Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Are conservatives moral?

They are certainly not the unprincipled authoritarians that the active Left are but are they consciously concerned about morality? Dennis Prager (below) says they are but he speaks both from his own religious background (Jewish) and from the background of the United States, where conservatism and Christianity are closely linked.  And there is absolutely no doubt that Christianity focuses heavily on morality and moral improvement, partly on sexual morality but also on morality in one's dealings with others generally.  And, as Prager says, Christians are constantly being urged to improve their behaviour and to avoid sin.

But I live in a very conservative country by world standards that is also irreligious. There is for instance no homosexual marriage in Australia nor is there likely to be -- despite frantic pushes for it from the Left.

From its foundation in 1788, Australia has always been a traditionally unholy place with a very low rate of churchgoing. Americans trace their founding fathers to religious zealots but Australians trace their foundations to convicts. And other major population elements in the white settlement of Australia -- such as goldrush "diggers" and Irish rebels -- did little to alter the culture originating from our convict origins.

A majority of Australians have some religious affiliation but only a tiny minority go to church regularly.  When I was young, it was still common for official forms to ask your religion.  My father never set foot in a church after he was married in one but he would always put on the forms as his religion: "C of E" (Church of England).  So census statistics tell you nothing about religion in Australia.  More revealing is that Australians rarely know and rarely ask about any religious affiliation of people they deal with daily -- let alone people they encounter casually.

So an irreligious conservative is both possible and is the norm -- in Australia.

Prager's stress is on moral improvement rather than morality as such.  There is a difference.  Because they are basically contented with their society, conservatives tend to adopt its values.  And as a post-Christian society, Australian values are largely Christian.  The Ten Commandments are respected if not always obeyed.  Additionally there are some other, purely Australian commandments that have never been officially promulgated in any way but are generally accepted in a quite heartfelt way.  To breach them is to expose oneself to scorn. Here is one formulation of them:

* Thou shalt not dob in thy mates
* Thou shalt not bung on an act.
* Thou shalt not be a tall poppy
* Thou shalt give everyone a fair go
* Thou shalt be fair dinkum
* Thou shalt not crawl to the boss

Translating these into standard English yields APPROXIMATELY the following:

* You must not incriminate your friends to the boss, the police or anyone else. Loyalty to your associates is all-important.
* You must not be ostentatious or pretend to be what you are not.
* You must treat others as your equals. If you are seen as being better than others in anything but sport you will be made to suffer for it.
* You must be fair and permissive in your treatment of others.
* You must not be insincere or dishonest.
* You must not be hypocritical towards you employer or try to ingratiate yourself with him.

And wherefrom come those commandments?  From nowhere in particular.  They are just values that most Australians have had from the early days: Particularly working class Australians.  We just absorb them daily from other Australians that we interact with.  Australians will, for instance, generally be rather tolerant of a man who commits adultery but will be utterly contemptuous of a man who crawled to the boss or who bunged on an act.

So Australian are in fact highly moral despite being irreligious. But the idea that they seek to improve themselves morally is basically unknown outside the churches.

So what Prager says about conservatism is probably pretty right about America but not right about conservatives generally. I would juxtapose to the Leftist desire to change society a conservative satisfaction with the way things generally are -- requiring only minor adjustments -- mostly adjustments to get rid of Leftist attempts to tyrannize us into becoming something that we are not.


Trump Is Looking to Go – ‘Big League.’ Congress Says They’re Ready. Let’s Do It

President-elect Donald Trump is from all appearances looking from Day One to very rapidly go very “big league.”  And by “big league” – he means huge reductions in the amounts of the federal government to which we are subjected.

After more than a century of Washington, D.C. ceaselessly, inexorably vacuuming up power that Constitutionally belongs to the states, municipalities and/or We the People – Trump’s revolution will be about re-devolving power.

Trump’s not doing this as the implementation of a lifelong ideological crusade.  Because he’s not an ideological crusader.  He’s a businessman – he just wants things to work.  And he has spent a lifetime watching government (at all levels) royally screw up…basically everything.

Call this the Reality Revolution.  DC has spent a century-plus ignoring Reality – Trump intends to again acknowledge it.

Trump was throughout the campaign routinely ridiculed by the Left and the Never Trump Right for his amorphous pledge to hire “the best people.”  Turns out he wasn’t kidding.  He is rapidly assembling, almost inarguably, the most deregulatory Cabinet in our nation’s history.

Heck, Trump’s nominated as Energy Secretary former Texas Governor Rick Perry – who four years ago ran for President pledging to close the Energy Department.  It doesn’t get any more deregulatory than that.  (And it should be closed – and be just one of oh-so-very-many to go.)

Because Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama grew so much government via Executive Branch fiat – Trump can undo a lot of it himself.  But there are slates of government that must be undone by President Trump and Congress together.  Enter Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

I saw Fox News’ Bret Baier interview Ryan the day after the election – just after Ryan had met with Trump.  Ryan was so excited, I don’t think he blinked once during the entire conversation.  He nigh breathlessly, repeatedly, joyously said how fast Trump says he wants to hit the ground  running.  And Ryan metaphorically had his feet on the desk – lacing up and tying tight his track shoes.  He appears to want to jubilantly join Trump in the race.

Last week during a CNBC interview, Ryan said that at the end of 2015 he had (wisely, I add parenthetically) told his Committee Chairman to spend 2016 writing full-on, ready-to-go reform bills.  Preparing as if the Republicans would in 2017 control both houses of Congress and the White House.

And now Republicans do.  Here’s hoping they’ve learned the lessons of the last time they did – and royally screwed it up.  Under President George W. Bush in the 2000s.  We the People – then as now – wanted less government.  The Republicans instead unleashed a spending and earmark avalanche, passed massive new entitlements, drastically and badly expanded the Feds’ role in education and tried to jam through illegal alien amnesty.

A resume that cost them the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.  Let us not repeat that mistake.  Save for his ridiculous $1 trillion infrastructure boondoggle, Trump doesn’t appear to be anywhere near doing so.  And (cautiously, I add parenthetically) it doesn’t sound like Ryan is either.

President Bill Clinton in 1996 famously said “the era of big government is over.”  Because, way back then, he knew that that is what We the People wanted.  It was why we had just elected a Republican House for the first time in (then) forty years.

Twenty years later – We the People are still waiting for the epoch to actually end.  Here’s hoping that terminus has finally arrived.

Trump ran on truly revolutionary reforms.  And won.  Congress should acknowledge that fact – and act upon it.  Trump ran on repealing and replacing terminally ill Obamacare – and is nominating the people to do it.  Don’t futz around, Congress – do it.  All the way.  Trump ran on repealing the Dodd-Frank banking disaster legislation – and is nominating the people to do it.  Don’t futz around, Congress – do it.  All the way.

And this full-on, big league reform should be executed in every area government is poisoning the private sector.  Which is…every area of the private sector.  And just because a sector isn’t a big part of the conversation – doesn’t mean it isn’t a big part of the private sector.

To wit: the Tech sector.  Which has rapidly grown to be 1/6 of our entire economy.  And the Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spent its entire existence pummeling it with huge power grab after huge power grab.

The biggest, Net Neutrality, garnered a correctly derogatory 2014 Trump Tweet.  Trump’s Tech transition team matches the rest of the Trump transition team – it is fantastic.  Deregulatory folks who know the sector – and know all that needs to be (un)done.

A Trump FCC can its own self roll back many of these abuses.  And it absolutely should.  But the Commission is operating under the antiquated, sclerotic 1996 Telecommunications Act.  Get that?  Think of the innumerable millions (billions?) of technological advancements that have taken place since NINETEEN-NINETY-SIX.

Think of the exponential evolutions over two decades delivered us by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  Who exponentially grew Internet speeds – thus making possible the exponential evolutions of the “edge providers” (Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc), computer companies, cellular phone companies, applications companies, etc, etc, etc.

During all of which Congress updated…nothing.  Again, the Trump Administration-to-be is wide-open for a full-on, big league reform.  Congress shouldn’t futz around – they should deliver it.  A complete rewrite of the 1996 Act – the 2017 (or, ok, 2018) Telecommunications Act.

The private sector left the ’96 Act completely behind a LONG time ago.  We need a wholly new law – but this time with demarcated, delineated limits on what the federal government can and CAN NOT do.

No more leaving huge decisions to the bureaucrats – they will never, ever defer to and thus leave alone the private sector.  No more nebulous bureaucrat powers to unilaterally determine things like the “public interest” – they will always use them as government weapons against the private sector.

The 21st-Century, constantly-changing Tech Sector needs revolutionary new law.  To represent the times – both technologically, and the long-time sentiment of its long-suffering people.

Now is not the time to tinker around the edges.  Trump didn’t run on it.  Ryan didn’t prep for it.  We the People don’t want it.

Now is the time for big league reforms that result in much less government.  Trump ran on it.  Ryan prepped for it.  We the People want it.

Let’s do it.



Assange To Hannity: Source For WikiLeaks Was Not Russian Government

In an exclusive interview with FOX News Channel's Sean Hannity the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange said Russia was not the source for the DNC and John Podesta hacks.

HANNITY: Can you say to the American people, unequivocally, that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta's emails, can you tell the American people 1,000 percent that you did not get it from Russia or anybody associated with Russia?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Yes. We can say, we have said, repeatedly that over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party.



In November 2016, James Clapper resigned as Director of National Intelligence, effective at the end of President Obama's term.


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