Category Archives: Modern Liberalism

Hillary’s “Ridiculous” Hypocrisy

Hillary Clinton’s effort to avoid blame for her breach of protocols due to the “ridiculousness” of the rules she broke violates her core statist principles which dictate that the state should regulate human activity because it does more good than harm when it does so.  Those principles motivate her policy positions…at least as long as they don’t inconvenience her or get her into trouble.

Last week, Hillary Clinton seized on a Politico article authored by Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department official, in defense of her e-mail account misconduct.  Miller wrote that “the sheer volume of information now considered classified, as well as the extreme, and often absurd, interpretations by intelligence officials about what is and is not classified, make it nearly impossible for officials charged with operating in both the classified and unclassified worlds to do so without ever mixing the two.”  Clinton jumped at the chance to justify her conduct linking to the article and tweeting “‘Our ridiculous classification rules’ are the real problem”.  In doing so, she acted contrary to her core beliefs as a statist in order to provide a defense for her misconduct.

Hillary Clinton is a modern liberal statist and advocates government regulation of human activity.  She thinks the government should regulate citizens in farming, industry, employment, health care, food safety, drug safety, and virtually anything potentially affecting the environment (which of course means just about everything).  She thinks the government can and should undertake such an aggressive and all-encompassing regulatory effort because society benefits if it does so.

She is aware of the monetary costs, inefficiencies and lost opportunities these regulations impose on citizens.  She knows that the rules and regulations which touch upon every aspect of life must prove unfair or unreasonable on a daily basis in their application to specific individuals whose unique circumstances could not have been considered in the adoption of rules to be universally applied.  She obviously does not think that a plea of “ridiculousness” is a defense sufficient to overcome the application of a rule or regulation applicable to society at large.

The three legitimate functions of government are, (1) ensuring individual liberty, (2) securing the nation from foreign aggression and (3) administering civil and criminal justice.  Though modern liberal statists like Clinton go far beyond, advocating the routine violation of the first function by virtue of myriad regulatory and redistributive schemes mandated by force of law for the supposed benefit of society at large, modern liberals still formally acknowledge those three core functions of government.  Obviously, the classification of information for national security purposes falls within one of those core functions, namely, securing the nation from foreign aggression.  Accordingly, virtually everyone agrees that the protocols for classifying that information play a key role in fulfilling one of the government’s core functions.

Without hesitation, Clinton seized upon the argument that the rule proscribing her conduct is unfair, unreasonable, or “ridiculous”.  She made this point despite the fact that the rule she complains of is integral to one of the primary functions of any government.  Implicit in her tweeted statement, is an acknowledgment that the government cannot always get it right, even when performing its most essential functions.  Also implicit in her statement, is an assertion that the statist political class isn’t, or shouldn’t be, subject to the same stringent inflexibility with respect to the rule of law as the great unwashed masses.  Of course, hypocrisy in the application of laws to the political class is nothing new.  Recall Congress’s ObamaCare exemption.

The bottom line is this – top down, invasive, abusive regulations are just fine when imposed on you for any reason the government thinks is a good idea.  If regulations aren’t reasonable and you suffer expense or inconvenience, that’s ok because it’s all for the greater good.  You aren’t sufficiently important and don’t have enough “pull” to achieve an exception for yourself.  But expect the Secretary of State to comply with protocols deemed crucial to national security which she thinks are unreasonable, cumbersome or inefficient?

Don’t be ridiculous.

 

 

 

 

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Anchor Babies And Thought Control

The topic of the day is the use of the term “anchor babies” by certain Republican candidates for president.  Both Donald Trump and Jeb Bush were recently asked by members of the press why they are using this “offensive” term.  Put on the spot, both candidates asked their inquisitor for a less offensive substitute.  They might, instead, have asked what exactly is offensive about the term “anchor baby”.  The short answer – only it’s intended meaning.

Confucius said that “when words lose their meaning people will lose their liberty.”  Language control has been a staple of those who would impose their political will since the dawn of politics.  In our self-governing society, the usurpation of language has always been a favored tool of the left.  By controlling language, they affect messaging and ultimately thought.

Sometimes they co-opt words which have gained favor with the public and redefine them, presumably in the hope that the positive connotation will continue even after it has been redefined.  There is perhaps no better example of this tactic than the progressives’ theft of the word “liberalism”.   Once, “liberalism” defined a political perspective which valued individual and economic liberty, private property, very limited government and the strict application of the rule of law.  Because the progressive movement stole the term and redefined it for its own purposes, this original conception of “liberalism” is now typically referred to as “classical liberalism” in order to distinguish it from modern liberalism.  As Ralph Raico wrote so succinctly, “The qualifying ‘classical’ is now usually necessary…because liberalism has come to be associated with wide-ranging interferences with private property and the market on behalf of egalitarian goals.”

On other occasions the left usurps language by demonizing it.  By deeming a term or phrase politically incorrect, offensive or even racist, they hope to block the transfer of ideas in two ways.  First, they seek to gag the messenger.  Most people are concerned for their reputations and do not want to be seen by the public as intolerant or narrow minded.  If an idea can be squelched before it’s uttered, it never makes its way to the intended audience.  Second, they hope to poison the potential listeners’ perspective.  If the public can be made suspicious of certain words and phrases, the message being communicated may not find open minds willing to consider it.  By demonizing language, the left seeks both to gag the speaker and taint the receptiveness of the listener.

The term “anchor baby” refers to children of illegal immigrants who are argued to have achieved U.S. citizenship by virtue of having been born here.  The babies’ alleged citizenship, provides a legal tether to the U.S. for their families thus “anchoring” them here.  Those who are here illegally and wish to stay, as well as those who support them may find the term offensive because it calls attention to their illegal status or because it might lead one to speculate that illegals intentionally birth babies in the U.S. in order to provide them that tether.

There’s a stark distinction between being offended by words and phrases that society has generally come to disdain for their ugliness or insulting nature and being offended by words and phrases because they effectively communicate an idea with which one simply disagrees.  “Anchor babies” falls in the second category.  To suggest that the term is offensive and should not be utilized is to advocate the stifling of an idea which is particularly pertinent in the greater debate over illegal immigration.

Perhaps the next time a candidate has an opportunity to challenge an inquisitor on this issue, he or she will challenge the notion that the term is offensive rather than merely suggesting that there is no better alternative.  They would do society a favor by standing in the way of yet another leftist attempt to highjack language in order to thwart effective communication and thus control public thought.

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Got Fundamental “Change” For A $10?

It’s now fairly widely known that the U.S. Treasury has changes planned for the ten dollar bill.  It is anticipated that by 2020, a depiction of a woman will share the ten spot with its current occupant, Alexander Hamilton.

While we have a history of using postage stamps to honor various important historical Americans for substantial achievements and contributions to society, we’ve treated our currency differently.  The American heroes depicted on our currency haven’t changed for decades.  The currency has not been used to recognize the historical achievements of myriad people.  Rather, it has been a model of consistency, lending itself to nostalgic and historical reflection on our country’s founding and formative history.

Accordingly, one might think the suggestion that our currency should bear the likeness of any new personage would be the subject of serious and thorough debate and consideration.  Hamilton’s portrait has graced the $10 bill since 1928.  Surely Treasury must have identified someone of peculiar historical standing who made supremely important contributions to America as being worthy of such an honor.  Not exactly.  You see, the identity of the woman to be honored has not yet been determined.  The point of the effort is to put “a woman” on the $10 bill, not to honor any specific woman for her contributions or importance to our country.  Ultimately, the finer point is to celebrate our own contemporary importance – we will be the first generation to put a female face on U.S. currency.

The idea is the brainchild of U.S. Treasurer, Rosie Rios.  The reportage on the decision and her comments on the subject clearly illustrate the real purpose of the change.  CNN reported that after being sworn in as Treasurer in 2009, “she became fixated on a goal: putting a woman on the U.S. currency.”  In making early public remarks about the change, Rios reported getting choked up because “it hit me then that this was going to happen.”  In describing the change she said, “this is historical.”  Clearly Ms. Rios is moved by the fact of a woman being placed on the currency.  Who the woman will be or what she accomplished for America, is not critical.

Rios isn’t the only government official whose comments reveal the real accomplishment being pursued in this effort.  Regarding the fact that the yet to be determined honoree will share the $10 bill with Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “I think a woman should have her own bill.”  Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) went further.  The fact that “the woman selected for the $10 note might have to share space on the bill with Hamilton is misguided and demeaning.”  An as yet undetermined woman sharing a stage with Alexander Hamilton is automatically, ipso facto, demeaning?  Why?  Would it be demeaning were a worthy man to be selected to share the $20 bill with Andrew Jackson?  Clearly, the importance of the moment is the recognition of a woman, ultimately any woman, on U.S. currency.

These comments, together with the fact that nobody seems to have considered whether a woman can be identified about whom a consensus will exist concerning her worthiness of being placed on the $10 bill, lead to an easy conclusion – the accomplishment being celebrated here is not the accomplishment of the woman to be selected; the accomplishment that causes Rios to get choked up, Clinton to opine that a woman “should have her own bill”, and Shaheen to call the sharing of the bill with Hamilton “demeaning”, is the accomplishment of placing the likeness of a woman on the currency.  The accomplishment is contemporary, not historical.  The achievement is ours, not the yet to be identified honoree’s.  The celebration is over our self-importance in making the change; our own making of history.

At bottom, the emplacement of the likeness of a woman on the currency is a matter of fairness in the context of identity politics.  How else could one ever justify or explain the compulsion to place “a woman” on currency that hasn’t reflected anyone other than Hamilton for some 87 years, without any consideration whatsoever of her specific accomplishments or contributions?

This feat achieves the advancement of two causes the left doggedly pursues.  It moves two processes forward, both of which fit perfectly within their vision for America.  The first is the process of transforming American institutions to fit their narrative of the world as they believe it should be.  The currency, like just about everything else these days, is being transformed into an avenue for the left to do “social justice” and to force American institutions to reflect egalitarian and social justice principles.  The second, is the systematic phasing out of the icons of our founding, our first principles and our original creed.  Individual liberty, limited government, constitutionalism, and the rule of law are principles the left believes are out of date, antiquated, even dangerous.  That they can simultaneously transform the currency into a device for reflecting their view of a “progressing” society while demoting on that same currency the founders who created our country upon the foundation of those principles must be doubly satisfying.

Though it may seem somewhat trivial in light of the many significant issues we face as a country, the revision of the currency for the purpose of advancing leftist principles serves as a striking metaphor for what has been slowly transpiring for many years—the left’s effective assault on the founding principles and effort to replace them in the hearts and minds of Americans with principles of egalitarianism, distributive equality, and social justice.

Whether there is another shoe to drop when the identity of the woman to be honored is announced remains to be seen.  Will the leftists at Treasury be satisfied with the achievement as it is and choose a woman whose contributions can be appreciated by all?  Or will they take the opportunity to further their agenda and select a woman whose accomplishments advanced their statist principles and worked counter to those Hamilton cherished?  Time will tell, but it’s worth noting that among those who have been suggested are Margret Sanger, the founder of the organization that became Planned Parenthood and outspoken advocate of eugenics and forced sterilization.

 

 

 

 

 

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Accidental Exposure: The Hollow Promises of Modern Liberalism

 

On February 16, State Department spokesman Marie Harf appeared on Chris Matthew’s CNBC show, Hardball.  Discussing the problem of defeating ISIS, Ms. Harf called upon one of the most used modern liberal solutions for just about everything – economic prosperity in the form of jobs magically created by an all powerful central government.  Here is the pertinent portion of the exchange:

HARF: We’re killing a lot of them and we’re going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians. They’re in this fight with us. But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs, whether —

MATTHEWS: We’re not going to be able to stop that in our lifetime or fifty lifetimes. There’s always going to be poor people. There’s always going to be poor Muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing and they’ll join. We can’t stop that, can we?

HARF: We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people

Regardless of whether Ms. Harf was speaking “off the cuff”, revealing her own sentiments, or had prepared in advance to make these remarks as an official perspective of the State Department, she revealed an underlying but not always obvious truth of the American modern liberal movement.  It lacks depth due to its exclusive focus on the consolidation of political power at home.  The modern liberal manual of solutions was constructed to consolidate domestic political power.  Though it has sadly proven to be effective in that regard, it is ill-suited for application to problems of national security.

As a result, Ms. Harf’s allusions to governments building better economies in order to create jobs seem, at best, incoherent ramblings calling for further explanation.  At worst, they constitute an arrogant attempt to dissuade Americans.  Perhaps Ms. Harf and the State Department believe that the American people are preconditioned to accept “more government provided jobs” as an answer to any problem, and so they expected a Pavlovian response from the audience.  One might wonder whether she envisioned thousands of Americans staring at their televisions with blank looks on their faces, nodding their heads in agreement, and repeating, “MUST CREATE JOBS TO DEFEAT ISIS”.

I have an alternative vision.  I envision thousands of Americans staring at their televisions with a stunned look of indignation on their faces having finally come to the realization that the modern liberal supposition of improved economic conditions in exchange for yielding more liberty to the state has always been a false promise.  Ms. Harf’s ridiculous postulate that “more jobs” is the answer to defeating ISIS might prove to be a happy accident on her part if it helps to illustrate that modern liberal promises are generally hollow and devoid of any real benefit for anyone other than those seeking to maintain and consolidate power and their cronies who support them in return for patronage and favoritism.

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Jonathan Gruber: The Face Of Modern Liberal Tyranny

 

An abridged version of this blog was originally published by The American Thinker and can be found here.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on “The Corrupt Operating Principle of Modern Liberalism”.  The point of that piece is that “modern liberalism is an ‘ends justifies the means’ ideology driven by a single corrupt principle – expediency.”  I explained that “modern liberalism uses whatever tools it can muster to advance its policy agenda” and that “modern liberalism focuses on winning the policy issue by whatever means necessary.  Fidelity to democratic processes and adherence to constitutional principles are not required.”

I could not have known that my thesis would be so famously corroborated by a real life example so soon.  While it’s not surprising that there would be examples to be found, I could never have expected one so indefensible and so utterly incapable of being “spun” by modern liberalism’s legions of apologists.  Responsible is a man who, despite his Harvard doctorate degree and his deep involvement in the politics of misdirection, is apparently incapable of understanding the value of deniability and the permanent recording capabilities of modern technology.

We all know Jonathan Gruber by now.  He was highly involved in the development of the Affordable Care Act.  In October of 2013, Mr. Gruber participated in a panel discussion at The University of Pennsylvania on the ACA.  Anyone reading this likely knows very well what he said and has seen the now notorious video.  Here’s a word for word restatement of his now famous comments:

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.

Much has been made of Jonathan Gruber insulting American voters by calling them stupid. Though worthy of contempt, that comment is one of the least interesting aspects of this short statement, which is otherwise chock-full of revelations with respect to the modern liberal mindset. Insulting the American voter is bad. Demonstrating altogether one’s disregard for democratic principles is far worse.

First, Gruber says that the bill was written in a tortured way to make sure that the Congressional Budget Office did not score the mandate as a tax because, had it been scored as a tax, the bill would have died. The fact that the bill was written “in a tortured way” implies more than mere difficulty or complexity in the drafting process. When Gruber said “the bill was written in a tortured way,” he was saying that the drafters intentionally distorted or perverted the bill’s real meaning in order to fool the Congressional Budget Office.

Modern liberalism operates on expediency exclusively. Nothing matters but winning. The democratic process can be – must be – sacrificed to win. Gruber willingly proclaimed his disregard for the democratic process when he declared that “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.” He demonstrated with perfect clarity that modern liberalism is indeed an “ends justifies the means” ideology driven by expediency when he said, “I wish…that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

For one brief moment, videotaped for posterity, Jonathan Gruber personified the modern liberal mindset. In an instance of perfect irony, he pontificated on the political advantages of avoiding transparency while simultaneously shining the bright light of day on the black heart of modern liberalism in the most transparent way possible. His perspective would be no clearer had he said, “It would be nice if we could tell the public the truth, but only if we get our way. If the only way we can get the bill passed is by perpetrating a fraud on the CBO and on the American people, so be it. Transparency and the democratic process be damned.”

As I wrote earlier:

Because modern liberalism as reflected by the actions of its establishment flag bearers is entirely policy driven and has no regard for our constitutional rule of law, the democratic process, or the truth, it is bankrupt of any guiding principle other than expediency. Its approach to governance and the acquisition of power is ultimately tyrannical because it seeks to impose its policies and obtain the political power necessary to do so by whatever means possible, without regard for any of the fundamental principles of our founding; principles which they no doubt deem outdated…the democratic process, limited government constrained by a constitution created by a sovereign people, and the unalienable rights of free individuals.

Jonathan Gruber certainly never intended to expose modern liberalism’s tyrannical approach so completely – but expose it he did. The revelations he provided should be often remembered and never forgotten.

 

 

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Modern Liberalism’s Multi-Faceted Attack On Americanism

America was founded on the enlightenment principles of classical liberalism.  Limited government and the strict application of the rule of law were intended to ensure individual liberty.  The Constitution’s role in institutionalizing “Americanism” is central and fundamental.  It was and is the contract of a sovereign people as to what its national government is and what that government is authorized to do.

Because the Constitution was designed to limit the powers of the Federal government, it has been the obstacle statists have sought to avoid since the second coming of the progressive movement in the 1930’s.  The now decades long assault on the Constitution has been nothing less than an assault on that which is central and fundamental to Americanism – limited government and the rule of law.  By slowly defeating the Constitution, modern liberalism is slowly defeating Americanism.  By logical extension, it is slowly defeating the structural legal protections of individual liberty.

This assault on Americanism is very much like a metastasized cancer’s assault on a living organism.  Modern liberalism attacks the Constitution, the rule of law, and individual liberty not by utilizing a coordinated strategy targeted at some perceived vulnerability of the body politic, but by a systemic multi-faceted attack on Americanism.  Consider the modern liberal issue of same sex marriage.  In modern society, marriage exists as a legal union, recognized by the state.  Rights and obligations are conferred by the state on those who enter into such a legal union.  Accordingly, it makes perfect sense that those who find themselves outside of the legal qualifications for marriage, but are otherwise similarly situated in terms of their commitment to one another, would challenge the notion that the state should exclude them from the rights, benefits and obligations enjoyed and undertaken by those who seem to them arbitrarily to qualify.  To those who love liberty and shun the illegitimate force of the state, this argument is easily understood and persuasive.  If those advocating same sex marriage sought it’s implementation in accordance with our Constitution and the rule of law – by pursuing legislation in each state to accomplish legal recognition – their objectives and their tactics for achieving them would be in accord with principles of liberty and in accord with the rule of law and the popular sovereignty of the American people as expressed in the Constitution.

But the left has not pursued legal same sex marriage in accordance with the Constitution and the rule of law.  Instead, it has sought a judicial solution.  Though the Constitution is subject to legal amendment within the rule of law by following the processes specified in Article 5, statists seek to “amend” it through the courts by obtaining outrageously ridiculous rulings from activist judges who almost single handedly modify the Constitution’s “meaning” and make it conform to whatever the modern liberal establishment demands.  With each fraudulent interpretation, the rule of law is defeated and the Constitution’s role as the underpinning of limited government is weakened.  Sadly, we’ve reached the point where the notion that the Constitution effectively limits the powers of the Federal government is legitimately subject to question.  By logical extension, we’ve reached the point where the notion that the Constitution effectively protects personal freedom is increasingly subject to question.

The Constitution clearly does not protect same sex couples from governmental exclusion from the institution of marriage.  Even so, modern liberalism has sought the imposition of same sex marriage by and through a fallacious interpretation of the 14th Amendment.  They have convinced activists courts to reject the clear language and the known purpose of the 14th Amendment to mean something which was clearly not meant when it was ratified by a sovereign people.  In so doing, they have imposed a misinterpretation of the most fundamental law of the land upon all of society.  That the 14th Amendment does not restrict the states from excluding same sex marriage can not be seriously questioned.  It’s beyond argument that the 14th Amendment would not have been ratified in 1868 if the people understood that it would be interpreted to create a right to same sex marriage.  Indeed, it is beyond serious question that at no time since the original ratification of the Constitution in 1788 would an Amendment creating a right to same sex marriage have been ratified by the sovereign people of the United States.  That being the case, what possible justification can any court have for interpreting the 14th Amendment to create such a right?  Modern liberalism seeks to achieve by judicial fiat that which it can not achieve legally – a de facto amendment to the Constitution.  Thus far, what they’ve won for their efforts appears to be the imminent nationwide legal recognition of same sex marriage.

But legal recognition by the states and by the Federal government is not nearly enough for the left.  To get more, they attack another facet of Americanism – personal freedom of association – individual liberty itself.  While pursuing state recognition by contorting the Constitution rather than through proper democratic channels, the modern liberal establishment has simultaneously moved to impose private recognition of same sex marital unions.  Whether it involves a private contract to purchase a wedding cake or a private contract to perform the marriage ceremony, modern liberalism has begun its effort to impose its will upon private actors.  And who is to implement and exercise the force of law upon private parties to make them recognize and service same sex marriage?  The state, of course.

A 2013 Coeur d’Alene Idaho ordinance which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in places of public accommodation is only one of the first in what is sure to be many, many efforts by the left to force private actors to recognize and serve same sex couples in violation of their religious beliefs or personal preferences.  Though religious entities are exempt from the ordinance, city officials have taken the position that because these particular individuals operate a for-profit wedding chapel, they should be obligated to conform to the requirements of the ordinance.  Setting aside for the moment the left’s almost maniacal obsession with demonizing the profit motive (which motivates each and every rational human being), we see here in bold relief the tyrannical methodology of modern liberalism.  The left works to simultaneously eliminate state restraints with respect to their cause while imposing state enforced coercions upon other individuals in order to give favored liberal classes special protections and recognition in private matters.  Modern liberalism uses the judicial function of state authority to achieve a falsely modified Constitution in order to impose upon a sovereign people an individual “right” to same sex marriage to which the people never assented while at the same time using the force of law in the legislative arena to impose restrictions on the liberties of others.

For another illustration of the same methodology at work, consider abortion and the pretend “debate” over contraception.  For modern liberals, it is not enough that the states can no longer outlaw abortions or contraception making both completely legal across the country.  Modern liberalism wants much more.  Independent individuals – other citizens – must be forced to pay for abortions and contraceptives with their tax dollars or by and through the health insurance that they purchase as employers.  Whether these other citizens consent or volunteer to fund abortions and contraceptives for others can not be determinative.  They must, by force of law, be compelled to provide such funding.  Thus, the modern liberal approach to liberty is selective.  “Liberty!” is their battle cry when they argue that the states should not have the authority to exclude same sex marriages.  But “liberty” will find no place in their arguments in favor of state imposed coercions and restraints forcing the rest of society to act in a certain manner when dealing with same sex married couples in what would otherwise be private, voluntary transactions.

Modern liberalism is an “ends justifies the means – win at all cost” ideology devoid of principles.  It has no regard for the rule of law, no regard for the Constitution and no regard for the popular sovereignty of the American people.  Constitutionalists value individual liberty and therefore revere the rule of law and the procedural superstructure set up by the Constitution despite the fact that they know strict adherence to those principles means they can not win every political issue.  Modern liberalism wants only one thing – its way.  Principles and values such as strict adherence to the Constitution, the rule of law, popular sovereignty, even individual liberty only impede their single minded pursuit of transforming society to conform to their notion of social justice.  The ruination of Americanism in the process is not a sacrifice. It’s a strategic success.

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