The View From 1776
Friday, January 27, 2006
Steve Kellmeyer’s commentary on Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian elections underscores the importance of preserving the unwritten constitution of the United States.
Intellectuals since the so-called Age of Enlightenment have theorized that political societies are merely projections of ruler’s minds and that a ruler, or ruling intellectual elite, can make of a society whatever it wishes. Liberal-progressives’ atheistic materialism leads to their faith that whatever exists is the product of rational minds and, therefore, rational minds can change things at will in order to perfect them.
No weight is given to historical precedent. There is no sense that political order is the product of centuries of accumulated adjustments and understandings among people who constitute the society. There is no sense that societies do not survive without a set of core beliefs and principles to which almost everyone subscribes.
Nations don’t survive because government welfare programs provide them material goods. Nations survive because people share a common vision and are willing to work hard and, if necessary, to fight for that vision.
The statement of purpose for this website puts it this way:
“The View from 1776” presents a framework to understand present-day issues from the viewpoint of the colonists who fought for American independence in 1776 and wrote the Constitution in 1787. Knowing and preserving those understandings, what might be called the unwritten constitution of our nation, is vital to preserving constitutional government. Without them, the bare words of the Constitution are just a Rorschach ink-blot that politicians, educators, and judges can interpret to mean anything they wish.
Steve Kellmeyer describes the result elsewhere of failing to recognize this.
Dreams of Democracy
By Steve Kellmeyer
“The whole of the international community has the responsibility to accept the outcome of any fair and democratic election,” said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. “But in this case Hamas has a clear responsibility to understand that with democracy goes a rejection of violence.”
“Television is the most perfect democracy,” Aaron Brown, former CNN ‘Newsnight’ anchor said. “You sit there with your remote control and vote.”
The delicious juxtaposition of those quotes is irresistible. What if the population of a country wants violence? What if they specifically elect men or women because those men and women promise to bring violence to their neighbors or to those groups perceived as the enemy?
Now this is not meant as a defense of Hamas. Regular readers know that my love for the redundancy that is ?militant Islam? is virtually non-existent. Still, there is a certain irony in the fact that Islam?s democracies are not necessarily superior to Islam?s dictatorships. For Muslims, as for the rest of us, we get the leaders and the culture we want. We always have.
This is a point that too many simply ignore, even when it is brought forcibly forward, as with the recent Palestinian elections. I remember being in one graduate sociology class in which the professor and the students seemed quite oblivious to the fact. During the course of the class, both professor and students lamented the draconian measures undertaken by some medieval towns in order to avoid plague and similar illnesses, and spoke at great length on the degradation of the citizenry.
When I pointed out that the citizens must have found the measures acceptable, else they would have rose up in rebellion, the room responded with shocked silence. No one had ever considered the fact that no leader is stronger than the vision he successfully imbues in the people he leads. Even the strongest man can be overcome by four or five other men who decide they have had enough. More than one Caesar has discovered that his Praetorian guard could also be his executioners. The members of the sociology class never considered that many townspeople were willing to pay quite a high price to avoid the painful deaths of themselves or their families from (microbial) agents they believed were bent on their destruction.
This week, George Bush and Jack Straw both have the look of a sociology professor facing a new idea.
Americans may not commit suicide by blowing themselves up at bus stops, but as Americans, we must remember this country was founded on the ideas of ancient Rome. And Cicero, one of Rome?s most celebrated orators, ended every speech with the same phrase, ?Carthage must be destroyed!? The party line was successful ? Carthage was so thoroughly destroyed that today we don?t even know what language they spoke.
Hitler did not gain power through a putsch. His party was voted into office as part of a coalition government. Enough Germans wanted him. The same can be said of Bill Clinton, FDR, George Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain. Democracy or dictatorship, the people always get the government we want.
As long as the leader has a vision which enough people subscribe to ? and ?enough? doesn?t have to be a majority ? that vision will be enacted.
That?s why our visions are more important than our realities. That?s why the war over culture matters as much or more than the war fought with bullets. The Palestinian people don’t need democracy. They need a new vision. If all they have is Islam, there will never be peace.
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The ‘Community of Nations’ vs the 2nd Amendment
Rob Hood spotlights a new left-wing threat to America’s original Bill of Rights. If the UN opposes us, who are we to resist?
Left-wing politicians and special-interest groups have waged war for years on the 2nd Amendment’s grant to citizens of the right to bear arms. Liberal-porgressives’ line of reasoning is simply that public opinion (well, some parts of the public’s opinion) is opposed to the original intent of the Bill of Rights, therefore, the Constitution has been amended without benefit of the procedure required by Article V.
To make the case irresistible, now we have the opinions of other nations bearing down upon us. No doubt, Justice Breyer and like-minded colleagues on the Supreme Court will make use of this aspect of ‘international law.’
The UN Attack on American Gun Owners
We all know how the UN is planning a full scale war on the American right to own and bear arms and just how angry some UN delegates are at the United States for upholding this right.
To start with I want to quote a few UN delegates in their war on American sovereignty:
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said “A program of small arms action is a beginning, not an end in itself. Implementation will be the true test.”
A Japanese delegate to the UN said “We strictly punish and control possession of small arms by civilians.”
An Australian delegate to the UN said ” Firearm owners in Australia must also demonstrate a genuine reason for ownership.”
A Netherlands delegate to the UN said “It is my firm belief that the illicit trade cannot be tackled without involving the legal arms trade.”
IANSA’s Rebecca Peters said “We wan to see a drastic reduction in gun ownership across the world.”
With all of this in mind we know that the UN wants to ban firearms from civilians and they want to impose this radical idea on the United States. We must thank President Bush for his superb nomination of John Bolton because it was Mr. Bolton that stood up to the bullies of the ever corrupt United Nations.
John Bolton made it very clear that the United States is a sovereign nation and had its own constitution to follow and therefore did not follow the whims of the UN. He is what he had to say: “The United States will not join consensus on a final document that contains measures contrary to our constitutional Right to keep and bear arms.”
I personally want to thank Mr. Bolton for taking a stand for our values and for our constitution even under heavy fire from the far left. I also want to thank President Bush picking Mr. Bolton for the job. He could not have picked a better man for the job. We needed someone who is strong and will stand up for our nation on key issues like this.
The United Nations have no right to tell any citizen of the United States that they cannot own guns, they cannot discipline their children, and they have to accept abortion and gay marriage. The UN is getting their noses in more business than what they were designed to do. They have gained way too much authority and absolutely too much power and have let it go to their heads. They think they can just tell anyone what to do and it be obeyed without question.
Well, first of all, this ole boy bows to no one but God. I will not bow down and worship the altar of the UN and neither should you.? I say it’s high time to bring a delegation forward that will vote to bring the UN;s ego down a few notches. Take some of that money away from them and they won’t be such a thorn in the side of U.S. policy and rights.? Frankly I don’t care what they do in their own counties. For all I care they can even ban water guns and dance around a campfire naked and sing Yankee Doodle, but they will NOT bring that garbage to my country. ?They can leave their anti-everything policies in their own countries because we as FREE AMERICANS refuse to listen to it. And even more, refuse to bow down to it.
At no time will I give up my Second Amendment rights to some foreign government that will probably stab me in the back the minute I hand them my gun. For any law abiding citizen who owns a firearm, this should be a wake-up call. We must continue to put leaders in office that will stand strong against policies like this and 2006 is the time to do it. I encourage you to take a stand with Mr. Bolton and back up your rights to own a firearm by letting liberal politicians and delegates know that you will put them out of office in November if they so much as hint to follow a UN gun ban policy. We simply cannot afford to be controlled by a foreign government. I refuse to give up my rights and so should you!
America’s First Freedom, February 2006, pages 26-29
NRA News @ http://www.nranews.com
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Thursday, January 26, 2006
Teaching to the Test: Another Aspect
Cheating and lack of competition among schools sabotage Federal programs, both good ones and bad.
I am in agreement with what you have written in your article teaching to “Teaching To The Test.”? There is one problem, however, that you did not mention.? Many of the teachers and school systems have trumped up the grades in order to get a passing mark and the federal dollars that go along with it.
There are subjects that require lots of rote memory.? Medical, law, and business courses are the leaders. (Boy, do I remember the hours and hours of memorization for my physiology, economics, and poly sci courses as opposed to my physics courses in which you had to understand the concepts before you could apply them on the test or in real life doing research.)? Nevertheless, in the end, you do want that professional to be able to do independent assessment and thinking.? The hit on the medical field is that most doctors are not very good diagnosticians.? Memorizing and cramming tons of material is important in these fields, but without the capacity to use that information to accurately, efficiently and expeditiously solve problems all is a waste.
Recently I saw a 20/20 article on how poor the educational system is in America, and I cannot disagree with that thesis.? The solution, however, was that competition eliminates the inequities of the system.? The proof was that charter, private and voucher schools simply do much better.? In Belgium where the money is allowed to follow the kids the students are markedly better than their US counterparts.? Scenes from classrooms in public schools were shown and compared to those in private and charter schools.? There was a big difference in the conduct of the students.? Those in the private and charter schools were well behaved, quiet, attentive and eager to learn.? The situation was the opposite in public schools.?
Is competition responsible for this?? Well to a certain degree it is since it forced the separation of students whose parents were overtly interested and involved in the children’s education, enough to push for their children to be placed in an environment conducive to learning.? That is, it was as much a matter of the values of the parents as it was competition between schools, which was responsible for the positive out come.? The program did not play this aspect.
I went to public grade school and high school in the 50’s and 60’s and recall that I received a very good education from competent, dedicated teachers for the most part.? If I got into trouble and my parents had to come into school, I was in double trouble as were most of the other students I attended school with if their parents had to come in.? So societal values are important and we as a nation have or are in the process of loosing them when it comes to education.?
This brings me to another point that the 20/20 article did not investigate.? While it hit on the power and negative impact of teacher’s unions it did not hit on how poor the Education departments in universities have become and, for the most part, the ideological simpletons they turn out with little or no knowledge of the subject matter they will embark on to teach.
From what I know, “No Child Left Behind” is in principle a good idea, but in practice it has become a perverted waste of money at the student’s expense.
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“Truthiness” and Secular Education
The “truthiness” of secular education is the common link among Michael Moore, Teddy Kennedy, Jack Abramoff, and the parade of literary fraud in periodicals and books.
“Truthiness,” selected by the American Dialectic Society as its 16th annual Word of the Year, is defined as “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.” Truthiness is the quality to which PC and multi-cultural education aspire.
Our secular schools, from kindergarten to college, teach the atheistic philosophy of pragmatism. It is to be expected that people will govern their actions by the maxim they are taught, that the end justifies the means.
Truthiness is thus a synonym for liberal-progressivism, the American sect of the world religion of atheistic socialism, which rejects all standards of fixed morality and embraces instead the belief that the political state will shape social classes into perfection via regulation. Individuals are relieved from responsibility for their actions and left free to pursue hedonistic license, sensual gratification, by whatever means they can get away with.
Only a God-fearing society educates each individual to the standard of eternal Truth. Only a God-fearing society leads individuals to strive, voluntarily and joyously, to do the right thing, to treat each of their fellows justly and kindly.
From a philosophical viewpoint, truthiness arises from socialism’s inversion of the Judeo-Christian formulation of God’s message to Moses from the burning bush that was not consumed by the flames: “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).
Within the limited capacities of human intelligence to comprehend the ultimate nature of existence, the Judeo-Christian understanding is that, for God alone, existence precedes essence. That means that God’s nature or characteristics did not exist prior to God, but that, for God alone, His act of existing determines His characteristics and the nature of all of His cosmological creation, including human beings. There is thus no escape from the eternal truth that humans have a God-given nature and that the purpose of mankind is to be as true as possible, given human free will, to that nature.
The truthiness of atheistic and materialistic socialism turns that upon its head and declares that the mind of the intellectual has the power to control and to determine the characteristics of all it surveys. Thus truth is whatever the intellectual mind decides, at any given moment, it ought to be (as in judicial activism).
In a society governed by the truthiness of atheistic socialism, there is no virtuous conduct, merely doing whatever one can get away with or being compelled by regulation to do whatever the intellectuals decree. Individual morality, doing the right thing, is a meaningless concept.
Truthiness is not really new, of course. It has always been with us as an aspect of human free will. The essential feature of a God-fearing society is conscious rejection of truthiness, which the Bible calls repentance of sin, a turning toward the righteous conduct that flows from God’s love.
Truthiness led corporate executives in Enron to present financial statements that proved to be somewhat closer to fiction than reality.
Truthiness leads Oprah to rationalize her selection of James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces,” now revealed as fiction rather than biography. According to liberal columnist Clarence Page, she said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that “even if some of its facts are false, its truths are too compelling to be ignored.”
Truthiness leads the New York Times and the Washington Post to encourage its reporters to ‘discover’ evidence to support the liberal-progressive dogma of social justice, to present fiction as ‘news’ that appears to validate the socialistic belief that all of life’s ills arise from unequal distribution of purely material goods.
Truthiness leads liberal-progressives to revere liars as their exemplars of correct secular conduct.
Liberal-progressives adore Michael Moore’s ‘documentaries,’ evidently because their desire to destroy President Bush is more important than truthful presentation of fact.
Liberal-progressives adore Senator Edward Kennedy, a man who was expelled from Harvard for cheating, a man who valued his political career above the life of a young woman.
Liberal-progressives adore Senator John Kerry, a man who launched his political career on false testimony in a Congressional committee hearing in the Vietnam War era.
Too many politicians on both sides of the aisle take payoffs from the Jack Abramoffs of the lobbyists’ world, secure in the socialist credo that individual conduct doesn’t count in a society shaped and controlled by socialistic regulation.
It’s too easy to rationalize trading political power for personal gain in a society in which Baby Boomers can indulge freely in sexual promiscuity, marital infidelity, drug abuse, and self-dealing corruption, secure in the truthiness both that the political state owes them a good life, and that the political state is the only source of good.
All of the kings horses and all of the kings men can’t build enough commissions and enough regulations to put society back together again. Only repentance, a turn away from secular materialism, a turn back to God-fearing personal morality can do that.
So long as we continue to follow the socialistic, atheistic, and materialistic lead of the ACLU and ban all morality from classrooms, our nation is rocketing on the path to oblivion.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The Full Story: John Adams, John Jay, and the 1783 Treaty of Paris
The following commentary provides background details to make clearer the point of the posting titled John Adams and John Jay.
A skilled lawyer by profession, John Jay looked upon the United States as his client, for whom he was determined to get the best possible deal, consistent with moral rectitude, in the 1783 treaty that ended the war with England. His actions are a good example of the proper way to conduct foreign policy.
As I noted in Misunderstanding Alliances, basing our foreign policy upon a theoretical ‘community of nations’ and assuming that the aim is to make other nations our friends is suicidal folly. It’s fine to deal justly with everyone, but the first necessity of foreign policy is to understand clearly what our national interests are. The second necessity is to take the required actions to protect those interests.
Had the socialist internationalism underlying today’s UN been operative in 1783, Jay’s decisive and effective action would have been impossible. Politicians and the media would have clobbered him for alienating French and Spanish public opinion.
The following commentary is by my wife, Judy Brewton, who is a national-award-winning writer and producer of historical videos. One of her current projects is working with the John Jay Homestead in Katonah, NY, to produce a video about Mr. Jay’s manifold contributions to the United States and to the state of New York.
I must point out that my wife does not share all of my political views, so she is not to be blamed for my opinions about foreign policy stated above.
Judy Brewton’s background notes regarding the 1783 Treaty of Paris:
In 1781 while in Spain seeking financial help in the war, John Jay had been asked by the Continental Congress to serve in Paris as one of five delegates seeking a peace treaty between America, France, Spain and Britain. ?It was specified that, in these negotiations, any agreements on America’s behalf must be approved by the Count Vergennes, the French foreign minister.
Jay wrote back to Congress that he could not serve on those terms. ?While in Spain he had come to realize that neither France nor Spain was fully committed to the fact of American independence; rather both saw America’s allegiance as a powerful bargaining chip in negotiations with England—one that could certainly be bargained away if it should come to seem profitable. ??
Congress never replied to Jay’s refusal to serve in Paris, but soon Franklin began to write imploring him to come. ?(The other three negotiators had not come; Henry Laurens had been captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London; Thomas Jefferson never intended to come; and John Adams was in the Netherlands negotiating for a loan.) ?Jay set sail.
From the moment he arrived in Paris, Jay found himself at odds with Franklin, who could not be persuaded that France might not take good care of America and her interests. (And who, even more alarmingly, did not find it important for Britain to formally acknowledge America’s independence!) ?
Franklin, however soon fell ill. ?Jay, learning of secret communications with England by the Spaniards and the French, used a contact of his own to send a message to the English Prime Minister, saying, essentially “make no agreements until I arrive.” ?Without Franklin’s knowledge, he hurried to England, where he successfully sold the English on the greater economic advantage of a separate treaty with America—something the British much preferred, but had been unable to achieve as long as America remained politically tethered to France. ?This has been described as the riskiest action of Jay’s career, since it directly disobeyed the Congress’ strict instruction to enter into no agreement or negotiation without French approval.
Returning to Paris Jay then worked furiously with the British envoy in drawing up a provisional treaty. ?Adams, who had always been of a mind with Jay, arrived in Paris the following month, where he and Jay worked together to polish the terms.
Franklin knew nothing of Jay’s trip to England until it was over, and the provisional agreement underway. ?He was unhappy about it at first, but soon came around. ?(Explaining things to the French must have been unpleasant, though.)
John Adams, April, 1783 (to Abigail, his wife):
“Mr. Jay has been my only Consolation. ?In him I have found a Friend to his Country, without Alloy. ?I shall never forget him, nor cease to love him, while I live.”
Arthur Lee on July 23, 1783 (speaking of Jay to the Earl of Shelburne):
“America owes immortal gratitude to that gentleman’s firmness, spirit and integrity.”
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John Adams and John Jay
The PBS documentary on Abigail and John Adams is woefully inaccurate in one major aspect.
PBS’s two-hour documentary on the roles of Abigail and John Adams in the War of Independence and in the formation of the United States is recommendable to anyone interested in our nation’s history.
In one vital respect, however, it creates in passing an entirely erroneous impression. The PBS documentary doesn’t even mention John Jay. The narrator states that the treaty ending our War of Independence was negotiated and signed by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.
In fact, it was negotiated almost single-handedly by John Jay on terms so favorable to the United States that political protests in England led, shortly thereafter, to the fall of Lord Shelburne’s Ministry.
The Wikipedia’s summary of the 1783 treaty is the following:
“The Anglo-American settlement fixed the boundaries of the United States. In the Northeast the line extended from the source of the St. Croix River due north to the highlands separating the rivers flowing to the Atlantic from those draining into the St. Lawrence River, thence with the highlands to lat. 45?N, and then along the 45th parallel to the St. Lawrence. From there the northern boundary followed a line midway through contiguous rivers and lakes (especially the Great Lakes) to the northwest corner of the Lake of the Woods, thence ?due west? to the sources of the Mississippi (which were not then known).
“The Mississippi, south to lat. 31?N, was made the western boundary. On the south the line followed the 31st parallel E to the Chattahoochee River and its junction with the Flint River, then took a straight line to the mouth of the St. Marys River, and from there to the Atlantic. The navigation of the Mississippi was to be open to the citizens of both nations.
“Another section of the treaty granted Americans fishing rights off Newfoundland and the privilege of curing fish in the uninhabited parts of Labrador, Nova Scotia, and the Magdalen Islands, but not in Newfoundland. A third part provided that creditors of either side would be unimpeded in the collection of lawful debts. In a fourth section the American government promised to recommend to the several states that they repeal their confiscation laws, provide for restitution of confiscated property to British subjects, and take no further proceedings against the Loyalists.”
Benjamin Franklin’s views regarding the nature of the treaty to end the war would have been disastrous to the United States. John Adams understood that, but, as the PBS documentary makes clear, he was not well suited by personality for diplomatic negotiation.
Franklin, having lived in Paris for many years, was a thorough Francophile. His counsel was to place the United States’s fate in the hands of the French Foreign Minister Vergennes. His partiality to France arose from France’s military support that enabled General Washington to trap Lord Cornwallis’s armies at Yorktown and end the war.
What Franklin, in all his native shrewdness, failed to grasp was that France’s aid was not for the purpose of supporting American Independence as such, but for the purpose of hitting back at England to redress France’s catastrophic losses in Canada and the West Indies during the earlier French and Indian War period. Vergennes intended to make France the protector of the United States and use that position gradually to make the United States into an outpost of the French Empire.
Franklin failed to see this, but Jay focused upon it like a laser beam. Moreover, Jay understood that the United States’s natural ally was Great Britain, the world’s greatest naval power, not Continental, land-army France. Our historical trade had been via Great Britain, financed by London bankers. As our shipping and trading expanded around the world, it would become vital to have England as our ally.
Seeing all of this clearly, as Franklin did not, Jay immediately opened direct discussions with his English counterpart in Paris and worked out the details of the treaty. Fortunately, Franklin could do little to interfere, because of his illness at the time.
Jay has rightly been called the least appreciated of our Founding Fathers.
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Sunday, January 22, 2006
Liberals, Progressives, Socialists, and Fascists
These are just different names all referring to the atheistic, secular collectivism that the laboratory of history has devastatingly repudiated. American liberals (again calling themselves progressives) nonetheless cling to their secular religious faith, urging the nation once more to risk plunging over Niagara Falls in a rotten barrel.
Reader Mark Van Noy, in the message posted below, takes me to task for using the term liberal-progressive. I agree with what he has to say.
And I’m not unmindful of the distinction he makes. Elsewhere in my postings I have covered the history of the misappropriation of the name liberal by the forces of socialism. In What is Liberalism? I explored the matter at length.
Only recently have I begun to use the term liberal-progressive, because only recently have liberals begun anew to call themselves progressives. As Mr. Van Noy notes, this is a political disguise to conceal their direct roots in socialism.
The term liberalism originally applied to the British Whigs, who in the 17th century opposed James II’s usurpation of power and, after his deposition, wrote the 1689 English Bill of Rights. In 1776, liberalism was the opposite of today’s liberalism, advocating maximum possible individual economic and political liberty, exemplified by Adam Smith’s laissez-faire doctrine in the “Wealth of Nations.”
In contrast, today’s liberals advocate tight Federal regulation of all economic and political liberty, but revel in unrestrained hedonistic sensuality. Liberty in 1776 meant freedom from arbitrary government action and confiscation of private property. For today’s liberals, liberty is license to dive for maggots in the cesspool of Hollywood entertainment, for drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, marital infidelity, and for foul-mouthed incivility to those who disagree with them.
Those whom I call liberal-progressives are the successors to the Progressives of the late 19th and early 20th century, exemplified by Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts to emulate the great scientific, academic, commercial, and military success of Bismarck’s German Empire. As did the Soviet Union after 1917, Bismarck’s Germany after our Civil War seemed to American socialists to prove the superiority of a collectivized government directed by technicians. “New Republic” founder Herbert Croly, in his “The Promise of American Life,” as well as his fellow editor Walter Lippmann in “A Preface to Politics,” pronounced Jeffersonian individualism a prescription for mediocrity.
Speaking for the socialists in the Northeast, the upper Midwest, and the Far West, they called for a strong man who would simply overpower Congress and state assemblies and impose a government run by technocrats. They got their man in 1933 with the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt.
Mr. Van Noy writes:
While I agree with the premise of your statement, I take measured umbrage at the term “liberal-progressive.” ?“Liberal-progressive” is a classic oxymoron. ?Liberals have assigned themselves the label of “progressive” but it is a self-aggrandizing act meant to disguise the true character of their philosophy and claim moral high-ground that rightfully belongs to conservatives. ?Seeing this ruse repeated by conservatives underscores the evil genius of Josef Goebbles, arguably history’s greatest propagandist, when he said, “Tell a big enough lie loud enough and long enough and people will accept it as truth.”
Liberalism seeks to impose forced social equilibrium at the expense of all other things.? Liberalism promotes large government and punishes individual initiative.? Liberalism promotes the “collective good” and represses individual freedom. ?Liberalism seeks the lowest common denominator. ?Liberalism punishes winners and rewards sloth. ?Liberalism assumes and encourages the least human nobility.? Liberalism is an apologist for bad behavior and evil endeavor. ?Liberalism is the antithesis of progress.??
Liberals would be more aptly labeled “liberal-regressive,” for it is their objective to destroy advances made through civilized individual liberty and?entrepreneurialism in the world’s most advanced society, where competition is the engine of progress,?and revert to the antediluvian practices of collectivism, where God is prohibited, human life is valueless, human dignity is eschewed in praise for underachievers, individuality is forbidden, and competition is smothered by the bureaucratic inertia of big government.
“Liberal-progressive” is only one of the lies that Liberals preach to promote themselves or vilify conservatives.? Another?of these is that “political conservatism is analogous to fascism.”? In reality, the opposite is true;? political liberalism is analogous to fascism.? Proof:??Hitler’s “Nazi” Party is perhaps the most famous fascist organization in history.? “Nazi” is a shortened form of the German name of Hitler’s party, which was “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” (NSDAP).? Translated into English, this means?“National Socialist Worker’s Party.”?? As?even the least observant among us can readily see, the “Nazis” were SOCIALISTS.? Socialism is the political philosophy of the “left,” or “liberal” sector, of our political spectrum.??Ipso facto: ?Liberals are fascists and fascism?is not only?analogous to socialism, it IS?socialism ... by another name.??
To understand this fact is instructive.??Once you understand it, perplexing aspects of liberalism gain new coherence and texture. ?The mysteries dissolve into “Aha!” and liberal acts are easier to comprehend and predict.? For instance, it becomes clear why the liberal wing of the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) ruled against individual property rights and in favor of collectivism in KELO v. CITY OF NEW LONDON while the conservative wing ruled in favor of individual property rights and against collectivism;? liberals are communist/socialist/fascist (synonymous terms) and conservatives are protectors of individual liberty.? Liberals believe in government owning everything and using it for the “collective good.”? Karl Marx expressed it this way:? “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need.”? Communism, socialism, and fascism all seek this sociopolitical nirvana;? this “Neverland” where everyone is rich and no one is poor.? In practice, however, socialism is a Stygian voyage to the pit of desperate poverty for all except the elite, who live debauched lives in their Dachas on the Black Sea.? We have almost a century of proof of this in the largest, most hideous lab-experiment every conducted ... the former Soviet Union.
When the left uses a label, conservatives should examine its meaning and take exception before the big lie becomes “truth” in the minds of the easily led as a consequence of our own foolish acquiescence.
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Saturday, January 21, 2006
Teaching to the Test
When liberal-progressives talk about ‘learning to think,’ they really are speaking of absorbing PC attitudes. Denigrating ‘teaching to the test’ is to believe that learning facts and mastering mathematics diminishes the capabilities of the human mind.
Our school system since the late 1960s has become more a political indoctrination regime than an educational one. It’s the American version of Communist China’s Red Guards compelling everyone to order his daily life by the quotations in Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book.
Let’s start by saying that the Federal government should stay out of education altogether, because it opens the door to an unconstitutional establishment of religion, secular or Judeo-Christian. No Child Left Behind is good in requiring educational standards, bad in perpetuating the patently false idea that spending more money will raise educational standards.
Teachers’ unions oppose the No Child Left Behind act, because it’s easy to read liberal fairy tales to students, but difficult to teach them useful knowledge. Roughly 70 percent of union delegates routinely reject proposals to base teacher compensation on teaching results, a horrifying prospect under No Child Left Behind.
Liberal media blatantly support them. A recent episode of the TV program “Boston Legal” took a gratuitous shot at ‘teaching to the test.’ Michael J. Fox portrays a good-guy lawyer defending a school teacher from harassment by parents obsessed with getting higher grades for their daughter. The judge grants an injunction against the parents after the Michael J. Fox character declares that the No Child Left Behind act constitutes more than enough harassment for teachers by requiring them to ‘teach to the test’ instead of teaching students ‘how to think.’
Students in fact are not taught to think. They are steered to the precepts of secular humanism.
American history lessons in early grades amount to Michael Moore documentaries. From the earliest grades, when students have no experience or knowledge against which to judge what they get in the classroom, lessons have proceeded along the following lines: “Indians lived happy and peaceful lives in North America until the Puritans arrived and drove them from their lands. Do we think the Puritans were good or bad?”
They learn, for example, that Columbus was an enemy of humanity, that the writers of the Constitution were selfish capitalists conspiring to fleece ‘the people.’ Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are presented as national days of hypocrisy and shame. Students are told that our English constitutional heritage is no better, perhaps worse, than any and all other cultures and governmental principles.
What results is a socialistic fairy-tale version of history. The socialist Super Hero (the 1960s student anarchist) ‘fights’ for the people, slays the dragon of capitalism, and everyone lives happily ever after.
‘Teaching to think’ can’t avoid a glaring contradiction. On the one hand, students are imbued exclusively with the secular humanistic dogma that the only ‘sin’ is economic inequality. On the other hand, they are taught that there are no standards of right or wrong, that tolerance (meaning the absence of standards) is the greatest virtue. These contradictory positions are ‘reconciled’ with the PC rule that questioning the precepts of secular humanism is ‘divisive’ and ‘threatening’ to other students.
‘Tolerance’ is, of course, just an atheistic concept to undercut Judeo-Christian morality.
On the surface, liberal cavils about the No Child Left Behind act are, first, that teaching to the test means simply memorizing specific answers to specific questions, a rote catechism. Second, that the Feds aren’t giving enough money to the states to cover their costs, like the old Catskills comedian’s line, “The food here is terrible, and there’s so little of it.”
Their underlying objection to No Child Left Behind is the terror that performance standards will necessitate making students aware of the 20th century’s world-wide slaughter of tens of millions of people resulting from intellectuals’ presumptuous imposition of socialism and atheistic secular humanism.
Parents who revolt against ‘teaching to the test’ are generally from wealthy, liberal-progressive school districts like Scarsdale, NY, whose citizens got national media publicity protesting No Child Left Behind a couple of years ago. Having lived there for 23 years and having watched my three children pass through the Scarsdale schools before I moved to Connecticut, I can attest that the issue is the parents’ desire to have a ruthlessly secular program that inculcates ‘progressive’ attitudes.
It matters far less for Scarsdale students to get good training in reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic than for children in the average school district, coming from homes where many parents were less well educated. The average Scarsdale student is already ahead of the national curve when he enters school.
If Scarsdale parents, and their ilk elsewhere, are seriously concerned about the quality of education, why do they selfishly seek to throw roadblocks in the paths of less fortunate and less wealthy school districts?
Few of them object to their children later in medical school, physics, or the law having to cram facts in order to master concepts and to understand complex systems. Few of them would place themselves in the hands of doctors or lawyers who had never had to pass examinations.
The bombast against ‘teaching to the test’ is disguised elitism that comes from Auguste Comte’s Religion of Humanity, by way of John Dewey’s progressive education. Liberal-progressives tell themselves that they alone understand the Immutable Laws of History and that it’s more important to brain-wash children with PC attitudes than to educate them to live productive lives in the real world. Cynical politicians among them recognize that students who have heard only the multi-cultural, PC party line will be more likely to vote for liberal-progressive candidates.
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How Government Intervention Retards The Advance Of Knowledge
Most great advances in scientific knowledge have been in the private sphere, by lone individuals or scientists doing basic research in iconic institutions like Bell Labs or IBM’s Watson Labs. Government funding brings the scoundrels out of the woodwork and tends to promote liberal-progressive political agendas.
Kartik Ariyur, who has contributed postings to this website in the past, called my attention to an excellent article contrasting the singular contributions of physicist Richard Feynman with the mediocre results produced by scientists bathing in a shower of NSF money.
“Federal money does not produce Feynmans. It points them in unproductive directions. Today the NSF pays out $5.5 billion a year, which is one-fifth of what the Federal government pays to colleges and universities. Total federal research spending runs upwards of $75 billion, perhaps 20?30 percent of the total throughout the U.S.
“Decades after Feynman?s talk, the NSF and many government agencies have dug their claws deeply into nanotechnology and science. Conventional wisdom makes this support out to be critical for the economy. A Rand report reads: “The positive impact of research and development (?R&D?) investments of the federal government on the U.S. economy is widely recognized by experts and is credited with underpinning much of the nation?s economic growth during the 20th century.” The Soviet Union made the same false claim. GNP grew and people stayed poor.”
The full article can be accessed here.
Much the same point was made earlier by Frank Madarasz in Liberal-socialist Micromanagement vs Science.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006
The Neo-Marxian Political Class
Apparatchiks in the public bureaucracy are the largest and fastest-growing sector in the nation’s workforce and the only ones who can be totally indifferent to productivity. That may have something to do with the taxes we pay.
We are back to Marx’s labor theory of value: the value of a good or service is no more than the hours of labor involved in its production. The slower a public employee works, theoretically, the greater the value of his services to the people. A corollary is the more public employees, the more labor time expended, thus the greater the value to the working public.
Recent decades have brought us a surge in membership and influence of public employees (including teachers) unions. In the past, government employees were protected from firing by Civil Service regulations. In return for job security in the ups and downs of the economy, public employees were generally forbidden by law to strike. Political clout of the unions has reversed that.
Liberal-progressives have long championed labor unions as effective weapons in socialistic redistribution of income.
This was the reason for the New Deal’s Wagner Labor Act and for FDR’s love affair with unions heavily influenced by the Socialist and Communist Parties, like the Reuthers’ United Auto Workers and Sidney Hillman’s Amalgamated Clothing Workers. Needless to say, FDR was not oblivious to the effect on voters in the unions.
This was the subtext for Al Gore’s ‘reinventing government’ during the Clinton administration and for Gore’s assertion that environmentalism was good for the economy, because it created new bureaucratic jobs.
This was the idea behind Michael Harrington’s 1960s pitch for ending poverty by putting more people on the public payroll. Harrington was then head of the American Socialist Party, and his “The Other America” was required reading for the Kennedy administration’s New Frontiersmen.
His 1968 “Toward a Democratic Left: A Radical Program for a New Majority” expressed the sense of LBJ’s Great Society paradigm. ?Even in a society based on private economic power, the Government can be an agency of social, rather than corporate, purpose?This does not require a fundamental transformation of the system. It does, however, mean that the society will democratically plan ?uneconomic? allocations of significant resources.?Under such conditions it would be possible to realize full ? and meaningful ? employment for all those ready and able to work. Going beyond the quantities of the the New Deal, the economy could be stimulated by promoting the affluence of the public sector rather than by tax cuts, and in the process millions of creative jobs can be designed to better the nation?s education, health, leisure, and the like. Within twenty years such a policy of social investments should end all poverty, eradicate the slums and erode the economic basis of racism. And those people who are unable to work could be provided with a guaranteed annual income instead of shoddy, uncoordinated and inadequate welfare payments.??The very character of modern technology, [Harvard economist] Galbraith says, renders the old market mechanisms obsolete. In these circumstances planning is obligatory. The state must manage the economy in order to guarantee sufficient purchasing power to buy the products of the industrial system.?
Now, nearly forty years later, the public employees’ and teachers’ unions hold the balance of political power in the nation. Bill Quick in Daily Pundit, JANUARY 14, 2006, Welcome to the Party, writes: “More than 21 million people are employed by government at all levels in the US, by far the single biggest classification of employment in this country. Government workers comprise about 15 percent of the total work force, and exert a significant effect on the political culture of the nation as a whole. The reason for this is simple: Government workers neither produce nor consume in any sense relevant to classical notions of capitalism. Every penny they “earn” is taken from the pockets of those who actually produce things.”
(My thanks to Maggie’s Farm for bringing this posting to my attention.)
The negative effects of the union stranglehold on government were discussed at length in Labor Unions: Socialism’s Shock Troops, where I wrote:
“It?s not the improved lives of union members, however, that is the evil necessarily associated with unionism.? It?s both the fact that improvement of union member status is a transfer payment from non-union employees and consumers that impels inflation, and that government regulatory involvement is essential to the process of union extortion…..
“Politically and economically, the New Deal?s answer [to the Depression] was mass organization of labor, which would both get out the voters for liberal-socialism, bringing traditionalist Congressmen to heel, and would be powerful enough, with Federal backing, to force big business to its financial knees.
“President Roosevelt therefore made labor unions central to the New Deal.? John T. Flynn, an economist and syndicated columnist at the time, described it this way in ?The Roosevelt Myth:?
?There were men around the President at this time who saw the tremendous possibilities of organizing labor as a political force.? They knew the history of the labor movement in England, which had grown so great that it completely wiped out the old Liberal party as a political force.? They believed that something like that could be done in America and they wanted the President to use his vast powers and great funds to encourage the formation of labor into a great political force.? To do this it was necessary to enlarge the field of labor organization.?
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