sábado, 30 de diciembre de 2017

A strategic vision - National Security Strategy of the United States of America

Trump Administration Strategy Document Improves on Predecessors

by Gregg Roman

The Hill

Originally published under the title "National Security Strategy Sets America on Pragmatic Path to Secure Middle East Interests."

The document offers a powerful vision that previous administrations never would have laid out so clearly.

Download .pdf here: National Security Strategy of the United States of America

Russian President Vladimir Putin had some choice words recently aboutPresident Trump's newly unveilednational security strategy.

"The U.S. has recently unveiled its new defense strategy. Speaking the diplomatic language, it is obviously offensive, and, if we switch to the military language, it is certainly aggressive," Putin told state-owned media.

He's right, and that's sort of the point.

The strategy laid out in the 68-page document is intended to set out in clear detail how this administration views the world, and to demonstrate clearly that our nation means what it says. For foreign leaders, it provides guidance on what we expect of them, and states plainly that the United States is leading the world down a new path, one that prioritizes American interests above idealistic — and naive — visions of global cooperation.

Where previous administrations took careful, dithering approaches to promoting our interests and securing our nation, this document lays out a vision that finally prioritizes the American people and our needs. If the Trump administration can execute it, our nation will be far better off in the future.

For the Middle East, the national security strategy offers a new view of American leadership. Importantly, and for the first time, an American government is recognizing the unique threats posed by Islamists, offering plans to counter not only terror attacks but also the ideology that enables terrorist groups to grow and fuels the violence they perpetrate.

The plan lays out a basic strategy for American involvement, and puts an end to disastrous policies of the past which focused — in turns — on failed policies seeking aspirations for democratic transformation or total disengagement.

And unlike previous similar documents, this administration finally recognizes the interconnectedness of big global problems such as the expansion of Iranian influence, state collapse, radical Islamist ideology and socio-economic stagnation.

The new plan ends the Obama-era practice of "Countering Violent Extremism." This disastrous program provided funds to Islamist groups to help draw sharper distinctions between terrorists and those who merely push ideologies that support terrorism.


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The political center must be humble with the exercise of power but assertive in its moral positioning.

What the Failure of Russian Liberalism Means for Us

By Paul Ferguson

A century on, the Russian Revolution still looms like a shadow from the past. Rather surprisingly, in a way, since the Cold War has been over for nearly three decades. Yet there is something enduringly fascinating and even romantic about the Russian Revolution: the collapse of tsarism, the mass uprising of the Russian people against oppression in the eventual triumph of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, and the establishment of the world’s first workers’ state.

This romanticized view, however, is somewhat compromised when read alongside the rise of Stalin and apparatus of state murder and brutality on an unprecedented scale. (Most historians today would agree that the origins of Stalinism are found in Lenin and Trotsky.) Not that Stalin lacked apologists in the West. Notably amongst them was Eric Hobsbawm, the British historian who, whilst defending Stalinism and Stalin himself, was able to summon enough of his principles to reject the offer of a British knighthood. To give you an idea of the man who the British establishment continue to admire, when asked in an interview if Stalin’s political vision of a “radiant tomorrow” had been achieved, would it have been worth the cost of 20 million human lives, he replied with aterse but confident “yes.”

Yet for progressively minded people with an ounce of decency, defending Stalinism became increasingly difficult by the 1950s. Consequently, there arose a tendency to see the Russian revolution as a tragedy of sorts, but one of betrayal in the years following the revolution itself, specifically in the ascendancy of Stalin. The English writer and left-wing activist, China Miévillenot long ago summed it up this way: “Why does the revolution matter? Because of what was right about it, and what went wrong.”

To my mind, this is not unreasonable, even if a little unoriginal. Certainly there are lessons to be learned here, for instance, on how the impersonal machinations of a state bureaucracy can be a source and architect of evil in its own right.

Yet it seems to me there are other, more over-looked lessons to draw from this period in history that are far more relevant to today. Especially when the direction of politics seems to be towards increased fragmentations, radicalism, and a routine failure to conduct dialogue across ideological divides.

Asking “how did Bolshevism turn into Stalinism” is all well and good. But today, it seems more pertinent to be asking how did Bolshevism eclipse liberalism?
What happened to Russian liberalism, and why did it fail?

First of all, it would be wise to rid oneself of the notion of inevitability. That sort of thinking might find a home in high school textbooks, but it is essentially flawed. Even Lenin would not have endorsed the idea that revolution was inevitable in 1917 Russia. More to the point, it obscures the fundamental reality that the Revolution of 1917 was an absolute and utter shock to the world.

Reportedly, the Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote his beautiful poem The Second Coming in reaction to revolutionary events unfolding in 1917 Russia.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity.

Yeats seems to suggest that the whole ‘blood-dimmed tide’ of anarchy that the Revolution unleashed can be traced back to the collapse of the political centre in a historical moment of discontent and extremism.

I found this insight fascinating.

In Russia, the responsibility of acting as the political center largely lay with the Constitutional Democrats, or the Kadet Party. Arguably, the origins of Russian liberalism might be traced back further in history, practically speaking however, it did not exist politically in the Russian Empire until the 1905 Revolution.

After a wave of popular uprising across the country, the tsar proclaimed his famous October Manifesto wherein he promised basic civil liberties and a national assembly (the Duma). He transformed Russian liberalism from the illegal and clandestine to the open, and invited it into the very halls of power.

But in reality, the October Manifesto was half-pledge of reform, half-admission of defeat and certainly half-hearted. The tsar only ever agreed to it reluctantly. By April 1906, he released his Fundamental Laws in a move that was widely seen as an attempt to turn back the clock on the gains of the 1905 Revolution. Whilst the Duma would still be elected and sit in governance, it would be overseen by the tsar who asserted authority over it, including the right to dismiss it should he see fit.

Tsar Nicholas II was a rather weak character. He inspired neither fear nor respect, except perhaps in his family whom he loved genuinely and tenderly. Ineffectual and indecisive, he was too weak to rule as the autocrat he fancied himself to be, and at the same time refused to commit himself to the reforms that Russia needed.

In some sense, Nicholas II was unable to put the past behind him. He was unwilling to recognize that the age of absolutism was over. Instead, he looked back and saw the assassination of his grandfather, Alexander II,—the “tsar liberator” who ended serfdom in Russia in 1861,—as a result of his willingness to give into the demands for reform. In his heart, the tsar fully believed in the autocracy, and he vowed not to end up making the same mistakes as his grandfather.

It might be said Nicholas drew the wrong lessons from the past.

As for the liberals, they too were burdened by their past. Before the 1905 October Manifesto allowed for the formation of the legal Constitutional Democrat Party, they were the Union of Liberation: illegal, in exile and infused with radicalism. Of its 20 or so founding members there were more than a couple Marxists amongst them. In the 1904, they had made a pledge to make common cause with the Marxists and socialists to create a “common radical liberation movement.” According to George Fischer, this marked the ascendancy of the intelligentsia class (over the more conservatively minded gentry) in what is a discernible “left-ward turn” in Russian liberalism on the very eve of the 1905 Revolution.

The curtailed role of the Duma in the new constitutional order established under the Fundamental Laws only worked to radicalize the liberals further. How unfortunate this was, because the system could only function on the basis of co-operation; of the Tsar and particularly the cabinet, but necessarily also that of the Duma itself. The increased radical stance of the liberals precipitated a more reactionary response from the tsar. Russian constitutional democracy began to snowball out of control into a dysfunctional system instead of evolving into a responsible one through shared trust and co-operative efforts.

For some, the blame is to be laid at the feet of the tsar for his attachment to autocracy and refusal to embrace a more democratic vision. There is some truth to this. Nonetheless, in my opinion, it is ultimately the fault of the liberals (particularly the Kadets) who refused to work with what they were given.

Nicholas, after all, was born into an absolutist autocracy wherein all power was held in the hands of the tsar. He did indeed give up a lot of his own power to establish the Duma. However, for the liberals, they only gained power—a power they never had before, and therefore had no experience in executing. For them it was “not enough,” which strikes me as a rather short-sighted ground upon which to scuttle Russia’s first ever experiment in constitutional democracy.

“The October Manifesto conceded more than anyone had demanded even a few months earlier,” wrote Edward Cruickshank, though by now “the liberals were now in a mood to reject any form of government short of a constituent assembly.”

In this regard, the First Duma truly represented a lost opportunity for the Kadets. It was in the First Duma which the Kadets had a clear plurality, yet it was also in this Duma that they pursued a policy of “confrontation politics.” Ultimately, this policy did not pay off. After having passed only one bill, the first Duma was ended by dissolution.

This was the great tragedy of the First Duma: a period later referred to by former Kadet leader, V. Maklakov, as those ‘irresponsible years’ because it was the First Duma in which the Kadets held the unquestionable leadership of the Duma yet failed to take full advantage of it. The plurality of the Kadets, it should be noted, was in large part thanks to the boycott of radical parties, among them Bolsheviks, whose absence was an act of protest against the “bourgeois” Duma assembly. By the Second Duma, however, the liberals (mostly Kadets) fell from 180 to only 99 seats (of 518) in the Duma, whereas other socialist parties and various right-wing groups gained on the Kadet losses. Unfortunately for representational government, “neither the extreme left nor the extreme right took the parliamentary business seriously” and instead used the Duma as a pulpit for their radical speeches under cover of parliamentary immunity.

As the years progressed and the share of the Duma for the Kadet party increasingly dwindled, the American historian William Henry Chamberlin commented, the Russian liberals “became resigned to the use of the Duma as a forum for voicing grievances and initiating discussion, not as an instrument for shaping legislation. And this role was not uncongenial.”

The class politics and quasi-radicalism born out of their early flirtation with left-wing revolutionism persisted. Yet, a greater difficulty was posed by these actual radical Marxist parties that radicalized the Duma and, in creating class “consciousness” and antagonism, made it nearly impossible for Kadets to become a popular party. In other words, while the government marginalized the liberals from the structure and exercise of power, the Marxist radicals marginalized them from the popular support they need for political leverage. Thus separated from the key sources of power and authority, the Kadets were in constant danger of becoming politically impotent.

This whole predicament was a symptom of what might be called the “emotional radicalism” of the Kadets. In other words, they thought of themselves in radical terms and in the mythologized “revolutionary tradition” of Russia, but were never going to win the support of the working-class or peasants. They were outflanked on the left by the Marxist and socialist parties who promised the people, according to Kadet founder Paul Milukov—“anything they pleased except a peaceful compromise.”

The cost of this emotional radicalism was high. It cost them the trust of the tsar to see the Duma as anything but a hotbed of political extremism unfit to make real decisions.

The failure of the liberals to provide an evolutionary alternative to revolution was more than simply a strategic error. It was, in my opinion, also a moral one. The liberals of the brief period of constitutional democracy in Russia chose to indulge their revolutionist fantasies in a way that was unproductive to achieving real reform within the existing system. I am reminded of Edmund Burke’s reflections (albeit in a very different context): “When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.”

The world today seems to be increasingly divided and politicized into extremes of right and left and different identity groups. Whilst I do not consider myself a centrist or a liberal, a political center wherein dialogue and real power can be exercised is a necessity for a functioning system. The troubling tendency to enable political extremists, whether it’s the defense of Antifa hooligans, or the consistent failure topreserve basic freedom of speech and religion across the West, does nothing but undermine the moral grounding and weaken the strategic positioning of the center.

The political center must be humble with the exercise of power but assertive in its moral positioning. As Burke also wrote: “our patience will achieve more than our force.”

It was the First World War that ultimately caused the constitutional system to crumble in Russia. I fear that today the moral foundation of the political center is being washed away, particularly on the liberal left. How might a crisis of a similar scale affect our political system today? For now the center holds, but we should bear in mind history has a tendency of repeating itself, as Marx noted, the second time as farce. It all comes down not only to learning from the past, but learning the right lessons.

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I'm a Pediatrician. Here's What I Did When a Little Boy Patient Said He Was a Girl.

Dec. 30, 2017
At the end of 2017, we wanted to share some of our most popular articles with you. Happy New Year, and thanks for reading The Daily Signal this past year.

I'm a Pediatrician. How Transgender Ideology Has Infiltrated My Field and Produced Large-Scale Child Abuse.


I Was Once Transgender. Why I Think Trump Made the Right Decision for the Military.


I Went to Charlottesville During the Protests. Here's What I Saw.


I'm a Conservative Who Was Roofied by a Stranger. Here's What I Think of the 'Me Too' Hashtag.


I'm a Pediatrician. Here's What I Did When a Little Boy Patient Said He Was a Girl.


This Farmer Won't Host Same-Sex Weddings at His Orchard. Now a City Has Banned Him From Its Farmers Market.

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“Never was a government that was not composed of liars, malefactors and thieves.” Cicero

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The Herd Mind

by Dan Sanchez

Randolph Bourne famously wrote, “War is the health of the State.” This has long been the byword for anti-war, anti-state libertarians, and rightly so. But Bourne did not mean exactly what most libertarians take this phrase to mean. To understand the maxim’s original meaning, as Bourne used it in his great unfinished essay “The State,” one must understand his distinctions among three concepts that are often conflated: Country, State, and Government.


How Progressives Cling to the Past

by Logan Albright

The political Left, particularly in its extreme forms, has always been skillful in the use of language to further its ends. Recognizing that perception matters more than reality, exponents of socialism and communism use words in a particularly Orwellian way, imparting meanings to words directly opposite to what their etymologies would lead us to suspect.


2017 Was a Year of Amazing Advances for Humanity

by Marian L. Tupy

The end of 2017 is barely a week away. So now is the perfect time to reflect on the positive difference humanity has made to the world over the past 12 months. How have we advanced as a species? The world has made incredible progress in the last year! 


The Christmas Truce of World War I

by William N. Grigg

By Christmas Eve, the German side of the Front was radiant with glowing Tannenbeume – small Christmas trees set up, sometimes under fire, by troops determined to commemorate the holy day. "For most British soldiers, the German insistence on celebrating Christmas was a shock after the propaganda about Teutonic bestiality, while the Germans had long dismissed the British as well as the French as soulless and materialistic and incapable of appreciating the festival in the proper spirit."

America’s Great Depression and Austrian Business Cycle Theory

by Richard M. Ebeling

When Murray Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression first appeared in print in 1963, the economics profession was still completely dominated by the Keynesian Revolution that began in the 1930s. Rothbard, instead, employed the “Austrian” approach to money and the business cycle to explain the causes for the Great Depression, and to analyze the misguided and counterproductive policies that followed in the early 1930s, which, in fact, only intensified and prolonged the economic downturn.


No, Tax Cuts Don't Kill People

by Brad Polumbo

When the Senate passed their tax reform bill earlier this month, Republicans were excited that the new law would cut taxes. Liberals thought it would kill people. Larry Summers, a top economist in the Obama administration, claimed that 10,000 people a year will die if this bill is signed into law, and many others have made similarly apocalyptic predictions. But regardless of your stance on tax reform, the idea that a moderate reduction in taxes will kill people isn’t just wrong – it’s absurd.


True Justice Is Restitution, Not Punishment

by Randall G. Holcombe

The ruling class benefits from “law and order,” and receives no benefit from justice. The ruling class wants citizens to believe that they will suffer if they violate the rules, but has nothing to gain if people believe that they will receive restitution if their rights are violated.

San Francisco Outlaws Santa’s Little Robots

by Charles Hughes

The city had previously served as a hub of delivery robot testing and pilot programs, but now the operations and scope of delivery robots will be severely curtailed, and Santa’s little delivery helpers will not be around for the holidays.


Justice and Liberty Have No Better Spokesman than Cicero

by Gary M. Galles

Cicero was an important influence on the American Revolution. His ideas on justice, law, and liberty inform our founding documents. Though he wrote two millennia ago, his understanding was thoroughly modern: “Never was a government that was not composed of liars, malefactors and thieves.”


You Bought Bitcoin. Now What?

by David Veksler

Understanding how Bitcoin ownership works requires understanding what it means to “own” a single Bitcoin address. At a practical level, Bitcoin ownership means the ability to send some amount of Bitcoin from one address to another or to cryptographically prove that one has that ability by “signing” a Bitcoin address. At a technical level, ownership means the possession of the private key which is used to sign a Bitcoin transaction.


Top 10 Posts of 2017 by Law and Liberty Editors

Top 10 Posts of 2017


1. What Is the Future of Conservatism? 
 Samuel Goldman, May 2, 2017

2. Six Degrees of Jim Buchanan
Greg Weiner, June 27, 2017

3. The Judge and the Republic 
 David Upham, September 8, 2017

4. Bruce Springsteen’s American Noir 
 James Rogers, April 3, 2017

7. Unleashing Arrogance, Complacency, and Mediocrity 
 Theodore Dalrymple, April 13, 2017

8. How the Roberts Court Will Actually Become the Roberts Court
 John McGinnis, October 12, 2017

9. Justice Scalia and the Nondelegation Doctrine 
 Mike Rappaport, September 4, 2017

10. Anatomy of an Ideological Weapon 
Mihail Neamtu, February 13, 2017

miércoles, 20 de diciembre de 2017

Democracy, if not Western civilization, depends on ...

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"Original sin attempts to abolish fatherhood...placing in doubt the truth about God who is Love and leaving man only with a sense of the master-slave relationship." - Saint Pope John Paul II

New Resources

 Conception and Knowledge - Caryll Houselander - from Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross: The Little Way of the Infant Jesus 

If our Lady knew God before she had conceived her Son, how much more intimately she knew him afterwards, when the Holy Spirit had descended on her.

 He Has Lifted Up the Lowly - Anthony Esolen - Magnificat 

The boys in the loft raised their pure and unearthly voices to the arches above, resounding throughout the vast Cathedral.

 The intimate Michelangelo - James Hankins - The New Criterion 

Fame often does an artist little good.

 About Our Epidemic of Sexual Aggression - Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D. - The Catholic Thing 

The current revelations of an epidemic of sexually aggressive behaviors (SAB) against women, particularly by men in the media over many decades, has led to calls to address this highly prevalent "disease" in our culture.

 Spiritual Reading Arms Us for Battle - Vicki Burbach - chapter one ofHow to Read Your Way to Heaven: A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between 

Spiritual reading arms us for all those daily battles with negativity, temptation, and sin, filling our minds, hearts, and souls with truth, building us in Christ, and strengthening us for combat.

 The Key to Unhappiness - Dennis Prager - Prager University 

How many times have you heard someone say they want to make a better world?

 Canada's Slippery Suicide Slope - Charles Lewis - The National Catholic Register 

A government-appointed panel is reviewing the country's 17-month-old law on medically assisted death, assessing whether it should be extended to teens and the mentally ill.

 Bishop Jean Dubois - Father George W. Rutler - From the Pastor 

Saint Catherine of Siena said that all the way to Heaven is already Heaven for those who love the Lord.

Editorials of Interest

Pope Francis: Think 'being good' is enough? It's not. Go to Mass - Catholic World Report

Participating in the Eucharistic communion with Jesus here on earth helps us to anticipate heaven, where it will be "Sunday without sunset": no more tears, grief, or pain, but only "the joy of living fully and forever with the Lord."

Bishop Robert Morlino on controversy: "Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral." - Catholic World Report

The Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, who has been under fire from various homosexual activist groups and media outlets, stresses that anyone with "same-sex attraction is a child of God, that God died for him or her, that such a person has a heavy cross to carry and our job is to help them carry it, not to kick them when they're down."

Should the sixth petition of the Our Father be translated as "Do not let us fall"? - Catholic World Report

And is the English rendering "do not lead us into temptation" bad theology? Here's why the answer to both questions is no.

Catholic of the Year: A generous man in a mean world - Catholic Herald

The undercover nuns, the new Stabat Mater, the soup kitchen and the heart-wrenching exhibition have one thing in common — or, rather, one person.

Catholic Churches to Men: "You're Not Welcome Here." - Those Catholic Men

If we consider the most basic practice of Catholics, going to Mass, we are only "graduating" about 30% of men. I'm no statistician, but I'm pretty sure that is not the model of sustainability.

Father Callam goes to the movies - Catholic World Report

A Catholic Goes to the Movies provides readers with an interpretive paradigm that they can use to decode the moral and philosophical assumptions of any movie they happen to watch, whether Catholic or secular, art film or blockbuster, romantic comedy or horror flick.

Late Term Abortion on Healthy Moms and Babies: America's Dirty Little SecretHuman Life Review

The evidence continues to pile up that late-term abortions on healthy infants are legal and happening regularly. Yet somehow it seems to escape public notice.

Big toy store will lose a projected $2.7 million to put family first this Christmas Eve - Aleteia

A UK retailer says he believes it's more important to honor the real meaning of the holiday.

Russia's population declines once more - Mercatornet

There were over 100,000 more deaths than births in the Federation between January and October 2017.

Why Hasn't This Ladder On The Holy Sepulchre Been Moved in 300 Years? The Curious Case of the Immovable Ladder - uCatholic

The Status Quo is an agreement among religious communities concerning nine shared religious sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem which states that for any changes to be made at any of the religious sites, all those who lay claim to the site must agree

How Gregorian chant enhances the Mass - The Catholic Herald

Gregorian chant is recovering in popularity and soon may once again be heard in every parish.

As an Ex-Gay Cradle Catholic, I Know the Devastation That Awaits Those Who Follow Fr. James Martin - The Stream

I grew up in a Catholic milieu that was nothing if not gay-friendly. And I paid quite a price for that.

I'm a Pediatrician. Here's What I Did When a Little Boy Patient Said He Was a Girl. - The Daily Signal

Human sexuality is binary. You either have a normal Y chromosome, and develop into a male, or you don't, and you will develop into a female. An identity is not biological, it is psychological.

The morality of having children - Mercatornet

For the sake of the planet, should we be having fewer kids?

The Moral Limits of Consent -

Valid consent, therefore, is not valid by the mere fact of consent. It requires a preexisting right to authorize a course of action.

The Truth about Men, Women, and Sex - Public Discourse

Recent revelations about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse underscore certain blunt realities about men, women, and sex. How can we confront those realities in a way that leads to less sexual violence?

Want to Stop Sexgate 2017? Stop Feminism. - Catholic Vote

The alleged actions of these individuals are actually perfectly consistent with feminism — an ideology that degrades women while claiming to support them.

Balancing Humility and Ambition for the Inner Ring - Crisis Magazine

It's true community we should be striving for, one where differences are respected and make the whole stronger, not the Inner Ring, where everyone must think and do the same.

An Integrated Humanist - First Things

Democracy, if not Western civilization, depends on recovering the old arts or "ways" of learning, the so-called liberal arts.

The answer to the 4 wordless questions we're constantly asking - Aleteia

It's the unspoken things that communicate to a friend or loved one that they matter tremendously to us.

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman and
St. Justin Martyr, pray for us