Monday, March 29, 2010

Arbitrary Disasters - The Health of Justice in the Age of Obamao

Arbitrary Disasters
I spent the other day in Missouri's capital, Jefferson City, sitting in the Senate gallery and biting my tongue while listening to a number of Senators burn the clock and showboat to each other while trying to draw out the opposing Senator into making a slip of the lip that they could politically exploit.
Love it! Swiped from The Gunslinger

Not particularly noteworthy in and of itself.

The bill being debated, SJR25, proposed by Sen. Jane Cunningham, which is noteworthy, would pose some significant hurdles for Obamao Care, and so it's not too surprising that the Democrat senators would oppose it, however, why they oppose it, and on what grounds they oppose it, goes to the root of not only what is wrong in politics, but of all that is wrong in the world today.

The bill is for an amendment to be submitted to the people to vote on amending Missouri's state constitution, so that,

"Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment provides that no federal law shall compel a patient, employer, or health care provider to participate in any government or privately run health care system, nor prohibit a patient or employer from paying directly for legal health care services."

While their opposition in itself is not all that newsworthy, there's more in the senators arguments and opposition to the bill, that is revealing about their beliefs, and that of the left in general.

Sen. Days aggressively and obnoxiously tried to taunt Sen. Cunningham into making a slip of the lip and admit that the right secretly wants the poor and minorities to writhe in the streets for lack of healthcare and for their babies to die of hunger in gutters, and so forth. What really seemed to get Sen. Days, and her fellow democrats, incensed, was Sen. Cunningham admitting that she thought people should be allowed to make their own choices, that she sought to,

...protect the right of Missourians to make a choice regarding their healthcare without fear of penalty"

- which apparently to these democrat senators minds, is just not to be allowed - and that is horrifying. This was the core of what they attacked and they spent the entire day and night either challenging Sen. Cunningham to admit that it meant that she hated the poor and minorities, or in mock inquiry to each other, over how amazed they were that the Right could be so heartless as to think people should be able to make their own choices - the entire ten or twelve hours of their jabber and pathetic amendment attempts can be boiled down to these comments:

Sen. Bray: "A sick person is not free! If you can choose to take away their healthcare then I don't know what freedom means anymore!"
Sen. Justus: "If you can't afford something you have no freedom. and All children under the age 18 should be cared for by the state!"
Sen. Days: "What option do people have who don't have health insurance!? That's not freedom! I want the freedom to purchase whatever I want to choose! Having to pay for healthcare insurance, that is not *freedom*, that's oppression!"
Sen. Shoemyer"This is a freeloader amendment, I'm opposed to freeloading, all rural healthcare should be funded by the govt to give them all they might ever need."
Sen. Green: "What is the use of so called 'Sovereignty', didn't we deal with that in the Civil War?"

And last but not least worst,

Sen. Callahan: "The value of the constitution is that it can be changed... it's a living document... we need to call another constitutional convention so we can change it."

Now their 'arguments' are as easily refuted today, as they were when Frederich Bastiat refuted them in the mid 1800's, and in making these statements they display their ignorance of economics and for the very basis of our system of government in America, but they also display something much worse, something which makes them able to not only aggressively assert their ignorance and flagrantly disregard the fact that they are demonstrably wrong, but one also gets the distinct impression that they are proudly wrong (you see it in the smirks on their faces when the opposition exasperatedly demands 'how will you pay for this!?') - and that is the core of the matter which I want to get into with this post. To that I'd like to draw the attention of the Senators to a quote upon the wall of their chamber, which kept drawing my eyes as I listened to their 'debate', it is from Daniel O'Connell, a man, known as "The Liberator", who fought for freedom in 19th century Ireland, and reads in large golden letters hanging above their heads:

"Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong."
First though, lets go through the simple fly swatting task of refuting their assertions.

The Leftist Toolkit: Playing Cards and Fly Swatters
These 'arguments' buzzed about in #'s 1, 2, 3 and 4 by the superbly named Sen. Bray, the ironically named Sen. Justus, the should have been named Sen. Dazed and the self refuting Sen. Shoemyer, amount to minor variations on the old saw: "A hungry man is not free!"

This regurgitates the oldest play in the proregressive playbook, which rests on performing a rhetorical game of Three Card Monty. Three Card Monty is the street game where you are shown three cards which are then placed face down on a table, and you bet that you can keep your eye on the one you picked at the start; you select your card, the bet is placed, and as the dealer swirls them around with a high speed flourish, through some slight of hand he has changed out the card you'd selected for another. He stops moving the cards - you touch the card you thought you'd selected, and he flips it over to show it's another, and you lose your bet.

Instead of using cards, the leftist plays this game with familiar concepts such as Power, Freedom and Generosity, so that , whether due to either sloppy thinking or deliberate intent, they are flourished about in a swirl of rhetorical fallacies in such a way that the conceptual card you thought you'd selected turns out to be something else entirely - your vote is cast, the bill is passed, and you lose.

So here's a look at the main cards, and their common substitutes,

  • The first of these conceptual playing cards, is to equivocate between Economic power, and Physical power - which is to deliberately confuse persuasion with pistols. Economic power in a Free Market depends upon the choices freely made between buyers and sellers to exchange one good or service for another, in contrast to Physical power, whose only offer is the 'choice' given to one party to comply at the threat of force, injury or even death for not complying.
  • The second is to confuse what we mean by Freedom by equivocating between what is metaphysically given us in life, and which we have no choice about whatsoever, such as the earth, moon and stars - with the man made - that which men choose to create through combining metaphysically given materials, with their own intelligence and effort, in order to create materials that wouldn't exist except through the chosen efforts of men, such as plows, bread and guns to defend them with.
  • The third card is to confuse Charitable Generosity with Physical Compulsion, through equivocating between what is freely given by you towards what you consider to be a worthy cause, with the action of forcibly taking some amount of your time, effort and wealth, in order to give some of it to a cause you are told is worthy (and the rest of it to political players in the form of cash and favors).

This slight of hand is accomplished through the technique of equivocation, the mechanics of which are to deliberately confuse two related terms, substituting one which appeals to the person you are talking with, with another one that would be less appealing to them, but because they think they are dealing with the first, they willingly go along with the implications of the second. Think of a street vendor selling you a gold Rolex watch, for $100, while giving you a cheap knock off in it's place. You wouldn't have given him $100 if you knew how cheap the watch which you are actually getting was, but because you think you are buying an expensive gold Rolex, you pay him the $100 for the cheap knockoff.

Equivocation, which is the most valuable and heavily used tool in the leftists toolkit, is the equivalent of performing an intellectual swindle via a game of conceptual Three Card Monty. Ok, so lets flip their cards and nip their arguments in their collective buds.

One of the oldest ploy of proregressives and socialists of every stripe, is that of "A hungry man is not free!", and it's implication that the state must take something from you, in order to satisfy the hungry man's hunger so he too can enjoy the basic human freedoms you do - after all, it's only fair. This is an assault upon the very heart of freedom - not only on your ability to choose your own actions, but by implying that your freedom to choose depends upon the government giving that freedom to you and your fellow man.

The core technique is to equivocate between the metaphysically given, and the man made. The metaphysically given is the reality that we find ourselves in and have no choice but to accept. The man made is what we as people choose to do in, and with, the reality we are given. Freedom is concerned only with what you can conceivably be said to have a choice about. You can have no conceivable ability to 'choose' whether or not gravity affects you, or whether or not the earth undergoes seasons, or whether or not your body requires food - these are metaphysically given facts of reality.

Freedom is exercised in considering whether or not you will choose walking off of a cliff or to be mindful of the trail?, whether or not you will choose to seek shelter and clothing, or perish from exposure to the elements?, whether or not you will choose to sit and starve or hunt for food? If you can't find the things you need lying about you, will you choose to do what is required by the facts of reality to create or acquire them?, or will you blame others for your troubles as a pretext for robbing them of what they've taken the trouble to create or acquire?

A hungry man may have no choice about whether he feels hunger, but he is no less able to choose his actions than you are, and indeed may have a bit more motivation than you typically do to put forth the effort to make his choices and actions productive. A hungry man is free to seek productive work or charitable giving - the only one who is not free in this old leftist trope is you, who are forced into supporting a govt program which may or may not succeed in feeding the hungry, and which may or may not succeed in feeding those who are deserving of your generosity (How'd they become hungry? Through a financial crash or a narcotic one? Charity may help the first, but may actually worsen the state of the second as they have less and less reason to regain control of their lives) but is considerably more likely to be successful in providing various favors and wealth to a selected few of the politically connected.

Generosity is the motivational theme here which is used to exact voters consent for these programs, and another key point of equivocation, seeking to blur the difference between what you might generously choose to give, with that which is forcibly 'contributed' from you for 'doing good'.

As free men, you have the freedom to be generous with the fruits of your labor, which Americans have demonstrated like no other civilization in all of history, when we see people struck by circumstance, it is a common reaction among us to offer them what aid we can. Through Church's and numerous private charities, Americans are famous for offering what aid they can to those in need, both at home and abroad. But such generosity - which rests upon your choice to be generous - is destroyed when it is forcibly taken from you, just as there is no generosity involved when a pickpocket steals your money even if he does so to give some of it to a person in need. What leftists attempt to do through a perversion of the force of The Law, is to take your money (which you may or may not be able to afford), and give it to who they think needs it (whether or not you agree they are worthy recipients), and tell you that you are being ungenerous for objecting and especially for not enabling them to take more from you.

Far from it being the case that 'a hungry man is not free', in fact it is you who are not free when you are prevented from choosing how you will respond to the facts you find in the world around you. A hungry man, or any other man, has the freedom to choose what actions he will take to satisfy his hunger and provide for his food and shelter, unless a government steps in to restrain him within a leftist gulag or buries his industry under thousands of pages of incomprehensible tax codes, healthcontrol laws and volumes of regulatory agency directives. Freedom itself is infringed upon when an otherwise free man is forced to request government permits, pay for business licenses, numerous additional permits and various govt approved materials, in order to be allowed to offer his services in everything from manual labor to operating a hotdog stand, to becoming a teacher. A free man would also not have to pay 20+% of what he earns from the sweat of his brow, to pay for others to rest more comfortably, or for Govt to 'provide for his retirement' - these are the very things which tend to rob a free man of his wealth and force him into a state of hunger.

It is the over regulated, taxed and unauthorized man who is not free!

Stating the obvious: Left is separate from Right
A few basics to start with regarding the chosen root causes of poverty, power, property, freedom and tyranny:
  • Choosing to sit and do nothing is the default state of nature - poverty.
  • Choosing to 'acquire' what you want from others by force, is the default state of savagery - Might is right.
  • Choosing to protect what property a persons efforts have enabled them to acquire, is the chosen state of basic civilization - it is not a default, it always requires an active choice from the people within that civilization - Might is for Right.
  • Choosing to create and respect laws which preserve a peoples inalienable rights, is the higher State first envisioned by Western Civilization, and perfected by our Founding Fathers in the United States of America - it is in no way a default, it always requires not only an active, but a moral choice, to participate in and sustain the benefits of liberty and freedom - Might, under Rule of Law, defends the Right
  • Choosing to write and impose laws which strip people of the property which they have attained through the exercise of their inalienable rights, is the default choice of savages who've never learned the meaning of Western Civilization, who have never learned the proper role of Laws, and only slightly modifies the default choice of those who under the pretext of 'doing good' act to reduce our civilization to the savagery of power - Might, under the rule of men, makes right

The nugget at the heart of the leftist misrepresentation of how they view Power, Freedom and Generosity, is that in their view, one that is twisted 180* around from that of Americas founding - Freedom is something that is first created and bestowed upon us by society, Generosity is what the state forces you to 'contribute' and it is the responsibility of government to use its Power to force society to spread these freedoms around as it sees fit.

Society, in the view of the left, provides you with freedom, and determines what you are are and are not free to do, or as Rousseau, the father of fascism, described what the Legislator must do to the common man: "This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free".

In their view, it is only because society says so, that you don't have the freedom to kill, you don't have the freedom to rape, you don't have the freedom to take whatever you want, because society says so (for all their apparent differences, this is a view which Rousseau and Hobbes would agree with, and endorse).

The leftist holds the view that 'A hungry man is not free!' because in their view, you are only free to vote because it is society which decides whether or not it will give you the freedom to vote, and if society hasn't decided to give you the food, or healthcare that exists within that society, then you have been denied the freedom to have them... and if other people are able to choose to feed themselves or to pay for the healthcare society has denied to you, then some in that society have chosen to prevent society from giving you your fair share; and so because society controls freedom, that society has failed to fairly distribute those 'freedoms' to all those within society, and in such a society the freedom to 'choose' is oppression of the many by the few.

The number of equivocations, errors, falsehoods and outright lies contained in this convoluted 'reasoning' are too numerous to list, but you'll be better able to locate and swat them down if you remember to look for their equivocations on those key concepts of Power, Freedom and Generosity. How and why they do so, I hope to get to later in this post, or (seeing my page count so far) in the next.

The uncommon sense of our Founding Fathers
Far from it being Society which empowers individuals, society is made up of Individuals, it can have no powers or rights which do not find their source in them ("... deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."). Without jumping a couple posts ahead in this series, this, and other core principles from which the United States of America developed from, were enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, that individuals by their nature as men are, in Jefferson's wording "...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...", and it is those rights which individuals bring to society, and which it is the purpose of society to protect for them from all enemies, foreign and domestic ("...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men..."). The support of your rights, are dependent upon a sound government and rule of law, but the success or failure of your individual pursuit of happiness, depends upon your choices, and having choices depends upon your having the ability to choose to act upon them without the threat of physical force (Not simply the consequences of competition and disagreement, but from the Force of thuggery from outside, or inside, the law), and with the freedom to succeed or, inseparable from that, to fail. The success of any one person or group of people, can not be guaranteed without taking the means of satisfying their wants, from those who have earned theirs - and that would negate everyones right to their own property - a principle which any society violates at its peril.

That society which does not recognize that all Individual Rights depend upon the security of their Property Rights, will soon lose all rights, as John Adams put it when considering what would happen to a society whose property laws were dropped,
"...Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If "Thou shalt not covet," and "Thou shalt not steal," were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free."
(Full volume online here)

If 'society' takes away that ability of its individuals to choose, to make their own choices, and to keep secure that property which is the productive benefit of their good choices, then that society is not free and it's people cannot be free, and if that is your ideal for society, then you are not pursuing freedom or happiness, but instead you are pursuing a measure of safety and pleasure purchased at the price of slavery and you will have given those you will have sold yourself to, the power to enslave all of those in your society, even if only a few will feel the lash - for the moment.

When any person can be denied their inalienable rights, then no one in that society can be said to have any rights, only those certain few favors bestowed upon them by their government - for the moment.

Freedom means the freedom to make your own choices, and the attempt to deny other citizens the freedom to make their own choices, is to use force to deny them their freedom.

The fact is that the reasons why you do not kill, rape and steal, is because you recognize that other people have a natural right to be secure in their persons, in their thoughts and in their property, just as you do, and in those societies that have developed beyond the rule of the club, they have done so only because, to one degree or another, their society recognizes this.

What it is that actually defines and separates Left from Right - is that if you believe in inalienable rights derived from your nature as man, you are on the Right (and that leaves enough latitude of interpretation to accomodate views as diverse as those of Madison from Hamilton), if, on the other hand, you feel rights are instead a creation of the society and government, you are on the left. No matter your apparent agreements, they are incidental at best, politically speaking - no matter your religious beliefs, economic stances, or party affiliations, This is what defines and separates Left from Right.

For those leftist Senators who might sniff at such quaint terms as 'Natural Rights' and 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' such as are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, as the left has done from Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson on down through to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, might want to take a glance at their own states constitution, very likely they are going to be similar to ours here in Missouri, which states:

"Section 2. That all constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people; that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry; that all persons are created equal and are entitled to equal rights and opportunity under the law; that to give security to these things is the principal office of government, and that when government does not confer this security, it fails in its chief design. "

Senator Callahan thought it was particularly important to point out that Sen. Days was black, and she agreed (yes, of course it should be irrelevant to any discussion of ideas - hence the leftists fascination with it), and so he thought she should be particularly concerned with any loss of freedom and mention of slavery... if that is so, then Sen. Days, why are you so intent on denying all of the people in our society the ability to make their own choices? Why are you so intent on denying people their freedom? Why do you want to compel them to do what you think they should do? Why do you wish to make the government the master of the American people? The difference between a people who are compelled to act against their wishes for the benefit of a favored few, and that of actual slavery, is a distinction which I for one don't think is worth measuring.

These 'Senators' might want to take Missouri's state motto of "Show Me" a bit more to heart, and have another glance at their state's constitution

"Section 1. That all political power is vested in and derived from the people; that all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole."

That last part in particular, does not mean for the benefit of some few, whether rich or poor, but for the good of the whole, and that act which singles out any favored part to bestow favors and goods, is opposed to your own states constitution.

Senators. As if.

States, Laws and Constitutions

The later two 'arguments' voiced by Senators Green and Callahan, and chimed in on and agreed to by the other three, gets closer to the heart of what I ultimately want to deal with in this post. It's their clearly expressed contempt for 'State Sovereignty" (Sen. Green: "What is the use of so called 'Sovereignty', didn't we deal with that in the Civil War?") and for the constitution (Callahan: "The value of the constitution is that it can be changed... it's a living document... we need to call another constitutional convention so we can change it"), that was particularly breathtaking to me. That and their apparent lack of recognition for what such statements mean to the rule of law, the administration of justice, and of potentially loosing tyranny upon us all.

Sen. Green's comment shows a complete and total lack of comprehension for the American form of government - not surprising, since he has chosen to be in the democrat party and affirm its most leftist positions which are, in every fundamental aspect, Anti-American - and yes I did say that. America is a Nation created from a set of ideas such as those I've already linked to in this post, and if you oppose those ideas, then you are - by your choice - Anti-American.

That we live in the United States of America, you'd think would lend a certain sense of emphasis to the word 'State', and maybe it should prompt some interest and concern for its meaning - at least from a Senator representing it. But if such obviousness is invisible to the 'common sense' of the leftist mind, here's another useful bit of trivia from the Constitution of the State of Missouri, of which these rubes are Senators(!) of,

"Section 4. That Missouri is a free and independent state, subject only to the Constitution of the United States; that all proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States qualifying or affecting the individual liberties of the people or which in any wise may impair the right of local self-government belonging to the people of this state, should be submitted to conventions of the people. "

Huh. Wow, bet he didn't see that one coming (blink.... stare... groan). Assuming the best case scenario, that these fools in senator's clothing, do know not only what the law is, but what the foundation of all of the laws of their state rests upon, "That Missouri is a free and independent state" in a word - Sovereign - and yet Sen. Green chooses to put his personal half baked whims and prejudices above not only the rule of law, but that which the rule of law rests upon in his states constitution, as well as the nations constituiton, then he must be doing this so that he can masquerade and strut about as a puffed up little tin horn tyrant drunk with the power to 'do good' to his fellow man.

And that's the best case scenario. A worse case scenario is that he never bothered to even read the constitution of the state within which he campaigned for, and won the trust of enough of the citizens in his district to elect him to represent them to - that would surpass pure reckless abuse of power and verge on criminal negligence, and it is just such a combination of ignorance and negligence that is leading us down the leftward path towards being ruled over by would be tyrants - tin horned or otherwise.

Here's another useful nugget, it being from the aforementioned Constitution of the United States,

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

IOW: We the People of these States that are united - not one giant and uniform state partitioned into districts with quaint names like "Missouri", but several states, united - and which united to establish this Constitution for thes several states. And that means that the people who are living in the separate states, each of which derives its just powers through the consent of the governed, ordained and established a Constitution under which they would unite to form one nation of united, though sovereign, states.

Why? Why do you suppose they did that?

Sen. Callahan demanded in a long pretense of discussion with Sen. Shoemyer, 'What is so important about sovereignity? We gave it up to form a nation because of things like Schay's Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion (Believe he got his dates a bit mixed up there, the Whiskey Rebellion coming after we became the United States of America, but no matter - or surprise) Sovereignity didn't work!'. Which goes to show that his reading of history is aobut as weak as his reading of his own states constitution - probably got both from a state approved and endorsed textbook, no doubt.

Yes, prior to adopting the Constitution, the Founder's were worried about war, and even of some states allying themselves with European powers such as England, France or Spain, but they were not worried about sovereignity - frustrated over how best to respect it, definitely, that really comes through in the constitutional debates, especially over the matter of apportioning representation between the House and Senate - but far from attempting to discard soveriegnity, the Constitution is designed with sovereignity in mind so as to enable the states to operate in concert together - in harmony, not monotone.

Our national government was created and designed to avoid having their 13 states replay the Peloponnesian War - the details of which the founders were very familiar with, having had the benefit of an actual Education (meaning one which wasn't determined by, mandated and served up in prechewed Govt approved textbooks), and their fears were well founded, many states were already starting to arm... and not against a return of the British, but against eachother, such as,
"The unlicensed compacts between Virginia and Maryland, and between Pena. & N. Jersey--the troops raised and to be kept up by Massts... Trespasses of the States on the rights of each other. These are alarming symptoms, and may be daily apprehended as we are admonished by daily experience. See the law of Virginia restricting foreign vessels to certain ports--of Maryland in favor of vessels belonging to her own citizens--of N. York in favor of the same."

These Sovereign States instead chose to unite, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity - they felt that by uniting under a constitution which would define their relations to each other, and would secure their mutual interests under a common power - the Federal Government - (Federal is another one of those words worth looking into), while retaining their sovereignty to govern their internal affairs in a way which did not conflict with or infringe upon the rights of other states, that this would best serve their mutual interests.

But why unite as separate states, Federated under one Federal authority having only specific limited and enumerated powers over them; why not just blend and become one seamless Super State? One practical reason was that by remaining distinct independent and sovereign states, they would all benefit and prosper not only from their mutual association, but from the the experiences and attempted innovations undertaken by other states - for instance if one state, like Massachussetes say, attempted a State Healthcare system, the other states could sit back and watch to see whether or not it worked out as planned (BTW, it didn't). And especially in those cases where one states innovation went awry, the other states would be spared the widespread damage of implementing what might turn out to be a deeply flawed premise and plan, or on the other hand, if the innovation was proven to be a good idea and a successful plan, they could then benefit from the experiences of that first state - IF their people should so choose - and if some didn't so choose, they would be free to 'vote with their feet' and move to another state which better suited them.

But even more than this, by virtue of each state retaining the principle of sovereignity within a confederacy of united states, they would be more likely to escape the widespread passions of faction (such as those stirred up by and agitating for mandated healthcontrol, and those against it - ya know what I mean?), by the states retaining their sovereignity such factions would be stopped at the state lines, rather than being flamed and spread over and throughout all of what would otherwise be seamless and indistinct states, fanning over and consuming the entire nation, as Madison stated in Federalist #10,

"It is in vain to say, that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm: Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all, without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another, or the good of the whole.

The inference to which we are brought, is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed; and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controling its effects.

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote: It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government on the other hand enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest, both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good, and private rights, against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our enquiries are directed: Let me add that it is the great desideratum, by which alone this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

By what means is this object attainable? "
And by what means is the object attainable? A Federated unity of sovereign states.

Now... you may well ask, if Federalism worked so well, why it is that we are now so beset by these clashing interests as never before? The answer is The 17th Amendment, which was the progressives greatest assault upon the constitution and the system of Federalism which helped to preserve it - but that's for another post.

The Federalist AND the Anti-Federalist papers (both of which, and much more, are each referenced under the relevant clauses of the US Constitution in the links above) express the benefits of a Federal union, and the fears which many, such as Patrick Henry, had OF union, that the initial structure of a federal nation of sovereign states was not stated strongly enough, they were deeply concerned that the initial wording of the constitution would quickly dissolve into a monolithic national power, reducing existing States into mere partitions of Federal Power, as were the provinces under the old Roman Republic. These were real fears, whose importance was grasped by both sides, and because of which the Constitution would not have been successfully ratified without the promise that it would immediately be amended with a Bill of Rights to address these (and other) concerns, as can be seen in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, which were added to emphasize and secure both the sovereign powers of the states and the rights of the people, so that they would not be defined or limited to only those few powers and rights listed in the Constitution.

It was, and IS vitally important to the prosperity of all, that each State be free to order and govern it's interests as it's citizens see fit, that the federal government be restrained as much as possible from infringing and imposing upon the sovereign powers of the separate states - Differences between how each state might handle its own affairs, was seen as a vital component, and benefit, of uniting under a Federal Government as 'a free and independent state' - Sovereign. The Federal Govt was designed to contain and restrict the powers of the States to their own interests, to enumerate the powers the federal government would have in their shared interests, and leave each state free to make such innovations as they might see as being valuable, and the success or failure of which, would be valuable for other states consideration, without one or more states failure inviting war and invasion from it's neighbors.

To which Callahan would undoubtedly feel compelled to point out to those of us who are blind, that Sen. Days is black, and Sen Green would note that we had a civil war over this matter, and what about the slavery of the blacks by rich white people which all that sovereignty and 'states rights' brought about?

Well... first a couple points. Although at the time of the Civil War all slaves were black, not all slave owners were white, of course the vast, vast majority of them were, there still were numbers of slave owners, but even in the south, who were free blacks. Second, not all of those slave owners, white or black, were rich. Third, Sovereignty was not the issue - after all the Northern states were also sovereign states, and determined to remain so. States Rights and Property Rights, were also not the issue, though pro-slavery apologists eagerly sought to clothe their arguments in them, but what they actually meant were not Property Rights, those rights fundamental to all Individual Rights, and stemming from the Natural Rights of the individual, no, what men such as Justice Taney (see not only his opinion in Dred Scott, but in the issue of 'mere property rights' such as in the Charles River Bridge case (which I noted in a previous post), which Daniel Webster lamented as being the "death of Property Rights", and which made Taney's judgment' in Dred Scott possible) had in mind was a mockery of 'Property Rights', dressing up the mere possession of something as conveying a right to that thing, be it land, bricks or people, and the 'right' to retain that property rested soleyupon the legislation of the government which not only allowed you to retain possession of them, and was competent to, and had the authority to, determine how much control you could have over your property, and when it was ok for the 'greater good' to take that property, or some benefit of it, from you (unless of course the legislation had something to do with the Constitution of the United States asserting that all individuals were born with inalienable rights, in that case those 'laws' (Natural 'Rights'! Pshaw!) were regarded by them as being merely tools of northern aggression and suitable for disregarding.

The key point here is that the southern slaveholding aristocracy, much like the modern leftist bureaucratic aristocracy, derided 'Natural Rights', and any claim to inalienable rights and the importance of property rights rooted in them, and instead claimed that 'rights' were bestowed, and withdrawn or diluted by, government legislation - or in other words "Might Makes Right". As I said above,
"What it is that actually defines and separates Left from Right - is that if you believe in inalienable rights derived from your nature as man, you are on the Right (and that leaves enough latitude of interpretation to accomodate views as diverse as those of Madison from Hamilton), if, on the other hand, you feel rights are instead a creation of the society and government, you are on the left. No matter your apparent agreements, they are incidental at best, politically speaking - no matter your religious beliefs, economic stances, or party affiliations, This is what defines and separates Left from Right. "
In short, Callahan, Green, Bray, Justice and Days share a deep affinity with their Democrat forebears who asserted the propriety of Slavery.

Yep. I did say it. Sen. Days, and the rest, have much more in common with ideas of the slavery promoting Jefferson Davis, than with the rights and liberties represented in that government seated in Jefferson City MO, or in Washington D.C..

Ok, enough of Senators Green (with envy), Justice (!), Days ('d and confused), Shoemyer (who would leave his footprint smeared upon all of our rights) and CallaHun, they are worth no further attention or consideration here.

Enabling the Arbitrary

More interesting for this series of posts on Justice, is how these outrageously ignorant and willfully stupid statements can appear to these Senators, and to those who vote for them, as if they were sensibe? The fact is, that to most anyone with the basic knowledge and understanding of Western Civilization and the history of Natural Rights and Individual Rights, these statements should leap out at them as clearly wrong - but to those lacking that knowledge - what was once considered the requisite basics of an education worthy of the name Education - in their blindness, they appear to have a certain amount of common sense all their own.

How is that possible?

In previous posts I've touched on some of the surface knowledge which those concerned with Justice must have, but it's time to dig in a bit deeper towards what it is that all such knowledge rests upon, because without it, all the edifices of civilization will continue crumbling down around all of our heads.

Before a person can reason well and soundly in matters beyond their daily scope of concerns and experiences, you need a way to check and ensure that your reasoning is valid and true, without that, you'll easily accept whatever has the appearance of truth. An easy example? Say, the sun revolves around the earth for instance - has all the appearance of being obviously true, doesn't it? But what you build upon such assumptions will take your further and further from the truth, and require more and more convoluted epicycles of justifications in order to maintain the appearance of truth, and all the while what you take to be 'common sense' moves further and further from what is trully sensible. You might even find yourself in the position of attacking those who have checked beyond the surface appearances and found that is true... Galileo for instance... or even Fox News (oh I know that ticked a few people off!).

To avoid that, you need to check and square your assumptions with proven experience - especially when it seems to be obviously true (remember the sun), or else all that you think you know may be little more than thin appearances strung together for the convenient satisfaction of appetites (you want it to be true), and on feeding, those appetites will grow into a ravening hunger. The stringing together of those conveniences and appetites rely upon one central error, that which Descartes unknowingly (I believe) helped to unleash upon modernity, the Arbitrary; a seemingly sensible statement, without basis in fact, which soon works it's way into the scaffolding of your every thought.

For example, from a site someone recommended to me, see if you can see what is wrong with the following example, and I don't mean this persons comedic talent. The problem has much to do with what enabled the earlier Senators comments to be made - proudly and knowingly ignorant and unconcerned about it... see if you can pick it out:

"...Mind Screw enough? Let's simplify;

Lets take the following (comedic example!) syllogism;

PREMISE 1: "Ayn Rand was a woman."
PREMISE 2: "All women are bitches."
CONCLUSION: "Ayn Rand was a bitch."

(Please note: the truth or falsehood of any of these premises or conclusions is not the point; the logic is perfectly sound)

The conclusion logically depends on the premises. The premises can thus be said to imply the conclusion. The conclusion assumes the premises to be true."

Do you see what it is? It reflects much of what is wrong with the world today in politics, in education and in faux science. What is wrong with this, is not in the structure of his premises and conclusion, it's found here: "Please note: the truth or falsehood of any of these premises or conclusions is not the point; the logic is perfectly sound"

No, the logic is not perfectly sound. While it's true some steps severed from the totality of the full logical syllogism might grammaticaly follow the basic rules, but the perfecting of such logic chopping is not an example of performing sound logic. You must not allow to be separated, or to ever allow yourself to focus on one to the exclusion, or even the inconsequentiality, of the other. The Premises must be sound and the form of the syllogism must be well constructed, before you are able to say "the logic is perfectly sound".

It seems a small thing, a minor problem, a technicallity even, but neglecting this, and enticing readers into allowing it, has been the stock in trade of men like Rousseau, Hume, Godwin, Kant, Mill, Hegel, Marx and Dewey. It is a method which relies upon, and imports into your thoughts, the unconscious acceptance of the arbitrary, a logical solvent which disconnects ideas from reality and turns thoughts to mush.

For all the so called innovations of Bacon, or 'improvements' of the likes of Kant & Mill, it was Aristotle who first, and best, laid out the basic rules of logic for all to see (Prior Analytics and the Posterior Analytics), and it has been the heftiest power tool in the toolbox of Western Civilization ever since (and more often than not, those 'innovations' and 'improvements' to his Organon, have been to our undoing). He simply laid out the conscious steps which a person needs to follow, in order to check their understanding against reality, and by it's rules even today, though we are often unaware of them, even usually unaware of them, we still examine and check the likelihood of whether or not the information we've gathered is true - or not. Aristotle also worked out a pretty exhaustive list of way's in which people might unintentionally, or intentionally, fool themselves or others, into making errors in our reasoning, which he lists as the common forms of fallacies (On Sophistical Refutations). If your reasoning contains fallacies, then your statements and conclusions based upon them, cannot be reliable - but following those rules, while necessary, is not enough (BTW, if you think you don't ever mess with such concerns, if you ever use "If.. then..." as I just did (and as you probably just did as well), then you are using them).

Salesmen, Politicians and the Press engage in these fallacies of sloppy thinking all day long, and they can lead to some really disastrous results (Glowbull Warming anyone?), especially if concerning the doings or promises of someone having power over your life. The curious thing is that many people do check for the presence of fallacies in the statements of influential people, you'll often hear politico's and talking heads talk about "Strawman arguments", and such, which is all right out of Aristotle. But, the problem is, like the example above, they very rarely check beyond whether or not the technical rules of the the syllogism have been satisfied, and if not, of which fallacy was committed - but that is only doing the bare minimum - and it isn't enough.

Have a look here, Aristotle, at the start of his Posterior Analytics that,

...What I now assert is that at all events we do know by demonstration... a syllogism productive of scientific knowledge, a syllogism, that is, the grasp of which is eo ipso ["by that very fact"]such knowledge. Assuming then that my thesis as to the nature of scientific knowing is correct, the premises of demonstrated knowledge must be true, primary, immediate, better known than and prior to the conclusion, which is further related to them as effect to cause. Unless these conditions are satisfied, the basic truths will not be 'appropriate' to the conclusion. Syllogism there may indeed be without these conditions, but such syllogism, not being productive of scientific knowledge, will not be demonstration. The premisses must be true... The premisses must be the causes of the conclusion, better known than it, and prior to it; its causes, since we possess scientific knowledge of a thing only when we know its cause; prior, in order to be causes; antecedently known, this antecedent knowledge being not our mere understanding of the meaning, but knowledge of the fact as well. "
What he means by "The premisses must be the causes of the conclusion, better known than it, and prior to it", is that if one portion of their statement is false, then the others which are developed upon it, cannot be trusted, even though the rest of the argument seems to follow all the rules.

To follow the 'form' of the syllogism, checking the rules and for the presence of fallacies - but not the validity of it premises, is like a pilot doing a thorough check of his plane before taking off, but forgetting to see if he has enough gas to get beyond takeoff. Do not allow it. Refuse it's many manifestations, do not accept the the notion of the contingent vs necessary. Learn to check for not just the appearance of sense, but for the validity of its premises, and refuse to engage in those conversations which are based upon false ones, it is the Reason destroyer and the sower of evil (not that I feel strongly about it or anything).

Someone out there might say "Oh... come on Van... that's crazy, isolated exercises in logic don't really mean anything in real life"... well... first off, I'd suggest you have another look at the statements of the senators which I opened this post with. If that's not enough, then I'd suggest you take a look at this from the L.A. Times,

"The Democratic administration of Barack Obama, who denounced his predecessor, George W. Bush, as the most secretive in history, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than the Republican did.

Transparency and openness were so important to the new president that on his first full day in office, he dispatched a much-publicized memo saying: "All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA."

One of the exemptions allowed to deny Freedom of Information requests has been used by the Obama administration 70,779 times in its first year; the same exemption was used 47,395 times in Bush's final budget year."
Obamao's statement of "All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA." was accepted as being uncontroversial and 'perfectly sound' when he made it, as was nearly every other apparently sensible thing he said during his campaign... despite the fact that nothing in his record as senator or candidate suggested that he had ever practiced any such thing. School records, scholarship records, real estate records, economic policy records, relationships with people such as Bill Ayers, Rev Jeremiah "GD America" Wright , etc, and such showed complete antipathy to 'transparency' and honesty, and were further borne out right away in his nominations of Geitner and each and every Czar put in place. There is nothing about Obamao's person or record that has ever suggested that his words bore any resemblance to reality, or that he cared if they did, but if you accept that an argument or statement can be 'perfectly sound' without reference to, and in the face of abundant evidence which at the very least suggests that it has no foundation in fact - your words and thoughts do not, will not, and cannot, have any relation to reality.

That is not sound, perfect or otherwise. And neither is this,

"On March 16 to mark annual Sunshine Week, designed to promote openness in government, Obama applauded himself by issuing a statement:

"As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever."

However, a new study out March 15 by George Washington University's National Security Archive finds less than one-third of the 90 federal agencies that process such FOIA requests have made significant changes in their procedures since Obama's 2009 memo."
The Press, which should know better, it is its job after all, accepted Obamao's statement,
"As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever. "
. without question, without checking to see if his premises had any basis in fact. Can you square that with Aristotle's "The premisses must be the causes of the conclusion, better known than it, and prior to it"?

I sure can't. Is there anything in Obamao's past that gives any credence to his concern and pride in being 'open and transparent'?

Now of course anyone can be lied to, but when the facts and evidence is clearly available to indicate that you shouldn't even remotely accept such an assertion, and yet you do, unquestioningly, there is a problem here, and the problem goes far beyond the surface of 'mere logical technique', this is an indication which goes beyond syllogisms and logic chopping, and deep into the heart of your very relation to reality, to truth, morality and Justice.

Where do we start with this?

Why, at the beginning of course. The first questions that must be asked are, What is Real? and How do we know it? These were once the foundations of knowledge, during the era of our Founding Fathers for instance, and if you weren't aware of them, you couldn't credibly claim to be 'educated', and your preposterous assertions of "A hungry man is not free!" or "Having to pay for healthcare insurance, that is not *freedom*, that's oppression!" " would have had you laughed at by everyone from the butcher to the baker to the candlestick maker. If you don't know the answers to these questions, or worse, if like most moderns you claim 'no one can really know that', then you will not be able to tell whether someone is telling you the truth or blowing the mere appearance of sunshine up your butt. My proof? This,
"As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever. "
, came as a surprise to the L.A. Times and to all those who put stock in what it, and the rest of the lamestream media, has to say.
Need I say more? Really? Ok...then how about the many cases of falsified 'Hate Speech' such as this at GWU?

...or the Columbia Prof who noosed herself?

And why not? This shouldn't be surprising to anyone, if you don't believe reality is knowable (and from Hume & Kant on through to post modernism, few in wackedemia, or 'educated' in it, think we can really know anything at all), then why not fake what you know 'bad people' must be thinking of doing, so they can pay for their crimes? Why not? It's not as if anyone is likely to try and look further than what appears to be true... right?

As I was sa;ying, the first question that must be asked is, What is Real? and How do we know it? Enter Aristotle's Metaphysics... next in these posts.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Healthcare Mandates Evil 'For The Greater Good'

Gina Loudon has posted a document I'd seen before, but without the name of the author attached, this was the first time I had a name to tie it to, Kitty Werthmann, and verify it - it looks like the real deal, and is well worth reading. What really caught my eye, was one of the comments on her Facebook page, which said,

"As someone who has visited the concentration camp memorials in Germany, I find this over the top. People can question legislation that has passed, but to equate anyone, on either side, to Hitler is in my opinion inexcusable. It's stuff like this that drives the Independents away. And, before anyone says good riddance to that, well, I'd like to point out that is how elections are won. Or lost.

I get that people are upset about the health care vote, but really, some perspective here is needed. "

Some perspective here is needed, isn't it.

Indeed. However there's a problem with that, if you go about getting some perspective... from the wrong perspective... you end up with a perception that perceives nothing of value to your point of view.

The real problem with playing 'the Hitler card' is that people look at it from the vantage point of our end of history... which makes the value of history worthless. History learned and applied from the perspective of having all it's answers, leaves you unable to perceive the questions happening all around you in the present. If you want to learn something more from Hitler than the effortless knee jerk response of 'Never again!', try looking at Hitler from the point of view of the time that he was introduced to the people, as Werthmann does in her article, or in these videos (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 ).

You need to approach History as much as is possible, from the point of view of the people who lived it, and try to see events as they must have at that time when our history was merely their present - then you might be able to connect some dots and gain some value from it. Google up those campaign rallies... not the massive Nuremberg rallies, but the small and personal appearances, the open car campaign drives through the streets, the book signings, what you should make a particular effort to take notice of is the numbers of smiling people lining the streets, jostling each other to wave... smiling.

Smiling. That's important to take note of. Why do you suppose they were smiling? Unless you think there was something inherent in the German people that caused them to say "Oh My! Vat an Eevil man! How Delightful! Think of the obscene carnage and destruction he has in store for us!"... if you think it was unlikely they had that response to him, then all those smiles should cause you great interest and concern.

Why were they smiling?

Just for the moment, try to forget about the evils which surfaced later on, look at the platforms that he and the National Socialist German Workers Party ran on, the social safety nets they campaigned on, and delivered... hence the smiling and waving crowds.

Herr Hitler was not perceived in his time as the evil ogre of our history books, but as a very popular politician, someone who promised to bring, and did bring, popular reforms to the people, reforms for providing free education, free health care, a minimum wage, promoted the arts, job security, a take over of the big bad banking system, policies which nationalized troubled industries and created or saved thousands of jobs and put Germany back to work.

Think of the industrialists who welcomed Herr Hitler, who welcomed the State nationalizing industries, while keeping 'ownership' in place (and try not to think of GM, Chrysler, AIG or that portion of the new Healthcontrol bill that nationalizes the Student Loan industry... nooo... move along... nothing to see here).

Everything he did was welcomed and popular with the greater masses of 'common sense' Germans, who afterall, still actually thought that they were free.

Keep that in mind... and then recall the nightmare which those popular policies and common sense solutions led to.

Once you've got that juxtaposition in mind, then wipe Hitler from your consideration completely, and look at the particular policies he implemented, what they rested upon, and how he implemented them. One thing you should take notice of is the dilution, and the eventual wiping out of property rights, which was politically sold, initially, as making things fairer for the common man, giving him a break - and keep it in mind that where this all ends up at, is the loss of all individual rights, the loss of all rights to property and then eventually the loss of a right to life itself.

Now that that's got your attention, take your attention off of Germany for the moment.

Look at how other nations have implemented similar policies. Forget about the various 'isms they go by, socialism, communism, fascism - those are only different skins of style and presentation that were appealing to their people in their time - at their core, they all run upon the same core principle, the promising of new positive Rights, "Rights to..." (a job, a house, an education, to old age care, to healthcare, etc), 'Rights' which can only be given to 'the people' through the negation of their property rights for the stated (and probably sincere) purpose of doing good and benefiting their people, which requires also necessarily saving the people from being hoodwinked and influenced by hostile speech.

Take a look at how those earlier policies end up. Perhaps they all do not end up as did Robespierre's France, Mussolini's Italy, Hitler's Germany, Lenin's Russia, Mao's China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Castro's Cuba... but there are enough of them that did, so that it should at the very least give you some pause when you hear popular politicians proposing policies that have core similarities. And I wouldn't take all that much comfort from the apparent exceptions of modern European social democracies... they've been propped up by the USA for half a century... though you might want to take a look at Greece lately for a clue as to what may be developing now that we are no longer in a position to step in and help.

Take a look at the agricultural policies that were implemented in the USSR and China - the famines which claimed the lives of tens of millions of their own people. While of course there's no direct comparison to our situation, you should still have a look at what's happening in California's San Joaquin Valley, and the destruction of millions of acres of the most productive farmland in the world in order to 'do good' for the environment and the Delta Smelt. Pay attention to the areas 20% unemployment and the lack of response from those people with the power to turn on the faucets. For a fish. Done because those with the power to make policies to do what they think is  valuable, a higher good, they turned productive farmland to dust in an attempt to do good.

Take a look back at what the efforts of the left to 'do good' for blacks did to the structure of their families, to their neighborhoods, to the rise of crime and violence in their neighborhoods, as a result of the various welfare policies set in place to help them.

Take a look at the results of what congress did, in an effort to make homes more affordable, to the mortgage industry.

Look at how the well intentioned efforts of Democrats and Republicans to 'manage' the price of healthcare over the last 70 yrs, has resulted in the steadily rising costs of healthcare (two good short summaries can be found here and here).

Think of how the well intentioned ideas and rulings of people like Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes to prevent the multiplication of 'botched' peoples, enabled them to mandate that a 'feeble minded' woman (later shown not to be) should be sterilized, should be prevented from having children, for the greater good. In America. Here. No 'Hitler' in sight.

But again, for the moment forget about what we know of these failed policies now, and think only about what those policies of Herr Hitler's accomplished in Germany while he, and they, were still popular... they spread the wealth around, they pleased (and enriched) many successful industrialists, and they did that by consolidating power into particular agencies established by experts to put things in order and to look out for the people. They did that by giving government agencies the authority to put things 'to right', to make things more efficient, more fair... by ignoring some peoples rights, for the benefit of others; they did all that in one way or another, by negating the rights of some people to their property, and then spreading their wealth around.

For the People. For the greater good. It did, and always does, promise to be a good thing.

But have you ever taken a good look at what good things have relied on in the past  to accomplish good? Do they really resemble each other at all? Look at the historical facts, does 'the greater good' come from the intent of bureaucrats to do good, or from allowing people to do the good they can do for themselves?

Evil things never, NEVER come in to human affairs with the intent to wreak destruction and to do evil - they always come in with the intent of improving things and doing good for the people. For the children. For the Elderly.

For the Greater Good.

Forget about when it looks like someone is playing the 'Hitler card', don't let yourself be distracted by his name or his face, look at the fundamentals of the policies in question, and see if you see any similarities between them.

That is the only way to learn from history and to ensure that it really will happen 'never again'.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Prohibition of Freedom

Why was there a constitutional amendment, the 16th, passed to establish the Income Tax? There clearly was a majority of members in congress who supported it... why bother with a constitutional amendment?

Well I suppose you could say it was tried and struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court... I wonder why that matters?

Why was there a constitutional amendment, the 19th, passed to enable women to vote? There clearly was a majority of members in congress who supported it... why bother with a constitutional amendment? There clearly was a vast majority of people in congress and in the nation, who felt it was the Right thing to do... why not just pass a law and DO it? Why bother with a constitutional amendment?

Why was there a constitutional amendment, the 18th, passed to prohibit the manufacture and sale of alcohol? There clearly was a majority of members in congress who supported it... why bother with a constitutional amendment? There clearly was a vast majority of people in congress and in the nation, who felt it was the Right thing to do... it was the right thing to do to protect individuals from themselves, and to protect families... and the children! Why not just pass a law and DO it? Why bother with a constitutional amendment?

Why was there a constitutional amendment, the 21st, passed to repeal the prohibition on the manufacture and sale of alcohol? There clearly was a majority of members in congress who supported repealing the odious amendment... why did they bother with a constitutional amendment to repeal the constitutional amendment? There clearly was a vast majority of people in congress and in the nation, who felt it was the Right thing to undo the terrible wrong the previous amendment had done... it was the right thing to do to allow individuals to choose for themselves, even if it meant allowing people to make a choice which many people disliked and wished they wouldn't make. Why not just pass a law and UNDO it? Why bother with a constitutional amendment?

Why did these constitutional amendments have to be proposed to, and ratified by the states, before congress to do whatever good thing it was that they wanted to do?

The answer is, that it was understood, even into the early 20th century (and even into the 1970's with the failure of the proposed ERA amendment), that congress had no power to pass laws giving it power over concerns of the states and their citizens, which the Constitution did not clearly enumerate it as having power over in the first place.

The fact is, Nancy Pelosi & Steny Hoyer's constitutional giggles to the contrary, that the constitution is the source of congresses power, originating in the authority of the people, and delegated to it by the states. It has no authority to do what it has not been the given power to do by the constitution.

If congress didn't feel that it had the power to forcibly tell people what they could or could not manufacture and ingest - even though a 'dangerous' chemical like alcohol - without a constitutional amendment, and required another amendment, each of which was ratified by the required number of the states before it could go into effect, how in the hell does it feel it has the power to force insurance companies to only offer insurance which congress finds acceptable? How in the hell does it feel it has the power to force people to not only purchase health insurance, but that they must purchase the insurance which congress finds acceptable? Under penalty of fine and imprisonment at the hands of the IRS?!!!

If congress didn't feel it had the power to enact an income tax, and establish an agency to oversee and enforce it, without a constitutional amendment proposed and ratified by the several states, how in the hell does it feel it has the right to force upon the citizens of this nation the requirement that they purchase a healthcontrol insurance which meets congresses approval, and establishes over a hundred new agencies to oversee and enforce it?

The plain fact is that congress has no power to do any of these things which the constitution does not specifically give it the power, derived from the people, and delegated to it by the states, to do.

But it is attempting - and pardon me, but even voting on the measure, pro or con, is an expression of their arrogance and contempt - to do what it wants to do, because congress is drunk with the idea that it has the power to do whatever it feels is 'for the greater good' to do.

In other words, we no longer have a nation of laws, but of the whims of men - in other words in the view of our imperial congress and its king, "U.S. Constitution poses no serious threat to our form of government" - in other words, Tyranny has come to the Unites States of America. Or in even other words, as it is stated in an excellent article forwarded to me by Yabu, "How Tyranny Came to America", the modern congress sees the Constitution as a serous threat to its form of government.

And it is. And we must remind them of where their delegated powers are delegated from - We The People, through our several states, united, in America.

The Prohibition of Freedom
One other question, just how did those in Washington D.C. come to feel that they could disregard the opinions of the states and of the people? The answer is that once the 17th amendment to the constitution, enacted as a 'campaign finance reform' and to further 'democracy', came fully into place, where the Senators were no longer bolden to the representatives of the State - and those citizens they directly represent, was fully severed by it, the United States Senate was set adrift from any concern for the interests of the real states, concerned now only with effective sound bite campaigns (and the massive fundraising those require - IOW the unintended consequence of campaign finance reform was an escalation of the need to cury financing with more favors to 'special interests'), and by extension, from any concern for the interests of its citizens.

Even more so than the 16th amendment (income tax), the 17th amendment must be repealed first - only that will again make it possible for the Constitution to be felt as a threat to the tyrannical exercise of power at the hands of the whims of men, rather than having that power be restricted to a set of enumerated powers, restraining the writing of laws in accordance with the Constitution which defines and delegates those powers to them, those defined and enumerated powers, derived from We The People.

Make no mistake, to allow anything less, is to prohibit freedom for all.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Common Sense Conspiracies - a Race To The ... Where? - UPDATE AT BOTTOM

Race To The Top? Really?
I've got a question, does being aware of a trend, including it's causes and implications, mean that you buy onto conspiracies?

It's been mentioned that my concern with the Race To The Top (and the Left in general) might mean that I'm starting to buy into conspiracy theories... I don't mind so much, I usually run most 'causes and implications' past my "is this black helicopter fringe whacko stuff?" filter, I review what I'm looking at, and what others are saying about it, and if I can't ground it in philosophy and likely human nature, out it goes. I'm always particularly cautious of people who seemingly agree with me, I've found more than once that apparent agreement on details tells you next to nothing about the fundamental ideas that brought you together - for the moment.

However for those who are concerned about me, I would point out, that I am fundamentally opposed to conspiracy theories... I think they are realistically improbable, close enough to impossible to implement in secrecy - and that improbability goes up by a factor of 10x if Govt is involved - so as to almost justify ruling them out sight unseen. And honestly, the idea of there actually being well planned and executed conspiracies, gives far too much credit to those people who are seemingly involved in them - people enamored of Top Down Planning (as all deep conspiracies must be) are automatically handicapped by the fact that Top Down Planning by its very nature, is a method for generating stupidity and preventing intelligent decisions from being made by those under it's control.

That is the very reason why the Free Market works, and every variant of social-ism fails miserably - every time! Why do people persist in thinking that the same mindset which produced the North Korean economy, would somehow magically be able to produce ruthlessly intelligent and effective planning with almost godlike forethought and precision execution?


And to dispense with a couple of the latest conspiracies on the whacko rotation list,

  • I don't believe Obamao is involved in a widespread 'conspiracy' to turn America into a Marxist state,
  • I don't believe the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is conspiring with Kevin Jennings and Bill Ayers to destroy America through the destruction of our education establishment, and
  • I don't believe that the Chinese are conspiring with George Soros to destroy the economic system of the western world.
But before you clear my name completely, you should keep in mind that I do believe that philosophy makes unwitting conspirators of all who directly or indirectly accept its ideas. And I do see that the policies being pushed by Obamao will push America further (and perhaps past the point of no return) towards a marxist-ish state (any state whose policies are dedicated to the dismissal or erradication of property rights), I do very clearly see that the actions of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are significantly aiding Jennings and other like minded idiots in carrying out actions which will further destroy the educational system in this country, and put it significantly more under the control of the federal govt (read as 'Top Down Planning'... refer to previous comment about such), pushing parents further and further from influencing the education of their children (read John Dewey - the acknowledged father of modern education - that was explicitly one of his central goals "") and more towards the state indoctrinating children with the state approved views - if that seems at all outlandish, I suggest that you review the grade school and even high school materials given kids at school, and even sent home, regarding the 'environment' and 'glowbull warming'.

But before you jump to the conclusion that this is only a horse of a different color, this doesn't apply only to politics, or only to economics, or only to law, or only to left wing philosophies, and such issues don't require intricately coordinated efforts - and it also doesn't mean excluding small ones.

For instance, picture what would happen if there was to be an extensive art project being planned, something that would be encompassing several buildings, murals, statuary, etc, and which was originally conceived of by a left wing person who was naturally assuming it to be executed in the vein of an abstract modern art flavor. What would happen if you recruited artists to work on it who, either unbeknownst to you, or perhaps vaguely known... but not fully understood, that they were either trained in or personally partial to the classical atelier school. Even if these artists did not know any of each other, I personally would not be surprised to find that those artists would be adding as many little touches here and there of classical influence to the project as they could manage to work in to it... and perhaps some of them would even speak up to organize some of their fellow artists, or even recruit like minded outsiders with influence over the projects administrators, to do what they could to further orient the project around classical themes.

Would such a scenario really sound surprising to you? This is how beliefs are expressed, this is how they are expanded, and this is how they are eroded, if the infusion of opposing ideas and beliefs are left unchecked.

Now you may well ask how does this apply to education in general or to the Race To The Top program in particular?

Let me put it this way, how and why do you think that this doesn't apply to the 'Race To The Top' program? You really need to take into consideration the people who wrote this program, who busily promote it and who are seeking to implement it, people like Arne Duncan... You may say that 'he's no ideologue'... well that may be the case, but it is also no defense against ideology! Did you forget so quickly? Scroll back up a couple paragraphs and take a look at our hypothetical Art Project - that's not hypothetical, that is the mirror image of how the Arts in this nation were changed from the classical atelier ideal to the modernist slop which stands in for art today. Are you relying on his good 'pragmatic' and honest judgment to use 'common sense' and do what is best for the children? If so, you ought to keep in mind that he used that same 'common sense' you may be relying upon, to appoint people like Kevin Jennings to be the 'Safe School Czar' - safe for what?! Read just a couple paragraphs and answer me, safe for what?! Or maybe you're relying upon idealistic people like Wendy Kopp (scroll down within link) who will guide the programs credentialling of 'ideal teachers' (through RTTT's "Teach For America" (which goes under the acronym's of TFA, and other related programs such as TNTP, NLNS) to implement these 'planned' changes ... just what sort of changes do you think that they will enact? Do your homework, look into these peoples histories and stated ideals, and convince me, please, that I'm wrong.


But even before that... first let me ask you, do you know enough of the history of the matter of modern education or even with how the Race To The Top program differs from even recent educational reforms, in order for you to make a competent judgment either way? Do you? Have you looked into the matter at all? Have you personally developed some first hand knowledge of the situation that is deeper than what you might glean from the news?... or are you relying on your own 'common sense' to make your (uninformed?) conclusions regarding my assessments? Note: knowing or being chummy with the people involved, some teachers who may be fond of it, maybe a school administrator or school board member... those don't count towards your being 'informed' - only influenced.

Well, before dismissing my assessment, please realize that I have been investigating the wider issues involved here for twenty plus years, and during that time I have looked into a sizable amount of history, a sizable amount of philosophy, a sizable amount of legislation, a sizable amount of the development of 'educational' theory over the last four centuries, particularly here in the colonies, and how and where and in what way it has diverged from the method of education which preceded it. I've looked into why the new methods and premises appeared, and when, how and why they began replacing the previous methods and premises.

For instance, to pick a seemingly trivial point, do you know where the concept of 'elective classes' came from? Or why it was agitated for and by whom? Do you know what American college first enacted them into it's regular curriculum? Guess what - it's not an innocuous issue. Elective classes may seem harmless enough, and in most cases they themselves are, but why they were put forward is not harmless in the least. Look into it!

So unless you have done something of the same, please don't simply write off what I have to say, without at least taking a look at what it is that I am saying, and what I am try to warn you about - I am not saying that you should believe me because I'm some kind of an x-spurt - even if I were, I'd caution against such a thing even more forcefully; I'm only saying that because of what I have learned over the years, in my oh so humble (and reasonably well informed) opinion, this Race To The Top program is something which alarms me and which I think is worthy of your paying much closer attention to and worthy of your real concern - and then after looking into it, you should draw your own conclusions.

And also of course, if you have done so, and you disagree with the conclusions I've come to, please, present your case, refute my position - I would seriously love to be proven wrong.

Emphasis on proven, not sniffed, harrumphed, asserted and/or name called, into being labeled wrong - I'm kinda picky that way.

In other words, if you don't know what you are talking about, please, have the common sense to admit that you in fact do not know what you are talking about. I had to do the same twenty plus years ago.

Change You Can Believe In - And Fear
I've read and examined how the field and trends of education (and the philosophies those developments derived from) changed within those transition periods from rise to decline, within the ancient Greeks, within that of the Romans, through the middle ages and into the Renaissance, and how the 'system' of education which gave birth (literally) to the minds of the Founding Father's Era (not restricted to George Washington, etc, but the generation preceding them, from Locke to Burke, in the colonies and in England), and how that 'system' (I'm adding the scare quotes because there was no official system, only a concerted effort by legions of somewhat likeminded men & women... and I'll stop using them now, because it's annoying to type, and probably to read as well - just mentally note that they are there) which created what I find to be the finest minds and culture (with some minor quibbles) in history, and how it began to change into that system which has delivered us into the state (in more ways than one) that we find ourselves in today.

I've particularly examined how our system changed, educationally - I've read the various thoughts and educational guides of the Founders era, and those which incorporated changes which transitioned us from their era and into the proregressive era, focusing not only on how it devolved into the educational system we have today, but how that proregression was implemented in the schools and in our system of government and law. I say devolved because the previous system produced a mental outlook among those raised within it, which was unified and integrated across their understanding of history, literature, philosophy, religion, science, art, music, law and politics - it was guided by a philosophic conception of The Good (See Aristotle, Cicero, Aquinas, etc).

What it gave way to, was a system which proudly boasted that there was no such integration that was possible, or even desirable, that not only was there is no 'Good', philosophic or otherwise, but no way of knowing reality at all and so all we had were merely preferences and customs... what difference does this difference make? Well, what with a picutre being worth a thousand words, here's a couple thousand virtual words to illustrate the matter,

Classical Liberalism
Classical Beauty
Godward: A classical Beauty
Constitution of the United States of America: We The People
We The People
Pro-regressively Modern LeftismMunch: The Scream
The Scream!
Robespierre demonstrating his guillotine
French Revolution: Robespierre and The Terror

A point of trivia - Robespierre, the master of the guillotine, the instigator of The Terror during the French Revolution, the first implementer of fascism in modernity, went to sleep nightly with what philosopher of 'liberty' and 'education' under his pillow? Mr. "We must force them to be free" himself, Jean Jacque Rousseau. Hold onto that snippet for a few minutes, it'll come in handy soon.

NOTE: I personally waste no time on mindless 'What would the Founders Do' fetishes. While I do greatly admire many from that period, for those who believe that all was upright and pure through the 1600's & 1700's, I'd suggest that you take a closer look at the matter. During those times there were numerous plagues of rampant immorality which swept through the Founders time, including many instances of what we often attribute to only our time period, such as parents murdering their families and each other, students assaulting their teachers and even school shootings (and yes, by students in what would later become the Ivy League schools), and if anyone thinks that our political climate is corrosive, they really should read through the newspaper campaigns against the persons of Adams, Hamilton, Jefferson and even of George Washington himself, and then button their lips.

But the point isn't that they were purer and better then, but that they aspired to be, that they saw that they should aspire to be better, and that they had an image of what a better image of themselves would be, and that it was worth pursuing, and that they believed - with very good reason - that their culture provided a philosophical mindset (incomplete and error filled though it may have been - and as all such systems always will be, btw) which would aid and support them in their morally ambitious aspirations.

George Washington was an excellent example of this, he had an image of himself that he wanted to live up to, and kept that image in his focus at all times. And his moral ambitiousness is what helped make him into what he is nearly universally recognized as having become - the Indispensable Man - and it made all the difference to the founding of this nation.

Dancing With Darwin
Btw, in using Evolve & Devolve, I don't mean to draw too much attention to, or give Darwin's Theory of Evolution too much credit here, for though his theories have been credited as a driving force of modernity, particularly by the proregressives, he was only a fellow traveler on the philosophic train, perhaps an expansive sleeping and dining car, but not the locomotive engine of it. While I do accept the general scientific theory of evolution (while rejecting it's improper use in philosophical arguments), and in natural selection as it's most likely mechanism, Darwinista's (those who improperly use a logic chopped version of the science to make inappropriately philosophic assertions in favor of materialsim as being proved) should not use Evolve, but stick to natural selection - and we should all realize that sometimes that naturaly leads to the extinction of the species.

To Evolve, requires an ideal, a "Good" towards which your progress can evolve towards. I am well aware that for me to use the term 'Devolve', it presupposes that I have some concept of a philosophic Good which is being moved away from... whereas the strict proregressive materialistic darwinista can legitimately say nothing of the sort, they can only note that change has occurred - for good or ill, they can properly have no opinion - which is another reason why the schools are as they are. Change, when you have no concern for progressing towards an actual Good, is unconcerned with 'failure', or 'success', only change, and only for changes sake.

And that is something you really should fear.

As I've mentioned before, I've given a very brief (for me, and for the topic) overview of how our system of education has been changed, and how it has changed our nation, in "What never was and never will be", and I am already involved in making a fuller review of the matter, the philosophical developments which led us to our high-water mark in the Age of Enlightenment (British branch), and what has been dragging us down from that pinnacle ever since, through the detritus of the French branch of the Enlightenment, and it's various German streams, which has been slowly oozing into our culture (remember the seemingly innocuous 'elective classes'? Take a look) from... the Top Down.

Transforming America
You should also keep in mind that in the transition period between the Founders Era and the Progressive Era, the lower levels of Education out and amongst the populous at large, were still sound and strong, as evidenced by a typical eighth grade quiz from the prairie of Salina KS in 1857 (which I noted in "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness")would contain questions such as:

  • "Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion."
, and with which the teacher had the very reasonable expectations that the students could and should be able to understand not only the questions, but arrive at and explain the answers. (Note: Snopes has an interesting 'debunking' of this test... which doesn't debunk it at all, but only questions if it should make you feel 'dumber than an eighth grader'... and actually I think it reinforces the point even further. There's another site which does a somewhat better factual analysis, declaring it only 'unproven', and suggests that while it was an actual exam, and it was, it was meant for teachers, not students - but either way, I think it makes my point well.) The elitist garbage was still for the most part entering only at the college level, and stalling out in an appropriately dead end. It wasn't until after education and the fed govt first mated (The Morrill Act), that their abominable offspring began to enter into the population as a whole.

In contrast to the conceptual nature of that prairie test's question (it asks the test taker to 'describe' the three most important battles, not just 'what were' they, as a modern test, if it ever addressed the issue at all, would ask), this non-conceptual question given at my 10 year old's grammar 'school' (yes, the scare quotes are annoying, but it's really, really hard to type the name without them) stands in stark relief to it. Her school annually conducts what they call a 'Knowledge-a-thon' for each grade level, which in typical proregressive fashion, is essentially a random slew of dis-integrated trivia which the school says that the children are expected to know... but it often reveals what the teacher's themselves fail to know or even care about, such as this one:

"How was George Washington's first term as President different from his second" and the 'answer' was that "he was elected in his second term, but was appointed President for his first term"

As you can probably imagine, when I read this I was flabbergasted. This is not only false, he was unanimously elected to his first term, (the only President ever to have been unanimously elected), and he was elected in the same fashion to his second term as well, though not unanimously, but this 'trivial bit of knowledge' has apparently been part of the 5th grader's 'knowledge-a-thon' in this school for several years! Teachers and teacher's aids - and parents! - have been dutifully reading, and correcting(!) their 5th grader students, for years, based on this little bit of 'trivia'. When I brought it up to her teacher and principle, I was told

  • "You are correct. It states that plainly in our SS book. I will pass on your question/concern to the KAT committee. They are the ones who are in charge of the questions."
I'll resist the temptation to play off of the "SS" reference, but somehow that reply fails to reassure me. How about you?

If so far I've still failed to alarm you, or even to convince you that the school system has been the chief tool for 'Transforming America', and politics merely a Childs play toy for displaying what the schools had already long since accomplished, take a look at this from John Dewey's "The School and Social Progress":
"But why should I make this labored presentation ? The obvious fact is that our social life has undergone a thorough and radical change. If our education is to have any meaning for life, it must pass through an equally complete transformation. This transformation is not something to appear suddenly, to be executed in a day by conscious purpose. It is already in progress. Those modifications of our school system which often appear (even to those most actively concerned with them, to say nothing of their spectators) to be mere changes of detail, mere improvement within the school mechanism, are in reality signs and evidences of evolution. The introduction of active occupations, of nature study, of elementary science, of art, of history; the relegation of the merely symbolic and formal to a secondary position; the change in the moral school atmosphere, in the relation of pupils and teachers -- of discipline; the introduction of more active, expressive, and self-directing factors -- all these are not mere accidents, they are necessities of the larger social evolution. It remains but to organize all these factors, to appreciate them in their fullness of meaning, and to put the ideas and ideals involved into complete, uncompromising possession of our school system. To do this means to make each one of our schools an embryonic community life, active with types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society, and permeated throughout with the spirit of art, history, and science. hen the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with the instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely, and harmonious. "
Discard the flowery sales tactic puffery at the end there (though that too is ominous if you've eyes to see, "...saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with the instruments of effective self-direction..." need to be read from the philosophical point of view from which they were intended - not from the point of view the 'common sense' American would pass them by with - think "Ein volk, ein Reich, ein Furher!" ), and think back, those of you over the age of 18 yrs old, think about the changes you have seen in your schools, in your society, and then reread this line,
"Those modifications of our school system which often appear... to be mere changes of detail, mere improvement within the school mechanism, are in reality signs and evidences of evolution." and this "...all these are not mere accidents, they are necessities of the larger social evolution..."
, and reflect upon where those 'changes of detail' have come from. This is a very, very mild quote from Dewey, because the problem with quoting John Dewey, the father of modern education, is that from the point of view of most Americans, most Parents, his stated ideals were so out there, and yet he was so matter of fact about it, that to quote the quotes which best describe his intentions, well, it makes you out to sound like a conspiracy nutter... no one thinks it possible that such things were ever said by anyone considered legitimate, or meant the way it seems to sound. Again - read him - he is after all, creating your children and transforming your nation.

How about this one from Dewey's "Democracy and Education, Chapter Seven: The Democratic Conception in Education", it is still fairly tame sounding, unless you actually read it with some understanding of it's meaning and implicaitons. I think one of the implications should jump out at you... let's give it a whirl and see:
"The peculiarity of truly human life is that man has to create himself by his own voluntary efforts; he has to make himself a truly moral, rational, and free being. This creative effort is carried on by the educational activities of slow generations. Its acceleration depends upon men consciously striving to educate their successors not for the existing state of affairs but so as to make possible a future better humanity. But there is the great difficulty. Each generation is inclined to educate its young so as to get along in the present world instead of with a view to the proper end of education: the promotion of the best possible realization of humanity as humanity. Parents educate their children so that they may get on; princes educate their subjects as instruments of their own purposes.

Who, then, shall conduct education so that humanity may improve? We must depend upon the efforts of enlightened men in their private capacity. "All culture begins with private men and spreads outward from them. Simply through the efforts of persons of enlarged inclinations, who are capable of grasping the ideal of a future better condition, is the gradual approximation of human nature to its end possible. Rulers are simply interested in such training as will make their subjects better tools for their own intentions." Even the subsidy by rulers of privately conducted schools must be carefully safeguarded. For the rulers' interest in the welfare of their own nation instead of in what is best for humanity, will make them, if they give money for the schools, wish to draw their plans. We have in this view an express statement of the points characteristic of the eighteenth century individualistic cosmopolitanism. The full development of private personality is identified with the aims of humanity as a whole and with the idea of progress. In addition we have an explicit fear of the hampering influence of a state-conducted and state-regulated education upon the attainment of these ideas. But in less than two decades after this time, Kant's philosophic successors, Fichte and Hegel, elaborated the idea that the chief function of the state is educational; that in particular the regeneration of Germany is to be accomplished by an education carried on in the interests of the state, and that the private individual is of necessity an egoistic, irrational being, enslaved to his appetites and to circumstances unless he submits voluntarily to the educative discipline of state institutions and laws. In this spirit, Germany was the first country to undertake a public, universal, and compulsory system of education extending from the primary school through the university, and to submit to jealous state regulation and supervision all private educational enterprises. Two results should stand out from this brief historical survey. The first is that such terms as the individual and the social conceptions of education are quite meaningless taken at large, or apart from their context."

Do I need to remind you of just what sort of 'regeneration' was accomplished in the Germany Dewey was referencing? Little guy with a goofy mustache come to mind? Swastikas? This WAS the ideal of the progressives, they idolized the 'modern Bismarkian German State' and particularly its military like organization laid out through Top Down Planning - forget about the particulars Hitler brought to the system, the holocaust, etc (!), the system itself, the state in control and deeply ordering and involved in every aspect of society and its citizens lives - that was, and IS, the proregressive ideal, and it is still alive and well today - they are just confident that it'll work out better - this time. Again. As they've been trying to improve it, again, since Robespierre first grasped and implemented it. And then Lenin. And then Mussolini. And then Hitler. And then Stalin. And then Mao. And then Pol Pot. And then... get the picture? They can try it again and again as often as they like (as long as you allow them to), but the result will be the same, because the principles are the same - the dismissal or eradication of Property Rights, soon followed by that which is built upon them, Individual Rights.

If you find it hard to believe that we, here, would try such things 'again', as most American's with 'common sense' will, take a look at the plans for AmeriCorps(e), already passed into law, in H.R. 1388: Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, Down in Part III, SEC. 120. INNOVATIVE DEMONSTRATION SERVICE-LEARNING PROGRAMS AND RESEARCH, you'll find this gem,
"‘(B) service-learning is a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency."
. State mandated volunteerism... see any similarities or potential problems there?

Assuming I still don't have your attention, here's another tie-in... going back to the 'elective classes' again.

Again? What's with the elective classes already? Nothing. At least not with the classes themselves, but it might be of some interest to know, that the fellow who first brought them into the mainstream of American education, at a major American College (soon afterwards a 'university'), also happened to be an influential professor, though they shared a mutual dislike for each other, to a fellow named Charles Pierce. Why does that matter? Well Pierce was the main founder of the American philosophy of Pragmatism (and don't be fooled by the 'common sense' view that it just means 'common sense' - it means the denial of principles as such, and the acceptance of the 'fact' that we cannot know reality, and so shouldn't bother trying, that we should just try stuff, and go with what seems to work), and together with two others he strongly influenced, William James and, yep, John Dewey, it became the biggest single factor that undermined and subverted the philosophy of Classical Liberalism, which animated our Founding Father's generation, and gave rise to our constitution and Declaration of Independence.

No conspiracies need apply. Philosophy does the job quite handily, thank you very much.

Oh, and guess who was a major influence on the fellow who taught Pierce and instituted the elective classes? Those German fellows Dewey mentioned, Kant, and through him, Hegel and Fichte. Guess who was a major influence on Kant? Why, Rousseau of course.

There are so many quotes of Dewey I could pull, his fear of individuality, that the mere learning of facts produces dangerous signs of it, that it is the job of the school to get in between the parent and child and as much as possible prevent the child being influenced by the beliefs of the Parent... I won't pull them all, or even some of the available horror quotes of Dewey and those who followed him, because I prefer that you discover the implications yourself. Just look at what I have presented here, the ideal is to remove the education of your children to the control of the state, and by slowly tweaking, altering, adding some features while lessening and ultimately removing others, it is very consciously designed to eliminate the influence of the parent, and mold the preferences of the children to conform with that of the State.

With that in mind, recall what he said above,
"Those modifications of our school system which often appear... to be mere changes of detail, mere improvement within the school mechanism, are in reality signs and evidences of evolution. The introduction of active occupations, of nature study, of elementary science, of art, of history; the relegation of the merely symbolic and formal to a secondary position; the change in the moral school atmosphere, in the relation of pupils and teachers -- of discipline; the introduction of more active, expressive, and self-directing factors -- all these are not mere accidents, they are necessities of the larger social evolution."
I assure you he meant what he said, there are sites which indicates that his followers still mean what he said, the school is to remove mere parental and moral understanding, and emphasize turning your children into happy little cogs which make the state's wheels go around. I can't resist two horror quotes:
""There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural laws or moral absolutes."

John Dewey, "Soul Searching" Teacher Magazine, Sept. 1933[Note: I haven't been able to find this source and verify the quote, but I can say that it comports well with what he has said elsewhere, ]

"The schools cannot allow parents to influence the kind of values-education their children receive in school; that is what is wrong with those who say there is a universal system of values. Our (humanistic) goals are incompatible with theirs. We must change"
Paul Haubner, Specialist For The N.E.A. "
You shouldn't need to be deeply religious for that first quote to alarm you. As Dewey's fellow proregressives such as Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson made abundantly clear, they felt that the U.S. Constitution was an archaic hindrance to 'all the good they could do' for us... and they considered it archaic and a nuisance, because it rested, most visibly in the Bill of Rights and in particular the 9th and 10th amendments, upon Natural Law, more explicitly stated in the "Declaration of Independence", also a document which has been denigrated and dismissed by TR, Wilson, and most proregressives since their time, and for the same reasons.

Natural Law is not 'merely' a Christian concept, it has been the bedrock foundation of Western Civilization going back through Cicero, Aristotle, Aeschylus and all the way back to the beginning of the West, in Homer. It is what made Western Civilization possible - that there is a Good which illuminates the fact that there is a Right, and that there is a Wrong, and that we can and must choose between them in ordering our lives. It is what makes our concept of Objective Law and Constitutions possible, and it is what has prevented, so far, our becoming little more than an American knock-off of your favorite fascist or communist state.

The simple fact is, that from the inception of modernity (Rousseau is the most visible marker for the starting point of this), Natural Law, and all of it's implications - Individual Rights, the right to Free Speech, Property, that you have a Right to live your own life in liberty and in the pursuit of Happiness, all of that has been the target of modernity in general, and of proregressivism in particular. It is a threat to them because such concepts get in the way of the proregressives precious Top Down Planning and zeal to recreate man and society in their image - Natural Law is in the way, because they need you to do not what is Right, not what you want, but what they want you to do because it will effect 'useful' changes to society. And such 'archaic' things as Individual Rights and Morality, get in the way of 'breaking a few eggs' as needed to accomplish their transformation of society.

It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free; their passions forge their fetters. - - Edmund Burke
Okay, I've already gone much further than I intended, and I’m not going to try and write another synopsis, I already did in the link above, and the series of posts it was a part of, Modern Madness, the full answer requires what I am already in the midst of with my series of posts on Justice, but I will restate the key progression which is mostly unknown today.

Our Founders were made possible by a system of education which sought to Educate it's students, to lead them out of bondage to themselves, to their urges and passions, but not through a Top Down Planning system, or through having rules imposed upon them by institutions, their system taught them to know and understand time tested rules whose wisdom had already been proven throughout the ages, and to choose to observe those rules themselves. The system which created our Founding Father's generation was one which was widespread in its practice, it came from the bottom up of experience, and was rarely codified or set down in a manual, one of the few manuals that were written, and which survived into the modern day, was "George Turnbull, Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches [1742]". It was focused upon the ideal that worldly success depended upon morality and the habituation of virtuous thoughts and deeds. The refining and development of these ideals can be seen in how the education of the Founding Father's generation was accomplished in their colleges, and can be seen particularly well in how those first Colleges taught those ideas, as in this from "Education of the Founding Fathers of the Republic -Scholasticism in the Colonial Colleges",
"“At the time of his graduation from William and Mary, Jefferson was eighteen. Durin the two preceding impressionable years he had been under the tutelage of Professor Small and had been well grounded in the ethics, commonly taught at the colleges in those days. We have no theses from William and Mary because of the fire but the ethical theses that are available from the four colleges, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Brown, are all sufficiently alike to make it clear that they represent the moral philosophy teaching of the time. Under ethics or politics at most of the colleges they defended the proposition that authority for government devolved originally on the people, and was by them transferred to the ruler. If he did not rule for the benefit of his people they had a right to remove him and substitute another. This is the teaching that was in many minds at that time as the result of their college theses and it was this that was incorporated in the Declaration of Independence, the source of whose theory of government must be found in this ethical philosophy that was the common teaching of all the colonial colleges, and had for centuries been the teaching of the universities generally unless they were under royal influence.”"
They relied heavily upon knowledge of the history, philosophy and literature of Ancient Greece and Rome, English history and the development of the Arts and Sciences which guided them, as well as proficiency in Greek and Latin - and for those pained educators out there lamenting that 'minorities can't be expected to understand THAT material - they don't know those languages or histories', I'd remind them that in the later Elizabethan period, when this type of education began to spread beyond the exclusive use of royalty to the broader public, most of those English and American students receiving it, were not familiar with that information either, and neither were their parents, they didn't know those languages or histories either - but they learned them all the same, and well before the age of 18.

Our children are not less human than Jefferson was - only our system for educating them is.

Our current generations of mis-educated and mostly illiterate youths were raised upon an educational theory which began with Rousseau, and the rationalist purveyors of 'swell idea!' progressives, such as Fichte, Wundt and Dewey, whose over riding message is that morality and virtue are irrelevant, that art is whatever you want it to be, and that it is more important to learn a trade, than to learn how to master yourself.

You tell me... look back at the pictures I inserted above, compare them... which do you think did best by it's students and society?

Our first educational system, required no central authority to train teachers, required no intellectually deadening textbooks to convey it's key facts and it fostered a culture worthy of the term Culture. It had simple principles - which required intellectual effort to understand, and were difficult to master but were visibly worth doing so - and which were reinforced throughout the system by each 'branch' of learning (and professors, and particularly the schoolmaster or college president, were expected to be masters of all 'branches').

Our modern system is famously 'complex', impossible to integrate, pushing theories that favor lofty sound bites, but are impossible to practice, and offer no role legitimate models of successful practitioners of their ideals - diversity, relativism, etc.

The difference is probably best caricatured by the approach of the two systems to learning to read. The previous system emphasized the phonetic system, a series of rules and principles and memorization of sounds, prefixes & suffixes, etc, which while it takes some time and effort to master, once accomplished, it enabled the reader to read anything, even words they'd never come across before. Whereas the ideal of modernity is the maliciously stupid "See and Say" system of the likes of James Cattell, which teaches students to memorize words, learn to recognize those words on sight, and they called that being literate - even though it left the student, and the resulting adult, unable to read any word which they hadn't ever seen or heard before, their vocabulary, and potential level of intellectual understanding, is straight jacketed to those few thousand words they were trained to recognize as youths.

One of these systems produced the most literate people in the history of the world, able understand the concepts necessary to create and implement the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States of America.

The other produces people high on their own unsupported self esteem, chronically illiterate and fit only to tear the previous systems accomplishments down.

Let's get back to those 'elective classes'. The Harvard professor who first proposed and implemented them, was Charles Eliot. He took a European tour and was enamored with the German system which set about looking at the field of education from a more 'scientific' perspective. It, following the modernist sentiments of Descartes and Rousseau, decided to discard all that could not be quantified and proven. Have you ever tried to quantify the value of a poem? They did. The reduced the appreciation for an entire work like the Iliad, to examining the 'truth value' of particular lines. The end result was that what they couldn't quantify, they determined had no value, and the humanities were out. Textbooks, tomes written in such a way that they could be neatly summarized in quizzes at the end of each chapter, and the students retention of its factual data quantified, was in.

Not to get too far off track, but the person who reads the Iliad and comes away from it with a grasp of how deeper values can be lost through too much attention pursuing glittering surface attractions, and that through deep soul wrenching loss, we can sometimes be brought to realize that mistake and reclaim ourselves, comes away from it with an entirely different Education than the person who is trained to recall how many lines Achilles spoke, vs Odysseus in the 'embassy to Achilles' portion of Book IX.

However, Eliot was swept up in this new German style of education, their new creation of "Phd's" to indicate that someone had attained a sufficient quantification of 'understanding' in a field, etc, and their focus on the idea that 'education' must have a quantifiable purpose and value - morality and virtue, weren't quantifiable, so they were of less interest and value to the new system, what was of more importance now, was training people in 'right responses' and in skills of production, management and employment.

Aristotle would have pointed out that seeking more exactitude from a subject than it is capable of supplying, showed a lack of education - he also would have pointed out that people trained for employment without developing an understanding of The Good, and of themselves, were nothing more than more specialized slaves.

But then, Aristotle now belonged to that which belonged to "the relegation of the merely symbolic and formal to a secondary position".

So Eliot brought this German system back with him to Harvard, and he became the longest running and most influential president in Harvard's history. I'm sure he approached his position with supreme common sense, and never would have wished anything which might harm his students. But as with our Arne Duncan, Eliot brought back more than he bargained for, as Dewey mentioned, he began the importing of the German system of education, and with them he imported such truly Anti-American ideals as the ideas of Kant and Fichte and Hegel,

Kant was the one who constructed an entire philosophy around the idea that we can never really know reality, and did so under the pretext that he felt he "Found it necessary to destroy knowledge in order to save faith"... look around you... while maybe it can credibly be said he accomplished the first half of his goal... how about the second? Without knowledge, and a sound basis for it, you are not left with faith, but with passion, heated, unreasoning passion.

Hegel took Kant’s ideas to their obvious ends of collectivization and that life could only be lived properly through the spirit of the State: “All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State. The people would be nothing, living only to serve the Spirit." or as someone who saw his ideas made reality before him quoted,
"the State 'has the supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be a member of the State... for the right of the world spirit is above all special privileges.'" Hegel, quoted by William Shirer in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1959, page 144)
Fichte was the head of psychology at the University of Berlin in 1810, and as Bertrand Russell admiringly, and correctly summarized him, Fichte felt strongly that "Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable ... of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished." and to that end Fichte himself urged in his "Addresses to the German nation", that
"23. It is essential both for this first aim and also for the second, which will be mentioned soon, that from the very beginning the pupil should be continuously and completely under the influence of this education, and V should be separated altogether from the community, and kept from all contact with it.” pg 31
Hence the entirely German invention of "Kindergarten", pre-school, where the state should see to it that children are removed from their parents asap and their training begun. Sit. Roll over. Beg. Lie down. Good citizen, here's a treat.

The Power of 'Education'
Eliot may not have entirely bought into these views, but nevertheless he imported them into the American system of education, and it was never the same afterwards.

But those who followed in his footsteps, such as Woodrow Wilson, as President of Princeton, did buy into the obvious implications of 'Change' and 'Democracy', when he told a group of teachers who were going to be teaching in their new creation called ,'High Schools"
"We want one class of persons to have a liberal education and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."
Interesting to note that Eliot, once the avant guarde of progressive education, soon found himself viewed as too stogy. When the proregressives were at the point of finally and nationally taking over the system of education in America, for the first time forming a true system of education in America (foul, but actual), he was soon sidelined. Eliot was called on to head a 'blue ribbon panel' called the "The Eliot Report of 1893", or better known as "The Committee of Ten on Secondary School Studies" of educators to create a new curriculum, which had things such as this to say,
"As studies in language and in the natural sciences are best adapted to cultivate the habits of observation; as mathematics are the traditional training of the reasoning faculties; so history and its allied branches are better adapted than any other studies to promote the invaluable mental power which we call judgment."
But that wasn't quite what the progressives were looking for by this time. far too much reliance on History. Math. Humanities. You know, the stuff of Western Civilization. Ugh. It was ignored, they bided their time, and in 1918, it was replaced by "Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education", made up by a panel of such luminaries as a dog catcher, ward boss, etc, and had a more pleasing emphasis through it's 'Seven Cardinal Principles' that were received as
"In general, the commission endorsed cardinal principles that emphasized the practical over the intellectual as well as the importance of social control and social efficiency. "
Richard Mitchell, in his splendid (and available free online) in chp. Four of his "The Graves of Academe", termed the later committee as "The Gang of Twenty-Seven", and notes it's response to Eliot's committee:
"The Gang of Twenty-seven, unhampered by intellectual predispositions, found that proposal an elitist's dream. They concluded, in other words, that precious few schoolchildren were capable of the pursuit of knowledge and the exercise of the mind in the cause of judgment. That, of course, turned out to be the most momentous self-fulfilling prophecy of our century. It is also a splendid example of the muddled thought out of which established educational practice derives its theories. The proposals of the Eliot report are deemed elitist because they presume that most schoolchildren are generally capable of the mastery of subject matter and intellectual skill; the proposals of the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education, on the other hand, are "democratic" in presuming that most schoolchildren are not capable of such things and should stick to homemaking and the manual arts."
What Charles Eliot failed to grasp, as small a change his 'elective classes' seemed to be, their importance wasn't in their inconsequential details, but in their refutation of the principles of Education as a whole. His innovation brought down the entire philosophy of Classical Liberalism from which the Founding Fathers had sprung, that a sound and moral mind was the primary purpose and ideal of Education - what Eliot did in importing 'optonal classes' was not to add a feature, but discard the unified idea of the purpose of Education, mixing in notions of 'practical vocational studies', like bad money driving out the good, it's result was entirely pro-regressive. Quite naturally, the people sending their children to Harvard - founded as a divinity college BTW - when given the option of choosing to pay for classes they may not have clearly grasped the immediate value of, or ones they could see would have immediate monetary value for their kids - the chose the later. But it was the responsibility of the college, and particularly of people like Eliot, to know better than to present that option at all. But he didn't, he failed in his responsibilities as an intellectual, and the nation has paid dearly for the error.

Eliot was probably also surprised that, as influential as he originally was, the proregressivs which he helped to create, shunted him aside when he failed to offer more change. Some change, is never enough, not when all of your ideas rest upon nothing but change. What he didn't grasp, was that they had no actual principles which they held to and steered from, they had no intellectual foundations upon which to establish a firm foundation for understanding and Truth, for by their very nature, they assumed that reality was unknowable and 'Truth' only a preference, that there was nothing to intellectually rest upon, nothing to strengthen and enlarge. For the proregressive the closest they can come to strengthening their ideals, the only thing available to them approaching satisfaction, is that of looking forward to more change. Change for change sake. And they can only look forward to it - never actually experience satisfaction - they will never be satisfied. Change requires not only more change, but preferably more stimulating - shocking - change. Just like a drug addict requires more and proregressively bigger fixes, our educational system does too. It continually needs to enact more, larger, more comprehensive educational 'reforms'. Similar to, and for the same reasons, that of the person who lusts after power, they will never be satisfied, for they don't seek satisfaction, they don't seek an end point, only further, more exhilarating expressions of their power.

Race To The Top? Really? Then Why Does It Feel Like Falling?
Our previous system of education, that which led to our Founding Fathers, could be summed up in a one volume guide book, easily graspable by any competent adult, and whose methods and goals could be conveyed to their students with the aid of a few essential volumes of history, literature and science. It can be summed up in it's preface,
"Proper care about education being a concern of the highest importance, with relation both to private and public happiness; to the flourishing of liberty, learning, virtue, religion, of every thing, in one word, that is good or great in human life: And the thoughts which I have here laid together upon this subject, in the best order I was able, not being advent’rous conjectures, hazarded into the world upon no better authority than a presumptuous confidence of my own opinion, but observations transmitted to us from the more thinking and wiser part of mankind in almost all ages and nations of the world, as Truths or Facts confirmed in their experience: Permit me, my Lord, most humbly to dedicate these discourses to your Lordship, who are so universally acknowledged to have all the interests of mankind most sincerely at heart, and to be very distinguishedly qualified to serve them, by that happy concurrence of knowledge of the world, good-breeding, and polite taste, with extensive, solid erudition, true goodness, and genuine piety, which makes the perfect character, that education ought to have in view, and should be adapted to form."
, and the tools and funding such an education required extended little further than the need for a room, access to a limited set of volumes, and a teacher familiar with the material and willing and able to teach and transmit its meaning and content to their students, all of which could, as it certainly should have been and should still be, easily overseen by interested parents at the local level.

Today it seems as if we are beginning to see the pendulum swinging back to center, we are beginning to see citizens seeking to bet involved, and hungering for some sign of what they have misplaced while sleeping, they, we, are beginning to read things like the constitution. And while it certainly is good to learn the Constitution, it is even better to learn what caused and enabled them to create the Constitution & Declaration of Independence. Our Constitution was designed by an educated people, guided by the philosophy of Classical Liberalism, for a moral people... and as John Adams noted,
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."
Does our present system of education strike you as being designed for revealing all "that is good or great in human life" or successful at fitting students to be master their impulses and aspire to moral uprightness? To me it seems much more like "advent’rous conjectures, hazarded into the world upon no better authority than a presumptuous confidence of my own opinion".

The modern system we have today is famous for failing, and producing an unending series of ever more spectacularly failing 'fixes', ever more concentrated bureaucracies and unintelligible textbooks delivered by teacher's who are too often not even masters of their own subjects, let alone all, who as with the "Teach For America" program, cynically relies upon their new recruits fleeting passion to 'make a difference' to be rudely wrung from them before replacing them with new teaching fodder.

This modern system is currently up to it's umpteenth revision/fix/fad requiring billions in funding, and new bureaucracies managed and directed from the federal level, the Race To The Top package (which I've begun to touch upon here and here)... follows this with a few more endarkened highlights from it, take a close look. Ask yourself whether these excerpts reflect a desire to Educate a student to be a responsible individual and member of his family and society, capable of living his own life, or does it seem more like a plan to extend control up to the furthest removed levels of the Fed Govt, so that they can implement their latest 'fix'... from the Top Down.

pg 40:: Implementation of the reform plan described in this proposal will not stop if the State does not win Race to the Top funding. Missouri has a long tradition of fostering innovative improvements in education, and this will not change. Race to the Top funds will allow the State to move forward aggressively and comprehensively in adopting these reforms. In the absence of Race to the Top funding, the State and its partners would continue moving forward but will do so over a longer time-period and, in some areas, will have to adopt a more incremental approach. DESE would nudge LEAs toward the goals and implementation of data- driven decision making, but instituting the radical improvements in infrastructure and capacity envisioned would require more time and face challenging obstacles.
  • Incremental changes and Cass Sunstein like 'nudge'ing are bad enough - a strategy based upon hooking the school boards on federal funding, then spurring them on to take more favorable actions on their part in order to keep the funding coming - but even worse, IMHO, is 'implementation of data-driven decision making' - a stronger refutation of the sort of Reasoning schools were once designed to inculcate, is hard to find.

pg 67: The Commissioner has directed that all new grants to DESE and all grants DESE awards be focused around the RT3 goals and projects.
Over the life of the RT3 grant, the Commissioner intends to reorganize the department around the four assurance areas and the goals/projects described in sections B, C, D, E, and F of the grant and the budget narrative. Throughout the life of the grant and beyond, DESE will be transitioned to a decentralized agency operating out of regional service centers. Many current staff positions and department services will be relocated to regional service centers. During the transition some regional services will be provided through contracts, with the goal of completing the transformation by July 2014. Most notably, Missouri has not requested large numbers of staff in this application and budget; instead the Commissioner has focused on human capital development and infrastructure in this grant application. The focus on human capital development and infrastructure is a deliberate plan focused on sustaining the education reform plan outlined in this application long past 2014 in Missouri.
  • These 'regional service centers', mean centralized decision making areas far removed from your neighborhood, school board, or even State school board - you, the Parents - will have little or no input or influence on issues that might concern you, and the decisions made will be made from those centralized Top's, and be pushed... downnnn to you and your children.
  • Another issue... how do you feel about being referred to as 'human capital'? Does that sound to you as if they 'value' the humanity of the people they intend to deal with? It may be a stretch... but just as another bit of trivia, I'l note that it was Marx who labeled the system of Free Market economics, where the most valued component is the freely made choices of the individuals involved in the market, as "Capitalism". Just sayin'.

This system, and the States continued receipt of funding, relies upon goodies such as these:

pg 76:
"(B) Standards and Assessments (70 total points)
State Reform Conditions Criteria
(B)(1) Developing and adopting common standards (40 points)
The extent to which the State has demonstrated its commitment to adopting a common set of high-quality standards, evidenced by (as set forth in Appendix B)—

(I) The State’s participation in a consortium of States that— (20 points)
(a) Is working toward jointly developing and adopting a common set of K-12 standards (as defined in this notice) that are supported by evidence that they are internationally benchmarked and build toward college and career readiness by the time of high school graduation; and..."

  • INTERNATIONALLY BENCHMARKED!!!??? Is it even possible to remove parents any further from the process???
pg 142: "Missouri will engage in a two-part process to bring the full benefits of today’s technological innovations to bear on its schools. First, the State will address deficiencies in its technological infrastructure. Currently, no Missouri schools have access to adequate bandwidth to support their participation in online assessment, video/online instruction. The MoBroadbandNow effort is underway to increase broadband access throughout Missouri by establishing a network connecting rural communities throughout the State by to the internet backbone. This effort is described in section (C)(2)."
  • Cost? State run Internet? Because China does this so well?
pg 168:
...Establish detailed yearly and interim benchmarks and define a set of leading indicators to inform LEAs’ definition of “success” in a 2-3 year timeframe.

...Design procedure to align statewide system of support with identified needs (i.e.: dropout prevention, STEM, or mentoring).

...Establish early-warning systems to identify students at risk of failing to achieve high standards or to graduate.

...Each student will complete a Program of Study (POS) that incorporates secondary and postsecondary education elements, including coherent, rigorous, and relevant content aligned with

...challenging academic standards in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses that align secondary education with postsecondary education to adequately prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education. A POS may include the opportunity for secondary education students to participate in dual or concurrent enrollment programs or other ways to acquire postsecondary education credits; and lead to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level or an associate or baccalaureate degree.
Does any of this strike you as intelligent? Innovative? Sensible? Seriously, keeping in mind that this document was 'written' by bureaucrats very much aware of how their positions, prestige and departmental power is involved and reliant upon all that their precious document states, does any of this sound as if it actually is the result of thought focused upon the needs of Educating children... or does it seem more like a marketing committee's conglomeration of bureaucratic mission statements, designed to enable extensive 'fine print' to run amuck, to take your money and expand their power?

What is it you think is likely to be the end result of such a race? That is a question very worth asking.

One of our state rep's, Rep. Allen Icet, Wildwood, MO, the Chairman of the Missouri House Budget Committee, agreed with our concerns over the Fed Govt overstepping it's authority, the unfunded mandates and threats to state sovereignty which is the Race To The Top program, and declined the Governor's request to fund it.

Like all such monsters, we shouldn't take it for granted that it'll stay dead, but it is for the moment!

Thanks to Gretchen Logue, and to everyone else who spoke up and expressed their concerns over this program.

Now that's called making a difference!