Lenz: The Coming American Political Realignment

How The Activation Of The White Identity Will Disrupt American Politics

 

What does it mean when one proudly declares that they are an American? What are the shared cultural and philosophical beliefs they are trying to communicate when doing so? What defining historical events and corresponding beliefs are implied within their prideful declaration?

America, unlike virtually every other nation they call neighbors, has enjoyed the luxury of a relatively clean canvass in undertaking the political experiment that was the American Revolution. While political revolutions are by no means the norm, the American one has been considered by its people as one free from the influence of historical conflict and Old World cultural norms. If one were to poll most Americans, they would define the American identity as one unaffected by race, culture, or historical grudge. An identity something along the lines of an American creed as follows,

“The American identity is adventurous men and women willing to leave the known in pursuit of the unknown with little more than the promise of an opportunity to build a better life. A life better than the one their current one, and entirely of their own making.” 

While not incorrect in capturing the sentiment of those who forged such a creed, what is missing, is the ethnicity and nationality of the individuals responsible for defining this creed or American identity. Without that context, the American identity would seem to have been created by a group of early settlers each born of immaculate conception. While convenient for the purposes of avoiding discussions pertaining to race and culture in American politics, the reality is, the American identity was forged by white property owning European males who were both courageous, in chasing the unknown, and wildly ambitious in their uncertain pursuit of economic opportunity.

Why is that so important to remember when trying to understand America’s current political environment?

As America’s demographic future becomes increasingly less “white” and more “multicultural”, the American identity will become stop being an “American” one, and increasingly become a “white” one. What America has long believed to be its universal identity is slowly but surely becoming one belonging to the race of those responsible for its creation. One need not attend a Black Lives Matter rally to ask for their definition of the American identity in order to see it is wildly different than the one at a retirement community in Florida.

There’s a phrase among economists that “Demographics are destiny”, and while usually used as a commentary on the economic fate of a country, it is useful in understanding the election of Donald Trump and his ability to turn the industrial Midwest’s political allegiances from one of leaning Democrat, to toss up or leaning Republican.

As the definition of the “American” identity continues to shift to the “White” identity, the demographics of the American electorate will determine its fate. While for the first time ever the millennial generation represented a larger percentage of eligible voters in the 2016 Presidential election, Baby Boomer voter participation rates, as well as the majority of their generation being comprised of white voters, resulted in an electoral upset of epic proportions.

What did President Trump do that no other Republican had been able to in recent memory? e activated the dormant American White Identity. He endlessly alluded to the Baby Boomer’s preexisting perception of societal chaos and decay. President Trump’s entire campaign was one big foreshadowing of the demographic threat awaiting their definition of the American identity.

While not singularly responsible for achieving his electoral upset, as much was due to his opponent’s arrogant and calamitous performance, his decision to message around a theme of restoration struck a chord previously unheard in American politics. A chord which activated the perceived threat of a changing national identity among elderly white Americans, who in longing for the simpler times of days gone by, decided to turn out in droves and disrupt traditional voting patterns and electoral college alignments down racial lines.

What Happens Now?

Now that the American White Identity has been activated, the question becomes: how enthusiastic will their voting block be on election day?

The answer to that question can only be offered once the wedge issues of the election in question have been defined. Were the 2018 midterms held last week, during the height of the NFL Kneeling issue, one can be certain the White Identity voter would be wildly enthusiastic to show up on election day.

When electoral wedge issues center around patriotism, gender, long held cultural norms, religion, and immigration, the White Identity will activate on its highest setting. That high setting will result in a surge to whichever party or candidate panders most effectively on a message of cultural preservation. When electoral wedge issues are less pertinent to the perceived threat facing the white version of the American identity, political alignments will return to historical norms in the short run.

However in the long run, as the Baby Boomer generation’s electoral influence wanes and Generation X and Millennial voter participation rates rise, the American Identity will increasingly shift in a yet to be determined definition.

Multiculturalism’s ascent is an inevitably, as mentioned above, demographics are destiny, and the fate of the United States electorate is one of a multicultural demographic composition. Below is a hypothetical electoral map of the 2016 Presidential election if one removes Baby Boomer voters:

 

Hard to imagine a more bleak future for Republican and Libertarian voters than the sea of blue above, right? It is one thing for Detroit to decay under years of Democratic leadership, it is quite another to imagine the United States as Detroit on a grand scale…

 

What can Liberty Movement Republicans and Libertarians do in order to avoid a completely blue post Baby Boomer electoral map?

Not to be overly-apocalyptic, but should those who oppose the Detroitification of America fail to redefine the American Identity after the White Identity voters slowly pass away, the limited government constitutional republican political experiment the United States was originally conceived as, will become little more than a footnote in American history books. The stakes genuinely are that high.

With that being said, the opposition to progressive and American Left political ideas, will not resemble the Left-Right divide as it stands today. The divide will be drawn down lines much closer to those best debated by the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

Progressive thought leaders embrace a worldview which pursues perfection. There’s is a world where constitutional limits, like the Bill of Rights, are an annoying encumbrance in their date with an egalitarian utopia. The election of President Trump has done little to cause the Left to rethink or abandon its embrace of centralizing power. Even when faced with the thought of handing over the keys of their beloved central planning tool to an unexpected Republican “monster”.

Why?

The Left is well aware demographics are on their side and, while the election of someone like President Trump is a nuisance to endure, it will not a cause them to reconsider their pursuit of centralizing federal power. One would think a Republican in charge of a centralized federal government, especially one like President Trump who seems to be impervious to shame and the traditionally reliable attacks of public humiliation, but his win has caused no such abandonment.

The American Left’s refusal to consider the downside of centralizing power should serve as a stark warning to those who favor limiting the power of the federal government through the dissemination of it to local and state governments.

While the Bill of Rights is most often pointed to as the quantum leap in preventing the abuses of government against the individual, the founders understood that while strict constitutional limitations were a radical shift in designing a system of government, the true weapon against a federal government’s unquenchable thirst for power was a decentralized system placing any powers not explicitly granted to the federal government in the Constitution to the state governments. Decentralization was the Founder’s intended weapon of last resort against the grand designs of central planners.

As the demographic destiny of American politics arrives, the true partisan divide will not be one fought over historical and cultural preservation, but the preservation of decentralized power. The progressive/Democrat movement will argue in favor of centralizing power with promises of universal health care, college, and cultural toleration. The future of the American Left resembles the ideas of Bernie Sanders more so than Hillary Clinton. Will those ideas and their endless pursuit of a egalitarian safe space utopia end up becoming the American Identity?

Or will the opposition successfully redefine the American Identity in a fashion more closely resembling its revolutionary founding? A definition premised upon a suspicion of government and preference for the uncertain, yet unrestrained pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, as originally designed. Will what it means to call oneself an “American” communicate the principles of safety through equality, or the courageous decision to embrace uncertainty in exchange for the promise of opportunity?

While the future divisions of American politics have shifted after the activation of the white identity by President Trump, the American identity grows less attached to the existing white identity. If Liberty Movement Republicans and Libertarians hope to ever live underneath a government premised upon the principles and beliefs they espouse, they cannot begin redefining the American Identity soon enough.

The battle is not one over party, Republican vs. Libertarian, it is about resistance to government’s infinite appetite in acquiring power and preventing the grand designs of intellectuals who view society as a Utopian experiment, rather than the opportunity for each and every citizen under its rule to personally determine how best to pursue happiness.

These are the terms. All that remains to be seen is who will emerge victorious. Those who pursue power? Or those who define the American identity through a lens of suspicion toward it?

Lenz: Charlottesville And The Sins Of Our Fathers

 

Why does it always seem to be the case that on matters pertaining to free speech and assembly, the situation ends up devolving into a state of absurdity? Or, as was the case in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, fatal tragedy?

Is the right to voice an opinion so absolute, that it warrants the full protection of the right to do so, no matter how incendiary the opinion, and now matter how likely its expression will instigate a harmful physical altercation?

As a civilized people, can we not all agree that freedom of speech should not be extended to hate spewing racists who oppose the removal of symbols glorifying a belief that skin color determines whether or not one was, and still is, better off as property, rather than a person? We can all agree on that, can we not?

Surely, suppressing the opinions of those who seek to preserve a monument which dishonors the courageous Americans that gave their life to defeat slavery, is a rightly earned respect owed to their sacrifice? At a bare minimum, do we not owe it to their memory to remove memorials honoring treasonous Confederates? It is the least we can do as a society, is it not?

The questions above undoubtedly seem reasonable, and to all but the most of principled of free speech defenders, seem like a worthy accommodation in an effort to atone for the United States’ original sin: Slavery.

Regardless of how much societal progress it may feel the United States has made in righting the sins of our fathers, if the death of a thirty-two year old female counter-protester exercising her explicitly granted right to peacefully assemble and protest has taught us anything, it is that the sin of slavery is one this country may never be able to fully reconcile.

Nationalism, and its fanatical byproduct: rabid patriotism protected from dissent, are viewed by most as politically toxic and to an extent, taboo. When one hears the term “nationalism”, the first image that comes to mind is usually one belonging to the extended and slightly raised right arm of Adolf Hitler.

Unlike many political movements within modern American politics, the Alt-Right/Ethno-Nationalist/Traditionalist/White-Nationalist movement has embraced the formerly taboo terminology rather than disavowing the toxic association. Why is that? For the most part, it has to do with the philosophical groundings of their belief system: ethnicities have long standing cultures and traditions, and as such, they should serve as a sort of political guidance system in the legislative formation of a harmonious state.

On its face, such a belief does not seem inherently racist or even, if one were to believe the majority of sociology professors, a terribly inaccurate description of the United States and the defining Judaeo-Christian values its legislative and judicial system reside upon. However, when a political philosophy stops being a theoretical governing framework for societal harmony, and starts being used as a cloak for racists, when they advocate and carry out “justified” criminal acts, is the same moment it loses all credibility and ceases being useful in understanding our world. Such is the current status of America’s “Alt-Right”.

The idea that a monument democratically commissioned and erected by community representatives to memorialize a Confederate General deemed worthy of remembrance, cannot also be removed via the democratic process, is absurd. That is, unless of course one opposes its removal on grounds of the legitimacy of the decision. But the #UniteTheRight rally voiced no such concerns of legitimacy in opposition to removal of the statue. Their concerns are grounded in the growing dilution of cultural and political dominance by white Americans within the political system they have grown accustomed to controlling.

The calls for cultural preservation by white voters is a relatively new phenomenon in American politics. However, it has long been brewing in Europe and other predominantly “white” nations, especially those whose history of colonialism resulted in a unintended flood of formerly colonist immigrants. As Sir Isaac Newton discovered, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Societies possess no such immunity from the laws of the physical realm. When those who dominate the power structure of a democratic institution foresee a time when they will be outnumbered, the inevitable response is always seclusion and legislation mandating preservation. As America’s demographic dominance of white Americans grows increasingly less certain, so too will the appeal of laws making mandatory that which they hold dear.

The intellectuals responsible for spearheading this movement see it as having little to do with the color of one’s skin, and everything to do with philosophical principles those of a certain skin color held and allowed western civilization to flourish. Principles starting with those taught and discussed in Athens by the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Principles such as virtue and order, as well as answers to the questions: “What is a good life?” and “What is the best form of government for one to be able to live a good life?”

What today’s cultural preservationists miss is that those Athenian philosophers who laid the original groundwork for Thomas Jefferson’s call for life, liberty, and they pursuit of happiness, is their contributions were not “right” because they were white. They were “right” because their work sparked civilization’s explosion of human freedom as they defined it. It just so happens they were white…and male, but those two characteristics had nothing to do with the importance and adoption of their work.

One cannot help but imagine that if the intellectual founders of western civilization had been in attendance at the events in Charlottesville, they would have looked on in horror as the acts of those claiming to preserve their lessons were based upon a disgusting and ignorant perversion of everything they had ever hoped to leave behind. Human freedom, protected by the democratic process, was their goal. A monument glorifying a champion of slavery, is not one they would have ever supported the construction of in the first place. Let alone oppose its democratically decided removal.

The tragic irony of the “Alt-Right” is that they are not desperately trying to preserve western civilization’s march toward democracy and human freedom, but the power to control the lives of others they believe are ill-suited to do so. As such is the case, their opposition to the removal of a monument honoring Robert E. Lee exposes their true desire, control in the name of tradition sounds an awful lot like slavery as the Southern way of life.

Slavery is America’s original sin, and while the United States has not fully overcome its lasting effects, honoring an individual who seceded in protest to its end, is owed no memory of treason or opposition to human freedom. Just as General Lee disassociated from his country, his country has every right to democratically disassociate from his memory.

In the end, the monument will be taken down with the hope of further atoning for slavery. And just like General Lee at Appomattox, the flag the Alt-Right will be forced to wave will most appropriately match the color of their preferred skin. After all, how better to honor the memory of their heroic figure, than to continue his legacy of surrender…

Lenz: Remembering Our Tie That Binds

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced into Congress a resolution, which would be adopted on July, that asserted the United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States. While this resolution was being discussed, on June 11, 1776 a committee, consisting of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston , and Roger Sherman was appointed to draft what would go onto become America’s foundational document. A document declaring the United Colonies’ independence from the chains of the British Empire.

Through the authority granted from the consent of the governed, those men would adopt the final draft of the Declaration of Independence and fired a gunshot heard around the world in pursuit of mankind’s desire for self-rule.

No longer would the restrictive chains of their colonial masters remain shackled without resistance. While the adoption of the beautifully articulated declaration of war would explode like a powder keg on the minds of all in search of self-governance, the reception of said declaration would knowingly fall upon the formerly deaf, now rabidly hostile ears of their former masters.

The signatories of the Declaration surely knew that while the self-evidence of their creator’s divinely granted right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, would appear far less self-evident to King George and his empire’s military.

Especially when one considers that King George’s authority hailed from the same “God” he pointed to in ruling by the divine right of kings. From such a vantage, it is rather easy to see why what began as a simple disagreement over the correct assessment on one’s proclaimed divine right, lead to a fully fledged war, is it not?

While many a philosopher and priest have debated the theoretical origin of rights, be they natural or divinely granted, the freedoms they allow are felt in the physical world.

So while those Congressmen in Philadelphia, tasked with drafting our nation’s Declaration of Independence, put pen to paper and announced the existence of rights to which they and those they represented felt entitled, they must have known that any benefit offered by the written word, would only be felt once the United States demonstrated their ability to defend them against intrusion.

As with all conflicts resulting from adversaries in opposition to mankind’s quest for freedom, and regardless of the philosophical justification or ethical superiority of the principle said quest is premised upon, the inescapable truth remains: might determines the existence of right. Divinely endowed or not.

As today marks our nation’s two hundred and forty-first anniversary of independence, it is gravely important to remember the historical significance of our anniversary. Appreciating the significance of today is lost on most, as the majority will likely only recall the facts, such as the date and actors involved, rather than the lessons.

Such is the inevitable byproduct of America’s education system in its current state. One which prefers the recitation of facts to the application of reason. Alas, let us ignore that preference and spend the day contemplating the lessons and lasting societal impact the Declaration had upon the psyche of the revolutionary generation.

It is oft-forgotten the United States of America, in its current form, was not born until the ratification of the Constitution on June 21, 1788. Nearly a full twelve years after its announcement of independence. In considering that, one cannot help  but wonder about the lasting psychological effect created by declaring independence had upon the psyche of the revolutionary generation. Their concept of self was defined first as a united collection of independent free men and women no longer subject to the crown, and second as citizens to a unified nation.

Traditionally, the most oft-cited original American beliefs are those of equality and justice. Undoubtedly resulting from being taught the adoption of the rule of law, via the ratification of a list of constitutional protections, is our original premise. One founded upon the application of justice derived by equality under the law. Yet, that would be incorrect.

While equality and justice played a vital role in the psychological composition of how first “Americans” defined themselves, those ideals were layered atop a different foundational principle or belief. The one which bonds us all uniquely together:

Independence, or in another word: rebellion.

America was conceived in rebellion. Birthed by men and women who defined their sense of self through a lens of rebellious independent free thinking individuals.

The type of individuals who, when presented with the choice of a blanket of security provided by constrained freedoms or the promise of unencumbered, yet wildly uncertain and potentially fatal freedom gained by treasonous independence, leapt head first into the abyss of uncertainty. Despite the known risk of death by hanging for treasonous acts, they chose the dangerous adventure in their quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That choice, rebellious independence, would go on to become the cornerstone of the American identity and all the additional ideas it is built upon.

Rebellious independence is the bond which ties us all. One universally shared by those whose forefathers successfully beat back an oppressive intrusion upon their battle earned right to determine destiny. The very moment King George finished reading the finalized and adopted draft of Mr. Jefferson’s eloquent letter from Philadelphia, an independent spirit of rebellion would become forever imprinted upon each American soul thereafter.

It is our common bond. Our shared thread tying together our distinctively patched American quilt. It is the tie which unites us all. As you celebrate our Independence Day, remember that bond. Despite our toxic political environment, one in which the patches of our distinct quilt seems held together with the most frayed of thread, remember our shared history. A history defined by the freedoms gained through the courage and blood of our rebellious forefathers. Men who closed their declaration to King George with a pledge:

“We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Happy Fourth of July.

 

 

Below is a transcript of the Declaration of Independence:

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Please Hide This Post: How Mass Customization Drives Mass Casualty

What Happened This Morning?

Police have reported one suspect is in custody following a shooting this morning in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. The officers responded within three minutes and, upon arrival, fired multiple shots at the gunman. In addition to the Alexandria Police officers, Two Capitol Police officers who were assigned to the security detail GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Sen. Rand Paul told MSNBC after the attack that the officers were the security detail for GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise, adding that his presence at the practice therefore most likely prevented the incident from becoming a massacre.

“Everybody would’ve died except for the fact that Capitol Hill police were there,” Paul said. “Had they not been there, it would have been a massacre.”

“When you have no way to defend yourself … the field was essentially a killing field,” Paul later told CNN.

The FBI and police officials said they would not yet share any information about the suspect’s motivation at a press conference. The FBI special agent in charge of the Washington field office said it was too early to rule out terrorism, or whether the gunman deliberately targeted Republican members of Congress.

Scalise’s office said in a statement that the congressman is in stable condition at MedStar Washington Hospital. He was shot in the hip and is undergoing surgery, the statement said.

Rep. Roger Williams, who was at the baseball practice, said a member of his staff was shot and is receiving medical attention. A female Capitol Police officer is also reportedly being treated at Washington’s MedStar hospital. George Washington University Hospital confirmed that it received two patients from the shooting, both in critical condition.


Who Was The Shooter?

Law-enforcement officials named 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, as the suspect in the congressional baseball practice shooting on Wednesday morning, multiple outlets reported.

Hodgkinson’s wife told ABC that he had been living in Alexandra for the past two months. A Facebook page linked to Hodgkinson lists him as the owner of JTH Inspections. A Yelp page for JTH Inspections has pictures of Hodgkinson and locates the company in Belleville, IL.

Hodgkinson posted content favorable to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on his page and signed a Change.org petition for the removal of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.,” Hodgkinson wrote in a March 22 post.

The former mayor of Alexandria, Virginia Bill Euille, said he had spoken with the suspected congressional baseball practice shooter almost every morning for more than a month, and had discovered the man was living out of his gym bag. The forer mayor lost his reelection bid last year, but told the Washington Post he first met Hodgkinson during their morning workouts at the local YMCA. Euille said he frequently saw Hodgkins in the lobby using his laptop.

Euille said Hodgkinson approached him after hearing people greeting Euille as “mayor.”

“After the first or second week, he asked about good places to eat … within walking distance,” Euille said. “He was a very friendly person.”

“But what I did notice about this gentleman is he’d open up his gym bag and in it, he had everything he owned. He was living out of his gym bag. That, and he sat in the Y’s lobby for hours and hours. Outside of myself, I don’t think he knew anyone else is in town.”

Mayor Euille said Hodgkinson had told him he was a home inspector and asked about available jobs, but said he didn’t have a bachelor’s degree.

Hodgkinson, whose social media accounts show him to be a fierce critic of President Donald Trump and a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, did not discuss politics directly, Euille said. But when people at the gym would openly criticize Trump, Hodgkinson “indicated he agreed with us.”

According to multiple outlets, after his suspected shoot out with law enforcement, Hodgkinson died of his injuries in hospital. In an interview with Hodgkinson’s wife, Suzanne, told ABC that he had taken a trip and had been living in Alexandria for the last two months. He is survived by his wife and brother Michael.


The Most Important Question:

What caused James Hodgkinson to believe a mass shooting of Republican Congressman, who were practicing for a charity baseball game against Congressional Democrats, was an act of justice when their “crime” was daring to hold political beliefs in opposition to his own?

 

With each passing day, the American experience grows more disturbing and less familiar.

Today’s shooting is an alarming reminder that the political climate we inhabit has long since passed a state of passionate engagement and descended into one of rabid obsession. In the midst of shock, it is important to identify the root cause of tragedy before the nightly news commentariat begin the exploitative framing of the discussion with hopes of electoral and fundraising gain. Admittedly, there is little that can be done to prevent the politicization of today’s shooting, but what we can do, is uncover the true culprit responsible for our toxic political environment.

So the question remains, what drove James Hodgkinson’s enthusiastic civic engagement to develop into an irrational bloodthirsty desire?

At what point did he stop pursuing the political process in lieu of an attempted mass murder against those who held political beliefs different than his own? What was the breaking point which caused his well-incubated political beliefs to birth a lethal act of vengeance?

Clearly, his acts were not those of a well adjusted individual with a sound grasp on reality. At some point, he tossed aside any sense of civic duty felt while volunteering for Senator Bernie Sander’s Presidential campaign. What is the yet to be identified leap he made from handing out flyers to shooting up the batting practice of democratically elected Republicans?

For the purpose of understanding the motivation behind Mr. Hodgkinson’s act, it is useful to call upon the words of poet C.J. Heck,

“We are all products of our environment; every person we meet, every new experience or adventure, every book we read, touches and changes us, making us the unique being we are.”

Mr. Hodgkinson, just like every individual reading this, was entirely a result of his environment. An environment, which upon further inquiry into his social media posts, will reveal a digital experience built on algorithms designed to curate the content he consumed to his exact tastes. It is hard to understate the effect algorithms built to learn a user’s tastes and preferences have had on society. The more consumers have grown expectant of mass customization in virtually every area of their lives, the more sheltered they become from tastes and preferences they do not like.

These algorithms are designed to prevent exposure. Their very purpose is to create a perfectly curtailed user experience cocoon protecting them from any information they have expressed dislike or disinterest in the past. As the algorithm learns more, the exposure to any source of information or product, other than ones which amplify the user’s confirmation bias in the form of user preference, is detrimental to the success of the algorithm.

The technological achievements in machine learning and artificial intelligence allowing our ability to customize, has also created a human experience wildly susceptible to confirmation bias. We are constantly bombarded with an endless number of highly customized sources of news and information. Theoretically, humans have never had a more hospitable environment for diversity of thought and exposure to alternative views, but our reality bears no resemblance to the theoretical realm.

The truth, each one of us has inadvertently built a personal information silo designed to filter out the plethora of information sources available so we can reaffirm our preferences and biases with each click. Is it any surprise our political climate has grown so polarized? During the Civil War, the majority of American polarization was over slavery and state sovereignty.

In the era of mass customization, polarization is not so easily categorized with clear lines of division. In this era, even outrage is customized. Imagine if President Lincoln had to make a customized Gettysburg Address to each individual he sought to convince? Such is the enormity of the problem…

What can be done to temper the rabid hostility and polarization of our political climate?

The solution to our problem has two parts. First, we have to acknowledge the severity of the problem and admit we each bear some responsibility for not making a proactive effort in exposing ourselves to opinions and beliefs we oppose.  One would hope all are willing after the tragedy of today.

Second, we have to accept the responsibility which accompanies life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The right to self-governance is not enough. We must also practice self-care if we are to continue enjoying the fruits born from the tree of individual liberty. We cannot go on in harmony as a society if keep trying to force our idea of how best to live one’s life upon one another. Mr. Hodgkinson’s radicalized beliefs were a result of the self-imposed echo chamber he chose to inhabit. His acts, undoubtedly justified as appropriate because his worldview was the correct one for us all, a sentiment ironically shared by those he opposed most.

If America continues down the path of imposing the views of a simple majority upon an electoral minority, desperate attempts at mass casualty as witnessed today will increase. Such a future is far too bleak to accept. In order to prevent that fate each of us must practice self-care by exposing ourselves to, and accepting the existence of, opinions we abhor while working to reign in the absolute ability of government to impose those beliefs upon one another.

That is the lesson and the burden of today. If we are to avoid the bloodthirst Mr. Hodgkinson developed, we have to stop viewing those who have different beliefs as an abstraction and start working to understand them as individuals. While at the same time having the presence of mind to limit their ability to impose those views upon us, regardless of any vindictive urge to retaliate after electoral success.

The only question that remains, is will each one of us accept the burden to self-care in order to enjoy the freedoms of self-governance?

 

 

Courage and Conviction: Remembering The Cause

In the United States, on the last Monday of each May, Americans celebrate a federal holiday: Memorial Day. The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day,” which was first used in 1882. Memorial Day did not become the more common name until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967.

On June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date, to the last Monday in May.

As one might imagine, if a government wants its citizens to participate in a universal day of remembrance in order to honor the fatal sacrifices made by those in its service, the best way to do so is by dangling a paid day off…

To the lesser observer, Memorial Day’s much anticipated arrival each year appears to be the informal declaration of the summer season. A societal ritual of sorts where Americans celebrate warm temperatures with the rare three day weekend.

“However, as has been said by Kings and Queens, I am not the lesser observer.”

The intent behind the declaration of Memorial Day as a federal holiday, as well as specifying its exact date and purpose, is not as the cynic might claim: a day of religious observation in worship of the state, glorifying its loyal foot shoulder disciples who died in its name, but rather, a day to remember and reflect upon the motivations and beliefs of our civic brethren.

What cause was it exactly, that these principled individuals decided was worth dying for?

Such is the true intent of Memorial Day. A day of gratitude spent in reflection. A day spent in contemplation.

A day, where in order to properly appreciate its importance, one must first understand the motivations and beliefs which fueled the commitment of our fallen civic predecessors. If we fail to understand the importance of the cause, any celebration in memorial of their lost lives becomes a ritualistic performance conducted out of the guilt accompanying the obligation of tradition…tradition for tradition’s sake.

The lives of those we honor today in celebration of Memorial Day were lost in service to the United States of America. However what is the United States of America but a union of states who approved its existence?

What is a state but merely the desires of the people who live within its boundaries and submit to the authority of its laws?

Is Memorial Day about honoring service for loyalty’s sake and without regard for purpose?

No, today is about honoring the sacrifice of lives lost in pursuit of mankind’s long pursued ideals of freedom, justice, and equality.

Why is it the first “Americans” risked death to come to an unknown land and willfully accepted the rule of law, rather than the rule of man?

America, despites its flaws, of which there are admittedly many, is not some abstract entity. It is the earthly embodiment of a dream.

A dream birthed from the minds of mankind in pursuit of a dream of justice. A dream of equality.

A dream where each individual could accept the rule of law in exchange for the same legal standing as his or her peers, regardless of wealth, social status, race, ethnicity, gender, or religion.

Have we achieved these aforementioned ideals? No.

Will we? Hopefully.

Regardless, Memorial Day is about remembering those who were willing to die in pursuit of American ideals, which overlap with mankind’s.

They served in pursuit of idealism and despite a fatal cause. They served knowing full well they may never enjoy the fruit of their labor.

Talk about impressive…

As Memorial Day winds to a close, the best way to honor those we are remembering, is to ask ourselves the following questions:

What cause are we in pursuit of?

What cause would we die in service to?

What fatal sacrifice would we want to be remembered for and appreciated by its beneficiaries?

Lenz: A Night At The Middlebury, When The Snowflakes Become A Blizzard

There is an old story told about Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, that could not be more relevant than at this moment in American society. When unveiling the Model T for the first time to the public, a reporter covering the unveiling is said to have asked, “Will it be available in different colors?”

To which Ford offered a tongue-in-cheek reply, “Of course. You can have any color you want…as long as it is black.”

One cannot help but think that if Mr. Ford were a millennial college student today, tasked with leading a social justice or liberal organization at a prominent liberal arts college, he would echo a similar response when asked, “Does your organization tolerate diversity opinion?”

“Of course. You can have any opinion you want…as long as it is ours.”

Such is the sad state of allowable opinion within the American Left. A truth which was more than evident after observing the act of hostility conducted by protesters at Middlebury College in response to Dr. Charles Murray’s invitation to speak by a campus student organization.

The protester’s totalitarian response to his invitation to deliver a lecture on his 2014 book “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.” and participate in a post lecture question and answer discussion was a perfect illustration of the Left’s complete disregard for diversity of thought, its exchange, or any sense of self-awareness about their hypocritical abandonment of “beloved principles”.

Not to victim blame, but assuming these militant Soviet-style social justice warriors who are currently carrying out their own version of a cultural Red Dawn on American college campuses, would ever support a forum for the free exchange of ideas is so patently absurd, the burden of blame clearly lies on those who extended Mr. Murray’s invitation.

After all snowflakes, when exposed to anything other than the perfect weather conditions their existence depends upon, melt into a flood of tears most closely resembling those of the “literally shaking” protesters at Middlebury College.

Literally shaking

Now, to the average American citizen, the type of outrage Dr. Murray’s invitation incited would seem more fitting for that of the Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan, rather than an individual with the impeccable credentials he holds. For reference, please see the brief biography and summary of “controversial positions” below:

Charles Murray: an American libertarian conservative political scientist, sociologist, author, and columnist. Currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC.

  • He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in history from Harvard.
  • Murray’s articles have appeared in Commentary magazine, The New Criterion, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.
  • He is best known for his controversial book The Bell Curve (1994), written with Richard Herrnstein, in which he argues that intelligence is a better predictor than parental socio-economic status or education level of many individual outcomes such as: income, job performance, pregnancy out of wedlock, and crime.
  • Much of the controversy stemmed from Chapters 13 and 14, where the authors write about the enduring differences in race and intelligence and discuss implications of that difference.
  • While the authors were reported throughout the popular press as arguing that these IQ differences are genetic, they write “The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved,” and “It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences.”
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies Murray as a white nationalist who peddles “racist pseudoscience.”

How is that for a resume enhancer? Good luck explaining to an employer your inclusion on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of racists…

Now classifications aside, when was the last time David Duke (former imperial wizard of the Klu Klux Klan) called for a radical new approach to social policy eliminating all welfare transfer programs at the federal, state, and local levels and substituting an annual $10,000 cash grant to everyone age twenty-one or older, such as the one Murray suggested in his book “In Our Hands: A Plan To Replace the Welfare State”?

In Our Hands describes the financial feasibility of the Plan and its effects on retirement, health care, poverty, marriage and family, work, neighborhoods and civil society. Indiscriminately giving income assistance to the poor regardless of ethnicity? Sounds pretty racist…

In many ways, it is perhaps a good thing that the left-wing protesters did everything possible to prevent an open an honest dialogue from occurring. The American Left has always hypocritically proclaimed their love for freedom of speech, as well as their condemnation of the use of physical violence.

Yet when presented with the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to those principles, they employed every possibly tactic to prevent Dr. Murray from exercising his constitutionally granted right to freedom of speech. Luckily, the administration of Middlebury College took every precaution necessary to counteract the will of the snowflakes, and after roughly thirty minutes of audience disruption by the protesters, Dr. Murray was taken to a private room to deliver his lecture and participate in a discussion over a closed circuit feed.

Dr. Allison Stanger

The post lecture question and answer session was led by Middlebury faculty member, and vocal critic of Dr. Murray, Dr. Allison Stanger. Prior to she and Dr. Murray’s necessary relocation to a private room, she tried to address the angry mob of intellectually stunted liberals, but even after voicing her support of their criticisms, the sobbing snowflakes refused to budge.

As if silencing opposition opinion were not vindication enough for those of us that have maintained the left are totalitarians in victims clothes, their decision to resort to physical violence once the event ended, serves as a delicious icing on the cake of leftist exposure.

While exiting the venue Dr. Murray, Dr. Stanger, and another Middlebury College official were mobbed as they tried to escape to a vehicle designated to take them to a private dinner on campus, unsurprisingly, that dinner had to be relocated to an off campus venue several miles away. In the midst of the storm, the protesters tried to grab Dr. Murray but missed an inadvertently grabbed Dr. Stanger by the head from outside the car twisting her neck and causing her to need a neck brace the following day.

Middlebury College’s President condemned the despicable acts of the protesters and publicly shamed them for their hypocrisy in a statement the following day. Dr. Charles Murray, instead of demanding an apology, requiring Middlebury offer a set of reforms to prevent future attacks on guest speakers, and threatening a lawsuit, acted in a fashion exemplifying the type of classy individual he is.

His blog post on the American Enterprise Institute’s website, summarizing the night’s events and adding some thoughts about its sociological and cultural implications on college campuses going forward, is indicative of the toleration which no longer exists on the American Left. Alas, it appears toleration will continue to make its home, as always, on the American Right.

While physical harm and the suppression of speech is never something to be celebrated, there are few things more sweet than the vindication which accompanied America’s introduction to campus snowflake culture and the revelation of the totalitarian face which has always been hiding underneath the Left’s mask of toleration. The events at Middlebury College were America’s first taste of the violent blizzards in its future, at the hands of Stalinist snowflakes who become violently outraged at the existence of diversity of thought.

Lucky for us, the awaiting blizzard of snowflakes will pass just like any other storm…

 

Dustin Reed: Presenting Libertarianism at Ball State University

Last year while I was working for the Rich Turvey for Congress campaign, we had the opportunity to participate in a candidate forum at a local university. During the forum, we met the director of the Political Science department, and I took the opportunity to ask if I can present to one of his classes sometime. This past week I was given that opportunity and spoke to a sophomore level Political Science Class.

Dustin Reed;
County Chairman of the Delaware County Libertarian Party of Indiana

Admittedly I was somewhat skeptical of how I would be received, especially after seeing the intolerance of leftist students on campuses around the country recently. To my surprise and delight the students were engaged, thoughtful, and respectful. For the presentation, I decided to keep things at a high-level and give them the foundation of what libertarianism and the Libertarian Party are.

Starting with libertarian philosophy I used David Boaz’s “Libertarianism: A Primer” as a resource (which is a great read and I encourage you to check it out). One of the earliest examples of libertarian thought we can find is in Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching” which is more of a moral bible than a political manifesto. In Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu said:

“Without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony.”

After touching on Sophocles, Pluralism, and Thomas Paine I ended with Robert Nozick author of “Anarchy, State, and Utopia”. Nozick succinctly said

“…a minimal state, limited to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft, [and] fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on, is justified; that any more extensive state will violate persons’ rights not to be forced to do certain things, and is unjustified; and that the minimal state is inspiring as well as right.”

These quotes, though great, prompted me to explain that libertarianism is not necessarily the complete absence of government. I also explained to the students the difference between libertarianism and anarchy and wanted to reinforce the idea that anarchy itself is not chaos.

Party history and structure was discussed from the national to local level. I did feel it was important to include the party’s statement of principles:

(1) the right to life—accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others;

(2) the right to liberty of speech and action—accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and

(3) the right to property—accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.

While discussing principle two, a student asked about child pornography and if libertarianism would allow its sale and distribution. After explaining that this principle opposes governmental abridging and censorship of speech, and that child pornography would most certainly be considered criminal and immoral, this was the perfect opportunity to explain the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). It seems that as libertarians we are expected to have a working knowledge, if not be proficient in, several areas of politics and economics. However, I believe if you stick to the principles of liberty and the NAP, you can explain almost anything.

During the question and answer session (which I considered the best part of our time) I received questions ranging from immigration, Gary Johnson, the future of the party, to libertarian economics. A common theme began to develop from the student’s questions about libertarianism and the Libertarian Party:

  • Are third parties taken seriously and what can they do to improve their image?
  • What are the Libertarian Parties plans on building on the momentum of 2016?
  • Why do you only hear about the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President? Wouldn’t it be better to run local candidates first?

These are excellent questions all of which I hope the National Party has already addressed or is in the process of addressing. Since becoming a Libertarian in 2008, it has always baffled me why we always put everything into the presidency when we haven’t even proved we can govern effectively. Though we got over 3% of the popular vote only less than 20 Libertarians were elected nation-wide and to my knowledge not to any office higher than mayor.

We have an eager audience and are at a critical time for the party. As one of the students said to me afterwards “I always thought of the libertarians as the rational ones”. Hopefully we don’t let this opportunity pass.

 

Lenz: Hollywood’s Mea Culpa to America

In a stunning act of humility, last night’s Academy Awards proved to be an exceptionally well-timed acknowledgment of, and apology for, Hollywood’s estrangement from middle America.

It was plainly evident the ceremony ‘s producers were intent on appealing to those of us in the flyover states. Decisions such as picking Jimmy Kimmel, shocking a Hollywood tour group by walking them into the live ceremony with A-listers readily available for selfies, finally honoring Back to The Future, dropping Mike & Ike’s and Lemonheads from the ceiling for the audience to enjoy, and heck, even having Jimmy Kimmel hold up the little Indian kid while the orchestra played The Lion King’s “Circle of Life”, made me think the Academy actually cared whether I watched the awards or not. In my opinion, last night’s show was the most enjoyable and culturally relevant in years.

It was nice to be able to watch the Academy Awards without the nagging feeling that, regardless of effort, I am simply unable to fully appreciate the night’s artistry and formalities without a Masters in Fine Arts & Filmography from Brown.

Many factors are responsible for America’a declining theater attendance. However, I can’t help but think the current estrangement between red states and Hollywood has driven a large chunk of theater attendees away because the narratives and themes of today’s films are of little interest and relevance to the lives of middle America.

I genuinely hope tonight is the first step toward reacquaintance. I have always believed Tinseltown is America’s most “American” city…that is up until the last few years.

It is the city of wildest of dreams in a country of wild dreamers. Hollywood is a truly unique place where talent, an appetite for adventure, and unlimited imagination, rather than pedigree or connections, determine whether or not someone can actualize their dreams. A person’s ability is all that matters, not their background.

Perhaps only in Hollywood can one leap from obscurity to the pinnacle of A-list high society in just a matter of months. Aaron Sorkin, creator of the West Wing, wrote the play “A Few Good Men” on cocktail napkins while tending bar and taking tickets at an off Broadway theater in New York City prior to fame.

Had you told him that in a little over two years after completing his literal “back of a napkin” masterpiece, he would be hired to adapt his critically-acclaimed Broadway play into a screenplay, he’d have laughed at you like a crazy person.

Had you told him his adapted screenplay would star Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Kevin Bacon, and Demi Moore as the actors tasked with delivering the very words, iconic words like, “You can’t handle the truth!”, he was currently scribbling on a cocktail napkin, he would have had you committed.

Yet, that’s what makes Hollywood so magical and so “American”. Sorkin’s rise from full time broke bartender/cocktail napkin playwright to rockstar screenwriter of the Best Picture winning: “A Few Good Men”, is the epitome of the American Dream.

His story the very proof every wild-eyed irrational dreamer points to as justification for chasing their pot of gold. Even in times when it seems as if the world is telling them not to. While Sorkin’s words will forever be a part of American history, his success is the very fuel of America’s unique “Dare to Dream” spirit.

Somewhere along the line Hollywood stopped dreaming, and when it did, it stopped captivating the minds of audiences. Slowly but surely, they quit telling tales about heroes overcoming unimaginable adversity. They stopped producing films that challenged audiences to aspire to honor, principle, and virtue.

No, instead they began tearing down heroes through the application of loosely based creative license. Rather than seeking inspire, Hollywood began its quest “correct the record” about the previously unadmitted flaws of societally-shared American heroes. Their intense desire to present these individuals as “more historically accurate”, is largely responsible for the current amount of alienation between America’s red and blue states.

Hollywood created our cultural heroes. They imagined them into existence and yet now, they seem Hell bent on turning any heroic figure into a dark and brooding, morally-conflicted, fallen idol who bears responsibility for American sins against social justice.

Is it any surprise audiences stopped coming back for more after expecting to leave the theater with lifted spirits and hopes, but instead exited with the dark cloud of Hollywood’s intentionally induced guilt?

I genuinely hope tonight’s acknowledgment by Hollywood is a sign they are getting out of the business of forcing paying audiences to confront and atone for their sins. It’s time they go back to making films about the heroic figures and principles we aspire to, rather than false idols with sins we are asked to atone for.

America needs the re-emergence of its city of dreams now more than ever. If only because this country is in desperate need of a mental health break. We need an escape from the vitriol and something that challenges us in a way that shifts our focus away from who is to blame for how things are, and toward how we wish them to be. America needs the kind of dream only Hollywood is capable conjuring up.

A dream that might allow us, if only for the briefest of moments, to collectively rediscover that our individual dreams and hopes for the the future are much closer than even the most creative minds in Hollywood could have imagined.

1.10.2017 We Are Libertarians Required Reading

 

 

 

 

 

1.5.2017 We Are Libertarians Required Reading

 

 

 

1.3.2017 We Are Libertarians Required Daily Reading

 

Discrediting Fake News: Russian DNC Hack Edition

If you are someone that believes the Russians hacked the Democrat National Committee and the email account of Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Manager, John Podesta, allow me to Redpill you:

 

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray

1) Ambassador Craig Murray, Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan:

“I know who leaked them, I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.

The source of these emails and leaks has nothing to do with Russia at all. I discovered what the source was when I attended the Sam Adam’s whistleblower award in Washington.

The source of these emails comes from within official circles in Washington DC. You should look to Washington not to Moscow.

WikiLeaks has never published any material received from the Russian government or from any proxy of the Russian government. It’s simply a completely untrue claim designed to divert attention from the content of the material.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/10/cia-concludes-russia-interfered-to-help-trump-win-election-report?CMP=share_btn_tw

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-11/former-uk-ambassador-blasts-cias-blatant-lies-shows-little-simple-logic-destroys-the

2) James Clapper, Director of the National Security Agency testifying before Congress:

“As far as the WikiLeaks connection, the evidence there is not as strong and we don’t have gopod insight into the sequencing of the releases or when the data may have been provided. We don’t have as good insight into that.”

3) William Binney, Former NSA Technical Director of World Geopolitical & Military Analysis:

“The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack. Here’s the difference between leaking and hacking:

Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization and gives it to some other person or organization, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did.

Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or any other cyber-protection system and then extracts data.

All signs point to leaking, not hacking. If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know it – and know both sender and recipient.

In short, since leaking requires physically removing data – on a thumb drive, for example – the only way such data can be copied and removed, with no electronic trace of what has left the server, is via a physical storage device.”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-16/nsa-whistleblower-destroys-obamas-russia-narrative-hard-evidence-points-inside-leak-

4) Julian Assange, Wikileaks Founder and political refugee:

“Our source is not the Russian Government.”

“I would’ve had no problem releasing similar information on President-elect Donald Trump as Wikileaks did to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.”

Julian Assange Speaks to Hannity, Says That Russian Gov’t Was Not His Source

5) “Why The Evidence Russia Hacked the DNC is NOT ENOUGH” by The Intercept, the news organization started by Glenn Greenwald who broke Edward’s Snowden NSA story:

“One can’t be reminded enough that all of this evidence comes from private companies with a direct financial interest in making the internet seem as scary as possible, just as Lysol depends on making you believe your kitchen is crawling with E. Coli.”

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/14/heres-the-public-evidence-russia-hacked-the-dnc-its-not-enough/

 

Do your part in combatting “Fake News” by sharing this with your friends…

Lenz: The Life and Legacy of Joe Biden

Vice President Biden is one of the great men in American politics. He’s a man who avoided exploiting his position of power and influence for riches, in a way few would be able to resist.

He’s a man who actually liked the constituents he was elected to represent and nothing made him happier than getting to spend time with them.

He never lost his sense of conviction on the importance of public service being in the best interest of common men and women.

He is warm and jovial, oftentimes his demeanor was detrimental to the public ‘s perception about his level of seriousness. Make no mistake, Uncle Joe is as much of a statesman, as he is friendly and kind.

To be universally well liked and regarded after 30 years in politics is virtually impossible, especially within the most exclusive club in America: the United States Senate.

The elite of elite US legislators and global leaders, whom all refer to him simply as “Joe”, like and respect a man whose father was a used car salesman.

They universally respect the opinions of a man who graduated 506th out of 688 in his class at the University of Delaware, who finished 76 out of 85 students in his law school class at Syracuse, and who overcame a battle with stuttering which lasted into his early 20s by spending hours reciting poetry in the mirror.

His career began after several years unsuccessfully practicing law as a public defender and attorney. So unsuccessfully, he had to hold a second job as a property manager. Yet undeterred by a lack of experience or financial success, a 30 year old Joe Biden decided to run for Senate with no money and his sister as his campaign manager in 1972.

His campaign was comprised of handing out printed flyers listing his positions and talking to each and every voter who would lend him a sympathetic ear.

On November 7, 1972, Joe Biden shocked the political world by becoming the sixth youngest Senator in US history.

On Dec. 18, his wife Neilia, and 1 year old daughter Naomi, were killed in an automobile accident leaving the newly elected Biden to raise his two sons that survived the crash, Beau and Hunter.

Since Biden’s financial situation prevented him from moving his remaining family to DC, he took the Amtrak to his home in the suburbs of Wilmington, Delaware each night. A commute he continued making until becoming Vice President of the United States.

Vice President Biden spent a lifetime opposing war (Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq & Afghanistan), fighting for civil rights, a fight which dates all the way back to his high school days when he organized a sit in at a Wilmington theater, and crafting labor policies that offered stronger employee protections and short term financial/retraining assistance for middle class workers unprepared for the effects of globalization.

Joe feared no man or diplomatic situation. At the age of 31, as the lowest ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, he went on a trip to Moscow and was told to listen and not speak, in the private meeting with Russian officials. Unable to listen to another lie at the meeting, he pointed at a top Russian official and blurted,

“You can’t shit a shitter!”

Just as he feared no man, he never left behind an American willing to work. If someone wanted to work, Joe did everything he could to advocate for that person’s ability to provide for him or herself and their family.

Today was Vice President Biden’s final dayfulfilling his role presiding over the Senate as their Pro-Tempore. While his political days are likely over, his legacy will continue to live on.

A legacy of lessons much needed in our current political climate:

  • A person’s political views are never a reason for disliking that individual. Dislike the view, not the person.
  • Just because you hold a serious position, doesn’t mean you have to take yourself so seriously that you become self-deluded with importance. In the grand scheme of things, we’re all insignificant. A little self-depreciation goes a long way in building goodwill.
  • Even in a job which carries the burden of life and death consequences, never forget to enjoy life and fail to remember that your life spent on Earth is supposed to be fun.
  • Lastly, Joe’s most important lesson to us is that America is made up of friends, neighbors, and fellow countrymen first. Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians last. Our differences are far fewer than our commonalities, and it is only through the lens of politics we lose sight of that fact.

Vice President Biden, or Joe as you prefer to be called, your impact was vast and the lessons from your life never forgotten. You are an inspiration to many, and a friend to all that will have you.

Your career serves as proof that ambition and decency do not have to oppose one another.

However your life and legacy serve as the much needed reminder in an increasingly cynical America, that despite the coarsening tone of our discourse by leaders demonizing their opposition, there are well-intentioned, competent, and kind men and women on both sides of the political aisle.

If only by example, you committed a great act of public service. Your country thanks you.

Lenz: The Global Rejection of Academic Theory

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If you want to understand the Italian referendum results, as well as the return of nationalism that appears to be a global phenomenon, all you need to know is that the governed have decided to stop giving a free pass to the failed ideas of those that govern.

People are tribal. That’s at the core of all of this.

People have grown tired of being told that beliefs they can’t articulate, but inherently know to be true, are stupid relics of days past: borders, religion, cultural differences, an instinctual cautiousness toward any type of difference, etc…

In Italy, a national referendum on constitutional reform that removed power from the central government and reassigned it to more local levels, is set to pass. Which will cause their Prime Minister to resign.

The hysteria over global financial ramifications are even less likely than the still yet to appear negative consequences from the Brexit.

The whole point of the EU was to keep France and Germany from ever going to war again. Since that isn’t a worry, then fallout from this is nil.

The truth is the EU was f*cked from the get go. It could only work in prosperous times.

They never created a mechanism to account for trade imbalances. By using a single currency, and not allowing fluid labor mobility between participants, the debt burdened underperformers could never rise up.

If they’d allowed all EU citizens the ability to move and get job’s in countries where opportunity existed, it would have been fine. But there wasn’t enough trust between countries.

The father of the European Union, Robert Mundell, warned about it from the start. The media outrage is little more than prissy elites that hate being held accountable for unrealistic ideas.

Liberals/progressives, libertarians too, have a profound disregard for history and it’s lessons. When an institution or custom no longer a seems relevant and stands in the way of their goals, they belittle it as absurd before stopping to consider why the best minds of the past created it and why.

Conservatism, and it’s focus and appreciation of history, as well as its aversion to rapid change, aren’t arbitrary principles plucked from the sky.

Its because they accept that humans don’t change much, and are only willing to do so in prosperous times. Introduce hard times and fear drives a return to a tribal nature where they put the best interests of themselves and those around them first.

The world has decided the smart people are delusional social planners. Their dreams of perfecting society are crumbling by the day.

We are living through a global shift away from untested academic sociological and economic theories, and a return to plain spoken and practical, yet anecdotal, common sense by the “uneducated masses”.

There’s a natural ebb and flow to this, and it’s rare to get to witness these shifts. We are a part of history and it’s utterly fascinating to experience…

Lenz: How Could Trump Create Global Free and Fair Trade?

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Why is it such a big deal that President-elect Trump took a congratulatory phone call from the President of Taiwan?

Since 1978, the U.S. has followed a single China policy where Taiwan, rather than being formally recognized as a sovereign country, is considered a rogue Chinese province.

I think what Trump’s doing by taking the congratulatory call from Taiwan’s President and inviting President Duerte of the Philippines to the White House.

There are basically 3 world alliances:

  • US-Europe-Israel-Japan-India-Australia-Balkans
  • China-Russia-Shias-Pakistan-North Korea-North African countries
  • Anti-democratic Sunni regimes that finance terrorism like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Sunni regimes that partner with non-Islamists intermittently and collaborate with an alliance including Russia, Syria, North Korea, China, Iran, and rogue communist Latin American dictators because they view the US led alliance as a common enemy.

The rise of political Islam, and terrorism being used against Russian proxies, presents a rare opportunity for US-Russian collaboration. Russia only cares about selling oil and natural gas, growing trade, and protecting Iran and Syria from regime change so their near monopoly on selling oil and natural gas to Europe remains intact.

China, in the short run, has forged an energy alliance with Russia in order to continue fueling its growth in order to attempt its plan of rebuilding the Silk Road by controlling trade routes. Most importantly, in the South China Sea and Africa. In the long run, China won’t be dependent on Russian oil, and will do the same thing they’ve done to the U.S. through a trade policy of taxing imports and subsidizing key industries that compete with Russian competitors in order to artificially lower the cost in a global marketplace.

The China-Russian alliance appears to be a short one in historical terms because for quite some time, the Chinese have been investing in oil rich African countries. Russian President Vladmir Putin, despite his authoritarian flaws, is very smart and an adept strategic planner. It would be highly unlikely he is not aware of the dwindling leverage he has in trade relations with China.

Trump, by accepting the call of the Taiwan President,  put a thumb in the eye to the Chinese and made a strategic move. One that can be ambiguously perceived as either naive, or a sign that he gravely serious on forcing China to renegotiate a trade agreement with the U.S.

However, inviting President Duerte to the White House is less ambiguous. The Philippines is crucial to China’s long term plans of controlling sea trade, and lucky for the United States, they are battling radical Islam and rampant drug issues in their country. The cultural fallout of radical Islam and drug use related crime created the perfect national climate for a strongman like Duerte to win.

President Duerte won’t be anyone’s puppet, he’s too proud. An intensely nationalistic leader like Duerte will not take kindly to an influx of Chinese corporations (really an extension of the Communist Party) coming in demanding concessions through the political process.

In addition, the looming threat of a war between Japan and China over the South China sea, would be less likely in the event the U.S. recognized Taiwan. The United States already sells billions in arms to Taiwan and should the Philippines become a new Japanese ally against China, the fear of war would be dramatically reduced because Japan would no longer be the last domino standing in the way of China’s monopoly on regional sea trade routes.

If the U.S. were able to peel away Russia and the Philippines from their current Chinese alliance, the world is going to look awfully lonely to the Communist Party. However, China is intensely proud country and culture, allowing them to save face is of the utmost importance in all diplomatic agreements. Failing to allow them to avoid shame will be taken as all the provocation necessary to justify a war. It is unlikely Trump is unaware of just how seriously the Chinese emphasize respect. I suspect President Trump would not have major contentions with China’s plan of recreating the Silk Road, so long as its not a mercantilist exploitation scheme in the long run, in order to create toll booths on global sea trade.

So why was the phone call such a big deal again?

I believe President-elect Trump is going to use the opportunity to partner with Russia, Iran, and the Philippines in defeating radical Islam, and as a result the Sunni regimes who finance terrorism, as leverage to force China to the negotiation table on trade. Trump’s primary goal in creating an equal, yet mutually beneficial, global trade environment that puts in place long term protections against China’s ability to exploit their long term sea trade plans.

If Trump can open up US trade to China by ending their tariff on US imports, stop their subsidization of labor intensive manufacturing (like steel), prevent their currency manipulation (which makes their goods less expensive in comparison to ours), and force China to respect intellectual property rights of US made goods, then he would go down as the greatest jobs creating US President in history.

How does this all end?

The United States acts as the arbitrator in finalizing an agreement where control over the South China Sea is conceded to China, the US agrees to remain committed to a single China policy (no formal recognition of Taiwan), and the US, Europe, and Japan enter into a new free and fair trade agreement with China and Russia.

 

This may all be wrong, but accepting the call of Taiwan’s President could not have been an oversight. It is impossibly such a call would be taken without warning given the folks he has around him right now.

In fact, I would imagine Trump and his advisers held a meeting where, whomever was tasked with reporting on his daily activities, was either coached to gloss over the phone call from Taiwan’s President, and then feign shock that it was such an issue, or he and his advisers kept that individual in the dark completely, so their reaction to the press’ shock would not appear rehearsed.

In the history of the United States, there has never been a President whose perceived lack of preparedness was as great as Trump’s. Overwhelmingly, his critics has considered the appearance of ignorance and naivete detrimental to his ability in being a successful President.

Given his track record of proving critics wrong, it is time everyone begin considering the possibility that a perception, or reality, of being over his head while appearing woefully naive, is a hell of an excuse to have in his back pocket. Trump’s “ignorance”, and the plausible deniability created by it, may very well end up being his greatest asset.

Dear Hoosiers, Why Libertarian Rex Bell For Governor?

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Dear Hoosiers,

As the days count down to November 8, the day we are tasked with casting our votes to decide who will be the next Governor of Indiana, I’d be remiss in not reminding you about the importance of your decision. We are a proud state.

Proud not in the traditional sense of boasting about how great our state is in comparison to those that surround us, but proud of the earned reputation of toleration, humbleness, and hospitality toward visitors.

You see, I’ve always believed that being a Hoosier carried with it a weight of responsibility. As a Hoosier, it is my responsibility to carry the torch of hospitality when welcoming guests to our state.

It is my responsibility to remain humble when speaking of our states’ incredible ability to reinvent itself in the face of devastating economic adversity forcing our transition from an industrial economy, to an information economy built upon the hard sciences and managing supply chains.

It is my responsibility to tolerate the views of others who hold beliefs differing from my own. As long as those differing beliefs neither inhibit my ability to earn a living nor my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is my responsibility to tolerate differing beliefs.

I must remain hospitable toward those who hold them, and remain humble in knowing that my beliefs are not suitable to be forced upon another.

These are the shared ideals I have always believed that make one a Hoosier. That being said, our common ideals do not make us superior, just different. Hoosiers are different, and our response to a rapidly changing world serves as confirmation of our unique character.

Many of our neighboring states resisted change in the face of adversity. Rather than adapt to an unavoidable economic reality, they instead chose to cling to the final piece of the industrial economic pie while anxiously awaiting it’s resurgence. There’s nothing wrong with such a decision, but it is simply not the Hoosier way.

The Hoosier way is to accept the reality of unavoidable change and adapt to the circumstances, so we are setup to thrive far into the future. Which is why the decision you make on election day is of the upmost importance.

There are three choices on your ballot for Governor: Republican Eric Holcomb, Democrat John Gregg, and Libertarian Rex Bell.

Having had the luxury of getting to spend some time with each of the men vying to be our next Governor, I can say they are all honest competent men with differing views about the most effective way to lead our state into the future.

Mr. Holcomb is not a politician, which is probably why he has such low name recognition among voters and why he trails Mr. Gregg in the polls despite being the Republican nominee in an overwhelmingly Republican state. He’s spent a lifetime behind the scenes in Republican politics and is in every way a technician, rather than politician. That isn’t a bad thing for Hoosier voters, but what is bad, is the fact that should be win, he’d be beholden to his party rather than Hoosier voters since he’d owe his election to his party.

Anyone who remembers Governor Pence’s RFRA debacle will see why being indebted to your party is a terrible situation, one that invites a black eye on our reputation of hospitality and toleration.

Mr. Gregg is a politician’s politician. He is not a bad man, just someone whose spent a lifetime perfecting a folksy and relatable demeanor for the purposes of winning elections and obtaining power. His track record as Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives under Governor Evan Bayh was poor when judged by any benchmark of fiscal management or social and civil equality for homosexuals and minorities.

He claims to have evolved his positions on such issues, but the problem with trusting a polician’s politician, is that he will go wherever the wind blows. A Gregg administration would not represent leadership into the future, but revisiting the failures from his and our past.

Lastly, that brings me to the Libertarian candidate Rex Bell. I must admit that my opinions on Rex are partial since I’m lucky enough to be able to call him a friend. However, friend or not, there are certain things about Rex and his beliefs that are impermeable to partiality.

Rex Bell is a man of a different era. He’s a throwback to a time when terms like honor, civic duty, and selflessness were held up as aspirational virtues in our society, rather than comedic punchlines of the politically cynical and apathetic.

In an era of John Stewart and Bill Maher, Rex Bell is a Walter Kronkite or Edward R. Murrow. An honorable man pursuing higher office out of a sense of duty, rather than desire for personal gain.

In my opinion, he represents a modern day version of Plato’s philosopher-king, if only due to the fact he had little desire to run for governor, yet agreed to only after many others asked him to heed their call.

Rex Bell doesn’t seek power or control over your life, he simply wishes to protect your right to live your life in anyway you so choose, so long as it does not prevent or inhibit another Hoosier ‘s ability to do the same.

A Bell administration would be one where government would not be used as a tool to force policies on communities, but one where communities would be given the authority and support to address the issues they face on a daily basis.

Governor Bell would fulfill his constitutionally granted powers right up to the letter of the law, but no further. Hoosiers would never have to worry about a political party or special interest group coming between their rights under the law and the application of justice they would receive. Governor Bell, in every way, would seek to uphold and enforce blind justice for every Hoosier while limiting the government’s ability to intrude into Hoosier wallets, bedrooms, classrooms, and communities.

Governor Bell would limit government so that rather than being in the way of a rapidly changing economic and social reality, it would be readily adaptable to change. An effective government rather than an encumbersome one. A vote for Mr. Holcomb or Mr. Gregg and their respective parties, is a vote for the tried and tired policies of the past. A vote for Rex Bell is a vote for new solutions to our yet to be solved problems.

When you walk into the polls on November 8, remember that the primary difference between Libertarian Rex Bell and his opponents, is that they are pursuing office because they believe they know what is best for Hoosiers, while Rex readily admits he does not and nor will he allow government to tell you it does.

Rex may or may not win on election day, but if he does not, he’ll thank all his supporters for their efforts, drive right back to Hagerstown in his pick up truck, kiss his wife Susan (the Hagerstown Town Judge) goodnight, and get a good night’s sleep so that in the morning he can put on his boots and go right back to running Bell Contracting and continuing to fight for the liberty of his fellow Hoosiers.

That is who Rex Bell is, and that is what he does. He’s hospitable toward all that he meets, kindly tolerates all whom oppose him, and humbly goes on about his business while continuing to champion the liberties of each and every one of his Hoosier neighbors.

Libertarian candidate for Governor, Rex Bell, is a Hoosier through and through. He personifies that which is best in all of us and that, is why he is the right choice on election day.

 

Lenz: America’s Time For Choosing

Good evening,

Tonight a great many of you probably watched the third and final debate in the 2016 Presidential election between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. While some of you may have watched with a genuine interest in using the debate as a basis for which candidate to cast a vote in support of on election day, a vast majority of you tuned in for the purposes of trying to decide whether either of them are worthy of the time required to drive to the polling center and wait in line on election day.

Perhaps even more depressing is the fact an even smaller number of you undoubtedly watched with the intent of deciding who to vote against on November 8. Such is the state of the final chapter in American politics.

I say final chapter because one would certainly hope an election between tonight’s debate participants represents the last time my fellow countrymen are willing to swallow such an unpalatable choice in deciding our nation’s future. You see, America isn’t easy.

A federal democratic republic with the ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic diversity of ours is incredibly rare and perhaps beyond historical comparison. In more ways than one, we are an exception to the course of human history. American exceptionalism is an oft repeated, yet frequently misunderstood phrase in America politics.

An exception is a rare deviation from the rule. The rule in question that America deviates from, is the rule that man is unfit to rule his or herself. The rule of nations in human history has been the belief that laws, and their enforcement, are best entrusted to a governing class of elites claiming to know best.

This class of individuals, out of a well intended, yet perversely distorted sense of civic duty and public service, take it upon themselves to rule over the ignorant masses. If there were any question as to whether or not Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump represent the governing class who believe you and I are a part of the ignorant masses they feel compelled to rule over, look at their own words:

“I alone can fix it”-Donald J. Trump

“Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”-Hillary Clinton

Trump sees America and its citizens as something he, and he alone, can fix on our behalf. He remembers when America was great, and lucky for us, he possesses the ability to take us back there.

Hillary has such little respect for the Americans who, for no other reason than their preference for her opponent, are irredeemable. As if that were not enough of a disqualification, she feels entitled to decide which of us are and are not a part of America. Again, we should be so lucky she is here to save us from our deplorable neighbors…

Hillary, when asked why she wasn’t leading the polls by 50 points, was utterly baffled and in admitting so, exposed just how certain she is that she knows best for each one of us. Make no mistake, she could be leading by 50 points if she had only taken the time to listen to President Obama’s speech at her nominating convention when he said,

“We (Americans) don’t look to be ruled”

In my opinion those words, more so than any other spoken during this election, perfectly encapsulate what it means to be an American.

The desire to rule ourselves is the sentiment our 240 year old country was birthed in. When the brave American revolutionaries decided the right to rule themselves was a fight worthy of death, they forever imprinted self-rule upon the soul of each American born thereafter.

Which brings me back to the choice each of us face on November 8. I am a Libertarian and I say that without apology or a desire to influence your vote for President. Two term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is my party’s nominee and I will not lie to you about his chance of winning, he will not. I may disagree with how he presents libertarianism, his campaign’s strategy, and his message to an American electorate desperately searching for an alternative to Trump and Hillary, but I will tell you this, he is as honest and as accomplished of an individual as you will ever meet.

He is completely capable of handling the office of the President, and should you choose to support him with your vote, you will never have to worry that your vote was wasted or that somehow your refusal to vote against the two major party candidates allowed the other side to win.

A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for the qualified executive with a track record of verifiable success and a governing philosophy that most closely resembles the shared American desire of the right to rule ourselves. In every sense, Gary Johnson is a great American and patriot. If only due to his unflinching belief that you are best suited to decide how to live your life, so long as it does not harm or prevent my right to live mine.

Even though your vote may not propel Gary Johnson to the Presidency, it will be a warning shot to those who believe they know best. That shot will be the necessary reminder that their days are numbered and America’s time for choosing is here. We do not look to be ruled, we are the rulers.

No longer will we tolerate the lesser of two evils and the tired policies they peddle which have lead us to this time for choosing. This election has lacked substance and vision. Trump’s vision is backwards and Hillary’s is a repeat of the last 8 years.

8 years of gridlock and kicking the can down the road to the next person. Part of what makes America so incredible is its ability to handle dire circumstances like economic depression and the rise evil ideologies like Hitler’s national socialism. We adapt and defeat, we do not ignore and avoid. We are a county of action that creates the future rather than accepting it.

If you want to see what Hillary’s vision is, look at Japan. Economic stagnation, debt, and the creeping realization in the mind of each citizen that their best days are behind them. Each of you reading that should be gagging at the thought of such a bleak future because as an American, the second most universally shared belief behind the right to rule ourselves, is the belief the future is ours for the making and while yet to be written, it is shining off in the horizon as we will it into creation.

My name is on no ballot, nor should it be. But in the absence of a compelling vision for our shared future by any candidate in this election, here is the one I believe each of us deserve.

When I look at America I see a people so thirsty for leadership, they’ll drink the sand from the mirage of Making America Great Again.

I see a people so tired of gridlock and unfulfilled promises, they’ve grown apathetic of their right to vote.

I see a people desperate for new answers to old problems, they are finally willing to support a third party candidate just enough that he nearly made the Presidential debates. THAT is why I’m a Libertarian and you should vote for one on election day. Your growing support for new answers gives me great hope that in our time for choosing, the choice will be ours and not the powers that be in the Democratic and Republican parties.

Libertarianism is an idea whose time has come and one most closely resembling our shared belief in the right to rule ourselves.

We can end the drug war and the devastating effect it has had on urban communities. We can heal the broken bond between citizens and law enforcement officers.

We can stop funding endless middle eastern wars where you and I enable the killing of innocent women and children whose only crime was being born into a Hellish situation.

We can stop propping up genocidal dictators with foreign aid who are favorable to our interests and start spending that money on our children here.

Would you rather kill an innocent Syrian 8 year old or put an iPad in your child’s hand with the most advanced educational software available?

Will we allow the slow descent into economic decline and adjust our expectations downward or will we reinvigorate our economy and grow ourselves out of the slavery of our debt burden?

Will we accept our fate or invent the one within our grasp?

This is America’s time for choosing. It is time to choose whether you wish to be ruled or rule yourself.

It is time to choose whether or not the lives of the brave men and women who came before us and offered the choice of self-rule, in the face of certain treasonous death, will be honored with your vote on election day.

Some reading this may not be ready to “switch sides” and vote for Gary Johnson, even though they have little stomach for Trump or Hillary.

That is okay. You may never become a Libertarian and that is fine as well.

But when you step in that election booth and hold your nose, or you complain to friends about having to decide between the two major party candidates, know that there are brave individuals out there still fighting for our foundational and universally shared belief that every American voter has the right to live their life in the manner they so choose.

I assure you, we will not quit regardless of your willingness to be ruled by Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. We are patriots.

We are THE great Americans.

We are the torch bearers of America’s founding ideals and because of that, will continue to uphold your right to life, liberty, and our shared pursuit of happiness.

We are the ones who have decided you are worth it, regardless of your willingness to say the same. No matter how dark the day, nor how insurmountable the opponent, we would rather die standing up, than live on our knees. Why?

THAT belief, is what America was founded upon and that is why at America’s time for choosing, we will choose Libertarian.

A choice, an idea, and a moment in our nation’s history whose time have come.

Lenz: Selfie Culture and The Devastating Effect of Narcissism on a Free Society

Donald Trump Narcissist

The 2016 Presidential Election, regardless of your disdain for Donald. J. Trump or Hillary Clinton, is a rare glimpse of unfettered access into the mind of the American voter.

When measured in the aggregate, the mind of the American voter becomes a complex and diverse representation of the collective American psyche. In considering that, the looming question one fears to ask after this front row seat inside the mind of American society is:

Are the leaders of a society a reflection of itself?

As an American voter, could such a mortifying discovery possibly be true?

While the question of whether or not a society’s leaders are a reflection of it, is critically important to understand, discerning whether or not such a question is true is of little importance. There are simply too many factors involved in order to accurately decide whether the nominees of the two major parties in the United States are a collective reflection of the voters they seek to lead.

However, what is true, and most uncomfortable to acknowledge, is the fact that their nominations are an accurate commentary on the current state of American culture and the growth of narcissism in society.

A reality television star as the Presidential nominee of a major US political party whose career and wealth were built upon a willingness to indiscriminately self-promote both successes and calamitous failure to a media he admittedly sought to manipulate for the intention of turning his last name into a luxury lifestyle brand, represents the stark realization that narcissism in American culture has arrived and it may be here to stay.

Donald J. Trump as the nominee of the Republican Party represents a sound metric for psychologists, sociologists and political scientists awaiting the effect on society where every millennial school child was told they too could become President. Is it a coincidence that childhood Presidential aspirations when combined with adolescent years where the widespread prevalence of internet access and social networks allowing the ability to curate a digital version of ideal self to all onlookers, lead to the rampant growth of narcissism in American culture?

When one considers it from that perspective, it seems rather inevitable Donald J. Trump would become the nominee of a major United States political party.

What is narcissism? 

“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.” (Mayo Clinic)

What are the traits of narcissism?

“If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.

Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not want to think that anything could be wrong — doing so wouldn’t fit with your self-image of power and perfection. People with narcissistic personality disorder are most likely to seek treatment when they develop symptoms of depression — often because of perceived criticisms or rejections.” (Mayo Clinic)

The Continuum of Narcissism

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Undoubtedly, some may be reading this and begin to question if they are a narcissist. Do not worry, it is entirely healthy to feel the need for external validation. Acceptance and appreciation by others is a natural and necessary element of psychological development, so just because you may have read through the list of traits above and identified with several or many, it is highly unlikely you have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

If you want to be sure, just try and remember a time when you felt bad for someone in your personal life while they were going through a difficult situation or period of time. The ability to empathize with others is what differentiates between someone with narcissistic traits and a personality disorder. As long as you can “feel” another person’s “feels” you are completely normal and have nothing to worry about.

How Does Social Media Perpetuate Narcissism?

Social Media, like any other form of communication, is neither a good or bad thing for society as a whole. As with all tools, it is their use which determines the beneficial or detrimental effect. Admiration, praise, recognition, and appreciation have always been a part of the human experience. However, in pre-social media society, external validation was neither immediately accessible nor quantifiable through the measuring of likes, shares, or praise via a comment or status update of another user.

In a world without social media, praise was given on a personal basis through the written or spoken word, or in a public setting through awards, banquets, or publicly available sources of media communication (newspapers, television, or radio).

In the world as it exists today, public recognition and external validation are readily available at all times. The only deterrent in today’s society being Facebook’s upload speed on a user’s latest selfie.

An abundance of supply for those seeking external validation creates a near insatiable demand for those whose self-worth is dependent upon it. When a readily available supply of validation is combined with society’s voyeuristic tendencies, the collective effect results in an inevitable collective change in what a society deems worthy of praise.

In a world where external validation is limited to those who control the means of communication, recognition is limited to the few whose achievements are deemed worthy due to their uniqueness. In a pre-social media world, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin drew the highest ratings on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. In a post-social media world, Kim Kardashian and Donald J. Trump command the highest ratings.

Did social media cause this societal shift in taste? No, it simply accelerated the shift in a rapid fashion.

Social media’s ability to provide instantaneous external validation provided the perfect tool for altering our society’s preferences in the marketplace for attention.  Previously, we rewarded those who had achieved or accomplished a specific feat in their given field.

Today, we reward an individual’s ability to command the attention of others with our attention. Society at some point decided it preferred fame over field expertise and breakthrough. In doing so, it unknowingly created a self-perpetuating incentive/reward system where external validation is both the behavior and the reward.

What does such a stark realization mean for the future of society and what does this have to do with libertarianism and its growth?

The real danger of an increasingly narcissistic culture is the change in psychological composition of our society. When narcissists outnumber the empathetic, those who have an ability to bear the pain of others, and are willing sacrifice their own short-term self-interest in order to assist those they want to help, will simply reach a breaking point. At that breaking point the empathetic will cease helping in the absence of appreciation and validation

A society devoid of empathy and appreciation, is one entirely dependent on government. In the absence of charity, government administered entitlements will continue. When those in need become a mental abstraction, rather than a neighbor experiencing rough times, cynicism and resentment will result. The effects due to a lack of appreciation and validation for empathetic behavior, is already evident in our society.

Schadenfreude is the enjoyment of watching others experience pain. When a society begins enjoying the misery of others, its ability to deliver justice is compromised. Justice and revenge are inextricably linked in the mind of an individual. What makes that dangerous is the fact that we live in a democratic society where access to government, and its relatively unchecked power, are accessible to the wishes of the majority

As things stand right now, our society has yet to become vindictive or vengeful, but the tide is shifting in that direction. One merely needs to observe how revenge is replacing justice in the media. Media outlets endlessly search to expose false idols, regardless of whether or not revenge is warranted. Court rooms are being replaced with sensationalized 24 hour news cycles without a right to trial before a jury of peers.

When one stops to consider the amplifying effect herd behavior and a mob mentality have on otherwise rational individuals, it is disturbingly easy to imagine a situation where an angry mob of vengeful voters become the majority in control of administering a system of revenge, rather than justice. Justice requires empathy, where as revenge often lacks rationality or reason.

In such a disaster scenario, a government with increasingly unchecked power in virtually every area of an individual’s personal life becomes a fatal threat to any and all standing in opposition to a scorned majority thirsting for revenge and satiated by the pain of others.

Anyone familiar with the famous Stanford University “Prison Guard Experiment” or second set of Nuremberg trials will understand how rational individuals in an environment surrounded by those on “their side”, and in possession of the power and tools of enforcement, so readily abandon reason and tolerate atrocity.

The necessity of empathy during the process of determining and administering justice serves as the foundation of a free society. In a society where revenge replaces justice, a systemic collapse in institutional trust begins. It is in that exact moment that civil unrest starts. Chaos from unrest results in a society in search of security delivered by mandatory order. Individual freedoms are tossed to the wayside.

Will the selfie cause the collapse of a free society? No.

Societal values do not change overnight, and while the prevalence of narcissism is rising, those with the capacity to empathize for others still outnumber those who cannot. Will that always be the case?

One would certainly hope so, but the nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee should serve as an alarming wake up call about the current state of American society and what it values.

Empathy is the foundation of humanity. Every time you reward a new selfie with an unearned like or public compliment, you are reinforcing a societal belief that vanity is preferable to substantive achievement.

You are reinforcing the idea that an individual’s ability to command attention is more valuable than their ability to empathize. As the ability to empathize becomes less and less desirable, narcissism will be the result. The result being a society of individuals with a grandiose sense of self and corresponding entitlement.

Should that collective sense of entitlement take hold, so too will an expectation of special treatment where rules and justice need not be applied. The narcissist cannot be expected to be held accountable to the rules. Rules are for the average, not the special.

Narcissism is growing in our society and we are witnessing its corrosive effect. For Libertarians, the spread of narcissism results in a world of ever growing unrighted wrongs. A world of fewer acts of compassion and kindness for those in need. A world where in the absence of empathy, the cold and impersonal hand of government will be turned to in pleas for help.

Empathy is to liberty, as narcissism is to government. The more it is demonstrated, the more it grows. The only thing standing in the way of narcissism’s accelerating appearance in society, is our society’s willingness to empathize with one another and reward it’s demonstration with the recognition it so rightly deserves.

Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, for Libertarians and society alike, our times demand, such, a state of mind.

10.02.2016 We Are Libertarians Daily News

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Lenz: Gary Johnson In The Arena

“If you don’t vote that’s a vote for Trump. If you vote for a 3rd party candidate that’s a vote for Trump…”

-President Barack Obama to Steve Harvey, September 28, 2016

When historians, political scientists, and sociologists undertake their research into the 2016 Presidential election, September 28, 2016 will signify the beginning of a new era in American Politics. Academics will identify that day as the day the two-party system, dominated by Republicans and Democrats, for the first time felt threatened by the previously amusing third-party little guys…

The Libertarian Party and their Presidential candidate former two-term New Mexico, Governor Gary Johnson, as well as Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein, have crossed the threshold from benign threats, to political players with electoral currency. President Obama, in advising Americans against casting a vote for third-party candidates, unintentionally revealed the desperate hand of the two major parties. While so many third-party supporters justifiably rejoiced upon hearing the President’s words, any celebration should be short lived.

The dilemma with going from occasional nuisance to a legitimate threat by appealing to voters looking for a candidate either fiscally conservative or who is a committed environmentalist with a message of anti-corruption, is obstructing Hillary Clinton from her rightful claim to the divine right of kings.

It is one thing to steal votes from the Republican candidate, it is quite another to obstruct the anointment of her majesty. Such an outcome cannot be allowed, and therefore the media have turned from cordial yet dismissive inquisitors probing the beliefs of third party candidates, into attack dogs salivating at the opportunity to expose any threat as an unqualified radical with dangerous ideas.

Just as September 28, 2016 represents the beginning of a new era in American politics, it also signified the end of questions to Libertarian candidates about prostitution and marijuana…

Gone are the days when the press found Ron Paul to be a lovable, cranky political novelty. It was much easier for the press to laugh along with the audience when Paul would wave his hands in the air and lecture them about the crippling economic effects of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies. The press and two major parties used to laugh along without anxiety during Paul’s claims of libertarianism’s growth while emphatically declaring “It’s Happening!”

Yet, now that it actually is…their laughs fall silent.

The stakes have been raised and policy based “gotcha” questions are the new normal.

Third-party candidates are not ready for this type of media exposure and vetting. Gary Johnson’s “What is Aleppo?” moment, his inability to name a single potential cabinet member on 60 Minutes, and his failure to name a foreign leader he respects when asked by Chris Matthews, are evidence of the antagonistic environment awaiting third-party candidates.

As with all things, that is both good and bad. It is good in that it signifies the media is taking third-party candidates serious enough to apply the same (if not unfairly higher) vetting process.

It is bad in that every gaffe, incorrect pronunciation, or brain fart will be played on an endless loop in the media in order to brand that individual as a cheap parlor trick with some interesting ideas, yet wholly unqualified for the office of the Presidency.

Whether one loves such treatment, hates it, or complains about it, all that is left to do is embrace it.

All the calls for fair treatment will fall on deaf media ears. The instinct of those who support third-party candidates will be to protect their candidate by pointing out the deficiencies of candidates from the two-major parties. That is a losing strategy, and in time, one that will become monotonous and grating to the ears of voters who are disgusted with politics as usual.

These disgruntled voters want a hopeful dream filled with new answers. They want to hear inspirational rhetoric grounded in concrete plans promising a brighter future just beyond the horizon.

Third-party supporters must accept these higher standards. Failing to accept them will result in the evaporation of everything they have sacrificed and worked for through the years. Like it or not, the Office of the Presidency and its vetting process, is determined by a media class whose questions and concerns are poorly suited to a philosophical framework like libertarianism. Libertarians believe in non-intervention, so naturally foreign policy questions would be of less relevance to Governor Johnson than questions related to civil liberty issues. However, the majority of voters will never listen long enough to grasp such a nuance.

Johnson has to accept that as Commander-in-Chief, he will have to have an easy to understand foreign policy framework, supported by experts, and crafted through media class approved advisers. He must tell voters his foreign policy plan is to stop offering American soldiers up to terrorists as target practice. He will bring the troops home, he will end our financially exhausting forays into parts of the world where the U.S. has to decide between backing Al Qaeda or the Islamic State, like in Syria.

Third-party candidates can no longer afford to run as mesagging arms of their nominating parties. Criticizing the stupidity of the major parties is great for a sound bite, but it will do nothing to win votes and create a perception as a viable alternative to those looking for answers and an inspiring vision. As a visionary leader once said,

Third-party candidates, and their parties, have been waiting for their moment in the arena. On September 28, 2016, President Barack Obama formally extended an invitation to the Libertarian Party and Governor Johnson.

Johnson is now the man in the arena.

His ability to undergo the vetting process, with higher standards than his major party opponents, will determine the growth of third parties. More importantly, should he successfully navigate the process, it will forever change the perception of third-parties in the American psyche from “cute also rans” into “viable third options“.

This is THE moment, it is a time for choosing for Gary Johnson and his supporters. Will Governor Johnson and his supporters play the game as it is? Or complain about double standards and unfair treatment?

It remains to be seen, but his supporters have been anxiously awaiting this moment, and their tireless efforts deserve to be rewarded. The standard is not perfection, it is at a bare minimum, the assumption by Johnson that he is going to win.

If Gary Johnson, and third-party candidates alike, shift their mindset from exposure to success, they will start EARNING votes, rather receiving them from loyal supporters and by those cast in protest to the status quo. Johnson’s struggles are not due to a lack of competence, but rather a lack of preparation.

When Gary starts operating as if Jan. 20, 2017 is his first day on the job, a time when his political capital will be the highest offering him his best chance at putting into plan the set of legislative and regulatory reforms he ran on, his gaffes and perception of disinterest in the rest of the world would go away.

The moment he behaves as the inevitable president-elect, is the same moment voters will begin believing he possesses the knowledge and experience necessary to be Commander-in-Chief.

In that moment he will earn votes when he announces a cabinet full of credible experts.

In that moment he will earn votes when he presents an extensive plan for leading the country and reforming government in a way that closely resembles his libertarian philosophy, which he successfully communicated to the very voters responsible for propelling him into office.

On September 28, 2016 a new era of American politics was created when the President of the status quo formally recognized the “potential” threat third parties and their candidates pose. The question that remains is will “potential threats” transition into results?

It remains to be seen, and it entirely hinges upon the transition from being the critic to being criticized.

So rather than criticizing the unfair standards of the status quo, it is time to stand in the arena and skillfully defeat the litany of critics awaiting Governor Johnson. He is the man in the arena, and as such, he should be expected to prepare in such a fashion. How high are the stakes?

It will determine whether he, and the party he was nominated by, rejoin the audience of critics, or are pointed to by historians as the man who overthrew the status quo and lead America into a new era.