‘Every step and every movement of the multitude, even in what are termed enlightened ages, are made with equal blindness to the future; and nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.’

Adam Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767)

15 December 2016

On the Record | Must the Blue States Remain Blue and Depressed?

Please see my latest wire for The American Spectator, ‘Must the Blue States Remain Blue and Depressed?’:

Has President-elect Donald Trump a mandate to govern? Debate roils on. While he captured the Electoral College, 306-to-232, critics respond that “popular” momentum lies with Hillary Clinton, who won by more than 2.6 million ballots. Trump supporters counter that in presidential politics, it’s the state-by-state tally that matters; otherwise, Republicans would have played a different ground game. Meanwhile, a world away from this partisan sniping, ordinary Americans eke out their existence. And in this all-important contest, Democrats are clearly losing.

So argues Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore. In a column charting the migration to business-friendly states from those burdened with over-government (analysed by Moore in ALEC’s Rich States, Poor States, co-authored with economists Arthur Laffer and Jonathan Williams), he describes the “economic depression in the blue states that went for Hillary.”

All have the hallmarks of Democrat politics. “High taxes rates. High welfare benefits. Heavy regulation. Environmental extremism. Super minimum wages.” And all are losing taxpayers to those red states where the government footprint is less intrusive, more welcoming to wealth creators. Americans are voting with their feet, to Texas and Florida from California and New York.

As I conclude:

It is time for Democrat states to throw off their artificial fetters, invigorate entrepreneurial innovation, and no longer be blue in spirit. They may not convert to red politically, but they can stop being “in” the red and prosper once more by being in the black. The Empire State, for one, should take a lesson from Tammany Hall sachem George Washington Plunkitt: “I seen my opportunities and I took ’em.”

Read more . . .

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My thanks to editor Wlady Pleszczynski of The American Spectator.

10 December 2016

On the Record | Welcome to the Fight: Niall Ferguson reverses his course on Brexit

Please see my latest wire for The New York Sun, ‘Welcome to the Fight: Niall Ferguson reverses his course on Brexit’:

In a season when some of our greatest intellectuals are trying to figure out how to make their peace with Donald Trump, let us take a big-hearted view of the mea culpa, mea maxima culpa just issued by historian Niall Ferguson in respect of Brexit. Speaking at a forum of the Milken Institute in London, Professor Ferguson on Tuesday gave his reasons for speaking out against an independent Britain and backing instead remaining in the European Union.

“It is one of the few times in my life that I’ve argued something without wholly believing it,” Mr. Ferguson confessed.

His rationale? A desire for a stable Britain. In theory he shared the Leave campaign’s exasperation with EU over-government, but “didn’t want the Cameron-Osborne government to fall” and with it the austerity measures vital to future economic growth after the Global Financial Crisis. Mr. Ferguson enumerated four areas of conspicuous EU failure: monetary union, security policy, migration policy, and radical Islam. In the core issues, he knew, the Europhile class of politicians, mandarins, and intelligentsia are pitted against everyone else, particularly middle-class Britons.

“One has to recognize that the European élite’s performance over the last decade entirely justified the revolt,” Mr. Ferguson admitted. “If those of us who are essentially part of the élite had spent a little bit more time in pubs around provincial England and, for that matter, provincial Wales, we would have heard what I just said.” But the rancor had reached the ears of London’s then-mayor Boris Johnson, who called the June 23rd vote Britain’s “Independence Day.”

Read more . . .

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My thanks to editor Seth Lipsky of The New York Sun.

06 December 2016

On the Record | Government Is the Cause of “Brexit-Trump Syndrome”

Please see my latest post for the Quarterly Review, ‘Government Is the Cause of “Brexit-Trump Syndrome”’:

The Powers That Be never fail to demonstrate why they have earned the enmity of the average citizen. Bound up in a cocoon of self-satisfaction and self-denial, their political coup de grâce cannot come soon enough. This self-important élite are flummoxed by the people’s revolt in Britain and America, known respectively as Brexit and the Trump movement. A recent column dispatched from the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science amply displays their continuing bewilderment.

Coining the term ‘Brexit-Trump Syndrome’, British academics Michael Jacobs and Mariana Mazzucato claim that an inability to understand economic reality explains why average working-class citizens, who suffered lost jobs and wages and failed to bounce back from the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09 (despite billions spent in stimulus schemes), voted either to exit the European Union or put Donald Trump in the White House. Both described as ‘disastrous’ socio-economic choices. The implications drawn are that people were duped into voting against their financial interests. Au contraire.

To counter such continuing nostrums leading to government and economic failure, there is no better guide forward to liberty and prosperity than John Stuart Mill.

Read more . . .

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My thanks to editor Dr Leslie Jones of the Quarterly Review.