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Federalism: Let’s build something together



As a political writer and opinion columnist, I swim in an ocean of criticism.

The outrage culture we’ve built over the last 20 years — for which Sean Hannity and Trevor Noah bear equal blame — has degenerated healthy debate into insults, shouts, jeers, slurs, and just so, so much anger.

It’s not that we argue too much — I actually wish Americans argued more—and better — but we do sometimes fall into a rut of criticism that we’re unwilling to climb out of.

See, argument is a structured discussion used to discern the truth of a proposition, and if we had more arguments we would have less outrage, shouting, and street fights. The lack of actual argument has left us unable to discern and defend truth, which is why we spend so much time screaming our baseless opinions at others, and getting offended when others scream theirs at us.

It’s an untenable situation, and one that will likely resolve itself as soon as people start caring more about what’s true than what’s polite.

Like argument, there’s an appropriate place for criticism and even condemnation. Law enforcement officers who abuse their power should be criticized. Alt-right “race realists” intent on rekindling 1930s ethnofascism should be condemned, along with their violent, pro-censorship Antifa counterparts on the Left.

Criticism is meant to pressure, to challenge, to motivate toward something higher. Condemnation is meant to isolate something harmful, letting others know to stay away for their own good and the good of society.

But the problem we face is that both of these important tools are habitually abused.

Criticism isn’t meted out reasonably in hopes of modifying behavior, it is piled on everyone as a way to elevate the one offering the critique. Condemnation isn’t reserved for the truly heinous among us, it is slopped on indiscriminately like mayo on a McChicken.

Convinced of the impossibility of maintaining standards, we hitch our wagons to the slogan “nobody’s perfect” and seek equality around the lowest common denominator, by hanging every mistake around the neck of those who aspire to something higher.

And so doing, our entire generation is missing the opportunities laid right in front of us:

Build something. Create something. Improve something.






Before I get too close to sounding like an inspirational poster, I need to narrow the scope of what I’m talking about. Let’s strip away the layers of presuppositions that have built up over the years, and address the things we all care about — most of which have nothing to do with the issues that fill the headlines any given day.

One of the more insidious side-effects of the two-party system is that it has turned everything in the world into zeroes and ones. We know how we’re supposed to think about different things, based on who we identify with.

Republicans in New Hampshire are supposed to obsess over illegal immigration — even though they’re 2000 miles from the southern border — because, well, they’re Republicans.

California Democrats feel compelled to take a position against North Carolina’s bathroom segregation, despite the fact that it has no impact whatsoever on their state.

We square off against each other on social media, fishing for clues to confirm what column the other person belongs in, rather than judging whether their arguments are valid.

Less than halfway through this column, odds are you’ve already scoped out my profile, followed a couple links, and browsed the comments or my prior articles to decide whether you should share this or mock it.

We all do. It’s the norm now. And it’s cynical and destructive.

Partisanship and identity politics are tearing the nation apart, and the only people who benefit from it are those who receive the blind loyalty it creates.

But many articles have been written on the problem — it’s time to address solutions — and that’s where things get sticky.

On one hand there’s no silver bullet solution to “making America great again”, and anybody pitching one is usually out to make a buck. Red and blue America learned to resent each other decades ago; it’s not going to be undone overnight.

On the other hand, it’s lazy and intellectually irresponsible to suggest that we continue doing what we’re doing, and just accept the fact that left and right will always hate each other, battle in the street, and post gory imagesof severed heads in place of civil dialogue.

Given current trends, we can’t continue, even if we wanted to. Normal, reasonable Americans are abandoning both major parties at either an alarming or encouraging rate, depending on your perspective. “Independent” continues to rule the national party affiliation race by a wide margin, and third party presidential voting rose 300% from 2008 to 2012, and 800% from 2008 to 2016, despite some of the worst third party candidates in recent memory.

So the question we face isn’t whether the political landscape in the US will change, but rather what it will change to: a perpetual battlefield between increasingly partisan extremes, or an open marketplace of political ideals offered representation within competing jurisdictions — an appified version of government that fits with where culture and technology have already been for years.

The answer was baked into the country by the radical progressives (of their day) who founded it — Federalism.

Federalism has a way of relieving all kinds of tension and returning relationships to normal by developing and maintaining separate spheres of influence. This works with government just as it does for business or even family — who doesn’t have a better relationship with their parents after moving out?

Obviously there are a few things that the whole country needs to agree on in order to maintain a united identity and share the same space, but we shouldn’t have to agree on everything. For a culture that emphasizes diversity, we seem incredibly hostile to the idea that people in different regions should be allowed to have different lifestyles and priorities.

The trend in American politics over the last few decades has been to nationalize every single dispute, either through Congress, executive order, or — most often — the Supreme Court. Every special interest group seeks to wield the Federal government like a cudgel against their political opposition, and so doing, establishes the precedent for the other side to beat them with it given the first electoral opportunity.

Aside from being incredibly uncharitable and narrow-minded, this form of governance is backward, inefficient, and, well, stupid.

It creates redundancies at every level of government, as federal departments conflict with state departments, which in turn conflict with city and county policies established in the interests of folks in those locales. It fails to balance the different views of people in different places with different jobs, lifestyles, and priorities.

Many have written on what I believe to be the most important divide in America today — the rural/urban divide — but few have put forward any ideas to deal with the divergent subcultures.

It’s a real problem, and one extremely evident in my home state of Iowa. Our century-old farm culture is often at odds with the growing segment of the population living in the cities and taking service jobs. The Republican-controlled state legislature has declared war on blue-leaning city governments around the state, using preemption laws to block those cities from instituting policies that conflict with their own.

Over the last eight years, red America encountered a similar problem, and states fought tooth and nail to nullify President Obama’s far-reaching executive initiatives on immigration, health care, housing, climate change, and more.

This “standardize everything” mentality causes gears to grind between each level of the government machine, and ultimately you end up with multi-tiered bureaucracy that is bulky, unresponsive, and useless to most people who are more interested in building a new deck and taking a second job as an Uber driver than arguing the merits of traditional marriage or the war on terror.

What’s really interesting about this stubborn trend in American government is that it stands in stark opposition to pretty much every other cultural trend. Millennials have embraced small businesses over global corporations, customization over comprehensiveness, and individuality over uniformity.

We reshape the world with technology, defying convention and challenging time-honored societal institutions with innovative new concepts. We seek the compartmental, the object-oriented, the personalized, the individual, in everything we do.

Except government.

When it comes to the political system, most Americans — millennials included — are still content to let partisanship guide the system, and pretend to enjoy the biannual knock-down-drag-out that leaves the same two groups of people in charge of our everyday lives.

We have a million different options on our cell phones covering everything from food and fitness to business and entertainment, but when it comes to government, we have only two options — and pretty much every data set you’ll find suggests that few people are excited about either of them.

What if we applied the lessons we’ve learned in every other area of society to government for a change?

What if we increased choice by allowing more parties to develop and challenge the big two?

What if we modernized our electoral system to eliminate gerrymandering, and increase access and transparency for average people looking to make an impact on their government without having to take up activism as a full-time job?

What if you could invest in what you care about through an app in your pocket, rather than by standing in the freezing cold collecting petition signatures?

What if we created an object-oriented system of government that allowed your city or state to reflect the things that are important to you, without asking permission from Washington first?

What if the appetite for Federalism both on the Left and the Right brought us back to a place where we could agree to disagree again?

What if we actually believed in ourselves, and in our ability to break out of the two party shell and build something together?

Joel Kurtinitis is co-founder of the US Federalist Party and a columnist for the Des Moines Register. Joel was a Regional Director for Ron Paul 2012 and served on the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Iowa. He co-founded Liberty Iowa in the wake of the Paul campaign, and organized the Free DC Project during the government shutdown of 2013. When not busy setting the virtual world aflame with controversy, Joel is actually an okay guy who enjoys reading, cooking, chess, bluegrass music, and an occasional foray into fiction writing. Joel and his family live in Des Moines, IA.

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  1. Doug Olson

    August 8, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Excellent article

  2. Eric Dixon

    August 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    I was wondering just how bad those third party candidates were, and why I didn’t remember any of them. Then I clicked on the link.

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Dear Illinois Conservatives, what is the Repubican Party accomplishing for you?



Excuse me if I come off sounding like Steve Deace. I don’t mean to. However, when I elaborate on how bad the Republican Party of Illinois is, I also offer a solution. My solution is to consider joining the Federalist Party movement. Because honestly, what do you have to lose?

The 2018 Illinois Primary should be a wakeup call as Conservatism suffered defeat after defeat. The only two salvageable victories were Douglas Bennett in the 10th and David Merkle in the 2nd. Both of these candidates are longshots in November. There were also a couple of conservatives who won because they ran unopposed, Jitendra “JD” Diganvker in the 8th and Bill Fawell in the 17th. JD is a longshot, though District 17 isn’t lost yet.

District 3 Fail

Avowed neo-nazi, Author Jones won the nomination because he ran unopposed. This was the biggest headline for the GOP in Illinois. A neo-nazi is now their candidate. What is also highly disappointing is that the Republican Party had a chance to win this race in November. This is the race where the Democrats were engaged in a civil war of sorts. Socialist, Marrie Newman challenged Daniel Lipinski. If Marrie Newman had won, the District may swing red due to Newman’s socialism. But Lipinski held on, likely due to the open primary system. The GOP just sat back and allowed its own defeat in District 3. They failed to step up and challenge Jones. Is there no establishment or leadership there? Leadership would have been fielding a candidate to first ensure that a neo-nazi will not carry the torch. But instead, the GOP facilitated its own defeat.

RINO Victories Rampant

I do applaud Bennett for his victory in the 10th, but I do recognize that he won, in large part, because the two well-funded RINOs saw fit to hammer each other. Through their big money, they lost their appeal through mudslinging and robocalls. The less funded, but more conservative candidate was able to sneak a 259 vote win over the pro-abortion Jeremy Wynes. The other RINO, Sapan Shah was a close third place. But looking at the other races, RINOs came out on top when head to head with a Conservative. Preston Nelson, a strong libertarian, was no match for the RINO incumbent Mike Bost. The more formidable James Marter still lost handily to incumbent Adam Kinzinger. The largely criticized incumbent governor, Bruce Rauner, still prevailed over Jeanne Ives. Bruce Rauner, by the way, signed a sanctuary state law. So come election day in November, leftist will have two of them to vote for. And Conservatives will only vote for a party that does not represent, in their state, a limited government nor the US Constitution.

As stated by Real GOP Illinois

Bruce Rauner was always a liberal. He was never a conservative. We question whether Rauner was ever really a Republican or if he just saw an opportunity to buy the Illinois Republican Party for his own enrichment and the enrichment of his elite friends. Who has profited from Bruce Rauner? Let’s start naming names.

The Illinois GOP has no interest in a limited government. It has no interest in responsible immigration laws. It does not seek to protect the 2nd Amendment. It does not believe in protecting the unborn. How can they? They’re too busy fielding rich leftist candidates to pass on to the loyal opposition to the state’s Democratic majority. Sapan Shah, Jeremy Wynes, John Morrow all rich leftist who infiltrated the GOP ranks to garner the nomination. They failed, but Mike Bost, Adam Kinzinge, Rodney Davis, John Shimkus, are all blatant RINO incumbents representing their respective districts. Then there’s the crooked John Elleson who won the 9th.

Compared to other Blue States

I live in Maryland. I know very well what it’s like to live under a super-majority of Democrats. I know the futility of opposition. But remarkably, the Maryland GOP isn’t all that bad or at least it’s gotten better. Andy Harris, the state’s lone Republican Congressman on the Eastern Shore, is a solid conservative. Governor Larry Hogan is one of the nation’s most popular governors. He has done as well as a conservative seeking reelection in a blue state can do.

In California, there are solid conservatives running. We’ve interviewed them here on NOQ Report. See Erin CruzShastina Sandman, and Dr. Ken Wright. There is also Konstantinos Roditis a Republican but a solid constitutional conservative federalist running for Controller in California.

The Illinois GOP does not have the same interest or ambition as the other blue states. So what is the point of the Illinois GOP? It is incapable of representing and advancing small government conservatism.

A New Party

For Conservatives in Illinois, it’s time for a new party. Part of the Illinois GOP’s issue is that the GOP platform is meaningless to them. The Federalist Party addresses this exact problem

Over time, the Federalist Party will address issues in a way that is very different from other parties. Platforms today are essentially meaningless. There is no accountability for politicians within the parties. They’re able to act any way they wish. As long as they can confuse the electorate during campaign season, their adherence (or lack thereof) to the party’s platform can be disregarded.

They offer an intricate solution that not only allows some dissension but provides transparency. Read more about their solutions here. The goal of the Federalist Party is to prevent the corruption of ideals that has taken place in the Illinois GOP and the Republican Party as a whole. Give it some thought. In the meantime what have you to lose?

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Breaking: survivors are experts on everything



We were told that survivors of the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida, knew more about gun violence than we ever could.

We were told that their suffering made them experts.

We were told that we couldn’t scrutinize their claims, either because they’re children or because to do so would demean their suffering as survivors of an unspeakable tragedy.

In short, we were told they were off limits.

I can understand granting leniency to grieving survivors. People should be left alone to mourn. But once they take to the podium to push an agenda, they become public figures, and public figures are subject to public scrutiny.

In addition to that, I care nothing about the fact that the Parkland activists are children. Their youth will not stand as Kevlar in the public sphere. If they want to take the stage with adults, receive the right to vote as adults, and lobby for legislation like adults, then I’m going to evaluate, criticize, and tear apart their arguments exactly the way I would for an adult who said such embarrassingly idiotic things.

To do any less essentially concedes permission for insufferable ignoramuses like David Hogg and Cameron Kasky to continuously spread lies and malicious attacks against Dana Loesch, conservatives, and an organization whose sole mission is to defend a constitutional right.

More importantly, once these survivors are handed an open mic on gun control, they’ll feel justified and even obligated to sound off on other topics they know equally little about.

As seen in an official Twitter interview on Monday, David Hogg has apparently graduated from his factless tirade against firearms to a more encompassing position as shaman supreme for identity politics. To name just a few examples, Hogg flaunted his virtue-based expertise on white privilege, the patriarchy, college debt, healthcare, and net neutrality. He insisted that the underrepresentation of women and minorities in government is responsible for the lack of diversity of thought in politics, that the NRA is turning America into a dictatorship with its dirty money, that the political elite only want people in retirement homes voting, that Bernie Sanders is to blame for difficulty in suing gun manufacturers, and, of course, that the NRA has blood on its hands.

Never mind that virtually everything he and his classmates said was false. Never mind that there’s no such thing as a full semi-automatic weapon. Never mind that the 2nd Amendment applies to far more than just handguns, or that almost every problem he listed is the result of bigger government, for which he now enthusiastically stumps.

Because he’s an expert, you see? He’s a survivor, so his moral legitimacy outweighs your capacity for reason. Forget what your fully developed prefrontal cortex is telling you, forget everything you’ve learned by actually studying the issues at hand, and listen to this wise, irreproachable child! Don’t worry about every stupid thing he’s said or done, and certainly disregard the virtue signaling.

Instead of criticizing, be grateful that you’ve lived to see these marvels of the universe, these angelic children who’ve come to save us from woe. Like a phoenix from the flame, they have risen out of the ashes of devastation to become the mainstream media’s most indispensable analysts. What would we do without them? How would we know which policies to implement and whom to accuse of murder by association?

After all, studying the issues is futile. Thank goodness for survivors — children so morally superior that they’ve become the undisputed experts on every problem facing America.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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So-called conservative media enters through the wide gate



In the article I wrote a few days ago entitled Fundamental Transformation of the USA: Donald Trump Edition, I shared how Trump has succeeded in replacing conservative values with the so-called values of the life-long New York liberal and how Republicans have been willing accomplices.

The consequences of this reality have been manifested in many ways. From the reality TV White House to losing numerous special elections at the federal and state levels to Democrats, Trump and the GOP have all but guaranteed that a Blue tsunami in November will wipe them out.

Though they do so for entirely selfish reasons, there are those in the Republican party who are abandoning all things Trump in an effort to distance themselves from his poisonous brand of nationalist/populist style of politics. Unfortunately, for these and others in the GOP, the selective nature of their criticism of Trump likely comes too late to save them.

Equally tragic in this comedy of errors—apologies to William Shakespeare—has been how formerly conservative voices in the world of media and political punditry have sold their souls to Faustian Trump. Just as the party of Reagan has done, media conservatives in-name-only like Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh, to name a few, have allowed conservatism to be rebranded with a giant Trumplican T.

Trumplicanism has been a boon of sorts for those who Daniel Horowitz refers to as “clickservative” media outlets more concerned with online traffic than they are with only the truth, as we see with two members of Trump Pravda, Breitbart and FOX News.

Politico is reporting that Breitbart’s readership is in free fall now that Trump mouthpiece Steve Bannon is no longer in charge. Meanwhile, FOX News, complete with a line-up of former conservatives, is growing now that it has become all Trump all the time.

While there are those who point to Trump Pravda to validate their decision to become a Stepford Trumplican, I point to it as proof that Matthew 17:3 is true when it says, “Enter by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.”

There are some promising signs that there are a still a few people willing to live their convictions. Earlier this week, FOX News contributor Ralph Peters resigned because he felt the network had become a “propaganda machine” for “a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.” While he is only one voice, Peters validates the sad reality of how conservatism has no place within the Republican party in the age of Trump.

Personally, refusing to become a member of the Trump echo chamber—which means I choose truth over Trump—has cost me financially and in other ways. But as the Strident Conservative, I refuse to compromise conservatism for clicks, so I will go through the narrow gate. I hope you will too!

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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