The Consequences of Putting America Last…

Only two months ago I wrote about how we need to start standing up for our country and its interests instead of constantly tearing it down. How we need to start taking a harder stance against unfair and biased criticism of America, the deconstruction of American values in society and the family, the divisions pitting one group against another, telling us to feel ashamed of our country’s history, as well as being pushovers on the world stage. The problem with this America-bashing attitude is that these so called popular opinions aren’t solely confined to the classroom, or the ivory towers, or some magazine’s latest opinion piece, but have real tangible consequences.

Just look at the latest popular opinion is that we deserve to be pushed around by other countries due to something we did in the past that was wrong, or others didn’t agree with. For example, the open borders policy. Now, anyone can just come here and demand all the benefits of a social safety net without even becoming a US citizen! You’re not allowed to say illegal, which they are according to their immigration status, but “undocumented” instead conferring some legitimacy to their draining resources that our citizens need. Heaven forbid you express any concerns with not giving background checks potentially letting criminals through! If you complain, you’re a racist and xenophobe, and are told America deserves this influx of illegal immigrants due to its policies with Mexico and other Latin American countries. Another example going abroad is how we’re supposedly expected to contribute more to other countries’ needs. Instead of pulling their fair share, other nations are getting away with profiting off deals we make with them then getting the blame if we don’t contribute what was more than enough. By labeling us as colonialist oppressors, apparently it means anyone can do anything to us and we can’t complain! Standing up for our values? Oppression! Having a strong military? Oppression! Having national pride? Oppression! and so on…

A disturbing trend is some even believe that we deserved to suffer the 9/11 attacks! That due to our policies over in the Middle East thousands of Americans, innocent people, deserved to die! Furthermore, that we shouldn’t have taken any action to stop terrorism over there so it wouldn’t come back here. We treat those who hate our values and the West with kid gloves; always afraid to speak up in fear of offending them and being called racist, intolerant, or xenophobic. It’s no longer okay to “see something, say something” in fear of being labeled a bigot. When terror attacks happen, we can no longer teach who did it and why, instead we are told to emphasize how wrong it is to hold any communities accountable. In essence, it’s no different than the victim blaming the Left loves to condemn when it suits them! We “asked for it” when we’re attacked, it’s never the fault of the terrorists or the community who turns a blind eye and even is complicit in their deeds.

The consequences of this line of thinking? Just look at the most recent insanity over in Afghanistan! Under Biden’s watch, if you could call it that, Afghanistan has fallen back into the hands of the Taliban! The world now sees us as weak again. Pushovers more eager to self flagellate over a microaggression and be concerned with how many genders there are than advocating for our own interests on the world stage. Our enemies and competition can smell our lack of national self esteem literally an ocean and several continents away! Unlike Trump, who was diplomatic yet assertive

May be an image of ‎text that says '‎Taliban's new arsenal Equipment 22,174 Humvee 8,000 trucks 634 MI1I7 162,043 radios 155 MxxPro mine-proof vehicles 16,035 night vision goggles/devices 169 M113 armoured personnel carriers ه 358,530 assault rifles 42,000 pick-up trucks and SUVs 26.295 pistols 64,363 machine guns Source: US Government Accounting Office (GAO) 176 artillery pieces‎'‎

with nations like Russia, China, and even North Korea, and also spoke with the Taliban and signed a peace deal, Biden has caved into the Taliban’s every whim! He’s treating a terrorist group like they actually are the legitimate government over there instead of the petty stone age insurgents they are.

Most appalling of all, he abandoned AMERICANS in Afghanistan to the mercy of those tyrants! That’s right: US citizens who he should make his first duty as leader of this country to protect. If a nation can’t even fulfill its most basic duty, to protect its own people, how can it look itself in the mirror as a country? How can Biden for that matter? Plane after plane was filled up with Afghans fleeing to America, but no spots left for those with US passports! How are we so sure some aren’t Taliban members who want to take a firmer hold over here? In your communities! If you dare say anything about that, you’re told to shut up! To add to the horrors, the 13 who served and died in the bombing in Kabul never had to. It wasn’t just poor luck in an inherently hazardous job, the Pentagon knew about the attack beforehand yet did nothing to take out the bomber or evacuate. It gets better: the Taliban has been left with a whole arsenal of planes, helicopters, bombs, rockets, guns etc. of the finest quality since we left! I assume it won’t be collecting much dust… The Left’s excuse is that Biden was cleaning up Trump’s mess. Seriously? We heard nothing like this during Trump’s presidency, then in under a year of Biden being in office the Taliban has taken over and Americans are left at their mercy. How is this putting America first? More like utterly last!

By denying our country’s greatness, its values, and our rights to be the first to benefit from all its resources, this is the consequence. Terrorism gets free reign and Americans get literally left behind. Our enemies see us as weak pushovers. Our society which is encouraged to denounce traditional values and raise a generation of whining snowflakes who melt at microaggressions and bias incidents and emasculated young men has led to a weaker military less able to defend. Those 13 men and women stepped up and put their country first and did their duty until the end. They were braver than the so called leaders in the Pentagon and even our president. While young people their ages are in academia lapping up the Left’s propaganda wreaking the country, whining over microaggressions, those young men and women, just kids really, chose to be a defender and protector. It’s because of those like them our country can stay great. Because of their leaders’ incompetence, negligence and complacency they paid the ultimate price. The consequences in this case of putting America last aren’t just a tragedy, but an atrocity. When we stand up for America we also stand up for them. We can never bring them back, but we can make sure the country they gave their lives for is put first!

A.F. Branco for Aug 17, 2021 | The Grenada Star

The Land of The “Free”: The True Cost of Free Stuff

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs…”

Some of you may already know where this famous quote comes from and who wrote it, but for those who aren’t familiar with it and its context, I want you to ponder its meaning. It sounds pretty straightforward: Those who can contribute more resources should and the resources should be given to those most in need of them. On its face it sounds like a great way of running a community, however have you thought deeper into the implications and perhaps unintended consequences of such a policy? How much should people be obligated to contribute to wider society? What types of resources should be given to the collective whole? Labor? Materials? Food supplies? Healthcare? Shelter? Do those who give get compensation for their output or not and if so, how much is fair? Who gets to receive this bounty of whatever is given by those who are able to give? What exactly makes one eligible to receive it? Perhaps more importantly yet more abstractly, is it fair that some can get with little effort what others must work hard for? Just because someone has a harder time acquiring some resource for themselves, does it mean they shouldn’t have to put in equal effort into getting it as someone who puts in great effort and is able to obtain more of it?

If it hasn’t been clear by now, the person who this quote is attributed to none other than Karl Marx. Yes, the one and only communist “revolutionary”. In Marx’s vision, society would collectively provide for the needs of everyone and there wouldn’t be social inequalities. However, communism in practice rather than theory in countries such as Russia, Venezuela, Cuba etc… has only led to turmoil, unrest and drastic shortages of the very resources this ideology claims to distribute equitably so that there would be no shortages! People flee in droves from countries with Marxist policies including the quote above. A great case study being how badly East Germans wanted to go escape to West Germany. One country, yet divided with two different social policies and everyone wanted to go to the non-communist side! Countries with communist and socialist policies overall are plagued by shortages of resources such as food/water, clothes and other goods, materials, decent shelter, healthcare and more!

So what does this have to do with the United States since technically we aren’t a communist country? We have a capitalist system, yet this is often highly criticized as being too cut throat and sink or swim in nature to serve everyone. We also do in fact, collectively give to certain resources such as taxpayer money funding infrastructure such as roads and the upkeep of public spaces, public schools, emergency services as well as resources such as social security, welfare, food stamps etc. However there are privatized industries here too, including healthcare, private schools, housing, higher education, supermarket chains, and businesses that cater to one’s every need or whim. Some of these privatized industries many argue, ought to be collectively funded and given for free to everyone like in other countries. For example, Canada and many European countries have free healthcare paid for by everyone’s tax contributions. Same for higher education in many other countries. Many countries have paid maternity leave for far longer than America. People cite inequalities and obstacles to getting these resources here, and say we ought to be like those nations and all our problems would be solved. The grass may not be greener on the other side though…

Have you ever heard the phase “too good to be true”? Something sounds really cool and the best part is, there are no strings attached and yet, it would be incredibly naïve to think that there wasn’t a catch! When we think of the word free, we tend to think this means there is literally no cost involved in acquiring something. Free samples are just handed out at no charge to you in the supermarket. Free items like those dinky office supplies are given out at a career fair. You can just take whatever you find in the free box at a yard sale. So why not then, wouldn’t that apply to “free” healthcare, higher education, food, shelter etc? Well, doesn’t it still require labor and resources to make these a reality? Imagine how many moving parts and people it takes to smoothly run a large hospital, or University. How many hours of labor and manpower does it take to grow food then distribute it nationwide? How much do materials cost to build houses as well as hours of labor to build them? Should those who are able to work hard to give us these incredible resources do it with no compensation for themselves? Would it be remotely fair to ask people to do it for free? To give the raw materials for free? Their expertise they had to get at a cost to them? Case and point is, these so called free resources aren’t truly free! So then the question becomes, who’s paying?

Most often, it’s YOU! You’re paying for these free resources out of your own tax dollars. You might pay into a collective system that isn’t even relevant to your own needs while another benefits but doesn’t pay a cent for it! You may not ever need welfare, but have put your blood, sweat and tears figuratively or even literally, into providing a decent home for your family yet have to also foot the bill for another family’s home who hadn’t even put in a fraction of the effort you have to get it. While some people have a genuine need for resources such as welfare, or food stamps, and work hard to get off both, the system as it stands is ripe for abuse and freeloading. Why put in effort to have what is easily given to you for free? The Left’s perfect excuse for giving out these resources like candy is that since shelter is a basic need, it therefore must be an indisputable human right, justifying others footing the bill! Since it’s a human right to have a decent place to live, people are entitled to live in a neighborhood or a house you worked all your life to be able to barely afford. The homeless put in fancy hotels in some cities are living in suites you saved years to spend a night or two with your family for a luxury vacation. They may need shelter, but do they need the king sized bed, panoramic view, and the jacuzzi that goes with the room? People need food and water, yet is it fair you have to pay a large grocery bill each week and your water bill and some don’t? Some may argue that you have the privilege to afford these things so you shouldn’t be so selfish to think others who aren’t able should struggle. However, who said it was easy to budget to put food on your own table? Do these detractors look at your pay stubs and your grocery bills? What about the fact you hold down a job you may not like to afford these and the other guy is getting food stamps off welfare? Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean that was easy for you! Are equal outcomes fair when unequal effort was put into getting it?

The other possibility of who picks up the tab for all this free stuff is even scarier: The government. Our tax dollars go to certain things in our countries and locally, however the government then uses these funds in any way they see fit. Take the free healthcare systems of Canada and Europe for examples. Everyone can get medical care without having an astronomical hospital bill, or get a life saving medicine free of the sometimes outrageous prices in this country! Sounds great, right? Something many would be happy to contribute to as we all will need healthcare at some point in our lives. The catch is, he who pays, makes the rules! You need an important treatment or surgery? Make sure you’re eligible to meet the government’s criteria for a priority case such as your age, SES, race (yes, even if they’ll never admit it!) sex etc… Note I never mentioned anything about an actual clinical need for prioritizing your case! Heaven forbid you’re medically complex and old enough to just be quietly “ignored” and left to die! Your end of life care might come sooner than you wanted! If you’re a white middle aged male who needs a life saving bypass surgery don’t be surprised if your surgery is pushed out to squeeze in the “marginalized” patient with a similar issue but less medically urgent need. Free access to a limited resource will still produce unequal access, only difference is the buyer can pick and choose who gets it and who doesn’t according to any social agenda they choose! Maybe that hospital bill doesn’t look so bad if it means being able to choose the healthcare right for your needs over whether or not your case is politically favorable…

Another case is something we currently have now: Public schools. The government controls public schools and look where that leaves us: Brainwashing our kids with only one “desirable” view of the country, pitting one race against another, denying clear science over sex and gender, rewriting history to suit their narrative and teaching them to see their own parents as backwards if they don’t subscribe to what the school teaches them. Compared to private schools, public schools have lower test scores and less academic rigor overall. There are better student/teacher ratios, smaller class sizes, more individualized instruction, more resources for learning, a greater variety of class subjects offered, greater networking opportunities, and more. Not that some private schools aren’t teaching radical Left leaning propaganda too as many are sadly, but overall you will find a better environment for your children than public can offer. Sadly many families can’t afford private, and I myself went to public k-12, but the point is, the option is out there and one can see the sad state government run schools are in. If the point is equal access to a great education, why not put more effort into creating a better public system?

A final point to bring up aside from the strings that are indeed attached to the so called “free” resources is not only the financial cost of their upkeep, but also the ethical and moral costs. What is equitable is not always fair. As asked earlier, is it fair for someone to get easily what someone else worked several times harder to get? Is it fair another person can live in the same neighborhood on welfare you saved decades to be able to afford to live in due to some zoning law about subsidized housing requirements? Is it fair you work hard at a job you wish to leave but can’t to put cheaper groceries on your family’s table while someone on food stamps can cheat the system and buy luxury brands, or afford their booze and cigarettes but claim they can’t feed their children so they get on food stamps while an injured veteran and his family are pushed to the back of the line? Poverty may equalize, but not all circumstances that get one there are equal…

Also, much of it is subjective, there is no objective standard to differentiate true needs from wants. For example, take coverage of certain medications. Insulin, a lifesaving drug for those with diabetes is astronomically priced and for many, a matter of life and death to be able to afford and access. Rightfully, many are pushing back against the corrupt pharmaceutical industry that grossly inflates prices of many essential medicines. However, Narcan, used to stop opioid overdoses is given out for free at most pharmacies! While it can be considered lifesaving due to its function, is it in the same ethical category as access to insulin? Sure, addicts deserve a second chance to get clean, but those with diabetes never chose to put something in their bodies that would directly create the problem! Addiction may alter one’s brain chemistry, but it started with the choice to use drugs. So why then is a drug like insulin not free yet Narcan is handed out to anyone who asks?! Another example is many women now demand free birth control. While some use it for other conditions than contraception, if all you need it for is to not get pregnant then you’re using it for a lifestyle choice, not a medical need. If you want to have an active sex life that’s your business and no one else’s, but don’t expect me to subsidize your lifestyle by paying for an elective drug. Same goes for anything that there is no clinical need for, but one chooses to do for their own reasons. (The benefit of private healthcare is you CAN make those choices 😉 ) What about those with deeply held moral objections paying for things they find repugnant? Those who deeply oppose abortion and view it as the moral equivalent to infanticide don’t want to pay for what they see as funding murder. If people who deeply opposed war in the past called for being conscientious objectors to being drafted then is there a way to opt out of paying for something one finds morally objectionable?

Lastly, there are unintended consequences of some of these decisions to provide collective free things. Take the free COVID vaccine. The government paid for it and distributes it- to whoever they deem politically desirable! This meant it was given first in “marginalized” communities as a priority, yet it turned out many didn’t want it and didn’t show up to get one. The vaccines can only be out for so long before going bad so it meant thousands were wasted and unusable! If they were given to areas with higher demand for the vaccine they could have used those doses rather than wasted that resource. However, it was seen as more politically correct to give it to the inner city rather than suburbia yet demand might have been higher in the latter area. The result: Thousands of doses WASTED!!!

There’s another saying: Freedom isn’t free… Well neither is “free” stuff!

The Nanny Nation.  Can I have my allowance? And some lunch money? The car needs gas too.  My student loan payment is due.  Oh, and Im a little behind on my mortgage.

The “Lived Experience” of The Ideological Minority…

The Left loves to talk about the idea of the “lived experience” of their chosen special interest groups. As you might guess, one’s “lived experience” is just that: life experience. Specifically though for the Left, one’s oppressed experience! To bring up your lived experience is to recount the ways in which you feel you were microaggressed, or worse. For an example, someone in a minority group saying they feel alienated and isolated and that no one around them can relate to their life struggles in a majority-group environment.

Of course, from a Leftist view, this feeling of alienation and isolation in one’s lived experience is due to white people, and white males more specifically! However, believe it or not, any minority group can feel somewhat alone when others take for granted that not everyone feels and thinks as they do. This especially is true for one of the most overlooked types of minority groups: Ideological minorities. An incident from my college days resonated deeply for me as it made my ideological minority status stand out like a sore thumb.

Like many colleges, the one I went to has new “woke” diversity goals and training for students and faculty. There were complaints at my comparatively moderate school about a lack of diversity as well as feelings of being in the out-group by students and faculty of color. This surprised me in that I always felt my school to be a welcoming and inclusive environment, and was not the exclusionary hot spot it was accused of being. Never the less, the school took these allegations seriously and instituted even more aggressive diversity reforms as they genuinely did not want anyone to feel left out. Of course, the limitations of the new woke diversity agendas in general, are that they bring a substantial risk of stifling free academic speech and can come off as infallible edicts handed down from above, not to be questioned or critiqued. To my even greater surprise, a few faculty members and students wrote their own letter critiquing the college’s diversity plans. This letter merely said that those who wrote it were in favor of increasing diversity at the school, but felt the way it was being done was problematic in that it stifled free academic speech and forbid ideas against their narrative. I can’t show you the one I reference, as I don’t want to reveal specific identities of those involved on either side, but I’m sure others have written similar statements and got denounced just as much.

For this ideological heresy, many faculty and students reacted as if the letter’s contents were arguing for a whites only campus and KKK rallies! Calls for solidarity and emotional support as well as a space to “debrief” from the letter were emailed out to students. To many Left leaning students and professors, the letter critiquing the college’s position on their diversity initiatives was deeply upsetting, even traumatic. Honestly, I bet most never even read the letter in its entirety and only skimmed it before joining the chorus of outrage. They seemed to make a straw-man argument claiming those who wrote the letter were against diversity as a whole, not merely the approach to which it is done.

This story is old news of course, for many who have been in academia and experienced similar instances of collective outrage, but the magnitude of the outrage and grief was a bit of a shock coming from a more moderate school. So why was this mainly typical college experience so resonating for me? Let’s start with the e-mail sent out to all of campus and alumni. In it, it said that people were there for emotional support and that you (as in the reader) probably had a lot of feelings of outrage, hurt, anger and shock for some choice words. It also said resources were available for anyone needing to “debrief” after reading the letter. For those on the Left, this probably came as a welcoming reassurance, but they assumed everyone felt as they did.

When I read that e-mail, I too felt a sense of shock and confusion, but for opposite reasons. The “enemies” of this incident were the ones I cheered on, not denounced as the rest presumably did. I admired the courage it took for those who signed their names to that letter, as each risked their personal and professional reputations and the reaction from the rest of campus confirmed that. In reading the “official” reaction to the letter, I felt isolated, alienated and in the out-group. The inclusivity my school purported to foster did not reach me and anyone else who agreed with the points contained within the letter, or maybe simply could tolerate reading a view different from their own. The implicit message in all this: If you don’t denounce the views in that letter, you don’t belong in our “diverse” community.

If your opinions align with the majority opinion, it is easy to take for granted what it is like to feel accepted and affirmed. To get a sense of how isolating this can be, imagine yourself in a position where you admire a person everyone else denounces. What others are lamenting about as an issue you see as a solution. Not only that, those who think like you are not only wrong, but immoral! Imagine also, that you felt there was no one “safe” to open up to in expressing your views. How do you react when what supposedly makes everyone else feel self righteous “hurt, anger and grief” is what makes you feel relieved that others do think like you?

I don’t understand how so many honestly felt threatened by the mere statement of another perspective on an issue. The letter never argued for abolishing diversity, or claiming it to be non-important. It suggested that diversity initiatives could be done better another way than the current way. How is this different from the diversity committee having members who agree on the overall goals but quibble over how to best implement them? Even so, just because some people wrote a letter to the school doesn’t mean they’ll get their way! So what was so traumatic about it that it required “debriefing”? To me, it seems far more problematic to assume minority students and faculty are so fragile, so vulnerable that the mere critique of a viewpoint is enough to be considered emotionally traumatizing. Talk about condescension and infantilization!

A professional way to have handled a proposal they disagreed with would be to have simply said something along the lines of “we carefully considered your points and value your input, however we decided to move forward with our own plans as we feel they best suit our needs due to A, B and C, etc…”. I guess I can understand why they didn’t though: That would make them have to actually craft arguments to support their agendas and not just throw around buzz words and slogans.

I know by choosing to not think in lock step with the Left, I’ll experience many more instances like these where I am ideologically on the outs, but sometimes specific events stand out and make the sting of isolation feel fresh again. I don’t regret choosing to become an ideological minority in an increasingly Leftist society, as a mind free to think wherever reason leads it is a far greater reward than superficial acceptance. However I am also human, and sometimes, I need to be reassured that I’m not alone in being an ideological minority. That is my “lived experience”.

What’s been your “lived experience” in having a minority viewpoint? Please share in the comments!