Capitalism: Vilified and Misunderestimated

 

Capitalism is justifiably credited with raising the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people around the world, having cut extreme poverty (people living on $1.25 per day) in half.  And yet, the public at large has the opposite image in mind. It is true that the rich have become richer, but the poor have also become richer, though to a lesser degree. The Gap between rich and poor has grown. As a result, income inequality has become the new stanza in this monotonous cacophony of vilification by its opponents. “Corporations are greedy and exploit workers” is the popular refrain on the Left. Liberals want to make the rich poorer in order to make the poor a little richer. Conservatives want a free-market economy that continuously grows so that more people can participate in economic prosperity. Free-market capitalism requires individual freedom and economic freedom along with a minimum of rules and regulations that encourage entrepreneurship and investment opportunities.

An interesting medical case was discussed in my article published on April 15, 2012 in Dubuque’s (Iowa) top newspaper, the Telegraph Herald, touching on the then-current story about catheterization competition between Dubuque’s two hospitals. The prediction by one of a ‘disservice’ to the patient base did not materialize after the Iowa Medical Board decided in favor of competition, though competition was not cited in their reasoning. Press reports a year later showed that both hospitals did well in this exercise of the “invisible hand” of competition.

Why does capitalism have such a bad reputation among the young? As the 2012 article pointed out, capitalism has been blamed for all the terrible government policies since Progressivism (in both parties) took over America. Just because a Republican President decides policy, does not mean it is a “capitalist” decision. Bush 43 admitted that he had to “kill the free market in order to save it”. TARP funds, Wall Street bailouts and industry loans are not part of the capitalist agenda. Bush 43, like Obama, succumbed to Wall Street’s “too big to fail” hat trick, panicking everyone into a stampede over a weekend (!) to bail out Wall Street, while promising to also save Main Street. Of the two streets we know which one is prospering and which one is suffering, still. Capitalist principles have helped more countries raise their standard of living, while foreign aid has maintained the status quo over the years. Countries that adopted some form of capitalism have seen their GDP and living standards rise. Within Latin America, Chile adopted a form of capitalism with the help of American economists (Milton Friedman) during the 1970s and remains the top performer in that region.

 

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Immigrant Bashing Vs National Sovereignty

Why this chaos on the border? Illegal immigrants reflect a un-American characteristic, i.e. a fundamental lack of respect for America’s sovereignty and its laws. Democrats during the 1960s figured out that European immigrants were voting mostly Republican, and immigrants from south of the border were voting mostly Democrat. America’s weak enforcement of immigration laws has encouraged millions of Mexicans and Central Americans to buy their “US lottery” ticket and exploit America’s “soft underbelly”.  Of course, the Left is sympathetic to immigrants from poor countries because they represent future Democrat voters. As usual they label any opponents as racist. Democrats like Ted Kennedy and President Johnson argued against the 1920s immigration laws which specified quotas per country. In fact, they called the laws discriminatory because they favored (white) Europeans. So, if indeed those laws were discriminatory, then the current system is also discriminatory because the rules favor Mexicans and Central Americans due to proximity. The Federal Government switched one race for another under the banner of “diversity”.

The very notion of national sovereignty gives a nation the right to decide which immigrants and how many to admit to the country. Apparently, that right has been declared null & void in Mexico and Central America. This is endorsed by the Liberal press but especially the Spanish-speaking media, and in particular News Anchor Jorge Ramos of Univision and Fusion. He calls America the “land for all” which is the English title of his book “Tierra de Todos”. (Everybody’s country). The sub-title makes Ramos’ perspective clear: “Our moment to create a nation of equals”. Ironically, he endorses special privileges for illegal aliens and in fact argues for open borders. Will America in the future look more like Mexico than the United States? This cultural tsunami will continue unless our federal government re-establishes the rule of law. While roaming the migrant crowds at the Guatemala-Mexico border, Ramos points his camera to mothers with children and asks rhetorically if these kids and women represent a “national security threat” to the United States. Interviews show that most of them had jobs back home but are looking for a better paycheck in the US so that they can send funds to support family back home. Democrats and illegal immigrants need to hear JFK’s admonition: ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for the country.

A Tale of Two Immigrants

There could be no bigger disagreement about the nature of America than between these two high-profile immigrants: one from India and one from Mexico. Both are naturalized citizens who came the legal way. Both are prominent in the field of immigration, and each has published over 10 books. Each energizes opposing political segments of the US population.  One is the rigid scholarly type, the other the do-good  journalist armed with heart-warming statistical and anecdotal information.

Jorge Ramos, born in 1958 in Mexico City, is the evening news anchor on Univision, the largest Spanish-language television network in the US. He has been an outspoken critic of US immigration policies and promotes open-borders. He delights in the fact that Latinos will dominate demographics by 2059 and is wondering why we don’t already have a Hispanic President (Is it racist to want a specific race in the White House?) He seems convinced that any of the seven billion people in this world have a right to immigrate to the US if they so choose. He also believes that America “stole” half of Mexico in 1848 and that they are merely re-occupying their land, which the Spanish Conquistadores occupied by force. Furthermore, he insists that America’s “noblesse oblige” reputation and a certain poem on the pedestal of Lady Liberty, obligates it to accept any who are brave enough to come to the US. He did not hesitate to ask President Obama to simply sign an executive order to give legal status to illegal aliens, if not citizenship, reflecting a basic lack of respect for the rule-of-law typical of a socialist nation like Mexico. Ramos likes to point out that he is not White but Latino, conflating race and ethnicity. He is a naturalized American and votes in Mexican and US elections, which is against the spirit of the Oath of Allegiance. While enjoying the reputation as one of the most influential Hispanics, he is a journalist by profession, but practices advocacy journalism, always on the side of the illegal alien and other leftist causes. He influences 3.5 million Hispanics every night on Univision (along with similar opinions for the 1.5 million Hispanics watching Telemundo). The title of one of his latest books, A Country For All, makes it clear that America has no sovereign right to deny entry to anyone, simply because the founding Americans had no entry permission either. The original Spanish version (2009) subtitle states that Hispanics have a chance to turn this nation into a place of equality-for-all. However, the English translation (2010) characterizes the book as “An Immigrant Manifesto”.

Dinesh D’Souza was born in 1961 in Mumbai, India, earned a degree at Dartmouth, and was President of King’s College in New York for a short period. After a stint in the Reagan administration, he became a writer and producer of political documentaries and books such as The Roots of Obama’s Rage, Hillary’s America, The Big Lie and The Death of a Nation. Dinesh investigated Obama’s past in Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii and his attendance at US universities, and exposed the socialist and communist circle of friends and family that raised Obama or groomed him for political office. This unflattering treatment earned him Obama’s wrath by making him the first American to be prosecuted and jailed for the minor offense of exceeding campaign contribution limits. He destroyed the myth about a Republican connection to the KKK. His biggest revelation is the myth that the two parties somehow switched slavery attitudes after the Civil War. The party of Lincoln provided emancipation for America’s slaves and led the way in civil rights legislation which Democrats boycotted for a long time. American Blacks did not switch voting allegiance from Republican to Democrat until FDR’s New Deal (1930s).

Unity-In-Diversity and other Oxymorons

There could be no bigger disagreement about the nature of America than between these two high-profile immigrants: one from India and one from Mexico. Both are naturalized citizens who came the legal way. Both are prominent in the field of immigration, and each has published over 10 books. Each energizes opposing political segments of the US population.  One is the rigid scholarly type, the other the do-good journalist armed with heart-warming statistical and anecdotal information.

Jorge Ramos, born in 1958 in Mexico City, is the evening news anchor on Univision, the largest Spanish-language television network in the US. He also provides commentary on the FUSION network, in English. He has been an outspoken critic of US immigration policies and promotes open-borders. He delights in the fact that Latinos will dominate demographics by 2059 and is wondering why we don’t already have a Hispanic President (Is it racist to want a specific race in the White House?) He seems convinced that any of the seven billion people in this world have a right to immigrate to the US if they so choose. He also believes that America “stole” half of Mexico in 1848 and that they are merely re-occupying their land, which the Spanish Conquistadores occupied by force. Furthermore, he insists that America’s “noblesse oblige” reputation and a certain poem on the pedestal of Lady Liberty, obligates it to accept any who are brave enough to come to the US. He did not hesitate to ask President Obama to simply sign an executive order to give legal status to illegal aliens, if not citizenship, reflecting a basic lack of respect for the rule-of-law typical of a socialist nation like Mexico. Ramos likes to point out that he is not White but Latino, conflating race and ethnicity. He is a naturalized American and votes in Mexican and US elections, which is against the spirit of the Oath of Allegiance. While enjoying the reputation as one of the most influential Hispanics, he is a journalist by profession, but practices advocacy journalism, always on the side of the illegal alien and other leftist causes. He influences 3.5 million Hispanics every night on Univision (along with similar opinions for the 1.5 million Hispanics watching Telemundo). The title of one of his latest books, A Country For All, makes it clear that America has no sovereign right to deny entry to anyone, simply because the founding Americans had no entry permission either. The original Spanish version (2009) subtitle states that Hispanics have a chance to turn this nation into a place of equality-for-all. However, the English translation (2010) characterizes the book as “An Immigrant Manifesto”.

Dinesh D’Souza was born in 1961 in Mumbai, India, earned a degree at Dartmouth, and was President of King’s College in New York for a short period. After a stint in the Reagan administration, he became a writer and producer of political documentaries and books such as The Roots of Obama’s Rage, Hillary’s America, The Big Lie and The Death of a Nation. Dinesh investigated Obama’s past in Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii and his attendance at US universities, and exposed the socialist and communist circle of friends and family that raised Obama or groomed him for political office. This unflattering treatment earned him Obama’s wrath by making him the first American to be prosecuted and jailed for the minor offense of exceeding campaign contribution limits. His scholarly research destroyed the myth about a Republican connection to the KKK. His biggest revelation is the myth that the two parties somehow switched slavery attitudes after the Civil War. The party of Lincoln provided emancipation for America’s slaves and led the way in civil rights legislation which Democrats boycotted for a long time. American Blacks did not switch voting allegiance from Republican to Democrat until FDR’s New Deal (1930s). What has the Democrat Party done for Blacks or any other minority besides taking their vote for granted?

Is there a plan to destroy America?

Is there a plan to destroy America?

 

Former Governor Dick Lamm (D-CO) is still today waking up America to its planned demise.  “All great nations commit suicide”, he stated in 2003 and repeats that statement often.  Judge for yourself. The audio clip with Lamm’s voice articulating a “seven-point plan-to-destroy-America” can be found on this website:  http://www.marklevinshow.com/2018/01/09/former-dem-gov-dick-lamm-on-how-to-destroy-america-3/. It does not take a scholar to recognize the simple strategy to fundamentally transform America using seven specific tactics. First and second tactics: turn America into a multi-lingual and multi-cultural nation, i.e. create a modern “tower of Babel” where nobody understands one another.  European heads of state (Merkel/Germany, Sarkozy/France, Cameron/UK, Cardinal Walter Kasper/Germany) have admitted (2010) that multi-culturalism has been a major failure, yet nothing has changed. Encouraging people to live according to the culture of their heritage and speak its language creates rivalries that may well result in civil war. Integration without assimilation destroys cohesion. Virtually all countries with 2 or more cultures and languages constantly face the threat of a break-up along cultural lines (Belgium, Spain etc). Remember Scotland almost voted itself out of the United Kingdom.

3) Redefine the meaning of words like “diversity”, i.e. celebrate our differences, not our common beliefs and principles. Diversity means dividing people into groups by culture and language. That is why they had to invent the oxymoron “unity in diversity”.  This is like fitting a round peg into a square hole. The original American motto was E PLURIBUS, UNUM, from many (cultures), one (culture) has been reinterpreted to mean that America is many cultures. No country can be more than one culture. None.

4) Keep minorities uneducated, for they will vote for “goodies” from their benefactors in office

5) Have foundations and private organizations fund these efforts to provide a comfortable welfare system that perpetuates itself and keeps them dependent on government.

6) Allow and even encourage dual citizenship so as to weaken loyalty to their adopted country, although the Oath of Allegiance signed by all new immigrant citizens clearly states that they commit to loyalty to the US exclusively. Activist “journalists” like Univision’s Jorge Ramos, brag about their dual citizenship and often vote in US elections and elections of their country of birth. Mexico’s President Zedillo publicly encouraged Mexicans in the US to “vote Mexico’s interests”. “ Of the 35.8 million people of Mexican descent in the U.S., 68 percent are native-born, and more than a quarter of those born in Mexico have become U.S. citizens”

7) Make it taboo to talk about anything except “diversity” as an ideal tool for social and other kinds of justice. Corporations are spending hundreds of millions to “teach” diversity to their managers, yet cannot define what “diversity” is. Do corporate CEOs really want to pick a decision from a diverse group of direct-reports or implement their own best judgment?  “Unity in Diversity” is a fantasy. Emphasizing our differences cannot possibly lead to “unity”.  Harvard Professor and friend of Obama, Robert Putnam got into trouble raising doubts about the usefulness of “diversity”, several years after his famous research into integration and assimilation (Bowling Alone, 2000). His book observed that integration has indeed been happening but without assimilation. We are a community during the week and on the job, but we go our separate ways on weekends. Why, because we have our own cultural preferences. Diversity divides; it does not unite people. Integration without assimilation destroys cohesion. Another professor got into trouble for speaking her (conservative) mind about affirmative action and race relations. Amy Wax (Penn State Law School) was “demoted” by not being allowed to teach a required first-year course because minority students might be offended by her contrarian public opinion. Academic Freedom and Freedom Of Speech on campus are mere historic relics.

Captive Minds and the Academic Chastity Belt

The sad state of Learning in America’s Colleges

Pablum In, Pablum out.

Captive minds protected by an academic chastity belt.  That is the impression that academics leave with the average American.  While they perfunctorily promote the principles of freedom-of-speech and academic-freedom, they are often in contravention of those principles. Just publish your own beliefs about the state of higher learning, and you will be admonished for going off the reservation.  Such was the case of Professors Amy Wax (U. of Philadelphia Law School) and Larry Alexander (U. of San Diego Law School) after their August 9, 2017 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. They had the audacity (or courage) to express their observations about the institution having long ago abandoned those principles in favor of one-opinion-fits-all. The resulting suppression or oppression of thought reminds us of the George Orwell novel “1984” where uniformity and conformity were sacrosanct.

The authors blame the “breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture” for the chaos on campus and Main Street.  Espousing “old” values such as gainful employment, hard work, patriotism, neighborliness, respect for authority, substance abuse avoidance etc. is not just frowned upon, but condemned. Instead of teaching responsibility, accountability and coping strategies, they teach victimhood for virtually all classes of people, except the white male. College administrators seem to go out of their way to guarantee the purity of their thinking with an academic chastity belt, removing any little adversity or challenge from their students ‘daily lives. They are protected in “safe” spaces away from “offending” thought and speech. This offensive speech is defined as hate speech and always linked to Conservative or Republican speech which is supposedly steeped in the evil known as capitalism. Capitalism is routinely vilified and blamed for all the ills in this world, though these ills are largely the result of socialist do-good policies (Disaster cities are all managed by Democrats).  What is that pabulum? Capitalism exploits the poor.

With precious few exceptions, these professionals seem to put their personal beliefs ahead of truth and critical thinking. This one-dimensional thinking is enforced through the grading system but also enforced physically in rallies that forcibly remove divergent speech with “muscle”.  Do not conservative speakers get pelted with objects on stage or never even make it to the stage to deliver their non-conforming message. Conservative articles seldom get published in newspapers for fear of upsetting their liberal readers. Furthermore, while promoting the holy grail of “diversity” in gender or ethnic identification, diversity of thought is strictly forbidden. To forestall any argument about the ideal of “diversity” which by definition divides people into classes, they devised an oxymoronic expression “unity in diversity”. Round peg into a square hole?

My own experience as an Adjunct Professor spans only 11 years, but provided ample proof of academic malfeasance to fill a book. Besides the distraction to learning caused by sports programs and “sports scholarships”, the injection of personal beliefs into the course material skews the students’ learning.  I was astonished to learn, for instance, that my specialty of cross-cultural management can have a right or left wing twist to it. Then, I was shocked by the conduct of a faculty-level book discussion group where I expected a semblance of academic freedom and freedom of thought, but I was wrong. I was virtually accused of racism for my habitually-skeptical approach to any new book, including one written by Ta-Nehisi Coates which I found to be a litany of complaints with which we are all sufficiently familiar. I inquired as to the follow-up work, preferably a work on solutions to the race problem, not a dwelling on the past that cannot be changed.  It was not to be.  All participants seemed to compete about ingratiating themselves to the black members in the room. One made sure that her kids had black dolls to play with; another actually married a black individual. It was the usual Sharpton-J.Jackson lecture of victimhood for Blacks. This book “review” was one more notch in the chastity belt, assuring the purity of racial thought among mono-chrome instructors.

More recently I commented on a professor friend’s Facebook page which raved against the NRA for causing school shootings. I wondered why we don’t ban cars since they kill more people annually than guns. I was immediately admonished for being so “uninformed” and that I should “be ashamed of myself” as an academic, but no counter argument was made, only the personal attack on me. In other words we have progressed to the “1984” status where everyone forcibly thinks the same way, like a mass of robots marching headlong into the abyss of academic nihilism.

Here is another example of group think. An after-hours on-campus conference compared native-born Blacks to immigrant Blacks. Research has been published (WSJ and others) showing that immigrant Blacks do better economically than native Blacks. This contrasts with findings in the Hispanic community that show the reverse. The highlight came when a recent immigrant from Jamaica made her comment to the effect that American-born Blacks seem to have a “sense of entitlement”, that they are owed something because of the past. The panel of black professors and students immediately white-washed the comment without even trying to formulate a counter argument.  Of course this commentary was not found in next day’s newspaper report.

I was flabbergasted that the newspaper which routinely published all the articles that I had submitted finally refused a particular one which questioned the assumption that the US is to practice multi-culturalism. I argued that indeed Americans come from many different cultures, but we all adopt the American culture and live accordingly, thereby providing cohesion as a nation.( The word “multi-culturalism”, like “democracy”, is not mentioned in the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.) The practice of allowing or even encouraging people to live according to the culture of their heritage is what creates division and strife. As we know from the studies conducted by Robert Putnam (Harvard), integration without assimilation lacks national cohesion. Liberalism has taken these key words to the absurd extreme by crafting the oxymoronic slogan “unity in diversity”. This is tantamount to promoting open-minded debates in an Orwellian closed-mind environment, or higher education for lower expectations, i.e. fitting a round peg into a square hole. The elaborate chastity-belt is assuring compliance.

March 1, 2018…. 1062 words

The Rebel of French Culture is dead: long live Johnny

The stage lights went dark on December 5, 2017, for a certain septuagenarian labeled “the greatest rock-star unknown outside France”. Johnny Hallyday on that day perhaps got his wish to come face to face with his mysterious Marie, to whom he dedicated a song of despair and hope on his 60th birthday. In the extraordinarily long funeral cortège on the Champs Elysées, a venue normally reserved for great statesmen a million French citizens, young and old, said goodbye to the French “King Of Rock & Roll”. The very familiar refrain from Marie could be heard along the somber route, while dozens of bands played this haunting melody which had become the fastest selling single ever in France. A magnificent tribute to his career, his tremendous charisma, his rebel-without-a-cause behavior in an otherwise well-defined national culture: “Oh Marie, if you only knew all the wrongs done to me, Oh Marie, if I could find peace in your bare arms; Oh Marie, I hope that in heaven we shall meet.”

None other than the President of France himself, Emmanuel Macron and former President Nicolas Sarkozy were among the dignitaries eulogizing Johnny. Even former Minister of French Culture, Jacques Lang, had words of praise for the non-traditional Frenchman. Street interviews revealed the presence of many traditionalists who reluctantly acknowledged that Johnny was not of “their” culture, but loved him anyway. “He transcends generations”, stated Macron.

Many more millions will be added to the 110 million albums sold over six decades. As a seventeen-year-old infatuated with two American idols, Elvis Presley and James Dean, he forged a splendid career against all cultural odds. His always-sold-out venues naturally included spectacular entrances, whether on a Harley Davidson or dropped from a helicopter and his trademark on-stage gyrations and a chaotic lifestyle, earned him the title of “the French Elvis”. And yet, his music has hardly caused a ripple in America or the UK. What is so different, of course, is the language, but also the content and meaning of his lyrics. His sound is a French interpretation of rock and roll, with lyrics often touching on the darker side of humanity, dealing with despair, hope and prospects of this wonderful dream ending, especially after his diagnosis of lung cancer. Such is the tone of many of his songs, especially SEUL (alone) and Quelques Cris, (A few cries). That his appeal in the English-speaking world is not great is baffling, although some Americans know him for his acting in movies like The Man From The Train. His detractors remind us that Johnny must be a foreigner (his father is Belgian and his mother is French), and that his fanbase is mostly from the provinces, not Paris, an unkind cultural put-down. However, he consistently filled the largest stadiums three nights in a row, a feat not often duplicated by British or American rock stars. Three months after his death, his records are still sold out, but If you listen by the stars tonight, you will surely hear Johnny having a rocking good time with his Marie

P.S. During his lifetime he was estranged from both parents. In death, he is estranged from two of his children as he left all of his US and European assets to his fourth wife (32 years his junior) and their two adopted Vietnamese children. MERCI JOHNNY

M-T-M: Three Presidents On The March

Macron – Trump – Macri: the trio of presidents that promises to save a weary world that is about to lose its Western ways. Emmanuel MACRON, barely 40 years old and youngest President of France since Napoleon. Donald TRUMP (70), President of America-First-Again, and Mauricio MACRI (58), President of Open-For-Business-Again Argentina. Though not obviously orchestrated, they seem to act with some harmony of purpose. While their political party affiliations have been of the flexible kind, their actions and intentions are not ideological but very clear: they spell a Machiavellian pragmatism. All three are clearing the swamp left by prior socialist administrations, doing away with restrictive regulations, loosening labor laws, inviting investors with lower tax rates and fairer regulations, encouraging job and company formation, talking tough on welfare and immigration (Macri mentioned a possible fence with Bolivia), revamping education for the 21st century. All have made money in the “free market”, perhaps the consequence of being born into moderately rich immigrant families. Macron’s parents were both doctors. Trump’s and Macri’s parents became rich in the real estate world and, in fact, did business together in NY and Buenos Aires. Macron became wealthy while working as an Investment Banker for the Rothschild Bank after a brief stint in the Inspectorate General of Finances of the Hollande administration. He was then appointed Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs where he was successful in getting business-friendly reforms passed.
Elite schooling shaped their thinking. All frequented prestigious schools: “Sciences Po” and “ENA” for Macron, “Wharton School of Finance”/U. of Pennsylvania for Trump, and Macri graduated from the “Pontifical Catholic University” of Argentina, and attended a few classes at Wharton. Politically, all are “mavericks”, outsiders, although Macri was twice elected Mayor of Buenos Aires after becoming well known as the chairman of the very popular Argentine soccer team Boca Juniors. Republicanism is on the march. Macron formed his own centrist party: LA REPUBLIQUE EN MARCHE (The Republic on the March).  Macri formed PRO i.e. PROPUESTA REPUBLICANA (Republican Plan party). They had to do this in order to be free to attack the stale traditional organizations and their wishful but failing policies. Trump did virtually the same thing by simply appropriating the Republican name and turning it into his own vehicle. Macron was not the favorite in the primaries, but handily beat the “extreme right” candidate, Marine Le Pen in a run-off. Le Pen argued for a FREXIT (French exit from the European Union), but  Macron argued the opposite, though his was not the popular view in France during the election cycle.
All married well. Trump and Macri are said to have married beauties, in fact, three each. Some in the press are wondering if Melania has “met her match” in elegant Juliana Awada, Mrs. Macri. While Trump married a much younger woman, Macron married a much older one, Brigitte, who was his drama teacher in High School.
Macron can be described as the most intellectual and erudite of the three. He studied and excelled in philosophy and piano, though his passion remains Public Finance.  Trump definitely is the “street-smart” operator whose unpolished language is understood by the popular masses. Macri’s popularity can be traced to his very successful management of a highly successful soccer team. He is rich but not arrogantly so, and is motivated to correct the grievous errors of  Argentina’s decades of Peronist mismanagement.
It is however not perfect harmony. Macron objects to Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris environmental agreement. Macri openly supported Hillary Clinton for President. There may well be more disagreement, but it all trends in favor of pragmatism, peace, and prosperity.

Macron wanted to make

Trump Meets With Argentine President Mauricio Macri in the Oval Office

Trump’s Alter Ego Speaks French

French President Emmanuel MACRON and US President Donald TRUMP could not be more different as political big shots, yet so similar. One highly educated in France’s elite schools (Science PO and ENA), the other obtained a Master’s in Economics from Wharton School of Finance (U of Pennsylvania). Macron is barely 40 years old, and married a much older woman (his HS teacher), while Trump, barely 70 years old, married several times and each time to a much younger woman. In person-to-person contact, their chemistry seems to be positive. They converse with ease using similar business language. Each got rich in the open market, one in investments, the other in real estate. Neither had ever been elected to any public office, though Macron did try a couple of times. In the end, he did get appointed to important government posts in two previous administrations. Though “outsider” Trump has been a member of two political parties in the US, plus a stint as an Independent, he chose the Conservative side of politics to run for president. Macron actually formed his own centrist party (En Marche), adding to the array of French parties, none of whom ever get more than 30% of the electorate in primaries. He is said to come from the Left, but “dazzles the Right”. Trump comes from everywhere and is home everywhere. Without a majority in the primaries, Macron landed in a run-off with Right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen who he beat in a landslide. Both Presidents have chosen pragmatism over ideology.

Macron loves public policy and making France “competitive again”, but dislikes Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.” Such an irony: France is known for its concern with “greatness”, as France was “great” under Napoleon and DeGaulle. For them, “greatness” is steeped in honor, duty, heritage, and love of homeland (French schools emphasize history). Greatness in Trump’s eyes is tall buildings, fat checking accounts, and large big-boy toys. True, Trump became a billionaire focusing on the “deals”. But, then, Macron is also rich, though only a millionaire. He earned his fortune while on the job at the Rothschild Investment Bank. This kind of luck makes even a socialist find a way to justify becoming rich. Macron, the ex-socialist, sounds American when he says that rich is not bad, we need not punish success, but we do want to help more people become rich (paraphrased). Therefore, reduced taxes make a lot of sense. All of this points to a convergence with Trump’s “capitalistic” thoughts, especially those involving private investment. Other areas where both presidents seem to move in parallel are found in energy policy (Macron wants nuclear), education, welfare, labor laws (Sunday store hours, hours worked), but not environmental practices. Note to reader: the French see no contradiction in working nuclear power plants while demanding a purified environment).

Armed with the legendary French astuteness, he disarmed his post-election competition by hiring the top guns from several rival parties for important government functions. The lure of an ambassadorship or cabinet post is stronger than money and ideology, on all continents. In fact, Macron also co-opted the economic message of his main rival party (Les Republicains) headed by Sarkozy, aka “Sarkozy the American”. Macron is in favor of a strong EU and wants to further tie the knot with Germany but on better terms. At times Macron refers to himself as the modern “Joan of Arc”, although that label fell on his arch-rival from the Right, Marine Le Pen. This pragmatic and young President holds positions found in Le Pen’s arsenal as well as in Trump’s, such as better immigration control, reduced burden on companies and jobs, jobs, jobs….homeland first…

Both presidents have many similar views, hold strong opinions, are hell-bound on executing on their respective plans. Macron approaches those issues with astuteness, subtlety, and elegance. Trump’s approach is that of a street fighter, using harsh if not insensitive language without much subtlety but with absolute self-confidence. Pragmatism is their common quality. Maybe this transatlantic magic spreads to other places. For instance, current President of Argentina, Mauricio MACRI who is shaking things up with market solutions down in Buenos Aires. More on him later…

 

Ideology Redefining Traditional Values

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, made a remarkably frank and honest statement in 2015 when, in response to a reporter’s question, he stated with a grin on his face: “We (politicians) all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we have done it”. Some politicians act out of expediency (go along to get along), others seem to really believe what they claim, perhaps only because they reside in an echo chamber and keep hearing the same message from colleagues, so it must be true. Of course, Liberals claim the Right is living in an echo chamber. The difference is that Conservatives are people of conviction via the path of discovery and analysis, whereas Liberals rarely know why they believe certain things, but they are sure that those beliefs are absolutely true. How often do Liberals respond to a Conservative explanation by saying that if only they knew as much about the topic as the Conservative does, they could make a better argument against the other side? How would they know without knowing what they don’t know? Speaking from my own experience, I changed my mind when I finally understood some important truths while I was still a believer in JFK Democracy. Yes, converts tend to have stronger and more well-founded opinions than others who are simply born into a particular belief system.

To forestall Conservatism, Liberalism had to redefine itself as Progressivism which then had to redefine the terms of our political discourse. Words like diversity no longer mean “dividing into categories”, but unifying diverse people. The problem arises when people realize the unnatural if not contradictory application of “diversity” which collided with the old truth that people of a feather flock together. This is the phenomenon that Professor Robert Putnam described in his book “Bowling Alone” wherein he explains that society has integrated neighborhoods with diverse people, but they did not assimilate nor socialize together. So, Progressives found this term “inclusion” as a fix, albeit a weak one, necessitating another oxymoronic notion found in the expression “unity in diversity”. Instead of promoting the brilliantly apt original motto for America E PLURIBUS, UNUM (from many cultures, into one American culture), they unraveled basic American cohesion, as evidenced by racial and ethnic strife everywhere. At least the European Heads of State had the courage to admit that their policies of “multi=culturalism” have failed. Europe is suffering the unintended consequences of those policies, as America has begun to suffer the same pain. You cannot expect diverse immigrants to become American when government encourages them to live their ancestral ways within our borders. It is the seed of America’s, and the West’s, demise..

Fairness is another one of those favorite concepts that Obama and his Progressive band of community organizers love. In response to press questions about the application of lower tax rates to actually improve the flow of taxes to the federal government, as happened during the Reagan years, the President responded by saying that it is a matter of fairness to keep the rates high. Where was that logic born? what is not fair about reducing tax rates and actually ending up with more tax dollars in the federal treasury. Not fair to whom? Fairness or spite?

Equality, Justice, and Equity are the holy grail for Progressive pundits. Like the other “words” they sound good, so they must be good. And of course, intent is what counts, not results. In the world of philosophy, the means justify the end, provided of course that the intended end is just if not pure. The US Constitution guarantees “equality before the law”. Progressives ignore that fundamental right and construct new equality and demand social justice, economic justice etc…. why? they simply want a new conversation with a new lexicon. Equity is something that most of us know as being earned over time, such as equity in a property, equity within a social group based on past performance or at least reputation. But in the Progressive world, like the monopoly game, we start out with a certain amount of equity, so as to equalize performance and results. What they do not realize or understand is the individuals thusly given “equity” will expect that assist throughout life, making them dependent on government or other people for their advancement. No incentive to improve one’s own efforts and results. Surely they will tell me that I “simply do not understand” the issue. It is not fair that some beings are born into poverty while others are born into wealth or talent. They want to change what God has created. Just like environmentalist Quijote taking on the biggest boldest windmills and changing the world’s temperature, although they do not know whether the temperature should go up or down.

The re-ordering of values does not stop there. The biggest Progressive machine in the world is the UN which has the ultimate windmill to tackle: human society, and underwritten to the extent of 75% by American taxpayers who do not want the UN to be giving orders to the United States. Its Agenda21 has detailed templates for all communities around the world to live as dictated by UN’s people-controlling standards in the social, environmental, economic and even cultural domains. Our international poster child in the Midwest is Dubuque, getting medals and recognition for its “sustainability” program. After 5 years of formal procedures, they still do not know what it is costing its taxpayers and what exactly the return on their tax dollars has been or will be…Sustainability, equality, equity, diversity, multiculturalism, climate change are all in the newly revised edition of the Progressive mind.