A Shifting Pendulum in American Politics

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

The Democratic Party is moving further to the political Left, embracing more collectivist modes of ideology and doubling down on their identitarian activism.  Today’s typical “Progressive” is now a caricature of my generation (Generation Y, the millennial generation) and it’s embarrassing; from screaming at Republican senators in the nation’s capital, to banging on the door of the Supreme Court of the United States after the confirmation of a new conservative-leaning Justice, to forcefully shutting down academic events hosting conservative speakers, it is apparent that Leftists (not liberals) are becoming more radicalized in this strange post-truth era.

How did we get here?

I think it started with internet connections and the World Wide Web which dramatically increased access to information for the general public.  Greater access combined with more diversity is a double-edged sword in media because, with more choices of programs, confirmation bias becomes more prevalent; individuals will naturally gravitate toward programs that confirm what they already believe.  This is why it is so important to make an effort to seek out points of view alternate to your own.  The American public is currently experiencing the negative, balkanizing effects of confirmation bias.

What’s the solution? 

I think the solution to our wide-spread confirmation bias ironically involves the very tools that encouraged this virus of the mind, although it also requires a change in mindset in each individual.  We need to consider different sources, the motivations behind particular narratives, and power bases behind specific media companies.  The ideological leanings of a journalist or commentator affects their news coverage as does the primary financing of an organization.  In short, we need to be more skeptical.

Skepticism requires curiosity and acting on curiosity requires initiative.  Journalist Tim Pool points out one the most stark differences between the political Left and Right today: the Left generally has no qualms with alienating individuals whom disagree with their mainstream narratives while the Right is constantly seeking out disagreements for the sake of discourse – the Left pushes people away with their dislike for nuance while the Right is actively recruiting people.  This new inclusiveness on the Right will likely lead to a new conservative movement among younger Americans.  We’re already seeing rising conservative media outlets catapulting young and energetic talking heads to national fame – figures like Ben Shapiro, Tomi Lahren, Roaming Millennial, and Dave Rubin are immensely popular with young people partly because they don’t condescend young people about how “oppressed” they are by forces beyond one’s control.  A general narrative on the Right is one of an individualistic spirit of exploration and invention endemic in American history.

Liberalism was once the champion of individualism and personal liberty but liberalism has been corrupted by its own hubris.  Leftists coming to dominate the fields of entertainment became obsessed with the appearance of diversity while ignoring diversity’s most important facet: the intellect.  Now, the intellectually lazy neo-liberals are being beaten in the marketplace of ideas by their Right-wing counterparts who still see value in showcasing diverse opinions regardless of appearances and communicating across ideologies.  If the Left wants to have a fighting chance in this new media landscape of individualism and curiosity, I think they need to rediscover liberalism and the intellectual traditions of Western civilization – from Hammurabi’s Code, to the oratory of Pericles, to the revelations of the Enlightenment, to the rational populism of Presidents Roosevelt.

Did Professor Christine Ford lie while under oath?

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Yesterday (10/2), the Wall Street Journal reported that the renewed FBI investigation into the allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh could be over “very soon, well ahead of the end-of-the-week deadline.”

This is not surprising considering that Senator Diane Feinstein had already approached the FBI with the allegations prior to Judge Kavanaugh’s planned confirmation hearing; the FBI had denied to investigate the allegations further.  The public has also seen a statement from Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona-based prosecutor hired by the Senate Republicans as an independent investigator, saying “I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee.”  (See my previous blog entries for the sources.)

I mean no disrespect towards Professor Ford, whatever trauma she has experienced in the past.  If there is not enough evidence of the alleged crime, action should not be taken in her favor.  That is the unfortunate reality sex crimes, they are exceptionally difficult to prove.

A new development now brings Ford’s credibility into question: a letter from a person claiming to be an ex-boyfriend of then-Christine Blasey.

Screenshot_2018-10-03 Shannon Bream on Twitter

SOURCE: Shannon Bream, <https://twitter.com/shannonbream/status/1047293294567456770?s=21> (Twitter, 2018).

The author of the letter states at the end that he wishes to maintain his anonymity but still wanted to share what he knew about Ford.  If this person is who he says he is, there seems to be several things about Ford that contradict what the country saw and heard in Ford’s Senate testimony.

Professor Ford testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that she was hesitant to come to Washington D.C. because she has a fear of flying and it would have been nerve-racking for her.  This is despite the fact that Senator Chuck Grassley (the Judiciary Committee Chairman) offered to fly a team to her in California to record her testimony in a more comfortable location.  This letter, supposedly from Ford’s ex-boyfriend, reveals that Ford does not have a fear of flying or didn’t at that time.

Professor Ford was specifically asked by Rachel Mitchell in cross-examination if she has ever discussed how to take a polygraph test with anyone.  Ford responded, “never.”  This letter reveals that Ford assisted a friend of hers in obtaining a job in law enforcement.  The friend named as Monica L. McLean apparently had to take a polygraph as a condition of potential employment and Ford helped her prepare for the examination.  The letter reads that Ford was able to help her friend prepare for a polygraph due to her knowledge of psychology.

The latter revelation may be the most damning as it is a federal crime to provide false information to an government body during the course of an investigation, a crime that can carry a punishment of a fine or a 5-year imprisonment.

Did Professor Ford lie while under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee?

Senator Grassley has re-submitted a request to Professor Ford’s lawyers for more evidence regarding Ford’s allegation.

Screenshot_2018-10-03 10 02 18-CEG-to-Ford-Attorneys pdf

SOURCE: Sean Davis, The Federalist, <http://confirmkavanaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/10.02.18-CEG-to-Ford-Attorneys.pdf> (2018).

Senator Grassley later explains to Ford’s lawyers:

“That the Senate is not a court of law doe not change the reality that Dr. Ford’s allegations have put Judge Kavanaugh on trial before the nation.  A sitting federal judge and Supreme Court nominee has been accused of committing a violent crime.  Dr. Ford, to her credit, offered her testimony to the Judiciary Committee, notwithstanding attempts at obstruction by her attorneys and Senate Democratic leadership.  The testimony hinges on evidence to which Dr. Ford has repeatedly referred – some of which has already been provided to a nationally circulated newspaper – but which you have refused to provide to the Senate.”

It seems strange that supposed evidence to a crime would be given to a national newspaper to be showcased before the whole country but not to an investigative body with the specific intent to investigate the allegation.

Why are Ford’s attorneys dragging their heels in cooperating with the Senate Judiciary Committee?

Americans live under multiple governments.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

It seems like most of the corporate media’s focus is on the dealings of the national government, the federal government.  CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC provide 24-hour coverage on what is happening with various national politicians.  It is too be expected since those organizations brand themselves as national news outlets but what about the states in which they are based?  The state governments that those organizations operate under have more of an effect on them than the national government.

A key component of a democratic-republic is its federalist structure (a separation of powers).  The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution give the national government ultimate authority in conflicting areas of interest between the national government and the state governments, but the state governments have their own authority within their own respective territories; the states can stand up to the national government in particular instances. Scholars of constitutionalism refer to American states as “laboratories of democracy” because elected officials in each state (and, by extension, their respective municipalities) can tailor their government to their particular populations.

I have yet to see a news program that focuses on the legislative processes of all the governments under which Americans live.

The Left is no longer liberal and liberals need to stand up.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

There is a particular ideology in America today, fostered by the Left-wing of the political spectrum, so intent on giving voice to minority populations that it seemingly idolizes victimization while proclaiming their distaste for and their distrust of populations of privilege.  Some proponents of this ideology have even driven it to an extent of advocating for a dismantling of Western political and judicial systems on claims that Western civilization was founded on nothing more than the exploitation of minority populations.  Nevermind that individuals in the West today enjoy a relatively peaceful society as well as longer lifespans compared to other parts of the world, contemporary Leftists focus on negative aspects of human history while dismissing anything positive that has arisen from a cultivation of social norms.  As if humans would be better off without civilization, roaming the wilderness just like any other animal.

Western civilization is not perfect (of course), no civilization is perfect.  Human history is littered with violence because humans have a proclivity towards violence.  However; despite what post-modern ideologues would have you believe, power struggles are not the only thing that drive human actions.  Any (reasonable) scholar of history will recognize that some of the worst atrocities have been committed in pursuit of an utopian ideal.  In other words, some of the worst things ever accomplished were carried out with the best of intentions.  A pragmatic leader governs a society as humans are, not as humans ought to be.

Contemporary Leftists are indeed pushing an idealistic agenda and it seems eerily reminiscent of the old Marxist rhetoric leading up to the Russian Revolution which formed the Soviet Union.  These new “cultural Marxists,” or neo-Marxists, are driven by a desire for a utopia in which no group of people is prejudiced toward another group of people and all individuals live in harmony with one another with no hatred, jealousy, or exploitation.  This is a fantastical, pathological idea and it is most evident on college campuses (more so with large universities) where Leftist, student organizations will rally protests against specific people with a so-called controversial opinion simply for having the audacity to speak to a crowd of supporters.  Leftists students today are so “triggered” by differing opinions that they wish to limit individual freedom of speech to protect their own asinine sensabilities.  The political Left is no longer liberal and liberals must stand up against these neo-communists.

Liberalism is about individuality, liberty, entreprenuership, and the ability of one person to forge his/her own destiny regardless of the circumstances of his birth.  Liberals advocate for free speech for individuals, accountability for governments, separations of power, divisions in the structures of governments, and egalitarianism throughout a population.

The problem with idealistic, utopian ideologies like Marxist socialism/communism or Nazi socialism/fascism, as “well-intentioned” as they may be, they create “in-group” mentalities amongst specific populations which foster exclusiveness in pursuit of inclusiveness.  In pursuit of a so-called inclusive society, the ideologues advocate to silence any rhetoric that goes against their ideology (any rhetoric that they label as hateful).  Nevermind freedom of speech for individuals and the marketplace of ideas, any speech that may be interpreted as “hate speech” will not be tolerated by the contemporary neo-communists.  This pro-censorship stance is antithetical to classic Enlightenment values.  Censorship advocates are not liberal.

Examples of these pathological neo-communists can be seen in video recordings of public speeches by Milo Yiannopolous and Ben Shapiro.  Milo Yiannopolous is a former reporter/editor at “Breitbart News” who organized a tour of college campuses a couple years back during which he spoke to his supporters publicly.  Ben Shapiro is the current editor-in-chief of “The Daily Wire” who occasionally partners with various conservative organizations to speak to his supporters publicly at various American colleges.  Both Yiannopolous and Shapiro have had contact with protesters at their events, people who were protesting them simply because they were speaking publicly.

A reasonable person encounters a public speaker whom they disagree with and perhaps crafts an argument against the speaker, engaging in a debate.  However; the post-modern neo-communists do not believe in values of free speech and debate, they only care about asserting their own influence in the public sphere and obtaining power over our society.  They do this under a belief that truth does not exist and that power dynamics are all that matter in human relations; this belief justifies their own use of power.

Free speech only matters if it applies to every person.  Every person deserves the right to speak his mind regardless of how hateful it may be.  I write this as a person who used to describe himself as a socialist.  I used to describe myself as a socialist because I bought into the idealistic rhetoric of Marxism, “workers of the world unite,” and all that shit.  I did not understand the bitter pathology behind a strive for utopia.

Post-modernist, neo-communism must be stopped before human history repeats itself.  We do not want another Soviet Union to rise to prominence on the global stage.

Entrepreneur creates mobile app for small California town.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

No Ego Apps Development Incorporated, or NEAD Inc., is a private company that creates mobile apps for iPhone and Android users.  Its founder and chief executive officer lives in Seal Beach, California, and has created an app specifically for the community.

SB app, screenshot
Screenshot of the Seal Beach app designed by NEAD Inc.

TJ Sokoll lives on the Boardwalk in Seal Beach and is a strong believer in personal civic participation.  He began his career as an app developer with video games but quickly realized the potential beyond entertainment. “I realized that these aren’t just games, this is a computer in everybody’s hand” says Sokoll, although this was not his initial career plan. enormous “I was actually a stockbroker for quite a few years but I became disenfranchised with everything the financial industry was about, so I left and was looking for something else to do.” That was at age 34.  Sokoll said that he got into mobile game development on a whim when he created a video stickball game for his friends and was able to put it on the Apple store.  Within days he saw that it had been downloaded across the world and decided to give the industry a shot. NEAD Inc. had created between 30 and 35 games when it began to branch out into other aspects of the mobile sector.  Sokoll wanted to create an app for Seal Beach because he wanted to give residents here a tool for connecting with each other and crafting their voice in the community. “At the time that I started, there seemed to be such a disconnect with our local communities – everyone was so enamored with Twitter and Facebook and you were connected to everyone around the world – but we didn’t know was happening in our own backyard.” NEAD Inc.’s first client was the city of Diamond Bar, California, in 2011 and that app is now in its third version.  NEAD Inc. has since created 18 more apps for cities across Orange County, including Huntington Beach and Seal Beach under the umbrella, MyCivicApps. “We’ve made custom apps for cities, boys & girls clubs, schools, politicians, organizations, non-profits, and some celebrities.  It’s been an interesting run, to say the least.” The Seal Beach app has been live for about two weeks now and specifically gives users an RSS feed to the City of Seal Beach website as well as access to web pages for various city departments with contact information for those departments.  This easy access to city information makes for an open resource for citizen participation in local issues as well as citizen journalism.  The app also gives users an RSS feed for press releases from the city and news articles from the Sun News. Most of NEAD Inc.’s apps are available for free at your respective app store on your mobile device.  Sokoll explained that he built his Seal Beach app for free and maintains it for free because he believes in what the app can be for people here: a public resource. “It took me maybe three hours to put this app together and get it out to the community and it didn’t cost me anything because it’s on my platform, so why wouldn’t I do it?” Sokoll also explained that he tried to give the app to the City of Seal Beach so they could run it as a public resource, but the city declined his offer.  A city official said they are reviewing different apps but at present don’t have the resources to maintain one – including personnel to answer questions or interact with residents.  The business district for Huntington Beach, on the other hand, accepted a similar offer and now manages an app that NEAD Inc. created for them called “HB Downtown.” Sokoll is currently developing plans for expanding MyCivicApps past Orange County and across the United States.  One can find more information about NEAD Inc.’s apps at the web address: <http://www.mycivicapps.com>.  Sokoll is 40-years-old and also works as a tech consultant for a variety of clients.

TJ Sokoll
TJ Sokoll, founder and CEO of NEAD Inc.

Publisher’s note: the above article was originally intended for the Sun News in Seal Beach, Caifornia, but it was pulled during the eleventh hour.  The writer has decided to publish it himself.