on civility

One wonders how in the world this got past the “fact checkers” at the Washington Post.

Trump Country, it turns out, is more tolerant than the left

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on Bill Maher’s disappointment

Bill Maher expressed hope for a recession so that Donald Trump would lose the presidency. It seems he’ll be disappointed for awhile.

U.S. consumer spending accelerating; labor market robust

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on trade, tariffs, and trade wars

Here’s a bit of information from Bloomberg:

The U.S. levies just a 2.5 percent tax on cars imported from Germany and other European Union members, compared with a 10 percent charge on American cars sent to Europe.

Since the G-7 meetings in Canada last week there’s been a lot of consternation about President Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on imports. He highlighted pretty high Canadian tariffs on dairy imports, ~270%. That was news to me.

I’m for free trade. Every economist in the West is for free trade. Yet somehow trade barriers in the form of tariffs on imports persist across the Atlantic and, ironically enough, in the NAFTA zone. I’m sure there are all sorts of arguments about relative merits and relative economic growth and power that are used to explain these, but as soon as statistics like these, e.g., “270% on dairy” or “4x higher on cars”, start to become known, the average middle class person is going to object to the status quo.

So good on President Trump for bringing these things into the discussion. I hope there’s a way they might be mitigated.

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on the endurance of the West

Many have noted the 40th anniversary of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s address at Harvard University’s commencement. In this period of political upheaval in the United States, his themes are worth reviewing.

The speech and a translation are here.

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Quote of the day

Trumpism and popular movements in Europe are simply symptoms of another problem—that what the ruling elite said was true was often a lie.

Victor Davis Hanson

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on dividing lines

I have endeavored to be cautious online in a lot of ways. It’s mostly the memory of the early days of the internet when DSL began to take hold but there wasn’t a lot of robust security, and hackers had a period of easy pickings. I’ve never gotten over that sense.

Personal security online remains a big deal; LifeLock exists for a reason. But now social media has seen the rise of another concern, personal destruction resulting from an outraged online mob.

Rosanne Barr’s defenestration after her tweet about Valerie Jarrett isn’t really what I have in mind; Rosanne is a well-known celebrity, and her tweet was intentionally provocative. Justine Sacco is the model here: a private individual posting something not intended to provoke to a handful of followers that someone with a media presence and following uses to whip up enough outrage that her personal life is ripped to shreds, with no useful benefit sought by her attackers, only the thrill of destroying someone.

The new stage involves the Huffington Post, a woman on Twitter who was anonymous until doxxed, and her husband who was fired from an unrelated job, even though he had no apparent involvement in his wife’s Twitter use. This is madness.

This hardening of dividing lines in culture and the willingness to destroy random people is the theme of this cri de couer from Megan Fox. As @polimath on Twitter notes, everyone thinks they’re losing and threatened with extermination, but the critical mass for this sort of thing does create momentum on the Left in a way not available to the Right. What’s going to be troubling is the tactics and tools implemented in response, and when that response comes, I doubt people on the Left will be quoting Martin Luther King Jr. to explain the desperation of their actions.

And as always, the protected class described by Peggy Noonan will continue writing, explaining, regulating, and legislating. Some of them might genuinely wonder 1) how to improve things and 2) why their actions aren’t helping. Too many, I suspect, either lack that self awareness or simply enjoy their status and power to act without real concern in a sort of “Après moi le déluge” sort of way. I suspect we live in interesting times.

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on thinking about President Trump

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump as President. I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, either. The night of the election I was persuaded she was likely to win. As the night progressed and the indications became clear that she would lose to Donald Trump, my feelings about the outcome were pleasant, not because I expected him to be a good President but because of relief that what I expected out of a Hillary Clinton administration would not come to pass.

My low expectations of a Trump administration, based on what I know of his stated policy preferences, have had the result that I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. For me two things stand out. The first is the priority the administration has placed on reducing federal government micromanagement and regulation of personal life in the United States. It seems to me that’s contributed to improvement in the economy, which is also nice. The second is his approach to foreign affairs. He seems more restrained than George Bush when it comes to direct engagement in regional conflicts, and he seems less embarrassed to promote U.S. interests than Barack Obama.

How to hold together what I know about the person and what I’ve observed about the President has been a bit of a conundrum for me along with many traditionally conservative people. This essay by Charles Kesler in the Claremont Review of Books has been helpful to that end. It’s long, but I recommend it enthusiastically if you’re feeling the tension between the person and the policies of the President.

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on surveillance of the Trump campaign

Andrew McCarthy summarizes the scandal of opening an counterintelligence investigation on a Presidential campaign. The yawns that will come from the political Left when the reports are released will be very revealing.

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on metaphors about evil

In the exchange below with Bethany Mandel, Harwood is right, obviously, based on literal use of language, but it’s the old problem of taking the President’s words literally instead of seriously.
Unfortunately for Mr. Harwood and his ideological allies in their current fight with President Trump, most citizens recognize that in this particular instance the President was simply using the common vernacular to express his response to a serious problem, a vernacular that is uncontroversial for all but a very limited few, who seem to be congregated in academia and the press.
This is why, barring some extremely dramatic event, Donald Trump will win in 2020.
defending MS 13
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Trump’s success in a nutshell

Victor Davis Hanson reviews a book on Trump written by Conrad Black. In it he includes this paragraph, which is something I’ve increasingly noted.

Black instinctively captures the essence of the Trump paradox: How did someone supposedly so crude, so mercantile, and so insensitive display a sensitivity to the forgotten people that was lost both on his Republican competitors and Hillary Clinton? Certainly, no one on stage at any of the debates worried much about 40 percent of the country written off as John McCain’s “crazies,” Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” and Barack Obama’s “clingers,” who were judged wanting for not capitalizing on the bicoastal dividends of American-led globalism.

President Trump’s comments and demeanor in many of his public appearances and speeches often include references, commendations, and approvals to the sorts of things loved and appreciated by the swath of the citizenry that is increasingly unfamiliar to the erstwhile arbiters of taste who live on the coasts. He appears to genuinely appreciate the denizens of “flyover country” in a way not common in Washington, D.C., over the past 30 years. If the Left doesn’t find a way to promote their policies in a way that can include that sort of appreciation, I don’t see how they can defeat Trump in 2020.

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