It’s Time for Pure, Unfettered Capitalism to Take on Climate Change

From The Guardian:

2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change.

The final data for 2016 was released on Wednesday by the three key agencies – the UK Met Office and Nasa and Noaa in the US – and showed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century.

At this point, the only argument one can make against Global Warming’s existence is that it’s actually the most successful high-level worldwide conspiracy ever conducted. I’ve seen no real evidence to support that claim, so I will not entertain it. Global Warming is real.

As you’ve likely heard, something like 97% of scientists agree that Global Warming is taking place and that humans have had some kind of impact on bringing it about. To what extent human beings have caused Global Warming is largely unknown, and the 97% statistic does not indicate scientists’ beliefs regarding this question in any way, shape, or form. More importantly, there is no consensus on what the overall impact of Global Warming will be or on how to stop it, not that science operates on a consensus basis anyway.

Democratic, Progressive, and Socialist politicians, pundits, and ideologues have a major conflict of interest when it comes to this issue, as do Conservatives, Libertarians, Capitalists, and the like. The former always vouch for increased centralized authority over the economy and means of production to accomplish their goals. They cannot be trusted to solve environmental issues as their agenda will lead them towards wanting more control and more authority over the environment regardless of the circumstances. The latter are the opposite. As free marketers are inclined to support more and more privatization of land and the means of production, less governmental control over the environment will always be something they side with. This is why people like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton have zero credibility in climate-related debates. Just as an oil company wants fewer regulations, so they can maximize profits, the aforementioned politicians want more regulations, so they can maximize power and control of the economy. The same goes for Republicans who deny or dismiss Global Warming altogether, as acknowledging its existence opens up a conversation that could result in increased governmental power and control over the environment. This is antithetical to the goals of the political right, so they are just as untrustworthy as the left.

Before Donald Trump’s election, debate and discussion regarding Climate Change and Global Warming were being severely undermined. Those on the left in the most influential country on Earth had been in power for nearly a decade with Barack Obama occupying the throne of the presidency. They used this power to stifle dissent against their climate consensus by saying “the science is settled” (a completely ridiculous statement, as science is tasked with the responsibility of challenging all “settled” beliefs and theories in search of the most accurate truths). They also dismissed opposition, whether radical refusals to acknowledge the issue at all or alternative solutions and theories that open up the discussion as Climate Denial, as willful ignorance akin to Holocaust denial. As a result, few people are able to have a well-informed discussion on Climate related issues. The leftist appeal to authority and the public shaming of diverse ideas has stupefied the public and made them fearful of challenging the status quo in the same way the subjects of a Theocracy tremble beneath the shadow of the Church.

While I have my disagreements with Trump on a wide range of issues, I am overjoyed by the possibility of finally beginning the Climate Change conversation. Trump’s election has emancipated those of us who do not think global governmental takeover is the right approach when it comes to mitigating the effects of Global Warming.

While I’m not exactly sure how many people are interested in my opinion on how best to overcome the threat of Climate Change, I have one, and I’d like to share it with you:

The first step towards overcoming this challenge is acknowledging that we do not control the Earth’s climate. Our planet has rotated through eras of such great concentrations of oxygen that dragonflies had to grow to the size of seagulls to survive being poisoned by it. It has been chilled to such a degree that all the oceans were frozen over, causing our home to resemble a snowball. The Earth hasn’t even always had land above sea level.

Let these facts serve as a guiding light towards the winning attitude of Climate Nihilism. We have no control over the climate, and, as former Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson once said, eventually the Earth will be engulfed by the sun, and life will no longer exist. Since that’s the inevitable future, let’s focus on the present and make sure those of us who have been blessed with the incredible opportunity to be alive are allowed to do so in the happiest and most prosperous ways.

Those who hear this argument often retort by saying something along the lines of so you think we should allow greedy, Capitalistic fossil fuel corporations to poison the air and water for their own personal gain? Aside from the fact that there is nothing to gain from poisoning the air and water, mandating a clean environment is not the same as trying to control the climate. Pollution and Climate Change are separate issues. Carbon emissions, believed to be the greatest man-made contributor to Global Warming, are not pollution. Carbon Dioxide is an invisible, odorless gas. In high concentrations, it can increase the surrounding temperatures, but it doesn’t make air or water dirty. This is important to understand when you are being fed pro-climate-action propaganda. Proponents of climate hysteria will sneakily (or maybe ignorantly) bait-and-switch between Global Warming talk and images of polluted cities in China or waterways in India when the two are wholly unrelated. It’s like saying you shouldn’t eat trans-fat and showing you images of the Killing Fields in Cambodia.

Issues of pollution, such as the prevalence of plastics in our oceans, can be better controlled, and we can probably do that better and more efficiently than the government ever could. It would be a great moment in human history if many of us decided to take a little time out to remove the garbage polluting our seas, and we should be proactive and optimistic about making that happen. A nihilistic attitude towards a cleaner and more hospitable natural world is misguided. But picking up trash won’t lower the average annual temperature of the Earth.

The second step is taking a look at human history. Before fossil fuels were used on a mass scale, the Earth was populated by roughly a billion people. It took millions of years for us to get to that point. Fossil fuels and the accompanying industrial revolution allowed humanity to increase our size sevenfold in barely 100 years. Not only did our population experience massive gains, our quality of life did too. Poverty, hunger, and infant mortality rates have been greatly diminished, and life expectancy has improved mightily. With the amount of food, medicinal, energy, and technological production and innovation that has been achieved via fossil fuel use, it’s not hard to put the pieces together. Our lives are longer, healthier, and easier than our ancestors’ were, and an enormous chunk, if not all, of the gratitude goes to the power of life-giving coal, oil, and gas.

As far as the contemporary state of humanity goes, nations and regions are essentially living in different stages of anthropological history. The developed world (U.S., Europe, Japan, etc.) enjoys the highest quality of life by nearly every metric. It’s no coincidence that these were the first nations to obtain economic and personal freedom and to, as the phrase suggests, develop. The developing or third world is still working on getting established in many regards, but, mostly thanks to free trade and relatively greater economic and personal freedoms, has made major strides.

It is important to recognize that the first world’s standard of living being higher than that of the third world is not due to imperialism or other historic ills. We were freer to produce, purchase, and use goods, namely fossil fuels, sooner, so we were able to advance earlier. The third world is catching up, and we must cheer their use of affordable and abundant energy to better themselves, not sneer at it.

Something else we should ponder is the rate of childbirth in the developing world compared to the first world. There is an unbelievably clear correlation between greater poverty and higher birth rates. The nations with the highest birth rates are almost exclusively African and deeply impoverished while the nations with the lowest birth rates are the wealthiest nations in the world.

I am not concerned with overpopulation, and few agendas I could ever imagine are darker than eugenics or social engineering. But I am concerned with poverty and peoples’ ability to climb out of it, or their lack thereof. It is theorized that poorer populations have more children because they have an innate sense telling them that with each child, they have a better chance at having a successful one. Parents with no resources to provide do not have the means to invest heavily in one child. Instead, they play the odds, and hope that at least one of their offspring will find a way to accomplish what one might call The American Dream and carry on the family’s legacy.

Rich parents do have the means to invest heavily in their kids. Even if their children lack exceptional intelligence, beauty, or raw talent, parents can spend their time and money to develop their kids in every way. Having more kids means divvying up resources and harming the first and second children’s chances at success with each ensuing birth. Raising few kids is the way to go for the upper classes.

With increased access to fossil fuels, as well as other first world discoveries like vaccines, GMOs, pesticides, contraception, and more, families in the poorest parts of the world can improve their quality of life in the same way we have. Armed with better, faster, more efficient, and cheaper energy, the third world can join us in our place in the sun.

This brings us to the third and most important step: the promotion and legalization of a fair and free all-of-the-above energy policy. From coal, oil, and gas to wind, solar, and biofuel to hydroelectric and nuclear fission, we should be producing, refining, and marketing all the energy we can. The red tape and subsidies need to be sliced, and the free market must be allowed to run its course. We need to know the real costs of developing and consuming each source of power, so a laissez faire system that allows each industry to compete for customers is the right approach.

With more and more affordable energy, it will become easier and cheaper to develop safer and better forms of energy. As you may have figured out already, wind power doesn’t build farms, and solar power doesn’t create solar panels. Traditional fossil fuels are essential to the creation of alternative forms of energy. The same logic applies to the development of medicines, advanced transportation, infrastructure that can protect us from a potentially hostile climate, and every other unthought-of consumer good and commodity waiting to be produced.

In the end, if solar wins out, great. If coal makes a resurgence, that’s great too. Since we have already acknowledged that the climate is out of our hands, a race to enhanced global wealth must be our top priority and is the only long-term solution to preserving our planet and species’ existence for as long as possible. We can make the planet’s inevitable death miserable, bossy, and slow for the planet’s only metacognitive inhabitants, or we can make it fun and full of achievement for ourselves and our posterity.

The last step is to adjust your own behavior without the threat of violent government force. There is a great profusion of tweaks we can make to our own lives to mitigate our impact on the planet. Obviously, making sure you dispose of your trash properly and preserving and reusing resources can help a great deal. There are also less evident lifestyle changes we can make like eating less beef. Cows require more land and food relative to the amount of meat they produce when compared to pigs and chickens. If you normally eat beef four or five times per week, scaling your intake back to two or three times can signal to the farming industry that you want them to switch from cattle to poultry.

If you can afford it, it’s a solid idea to drive a hybrid or electric car or install solar panels on your roof. Riding a bike to work won’t hurt either.

Lastly, I think the young adults of today have a tremendous responsibility. We must raise future generations in a way that prepares them for a changing world. Making sure they understand that the economy is rapidly evolving is vital. They cannot grow up thinking that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up and live on easy street as our generation was often told.

We don’t determine what environment we are born into or how it will change.. We just determine what we can do with the one we have.

It’s Time for Pure, Unfettered Capitalism to Take on Climate Change

11 Bold Predictions for the Trump Years

Donald J. Trump will become the 45th president of the United States of America in a matter of hours. His proponents are enamored while his opponents are in hysterics.

Personally, I’m just happy Barack Obama will be out of office soon. The state of our economy, our foreign affairs, and our societal cohesion fall on Obama’s shoulders in many ways, and it’s time for a change. My delight at Obama’s departure is causing me to see the world’s future through rose-colored goggles, and I admit to being overly dismissive of the dangers Trump presents. However, the dangers presented by the left, which is in its death throes after losing all global power with Trump’s election and the Brexit, are more menacing in my opinion. So, it’s lesser-of-two-evils optimism for me.

I think making bold predictions is generally unwise, but I’m going to make a few anyway. Here it goes:

  1. If Donald Trump reverses his anti-free-trade agenda (or has simply been lying about it this whole time) and follows through on every other promise he’s made, both good and bad, the net result will be, as Trump would say, great. His greatest achievements will be in the economy and foreign relations. If Trump actually brings about protectionist policies, we will be on the road to Fascism or Communism, and our liberties and prosperity will hang in the balance until and long after he leaves office.
  2. Trump will not run for reelection in 2020 if things go well. He will endorse a more Libertarian and less populist Republican (most likely a woman), and that candidate will become president. If things go poorly, Trump will stay in power and retain the presidency through terrible means.
  3. Border security may be increased, but the Great Wall of Trump will never be built. Either way, illegal immigration will become less of a problem regardless of policy.
  4. Barack Obama will disappear. History will not treat him well.
  5. Trump’s opponents will tire themselves out sooner than later. Some will get on board with the administration; many will revert to apathy.
  6. Race relations will improve, and inner-city communities will take steps in the right direction.
  7. The national debt will not be addressed, but spending will either decrease or increase at a reduced rate.
  8. Climate Change will no longer be discussed regularly in the mainstream.
  9. Alternative media outlets will continue to rise, and mainstream media outlets will falter.
  10. Political Correctness will go by the wayside, and Conservative voices and points of view will become more commonplace in the media, arts, and academia.
  11. Millennial Americans will be the greatest parents the world has ever known, and will begin to raise American history’s best and brightest generation. Some of the children of Millennial Americans will walk on the moon and Mars, but that comes after 2020.

I’ll pull this up and see how I did in four years.

11 Bold Predictions for the Trump Years

The Sober, Reasonable, Non-Partisan Case for Calling Barack Obama the Worst President in Recent American History

To start, I’ll be honest and say that I do not have the depth of knowledge one would need to determine which presidents are better or worse than others. I am a novice at best in this realm, and the following assertions and opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. I’m a layman of presidential history (and all history for that matter) at a very generous best.

I’ll also let you know that I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, the first two presidential elections I was of age to participate in. I was fairly excited at the thought of Obama as president the first time around, and begrudgingly decided to cast a ballot for him in 2012 after Ron Paul was knocked out of the GOP race. I regret voting for Obama, but am not exactly tormented over voting against John McCain and Mitt Romney, McCain in particular. If I could go back, I’d cast a ballot for the Libertarian Party nominee each time.

Having said all that, I believe there is empirical evidence and intuitive reasoning one can follow to determine that Barack Obama may be the worst president in recent American history. By recent, I mean the past hundred years or so, and by worst, I mean the worst of a great many who have kept America on top of the world for decades. As I critique Obama throughout the ensuing piece, it should be kept in mind that I in no way believe America is on the verge of collapse, and I acknowledge that life is still good in the USA. Even if I’m right about Obama’s ineptitude, these are failings only in a relative sense, and have not led to some sort of American apocalypse. America has yet to have a Stalin, Hitler, or Mao, and I see no room for debate there.

Lastly, having reread the ensuing list of Obama’s failings and thinking about 9/11, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, No Child Left Behind, the TSA, NSA wiretapping, the Patriot Act, ethanol fuel promotion, and a true doubling of the debt, I’m beyond comfortable saying George W. Bush was ultimately worse than Obama. But clearing a bar that low should not give our outgoing president solace.

The Obamaconomy

  1. Nowhere to Grow

There is no doubt that Obama walked into a real challenge economically when he was inaugurated in 2008. Just a few months earlier, the housing bubble burst, and a global recession as bad as any since the Great Depression took hold (though it should be kept in mind that our material quality of life is so tremendous that the relative consequences were benign compared to 1929). It’s certainly understandable that Obama wound up presiding over some tough economic times, and there is likely very little he and Congress could have done to radically change that.

However, booms typically follow busts. The workforce catches up to advancements in technology, and investors figure out where the economy is headed. The result should be major growth that throttles the economy back towards homeostasis and beyond. This did not happen under Obama. Many have called his recovery the worst in American history, and it’s not an outlandish claim. While the deceptive unemployment rate has returned to pre-recession levels, the workforce participation rate is at its lowest in decades.

The most telling statistic is the primary one used to judge a nation’s economic achievement: GDP growth rate. Since the Great Depression ended, there have been twenty-two years in which the USA’s GDP growth was below 5%. Seven of those years (about a third) occurred with Obama in the White House (and 2016 will likely be his eighth). Even if we forgive Obama for his first and worst year, 2009, average GDP growth has been a meager 3.8% during his time in office. This is a uniquely low number, especially when considering the amount of money our government has spent to stimulate the economy in those same years (more on that next).

After adjusting for inflation, it can also be stated that Obama has not had a rate of 3% GDP growth, which essentially tells the same story.

To be perfectly honest, I do not believe presidents should bear much of the blame or get much of the credit for a nation’s financial situation. Aside from instances of radical policy change (like the Sanders-ian disaster currently taking place in Venezuela), the market basically does what it does. Obama has certainly been a regulatory hawk, and that has stifled wealth creation. But it has not been so severe that we missed out on some kind of pot of gold; no serious person imagines GDP growth would have been 10% per year with Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich in office.

Nevertheless, if we dissociate Obama from our GDP growth, we must do the same for all presidents across the board. If not, Obama goes down as an anomaly of economic stagnation in our otherwise prosperous history.

  1. Debt End

If Obama had simply failed to generate a great deal of wealth during his time as president, equating him with our worst presidents would be going a bit overboard, particularly following the aforementioned recession. But not only have we not become much richer as a nation, we have also established an inconceivable colossus of likely permanent debt.

Nearly $8 trillion of the $20 trillion we owe has been accumulated under Obama’s watch.

To be fair, George W. Bush oversaw a near doubling of the debt too. But on the contrary, while I’m confident in saying it was a mistake that solidifies him as the true worst president in recent history, Bush was authorized to go to war twice after September 11th, the worst terrorist attack in American history. Those wars are still unpaid for and were not cheap (not to mention the egregious and unnecessary loss of human life). But at least we (we being Hillary Clinton and a voting majority in Congress), along with much of the international community, believed that invading Iraq and Afghanistan was in our best interest.

Policies enacted under Ronald Reagan also resulted in huge deficits and, at the time, unprecedented levels of total public debt (excluding WWII). The difference between Obama and Reagan in this regard is that GDP growth during the Reagan years averaged nearly 8% (twice as high as the Obama years), and we managed to rebuild our military to boot. The military has, arguably, been downsized under Obama.

Our total public debt currently stands at nearly $20 trillion. That number is too big to elicit an appropriate reaction because our brains aren’t complex enough to comprehend such figures. Our deficits add roughly another half trillion dollars every year, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This problem will not be going away any time soon (if ever).

And to counter the president’s claim that he lowered the deficit, keep in mind that he lowered it from his trillion-dollar-plus deficits from 2009-2012. These were the highest in our history.

From an economics standpoint, Obama’s legacy is combining unimaginable debt with historically-unparalleled stagnation. It’s damning, and it should put him in the running for worst American president from the get-go.

From Nobel to No-Peace

  1. Endless War

Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize the year he was elected. He promised “hope” and “change” and, more specifically, an end to our wars and the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

The Nobel Prize commission might want a Mulligan on their 2009 selection.

While the press doesn’t mention it very often, Barack Obama is the first American president to be at war throughout his entire two-term stint in office. He surpasses Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, George W. Bush, Lyndon Johnson, and all the rest in this arena.

It must be noted that Obama’s wars have not been exceptionally deadly or dangerous to our men and women in uniform. The number of American personnel overseas is drastically lower than it was when he was elected, and we rarely see our compatriots brought home in Old-Glory-draped coffins anymore, something that all Americans should be happy about.

What makes Obama’s military record suspect is how vigorously he swore to end our wars during his campaigns. He failed to stop the violence and betrayed his base, though I believe they were set on forgiving him from the start.

Guantanamo Bay remains operational, too.

  1. Unauthorized War

Regardless of how civil Obama’s wars have been, he has not followed the separation of powers established in our Constitution.

It may well be the case that our military actions against ISIS have not only been essential, but even wildly successful, to the Obama administration’s credit. But the commander-in-chief is not supposed to have the authority to attack a foreign body without a formal declaration of war from Congress. The president is only supposed to command the military when Congress gives consent. This is how a system of checks and balances intends to prevent our presidents from becoming kings.

Many Obama supporters would argue that the president is trustworthy, competent, and level-headed enough to handle enhanced executive duties, and that they trust his judgment enough to allow him to go it alone. The problem for all of us is that these sorts of actions pave the way for his successors to do the same, and that will be Donald Trump as of next week.

  1. The Rise of ISIS

Speaking of ISIS, it’s hard to deny at this point that Obama is, at least in part, the unintentional creator of the radical Islamic group. He is not literally their founder, as Donald Trump has brashly asserted, but his actions seem to have jumpstarted the Jihadist militants.

Against the advice of many experts, Obama (sort of) ended the war in Iraq, and left the newly Democratic state to its own devices. To everyone’s chagrin, removing our troops created a power vacuum that was briskly filled by Al Qaeda on steroids.

For the past several years, ISIS has committed weekly acts of terror by bombing, firing upon, and driving over unsuspecting civilians throughout and outside the Middle East and slaughtering innocents within their so-called Caliphate.

The icing on the cake is that Obama, in an unwise attempt to support the rebels in their uprising against Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad, armed ISIS with American weapons himself. What was supposed to be a helping hand to foster Democracy into a highly undemocratic place turned out to be an unintentional invigoration of one of the most heinous terrorist groups the world has ever known. His initial support of going to war with the rebels against Assad may have given them the courage to forge such a hard-fought and deadly battle over the course of so many years. It can be speculated that a less vocal approach could have prevented the emboldening of the rebels and ended the campaign far sooner.

Rather than the president of hope and change, Obama will go down as just another man in a suit on our conveyor belt of war-mongering heads of the executive branch.

  1. O-Bomber

The number is seven.

That’s how many nations our Nobel Peace Prize winning president has dropped bombs on. The list is comprised of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and Syria.

For juxtaposition, George W. Bush only bombed four countries.

To be fair, these nations are not exactly our best pals, and perhaps the bombing campaigns were necessary and made the world a safer place. But when a politician rides a wave of peace, love, and understanding to the Oval Office, you have to question his sincerity, true mission, or at least ability to accomplish his stated mission, especially when over 26,000 bombs are dropped on his watch during his final year in office.

  1. Droning On

Through his presidency, President Obama has ordered drone strikes that have killed nearly 2,500 individuals. These were by-and-large terrorists and other enemy combatants, but at least 60 and up to over 100 of them were non-military. If the highest estimates are accurate, nearly one in twenty droned by Obama were civilians.

Obama has also killed American citizens via drone strikes, and these individuals, while likely traitors and threats to the US, died without their constitutionally guaranteed due process of law.

Our presidents can now kill Americans with drones without giving them a fair trial.

Thanks, Obama.

Obama vs. The Constitution

  1. Pressed Freedom

When Reporters without Borders released their first Word Press Freedom Index, the United States ranked 17th. Considering the first Rights Americans are born with include the freedom to publish information for public viewing, this should have been concerning fourteen years ago.

Under Barack Obama, the United States press has fallen to the 41st freest in the world circa 2016.

The main reasons for the low ranking under Obama are his administration’s persecution of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

The Obama administration was also caught collecting the phone records of Associated Press reporters without a warrant. This violates both the First and Fourth Amendments.

  1. Supreme Court Smackdown

Historically, the government has a roughly 60% win percentage in Supreme Court cases. President Obama, a former lecturer of constitutional law, has won just 45% of his.

For perspective, George W. Bush won the average 60% of his cases and Bill Clinton was three percent better.

What’s especially embarrassing for the outgoing president is his number of 9-0 losses. Bush and Clinton lost unanimously in the Supreme Court 30 and 31 times respectively. Obama suffered 44 shutout defeats. Not only does this show that Obama’s proportion of wins and losses is messy, but his total losses and the spread of those losses are abysmal too.

Failure to Communicate

  1. Racial Divide

The American people on the whole proved that being Black in America is no longer a serious burden by electing Barack Obama to head the executive branch… twice. What would have been unheard of several decades earlier became something to shrug one’s shoulders at. Obama’s race has never mattered to any noteworthy portion of the American public.

While dreams of a post-racial America seemed to have been realized, race relations have turned sour towards the end of Obama’s reign.

The most obvious example of resurgence in racial segregation and distrust is the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. While it’s hard to pin the group down due to its lack of organization, the uniting message of BLM is police reform. Although only a tiny portion of cop-on-black killings have been deemed unjustified, the narrative of young, unarmed black men being gunned down in the streets by cops has persisted throughout much of Obama’s second term.

Race is now everywhere. Movies, media, social media, academia, and the rest are saturated with cries of racism, reverse racism, and overall inequality. It is not as easy to measure race relations as it is to measure a budget deficit, but 61% of Americans of all races believe that Obama has tried but failed to address racial issues adequately, made race issues worse, or not addressed them enough at all.

That fact that none of us wants this must be the hardest pill to swallow for President Obama.

  1. No Leaving in London

President Obama, famous for his diplomacy with foreign allies, traveled to the UK to appear alongside then Prime Minister David Cameron to try and convince the British people to vote to “remain” a member state of the European Union. He explained that should they vote to “leave”, the Brits were going to wind up “at the back of the queue” (queue being the British version of line) on trade deals with the US.

Although polls projected the British to side with Obama throughout the referendum debate, they ultimately wound up voting to “leave”.

  1. Decimated Democrats

Obama’s political losses did not only occur abroad. Back home, the Democratic Party lost a whopping 1,042 seats in state legislatures, governorships, and Congress through his eight years in office. These are not appointed officials, but elected officials voted on by the people of the United States.

Even if we give the benefit of the doubt and say Americans essentially approve of Barack Obama, his leadership was not enough to convince them to support his ilk to represent them.

  1. Rising Murder Rates

I do not believe it is the president’s job to prevent murders or individual crimes at all. That is not in the constitutional job description, and it does not make much sense to put all of this on Barack Obama.

But if we are simply looking at the state of affairs in Obama’s America, an uptick in murders cannot be ignored.

In 2015, murder rates rose for the first time since 2008 and at a pace not seen in 25 years. In 2016, the rates jumped again, although the exact data is not yet known.

What exactly does this say about Obama’s policies and leadership? It’s hard to tell. But more Americans killing each other is not a legacy any president would want to leave behind.

  1. The Populist Uprising

What is Obama’s true legacy? Above all, it is Donald Trump.

This is nearly identical to the way Barack Obama’s election was largely a response to the failings of George W. Bush. Bush led us to war; Obama promised us peace. Bush left our economy in tatters; Obama promised to rebuild it. Bush gave tax cuts to the rich; Obama pronounced they would soon pay their fair share. Bush was a rich, white, uncultured son of a president; Obama was a well-traveled, half-African son of a single mom.

For every contradiction Obama represented to Bush, Donald Trump has an additional ten divergent qualities compared to Obama. The president-elect will now claim the throne the current president procured from a different but equal kind of oppositional force.

Not only is Trump’s rise a signal of the disdain so many Americans feel for the 44th president’s performance, Bernie Sanders’ run at the Democratic nomination let us know that millions of Americans believe Obama did not go far enough. Sanders had no intention of stabilizing Obama’s America and preserving his legacy as Hillary Clinton would have. The Vermont Senator created a movement to overthrow the status quo.

In the end, 66 million Americans voted for Hillary Clinton to, for the most part, carry the Obama torch for another four years. But 69 million Americans voted for Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Evan McMullin. If we, in a not-so-scientific experiment, take Bernie Sanders’ 13 million primary votes from Clinton and add them to the opposition (minus the million who voted for the more Sanders-ian Stein), we might be able to conjecture that only 53 million Americans voted for more Obama while 81 million voted for substantial change.

Throughout this analysis, I have attempted to remain as non-partisan as possible, though I am aware that my biases are still present. Financial woes, violence, lawlessness, and social/political failures are generally disliked by us all.

Liberals may be upset that marijuana remains a Schedule 1 narcotic, that no firearm restriction laws have been passed, that no immigration reforms have been achieved, and that Obamacare is likely to be repealed soon. Conservatives may be upset at Obama for federally banning access to over half a billion acres of land, for entering the Paris Climate and Iran Nuclear Deals, for allowing Russia to win in both Syria and Crimea, for presiding over the birth of marriage equality, and much, much more.

What is most notable about Obama’s record, outside the partisan gains in environmental protection, is its utter lack of meaningful improvement or accomplishment at all. It’s easy to say that America is better off at the end of eight years because of the recession taking place when Obama took office, but recessions have happened, and life has gone on in the past too. I guess one can only ask oneself whether things have gotten better or worse with Barack Obama as president. Sadly, only history books that are out of our hands and our interpretations will tell.

The Sober, Reasonable, Non-Partisan Case for Calling Barack Obama the Worst President in Recent American History

The Chicago Kidnapping Shouldn’t Be Considered a Hate Crime because We Shouldn’t Acknowledge Hate Crimes

A group of young people appear to have kidnapped another young man and tortured him. The suspects reference the victim’s race and alleged support for a recently elected politician as they assault him and force him to drink toilet water, kiss the floor, and repeat several phrases. All of this appears to have been done at knifepoint. The attack was broadcast live on Facebook, and the victim is mentally challenged.

The Chicago Police Department has declined to presume that this act was motivated by race or political ideology as of yet, although many on social media are screaming for it to be investigated as such.

According to my understanding of hate crimes and what I saw with my own two eyes in several video clips floating around the internet, the criminal act perpetrated could indeed be considered a hate crime.

But according to my moral compass, it should not be. This is because there should be no such thing as a hate crime at all, and I have two main reasons for this. The first is that convicting criminals based on their racial or ideological motivation embodies the same violation as committing a crime based on someone’s race or ideology. Like the eye-for-an-eye justice system of old, using discrimination to fight discrimination is hypocritical and barbaric. We are individuals, not members of subjective social groups. And neither our beliefs nor our physical features (nor those of our victims) should excuse or exaggerate our unwarranted acts of violence. If a man kills another man because he hates his success, he is a murderer. If he kills another man because he hates that man’s skin color, he is a murderer too. The particular motivation one has for harming his fellow man is irrelevant. If we want people to treat others as equals regardless of what pointless category they fall under, we should start at the authoritarian levels of government and police by abolishing the legal legitimacy of hate crimes.

The second reason is that hate is not a crime. Hate is your right. You are free to love the Red Sox and hate the Yankees. You are free to love chocolate and hate vanilla. You are free to love Rihanna and hate Beyoncé. And you are free to love Bernie Sanders and hate Donald Trump. You are also free to feel nothing or have mixed feelings about anything previously mentioned.

Associating an emotion, something humans should not be expected to control or encouraged to suppress, with a criminal act is on par with the thought policing of George Orwell’s 1984. While thoughts and feelings are not the same, both generally come to us involuntarily. We can choose to sit down and think about something, and we can stimulate our emotions as actors do when filming dramatic scenes. But for the most part, what pops in your head or your heart is not up to you. The world around us arouses our thoughts and feelings. If we see a malnourished puppy, we feel sad. If we smell a favorite stew, we remember our grandmother’s house where we used to eat it. The world comes first. We just react to it.

While racist thoughts and feelings and the like are deplorable, they are not criminal. We cannot be held accountable for that which we cannot control, and we can never be held accountable for our thoughts or feelings as depraved and misplaced as they may be. It is our actions that we must be expected to control. And that is why a racist crime is no better and no worse than a crime of a non-racist variety. It is the action, not the accompanying thought or feeling that violates another man’s rights.

If one assaults another and references his shirt, and one assaults another and references his eye shape, two equal assaults have been committed.

If one vandalizes the property of another and leaves swastikas behind, and one vandalizes the property of another and leaves nothing behind, two equal acts of property damage have been committed.

If one becomes enraged and kills another because of his preferred flavor of ice cream, and one becomes enraged and kills another because of his preferred sexual partner, two equal acts of murder have been committed.

Let’s stop policing undesirable thoughts, so we can do a better job of policing inhumane actions.

The Chicago Kidnapping Shouldn’t Be Considered a Hate Crime because We Shouldn’t Acknowledge Hate Crimes