Patterico's Pontifications


Moderate Tillis Wins GOP Primary in North Carolina; Lefties Still Say He’s Too Conservative

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:39 am

According to Politico, Thom Tillis is the electable moderate in North Carolina, and his victory signals the primacy of electability in GOP primary voters’ minds:

The North Carolina results are a strong indication that the GOP rank and file is undergoing a shift from prioritizing purity to prizing victory. Just like D.C. strategists, voters watched Akin and Richard Mourdock blow it in 2012 and didn’t want a repeat this year.

Tillis had the backing of blue-chip surrogates like Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, and he rounded up endorsements from the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life. The candidate and groups supporting him argued repeatedly that he was the one candidate who could beat Hagan.

“They fear Tillis the most,” says a poster in his Charlotte-area campaign office, with pictures of President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Hagan.

So: is Tillis’s win a disaster for small-government conservatives? Erick Erickson said: “For conservatives, Thom Tillis was the worst possible outcome in North Carolina. Backed by Crossroads and the Chamber, Tillis will not back free markets and small government to the extent either of his other major competitors would.” That’s too bad. But Erickson donated to Tillis, because he sees Tillis as a major improvement over the Democrat.

And when Greg Sargent starts wringing his hands over Tillis’s Scary Conservatism, I feel a smile growing on my face. This was written yesterday, before Tillis’s primary victory:

Control of the Senate, the prognosticators tell us, could come down to North Carolina. If GOP establishment favorite Thom Tillis clears 40 percent today and avoids a runoff – as seems likely — we’ll be hearing a great deal about how Republicans vanquished destructive elements within the party and emerged with the strongest and most “moderate” opponent against vulnerable Dem Senator Kay Hagan.

So it’s worth pointing out that Tillis comes with vulnerabilities of his own. For one thing, whatever his relative moderation when compared with his primary opponents, he appears to be a diehard 47 percenter.

On Hardball last night, Chris Matthews featured video of Tillis — previously captured by a local North Carolina group — in which Tillis’ 47 percenter-ism was on full display.

In it, Tillis said we have to “divide and conquer” those on public assistance, by getting those who really need it — the sick — to turn on and look down at those who “choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government.” Speaking of that latter category, Tillis added: “At some point, you’re on your own. We may end up taking care of those babies, but we’re not going to take care of you.”

He said what?!?!?!?!

If these sorts of quotes are the thing that is supposed to scare us, scare away! Here is the video featured by Sargent. It’s fun to watch a guy utter common-sense statements and then watch lefties freak out over them:

Teaching Liberty to Kids

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 am

Just because we don’t want government to do it, doesn’t mean we don’t want it done:

Socialism, like the old policy from which it emanates, confounds Government and society. And so, every time we object to a thing being done by Government, it concludes that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of education by the State—then we are against education altogether. We object to a State religion—then we would have no religion at all. We object to an equality which is brought about by the State then we are against equality, etc., etc. They might as well accuse us of wishing men not to eat, because we object to the cultivation of corn by the State.

That wonderful passage is from Frederic Bastiat’s short book The Law, which you can read for free here. Writing in 1850, Bastiat made a principled case that government should be limited to the common defense — banding together to defend ourselves against enemies from without and within. By contrast, taking property from one person to give to another is “plunder” — albeit “legal plunder.” It should not be allowed, as it tramples on a person’s freedoms.

The idea is that government does not have the right to do things that are immoral for individuals to do. We all have the right to self-defense, and so we have the right to come together to make that self-defense more effective. But, as popular a character as Robin Hood might be, nobody has the right to rob from the rich to give to the poor — and so, neither should government.

Bastiat’s definition of “plunder” is not confined to social welfare programs, by the way. He objects (as I do) to other forms of government coercion which have the effect of taking from one party and giving to another. These include tariffs, slavery, progressive taxation, free public schools, and labor laws.

One issue that arises when someone believes in limited government is: how do I teach this to children? Well, someone has come along and turned “The Law” into a kids’ book, complete with illustrations and a greatly condensed and simplified text. I have not read the book yet, but I did order it here, and look forward to giving it to my kids and discussing it with them. It is part of a new series featuring “The Tuttle Twins,” who learn about limited government and the free market. It is geared towards ages 6 to 11, but I plan to have both my 11-year-old and my 14-year-old read it.

They get enough statist claptrap from the state-run schools. If they’re going to get anything else, it will have to be at home.

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