Lazy Sunday LXVII: Phone it in Fridays, Part I

It’s a hot weekend here in South Carolina.  It’s been a mostly mild summer so far, but today the brutal combination of heat and humidity hit with their full rancor.  I’m currently writing this post from the third story finished attic at my parents’ house, as it’s been another big family weekend, this time to celebrate my maternal grandmother’s birthday.  Like every protagonist from Stephen King’s early work, I’m typing shirtless and drenched in sweat—an image none of you needed.

It occurred to me Friday that I’ve (improbably) hit twelve editions of Phone it in Friday, so I thought I’d cheekily dedicate the next few Sundays to looking back at past PiiF installments—a month of Fridays for a month of Sundays.  Chalk it up to laziness—I mean, that’s the point of these Sunday posts—-but I’m running out of umbrella topic ideas, and this lame tactic gives me a month to dream up some more.

So, without further ado, here’s the first installment of our Phone it in Friday Lazy Sundays:

  • Phone It in Friday – Musings & Reflections on NATO, Brexit, Etc.” – The very first PiiF goes back to 13 July 2018, before I was doing daily posts.  I believe I was sticking to a thrice-a-week MWF schedule.  The astute observer will note that I capitalized the “I” in “It” for this first installment, and lowercased it for (I believe) the rest.  The post covered Brexit, why I believe Turkey should not be in the NATO alliance (the alliance itself is probably obsolete, anyway), and President Trump’s visit to England.  Remember when Theresa May was still the Prime Minister of England and kept delaying Brexit?
  • Phone it in Friday II: Boris, Bond, and Borders” – It would be slightly over a year, on 26 July 2019, before I resorted to another PiiF.  That pithy PiiF celebrated Boris Johnson’s election as Prime Minister of Great Britain (which presaged the victory of true Brexit), the literary death of James Bond, and a Chicago Chamber of Commerce piñata bashing for illegal children.  ¡Ay caramba!
  • Phone it in Friday III: Video Killed the Blogging Star” – This PiiF featured two videos, one from the uncuckable Tucker Carlson, the other from YouTube personality RazörFist.  Watch them—they’re good.

That’s it for this week!  Time to descend from this stuffy attic and rehydrate.  I can’t be losing any water weight if I want to keep my portly status, can I?

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

The Spectator Turns 10,000

The British libertarian magazine The Spectator reached its 10,000th issue.  It is the only magazine ever to reach this milestone.  It began life as a newspaper in July 1828, becoming a magazine “more than 100 years” later, although it was apparently always a weekly.

Throughout its history, The Spectator took radical positions for the times.  They supported the expansion of the franchise in Britain in 1832, and supported the Union in the American Civil War at a time when many Britons were concerned about the impact of cotton shortages on the British textile industry than they were about slavery (correctly or not, The Spectator cast the American Civil War in moral terms).

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Lazy Sunday XLVII: Winning

Need a soundtrack to go with all the winning conservatives are enjoying under President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson?  Download Contest Winner – EP for just a few bucks, or download the legendary title track.

As I wrote yesterday, it’s been a good week for populism and national sovereignty.  It’s easy to get caught up in the myriad defeats on our side, and it’s frustrating that we seem to rally only at the last possible moment to prevent total catastrophe, but it’s worthwhile to look back at our victories from time to time.

To that end, this edition of Lazy Sunday is dedicated to looking back at some conservative victories.  One of the pieces looks back at our greatest Secretary of State, who although was a part of the totalizing New England faction that dominates progressive thought today, also helped created our national borders with his diplomatic finesse.

  • Independence Day” – This post was a brief celebration of Great Britain’s final exit from the blight that is the European Union.  Hip, hip, hooray!
  • Trump Stands for Us” – This piece linked to an essay from my blogger buddy photog, “The Unique Value of the Trump Presidency“; both photog’s original and my commentary are worth reading.  There’s a popular meme that shows President Trump sitting sternly, pointing directly at the viewer, with a caption that reads something along the lines of, “They’re not after me, they’re after YOU; I’m just in the way.”  Boy, does that speak volumes.  As photog points out, President Trump truly does stand with us, the American people.  In part, he does that simply by not despising us the way our elites do.
  • Mueller Probe Completed, Trump Vindicated” – Before the Ukraine impeachment hoax, there was the Russian collusion hoax.  How soon we forget.  While Mueller declined to write in his report that Trump could be fully vindicated, he also couldn’t make a case for Russian collusion.  Trump did nothing wrong!  After the Senate acquits GEOTUS this week, I wonder what scary Slavic country they’ll pick next.  Maybe they’ll allege that President Trump is in league with Viktor Orban in Hungary?  That would make me support him even more!
  • #MAGAWeek2018 – John Quincy Adams” – A bit of an outlier here, but I wrote a fairly lengthy rundown of John Quincy Adams—probably our best Secretary of State, and one of our worst presidents—back in summer 2018 as part of #MAGAWeek2018.  JQA and his New England Puritan ilk can probably be faulted for many of the one-size-fits-all solutions progressives plague us with today (although he would have recoiled at what progressives want), but he was a genius in terms of foreign policy, and he was a sincere nationalist, in the best sense of that amorphous term:  he wanted to make American great, physically and economically.  It’s a worthwhile read to get some more insights into a largely forgotten historical figure.

That’s it for today!  Let’s keep winning in 2020, and KEEP AMERICA GREAT!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: A Banner Week for Populism

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

It was a banner week for populism and national sovereignty.  At the time of this writing, it appears that the sham impeachment trial against President Trump is headed for a speedy acquittal, with the Senate voting 51-49 against hearing any further testimony from new witnesses.  Here’s hoping that complacent Republican voters get the message:  the Democrats will concoct any whimsy necessary to destroy not only President Trump, but any Republican who dares to challenge their progressive hegemony.  We can’t afford to let these people control a local PTA chapter, much less a chamber of Congress.

Across the pond, the British quest for independence from the managerial-authoritarian clutches of the European Union is finally complete.  After three-plus years of wrangling—and progressive attempts to overturn a fair referendum—Great Britain is finally free again.

The battle is far from over—indeed, it never is—but we could be witnessing a new birth of freedom and national sovereignty around the globe.

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Independence Day

The day has finally come—after three-and-a-half years, Great Britain is finally leaving the European Union.  The British people are regaining their sovereignty and will begin their way back to enjoying their traditional English liberties.

The European Union is an overweaning, elitist, supranational tyranny.  It is a progressive dream, which is why the Leftists are melting down over Brexit, and attempted to thwart it for so many years.  Progressives today—just like progressives in the early twentieth century—are gaga for technocratic rule and elitist dominance.

It’s not about “democracy”; if it was, they would have accepted the outcome of the 2016 referendum.  Democracy only matters to progressives when it advances their ends.  That’s why progressives hold elections and referendums—repeatedly, if necessary—until they get the outcomes they want—and then the matter is settled forever.  If that doesn’t work, courts or the bureaucracy will effectively veto the voters’ “incorrect” choices.

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Size Matters

The big Christmas concert has come and gone.  It was pretty wild week, but now we’re on the downward slope.

When I first started doing these little Christmas concerts, we had maybe 100 students at the school.  There were no dance classes, and drama was kind of tacked onto English.  The focus was on the music, and in such a small environment, everything was simpler:  setup, planning, logistics.  It was all accomplished more informally.

Now the student body has nearly tripled in size.  With that growth has come added complexity.  Put it all in a gymnasium during basketball season—the sport third to only baseball and hockey for numbers of games and practices—and it makes for a herculean task.

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Phone it in Friday II: Boris, Bond, and Borders

It’s been a brutal workweek for yours portly.  “Brutal” is perhaps a bit of an overstatement, but it’s been busy, with a lot of late nights and early mornings.  Fortunately, I’ve been a painting dynamo, and all those music lessons and extra work are reaping dividends.

My planned post summarizing and analyzing the introduction to Richard Weaver‘s seminal Ideas Have Consequences, then, is going to wait until Monday, when I have a bit more mental energy to spare.  My students in History of Conservative Thought are writing an essay about the introduction to that book for their final class session, which is Tuesday.  It’s a dense read for high school students, so that post will help break down some of the main ideas for them.

Instead, this evening’s posts will be a rare “Phone if in Friday” featuring some pieces that crossed my transom today.  Enjoy!

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New Criterion on Principles in Politics

Principles are, at bottom, what our politics are founded upon.  But that doesn’t mean that principles are inviolate, or that they should come at the cost of common sense or self-preservation.

That seems to be the crux of the debate occurring on the Right at the moment.  A dwindling faction of Never Trumpers argue that “decorum” and principles must be preserved at all costs, even if it means perpetual political defeat, if it means we’re on a higher road than our enemies to the Left.

The Trumpist and Dissident Rights, on the other hand, argue that we should jettison the Marques of Queensbury rules and noodle-wristed, David Frenchian hand-wringing over decorum and process to fight our opponents like backstreet scrappers.  Since the other side doesn’t follow any rules, the argument goes, the Right can at least loosen up a bit, and not stress out so much about policing its own side, when the Left steadfastly refuses to do the same.

This difference in approach suggests, of course, the different philosophies underpinning the Left and the Right.  The Left is motivated by nihilism and lust for power.  The Right is largely motivated by maintaining strong families, strong faith, and a strong nation.  In the West, the Right is, philosophically if not always theologically, Christian, so it’s natural that it treats its ideological opponents with tolerance, respect, restraint.

The progressive Left—ironically descended, in part, from the Puritan impulse to eliminate, rather than hem in, evil—prefers total destruction of its enemies, and constantly redefines what constitutes heresy to achieve ever greater degrees of “social justice” and “purity.”

The New Criterion had a piece I’ve been sitting on for awhile, waiting for a slow news week.  While it’s been eventful, nothing today really caught my eye.  I’m in the middle of my glorious, late-in-coming Spring Break this week, and there’s something about being out of the normal routine that has my mind working more sluggishly than usual.

‘Principle’ Parts” by James Bowman is about the Brexit process, and Theresa May’s disastrous performance thereof.  Rather than just ripping off the Band-Aid—what America did when we declared independence from a frosty, overbearing, overseas power—the Prime Minister has equivocated, betraying the will of the British people, trying to work out a deal rather than a—gasp!—“no deal” Brexit.

As Mark Steyn presciently points out in another piece, “Exit Brexit,” taking a “no deal” Brexit off the table undermines all of Britain’s leverage in negotiations.  Theresa May, like so many other polite “conservatives,” invested more in being the good schoolgirl going through the process than fighting for the interests of her country.  The end result:  selling out to a supranational tyranny that lacks the military ability to enforce its odious bureaucratic despotism.

Principles are important, but they mean nothing if we’re not allowed to defend them out loud in the pubic square.  The state of the battlefield at present requires tooth-and-nail battles.  The Right should spend less effort policing itself—and thereby limiting its effectiveness to a token “loyal opposition”—and should instead doggedly go after Leftists and their nihilistic, lethal ideology.

TBT: Cold Turkey

As the fate of Brexit still hangs in the balance, it seems apropos to look back to a post I wrote shortly after the successful Brexit vote in 2016, “Cold Turkey” (by the way, why is Turkey in NATO again?).  As I wrote then, all of these objections—what’re we going to do about the Irish border, for example—are distractions.  Yes, they might require some sorting out, but just rip off the Band-Aid.  People will find a way to make money.  Europeans will be itching to keep their business in Britain—remember, London is one of the world’s financial capitals—and will find ways to get business done.

The devil’s bargain of the European Union was simple:  give up your freedom and national sovereignty in exchange for sweet government bennies.  The British people chose the better, harder option:  they voted for freedom (and probably government bennies on their own terms, just without European largesse).  Of course, the British people never got to opt-into that bargain; it was thrust upon them after the bait-and-switch of the European Common Market—a good idea!—morphed into an unholy, supranational tyranny.

So, here is 2016’s “Cold Turkey.”  Like any addiction, the best approach is to “just say no”:

Last week, approximately 52% of Brits voted to “Leave” the European Union in a national referendum.  They did so peacefully and democratically.  Already, 23 June 2016 is being hailed as Britain’s “Independence Day.”

I’ve written several posts about Brexit recently (herehere, and here).  Last Friday’s post, which I wrote as the results were coming in Thursday evening, explored why liberty–a vote for “Leave”–was worth the price of temporary economic disruption and, too, of giving up certain “benefits” bestowed to EU citizens.

(A quick aside:  I still find it interesting that a supranational organization that originated as an economic free trade zone evolved into an entity capable of forcing twenty-some-odd nation-states to pool sovereignty; didn’t Europe fight two world wars to prevent Germany from ruling the Continent?  But I digress.)

Based on several comments on my Facebook page, and from personal conversations, it seems that some of my pro-Remain friends and colleagues missed this point, or very candidly admitted that national sovereignty and liberty are not worth the price of sweet EU bennies (one colleague–a reluctant Brit–discounted the entire “Leave” campaign as fundamentally xenophobic and racist, implying that those alleged qualities alone invalidated the entire movement).  To the latter contingent, I can only hope we can agree to disagree.  To the former, allow me to address some points.

“[D]idn’t Europe fight two world wars to prevent Germany from ruling the Continent?”

One poster discussed at length that Brits have “become VERY accustomed to the benefits,” and that, whether they are in the EU or not, they “will still be governed, regulated, and heavily taxed by their own government but no longer enjoy the goodies that come with EU membership!”

Consider, if you will, a drug addict.  Let’s say someone addicted to heroin seeks treatment and begins taking daily doses of methadone.  Would we say, “Oh, well, sure he’s off heroin, but he’s still chemically dependent on methadone, and now he’s missing out on the sweet high that only heroin can provide”?  Or would we continue to encourage this recovering addict to kick his methadone habit, too, and restore a sick, dependent body to healthy independence?

Quit me cold… and don’t let me in the European Union.

Generous government benefits–whether they come from the EU or the British government–might come with some nice “perks” (every pro-Remainer I’ve talked to seems preoccupied with the ability to travel freely through Europe, something most of us plebes haven’t had the luxury of doing without a passport; this, to me, seems to be the definition of a “First World Problem”), but those “goodies” come at a price.  The British people have freely said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Naturally, there will be those who will start jonesing for cheap travel opportunities to economically depressed parts of Southern Europe, where they can live out leisurely, government-funded retirements.  There will also be everyday people who still find themselves frustrated by high taxes and tight regulations, and missing out on certain opportunities afforded them by EU membership.

“The Brits have thrown off one level of bureaucracy because… they realized it was not worth the cost.”

But is the solution more regulations and higher taxes?  The Brits have thrown off one level of bureaucracy because, despite the redistribution of wealth it brought (which mostly went away from productive countries like Britain and Germany and to profligate nations like Greece), they realized it was not worth the cost.  One of two things will now happen:  either Brits will demand further deregulation and reform of their own government, which will further ease their burdens and lower costs; or they will make an oft-repeated mistake and demand more redistribution and more taxpayer-funded goodies.

Crucially, though, the choice will be theirs to make.

Leaving the European Union will be like tearing off a bandage.  It will hurt like hell initially–we’re already seeing the effect on markets, which can’t stand uncertainty–but the pain will be fleeting (as I’ve argued in my earlier posts on the topic).

Similarly, any nation facing heavy regulations and stifling taxes can pursue a similar course–if it hasn’t become too hooked already.  “Austerity” failed in Greece not because it demanded that the Greek government stop paying janitors wages comparable to skilled tradesmen; it failed because the Greek government couldn’t kick its habit (and because austerity required tax increases, not stimulating decreases).  The nation–and the Greek people–have become so dependent upon handouts, they can no longer function without huge bailouts from wealthier nations.  That dependency will only perpetuate the cycle of addiction.

The best approach is not more dependency–more bureaucracy, more social programs, more taxes–but quitting cold turkey.  Rip off the Band-Aid, then get back to being free… or end up like Greece.