SubscribeStar Saturday: The Stakes of the Culture War

A special note:  today’s SubscribeStar Saturday is probably the most important essay I’ve written this year.  I encourage to read it with your subscription of $1/mo. or more.  If you’re unable to pitch in, send me a message and I’ll e-mail you a PDF.

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Over the past couple of weeks, the stakes of the culture war have really hit home for me.  As I wrote last weekend, the “misinformation gap” between regular voters and reality seems overwhelming.

I’ve long held that building individual relationships can change lives, and can undo a great deal of brainwashing, and I have anecdotal proof:  through patient dialogue and loving guidance (and prayer), I helped guide a former student away from progressive extremism and bisexuality (it was a male student, so it’s impossible for him to be truly bisexual, anyway).  He’s now a girl-loving populist and, while he’s not totally on the Trump Train, he’s longer a Bernie Bro.

But that kind of patient, incremental relationship-building, while critical, is too slow for our present crisis.  It’s also incredibly wearying because it’s so labor-intensive, and because of the immensity of the project:  there’s a lot of brainwashing to undo, and most of what needs to be unwashed is quite subtle.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

The Boiling Potential of the Right

Blogger photog at Orion’s Cold Fire—the gift that keeps on giving—has yet another excellent post examining the state of the Right today.  In particular, photog poses the question:  “How Will the Deplorables Get Organized?

photog uses the analogy of a sword forged from various “metals”—parts of the coalition of the Right and the non-progressive side of politics.  His argument is that, during the Cold War, some metals were included in this grand alloy that didn’t blend well with the others, but they forged together well enough to make the sword that vanquished Communism.

However, those poorly-blended alloys—which he identifies as the GOP Establishment of Conservatism, Inc.—weakened the sword in a post-Cold War context, making the weapon ineffective.  A new metallurgist—photog doesn’t name who this is, but I suspect he means Trump, or perhaps the Trumpian Right—has discarded those unassimilable lumps, and has brought back in some of the metals that were rejected in the old days (the paleoconservatives, for example).

The new sword is still being forged; right now, it’s all boiling, kinetic potential, but it hasn’t hardened into cold, steely weapon capable of dealing a death blow to progressive lunacy.  The challenge, as photog sees it, is to bring together this energetic, chaotic new coalition into a disciplined, populist-nationalist (my words, not photog’s) movement with coherent aims.

Of course, photog notes it will not be easy.  Here’s a key passage from his post:

I’ve said that it needs to be done but I’m not trying to kid anyone into thinking it will be easy.  When I said that the New Right is like a boiling pot I wasn’t kidding.  Chaos and kinetic energy are the only rules and there is absolutely no consensus between the various groups that make it up.  They range from radical separatists who are busy storing ammo for the shooting war, to Tea Party civic nationalists who can’t figure out why John McCain didn’t get elected in 2008, to religious businessmen who want the government to stop persecuting them for their beliefs, to Rust Belt forgotten men who want to stop the globalists from putting the last nail into their economic coffins.  Herding cats would be a cakewalk in comparison.  But it will need to be done if we hope to avoid being back at the mercy of the Stupid Party.

In short, the task ahead is difficult, but necessary.  Otherwise, cucky GOPe figures will come back into control, and the Republican Party will continue to be controlled opposition.

That’s another key point that photog makes, and with which I strongly agree:  a third party is suicide.  The Trumpian Right has to take control of the Republican Party.  Trump’s brilliance as that he ran a third party campaign inside one of the two major parties.  He has been at least partially successful in turning the Republican Party into a vehicle for his policies, but GOP swells have also reined in the President.

Regardless, it’s crucial that Trump wins in 2020 if we want to see the hardening of this boiling new coalition.  If Trump loses, the clucking scolds of National Review, et. al., will waste no time in saying, “we told you so!”  It may be a generation again before a populist Republican has a shot again at the highest office in the land—we’ll be consigned to thirty years of cucky Bush-cons losing meekly to increasingly insane Democrats.

On the other hand, if Trump wins, we have a golden opportunity to cement the roiling new coalition into something enduring—an FDR-style grand realignment.

2020 is going to be an interesting year.

TBT: Reality Breeds Conservatism

Yesterday’s post, “Conservative Inheritance,” explored the deep grounding of conservatism in hard-won experience.  Rather than existing as an ideology–a framework built upon abstract principles derived in a rationalistic vacuum—per se, conservatism is the product of concrete, empirical observation.

As I’m teaching my summer course, The History of Conservative Thought, I’m delving deeper into this understanding of conservatism.  Last week I wrote about the Russell Kirk’s six characteristics of conservatism, which my students and I discussed (and which they’re writing about for today).  While preparing that lesson, I was struck by the assertion that conservatism is not an ideology.

For so long, I’d been conditioned to think of it that way—and to think of our cultural and political battles as fundamentally ideological.  I still think there is a great deal of truth to that, as the modern Right battles against a progressivism imbued with a Cultural Marxist teleology (apologies, philosophy majors, if I’m misusing that word).  But conservatives must be aware that, by playing by the Left’s rules, we’re implicitly accepting the Left’s frame.

Regardless, all of these ideas and debates were circulating in my mind as I considered this week’s #TBT feature.  I landed, finally, on a piece entitled “Reality Breeds Conservatism” from last June.  The piece is not so much about ideological battles, but about a study (linked below) that argued that fewer risks made people more “liberal”—more willing to take risks—while greater risks made people more “conservative”—less willing to take risks.

Great insights there, Washington Post.  Yeesh.

Anyway, here is June 2018’s “Reality Breeds Conservatism“:

There’s a piece in the Washington Post about how progressives (“liberals,” as the article puts it) and conservatives think differently.  Like many such pieces, it essentially reduces conservatives to being more fearful, and touts that, in the absence of fear, conservatives become liberal.

I don’t entirely disagree with the basic findings of the Yale researchers; beloved Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson makes similar claims.  Peterson argues that progressives are risk-takers, the ones who explore over the mountain or innovate new businesses, while conservatives are the managers (and conservators) of the new institutions that arise from innovation.

Obviously, this basic analysis is a generalization, a reduction that makes it a little easier to understand the world around us.  As such, there are broad exceptions:  we all know conservatives who fight hard in the culture wars, who build new businesses, and who support new ideas or techniques—many at great personal, financial, and political risk.

Meanwhile, progressives politically are still clinging to the same failed ideas that have motivated their policy proscriptions for decades—increasing the minimum wage, expanding the welfare state, pushing identity politics.

That said, the article linked above—which chillingly says “we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals” in the title—points to the fear factor as the key to determining conservative vs. progressive viewpoints.  In doing so, it points to said experiment, which is deeply flawed at its core.

To wit:  researchers conducted an online poll (a bit iffy) of 300 U.S. residents, only 30% of whom were Republicans.  Two-thirds of the survey-takers were women, and 75% were white, with an average age of 35.  This collection isn’t exactly heavy on conservatives to begin with, and it’s unclear who was offered the opportunity to take the survey, which itself has a verysmall sample size.  I’m picturing a group of undergraduate psychology chicks posting a link to a SurveyMonkey survey on Facebook, which is about the amount of rigor I would expect from the “academic” social sciences these days.

Besides the small sample size and lack of diversity, the core flaw is the methodology.  Those surveyed were asked to imagine a scenario in which they were given one of two superpowers:  half were granted the power to fly, the other half granted the power “to be completely safe, invulnerable to any harm.”  The participants then completed the aforementioned survey.

What they found was not all that surprising, although the researchers feign as such:  it turns out that, in the absence of physical harm, conservatives become much more progressive, which—in the context of this study—basically means that they’re more open to people or situations that are different from them, and therefore inherently riskier.

Well, duh—in the absence of objective reality—to be free of any risk of physical harm, broadly-defined—I would partake in all sorts of risky activities that I would be reluctant to attempt when the threat is real.  That’s because I wouldn’t bear the costs of any of those risky actions (and as someone who broke a wrist falling from a ladder last fall, I can say that those costs are very high).

The late Kenneth Minogue wrote an essay in 2001 entitled “The New Epicureans,” in which he pointed out that, historically, only the very wealthy—the aristocratic elites of society—could afford to partake in risky behaviors, things like casual sex, drug abuse, and the like—while the rest of us plebes had to adopt a more Stoical approach to life—avoiding undue risk, living life cleanly and simply, dutifully serving our families and communities.

With broadly-spread wealth and widely-available contraceptives, however, modern chumps can mitigate the risks of a “live fast, die young” lifestyle in the same way ancient elites could—to an extent. What used to be the self-indulgent indolence of a very small group (the hated 1%!) has now become the self-destruction of a majority of modern Westerners.  And, of course, it doesn’t work out well, as most folks don’t have the means to pay for their immoral-but-convenient choices.

While we might be able to avoid more of the consequences of our actions—and, therefore, participate more eagerly in the temptations of a hedonic existence—there are still consequences, often dire ones.  I’ll write about some of these in my upcoming eBook, Values Have Consequences:  Why the West Needs Social Conservatism, but take one lethal example:  abortion.

What could more self-destructive, for more selfish ends, than to snuff out a human life?  Looking at this in the most dispassionately, economic way possible, it boils down to a calculation:  do I buckle down and adopt the Stoic lifestyle necessary to provide for this new life, thereby sacrificing my own personal enjoyment, or do I get rid of this “clump of cells” and avoid the huge costs and time-commitments of childrearing?  The major legal hurdles being removed via the disastrous Roe v. Wade ruling—and in the absence of a deep-rooted moral framework—many women, sadly, have opted for the latter option (which many, sadly, come to regret).

So, yes, if you strip away external costs and the threat of pain, people of any political or temperamental persuasion will indulge in more risk-tasking, for good and for ill, and might be more welcoming of strangers or alternative lifestyles.

But a healthy dose of Stoic skepticism about life is not detrimental.  We should not live our lives in fear, but we should govern sensibly—for example, by enforcing our national borders.  In short, conservatism is rooted profoundly in reality—it responds to real threats, prepares for real dangers, and seeks to build a life that, rather than relying on vague abstractions, grows organically from the nature of things as they are.

***

One final note:  the study found that, when witnessing acts of physical violence or hearing about one group or another causing trouble, liberals will become more conservative, even if temporarily.  This was true of the original “neocons” in the 1960s and 1970s, who were “mugged by reality.”

I believe it also holds true for those soft-liberals and centrists who saw the electoral chicanery, cultural division, racialized politics, and violent tactics of the Left in the 2016 election; having been “mugged” once again, they voted for a safety and reform.

Thank God Trump is a risk-taker.

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.

Buttigieg and Buchanan: Redefining Morality

It’s Good Friday here in Christendom, and while it feels like Christianity took one on the chin earlier this week, we know there’s victory in Jesus.

Indeed, Christianity has been compromised quite a bit lately, with the rise of “feel-good” non-denominational churches and the decline of High Protestant denominations, both succumbing, in different ways, to social justice pabulum. Blogger Dalrock writes extensively about how “conservative” churches are snookered into radical acceptance of homosexuality (and extremist feminism) as somehow Christ-like. That goes beyond “love the sinner, not the sin,” which is correct; Dalrock writes about “same sex-attracted” preachers in prominent non-denominational churches arguing that their gayness makes them “holy.”

Political pundit, noted paleoconservative, and devout Catholic Pat Buchanan has a piece on Taki’s Magazine this week about Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the out-and-proud Democratic presidential hopeful who is making waves because he’s a.) deceptively normal but b.) also gay, which isn’t as glamorous for the Left as being transgender, but it’s still their alternative lifestyle of choice. Buchanan examines “Mayor Pete’s” assertion that God made him gay, so he’s supposed to live that lifestyle (despite some very specific New Testament injunctions against homosexuality; unless Mayor Pete is the Second Coming of Christ, he’s adding to God’s Word).

Ultimately, gayness isn’t the issue (it’s just one of many bludgeons the Left wields in a relentless culture war). The issue is a persistent redefining of morality, not to mention the moral arrogance of Leftists who believe they, not God, can redefine thousands of years of moral absolutes.

Permit me to quote Buchanan at length:

Consider what has changed already.

In the 19th century, blasphemy was a crime.

In the Roaring ’20s the “vices” of booze and gambling were outlawed. Now they are major sources of state revenue.

Divorce was a rarity. Now half of all marriages are dissolved.

After the sexual revolution of the ’60s, births out of wedlock rocketed to where 40 percent of all children are born without a father in the home, as are half of Hispanics and 70 percent of all black children.

Pornography, which used to bring a prison term, today dominates cable TV. Marijuana, once a social scourge, is the hot new product. And Sen. Kamala Harris wants prostitution legalized.

In the lifetime of many Americans, homosexuality and abortion were still scandalous crimes. They are now cherished constitutional rights.

Yet, Mayor Pete’s assertion — that God made him gay, and God intended that he live his life this way, and that this life is moral and good — is another milestone on the road to a new America.

For what Buttigieg is saying is that either God changes his moral law to conform to the changing behavior of mankind or that, for 2,000 years, Christian preaching and practice toward homosexuals has been bigoted, injurious and morally indefensible.

The decline of the family and Christianity, I believe, are twin evils that brought us to this point. The two go hand in hand: without strong families, moral instruction falls to the wayside (or is delegated to progressive educators and the system that supports them). Without Christianity, the foundation that makes strong family formation possible is missing (at least, family formation loses its metaphysical component).

To be clear, we should not persecute homosexuals, and should treat them with dignity and respect. That said, we should not indulge their petulant outbursts, much less their insistence that their lifestyle is not just normal, but somehow godly. Statistically and morally, neither of those claims are valid or borne out by history or Scripture.

We should love one another, acknowledging we are all sinners in need of Christ. That does not mean we have to condone or enable sin, in whatever form. Homosexuality is particularly difficult to address, but we could start by not openly celebrating it all the time, nor should we encourage people struggling with those proclivities to define their entire being around their sexual preferences. What a terrible foundation upon which to build your identity!

Enjoy this Good Friday, and pray for direction on how we can renew our nation and our relationship with God.

The State of the Right

A major topic of discussion among conservative and/or non-Left thinkers, bloggers, and political theorists is what exactly makes one a “conservative” (or, perhaps more accurately, what combination of values and axiomatic beliefs constitute “conservatism”).  For the philosophically-minded, it’s an intriguing and edifying activity that forces one to examine one’s convictions, and the sources thereof.

I’ve written extensively about the Left and what motivates it.  To summarize broadly:  the modern progressive Left is motivated, at bottom, by a lust for power (the more cynical of Leftists) and a zealous nihilism.  These motivations take on a Puritan cultural totalitarianism that cannot tolerate even the mildest of dissent.  Witness the many examples of how Leftists across time and nations have devoured their own.

That said, I haven’t written too much lately about what it means to be a conservative.  One reason, I’m sure, is that it’s always more difficult to engage in the oft-painful exercise of self-reflection.  Another is that the lines of conservative thought have been shifting dramatically ever since Trump’s ascendancy in 2015-2016, and the cementing of his control over the Republican Party—the ostensible vehicle for conservative ideology—since then.

As such, in the kind of serendipitous moment that is quite common in blogging, today’s post shares two pieces on the lay of the conservative landscape, and the various factions within the broader conservative movement (and, politically, the Republican Party).

One is, by the standards of the Internet, an old essay by Gavin McInnes, “An Idiot’s Guide to the Right.”  Written in 2014, one month before Republicans would win control of the US Senate, McInnes’s breakdown of the Right is still fairly prescient, although it’s always interesting reading discussions of the conservative movement pre-Trump (McInnes, like many conservatives, hoped and believed that Ted Cruz was the last, best hope of the movement; that was certainly my view well into 2016).

The other is a post from Tax Day, “What’s Right,” by an upcoming blogger, my e-friend photog of Orion’s Cold Fire.  He gives a detailed breakdown of the shifting coalition of the Right at present, and his own “red-pilling” is very similar to my own (indeed, photog and I both fall somewhat on the fringes of the “civic nationlist” camp, with toes cautiously dipped into the parts of the “Dissident Right,” a term itself coined by VDARE.com‘s John Derbyshire).

Traditionally (since the end of the Second World War, that is), the old Republican coalition was a three-legged stool, bringing together economic/fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and national security conservatives.  In the wake of the Cold War, the first two legs ceded more ground to the national security conservatives, some whom consisted of the much maligned “neoconservatives,” themselves reformed progressives who had been “mugged by reality.”

The neocons would enjoy their ascendancy during the George W. Bush administration, and they tend to be the major proponents of the dying Never Trump movement.  Their vehement hatred of Trump (see also: Bill Kristol, Senator Mitt Romney, and George Will) has largely discredited them, and they’ve shown that their true loyalty is to frosty globalism, not the United States.  They also pine for a mythical form of “decorum” in politics that never truly existed outside of the immediate postwar decades.

photog characterizes this group as essentially less strident Leftists, a group that “doesn’t shrink or grow.”  They were the “we need decorum” crowd that went big for the Never Trumpers, but who have largely made an unsteady cease-fire with the president—for now.  Bill Kristol and Max Boot, the extreme of this group, have essentially become full-fledged Leftists (making Kristol’s latest project, The Bulwark—to protect “conservatism,” ostensibly—all the more laughable).

These are the people that don’t want to vote for Trump, but might anyway, because he’s “morally reprehensible,” which is just their way of saying they think he’s icky and boorish.  These are the upper-middle class white women of the Republican Party, the ones I constantly implore to get over their neo-Victorian sensibilities and stop destroying the Republic from their fainting couches.

The biggest group, per photog, are the Conservative Civic Nationalists.  These are the people that love God and country, and like Trump because he represents the best hope to defend those very things.  McInnes, less perceptively, just calls this groups “Republicans,” although his “Libertarians” might fall into this group, too.  To quote photog at length:

The next big class of people are the Conservative Civic Nationalists.  This is the bulk of the Non-Left.  These are the normal people who have always believed in God and Country and that America was the land of freedom, opportunity and fairness.  They believed that all Americans were lucky to be living in the greatest country on God’s green earth.  They believed that the rule of law under the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights is what made this the closest thing to heaven on earth and anyone living here should be supremely grateful to the Founding Fathers for inventing it and his own ancestors for coming here.  This is the group that has had the biggest change occur in the last couple of years.  But to define the change let’s break this group into two sub-divisions.  Let’s call them Sleepwalkers and the Red-Pilled.  Back in the early 2000s all the Civic Nationalists (including myself) were Sleepwalkers.

The “Red-Pilled” and “Sleepwalkers” dichotomy is one of the most interesting interpretations I’ve read about the Right lately, and it’s certainly true.  Trump awoke a large group of these Civic Nationalists, people that were disgruntled with the government overreach of the Obama era, but weren’t certain about the way forward.

Like myself, photog is cautiously optimistic that these folks will continue to wake up, bringing along non-political Centrists—the squishy, non-ideological middle—to bolster Trump’s reelection in 2020.  The Left’s relentless push for socialism and transgender bathrooms have done much to red-pill these folks, who find themselves struggling to articulate values that they just implicitly know are good, but which the Left insists on destroying.

There’s still much to be said about the current state of the Right, and I will be delving into it in more depth as the weeks progress.  For now, read these two essays—particularly photog’s—and begin digesting their ideas.  American politics are undergoing a major realignment, and we need people of good faith and values to stand for our nation.  Understanding the state of play is an important part of arming ourselves for the struggle.

Buchanan on the National Emergency

One of my favorite writers, paleocon Pat Buchanan, has a piece on one of my favorite sites, Taki’s Magazine, about President Trump’s recent declaration of a national emergency.  That national emergency, you’ll recall, will allow the President to use existing funds within the federal bureaucracy to build a border wall, thereby circumventing Congress’s lackluster appropriation of funds for that purpose.

Critics argue that the president is undermining our Constitution, with its careful balance of powers between the branches, specifically its delegation of the “power of the purse” to Congress.  While I certainly share some of those concerns, Buchanan points out that Trump’s national emergency is only the latest (and one of the mildest) in a long line of the executive overreach.

More crucially, Buchanan places the blame for the extension of the executive power at Congress‘s feet.  In this regard, Buchanan is correct:  Congress, with the support of an activist federal judiciary, long ago realized that it could farm out key legislative functions to the executive branch (specifically, the federal bureaucracy), and thereby avoid catching the blame for the nation’s problems.  In the process, the executive and judicial branches have arrogated greater powers to themselves (thus, the tug-of-wars between unelected federal judges and the Trump administration on virtually every policy).

To quote Buchanan at length:

Yet while presidents have acted decisively, without congressional authorization and sometimes unconstitutionally, Congress has failed to defend, and even surrendered, its legitimate constitutional powers.

Congress’s authority “to regulate commerce with foreign nations” has been largely ceded to the executive branch, with Congress agreeing to confine itself to a “yeah” or “nay” vote on whatever trade treaty the White House negotiates and sends to the Hill.

Congress’s authority to “coin money” and “regulate the value thereof” was long ago transferred to the Federal Reserve.

Congress’s power to declare war has been ignored by presidents since Truman. Authorizations for the use of military force have replaced declarations of war, with presidents deciding how broadly they may be interpreted.

In declaring the national emergency Friday, Trump rested his case on authority given the president by Congress in the National Emergencies Act of 1976.

As I wrote over the weekend, I believe the president acted within his the scope of Article II of the Constitution in issuing the national emergency, as it pertains to powers inherent in the office of the executive:  national defense and border security.  I’m not completely comfortable with this method for funding a border wall, and I think the president and congressional Republicans blew an opportunity to build the wall during the two years of Republican control of the federal government, but action needed to be taken.

Buchanan’s piece is titled, chillingly, “Why Autocrats are Replacing Democrats.”  To answer his own question, he argues that voters internationally are weary of the plodding democratic process, and are eager for leaders who will deliver solutions to their problems.  Buchanan claims that republican forms of government have failed to fulfill their most basic functions—border and immigration control, national security, etc.—and the people demand solutions—action.

I don’t think President Trump is an autocrat or a fascist.  I also don’t entirely blame him for using powers Congress has delegated to his office.  Up to this point, President Trump has stayed very much within defined constitutional limits in the exercise of his authority.

We should, however, be ever vigilant about—and always on guard against—executive overreach.  While I think the president acted within accepted constitutional bounds here—and relied upon the poor decisions of a past Congress to shore up his case for the national emergency—I hope this method of governance does not became de rigeur habit, as it did under the Obama administration.

On the plus side, we’re getting a wall!