The Progressive Overton Window

Hitler and Hermann Göring saluting at a 1928 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg. This is current progressive view of present day Republicans and "Conservatives".

Hitler and Hermann Göring saluting at a 1928 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg. This is the current progressive view of present day Republicans and “Conservatives”.
Source: National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized,
Heinrich Hoffmann collection

What constitutes acceptable conversation  for progressives appears to be moving continuously toward only that speech assuming the inhumanity of the Right. Unlike in the past, progressives assume not only are neoliberals (often mistakenly called “conservatives”) completely and woefully wrong, their views are so morally reprehensible, they should not even be discussed in a serious way publicly. With much of the “mainstream” media (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc., etc.) adopting this point of view, those on the political Right can expect a vigorous progressive campaign to shame them into submission.

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The Unraveling of America

Antifa combatants fighting with Trump supporters at Berkeley, California on August 27. 2017.

Antifa combatants fighting with Trump supporters at Berkeley, California on August 27, 2017.
Youtube screenshot / The Red Elephants

The United States of America  is unraveling as a society, in much the same way that the European Union is beginning to fall apart. Throughout the West, conflict is building between those who believe government is the answer to all social problems and those who believe government creates most of those problems. In the U.S. that conflict is becoming ever more violent. Those who believe in government, generally called “progressives”, are demonstrating increasing hatred toward those who do not, who are most accurately called “neoliberals” but often referred to as “conservatives.” Many neoliberals seem to mirror that hate.

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Problems For The Sovereign American People

An 1846 painting by George Caleb Bingham showing a collection of voters before a polling place. A polling judge is administering an oath to a voter.

An 1846 painting by George Caleb Bingham showing a collection of voters before a polling place. A polling judge is administering an oath to a voter.
Wikimedia Commons / George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879)

In my last two posts,  the dysfunctional nature and enormous political problems of both the Republican and Democratic parties were examined. With division and discord in the Republican party, and a rush toward the political Left by the Democratic that alienates a growing fraction of the American people, how can legislative progress be made towards solving our increasingly serious problems? How can the electorate respond?

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Major Problems for the Democratic Party

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), together with Democratic Senate and House leaders, announcing their "Better Deal" at Berryville, VA on July 24, 2017.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), together with Democratic Senate and House leaders, announcing their “Better Deal” at Berryville, VA on July 24, 2017.
Screenshot from Newsy coverage.

Having taken a quick look  at the Republican Party’s seemingly insurmountable problems in my last post, we should now consider the Democratic Party’s even more destructive, long-term problems. These difficulties are made all the worse by the fact most in the Democratic elites are unwilling even to acknowledge them.

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The Ideological Balkanization of the United States

The red state – blue state division of  the United States as revealed by the presidential results of the past four presidential elections.
Wikimedia Commons / Angr

This week The Sacramento Bee  reported additional evidence for the ideological balkanization of the United States. The newspaper of California’s capitol reported the state government is now banning publicly funded travel to four more states because the California government views those states’ laws or policies as discriminatory to gay and transgender people. The four new states on the list are Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota, all of which are red states according to the map above, i.e. Republican and neoliberal (aka “conservative”). Those four new states join Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee, similarly red states. As of now, I am unaware of any similar bans by red states against blue, i.e. predominantly Democratic and progressive states.

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How Probable Is A Second American Civil War?

Union dead on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Union dead on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, photographed July 5 or July 6, 1863, by Timothy H. O’Sullivan
Wikimedia Commons / T. H. O’Sullivan

Essays speculating on the imminent beginning of a second American civil war are proliferating with the rising political violence by American Leftists and the recent assassination attempts on Republican lawmakers. All you have to do to find them is to do a Google search with the search phrase, “second american civil war 2017.” Could these posts be just hysterical overreaction, or is there a real possibility for such a catastrophe?

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The Nation States Refuse To Dissolve!

Painting of "The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster".

Painting of “The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster”. This is one of the treaties leading to the Peace of Westphalia, in which the concept of the modern nation state was defined.
Wikimedia Commons / Gerard ter Borch (1617-1681)

Today,  I read a very thoughtful essay by a Wall Street Journal editorial writer, Sohrab Ahmari, based in London, on why international events have taken such a disastrous turn for the West. Entitled How Nationalism Can Solve the Crisis of Islam, its subtitle is “Transnational liberalism breeds resentments and anxieties that are only beginning to surface across the developed world.”

With that title and subtitle, you can already sense the beginning of an attack on the conceits of modern day multiculturalism.

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Information Sources For Our Hive Mind

Picture of Confusion and Illumination

The classic, arduous. time-consuming, and expensive way to access information!
A photo of a part of my library

A few days ago,  I asked the question “How Can So Many See Such Different Realities?” in a post with the same title. A part of the answer comes from the observation that most of us think we know a lot more than we actually do. From long-term observation of my fellow human beings (I am currently 70 years old), I am firmly convinced this is a true statement even for the most erudite of us. It has certainly been true for me for more times than I would like to admit! In fact, it is almost certainly a condition that is impossible to avoid. In this post I would like to offer some suggestions on how to ameliorate the situation.

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How Can So Many See Such Different Realities?

Different pieces of the puzzle!

Everyone holds different pieces of the puzzle!
© CanStock Photo

I am endlessly fascinated  by how we all ostensibly live in the same universe, yet we all see such different realities. On the one hand, this social condition allows little room for boredom. On the other, it causes many human beings to hate, despise, and even to attempt to kill each other.

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Does the Revolt of the West Against Its Elites Continue?

The major French presidential candidates for 2017.

The major French presidential candidates for 2017. From Left to Right:
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Communist (Wikimedia Commons / MathieuMD),
Emmanuel Macron, Center-Left En Marche! movement (Wikimedia Commons / Ecole polytechnique Université Paris),
François Fillon, Center-Right Les Républicains  (Wikimedia Commons / Marie-Lan Nguyen).
Marine Le Pen, Far right National Front (Wikimedia Commons / Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle)

This Sunday, the 23d of April, 2017, will see the first round of  the French presidential election. The burning question it poses is: Will the many revolts of Western civilization against its leftist, dirigiste elite be continued with the French election?

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The Human Development Index and Economic Freedom

World heat map of the human development index

Wikimedia Commons / User Happenstance

Recently,  I learned  about a figure of merit for countries being promoted by the United Nations that blends economic data with statistics related to the quality of life. Called the Human Development Index (HDI), it was originally developed by the Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq for the UN. The HDI for every country for which there is data is published annually by the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Reports. Comparing countries’ HDI as a function of their economic freedom from government turns out to be a very rewarding exercise.

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Lessons From The Developing World

An Indian plowman in West Bengal working in India's largest industry: Agriculture

An Indian plowman in West Bengal working in India’s largest industry: Agriculture
Wikimedia Commons / ILRI

In my last two posts,  I have taken looks at the history of leftist revolutions and of Europe to glean lessons about what works and does not work in economies. In this essay I will try to explore what the underdeveloped and developing economies of the world have to teach us.

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More Historical Lessons From Europe

GDP per capita in Europe in 2014

GDP per capita in Europe in 2014. According to the World Bank, the U.S. GDP per capita in the same year was $54,540.
Wikimedia Commons

In this post, I will continue my look at what history can tell us about economics and politics. In my last essay, I briefly examined what lessons the major leftist revolutions — the French Revolution and the communist revolutions of Russia and China — could give us. In this post I will investigate how the economic and political history of post-French Revolution Europe might cast a light on the current American progressive-neoliberal conversation.

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Historical Lessons on Economics and Politics

Revolutionary Images: Lessons to be avoided like the plague!

Revolutionary Images: Lessons to be avoided like the plague!
Left: A barricade erected by revolutionaries in Moscow, 1905. Wikimedia Commons / Imperial War Museum
Right: People’s Liberation Army entering Beijing, 1949. Socialist Worker

How to further the conversation between progressives and neoliberals? That was the the question I left with you at the end of my last post. The fact we desperately need such a conversation is underlined by the almost hysterical reaction of the American Left to the election of Donald Trump. From their reaction, one would think Trump is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Either that or he is merely a Russian agent.

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