Tuesday, November 30, 2021

NYT wonders: Say, why aren't deep-blue states progressive Utopias?

NYT wonders: Say, why aren't deep-blue states progressive Utopias?

“What do Democrats really do when they have all the power?” The New York Times asks that question in a video from earlier this month, and … Democrats and progressives will not enjoy the answer.

Of course, anyone in urban centers or California figured this out decades ago, but the Gray Lady’s belated realization is worth noting (via Matt Vespa):

The Blaze summed it up last week:

Harris teamed up with Times editorial board writer Binyamin Appelbaum to examine why famously liberal states — such as New York, California, and Washington — struggle to advance the progressive policies despite little to no Republican opposition.

They focused on three core initiatives of the Democratic Party platform: affordable housing, economic equality, and educational opportunity. And in the end, they discovered that “liberal hypocrisy,” not Republican opposition, “is fueling American inequality” and that things are actually much worse in blue states than they are in red.

“In key respects, many blue states are actually doing worse than red states,” the journalists noted in a written report accompanying the video. “It is in the blue states where affordable housing is often hardest to find, there are some of the most acute disparities in education funding and economic inequality is increasing most quickly.”

“Blue states are the problem,” Applebaum, who covers economics and business for the Times, exclaimed.

“Blue states are where the housing crisis is located. Blue states are where the disparities in education funding are the most dramatic. Blue states are the places where tens of thousands of homeless people are living on the streets. Blue states are the places where economic inequality is increasing most quickly in this country. This is not a problem of not doing well enough; it is a situation where blue states are the problem,” he added.

The most amusing aspect of this revelation isn’t that progressive policies don’t work — which they don’t, as we see in urban areas that haven’t elected a Republican to office in decades. It’s that progressives mostly don’t even bother to try those core policies at the state level. Affordable housing gets the NIMBY treatment, something I saw up close in the Twin Cities. Affordable housing is a policy best applied to other people’s neighborhoods, which is all the more infuriating given efforts by Democrats in Washington to eliminate suburban autonomy through HUD policy.

It’s on education, however, where progressive hypocrisy shines brightest in the bluest areas. Progressives fight hard against a truly progressive policy in school choice, which would allow parents to choose their own schools for their children, which the wealthy already do — in more ways than one. Johnny Harris looks to one of the bluest enclaves in the US, Cook County and Chicago, to see how the wealthy ensure that their tax dollars only go to the schools where their own children are being educated. It’s less egregious in other blue-state cities with larger municipal school districts, which run under the control of the hard-Left, but the outcome is essentially the same. Wealthier families send their children to private schools, while everyone else is consigned to failing urban school districts obsessed with social-justice indoctrination rather than focused on actual education.

As for economic equality, the problem is both hypocrisy and progressive policies. California has transformed into a deep-blue, high-tax, highly regulated state, forcing the costs of everything to skyrocket. It’s not just housing, but that’s certainly a large part of it, and the skyrocketing costs there aren’t just about the NIMBYism over affordable housing. It takes an act of God to get anything built in California now, especially commercial development that might support middle-class jobs. The environmental regulations alone have practically produced stasis in business expansion in California, except for the high-tech industries that married themselves to the Democratic Party over the last couple of decades. The energy shortages in the state make it an unreliable place to do business. The end result of all these progressive policies and hypocrisies is increased economic stratification as the middle class migrates out of the state for better economic opportunities.

“The blue states are the problem,” Binyamin Applebaum concludes at the end. Most Americans concluded that years ago. This may not qualify as “news,” but it’s certainly a worthwhile marker on the path to recovery from progressivism.

Update: Somehow I missed that John had already written about this a week ago. If you haven’t read his take on it, be sure to catch up to it now.





Today, Joe Biden told reporters that lockdowns are “off the table for now” as a response to the new coronavirus variant. I consider this statement incoherent. To me, “off the table” means “ain’t gonna happen.” Lockdowns cannot be “off the table” if Biden is leaving open their possibility later on.

Biden’s statement reflects the fact that lockdowns are no longer popular, not any principled unwillingness to impose them.

But even if Biden had ruled out lockdowns completely, the statement wouldn’t be worth taking seriously. For one thing, Biden said he wasn’t going to impose a vaccine mandate, only to reverse course. This president does not say, even incoherently, what he means and does not mean what he says.

In addition, Biden lacks the power to impose lockdowns. He can recommend lockdowns, but it’s up to states and localities to decide whether to impose them.

Biden said that later this week, he will “put[] forward a detailed strategy outlining how we’re going to fight COVID this winter, not with shutdowns or lockdowns but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more.” I don’t think it makes sense to lay out a plan for fighting the virus until we know more about its new variant — e.g. how lethal it is for various age groups and the extent to which existing vaccines are effective against it.

I’m also not convinced that, even once we have a better handle on these questions, a detailed federal strategy will do much good. My sense is that Biden wants to set forth such a strategy in part to show that he’s acting and in part to be able to take credit if the winter turns out to be less deadly than many expect it to be.


The war on Thanksgiving is real and it's spectacular

The war on Thanksgiving is real and it's spectacular

(AP Photo/Bree Fowler)

While most of us are celebrating a day intended to remind us to be thankful for the various blessings in our lives, there will always be some people so consumed with politics that they will play a role equivalent to the Grinch at Christmas. That seems to be the point being made this week by Matt Lewis in his latest column at the Daily Beast. The holiday is a target for some on the left who equate it to the genocide of indigenous Americans, colonialism and slavery. Matt further argues that there are some on the conservative side of the fence who have given up on the idea of American exceptionalism and might prefer some sort of monarchy where obedience to God and country are mandatory, stomping out some of the disruptive proclamations of the modern left. But how much of the Thanksgiving tradition is actually rooted in the early history of the United States and how much is founded in the words of Abraham Lincoln who first proclaimed it as an official holiday during the Civil War?

The culture war doesn’t take Thanksgiving week off, and its two main participants aren’t big on giving thanks, anyway.

The illiberal left wants to radically transform an inherently evil America that was founded on slavery and colonialism. The post-liberal right wants to forfeit the idea of liberal democracy, contending that modern America is weak, secular, and decadent.

Let’s start with the left. On Tuesday, the Women’s March issued an apology for sending out an email noting that their average donation this week had been $14.92. “It was an oversight on our part to not make the connection to a year of colonization, conquest, and genocide for Indigenous people, especially before Thanksgiving,” they said. This is stupidity that defies satire.

Meanwhile, MSNBC recently invited writer Gyasi Ross to talk about the “mythology” of Thanksgiving. “Instead of bringing stuffing and biscuits, those settlers brought genocide and violence,” he said. “That genocide and violence is still on the menu as state-sponsored violence against Native and Black Americans is commonplace. And violent private white supremacy is celebrated and subsidized.”

As Matt points out, the early history of European settlers in North America is complicated to say the least. The Pilgrims on the Mayflower did originally settle in what is now the United States and they signed a treaty with the Wampanoag Confederacy of Native Americans. They lived (mostly) peacefully together for roughly fifty years and they did indeed share a feast day in 1621 after their first successful harvest.

After that, the story changes quite a bit. During the westward expansion of the primarily European Americans, there were some atrocities committed by both sides at various times, but the indigenous people definitely got the worst of it. The situation wound up being just about as close to a true genocide as you’d care to imagine between warfare and the ravages of smallpox. Many inconvenient promises were broken and some of the bitterness over that portion of our history lingers to this day.

At the same time, treating America as some sort of special case in this sense is a completely false narrative. You would be hard-pressed to find a single country in the 21st century that isn’t inhabited by a mixture of people who originally arrived from somewhere else and displaced the humans who had settled there before them. This even applies to most of the countries in Africa (thought by many, though not all, to be the original birthplace of modern humans), where various tribes have tangled and ousted each other for centuries. The people we think of as Filipinos today are a mixture of Asian and Hispanic imports to the islands. The original inhabitants of the Philipines (the Negritos) live in small, isolated tribes in the mountains and look very different.

For better or worse, human history is written by the winners. But that’s still not what Thanksgiving is really supposed to be about. It’s a time to give thanks for whatever blessings you have received, no matter how meager those blessings may be at times. While you still have breath in your lungs there is always hope. And if you find yourself on this day simply having a roof over your head, food of any sort on your table, and some family or friends to share it with, you have much to give thanks for. There will always be those with more or less than yourself. So rather than spending your day shouting at the ocean about what a horrible place America is, perhaps you might help your blood pressure levels and your community by simply engaging in some quiet reflection and taking a moment to give thanks. If you have the ability to read this article today, you already have much to be thankful for compared to many others.


Don's Tuesday Column

            THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson  Red Bluff Daily News   11/30/2021

“Let’s talk about…racism,” they say

Our national Thanksgiving celebration is, and always has been, devoid of race, religious fanaticism or clan and tribal animosity. Through presidential pronouncements, and Congressional affirmation and assignment, it has been the purest of holidays, uniting all in the admirable practice of giving thanks for life’s blessings: family, abundance (past, present or hoped for), health, freedom, peace or national victory in war.

Many provide those less fortunate with meals or clothing; the needs of commerce prompted moving the holiday to extend Christmas shopping. Still, there’s thanks to be had for expected gifts.

It’s regrettable that we must endure the annual “Thanksgiving is sullied by the mistreatment of Native Americans.” Progressive nags don’t possess the numbers or political and cultural heft to abolish Thanksgiving; they’d replace it with… national self-flagellation, weeping and gnashing of teeth over said mistreatment? (See “The war on Thanksgiving is real and it’s spectacular,” Jazz Shaw, hotair.com)

Not to excuse unjust practices by earlier Americans, it must be pointed out that 1) such practices were endemic to some tribes and nations already in North and South America—slavery, conquest, annihilation, even human sacrifice and cannibalism—and have been part of conflicts between nations and ethnic groups for all of mankind’s existence. There are no angelic peoples or “pure savages”;

2) Germs, steel and gunpowder effectively predetermined which groups—Europeans particularly—would prevail in the “New World.” The “small pox-laden blankets” trope is overblown; the germs carried by otherwise peaceful, non-aggressive settlers were destined to decimate native Indians. Unforgiving biology. Europeans were on the receiving end of germs inherent in Africa, decimating them and their cattle.

3) Bemoan the fall of the Aztecs all you want, but neighboring groups welcomed and helped the Spanish conquistadores—whose numbers couldn’t have single-handedly defeated the Aztecs—due to the inhuman oppression by Aztecs of those neighbors.

4) Be thankful that British-centric colonization prevailed, with its Christianity- and rights-based forms of governance. Other militarily superior nations would have done even worse to the Indians; Christian values and sensitivities tempered anti-Indian fervor, limited and abolished slavery.

A brief summary of the true lessons of the Pilgrim’s first “Thanksgiving”: Governor Bradford documented their collectivist, “communal” sharing of labor and its fruits. The “common store” principle—from each according to their ability, to each according to their need—was the first disastrous experiment in “socialism.” (see “America’s First Socialist Republic” powerlineblog.com)

Native Americans helped the settlers avoid starvation, sharing food production lessons from land and sea. However, when “all” were charged with working for “all” to benefit, human nature drove some—particularly young single men—to slack off. They resented that the fruits of their labor helped the families of men who weren’t producing what their offspring needed.

That communal economic failure, not the inability to produce, is what nearly killed them off, according to Bradford. Upon assigning a parcel to each family, together with the right to the fruits of one’s labor, as well as “he who will not work, will not eat” policies—abundance “miraculously” developed. Bartering with one’s excess enriched all. To this day, socialist, collectivist economies suffer the same disastrous fate.

“Not working” under well-intended COVID policies doesn’t result in starvation; it’s now become a lifestyle. Declining unemployment claims do not a thriving economy make; 4.4 million people quitting their jobs, while millions of job openings lack workers, institutionalizes “slacker-dom.” Why avoid deprivation by working, like generations before? The able-bodied collecting checks and benefits should work out well.

A Salvation Army guide, “Let’s Talk About…Racism,” perpetuates the “structural racism” canard: “the overarching system of racial biasing across institutions and society…These systems give privileges to White people resulting in disadvantages to People Of Color.” Does the local S.A. believe such crap?

This is “Critical Race Theory,” coming to a “Red Kettle” near you. Unless we White people engage in “ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection…we (un) consciously uphold aspects of White supremacy, White-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society.”

Fret not, their “Study Guide on Racism” frees us from “unintentionally perpetuating injustice.” Home ownership, health, education and incarceration all reek of inequality, systemic racism and disparate (racist) outcomes, for which the guide suggests that we Whites deliver a “sincere apology.” As the crass saying goes, I got your sincere apology right here, buddy. Methinks government funding pollutes your values.

In the upside-down, “through the looking glass” view, the Christian church must repent—yes, the same Christian church that weighed in against mistreatment of Indians, provided the Christian, moral underpinnings of the abolitionist, anti-slavery movement, and the laudable Civil Rights movements and legislation.

 In the left’s twisted, abominable race obsession: 1) a young, white Kyle Rittenhouse is a “white supremacist” for shooting three white guys trying to kill him; but 2) ignore the racist motivations of lifelong Black criminal Darrell Brooks, who killed 5, and injured dozens of, White people (read “Waukesha killer Darrell Brooks’ enablers,” thenewneo.com).

“Darrell Brooks shared pro-Hitler memes, called for violence against white people,” by Lee Brown, (nypost.com, 11/24), documents rapper Brooks’ bragging that he was a “terrorist,” a “killer in the city” and encouraged knocking “white ppl [the f—k] out.” He posted “in support of BLM causes, George Floyd and black nationalism. He also has a post about how to get away with running people over on the street.” (Andy Ngo, 11/21)

His massacre resulted from “race-equity,” low/no cash bail, soft-on-crime, “social justice” prosecutors that know law-abiding people will suffer. It’s just “eggs cracked to make omelets” to the left.

This holiday season the Salvation Army wants a donation — and a 'sincere apology' for white racism

This holiday season the Salvation Army wants a donation — and a 'sincere apology' for white racism

With a new discussion guide titled "Let's Talk About ... Racism," the venerable Christian relief organization has succumbed to the inflammatory tenets of critical race theory and 'antiracism.'"

By Sophie Mann

As Americans head out on Black Friday to make a dent in their holiday shopping lists, some are sure to come across Salvation Army volunteers ringing bells as part of the annual Red Kettle campaign. But this year, the global charitable organization wants more from its donors than a donation to the needy during the holidays. With the dissemination of a recent Salvation Army guide titled "Let's Talk About ... Racism," the Christian organization is attempting to elicit "sincere" apologies from white people for being racist.

The guide, which was compiled and approved earlier this year by the International Social Justice Commission of the Salvation Army, aligns the organization with the ideology of the Black Lives Matter, antiracism, and critical race theory movements.

Defining "structural racism" as "the overarching system of racial biasing across institutions and society," the guide declares: "These systems give privileges to White people resulting in disadvantages to People Of Color."

What was once an organization with a straightforward charitable goal, for which it has received millions in U.S. government funding, appears to have become a proponent of controversial ideas including those found in the books of Ibram Kendi (whose given name is Henry Rogers) and Robin DiAngelo, both of whom are listed in the guide under the Resources, Tools and Contributors section. Also featured in that section of the guide is the New York Times' 1619 podcast, which has become the basis of some high school and collegiate instruction on critical race theory.

Between 2014-2021, the Salvation Army received in the ballpark of $10 million from CSOSA, a federal agency that supervises adults on probation, parole, and supervised release in the District of Columbia. The federal agency's mission is to "support the fair administration of justice in close collaboration with the community."

Over the course of the pandemic, the organization received another $100,000 or so in emergency funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs for homeless shelter operations.

The guide outlines various types of discussions chapter leaders can have about racism and how to operate in an actively "anti-racist" fashion. "Being anti-racist results from a conscious decision to make frequent, consistent, equitable choices daily," according to the nearly 50-page document. "These choices require ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection as we move through life. In the absence of making anti-racist choices, we (un) consciously uphold aspects of White supremacy, White-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society. Being racist or anti-racist is not about who you are; it is about what you do."

The organization's accompanying "Study Guide on Racism" claims, "The subtle nature of racism is such that people who are not consciously racist easily function with the privileges, empowerment and benefits of the dominant ethnicity, thus unintentionally perpetuating injustice."

The guide goes on to enumerate the ways in which America remains an unjust society. Home ownership, health, education, and incarceration are some of the leading indicators of inequality due to systemic and institutional racism in American life, according to the guide.

Because of these ongoing struggles for communities of color and, specifically, blacks, the guide suggests the necessity of delivering a "sincere apology" (if you are white).

"We are all hardwired to desire justice and fairness, so the need to receive a sincere apology is necessary," reads the guide. "Perhaps you don't feel as if you personally have done anything wrong, but you can spend time repenting on behalf of the Church and asking for God to open hearts and minds to the issue of racism."

Critical race theory "has increasingly become the default ideology in our public institutions over the past decade," writes Christopher Rufo, director of the initiative on critical race theory at the Manhattan Institute. "It has been injected into government agencies, public school systems, teacher training programs, and corporate human-resources departments, in the form of diversity-training programs, human-resources modules, public-policy frameworks, and school curricula."

As of this holiday season, it has now been injected into a long-uncontroversial, 156-year-old Christian charity devoted to bringing relief to the poor and salvation to the hopeless.


Monday, November 29, 2021

Post-Truth World – Rittenhouse Case Edition

Post-Truth World – Rittenhouse Case Edition

John Kass: “The media got it wrong the way they’ve gotten other stories wrong, and for the same reasons, from media attacks on innocent Covington, Ky. teenager Nicholas Sandman, or media stubbornly pushing the false “Russia Collusion” narrative that is now completely falling apart.”


The post-truth world created by the mainstream media and Big Tech, in which political narratives are all that matter, has been something we’ve been writing about for several years. The Kyle Rittenhouse case is just another example, as I noted in a column prior to the verdict in the NY Post:

From the inception of the Blake shooting, to the riots and now to the Rittenhouse trial, media malpractice has framed a Kenosha narrative completely divorced from reality.

I came across a couple of good takes along these lines. The first was from John Kass, the brilliant columnist formerly at the Chicago Tribune, and now at his own website.

He writes of the media perfidity:

Now that the jury has cleared Rittenhouse, mealy mouths pipe up and ask us to move past it all. I don’t want us to move past it. And I make a simple request: Don’t forget what politicians, prosecutors and media have done.

If  you do want to forget what happened, to make things easier for yourself, at least be honest about the cost of forgetting. Forget, move past it, and you’re inviting the next mob to grab blind Lady Justice by the hair, strip off her blindfold, and bend her to their political will. And if their politics aren’t your politics, you will pay for it. That’s where America is now, lusting for tribal justice, not blind justice….

The media got it wrong the way they’ve gotten other stories wrong, and for the same reasons, from media attacks on innocent Covington, Ky. teenager Nicholas Sandman, or media stubbornly pushing the false “Russia Collusion” narrative that is now completely falling apart. Will the Washington Post and the New York Times return their Pulitzer Prizes that were based on the Russia Hoax lie? They should, immediately. But they won’t….

In the current mainstream media world, with American cities under siege, editors outlawed the use of the word “riot.” A riot could not be called a riot lest some be offended. Other Newspeak fig leaves are offered up instead, and the people see how reality is distorted, and the disconnect added to the rot and decay of corporate media. If there is anything positive out of this, it’s that thinking Americans are abandoning the product of woke newsrooms to seek out independent media sites instead….

The police officer who shot Blake was exonerated. Blake was Black, but Rittenhouse and the three men he shot were white. Race wasn’t an issue in Rittenhouse, though media tried to make it so.

Jesse Kelly put the media lies in the context of the loss of institutions — another favorite topic of ours — in a long Twitter thread about “The Sky Is Green Theory”:

As you look at the insane reaction to the Rittenhouse verdict, it’s important to understand why we’re here and what kind of people we’ve dealing with.

The Sky is Green Theory:

We’re at a place now in America like no other time in this nation’s history. A very dangerous place. You see, cultures are held up by pillars. Government, religion, sports, education, entertainment, etc..

Our pillars are all rotted with same sickness: Cultural Marxism

The wacko leftist on the street corner you used to mock as you drove by, he now brings you the news. He runs your FBI. He plays in the NBA. He pastors your church.

And because all the pillars believe the same thing, you no longer have a check and balance cultural system. If the government lies, the media should be there to expose it. A huge Hollywood star should expose it. The pillars check each other in a healthy society.

But we don’t have that. And because we don’t have that, they don’t feel the need to shade the truth or manipulate a story. They now can simply invent something out of thin air and they know no other pillar will check them on it.

Half this country believes Kyle Rittenhouse illegally crossed state lines with a weapon and murdered two people. Hell, half of those people think the ones “murdered” were black.

Which brings us to the Sky is Green theory. It sounds crazy, but The System could wake up tomorrow and convince half this country that the sky is green.

News program after news program would have “experts” on to discuss the newly green sky. Professors would teach about it. Our entertainers would all have a video up on Instagram about it in short order.

Our brain dead athletes would repeat it. Nike would be running commercials showing a green sky by the end of the week. Every Hollywood movie would have a green sky.

And the shaming would begin. Oh the shaming. Anyone talking about a blue sky would be treated like some deranged conspiracy theorist. Families would divide over it. Facebook would ban you for discussing “blue skies”.

You get the idea. Because there are no longer cultural checks outside of a few people with balls on the Right, we now live in a time when a huge percentage of your countrymen occupy a world of make believe.

I don’t know the solution for this. I genuinely don’t. But I do know we won’t last much longer this way. This nation does not exist in its current form 100 years from now unless this is fixed.


That’s all.





Yesterday Rasmussen published this stunning poll result: in a national survey, Donald Trump beats Joe Biden by a whopping 13 points in a rerun of the 2020 election:

While most voters aren’t looking forward to a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024, it’s clear that the Republican would be favored. Forty-five percent (45%) of voters would choose Trump if the election were held today, while only 32% would vote to reelect Biden. Seventeen percent (17%) say they’d vote for some other candidate.

There is a lot of buyer’s remorse among Biden voters:

Only 69% of those who say they voted for Biden last year would vote for him again if the election were held today. Eight percent (8%) of Biden’s 2020 voters would switch to Trump, who would get 83% support from those who voted for him last year. Seventeen percent (17%) of those who voted for Biden and 11% who voted for Trump last year would support some other candidate if the next election were held today.

It isn’t hard to see why a lot of Biden voters would change their minds. Afghanistan was a turning point, and Bidenflation is a huge political as well as economic problem. Beyond that, I think the most fundamental point is that in November 2020, as a result of Biden’s basement campaign and the press’s covering for him, lots of people didn’t realize that Biden is not a normally functioning human being. Now seeing him in action must be a shock to millions.

Of course, Republicans shouldn’t get cocky about this sort of result as we look ahead to 2024. The Democrats won’t be dumb enough to run Joe Biden again. They have other problems, like what to do with Kamala Harris. But dealing with Joe Biden will not be one of them.

Let’s hope the GOP doesn’t go along with Trump’s desire for a 2020 rerun, either. Voters want to look forward, not back. In three years, the Democrats’ 2020 shenanigans may still be Trump’s biggest concern, but it won’t be the voters’. 2024 is a long way off, but I think that if the Republicans run a backward-looking Trump and the Democrats run a forward-looking candidate, the forward-looking candidate likely will win. Especially if he is less than 75 years old.





A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll contains grim numbers for the Biden administration:

More than three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) say inflation is affecting their lives as the holiday season begins, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll — and a clear majority (57 percent) blame President Biden.

This comparison is striking:

The survey of 1,696 U.S. adults, which was conducted from Nov. 17 to 19, also found that more of them selected inflation as the “most important issue facing America” (17 percent) than any other issue, including COVID-19 (15 percent), which continues to kill more than 1,100 Americans each day, on average.

Poll respondents both blame Joe Biden for inflation, and believe he isn’t doing enough to combat it:

And just 18 percent say Biden is doing enough to address it.

As noted above, 57% of respondents said that Joe Biden deserves “a great deal” (39%) or “some” (18%) of the responsibility for the rising cost of living. When asked who or what deserves “the most” blame, 35% said Biden while 30% said the COVID epidemic.

As with all polls these days, partisan divisions are stark. Still, the cost of living issue is particularly dangerous for Democrats because concern is by no means limited to Republicans:

[I]nflation worries aren’t merely partisan. Nearly 7 in 10 Democrats (69 percent) say inflation affects their lives at least “some” — not all that many less than the number of independents (79 percent) and Republicans (90 percent) who say the same. A quarter of Democrats (25 percent) and more than a third of independents (38 percent) say inflation affects them a “great deal.” …

And while nearly all Republicans (90 percent) and two-thirds of independents (65 percent) assign Biden at least some blame for inflation, more than 1 in 4 Democrats (28 percent) do as well.

That roughly matches the number of Democrats who say the president is not doing enough about inflation (25 percent) or shortages (27 percent). Perhaps even worse, less than half of Democrats say Biden is doing enough (39 percent and 43 percent, respectively), while about a third (36 percent and 31 percent) say they’re not sure — hardly a vote of confidence from the president’s own party.

So far, there is no sign that the Biden administration intends to significantly change any of the policies that are now driving up the cost of living. They are not encouraging domestic production of oil and gas, and their massive spending plans and accompanying deficits will inevitably drive inflation. So, while supply chain problems presumably will be ironed out eventually, the cost of living promises to remain an important issue for some time to come.


Sunday, November 28, 2021




Paul A. Rahe holds the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College and is one of the country’s most distinguished scholars of history and politics. In view of his study of Republics Ancient and Modern, Professor Rahe is the academy’s foremost authority on the history of republics. Although his subsequent work on Soft Despotism was not far from his Thanksgiving reflections when he wrote this column for us in 2009, at the dawn of the Obama era, neither was his older work on republics. Posted here annually on Thanksgiving since 2009, it bears directly on the socialist temptation that confronts us yet:

On Thanksgiving, it is customary that Americans recall to mind the experience of the Pilgrim Fathers. We have much to learn from the history of the Plymouth Plantation. For, in their first year in the New World, the Pilgrims conducted an experiment in social engineering akin to what is now contemplated; and, after an abortive attempt at cultivating the land in common, their leaders reflected on the results in a manner that Americans today should find instructive.

William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony, reports that, at that time, he and his advisers considered “how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery.” And “after much debate of things,” he then adds, they chose to abandon communal property, deciding that “they should set corn every man for his own particular” and assign “to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end.”

The results, he tells us, were gratifying in the extreme, “for it made all hands very industrious” and “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.” Even “the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”

Moreover, he observes, “the experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years . . . amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times . . . that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing.” In practice, America’s first socialist experiment “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.”

In practice, “the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it.”

Naturally enough, quarrels ensued. “If it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men,” Bradford notes, “yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And [it] would have been worse if they had been men of another condition” less given to the fear of God. “Let none object,” he concludes, that “this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

The moral is perfectly clear. Self-interest cannot be expunged. Where there is private property and its possession and acquisition are protected and treated with respect, self-interest and jealousy can be deployed against laziness and the desire for that which is not one’s own, and there tends to be plenty as a consequence.

But where one takes from those who join talent with industry to provide for those lacking either or both, where the fruits of one man’s labor are appropriated to benefit another who is less productive, self-interest reinforces laziness, jealousy engenders covetousness, and these combine in a bitter stew to produce both conflict and dearth.