SubscribeStar Saturday: ICE Raids a Good Start

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

The sweeping ICE raids announced some time ago finally seem to be bearing fruit.  The big news earlier this week was of the raids of multiple food processing plants in Mississippi, resulting in 680 detainees—the biggest haul since 2008.

It’s a start—a good one—but it’s only that.  President Trump argues that the raids will act as a deterrent to future illegal immigration.  I think he’s correct—to an extent.

The larger question, though, is how effective of a deterrent will this raid be?

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.


Box Wine Aunties for Williamson

Yesterday I wrote of a “New Great Awakening,” an awakening of the fast swath of forgotten men and women to the realities of the progressive Left’s destructive ideology.  Blogger photog at Orion’s Cold Fire inspired the post with his piece “The Great Awakening,” which brought to mind a key point about our national debates:  our concerns are primarily theological, not political, in nature.

I’ve written quite a bit about Americans’ desperate search for meaning (also here), for a deeper spiritual Truth that motivates our culture and our lives.  Increasingly, Americans are abandoning traditional Christian faith, embracing instead alternative forms of spirituality, from the mundane and trite —“living your best life”—to sinister, like witchcraft.

It’s no surprise, then, that the dark horse—or, perhaps, the black cat—candidate in the Democratic presidential primaries is self-help guru and author Marianne Williamson.  Williamson made waves during the first set of debates with her “Love is a Battlefield” pronouncement, and has become something of an Internet meme.

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The New Great Awakening

I just wrapped up the last session of my History of Conservative Thought course.  We spent the last day unpacking the “Introduction” to Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences (you can read my summary here).  We also discussed tax policy (an unexpected and pleasant pre-class discussion) and spending, and completed the “Debt Fixer” simulation from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Towards the end of class, I also briefly touched upon the 2016 election of Donald Trump to the presidency.  I spoke extemporaneously, and largely touched upon the “forgotten men and women” theme—that is, that legions of voters perceived themselves to be overlooked, ignored, or even denigrated by the political and cultural arrangements of our time, and latched onto Trump’s candidacy as the best vehicle for expressing this sense of alienation.

At the top of my mind was a series of posts from my good e-pal photog, proprietor of the excellent blog Orion’s Cold Fire.  photog has a long post up entitled “The Great Awakening” that details the slowly dawning realization that millions of Americans were bamboozled by their political elites.  I highly encourage you check it out.

That essay comes on the heels of another photog post, one of his “American Greatness Post of the Day” features.  That feature links to a long essay by Matthew Boose, “The Great Excluded and Our Nationalist Future,” which casts our current political and cultural battles as one between the champions of multiculturalism versus the traditional American patriots.  The former believe America is “open to everyone”—except, of course, the benighted conservative Americans of flyover country—while the latter believe there is more to America than a set of abstract principles, and that our borders and traditions mean something.

photog and I both exist in “the thin space between the lumpen masses of the civic nationalists and the bomb-throwing bad-thinkers of the Post America far right,” as he aptly puts it.  We don’t accept the full-blown claims of the far/Alt-Right that America is doomed and our national heritage is irredeemable, nor do we think that one’s race is a determining factor in one’s ability to be a part of the American experiment.

But we also no longer believe that just getting the policy right will solve our problems.  As Weaver diagnosed in Ideas Have Consequences, our problems run deeper, to the level of ideas, but also to the metaphysical.  As Michael Knowles has said multiple times, our essential questions are not truly political, but are theological; that is, they are questions about who we are, what we believe, and what our place in the universe is.

Thus, we have another Great Awakening in American political and cultural life, a period during which we reexamine these fundamental questions.  For too long the radical, progressive Left has dominated how these theological questions are approached and considered.  The time has come for the Right to take its message to the people, and to restore a more traditional, satisfying, and godly sense of man and his place in Creation.

Trump Up in Polls

Yesterday’s post looked at blogger photog’s musings about the radical implosion of the Democratic Party.  photog surmised that either the Democrats will tone down their ultra-progressive rhetoric, or they will continue to double-down on—and let President Trump bait them into—their death’s embrace with socialism.  My money is on the latter.

Shortly after that post went to press, I read a National Review blurb about Trump’s record-high approval ratings.  Trump has hovered around 35-40% in most approval polls, with a solid base of support.  Democrats and Never Trumpers have been banking on Trump not gaining substantially beyond 40% approval ratings (never mind that the 2016 polling was egregiously far off).  If we figure that some poll respondents simply aren’t confessing that they like the president or will vote for him, we could probably add 3-5% to that support.

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Don’t Let Anymore In

The world has been on fire this week because—in the absence of any real news—President Trump said something on Twitter that’s funny.

The hand-wringing over President Trump’s tweet about “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” returning to their home countries to fix them up has had the Left and the Right scurrying to condemn the president.  Ben Shapiro, whose podcast I quite enjoy, dedicated an entire hour to excoriating the president over the Tweet, and another hour to analyze it further.

Shapiro is wrong on this one, and more than a tad disingenuous, which is unusual for him.  He claims that President Trump tweeted that these women should be “sent back” to their countries of origin—which, as far as I can tell, he never said or wrote!  When a crowd at a rally in North Carolina began chanting “Send Her Back!” after the president ran down a litany of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s anti-American, anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist, pro-Islamist statements, that seemed to exacerbate things, the president quickly stated that he did not like or agree with the chant.

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Lazy Sunday XVIII: SubscribeStar Posts

For the past few weeks I’ve been pushing my SubscribeStar page more regularly, as readers have no-doubt noticed.  I’ve picked up one subscriber; naturally, I hope more will sign up!

Here’s the pitch:  I post a new, original essay exclusively to my SubscribeStar page every Saturday.  I also made #MAGAWeek2019 a SubscribeStar exclusive—that’s four posts about people or ideas that made America great (this year’s listJohn Adams, Alexander Hamilton, President Trump’s Independence Day Speech, and fast food).  For just $1/month, you get access to these essays.

To put that in perspective:  I’ll probably buy a pizza today for $12.  That’s what a one-year subscription to my SubscribeStar page will cost.  That’s at least fifty-two (52) original pieces, not including bonus content and current and future #MAGAWeek posts.

Even if you can’t read them on the Saturday they’re released, they will always be there!  And with new content every week, your subscription gains value with each post.  Right now there are ten SubscribeStar exclusive posts, including the #MAGAWeek2019 ones, and that number will continue to grow.

I’ll also post additional special content from time-to-time, in the vein of the #MAGAWeek2019 posts.  The long-contemplated Portly Politico Podcast, should it ever launch, will also be exclusive to SubscribeStar.

With all that said, this week’s edition of Lazy Sunday is dedicated to looking at the great SubscribeStar Saturday posts that are already on the site (excluding the #MAGAWeek2019 posts, which were the subject of last week’s Lazy Sunday).

  • The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2019” – The long-awaited successor to “The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2016,” this list of recommended summer reads will give you plenty of conservative brain food to feed your mind and your soul.  I give detailed reviews of my four recommendations.
  • Asserting Conservatism” – This essay argues for defining conservatism in positive—that is, on its own—terms, rather than as merely against the Left.  Standing athwart history, shouting “STOP” was a necessary step in the Buckleyite days of old-school National Review, when international Communism threatened to infiltrate and topple our institutions.  Culture Marxists have accomplished what Soviet Marxists could not, and it’s time to push back, not merely stem the tide.  Doing so will require a vigorous articulation and defense of conservatism—and a willingness to fight against Leftists.
  • Christians Protect Other Faiths” – Christianity gets a bad shake, considering it built Western civilization (with an alley-oop from ancient Greece, Rome, and Israel).  The tolerance Christianity teaches is a boon to believers of other faiths, as Christ teaches conversion through persuasion, and the basic dignity of all people, Jew and Gentile.
  • Immigration and Drugs” – This piece pulls from a couple of posts at, which linked illegal immigration from south of the United States border to the opioid crisis.  One solution from the author:  bomb the poppy fields in Mexico, not just Afghanistan.
  • Mid-Atlantic Musings” – During #MAGAWeek2019, I was in New Jersey.  This post is a reflection of my visit (spoiler alert:  I very much enjoyed it).  It also details my one-day trip to Coney Island, which is basically Myrtle Beach in Brooklyn.
  • The Real Color of Environmentalism is Red, Not Green” – Yesterday’s post, in which I compare Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ludicrous Green New Deal to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s original New Deal.  Both rely on excessive federal and executive power, and the Green will ruin the economy and our nation just the way the original one did.

So, there you have it!  There’s a lot of great material, with more coming every Saturday.  Please consider subscribing to my SubscribeStar page for just $1 (or more!) per month to gain access to these and other essays.

Happy (and Lazy!) Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT: Progressivism and Political Violence

It’s another late post today, as my post-New Jersey schedule is still a bit wonky.  I just got done with a twelve-hour stint of uncling, so there was barely time to eat lunch, much less write a blog post—even a quick TBT feature.

Given the recent attacks on conservative journalist Andy Ngo, it seems apropos to dedicate this week’s #TBT to one of my classics of the modern, TPP 3.0 era:  “Progressivism and Political Violence.”  I wrote this essay back in June 2018, and I’ve probably linked to it more than any other post I’ve ever written, because it touches upon so much of the Left’s pathos.

I wrote at the time that, if the Left lost all the arms of the government, they would use extreme violence to accomplish their ends.  That was before I fully appreciated how extensive and pervasive the Deep State truly is—the Left is so entrenched, it can never really be out of power in the current state of play.

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Reblog: Conan the Southerner?

I’m heading back from a glorious week in New Jersey today to return to my beloved South Carolina.  It was serendipitous, then, that I read this piece from the Abbeville Institute, “Conan the Southerner?

I recently stumbled upon the Abbeville Institute while doing some research on John Randolph of Roanoke for my History of Conservative Thought course.  It’s an institute dedicated to Southern history, and to presenting a more nuanced interpretation of the antebellum South.  Their blog features some dense, interesting bits of Southern history (I’m reading through a long-ish essay on “The South Carolina Federalists” that has taught me a great deal more about my State’s history in the period of the Early Republic), and champions constitutionalism, limited government, and a traditional way of life.

The Conan piece is an excellent—and fun—analysis of the Conan the Barbarian series of low-fantasy pulp novels, focusing on Conan creator Robert E. Howard and his Jacksonian roots in Texas.  The post’s author, Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Joel T. Leggett, argues that Howard’s Conan is a modern example of American mythology, one with distinctively Southern roots.

The essay is also useful as it offers a clear definition of Jacksonian principles, via historian Walter Russell Meade.  As we continue to attempt to define “populism” in the midst of Trumpian nationalism, I always relish a concise definition of the principles of the godfather of American populism, Andrew Jackson.

Meade, per Leggett, defines these principles as “self-reliance, equality, individualism, financial adventurism, and courage.”  Leggett then proceeds to demonstrate how the character of Conan embodies these qualities, and that Howard was chiefly concerned with promoting individual liberty.

That part of the essay is, for me, the most useful and enjoyable.  The qualities are certainly deeply American—and deeply Southern.  The “equality” is not the banal egalitarianism of our present age, which seeks to level off everything and everyone into conformist blandness, but the old equality of opportunity, in which every man can forge his destiny.

Tied with that is the notion of “financial adventurism.”  Leggett notes that Meade argued that “Jacksonians view money and wealth as a means to finance a lifestyle of self-definition.  The value of wealth is to enable you to be you, to live life to its fullest.”  This notion of financing “a lifestyle of self-definition” accords with my own long-term financial goals.  It also seems to be the direction that “free” speech is headed:  to exercise this right truly, one must have financial independence from social justice scolds.

And this, for Leggett, seems to be the core of Conan’s Southern Jacksonianism:  a desire for individual liberty, for a man to be able to live his life on his own terms.  Howard might have wrapped that ideal in a burly barbarian warrior-king who rose to rule a kingdom due to his own prowess, but it’s one every American should aspire towards.  In this way, Leggett makes a compelling case for Conan the Barbarian as a valuable piece of American mythology.

Lazy Sunday XVII: #MAGAWeek2019

This past week was #MAGAWeek2019 here at The Portly Politico.  Each day’s post was a SubscribeStar exclusive.  For a subscription of $1/month, you gain exclusive to each day’s posts, as well as exclusive content every Saturday throughout the rest of the year.  Visit my SubscribeStar page for more details.

In case you missed anything from #MAGAWeek2019, this week’s edition of Lazy Sunday is dedicated to catching you up on what you missed.  But remember, you only get a teaser of each post; to read the full posts, you have to subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1/month or more.  That includes exclusive content every Saturday, too, like yesterday’s review of my trip to New Jersey and Coney Island, NYC, “Mid-Atlantic Musings.”

But enough sales pitches.  Here were the highlights from #MAGAWeek2019:

  • Fast Food” – After a long day on the road last Sunday, I decided to do something fun and lighthearted to kick off #MAGAWeek2019.  President Trump famously loves fast food, even feeding it to the Clemsux National Championship football team in vast quantities.  I, too, appreciate good fast food, and marvel at its ability to provide a filling, calorie-rich meal at an affordable price.  You can read more of my high cholesterol musings on the topic at my SubscribeStar page.
  • Alexander Hamilton” – Hamilton engenders a great deal of debate between decentralist Jeffersonians (such as myself) and centralists, but his influence on and importance to America’s early political and financial formation cannot be denied—indeed, it should be celebrated.  Jefferson and Madison were probably correct, constitutionally, on the issue of the national bank—Congress had no explicit constitutional authority to create such an institution—but Hamilton’s financial reforms placed the nation on solid financial footing, ensuring the United States had the financial infrastructure in place for explosive growth and expansion.
  • John Adams” – John Adams is an unappreciated Founder and Framer, though David McCullough’s magisterial biography of the second President of the United States has done much to lift Adams’s profile.  Adams served the United States ably as our Commander in Chief during his single term, staving off a full-blown war with France while protecting American mercantile shipping on the high seas.
  • President Trump’s Independence Day Speech” – On a particularly star-spangled Fourth of July, President Trump delivered a powerhouse of an Independence Day speech.  Not only were the multiple flyovers of military aircraft impressive (ending, of course, with the Blue Angels soaring majestically over the National Mall), the speech itself was a masterclass in what I dub “old, patriotic American history.”  It’s well worth watching—and reading my full analysis on my SubscribeStar page.

Other Lazy Sunday Installments: