Populism Wins

A major lesson of the 2016 election was that the neoliberal consensus of the prior thirty years was not the panacea its advocates claimed.  Trump’s candidacy was premised on the notion that the national government should work for the interests of the nation’s people, not on behalf of globalist concerns and aloof cosmopolitan elites.  Government could be reformed to strengthen the nation, rather than operating as the piggy bank for and protector of internationalists.

It’s interesting to reflect how entrenched the assumptions of neoliberalism were prior to 2015-2016.  When Trump began his historic campaign, virtually no one on the Right was talking about tariffs, other than Pat Buchanan (and a long essay on the necessity of a trade war with China that Oren Cass wrote for National Review in 2014).  The outsourcing of jobs overseas was assumed to be a short-term sacrifice that would result in more efficiency (ergo, lower prices on consumer goods) and more skilled jobs here.  We were a “nation of immigrants,” so we’d better throw the doors wide open.

With Trump’s election, a long-dormant populist wing reemerged, consisting both of conservative Republicans and disgruntled Democrats.  Tariffs became an important foreign and domestic policy tool.  A trade war with China soon began, and the United States renegotiated the NAFTA agreement with Mexico and Canada.  Manufacturing jobs began returning to the United States, and immigration laws began to be enforced (so long as those Hawaiian judges didn’t get in the way).  The economy, rather than contracting as the free trade hardliners warned, grew exponentially, and even now is recovering at a remarkable clip after The Age of The Virus temporarily sidelined it.

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TBT: Lazy Sunday – APR Pieces

This coming Sunday’s edition of Lazy Sunday will mark the fiftieth installment of that venerable tradition (also, yesterday’s post marked the 500th post of all-time for the blog), so I thought I’d take a look back to the very first one, from 24 February 2019.

The first Lazy Sunday was aptly titled.  As I wrote at the time, I was “phoning in” the post; thus, the necessitous title for the unplanned series.

The posts looked back to my days writing and contributing to American Patriot Radio, an online streaming station that never quite took off, despite lofty plans and an impressive roster of hosts.  It seems some folks still participate in its chatroom, but it has that weird feeling of a place that no one really visits anymore, except for a handful of cranks.

But I digress.  I wrote some pretty good material (I think) for the website, and I hate to see it lost to the cranks.  So aside from celebrating the approaching fiftieth Lazy Sunday, I figured this would be a good way to draw attention back to those classic posts.  I also can’t help but appreciate the idea of a “reblog within a reblog.”

With that, here is the first “Lazy Sunday – APR Pieces“:

It’s been a busy weekend, so I’m very far behind on today’s post (about twelve hours late!).  That said, I’m worn out, so I’m phoning in this Sunday’s post.

I used to be associated with an online radio station, American Patriot Radio, in a mild way:  I would occasionally fill-in for the station’s most popular host, and I contributed some pieces for the site’s blog.

There’s no good way to navigate to these pieces on the site now, but they are, remarkably, still there.  I do not know the current status of the station, but while seeking out these pieces, I heard some streaming audio, so it may still be active, or it may be recycling old content.

Regardless, I thought it would be worthwhile to link to my writings there, as they reflect the heady days of early 2017, when the young Trump presidency seemed full of promise, and it looked as though populist uprisings would continue all over the globe.

Enjoy this grab-bag/impromptu archive of TPP submissions to APR.

8 May 2017 – “A Disheartening, but Expected, Defeat” (about the defeat of National Front candidate Marine Le Pen to France’s current president, Emmanuel Macron): https://americanpatriotradio.com/2017/05/08/a-disheartening-but-expected-defeat/

8 May 2017 – “Pat Buchanan’s America” (about the impact of Pat Buchanan’s economic and foreign policy thought on the Trump ascendancy): https://americanpatriotradio.com/2017/05/08/pat-buchanans-america/

9 May 2017 – “A New Conservatism?” (a rumination on the future of conservatism, and the possibility of a new “fusionism” to include Trumpism): https://americanpatriotradio.com/2017/05/09/a-new-conservatism/

10 May 2017 – “Comey-tose” (about the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, as well as a brief discussion of my frustration with National Review‘s hand-wringing over decorum):  https://americanpatriotradio.com/2017/05/10/comey-tose/

Enjoy this self-indulgent blast from the recent past.

–TPP

Lazy Sunday XIV: Gay Stuff

Apparently, June is Pride Month, so there’s a lot of gay stuff going around.  If you’re part of the expansive LGBTQ2+ABCDEFGetc. community in New York City, you get two parades to show off your bedroom antics.  From deplatforming conservatives to avoiding prosecution for hate-crime hoaxes, it’s never been a better time to be out and proud.

To celebrate “pride”—which I take to mean loudly proclaiming who you like to sleep with while wearing ass-less chaps in public—this week’s Lazy Sunday looks back at the influence of gay stuff on our body politic.  Enjoy!

  • Gay Totalitarianism” – This post discussed the prevalence of homosexual hate-crime hoaxes, the most ubiquitous being Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s claim that a couple of white Trump supporters assaulted him with bleach and nooses in a tony, largely gay Chicago neighborhood early in the morning.  I linked to Pedro recent piece for American Greatness, “Our Queer Decline,” which deftly analyzed this phenomenon:  if homosexuals really faced persecution, they wouldn’t feel safe lying to the authorities about being attacked.  Instead, they know they’ll have the full support of and sympathy from the government, corporations, and the media.

    As the Smollett case showed, agents within the government would simply refuse to enforce the law via prosecution.  The issue here is not that gays are receiving legal protection—like all Americans, they should be protected from assaults on their persons—but that there is a dual-standard at play.  Jussie Smollett received egregious preferential treatment in part because he is gay (and, presumably, because he’s black and connected to the Obamas).

  • Buttigieg and Buchanan: Redefining Morality” and “Bland and Gay” – These twin screeds explore South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s appeal to voters—and his ungodly misinterpretation of Scripture regarding his homosexual lifestyle.  The former essay pulls heavily from a piece Pat Buchanan wrote for Taki’s Magazine about Buttigieg’s radical redefinition of Christian teaching on homosexuality (essentially, Buttigieg’s argument is “God made me this way, so I’m supposed to ignore His teachings on homosexuality”).

    The latter essay attempts to explain Buttigieg’s appeal to voters, which seems to be waning a bit.  At the time, I argued that Buttigieg’s popularity was due to his blandness—he speaks largely in indefinable generalities, a la Barack Obama’s “Hope and Change” slogan—mixed with the mildest splash of exoticism—his homosexuality.  Now that same-sex marriage is legal and homosexual behavior is largely normalized in the United States—but still, we all tacitly acknowledge, abnormal—Buttigieg’s gayness offers the slightest frisson of excitement for voters.  The thought process seems to be “oh, he’s a safe, non-offensive, boring white guy, but I can virtue-signal on the cheap because he’s gay!”

  • First They Came for Crowder” – This piece covered the demonetizing of conservative comedian Steven Crowder, all because a flamboyant “journalist” at Vox pitched a hissy-fit.  If that’s not proof that being gay aligns you with the full power and influence of big corporations and our techno-elites, then there’s no convincing you.

There you have it!  Some celebratory reading for Pride Month 2019.  Here’s hoping your Sunday is as fabulous as Milo Yiannopoulos.

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2019

Today’s post is the first in my SubscribeStar Saturday series.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page.  For the first installment of SSS, ALL subscriber levels, including the $1 tier, will have access to this list.

Three years ago, I released my popular “The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2016.”  It featured three must-read books for your summer, including a fourth “Honorable Mention.”  The same criteria from 2016 will apply to this year’s list.  To quote myself:

The books listed here are among some of my favorites.  I’m not necessarily reading them at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!  These books have shaped my thinking about the many issues I’ve covered over the past two months.  I highly encourage you to check them out.

In that spirit, here is the definitive Summer Reading List 2019:

1.) Patrick J. BuchananThe Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority (2014) – I have to be honest—I’ve been reading this book off-and-on for nearly two years, and am about 75% through it.  That pace is not because it’s a bad book.

Quite the contrary, The Greatest Comeback is a must-read for any political history junkies.  After twin defeats in the 1960 presidential and 1962 California gubernatorial elections, Nixon was a national loser.  Buchanan, who worked for and traveled with Nixon during the long decade of the 1960s as a researcher and writer, gives a first-hand account, culled from what must be a filing cabinet’s worth of handwritten notes and newspaper clippings, of Nixon’s historic, unlikely rise to the presidency.

Nixon’s reputation now suffers from the railroading that was the Watergate scandal.  Lost in the Left’s never-ending victory lap is how shrewd Nixon’s political instincts were.  Nixon’s tireless support for Republican congressional candidates in 1966 led to historic gains in those midterm elections, likely hastening Lyndon Johnson’s political demise and restoring Republicans’ spot as a viable alternative to Democrats.  That loyalty paid off for Nixon in spades.

Consider, too, the challenges that faced Nixon going into the 1968 presidential election:  he had to defeat liberal Republicans within his own party (Buchanan expends a great deal of ink explaining the odious treachery of George Romney and Nelson Rockefeller), while also fending off potential challengers to his right, namely California Governor Ronald Reagan.  An increasingly-unhinged anti-war (and all-too-often pro-Communist) Left reviled the old “Red Hunter,” and their dominance of the press continued to hound Nixon’s every move.

And through it all, Nixon persevered, engineering the titular “greatest comeback.”  He would go on to win a forty-nine-State landslide in 1972, losing only deep-blue Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.  For that story, check out Buchanan’s sequel, Nixon’s White House Wars:  The Battle that Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever (2017), which I will probably finishing sometime during Nikki Haley’s second presidential term.

To read the rest of The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2019subscribe now for $1/month or more on SubscribeStar!

Lazy Sunday XI: Walls

Today’s post marks twenty weeks of consecutive daily posts—140 days in a row.  I’ve written so many posts, I’m beginning to forget that I ever wrote some of them.  If you’d to support my daily scribbling, consider subscribing to my page on SubscribeStar.

Walls work.  We understand this fact on a visceral level—humans have been building walls around their cities and kingdoms since the dawn of civilization, and continue building them today.  The Israelites rebuilt the Jerusalem’s walls as a form of national and spiritual renewal.

The only legitimate question regarding a border wall along the US-Mexican border is technical in nature:  how do you build an effective barrier along thousands of miles of varied terrain?  Technical questions are difficult to solve, but that doesn’t invalidate the effectiveness of a wall once it’s completed.  Further, even tricky engineering problems are solvable.

Indeed, many of the questions that plague our nation are not difficult to answer—it’s just that the answers are unpleasant, or politically inconvenient.  When a Democrat argues that the construction of a border wall is not feasible from engineering standpoint, it’s a smokescreen.  The progressives are only concerned about expanding their voting base on the cheap, while supplying their techno-elite masters with cheap, quasi-slave labor.

With that in mind, this week’s Lazy Sunday looks back at my posts on all things wall-related.  It’s a sign of our times that anyone has had to write even this much about walls:

  • Walls Work” – the title says it all.  This piece looked at a piece from American Thinker that pointed out dramatically how effective border barriers are.  When Israel constructed a wall along its border with Egypt, “it cut illegal immigration to zero.”  I emphasize that part of the quotation in the original blog post just to make sure no one misses it.  In cast the Israeli example isn’t convincing enough, consider that the…
  • Hungarian Border Wall is 100% Effective” – yep, Hungary built a fence along its border with Serbia in the second half of 2015.  The number of immigrants entering Hungary fell from 138,396 to fifteen.  Look at those figures again, numerically and side-by-side:  138,396 -> 15.  My knowledge of scientific notation has eroded too much to write out the exact percentage of that drop, but let’s call it 100% – 15.

    Granted, Israel and Hungary both enjoy relatively short borders compared to the southern border of the United States.  But the results speak for themselves.  The billions saved in medicating, educating, housing, and detaining illegal immigrants would be worth the one-time, up-front investment.  Aren’t progressives always lecturing us about government “investments”?  Further, the upward force on wages—no longer flooded with cheap labor from abroad—would create an additional return on this crucial national security investment.

  • Buchanan on the National Emergency” – in order to fund construction of the border wall, President Trump controversially declared a national emergency in February, which then allowed him to shift around existing national security funds to build a section of the wall.  Conservatives were, understandably, dubious and concerned about this executive action, which they feared constituted executive overreach in the vein of President Obama’s “phone and a pen” rule by fiat.

    Pat Buchanan—ever the lucid, original thinker—takes Congress, not President Trump, to task.  As I point out in this piece, Buchanan argues that the president was merely using authority Congress granted him in the National Emergencies Act of 1976.

    And as I argued in the first essay on this list, President Trump has a constitutional duty to protect national security under his Article II powers.

  • Nehemiah and National Renewal” – this essay was the first of a two-part analysis of the Book of Nehemiah, and has been featured on Lazy Sunday lists before.  In this essay, I argue that, just as rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls was an act of national renewal for the Israelites, so building a border wall would be a firm sign of America’s renewed commitment to its values and sovereignty.  Of all the essays on this list, it’s the one I most recommend you read.
  • Walls Work, Part II: Sailer on Walls” – this post covered a book review by Steve Sailer, a recent feature of my “Dissident Write II” list of great writers.  Sailer reviewed Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick, by David Frye, which makes a compelling case that walls protect civilization, allow for civilization, and create stable societies.

    America enjoyed the luxury of two moats—the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans—for 150 years, before naval and aerial technology took those natural barriers away.  Now, we face a sinister, because subtle, existential threat in the form of mass illegal immigration.  A border barrier is one key step in stemming the flow—and of preserving our civilization.

    I’m hoping to pick up Frye’s book soon, and plan to write a detailed review of my own.  That review will likely be a SubscribeStar exclusive.

Enjoy your Sunday, and remember that “good fences make good neighbors.”

–TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT: Dissident Write

Last July, I wrote a post about some of my favorite writers on the Right, “Dissident Write.” At the time, I promised to write a Part II, but never did so. With Memorial Day just around the corner—and summer hot on its heels—it seemed like the perfect time to revisit these writers.

Further, tomorrow I’ll be posting “Dissident Write II,” which will include a list of several more writers I encourage you to read during those long days at the beach.

Of course, if you enjoy my writing, and would like to support the blog, I encourage you to check out my SubscribeStar page.

As for this list, it’s a testament to these authors’ staying power that I still read them regularly nearly a year later. The only exception is Gavin McInnes, who was unceremoniously dumped from CRTV when it merged with Glenn Beck’s company to become BlazeTV. I suspect that the arrival of the squishy poseur Beck led to McInnes’s sacking. Of course, McInnes had stopped writing for Taki’s Magazine already, and his controversial persona has gotten him trouble with the Left. Regardless, I now listen to his podcast regularly, and McInnes is even more entertaining in that format.

So fire up your favorite device and check out these excellent writers:

I possess the bad habit of reading constantly. That might seem like a virtue—or a lame rhetorical device to get your attention—but it has developed into a minor problem.

My tendency towards bookishness doesn’t just limit itself to the classic “chubby-bespectacled-kid-reading-in-the-car” stereotype, although that’s true. Ever since I got my first smartphone (a beautiful Lumia I picked up for $32.23 running the Windows Phone OS, well after Windows lost any kind of developer support) in 2016—I was very late to the game there—I can’t stop reading articles, op-eds, news stories, fiction, eBooks, and the like wherever I am.

That doesn’t make me particularly more intelligent (or interesting), but it has exposed me to some writers who are. More specifically, I’ve come to learn of a number of writers and websites whose writings are provocative, engaging, daring, and fun.

So much of what we read and consume online and in print media is dull, predictable, and morally indignant. There’s a great deal of lifeless writing and commentary, and it’s frustrating to read writers—on the Left and the Right—who fall into the same grooves.

The Left is full of examples, as they doctrinaire Leftists aren’t allowed to say anything outside of the fashionable-for-the-moment-until-we-condemn-it-in-a-few-years orthodoxy. If one of them ever-so-slightly speaks out of turn, they’re kicked out of the club.

The ones that bother me the most are writers on the Right who have fallen into predictable patterns (the biggest offender that pops immediately to mind for me is National Review‘s David French, the most noodle-wristed combat veteran I’ve ever read; with all due and much-deserved respect to French’s heroism and service, he’s grown increasingly lame and ineffectual as a writer). I understand writers have to carve out their niche, and that they shouldn’t violate their principles just to be different, but I want to see some gutsiness.

On that note, and in the spirit of my 2016 TPP Summer Reading List, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite writers, the ones that I clamor to read when I see they’ve written something new in my RSS feed (disclaimer: I don’t agree with all of these writers’ conclusions—of course!—which should go without saying):

1.) Patrick J. Buchanan – Pat Buchanan was President Trump’s John the Baptist, the voice crying in the wilderness at the dawn of a globalist era, warning of what was to come, and foretelling the coming of one greater than himself (please, don’t think I’m comparing Trump to Jesus; the metaphor breaks down at that point). Buchanan was calling out the shortcomings of massive free-trade zones and the like since the early 1990s. His book Death of the West is a must-read for every American—if you’re not worried about massive, unchecked immigration now, you will be after reading this prophetic tome.

Buchanan is more isolationist than I would be on foreign policy, but he brings an important perspective to the discussion of international relations. Buchanan has colored, if not entirely changed, my views on tariffs, family policy, immigration reform, and foreign policy.

He’s nationally-syndicated and appears on a ton of websites, including Taki’s Magazine, the home of several writers on this list, such as…

2.) Jim Goad – Holy crap. Talk about a gutsy, controversial, in-your-face writer. After reading one of Goad’s acerbic pieces, you practically have to wash your brain with holy water. But, damn, can he write.

Goad is the grandfather of modern dissident writers. He cut his chops as an ultra-edgy zine publisher in the early 1990s, back when weirdos who couldn’t fit into mainstream society could publish bizarre stories and borderline-pornographic material and become part of a cool counterculture.

Goad doesn’t pull any punches—he wrote a whole book called The Redneck Manifesto—and I can’t do better than to recommend you read him for yourself. Just make sure you’re not at work.

3.) Ann Coulter – I cut my l’il conservative teeth reading Ann Coulter, who was a hard-hitting conservative polemicist before it was cool. She completely and unabashedly called the 2016 election with an audacious level of confidence.

Coulter catches a lot of flack because she’s a.) super conservative and b.) incredibly caustic. Her writing is so satirical and witty, most Lefties often miss (or willfully misinterpret) her clear-as-a-bell message. I once got into a minor Facebook dispute with an ultra-hip progressive musician (buy his music; he’s an amazing songwriter) who drew the conclusion that Coulter was racist, even though she was denouncing racism in the very paragraph he posted. It was to no avail (but you really should buy his music).

Yes, she’s a bit prickly. Yes, she gets carried away with her political endorsements sometimes (she’s publicly stated her regret for being an early fan of disgraced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie—it’s okay, Ann, me, too). But, like Goad, she doesn’t pull any punches, and she will take the conservative message into the lion’s den and back—fearlessly.

Coulter’s two chapters on the French Revolution in her book Demonic consist of one of the best overviews of the topic I’ve ever read. Written in typically Coulter-ish style, she goes into macabre detail to illustrate how truly evil the French Revolution was. There are many excellent scholarly works on the French Revolution, but few offer so much intense, damning clarity to the calamitous 1790s.

4.) Gavin McInnes – current CRTV host and Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes is my hero. He’s single-handedly made traditional family values punk. McInnes possesses a boyish, mischievous spirit that public schools and soy-rich diets have bred out of modern men. His memoir, Death of Cool, had my sides splitting with every paragraph. If you want to know how to live hard and survive, pick up a copy.

McInnes is the son of Scottish immigrants to Canada, and he grew up pretty much doing whatever he wanted in a poorly-supervised suburb of Toronto. When his first child was born, he became a Christian—he’s Roman Catholic—when he saw her heel. He asked, “How did that come about by accident?” That was after a life of founding and losing several fortunes; sleeping—in graphically depraved ways, according to his telling—with what seems to be hundreds of women; taking lots of drugs; and fronting several popular Canadian punk bands.

And everyone says conservatives are boring old white dudes.

I don’t know if McInnes is writing now that he’s with CRTV, but you can find his archives on Taki’s Magazine.

5.) Christopher DeGroot – Rounding out our list is Christopher DeGroot, another regular at Taki’s Magazine. I don’t know much about DeGroot’s background, but he’s one of the best writers on issues of gender relationships out there. There’s a whole “manosphere” dedicated to promoting and discussing ideas of traditional masculinity, but a great deal of that world is dominated by pick-up artists (PUAs) and sex addicts—and even racists (real ones, not just normal conservatives who get called racist because we want people to have less government intrusion into their lives).

DeGroot is a wordy, philosophically-minded writer, and you can tell he thinks deeply about everything he pens. Most contributors to Taki’s write—I would guess—around 700-800-word essays, maybe hitting 1000-1200 now and then. I’m pretty sure everything DeGroot has written is at least 1200-1500 words. Talk about getting more bang for your buck.

Again, all I can do is recommend you check him out.

***

That finishes up this list. It’s certainly not exhaustive—I will have to do a “Part II” at some point—but it’s a good, quick look at who I’m reading on a daily or weekly basis.

One parting warning: I’m not responsible for blown minds from reading the works of the above writers. Draw your own conclusions, and share your favorite writers—non-fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.—below!

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.

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!