What Trump gets right

The empty factories have their windows broken and weeds are taking over the parking lots, but they remain as monuments of the prosperity that rust-belt cities used to enjoy.  Small towns in the heartland have downtowns with shop windows boarded up.  Their young people either move away the first chance they get, looking for work, or they stay with many of them getting hooked on crystal meth or heroin.  A large number of the displaced workers in both the cities and the towns have given up on marriage and have stopped going to church, such is their despair.

What has happened to many of our cities and our small town culture–which used to be the Norman Rockwell vision of America–is tragic.  Here we see where economics and culture come together, destroying each other.

Who’s to blame?  Wal-Mart or Amazon for destroying America’s small retailers?  Corporations closing factories here and opening them overseas in lands of cheap labor?  Can or should anything be done about it?  Maybe these are just casualties of the market’s “creative destruction.”  But we are writing off a good part of America.

Donald Trump is pretty much the only one in either party who shows any concern whatsoever about the plight of America’s working class. [Read more…]

“God punishes wicked subjects by wicked rulers”

Luther did not actually say the words attributed to him, that he would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian (HT: Carl Vehse).  Though we might wish a wise Turk were running.  All we seem to be getting are foolish Turks.

But here is a political observation that Luther did say, from Treatise on the Ban (1520) paragraph 16:   “God punishes wicked subjects by wicked rulers.”

I quoted this in a previous post, but it’s worth thinking about and discussing for its own sake.  So, assuming that Luther is right and that both of the candidates have their own kind of “wickedness” (keeping in mind that maybe they don’t or will be changed), what did we do to deserve whichever candidate wins the presidency?

I’ll start with some reflections about how God punishes societies after the jump. [Read more…]

Men who won’t work

Nearly a third of American men aren’t working.  These include the unemployed, men who can’t find jobs.  But there are two-and-half times more men who aren’t even trying to find a job.  Because their lack of work is voluntary, they aren’t counted in the unemployment rate.  But the number of men between 25 to 54 who are “economically inactive” is soaring.

This has nothing to do with educational attainment, the business cycle, or the availability of jobs.  Many men just don’t feel that traditional masculine impulse to work for a living.  Instead they are living off of government benefits, family members, and girl friends.  (Women, by contrast, are working in vast numbers.  But the men who don’t work tend not to be the marrying kind.)

After the jump, an excerpt and link to George Will’s review of Nicholas Eberstadt’s book on the subject, Men Without Work:  America’s Invisible Crisis.

[Read more…]

Lennonism

Michael Barone says that many in our cultural and political elite follow the tenets of “Lennonism.”  Not “Leninism,” but the philosophy of John Lennon in his song Imagine:

“Imagine there’s no countries. . . .Nothing to kill or die for. … Imagine all the people living life in peace. … And the world will be as one.”

“And no religion too.”  But Barone defines Lennonism as the desire to eliminate distinct nations.  Thus the impulse for global government, a global economy, unlimited immigration, and multiculturalism. [Read more…]

U.S. no longer makes the “free country” top 10 list

The United States is no longer in the top 10 of the world’s most free countries.  We are number 15.  However, despite our obesity rates and bad eating habits, we are number 1 when it comes to health.  We are #33 in safety and security.  The United States is #11 in economic strength and overall prosperity.

Scandinavian countries take most of the top spots, with Norway winning the top marks when all of the categories are considered, making it the most prosperous of nations.  All of this is according to the Legatum Prosperity Index.  See details after the jump. [Read more…]

The left is “weaponizing” sports

In our polarized society, there are few safe topics when you strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know.  Politics is likely to provoke an argument instead of small talk; music and TV are now targeted to narrow niches; and religion makes people feel uncomfortable.  But there is always sports!  You can talk about how the local or nearby team is doing, and liberals and conservatives and evangelicals and nones are on the same page.  Even sports rivalries are generally good natured, and trash talk is usually good-humored.

But now, sports as a common, unifying social space is being politicized.  Singing the national anthem at the beginning of each game–which unites both teams and all fans under a common flag–has become an occasion for political controversy, what with Colin Kaepernick protesting America by refusing to take part, a protest spreading throughout the NFL and that will be taken up in the NBA.

The NCAA has moved seven championship events from North Carolina because of that state’s law requiring that public restrooms be segregated according to biological sex.  Such activism should surprise no one, since the NCAA is a creation of the same university administrators who have turned campuses into leftwing propaganda spaces.   College sports are their way to build enthusiastic support for their schools while distracting fans from what is happening in the classrooms and in the residence halls.  But once campus radicalism moves out of the classrooms onto the playing fields, as is starting to happen, the taxpayers who support public universities might start asking questions.

David French, excerpted and linked after the jump, discusses these issues, saying that “progressives are weaponizing sports.”

But we can still talk about the weather.  As long as the conversation steers clear of climate change. [Read more…]