William Flax

To understand the “hows” & “whys” of Keynesian appeal, one might start with the well documented fact (in Keynes At Harvard) that John Maynard Keynes was a key participant in the British Fabian Society, which set out in the late 19th Century to turn Great Britain into the Socialist domain, seen now — by tactics of deception. The chosen symbol for the Fabian Society, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” (The full title of the book is Keynes At Harvard–Economic Deception As A Political Credo.) Keynes’ role Fabian Societywas to offer rationalizations for a Socialist advance in Britain and the West, while pretending to solve problems inherent in free markets. The Keynesians succeeded by studied obfuscation of essential elements of dynamic human interaction, while Keynes glibly laughed off concern over long term effects with amoral quips, “In the long run, we are all dead.”

In one sense, perhaps. But among the moral & honorable; among those with wisdom & forethought, progress is a multi-generational pursuit, driven by multi-generational purpose. An important motivation, for productive human conduct, has always been to pass on the growing fruits of each generation’s achievement to that generation’s posterity. This is the exact opposite to Keynesian counter-cyclical policy, which would compromise the future to arrest a temporary cyclical downturn.FDR Obama

Socialism, in all its manifestations, substitutes centralized planning & control for individual motivation & aspiration in the direction of human conduct. Even on questions of morality–the philosophy of ethical behavior–of the nature of good & evil, of what is altruistic and what is not, Socialist movements–of every sort–challenge the diverse traditional mores of the earth’s peoples. And, unlike more traditional systems, there is a cold “utilitarianism,” despite all pretenses of good or kindlier intentions, present in every Socialist movement, whether Fabian, Social Democratic, Nazi, Communist or some other or blended variety. While some Libertarians have mistakenly argued with Mill that a free market is indeed the most utilitarian–clearly true; that truth arises not in cold analysis or deliberate manipulation of factors, but from moral, non-material, principles. It reflects natural law & the nature of man, that which responds best where every individual is held to personal responsibility & accountability for his own conduct; is personally responsible for success or failure.

America, in her first years, demonstrated the essential principle. We postulated not a Keynesian dependence on expensive or expanding Government, no Communist or National Socialist pursuit of enforced new cultural norms; but a Federal structure, where every State–each political economy in a macro sense–was responsible for its own internal affairs, including any public determination of norms of conduct; while each individual remained responsible for his own level of achievement, within a market focused only by the dynamic daily decisions of interacting participants. An explicitly defined & limited Central Government was to provide sound money & uniform measures, while sanctifying & protecting the obligation of contracts. Under the American system, we prospered as no people had ever quite prospered. And the premises, involved, enjoyed both wide popular support and intelligent individual involvement, evident in the profound and clearly rational nature of our political discourse in the early 19th Century. (A similar, non-centralized collection of local, semi-autonomous, political economies flourished in Switzerland; yet one better extended into the present era by a sound sense of ethnic continuity.)

The effective continuity of any system, Classic Monarchy, Republic or modern Socialist utilitarian, must ultimately depend upon a foundation of support from socially well placed individuals. Consider what may happen when such fails:

  1. Louis XIV corrupted the French Aristocracy, deliberately drawing them to festivities in lavish Palaces, to undermine anything resembling local autonomy, so essential to a limitation on Central power. A Century later, classic France was swept away by a revolution in the streets of Paris that spread like wild-fire, the earlier power of the aristocratic base for the Bourbon Monarchy having been effectively destroyed by generations of neglect, deliberately brought about by Bourbon folly in pursuit of unsustainable personal power.
  2. The former Soviet Union, born in the collapse of the over-extended Romanovs–their power shattered after sending a grossly under-equipped army to be cannon fodder in a war with Germany (leading to wide-spread mutiny by those who would ordinarily have been the first line of defense)–itself collapsed, when Communist indoctrination of a functional bureaucracy became little more than a bad joke, as reported by the great Russian writer Solzhenitsyn.

While Russia fell to the Bolshevik version of Socialist utilitarian collectivism with the collapse of the Romanov power structure, the presence of strong, economically ‘savvy’ & patriotic middle-classes, made the pursuit of any Socialist utilitarian collectivism far more difficult in the West. Keynes provided a British Fabian Socialist answer to the problem, in effect persuading capitalists, themselves, to back into Socialism in a mistaken belief that they were promoting their own interest. That this approach would have even greater appeal to Leftist theorists in America, where economic growth had been more dramatic than in Britain in the waning days of the 19th Century, should be readily apparent. The impetus for such deception would only accelerate, as America roared into the 20th Century, her basic social & political foundation intact.

Advancing perceived interest or purpose by deception, is certainly not unique in human history. In both Keynes At Harvard & The Great Deceit (Veritas, 1964), Dobbs showed the strong mutual attraction between British Fabians & German National Socialists. Hitler & Goebbels understood the Fabian approach and were very happy to employ Keynesian economics. Yet the fall of Germany to totalitarian Socialist utilitarians in 1933 was primarily facilitated by the virtual destruction of middle-class wealth in the hyper-inflation of 1922/23. Many, who had been part of the foundation for German social & political institutions, were desperate to embrace a new dispensation. But without disparaging the ability of the Nazis, as skilled masters of deceit, to mislead their own people, Keynes was of great value to their cause by providing rationalizations to discourage dissent in the academic, media, political & business communities. Yet consider the fuller significance of the German lesson, for the Socialist minded in Britain & America, in the 1930s and thereafter.

The Keynesian approach to any business downturn is a policy of contrived inflation–Governmental deficits, monetized with fiat money, intended to reblow a bursting economic bubble. While the claim is that this can be reversed whenever the planners (always increasing central power) deem it advisable, there is in fact no practical way to withdraw the benefit of the monetization from the same people originally “stimulated.” Whether an effort to temper the resulting inflation is done by taxation, or by a taxation like manipulation, the major impact will fall, not on the improvident who may have contributed disproportionately to the downturn, but on the provident and frugal who did not. Moreover, an ever increasing political involvement shifts more and more of the political and social power away from the participants in a free market, to a new parasitic political order, which can only interfere with the dynamic potential of any market, free to immediately adjust to each changing phenomenon.

At its best, Keynesian economics backs us into a Socialist utilitarian collectivism, ever more totalitarian, ever more destructive of the true potential of a free market. Yet, that is at its best! If the contrived inflation gets out of control–and given the built-in Socialist entitlements now in place, at some point that is almost certain–then you have the wholesale economic destruction that brought the Socialists to dictatorial power in Germany! [(Not that Hitler’s own version of the New Deal did not embrace a Keynesian approach.) Yet, understand that the greatest appeal of that methodology lies in the ability of the Keynesians to rationalize greater dependence on centralized economic power in the hands of those, who seek to control the activities of peoples with long-standing cultures of individual rights, including respect for private property in the fullest sense, coupled with traditions of personal responsibility.

Keynesian theory was allowed to obfuscate economic reality, because it rewarded those who had macro-economic objectives with a rationale to manipulate conditions for ulterior purpose. Thus, the recent Congressional “Stimulus” plan should not be seen as an aberration, in that it appropriated vast sums for projects that had little, if any, direct relationship to stimulating flagging markets. From the first, Keynesian theory was designed to undermine economic freedom, not enhance its achievements. It should not be over-looked that both the Keynesian “New Deal” in America and Hitler’s “New Order,” were sold to many as necessary to head off Communism! The fear, promoted, was that without Macro-economic tinkering–even regimentation on a vast scale, particularly in Germany–Capitalism could not survive the Depression.

Keynes offered a convenient illusion, a program to save the economy by increased dependence on ever more intrusive Government. Thus the Keynesian appeal to Socialists and demagogues of every hue; thus the popularity among those seeking some magic agency to rescue them from personal responsibility for their own future. Thus the appeal, also, to some leading businessmen as a way to reduce real wages–the labor cost of operations–by inflation, without employees’ being aware of what was being done to them. And yet, in the siren song of dependence on massive collectivist intrusions into the dynamic functions of the Market, Keynes’ macro economics denied the only proven benefit that a macro-economic policy had ever conferred on any market.

One must understand that macro-economic statistics do not have an independent existence. They are simply aggregations of the results of a vast array of economic decisions, made every day by millions of market participants. The only time macro policy can succeed, is when Government seeks to remove impediments–arbitrary restraints on economic freedom or avoidable factors that inhibit economic choice. The United States’ Constitution worked well, when it was actually followed, because all the economic powers granted related to creating predictability in the Market; not predictability of result–that has never been possible–but predictability in uniform measures, sound money; in the rule of law & the enforcement of contractual obligations.

Those businessmen, who embraced Keynesian folly as a way to reduce real wages, often overlooked the reality that it also reduced the value of accounts receivable. And, while it reduced the real cost of what they owed creditors by making banking & finance more risky; it encouraged the sort of reckless leveraging that led to the recent meltdown.

The history of Governmental efforts to control or manipulate actual market performance has proven one disaster after another. The reality is that no attempt by a select few–by committees or bureaucrats removed from the daily behavior of the individual participant–to plan, control or stimulate market decisions, can ever prove satisfactory substitute to the organic ability of a free Market to adjust to the ever fluctuating dynamics of human action & interaction. The reason is not hard to grasp. The free Market puts every participant on his mettle to find what best suits his purpose, as reflected in an ever changing scene; but a scene, immediately before him! It calls on the best that is within each, who would prosper materially–as the best that is within each who would pursue the less material–in acting to the best perceived effect, within his immediate personal ken.

No committee, analyzing yesterday’s statistical aggregations, can provide an equivalent dynamic potential. Rather, when the intention is to macro-manage a market, using aggregations of the results of countless millions of past decisions, Government–always more remote–can only get in the way, far more destructively than could any passer-by, throwing sand into a gear box.

Never Confuse Government Fiscal Policy With Entrepreneurial Risk

One aspect of Keynesian dogma that does make sense–that appeals to the widest spectrum of non-Socialist adherents–is that which proposes new expenditure on public facilities, roads, bridges, and the replacement of disintegrating public buildings, at times when there is major unemployment, or falling costs of labor & material. The idea, certainly not original with Keynes, is sound, provided the motive is to obtain good by recognizing market conditions, in doing what must be done sooner or later; and thus, by timing, obtain a net long term savings to the Government. That such expenditures may help reverse a severe–as opposed to constructive–cyclical downturn, is an added benefit; as is simply putting unemployed labor to work, even if only temporarily. What must not be done is to extrapolate from this obvious point to the insane notion that there is a benefit in wasteful Governmental spending, intended to artificially pump “money” into an economy, without benefit to the Government or its provident and frugal citizen.

Our caveat would be as obvious as the prior concession, save for a frequently seen pattern in the rise of private business; one not analogous to Government deficit spending, but which may be so mistaken. Many an entrepreneurial success story has involved leveraging limited capital, a small ‘grub stake,’ with borrowed money; a debt often repaid with ease, if the venture flourished. While far more new ventures fail–particularly among those that tolerate wasteful behavior–than ever truly prosper, that makes less appealing study than that of great success. But that is only one aspect of an essential point. Obviously, no Government is analogous to the individual who risks all on a new venture, or persuades someone to risk capital to invest in or lend money to the enterprise. A Government’s duty is to the whole people. It is not in competition with citizens or subjects. Nor can it risk going out of business.

Indeed, a Government has no money to risk, save what it taxes from its citizens–either directly or by devaluing their capital reserves via the issuance of fiat money to inflate the currency. It can never be in the moral position of a banker risking his own money, or that of a corporation he controls. What Government risks, at any moment, always has the effect of redistributing other people’s wealth to those favored by the project. Where, in a Constitutional Republic, that project is not one clearly authorized by the Constitution, it is as immoral as it is reckless–in the American context, hardly what the Founding Fathers, who forbad direct taxation but in proportion to a census (that is, falling evenly on every person) had in mind.


Article by William Flax

Some recommendations…

Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt. (1946, 2007)

For a clear refutation of Keynesian economics see Henry Hazlitt’s Failure of the” New Economics.” (1959)

Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, by Ludwig von Mises (1949, 1963, 1966, 1996)

For a fuller understanding of Keynesian tactics and methodology, see, Zygmund Dobbs study, Keynes At Harvard. (1962)

Man, Economy, and the State, by Murray Rothbard. (1962, 2004)

Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts, by Hunter Lewis (2009)


While noting the obvious mischief in a Keynesian fiscal policy, our primary purpose will be to explain the appeal of Keynesian economics; how & why some see pragmatic, if not moral, benefit; rather than seek to duplicate broader, more detailed, refutations one may find elsewhere. For clear assessment of Keynes’ role in the 20th Century Leftist assault on the West, we strongly recommend the aforesaid Keynes At Harvard. For the clearest refutation of Keynes’ economic theories, we recommend Henry Hazlitt’s definitive 1959 response, Failure Of The “New Economics.” We will also address a source of possible confusion with respect to Keynesian fiscal policy; their effect on present & future prospects and why they would appeal to anyone.

Keynes might have been one of the most evil men who ever walked the earth, yet have written and spoken economic sense. It would not be fair argument to damn an economic theory, simply because it was formulated by an evil man. Yet in this case, the scoundrel in Keynes was the whole man. His economics reflected the same total disdain for moral standards–the same sociopathic tendencies–as did his misuse of pre-adolescent boys. It is sad that so few are even aware of Keynes actual place in the breakdown of fundamental principles, once recognized as essential to healthy markets & economic well-being.

Keynes At Harvard, is a well documented study by Zygmund Dobbs, first published by Archibald Roosevelt’s Veritas Foundation (Conservative Harvard Alumni) in 1962, which thoroughly exposed Keynes as a Fabian Socialist sociopath, deliberately seeking to undermine free market Capitalism. Dobbs also showed Keynes to be a notorious homosexual pedophile, who predated NAMBLA, advising other wealthy & depraved British Leftists, where in the third world, they might expect the best price for “bed & boy.”



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Tocqueville; Religion, Liberty, and Government

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By: Harvey C. Mansfield

I stop the first American whom I meet…and I ask him if he believes religion to be useful to the stability of laws and to the good order of society; he answers me without hesitation that a civilized society, but above all a free society, cannot subsist without religion…. Those least versed in the science of government know that at least.

—Alexis de Tocquevillestatue of liberty

Alexis de Tocqueville was a liberal, but, as he once wrote, a “new kind of liberal.” For us, no feature of his new liberalism is more remarkable than the alliance between religion and liberty that he saw in America and proposed to be imitated, wherever it can, in every free society.

In liberalism today, there is a debate over whether liberal theory needs—or should avoid—a “foundation.” Tocqueville seems to take the anti-foundational side: he never mentions the “state of nature,” which was the standard foundation of 17th-century liberalism, and in Democracy in America he omits any reference to the Declaration of Independence with its ringing foundational assertion that “all men are created equal.” Yet, if he avoids laying a foundation in reason, he also thinks that religion is essential to political liberty because of the “certain fixed ideas” that it offers to ground the practice of self-government. These are doctrines of faith, since for Tocqueville “religion” means revealed religion, not a rational or natural religion.

crossThese doctrines, however, include articles of reason encompassed in faith. Tocqueville was a strong opponent of divine right in politics and a strong proponent of the separation of church and state. Although he praised the Puritans highly as being the “point of departure” for democracy in America, he criticized their theocratic character. Personally, he seems to have suffered a crisis early in life when, as he recounts it, he came upon the books of 18th-century materialists in his father’s library and promptly and permanently (so far as we know) lost his faith, not only in religion but in “all the truths” that supported his beliefs and his actions.

Questions arise that are still with us: What does Tocqueville hold against the introduction of foundational principles in democratic politics, and how can they be kept out? What is the relationship between philosophy and religion, given the hostility of modern philosophers (particularly the French philosophes) to religion and his desire to make an alliance between the two? Just what essential support does religion supply to political liberty—the essential liberty according to Tocqueville—so that despite the separation of church and state necessary to political liberty, he can say, strikingly, that religion “should be considered the first of [the Americans’] political institutions”?


To see how Tocqueville understands religion one must look to his view of mores, for in Democracy in America (where his main discussion of religion can be found), he first treats religion as the most important of mores. Mores (moeurs), defined as “the whole moral and intellectual state of a people,” comprise both morals and customs. His definition comes from the ancients, and is related to their emphasis on virtue in human affairs, but it is virtue understood as typical, ordinary, or average, so that modern thinkers who seek laws or rules of social behavior, such as Montesquieu and Rousseau, could find the concept useful and congenial, too. Mores are connected in Tocqueville to another, newer concept of the social state (état social), the product (or union) of fact and laws, which then in turn becomes the “first cause” of most of a society’s laws, customs, and ideas. Mores and the social state are partly chosen by a society and partly not chosen—the two elements confused together. The consequence is the blurring of the early social-contract liberals’ clear view that politics is best understood as primarily a human choice made to escape the state of nature, which is not chosen by us.

Tocqueville declares in the Introduction to Democracy in America that democracy is a “providential fact.” It is a trend that began 700 years ago and only in his time has come to light as providential in the one country—America—that has adopted it and applied it fully and successfully. To call it providential means to deny that it is a human choice or discovery, for example the choice or discovery of John Locke, the philosopher who inspired the Declaration of Independence. Instead of Locke and the Declaration, Tocqueville begins with the Puritans. To be sure, the Puritans came to America with an idea: “They wanted to make an idea triumph.” But it was a religious and Christian idea, which led them to call themselves pilgrims. Yet the religious doctrine was blended with “the most absolute democratic and republican theories”—not merely of equality but also of self-government and public education, all of which were put into practice by the Puritans. In place of liberalism and its deistic or atheistic foundation in the state of nature, Tocqueville sets the Puritans—their religious idea together with their practices. It was they who first brought democracy into “broad daylight,” not as a foundation but active and complete as a way of life. They not merely offered an idea but also were able to live by it, transforming it into the mores of a social state that could be considered the “first cause” of American democracy.

Nonetheless, Tocqueville goes on to criticize them gently—without Puritan severity—but profoundly. They were after all puritanical in their “ardor for regulation” and their “narrow spirit of sect” and legislated against sin with abundant resort to penalties of death. Their excesses had to be and were corrected at the time of the American Revolution in what James Ceaser has called “Tocqueville’s second founding,” when many states abandoned the establishment of religion in favor of the separation of church and state.

Indirectly Under God

The Puritan point of departure needed to be departed from, and replaced by the principle, or dogma, of “the sovereignty of the people.” Not wishing to offend religion or praise its enemies, Tocqueville doesn’t mention its disestablishment. He only says strangely that according to this new sovereignty, “the people reign over the American political world as God does over the universe”—as if somehow the people who are like God had replaced God. The people, strictly speaking, have no authority above themselves. They set an authority above themselves when they establish the Constitution, yet do not retain the power to unseat God as they do the Constitution. Indeed, “what makes a people master of itself if it has not submitted to God?” A people, like an individual person, makes itself more powerful, not less, with self-restraint. As political scientist Bryan Garsten has written, the American people turn religion from an external to an internal restraint.

Since religion has its influence in America through mores, it works more indirectly than directly. Even when considering religion “from a purely human point of view,” Tocqueville observes, it has an unfailing source of strength in human nature: “the desire for immortality that torments the hearts of all men equally.” When founded on this desire, religions can aim at universality, but when they become united with government, they apply only to certain peoples. Religion should avoid attaching itself to earthly authority and forswear all reliance on divine right, using mores to regulate democracy rather than relying on laws as much as the Puritans did. Religion is more powerful if it is pure, and it is pure only if it avoids earthly attachments. Paradoxically, religion is more powerful politically if it stays out of politics, if it does not appear as an authority in its own regard but under cover of the mores that the people practice and hold to.

These are Tocqueville’s formulations, yet ever careful as he is to deprecate the role of philosophy and of the philosopher, he presents them as opinions of Americans; the paradox that the less religion is involved with politics the greater is its sway over politics is the perception, he reports, of American priests. Not that they have much choice: they perceive that the majority wants them to stay out of politics. There is another power with whom American clergy share their indirect influence, and that is American women. Religion, he says, does little to restrain the American man from his ardor for self-enrichment, but it “reigns as a sovereign over the soul of woman, and it is woman who makes mores.” It was a commonplace of the philosophes that superstitious women were willing victims of the manipulation of superstition by the clergy, but when we consult Tocqueville, we find a contrary statement. He says that Americans give girls an education in reason as well as religion, and that they resort to religion for defense of their virtue only when “they have reached the last limits of human force.” American women are not weak and credulous; they “display a manly reason and a wholly virile energy” yet “always remain women in their manners.”

Here, as with the clergy, one may suspect that Tocqueville’s description is idealized, masking a recommendation he would prefer not to give outright. He is as modest and as manly as the American women he pictures. It would not have surprised him, however, that in our time women have chosen to be manly and have abandoned the defense, if not the practice, of modesty.

Mediocrity and Materialism

In the second volume of Democracy in America, Tocqueville turns to the question of the truth of religion as opposed to, or in addition to, its usefulness. His approach to the question is still through the usefulness of religion, but now we get a better view of just how it is useful and why American democracy has a stake in its truth. We also see better why he distrusts ideas and why philosophy needs to be concealed under religion.

Religion is useful mainly because it hinders the taste for material enjoyments that is endemic to American democracy, indeed to modern democracy as such. Religion is of course a brake on licentious liberty and on the sovereignty of the democratic majority. It opposes the “maxim that everything is permitted in the interest of society,” an impious maxim, Tocqueville says, “that seems to have been invented in the century of freedom to legitimate all the tyrants to come.” Yet the true danger is not in the occasional viciousness of democracy, but in the mediocrity of soul it produces in law-abiding citizens through the taste for material pleasures. This taste is surely bourgeois, but it comes from democracy, not from what we call capitalism.

When all are equal, no one has natural authority over anyone else, and when a democratic citizen looks for a guide to life, he finds no superior in whom to trust—and ends his search by looking to himself. To him there is no distant goal in life to which he can devote himself, for everything beyond the immediate is vague and beyond his ken. The only evident goods to him are palpable and available—material goods—and he devotes himself to goods that he and everyone like him (his semblables) can appreciate.

Religion, however, is a “form of hope” in human nature. Its most important practical teaching is that man has an immortal soul, which is therefore divine, and man’s natural hope is that he will live forever. To have an immortal soul is a possession of inestimable value to the perfection of which one can devote one’s life, yet it is also universal and equal, hence democratic, its perfection not a goal of aristocratic honor that sets one above others. As a form of hope, religion is not primarily a form of fear (except insofar as one fears one’s hope for salvation may be dashed), as the early liberal theorists, particularly Thomas Hobbes, supposed. The fear of invisible spirits (said Hobbes) and the uneasiness of the self (Locke) turn one’s attention to the present; hope appeals to the future. In the future lies accomplishment in which one can take pride.

The early liberals believed human pride to be the source of trouble, especially the prideful notion that human beings are special in the universe because of their immortal souls. This claim, which is so easy to make in general and so hard to specify in particular, leads easily to the tyranny of religion or to the miseries of religious civil war. But for Tocqueville, the reliance on worldly passions such as fear and material gain produces abject souls more fit for despotism than liberty, and the weaknesses of democracy are rather stability and stagnation than anarchy and rebelliousness. So for him religion promotes liberty by teaching men that they are special and that they deserve to take pride in their accomplishments. His most significant apparent departure from Christianity is from Christian humility. It is in regard to pride that he says, with apparently conflicting import, that religion is “the most precious inheritance from aristocratic centuries,” and yet that religion warms the hearth of patriotism in America.

The pride constituting the specialness of man emerges in Tocqueville’s insistence on the greatness of man. He seeks to rally the “true friends of liberty and human greatness,” and he puts the two together because liberty mired in mediocrity brings on the new sort of despotism he identifies at the end of Democracy in America, mild (doux) despotism. Mediocre souls trapped in material enjoyments will readily trade their political liberty for peace and security in those enjoyments. Such people suffer from the new democratic ill he identifies as “individualism,” which occurs when democratic citizens believe and feel themselves to be passive victims of large, impersonal, historical forces they cannot control or influence. In reaction, they withdraw from the public, forgetting they are citizens, and concentrate their lives on family, friends, and themselves. Losing sight of the public, they become oblivious to any distant goal and welcome the benevolent aid of big government, “the immense being” that acts on their behalf with their passive consent because it knows better and offers to take over responsibility for the “trouble of thinking and the pain of living,” Tocqueville says sarcastically.

Doubt and Materialism

Thus the only true liberty is political liberty, in which the goal and the result may sometimes be greatness but the practice of which exercises the soul, regardless. He remarks on Americans’ veneration for Plymouth Rock, a piece of matter that matters to them: “Does this not show very clearly that the power and greatness of man are wholly in his soul?” Religion provides a confirmation that men are not mere pawns of fate or of chance forces hostile or indifferent to them; it is a guarantee of greatness in human spirituality as it connects men to God. Religion combats the short-sightedness and fecklessness of democracy, and gives it something to be proud of, above the mediocrity of material enjoyments.

When this mediocrity reveals itself as the main enemy of democracy through the erosion of political liberty, we come upon the baleful influence of democratic ideas. We begin to appreciate why Tocqueville is so suspicious of philosophy. What he often simply calls “doubt,” so characteristic of democratic ages, is philosophic doubt of religion that issues in the suspense of belief—or in practice, when suspense is no longer possible, in denial of belief, and in materialism. The doubt in question amounts to a denial of the human soul and in consequence, of human agency (as we say today). The spiritual, not the material, is what is doubted—though in modern mathematical physics it turns out not to be so easy to define or grasp what matter is.

In the early liberalism Tocqueville rejects, men are liberated from prejudice and superstition only to be enthralled to the worldly passions of fear and gain; they are conquered or bullied into promising obedience (in Hobbes’s theory) or “quickly driven into society” (in Locke’s words) rather than freely choosing to give their allegiance. The model for liberty is the abstract, pre-political state of nature, which is only posited and may or may not exist, rather than the actual model of political liberty that Tocqueville finds in the township of New England. Early liberalism is apolitical; it supports politics with non-political motives and it betrays the goal of liberty with the passive and slavish means it specifies for achieving liberty. This is not liberalism with a soul, like Tocqueville’s liberalism, because it degrades souls by overwhelming them with fear and seducing them with incentives for material gain. It is not a liberalism that can sustain liberty.

Materialism teaches democratic peoples that they have nothing special in them to be proud of, and in the form of the scientific determinism powerful in Tocqueville’s time, that they are incapable of avoiding the fate that chance decrees and science uncovers and displays for all to see. But since pride is in human nature, materialists are unable to avoid taking pride in themselves. Their system might be useful if it gave them and taught others to take a modest idea of oneself—all of us, including Nobel prize winners, being matter of little account—but materialists do not in fact draw or expound this lesson. When they believe they have proved that men are no better than brutes, Tocqueville says, they are “as proud as if they had demonstrated they were gods.” The scientific materialism that deprives citizens of their belief in the possibility of self-government is used to justify, instead, the rational control of citizens by experts with knowledge of such science.

The danger of materialist ideas in our democratic age is responsible for Tocqueville’s leery distrust of philosophical ideas, and for his selective trust in religious ideas. As we shall see, the religious ideas he presents have more to do with philosophy than with revelation. He approves of certain philosophical ideas, such as those advancing spiritualism, but without much discrimination. He would rather you believe your soul can migrate to the body of a pig than that you have no soul. He reserves his approval for whatever spiritual doctrine emerges from philosophy, and criticizes the usual effects of philosophical inquiry in democracy. Philosophical inquiry begins with doubt, but instead of truly doubting, people taught to doubt merely doubt the authority of others and then turn to themselves and their own authority. That is why he treats Descartes, the philosopher of doubt, as a teacher of democracy—a perceptive estimation one will not find in textbooks.

When Cartesian doubt is generalized and transferred from philosopher to citizen, the result is the democratic dogma that each individual has reason sufficient to run his own life. So Descartes’s thought is most perfectly realized in America where nobody has read Descartes because nobody needs to read him, where doubt of dogmatic authority has become the dogmatic authority of doubt. In the modern age the democratic propensity for material well-being, with its mediocrity, its individualism, and its mild despotism, renders philosophical materialism dangerous, and all philosophy dubious because in that age philosophy is likely to be materialist.

Faith and Philosophy

The debate over foundations in liberalism today is between those who insist on philosophical foundations of liberty, so as to exclude illiberal notions of virtue or salvation that are harmful and hostile to liberty, and those who argue that such foundations are an infringement of liberty and in any case difficult to prove and to gain consent for. Tocqueville stands on neither side of this debate but in a middle position of his own. Though opposed to philosophical foundations, he holds that America has and needs foundations in religious faith in order to keep its democratic liberty.

As to philosophy, Tocqueville writes: “Americans have not needed to draw their philosophic method from books; they have found it in themselves.” And as to religion: “Men…have an immense interest in making very fixed ideas for themselves about God, their souls, their general duties.” In the first quotation we see Tocqueville rejecting the bookish influence of philosophers in favor of actual practice, by which citizens manage to make their way forward without the guide of a foundation prescribed by philosophy. In the second quotation, however, we see the need stated for “very fixed ideas” that do not arise from practice but precede and guide practice. These ideas must come from religion rather than philosophy. Any society, and especially a democratic one, must take account of what most people think, and most people have recourse to the dogmas of religion for guidance because they have neither the time nor the capacity for philosophizing. Even if they did or could philosophize, they would find that through the ages, philosophers “despite all their efforts…have been able to discover only a few contradictory notions.”

Those who try to rely on philosophy for the fixed ideas they need in their ordinary lives, Tocqueville says, do not find them but come to grief in doubt. “Doubt takes hold of the highest portions of the intellect and half paralyses all the others.” Each person becomes accustomed to hearing confused and changing opinions on matters of most interest to himself and people like him—vaguely troubling issues of the day, in which it is hard to follow the arguments. We throw up our hands, feeling defeated, and in cowardly fashion refuse to think. If people will not think, doubt “cannot fail to enervate souls,” thereby threatening the maintenance of liberty because enervated souls will not take the trouble to exercise liberty or defend it. Thus one of his memorable phrases: “I am brought to think that if [a man] has no faith, he must serve, and if he is free, he must believe.”

Here is a liberal who rejects liberal foundations in philosophy yet requires them in religion. But his statement against doubt blames it for preventing people from thinking, that is, from thinking practically and usefully. Philosophical thinking leads to paralysis of practical thinking, in which overmatched would-be philosophers are led ultimately to passive acceptance of things as they are. Philosophy may begin from the questioning of authority, but when it appears that all the questioning leads to no answers, it stops and finds rest in the conclusion that nothing can be done. Faith, then, is not a substitute for reasoning simply, but only for philosophical reasoning; it clears the way, and is actually the basis, for reasoning about one’s closest interests.

Tocqueville says that religion imposes a “salutary yoke” on the intellect by preventing the use of individual reason to raise doubt and by establishing “general ideas” about God and human nature that permit men to recognize “an authority.” Reason as philosophy gets in the way of reason as practice because the one attacks authority and the other requires it. Now what is the solution? Is it merely to declare that the two aspects of reason are antithetical, and that practice being more important than philosophy, the need for active practice must dominate the pleasure, if it is a pleasure, of speculating—that dogma must silence philosophy?

Tocqueville does not adopt that solution, though he may appear to do so because sometimes he seems to criticize all philosophy, philosophy itself. But he also shows appreciation for the contemplative life of the philosopher, praising the “ardent, haughty, and disinterested love of the true” one finds in Pascal and Archimedes‘ lofty contempt for practice as “vile, low, and mercenary.” He distinguishes the science of the “most theoretical principles,” which may flourish in aristocracy, from science devoted to practical applications, which is characteristic of science in democracy. It is a weakness of democracy that it does not encourage “the contemplation of first causes.” Tocqueville himself warns his readers that he feels “obliged to push each of his ideas to all its theoretical consequences,” and he does not hesitate to speak of “first causes.”

Reasonable Religion

Religion, then, does not replace philosophy or science, but it serves as their public face and supplies the fixed ideas that men need to live in freedom. Servility of soul is not the consequence of religion, as the philosophes asserted, but of anti-religious materialism, which denies the soul by demeaning man into matter, or abases the soul by endorsing the democratic propensity to a life of material well-being. At the end of Democracy in America, Tocqueville discloses something of the character of the religion he recommends. It is not just any religion, as he seemed to imply earlier when speaking of religion as part of democratic mores, but a reasonable religion that confirms the intelligibility of nature and of the world.

In his own name he strives, like a philosopher, like the youthful Pascal but with a view to the intelligible, to enter into the comprehensive “point of view of God” in regard to democracy and aristocracy. God is approachable to man through His mind. Although Tocqueville speaks here of, “as it were, two humanities,” thus apparently distinguishing them profoundly, he also justifies the comparisons he has made continuously throughout the book by referring them to one superhuman whole in which they are joined. “God” is apparently a person, and clearly distinct from His Creation. Tocqueville does not insist on the difference between revealed and natural or rational religion, and he had declared that “it was necessary that Jesus Christ come to earth to make it understood that all members of the human species are naturally alike and equal.” Revealed truth is distinct from the truth of nature, but revelation makes nature apparent to us in a way unassisted human reason cannot. Philosophy is then under a duty not to overlook the difference between itself and revelation but also not to present that difference in a way hostile to the latter. The order that Tocqueville sees in or imputes to God’s mind leaves untouched the statements of God’s hidden character in Scripture without contradicting them.

Religion understood as the order of God’s mind repels “two false and cowardly doctrines.” What are they? We see them in what he writes of Providence: “Providence has not created the human race either entirely independent or perfectly slave.” The first is the aristocratic criticism of democracy that it is anarchic; the second is the democratic idea that peoples “necessarily obey I do not know which insurmountable and unintelligent force born of previous events, the race, the soil, or the climate.” Strangely, both of these may be found in liberal social-contract theories—the first in the state of nature in which men are anarchic and at war; the second in the means for escaping the state of nature, which play on fear and subject men to “insurmountable and unintelligent force,” consisting variously of the laws or rules of sub-rational motivation discovered by history and social science. As opposed to these, religion can cement its alliances with liberty and with reason, all three together in the politics of democracy.

The two contraries of being entirely independent and perfectly enslaved stand for the two aspects of chance, unpredictability and subjection—”chance fate”—to which religion is opposed. Religion as Tocqueville portrays it tries to make our life predictable, but not so predictable that we can succeed without trying. And it sets limits to our intellect, our freedom, and our choice—but not such narrow limits that we can never succeed no matter how hard we try. The task of politics, which Tocqueville sometimes calls, in the manner of Plato and Aristotle, the task of the legislator, is to cooperate with religion and to guide our lives so that our virtue is rewarded and our freedom preserved.



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Future Economic Mobility and the Insurgent Middle Class

cone of silence7Restoring America’s Economic Mobilitycone of silence6

September 2016 • Volume 45, Number 9Frank Buckley

Article Reposted from

By Frank Buckley

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels wrote that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.” Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. We didn’t think we were divided into different classes. Neither did Marx.simon says

America was an exception to Marx’s theory of social progress. By that theory, societies were supposed to move from feudalism to capitalism to communism. But the America of the 1850s, the most capitalist society around, was not turning communist. Marx had an explanation for that. “True enough, the classes already exist,” he wrote of the United States, but they “are in constant flux and reflux, constantly changing their elements and yielding them up to one another.” In other words, when you have economic and social mobility, you don’t go communist.occupy and the elite

That is the country in which some imagine we still live, Horatio Alger’s America—a country defined by the promise that whoever you are, you have the same chance as anyone else to rise, with pluck, industry, and talent. But they imagine wrong. The U.S. today lags behind many of its First World rivals in terms of mobility. A class society has inserted itself within the folds of what was once a classless country, and a dominant New Class—as social critic Christopher Lasch called it—has pulled up the ladder of social advancement behind it.

One can measure these things empirically by comparing the correlation between the earnings of fathers and sons. Pew’s Economic Mobility Project ranks Britain at 0.5, which means that if a father earns £100,000 more than the median, his son will earn £50,000 more than the average member of his cohort. That’s pretty aristocratic. On the other end of the scale, the most economically mobile society is Denmark, with a correlation of 0.15. The U.S. is at 0.47, almost as immobile as Britain.

A complacent Republican establishment denies this change has occurred. If they don’t get it, however, American voters do. For the first time, Americans don’t believe their children will be as well off as they have been. They see an economy that’s stalled, one in which jobs are moving offshore. In the first decade of this century, U.S. multinationals shed 2.9 million U.S. jobs while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million. General Electric provides a striking example. Jeffrey Immelt became the company’s CEO in 2001, with a mission to advance stock price. He did this in part by reducing GE’s U.S. workforce by 34,000 jobs. During the same period, the company added 25,000 jobs overseas. Ironically, President Obama chose Immelt to head his Jobs Council.

According to establishment Repub­licans, none of this can be helped. We are losing middle-class jobs because of the move to a high-tech world that creates jobs for a cognitive elite and destroys them for everyone else. But that doesn’t describe what’s happening. We are losing middle-class jobs, but lower-class jobs are expanding. Automation is changing the way we make cars, but the rich still need their maids and gardeners. Middle-class jobs are also lost as a result of regulatory and environmental barriers, especially in the energy sector. And the skills-based technological change argument is entirely implausible: countries that beat us hands down on mobility are just as technologically advanced. Folks in Denmark aren’t exactly living in the Stone Age.

This is why voters across the spectrum began to demand radical change. What did the Republican elite offer in response? At a time of maximal crisis they have been content with minimal goals, like Mitt Romney’s 59-point plan in 2012. How many Americans remember even one of those points? What we remember instead is Romney’s remark about 47 percent of Americans being takers. That was Romney’s way of recognizing the class divide—and in the election, Americans took notice and paid him back with interest.

Since 2012, establishment Republicans have continued to be less than concerned for the plight of ordinary Americans. Sure, they want economic growth, but it doesn’t seem to matter into whose pockets the money flows. There are even the “conservative” pundits who offer the pious hope that drug-addicted Trump supporters will hurry up and die. That’s one way to ameliorate the class struggle, but it doesn’t exactly endear anyone to the establishment.

The southern writer Flannery O’Connor once attended a dinner party in New York given for her and liberal intellectual Mary McCarthy. At one point the issue of Catholicism came up, and McCarthy offered the opinion that the Eucharist is “just a symbol,” albeit “a pretty one.” O’Connor, a pious Catholic, bristled: “Well, if it’s just a symbol, to Hell with it.” Likewise, the principles held up as sacrosanct by establishment Republicans might be logically unassailable, derived like theorems from a set of axioms based on a pure theory of natural rights. But if I don’t see them making people better off, I say to Hell with them. And so do the voters this year. What the establishment Republicans should ask themselves is Anton Chigurh’s question in No Country for Old Men: If you followed your principles, and your principles brought you to this, what good are your principles?

Had Marx been asked what would happen to America if it ever became economically immobile, we know what his answer would be: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And also Donald Trump. The anger expressed by the voters in 2016—their support for candidates from far outside the traditional political class—has little parallel in American history. We are accustomed to protest movements on the Left, but the wholesale repudiation of the establishment on the Right is something new. All that was solid has melted into air, and what has taken its place is a kind of right-wing Marxism, scornful of Washington power brokers and sneering pundits and repelled by America’s immobile, class-ridden society.

Establishment Republicans came up with the “right-wing Marxist” label when House Speaker John Boehner was deposed, and labels stick when they have the ring of truth. So it is with the right-wing Marxist. He is right-wing because he seeks to return to an America of economic mobility. He has seen how broken education and immigration systems, the decline of the rule of law, and the rise of a supercharged regulatory state serve as barriers to economic improvement. And he is a Marxist to the extent that he sees our current politics as the politics of class struggle, with an insurgent middle class that seeks to surmount the barriers to mobility erected by an aristocratic New Class. In his passion, he is also a revolutionary. He has little time for a Republican elite that smirks at his heroes—heroes who communicate through their brashness and rudeness the fact that our country is in a crisis. To his more polite critics, the right-wing Marxist says: We are not so nice as you!

The right-wing Marxist notes that establishment Republicans who decry crony capitalism are often surrounded by lobbyists and funded by the Chamber of Commerce. He is unpersuaded when they argue that government subsidies are needed for their friends. He does not believe that the federal bailouts of the 2008-2012 TARP program and the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest and quantitative easing policies were justified. He sees that they doubled the size of public debt over an eight-year period, and that our experiment in consumer protection for billionaires took the oxygen out of the economy and produced a jobless Wall Street recovery.

The right-wing Marxist’s vision of the good society is not so very different from that of the JFK-era liberal; it is a vision of a society where all have the opportunity to rise, where people are judged by the content of their character, and where class distinctions are a thing of the past. But for the right wing Marxist, the best way to reach the goal of a good society is through free markets, open competition, and the removal of wasteful government barriers.

Readers of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose will have encountered the word palimpsest, used to describe a manuscript in which one text has been written over another, and in which traces of the original remain. So it is with Canada, a country that beats the U.S. hands down on economic mobility. Canada has the reputation of being more liberal than the U.S., but in reality it is more conservative because its liberal policies are written over a page of deep conservatism.

Whereas the U.S. comes in at a highly immobile 0.47 on the Pew mobility scale, Canada is at 0.19, very close to Denmark’s 0.15. What is further remarkable about Canada is that the difference is mostly at the top and bottom of the distribution. Between the tenth and 90th deciles there isn’t much difference between the two countries. The difference is in the bottom and top ten percent, where the poorest parents raise the poorest kids and the richest parents raise the richest kids.

For parents in the top U.S. decile, 46 percent of their kids will end up in the top two deciles and only 2 percent in the bottom decile. The members of the top decile comprise a New Class of lawyers, academics, trust-fund babies, and media types—a group that wields undue influence in both political parties and dominates our culture. These are the people who said yes, there is an immigration crisis—but it’s caused by our failure to give illegals a pathway to citizenship!

There’s a top ten percent in Canada, of course, but its children are far more likely to descend into the middle or lower classes. There’s also a bottom ten percent, but its children are far more likely to rise to the top. The country of opportunity, the country we’ve imagined ourselves to be, isn’t dead—it moved to Canada, a country that ranks higher than the U.S. on measures of economic freedom. Yes, Canada has its much-vaunted Medicare system, but cross-border differences in health care don’t explain the mobility levels. And when you add it all up, America has a more generous welfare system than Canada or just about anywhere else. To explain Canada’s higher mobility levels, one has to turn to differences in education systems, immigration laws, regulatory burdens, the rule of law, and corruption—on all of which counts, Canada is a more conservative country.

America’s K-12 public schools perform poorly, relative to the rest of the First World. Its universities are great fun for the kids, but many students emerge on graduation no better educated than when they arrived. What should be an elevator to the upper class is stalled on the ground floor. One study has concluded that if American public school students were magically raised to Canadian levels, the economic gain would amount to a 20 percent annual pay increase for the average American worker.

The U.S. has a two-tiered educational system: a superb set of schools and colleges for the upper classes and a mediocre set for everyone else. The best of our colleges are the best anywhere, but the average Canadian school is better than the average American one. At both the K-12 and college levels, Canadian schools have adhered more closely to a traditional, conservative set of offerings. For K-12, a principal reason for the difference is the greater competition offered in Canada, with its publicly-supported church-affiliated schools. With barriers like America’s Blaine Amendments—state laws preventing public funding of religious schools—lower-class students in the U.S. must enjoy the dubious blessing of a public school education.

What about immigration? Canada doesn’t have a problem with illegal aliens—it deports them. As for the legal intake, Canadian policies have a strong bias towards admitting immigrants who will confer a benefit on Canadian citizens. Even in absolute numbers, Canada admits more immigrants under economic categories than the U.S., where most legal immigrants qualify instead under family preference categories. As a result, on average, immigrants to the U.S. are less educated than U.S. natives, and unlike in Canada, second- and third-generation U.S. immigrants earn less than their native-born counterparts. In short, the U.S. immigration system imports inequality and immobility. If immigration isn’t an issue in Canada, that’s because it’s a system Trump voters would love.

For those at the bottom of the social and economic ladder who seek to rise, nothing is more important than the rule of law, property rights, and the sanctity of contract provided by a mature and efficient legal system. The alternative—in place today in America—is a network of elites whose personal bonds supply the trust that is needed before deals can be done and promises relied on. With its more traditional legal system, Canada better respects the sanctity of contract and is less likely to weaken property rights with an American-style civil justice system which at times resembles a slot machine of judicially-sanctioned theft. Americans are great at talking about the rule of law, but in reality we don’t have much standing to do so.

Then there’s corruption. As ranked by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, America is considerably more corrupt than most of the rest of the First World. With our K Street lobbyists and our donor class, we’ve spawned the greatest concentration of money and influence ever. And corruption costs. In a regression model, the average family’s earnings would increase from $55,000 to $60,000 were we to ascend to Canada’s level of non-corruption, and to $68,000 if we moved to Denmark’s level.

In a corrupt country, trust is a rare commodity. That’s America today. Only 19 percent of Americans say they trust the government most of the time, down from 73 percent in 1958 according to the Pew Research Center. Sadly, that is a rational response to the way things are. America is a different country today, and a much nastier one. For politically engaged Republicans, the figure is six percent. That in a nutshell explains the Trump phenomenon and the disintegration of the Republican establishment. If the people don’t trust the government, tinkering with entitlement reform is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

American legal institutions are consistently more liberal than those in Canada, and they are biased towards a privileged class of insiders who are better educated and wealthier than the average American. That’s why America has become an aristocracy. By contrast, Canadian legal institutions aren’t slanted to an aristocracy.

The paradox is that Canadians employ conservative, free market means to achieve the liberal end of economic mobility. And that points to America’s way back: acknowledge that the promise of America has diminished, then emulate Canada.


The above article is adapted from a speech delivered on July 11, 2016, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

Frank Buckley is a Foundation Professor at Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he has taught since 1989. Previously he was a visiting Olin Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and he has also taught at McGill Law School, the Sorbonne, and Sciences Po in Paris. He received his B.A. from McGill University and his LL.M. from Harvard University. He is a senior editor of The American Spectator and the author of several books, including The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America and The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America.





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Evangelicals: 79% Deceived on the Rapture and End Times?


astronomyIs Middle East Violence Evidence for the ‘Rapture’ or the ‘End Times’?

by Gary DeMarhomer_end

Once again, the Bible is being interpreted through the lens of current events. The Christian Post reports:

“Nearly eight out of ten Evangelicals say they believe the ongoing violence in the Middle East is an indication that the rapture is on the horizon, a new survey shows.

“Research conducted by the Brookings Institute’s Center for Middle East Policy on Americans’ attitudes toward the Middle East and Israel found that 79 percent of Evangelicals say they believe ‘that the unfolding violence across the Middle East is a sign that the end times are nearer.’”nazi boot on church

There is little that is new in these types of surveys. For centuries Christians have seen certain current events as precursors to the end times. [Two] world wars in the 20th century, the French revolution in the 18th century, “wars and rumors of wars” throughout the world, the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) of the Middle Ages, the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and even the rise of Islam centuries ago have been considered end-time signs.

I could offer many examples. The following was written by prophecy writer Wilbur Smith about Egypt:

“Personally, I must confess that when this recent crisis (of 1956) occurred in Egypt, I was driven to examine, for the first time in years of study of Biblical prophecy, the whole subject of Egypt in Israel’s history and in the Old Testament predictions concerning certain other nations of that part of the earth. Had someone placed before me, six months ago, an examination covering Egypt in Biblical prophecy, I would have ‘flunked’ it, even if the questions were not of a technical nature. However, when newspapers were recently filled with reports from Egypt day by day, I was unable to escape a desire to review the whole theme of Egypt in the Biblical writings, both historical and prophetical.”1

Like today, the newspapers in Smith’s day (1956) were “filled with reports from Egypt,” and because of that he concluded those events had something to do with Bible prophecy. The events he was referencing happened 60 years ago.fall fashions 2

The “recent crisis of 1956” that Smith refers to concerned who would control the Suez Canal, a significant world chokepoint connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Without this narrow passageway water transportation between Europe and Asia one would have had to navigate around Africa. When’s the last time you heard anything about the Suez Canal?

Described as “the world’s foremost interpreter of biblical prophecy,” in 1991 he expected “‘the Rapture to occur in his own lifetime.’”3 He died in December of 2002.

Walvoord’s Armageddon book was reprinted in 1976 and then sank without a trace until a revised edition appeared in late 1990 based on then current headlines. It was decisively predictive based on events that were taking place during the first Gulf War:

“The world today is like a stage being set for a great drama. The major actors are already in the wings waiting for their moment in history. The main stage props are already in place. The prophetic play is about to begin…Our present world is well prepared for the beginning of the prophetic drama that will lead to Armageddon. Since the stage is set for this dramatic climax of the age, it must mean that Christ’s coming for his own is very near.”4

Tyndale House Publishers released a third edition in 2007 with a revised title and content edited and written by one of his sons and Mark Hitchcock to reflect a change in a set of new current events: Armageddon, Oil, and Terror.6 The promotion material assured readers that its content “is as current as today’s news . . . and every prediction rings true.” Where have we heard this before? That’s right! In 1974 when the first edition of Armageddon, Oil, and the Middle East Crisis was published and the same wording was used – 33 years later.

I suspect that the 79% who believe that current events in the Middle East relate to the end times don’t have a clue about the assured predictions of past prophecy writers.

The Christian Post article cited above goes on to report the following:

“Meanwhile, 63 percent of Evangelicals and 51 percent of non-Evangelical Christians believe that ‘for the rapture or Second Coming to occur, it is essential for current-day Israel to include all of the land they believed was promised to biblical Israel in the Old Testament.’”

There are several problems with this statement. First, the New Testament doesn’t say anything about Israel returning to the land as being a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Israel was already in the land in Jesus’ day and the lead up to the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

Second, the Old Testament does predict that Israel would return to its land. The people returned, the nation was reestablished, and the temple was rebuilt. That’s why there were Jews living in Israel when Jesus was born. The Jews returned to the land after the Babylonian captivity (see the books of Ezra and Nehemiah).

Third, Israel had received all that had been promised to the nation regarding the land:

“So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass” (Josh. 21:43-45).

This is confirmed during Solomon’s reign:

“Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance [Deut. 1:10; 7:7; 10:22; 26:5; 28:62; Gen. 15:5; 22:17; 32:12; 1 Kings 3:8; Jer. 33:22; Heb. 11:12]; they were eating and drinking and rejoicing. Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt; they brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life” (1 Kings 4:20-21).

Anyone who takes the Bible seriously must acknowledge that the land promises to Israel have been fulfilled.

Fourth, the most popular end-time perspective today is called dispensational premillennialism. This view teaches that no prophecy can be fulfilled until the church is “raptured,” an event that has not taken place yet. (The idea of a pre-tribulation “rapture” is a prophetic doctrine that was created in the early part of the 19th century. It is not a position that I hold.)

Well-known dispensational author Earl D. Radmacher makes an important point related to people who claim that certain world events are signs of an end-time event:

“Equally as unjustified as date-setting for Christ’s return are the numerous sermons attempting to find fulfillment of prophecy in this age. Typical of them is a popular author, conference speaker, and television personality who has stated his belief that the ‘paramount prophetic sign’ is that Israel had to be a nation again in the land of its forefathers. This condition was fulfilled, he claims, on May 14, 1948.7 This pronouncement is simply representative of hundreds, perhaps, thousands, of others who, although eager in their anticipation of Christ’s coming, distort the Scripture and cause terrible confusion for God’s people.”8

Radmacher calls using ‘Israel becoming a nation again in 1948’ as a prophetic sign is a distortion of Scripture that causes “terrible confusion for God’s people.” “This conflicting emphasis,” he writes, “begets the rather embarrassing plight of talking about signs of a sign-less event.”9

It’s evident that the Christians taking part in the survey are not (1) aware of the theology that defines most of them and (2) the history of people using current events to predict that either a so-called “rapture” is near or we are living in the “last days.”

John R. Rice, who also holds to a dispensational view, wrote the following in the third chapter of We Can Have Revival Now: “False Teaching about the Last Days”:

“This ultra-dispensational teaching that Jesus is certain to come soon, that certain signs prove the age is rushing to an early end, that the apostasy, world conditions and increased activity of Satan make gospel efforts less fruitful and revivals more difficult and unlikely, is a distressing perversion of a great truth. It is true that Jesus may come at any moment, but the ultra-dispensationalists do not preach the emphasis that Jesus urged, ‘Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh’ (Matt. 25:13), and the Bible doctrine often stated and inferred that Jesus might have returned any time since Pentecost and may return now at any time. Instead, they emphasize world conditions and so-called signs, and spend their time in study of the technical details of prophecy and speculation rather than on the soul-winning work which Jesus clearly told us to be about until He should return.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, the great nineteenth-century Baptist preacher, had this to say in his comments on Psalm 86:9 in his magisterial 7-volume work on the Pslams, The Treasury of David:

“David was not a believer in the theory that the world will grow worse and worse, and that the dispensations will wind up with general darkness, and idolatry. Earth’s sun is to go down amid tenfold night if some of our prophetic brethren are to be believed. Not so do we expect, but we look for a day when the dwellers in all lands shall learn righteousness, shall trust in the Saviour, shall worship thee alone, O God, and shall glorify thy name. The modern notion has greatly damped the zeal of the church for missions, and the sooner it is shown to be unscriptural the better for the cause of God. It neither consorts with prophecy, honours God, nor inspires the church with ardour. Far hence be it driven.”10

While what’s going on today seems inevitably dark, sitting down with a good history book will show that the former days were not better than these (Ecclesiastes 7:10).


[(For a counter argument that we are living in the worst of times, I suggest that you take a look at “The World Is Not Falling Apart.” While it’s not written from a Christian perspective, it has a lot of good statistical information that shows how much progress we’ve made with “dramatic reductions of practices such as slavery, dueling, whaling, foot binding, piracy, privateering, chemical warfare, apartheid, and atmospheric nuclear testing.”)///Also, from a Christian perspective, see “The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity” by Philip Jenkins.]

  1. Wilbur Smith, Egypt in Biblical Prophecy (Boston: W. A. Wilde Company, 1957), 5.
  2. John F. Walvoord and John E. Walvoord, Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1974), 7.
  3. Quoted in Kenneth L. Woodward, “The Final Days are Here Again,” Newsweek (March 18, 1991), 55.
  4. John F. Walvoord, Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990), 228.
  5. As reported in “Zondervan Book on Prophecy Receives Bestselling Award” by Zondervan Publishing House (1991). On file.
  6. John E. Walvoord and Mark Hitchcock, Armageddon, Oil, and Terror: What the Bible Says About the Future of America, the Middle East, and the End of Western Civilization (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2007).
  7. “The one event which many Bible students in the past overlooked was this paramount prophetic sign: Israel had to be a nation again in the land of its forefathers.” (Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), 43.
  8. Earl D. Radmacher, “The Imminent Return of the Lord,” Issues in Dispensationalism, eds. Wesley R. Willis and John R. Master (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 248.
  9. Radmacher, “The Imminent Return of the Lord,” 248.
  10. Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Containing the Book of Psalms; A Collection of Illustrative Extracts from the Whole Range of Literature; A Series of Homoletical Hints Upon Almost Every Verse; and Lists of Writers Upon Each Psalm, 7 vols. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co., [1869], 1881), 4:102.




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