Updated: Jan 22
Trump, Mike Pence, and many other speakers presented their points of view at the conference. This article is a summary of my experience at the event.
It started with a massive registration and security screening, on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019. From 5 AM to 10:30 AM, nothing was achieved but SSS, transport to the hotel, and waiting in lines. They say about a thousand people had to be turned away from the event.
We had great seats, gifted from a generous friend who was part of the inner circle group of the Faith & Freedom Coalition:
The venue was very slick and the event was well organized and produced. All of the seats were filled, thirty minutes after this photo was taken:
During Matthew Charles' speech, I was under the impression that he was merely a drug user, so the impact of his story was profound at the event. Afterwards, my sympathy dwindled when I discovered his convictions for drug dealing and illegal gun possession.
While the First Step Act has support from Democrats and Republicans, it is largely motivated by state officials who cannot afford to keep criminals locked up anymore, with debts mounting to the breaking point, and budgets bursting at the seams.
Alvarism supports a victims-first policy, which places the restoration of crime victims, and prevention of new victims, above all other priorities. Victims-first policies reduce crime, restore victims of crime, and balance punishment to the criminals for the harm they have done with reform of the criminal to the extent possible. For those who remain intransigent, military-style indoctrination and psychiatric oversight are imposed. We would obligate the criminal to atone directly to their victims, instead of the state. Has anyone reasonably demonstrated that the First Step Act will achieve any of these things?
It is true, Matthew Charles did not deserve decades in jail for dealing drugs and possessing a weapon illegally. While the First Step Act is wise and just for people like Matthew Charles, will the politicians who passed it, and bureaucrats who implement it, take responsibility for every single new victim they create with the policy? Will they personally compensate the families of those raped, assaulted, or murdered by criminals released early with this policy, with their own money instead of tax funds? Are they willing to sacrifice new victims to recidivism?
Have these critical inquiries even been approached by the policy makers who support the First Step Act? Alvarism remains neutral on this policy until these questions are answered.
The next speaker was incredibly inspirational! Her name was Katie Shaw, and her story is actively suppressed by the mainstream journalists who want to maintain the status quo of abortion as a normalized medical procedure. They cannot stand to tell an honest story about a courageous woman who is only alive because of the pro-life values of her family. Katie has a beautiful life, triumphant over trisomy 21, and has lobbied for restrictions on abortion motivated by race, gender, or disability.
The third speaker was Shaun Alexander, who spoke of fatherhood and Christianity. It was fine, but fairly shallow as anyone would expect from an entertainer. Professionals who have devoted their lives to the study of things like parenting and the Gospel could do a better job at this. Even if Mr. Alexander is a stellar father and faithful Christian, it does not make him the ideal pedagogue for those things.
Jody Hice gave the most invigorating speech, second only to Trump. He spoke of American heritage and policies that preserve freedom.
Sister Rose Wangui delivered a moving invocation, passionately imbued with pro-life visions. Although many Americans would be loathe to characterize abortion as the murder of babies, her speech was appropriate for the audience and her profession as a nun. The invocation of a powerful nun is certainly not the place for realpolitik.
On the other hand, those who wish to advance the pro-life cause need to understand the realpolitik of abortion in a recent Alvarism article. The magnificent Sister Rose Wangui does not need to do these things. She is doing the pro-life cause a great service from her position of spirituality and faith.
Trump presented his policy achievements in his speech. It was fair, accurate, and pragmatic. It was the best speech of the conference.
He also welcomed Natalie Harp to speak of how his Right to Try policy saved her from terminal cancer. Her speech was compelling and heart-wrenching. I have since reviewed criticism of the Right to Try policy, and it amounts to bureaucrats and professors who lack knowledge of economics.
After lunch and a commute back to the suburbs, we arrived home from our 12-hour event around 5 PM.
On Saturday, June 29th, we left the suburbs of Northern Virginia to see Mike Pence deliver a speech at a banquet dinner. The Omni Shoreham was elegant:
The banquet line was even worse than the first event. We left at 3:00 PM and did not sit down in the banquet hall until 6:15 PM, waiting in line for two hours:
I was impressed with the security for President Trump on Wednesday.
I have a bone to pick with the security for Vice President Pence on Saturday. This long line you see above eventually terminated at a security checkpoint with metal detectors and guards. After the lines were cleared, and people were seated in the banquet hall, they took away the metal detectors, and left only one or two guards in about a four-hall trek to the restrooms.
A Sollozzo- and McCluskey-styled assassination would have been easy to pull off, with dozens of places to hide guns:
I took a photo of the emptied halls, void of security, and fertile with massive risks to the Vice President. Shape up your act, Secret Service. This is unacceptable:
The tables were cramped together, the seats were rickety, unstable, old, and uncomfortable. The room itself was gorgeous and beautifully prepared though. Faith & Freedom Coalition did a wonderful job at presentation and sequencing of the communications.
Pence delivered his speech artfully. After a while though, we couldn’t help but notice the careful scripting of all the teleprompter content; even the reporters were reading from makeshift iPhone teleprompters. It started to feel very artificial, like any 21st century political machinery. To be sure, the cautious scripting is not unique to this conference, but as a scholar and classicist it made me long for the genius statesman of the enlightenment era who wrote their own speeches and delivered real leadership on the spot, without preparation.
I respect Pence’s career, his family, his intentions, and many of the policies he has pursued. I did not appreciate his speech. I think the speechwriters for nonprofits, campaigns, and events like this are adhering to unscientific case-study-justified nonsense, to be perfectly frank.
They are dancing on the strings of the Positivity Cult. They think that “negative” things should be avoided entirely, because anxiety and stress reduce donations and emotive fervor for the activist causes. It’s not only foolish, it makes liars of us all.
Pence at one point said something like, “Trump does not have a rear-view mirror.” If you read the linked article on the Positivity Cult, you’ll notice how that propagandistic statement advances the fallacy of past vs. future. A true statesman is extemporaneous. His vision of policy does not live in the past, present, or future.
Pence also said that “faith and freedom are increasing.” Most educated people in the audience would know that is a blatant falsehood. Christian apostasy has been upwards of 1% per year for nearly two decades. That is faith declining, in undeniable terms.
Our nation has accrued over $20 trillion in national debt, dozens of trillions in unfunded liabilities, corporate debt that exceeds $9 trillion, and even more household debt! Those Americans living within their means are forced to chase those dollars in our perverted monetary supply! Any statesman who has read the significant works of economics and even the US forefathers like Hamilton and Franklin, will assert – this is an undeniable loss of freedom in epic proportion.
Alvarism’s first book, Economic Sovereignty, lays out the hard evidence and perfected concepts of economic freedom and the political standards that preserve that freedom. Based on the speeches I witnessed during this conference, I must say, every single policymaker in the Trump Administration and this nonprofit not only needs a copy of the book, they need private briefings from myself personally to gain the understanding of these critical issues.
As for the Positivity Cult influences, I will posit one suggestion: abandon the 21st century case-study-justified nonsense. You can speak honestly about the challenges we face without blowing smoke up people’s skirts, and yet remaining inspirational and encouraging. Trump managed to do that in his speech on Wednesday. Pence’s speechwriters could have done that by changing the narrative slightly:
“Faith in America is facing great challenges, with Christianity sustaining a 1% apostasy rate for decades. You are the vanguard. Our forefathers stated that our system of government was only for a moral and religious nation. The decline of faith is an existential threat to our entire system of liberty and republic, but you are confronting that threat with great zeal and spiritual might. Without you, the vision of our forefathers would remain under siege.”
They could have written an equally honest statement about our monetary supply and national debt, with respect to freedom. They could be equally encouraging and inspirational without preaching doom and gloom.
When Steven Yeh and I were giving speeches about the national debt and Economic Sovereignty years ago, a TEA Party organizer refused to let us speak at his events. He said the content was too depressing and “negative.” Of course, how incredibly stupid do you have to be to realize that statesmanship, civics, and leadership requires honesty, rationality, and respect for those citizens you would seek to represent?
They can keep following the Positivity Cult’s model for delusional cheerleading and emotive mob-mentality, differing from Adolph Hitler’s irrational mass psychology style only by replacing anger and hatred with phony love and “positivity.” But what ultimately happens, is that people become disenchanted with the nonprofits, campaigns, and elected officials when the reality of governance overrides the shallow veneer of political imagination from the Positivity Cult podium.
Have you heard much about the TEA Party lately? What about Occupy Wall Street? The k-street lobbyists build one movement, to destroy it, and replace it with another, and citizens bounce from one movement to the next, one nonprofit to the next.
This is not a recipe for effective and respectable civics that can improve a nation. It’s a recipe for civic hamster wheels, and the only ones who profit are the professional nonprofit employees who bounce from one organization to the next, collaborating with one movement or another from year-to-year.
I wouldn’t say that Faith & Freedom Coalition is uniquely guilty of falling into this mass psychology model for campaigning and fundraising. I would say that perhaps it is time for the entire political machinery to try something new.
Alvarism believes in a classical model for civic engagement, which actively aims to extirpate the emotive, irrational, and propagandistic elements of mass psychology.
I respect the Faith & Freedom Coalition and its intentions. I hope they succeed in securing our first amendment rights, so that Americans no longer fear expressing their faith, values, and morals in public life and governance.
I only hope that ten years from now, the entire political machinery is less influenced by the Positivity Cult, and more influenced by the enlightenment era geniuses like Montesquieu, and the 20th century vanguard of liberty – Karl Popper, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell.