Elections 2016 (and 2014)
Taming the Black Swan
Selling Out vs Sticking to Principles
Back to Politics
Despite the fact that this blog was originally established for the purpose of discussing and defending traditional ethics and morality in our modern culture, we keep digressing into politics.
This may be fitting, since what is politics, after all, if not the interaction of human beings on an organized group level; an interaction that certainly ought to be subject to the same rules of morality and decency that apply to individual human interactions?
And since what goes around comes around applies to our personal lives, guess what? What goes around comes around applies to politics as well. (The expression means that bad things you do come back to bite you later, and the good things you do come back to reward you later.)
Readers Demand Political Philosophy
Readers seem to know this, and as elections approach, they keep returning to those old articles here which discuss political philosophy, which explore the crucial interconnection between morality and the State (i.e., interconnection between Church and State).
Such discussions are not commonly available in the public arena in the present political atmosphere, which is so often controlled by fear of political bullies like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and their ilk, who attempt to eradicate all mention of right and wrong from the public forum. These bullies who attack religion are effectively advocating the absence of all morality from government, from law, and from public life.
So after a hiatus following the ethically dubious 2012 Presidential election in which Barack Obama purchased votes by bribery with Obama-phones and other lollipops, and in which conservatives tossed the vote by staying home in disgust, this blogger returns again to discussion of politics, of coming elections, and of election strategies for Elections 2016.
Why the Hiatus?
- The people had spoken, and the Obama administration now had four more years to deliver on its campaign promises. The United States is, after all, a democracy. The fair loser steps aside gracefully and lets the wheels of democracy turn.
- Those people who were foolish enough to vote for Obama needed to experience more Obama consequences, to experience a rise in personal misery index, before they could be persuaded to vote for someone more responsible who does not promise lollipops and who does not lie. And 2013/14 certainly provided ample rise in personal misery index generated by government; now even Democrats are calling Obama incompetent and are distancing themselves from him before the 2014 elections. Meanwhile, we conservatives take an imposed rest and simply watch the inevitable and painful implosion. We don’t enjoy it any more than parents enjoy watching their teens making painful mistakes.
What goes around comes around. But it takes time. We all hurt, we all suffer, but nothing can be done to circumvent some suffering in this life.
- The Republican establishment, which was foolish enough to cheat in order to change Republican convention rules so they could nominate their favorite Compromise Candidate, Mitt Romney, needed to figure out that there is a limit to the degree of compromise their conservative supporters will tolerate before they rebel. There was great surprise and shock in November 2012, when 4 million registered Republicans failed to come to the polls, handing the election to Barack Obama.
So now two years have passed, and we have experienced some of the consequences of the 2012 election. We have experienced more of Obama’s administration, ObamaCare failures, VA scandals, IRS scandals, implosion of Iraq, border crises, and numerous other debacles. Establishment Republicans have experienced 4 million registered Republicans staying home from the polls, and losing the election.
During all of which, Nero fiddled as Rome burned.
Political puzzle pieces have been falling into place.
We need to redefine how we approach politics.
So now it’s time to end the hiatus and time to address the future.
Back into politics!
First observation on returning to politics in 2014: confusion reigns.
Democrats are suffering from the deluge of scandals befalling President Obama as the fruits of his erroneous policies and his lies mature. Today, 58% of Americans, including 30% of Democrats, say that the Obama administration is incompetent at managing the government. Now, even New York Times correspondents are saying that the Obama administration’s ebola response is another example of Obama not running a competent government. Liberals have begun to acknowledge Obama’s incompetence.
Republicans are suffering from highly disfunctional infighting, seemingly incapable of choosing between continuing moral compromise with the opposition, and their fear of unpopularity if they choose responsible conservative policy.
Support is at an all-time low for both parties, and nobody seems to know how to attract the independent voters from the middle.
Only 24% of American voters identify as Republicans, 31% as Democrats, and a whopping 43% identify as Independents.
This bears repeating: a whopping 43% of Americans identify as Independents!
There are way more independents than Democrats.
There are way more independents than Republicans.
THE LEADING POLITICAL FACTION IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY IS INDEPENDENT.
What does it mean to be Independent?
Being Independent means that nobody tells these voters what to think; they think for themselves, and they owe allegiance to neither party.
If Independents could only agree on a candidate, there would be a landslide election and an Independent victory!
How can the two major parties recruit from the 43% of uncommitted electorate in the middle?
With more lollipops and promises?
With an offer of responsible tough government appealing to those who have suffered enough in this economy?
Will a third party succeed in stealing the election?
Is the time ripe, with broadening disgust with both major parties, for the introduction of a third party?
Birth of the Republican Party
Looking at history, the founding of the present Republican party occurred under similar conditions, and resulted in the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency.
The Whigs seemed incapable of coping with national crisis over slavery, so the Republican Party was established (in Wisconsin!) with the primary goal of opposing slavery. (Yes, contrary to what today’s progressives want you to think, the Republican Party was the first to oppose slavery!) The Whigs lost power, and Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was elected.
So there is historical precedent for the birth of a third party; provided the nation is sufficiently disgusted with the two existing parties.
Are we sufficiently disgusted with the two existing parties today?
Can a third party rise to the occasion in present divided times and succeed in election 2016?
Or would a third party simply divide the conservative vote and hand victory to Democrats?
The Republican Split Today
The Buckley Rule
Some conservatives advocate nominating a moderate candidate with whom one does not agree (compromising one’s values), as Republicans did in nominating Mitt Romney in 2012, in order to capture the votes of moderate independents, rather than nominating a strong responsible conservative who would capture the conservative independent vote and who is more likely to salvage our nation, as Scott Walker recently salvaged a damaged Wisconsin.
This philosophy, nominating the most conservative person who “can win,” has been called the Buckley Rule, after Bill Buckley, who advocated this approach in 1967.
The problem with this principle is that it assumes that we know who can or cannot win, an quite frankly, we don’t know. Mitt Romney’s failure to be elected was a prime example of this. An additional problem with this philosophy is that when conservatives continually sell out and compromise, it allows government to drift permanently towards the left, abandoning important conservative values and allowing the passage of laws which make it impossible to recover conservative ground.
Apparently 4 million Republicans rebelled against the Buckley Rule in November on 2012, and more are likely to follow in 2014 and 2016.
Many who rebel against business as usual in the Republican Party (i.e. rebel against continual and unending compromise) advocate instead voting for the most conservative candidate in the primary and risking losing the moderate vote. This has recently been called the Limbaugh Rule –”in an election year when voters are fed up with liberalism, vote for the most conservative Republican in the primary.”
This is a variation of the Tea Party philosophy, and a variation of my philosophy, which is ALWAYS, not just in an election year when voters are fed up with liberalism, vote for the most conservative candidate in the primary who will uphold traditional Judeo-Christian values, pro-life topping the list, followed by fiscal responsibility.
This approach encourages voting for Tea Party candidates at Republican primaries, hoping to steer the Republican Party establishment in a more conservative direction. This approach appeals to more voters as they become fed up with liberalism and its consequences, and may work in 2016, provided the Republican Establishment does not use it’s power to force through the Buckley Rule (which the “Establishment” apparently favors) over the heads of increasingly conservative American voters. This is what the Republican Establishment did in 2012 to nominate Mitt Romney, by hook or by crook. And it got them exactly nowhere.
The Limbaugh rule says stick to your principles, especially in 2014/2016, when voters are fed up with liberalism.
Third Party Option
Some are considering the creation of a third party. In this case, there is the danger that this would split the conservative vote, handing victory to the Democrats.
Depending on how stubborn the Republican Establishment (John Boehner, Reince Priebus and other RINOS, Republicans in Name Only) prove to be in the time between now and November 2016, this might sadly become an attractive option for more and more Americans.
Amendment of the Constitution via Article V
Finally some, like Mark Levin, are so fed up with American politics on both sides of the aisle that they are considering extreme measures like amending the Constitution through Article V of the US Constitution, so that U.S. citizens could override their Senate and their Congress, which have ceased representing them (details at The Liberty Amendments).
This approach would involve returning to much more fundamental founding values and very limited federal government.
The Conservative Dilemma
With four factions advocating four different approaches, the solution to this conservative dilemma is not obvious.
The above four approaches are mutually exclusive, and getting conservatives to agree on one approach would pose quite the obstacle.
- Those favoring the Buckley Rule would nominate someone like Mitt Romney or Chris Christie again.
- Those favoring the Limbaugh Rule would nominate someone like Scott Walker or Ben Carson.
- Those favoring the Third Party Option would replace the Republican Party by a group like the Tea Party.
- Article V supporters, if successful, would provide an opportunity for radical change and decentralization of government, returning much power to the states and reducing the power of the federal government.
Many conservatives favor the second option (Limbaugh Rule) right now. Stick to your principles an nominate the most conservative candidate in the primaries.
But as discontent with Washington continues to grow, it becomes more and more likely that some Americans may abandon business as usual and may opt for the more startling last two options- third party or even overriding Washington DC via Article V.
One thing is certain- the 4 million disgusted registered Republicans who stayed home in November of 2012 are not likely to change their minds and get back on board with John Boehner and the Buckley Rule.
It is much more likely that an additional 4 million will join the first 4 million in boycotting the Republican establishment’s cowardly and ever-compromising path towards defeat. Yet staying home OR voting for a third party can hand the election to Democrats, even if they do not have majority support.
So What’s a Conservative to Do in 2014/2016 ?
much disagreement among conservatives over which of the above four approaches should be followed in 2016.
There will be even more anxiety over whether the guaranteed lack of unity will defeat us, handing victory to progressives.
But an examination of history, an examination of the forces that determine the fate of nations and of elections, reveals that perhaps we need not worry.
There is a simple and practical approach that may reassure those so very worried about the future.
Hint: it involves simply sticking to your principles and not selling out.
-The approach the Almighty might suggest if anybody bothered to ask Him.
The Determinants of History
What determines history?
What determines the fate of a nation or the fate of an election?
It may surprise some to hear that the determinants of history, the elements that identify or determine the nature of events or that fix their outcome, are not usually voters, nor are they politicians.
Many historians acknowledge that much of history is determined not by careful planning and strategy, but by fluke events called Black Swans.
Black Swan theory is taught at universities, and Black Swan theory was discussed by the New York Times in connection with the 9/11 Commission, which sought “to provide a ‘full and complete accounting’ of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and recommendations as to how to prevent such attacks in the future.”
Black Swan theory is not a joke; it’s a sobering and probable reality.
So when we talk about the 2016 election, it is wise to consider whether a Black Swan event will be the determinant of the election, and to ask whether it is possible for us or for our politicians to influence that Black Swan event.
What IS a Black Swan?
How do we define a Black Swan?
The Cambridge Japanese Journal of Political Science refers to these unpredictable big events that shape human history, or Black Swans (emphasis mine):
The nonlinear dynamical process of self-organized criticality provides a new ‘theory of history’ that explains a number of unresolved anomalies: Why are the really big events in human history usually unpredictable? Why is it impossible to anticipate sudden political, economic, and social changes? Why do distributions of historical data almost always contain a few extreme events that seem to have had a different cause from all the rest? Why do so many of our ‘lessons of history’ fail to predict important future events? As people, organizations, and nations become increasingly sensitive to each other’s behavior, trivial occurrences sometimes propagate into sudden changes. Such events are unpredictable because in the self-organized criticality environment that characterizes human history, the magnitude of a cause often is unrelated to the magnitude of its effect.
Nassim Taleb is a Black Swan specialist. He is a scientist, essayist, businessman, mathematical trader and scientist-philosopher who studies the epistemology of randomness and the multidisciplinary problems of uncertainty and knowledge, particularly in the large-impact hard-to-predict rare events called “Black Swans”.
Taleb seeks to create a “platform for a new scientific-minded public intellectual dealing with social and historical events — in replacement to the ‘fooled by randomness’ historian and the babbling journalistic public intellectual.”
In his book Learning to Expect the Unexpected, Taleb defines the Black Swan like this:
A black swan is an outlier, an event that lies beyond the realm of normal expectations. Most people expect all swans to be white because that’s what their experience tells them; a black swan is by definition a surprise. Nevertheless, people tend to concoct explanations for them after the fact, which makes them appear more predictable, and less random, than they are. Our minds are designed to retain, for efficient storage, past information that fits into a compressed narrative. This distortion, called the hindsight bias, prevents us from adequately learning from the past.
“Much of what happens in history”, he notes, “comes from ‘Black Swan dynamics’, very large, sudden, and totally unpredictable ‘outliers’, while much of what we usually talk about is almost pure noise. Our track record in predicting those events is dismal; yet by some mechanism called the hindsight bias we think that we understand them. We have a bad habit of finding ‘laws’ in history (by fitting stories to events and detecting false patterns); we are drivers looking through the rear view mirror while convinced we are looking ahead.”
So when it comes to elections, whether they be 2014, 2016, or any other election, it would be wise to remind ourselves that Black Swans are often determinants of the outcome.
That’s why nobody can predict election results.
By definition, a Black Swan is an unexpected and surprising historical event that plays a giant role in altering the course of history, yet could not have been predicted, and is not pre-planned by politicians or governments.
Role of the Black Swan in History
There are many examples of Black Swan events in history, recent and ancient.
Remember the definition: nobody saw it coming, nobody could have seen it coming, it could not be planned for.
Some examples of Black Swan events:
- Terrorist attacks of 9/11
- Victory of American colonists against Imperial England in the Revolutionary War
- Outbreak of World War I (as a result of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria’s driver taking a wrong turn)
- Unexpected rise of Hitler
- Dissolution of the Soviet Union without a single battle in 1991
- Recent spread of Islamic fundamentalism
- Internet bubble
- Housing bubble
- Stock market crashes
- Arab spring
- Surprising defusing of the Syria situation in 2013
- Christianization of Europe by Constantine
- Battle of Lepanto victory (which prevented the conquering of Europe by Muslims against terrific odds)
- Attack on Pearl Harbor
- The Exodus
- Crossing of the Red Sea,
- David’s victory over Goliath
- Conversion of Nineveh
- Conversion of Nebuchadnezzar (see also)
- Life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ
- Conversion of St. Paul
Aside: The Bible is a valuable source of political instruction for those who realize the wisdom contained in it.
The above examples of Black Swan events occurred against all odds, were so unlikely that they could not previously be imagined, and they changed the course of human history dramatically.
Black Swans- Good or Bad?
Black Swans can be either good or bad.
To qualify as a Black Swan, an event simply has to lie beyond the realm of normal expectations.
The Christianization of Europe was good.
The terror attacks of 9/11 were bad.
Both were Black Swan events.
Black Swan events can occur not only in politics and in global events, but in our personal lives as well. One unexpected event frequently steers the subsequent course of a person’s entire lifetime.
Taming the Black Swan
By human reason, no.
By definition we cannot expect and prepare for the unexpected.
However, in a nation like ours, in which 80% of citizens believe in God, 80% of citizens pray daily and believe that God answers their prayers, in a nation whose government has been founded on the inalienable rights given to man by God, in a nation structured after Christian morality, it is not unreasonable to bring into this discussion the interaction between God and History, and the interconnection between Church and State.
And this changes the picture dramatically.
In fact, when we acknowledge the interconnection between God and the world, Black Swan events become more easily understood as the intervention of God and of Satan in human affairs.
This view does not refuse to discuss the battle between of Good and Evil battle in our world. In times of history like the present one, while ISIS mercilessly terrorizes Europe without intervention, events becomes less mystifying when viewed in their proper light.
Back to Who Is In Charge?
Does this mean that we are helpless pawns at the mercy of warring supernatural forces of Good and Evil, much like the ancient Greeks who believed they were subject to the capricious whims of their warring and jealous gods?
Unlike the ancient Greeks, we have the ability to steer supernatural events indirectly through our personal choices of good and evil and through our prayers. We have a direct line to God via saintly lives and prayer, through which we can access the most powerful forces in the universe. This is the power God has given to human beings. A power, incidentally, resented tremendously by Satan.
Unfortunately, some of us also choose to have a direct line to Satan. The Enemy is unleashed and empowered whenever we shun God’s directives and defy God, particularly when we try to be little gods ourselves.
And so, through moral choices and through prayer, we humans do have great influence on the war between Good and Evil.
Why do you think that Pope Francis’s reaction to the crisis in Syria was to call for global Adoration?
The holy man kwows how to fight spiritual warfare.
Satan always baits us with promises and with lies, but ultimately he delivers misery to all human beings, particularly to those who fell for his ploys. But God limits Satan’s power, and teaches us how to chain the Evil one, by following the guidelines left to us first by the Ten Commandments, and then by Jesus Christ.
And so the mysterious struggles of Good and Evil are played out in our world, while many of us are unaware that victory is really within our grasp and that we have much more power over world events than we realize.
The solution is simple;
- Stay close to God through prayer
- Trust God with patience
- Play by God’s rules, even in the face of impossible odds (God does the rest)
Simple formula for Elections
The formula for victory is simple- vote for the wisest and most moral candidate, whether you are voting in elections or in primaries, and forget about arguments on capturing independents in the middle by making moral compromises.
Follow the Limbaugh rule, not only when voters are fed up with liberalism, but ALL the time.
It worked for Abe Lincoln, it worked for Ronald Reagan, and it worked for Saint John Paul II in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Most of America (Independents) needs to reclaim a political party and make it our own.
Both existing parties have failed us abysmally.
Democrats have completely sold out Christian values by promoting abortion and redefining marriage.
In 2014, Independents should go to the polls and vote for Republicans, because they oppose abortion (killing over a million citizens each year), and represent fiscal responsibility as well.
Perhaps the Republican party might be willing to shift to the right.
In 2016, if the Republican establishment resists a shift to conservative values and if the field is littered with numerous conservative candidates who split the vote up as they did in 2012, conservatives should not fear a brokered convention in which many conservatives are pared down to a few with numerous rounds of ballots.
We should not let the Republican establishment force the Buckley Rule, as they did in 2012, forcing the nomination of Mitt Romney against the majority of their party, who supported conservatives.
A message to the Republican establishment: don’t sell out your base and your ethics in some misguided attempt to capture some Independent votes from the middle.
Most Independents want a shift towards conservatism, reality and responsible behavior.
In 2016, if the Republican establishment tries to force liberalism and the “Buckley rule” as they have in the past, we move to a third, more moral and more conservative party.
Independents think, they admire justice, and they rally behind upstanding candidates.
Independents come in riding on black swans.
Most historians separate history and philosophy/theology into distinct and separate compartments, and only rarely do they acknowledge that human beliefs exert a powerful influence on human behavior and on human history.
It is even more rare for an historian to acknowledge that those humans actions which stem from religious belief (such as prayer or such as heroic action) can actually be effective in dealing with a global or political problem.
The political correctness of today does not permit the inclusion of God, moral choices, or prayer in any analysis.
But those who take their heads out of the sand and realize that this nation was founded on Christian principles and that this is still a nation of God-fearing and freedom-loving people in both parties, will realize that this nation’s history has been and will continue to be be steered by ethics, by prayer, and by God.
Unless the minority, the radical progressives who want to eradicate any mention of God from our lives and from our history, are allowed to intimidate the rest of us into inaction and into silence.
The reading of history cannot be partial and biased to exclude the fact that this nations was shaped by Christians, still consists of Christians, and that it’s history has been guided and protected by a very good God.
The role of the supernatural must be acknowledged, if Truth is to be known.
The secularization of human history neglects to consider man’s strongest motivations, denies his noble struggle between the Truth and the Father of Lies, and dismisses his most powerful ally – the Almighty.
Col 2:8 See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.
Interconnection Between Church and State
The interconnection suggested here between Church and State is not the top-down dictation of moral values by Executive Order that is being attempted by President Obama, dictating what newly invented progressive morality the citizens of the United States must follow. Nor is it a government-imposed State Religion imposed from above.
The interconnection is a democratic one.
When it comes to refining the relationship between government and religion, or between Church and State, the key is for ethical values to flow from the bottom up, not from the top down.
Nobody wants a specific government-imposed religion. But people clearly do want a code of morality and ethics on which most reasonable citizens can agree.
Instead of eliminating morality altogether from public life, and instead of government (King Obama) dictating his own brand of morality, citizens need to vote their personal religious moral beliefs into law.
The Constitution provides the mechanism by which this fundamentally Christian nation, still identifying itself as 80% Christian, can choose representatives in government who reflect their ethical beliefs.
An Optimistic Future
When the interconnection between Church and State is implemented, not from the top down, but from the grass roots up,
when we all pray and go to the polls and vote for what is right and what is moral, our nation will heal and will get back on the right track.
David will slay Goliath, and Red Sea will part.
That power is in our hands.
We can marshal powerful forces into play that could never be predicted or imagined on a human level alone.
We can steer the Black Swans- provided we don’t throw away the reins.