Trump’s Trade War: Long-Term Thinking in a Short-Term Age

Trade is one of the key differentiators Trump was able to capitalize on to stand out in the 2016 election. Now at the helm of America’s trade regime, he has enacted tariffs he spoke about on the campaign trail, probably the most significant of which being those on foreign steel and aluminum, which aside from their domestic economic benefit in the form of employment, hold national security value as well.

 

Of course, Washington Swamp creatures, Never-Trumpers, and many liberals who knew zero about international trade until last year, have relentlessly accosted the president over his trade decisions, including doom-and-gloom prognostications of price hikes due a trade war with China. To these, Trump blithely responds that we already lost the trade war with China years ago and he’s merely trying to dig us out of the rubble.

 

In a perfect world, there would be no tariffs. Trump actually reached an agreement with the EU recently stating that our mutual goal is zero tariffs. I doubt that will happen, but it shows that Trump understands that it’s better for no one to have tariffs than for tariffs to exist for only one side. The problem is, most nations do have tariffs, and some have higher tariffs than others. We also do more business with some nations than others. If no other nations had tariffs, we wouldn’t need any either; in fact, we would look like the Global Bad Guy if we did.

 

But other countries with whom we do business charge us higher tariffs than we charge them. This is obviously an imbalanced situation. Trump is trying to bring balance to a problem that no previous administration was willing to tackle but instead kicked down the road until it landed in his lap. Rather than deal with the problem when it was a smaller problem, previous administrations and Congresses accepted a lying-down, defeated position before large, tariff-happy economies like China, Japan, and Europe. We didn’t hit back with enough tariffs of our own, and prices settled. The subject of tariffs faded from public memory, and voila, we had the “new economic normal.”

 

Our “normal” is, in fact, a position of weakness. If the health of our economy is built on economic capitulation to China and other countries, we don’t have much of an economy. We’re more like a tribute-paying state, willingly giving away money to maintain the status quo. That’s like an economy being held for ransom. And a lot of American liberals seem to have Stockholm Syndrome.

 

The key is that in order to get back to a place of even footing with other countries like China, course correction is required, and course correction always causes some level of pain.

 

This is the idea that overnight-trade-expert liberals and Washington Swamp Creatures can’t seem to grasp. It’s similar to what gets said about Social Security and Medicare’s ballooning price tags every election cycle. No one wants to bite the bullet now, so we kick the can down the road…to our kids’ generation. Well, when it comes to trade, Trump has decided it’s time to actually bite a bullet for a change instead of kicking the can down the road even longer. He’s read about and seen devastation of our economy for decades, and he’s had enough. Now for the average American, it’s true that biting the bullet might mean a little pain in the form of higher prices. Personally, I don’t think it will be anything nearly as bad as the doomsayers (who generally hate Trump and want to make him look bad) predict. China exports to us far, far more than they import from us, which means they need us more than we need them, which means we hold most of the cards. In a dollar-for-dollar trade war, Xi Jinping’s government knows it cannot win. But give it a couple more decades and it could, and that’s something Trump is trying to head off.

 

It kills me though that rich Swamp elites can endlessly bemoan the specter of a slight increase in prices at the grocery store, the mall, or the Apple store. Big deal! We are helping ourselves in the long run by actually dealing with this problem, no longer choosing to let it nickle-and-dime the country for the rest of our lives. Of course, the average Swamp Creature doesn’t care about Trump’s working-class base, who stand to gain the most from a rectified trade situation. They don’t care if those who aren’t as well off benefit in the long run with jobs. The Swamp Creatures are more concerned about any potential tiny pinprick to their own personal budgets. I feel this is an issue that we need a slight dose of collectivism on—commitment to our fellow countrymen. Their fates being inextricably tied to an ever-enlarging central government, Swamp Creatures can never be relied on to put the needs of the population before their own—that’s how they reached the high perch of Swamp Creature in the first place.

 

The trade issue is a lesson for a much larger problem, already mentioned—social entitlement programs. I’m not saying we should bite all the bullets at once, but once we’ve bitten and swallowed the trade bullet, learning that it didn’t kill us as everyone said it would, perhaps then it’s time to bite one of the entitlement bullets. The unwillingness of Swamp elites to let Trump make us bite the trade bullet and get it over with, thereby ensuring it will be an even bigger bullet years from now for our kids, is exactly the kind of thinking that everyone before us exercised and which produced the trade bullet in the first place. There wouldn’t have been a trade bullet to bite if past administrations and Congresses had retaliated with tariffs and not loved good economic numbers to get re-elected on more than the long-term economic health of the country.

 

But that’s what politicians are best at—selling short-term happiness in order to get re-elected while obfuscating long-term pain.

 

If we don’t do something about entitlements, the next generation will curse us for not having the courage to bite the bullet and fix the problem before it got to them. It’s actually cowardly and hypocritical to punt these problems to our children, the same children we raise to believe that we will always have their best interest at heart.

How to Rule the World: A Guide for the “Elite”

Davos. Bildebergers. Council on Foreign Relations. Deep State. Trilateral Commission. All these are combinations on the same Punnet square—the “elite” rumored to secretly run the world. Most people have heard of at least one of these groups, and some people take it to another level with wild conspiracy theories. “The Elite” was a major theme of the 2016 election and continues to be a flashpoint in populist, nationalist, and conservative political campaigns everywhere. But whichever label you choose the use to describe the idea of secret overlords running everything with the average person having little or no say, they all seem to share the same mindset. I wanted to explore this mindset and make some educated guesses as to what motivates such people and why they are so successful in their designs. The best way to do this is to look inside your own human nature, something the elites have in common with the average person, and imagine how you would behave if you had practically unlimited wealth, vast global knowledge and connections, invulnerability to most laws, and, above all, the one thing that motivates the elite more than anything—the fear of losing what you have. What would you do if you were in such a position, with practically unlimited resources yet with everything to lose? The following is my best guess at how I would behave if I was the archetypal soulless, remorseless, arrogant elitist who believes that what I want is always correct and justified.

 

The elites run on money. Without it, they lose their friends and their position. So the first component to being in the elite is being very wealthy. Wealth brings friends (if even for the wrong reasons). Friends mean influence, a network, and eventually status. If your friends are also wealthy, you can benefit symbiotically from their influence and network as well. The more you benefit, the wealthier you become, gaining you more friends, status, and so on. There is a ceiling though—the “old money” elites who are much more established than you and for much longer. Rise high enough in the ranks, and you have to start being careful or they’ll swat you.

 

But imagine you break through the ceiling somehow and you’re in the elite of the elite. You can travel anywhere in the world you want. You have a personal bodyguard detail as well as friends in the police wherever you go. When you travel, you do so on private jets, private ships, private everything, putting you out of the reach of the average prole with his problems and tendency to behave unpredictably. Your mission is to eliminate all risks in your life except the ones you want present, such as risky investments.

 

You’re out of the reach of most laws and governments with your connections and access to the best lawyers. On top of that, through business contract patronage and philanthropy, you can control government officials and influential NGOs. Even if you got arrested for an obvious public offense, chances are you can buy your way out of the justice system in most countries, or your friends can talk to the higher-ups.

 

You influence politicians to pass laws favorable to your interests, which generally means laws that help you acquire or protect assets. This could be in the form of complex financial laws or laws that make life difficult for competitor businesses. For example, if your company can’t afford a private jet, you can advocate for legislation that restricts all businesses’ ability to use private jets, in order to level the playing field. Maybe the messaging used in the passage of such a law centers on environmental concerns.

 

As the elite, you are a globalist. This means you believe in the slow dissolution of borders, nation-states, the eradication of nationalism, and a worldwide central government that you, conveniently, will either be a part of or be in favor with. All these pesky nation-states of people fighting for their own interests injects way too much risk into your plans. So you generously fund whichever political armies promise to eliminate patriotic instincts. One way to do this is to fund and advocate expanded powers for international alliances like the United Nations, European Union, NATO, and so on. The stronger these international bodies are, the more they can bring the behavior of nation-states into line with what you as “the elite” know is the path to peace (and a larger balance sheet). Liberal international institutionalism is your favorite ice cream flavor.

 

The problem is, those annoying nation-states resist threats to their sovereignty. Fortunately, there are many tools available in the political arsenal to weaken the national resolve of a population. Enough immigration will create chaos and social dissolution. When the dust settles, you’ll have a population that can be easily ruled. Or, you can go after the most basic unit of society—the family—by promoting cohabitation, devaluing marriage, making divorce easy, promoting abnormal and dysfunctional sexual behaviors, and instituting relentless political correctness against those who cling to the classical definition of family. People without stable families have a harder time becoming educated, self-sufficient adults who can organize and resist you, or who can at least compete for wealth. You need to muck up society with mass social confusion to prevent such personalities from forming in the first place.

 

Or you can go even further and simply try to decrease the size of the population to something more manageable. You don’t want war, because that would lead to the destruction of assets that you own or could acquire. Instead, stop the population from growing and then wait out the demographic downturn, especially since automation means fewer people will be needed to power the economy. Reduce population growth by promoting abortion and by promoting feminism, which drives a wedge between the sexes, thereby preventing procreation in long-term unions capable of raising functional adults. Of course, contraception is also a prominent weapon and must be ubiquitous in order to prevent births in the first place. Promote promiscuity and pornography so that humanity’s sexual urges are misfired in directions unproductive for the growth of a healthy, intelligent, well-adjusted population who would, again, be capable of resisting you. Of course, any religious institutions that defy these tactics need to be brought down to size. Use the media to give them a negative image (more on media influence later), especially among impressionable youth.

 

Note that these strategies should only be employed against countries that are causing you problems. The countries that produce the immigration waves needed to overwhelm the countries you are trying to dissolve or depress—don’t use these social tactics against them. You need them to keep cranking out large populations so that there are enough people to immigrate to the target countries. If, at some point, those nations also become a threat to your plans, you can simply pivot your laser beam of social chaos to them instead (or as well, depending on your funds). These tactics are guaranteed to succeed if allowed time to work.

 

Another thing you need to do, obviously, is disarm any population that could organize a resistance movement against global control, or against whichever country or group you are trying to use to supress the target population. Make it so that governments have a monopoly on weaponry (except for your own security detail and mercenaries around the world whom you can hire).

 

America in particular is the most difficult pocket of resistance to your globalist, elite ambitions. Americans stubbornly cling to their Bill of Rights, annoyingly protecting them from:

  • Attacks on the religious institutions you are trying to defeat in order to muck up the social gears of society (1st Amendment)
  • Attacks on their right to free speech, which allows the resistance to get their message out, draw media attention, and organize (1st Amendment)
  • Attacks on their ability to assemble freely, with which they can mount effective, public defenses before a watching world (1st Amendment)
  • Attacks on their right to defend themselves with arms (2nd Amendment)
  • Attacks on their freedom from exactly the kind of surveillance you need in order to preempt their activities (4th Amendment)
  • Attacks that corrupt their justice system, allowing it to be used by the “highest bidder” (5th Amendment)
  • Attacks on individual states’ ability to defy the central government (10th Amendment)

And many others. America’s Constitution is unique and is the political code that obstructs your goals more than anything else in government. You will never be able to rule the world unless you can get rid of America’s Constitution.

 

You also need loose governmental control of the global economy. Without it, the markets are too prone to fluctuation and your investments are at greater risk. Globalization is your best friend—create so much interdependence that no single component’s failure can sink the whole. Global wealth inequality too produces instability and volatility, so you need to move wealth creation from countries with a lot to countries with little, to even things out. Spread American and Western wealth across the whole world. If that can’t be done, then you’ll just have to reduce the amount of wealth in the West. Social collapse is a great way to do that, but there will be collateral damage you’d rather avoid if possible.

 

You want to be a part of the governmental intelligentsia that help shape policy, or you at least need friends in that web. This is where think tanks and big-name NGOs come in handy. They have pull far above that of the average citizen, and are key to crafting policy that furthers your interests—subtly, without the public catching on.

 

These organizations also help shape military policy. America has the largest and most powerful military, which you can use to guarantee world peace. However, since America has a democratic form of government, you need to find a way to separate the use of the military from the desires of the voters. Make sure you sell new conflicts or potential new conflicts right so that the public won’t demand that their representatives pull the military back. And the worst possible use of the American military is homeland defense only. That huge military does you no good if it only defends the American homeland. That would allow rogue regimes to create chaos, and chaos usually hurts your bottom line. You need to spread the American military all over the globe to ensure peace everywhere possible. Wars can profit, but peace and a smoothly functioning economy profits more. That being said, anywhere that the American military doesn’t want to reach, use a different military, but make sure you keep it quiet and keep the atrocities out of the news. Although, if such news will cause the Americans to intervene, that works too. You may need to have your favored political candidates in various countries win elections partly through hawkish stances toward the Americans or other countries. As long as it wins, great, but just make sure they don’t actually put actions behind those words.

 

The media is your other best friend. Television, cinema, the music industry, video games, the news, and of course, social media…no matter the geography, you have multiple easy ways to condition the public with the messages you want them to imbibe. From Hollywood to Bollywood to Nashville to New York City to Silicon Valley, your friends in high places can make social conditioning happen. You also use these tools to distract people from what’s going on in society. Unless it’s something you don’t like, in which case you can blow it up in the media and social media for everyone to get outraged about.

 

Academia must also fall under your control. This is easy because academics are easily manipulated by the offer of pontificating their views to young minds while being highly paid and tenured. Fortunately, most academics live in lala-land and actually believe in all the stuff you’re promoting in order to manipulate society. Who cares…just put the academics to good use. They also go a long way in supporting and feeding talent into the many think tanks you use to shape policy. Further, they influence the ground army of socialist and anarchist street thugs whose activities and violence intimidate conservatives. Make sure law enforcement in the big Western cities—the hives of anarchist and socialist angst—are pulled back, giving these thugs freedom to create chaos until they are an accepted part of society and can easily suppress conservative expression on their “turf.”

 

Follow all these steps and you will achieve control. At that point, you only have to worry about the people on your own level or anyone left above you. There, on a plane above that of mere mortals, you will duke out your struggle for power and wealth, while the mortals below go about their lives, oblivious to all the ways you’ve have made the world a worse place by your scorched-earth march to wealth and control.

 

Oh, there’s just one problem: God sees. In fact, read Revelation 18 and you’ll see how someday, he will hurl down the elites who are happy to ruin the human race—which he made in His image—for their own selfish benefit.

What Other Nations Know: Economy Without Culture Will Fail

Regrettably, this past week saw the suicide of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. His show Parts Unknown was (still is) my favorite TV show. In it, he traveled the world in search of authentic cuisine, culture, subculture, history, politics, and interesting people. I’ve seen probably 30% of the 11 seasons of the show, but this was still enough to make it my favorite.

 

My favorite one episode is when he goes to Shanghai, China. It has a more somber, serious tone than most episodes, and it addresses big questions. The opening montage of images and music establishes the themes: Unimagined wealth and opportunity, the future, and the fear of missing out. These are the conversations that play out during the episode as Bourdain visits with Shanghainese residents.

 

I come away from the Shanghai episode with a few strongly felt beliefs, most of which had already been simmering in my mind but were affirmed and magnified, even emotionally, by this particular episode. The newest of these beliefs is the seemingly unstoppable nature of Chinese economic conquest. Supporting this is what appears to be, although I haven’t been to China, a culture far more homogenous than what we have in America. Atop Chinese culture sits the authoritarian Chinese government, which will stop at nothing to win the economic competitions of the world and which has great latitude in dictating how Chinese culture is or is not preserved.

 

The thing that makes rapid Chinese economic growth different than our own is that they have retained their culture through the process, or in spite of it. In America, we have not done this, as evidenced by the fact that there is no longer a universal definition of what it means to be American. The only things we all have in common are the land itself, our form of government, and the rights guaranteed in our Constitution. However, if you ask a Chinese person what it means to be Chinese, you will get a longer answer. Our problem is that land, style of government, and rights alone a culture do not make. The Chinese have fewer political rights than us, but no one would say they have a weaker culture than we do. And therein lies the key to their future economic victories: They are supported by a strong culture. Sure, China has modernized a lot and the culture has changed. But it’s still recognizably Chinese to any external observer. What would an external observer consider recognizably American? Guns? Barbecue? Fast Food? Militarism? “Freedom?” These things are not enough to sustain the world’s largest economy (us) forever. “Freedom” increasingly means different things to different people, after all.

 

The Shanghai episode also highlights a mortal threat to our continued success as a country: The utter inferiority of our big cities (i.e. 600K+ people) compared to those of East Asia. On what basis can New York, L.A., Chicago, and even D.C. compete with the likes of Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong? They can’t, because our biggest cities have degenerated into powder kegs of racial anger, a “tossed salad” of subcultures with no unifying American culture, and the ever-present, unceasing rat race. Nothing in that mixture suffices as one definition of what it means to be American. It’s as if American culture means not having a culture. By definition, a culture unifies an entire people, but Americans are not unified by anything except the few things I’ve already listed.

 

The rat race is the single biggest contributor to the lack of American culture because it diverts us from addressing the other issues in a meaningful way. Does anyone really immigrate to America because they love American culture? People come here because it’s easy to make money here. In America, we have allowed the pursuit of wealth to blind us to the cultural degradation going on all around us. If you want to make money in America, you probably have to move to one of our big cities and sacrifice your health, sanity, and probably morals, for 20-30 years in the rat race before whatever is left of you can retire. Our small towns and rural areas have dealt with the resulting “brain drain” for a long time. As a nation, we should have been asking questions by now about whether this is optimal for our long-term national health, but our cities and states are too locked in economic competition to have the conversation. Plus, the whole machine has the media as its champion, continually lauding glistening city life as the path to happiness and prosperity.

 

Of course, China has brain drain too. In fact, many people in China move not just from the rural areas to the cities and suburbs, but even to other countries, like America, sometimes because of government oppression or the fear of it. But the people going from China’s small towns to her cities remain recognizably Chinese in culture. If I had to pinpoint the source of true “American” culture, the closest I could get would be in America’s small towns, i.e. “small town values.” If that is accurate, then the people who flee our small towns for economic opportunity in the cities often lose the things in their lives that made them culturally “American.” Our cities are insular, overcrowded islands of angst, narcissism, degeneracy, suspicion, and insolence. These same cities sucking the most talented young people out of our small towns and corrupting them is a sad sight indeed.

 

It’s hard to ignore Chinese success. The richness of other Americans doesn’t bother me, because I know that for the most part, they have paid a high price for it—basically, their sanity. But through at least the glimpse of Shanghai’s rich that I saw in Bourdain’s show, they seem to be both rich and sane. Of course, it’s a show, and we’re only seeing what the producers want us to see. But who would I rather sit down to dinner with? Five rich people from Shanghai, or five rich people from DC or New York? Shanghai, because I already know they are more cultured, seemingly more sane, and probably better conversationalists as a result of both. The only thing left that American culture teaches all Americans to care about—not just in the small towns but all Americans—is chasing the dollar. Ask yourself, who benefits from that arrangement? Not the average American, for the reasons I’ve stated.

 

In Europe, culture is way, way more important than in the US. At the same time, the US is an economic behemoth when put against even Germany, the EU’s strongest economy. There is no contest. There never will be, but it’s because Europeans don’t “live to work”—they make time for the things that make them culturally German, or French, or Spanish, or Polish, etc. China’s ability to stay culturally Chinese despite its meteoric economic rise is why, in my view, they are probably going to win the economic contest with the US eventually. America has exhausted its population chasing economic growth, and we basically have no national culture left. China has exhausted many things chasing success, such as its environment, but it still has plenty of culture, and the more of an upper hand they gain on us and everyone else, the more they can slow down and thereby preserve their culture even more effectively. So currently, I don’t see any way they can lose.

 

Add to this the specter of low birth rates haunting all advanced economies. America’s birth rate would I’m sure be below replacement level if it weren’t for immigration. Now in Asia, you do have massive birth rate problems, especially in places like Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. The young of these countries can’t be bothered to slow down, get married, and start families in their mad pursuit of success. It’s worth saying that there is no point in preserving your culture if you have no one to pass it on to. So this is not an exoneration of East Asia’s rat race and birth rate woes and a condemnation of only ours. It’s a problem that affects both sides of the Pacific and that neither side is anywhere close to figuring out. And actually, the main culprit is right under the noses of all governments involved, but it is politically impossible to resolve, so I don’t see it changing under present conditions.

 

But take birth rates between East Asia and the US and use it as a study in contrasts. In China, they finally relaxed the One Child Policy into a Two Child Policy. Meanwhile, we have people marching in DC in insolent pink hats shaped like reproductive organs, demanding the right to kill babies in the womb. From an anthropological perspective, any people obsessed with destroying its own progeny is delusional and not living in reality. We also have people busily inventing “new genders.” You don’t have this lunacy in China, because people aren’t so numbed by nihilistic living and socially liberal indoctrination that they have nothing better to do with their lives. Then we have our media, such as our movies, TV, and music scene. These constantly pump degenerate idiocy into the lives of the young people who, as is necessary for societal continuance, should be getting married and starting families instead of trying to live out and identify with thug-life and street fantasies, or even yuppie fantasies. East Asian countries have been importing and trying to mimic our music and movies for a long time, but we’re doing them no favors by “exporting” these to them, no matter how badly they want them. No politician talks about the epidemic of single motherhood or single fatherhood or divorce in America or the indecency of our media culture. These things all represent large-scale challenges to the survival and perpetuation of our society, as they would in any society, but so few people do anything about it. That’s a lack of will and lack of agreement with one’s society that the Chinese, our greatest economic competitor, do not seem to be cursed with, and that’s why they’ll win if nothing changes.

 

I’m all for Trump’s desire to bring our economy back (which he has done much for and doesn’t get enough credit for), and to deal with our trade imbalances, but even he doesn’t address these underlying issues. It doesn’t matter how good our economy is if our society has no culture and no next generation to pass on our culture OR economy to. No politician I know of is brave enough to go on record with a statement like that. The Chinese don’t have to say it, apparently, because they aren’t making the same mistakes in this area. If China is able to get its birth rate above replacement level while ours continues to decline, we are toast.

 

Steve Bannon, firebrand conservative operative, has said a lot of things, and I don’t pretend to understand his ideology in much depth, nor do I agree with everything I know him to have said. That necessary disclaimer being out of the way (since we live in an age of guilt by association), there is one powerful statement he has said multiple times: “We’re not just an economy. We’re a civic society.” That statement is one that I have never heard a politician say any approximation of. In elections it always just comes down to the economy: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Economy is important, as any poor nation will tell you, but it’s not everything. Culture is a big missing ingredient in our society’s trajectory, meaning our economy is growing in opposition to what’s left of our culture. We are essentially in afterburner, expending costly culture to gain wealth. Somehow East Asian countries have figured out how blunt the “de-culturation” effect of rapid economic growth to a manageable level. We have not figured this out and show no signs of doing so.

 

Fortunately for me, I live in New Mexico, an undisputed beacon of culture. (I plan to write more on New Mexican culture in the future.) New Mexico is also a “poor state,” and tends to score in the bottom 10 states by multiple economic indicators. But New Mexico has figured out culture, and a lot of the culture here ranges in age from 100 to 400 years. I would like to see New Mexico be a more prosperous state, but not at the expense of its culture. Economies can come back, but once lost, culture is harder to retrieve, relearn, and revive. Contrast this with Maryland, the richest state, and the place I recently moved back to New Mexico from. Maryland has pretty much no prevailing culture, despite subcultures in places like Annapolis and “tossed salad” multiculturalism in the counties close to DC.  So as New Mexico struggles to climb the economic ladder, I think to myself: Do it carefully, or your future will look like Maryland, where the only prevailing “culture” is the rat race because there is nothing else that all Marylanders have in common.

 

A society can survive a bad economy, but no society can survive a lack of culture. Without anything binding them together, people will fragment based on their subcultures, just like a wrote about in my essay on Singapore and multiculturalism. I fear this is the path America is on unless we can re-grow a culture and stop sacrificing everything for the economy. After all, the economy exists to serve us, not the other way around.

Living Above the “-isms”

In previous posts I’ve written about the futility of political outrage as well as about the evils of political correctness and how to be free of it. In this essay, I want to approach these topics from a different angle and expound on why both political outrage and the political correctness liberals thrust upon us are not worth anyone’s time, including yours.

 

Instead of focusing our attention on the true problems in our lives, we tend to distract ourselves with political arguments that provide no net value. I don’t mean discussing political ideas as a hobby, I mean emotional arguments over politics. Our society’s biggest problems are not even on the election ballot, either in the form of a candidate or referendum, so in arguing about politics we are majoring in our minors.

 

Take two examples: Americans are drowning in debt and unhealthy foods. When was the last time you saw either of those issues on the ballot or heard a candidate address them in a speech? I know in New York they passed a law limiting the size of soda cups a few years ago. Examples like that seem few and far between, though, and they’re generally local issues only. At the national level, our politicians don’t talk about Americans’ personal debt or the obesity epidemic in our country (even though healthcare costs would probably be lower if we were a healthier country).

 

Debt, health, and even broken relationships are three of the things most likely to keep the average American up at night. But instead of focusing our energy on these problems, we waste it arguing with each other on social media about things that have little to no effect on our everyday lives, sometimes creating more broken relationships in the process. The only reason I can think of that we do this is because it’s far easier to argue on social media than it is to try to fix our problems. It’s as if getting mad about politics is an outlet for our emotions, even while it prevents us from addressing the issues putting us in that emotional state to begin with.

 

An integral piece of these political fights is the set of political, ideological, and philosophical labels we attach to ourselves and to others. I call these “-isms”—basically any word that ends in -ist or -ism. While an -ism has utility as a way to summarize a set of ideas, we spend a lot of time labeling ourselves with -isms, defending them, or labeling others with -isms and then attacking them. To me, a lot of -isms just boil down to theories about abstract “boogeyman” forces somewhere out there in the ether trying to “get” us. When you take a step back and look at it from a high level view, it looks ridiculous, and the average person simply doesn’t live their life with this kind of unhealthy preoccupation.

 

For example, I consider myself a capitalist. I believe that capitalism is the most effective economic system available. The only reason I would need to use that word, though, would be to summarize my views in opposition to other views. In reality, most Americans live like capitalists but see no need to publicly identify themselves as such. Now suppose someone tells you they’re a socialist. Socialism has its textbook definition of government ownership of the means of production of goods. But what does them being a socialist actually look like? They vote for far left candidates, argue on social media that socialism is better, go to protests, and engage in other political activities. But what about their enormous student loan balance, the broken relationship(s) in their life, and their health problems? What does their being a socialist, or my being a capitalist, do about those things? Even socialism doesn’t purport to improve medical care, it just purports to make it free or less expensive. And medical care is only one aspect of your health. In reality, all their exertion about being a socialist has done nothing to improve their life (other than maybe meeting like-minded friends). So my point is that it’s basically a huge waste of time to go around touting our chosen -isms or putting labels on others. Why are we doing this when there are much more important things we could be doing with our time, and even other, more effective forms of R&R in case we’re just doing it because we’re bored?

 

This leads us an inherent flaw of liberalism: It needs perpetual outrage in order to survive. Anger is its lifeblood. That alone shows that liberalism is fundamentally unnatural, because human beings are not designed to live in a state of perpetual outrage. Liberals have devised an entire zodiac of oppressive forces, but if you listen to them explain it, it just sounds like abstract theories about something “out there.” Rarely can they cite a personal experience of oppression at the hands of malevolent forces. In reality, their everyday lives are not much different than anyone else’s except for all the time they spend arguing about their political beliefs. Imagine what they could accomplish if they stopped caring and spent that time and energy solving the problems that keep them up at night, like finances, health, and relationships. And to be fair, there are plenty of conservatives and Trumpists making the exact same mistake by making everything about politics.

 

Most things in politics can’t hurt us unless we believe they can. That’s practically the definition of an illusion. But in the ivory tower of liberalism’s thought leaders, oppression must be invented and exaggerated in order to generate sufficient emotion among the rank-and-file to keep the movement going…and to continue providing liberal academics with posh positions… and reinforce the self-licking ice-cream cone of liberal media elitism… and funnel money to Democratic politicians. So the ivory tower liberal elites invent or exaggerate oppression, funnel it down to the grassroots level, and eventually it ends up in your News Feed, where the greatest achievement of humanity—Facebook arguments—can then begin making the world a better place…not.

 

Like I wrote about in my essay on freeing yourself from political correctness, you must learn to care about politics less. For anyone like me who enjoys the intellectual stimulation of politics, you must learn to keep it as a hobby instead of as an overlord. The key is how emotionally invested you are or aren’t. I wrote my recent essay on Singapore and multiculturalism because I enjoyed doing so, not because I was angry. That’s a big difference between politics as a hobby vs. an emotional flashpoint in your life. When I was going to GW, in one of my classes we were making observations about how angry people were getting about the 2016 election. One of my (liberal) classmates complained that this anger was unnecessary and unhelpful. “I get on social media to get mad,” he observed, in a moment of honesty that made us all laugh because we could all relate.

 

I could get really upset about liberal shenanigans if I really wanted to. I’ve been quite angry about it before. And I really do believe that if Hillary Clinton had won, we’d be well on our way to devolving into a corrupt, quasi-socialist, third-world banana republic. But my political anger has never accomplished anything except elevating my stress level and worsening my mood. It makes no sense to do this to ourselves when we a) already know how we’re going to vote next time, b) have volunteered if we wanted to, and c) have donated money if we wanted to. Voting, volunteering, and giving money are the main ways to affect a political campaign. If we choose not to do those things, great, but it makes no sense to complain if there’s more you could be doing but you aren’t doing it. If you don’t care enough to do those things, why are you complaining? I thought you didn’t care? And if you have done those things, there’s no use getting stressed out then either because you’ve already done all you can do. So you see that it never really makes sense to get stressed out about politics, and the same logic applies to our “-isms” or the “-isms” we affix to others or that they affix to themselves. Our society has a lot of problems and we sort of look ridiculous spending so much time arguing with each other about politics when it’s not the main culprit of our unhappiness. Politics has become a way we distract ourselves—just another form of quick & easy entertainment, and one that reaches across all our devices.

 

In conclusion, you can live above the “-isms ” by not stressing out about politics and, just as importantly, by not letting others project their “-isms” onto you. Consider “-isms” to be figments of the imagination until proven otherwise. (Although, don’t say that to their adherents.) Just don’t let it affect you and live freely with a free mind. Don’t be a cog in the outrage machine.

The Singapore Example and the Limits of Multiculturalism in America

“In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion. Supposing I’d run their [the British] system here, Malays would vote for Muslims, Indians would vote for Indians, Chinese would vote for Chinese. I would have a constant clash in my Parliament which cannot be resolved because the Chinese majority would always overrule them.” – Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore 1959-1990

 

The tiny island nation of Singapore, located between Malaysia and Indonesia, consistently ranks among the top 10 countries in development and economic strength, even beating out the US in some measurements. In less than 50 years, Singapore transformed from a third-world British colony and World War II conquest of Imperial Japan to a glistening, highly-developed economic giant. Singapore is one of the “Four Asian Tigers,” powerhouse Asian economies also including Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. Singapore’s astonishing success has been the subject of many a book and white paper.

 

Lee Kuan Yew was independent Singapore’s first prime minister. He governed for three decades, and occupied various governmental and political positions afterward until his death in 2015. He governed in perpetual fear of the collapse of the society he had built, and believed to his death that his People’s Action Party (PAP), which still governs Singapore as a virtually one-party state, needed to rigidly maintain power and often suspend democratic norms in order to keep the society together. Lee was often condemned for autocratic rule and even human rights and press abuses.

 

What was it that Lee feared so much, causing him to govern this way? Identity politics.

 

In 1963, Singapore, still loosely under British control, merged with Malaysia due to strong ties between the two nations and the hope of economic benefits. However, the first year of the new union was marred by conflicts between Malaysia’s (the name of combined Malaysia and Singapore) dominant political party, United Malays National Organization (UMNO), and Singapore’s PAP party, as well as deadly race rioting between Singapore’s Malay and Chinese populations. The central position of Malaysia’s prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and his party was the need to fight for the rights of ethnic Malays, including those in Singapore. In fact, from the outset of the union there was considerable concern that the inclusion of the Singaporean Chinese population would alter the ethnic proportions of the voting base upon which UMNO depended to maintain dominance. Lee Kuan Yew’s consistent theme, on the other hand, was that the new Malaysia needed enforced racial equality in order to survive. Lee held a meeting with prominent Singaporean Malay organizations and leaders to assure them they would not be discriminated against, but throughout 1964 Malaysia’s PM and UMNO politicos made multiple incendiary moves and statements that increased suspicion among Singaporean Malays toward the Singaporean Chinese population. Two sets of deadly race riots broke out in Singapore that year, and negotiations between UMNO and PAP on various issues were making little progress.

 

In 1965, less than two years after unification, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman decided that Singapore needed to separate from Malaysia to avoid further conflicts. Negotiations to achieve this went on in secrecy between the two sides, with Lee Kuan Yew and other Singaporean officials negotiating with the Malaysian government after it was made clear there was no way Singapore would be allowed to remain in Malaysia. The move to separate Singapore from Malaysia required an amendment to the Malaysian Constitution in the Malaysian Parliament, and PM Abdul Rahman introduced a resolution on August 9, 1965, which was passed by a vote of 126-0. That day, Singapore became independent and Lee Kuan Yew gave an emotional speech explaining the break-up to the people of Singapore.

 

This is the only incident in modern history that I know of in which one country has been voted out of another against its wishes. While there were economic and political issues at play, it is inescapably clear the racial conflict was a linchpin in the desire of Malaysian leaders to expel Singapore. It was negotiated and communicated in ways that made it look like something other than an expulsion, but for all intents and purposes that’s exactly what it was since Singapore didn’t want to separate. The entire episode profoundly affected Lee Kuan Yew’s political philosophy and only further strengthened his belief that Singapore could not last as a multiracial society if identity politics were allowed. Being Chinese himself, he walked the talk by making English the official language of Singapore (to this day), not Chinese which was the language of the Chinese majority (although English was actually his first language). This move earned him many critics, but he believed that giving a clear demographic advantage to one group would eventually tear the country apart.

 

There were additional race riots in 1969, but over the next several decades Singapore grew into a peaceful and stable economic titan. The People’s Action Party maintained a veritable stranglehold on national politics, as it does to this day. However, Lee Kuan Yew’s quasi-autocratic methods and the PAP’s dominance are not the reason I write this essay.

 

Multiculturalism has probably never been a more hot-button issue in America than it is right now, and I don’t see it getting better any time soon. Lee Kuan Yew’s quote about people voting based on race and religion in a multiracial society has nary proven truer than in America today. Even the most novice student of politics understands which groups vote for which political parties, sometimes in staggeringly high proportions. Blacks and Hispanics vote heavily for the Democratic Party. Most whites vote Republican, although by a lesser volume. Even different Christian denominations tend to vote for different parties. Non-Hispanic immigrants are believed (the data is difficult to decode) to vote Democrat. Asians generally vote Democrat, although there is a growing trend among Indian Americans of voting Republican.

 

Democrats have aggressively courted the immigrant vote over the years, especially in the 2016 and now 2018 election cycles. The word “xenophobia” was practically unknown to the public until Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton popularized it to mean irrational fear of immigrants, using it to galvanize the Hispanic segment of the Democratic voting base. The Democrats have carefully constructed a constellation of various ethnic groups in order to counter the steadfast strength of conservative white voters. Never before the 2016 election have the charges of racism and other, similar forms of acrimony flown so freely across the airwaves, including Hillary essentially calling Donald Trump a racist during a presidential debate televised around the world when she condemned his “racist lie” that Obama wasn’t born in the US.

 

The Hart-Cellar Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 overhauled the American immigration system by removing restrictions on national origin which had basically preferred European immigrants beforehand (think waves of German immigrants in the early 1900s). This change occurred during the height of the Civil Rights Movement era and was viewed as further dispelling racism in society. Although Senator Ted Kennedy assured the public that the bill would not substantially alter national demographics, that is what ended up happening.

 

But this essay is not about the past, it is about the future. Given the demographic changes in the US over the past 50 years and the ever-increasing tension in our society regarding race, immigration, and even religion, we must step back and look at the course we are on. How much worse will the tensions get? Is there a breaking point, and if so when is it? We’ve already seen race riots—those are nothing new. But could there be something more drastic ahead?

 

I’m of the belief that race matters way less than people think. Race is just the ways that some human bodies are different than others, but all are human bodies. Race obviously is most noticeable in the way someone looks as compared to someone else, but this is a surface level characteristic. What really matters is culture, and that’s why I titled this essay with “the Limits of Multiculturalism in America,” not “the Limits of Multiracialism in America.” Our policies toward multiculturalism are what will determine our national future probably more than anything else. Currently, we are doing an abysmal job of assimilating new immigrants. In fact, until this process is righted and strengthened, we should greatly reduce immigration because we’re accepting immigrants faster than we can assimilate them. Sure, we have a citizenship test, but that is laughably insufficient for assimilation. Since we have been doing such a poor job, we have become what some describe as a “tossed salad” instead the traditional metaphor of a “melting pot.” But unless you’re in an international airport, putting multiple distinct cultures with little to nothing in common next to each other tends to bring rivalries.

 

I say all this not because I dislike immigrants. It’s normal for a country to have an immigration policy, and every country has at least some immigration (beyond tourism). I’m pretty sure even North Korea has Chinese guest workers (could be wrong). But our system is out of control and we have no good method of assimilation. No other country except the currently beleaguered countries of Western Europe approach immigration this way. Other countries expect you to assimilate—to “become similar” to the population. Obviously you cannot racially assimilate, which is why this is not a racial issue. But you can culturally assimilate, and in other countries you are expected to do so. You are viewed as a guest in other countries, with a highly limited ability to make claims on your host country until you’re a citizen.

 

The Democrats have known for years that they are struggling to keep the white vote. There are multiple reasons for this, but one factor is the falling white birth rate. The Democrats know that the next generation will have fewer whites in proportion to other ethnicities, particularly Hispanic Americans. The black population has remained about the same proportion for years, and Asians, while a fast-growing population due to immigration, are still too small of a constituency for the Democrats to make much of a national appeal to. Their sights are firmly set on the Hispanic vote as the key to electoral dominance, which is why the Democrats fight any attempts to reduce either legal or illegal immigration. Additionally, most immigrants to America come from political traditions similar to the big-government policies espoused by the Democrats, which is another way they court the immigrant vote. The minimal-government model of our Constitution is a rare animal indeed, and were it strictly enforced there would be less draw for immigration because the government would be much smaller and could provide far fewer social services.

 

So where does all this lead? What I’m concerned about as a very real possibility is a future break-up of America along ethno-cultural lines. If, for example, the Mexican-American population becomes the majority in California, then California’s politicians could simply focus (openly) on appealing to Mexican-American concerns. Just like Malaysia’s UMNO party focused only on Malay issues, Democrats only need to pick the largest group and pander to them to stay in power.

 

Additionally, as long as the Democrats successfully conflate Trump’s tough stance on immigration with racism against Mexicans and others of Central American descent, he cannot effectively make an appeal, as Lee Kuan Yew did, for a multiracial society in which no race is given priority over another. Trump repeatedly emphasizes in his speeches that we are all Americans, not whatever the color of our skin is. He is right, and America’s experiment as a multiracial society can succeed, but only if we stop being such a multicultural one. Do I think Trump has some racist beliefs? He might. But what matters is how he governs, not what his inner beliefs are. The vision of America that he enunciates is one not of a country of “hyphenated Americans” but of all one people, known simply as Americans, no hyphens needed.

 

But imagine any one of the following scenarios. In the future, California secedes as a majority Mexican-American state that wants self-determination in accordance with its ethnic identity. I’m a big believer in self-determination and the right to secede, but although I wouldn’t miss uber-liberal California, I don’t want America to break up. Or if not California, maybe the same thing happens with Texas or a section of it. Perhaps California or part of Texas joins with Mexico, like Singapore joined with Malaysia. Or what if, a few decades from now, today’s minorities are large enough to create a permanent voting majority and dominate Congress? If they dominated Congress, could they vote out “white” parts of the country that resisted ethnic transformation out of the US, just as Malaysia expelled Singapore? Or what if the poor white regions like the Appalachian states were deemed a “drag” on the national economy while simultaneously accused of incurable racism? Or if they resisted affirmative action policies, which was another bone of contention between Malaysia and Singapore?

 

A staple of American consciousness is the belief that “it can’t happen here,” but to me, these scenarios are not as far-fetched as they sound. The Democrats are examples of politicians who will say or propose virtually anything to maintain power. They will always “go there,” wherever “there” is, if they think they’ll come out on top on Election Day. This is a sad state of affairs, because national preservation through a unifying culture, something even a country as tiny as Singapore knows is necessary for survival as a political unit, should always trump identity politics. Unfortunately, the Democrats don’t care about healing old wounds; they’re only interested in winning, even if it means ripping off bandages (sometimes while calling it “healing”).

 

I write a lot about the need to not get upset about politics. I am not writing this essay to stir emotion. When I first read about Singapore’s history and how they were expelled from Malaysia because of, among other factors, racial tensions and bloodshed, I thought I might be seeing a future break-up scenario for America. I wanted to share this because too many people in politics today don’t have a long-term view with regards to immigration and culture, and don’t focus on what all other countries know—that a divided populace means a divided country, and sometimes that division becomes literal.

 

And if you were offended by this essay, I suggest reading the previous one about how to free your mind from political correctness.

 

“I always tried to be correct, not politically correct.” – Lee Kuan Yew

 

Sources for Singapore history: Wikipedia and the National Library of Singapore website

3 Ways to Free Your Mind from Political Correctness

“If you want to know who rules over you, find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire

 

Political correctness is a fancy term for censorship of thoughts and words in the name of not offending liberals. It is such a powerful force that it has morphed from censorship by society to self-censorship. Those imprisoned by political correctness police their own thoughts, not because their thoughts are necessarily evil or sinful, but because they breach political correctness. What is self-censorship of political viewpoints if not a perfect control strategy?

 

Most conservatives and even some independents readily bemoan political correctness in our society. However, few people if any talk about how to free your mind from it, other than by being unafraid to offend people. For more pensive types (like myself), this is not a good enough solution because we keep most of our thoughts to ourselves anyway merely as a function of our personality. However, the same arguments over politically incorrect ideas can then take place in our mind. So what’s needed, and what I offer here, is a way to excise political correctness from our minds.

 

In general, politicians sail with the wind. They know how hard it is to change the direction of the wind, so most don’t try. Instead, they become the embodiment of our views, prodding us along the way to make sure we show up to the polls. One of the key factors underpinning our two-party system is the basic divisibility of Americans into two sides on Election Day. For rising politicians, who themselves nearly always align with one of the two sides, there is no concern that their views might make them an outcast in their career. All they have to do is pick the side they agree with, and there will be a fertile field of voters waiting. Sure, there are the independent voters, which are more costly for politicians to win over, but on Election Day the vast majority of independent voters vote either Democrat or Republican. The only difference is the fact that they might vote for the other party next time.

 

Political correctness is a comprehensive, multi-pronged climate of social censure developed over decades by liberal ideologues in their “long march through the institutions” of society. Conservatives and independents are the target, and while I said we now police our own thoughts, some top-level action is still needed by politicians to keep the political correctness regime humming by capitalizing on offenses. There is a cycle of political outrage that occurs at calculated moments when someone on the conservative side, or perhaps some hapless individual who has no interest in politics, says or does something that could be offensive to any particular group that liberals claim to represent. The politicos on the liberal side have learned when a reaction would be overblown, and when they can ride existing momentum (sail with the wind) and successfully kick off the cycle. Most of the time, they are quite effective at striking at the right moment. The end goal of the political outrage cycle is to get the target to recant of his or her misdeed and to dampen the will among the public to do, say, or most importantly, accept, anything similar. As Saul Alinksy taught his leftist disciples, expose the target, freeze them in place, and make an example of them.

 

Remember that I wrote before that no one can control you—you are in control of yourself. So how does the average person take back control of their thoughts from political correctness? How can we live free of the politically correct mind-prison?

 

I offer three steps. These steps require no external action. They are all done in your mind, because that’s where the illusion of control lives.

 

Step 1: Care about politics less. I’ve written about this in my past posts. A person who doesn’t care about politics at all has little concern for political correctness. They will still have some, because even they can sense the winds of the environment around them, but they’re far more independent of the constraints of the Left than someone who, say, reads politics every day. The latter, who is familiar with the ever-increasing demands of the Left, will, if not careful, experience a psychosis caused by their fear of liberal condemnation clashing with their die-hard commitment to their own beliefs. The key to avoiding or curing this psychosis is to care about politics less. Then you can keep your commitment to your beliefs (although it will feel a little less die-hard because you’re investing time and energy elsewhere), and the fear of punishment is greatly reduced. The less immersed you are in politics, the less of the shenanigans and demands of the Left you will be aware of, and the less punishment you will fear.

 

“But,” you say, “liberal policies may destroy America whether I’m paying attention or not!” Actually, political doomsday scenarios are less likely than you think (take it from someone who intensely researched this during my journey into amateur prepping, which I wrote about). Politics affect your life in very few ways besides by taxes and…by people talking at you about politics. Most of our problems in America are cultural, not political. As I said, politicians sail with the wind. They are mostly a mirror of us and the culture we have created. If you really want to change politics, the best way—and the hardest—is to change the culture.

 

Maybe you have voted Republican your whole life. If you take a few steps back from politics, as Step #1 prescribes, you can still vote Republican every cycle if you want to. But how much value is there in being emotionally invested in politics in between elections? I myself follow politics fairly regularly because it interests me, but I have learned where the boundaries are and what the signs are that I’m spending too much time and energy on it. Plus, like I wrote about in one of my previous posts, “staying informed” does not actually do anything to further your political ideas; it just gives the illusion of doing something. If you really want to make a difference in a specific political race, you should vote, volunteer, or give money.

 

Step 2: Don’t fall for duality. This is a big one, and it’s similar to my previous post about how political parties exploit our emotions on social media. By “duality” I mean the constant animus that accompanies the liberal/conservative “us vs. them” paradigm. This animus becomes reflexive and can even cause a person to compromise their beliefs in support of a political end. For example, if you watch President Trump’s rallies, he can say practically anything to the crowd while on stage and very seldom does anyone who isn’t a protestor boo him. The attendees generally just go along with whatever he says, even cheering it, even when it’s something they probably don’t fully agree with. Yet because it’s Trump that said it, they support it. Trump is “their side”, and everyone not allied with Trump is therefore the enemy. This is duality in action, and of course liberals are guilty of it as well, whether with Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or whomever. The weird thing about it is that no one is making these people embrace this duality; they do it to themselves. While I generally have supported Trump pretty strongly, I have no problem saying that he has said and done things at times that I disagreed with, even policy decisions. Someone who is absorbed in duality will never admit something like that unless strongly pressed.

 

Also, when absorbed in duality, you will experience elevated stress in the form of anger toward that other side that there is really no constructive way to express other than by voting, volunteering, or giving money. Posting on social media is the guilty pleasure of political “dualists” because it’s easy. However, it causes stress for others, causes arguments, and doesn’t really relieve even their own stress. Does someone who angrily posts something political on social media suddenly become freed of their anger? Of course not. They just released some of the pressure, but it will build up again. You can never be free of political correctness without letting go of the “us vs. them” mindset, because in the back of your mind you will always be aware of the outrages and potential outrages of liberals regarding something you said, did, or thought. Free yourself of this! I’m not saying to stop being a conservative, nor am I saying to never express your opinion on social media; I’m only saying that to be free, you have to get outside of the “us vs. them” mentality (which will also improve your social media experience). After all, most people aren’t very political—they just get more political during election season. In fact, those who work in politics know that a lot of voters don’t even make up their mind until Election Day, regardless of the ads and yard signs they have been seeing for months.

 

Step 3: The past doesn’t matter. This speaks to one of the deadliest weapons in the political correctness arsenal. Getting this one right won’t help if you can’t complete Steps 1 & 2, but I strongly recommend this third step in order to complete the picture.

 

The left-wing position on many issues revolves around historical injustices, whether real, exaggerated, or perceived. You must train yourself to think: “I didn’t do it, so I’m not the problem.” This is probably the default mindset of most people around the world, but in America, if you’re a conservative, then in the Punnet square of race/religion/gender, you probably fall into an “oppressor category” according to hardcore liberals. Someone, somewhere, who shared your race, religion, or gender wronged people of another race, religion, or gender. Do you know who the person who committed that wrong was? Of course you don’t! That’s why it doesn’t matter. You can’t be guilty by association over someone you aren’t associated with.

 

So if it’s so obvious, why does this favorite political correctness tactic work? Well, I will never accuse hardcore liberals of not being smart. They use our textbooks in school to indoctrinate us as kids that white people and Christians have perpetrated the worst crimes in Western history. The insinuation is that these groups can’t be trusted not to do so again if given the chance. This is, of course, a completely one-sided and imbalanced view of history, not to mention it passes judgment on entire groups of people (something liberals are supposed to abhor), but it explains why so many in my own generation, the Millennials, are so politically correct. We’ve been brainwashed with this nonsense since grade school, before our critical thinking capabilities were developed enough to question it. In other words, we were young and impressionable, and liberals figured out how to strike while the iron was hot.

 

If you’re in one of the “oppressor” demographics, you’re trained by the liberal triad of academia, media, and usually government, to believe that anyone outside your oppressor demographic is automatically right about everything. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. No one is always right. The foundation of this false belief lies in, like I said, grade school indoctrination that your demographic is guilty of crimes against humanity. Either that, or if you’re a conservative who is outside the “oppressor” demographics, you’re nothing more than their lackey by supporting conservatism. All of this is nothing but a psychological manipulation tool devised by left-wing zealots in academia, which is where the research that goes into our textbooks comes from. Liberal-dominated school boards and Department of Education officials (I think state level is where textbooks are decided) have no problem adopting such imbalanced curricula because it serves their ideological purpose for society. These are people who have nothing better to do with their lives.

 

When I say the past doesn’t matter, I’m not saying to be ignorant of history. If you were ignorant of history, you would have no understanding that some topics are sensitive for some people, and to be insensitive or careless is usually unkind. But avoiding carelessness is not the same thing as thought-policing and speech-censoring, which is the standard hardcore liberals expect you to conform to.

 

So remember, in politics, the past doesn’t matter and you aren’t the problem. We don’t drag our own past around with us every day, so why would we drag around someone else’s past? You’re not guilty by association, and you can let such charges roll off your shoulders because they don’t apply. It’s all a trick designed to manipulate the electorate. You are responsible only for the choices you make, not for the choices someone else made.

 

I hope these techniques have helped you begin the journey of freedom from politically correct mind-control. It will take time, especially the younger you are and the more indoctrination you have suffered. But keep at it, because the stress and mental health benefits are worth it. Rise above, think freely, and don’t be a cog in the politically correct machine.

Review: Prepping, Part 2

Trump had won, and my feared doomsday scenarios had not come to pass. However, there immediately arose the self-styled “Resistance,” as well as government insiders (soon to be termed the “Deep State”), who were intent on thwarting Trump at every turn or even driving him from office. Still, with the election over, I breathed a sigh of relief.

 

The next major hurdle was the inauguration. I was particularly concerned someone would try to assassinate Trump during the inauguration, such as while he was giving his inaugural speech at the Capitol. I was asked by the president of the student association at GW that I was serving on to be one of a handful of students who would attend an inaugural event put on by Politico, as a representatives of our school. I accepted, but was a little concerned about being in D.C. if chaos unfolded.

 

The event was held at the rooftop level of the W hotel next to the White House. I saw protestors on the other side of the W at the fences blocking off the inaugural parate route. They had locked arms so that people couldn’t pass through the fence to attend the parade. One held a sign that said, in Russian, “Not my president,” a reference to the newly-minted liberal scapegoat theory that Russian hacking had won Trump the election.

 

Later when I got home and posted the photos, a friend saw the human barrier and amusingly commented, “So they do like walls.”

 

 

When I finally got in and got to the coat check, I had planned ahead of time that I would have to be separated from my coat during the event (a nice black Calvin Klein pea coat I got at Men’s Wearhouse for $80, a good deal), and I had a few survival items I wanted on my person at all times. So, I stuffed them into my suit jacket pockets. I surrendered my coat and headed to the elevator in the gilded hotel lobby. I head a medical face mask on me in the event of tear gas (to dispel a riot) or, God forbid, a chemical or biological attack, either from disgruntled leftists or from Islamic terrorists. I had a snack on me also, cash, earplugs in case of loud rioting, and one or two other things. I knew I would not be able to take much.

 

I got upstairs to the top level of the building, where I met my handful of fellow students. We commenced mingling. The president of my org asked me to do some social media posting for our Twitter and Insta accounts, so I did, which was great for me because I’m an introvert and was totally sick of the networking scene of DC, which basically consists of 2+ people yelling past each other over the noise while sipping drinks that aren’t that good. I had already decided by this time that I was only taking one more class at GW, and that I never wanted to live in or work in D.C. I did join a few conversations though, in between the televised inaugural events. One of my friends and fellow students, we’ll call him Alex, found a student who was in one of his other classes (Alex and I had been in several classes together) and together we laughed about various crazy moments from the entire 2016 primary and general cycles. I respected Alex because although he was a liberal, I could at least talk politics with him without getting scolded for voting for Trump. People like that are all too rare in D.C. Perhaps it’s because he was not from the area, and his family, to my knowledge, was not part of the Swamp. He had been a lawyer out in SoCal and decided to make a career change into politics, and came to GW.

 

I was very pleased to see Rev. Franklin Graham give an opening prayer before Trump’s speech. I drank that in, and I thought about the DC elite and future elite around me who probably had no concept of what I was feeling while watching Rev. Graham’s prayer and statements. I caught myself thinking, “That’s right, Swamp Creatures, for 364 days this year you can forget all about flyover Americans, but today you are forced to look at us and acknowledge our existence!”

 

Trump gave his speech, and thankfully no shenanigans occurred. When it was over, he and Melania walked Barack and Michelle Obama to the South Lawn and the latter boarded Marine One, which took them to Andrews AFB across the Potomac. Anticipating their flight path, I hurried to a window and managed to capture a photo of their helicopter flying past! Let me tell you, it was a very welcome sight. Bye bye Barry. I texted the photo to my dad and gave him permission to post it to Facebook with an accompanying witticism. He said he would let one of his friends do the honors—this friend basically epitomized the conservative middle-aged white male ex-mil stereotype to the T and I knew he would do us proud.

 

I did some more mingling in between speeches and social media posting on my phone for my org, and eventually said goodbye to my friends and left. The parade was in progress, but I frankly didn’t want to wait for President Trump to reach our location. I was nervous and wanted to get out of town, especially with Beltway traffic to worry about. So, I got my coat, left the W, and hoofed it to the nearest red line metro stop. New York Avenue was completely empty—a bizarre sight—due to being barricaded off. I made it home without incident.

 

After the inauguration, my pace of acquiring prepper items slowed. At this point I had most of the things I wanted to have, and I didn’t want to spend more money on it. At GW, my team won a social media contest and I received a $125 Amazon gift card, which I used some of to buy a few remaining items I wanted: More medical masks, glowsticks, and mortar and pestle, and one or two other things.

 

The next prepping scenario that arose was the threat of a nationwide set of riots on November 4th and 5th, 2017. This was all over the internet and I watched every YouTube video about it I could that I thought might give me valuable information. Basically, the left wing group Refuse Fascism was calling for a day of nationwide protests. It was also being said that Antifa was going to make a major move in our cities on that day. This was roughly one year since Trump was elected, and it also coincided with the meme of the “Fifth of November” from V for Vendetta, in which the protagonist blows up the UK Parliament as a strike against the totalitarian regime. Additionally, the Great American Solar Eclipse had happened not much earlier, and there were a lot of other possible signs and coincidences including planetary alignment (potential biblical prophecy) and other factors I learned about. Needless to say, I had plenty of reasons to be on edge about November 4th.

 

Part of the supplies I had bought back before the election were several pieces of dirt bike armor. It was both affordable and provided some level of protection in the event of a fistfight in a riot. I had armor for my arms, legs, and hard plastic knuckle dirt bike gloves (I checked the laws and metal knuckles are illegal in Maryland) just in case I had to fight my way out of some Anitfas or other rioters during civil unrest.

 

I accumulated a small burst of prepping items just before the 4th, including a respirator and the coup-de-grace of my suit of armor, a dirt bike helmet. Those helmets aren’t cheap—it was something like $70—but I returned it a couple days after the 4th was over and the feared riots had not occurred. It offered full-head protection, not just the top of the head like a bike helmet. One driver in my desire to get a helmet was a video I saw of protests at Berkeley in spring 2017, the one during the daytime where the conservatives actually beat back the liberals and forced them to retreat. At one point though, before the chase started, there was a guy wearing a red sriracha hot sauce shirt (you can look this up), arguing with liberal protestors. Someone, who was later ID’d as a faculty member, ran up and hit him on the head with a bike lock. The poor guy was in shock and was just standing there staring at the blood on this hands and clothes, because the hit had immediately drawn blood from of his head. Some people nearby surrounded him and had him lay down and to my knowledge he ended up being OK, but I did not want something like that to happen to me if I ended up fighting Antifa. Clearly, they have some bad apples on their side who don’t mind risking brain damage to shut down an argument.

 

I also saw some videos about liberal gun clubs. In one video, I saw a group of gun-toting socialists marching in formation down the street somewhere in Arizona, and a journalist was questioning them and arguing with them. The socialists were in fatigues with red bandanas and other socialist insignia. There were other videos with people talking about a potential Antifa uprising.

 

November 4th came and went, and the Refuse Fascism marches ended up being a total laughingstock, and Antifa didn’t try anything. I breathed a sigh of relief. There weren’t any big dates coming up on the political calendar, so I returned the helmet for a full refund.

 

Summer is always a worse time of year for crime and civil unrest. It remains to be seen what might happen this summer. However, although I am basically done buying prepping stuff except replacing some canned food I left in Maryland when I moved to New Mexico, I sleep better at night knowing I have some basics if something bad really happens. And I’ll say this: I’m way, way less concerned about an uprising out here in Albuquerque than when I was in Maryland, sandwiched between Baltimore and DC.

 

So in conclusion, some people take prepping way, way further than I have. There is no way to know if those people are wrong because we don’t know the future. I am comfortable with having spent around $500 over a period of over a year to acquire some basic supplies. If you are uneasy about the future, you might give it some thought. I am not here to persuade anyone to be a prepper, but I will share one thought that continually ran through my mind: Many nations have experience economic and social collapse. When the world becomes an unsafe place, the last thing you want is to have to leave your home to go stand in a bread line.

 

A great online forum about prepping can be found at www.survivalistboards.com and as far as I know it’s free to read.

How People Give Politics Too Much Weight in their Lives

In my last post I wrote about prepping and how my journey into amateur prepping was caused by political events. However, I want to talk about the true effects of politics on our lives, and how most people who are into politics totally exaggerate its affect on their lives to themselves and others. Prepping by nature is oriented toward statistically unlikely, worst-case scenarios. We must draw a distinction between everyday effects of politics (which are very few) and the outsize amount of weight and stress people give to politics. That is the purpose of this essay.

 

Most politicos are continually glued to the news, now more than ever thanks to smartphones. The read, share, post, repost, and blog about political headlines. While politics and the direction of the country is obviously important to them, if you asked them what they are doing to change things, what would they say to you? I bring this up because I have asked myself this question before. They might say, as I used to think to myself before realizing my error, “I’m staying informed.”

 

While some good can be said of having an informed populace, it’s not the same thing as an educated populace. The difference is that people who are politically educated understand the fundamentals of politics enough to grasp the importance level of a political headline. Informed people simply have information. They have no way of knowing which information is important and which is not, making it easy to stress out about all of it. Political education provides the tools to think critically about politics. Sadly, our society lacks a serious form of political education that could help people stress out less.

 

More specifically, staying informed is not the same thing as activism. People should choose to either be an activist and pursue political activities that create change, or to treat politics casually. Most people should not be activists, so most people should treat politics casually. The Founding Fathers intentionally designed a small government, the kind which the average citizen would have to care about as little as possible. Our Bill of Rights is all about preventing government meddling in our lives except for what is absolutely necessary to have a functioning government. Liberals, who believe there is a government-0riented solution to pretty much everything, do not understand this point. But conservatives get wrapped around axle as well, and again, most people should treat politics casually.

 

The problem is there is a large group of people occupying a middle ground between activism and information. They are too serious about politics to be casual, yet their concern doesn’t motivate them enough to take any action in support of their views. If you think about it, this is a contradiction. It’s like they are simply complaining and not doing anything about the problem. And since most people shouldn’t be activists, it’s safe to say that most people in this middle group should simply devote way less time to reading and talking or posting about politics. They should instead invest that energy in something that actually improves their lives. If they aren’t going to engage in activism, they can vote and give money to political campaigns or organizations or non-profits. But beyond that, there is nothing more they can really do to create political change—thus the choice is to either go all in or start caring less. The feeling of accomplishing something just by following politics is an illusion, one which, as I explained in a previous post about social media and politics, profits our political elites, but in which the individual is not really a free actor, just being used.

 

An out of the box thinker I have read in the past is Winston Wu. As with anyone I mention by name, it should go without saying that I am not endorsing everything they say. I say that because unfortunately, we live in an age of guilt by association. So that being said, a great point he makes is that the average person actually interacts with the government very little. The most obvious examples are going to the post office or going through the security line at the airport. (I would add to that paying taxes and going to the DMV.) Instead, he says, the things that actually do affect people’s quality of life, such as social life, dating life, or psychological health, are things that the government has little effect on, but that the individual has enormous power of choice over. For politicos who are unhappy in life, those are examples of things they should really be focusing on, not politics. Politics is too often just a diversion, a form of time-wasting entertainment.

 

Politics is not unimportant, and I write about it a lot. It’s a hobby for me, yet I am under no illusion that I am making any difference just by reading political news or even by writing about it. I know I have to vote, engage in activism, donate money, or any combination of those three in order to actually make a difference. Voting is the most basic level of making a difference. Almost any American 18 or over can vote. The true path to making a difference in any area of life tends not the be the thing that is easy to do. The second tier is donating money, the lifeblood of political campaigns, and the third tier is citizen activism, especially grassroots activism. This is the hardest level but the most effective. Basically, the harder it is, the bigger a difference it will probably make.

 

But that’s only if you decide to invest the time, energy, and resources necessary to create political change. Most people would be better off caring less about politics and investing instead in fixing the things in their personal lives that keep them up at night. So, in summary, don’t confuse staying informed with activism, and don’t invest too much in politics.

Review: Prepping, Part 1

I’ve always been a little bit of a survivalist at heart. I thrive in the rugged landscapes of New Mexico, with its spiky plants, sometimes violent weather, crazy pests, and rustic panoramas. Yet it was only after I moved to lush, green, developed Maryland that I became an amateur prepper.

 

The 2016 election cycle was unlike any other. Then-candidate Trump’s initial comments about Mexico at his announcement speech set off the first of a long chain of firestorms. Seasoned conservatives like myself, used to a certain level of crazy from liberals, initially wrote it off as another liberal outburst. However, as Trump began to elaborate his views on various topics, tossing Molotov cocktails at the Left’s sacred cows, the usual liberal bloviation began to escalate. It wasn’t long before the Left had reach complete hysteria. Everything Trump said was suddenly the most offensive thing that had ever been uttered. The thing is, a lot of what he said made perfect sense to Flyover Americans whose imaginations had not been stunted by political correctness. Liberals were not self-aware enough to stop and question how and why they were so offended over his comments (and generally still aren’t). And so the cycle of mania continued.

 

Things seemed to have hit a crescendo with Trump’s call for a Muslim ban. I maintain that he partially did this to secure a victory in the South Carolina primary that was going on at the time. And win it he did. Over time, his Muslim ban de-escalated down to a travel ban on certain terror-prone countries which happened to be majority Muslim. But the liberals still haven’t forgiven him for the original proposal.

 

This combined with his border wall and his many other offenses continued to drive rage among the Left. We began seeing more and more riots, political violence, destruction of property on college campuses, and street fights between Trumpists and the Hard Left. Similar scenes were unfolding in some European countries as well, like Germany.

 

Around this time I began to wonder how much worse things would get. My mind flashed back to the Baltimore riots, which occurred at the beginning of May 2015, only a 30-40 minute drive from where I lived. I had never seen a riot like that in an American city before (I was too young to remember the LA riots in the 90’s). The Baltimore riots, sparked by the death of Freddie Gray in the custody of the police, created a two day period of complete breakdown in certain parts of inner city Baltimore. I remember watching the news footage and seeing firemenn trying to put out a fire. A masked man in all black ran up, cut a hole in the hose, and ran off. This was on the first day of the riots, before the night the city actually burned.

 

The next day, I was at my brother’s wedding, and the best man, who is more well-read in politics than either of us, explained that career anarchists try to exploit situations like the one in Baltimore in order to collapse society usher in anarchy. The idea of a “career anarcist” blew my mind. As I did more and more of my own research, and Antifa simultaneously began to rear its ugly head, I grew concerned about where far left hysteria was leading, especially if Trump were to win.

 

So it was the threat of civil disorder and breakdown, not natural disasters or other typical factors, that got me thinking about prepping. I knew little about prepping except what I had heard and seen clips of on shows like Doomsday Preppers. I knew there were people who had huge storehouses of canned food in their basement, and I knew that people in rural Montana wanted to live “off the grid.” My journey into (what I would consider amateur) prepping began with basic internet searches on what emergency supplies I should have, and with a copy of American Survival Guide I happened to glimpse in Bass Pro Shops one day back then. It actually had a feature on rioting, which I devoured. My prepper mindset had begun. I started to live with the constant awareness in the back of my mind, and often in the front of my mind, that if society collapsed or the electrical grid failed, things would get real ugly real fast.

 

I was a little surprised to find the plethora of prepper and survivalist websites that existed online. But I quickly snapped out of it: “Wait, this is the internet. Every topic gets blown up into its own universe of websites.” So I dove in. I began to make a list of survival supplies I wanted, and quietly gathered them over the next several months. This started probably June of 2016 and I was “on the clock” to be done by November 7, the day before the election. I was still getting my Master’s at GW at the time, and I sometimes carted the latest American Survival Guide magazine (I had subscribed) to campus with me to read on the metro. I even bought John Wesley, Rawles’ book Patriots, but it proved way too dense and technical for me to make it past the first couple of chapters. (That first chapter though…scary!) I kept my prepping a total secret until right before the election. As I gathered my supplies over the months, I told no one, although I dropped small hints here and there and I think one or two people had an idea.

 

An amazing thing happened after I had assembled my first real collection of basic prepper supplies. I slept better at night. If the economy crashed and there was no food left in the stores, I had probably a month’s worth of food and water, from canned food to MREs to cereal to jugs of water to a Lifestraw for the pond behind my place. This meant I could go a full month without leaving my house if the world became too dangerous. I read online news like a hawk in those days (too much, really) and watched for any sign of impending trouble. I watched footage of the latest riots at university campuses, studying the tactics of the left wing attackers, and read the latest demands of deluded left wing groups. They were getting more and more hateful and vitriolic. It seemed like the various figureheards of the far left could not top themselves fast enough, as if they were competing with each other for share of voice on social media by saying more and more hateful things to get attention (which I’m sure was and is a factor). For example, it’s not enough for white people, or Christians, or men, to do X to expiate their oppressor nature; now they must do Y to appease the anger of deranged lefties. But next month, they have to do Z, and on it goes.

 

For my 30th birthday, my brother got me the SAS Survival Handbook by John Wiseman. I think he knew I was doing some prepping because he bought me this. I had mentioned having gone to a military surplus store in Rockville MD and liking it, which I think gave it away. SAS Survival Handbook is a great book, full of practical knowledge and color illustrations, and I highly recommend it. As I began to think more about a “grid-down situation,” where refrigeration and conventional cooking would be unavailable, I read about how to find edible vegetation, fruits, and nuts. There was a big ravine behind my place that I sometimes walked in and I started imagining how I could forage there. What would the world be like if I had to navigate a concrete jungle alone, eating fruits and nuts and vegetables for survival? These were common thoughts for me at the time, even as I was sitting in a crowded DC subway in a suit trying to make my way home from school at night.

 

The day before the election, I let my mom and dad know simply that I had enough non-perishable food in the house to not have to go outside for a few days should something bad happen. I didn’t want them to worry about me, especially if cell phone service and the internet went down. My car had some supplies in it in case I got caught out somewhere due to a riot. In fact, I took the day after the election off work—planned well ahead of time—so that I would not have to leave the house that day. I stayed up until about 3 AM when they officially called it for Trump, and went to bed happy…after checking the news for signs of rioting.

 

The next day, there were no riots serious enough to worry about. However, as we all know, Trump’s campaign and his victory was just the beginning for left wing hysteria.

 

To be continued…

Political Parties Use You for Your Social Media Outrage

Ah, social media, unintended battleground of many a political argument, strewn with the wreckage of relationships. We all know people who have unfriended others or maybe even alienated family members in real life over political comments on social media. Maybe you’ve been on the giving or receiving end. The 2016 election took political rage on social media to a whole new level and brought out the worst in everyone.

 

People don’t realize that official content on social media, such as that put out by political parties and any of their affiliated social channels (state level parties, other party organizations), has one purpose: To influence your vote. Every click, share, and comment is tracked back to metrics that digital directors review to see how they can optimize their social media “outreach” (political speak for marketing). Those producing and posting this official content don’t care how angry it makes you or how many personal relationships get torpedoed due to political fighting on Facebook. They will happily step over the bodies to lead you by the hand to the ballot box for their candidate. Of course, they don’t want to see relationships destroyed, but they also are not going to change practices to make the social media political environment less conducive to digital bomb-throwing. After all, they have metrics to meet, and why would they de-escalate the social media arms race when their opponents won’t?

 

This of course doesn’t apply to user-created content. That Dank Meme Stash page, as long as it’s not created by someone who is getting paid to be the admin, is genuine. Of course, it can just as genuinely spark a relationship-ending fight, creating the same problem, but all I’m saying is that when you get into it with someone on social media over a post or meme that came from an official political channel, you are being used. The people using you in this way don’t care that much about what happens as long as they meet their metrics, which is what they’re paid to do. The goal is gin up enough energy in the base to get them to the polls next election. Sometimes that involves sustaining a particular energy level, something that is especially hard to do between a presidential election and a midterm election, like the one coming up this year. But political operators know they need to maintain engagement among the base to meet projected goals for votes, and social media outreach is one part of the portfolio by which they achieve this.

 

For me it gets a little fuzzy with content put out by super PACs. A super PAC is just an organization that is by law unaffiliated with the political campaign it is trying to help win. In fact, super PACs and said campaign are not allowed to communicate with each other. There is no doubt that they find ways around this, but that wall is pretty high and definitely prevents the lion’s share of coordination that would otherwise be possible. So, if you unfriended someone because they shared something that came from a Super PAC, you are being used by the Super PAC and by extension by the people funding it, although I wouldn’t say you are being used by a political party. Still, fighting with people on social media about politics is something I advise against because it really can cause relationship harm “IRL.”

 

It’s true that some social media content posted by the parties and their affiliates is intended for fundraising. However, social media is notoriously not good for fundraising, and other channels are better. And besides, donating money is usually an emotional decision, so the parties still have to create emotion in you to get you to donate, or at least they expect they need to. So, their content, even if it’s more for fundraising than for reinforcing your path to the ballot box for their candidate, will be designed in a way that manipulates your emotions.

 

I would say all of this also applies to content put out by politicians themselves, since their primary goal is to get re-elected. So question that too.

 

In conclusion, the next time you are tempted to get ugly with someone on social media over politics, stop and think. Further, if it’s something put out by someone who is getting paid to put it out, recognize that you are being totally used for your outrage. They have big plans for how they want you to vote. Don’t be a cog in their outrage machine.