Fleeing to (and Preserving) Freedom

Monday’s edition of Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day on Ballotpedia listed the sixteen States that lost population in 2020.  That’s significant as it will likely affect the apportionment of congressional districts in a number of States, depending on how rapidly other States’ populations grew relative to these States’ shrinkage.

Seven of the States were in New England of the Mid-Atlantic:  Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  The other nine were California, Michigan, Ohio, Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia.

While I certainly don’t like seeing Southern States in that list (I’ll consider West Virginia “honorarily Southern”), their inclusion makes sense.  Mississippi is a great State, as I imagine West Virginia is, too, but they’re not exactly hotbeds of opportunity.  Similarly, Louisiana is so corrupt, it’s little wonder that it’s shedding inhabitants.

The rest of these States make perfect sense:  New England and the Mid-Atlantic are hotbeds of failed progressive policies and social justice insanity.  Reading photog’s posts at Orion’s Cold Fire gives a good sense for the besieged nature of conservatives in his State, Massachusetts.  I once spoke with a pharmacist who relocated his family from either Connecticut or Vermont—I can’t quite remember now—who said he had to move South because he was run out of his job for not supporting abortion.

Read More »

Faith, Family, and Work

Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day last Friday caught my attention:  according to Rasmussen, 49% of voters say their highest loyalty is to their families.  Another 22% identified their faith as their highest loyalty.

That’s certainly encouraging.  In theory, my faith to Christ is my highest priority, although like many Christians, that’s not always the case in practice.  In practice—and in a practical, day-to-day sense—my family is my top priority, even if they’re an hour or two away.

The two, however, seem inextricably tied.  Some years ago I heard someone (probably Dennis Prager) say that the three keys to happiness are faith, family, and work (most likely in that order).  Faith in God gives us purpose (indeed, God gives us our Creation—our very existence).  Family gives us people who love us, those we support and those who support us in turn.  Work gives us a sense of accomplishment—the satisfaction of a job well done.

Read More »

Conventions

Congratulations to Laura Loomer for her victory in the Florida US Congressional District 21 Republican primary last night.  She’ll now face off against incumbent Democrat Lois Frankel on 3 November 2020.  It’s a very blue district, but if anyone can win it, it’s LoomerConsider donating to her campaign to flip FL-21!

The Democratic Party kicked off its virtual convention Monday evening.  They’ve dubbed it “D20,” which makes me think of Dungeons & Dragons.  That (perhaps) unintentionally symbolizes the basement-dwelling, anxiety-ridden nerdiness of the modern Democratic Party.

Yesterday’s Rasmussen Number of the Day on Ballotpedia observed that it’s been forty years “since the last meaningful national convention.”  That was a reference to the 1980 Democratic National Convention, in which incumbent President Jimmy Carter faced a convention floor challenge from Senator Teddy Kennedy.  Carter had enough delegates to win the nomination outright, but Kennedy challenged the convention rules in an attempt to force a floor vote.

Kennedy’s attempt failed, and Carter won the nomination with 64% of the delegates.  For the vice presidential nomination, bitter pro-Kennedy delegates skipped out on the vote; those that did show up scattered their votes between various nominees.  Nevertheless, the incumbent Vice President Walter Mondale still walked away with nearly 73% of the delegates.

Read More »

The Magna Carta Turns 805

Good old Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day observes that King John signed the venerable Magna Carta 805 years ago today.  The beleaguered king signed the great charter essentially at sword point, as his barons had him cornered at Runnymede on 15 June 1215.

The Magna Carta’s history is a fascinating one.  King John challenged the document’s legitimacy almost immediately, but his son reaffirmed it.  Essentially, the Magna Carta was not a sweeping guarantee of the rights of all Englishmen; rather, it was a guarantee of the rights of a narrow band of English nobility (the aforementioned barons), and that the king was subject to his own laws.  No taxes could be levied on the nobility without their consent.

It took another four hundred-odd years, during the events leading up to and following the English Civil War, for the Magna Carta to be applied more broadly.  The Stuart monarchs sought to aggrandize the monarchy, turning it into a form of absolute monarchy in the mode of the French kings.  Parliament—jealous of its prerogatives—dug up the Magna Carta and used it in its legal case against absolute monarchy.

Read More »

Unspeakable Fear

Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day for August 2 demonstrates the fear and distrust that grip our public discourse.  According to Rasmussen’s polling, 22% of voters are afraid to share their political views most of the time, with another 25% fearing to do so some of that time.  That means that 47% of voters are afraid to discuss politics with their co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc.

Of those voters polled, 39% who strongly approve of President Trump believe they are discriminated against because of their political views.

Read More »

TBT: Global Poverty in Decline

Yesterday I wrote about homelessness, particularly the sense that many “homeless” panhandlers are simply shakedown artists well-versed in emotional manipulation, guilt-trips, and implied violence or mental instability.

The United States enjoys incredible prosperity, unprecedented in history.  That prosperity doesn’t necessarily give our lives meaning—a key critique of traditionalists like my intellectual hero, Richard Weaver—but it’s probably a moral good to not have to worry about your ability to feed and shelter yourself.

But the United States is not the only beneficiary of wealth and abundance.  The rest of the world has enjoyed huge increases in quality of life since the end of the Second World War, and especially since the end of the Cold War.

So, contrary to Leftist myth-making, the United States has not kept the rest of the world down (and, by implication, is therefore morally responsible for taking in its impoverished, unassimilable hordes).  Instead, capitalism has lifted the world out of poverty.

That is the subject of this TBT feature, August 2018’s “Global Poverty in Decline“:

Regular readers know that I frequently cite pollster Scott Rasmussen’s #Number of the Day series from Ballotpedia.  I do so because a.) his numbers often reveal some interesting truths about our world and b.) blogging is, at bottom, the art of making secondary or tertiary commentary on what other, smarter, harder-working people have thought, written, and done.

Yesterday’s #Number of the Day dealt with global poverty; specifically, Americans’ ignorance to the fact that global poverty has declined substantially over the last twenty years.  Indeed, global poverty has been reduced by half in that time.

I’ll confess I was ignorant of the extent of this decline, too, although it makes sense that poverty has decreased, especially when you consider the rise of post-Soviet market economies in Eastern Europe and China’s meteoric rise since the 1980s.

I suspect that the perennial culprit of the Mainstream Media is to blame, in part, for this ignorance, coupled as it is with progressive politicians.  The rise of “democratic socialist” candidates—as well as the lingering effects of the Great Recession—would have Americans believe that the global economy is in terrible shape, and that “underprivileged” parts of the world labor in ever-worsening poverty (so, let’s just move them all here—that’ll solve poverty!).

It’s refreshing to see that capitalism is working its economic magic, and people all over the globe are lifting themselves out of poverty.  If representative republicanism and strong civil societies can take root and flourish in more places, the ingredients will be in place for continued economic and cultural growth.