May We Never Forget

Today’s Number of the Day from pollster Scott Rasmussen is a poignant 9/11 memorial:  204 New York City firefighters have died due to illnesses from that fateful day.  That’s in addition to the 343 NYFD firefighters who gave their lives on September 11, 2001 (the NYFD maintains a list of “line of duty deaths” dating back to 1865; deaths 809 through 1151 were the result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks).  Rasmussen also notes that 2977 people died in the attacks.

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TBT^2: Happy Birthday, America!

It’s Independence Day in the United States!  God Bless America!

I hope everyone has been enjoying #MAGAWeek2019.  Remember, you can read those full entries only on SubscribeStar with a $1/mo. or higher subscription.  Your subscription also includes exclusive access to new content every Saturday, as well as other goodies from time to time.

I’m happy to announce, too, that I have my first subscriber.  You, too, can support my work for just $1 a month (or more).  That’s the price of a large pizza if you paid for it over the course of an entire year—you can’t beat that!

In case you’ve missed them, so far #MAGAWeek2019 has commemorated our second President, John Adams; our first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton; and our national cuisine, fast food.  You can also check out all of #MAGAWeek2018’s entries.

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The Facts on the Border Crisis

As I’ve learned more about immigration—and especially since reading Pat Buchanan’s Death of the West—I’ve come to believe it is the defining crisis of this moment in American history.  The debate is not, as it has been in the past, primarily around how much immigration is desirable; rather, the question has morphed beyond reason into “does a wealthy nation have the right to define and enforce its own immigration laws?”

That used to be axiomatic to what it meant to be a nation:  by definition, a nation had the right to defend its borders, and—of course!—to have them!

Now, there’s a twisted logic that, because the United States has loads of wealth (and won tons of land from Mexico in the Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo, after we soundly defeated them and captured Mexico City), we somehow have a moral obligation to surrender our sovereignty to every hard-luck case in the Western Hemisphere (and beyond).

America is a melting pot, but if you dump a bunch of salt into the soup all at once, it becomes inedible—the salt takes over.

Case in point:  the aforementioned Mexican War.  That conflict had its root in the Texas Revolution, in which the Republic of Texas gained its independence in 1836.  Texas was a province of Mexico, and the Mexican government wanted to encourage settlement, so it invited Southern yanquis to move in with their slaves.

Those American settlers had two requirements:  they had to convert to Catholicism (the official state religion of Mexico), and they had to become Mexican citizens.  A handful of token conversions later, and the Texans were in.

In 1829, Mexico abolished slavery throughout its territories.  The slaveholding Texans protested; rather than face the threat of secession of its unassimilated but wealthy minority, the Mexican government relented, granting unprecedented, asymmetrical “states’ rights” to Texas.

While Mexicans resented Texas’s special treatment, everything was fine until the military dictator General Lopez de Santa Anna rose to power.  Santa Anna vowed to end Texas’s exemption from federal law.  When he moved to enforce his decree with the Mexican Army, the Texans declared independence; after their defeat at the Alamo, American volunteers flooded in to help Texas gain its independence.

The moral of the story here is clear:  a large minority of unassimilated foreigners successfully ignored the laws of their host country, before ultimately breaking off to form a short-lived nation, before annexing into the nation of their native culture.

Mexico is playing the same playbook in reverse; indeed, some Mexican radicals call the influx of unassimilated, illegal migrants into the southwestern United States the reconquista, or “reconquest.”

Death of the West is the best feature-length discussion of that process.  For a shorter, more immediate discussion of the impact of illegal alien migration, the White House has published a page of statistics about the crisis at the border:

Stop screwing around—and build the wall!

Lincoln on Education

The following is adapted from remarks to the Florence County (SC) Republican Party on the evening of 10 September 2018.  The monthly program featured members of and candidates for the local school board, so I spoke briefly about President Abraham Lincoln’s education, and his views thereof.

We’re gathered here tonight to hear from members of and candidates for School Board; in that spirit, I’d like to speak briefly about education, particularly the education of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln.

From what I’ve read, Lincoln’s entire formal education consisted of around a year of schooling.  He would have a week or two here and there throughout his childhood in Kentucky and Indiana, and then return to working on the family’s farm.

Despite little formal education, Lincoln taught himself throughout his life.  He loved to read, and would read deeply on a variety of subjects, obtaining books whenever and wherever he could.  One of his contemporaries commented that “I never saw Abe after he was twelve that he didn’t have a book in his hand or in his pocket. It didn’t seem natural to see a feller read like that.”  When he sat for the bar exam, he’d read law books on his own time to prepare.

Lincoln also believed in education as a source of patriotism, morality, and self-improvement—what we might call “upward mobility.”  He was not a man who wanted to stay on the farm, and his self-education was a means to escape poverty.

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to quote Lincoln at length from his 1832 speech “To the People of Sangamo County”:

“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. That every man may receive at least, a moderate education, and thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance, even on this account alone, to say nothing of the advantages and satisfaction to be derived from all being able to read the scriptures and other works, both of a religious and moral nature, for themselves. For my part, I desire to see the time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more general than at present, and should be gratified to have it in my power to contribute something to the advancement of any measure which might have a tendency to accelerate the happy period.”

Here we can see Lincoln’s belief that education lays the foundation for patriotism—we understand our freedoms better when we understood what they cost, and that others lack them.  We see, too, the power of education to teach us the virtuous and the good.  From that morality flows, as Lincoln said, “sobriety, enterprise, and industry,” the tripartite tools to improve our material conditions.

Patriotism, morality, and industry—these were the three benefits of education Lincoln espoused.  Coming from the man who wrote the Gettysburg Address, I think we should take Lincoln’s views on education seriously.