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Johnson’s Rise and Imminent Fall

Gary Johnson is a dimwit and the Libertarian Party once again proved its uselessness by nominating him as its presidential nominee.

That’s the premise of my latest Takimag article. An excerpt:

Polls right now show that Johnson could potentially steal support from both Clinton and Trump. But we’re still six months away from the general election. Last go-around, Johnson was polling at the same place he is now. In the spring of 2012, the governor, when included on the list of preferred candidates, came in around 7%. How did he do that November? A measly 1.2% of the electorate picked Johnson over Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

Not exactly a libertarian moment. And I’d bet a few slips of fiat currency that this fall will play out much in the same way. As the election nears and the stakes become more real, voters will make a choice between the two most viable options. The choice won’t be based on reason, compassion, or logic. It will be one of fear and disgust—the necessary ingredients of politics.

But supposing that America’s electoral system didn’t systematically make third parties irrelevant, the Johnson campaign would still be dead in the water. That’s because the candidate is a dopey ignoramus in a party full of punky agitators, drug users, cerebral loners, and just plain loons.

Read the whole thing here, and remember that only American-hating losers vote for the LP.

The socialist foreign policy tradition

The discussion about foreign policy of Bernie Sanders and the more broad socialist vision of international relations is the topic of my The National Interest piece today. An excerpt:

With the Democratic primaries coming to an end, the fate of Bernie Sanders is sealed. His insurgent campaign surprised everybody in advancing so far, and gave a good fight to a powerful establishment figure like Hillary Clinton. The question of whether he could have done better if he had focused on foreign policy is one that, while vital, hasn’t really been asked. The usual assumption is that Hillary is a hawk and that Bernie is to her left on foreign policy. That is a fairly honest answer, given their voting records; however, the fact that the first man to call himself a socialist in a Democratic primary has a foreign policy with not much difference from a mainstream liberal raises the question of whether there exists a socialist foreign policy in the U.S. context.

Read the whole thing here to know about the conflict between Bernie Sanders and historic socialist foreign policy tradition.

Future things II

(First)

  • There will be a television show called something like “Cocaine Debates” that’s a lot like debate shows nowadays, except everyone involved will be on cocaine. This will happen with or without drug legality in any given jurisdiction due to the internationalization and decentralization of broadcasting.
  • Tongue-in-cheek pressure groups and non-profits will become common. For example, I can see a group that exists with the half-ironic mission of fighting the influence of DreamWorks’ Minions in popular culture. People will donate money out of a mixture of a serious desire to further the cause and as a “this is hilarious and out there lol” gesture.
  • The Minions question will become a class issue approximating Donald Trump’s candidacy, but way more complicated. Elites in New York and Washington will pooh-pooh them, but this cultured disgust will be tempered by the fact that fashionable victim groups, like single mothers or something, will be strongly pro-minion.
  • Apps like Tinder will be the only legal way to approach a woman, due to clever tech lobbyists capitalizing on street harassment/”rape culture” hysteria. Mark Zuckerberg will probably be behind this.
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Why Bernie Sanders wants same day registration

The revolution is flaming out.

With Hillary Clinton’s decisive primary win the District of Criminals, the longshot bid of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is coming to a close. In a video chat to supporters, the irascible socialist all but declared his candidacy over and announced he’s teaming up with Wall Street courtesan Clinton to defeat populist champion Donald Trump – just as I predicted.

Sanders isn’t walking away completely empty-handed, however. He’s demanding fundamental changes to the Democrat Party platform to make it “the most progressive platform in history.”

For a socialist, Sanders sure drives a hard bargain.

His list of demands include enacting same-day voter registration, more assistance at polling locations, a timely process for counting votes, and allowing registered independents to cast ballots in the Democrat primary. Increased measures to prevent voter fraud is not mentioned, because that obviously never, ever happens.

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Paying people to not work still means they won’t work

There’s an old economic saw that goes: If you pay a couch potato to sit on his ass, he’ll keep his rear-end parked firmly in front of the TV.

OK, so maybe the proverb didn’t mention slothfulness and prat. The more well-known version concerns fish and pedagogy. But I think the lesson needs an update in light of an increasingly popular welfare ruse.

In the pages of the Wall Street Journal, social theorist Charles Murray proposes the ultimate form of the dole: a guaranteed income for all adult Americans. “The UBI [universal basic income] is an idea whose time has finally come, but it has to be done right,” he writes. How does one give away loads of free money “right,” you ask? By eliminating the entire welfare state, including Social Security and Medicare. Rather than have the less-well-off jump through bureaucratic hurdles trying to get food stamps, Medicaid, section 8 housing, and Obamaphones, just cut them a check and cut out the middleman.

“Under my UBI plan,” Murray notes, “the entire bureaucratic apparatus of government social workers would disappear, but Americans would still possess their historic sympathy and social concern.” The concern would be replaced with a faceless monthly bank deposit, presumably debited on the “1st of tha Month.”

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Identity Politics versus Identity Politics

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Last week, Rod Dreher published two thoughtful articles on Trump and identity politics. In the first, Dreher argued that Trump is the champion of white identity politics. In the second, he argues that white identity politics is a result of left-wing promotion of minority identity politics. I agree with Rod Dreher’s take – he isn’t the first to connect Trump’s rise to a nascent white identity politics movement, but he’s by far the most clear.

Dreher says that minority identity politics alienated a part of the white population, especially if they were male, straight, middle-aged and rural. This, he argues, causes an equal and opposite reaction in the form of a new identity politics that alienates minorities.

Such a phenomenon existed prior to Trump, but with him it has taken a new path. Even left-wing blogger Freddie De Boer was surprised over an Indiana job posting written in Chinese. Yes, maybe De Boer was trying to make a joke, but think seriously about a middle age white jobseeker coming across something like that. That’s part of why Trump has the support that he does. Dreher puts it more precisely:

Crude as he is, Trump seems to get in ways that no other senior Republican gets is the degree to which American politics, cultural and otherwise, have become about raw racial and demographic power. I suppose you could plausibly argue that they always have been, but at least most of us tried to argue in classical liberal terms for a more fair and just society. What Trump seems to be saying is, “And look where that got you, white people.”

It’s not just economics. Demographics are the key of Trump support, such as with in Peter Thiel, whose politics are fairly more libertarian than the average Trump supporter – it’s in opposition to the culture of political correctness where he aligns with the candidate.

It’s strange to me that the devotion to PC culture and the promotion of diversity that seems to be the main goals of American liberalism is strange. I was shocked when I listen about the Gay Victory Fund a PAC that gives money to LGBT candidates, and I was shocked when I discovered that they didn’t give money to David McReynolds, the Green Party candidate for US Senate in New York despite being an icon of American radical left for being two times an openly gay presidential candidate in the Socialist Party ticket. I guess sometimes some people think partisanship is a secondary effect of identity politics. I, however, think that partisanship is the cause of identity politics.

In a bipartisan country, how can someone think beyond outside such a box? Identity politics is nothing new. The New Left was certainly more open to diversity, as exemplified by Democratic coalition that formed around George McGovern in 1972. The Southern Strategy of the GOP alienated black voters, with the payoff of winning them more white voters.

In the 90s, when Ralph Nader appeared as a presidential contender for the Green Party, people missed the opportunity to the fact that identity politics fuels neoliberalism. When Nader was critic of South Africa, Paul Krugman accused him of being a racist. When Nader was critic of Israel, Krugman accused him of being an anti-Semite. Even in a Fox News interview, when he suggested that Obama maybe an Uncle Tom, the host suggested that Nader was a white supremacist.

If a Fox News anchor is buying left-wing talking points on the matter, it’s clear that shows the country was doomed to accept group grievance politics and ethnic patronage as the norm. Nader was accused in his several runs of being dismissive of poor minorities. The funny thing is that Nader himself a minority – he’s an Arab American Orthodox Christian, but he has never made it a part of his politics platform, unlike, say, Al Sharpton.

When I say that identity politics fuels neoliberalism I’d invite the reader to look at the case of Bernie Sanders. In the Democratic primary, the liberal establishment has tried to the use the same arguments that they did with Nader, but even though he has a strong showing in very diverse states. Sanders has an appeal to some of the same supporters that Donald Trump working class whites. But unlike Nader, Sanders seems to have embraced the PC discourse on diversity.

One of the critics of Sanders’ embrace of identity politics is Glenn Loury a Professor of Economics from Brown University. Glenn is the host of The Glenn Show on Bloggingheads.tv and is a fierce critic of political correctness. Being a black liberal, however, he sounds very different than Donald Trump. He recognizes that immigration has hurt black workers, that broken families are a great source of misery for the black community, and that affirmative action deserves a critical reassessment. If he was white, he would had been accused of being something along the lines of a Nazi. Being black gives him a sort of PC teflon to such attacks, but it remains to be seen how long that will last.

I’m a Latino left-libertarian who supports open borders, women’s rights and gay rights, but even I worry that the PC machine is becoming a monster. Diversity is good, forcing such an ideology onto society bears some characteristics of totalitarianism. Free speech should be defended, and fashionable talk of tolerance should extend to the toleration of dissenting opinions. Otherwise, we could see the United States slide into something nightmarish.

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