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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Susan Rice’s REVEALING Twitter Account

George Neumayr

Susan Rice’s Twitter account is one of many windows on her partisanship. Even in the midst of an investigation into her political espionage, she can’t resist a few feverish re-tweets. The most remarkable one came on Thursday. It was a re-tweet of a reckless column by E.J. Dionne that seeks to revive, sans evidence, the fable of Trump-Russia collusion in last year’s election.
It is clear from this re-tweet that Rice remains proud of the Obama administration’s spying on Trump and his aides. Notice that the dispute has shifted from whether spying occurred to why it occurred. Both sides say it happened. The difference is that the Dems applaud the spying and the Republicans condemn it.
Recall the evasive denial of Obama after Trump’s initial tweet. Obama never denied the surveillance. He just denied ordering it. Shortly thereafter, one of his speechwriters, Jon Favreau, punctuated this distinction: “I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it.”
Of course, that too was a falsehood, predicated on, at best, an exceedingly narrow definition of the “White House.” In fact, the White House in any honest sense of the term — from John Brennan to Loretta Lynch to Susan Rice — did order it. These White House officials acted in Obama’s name and with his knowledge. Or are we supposed to believe that he was wholly unaware of a months-long investigation (which ran on multiple tracks, from the FBI investigation to a multi-agency investigation launched by Brennan) into the opposing party’s presidential nominee?
Susan Rice has said that she needed to spy on Trump and his aides in order to conduct responsible briefings, which invites the question (that MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell studiously avoiding asking her): Who exactly was she briefing at the White House? The janitors? Obviously, she was briefing the president. In other words, Obama knew everything from the unmasked info that she did.
To press flunkies, Susan Rice casts her espionage as high-minded, national-security-based vigilance. But on her Twitter account she doesn’t bother to keep up that charade. That she would re-tweet the partisan hackery of E.J. Dionne indicates the depth of partisanship behind her espionage.
Dionne’s column is based on blatant question-begging, treating as an outrage that “We are not talking much about whether Russia colluded with Trump’s campaign to help elect him.” Look at the absurd shading of that statement, as if people are obligated to talk about something that hasn’t been established.
Dionne peppers the rest of his column with dark references to the Russia “story,” without telling us what the story is. Trump’s greatest achievement, he ludicrously argues, is his ability to “keep the Russia story at bay.” Again, what story? How do you keep something that doesn’t exist at bay?
In this Orwellian vein, Dionne thunders about the “core Trump principle: A lie is as good as the truth as long as you can get your base to believe it. And sure enough, the new Post-ABC News poll conducted last week found that 52 percent of Republicans believe that ‘the Obama administration intentionally spied on Trump and members of his campaign during the 2016 election campaign.’”
How is that a lie? And why would they need to “believe” something that has already been confirmed? No matter what weasel word is used (“unmasking,” etc.), the Obama administration did spy on Trump and his people. The Dionne principle is: A lie is as good as the truth as long as you can get Jeff Bezos to pay for it and Susan Rice to re-tweet it.
And no Dionne column is complete without reference to all the right people who swallow the media’s regnant propaganda: “Thoughtful souls, conservatives as well as liberals, saw something terribly off about Trump swinging so wildly and with such indifference to verifiable fact.” He concludes the column with a final note of question-begging: “Every day he can postpone his reckoning with Russia is a victory.” What reckoning? How do you postpone an event that doesn’t exist.
To paraphrase Dionne, thoughtful logicians see something terribly off in his Op-Ed. But Susan Rice obviously found it all very impressive and re-tweeted it — a sign that her coming defense will rest upon cleaving to the collusion claim.
Meanwhile, the Democrats, whose silence about Obamagate speaks volumes, have shown no interest in examining the “unmasked” information collected by Rice, even though they had complained bitterly about the Republicans “not sharing it with them” earlier. It turns out that most of the House Intel Dems don’t want to see Rice’s activity, lest that complicate their stance, according to the Daily Caller:
Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes is the only Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence other than Rep. Adam Schiff, the panel’s ranking minority member, to review intelligence files showing former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice “unmasked” aides to President Donald Trump during his transition to the Oval Office, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.
The apparent lack of interest among the remaining seven Democrats on the intelligence panel is in striking contrast to their earlier vocal demands that they see the documents after committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes disclosed he had read them at the White House complex.
According to a source with knowledge of congressional visits to the National Security Agency, the classified documents have been available to committee members for three weeks, but Himes and Schiff are the lone Democrats to review them.
The Democrats are at once proud of the spying and hesitant to know its details. Schiff, normally so talkative, has turned taciturn after seeing them, relying on his legal training to avoid difficult questions. That is easy enough to pull off since the media, composed almost entirely of Democrats, is reluctant to put him on the spot. They just nod, Andrea Mitchell-style, at his parsing and move on.
There was once a time when the Dionne’s would approvingly quote Michael Kinsley’s dictum that “the scandal in Washington is not what’s illegal but what’s legal.” They don’t quote that anymore. Now they lecture people on the merits of “legal surveillance” and instruct the public that “unmasking is not spying” and so forth. And since the target of it all was the odious Donald Trump, who cares anyways? It is that attitude which the Susan Rices trust will save them from scrutiny.
This is why she can let it all hang out on Twitter. And she is not alone. Ned Price, another Obamaland partisan hack who worked at the CIA and NSC, recently re-tweeted the conspiracy theory that Jason Chaffetz is quitting Congress due to Russian blackmail.
How did Obamagate happen? Look no further than these twits and tweets.

2 Videos Reveal TRANS Ideology’s GOALS: Ending Sex & NORMALIZING Abuse

These Two Videos Reveal Trans Ideology’s Goals: Ending Sex And Normalizing Abuse

 Joy Pullmann
Hold your horses, cowboys and cowgirls: Now you’re a “cissexist” — which must be a really bad thing because it has “sexist” in it — if you don’t want to have sex with “women with penises,” according to a 24-year-old guy who is apparently a professional transwoman.
Riley J. Dennis, who according to his YouTube profile is 6’4″ tall and dating a woman, which obviously makes him a lesbian, is a vlogger for That’s not a typo: Dennis was born a male but now says he’s a lesbian transwoman whose gender is fluid. That seems to mean he is a man with long hair who wears makeup, dresses ambiguously, and has sex with a lady. But it’s hard to keep up, which is probably partly the point of all this narcissism: to keep people’s attention by constantly destabilizing their sense of reality.
Dennis’s YouTube channel, which largely concerns “intersectional feminism,” has 28,000 subscribers. His latest for Everyday Feminist, which at this writing has 17,200 shares, explains how having “genital preferences” in dating constitutes transphobic discrimination. Anyone who has “genital preferences” — which despite America’s decline is still the majority of us — can start laughing now, because obviously this is all about the alphabet soup people trying to get us to stop having sex. I, for one, ain’t buying.
“Some women have penises, and if the fact that some lesbians might be attracted to those women offends you it’s because you don’t think trans women are real women,” he says in the video.
The anti-sex campaign has another recent entry. Bill Nye’s new show, “Bill Nye Saves The World,” came out with a video in which the intended humor thuds but the unintentional humor sings. Warning: NSFW or children.

While it seems the performers are trying to be funny, mainly because Rachel Bloom styles herself a humorist, it’s not clear they really intended for the main effect this video generates: wild laughter and, conversely, puking. “F–k this world, I want to just move to the forest and become a monk. I can’t take this degeneracy anymore,” a YouTuber commented on the video, according to The Daily Caller.
In case you didn’t watch, a sampling of the lyrics. “‘Cause my sex junk is so oh-oh-oh / Much more than either or-or-or.” Sex junk? I’ll say. “There’s nothing taboo about a sex stew.” Taboo, perhaps not. Appealing, also not. “With a sad clown Skyping via satellite.” That’s pretty much it. And if that’s appealing, you’re the sad clown. “Get off your soapbox / My sex junk’s better than bagels with lox / With lots of schmear.” So this is an abstinence campaign, then? Ah, it’s all starting to make so much more sense now.

This takes the infertility of non-heterosexual sex to a new level. Now it’s not just a biological impossibility for same-sex couples, but also repugnant and confusing to pairs whose coupling can technically lead to reproduction. In other words, how many guys are going to want to shimmy up to a lady at a club if it becomes more and more common for them to find that the “lady” has a penis once he gets into her pants? If women think hookup culture has disappeared dating, this takes that further, ending sex altogether.
This sexual repulsiveness is not limited to random hookups. It can extend to long-term relationships and marriage, amplifying the relationship-killing effects. Jennifer Finney Boylan, a male-to-female transgender professor at Barnard College, recently wrote in The New York Times that he came out to his wife as trans after “many years into our marriage.” Apparently this is common among transsexuals, at least as Boylan tells it:
I talked to a woman whose husband did not know his wife was born a different gender. She resented other people moralizing about her choice. ‘It’s not about who I was, it’s about who I am. And yet, the ethicist in me believes that there comes a moment when self-disclosure is indeed necessary. For some, this moment comes before sexual intimacy. For others, sexual intimacy is less the point than the emotional kind; I know a woman who has no qualms about sleeping with men who don’t know her history, but the moment she finds herself falling in love, she feels morally obligated to share it.
While Boylan insidiously includes the word “ethics” to dampen readers’ uncomfortable reaction to scenarios in which the person you’re having sex with wants to have different sex parts than the ones that are part of your coupling, let’s be clear: This is terrible, utterly self-centered behavior. It should be needless to say, but sex is a mutual act and consent requires knowing what you are getting into. You can’t consent to sex with a man if you don’t know he’s a man. It’s a deeply vulnerable interaction initiated on false premises, and that’s wrong.
This is why, although Boylan suavely ignores this elephant in the room, deviant sexuality hurts people besides the self-harm to the one transing. You have only to read this anonymous letter in The Guardian recently from a woman to her transgender husband to know it’s true:
If it took you years to accept something that ‘felt right’ to you, how could I instantly accept it? I asked for time, and you refused. It felt like a battlefield: you would make decisions that affected us both and lob them at me like grenades, unspoken ultimatums that told me I needed to shut up, or leave. ‘I’ve decided to start hormone treatment,’ you said. ‘I’ve decided to come out publicly next week.’ I had thought we were a team, and now I was left behind.
…I worry that no one is telling you the truth, now. Many of your friends err on the side of unquestioning support, in case they are seen as unsupportive, and I think that’s dangerous: being trans does not make a person brave or ‘right’, and it does not make them a good person. Nor does it make them a bad one. You were always a little self-absorbed, and I understand why this process exacerbated this – it is, by definition, a very self-focused thing. Yet you needed my support, and I tried to give it, but I needed yours, too. No one knows what to say to the partner of a person who has come out – we tend to get forgotten, or held to unreasonable standards.
This all indicates trans ideology is positively sex-hostile, in both senses of that term. Needless to say, this is not what most people binging on the sexual revolution and its aftermath were expecting, along with other anti-sex outcomes such as sexually transmitted disease epidemics that make sex very painful, porn addictions that spur impotency and curb sexual appetite, and hormonal birth control that kills women’s sex drive and can make sex painful. So freakin’ much for “sex positivity.” What a load of garbage.
The rainbows are not only locking everyone else into iron underwear. They’ve locked themselves into the asylum, as well. All joking aside, it’s creepy in there, ya’ll. After Bloom’s sex-repulsive performance, Nye leaps onto the stage beaming with excitement, and while he proclaims weirdly “That’s exactly the right message, Rachel! Nice job” like some kind of Propaganda Censor, he also exhibits some blatant gender preferences by hugging all the female performers but only shaking hands with the male performer. Perhaps this reveals some latent homophobia within Nye, expressing his inner fear of getting too close too another man.
Dennis knows exactly how to treat that problem. In his Everyday Feminism video, he suggests we all re-evaluate our “genital preferences” and open our minds to new sexual experiences because “preferences for women with vaginas over women with penises might be partially informed by the influence of a cis-sexist society.”
Whoa, whoa. How did we move from “sex positive” to “sexual experimentation mandatory or else you’re a ____phobe”? It’s called gaslighting, honey, and it’s all the rage. Dennis also creepily inflicts it on real women, telling us our feelings about having penises waggling about our locker rooms and showers are expressions of bigotry: “Trans women have a long history of being accused of being rapists by cis women…It’s why some cis women are terrified of the idea of sharing a locker room with trans women.”
In other words, Shut up and take it, little lady. But don’t worry, women of the world. This six-foot-four dude is “a big fan of affirmative consent” — so long as you affirm precisely what he wants you to affirm. If you start raising your emotional needs and premonitions, despite assault prevention experts specifically recommending that women do just that to enhance potentially life-saving situational awareness, that’s also bigotry. In other words, protecting yourself is evil. To anyone who has experience with highly manipulative people, this is a blatant tell of an abusive personality, a major warning sign.
“Simply saying ‘It’s my preference! End of discussion!’ is a good way of sidelining all of those issues and centering the feelings of cis people in a discussion that’s about trans people,” Dennis says, cheerfully. No, sir. It’s about me setting my own boundaries and enforcing them, and not letting you emotionally manipulate me into anything. You may not get this, because you’re not a real woman, but we women instinctively know and seek to protect our vulnerability. And you’re not going to browbeat me for it, mister. The harder you push, the harder I’ll kick, and the louder I’ll scream.

Corrine Brown Defense BLAMES Chief of Staff

Former aide who accepted plea deal is focus as ex-lawmaker’s corruption trial begins 

Eric Garcia

Former Rep. Corrine Brown’s corruption trial opened on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida, with Brown’s defense placing the blame on her former chief of staff. 
The Florida Democrat is charged with 22 counts in a 24-count indictment that includes using her reputation to solicit donations to a charity that she and her former chief of staff used as a slush fund, according to First Coast News.
James Smith III, Brown’s defense lawyer, tried to pin the blame on Ronnie Simmons, her former chief of staff, who pled guilty and agreed to testify against her.
Smith argued that Simmons and Carla Wiley, the founder of the One Door charity who is also expected to testify against Brown, could not be trusted since they admitted to lying and stealing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Tysen Duva said Simmons did Brown’s bidding, including taking $800 from the charity and depositing it into Brown’s account. But Smith said Brown was not computer savvy and could not look up account activity online and that it was all handled by Simmons.
One example Duva cited was when Brown and her daughter went to the Bahamas and stayed at the Atlantis Hotel before flying to Beverly Hills and shopping on Rodeo Drive. Duva said there was documentation of Simmons depositing money into the bank account on each of those days.
In its opening statement, the prosecution questioned why Brown didn’t ask about the fluctuating balance in her account if she knew nothing about the cash being deposited.
Smith said Brown often traveled and spent money as part of her work as a congresswoman and filed a reimbursement claim with the government, First Coast News reported. Smith said Brown would not have noticed Simmons’ deposits since her account balance was always fluctuating.

Does America Even Want FREEDOM Anymore?


Headlines rocked in recent days about the latest Berkeley episode of snowflake teardropping, the one where conservative bigwig Ann Coulter was supposed to come to campus to speak, but threats of violence from offended students waylaid her plans.
Everybody cried about the hit to free speech — and rightly so. But the Coulter-Berkeley fiasco, and the ding to free speech, is not the problem, in and of itself. It’s only a symptom of a much larger problem — a symptom of a deeper, darker spirit that’s infected America, spreading far and wide as it seeks to destroy the nation’s greatest asset. The fact that in America, our individual rights come from God, not government.
Understand that, and the Berkeley-Coulter tiff is just a small bump on a very rocky road Americans have been traversing for years now, the one that leads away from a heavenly authority and right smack into the hands of a secular force called the kingdom of government. Coulter vs. Berkeley is just a cause-effect example of this — of what really ails the country.
A moral citizenry would not — could not — riot over rhetoric.
Of course, it came on the heels of the same university setting itself on fire over the perceived offenses of former Breitbart newser, Milo Yiannopoulos, who had been scheduled to appear at the campus in February, but who was similarly forced to cancel. Now Milo’s vowing to storm the campus for a seven-day September free speech event, and this is what he says about it: “I’ll bring an army if I have to. I have the money to do it. And if the university refuses to actively help us in planning it or tries to block us, we will make it even longer, a month-long rally, not just one week.”
Storm-trooping for free speech — what have we become, America?
Milo’s mission is similar to one put forth by American Freedom Defense Initiative president Pamela Geller in 2015. Back then Geller oversaw a “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas, to show, in blunt fashion, that America’s First Amendment comes before sharia law — that the religion of Islam may prohibit the drawing of their prophet but the U.S. Constitution does not.
For that, she was roundly and soundly criticized and condemned, not just by Muslim groups and their leftist supporters, but also by the media — the media, for crying out loud, which makes its bread and butter off freedom of speech — and by conservatives and Republicans and others who would normally defend the Constitution.
“We absolutely must have other events like this to stand up for free speech,” an unapologetic Geller told NBC News then. “I will not abridge my freedoms so as not to offend savages.”
Storm-trooping for free speech. The sad reality of modern day America.
But it’s not just speech that’s being stifled around the nation.
“The rise of a surveillance state has raised questions about the legality of how law enforcement agencies acquire new technologies and inform the public of their use,” the Center for Investigative Reporting wrote in May 2014.
Post-9/11, individual privacy rights have routinely been placed secondary to national security. Pat-downs at the nation’s airports have crossed the line into accosting. Data collection and data storage have become mysterious workings of inner-government — ones that thrust even a questioning citizen among the ranks of the suspicious. Public schools have more and more frequently found it perfectly acceptable to enter parental domain to control what students eat, what children read and how they ought to think.
Government bodies that are supposed to serve the people — like the Internal Revenue Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Motor Vehicles, to name just a few — far too frequently subjugate, regulate and violate them.
The welfare of the collective is replacing the rights of the individual.
And propelling this socialist view forward is, sorrowfully, the younger generation, comprised of individuals who know nothing of the true price of freedom — who’ve not been forced to pay with sweat and blood and loss, as the patriots of America’s founding days were or as the brave U.S. military fighters of subsequent decades were. Rather, for them freedom is being free of offensive thoughts.
They think freedom means being pain-free, struggle-free, effort-free, offense-free. And they think any kinks that threaten that definition of freedom must be obliterated. Like Coulter, like Milo, like Geller — like all those with patriotic, conservative, free-market, good old-fashioned American principles and Judeo-Christian beliefs. But why do they think that way?
Because our nation, through the years, has chosen to let government be the guide, not God. We’ve picked a path of moral comfort, not compass, and the price is an anything-goes culture that caters to the lowest denominator of humanity.
It’s not Coulter. It’s not free speech. It’s not even snowflakes and the adults who cater to their whines. It’s the loss of God from governance, opening the door to a lawless society and chaotic structure — that’s what really ails us. And that’s what must be addressed, if we really want to be a nation of free people once again.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Are Liberals HOPELESSLY Irrational?

No matter how consistently liberal economic policies fail, progressives continue to believe that by doing the same thing repeatedly, they will get a different result.

Image result for irrational liberals

Robert Arvay

In theory, two intelligent people who disagree on something, should be able to discuss the matter and resolve the issue. In practice, I have (to my dismay) found this not to be the case. Some people seem never to learn from experience. For example, no matter how consistently liberal economic policies fail, progressives continue to believe that by doing the same thing repeatedly, they will get a different result.
There are too many anecdotes to recount here, but two of them, from my personal experience, should suffice.
I was employed in an office with mostly liberal coworkers. About two or three days before the Thanksgiving Day holiday, a charming young lady called to make airline reservations for the day before the event. When told (over the telephone) the price, she seemed horrified. I could not of course hear the other end of the conversation, but she asked, what gives you the right to charge so much just because it’s a holiday?
I would have stayed out of it, but the lady asked me directly, what I thought of, in her term, airline price gouging. I briefly tried to explain to her that if the airline charged the everyday price, the flight would have been booked solid weeks before, and she would still not be able to fly. She rejected that reply. Even when another office worker (a liberal who had voted for Al Gore for president!) explained the matter to her, it was all to no avail. The lady just felt that somehow, some way, the airlines could provide unlimited numbers of seats at the off-season price, to the destination she desired. I am sure that she still feels that way. Oh, the unfairness of it all!
In another instance of irrationality, a woman who disputed the balance due on her account defied the math. After I failed to quickly find any discrepancy, I offered to go over the record with her, line by line, in search of any disputed charges, or unrecorded payments. I felt confident that we would either find and correct the error, or else, confirm the accuracy of the billing statement. As I reviewed the statement with her, I asked at every point, is the running total correct so far? Be sure and tell me if it is not. For about half an hour, we went methodically through the record, and at every single point, the lady affirmed the correctness of the balance due. Arithmetic does not lie.
But when we got to the final line, the correct balance due, she said, well that just can’t be right. I know I don’t owe that much. At that point, I realized that she was simply irrational, and told her that it was now her responsibility to find any error. She admitted that she could not, but still disputed the balance due. I leave it to you to discern her economic philosophy. Can she possibly be a fiscal conservative?
Many more examples of this sort could be offered, but by now I am certain that anyone reading this (assuming that liberals will not read this) understands the point. One final anecdote follows.
In 1990, a tax on luxury yachts actually reduced tax revenues and increased unemployment. The tax was finally repealed (in 1992) with bipartisan support, but only after much harm had already been done to the economy. Yet, to this day, progressives still favor “tax the rich” policies, despite the fact that higher tax rates that exceed the optimum actually reduce tax revenues and impose harm on working people. Even Barack Obama, in his first presidential campaign, admitted as much -- but he still supported those kinds of taxes because they were, in his words, fair. It is simply “unfair” not to tax the rich, even if doing so harms the poor. As far as I know, prominent liberals never questioned this irrational statement.
The 2016 presidential election campaign underscored the enormous divide between those who believe that government is the solution, and those who understand that, too often, government creates the problems it claims to solve. Just ask the unemployed blue-collar Democrats who voted for Trump.
One might hope that a careful discussion with the liberal side could help resolve the disagreement, but when the other side not only refuses to have the discussion, but actually uses violence to silence those who dissent, then we are dealing with something much worse than mere irrationality.

The American Founders Knew A VIRTUOUS Republic REQUIRES Virtuous People

Incredibly, it has become controversial to argue the founding founders supported natural rights and the need to cultivate moral citizenry. In the 'The Political Theory of the American Founding,' Thomas G. West offers a convincing and necessary corrective to modern scholarship.

The American Founders Knew A Virtuous Republic Requires Virtuous People

Mike Sabo

“Does this nation in its maturity still cherish the faith in which it was conceived and raised? Does it still hold those ‘truths to be self-evident’?”
This is the pivotal question the political philosopher Leo Strauss raised in the opening pages of his most well-known book, Natural Right and History. Quoting part of the famous second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, Strauss implied that the knowledge of founding principles and continued belief in their truth were vital to the success of the American experiment in self-government.
But if recent findings are any indication, Americans’ acquaintance with the founders’ principles and practices seems to be at a nadir. According to a report of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a majority of college graduates can’t recall “the substance of the First Amendment, or the origin of the separation of powers.” Perhaps most alarmingly, “nearly 10% say that Judith Sheindlin—‘Judge Judy’—is on the Supreme Court.” A big part of the problem seems to stem from the fact that of the 1,100 “liberal arts colleges and universities” surveyed, just “18%” require students to take a course on American history or government before graduation.
Though certainly more classes and study are necessary to correct these glaring deficiencies, scholar Thomas G. West suggests that the problems go much deeper. While professors are undoubtedly intelligent, he argues that their views on America—especially regarding our nation’s founding—have some serious flaws.

Truth Above All

In his new book The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy, and the Moral Conditions of Freedom, West sets out to remedy this problem. West, professor of politics at Hillsdale College and a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, gives a comprehensive overview of the founders’ political theory and the intricate web of policies that flowed from those principles. (For what it’s worth, I am former student of West.) This sober and deeply learned work represents the culmination of decades of serious study and reflection on the American founding. And it might just be the best book ever written on the subject.
In his previous book Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America, West defended the founders’ natural law and natural rights principles and controversial policies from historians and public intellectuals, liberals and conservatives who have attacked them as controversial according to contemporary standards. But as West says in the introduction to his new work, he did not understand at the time how much those principles were simply misunderstood:
After I published Vindicating, I became increasingly aware that for many people—often including scholars who might be expected to know better—the founders’ political theory might well be buried in some deep dark and long-forgotten pit. My task, then, has something in common with archeology—digging up old bones. But these bones, unlike those of long-dead Romans or Chinese, are of interest today because they claim to be living principles based on timeless truths. 

What makes West unique among scholars and historians, then, is that he actually “treats the founders’ political theory as if it might be true.” In an age when an easy-going historicism envelops the American mind and History itself is thought to pick winners and losers, this standpoint is refreshing. West comes from the perspective not of the dogmatic skeptic nor the blind zealot but of a concern for the truth of things above all.
West divides his book into three overarching sections: an overview of the founders’ political theory, an argument for why they thought government should inculcate citizen morality and virtue, and an extended examination of their views on property and economics. As he reasonably argues in the book’s introduction, before we can praise or condemn the founders, we must “first know” both “why the founders set up the regime they did” and “how their political order worked.”
West more than lives up to the daunting task he sets before himself.

The Founders’ Political Theory of Natural Rights

In the book’s first section, West argues that a “natural rights doctrine” is at “the core of the founders’ political theory.” This stance sits squarely against the bulk of scholarship on the American founding, which tends to view the founders’ theory as a combination of liberalism (natural rights), republicanism, Scottish enlightenment theory, British common law, and Protestant theology, among other elements.
West, by contrast, posits that although “the conditions and traditions of colonial America before 1776” were surely important, natural rights determined “which traditions would continue and which would be discarded.” This argument is a useful corrective to the popular idea in certain circles that America is a “proposition nation”—meaning that it is defined solely by “abstract principles” without regard to any other considerations such as citizen character.
Citing a copious amount of primary sources, West meticulously pieces together the founders’ political theory. Natural rights are the inalienable liberties all human beings possess, not through government largesse, but by nature. Because “all men are created equal” in the sense “that there are no natural masters or natural slaves,” everyone has the natural liberty to order his life “without interference from other people.” Among these rights are the right to life, possessing and acquiring property, religious liberty, and to seek happiness—what West calls “the goal of human life.”
On the reverse side of rights are the duties all men have not to transcend the moral limits on the use of their rights. The founders called these natural limits the law of nature, or natural law. Natural law, which can be discovered through the faculty of reason, is “both the source of natural rights and a statement of our duties.” West argues that “natural liberty exists only within the moral limits of the law of nature.” Liberty, in other words, does not equal license.
Because all men are created equal, just government can only be founded on the unanimous consent of individuals who want to protect their rights, which are insecure outside of civil society. (The founders called the condition in which there is no common authority to protect against infringements of one’s rights the state of nature.) “The logic of the equality principle,” West contends, “necessarily leads to the right of the people to rule themselves in person or through elected representatives.” Consent, then, must be granted not only at the founding of a regime but also in the course of its operation, lest it degenerate into a tyranny.
Finally, West notes that the government’s purpose is to secure the natural rights of all who are under its auspices. Government violations of the people’s rights may justify the people to resort to what John Locke called an “appeal to heaven”—the natural right of the people to revolt and institute a new government that secures their safety and happiness.

Teaching Virtue

With the founders’ political theory fully sketched out, West turns to an important argument about how they conceived of virtue and the government’s role in inculcating it among citizens.
Against the view of scholars such as Thomas Pangle, Allan Bloom, and Harvey Mansfield, West contends that the founders were far from being concerned only with low bourgeois virtues, such as acquisitiveness, and comfortable self-preservation. In fact, they considered “virtue as a condition of freedom and a requirement of the laws of nature.”
West argues forcefully that the project of sustaining our republic is not satisfied simply by getting government out of the way.
Many public documents from the time spoke of the need for social and republican virtues within the populace such as justice (i.e., obeying the law), moderation, benevolence, temperance, industry, frugality, religious piety, and a responsibility among the people’s representatives to secure their good. In times of war, however, virtues of strength such as courage, leadership, bravery, vigor, and manly exertion are required. “Virtue is of concern to government not as an end in itself, but as a means to security and ultimately to happiness,” West concludes.
Opposed to the libertarian ethos that has consumed much of the Right, West argues forcefully that the project of sustaining our republic is not satisfied simply by getting government out of the way. The founders thought it was the duty of government (at least at the state level) to encourage virtue through public education, support for religious instruction, and a vast network of laws that discourage crime and promote stable families.
West understands, therefore, the decisive role politics plays in shaping the character of the regime. Contra Andrew Breitbart and most commentators on politics today, politics in its highest sense is not downstream from culture. “To know whether a culture is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, liberating or oppressive,” Charles Kesler once remarked, “one has to be able to look at it from outside or above the culture.” That is, in the founders’ view culture should conform to principles of political justice that are true for all men everywhere.
While West ably proves his arguments here, one wishes he would have critiqued more recent scholarship such as the work of Yuval Levin, whose impressive books and essays deserve a careful and thoughtful appraisal.

Property Rights and Economics

West devotes the book’s last section to an extended examination of the founders’ thoughts on property rights and economics.
Because today’s defenders of capitalism such as Sen. Ted Cruz talk only about the utility of property rights, it is no wonder that ‘capitalism comes to be seen as low.’
The founders featured two arguments when discussing property rights: justice and utility. From the standpoint of justice, property rights are “a fundamental right that would be morally wrong to infringe.” Property rights seen from the standpoint of utility provide “usefulness to life and society.”
But because today’s defenders of capitalism such as Sen. Ted Cruz talk only about the utility of property rights, it is no wonder that “capitalism comes to be seen as low.” This is likely is a major reason why a certain strain of socialism—which, as David Azerrad of the Heritage Foundation has argued, is nothing other than “a continuation of liberalism by other means”—has been making a comeback in America over the last few decades.
West also highlights an important but overlooked part of the founders’ theory of property rights: human beings have the right to possess and acquire property. They thought this important so that “the poor as well as the rich can benefit from property rights.” This stands in stark contrast to feudal ages in which serfs had virtually no prospects of climbing the ladder of opportunity and making their own way in life.
Though founders such as Hamilton and Jefferson disagreed over policies to secure property rights, West argues that they shared a consensus on principles. They agreed on widespread private ownership, the importance of establishing a domestic free market, and the necessity of having a “precious-metals monetary standard.” In an implicit rebuke to conservatives who tend to view global free trade as a principle of natural right, West notes that “considerations of interest” above all determined the founders’ trade policy. The founders, he rightly points out, did not believe “in laissez-faire economics at the expense of American prosperity or national defense.”
The book culminates with West’s overall conclusions on the founders’ project:
The nobility of the founding consists in its realism about the self-interested nature of man, combined with its idealism about building a government that serves the common good by enabling people to acquire enough property to live, while making it possible for people in their private lives to serve God in the way they believed best and to cultivate their minds without being tormented by persecution.
In attempting to understand the founders as they understood themselves, West has done a yeoman’s service not only for scholarship on the American founding, but also for showing how a republican polity must be maintained. This book should be on the bookshelf of every scholar and patriot who cares about the continued success of that nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”