"Restore(s) a little sanity into current political debate" - Kenneth Minogue, TLS "Projects a more expansive and optimistic future for Americans than (the analysis of) Huntington" - James R. Kurth, National Interest "One of (the) most important books I have read in recent years" - Lexington Green
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Donald J. Trump has now clinched the GOP nomination, with 1,237 delegates committed to voting for him on the first ballot at the GOP Convention. It was a scant few months ago when this idea was literally laughable to most supposedly knowledgeable persons.
Congratulations to Mr. Trump. Now, to rally as much of the GOP as possible for the upcoming election. Then, onward to the great American voting public, to defeat Hillary Clinton. And then, if Fortune continues to smile upon his efforts, we shall see whether Mr. Trump can pull off the YUGEST deal of his career, and can Make America Great Again.
I have always supported the GOP nominee, and this year is no exception. Trump defeated the other sixteen candidates in fair combat, though it was ugly at times.
Stopping Hillary Clinton is so important that the proverbial man-shaped cardboard cutout with “GOP” scrawled on it in Sharpie marker would get my vote. I cannot fathom the continuing quibbling by purported Republicans and Conservatives, given the stakes, and the destruction a Clinton presidency would inflict. Defeating her TRUMPS all other considerations. Trump is the chosen means to that necessary end. So be it. Let us go forward together. #NeverHillary
Beyond being not-Hillary, Trump is a wildcard. Much of what he has published, and says he wants to do, is good. As I wrote elsewhere, there is plenty of material to find common ground with the legacy GOP and its leaders. The list of proposed Supreme Court justices he recently published is very good. So, there are things to like about Mr. Trump, as well as some things not to like so much. But this election, like all American Presidential elections is a simple, binary decision. There is no imaginary third option, as some people seem to wish. It is Trump or Clinton, period, end of report.
And Trump is clearly preferable to Clinton.
Congratulations and good luck to Mr. Trump, and God bless America.
Prediction. We are going to see a preference cascade in which many Republican politicians and much of the conservative media come out and openly endorse and campaign for Hillary Clinton as the only way to stop Donald Trump. Once a few do it, the rest will feel protected and pile on. It will start with neocon foreign policy wonks, then spill over to journalists. This will be a major realignment.
#NeverTrump folks, friends, do you care about gun rights?
Or do you prefer virtue signaling about how much you hate Donald Trump, and pretending he is no worse than Hillary Clinton?
Do you want the American people to become a disarmed civilian population, rendered helpless in the face of violent crime and government oppression? The kind of defenseless population that was the prey of state power in the last century?
If Clinton is elected, she will pick Scalia’s successor. When that happens we will rapidly see 5-4 SCOTUS decisions reversing Heller and McDonald.
Legally, it will be over. Repeat it will be over. The Second Amendment WILL BE GONE. Your legal right to possess lethal force to defend yourself, your family and your property WILL BE GONE.
Forever, beyond recall.
Gun confiscation is a major campaign point for Clinton. There is zero doubt about her intentions in this regard.
We will then see the Clinton Administration begin a series of actions leading to widespread gun confiscation, perhaps initially by executive order. Citizens will have zero legal recourse.
Most law abiding people will hand over their guns, rather than face arrest and imprisonment.
But here and there we will see armed resistance. That resistance in turn will justify any type of executive, emergency measures the President wants, including further eroding of civil rights against police power. This is a downward spiral which will be ruinous for freedom.
This is going to happen in America if Hillary Clinton is elected.
If through inaction and moral preening people who don’t want this outcome help to put Hillary Clinton into the White House, that is what is going to happen.
Disappointment is part of adult life. I have never once had the opportunity to vote for a Presidential candidate I actually liked. I gagged as I did it, but I voted for such clowns as Bob Dole and John McCain, as the only way to vote against a worse candidate.
Face the binary reality.
Third options are imaginary.
Choke down your pride.
Choose the lesser evil — if you believe Trump is evil.
Merle Haggard is dead.
God rest his soul.
The last and greatest of the musical titans finally falls.
Possibly the greatest of them all, in our national history, at capturing in music the hard, Jacksonian core of America.
Merle Haggard riding his bicycle as a kid, too young to get in, hanging around by the back door, to hear Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, part of a continuity that stretches back to the peopling of the American backcountry, and beyond that to the bloody world of the English border, and poor and proud people who made their own music.
Merle lived hard. Nine lives at least.
If you are not yet a Merle Haggard fan, get that way.
Merle Haggard, we will never forget you.
We will never stop loving your music.
Posted by Lexington Green on 13th February 2016 (All posts by Lexington Green)
“This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves….
“A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy….
“The world does not expect logic and precision in poetry or inspirational pop-philosophy; it demands them in the law.”
Posted by Lexington Green on 13th February 2016 (All posts by Lexington Green)
[While I was finishing this post, I saw the terrible news that Justice Scalia died. God rest his soul. The GOP Senate majority should not permit President Obama to replace Justice Scalia, and should slow-walk any appointment he may make until after January 2017. That empty seat will be and should be a campaign issue. It raises the stakes considerably for the next President.]
The other day a friend asked me: “what kind of judges would Trump appoint?”
“They will be the best, the smartest legal scholars we have, people who know the Constitution up and down, the whole thing, and especially our second amendment, which no one will touch, not while I am President, the second amendment is sacred, and they will be outstanding judges, judges who will be fair, but also do justice, and keep our country safe, so that criminals like the guy who killed Kate, beautiful Kate in San Francisco, people like that will go to prison for a long, long time, or back to Mexico, where they belong, if they are here illegally. And the judges I appoint will follow the law carefully, and they will always do what is good for America. And I know some of the best people in the country who will advise me on which judges to pick, great lawyers, great trial lawyers, and I know lawyers who are great negotiators, the best in the country, some of these guys are killers, not nice guys, but tough, smart, incredible lawyers, and legal scholars, from top law schools, the best law schools, and they know who the best people are, not necessarily people you have heard of, but the best, and we will appoint amazing judges. Trust me, the American people will be very proud of the judges we pick.”
This is of course a spoof of Mr. Trump’s speaking style.
Posted by Lexington Green on 26th November 2015 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Thank God for our ancestors of blood and spirit who built this country, dedicated to freedom, equality and the rule of law. The Plymouth pilgrims wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact before landing. They faced a barren wilderness, no shelter, with winter coming on, and a hard and dangerous future. They had a lot to plan for. Yet the first thing they did is clarify the legal and political foundation of their colony. Liberty under law came first, and if that prevailed, prosperity would follow.
The current orthodoxy on Columbus is that he, and his impact, were unmitigated evil. This is, to say the least, an over-correction from earlier mythologizing.
Columbus certainly treated the people of Hispaniola who fell under his authority abusivley and cruelly. In that regard, he was typical of his day and age.
What was atypical about Columbus was his ingenious insight about the Atlantic wind patterns, and his superhuman drive to cross the Ocean Sea and arrive, as he incorrectly believed, in the Far East. It is of course false that people in his day did not know that the planet was spherical. Columbus did not have to prove that. Columbus was mistaken about the size of the sphere, and he imagined China to be a lot close than it was.
Posted by Lexington Green on 25th September 2015 (All posts by Lexington Green)
I have in recent years been reading the work of Joseph Conrad. I spent many years believing the best writers in English were George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, with Leo Tolstoy in translation as a titan and peer. Then all of a sudden, in the last five or years I discovered that Ernest Hemingway is a near peer, and that V.S. Naipaul is every bit the equal of these great ones. And through Naipaul, I met Conrad, who also merits admission to this august company.
Naipaul and Conrad both have as a main theme the encounter, the clash, between European civilization and the peoples and ways of Asia and Africa. Conrad depicts the European imperial and commercial expansion near its peak, and while it is still confident and expanding. Naipaul depicts the world after the European domination has receded, like an outgoing tsunami, which has left a transformed landscape behind.
Steve has an infuriating tale about being targeted by the IRS because of his public criticism of the Obama administration. The blatant abuse of government power by this administration is an outrage and a disgrace. The migration of the “Chicago Way” to Washington DC is a story which is suppressed, and the victims are ridiculed and dismissed by the mainstream media, if they are mentioned at all.
One of the best things I ever did was go to some early Chicago Tea Party events. I met many wonderful, patriotic people. Steve Tucker is one of the best.
Posted by Lexington Green on 21st September 2015 (All posts by Lexington Green)
[Note: I am not personally or professionally acquainted with Mr. Hornick. He is in no way associated with any opinions I may have, or proposals I have made. He is not affiliated in any way with the America 3.0 Institute.]
We wrote America 3.0 in 2012, mostly, and it was published in 2013. In the book we present a picture of America in 2040. We predict the demise of the industrial-era political and economic order, which is visibly failing today, and the rise of a new set of institutional arrangements for the country. A big part of this change is the development of several important new technologies which will undermine the existing order, and democratize the economy in radical ways.
We focused on 3D printing, driverless cars, cheap desalination and personalized health care and medication. We were not trying to write a comprehensive book about future technology. Rather, our goal was to indicate the scale of the changes in technology which were coming, and the disruptive impact they would have. If we were to write it now, we would have said more about robotics, drones, and blockchains, for example. Nonetheless, the general trend of things is as we predicted. And as we suspected, things are moving much faster, and the world will be even more different by 2040 than we rather conservatively predicted.
I recently ran across some outstanding videos by John Hornick, an intellectual property attorney at the Finnegan firm in DC. His Twitter is here. Mr. Hornick is an expert on the law and the technology of 3D printing. I have spent a few hours immersed in his videos.
Mr. Hornick has a video, entitled “3D Printing State of the Art: Industrial” from May of 2015 which gets into detail about the current state of the art in 3D printing. It is a good primer if you are interested in the field. His deep knowledge as well as his enthusiasm make for a compelling presentation of a highly technical subject.
I enjoyed the conversation with Dan, which focused on the book I co-authored, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why Americas Greatest Days Are Yet to Come. We touched on the larger theme of Conservative pessimism, and the need to have a future vision to inspire us and to be working toward. We also teased out the fact that a better future is not in any way inevitable, but it is achievable only if the people who want it make it happen. Our Progressive fellow citizens never forget this. We shouldn’t either.
Dan at one point jokingly said, I paraphrase: Can’t you just leave the Conservatives alone, and let them enjoy their hopelessness in peace?
We will all have a lot we need to do in the years ahead. Great days for America are coming, whatever the intervening trials. So, be happy.
It is always a pleasure to speak to Dan Proft, and I hope you will listen and find the conversation interesting as well.
This highlights an under-appreciated reality. You do not just need candidates with good values and good ideas. You do not just need candidates who can also win elections. You need these candidates to stay true to their commitments, which will impose a personal cost, once they are in office.
In our book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century–Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come, we discuss the decline and dissolution of the economic and political institutions of industrial-era America, which we call America 2.0. We describe a different and better America 3.0 which we expect and hope will replace it. But as we make clear, this process will not be pleasant. The transition from agricultural to industrial America was hard. The change to a world dominated by emerging technology, post-industrial, networked America 3.0, will be every bit as hard, and will happen much faster.
America 3.0 is a long book, and we could not put everything into it.
One topic which we hope to write about more in the future is the steps that will have to be taken to make the transition. We got into some of this in the later chapters of the book, but there is a lot more that needs to researched and developed.
One area which we barely touched on, but which is critically important, is the personal character which will be called for from a generation which will in effect be a new “founding generation.” The old order will have many defenders, many of them with good motivations, many with not-so-good motives. There will be unrelenting efforts to prop up the world everyone is used to, and to crush any person, group or business trying to make serious innovations and necessary reforms.
As I said in my IOP post:
To really matter, to really do something, to really change the direction of our state, means that there will be hardship, rejection, unpopularity, vilification, rejection of material benefits, making people mad by refusing to do what “everybody does,” attacks by the people who benefit from the status quo, not many pats on the back, and incomprehension even from good people.
The committed reformer has to be willing to go up against all that.
What is the reformer’s motivation, then?
If it is not money, prestige, popularity, an easy life, what is it?
Faith is part of it. Patriotism is part of it. Moral principles are part of it. A sense of duty is part of it. Gratitude for what we have been given is part of it. A commitment to a better future for ourselves, our families, and our children is part of it.
A hopeful vision of how things could be, should be, must be, will be better if we change course in Illinois, that is also part of it.
Substitute “America” for “Illinois” and it still works.
This challenge is going to require a lot of effort, from a lot of people. We need to be realists about that. But we must not be cynical. With a hopeful and realistic picture of the future to inspire us, there will be enough people, enough talent, enough drive, enough fortitude, to build America 3.0.
After conducting an 18-month study, this Task Force concluded that the cyber threat is serious and that the United States cannot be confident that our critical Information Technology (IT) systems will work under attack from a sophisticated and well-resourced opponent utilizing cyber capabilities in combination with all of their military and intelligence capabilities (a “full spectrum” adversary). While this is also true for others (e.g. Allies, rivals, and public/private networks), this Task Force strongly believes the DoD needs to take the lead and build an effective response to measurably increase confidence in the IT systems we depend on (public and private) and at the same time decrease a would-be attacker’s confidence in the effectiveness of their capabilities to compromise DoD systems. This conclusion was developed upon several factors, including the success adversaries have had penetrating our networks; the relative ease that our Red Teams have in disrupting, or completely beating, our forces in exercises using exploits available on the Internet; and the weak cyber hygiene position of DoD networks and systems.
Based upon the societal dependence on these systems, and the interdependence of the various services and capabilities, the Task Force believes that the integrated impact of a cyber attack has the potential of existential consequence. While the manifestation of a nuclear and cyber attack are very different, in the end, the existential impact to the United States is the same.
Quote of the day, from Jeff Carter’s Points and Figures blog, a post entitled “Disrupting Government”:
Tech initially toppled major corporations. Motorola and Kodak are shells of themselves. Now, technology has the opportunity to eliminate wide swaths of government and all the cronies, cartels, employees and economic imbalances that come with them. As a society, we shouldn’t fight that. We should embrace it. Automation of government will make things cheaper for taxpayers. Elimination of old fashioned out of step government will make things better for society.
And the “Disrupting Government” post is a very “America 3.0” view of the future, which I heartily share and endorse.
But that is not the only reason I like his stuff. Jeff is a former floor trader, angel investor involved in the start-up scene in Chicago, and all around astute, sensible and articulate observer of politics, business and the economy.
And of course we heartily agree that all of the campaigns should heed our sage analysis, policy proposals, historical acumen, and hopeful vision of America’s future!
There are times of big changes. It is time to think big The problems we face are big. And the opportunities coming our way for a better America are even bigger.
Glenn wrote the introduction to America 3.0, and his own writing is highly congruent with ours.
For example, we strongly commend Glenn’s new book The Education Apocalypse: How It Happened and How to Survive It. Note the — literally — apocalyptic title. Many people are drawn to the idea that the world is ending. But the title is a little out of sync with Glenn’s message, which not only talk about the problems of education, but some of the great opportunities for positive change which are within our grasp.
We need more of that kind of thinking. The current politico-economic regime is indeed coming to an end. Hopefully that end will not be too apocalyptic. (As an aside, can there be degrees of … apocalypticness?) We need to be thinking about getting through the transition and laying the foundation for the better America to come.
The next administration will be a critical one, with many hazards, and many important opportunities.
One of my Conservative activist friends was getting depressed, so I rattled off the following. (I hope I am right.)
Reagan used to tell jokes about how Communism didn’t work. Reagan understood that stupidity ultimately destroys itself. All the people around him assumed the evil would last forever. Hardcore Conservatives, like me, thought he was naive. Turns out we were naive. The modern welfare state really got started in the 1960s. It lasted about two generations and it is totally dysfunctional. The first Conservative movement gave us Reagan, who did some good but did not reverse the trends. The new reform movement has barely gotten started. But this movement looks to be broader and deeper than the first Conservative movement. The Tea Party started around the turn of the year 2008/09. That is 5.5 years. Major reform movements usually take a generation to start winning lots of elections. The GOP has just taken over more elected offices than any time since the 1920s, and the reformers are driving it, and the RINOs have to at least talk the talk or they can’t get elected. We are moving along very well. We are in the process of taking over the GOP, and in the process of taking over the government. I thought Obamacare would be embedded and unmovable by now, and it would take us decades to dismantle it. It may go much better and quicker than that. People on the Right have lots of competing ideas of what to do. The internal conflicts are a sign of vitality. The Democrats have NO IDEAS. Zero. All they do is attack and lie and say their opponents are racists. That’s it. That is all the cards they are holding. They nakedly abuse power to insulate themselves. They cannot tell the truth about who they are or what they want to do or they will lose. They are like the Soviet Communists under Brezhnev. Hillary even looks like an old, corrupt, smug Communist bloc apparatchik. Their day is over and they are clinging to power. The worst menace is crony capitalism, but even there people are increasingly aware of the problem and starting to push back.
This is going to be a long struggle, and we will lose battles, and there will be betrayals, and people will get exhausted and give up.
Now for the far-famed Takoo Forts. They are five in number, two upon the left, or north bank of the river, and three upon the south bank. The two upper Forts, north and south, are nearly opposite to each other. About three-quarters of a mile further down lies the second north Fort, and below it, about 400 yards upon the south bank, the one upon which our unsuccessful attack was made in 1859, and the fifth lies close to the mouth of the river upon the same side; there is a strong family likeness among them all.
Our attack was to be made upon the upper northern Fort, and it was on this wise. At day- light on the 19th Sir R. Napier, who was to command the assault, marched out of Tankoo with the 67th Regiment, Milward’s battery of Armstrong guns, the Royal Engineers, and Madras Sappers, for the purpose of making roads over the soft part of the mud, bridging the numerous canals, and throwing up earthworks to protect our artillery, and no man could have been chosen more fitted for the task, being himself an engineer officer of great experience, and a tried and skilful general.
(This is Napier, at a later period of his very successful military career.)
The event was well-attended. I attribute this in part to the drawing power of the free buffet of Indian food, and not exclusively to the appeal of the speaker. The students were attentive and asked good questions. I understand that audio of the talk will be available at some point. I will post a link when it is available.
My topic was “America 3.0 and the Future of the Legal Profession”.
Posted by Lexington Green on 29th January 2015 (All posts by Lexington Green)
The battle of ideas is a long war. Where would education reform be if Milton Friedman hadn’t started fighting for school choice back in 1955, just because everyone thought he was nuts? Where would we be if Ronald Coase had given up on his idea to auction off radio spectrum, when he was asked in 1959 by the FCC commissioner if his proposal was a joke? Where would we be if Friedrich Hayek and a few other free-market advocates hadn’t met in Switzerland to launch the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947 in order to fight for freedom at a time when all seemed lost?
The fight can only be won by engaging in the battle of ideas now. It cannot be won by those who compromise from the get-go just to stay in power.
Matt is talking about the newly elected reform-minded Republicans in Springfield, Illinois.
They are currently a minority within a minority. That is a start. It’s a beachhead.
It took decades to wreck Illinois. It will take a long time to turn it around. There is no quick fix.
There is a danger that people elected with great aspirations will get coopted, lose their way, forget what they wanted to do when they got involved in politics.
So, to our political leaders: Ask yourself why you ran for office. Know your own values and principles. State them. Lead with them. Apply your principles at every decision point. Knowing exactly who you are and who you represent will allow you to lead with a clear vision and strong voice on any issue.
To be elected as a reform politician at this critical time cannot be about a cozy job, or even an assuredly steady job.
It is — it must be — about changing our state and our country for the better.
It is about confronting serious opposition to make that happen. That opposition offers the allure of various “carrots”, and wields the threat of various “sticks”, to try to compel assent to the current, supposedly “normal” state of affairs. We need leaders who disdain the carrots, don’t flinch from the sticks, and who do not forget why they sought and won office.
Our politicians need an internal compass, as Matt calls for here.
And they need external accountability, as Matt also calls for in this article.
Also, when they do the right thing, they need approbation and encouragement.
We can all help, especially with the latter.
This is a protracted struggle. Be prepared for the long slog.
Posted by Lexington Green on 25th January 2015 (All posts by Lexington Green)
There was much discussion and speculation regarding the recent synod on the family, including a media-driven suggestion that the Catholic Church was going to change long-standing rules pertaining to sexual morality.
The Church’s diminishing appeal to men is a crisis which few have been willing to speak about bluntly. Cardinal Burke (pictured above) is an exception, as this piece shows.
“Sadly, the Church has not effectively reacted to these destructive cultural forces; instead the Church has become too influenced by radical feminism and has largely ignored the serious needs of men.”
The truth will set you free.
Pope Francis, in one of his controversy-provoking interviews, mentioned that one of his favorite spiritual writers is Fr. Louis Lallemant. I found on the Internet, and read, The Spiritual Doctrine of Father Louis Lallement, which is indeed an excellent book. Recommended.