Taking the long term view on a policy agenda

After reading this editorial warning against perfection being the enemy of the good, I am convinced that we conservatives could learn a lot from Leftists in terms of political strategy and taking the long view of how to implement an agenda. Far too often, conservatives take an “all or nothing” approach that is self-defeating.

Let me use a sports analogy. You are on first down with ten yards to go, on your own twenty yard line, on the first play of the game. Is it better to throw four “hail Mary” passes for an immediate touchdown, or would it be better to try a mix of running and passing to gain a few yards at a time and advance down the field? Virtually no one would advise going for broke in that situation. But we conservatives do that legislatively all the time.

Look at the anti-smoking movement as an example of a strategy we could emulate but often do not. In 1970, it would have been unthinkable that there would be bans on smoking in “public places” in cities all across this nation, and anyone who suggested that a local government anywhere would even consider banning smoking in your private vehicle would have been dismissed as a lunatic. But they chipped away at smoking a little bit at a time, taking a long-term view. Had the anti-smoking movement attempted to implement what we have today in one single step in 1970, it would have never happened. Because they take the long view, smoking is much more restricted than it otherwise would have been.

By and large, the anti-abortion movement has followed this pattern. The goal is ultimately abolition of abortion, to grant all unborn babies full protection under the law. There are a few purists here and there, but the anti-abortion movement as a whole understands that this is a generational battle where we can save a few lives at a time on the way to saving all of them. But when it comes to fiscal discipline and limited government, conservatives often have no patience for a long-term political strategy to accomplish the goal of a smaller, less intrusive government.

The reality is that in Washington from 2011 to 2014, we only had one house of Congress, so any productive legislation to shrink the budget deficit (much less shrinking government as a whole) must go through a Senate controlled by Democrats and a President who is also a Democrat. Even with controlling both houses, Republicans still have to deal with filibusters and the threat that Barack Obama will veto anything that goes farther than he is willing to go. But conservative activists (especially the Tea Party) do not want to recognize the realities of Washington and complain that any compromise is “selling out” to Obama and the Democrats.

Now, could Republicans be more confrontational, and more aggressive in pursuing the agenda? Absolutely. I have often thought they should be more assertive, especially in stopping what Obama is doing through executive orders and so forth. Republicans could definitely get more accomplished if they would blink a lot less often. But the political realities of Washington are what they are, and we need to be realistic in what the Republicans in Congress are able to accomplish with the power they have.

If we knew then what we know now…

The question making the rounds of Republican candidates for President in 2016 is whether they would have supported the war in Iraq. A common theme is that if we knew then what we know now, the decision would have been different. But here is the problem: Even if what we thought we knew then turned out to be true, the war was still a bad idea and should not have been fought.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and we may not know the real impact of the Iraq war for a generation. This is because the effects of that war are still forming and will be for at least the next few years. What we see in ten or twenty years may be completely different from what we see today. But if we’re really interested in avoiding the mistakes of the Iraq war, we need to challenge the assumptions we (and I do mean we, because I was a supporter of the war from 2003 to 2008) made that led us into this armed conflict and “regime change.”

The first faulty assumption is that we are supposed to be the world’s policeman and that we should project American military power to restrain, punish or eliminate bad actors from the world stage. President Obama made the exact same assumptions when he used military force in 2011 to force “regime change” in Libya that President Bush made in 2002 and 2003. (Assumptions that were supported by Hillary Clinton.) That does not make us a nation or even a leader among nations – that makes us an empire. We should not be an empire.

The second faulty assumption is that Saddam Hussein could not be contained. We have dealt with evil regimes with weapons of mass destruction for generations, going back to the Soviet Union after World War II. We have never seen our enemies use WMD against us because they know the consequences of doing so would be too horrible to contemplate. Even if Saddam had or was seeking WMD (including nuclear weapons) he was not stupid enough to use them and bring the nuclear wrath of these United States down upon him.

What we should do is embrace nonaggression as the cornerstone of our foreign policy. War should only be used in the case of a direct attack on our national security interests, and even then it should always be the last resort. We had to go to war with Japan and Afghanistan, for example, because those nations directly attacked us at Pearl Harbor and in New York City. Iraq represented no such threat. Our war in Iraq was a preemptive war to stop a possible threat in the future, and now we are dealing with the consequences of that decision.

If we want to repeat the mistakes of Iraq, looking at it through the lens of hindsight will never accomplish that goal. Only by completely changing our perspective, our assumptions and our basic foreign policy strategery can we avoid making that same mistake again.

Latest insanity from the Left: Abolish the family


Taking radical egalitarianism to an absolutely absurd extreme, one radical academic is actually musing that in order to increase equality, we should consider abolishing the family. (I shared some especially frightening quotes from the article on social media.) You see, it is simply not fair that some children grow up with intact families who provide an education, training in manners, and various other things. Some children don’t have these advantages, so it is not fair that others do.

Waah. Let me get my violin.

If we lived in a sane world, people like Adam Swift would be laughed at, mocked and ridiculed by everyone until they were too humiliated to ever say something that stupid ever again. Sadly, we do not live in a sane world, because this idiot is actually a college professor. It is true that in order to believe some things that are just outrageously stupid, you have to be “educated” at a modern university, and Swift (who is really not all that swift) is a perfect example of this phenomenon.

Look. True egalitarianism is impossible. Even if we were to embrace this Stalinist proposal, we would still not have complete equality. This is because people are different. Men and women are different, and each individual is different. Even if I dedicated myself at a young age to being the best basketball player I could possibly be given my natural ability, I would never be as good as LeBron James. I would never play in the NBA or Division 1 college basketball. Is it “unfair” that I topped out at 5’10” while James is 6’8″? No. It’s life.

In a sane world, the question would not be how to take away “unfair” advantages from “privileged” children and morons who propose anything of the sort would be shamed into silence. The question would be how we help disadvantaged children who are growing up in poverty and broken homes. Instead of pulling down the top (which ultimately does not, cannot and will never benefit those at the bottom) we should be looking at how to help those at the bottom. For example, what can we do to motivate all parents to read to their children?

But, you see, Communists are not interested in prosperity for everyone. They are interested in “fairness” and “equality” by any means necessary. One only need to look at the tens of millions of dead bodies left in the wake of tyrants like Stalin and Mao to see how far Communists are willing to go to enforce their evil agenda. Swift is just another in a long line of evil men advancing this completely discredited and genocidal agenda.

He must never be allowed to succeed.

Obama sacrifices safety to Political Correctness

Since Barack Obama’s Food and Drug Administration has liberalized the policy banning blood donations from men who have sex with men, it is worth revisiting the archives as a reminder of how dangerous this politically motivated policy is.

Obama should be ashamed of himself for what he is doing here.

Three unrelated issues

♣ Here is an editorial by George Will on “free range parenting,” and the legal trouble parents of “free range kids” can find themselves in. Those of us in Generation X and older would definitely have seen our parents in jail for letting us have the freedom we had, and the ironic thing is that statistically children are much safer than our cultural expectations would have you believe.

There is a role for the state in ensuring children are not neglected, but where that line should be drawn is not always clear. That said, the state should not be micromanaging parental choices in how much independence they give their children. In the vast majority of cases, the civil magistrate should defer to parental authority.

♣ The horror of prison rape continues, and the New York Times’ account of Joshua Zollicoffer’s treatment in prison is just awful. Government at all levels needs to do more to protect the inmates in their care. While the federal government’s efforts to bring states into compliance with the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act does raise overreach concerns, the feds do have an interest in making sure prisoners even in state prisons get equal protection under the law as required by the Fourteenth Amendment.

♣ The idea of a bad cop registry is a good one, but it is unusual for a libertarian to be advocating that the federal government create and/or maintain the database. The federal government does not have the authority under the Constitution to create such a program. States, however, can cooperate to improve the hiring practices in police departments and keep bad apples from getting hired in the first place.

Students for Concealed Carry Foundation — Money Bomb!

I am donating space on the blog today today to promote the SFCCF money bomb.

Today is the money bomb to officially launch Students for Concealed Carry Foundation!

Students for Concealed Carry Foundation will be supporting students who protest being disarmed on campus, providing them with studies to better make their arguments when defending their rights, and take up litigation when necessary.

We also plan to have expansive education programs, from teaching students about their rights, to providing them with training on the actual handling of firearms.

Help us help students around the country as they stand up for their rights to protect themselves.

All donations up to $20,000 will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous donor, so there has never been a better time to make the most of your donation.

Our goal for the day is $6,000. So if 600 people across the nation were to donate just $10 a piece, our goal would be met.

Also, our top 5 largest donors will be contacted to vote on which initiative we will fund first. This is a great way to make your voice heard in the organization you are supporting.

To donate, visit http://sccfund.org/donate/


Students for Concealed Carry Foundation