America’s first Independent president?

Donald Trump not only beat the Democrats.  Before that, he beat the Republicans. Dan Balz argues that Trump, in effect, is America’s first Independent president.

He doesn’t mention it, but Bernie Sanders is an actual Independent, who ran in the Democratic primaries.  So this was the year a big proportion of Americans voted against both party establishments, though in the context of a two-party system.  What Trump did, Balz says, is pull off a “hostile takeover” of the Republican party.

Read his argument after the jump, after which I offer a few thoughts of my own.

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Fidel Castro is dead

CastroFidel Castro died at the age of 90, outlasting most of his Cold War adversaries.  But he lived to see Cuba achieving normalized relations with the United States, something he didn’t seem to completely approve of.  That was the doing of his brother Raul, to whom Fidel surrendered power ten years ago.

Fidel remains a romanticized and idealized figure for some on the left.  (See, for example, the recent case of 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s Castro T-shirt.)  But the Communist dictator was responsible for killing thousands of Cubans, including brutal repression of Christianity.

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The day JFK, Aldous Huxley, & C. S. Lewis died

Kreeft Between Heaven & HellOn November 22, 1963, three icons of the 20th century died:  John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, and C. S. Lewis.

People of my generation remember where they were when the news came of Kennedy’s assassination.  (I was in 7th grade study hall.)  Other traumatic public catastrophes would follow.  Now we also remember where we were when we learned about the 9/11 attacks. (I was in the basement of Rincker classroom at Concordia Wisconsin, going to my English Lit. class where we were going to study Grendel’s attack on the Hall Heorot in Beowulf.)  But JFK, for all of his faults that we learned about later, inspired an idealism that I can still remember to this day, an idealism that was shattered at his assassination and that received further shocks as the century wore on.  Stephen King captures the feel of those times perfectly in his novel about time travel to stop Kennedy’s assassination, 11/22/63.

Huxley is associated now with New Age mysticism, what with his advocacy of Eastern religions and the use of LSD (which he wanted to take at the moment of his death).  But he deserves to be honored for his dystopia Brave New World, which predicted the future more profoundly than George Orwell’s 1984.   [Read more…]

The inevitable march of History

The “progressive” worldview assumes that society is getting better and better.  That is to say, history is on an inexorable march towards “progress.” Thus, those on the left are fond of saying some one they oppose is “on the wrong side of history.”

This leads to the assumption that progressive gains may never be reversed, that progressive change is inevitable, and that progressives are justified by a power higher than themselves (not God, but History).  Furthermore, we must be open to change as we evolve to a higher and higher level.

For example, the nation state is thought to be rapidly becoming obsolete.  “History” dictates first the rise of globalism, in economics and in free immigration, and then the rise of global government.

Never mind that history is not so linear at all and is full of twists, reversals, and surprises.  But the assumption of inevitable progress–which derives from Hegel, Darwin, and Marx–continues to animate the rhetoric of the left. Rich Lowry discusses this after the jump. [Read more…]

Why presidents should take a salary

Donald Trump, rich guy that he is, has said that he will not take the $400,000 salary that comes with the presidency.  Instead, he will just take $1.  George Washington made the same pledge to serve without a salary, but the new Congress insisted that he take it.  It turns out, the Founders had good reasons for providing that public officials, including the president, be paid. Not only does it open public service to citizens who are not wealthy, it establishes who is the boss.

Read Rob Goodman’s fascinating survey of the issue after the jump. [Read more…]