Belated SubscribeStar Saturday: Back into the Arena Again

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.

This post was meant to be published on Saturday, 17 July 2021, but I was out of town without Internet.  Apologies to subscribers for the delay.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a detailed update on Lamar Town Council.  Lamar is really a wonderful town, and a great place to live; we’re just experiencing a number of strains that are typical for a small town with an aging population.  Even so, Lamar is uniquely poised for a renaissance, given its proximity to I-20 and the major population centers in the region.

That said, there are some systemic problems that are making that renewal more difficult.  Progress is being made to address each of these problems in turn, but it’s slow and often piecemeal.  That’s no criticism of the fine people who work for the Town—they’re doing quite well—but it’s indicative of the kinds of pressures on time and resources the town is experiencing.

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Fighting Back Against Critical Race Theory

In the waning years of the Obama Administration, a strident new form of race hustling emerged.  Combining elements of identity politics, Foucaultean power dynamics, Cultural Marxism, and Nineties-style corporate diversity training, Critical Race Theory (CRT) emerged as a powerful ideological bludgeon with which to batter anyone with the audacity to be white.

At its core, CRT proposes a simple thesis:  any person of color, in any material or spiritual condition, is automatically oppressed compared to white people, because white people benefit from inherent privilege due to their whiteness.  Alternatively, black and brown people face systemic racism—racism present in the very structure of the West’s various institutions—so even when not facing overt acts of racism, they are still suffering from racism nonetheless.  The source of white people’s “privilege” is that systemic racism benefits them at the expense of black people.

The problem is easy to spot:  any personal accountability is jettisoned in favor of group identities, so any personal setbacks for a darker-skinned individual are not the result of that individual’s agency, but rather the outcome of sinister, invisible forces at play within society’s institutions themselves.  Similarly, any success on the part of a lighter-skinned individual is due to the privilege that individual enjoys.

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TBT: Cass on Our Diminished Income

The other day my students and I were talking about the Model T Ford, which in the 1920s ran around $6000 in today’s money for a new car.  It is impossible to find a brand-new vehicle of any make for $6000 today.  Granted, a Ford Focus, for example, is packed with way more technology and safety features than a Model T from 100 years ago, and that technological advancement gets factored into the price.

But consider that in the 1990s, when Kia hit the American market, they advertised a new sedan for around $6999 (in 1990s’ dollars).  What would that be twenty-five years late—maybe $9000 or $10,000?  That price point, too, is virtually impossible.

I managed to purchase my current vehicle—a 2017 Nissan Versa Note SV—for right around $9100.  It has around 45,000 miles on it when I bought it, and had been a rental vehicle before I purchased it.  I got a steal on that car—the closest comparable I’ve found since then was a list price of around $8900 (the list for my car was $8000 even).  That’s for a four-year old subcompact hatchback.

I got lucky when I found that car.  I figured it would be easy enough to find a decent car for under $10,000 when I began vehicle shopping in late 2019.  Boy, was I wrong.  Vehicles last longer than ever before, and maintain their value a very long time.  They’re also, as mentioned, packed full of technology and safety features that weren’t present even twenty years ago.  Trucks in particular hold their value extremely well; to find a truck in my price range, I’d have had to purchase a Ford F-150 from 1994 with half-a-million miles on it.

It’s great that cars last longer and are safer.  But those features—many of which drivers will never need or use—drive up the costs substantially.  Such was the point of an illuminating Twitter thread by Oren Cass, which demonstrates that, despite earning more money, Americans’ expenses for basic goods are substantially higher, requiring a whopping fifty-three weeks of pay to cover now versus a mere thirty weeks in 1985.  Naturally, given that there are only fifty-two weeks in a year, that presents a problem.

I don’t know the solution, but as I wrote a year ago, “Something’s gotta give.”

Indeed.  Here is 28 April 2020’s “Cass on Our Diminished Income“:

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Victorious ACB

Last night the Senate confirmed the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, thus filling Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant seat.  Conservative constitutionalist Justice Clarence Thomas swore in Barrett, a symbolic gesture of the new justice’s constitutionalist credentials.

It’s doubly significant that Barrett’s confirmation comes just a week before Election Day, which is next Tuesday, 3 November 2020.  Nothing speaks more powerfully to conservatives about the importance of the Trump presidency than the President’s three conservative appointments to the Court.

ACB seems to be the most conservative of Trump’s appointees yet, which is a major victory for the Right.  Replacing the arch-progressive RGB with a conservative Catholic mother of seven should energize even the logiest of Republican squishes to pull the lever for Trump next Tuesday.

Recapturing the Court from progressives has been a conservative fantasy since at least Roe v. Wade, and really even earlier.  It’s taken anywhere from fifty to eighty years for conservatives to hold a decisive majority on the Court—easily a lifetime of patient political campaigning and faithful prayer.

With Democrats threatening to pack the Courts if they win the presidency and Congress, conservatives can’t rest on our laurels just yet.  We’ve got to get Trump reelected next week—and Republicans to take back the House and retain the Senate.

For South Carolinians, we must vote for Lindsey Graham next week, too.  I know he has not always been the most reliable conservative, but the Kavanaugh confirmation process red-pilled him big time.  He’s also the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is responsible for getting Barrett—and dozens upon dozens of federal and appellate judges—out of committee and to a floor vote.  We cannot afford to lose that conservative influence at this critical juncture.

Justice Thomas is getting on in his years; we need a reliable conservative to replace him.  But there are progressive justices also approaching their expiration dates.  Justice Stephen Breyer is 82.  Respectable retirement can’t be far off for him.  Replacing Breyer would truly cement a conservative majority for a lifetime.

For now, congratulations to Justice Amy Coney Barrett.  Do us proud!

The-Surpreme-Court

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Rule of Law Matters

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.

Also, the delayed Universal Studios post is now available to subscribers:  “Universal Studios Trip No. 3.”

During the recent incarnation of the domestic terror organization Black Lives Matter, a group of BLM organizers in Florence, South Carolina received permission to paint a “Black Lives Matter” mural on a section of street in downtown Florence.  The mural is meant to depict various scenes from African and African-American history, including some Egyptian elements.

The mural itself was a community effort, and took around three or four days to paint.  In all fairness, it was a peaceful project with the full support of the City of Florence, and seemed to be an expressive way for the black community to participate in a project that isn’t overtly destructive.  Creating art—even historically inaccurate, propagandist art—is generally preferable to looting stores.

However, the City of Florence has decided to remove the mural.  Naturally, it’s resulted in a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth from blacks and gentry white liberals in Florence, who are accusing Mayor Wukela—a red-diaper baby and progressive Democrat—of racism, of suppressing black voices, and the usual litany of complaints.

Of course, that has nothing to do with why Florence City Council—which is overwhelming Democratic and heavily African-American—is removing the mural.

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Second Presidential Debate Review

Last night was the second and final presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden.  Overall, it was far more measured in tone and richer in substance than the first debate, and it accomplished what President Trump needed to do:  reassure squishy independents and critical undecided voters that he’s not just a loose cannon, but can actually govern, and govern well.

I also found the moderator to be surprisingly fair.  The questions obviously were slanted in favor of the Democrats, as these questions always are (again, who cares about climate change anymore?), but she gave President Trump the opportunity to respond to criticisms, and also had some tough questions for Biden.

President Trump did what he should have done in the first debate:  he gave Biden the rope with which to hang himself.  It was Biden who brought up China and Ukraine, which opened the door for Trump to attack Hunter Biden’s lucrative salaries from foreign companies and governments—the result of Biden’s influence peddling.

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Presidential Debate Review

Last night was the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden.  It was a grudge match; “hard to watch” and similar sentiments are the main comments I’m seeing on social media.

As a Trump supporter, I enjoyed the debate for GEOTUS’s zingers and no-nonsense combativeness.  He was aggressive and feisty, and clearly understood the Leftist slanting of the questioning (as Milo Telegramed, “Why are we still talking about climate change?”  Chris Wallace was clearly in Biden’s corner in terms of the tack of his questions, and he didn’t interrupt Biden the way he interrupted Trump.

To be fair to Wallace, Trump was talking over Biden and Wallace frequently, and as the role of a moderator is to moderate the debate, Wallace’s job was to try to keep the candidates to the two-minute rule.  That said, Trump was responding to a number of inaccurate and false accusations against him, including the widely debunked but oft-repeated Charlottesville myth.

I do think on the substance of the issues, Trump hammered Biden.  Trump has facts, history, accomplishments, and morality on his side.  His first term has been wildly successful by any metric.  The irony of Trump’s presidency is that if it were anyone else in his position, they’d be lauded as the greatest president in a generation, but anyone else wouldn’t have had the cajones to accomplish what Trump has.

Unfortunately, for all that I loved Trump’s aggressive attempt to rattle the ailing Biden, I’m afraid it came across as bullying and unprofessional to squishy swing voters.  Trump’s base is with him no matter what (especially after he refused to be maneuvered into denouncing the Proud Boys, a completely benign organization unfairly slandered as “white supremacists”).  He’s got to win over those undecided folks in key swing States who probably love the president’s policies, but find the president personally distasteful.

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Anti-Court Packing

As of right now, it looks like Amy Coney Barrett will get confirmed to the Supreme Court before the election, even if she’ll be seated under the wire.  A plurality of Americans want Barrett seated, according to a Rasmussen poll.  Conservatives shouldn’t take anything for granted; to quote Marcus Cato Censorius, “many things can come between the mouth and a morsel of food.”  But it does seem that ACB will soon be Justice Barrett, and America will be better off for it.

Of course, the Democrats are in high dudgeon, and are already threatening to pack the Court should they win the presidency and gain a senatorial majority this November.  Conservatives have anticipated this potential move for some time, but haven’t done much to stymie it.  Our focus has been, understandably, affixed on merely gaining a solid constitutionalist majority on the Court, but today’s Left will do anything to demolish a conservative Court.

Just as Democrats threatened to impeach Trump [thanks to jonolan for sharing that post with his readers, too —TPP] for making a constitutional appointment, they’re not seeking to dilute the Supreme Court, cheapening its gravity and significance, by adding additional justices.  Their solution is to expand the Court enough enough to make the potentially 6-3 conservative majority irrelevant.

After all, with the Democrats, if the rules favor your opponents, change them.  If the people don’t want your ideology, force it on them via judicial or executive fiat.

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Imcheapment

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It looks like President Trump will make his Supreme Court nomination pick later this week, and that Senate Republicans will deliver the votes he needs.  Lindsey Graham, who is in a surprisingly tight race here in South Carolina, came out with full-throated support for confirming a nominee, even this close to the November election.

What came as a major surprise was Mitt Romney‘s willingness to vote for a Trump nominee.  He did qualify his support by stating that he intends “to vote based upon [the nominee’s] qualifications,” which still leaves open the possibility of his characteristic perfidy.  Even with Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins demurring, that gives Senate Republicans some cushion in confirming the president’s choice.

Of course, the Left is in a full-scale, apocalyptic meltdown.  They’d turned Ruth Bader Ginsburg into a symbol for their preferred style of judicial activism, and saw her as a crotchety, sleepy champion for their pet causes.  Ginsburg never saw an abuse of judicial power she didn’t like, and was a guaranteed vote for the progressives on any case.

The prospect of replacing her with a constitutional conservative is the Left’s worst nightmare.  RBG’s refusal to step down into a peaceful (and, surely, lucrative) retirement during the Obama administration has not cost the Democrats—potentially—a reliably Leftist seat for probably another forty years.

It’s little wonder, then, that the Democrats are pulling out every trick imaginable to stall or prevent confirmation hearings, and to otherwise scuttle Trump’s eventual nominee.  That includes threats of impeachment.

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