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Reblogged:What Frightens Today's Right?

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Anyone who, like me, has been left politically homeless by the mindless lurch of the conservative movement to theocratic/nationalist populism, knows that just about the only things conservatives get excited about these days are banning abortion, Trump!, and banning immigration.

But what do they dread? In the vein of understanding today's right, it might be useful to take a look.

Capitalizing on last week's find of sites that today's barely-recognizable "right" regards as "better than Drudge." I have found a listicle of "12 Absolutely Insane Examples That Show Just How Far the U.S. Has Fallen."

The piece doesn't really elaborate on why its author deems each item indicates American decline, but it is nonetheless interesting to take a look at it. The piece provides a news link and a brief excerpt for each item.

Below, I'll just list each item and provide my own thoughts:
  1. A social media influencer that returned a couch to Costco after using it for more than two years is telling her followers to buy all of their furniture from Costco because "you can return it when you don't like it anymore." -- Maybe: A major retailer with a generous return policy sounds like a sign of prosperity to me. The fact that some people take advantage of others is hardly news.

    While it might be a sign of cultural decline that this "influencer" isn't a little embarrassed to admit taking advantage of generosity, I don't see how the people who claim giving to "the poor" is a virtue are going to solve this problem.
  2. From now on, a high school diploma will no longer be necessary [to join the Navy] ... "assuming they're able to score 50 or above on a qualification test." -- Yes: This is disturbing, but not news: Government schools have been failing students for decades now. Unfortunately, while some conservatives support school choice, there is no principled effort on their part to separate government from education. If America is to have better schools, it should get out of the way of the private sector.
  3. Three years ago, the city of Portland decriminalized the possession of all drugs.-- No and Yes: So long as someone isn't violating the rights of others, the state has no business dictating what he can or cannot consume. Decriminalization of drugs is a step forward out of the depths of Prohibition (i.e., "the war on drugs").

    What is a sign of decline is lack of law enforcement against real crimes and zero opposition to the welfare state. Places that decriminalize drugs simply must enforce laws against real crimes, and drug users should bear all costs of their habits.

    Rather than rally behind Prohibition, conservatives should support strong enforcement of legitimate laws and the repeal of the welfare state.

    While it is not the purpose of government to save drug addicts from themselves, those two things would go very far to cause more people to be a lot more cautious about drug use.
  4. D- and F grades ... are being abolished at Western Oregon University -- Maybe and No: Higher education has been declining for decades and this is yet another step in that decline, to the degree that this reflects a trend. But see also grade inflation. I don't see this as particularly newsworthy.

    In the sense that we are at least still free to choose which college we can go to, this is definitely not a sign of decline. There are plenty of better schools to attend, and any American worth his salt will pick one upon hearing about this.
  5. From this point forward, every police officer in El Paso, Texas will be forced to ask for the preferred pronouns of every person that they encounter -- Yes: It is within bounds for a government agency to have a code of conduct for its members.

    That said, at a time when the government needs to repeal bad laws (prohibition and the welfare state) and enforce legitimate laws, it seems very odd to make what is at best a matter of evolving etiquette into a major priority -- by either law enforcement or the people who started this special pronoun business (i.e., by calling their favorite ghost He/Him.) and are now complaining about it.
  6. A group of migrants that was caught on camera physically attacking cops in Times Square was ... released without even having to post bail. -- Yes. Immigration should be completely legal and legitimate laws, e.g., against assault and battery, should be enforced.

    The left and the right are both wrong on this one.
  7. A group of pro-life activists in Tennessee face 11 years in prison for praying and singing outside of [sic] an abortion clinic -- No and Yes -- Directly below the blurb, the excerpt reads, "They were sitting peacefully [sic] in the lobby of the abortion center."

    They were trespassing.

    They should have "prayed and sang hymns" somewhere else. The fact that these "peaceful" "protesters" are in legal trouble is not a sign of decline.

    That the anti-abortion right is making so much progress is a sign of decline and it says something that they'll champion actions that they'd censure -- were they taken by political opponents.

    The first step in changing a broken political system is to work within that system, and show respect for legitimate laws.
  8. The 24-year-old aide to U.S. Senator Ben Cardin that was filmed having gay sex in a Senate hearing room will not be charged with breaking any laws --
No: This is gross, but pornography and consensual sex are not (and should not be) illegal. I assume whoever was in charge of that building deemed it not worth pursing criminal charges for any damage or exposure to pathogens to others caused by that act, if there was any. Violent carjackers are fearlessly roaming the streets of Washington D.C., and anyone that resists one of those young carjackers can end up dead. -- Yes. The fact that this is not particularly newsworthy speaks volumes.
As one of our Founders might have put it, The fact that the owner of this land is a citizen of China neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg (Image by Federico Respini, via Unsplash, license.)
The Chinese and other foreign buyers are purchasing millions of acres of U.S. farmland, but nobody knows exactly how much farmland they now own and very few of our politicians are interested in stopping this practice. -- No. This xenophobia is an example of the decline of the right, but it is good to know that America still respects the right of individuals to own property.

Since these buyers and investors are, as individuals, subject to our laws, and could have their property seized in the event of war, there is no issue with "this practice." So many radical Muslims have moved into Dearborn, Michigan that the Wall Street Journal is referring to it as "America's Jihad Capital" -- No and Yes. If I recall correctly, it's support for Palestinian butchers by residents and some officials there that earned Dearborn that ignominious title.

It is not a sign of American decline that some locales become ethnic enclaves. What is a sign of decline is the brazen antisemitism there (homegrown or otherwise) -- and the homegrown variety in our whitebread prestigious colleges.

It is ridiculous to blame the free movement of people for blatant antisemitism. It doesn't cause anti-semitism and it distracts from the very real problem of its rise among people who have lived here all their lives. A teacher in Massachusetts that had a spotless record for 23 years was fired after she revealed the truth about what was really going on (e.g., preferred pronouns used without parental knowledge or consent) in her school. -- Yes. See government schools above.

Rather than preen and feign persecution about the poor "Christian" teacher, why not get to work privatizing our schools?American decline is a cultural problem and it has been going on for decades. As if this isn't disturbing enough, the right, which once was at least a decent handbrake on the left, blatantly (1) complains about some things -- such as private property and personal freedom -- that we still have going for us as if they are signs of decline and (2) fails to take the initiative on fixing some things -- like education or prohibition ("the war on drugs") -- that have been broken for a very long time.

In some respects, I find the list more alarming than the examples.

-- CAV

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