The View From 1776
Saturday, March 21, 2015
The Fed’s Latest Bubble Creation
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Fed’s continuing policy of artificially depressing interest rates is creating yet another asset bubble, this time in exploration and production (E&P) of petroleum and natural gas.
The Fed’s loose money policy, expressed in very low borrowing costs and highly inflated securities prices in the stock market, is fomenting an over-expansion of business investment in hydro-fracking. This same process created the over-expansion and collapse of the housing market leading up to the collapse of our financial market in 2007 - 2008. Lending institutions already are struggling to collect on bad loans to over-expanded petroleum exploration and production companies.
The repeated economic pattern since the start of the Federal Reserve system in 1913 has been loose money that artificially stimulates sectors of the economy, leading to expansion of production facilities in excess of sustainable longer-term demand. The mischief lies, not in temporary blips of consumer demand, but in over-building basic production facilities that take long periods of time to come into production and which can’t be quickly and temporarily shut down when projected demand fails to materialize.
Producers and sellers of consumer goods can quickly curtail production and liquidate excessive inventories. But home building companies acquire large tracts of land and increase their borrowing in anticipation of continued or rising demand for new housing. When consumers finally are tapped out by rising debt (encouraged by the Fed’s policies), home builders are stuck with non-productive land and unsold houses, leaving no way to service the debt undertaken to acquire the land and to expand their operations.
The Wall Street Journal notes that, “Rising U.S. oil supply is the big factor weighing on prices. And that supply is largely a function of exploration-and-production companies enjoying access to capital to fund drilling budgets that frequently outpace cash flow.
“Witness the rush by several E&P firms to issue shares, especially during the brief rally in oil prices during February. So far this year, the sector has accounted for almost 12% of U.S. equity issuance, the highest proportion by far in at least two decades, according to Dealogic. Even on the debt side, E&P issuance to date is running at the same pace as the past five years.”
Keynesian economics, the secular, socialistic religious doctrine to which the Fed adheres, treats the economy as a series of monolithic blocks that will react in computer-model, predictable ways to spur the economy. The Fed and Keynesian economics deal with aggregate demand, making no allowance for unpredictable reactions and actions by the hundreds of million of individuals who comprise the nation’s economy. In the Keynesian religion the Fed has only to create billions of dollars of fiat money via bookkeeping entries, and the economy, responding like a theoretical socialistic machine, will automatically recover lost economic momentum. As the stock market rises, consumers will be duped into resumed spending, thinking that they are again wealthy (Fed chairman Bernanke’s “wealth effect”).
Unfortunately for the Fed and for liberal-progressive-socialists everywhere, once again Keynesian economic doctrine has disappointed expectations. Our economy, in the real, non-Keynesian world, has suffered the slowest economic recovery in modern times. The only big beneficiaries of the Fed’s Keynesian policies have been stock market speculators, take-over artists, bankers, hedge fund operators, and private equity groups. Being able to borrow unlimited amounts of phony dollars at historically low interest rates, these financial sector players have made a killing in the stock market since 2009. Meanwhile, the average citizen has been left to pick up the scraps. Wage rates and employment, in some areas of the nation, are lower than they were in 2009. Factoring in consumer price inflation, consumers below the level of stock market speculators are in worse economic shape than before the financial collapse.
In sharp contrast, the Austrian school of economics focuses almost entirely on the real-world actions and reactions of individuals, rather than on the theoretical aggregates of Keynesianism. The Fed’s Keynesian economists failed to anticipate severe sectoral dislocations of the sort that occurred in the 1990s dot.com stock market boom, or in the vast over-expansion that occurred in the housing market and the fatal decline in lending standards employed by mortgage lenders.
The Fed’s record, in fact, is abysmal. Only a couple of months before the financial collapse of 2007 - 2008, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke opined that the economy was in good shape and that the only real problem was an excess of saving (at a time when governmental, corporate, and individual debt was soaring to all-time highs).
Given the intuitively and pragmatically established fact that no small groups of experts anywhere can manage an economy as large and complex as that of the United States, Austrian economics is the only sensible approach to policy-making. Austrian economics is aimed, not at managing the economy, but a preventing over-expansions such as the housing market, the stock market, and the now levered-up investment in petroleum E&P. Outside a command economy like the USSR, individual consumers and business executives will always try to game the system to their own advantage. The only effective policy for the Fed is to maintain a stable value for the dollar and to allow interest rates to seek a real balance between demand for money and the real supply of money (savings by businesses and individuals, not fiat money created by the Fed).
Under Austrian economic policies, increased demand (in excess of real savings) for debt or equity to finance basic production would drive up interest rates and force businesses to examine more closely the long-term feasibility of their capital asset investment plans. Without a flood of fiat money sloshing around the economy, banks would again be turned toward realistic evaluations of business and consumer creditworthiness.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015
The Information-Closed Universe of Liberal-Progressivism
Worshippers of the secular, materialistic religion of liberal-progressivism, particularly since Darwin’s 1859 Origin of Species, accept as an unquestioned article of faith that there is a one-on-one relationship between edicts of the political state and results of such political action. If liberal-progressives conceive it, it is an accomplished fact.
Liberal-progressives have been energized by their doctrinaire certainty that God, through His externally imposed intelligent design, is no more than ignorant superstition. Their corollary faith is that all of life on earth is the product of random collisions of material force. This leads liberal-progressives to assert that, their superior intelligence having discerned this supposed reality, they are enabled by their superior knowledge to conquer nature and to structure political society in ways that guarantee perfection of humanity.
This faith in secular, materialistic religion, however, blinds them to the fact that matters seldom work as they predict.
We have seen this in spades during the past eight years in the Federal Reserve’s dogged adherence to Keynesian economics, the product of an economic theory that posits the political state as the primary, if not sole, source of the nation’s economic wellbeing. Ditto with regard to the entirety of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society entitlements programs and the president’s ObamaCare.
As countless commentators have noted, liberal-progressivism excludes the possibility that individuals may know, better then the political state, what is best for them. Also banished from public square discussion is the age-old truth that the spiritual realm, most evident in the West’s Judeo-Christian heritage, is ultimately more powerful than the political state’s secular and materialistic religion.
Read Seth Mandel’s There Is No Such Thing as a Secular Politics, posted on the Commentary website.
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Friday, February 20, 2015
Restoring The Unwritten Constitution
Liberal-progressivism, exemplified in President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, is aimed at destroying the essence of constitutionalism that gave birth to 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.
In the materialistic world view dominating society today, no weight is given to the essentiality of spiritual matters expressed in religion and societal cultures, from the tribal level to national states. Liberal-progressivism emanating from the corrupting continental European so-called Aage of Enlightenment propounds the faith that reality is only what is perceptible by human sensory organs. From this flows the hubristic assurance that intellectuals, having transcended the ignorance and superstition of the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western civilization, have conquered nature and are able to shape it to their vision of societal perfection.
Lenin envisioned the brutal force of collectivized tyranny as creating the New Soviet Man, a creature who would selflessly give his all for society, asking in return only what he needed to live in a classless society. Today we see the same hubristic certainty expressed in liberal-progressive collectivism evidenced in regulatory homogenization ranging from President Johnson’s Great Society to ObamaCare and President Obama’s regulatory assault on production and use of coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Resistance from half or more of voters persists, because liberal-progressivism ignores the essentiality and power of spiritual religion as a primary source of morality, respect for constitutional authority, duty to family, community, and national patriotism.
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.
In the United States, immigration abetted by multiculturalism is corrupting society’s unwritten constitution, which is the positive embodiment of the spirit that animates a society and gives it a driving force of unity in belief and national aims.
No society can survive without a consensus about right and wrong, about what constitutes moral conduct. That consensus is the unwritten constitution of society, the content that gives meaning to a written constitution, the meat on the bones of the structure of government.
Without that consensus there can be only a disparate group of people with little or no attachment to their new homes. That is what we see increasingly, here , under the impact of a tsunami of immigration from alien cultures and religions.
It’s not immigrants who are undermining the unwritten constitution, however. The source of corruption is liberal-progressive beliefs, endlessly preached in our multicultural educational system and the mainstream media, that the United States is, and has always been, a corrupt, oppressive society conceived by the rich to plunder the American public and the rest of the world.
Accommodating immigration is both a major means of survival for the United States and a device for liberal-progressives to recruit new voters (including illegals) for the Democrat/Socialist Party. Immigrants have become a major source of new business and employment creation and the source of the higher birth rate needed to keep the United States from becoming a replica of western Europe: an aging society of dwindling numbers of young workers to support the burden of rising welfare-state obligations.
Combining the huge flood of immigration with a liberal-progressive ethos of rootless multiculturalism sets the stage for disintegration of American society more effectively than terrorist attacks by Islamic jihadists. No longer is education viewed as a melting pot to teach our history and the principles of our government.
Without the pre-existing unwritten constitution of 1776, which Jefferson said was the source of his words in the Declaration of Independence, our written Constitution has become vulnerable to destructive distortion by activist judges and liberal-progressive educators.
Judeo-Christian traditions of right and wrong underlie the unwritten constitution that prevailed in 1776. Those traditions taught generations of Americans that every person should always do his best to do the right thing, even if doing so did not benefit him personally. A flood of judicial decisions since the 1950s reveals, however, that doing away with precepts of right and wrong is one of the primary objectives of liberal-socialism.
The “me” generation of the Baby Boomer era were taught that the only standard is immediate gratification of their sensual urges. Hence today’s generally accepted belief that sexual promiscuity, murdering babies via abortion, drug abuse, biological fathers abandoning partners and the children they father, and living off the welfare state are acceptable life styles.
Myron Magnet expands upon this theme in What Must We Think About When We Think About Politics? appearing in the City Journal website.
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Friday, November 21, 2014
Traditional Virtues Perish Under Onslaught Of Deficit Spending And Federal Reserve Loose Money
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Understanding Why Our Enemy Is Our Enemy
Frank Madarasz alerted me to this article:
Neither wishful thinking nor politically-correct suppression of free speech in the public square will alter the reality of the brutal aims and methods of Islamic Jihad.
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Monday, September 22, 2014
Today’s Secularity vs. Constitutional Liberties
In his latest book, Professor Ellis Sandoz explores the origins and nature of personal freedoms in the Western world, especially as those freedoms came to be embodied in the Constitution of the United States.
Professor Sandoz is director of the Eric Voegelin Institute at Louisiana State University. The first portion of his book (Give Me Liberty: Studies in Constitutionalism and Philosophy, St. Augustine Press, 2013) , is devoted to exploring the grounding of Western civilization in individuals striving toward religious and political rectitude, exemplified in the American founding experience. In the later portion of his book, Professor Sandoz relates these matters to the philosophy of Eric Voegelin, who is generally regarded as one the 20th century’s greatest philosophers of history.
As Professor Sandoz writes in the preface to his work, “The drift of [the book] is to show the connection of the individual consciousness with Liberty in persons and in politics as this has emerged in Western and endured in Anglo-American civilization…In the teeth of our witheringly secularist times, the argument raises the banner of human nobility through participation in the infinite Good as the foundation of all we hold dear and worthy of devotion…”
The book’s back-cover copy tells us, “The Liberty for which Patriot Patrick Henry was willing to die was more than a rhetorical flourish. The American Patriots and Founders based their ideas about Liberty upon almost 200 years of experience on their own as well as the heritage of English Common Law and even back to the natural order of Thomas Aquinas, not to mention the philosophy of Aristotle and the Biblical Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.”
Of particular importance was John Adams’s claim for the origin of political liberty: “Rights antecedent to all earthly government - Rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws - Rights derived from the great Legislator of the universe…” Needless to say this conception stands in diametric contrast to the secular and materialistic position advocated by liberal-progressive-socialistic government. Think of President Obama’s assertion that “You did not do that yourself,” with the clear meaning that what individuals possess is given to them by collectivized government, things which liberal-progressive-socialistic government is therefore entitled to take from individuals to satisfy government’s vision of social justice. Think also of President Obama’s abrogation, through ObamaCare, of individuals’ religious liberties that, in the past, were guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
This decadent, liberal-progressive-socialistic conception of human nature and of mankind’s place in the order of being grew to crisis proportions in 19th century Europe and was imported into the United States after the Civil War by newly secularist major universities. Darwinian evolutionary theory and the philosophical doctrine of materialistic determinism led, on the one hand, to a view of humans left adrift, without spiritual sustenance, and, on the other hand, to the proclaimed necessity of heavy-handed, collectivized government as the only source of people’s well-being. Hence Nietzsche’s observation in the late 1800s that God was dead. As Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s champion of the evolutionary hypothesis, earlier had asserted, evolution “proves” that there is no good or evil, just the struggle for survival. Powerfully collectivized, arbitrary government thus is both obliged and entitled to regulate the populace into conformity to preconceptions of the self-anointed elite.
In contrast, as Professor Sandoz notes, the historic American tradition was a politics of aspiration, in Jefferson’s phrase in the Declaration of Independence, “the pursuit of happiness.” This aspiration, in the Declaration, was enumerated under God-given, inalienable rights. But under the now regnant paradigm instilled by our education establishment, individual pursuit of happiness is merely an excuse for selfishness and, worst of all, the pursuit of business profit. Our callow youth are schooled to believe the Marxian doctrine that profit is money stolen from the workers and that government’s job is to confiscate profits and redistribute them to the working masses. Unfortunately, as we know too well, membership in the employed, working masses has sharply dwindled under the tender mercies of liberal-progressive-socialistic government.
Professor Sandoz explores in considerable detail the philosophical understandings of Eric Voegelin, one aspect of which was, Professor Sandoz writes, “For while the physical safety of a society may be the cardinal political priority, the spiritual health nurtured by truth and justice in the public order and civic consciousness is essential to the happiness of individuals and to the thriving of the societies they compose.” He quotes Voegelin, “…the divine reality lets the light of its perfection fall into the soul; the illumination of the soul arouses the awareness of man’s existence as a state of imperfection; and this awareness provokes the human movement in response to the divine appeal.”
In contrast, liberal-progressive-socialists, in some quarters, deny the existence of the human soul, and in all quarters dismiss the spiritual realm and human relationship to Divinity as ignorant superstition that impedes the progress of materialistic socialism, which is explicitly an atheistic ideology.
Professor Voegelin was among the first philosophers of history in modern times to understand that liberal-progressivism in all its forms - American liberalism, Marxian socialism, Mussolini’s Fascist state capitalism, and Hitler’s National Socialism - is a gnostic, secular religion. The unbridgeable difference between liberal-progressivism and the Constitutional ethos of our founding generations is liberal-progressivism’s conviction that it is the sole possessor of ultimate knowledge. Professor Sandoz notes that, “…Voegelin insists, the philosopher is a lover of wisdom, never its possessor, for only God is wise and can have knowledge of the Whole.”
In Voegelin’s analysis, a gnostic, secular religion such as liberal-progressivism hubristically claims exclusive, secret knowledge of the proper ordering of political society. Since only the elite have such knowledge, they are entitled to regiment the rest of us, compelling conformity to their vision of society. The views of traditionalists and conservatives, and most of all believers in Judeo-Christian morality, are properly subjects of ridicule and suppression.
Liberal-progressivism’s gnosticism leads to the view the world is a fallen version of the Garden of Eden’s perfection and to interpret society’s fall as resulting from the advent of private property. Property rights, of course, were among the rights that formerly prevailed under the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, hence the continuing attacks on the Fifth Amendment.
The Judeo-Christian tradition postulates that only God has knowledge of perfection and that perfection cannot be created by man here on earth. Salvation is a matter for transcendent reality. Voegelin noted that however much liberal-progressives and other gnostics yearn to create an earthly society of perfect social justice, reality remains unchanged. Liberal-progressivism cannot change reality, but it can dangerously derange political and social order.
Professor Sandoz remind us that, “Now as always before, resistance and conviction form the sine qua non of any Liberty worthy of the name.”
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Saturday, September 06, 2014
Liberal-progressivism prides itself on being scientific and ridicules as ignorant superstition the Constitution’s foundation in our Judeo-Christian heritage. In fact, liberal-progressivism is a ramshackle collection of inconsistent hypotheses that never in human history have worked as predicted by liberal-progressivism’s self-appointed elite.
The nub of the matter is how one views human nature. Is human nature, as the word nature implies, fixed by God’s creation of man in His own image? Or is human nature figuratively a bundle of soft clay that can be molded to perfection by material circumstances, most importantly government controls in the hands of an all-knowing governing elite?
The following is an excerpt from The Liberal Jihad: The Hundred Year War Against The Constitution.
Darwin vs Morality
Incorporation of Darwin’s work into the philosophical framework of liberal-progressive-socialism in this country was done by John Dewey. Professor Dewey’s Reconstruction in Philosophy (1905) called for scrapping all existing ideas of morality, philosophy, and religion, because he regarded them as impediments to the advancement of science and to the socialist ideology of social justice.
Dewey pointedly rejected the ideas of natural law and individualism that were the philosophical foundation of the Declaration and the Constitution. For roughly fifty years he propagandized in lectures, books, and magazine articles (including general circulation magazines) for the utopian theory that the Federal government could create a just society simply by establishing the proper regulatory bureaus and by imposing crushing taxes to re-distribute individual wealth.
He used Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis to discredit Judeo-Christian precepts of timeless moral principles and to add a “scientific” rationalization to Marx’s thesis that human nature is altered by changing material conditions.
Darwin, Dewey said, had proved that everything is continually evolving. That included moral principles, as well. Lenin at the same time proclaimed the abstraction called New Soviet Man, whom socialism would change into a selfless person thinking only of the common good and social justice.
The ultimate nonsensical extension of Darwinian evolution was Karl Marx’s doctrine that human nature would be permanently changed by passage through the inferno of bloody revolution, out of which would emerge a selfless being ready to give his all for the collective cause, asking for nothing other than his basic needs. Once such conditioning of human nature had occurred, government would wither away, and everyone would live in perfect harmony, with wars and crime relegated to history.
Socialism at War With Itself
Ironically, there is a glaring, irreconcilable contradiction between evolutionary theory and the religion of socialism.
American liberal-progressive-socialists talk about “fairness,” which means forcibly redistributing income. Their only basis for considering this to be of high moral purpose is their secular religious faith that an egalitarian society is both the best possible society, and the inevitable result of the course of history.
Darwinian evolutionary theory says no such thing.
Darwinian evolution says that there is no order or design in the universe; things happen by random chance. This means that no one can predict what life forms, or what social organizations, will appear in the future. Oxford University’s Darwinian biologist Richard Dawkins describes it thusly:
Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker. (“The Blind Watchmaker,” Chapter 1)
In diametric opposition, liberal-progressive-socialism also pays homage to The Immutable Law of History, which theorizes that society has evolved under the governance of scientifically discoverable laws. In that conception, human societies have passed through three great stages over thousands of years, into the final stage, which is to be scientific socialism.
As proposed by the post-Revolutionary French philosophers Henri de Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte, this tripartite division of historical progress was employed by Karl Marx to predict the inevitable triumph of socialism via Hegel’s system of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.
These two fundamental doctrines of present-day liberalism are at loggerheads with each other. Liberal-progressives can’t have it both ways. Yet they insist that both doctrines be taught in our public schools as part of the secular religion of socialism.
Either all life on earth, in the Darwinian view, is without design or purpose and therefore pointless. Or, in the Gnostic, socialist view, human society is progressing along a path determined by the sociological laws of history toward ultimate perfection, figuratively, a return to the Garden of Eden.
If Darwinian evolution is correct, socialism might triumph purely by chance. But what happens thereafter, purely by chance? What new form of government, responding to changes in material conditions, may appear to succeed socialism? Socialism, in evolutionary theory, can have no more independent validity than any other form of government that might emerge, via natural selection, in response to changing material circumstances in the future.
Reconciling liberal-progressive-socialists’ Darwinian materialism with their claims of socialism’s high moral purpose is somewhat difficult.
Darwinian apologist Thomas Huxley opined that there is no sin, no morality, just the struggle for survival. In that paradigm, there was no higher law of morality to stop Lenin and Stalin from murdering tens of millions of Russians to impose the socialist state.
Totalitarianism is the End Point of Darwinian Materialism
Jonathan Judaken, history professor at the University of Memphis, in his review of Richard Weikart’s From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany, wrote:
… Weikart focuses “primarily on [the] Darwinian influence on eugenics, euthanasia, racial theory, and militarism in Germany” (p. 9). The basic premises that governed social Darwinist positions on these points were clear and coherent. They were encapsulated in the oeuvre of Ernst Haeckel, the most famous and influential social Darwinist in Germany from the publication of Darwin’s “The Origin of the Species” (1859) until the early twentieth century. Haeckel—and many of the prominent scientists, physicians, psychiatrists, economists, geographers, anthropologists and philosophers whose creed was akin to his—believed that everything, including human consciousness, society and morality was a function of natural cause and effect. These natural laws could be known through scientific investigation and science was “the arbiter of all truth” (p. 13). Since individual subjectivity was a function of the laws of nature, Darwinism implied determinism. It undermined any mind-body dualism or the notion of a soul distinct from the physical body. Social Darwinism claimed that human behavior and moral character were the product of hereditary forces.
The mechanism that drives heredity is natural selection (in particular group selection) and the struggle for existence. This struggle has resulted in a variety of moral standards within the human species and over time; Darwinism thus implies moral relativism (p. 25)….
If we believe Weikart, the impact of evolutionary theory on ethics was revolutionary. It overturned the moral codes of what he repeatedly calls “traditional” Judeo-Christian and Enlightenment ethics, legitimating eugenics, “inegalitarianism, scientific racism, and the devaluing of human life” (p. 10).
Morality is thus reduced to primitive might-makes-right, to the cold and inhuman forces of nature that Darwin described as the process of evolutionary natural selection, i.e., the survival of the fittest.
Changing conditions invalidate or destroy previously accepted dogma. It’s in that vein that liberals talk about “evolving” public opinion as amending the original Constitution. It’s in that vein that Hitler proclaimed the right of the Aryan race to rule the world.
Totalitarianism is an almost inevitable political outgrowth of Darwin’s amoral natural selection, coupled with the theorizing of Arthur Gobineau, another of the troublesome French philosophers.
Gobineau’s four-volume work entitled Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races asserted the superiority of the white race over others and labeled the “Aryans,” or Germanic peoples, as the summit of civilization.
In Gobineau’s thesis the evolutionary struggles among different races over the ages of history had concentrated beauty, strength, and intelligence to a superior degree in the Aryan races, i.e., the Nordic-Germanic types. This process of implacable nature meant that the Aryans deserved to be rulers and that pragmatic political policy should be directed toward purifying the race and keeping it pure.
Gobineau’s works were published between 1853 and 1855 , when Comte, Marx, Darwin, and John Stuart Mill were preaching the gospel of secular materialism and undermining the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western civilization. Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859.
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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Spiritual Representation In The Modern World
Liberal-progressives assert that God definitely is dead and that liberal-progressivism is the earthly embodiment of truth and power.
Under the ultimately all-encompassing power of liberal-progressive rule, Judeo-Christian morality is to have no role in public life, other than as an object of ridicule by intellectuals, who hubristically claim to have dethroned God and, on their own, conquered the material world. Since the latter days of the 19th century, secularists in education, science, and politics have worked hard to rid society of religious belief, which they see as ignorance and, above all, a road block to political and social progress.
That aim has gained increasingly widespread acceptance since student radicalism in the 1960s and 1970s. By now, we have a couple of generations of Americans who have been inculcated by our educational system to dismiss the idea of God and to worship the political state as the only source of beneficence and benevolence.
Political leaders increasingly have ignored the restraints imposed by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Instead, the tyranny of the majority (Rousseau’s general will), as interpreted by mainstream media and liberal-progressive politicians, is to prevail, no matter what the Constitution ordains (see Nancy Pelosi’s incredulous reaction that anyone should question Congress’s unlimited power to impose the massive, socialistic income-redistribution program known as Obamacare). Obamacare and other government regulations forbid exercising the right to personal morality in the public square. Liberal-progressives have no qualms about forcing religious Jews and Christians to act against their personal moral convictions. Failure to kow-tow to the political state becomes anti-social, possibly criminal, behavior.
Today in the United States, public opinion is heavily steered by the media toward the secularity and amorality of socialism, expressed in the welfare state. More than seventy percent of media reporters, writers, editors and producers are self-identified liberal-progressives.
Liberal-progressives make much of the Darwinian “evolving” Constitution. Since the 1920s, Federal courts increasingly have adopted the view that interpretation of the law and constitutional principles ought to reflect what the judges believe to be the correct sociological viewpoint, as articulated in the pages of the New York Times and in the sociology departments of Ivy League universities.
Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman is widely cited by the liberal-progressive media as an authority on Constitutional law. He teaches the doctrine that the writers of the Constitution “must” have intended that changing public opinion alone effectively amends the Constitution. The writers of the Constitution, Professor Ackerman asserts, surely didn’t really mean to restrict amending the Constitution to the procedures set forth in Article V of the Constitution, because those procedures are, in the words of Princeton’s Edward S. Corwin, “well nigh impossible” to implement.
Power backed by public opinion of the moment was the only standard recognized by liberal-progressive icon, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. If the people decide that they prefer Communist Bolshevism to our Constitution, he said, then the Supreme Court should not stand in their way. Apparently, in his view, upholding the law of the land and the Constitution itself is not part of a Supreme Court Justice’s duty.
Abandonment of our original Constitutional ethos can be seen clearly in the person of Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo. In 1932 President Herbert Hoover nominated Cardozo, then chief justice of the New York State Court of Appeals, to succeed the retiring Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Cardozo was an appropriate choice to carry on the socialist principles and moral relativism espoused by Justice Holmes.
Cardozo wrote that, whenever possible, legal cases should be decided on the basis of what the social-justice principles of socialism envisioned as the appropriate outcome. What the law or legal precedent directed was less important than using the judicial power to reshape society. This necessarily implied antagonism towards both Judeo-Christian moral principles and English constitutionalism upon which the Constitution was founded.
In the analysis of Eric Voegelin (as I understand it), we have experienced a re-divinization of political, temporal rule: a reversion to the divinization of Roman emperors prior to the gradual roll-back of that power grasp after Constantine’s adoption of Christianity as the unifying religion for the empire.
From the time of Caesar Augustus, more or less contemporaneous with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Roman Emperor laid claim to being the representative of God on earth. As such, the Emperor claimed arbitrary power to impose Roman rule, as he wished it, upon the entire Mediterranean world, suppressing many local customs, religions, and systems of morality.
The early Christian church over time countered that conflation of imperial political and religious power, establishing the church as the representation of God’s will on earth, understood in the life, teaching, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. As initially proclaimed by the Apostle Paul, the role of Christianity was to make access to Divine guidance and earthly help available to every individual believer on earth through the intercession of Jesus Christ. The Jews remain the chosen people of God, but their understanding of God as the source of moral righteousness guiding the actions of every ruler and every individual subject was henceforth to become available to anyone in the world who accepted Christ as Savior.
The critically important aspect of the rise of the Christian church was the responsibility thereby imposed upon every person as an individual. Every individual was expected to study the Gospels (Old and New Testaments) and to open his soul to the two most fundamental commandments of Judaism and Christianity: have no god other than God, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
That understanding, since the mid-18th century with the advent of French socialistic philosophers, has been turned upside down, resulting in re-divinization of the political state and its earthly rulers as the sole source of guidance for personal conduct and the sole source of economic and social well-being. Note, for example, claims by Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren that no individual can claim to have been successful in business or otherwise; all of it comes from the socialistic political state.
Almost every sentence in an Obama speech features “I will” or “I have done.” More than any president in recent decades, Obama apparently envisions himself as an imperial ruler ordained to transform American society, to calm the world’s oceans, restore tranquility to nature, and to instill political and social harmony domestically and in the wider world. A particularly damaging thrust for America’s economic survival is Obama’s crusade to impose the fiction of man-made global warming in order to gain control of the world’s sources and uses of energy and thereby to regulate every action, 24/7/365, of every individual in the world.
The bottom line is that abandoning God and re-divinizing the political state, under Obama, Lenin, Stalin, or Hitler, leads inexorably towards political tyranny. That is the essence of liberal-progressivism.
Constitutional Principles • Political Theory • (5) Comments
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Monday, August 11, 2014
Playing Politics With Our Future
Well-intentioned or not, Obama’s foreign policy has been egregiously simplistic. As Eric Voegelin observed, left-wing radicals envisioning a perfect world and hubristically presuming that they can change reality succeed only in reducing political society to disorder. Underlying reality does not change.
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Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Liberal-Progressivism Is Inherently Tyrannical
As Madison and Hamilton wrote extensively in the Federalist papers, individual rights of all varieties, especially property rights, would be too vulnerable to mob sentiment, to the tyranny of the majority, without the Constitution’s multiple checks and balances to prevent concentration of too much political power in one person or group.
City Journal’s Myron Magnet reviews four books that describe the near fatal torture inflicted upon the Constitution by liberal-progressive collectivization of power since the beginning of the 20th century.
Read It’s Not Your Founding Fathers’ Republic Any More.
Presidents, Congresses, and courts are creating an elective despotism.
Alexis de Tocqueville, in his famous Democracy in America, warned us against the tyranny of the majority that would, if unchecked, override and obliterate the rights of individuals under the Bill of Rights. He warned us against the stifling effects of an all-pervading bureaucracy like the centralized administration in socialist France.
Religious morality having been replaced in 1789 Revolutionary France by worship of the Goddess of Reason, Tocqueville wrote, the French people were prepared to tolerate any degree of political tyranny, so long as they received their welfare-state benefits. This same pattern was repeated in 1930s Germany, and now is fully formed in the United States.
“Fairness” and “caring” mean expropriating the property and income of people who are out of favor and giving it to people in favored classes. Social justice is nothing more than the tyranny of the majority, a mob looting in slow motion. Liberal-progressive social justice is a reversion to pre-civilization barbarism in which there is no rule of law, and might makes right. Once having embarked on liberal-progressive socialism, what Freiderich Hayek called The Road to Serfdom, the average citizen finds it easier to ignore tomorrow, to eat, drink, be merry, and let the government take care of him. It is this which led to tyranny, in ancient Athens and now in the modern world.
See also Death Of The American Idea,