Uncommon Sense

September 25, 2022

Has Conservatism Run Its Course?

Since there is no longer a conservative political party in this country I am guessing that it is a good idea to define what I mean by “conservatism.” (It is different for different countries and different for different times.) My computer tells me that social conservatism is a “commitment to traditional values and ideas with opposition to change or innovation” while political conservatism is “the holding of political views that favor free enterprise, private ownership, and socially traditional ideas.”

Since social conservatism is at the core of political conservatism, that seems a good place to start.

When I was a youngin’ I often wondered what conservatives were trying to conserve. I was told “tradition” but that just means “the ways we have always done things.” Combine that and “opposition to change or innovation” and conservatism equates to preserving or “conserving” the status quo. Political conservatism therefore equates to preserving or “conserving” the political status quo.

When I was young, there was a conservative political party, the Republican Party. They have shrugged off that mantle, in favor of becoming a personality cult of Donald J. Trump, something conservatives of my past would have run for their guns to prevent.

So, I ask: “Who would want to preserve the status quo”? My only answer would be “the well off.” People who are socially or financially or politically well off would prefer that the good times kept rolling (Laissez les bons temps rouler!). And, lo and behold, the Republican Party of my youth was the party of the rich people and older people. There was even a meme to explain why this was so. It went “If you weren’t a liberal when you were young, you didn’t have a heart. If you weren’t a conservative when old, you didn’t have a brain.” It only made sense for the old folks to preserve their gains whether ill-gotten or otherwise.

So, the Republican Party was the party of Big Business, the rich, etc. and the Democratic Party was the party of “working people,” aka the non-rich, labor unions, poor people, oppressed minorities, etc. And, if you can believe it, each party had conservative and liberal wings, because there were substantial differences between the members of the two parties. This resulted in some overlap between the two cohorts, which made collaboration somewhat easier.

Well, there is no longer a party that wraps a conservative mantle around its shoulders. The GOP is attacking the FBI and other governmental policing functions, when it used to be the party of “law and order.” Oh, yeah, the law, pfft who cares? The only law that applies is “If the Donald did it, it was legal.”

The GOP used to be in favor of infrastructure repairs, voting in favor of projects large and small to keep the country’s roads and waterways and electric power distribution grids useful. They were even in favor of having a clean environment, and having public healthcare. Now they seem to want everything to make profits for the richest of the rich, and government should stay out of almost everything, except the courts and the military. The courts are to keep people who can’t afford good lawyers in line, and the military is for anything else needed to keep the coffers of the rich full to bursting.

So, is conservatism dead?

Plain old social conservatism, you know, conserving the status quo, is dead in the water as the social conservatives have been infiltrated and taken over by the religious right, which is trying to turn the country into a theocracy (and if you really, really, really want a civil war, that sure is a way to cause one).

The conservatism of my youth is dead, and if not dead, it is certainly gone. (William F. Buckley, were he still alive, would surely agree.) So far, only a lunatic fringe has stepped up to take is place. I hope that is not the only candidate. And I am still wondering what will replace the liberals who have disappeared, also. Maybe the progressives currently starting to exert some power?

September 11, 2022

Quiet Quitting Ain’t New

The business news and some of the mainstream news sources are all abuzz about “quiet quitting.” Quiet Quitting refers to doing your job and only what’s required of you at work–nothing more and nothing less. But this ain’t new folks. It has been around for millennia. Do you think slaves were gung ho and always doing more that they were asked to do?

More recently “working to rule” was a tactic of organized labor, requiring workers to only do what was in their job descriptions (which is where some of the juicy anti-labor stories have unfairly come from).

Currently, “quiet quitting” is simply adopting the attitude that one’s employer only deserves what they hired you to do. As a labor representative, I commented over and over that people misplaced their trust and loyalty. They are loyal to their employers because they want to be employed by someone who they could be loyal to, not because their employer had earned their trust and loyalty.

But, there are any number of job sites in which you will observe no such “quiet quitting” behavior. These are sites in which the employees are not only empowered, but given a piece of the action. They are consulted regarding work rule changes. Their suggestions for improvements in processes are taken seriously. And when the whole company benefits, they benefit, too.

These companies pass Robert Reich “We-They Test.” To test a company, ask any employee how they are treated. If they refer to their bosses as “they” or “them” you know a lot about the relationship (primarily a “us and them” or “we-they” relationship). If they refer to the company as “we” or “us,” you know that that company is employee focused and employees have bought in.

And, funny thing—companies that invest in, empower, and honor their employees perform better, are more profitable, etc. Funny, hah! Company executives would rather have inflated egos than more profits, imagine that!

September 5, 2022

Ex-President Accidentally Throws Gasoline on Fire in Attempt to Put It Out

Filed under: Morality,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 11:06 am
Tags: , , , ,

In a recent speech ex-President Donald Trump said “The FBI and the justice department have become vicious monsters, controlled by radical-left scoundrels, lawyers and the media, who tell them what to do.”

“The FBI and the justice department have become vicious monsters . . .”

This was immediately after offering to do anything asked of him to “bring the temperature down.” He wasn’t referring to the current heat wave temperatures, but the threats of violence from his supporters surrounding the investigation of him breaking numerous laws regarding official records being stolen and hidden away at his Florida home.

And, don’t forget, the GOP is the “Law and Order Party.” Or at least they used to be.

Out of the Mouths of . . . Liars?

Filed under: Culture,History,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:58 am
Tags: ,

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Paul in Galatians 5:1)

Now Paul was talking about the tyranny of Judaism (he was an early MAGAt). All those laws, tsk, tsk, and circumcision, too! Of course, he wanted to replace the “tyranny” of Judaism with his own tyranny, and he was selling cheap salvation, so. . . .

Was Paul telling folks to think for themselves? Heresy! No!

Paul said a lot of nonsense things. Unfortunately a great many of these things got folded into Christian dogmas. For example, Paul taught that Jesus was a divine preexistent heavenly being, created as the “firstborn” of all of God’s creation. That Jesus existed in the “form of God” and was “equal to God” (Phillipians 2:6). It was by Jesus’s hand that Yahweh created the Earth into existence . . . blah, blah, blah. And, of course, his whopper that “Jesus existed on Earth to live without sin and to die on the cross as atonement for the sins of the world.”

There you have. Jesus never said any of this or even implied it, but Paul did and that last lie forms the basis of all Christian sects today.

But even liars cannot help but tell the truth from time to time, like the stopped clock being correct twice a day. And Paul’s plea not to be enslaved by any religion is well taken today.

September 2, 2022

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 12:50 pm
Tags: , ,

September 1, 2022

Thanks, Mr. Kelly, But No Thanks (Sorry!)

Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut and all-around good guy is running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona. I have received a regular torrent of pleas for funds from his campaign. (Mr. Kelly has eschewed donations from corporations and billionaires, so good on him.)

And SCOTUS has declared that such donations are to be treated as if they were free speech.

And in the past I might have scraped up a few dollars to support his candidacy but, I haven’t and the reason I haven’t is what should I, as a citizen of Illinois, have to say about who the people of Arizona select as their senatorial representatives?

I have believed in self-determination for as long as I can remember. Arizonans should elect who they want to elect and the rest of us should butt out. Of course, that is not how politics is done these days but I don’t see how believing in the opposite should motivate me to do something.

When a candidate gets behind legislation restricting campaign donations to only those who the official will represent, I will send as much money as I can.

Until then, out of state senate campaign donations are a form of influence peddling.

Now, I know Mr. Kelly is fighting an uphill battle by not accepting donations from fat cat donors. That means he has to collect a very large number of small donations, hence all of the emailed pleas from his campaign. But, hypothetically, what if a candidate were to receive all of his funding from out of district donors? Okay, maybe not all, but 90+%. That candidate would be the candidate that people, say, outside of Arizona want to represent Arizonans. But what about what Arizonans want?

I want an outright ban on cash donations from anyone who will not be directly represented by the person if elected. If people can’t pry enough money out of their constituencies to run a campaign, they basically are being told that their services aren’t wanted.

If I can’t have that, I want a full disclosure law. Each candidate must keep an up-to-date file on their campaign website showing the states of residence and amounts of donations, and yeah, the names of the donors, too. Shouldn’t residents of each state in which senators are being elected know where their campaign funds are coming from? If someone is exercising political free speech, should the speaker be allowed to be anonymous? How can we evaluate the value of such speech if we can’t evaluate the motives of the speakers?

August 27, 2022

Where Capitalism Acolytes and Apologists Go Wrong

Capitalism and free markets are touted as the best economic system we could possibly invent. How anyone could know what we could invent in the future and that it will be worse, is quite beyond me.

These cap fiends are making a fundamental mistake. As Benjamin Cain has stated: “Capitalism’s strength in determining the best prices, with being an empirical model of reality. What a free market models — or rather measures — is supply and demand. What are people craving, what are they willing to buy, and how much would they pay for it? Likewise, how plentiful or feasible is the supply? The choice of prices in a capitalistic economy is supposed to reflect those subjective and objective conditions.

Capitalism doesn’t work on products that are not being bought and sold. (This is why people speculated for years that General Motors bought up patents making cars very much more efficient and locked them away in their safes. You can’t buy what doesn’t hit the market, and capitalism can’t set the best price for it, either.)

Are any capitalists, for example, marketing solutions for climate change? Are any capitalists studying it? Did capitalism come up with any solutions to the costs of pollution? It is funny that economists have a term that describes costs that capitalists dump on their societies, i.e. externalities, but no branch of economics shows how capitalists can take responsibility for the externalities they create, and include them on their cost-benefit balance sheets.

I have stated over and over (and over . . . sorry) that capitalism’s Achilles’ Heel is that it contains no limitations upon greed. Gosh, since the greedy have benefited the most from unrestrained capitalism, do you think it is them, and their lackeys, who are making the arguments for “Capitalism is the best economic system we could possibly invent?”

Gee, I wonder.

August 25, 2022

A Strategy I Perceive

I noticed that the Arizona House Speaker, Rusty Bowers, who has been in office for twenty years, lost his recent primary election after he testified before the House January 6 Committee about the 2020 election.

I remember his testimony. He said not one word critical of Donald Trump in his testimony, but apparently just being there is enough to brand him as being disloyal to Mafia Don. (Mafia Don doesn’t think subpoenas have any merit.)

This dismissal of a very competent Republican state official suggests an effective strategy. Just call as witnesses all of the remaining competent Republican elected officials to testify before that committee. There are probably just a few left, so it would be okay to include thorns in our sides like Mitch McConnell. The result will be that those people will be voted out and replaced with people whose most sterling qualification is that they are loyal, like a dog, to Donald J. Trump.

This will complete the Republican purge of their ranks of people of competence and ensure the demise of the GOP. You know, they need more people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Ron DeSantis, and Greg Abbott. Apparently people who vote for “the R” will vote in anybody, so this should work.

Sound like a plan?

August 23, 2022

Gosh Conservatives Have Been Lying About Public Schools . . . for Decades?

It is common for reformers to overstate the ills they wish to address, but this is an abomination.


August 22, 2022

WTF Why Do We Even Pay Attention to the Nut Jobs?

I recently ran across a post by Clarence Page, a highly respected political commentator ‘Defund the FBI’? Is Marjorie Taylor Greene serious? Mr. Page stated “Yes, I had to polish my eyeglasses and put them back on for a second look before I could believe what the always provocative and occasionally rational Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had just tweeted. In a takeoff on the Black Lives Matter slogan, she tweeted “Defund the FBI.”

This seems to contradict a previous stance in which she claimed “The heroic action of American law enforcement is the only force standing between us and total anarchy.” (Marjorie Taylor Green)

Here are a selection of other things stated by the Georgia Congresswomen, leading with the most bizarre because I didn’t want to leave it to the end, where you might miss it. All of these call into question why we would pay attention to this person, ever. S

With regard to the 2018 California “Camp Fire,” Marjorie Taylor Greene speculated “because there are too many coincidences to ignore” regarding the fire, including that then-California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) wanted to build the high-speed rail project and “oddly there are all these people who have said they saw what looked like lasers or blue beams of light causing the fires.” She also speculated that a vice chairman at “Rothschild Inc, international investment banking firm” was somehow involved, and suggested the fire was caused by a beam from “space solar generators.”

Yes, she is the Jewish Space Lasers Lady!

If any place in America needs to close, it is Congress. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

President Trump can only do so much while pro-China socialists like AOC are in charge. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

Wait, AOC is “in charge”?

Democrats literally hate all police officers. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

President Trump taught us how to defend our values. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

And what values were those? Pussy grabbing, lying, tax evading, . . . .

The Gun Owner Privacy Act protects the right to keep and bear arms by preventing the Feds from collecting data to monitor and log gun ownership in America. This legislation will give Americans legal recourse and the ability to sue the Feds and collect damages for records illegally stored. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

I’ll be introducing a resolution to expel Rep. Maxine Waters from Congress for her continual incitement of violence. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

COVID is apparently the political tool to stop all of America, but yet if you’re an illegal alien coming into America, you’re welcome in with open arms and given every opportunity. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

I absolutely support President Trump 100 percent, and he inspired me to run. I got frustrated throughout his presidency watching Big Tech censor conservatives, so I’ll be fighting back on that, because everyone has the freedom of speech. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

MTG obviously doesn’t understand our concept of freedom of speech.

On our Southern border, Joe Biden has allowed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of illegal aliens into our country. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

In under two years! With closed borders! Amazing! Biden is a more capable administrator than any Republican.

Joe Biden and the radical, anti-gun Democrats want to unleash the ATF on law-abiding gun owners across America, attacking our God-given Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

“God-given” not Constitutional Second Amendment right? Please, someone, ask her for the Biblical basis she claims exists here.

And don’t get me started on Louie Gohmert of Texas. He may just be MTG’s intellectual inferior.

Why does anyone listen to the nonsense spewed by this folks (other than for entertainment—look up Jewish Space Laser Jokes, e.g. “This Jewish space laser thing makes no sense to me. Because, as every Jewish mother knows, you could put an eye out with that.”).

 Michael Ramirez for 8/22/2022

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