Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The recent rise of nationalism among conservatives

There is here a long article in "the Economist" which offers a passable summary of the history of conservatism and goes on to note that a new mood of nationalism has recently emerged among conservatives in both America and Europe.  And it sees that as a notable and alarming break from conservatism as it was. 

And in the USA, Hungary, Italy  and Poland the new nationalistic conservatism now rules.  Donald Trump of course is the most notable exemplar of the new movement.  With an approval rating among Republicans of around 90%, Trump IS the new conservatism.  Conservative parties are often rather fractured internally but American conservatives are solidly behind Mr Trump. The small remnant of "never Trumpers" are just talking to themselves

The piece however offers no clear explanation for this sudden departure from the "good ol' days" of the past. It treats the new movement as something of a mystery.  But it is no mystery.  You just have to be following world events to see that the new assertion of national pride has one very clear and obvious source -- the invasion of Western countries by large numbers of problem people from the Third World.

For the USA it was an accumulation of an ongoing problem with Hispanics and in Hungary and Poland they saw the influx of Muslim parasites into neighboring Germany and Italy and closed their borders in time to escape most of it. In all cases however, it involved a reassertion of the value of the national culture as better than what the invaders brought with them

Conservatives have always been proud of their country, its culture and their past but they are patient and tolerant people so have been little bothered by constant Leftist nibbling at their culture and demeaning the past achievements of their country.

But it got all too much when a flood of illegal new arrivals came in and were pandered to rather than expelled.  It would not have been so bad if the illegals had been expected to assimilate to the host country but the reverse was the case. The host nation was expected to make various adaptations to fit in with the illegals.  A process of undermining the American culture that had served Americans so well got underway. "Dial one for English" was just a token of what was resented.

The most important elements of culture are not its singing and dancing but the attitudes and customs embodied in its people.  And the very radical policies being promoted by the current rash of Democrat Presidential contenders makes it very clear that the attitudes and customs that made America great are far from secure.  It is now conceivable that America could degenerate into a socialist hellhole. And most Hispanics would vote for such a hellhole. They already do South of the border.

And conservative Americans do not at all like that prospect. Because conservatives tend to be interested in the past, they could see it clearly when the inherited culture was being diluted.  And the culture that the illegal arrivals brought with them was far from admirable. Everybody knows what a mess Mexico and most of Latin America is. Who would want to live amid the crime, corruption and poverty if they had some other option.  Mexicans themselves certainly don't want to.  That's why they come to the peaceful, orderly and prosperous USA.  So there is no reasonable way one can deny that the inherited culture of the USA is superior in its results from the cultures of Latin America.

With their crazy belief that all men are equal, Leftists erupt at any claim that one culture can be superior to another and by constant cries of racism and the like they have stood in the way of American cultural assertiveness.  They have suppressed talk  among Americans to the effect that America's traditional ways of doing things are better than what happens in places like Mexico.

But the Left could keep the lid on the pressure cooker for only so long and in America the lid blew off with the election of Trump -- someone who WAS prepared to call America great and defend its values. The shackles of political correctness were largely and joyously thrown off.

So what has happened is that conservative Americans have reasserted their traditional values over the moronic Leftist insistence that all cultures are equal.  American conservatives have always had pride in the unique phenomenon that is America and they now see that they need to speak up for reality.

And they want more than words. They want action to stop the deterioration of what they hold dear.  And a wall is the action that they most want, a wall to keep the bearers of problem cultures out -- JR


A proven idea for reforming the crazy U.S. farm laws

Martin Hutchinson

British farmers are concerned about a “no-deal” Brexit, under which they would lose access to bounteous EU farm subsidies. U.S. farmers have had their subsidies increased by President Trump as a result of the China trade dispute. Agriculture subsidies burden national budgets and almost exclusively benefit large corporations and the very rich. There is a better model for supporting agriculture: the 1815-46 Corn Laws, reviled by Whig historians, but much cheaper and infinitely less corrupt.

Robert Banks Jenkinson, second Earl of Liverpool, had three objectives when introducing the Corn Laws in March 1815. One was to help Ireland to develop its corn agriculture, diversifying from potatoes – an objective partly achieved, mitigating the 1840s potato famine, but alas lost after the Corn Laws were repealed in 1846. The second was to ensure that Britain was close to food self-sufficiency in any future war – the Corn Laws would have been useful before the World Wars, in both of which Britain came close to starvation through German attacks on merchant shipping. The third objective, much pilloried by Whig historians, was to preserve the economic viability of British agriculture against “dumped” foreign competition.

The Corn Laws, for those who were not subjected to them in the British school system, were a system whereby (in the 1815 version) corn imports were prohibited when corn prices were below a base level of 80 shillings per quarter (28 pounds weight), then free above it. Each quarter’s (3 months) average corn price was used to set the allowability of imports for the following quarter; this granularity made the system transparent for importers and allowed them to plan shipments. Since Britain was almost but not quite self-sufficient in corn, this system allowed domestic producers protection against cheap dumped imports but tended to cap the price for consumers in years of dearth by opening the ports freely. In this classic version of the Corn Laws, no tariffs were imposed.

The one problem the Corn Laws did not solve occurred in their second year of operation; the “Year Without a Summer” in 1816, caused by the Mt. Tambora volcanic eruption the previous year, produced a corn dearth in early 1817 across the whole northern hemisphere, so no extra supplies were available when prices rose. However, other than that the system worked well. It was modified twice in the 1820s, after the deflation caused by Britain’s return to the Gold Standard made 60 shillings a more sensible equilibrium price than 80 shillings.

Agricultural protection today focuses primarily on the last of Liverpool’s objectives, preserving the economic viability of agriculture, which involves large capital investments and suffers badly financially when crops fail or a world market glut makes crops grown in rich countries (with high labor costs) uncompetitive. In Britain, there is a wish to avoid the dismal fate of agriculture in 1870-1939, when Corn Laws repeal and global free trade left British agriculture uncompetitive, de-capitalized the sector, ruined the traditional landed classes and impoverished the agricultural workforce. (David Lloyd George’s policies of land tax, before and after World War I, demonstrated an irrational class hostility to the landed gentry — not to the rich in general, with whom Lloyd George loved to hobnob – at that time, the landed gentry were engaged in a desperate, generally unsuccessful, attempt to stave off bankruptcy.)

In the United States, sentimentality about the “family farm” shows the same wish, though most U.S. farming is undertaken by agri-conglomerates. In Europe and Japan the cultural signals may be different but the result is the same: a wish to protect agriculture, which appears common to all rich countries. Oddly enough, poor countries, where labor-intensive agriculture is often more competitive, often subject it to increased burdens or outright harassment.

Take it as a given, then, that rich countries want to protect their agriculture. Their rationale for doing so is not all that different from Liverpool’s wish to protect the traditional agricultural interest, but their methods are very different, and much more expensive. The United States, for example, provides a wide range of subsidies to producers of various agricultural and similar products. These stretch so far as a subsidy to cotton, a commodity of which the U.S. is a major international exporter, causing huge economic damage to African cotton producers, which would otherwise be highly competitive because of their low labor costs. These subsidies have a huge direct budgetary cost.

The U.S. also regulates the use of agricultural products in ways which benefit producers but impose costs on consumers and the economy as a whole. For example, the U.S. requires a minimum percentage of ethanol in gasoline and uses various means to ensure that the ethanol so used is U.S. corn-based ethanol (environmentally very inefficient) rather than the much more environment-friendly sugar-based ethanol used in Brazil.

A further area of agricultural subsidy is the food stamps program. This is primarily a welfare program but is dealt with in the agricultural budget and at the margin provides additional support for U.S. agriculture. While highly subject to fraud, food stamps provide a function that would probably be provided somehow in any modern welfare-state economy.

A much more pernicious subsidy to agriculture is the temporary visa program, which allows U.S. agriculturalists to import workers and pay them far less than the normal U.S. wage rate. These programs impose crime and welfare costs on the society as a whole and subsidize the production of farm products that would not be viable at market wage rates. They thus impede mechanization in many crop areas where machinery could be used instead of cheap labor. If a particular crop cannot be produced in the United States using U.S. labor at market rates, then U.S. economic welfare will be increased by allowing foreign producers to produce it instead.

Both commodity-rich countries like the United States and commodity-poor countries like Britain, should replace the current subsidies to agriculture with a system of Corn Laws covering the major commodities produced by domestic producers. This would relieve the immense budget cost of current farm subsidies and greatly lower the even larger and more dangerous economic costs inherent in the current system. There would be no food stamps or special visas for low-cost labor; any poverty problems would be relieved by cash payments through the welfare system.

For Britain, Corn Laws would work much as they did in 1815-46. They would prevent imports of commodities when prices were low, thus keeping the domestic price close to the base price and ensuring a reasonable return for farmers. Farmers would adjust their crop production to reflect domestic needs, to avoid producing surpluses dumped on the international market at lower prices. Food prices would average somewhat higher than currently, although crop failures would result in imports (which would be more readily available than in 1815-46, in a world with Southern Hemisphere producers and fast transportation). The 1846 objection to the Corn Laws, that they raised food costs for the working classes, would be less salient now that only 13% of consumer expenditures are on food products; in any case the welfare system could be adjusted accordingly, much more cheaply than providing indirect handouts to the poor through agriculture subsidies.

For the United States, a no subsidy/Corn Laws system would, as in Britain, provide producers with an adequate and more stable income, but only to the extent they produced for domestic consumption. Producers of, for example soybeans with heavy international sales would be reliant on the vagaries of the international market, and accordingly might lose out compared with the current system. However, subsidizing production for export of items that can only be sold at below their production cost is economically suicidal and should be avoided however loud the squawking from the producer lobbies.

When base prices for Corn Laws were calculated, it might very well be that some agricultural products were viable only at impossibly high prices, having been heavily subsidized currently, both directly and indirectly through imports of cheap labor. Labor-intensive crops, in particular, are very often unsuited to high-wage economies except in specialty varieties, and hence should be imported rather than grown domestically. Wine is such a crop, for example. It makes no sense to produce cheap wine in France or California; those high-costs growing areas should be reserved only for high-quality, high-priced production, while the cheap wine is imported – even to France.

For Britain’s 19th Century economy, repeal of the Corn Laws and the move to unilateral free trade were a disaster; they destroyed the traditional agricultural basis of society and, in the long run, hollowed out the industry that had led the world in 1825. In an era when budgets all over the world are in huge deficit, agricultural subsidies make no sense today. As in many economic areas, Liverpool was far ahead of today’s thinkers; we should recognize this fact and return to his well-thought-out Corn Laws.



Newt Gingrich Eviscerates ‘profoundly vicious, cruel’ Liar Ocasio Cortez: Limbaugh, Crenshaw Agree

Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken offense to being labeled a liar over her confirmed lies.

On Friday former House Speaker Newt Gingrich published a scathing op-ed excoriating her for lying about virtually everything.

“It took Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s visit to the border — and her dishonest comments afterward — to help me understand how profoundly vicious, cruel and dishonest she is,” he wrote.

“When you look at the larger picture, it is clear that Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is eager and determined to undermine and destroy America as we have known it. When your goals are that radical, lying is simply part of the game. When you despise American values and find the American people ‘deplorable’ and contemptible, lying is perfectly natural.”

The op-ed was published days after AOC and her freshmen peers stormed through several U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facilitates along the border like they owned the place and proceeded to propagate a hash of easily debunked lies about what they’d allegedly seen.

In response to Gingrich’s piece, MSNBC talking head Joe Scarborough suggested that the piece was an indictment of President Donald Trump, not the young congresswoman.

“While trying to attack ⁦@AOC⁩, Newt unwittingly writes a scathing indictment of Donald J. Trump,” he wrote in a tweet shortly after the publication of the former House speaker’s piece.

The tweet was disingenuous, given that unlike Ocasio-Cortez’s goals — which include abolishing U.S. Customs and Border Protection and basically dismantling American society — the president’s agenda is fairly moderate. Even the far-left blog HuffPost has admitted that Trump’s been “governing like a traditional Republican,” not some insane radical.

AOC picked up on and retweeted Scarborough’s tweet shortly thereafter. She made sure to include a sarcastic, disingenuous reply of her own.

“Ah yes, now Newt & the GOP are resorting to calling me a liar,” she wrote.”Who else do they call liars? – 96% of scientists who agree on climate change – Millions of Americans they locked up in the War on Drugs – #MeToo survivors.” “So I’ll take it as a compliment. Thanks.”

This was a clear-cut attempt to conflate wildly separate issues — and a poor attempt, at that.

Regarding scientists, nobody on the right has accused them of being liars. What they have done is push back on the claim by left-wing activists that 97 percent (not 96 percent) of scientists believe climate change is a man-made phenomenon.

Regarding the war on drugs, Republican President Donald Trump is responsible for signing into law the First Step Act, a bill “aimed at righting racial disparities in drug sentencing,” according to The New York Times.

And regarding #MeToo survivors, a plethora of alleged survivors have in fact been proven to be liars or hucksters, including Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

As for the president’s latest accuser, E. Jean Carroll, she destroyed her own credibility by making increasingly wild statements, including the claim that Americans think rape is sexy and the unapologetic admission that she used to sexually harass deceased former Fox News boss Roger Ailes.

What AOC has done is taken three separate issues completely out of context and used them to try and discredit the right’s accusation that she’s a liar. Much like every other lie she’s told, it seems so disingenuous.

-“96% of scientists” is a misleading statistics from a SMALL sample size

-Dem favorite Kamala Harris kept inmates locked up over petty drug crimes for cheap labor

And YOUR party made a joke out of sexual assault by using false accusations to take down people you disagree with

This, of course, is her whole shtick, as noted last week by conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh.

“After a while, your gig gets old, your schtick no longer shocks, and so you have to keep crossing new lines,” he explained on his program this Wednesday. “And that’s all she’s doing. She’s addicted to getting noticed.”

“Now she runs down there and starts trashing and lying about conditions at the border,” Limbaugh continued. “And the people who administer the people who come into this country illegally. Flat-out lies that the detainees are being forced to drink out of toilets.”

As demonstrated by CBP Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent Roy Villareal in a video uploaded to Twitter on Thursday, detained illegal aliens are not being forced to drink water from toilets. Nor is there anything wrong with the sink water they have access to while in detention:

Limbaugh’s point about Ocasio-Cortez’s “gig” getting old was that she’s been lying from the very beginning. It’s a point that was echoed by former Navy SEAL Rep. Dan Crenshaw during a Fox News interview last Tuesday.

“She’s getting bolder with her lies. … Remember, first there was no crisis at all,” he said to host Martha MacCallum. “Then it was a manufactured crisis, then it was a crisis completely created by Trump, then there were concentration camps, then people are Nazis. Now she’s saying border patrol agents harassed her and forced migrants to drink out of toilets.” “This is insanity!” he added.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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