Friday, November 22, 2019

Leftist Violence to Crush Dissent Undermines Rights

The very definition of rights is under assault by the Left. The consequences will be dire.

One of the most dangerous realities of America today is that the American people — blessed with unimaginable freedom and prosperity thanks to the revolutionary idea of our Founding Fathers that rights are granted not by government but by God — are disastrously uninformed as to what natural rights are and are not.

Even as the world watches heartbreaking scenes from Venezuela and Hong Kong, where oppressive socialist/communist regimes beat, imprison, and kill their own citizens for peacefully protesting the already oppressive activities of those regimes, America is teeming with foolish progressives demanding we turn to socialism to solve our problems, real or perceived.

Our Constitution established a list of “negative” rights; things government is prohibited from depriving citizens of without due process. For example, the First Amendment protects the freedoms of religion, speech, the press, peaceable assembly, and petitioning government for a redress of grievances. The Second Amendment protects our right of self-defense, the Fourth our right to personal property. And so on.

In each case, the right is protected simply by having government leave us alone. In fact, of all the rights protected by the Constitution, the only one requiring a positive action by another citizen is the right to a trial by a jury, for which jurors are compensated.

To leftist Democrats, everything they want is a “right”.

Democrats have long claimed healthcare, primary education, and retirement security as human rights. Now, with calls for “free” college, they claim secondary education is a right as well. In fact, the list of “rights” declared by progressives is dizzying — paid vacation, paid maternity leave, contraception, high-speed internet, a “living” wage, affordable housing, and more.

Before dropping out, former Democrat presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke even declared that a short commute is a universal right, tweeting, “Living close to work shouldn’t be a luxury for the rich… It’s a right for everyone.”

Take note of the fact that every single one of the progressives’ “rights” requires the time, wealth, property, or intellect of another person, regardless of the recipients’ ability to pay.

The last we checked, compelling one person to work for the benefit of another, especially without compensation, is the definition of slavery.

In a speech last week to the Federalist Society’s 2019 National Lawyers Convention, Attorney General William Barr explained why this dichotomy puts conservatives at a distinct disadvantage when defending against the attacks of the political Left. He explained:

"This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day. … In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.

Conservatives, on the other hand, do not seek an earthly paradise. We are interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing. … This means that we naturally test the propriety and wisdom of action under a Rule of Law standard. The essence of this standard is to ask what the overall impact on society over the long run if the action we are taking, or principle we are applying in a given circumstance, was universalized — that is, would it be good for society over the long haul if this was done in all like circumstances?"

Over the last three years, we’ve witnessed the attempted coup by progressive Democrats and deep-state operatives to remove Donald Trump, the duly elected president of the United States, using manufactured evidence to frame him for colluding with our Russian enemies. After that failed, they now seek to impeach him over disagreements in foreign policy regarding Ukraine.

Then there are the more militant, violent factions of the Left, like antifa and Black Lives Matter. These groups have taken to the streets, rioting, dragging people from their cars and beating them, assaulting elderly people, and viciously beating reporters who covered their criminal behavior.

It is a tragic irony that, even as leftists demand a cornucopia of new “rights” at taxpayer expense, they are actively and often violently suppressing actual, enumerated constitutional rights. Leftists are relentless in their efforts to repeal the Second Amendment through gun control. They suppress free speech through “speech codes” that constrain utterances to only those expressions approved by the politically correct mob.

And when that fails, they turn to threats of violence, shouting down opponents, doxxing, disrupting speeches, firebombing, and physical violence.

Ironically, and completely lacking in self-awareness, American progressives demand more government even as they warn that the president is a despotic tyrant.

A stable, just society cannot long survive such lawlessness and violence. Americans must understand that if the rights of one are violated, the rights of all are violated.

No longer can Americans of good will stand idly by and allow the mob to crush those they oppose. We must defend our rights now or lose them forever.



Runaway Health Insurance Costs Under the Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to make the cost of health insurance more affordable by slowing the rising trend of increases in health insurance costs. The controversial law was passed in 2010 on a strict party line vote, with nearly all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.

The law went into effect in 2013 and by now we all know the story. Instead of bending the cost curve downward, as promised by then-President Obama in 2010, health insurance costs spiked sharply upward when the law took effect in 2014 and then continued to increase through the remainder of President Obama’s tenure in office.

That trend changed only after 2018, as several modest reforms introduced by the Trump administration slowed that exponential rate of growth.

The average annual premium and deductible data comes from the private health insurance firm eHealth for the years 2008-2017 and 2018-2019. As of this writing, average cost data for the health insurance policies that Americans buy for coverage in 2020 should become available in several months.

The failure of the ACA to restrain the growth of the cost of health insurance was not a surprise. The Independent Institute’s senior fellow John C. Goodman predicted the Affordable Care Act would fail to restrain the rate of growth of the cost of health insurance coverage for Americans shortly after it became law in 2010. The government’s intervention sharply increased its cost instead.

All this has become relevant again today because many of the leading candidates now running for president in 2020 are calling for an even more radical and costly expansion of government control over health care in the United States without addressing any of the factors that led to the runaway health insurance costs that occurred because of the Affordable Care Act.

All of these presidential primary candidates supported the passage of the Affordable Care Act. If nothing else, their support for an even more intrusive government intervention in American health care is a tacit admission the ACA is a failure.



Wealthy Warren and Sanders Attack Wealthy

Socialist candidates arrogantly claim government is responsible for people's wealth.

Taking a cue from Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” pronouncement, Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released a new ad seeking to justifying her planned wealth tax. In the ad, Warren bloviates, “You built a great fortune? Good for you. I guarantee you built it at least in part using workers all of us helped pay to educate, getting your goods to market on roads all of us paid to build.” Ah, the socialist fallacy of government being the ultimate source for everything, including people’s wealth.

On the back of her fraudulent claim that an increased tax on wealthy Americans will fully fund her $52 trillion Medicare for All plan, Warren is also leveling a wealth tax on top of that. Just how many millionaires and billionaires does Warren believe exist in America? And why is she entitled to redistribute their money?

Part of the reason the economy is doing so well today is because Republicans cut taxes, which has proven to fuel economic growth with more jobs and higher wages. The only credit that can honestly be given to the government is that it got out of the way. Warren wants to hit the brakes on the economy out of spite, claiming that millionaires and billionaires don’t deserve to own or control their own fortunes.

Warren’s fellow socialist Bernie Sanders sees things the same way, with his call for an 8% tax on the richest Americans. Ironically, when Sanders was asked about a government-instituted mandatory firearms “buyback” program, he stated, “A mandatory buyback is essentially confiscation, which I think is unconstitutional. It means that I’m going to walk into your house and take something whether you like it or not. I don’t think that stands up to constitutional scrutiny.” Well said, Bernie. Now how about applying that same sound logic to the government’s taking of people’s hard-earned money simply because they have more than others?

Both Warren and Sanders see individuals as vassals of the government, rather than the government as beholden to the people. The government owes its existence to the people, not the people to the government. The Founders declared Americans’ rights to be inalienable precisely because they recognized those rights come from God and not from government. The government does not grant rights; rather it is tasked with recognizing them and defending them.

Socialists like Warren and Sanders advocate flipping the whole system on its head, and they point to wealth disparity as the sole justification for such a radical and foolish endeavor. Using the politics of envy, they condemn the wealthy and successful for the “sin” of industriousness. How dare the wealthy be allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labors!




TAX RETURNS ON HOLD: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts puts hold on release of Trump tax returns (The Resurgent)

JUNK CARE FOR ALL: Elizabeth Warren relies on rationing in Medicare for All plan; cost-cutting measures would likely lead to long wait-times, limited care (The Washington Free Beacon)

NEVER MIND: Elizabeth Warren gives up on Medicare for All: By planning to pass single-payer in year three of her presidency, she's acknowledging it will never happen at all (Reason)

CONFLICT OF INTEREST, CONTINUED: Ilhan Omar funneled another $150,000 to alleged lover's consulting group (New York Post)

WOLVES AMONG SHEEP: Nearly 80,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients have prior arrest records (National Review)

MIGRATION GATEWAY: Tough Trump asylum policy prompts migrants to enter U.S. and then flee to Canada (Washington Examiner)

"I WANT THEM TO KNOW HOW": Utah police training teachers for active shootings (Washington Examiner)

STOPGAP FUNDING BILL: House votes to avoid government shutdown for a month, sending funding bill to Senate (CNBC)

EPSTEIN PROBE: FBI looking into possibility that "criminal enterprise" was involved in Jeffrey Epstein's death (National Review)

GESTURES: Senate passes bill in support of Hong Kong protesters (UPI)

PUSHBACK: Navy seeks to eject four, including sailor championed by Trump, from elite SEALs (NBC News)

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: ISIS rebuilds in Syria after Turkish incursion and U.S. drawdown, Pentagon watchdog says (NBC News)

BALTIMORE MAYOR CHARGED: Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh charged with fraud, faces up to 20 years in prison (National Review)

DIVINE INTERVENTION: Sixteen-year-old girl arrested before attack on predominantly black Georgia church (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

IRAN DISSENT: Iran imposes "largest Internet shutdown ever" as protests spread (National Review)

POLICY: How Medicare for All would make most families poorer (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Trump admin is right to reapply sanctions to Iran's uranium enrichment (The Federalist)

BLIND PROGRESSIVES: Don’t care about Hong Kong or anti-Semitism but consider themselves to be the most caring, moral and progressive generation ever, committed to combating injustice, stamping out racism and saving the planet (London Telegraph)


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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