I’ve written several times about the possibility of secession—of a (hopefully) peaceful dissolution or separation of the United States. To be clear, I do not want that to happen, and I fear such a separation would be anything but peaceful. But if it means a world where the progressive crazies can test out their wacky theories and policies in their own land with its own borders—and I am well outside of those borders—then it may be the best possible of all options.
I tend to disagree with Daniel Webster’s assessment that “Liberty and Union” are “now and forever, one and inseparable.” While I think the Union of the States did at one time strengthen the defense of liberty, it increasingly seems that the Union—as manifested through the power of the federal government—is trampling those liberties. I prefer John C. Calhoun’s rejoinder to Andrew Jackson: “The Union, next to our liberty, most dear. May we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States and by distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union.” The Union is great, but only so far as it preserves liberty and the rights of States.
Quoting John C. Calhoun favorably, of course, is dangerous in these woke times, as he was an evil slave owner (per the social justice warriors) and argued that slavery was a “positive good.” Of course the man wasn’t right about everything, but he was right about States’ rights and the importance of liberty. I can acknowledge that Truth without accepting his other beliefs.
But I digress. It seems that secession or peaceful separation is not merely a conservative pipe dream, a distant hope for some second chance at liberty. The progressives are getting in on the action. The ultra-progressive publication The Nation has a long op-ed published entitled “The Case for Blue-State Secession.” Most of the piece is ridiculous Leftist dogma, but the fact that the totalitarian Left is toying with the idea is intriguing.
One of the blessings of the Trump administration was that Trump reminded us how fun regular people are. Sure, I love the symphony and all that stuff, but a representative government should be basically populist—it should care about the people it governs, and look out for their interests. Leaders should reflect the people, not set themselves against the people. At most, our officials should strive to set examples for how a good life can be lived.
The thrust of this piece—written one year ago today—is that elitism is shockingly ignorant: it presumes that anything that does not interest the elitist is somehow barbaric and simplistic. That our own elites embrace the vulgar and raise up vice as a virtue suggests their elitism is supremely misguided—or lacking entirely.
Few remember now Michael Bloomberg’s disastrous run for the Democratic primary last year—it was so long ago!—but it was the political embodiment of clueless elitism against Trumpian populism. Bloomberg had the resources and the softly center-Left stance to buy himself into the White House, or at least the Democratic nomination, but he bungled it so badly, even his supporters were in awe of his ineptitude.
Well, now we have a senile, fraudulent feebster leading a puppet regime, so it seems gross incompetence is no longer a barrier to entry to the highest office in the land. Perhaps a healthy dose of elitism is needed after all.
President Trump survived another sham impeachment and seems to be enjoying life outside of the White House. I doubt his legal problems are over, as the Democrats and the Establishment Uniparty will do everything in their power to suppress and harass him and his family, but he remains hugely popular among his supporters. According to a CBS News poll, seventy percent of Republicans would consider joining a third party if Trump led it (per The Epoch Times). Thirty-three percent of Republicans would join a Trump-led party, with another thirty-seven percent responding “maybe.”
In similar news, John Derbyshire broke down numbers for a related question on his most recent podcast. The poll he referenced asked (essentially) “what is the future of the Republican Party”? The three choices were (to paraphrase) “Trump runs again,” “Trumpism is presented by a more traditionally ‘presidential’ candidate,” and “return to the old-style GOP issues.” Respondents to that poll overwhelming selected the second option: Trumpism with a less flamboyant figure. Trump running again came in second, with the return to status quo ante option in a very distant third.
In other words, Trump himself might fade over time—and voters might want a less bombastic package—but the ideas and policies he championed remain hugely popular among conservative voters.
It’s a life-changing act of generosity, and the kind of thing that always seems to be attached to Chick-fil-A. It’s amazing how an overtly Christian establishment with a strong commitment to quality and good treatment breeds more of the same. I needn’t list the many examples of Chick-fil-A employees doing good things—we’ve all heard dozens of such stories already.
As a bit of a mea culpa for my positive post about Mitt Romney’s pro-natalism plan, I thought I’d atone by looking back to one of my better posts: a detailed rundown of the Romney family’s long history of waffling on important issues, and attempting to play both sides of the political spectrum simultaneously.
Romney’s father, George Romney, was one of a (thankfully) dying breed: the Rockefeller Republicans. These “moderate” and liberal Republicans essentially were a paler echo of the postwar Democratic Party: they espoused heavy spending, government intervention, and socially progressive policies, just in a more toned-down manner than their more overtly progressive colleagues in the opposing party.
In this post, I review Romney the Elder’s infamous “brainwashing” interview, in which he claimed his earlier pro-Vietnam War position was due to a thorough “brainwashing” by the United States military. It was a politically catastrophic and bizarre statement, and one that demonstrated yet another of Romney’s shifting positions to fit with the tenor and fashions of the time.
And so it continues with Romney the Younger, who voted this week to proceed with the farcical impeachment trial against a man who is no longer holding office. Romney will yet again bask in temporary accolades for his “courage” and “bipartisanship” in the press, before they return to reviling him for being a Republican.
At this point, why can’t these Republican squishes—Romney, Murkowski, Collin, et. al.—just show their true colors and join the Democratic Party?
Okay, okay—before you start pelting me with the citrus fruit of your choice, let me make it clear: I have no love for Mitt Romney. I think he’s a traitorous, chimerical liar whose positions bend and twist with the ever-changing fashions of the Left. He strikes me as a coward and opportunist, who will gladly slit his own party’s throat for a farthing of accolades from Democrats and the progressive press.
All that said, I’m intellectually honest enough to give credit where it is due, and even a stopped Mormon is right twice a day. Mitt Romney has proposed a bill (forgive me for linking to the Never Trumpers at The Dispatch) that he argues is intended to alleviate childhood poverty, but is really a pro-natalist plan: direct payments of $350 for children five and under, and $250 a month for children six through seventeen, with a maximum annual benefit of $15,000 annually, and payments beginning four months before a child’s birth.
Just to prove that I don’t just watch cheesy horror movies (and that Hulu actually has more to offer than such films), this Monday I’m reviewing something a bit different: the 1985 neo-noir Amish thriller Witness, starring Harrison Ford as Detective John Book, a clean cop hiding from his dirty colleagues in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country.
The movie is unique in that it contrasts the grittiness of the city with the tranquility and traditions of Amish country life. There seemed to be a vague cultural fascination with the Amish that lasted from the 1980s up to around the turn of the century (take, for example, 1996’s Kingpin or Weird Al’s hit “Amish Paradise” from the same year). The Amish are, indeed, interesting, but I’m not sure what accounts for this brief, generational curiosity in the rural pacifists.
After three Sundays, several SubscribeStar Saturdays, and some Mondays of movie reviews, it seemed like a good time to give the movies a rest. Don’t get me wrong—there’s a good chance I’ll be writing a movie review tomorrow—but I realized the blog has been skewing a bit heavily in that direction for a few weeks. Sure, it’s wintertime, the perfect time to vegetate while consuming schlock in the evening, but that doesn’t mean we can live on cultural junk food alone.
“Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony” (and “TBT: Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony“) – photog gave the TBT version of this post a shout-out in his most recent “Friday Finds” post. I’m grateful he did, in no small part because everyone should hear this beautiful, programmatic symphony. The Pastoral is a beautiful, melodious traipse through the countryside—all told musically.
“The Joy of Romantic Music” – For a very brief introduction to and primer for Romantic music, I humbly submit this post. I point out just a few of the many excellent composers from the time period, almost all of whom I’ve discussed in class this semester.
“The Joy of Romantic Music II: Bedřich Smetana’s ‘The Moldau’” – Due to a WordPress error, the e-mail preview for this post went out a couple of days before the post was published, meaning that many folks missed it. That’s a shame, because it’s an absolutely gorgeous bit of nationalistic (and naturalistic) composing, detailing a whimsical river cruise down the titular river, sailing through the Bohemian countryside, through Prague, and past an ancient castle.
“The Joy of Romantic Music III: Hector Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique’” – I’ve become fascinated with Hector Berlioz, which is apparently quite common: music critics either love him almost as madly as he loved Harriet Smithson, or they reject him entirely. I tend towards the former camp. Berlioz was a Romantic’s Romantic—full of lofty ideals about the power of music and the passions it stirred. The Symphonie Fantastique—which he wrote for and about Smithson, and his intense love for her—is likely the first psychedelic work, as it features an opium-addled artist descending into strange dreams.
I’m sure I’ll write more about Romantic composers soon, but these four posts should give you plenty of listening to get you started.