Day: March 9, 2018

How the West Was Unwon


Frank Miele, editor of the Daily Inter Lake, devotes three columns to the unraveling of our civilization in an effort to explain why it happened.  His columns are well worth your time.

I date the beginning of the unwinding of Western civilization to 1905, when Italian communist Antonio Gramsci advised his fellows that they needed to effect a “long march through the institutions” of the West in order to convert the whole world to communism via education.  A couple of decades later came the Red Scare of the early twenties, when the West (rightly) feared being undermined by disciples of the nascent Bolshevik Revolution going out into the world.

Early signposts that these movements were succeeding included the 1950 trial of Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers’s subsequent publication of Witness, which told us in plain words about the conspiracy in plain sight going on before us.  Harry White and Hiss were close confidants of FDR, and both were communists working for Stalin.  McCarthy had it right, and history has never forgiven him for it.

The so-called New Left in the sixties continued the subversion by putting it into the streets to delegitimize the extant order.  The Establishment encountered a major problem in defending itself intellectually: that generation had never seriously questioned its values.  America had, after all, just won the worst war in history and that was clearly good.  Yet college professors, whom we thought the smart ones, were telling us we were evil and our kids were right.  Helped along in self-doubt by the questionable wisdom of the Vietnam War and the obvious issue of black civil rights, many doubted the moral rectitude of Western civilization.  That doubt had still not been cleared up when the Nixon matter threw the country into still another bout of self-doubt.

The subversives stayed at it in the universities, sneakily removing the once required subject of Western civilization and replacing it with leftist ideology camouflaged as civics.  The Western literary canon came under attack by feminists, another flavor of socialist.  Hollywood got into the act with the likes of Oliver Stone presenting America as the land of the greedy and the home of the evil.  Bit by bit, the planks that had built Western civilization, the predicate of its intellectual defense, were pulled up and replaced with Marxist junk.  Rather than the close, tight reasoning of Locke, Montesquieu, Madison, et al., our kids were learning to whine the trite tripe tropes of the left.

Came the nineties and the Clintons.  Far from ideologues, they were just crooks.  That made the work of the subversives even easier, since many who felt uncomfortable with Marxism readily understood the value of under-the-table bucks and secure congressional sinecures.  All of this is hidden by the rubric of socialism and backed by the power of the ever growing state.

America had long since kicked God out of the schools.  It wasn’t obvious to most at the time, but that was the prelude for all that followed since even the mention of God came to be verboten.  This is too bad, because the more complicated society became, the more we needed God.  The fact is that understanding God and what He wants of us is far more demanding than understanding Marxism.  The complexity of human psychology exceeds anything most of us can even imagine.

By contrast, the allure of socialism or communism has always been its simplicity and superficial reasoning.  Those very characteristics make it a perfect cover for criminality on the large scale.  Those who fall for its siren song are largely young and inexperienced.  Having always been protected, they don’t see humanity’s flawed (sinful) nature and are vulnerable to Marxist “perfectibility of man” thinking.

The Marxist allure usually comes at a young person at just the point in his psychological development where he is breaking away from home.  It’s a confusing time of life when one is trying to make sense of it all.  He’s naïve without being aware of it.  He’s ready to follow someone without being aware of it.  That requires a loosening of ties to what went before, in order to grow into the new skin of his new self.  And here beckons Marxism with easy, ready answers.  Only years later, if he’s a thinking person, will he begin to see what he so glibly zipped past early on.

All this is the natural result of a society growing wealthy.  The young don’t have to work as hard to make it.  Things seem easy because they are easy.  And it’s so easy to attribute one’s success to one’s own brilliance.  Who needs God in this easy world?

In this process, we see why civilizations fall.  Cocky and lazy, elites sink into immorality and drop their moral guard.  Watching it happen is why so many great writers return, toward the end of their lives, to the religion of their youth.  They finally grasp the astonishing complexity of the human condition and the unknowable, amazing mind of God, so far beyond our grasp that calling it “genius” smacks of the childish.

Frank Miele is right.  We need not only a return to belief in God, but also a rededication to thinking about Him, studying Him, talking about Him, giving Him proper respect.  One imagines God looking at the hash man has made of the many gifts He gave us and wondering why He ever bothered.

Frank Miele, editor of the Daily Inter Lake, devotes three columns to the unraveling of our civilization in an effort to explain why it happened.  His columns are well worth your time.

I date the beginning of the unwinding of Western civilization to 1905, when Italian communist Antonio Gramsci advised his fellows that they needed to effect a “long march through the institutions” of the West in order to convert the whole world to communism via education.  A couple of decades later came the Red Scare of the early twenties, when the West (rightly) feared being undermined by disciples of the nascent Bolshevik Revolution going out into the world.

Early signposts that these movements were succeeding included the 1950 trial of Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers’s subsequent publication of Witness, which told us in plain words about the conspiracy in plain sight going on before us.  Harry White and Hiss were close confidants of FDR, and both were communists working for Stalin.  McCarthy had it right, and history has never forgiven him for it.

The so-called New Left in the sixties continued the subversion by putting it into the streets to delegitimize the extant order.  The Establishment encountered a major problem in defending itself intellectually: that generation had never seriously questioned its values.  America had, after all, just won the worst war in history and that was clearly good.  Yet college professors, whom we thought the smart ones, were telling us we were evil and our kids were right.  Helped along in self-doubt by the questionable wisdom of the Vietnam War and the obvious issue of black civil rights, many doubted the moral rectitude of Western civilization.  That doubt had still not been cleared up when the Nixon matter threw the country into still another bout of self-doubt.

The subversives stayed at it in the universities, sneakily removing the once required subject of Western civilization and replacing it with leftist ideology camouflaged as civics.  The Western literary canon came under attack by feminists, another flavor of socialist.  Hollywood got into the act with the likes of Oliver Stone presenting America as the land of the greedy and the home of the evil.  Bit by bit, the planks that had built Western civilization, the predicate of its intellectual defense, were pulled up and replaced with Marxist junk.  Rather than the close, tight reasoning of Locke, Montesquieu, Madison, et al., our kids were learning to whine the trite tripe tropes of the left.

Came the nineties and the Clintons.  Far from ideologues, they were just crooks.  That made the work of the subversives even easier, since many who felt uncomfortable with Marxism readily understood the value of under-the-table bucks and secure congressional sinecures.  All of this is hidden by the rubric of socialism and backed by the power of the ever growing state.

America had long since kicked God out of the schools.  It wasn’t obvious to most at the time, but that was the prelude for all that followed since even the mention of God came to be verboten.  This is too bad, because the more complicated society became, the more we needed God.  The fact is that understanding God and what He wants of us is far more demanding than understanding Marxism.  The complexity of human psychology exceeds anything most of us can even imagine.

By contrast, the allure of socialism or communism has always been its simplicity and superficial reasoning.  Those very characteristics make it a perfect cover for criminality on the large scale.  Those who fall for its siren song are largely young and inexperienced.  Having always been protected, they don’t see humanity’s flawed (sinful) nature and are vulnerable to Marxist “perfectibility of man” thinking.

The Marxist allure usually comes at a young person at just the point in his psychological development where he is breaking away from home.  It’s a confusing time of life when one is trying to make sense of it all.  He’s naïve without being aware of it.  He’s ready to follow someone without being aware of it.  That requires a loosening of ties to what went before, in order to grow into the new skin of his new self.  And here beckons Marxism with easy, ready answers.  Only years later, if he’s a thinking person, will he begin to see what he so glibly zipped past early on.

All this is the natural result of a society growing wealthy.  The young don’t have to work as hard to make it.  Things seem easy because they are easy.  And it’s so easy to attribute one’s success to one’s own brilliance.  Who needs God in this easy world?

In this process, we see why civilizations fall.  Cocky and lazy, elites sink into immorality and drop their moral guard.  Watching it happen is why so many great writers return, toward the end of their lives, to the religion of their youth.  They finally grasp the astonishing complexity of the human condition and the unknowable, amazing mind of God, so far beyond our grasp that calling it “genius” smacks of the childish.

Frank Miele is right.  We need not only a return to belief in God, but also a rededication to thinking about Him, studying Him, talking about Him, giving Him proper respect.  One imagines God looking at the hash man has made of the many gifts He gave us and wondering why He ever bothered.



Source link

Sex and the Midnight Sun


In a classic Twilight Zone episode called “Midnight Sun,” a female artist faces the dreadful fate of being burnt alive in an abandoned New York City.  She and her landlord remain in an apartment building after everyone else has escaped.  The Earth’s orbit has wobbled off course, and the planet is inching closer to the Sun each day.  Night disappears.  All waters dry up.  The neighbors flee Manhattan in droves.  The temperature rises steadily until they face certain death.  The female painter loses all modesty, casting off all clothes but a slip as she waits to shrivel up and perish.

But then she wakes up to find that the doomsday amounted to nothing but a ruse.  In fact, her dark world will freeze.  Her landlady stands over her bundled in winter coats, while she lies swaddled in blankets.  Snow pelts the window of her building.  In reality, the Earth is drifting away from the sun, and all face death by hypothermia.

My forty-something generation remembers the fifties and sixties so condescendingly as a Stone Age of sexism, prejudice, and Eisenhowerian conformity.  But The Twilight Zone remains as a testament to the artistic genius of those decades.  

“Midnight Sun,” like the vast majority of the series’s episodes, pointed to a deeper truth with a timeless relevance.   The human mind faces danger by managing nightmares with counter-nightmares.  Cold is easier to suffer if one has plunged into a nightmare of insufferable heat.

Today’s “Midnight Sun” hangs over sexuality.  This truth has become evident with the strange events of the last three years.  With the Obergefell v. Hodges decision nationalizing the compulsory recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages, not only the LGBT movement, but also feminism could claim “mission accomplished.”  The stodgiest and crustiest institution of America – that Supreme Court of Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson – had gazed over the heads of America’s unwashed homophobic masses and winked to the professors of Women’s Studies at Harvard and Yale.

“We’re on the same page,” Anthony Kennedy – white and male enough for Reagan – said to the purveyors of sexual utopianism.  By deciding that sexual tolerance and love came as basic entitlements, Anthony Kennedy gave feminists and sexual radicals everything they wanted.  They could do as they pleased and receive moral credit, social affirmation, and tax breaks for it.  The power of the state served at their beck and call, available as a form of coercion to fine, enjoin, censure, and (one day soon) imprison any who could impede them.

Nothing ruins victory quite as much as getting what one fought for.  In “Pyrrhic” achievements, winning kills a combatant worse than losing would have.  

After Obergefell, it would have made sense for the LGBT movement to wind down and for the women’s movement to take a calm, reflective posture.  Both movements had run out of enemies, in a sense.  But instead they went into overdrive.  Suddenly, the LGBT movement took to wall-to-wall coverage of a wave of “transphobic” violence, nightmares of men who consider themselves women being beaten by hordes of Southern Baptists.  (In reality, fewer than thirty trans people were murdered last year, and transphobia did not motivate almost any of the killings.)

In keeping with the way the LGBT movement usually operates, the appetite shifts quickly to the punitive.  They abandoned plans to combat sexually transmitted diseases or relationship instability within the gay community.  They focus instead on more lists of people to ban, censor, no-platform, and destroy.

The women’s movement has attained success that earlier feminists could only have imagined.  Even sensible measures such as banning abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy have no hope of passing.  The March for Life gathers each year, assembling hundreds of thousands of pro-life idealists.  A cottage industry of conservative commentators pats them on the head, cheers on their courage, and then cuts every imaginable backdoor deal to keep abortion facilities open for business.  Homosexuality and abortion flourish, championed by movements that have lost no ground.  They have gotten what they wanted.

They wanted a world in which sex did not matter and chastity posed no demands on them.  Unfortunately, this comes with a nightmare.  In a world where sex does not matter, sexual intercourse is meaningless, and no commitment really stands for anything.  The less guidance we receive about how to relate intimately to others based on the self-evident design of our actual bodies, the more confused and lonely we feel.  If I can change my sex at will, so can anyone I am dating.  So what value do I gain by proclaiming my sexual orientation?

If they can change their sex at will, they can change their preferences for a partner just as easily.  Where does that leave me?  Us?  Anyone?  Did anybody have a contingency plan in case loneliness ended up being worse than allowing Anglican churches to preach Romans 1?

Without chastity, it turns out, there can be no charity.  A society that blithely rushes into sexual congress will rush just as quickly into mass judgment.  Forgiveness and mercy require patience and equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Not coincidentally, chastity also rests upon patience, equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Hasty love goes hand in hand with hasty hate.  So our society now traffics in condemnations based on little snippets of things people said decades ago, offhand comments that linger online and never go away, and watch lists compiled by paid character assassins who take everything out of context.

The list of people fired or ruined for making supposedly homophobic or sexist remarks should have served as a warning bell.  Maybe nobody said, “We are all Brendan Eich now,” because we all knew we were Brendan Eich, and we accepted it.  So now the list of people fired or ruined for supposedly “harassing” or being “sexually inappropriate,” even based on accusations from forty years ago lacking any real evidence, has exploded.  The rampage of judgmental condemnation shows no sign of abating.

The LGBT and feminist movements live like the Manhattan painter in the Twilight Zone.  They inhabit a fictional nightmare of their own conception.  They believe that their greatest threat consists of a deadly evangelical menace that stands to shut down screenings of Call Me by Your Name, or a world of toxic masculinity that encourages male co-workers to ask them out on dates.  Sexism and intolerance loom on all sides as ever present dangers.  Their greatest nightmare is facing people who view sex differently from the way they do.  This includes people who see kinky sex as gross rather than exciting.  It includes people who do not interest them sexually yet who express sexual interest to them.  Like the woman about to freeze to death painting pictures of a blazing sun about to fry her alive, these fear-mongers imagine a world of sexual order, conformity, and predictability as the worst type of existence imaginable.

Meanwhile, sexual chaos consumes them and wrecks them more each day.  The loneliness will catch up with them.  Perhaps they know this.  It might comfort them to imagine that lusty men yearn to bed them while homophobes will continue praising chastity.  Those inconveniences seem, at last, soothing for someone who faces long hours at a dull job and an empty apartment full of solitude and sadness.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif.

In a classic Twilight Zone episode called “Midnight Sun,” a female artist faces the dreadful fate of being burnt alive in an abandoned New York City.  She and her landlord remain in an apartment building after everyone else has escaped.  The Earth’s orbit has wobbled off course, and the planet is inching closer to the Sun each day.  Night disappears.  All waters dry up.  The neighbors flee Manhattan in droves.  The temperature rises steadily until they face certain death.  The female painter loses all modesty, casting off all clothes but a slip as she waits to shrivel up and perish.

But then she wakes up to find that the doomsday amounted to nothing but a ruse.  In fact, her dark world will freeze.  Her landlady stands over her bundled in winter coats, while she lies swaddled in blankets.  Snow pelts the window of her building.  In reality, the Earth is drifting away from the sun, and all face death by hypothermia.

My forty-something generation remembers the fifties and sixties so condescendingly as a Stone Age of sexism, prejudice, and Eisenhowerian conformity.  But The Twilight Zone remains as a testament to the artistic genius of those decades.  

“Midnight Sun,” like the vast majority of the series’s episodes, pointed to a deeper truth with a timeless relevance.   The human mind faces danger by managing nightmares with counter-nightmares.  Cold is easier to suffer if one has plunged into a nightmare of insufferable heat.

Today’s “Midnight Sun” hangs over sexuality.  This truth has become evident with the strange events of the last three years.  With the Obergefell v. Hodges decision nationalizing the compulsory recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages, not only the LGBT movement, but also feminism could claim “mission accomplished.”  The stodgiest and crustiest institution of America – that Supreme Court of Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson – had gazed over the heads of America’s unwashed homophobic masses and winked to the professors of Women’s Studies at Harvard and Yale.

“We’re on the same page,” Anthony Kennedy – white and male enough for Reagan – said to the purveyors of sexual utopianism.  By deciding that sexual tolerance and love came as basic entitlements, Anthony Kennedy gave feminists and sexual radicals everything they wanted.  They could do as they pleased and receive moral credit, social affirmation, and tax breaks for it.  The power of the state served at their beck and call, available as a form of coercion to fine, enjoin, censure, and (one day soon) imprison any who could impede them.

Nothing ruins victory quite as much as getting what one fought for.  In “Pyrrhic” achievements, winning kills a combatant worse than losing would have.  

After Obergefell, it would have made sense for the LGBT movement to wind down and for the women’s movement to take a calm, reflective posture.  Both movements had run out of enemies, in a sense.  But instead they went into overdrive.  Suddenly, the LGBT movement took to wall-to-wall coverage of a wave of “transphobic” violence, nightmares of men who consider themselves women being beaten by hordes of Southern Baptists.  (In reality, fewer than thirty trans people were murdered last year, and transphobia did not motivate almost any of the killings.)

In keeping with the way the LGBT movement usually operates, the appetite shifts quickly to the punitive.  They abandoned plans to combat sexually transmitted diseases or relationship instability within the gay community.  They focus instead on more lists of people to ban, censor, no-platform, and destroy.

The women’s movement has attained success that earlier feminists could only have imagined.  Even sensible measures such as banning abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy have no hope of passing.  The March for Life gathers each year, assembling hundreds of thousands of pro-life idealists.  A cottage industry of conservative commentators pats them on the head, cheers on their courage, and then cuts every imaginable backdoor deal to keep abortion facilities open for business.  Homosexuality and abortion flourish, championed by movements that have lost no ground.  They have gotten what they wanted.

They wanted a world in which sex did not matter and chastity posed no demands on them.  Unfortunately, this comes with a nightmare.  In a world where sex does not matter, sexual intercourse is meaningless, and no commitment really stands for anything.  The less guidance we receive about how to relate intimately to others based on the self-evident design of our actual bodies, the more confused and lonely we feel.  If I can change my sex at will, so can anyone I am dating.  So what value do I gain by proclaiming my sexual orientation?

If they can change their sex at will, they can change their preferences for a partner just as easily.  Where does that leave me?  Us?  Anyone?  Did anybody have a contingency plan in case loneliness ended up being worse than allowing Anglican churches to preach Romans 1?

Without chastity, it turns out, there can be no charity.  A society that blithely rushes into sexual congress will rush just as quickly into mass judgment.  Forgiveness and mercy require patience and equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Not coincidentally, chastity also rests upon patience, equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Hasty love goes hand in hand with hasty hate.  So our society now traffics in condemnations based on little snippets of things people said decades ago, offhand comments that linger online and never go away, and watch lists compiled by paid character assassins who take everything out of context.

The list of people fired or ruined for making supposedly homophobic or sexist remarks should have served as a warning bell.  Maybe nobody said, “We are all Brendan Eich now,” because we all knew we were Brendan Eich, and we accepted it.  So now the list of people fired or ruined for supposedly “harassing” or being “sexually inappropriate,” even based on accusations from forty years ago lacking any real evidence, has exploded.  The rampage of judgmental condemnation shows no sign of abating.

The LGBT and feminist movements live like the Manhattan painter in the Twilight Zone.  They inhabit a fictional nightmare of their own conception.  They believe that their greatest threat consists of a deadly evangelical menace that stands to shut down screenings of Call Me by Your Name, or a world of toxic masculinity that encourages male co-workers to ask them out on dates.  Sexism and intolerance loom on all sides as ever present dangers.  Their greatest nightmare is facing people who view sex differently from the way they do.  This includes people who see kinky sex as gross rather than exciting.  It includes people who do not interest them sexually yet who express sexual interest to them.  Like the woman about to freeze to death painting pictures of a blazing sun about to fry her alive, these fear-mongers imagine a world of sexual order, conformity, and predictability as the worst type of existence imaginable.

Meanwhile, sexual chaos consumes them and wrecks them more each day.  The loneliness will catch up with them.  Perhaps they know this.  It might comfort them to imagine that lusty men yearn to bed them while homophobes will continue praising chastity.  Those inconveniences seem, at last, soothing for someone who faces long hours at a dull job and an empty apartment full of solitude and sadness.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif.



Source link

The Welcome Rebirth of Nationalism


The Italian elections of March 4 carry a theme that has become increasingly familiar among those nations in the European Union.  Britain, Germany, France, and Holland have all had elections that swung strongly toward nationalism and the resuscitation of national identity through new political movements that reject the centralization of European government and open borders.

Nationalism has gotten a bad name because the left has falsely associated it with Nazism.  The Nazis, in fact, were imperialist invaders of other nations, and it was the nationalism of nations in the path of the Nazis – British, Swiss, Spanish, and Turkish – that blocked Nazism and confined that evil to continental Europe.  Nationalism, when that means that the people in a nation with a distinctive language and culture ask only to be left in peace, is the solution to many of our world’s problems.

Most troublesome nations are really empires of many peoples whose national aspiration are crushed.  Iran, Iraq, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, and many other large nations are highly artificial and are held together, against common sense and good government, in a large state that has many different languages, different religions or sects of religions, and different cultures.

The deconstruction of these empires into smaller and rational nations is the key to peace and understanding.  The Soviet Union, as a great Russian empire, was miserable and oppressed.  Since that empire splintered into many nations there has been virtually no desire from the formerly oppressed peoples to rejoin Russia in some vast confederation.

Yugoslavia likewise fragmented into several different nations.  The Slovaks, forced into an unhappy union with the Czechs, have never regretted the Velvet Divorce, which broke Czechoslovakia into two new nations.  The Irish, likewise, have never sought to rejoin the United Kingdom, and the Scots have been making noises that suggest that the United Kingdom should lose Scotland as well.

Nationalism reduces tensions by removing one of the major causes of conflict in the world.  What silly supranational organizations like the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the European Union do is submerge nationalism and remove citizens even farther from the centers of political power.  The attempt to make nations alike also removes one of the most potent natural systems for creating peaceful competition in economics, culture, education, and law.

The analogy in America is the marketplace of states, which the left constantly seeks to undermine through hyper-federalization of government, forcing states more and more to follow the dictates of Washington, whatever the citizens of those states may wish.  When Europe is made up out of a large number of small and medium-sized nations that act independently, then these nations follow their own paths in domestic policy.  This means experimentation and also a balancing of interests suitable to particular nations.  The people in Greece, Finland, Ireland, Holland, Portugal, Norway, Italy, Britain, Germany, and France do not all want exactly the same things.  Why is it not their right to choose what they want and how to handle the inevitable tradeoffs that decisions entail?

Moreover, what right do strangers have to enter these lands, where the people find them disruptive and dangerous?  The invasion of the nations whose elections show anger at open borders is like the invasion burglars make into the homes of others.  That the burglar needs a better place to live is no rationale at all. 

We should no more think of decriminalizing entering nations illegally than we would think about decriminalizing burglary.  When legal immigrants become violent and threatening, we should no more think these people have a “right” to be in a nation than we would think a new abusive husband who moves into a home has the “right” to stay there and intimidate the rest of the household.

Elections in Europe are beginning to reflect what the natural citizens of nations feel about remote supranational governments, the removal of the rights of nations to their own culture, and the right of people who live in their homeland to keep out those who are seen as a danger.  This rebirth of nationalism is a hope, not a worry, to those who love peace and want the state to leave them alone.

The Italian elections of March 4 carry a theme that has become increasingly familiar among those nations in the European Union.  Britain, Germany, France, and Holland have all had elections that swung strongly toward nationalism and the resuscitation of national identity through new political movements that reject the centralization of European government and open borders.

Nationalism has gotten a bad name because the left has falsely associated it with Nazism.  The Nazis, in fact, were imperialist invaders of other nations, and it was the nationalism of nations in the path of the Nazis – British, Swiss, Spanish, and Turkish – that blocked Nazism and confined that evil to continental Europe.  Nationalism, when that means that the people in a nation with a distinctive language and culture ask only to be left in peace, is the solution to many of our world’s problems.

Most troublesome nations are really empires of many peoples whose national aspiration are crushed.  Iran, Iraq, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, and many other large nations are highly artificial and are held together, against common sense and good government, in a large state that has many different languages, different religions or sects of religions, and different cultures.

The deconstruction of these empires into smaller and rational nations is the key to peace and understanding.  The Soviet Union, as a great Russian empire, was miserable and oppressed.  Since that empire splintered into many nations there has been virtually no desire from the formerly oppressed peoples to rejoin Russia in some vast confederation.

Yugoslavia likewise fragmented into several different nations.  The Slovaks, forced into an unhappy union with the Czechs, have never regretted the Velvet Divorce, which broke Czechoslovakia into two new nations.  The Irish, likewise, have never sought to rejoin the United Kingdom, and the Scots have been making noises that suggest that the United Kingdom should lose Scotland as well.

Nationalism reduces tensions by removing one of the major causes of conflict in the world.  What silly supranational organizations like the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the European Union do is submerge nationalism and remove citizens even farther from the centers of political power.  The attempt to make nations alike also removes one of the most potent natural systems for creating peaceful competition in economics, culture, education, and law.

The analogy in America is the marketplace of states, which the left constantly seeks to undermine through hyper-federalization of government, forcing states more and more to follow the dictates of Washington, whatever the citizens of those states may wish.  When Europe is made up out of a large number of small and medium-sized nations that act independently, then these nations follow their own paths in domestic policy.  This means experimentation and also a balancing of interests suitable to particular nations.  The people in Greece, Finland, Ireland, Holland, Portugal, Norway, Italy, Britain, Germany, and France do not all want exactly the same things.  Why is it not their right to choose what they want and how to handle the inevitable tradeoffs that decisions entail?

Moreover, what right do strangers have to enter these lands, where the people find them disruptive and dangerous?  The invasion of the nations whose elections show anger at open borders is like the invasion burglars make into the homes of others.  That the burglar needs a better place to live is no rationale at all. 

We should no more think of decriminalizing entering nations illegally than we would think about decriminalizing burglary.  When legal immigrants become violent and threatening, we should no more think these people have a “right” to be in a nation than we would think a new abusive husband who moves into a home has the “right” to stay there and intimidate the rest of the household.

Elections in Europe are beginning to reflect what the natural citizens of nations feel about remote supranational governments, the removal of the rights of nations to their own culture, and the right of people who live in their homeland to keep out those who are seen as a danger.  This rebirth of nationalism is a hope, not a worry, to those who love peace and want the state to leave them alone.



Source link

How Bad Would Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Be, Really?


President Trump has proposed slapping a 10- and 25-percent tariff on aluminum and steel imports, respectively.  The cry from the free trade quarter and the mainstream media is loud, often bordering on hysterical.  They claim that these tariffs will raise consumer prices, hurt the U.S. economy, invite retaliation from other countries, and maybe lead to a trade war reminiscent of the 1930s.

Where to start?  The best place is with the term “free trade” itself.  In reality, these is no “free trade.”  Mouthing the words “free trade” sounds good, so it must be good, right?  Wrong.  What has been passing for free trade is the condition whereby the U.S. markets are kept relatively open while other countries are allowed to put up barriers to our exports and maintain predatory trade practices.  It is this “free trade” that has been grinding American manufacturing down for years and erasing middle-class jobs in the process.

Let’s look at some of the specifics of the steel and aluminum tariffs.  To begin with, there is a global overcapacity in the manufacture of both steel and aluminum.  This has come about because many countries heavily subsidize their industries.  The production goals in said countries are based not on market conditions, but on government policies that typically focus on jobs at home.  This results in too much production.  The excess is then exported abroad, often into the open American market, at artificially low prices – that is, at prices below the cost of manufacture.  In economic circles, this is called dumping, and it has historically been viewed as an unfair trade and predatory trade practice.

The top exporter of aluminum and steel into the U.S. is Canada, a country Trump is hinting at exempting from the tariffs.  This is not just because Canada is our largest overall trading partner, but because the attractive prices of Canada’s steel and aluminum are due to production efficiency – namely, Canadian mills have access to relatively inexpensive hydroelectric electricity.  That’s not the case for the other producers, who should be hit with tariffs.

You may wonder, why have predatory trade practices against the U.S. been allowed to fester for so long?  That’s a question you have to ask the free traders.  Good luck getting an answer. 

Fortunately, Trump is starting to act.  And the recent departure from the administration of economic adviser Gary Cohn – a Democrat, a free trader, and a Wall Street fat cat – is a welcome sign.

Wilber Ross, secretary of commerce, is solid.  He has said the U.S. will no longer be a “patsy” for other countries on trade.  At Davos, he also commented that “[t]here have always been trade wars.  The difference now is U.S. troops are now coming to the ramparts.”  This is exactly what many of our trading partners find highly objectionable: America defending itself.  It’s as if they’ve grown accustomed to going out for dinner and drinks each night and having America always picking up the tab.  It’s a shock for them to hear that the arrangement is coming to an end.

Now let’s look at the effect of the aluminum and steel tariffs on U.S. prices.  Take aluminum.  A 10-percent tariff will raise the cost of the imported metal by at most 10 percent.  And since aluminum has extensive use, the argument goes that this tariff will ripple through the economy and hurt the consumer.  Will it? 

Say a product costs $10 and has $1’s worth of raw aluminum in it.  With the tariff, the cost of the metal rises to $1.10 and the product to $10.10.  How significant is that?

Some concrete examples.  Take airline manufacturing, which is a big aluminum-user, as the planes have aluminum shells.  So what do you suppose is the percentage cost of the raw aluminum in the overall cost of producing a Boeing 777 or any other plane in the Boeing fleet?  It’s minuscule.  It is nearly the same for the car you drive.  Moving down the product sophistication ladder, what is the percent cost of the aluminum in a can of Coors Lite?  It shouldn’t be all that much.

Example after example can be given, and the results will be the same.  In all but a few exceptional cases, like aluminum foil for the kitchen, the cost of the aluminum in the product will be small, in some cases so small that the effect of the tariff might not even be noticeable.  The steel tariff will have more bite, but the argument is the same.  For a building, what percentage of its cost is due to the raw steel in its structure?

This percentage cost of steel and aluminum in products is relatively low because both are commodities – or, if you will, low value-added products (unless they are specialized).  Admittedly, the cost effect of tariffs would be magnified when applied to finished products like cars, TV, iPhones, and high-end sub-assemblies like automotive engines and transmissions.  That’s a story for another time. 

There’s another factor on steel and aluminum which the free traders neglect to address.  As previously stated, for both, there is a global overcapacity.  Under that condition, if these tariffs were imposed, might not the producers eat the tariffs to maintain market share?  To the extent that that happens, the cost of the tariff is transferred from the American consumer to the foreign producer.

Given all this, it is hard to see that President Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum will affect prices all that much.  What probably has the free traders hyperventilating is the thought that these tariffs – like the previous ones on washing machines and solar panels – might lead for a more serious effort by the administration to address a trade arrangement that is skewed against America.  The free traders know they are backing a system that is difficult to defend on its merits and fear that any breach in their position might cascade.  As for the globalists in the free trade camp, they love the status quo because it has the U.S. subsidizing the economies of other countries.  To them, that’s America’s role in life.

President Trump has proposed slapping a 10- and 25-percent tariff on aluminum and steel imports, respectively.  The cry from the free trade quarter and the mainstream media is loud, often bordering on hysterical.  They claim that these tariffs will raise consumer prices, hurt the U.S. economy, invite retaliation from other countries, and maybe lead to a trade war reminiscent of the 1930s.

Where to start?  The best place is with the term “free trade” itself.  In reality, these is no “free trade.”  Mouthing the words “free trade” sounds good, so it must be good, right?  Wrong.  What has been passing for free trade is the condition whereby the U.S. markets are kept relatively open while other countries are allowed to put up barriers to our exports and maintain predatory trade practices.  It is this “free trade” that has been grinding American manufacturing down for years and erasing middle-class jobs in the process.

Let’s look at some of the specifics of the steel and aluminum tariffs.  To begin with, there is a global overcapacity in the manufacture of both steel and aluminum.  This has come about because many countries heavily subsidize their industries.  The production goals in said countries are based not on market conditions, but on government policies that typically focus on jobs at home.  This results in too much production.  The excess is then exported abroad, often into the open American market, at artificially low prices – that is, at prices below the cost of manufacture.  In economic circles, this is called dumping, and it has historically been viewed as an unfair trade and predatory trade practice.

The top exporter of aluminum and steel into the U.S. is Canada, a country Trump is hinting at exempting from the tariffs.  This is not just because Canada is our largest overall trading partner, but because the attractive prices of Canada’s steel and aluminum are due to production efficiency – namely, Canadian mills have access to relatively inexpensive hydroelectric electricity.  That’s not the case for the other producers, who should be hit with tariffs.

You may wonder, why have predatory trade practices against the U.S. been allowed to fester for so long?  That’s a question you have to ask the free traders.  Good luck getting an answer. 

Fortunately, Trump is starting to act.  And the recent departure from the administration of economic adviser Gary Cohn – a Democrat, a free trader, and a Wall Street fat cat – is a welcome sign.

Wilber Ross, secretary of commerce, is solid.  He has said the U.S. will no longer be a “patsy” for other countries on trade.  At Davos, he also commented that “[t]here have always been trade wars.  The difference now is U.S. troops are now coming to the ramparts.”  This is exactly what many of our trading partners find highly objectionable: America defending itself.  It’s as if they’ve grown accustomed to going out for dinner and drinks each night and having America always picking up the tab.  It’s a shock for them to hear that the arrangement is coming to an end.

Now let’s look at the effect of the aluminum and steel tariffs on U.S. prices.  Take aluminum.  A 10-percent tariff will raise the cost of the imported metal by at most 10 percent.  And since aluminum has extensive use, the argument goes that this tariff will ripple through the economy and hurt the consumer.  Will it? 

Say a product costs $10 and has $1’s worth of raw aluminum in it.  With the tariff, the cost of the metal rises to $1.10 and the product to $10.10.  How significant is that?

Some concrete examples.  Take airline manufacturing, which is a big aluminum-user, as the planes have aluminum shells.  So what do you suppose is the percentage cost of the raw aluminum in the overall cost of producing a Boeing 777 or any other plane in the Boeing fleet?  It’s minuscule.  It is nearly the same for the car you drive.  Moving down the product sophistication ladder, what is the percent cost of the aluminum in a can of Coors Lite?  It shouldn’t be all that much.

Example after example can be given, and the results will be the same.  In all but a few exceptional cases, like aluminum foil for the kitchen, the cost of the aluminum in the product will be small, in some cases so small that the effect of the tariff might not even be noticeable.  The steel tariff will have more bite, but the argument is the same.  For a building, what percentage of its cost is due to the raw steel in its structure?

This percentage cost of steel and aluminum in products is relatively low because both are commodities – or, if you will, low value-added products (unless they are specialized).  Admittedly, the cost effect of tariffs would be magnified when applied to finished products like cars, TV, iPhones, and high-end sub-assemblies like automotive engines and transmissions.  That’s a story for another time. 

There’s another factor on steel and aluminum which the free traders neglect to address.  As previously stated, for both, there is a global overcapacity.  Under that condition, if these tariffs were imposed, might not the producers eat the tariffs to maintain market share?  To the extent that that happens, the cost of the tariff is transferred from the American consumer to the foreign producer.

Given all this, it is hard to see that President Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum will affect prices all that much.  What probably has the free traders hyperventilating is the thought that these tariffs – like the previous ones on washing machines and solar panels – might lead for a more serious effort by the administration to address a trade arrangement that is skewed against America.  The free traders know they are backing a system that is difficult to defend on its merits and fear that any breach in their position might cascade.  As for the globalists in the free trade camp, they love the status quo because it has the U.S. subsidizing the economies of other countries.  To them, that’s America’s role in life.



Source link