I have made several posts about China, due to the escalation of human rights abuses there. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what is going on in Iran right now and issue some calls to action related to that country. Unfortunately for them, affairs in Hong Kong and to a lesser degrees, China’s concentration camps, have deprived them of the scant attention that America’s leftwing MSM is willing to give to matters of actual, grave importance. Add to that the ‘impeachment’ orgy, and its a miracle that any news about anything other than progressive self-pleasuring gets out.
Not to get into the masturbatory nature of present day so-called ‘liberalism,’ but it is worth mentioning that the attitude which seems willing to justify everything as merely part of the regular give and take of politics, not to be taken too seriously–just part of the game, you see–actually comes at a steep price. What is happening is anything but ‘regular,’ ‘normal’, or healthy, being in fact an extraordinary escalation in both scale and kind, which risks destroying all that remains of our public comity, which is indeed a steeper price than usual, but not the steep price I refer to. In short: it is evident to me that many of the world’s tyrants are trying to walk the narrow line of taking the actions they deem necessary to retain power (can’t let things get TOO out of control) while not attracting the definitive ire of a US president who might actually do something about it; in other words, with the attention of the US diverted to hyper-partisan ‘bread and circus and political porn’ and the real prospects of the only US president in a generation to stand up to them being removed, they’ve decided to wait out the clock.
In this context, its a veritable miracle that Hong Kong has not yet devolved into a Tienanmen Square. China’s leaders are biding their time pending the 2020 election. God help the Uyghurs if a Democrat wins, for at that point, only God could, or would.
As I stated in a recent post, it is not at all certain that even Trump will do what is necessary–or at least, all that the US can appropriately do–to win the liberty of the world’s oppressed. But it is a fact that it has been Trump that has been the difference. And what a difference it has been. Notwithstanding the fact that there are things with Trump I disagree with or things I’d prefer him to do differently, and taking into account the fact that Trump could have done or might have done better, if his foes weren’t hamstringing him, the testimony of the world’s oppressed has generally recognized where their hope lies. I’m going to talk about that in this post, not because I have a particular fondness for Trump, but because I have a particular fondness for policies that actually work, especially when it comes to heading off state-sanctioned mass murder.
If anyone recognizes a policy that actually works, it would be the Hong Kong protestors. There is no question in their mind that it is the United States that is their greatest ally–if not their only ally, and Trump in particular. Scenes of Hong Kong citizens carrying the American flag and sing the national anthem are heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. After the recent legislation passed in symbolic defense of Hong Kong, which I concede was a bi-partisan effort (I still haven’t nailed down why Democrats cared, but ok, they did do their part), the people of Hong Kong knew precisely who to thank. The picture below sums it up.
Meanwhile in Iran, the people are rioting. Sparked, apparently, by a steep raise in fuel prices, their attention has not just been directed at getting economic relief (as the French riots ostensibly were), but actual regime change. Because Iran shut down their Internet, details are scarce, but if the number of killed is any indication of the groundswell of anger, the risk to the regime is twenty times greater than that which occurred in 2009, which saw an estimate of 40 killed by the Iranian government. Current estimates are that 1,000 have been killed.
Given that the raise in fuel prices are in large part a response to the Trump administration’s walking away from the asinine Iran deal and instead launched a full press sanction program on the country, you would think that the Iranian people would be directing their ire towards Trump and America. What little information we have so far suggests quite the opposite. So far, it appears that a very big part of the reason why the Iranian people are daring to risk their necks is precisely because they have taken encouragement from Trump’s policies.
For example, consider this paragraph on the Wiki page for the protests:
The government crack down prompted a violent reaction from protesters who destroyed 731 government banks including Iran’s central bank, nine Islamic religious centers, tore down anti-American billboards, and posters and statues of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. 50 government military bases were also attacked by protesters. This series of protests have been categorized as the most violent and severe since the rise of Iran’s Islamic Republic in 1979.
If these are indeed the most ‘violent and severe’ since 1979 (Wiki cites 3 sources in defense of that claim) that that is significant, since the 2009 protests were massive, and we are led to believe that this one surpasses that one.
But notice the phrase, “tore down anti-American billboards.”
I don’t know if Iranians are singing America’s anthem or waving its flag–this seems like a prescription for immediate execution–but it does seem as though the protestors know what side their bread is buttered. Such clues pop up here and there in a lot of the reporting on the protests. For example, in this article, which I commend for a variety of reasons, titled, “Young protesters in Iran, Iraq will not be cowed” by Struan Stevenson, contains this paragraph:
The European press has also been wrong-footed over Trump’s reimposition of tough sanctions on Iran. They wailed a chorus of disapproval, complaining that the sanctions would only harm Iran’s 80 million citizens. How humiliating for that editorial line when protesters in Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad and Tehran were heard to chant “The enemy is here; they are lying when they say it is America.” Indeed, the protests raging across the country have taken on a new and uniquely political dimension, with young protesters demanding regime change and calling for the ousting of supreme leader Ali Khamenei and Rouhani.
I will be taking the ‘European press’ to task here momentarily, myself.
So even as the leftists in the world continue to flock to visit www.impeachment.xxx with a bulk supply of kleenex next to them, people in oppressed lands are stiffening their backs and laying it on the line to advocate and agitate for their own freedom.
This is not the first time that the Iranian people have been emboldened to act. I don’t think we can understand this present moment without understanding the 2009 protests. I talk about this at length on this blog, describing it as “the one that really pisses me off, the one that really makes me livid, was Obama’s handling of the 2009 Iranian elections.” And see also.
Long story short, the people of Iran were suckered into thinking that Obama would back their play. He did not. He sold them out for the sake of his own ‘legacy’, and managed to facilitate the deaths of 60,000 Americans in a single year as part of the process.
“A lot of people were furious; they had cases in the pipeline for months, in some cases years, and then, all of a sudden, they were gone — all because they were trying to sell the nuke deal,” a former Department of Commerce counterproliferation agent said.
Some of these cases were drug cases, hence the link to the deaths of more Americans in a year to drugs than died in the entire Vietnam war, thus the link to the 60,000 dead.
In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.
The full measure of Obama’s crimes on this topic alone have not yet been explored, since most of the media prefers to be Obama’s jockstrap, and the left as a whole wishes with all their hearts they could be to Obama, what Lewinsky was for Clinton. But what we already know is vile and despicable and absolutely unforgivable.
Its not really my desire to go into all of that wickedness again, but it is worth noting that even as Europe is complaining about Iran’s missile program escalating, and Hezbollah rains rockets on Israel, these missiles were purchased with money provided by the American taxpayer thanks to a cash delivery authorized by Obama directly to Iran to the tune of $400 million (CASH!) and all told 1.7 BILLION dollars freed up for their use. Not to mention the monetary contributions of individual Americans who have purchased illicit drugs that somehow have flowed back to Iran. Isn’t it great to know that you, my dear American reader, have directly and indirectly funded terrorism overseas and a terrorist regime? I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel dirty.
As another follow up but still just an aside, the Politico piece on Hezbollah, in describing the cocaine network, references the Los Zetas cartel. It was this cartel which the governor of a Mexican state recently let slip had sent 150 gunmen across the United States border on its way to shooting up a bunch of Mexican government offices, killing 10+ police officers and firemen. The Americans who were massacred in Mexico just about a month ago are alleged to have been killed by the La Línea cartel, which if I understand it correctly, is an ‘enforcement’ cartel loyal to Los Zetas and other cartels.
At any rate, I have gone into this excursion to emphasize the point that these mere political ‘games’ are costing real lives, both foreign and domestic. If Schiff, Pelosi, and Nadler weren’t too busy trying out different political sexual positions with each other, perhaps they could be focused on saving real lives. If they are looking for actual crimes committed whereby actual national security was put in jeopardy in order to secure one’s own political interests, I could give them a fair list of legitimate and genuine examples to pursue.
Back to Iran.
Now, there has got to come a point, I think, where it matters to someone what the actual results of a thing are. At some point, mere intentions can’t be regarded as sufficient.
There is a saying, “if you are not a liberal when you are 20 you have no heart; if you are not a conservative when you are 40, you have no brain.” The thing that is different when you are 40 is not that you don’t have a heart, but rather that you have both a heart and a brain. By the age of 40, if you haven’t yet figured out that if despite your good intentions, you’re not actually helping people, you haven’t a brain. If your efforts to help people actually harm them, then you need to do some re-thinking. That’s where the ‘brain’ comes in. And if you persist in doing things that harm people, then perhaps you have neither heart nor brain.
Unfortunately, to the degree that there are still some people on the left who do have good intentions (let’s assume) its clear we’ve reached a point where it has been deemed by them that the good intentions ARE sufficient. As I said in my post the other day, the thing about liberals (‘liberals’) is that they never have to say they are sorry, because, ya know, they meant well.
In my article linked above taking the European press to task, the author–evidently an actual Iranian who cares about his people and his actual freedom–claims that Europe has been mute on what is going on in Iran because they hate admitting that they are wrong. I’m not really in a position to judge what the European press has been saying, but the ‘European press’ is usually just a synonym for a leftist in general. Their views are usually indistinguishable from your average statist/globalist, and insofar as it has been my experience that ‘liberals’ apologize for none of the results of their pathetically failed policies, I am inclined to believe he is right.
But it is high time that we stop letting them get away with it. I mean, it is time for those of us who actually care about results in the real world to A., stop apologizing for OUR winning strategies and B., refuse to given so-called ‘humanitarians’ (those the Chinese called baizuo) even an inch. I no longer have any patience whatsoever for people espousing asinine and stupid ideas WHICH HAVE BEEN DEMONSTRATED TO BE ABJECT FAILURES RESULTING IN THOUSANDS, TENS OF THOUSANDS, and MILLIONS DEAD. They have the audacity to lecture me?
That’s what we should start saying to them. One of the basic traits of someone of a ‘conservative’ bent is not just that they want to be left alone but also that they’re inclined to leave other people alone. Conservatives: that is a policy that is FAILING, and since we are concerned about RESULTS, then its time to RE-THINK. Abandoning ‘humanitarian’ causes to the ‘left’ functionally means abandoning the world’s oppressed to tyrants and dictators, and as the Obama-cocaine-Iran-love-triangle illustrates, there is no particular reason for thinking that the failures of the ‘humanitarians’ won’t include Americans in the wreckage.
Our preferred policies work, as the example of Hong Kong and Iran, is illustrating. The people of Hong Kong and Iran know that they work.
What are these policies?
Well, it isn’t just straight up war, is it? Evidently, taking a firm line and backing it up with significant economic arm-twisting can go a long way towards curtailing the behavior of tyrants. These recent examples are not the only examples, either. Reagan broke the economy of the Soviet Union. Libya was brought to heel through economic pressures. Military action is on the table, as it ought to be–when Obama threatened Syria with a ‘red line’ it meant nothing. But Trump whacked them when they crossed it, and unsurprisingly, Syria, despite having Russia as an ally, treads very carefully when even coming close to that ‘red line’ again. But generally speaking, a great deal can be done by hitting them in the pocketbook.
It could be said that such things have not always worked. Iraq under Hussein did not crumble under sanctions. Russia is heavily sanctioned now (what?!?!?!?! BUT TRUMP-RUSSIA!) and has not yet been brought to heel. North Korea’s behavior has just barely improved.
There are some legitimate points to be made in such examples. But let’s not forget that the reason why Hussein thrived despite the sanctions is because the Europeans at the United Nations were thoroughly corrupted, giving Hussein billions of dollars (while taking their own cut), in the “Oil for Food” scandal. North Korea is heavily sanctioned, but is also heavily subsidized, by China–who as yet has been getting away with murder (literally) because of a failure of the world to bring to bear on China what it has been willing to allow against Russia (but not, curiously, against Iran). As for Russia itself, that is a larger discussion, but I think here again we have a situation where political eroticism and promiscuity has undermined the achievement of our goals. Putin is a very, very, very bad man, but he is also a big fan of money and power, and he is mortal. My assessment is that whereas the hope that good economic relations with China would improve their behavior was used against us, good relations with Russia would have built a foundation for the kind of free country we’d like to see.
Since Russia has calculated that there is nothing to be gained by making amends with the West, it has decided to throw its lot in with China. And this is a terrible, terrible development. I suppose you could argue that even if Nixon was wrong about opening up trade with China insofar as bring freedom to that country, he was right, at least, about the need and strategic advantage of having China and Russia at odds with each other. Trust me. We need China and Russia to be at odds with each other. And now throw Turkey into the mix….
Complicated matters, to be sure, but nonetheless illustrative of the immense power we have at our disposal when we are clear about our moral values, have a firm foundation to place them on, and demonstrate these via how and where we spend our money–with an eye towards RESULTS. (Ie, it does no good to spend or not spend our money in a way that has, as its consequence, the exact behavior we wanted to curtail! We must use our brains!)
I couldn’t help but notice that the people of Hong Kong are not waving British flags. The people of Iran are not ripping down anti-European billboards. Why would the Iranian regime have anti-European billboards? The Iranian regime would not place anti-European billboards for the obvious reason that the Iranian regime welcomes the near universal European support it enjoys, a fact that has not been lost on average Iranians.
None of the world’s oppressed realistically expect any relief from the United Nations–if you don’t know why, ask the Tutsis. It is America, and America alone, which is the world’s last hope. And isn’t that a damn shame.
It need not be that way. But it is that way.
So it is, then, that those of us grounded in reality and with real concern about our fellow man cannot afford to look away from these matters. It is imperative that we elect only people who are grounded in reality and have genuine concern for humanity (and thus, at minimum, you will never, ever, ever, EVER, vote for a Democrat except perhaps at the very local level, presumably because no one is running against him or her). I don’t for a minute believe that the Republicans are heads and tails above and superior. Indeed, Republicans have managed to foul up an awful lot of things, and have their own share of blood on their hands. Nonetheless, as things are, it is the last place in America where there is a realistic chance of having well-grounded values get implemented. It could be argued (and I would argue) that even here there is diminishing hope. But until there is a viable third party alternative, it seems to me to be the only realistic way forward. And it has been encouraging to see some Republicans with spine. The Republican primary needs to be made more competitive.
But it isn’t just there that we need to be active. We need to be more involved in the areas that in many respects don’t resonate with conservative-minded people. We need doctors, lawyers, and yes, politicians. Yes, we even need bureaucrats. We need to be loud. At present, the ‘humanitarian-industrial-complex’ is populated chiefly by leftists, and as such have no meaningful checks and balances, where checks and balances are desperately needed, and lives hang in the balance–nay, people are really hanged–because of the lack of those checks and balances.
It has been the way of the ‘left,’ since they’ve been stripped of any semblance of any logical arguments and certainly very little substantive evidence, to resort to shaming (and burning down city blocks, or getting you fired, etc, etc) to get what they want. Well, there is a place for shame. Its time to think about shaming them. They have appropriated to themselves the mantle of caring for the poor, the oppressed, and so on and so forth, and indeed since WW2 have usually been the ones in ‘charge.’ And despite all the money and power they got, they only managed to foul it up, over and over, in almost every thing they’ve touched.
We cannot let this continue. It is to us, and us alone. If we don’t do it, it won’t be done.
Now, I do feel like after having said that I need to issue some caveats, especially about the reference to the Republican Party. To me, the GOP has been a disappointment far too often to be relied upon. I feel like they’ve often taken advantage of the fact that their best feature is simply that they are not Democrats. I know that I only voted for McCain and Romney because I perceived Obama (correctly) to be a substantially greater threat. Things haven’t been much better in Wisconsin, where state Republicans had the chance to act on numerous measures that conservatives championed, and did not–but now that Evers has been elected, suddenly they have decided to champion them again.
The GOP is likely going to see a resurgence in 2020 (you can thank the Dems for that more than anything else) and probably (based on present data) an overwhelming landslide victory for Trump. But these appear to me to be temporary ‘successes.’ There is a real chance that people in the GOP who do not share our values (crony capitalists, power-mongerers, etc), will just use us all again. I don’t see a clear way out of this predicament, but we must keep our eyes open and ready to take the way out if it ever presents itself.
There are some things we can probably do.
1. Climate change is obviously just the latest ploy to rationalize population control measures, having no basis in evidence or fact. But there are things that conservatives cherish about the environment. We need not tolerate the abuse of our land for monetary gain. Abuse being the key word, here. If it comes down to an endangered field mouse or a human being, we should obviously favor the human being. But a case can be made that some of the environmental damage we sometimes allow does not just hurt the mouse, it hurts the human. It is silly for people to think that conservatives are disinterested in the ‘environment.’ We all understand that many of them live in rural areas, are farmers, etc, right? In point of fact, these people don’t want to foul up their own land, do they? So, there is ample reason to give more emphasis to a set of positions which will curb some abuses by businesses and appeal to people who do not tend to think of themselves as ‘conservatives.’
2. We have winning ideas and strategies in several areas where propaganda has suggested we are heartless. Eg, pro-life, guns, race. Fortunately, black people are starting to come around to the realization that they were quite wrong about who the real racists are, but its not going to be enough. The break down of the family in the inner cities has created a scourge of poverty, which, unsurprisingly, has not been alleviated by aborting as many black babies as funds will allow. We can and should tackle the abortion side of it, but its high time we asserted ourselves on the ‘family’ side of things. This is not best done via legislation. This is best done via a full court press applications of our values. Set aside the idea of doing ANYTHING legislatively whatsoever (it will just be used against us, like governmental involvement in ‘marriage’ was.) We need to do a massive financial investment of our own dollars, plus involvement of our organizations. This will be very hard to do, if only because the expectation (which I have challenged numerous times on this blog) is that the only appropriate way to engage in ‘charitable’ activity is by funneling our money through government programs. Just like the average person in Iran, China, and Turkey, desires freedom and prosperity, you can be darn sure that the average ‘disadvantaged’ person in Chicago or Baltimore desires freedom and prosperity. It’s time we used our freedom and prosperity, eschewing governmental programs, to lend the hand they need to rise above the tyranny holding them down.
3. I mentioned crony capitalism above. I disagree with Tucker Carlson about the Iraq War but he is spot on in his condemnation of what Big Business has done and is doing to the middle class. The scourging of the small towns, the moving of businesses overseas, the conspiring to obtain favorable legislation and regulation to maximize profits, etc, are things that Republicans and even conservatives have been complicit in. Look, supporting the idea that businesses should be allowed to thrive is NOT compatible with the idea that a business should get huge regulatory advantages thanks to its lobbying efforts. This sort of thing happens all over the place, whether its from trade associations (eg, builders advocating for building code modifications which, ‘coincidentally’ raise the costs of the building and thus giving them more money), to larger scale cronyism like what we may have seen or are seeing in Wisconsin with Foxxcon.
We can do two things: start scaling back all of the benefits that CERTAIN businesses get (preferably by taking government out of those areas altogether) while working to ensure that the role government is appropriate for–creating a fair playing field–is fulfilled. Why? Such things have trickle down effects that are hard to measure but are real. As a very quick example, Republicans are just as likely to advocate for and pass laws requiring permits for this and that and every teeny thing, as a Democrat is. But many of these ‘permits’ are contingent on obtaining certificates, accreditation, etc, which can only be obtained by jumping through hoops which are–shocker!–established by competitors! This is most vividly the case with educational institutions, but then there are things like getting permits to cut hair, etc. Cutting hair needs a permit? Really? Here is a good discussion about such things. These ‘little’ things add up to real barriers to people starting small businesses, etc, and thus throwing barriers in the way of people obtaining freedom and liberty–and financial security.
This would be a whole book on its own, but I at least wanted to give some ideas.
On the face of it, the above examples (and its just a slice) have nothing to do with the fate of the Iranians, and so on. From an immediate point of view, perhaps not. But we must think long term. And we must think broadly. There is no particular reason, for example, to think that whoever becomes president after Trump will maintain policies that advance freedom at home and or abroad. How will we ensure this happens? Not by having Trump serve as president for life! No, we’re going to need people coming up behind him who can be trusted as well.
We can’t even be certain that Trump will maintain such policies. He needs to be surrounded by people who have the values demonstrated to be consistent with freedom and liberty, and while the Democrat party is almost devoid of any of that, the GOP as presently constituted is very much a mixed bag. We need to fix that. And if the GOP cannot be fixed (and personally I am very skeptical on the prospects), we need to be thinking hard about Plan B.
Bringing more people along with us is going to be critical. Groups of people who now believe that they are oppressed (by conservatives, usually) mainly because they’ve been told by the media that they are oppressed, need to not merely be told that things are otherwise, but brought into the ‘fold’ as it were. The most effective way to do this is to invert who controls the education system so that it is no longer chiefly run by progressives. This is not going to happen, so apart from that we’re going to have to work outside the ‘institutions’, using our own time, talent, and treasure, to help others improve their time, talent, and treasure.
If America is not healthy on the inside (and it is not), it will be no good to the oppressed anywhere.
And we are, as I said, the world’s last hope. Well, unless we count the return of Jesus. 🙂 But in the meantime, as C.S. Lewis said, we should be found to be at our stations when he arrives.)
(Note: there are plenty of people outside of America who I would count as part of that ‘last hope.’ I do not primarily think of America as a geographic term. Rather, as particular mindset incorporating a certain set of ideas. I would consider the protestors in Hong Kong to be legitimately American–certainly a better claim to it than people like Bernie Sanders and Bloomberg. I would count freedom-loving people in Canada as, in point of fact, American. So when you hear me say things like “America is the world’s last hope” you should interpret that sentence according to my broader understanding of who and/or what constitutes and American.)