Resisting What?

June 11, 2018

 

Much ink has been spilled about being resistant to current political trends and direction.  This has been mostly on the left but also on the neo-conservative right.  Let’s examine just what it is they are resisting.

 

The claim, especially on the left is that they are resistant to current administration policy regarding foreign policy,  spending priorities, regulation, immigration and other various social policies. Are they though?

 

In foreign policy what is truly different about the current administration’s policies as opposed to the last administration?  The U.S. is still at war in Syria and Afghanistan, is still launching drone strikes against America’s “enemies”.  U.S. policy is still ultra-supportive of Israel, backs the junta in Egypt, is accommodating Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and a host of dictatorial nations around the world.  The U.S. has continued with sanctions against Russia and proceeded to implement the placement of NATO troops on Russia’s border in the Baltic States.  U.S. policy is also still heavily tilted toward support of Russia’s antagonist, the Ukraine.

 

The U.S. is also still heavily prosecuting the “war on terror” via invasions of privacy and the truncation of civil liberties.  The surveillance state is still ever with us.  Additionally the current administration is continuing  the buildup of U.S. nuclear power and the expansion of the military that was laid out by the previous administration.  So why is anyone who supported the previous administration opposed to any of this now?

 

Turning toward domestic spending priorities we can see a similar continuity of policy.  There has been no reworking of the main entitlement programs; Medicare and Social Security, even though as was reported recently they are going broke rather quickly.  All the other crony spending programs continue to be funded.  There have been some attempts to slow the growth of some means tested programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc. but these are trims around the edges and do not represent actual decreases in spending.  The same is true of regulation.  Regulatory policy oscillates between a narrow band on the right and left depending on whether it is a Republican or Democrat in the White House. The regulatory authority never really goes away and regulation is never permanently reduced.  In some areas the current administration is more aggressively interventionist than the previous one; witness the Justice Department’s opposition to the ATT merger with Time Warner.  So why would current policy freak anyone out on either the left or the right? 

 

Other social policies are certainly of concern , particularly to the left.  Restricting abortion is chief among them.  This does not represent any earth shattering change either.  Social policy also oscillates between right and left depending upon the occupant of the White House and the abortion regulatory battle has been going back and forth since the age of Reagan.

 

Trade policy does certainly represent at least a change in tone if not a huge (as of yet) change in policy.  The rhetoric has been explicitly protectionist as opposed to previous president’s claims to honor free trade.  Yet every president has violated the principles of free trade and at best has pushed for a version of managed trade that rewards political allies. Time will tell as to whether or not U.S. policy changes dramatically in the direction of trade restriction but as of yet there has been no radical break in policy.  In any event many of the policies that the administration has advocated and tentatively implemented are agreeable to the left and many on the neo-conservative right. Quietly Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) as well as Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have supported a restrictionists trade policy and applauded the administration’s moves.  Even the avowed socialist Bernie Sanders wants more trade restriction.  So why all the consternation?

 

The one area where there has been a clear differentiation of policy is immigration.  This is not so much a difference in kind from the previous administration as a difference in degree.  The previous policy was awful and resulted in the mass deportation of immigrants seeking a better life that dwarfed all previous administrations. Yes current policy of family separation and aggressive restriction of illegal, as well as legal immigration is a change but not as dramatic as the screeching left would have you believe.  

 

As I have argued previously there is more in common from president to president than there are differences.  I understand that there are differences between administrations that will place people on different side politically but what is being claimed for the current president is that he is uniquely destroying democracy itself  (I will argue against democracy in a later post). Is this in any way accurate?

 

Not really.  Every president since at least Lincoln has systematically moved to aggrandize the power of the executive and increase the overall power of the government. My first post made this case clearly. Let us look at just the last president, as the left loves to crow about how exceptional he was. In blunt terms Barrack Obama was a war criminal, demonstrably guilty of crimes against humanity.  I will engage anyone, anytime on this issue.  It is touching that the “progressives” want to focus on peace and justice issues now, but where were they between January 20, 2009 and January 20, 2017?

 

Coupled with the striking continuity in budget priorities and social policy all we can conclude is that those who are freakishly doom saying the current president are only opposed to one thing: Donald J. Trump.  They are confusing the symptom with the disease and forgetting their part in creating and spreading the disease. It is an exercise in rank partisan hypocrisy. The “resisters” are ostensibly opposed to policies pursued by both parties for at least the last one hundred years.  Don’t get me wrong I also oppose Trump and let’s admit he is a uniquely coarse and vain individual.  But I am not opposed to Trump per se, I am opposed to the power that Trump wields. The current wielder of the power is not nearly so dangerous as the existence of this kind of power in the first place.  Yes there may come a day when what is left of the republic slips into explicit dictatorship but it will be because we acquiesced to the growth of this power and allowed ourselves to be distracted by shit shows about this or that tweet or some alleged “collusion” with a foreign power.  All of this is bread and circuses for the chattering class to use to fill a 24 hour news maw.  Meanwhile, back in the real world the power continues to grow, Trump or no Trump.  

 

If you are not opposed to the power itself and are only resistant to a particular individual wielder of the power then you are not resisting jack shit.  God’s people can and must do better if we are to have any hope of creating the kind of world God intends for His people.

 

Praise Be to God

 

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