I took my title for today’s post from one of the great conservative minds of our generation, Dr. Thomas Sowell, who at age 84, has decided to retire. Dr. Sowell would from time to time write a missive that he would entitle “Random thoughts.”
Indeed, some of the “random thoughts” in today’s post are his. He will be sorely missed.
Random thought #1.
While I am no fan of the modern Democrat Party and its current collectivist philosophy, it is important to remember it is the oldest political party in the world. It is currently swooning from the massive losses incurred under the “leadership” of Barack Obama, but under any fair reading of history, it has done many good things for this country and the world. The Republican Party needs to remember that the Democrat Party is not going away any time soon. Because President Obama did not compromise with Republicans does not mean that we Republicans should “learn from his example” and fail to hear the arguments and proposals from the left.
Random thought #2.
I also have some advice for the Democrat Party (I am so ecumenical today). The relevant map in the last election divides the nation between coastal America (the West Coast plus Hawaii, as well as the Northeast from Maine to Washington, D.C.) and heartland America (the South, the Midwest and the Mountain West, as well as energy states Alaska and Pennsylvania). Coastal America casts 31 percent of popular votes and 170 electoral votes. Heartland America casts 69 percent of popular votes and 368 electoral votes. Democrats need to look at the issues that divided our nation. In my opinion at the top of the list is identity politics. It is a horrible and divisive tactic. Loose it!
Random thought #3.
Despite the fact that I am a Republican I believe myself to be an environmentalist. I want clean air, clean water, and the ground under our feet not to be poisoned by industry. Indeed, I do not know a Republican who thinks any differently.
However, environmental groups have learned almost nothing from the 2016 election and remain completely out of touch with blue-collar voters. Obama is doubling down before leaving office using an obscure law. The president used a little-known law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to make drilling in vast areas in the Arctic and coastal regions off-limits indefinitely. These unilateral, arbitrary decisions are the reason using the word “environmentalism” makes me choke these days.
Two areas where the environmentalists make no sense is their adamant resistance to nuclear energy and pipelines.
Random thought #4.
Many believe that Mr. Trump will not be able to revive manufacturing in the US. However, Trump’s promotion of domestic energy will yield significant economic dividends in several ways. Removing restrictions on domestic energy development and the pipeline infrastructure that supports the efficient transportation of oil and gas will contribute to a continuation of the low energy prices that have made the U.S. one of the lowest-cost manufacturing locations in the world for energy-intensive production. American manufacturers that use natural gas to produce chemicals, petrochemicals, fertilizer, plastics, pharmaceuticals and fabrics have benefited in recent years from the lowest natural gas prices in the world. At prices that are currently 50 percent below prices in Asia, Europe and South America, the low cost of natural gas here goes a long way towards offsetting higher U.S. labor costs and helps make our energy-intensive manufactured goods competitive globally with countries like China, which have lower labor costs.