“That side is in opposition to the violent, authoritarian thugs of the right and of the left. If we regain our faith in what we already have, there’s no reason to choose between rival siblings competing to rule over the ruins of everything that’s worthwhile on behalf of their illiberal family.”
“Sooner or later… one has to take sides—if one is to remain human,” Haider writes, quoting a character from Graham Greene’s The Quiet American. “The liberal center has to heed the same warning,” Haider adds. But the character Haider quotes is a member of Vietnam’s Communist party—which killed “probably about 1,040,000″ people in the post-Vietnam War period, after it came to power over the united country, as estimated by the late Prof. R. J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii…That’s an unpalatable side to pick in any situation.”
What appears to deprive the populace of its power to decide a president is the very mechanism that preserves its power. The Electoral College works that way because the United States isn’t a pure democracy.
Despite controversies that rage over immigration, it is hard to see how anyone could be either for or against immigrants in general.
Both in the present and in the past, some immigrant groups have made great contributions to American society, and others have contributed mainly to the welfare rolls and the prisons. Nor is this situation unique to the United States. The same has been true of Sweden and of other countries in Europe and elsewhere.
Sweden was, for a long time, one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in the world. As of 1940, only about one percent of the Swedish population were immigrants. Even as the proportion of immigrants increased over the years, as late as 1970 90 percent of foreign-born persons in Sweden had been born in other Scandinavian countries or in Western Europe.
These immigrants were usually well-educated, and often had higher labor force participation rates and lower unemployment rates than the native Swedes. That all began to change as the growing number of immigrants came increasingly from the Middle East, with Iraqis becoming the largest immigrant group in Sweden.
This changing trend was accompanied by a sharply increased use of the government’s “social assistance” program, from 6 percent in the pre-1976 era to 41 percent in the 1996-1999 period. But, even in this later period, fewer than 7 percent of the immigrants from Scandinavia and Western Europe used “social assistance,” while 44 percent of the immigrants from the Middle East used that welfare state benefit.
Immigrants, who were by this time 16 percent of Sweden’s population, had become 51 percent of the long-term unemployed and 57 percent of the people receiving welfare payments. The proportion of foreigners in prison was 5 times their proportion in the population of the country.
For the past two weeks, Reason, a magazine dedicated to “Free Minds and Free Markets,” has been barred by an order from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from speaking publicly about a grand jury subpoena that court sent to Reason.com.
The subpoena demanded the records of six people who left hyperbolic comments at the website about the federal judge who oversaw the controversial conviction of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. Shortly after the subpoena was issued, the government issued a gag order prohibiting Reason not only from discussing the matter but even acknowledging the existence of the subpoena or the gag order itself. As a wide variety of media outlets have noted, such actions on the part of the government are not only fundamentally misguided and misdirected, they have a tangible chilling effect on free expression by commenters and publications alike.
Yesterday, after preparing an extensive legal brief, Reason asked the US Attorney’s Office to join with it in asking that the gag order – now moot and clearly an unconstitutional prior restraint – be lifted. This morning, the US Attorney’s Office asked the Court to vacate the order, which it did. We are free to tell the story for the first time.
Taking money from working Americans, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to subsidize the exports of large corporations is the most indefensible form of redistribution. Yet many who criticize welfare for the poor on moral and constitutional grounds do not raise any objections to welfare for the rich.
Ex-Im Bank’s supporters claim that ending Ex-Im Bank would deprive Americans of all the jobs and economic growth created by the recipients of Ex-Im Bank aid. This claim is a version of the economic fallacy of that which is not seen. The products exported and the people employed by businesses benefiting from Ex-Im Bank are visible to all. But what is not seen are the products that would have been manufactured, the businesses that would have been started, and the jobs that would have been created had the funds given to Ex-Im Bank been left in the hands of consumers.
For both the politicians and the media, this was not just an isolated incident. Gruber’s videotaped discussions of the complicated deceptions built into ObamaCare with his help, designed to take advantage of what he called the “stupidity” of the public, are all too typical of the role played by the political left.
Neither the politicians nor the intelligentsia — including the media — want that role exposed for what it is.
The popular analysis of all this is not that President Obama is “irrelevant.” Alaska’s Mark Begich tried to save his seat by that absurd description of the Chief Executive. It didn’t work. But there is a growing consensus—especially among conservatives– that Mr. Obama is “incompetent.”
But what if President Obama is, instead, intentional? He has said it again and again. He told interviewers he would rather be “a consequential one termer” than an inconsequential two-term president. He was echoing his previous remarks during the 2008 campaign when he paid a left-handed compliment to Ronald Reagan. He said then that the 40th president had “changed the trajectory of the country” in ways that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton had not.
We should take Barack Obama at his word. He said he wanted to “fundamentally transform this nation.” He pledged in his 2009 Inaugural Address “to remake America.”