Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dear GOP: Unite behind Ted Cruz or Deserve Your Fate

I really don't like discussing Presidential politics in a blog I started more than a decade ago for the purpose of advancing Christian theology and world missions.  But the political environment in which we live can have a profound impact on religious liberty and the advance of Christianity.  (I won't go so far as to say the survival of Christianity, since Jesus promised that the Church will still be around until his return.  But the freedom and well-being of Christian believers can depend to a great extent on the system of government under which they live—as those who have lived under totalitarian systems such as Communism and Naziism can attest.)

So, through the years, I have found myself getting involved in politics, believing that the party and the candidates who most support religious liberty and Christian morality, along with strong national security and economic prosperity should be supported.

After growing up in a Democratic family, being related to the Adlai Stevensons (I, II, and III) in Illinois, and serving briefly on staff for Congressman (later Senator) Paul Simon in his first term in the House of Representatives, I converted to become a conservative Republican in 1975 and supported Ronald Reagan in his primary challenge to incumbent Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination for President.  Incumbents are always hard to beat.  Ford won the nomination, lost the 1976 election to Jimmy Carter, and the US was subjected to four years of the misery index of double-digit inflation, interest rates, and unemployment.  In 1980, the country elected Reagan in a landslide, and the nation went from four years of misery to eight years of remarkable prosperity.

Electorates are fickle; they run after promises of hope and change, and they notoriously fail at learning the lessons of history.  In the past seven years, we have experienced the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression and remain saddled with policies, regulations, and programs that would keep us in recession indefinitely.  Despite the fact that the stock market has done well (largely through being pumped up by the Federal Reserve's easy money policy), real unemployment is unacceptably high, record numbers of people are receiving Food Stamps, and record numbers of recent college graduates are having trouble finding jobs.

According to U.S. News, the country's labor force participation rate – which measures the share of Americans at least 16 years old who are either employed or actively looking for work – dipped last month to a 38-year low, clocking in at an underwhelming 62.6 percent.  And the number of unemployed, together with those who have given up trying to find a job, now stands at nearly 94 million people.  

As the father of one of those recent college graduates who cannot find a job, I recognize all too well that this generation may be the first generation (and the first of many if we aren't careful) to do less well economically than their parents.

So, just as I supported Ronald Reagan in 1976, 1980, and 1984, I am supporting the kind of Constitutional conservative who can undo the damage of the past eight years: Senator Ted Cruz.

I realize that Donald Trump hysteria is sweeping the nation.  I do not believe that is a good thing if we want the kind of principled conservative changes that we need and that only Ted Cruz can deliver.  So what I would say, especially to the Republican establishment, is best summarized in the following excerpt from National Review:
After 24 contests, the pattern is emerging.  Cruz battles Trump for first, while Rubio and Kasich tend to battle each other for last.  This is true in the South, the West, the Northeast, and the Midwest.  Can conservatives finally get serious?  Can we finally unify, now, before Trump starts sweeping winner-take-all states with 35 percent of the vote?  If not, then a foolish GOP will richly deserve its fate.
Read the rest

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Quotes of the Day

From Ace of Spades, where there is more...
Quote of the Day I
The United States within nearly a century of its founding became the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind.  It accomplished this without an income tax, free university tuition, universal health care, or even Social Security.  In Bernie Sanders' lifetime, he witnessed the fall of National Socialists, Soviet Socialists, and more benign iterations of the collectivist ideology.  But he imagines the command economy, rather than the free market, as our savior.

-- Daniel J. Flynn in Socialism, The Nightmare That Never Dies
Quote of the Day II
I'm enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism and what it really means!  Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please keep it there.  In practice, it corrodes not only the economy but the human spirit itself, and the ambition and achievement that made modern capitalism possible and brought billions of people out of poverty.  Talking about Socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury that was paid for by the successes of capitalism.  Income inequality is a huge problem, absolutely.  But the idea that the solution is more government, more regulation, more debt, and less risk is dangerously absurd.

-- Garry Kasparov [Russian (formerly Soviet) chess Grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, and political activist]
Quote of the Day III
Arabs have no more creative force.  Islam does not contribute to intellectual life, it suggests no discussion.  It is no longer thought.  It produces no thinking, no art, no science, no vision that could change the world.  This repetition is the sign of its end.  The Arabs will continue to exist, but they will not make the world better.

-- Arabic poet Adunis Asbar
Read the rest.