Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Sean Gabb on Brexit

(Sean Gabb is an English libertarian and a patriot)

Yesterday evening – that is, the 31st January 2020 – at 11pm GMT, my country left the European Union. We did so after four years of heated and often hysterical argument. Nothing much seemed to have changed this morning. I went out shopping, to see the same people buying the same things at the same prices. Since we are now in a transition period, lasting till the end of this year, in which we remain within the Single Market and subject to the rules of the European Union, it would have been odd if anything visible had changed. Yet, if nothing visible had changed, one very important thing has changed.

The ruling class has suffered its first serious defeat in living memory. The coalition of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, educators, media people and associated business interests who draw wealth and power from an extended state was committed to European Union membership. This coalition was never uniformly committed to membership. Some elements were strongly committed, others only mildly. But all were agreed that membership was good for them, so far as it blurred the lines of accountability and gave the exercise of power a supranational appearance. This was the position before the 2016 Referendum, which was not expected to go as it did. When the result was to leave, ruling class support for membership strengthened. Long before it ended, the referendum campaign had become a vote of confidence in the ruling class. Losing this vote was a shock. The people could not be given what they had asked for. It would set a precedent. Give them that, and they would start believing they lived in a democracy where votes counted for something. If this happened, the people might be inclined to start asking for other things – all things variously unwelcome within the ruling class.

The ruling class response to losing fell under two headings. One was to deny the validity of the vote and to demand another, and to make sure that this one was rigged in favour of remaining. The other was to deliver an exit so partial that it amounted to continued membership, and that could be upgraded to full membership after a few years of propaganda. These responses eventually merged into a single project of dragging things out so long that the people would get bored and stop demanding that their voice should be heard.

These responses failed. The people had spoken, and they continued speaking – eventually giving the Conservatives their biggest majority in a generation. Because of this, our departure yesterday was more definite than had previously been imagined. Immediately after the Referendum, I think most of us would have accepted a slow disengagement – perhaps including ten or twenty years of remaining within the Single Market, though out of the customs and political union. The next three years of bad faith killed any taste for gradualism.

I have mentioned the bad faith of our own rulers. But the European Union also overplayed its hand. It could have put on a sad face, and entered into one of those “constructive dialogues” that give negotiating parties nearly everything they think essential, and leave no bitter aftertaste. Instead, the central institutions and the member states put on very hard faces and insisted on treating us like a defeated or beggared nation with nowhere else to turn. It may be that they wanted to make us an example to any other member state inclined to leave. It may be that they saw the political deadlock in London as an excuse for paying us back for everything we had done to them since Crecy and Agincourt.

And so we are leaving. Since yesterday, we have been outside the political union. We have another eleven months inside the economic union. During this transition, we can try to arrange a satisfactory close relationship. If this cannot be arranged, we are at perfect liberty to walk away and trade with the European Union on the same basis as we trade with Ecuador and Vietnam.

A further point is that the series of political crises we have faced since 2016 has strengthened trust in our governing institutions. We are most definitely not what we could have become had the right choices been made after about 1910. Even so, we can take pride in the nature and resolution of the crises we have faced. Our ruling class did not want us to leave. It liked the European Union for sinister reasons. It may also have believed continued membership was in the public interest. To keep us in, it used every legal device the Constitution allowed. It ripped up centuries of convention in the House of Commons. It poured out a flood of propaganda. It appealed repeatedly to the biased judges of the Supreme Court. Yet it never stepped actually outside the law. Nor did my side lose its head. Given the nature of the dispute, there are few countries that would not have descended into violence or other illegality. In my country, we were finally allowed a general election, in which the votes were freely cast and honestly counted. The voice of the people could be shouted down after June 2016. It was not shouted down after December 2019. We left last night with a few peaceful demonstrations of joy or disappointment. Today, it was shopping as usual.

So far as libertarians and conservatives are at war with a bloated managerial state, we have won just a single battle. It is, however, a potentially significant battle. Since the end of the Cold War, we have been told with increasing confidence that we were living in a “post-democratic age,” where government would move inexorably upwards to the supranational level. Well, the people of a rather important country have now established that their voice must be heard and that government must be accountable to them.

I will end by slightly adapting the words of Pitt the Younger after the Battle of Trafalgar: “England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save the world by her example.”

The people of my country have stood firm. How firm will the American people stand this coming November?



Dershowitz: ‘Pelosi Doesn’t Understand What Impeachment Is’: If Trump’s Acquitted, ‘The Impeachment Disappears’

“Nancy Pelosi doesn’t understand what impeachment is,” renowned Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said Tuesday, debunking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) proclamation that, even if acquitted, President Donald Trump will be “impeached forever.”

An “impeachment” is simply a grand jury presentation and – just as being found innocent by a jury removes an indictment – a Senate acquittal makes an impeachment "disappear," Dershowitz explained in a Fox News Channel interview with host Sean Hannity:

“What she has said is, even if the president is acquitted, the impeachment stands - No." "That's like saying that, if a person is indicted and the jury acquits 12-0 in five minutes, he’s still indicted."

"No - the impeachment disappears. The impeachment is only a grand jury presentment."

Some Democrats even wanted to impeach President Ronald Reagan for “abuse of power,” Dershowitz recalled. If Reagan could be impeached for that, so could every U.S. president in history, he concluded.



Dershowitz dismantled the Democrats’ impeachment arguments

Monday, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz dismantled the Democrats’ impeachment arguments. He argued that the two articles of impeachment do not rest on identifiable crimes, much less impeachable offenses. I’ll spare you his historical lecture and summarize his main points.

Democrats are attempting to impeach President Trump for “obstruction of Congress” because he refused to comply with many of their demands during the course of their impeachment investigation.

But what they see as “Obstruction of Congress,” others see as “Separation of Powers.” If defending the authority of the executive branch is a crime, then the founders were criminals. But the left probably believes that anyway.

When disputes arise over the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, they go to the courts to decide the issue. But if it’s a crime for a president to resist Congress when it overreaches, then every president is going to be impeached.

The president is also being impeached for “Abuse of Power.” But that charge is what critics always say about their opponents. Even George Washington, the most admired of our founders, was accused of abusing his power.

Professor Dershowitz went on to cite 20 presidents, from Washington to Obama, who were accused of abuse of power. For example:

Thomas Jefferson dramatically expanded the size of the country through the Louisiana Purchase without congressional authorization.

Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War.

Franklin Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans during World War II due to concerns about national security.

Ultimately, Donald Trump is being impeached because he defeated Hillary Clinton, which the left considers a “high crime.” He’s also being impeached because he is doing what he said he would do.

He’s putting the interests of the country first with trade deals and immigration policies that put American workers first. He’s defending the sanctity of life and religious liberty by breaking the left’s stranglehold over our courts. Those are Trump’s “crimes,” which our political elites cannot tolerate.

Sadly, there is a group of Republicans who still think The New York Times is a legitimate news outlet. They should forget about John Bolton’s book. As Professor Dershowitz made clear, there is no impeachable crime here regardless of what is or is not in Bolton’s book.

By the way, Fred Fleitz, Bolton’s former chief of staff, published an excellent opinion piece calling on Bolton to withdraw his book until after the 2020 election.



Fat Black Plans to Be President by 2040

Former erotic novelist Stacey Abrams is on a mission. Having never quite gotten over her defeat in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, she's still dreaming big, claiming in an interview released on Friday that she has a "plan" to be president of the United States by 2040.

"Do you think the country will elect a woman president in the next 20 years?" asked FiveThirtyEight reporter Clare Malone.

"Yes, absolutely," Abrams responded.

When Malone asked her if she thinks this country would elect a black woman, Abrams gave the same answer.

But then, Malone asked, "Do you think they'll elect you?"

Abrams replied, "Yes, I do. That's my plan. And I'm very pragmatic."

Abrams narrowly lost her election in 2018, and to this day refuses to concede that she lost. Many Democrats, including 2020 presidential candidates have claimed, without evidence, that Abrams' election was stolen because of Republican voter suppression. Abrams maintained notoriety in the Democratic Party for being a sore loser. Hillary Clinton, who said that if Trump didn't concede the 2016 election it would be a "direct threat to our democracy" even said this past September that "Stacey Abrams should be governor" of Georgia.



Americans Are Feeling Pretty Optimistic

Trump's results more influential than Democrat wails

As the DC Demos' "Hate Trump" impeachment reaches its apex, the rest of the country is doing alright. 

Amidst all the partisan rancor and hatred spewing from our nation’s capital — at the apex of the Democrats’ impeachment charade and as broadcast across the nation by their Leftmedia propagandists, most Americans are more upbeat about the country and their own prospects.

A Gallup poll this week revealed some fascinating findings. Most encouraging is this: An astounding 84% said they’re satisfied with “the overall quality of life,” and “Americans’ overall satisfaction with the country’s direction is at its highest point since 2005.”

Gallup also says, “Average satisfaction across 27 issues is higher than when [Donald Trump] took office.” Issues with wide satisfaction include the economy (68%), “the opportunity for a person to get ahead by working hard” (72%), and military strength (81%). All three areas have gained tremendously since Trump was elected.

It’s no surprise that there’s plenty of dissatisfaction, though. Income distribution, race relations, immigration, healthcare, abortion, poverty and homelessness, and “the moral and ethical climate” are all areas where dissatisfaction runs high. So, are politicians constantly talking about those issues because people are unhappy, or are people unhappy because politicians won’t leave those issues alone? We know it’s primarily the latter, because the Democrat platform is depends on fomenting division, hate and fear, and many of their constituents buy it.

We find it heartening that while one party is doggedly trying to impeach the president from the opposite party, most Americans see clearly the problems we face but have a positive view of the greatest nation on earth.



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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