THE MISSING LINK – Rescuing the American Republic


THE MISSING LINK – Rescuing the American Republic

By Jay B Gaskill

Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill {Permissions readily granted. Contact: }

Also posted – on The POLICY THINK SITE


Marx was wrong.  History is on our side.

Citizens of the USA are inheritors of a sovereign legacy like no other.  Our country is a beacon…still.

We are the world’s foremost Renaissance Republic.[1]  


We are under attack from 12th century tribalists using modern weapons, and by 21st century Neo-Marxists using modern advertising technology[2].  We cannot afford to lose. We must reset the defense strategy, rethinking our fundamentals, reassessing our priorities and shedding the tired catch phrases (“The party of Small government”) that the jaded modern audience ignores. So far, we are better at the negative barb than the uplifting one. “The party of Nanny Government” is sharp, but we need an even sharper agenda.


There are five sharp elements to the USA Recovery project:


  • The Broadband freedom Agenda;
  • The upward Mobility Agenda;
  • The Tough security Agenda;
  • The Moral Agenda
  • The Broadband Creative Agenda (which is the principal theme of this piece);


Why a Renaissance Republic? A liberty-centered republic is a better guarantor of the precious gifts of freedom because absolute democracies are absolutely dangerous whenever authoritarian mobs exploit them to seize permanent power in a single election (as Hitler’s election demonstrated and the Middle East’s springtime for jihadists recapitulates).  A constitutional republic is an even better safe haven for liberty, but as history has demonstrated, no system is perfect. Renaissance describes a creative safe haven, supported by a morally centered social order in a fruitful relationship with its flowering creative communities.


Creativity and creative communities are the linchpins of our long term recovery from the spell of suffocating progressive government-sponsored “human improvement”. Creativity is the missing link in the freedom agenda and a supporting moral system is the missing anchor.


All of us who haven’t been swept up in the “vast left wing conspiracy” need to ask ourselves – Why and how has the liberal-left-progressive mindset so thoroughly penetrated the US academy, the commentariat and the dominant media?


Here is the answer. Humanism, in its largest most generous sense, has a huge appeal to all of us, because it speaks to our innate idealism, the longing for a better, more humane world.  The conservatives of the 19th century set a tone that modern conservatives are still trying to shed.  The 19th century “right wingers” were so committed to the existing social order, with all its flaws, that they were easily type cast as enemies of all social progress.


Ameliorative social change became the defining ethos of the left, becoming a specifically political issue when social scientists convinced the reigning intelligentsia  that the powers of the state should be enlisted to propel – and then to compel – social progress across a range of human behaviors.  Conservative arguments against the abuse of state power were portrayed as arguments against ameliorative social change, as against worker safety, in favor of child labor and so on.


State sponsored economic change was the early and enduring agenda of the left, especially during the early 19th century awakening. Please note that free market capitalism did not then exist.  Instead of free markets among free people there was a regime-money alliance, driven and controlled by entrenched, mostly hereditary elites – the very sort of third world arrangement that modern conservatives stoutly oppose.


When Karl Marx railed against the capitalists (a term he invented), the real goal was to substitute one ruling class for another. He got away with the argument, because the conservatives of the day were incapable of making a case for free markets…few if any of them had actually seen one in action.  In fact, the real free market does not respect class, race and gender differences, and its self-organizing principles and the special optimal conditions for free markets to thrive  are exactly the same conditions as those needed for creative communities to flourish. Support for the free market was 19th century liberalism; it is still a liberal idea.


Marxism and its humanist progeny have flourished among the post-religious intelligentsia because utopian egalitarianism was sold as a moral construct. And conservatism, when disconnected from its religious underpinnings, seemed to be a convenient rationale for predatory greed.  This is why a moral agenda remains essential to the survival of free societies.


The three pillars of moral understanding that hold up the freedom agenda are: [1] the idea that creativity is essential to human survival; [2] that a free society is essential to the survival of creative communities; [3] and that human creative activities (because of their power to generate destabilizing and dangerous technologies) need to operate in the context of a morally centered society.


The Marxist agenda is nearly dead and the post-Marxist progressive agenda is beginning to crack under its internal contradictions.  The time is right for a new progressive agenda, one centered in creative freedom, the celebration of the creative process and of creative accomplishment. 


This is a brilliantly youthful agenda, a sophisticated cultural agenda and a practical entrepreneur’s agenda all in one.  And it is a populist agenda that is fully coherent with core conservative values.


Creative technological innovations, from the mass production of refrigerators and washing machines to affordable smart devices (almost all of which were first developed in the USA) have done more to advance the actual day-to-day wellbeing of the so called common people than all the Marxist ideological gurus and government programs of the left combined.


Conservatives, it is time to wake up to the creative agenda; you have nothing to lose but losing itself.


The Broadband Creative Agenda


In a recent Op Ed that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, writer Hank Plante analyzed why Governor Romney, post-defeat, … “will likely move into their home in La Jolla, the San Diego suburb … where the local Democratic councilwoman was just re-elected, giving the San Diego City Council a 5-4 Democratic majority…and where there are six gay households within a three-block radius of the Romneys’ $12 million home.” Why, Plante asks, would a conservative move to “part of the bluest of blue states, California, where Republican registration just fell below 30 percent…So what gives? If you are the Romneys, then why not settle in a red state where people love you? What’s wrong with Alabama, Mississippi or even Utah? Simply put, when it comes down to it, Mitt and Ann Romney seem to want the same things that so many others seek in California living: a tolerant, open, environmentally beautiful place to live that we’re not afraid to pay for.” Plante adds that the “Romneys fall right in line with the work that has been done by sociologists such as Richard Florida, who has developed a cottage industry by studying what he calls “the creative class.” …[S]uccessful, bright creative professionals – perhaps 30 percent of the American workforce – are the ones driving America’s new economy. At the top of Florida’s list of “creativity rankings” is, of course, San Francisco. That’s followed by Austin, Texas, and then San Diego (including La Jolla). … “Citizens there probably would love to experience the kind of boom that Silicon Valley techies have brought to the Bay Area. But it took a creative, open environment for Silicon Valley to grow – the same kind of open environment – full of eccentricities and inventiveness…”

This is a point I’ve been making for some time now.  Conservatives are natural allies of these creative communities, going all the way back to the Florentine Renaissance in Medieval Italy, because creative communities thrive in a setting of protected liberty.  The USA itself became just such a haven, a circumstance that explains our brilliant technological success over the last 150 years.  This is why I am calling the USA the one surviving Renaissance Republic. There is a rich conservative tradition that supports creative freedom and the right to creative intellectual property.  Two of Ayn Rand’s books, The Fountainhead, and the collection of essays about the arts, The Romantic Manifesto, are paeans to creative freedom and the glories of the creative process.


Most of the working inhabitants of Silicon Valley are apolitical, but libertarian in philosophy.  The liberal democrats have courted them like Hollywood celebrities and the conservatives are nowhere to be found.  What an inexcusable failure.  What a blind spot.


Without the right to creative property, creativity dies. The special conditions that our allow freedoms to flourish are essential to our society’s creative capacity.


The founders of the American Experiment understood and participated in the creative awakening of the era.  Jefferson and Franklin were inventors.  The US constitution, even before the Bill of Rights was added, was a completely unique founding document, particularly in that it explicitly provided for the protection of intellectual property.  The founders also understood that creative activities included science, invention, the arts and music.  At the time, the foremost creative communities in the world flourished in Paris.  Within two decades of the American founding, the creative center of the world (seen as a broadband renaissance across several disciplines) had crossed the Atlantic.


The former British colonies in America had become the Renaissance Republic.


Tyrannies and smothering bureaucracies are toxic to creative communities.  Our creative accomplishments, in the arts, sciences and technology are intrinsic values; they are part of the human thirst for achievement and happiness.  Like freedom itself, they are indivisible.


But keeping our creative capacities and communities alive and well is essential to our ability to adapt, survive and thrive against all challenges and threats, known and unknown, anticipated, and unanticipated. Supporting the creative-productive makers and doers against the manipulative and parasitical forces of envy, downward leveling, and political exploitation is an essential part of the creative agenda.


Modern conservatives must always take creativity’s side against bureaucracies and its other enemies.


Creativity requires special conditions that include creative freedom, safety from predators, and the right to have property, especially intellectual property.  As advocates for the Renaissance Republic, we need to pay attention to the creative communities that are close to us, from the art colonies of Brooklyn and Berkeley to the cyber nurseries of Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley… because these are freedom’s natural constituencies.  The casual and cynical exploitation of such (comparatively) innocent creative communities by the left is one of the tragic frauds of the current era.


Note to my creative friends who still think that conservatives are “the enemy”: Hard tyrannies begin with soft tyrannies, but the pattern for both is the same.  First seduce the creative communities, then selectively intimidate, imprison and – if needed – kill the dissidents among them.


The tyrants already know that which many conservatives and freedom-loving liberals have yet to grasp. Those who win over the creative communities will eventually win the game.  Never ever doubt that the creative communities are a natural liberty-constituency. Whenever a modern regime slips into totalitarian excess, its creative communities seek refuge – usually in the USA.  Friendship and affinity can be theoretically claimed, but that only works when demonstrated in the real world using real people in real situations.  That is the task of the modern conservatives within the embattled Renaissance Republic.


Why do the worker bees of the media tend to be progressive liberals? Because the academy has been captured by the left, and history has been re-narrated.   Modern journalists and their handlers are linked to the well-tamed creative communitarians, who in turn have been exploited by the left. This is not a new development. Hitler’s film director-propagandist, Leni Riefenstahl, was the archetypical fallen creative artist who became a Nazi tool.


But even then, for every two creative types who were coopted and enlisted by tyrants, there were eight who refused to play along. The jazz artists of the era were the Nazi’s creative nemeses.  The American music scene of the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s was greatly enriched by European escapees from Nazi Germany and later from Soviet Russia.


The best creative minds of every generation were and are anti-authoritarians. 





A Footnote About



On a scale of one to ten, the pro-life agenda, taken broadly to include a deep moral revulsion of euthanasia, organ harvesting, and so on, is an eight or nine compared with gay marriage, which is, at best, only a two, no matter which side you take.


But, for me, a kid who grew up with or went to school with Jewish friends whose surviving relatives carried Nazi stigmata (the tattooed serial numbers), the son of a father who saw Hitler’s heinous crimes in Germany first-hand (Captain Gaskill accompanied by Lieutenant Cohen)… for me, the terms “never forget” and “never again” are burned into my soul.  For me, the defense of Israel is a 9.8 and the closely-connected goal of preventing of another holocaust is a 9.97.


It should not escape your notice that tiny Israel is one of the most intensely creative communities in the world. As the world’s foremost creative civilization, we cannot stand idly by and watch while Israel is savaged by neo-Medieval enemies armed with modern weapons and Nazi mindsets.


Ah, but the preservation of the USA as a beacon of life-affirming freedom is a ten – because without the USA, the Nazi nightmare, the communist nightmare…or both, could have won out. And without us, here and now, bruised and ambivalent as many of us are, it all goes to hell.


There are other issues, of course, each of which will be the subject of a careful discussion.  But our approach should remain the same –we are the guardians of the overall health of the civilization, of the culture and the preservation of the USA as an example and the beacon of freedom to the world.


Modern conservatives need to ally with other freedom-friendly citizens, however they choose to label or describe themselves, in the larger cause – promoting and expanding the ideal of the Renaissance Republic, of which the USA has been world’s primary exemplar.


Using this expanded context and a more intelligent outreach to recruits among constituencies heretofore neglected by paleo-conservatives, we and our allies will marshal the collective skills, abilities and credibility to move the navigation needle away from the abyss and towards a fruitful more life-affirming, more creative, more liberty-friendly USA.  We will because we must.  Necessity is the mother of determination.


The present moment of “defeat” is our unique opportunity.  Let’s seize it and change the world…one uninformed but receptive mind at a time.



The author is a California lawyer. 

He served as the 7th Public Defender for the County of Alameda, California (headquartered in Oakland) from 1989-1999.

[1] The author’s earlier development of this idea is still posted on-line in two articles: & .




Also by this author – Never Give UP, Part One

And Never Give UP, Part Two



No MORE Funny Money, Please



Jay B Gaskill


We have lived through corrections before, market corrections, bubble-quakes and other scares. We are much deeper in trouble than you may think, even if you are worried about the so called fiscal cliff, but we are probably not heading to collapse because the movers and shakers of the moment actually realize that a full-on collapse is actually possible this time.  Fear wonderfully concentrates the political mind.  So my prediction is for a new kind of correction, call it a once in a century sovereign correction.  But if it is handled correctly, your world won’t end, but most of your discretionary spending will.  If it is handled incorrectly, well, forget my optimism and move to a self-sustaining farm.


On the commercial side of the ledger, all of the productive enterprises and home-based consumers in the USA have collectively been running a net trade deficit with foreign producers and customers since 1976.


On the federal government side, the debt service load is so high that it exceeds the cost of funding several big-ticket, high-value budget items.  Some blend of revenue increases (tax bills will go up for everyone who is actually earning any real money), inflation, and government cutbacks (don’t expect your mail service to improve or any new federal jobs to appear) will be agreed to, because necessity is the mother of bad compromises. Don’t be confused by the spin.  We are being herded into a lower standard of living.  The president’s rhetoric about taxing the rich is just intended to make us feel better about it.  The rich to whom he refers actually don’t have enough money to get us out of this mess. As Michael Tanner of the CATO Institute puts it –


“You can’t hike taxes on the rich enough to balance the budget. President Obama has called for $1.6 trillion in tax hikes over the next ten years. While that is large enough to do serious damage to the economy, it would amount to just 16 percent of the combined deficits that we are projected to face over that period. In fact, the president’s proposed tax hike doesn’t even cover the $2.6 trillion in spending increases that he has called for over the next ten years. Obamacare alone will add $2.15 trillion in federal spending by 2022”.[1]


We are running out of gimmicks and excuses. The net effect of the inevitable reckoning will be less discretionary spending power for 80% of us, a new normal that could last a long time.


By the way, that trade deficit represents thirty four consecutive years of borrowing real money to pay for real goods and services that we do not provide for ourselves, paid with credit that cannot be fully repaid with real goods and services that we hope to provide for others…if they even want them at prices we can afford to charge.


This is real money because our trading partners expect to be repaid with real money that purchases real goods and real services for them. 


Here are some clues:


(Daily Caller February 10, 2012)


“The U.S trade deficit with China today (February 2012) is (was) 28 times larger than it was during the Reagan era, according to new figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That daunting deficit has grown by 18 percent per year since China first entered the World Trade Organization in 2001.


“Census figures now show $103.8 billion in U.S. exports to China during 2011, and $399.3 million in imports, a stunning $295.5 billion difference.”



(Reuters – August 8, 2012)


“The huge U.S. trade deficit with China, fueled by Beijing’s actions to depress the value of its currency, displaced or eliminated more than 2.7 million American jobs between 2001 and 2011, the labor-friendly Economic Policy Institute said on Thursday in its latest look at the issue. The institute estimated that nearly 77 percent, or more than 2.1 million, of the lost jobs were in manufacturing.”


There are many more clues, but there is one tell:  Direct negotiations with the trading partner are required here because real world terms have to be agreed on.  Did you ever hear about direct negotiations with the bondholders and others who are financing our gigantic sovereign debt or our federal government’s insatiable appetite for unfunded spending?  No?  That’s because politically manipulated money for domestic programs is not the same as trading money owed hard-nosed customers.  Economic geniuses like Paul Krugman may argue that the deficit is not a grave concern because we “owe that money to ourselves” and experts of his ideological stripe may pretend that all money is the same, but tell that to the masters of the second largest economy in the world.


A liquor supplier can’t get away with diluting its product and offering it as tender for debts owed to buyers when its customers are the organized crime bosses.  Imagine a consigliore like Krugman who gave a supplier such bad advice.  He might find himself sleeping with the fishes.


Lenders and other customers have other choices.  One way or the other, the various pipers will have to be paid.  If they are paid in diluted currency, our own borrowing costs will go up, our borrowing capacity will increase, prices will rise in response to the dilution of the value of our own money, all this will unfold just as it happened to the banana republics of South America, and to the Weimar Republic of pre-Nazi Germany.


Economists are useful to a point, but in a crunch, give me a smart historian.


We have been living on borrowed time and money for so long that the correction will also take more time than anyone would like to endure.  However the adjustments are spun or disguised, they will result in a lower standard of living for almost everyone you know.  The election of 2016 will be like an angry wake.


England and Japan were locked in a new, dismal normal as a result of similar fiscal problems.  In each case the austerity slump of shared deprivation lasted for more than a decade.  Japan has not yet fully recovered.  England was lucky enough to have a Margaret Thatcher and a North Sea oil boom that finally sparked a real recovery using real money.


Whatever you thought about the candidates in the last election, we did not end up with a Margaret Thatcher in charge. To accomplish what she did will require this president to face down his greenest supporters and engineer a 180 degree turnaround in energy policy.  No, Virginia, we are not Santa Claus.  Yes, Virginia, we do need to sell fossil fuel to foreign customers.  Yes, Virginia, we will be contributing a little more to the CO2 load but not nearly as much as our Chinese brothers and sisters.


IF that happens, IF the American oil, natural gas and coal reserves are opened up, IF that ignites the next real energy boom, you can thank our trading partners who insist on being paid. …or you can thank all the conservative and libertarian economists whose advice has been ignored to date.


A friend of ours owns a family rural property in Oregon that was affected by a natural gas pipeline terminating on the Pacific coast.  A pumping station on the edge of his land will be a noisome nuisance at best.  The entire project was sold to the locals (note that they never had any real choice) on the basis that we would be importing natural gas to fuel our economy.  Not.  It turns out that the pumping station is going to be exporting, not receiving gas.  The tankers on the coast will undoubtedly be Chinese.


As long as we have to repay the Chinese, how about allowing a real energy boom to take hold so the rest of us can prosper?  The industry experts credibly report that the USA could be a net energy exporter within six years and enjoy that status for another two decades, at least[2].  That’s a lot of time to rebuild a damaged productive sector and establish a real economy.  …Especially using real money.





This article was first published on The Policy Think Site {  and one or more of its linked Blogs

Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, attorney at Law

LINKS, Forwards and quotations with attribution are welcome and encouraged.

For everything else, please contact the author via email –





This essay is PART TWO in the Never Give Up series by the author.


PART ONE, The Coming Struggle Over Values, is available at: .


PART THREE, The Missing Link, is scheduled to be released on Wednesday.


The final article, PART FOUR, will recap all the pieces and add new material. That piece begins with these lines-


“Marx was wrong.  History is on our side.


“Citizens of the USA are inheritors of a sovereign legacy like no other.  Our country is a beacon…still.  We are the world’s foremost Renaissance Republic.”



Analysis by

Jay B Gaskill


Sometime in the late 19th and early 20th century, leftists hijacked the term liberal, a term that first applied to those who endorsed free enterprise and open markets. These ideas were a great advance over feudalism, and over royalist mercantilism. Free markets and free exchanges were powerful reformist ideas because any truly free market system is also free from the political power brokers, political favoritism, and from all of the ancient prejudices of race, gender and class. Of course, we’re still living with politically managed markets and enterprises. A truly free marketplace, free of politics and favoritism, has yet to emerge on the world stage, but its approximations, even in communist China, are wildly more successful in advancing the general prosperity than socialist bureaucracies ever were.


Next, the leftists hijacked the term progressive. This was a term that in its original sense described the triumph of scientific and technological progress over superstition and entrenched privilege.  Because science and technology have moved the human population from lives that Hobbes described as  “nasty, brutal and short” into the well fed, civilized lifestyles we now enjoy in the developed West, the term progressive was aptly applied.


But in the hands of the progressive liberals (another term for the post-communist leftists) the original senses of the terms liberal and progressive were corrupted. Actually, the term, leftist comes to us from the British parliament, a comparatively late development, but its deep agenda has a more ancient provenance. The leftists, by whatever name, have always been about the leveling project.  In practice, far more leveling down has been achieved than leveling up.



The wary Australians have an aphorism that captures that process nicely: Try not to be the tall poppy in the field –  they are the first flowers to be cut down. 


The leveling goal has remained a constant, in spite of its changing disguises. Because the impulse to level our fellow humans arises from the natural human tendency to jealousy (condemned, by the way, in the Decalogue – look it up), utopian leveling programs will always be with us.


Here is a working definition of the modern left:


Leftism represents the entire cluster of beliefs and opinions that share two elements: (1) The premise (taken as axiomatic) that human inequalities (whether in talent, achievement, position or circumstance – take your pick) are immoral, and represent the legacy of oppression; (2) the commitment to a comprehensive program to level out these differences, currently being sold as a series of harmless incremental measures.  But all the measures designed by the left to ameliorate or eliminate human inequalities employ the various coercive powers of governments (taxation and regulation) to change human behavior, even to alter human nature itself.  Thus we were presented in the late 19th century with Marx’s vision of a “new Marxist man”, and in the postmodern leftist era, we are faced with attempts to reengineer human nature. Political correctness is social Marxism.


The end product of the left’s agenda, whether pursued gradually or in a coup, is some form of authoritarian socialism.  Socialism never ends well because its necessary control over human economic activities inevitably leads to an ever greater measure of control of all other human endeavors. This is especially damaging because socialist bureaucracies tend to smother the creative, innovative and entrepreneurial spirits among us, upon whose freedom and risk-taking so much of human progress has depended. This is why the authoritarian socialist models degrade over time into stagnation and widely shared poverty.  The innate tendency of socialism to gather increasing control of all aspects of life was eloquently and compellingly exposed by the Austrian economist, Friedrich August von Hayek, in his classic work, “The Road to Serfdom”.  His was a cautionary study that he addressed in an introductory letter to “my fellow socialists”.


By now, we’ve accumulated an impressive number of test cases – Russian and Chinese communism and the German Nazism variant, among them. All are chilling, revealing experiments about true nature of the leveling endgame.  It turns out that the pursuit of equality uber alles has not worked out well in practice for the common people: Dissidents tend to be forcibly equalized or liquidated; party bosses replace the old elites; and life at the bottom begins to include more and more of the population.


So the leftists, starting with the British Fabian socialists, adopted a different strategy.  The socialist dream was to be implemented very gradually, piecemeal, so as not to set off premature opposition, and naively, to avoid the endgame.  But the leftist agenda inexorably leads to outcomes that are neither liberal nor progressive. Those labels were appropriated by the left because corrupting language is a very useful tool, helpful in neutralizing opposition, particularly among the category of well-meaning intellectuals (Lenin described them as “useful idiots”) until it is too late.  Comprehensive political power, once sufficiently consolidated, proves very hard to dislodge.


Here’s the dirty little secret of the modern era: In practice, the left no longer believes that equality is possible, but its leaders do understand that the notion of equal human dignity (a conservative or old-fashioned liberal notion) is actually dangerous to the power brokers because it means ordinary people fully share in decision-making power. I suspect that Marx realized this when he called for a dictatorship of the proletariat (i.e. of the less than equal) while failing to disclose that the proletariat would be subject to the dictatorship by the party bosses.  The wealthy liberal elites in the USA are softer versions of the hardnosed, prosperous party bosses in Russia and China, but they manifest the same levels of self-deception, hubris and hypocrisy.


In this context, modern conservatism, especially as enhanced by the Renaissance perspective I’m introducing in this series of essays, is the standard bearer of the older progressive and liberal legacy and the true wave of the future.





Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

As always, links, forwards and pull quotes with attribution, are welcome and encouraged.  For everything else, please contact the author via email>.



The Coming Political Struggle  Over Core Values

Also posted – 



This may the single most important post-defeat analysis that conservatives, independents and disgruntled, recovering progressives could read in 2012:

Heed these three points above the rest:

(1) Conservatives and centrist Republicans have mistakenly bought into Marxism.  I refer to the Marxist doctrine of economic determinism. This explains Governor Romney’s ill phrased but heartfelt 47% statement and even his post-election comments about Obama’s win and the various economic “gifts” that paved the way to the Democrat victory.  Here is the fallacy: If economic determinism were a law of nature, then the Islamist jihad would have collapsed long ago.  People are not inexorably motivated by economic advantage.  They actually are driven by values, a process that is occasionally distorted by temporary economic considerations. That is why corruption and bribes work.  But our values explain why so many of us are unwilling to sell off our children.

(2) Time honored values define a healthy society. No viable political or reform movement can flout them, marginalize them or attempt to redefine them away without a severe penalty.

(3) The conservatives of both parties still own the values issues.  For example, family values, public safety, and the right to earn and to retain the fruits of one’s earnings, all are strongly associated with the conservative brand, as in the older slogan, G-d, guns, family and country. These were the core values shared by Reagan Republicans and Reagan Democrats.

Even when all the integrity-failures by GOP politicians over the last 40 years are taken into account, one overriding political and cultural reality remains – and it is a thorn in the side of the progressive juggernaut:  The core traditions that contain our most cherished and durable values have been better tended to by the conservatives than by all of the modern and postmodern progressive liberals put together. 

I’ve located two pull quotes that will help us understand the next major political conflict in our country.  They remind us that, while conservatives and their liberty-friendly allies need to adapt, they must only to do so without surrendering their standing as the keepers of our most cherished values.

Pull Quote One: From Values Voters Prevail Again by Christopher Caldwell { }:

This year Democrats’ arguments on values were heard. This was a “values” election as strident as the ones from culture wars past in which Christians marched against subsidies for Mapplethorpe, creationists vied for seats on Kansas school boards, and William Bennett demanded to know where the outrage was. What was different about this year’s culture war is that Republicans lost it. They ran a campaign without any of the abrasive stuff Frank disapproved of. Their presidential candidate lost himself in theories about what motivates “job creators.” Certain senatorial candidates did try to raise cultural issues. Those in Missouri and Indiana showed themselves out of practice.

The values were different, but structurally the outcome was the same one that we have seen decade after decade. Where two candidates argue over values, the public may prefer one to the other. But where only one candidate has values, he wins, whatever those values happen to be. 

Pull Quote Two: From The Real Debate by Yuval Levin

{  }

Simply put, to see our fundamental political divisions as a tug of war between the government and the individual is to accept the progressive premise that individuals and the state are all there is to society. The premise of conservatism has always been, on the contrary, that what matters most about society happens in the space between those two, and that creating, sustaining, and protecting that space is a prime purpose of government. The real debate forced upon us by the Obama years—the underlying disagreement to which the two parties are drawn despite themselves—is in fact about the nature of that intermediate space, and of the mediating institutions that occupy it: the family, civil society, and the private economy.

Progressives in America have always viewed those institutions with suspicion, seeing them as instruments of division, prejudice, and selfishness and seeking to empower the government to rationalize the life of our society by clearing away those vestiges of backwardness and putting in their place public programs and policies motivated by a single, cohesive understanding of the public interest.

Progressive social policy has sought to make the family less essential by providing for basic material needs, particularly for lower-income women with children. It has sought to make civil society less essential by assigning to the state many of the roles formerly played by religious congregations, civic associations, fraternal groups, and charities, especially in providing help to the poor. And progressive economic policy has sought to turn the private economy into an arm of government policy, consolidating key sectors and protecting from competition large corporations that are willing to act as public utilities or to advance policymakers’ priorities.





None of this analysis will amount much of anything without the intelligence to see distinctions, to separate the truly fundamental from the non-essential, and the wit to explain things without sounding like a soapbox preacher or a door-to-door solicitor.

Allow me to focus on just one category for renewed conservative thinking. Among the core values that conservatives have traditionally defended and honored,  is the family.

What, we may ask, might constitute a provisional family value?  Consider the formerly rigid prohibitions against divorce.  Families are damaged by divorce, to be sure, but a no-divorce firewall is not only unworkable, it is often unjust and inhumane. Marriages can die, but families live on. Focus on divorce is provisional.  Family is the bigger deal.

What would then constitute an attack on the family as a core value?  Just think of all the experiments in social engineering, whether well-intentioned or otherwise, and the welfare programs that have had malign social consequences.

Any forthright discussion of the prime example has been censored by political correctness for two decades. Well-intentioned liberals almost destroyed the inner city black family with welfare rules that turned the subset unemployed fathers into detrimental surplus baggage in the family unit, because their presence disqualified the entire family for welfare.  As a result these fathers were forced by welfare mothers to drift away.  Several studies have described the lasting social damage to inner city black family integrity.  Sadly, most Republicans were asleep, or were cowed into a politically correct silence, during this period.

No excuses.  That kind of opportunity lost should never be repeated by conservatives.

Recall Yuri Levin’s earlier point about progressives. “Progressive social policy has sought to make the family less essential by providing for basic material needs, particularly for lower-income women with children. It has sought to make civil society less essential by assigning to the state many of the roles formerly played by religious congregations, civic associations, fraternal groups, and charities, especially in providing help to the poor.”

This is the progressive Achilles heel, or – if conservatives drop the ball – it is the beginning of catastrophic damage to family and community formation in the USA. The bottom line: Values matter. Families matter.

Now, consider as a thought experiment, the reexamination of the gay marriage issue through a different lens – by thinking of it as a. family formation issue.

A family can be defined as the traditional marriage/common parent-based human grouping, in which everyone is genetically and/or legally related. The common thread-that-binds is the classic family’s mutual obligations of loyalty, caring and support that typically survive the dissolution of common living arrangements. Breach of these obligations is condemned particularly as they adversely affect dependents, especially children.

The existence of dysfunctional, fractured families is not an alternative life style, but a failure in human relationships. As family ties break down, the social order is disturbed. 

The core issue is the preservation and health of the family unit.  Some provisional issues concern the personal arrangements can make a sufficient claim to family stature and under what circumstances. Conservatives and old fashioned liberals can reasonably be expected to adapt to less conventional family arrangements but the bedrock features or loyalty and support need to be a constant.

Much of the tension over the gay marriage issue is fueled by the stereotypical images of rampant sexual infidelity among the gay male subgroup, and the accompanying health issues.  As “model gay marriages” are portrayed in the entertainment media, monogamous, caring couples raising adopted children, for example, popular acceptance of gay relationships has warmed.

In the values discussion, conservatives can and should insist on honoring the two-parent, mutual loyalty and support model, with obligations particularly to children that legally survive breakup. In this context modern conservatives can readily accept the legitimacy of same gender households with adopted children. 

But the marriage question will necessarily be treated separately from the legal household-status issues, and conservatives and old fashioned liberals should be prepared to cheerfully agree-to-disagree.  Formal marriage is a sacramental matter for each religious institution to define, recognize or not, and each political jurisdiction to define in alignment with the popular will, honestly discerned.

My personal view is that same gender couples with adopted children need and therefore should have functionally the same legal benefits afforded to heterosexual married parents.  But the additional question – whether and under what circumstances the government should decree that the sanctified title, married, must be applied to all same-gender couples who want it – is so delicate that only local solutions will work. The man-woman marriage model is a very long standing tradition. The whole matter is too freighted with long-standing social and religious tradition for a mere government branch, agency or judicial officer to redefine marriage without the support of a clear popular consensus.  That consensus may or may not emerge everywhere or in any particular decade.  Conservatives and old fashioned liberals should apply a humane, but principled approach to this problem.  Same-gender centered families are entitled to all the legal protection afforded other families, leaving the formal marriage question to cultural evolution and local governments, acting in accordance with the popular consensus, not allowing unelected officials to force the issue.


Much recent post-defeat discussion among the GOP has centered on the so called “demographic problem”. No one seems to have considered this question: Among the various ethnic subgroups that populate large areas of the USA, which two have the strongest family traditions?

If you answered the Asians and the Hispanics, you’ve been paying attention.  That their votes have been temporarily captured by progressive liberals is more a result of conservative / GOP default than any natural “progressive” inclination within these subcultures. Conservatives and old fashioned liberals have more to offer these groups than welfare. Three key phrases come to mind, family values, upward mobility, and individual human dignity.  All are well embedded ingredients of the shared conservative tradition; and all three are threatened by the progressive bureaucracies and the shackles of political correctness.

A final observation: Values aren’t just about opinions; they are about real world connections and behaviors.  I invite you – as I did recently – to stop by the places where and when newly minted US citizens first emerge from their swearing-in ceremonies.  Pay close attention. Who is there to greet them?  Which groups continue to nurture connections and support relationships between political campaigns? Then rethink how you think conservative energies should be redirected over the coming years.  Your country’s future depends on it.



Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

As always, forwards, links and pull quotes with attribution are welcome and encouraged.  For everything else, please contact the author via email at



A Reality Check

Also posted –

By Jay B Gaskill

The hand-wringing American media is still blind to the jihad and its agenda.  Israel has her back to the wall and we worry that they might “start” something?

England slept while the Nazi’s took power in Europe.  Does anyone recall JFK’s first book, Why England Slept? Someday, the story will be finally written about how, why and to what ill effects, the slanted, anti-Israel media succeeded in anesthetizing American liberal opinion to the existential threat to Western civilization posed by the jihad, all in the service of cultural diversity and political correctness.

Hamas is a terrorist organization on a par with al Qaeda, except that it has seized and occupies territory – it controls the Gaza strip within easy rocket distance of Israel.  So much for the cuddly vision of two peaceful states living side by side.

Israel is a civilized Western nation on a par with England, except that is smaller.  The modern state of Israel is just as old as the United States of American was in 1830, but more vulnerable.

We can use the term modern advisedly where Israel is concerned.  With a highly educated population of 7.9 million, Israel is an intensely creative and productive country whose high tech sector enjoys a record of useful, world class technological innovation that, like the biblical David who fought goliath, far exceeds its size.

Israel is a stable democracy that honors free speech and religious practice.  Muslim Arabs serve in Israel’s parliament.  The converse is not true anywhere among its Islamic neighbors.

Israel has more scientists and engineers, proportional to its population, than any other country —145 for every 10,000 people.  Israel has raised more venture capital investment than any European country by a margin of 20 percent. Using innovations, measured as patents per capita, the top world rankings are [1] the United States, [2] Japan, [3] Switzerland, [4] Finland, and [5] Israel. Don’t even bother to look for Egypt, Pakistan or Iran.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, visited Israel recently and said: “I’ve arrived to Israel, the high-tech country…. … Israel’s high-tech industries are among the global leaders…. I’m energized and inspired by Israel’s innovative capabilities….”

Based on our shared values, a shared commitment to freedom and our own cherished history (President Harry Truman and the United Nations sanctioned the founding of the modern Israeli state in 1948), Israel is one of us.

Bear in mind that the Israeli left-liberal wing is just as firm on their country’s right and duty to defend the homeland against deadly attacks as the right-conservative wing is.  The men and women of the Israeli left are just as humanitarian and freethinking as any stateside liberal democrat, but they are hawks.

Israel has pursued a two state solution in good faith, while its neighbors have not – preferring a one state solution on the same terms Germany offered its Jews.  Reasonable people of good will cannot expect a developed, western democracy to commit suicide just to please uninformed liberal opinion in the USA.

The Arab Spring has turned out to be the “Springtime for Jihad”.  The bloody, anti-Semitic parallels with the Nazism of the 1930’s are chilling.  The entire region is being taken over by Muslim extremists in various disguises or none at all.  Egypt is now a covert jihad ally. Jordan may fall next.

Meantime, Anti-Zionist, drive-Israel-into-the-sea, ideologues have been shelling Israeli territory with Qassam rockets since 2001. Hamas has dramatically escalated the attacks, selected more sensitive targets and upgraded the rockets.  How much shelling would we put up with?

When we hear of “only” 10 Israeli men, women and children dying or getting seriously wounded in a single jihad attack, or only a few hundred thousand families huddling in bomb shelters, bear in mind the population difference.  Israel has 8 million to our 315 million. {For perspective, keep in mind that 6 million innocent people died in the holocaust.} To appreciate the scale of the threat to little Israel, losing 10 innocent civilians in an attack is like losing 315 Americans in a single missile strike near Washington DC.

Hamas has recklessly crossed the line by bombing in urban Israel.

Israel has no choice.


Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

As always, forwards pull quotes with attribution, and links are welcome and encouraged.  For everything else, please contact the author via email



By Jay B Gaskill

Also posted at —

I misjudged the popular vote because I failed to notice that there were faint signs of an economic recovery, just sufficient to trigger a small surge of allegiance to the current governing clique.

Romney was sadly prophetic when he opined that 47 percent of the electorate is significantly dependent on government and that we are close to a dependency tipping point. I paraphrase that comment, but that was the core idea.

When almost everything economic is politically determined (or seems to be), people are afraid to change politics in midstream.

The final outcome in the popular vote was roughly 50% to 48%. The latest available raw numbers are roughly – Obama, 60 million; and Romney, 57.4 million.

The community organizers who worked the very effective Obama turnout campaign overcame the Obama enthusiasm gap with gritty, traditional door-to-door, phone-to-phone work.  In this context, for “community organizers” we can substitute the more descriptive term, interest group wranglers.

The democratic coalition consists of a web of micro-constituencies that share just one significant common circumstance: Their lives are so deeply entangled with the web of government benefits, penalties and permissions that, for them, politics is all about getting their share as members of an interest group.  The recent voting majority of Americans consisted of this large plurality plus the remaining two of three percent who could be herded into line via fear and manipulation.  The herding is always much easier to accomplish in times of economic uncertainty.

The key to the election outcome, particularly in the swing states, was that, just under the radar, propelled by a chemistry of wishful thinking and small hints like a tiny revival of the real estate market, there was a sense that finally, finally, a small recovery is actually under way.  I hope that is actually the case.

I wrote months ago that this election will be about trauma, trust and turnaround.  The faint hints of a post-traumatic turnaround restored just enough trust in Obama that, combined with the relentless trust-undermining attacks on Romney, brought an additional percent or two of the original Obama coalition back into the fold.

In life and politics timing is everything.

The Romney camp’s strategic errors and the Obama camp’s strategic genius were integral to the conservative and progressive views of human nature: Camp Romney inspired and informed their supporters and trusted them to act; while Camp Obama gathered their supporters and herded them to the polls.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining.  This lining is steel.  We need to steel ourselves to face the truth: The fundamentals have not gone away.  The progressive program of spreading the wealth has arrived at its crunch point, because real wealth cannot sustain profligate borrowing and fiat money creation forever without a reckoning. There are pending consequences. Realism, even when purchased at a painful price, is nevertheless a good thing.  I’ve been reminding us that whoever is sworn in as president in January will be forced to deal with an epic economic and fiscal crisis, analogous to fixing a broken aircraft engine while in flight.  All of the real solutions will be unpopular.

Mr. Romney has been spared a great deal of grief.  Mr. Obama cannot get through the next three years without suffering a great deal of public anger.  Be careful what you wish for, Mr. President.

This is what I see as the deeper emotional force operating at the moment.  It consists of one part foreboding, one part denial.  I think that most Americans, liberals included, have always realized on some deep, often unexamined, level that we’ve been living on borrowed time, and that austerity, cutbacks and more forms of fiscal unpleasantness will confront us very soon: Yes, we will be forced to pay the piper.  Fairly or unfairly, Mr. Romney has symbolized the stern Dad for many, while Mr. Obama was the kind Mom.  If we must be disciplined, it appears that most voting Americans would rather let Mommy do it.

We are living in interesting times.

Pray for America, her president, the congress and all the rest of our leaders.  Pray for realism, charity and common sense.  Pray that the games are over.


Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Forwards, links and attributed pull quotes are welcome and encouraged.  For everything else, please contact the author via e-mail at




THE Postlude

A Premature Political Perspective


Jay B Gaskill, attorney at law


As posted on The Policy Think Site –

SUPPOSE that Mr. Obama loses[1] Tuesday (as I personally believe he will). Whether the loss is just in the popular vote or also in the Electoral College, not every registered democrat will be disappointed.  Among the relieved will be Hillary Clinton.

This election was remarkably free of racial and religious prejudice.  Ah, but honesty was in very short supply, particularly among prospective voters talking to pollsters, and pollsters who assigned unrealistic weighting models to their raw data: Both of these groups knew or strongly suspected that the outcome of their actions would be to exaggerate the incumbent president’s standing.

So…let’s skip the recriminations (on either side)…please.

The larger lesson for traditional liberals and old fashioned democrats is straightforward enough. Progressive liberalism always fails without a balancing principle, whether that is understood as conservatism, common sense, or the sobering examples of all the earlier utopian failures. 

Mr. Obama screwed up as POTUS because he lived inside a social and ideological bubble, one that he brought with him into the White House. And, yes, he has displayed an unhealthy narcissistic streak, a product of the unearned adulation heaped on him by leftist activists who hoped to use him.  Narcissists do not govern well because they find it too painful to compromise and become bitter and vindictive when defeated. I wish Mr. Obama well in his recovery (whether from victory or defeat).

I believe that when the junior Senator from Illinois entered the 2008 democratic presidential primary, it was to be a trial run, to get a new name in play for a future serious run for the presidency.   This was like the puppy who chases the car, then accidentally catches it.

At the critical moments of success, Mr. Obama found himself surrounded by small-bore staff support, few of whom had ever stepped onto the national stage.  But his timing was dramatically perfect.  Hillary was still a bit overshadowed by Bill; McCain was a national security candidate with almost no domestic economic policy cred; and when the country’s grand mal credit seizure struck, Obama was in…ready or not.

Shortly after winning the election, the new president snagged a number of Wall Street types, men who knew much more about the markets than the president, but very little about the business sector, and who couldn’t always agree with each other.

Thereafter Mr. Obama took the health care utopia ball and ran with it as if there was no tomorrow, no opposing team to deal with, and no limits to his ability to make change happen.

And it may well turn out that there was to be no tomorrow… for his agenda.

So here we are.

Please vote your conscience.

…And stay tuned.


 Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill

Contact the author via e-mail at

[1] Today, Monday, the two most respected polls, Gallup and Rasmussen, show that the Romney tilt has returned. And Michael Barone (18 years at US News and Report, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute) has gone out “on a limb” and predicted a Romney victory. . My own take, Governor Romney will win the popular vote, and if he wins either Ohio or Pennsylvania, he’ll be the next president.


Who Wins Tuesday – Turnout is Fair Play


Commentary by

Jay B Gaskill


We have never lived in a pure democracy.

Just stop and contemplate a system in which 100% voting is mandatory, and there are no checks and balances against a runaway temporary majority that decides to end some essential freedoms.  That is hardly an unprecedented scenario in modern world history.  Even Hitler managed a majority…once.  This sort of thing reminds us is our constitution cannot be amended by a simple vote of the Congress.

We live in a republic in which the levers of executive and legislative power potentially are in the control of an absolute majority of all voters, but actually are in the hands of those voters who are sufficiently concerned at any particular juncture in history to get involved. The indifferent ones are self-disenfranchised. We might term this state of affairs, an oligarchy of the concerned.

After the Sandy Event on the East Coast and some presidential-looking photo ops, the POTUS polls have tightened up to within the margin of error.   There are no adequate polling models for what is about to take place on Tuesday.  Center-right turnout was depressed in 2008, while the enthusiastic left turned out hordes of voters who had never before graced a polling place.  So what about Tuesday?  There are persuasive indications that the reverse will take place.

Yes, this election may be a close thing, but two elements, operating in concert, still suggest a Romney victory in the popular vote on Tuesday, to wit: (1) This is a referendum on the Obama presidency; (2) The center-right is awakened and motivated as in no election before Nixon-McGovern in 1972.

Sunday’s Rasmussen Poll (less volatile and traditionally more predictive than the others) puts presidential race in a dead heat – outcome unpredictable.[1] But Rasmussen’s weighting model (which is based on a more realistic turnout average than the other polls) has not yet added-in the greatly enhanced center-right turnout (GOP, independents and conservative Democrats) that the Gallup organization recently detected.  If this turnout differential proves to be the real deal, it will exceed the center-right turnout levels in any of the last four presidential races.

If it is real, this will be the hidden surge that swamps the incumbent. And if it happens (sorry, this author’s crystal ball is out of service), we will surely hear complaints that the longed-for left-inspired turnout was somehow suppressed.  That and the inevitable allegations of unfairness simply will not be true.  Suppressed? Depressed would be a better term.  After all, turnout is fair play.

At the risk of sounding like Peggy Noonan or Camille Paglia, appearances do matter.  Romney looks confident and ready to lead, while Obama looks petulant and ready to cry.  Paglia, a liberal, recently made this telling observation: “Romney is an affable, successful businessman whose skills seem well-suited to this particular moment of economic crisis. Hence I want to use my vote[2] to make a statement about my unhappiness with the Democratic Party and the direction it has taken.”


Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at law

As always, forwards, links and pull quotes are welcome and encouraged. For everything else, please contact the author via e-mail

[1] Sunday, November 04, 2012 The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows the race tied with President Obama and Mitt Romney each attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide. One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, and another one percent (1%) remains undecided.


[2] No, she hasn’t gone conservative. Ms. Paglia is voting Green.


Political Commentary

By Jay B Gaskill

“The economy added 171,000 jobs in October, and unemployment inched up to 7.9%, from 7.8% in September, the Labor Department said Friday.” CNN Money on 11-2-12

Also posted on The Policy Think Site at this LINK:


Unemployment Up


…And it’s over.  Hopefully a long period of responsible governance follows.

It is now much too late for any October surprise to matter.  POTUS could invade Iran to no effect.  He can’t redo the Bin Laden raid.  He can’t redo the economy.  He can’t redo the last 3 and 3/4th years.

One measure of the intractability of the Obama sag is the secret consensus of political observers that even a slight drop in the unemployment rate would not avert the Obama popularity hemorrhage, and that an uptick would only accelerate it.  Today’s unemployment uptick was not good news for the Obama campaign.  Nor was the anemic hiring number, nominally up, but well below the number needed to keep ahead of the population growth-driven arrival of new job-seekers.

Mr. Obama had a good long run, before and after the Democratic convention, to set out a positive and credible agenda for recovery and prosperity in the next term. Instead, he fell into a trap (one reportedly urged on him by the Clintons) to spend millions of dollars and precious weeks running a negative campaign against the former Massachusetts governor. Having fired blanks, having squandered all those weeks, he’s stuck with photo ops in front of listless crowds and the vain hope that a cadre of community organizers will work the 2008 magic for him.

The problem is that it was magic, the kind of smoke and mirrors that, when exposed, leaves the audience cranky and resentful.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist, a Hoover scholar, a third generation Californian who remains a democrat in the old tradition, has nailed it.  Check out his latest essay at this link:

Here’s the pull quote:

“A common theme of classic American tales such as The Rainmaker, Elmer Gantry, The Music Man, and The Wizard of Oz is popular anger unleashed at Pied Piper–like messiahs who once hypnotized the masses with promises of grandeur.

“The bamboozled people rarely fault their own gullibility for their swooning over hope-and-change banalities, but rather, once sober, turn with fury on the itinerant messiahs who made them look so foolish. In other words, it is not just the economy, foreign policy, poor debating skills, or a so-so campaign that now plagues Obama, but the growing public perception that voters were had in 2008 and that it now is okay — even cool — to no longer believe in him.”

— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of the recently released The End of Sparta

D’ accord. I would only add that, no, it’s not over until it’s over, particularly in light of the winner-take-all Electoral College system and its ability to diverge from the popular vote.  Whatever that outcome, the verdict of a majority of the American people will almost certainly be, “Nice try, Mr. President.  So sorry, but we have just voted to let you go.”


Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law (except for the Victor Davis Hanson passage, separately copyrighted and reproduced here under the fair use doctrine)

Forwards, links and quotations with attribution are welcome and encouraged.  For everything else, please contact the author via e-mail  .