The Democratic Embrace of Tyranny

https://marcaenmurcia.com/65415-gay-events-mannheim-tickets-57816/ The erosion in the belief of individual freedom among the public, particularly the Democrats, is very concerning.  According to the Rasmussen Poll, half or more of Democratic voters believe Americans should be fined or imprisoned for questioning or disagreeing with their dogma.  Not only do they deny others the right to their own freedoms and opinions, these voters want to criminalize those speaking or taking action against governmental narratives.

https://sandstonereno.com/1015-kvinner-i-tennessee-ute-etter-sex-naughty-voksen-pekere-96499/ According to Rasmussen, “Nearly half (48%) of Democratic voters think federal and state governments should be able to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications.”

Take note of this.  Almost half of Democratic voters think people who question governmental policy should be fined or imprisoned.  The primary purpose of the free speech clause in the First Amendment is to allow, if not encourage, people to question and challenge governmental policy.  This ensures the people remain free and that government, which is supposed to be, in Lincoln’s words, “of the people,” remains responsive and subservient to the people. 

Yet now, we have a large group of people ignorant or disdainful of individual liberty and who believe an autocratic government of elites should dictate policy to all Americans.  In the minds of these statist sycophants, and deviation, or even questioning, of governmental policy should result in a fine or jail time.  The totalitarian regimes of the 1930’s could not have asked for a better group of authoritarian bootlickers.

gay hookup sites near clinton md Even worse is the poll’s finding that, “Forty-five percent (45%) of Democrats would favor governments requiring citizens to temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”

bromma singel kvinna In addition, “Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Democratic voters would support temporarily removing parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.”

dating cafe events gießen Just a few years ago, either of these options would be laughed off the table.  But now we have almost half of Democratic voters supporting the relocation of unvaccinated people into concentration camps, and more than a quarter of these voters want their family’s to be ripped apart if they deviate from governmental dictates.  It must be noted that these are the same people who decry putting people who violate in our immigration laws in “cages,” yet support the use of the same cages against American citizens who disagree with extra-Constitutional governmental overreach.

Instead of indoctrinating our citizens into historically oppressive and anti-American ideologies like Marxism, we should redouble teaching our schoolchildren and citizens the rationale for individual liberty and the reasoning for our Constitution.  It seems the memories of the totalitarian dictatorships of the 1920’s through the 1940’s (and beyond) has been forgotten, and the events that led to the Second World War are being ignored.  As a nation, we have tolerated attacks on free-enterprise, individual liberty, and limited government for too long.  As a result, we have far too many people who not only believe that America is irredeemably evil, but that the only solution to our problems is to adopt a totalitarian, authoritarian, and despotic dictatorship of elites.  We have somehow sanctioned the abandonment of personal choice and responsibility in favor of a collectivist dictatorship run by a select few.

Contrary to the beliefs of some (and far too many Democrats), the “common good” does not exist.  Instead, those using the term, the “common good,” are engaging in propaganda designed to obscure their primary goal – implementing, by force, their personal preferences on others.  Appealing to the “common good” has been the watchword of tyrants throughout history, and they have been allowed to rule because of the fearful compliance of their populations.  The goal of these tyrants has never been the good of their subjects.  It has always been about the power they can wield over their subjects.

It is shameful that so many Americans are so ignorant of the lessons of history that they willingly embrace any charismatic individual making appealing promises.  It is appalling that these same Americans are so willing to deny the opposition a voice, and that these Americans are willing to imprison those with differing opinions or priorities.  This not only points to a major deficiency in understanding the purpose of our nation’s values, but also demonstrates a callous disregard for the freedoms and choices naturally held by every human.

Trump and the “Slow-Moving Coup”

The same media that created Trump is now aghast he has supporters. What did they expect when they gave Trump hours of free airtime every night back in 2016? The media ignored fifteen other Republican candidates in order to gain ratings by airing whichever rants Trump chose to utter that day.

Even now, the media are giving Trump far more airtime, and in spite of themselves, more credibility by being utterly consumed by everything he does. Now they are concerned about a “slow-moving coup?”

This will be the narrative of the next few months, and will, once again, give Trump the airtime and attention he craves.  Mainstream media has no credibility among many Trump supporters.  But, as one of the cardinal rules of politics attests, any coverage, even negative, is preferable to no coverage.

Trump lost the 2020 election, plain and simple. I know there are far too many who believe he actually won, and the election was somehow stolen from him. Indeed, this is the portrayal Eric Trump is trying to advance in order to keep his father relevant and in the news. But the truth is that Trump, in his arrogance and hubris, ran an awful campaign.

Because he didn’t get the kind of unlimited and uncritical airtime he enjoyed in 2016, he had to actually run a campaign in 2020. He failed to do that, and he lost.

Even those believing some sort of conspiracy “stole” the election from Trump have failed to read the Constitution. Article II, Section 1, clearly states, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”

Note that the Constitution does not require a popular election for president. If it so desires, any of the states could just appoint electors of their choosing (and that was the original intent of this passage of the Constitution). Once the states approved their presidential electors, they completed their obligations according to the Constitution. Even if Trump actually did win the states his supporters claim were “stolen,” it doesn’t matter according to the Constitution. All the states had to do was appoint electors. Constitutionally, it doesn’t matter if the electors reflected the votes each presidential candidate received.

Personally, I always thought Trump was an idiot who ran a populist campaign designed to appeal to the grievances of many middle-class Americans (indeed, he stole his techniques from the tactics used by the left for decades). He has virtually no knowledge of government, and even less of the Constitution (of course, that critique can be applied to far too many members of Congress, as well).

I won’t deny the nation was better off with Trump as president than it is under Biden, but that’s a very low bar to clear. Biden has given the Bernie Sanders’ “progressive” wing of the Democratic party far too much power, and, in fact, many Democrats are attempting to govern to the left of Sanders. Considering the current state of the Democrats, anyone that even sounds remotely reasonable would be a better choice. Even confirmed liberals, like Senators Joe Manchin, (West Virginia), and Kyrsten Sinema, (Arizona), seem moderate by comparison.

Both major political parties are a mess. If the Democrats continue on their unitary national government, socialist path, there won’t be a need for a “slow-moving” coup. There will be a need for a full-scale revolution to reinstate federal government according to the principles of the Constitution.  This revolution won’t be led by Trump.  Instead, it would be conducted by those who actually read, understand, and revere the Constitution.  That doesn’t describe Trump.

There will always be those who are attracted to charismatic populists, and who believe they see their own images in populist candidates.  However, populists rarely make good representatives and leaders because of the narrow and shallow focus of their beliefs and their inherent narcissism.  Instead of holding any recognizable political philosophy, populists rely solely upon their own charisma.  Although Trump is a charismatic individual to many, and even though he has the ability to make people think he cares about them, Trump was less than a success as president.  Even though some of his instincts were correct, he lacked the power and ability to create long-standing change.  Indeed, his actions actually further emboldened the socialistic left.

If the country is to move to the correct course, it needs a president who understands their job is to execute the laws passed by Congress, not one who unilaterally attempts to create law anytime he thinks Congress has failed.

We need a Congress whose members actually understand federalism, and who recognize the states, not the federal government, are invested with the majority of sovereignty by the Constitution.  Members of Congress must recognize the powers of the federal government are limited by design, and this design is appropriate.  They must also recognize they shouldn’t have the power to spend other people’s money anytime they have a constituency with a grievance or an opportunity presents itself to buy votes with government spending.  Representatives should use the upmost discretion every time they seek to spend a dollar, and they must use fiscal sense so as not to extort too much money from wage earners or saddle future generations with massive debt.

Trump is not the answer, and the election was not stolen from him.  The Democrats, as they are now constituted, are not the answer either. 

Both parties must carefully assess their beliefs and goals, and develop appealing candidates consistent with those beliefs and goals.  If they continue to fail to do so, another party may rise up to supplant one or both of the current major parties.  And if the situation appears too extreme, we might actually see the genesis of a new political revolution, and not merely a “slow-moving coup.”

The Real Danger of Facebook

The real problem with Facebook is not that they fail to censor enough posts. The real danger is their practice of using analytics to segment users into identity groups.

As a result of a 60 Minutes report, the media is all over Facebook – decrying what former employee Frances Haugen called an emphasis of “profit over safety.”

No kidding!

Of course, Facebook chooses “profit over safety.”  They exist to sell advertising and to turn a profit.  They are not, and should not, be in the business of ensuring safety – whatever that really means.

Facebook has been under attack for virtually any kind of post made by its users.  If someone posts an opinion questioning the current orthodoxy, it’s labeled misinformation.  If a user believes in American exceptionalism and cultural superiority, he or she is branded as an unrepentant racist and white supremacist.  If an individual questions the “settled science” of climate change, that person is called a science denier.  People must even ensure they use the accepted nomenclature to refer to gender.  Women can no longer be called women – they are “menstruating persons” or “people who give birth.”

Community Standards and Censorship

In order to placate the opponents of free speech, Facebook has created so-called “community standards,” which are ever-changing and worded similarly to the Democratic party platform.  Any deviation from these so-called standards may subject a user to a permanent ban from Facebook, particularly if a user creates posts containing a conservative point-of-view.  Although private companies are not required to follow the Bill of Rights, Facebook selectively chooses which types of speech violates their “community standards” and often uses technology, rather than real people, rendering the context of posts irrelevant to their decisions to suspend or ban a person.  Indeed, Facebook often seems intent on appeasing the 40% of millennials who believe so-called hate speech should be outlawed.

In spite of Facebook’s efforts, critics demand even more censorship of user content by the social media giant.

The content of posts found on Facebook is not the problem, and censorship often results in valid content and opinions being suppressed.  For example, Facebook would routinely remove posts claiming COVID-19 was man-made or escaped from a Chinese laboratory.  Users were even permanently banned from Facebook if they continued to voice these opinions.  In another example of Facebook’s defiance of constitutional norms, there is no appeal to their decisions, even if those decisions are made using incorrect assumptions and information.  In May 2021, Facebook reversed course as evidence was uncovered demonstrating the possibility of the virus escaping from a Wuhan laboratory due to an accidental leak.  Once the general media entertained the idea such a conclusion was credible, if not likely, Facebook stopped censoring posts asserting COVID-19 was created by humans.  Yet it did nothing to remedy the damage done to users it disabled or suspended for previously expressing the view that COVID may have originated or escaped from a laboratory.

The Case Against Censorship

The content of posts is not the problem with Facebook.  There is a good reason why the United States guarantees free speech in the First Amendment of the Constitution.  Today’s “crackpot ideas” may be tomorrow’s revelations.  Posts that challenge the moral tenor of the times one year may reflect common sentiment another year.  Most importantly, any kind of censorship involves the suppression of ideas, even if many consider certain ideas reprehensible.  Ideas are far less likely to cause a problem than the selective censorship of certain ideas.  Currently, some are so invested with the dogma of so-called progressivism that they consider any opposing viewpoint as not only wrong, but as evil.

The remedy of misinformation, crackpot ideas, and reprehensive ideas has always been the truth and a free marketplace of ideas in which opposing viewpoints are not only permitted, but encouraged.  This is where Facebook fails.  Rather than presenting multiple viewpoints to its users, Facebook categorizes users into groups of commonality, so they may be better targeted by Facebook’s advertisers.  Because Facebook has found it profitable to divide users up into political, social, and racial identity groups, users are rarely confronted with perspectives that differ from their own.  Indeed, Facebook users often find themselves in echo chambers in which every user they see expresses similar opinions.

The Real Danger of Facebook

Why is the practice of segmenting users into identity groups dangerous?

Facebook employs algorithms which segment users by age, political views, socio-economic characteristics, education, and likely even race.  This is useful for advertisers who seek to craft their message to appeal to specific demographics.  Yet it is disastrous for both free speech and the truth.

In normal society, everyone has the freedom to voice their own opinions.  Yet, voicing specific opinions are not without consequence.  If people spout misinformation, others can use facts to publicly correct them.  If someone uses socially unacceptable language or engages in discriminatory speech, that person may be shunned or embarrassed by others.  When speech is totally unfettered, so is the right and likelihood of rebuttal.  In a totally free marketplace of ideas, true, good, and acceptable ideas tend to rise to the top.  Discriminatory ideas, misinformation, and profanity is usually squelched or rendered impotent by those offering rebuttals.

Because of Facebook’s algorithms, however, users with similar ideas are placed together.  This includes users spouting misinformation, discriminatory ideas, crackpot ideas, conspiracy theories and the like.  Rather than being challenged, as they would in a free marketplace of ideas, bad ideas are amplified, and purveyors of stupid ideas believe they are in the right, because everyone with whom they interact agrees with their assessments.  In Facebook’s balkanized environment, users are only presented with ideas that mirror their own.  Contrary opinions and facts, which might change one’s perspective, are rare.  Instead, bad and dangerous ideas are reinforced in Facebook, rather than subjected to counter-arguments from others.

Although Facebook may mouth fidelity to whatever types of diversity are currently in vogue, they fail to ensure users are exposed to a diversity of ideas.  Instead, they enhance division and polarity by dividing users by certain characteristics and assigning them into electronic ghettos populated solely by like-minded individuals.  There is no debate, no give and take, and no free marketplace of ideas in Facebook.  Instead, there are hundreds of echo chambers, each populated by people of similar characteristics, similar interests, and similar opinions.  Not only are Facebook users not presented with differing perspectives – the Facebook algorithm prohibits this from occurring.  Instead, users are just grouped into categories of like-minded individuals.  There is no diversity of thought and ideas, and there is little opportunity for one’s views to be assessed and challenged.

As with any other type of social construct, organic freedom always results in greater progress and lifestyle than dictatorship.  When a person, company, or government seeks to censor and suppress certain ideas, they are doing so solely for their own perceived self-interest, not the interest of the citizenry as a whole.  When a free and diverse exchange of ideas exists, great ideas rise to the top and reprehensible ideas are consigned to the dustbin in the normal course of human interaction.  The danger of Facebook is not that they fail to censor enough ideas or remove enough posts.  The real danger is that Facebook actively works to prevent users from being exposed to different ideas.

What does the Biden Administration and the Venezuelan Dictatorship Have in Common?

What does Venezuela’s desire to adopt a totally cashless society and the Biden administration’s plan to require banks to report all transactions over $600 to the IRS have in common?  They are both about establishing government control over our finances and diminishing personal privacy.

The Biden administration believes that requiring banks to report all transactions over $600 to the government would reduce income tax evasion.  However, the IRS can already gather all the financial information it may need for an audit without adding this cumbersome requirement.  If instituted, the compliance costs to report all transactions over $600 will be enormous and the reporting process will be a bureaucratic nightmare.

In addition to the compliance costs, which would drive up the fees charged by banking institutions, the privacy implications are alarming.  The IRS would have access to information about any banking transaction exceeding $600.  If you’re withdrawing a few thousand dollars to purchase a used car, the government will know about it.  If you received a thousand dollars in wedding gifts, the government will know about it (and try to tax it).  If you spend $600 to attend a protest event, the government will know about it.  Even if you move money from one account to another, not only will the government know about it, it would also likely trigger an IRS audit. There is no telling what the government will ultimately do with the information they collect about individual spending, saving, and earning habits.

It is all but certain the reporting of transactions over $600 will be reported electronically.  Not only will the government have unconstrained access to most people’s financial activities, but so will hackers and other nefarious actors.  Considering the increasing number of data breeches against supposedly secure credit card transaction and personal information, it is inevitable that individual financial data will be leaked.  This data provides a treasure trove of information that may be used by criminals.  Under this proposal, not only will bureaucrats in Washington have access to your private information, but so will criminals in China, Russia, and the rest of Eastern Europe. 

This idea seems to always turn up like a bad penny anytime Democrats engage in a federal spending binge.  In 2010, as part of the so-called Affordable Care Act, Democrats wanted small business owners to submit a 1099 form to any vendor with whom they spent $600 or more in a calendar year.  This would have meant, for example, that a company which ordered a few cases of printer paper and pencils from Staples would have to send them a 1099 form at the end of the year.  Companies whose employees stayed at a Sheraton Hotel on a business trip would have had to send Sheraton a 1099 form (for each separate location).  The list goes on and on.

Had a few sane legislators not noticed this insertion into a massive spending bill, and had not small business owners lobbied against this, every small business owner would have been saddled with huge paperwork requirements and thousands of dollars in additional accounting costs.  The costs to comply with the proposed dictates would have dwarfed the small amount of additional taxes collected by the IRS as a result of these requirements.

Democrats seem to have a fixation with the $600 number.  That was their preference in 2010, and it has appeared again this year.  They believe that infringing upon the financial privacy of Americans is a small price to pay in order to fund their vote-buying programs.  They also totally ignore the costs of maintaining compliance, and the fact that such costs will be passed down to all users of banking services.  If inflation wasn’t already bad enough with gasoline prices more than a dollar per gallon expensive than it was a year ago, this bill will surely send inflation spiraling out of control.

What does this have to do with Venezuela?  Ever since the Venezuelans elected a socialist government, which shortly became a dictatorship, inflation has skyrocketed.  Even their currency could not keep up with the rate of inflation.  Before Hugo Chávez became president, the Venezuelan bolivar typically traded at 3 to 4 bolivars to one United States dollar.  Even after several currency reevaluations, it now takes 4,146,022 bolivars to purchase a single U.S. dollar.

Venezuela can not print currency fast enough to keep up with their rate of inflation.  Their largest denomination bank note, 50,000 bolivars, is now only worth a couple of cents in United States currency.  Bank notes are often obsolete even before they enter circulation.  Because of the huge inflation rate, bank notes are rarely used in commerce, and coins have completely disappeared from circulation.

In light of this, Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro has announced plans to abolish physical cash and go to an entirely cashless society.  In a cashless society, all transactions are electronically recorded and available to the government upon request.  This allows the government to track the finances and transactions of specific individuals and to limit the places in which money may be spent.  If, for example, an opposition party is attempting to raise funds to challenge the incumbent government, the dictatorship could prevent any funds from being used for this purpose.  It will be impossible to purchase books, artwork, newspapers, or anything else not approved by the government.  Electronic records of all financial transactions is the secret police force’s best friend.

Will the proposed reporting requirements in the United States be as intrusive as those used by Venezuela?  Not immediately.  However, we must remember the Patriot Act was ostensibly created to thwart international terrorists.  Yet, its use of secret warrants and indictments has been employed more often to prosecute crimes within the United States, rather than foreign terrorists.  The Internal Revenue Service has been used, not only to collect taxes, but to target political organizations opposing the incumbent administration.  And while the FBI has not yet become as much of a political secret police force as Venezuela’s Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional, it has many times exceeded its authority to achieve political aims.  Granting the government another excuse to spy upon its citizens’ economic transactions does not bode well for the future of liberty.

Will those determined to evade United States taxation be thwarted by the bank reporting requirements?  For the most part, no.  Those with large resources will begin conducting transactions using unregulated cyber currencies, tangible metals (silver and gold), and sophisticated barter systems.  They will remove themselves from the United States fiat currency system.  In fact, the bank reporting requirements may result in a reduction to tax collection by driving many economic transactions underground.

The real victims of the proposed reporting requirements will likely be middle-class wage earners and small-business owners.  The government will use the data collected to harass (often innocent) citizens through intrusive audits and civil forfeiture provisions.  Even citizens who innocently moved money from one account to another may find themselves bullied by zealous IRS agents or local police forces hungry for the proceeds of civil forfeiture. 

And all this damage is being done so the Democratic administration can attempt to buy votes by dramatically expanding social and spending programs.  It’s hardly a good bargain.

Was Julian Castro correct that We Should be “Pissed?”

During the June 27, 2019 Democratic presidential debate, candidate Julian Castro stated, “We saw that image today that broke our hearts,” referring to photos of  Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter drowned after crossing the Rio Grande River to illegally enter the United States.

Both Castro and the debate moderator, José Diaz-Balart, stated that Martinez Ramirez and his family were seeking asylum in the United States because of the economic hardships the endured in El Salvador.  Expanding on his reaction to the drowning, Castro stated, “It should also piss us all off.”

Castro was right, it should piss us off!  But not for the reason he alleges.  In fact, Castro, Diaz-Balart and their ideological allies have propagated this myth that anyone wanting to enter the United States is eligible for asylum.  This myth has provided false hope to many individuals seeking to bypass the legal immigration process.  They have been led to believe that asylum is possible if they are economically destitute in their home countries, or if they live in dangerous areas. 

In fact, none of this is true.

Asylum is not offered by the United States for people suffering economic deprivation, nor is it available for people who reside in violent or dangerous places.  Asylum is only legally available to people “because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 

If a person is unable to prove that he or she is actively being persecuted by a governmental or de-facto governmental policy directed specifically at specific races, religions, nationalities, social groups, or political opinions, that person is not eligible for asylum in the United States.  Even if a person is a victim of persecution due to their membership in the listed groups, people are not eligible for United States asylum if there are areas in their own nations where that persecution does not exist or if they pass through another country in which that persecution does not occur.  In fact, if a person makes a frivolous claim for asylum, that person may be permanently prohibited from any kind of immigration to the United States in the future.

It is true that the “catch and release” policy of asylum seekers used under previous presidential administrations facilitated illegal immigration.  Those seeking to bypass United States immigration law knew that the asylum claims system was overwhelmed.  If people claimed asylum after arriving on United States soil, they were usually given a future court date and were permitted to remain in the United States.  It is no surprise that an overwhelming majority of those who claimed asylum never appeared for their court dates.  Instead, they remained in the United States as illegal immigrants.

Recognizing that well over 90% of requests for asylum are denied by our courts and that the vast majority of those claiming asylum never returned for their court dates, the Trump administration ended the “catch and release” policy.  Instead, applicants for asylum were either incarcerated while waiting for their court dates or were refused entry until the courts would be able to hear their cases.  Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez chose not to wait in accordance with United States policy, and instead took the dangerous path of fording the Rio Grande River with his family to enter the United States illegally.  From all appearances, Martinez Ramirez was not legally eligible for asylum anyway.  He was attempting to enter the United States solely for economic reasons.

It is obvious that there are many politicians, particularly in the Democratic party, who are encouraging people to immigrate illegally and to improperly claim asylum.  Julian Castro and José Diaz-Balart exemplified this during the June 27, 2019 debate.  This tactic undermines United States immigration law, overwhelms our immigration enforcement resources, and puts potential immigrants at risk.  One can not know if these politicians are signaling false hopes for asylum in order to pander to certain electoral constituencies, intentionally undermine immigration law, or out of sheer ignorance.  But their actions in holding out false hope puts more potential immigrants at risk than any of Trump’s policies.

Most of the Democratic presidential candidates served in Congress.  They know (or should know) that President Trump did not create immigration law.  Immigration law emanated from Congress – the president just enforces the laws passed by Congress.  Each of these candidates had the opportunity to propose new immigration laws.  None of them did.  Instead, they advertise false hope to potential immigrants in order to sabotage Trump’s presidency.  This is an abdication of their own responsibilities and a reckless policy that puts lives at risk.  I fear the Democrats don’t recognize the consequences of their actions and are only concerned with the political advantages they may provide.

Should we have completely open borders?  Some make strong cases that we should.  But the United States (or any other nation) can’t have unconstrained immigration and generous and universal social welfare programs.  If we wish to retain the current level of welfare programs, we must carefully vet potential immigrants to ensure they won’t become burdens on the public welfare system.  If we instead decide to open our borders completely, we must recognize that our current social welfare programs will be quickly overwhelmed by freeloading immigrants who will put significant pressure on the public treasury.

Regardless of the type of immigration laws we desire, it is not within the authority of the president to create such laws.  Immigration laws may only be created and passed by Congress.  If any presidential candidates who once served in Congress claim they will change immigration law as president, they are lying!  They had their opportunity to do so while in Congress.  If they failed to reform immigration law when serving in the body responsible for creating such laws, what makes one think they will successfully change the law while serving in a position that does not have the authority to create laws?

Julian Castro is right when he says we should be pissed about immigrants dying as they try to reach our shores.  We should be pissed that there are pandering politicians who make people believe they can receive asylum even though they are not legally eligible to do so.  We should be pissed at politicians who seek to undermine the laws they are responsible for creating just because they with to pander to certain groups in order to secure a political advantage.  We should be pissed at politicians who use desperate and uninformed people as pawns in their attempts to secure political points.  Yes, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez was ultimately responsible for the poor decision that cost him and his daughter their lives.  But they were encouraged to make that decision by politicians who falsely and cynically held out hope for asylum to Martinez Ramirez.

It is those politicians who should be targets of our ire!

Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Success

If anything is a glaring example of pandering, misguided, authoritarian, collectivist tendencies, it is Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to institute a “wealth tax” against individuals with large assets.  Not only is her proposal likely an unconstitutional violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against direct taxation, it is a policy designed to penalize success in order to grant Washington the power to redistribute earned wealth to those who haven’t earned it.  In essence, Warren is proposing the seizing of assets from some in order to pay off the political constituencies she prefers.

For generations, economists have suggested that the economy functions best when people save their money, and invest it in areas that help the economy grow.  As an economy grows, overall wealth increases, benefiting all.  This does not mean that equal outcomes ensue, or even that equal outcomes are desirable.  Instead, it means that the producers and investors help grow the economy, producing goods and services valued and used by people of all economic circumstances.  One needs only look at some of the products created, many of which did not even exist twenty or thirty years ago, to see the value of allowing producers to earn, keep, and invest their funds.  Cell phones, pharmaceuticals that cure disease, and personal computers are among the products that were unobtainable a generation ago, but now owned by rich and poor alike.  Although there is obviously inequality in incomes, the fruits of a vibrant economy are made available to all.  The wealth tax, instead of encouraging savings and investments, instead instigates the squandering of money.

Warren, and others of her ilk, believe that the economy is “rigged,” and that only intervention by a select group of bureaucrats and technocrats, using money seized by producers, will allow the attainment of her goal of income equality and equal outcomes for all.  Instead of recognizing the value producers and investors have on the economy, Warren advocates a lowest-common denominator form of economic “equality” in which one’s skills, abilities, and contribution to the economy are ignored and unrewarded, while those who do not offer goods and services needed by the economy are unjustly compensated.  She is under the mistaken assumption that wealth is a fixed-size pie, in which one’s success denies others the opportunity to achieve success.  Warren ignores, or is ignorant of, the fact that wealth can, and is, created and can grow.

As with other politicians with socialist tendencies, Warren ignores the failures of other nations that have imposed wealth taxes.  In the last 27 years, the number of nations instituting wealth taxes has decreased from twelve to four.  It is also worth noting that although Warren claims the wealth tax will only affect the “richest of the rich,” nations with a wealth tax have always quickly lowered the wealth standard to include those with middle-class incomes.  Like the income tax, which was originally levied only on the super-wealthy, any wealth tax will eventually (and quickly) be expanded to affect almost all wage earners.  Once government gets a taste of additional tax revenues, its hunger for more taxes to fund politicians’ pet proposals inevitably increases.

Even if one ignores the inherent immorality of seizing one’s earned assets (which were already taxed when they were initially earned), one can not ignore the huge and intrusive bureaucracy that must be established to ensure compliance with the wealth tax.  The wealth tax is not limited to assets in financial institutions which can easily be traced; it also is levied against any fixed assets or property owned by the citizenry.  Will tax authorities be given the power to break into people’s homes to ensure that they are properly declaring the value of their furniture, artworks, clothing, vehicles, etc.?  Will people who invest in tangible goods be penalized, while people who squander their money on consumable products and experiences (such as opulent food, entertainment, and travel) be spared the burden of the wealth tax?  How is it fair that those who prefer tangible property over experiences should be burdened by additional taxes?

In practice, any imposition of a wealth tax will likely lead to the conversion of assets to easily hidden and transferable assets like precious metals and jewels.  In fact, the institution of a wealth tax will likely cause the creation of a parallel, underground economy, in which gold and silver are used for untraceable transactions.  This will place a burden on the national currency system, causing an outflow of assets that must be replaced by the printing of additional currency.  This, in itself, will create inflationary pressures that could be as significant as the hyper-inflation experienced by Weimar Germany in the 1920’s and ‘30’s or more recently, Venezuela.  Capital used for investments will diminish, resulting in a stagnant or collapsing economy.

Finally, Warren’s proposal includes a caveat that attacks even the appearance of individual liberty and self-determination.  If a person subject to the wealth tax decides that he or she wishes to relocate to a nation that actually values productivity and success, that individual will be subject to a confiscatory tax that seizes 40% of their total assets before they can move.  Not since the fall of the Berlin Wall have we seen any nation erect such substantial barriers to prevent its citizenry from seeking out greener pastures or freely moving wherever they wish.  Warren is proposing the imposition of an economic prison that will extort wealth from producers and limit the ability of producers to engage in self-determination.  In essence, Warren is advancing the creation of an economic despotism that replaces free-enterprise and rewards for success with a centralized, socialized, command economy dictated by a small group of selected “elites.”  Not only is her proposal immoral and unconstitutional, it repudiates the values of individual liberty upon which our nation was founded.

The Tantrum of the Snowflakes

snowflakes

 

It had to come to this.

Members of the “everybody gets a trophy” generation have taken to the streets to “protest” the election results, and in some cases, to riot.  It’s a shame that no one ever taught them that taking meaningless action to express dissatisfaction with a free election is not protest, it’s a temper tantrum.  If these people are really dissatisfied with the direction they feel the government is moving, they should craft a compelling argument for their positions.  Glorified loitering and inconveniencing others is hardly a compelling “statement.” 

But, before they attempt to craft an opposing argument, they should put some of their wounded feelings aside and try to employ reason.  The left has been spoiled for generations.  When the Democrats controlled government, they had the ability to use the coercive power of government to pander to any of their perceived needs.  It didn’t matter what those needs were, whether the programs to address those needs were effective or right, or even whether the consequences of the government programs they desired were counterproductive.  It just mattered that government did something, and that someone else paid for it or bore the consequences.

Typically, when Republicans took control of the apparatus of government, they employed restraint.  Traditional Republicans usually believed in limited governmental power and in allowing each person to exercise their own individual liberty.  In a worst case scenario for today’s fragile, precious snowflakes, the Republicans merely rolled back some of the more egregious abuses of governmental power and temporarily reduced the programs of the social-engineering elite.

Now, the left is confronted, for the first time in over a century, with a Republican president who supports a very activist, involved government, and not a limited government.  And this phenomenon was created and supported by the left, as they incrementally expanded the powers of the centralized federal government and decreased the power of the states and the liberty of individuals.  Finally, they are confronted with the prospect of seeing an intrusive, all-powerful government conceivably being used by the opposition to impose a different set of coercive policies on the population.  Forgive me if I have little sympathy for those who are comfortable allowing the government to impose its will on the population when one group is in power, but uncomfortable with having a different group impose its will when it secures power.  Did the left really think that governmental tyranny would only exist while they held the reigns of power?

These “protestors” come from a generation with a limited, insulated worldview.  They were raised by “helicopter parents” who shielded them from any personal responsibility and protected them from any of life’s unpleasantness.  For many, this is the first time they didn’t get what they thought they wanted; the first time somebody actually said, “NO!” to them.  Their sense of moral superiority has been honed to the point that they can’t even conceive of any different viewpoints, and the only way to handle opposition is to demonize and try to dehumanize those with contrary opinions.  When they seek out others, they surround themselves with like-minded sycophants and only follow media that reaffirms their previously held views.  Individual liberty is an afterthought, if it is considered at all.  Many of the young seek out the homogeny of self-affirmation, rather than the challenge of considering, and responding to, different life experiences and viewpoints.  They herald diversity as an ideal, but fail to actually practice it.

It never occurred to these precious snowflakes that a large, intrusive central government might actually be used against them and advance an agenda contrary to their preferences.  Their sense of moral infallibility blinds them from realizing that there is an inherent contradiction in supporting an all-encompassing, intrusive government in some areas, while opposing it in others.  They don’t recognize that restoring a small, constrained government is preferable to a large, dictatorial, activist government, because their moral worldview can’t process the fact that some people want to live their own lives, make their own decisions, and bear their own consequences free of the whims of elites.  They have failed to realize that when a person or entity is granted unlimited powers, they won’t hesitate to use those powers in any way they see fit.

Donald Trump may very well be a bad president.  Contrary to a century of Republican practice, he has advocated for a very proactive government.  If he follows through on his promises, he won’t wield power much differently than previous Democratic administrations.  The policies may differ a bit, but the methodology he proposes comes straight out of the “progressive” playbook.  Those who protest against the election of Trump, because they fear he might actually implement certain policies, must recognize that the entire system of government must change.  A large, monolithic government that micromanages people’s lives and property must give way to the government our Founders conceived – small, responsive, and dedicated to preserving, and not infringing upon, personal and economic choice and liberty. 

Just replacing one dictator with another won’t do.
  There will always come a time when a dictator will do something that certain people won’t like.  Right now, the young protesters are experiencing this reality.  If they want to be effective in changing things, the young protesters must look beyond their narrow worldview and address a structure that allows potential despots of any persuasion to wield power.

Or, we can just give them all trophies so they go back home.