A Check on the Ruling Class

Progressivism sought to accomplish many of the populist goals of its day. In doing so it created a political class that was removed from the whims of the voters. It preached more democracy while it created less democratic accountability.  The political class practiced diversity of every sort except intellectual diversity, and became increasingly isolated. Populists need demons and their demon today is the elites, created in the laboratories of Progressive ideology.

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Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist

The sign on the Statue of Liberty does not ask for your Nobel Prize winners, your valedictorians and your Mensa members.  The state of Georgia was a penal colony. So was Australia.  In Israel the Ethiopians, airlifted in Operation Solomon, became stellar Israelis.  What made the United States, Australia and Israel the successful nations they became was not an immigration meritocracy, but the development of a system where those from the worst conditions in the world could rise so far above it that they created the greatest nations on earth.

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Racism and Freedom

Shelby Steele at the WSJ-
“When you don’t know how to go forward, you never just sit there; you go backward into what you know, into what is familiar and comfortable and, most of all, exonerating. You rebuild in your own mind the oppression that is fading from the world. “

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Populism and Progressivism

Progressivism has top down political structure, populism is a bottom up assault on the political structure.  Progressivism on one hand wants more democracy and a more powerful president to reflect the popular will.  Yet Progressivism also wants a professionally managed administrative state that is removed from the political process and thus from voter accountability.

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The Hong Kong Experiment

He avoided the accumulation of economic data, believing the cost of accumulating outweighed its value. He felt such data was used to enable economic planning which he opposed, and because it instilled a false sense of certainty about outcomes.  Cowperthwaite governed from principles, not data.

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Sanity Reconsidered

Obama was cool, calm, engaging, charismatic and measured in his responses.  His charm also obscured his record which was disappointing,  an intentional understatement.  Are we so enamored with style and personality that we ignore the policy successes and failures? The media may be, but the public may have more depth on the subject that we allow.

What if sanity was questioned based on substance instead of style?

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Isolating Blue States

It is a money decision.  Trump money-balled the electoral college and targeted just enough to win.  It is a poor investment to invest in races that are so overwhelmingly blue.  The result in the current scenario us that the most populous centers do not get a seat at the table and have little leverage to gain any. Thus the critical loss of the state tax deduction that hurts them disproportionately.  (now they have to argue that their wealthy taxpayers deserve a break.)

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Detours and Destinations

At some point ideology does matter. sound ideology must yield results but also requires commitment and patience. This requires the clarity of leadership that can balance ideology and pragmatism.  Pragmatism without ideology is a an unmoored ship that will eventually crash on the rocks.  Having a sound ideology, while acknowledging its imperfections, is a map that assures that detours do not become destinations.

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Diversity vs Pluralism

While identity politics claims a diversity of ethnic and sexual components; it is not intellectually pluralistic and shows remarkable intolerance for other political ideas or even the idea that political ideas that unite us should take priority over ethnic and sexual differences. The left champions the incomplete diversity of identity politics, but rejects the pluralism of competing political ideas.

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Tax Cut Fallacies

from John Cochrane
“The larger economic point: In the end, investment in the whole economy has nothing to do with the financial decisions of individual companies. Investment will increase if the marginal, after-tax, return to investment increases. Lowering the corporate tax rate operates on that marginal incentive to new investments. It does not operate by “giving companies cash” which they may use, individually, to buy new forklifts, or to send to investors. Thinking about the cash, and not the marginal incentive, is a central mistake. (It’s a mistake endemic to Keynesian economics, but the case here is supply-side, incentive oriented.)”

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It’s the Productivity, Stupid

Critics of the tax cuts do not trust the corporations to spend their cuts wisely.  This is the tragic flaw of progressivism.  We are supposed to trust the infinite wisdom and political interests of the state to spend our money, but always suspect the same money in private hands.

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Andrew Jackson and the Modern Presidency    

Historians can debate if Jackson moved us further away from the vision of the Constitution and its framers, as so many of his critics contended, or was a step in the evolution or the practical clarification of the vision to address the issues of his day.   There is much less agreement that his term was one of the most pivotal in the direction of our history.

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Growth Elements are Now in Place

Deficits do matter, but like the stimulus it also matters how they are spent.  Stimulating demand is less effective than stimulating investment.  Demand stimulus is only effective briefly under certain conditions. Stimulating investment pays dividends (pun intended) much longer.

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The Trickle-Down Calumny

‘Trickle down’ is meaningless and ignorant and does not withstand minimal scrutiny. It hides the greater issues of the size, scope, and expense of government; and whether consumers and investors can allocate resources better than bureaucrats.

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Some Thoughts on 2017

“History does repeat itself, but the soundtrack is different, and the sequel is usually disappointing”. – HO

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The Natural Bias of History

“We must remind ourselves again that history as usually written (peccavimus) is quite different from history as usually lived: the historian records the exceptional because it is interesting—because it is exceptional. “

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Policy vs Culture

Rambunctious rhetoric can damage a position.  So can the abuse and weaponization of institutions that require trust to function.  Obama’s abuse of the IRS for political purposes, and the possible politicization of the FBI stand to cause far more damage than Trump’s reckless tweets, bullying tactics, and idle threats.

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Best of 2017

Donald Trump Is The First President To Turn Postmodernism Against Itself Like other utopian visions that seek to remake human beings into something alien to their nature, however, it is incapable of compromise, and thus lends itself to hypocrisy and fanaticism.…

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The Rest of the Apple

Upgrades tend to use more power as new features are introduced. To conserve the battery power of older phones, Apple reduced the processing speed, assuming a small difference in processing speed would be more tolerable and less noticeable than a battery that drained too quickly.  This is hardly the sinister motive or forced obsolescence the conspiracy mongers attribute.

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Policy and Attitude

“President Trump’s governance this year has been more conservative than that of George W. Bush or even Reagan. He has slashed the bureaucracy, cutting regulations at a maniacal clip. He has inserted constitutionalist appellate judges at a historic rate. He’s cut taxes. He’s looked to box in Russia in Ukraine while building up our alliances in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. He’s ended the individual mandate and he’s cut taxes.”

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