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At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Trump is No Conservative, But Neither Is….Marco Rubio!

posted by Jack Kerwick

On its face, few things on the contemporary American political scene are as puzzling as Marco Rubio fans blasting Donald Trump for not being a true “conservative.”

As I’ve argued recently, given his track record, the unprejudiced observer can only conclude that Trump is not a conservative.

However, his GOP critics generally, and Marco Rubio admirers specifically, are at once intellectually dishonest and disingenuous when they level this charge against Trump, for their implication is clear: He is not a conservative, but Jeb, Marco, and anyone else who the Republican Trump bashers on Fox News and other places favor is a conservative.

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Nothing in the world could be further from the truth.

Consider Senator Marco Rubio.

Though a one-time darling of the Tea Party—Americans who believed that on both the domestic and foreign fronts, our government has grown too large in scope—Rubio clings to the same adventurous, democratizing foreign policy vision shared by George W. Bush and the Republicans who were ejected from power in 2006 and 2008 largely because of it. It is “essential” for America to “spend money and risk lives on foreign policy,” Rubio has said.

While “we don’t always agree with other democracies,” Rubio stated, “very rarely do we find ourselves fighting them.”

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Rubio also told the (liberal) Brookings Institution that he took issue with the members of his own party who choose to heed John Quincy Adams’ advice to avoid going “abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

And yes, Rubio is no less a proponent of socialized medicine than is his Republican and Democratic peers inasmuch he is a fan of Medicare and Medicaid.

In 2014, Rubio complained that Obamacare would essentially bankrupt Medicaid.

In 2013, he called for expanding mental health centers. This, he insured those who may object to pouring more tax monies into the health care system, is what “compassion” demands.

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And Rubio called for expanding prescription benefits to lower-income senior citizens. Republicans who objected, Rubio remarked, “haven’t been paying attention.”

Yet the one issue on which Rubio really betrays his true political identity is that issue that Ann Coulter (among others) quite plausibly refers to as the single greatest issue facing America: immigration.

Three years ago, while Republicans, independents, and conservatives were mourning over the reelection of Barack Obama, Rubio rubbed salt in the wounds when he joined the Gang of Eight and allied with the President and his party in order to secure amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.

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This was horrible enough. But when the members of the base of his own party rebelled, Rubio alternated between insulting their intelligence by packaging this sweetheart deal to the Democrats as “conservative” and insulting them.

Some years ago, when Arizonans passed Senate Bill 1070—which would allow state authorities to enforce the federal immigration laws that the federal government refused to enforce—Rubio opposed it. Furthermore, he accused Arizonans of favoring a “police state.”

In 2013, while busily marketing his designs for amnesty, Rubio claimed that there were but two alternatives to his plan. Some of his critics favored making “the lives” of immigrants” so “miserable” that they would self-deport. Others want “to basically ignore the problem [.]” Thus, they support a “de facto amnesty.”

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Notice, from Rubio’s perspective, everyone who disagrees with him is either heartless or apathetic.

Yet this was not the only time that Rubio attempted to prove that he was more compassionate and concerned than other icky conservatives.

In a speech to the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials in 2013, Rubio characterized his opponents (who were all on the right) as wrongly viewing illegal immigration “only as a law and order issue” (emphasis added). It is this, he admitted. “But we know it’s much more than that.”

So what else is it? It’s “also a human issue,” Rubio told his audience (emphasis added).

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“These [illegal immigrants] are real people. These are human beings who have children, and hopes, and dreams. These are people that are doing what virtually any of us would do if our children were hungry, if their countries were dangerous, if they had no hope for the future.”

So, illegal immigration is a “human issue.” But for Rubio, the only humans who seem to matter are the illegal immigrants. Those human beings who make up the families of the Kate Steinles of America—Americans who have had their lives and communities destroyed by illegal immigrants—evidently don’t register in Rubio’s humanitarian calculus.

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When Rubio was Speaker of the House in Florida, there were multiple bills that promised stiff penalties for illegal immigrants and their employers that Rubio lifted not a finger to move along. He also endorsed measures that would grant illegals the opportunity to pursue a college education while paying in-state tuition fees!

In 2012, Rubio promoted his own version of the much despised DREAM Act. While the original act supplied illegal youth with a “path to citizenship” under the condition that they enter either college or the military, Rubio’s rendition promised a path to “non-immigrant visas.” Obviously, Rubio’s DREAM Act no less than the original legalizes illegals.

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As of this moment, Rubio rejects Trump’s proposal to repeal “birthright citizenship.”

Now, the fearless Colin Flaherty, author of the much praised, White Girl Bleed A lot, and the equally respected, Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry, reveals that Marco Rubio is the latest presidential candidate, after Bernie Sanders, to legitimize the sham that is the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

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Rubio recently described the BLM movement as “legitimate.” In making his point, he referred to a black friend who (allegedly) was pulled over by police nine times over an 18 month period.

And not once did Rubio’s friend even get ticketed.

Flaherty quotes Rubio as saying that “for a number of years” members of “the African-American community” have experienced “a growing resentment” over “the way” they’ve been treated by “criminal justice and law enforcement.”   He adds that it is “endemic” that “in some communities in this country” young black males are more likely to have some involvement with “criminal justice than higher education.”

A “significant percentage of our population…feels they are locked out of the promise of this country.” This is what accounts for the “anxiety and frustration” that “we are now seeing expressed.”

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Flaherty dispatches Rubio’s argument easily enough. “If Rubio thinks robbing causes anxiety for the robber,” he comments, “he should ask a victim about their anxiety after they ‘interact’ with a perpetrator of black crime.”

Again, as in the case of illegal immigration, we see Rubio sympathizing with the “illegals”—not the victims.

Trump may not be a conservative. But Marco Rubio definitely is not.

 

 

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Trump is No Conservative, But Neither is…..Jeb Bush

posted by Jack Kerwick

When Donald Trump’s critics in the Republican-friendly media blast him for not being a genuine conservative, they are correct.

For roughly the last quarter of a century, Trump has spent most of his time—until about five years ago—helping to get Democrats elected and reelected. One-third of all of his political donations have gone to supporting Democrats and, by implication, their causes.

Though he always claimed to revile abortion, he nevertheless explicitly self-identified as “pro-choice.” Trump favored imminent domain and a single-payer national health care system. In fact, he even once remarked to Wolf Blitzer that, “in many cases,” “I probably identify more as a Democrat,” for it “seems” that “the economy does better under the Democrats [than it does] under Republicans.”

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And Trump spared no occasion to mock Republican voters themselves as “too crazy right.” Pat Buchanan he said represents the “really staunch right wacko vote.”

Even today, Trump still supports saddling taxpayers with the burden of subsidizing Planned Parenthood.

So his critics are correct when they claim that Trump is no conservative. But they are sorely incorrect when they say that he is not a Republican.

Here’s the point:

If a real conservative is supposed to be one who supports a limited, decentralized government and, hence, individual liberty, then Trump is no different than virtually every other Republican in failing to meet this definition.

In some respects—namely, the calamitous Iraq war, which he always opposed—he is more “conservative” than his competitors and pundit critics.

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In other words, it is Trump’s style, and not the substance of his record, that distinguishes him from his rivals.

Take, for instance, the one-time GOP frontrunner, Jeb Bush. Though his supporters on Fox News and in some quarters of talk radio tout Bush’s “conservative” bona fides, no less a left-leaning columnist than Nate Silver thinks that Jeb may be “too liberal” to win his party’s nomination.

Using several admittedly imperfect criteria, Silver drew “ideological scores” of Jeb and found that he is more “moderate” than Mitt Romney and John McCain, but not nearly as “conservative” as his big brother, George W.

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You read that correctly: Romney, McCain, and Bush II are more “conservative” than Jeb.

Jeb, as everyone now knows, is an unabashed immigration enthusiast and proponent of amnesty (“comprehensive immigration reform” by its true name). Yet he also supported the bank bailouts of 2008, and in 2003, he deployed $310 million in stimulus money toward a single company, Scripps—which was hardly in dire economic straights—for bio-medical research.

When it comes to abortion, Bush too claims to be “pro-life,” but he claims that women should be free to choose abortions in circumstances of rape, incest, and when the mother’s life is endangered. This is standard GOP boilerplate, for sure. But that is the problem: If abortion is immoral because it is nothing less than the killing of an innocent human being, than the circumstances in which that innocent life comes into being are morally irrelevant. The baby is still innocent.

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Moreover, to know whether someone is genuinely “pro-life,” the question that Republicans must answer is this: Should abortion be illegal? Any person who doesn’t answer this question in the affirmative is “pro-choice,” for while they, like Trump, may personally detest abortion, they do support the right of others to choose abortion.

Jeb too has chastised his fellow Republicans for the “tone” and “intensity” of the manner in which they articulate their positions on such gender-related issues of abortion and those issues that concern minorities.

In 2012, while on Meet the Press, Bush said that he is “concerned about” Republicans’ rhetoric given that the “demographics are changing [.]” While Republicans don’t “necessarily” have to “change…our core beliefs,” they most certainly need to change “the tone of our message and the intensity of it [.]”

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Just last week during the Fox News/GOP debate, Bush conceded that while he sat as a director of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, the latter gave tens of millions of dollars to fund Planned Parenthood. Yet, incredulously, he insisted that he was ignorant of this fact.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Since Donald Trump was asked about his bankruptcies, maybe Bush should’ve been questioned about his past business decisions.

In 1988, Bush and a partner borrowed money from Broward Federal Savings and Loans in Sunrise, Florida. The crisis hit and federal regulators realized that Bush and his partner defaulted on $4.6 million loan. The two were made to pay back a meager $505,000: the remaining $4 million were thrust upon taxpayers.

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When Bush was later asked if he knew that Broward repaid the rest of the loan with taxpayers’ monies, he replied: “Helllllll no. Absolutely not.”

Bush has been a huge supporter of “affirmative action,” and as governor of Florida, he used his power to aggressively promote more racial and gender diversity among justices, contractors, and in college admissions. His “One Florida” program was designed to insure that the racial and gender privileges for minorities and women demanded by “affirmative action” are secured.

Jeb has always championed his brother’s foreign policy, including and especially his brother’s decisions to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. These were gargantuan foreign adventures that have come at the cost of incalculable sums of blood and treasure. The war in Iraq specifically polarized the country like few other issues, and it costs the GOP its control of Congress and the Presidency.

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Jeb still applauds No Child Left Behind for having forced lazy states to initiate reforms. And, of course, he staunchly defends “Common Core.”

Jeb Bush is just one example among legions of examples of Republican non-conservatives. I chose to focus on Bush only because he is among the top tier GOP presidential candidates, and because Trump’s critics on Fox and elsewhere cast Bush as a conservative.

We would be well served to remember this.

 

 

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The “Root Causes” of America’s “Fergusons”

posted by Jack Kerwick

Ferguson, Missouri now stands as a microcosmic expression of black America. It seems that partisans of all stripes turn to Ferguson and, without missing a beat, boil down the staggering battery of problems plaguing “the black community” to a single cause.

Neoconservative Republicans invariably attribute the rampant dysfunction of lower and underclass blacks to life under the control of the Democrat party. The usual suspects on the left can be counted upon to pin all of the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing blacks to—what else?—“racism!” Libertarians, or at least libertarians of a certain ideological flavor, reserve scarcely a word of condemnation, if that, for black purveyors of violence, choosing instead to account for this violence in terms of “police brutality” or “the militarization” of police.

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So, both neoconservatives and libertarians are political determinists. When it comes to black pathology, the government is the devil.

And then there are white “race realists” who are convinced that the astronomical rates of crime, violence, illegitimacy, etc. that mark black communities throughout the country stem from the genetics of blacks themselves.   According to this line, since the average black IQ is lower than the average white IQ, blacks, on average, have shorter time horizons, less impulse control, and so forth. These genetic disadvantages, in turn, dispose them to engage in the sort of conduct on exhibit in Ferguson at the present moment.

There are two points that need to be made here.

First, all four of these explanations of black pathology bear more similarities to one another than their adherents would care to admit.

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For starters, they are alike forms of reductionism. And they are alike exceedingly—which is to say, unreasonably—simplistic forms of reductionism.  

Moreover, race realists may or may not realize this, but their genetics-centered theory of the Fergusons of the world no more holds blacks culpable for their actions than do those theories advanced by neoconservatives, libertarians, and leftists: Within the framework of any of these models, blacks are exempted from all responsibility.

And this, of course, means that blacks are divested of their personhood, their moral agency.

Persons are subjects whose conduct is freely chosen in accordance with reasons. In stark contrast, objects are things whose behavior is determined by causes.

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If it is to any of the forgoing explanations of black conduct that we must turn to understand the actions of, say, the rioters in Ferguson, then, paradoxically, there is no conduct here to be explained: the black rioters are no different from any other material objects whose behavior is to be understood solely in reference to the great law of cause and effect.

This is one problem—I think it is fatal—from which all scientific accounts of human conduct suffer: they are scientific. And even if they are only pseudo-scientific—some people would say that all of the “social sciences” fit this description—that they insist upon speaking the language of science in accounting for moral conduct is enough to convict them of an incorrigible confusion of categories: the vocabulary of morality and that of science are not only mutually incompatible; they are mutually incommensurable.

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And this just means that the terms pertaining to the one category defy translation into the terms of the other.

Beside this, though, they just don’t work.

“Racism” has long served as a catch-all term that means virtually nothing. And it means nothing because it means whatever the person who happens to be using it at the moment wants for it to mean. In any event, it is as profoundly idiotic as it is offensive to suggest that the violence and destruction that are features of everyday life for underclass black communities throughout the country are a function of the fact that white people don’t like them (if this is what we take “racism” to mean).

And neither the Democratic Party nor Big Government (“Statism”) generally can account for the glaring dysfunctions of ghetto existence. The Democratic Party presides over some of the most affluent, low-crime areas of the country, places like San Francisco and all of New England, for instance. And Big Government is a fact of life for all Americans—yet, thank God, America is not Ferguson or Detroit.

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That these three paradigms serve the purpose of exempting blacks of responsibility for their actions explains their value. Think about it: when was the last time you heard any of their proponents address, say, black rioters with so much as a fraction of the sternness that they reserve for reproaching their own children for misconduct that isn’t nearly as egregious as that on display in Ferguson?

It doesn’t happen.

But the genetics-based account of black conduct divests blacks of moral responsibility as well.

While genetics certainly determine, to some extent, all sorts of things, including intelligence, and while individuals and groups do indeed differ in all sorts of respects, including intelligence, the genetics-grounded theory of black criminality of the sort that makes the Ghetto the Ghetto is unconvincing.

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When we look back throughout the history of our own country alone, we see that it has had more than its share of “Fergusons,” the vast majority of which, up until the first half of the 20th century, have been perpetrated by whites.

It may surprise most people, black, white, and other, to hear this, but it is true all of the same.

 

 

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Tabloid GOP/Fox Debate

posted by Jack Kerwick

Now that the first of the GOP presidential debates is history, I offer some thoughts.

First, that this event turned out to be the highest rated non-sports cable show ever is due exclusively to Donald Trump.

Anyone with any doubts about this need only ask themselves: Who even remembers the first of the GOP presidential debates of 2012? Even some of us political junkies didn’t realize that it had even been on until well after it was over.

Twenty-four million people tuned in to watch, not Fox, not Megyn Kelly, but Donald Trump.

More people tuned in to watch Trump than tuned in to watch Jon Stewart’s farewell to The Daily Show.

Second, this being so, Fox News generally, and the moderators, Chris Wallace, Brett Baier, and Megyn Kelly, owe Trump an eternal debt of gratitude.

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Kelly received more speaking time at the debate than did any other candidate—including Trump. And courtesy of her dust up with Trump Thursday night, she has received more press than every other candidate—except, obviously, for Trump.

Third, to this last point, while Democratic Party apologists in the left-wing media lavished praise upon Kelly and her colleagues, this is because the latter ran the debate no differently than the manner in which they would have run it.

That is to say, the Fox moderators didn’t moderate at all.

Rather, they stocked up on “gotcha’ questions.”

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough agrees with [GOP Chairman] Reince Priebus’ decision to deny left-wing networks, like the one that employs Scarborough, the opportunity to host a GOP debate. He explains that “the idea was to get news outlets…that would ask legitimate questions about policy instead of gotcha questions.”

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Instead, Fox did the job that MSNBC would have done.

Breitbart quotes Scarborough: “There wasn’t a single question asked of the Republican front runner that dealt with jobs, that dealt with Iran, that dealt with ISIS, that dealt with the economy writ large, that dealt with foreign policy writ large.”

To be fair, there were indeed some reasonably fair, tough questions that Kelly, Baier, and Wallace posed to (some of) the candidates. However, in the further interest of fairness, there is no denying that, as Mark Levin put it, they and their employer set out to host a “National Enquirer debate, and not a Republican Debate.”

Take, for example, this gem of a question posed by Baier: Which candidate would not consent to refrain from running as a third party candidate in the event that he didn’t receive the GOP nomination?

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Everyone knows that Trump alone among the candidates has refused to rule out a run as a third party run. That Baier posed this as the very first question of the evening revealed Fox’s anti-Trump prejudices while setting the tabloid-esque tone for the rest of the event.

Since Trump is the GOP’s frontrunner—no other candidate even comes close; and since it is also common knowledge that both Republican politicians and such Fox rock stars as Charles Krauthammer and George Will (among others) continually dismiss and mock Trump, Baier and company may as well have asked of all of his competitors: “In the event that Trump secures your party’s nomination, do you pledge now to endorse him?”

Particularly Kardashianish was Kelly’s now infamous assertions, encased in terms of a question, on Trump’s past remarks toward women.

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Not only was this topic wholly inappropriate for a debate setting; outside of the decade-old comments he made about Rosie O’Donnell, the other remarks to which Kelly alludes weren’t even accurate.

Levin describes Kelly’s “question” as “outrageous.” Levin told Breitbart that Fox had to comb through 185 episodes and 14 seasons of Trump’s hit shows, The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, to find a single line in which Trump allegedly told a female contestant to “get on her knees,” or something to this effect.

The line, however, was divested of its original context and made, by Kelly, into something that it was not.

Levin called this whole display an “embarrassment.”

Given the enormous backlash against Fox, and Megyn Kelly specifically, to say nothing of the fact that Trump’s numbers, including his favorability rating, have risen considerably since these theatrics unfolded, I’d have to guess that millions of Trump supporters, and a not insignificant number of those, like yours truly, that do not support Trump, agree with Levin’s assessment.

 

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