The View From 1776
Monday, May 25, 2015
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
The president continues to assert global warming effects that are not factual.
From the Forbes website: Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat
Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.
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Sunday, May 10, 2015
Our Unconstitutional Administrative State
What used to be called quasi-judicial agencies have become a rogue government unto themselves, outside the original confines of the Constitution. These agencies, today typified by the Environmental Protection Agency, make the law, enforce it, and adjudicate disputes arising under their regulations. This, of course, is in direct conflict with the Constitution’s separation of powers.
The Constitution was crafted with the intent to prevent aggrandizement of political and economic power in one set of hands, relying upon the concept of separation of powers. Every school child is taught about the separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. But the most basic of these power separations was between the individual states and the Federal government.
It’s no accident that liberal-progressives, since the beginning of the 20th century, had agitated for diminishing the countervailing powers of the states, a goal greatly furthered by the 17th Amendment that reduced state legislatures’ influence upon members of the Senate. At the same time, activist presidents - Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson - began creating quasi-judicial regulatory agencies to enhance presidential powers at the expense of Congress.
Read Myron Magnet’s overview of the phenomenon on the City Journal website:
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Monday, May 04, 2015
Baltimore And The Great Society
Baltimore’s riots, looting, burning, and attacks on police and innocent civilians are not unprecedented. Nor are liberal-progressive prescriptions for dealing with the phenomenon. It didn’t work then and it won’t work today.
As I wrote in The Liberal Jihad: The Hundred Year War Against the Constitution:
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had expressly disavowed any ideas of preferential treatment for classes of citizens, aiming for a color-blind society with equal opportunity for all. Yet, only a year later, President Johnson declared to students at Howard University’s graduation ceremony that the “next and most profound stage of the battle for civil rights” will be “not just equality as a right and theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.”
Delivering literal equality, as an entitlement, regardless of whether individuals in the covered social classes had ever worked or even tried to find jobs, would require the government to contravene the equal-treatment provisions of the just-passed Civil Rights Act as well as the 14th Amendment, which mandates due process of law and equal protection under the laws. The Federal judiciary, by then largely staffed with liberal-progressive-socialists, were prepared to ignore this legal conflict and to sanction President Johnson’s new salient toward egalitarian social justice.
Going on welfare, in effect, became a career choice. Welfare “clients” were entitled to welfare benefits and they owed nothing to society. Since in socialist theory it was society’s fault that they were needy, they had no obligation to seek work or to limit the number of their illegitimate children. Nor was there any reason, moral or legal, that they and their progeny should not collect these benefits forever. Liberal-progressives, harking back to FDR’s “second bill of rights” declaration in 1944, called this a Constitutional right.
However much traditionalists deplore this ethos, their revulsion does not mean that society should ignore the plight of the less fortunate, that social welfare measures are inherently bad. It means simply that it doesn’t work to deal with human misery by telling the unfortunate that they have a Constitutional right to a large part of the fruit of other people’s labor, and that they owe nothing in return to society.
Michael Harrington’s 1968 Toward a Democratic Left: A Radical Program for a New Majority expressed the sense of the 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 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 John] 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, more than forty years later, it is possible to review the actual results of the Great Society and of Mr. Harrington’s prescription. “Promoting the affluence of the public sector” as a means of stimulating the economy meant simply putting more people on the public payrolls. There is no evidence that this produced “millions of creative jobs” or did anything to eradicate poverty (or racism, if one is to believe black spokesmen like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton) within the twenty years of Mr. Harrington’s expectations.
Far from eliminating poverty, Mr. Harrington’s prescription, applied in the Great Society entitlements programs, produced the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Bureau of Labor reported unemployment at 5.2% of the labor force in 1965; ten years later in 1975 the unemployment rate was 9.0%, accompanied by the worst inflation in our peacetime history.
That, of course, is much the same prescription followed by the Obama administration, with much the same negative result.
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Saturday, April 18, 2015
Ben Bernanke Defends The Indefensible
Keynesian economics has never, so far as I am able to discover, worked as predicted by theory. It’s no more than an excuse for liberal-progressives who want an all-powerful government that will, in the name of security, override individuals’ rights to make their own decisions.
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Friday, April 10, 2015
The Struggle Dividing Our Nation
Increasingly frequent presidential executive orders and arbitrary bureaucratic regulations make it abundantly clear that liberal-progressives aim to conquer and to impose their will upon the rest of us, making the Constitution all but meaningless.
The following is from the introduction to my book, The Liberal Jihad: The Hundred Year War Against The Constitution
For more than a century, liberal-progressive-socialists have waged a secular religious jihad against the Constitution and the ethos of personal morality and individual responsibility upon which the Constitution was based in 1787.
That liberal jihad is, like Islamic jihad, a matter of conquest and militant rejection of Judeo-Christian morality and principles of social order. Liberal-progressive-socialists are not content to have the freedom to express their views. They want laws and regulations that will compel the rest of us to conform to their secular religious ideology, just as the Islamic jihad seeks to impose sharia law on everyone.
In simplest terms, liberal-progressive-socialist ideology is what Karl Marx called scientific socialism: the belief that human nature is plastic, that it can be reshaped and perfected by the political state. The ideology of socialism is a secular religion in which the political state, guided by intellectual and bureaucratic planners, takes the place of God, whose existence is explicitly denied. In that ideology Judeo-Christian morality, which focuses upon individual responsibility to work hard and to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, leads to private property rights and to unequal distribution of income and life status. The capitalistic system, a product of individuality and innovation, in that perspective is nothing more than a rationale for greed and savage competition in the marketplace.
If liberal-progressive-socialists are to reshape human nature and to perfect and harmonize society, Judeo-Christian individuality must be destroyed. The Constitution of the United States, which is based on Judeo-Christian individuality, must also be perverted and subverted. Only then will liberal-progressive-socialist economic planners be able to impose their ideological vision. Hence the liberal jihad.
Many recent books have warned us about one or another of the divisive social policies that menace American society and have denounced the social-engineering activists pushing them. The Liberal Jihad differs from these books in a several ways.
First, it is a big-picture book that aims to pull pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together so that you can understand how the different attack points of liberal-progressive-socialism are connected.
Second, it aims to go beyond describing symptoms of social illness and to identify the virus causing them, as well as to suggest the cure.
Third, to do this, The Liberal Jihad sketches the historical movements in the Western world that explain the origin and nature of this virus, which is the secular and materialistic religion of socialism worshipped by American liberal-progressives and their fellow-travelers.
Much of this is simple common sense, yet the larger picture remains beyond the reach of most people. The reason is that understanding the nature of socialism and its profound threat to civilization requires knowledge of history. Few people in America today have such knowledge, because one of the basic policies of liberal-progressive-socialists since the beginning of the 20th century has been to distort and falsify the teaching of Western history and its traditions. A main purpose of The Liberal Jihad is to fill the blanks so that you can have a complete picture of what is going on in politics, education, and the law.
This is not a book about Democrats vs Republicans. The secular religious virus of socialism has infected the liberal wings of both parties. Nor is it a book that simply defends what is generally regarded as the conservative position. It is a book that aims instead to give you a clear picture of the political and moral traditions that were the common understanding among people of the thirteen colonies of British North America in 1776.
Describing today’s social activism as a jihad may strike you as a sensationalist exaggeration. This book will lay out the factual basis so that you can decide for yourself.
Part I of the book describes the social and political views that unified the United States in 1776 and contrasts them with the religious and social doctrine of present-day liberal-progressive-socialism. Part II describes the nature and origin of the virus of socialism and how it was transmitted to our society. Part III describes the battlefields of religion, education, and the law, in which the liberals are waging their jihad. And Part IV provides a summary and conclusion.
The events of September 11, 2001, were like a bolt out of the blue for most of us. We knew about Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, but we thought that it wasn’t part of our world. We were living in blissful, but dangerous ignorance of Western European history and didn’t know that today’s terrorism is just a continuation of the relentless warfare that Islam had waged for a thousand years against all of the Christian West. From the beginning of Islam in 622 AD until repulse of the last attack on Vienna in 1683, there was never a decade when Islam was not invading and conquering the Christian territories of the former Roman Empire. Knowing nothing about Islam’s militaristic convert-or-kill nature, we thought of Islam as just another religious view to be tolerated along with Judaism and the various Christian denominations. Destruction of Manhattan’s World Trade Towers and part of the Pentagon were a wake-up call.
In the same way, our ignorance about the history and traditions of the Western world leaves us unprepared to fight the liberal jihad effectively. The fury among liberal-progressive-socialists unleashed by the election of President George W. Bush and by our response to terrorism was a wake-up call for everybody who cares about preserving the Constitution and the American traditions upon which it is based. Current liberal venom is just a flare-up of the relentless struggle by secular religionists that began in the middle 1700s to obliterate personal moral responsibility and spiritual religion.
Many people still assume that the hostility erupting from liberal-progressive-socialists is just a matter of differences here and there that can be worked out by political compromise. Most of us, having been kept in ignorance by a liberal-dominated educational system, know nothing about the secular religious nature of socialism and its relentless drive to conquer and destroy all spiritual religions, political systems, and cultural values that stand in its way. If the United States is not to continue along the socialistic path of France, Germany, Russia, China, and Cuba, we have to get an understanding as quickly as possible about the broad and deep currents pushing liberal-progressive-socialism in the United States.
The book’s principal points are:
The United States was founded on the Judeo-Christian ethic that historically was the substance of Western civilization. Ours was a specifically English conception of individual morality and individual responsibility that, only in England and its North American colonies, had produced a government of laws, not men, a government in which even the king is subject to the statutes of the land and to a higher moral law.
This conception of government necessitates a citizenry self-regulated by moral precepts that are preserved and taught by spiritual religion. The government must similarly be restrained by the limits of natural law, which say that no legitimate government may infringe any individual’s rights to life, liberty, and private property. Both religion and natural law, and their relation to human nature, are part of God’s creation.
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 disparate special-interest groups; such is the multi-cultural jumble into which the United States has blundered since the late 1960s.
Opposing our original conception of government is the liberal jihad, driven by the ideology of socialism, sometimes called The Religion of Humanity or secular humanism. This religion was formalized in the 1789 French Revolution, the same year that our Constitution was ratified.
Socialism is a secular religion. Like Islamic suicide bombers, liberals are so firmly persuaded that their cause is right, good, and just that they are prepared to go to any lengths necessary to destroy the Judeo-Christian ethic of individual morality and replace it with a rigidly regulated National-State collectivism, of which Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were extreme examples.
The religion of socialism is being taught unconstitutionally, at your expense, in public schools and colleges receiving Federal aid. Teaching the religious doctrine of socialism as “scientific fact” amounts to making liberal-progressive-socialism the unconstitutionally established religion of the United States.
The way, and it necessarily will be laborious, to stop the liberal jihad is to force schools to present both sides of the story, traditionalist, as well as liberal-progressive. Publicly funded schools now teach only the amoral, secular materialism of the socialist religion. Schools no longer present true versions of American history and of our original ideas of civic virtue and personal morality that are historically the substance of Western civilization. Penetrating the shield of socialist teachers’ unions and the politicians whom they help elect is a very long-term project, but a vital one.
The largest volume of immigration in the nation’s history, both legal and illegal, coupled with liberals’ relentless efforts to destroy America’s original traditions of individual morality, leaves us with no core values and a diminishing will to defend ourselves against foreign enemies.
What Jefferson said of his writing the Declaration of Independence can be said of The Liberal Jihad. It is not an effort to create a new theory or to say things never before expressed. It is simply an affirmation of the hard-won wisdom and experience of thousands of years. It is simply a recounting of history and ideas that were well understood in 1776, ideas that have been forgotten or deliberately erased from text books and teachers’ lesson plans by liberal-progressives who control our educational system.
The Liberal Jihad offers no magic cures for the ills of the world. It’s the liberals who believe in the superstitions and ignorance of socialism and are confident that they can make everything perfect, if we just put them in charge of our lives. Nobody will ever make the world or a political society perfect. The message of The Liberal Jihad, however, is that it is a worthy goal to work for a society in which each individual is taught community standards of decent and civilized conduct and in which each individual is expected to obey his own conscience and to strive always to do the right thing. A government of limited powers, giving maximum rein to individuality under a common ethic of morality, is a far better world than the despotism and moral relativism of the liberals’ social-engineered dream.
In the long run, education is the most effective weapon to defeat the liberal jihad. To use an out-worn expression, we are struggling for the hearts and minds of our own citizens, particularly the young students who are bombarded with socialistic propaganda from kindergarten through college.
We must do our best to get equal time for presentation of the historical traditions, Judeo-Christian moral principles, and constitutional individualism that motivated the colonists in 1776. We must abandon multi-cultural education and go back to the concept of the American educational system as a melting pot in which everybody became an American. If students are to make wise decisions as adults, they must have the opportunity to learn the original ideas that created the United States, not just a distorted picture of our history and the dogma of liberal-progressive-socialism. The Liberal Jihad is written with the idea that, given a full understanding, students will prefer the individualism and limited government intended by our Constitution. Given an understanding of the mythological, unscientific ignorance that is the basis of liberal-progressive-socialism, they will become as scornful of what they are now taught as liberals are of American traditions.
This is not a matter of restricting free speech or academic freedom, but of enforcing the First Amendment’s anti-establishment clause. It is a matter of thwarting the unwavering goal of the liberal jihad, which is overthrowing our Constitutional government and establishing socialism as the official religion of the collectivized National State.
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Monday, April 06, 2015
The American Mobocracy
A hate crime is becoming whatever private thought or belief fails to conform to the liberal-progressive shibboleths of the moment. Mobs are at the ready to crush dissenters.
Thanks to Barton Bennett, who alerted me to this post on the Vox Populi website:
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Friday, April 03, 2015
Not thinking the way liberal-progressives demand is becoming a social crime that must be punished by destroying the lives of dissidents. Big Brother will find you.
Read Seth Mandel’s post on the Commentary website:
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Saturday, March 28, 2015
Liberal-progressivism and its subset environmentalism are both secular religions. They are, along with Lenin’s and Stalin’s Communism, Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party (the Nazis), and Mussolini’s Fascism, merely denominations within the church of socialism.
With regard to environmentalism, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, 3/15/15:
From a speech by the late novelist Michael Crichton to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, 2003:
Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it’s a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe. . . .
There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?
With regard to the overarching secular religion of liberal-progressivism. in March 2004 I wrote the following:
Socialism: Our Unconstitutionally Established National Religion
Federal education funding to teach socialism amounts to establishing the secular religion of socialism as the official national church.
The following letter was mailed to Supreme Court Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas:
Dear Mr. Chief Justice:
This letter is in regard to the Court’s recent decision in the Washington State religious scholarship case. The purpose is not to disagree specifically with the Court’s decision, but to question what constitutes a religion, the establishment of which is prohibited by the First Amendment.
It can be demonstrated that secular and materialistic socialism is a religion. That being the case, any use of Federal funds by public schools and universities for the teaching of socialistic doctrine constitutes a prohibited establishment of a specific religion.
That socialism is a religion:
Socialism’s codifier, Henri de Saint-Simon, himself called socialism a religion. His last major work was entitled The New Christianity. Saint-Simon said that the highest socialistic regulatory council should control education so that nothing but the catechism of social justice might be taught (e.g., Darwinian evolution, multiculturalism, Keynesian economics, deconstruction, legal realism, and critical studies).
Saint-Simon’s more famous colleague Auguste Comte went so far as to create The Religion of Humanity as part of his materialistic philosophy of Positivism.
Comte’s Religion of Humanity was approvingly cited by John Stuart Mill in his Chapters on Socialism, in which he mused that the educational system should be changed to indoctrinate the people with the principles of socialism.
The late Bertrand Russell, one of the world’s most prominent spokesmen for socialism, said of the World War I German socialist party, “For Social Democracy is not a mere political party, nor even a mere economic theory; it is a complete self-contained philosophy of the world and of human development; it is, in a word, a religion and an ethic. To judge the work of Marx, or the aims and beliefs of his followers, from a narrow economic standpoint, is to overlook the whole body and spirit of their greatness.” (from Lecture One, German Social Democracy).
Irving Howe was, as you know, a leading New York socialist intellectual after World War II, as well as the founding editor of Dissent magazine. In A Margin of Hope: An Intellectual Autobiography, he wrote, “Call it liberal, call it social democratic, a politics devoted to incremental reform even while still claiming a utopian vision, how can such a politics satisfy that part of our imagination still hungering for religious exaltation, still drawn to gestures of heroic violence, still open to the temptations of the apocalypse? Perhaps it was recognition of this fact that led the leadership of the European social democracy in the years just before the First World War to maintain some of the “revolutionary” symbols and language of early Marxism, though their parties had ceased to be revolutionary in any serious respect. Intuitively they grasped that the parties they led were not just political movements but, in some sense, branches of a “church” “
In A Yippie Manifesto, published in May 1969, Jerry Rubin wrote, “America and the West suffer from a great spiritual crisis. And so the yippies are a revolutionary religious movement.A religious-political movement is concerned with peoples souls, with the creation of a magic world which we make real.We offer: sex, drugs, rebellion, heroism, brotherhood. They offer: responsibility, fear, puritanism, repression.”
To round out the liberals’ own characterization of socialism as a religion, start by comparing the similarities in structure between socialism and Christianity. Each has a theory about human nature that prescribes conditions of daily life and holds forth a promise of future redemption for all of humanity, a vision of future perfection that becomes a controlling factor in the daily lives of Christians and socialists. Christians look to salvation and life after death. Liberal-socialists look to The Religion of Humanity’s promise of perfection of man and society, here on earth, by means of materialistic structures planned and administered by intellectuals.
For liberals, there being no God, the ultimate source of legitimacy and authority is the ever-changing ideas of social justice in the minds of intellectuals. Applying that view to our Constitution is the process of judicial activism.
Christianity, like it or not, was the sole unifying structure of Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. For the Judeo-Christian tradition, Original Sin was humans over-reaching to become God-like by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. The message was that humans are God’s creatures and must obey God’s Will. Neither Salvation, return to the Garden of Eden, nor eternal bliss, is possible within this world.
Socialism exhibits all the same elements: a Garden of Eden (the State of Nature), original sin, and a promise of salvation revealed in sacred texts delivered by revered prophets. For socialists, Original Sin was the invention of private property and the resulting scramble of individuals to amass property, which introduced greed, avarice, aggression, crime, and wars. But unlike Christianity, socialist salvation is attainable without divine intervention, through the political state, by future generations here on earth.
Socialist salvation, however, is not an individual matter. It applies to the collective masses, in which individuals have no political significance beyond their class identity. Be it noted that our nation was incontrovertibly founded on principles of individualism, not secular and materialistic collectivism.
To be considered true religions, doctrinal beliefs must achieve multi-national and cross-cultural acceptance. Socialism clearly qualifies, having spread from Western Europe to all parts of the world. It has been adopted by countries in the Middle East, Africa, and the Far East, including three of the most populous nations in the world: Russia, India, and China. Great religions commonly are associated with the lives and teachings of larger-than-life individuals such as Moses, Buddha, Jesus, or Mohammed. Socialism qualifies in that respect also. Henri de Saint-Simon, Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, and Charles Darwin delivered their revelations of materialistic Truth in the first sixty years of the 1800s.
Marx has become a mythical, god-like figure to billions of people around the world. American school children are taught that Darwin was the embodiment of science and truth, despite the fact that there exists not a single proof of his speculative theory (see Cal-Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson’s Darwin on Trial and Gertrude Himmelfarb’s Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution). Thomas Huxley and American socialists like John Dewey used Darwinian evolution theory as a battering ram against morality and spiritual religions, particularly Christianity.
John Adams said that the Constitution was made for a moral and religious people, self-constrained by individual morality; that it would work for no other. Darwin’s “bulldog,” Thomas Huxley, said that there is no such thing as sin, merely the struggle for survival. Dewey taught that there is no morality, because material conditions are the sole source of human nature, and those conditions change continually in Darwinian fashion. Their fellow socialists Hitler and Stalin found nothing to quibble about in those doctrines.
The prophets of the socialist religion proclaimed that human nature could be returned to its State-of-Nature benevolence by the abolition of private property. Political societies, indeed all of humanity, could be perfected here on earth by restructuring government to place it in the hands of intellectual planners. The state-planner, the minister of socialist religion, sees himself as a modern-day Moses uniquely qualified by his knowledge about the so-called Immutable Law of History to guide humanity to earthly perfection, back to the Original State of Nature.
That the secular and materialistic religion of liberalism (the American sect of the international religion of socialism) is antithetical to and wholly incompatible with the fundamental principles of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution; proselytizing with Federal funds for the religion of socialism is therefore unconstitutional:
The American War of Independence was based philosophically upon John Locke’s Second Treatise, which was founded entirely in natural law. The legitimization for both the ouster of James II and George III was that each had broken the natural-law compact that postulated inalienable, individual natural-law rights to life, liberty, and property. “No taxation without representation.”
Jefferson’s references in the Declaration to “The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” are meaningless except in the context of natural law. Ditto with regard to the Bill of Rights.
Natural law, since Aristotle, has been identified with the teleological, intelligent-design paradigm of the cosmos. Aristotle’s natural law, via Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, opened the field of European medieval law to the concept of separation of church and state into political and spiritual realms. One dealt with making people good citizens, the other with making people good humans. Both were rooted in natural law, and natural law was God-given. This was the entire foundation of everything that we now call Western civilization.
Everyone from Franklin to Washington continually invoked the Deity’s blessings for the success of the American cause of independence, and later the Constitution. But American liberal-socialism demands that only the secular doctrine of socialism and Comte’s Positivism be taught in our schools. Because of support from our Federal courts, socialism has been established as the only scientific truth. The natural-law, spiritual-religion foundation of our nation has been dismissed as ignorance from a pre-scientific age. If that position holds, then the Declaration and the Constitution are meaningless drivel that “evolves” in Darwinian evolutionary fashion, subject only to random, chaotic materialistic forces.
As our first socialist Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, repeatedly wrote, there is no such thing as a higher law of morality, merely whatever a particular judge thinks that the law ought to be. As you know, Holmes opined that, if secular materialism changed public opinion to the belief that we should scrap the Constitution and institute Bolshevism, then neither the Court not the Constitution should stand in the way. That contempt for tradition and precedent, for the entirety of Western civilization, has, too often since the 1920s, informed Federal judicial practice, making the Constitution into a Rorschach ink-blot.
The materialistic and secular doctrine of socialism, pushed by the ACLU (e.g., the Scopes monkey trial), liberal-socialist politicians, and the teachers’ unions, in effect decapitates Western civilization. We see this daily in denigration of subject matter produced by “dead white men” and John Dewey’s maxim that “dead” history has no place in the Progressive Education curriculum. William F. Buckley, Jr., documented it in his 1951 God and Man at Yale, and Alan Charles Kors and Harvey A. Silverglate have updated it in The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on Americas Campuses.
Saint-Simon and John Dewey were correct in perceiving that control of education is the most effective way to destroy the essence of Western civilization and replace it with the secular and materialistic religion of socialism. We may hope that education will be rebalanced to require fair presentation of the doctrinal foundations of our Constitution, as well as the dogma of liberal-socialism.
May we hope that the Federal judiciary will abandon its suicide pact with the liberal-socialists?
Thomas E. Brewton
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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.