Conservatism Laid Bare

“Conservatism is the antidote to tyranny. It’s the only one. It’s based on thousands of years of human experience. There is nothing narrow about the conservative philosophy. It’s a liberating philosophy. It is a magnificent philosophy. It is a philosophy for the ages, for all times.” ~ Mark Levin

“I realized that conservatism was the philosophy that best suited me, with its emphasis on individual liberty, personal responsibility, and merit.” ~ Mark Levin

“The Conservative does not despise government. He despises tyranny. This is precisely why the Conservative reveres the Constitution and insists on adherence to it.” ~ Mark Levin

“I follow the Constitution, that’s what I do.” ~ Mark Levin

Antidote to tyranny? A liberating and magnificent philosophy? Emphasis on individual liberty and personal responsibility? Reverence for the Constitution? Follow the Constitution? Conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin is deluded about both conservatism and the Constitution. And Sean Hannity calls him “the great one”? And he calls himself one of “America’s preeminent conservative commentators and constitutional lawyers”?

Conservatism is none of these things. If you really want to see the true nature of conservatism, don’t listen to anything said by Mark Levin. If you really want to see conservatism laid bare, then just take a look at the attitude of conservatives to the government’s war on drugs.

A few years ago, Levin had “a Ron Paul supporter” on his radio show to talk about the war on drugs, which Levin supports. The “debate” is here if you can stand to listen to it. Once was even too much for me. I would almost rather listen to Sean Hannity, as horrible as that is.

If it were just Levin that was such an ardent drug warrior, then we could all just dismiss his show as the ravings of a mad man and ignore him. But it’s not just Levin. His conservative mindset on the drug war is duplicated in the heads of the millions of conservatives who listen to Levin—and Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh. Levin’s conservative mindset is common to most if not all Republican members of Congress—and the more conservative they are, the more they are in favor of the drug war. Levin’s conservative mindset is shared by most if not all of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates—all of whom claim to be conservatives, and some of whom boast of how more conservative they are than the others. Candidates in previous years like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are no different.

I discussed the views on the drug war of some of the Republican presidential candidates earlier this year. Now, we can also see what candidate Ben Carson thinks about the issue since he recently talked with Glenn Beck about it. Carson opposes the legalization of marijuana. He wants to intensify the drug war. He wants to spend more federal money and dedicate more law enforcement resources to enforcing drug laws and imprisoning offenders. He wants a police state to combat what he considers to be “hedonistic activity.”

This is conservatism laid bare.

It is tyranny. There is nothing liberating or magnificent about it. It has no emphasis on individual liberty or personal responsibility. And rather than revering the Constitution, insisting on adherence to the Constitution, and following the Constitution, conservatism dishonors, ignores, and rejects the Constitution.

Nothing could be more tyrannical and unconstitutional than locking up men in cages to be raped, humiliated, abused, beaten, and suffer the loss of their job, their money, their family, and their dignity because they possess, consume, buy, sell, trade, manufacture, smoke, distribute, transport, cultivate, give away, or “traffic in” a substance the government doesn’t approve of.

Women too, like Dana Bowerman. She was a first-time, nonviolent offender who was caged in a federal prison camp in Bryan, Texas, in 2001, at age 30, for taking part in “a conspiracy surrounding a methamphetamine ring.” She was scheduled to be caged for 19 years and seven months, until 2018, but was one of about 6,000 federal inmates recently released early from prisons and halfway houses after the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to retroactivity apply more lenient sentencing guidelines to drug offenders already behind bars.

It should be noted, however, that none of these prisoners were pardoned. They all still have a criminal record for the non-crime of a drug “offense.” Thousands more were not released. And Bowerman must keep close track of the rules: no alcohol and no traveling for a time beyond the rural area outside Lubbock, Texas, where she will be staying.

Every American in prison for a drug “offense” should, of course, be pardoned and released—immediately. No one should ever be questioned, detained, arrested, tried, fined, or imprisoned for a drug “offense.” There shouldn’t even be any such thing as a drug “offense,” “crime,” “offender,” “trafficker,” or “dealer.” The whole concept should be considered just as absurd as a banana “offense,” “crime,” “offender,” “trafficker,” or “dealer.”

And as I have pointed out so many times, there is nothing in the Constitution that grants to the federal government the authority to identify different types of drugs, regulate the sale and usage of drugs, classify drugs on a schedule, have a drug czar, set up a Drug Enforcement Administration, ban certain drugs, pass any laws related to drugs, wage war on drugs, or have anything whatsoever to do with any drug that is used for any purpose.

Conservatism is antithetical to individual liberty, private property, personal responsibility, and the Constitution. As is any statist, authoritarian philosophy that thinks people should be caged for engaging in peaceful behavior the government doesn’t approve of.

This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

No, The Military Has Not Withered Away Under Obama

It is common to see articles and columns in the Conservative media claiming that President Obama is engaging in “historic defense cuts.” There are claims that not in decades has the military ever endured such budget slashing. “Romney blasts Obama over military cutbacks,” one headline blares.

Upon closer examination of these claims, one notes that the authors are careful to never mention actual dollar amounts in context, or any meaningful historical context beyond single recent year-over-year comparisons.

Most of these stories are careful to only mention military spending on certain projects, and never military spending as a whole. They look at troop numbers and other measures that don’t reflect total military spending.

And it’s not surprising that total military spending is never mentioned. Because, if it were, it would quickly become apparent that military spending is in fact near historic highs, and above the levels of spending that occurred under Ronald Reagan during his own Cold War buildup.

So, if you are worried about military spending, you can rest easy. Nor is there any cause for alarm in the wake of the most recent budget deal approved by Republican leaders and Obama. There will be nothing but budget increases over the next two years:

The plan will lift caps on the appropriated spending passed by Congress each year by $50 billion in 2016 and $30 billion in 2017, evenly divided between defense and domestic programs. Another approximately $16 billion would come each year in the form of inflated war spending, evenly split between the Defense and State departments.

So, not only will there be more base-level defense spending, but what is currently in the agreement can also be voided in favor of even more defense spending in case of new wars.

Even if there were “cuts” on the table, its unlikely military spending would be cut back to Cold War levels, let alone to Vietnam War-era levels. Here is military spending (excluding spending on veterans, diplomatic programs, and Homeland Security) in constant 2009 dollars:

US Military Spending, Constant 2009 Dollars (in billions of $)
Source: Office of Management and Budget, Table 8.2

Current estimates of 2015 spending put the total at $578 billion, which is equal to 2014’s total. While it is true that this puts spending below the record-breaking post-1945 high of $686 billion that occurred in 2010 and 2011, current defense spending remains up 41 percent from 2001 levels (i.e., pre 9/11). The total also remains up 7 percent from the Cold War peak of $538 billion reached in 1989.

But this graph only tells part of the story. As I explained here in response to last years estimates, defense spending analysis must include veterans benefits, which are crucial in meeting recruitment goals in the military and are an integral part of active-duty personnel costs. Thus, current VA spending is just spending deferred from previous military operations. They are not in any meaningful way separate from defense spending.

Moreover, since 2002, the federal government has folded several programs under “Homeland Security” that are defense expenditures, but not part of the Department of Defense. If we include these other forms of defense spending, we find national defense spending has increased even more than initially thought:

Defense Spending (including VA and Homeland Security Depts.) Contant 2009 Dollars (in billions $)
Source: Office of Management and Budget, Table 4.1

In both of these graphs, I have excluded “international affairs” spending such as dollars spent on foreign aid and embassies. So, I’m low-balling total spending here.

In the second graph, we see that total defense spending is estimated to be $711 billion in 2015, compared to $721 billion in 2014. That’s a decline of 1.2 percent, year-over-year. But total spending remains up 68 percent over 2001 levels, and up 22 percent over the Cold War peak year in 1986.

In spite of this, Conservative and Republican pundits have attempted to portray President Obama as some sort of peacenik. This has never been true, and it is reflected in the government spending initiatives he has approved.

For example, during the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency (2001 through 2008), the federal government spent $4.7 trillion on defense. During the seven years of the Obama years, from 2009 through 2015, the federal government spent $5.3 trillion. Obama still has another year to go. (Ronald Reagan’s federal government spent $3.7 trillion on defense from 1981 to 1988).

In spite of all of this, we’re being told by advocates for more government spending that the military is withering away just as the world becomes more dangerous than ever before. We’re supposed to believe, for example, that things are more dangerous now than they were in, say, 1949, when the Soviet Union acquired its own atomic bomb and began to build a nuclear arsenal. At the time, US military spending was under $60 billion dollars (in 1982 dollars), or about one-quarter the size of the spending under Reagan.

What Would Eisenhower Do?

In spite of claims that the US is currently engaging in “historic” cuts, today’s anemic military reductions have a long way to go to match the military reductions put in place by Dwight Eisenhower during his administration.

As David Stockman has noted, Eisenhower, perhaps because of his status as a revered military figure, was able to get away with large cuts to military spending:

Eisenhower … did not hesitate to wield the budgetary knife. When he did so, the blade came down squarely on the Pentagon …

With Eisenhower’s blessing, the budget request inherited from Truman was slashed by nearly 30 percent, with more cuts targeted for future years …

Although defense spending never did shrink all the way to Ike’s target, the wind-down of Truman’s war budget was swift and drastic. When measured in constant 2005 dollars of purchasing power, the defense budget was reduced from a peak of $515 billion in fiscal 1953 to $370 billion by fiscal 1956. It remained at that level through the end of Eisenhower’s second term.

Robert Higgs, in his analysis of defense spending, has used different calculations, but here also we see a decline of 23 percent from 1953 to 1956:

Military Spending, 1949-1963 (in 1982 $)
Source: “US Military Spending in the Cold War Era” by Robert Higgs

By the way, in 1953, right before Eisenhower began to intensify military cuts, the Soviet Union publicly tested its first hydrogen bomb, a 400-kiloton device.

Stockman continues:

Even though Democrats charged that Eisenhower and Humphrey were “allowing their Neanderthal fiscal views to endanger the national security,” the actual record proves the administration’s drastic rollback of Pentagon spending was not based merely on penny-pinching. Instead, it flowed from a reasoned retrenchment of the nation’s national security strategy called the “New Look.”

The new policy doctrine of the Eisenhower administration called for a sharp reduction in land and naval forces. That move was coupled with a significantly increased reliance for nuclear deterrence on the air force bomber fleet and the rapid development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In other words, by cutting back on the standing army, Eisenhower abandoned the ability to invade and occupy foreign countries in favor of a less expensive military based more heavily on nuclear deterrence.

Not even Eisenhower was immune to charges of being a communist sympathizer, but we can be sure that if any president today attempted anything similar to what Eisenhower attempted, he would be immediately denounced as a terrorist and collaborator.

And, naturally, we have every reason to believe that, regardless of who the president is, military spending will spike again the next time a president mobilizes for a new war, whether it’s in Ukraine, Syria, or some other exotic location where we will be assured that the absolutely vital interests of the US are in grave danger.

This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted with permission under a Creative Commons license

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

What Is A Neocon?

The word “neocon” has become a common term in our political lexicon. However, I don’t think most conservatives truly understand its definition.

First, people need to understand that many neocons call themselves “conservative” on domestic social issues. Not all neocons are truly conservative on these issues–some aren’t. But many neocons DO trumpet themselves as socially “conservative.” These folks like to identify themselves as “pro-life” or “pro-family” or “pro-defense” or “pro-limited government,” etc. But these titles are mostly meaningless.

At this point, it is imperative that we understand how politicians in Washington, D.C., operate. Here is a quick primer: Congressional leaders know which congressmen and senators are controllable–and most of them are. Only a handful of our federal congressmen and senators are “untouchable.” My guess is less than 100 out of the 535 House members and U.S. senators are truly NOT controlled–and that includes liberals and conservatives.

The vast majority of our congressmen and senators are either morally tainted, which make them prime targets for bribery and manipulation (can anyone say former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert?), or they are egotistical, ambition-driven narcissists who will do most anything to advance their careers (this is the largest group, in my opinion.)

Before ANY vote is cast in Congress, leaders take note of the political makeup of the districts and states that elected their representatives. Was he or she elected by a liberal or conservative district? What are the issues at home that the legislator campaigned on? All of this is readily known by congressional leaders.

Heads are counted before voting to test whether a given bill will comfortably pass or not. If there is a comfortable margin of support for a bill, members who come from a district with opposing views can vote according to the way that will keep the constituents back home happy. Only if a bill’s passage is so close that it requires members to vote against the will of their constituents will they be asked to do so. And the ones who are controlled WILL vote with their congressional leadership–regardless of how much it riles up the constituents back home. Of course, leadership has professionals that will coach the legislator on how to explain the bad vote to the people back home. And, since most votes are not that close, these tactics are not always required and the legislator’s voting record can appear “very good” to the folks back home. That’s how you come up with these congressional scorecards. When legislators vote against their constituents on a bill, you can mark it down: congressional leaders required the cooperation of the legislator or senator–and the legislator caved to the pressure. That’s how you know that the congressman or senator is controlled.

Again, there is only a small handful of congressmen and senators who are untouchable and will vote their convictions–and the convictions of the people they represent. (Controlled congressmen and senators don’t really have convictions to begin with.) Congressional leaders refer to these legislators as “rebels.” And they are punished by not being appointed to plush committee assignments or by being overlooked for leadership positions. Plus, leadership will often target these rebel legislators for defeat in future primary elections in an attempt to replace him or her with a “team player” (meaning controlled toady for leadership).

Second, please understand that the fundamental goal of those elitists who control the neocons is GLOBALISM. For the most part, these people care absolutely nothing about domestic social issues. It doesn’t matter to them one whit whether a congressman is pro-life or pro-choice; whether he or she is “pro-family” or pro-gay marriage; whether he or she is identified as a conservative or a liberal. These issues don’t even enter the mind of a globalist. They have but one goal: GLOBALISM. Accordingly, everything they promote promotes globalism. EVERYTHING! Never forget that!

Therefore, “conservative” scorecards are little indication as to whether a congressman or senator is a neocon. A congressman or senator can easily have a “B” or “80%” or better conservative rating, and still be a totally-controlled neocon. Most of the issues on these “conservative” or “Christian” or “Family Values” scorecards do not even grade congressman on most neocon issues, so a high score on these rating systems means little. This helps explain why so many Christian voters have little discernment in the voting booth. Their entire reason for voting is skewed. Plus, don’t forget that many of the so-called Christian leaders who put together these scorecards are themselves controlled neocons.

So, just what is a neocon? Remember, the goal of globalists is GLOBALISM. Therefore, here are the issues that promote globalism. Here are the issues that form a common denominator among neocons. When you observe your professing “conservative” congressman or senator supporting these issues, you can KNOW that they are, in reality, globalist-controlled NEOCONS.

*Pro-International “Free Trade” Deals

From NAFTA to TPP, these so-called “free trade” deals are nothing more than international loopholes that discriminate against the manufacturing jobs and labor class of individual countries and favor the billionaire class that conducts business internationally.

America has lost (and continues to lose) millions of manufacturing jobs–and now even high tech jobs–due to these international “free trade” deals. There is nothing “free” about these “free trade” deals. Quotas are often established for American exports but not for foreign imports. Taxes, duties, tariffs, etc., almost always favor foreign imports and punish U.S. exports. As a result, U.S. businesses are forced to take their companies overseas to compete. Entire factories close down resulting in millions of displaced U.S. workers. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Following the implementation of NAFTA by Congress in 1994, our trade surpluses with partners Mexico and Canada quickly became trade deficits, soaring to nearly $200 billion. Over one million U.S. jobs were lost and illegal immigration doubled almost immediately. Beyond that, U.S. workers that were somehow able to maintain their jobs watched their wages shrink. That’s right, SHRINK.

In Mexico, NAFTA has wreaked indescribable havoc. Already depressed wages plummeted. The availability of goods did NOT increase; it substantially DECREASED. While, guess what? Prices INCREASED. It was the passage of NAFTA that started this entire morass the U.S. currently finds itself mired in regarding illegal immigration.

And now neocon Republicans have just collaborated with President Barack Obama to pass another giant “free trade” bill, called TPP (nicknamed Obamatrade). Many people have rightly called TPP “NAFTA on steroids.” Indeed it is. And, yes, Ben Carson enthusiastically endorses Obamatrade. Ted Cruz also voted for it.

Not only are neocons Boehner/Ryan/McConnell enthusiastically passing TPP, they are happily giving “fast track” authority to Obama. This allows Obama (or any President) to negotiate and sign a trade agreement without congressional approval–including language that may completely alter established U.S. laws. Subsequent trade legislation proposed to Congress by the President would not be subject to committee markups, and Congress would have only 90 days to approve it–and floor amendments would not be allowed.

See the report:

NAFTA At 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Higher Income Inequality

Support for these international “Free Trade” deals is a dead giveaway that a congressman or senator is indeed a neocon.

*Pro-Illegal Immigration

The great goal of globalists is to blur or even eliminate national borders. National borders, and the laws that protect them, are VERY burdensome to multinational traders. National borders restrict globalists in their pursuit of international wealth. They envision a global economy with a global government in place to protect that global economy. Individual nationhood is an obstacle to that goal.

The EU is the quintessential prototype of the globalists’ dream of global government. Until individual states within the United States stopped it (temporarily, no doubt), neocon Republican President G.W. Bush collaborated with Canada’s Paul Martin and Mexico’s Vicente Fox to establish an EU-type regional government in North America. It was called the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America” or SPP. It was also called the “North American Community” and “North American Union.”

The goal of these so-called “partnerships” is to erase national borders and establish regional government over participating nations that exercise authority over the flow of goods and services between countries. As an example, the current TPP passed by the Republican House and Senate and signed by Obama has copious rules that further circumvent America’s current immigration laws. Plus, the invasion of illegal aliens from the Middle East into European countries is facilitated by the enactment of lax immigration policies established by the EU.

The SPP was the brainchild of what must be regarded as the top neocon think tank of all: the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). And, yes, one of the movers and shakers for this proposed EU-style regional government in North America was CFR member Heidi Cruz, wife of Senator and Presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Thankfully, public pressure from the State legislatures in Texas and Oklahoma derailed SPP. (This is another example of how states can–and should–use their constitutional authority of interposition to thwart the overreach of federal and even international government.)

Another way illegal immigration helps globalists remove national boundaries is it serves to remove a country’s (any country’s) national culture and identity, thereby transforming it into a “sanctuary nation.” In the U.S., this includes removing our Christian heritage.


NOTHING rings the cash register for globalists like war. War helps to replace recalcitrant national leaders who refuse to give international financiers carte blanche in their countries. War helps to redraw national boundaries that favor the global economy. War brings HUGE profit windfalls to the military-industrial complex that is mostly in bed with high-paying globalists. War causes citizens in free countries to accept more governmental authority (which ALWAYS includes an international component) over their affairs that would never be the case in peacetime. War is also the perfect solution to resolve the economic problems of a sinking financial system.

In this regard, religious bigotry and intolerance makes it EASY for globalists to manipulate the passions of people in favor of war. Pitting Christians against Muslims and Muslims against Christians–and putting Israel in the middle–is the current tactic favored by globalists. And, Boy! Is it ever successful! Muslim terrorists, the Israeli army, and the U.S. military are pawns in the hands of the globalist elite (yes, globalist facilitators can be found in London, Ankara, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, and Washington, D.C.) who are using the neocons in Washington, D.C., to manipulate war in the Middle East to further their greater goal of creating war between the United States and Russia.

Another World War would be a HUGE benefit to globalists. “Who would win a war between Russia and the United States?” you ask. GLOBALISTS, that’s who. And it seems clear to me that that is exactly what the neocons in D.C. are striving for.

President George W. Bush was the first U.S. President to be totally and thoroughly dominated by neocons. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan had been planned in neocon war rooms for years, just waiting for the right provocation. And the continuing U.S. wars in the Middle East are every bit neocon inventions. Yes, folks, Barack Obama himself is but a puppet of the neocons. In truth, neocons are now thoroughly ensconced in our Justice Department, State Department, DOD, CIA, etc.

And at this early juncture, the only two 2016 presidential candidates who MIGHT NOT be puppets of the neocon war machine are Rand Paul and Donald Trump–and at this point, I’m not certain about Trump. But it is more than interesting that it is Paul and Trump that the GOP establishment seems determined to destroy. As one GOP adviser said recently, the Republican Party must “put a bullet in Trump.” Now you know why.

*Pro-Police State

Freedom is anathema to globalists; an armed citizenry is anathema to globalists. In order for globalism to succeed, people must be restrained. They must be surveilled. They must be regulated. They must be controlled.

The so-called War on Terror (and the federal War on Drugs before that) is the biggest ruse ever invented to put a Police State in place. False flag terror attacks, a plethora of seemingly “random” mass shootings, and a perpetual media barrage against the right of citizens to defend themselves are all tactics of globalists to reduce liberty–and increase government dependence–in a nation.

Neocons are the ones who are the loudest cheerleaders for war in the Middle East, increased surveillance of the American citizenry, the militarization of our local and State police agencies, and antagonistic policies against Russia.

Look at the congressional votes for The Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, NDAA (especially sections 1021 and 1022), NSA spying, etc. Look at the voting records regarding bills or amendments that would stop the federal government from supplying military armament to our local and State police agencies. You will find that the vast majority of our current presidential candidates, and perhaps even YOUR congressman and senators, voted to facilitate the burgeoning Police State in our country. Folks, these are neocons.

*Pro-Deficit Spending

Neocons support deficit spending. In this, they are far worse than overt liberals. For example, liberals in the Democrat Party want to tax-and-spend, while neocons in the Republican Party want to borrow-and-spend. Between the two, deficit spending is worse because it gives the federal government (and the globalists who influence and leech off them) unlimited spending–and thus unlimited profits. Beyond that, the inevitable result of unrestrained spending is WAR: globalists’ biggest cash cow of all. They win coming and going.

Notice how neocons John Boehner and Paul Ryan (with support from the vast majority of congressmen from both sides of the aisle) so quickly and easily raised the federal debt ceiling again–and for, not one, but TWO YEARS. This, in essence, gives Barack Obama his ninth year in office. Why would they do this? They are neocons, that’s why.

So, folks, forget party labels. Forget the left-right, liberal-conservative paradigm. These are the issues that neocons in Congress are using to drive national politics today–and these are the issues that are killing independence and freedom in the United States.

Folks, keep this list and use it to gauge your congressman and senators, as well as our presidential candidates. No matter what they call themselves, if they support these issues, they are NEOCONS.


P.S. I invite readers to order James Jaeger’s brand new film, “Midnight Ride: When Rogue Politicians Call For Martial Law.” Distinguished patriot luminaries such as Pat Buchanan, Larry Pratt, Ron Paul, G. Edward Griffin, Sheriff Richard Mack, Stewart Rhodes, Edwin Vieira, Jr., and several others are featured in this film. I am honored to also be featured.

I invite readers to go to my website and order the DVD of this brand new film. And please tell your friends. Order “Midnight Ride” here:

Midnight Ride: When Rogue Politicians Call For Martial Law


© Chuck Baldwin

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When You’re Popular, You Don’t Need Freedom Of Speech

Free speech is not something that people would normally see as a realm of economics, but in many ways, an economic understanding of the support and opposition to free speech can shed a lot of light on what’s happening now in the West.

The first thing that needs to be noted is that the left is winning the culture war. Even though more people identify as “conservative” than “liberal” in the United States, more people now identify as “liberal” than in the past by a substantial margin. Attitudes toward gay marriage shifted extremely quickly toward the left while support for legal abortion stayed mostly steady. And obviously, the media, academia, and Hollywood are far to the left as a study by the non-partisan political analytics firm Crowdpac found (and as anyone who watches anything other than Fox News can tell after about five minutes).

Now, some of this is certainly good, such as the shifting views on marijuana legalization. Some is troubling, such as the growing popularity of socialism.

Regardless though, the left, having ascended to cultural dominance, is no longer in need of free speech. After all, no one ever got in trouble for agreeing with the conventional wisdom. As Noam Chomsky said, “Even Goebbels was in favor of free speech he liked.”

On the other hand, the right is behind the eight ball in the culture wars and thereby supports the concept of free speech because they need it lest their very opinions be outlawed. In an economic sense, this could be called the “diminishing marginal utility of free speech.”

The law of diminishing marginal utility states that while keeping consumption of other products constant, there is decline in marginal utility that a person derives from consuming an additional unit of that product. In this case, the product is free speech. New leftists may have proposed unfettered free speech back in the early 1960s, but that was just because the right was the one in power culturally at the time. Free speech had a high utility to the left at the time and low utility to the right.

Now, the situation has reversed. The right is at the disadvantage, so it appeals to free speech. The left is ahead and no longer needs free speech, so it has discarded it.

If that statement sounds hyperbolic, just think of all of the campus speech codes and the ever expanding list of mostly trivial microagressions that can be taken for “hate speech.” Here is just a small sampling of examples to illustrate how absurd this has become:

  • Brendan Eich was forced to resign as CEO of Mozilla after a massive backlash for having opposed gay marriage.
  • A candidate in the European elections was arrested in Britain for quoting a passage from Winston Churchill about Islam.
  • Gert Wilders, a politician in the Netherlands, was tried on five counts including “criminally insulting Muslims because of their religion.”
  • Conservative radio host Michael Savage was banned from the airwaves in Britain.
  • Both Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant were dragged in front of the Canadian Human Rights Commission on charges of being “Islamophobic.”
  • A man was fired because someone eavesdropped on his joke about dongles and caused a fuss about it on social media.
  • A group called Color of Change applied enough pressure to get Patrick Buchanan fired from MSNBC for expressing politically incorrect opinions in his book Suicide of a Superpower.
  • The “Pickup Artist” Julien Blanc was barred from entering Britain for making sexist comments.
  • A student at Purdue University was found guilty of “racial harassment” for reading (yes, reading) a book called Notre Dame Vs the Klan, in which — it should be noted — the Klan is the bad guy.

Indeed, the list goes on endlessly, and is perhaps best summed up by the almost unconscionable lack of self-awareness required by University of Manchester feminists who recently censored the anti-feminist columnist Milo Yiannopoulos from participating in a debate on — you guessed it — censorship.

Of course, much of this is just social pressure or the decisions of private institutions, which is permissible (albeit not condoned) under a libertarian framework. But much of it does involve outright government force, or the longing to use it. For example, Adam Weinstein wants to literally “Arrest Climate-Change Deniers.”

Indeed, while many believe that the youth of today are the most politically tolerant in history, they are actually the least. As April Kelly-Woessner notes, “political tolerance is generally defined as the willingness to extend civil liberties and basic democratic rights to members of unpopular groups.” Which groups are unpopular, is not the question being asked.

So, for example, someone who believes that a man should be able to marry his pet goat is not necessarily politically tolerant. What would make him tolerant in this sense is whether he is willing to recognize the rights (particularly regarding speech) of those who disagree with him and his marital proclivities.

In this respect, political tolerance has declined substantially. For the first time since it was measured, the political tolerance of young people has fallen below that of their parents and as Kelly-Woessner again notes, “… is correlated with a ‘social justice’ orientation,” at least for those under forty.

Indeed, the inability to tolerate political views that run counter to one’s own, particularly on the left, has become so ridiculous to be comical. Just take, for example, Judith Shulevtiz’s description of the “safe space” set up at Brown University because of a debate between the feminist Jessica Valentia and Wendy McElroy where McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture.”

The safe space … was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.

Well, at least they actually let the debate happen.

But the left has not always had a monopoly on anti-free speech thought and legislation. Nor does the right seem to be opposed to it when it can push such things through today. Helen Thomas was fired from the White House Press Corps for saying “The Jews should get the Hell out of Palestine.” Shirley Sherrod was fired for allegedly anti-white statements, a Kansas woman was fired for a fifty-word Facebook post that was considered anti-American-soldier, and the right went into a fervor over Jeremiah Wright’s “chickens coming home to roost” comment.

Whereas liberals want to ban words such as “slut” and, at least in Sheryl Sandberg’s case, “bossy” too, conservatives used to all but ban those “seven words you couldn’t say.”

When the right had more cultural authority, alleged communists were being dragged in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Civil Rights activists were harassed, and the Motion Picture Production Code banned Hollywood directors from showing things such as miscegenation.

But that was then, and this is now. As the pendulum of cultural prominence swung from one side to the other, the left and right swapped their support for free speech.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to draw a false equivalence here and say the right would be just as bad as the left if they were winning the culture wars. Much of the ideology on the left, at least the far left, is derived from the likes of Herbert Marcuse and other cultural Marxists who explicitly wanted to limit the free speech of “oppressor classes.”

Discerning what exactly free speech is can sometimes be challenging, as in cases of libel, slander, and direct threats. But these are really not the issues at heart here. The vast majority of speech being “regulated” today is simply that of an unpopular opinion. Yes, many ideas are bad. And they should be refuted. Moreover, resorting to the use of political force to silence adversaries is a sign of the weakness of one’s own position. But, in using force to silence others, anti-speech crusaders are making another argument. They’re arguing that political force can and should be used to silence people we don’t like. What idea could be worse than that?

This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Reading The Tealeaves From The 2015 Off-Year Elections

It’s hard to think of any other way to characterize the off-year elections results across the nation, than that the rejection of liberalism and progressivism continues unabated. Races across the country, and even some key social-issue elections, don’t portend well for those on the left of the political spectrum.

Perhaps the most significant race was for the governorship of Kentucky. Matt Bevin, a political outsider and Tea Party activist, was trounced just a year ago by 25 points in a primary defeat by the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. A year later, he’s the governor elect of the state.

There are many takeaways from his success, but the most obvious is that his conservatism was across the board, from fiscal to social. While the Obama administration has been holding Kentucky up as an exemplary success story for Obamacare, Bevin ran against it, based on costs, cost of coverage, and declining healthcare provision under the ACA. He also ran on the social side of the issue, proposing to defund Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation.

And he embraced and supported the cause of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex marriages because of her religious convictions. And according to Davis, the governor elect even (gasp) prayed with her when she was incarcerated.

His first order of business is to make the Bluegrass State a right to work state. Diminishing union political clout and increasing voter focus on economic issues could have more broad ramifications even beyond Kentucky, and the southern states generally.

It’s difficult to say what the key factor was in Bevin’s victory. As recently as a day before the election, he was projected to lose by five points. Instead, he won by ten. But it’s hard to overstate the significance of a fiscal and social conservative winning the gubernatorial race in a seat that has only had one other Republican governor in the past 50 years. Oh, and his running mate, the Lt. Governor elect, Jenean Hampton, is now the first black elected to statewide office in the state’s history. And she’s also a Tea Party activist.

Elsewhere across the land, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of the Clintons, went all-out to pick up at least one additional seat to give his party control of the state senate. He solicited PAC money from outside the state and, by all accounts, outspent Republicans nearly 4 to 1, yet was unable to pick up even one seat. Interestingly, much of the outside money was advocating stricter gun control legislation. This may be indicative of the mood of the country toward restrictive anti-2nd Amendment efforts, which does not bode well for the left.

Houston had an Equal Rights Ordinance on their ballot that banned discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. It had been passed by the Houston city council, and had only been on the city ordinance books for three months, before voters overwhelmingly repealed it with Tuesday’s vote. Even the White House had weighed in on this local issue, but on the losing side of the argument.

In San Francisco, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was defeated. The sheriff received national attention when he steadfastly defended the city’s controversial “sanctuary city” policy of protecting illegal aliens, after illegal migrant Francisco Sanchez shot and killed a 32 year-old woman on the waterfront in July. But based solely on one logical vote, it’s entirely premature to claim voters in San Francisco may have actually found their marbles so long lost.

In Mississippi, Republican Governor Phil Bryant was easily reelected. The GOP also increased their majority in their House by nearly 10%, giving them nearly a super majority, defeating the House Minority Leader in the process. Voters in Ohio rejected liberalization of medical and recreational marijuana laws.

With but few exceptions, it was a banner election for liberty, free markets, economic growth, traditional social conventions and institutions, rule of law, and common sense governance. As boisterously as the mainstream media have been proclaiming the demise of the Tea Party, one can’t help but surmise, as did Mark Twain, that news of their death has been greatly exaggerated.

If anything, there seems to be a deepening and widening conviction that exceeds the traditional purview of the Tea Party, and is more fundamentally etched in the broader body politick. It’s gone mainstream. That conviction has been spawned, nurtured, and invigorated by none other than our community organizer in chief. He almost single-handedly has orchestrated the resurgence in the conservative ideals of American exceptionalism. Just as he’s been the most effective gun salesman over the past several years, he’s been the poster child of all that can go wrong when distinctly anti-American ideals are foisted upon the republic.

Since the 2010 midterms, the Democrat party has lost over 1,200 seats in government according to Real Clear Politics. That’s governorships, state senate, state house, town councils, county leadership, city councils, and mayors. Not only are they losing on economic issues, but they’re losing on the social issues. And it’s no surprise, for even though the left has been winning on so many fronts, the broader populace is not pleased. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll in July, fully 63% of adult Americans are either strongly or somewhat uncomfortable with the direction of the country on social issues. We mustn’t forget who is driving that “uncomfortable” agenda.

With the socialist-left end of the political spectrum dutifully and ideologically represented by the Democrat party, the worst thing would be for Republicans to basically be the socialist-lite party. If the GOP wants to continue winning, it appears increasingly that the way for them to do so is by returning to the core values their party is based on, economically and socially.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by