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Death in Charleston: a Moderately Speculative Post-Mortem

June 23, 2015


The pale young man with the bowl haircut had driven to Charleston, South Carolina, alone and armed, with a singleness of purpose. There, in the centuries-old port city with its graceful antebellum townhouses and slender church spires, he would attempt to make his mark, consummate his desires, fulfill his earthly purpose.

He stepped inside the sanctuary of historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he joined a weekly Bible study and prayer meeting. The twelve already assembled there must have wondered, at least briefly, about the motives of the stranger who took the thirteenth seat, but they welcomed him all the same.

They were brothers and sisters in Christ, and the stranger’s complexion was no impediment to Christian fellowship. As the group prayed and pondered over their beloved ancient scriptures, the pale young man must have been thinking other thoughts.

They’re friendly and welcoming enough, but I have to accomplish my mission. The blacks are ruining this country, dragging us down to their level… infecting us with their primitive culture… committing acts of violence against whites that never get covered in the news. But let one white guy kill a black guy, and all hell breaks loose. Blacks just aren’t capable of being objective… they see everything through the lens of race, and they constantly make whites out to be villains.

The kid might have been a high school dropout, but he was a Deep Thinker. His sensitive, half-educated mind could detect the unfairness of news stories cherry-picked to promote a perpetual black-victimhood/white-guilt narrative, starting with the Trayvon Martin case. So the introspective boy who had once counted blacks among his friends cast his lot with the white supremacists, the Ku Kluxers, the diehard Confederates, the wingnut militiamen ready to take on the liberal establishment with their guns and their demented passion. He went over to America’s dark side.

For the pale young man, there was no middle ground. Moderate viewpoints carry no weight in polarized times, while extremism stirs the blood and validates our prejudices. Few of us have the time or inclination to analyze endless shades of gray. We tend to like our ideas neatly pre-packaged in bold black and white.

Just as important, there was no safe outlet in America for rational discussions of race from a white perspective. Anyone who dared defend white people in polite company was automatically branded as racist and promptly ostracized. The pale young man probably wasn’t even aware of that unwritten rule, but his instincts told him he’d find kindred spirits among the militant white reactionaries. After frequenting a white supremacist website and writing his own resentful manifesto, the pale young man had become a time bomb.

I can’t stand it anymore. This is OUR country, and the blacks are having their way with us. Nobody’s doing anything about it… so I have to do it myself.

He sat there for an hour, in the company of the gentle black Christians who had welcomed him and tried to bond with him over shared Bible verses and prayers. You’d think he would have noticed their warmth and hospitality, their humanity, their individual voices and personalities during the hour he spent with them. You’d think he would have been moved.

I’ve seriously pre-judged these people. What was I thinking? They’re kind and decent. I’m glad I came down here and entered their church after all. Now I’ll head back home with a fresh perspective. Sure, we have bad apples of both races, but these folks give me hope that the good will overcome the bad.

But instead, there came the dreadful snap. Brandishing a handgun he had concealed during the prayer meeting, the pale young man shouted: “I am here to shoot black people. You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go!”

You already know the rest: nine black people dead — three men and six women. Four of the victims were clergy, including the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Emanuel A.M.E. Church. He had served in the South Carolina state legislature since he was 22 and appeared to have a bright future in public life.

During the media frenzy that followed, the designated pundits dealt us the usual punditry: mass shootings as a uniquely American sickness (they overlook Anders Breivik’s bloody rampage in Norway), the need for gun control (too late — there are already 300 million guns in circulation!), the hateful symbolism of the Confederate battle flag (yes, it needs to be retired from public life, but it’s not all about racism), the semantics of the shooting (hate crime or terrorism? does it matter?), the too-easy insanity defense for white (but not black) criminals, and, of course, the ongoing victimization of black people by white people.

My own thoughts centered around one perplexing unexamined mystery: why do the perpetrators of mass shootings almost always turn out to be alienated young white males with limited prospects? Black men may commit more gun crimes per capita, but we rarely see them unleash pent-up furies by mowing down multiple strangers in the ghastly manner of an Adam Lanza, Jared Lee Loughner, James Holmes or the aforementioned Mr. Breivik.

I’m no believer in “white male privilege” — you’d have a hard time convincing a West Virginia coal miner that he and his boys are more privileged than a black doctor’s daughter who gets admitted to Harvard. But I’m suspecting there might be an element of perceived entitlement that drives young white men to insanity when they hit a brick wall. We expect white guys to succeed; in fact, we almost demand it of them.

So what happens to the ill-favored white male rejects and underachievers? Most them simply carry on, but a select few never recover from their beating. Thwarted, exasperated, doomed to failure (and painfully aware of it), they react by fuming at the world and finding convenient scapegoats. Think of young Hitler, a competent budding artist rejected twice by the academy in Vienna. Think of the pale young man in South Carolina — a reasonably intelligent fellow who couldn’t finish high school and purportedly watched a black guy walk off with a girl he fancied. It drives them mad.

Young black men are more accustomed to being thwarted, so they’re probably less inclined to boil inwardly and explode lethally when life doesn’t deliver for them. Nobody promised them glory in this world, and they face their fate with equanimity. Or they join gangs that promise them the thrill of power and illicit income. Either way, their minds don’t ferment slowly in their own juices.

A personal note: For the first time since the killing of Trayvon Martin generated the narrative of the innocent black male victim, I’ve begun to feel genuinely protective toward African Americans. When I heard a black protestor raise the doleful question, “Are we safe anywhere?” I immediately understood and sympathized. They’re harassed by cops, murdered regularly on their streets, and now slaughtered in the sanctuary of their church. Where can they go to feel safe in this world? How do they protect their children?

The victims in Charleston weren’t assaulting cops or resisting arrest. They were model citizens with charity in their hearts, and still they died. And when they died, their survivors didn’t take to the streets to loot and burn. They reached out to the white South Carolinians who reached out to them.  Then, much like the ancient Galilean they venerate, they forgave the pale young man for his unforgivable deed.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

135 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2015 2:07 pm

    Beautifully written, but the internal dialogue doesn’t fit the evidence. There was no “snap”. It’s right there in the photos. This young man had no sense of empathy. He was divorced and dissociated from even his own emotions, and it had to have begun waaay before his Trayvon Martin “epiphany”. That’s how sick you have to be, to have so little ability to connect to others that you can pray with people and then murder them without remorse.

    • June 23, 2015 11:17 pm

      You’re absolutely right about the lack of empathy. Even if he started fixating on race after the Trayvon Martin media coverage, his basic personality was already developed.

      By the way, I wrote the passage you’re referring to as a deliberate device to show how a bigot with relatively normal emotions might react to being in the company of those kindly black people in church. It was a case of “You’d think he’d reconsider” — but then I jolted us back to reality with his murderous outburst.

  2. Ron P permalink
    June 23, 2015 3:59 pm

    Well said!

    It begins at birth and continues through the young formative years when the ability to determine right from wrong is developed. The greatest majority of individuals form this ability to reason, but a very small number do not and they are diagnosed as sociopaths. While this takes place, someone or something is providing the hatred that is being nurtured in these individuals and in a very small number of sociopaths, a mass killer is created.. It is not the confederate flag, it is not dreadlocks, it is not baggy droopy pants on the ground, it is not white sheets with holes for the eyes and mouth cut out, it is not any symbol that creates this hatred. If it were not these symbols already in society, someone will create the symbol or they will resurrect one from historical times like the swastika (Nazi’s) or clinched fist (Black Power) to use to promote their sick intentions.

    What it is is the parents, teachers, neighbors, police, social workers, judges, doctors or any other individual that keep quite. When they come in contact with these mentally ill people and know of their problems or suspect something is wrong and do not say or do anything, they are contributing to this problem. Taking action may be hard since sociopaths are very manipulative and can convince a trained professional there is nothing wrong, but their actions say much more than their words.

    Saying something early will not stop all of these killings, but just stopping one would go along way in protecting life.

    • June 23, 2015 11:27 pm

      Several good points here, Ron. Lone psychopaths and sociopaths can slip through the cracks easily.

      I didn’t delve into the dynamics of mass psychosis, though — that would merit a separate column. It still amazes me that vast numbers of people can become collectively deranged over an ideology or religion. I think they reinforce each other’s prejudices until the warped mentality becomes normalized. (You can see this force at work on the message boards of extremist web sites.)

      • June 24, 2015 12:04 am

        You bring up an interesting point concerning message boards. In an article by Mary Noble in Politix dated Jan 11, 2014 she provides FBI data that shows one mass murder in the 50’s, 6 in the 60’s and growing to at least 20 in the 2010’s to the time the article was written. In most all cases the individual committing the crime was a white male.

        Could it be the ease of communication to spread the hate has contributed significantly to the rise in mass murders. While in the era before the internet, communication was limited to a more regional nature (ie, KKK in the south) since it was more verbal for the most part, while now it is world wide and easily posted (much like ISIS uses to recruit terrorist).

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 24, 2015 9:20 am

        Yes, very interesting point about the power of media in general, and social media in particular. Politicians have always “waved the bloody flag” in situations like this, but they used to have to work a lot harder to stoke the frenzy and hatred that they desired. Now, the dissemination of false narratives and the imposition of ideology onto individual tragedies is so much easier. The internet has vastly reduced the time and effort that it takes to divide us up.

        While this pale young man was motivated by his own racist demons, it is not at all clear that there was any sort of “groupthink”, institutional racism, or white privilege driving him to murder innocents. The white supremacist web site on which he published his racist manifestos was his own, created and maintained by him. Unlike those who seek to join ISIS and can actually join mailing lists to receive updated communications from web sites that answer questions like “how can I join the fight?” “what kinds of clothes do I need in Syria?” and “should I wear glasses or contact lenses in battle?” ( Dylann Roof appears to have believed that he needed to act as a lone wolf in order to incite a race war. And that belief was not only individual but deeply delusional. Racist, yes, but not part of a larger group ideology.

        Yet, almost from the moment that this tragedy struck, there has been an effort to make it political. It’s about racism, it’s about gun control, its about the confederate flag. I personally agree with the decision by the governor of SC to call for the confederate flag to be taken down from the statehouse memorial. But, at the same time, it IS only a symbol, in the same way that the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture became a symbol for the Ferguson protesters, persisting long after the myth of its creation has been totally debunked.

        So, fine, take the flag down. But don’t forget that racist – or maybe more accurately, “racialist” – symbols exist all over the place in our society. At least one federally funded lobbying group, La Raza, literally has “Race” as its name. Why no calls to force this group to change its name, or to renounce its separatist ideology?

        I suppose my question is, do we support the idea that certain symbols, message boards, internet sites etc. be shut down? And, if so, which ones and who makes that call?

      • jbastiat permalink
        June 24, 2015 10:48 am

        Personally, I don’t think the flag should come down. It is only a symbol and it actually can mean a great deal to many who live in the South. It is also a reminder of what it cost this country to end slavery, and I don’t think we should sweep that under the rug.

        More importantly, it sends a message to any “victim” group that all they need to do is whine loud enough and long enough and they will get whatever they want.

        Today, it is the Confederate Flag, tomorrow, Native Americans will make it the Union flag. Where does this nonsense end? Should we discard Washington because his wife owned slaves?

        I for one see this POTUS proposing reparations be paid and trying to do an end around if he needs to. Actually, I see many GOP members joining the landslide. They are actually no better than the liberals they criticize.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 24, 2015 2:26 pm

        JB, the reason that I support this particular confederate flag coming down is because it is on government property and flies over a government monument (it no longer flies over the statehouse, as it once did) Just as I believe La Raza should not be eligible for federal taxpayer funds because of its opposition to equal rights (“for the Race everything, outside the Race, nothing”) I believe that a flag which symbolizes treason and disunity should not have the honor of flying on the grounds of a statehouse.

        Otherwise, La Raza can believe anything it wants and any good ole boy can fly the stars and bars on his property (or his truck). Protecting offensive speech and symbolism is important…..honoring it, not so much.

      • jbastiat permalink
        June 24, 2015 2:44 pm

        I hear you. That said. a good many young men died fighting for a “country” they believed they were building. I never considered succession “treason” nor would I consider a state that wanted to succeed treasonous today.

      • June 24, 2015 10:11 pm

        Ron and Priscilla: I’ve long lamented the power of the Internet to establish online amen corners that appeal to extremists and “normalize” the most extreme viewpoints. After repeated exposure to these distortions, the followers blindly accept the false narratives as gospel — whether it’s “Hands up don’t shoot!” or the government conspiracy to confiscate our guns.

        By the way, Priscilla, Dylann Roof frequented the website of a group called (innocuously enough) The Council of Conservative Citizens. I haven’t seen the site, but young Roof reportedly was outraged at all the accounts of black-on-white crime posted there — crimes we never hear about in the mainstream media. (As you probably know, the media’s one-way treatment of race-based crime irks me, too.) Anyway, the revelation of black-on-white crime supposedly drove him to rage: he became obsessed, aligned himself with the Confederate right wing, and we know the rest.

      • June 24, 2015 10:28 pm

        jb (and Priscilla): I agree that the attack on the Confederate battle flag is a kind of slippery slope. OK, the flag shouldn’t be flown over government buildings, and we have to acknowledge that the flag has also become a symbol of white supremacy over the years. But that doesn’t change what it really is: the banner that Confederate soldiers carried into battle to defend the South against the invading Union forces.

        That the Southern cause was based on the preservation of slavery probably doesn’t do it any honor, but it’s not a dishonorable thing to fight and die in the defense of one’s land. As usual, most people can’t see the subtleties here.

        What’s more dangerous is the tendency now to discredit anyone who had anything to do with the Confederacy or slavery. Confederate monuments are being vandalized, John C. Calhoun is being vilified, and it probably won’t be long before Washington & Lee University will have to change its name. Can you imagine if Washington or Thomas Jefferson become textbook villains because they were slaveholders? I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens in the next 30 years or so. It’s already happening to Lee, who was by all accounts a decent man who had to make the agonizing choice between serving the Union or his ancestral state of Virginia.

        It’s always unfair to judge historical figures by today’s standards. Imagine a future generation of vegetarians who look upon meat-eating as tantamount to cannibalism. Will they discredit and condemn those of us who ate meat in the old days? I wonder.

      • June 25, 2015 8:00 am

        Rick, In many quarters, (academia for one) Washington and Jefferson are already vilified for being slave owners. It is just a matter of time my friend.

        White privilege is just the start. Soon, being Caucasian will be equated with original sin in most eyes. You know, you can’t wash it off and you can’t work it off either.

        The only solution is reparations. Mark that one down, its coming.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 25, 2015 9:23 am

        The Confederate flag was used by Strom Thurmond and his anti-civil rights “Dixiecrats” in the 1950’s and that is how it acquired most of its racist cred. But, before that, it was the flag of the states that had unconstitutionally seceded from the United States and proclaimed themselves a separate nation. Granted, there is no constitutional way to to secede, so that is somewhat redundant, but my point is that secession was considered by most in the Union to be treasonous. And I fully understand, and even sympathize with the way that the South sought to leave what many of them believed was a voluntary union ( although I think that the lack of an “exit clause” in the Constitution was probably by design). I also do not believe that the flag was a “pro-slavery” flag, but it is undeniable that one of the main issues in the Civil War was slavery, so there you go.

        All of that said, I believe we are on a VERY slippery slope here. We live in Orwellian times as it is. Men are women, Whites are Black and we have always been at war with Eastasia. I would not be surprised at anything coming from the left at this point.

  3. A reader permalink
    June 23, 2015 5:28 pm

    I find it interesting that you found a “connection” with the Boston Marathon Bomber so easily and so quickly, and, yet it took until now, and the deaths of nine more innocent people, for you to state that “For the first time since the killing of Trayvon Martin generated the narrative of the innocent black male victim, I’ve begun to feel genuinely protective toward African Americans.”

    I should also point out that demanding fairness and bringing attention to inequality is not about “black victimhood/white guilt.” It is about demanding fairness and equality.

    • jbastiat permalink
      June 24, 2015 10:49 am

      “It is about demanding fairness and equality.”

      Which means what exactly?

  4. June 23, 2015 5:43 pm

    It is interesting to try and find a “pattern” or logic in this type of behavior. Sadly, I don’t see it happening. Pathologies such as these are what they are: humans who perform horrible actions that they alone seem to be fine with. Over the history of time (genocide anyone?) the march of lunacy does on.

    I don’t see this racial, I see it as crazy.

    • June 23, 2015 11:38 pm

      It gets interesting where individual pathology becomes group pathology. Some psychos will always be acting alone, while others (Hitler, for example) exert widespread influence and galvanize the masses to share their pathology. I don’t think that kid in Charleston will be exerting much mass influence (at least I hope not).

      By the way, I think he’s at least as racist as he is crazy. On the other hand, I’m not sure all those police killings of black men were motivated by race. It looked that way because the media highlighted those stories and essentially ignored police killings of whites.

      • June 24, 2015 6:15 am

        Yes, it is interesting how the “media” reacts to this mass killing because of the racial nature (white vs. black). It is clear to me that the loss of human life is merely a side show to these birds. What interests them is the narrative, which appears to simply one of black/white, rich/poor, etc.

        Division almost never ends well. I don’t see it ending well for the USA either.

      • June 24, 2015 10:46 pm

        jb: Agreed. The media seem to love stories that split us up into warring factions… the Internet even more so. I don’t think we’ve seen factionalism like this in our lifetime. Even the ’60s weren’t this bad: we had a small population of young radicals, but nearly everyone else identified as mainstream American. Today it’s as if blacks, Hispanics, feminists, gays and conservatives are all different nationalities.

      • June 25, 2015 8:02 am

        Yup. It is the easiest way to kill a civilization. I am a human and I life in America. I need no other identifier. Apparently, many need that to make themselves feel better.

        Too bad, it won’t help.

  5. June 24, 2015 12:06 am

    I’m not a big fan of drawing attention to people who commit atrocities by giving them much coverage. And in cases like this it doesn’t appear to be about lack of guidance in formative years, as Roof drifted on his own to the extreme viewpoint he found online. The guy who runs We Hunted the Mammoth points out the web sites that are out there scooping up the disaffected. Maybe we should be taking a more active role shutting them down….

    • June 24, 2015 12:28 am

      AJ…Your point about shutting down websites would create strange bedfellows if the government tried doing that. Constitutional conservatives, Libertarians and far left liberals supported by the ACLU would rally to protect the 1st amendment rights of all Americans. Not all conservatives would support this position, but a large percent would since studies have found that there is not much difference how the left and right view freedom of speech rights..The ACLU’s position on controversial speech is….
      “History teaches that the first target of government repression is never the last. If we do not come to the defense of the free speech rights of the most unpopular among us, even if their views are antithetical to the very freedom the First Amendment stands for, then no one’s liberty will be secure. In that sense, all First Amendment rights are “indivisible.””

      They go on to say “We should not give the government the power to decide which opinions are hateful, for history has taught us that government is more apt to use this power to prosecute minorities than to protect them”.

      I do not normally support the ACLU in most cases, but in this case, I am 100% behind there position. Every time we have allowed our government in infringe on any rights we were given by the founding fathers, government has found a way to grow into those rights, much like an amoeba as it spreads into surrounding areas.

      • June 24, 2015 10:50 am

        There’s many ways to affect change. In my community one individual organized a rally for a funeral for a service member when it was rumored that the Westboro Baptist Church was going to picket it. Over 2,000 people showed up and if those idiots were there, they didn’t make it known. In short, I didn’t suggest the government.

    • June 24, 2015 10:54 pm

      A.J. Welcome to the debate. It’s probably dangerous to ban hate groups online, even though I can sympathize with your intentions. The problem is where to draw the line between hate and mere political incorrectness. The left, especially, seems hell-bent on wiping out all opinions that diverge from their own holy writ.

      Where we can clamp down, maybe, is to call out websites that spread lies — deliberate factual distortions aimed at stirring up the base. (Fox News, for example, has been accused of broadcasting total untruths as news.) Again, this would require a kind of thought police brigade — not sure if it’s workable.

      • June 25, 2015 8:04 am

        Obama is working on that right now. For all we know, internet censorship is in enabled in the current trade bill that no one is allowed to see before it is passed.

        Sound familiar?

        Transparency is so yesterday.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 25, 2015 9:43 am

        Rick, If calling out Fox News is the solution, rest easy. That’s been going on for years, and it is not for lack of trying that the left has not shut it down.

      • June 25, 2015 10:42 am

        When we talk about change people often assume it has to come from the government. Organized boycott or social pressure on ISP’s who host hate sites are options available to us. Look at what Walmart did, without any organized campaign, they stopped selling merchandise with the Confederate flag on it. I don’t see a slippery slope on this one.

      • jbastiat permalink
        June 25, 2015 10:50 am

        Yes and WM still sells Cuban and Iranian flags. Isn’t that special.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 25, 2015 1:49 pm

        Even better – Amazon won’t sell merchandise showing Confederate flags, but WILL sell Nazi memorabilia. Because, I guess, anti-semitism isn’t SO bad after all……..

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 25, 2015 4:11 pm

        Ha, and now Apple says it will remove the Confederate battle flag from Civil War video games. So swings the crazy American pendulum.

      • June 25, 2015 4:13 pm

        That’s me (Rick) posting from my iPhone. I guess Apple refuses to recognize me now.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 25, 2015 9:39 pm

        Ban “Gone With The Wind”?

        In the words of that old commercial: “Stop The Madness!”

      • June 26, 2015 7:50 am

        Divide and conquer. This nation is on “self-destruct.” I fear greatly for our children and grandchildren.

      • June 26, 2015 10:17 pm

        You and me both.

      • June 26, 2015 10:16 pm

        The revisionists are fast at work. Only one point of view can be tolerated, after all. I say they should keep the film but issue a “trigger warning” at the beginning so sensitive progressives can reach for their smelling salts and teddy bears.

  6. June 25, 2015 8:34 am

    This didn’t take long. MSNBC will be along shortly to fill in the blanks.

  7. Priscilla permalink
    June 25, 2015 9:38 am

    Rick, I have no doubt that this disturbed young man sought out web sites that inflamed and incited him. My point was more that he was not a member of any organized group or “right-wing” conspiracy that advocated the killing of innocent black people.

  8. June 26, 2015 8:21 am

    Obviously, this couldn’t be a true story, since Barry told us that these things don’t happen in other “civilized” countries. Fox, lying again?

  9. Priscilla permalink
    June 26, 2015 6:50 pm

    Rick, you and Jonah Goldberg would probably not agree on a great deal, but his fear that “the center will not hold” reminded me of your recent observations that moderates are simply disappearing. Or so it seems.

    “No my real fear is that the center will not hold. I’ve discussed this a bit when it comes to the debate over Islam. I don’t like the practice of insulting Muslims — or anybody — just to prove a point. But what I like even less is the suggestion that Muslim fanatics have the assassin’s veto over what we can say or do. So I am forced to choose sides, and when forced, I will stand with the insulters over the beheaders. But that is not an ideal scenario. That is the Leninist thinking of “the worse, the better.”

    So what I fear is something similar in our own society; that the left gets what it’s been asking for: Total Identity Politics Armageddon. Everyone to your tribe, literal or figurative.”

    • June 26, 2015 10:10 pm

      Yeah, he almost sounds like me here. That last sentence (a good one) pretty much nails my concern over the policing of wayward opinions by our progressive friends.

  10. June 27, 2015 5:34 pm

    On an unrelated topic: I’m happy that the Supremes legalized gay marriage nationally, but I’m already getting tired of seeing rainbows everywhere. My progressive friends seem to do everything in lockstep, which I find a little scary in an “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” sort of way. And I have to admit that it still creeps me out just a little when I hear a man refer nonchalantly to his husband. I guess I’m just a dusty old reactionary at heart.

    • June 27, 2015 5:46 pm

      I will disagree about being “happy” about it. The states were dealing with this issue one state at a time. I see nowhere in the Constitution that the Feds have jurisdiction here. Roberts dissent was spot on (for once).

      So, polygamy will soon in the courts. And if MJ is legal, why not heroin? Limits? We don’t need any stinkin’ limits. I play, you pay.

      Prediction: This will not appease the Rainbow Brigade because marriage wasn’t really the issue, acceptance was. What gays want is for everyone to accept them as “normal.”

      Yeah, well, good luck with that.

      • June 27, 2015 7:24 pm

        I think the legal issue was that a couple who were married in one state might not have their marriage recognized in another state (which affects survivor benefits and so on). I can see making it uniform across the country to avoid snags like that — and there was the “equal protection under the law” constitutional angle.

        I don’t think there will be a slippery slope leading to the legalization of polygamy, bestiality, etc. What really strikes me, though, is how universally younger people not only support gay marriage but condemn anyone who opposes it. So evidently they accept gay behavior as normal. It’s probably a generational thing; we grew up thinking of it as perversion, so it takes some major adjusting on our part. (What’s odd is that they use “gay” as a synonym for “lame” or “dumb.”

      • June 27, 2015 9:51 pm

        I will disagree with you. As we speak, the pedophiles claim that what they want is a simply another “sexual preference.”

        Indeed, when the AIDS epidemic was at its worst, we could not point fingers at “gay men” as it would make them feel bad.

        As for the state laws, that is the way the country was founded.
        Deal with it.

      • June 28, 2015 12:46 am

        Rick gay behavior is accepted by the younger generation as a way of life just like my generation accepted marriage between races that was illegal until the 60’s. By the time my generation got past Viet Nam, interracial marriage was just something that happened and few said much about it. My parents could never accept marriage between blacks and whites and they were democrats living in California just like the old fogies can’t accept gay marriage today.

        So now we most likely will hear the GOP harping on the ACA, Abortion and Gay Marriage thoughtout the election process and all of these are settled law. They still will not take on spending and debt, nor will they discuss SCOTUS appointments. And those are the issues that are going to screw this country, not gays, insurance companies or women that terminate pregnancies.

      • June 28, 2015 12:26 am

        OK JB here comes the Libertarian and the questions from that point of view. Since I do not believe any law that impacts social behavior needs to be on the books that does not harm another person or their effects, why is it any business of the federal or state government in regulating polygamy. Multiple consenting adults making personal decisions(that they make today but just don’t have a certificate to show for it) that impact only themselves. This does not include under age girls like the compounds in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico where children are part of the wives because they are not consenting adults. And don’t bring up bestiality as that is also not consenting adults. Pedophiles is not a sexual preference since it is not two consenting adults.

        And for clarification abortion does harm another person, so I am not including that, so that is not part of the discussion.

        As for the drug issue, how has the war on drugs worked out? Seems to me about as good as the laws covering illegal immigration.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 28, 2015 9:31 am

        Polygamists are going to have to find a new symbol for their oppressed victim status, i they’re going to be successful. The rainbow is definitely taken. And they need a catchy new name (polygamy sounds so academic) …they could use the whole “sister wives ” thing but that might get really confusing.

      • June 28, 2015 12:49 pm

        “Polygamists are going to have to find a new symbol for their oppressed victim status, i they’re going to be successful.”

        How about “The Happy Marriage Movement”. With multiple wives, one wife will not be required to fulfill the romantic desires of the husband, thus making life much easier for the wives in the family. And there won’t be all the arguments concerning the husband not helping with the chores and the children since those will be shared also.

        I do not include multiple husbands in this discussion as I find it very hard to believe one woman would want to put up with more than one husband. Too many want to get rid of the one they already have. But I could be wrong.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 28, 2015 9:49 am

        Also, Ron, I think that the Republicans will happily drop the issue of gay marriage….it’s a divisive issue that puts them at odds with millenials, as you have observed, and they’ll be glad to get it off the table, I think.

        I just hope it will be off the table, even for a little while. Three terrorist attacks around the world on Friday, and all we heard about was rainbow marriage. :\

      • Ron P permalink
        June 28, 2015 12:41 pm

        Priscilla, so true about the lack of coverage concerning the terrorist attacks with everything being the gay marriage issue. I look back on the Reagan administration and what was accomplished during that time since RR would compromise and work with congress (and have Friday drinks with the speaker) and wonder what it would have been like had the same environment existed then as it does today. One thing I think would still be standing is the Berlin Wall and Putin would be dictator of the Soviet Union, not just Russia. Social issues were important, but they did not suck the life out of government in the way they do today.

  11. June 27, 2015 5:48 pm

    BTW Rick, I would wager that the “creeps me out” part of gay men together has nothing to do with what they call each other. And, of course, we can’t talk about that either.

    Unnatural? Well ……..

    • June 27, 2015 7:26 pm

      These days I prefer not to think about what other folks do in bed (or in bathroom stalls). Even straight people have been getting into some weird stuff lately.

  12. Priscilla permalink
    June 27, 2015 11:25 pm

    Oh, the rainbow thing on Facebook is SO irritating! The first profile picture I saw it on happened to be a gay friend of mine, and I thought “oh that’s kind of sweet and corny.” Then my “Hollywood” sister did it, and I thought “well, she does live in la-la land”…..

    Then I realized, “oooooh, this is a cool kid thing”, something that shows that you are kind, compassionate, loving and – most importantly – cool. Not superimposing a frickin’ rainbow on your face indicates that you are a homophobe or a dusty old reactionary. So I am proudly proclaiming my solidarity with dusty old reactionaries (DARs?)

    As far as being happy about the SCOTUS decision? Yes and no. I have many, many gay friends – some of them quite conservative, btw – and this has made them happy, so, yes, I am happy for them. But, I agree with Chief Justice Roberts in his dissent: “Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening.”

    So there we have it – between the Obamacare decision and the gay marriage decision, the Supreme Court has become just another political entity, and we are essentially ruled by a handful of judges. Disheartening.

    Do I think it’s a slippery slope that will lead to the legalization of polygamy and other formerly taboo relationships? Not really (although, god knows). What I do believe is that this decision will lead directly to endless prosecutions of Christian churches, schools and businesses that will refuse to accept the new, mandated definition of marriage and will lose their tax-exempt status as a result. We’ve already seen this in Canada as a consequence of legalizing gay marriage, and I don’t anticipate a different outcome here in the US.

    Question: are both partners in a gay male marriage “husbands” and both in a lesbian marriage “wives”?

    • Priscilla permalink
      June 28, 2015 12:06 am

      And, just as a point of conjecture… do you find the right to marriage in the Constitution but NOT the right to own a gun? Putting aside the SECOND AMENDMENT, doesn’t the history of gun ownership, and the long standing legality of gun ownership among law-abiding adults mandate that we recognize that right as well? I’m not arguing right or wrong – just logic.

    • Ron P permalink
      June 28, 2015 12:09 am

      Priscilla, yes the partners in a gay marriage are both husbands or both wives as of this date. What comes next, no one knows.

      As for SCOTUS just being another political arm, this is what happens when people do not pay attention to elections and SCOTUS appointments are not part of any election discussion. The next president will probably appoint 4 judges and possibly 5 over their 8 year term. Scalia (79), Kennedy (78), Ginsburg (82) and Breyer (76). Could also be Thomas (67) depending on health in another 10 years. But I bet you have not heard one conservative or liberal political analyst or reporter say anything about this. We can live through 8 years of any administration and their E.O.’s can be reversed and legislation changed, but a SCOTUS appoint is for life and depending on the judge, that is 20-30 years. That is what we are lving through right now with all the far left liberals on the court today and the flip flops that Roberts does between a constitutional conservative judge and a liberal activist judge. I have no idea where that man stands on anything.

  13. June 29, 2015 4:37 pm

    Trying to be a moderate on social issues these days is — well — pretty trying. The progressives have all the momentum, and we’re practically regarded as counter-revolutionaries if we don’t join the cheering section. We know we’re on the wrong side of history — because events will continue to sweep away the vestiges of what used to be called Western Christendom. But that doesn’t make us wrong in absolute terms. I should write a column on this predicament.

    • June 29, 2015 6:00 pm

      Please do. I’ve recently stumbled upon your site so please forgive me for not making the association between the last vestiges of Western Christendom and taking a moderate position.

      • June 29, 2015 6:48 pm

        Never give the bastards an inch of ground. The social warriors are on a roll trying to put an end to the world as we know it. Resistance is the only weapon we have. Well, that and a security shotgun.

        Prediction: Churches who refuse to marry gap couples will soon lose their federal tax exemption. That was the aim all along.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 29, 2015 11:30 pm

        Could happen and then that would go to SCOTUS and who knows which side flip flop Roberts would take.

      • June 29, 2015 7:24 pm

        There’s a kind of anti-traditionalist juggernaut now that’s sweeping away everything in its path. They use mockery (Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Sarah Silverman et al.) to make the old virtues look ridiculous, and they’re aided by useful idiots like the more outspoken fundamentalist Christians. Then the leftist amen corners on the Internet pit the “right-thinking” (not to be confused with “conservative”) elite against the unsophisticated bumpkins who now represent the old civilization. They celebrate every trend that spells doom for the hated white patriarchy, even though that patriarchy gave us Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, the two Roosevelts and all our universities. I’m really starting to feel as if our civilization is under siege.

      • June 29, 2015 10:05 pm

        That is because, my dear friend, civilization IS under siege.

      • June 30, 2015 12:29 am

        Rick, if you look back on history you will find that every generation has had the same ideas about civilization and the impact that changes were having on society.

        From the changes of religious freedom that changed the law that made church attendance on Sundays voluntary to the end of slavery, womens suffrage, end of prohibition in the 30’s, interracial marriage in the 60’s, abortion in the 70’s, relaxation of views on sex before marriage in the 70’s and many more changes in both personal actions not covered by law and those covered by law have been viewed the same by our previous generations as the current changing social values are viewed by some today.

        Any law that is based on a religious viewpoint that has no adverse impact on anyone other than those consenting to that action is doomed for failure at some point now or in the future. Just because it is written in scripture does not make it acceptable to 100% of the people. Many people have differing views when it comes to social values on a number of issues and in most cases the ones that come up for SCOTUS review are the ones that have limited negative impact on people if the laws are changed. Example: Gay marriage. Impacts no one other than those that enter into this marriage. But the negative impact of gays being married in one state, but not recognized in another could be devastating. For instance, on vacation to a state that does not recognize the marriage, two people are in an accident and one critically injured. In their home state, the husband or wife would have legal right to allow medical treatment. In the state not recognizing the marriage, would the husband or wife have that legal status?

        So when we look at all the major cultural changes that have occurred in history in this country, have any of them had a negative impact on society or have they just improved conditions for a smaller group of individuals that religious based laws have imposed on them without their consent.

      • June 30, 2015 12:23 am

        Hmm. Well, I’ve never held the belief that christendom (of any kind) contributed all that much to create a true representative democracy. If entire classes of people can’t vote, own property or are marginalized, I’m fine to see the traditions that sustained these practices come to a crumbling end. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like children raised to call adults Mr. and Mrs.. I wish we’d turn off the TV. And I think our culture has devalued marriage and unfairly targeted men. I blame some of this on feminism. But I blame just as much of this on men for (still) not having much of a language or vernacular to address our concerns. That’s on us, not the progressives who are willing to be thrown under the bus, and not the conservatives who are clinging to an outdated model that was never all that inclusive.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 30, 2015 9:18 am

        A.J., I would take issue with you on the issue of Christendom not having anything to do with representative democracy, “true” or not. I think there is a pretty strong case to be made that the foundations of Western democracy at least are largely based on the Christian doctrine that God created all people in his image and that all were created equal.

        I think that defining conservatism as clinging to an outdated model is inaccurate. I think that conservatives, at least in a political sense, oppose change for changes sake and look to government to provide freedom rather than to enforce equality. So, progressives, who by definition, are always looking to increase the role and the power of government over the lives of people are always at odds with that freedom.

        Far from being willing to be thrown under the bus, progressives are usually trying to drive the bus over others who may disagree……..

      • June 30, 2015 9:57 am

        You can’t defend Christianity. It is so yesterday. islam, islam should be defended. The art, the culture, the long history of democracy and human rights. You old timers are so out of touch.

        Long live Che’.

      • July 1, 2015 12:08 am

        Priscilla, I’m fine with saying western democracy draws on the christian doctrine that god created all people in his image and that all were created equal. But in practice this really wasn’t the case in America. Wrong sex, wrong race, wrong preference, wrong belief system, no land or money: no equality for you! So let me reframe what I said about it being an outdated model; it was never a model that actually represented everyone and allowed for equality. I’ve never understood how/why christians or conservatives can’t acknowledge these failings. It’s not like doing so lessens the amazing form of government and freedoms we do have. How does it shake our system of government to ensure that equality is inclusive and not exclusive?

      • July 1, 2015 6:45 am

        “How does it shake our system of government to ensure that equality is inclusive and not exclusive?”

        Define your terms please. No one is born “equal.” That is a myth. I don’t know what you mean by “inclusive.” Please elaborate.


      • Priscilla permalink
        July 1, 2015 8:47 am

        AJ, I still question the entire premise of claiming that conservatives want to maintain some sort of caste system based on white male privilege or something. Truth is, I think most identity groups would like some sort of caste system that gives them an advantage, and identity-based politics is pretty much based on erasing one group’s advantage and replacing it with another’s. I certainly would not single out conservatives on that score.

        It is mind-boggling to me that people can still claim that we are an “unequal,” “racist” and “hateful” nation and society, when we have a democratically elected black president, women and minorities at the highest level of power and influence, and LGBT acceptance up to, and now including, the right to form a socially accepted family unit through marriage. I suppose my question is, where is the exclusion that you see? Or, put another way, what would constitute for you – and others who believe as you do – an inclusive society?

      • jbastiat permalink
        July 1, 2015 9:48 am

        As Paul Simon so aptly wrote:

        “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

        If one wants to blame their plight on someone or something, there is usually pretty easy to find those who agree with you.

        Looking in the mirror? Ah, that is kind of hard.

      • July 1, 2015 10:19 am

        Are you guys purposefully being thick? I gave well documented examples of basic rights that weren’t inclusive and were enforced to keep entire classes of people from fully participating in the democratic process. The vestiges of these policies still linger. We arrest and incarcerate black men at rates far exceeding whites. The concentration of class and race are due in large part to gerrymandering and white flight. Choosing where you live (white flight) is a right, but when you can’t live where you want (gerrymandering) it’s legalized discrimination. Do you actually deny that these existed and still have impact today on opportunity when housing is such a strong indicator of success through access to better education?

        We have made progress. Women currently hold 20% of the seats in Congress. Though they got the vote 95 years ago the curve in the last 25 years is pretty sharp rise, in another 20 years we could be close to gender equity. But women hold just 5% of the CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies. Why is it so hard to hear that there’s still work to be done, or that christianity and its practice is as filled with flaws as any other belief system known to man?

      • jbastiat permalink
        July 1, 2015 10:30 am

        You have your “reality” and are firm in your belief in it. So be it.

        I learned a long time ago to not play tennis with a wall. The wall always wins, as it is immovable.

        Go forth and bring about equality. I hope it brings you peace.

        As for calling us “thick” that type of approach rarely works. I bet you already knew that.

        Feel free to move on whenever you want. It is a free country, at least for the time being.

      • Ron P permalink
        July 1, 2015 12:23 pm

        AJ I am going to bring into this conversation a couple things to think about. “Choosing where you live (white flight) is a right, but when you can’t live where you want (gerrymandering) it’s legalized discrimination.”

        1. Gerrymandering was a product of a group of individuals that thought redistricting could bring representation to minorities. North Carolina district 12 is an excellent example. It was drawn in 1992 as one of two black majority (minority-majority) districts, designed to give blacks (who comprised 22% of the state’s population at the time) the chance to elect a representative of their choice under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibited dilution of voting power of minorities. This was when the NC legislature was controlled by the Democrats, so gerrymandering is an equal opportunity process. It runs from Charlotte to Durham and in some places along the I-85 corridor it covers, it is no wider than the interstate so it can have one continuous border.

        2. White flight. There is also black flight, brown flight and any other flight you want to call it. When people take personal responsibility and work hard, develop skills and find ways to earn money legally, they are rewarded with the ability to improve their living conditions. Ghettos do not decay because people maintain them, ghettos develop and decay because the people with motivation want decent living conditions, they see the homes decaying around them and move. They are white, black, brown and any other color. The ghetto was created by lack of motivation, not skin color.

        Yes there is still inequality in America today, but much of it is caused by lack of motivation and not skin color. Those black men that you mention that are arrested more than whites, are they educated, do they have a job, are they going to community college to get additional education in a trade so they can improve their ability to earn an income, etc. Or are they drug dealers, drug users, HS dropouts, etc?

    • Priscilla permalink
      June 30, 2015 9:56 am

      And, Ron, I think I’ll take issue with a point that you make, as well. (Just read your latest comment).

      Are you saying that all the major cultural changes that have taken place in our nation’s history have had a positive impact on society? Because that would be quite a stretch. I might be misreading your comment (?)…….

      As far as the gay couple getting in the accident: I think that, as a society, we were well on our way to coming up with a solution that would be acceptable and fair to 95% of people on both sides of the gay marriage debate ( you would likely agree that there are at least 5% that will never be satisfied). 37 states had already legalized some form of gay marriage, opinion polls were moving strongly in the direction of legalization, albeit with carve-outs for religious groups who could retain their freedom to not participate.

      Now, with the “discussion ended,” the controversy will simply change to blame-and-punishment mode. That is, any church or religious institution “on the wrong side of history” will be summarily destroyed. Seems like a less optimal society to me.

      That said, I agree with libertarians that it was time to get the government out of the marriage business entirely. Unfortunately, what we did was get the government more involved.

      • June 30, 2015 10:01 am

        The glow of gay marriage will soon fade for many (most) gay married couples. Why? Well, as sure as there is marriage, there is divorce. Married for life? Hey, that is so Christian based. Bull on that.

        So, as the agony of divorce rears its ugly head, indeed, the state gets to intervene in the lives of gay married couples who break up. Your servant will indeed, become your master.

        Who gets the stuff? The kids, the dogs, the well, you get the picture.

        “Be careful what you wish for!”

        Hey, I realized my dream and it was actually a nightmare.

      • June 30, 2015 12:36 pm

        JB..Are you saying government should not be involved in marriage and divorce? That government should not have a role in who gets what when the breakup occurs?

      • jbastiat permalink
        June 30, 2015 12:55 pm

        No, what I am saying is that THEY DO have a role and a huge one. So, when one is not married, the government will only get involved if one party sues the other. When one wants a union to be dissolved, one has NO CHOICE but to go through the eye of the needle.

        Having done that, it was no picnic.

        So, as the glow fades and gay couples start to get divorced, they will see that the government gives rights on one hand and take them away with the other.

        So, be careful what you wish for.

      • June 30, 2015 5:18 pm

        jb. We agree on that. But what seems to me to be what happens is government provides one right, then takes away multiple rights or adds multiple requirements to offset that right. Our founding fathers would be astonished to see what they created.

      • June 30, 2015 9:26 pm

        I agree. They did a masterful job and we (the current pols) are pissing it all away. It is very sad, really.

      • Ron P permalink
        June 30, 2015 12:33 pm

        I believe if you look at the changes that have taken place where government had been involved with personal decisions and over the years, government has been removed, we have had a general improvement. I know there are those things that someone can bring up that will contradict that statement, but as a whole I believe that to be true. Interracial marriage had been an improvement to society (but there will be those that claim children of this marriage are not accepted by either race). Women being given the right to vote was a good thing. (Some could argue they only vote based on women’s issues and not the country as a whole) The end of prohibition was good. (It ended funding for a lot of other illegal activities). Abortion rights ended the back room clinics that were unregulated (A good friends sister died from one before legalization, so abortions were taking place, just not in sanitary conditions).

        The issue is what role does the government have in the personal decisions made by adults that have no adverse impact on others when that decision is made. It seems to me that conservatives call for small government in everything except social issues and then they want laws covering these issues and quote scripture in support of those positions. The first amendment provides that the government will have no role in religion and religion should not impact laws governing citizens. I believe in small government in all situations. Stay out of my wallet and stay out of my personal life.

        Just as equal rights for minorities has not been bad for the country, neither will the gay rights decision by the courts. Life will go on just as it has for the last 240 years with each generation making changes to their social structure to fit their positions on issues. Gays have been in relationships for eons and they have broken up just like government married individuals. But now they will have to get government to dissolve their relationship, unlike before.

        And again, I would ask, why is government involved?

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 30, 2015 12:56 pm

        Well, simply put, government is involved because property is involved. And because marriages often involve the rights of minor children, who often need to be protected from the bad decisions of their parents.

        I agree to a large extent with the libertarian view that government is too involved in marriage. That is what has led to this whole mess (I think that government is too involved in everything anymore – education, environment, economy, etc). But I don’t see any realistic or positive way that government abdicates any role in marriage at this point. “Getting out of the marriage business” would be a roll-back, not an abdication.

      • jbastiat permalink
        June 30, 2015 1:03 pm

        IF the issue were only contractual, civil unions and sep. marriage ceremonies could do the trick (see France for a model). The issue really isn’t that simple to gays, who really are looking for approval, love, and affection.

      • Priscilla permalink
        June 30, 2015 1:18 pm

        Agreed. Marriage is more than a semantic or a contractual issue. It is the foundation of family life, which is the foundation of society. And I truly believe that our society has been moving in a direction of accepting that gay couples be part of that foundation.

        But, true to form, progressivism cannot wait, for fear that a reasonable and amicable compromise might be reached.

      • June 30, 2015 5:53 pm

        Priscilla and JB..with the way our country is progressing, Gays will be one of the few groups that have a high percentage of married couples. With the straights, marriage is just a matter of convenience and when that has been fulfilled, then divorce takes place. As the younger generation witnesses this taking place, they will do what many younger people are doing today and that is living together, and for many, legal documents are created to handle financial issues as well as children responsibilities should a separation occur. That is what has created “domestic partner benefits” in many companies.Marriage is becoming something that is less acceptable and unnecessary as it just makes things difficult when the divorce occurs. And that happens in more than 50% of marriages today.

      • June 30, 2015 5:44 pm

        I think were my views on government being involved in marriage was way back when I asked my wife to marry me and began the process.(This was shortly after all the anti government rebellion of the 70’s) When we reviewed the requirements for a marriage license, my state required each member to have a physical. Hell, I did not even have a doctor at the time, so I had to go through the process of finding a doctor to have that taken care of and to get the various tests done that the state required. Then they “allowed” us to have a “license” to get married. Through the years the “right” to marry, which is a god given right, has been removed by many states and the government has issued licenses and provided individuals the “privilege” to marry. They can still deny that privilege if they wanted for certain reasons.That is wrong. But there are still some states where cohabitation for a specified period of time creates a common law marriage and in those states the right to be considered husband and wife has not been taken away. In other states, Church’s still issue marriage certificates after meeting the specific requirements of that religion. Here also the right has not been replaced by the privilege.

        Marriage should be considered to be between two adults that in some public manner(witnessed) have consented to be husband and wife (or whatever gays call each other) and after that has taken place a document is created that signifies that this took place. This could be filed by the church, the couples lawyer, a government office or some other office that safeguards critical documents. The states would not need to be included in any way, shape or form.

        Had this been in existence, gay marriage would have become recognized marriage in all states years ago and we would not be having the debate today.

  14. Roby permalink
    July 1, 2015 9:41 am

    Whether we are still a racist society, we are certainly still a society that contains large numbers of racists, which makes us no different from every society, nor do I mean only white racists.

    Anyone else been reading over the past weeks that 7 African American churches have burned down since the shooting, not that all have been proven to be arson? Me neither. I saw nothing of it at all until this morning. Was that some kind of cover up by the conservative media?

    From all the complaints about progressives and their power here you would think that Bernie Sanders was in danger of becoming president. The loon wing, not small, of the conservative movement still dwarfs the danger posed by progressives. You’ll never convince me that Rush and right wing radio in general are not racist and do not speak in a not very subtle code to their audience of millions of loon conservatives. Some progressive might sue you if you don’t make a wedding cake for a gay wedding. Loon conservatives on the other hand can intrude far deeper into your life and happiness, as the subject of the present post shows.

    Over the top progressives make my teeth itch, but over the top conservatives, who far outnumber the progressives, make my skin crawl.

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 1, 2015 10:01 am

      JB, you have become quite the philosophical one…. that quote is so on the money.

      And, hello Roby! I was just wondering when you would be weighing in. I totally disagree with your perception that far right-wingers out number far left-wingers, but, then, I think that both groups are far outnumbered by apolitical types anyway. The focus on “haters” and outrageous outrage is part of the problem I think.

      • jbastiat permalink
        July 1, 2015 10:14 am

        Yes, Priscilla, I agree that it is impossible to determine the range of “extreme positions.” First off, we could never gain agreement on what constitutes extreme. I think Bernie Sanders is a complete loon, others adore him.

        Then, there is the measurement problem. How could we ever develop a survey instrument when we can’t agree on the scale?

        Then again, those who like to throw bombs at the other side don’t care about that. To some, all we need to do is eliminate the South and/or all Caucasians and, poof, problem solved. American will be great when it is really “diverse” as long as the white man and woman are gone.

        What about white gays? Oh, see how difficult this gets.

      • Roby permalink
        July 1, 2015 10:41 am

        Apolitical types don’t burn down churches, etc. We are correct to care about the acts of the haters, they are very real and very destructive. I cannot just bury my head in the sand because I myself have a peaceful life in a calm beautiful place.

        That the loony right outnumbers the loony left is definitely not a perception, its a fact that is easy to prove in many ways, say the size of the audience of right wing media vs. left wing media. I say that living, as you know, in Vermont in the heart of the territory of the loony left. Its a tiny territory compared to that that is plagued by the loony right, which includes most of the south and a great deal of the west to varying degrees. You can throw in the San Francisco area, LA, and NYC, its still a tiny area of the country where loony lefties have any political influence at all compared to the south and west where the right has definite power.

        I could not care less really about the issue of gay rights one way or the other, but I do not believe that the people who do care are left wing loons, supporters of gay rights is a broad and getting broader sector of the country.

      • jbastiat permalink
        July 1, 2015 10:46 am

        You can believe anything you want. As for people who burn down churches (of any kind) I don’t care what their motivation is. That is a crime and they should be rounded up and placed in prison or executed, if anyone died in the arson.

        As for your “fact” that there are more right wing extremists, trot out the data. If you think that Fox News is right wing extreme, you have another thing coming. They are right of center, but not nearly as loony as MSNBC (IMHO).

        That said, there is the issue, it is just opinion.

        Next question!

        BTW-I never said that supporters of gay “rights” were loons. I said that Bernie Sanders is a loon, IMHO.

  15. Roby permalink
    July 1, 2015 11:00 am

    I did not happen to read any of that post, but Bernie Sanders is a loon in my opinion too. Making criticisms of Capitalism, etc. is very easy, providing actually workable solutions is much, much harder, which is where the hard core lefties like Sanders fall down. One person on my facebook network posts pithy sound bites by Sanders daily and they make a certain amount of sense sometimes, but they are nothing that he has any workable solution to. Just outrage, he has been ideologically outraged every second of his adult life as far as I can tell. Beware of people who have no other interest in life than ideology.

    Ironically I can tell you that the far left, the Howard Zinn left (and there is another part of the left that is further left than that too), despise Sanders for selling out.

    As to the criminals of the far right, one cannot simply say that criminal acts committed by right wingers are just criminal or insane and that the right wing motivations do not matter or reflect on their far conservative “intellectual” pedigree. They do matter, its a particularity right-wing flavor of action and the ideology they believe in carries blame, its a disgusting ideology.

    • jbastiat permalink
      July 1, 2015 12:09 pm

      “They do matter, its a particularity right-wing flavor of action and the ideology they believe in carries blame, its a disgusting ideology.”

      I don’t think either extreme has a monopoly on criminal activity. If you have data on this, it would be good to review that. Bill Ayers was far left and murder was OK by him. Stalin killed how many people in the USSR? Mao?

      That said, I blame individuals, not their ideology. Human beings exterminated Jews in Germany, not an ideology.

      From my standpoint, I never really cared WHY someone committed a murder and I never understood the concept of a “hate crime.” If someone burns down a church (on purpose) that criminal should be prosecuted irrespective of their motivations.

      True story: My uncle ran a pharmacy in Brooklyn back in the day. He was murdered by three black guys who wanted drugs (powder in those days) and cash.

      So, my uncle was dead and I didn’t particularly WHY these thugs killed him. I just wanted them dead.

  16. Priscilla permalink
    July 1, 2015 12:05 pm

    Well, one thing I have noticed over the past few years is this – right-wing authoritarianism has somehow become conflated with conservative political ideology in the minds of an awful lot of people. It’s undeniably an intentional thing on the part of liberal politicians (note, Roby, I am talking about politicians, not liberals in general) to create the perception that anyone who self-identifies as conservative or right-of-center (or sometimes even dead-center) is pretty much equivalent to a conspiratorial Nazi skinhead. And, of course, this is a false equivalency.

    Most conservatives place a high value on social order and stability….and when the existing social order seems unfair, oppressive or racist to some, this certainly puts conservatives at odds with radical reformers. But, it does not necessarily put them at odds with reform, and the fact is that the political party most closely associated with conservatism is currently more inclusive and diverse than the more liberal one.

    Roby, I have a number of FB friends who post those pithy quotes from Sanders almost daily, and I have, more than once thought to myself, “yes, he makes a lot of sense!” But, it’s so easy, isn’t it, to decry unfairness and inequality, and so difficult to come up with fair and equal solutions.

    I agree here with Roby that ideological outrage, while very satisfying to many, gets us exactly nowhere.

    • jbastiat permalink
      July 1, 2015 12:12 pm

      To my knowledge, no society on God’s green earth has eliminated “inequality.” If there exists one, I would love to hear about it.

      Why? Because it is a concept that has no real and clear definition. A figment of human’s fertile imagination.

  17. Roby permalink
    July 1, 2015 1:27 pm

    JB, I am truly sorry to hear of your uncles murder and how and why it happened. Without doubt our personal experiences in life color our views and philosophy, political or otherwise.

    Murder victims killed for non ideological reasons vastly outnumber those killed for ideological reasons, in the modern US at least. But ideologies that go beyond the pale in their implications via hate and violence nevertheless merit a special fear, this is not random violence its rationalized violence to frighten and demoralize all members of its target group. In history such hateful ideologies have often started on a relatively small scale and then grown to the proportions of a huge tragedy, so this is not an irrational thing to fear. ISIS kills because of its ideology, that is scary.

    Personally, I bow to no one in my condemnation and disgust of Stalin or repressive communist societies, or ISIS, or anything resembling the KKK or any ideology that runs on the rhetoric of hate and death to certain groups, Kurds, Jews, Blacks, Catholics, Protestants, gays, woman getting an education, I don’t care. Its all a medieval curse of ignorance. In my own society violent racism is the strongest example. I fear it with reason.

    Since I live in the modern US and not the Soviet Union, I am afraid of the modern hateful ideologies that operate in my own country today. I make no excuses for any ideology or ideologues wherever they were in time and space or whether they were “right or left.”

    • jbastiat permalink
      July 1, 2015 2:01 pm

      Thanks, Roby.

      Don’t get me wrong, I deplore hate coming from both sides of the aisle. I equally deplore politicians who seek to divide and don’t care how much it costs others, as long as they personally get to stay in office.

      Let’s home we see someone come out of the next campaign that seeks to unit.

      Perhaps Ben Carson?

      • Roby permalink
        July 1, 2015 2:41 pm

        Thanks right back at ya JB. Strangely just this morning as I was leaving the sleep state for the half asleep state the depressing thought was in my mind that I have no political heroes anymore and haven’t had one for decades and I have no expectations that any US politician is going to make the world a better place, according to my ideals. The fact the country runs and that it is still a beautiful place to live in most areas most of the time occurs due to some kind of averaging effect or mutual negation of the bad characteristics of individual politicians by opposing bad characteristics of other politicians. We live in a very grey age as far as political heroes are concerned. In spite of this, my own life is highly satisfactory, but as to my children’s lives in the coming decades, I am not so optimistic.

        To some extent I am very conservative in my old age, the days of my youth seem to have been filled with people in politics, music, and our general American cultural life, that I admired or loved, colorful, brave, talented interesting, funny meaningful people. That seems to have ended long ago, I live in the past. My band is playing our 60s music on the fourth in Stowe this years should be an audience in the thousands. We practice for many, many happy hours, four old guys playing the music of our youth, lovingly. What will today’s youth be playing in their golden years? What will they reminisce about? Ah, remember that time Bruce Jenner turned out to be a woman?

      • jbastiat permalink
        July 1, 2015 2:58 pm

        Yeah, and to me, he will always be Bruce, the guy with the little American Flag.

      • Priscilla permalink
        July 1, 2015 10:27 pm

        Wait? Bruce Jenner is a woman? Who knew?

  18. Roby permalink
    July 1, 2015 2:04 pm

    “It’s undeniably an intentional thing on the part of liberal politicians (note, Roby, I am talking about politicians, not liberals in general) to create the perception that anyone who self-identifies as conservative or right-of-center (or sometimes even dead-center) is pretty much equivalent to a conspiratorial Nazi skinhead. And, of course, this is a false equivalency.”

    Priscilla, I think you need to provide an example of a liberal politician (and lets try, as hard as it, is to define liberal within some reasonable bounds so that we are not talking about some extremist kook city councilman in Manhattan or something). I would be surprised if you can come up with one real example of an elected liberal politician of any standing that thoroughly fits your statement. Now, if you were talking about college professors….

    The closest I can come to understanding the basis of your statement is that many people, and they are not all politicians or liberals, do complain (for example, me) when mainstream conservatives do not make much of an effort to condemn, or even try in some roundabout way to defend, the worst elements of conservatives who hide their racist opinions very poorly. We are not saying that conservatives are “equivalent to skinheads”, but we are saying that sometimes conservatives have the strangest difficulties in being able to perceive even rather hard core racists who are conservatives or the element of race in the list of fears that motivate some conservatives. There sure as hell is a real subculture of southern conservatives who despise blacks (jews, hispanics) and a similar western conservative subculture as well. When other conservatives have the hardest time acknowledging this then the dreaded liberal shame on youing occurs. I understand it, I think this question is fair game. This is Not the same as calling ordinary mainstream conservatives skinheads, we just wonder why the existence of skinheads and their not trivial effects on our country is so hard for some mainstream conservatives to acknowledge and condemn.

    • jbastiat permalink
      July 1, 2015 2:16 pm

      Hey, I am a college professor. I resemble that remark!

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 2, 2015 10:08 am

      Roby, there “sure as hell is a subculture of southern conservatives who despise blacks (jews, hispanics) and a similar western conservative subculture as well.” For sure. There are despicable elements in society, and there are politicians on both sides of the aisle who, subtly (sometimes not so subtly) pander to those elements. I mentioned earlier that the Dixiecrats of the 50’s and 60’s actually adopted the Confederate flag as their symbol of anti-civil rights, and the non-conservative Democrat majority leader of the Senate in the late 80’s, Robert Byrd, had once been a grand something-or-other of the KKK. I assume that Byrd renounced the KKK at some point.

      Byrd voted against both Clarence Thomas and Condi Rice – was that because they were black? I doubt it – it was years after the black civil rights movement had been essentially won, and there were lots of other reasons for him to want to deny them confirmation. But, should Byrd have continually denounced the subculture of racism that still existed in the South, despite his renunciation? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Moving on seems reasonable at some point, and we should reserve charges of racism for those who deserve it.

      Nazi skinhead equivalencies aside (and ok, ok, that was an exaggeration on my part), I think that calling anyone racist, or demanding that they answer for racism, because of their political ideology , skin color, or place of birth is wrong and we should cut it the hell out.

      That said, and politics aside, I think it is so great that you and your band get to play for such a big audience, and I hope you have great fun! If you can post any videos afterwards, please do! Happy 4th, all!

      • July 2, 2015 10:52 am

        I have been down south many times. I doubt that folks there are any more or less “filled with hatred” than any other region of the country. However, it sure does help the narrative to feel like someone, its the other guy.

      • Roby permalink
        July 2, 2015 8:50 pm

        The reason you made the exaggeration Priscilla is that you feel (not to put words in your mouth or engage in pop psychology) that the conservative subculture is not treated right, or perhaps I could even guess, fairly. Now, imagine how you would feel if you were black about the fairness of the treatment of your subculture.

        Thanks for the kind words about my group I do hope to get some video record and post it on facebook, although it will take some time at the rate I process such things. Then I can make a link here. Thanks!

      • Priscilla permalink
        July 6, 2015 8:42 am

        It was probably more a cynical type of sarcastic hyperbole than a feeling of victimization, Roby. I think that unfairness, in one form or another, is pretty much a life condition, not a political problem to be solved. That’s not to say that victims of unfairness can’t find justice in the courts, but, in general, I think that mandating fairness for any group just leads to unfairness against other groups. And,of course, that generally keeps groups at odds with each other, as they try to support the politicians who they think will cut them the best deal.

        Nevertheless, sarcasm, hyperbolic or not, is rarely, if ever, helpful, and usually just confuses and angers people.

      • July 6, 2015 8:58 am

        As far as I know, the word “fair” is not in the Constitution of the US. That document provides for “equal protection under the law.” It is not even implied that the role of government is to make sure everyone has all that they need or want.

        If someone is looking for “fairness” in all of life’s events, they might as well believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

        It is not fair that I cannot play golf like Tiger Woods, am not as smart as Thomas Sowell, good looking as Thor, etc. Life is a game that is inherently “unfair” which is a concept humans make up when they are looking for an excuse for their own self-perceived shortcomings.

        Hey, there is always someone who had it “better” than you did. And someone who had it much worse. If you want to complain, go talk to a Holocaust survivor. That will wake you out of your stupor.

        “No one gets out of here alive.”

        Thanks, Priscilla, as always, you are on point.

  19. Pat Riot permalink
    July 10, 2015 12:24 am

    Thank you again Rick for perspectives deeper and often bolder than those from commercial TV. Thank you also to the commentators. I am glad I am free to visit TNM. Keep up the good work! Long live Liberty and Freedom!

    • July 13, 2015 2:10 pm

      Glad to oblige, Pat. Sometimes I think this is the only remaining outlet for ideology-free, narrative-free commentary — which is a pretty sad commentary on American journalism (and the American reading public). People seem to want clear-cut commentary that reinforces their beliefs. After the left’s campaign to expunge all visible signs of the Confederacy, even I got alarmed and found some comfort in reading the intelligent conservative commentary at The Federalist.

      My next column will address the increasing tendency toward a kind of progressive lockstep that tolerates no deviation from accepted scripture and leads us to a very slippery slope. First remove the Confederate flag (OK, within reason), then dig up Nathan Bedford Forrest and denounce Jeff Davis (well, maybe, though it seems a little crass), then condemn Robert E. Lee and rename anything named in his honor (hold it a minute there), and finally unseat that slave-owner and ultimate symbol of white patriarchy, George Washington (over my dead body!). Where does it stop?

      • jbastiat permalink
        July 13, 2015 2:57 pm

        It just occurred to me that since most of what we admire about modern Egypt (Pyramids, etc.) was built by slave labor, shouldn’t they be required to demolish them so that modern day descendants of those slaves are not outraged?

      • July 14, 2015 12:27 am

        They say the White House was built by slave labor, so maybe we should tear it down. And of course, we’d have to rename Washington, D.C… although there’s a school of black thought that maintains we should keep those reviled names as a perpetual reminder of our (read “white people’s”) dark past. Can you tell I’m growing more cynical than ever about race relations?

      • July 14, 2015 6:53 am

        The media and race hucksters have succeeded in making Black Americans boring and repetitive. There is a certain irony in that.

      • Roby permalink
        July 13, 2015 3:35 pm

        Well, if this next campaign is going to be driven by the personalities of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, where it goes next is Moscow, where I will move if that is our choice. (Just kidding, but I will join the Vermont secessionist movement in earnest.). What a nightmare choice. Dumb and Dumber. Or Outraged and Outrageder. (I know that is not going to happen, right?) Moderates do not seem to be winning.

      • Ron P permalink
        July 13, 2015 5:20 pm

        Roby, how about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? Doesn’t sound much better to me, but since I do look for positives in everything, just think. The Libertarian Party might gather enough votes this time to be considered a major party next time and get money, debate time and all the other perks that a major party receives now.

      • July 14, 2015 12:21 am

        I have to agree, Roby. I can’t remember a more depressing (and borderline insane) group of presidential candidates. There’s not a single one I could vote for in good conscience. Jon Huntsman was probably the best of the Republicans during the last campaign, and he’s dropped off the map due to an inability to connect with our dumbed-down electorate. Hillary is smart but treacherous; Bernie is a sincere, well-intentioned blowhard — a shrill one-note crusader. It would almost serve the country right to have a President Trump — the apotheosis of the brash American go-getter spirit and flaming ego. “King of the hill, top of the heap, A-number one.” I have to admit, though, that it would be a great era for cynical satirists.

      • Priscilla permalink
        July 13, 2015 11:28 pm

        The fact that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are even considered “serious” candidates for the presidency shows how dysfunctional our major parties have become, yet I don’t see any realistic possibility of a third party. I do agree that Hillary Clinton belongs in with them…to be honest, if I had to rank order the 3, I’m not sure who would be the lesser of the evils.

        At this point, I think that a solid Republican is the country’s best hope. A strong fiscal conservative,relatively moderate on social issues, but willing to stand up to the PC fascists. I don’t see any Democrat in that category at the moment, although I could see someone like Michael Bloomberg filling that gap (he’s a nanny-stater for sure, but he’s a lot better than most, and I’d be willing to consider voting for him).

        I don’t see the Libertarians doing any better than they ever have. It’s the bloviating populists like Sanders and Trump who are carrying the day. Depressing as hell, but I am optimistic enough to believe that they will flam out well before Election Day.

      • Ron P permalink
        July 14, 2015 2:53 am

        Priscilla, I have to question if Sanders and Trump are a result of our parties becoming dysfunctional or if it is a result of a number of steps both the government and parties took to give more rights to a dysfunctional group of voters that have led to the issues we have today.

        One, until 68, many of the nominees were selected by caucus or some other method while only 12 states used a primary to select delegates. During that period, the nominees were basically selected by state party “bosses” and the uninformed voters had little input. Then states decided to add primaries and the parties began allocating most of the delegates based on those votes, with a few “super delegates” that were selected by the state leaders and were free to vote as they preferred. This resulted in many uninformed voters voting blindly for the candidate with the name or the money or both.

        Two, after the Viet Nam war with so many young men dying prior to their 21st birthday, a major push occurred to give those over 18 the vote. “If your old enough to die for your country, your old enough to vote”. During that period of time, a much more informed group of young people gained the right to vote, but over the years, that age group has grown to become one of the least informed groups as it pertains to government and politics. What they hear in social media (that regurgitates liberal media crap) and what they hear in school shapes their voting patterns, And much of what they hear is inaccurate information.

        Third, voters have become single issue voters. Trump is making a name for himself based on immigration, Some others are attracting voters based on social issues. What we lack is a voter that will compromise an issue and vote for a candidate that can win the national election. So we see Hillary moving to the far left to ward off Sanders and we will see GOP candidates (like Romney) moving to the right to ward off the Tea Party influence and others like Trump. Then they are stuck with those positions in the general election and have to answer the flip flop questions..

        As for a Third party, remember Trump has thrown his hat in the ring a few years ago and ran on the Reform Party ticket in some states. but backed out before the general election. I suspect if he does not get the GOP nomination, he will do that again. He has the name recognition (unlike the Libertarian Party), he has the followers and he has the money to pay for it himself. And at one time, he was a Democrat and supported the Clintons, so impacting the election and getting her in office would not be that upsetting to him at this time.

      • July 14, 2015 6:56 am

        I have a simpler explanation: public schools. It is the perfect strategy for those who seek to control and manipulate the “masses.”

        Keep them dumb and unable to think for themselves. Then, pacify them with drugs, sex, iphones and you have a winner: Barak Obama.

      • Priscilla permalink
        July 14, 2015 8:44 am

        Ron, it does look as if Trump would consider a self-funded 3rd party run, à la Ross Perot. He’s already said that he is not committed to supporting the eventual Republican nominee, if it’s not him. And Sanders is not even technically a Democrat, although he is running as one to reap the donor money that is coming his way during his boomlet….some socialist, huh? I suppose that, assuming Trump does go 3rd party (which is still, at this point, no sure thing) he would pretty much guarantee President HR Clinton. There are those who wonder if he’s not secretly acting as a stalking horse for her, and, although I’m not into that particular conspiracy theory, nothing would surprise me.

        As always, you’ve laid out a very logical and probable timeline of how the informed American voter has gradually disappeared over the past 50 years or so, and I think JB points out the reason(s) why that voter is unlikely to make a comeback in the near future.

        This is all very depressing, and I haven’t even had my second cup of coffee this morning!

      • Pat Riot permalink
        July 14, 2015 9:11 am

        Yes, Rick, please point out the folly of the progressive lockstep. We moderates are able to listen to ideas, whether they be more conservative or more progressive, and find merit on a case by case basis in practical reality, but the progressive lockstep, including it’s witch hunt into the past, is a weird phenomenon, an hysteria, that’s different than merely being “progressive.” Yes, help expose the irrationality of it…

  20. Pat Riot permalink
    July 10, 2015 1:21 am

    Interesting how changes to our culture nowadays, such as the incredibly rapid, sudden fall of the confederate flag, are tied together with “markets,” so that Dukes of Hazard TV episodes are shelved, Walmart and other retailers pull items from their shelves…

    When one considers transnational corporations are sueing nations, and to be further entitled to do so through the TPIP, which is a corporate weapon of mass destruction, and also considering that the major “news” and media outlets are largely corporate owned, then the new manner of these “cultural” changes is less surprising to me.

    I am still disappointed to hear so many people say “the government” as if it is a static thing. Bottom-up government By The People is much, much different than top-down government hijacked by corporations. Industry and corporatons operating WITHIN nations deriving their structure/laws from The People can be wonderful and responsive engines of life, but Consolidation at the top has become an accelerating scourge to democracy, the middle class, freedom and liberty, and The People.

    Please become connected in your own unique ways, as best you can, to the varieties of “local and regional sustainablility,” and hold on…hold on in order to weather more top down changes coming, good and bad…

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 10, 2015 8:35 am

      Top Down vs Bottom Up has always been the real story, hasn’t it? And it is interesting that liberals and conservatives of both parties opposed the recent “fast-track” TPP authority, giving the president broad authority to negotiate and submit trade agreements to Congress without legislators of either house being able to amend those agreements. Top Down indeed. Interesting as well, that it was the Republican leadership of the Congress that united with Obama to make sure that this authority was granted. Just as the leadership of both parties have been united in opposing real border security and pushing immigration “reform” rather than enforcement of existing immigration law.

      Keep The People arguing about gay marriage and the confederate flag, but, by all means, please The Corporate Donors. Thanks for the reminder, Pat, and good to see you back!

    • July 10, 2015 12:29 pm

      Each party has their own perspective as to bottom-up and top-down government. If one party believes in bottom-up government, you can bet that the other will find top-down much more acceptable. The only thing one can count on with our federal government today is both parties will disagree on most everything and will be unwilling to compromise to get anything done unlike Ronald Reagan did in the 80’s. The only party that truly believes in bottom-up government and personal responsibility is the Libertarian Party and due to their basic isolationist positions on foreign affairs, they will always be a splinter party with little influence.

      The American people do not want government by the people as created by the founding fathers. The American people have grown accustomed to big government, run big corporate donations and big union donations, filling the same adult role as a parent fills while a child is growing up. We have what the people want and right now that is excessive spending and huge debt. Compare that to the average American financial position and I would expect them to track closely.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        July 14, 2015 4:42 pm

        Ron P, respectfully, don’t you think it’s a bit “defeatist” to say that the Libertarian Party “will always be a splinter party with little influence”?? Perhaps you mean for the next election or two? Such a statement, based on what is and what has been, reminds me of the Xerox executives who scoffed at the Windows interface because “people will not want computers for their homes.” I suppose in the 1970s there must have been some people thinking their prospects looked good as typewriter salesmen ( ! )

        Things can change rapidly and radically these days, and then spread like wildfire. Based on the number of smartphones sold, and number of pictures uploaded to Facebook in a day, some folks have estimated that people will take more pictures in 2015 than during the rest of history combined. Just an example of how things are a-changin’ in unprecedented ways. .

        And a belated preface: I’m not all in on the Libertarians. To me they place too much trust in free markets. Nonetheless, I’d say there is a groundswell toward Libertarianism while at the same time a deep, deep disappointment and anger toward our two-party system. Perhaps by 2020 we will outlaw both the Republican and Democratic parties (for crimes against humanity) and have a new 4-party system.. Or, maybe the Libertarian party will remain a splinter party. I’d say it’s impossible to know that in advance with much certainty.

      • Ron P permalink
        July 14, 2015 5:08 pm

        Pat I base my projections that for the foreseeable future the Libertarian Party will be a splinter party due to two reasons. One, the two party system has worked well for the unions, large corporations and other special interests that control the money that buys elections (indirectly, but bought one way or the other) and Two, the majority of voters are being manipulated by the two parties and the media into support of only those in one of the two major parties. It would take decades for the Libertarians or any other third party to make inroads into local politics where politicians get their start. And right now I see no signs that the Libertarians or any other third party is getting any grass roots traction that would lead to a national campaign. People do not adhere to personal responsibility and expect government subsidies and government protection in the form of a nanny state because they can’t make decisions that are good for them themselves.

        Yes, we need come federal laws protecting consumers, but we need fewer laws than we have today. If something is bad for the country or is harmful to citizens then there needs to be laws to protect those entities. We need food and drug laws to insure safety, or we will have quack medicines that don’t work and people will die. We need food laws or we will have bad food like the bad pet food that Purina produced that killed so many animals. We need laws to prohibit banks from getting so big that when they fail the country has to bail them out, but we don’t need special interest tax breaks, government subsidies and other government programs to promote industries that will fail if they don’t get subsidies.

        Oh well I could go on much longer as to why the current parties are failing America, but it does no good. We get stuck with the crappy politicians because money eventually gets the candidate they want.

  21. July 10, 2015 5:37 am

    Amen on that one Pat!

    • Pat Riot permalink
      July 14, 2015 8:28 pm

      Ron, I’m on board with your latest post. I’m OK with “foreseeable future” rather than “always”. I agree that we’ll be stuck with a two-party system as long as it is profitable for the tip of the pyramid to keep it that way, or until We The People really wake up and get organized. I do, however, think that “game changers” are very possible, both good and bad. As I’m sure you know, former Senator Ron Paul and many others believe it is only a matter of WHEN for a dollar collapse, not IF, and that will be a major game changer / re-boot. I know there could be some positive game changers that could prevent the dollar collapsing, or that could bolster the nation to better weather a dollar collapse, but whether these things will occur in time…?

      • July 14, 2015 11:44 pm

        Pat, right now I am not in the camp that believes a collapse of the dollar will happen. For that to happen, the major owners of dollars and dollar linked assets would have to begin dumping those assets to drive down the value of a dollar. Since China, Japan and Europe are the major owners of dollars or dollar linked assets, it is not in their interest to dump those on the open market. If they did, it would have a major impact on the price of their goods in the USA and would severely restrict their exports to the USA. This would constrict their economic growth and cause widespread unemployment resulting in their countries spending more on their entitlement programs. What is more likely is a gradual decline in the value of the dollar, much like the 30% decline to the euro over the past 10 years. In these cases, the decline is so gradual that no one notices except in the price of oil and gold.

        As for anything good taking place to offset the bad game changers, good luck with that one. Congress does not do anything before a disaster, they do it when it is too late. Fix the problems with banks being too big to fail (2008 after they fail and again in the future when they fail again because they did not break them up in 2008, they made them bigger). Fix the problem that is leading to a dollar collapse (debt and deficit will be addressed when the dollar collapses). Fix the immigration problems (after our economy, social structures and environmental structures can no longer handle any more immigrants filling low paying jobs).

      • July 15, 2015 8:02 am

        Long term, I don’t see the dollar as declining. Why? Well, other than gold and silver (who really wants to own these long term?) ALL currencies are kind of “junk” in real terms. It is the relative values that most people really see and on those terms, the dollar will likely holds its value.

        This is why the EU is reluctant to pull the trigger on Greece. They know the whole Euro experiment is a failure and yet they don’t know any way out of it without massive upset and not a little bit of social unrest.

        No, like it or not, most people still think we have our shit together, and in a sense, we do, compared to say, France or Spain.. That said, it could all change in a heartbeat.

        Hey, Iran is being allowed to build a nuclear arsenal, thanks to Barry Obama so things can change overnight!

      • Ron P permalink
        July 15, 2015 1:37 pm

        JB…if the free markets really drive the world economy, then it could be something like Bitcoin will become the world currency with those owning currency in Bitcoin setting the value. The Yuan, Euro and Dollar would all be tied to the Bitcoin. Just saying thats an option

      • jbastiat permalink
        July 15, 2015 1:54 pm

        In theory, then again I don’t see governments allowing any real free market to upset their dominion. They will find a way to keep the market rigged in their favor IMO.

  22. Pat Riot permalink
    July 14, 2015 9:02 am

    jbastiat I think you are on it when you mention public schools, and it is part of a broader cultural misdirect, “on accident” and “by purpose” as my 4-year-old daughter used to say, that has us training our “medium to high achievers” to be highly specialized idiots (e.g. a corporate exec who doesn’t know any geography whatsoever or what year the Declaration of Independence was signed or why it was significant, etc.) and our “lower achievers” (please forgive the term–I know a lot of good people who work in the trenches) to become disconnected, hopeless wage earners vegging out on Sports and Entertainment, rather than us educating well-rounded, civic-minded people. And civic-minded (also not the best term) doesn’t have to mean running for office or organizing a protest, but rather just knowing how to be a good neighbor. I’ve plumb run out of patience with our dumbed-down culture. Too often it is either animalistic at the base extreme or robotic and myopic at the PC extreme, rather than rational and good-natured.

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 15, 2015 7:59 am

      Pat, for some reason, your comment put me in mind of that old phrase, “all politics is local.” And for decades (centuries, really) it has been sort of what America has been all about; that is, civic-minded neighbors trying to make their communities good places to live, raise a family, yada, yada yada……. Schools, of course, a big part of that. Jobs, too – so many small towns made up primarily of people working for the same company, along side of the obligatory professionals and small business people that are necessary to create a cohesive community. Reminds me also of an exchange that I once had with Roby, about how we each tended to vote along different party lines in local elections than we did in national elections, based on the quality of our respective local political parties.

      And it’s certainly not that local politics are corruption-free, or that certain national issues don’t directly affect individual communities…..but, it does seem that we have transformed from an “all politics is local” to an “all politics is national” society, which is, I think, the opposite of what the founding fathers intended…..but, then, the founding fathers didn’t have to factor in the internet, smart phones and social media.

      And it’s not just politics, of course, it’s everything. I’m thinking that I’ll re-read Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” and get really depressed!

      • Pat Riot permalink
        July 15, 2015 7:56 pm

        Priscilla, don’t get REALLY depressed! Just get vaguely depressed…like most every American who has some common sense…we feel/sense there’s an ominously dark cloud looming…but then we push it to the background and focus on something positive! It’s better for our health! OK so I don’t think things are as great as Asmith does when he looks at the statistics, but of course many things are better today!

        Nonetheless, I do miss the tight-knit community I grew up in during the 60’s and 70’s in the “river districts” in Philadelphia, including the way local politics was weaved into our lives. Neighbors would walk into my parents house without knocking and hang out in the kitchen talking of politics and worker issues, local and national. People had pictures in their homes not only of Kennedy, but also the Philly mayor, and Apollo Astronauts. My mother organized the neighborhood to block traffic when rats starting showing up in the sewers. Channel 6 Action News showed up. The sewers were cleaned out starting the next day. There was so much local and national pride before “the coup.”

        The students in one of my classes were so depressed. I made it a requirement that we had to start each class with each of us naming something that’s better today than it used to be, big or small. It was uplifting. I should have kept a list! I need that list!

  23. Pat Riot permalink
    July 14, 2015 9:14 am

    Yes, Rick, please point out the folly of the progressive lockstep. We moderates are able to listen to ideas, whether they be more conservative or more progressive, and find merit on a case by case basis in practical reality, but the progressive lockstep, including it’s witch hunt into the past, is a weird phenomenon, an hysteria, that’s different than merely being “progressive.” Yes, help expose the irrationality of it…

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