Daily Bread for 7.5.18

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of eighty-eight.  Sunrise is 5:23 AM and sunset 8:36 PM, for 15h 12m 55s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 58.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the six hundredth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 PM.

On this day in 1832, Atkinson enters the Trembling Lands:

On this date, General Atkinson and his troops entered the area known by the Native Americans as “trembling lands” in their pursuit of Black Hawk. The area was some 10 square miles and contained a large bog. Although the land appeared safe, it would undulate or tremble for yards when pressure was applied. Many of the militiamen were on horses, which plunged to their bellies in the swamp. The “trembling lands” forced Atkinson to retrace his steps back toward the Rock River, in the process losing days in his pursuit of Black Hawk. [Source: Along the Black Hawk Trail by William G. Stark]

Recommended for reading in full — 

Coral Davenport and Ana Swanson write How Trump’s Policy Decisions Undermine the Industries He Pledged to Help:

If nothing else, experts say, the unpredictability of many of Mr. Trump’s proposals — the lack of clarity on when or how Nafta might be renegotiated; the risk of potential litigation over his rollback of auto-pollution rules; the ways in which other countries might retaliate against Mr. Trump’s tariffs — seeds confusion across the American economy, making it tough for businesses to plan effectively for the future.

“That just wreaks havoc with American farmers and businesses with the investments they have to make,” said Matthew Slaughter, a professor of international business at Dartmouth College. “It creates massive uncertainty for these industries.”

Automakers, for instance, had sought looser emissions rules. However, Mr. Trump’s proposed rollback goes further than expected, and now automakers say it could ultimately spawn years of legal battles and perhaps even subject the industry to more regulations, not fewer, if individual states start enforcing their own, separate rules. They also fear that Mr. Trump’s recent threats to impose tariffs on imports of European autos could trigger a trade war, raising prices for all vehicles.

  Jack Ewing contends Trump Voters May Be the Biggest Losers From Trump’s Auto Tariffs:

BRUSSELS — President Trump has complained about seeing too many German cars on Fifth Avenue, and threatened heavy tariffs on the companies that produce them. There is a good chance, though, that those Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs were not only made in the United States, but made by workers who voted for Mr. Trump.

European companies have turned Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee into auto manufacturing powerhouses in recent years, churning out cars not just for American buyers but also for export to China and Europe. Germany’s three biggest carmakers all have facilities there, and Volvo Cars, which is owned by a Chinese company but based in Sweden, began producing at a new plant in South Carolina just last month.

….

Mr. Trump won 63 percent of the vote in Spartanburg, S.C., home of BMW’s biggest factory anywhere in the world. But Allen Smith, president of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said the president’s tariffs would threaten the region’s livelihood.

“For BMW and its many, many suppliers scattered across the state and region, you’re talking tens of thousands of jobs,” Mr. Smith said. “We would all agree with the president’s overall aim to improve trade with America’s interests top of mind. But getting to that end by inflicting so much pain on American business is the wrong approach.”

  Conservative philosopher Roger Scruton describes What Trump Doesn’t Get About Conservatism:

I have devoted a substantial part of my intellectual life to defining and defending conservatism, as a social philosophy and a political program. Each time I think I have hit the nail on the head, the nail slips to one side and the hammer blow falls on my fingers.

Like many others, both conservative and liberal, I did not foresee the political career of Donald Trump, nor did I imagine that such a man could occupy the highest office of state, in the name of a party that specifically makes appeal to conservative voters. Is this simply an aberration, or are there some deep links that tie the president to the great tradition of thought that I describe in my recent book, “Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition”?

….

In another of conservatism’s founding documents, “The Wealth of Nations,” Adam Smith argued that trade barriers and protections offered to dying industries will not, in the long run, serve the interests of the people. On the contrary, they will lead to an ossified economy that will splinter in the face of competition. President Trump seems not to have grasped this point. His protectionist policies resemble those of postwar socialist governments in Europe, which insulated dysfunctional industries from competition and led not merely to economic stagnation but also to a kind of cultural pessimism that surely goes entirely against the American grain.

Conservative thinkers have on the whole praised the free market, but they do not think that market values are the only values there are. Their primary concern is with the aspects of society in which markets have little or no part to play: education, culture, religion, marriage and the family. Such spheres of social endeavor arise not through buying and selling but through cherishing what cannot be bought and sold: things like love, loyalty, art and knowledge, which are not means to an end but ends in themselves.

About such things it is fair to say that Mr. Trump has at best only a distorted vision. He is a product of the cultural decline that is rapidly consigning our artistic and philosophical inheritance to oblivion. And perhaps the principal reason for doubting Mr. Trump’s conservative credentials is that being a creation of social media, he has lost the sense that there is a civilization out there that stands above his deals and his tweets in a posture of disinterested judgment.

Conor Friedersdorf describes Abraham Lincoln’s Warning (“The 16th president of the United States knew what the 45th does not. The Declaration of Independence is at the core of our political inheritance”):

An American can always benefit from rereading the Declaration of Independence. But I suspect that this Fourth of July is better spent with that document’s best interpreter, Abraham Lincoln, beginning with words he uttered after worrying that his countrymen were losing touch with the core ideals of their political inheritance.

“Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines in conflict with the great landmarks of the Declaration of Independence,” he declared in 1858, “if you have listened to suggestions which would take away from its grandeur and mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions; if you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in those inalienable rights enumerated in our charter of liberty, let me entreat you to come back. Return to the fountain whose waters spring close by the blood of the revolution. Think nothing of me—take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever—but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence. You may do anything with me you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles.”

Said Lincoln to the Illinois crowd:

This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures.

Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.

They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. The erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.

….

And the United States is now led by a man––bereft of Christian virtues, his own Twitter account a testament to his dearth of self-mastery or prudence––who extols the supposed strength of the Communists who suppressed lovers of liberty at Tiananmen Square, the authoritarian tyrant who leads Russia, and the thug who leads the Philippines. His political ideals would be a cancer to any body politic. It festers within ours and spreads daily.

Soar above a Lighthouse in Gerona: