Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Breath of the Beast - "Race To The Top" - UPDATED**

A "Race To The Top", or a plunge into darkness
You know that I've said over and over again, that the schools are where the proregressives scored their first hit on the constitution, and upon the American soul - two of my earlier posts on it were, "What never was and never will be" and "Spreading The Flames". I've said over and again that if we don't take back the education of our children, and of ourselves, it wouldn't matter who won what election or whatever legislative undo button managed to be pressed - if we lose what it means to be Americans, we'd be lost altogether - and the proregressives have always known that as well.

Well... this just may be our last chance to remain outside of the beast. If you think I'm exagerating, I just receivd this from Gretchen Logue, Editor of the Jefferson County Township Newsletter:

While we've been distracted with HealthControl and Stimulous bills, the proregressive beast has advanced behind our backs to the point where you just might feel it's breath on the back of your neck before it consumes you... might... but more likely, you'll be a steaming meadow pie before you even know it. I just became aware of this damnable thing last night at a Tea Party related meeting (for Ensuring Liberty), and from the little I've been able to discover so far, it is blood chilling.
"An aside note. We have a member who emigrated here from Germany . She was a young girl during WWII but remembers the tyranny of that government. After the presentation she remarked, "Welcome to the Third Reich". Bottom line of RTTT and The Governor's Council: the centralization of government and control. The attempts are here in Missouri and the United States . It's in black and white. It's not paranoia. It's fact."

I've only just begun to look into the actual documents, an Executive Overview (15pg!), and the 300 page "Race To The Top" application itself. As one of those who have tipped me off to this, Annette at "I heard the people say" says, "When you read these documents, pay attention to what this document states. It will allow the wresting of local school board control...", and it does so through unfunded federal mandates, and the ability to dictate not only the curriculum, but to replace your local teachers with Federally certified teachers: Read ObamaoCorp.

Pajamas Media has an article on this which out to scare the crap out of you,

Apparently, $4.35 billion is not enough for education reform — at least, not the kind that President Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan are pushing. With the first $4.35 billion coming from the stimulus package, Obama has asked for $1.53 billion more in his 2011 budget — all for Duncan’s Race to the Top competition. This educational experiment, designed “to dramatically reshape America’s educational system,” allows states to compete for a piece of the $5 billion in cash prizes by making educational reforms dictated by the Department of Education (DOE). The more DOE reforms they enact, the more money states “win.” Currently, 40 states have applied.
Despite the vast expansion of federal government mandates on state and local schools, Race to the Top has received relatively little resistance from proponents of smaller government. But the reality is that this plan not only usurps state rights; it also introduces a whole new program of indoctrination.
According to the DOE’s website, “integrity and transparency drive the process” of Race to the Top. In truth, it’s about as transparent as a blindfold, causing many school districts to opt out. Although states like Iowa, California, and Wisconsin applied for the grant money, many of their school districts are not choosing to participate. Citing an inability to get adequate information on the regulations that would be imposed on the schools, districts “struggled with unanswered questions about how tightly the funds would be tied to mandates.” Karl Paulson, a Missouri school district superintendent, wrote, “It is irresponsible for officials from the State Department of Education or State Board of Education to coerce local districts into a commitment through politics and press releases without the districts having the full design and requirements of that commitment being detailed.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry, one of the few staunch opponents of the program, stated that it would be “foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education.” He added that if Washington truly cared about education, it would give the money to the states with “no strings attached.” Among those “strings attached” is a commitment to abandon local curricula to adopt unproven, national curriculum standards.
Still, the focus on charter schools has duped many on the right to support the program. But before cheering for charter schools, parents need to be reminded that the camouflage-clad, militant youth chanting and praising President Obama came from a Kansas City, Missouri, charter school. In reality, that school’s model much more closely resembles the vision of both Obama and Duncan.
Charter schools by definition are free from many of the rules and regulations of public schools. Although they have accountability standards, they set their own curricula and programs. But since the foundation of Race to the Top is setting a core curriculum determined by Washington, the reality is that these so-called charter schools will not set their own curriculum. The DOE is simply redefining the term “charter school” with the hopes that its program can sail through with little right-wing opposition.
With their newly defined charters, they’ll not only be able to change what students are learning, but more easily change who is teaching them. Traditionally, charter schools have been free from the burdens of teachers’ unions so that they can more easily fire and replace bad teachers. When a school becomes a charter school, its teachers even have to reapply for their jobs; enter AmeriCorps.
One of the most startling facets of Race to the Top is its attempt to get rid of as many traditionally educated teachers — i.e., those who go to a college to earn a master’s degree in education — and replace them with “alternatively” certified teachers; and, not just any alternatively certified teachers, but those certified by AmeriCorps’ Teach for America (TFA) and Teaching Fellows, which it runs jointly with the New Teacher Project (TNTP).
Many school districts are already adding AmeriCorps workers with hopes of appearing more competitive for the federal dollars. For example, Colorado agreed to “more than quadruple the number of Teach for America teachers in classrooms, from 175 to more than 800.” And in Indiana’s Race to the Top application, the state agreed to “double the number of teachers entering each year from Teach for America and the New Teacher Project..
Replacing traditionally educated teachers with AmeriCorps-certified teachers is not a new idea to Duncan. Despite laying off hundreds of teachers during his tenure as CEO for Chicago Public Schools, he still managed to add hundreds of TFA teachers to Chicago schools.

40 states have applied for self-destruction through this thing. A number of states have a state sovereignty movement afoot, ours in Missouri is "MO Sovereignty Project", see if you've got one and see if it'll cover this, or if they're even aware of this thing. If your state is getting involved, or even already passed it, contact your school board and see if they're contemplating it - and stop them! I'll give the last word to Annette on this,
"The first step is educating yourself. I believe our readers do not need a "nudge" to find out what this mandate means for our children and giving away our sovereignty. We can figure out what is happening behind the scenes. We are not stakeholders. We are citizens who are concerned about this push toward federalization of our programs. You need to call your School District today. You need to ask them if it signed on to this document and why. Call your legislator. Call the State Board of Education. Call the governor. Tell your neighbors. This is akin to the ramming through of the health reform bill. Secrecy, vagueness, and sense of "crisis".
I'm going to a townhall on this tonight and will update you as more info becomes available.


Do Something!


More info here on The Missouri Register with "The Race To The Takeover",
"The plan reflects the belief that our schools need to be nudged by "choice architects" (pps 10 and 40) to steer educational choices for our children. The document was drafted on the basic tenet of this belief held by Cass Sunstein. This is the recurring theme of the Obama administration. We, the people, are ill prepared to handle decisions for ourselves and our children. We need the "nudging" by the government for correct choices"
And key to the process of 'nudging', is the "Teach For America" (TFA) organization (such as pgs 142 and 152), run by this politically correct mess, Wendy Kopp, her organization will be responsible for seeing that the pick fed teachers will be certified and stamped "FeDA Approved: Grade A PC". The end result of all of this nudging is a complete takeover of curriculum, teachers, and with just a widdle bit of extrapolation, the taking over of your children.

Pure and simple.

******************** And of course, good ol' fashioned corruption*******************
Here's a post (the original has been deleted) regarding conflict of interest between Duncan and the grants being doled out,

"I have now heard the same thing from three independent credible sources - the fix is in on the U.S. Department of Education's competitive grants, in particular Race to the Top (RTTT) and Investing in Innovation (I3). Secretary Duncan needs to head this off now, by admitting that he and his team have potential conflicts of interests with regard to their roles in grant making, recognizing that those conflicts are widely perceived by potential grantees, and explaining how grant decisions will be insulated from interference by the department's political appointees."

Of course.

Diane Ravitch, an old hand with attempts at educational reform, keys off this also,

"I try not to be naïve. I admit to a certain streak of idealism. I suppose that is why I continue to be surprised when I read about efforts to suppress critical discussions of charter schools. I was shocked when Education Sector toned down Tom Toch's friendly discussion of the charter sector, in which he expressed concern about the capacity of charter chains to expand enough to meet Secretary Duncan's goal of thousands of new high-quality charters. Leave aside the fact that Toch was one of the founders of Education Sector, there is still the odor that arises when a sensible critique is censored by its sponsors.

Now comes another clumsy effort to silence someone who raises reasonable questions. Marc Dean Millot, who has been writing incisively about the business of education for many years, posted a blog in which he posed questions about the conflicts of interest at the U.S. Department of Education. Millot wrote:
...[above quote repeated here]

It turns out that Millot asked questions that someone didn't want to be heard. The blog was removed, and his contract cancelled. The good news is that the Internet is making it very difficult to censor anyone. You can be certain that the censors will fail, because the original is almost certain to appear uncut on the Internet within days or hours.

Whatever Secretary Duncan chooses to do with the good advice offered by Millot, I have a prediction to make: As hundreds and possibly thousands more charter schools open, we will see many financial and political scandals. We will see corrupt politicians and investors putting their hands into the cashbox. We will see corrupt deals where public school space is handed over to entrepreneurs who have made contributions to the politicians making the decisions. We will see many more charter operators pulling in $400,000-500,000 a year for their role, not as principals, but as "rainmakers" who build warm relationships with politicians and investors"

Ravitch also ties much of the push for this to the Gates Foundation... wish Bill would stick with software.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What Would the Founders Do? Common Sense says WHO CARES!

Allow me one more jab at the dangers of uninformed "Common Sense", through what is considered by most conservatives to be a very common sense question: What Would the Founders Do? Well... sorry, but what the Founding Fathers would have done, given some situation we might face, is a question for antiquarians and some not so useful historians. It doesn't matter to us. It shouldn't matter to us. And, conservative revolutionaries that they were, asking it is an insult to their memory.

What they would do, would only apply to their pre-industrial and pastoral context, and it would be ridiculous to attempt to insert what they would have done then, into the context of our technological age now. It doesn't matter. We defame them even asking the question. After all, Common Sense says that the Founders are dead, their cities as they knew them, and the lives and lifestyles they knew are gone, and are irrelevant to our lives... what they would do does not matter and should not matter to us - they are dead and buried, hallowed be their names.

If you are looking to the Constitution as a portal to somehow determine what they would have done... I've got news for you... not only can't you do it, but it wouldn't matter if you did, they are dead and buried and cannot act in our world.

Have I got that point across? Good. So then maybe now I can add one great big...


But, what our Founding Fathers did pass on down to us, can be and is still fully living and breathing, through us (or at least it should be), and the Constitution is the vital and very solid guide which we have to it.

Note: the Constitution is not, repeat NOT a living breathing document, it was written down on paper, copied and distributed, so that it would remain permanent and unchanging unless specifically amended by We The People, so that it could be passed down from their time to ours and beyond... without the slightest hint of a breath, gasp or sneeze - but it is the Rosetta stone to the Founders still living philosophy of Classical Liberalism and Natural Law, and it shows us how to understand those ideas and how to apply them to our world, our lives and our context.

The real question we need to be asking is Why would they do what they did, what were the ideas which animated them and with which they wrote our constitution and how can we apply those same still living ideas, to our lives and context so that we can continue living in liberty and freedom?! That is the question we need to be asking.

Asking 'What would the Founders do?' is the type of thing that leads formidable minds such as Justice Robert Bork, to look at the constitution, shrug, and say such things as he did in his infamous confirmation hearings regarding the 9th and 10th amendments having no more value than an inkblot ,
"Senator DECONCINI. Yes. You feel that it only applies to their State constitutional rights.
Judge BORK. Senator, if anybody shows me historical evidence about what they meant, I would be delighted to do it. I just do not know.
Senator DECONCINI. I do not have any historical evidence. What I want to ask you is purely hypothetical, Judge. Do you think it is unconstitutional, in your judgment, for the Supreme Court to considera right that is not enumerated in the Constitution
Judge BORK. Well, no.
Senator DECONCINI. to be found under article IX?
Judge BORK. There are two parts to that. First, there are some rights that are not enumerated but are found because of the structure of the Constitution and government. That is fine with me. I mean that is a legitimate mode of constitutional analysis. I do not think you can use the ninth amendment unless you know something of what it means. For example, if you had an amendment that says "Congress shall make no" and then there is an ink blot and you cannot read the rest of it and that is the only copy you have, I do not think the court can make up what might be under the ink blot if you cannot read it.
Senator DECONCINI. Let me ask you this question: If you had to speculate, what do you think Madison or some of the framers had in mind as to unenumerated rights?
Judge BORK. They might have had in mind—this is pure speculation, which I do not think is ...
Senator DECONCINI. I understand. I said this is all hypothetical.
Judge BORK. All right. They might have had in mind what I just said about the enumeration of these does not entitle judges to override the state constitutional rights. They also might have had in mind perhaps a fixed category of what they regarded as natural rights, although if they did have in mind a category of natural rights, I am a little surprised they did not spell it out and put it into the Constitution, because they specified all the other rights. There is no evidence that I know of that this was to be a dynamic category of rights, that is that under the ninth amendment the court was free to make up more Bill of Rights...."
, and good luck finding 'conservative' sites giving any mention of it... libertarian, left and whacko left sites are about the only ones to mention it - so much for "common sense" being able to conserve or defend the constitution. This is the very same 'conservative' view of Rights and States Rights which Justice Taney and the confederacy used to determine that some poeple could own other people as property. It is also the very same view which Taney expressed in the Charles River Bridge case I noted in a previous post, and which Daniel Webster lamented as being the "death of Property Rights", and it is one of the more frightening statements I've heard modern day conservatives make regarding our Rights, and what few of them have any standing with some of our 'legal scholars'. Thank God Bork's nomination was defeated. The Conservative who follows the constitution is all well and good, and far better than the leftist who obfuscates it, but if the conservative doesn't understand what the constitution means... he's going to do grevious damage to it as well.

Most of the conservative judges today, while I'll take them over the leftists, and with the oft exception of Justice Clarence Thomas (such as for his opinion at the end of this post, big kudos there), I for one can't say that I admire them. I certainly don't share Mark Levin's admiration for judges such as Robert Bork, and even with a much greater mind such as Justice Scalia, it seems that when trying to imagine "What Would the Founders Do?" in regards to our Individual Rights, they in essence shrug... and say "I don't know".

For instance, Scalia argued in Troxel v. Granville, that
"In my view, a right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is among the "unalienable Rights" with which the Declaration of Independence proclaims "all Men ... are endowed by their Creator." And in my view that right is also among the "othe[r] [rights] retained by the people" which the Ninth Amendment says the Constitution's enumeration of rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage."..."

"...Consequently, while I would think it entirely compatible with the commitment to representative democracy set forth in the founding documents to argue, in legislative chambers or in electoral campaigns, that the state has no power to interfere with parents' authority over the rearing of their children, I do not believe that the power which the Constitution confers upon me as a judge entitles me to deny legal effect to laws that (in my view) infringe upon what is (in my view) that unenumerated right."

So while Scalia sees those non-enumerated rights as being valid for legislators to take into consideration when writing law, and rightly so, he goes on to say that if someone makes a law that clearly violates the unenumerated rights of parents or other forms of property rights - that's ok, it's a law now and it says so. This I think bears out much of Madison's fear, that enumerating some rights, will for a "debased posterity" (us), mean that any rights which are not enumerated, in effect, just don't exist.

They are disarmed. And disarmed by themselves... and what whatever it was that passed for their education deprived them of the intellectual ammo of people like Madison, who in introducing the first draft of our Bill of Rights to congress, said

"It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration, and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the general government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the 4th resolution."

, which referred to,

"The exceptions here or elsewhere in the constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people, or as to enlarge the powers delegated by the constitution; but either as actual limitations of such powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution."

, which was an early draft of what became the Ninth Amendment,

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

, and it's closely related Tenth Amendment:,

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

If you try and just read the Constitution as a document, or attempt to see what some flat textbook level cutouts of the the Founders would have done, those two vital amendments would be a complete blank to you... because they didn't much directly use either one of them, by that I mean that neither amendment was much challenged in the Founders time, or in the generation which immediately followed them... they, the ideas behind them, and the real meaning and understanding of the Declaration of Independence, were too well known and understood to be seriously questioned. For instance, take a look at the House of Representatives deliberations on what would be the Second Amendment (Hellooo Mr. Bork...),

"Mr. Sedgwick ... what, said he, shall we secure the freedom of speech, and think it necessary, at the same time, to allow the right of assembling? If people freely converse together, they must assemble for that purpose; it is a self-evident, unalienable right which the people possess; it is certainly a thing that never would be called in question; it is derogatory to the dignity of the House to descend to such minutiae; he therefore moved to strike out "assemble and."

Mr. Benson.--The committee who framed this report proceeded on the principle that these rights belonged to the people; they conceived them to be inherent; and all that they meant to provide against was their being infringed by the Government.

Mr. Sedgwick replied, that if the committee were governed by that general principle, they might have gone into a very lengthy enumeration of rights; they might have declared that a man should have a right to wear his hat if he pleased; that he might get up when he pleased, and go to bed when he thought proper; but he would ask the gentleman whether he thought it necessary to enter these trifles in a declaration of rights, in a Government where none of them were intended to be infringed."

Not until later generations, did we begin to question the peoples inherent and unalienable rights such as were once assumed 'self evident' and which the Ninth and Tenth amendments embody and assume, and it would be a couple generations further down the gene pool, as proregressive education, under the guidance of fiends such as Woodrow Wilson and John Dewey, took more and more root, that any of those challenges would stick.


But, if you learn the ideas with which they understood and lived by, and which they applied in writing and debating the Constitution, then you will come to understand that the 9th and 10th amendments are among the most vital of passages not only in the Constitution, but to our understanding of liberty and freedom, and their continuation in these United States.

For instance, look at the links here beneath the Ninth Amendment, look... and you'll find passages such as famed Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story's commentary on those 'ink blot' rights (Psst! Bork! Have a look!),

"This amendment is a mere affirmation of what, upon any just reasoning, is a necessary rule of interpreting the constitution. Being an instrument of limited and enumerated powers, it follows irresistibly, that what is not conferred, is withheld, and belongs to the state authorities, if invested by their constitutions of government respectively in them; and if not so invested, it is retained BY THE PEOPLE, as a part of their residuary sovereignty. ...

... One should suppose, if the history of the human mind did not furnish abundant proof to the contrary, that no reasonable man would contend for an interpretation founded neither in the letter, nor in the spirit of an instrument. Where is controversy to end, if we desert both the letter and the spirit? What is to become of constitutions of government, if they are to rest, not upon the plain import of their words, but upon conjectural enlargements and restrictions, to suit the temporary passions and interests of the day? Let us never forget, that our constitutions of government are solemn instruments, addressed to the common sense of the people and designed to fix, and perpetuate their rights and their liberties. They are not to be frittered away to please the demagogues of the day. They are not to be violated to gratify the ambition of political leaders. They are to speak in the same voice now, and for ever. They are of no man's private interpretation. They are ordained by the will of the people; and can be changed only by the sovereign command of the people."

, and elsewhere, this regarding what all of our rights, defined and undefined, rest upon,

"since the American revolution no state government can be presumed to possess the transcendental sovereignty, to take away vested rights of property; to take the property of A. and transfer it to B. by a mere legislative act. That government can scarcely be deemed to be free, where the rights of property are left solely dependent upon a legislative body, without any restraint. The fundamental maxims of a free government seem to require, that the rights of personal liberty, and private property, should be held sacred. At least, no court of justice, in this country, would be warranted in assuming, that any state legislature possessed a power to violate and disregard them; or that such a power, so repugnant to the common principles of justice and civil liberty, lurked under any general grant of legislative authority, or ought to be implied from any general expression of the will of the people, in the usual forms of the constitutional delegation of power."

But such sensibilities are common sense only if those fundamental ideas and principles are common to the thoughts of those thinking them - as they were in the Founding Father's era. Today, however, thanks to proregressives like Oliver Wendel Holmes, and such 'philosophies' such as Textualism and Originalism, those once common sense ideas of our Founder's philosophies of Classical Liberalism and Natural Law , have been pushed from our national "Common Sense", and as a result our modern Supreme Court authorizes doing just what Justice Joseph Story was so sure could never happen here; as we see almost routinely now, in cases like Kelo vs. New London.

Reading Story's commentaries on the constitution, shows how much we have lost of our valuable Classical Liberalism and Natural Law... and attempting to read the constitution with only 'college sense' or 'common sense', conservative or otherwise, absent the ideas which created it... is doomed to failure.

There really is no getting around it... we must become again a nation which educates itself to be worthy and capable of liberty and self-governance - or lose both.

One way to make a good start at this, is through deeply reading The Constitution of the United States of America yourself, for it is the ciphers key which enables us to reconnect with and unlock the meaning of our native Classical Liberalism and Natural Law from within sources such as the Federalist Papers, John Locke, Blackstone, Montesquieu, Coke, Cicero... not only to discover what the Founders themselves thought... but more importantly, WHY they thought it!

Absent that, any pretences of 'Common Sense' are quite likely to lack any real sense of the meaning of the very Constitution we are seeking to conserve, and that should be considered uter nonsense.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Common Sense Anti-Americanism

Well Merl the Perl, and Xlbrl, made a few interesting comments in the previous post, and the last ones I just couldn't contain within a single reply, and since they bear on where I'm headed in the next posts, touching as they do on the problems of pragmatism and that tricky thing called 'common sense', I figured I'd make a post of my replies.

" I try to deal with things based on practical considerations, rather than theoretical ones..."

Hint: If a theory isn't practical, it isn't a theory, it's a pretense. Further hint: If someone is asking you to have a sentimental regard for a theory, to support it in conversation and for the unity of the group, party, nation... but then says "Well... it's fine in theory... but it often requires us to break with theory in order to make things work in the real world"... then either the 'theory' is false (any variant of socialism), or the theory is true but isn't being followed (Bush's "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system") which is a principle method for undermining theories and principles - 'import fundamental contradictions into your practices, and attribute all resulting problems to the actual theory or principle, rather than the undermining actions themselves. We have not even approached Free Market Capitalism since the end of the 19th century, but have instead been under a mixed economy of some free market characteristics, mixed with (ever increasing) govt controls... and all problems are routinely blamed on either the free market, or on not having enough govt controls (excellent quick example of this is the 1920 depression).

Btw.... both these approaches are the result of... wait for it...

Pragmatism.The belief that reality isn't really knowable, principles are fantasies, and acting is more important than anything else. If you'd like a preview of where this type of thinking leads when it becomes unhampered by any principles or customs, inevitably, see Fascism, where there are no 'hard and fast' rules, laws, customs, but everything is subject to those actions The Leader says must be done... even if it's the opposite of what he said would work yesterday. Fascism, and especially the Nazi variety, are examples of a society being run according to the 'principles' of hyper pragmatism.

"True pragmatism is self-serving."

No, in fact true pragmatism is ultimately self dis-integrating, as it must be. A proper Human life, is one that is lived and foreseen over an extended perspective, lived long range, where your actions today contribute towards your success in the pursuit of Happiness decades down the line. Marylin Monroe, Elvis Pressley, John Belushi... these are examples of lives lived pragmatically, moment to moment. With Pragmatism, there is NO central self, NO central purpose, NO central morality, ALL is done on the basis of increasingly short term perspectives, for shorter term 'gains' and life becomes more and more fragmented and chaotic.

"But don’t worry, ethical principles seem to be hard-wired in me... So I’ll revise that to “I am a principled pragmatic”. "

Now what you are probably doing, is based on your experience and knowledge, you probably do what you can see is best... and I'll bet you do so because you feel it is the best thing to do over the long run... and ethically, because you feel it is the proper thing to do - both of which are highly UNpragmatic things to do. More than likely, you've bought into an 'ideal' which looks good and generous, but cannot be practiced consistently, and so you let those aspects of it which appeal to you sort of roughly guide your actions, but when 'theory' comes into conflict with Reality... you choose reality and do what you can see is sensible. Similar to, but an inverse of, the Mixed Economy, what you are doing is a result of a mixed-philosophy, where the actual though unnamed reality based principles you follow get you through, but the flawed 'theory' of pragmatism, gets the credit for your successes.

It is a very common mindset, the dominant one since the beginning of the 20th century... and a very dangerous one to live by.

"educating kids to not bully may be much less effective than teaching kids how to fight back and making it easier to use other legal options."

Yep. I don't remember who it was, but I once heard a fellow talking about manners... he grew up poor in the Appalachian's, and he was appalled when he came to New York at the rudeness of people and he said something to the effect of "People didn't dare talk or behave that way to another where I came from, they'd have been knocked flat by any and every passersby who overheard them."

Bottom up standards of behavior held by the society, supported by clear and immediate consequences, are the best way to keep such things such as that sort of bullying from happening, and it is precisely the Top Down 'codes of conduct' and counseling sessions held in schools, which every kid knows full well is B.S., and which every kid knows for sure that any proper retaliation against the bully will be punished MORE than the bullying, which ensures the unraveling, the dis-integrating, of standards of behavior and behavior itself.

"Wasn’t Stalin just a bank robber who saw the opportunity to steal an entire country, and then got to drive it around as the ultimate play toy? Being more intellectually sophisticated than a toddler (but emotionally, a toddler), he was expert at conning the people who mattered (to him) into believing he was doing it all for them."

That was certainly the effect, but no, I don't believe that of Stalin. He wouldn't have done the things he did, the forced starvation of millions, if all he really wanted was to rob them... he would have just robbed (taxed) them more heavily and kept them all working towards filling his coffers. No, he WAS a believer, and Communism (and any of the other isms) can be practiced in no other way, than he did - the more consistently you attempt to 'live' by a false philosophy, the more savage and destructive will be the consequences. Reality will not be swindled, and the more you war against it, the more you will be broken upon it. False ideals require pragmatic behavior, in order to smuggle in the results of reality based actions, in order to prop up the false ideal.

No other option.

"I don’t envy your quest for a better educational style. The best the Gates Foundation seems to have come up with is trying for better ways to evaluate the teachers. And the self esteem thing isn’t easy - what betters the few can poison the many."

Oh my... the Gates Foundation seems to think they can substitute PowerPoint slides for sound educational principles, and make current educationistas philosophy a success. The problem isn't in paper based homework assignments, lack of textbooks or blackboards, the problem is in the philosophy of modern education which finds its initial ideals in Rousseau and it's modern form through John Dewey's pragmatic (sensing a theme here?) policies and curriculum. I've hit this in numerous posts, but here's an overview in "Spreading the flames", and an overview of the destruction of Education in America in "What never was and never will be". If you're up to reading a well written examination of what Education has become, and why, it's pretty tough to top Richard Mitchell's "The Graves of Academe"... and the price is pretty good too... free online.

"Back to the original question - the tea parties are obviously American. But is there a power vacuum waiting to be filled? To what degree does it become un-american if say, GOP, corporate, or other organizational operatives take over leadership positions?"

Well... first you've got to define American... does being 'American' mean a passionate attachment to baseball, hometown and apple pie? Having a long string of ancestors born here? Waving the flag? Fighting to give everyone 'equality'? Supporting the U.S. Govt, troops and laws? IMHO, having any of those as the basis for being "American" is itself Un-American, and will soon lead to becoming Anti-American.

America, being an American, is understanding and supporting the ideas this nation was fashioned from, and although this is a key part of the series of posts I'm in the midst of on Justice, the core are Natural Rights as evoked in the Declaration of Independence,

"... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...."

, and the understanding that vital to any political rights whatsoever, is the protection and defense of Property Rights. All of which has been under assault by the progressive left since the early 1800's, and brought out as explicit targets by creatures such as John Dewey, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson under the guise of more pragmatic and progressive mindedness. Calvin Coolidge gave the last best response by a President to this in his "The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence" from 1926, in part with,

"About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers."

Which is why I refer to the 'Progressives' as Proregressives. No matter the ideals they proclaim, they are doing nothing but taking us back to tyranny and slavery... and whether they are speaking from the left or the right or the middle, they and their ideas are, in the full and proper meaning of the term, Anti-American. No matter the party or movement, Democrat, Republican, Tea Party or Libertarian, if they propose as a central principle or policy, an opposition to Property Rights, then whether they know it or not, the propose the overthrow of all Individual Rights and any proper conception and practice of Justice, and in that case, they must be opposed... loudly and visibly.

"And you really get into this stuff, don’t you? I’m judging by the title of the blog that you’re not in the educational field. What inspired you to learn all this stuff?"

Heh... yes I do! And nooo... I'm not in the 'educational field', but what got me into it was becoming a Parent and discovering what was in store for my kids in the 'educational field'. It's sick, it's disgusting... and fortunately it is easily discombobulated through talking with your kids and, discussing what they are being taught, what they are not being taught, and why.

The truth of the matter is that today, MOST kids realize that their schooling, their 'texts' and their 'teachers' are laughable fools.

This is both a good thing, and a very dangerous thing. The danger, is that if unanswered by Parents or others who do know better and who explain the basis for why what they know better IS better, it will rapidly corrode into cynicism. It can also lead to a reliance on "Common Sense" and a dismissal of the need to know anything other than what common sense makes readily apparent to be a necessity.

To the extent that that ever elusive 'Common Sense' is brought to bear on what they themselves can see to be true and have a proven basis for knowing to be true (Parenting is a basic example of this... most reasonably aware parent will soon discard their 'Better Parenting' books for the ignorant stupidity that they are... they have first hand knowledge of reality contradicting ever word of them, and if they are in the habit of deriving their knowledge from reality, and not the opposite, their own 'common sense' will reject the screeds as folly), then their common sense is sensible, and this is natural and a good thing.


But... Common Sense can only be counted on in those areas where you do have direct evidence and understanding.

Unfortunately, it is very easy to not know what you don't know, and to form ideas based on that absence of knowledge, which may seem very common sensical - in the absence of important knowledge... but which is actually the very opposite, such as a very common common sense view,

"What? People aren't buying things because Interest rates are too high? Well, then just force interest rates to be cut! Make high interest rates illegal! Simple common sense!" and economic ruin will follow shortly afterwards.

Which is one reason I take zero comfort from the new catch phrase making the rounds "Common Sense Conservativism"... if rooted in sound principles... great. But if not... well... Teddy Roosevelt was a 'common sense' progressive conservative... and he implemented or at least proposed and legitimized every statist policy of the 20th century: Income Tax, Federal Alphabet Agencies, govt control of the economy, govt Health Care, baseless entangling alliances (see "Imperial Cruise"), Govt and Coroporate interactive partnerships... he paved the way for everything Wilson, FDR and the rest did.

I'm no fan of "Common Sense Conservativism" that is not firmly rooted in the ideas which our Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution was developed from.

Xlbrl asked "Can we examine the phrase "common sense conservatism"? I heard Palin as she first uttered it, and it was clearly a political motto, which it's repetition confirmed.
The founders did not primarily employ common sense on their way to greatness, but rather were brilliantly counter-intuitive. Common sense will get you another turn at bat in your enemies game. Counter-intuition will remove a game which never should have been played.

And by the way it's being picked up by others, I'm afraid we're in for a long couple years of hearing it. Ugh.

What I was trying to show in my previous post, was that having sound people of Common Sense and virtue... is not enough, the Athenians leading up to Pericles day, and America leading up to our time... had those traits in common, and they also had abundant common sense in common, but soon after reaching their height - they fell.

Our Founders had those traits as well, but they also had something more, they had a solid education... not degree's, but actual Education, a training of the mind to be aware of and in control of its own thoughts and passions and fit for self governance, and they had a sound knowledge of how previous generations met and failed the tests. Sam Adams's Master's Thesis at Harvard (!) at the then typical age of 21, was arguing the affirmative of "Whether it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate, if the common wealth can not be otherwise preserved?".

The answer is Yes. And it is Common Sense ONLY if you understand the core ideas of what it means to be an American, and can be acted on properly, only if you have more than common sense to proceed from.

But I'm getting ahead of myself again... and am late for the Dentist (sorry... no time to double check & spell check...). More later.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

What do you say to people who say the Tea Party is anti-American?

In a mostly fair report on CNN of all places (HT The Gunslinger), the reporter, Randi Kaye, asks Bob Porto, a Tea Party leader in Arkansas,
"What do you say to people who say the Tea Party is anti freedom?"
He answers it well by saying that it's silly on the face of it, but I'm a bit stumped by it. I'm used to the CNN reports that, if made at all, are far more likely to be the sort of villainy slung by Campbell Brown by way of her smirks and the reporters finding those who will most easily appear to be an 'extreme' misrepresentation of Tea Partiers... but anti-American?

What idea can they have of America, if the desire for a return to a constitutionally limited government of enumerated powers and fiscal responsibility... could be considered to be anti-American? That IS American! Where did the question even come from? It's hard to see it originating from anywhere else than from a fear that a return to constitutionally limited government which the

Tea Parties seek, is somehow seen as a threat to what the questioner, and those the question represents, wants.

What does that mean? A constitutionally limited government of laws, not benefits, means people would once again be able, indeed be required, to make their own decisions, to make their own lives from their own choices... what kind of life is it that is idealized as having its choices made for it?

A life is made up of choices. What is left of a life lived without making or being able to make its own choices... can't be pretty.

You choose whether to eat, or not, whether to produce what you need in order to eat, or not, whether to put the effort necessary into those productive activities which will possibly produce the most... or only the effort required to return a more (seemingly) dependable result. You choose whether to smile at someone, or not, whether to be courteous, or not, whether to make your home clean and presentable, or not, whether to do the honest and right thing, or not... and how diligent you intend to be in doing the honest and right thing, or only cover those appearances which will let you comfortably get by with appearing to do the honest and right thing. You can choose to seek out, contemplate and reflect on what is beautiful, or not.

You can turn away from what is ugly and mean and rooted in pure sensory stimulation, or turn towards it and revel in it. You can seek out and look up to what is Good, Beautiful and True... or choose not to bother. But you can't do both... you do have to choose.

It is through just such an untallyable process, sequence and unutterably vast expanse of such choices, that a life is made, formed, directed and lived, and to the extent that you are conscious of those choices, and the making of them, and their results, you can be said to actually live your life.

To the extent that those choices are barred from your making them, or that someone else has made the choices for you and forces (for there is no other way such a thing can be done, but through force), that is the extent to which you are barred from, removed from, living your own life.

The hellish list of choices that have been determined by others through the arms of govt to be forced over and in place of your ability to make them... are legion... but a few off the top of the head,

  • How you can and cannot earn your living has been pre-selected to a list of acceptable (to those who have acquired the power to impose their choices upon others) options, and of those remaining that are available, how you will and will not go about your actions, has been narrowed to an acceptable list of selections which 'you may' choose from - within 'reason' of course.
  • What you can and cannot do with your land, and who takes precedence over your 'property': you (not!) or the wishes of the community.

Let me stop a moment with just that. Someone ought to take a look into an early property rights decision, one which famed lawyer Daniel Webster argued for, and on losing remorsefully stated meant "The death of property rights", that of the Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of Warren Bridge, in it the majority opinion was stated that,

"While the rights of private property are sacredly guarded, we must not forget that the community also have rights, and that the happiness and wellbeing of every citizen depends on their faithful preservation."

Hint: what this means is that individuals have no natural and inalienable Rights, they have only those permissions and customs which the community allows. This was the opinion of Hobbes and centuries later, of the southern pro-slavery democrats. They will speak eloquently of the importance of 'property rights' but they don't mean that People, Individuals, have a Right to property, only that the community is generally better served by letting people keep hold of stuff. That has nothing to do with Natural Law and true Property Rights, it is only a theory for promoting a kinder, gentler form of tyranny - while it finds it convenient to.

That same Chief Justice who wrote the Charles River Bridge opinion, Roger Taney, followed the logical progression of that viewpoint in writing the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case (which was the spark that ignited the fuse to the Civil War) - that a Man or some particular group of men, if considered less than such by the community (or by those who claim to speak for the community), then they have no Rights whatsoever and slavery is right and proper for them. Those same justification's ('injusticeafication' would be a useful word to have) which were used for depriving people of their property rights in the Charles River Bridge case, were at root the very same ones which Justice Taney used to justify denying some people any Rights at all, with his, and the South's (meaning the Democrats) opinion asserting the legitimacy of slavery.

Look into it a bit, and you'll find that they are the very same ideas used by the EPA and other govt functionaries in advocating for regulating industry, decreeing minimum wages, or for promoting the interests of mice, beetles and wetlands, over and above those of mere 'individuals'.

The list of choices that have been chosen for you goes on,

  • Where you can and cannot live. What you can and cannot live in.
  • What you will, and will not drive, and what you will use to make it go.
  • What you must not eat... what must and must not be included in what you are allowed to eat, and we are rapidly approaching the boldness of govt determining what you must eat.
  • Whether or not you can have a child ...
Time for another pause. Here in America, proregressive jurist justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, in Buck vs Bell less than a hundred years ago, felt no compunction against declaring that a women considered to be feeble minded, should not be allowed to burden society with her off spring... that means that in his opinion, and that of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, he thought is sensible to force her having her tubes tied because she was, in the unstated opinion of the court 'poor white trash', or stated in the politicaly correct way of the day, 'feeble minded'. Holmes stated,

"It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
(BTW, she was subsequently found to not be 'feeble minded'. Sorry. You can read a bit more about these well intentioned proregressives in American history here.)

Take another look at the reasoning of the leftishly revered proregressive Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes, idolized in all the law schools even today, look closely folks... does it not make you shudder? If you think that there is nothing in the ideas of the modern left that will not resurface here again under the 'need' for environmental protections or in the healthcontrol bills, just as they already once did from the bench of the supreme court, if you think that there is nothing that would lead them to repeat similarly 'sensible' chains of reasoning for the 'benefit of the planet'... then I think that you have neither read our healthcontrol legislation nor much marked the nature of proregressives and their eagerness to 'do good'.

Continuing with one last choice chosen for you,

  • Whether or not your child (or you) will go to school - you will - and what type of 'school' you will attend - and whichever you 'choose' it will be one that has been chosen by others as being acceptable for you - or else. Check with a California Homeschooler to see how respectful of a parents rights the State is today.
The list goes on, and on, and on... but we, as a people, as a nation, will not - not for long, not in this way.

Funny thing about reality, it isn't fooled. You of course can fool yourself, and others, by swiping from Peter to pay Paul, but that's a losing game... sooner or later it doesn't add up. It just isn't sustainable.

Funny thing about unsustainability - it isn't sustainable (HT Gagdad Bob).

Not in economics, not in education, not in philosophy, and not with a process which excludes a person from making their own choices in their own life. At some point, their life is no longer being lived by them, but by someone else by remote control, who is forcing 'choices' upon them, excluding each person from their own lives.

The end result?

Zombies. Everywhere you look. Even in the mirror.

I suggest you put some Tea on the stove. Now.

(BTW - Blogger has the eff'ing worst html format writer in the biz. Just sayin')

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Okay Sarah, Sarah, whatever's PC's still PC...

Sarah Palin calls for Rahm Emanuel to resign as White House Chief of Staff... not because he helped engineer the un-constitutional, even anti-constitutional health control takeover of our lives by the govt, not even for the Louisiana Purchase or the Cornhusker kickback... no... what Gov. Palin felt did warrant his dismissal... was... using the words "F'ing retarded".

Yeah, I know... shocking, mere graft and subverting the constitution and rule of law pales in comparison.

Give me a break. I'm sorry, but that is F'ing retarded!

Political Correctness does not become a cleaner tool in the services of a 'good' cause... the misuse of words, the distorted meanings and feigned "I'm so offended!" is, dare I say it... yes I do... Evil. Doesn't make a figs worth of difference who it's placed in the service of. Political Correctness in all of it's forms has been the chief tool of Cultural Marxism, aka "Political Correctness", and it is pure evil at it's very core, it separates our words and ideas from what is real and true, and assaults whatever is Good and Beautiful in the process.

Sorry Gov., but there are no dispensations for alleged conservatives, your attempting to use it for your purposes does nothing but strengthen Political Correctness's stranglehold on this nation, and that is, pardon my saying, fucking retarded!