The Dems’ impeachment demands are Heaven-sent manna for Trump

Trump’s impeachment battle with Pelosi — he wants it; she doesn’t — and his negotiations with Iran and China, highlight his strategic and tactical genius.

Of late, Trump has put me in mind of two very funny videos. But before I get to the videos, let me explain what I see going on right now between Trump and his opponents, both domestic and foreign. He is proving to be masterful at toying with his political enemies and with herding people into pens from which there is no easy escape or, perhaps, no escape at all.

The most obvious example today of Trump’s toying and his herding is the way in which he is baiting the Democrats to impeach him. Yes, I know it’s tacky when he talks about “Crazy Nancy Pelosi” or “Dumb as a Rock” Rex Tillerson, but we are living in tacky times, with a political party now devoting its entire energy and political capital to destroying a president. Dems have no other goals than to thwart Trump. Abnormal times seem to call for abnormal measures.

Here’s the way I see it: Being tacky is not an impeachable offense. Threatening to fire someone . . . and then listening to reason and not firing him is not an impeachable offense. Pushing back against an investigation by the same crew that’s trying to railroad you on false charges should not be an impeachable offense. Calling people mean nicknames is not an impeachable offense. In a constitutional republic, the executive officer refusing to produce his closest people for examination by the co-equal legislative branch is not an impeachable offense. Investigating law enforcement that either deliberately or with incredible stupidity launched a bogus investigation into a candidate’s/president’s affairs is not an impeachable offense.

While the base may have delusions of impeachability, ordinary people understand that saying “we hate you” does not establish the type of high crime or misdemeanor that justifies overthrowing the people’s choice. What the crazed base wants is profoundly un-democratic (that’s small “d” democratic). If we go down this route, we’ve given up on a true constitutional republic and become nothing more than a Western hemisphere banana republic.

Moreover, there is something very, very wrong in America when a Democrat-controlled House attempts to go all Lavrentiy Beria on a Republican president by digging into his bank records and taxes from the past decade. It is profoundly un-American when a government agency, instead of investigating an actual crime, instead tries to find a crime to pin upon a disfavored person.

Again, from Trump’s point of view, desperate times call for desperate measures. Or maybe in Trump’s case, we’re not talking about desperate measures at all but are talking about, instead, funny, showman-like measures. Ever since the Mueller report dropped, we’ve seen Trump batting his enemies around a bit, perhaps even letting them think they might succeed, before toppling them over. Or, alternatively, putting more and more pressure on them until they realize he’s trapped them.

So it is with the Democrats: In what might seem to be an irrational act, Trump is pushing as hard as he possibly can to be impeached. However, there’s nothing irrational about it. Trump knows that he hasn’t committed any high crimes and misdemeanors. After a two year rectal examine with a 6 foot long probe (that would be the Mueller investigation), the guy is squeaky clean when it comes to Russia. Moreover, as someone whom the IRS audits so regularly it’s become practically an annual IRS sporting even, we can assume that Trump has nothing too bad hiding in the dark recesses of either his business or personal finances.

Ordinarily, someone with that clean a record would simply proclaim his innocence . . . which, frankly, is seldom that convincing. Trump’s going the other direction: He’s behaving more and more aggressively, with the meeting walk-out, the name calling and, just today, the declassification of Russiagate documents.

In addition, his war of words with Nancy Pelosi may seem childish, and un-presidential, but the reality is that, as Trump escalates the insults, he’s putting her in an impossible position. Trump’s behavior is going to make her base, both inside and outside of the House, more and more strident when it comes to demanding impeachment. For Pelosi to ignore that base will be very dangerous because its the base that provides a party’s election energy.

What both Trump and Nancy know, though, although Nancy’s base refuses to recognize it, is that impeachment will be a disaster for the Democrats. The most obvious reason, of course, is that there’s no way in Hell that the Senate can muster a two-thirds majority to convict on the House’s impeachment charges. Moreover, the American people will be disgusted when they see Trump working like the devil to keep his promises while the House masturbates itself into an orgasmic impeachment frenzy. The optics will not favor the House — and it’s only going to get worse as Barr works his way through the facts behind the Russiagate scandal.

More and more ordinary Americans will start to say that the House is wasting its time, that the Democrats have run themselves right off the rails, that people knew what they were getting with Trump, that Trump is keeping his promises, and that he’s hard at work for the American people, even as the Democrats enact a cross between Soviet show trials and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. 

It’s been clear for some time that Pelosi’s goal has been to make impeachment quietly go away. You know how it is. You leave something kind of nasty in your inbox for a long time, hoping that if you ignore it, it will take care of itself by just fading into irrelevancy. Trump, however, will not let impeachment fade. He’s forcing a Hobson’s choice on Nancy: For her, there is no good option.

In much the same way, Trump is forcing Iran into a corner. You can hear Scott Adams talk about that here.

Briefly, Adams points out that Trump has effectively dealt a death blow to Iran’s economy because Iran is now unable to ship out any oil, which is it’s only real commodity. Moreover, Trump has made it clear that, if Iran gets feisty, Trump will decapitate the government. That is, unlike past regimes, he won’t do some sort of targeted blow somewhere. Instead, he will drop bombs on the presidential palace, the parliament, and the Guards’ headquarters. Iran’s only alternative to economic or actual death is to engage in serious peace talks that require it to stop sponsoring terrorism all over the world and trying to achieve complete dominance in the Middle East.

Trump has also put China in a corner. While Democrats and NeverTrumpers panic, the reality is that, while Americans are briefly being deprived of low price economic gadgets thanks to targeted tariffs (although it appears that the Chinese government, not American consumers, is currently taking on the costs of the tariffs), the Chinese are running out of food. Who do you think can hold out longer? I’m betting on Trump, not the Chinese.

Meanwhile, wisely, Trump makes sure to remind everyone that he thinks President Xi Jingping is a great guy with whom he can strike a deal that makes everyone happy. This is the complete opposite of his baiting behavior with Pelosi. It’s a reminder how calculating Trump is. He wants a deal with China. When it comes to Democrats, though, he wants to goad them into self-destructing.

So, President Trump plays with his enemies, even letting them think he’s running scared, before he goes in for the kill, and he corrals people in ways that either leave them without good options or that force hard decisions on them. And that leads me to my two videos.

The first is a video of Trump, the big dog, having some fun with the Democrats, as represented by Pelosi, the yapping little dog (starting at 4:15):

(Doesn’t that chihuahua kind of look like Nancy?)

And here’s a video of Trump, the sheepdog, relentlessly forcing those sheep-like Dems to go where he wants them to be:

Leftist politics and the power of visual images

Leftists know that people respond strongly to visual images and use them to great effect. If Republicans want to win, they need to start doing the same.

A picture is worth a thousand words. — Newspaper/advertising adage.

Some years ago, in a post I wrote about the Second Amendment, I noted the fact that one of the advantages the gun-grabbing crowd has when pushing its message is that it has the intense visuals of dead bodies (something the Left used with special force in the wake of the terrible Sandy Hook massacre). This means that these same anti-gun people are completely resistant to any data that doesn’t create powerful images.

When it comes to guns, the gun grabbers suffer from a very bizarre limitation: Their mental horizons allow them to see only those who died because of guns, not to recognize those who did not die thanks to guns. This myopia creates the giant intellectual chasm that separates those who oppose the Second Amendment from those who support it. The former see only the people who died in the past while the latter also see the ones who will live on into the future.

I then introduced Frédéric Bastiat’s magnificent Parable of the Broken Window, which the French economist wrote in 1850, to make the point that destruction doesn’t benefit the economy but instead has money flowing in a fairly meaningless loop. Thus, Bastiat noted how people consoled someone whose window had been broken by pointing out that the repair meant work for the glazier and the contractor and so on. These people, said Bastiat, saw positive economic energy without ever understanding that it was actually lost economic energy because the money could have been used to create, rather than repair. What appealed to me about Bastiat’s essay was the final paragraph (emphasis mine):

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

After quoting the Parable, I dragged the issue around to the war that the Left is constantly waging against the Second Amendment:

Just as is the case with the economic illiterate who cannot imagine that money might be spent on something more useful than fixing a broken window, a gun control advocate’s world view “is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.” He counts those who have died, but cannot even begin to imagine those whose lives were saved or never threatened.

Point such an advocate to a story about an off-duty deputy who was able to stop a mall shooter, and he will say only that, “The gun still allowed the shooter to kill one or two people, and there’s no way to tell if the shooter intended to kill more people, so the armed deputy is not relevant.”

To the gun-control proponent, a story without dead bodies is no story at all and it certainly has no statistical validity in the debate over the Second Amendment. To one who believes in the Second Amendment, however, stories about people using concealed-carry guns to stop mass shooters matter because we, unlike the gun grabber, are able to take account of those people who survived what would otherwise have been a mass shooting.

Dead bodies resonate in our imagination. The absence of dead bodies, even when reported at excellent sites such as, which tracks stories about defensive gun use, is an empty space in the imagination. This is especially true because the media, even before it became fanatically determined to destroy the Second Amendment, always operated on the principle that “if it bleeds, it leads.” If it doesn’t bleed, it will at most be a feel good story in the last 30 seconds of the news or a squiblet on the last page of Section C in the local newspaper.

With no blood and no bodies, those who support the Second Amendment find themselves limited to statistics. The statistics, frankly, are spectacular, with an Obama-era study showing that people across the U.S. routinely and successfully use guns to defend themselves between 500,000 to 3 million times per year. Statistics, however, are not visual. Instead, they’re dead numbers on a page, exciting only to wonks and people who work well with abstract ideas.

The abortion debate has also been intensely visual. Before modern science allowed us to peer into the womb, the visuals of abortion were about the women: Pregnant women dying in back alleys from coat-hanger abortions, pregnant women whose cruel families cast them out on the street in the dead of winter, pregnant women chained to wife-beating husbands even as 13 other children were clinging to their aprons, brilliant pregnant women forced to drop out of school to become brood mares, and so on. No wonder that Obama announced to the world that he didn’t want his daughters “punished with a baby.

The rise of more pro-Life Americans coincides with the rise of windows into the womb. (And yes, I know correlation and causation are not the same thing, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen articles pointing to studies that show that 3D ultrasounds make people less supportive of abortion.) Suddenly, it’s not just a bump in a woman’s belly until the moment it’s born; instead, we see inside — in 3D yet! We see the fingers and toes, we see it sucking it’s thumb, we see that it is a baby. It’s visual.

The pro-Life movement also went visual when it started showing graphic photographs of aborted babies. The pro-Abortion movement hates those images. While dead bodies work in their favor in the Second Amendment debate, they do not help in the pro-Abortion debate. No more hypothetical women are dying in back alleys; instead, lots of actual, quite obvious babies are dying in Planned Parenthood clinics.

Apropos the abortion debate, Scott Adams, without touching on the merits of the new abortion limitations passed in Alabama, simply said that the fact that it was primarily men who voted on the law is a very bad visual, never mind the fact that a woman proposed the law and that a woman governor signed the law.  Because pro-Abortion people have framed the issue as “control over a woman’s body,” it looks bad when men make policy. The fact that nine men created a right to abortion out of whole cloth back in 1973 is irrelevant. In the here and now, the Left points to Alabama’s legislature and says of the men, “they’re gonna put y’all woman back to being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.”

I was reminded of the power of visuals when I read an article in Los Angeles Review of Books’ blog, entitled Heterosexuality Without Women. The premise for the article is an image. This image:

Buttigieg time magazine cover

The essay’s author — Greta LaFleur — urges us to take in every aspect of that image, not just because of the white house behind them (the “White House” metaphor . . . get it?), but also because it shows a sweet domesticity of husband and wife except without an actual female wife. After all, who needs real women to promote heterosexuality when you have this perfect gay heterosexual couple? If you’re saying “huh?”, you have to read the article. I’m quoting the pertinent parts (for my purposes) here:

There’s a lot to look at in this image. At first glance, one sees the anonymity of Norman Rockwell’s mid-century America: the house-unparticular porch, the timelessness of the couple form. Take another look and the pillars supporting the unseen roof of the porch start to resemble the Ionic columns of the White House, the background becoming a gesture or a promise of possibility. You begin to see the image in the aggregate, and the couple, girded by a backdrop literally overwhelmed by the household, becomes the timelessness of the entire image. This photo also tells a profound story about whiteness, above and beyond the fact that almost everything in this photo is, itself, white. It’s such an all-consuming aesthetic, here, that it practically resists interpretation; like the generically familiar (to me, a white person) porch, the cover photo claims that there’s nothing to see, because we already know what it is. We have seen this image, we know this couple, “we” should be comfortable. My “we” is particular to me, but then again, I am more or less exactly who this photo is aimed at. As a queer person, I also notice the quasi-uniform-like aesthetic of Pete and Chasten — I wondered, for a second, if they were actually wearing the same pair of pants — marveling for a moment at the sartorial doppel-banging that at first seems to claim center stage in this photo, before realizing that, instead, there’s actually no sex at center stage, here. And that is part of the point.

LaFleur goes on to point to new age scholarship that says, if I understand all the jargon correctly, that “whiteness” is now some sort of conceptual thing without the necessity of anybody being white. And why not? If gender, which is hardwired in every mammal at a DNA level, is now a mere concept, why can’t whiteness be a concept too? (Of course, blackness cannot be a concept, because that’s claiming unearned victim status not to mention racial and cultural appropriation. It’s always a one way street with these things. Likewise, homosexuality, which is a behavior, not a DNA thing, is also hard wired. Again, go figure. The new rules don’t have to make sense.)

Using this “conceptual whiteness” thing as a springboard, LaFleur makes the obvious leap: If “whiteness” is merely conceptual, than so is heterosexuality. Get enough heterosexual images piled into a single photograph and who cares if there’s not an actual heterosexual within a hundred miles?

This is a record with deep grooves. If you need more to convince you of this than the huge, literally white “FAMILY” emblazoned across Chasten and Pete’s well-muscled, Ralph Lauren-clad chests, then perhaps google “queer” and “focus on the family” and read a number of important and importantly-aging articles on the strategic deployment of homophobia (not to mention a host of other forms of animus) under the auspices of protecting “family values”; for  conservatives of all stripes, the family was the antidote to the homosexual. The flip side of that effect is, of course, the distinct but twinned use of “family” in queer communities, first to name ties to other queer people that exceed socially-approbated forms of kinship, and, second, the reproduction of the hothouse family by queer people used to shore up the recognizability and respectability of queer love, connection, parenting, and marriage. (We really don’t need anything more than Cathy Cohen’s 1997 “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens” to teach us about how this works.) Queer theorists and queer communities have coined terms like homonormativity to describe this effect, but this recent Time cover left me wondering: is this homonormativity? Or just heterosexuality? If straight people can be queer — as so many of them seem so impatient to explain to me — can’t gay people also be straight?

To be clear, I have no intention of relegating “family” to the realm of the heterosexual or the straight, for a number of reasons that reflect things like the fact that most queer people have strong ties to family, given and/or chosen. What I am saying is that the unmistakable heraldry of “FIRST FAMILY,” alongside the rest of the photograph — the tulips; the Chinos; the notably charming but insistently generic porch; the awkwardly minimal touching that invokes the most uncomfortable, unfamiliar, culturally-heterosexual embrace any of us have ever received — offers a vision of heterosexuality without straight people.

Frankly, I think most of the above is gobbledy-gook, but I actually respect the way LaFleur is trying to reframe people’s visuals. Democrats know that this is how you win arguments.

While conservatives spout statistics about the number of illegal immigrants crossing into America, the burden they place on our welfare system, and the American workers they displace, Leftists create images: “Dead children.” “Children in cages.”

Statistics don’t touch the power of those images. After all, it was a photo of a single dead child in the sand that caused Europe to open its doors to every Muslim across in the Middle East and North Africa, something that threatens to destroy the last tendrils of Enlightenment, Christian Europe. If that poor little boy hadn’t died, the European open borders crowd would have had to kill someone to create that type of powerful persuader.

The same image problem exists when it comes to vaccinations. Once upon a time, Americans had powerful images associated with epidemic diseases. Small pox ravaged America in the 17th and 18th centuries, so much so that people embraced variolation (a dangerous vaccination process with a live virus) because, while it carried risks, the risks were infinitesimal compared to the devastation of epidemic small pox. One of the geniuses of George Washington was to order the mass vaccination of his American troops — a tradition that continues to this day, as every human pin cushion who’s ever served in the American military will attest.

You don’t have to go back as far as Washington to find epidemic diseases. My uncle had the Spanish Influenza, which killed 50-100 million people worldwide. My mother had diphtheria, a childhood scourge for hundreds of years before vaccinations became available. My father had scarlet fever, which was, as one site explains: a very bad disease in a pre-antibiotic era:

Simply hearing the name of this disease, and knowing that it was present in the community, was enough to strike fear into the hearts of those living in Victorian-era United States and Europe. This disease, even when not deadly, caused large amounts of suffering to those infected. In the worst cases, all of a family’s children were killed in a matter of a week or two.

There’s no vaccination for this strep infection, but we nail it today with antibiotics. (And are rightly concerned that antibiotic abuse might give the infection an unbeatable edge in the near future.)

We also had a family friend who lived out his days walking on two canes, in great pain, because he was one of the last children to get polio before Salk developed his vaccine. Before that vaccine, polio swept through the U.S. several times, killing children and adults, and leaving many survivors with paralysis or even locked forever in iron lungs.

My point is that, within the lifetime of people I knew very well, infectious diseases were incredibly visible. People died from them. People were left permanently invalided by them. People were left crippled because of them. In that world, the risks inherent in any vaccination, while real, was easily disregarded compared to the much greater risk of epidemic, pandemic, or endemic infectious diseases.

Nowadays, of course, none of these diseases are visible. Ebola is probably the main exception, for it still has the power to frighten. We’ve very quickly become accustomed, though, to Ebola’s politely staying in little corners of Africa, with saintly aide workers putting their lives on the line to confine the deaths to hundreds, rather than millions. Even AIDS, a scary contagious disease in the 1980s, has been shoved away, thanks to antiviral treatments and condoms.

The invisibility of epidemic diseases is why fewer and fewer young parents are willing to expose their children to the risk of vaccinations. We don’t see the diseases, but we do read the random articles about that inevitable unlucky person — that 1 in 1,000 or 1 in 10,000 person — who died following a vaccination. That in-your-face story, that “there but for the grace of God” visual is way more scary than some hypothetical epidemic — or at least, it’s more scary right up until people teaming with infectious diseases pour unchecked across our border and are dispersed throughout the United States. That’s when, as they say, “shit gets real.”

I just got myself a measles booster because I’m at the perfect age to have had an ineffective booster when I was a child. A lot of others are doing the same thing because they can now envision a measles epidemic, something they could not before.

I could go on and on making the point that, because people are visual, the best persuasion creates images, whether in the form of actual pictures or in the form of vivid phrases (e.g., “children in cages”). If Republicans want to take back the culture generally, and take back Washington D.C. specifically, they would do well to keep the statistics in the background and push the punchy, catchy, visceral, memorable images and word pictures to the foreground. (Of course, as matters now stand, when innovative conservatives do try to make powerful visuals, social media tech overlords instantly shut them down. Indeed, in California, they prosecute people for powerful images.)

Immigration, character, welfare, and economic destiny

America’s economic growth will benefit from an immigration policy that sees people with skills come to work, not to latch onto America’s welfare benefits.

A few decades ago, when I was getting my history major at Cal, something very rare and special happened: I had a brilliant professor. Every lecture he gave was fascinating, so much so that, while I’ve forgotten most of what my other teachers told me and that I memorized for just long enough to pass the exams, I remember an amazing amount of what Professor Rothblatt had to say.

One of the things that especially stuck in my mind over the years was how he explained the fact that the British industrial revolution petered out (even before WWI and the Great Depression sank their talons into Britain), while the American industrial revolution kept going and going and going, rather like the Energizer Bunny.* According to Professor Rothblatt, the problem was the English class system. It wasn’t that the government used the class system to limit people’s economic opportunities. It was that the workers themselves felt constrained by the class system. It wasn’t a glass ceiling for them; it was a cast iron ceiling.

In many industries, once the abuses and upheavals of the first half of the 19th century wound down, especially in the late Victorian era when classic liberals in government started instituting some basic workplace protections, working people were able to make a decent enough life for themselves. Their definition of a “decent life,” though, was limited by class mobility. Within the confines of their working class neighborhood, their decent life meant that they could have enough food on the table, money for Sunday clothes in addition to work clothes, a snug home, etc.

What they could not do with earning and saving money, or with innovating and creating new ways of doing old work or creating new products altogether, was move into the next class. They could not move to better communities or get into better schools. There were, of course, exceptions as there are to every rule, but for the vast mass of working class Brits, Henry Higgins, channeling Alan J. Lerner, summed it up: “An Englishman’s way of speaking absolutely classifies him. The moment he talks, he makes some other Englishman despise him.” Thus, there was no benefit to be had from working longer, harder, or more creatively. In real estate terms, the working class person who made this extra effort would be in the unenviable position of having the fanciest house in the neighborhood — he could never get a return on his investment.

In America, at least before the modern era of college-/university-educated elitists dawned, there was a tremendous amount of social mobility. People were applauded for leaving their class of origin, not denigrated for doing so. With Americans, whether native-born or immigrant, always believing that there was room at the top, they were willing to spend the time and energy to work harder and to innovate. This is why in America, once the brutalities of the early industrial revolution were tamed, that same revolution, rather than reaching a stopping point, was an endless springboard for rising classes of workers, allowing the disciplined, the diligent, and the creative to move up the economic scale.

Put simply, British culture contributed significantly to its industrial slowdown.

Culture can matter economically in America too. As I alluded to a few paragraphs ago, and as Kurt Schlichter develops at some length in his marvelous Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy, America is developing a very strong class system at the upper end thanks to our university caste. These are people who believe that their Womyns, Queer, and Race Study degrees entitle them to impose Marxism, both cultural and economic, across America. These grads are the virus that infect America’s business sector with the “wokeness” that took over America’s college campuses as they take over management positions. Once embedded in corporate America (or, even worse, in government bureaucracies), these “woke” grads secrete their ideological toxins into the workplace. They depress economic growth because their big government ideology is antithetical to a dynamic marketplace.

We see too that culture matters in the African-American community. When I see charts showing that African-Americans consistently score lower on SAT tests, I do not think, “Oh, black people aren’t as smart as others are.” Instead, I think, “Darn it! I wish they could get their cultural ducks in a row.” I wish that they would work hard in school, get a job, get married, and have children — in that order — and that they would then encourage their children to work hard in school. These values are how generations of Jews and Asians arrived in this country dirt poor and not even speaking the language, only to see their children move up and up the economic ladder, leaving the ghettos for the suburbs. The problem isn’t race; it’s culture.

We have other downscale culture problems in America. As I blogged about at length in the context of the Obamacare debate, there’s also a culture of poor people who have no desire whatsoever for economic mobility. I have a friend who is part of this culture, so I’ve seen this play out first hand.

When Obamacare came along, while my friend did take advantage of it because she has middle class values about preventive medicine and was indeed very grateful for low-cost, subsidized insurance, many of her friends were deeply offended that they would be forced to buy insurance. This was not because they were libertarians who objected to the government forcing them to make a purchase in the marketplace. It was because, no matter how heavily subsidized their Obamacare, they would still have to pay something every month. They preferred their existing system, which had no preventive care, but had them going to the ER for everything from colds to broken bones to appendicitis. That treatment was subsidized 100%, which was a better deal to them than paying $50 a month for insurance.

I wrote then that the Obamacare architects were operating on the assumption that everyone in America wants a middle class lifestyle, with a nice home, a new car every six years, college for the children, and insurance that covers not just emergencies but childhood vaccinations, colds, migraines, arthritis treatments, etc. In my friend’s circle, though, people had different goals: welfare checks, food stamps, free care at the ER, access to their recreational drugs of choice (and beer), and to be left alone. There was no part in their ethos that included working for any of the benefits they received courtesy of taxpayers. These people are the takers and they feel very, very entitled — especially because they are willing to have a very low standard of living in exchange for those benefits.

And then there are the immigrants. As Ben Shapiro said on his Friday podcast, he supports Trump’s plan to move immigration to a standard that looks at what the immigrant can do for America, rather than what America can do for the immigrant. The reason he does is because we live in a welfare state. Before the welfare state, Shapiro noted, people who came to America were (at least in theory) committed to working their way up the economic ladder. They were strivers, innovators, and risk-takers. Now, though, with the welfare state, people come here expecting to get better welfare than in their home countries.

Take Muslims, for example. In 2015, Jeff Sessions’ office prepared a chart showing how dependent “Middle Eastern” (i.e., Muslim) refugees are on welfare in America:

Muslim Refugees Welfare

That’s not just the case in America. Muslims take disproportionate advantage of welfare in whatever First World country they land.  Not all are like that, of course. I wrote last year about the absolutely delightful Afghani couple I met. When they finally immigrated (legally) to Canada, Canada extended them one year of benefits, plus loans. They learned the language, got skills, worked like crazy, paid back the loans, and now they and their children are thriving. However, this same couple looks at the latest batch of Syrian Muslim immigrants to Canada and is disgusted: the newbies are takers and very aggressive takers at that.

Overall, in a 2015 study, 51% of immigrant households got some welfare, compared to 30% of American households. (I suggest following the link I just provided; the data are fascinating.)

I’m not saying that legal immigrants to America shouldn’t receive some assistance, at least while they are adjusting to living in a new country.  That Afghani couple was a good example of people being given a hand up and then rocketing off on their own.

Nevertheless, it’s worth pointing out that immigrants of late come here expecting social services. Muslim immigrants especially come from a mindset that says that they are entitled to jizya — a subsidy from non-believers. In other words, too many modern immigrants come to America to take, not to work and create.

All of which is to wrap around to my original point, which is that, when it comes to whether our country’s economic does well, the debate shouldn’t just be about free market versus managed economies. Instead, culture matters too.

In England, it mattered that people knew that they could never rise above their class.

In America, it matters that too many African-Americans organize their lives in ways that are antithetical to economic success. It matters that native-born Americans on welfare are completely happy to live at the very bottom echelons of society, contributing nothing, provided that they don’t have to work. And it matters very much in immigration, when we open our doors to people, both legal (chain migration and lotteries) and illegal, who come here determined to take advantage of America’s generous welfare programs without feeling any corollary obligation to contribute their energy and innovation to the American economy.

* Obviously, any mistakes I make here are mine alone, whether because I misunderstood the good professor or because the passage of time has warped my memory about what he said.

Image credit: A Fool and His Money, by David Goehring. Creative Commons; some rights reserved.

Mark Cuban: Bernie, AOC recognize socialism as ‘trigger word’ (Fox Business video)


Published on May 13, 2019 by Fox Business
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban says that he is a hardcore capitalist and believes that people don’t understand what socialism is.

While the following statement is far reaching over the heads of the indoctrinated, this comment says it all:

You can vote your way into socialism very easily, but you may have to shoot your way out.