Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial is More Than Just a Trial. It’s a National Rorschach Test...

The Kyle Rittenhouse trial is more than just a trial.  It’s a Rorschach test with only two possible answers. 

The basic facts of the case are widely accepted by everyone, that Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people on the night of August 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin amid a violent uprising that had been going on for days. 

Beyond that there’s pretty much nothing that’s agreed upon.  America is of two minds.  On one side are the people who believe that Rittenhouse is innocent and acted in self defense.  On the other are people who think that Rittenhouse is guilty of murder.

The schism itself has little to do with Kyle Rittenhouse, at least directly.  Instead it has virtually everything to do with how people look at America writ large.  Most of those who want to see Rittenhouse convicted were supportive of the riots and violence that erupted across the country last year.  It’s largely the people on the left, the people who find racism everywhere they look, find injustice and inequality everywhere they look, the people who basically hate America and freedom who want Rittenhouse locked away and the key thrown away.

On the other side are Americans who were horrified by what they saw 18 months ago, and not just the destruction that played out on their television screens night after night.  No, what was even more disturbing was that in many locales the police (usually neutered by politicians) were simply allowing it to happen.  These are the Americans who generally support the police and abhor the tyranny of the mob. At the same time they understand the concepts of private property and the rule of law, both of which are fundamental to our Republic. 

So once the verdict is handed down, the perspective that many Americans have on it will not be based on the facts presented in the courtroom, but rather their perspective on America.  And that’s problematic.  Why?  Because of the fact that we have in the United States a media that is fully ensconced in the anti-America camp, and to the degree that so many Americans look to it as they formulate their opinions on America, that doesn’t bode well for the Republic.  A century ago Mark Twain popularized the phrase “"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" which referred to the notion that people’s lack of understanding of statistics could be used to reinforce weak arguments.  Today a more appropriate construction might be “Lies, damned lies and the media”. 

Much of what went on in the streets of the country 18 months ago was driven by the media.  Much as they did with Vietnam, the media manipulated coverage, outright fabricated stories and covered up the reality of what was going on in the streets in order to destroy Donald Trump and further their hard left objectives. 

2020 was something of a perfect storm of opportunity and the cabal on the left spun it into fascist gold.  Today in America we’re living the lives George Orwell warned us about.  Reality and rationality simply don’t matter.

Every single person with a functioning brain understands that society cannot work if people are allowed to go into a store and simply walk out with anything they want, never bothering to stop and pay for said goods.  They understand that a nation cannot survive without a functioning system of law and order. They understand that a society cannot survive if anyone from anywhere can simply walk across its borders and not only stay, but be supported by the state.   They understand that mobs and mob rule never, ever, make life better for citizens and only result in chaos, brutality, subjugation and even death.

Those are fundamental truths that apply in any society anywhere on the planet.  Despite that, there is a significant element of the American population who are immune to such truths.  How does such lunacy take hold?

It takes hold when the elite, the opinion makers, those in the news, entertainment and the hierarchy of the bureaucracy are simply deluded.  The perfect example of that is the European loving elite who want to transform the United States into Europe.  They visit Paris and London and stay in 4 star hotels and eat at Michelin rated restaurants and think that’s real European life.  They come back to the United States and use the New York Times, CNBC and Hollywood to tell Americans that’s what we should strive for.  The reality is they’ve mistaken their weeklong vacation in Rome for the experience for what most Europeans actually live.  It’s not. Not even close.  And the truth is, they have an equally unreal understanding of what life is like for most Americans, particularly those in the working class, those without college degrees, those who don’t live in the bucolic environs of McLean, Virginia, the Hollywood Hills or the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The elite, the opinion makers in this country, with their journalism degrees from Columbia, their esoteric internships at blue chip foundations or their jobs in the bureaucratic swamp have little in common with the average American… But none of that stops them from giving America lessons and using their positions of influence to frame the news and influence policy.

These elites promote a fictional nirvana above the reality of life.  They tell minorities they’re victims of white racism and oppression, the poor they’re victims of heartless rich Republicans – despite the fact that most of the rich in America are Democrats – and they tell women they’re victims of male dominance.  The result is a segmented society where reality is sacrificed at the altar of victimhood. 

What’s important is no longer how well a school’s student body performs on academic tests, but rather the racial makeup of its student body or its teachers.  Skin pigment and gender identity trump military readiness and the ability to defeat an enemy on the battlefield.  Boardroom diversity trumps a company’s need to serve its customers and profit its shareholders. The greenness of its energy generation supplants an power company’s need and ability to deliver sufficient and reliable energy to customers. 

In the real world woke priorities simply don’t matter, but the elite have not only convinced half of the population they do, they’ve convinced them they’re the only things that do.  They have convinced half of America to view the world through a woke prism, with race being first among equals. 

And that’s where we are with the Kyle Rittenhouse case.  Half the country understands the basic premise of individual liberty, private property and most of all, the right to life and the right to protect it.  The other half feels like your life, your property and your freedom are not really yours, but theirs, to do with what they choose.  That’s how we get to the point where three white thugs causing mayhem and threatening to kill a white kid protecting private property end up getting shot and killed (two of them) by that same white kid, and the entire episode becomes a national Rorschach test on race. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Just Because the Stormtroopers Aren't Kicking Down Your Door (yet) Doesn't Mean You're Free

Unconstitutional vax mandates have given Americans a glimpse into the control the government has – or thinks they have over our lives.  But have idea how much the government is involved with their everyday lives.  Most of us get up, go to work and come home without the government ostensibly telling us when to do this or what we have to feed our kids for dinner or when we have to go to bed.  We think we’re free, but we’re not.  Just because storm troopers aren’t standing in every doorway of your house doesn’t mean the government’s not there… they are, in a million different ways, invisible by design, and often the storm troopers are implied.

Not sure?  Let’s take a journey of a day in the life of a typical American.

You wake up at 5:00.  You’re literally laying on the embodiment of one of the most famous government rules, your mattress.  The government footprint is found on the tag that famously says:  “This tag may not be removed under penalty of law except by the consumer.”

You have a headache and go to the medicine cabinet.  There you’ll find the fruit of one of the most regulated industries in the economy, medicines.  Have you ever wondered why when you pick up a prescription you get a mini newspaper of information?  Have you ever wondered why it takes boxes the size of sandwiches to hold medicines the size of thimbles?  It’s because of the information manufacturers have to print on the boxes or on the tiny books inside the boxes telling you about every single thing that might ever happen as it relates to that medicine, no matter how rare or unlikely.  Of course in order to get an encyclopedia’s worth of information there they print so small that no one could read it, even if they wanted to.  And to that they add more online.  This is of course all driven primarily by government regulation and secondarily by manufacturers seeking to insulate themselves from lawsuits…

Now you head down to the kitchen to grab some breakfast. You open the refrigerator, which still has one of those mandated yellow stickers telling you how much energy it uses, and grab your pasteurized milk because unpasteurized milk is illegal in half the states and heavily regulated in most. Then you grab a box of cereal and read the required “Nutritional information” on the side of the box because your paper hasn’t arrived yet.

After breakfast you head back upstairs to the bathroom and you use the toilet that you have to flush twice because federal regulations limit how much water each flush can use and then jump into the shower and feel like you’re in a Seinfeld episode because the manufacturer wanted their showheads to have the EPA’s “WaterSense” designation.  From there you use toothpaste, antiperspirant and hair gel, all of which have differing levels of government regulation. 

Now you get dressed.  Unless you’re wearing a your birthday suit to work, virtually every single piece of clothing you put on will be regulated in one or more of a spectrum of ways, from labeling, sourcing, content and of course advertising. 

Dressed to kill and ready to take on the world you emerge from the morning’s regulatory morass into one of the most regulated parts of our everyday life:  cars.  Of course everyone knows about CAFÉ standards which regulate the MPG a manufacturer’s fleet much attain, but there’s so much more, covering virtually every single piece of the thousands of pieces that go into every car; wire harnesses, windshield wipers, head lights, seat belts, air bags, brakes, brake lights, door locks, trunk escape handles, plus things like pollution emissions, door strength, union regulations, nation of origin labeling, steel trade policy, and more.  And that’s before you even get on the road.  Once on the road most laws are state and local, although one of the few good things Jimmy Carter ever did – although of dubious constitutionality – was to make Right Turn on Red the default rule from sea to shining sea. There are laws about child seats, tinted windows, fog lights, not to mention the countless laws about virtually every aspect of actually operating a vehicle itself, starting with getting and maintaining a license and insurance.

Indeed, auto manufacturing may be one of the most regulated industries on the planet, but it’s far from alone. “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has found that the industrial sector faces a staggering 297,696 restrictions on their operations from federal regulations.”

Now that you’ve safely transversed the route between home and office you enter a quagmire of regulations that extend from the building to virtually everything that goes on within.  There are of course building codes that cover literally every single thing that goes into a building from plumbing to electricity to the kinds of lights that can or must be used, how much ventilation there must be, fire exit signs, number and type of fire extinguishers, the number and size of bathrooms, numbers or sizes of windows, what paint can be used, handicap access, how many parking spots and how many must be reserved for handicap parking, and more.

The actual operating of the business offers more regulations… Minimum wage laws, hiring regulations, overtime laws, union regulations, maternity laws, a phalanx of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rules and regulations, not to mention the mishmash of training requirements each state has.  Everyone knows it takes years to get the education necessary to become a licensed Doctor, Lawyer, Veterinarian, Accountant, Stock Broker, etc.  But those white collar jobs are far from the only ones that require licensing.  In Georgia in order to work as a hair “stylist”, one needs training, and lots of it:   

Required Hours:
Barber: 1500 Barber School Hours
Cosmetology: 1500 Cosmetology School Hours
Esthetician: 1000 Esthetician School Hours
Nail Technician: 525 Nail School Hours

And Georgia is far from alone.  39 states require licensing to become a Massage Therapist, 33 to work as an auctioneer, 26 a taxidermist, 13 a bartender, 8 a travel agent and 1 a florist.  Of course, it’s not just the license.  Most of those license requirements come with training, very often expensive training.

So once everyone is at work and licensed, it’s time to actually… work.  Regardless of what business you’re in, from selling cheeseburgers, financial planning or pouring concrete to running a gym, burying the dead or selling advertising, there’s likely a phalanx of regulations that constrain your operations, from general workplace regulations to industry specific mandates, all of which must be addressed in order to begin or continue operations.

Finally, after eight or ten hours trying to navigate the labyrinth of regulations while actually trying to do your job, you knock off for the day and the process reverses itself until you brush your teeth with the government regulated toothpaste, turn off the nightlight with its government mandated light bulb and snuggle up with your wife in your government approved bed for what might be the only thing left unregulated in America.

Just because you don’t see the stormtroopers at your door doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They are. They’re just disguised as benevolent bureaucrats and politicians who are just trying to make your life better.  Think about that the next time you hear someone say “the government should do something about this”.  They already are, and each time they do they take a bit more of your freedom with them, regardless of how trivial it might seem at the time.  Freedom, like the Grand Canyon, is not carved away in an instant, it’s carved away grain by grain and inch by inch, so slowly that one never notices, until one day you open your eyes and there’s a giant canyon where American liberty used to stand.  The difference is, that which went missing in the desert created a majesty that is the Grand Canyon while that which has gone missing from your Constitutional freedoms created a wasteland of coercion, corruption and complacency that is rapidly turning what was once the greatest nation on earth into a dystopian third world cesspool.