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Americans’ Loss Of Interest In Civil War Battlefields Is Part Of A Disturbing Trend

Civil War

By  John Daniel Davidsonthe Federalist

Americans are losing interest in the Civil War—or at least they are losing interest in learning about it and visiting historic battle sites. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that the country’s “five major Civil War battlefield parks—Gettysburg, Antietam, Shiloh, Chickamauga/Chattanooga, and Vicksburg—had a combined 3.1 million visitors in 2018, down from about 10.2 million in 1970.” Gettysburg, America’s most famous and hallowed battlefield, drew fewer than a million visitors last year, and just 14 percent of the visitor total in 1970.

In addition to fewer tourists, the number of Civil War re-enactors is also declining. Many are growing old, and younger men are not stepping in to replenish their ranks. As one 68-year-old re-enactor, who recently helped organize a recreation of the Battle of Resaca in Georgia, told the Journal, “The younger generations are not taught to respect history, and they lose interest in it.”

But it’s not just that young people are not taught to respect history. They are often not taught history at all. To the extent they are, they are told that American history is a parade of horribles: slavery, genocide, bigotry, greed—a story above all of injustice and oppression, perpetrated by the powerful against the weak.

No wonder then, that recent public interest in the Civil War has mostly taken the form of a push to remove Confederate monuments from public places and rename buildings and roads bearing the names of Confederate leaders. We hear much about removing and renaming these days, but almost nothing about building more and better monuments, or reinvigorating public interest and education about the war.

In a country where large numbers of college graduates do not even know the half-century in which the Civil War occurred, but are convinced that Confederate monuments should come down, we should expect genuine interest in the Civil War to wane if not to disappear entirely, except perhaps as an object for political activism.

The Politicization of History Invites Ignorance

This problem of course goes well beyond the Civil War; it encompasses all of history. Consider the case of the College Board’s Advanced Placement U.S. History examination. In 2014, the National Association of Scholars issued a report exposing the exam’s heavy progressive bias, systematic downplaying of American virtues, and outright omission of important periods in American history. The report sparked enough outrage and bad press that the College Board revised its exam—this time including previously omitted figures like James Madison—but according to the NAS the course materials for the test were unchanged and reflected the same progressive bias.

In 2016, the NAS decided to take a closer lookat another of the College Board’s offerings, the new AP European History examination, which, it turns out, reflected the same progressive bias as the American history exam. “The College Board’s persisting progressive distortion of history substantiates concerns that the 2015 APUSH revisions do not represent a genuine change of direction,” wrote the NAS’s David Randall, “but only a temporary detour in the College Board’s long march to impose leftist history on the half a million American high school students each year who prepare themselves for college by taking APUSH or APEH.”

(The exam, which purports to be about European history, omits all mention of Christopher Columbus, Michel de Montaigne, John Wesley, the Duke of Wellington, Florence Nightingale, and Václav Havel. It mentions Winston Churchill only “as a prompt for learning how to analyze primary sources.”)

Progressive bias in high school and college curricula is in part the long legacy of Howard Zinn, whose “A People’s History of the United States,” first published in 1980, presents a cartoonish, left-wing version of American history that pits “the people” against “the rulers” and casts the entire American experiment of democratic self-rule in a decidedly negative light. That approach is now common among professional historians, with the result that growing numbers of Americans don’t know much, or care to know much, about their own history.

As the historian Wilfred McClay said in a recent interview, the Zinn approach invites historical ignorance and indifference: “Why learn what the Wilmot Proviso was, or what exactly went into the Compromise of 1850, when you could just say we had this original sin of slavery?”

Historical Ignorance Is Dangerous

The danger here is not just that Civil War battlefields will eventually lie fallow for lack of visitors, but that we will unlearn the painful lessons of our past. To some extent, we’ve already started down that path.

Another recent NAS report, for example, examined the re-emergence of segregation on college campuses—what the authors call “neo-segregation.” In a survey of 173 schools, including small private colleges as well as major universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University, the study found“42 percent offer segregated residences, 46 percent offer segregated orientation programs, and 72 percent host segregated graduation ceremonies.”

These segregated graduation ceremonies are not mandatory, of course, and are offered in addition to regular graduation ceremonies. But the fact that they have become so prevalent on college campuses should disturb anyone familiar with the history of segregation in America. Whether it’s segregation by race, as at Columbia University’s “Raza Graduation Ceremony” and “Black Graduation,” or by sexual orientation, as at the University of Texas’s “Lavender graduation” for LGBT students, the trend of self-segregation among minority college students is a cause for worry, especially at a time when divisions in civil society are deepening.

There’s a ruthless logic to this, just as there’s a ruthless logic to reducing American history to a catalog of the worst things we’ve ever done. If history is just another tool in the pursuit of political power, there’s not much of an impetus to get it right.


Is the Liberal Hour Ending in the West?

By  Patrick BuchananRealClear Politics

Hillary Clinton called them “the deplorables.” Barack Obama called them losers who “cling” to their Bibles, bigotries and guns.

To President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission, they are “these populist, nationalists, stupid nationalists… in love with their own countries.”

Well, “stupid” they may be, and, yes, they do love their countries, but last week they gave Juncker a thrashing, as they shook up the West and the world.

Elections in the world’s largest electoral blocs — the 28-nation EU, and an India of 1.3 billion people — showed that the tide of nationalism continues to rise and spread across Europe and Asia.

In India, the Hindu Nationalist BJP party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a smashing victory. So strong was Modi’s showing that he rushed to reassure non-Hindus, especially India’s 200 million Muslims, that they remain equal citizens. But in India the Hindu hour is at hand.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, formed just months ago, ran first in Britain with 31%. No other party came close. Labor won 14% and Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tories ran 5th with 9%, a historic humiliation.

In the French elections, Emmanuel Macron’s party lost to the National Rally of Marine Le Pen, whom he had defeated 2-1 in the last presidential election.

Matteo Salvini’s populist-nationalist League, with 34%, ran first in Italy in a showing that could lead to national elections that could make him prime minister.

The nationalist Law and Justice Party in Poland and the populist Fidesz Party of Viktor Orban in Hungary were easily victorious.

In Germany, however, the conservative-socialist coalition of Angela Merkel bled support. Both the CDU and SPD lost strength in defeats that could shake the Berlin government.

What do these elections tell us?

If the Conservatives wish to remain in power in Parliament, they will have to leave the European Union and, if necessary, crash out without a divorce settlement with Brussels.

The Tories cannot defy the will of their own majority on the most critical issue in 50 years — a nationalist demand to be free of Brussels — and still survive as Britain’s first party.

Whoever wins the Tory competition to succeed May will almost surely become the prime minister who leads Britain out of the EU.

Nor is that such a tragedy.

The first Brexit, after all, was in 1776, when the 13 colonies of North America severed all ties to the British crown and set out alone on the path to independence. It did not turn out all that badly.

Last week’s election also saw major gains for the Green parties across Europe. Laser-focused on climate change, these parties will be entering coalitions to provide center-left and center-right regimes the necessary votes to create parliamentary majorities.

The environment is now likely to rival Third World immigration as an issue in all elections in Europe.

While nationalist and populists control a fourth of the seats in the EU Parliament, they are isolated. They may have the power to block or veto EU actions by Brussels, but they cannot impose their own agenda.

Yet even larger lessons emerge from these two elections.

Liberalism appears to be losing its appeal. A majority in the world’s largest democracy, India, consciously used their democratic right to vote — to advance sectarian and nationalist ends.

Why is liberalism fading away, and nationalism ascendant?

The former is an idea that appeals to the intellect; the latter, rooted in love of family, faith, tribe and nation, is of the heart. In its potency to motivate men, liberalism is to nationalism what near beer is to Bombay gin.

To be a proud Pole, Hungarian, Italian or Scotsman has a greater grip on men’s love, loyalty and allegiance than to be a citizen of Europe. 

“Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong,” said Bismarck. Europe is but “a geographical expression.”

Identity politics, people identifying themselves by their ethnicity, nationality, race, culture and faith, appears to be the world’s future.

Even leftists are bowing to the new reality.

“Identity politics is exactly who we are and it’s exactly how we won,” says Stacy Abrams, the African American Democrat who almost won the Georgia governor’s race. “By centering communities in Georgia, we… increased voter participation, we brought new folks to the process.”

The Democratic Party is now a coalition easily identifiable by race, ethnicity, ideology and gender — African American, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ, feminist and Green.

Our Founding Fathers believed we Americans were a new people, a separate, unique, identifiable people, a band of brothers, who had risked their lives and shed their blood. Liberals believe we are held together by abstract ideas and ideals, such as democracy, equality and diversity.

But did Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Calhoun, Clay, Jackson, Sam Houston, Tyler and Polk really believe in equality and diversity as they drove Indians, French, British, Spanish and Mexicans out of this land to create a continentwide nation of their own?

Or was Manifest Destiny really all about us, and not them?


No One Likes You, Bill De Blasio

By Madeline Osburn • The Federalist

Before New York Mayor Bill de Blasio even officially announced his presidential bid on Thursday, New Yorkers were already pleading for him give up his White House ambitions.

De Blasio, who has been mayor of America’s largest city since 2014, is now one of the 25 Democratic candidates seeking a presidential nomination, despite the lack of support from his own constituents. His approval rating sits at 42 percent, and an April poll found that 76 percent of New York City voters did not want de Blasio to run for president. In March, a Monmouth poll found that de Blasio was the only Democrat asked about with a negative favorability.

While one would think his socialist policies, such as universal pre-k and the New York City Green Deal, would make him popular among his progressive-leaning constituency, he is consistently mocked for blunders and disingenuous attempts to relate to the working class.

For starters, it is well known that de Blasio’s hands are stained with the blood of Staten Island Chuck, the Staten Island Zoo’s groundhog whose real name is Charlotte, after he dropped her during a 2014 Groundhog Day ceremony. She died a few days after the incident from internal injuries.

Each morning, the mayor insists on traveling from his mansion on the Upper East side with a police escort to work out at the YMCA gym in Park Slope. In April, a concerned citizen hung a flyer at the Y with the disclaimer, “By entering these premises you agree not to run for President of the United States in 2020 or in any future presidential race. You agree to focus solely on your current job here in New York City, which you are not excelling at.”

And while these complaints may seem trite, there are plenty of other more weighty accusations against de Blasio for corruption, bribery, waste, rising homelessness, and public housing scandals under his watch.

A recent New York City Department of Investigation report revealed how de Blasio violated ethics laws in raising millions of dollars to help promote his own policies, and just a few weeks ago, two of his own donors pleaded guilty to campaign finance law violations. Another de Blasio donor was convicted in January for bribing NYPD officers.

Since the rollout of his decision to run began this week, the backlash has only intensified. On Monday, in an attempt to generate media attention, de Blasio held a rally inside Trump Tower to tout his record on climate change, and to criticize the president’s own emissions. The rally quickly backfired as the mayor was drowned out by the noise of protestors who were riding the Trump Tower escalators with “Worst Mayor Ever” signs.

On Thursday morning, when MSNBC asked New Yorkers on their morning commute what they thought of the mayor’s announcement, responses were overwhelmingly dissatisfied. “Is that a joke?” one citizen asked.

Perhaps de Blasio truly believes his New York toughness gives him an edge over the other 24 candidates to defeat Trump, the incumbent New Yorker. Or maybe he’s jealous of the wave of media attention the mayor of small-town South Bend, Indiana, a city that is 1 percent the size of NYC, has received since entering the race.

“I’m running for president because it’s time we put working people first,” de Blasio said in his official 2020 announcement video. If de Blasio’s message and aptitude are failing to resonate in his own city, which is heavily made up of “working people,” then it’s hard to see the potential of it catching on anywhere else across the nation.


A Reckoning Is in Store for Liberals

By Conrad Black • National Review

The crisis of the Democrats is becoming more evident each week. Those of us who have been loudly predicting for years that the Russian-collusion argument would be exposed as a defamatory farce, and that the authors of it would eventually pay for it, are bemused at the fallback position of the Trump-haters: that the distinguished attorney general has whitewashed the president in his summary and his decision that there was no obstruction of justice. One of the most entertaining moments of news-watching in many years came last week, when former national intelligence director James Clapper said it was “scary” and former FBI director Comey said it was “bizarre” to hear Attorney General William Barr say that the Trump campaign had been spied on. It has been obvious for a long time that both these men and former CIA director John Brennan lied under oath on a number of occasions, and Comey’s complaint last week that “court-ordered surveillance” wasn’t spying is going to get a full assessment when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) warrants that were the court authorization in this case, and were obtained on the basis of false campaign smears assembled and paid for by the Clinton campaign, are judicially considered.

Given the proportions of the scam that has been perpetrated, the principal actors, including those just named, deserve commendation for the imperishability of their unctuousness. These people seem still to be oblivious to the fact that lying under oath and producing false FISA applications are serious offenses. And some of the congressional Democrats, such as Congressmen Nadler, Swallwill, and Schiff (the new-millennium version of “Martin, Barton, and Fish,” made infamous by FDR in 1940), seem to think they have a perfect constitutional right to keep the president in the pillory of their spurious investigations indefinitely. The whole edifice of the Trump moral crisis is coming down in shards around the ears of the Clinton and Obama Democrats.

Continue reading


Will The Liberal Faithful Ever Notice Their Leaders Are Crazy?

By Warren Henry • The Federalist

After almost two weeks of critical media coverage of Joe Biden’s handsy history, poll after poll indicates most Democrats do not care. The latest Quinnipiac poll—of California, no less—has the yet-to-announce Biden easily leading Bernie Sanders and favorite daughter Kamala Harris. This poll also has Harris performing better among white liberals than nonwhite voters.

These findings are mostly news to the progressive elites at the top of Democratic politics and the establishment media. The data suggesting the Democratic Party is an upstairs/downstairs coalition in which a small faction of disproportionately white progressives dominate a more diverse rank-and-file has been piling up in studies by More in Common, Pew, and Gallup. In recent days, some in the media have finally begun to notice.

At The New York Times, resident propellerheads Nate Cohn and Kevin Quealy find that “[t]oday’s Democratic Party is increasingly perceived as dominated by its ‘woke’ left wing. But the views of Democrats on social media often bear little resemblance to those of the wider Democratic electorate.” They add: “The outspoken group of Democratic-leaning voters on social media is outnumbered, roughly 2 to 1, by the more moderate, more diverse and less educated group of Democrats who typically don’t post political content online.”

Cohn and Quealy report that approximately a quarter of Democrats are progressive ideologues; only a tenth might identify as democratic socialists. “The rest of the party is easy to miss,” they write. “Not only is it less active on social media, but it is also under-represented in the well-educated, urban enclaves where journalists roam.” Continue reading


Why Democratic Socialism Can’t Work

By Kevin Cochrane • Washington Times

“Democratic Socialism,” preached by Sen. Bernie Sanders and others, seems like a pretty good dream. The problem is, it is just that — a dream.

Imagine a nation where higher education is free for everyone and nobody pays a dime for superior health care. Of course, the money has to come from somewhere, so you also have to imagine having blinding high income taxes and even a confiscatory wealth tax on people that own nice things — or at least things that are nicer than what others have.

Before looking at the financial details (something most supporters are loathe to do), let’s have a peek at the hypocrisy behind the plan. Who really wants free college and free health care? Obviously, if they were truly free we’d all want them, but, we know they aren’t free and somebody has to pay the bill. But, nobody likes paying bills, so who really wants this free largess?

When it comes to free higher education the answer is pretty easy even if you don’t have a college degree. A recent Bankrate poll found free higher education was supported by 77 percent of people under the age of 30. No big surprise there — college students want free college. But what about free universal health care? In this case I’d expect support from the opposite age demographic, but it turns out again that it’s the young and healthy that also want Continue reading


Businesses, Residents Plan to Leave New York

By Mary Lou Lang • Washington Free Beacon

Several companies are relocating from the Empire State, numerous businesses have announced they are closing shop altogether citing economic reasons, and a new poll shows a third of New York residents plan to move because they can’t afford to stay.

A review of the New York Department of Labor WARN notices shows several companies are relocating to other states. Private sector employers that have more than 50 employees must file a notice before closing a plant and must also notify the state when they are laying off 33 percent of their workforce.

AllianceBernstein, an investment management and research company, announced in its latest filing more worker layoffs are planned in May as it is moving its corporate headquarters to Nashville, Tenn. The company has been transitioning to Tennessee and laying off its workers incrementally.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Another company, which makes artificial fingernails, announced it is moving its warehouse production to New Jersey and will begin Continue reading


The ‘Burn It Down!’ Liberals

By Kevin D. Williamson • National Review

The Senate. The Electoral College. The First Amendment. The Second Amendment. The Supreme Court. Is there a part of our constitutional order that the Democrats have not pledged to destroy?

There are some Democrats out there in the sticks — a lot of them, in fact — who simply don’t understand the constitutional order. They believe that the United States is a democracy, John Adams et al. be damned, and, in fact, they often are confused by the frankly anti-democratic features of the American order, because they have been taught (theirs is a pseudo-education consisting of buzzwords rather than an actual education) that “democratic” means “good” and “undemocratic” means “bad.”

But the Democrats in Washington are a different story. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris went to law school. They understand the American constitutional order just fine.

And they hate it.

The American order is complex — it is much more sophisticated than “democracy,” which assumes that nothing stands between the individual and the national state except aggregation, that might (defined as 50 percent + 1) makes right. The American order is based on the idea that the United States consists of many different kinds of people in many different kinds of communities, and that each of these has interests that are legitimate even when they conflict with the equally legitimate interests of other communities. The densely populous urban mode of life is not the only mode of life, and the people of the urban areas are not entitled by their greater numbers to dominate their fellow citizens in the less populous rural areas.

The basic units of the United States are, as the name suggests, the several states. The states created the federal government, not the other way around. The states are not administrative subdivisions of the federal government, which is their instrument, not their master. In this, the United States is fundamentally different from countries such as the United Kingdom and Japan, which have unitary national governments under which provincial distinctions are largely irrelevant.

In our system, the states matter. Under the Democrats’ vision, some states matter: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio, which, without the institutions of federalism, have among them the numbers and the power to effectively dominate the rest of the country.

At the time of the Founding, the people of the smaller states did not desire to enter into a union in which they and their interests would be dominated by the larger ones. The people of the smaller states still do not wish to be politically dominated by the larger ones. For that reason, the interests of the states as such — not mere aggregates of voters — are taken into consideration. The Senate, as originally organized, existed to preserve the interests of the states as such against the opportunism and predation of the more populous House of Representatives — and against the ambitions of the executive, too. Turning the Senate into an inflated version of the House was one of the progressives’ first great victories against the Constitution of the United States and an important step toward the sort of mass democracy that our constitutional order is explicitly designed to prevent.

But the states have other protections as well, one of which is the Electoral College, which helps to ensure that the president — the Founders were right to fear presidential ambition — is not a mere tribune of the plebs, a rider upon “the beast with many heads” empowered by the mob at his back to abuse and dominate members of minority groups — smaller states, religious minorities, political minorities, etc.

The rights of minorities are further protected — from democracy — by the Constitution’s limitations on the power of the federal government and specifically by the Bill of Rights, which places some considerations above democracy: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to security in one’s home and papers, etc. One of the main constitutional functions of the Supreme Court is to see to it that the federal government does not violate the Bill of Rights, even when We the People demand that it does — especially then, actually: Rights that enjoy wide popular support require very little constitutional protection. It is the unpopular rights that require protection.

Of course there were blemishes and oversights. Even the enlightened minds of the 18th century were hostages of their time, and the interests of African Americans and women were not taken into consideration. Those defects were corrected, partly by the shedding of blood but to a great extent by constitutional amendments that abolished slavery, enfranchised women, and brought the American people at large more fully into the constitutional system. The preamble to the Constitution describes a “more perfect union,” which is not the same thing as a perfect union. The genius of leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was that their calls to radical change ran against the grain of American society at their time but were perfectly in tune with the American idea and the principles of the American order.

The Democrats’ calls to radical change in 2019 are precisely the opposite: They are very much in keeping with the transient passions of the time but fundamentally opposed to the American constitutional order.

The Electoral College ensures that the citizens in the less popular states are not reduced to serfdom by the greater numbers (and greater wealth) of the people in the more populous states. This balancing of minority rights with democratic processes is a fundamental part of the American order (properly understood, the value of plebiscitary democracy is not substantive — majorities are at least as likely to be wicked and oppressive as virtuous and just — but purely procedural), and the Electoral College is the instrument by which that principle is applied to the election of presidents. The Democrats desire to abolish the Electoral College for purely self-interested reasons of partisanship: They think that there would be more Democratic presidents under unmediated mass democracy.

The First Amendment ensures that all Americans have the right to engage in political speech. Democrats wish to put political speech under heavy regulation, so that the people holding political power set the rules under which they may be criticized and debated. The Democrats have attempted to gut the First Amendment under the guise of “campaign finance” regulation, as though the right of free speech could be separated from the means of speech. It is worth bearing in mind that the Democrats’ latest attack on the First Amendment was occasioned by the desire of a political activist group to show a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the run-up to a presidential election — a film whose circulation the Democrats sought to prohibit as a “campaign finance” matter.

The Supreme Court stepped in to stop that, finding that the First Amendment means what it says. And now the Democrats propose to corrupt the Supreme Court, expanding the number of justices from nine to whatever number it takes for a future Democratic president to create a majority of Democratic partisans on the Court. They are counting on the same court-packing scheme to give them the power to effectively repeal the Second Amendment without having to bother to propose and ratify a constitutional amendment — a political fight that the Democrats would surely lose.

What the Democrats are proposing — abolishing the constitutional protections afforded to smaller states and political minorities, perverting the Supreme Court, gutting the Bill of Rights — amounts in sum to a revolution, replacing our government with a government of a very different character and structure.

They are doing this mainly because the Constitution prevents them from achieving their immediate short-term political goals. And we should be clear about what those immediate political goals actually are: muzzling their political opponents and those with unpopular political views, disarming the citizenry, stripping minority groups of political power, and rigging the political system in favor of their own constituents. They would, if given the power, burn down the American constitutional order and replace it with something closer to ordinary mob rule, plain and unapologetic ochlocracy. The United States is not drifting into fascism or socialism — it is drifting into anarchy.

That’s quite a fit to throw over Mrs. Clinton being denied her tiara.

The Republican party likes to position itself as the defender of the Constitution. But with a few exceptions (Senator Ben Sasse prominent among them), Republicans in elected office demonstrate very little appreciation for the actual stakes on the political table. For the moment, they are more concerned with defending the Trump administration — which, whatever you think of it, is a short-term concern — than with defending something that is far more important, far more precious, and, in all likelihood, impossible to replace. If 2016 taught us anything, it is that the Jeffersons and Madisons of this generation apparently are otherwise occupied, that our political leadership is for the time diminished, and that the institutions the Democrats propose to incinerate could not be rebuilt by contemporary Americans any more than modern Iraqis could successfully revive the Code of Hammurabi.


Green New Deal? Slay the Socialist Monster Now

By Frank Miele • Real Clear Politics

I’ve avoided writing about the Green New Deal for the same reason that you stick your head under the covers when the boogeyman comes out at night — you hope, with any luck, it will just go away.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go away; it has replaced “health care for all” as the most dangerous arrow in the quiver of the progressive agenda, and it is aimed straight at the heart of American society.

Although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is most closely associated with the Green New Deal, she is little more than a paid advertising spokeswoman for the revolutionary legislation, which aims to completely overthrow the American economic order within 10 years.

The most offensive element of the initial rollout of the plan was the guarantee of “Economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work” (emphasis mine). Since shelling out trillions of dollars to lazy people is an idea offensive to millions of hard-working Americans, that proposal was rapidly “disappeared” from Ocasio-Cortez’s website, but even without that insulting nonsense, the entire package is a socialist nightmare waiting to happen.

Just look at the components of the plan that are acknowledged. The Green New Deal is not just a climate-change proposal; it is a forced re-invention of society — no less damaging than the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation in the 19th century or the forced re-education of the Chinese nation during the Cultural Revolution in the 20th.

The resolution before Congress declares that it is the duty of the federal government “to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States.” This one tiny component by itself demonstrates the socialist agenda underlying the GND. How exactly does the federal government “create” millions of jobs? How do federal bureaucrats ensure that they are high-wage jobs? How do they guarantee prosperity? Have Democrats never heard of a recession? Do they think that economic downturns can be legislated out of existence? It should be the duty of the federal government to stay out of the way and let the engine of capitalism work, as it always has, to create wealth, but instead this proposal wants the federal government to compete with private industry, to regulate it into submission, and to engineer the economy into something Stalin would be proud of.

In the “10-year national mobilization” envisioned by Green New Deal, the federal government would become the biggest Big Brother in history, dictating “improvements” in virtually every aspect of life. Oh, yes — “health care for all” is now just an unassuming asterisk among all the freebies and mandates being handed out. Among other things, this modest proposal would require the government to:

— Guarantee “universal access to clean water.”

— Meet “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”

— Upgrade “all existing buildings in the United States and [construct] new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.”

— Build “a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food.” [“Soylent Green,” anyone?]

— Provide “resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States.” [Note: not citizens.]

— Provide “all people of the United States” with high-quality health-care, “affordable, safe and adequate [Let the courts decide!] housing,” “economic security” [Oops! Does that actually include those unwilling to work?], and “clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature.”

— Guarantee “a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”

That last provision is one of the many landmines in the Green New Deal that its authors either never thought through or, worse, included intentionally to subvert the national economy. We can start by noting that Social Security will now be paid out based not on how much you contributed, but on how much you need to feel “secure.” But there’s an even worse explosion waiting to happen:

If everyone is guaranteed a job with a “family-sustaining wage,” then workers in the future will be paid not based on the quality of their work or the value of their job, but on the size of their family. Obviously, a family of 10 needs more money to be sustained than a family of two. Plus, how do we guarantee “family-sustaining wages” to both parents in a working family? Is the intention to return families to the one-breadwinner model since each worker by definition will be able to provide for their family with a single income? Or will the two workers in a couple have to accept half wages because they are sharing responsibility for sustaining the family?

This is madness, but predictable madness. The best evidence of the chaos that ensues when a government orders massive social change in order to bring “justice” to the economy is Mao’s Great Leap Forward in China, where 60 million people perished to prove one man’s ideas wrong. The Ukrainian famine ordered by Stalin is a close second for sheer insanity, but doesn’t come anywhere near the human cost of Mao’s.

Earlier, I said that Ocasio-Cortez was the front person for the Green New Deal, not its author. That is obvious, but it doesn’t absolve her of responsibility for the horrors that would be unleashed should it come to pass. She has called the plan a “Green Dream,” but this is not the first time in history that a dream has turned into a nightmare. As Uncle Joe Stalin liked to say, “You gotta have a (five-year) plan.”

Okay, that’s slight poetic license. But Soviet Russia’s “five-year plans” were no joke. They wrecked Russia’s economy. The Green New Deal, on a 10-year time frame, would do the same.

Charismatic leaders with dangerous ideas can never be dismissed as just nuisances; they must be taken seriously — and stopped while they still can be. The Green New Deal has been assigned a price tag of $93 trillion by the former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — and that’s just fiscal cost. Were its socialist agenda actually put in place, we have been warned that our forests would be denuded, the economy would be destroyed, and millions would perish of starvation. A small price to pay for a true believer like Ocasio-Cortez, but she isn’t the one who would be paying the price.

So now that the boogeyman is out of the closet — exposed as a socialist monster — we have no choice but to face our fears and kill it quickly and decisively. The alternative is unthinkable.


Finnish Government Collapses Due to Rising Cost of Universal Health Care

By Jeffrey Cimmino • Washington Free Beacon

The government of Finland collapsed Friday due to the rising cost of universal health care and the prime minister’s failure to enact reforms to the system.

Prime Minister Juha Sipila and the rest of the cabinet resigned after the governing coalition failed to pass reforms in parliament to the country’s regional government and health services, the Wall Street Journal reports. Finland faces an aging population, with around 26 percent of its citizens expected to be over 65 by the year 2030, an increase of 5 percent from today.

Sipila’s reforms “intended to remove power from the 295 municipalities that currently oversee health and social care, and place responsibility within a leaner, more efficient system of 18 elected regional authorities,” according to the Journal. The prime minister also wanted patients to be able to choose from a range of public and private providers.

Sipila said “there’s no other way for Finland to succeed” besides these reforms, which could have led to $3.4 billion in savings for the government.

Finland’s aging population is increasing the financial strain on its health care system. From a BBC News report:

As an increasing number of people live longer in retirement, the cost of providing pension and healthcare benefits can rise. Those increased costs are paid for by taxes collected from of the working-age population – who make up a smaller percentage of the population than in decades past.

In 2018, those aged 65 or over made up 21.4% of Finland’s population, the fourth highest after Germany, Portugal, Greece, and Italy, according to Eurostat.

Finland’s welfare system is also generous in its provisions, making it relatively expensive. Attempts at reform have plagued Finnish governments for years.

Reuters reports that soaring treatment costs and longer life spans have particularly affected Nordic countries.

“Nordic countries, where comprehensive welfare is the cornerstone of the social model, have been among the most affected,” according to Reuters. “But reform has been controversial and, in Finland, plans to cut costs and boost efficiency have stalled for years.”

Similar problems are bedeviling Sweden and Denmark, two other countries frequently held up as models to follow on health care. Finland’s crisis in particular comes as calls for universal health care have grown louder among Democrats in the United States.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) “Medicare for all” proposal would cost the U.S. over $32 trillion over ten years, according to an analysis by the Mercatus Center. It would also require enormous tax increases as “a doubling of all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan.”

Another Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), has called for eliminating private health insurance, although a spokesperson suggested she is open to multiple paths to “Medicare for all.”

Self-described democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) has also called for “Medicare for all.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58 percent of Americans oppose “Medicare for all” if told it would eliminate private health insurance plans, and 60 percent oppose it if it requires higher taxes.


Nancy Pelosi’s Problems are Just Beginning

By Peter RoffNewsweek

You wouldn’t know it from the way she’s being covered in most of the Washington media but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a woman with a lot of problems. Instead of in-depth coverage of the ideological divisions in her caucus and the political challenges to her leadership, she gets stuff like this, from Politico:

“Using strategies she’s honed over decades, the speaker has managed to keep a sprawling freshman class in line — and on her side — despite breaking with them on issues ranging from impeachment to the ‘Green New Deal.’”

What Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan wouldn’t have done for that kind of coverage when they were in charge! When they were in charge, the dissenters drove the narrative. Now that the Queen Bee of Capitol Hill is back in charge, things have turned on their head.

The reason for this is simple according to Rich Galen, a former top communications aide to House Speaker Newt Gingrich and a well-respected commentator.

“The advantage – the GREAT advantage – that Pelosi has, which Newt nor any following GOP Speaker has had is the adoration of the national press corps. They REALLY want her to succeed. Nevertheless, Pelosi has some of the same issues to deal with that Newt did: Mainly a huge freshman class that think they invented Democracy,” Galen says.

He doesn’t think she’s lost control of her conference – not yet anyway – but the she’s not breaking records for party unity. She’s already lost the vote on two motions to recommit – a parliamentary device often used to slow the progress of legislation through the House – and continues to show signs of fatigue, something that has some speculating quietly and anonymously that the job may be too much for her.

That’s a reach. Even at 78 Pelosi still shows she has command of the political skills learned at her father’s knee – he was once mayor of Baltimore, Maryland – and from various members of the Burton family whose accomplishments in California Democratic politics are still considered legendary.

Still, Pelosi did herself no favors when late last week she suggested impeachment of President Donald Trump might be off the table. By suggesting it wasn’t worth the effort she gave the proverbial “finger” to Democratic donors and activists from coast to coast who worked so hard in 2018 to win back control of the U.S. House for the Democrats precisely for the purpose of driving Trump from office.

Some may say that it’s not such a big deal. The activist wing of the party is likely harder to mollify, even as Pelosi and others work to keep them in line. Consider what the reaction would have been among the GOP faithful if, after using the repeal of Obamacare as the whip hand to drive voters to the polls in 2010 to win back control of the House for John Boehner and the Republicans, the measure was never even brought to the floor for a vote.

“Impeaching Trump is probably the one substantive matter that is non-negotiable for House Democrats,” says Mike Franc, a former GOP congressional leadership staffer and now head of the Washington office of the Hoover Institution.

“Pelosi can get away with dismissing the New Green Deal (because it is purely aspirational and agenda-setting rather than substantive) but not this. My guess is that she suffers for this sin, mostly with the Democratic base.”

For Pelosi, now and moving forward, the tail is wagging the dog. She may be the political leader and the nation’s most important elected Democrat, but she has little to say, at least so far, about what the party’s agenda will be. She faces, Franc says, “a substantive revolution” in the way policy is made on Capitol Hill, akin to what happened after the Democratic landslide of 1974 and the 1994 Republican Contract with America.

The large class of Democratic freshmen, which includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes and her fellow traveling socialists, do not seem, Franc says, committed to a set of real and substantive policy changes so much as they are interested in “using their platforms as Members to advance a new and socialistic state of mind in traditional and social media.”

If that gives AOC and others control of the agenda, what does that mean for the suburban seats Democrats took from the GOP in 2018 because voters either thought the Republican agenda was too extreme or because they wanted to send a message to Trump?

Extremism on the left, which is what AOC and her fellow Green New Dealers are offering, is no better in these districts than extremism on the right. These moderate members could get lost in the undertow if Pelosi can’t stop the drift to the left, but she can’t stay in power if she does.

Nancy Pelosi has a lot of problems – and they’re just beginning to surface.


Shocked by Biased Journalism? Please.

By Lance Morrow • Wall Street Journal

The Democratic National Committee will regret its decision to bar Fox News from hosting any of its 2020 presidential primary debates. Just as the game begins, the committee has planted the idea that the Democrats mean to run a rigged election—not a happy thought to encourage in view of the way the party’s leaders fiddled with the process in 2016 to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

The Democrats consider Fox a propaganda arm of the Trump administration, but they have their own propaganda arms. Most of the mainstream media manifest a deep affinity for progressive Democrats and their agenda. To exclude Fox smacks of Soviet one-party theatrics.

The journalists at CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times and, broadly speaking, the elected officials and paid operatives of the Democratic Party—almost all of these people agree on the issues of the day: women’s rights, abortion, gay marriage and other LGBTQ issues, Black Lives Matter, gun control, immigration, the border wall, family separation at the U.S.-Mexican border, Russian collusion, Brett Kavanaugh’s fitness and so on. They agree, above all, in opposing and loathing Donald Trump.

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” unfolds each weekday morning as a relentless, ritualized denunciation of Mr. Trump and all his works. With almost hilarious single-mindedness, the program’s repertory company addresses itself to the work of discrediting and—they hope—one day ousting the president.

It will be fatal to Democrats’ chances in 2020 to encourage the suspicion they won’t tolerate points of view that differ from progressive orthodoxy. Unbiased viewers know that Fox employs many credible journalists: Bret Baier, Martha McCallum and Chris Wallace, for example.

Anyway, Fox journalists asking the questions would only sharpen the debate and increase the candidates’ credibility. The ideologues at the DNC don’t grasp the virtue of competing ideas. Jacobins rarely do.

True, Sean Hannity whispers in Mr. Trump’s ear. That is probably a bad idea, but it has abundant historical precedent. The muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens of McClure’s Magazine, author of “The Shame of the Cities,” met often with President Theodore Roosevelt to advise him on progressive policy.

Arthur Krock, Washington bureau chief and a columnist for the New York Times, was in the Kennedy family’s pocket for years. He wrote columns in the late 1930s pushing Joseph P. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s father, for president. The journalist had the sense to turn down the patriarch’s offer of a car one Christmas, considering the bribe too blatant. Krock used his influence on the Pulitzer board to engineer a 1957 prize for JFK’s “Profiles in Courage.”

Henry Luce, co-founder and editor in chief of Time Inc., regarded his magazines as the voices of the American superego. He liked to tell his countrymen what to think, and presidents how to act. Presidents feared Luce and his ability to teach and preach to tens of millions of American voters every week. Luce had an especially proprietary sense of President Dwight Eisenhower, whom his magazines backed in 1952. Intellectuals damned Luce and envied him his vast readership and almost unique influence upon the American popular mind. Phil Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, was an intimate adviser to Lyndon Johnson, notably at the 1960 Democratic convention, where LBJ sought the top spot on the ticket but settled for the second.

President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, of Newsweek and later of the Washington Post, had a glamorous friendship that was close and, from a journalistic point of view, not quite ethical.

The DNC made a bad move. One or two of the declared Democratic candidates might distinguish themselves now by demanding that the committee reverse itself and invite Fox News—and its audience—back into the American electoral process.


Liberal Primary Voters Turn to Socialism

By Michael Tanner • National Review

Outside the media and political circles that follow her every move, few probably noticed or cared when Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez pronounced capitalism “irredeemable.” But what are we to make of the refusal of former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper — supposedly the moderate in the Democratic field — to admit that he was a capitalist? Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last week, Hickenlooper turned aside several direct questions about whether he was a capitalist before allowing that “some aspects” of capitalism, like small business, “probably work.” And what about the fact that 77-year-old avowed socialist Bernie Sanders is in a statistical tie for the Democratic nomination?

Perhaps that’s because Democratic primary voters have a surprisingly favorable view of socialism. According to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, Democrats prefer capitalism to socialism by the slimmest 51–49 percent margin. That’s a long way from President Obama, who just four years ago pointed out that “the free market is the greatest generator of wealth in history — it has lifted millions out of poverty.”

Of course there is ample reason to be suspicious of the combination of cronyism and government intervention that has replaced free-market capitalism in recent years. But this new affection for socialism represents a profound misreading of economics, history, and the human condition.

For most of recorded history, humankind was horribly, desperately poor. Then, about 300 years ago, human wealth suddenly began to increase exponentially. The reason for this sudden and wonderful change was the advent of modern free-market capitalism. And while those at the top of the income ladder undoubtedly saw major gains, those who benefited the most from this increase in wealth were those at the bottom.

In her groundbreaking book Bourgeois Equality, Deirdre McCloskey points out that in the era before modern free-market capitalism, great civilizations, such as Periclean Greece or Song Dynasty China, sometimes saw a temporary doubling of national income per capita. Such gains were considered extraordinary. But compare that to the fact that since 1800, developed countries like Sweden or Japan have seen a 3,200 percent growth in per capita income. And with that growth came all sorts of associated benefits, including longer life expectancies, a better-educated citizenry, expanded civil and political rights, and reduced poverty. Studies measuring inequality over time against indexes of economic freedom (adjusted to exclude exogenous factors such as educational levels, climate, agricultural share of employment, and so forth) show a small but statistically significant reduction in inequality in countries with high economic-freedom scores.

What has been true worldwide has been true for the United States as well. Consider that by most measures nearly all Americans were poor at the start of the last century. Indeed, if we use a definition corresponding to today’s poverty measures, 60 to 80 percent of the U.S. population was poor at the start of the 20th century. Today, while some people undoubtedly continue to struggle, deep material poverty has been nearly eradicated.

It is free-market capitalism that is at the heart of this prosperity.

Nor is the debate about capitalism vs. socialism merely a question of economics. Strip away all the bells and whistles and there are only two ways to organize society: markets or command and control. Markets are fundamentally about choice and voluntary exchange. Command and control is about, well, command and control — that is, force. Advocates of socialism presume that this power will be exercised by wise philosopher-economist-kings who can magically determine precisely what wages should be, how much a product should sell for, and what consumers want (or should want). History shows that, instead, those powers are exercised by fallible human beings who not only get economic decisions wrong but cannot resist spreading their new power into non-economic areas of our lives.

Donald Trump, with his continuing calls for government intervention in the economy, is hardly the best person to make the case against Democrats and socialism. He is, in fact, emblematic of the cronyism that has come to taint capitalism in the minds of many. But his message may still find a receptive audience.

The same Harvard/Harris poll cited above showed voters overall preferring capitalism by a 65–35 percent margin. Voters outside the Democratic-primary base are far less enamored of socialism. Even many of those choosing socialism probably don’t really mean it, seeing “socialism” as simply shorthand for a more generous welfare state.

In particular, an anti-capitalist, pro-socialist message will be a very hard sell in the crucial suburbs that have begun swinging Democratic in the last few elections. Voters in those areas are repelled by Trump’s rhetoric and Republican social conservatism but remain capitalists.

There’s no doubt that Trump remains vulnerable, but so long as Democrats continue their lurch to the left, his reelection prospects will look up.


Greenpeace Founding Member: ‘The Whole Climate Crisis Is Not Only Fake News, It’s Fake Science’

By Tyler O’Neil • PJ Media

On Tuesday morning, Patrick Moore, a founding member of the environmentalist organization Greenpeace, slammed climate alarmists for promoting a fake emergency. President Donald Trump tweeted Moore’s remarks shortly after he made them.

“In fact, the whole climate crisis as they call it is not only fake news, it’s fake science. There is no climate crisis,” Moore, author of the book Confessions of a Greenpeace Drop-Out: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist, told “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning.

“There is weather and climate all around the world. And, in fact, carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life,” Moore said. “That’s where the carbon comes from in carbon-based life, which is all life on land and in the sea. And not only that, a little bit of warming would not be a bad thing for myself being a Canadian and the people in Russia wouldn’t mind a little couple of degrees warmer either.”

The Greenpeace founding member did not deny that climate change is real, but he insisted that it is not a crisis.

“Yes, of course, climate change is real. It’s been happening since the beginning of time. But it’s not dangerous and it’s not made by people,” Moore insisted.

What is climate change, if it’s not a man-made imminent crisis? “Climate change is a perfectly natural phenomenon and this modern warm period actually began about 300 years ago when Little Ice Age began to come to an end,” he explained. “There is nothing to be afraid of.”

As for the alarmists, “that’s all they are doing is instilling fear. Most of the scientists who are saying it’s a crisis are on perpetual government grants.”

Yet there is a fundamental contradiction between their claims, Moore insisted. “On one hand they say the science is settled and people like myself should just shut up because they know what’s right. On the other hand, they seem to keep studying it forever as if there is something new to find out. And those two things are completely contradictory,” he said.

The Greenpeace founding member even argued that “carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world.” He promoted the CO2 Coalition, which believes “that carbon dioxide is entirely beneficial to both the environment, to agriculture and forestry and to the climate of the Earth.”

If Patrick Moore believes in carbon dioxide as a benefit to the climate, how could he have helped found Greenpeace? He argued that it was the organization that changed from its original mission, not him.

“I was one of the founders doing a Ph.D. in the late ’60s, early ’70s in ecology. I was radicalized by the Cold War and the threat of all-out nuclear war and the emerging consciousness of the environment and we did a lot of good things,” he recalled. “We stopped nuclear testing in Alaska. We have stopped it in the South Pacific. We saved the whales. And we stopped a lot of toxic waste being put into the ocean. And the air.”

“But, by the mid-’80s we had gained a lot of notoriety and we were bringing in a lot of money and we were hijacked by the extreme Left who basically took Greenpeace from a science-based organization to an organization based on sensationalism, misinformation, and fear,” Moore insisted.

The Greenpeace founding member echoed an argument he made against the Green New Deal on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday evening.

Moore said he opposed the climate plan proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) “because it would be basically the end of civilization if 85 percent of the world’s and also 85 percent of the U.S.’s energy — in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas — were phased out over the next few years. Like, ten years. We do not have anything to replace them with.”

Nuclear reactors might be able to meet those needs, “but that isn’t going to happen because the greens are against nuclear, and they’re even against hydroelectric dams, which at least is renewable. But they don’t support that either, so basically, they are opposed to approximately 98.5 percent of all the electricity that we are using and nearly 100 percent of all the vehicle and transportation and ships and plans energy that we are using.”

Moore argued that the biggest problem with phasing out fossil fuels entirely would be mass starvation in the cities. Transporting food from farms to cities “requires large trucks, and there’s not going to be any electric tracks any time soon hauling 40 tons of food into the supermarkets where the people in the cities probably think it originates in the supermarket. But it does not.”

The Ocasio-Cortez ‘Green New Deal’ Is Even Shoddier and More Absurd Than You Thought
Without fossil fuels and the trucks that run on them, food could not travel from the farms to the center of New York or to Manhattan, where AOC is from,” he said. Without trucks, “the people there will begin to starve. … Half the population will die in a very short period of time.”

On “Fox & Friends,” Patrick Moore was even blunter. “The fact is you cannot do agriculture for eight billion people — produce the food for eight billion people — without fossil fuels as far as we know it. We don’t have an alternative, especially for transportation. Which is over 90 percent dependent on fossil fuels,” he said.

Burning fossil fuels may even have a positive impact on the environment, the Greenpeace founding member argued.

“The fact is 85 percent of the world’s energy is from fossil fuels. And the carbon dioxide being emitted from burning it was actually taken out of the atmosphere and the oceans millions of years ago and stored in sediments,” Moore said. “We are now releasing it back into the atmosphere where it can fertilize the life on Earth.”

“Carbon dioxide and water are the two main constituents of all life. Carbohydrates and, of course, fossil fuels are hydrocarbons just missing the oxygen. When you burn them, the oxygen is recombined with carbon to form the carbon dioxide. People need to learn more about the chemistry,” he quipped.

“This is fake science and driving a very dangerous movement on the energy front,” Moore repeated.

President Donald Trump tweeted about Moore’s interview, citing the “Fake Science” line in particular.

“Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: ‘The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life,'” Trump tweeted, adding “Wow!”

Greenpeace disputed the claim that Patrick Moore is a co-founder of the organization.

“Patrick Moore was not a co-founder of Greenpeace. He does not represent Greenpeace. He is a paid lobbyist, not an independent source. His statements about @AOC & the #GreenNewDeal have nothing to do with our positions.”

Moore was heavily involved in the early years of Greenpeace. While he did not help found the original organization, the “Don’t Make a Wave Committee,” he joined the crew of the vessel Phyllis Cormack, which later took on the name “Greenpeace.” The organization took its name from that vessel.

Patrick Moore is not listed among the founders of Greenpeace on the website, but he clearly had an early leading role in the organization.

In 2011, the Wall Street Journal dubbed Moore a “founding member” of the organization. PJ Media has adopted this description.


Nancy Pelosi’s Threat to Free Speech

By Rich Lowry • National Review

The same Democrats outraged by Donald Trump’s alleged offenses against the First Amendment passed, as their first priority, a speech-restricting bill opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Trump shouldn’t call the media “the enemy of the people” or inveigh against Jeff Bezos for owning the Washington Post, but Nancy Pelosi’s H.R. 1, which passed the House last week, is the true affront to the Constitution.

The wide-ranging legislation purports to reform campaign finance with a series of vague, sweeping measures that will act to chill speech when they don’t actively regulate or squelch it. H.R. 1 is called the For the People Act but would be more aptly titled the Be Careful What You Say, It Might Be Illegal Act.

Progressives can’t abide the notion that people in this country get together to spend money on advocacy outside the purview of the government — in other words, freely promote their favored causes as befits a free people living in a free country.

H.R. 1 cracks the whip. As the Institute for Free Speech points out, the current campaign-finance rules limit expenditures that expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate, or refer to a candidate in public advertising shortly before an election. The idea is to have clear rules so groups can promote their views without fear of running afoul of federal regulations.

H.R. 1 blows this regime up. It seeks to regulate any speech at any time that “promotes or supports the candidate, or attacks or opposes an opponent of the candidate,” a fuzzy standard that could catch up all manner of nonelectoral messages (e.g., “Trump’s tariffs are a mistake,” or “Support Trump’s wall”).

H.R. 1 also widens the definition of coordination between a group and a candidate to encompass almost any communication. It’d still be permissible to discuss a candidate’s position on an issue, so long as there is no talk “regarding the candidate’s or committee’s campaign advertising, message, strategy, policy, polling, allocation of resources, fundraising, or other campaign activities.”

Even if a group doesn’t coordinate with a candidate under this loose standard, it could still be deemed to have coordinated if it were founded by someone who goes on to become a candidate; relies on the professional services of someone who also did work for a candidate; or is run by someone who had conversations about a campaign with the relative of a candidate.

On top of all this, H.R. 1 goes after the privacy of donors to advocacy organizations. It mandates the disclosure of the names and addresses of donors giving more than $10,000 to groups that engage in “campaign-related disbursements.” Given our toxic political environment, this would potentially subject the donors to harassment and abuse, and they might not even be aware of or support the communications in question.

Supporters of H.R. 1 say it is necessary to rein in super PACs, the frightening-sounding organizations that aren’t as unregulated as everyone believes (the Federal Election Commission gets reports of their expenditures and contributions). But, as the Institute for Free Speech notes, the bill affects a much broader array of “trade associations, unions, business groups, and advocacy organizations, such as Planned Parenthood and the National Right to Life Committee.”

Love them or hate them, these groups are part of the warp and woof of American public life, and they shouldn’t have to think twice before engaging in acts of persuasion that enrich and enliven our democracy, not corrupt it.

The Supreme Court has long put an emphasis on bright lines in its campaign-finance jurisprudence exactly to avoid a chilling effect on advocacy. It has said that laws must be “both easily understood and objectively determinable.” The campaign-finance provisions of H.R. 1 are neither.

What H.R. 1 makes abundantly clear is that the foremost threat to the First Amendment are the people who believe that there is something untoward about unregulated political speech and seek to bring it under control.