Second and Third Order Effects

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” – F. A. Hayek

.

The American military is often perceived of as an institution with a simple mindset: see bad guy, blow up bad guy. Truth be told, American service members do little to counteract this impression with their often macabre humor. But throughout my stint in the Army, I was repeatedly reminded to consider second and third order effects. In other words, for any action we took, how would the enemy and Iraqi civilians respond, and what would be the response to that response? With many of their policies, this is a question liberals do not seem to have learned to ask.
Continue reading

#government, #principles, #unintended-consequences

The Important Things in Life

“To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind.” ~ Edmund Burke

.

This may seem like a strange thing to write in a political blog, but we should all care less about politics. Conservatives often talk about our desire for limited government and why that is important, but that is still placing the focus on government. In a conservative utopia, the vast majority of Americans would go about their day barely thinking about the government because it has a minimal impact on their lives. Ah, to dream.

Continue reading

#principles

American Exceptionalism

“Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.” ― Margaret Thatcher
.
.

American exceptionalism is a concept that is easy to misunderstand. When President Obama was asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, he famously responded “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” This is how many people understand that term, as just another expression of patriotism; that saying one believes in American exceptionalism is just a louder way for an American to say they are proud of their country. This is false.

Continue reading

#america, #democracy, #government, #patriotism, #principles

What Does it Mean to be a Conservative in America?

I have written about what conservatism is not, so I suppose it is time to write about what conservatism is. It is always a bit difficult to write about overarching ideologies when we are accustomed to think about policies in the here and now. Modern American conservatism has been a major political force in America for over half a century now, and while the principles assembled over the centuries endure, the policies change. When examining the philosophies behind conservatism it makes little sense to discuss the Conservative reaction to Obamacare in recent years or the conservative reaction to President Ford’s plan to whip inflation in the 1970s. With that in mind, I will instead discuss four enduring principles that are the foundation of modern conservatism.

Continue reading

#principles

Politics is Not a Sport

Anyone I meet quickly learns two things about me: (1) I am a proudly patriotic American; and (2) I am a rock-ribbed conservative. But if you meet me during football season, the first thing you learn might be that I am a die hard Redskins fan.

Continue reading

#principles

The Boy Who Cried Racist

Recently I wrote a post about what it is like as a conservative to be consistently called sexist and racist because we disagree with liberals on policy ideas. Although I explicitly stated multiple times that it was not the point of the post, I can see how it could be taken as little more than complaints that someone hurt our feelings. But it is about so much more than that. Liberals who engage in this type of indiscriminate character assassination were instrumental in electing President Trump.

Continue reading

#racism, #sexism, #trump, #unintended-consequences

Federalism is the Answer

Would you rather do what you want to do, or force other people to do what you want? This is a real question Americans are asked periodically, if not so explicitly. Too many Americans choose the latter and surrender the former.

Continue reading

#government, #principles

Government is force

“When push comes to shove, I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.” – King George III (Hamilton: An American Musical)

.

There is a clever trick liberals like to use whenever they push for higher taxes that has become a great pet peeve of mine. They will invariable say something along the lines of “we’re just asking those who can afford it to pay a little bit more.” There is one word in that sentence that really grinds my gears. Take a moment to see if you can guess what it is. Yes, I oppose higher taxes in principle and for their results, but have you figured out what word in that sentence really annoys me? It’s “ask.”

The government does not “ask” anyone to pay taxes. The government passes laws and then requires citizens and resident aliens to pay taxes under threat of punishment. And this leads me to my larger point: all government action is based on the implicit threat of force. Continue reading

#domestic-policy, #government, #grinds-my-gears, #principles

The Dwindling Defense of Capitalism

“By pursuing his own interest, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.” – Adam Smith

.

Capitalism took a beating in the 2016 presidential election. Between the surprising number of Democrats openly adopting the term socialists, and the depressing number of Republicans supporting the anti-free market ideas of Trump, it is unclear how many people even understand the underlying principles of capitalism.

Continue reading

#capitalism, #principles

Dishonest Media, Dishonest Government

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein

.

What do we do when neither our government nor the people tasked with holding our leaders accountable can be trusted? To a varying degree, our elected leaders have always lied and the media has always been biased. Sometimes the government spins the the truth in ways that are at least plausible and sometimes they tell us blatant, easily falsifiable lies. Sometimes the media has a bias that taints a story, and sometimes they push fake news.

Continue reading

#government, #media, #principles, #trump